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UBT: “People sometimes lie or ‘forget’ to keep their promises”

Do you know how many verses of the “UBT Is So Great” song I had to sing to get it to translate Dear Therapist? I need a lie down and a lozenge.

Following up from yesterday’s bullshit — When the OW Doesn’t Trust Her Boyfriend — today we’re putting Dear Therapist’s answer through the chipper shredder.

Without further ado.

Dear Anonymous,

There are several ways to look at this situation, and I want to help you consider a couple of them so that you can see these events differently.

Dear Person Who Dated a Married Guy Who Dragged His Feet for Over Two Years on a Divorce,

There are several ways to look at this situation, none of them involve the chump — the person married to your less-than-available boyfriend.

When I see couples for therapy, I’m always interested in their origin story—how they met, what those early months were like, and what meaning each person gave (and still gives) to the events as they played out.

The important thing is the meaning you ascribe events. Not whether or not they actually occurred.

Did your boyfriend tell you he was available, and then went home and fucked his wife? As long as you felt special and he felt available, that’s what matters.

I assume everyone is completely honest with me about these events, because therapy is sodium pentathol.

One way to tell your origin story is to say that your boyfriend wasn’t trustworthy and that you have evidence to support this: He didn’t initially tell you that he was separated rather than divorced; he kept in contact with his wife while you were dating; and he didn’t take the steps you asked him to take to move the divorce forward even though he said he would.

One way to tell your story is your boyfriend is a lying cheater who lies and cheats. You have evidence to support this — he neglected to mention his marital status for three whole months. People who are legally separated and who have initiated actual divorce proceedings — have nothing to hide. People who still live with their spouses and pretend to be single have everything to hide.

Until there comes a day his cellphone rings and it’s “Babe, the gutters need cleaning” and you’re like “Who the fuck is calling you Babe and when did you get gutters?”


This version of the story could play out in various ways, but most likely it will keep you locked in place. Even if you find your boyfriend to be completely trustworthy going forward, you might carry the pain of this early time into your future, along with the belief that his not pursuing his divorce in the way you wanted reflected some deficiency in his love for you and/or deficiency in his moral compass. And viewed through the lens of this pain, you might never truly trust him. Needless to say, this isn’t a solid foundation for a relationship.

Even if you find your boyfriend to be completely trustworthy Leprechauns going forward into the Fairy Ether, you might carry the pain of this early time, or Disney forest nymphs will care it for you, in a cloud of bluebirds. Is his love or his moral compass deficient? Jabberwocky! And viewed through the lens of bubblegum Trotsky, you might never truly earflaps.

(Excuse me, I think the UBT is malfunctioning. I need to whack it, and sing a few more verses.)

Needless to say, this isn’t a solid foundation for a relationship.

Another way to tell your origin story, however,

And this is why people pay me $170/hour — to spin this shit.

goes something like this: Your boyfriend’s marriage was ending, but like many marital endings, it wasn’t clean and it was painful for both people involved. One or both of them might have been ambivalent. One might have wanted the divorce and the other didn’t. Or the decision to divorce might have been mutual but both still had to grieve the loss.

Like many marital endings, there was cheating. But first there was cake. Years and years of cake — having a partner and side dish fucks. Then cake was discovered, explanations demanded. And it was painful for both the chump, whose world was shattered, and the cheater, whose beautiful, beautiful entitlement was questioned. Both of them might have been ambivalent — the cheater, because it’s hard to find a good spouse appliance and who wants to share one’s pension? And the chump, because they’re being mindfucked 24/7 by the cheater and an entire Reconciliation Industrial Complex, and because of the residual love they feel for this piece of shit they married. People bond with regrettable people. It happens.

The decision to divorce might have been mutual, but it tends not to drag out over 2.5 years. Nor does mutuality express itself with ultimatums.

#buyaclue #reallyhereisa$




It might sound counterintuitive that exiting a bad situation would result in grief, but few relationships are all good or all bad. Most people choose each other because they genuinely enjoy many of the same things—they often have similar interests, ways of seeing the world, senses of humor, and sets of values. They might not match up exactly on all of these, but generally there’s enough emotional glue for them to choose to marry, for them to commit to a future and think, We’ll be happy going through life together.

He digs his wife. They still fuck. They’re still married.

You’re the side dish. He digs you too. You fuck. He’s still married.

But when a marriage ends, so does everything that came with it—not just the parts that weren’t working, but also the parts that were, all the comforts that the marriage provided: time invested in getting to know each other intimately, the built-in company and daily routines, all the private jokes and references, the shared memories and experiences. We can still miss aspects of people and the relationship we had even if we don’t want to be with them.

When a marriage end, so does everything that came with it — that person’s paycheck, the way they renew car registrations, and dust radiators — a whole host of benefits. This is not easily ended. Especially when Schmoopie will fuck you consequence-free for two years. Why divide that 401K? Why not keep cake alive?

#170wasted #stillnoclue

I don’t know how deeply you got to know your boyfriend as he went through his divorce, but my guess is that your anxiety about where he was in the process didn’t leave much room for your curiosity about his inner life, nor was he left feeling safe enough to share it with you. You met him at a major crossroads in his life, when he was trying to navigate the end of his marriage and the beginning of his relationship with you, and while he tried to accommodate your needs, I don’t know how aware you were of his.

I don’t know how deeply you got to know your boyfriend over the 2.5 years he’s gone through his divorce, that is still not finalized, but MIGHT be in 6 months. (I’m sure the Great Pumpkin will appear.) But my guess is your anxiety is fully to be expected. Nations have fought wars, changed borders, and negotiated entire peace treaties in the amount of time it takes your boyfriend to notarize one sheet of paper.

The problem here is — you haven’t considered his feelings. Embossed seals are terrifying.

Consider: People sometimes lie or “forget” to keep their promises when they’re asked to do something they don’t want to do but the consequences of sharing their truth—I’m not ready to do this—feel intolerable.

Consider: People sometimes “forget” they are married. They forget those promises they made in front of their assembled family and friends, and commemorate each year with anniversaries. It slips the mind.

It could be your boyfriend deceives you, however, he may just be absentminded.

Should he awake from his marital status slumber, do not frighten him.

While you needed the safety that you hoped would come from your boyfriend being further along in his divorce (both emotionally and logistically), he needed more time to settle into a new relationship and let go of his old one. Similarly, your boyfriend’s desire not to hurt the woman he had married by cutting off all contact in a way that felt “harsh” might not reflect his insensitivity to your feelings so much as his sensitivity to hers. In a way, it speaks volumes about his capacity for compassion and empathy. Imagine what his wife must have been going through, watching her husband find a fantastic new partner just months into their separation. Imagine how hard it might have been for him to hurt her in this way. Imagine if you’d been the divorcing spouse watching your husband fall madly in love with somebody else, and this person demanded that he cut off all ties with you. Your boyfriend could picture this in a way you couldn’t.

He’s not a cheater deceiving a wife and girlfriend — NO, he’s a man of great compassion and empathy.

Turnips solve differential equations and German shepherds bake excellent pie crusts.

All this spackle for $170 and if you act now, I’ll throw in a blender.



It’s interesting to consider, too, that you stayed with him for two years, presumably in order to have a future with him—setting up important building blocks, as you say—and only when he becomes available and you’re about to get everything you’ve been asking him for, do you contemplate leaving. Prior to this, you had plenty of opportunities to leave, to say to him, “I’m not comfortable being with you until you’re divorced, so let’s stop dating and see where we both are when your divorce is final.” But you didn’t.

Earlier I accuse you of not being understanding enough, and now I point out you could leave. Do you want to win this frosted turd, or don’t you? The Pick Me Dance is not won in mere years — it’s a lifetime endeavor. Suck it up, buttercup.

So here’s an important theme in your origin story, and one of the most meaningful: Neither one of you wanted to risk losing the other. Both of you made sacrifices to be together despite the unfortunate timing of your getting together. But now all those earlier obstacles have been removed—and you’re racked with doubt.

The obstacles have been removed — the chump is gone! Whoever shall be your hypotenuse now?

Where will this story go? Well, that’s up to you. You can find your boyfriend unworthy of your trust and either leave now or cause him to leave later when he feels that there’s no possible way to earn your trust, or you can understand more about why you’re having doubts at the very moment the safety you wanted is in sight. Yes, there’s some healing to be had, but maybe it’s going to be less about his proving something to you and more about your expanding your capacity for considering another person’s story line alongside your own.

The problem isn’t that your married boyfriend is unworthy of trust, you’re just impossible to please. SAFETY IS YOURS! The chump has been eliminated! YOU WON THE PICK ME POLKA!

Will you collect your prizes? We have hypervigilance, anxiety, and self-loathing. Will you take them?

Well, that’s up to you.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Wow…that was spectacularly awful advice from the therapist! Glad not all are like this.

    The therapist can’t see the forest for the trees: she doesn’t trust him BECAUSE he is untrustworthy! It really is that simple, imo.

    • I’ve just come home from an extremely busy chaotic shift in an acute psychiatric unit. I’ve heard some amazing things today. I’ve listened to gregorian chants in English aaaand made up Cantonese!
      I’ve searched for the “head of Interpol’s” lost jacket.
      I’ve witnessed a man whistle to a bird and the bird respond with an answer.
      Someone threw tea at the doctor cos he didn’t rub coconut oil on another persons throat to cure strep throat.
      In about 2/3 weeks time those people will be home . Trying their best. And getting on with it.
      Chumps all over the world will be dealing with deluded bullshit like this
      God! It’s not even original!

      • Egans,
        I, too, work in an acute psychiatric hospital. And those everyday events (such as you listed) pale in comparison to this therapist’s moral contortions. Overcomplicate & bullshit much? Give the OW what she wants: more unicorns & sparkle, please.
        God, I love CL & her trusty UBT!

    • Exactly my thoughts DM!
      Lack of integrity in one relationship = lack of integrity in another relationship.

    • Divorce Minister, yeah, glad they aren’t all like that. My therapist was encouraging me to leave. This therapist is nuts. This girl is having glimpses of reality (that this guy is a creep and she’s going to get burned) and the therapist shoves back into Lala Land. Ugh…

      • my priest was the one who encouraged me to divorce and we are Catholics.

        i have zero sympathy for this chick being as she knowingly and willingly dated a married man for 2 and half years.. .. apparently she is not only thick and a little slow.. but she has no moral compass just like the cheater to believe his lies about “getting a divorce”.. ..

        in my opinion, she deserves all the burning she gets.. .. . then maybe she will learn not to fuck with married men. its not like there is shortage on single men in the world.. .

        • MrsVain: Yes yes and yes! I hated the comments in the Atlantic — all the bullshit about poor OW. Ugh. Half of me hope she gets stuck with him: fuckwit meet fuckwit.

  • Here’s the missing origin story of the OW: Your “boyfriend” was married and is still married. He didn’t want a divorce. He wanted a “girlfriend,” or to be more accurate, a mistress or a side piece. An “Other Woman.” He dragged his feet on the divorce because he was lying to you. Maybe his wife found out he was cheating and filed, but then he would have to pay child support. He would have to move. He would lose half his pension. Or she may not even know about you. He may be lying to both of you.

    Meanwhile, you, OW, are feeding this liar massive doses of ego kibbles as you “pick-me dance” for him. Two and a half years to get a divorce and he’s still six months away? He’s either not getting a divorce or he’s fighting it all the way, either to stay in the marriage or to avoid paying for his kids.

    To sum it up, your origin story is you were fucking a married man who has been lying to you the whole time. #homewrecker


    Words: 1,020
    Characters (no spaces): 4,674
    Characters (with spaces): 5,660
    Paragraphs: 12
    Lines: 75
    Justifications for Shitty Behavior: 21
    Rationalizations for Shitty Behavior: 19
    Deflections From Shitty Behavior: 13
    Pathetic Entitled Invertebrate Cheaters: 1
    Pathetic Entitled Delusional OWs: 1
    Pathetic but Gleefully-Paid RIC Con Artists: 1
    Gaslighted Mind-fucked Chumps: 1
    Eyerolls: 15
    Laugh-Out-Louds: 8
    Face Palms: 18
    Computer Screen Punches: 3
    Subscriptions to The Atlantic Cancelled: 1
    Chumps Thankful for the UBT: [infinity]

  • This is why I get very suspicious of someone who dates while they’re separated, even if they’re clearly on the road to divorce – even without bad intentions, divorces are messy and can go sideways in a multitude of ways – do you really want to make it *more* complicated?

    • I agree! Relationships are HARD. Do you really want to volunteer to be someone’s unpaid therapist, case worker, and life coach while they are going through a divorce?

      Don’t YOU deserve someone who has processed their grief, fixed their picker, has worked out custody and spousal support, has built an independent life?

      It’s nice to be needed, but isn’t it better to know that your partner wants you for YOU – not your comfortably furnished home and spouse-appliance perks?

      • But the letter writer wants a ‘project’! Someone to fix! When his nasty wife is gone, she can guide him to the promised land!
        Except he’s a liar and a poser.
        Good luck OW, you’ll need it!

  • This is at the heart of the cheater narrative of self-aggrandizement and flawless image management: they are not deceitful and self serving, they are actually MORALLY SUPERIOR:

    “it speaks volumes about his capacity for compassion and empathy”.

    • Makes you wonder about the therapist, no? Whether she, too, is a cheater or a chump who believes in unicorns and stayed.

      What I noticed is how the OW kept saying “we” when what she really mean was “me” or “I,” as in “I made plans” (or progress, I can’t remember exactly). Even in a letter in which she reveals she finally has an inkling of understanding about her Cheating Boyfriend, she is spackling at impasto depth.

    • Yes! I keep telling people my STBX feels he is a higher life form. He is the evolved one. He actually says well you seem to like the word “cheater”. Well, lying and having sexual intercourse while spending time and money on another woman is the definition of cheating. This is what blows my mind. I have come to the realization that cheating is rampant but the delusion of being a highly evolved person who is justified in doing whatever he wants is what blows my mind. Not once has he exhibited any remorse – he is defiant while he lies, gaslights, and stonewalls. I kept thinking he was having a breakdown. He feels he is better than me – I know that I am better than him. Cheers chump nation! This therapist should be fired as they are basically saying anyone can do what they want as long as it is their meaning and their story.

      • Actually I prefer ‘backstabber’ over cheater – a cheater COULD (possibly) change – a backstabber can NEVER pull those knives out and knows it – written on the hilt of all those knives? “Trust” !!

        • Jax, this is an excellent suggestion!

          “Backstabber” is a very helpful description. I will borrow it as I work my way to meh. Thank you!

          There’s a lot of social support for forgiving cheaters (e.g. Dear Therapist). Not so much for being all nicey-nice to someone who has stabbed you in the back. Repeatedly.

    • The STBX told me that he and the girl he was in love with thought I was “small minded” because I was unhappy about him spending hours at night alone with her in her caravan. They were just good friends! She was the best friend he’d ever had! And I was just jealous and therefore a Bad Person. Good people are never jealous!
      Yes, they thought they were morally superior, evolved, ‘woke’ even. *sigh*

  • All mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths #mindfucksmoothie…

    ‘Twas brillig, but you’ll be singing the “UBT Is So Great” song for a while after this one, CL. And applying only the finest Kiehls cream and cucumber masks to its transponders. (I’m sure the UBT is too sensible to ask for fad gut cleanses, though there’s certainly a lot of BS to clear out here…)

    I hope Dear Therapist gets wind of this memo from RealityVille – maybe in time to run a retraction after her break.

  • And all this time, I was the obstacle to his happiness. Poor cheater. ????‍♀️

  • Where did the Therapist get her education and license??? The bottom of a septic tank? What this therapist fails to see is that the boyfriend/cheater feels entitled and really does not give a rats ass about the wife or the skank girlfriend. What the therapist should have done. Was call the girlfriend out on her screwing a married man for 2.5 years. Let the girlfriend know that she was just a booty call and he never intended to leave his wife.

    • I read this therapist’s other article about screwing up her first therapy session as a therapist…and she has NO BUSINESS calling herself a therapist! It’s ALL EGO & no there there (thank you, Gertrude Stein!). She clearly failed at other attempts to declare herself a minor deity (MD, med school dropout), but managed to get a degree in counseling and now market her drivel on a widespread platform. Ugh. I, too, was a journalist and am now a therapist. But I wouldn’t dream of pesdling this epic smoke-blowing as advice.
      Long live CL, UBT, CN and the REAL.

  • Sad. So sad that so many therapists do this sort of harm to people. Okay, it’s clear that this woman is the sharpest knife in the toaster to start with, but really. The therapist’s advice seems negligent.

    Heaven forbid we call this little club for what it is: ASS. The accountability sucks society.

    • Mine called Jackass a “distraction” and her first words on finding out he was cheating were “You can never go back.”

      Quite the contrast.

      • Mine did the same and I am very thankful for her words: “We need to get you out of there.”

        • Whilst I was trying to untangle the f*wit’s skein, my therapist said, “We know the car is on fire. How it got there doesn’t matter. GET OUT OF THE FLAMING CAR.”
          GOD, I love my therapist!

  • Wow, After Leprechauns going forward into the Fairy Ether, the UBT deserves a five star vacation and to get there by first class.

    Play Hey Jude for him, will you Chump Lady?

    I don’t know who is dumber, the OW or the Dear Therapist. And to think she actually has a job.

  • The fog is amazingly powerful. Wow. The things we tell ourselves — or allow others to tell us when we want what we want.

  • “BUT NOW ALL THOSE EARLIER OBSTACLES HAVE BEEN REMOVED……” say everything about this so-called therapist. The Chump is an obstacle.

    • Exactly… methinks this so-called armchair “therapist” is a raging narcissist herself….. #ittakesonetoknowone

    • So true. That is exactly how OW saw me. An obstacle in the way of twu luv.

      He lied and told her I refused to divorce him.

      Funny he never bothered seeking a divorce at all in 2 years. I had to file.

      Schoompkinpoop didn’t want to face the fact that she really wasn’t so special and if he really wanted the divorce, he would have filed for one a long time ago.

      I also like how she calls him her boyfriend. I think one of the things that makes a boyfriend is them not being married to someone else.


      • “Schoompkinpoop” is LOL #gold! Poor OW really is delusional. Her “boyfriend” is a married man. Period.

      • My exhole has been living with the skanky ho since d-day 2 years ago. She also calls him her boyfriend. I wonder if she knows that when my lawyer wrote in our separation agreement that he would be responsible for paying for the divorce, her boyfriend’s response was “I’m not paying for it, I don’t need a divorce.”
        Now that’s twu wuv if I’ve ever seen it! Lol.

  • The UBT is such a lifesaver, providing simple-yet-profound interpretation as well as much-needed levity. Thank you, UBT!

  • the therapist thinks that the best way to deal with this woman’s delusions is with more delusions. that she can use ignoring red flags in the early stage of the relationship as justification to continue ignoring red flags.

  • This…this is just more evidence that people should come with warning labels: #mindfucksmoothie #nofuckingclue #areyoustupidorwhat #cakecakecakecakecake

  • CL, you’re spot on as usual! The reference to hypotenuse caught my eye: when I felt powerless in the beginning I learned that my pain was actually fueling X&OW as the third angle in a sick triangle. What a revelation! No contact permits me to remove myself from that fucked up game.

    Last weekend, 4.5 years after DDAY, X invited me into the triangle again by bringing OW for the first time to DD’s event— they slinked in the back door of the theater and hid in the back. My DD did not invite her.

    I held my head high, pretended they weren’t there, and kept NC, I refuse to participate in that sick shit. Later it was clear that X is still playing his sick mind games — things must not be going the way he wants so he had to manipulate OW (she had never seen me before) and get her to keep up her pick-me-dancing. Disgusting.

    So glad I’m free of that!

    • i believe wasband would do this also with his troll he picked out of the neighborhood gutter. She hated me with such a passion. She would often go out of her way to tell me off, put me down, argue and try to fight with me. she creates new facebook accounts just to check my page (if you search someone in facebook, they start popping up in your suggested friends list because facebook thinks you are friends if you search a name, and since i NEVER search her name, she must be searching mine), she would have her cousins and friend send me a friend request and then harass me for her .. .. even after 4 years, she would still call me and tell me how HE IS HERS NOW.. .. (even thou they broke up like 2 to 3 times a year).. .. even when i would refuse to talk to her and never responded to her texts, i had her blocked and would hang up on her if she called or took the phone from wasband.. .. the only reason i would answer the phone in the first place is because of our 2 boys.. .. as soon as she got on the phone, i hung up after saying i refuse to talk to you or telling her she has nothing to do with my kids. .. . .

      it never really bothered me but a couple times she would say something before i hung up that would make me wonder.. .. sometimes i think wasband was TELLING her that i was chasing him. or i was begging him or crying for him to come home.. .. so that SHE would try harder to keep him.. .. i guess it worked for a little while, last summer she was telling people that he cheated on her with ME!!! i was appalled that anyone would think that i would cheat.. .. but it would not surprise me that wasband would say that to her.

      supposedly they broke up “for real” last october. he just started texting me which i am doing low contact. very low contact. i only answer if he asks about the boys which is not often. yesterday he told me he misses my dad (never once has he missed me) and i stopped texting at all.. .. .

  • “Both of you made sacrifices to be together despite the unfortunate timing of your getting together.”

    Yes, *both* of you made sacrifices. He lied about being married and lied about taking active steps towards getting a divorce, and you forgave him for all his lying. Really these are equivalent sacrifices – lying to people is actually really tough, you know! I mean, when you think about it, he had to forgive you for *making* him lie about his wife in order to keep you fucking him – and then forgive you for being a bitch to him about all the lying! Really, I don’t think you’ve looked at this enough from his point of view.

    This woman is batshit nuts. That being said, her ex did an interview about her for Jezebel, and, well, if half that stuff is true, I think she’s doing this on purpose. As in, I think she’s angry about being cheated on, so she’s intentionally screwing with this OW in order to make her stay with a clearly untrustworthy man, because she thinks it’ll be funny.

    Seriously, read this shit!

    • Let’s not forget that in all this “sacrifice,” the wife was “sacrificed.” No voluntary sacrifices there. Just the wife’s sacrifice by the husband on the altar of entitlement–his. (I am writing this before reading the Jezebel piece.)

    • Oh I just wrote something similar below. I also have the idea that this therapist is messing with the ow intentionally.

      • Yeah, it’s just… this is truly batshit! She basically goes “yes, if you look at it one way, he lied to you and has kept lying to you… but have you tried seeing it from his point of view? He didn’t want to get divorced yet and also wanted to have a girlfriend! And if telling the truth could get in the way of him getting what he wanted… well, what could he do but lie? Also, haven’t you heard of the sunk cost fallacy? You’re already with him, so what can you do but keep going?”

        I could understand if the guy said that in order to manipulate her into staying, but there’s 100% no reason why an outside observer would say that unless there was some benefit to misleading her this badly.

      • UnderConstruction,

        I don’t think the therapist is messing with her. She has several books out that encourage women to “not be so picky” and basically take any guy that comes along because he’s “good enough.” Literally the title of one of her books. This “therapist” is batshit crazy.

    • Whoa! This article shows just how easy it is to gain traction if you make enough noise to get noticed. She is in The Atlantic, a magazine I have loved. Books, interviews and she treated him like a second class citizen. This poor guy put up with a lot which tells us just how easy it is to get played.

  • CL, you and the UBT out did yourselves again! Love, love, love yesterday and today’s article. Of course today I made sure I finished my coffee first. I had a couple of close moments yesterday.

    It’s hard to see who is the bigger deludinoid in each scenario but I guess the therapist is more of a snake oil sales person.

    Some people just hear what they want to hear which is what keeps the RIC in business. Hear is to hoping anonymous wins the battle of getting the sparkly turd!

  • “You met him at a major crossroads in his life, when he was trying to navigate the end of his marriage and the beginning of his relationship with you”…

    So the “overlapping of relationships” is a healthy way to move on in this therapist’s view?

    Thanks to CL & the UBT I have my head screwed on the right way.
    This therapist needs to read CL and the great comments. She is screwed up and her response clearly proves it.

  • My far less sophisticated UBT says: it’s all your fault. You don’t know/ take his needs into consideration and you’re afraid to commit after 2.5 ys and all your pokes to divorce. It’s your fault, you’re a problem. No wonder he had to find comfort with the second OW, they’ve been at it for the last 2 ys.

    • Exactly. She took away his cake so now it is her responsibility to replace it. He deserves cake because he is such a kind and considerate person after all.

  • … Consider: People sometimes “forget” they are married. They forget those promises they made in front of their assembled family and friends, and commemorate each year with anniversaries. It slips the mind…

    Yep. And mine took it one step further… forget you knew the person … abandon her and erase her like she never existed … easier than to forget all the promises.

  • Possible that this “therapist” simply saw easy delusional prey and decided to go with it??

    She spins a few perspectives and one is sure to satisfy this poor ho, right? Heck, she’ll likely be a client for life if she stays chasing this cheater/liar! Lol. I kind of enjoy that this selfish ow is getting suckered by both her therapist AND her married “boyfriend”. I know laughing at someone else’s pain is wrong but I do love some good ol’ justice with my morning joe.
    #hodown #keepdancin #instantkarma

  • Ms. Therapist seems to be working under the assumption that the boyfriend’s divorce was already under way and he was already separated from his wife when he started dating the girlfriend and when she found out about the wife. That is a big presumption. If that were the case, why would he hide it? A therapist who works with couples should know enough to at least be suspicious and point out the possibility that the boyfriend might be a lying piece of shit who was abusing his wife in the pursuit of cake.

    On the other hand, I am almost happy she gave the advice she did. She is basically encouraging the OW to step into the role of chump. After all, she worked hard to separate cheater from the chump he had so it is only fair that she now take on that role herself. It wouldn’t be right to deny cheater his cake. That would be cruel. That karma bus is on its way.

    • I agree.

      The advice given to the OW almost looks custom made to lure her into the disaster of becoming the main relationship with a known Cheater…many more years of her biological clock will tick away while she tries to navigate the unnavigable waters of a relationship with this selfish asshole. (The therapist couldnt have done worse if she had tried. I almost pity a person who does their job this badly)

  • If Cheater has actually filed for divorce, I’ll eat my hat. No, he’s going to string LW on as long as he can with “promises” of divorce, yet never actually move on to filing.

    An acquaintance of mine has been having, if not an emotional affair, damn close to one with a married guy for SIX YEARS. he tells her how “his wife doesn’t understand him like SHE does” and gives her juuuuust enough cake to keep her strung along. Meanwhile, she turns down perfectly suitable non-cheating guys as she’s all starry eyed over Married Guy. His wife does know about her, hates her (justifiably so) and this just feeds the whole cycle.

    • Lia, I have a friend who also goes after married guys, or guys who live 3000 miles away. They are either emotionally or physically unavailable, and I think that’s the point. If they don’t have a partner who is available, they can’t truly be hurt. If it’s not a real relationship then there’s little to lose or blame yourself for. It’s like eating nothing but granola bars your whole life, it’s never satisfying but at least you won’t starve to death. Sad.

    • Me too. I have an acquaintance from high school who has been involved with an old high school boyfriend for FIFTEEN years who is married and had been stringing her along. She says they are ‘soulmates ‘ *barf. It is the sickest relationship I’ve ever seen and there is no talking any sense into her. So I stay away from her. He’s a cake eater and she’s the OW. Nothing special at all. I find them both disgusting as hell.

  • Whatever happened to plain old-fashioned common sense? Why is there all this babble about what everything means instead of what actually happened? Why are people spending so much time and money trying to craft an “answer”inside their heads with the help of an expensive “expert” instead of practicing a practical approach to life? It’s so simple- Liars lie and Cheaters cheat. Accepting that truth and doing something different rather than trying to mentally twist your feelings and understanding into some “aha! now I get it!” magic moment that’s never going to happen is the only way to find peace. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling snake oil.

    • Exactly. I’m suspicious of anyone who needs to word-salad their way through a response to a straight forward issue. It’s just humans wanting to justify shitty behavior because, well, they probably engage in similar shitty behavior or have endured similar shitty behavior or (at best) are sincerely mind-fucked themselves.

      Someone explains to me the situation this letter writer is in, the only response is: Girl, RUN! He lied to you, he lied to his wife, he’s a lying cheater. RUN. No nuances, no equivocation, no gas lighting or justification. Just RUN.

  • The therapist has a Mindfuck online degree from South Hampton Institute of Technology – it’s a genuine S.H.I.T degree!

  • No where in the OW’s letter nor the response is the fact noted that the affair has been kept a secret from the wife. That is the only filter you need to know this is utter crap. If anything he said was true there would be no need for that.

    If you are doing things you have to hide (for 2.5 YEARS) then you are not going in the right direction and neither is the asswipe. There is no divorce pending. There is no forgetting promises. This is cake.

    Want to test it out, OW? Phone up the missus. If they are truly separated you will know. If there is truly a divorce proceeding you will know. If he is the lying douche canoe he appears to be you will know.

    Oh, you don’t want to know? Of course not because then the fantasy is ruined. So much fun to be mired in drama and longing; not so much fun to know the truth.

    You are getting what you deserve and as he delivers his oddly moist dick to your mouth remember that you and the wife are way closer than you realize. Used and played, you are as valuable as spent kleenex.


  • Dear Therapist,
    You are dumb. Apparently you must equivocate everything to avoid those evil words – responsibility, judgement, shame. This is a fine example of your worst work as a morally bankrupt person is asking for advice and since this is in a national publication, you chose not to ask them to take responsibility, use common sense to show that judgement is needed and let the work of some shame guide someone’s behavior. Instead, since you obviously believe that we cannot judge, that everything must be morally equivalent. At some point, should you actually be a licensed therapist, you should be stripped of any credentials and sent back to the quackery from which you were found.

    The Rest of the Free World

  • #mindfucksmoothie for the win! Seriously! What a whack job! I am appalled with this OW and this “therapist”.

    #UBTisachamp #savingchumpseveryday #iescapedthemindfucksmoothie

  • We should all write in to The Atlantic to comment on how irresponsible this therapist’s advice is. She needs to lose her gig at their organization and probably lose her license for this crap. A distraught person explains that her lying cheating boyfriend is hard to trust because he has been lying and cheating for years and her response is “oh, but you should be more understanding.” It’s gas lighting at its finest.


    I mean, the distraught woman is not blameless and needs to get a clue and a backbone and some morals, but…she is not the one with a sate license to, basically, give advice.

  • What an oddly written letter. Aside from it being BS, who talks like that? Therapist is trying to sound smart. She missed a huge glaring point too… this girl probably only digs men who are unavailable. Now that availability is on the horizon, she doesn’t want him. Time to move on to the next married guy. She knows she’s going to be played by him if she stays. Better to snatch men away from others and dump them so you’re always the winner. A sick game.

  • If the therapist wants to go down this road, then at best it would be important to advise the OW that her “boyfriend” is still way to emotionally wrapped up in his “previous” relationship, and could not possibly be ready yet to be truly available to stsrt another. Good advise, based off her reasoning, would be to break it off and let the guy sort through his conflicting feelings and inner turmoil until he’s ready to be truly present in another relationship.

    However, I think the therapist is deluded to assume the guy was divorcing at the beginning, and that if there’s a divorce in progress now, it’s because chump-wife found out about this/other OW and filed.

  • She was on Fresh Air not long ago. I stopped listening after Terry called her out on some crap in one of her books and she blamed the publisher.

    • I think that part of the interview was key to my take on this particular response to the OW.

      Gottlieb (Ms Therapist) is the author of “Marry Him:The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough.” This is both an article and a book. They’re very different in tone. When Gross pursued an idea from the article, Gottlieb backtracked, saying that the article was supposed to be filled with humor and everything was hyperbolic in nature. Her takeaway was that she couldn’t write humor. The book, on the other hand, is more serious in tone, and asks people to look at “having higher standards about the things that matter, like the character qualities, generosity, kindness, reliability” but that was not how the article came off.

      My suspicion is that her response to the OW is what happens when she tries too hard. When she looks at the obvious origin story, you can see that she’s telling OW that the boyfriend is a lying sack of shit, and that OW needs to own up to her own part in this situation, i.e. that the OW decided that having a boyfriend who was unavailable for a permanent commitment was A-OK until it wasn’t.

      The rest goes down the rabbit hole of trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness by looking at the situation from so many sides that you’d need a chiropractor to deal with the effects of the necessary contortions. Gottlieb doesn’t handle it well because she’s a lousy writer.

      On the other hand, maybe I’m just spackling and Gottlieb is full of shit. This is certainly the more straightforward interpretation.

      • The thing is that everything she said about him and his feelings and “needs” is true, but she makes it sounds as if that makes it all ok and his girlfriend should therefore be sympathetic to his point of view when really it just shows that he is a selfish, self-centered ass who wants cake.

        • Oh I agree 100%.

          And the response definitely is the stuff that would crash the UBT. However, after listening to Gottlieb talk about how she intended her article convey one thing and the effect actually conveyed the exact opposite, I am left wondering how much of the response is because she wants to spackle for the POS boyfriend and how much is because she’s a poor writer.

      • Gottlieb doesn’t handle writing it well because she’s a lousy human being and an even worse therapist.

  • It’s a shame the OP probably won’t see THIS answer to her letter.

  • This is why I don’t have sex with people I don’t know. Don’t screw a man who’s house you have never been to. Don’t screw a man who’s friends you have never met. Sure, there are a few truly diabolical bastards who will pull out all the stops to play you, but honestly they are pretty rare. Most of these narcs are just plain lazy and the smallest amount of investigation will reveal the truth. She did not want to see.

    I met a guy who tried to play me like this. It’s easy to suss it out, don’t sleep with them. If they are truly divorcing they will get some hard proof for you asap. Playing that game for 2.5 and a half years is just mental.

    • You’re smart. There is definitely something to be said for the old fashioned notion that you should get to know someone before proceeding any further, like into the sack or a relationship. But people love denial. the law calls it “willful blindness” and it often leaves people guilty of a crime or liable for negligence if they “should have known.” This letter writer should have and would have known this guy was a married dirtbag if she had just done any small amount of digging.

    • This is such good advice. Unfortunately, the hormone fog and hook-up culture can make it hard for young women to follow. (At least in the short term — 2.5 years tho? Oh honey.) Ask me how I know. Fortunately, older = wiser at least in my case.

  • My first husband was a seriously pyschopathical liar/cheater, who had a therapist telling him how great he was, how all his problems were his FOO, the early death of his dad, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, THAT made him hook up with me while he was still married (he claimed to be divorced). You guys, I pray you never meet anybody like this. I found out after we were married, that not only wasn’t he separated when we started seeing each other, he wasn’t even divorced when we got MARRIED. How did he pull this off?

    I was in grad school on the east coast, he lived in CA. He had a great job, so told me he would absorb all the costs of our long-distance calls by calling me. What a guy!! So generous! It never occurred to me that it was probably because he didn’t want his WIFE to find out. When they eventually did separate (I pieced all this together later), he was SOOO in love with me that he wanted to move in with me. Wow! A guy who would uproot his life and move across the country to be with me!

    After I graduated, we moved back to CA (his wife – apparently still not divorced – had moved out of their condo, so we moved in. A few months later we got married. My grandmothers were our witnesses. You cannot imagine how sick this makes me even today. A few times he would have to go to the courthouse to file some documents related to “work”. My guess is that the documents were probably related to his divorce. At any rate, about a year later, a friend of his got some sort of license to marry people, and the ex suggested we get married again, so we could be the first couple his friend married. Oh, how sweet! God, I was such a chump. The chumpiest of chumps.

    I was the OW, and had NO idea. At any rate, a lie can only be lived for so long, and a lot of it eventually came spilling out, along with other appalling things he had done. His diagnosis was Bi-polar disorder, mine was herpes. With my diagnosis, the marriage was OVER.

    For future reference, how does one go about finding out if somebody is married or not? The width and breadth of deception out there is staggering.

    • WOW, that is pretty impressive deception. Yikes. I think you got a very special gem of an ex there, good for you for GTFO when you realized what was going on. I imagine it’s pretty hard to trust again.

      You can always run a professional background search on someone to find out details. If you have their social and other info you can run a credit report on them. You can also talk to their friends and family–insist on it–and see what the vibe is. Lots of red flags to spot there.

      But the truth is if someone is a master cons-man, then it can be very tough to spot them. I think though, as KeepItMoving said above, most of these types are pretty lazy and uncreative and a little digging will go a long way.

    • I am with you. It’s not always as easy as it sounds to suss out whether or not a guy is attached, especially if you don’t have much experience with cheaters and don’t know how thoroughly you need to be checking on that. Looking for a wedding ring is just step one in determining someone’s relationship status. In college I had a guy coming on to me who had a girlfriend. I didn’t know he had a girlfriend but I refused him anyway because I could tell he just wanted to use me for sex and I didn’t like that. When I found out he had a long distance girlfriend I was shocked. Why on earth was he coming on to me if he had a girlfriend? I was so naïve. He said I should have known because he had a 1.5” x 2” photo of her in a corner on his book shelf. It’s not like he was hiding her or anything, he just neglected to mention it. I wish I hadn’t found out about her, however because then I would have stuck to my original reasons for not wanting to sleep with him. As it was, I ended up clinging to “you have a girlfriend so I can’t get involved with you”. After several months he whittled away at all of my other reasons to avoid getting involved until that was the only defense I had left. Then he told me they had broken up so that defense went away and I caved pretty quickly after that. I am terribly embarrassed about the whole thing now. My initial reasons were good enough and I should have held on to those. Looking back and knowing what I know now, I can’t help but wonder if he was even telling the truth about having broken up. I was very naïve, as I said, and it never even occurred to me to wonder if he could have been lying at the time. Probably not, however, as direct lies were not his style. He preferred to be as open about his assholiness as he could be and then still gaslight and blameshift and play on sympathy until he got what he wanted anyway. He didn’t lie, but he did deliberately mislead. It was a game to him and I was a complete idiot.

      Anyway, I have nothing but sympathy for the unknowing OW’s. I don’t think it is fair to state that they should have known. I even have some level of sympathy for the ones who find out after getting involved and have a hard time letting go after having already fallen for the guy. They are then dealing with the same confusion and hurt as the chumps as they try and come to grips with a new reality. In ex’s case, however, all of his Schmoopies, emotional and physical, knew darn well he was married with three children and lived at home with a wife who didn’t know the marriage was “already over” before they ever got involved. I even went looking for mitigating circumstances for them. I asked ex “what did you tell these women to make them think that it was ok to get involved with you”. His response was “nothing, nobody thought it was ok”. But they did it anyway? Honestly, the only answer to that is cheaters and their knowing partners all suck.

      • Back when I was a very young girl with a baby I met a law student and fell in love. We dated for about a year and when he graduated from law schoolthat’s when he dumped me and informed me that he had a girlfriend back home and besides he could never take an unwed mother back home to meet his very Catholic parents. If I ever run into him I’ll throat punch him. My first life lesson of assholism at it’s finest.

  • Lori Gottlieb bills herself and is licensed as a psychotherapist (I looked it up) but she dropped the following from her current website, ” Lori has a master’s degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University”.

    I wonder why?

    Personally, I think she is still a white-hot mess and her reply to OW underscores it.

    The femonomics blog about her fat-shaming and lies nailed it too.

  • You evaluate someone over a long period of time and in different situations and you look for red flags. I now know this but my 26 year old self oh so many years ago had not a clue. I do now, and fool me once but certainly not twice. Wiser, smarter and probably a little too cynical. But all good.

    • Livefortoday2

      … even after evaluating someone for extended period of time (3 years dating 1.5 living together) they narcs may still mind fuck us to the 10ths…
      My h – extremely intelligent and successful- fucked not only myself, but tricked everyone around us….

  • This advice doesn’t sound like anything my therapist would say. The advice I got was more like, “Your cheater will do this in the next relationship, and the one after that. You weren’t ready when you first came to me. Now you are. Lawyer up, get out, and get on with your life. You’ll be happier.”

    • I went to therapy immediately after kicking my cheater out and told my therapist I wanted therapy to get over him as quickly as possible and the mindset to become very strong. He said, “Your cheater will do this in any relationship and faster now too, because he sees how easy it is. He’s loving all the new ass and attention. He gets off on being central. If you want to be strong, shelve the emotions, hire a bad ass lawyer, get the best settlement you can and move the fuck on. That’s how you get over him and get strong. You can hire another therapist to spin some garbage for you but my speciality is telling the truth.”

      Best therapy ever.

      We need more truth tellers in the world.

  • You are brilliant ChumpLady! As is the UBT! This was a wonderful piece of art that you crafted. Thank you for sharing your insight with us.

  • Disordered cheaters can “forget” at the drop of…well…underpants, I guess.

    My ex Asshat couldn’t for the life of him recall the date of our marriage when asked at our divorce hearing. Neither month, day nor year. Mind you, the hearing was in October of 2018 and we had only been married since April of 2017. You could practically hear my attorney’s eyes nearly roll out of her head.

    I should mention that he had used the month/day/year of our “first date” as his ATM pin number for the previous 14 years.

    #mindfucksmoothie – you betcha!

  • “maybe it’s going to be less about his proving something to you and more about your expanding your capacity for considering another person’s story line alongside your own.”

    Fuck, no. Proving something is much more lucrative. Building blocks included $vacations, $gifts, $drinks, $dinner, and $getaways! #andthensome

    It’s pretty clear it’s not her capacity that requires expanding.

    • If she is going to consider anyone else’s storyline she should consider the wife’s storyline and what part she might be playing in the wife’s distress, not to mention how closely her storyline might end up matching the wife’s if she sticks with this creep.

  • Very disappointed that the therapist didn’t suggest buttering the guy’s paws to help him find his way back to twu wuv.

  • Dear Anonymous,

    When a man you’ve dated tells you ‘I’m Married”, you’re response should have been “Adios.”

    If you continue with ANY type of relationship with him, he’s winning at exploiting your boundaries. And, he knows it. You will take his shit, give him a roll in the hay, and be faithful to him. While, he has been and continues to be none of that with you.

    If you continue 2.5 years with an affair, your boundaries are sunken to the bottom of the ocean. He has zero respect for you as a person. He’ll tell you otherwise, but you are nada to him. He may break up with his wife and ultimately they divorce after she has ‘had it’ with his games. And, he may ‘go to’ you as a means to ‘save face’ and gain a semblance of status and respectability. But, he doesn’t respect you.

    Meanwhile, you’ve not dated anyone eligible at the most driven yourself to therapy, and foregone taking as much care as you could have with your career and other life matters. You’ve been wrapped up in his drama.

    Get yourself away from him. Cold turkey. He will probably stop the pending divorce from his wife, and then you’ll see the coward he is. He may ‘suicide’ call you, so call ‘911’ on him for good measure… and understand that it’s his sick way of manipulating people and dealing with problems. Even if he does divorce his wife and show up on your doorstep with the final divorce decree…. he lied to you in the beginning…and for 2 and a half years. The past is the best predictor of current.

    Get yourself a new friend, boyfriend, hobby, focus on job, move. Whatever it takes so you learn to be the best you. Your health matters. And, get an STD test and HIV test. You were probably not the only filly in his barn.

    Meow Mix

      • Thanks. I wish I could charge $200 for my response. I’d be buy a year’s worth of Meow Mix for my kitties! And no kibbles for the cheating dogs of the world.

  • Lalalalala…




    Fly like a bird, I wanna fly away…

  • Can we get a recording of the “UBT is so great” song? Maybe for the patrons first?

  • The ‘it speaks volumes about his capacity for compassion and empathy’ paragraph, and the one after it just blow my mind. Who is this therapist, and what kind of psychopath are they? This is the biggest 180 word salad mindfuck I have ever read. Is this therapist also fucking the husband, because wow, she’s definitely determined to screw with the OW’s mind. Chump Lady, is it you in disguise suddenly twisting the knife after pretending to just be an RIC hack for the first half of the reply. That therapist is assbackward, and I think she’s doing it on purpose. Way to keep people paying their money year after year to a professional gaslighter who makes you doubt your mental health without them to help you see clarity in the murk of life. The writer of this reply needs to be struck off. That is all.

  • Thank you for putting this through UBT! I was spinning around in the muck when I read it. Both the letter and the therapist’s response and most of the comments made me so angry. She’s an OW who with a lot of hand wringing kept sleeping with a married man. (Twu wuv no doubt.) That makes her slimy. The therapist — well, the UBT handled her very well! And then the comments: most implying that the OW is a victim, too. People who knowingly sleep with married men (or women) are nearly as rotten as the cheater. Ughugfnjdbgbjgdhkh My brain is exploding.

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