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UBT: “There Are No Right Answers”

herpesDear God, the UBT has a buffet of crap to choose from. A alert chump sent me this HuffPo article by Samantha Rodman, PhD entitled “My husband had a one-night stand.”

Rodman, who goes by “Dr. Psychmom,” pens an advice column.

Reader Crushed writes:

I just found out my husband had a one night stand. It was with some random girl from a bar in the back of our minivan seven months ago. We have been together 13 years, and he says this is the only time. He didn’t fess up, I called him out on it.

I just knew somehow. We have two kids and I am six months pregnant. I feel so betrayed and angry and I hate him. I can’t stop thinking about it, and I’ve always said that it would be the only reason I would ever divorce him.

And at the same time, I’m not sure I could divorce him; he’s my only love since we were kids. I’m so confused. I don’t even know what steps to take (aside from getting tested).

Rodman, having absolutely no clue if this cheater is the least bit sorry (the fact that he didn’t confess would imply not), immediately jumps on the unicorn bandwagon. You can save this!

Dear Crushed,

I feel for you. What a terrible thing to happen, and the timing couldn’t be worse, when you are pregnant and feeling overwhelmed. I want to assure you that your conflicted feelings toward your husband are completely normal. Dr. Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence believes that the “new shame” is staying with a partner who has been unfaithful, since nowadays, the common “wisdom” is to immediately leave someone who has cheated. Yet, many times, things are not that simple. For one, as you say, many times, you still love your partner, and have a family together.

Just because he did a terrible thing does not mean that your husband is a terrible person. There is the possibility that your relationship will grow, and you will become closer than ever if you can look at this affair as something bad that happened to your marriage, rather than you viewing your husband as the enemy.

I have written here and here about recovering from infidelity, and here is a guest post by a reader whose mother took back her unfaithful father.

There are many paths to recovering from infidelity, and many couples are able to look back at the affair as a time that facilitated tremendous growth in their relationship. Sometimes, it helps shine a light on problems in the marriage, or opens up a dialogue about sex and intimacy.

Right now you are reeling, so it is necessary for your husband to express his sorrow and to apologize, and to empathize with how you feel. This is crisis mode for your marriage. You will likely feel a lot of ambivalence, like you suggest in your letter to me. Some moments, you will hate your husband, other moments you will beg him not to leave. You will be consumed with questions and with figuring out if he has ever cheated before or wants to again. This would be a great time to get into couples counseling if the conflict escalates out of control.

At a later point, if you want to repair the marriage, it will be time for you both to empathize with the other. This would include you asking your husband how he felt that led to him cheating. This doesn’t mean that you excuse or condone his behavior, but that you try to understand it. If you want to build your connection stronger than even before, you need to be open to taking his perspective and understanding what this one night stand meant to him.

Maybe he felt overwhelmed with two kids and one more on the way. Maybe he has felt sexually unattractive, and he feels like a sexless dad rather than a sexual man, and this one night stand made him feel alive (feeling alive is a common reason that people have affairs). Maybe he has never felt confident in his ability to be with other women, since from what you say about him being your only love since you were kids, it’s possible you were his only partner.

If you want to reconnect on a deep level, you need to know where your husband was coming from. And, of course, he needs to completely acknowledge and validate how you felt, and how it may be difficult to trust him in the future.

Thanks for writing in, and keep me updated. And ’til we meet again, I remain, “The Blogapist Who Says There Are No ‘Right’ Answers in the Aftermath of Infidelity.”

Now for the UBT. Sorry, if this is long. Imagine the dreadful case of indigestion the UBT has after reading it.

Dear Crushed,

I feel for you.

By which I mean I have absolutely no idea what you’re going through. But I thought I’d throw that out that pleasantry. I feel for you the way my cat cares about the Syrian refugee crisis.

What a terrible thing to happen, and the timing couldn’t be worse, when you are pregnant and feeling overwhelmed.

Because being “overwhelmed” is the worst thing. Not like, say, having your health risked by STDs right before your pregnancy and your marriage imperiled.

I want to assure you that your conflicted feelings toward your husband are completely normal.

“Conflicted.” I’m conflicted over my choice between open-toed or close-toed shoes in April. I have conflicted feelings towards donuts. (Tasty, yet so full of sugary carbs.)

I am reduced to a convulsing, sobbing heap upon learning of my husband’s infidelity. My feelings vaciliate between murder and despair, paralysis and puking, leaving or lighting the family van on fire.

Pay no attention to my subtle minimizations of your pain. I feel for you.

Dr. Esther Perel, author of “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence” believes that the “new shame” is staying with a partner who has been unfaithful, since nowadays, the common “wisdom” is to immediately leave someone who has cheated.

Where the fuck is this common wisdom? (And thanks too for the snarky quotation marks.) Staying with cheaters for the sake of the children is the OLD wisdom. You know, before the women’s rights movement and divorce reforms.

Where are all these people shaming you for reconciliation? Reconciliation is the recommended path in 99.9 percent of the literature and online resources. Not to mention the preferred option in most major religions. WTF, Esther?

Oh right, we shame chumps for staying. No, we shame them for being CHUMPED. All this shit is same blame the victim nonsense recycled into some kind of new enlightenment.

Yet, many times, things are not that simple. For one, as you say, many times, you still love your partner, and have a family together.

Right, because the people who leave cheaters didn’t ever love their partners or have families. That just makes you SO different.

Just because he did a terrible thing does not mean that your husband is a terrible person.

Good people do terrible things. I don’t know what terrible people do.

I mean, what’s the tipping point to Terrible Person? Drowning kittens? Molesting choir boys? Writing “Mating in Captivity”?

There is the possibility that your relationship will grow, and you will become closer than ever if you can look at this affair as something bad that happened to your marriage, rather than you viewing your husband as the enemy.

There is the possibility that we are all being manipulated by an international cabal of rabid squirrels. How else do you explain Congress? Do you have a BETTER theory? It’s a possibility!

You can look at this affair as something bad that happened to your marriage. Yes! A bad thing happened. Passive voice. Think of the affair as a toxic cloud that just descended on your minivan one day. No one controls clouds! Clouds gotta do what clouds are going do. Rail at clouds pointlessly if you want to. Your husband is not the enemy.

I have written here and here about recovering from infidelity, and here is a guest post by a reader whose mother took back her unfaithful father.

The UBT is not going to link to your articles. This is enough dreck for one day. But trust that here are some anecdotal unicorns!

There are many paths to recovering from infidelity, and many couples are able to look back at the affair as a time that facilitated tremendous growth in their relationship.

Yes. An affair strengthens your marriage the way shooting off your kneecaps improves your tennis game.

Sometimes, it helps shine a light on problems in the marriage, or opens up a dialogue about sex and intimacy.

That’s why people cheat — to have conversations. Nothing makes me want to talk about sex and intimacy like learning my husband has been hooking up with bar skanks in the family van. I get positively chatty.

“Problems in the marriage” — note my not so subtle blameshifting. He did this because there are problems. Problems you share. Problems that drove him to fuck bar skanks.

Right now you are reeling, so it is necessary for your husband to express his sorrow and to apologize, and to empathize with how you feel. This is crisis mode for your marriage. You will likely feel a lot of ambivalence, like you suggest in your letter to me. Some moments, you will hate your husband, other moments you will beg him not to leave. You will be consumed with questions and with figuring out if he has ever cheated before or wants to again. This would be a great time to get into couples counseling if the conflict escalates out of control.

I think the conflict “escalated” out of control when he fucked the bar skank. But yes, he needs to “express his sorrow” in the form of STD testing, full transparency, and a post-nup settlement. An apology isn’t going to cut it.

At a later point, if you want to repair the marriage, it will be time for you both to empathize with the other. This would include you asking your husband how he felt that led to him cheating. This doesn’t mean that you excuse or condone his behavior, but that you try to understand it. If you want to build your connection stronger than even before, you need to be open to taking his perspective and understanding what this one night stand meant to him.

Empathize with why he wanted to drown kittens. Ask him what he was feeling that led him to that river bank. Why did he buy that sack? Why Fluffy? Why Snowball?

It doesn’t mean that you condone drowning kittens, but just try to understand it. Haven’t you ever felt the urge to kill small animals? It doesn’t make him a bad person. Just a person who drowned a sack of kittens. It was probably his first sack of kittens. Figure out if he’s ever drowned kittens before or wants to again.

Maybe he felt overwhelmed with two kids and one more on the way. Maybe he has felt sexually unattractive, and he feels like a sexless dad rather than a sexual man, and this one night stand made him feel alive (feeling alive is a common reason that people have affairs).

And who can fault people who want to Feel Alive?! You, less-than-alive dullards there? Consider how ALIVE he felt when you’re feeling suicidal.

Maybe he has never felt confident in his ability to be with other women, since from what you say about him being your only love since you were kids, it’s possible you were his only partner.

I wonder if I can get it up with a stranger I met at a bar? That’s the kind of philosophical exploration worth losing your marriage over.

If you want to reconnect on a deep level, you need to know where your husband was coming from. And, of course, he needs to completely acknowledge and validate how you felt, and how it may be difficult to trust him in the future.

It may be difficult to trust him in the future, but hey, that’s where the deep connection comes from.

Thanks for writing in, and keep me updated. And ’til we meet again, I remain, “The Blogapist Who Says There Are No ‘Right’ Answers in the Aftermath of Infidelity.”

Until we meet again, I remain the Universal Bullshit Translator, “Leave a cheater, gain a life.”

***

This UBT ran previously. It can’t come to the blog right now. It’s stuffed with Xmas cookies and self-loathing.

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.
  • When I was in the 6th grade and those 3 8th grade bullies broke my nose……I should have just looked at their perspective. Perhaps they were just feeling unattractive that day.

    • The Dickhead told me stories about him and his BF being a bully to one boy in particular. Those types of people are bad news. I wish I would have connected the dots before I said “I do”.

      Some people are bad, evil to the core. Here’s to better days without them in our lives.

      • I too remember my ex talking about how he would bully his sister. At the time, I thought, oh I’m sure he’s not like that anymore – he was a kid. But, duh: If people voluntarily tell stories as adults without the main point being, boy I was such an asshole, they are still that same asshole.

        • How TRUE. I too thought, “oh, that happened when he was 15, I was a jerk at 15 too.” But yeah, he described it as funny; he never seemed sorry

        • Growing up and while in college mine was a jerk to his sisters.., he thought what he did to them was funny. I remember thinking it was odd that he laughed as he told these stories and showed no remorse, he seemed proud of himself and enjoyed talking about the cruel things he’d done. I thought he just didn’t know better..,

          Yes,Chumptown, a huge red flag, (one of many) if they tell stories of being an asshole, evidently and they’re laughing… They’re still the same asshole, nothing has changed.

          • I also remember when we went on vacation with his parents and my son who was three at the time fell out of the van we rented and hurt his knee. As my son was crying, cheaters Dad started laughing at him.., that in its self speaks volumes.

            • With the maturity of a grandma, I look back on the bullying my brother subjected me to growing up and I now see that he was a heartless ass. He was selfish, manipulative and cruel. Later in life his wife described him as a narc.

              • Unicorn,
                Cheaters bullying consisted of humiliation, in the worst possible situations. The things he did weren’t only cruel but crude. The stories I heard were when his sisters were teenagers, I can only imagine what went on before then. Looking back his parents should have been concerned.
                It surprised me that he was comfortable humiliating his sisters and their boyfriends in front of his parents.
                One of the things he enjoyed doing.., warning, this is disgusting so be prepared, he’d have a bowel movement in the toilet, purposely not flush, waiting for one of his sisters or their boyfriends to use the restroom.
                He would laugh hysterically telling the story…,
                As a parent I’d be horrified if my son embarrassed his sisters or anyone with the crude things cheater did.
                Actually, I’m embarrassed for staying with him. Little did I know now that it was a small preview of my future with Cheater.

                Unicorn, I also have a brother who teased me relentlessly while growing up. Today he’s a pathological liar and a narc. He will do anything to win and to hurt me. Some time ago Tempest replied in a post to me that I likely had FOO (as many of Chumps do). She’s absolutely right.

      • X bullied/terrorized a college-aged witness in a lawsuit where X was sued for injuries caused by a drunken frat fight he caused. Why why why didn’t I run away😫😫😫😫. I was so vulnerable to his love bombing and he is a master manipulator….I wish I could have a do-over.

        • Motherchumper, there are so many “incidents” that I look back on today and cringe, asking myself the same question, “what was I thinking?” and “why didn’t I run away?”
          One example is when I met his family, I remember being alarmed, and thought how he could be so different from his family.. His family members were disgusting, obnoxious, and rude. Ridiculing people, and their misfortune, constantly making reference to flatulence and laughing hysterically, creating drama in public, being rude to our restaurant servers.
          Cheater portrayed himself as a mild mannered gentleman, kind, considerate, and understanding. His family mentioned how different he was around me and couldn’t believe he’d changed… no worries he didn’t change that was part of the love bombing..

      • My ex hated his one aunt with a vengeance. Turns out he had upset her by making fun of his cousin with polio. No wonder she disliked him!

      • When I practiced criminal law (well, someone has to!), I had a client who had shot at 22 people whom he didn’t know, killing 4…and he said that “well even IF I did that, it doesn’t make me a bad person.”

        Even as his lawyer, I recall asking him what he thought would constitute being a person bad, if not for trying to kill 22 strangers…

        He didn’t know. But now my new Narcles/RIC theory is that I bet the victims “made” him feel bad about himself, especially after they were shot by him.

        • Yes, I mean c’mon how dare they do crazy things like fall down or bleed in front of him after they were shot. Didn’t they know they were supposed to smile and ask him how his day was instead?

    • I grew up in a very small town. We literally knew every single person in the town. Guess what? Every single one of those kids who were asshole bullies grew up to be asshole adults. It’s all part of the “people can change” mythology that we are taught to swallow. And, while I acknowledge that people CAN change, I think it is time to admit as a culture that most people DO NOT change.That someone’s past behavior IS indeed an indication of their character. In other words–the people who DO bad things really ARE bad people. And, they are very likely to continue to choose to be bad people.

    • Mine too! Grew nails out to cut people in football, punched a girl…he waited a while to tell me these things slowly. How did I not see how cruel he is!!! ???

  • Omfg! Dear Crushed Please disregard this quack and replace her with a real actual therapist who has been schooled in npd! Then when ur ducks are in line, a lawyer. Meanwhile quietly collect evidence. Marriage police is no fun but may be necessary to get him to a complacent place again so he will unknowingly reveal all. It’s stuff you don’t want to know and it will suck the life out of you but if you surround yourself with the support you need you and your children will benefit.
    Right on Tracey! These “advice” columnists are criminal in their position of trust.

  • I wonder what absolute proof of sex in the minivan was found that elicited an actual confession.

    Euw.

    My Chump-friend learned her XH used her mommobile as his sex tent and for logistic reasons chose to keep the car but not him. She is having the time of her life dating now that he ruined his life big.

      • Yea, that is totally gross and Im sorry it happened.

        It surprises me though…now years away from it how much I now wish that SOMETHING definitive had happened way back during the decades of being chumped that would have given me the opportunity to know what my life really was so that I could have made informed decisions about my life.

        I will never know how many near-misses he had of realizing that I might learn his big and horrible secrets with one tiny clue, but it never happened. I went on year after year working on a marriage that was unsalvageable.

        • Sorry Uni, it is a tough road to recover from the abuse endured. I guess it makes us more observant now to behaviors and actions.

          To work on a marriage that cannot be saved is heart breaking – and soul sucking.

  • Wikipedia has information about what some call scare quotes, in particular, noting this:

    “Political commentator Jonathan Chait wrote in The New Republic that, “The scare quote is the perfect device for making an insinuation without proving it, or even necessarily making clear what you’re insinuating.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

    (I once told a colleague who used my own words in scare quotes — in a group email responding to something I suggested — about the term, and about how seeing my words used that way gave me the impression that she intended to discredit my idea. I said I wanted to check in with her to see if I was off base on that before responding to the email because I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. It was a much more assertive act than is typical for me. She backpedaled at top speed… because, as it happens, I was spot on.)

  • Excellent piece, Chumplady! Excellent.

    I think I misunderstood this part: “Oh right, we shame chumps for staying. No, we shame them for being CHUMPED.” We do? I thought we commiserated with chumps for being chumped. Then we support and encourage in the steps out of hell. You provided us with the goal of becoming mighty. But we’ve never been shamed for what these turds did to us. Did I misunderstand the part?

      • I actually have an attorney son that told me that I needed to stop playing the victim. Just realizing that my two successful sons are 50% genetically Sociopaths. Collateral damage for my life choices.

          • Yes, not much that we can do except pray that they will eventually understand. My two sons have ZERO empathy and have said horrid things to me for which they have never acknowledged nor apologized. Part of this process is me determining that I have (and will maintain) boundaries. I guess that my sons were programmed to seeing me emotionally abused by their “father”.

            • My daughter is 50% genetically inclined to be a sociopath too. Funny how she blames me for every single thing that ever happened to her in her life and holds her father in hero status. I was the one that kept everything together over the years.

              • It all boils down to this – disorder is apparent and you just have to move on from disordered people. When no good deed goes unpunished, the disorder is epic. Get out.

        • Any time anyone has told me not to be a victim (I promise I don’t chronically hear this lol) it really means “you need to suck it up and act happy because I am unconvinced and made uncomfortable by dealing with anything you might need. Why can’t you just act like this never happened so I don’t feel obligated to help?”

          • Beans
            “ and stop being such a drama queen, with the tears, stress and anxiety- it’s not good for the baby- think about the previous baby”

        • I just saw my lawyer today regarding non-compliance of the custody order by my kids dad. He is a cluster b and constantly changes the goal posts. So if something is going too well with custody exchanges, he has the delightful ability to fuck it up. Just because.

          I made an appointment with my lawyer, and was very upset with the how the appointment went.

          He downplayed all of the emotional abuse my ex is inflicting upon my children, accused me of not “putting more effort” in to coparenting and stated that we were in his top 3 list of high-conflict couples and that I needed to “examine my role” in everything.

          I was livid and encouraged him to research cluster b narcissistic personality disorders to better understand what we are dealing with. His response: you are not the boss of me.

          He is now fired.

          • Yea that’s terrible lawyering. Certainly it’s a bad idea to treat your attorney as a therapist (too expensive!) but if you’re asking about a legitimate abuse issue and how that relates to custody, your attorney’s sole job is to tell you your options, explain the thresholds, and give you her opinion on the likelihood of success with the option you choose. More and more attorneys are learning to deal with these sociopaths, but there’s still quote the gap on knowledge.

            Sometimes an attorney will tell you something you just don’t want to (or are unwilling to) hear, and some people really take it to heart and get mad at the messenger. But you should always feel like your lawyer is advocating for you.

          • Yeah, ChumpedinCanada, I had to fire my attorney too. We need to start a registry of divorce attorneys who know how to deal with a-holes (otherwise known as narcissists, or just pain cheaters).

            My second lawyer’s firm advertised themselves as “A Man’s Lawyer,” I figured that was code for An Entitled, Self-Serving Greedy Bastard’s Lawyer, and they would know where my stbx was coming from, and would know how to fight him. I was right.

          • I fired my new therapist when he said I was focusing on my ex in order to avoid looking at myself. I am 1 year divorced and I share custody with a narcopath. A week after firing my therapist I found my ex’s dick pics on my kids’ iPad. When I confiscated the iPad, my ex called the police on me to intimidate me into giving it back so he could erase the evidence. This is only 4 month’s after I got my ex to sign a consent order agreeing to take all measures to prevent this stuff from happening again. This is the 4th time I have caught this crap so far. My ex says it was a mistake, and my lawyer is telling me the judge won’t give me custody for this. I listened to chump lady’s latest podcast and, apparently, exposing the kids to your sex shenanigans barely raises eyebrows in family court these days.

          • “You are not the boss of me”

            Seriously, can you imagine saying this to a customer or client in any other situation? Why not? Because that customer or client will fire you. That’s why.

      • Tracy,
        I agree wholeheartedly when you said:

        “No, the society as a whole victim blames chumps.”

        I have also found this to be true.

        There are very few if any “sanity islands” for chumps in the blogosphere like your site. (This site is the #1 “sane island” for chumps in my opinion).

        It’s a place where people don’t suspiciously look at a chump and ask them how they “made” the cheater cheat. Cheating is a choice made solely by a cheater, it’s a really terrible choice, and no one can make someone cheat.

        As for Congress and a cabal of rabid squirrels, why not? 😃Due to the past two years, anything seems possible.

        Happy Holidays!
        Sarah
        ❄️🌟🍾

  • I understand the pain & humiliatio & pain your feeling especially at this time when your expecting. It should be a happy time for you & the children. But CL is correct. He endangered your & the baby’s life just for an orgasm with a skank. What does that tell you?

    He is not the husband you need in your life. Kick him out so you can focus on yourself & children. Don’t believe it’s the “ only” time. He’s a liar & a dirt bag that will do this again. Please listen to us here at CN & serve him divorce papers ASAP. He’s an selfish evil man 👿

  • The reformed marriage police force puts people behind bars who write advice columns like this.

    Last night I dreamed I was picking up shirts at the drycleaners and there were shirts of his that I had never seen him wear with me. In the dream I am wondering who bought them and where he wore them. Then, thank God, I woke up. This could easily be my daily reality, in countless ways, if I stayed with Tinder Man.

    I thought I had a husband; I had a Bernie Madoff.

    I thought I had a marriage. I really had a MIRAGE.

    I want to be married to REALITY. On my own is way better than having a con artist as a husband.
    Being a fish in a blender is no way to live.

    • “I thought I had a marriage. I really had a MIRAGE”

      Strangely enough my cheater still perpetuates the MIRAGE via her FB page (her only source of life validation)

      Status: Married
      Cover photo: Happy smiling family (mum, dad, 2 kids & the dog)

      She’s even enforced a social media blackout on the Fat Midget and his family so as not to reveal that she’s abandoned her husband and children. If found out, her narrative is that she left me THEN met the Fat Midget – apparently their 3 year affair never happened!

      • The Dickhead initiated the divorce and kept married at his FB status until after the divorce. I changed my status and blocked him about a month after D-day. He finally announced his new status, in a relationship with OW, a month after the divorce was finalized and the day after our house sold. It’s all about image management.

        • My dickhead only took off his ring after I took off mine. I took it off during wreckconciliation and told him that I would happily put it back on when he is sure that he wants me again.
          In my delirious state of hopium I was thinking this could be a huge romantic gesture he could do. Ha.
          I did not know that he was still seeing that turd and that everything he told me about him and her breaking things off was a lie. The only reason he attempted to do wreckonciliation was to manage his fear that I was filing for divorce. He thought he could just do a separation live his life as a single man with a new girlfriend and I was still his wife with all the duties of handling his home and kids. No thanks.

          Guess what. I filed for divorce.

          Now he is all worried, because he has so much stress. It is a shame when you all over sudden have to know where your stuff is, do laundry, clean the house, ensure you have dinner…

          • The stress! The Dickhead landed himself in the hospital with a near-fatal allergic reaction, 2 days after D-Day. I was not allowed to see him (a whole different story) but my BIL (the sinister sister’s husband) came out to the parking lot to talk with me. He mentioned that Dickhead was stressed. I was beyond words! Wait a minute, he blows up my life, he’s cheating, he just got caught, and he’s stressed? No, stressed is just finding out that your husband of 18 can’t keep his dick in pants. Stressed is being discarded with a 5-minute talk because you don’t deserve any more of his time. Stressed is pre D-day, and not knowing what the fuck just happened? Stressed is looking at the man you love and realizing that he’s a stranger. I was supposed to have sympathy for him…..bullshit to that.

            • My cheater developed high blood pressure due to the stress. He landed in the ER twice with sparingly high blood pressure.

              Really, you blow up my life, discard me, walk away without giving me any chance, refusing marriage counseling, lie all summer… and you are so stressed that you need medication?

              Stress is when you treat your wife like a mortal enemy for three years straight and then after those three years lie about how much she is responsible for breaking up the marriage due to her issues. And not telling her about the three year affair and that you are about to start a new life with a new girlfriend, because she just gave you an ultimatum.

              Stress is when you find out that your husband of 14 years lied to you and you find out by reading this said ultimatum that made your husband break up with you a week prior.

      • Of course it did not happen. My STBX also claimed that his affair was not really THE problem that ended our marriage, becuase he had broken up with me before the affair started. He just forgot to tell me. I am not joking, he really believes this garbage.
        And the affair also lasted three years.

        • (shaking my head), they really are pathetic. And to think they roam this planet. They should all be corralled on a island and they can feed on each other. Leave the rest of us. alone.

          • I’m on FB (but only so I can see what my family and friends are up to). I don’t post pouting, duck-bum lip selfies (actually I think there might only be 2 photos of me on there). I’m not particularly interested in FB otherwise and I couldn’t give a damn what some cousin twice removed had for lunch, but that is to say I’m not at all savvy with FB because I don’t care. UNTIL I looked at my “profile info” where I had put no info, so I switched “status” to “in a relationship”. I’m not but it’s driving him nuts trying to find out who da man is. Picture the dog bouncing up and down with his tongue hanging out in all the Garfield cartoons. I love messing with his head!

        • Ditto…oh so ditto.

          No, don’t blame her. This wasn’t an affair. This marriage was over anyways. I didn’t leave because of her, I left because I tried to make it work and just couldn’t because I feel nothing for you. I haven’t felt anything for you in years. In fact, I don’t think I ever really loved you. I’ve never felt for you what I feel now.

          • „Do you really think I am capable of having an affair? Do you really think any of this would have happened if I had not been in a better state. I hated my life.“

            The retelling of history. Nothing is ever his fault. Not even finding his dick in another woman‘s vagina. He was barely even there.

            • I keep it very simple. He made a promise of monogamy to me. Twice. He broke his promises by fucking around. Period. End of story. Nothing else is relevant.

      • Why not just expose the bitch right on FB? Why should get away with her disgusting lies and using you and your kids to create a false image?

        During their affair, my cheater and his skank both created anonymous twitter accounts so they could kiss each other’s asses publically. Cheater’s profile actually bragged about being a husband and father and “most of all, one lucky guy”. He meant he was lucky to have her. An obvious passive-aggressive “fuck you, wife and kids” moment there.
        They are utterly vile and they should pay a heavy price for it.

      • Yup David. Same here!! Never knew I was married to a skank who could manipulate time like that. Apparently I was married to one of THE X-MEN. LOL! She has doe her best to save her self image. Made too many mistakes along the way to keep it that way. Can’t be a life long victim. People are not dumb and eventually see right through her.

    • Thanks VH!!

      “I thought I had a marriage. I really had a MIRAGE.”

      That’s going in my collection of great quotes!!

  • Like hell it was a one night stand, and like hell it’s never happened before.

    Someone needs to tell this lady to consciously uncouple from the Esther Perel quoting ninny, and even more consciously uncouple from her cheater, even if she IS six months pregnant.

    It’s NOT compassionate to send someone back into a lion’s den just because they haven’t eaten her alive right now.

  • The thing about being each others’ only or first love as a cause for cheating pisses me off. I have never been with anyone but my X asshat, and until he began cheating that was his story as well.

    Before things blew up I was grateful that I met the love of my life at the age of 16 and I looked forward to a long marriage and growing old together. I won the life lottery to find such a mate and I was fully invested. I know I was an objectively good wife, the kind so many wish they had (good housekeeper, laundress, cook, sex partner, high salary, mother to his children, FAITHFUL). To this day I still do not believe we got married too young.

    But according to the RIC the fact we met at 16, married at 20, and were together until he abandoned me at 48 is my fault I suppose. I tied him down. I kept him from the exuberance he was owed. He is blameless and all of the expressions of love he had for me leading up to getting married were just artificial constructs of his juvenile and captive mind. My bad.

    He had worries that he hadn’t sowed his oats and that is all the reason he needed to blow up his life. Bully for him, he finally got his rocks off with younger chicks. Now he has no relationship with his daughters. He is living out of the country and his reputation back here in town is stained by his massive mid life crisis (10 years and counting on that BTW). He has screwed up his life. Objectively.

    Yup, all worth it for strange fucks.

    • “I tied him down. I kept him from the exuberance he was owed.”

      Now I.C. – I hear you on this one, as I’m sure every one of us can.

      For all the talk the cheaters make about fun, I wonder why they felt they were being kept from having fun. There isn’t anything that he did with the OW, that I know of, that I wouldn’t have done with my husband myself. He took her to an amusement park. Wow! Had he actually come home one day and said to me, “Babe, let’s go to the amusement park. Just us. No kids. Let’s ditch the kids with the grandparents and go out and just be young and silly for the day.” Had he actually said this, he would have made my whole year. I would have been so amazed at his exuberance, because I was dying a slow death with this husband who seemed to be more and more unplugged by the year.

      He took her to see a professional baseball game and stayed overnight at a hotel. I was always suggesting we do this. Not a year went by when I didn’t ask him if he was interested in getting tickets to the season’s home-opener. He would get annoyed with me and say that he would need to take a day off of work to drive into the city to make it on time, and then we’d be home so late for work the next day. Really buddy? Where is your sense of adventure?

      He took her to a blues music festival, crossing the border into the US. Yet for a few years I had been saying to him that we should make a point of going out to see live music again. Two new years ago, I even tried to get him to commit to a resolution that we go to one major concert a year and one music festival – we could budget for that much at least. Nope, not into it.

      It’s because it’s not really about having fun. You can have fun just about anywhere with anyone if you have it in you to make the most of life. No, this is about a selfish absolution of adult responsibilities. Your real life has just gotten too hard, and you seek ways to alleviate the burden because you are a weak-willed, morally-inept, low-value pathetic excuse of a man/woman. Leaving your marriage puts you in a position where you can get a parenting break. You now only need to parent 50% of the time at most, so that gives you half of your life back to live the immature and irresponsible life you yearn to get back. And, even during the 50% you might have to adult, you’ll ease off on that as much as you can possibly get away with (or entirely in some cases).

      No, an affair is not just a crime committed against a spouse, it’s very much done against the children too. I don’t care how he wants to slice it. He made a choice that freed himself up to live his double life more overtly – now he can overdose on his fixation for half his time, and more if you count that the kids complain that he’s constantly texting when he with them. My son just learned that he’s texting “the lady” (as she’s known to my kids who understand that she’s the lady that broke the ninth commandment with daddy as he broke the sixth commandment).

      • I agree with everything you and Now I C said. I was also ex’s first, sort of (besides one drunken episode where he never climaxed before we were dating). He always wondered what it would be like to be with another woman and I guess he eventually just had to go find out. This required him to devalue me first, however, so he could give himself permission. I was never willing to give him permission because I knew that if he did fuck someone else he might be stupid enough to fall for her. I was right. He’s an idiot. He may not have completely abandoned his kids, but he doesn’t have the close relationship with them that he would have had if he had focused on his family instead of pursuing strange. Some people’s priorities are just really messed up.

      • Optionnomore

        You have nailed it. This is the most accurate analysis of these assholes that i have read.

        Yeah. Its a crime against children.
        Their own flesh and blood. And these idiot advice columnists and counselors don’t confront them on it.

        My ex and i have a 85/15 percent split. Thats cause he does not want more. Yes i am grateful. I dont lose out on a lot of time. I basically have a baby sitter that pays me.

        But i feel so bad for my son. To know that he is rejected by a loser that looks sucessful on the outside.

      • I hope his exuberance is the kind that lurks in his central nervous system and keeps recurring over and over–especially when he is under any stress or already sick. I hope his “exuberance” reminds him often of his “burning need” to feel alive!

    • Gaaaawd, what a predictable ploy. My jerk tried the same excuse. I was his first and he never had a chance to experience other women, bla bla. He had never gone through that “phase of life”.
      Me ; “You mean being a slutty, selfish creep is a natural phase of life? Damn, I missed out on that one, too. I’d better get on Tinder right now.”
      I’m sure the RIC would claim I was to blame for the affair because my habit of using sarcasm in the face of manipulative dishonesty made him feel “invalidated”. They would tell you that your expectation that he would be faithful to one woman all his life “stifled his natural male sexual energy” or some such tripe. A lot of what the RIC puts out is based on gender stereotypes. We’ve all heard the nonsense about “a man’s evolutionary purpose is to spread his seed” as the reason for cheating. The chump is also told she didn’t provide enough sex or sexual variety. With female cheaters, the chump is told he “didn’t meet her emotional needs” and “wasn’t romantic enough”.
      Bleh! The RIC sucks even more than the cheaters themselves.

    • Infuriating! Asshat claimed the same thing! Somehow I was ok with only being with ONE person, but i was the f’d up one. Seriously! He told our marriage counselor that he loved me, loved that I was his wife but he wished he had met me last instead of first. Asshole. So glad I kicked him out. Entitled Asshats, all of them.

  • This “advice” is so dangerous to the chump. Never, in all my years, have I witnessed a marriage or relationship that went thru a partner cheating survive or thrive. Have some couples stayed together? Yup and they are effin miserable. The non narc cheater may be initially relieved the chump stays but also ends up resenting the chump for being weak, too easy or thinking they could have done better because they now view the chump as a desperate loser because the chump wants to stay married. In cheater mind they are wondering, where is her/his self-respect? Pretty sure we all know how the narc cheater views his/her spouse. The woman that wrote to Huffpost “just knew” there was something going on because her husband had been more than likely treating her like something stuck on the bottom of his shoe. She stays married to him she better get used to this treatment.

  • Oh DEAR God, the plumber is fixing my hot water that he made a mess of and now my bed is soaking wet and my bedroom ceiling all stained. And I still have to read this Samantha Rodman, PhD’s piece of bullshit?!

    It will have to wait for tonight with a G&T. I prefer students’ explanations about why they missed >50% of classes, but even so must be excused.

    Chumps, if you want something to feel mighty instead of sick, please don’t miss “Roma”, the film by Alfonso Cuarón. All Chumps will relate to it.

    • My new(ish) chump boyfriend and I went to go see it this past weekend. We loved it – what a beautiful movie.

  • And I forgot to say to Crushed, wherever she may be: I got the same bullshit story: “Just a one night stand”, “I was drunk”, “I don’t know what hit me”…

    It just got worse.

    And I now believe the only reason he told me about this episode is because he was with people from our work and was afraid I might find out without his hold on the narrative.

  • I mean, what’s the tipping point to Terrible Person? Drowning kittens? Molesting choir boys? Writing “Mating in Captivity”?…..coffee is currently coming out my nose and I can’t catch my breath…priceless

  • I feel it’s really simple, in that “an affair CAN potentially be all those things that spur a marriage to grow – leaving aside the question of why should it be the growth factor, couldn’t they come up with something else?”; the reality is simply that it “usually IS NOT”.

    Lovely theory, reality check fail.

  • I firmly believe that a marriage doesn’t have to bad or unsatisfying for someone to cheat. They cheat because they want to. The Dickhead cheated because he wanted. Nothing I did forced him to fall into another vagina.

    If a spouse has fallen out of love, fine, get a divorce but do it honorably.

    A week after Dickhead said he wanted a divorce, I asked him, looking straight into his eyes, if he cheated on me. He looked back at me and said no. I hesitated for a moment and told him that I didn’t believe him. At that point, he sorta hem-hawed before saying well, I didn’t.

    I now know that was a big fat lie, along with all the other lies when I would ask what he did on his day off and he said nothing or just errands. Those were lies as well.

    He cheated because he wanted. He cheated because he’s a POS. He cheated because he’s a pathetic human being.

    • This is the key word Ms. Bailey. Behaving with honor. If one has fallen out of love with one’s spouse and does not want to rec-connect, there are ways to end the marriage honorably. Cheating, lying and hiding assets is not one of them. Ultimately, it is lack ofrespect for other human beings, lack of compassion and entitlement.

    • This has been my point all along MissBailey. Then the revisionist history begins in the cheater’s story. They may not have even fallen out of love…someone just told them how wonderful they were. In the end, they thought they could get away with it.

    • People don’t fall out of love. They stop being infatuated. The mature love which you grow into after the infatuation phase ends doesn’t just vanish for no reason. It can be killed by mistreatment by your spouse, but does not just up and die by itself.
      “I fell out of love” = “I never really loved you.”
      My jerk tried to claim he just stopped loving me for no reason. A lot of jerks who never genuinely loved their partners make this claim. ‘Tis bullshit, my friend.

      • This is soooo true. It gets a lot easier to take action when you truly take in and believe the fact that this person did not love you.

        • Accepting that my cheating XH didn’t know what love was, and that he had not in fact ever really loved me, helped me to accept the reality of multiple affairs and getting dumped. I held on when I thought he loved me and I believed his lies about reconciling. Narcissists only love themselves. Early advice I got about life with a cheating narcissist was: Don’t love someone who can’t or won’t love you back. (And does it really matter if it’s can’t or won’t?)

          • Exactly. It doesn’t matter at all.

            Speaking of narcs, I recently came across an article about how narc abuse actually damages your brain. Particularly useful for narcs is the damage it does to short term memory, so you’ll forget some of their suspicious behavior. It also damages the amygdla, which puts you in a permanent state of hypervigilance and causes PTSD symptoms. Fortunately, it can get back to normal after the abuse ends when you leave the scumbag. It takes time, self-care and often therapy. Based on what they described, I’m pretty sure I have that brain damage, but I’ll get back to normal some day.
            Leave a cheater, gain a brain.

            • Chumperella, I’m interested in this damage to short term memory. I’m finding that after a short (is 4 months short?) but intense period of emotional abuse, my memory is not what it was; I have to write specifics of my new job down or I don’t remember. I don’t feel as efficient as I should be and I have less confidence in my ability to schedule and remember small details. It’s worrying! Does that sound like a result of the abuse? Thanks!

  • I am totally with you on this one. Now having been with 2 therapists. I am so tired of hearing about how some people can “make their marriages stronger after an affair”. I am told some people can forgive, and some people can;r! And maybe I just can’t. As if not being able to forgive your husband for screwing a Russian woman in between dropping off and picking up your kid at theatre class & picking up 23 waitresses and flying them to Vegas to sleep in his hotel room is a defect in ME. This is absurdity. Why in society is it ok to think there is no right and there is no wrong. That is why the world is how it is. Bah

  • “Feeling alive is a common reason that people have affairs” – I strongly believe this to be true. People cheat because they have nothing going on in their lives. They don’t feel alive by a bubble bath and early night or helping a friend in need or baking with their children or going on a romantic dinner with their spouse or spending Christmas together as a family. They feel alive by burning the house to the ground. By having sex with someone they don’t really know. It’s really that simple. There is no depth, no empathy, they throw everything away so they can feel alive. I mean how unalive must you feel to do this? Think about that? If you really think about that you start a tiny bit of compassion, not compassion “hey I forgive you”, but compassion, I want nothing to do with you, stay away from me at a safe distance and let me move on without my feelings of anger, confusion, hatred, but more, wow, Jimmy is really messed up I am so glad I got away from him!

    • “Feeling alive” is often the first thing when the following people explain why they…

      – started drinking
      – started drugs
      – started gambling
      – started watching porn
      – started going to strippers
      – started picking up prostitutes
      – started jumping out of planes
      – started raising cars
      – started…fill in any activity that involves addiction or life risk-taking behaviours.

      The problem with many of these activities is that they are an addiction. You cannot get enough. It’s a rabbit hole, The “feeling alive” is fleeting. The “happiness” short-lived. You are left ultimately unsatisfied, and if you lack moral character, you seek more and riskier. Your level of cognitive dissonance to rationalize what you are doing wrong bring further and further away from happiness and aliveness.

      That is why simple forgiveness of a cheater can never cut it. Saying sorry, I won’t do it again, doesn’t work for a cheater anymore that it would work for a drug addict. Nope, the cheater needs intensive therapy to change the addiction symptoms of this level of level of self-entitlement, moral deficiency and poor problem-solving and life coping skills. Marriage counselling is not the answer when you first discover an affair. It’s a time for a break for individual counselling for the cheater and the chumped. Both need to seek a new life. The cheater to correct their shit and the chump to find a new life. Perhaps, reconciliation may come at the end of the tunnel of the true self-reflection and building a new life, but that cannot be the ultimate goal in repairing this damage.

    • Exactly. These people are empty voids. They can’t be satisfied with a normal life. They need extremes of excitement just to feel anything. So they feel a need to get off on manipulating and decieving their their partners, abusing mood-altering sustances, engaging in risky and socially unacceptable behavior, etc. Some even break the law to get that high.
      This is the reason serial killers do what they do- they can only feel alive by killing. Psychopaths, narcissists and borderlines all have this problem. The difference lies in the extremes they are willing to go to and their and level of hostility, but they are all dangerous in some way.
      Any therapist who encourages a patient to stay with such a person should be tarred and feathered.

  • How about this as an answer to people who “bothsider” infidelity?

    I love(d) the cheater but he demonstrated that he doesn’t have the character I require in a partner. He lies. He cheats. He likes an asymmetrical playing field, where he has all the advantage. I can live without that. Leave a cheater. Gain a life.

    • THIS
      And I found out that this was a repeat of his first marriage
      Poor bastard had a chance to improve himself, but alas
      They give us no choice

  • “And, of course, he needs to completely acknowledge and validate how you felt, and how it may be difficult to trust him in the future.”

    Wahahahahahaha! I’m sorry, friends! I just. Can’t. She says it like a foregone conclusion. He WILL validate and acknowledge how he ripped out your heart, changed the narrative of your shared history, upended your world, and sent you into a great abyss? It. Will. Never. Happen. Ever. Not because you leave a cheater, but because a cheater will never feel enough empathy for YOUR pain to genuinely validate and acknowledge the above feelings. How do I know this? 17 years later, I’m still with him and it hasn’t happened! And I believe he’s sorry. He’s just incapable of that small level of empathy.

    And “difficult to trust him in the future”? I can’t even go there! Let’s just go with that my marriage is built on faith, hope, and charity. There is no trust.

    • if he is able to acknowledge the wrongdoing, he would be on his knees begging for forgiveness the day after… following therapy for her and scheduled std visits…

      Let’s face it- I doubt it was an “ one and only” time and delusional thinking is in full speed…

      She was pregnant and he haven’t told her? Please.

      My h “ knew” that the hookers and women he was seeing were “ clean” and somehow he would know if they were not.
      So no need for condoms with a pregnant wife( 2 kids)
      My h holds a PhD , is highly respected in his community, very intelligent

      Yet, he was offended when I demanded him to be tested for std…. mind blowing delusional thinking.

      Emphaty? Please… in order to feel emphaty you need to UNDERSTAND the meaning of that word…

  • I always differentiates in my mind and have ranked all variations of how awful a cheater is.

    10. Developed feelings for someone else
    9. Kissed someone else
    8. Send clearly sexual oriented photos and text messages
    7. Slept with someone else once drunk
    6. Slept with someone else sober and rented a hotel room for it
    5. Ordered a prostiture to sleep with
    4. Lead a double life with AP for several months or even years
    3. Have more than one AP regardless of whether at the same time or sequentially or have prostitutes thrown in
    2. Promise to never see the AP after being caught, but still see her/him
    1. Take everything away from your spouse (money, house, kids) during a divorce caused by your cheating

    And the right thing to do is to talk to your spouse about any negative feelings you develop. Ideally before you develop feelings for someone else. These things do not just happen. There is a progression that can be stopped. Expecting a chump to share the blame when they did not nothing to progress the situation, because they did not even know the situation existed… Barf.

    • Mine is #4.

      His reason why he couldn’t make the marriage work…he just couldn’t stop his feelings for her and the desire to be with her.

      Really? A person you knew for a year and a half, compared to the 15 years we had known one another? In the span of the affair, there had been maybe a half dozen dates in public, a couple of weekends away, and about 20-25 visits to her place with maybe half resulting in a night over. We did more than that together in the first six months of our dating, let alone all the years following. His experiences with her were more profound than anything he shared with me – a wedding, numerous trips to Europe and through Canada and US, the birth of two children, the merging of our two families for hundreds of outings, the merging of our friend network for countless dinners and events, etc?

      You idiot. It is very much possible to make a decision to table your feelings when it is the right thing to do. To recognize that what you are feeling is simply wrong and unhealthy and take the steps to rectify it, even if it means professional help. I know it’s possible because it’s what I have had to do this whole year.

      The year of 2018 is the year that I had to kill the love I felt for my husband for 15 years. I have had no choice. To keep on loving him, desiring him, hoping for him would spell the death of my spirit. My children need me to be whole and sane, I cannot fall apart. I cannot abandon them in pursuit of my own pleasure. I cannot act badly and then seek to excuse it. No, I need to pack this love into a very tiny box and shelf it forever. I need to learn what real happiness entails and develop myself. I need to use every resource at my disposal to seek to do what is right, whenever I struggle to do so on my own. Because that is what CHARACTER is all about.

      inescapable – the progression is so unfortunate and packed with so many words of caution that is completely lost on the cheater. so very unfortunate.

      • Ugh. My cheater XH knew schmoopie for a whole two months before he decided to blow up our lives. She didn’t even know what kind of socks he wore before they took off to live happily every after. I’m still waiting for that Karma bus to mow them both over.

        • Same here, @Chumptopia. Apparently three months was all he needed to know that it was Truly Wuv. It still baffles me how this people revel in watching their entire lives burn down all for infatuation that is bound to die.

        • Dickhead had met OW briefly two years ago at a funeral. Met up with her again at his aunt’s house in Kentucky and proceeded to blow up our marriage 3 weeks later. Not counting the whoring around the previous 3 months and who ever else he was doing.

      • Mine knew his almost-affair partner for 20 minutes and struggled not to have an affair. I must really be a BAD wife! I’m still trying to decide if it’s worth it to stay…

        • My now XH decided he wanted to divorce me so he could go immediately marry his soulmate, the one he met online couple of weeks before telling me. The one that lived half way across the world, didnt speak English, different third world culture, opposite kind of religion and thought she found her one way ticket to America. He hadn’t even met her in person and used a translator to communicate in baby talk.

          But alas, he was IN love, and the 25 yrs together we had meant NOTHING, she was the one that God meant for him. I was told our marriage had been over for years despite no arguments, handholding everyday, sex about 5x a week, him telling me he loved me almost every day.

          I thought he was my best friend, I thought he was having a midlife crisis, I thought he was caught up in fantasy that would wake up from. What I didn’t think then but now believe is he is one mentally fucked up person. Who decides to blow up their life, ruin relationships, betray friends, and crush family for someone they’ve never met? CRAZY that’s who!

    • Progression to be stopped

      I disagree.
      They don’t want to stop so no talk will do the magic

      We talked a lot. From the beginning of the marriage. About everything.
      Means nothing.
      All the talks were related to my life and values were projected on his.
      I lived everything we talked about, he talked, and lived his double life.

      • Yep. This is what I meant.. the disordered do not want to stop.

        Me and my cheater also talked a lot. But it was just talk, no actions. And only about topics that he wanted to talk about. He literally would make fun of anything I said whenever there was something he was not interested in. Typically, those topics that I knew more about, because it made him feel stupid. His rewriting of history included that my intelligence intimidated him, becuase I always needed to show off how intelligent I was.
        Just simply not the case. For example, if I tried to explain something about my work or my interests, he would ask the most asinine questions and pretended not to understand a word I was saying. Like I was not able to phrase anything in a reasonable manner. I changed words and sentences constantly to repeat what I said, so he would understand. He just stared at me like I was not making sense. This, until I got so frustrated, and then he would act so innocent „I am just trying to understand what you are saying…“

  • I wonder how many truly only have a one night stand? Maybe if they get caught immediately. Mine had a one night that turned into multiple hook ups. Four years worth. I think once that seal is broken, they will go back for more and more!

    • I think my exhole truly had a one night stand. But because he “broke his marriage vows” he tossed me out like trash and never looked back. He did it to his first wife too. Cheated one time and left. I thought it was that she really was as terrible as he told me she was. Nope. It was him.

  • What a hot pile of horse shit! This letter makes my head explode. Setting this chump up for years and years of abuse. Who does this make feel better …. hint: NO ONE!

  • Three weeks after our first granddaughter was born my cheater was exposed. I’ll never forgive him for what should have been the happiest time of my life….he made it the most profoundly sorrowful. I don’t even remember the first six months of her life because of the trauma he put me through.

    It makes me so mad when I hear cheaters getting some kind of break from anyone. The pain they cause is forever.

  • This is the absolute best breakdown I’ve ever seen, even though I almost died reading it because I couldn’t breathe from laughing so hard. Chump lady is brilliant. You can tell by her sagacity and wit that she is a high-IQ individual.

    It has saved me from the shame of being a chump to see that this doesn’t only happen to dummies. It can happen to anyone.

  • I think that if you truly loved someone you wouldn’t cheat on them, we all have had bad experiences, I think cheaters believe what the ow/om tells them, I think they believe you will take them back, some people do, but can you really trust them. I think that cheaters have a distorted view of reality.

    • I loved my husband and never even wanted another man. Dickhead cheated because he wanted to. I also think he cheated to hurt me. Not that I ever found about any particular episode but his behavior would changed. He become more silent, more standoffish, less affectionate – he withheld myself as a punishment to me whenever I made him mad or “let him down”. Looking back, it’s much easier to see past events when stripped away of love and rose-colored glasses.

      Their reality is always distorted – they had no choice, they were forced into cheater-tude. Us, chumps clearly had so much power to force them into someone else’s arms. Yet, we didn’t have the power to make them stay or work through issues.

    • And people with any semblance of a moral compass won’t cheat even on people they don’t love…like, most of us just aren’t capable of that kind of deception and betrayal.

      • Excellent point. Complete strangers should be treated with honesty and respect, let alone people you’ve lived alongside for decades. It is about character.

  • Lol. I actually wrote into “psychmom” when I was first left by cheater. This was before I knew of the cheating, and was convinced by him that he left because I was a crazy out of control bitch.
    I think Esther Perel warped her mind because her advice to me was the polar opposite of her advice to the above reader.
    She assured me he was cheating (he was), and gave me a list of resources for divorce and other welfare services. She talked about how cheaters suffer from narcissism and that there is no treatment or cure. So I am genuinely surprised that she went this direction.
    It just further proves that EP’s advice is spreading like a virulent STD she so admantly disregards when preaching about “Exuberant Defiance”.

    • I think a recent “Ask Amy” column referred a poster to Esther Perel’s writings to help with her cheating husband. Couldn’t believe it.

  • **Maybe he felt overwhelmed with two kids and …… Maybe he has felt sexually unattractive……. Maybe he has never felt confident…….etc.**…..or maybe he just needs a character transplant.

    Yes, I know this is a re-run, but Tracy owns the internet today with this one.;

    • No “maybe”. I want to erase maybe from my vocabulary. Maybe entails giving the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think I’ll ever give anyone that again.

      It is what it is and that is that. Period. The end.

  • “An affair strengthens your marriage the way shooting off your kneecaps improves your tennis game.”

    I think Tracy has used this analogy before, but it never gets old.

    After DDay#1, I was all-in in using her affair to rediscover each other and make our marriage stronger. I even remember walking around thinking our marriage will be so much better than my friends because of her affair. As time went on our marriage wasn’t getting stronger. Then DDay#2 happened. I didn’t buy into it the second time.

  • Instead of comparing what he did to killing a bag of kittens, let’s compare it to physical abuse. Another area where there is immense victim blaming…cheating is part of an abusers arsenal after all.

    Empathize with why he wanted to punch the wall and why he ended up punching you. Ask him what he was feeling that led him to hurt you in the first place

    It doesn’t mean that you condone the violence, but just try to understand it. Haven’t you ever felt the urge to punch someone? It doesn’t make him a bad person. Just a person who punched you and broke your tooth. It was probably his first punch. Figure out if he’s ever punched anyone he’s been in a relationship with before, or wants to again.

  • The reason Esther Perel gets any traction is because cheating is an epidemic. And reading CL confirms there isn’t much originality – just textbook cheating.

    I suspect psychmom gave the pregnant LW reconciliation because the LW is in the worst position – two kids, preg with third, young, no job and not much opportunity. At this point telling her to leave when there’s no place to go is big talk when you don’t have to leave yourself. Even though I’ve been painfully chomped, I’m very cautious about advising others to leave. I believe in playing it close to the chest and get your affairs in order before pulling the plug on the marriage. It’s a shitty position to be in.

    • Actually, when PsychMom suggested I run, not walk out of my broken marriage (see my comment above) I was pregnant with baby no. 2 AND a sahm with no income of my own. Hence the resources for welfare programs.
      So I’m pretty sure Ester Perel got into her brain sometime between her advice to me and the Chump above who wrote to her.
      That said- it could also be that she is more cautious for circumstances which are unknown to us. (Like a lawsuit).
      Moreover, I would also be hesitant to push a recently abandoned pregnant mother off that cliff of the unknown. I know I was a completely lost soul during that time. In retrospect, it was not unlike wandering through a thick fog. The cold wetness enveloping my being as I stumbled around, arms out, grasping at any sort of stability.
      Today the fog has lifted a bit but on occasion it revisits, reminding me of all the pain I’ve endured and continue to struggle through. With that in mind, I would be hesitant to suggest such a traumatic move during a trying time. I would suggest surrounding themselves with all the love and compassion they can find so that when it is time to make the move to the land of sanity, they can do so without feeling isolated and alone.

    • There’s a difference between reconciling and not leaving. The advice given was to reconcile and read Esther Perel. Essentially eat the shit sandwich and tell yourself it’s not so bad. The advice NOT given was — line up your ducks, protect yourself, be the sane parent, get through this birth, and then fight like hell towards financial independence. School, part-time job, move in with parents until you land on your feet, Something.

      It IS a shitty position to be in. Economics matters, and obviously (as with ANYTHING in life) the more money you have, the more options you have.

      But the fact is, if someone exploits you while you’re vulnerable — you need to make an escape plan. Because there is ZERO guarantee they will stay for you and do their part. They’ve already got a foot (and a dick) out the door.

      I’ve read a LOT of stories here over the years and I’m amazed at a lot of women who have escaped situations every bit as vulnerable and dire. Not everyone has to be exceptional — yes, choose your timing, be prepared — but people DO leave. Read a few “Tell Me How You’re Mighty” threads.

      I particularly loathe people who cheat on pregnant women.

      • I loathe them the pregnancy cheaters, or the ones whose wives have just had a baby. My heart goes out to women in that position because the trauma of the cheating is that much more scarring on the psyche of a vulnerable pregnant woman or a postpartum woman. Truly evil.

        • I too death the pregnancy cheaters. Not just during pregnancy but the day of birth, and while nursing my week old baby, he decides this was a good time to “come clean”.

          EVIL doesn’t even feel like a strong enough word! I only wish that he would get flesh eating disease on his not so/ privates.

  • “And who can fault people who want to Feel Alive?! You, less-than-alive dullards there? Consider how ALIVE he felt when you’re feeling suicidal.”

    Mmm. So THAT’S why he was Feeling Alive flirting with the 18-years-younger Dream Princess and planning horse-riding across Mongolia with her to find the Gods of the Mountains, while I was having a mental breakdown and one of our kids was contemplating suicide, and one trying to find a reason not to do it. Because his family are dullards! Skein untangled. 😉

  • This makes me so angry! “Just because he did a terrible thing does not mean that your husband is a terrible person.” My cheater — LadyLiar — used this line all the time (with LYING being her particular “terrible thing”). She lied about nearly everything, not just cheating. Grrrr….

    • In a moment (which I’m sure he wishes he could take back) my exhole said to me on my dday “I am a horrible person.” I said “Yes you are.”

      In hindsight I think he expected chumpy me to console him and try to make him feel better and tell him it wasn’t true. That was an isolated moment of mightiness back in the day. I chickened out and stayed with the fuckwit for another 3 years following dday and that declaration.

      He was telling me who he was. It just took me three years to believe him.

      • Yes. At one point, when he met me again after I’d fled the toxic household for a week, he said ‘I’m yours forever, if you want me.’ I rushed to embrace him, telling him he was the only man I’d ever loved. Later on in bed he said ‘I have a black soul…’ I reassured him and cuddled him. Three months later he left me and the three kids to live within sight of the OW’s caravan.
        What a lot of patience and compassion I wasted on that man.

  • I would like to know how she just knew and pressed him until he confessed? Was it because he stayed out late and came home drunk? Wasn’t answering his phone? Lipstick on his clothes or face? Perfume? Women’s clothing left in the back of the van? How did she just know?

    • I’m not sure but I think she meant intuitively. My gut told me my ex was cheating long before I went snooping on his phone. He treated me like shit for the better part of the year but I kept writing it off to stress at work; hoping it would go away. I don’t know how to explain it other than to say the connection just felt broken. I just knew something was off and even told people I felt like something was off but I wouldn’t say what. I guess I felt like as soon as I said it out loud it would be real. In the back of my mind it was looming though.

      Finally I got up the nerve to check his phone and the rest as they say is history.

    • Sometimes you do, as cheaterssuck says, have that intuitive flash that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. My cheater had been uncharacteristically surly, dismissive, impatient, condescending, uncommunicative. Put that together with his conversations about this girl he had met through his hobby, that he was supporting through a bad breakup from her boyfriend, because she had a ‘terrible background’ and didn’t have anyone else to help her, and despite my warnings that she sounded needy, and not to let her lean on him too hard. Then add him becoming more and more critical and combative about anything that I wanted to try with our new baby, then telling me that he couldn’t do this anymore because I was being to mean to him…It took me far too long, but when he came to me and said that, it triggered something I had read a long time ago, a book called “The Script” about the steps that guys take, and what they say and do when they have affairs, and because what he said meshed in with that prior knowledge I had a flash that he had headed down that path and just knew what was going on. Sometimes it’s that thing where, ‘this only makes sense in the context of an affair’. Their weird behaviour toward and around you is so bizarre and uncharacteristic, but if you put into the context of cheating, then all of it falls into place and makes perfect sense. Hope that helps.

  • ‘Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence’. Effing hell. Ester is a maroon. Not just a maroon, a pretentious one, to the max.

  • What a crock load of shit. I can’t believe I believed in the whole “listen to his side of the story” schtick the first time, and especially the part where an affair hints at “a problem in a relationship”. Washing out my eyes with soap as I type this out.

  • Why am I hearing a Bee Gee’s soundtrack?

    I can’t believe these so-called professionals actually make a living espousing this BS!

  • My best comments are quotes. (Sigh.) Depiction of a man’s (successful) struggle to remain faithful (Ctrl-F to “Tanya”):

    https://www.amazon.com/Empire-Lies-Andrew-Klavan-ebook/dp/B003IEJZTM/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1545186205&sr=8-1&keywords=empire+of+lies+klavan#reader_B003IEJZTM

    The heart of it:

    … On the one hand, I thought about breaking the heart and losing the trust of the woman I loved; about shattering the idol of my two sons who looked to me for their image of manly strength and integrity; and about disintegrating the emotional universe of my daughter which rested primly, like a ruby on a turtle’s shell, atop her parents’ affection for each other. On the other hand, I thought about twenty golden minutes with Tanya, with the youth and heat of her flesh against my flesh. Twenty yahoo-screaming minutes with those glossed lips parting to gasp at the force of my urgent entry, until our mutual climax which, who knows, might never end, might never dump me from its height into the black tar pit of shame and remorse. My family or Tanya. It was a tough choice to make.

    • I liked the end of it, where he’s like “I figured it wasn’t worth it, so she banged another guy instead – he lives in a motel now, away from his wife and baby. So um… yeah. Tanya woulda been a great 20 minutes – shame I never got to have that. Oh well, time to muse about it on my lovely porch, watching my great kids, sitting next to my great wife, with some lemonade. Yeah, things could be worse.

      • The whole book is like that — brutally honest. Intrigue & action, but what makes it interesting is: portrait of a flawed man trying to do the right thing.

  • “Did a horrible thing, but not a horrible person”

    Cheater wife told me that on Dday. News flash to all chumps. They say that not only as part of their scam to get you to not divorce them, but they are also saying it to try to convince THEMSELVES of it.

    Cheaters are cuckoo messed up people. Their brains have many bizarre ideas floating around in it. They do not change. They will cheat on you again. I know- I lived it.

  • “Maybe he felt overwhelmed with two kids and one more on the way. Maybe he has felt sexually unattractive” and “Maybe he has never felt confident in his ability to be with other women, since from what you say about him being your only love since you were kids, it’s possible you were his only partner.”

    Well, SHE also could feel overwhelmed having two kids and one on the way, especially since she’ll be delivering the third child and probably taking care of all of them more than him. SHE could feel unattractive since childbirth isn’t kind to a woman’s body. And SHE only had one lover, too, so she could also feel unconfident.

    So, if these are all valid reasons to cheat that we must EMPATHIZE with, why didn’t she cheat, too?

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