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Beware the Timid Forest Creatures

TimidCheaterAfter you’ve been cheated on, you’d think it’s a pretty simple decision tree — reconcile or divorce.

Choose divorce, it doesn’t matter if your cheater is sorry or not sorry, the infidelity is a deal breaker.

If you choose reconciliation, however, the matter of How Sorry Are They comes to the forefront of the decision. Not only How Sorry Are They, but What Exactly Do They Intend to Do About It? And that’s where chumps get tangled up in limbo land — trying to parse how remorseful the cheater is and weighing it against demonstrable acts of reconciliation, such as a post-nup, no contact with the affair partner, honesty, transparency, etc.

Remorse? Proceed. No remorse? Go directly to divorce — it seems pretty straightforward. Because, why would you waste one New York second with someone who isn’t sorry, right? I mean, you’d have to be a masochist.

Unless….

…. There’s a work around.

The Reconciliation Industrial Complex has a wonderful loophole to the remorse question. I call it: Cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures (TFC).

Oh no, you can’t ask for transparency right now — you might frighten them away!

Don’t be angry and emotional! This is very difficult for them too! They’re grieving the affair partner.

Don’t take any immediate actions to protect yourself! You might intimidate your cheater away from reconciliation! They’re very undecided right now and the LAST thing you want to do is get all bossy and demanding with the consequences. Didn’t you read the memo on making the marriage a Good Place to Be? These ugly accountability requests are creating a dangerously bad vibe.

Beware their FOO issues! Didn’t you know your cheater is in the grip of TOXIC SHAME? There you are, being all loud and judge-y — it could trigger them into another bout of toxic shame, and THEN what? You know they don’t handle stress well! They may just be compelled to cheat again. So be patient and loving and ask them heart-felt questions about their subterranean shame issues. Hold their hands on this. The cheater is in as much pain as you are.

Yes, cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures. Very delicate, fragile, and skittish. Just one wrong move and… poof! They’ll scurry off into the underbrush and leave you. No one can make any decisions until the cheater stabilizes! They’re sad. Very, very sad. And broken. Would you break a broken person?

You? Oh sure, they’re sorry. It’s very unfortunate when Things Just Happen to splendid people. (Splendid people like them. Who are you again?)

When the narrative is TFC, who are you to ask for demonstrations of sorry? They need help! They have sex addiction or FOO issues or Borderline or depression… It makes them do things for which they’re not responsible. Not really. Hate the sin, love the sinner. Oh, here’s an idea! Why don’t you join a support group to help you HELP them?

Think of reconciliation as a soap bubble, and think of yourself as a raging rhinoceros. Do you want to crush the fragile surface tension of remorse with your clumsy demands? You realize if this all falls apart it’s your fault, don’t you? You weren’t there for them during this crisis.

How many of you bought this shit? How many of you waited before making a drastic decision of self protection like seeing a lawyer? Did you wait 6 months? A year to decide? Were you patient with your TFC?

How’d that work for you?

I think it’s better to keep the decision tree simple. You don’t see remorse? Don’t wait around for it to emerge from the fog. You don’t see it because it doesn’t exist. Don’t make this complicated. Don’t let your cheater or some quack therapist make this complicated. People who treat you like shit and don’t demonstrate one bit of sorry are not people you need in your life.

Are cheaters Timid Forest Creatures — or are they grifters?

Are they undecided — or are they eating cake at your expense?

Do things “just happen” to cheaters — or do they have agency?

Are cheaters compelled to Do Bad Things because of their FOO issues — or do they manage to hold it together for other people, like their friends or their boss?

Are cheaters really sad — or just sad for themselves?

Ask a Timid Forest Creature and find out!

Oops…. wait… it scurried under a tree root and is unavailable for comment.

This column ran previously. Check beneath the underbrush for a timid forest creature near you.  

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  • 7 years out and this is making me laugh at how ridiculous I was. My best friend was FURIOUS with me for trying to be understanding about how hard it was for him to break up with his affair partner. Gawd was I chump, right while I was as angry as I’ve ever been in my life. He was so very delicate, though! (Insert eye roll.)

    Now he’s married to her, and I’m pretty sure they can have each other. My life is better than its ever been, and she looks tired and stressed.

      • OMG – yes!! a new market to corner – counselling to recover from counselling. Kind of like when you go on one of those all-out drinking partying holidays and you need a holiday to get over your holiday.

        I went through a few months of being gentle. Someone told me that mine was feeling so bad that he might be suicidal so I guess I had to be nice… sigh.

        A few years out now and feeling good.

    • I wish I had read this post two years ago. It would have saved me thousands of dollars and my sanity. The RIC caused way more harm to my psychological and emotional state than good. I remember sitting in the room with asshole and the CSAT MC and her berating me because asshole was stressed out because our house wasn’t clean enough to suit him. I shit you not. Nevermind the countless prostitutes, STDs, and porn all over every computer in the house. Nevermind my shock and trauma of countless DDays for 20 years. Nevermind my constant depression because of him and his never-ending selfish acts. My TFC was upset because I didn’t sweep daily.

        • Even if your house was spotless, a fuckwit will find a way to blame YOU for their lack of character.

          • In fact, if you have a spotless house, you will be blamed for ITS lack of character/charm.

            Not that I have that problem of a spotless house. Alas.

      • My ex did prostitutes too. “Why do you have condoms when I’m on birth control? And why are so many missing from the box?” Luckily my therapist wasn’t a douche and told me to leave. Can’t believe someone had to TELL ME that though. Like why couldn’t I get it on my own? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        • I used condoms with my ex as I wasn’t on BC. However, one day while driving, he asked me to get a napkin out of his glove box. Right on top of the napkins sat an unopened 3 pack box of condoms. I said, “Oh, are these for your girlfriend?!” He said, “No, I just forgot to bring those in the house”. Uh huh. Less than two months later, I discovered he was having an affair with his married employee and kicked him to the curb. It was after he had moved out that I learned of his hooker and cocaine habit…which explains why he had no money to pay his share of the bills. So glad he’s gone. 4.5 months of no contact and life is getting good : )

      • Ophelias
        My house wasn’t spotless, then it was spotless but I haven’t greet him at the doir( shit you not) then it was the issue of laundry, followed by my unattractive pregnant body ( he wanted kiddo more than myself) etc
        I now see myself as a donkey running towards always – one step away- carrot…
        At that time I was to exhausted- getting my sec. degree, taking care of the house, kiddo and never ending tasks from my h- to see wtf was happening

        • I wonder how many chumps were too exhausted from taking care of everything to see what ALL was going on. I think that I was too tired to even invest energy into allowing myself to express much emotion when I first started noticing things weren’t right!

      • Great comment on depression. Stuffing down feelings leads to numbness, and eventually to depression. Having stayed way past the expiration date, I can relate as can every chump who stayed too long.

        Once someone realizes their partner is Disordered, they must compartamentalize their horror in order to stay with them. Normal people can’t do this. The feelings come out in one form or another. For me it was Depression and Anxiety. Becoming a recluse. And constantly feeling trapped. I was a vibrant, go-getter in my youth.

        After all, humans are communal creatures and how do you share stories and experiences with ease when it involves (what you alone know) your prostitute-loving-husband-whom-you’re-still-with to friends and family? Better to not talk too much at all.

        • I agree with all the comments. Nothing was ever good enough, including me. I was exhausted all the time raising kids, getting a degree, working full time and taking care of the house. The depression got worse. I even told fuckwit I had lost my spark for living. He completely ignored that comment. He was “stressed out” by work, the bills, the responsibilities of life….Down deep I knew he was disordered, like most of us who stay in the marriage come to realize. Once he left, my mental health improved, I reconnected with old friends, I laughed more, and most importantly, the kids said I was a happier person. I am no longer depressed…at all. And my overall health is better! These abusive narc fuckwits are lethal leeches that slowly suck the life out of us.

        • Even though I was having a breakdown in reaction to the betrayal and piecing together that it had been going on for years with different women, my cold sores stopped. Seriously, I use to get them all the time, but now it happens maybe once a year.

          Amazing how the body manages stress. And the mind rationalizes.

      • And nevermind that the fuckwit could have picked up a fucking broom himself – what an asshole! Both the MC and your ex.

      • What is about sweeping and not having a speck on the floor X’s?

        Maybe trying to control your keeping the floor clean covered for his paying for dirty, prostitute (unprotected) sex.

        STD’s? Why concern yourself with that when you can berate and rate the wife appliance at home for floor cleaning?

        Don’t miss the OCD NPD X or cleaning the floors to his standards.

        • mine would nitpick everything, i have come to believe that he just needed to justify cheating , by painting me as a horrible wife. When i tell my friends the crazy stuff he would flip out over and what i went thru they are shocked! how i stacked dishes, how i did laundry, if i left lights on and the really absurd- that i snored on purpose and because i snored to keep him awake, he was exhausted and stressed out and needed to sleep with her to destress! SERIOUSLY! i taped him for a while and when i was not home he never mentioned the affair but he would talk to himself about how stupid lazy i was and how our marriage wasn’t normal – newsflash- yeah you having an affair and ignoring me and your child is what wasn’t normal! they are crazy, end of story!

      • Unless they are both the AP, then they absolutely deserve each other.
        My ex was having an affair with a married woman, 2 ( dysfunctional….but still.) families blown to bits.
        Still together, but I’m pretty sure just so he doesn’t look like an asshole who blew up his family for nothing.
        Fuckers.

        • My daughter dated a guy whose dad divorced and married the mistress. She and boyfriend would occasionally go to the dad’s house, and my daughter said dad would sit in the basement to get away from the mistress-turned-wife. Lol.

      • Because they are either disordered fuckwits, they can’t attract anyone worthwhile so they have to poach others belongings via subterfuge, or they get off on stealing from others.

        • They DO get off on stealing partners and partner’s affections from others, and they get off on stealing life energy, and a healthy sense of self, from us.

        • The OW in Cheater’s affair #2 was definitely disordered, but she also believed in twoo wuv. I bet many of them do – there’s such a screwed-up understanding of love in Western culture, in the midst of all the devaluation of long-term monogamy.

          It’s not surprising that narcissism is becoming more common. It’s a by-product of end-stage capitalism, imo: sadly, I believe that climate change might well end industrial civilization in my lifetime, because we now all feel entitled to all the stuff and all the creature comforts all the time.

      • friends ask me if they’re still together. i don’t know and i honestly don’t care. Only thing i care about is that my son not be exposed to her- so if he’s with her he better keep it going on the days he doesn’t have my son. My son knows her name and that she is the reason our family is done- so good luck to her cause he’ll probably curse her out and he has my permission to do so.

        But as far as her winning- i just laugh- oh honey- you have no idea what he’s really like- you got dressed up for work, best behavior, my wife is horrible guy. wait until he starts nit-picking you- good luck!

    • My fuckwit went back on forth on his remorse…”I’m so remorseful!” (Insert crying face here) to angry “yeah I’m sorry, but I felt so disconnected from you and OW was so nice….”.

      He was t really ever truly remorseful. Even our MC, who was a no BS kind of lady, straight up said to him “are you remorseful? Because it doesnt really seem like you are.”

      And his response to her was everything!! I believe I made up my mind right then and there that i was done with the fuckwit. He looked at her and said:
      What does that mean? What am I supposed to do? Crawl on my knees crying and begging her to forgive me?”

      I said yeah that would be a place to start. MC agreed. When I announced at our next and last MC meeting, that I had decided i wanted a divorce, I think she looked relieved.

  • If someone is so freaking fragile that MY NORMAL RESPONSE TO THEM
    ABUSING ME SCARES THEM OFF, that is a GOOD thing.

    Hey, wait a minute! I don’t WANT to be with a FAKE relationship with someone who ABUSES me.

    ABUSE IS THE DEAL BREAKER. If you are a chump on the fence, ask yourself (as I did)…

    Ok, then, HOW BAD DOES IT HAVE TO BE BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO LEAVE?

    If he enlisted someone to help him beat the shit out of me and my daughter with an iron bar? Well, on a mental, emotional, spiritual level, HE DID.

    Goodbye, Mr. Emotional Batterer. And have a nice life with Ms. Emotional Batterer.

    • BTW….

      He moved out FEB 2017, straight from a 27 year
      “relationship” with me into an apartment with Ms. Emotional Batterer. It is now known first-hand that he cheated on her….hahahahaha! (I didn’t tip her off; I wanted her to have the full Mr. Emotional Batterer experience).

      I am still doing the Victory Dance.

      There are billions of people on the planet. Why should I hitch my wagon to someone who CRYSTAL CLEARLY DOESN’T VALUE ME
      OR OUR FAMILY?!!!

      THAT’S the million dollar question.

  • This is exactly how our ‘couples therapist’ advised me to be. I spoke softly, gently asked him if he needed to express any thoughts, feelings, insights. Why I couldn’t see that he was done putting in the show for me, but still played the victim in therapy, I will never know. #imachump
    Or, I was a chump. Divorced for less than a year, now the cheating, lying, mindfucking ex husband has to have hernia surgery. He apparently has no one to help him. I’m a compassionate person, but in moments of clarity, I know for sure I must not get pulled back into his pitiful victim act. ‘Uber your meshed self home from surgery!’
    I still feel so angry about therapy we received. I even checked to see if I could write a bad Yelp review of that Co-conspirator therapist. And, I’m so tired of expending so much energy on why he tried to destroy the family I worked really hard to build. (It was clean out the house weekend, so memorabilia took me down a little.)
    It’s spring. I’m better. I’m not at meh yet, but I long for that day.
    Thank you so much for all of these posts. It starts my day with a chuckle and a reminder to stay strong! I’m so thankful for all of us chumps who are here for support.

    • “Uber your meshed self home from surgery!” Thank you for making me laugh Shelly! I chumpily drove his royal Meshness home from hernia surgery.

    • There are advantages to cheater still being with Schmoopie. Rides home from surgery are her/his problem now.

  • The worst mistake that I made was trying to make the marriage work after I found out about Skankella. He refused to discuss the affair. Kept saying that the affair was in the past. How can we move forward if I kept dwelling on the past. Every time I would ask him what kind of fun she liked to have(that was one of the reasons he used why he cheated). He would say she was just fun. He never showed any remorse for his cheating. I realized that he really was not sorry that he hurt me. That he was only sorry for getting caught.

    Cheaters are a special breed. God forbid they own up to their choices.

    • My ex held onto that same line! “If you want to live in the past instead of moving on, that’s your choice.” (eyeroll) These cheaters all read the same damn how-to book. But yet I held on to the idea of reconciliation for WAY too long. Unfortunately for me, I’m from a religious background, so all my “mentors” pitied HIM, advised ME to apologize to HIM for being a “quarrelsome wife” ????? And most of them turned their back on me when I finally kicked him out.

      • Quarrelsome wife? What is this, 1912?? That’s absurd!! I’m so sorry that was the response of your support system at the time. Great job seeing through that bullshit and kicking him out. You are mighty!!!!

      • Yes! They all say the same things!! It’s like they have a handbook for cheaters! Thank God I had friends and family that even though they are religious they said NO get out. He committed adultery and you are free and clear. I asked for counseling before the physical cheating but he said no because he doesn’t believe in it (probably scared to see the truth and wanted to f her)
        I tried and can tell my child I did my best for our family. Now I finally see how manipulative and narcissistic he is. Now I see that he has no empathy, now I see that he only loved what I could give him. Now I see the truth and will raise my child to see the truth and be strong.

      • I am so sorry that your religious advisers continued your abuse. My priest saved my life. It was he who convinced me that without remorse I had nothing to work with. He made me see that my ex had abused me and broken our marriage covenant. He made me see that you cannot forgive someone who isn’t sorry. I weep for you. And I just want to tell you that I admire your strength to find your way out of that without the support of your faith community. You are mighty!

        • My priest was so angry on my behalf. I went in for confession because I decided not to keep my vow to God to stay married through better or worse. The priest was mad at me! He said, “YOU!!!??? What about him????!!!!” I thank God I had a priest recognize what I couldn’t.

          • My Catholic Deacon told me to worry about me and not him. What I didn’t know was that he knew things told to him in professional confidence that he couldn’t tell. I should have listened to him but in reality… in the end I’m ok and Cheater isnt

            • I wish now that I had gone to my priest immediately.

              I didn’t until my STBXH left me to be with the OW after almost a year of pick me dancing. I thought I was doing the right thing by being patient and understanding. I was praying the rosary (novena to “Mary the Untier of Knots in Marriage”). There were over a half dozen women between our two families praying the rosary for our marriage. Prayer, lots of discussion with my ex from varying faith-filled family members (including my cousin who was his best friend) supporting him in choosing the marriage. Friends all telling him he it was wrong for him to leave me, including the friend who was his enabler (the excuse my ex used when he was going out with the OW).

              Never will you find a man who had every single person in his life support him in turning back to his marriage. Not a single person who thought that what he was doing was fair to me or to our kids. Not a single person thought he was acting in his right mind. Friends told him he didn’t seem to be himself in a long time, his mother told him he should go see a doctor, etc.

              But there was one person, JUST ONE, who supported his decision to leave for another women – the OW herself.

              In my discovery of his secret email account, he discusses with her how hard it is for him to make a decision because every person in his life thinks that he is crazy. He emphasized how he does not have one person who is supporting his decision to leave me. She responds with “kindness” and “understanding” about how she’s “always understood that he must do what he thinks is right” and that she only “wants what is best for him” because he “means a lot to her and has been a rock for her during a difficult time in her life.”

              He ultimately left me to be with her, and they now both believe that their love will prove everyone wrong, even though he has not introduced her to a single member of his family or his friends in almost 15 months since he’s left. Impression management by allowing a buffer of time is at play, I think.

              When I finally went to my priest, he was stunned. He immediately told me that he would never have endorsed that I hang on for as long as I did in the circumstances that I described. He told me that it is clear that my husband is a poisoned well who has taken up with a woman whose well is also poisoned. He has encouraged me to protect my children and to go almost no contact with my ex.

              He compared my husband to the Prodigal Son who chose to cash in his inheritance (cash in the marriage) in order to “live it up” elsewhere (his affair partner). Then he reminded me that in the story, the son ends up among the pigs “in shit” (his words).

              My priest encouraged me to feed my own well. My own well is filled with pure water and to seek to move forward with my children. In the event that my ex ever wants to return (aka Prodigal Son), I am not to open my door to that but send him to his own family to work with him through professional help and Church guidance. My priest and I are now meeting to discuss the annulment process.

              I never thought I would see the day when my Church was actually more progressive that me. Funny how our own desperation leads us to become our own worst advisers. The trauma I could have saved myself is saddening when I think about it. One the one hand, I don’t regret that I tried so hard because of what it demonstrates about my strength of character. On the other hand, I am coming to learn that my hanging on is a reflection of my own dysfunction that I am seeking to work out – Why did I tolerate the abuse? Why did I believe I had the power to change another person’s mind and control the situation? How do I process the fear that drove me to hang on to something so toxic? How do I work on what appears to be some traits of co-dependency? As I seek to break myself down into all my parts in order to re-assemble myself more wholly and healthily so that I can emerge glorious.

              And, one of the great supports in doing that has been my church. For any Catholics out there, do not hesitate to reach out to your church. You might be pleasantly surprised how very supportive it will be of you.

              • Unlike most Bible Christians, Catholics don’t see getting-and-staying-married as the principal sign of a godly life – there’s the whole celibacy thing as well.

                (Officially, that is. I know plenty of individuals Catholics – good people, but a bit misled – who have drunk deep of the Evangelical well in this respect, and recommend books about female obedience and not being a quarrelsome wife etc).

                Say what you like about the failures of celibacy in our Church – at least it gives us a framework for seeing the single life as worthwhile, complete in itself, and a pathway to holiness.

                I think also seminaries now, especially in Western countries, are trying to teach young priests some common sense about abuse in marriage and about leaving when it’s abusive.

              • I’m so glad you have had such great support! You’re right, we try to fix it ourselves. Like you, I don’t regret doing everything I could to have saved my marriage. After all measures taken, I KNOW, without any doubt whatsoever, that it was not me. Had I bailed earlier, I would have always wondered, “Did I give up too soon?” Nope. I didn’t. It took me 3 years after divorce to decide to seek an annulment, and when it was granted, I once again went through a short phase of doubt. THANK GOD it was a VERY short phase!! It wasn’t so much doubt as it was wondering if that 30 years meant nothing, was I really married? (Since that’s what an annulment means, i.e., that I never had a valid marriage.) Going through the annulment has given me so much peace. The doubt is gone. I made a mistake and that’s okay. I’m still a very worthwhile human being. I believe you’ll find peace at the end as well.

      • SupineChump, I had the same experience. Went to the church counselor (no actual degree) and he said I was acting like a child and not fulfilling my “wifely duties” well enough. So the cheating was my fault and so was the physical abuse. “If he hits you then leave for a while, then come back and try to be a better wife.” I then found a real counselor who helped me see that I needed to leave. I HATE religion now. Will never go back to church.

      • Ignorant people can do real damage, no matter to which organization they may belong.

        Look for a better church or additional mentors, but THE thing Satan would want for your escaping self is to use this pain to separate you from God.

        Please don’t screw yourself over more with all this.

  • This is the post that got me out of hell 2 years ago.
    Thank you CL!

    My ex was everything you describe here. Someone labeling this behavior as abuse opened my eyes once and for all. You can decide to do whatever, but you have to know what you are dealing with.
    I’m still financially entangled with my ex but I knew our relationship was irreparable once I learned who he was – decides to be!

    • Yeah, Quetzal, I remember it too! On one my first visits to Chump Nation.

      I will always be grateful for that Amazon reviewer of a RIC book that I was reading at 2 AM after hours of surfing. She/he directed me to Tracy Schorn’s ‘Leave a Cheater and Gain a Life’. What a title!

      And then it hit me that my timid forest creature’s “confusion”, his dismay at “having to divide” assets that he “thought we would never have to divide”, and his “thinking about you a lot!” was really about how to keep up with the cake eating and avoid consequences. No remorse, only genuine naugahyde imitation remorse.

      And all this crap was, of course, run through the UBT.

      • My ex is so butt hurt that I’m getting a market valuation on his business that I’m a 20% trustee shareholder of. So much “you promised you wouldn’t look at it if we divorced” (dude you promised me fidelity and honesty, sorry not sorry).

        In one conversation (on repeat I might add, those circular arguments are exhausting aren’t they?) he asks me why am I trying to destroy his livelihood, followed by threats of owing him 40 grand cos it’s $200k in the hock! Which is it dude? Surely if I’ll owe you $40k you’d be wanting me to value the business? I’m happy to pay if it means a fair split. Oh you’re trying to do me a favour? Really? Even after I found $16k of unexplained cash withdrawals over last two years alone from your card on our household account? And all those deposits for drug deals I asked you not to put through there? All that putting me down for my reckless spending so I wouldn’t look at our accounts? All those purchases for plus size lingerie from Playful Promised dot com? I’m not plus size remember? All those pictures on Schmoopies Instagram of her wearing the same underwear you’d buy me? My favourite set as well? Really?

        He told his first wife not to look at the business and gave her the house. He told me the same but wants $300k for his half of house, plus half my retirement fund I can’t cash in! I told my lawyer he said not to look and had done the same to wife number 1. Her response? We’re looking.

        Accountant visit went well yesterday btw. Looking forward to settlement.

        • Nena, my ex also was always putting me down for my “reckless” spending so I wouldn’t look at our accounts.

          Well, firstly, I am *very* frugal.
          Second, Sparkledick took out a consigned loan on MY salary without telling me, lied about it when I asked how it happened, so I went to the bank and demanded “explanations about this mistake” and I left humiliated. He had been keeping his bank statements and paycheck from me, but chump here and a joint account with him where I received my salary.
          Third, by some strange miracle, my financial life is organized ever since I divorced.

        • NenaB, you go girl!! Get a forensic accountant to look at all the books. Leave no stone unturned. You might uncover some shady dealings he does not want you to see. I’m doing the same now and I have found some interesting anomalies I’m sure he didn’t want me to find. Corporate laws show no mercy. Good luck with it!!

        • Omg the first thing out of mines mouth when I said I wanted a divorce and we were going to try to be decent was- we each keep our retirement right… come to find out he had a lot more than I knew about and didn’t want me to have what was legally mine. (I don’t know his company was matching him at 100%- so basically he had double what I had in mine for the same period of time durinf our marriage). Once I realized the situation and said no- that’s not fair- we’ll thats when my husband completely disappeared deon this earth and was replaced by a person i can’t even recognize anymore!

  • Well at least my ex told me that he couldn’t reconcile, because having to feel so guilty all the time and being subject to all that surveillance would be really hard on him. You see . . . he had had an affair with his secretary 23 years earlier . . . and been made to suffer these injustices following our reconciliation then. He couldn’t possibly endure it all over again.

    Anyway, I now thank him for it . . . as he rescued me from my willingness to “reconcile” yet again.

    Fast forward . . . 4 years later . . . he’s unhappy and feels guilty for destroying his family. Thankfully it’s not my problem, and I don’t have to witness or listen to it.

    • F the timid creatures. It’s called MANIPULATION! Once you see them for who they truly are they will lash out and blame you for their cheating.

    • He couldn’t deal with the pain all over again? He? HE couldn’t endure the pain of yet another infidelity? Jesus tittyfucking christ. That’s a man you’re well rid of.

      • Yes. Whether anyone disrespects Christ or not, her husband’s pain at having minor consequences is not more important than the trauma pain he caused.

    • Yeah, Lillian, just the address changes.

      My timid forest creature, of the species Cuntphagus glitterballiens, complained that I made him feel bad. I fell for this because it was before D-Day and I hadn’t yet come across Tracy’s book.

      • Mine said I didn’t treat him with dignity. After Craigslist, lying, cheating, porn, never home… and he needed to be treated with dignity. I actually think I treated him with more dignity than he deserved at the time. Just a mindfuck for me to blame myself.

  • Why anyone would want to reconcile with a cheater is beyond me….

    The person you trusted most in the world betrayed you, hurt you, willingly risked losing you . Nah. Bye bye.

    • For me the idea of TFC cuts to the real issue. Narkles the Clown should have been fighting to keep me in his life, not the other way around. All he wanted to do was blame me and I wasn’t having it, thanks to Chump Lady and CN.

  • I fell for this concept. Only to be cheated on over and over again. If your cheating spouse isn’t full of remorse and putting 110% into reconciliation. They are only sorry they got caught and are not into you. They will cheat again. Sorry but the truth sucks

  • Yep, I bought into all this RIC rubbish and actually paid out money for it too SMH. I also threw away a lot of money at marriage & individual therapy. Took me the best part of a year before I woke up and understood the reality; however now I’m stuck in an in-house separation due to financial issues (as so much money has gone to the AP).

    I look back and realise that with infidelity you just need to divorce, immediately. All that money I wasted on RIC & therapy could have been given to a lawyer and now I’d be divorced, free and gaining a new life. Don’t make that mistake newbies, if you can, just leave! Now!

    • I cannot imagine the horror it must be to be stuck in an in-house separation!
      Good grief! Can’t he just go back to his mama and pay your expenses?

  • Anyone new here, please PLEASE listen to chump lady. Don’t wait, keep the decision tree simple. It’s not even a tree it’s a branch, a straight line: cheat = leave, divorce.

    I found the RIC well before Chump nation, and I am all the worse for it. I waited and believed the bull of giving him space and not pushing. The TFC idea is tailor made to feast on the kindness of chumps. You feel like your being a good partner helping down the path of healing your marriage and family but it is utter bull. All this does is give your cheater time to plan or at a minimum continuing bad behavior and abuse of your good heart and good will.

    Just leave. If your cheater is that unicorn, you leaving won’t keep them from attempting to work things out with you. And if you leave you get to get your sanity back, perspective from the distance to realize the mental abuse that was really going on, and you don’t give any more of your life to such an abuser.

    • “If your cheater is that unicorn, you leaving won’t keep them from attempting to work things out with you.“

      I agree. I think for those of us who have decades of sunken costs into our relationships, small children to feed and no economic security of our own, and all the other seemingly impossible hurdles that keep us stuck, the justification we use to avoid actually facing those hurdles is the possibility that they might be a unicorn. Especially if they weren’t always abusive, and there were some happy years. And that hopium for change is probably a good thing to smoke when you’re trying to work through issues like “ugh, I can’t stand to be around him one more day if he doesn’t stop leaving his socks and shoes all over the damned floor.”

      But hopium has no place in recovering from an affair. That is abuse, not annoying marriage issues. How can anyone recover from abuse while interacting with (or worse yet, being dependent on) their abusers? Moreover, how can the abuser possibly hit bottom and realize their need to change when there’s been no real consequences and things just stay at status quo? Sure, their spouses might be sobbing/vomiting/acting despondent/raging all the time, but in order to have an affair they’ve already suppressed enough empathy to ignore it all.

      Even my cheater admitted that by allowing him to stay it meant he was off the hook. From time to time, and only after a great deal of my nagging/threatening, he would put forth the *minimal* amount necessary to make it look as though he was doing the work of reconciling. He wasn’t, he was just trying to keep full-time access to his kids, his money, his image, his cake. He said if I’d kicked him out from day one he would have done more to win me back. He probably wouldn’t have, but at least it would have been more evident to me.

      Nope, staying with a cheater for the possibility of them being a unicorn only makes that sighting much, MUCH less likely.

      • Viewing any man as a unicorn was your first mistake. Women need to stop going into marriages believing in fairytales. Them maybe they won’t be so crush when reality happens.

  • Not only did I fall for this concept but the RIC didn’t even have to tell me to treat the ex like a timid forest creature. I did that all on my own. Of course I had a little help when he issued his not so thinly veiled threats after “uncomfortable conversations.” The threats would go something like this: “I’m not sure that you’re really healing or if reconciling is a good idea.” That was cue for me to shut up or the timid forest creature might scurry to the underbrush!

    At the end, when I’d had enough of ignoring the giant elephant in every room, he’d tell me “I can’t even watch TV and hear about a cheater without feeling guilty.” I knew I was done when I heard that for the first time and I laughed at him. I saw him for the loser that he was and I no longer wanted anything to do with him. Best decision of my life was to finally buy a clue and get divorced after he cheated!

    You don’t stay married to timid forest creatures. You set them free so they can scurry away like the cowards that they are!

    • Yes! Even if they really are that “timid” that is reason enough to divorce them. Do you want to be married to someone so very WEAK that they cannot even bear to hear about the consequences of their actions? I mean, they thought it was fine to make you LIVE through the terrible pain and suffering, the physical symptoms like insomnia, weight loss, vomiting, heart palpitations, serious depression. They thought you could suffer like this (sometimes for years), but they need to be coddled so gently that they don’t even have to be mildly questioned about their actions. This is how you know if someone is evil: Do they willingly suffer the consequences of their actions, or, are they perfectly willing to let all the consequences fall on someone else? If they are the latter sort of person (and nearly every cheater is), you are dealing with evil. Your only job when dealing with evil is to get the hell away from it and protect yourself!

      • Wow. I hate this. I am trying to give my cheater wife another chance, but she really Does have zero remorse.

        And getting the truth? She can’t stick to a consistent quarter of a story.

        I need to suck it up and go, don’t I?

        • Yeah, you do. Sorry she’s such a bitch, but if there’s no remorse or honesty, she’s also a bitch who will never change.

        • Oh geez. You can read all the sad stories here and follow the CN party line, but no one can make that decision for you. In my (very) humble opinion, you at the very least should truly SEPARATE for a rather extended period of time. As I was told on numerous occasions . . . IF you decide to give your marriage another go, you should only do so after you have established some independence and come to the realization that you will/would be OK without her. No doubt many from CN could/will jump all over me for this response, but I’m in no position to tell you to end your marriage today. As for me, I danced and danced for my ex before finally realizing that I was playing the fool. BUT I do have friends whose marriages survived after infidelity . . . going on decades now. But the cheated-upon spouses first had established independence and gotten to a point where they truly felt like it was their choice to make. And, needless to say, the cheaters were truly remorseful, did the hard work of counseling and self-examination … and waited, patiently.

        • I stayed for 25 years in a one-sided horrible marriage, 18 years of counseling, thrown an occasional crumb, worked like a dif, and talked to like a backward idiot trying to keep my views, keep my family together, believing he was just ignorant of how to be a husband. All I did was become more and more demeaned and waste my life, get more damage and lose a reasonable chance at finding a good partner who did love me. I ended up losing my kids due to a smear campaign that unknown to me when on close to 30 years. Dont be me.

  • It’s so difficult to see our own situations with clarity. After all, we can see pretty clearly when someone else is in an unwinnable situation and needs to leave a marriage, even if we feel compassion for how disruptive this will be in their life. It seems like we should be able to make an even quicker decision about our own relationship. But so many of us (me included) think of a thousand different nuances and exceptions and special circumstances we “should” consider first — instead of cutting through the Gordian knot and getting the hell out of Dodge. (I do love to mix metaphors.)

    I’m just speaking from my own experience. I’m the world’s biggest waffler when it comes to should-I-stay-or-should-I-go, and I eventually realized I’d made a decision already by not leaving the marriage immediately. So here I am, making the best of it.

    • Wait, wut? You’re “making the best of” staying married to a cheater? Did I understand that correctly?

    • My condolences Effie. Have you considered building your independence slowly bit by bit in small increments?
      I took two years to leave after D-day. The Ex was abusive mentally, physically and emotionally. He showed no remorse at all. I actually got an hour long lecture about how I had caused the situation and what I needed to do to fix it. Trauma Bonded? PTSD? DARVO? I experienced all of it.
      Took two years to get out but I did it.
      Go to the bank today and open a checking and savings account in your name only. Apply for a credit card in your name only also.Sign up for online banking so no paperwork comes to your house. Good luck!

    • Hi Effie, are you saying you’re still w/the cheater? If so, I hope that ‘making the best of it’ is working well for you, that you are really ok, and will continue to be so.

      But ya know what? Even if you chose [even by default) to stay, you can still decide, at any time, that it hasn’t worked for you. ‘I tried, but can’t do this’, or ‘I tried, but I’m unhappy, or ‘I tried, but I can’t stop being scared for the future’ are all legitimate reasons to divorce, at any point.

      BTW, I was ok after reconciling, following Affair #1. I should have been FAR more scared for my future, both emotionally as he went back to his default unpleasantness, and about his cheating again. I hope you’re legally and financially protected; it doesn’t get easier, when they cheat again.

    • Each to their own. It is a tough decision. If you sleep well at night, and your nerves and health are good maybe that decision is ok for you. Subject to re-evaluation of course.

      Took me 4 years after Dday to end it. Kids were still at home. And he had health issues. But ultimately I felt like a sham of myself. Having to care for and cater to a backstabber. I got sick and couldn’t eat or relax. He would whine or cry about his heart if I brought anything up. I was miserable and felt used and played.

    • Thing is, you think you’re staying, but that’s uncertain. MANY of us have been in YOUR shoes and wake up one day to find out our choice to stay – or waffle- has TOTALLY fucked us because in our dithering the cheater has created a strong game plan, siphoned off money, hired a lawyer and moved on. You are taking a huge risk with zero upside to you because you’re currently with someone you can’t trust and build a future with worth a damn and you may not have any protection or provisions in place for the day they decide to dump you. At the very least you might consider your decision to not decide is permission to give your cheater your power so while they fuck other people, they can also enjoy planning how hard they’re going to screw you.

    • For those who have shared their stories of how it took them a little time to line up their ducks, thank you. The narrative around here is of course to “leave a cheater, gain a life,” and there can be a lot of guilt when you can’t do that right away. I’m sure it comforts Effie, and many others, to know that as long as you are moving toward your goal with purpose and intention then you are in control and gaining a life in the process. It’s the difference between stealth warrior mode vs. stuck victim mode, and it helps to know that others took that route as well.

    • FWIW… I never left. I was, however noon to my last gram of hopium. I had $40,000 saved in my escape fund and was considering apartments and cars (my car was in his name). He had been doing some cage rattling … making snarky comments about leaving. I had decided to not try to stop him… we were at 5 years of wreckonsillyation and it was awful. I told God “if there is a place where he can be happy then he can go” …I thought I was speaking of California but instead he dropped dead.

      • lucky you. i often think it would have been so Much kinder if he would just have dropped dead. No chaos No shame no guilt no family trauma absent mourning the dead.

      • God has a plan, and we can’t always recognize it, of course.

        This is one of those times, however, when we can easily say, “Aha! THAT didn’t take a lot of scripture research and prayer-talk with You for me to understand This part of the plans. I will try my best to stay within a healthy part of pleased about this. So Thanks, God! ”

        Anyone on the board here who has had a bad experience with a person whom you associate with God, remember that faulty people and misunderstanding important things are the problem.

        Don’t blame God for them. This training ground world will be a messed up place in many ways, until God calls an end to the whole mess we’ve incidentally co-made with the fallen angels.

        Until then, for God’s people, remember accounts like this one. Know it or not, God has your back.

        That said, Wow unicornomore. “Fool. This very night, your life is required of you.”

        Again. Wow.

    • No decision about a relationship is ever truly final. You can choose what’s right for your life at any time you are ready.

      You are the sole pilot of your life plane, so the timeline is yours to manage.

      Until then, so glad you are here absorbing ideas and keeping these folks’ experiences in your mind. You deserve a happy life. I support your path to it. 💚

      • Great supportive advice from everybody here to Effie. I wish I could be as supportive. I will say that though I stuck around for 4 additional years after the first DDay, I decided to finally start standing up for myself. I stopped being a doormat. I figured it was time and since I had almost divorced him before — and I survived — I might as well finally have a say in my life from then on out. I had spent 26 years kowtowing to his wants and put my wishes on the back burner. I found myself resentful because, “I SHOULD HAVE INSISTED ON WHAT I WANTED!” There were too many times that I WISHED I had stood up for myself. Well, the next 3 years I did exactly that, I stood up for myself. However, it took him another year to start making me feel ashamed of myself for being so assertive. He went right back to telling me how insensitive I was and that I was inconsiderate of his feelings. I found myself falling right back into being a doormat — something that one of my girlfriends told me that might happen were I to have stayed with him. It took girlfriends to yank me back into reality. Thank God for girlfriends!!

        • Thanks for that word ‘insist’ , AmazonChump. In MC I wanted to say ‘I should have demanded what I wanted’ meaning proper quality time with him, sharing more of his life, more actual signs of affectipn, more feeling like I mattered to him. The moment the word ‘demand’ came out of my mouth they both jumped on me, and I backpedalled. But wasn’t it my right as a wife to have time to foster a healthy emotional connection with my husband? Hmmm.

    • I like you Effie. No judgement. Just encouragement. Your analysis is right. It’s harder to see the forest from the trees when they are up close.

    • Effie Stillhertz, I hope you’re okay! I hope you have at least gotten a postnup from him. You need that security at minimum! I’m with husband number 2 and I did get a postnup (thanks to CL’s advice) and he gave me everything I asked for. Now I’m finishing up grad school and taking vacations with my kids, all on his dime of course. If he really wants to work on things he’ll mind his Ps and Qs, if not I have my postnup, and I might use after I finish school regardless of his good behavior. I’m not in love with him anymore (after what he did) and if I can’t fall back in love I can go on my merry way feeling safe and secure.
      Take care of yourself, Effie. Get those ducks in a row!

    • one way to fix the problem of the Gordian knot is to undo the lynch pin i.e. disconnect and let it go. for the majority of us, this is the solution that sets us free. hugs – you have many more months of pain i front ov you. we are here when you need us.

    • Dear Effie,
      I’m right with you. I’m still in an in-house separation, going to therapy with my Cheater. Even though I think it’s highly unlikely we will stay together in the long run, I want to feel like I have made the right decision for myself and for my kids before doing a final demolition on our shell of a family. Part of the hard thing for me is that my Cheater *is* showing quite a lot of genuine remorse, and is doing a lot of work on her FOO etc. But, as CL quite rightly notes, Cheater is still serving up plenty of shit sandwiches despite her earnest intentions: not surprisingly, entrenched entitlement and boundary/attachment issues are not easily treated. I’ve really gained a lot of clarity since D-Day #2, in part due to CN, about the fact that it’s not okay to live a half-life eating those sandwiches.

      Quick background for me: I have constant fatigue and low libido due to cancer treatments I had in my 20’s, when I first got together with cheater. (Life is hard, but of course I have never used unhealthy crutches to deal!) Our 20th wedding anniversary was this past May, the day before Cheater’s narc mother died. Cheater had a brief fling of an affair when our older daughter was 2, 14 years ago, and though we did therapy and came up with clear agreements afterward, I believe I swept things under the rug too quickly. Not surprisingly, Cheater claims she had forgotten our agreements after she slept with a stranger from a bar 3 weeks after her mother died this past summer, and then she kept texting the AP, found a way to meet with her on a week-long research trip, falling in “love” (though – what is love to the disordered?), and then telling me on D-Day #2 in August. She first tried to persuade me to accept her affair in a “poly” arrangement, which is not uncommon among our friends in the queer community, but of course I pointed out that real poly relationships are negotiated up front, not retroactively. She finally broke it off with the AP three weeks later, after traumatizing me pretty thoroughly, and has been trickle-truthing (or, as CL would say, just plain lying) to me about various things ever since, until just about 2 weeks ago. I now truly believe there’s nothing major I don’t know, but I had to swim through poison to get all my answers, by reading the entire dump of texts between her and the AP from the second half of their relationship last summer.

      Though I’m still living in the home, and have not told our kids (DD17 and DD7), I have started lining up my ducks and, as I say, have gained a lot of clarity about the whole of our relationship – not just with me, but also how Cheater has used others for supply this whole time. Even though she shows a lot of real remorse and is working hard on her stuff, she still is a TFC whenever I try to discuss my own take on her issues. CL really hits the nail on the head when she describes how cheaters somehow manage to claim the greater share of pain. My own Cheater used her recent affair as a distraction from her grief (really complicated by mirroring, etc.) after her narc mom’s death, and when she ended the affair, then she was right back in the grief again. So guess what? My own trauma and desire for honest answers had to take a back seat. Our relationship definitely suffered a lot of damage in the first few months, when Cheater could not answer my specific questions fully and honestly (she was so afraid I might pull the plug!), and she kept defending her privacy in communicating with her Switzerland friends/AP instead of really engaging my feelings (I’m not the boss of her, or of them!). So that’s why I decided to read her text dump, even though I knew it would be swimming in poison. And it definitely re-traumatized me.

      Anyway, as I say, I think it’s highly likely I will be leaving Cheater at some point – if she doesn’t leave me first – but at least I’ll be ready for it when it comes. One reason I haven’t already pulled the plug, in addition to her genuine (if patchy) remorse and fair degree of self-awareness, is that I haven’t been attracted to anyone else in years, and would not be interested in actively dating if we split up. So I would have to face the likelihood of being alone in my older years, with my various medical issues (including a much-greater-than-typical likelihood of dealing with a secondary cancer at some point, given the amount of chemo and radation I had in my 20’s). And there’s the issue of the kids, esp. DD7, so I would be stuck likely renting a place in this expensive suburb to share custody. We are tight on financial resources as it is in a shared household. All these are very real considerations that I have to weigh, like a responsible adult, against Cheater’s disordered behaviors. But if I don’t feel real love toward her anymore, after a year or so of probing, then I’ll have my answer right there, and will make everything else work. Indeed, I frequently get the feeling that I would *not* feel so tired all the time if I were not living in this household with Cheater. I wish it were easier for me to get more space without making changes that start to look irreversible, like with our kids, etc.

      Sorry for long post. I haven’t posted at length in a while, and I guess this column and Effie’s post provoked a reckoning. Best wishes to you, Effie, and to all those still struggling to “leave a cheater and gain a life.” Long live CL and CN, a hopium-free space to look uncomfortable truths head-on.

      • Being married to a known cheater, it is very likely you will have to manage any old age/medical issues solo anyway. IF you plan on staying,I hope you have friends that can at least provide some emotional support.

        I learned only last year when my narc father was married to his second wife she had to fend for herself during chemo treatment due to rapidly spreading pancreatic cancer. I don’t know if he was already grooming wife 3.0 (their marriage has lasted longer than my parents marriage) but his international philately trip was more important than caring for his dying,scared wife.

        Loathsome,selfish behavior. I said to my aunt who recounted this to me as some great revelation “Oh this doesn’t surprise me at all. I grew up with him and know what a narcissist looks like. It ain’t pretty.”

        • Thanks for your comment, SPbaS. (Catchy!) You may be right, though my Cheater’s narcissism comes in a slightly different flavor of covert. She was in fact extremely helpful when I had cancer in my 20’s. It made her feel needed: savior complex, whatever. This is part of why I made it 24 years into this relationship (20 married) before I realized just how entitled and disordered Cheater actually is. Her early helpfulness is part of why my parents were truly shocked to learn a few months ago that she had cheated on me twice – I had not told them about affair #1. They live a mile away from us, interact with her on a regular basis, and while they knew that she could get frosty if things didn’t go her way, they didn’t realize she was capable of going completely off the rails.

          Cheater has had a much harder time in recent years as we’ve gone through the long haul with kids etc., with my gradually worsening fatigue as a constant drag on the sparkly life she wants to live, and very little recognition from the broader world for her daily efforts (or mine, but who am I again?). Also, she can’t fix what is wrong with me now – nobody can, despite my rounds to the specialists every couple of years. But if I were diagnosed with a new acute condition, I actually think Cheater would spring into action and be the savior again. (Don’t forget all the accolades from friends and family that come with that!) She certainly sprang into action when her narc mom was dying of cancer for two years. Except, guess who took care of the kids whenever she flew across the country to take care of her parents…

          All this is not to say that I should stay with Cheater and let her care for me if I get sick again. It’s just more food for thought, for now.

    • Effie, you’re the same age I was when I had enough. After reading your story I have to tell you that staying is the hardest thing to do.

      What I hope you will do is see a therapist who specializes in trauma bonding. This will help you put to rest the guilt and other ways you’ve justified staying. I’m no sure what your health issues are yet know that staying eats at you day in and day out. Depression is treatable.

      Once you’ve had the benefit of therapy and medication I’d suggest seeing an attorney, one who specializes in the division of assets especially pensions. Your health insurance can continue on his plan if written into the divorce.

      Start building a support system outside of your home. You don’t want to be alone and this is an important step forward.

      When I say it’s the hardest thing (staying) it’s because my mother did just that. She deserved a better life and so do you. I saw that smile you wrote about. I saw it in a picture, my last birthday with an intact family. My mother was dying and four months after he made the announcement.

      Please Effie, take those steps one after another. You will be working towards facing those fears and quite possibly your health will improve.
      Make this about YOU and YOUR life. Your daughter will be fine.

  • I stayed with ex too long before I realised he condoned ow screaming outside my house, “come and have some fun” “steal from her”,
    That was 7 years ago, we split ow still hangs occasionally around, she gets her friends to be abusive.
    Ex, said, she’s always nice to me, forgot to mention ow, was outside cul de sac, screaming “nobody will help her”. This was in November.
    Ex, was pleased she dumped her kids for him. Apparently he was going to move in with her.
    Realistically there would have been in a crackhouse, with the prostitutes, drugs, alcohol, sex shows, they have discussions are how boring I was, but boring people don’t get stalked do they?
    Ex doesn’t like paying bills, who does?

  • So, right after D day, we were getting ready to go to marriage counseling 🙄 and I was putting on my make up. He said something to me and I threw my powder across the room and got up in his face and was quietly, but ragedully “yelling” at him (daughter was in the house). We got to counseling and he told the counselor I attacked him to which she turned to me and told me I could not treat him like that. After that, whenever I got upset he would throw it in my face that the counselor said I couldn’t talk to him like that. It’s been 3 years. He is still living with schmoopie who is the same age as his children. I am so much happier now!! And I found a counselor just for me and he went with me once when we were going through the divorce to iron out some things with the kids and he said something deragatory about me and she chewed him a new butthole for it. It was awesome.

  • Forgot to mention she asked me to feel sorry for her, I was embarrassed to mention the sex noises she screamed outside my house.
    Ex might slip in a different dimension where he becomes a great lover, I most of being living boringly in the real world.
    We split up nearly 6 years now, people still stick up for them.

    • Wow, Susan I guess the cure to boredom is crack for some people. My thoughts, have that.

      My good friend tells me that people can say whatever they want. It doesn’t make it true. It’s a good reminder.

  • I wasted six months. Six months of listening to him wail about his shame and his guilt, his agony over hurting me, his heartbreak over missing her. His angry, increasingly aggressive outbursts at me whenever I expressed any emotion that was too much for him to handle.

    Over the six months it slowly became apparent that he wasn’t remorseful. He was just an asshole. And of course – OF COURSE – he was cheating on me the entire time. Leaving counseling sessions where he cried about his FOO issues and his shame, and then driving to her apartment for some… additional therapy.

    I should have kicked him out the second I found out about the affair. But alas, the chump was strong with this one. We’ve been divorced going on six months now and the peace I feel grows every day.

    • This is exactly my story too. My counselor saw straight through him though, even though I still believed him when he said he was still no contact with the AP. How high on hopium I was! I found a folder on his phone with all the selfies they had taken of eachother, including a weekend away (he said he was visiting his sick mother for some family time) while we were not the middle of MC. Ugh, total scumbag. He even borrowed cash from me for that trip as he had none! I was left at home with our 4 month old daughter thinking he was facing up to what he had done and was visiting his family to ‘recover’ from his affair (I know, I was such a chump)

      My MC had a private session with me and explained that I had married a mirroring, narc, man-child and that I needed to find an adult relationship next time. I’m free 2 months now and although I still get panic attacks on the days he has access to our daughter, as I’m totally NC except for those. NC is the best thing I have done. Everytime he sees me he’s all smiles and acts like nothing has happened and it’s just another day. He has so many masks it is disturbing. I have to keep telling myself – nice is not the same as good!

  • This is one of the last hurdles I have about forgiving myself! I bought into this! I waited the year because I believed in marriage- like a marriage is an entity outside of the peopl participating!

  • I wear my ‘Heartless Bitch’ pin w/ honor – I only lasted about 3 weeks after d-day. I was very fortunate to find this site early on.

    I got the TFC act one night when he burst into tears, sobbing about how difficult it was to take my anger (as I’d spent the entirety of our marriage as a docile little pup).

    Here’s what I don’t understand: why is it so easy for them to fuck over their spouses but when they get called on the BS or caught, now they’re suddenly fragile little hot house flowers? Why weren’t you falling out and making suicidal comments when you met up w/ all those hookers? I tell you you’re repulsive & I’m moving out – NOW the sky is falling?

    I’ve said it before on here, but shortly after dday my now ex husband told me the stress of the fallout was causing his beard to stop growing. Leaving the house in the middle of the night to meet hookers for the entirety of our courtship/engagement/marriage had no impact on your face scruff, eh? Thanks for making that clear you precious dandelion.

    • hahahahaha!!!!

      Precious dandelion for the win. It’s so very true though. Their complete absence of giving the most minimal of fucks about us yet their pain/shame is tantamount to a near death experience when they brought that on themselves all the way. How fucking, utterly sad for us chumps who see our pain and empathize with their pain even as they are destroying us.

    • Sweetener

      Right?
      Mine was signing for undisclosed number of dating account week after our engagement.
      We moved miles and miles away for his new job… guess what he did the moment interview was over?
      Yep, fucked the hooker and decided, that this particular spot on Earth is worth moving to
      Yeah… they are so fragile and weak… I wasn’t… I wasn’t fragile while carrying his babies, while dealing with a newborn and a 2 year old on the top of the part time job… nope.

      🤮

      • Gag!! Hate that you went through that but like you said, dear, you’ve got more heart (and balls) than that animal ever will.

  • In my case, exh2 never admitted to cheating, even in the face of the evidence (however minimal it was), he only said he wasn’t happy and that he was “done” .
    During “wreckonciliation”, though I never questioned him, never interrogated him. I saw him as “remorseful”, but his actions, though. He didn’t change one bit, and within a couple weeks (and after discovering Chump Lady), I found my fire and lit that false-reconciliation bitch up!!!
    Four years later, he occasionally acts like a timid creature— poor, pitiful, sad sausage — kibble-searching of course.
    Nope, nopity, no.
    No contact and grey rock to the max—- even with timid creatures.
    GTFO-day

    • “GTFO-day” – YES!!!!!

      I’m sitting in the bank as I type this-waiting to be helped so I can change my name back on my accounts. Gave me a chuckle

      • GTFO-day was so much better than D-Day!!!
        I had to do that too— social security, the bank, employer, state certificates, changing my driver’s license was a damn hassle, but it got done.
        Here’s a sucker from the bank in case they don’t give them.out at yours. 😂🍭

  • I believe my STBXW has BPD. I don’t know if she ever cheated or not and I kind of suspect that she didn’t but a lot of the advice I see here lines up with a lot of advice I have seen given to people in relationships with BPD partners. STBXW suffered an aneurysm in early 2012 and, not long after, started menopause. She became cold, cruel, and calculating. She became paranoid. She adopted a “my way or the highway” attitude and drove my college-aged children from our home. I engaged in a lot of circular conversations and sacrificed a lot of my own wants in an attempt to make her see that I would do anything to show my love for her.

    In the end, she kicked me out for going out to dinner with my parents, my children, and my childrens’ boyfriends. I lived in my parents’ tiny attic for nine months while STBXW raided our bank accounts. I filed for divorce after 5 months and, upon advice from my attorney, I called her to let her know. She ignored my call so I left a voicemail. She immediately filed for a PFA claiming that I had threatened her. Thankfully, she had to play that voicemail in court and there was no threat of any kind so the PFA was denied. Not even her therapist’s letter stating that she should get a long PFA order was able to get the decision to be in her favor.

    Years of losing myself while waiting for her to take ownership of her problem. Tens of thousands of dollars gone from our bank accounts. And, worst of all, the knowledge that I allowed her to hurt our children.

    That’s what waiting and tiptoeing around the other person’s fee-fees will get you. Don’t wait.

    • The real issue with cheating is not the cheating itself, it is the self centeredness and complete lack of concern for the partner’s feelings or other needs that is the real issue. That self centeredness and lack of concern for others can manifest itself in many ways other than cheating, all of them damaging to relationships and romantic partners in particular. I am sorry you had to endure your STBXW’s version.

      • EXACTLY- i’m a little over a year out. I went for divorce after 2 months of disastrous attempt to R. the cheating and sex isn’t what bothers me. Its the realization that he obviously didn’t love me for 5 years and for 5 years risked it all day in and day out. now he plays this game with our son where they say- love you more to each other….. no you don’t love your son- if you did – you wouldn’t have put his family at risk, you wouldn’t have chosen to sleep with the whore on his birthday instead of coming home and being there for a proper celebration! That’s what angers me- the lack of concern and care for me or his child. when i get down i tell myself- he did not love you- that’s it, that’s the reason- no other reason excuse. He did not love you or your son- he’s incapable of love- he may think he does- but that is not what love is in any way, shape or form.

  • I am just now remembering something . . . after Affair #1 (1992) my ex and I were seeing a therapist both as a couple and separately (I know . . . unethical and dumb). Apparently, the therapist asked my ex, in a private session, if we owned a gun . . . she was “concerned” that I might kill him. I called her on it, and she admitted it! Needless to say I was done with her! My ex, however, continued to see her . . . and she later made a sexual advance. You really can’t make this stuff up. Therapists wield so much power with vulnerable and hurting people . . . and abuse is all too common.

  • Part of my attempts at reconciliation included Mr. Sparkles having to give me his paystubs every week (because he kept a checking account separate from our joint account to manage his expenses with his first family… RED FLAG anyone?)

    I was so embarrassed for him having to do that, so I wouldn’t even look at them. To be fair, I figured there was no point because it was possible he could hide a bonus check from me completely and I wouldn’t know to miss the paystub because they were guaranteed.

    As for phone records, he just got himself a burner phone… so his cell phone records were miraculously and suddenly free of Craigslist hooker calls.

    NOTHING CHANGED except my feeling more guilt and more shame for what HE was going through (yes, I’ve worked on my co-dependency issues thanks to Chump Nation… and I filed first!)

    Fast forward, he never stopped cheating (over 11 years together)… he never stopped lying… he cheated on the OW… and he is currently cheating on the GF that co-signed a mortgage with him after 18 months of dating.

    Divorce is your only option if you want to build a cheater-free and sane my life. My son was 8 at discard… he’s 13 now… happy, well-adjusted, good moral compass, honor roll… and only has to spend every other weekend and dinner on one weeknight with Mr. Sparkles because I held my ground throughout mediation and divorce.

    I didn’t remember I could be this happy… until I was free.

  • I wholeheartedly agree with this post.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t heed the warnings the first time that I caught him with the first long-term (2.5 years) affair partner.
    I went through hell, going to marriage counseling (where he lied about virtually everything, including the extent of the cheating, which started on literally the first day of our, at the time, 20+ year marriage), doing the humiliating pick-me dance (I am cringing just remembering what I did to try to keep him), buying HIM a book to help him fall out of love with the MOW, enduring HIS anger, trying to put our family back together after he briefly left us for her, and still showing up for work every day.
    And he NEVER STOPPED CHEATING. He got worse and worse over the next 20+years, until he was caught again, this time it was a 10-year affair with a neighbor. And there were many shorter affairs and hook-ups with random men and women. He says “less than 50”, like that is a small number!
    I have so many regrets.
    Please, please, please listen to Chump Lady and Chump Nation. It never gets better, and it usually gets much worse.

  • I spent 4 months trying to locate any real remorse in my STBX. There wasn’t any. He had broken it off with OW shortly before DDay but he had loads of other “female friends” at the ready for his choosing. When I would cry or feel upset and he would sit silently looking like he was enduring a root canal. When I called it quits he seemed shocked.
    We r now working out a settlement and custody schedule for our son. Yesterday he and his lawyer proposed that whenever I am able to get my own apt. (I’m working on this at the moment – still doing in-house separation hell) that he should be able to come to my place and spend time making dinner for and hanging out with teenage son while I get lost. WTF? This man is not only remorseless but continues to be truly clueless. I said hell no. I am having to leave the home where we raised our children because I can’t afford to keep it myself and now u want me to leave another home so u can “hang out” with son? Unbelievable. I bit my tongue and didn’t say anything snarky or rude because it only makes things worse. Truly, these idiots just don’t think of the consequences of their actions. I hope to hell he is lonely living all alone in our big old house full of his packrat crap. He’s a Timid Forest Idiot as far as I’m concerned and I can’t wait to get a life- away from him.

    • My ex’s mother got all over me asking for the same thing, to make myself scarce on his weekends so he could stay at MY house with the kids (we have five young kids, and he didn’t want to find a place to fit them all) ?!?! Umm, no, how in the world could I trust him in my house with my stuff? No no no no. So stupid. Thankfully, my brother was there to witness the conversation and he literally stepped in between me and her, put his hand up in her face and brought the conversation to a screeching halt.

      • Thank God for your brother. The entitled apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. Hugs to you. Stay strong.

    • No way @ZoeIsPissed! I too still have that in-house separation hell. When I finally (sooner rather than later) have my own apt then I’ve already decided that it will be a cheater-free zone. Under no circumstances will she be going inside to play pretend-happy-families.

      And the suggestion that you should leave your own place so that your TFC can “hang out”? Good grief no; however you did the correct thing by saying nothing snarky/rude. I reckon that’s just image management though; just wanting it to look like you’re really BFFs to minimise his cheating.

    • “he should be able to come to my place and spend time making dinner for and hanging out with teenage son while I get lost”

      I think I’ve heard it all now.

    • “Yesterday he and his lawyer proposed that whenever I am able to get my own apt. (I’m working on this at the moment – still doing in-house separation hell) that he should be able to come to my place and spend time making dinner for and hanging out with teenage son while I get lost.”

      I hope you and your lawyer laughed until one or both of you wet your clothes. Then let them know it wasn’t going to happen.

      What. A. Maroon!

  • Oh man, I remember after I kicked out the TFC, he ran to his mommy’s house to stay. She called me up and asked “Why did you take half the money out of the bank account? Don’t you know, he is suicidal!”

    Okay first of all, half the money is actually mine. Also, he has a paycheck every two weeks, whereas I have FIVE children under eight years old including a newborn, all the bills to pay, AND NO INCOME. But I need to think about TFC and his well-being?? Thank God I had a really good therapist who would be BFF with Chumplady. He coached me to stand up for myself, even against the advice of religious friends-of-RIC (myself included) who were constantly barking in my ear.. I didn’t find CN until well into the process, but it was such a relief to find a community that backs up the things I was learning in therapy.

  • They enjoy their affairs!. They take great pleasure in them. And I believe they enjoy the attention and focus when they are caught as well.
    UNLESS we hold them to task in any way. Then we see the rage and spite. they are f’n subhumans.

    And very gifted actors.

  • I left him almost immediately and never looked back. I’m not sure what it was exactly that “snapped me out of it,” but I definitely was done with any idea of reconciliation after about a week. He demanded that I “trust him fully or it was over.” I think his ultimatum was what made me gain clarity. I told him I was filing, and he switched to TFC-“I’m afraid of the consequences of divorce.” Whelp, not your choice, idiot. We were divorced just over a month after d-day, went no contact, and never looked back. Best thing I’ve ever done. I highly recommend it to anyone going through this. Enjoy your consequences, Lizard King!

    • “trust him fully or it was over.”

      Funny thing is, he’s right. Once you can’t trust someone, it’s over – too bad he had to go destroying that trust.

    • My story is similar, although I was engaged to my ex, not married. Dday was also GTFO day (an affair is a deal-breaker, but apparently financial and emotional abuse is just fine. Oy, I’m working on that!). He moved out a month later. It was a month after that that I went no contact. It’s been 6.5 months since Dday, and I’m so glad I handled the situation as I did. I’m working on myself and my house. Life is full of opportunities and peace : )

  • My X Asshat had an OW#1 back in 2007-08. When busted, the OW ran into the darkness like a cockroach. It was awful, I went through all of the D-Day horrors of weight loss, sleeplessness, confusion and general devastation. He sat there in his dirty diaper and didn’t pursue the OW and didn’t make much effort to make things OK with me. I gave him room to do his thing and made no demands for fear of making him run off and chase after the cockroach. I pick me danced hard and made it all better for the wittle boy.

    10 years later he simply abandoned me. He future-faked right up to the day I left for a business trip, acting like we were planning a glorious early retirement. He packed up his shit while I was away and sent me an e-mail as my notice that my 28 year marriage was over. When I challenged him about why he simply poofed, why couldn’t he even have a basic discussion about his unhappiness at ANY POINT along the line prior to the discard, his answer was “I didn’t want to talk about it.”

    So that is it. He didn’t want to talk about it and be awakened at 4am when I can’t sleep. He didn’t want to deal with his cheating and his ignoring and his abuse. It was easiest for him to simply pack his shit and send me an e-mail, that was all I was worth.

    Timid forest creature my ass. They will do what they want to do without any regard to you or their children. They have crappy life skills, poor character, and most of all, entitlement (h/t CL).

    • Yep. They break the innocent chumps every single day without a care about us. I received more genuine and heartfelt concern from relative strangers than I ever received from that colossal fucknut. So selfish.

      • My mom died during our divorce. I received more compassion from my favorite teller than I did from my husband of 19 years. He wrote me off the second he told me it was best to divorce and he never looked back to see how I was doing. He just didn’t care.

  • My divorce was just finalized this February, and Cheater XH still to this day won’t admit he cheated. I have picture proof from a private investigator, and he never once showed an ounce of remorse. Zero apology. I’m pretty sure he is cheating on the OW now, but even with the OW they are still sneaking around and acting like there’s nothing going on between them even though both divorces are finalized. Their concern over public perception is insane…

    • It
      You and your baby are plane gorgeous!
      I look at your genuine smile and I smile myself:)
      Your husband is an idiot and doesn’t deserve you … not a bit…. as far as religion- all the “ almighty “ people pushing women to stay with a narc cheaters- unless they are so clueless ( oh the ignorance) – they will find their own place in hell

      Love doesn’t hurt
      If it hurts- it’s not love

  • I found out when my little one was 4 months old. I didn’t leave then and wasted 2 years. Not reconciled just pretended it didn’t happen and I lived my life taking care of the baby and I could have cared less what he was doing. I lost all respect for him but at that time I was so stressed and didn’t think I could take care of a baby on my own. Funny thing was.. I already was taking care of the baby on my own. I wish I would have left right then and there. So many apologies, promises etc. fast forward 2 years later.. I wake up to him video taping himself Masterbating.
    Did the whole marriage counseling, Not because I thought it would help us but I did it because I thought it would make the divorce go better. Well let me tell you …. NOTHING makes the divorce go better. If you are divorcing this kind of manchild you are in for a ride.

    Cut your losses as soon as you can. You’ll have more time to recover. But, Make sure you get all the info, records etc you need for court before you leave or kick them out or let them know your plans. They are Sneaky F-ers

  • I’m sure there are plenty of people in CN with FOO issues and/or depression. They didn’t choose to cheat!

  • I didn’t go full-blown RIC (thank god) but KK pulled out the timid forest creature card two days after I confronted her and the Carrot Singer in the driveway.

    While waiting in a Starbucks for our appointment with couples therapist to start (we’d had a session set up for weeks), she suddenly said: “I need you to know, I really feel bad about how things ended with (Carrot Singer).”

    While not an explicit declaration of forest creature-dom, the message to me was unmistakable (but not immediately internalized): “Make one false move, make one ‘wrong’ comment, deny just once that this situation is as much (or perhaps more) your fault as it is mine, and any chance at making things right in this marriage will disappear.”

    • UXWorld, That’s the same passive-aggressive manipulative shit my ex would do to me. I couldn’t figure out why I always had to walk on egg shells. I was so love with him I couldn’t see it then, but I sure see it now. Thanks god for CN, George Simon and all the book I read about manipulation.

    • Oh man I had a moment like this, in the car on the way to therapy he said. “She hadn’t had sex in a year, I don’t want to hurt her feelings by just doing what you want, I can’t be that mean”. What I wanted was he was allowed to say goodbye to her and than he had to have zero contact. Such a mindfuck, ‘don’t be a bitch here and make me be a bad person!’ I was so deep in the MC bullshit of 50% of this was my fault and I had to be sympathetic to the Douche Canoes pain and not cause him trauma. In the end nope he didn’t stop the affair despite swearing multiple times in therapy there was no contact and I got a lovely FB message from the schmoopies husband detailing their exploits 3 months into MC. That 3 months sent me into therapy with an IC to get over the mindfuck of MC. New IC therapist straight down the line “get your ass out of that burning house, get a lawyer, find a male real estate agent, always have a witness present when talking with him, we will sort out all the other shit later. She is the best.

  • I waited years after the affair and miles of separation and no contact only to have her come back at me with, “It was so long ago, why are you bringing this up now?” “My life is good and I am in a good space right now, I’m not going to talk about it.” Well, the bitch never talked about it. Her apology was “I was so afraid you would find out” and “I couldn’t please you sexually.” Now she’s in “a good place” and doesn’t want any “negativity in her life.” Stonewalled yet again! When I initially confronted her, she shut down and refused to talk to me.

  • Well I can’t even blame the RIC. I was doing this to myself. He already had one foot out the door on DDay and I was trying to coax him back and not scare him the rest of the way out the door. The MC was actually telling me I should take a tougher stance but ex claimed that I didn’t love him and that’s why he cheated and Schmoopie “cared” about him so I thought I had to prove how much I loved him to make him stay. It’s so humiliating to look back on it all now. I did love him but I shouldn’t have. I wish now I had sent him packing on DDay. You think you’ve found better? Great! Have at it. Ugh. I was definitely my own worst enemy.

    • You and me…Im not sure I can even blame the RIC for my actions…I was so afraid of scaring him off…
      One of my most vivid memories was trying to hold him accountable for something and he responded by threatening to bolt (in true TFC manner)…he screamed at me “Dont tempt me Uni!!!” and I backed off…dammit Im so annoyed with myself over that. I should have said “If you cant even be held accountable without fleeing like a scared little bunny then just go”

  • Boy did I EVER have the TFC. And I fell for it for an additional 4 years. That’s when I found out he was seeing the skank again — assuming he ever stopped. Though he yet again played TFC and didn’t want a divorce, I decided I deserved better. Go figure. 30 years of crap before I figured that I DESERVED BETTER. What the heck was wrong with me?! In any event, this is what I’d tell someone who was as screwed up in the head as I was under similar circumstance. “Listen! Get divorced and protect yourself and your kids. If (s)he is REALLY remorseful, (s)he will make your marriage work divorced or not! Do NOT do what I did!” I didn’t divorce the first time due to Naugahyde remorse and my ‘investment’ in the marriage. Well I’m so happy he’s gone!! Life is wonderful now that he’s no longer part of it. I’m happy!

    • I admire that you had the realization. I never did. Had the Asshat not abandoned me I would be right where I was, being abused daily while he did whatever the hell he wanted to do, with whomever.

      You did good.

      • I think that would be me also. So, I should be grateful that he abandoned me? I absolutely know that I would have put up with his shit the rest of my life. Almost at meh… and it’s Tuesday.

  • “How many of you bought this shit? ” I certainly did lol. “Don’t upset the cheater”. Our RIC “counselor” actually told me this. Swallow my pain, don’t confront or rage at him, be happy and calm. Stop telling him reconcilation won’t be easy. Oh for fucks sakes. What unbelievably horrible advice: rewarding and reinforcing his entitlement to be a giant self-centered asshole. His behavior got so much worse after seeing therapists. The MC’s counselor’s default position was that the marriage should be saved at all costs, including my self-respect. I lasted three and a half months in this situation before I couldn’t take any more humiliation and put a stop to it. The longest, most excruciating three months of my life. I should have kicked him out day 1. Nearly four years later, I couldn’t be happier to be out of that marriage. My only regret now is marrying him in the first place

    • @ Struggling no more : EXACTLY. My and Mr. Creeper Pants’ premarital counselor warned me that my reactions to Creeper’s behavior are “going to drive his addiction”. Huh? He has been a severely addicted P addict since he was 12, and also told me (through crocodile tears, no less) about early sexual encounters when he “attacked” his partner. How is his behavior my fault? SO GLAD I kicked him AND Mr. Sex Addicted Therapist to the curb!

      Also been wondering if, with the Me Too movement, any of his past girlfriends have come forward to hold him accountable for his sexual attacks. So glad I did NOT stick around for that shit show! After the break up he moved out of state, so he’s out of my hair completely. No contact is sheer bliss.

      Driving his addiction my ass!

  • My reconciliation period was only a little over three months before I came to my senses, so I didn’t have it as bad as many on here. But still, those months were excruciating. Everything CL says about the RIC is spot on. And my XW hit every note in the post-discovery cheater symphony.

    Looking back on it, I think those months were at least as bad as the D-days (D-Day 2 was 6 weeks after D-Day 1, when they slept together on a business trip and I found out they never stopped talking).

    I found out right away, and that opened my eyes. Seriously though: the RIC is toxic and downright evil.

  • I read an article recently that said Cheaters Don’t regret the affair. They often regret upsetting their spouse and their family and the impact on them because of that. Early on I fell into the trap of him being the victim. He was in a Midlife crisis and I was jumping through hoops trying to help him figure out what he needed to be happy. Of course my pain, anguish and disappointment was irrelevant to trying to understand what he needed to be happy…so that he could understood why He chose to cheat on me. I finally smartened up and part of it was finding your book and advice from a lawyer to go to divorce quickly while he felt guilty _that there is an expiration date on cheater guilt which is about 3 months. that proved spot on. after 3 months he had the tramp living in our beach house and loving life with my money. i proceeded to get divorce property agreements in place and filed while he was “honeymooning” with the OW and not paying attention. divorced in 8 months (3 month mandatory wait period) and cried all the way through it. when i sold the beach house and he ended up in a trailer, ow cheated on him. i hate to admit i broke nc and sent him a text saying how pleased i was he was hit with the karma bus. these past 2 yrs have sucked but i am so pleased to be free! hugs

  • My STBXH figured out that the magical words to get me back in line were to threaten me with divorce. It worked for a while. I would feel sick with terror, and give in to whatever ridiculous demand he had. Eventually, though, I started to be able to envision myself without him, and that threat lost its power over me. Now I can’t wait for the divorce to be over, so I’ll never have to see his rage channel and sad sausage crap ever again.

  • I wasted at least a year with an LMFT and several years in the Potemkin village of wreckonciliation. I am fortunate to have an individual therapist who helped me through everything with my self-esteem intact. After DDay 2 she advised me to lawyer up and told me I’m ready. That’s about the time I found CL & CN.

  • I studied intently the RIC and when I backed off of being angry and trusting him to make good decisions (3 months post day) the AP got pregnant. But the WORSE damage caused by my RIC hopes and dreams for almost 3 years is the damage I caused my young daughters (from 1st grade – 4th grade), the suffering they experienced because I kept trying to fix the unfixable. I still cry from the guilt over their lost years.

    Divorced 2 1/2 years now and the girls and I are flourishing.

    I was so trying to keep them from being/feeling abandoned (like I was by a cheating father) that I alone caused the most pain to theses innocents and for this I don’t believe I will ever forgive myself. I am grateful that they can both spit, at 12, a narcissist 10 feet away…so there’s that at least.

    So please, if not for you, leave for your babies no matter their age. You will model resilience and dignity and be closer than ever with them. I promise!

    • The amazing thing about children is their resiliency. They won’t remember that part after a few years. Be kind to yourself. You were doing what you thought was right. Hugs

  • I don’t know that I did “traditional” RIC because we went to a queer, polyamourous, trans-friendly, wiccan relationship therapist so that we could be more comfortable working with someone who did not ascribe to the social norms we had both rejected. But sadly, this particular therapist was I suspect also a narcissist. She was pro-cheating as it turns out. She told me that serial cheater’s time is her own and as long as she comes back to me in the end, I need to just get over it and let her have her own time. This therapist treated me as though I was the abusive one because I wanted to be able to have informed consent about relationship agreements such as whether we decided we were “polyamorous,” which I did not want. Meanwhile, poor timid forest creature/serial cheater was emotionally, verbally, sexually, AND physically abusing me while I was bending over backwards to never upset her and to support her through everything. But therapist acted as though I was the abusive one.

    Long story short, RIC lasted 5 years after D-Day #1 (of like hundreds of D-Days) between serial cheater’s narcissistic manipulations, lies, and abuse; the trauma bonding created through her coercing me into constant sex with her (while she was having secret unprotected sex with god knows how many others); and the shitty pro-cheating therapist.

    As another commenter here said: it doesn’t get better [with a cheater]; it only gets worse.

    So much worse. Hopium is a lie. Leave now. I am SO much happier and healthier now that I have been no contact with serial cheater for almost a year.

    • Marissa,
      I’m so sorry that you got the therapy runaround. I wanted to reach out because I’m also in a same-sex relationship, and we’re going to an LGBT-friendly therapist recommended by a friend. (I’m still living in the family home, doing in-home separation, and doing therapy with my Cheater. She’s a lot more remorseful than your ex seems to have been, but I’m still not sanguine about our long-term chances. I have a lot of reasons to see if I can stay and be happy eventually, though.) Both Cheater and I are not too happy with the therapist, not because she’s biased one way or the other, but because she’s just really inexperienced with the trauma of infidelity specifically. We might have benefited from talking about attachment and communication styles BEFORE the affair, but now there are much bigger fish to fry. Also, this BS about negotiating polyamory after the fact is indeed abusive. Best wishes to you!

  • My cheater XH acted like I hung the moon. I thought we had a great marriage and were happy. That is until I caught him fucking skankwoman. Then it was totally over and he never looked back. He would sneak into our home and slowly move out his clothes and other belongings until everything was gone. He went from my bed to hers within 24 hours. He threw me out like yesterday’s trash and whistled Dixie all the way to her house, never missing a beat. I realized that I meant absolutely nothing to this fake human being and that I had a fake marriage and a fake life to a fake piece of shit. No TFC showed up.

  • The Cheatress gave me this shit. She had cheated for lord knows how long. Went cold as ice when I caught her. The only answers I got were blame-shifting nonsense answers with true statements being those straight from the narcissist’s mouth (“You provide nothing for me!”). I was devastated. I considered the bleak Final Option that entire first week until my friend came and dug me out of the despair pit. My future was completely screwed at the time. Hers looked like rainbows and sunshine, in addition to her complete disregard for my well-being, and it was brutal. Oh so brutal.

    Week 3 I’m negotiating the crap out of our assets over the phone and I must’ve said something which got her defensive. I remember her going, “I’m hurting, too, ya know.” I shut that down immediately and pointed out that she was the one cheating and abandoning her husband. After that, she stopped pretending like any of this was affecting her in the slightest. I mean, up to that point, she kept those cards close to the chest, but afterward, it didn’t seem like there were *any* cards at all. Just a cold narcissist flitting about as she snipped the strings from her old life so she could swiftly move into Grizzly Adams’s house.

  • I’m still recovering a year out from all the bullshit I left behind. I have phone records, credit card statements and emails of his of how he pursued multiple women simultaneously including me. Then when caught, he got angry, shut down any normal conversation with me and blamed me for his bad behavior. Typical, right? He tried to keep this duplicitous life a secret from so many, but I figured him out. I gave up my job to be with this man and now I’m out of work (2+years now) and I am living on a family members couch. I went from being an independent woman who was courted by employers to an unemployed woman who made bad judgements due to the mental abuse I endured from him. It;s hard to explain my work absence and leaving a new job so quickly (Dday #2) because I just couldn’t keep my shit together.

    I wish I just left after catching him in his first lie. I could have saved myself from financial ruin. He begged me to take him back and now I have put myself in a terrible state by believing he was remorseful. I honestly don’t know how to recover from all of this and pay my bills and live on my own.

    Cheaters should be jailed. Their mental abuse is criminal. Nobody understands either except this forum.

    • Aah, I don’t have any wise words Angie, but I’m just sending you some long distance hugs! You WILL make it though!

      • He’s a shit. You are not. He’s a shit you are not.
        I hate how other persons suffer the actions of these cretins. We are left broken and they move on happy to have sucked the life out of someone else. They are pure wickedness.
        Take your time. One foot in front of the other and keep moving. Just keep moving forward. One day you will be far away from it all.

    • I can relate, I took him back when I was still reasonably independent raising my first two children. I kick myself for doing so. I moved into his parents house with my two kids and after we had our daughter he convinced me to become a SAH mother until she started school due to the expense of children care.

      He announced wanting a divorce less than a month after she started school & I was in the process of looking for work to return to employment as “planned”. I had no income, was dependent on him and his parents home and now had 3 children to raise. After 3 months of crazy making attempts at reconciliation and having secured a new job, he tried to physically kick me out of his parents house (he’d gotten a new girlfriend you see). I was a mess, couldn’t eat and ended up losing the job Id just gotten. I’d saved almost enough to move out and it sent me into a further tail spin. All the while he was laughing, still approaching me for sex, bouncing around like he had the best life ever and making zero moves to separate. At the time I thought it meant we could “work it out”… Bloody chump was I?!?

      I got another job, and put one foot in front of the other. He got at least 2 more girlfriend’s in the first 12 months whilst I was still living with him. He tried to throw me out each time a new one came along. I got very ragey at him, I ranted, i cried, I frothed at the mouth, my mental/emotional state suffered enormously. No-one understood.

      At some point I found CL and my mantra became “one thing every day to move me forward”. It still is what keeps me going, I saved and I moved out last September. I am grey rock with him. Dull, bland interaction on logistics of our daughter only. It’s been 6 months since I moved. I’m starting to heal. I don’t wake in panic every morning any more, only occasionally do I get agitated and feel rage at what he did to us. I’ve kept my new job for little over a year, I love it too. I feel many more moments of peace. I have a way to go to be at meh, but it’s nearly Tuesday.

      The point of me sharing this, is to encourage you. So you can feel some hope that you will recover. You will be independent again. You will stand up and get back on your feet. You will remember your worth. You CAN do this! We believe in you! We are here. We are all mighty! Many hugs!!!!

  • D-Day was January 20, 2018. I had discovered that my now ex was fucking his best friend’s wife. His first reaction was “this doesn’t affect you”. Along with “it just happened”. And also, “please let us tell bestie on our own timetable”. Oh, HELL to the NO.

    I dragged his ass to counseling, as a matter of documentation. On our first visit, the counselor asked if he planned to give up the mistress and work on the marriage. He said he would not. “Well then”, said the counselor, “if you won’t commit to losing the side piece and working on the marriage, there is nothing to work with here”. Asshat pipes up with the fact that I need “anger management”, because I was being so difficult and (gods help me I still laugh out loud thinking about it) CALLING HIM NAMES AND BEING ANGRY ALL THE TIME.

    Counselor gently told him I had every right to be angry. Perhaps I might back off on the name-calling a bit, but she stated to his face that I had EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.

    Bless her. And Bless Chump Nation, for all time for saving me from this piece of shit I used to be married to.

    • Love you for sharing the “Right to be ANGRY” comment from your counselor. My ex-cheater always tried to blame me for his crappy behavior and told me I had anger issues. I was like, “Yeah, I’m angry! Can you imagine being in my shoes for even a minute?” But that only seemed to make him angrier and then he would walk away and state my bringing up his deceit “was not helpful.” WTF? Seriously, WTF? He just wanted to blame me and shut me down so he could continue on with his lies and not have to face his own truth. That also gave him his much needed “space” so he could fuck all the skanks he was trying to keep a secret.

      The discovery of betrayal is so brutal it’s hard to not only recover and keep it together, but I felt like all of his lies and gas-lighting were an attack on my livelihood. He has been so determined to label me as angry or bipolar, that I just don’t even take it on anymore. I don’t care. You just can’t rationalize with a person who takes zero accountability for deceit and lacks remorse.

    • mine told the counselor, he couldn’t deal with my roller coaster of emotions- this was only 2 months since i discovered a 5 year affair,, with a coworker he continued to work with. HE couldn’t deal with my emotions and if i didn’t stop with the ups and downs he didn’t know if he could stay in the marriage….. SEE YA- was my response. He stormed out of a counseling session when the counselor told him i had every right to be angry and to expect him to be honest and transparent about where he was and with who at all times. This after he tried everything to secretly circumvent any tracking apps on his phone even after he agreed to putting them on his phone! The counselor just looked at me and said, i don’t think i can help you- i won’t charge you for today!!! And that was that!

  • “How many of you bought this shit? How many of you waited before making a drastic decision of self protection like seeing a lawyer? Did you wait 6 months? A year to decide? Were you patient with your TFC?”

    Raising hand sheepishly. I waited–endured, more accurately–around eight months before I gathered the tattered remnants of my dignity and filed. I went through it all: the grieving the affair partner, the Making the Marriage a Good Place to Be (translation: choked my pain and humiliation down), blameshifting, the indecision (OM or me and our children? She simply couldn’t decide who was more worthy!), and oh the FOO excuses (I had unleashed her childhood trauma!)

    It wasn’t really a moment of greatness that finally pushed me over the edge to file: I became absolutely sure that I was going to die of a broken heart–and/or have a nervous breakdown.

    “How’d that work for you?”

    It didn’t. But life after divorce, as lonely and exhausting as it has been, is infinitely better than the emotional abuse the TFC will all-too-happily subject you to.

    • David, same, brother same.

      I followed the same RIC pattern and at about month 8/9 post d day I too thought it was leave or have a breakdown. More accurately, my breakdown was already starting and I fled for my life.

      Now in the divorce “process” and he is constant rage, sadz cycle. We have a small child together so I can’t get the hell away from him.

      • Fearful&Loathing,

        In hindsight, me too: I could feel myself cracking. I was not me any more. It frightened me. Divorce was survival, self-preservation, on every level.

        Yes, as soon as I filed she vacillated between both channels, rage and self-pity.

        Our children were six and nine at the time. No, you can’t get the hell away from him. But it will likely get better. Even with a horrifically acrimonious divorce behind us, we now get along pretty well. You are in the trenches at this point. Just keep moving forward with steely resolve, one step at a time. Eventually the worst of it really will be over and all this will be something that happened, not something that is happening.

    • I lasted 3 years, I am incredibly stupid, and trusting. I excel at minimizing my own needs. By the time I left I was a tiny speck. Leaving was my only way to survive. It took 3 more years for the divorce to be final (August 2018), and I am still a mess, but I am employed, have benefits, bought a car, and am providing for my kids.

      • Don’t call yourself stupid. Don’t blame yourself for trusting your ex. You’re supposed to be able to believe in your life partner! Not your fault they trashed the precious gift of your trust.

  • I walked out on the 3rd session with the MC, when Asshat was supposed to be “actively listening” to me and – swear to god- he reported that all he heard was “wah wah wah”- like Charlie Brown’s teacher. I can’t even describe the horrified look on the counselor’s face. I just stood up and left.

  • Hmmm – my stbx must have missed the memo on being a timid forest creature. He was a cold and calculating shark. I wish I had seen CL many years ago. My DD#1 was 5 years ago and he approached me and told me (he had too because he was going to be outed). I thought he had made a mid-life mistake and I told no one and believed I was being the bigger person by forgiving and (mostly) forgetting. As you can guess, big mistake! Too bad I hadn’t stumbled across CL then. Fast forward to DD#2 in which I realize that not only was he cheating again he was using viagra and pot to really get the party started. Now that I have seen the light, I realize that he has been using family money and time to vacation with a married woman at work. My kids and I actually thought he was having an affair with a man (as there were a group of them that hung around together). It is a long story but basically my teenagers found physical evidence of the affair. I had been married 25 years and honestly thought he loved me. Now I know better. While I crazily danced the pick me dance and poured out my heart, he would stare at me with cold and distant shark eyes. Yet, the idiot still wanted to do family events (with my family) and for me to arrange couples events. Once I said that it felt like I was lying to everyone by continuing to socialize (because he was so distant from me) he said he didn’t think he wanted to be married anymore. Finally, I realized that this man was not my friend or my family (he was no longer part of my team – if he ever was). He used me to raise our children and present a family man image while he developed a secret life. He is a cold and calculating shark that preys on innocents. He is still lurking in my home as he refuses to leave (separation agreement is in the works). At every twist and turn he has made this experience more horrible and stressful for me and the children. He believes he is a highly evolved life form and is a new age man. What a dork! I am eagerly awaiting meh – but it is not possible while still in the house with him. I need him gone to I can rebuild my life with my sons. Thank-you all for sharing your experiences. It feels nice to be understood but I am saddened by how common we chumps seem to be.

    • Wow Dee, I’m so sorry. If that’s not the most damning description of your jerk I don’t know how you could top that. Stay strong and you will get there eventually. Hugs to you!

    • Oh my our stories sound SO similar. My ex WAS having an affair with a man, actually many men! Sometimes many men all at the same time in a hotel room! Sometimes he’d bring a young man with him to be used by other men. The Cialis prescription that he got because he was having “ED” issues (his excuse for withholding sex) was so that he could last for hours at these orgies.
      Stay strong, you will be free of him, kick him hard, and don’t back down. Show your kids what integrity and honor look like.

  • I tried to reconcile for 2 months but he played every game he could. Stalled in going to counseling for himself, Whined about trackers, took tracker off his phone, then put it back on and purchased a ouch to keep his phone in that would block any signal. Last straw was refusing to tell me who he had lunch with at work, when he works with the whore. Instead he decided to tell me how “not innocent” I was in this whole situation. After that I was done. He only showed about 1 minute of caring when he realized I was serious about the divorce and needed all the paperwork turned in. I told him a 5 year affair was too much for me to move on from. Since then- no sign of remorse- durinf thr next year he went on to prove what a true unremorseful person he is, he became a monster during our divorce. In the end I also found out he totally lied to me about the whore when he was supposed to be coming clean to save his marriage and family! Talk about true colors. He obviously just didn’t want everyone to know what he did or to lose his money- both things I made sure I succeeded at! Now he’s busy acting like I did something horrible to him that he somehow doesn’t deserve and making coparenting an absolute nightmare! My son doesn’t even buy his crap- he says he didn’t care about spending time with me before why does he want to allmof a sudden! Parenting award goes to…

  • Fuck “timid forest creatures”. If a cheater can’t do the hard work necessary and deal with the fallout from their fucking around – they aren’t someone who is worth being in a marriage. That’s assuming the victim of their fucking around wants them around ever again in the first instance.

    But then again, if they had that level of introspection they wouldn’t have resorted to fucking around in the first instance.

  • I bought this crap hook line and sinker for 3 years post DDay. We did therapy, we took a trip away to reconnect, I “accepted my responsibility” for my part ( HOLY CRAP WHAT A LOAD OF BS THAT IS). Every discussion ended with him telling me what I wanted to hear, and then a few months later, I would find evidence of him taking CL ads out, planning a secretive hookup, or posting on gay hookup sites. Every time I would screenshot the ads, converstations, pictures and present him with them. Twice it was “I was just looking, it’s hard to give up, I miss “X” ( or Y or Z ), they were a big part of my life, and I had to say goodbye to them, this is hard for me too” The third time ( after he was fired for… not doing his job…because he was so busy doing other things) I printed all the evidence out, and calmly talked to him one evening. I told him I knew what he was up to and would he like to tell me about it first. He flatly denied that he was up to anything ” I have no idea what you are talking about”- I slowly placed about 10 documents on the bed infront of him, saying nothing. I just stared at them. I whispered to him. “I am leaving at the end of next month, by August 15th, I will be gone, I have drawn up a preliminary agreement for you to look over. My attorney will be contacting you. I suggest you get an attorney as well”
    He collapsed into the fetal position for 2 weeks, then plead with me not to go, plead with me to still be friends, still spend holidays together, plead with me for one more chance…”. His last bit of power over me was to drag his feet in the divorce, ignoring any request for documentation/paperwork. He was threatened with contempt twice, but still managed to drag the process out 3 years. Unfortunately, when he did select a lawyer, he got a better, more aggressive one than I did, and once again, I ended up getting screwed, but I am finally free of him. This is the first year I didn’t wish him happy birthday, nor did I remind the kids to do so.

  • Sweet baby jesus on rye toast does this ring true to me.

    When I started calling my ex out on his actions, this is *exactly* what happened. He removed himself from my company and refused to talk to me about anything. He wouldn’t spend any time with me or even eat dinner with me.

    Flat out refused to have anything to do with me. It broke my heart at the time because I loved him and I was under the impression he loved me. Any attempts at trying to communicate were shut down and he punished me immensely for trying to get answers.

    Eventually, I stopped trying to engage him in conversation and it took another few years for me to build the courage to move out. Once I did, I absolutely lost my mind. He absolutely did his best to ensure that I felt his wrath such as refusing my calls when I needed help with certain things (important health matters). He failed to make spousal support payments on time and I had to beg for money.

    After finding this site, I recognised a lot of common characteristics between the letters sent in and the behaviours I’ve lived with for 16 years. The letter in the archives about the husband preferring porn to his wife was particularly apt. This post has also given me pause for thought.

    With all this punishing he had been doling out, he still doesn’t want to divorce me. I think that’s because I’ve been useful to him.

    What I’m about to say is terrible and I realised how much of a chump I was because I had been loaning him money because he was having some financial difficulties. With the little spousal support he was giving me as it was…turn out that he had only given me £300 for the last year because I had been loaning him money, which he has been very slow paying back. I don’t expect to see it again. When I realised my mistake, I was quite angry with myself because I fell into the trap again. Here I am again, not having been paid for the last two months, I’m supposed to be ok with that because he gives me some attention and doesn’t want a divorce.

    I’m getting closer to filing for divorce (another expense I have to cover).

    Thank you, Chump Lady and the posters of this site, its helped me not feel so alone in the things I’ve encountered and had to live with.

  • http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/manipulator/apology.shtml

    Excerpts from one of the rants that applies nicely:

    “”I’m Just So Confused”
    The emotional blackmailer uses this excuse to get you to listen to their never-ending stream of problems.

    At first it seems like you’re helping them out as a friend/lover, then it becomes a full time counselling job.

    It is bullshit. –It’s just one more way of putting major and minor decisions into someone else’s (usually your’s) hands. And then using the emotional blackmail device of “but I trusted you when you said this would be the best thing to do” if things go wrong. Or it is one more way of keeping you around when you really want an answer to an ultimatum: ie “either commit or I leave”

    “but I can’t make up my mind, I’m confused about it. Give me some more time to make a decision that’s best for both of us – stop rushing me you’re making me upset”

    The other tactic employed is “If I’m confused, you must really be having a hard time with it” and encouraging you to bare your soul. The information the emotional blackmailer receives during this seemingly confidential and mutually trusting session will be stored away and, sooner or later, be used against you to the blackmailer’s advantage or out of spite when things go wrong (and they WILL).”

    Add Adulterer to the list and yeah – we’re on to something!

    “”The reason I’m nasty/an alcoholic/a beater/drug addict is because you make me do it/we’re co-dependent.”
    The emotional blackmailer will take absolutely no responsibilty for their problems – YOU are supposed to solve them. YOU are supposed to support them by not doing any of the things that even hint at letting them be tempted by their addiction. And if you don’t, or life is just too stressful, then you drive them to the bottle/violence/drugs. If they are trying to get your sympathy for just having beaten you up/yelled at you they will say they can’t help themselves, their parents/former partners did it to them and they don’t know any different.

    HORSESHIT!

    There comes a time when you take responsiblity for your own life – otherwise you become your abuser. TELL THEM TO GROW UP AND GET OVER IT.

    Then leave. Or throw them out until they get help.

    Unfortunately they may have sought help from books that tell them they are “co-dependent” ie that again, the other person is responsible for/contributing to their bad behaviour:

    “You have a drink when you get home so I can’t help but get drunk too. You’re dragging me down”
    Hello! – there is a big difference between sharing a drink after work and drinking until you are totally drunk. One or two drinks is not bad. It does not instantly make you into an alcoholic – you are not the emotional blackmailer or his/her parents/former partners – you are fine it is the blackmailer who has the problem NOT EVERYONE ELSE.”

  • I get the whole point, I really do . . . but I choose to remain a “Chump” for now, by choice. Hear me out . . .

    My “mid-life” crisis husband has had 2 emotional affairs over the past decade-plus (probably more). I don’t think any of them got physical, but if it did, I really don’t care at this point.

    I finally decided the anger, anxiety, suspicion, and pins-and-needles feelings over his adolescent shit wasn’t worth it anymore. I told him I was going to MAKE myself not care. And I am. If he wants to run up and see his beloved Schnoopie, or even get laid, have it at, as long as he doesn’t spend OUR money on her or divorce me. Go see if the grass is really greener with your superficial drama queen. I was his first sex partner, and he feels like he missed out. He will always feel that way, and it’s no longer my problem.

    The kids are gone, we finally have a savings account, I’m about ME now.

    Truth be told, I’ve had several of my own secret “crushes” over the years. I didn’t go to the extent of meeting up with them for lunch to share all our sappy, delusional feelings, but still . . . I was mentally distracted by other men, and most wives will admit the same, if they are honest with themselves. Come on, you KNOW you had secret crushes on the mailman, the co-worker, the guy at church, whatever . . . So, I can hardly be so righteously indignant. His greater “sin” was to sneak around actively pursing his crushes, texting sweet nothings to them, and not being honest with me about it. Whatever . . . now I’m free to do the same. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    My husband isn’t abusive, and we otherwise have had a good marriage. so I decided I’m not going to go through a painful divorce just to prove I’m not a Chump. I’m not surrendering my good life at home as a self-employed part-timer in exchange for a Walmart job and 1-room apartment.

    My kids had a wonderful childhood, and I’m not going to heap anxiety and sadness onto them over their dad’s childish infatuation. It’s his problem and why should I take it personally? I don’t NEED male attention or devotion. His obsession over these other women don’t make him happy. It makes him moody, stressed out, and miserable as he pines away for a married woman who just reconciled with her own cheating husband. Touche! I’m quite content.

    I no longer have to feel obligated to have boring sex with him. I no longer have to feel guilty when I want to spend money on me (he’s a tightwad).

    So, you see, it’s win-win. I have my home, our new car, my pet, my kids, steady income, friends, no stress, and if he buys me gifts or takes me on a nice trip to soothe his guilt and torment . . . bonus for me.

    It’s all a matter of perspective. I’m empowering myself by making HIM the chump. If he eventually leaves me for one of his fantasies (I doubt he will); nothing lost, nothing gained. I was independent before we met, and I can be again if I have to. But for now, if he runs off to another secret rendezvous (aka work seminar), just more time for me to have the house to myself to do whatever I want.

    • “Come on, you KNOW you had secret crushes on the mailman, the co-worker, the guy at church, whatever . . . So, I can hardly be so righteously indignant.”

      People of decent character know that no one is as perfect in real life as they are in fantasies, and disordered fuckwits go forth and actively pursue others.

      “I’m not surrendering my good life at home as a self-employed part-timer in exchange for a Walmart job and 1-room apartment.”

      So you’re dependent upon his money. You are also engaging in image management and in fact, you’re no better than your husband.

      http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/letter.shtml

      “It angers me when these women suddenly pop up as dignity-seekers after the kids are all grown, the house is paid for, the friendships established, the profession entrenched. NOW they remember he has a bad character and they have a dignity… and NOW they remember you and I are so awesome, so insightful, so accomplished in our own right. We know so much about abusers and how to deal with them and get out of their traps. Why didn’t they remember their dignity before? Too busy raising a family and enjoying the perks of a solid, conventional life in the warm nest of society, ah? They didn’t have a “dignity” in their thirties, it was not as convenient as now in their fifties.”

      • Well, for one thing, my husband isn’t an “abuser.” And I doubt he had sex with his “crush.”

        Secondly, another definition of “Chump” is running of half-cocked to divorce court thinking you’re going to “show him,” only to find yourself living in a van down by the river while he runs off with Schoopie anyway. Kind of like cutting off your nose to spite him. Well played, Chump Lady. All those men sure are learning their lesson, aren’t they?

        There’s a difference between tolerating shit as a “pick me” ploy, and tolerating shit because I pick me. I’m not giving up my half of the cake over any man. But then I’m not so needy for male attention and devotion that I need to spend a year paying a lawyer to show them how pissed I am that I’m not getting it.

        • So you’re using him for HIS money. Go earn your own, invest in your own future and don’t rely upon his earnings.

          You’re choosing to use him which is no better than what he chooses to do to you. In the end, you deserve one another.

          “But then I’m not so needy for male attention and devotion that I need to spend a year paying a lawyer to show them how pissed I am that I’m not getting it.”

          No, you recognize that you aren’t going to be able to support yourself without his income. You’re taking the lazy way.

          • We’re both near retirement age. But who decided an expensive, stressful divorce is the only way to handle this? Some angry woman on the internet? Okay. I’ll get right on that, because some stranger on a blog told me what’s best for me.

            Are couples who agree to an open marriage just being chumps, too?

            What’s the difference if a couple agrees to just be room-mates instead of selling off the house and getting strangers as room-mates so they can survive financially? Oh, wait. That scenario doesn’t fit the Disney fairy tale or some rom com from the 50s.

        • Also, my husband was a great husband and father. His schoolboy crush wasn’t until late 50s. Other than that, he’s still a great husband. No hookers. No drugs. No drunkenness. No spending money in secret, no lying or abuse . . .

          Reading about some of the other fuckwits being described on here — hell no would I tolerate those losers just to keep half of my cake.

          Not everyone’s situation is the same, and telling every single woman to kick the fuckwit out if he fucks up once may not be the best advice for everyone. Especially when young kids are involved. If my husband had been doing that shit when I was a young mother, I would’ve done a revenge affair to see how he liked it. No “take the high road” BS for me.

          • Willing, I think the Chump Lady quote for you is, ‘Is this acceptable to you?’ Sounds like you are in a good place, know what you want and make sure you get it, and are content with your lot. Good for you!

            • ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump, I don’t even know that my husband back to contacting the woman. Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. But I’m not going to wreck my health obsessing over every out-of-town work seminar he goes to. I would rather just dissociate from the drama.

              Other than a few sappy emails about how much they love getting together for lunch when he’s attending his work seminars, I have no evidence that they even kissed, much less rolled in the sack. I gave him the option of open marriage and he didn’t want it. If I find out he’s eating that cake again, I’ll just tell him our marriage is officially open whether he likes it or not. Then he can sit at work all day wondering where I’m going and who I’m seeing. 😉

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