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Debunking Why Happy People Cheat

I’m sure you’re all curious “Why Happy People Cheat.”

There are about a bazillion Why Happy People Cheat articles on the interwebs, from the Atlantic Monthly to Psychology Today to Esther Perel videos (avert your eyes lest you turn into a pillar of salt).

Either editors aren’t original or cheaters are just really, really that happy.

Let me suggest some other titles.

Why Happy People Burn Churches

Why Happy People Trade Kiddie Porn

Why Happy People Swipe Amazon Packages

Why Happy People Drown Kittens

Why Happy People Embezzle Pension Funds

Why Happy People Don’t Use Turn Signals

Why Happy People Hate Gluten

Why Happy People Get Handsy with The Interns

Why Happy People Poison Pensioners

Why Happy People Don’t Pick Up Their Dog Poop

Is this coming into focus?

If you do something unethical (cheat), your feelings about it (happy!) are completely irrelevant.

“Why Happy People Cheat” is a mindfuck.

Why is it a mindfuck?

1. ) It creates a false equivalency. That the harm done is equal to or less than the perpetrator’s feelings about it.

2.) It solidifies entitlement. That we should CARE about the unethical actor and his or her feelings about their unethical behavior.

Did I feel up an 18-year-old intern in the xerox room? Hey, her boobs made me really happy! And I haven’t touched young tits in a long time. God, the joy it brings me.

Traumatized intern who will trigger at Xerox machines for years to come? Whatevs. Bossman was HAPPY.

3.) It creates a corrosive narrative that hurting people is A-Okay if it brings joy. People are to be used, disposed of, the important thing here is my HAPPINESS.

4.) It confuses what the hurt is about. Well, you’re just hurt because I’m happy and you are not. NO. The Chump is unhappy because they were deceived, swindled, gaslighted, denied opportunities based on a false narrative. Those are tangibles that go beyond “hurt” feelings.

No, no Tracy. You are completely misreading this. They’re saying hey Chump, you didn’t make them cheat! I’m sure you were totally splendid (some room for improvement of course, work on the bitterness, but not a complete waste). It wasn’t unhappiness that drove them to randos, it was a quest for aliveness! Has nothing to do with you! Can’t you see they’re just nomads of desire in pursuit of Happiness?

5.) See items 1 through 4. The Pursuit of Happiness (or riches, or votes, or the packages left on your front step) does not trump ethics.

And if you think it does? I don’t want to live in your dystopian world.

Moreover, I think what Happy Cheater mindfuck purveyors are saying is they like the power. Should someone steal their money, dog, or Amazon package? They’d be pissed. But that never happens as they’ve created an entire propaganda machine to justify their entitlement and obfuscate the concerns of those they harmed.

Happy Cheater?

Unhappy Consequences. That’s the clickbait I want.


This one ran previously and has been tweaked. I’ve lost count of the “happy people cheat” articles since then.

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  • I find this quote really fascinating. Isn’t one of the most common ‘reason’ given for cheating that he/she was unhappy in the relationship? Remove that excuse and what have you got? People who cheat for no other reason than that they want to for their own selfish ends. All the skein-untangling about happy people cheating seems to be just the interwebz being just as dumbfounded as we Chumps that people can be that overwhelmingly selfish. Interwebz, wake up, smell coffee.

    • Framing unethical behavior as “the pursuit of happiness” is really just an attempt to rationalize being selfish and shallow.

      If lying, cheating, gaslighting, and betraying someone you supposedly love makes you happy, then maybe you need to rethink what happiness is.

      • Amen to that. If that’s how you “get your needs met” because you feel entitled to it, then you need serious help because the flip side is that your unknowing spouse should tolerate (or in my case, never find out) your deception because your happiness is paramount and usurps their right to having an honest partner.

      • “If lying, cheating, gaslighting, and betraying someone you supposedly love makes you happy, then maybe you need to rethink what happiness is.”

        Lying, cheating, gaslighting, betraying someone etc makes them happy because:

        psychopaths / sociopaths

  • All excellent points! I’d only add that talking about cheater happiness is like talking about the math aptitude of fishes: at best it’s an approximate analogy. Most cheaters don’t do deep emotions any more than guppies do long division. And that goes for happiness, grief, joy, regret, contentment—you name it. Cheaters live on the surface of things, fidgety and disconnected, always compelled by what they imagine they deserve, and what’s just beyond their grasp.

    My cheating ex wife wasn’t so much happy as self-impressed with the cleverness that allowed her to have a solid home as well as secret attentions as a side dish. One reason post-cheater relationships can be so intimidating—and so thrilling—is that they have so much more potential for *depth*. Grownups were made to swim in deep waters.

    • Yep.

      My xw struggled to be “happy”, so sought “intellectual” “deep” & “insightful”. So she wraps that up with book clubs, meditation & nature walks. And an “insightful” sage is great for family dynamics; she is the one they went to for advice.

      But it was a facade. A thin layer. And it fucked every one over after DD. XW? Her? Not her..!

      Only now I see how empty she truly was. I mean, I always knew on some level; my role was to prop-up.

      It takes a while, but she was a guppy trying to fake long-form division. We were all impressed with her effort. And that’s what she wanted.

      • This is what frustrates me about chumps sure that the cheater and the AP are “happy” because
        * they have a “relationship”
        * they have stuff
        * they go on vacations
        * their social media posts are full of smiling posed photos.

        We would all do well to reset what counts as “happiness.”

        • Here I would add that cheaters aren’t seeking happiness, what they’re seeking is pleasure. There’s a huge fucking difference and the narrative out there confuses the two all the time.

          Pleasure is NOT happiness. Happiness is NOT pleasure.

          Taking this into consideration changes the entire narrative of any article or conversation.

          E.g.  “Why pleasure seekers cheat”

          Ahhh, a no-brainer…

          These cheaters don’t have emotional maturity. Their emotional capacity is similar to a rock skipping across water.

          Ethical behavior is the result of chosing to respect key moral principles (personal rights, honesty, equality). This is lost on people who are emotionally immature.

          When I read articles like the one CL translated today from “The Good Men Project” and EP, all I see is someone trying to avoid consequences.

          And Bravo CL! Love and enjoy your ability to cut through all the BS!

            • Seriously? You’re going to twist my words so I’m somehow blaming the chump?!

              No, not unpleasured.

              SEEKING pleasure because they confuse it with happiness.

              But hey, hope it gave you pleasure to put me in my place.

              • Amen, amen, amen, SSC. Well said. “Why pleasure seekers cheat”… yup, that frames it about right!

        • That’s just it, isn’t it. Thats the crux of this whole thing; chumps and cheaters define “happy” different. Different values, different understanding.

          Every page of CL’s book could simple say, “they don’t understand how you define happy”.

          And thats how I am victorious. I don’t care how xw is happy (mostly). I know what MY happiness is and how much deeper it is capable of being. I can be joyful. I can be light. I can be so much more.

          I no longer have to feel bad that she can’t be as happy. I used to. But Meh is closer now.

      • “Only now I see how empty she truly was. I mean, I always knew on some level; my role was to prop-up.

        It takes a while, but she was a guppy trying to fake long-form division. We were all impressed with her effort. And that’s what she wanted.”

        SO brilliant- thanks Tall One

    • I don’t know. My ex has plenty of deep emotions it’s just that they are self involved. He feels pain and love and loss but nobody else is allowed to have emotions (unless he can just look at you and make it all better and be the hero, then it’s ok). Nobody else’s problems, successes, or life goals matter. Yes, he will be helpful and generous when it suits him, but if he isn’t heaped with praise 24/7 forever after then it wasn’t appreciated and it wasn’t worth it and he got screwed and “nobody cares about me and my needs”. When people are kind to him or make sacrifices for him it goes unnoticed and it’s never enough. He is emotional to point of melodrama. “Woe is me, I am such a sad sausage. I give give give and get nothing back”. For once he decided to do something for himself for a change. This of course involved screwing over the person who had treated him better and done more to try and accommodate his happiness than anyone else ever had. Good luck Schmoopie. It’s your turn now. I hope you have a lot of stamina. Just don’t have any needs of your own that he can’t fix by fucking you.

    • *Off topic. Maybe:
      We used to have guppies. I remember one Sunday evening, one of the females gave birth, and there were several tiny babies swimming in the tank. Then she started to eat them. All I had in my hand was a wine glass. I dumped the merlot on the floor and tried to save the babies, while my children screamed. I only managed to save one, who looked lonesome in my UT wineglass. Bevo lived with us for about six months, then he disappeared out of the tank. I told the kids he went to go find himself.

    • Yes! This is a perfect description of the cheater persona. Very shallow and unable to fully feel or empathize with others. in other words, narcissistic.

  • I find it all so strange. When cheater left he said he loved me, but wasn’t in love with me. Said he was not happy. I remember thinking I loved him, but was not in love with him either. He was my family, the father of my children. I lived him even though……..and i was exhausted from work, children, ill parents. I never even asked myself the question “Am i happy?” In high school and college, yes. With regard to any season of life with my partner, no? Worse still, until he started fucking someone 20+ years younger he told ne he loved me all the time. Suddenly cheater produced this rubric i did not even know about and I failed. He told our therapist, while maintaining he was not cheating, that i did not make noise or do “exotic positions.” SUCH A JOKE.

    • ^^^This. My therapist said men love variation more than anything. I guess that explains the men, transvestites, transgender. I guess I have nothing to complain about then. Right, I couldn’t offer any of those variations.

      Wait, maybe he hated me because I’m gluten-free.

      • Sandra,
        Do not buy into the gender bias.

        Cheaters thrive on deceit and they are both men and women. There are plenty of men dealing with the same shit as women of cheating SOs. Orientation and gender is irrelevant. These people suck.

        • Over It,

          Thank you for saying it, because it’s the fucking truth. Cheaters are readily available in any gender, including trans. I’d bet my life on it. It’s people w/screwed up personalities/psychologies, which leads to shitty morals.

          For a personal example of how not just males are capable of crappy behavior, here’s some of my recent story:

          I just found out this past Easter that my now (finally!) cheater XW has been telling my two oldest children (our daughters) that they must not want their mother to be happy, as both of them seem to have made it clear to her that they don’t like her new partner. And yes, they tried to like him for their mother’s sake. What type of fuckwit tells their children they must not want the parent to be happy because they don’t like that parent’s shitty choice in an affair partner?

          Just to be clear, her affair partner had the affair w/my then wife w/out his wife knowing about it either. They’re both such winners! My XW told me on D-day (I confronted her a little over two years ago) that her asshole affair partner wanted to come clean to both spouses before they blew up their partners & families w/a secret affair, but she convinced him not to. I’m sorry, but as much as that may be true, there was nothing stopping a sixty plus yr old man from saying no, that’s not fair to our current partners.

          How, you might ask, did the POS XW justify asking her affair partner not to be upfront w/their spouses about what they felt for each other & were planning to do with each other? Because, in her own words, she had to know if she could “make the leap.” What a crock of shit. I know what I’ll be telling her if she ever gives me a real reason to (and I’m hoping that day never comes, but it’s good to be prepared): It’s the easiest thing in the world to make that leap. The hard part is NOT making that leap, because we made a solemn vow or at least promised to be committed to our partners. It’s our morals/ethics/values that keep us in check from our baser, animal traits. They separate us from the animal we are all capable of being.

          So, gender is irrelevant. Personality/psychological makeup is the key. These people are seriously screwed up. Here’s to hoping that those of us that are faithful in love & relationships find partners worthy of us. Like CL did.

          • Long Run, are you stunned like me that the cheaters didn’t see they’d ALREADY made ‘the leap’? And that what they saw as ‘the leap’ was the risky business of letting their deceptive behaviour be known? The STBX also romanticized his ridiculous EA, it became a great heroic love story, only spoilt when after leaving us he found the 18 yr younger AP didn’t want him anyway. First stop on the karma bus, I suppose.

            • Oh, yes. They get an “epiphany” when they realize their affair is nothing but a bullshit fantasy because the AP was just using them they way they used you.
              Typically, they then expect you to be grateful that they are willing to accept you as a consolation prize and ask you to reconcile. Mine figured out at some point that she didn’t really want him sexually, but kept seeing her just to torment me and avoid dealing with his problems.

              • Mmm… that happened too. Once he’d realised she didn’t want him, and he’d spent a summer living in his transit van and realised how awful it would be in winter, and realised I was actually starting to break away, he messaged me with a ‘I will fight for you, you are worth fighting for’ schtick. I was still dragging on the hopium enough to let him back and the next 9 months was sinking back into the mire I was in before, until I came to my senses and told him to leave. I think it was during that 9 months that I really educated myself here with Chump Nation. It would have been sooo much easier if I’d said no, but I will never now doubt that I did the right thing in ending the marriage. I don’t know if he realises his AP was using him to feel important and central and a Good Person for rescuing him from his Unhappiness and big bad me. Don’t care either. Meh-wards!!!

              • Hear, hear, Chumperella.

                Artist, congrats to you and your personal strength and resolve.

                I’m still navigating stuff with my C wife, but I may well do the flipside of your thing and personally vanish.

          • “It’s our morals/ethics/values that keep us in check from our baser, animal traits. They separate us from the animal we are all capable of being.” Thank you longrun, You put this so well.

        • I think Sandra was saying that her ex-husband(?) had sex with men, transvestites and transgenders. And like her therapist said, “men like variation”. Sandra isn’t a man, transvestite or transgender, so she couldn’t offer those types of “variations”. At least that’s how I took what she said.

          • It’s the therapist stating that men like variation ergo most likely to cheat. That was my interpretation.
            That kind of thinking from a health professional is sexist.

            • Maybe not most likely – maybe also more understandable and forgivable. Either way, it’s bullshit.

            • It is Totally sexist, as it looks like a lot of the counseling is.

              On appointments with my C wife, I got told, on Day two with two different therapists, that I have ADHD and Autism from the first and that I hallucinate and need a mood stabilizer from the second. The second tried to pull the Same gaslighting tactics in Tandem with my C wife, for goodness sake!

              I said that whether I have ADHD or something with a longer acronym, and whether I have Autism or an even more debilitating handicap, she has had six plus years of something involving this guy, at the very least, so I need to know everything there is to know!

              Scared the therapist. She was glad we did not go with her.

              The second couldn’t even find which things I must have hallucinated. The repeated goal, among useful parts of sessions, was to make me doubt myself.

              People, quiz your therapist some in the first couple of visits. Is any cheating kind of the betrayed spouse’s fault? How do they “feel” their therapy with men has gone, and so on.

              Remember, like cops, they see some of the lowest of low people, and/or their victims. Since men more often leave their cheating wives, sometimes very quietly, therapists get a bunch more “evil men” exposure than what would be a true cross section of the male and female demographics.

              In other words, for those who have trouble keeping the realities in mind, if you are a man, they are automatically Not your therapist.

              It’s kind of like the situation with that nice Realtor you rode about looking at property with. Unless you signed a separate contract with her, she works for the Seller. You are a customer, not her client.

              Some of the bad therapists have just the wife, betrayed Or cheater, as the person they are helping. 2 out of 2 sounds discouraging, doesn’t it? Yeah…

              • If you are a chump, you want someone who understands domestic violence, in all its forms.

              • Are you kidding?!?! Cops cheat the most. Trust me, I know. This website was my lifeline during my divorce in 2017. I came back recently because, alas, my picker might be still broken…

        • Autogynephilia is a very sick flavour of misogyny that I too endured, my liberal feminism thinking it was ok to humour these fetishes, for his self development. Same With polyamory. I’ll tell you this, polyamory and Autogynephilia with a narcissist are misogyny on steroids, there’s a definite gender bias (men being entitled to women’s bodies). It stems from mummy issues unresolved and female spouses pay the price. That’s not to disregard the many cheating women with obvious daddy issues out there, it’s just to point out misogyny is definitely a guy thing

          • I had to look up Autogynephilia. Is that where he/she roleplays being the other gender? I didn’t quite get that?

          • Most male cheaters are probably misogynistic. Since it’s a form of abuse, and most of them seem to use either porn (full of misogyny), hookers or both, it’s a safe bet most cheaters have at least some contempt and disdain for women. I was reading research that shows men who go to prostitutes have the same toxic attitudes towards women as convicted rapists. It makes sense. They are using some poor girl who may have been trafficked and forced into it, or manipulated by her pimp, and they don’t care. In some cases the girls (they are usually very young) are forced to take drugs that will make them compliant and are barely aware of what’s happening when the customer is abusing them. The johns probably enjoy that.
            Misogyny is one causative factor in cheating, but certainly not the only one. Being a giant narc douche is the most important factor and that applies to both genders. I think some female cheaters have contempt for men, too. I’m pretty sure my ex’s married AP did. But she hated women, too and had a need to compete with them and hurt them by stealing husbands. Bitch was just an all-around hater.

            • Everything you wrote here has given me pause for consideration.

              My ex pays for hookers (I found out after I kicked him to the curb). It’s disgusting! And I think you’re spot on about your take on using hookers and misogyny. My ex used to tell me how depraved he thought strip clubs were and that he just didn’t understand why some men liked going to them. Me thinks he doth protest too much! He was ALWAYS lying to me.

              I’m so glad to be rid of him. Every day, I’m thankful I was able to free myself from him as there were days I was afraid he’d never willingly move out. But, he did.

      • Your therapist is…not smart. There are plenty of men right now thrilled with a lack of variation: same beer every week, same favorite shirt, same football team, same best friend since HS or college, same brand of car or truck, same favorite food, same TV shows…

        • Sandra, I think your therapist sucks. That therapist comment is ignorant. People cheat because they can. It is character and has nothing to do with variety. Eye roll here.

            • My husband cheated on me with basically anyone who had a penis and who responded to a Craiglist or other hookup site ad and was available ( so, like hundreds of men…), but he became “serious” with other men whose professions were similar to mine. His longest affair partner was even in the SAME field as I was, and I probably ran into him at national meetings. His cheating had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with “getting away with it” ( moral and ethical bankruptcy ). He is now free to pursue all the happiness he wants.

        • Absolutely right. Plus, how is the affair partner in a LTA providing variety? If all cheating men only had a series of one night stands, the “variety” argument might hold some water. But most of them have an LTA at some point.

          • Most cheaters sure do. Like flirting leads to more, short term leads to long term.

            They’ll pretend it was nothing though.

            “There. Isn’t that better? ” Ugh.

        • Lol, excellent point LAJ!
          Mine was and is still faithful to Hilux utes, Honda quads, Cadbury’s scorched almonds, Speight’s beer, and will be to his grave I’m sure.
          On the other hand, since he cheated with his ex, maybe he doesn’t like variety that much {:-(

        • Hell yeah. Now that is some fun variation. Ears and tail, or perhaps a uniform of some kind.

          Good stuff, and unless a caped person jumps off of something wrong, etc., it’s good stuff that doesn’t hurt anyone.

          Sex variation itself though? Who needs extra partners for that?

          With the extra movement control, one-ness, and simultaneous hot make out ability in Missionary, there is a bunch of variation and awesome available, right there. Add just one more.

          Add something like that semi-sideways Fox kind of mating pose, where she has one leg straight and one with the knee raised, guy on his knees, for example.

          Particularly for guys fond of a woman’s legs or rear, it would be tough to even Want to try more, with all the awesome variation That position offers, not to even go into all the serious penetr… Well, ahem. Both partners can really get a lot out of that.

          And, with the guy’s objective viewpoint to track the woman’s orgasm process…

          You know; when to gradually start building the rhythm in the most effective ways, just when it seems best to speed up, how long to maintain that speed, when to put more “umph” into That (but not too much, depending) to Really intensify her orgasm, etc.

          With all that, plus using the mattress and weight shifting to boost that even more at key times, the female partner is Way satisfied with ease, and it’s easy for the guy to give an amazing (seeming at least, even when kind of tired) performance and experience to her, while being pleased enough himself to sound accidentally bestial. Hehehe.

          I speak from experience on that discovery/development. Tough for either partner to want to stop doing the Semi-sideways, Mating Foxes, or whatever the Hindu people named it 3000 years ago. Wow. Good times.

          Do that type of thing, with the woman of the couple having 2 or three orgasms a night, six or seven days a week though? While rubbing her feet every single night at bedtime?

          Yeah, it’s still not enough to keep someone from cheating on you, apparently. Let’s just say that a case study was done, whose results were plain enough.

          But, about your spouse? Yeah, they were selfish, weak, and stupid.

          • Wow! That was quite a post EyesOpened. I must say your ex is an idiot! Just saying……

    • Pulmafool: the mindfucks in MC were almost more traumatizing than anything else. Week after week, while continuing to defraud me, x would rage about the most ridiculous things and his grudges went back decades and included such tragic gems as I “never bought him a comfortable chair to sit in!” Absurd! He’s a seven figure law partner! Now we are completely NC and divorced and young gold digger OW doesn’t “believe in material things and just wants to have fun!” so our 17 yo Dd went shopping for him and bless her heart got some terrible IKEA furniture kits that he had to spend days trying to put together ????????????????. He weighs nearly 275# now and I’m sure those sleek European low back IKEA chairs are oh so comfy! Not! Hahahaha

      • Geez, same story different cheater in that OW is” not materialist and just wants to have fun”. Exact same reason to me.

        • Crazy how the same they all are!

          The OW is “a simple person who doesn’t have/want much”….from the man who complained he did not have a massive BarcaLounger like his dad’s, never mind that he prevented us from buying a house where a chair like that would fit.

          He missed the OW Facebook page with the Gucci belt and the Bottega Veneta bag…..just simple and not materialistic at all.


          • “a simple person who doesn’t want/have much”…

            I think some of the cheaters are conned by OW in regards to not wanting the material wealth in the beginning. My XH thought he was leaving me for a simple life – something that mirrored his parent’s life: stand alone house in the middle of the desert, no neighbors, no HOA. That lasted all of 14 months for X. Once he wed the whore, he purchased a home around the corner from our marital home, in an upscale town and community – 25 miles from their work and from where they were living. Now? She stays in the best hotels, travels in first class, has mani/pedis, brows, highlights, facials etc…She likes to spend $ and is very materialistic.

            • Ha. The OW is from a second-world country and doesn’t speak English perfectly, and pulled the whole, “I’m a simple girl from a second-tier country where women aren’t entitled; we treat our men like kings.” Hah. After we split, she got “accidentally” pregnant with him and now spends money like water, boasting to her friends that she even uses his income (she used to be a receptionist, hasn’t had a job since she landed him) to pay for a private investigator to gather information about him. Such a healthy, “simple,” sweet relationship!

    • Let me add, not only did I not know about this stealth rubric (that I was apparently failing), I also didn’t know that my marriage was secretly on probation (that I was apparently failing). The affair was kicking into high gear, XW was flying off to meet AP all over the globe, but I had no idea my life was hanging by a thread. I wasn’t at my best due to reasons (the stress of a new job, new house, new town, and caring for three kids while XW was gone half the time), but I’m sure I could have been more of a contender if I’d known (as AP knew, of course) that then-wife was parsing every interaction trying to decide which of us would be bestowed the “prize” of being married to her.

      From afar, it’s clear that (1) once you’re auditioning for your own job, you need to get out of that situation pronto, and also (2) XW had a massive thumb on the scale. She made sure – perhaps subconsciously – that I would lose in myriad ways (picking fights, absenting herself, not informing me of her true state of mind so we could address it openly and honestly) so that she can now say to herself that AP was just better than me and deserved to win.

      I guess there’s a fair amount of untangling going on here, but it has allowed me to accept that, although she did choose him over me, in the end the choice was not a meaningful one.

      • ^^This^^
        While my divorce was long ago, reading CL has helped me see the reality of my marriage. She made it into a sham contest, having her thumb on the scale to justify her deception and infidelity.

        • @involuntary Georgian, her thumb is on the rule book for a game that constantly changes, and us chumps are never given a play book. They change the rules constantly and consistently based on their needs and we are never informed of those rules.

          Although I do have to say that this comment should never be a part of your story:
          “I wasn’t at my best due to reasons (the stress of a new job, new house, new town, and caring for three kids while XW was gone half the time), but I’m sure I could have been more of a contender if I’d known.”

          Nothing we chumps do validates a cheating partner. Ever. That is my opinion of course. They can chose to leave if we are such horrible spouses, but they don’t because we are a part of their plan. They choose to be pieces of shit and cheat, devalue and disrespect us. It is at this point that we could have hung the moon, but they have already chosen the path of self righteous behavior that benefits them and them only. They give 0 fucks on who and what we are to them. We are a useful appliance that serves their one and only purpose, cake and kibble. Needy, selfish, narcissistic assholes, the lot of them.

          Please be kind to yourself and understand your value. Which is immense and meaningful to your family and anyone who has the chance to be your friend. You are only human and we make choices based the information that we have at the time, so we can’t and shouldn’t have regret. Because we didn’t know the playing field was skewed and fucked up. If only we’d known, we say. Well we didn’t, and it doesn’t make us stupid or suckers, it makes us human. We did the best we could based on our knowledge of our life at that time. We need to forgive ourselves and know that we are the better choice, always. The two cheaters deserve each other.

      • Don’t ever compete. When people triangulate, the only winner is the one in the middle, messing with everyone else. There is no building of a relationship when all of the focus is on the other “competitor”.
        Friend of a friend is a real player – dated 2 women back and forth for years. One walked away and is very happily married with 2 lovely kids and a husband who adores her. The “winner” waited more years to wed, is working her ass off, still no kids (and she’s getting close to the danger zone in age) and her husband goes out clubbing with younger friends and has started hanging out at a strip club a couple of nights a week (for the free pool, sure right).

        Who was the winner there? Never compete. Either someone wants to be with you and is willing to demonstrate that or they don’t, which is no kind of relationship to have.

        • Yes, @Involuntary Georgian, this!
          “XW had a massive thumb on the scale. She made sure – perhaps subconsciously – that I would lose in myriad ways (picking fights, absenting herself, not informing me of her true state of mind so we could address it openly and honestly) so that she can now say to herself that AP was just better than me and deserved to win.”

          I didn’t know that I was competing (and losing) to MOW.

          They don’t know love, if love was at play; X would have spoken with me before reaching out to ANYONE ELSE. ILYBINILWY is plain BS.

          • ” if love was at play; X would have spoken with me before reaching out to ANYONE ELSE. ”

            Great wording of that line of thought. I keep copy-stealing these.

            We all process things differently, and it’s good to be in a position to benefit from others’ thought like this. Helpful.

            • “I love you but…the “but” cancels out the previous three words. It’s the same as “I’m sorry but…” we would call a fake apology here, an excuse.
              There is no love in a cheater. There is/was only expediency and excuses for same. Any truth in this word salad is only to be found at the end of the statement. “I am not in love with you.”

      • I couldn’t agree with this more…”From afar, it’s clear that (1) once you’re auditioning for your own job, you need to get out of that situation pronto, and also (2) XW had a massive thumb on the scale. She made sure – perhaps subconsciously – that I would lose in myriad ways (picking fights, absenting herself, not informing me of her true state of mind so we could address it openly and honestly) so that she can now say to herself that AP was just better than me and deserved to win.”

        I also experienced this, and realized I’m infinitely better off without my cheater. The picking fights, gas lighting and financial abuse I put up with still has me angry at myself some days. I’m learning to ease up on myself as I was ignorant of personality disorders. Now I know, and now I can do better.

        One of my best take-aways is that I know my ex will treat his new supply as well as he treated me. I sleep well knowing her future is my past.

      • She had already chosen, she was looking for justifications. I’m also glad she is your XW and you aren’t performing artistic Pick-Me dances for her.

        Much happiness to you and your kids.

      • Yes, I did not know my marriage was secretly on probation from the start.
        And that I had been set up for failure. His moves always ahead of mine.
        I did not even know we were playing chess.
        Totally oblivious.
        So oblivious was I that out of utter frustration at not getting any reaction he picked up and left, having found my replacement, of course.

        All the abuse remains (theft of years, gaslighting, financial abuse, erosion of identity, etc.) and having lost the opportunity to meet an honorable man.

        • Yes, that’s absolutely it. Of all of those abuses, the theft of several decades of my life while, ubeknownst to me, I was living a lie, and the lost opportunity to find real love and to be happy is what kills me. What a monstrous thing to do to anybody, let alone somebody you claim to love. How much time did you lose on the cheater?

          • Being robbed of years of my life ^^^Chumprella is what I find the most despicable.
            All the memories I believed we both cherished held no value, reminiscing with my “best friend” of our 20 + years will never happen, the future I looked forward to doesn’t exist.
            Cheated out of an opportunity to share my life with someone who genuinely shared my values. Betrayal of trust in a relationship is heinous. I’ll never understand how anyone could be so cruel and dishonest to someone who trusted that you loved them and promised to love til death do you part.
            It’s unbelievably cruel..

            • Agreed Brit – this is the part that I keep coming back to as well. WTF was even real during my 20 year marriage? How can you be that close and share that much with someone and then discard it so carelessly?

              I have a lot of self-doubt about any new relationship (work or friendships, NOT talking the romantic kind) – am I missing something? How could I not see what was really going on? How can I trust myself again?

              I still believe in love but thinking I’m not a good candidate for the romantic kind. And I’m ok with that. Not what I had planned for my life at all, but it is much better than staying with cheaterfuck.

      • “Once you’re auditioning for your own job, you need to get out of that situation pronto.” This is so true, @Involuntary Georgian. During wreckonciliation, when Fuckup was supposedly done with the OW but I was still (surprisingly to him) hurt, angry, and mistrustful, he said, “Why are you still so upset? I mean, you WON.” I looked at him in shock and said, “Um, I shouldn’t have to compete for my own boyfriend.” Even though those words came out of my mouth—and I’m proud that it was my first reaction—it took a while before that truth really got through my head. Even though I was still spackling like mad to see him as the man I’d loved for 17 years who had just made a terrible mistake, his statement twisted in my stomach in a way that didn’t make sense at the time. I now realize that was feeling rage, and disgust. The colossal arrogance in his words. Can you imagine having the nerve to say that to the person you’d just casually destroyed, but who was nevertheless giving you a chance to redeem yourself? The mind boggles.

      • Involuntary,

        That’s among the best synopses I’ve seen describing the end of my marriage. I did not know I was on probation or still auditioning for a role I thought I had had for decades.

        It’s hard to stop the untangling at times because in my case the marriage was quite long. It’s still hard to believe it was all fake (on his end). Looking back with the help of a skilled therapist, I’m able to spot times when things were great with us and he STILL made selfish choices…so even when the role was mine, he was always the director rewriting the script and apparently, still casting & checking out the unknown understudies.

        Anyhow, your summary was helpful to me in trying to detach from his behavior & not take it personally, though it was the most personally hurtful experience of my life.

        I guess in this case, the narcissist is right – it really IS all about them.

        • Same here, I was on probation or skewed competition while in MC trying to reconcile. I was the only one trying, while he was cheating and scheming against our relationship with his whore.

    • My ex also complained that I didn’t make enough noise and so I obviously didn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t fond of “exotic positions” but I learned to manage some of them in order to please ex. He was disappointed in me, however because I wouldn’t take it in the wrong hole. During MC he claimed my libido was lower than his. I disagree. I can get off on ordinary boring sex. He’s the one who needs weird shit and strange pussy to get off. Maybe he is the one with the libido problem.

      He also claimed I was too predictable. He was the predictable one. If it was 3:00am, five minutes before my alarm went off, or five minutes before I had to be out the door he was interested. The rest of the time, not so much. These jerks can’t perform and they want it to be all our fault.

      • OMG, mine did the timing thing too!! Right before I left for work, well into the middle of the night when I was fast asleep…right after a hugely heavy meal…in his parents garage WITH HIS PARENTS IN THE HOUSE….sorry man. That usually does not work for me! But guess what–the more I think about it, the more I realize these were all orchestrated. He didn’t want sex either, but he wanted me to turn him down. What an asshole.

        • They wanted us to prove we loved/desired them by being willing at times that were inconvenient or downright unnerving. They were testing our “love” but really they were showing us how little they cared about us.

        • Yes, I was “tested” too. About a week before Dday, he was disappointed that he did not get his “happy ending”. Little did I realize at the time, but, I got the happy ending!

        • Nothing but the upmost respect, but is he blind? From your thumbnail pic, you look like quite a catch.

      • The game is rigged. Wouldn’t matter if you were loving the 3AM sex or if you were into their kinkiest of kink. They’d turn to some other facet of your life that disappointed them. I once read that a cheater used the excuse that their betrayed used “bagged salad” so therefore…affair! I was told that I “invited family on our vacations!” When I reminded him that we were supposed to be departing for Australia with just each other in 8 weeks, he switched to some other bullshit – like the all time cheater favorite: “You’re controlling!” They just start throwing excuses out there until something sticks with the betrayed. Since we’re Chumps, it doesn’t take long before we’re clinging to some hurtful comment in therapy trying to be better.

        • Oh my god, my ex did the same weird timing of sex thing. If we had a babysitter and a free night, or the kids were in bed, he wouldn’t touch me. If we needed to be at a t-ball game in ten minutes or I was trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for his family who were arriving any minute? Suddenly THAT was the only moment in the last six weeks when we could have sex.

          And then naturally, he HAD to have the affair because I never wanted to have sex with him.

        • “Bagged salad” is from the midlifeclub forum. Which was a great resource regardless of how a spouse was blowing up a relationship.

      • Mine had the ass sex obsession as well and felt it was unfair of me not to allow it. The anal fetish is about degrading, dominating and hurting you. It’s unsanitary and inherently painful no matter how much lube you use and can cause loss of bowel control when done long term. Men who are into this and try to convine you to do it simply don’t like women. In future I will run away from any man who so much as mentions it as an option. Unfortunately, thanks to it being ubiquitous in porn, men now expect it. Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian.
        You are 100% right. If you need freaky sex acts to get off, you don’t particularly like sex, you have a paraphilia. That’s not a high libido, it’s a sexual problem. My cheater often used the “high libido” excuse for his sexually predatory behavior, but I have discovered that he was really just a misogynistic fetishist whose fantasies revolved around degrading and harming women.
        I’m so glad I no longer have to fuck fuck that disgusting pig.

        • Please excuse the double fuck typo.

          On the other hand, it was so unbearably protracted during the cheating, with the pig desperately trying to get off without sick porn or his evil bitch of a mistress, that each time it felt like I had done it at least twice. So fuck fuck is actually quite descriptive.

          • Chumperella,

            Congratulations. You just made me laugh harder than ANY other post on this site,

            which is saying a fuck fuck lot.

            • ????I’m fuck fuckin’ delighted you enjoyed that.
              Fucking fuck the fuckwit cheaterfucks and their fucknut APs. Let them all fucking fuck each other to death while we come here and fucking snark about what dumfucks they are.

              • Chumparella – I’m a lesbian, but my fuck fucking partner still isn’t happy with what I have to offer. The fuck fuck grass isn’t always greener on the other side…

          • Spitting up my fuck fuckin guac and chips with tears of laughter. It’s proof there is a higher power – that we can laugh in the midst of commiserating over such devastating betrayal. Thanks chumparella.

        • I could not agree with you more, Chumperella.
          If I decide to date again, that will be a vetting question. No man who wants it or has ever tried it will come near me again.

        • We ought to have an entire thread dedicated to the anal sex issue and how cheaters use it against it. (Caveat: I have plenty of female friends who enjoy being on the receiving end, and if they genuinely dig it then I do not consider it demeaning or degrading… it’s just something they like and all respect to them. I’m sure there are some wonderful people here on this site who enjoy it and willingly partake but were cheated on, anyway.) But, yeah, it’s not for me – he knew that when we tied the knot – and Cheater just used that as one more in a long list of reasons he was allowed to cheat.

    • Classic cheaterspeak nonsense. Cheaters are emotional adolescents to whom “in love” means madly infatuated, butterflies in the tummy, ” feeling alive” (another classic line my cheater used), etc. What they don’t admit to themselves is that a larger part of their “aliveness” is not just the stupid infatuation, which typically fizzles out, but the thrill of power and control they get off deceiving and humiliating the chump. It is abuse, and they greatly enjoy it. These are disordered, terrible people. In days of yore, they’d have been burned at the stake. Some of those old traditional ways have some merit. 😉

      • Mine wrote the OW such bad poetry that a love sick cow would be ashamed. They are very immature in their thinking and emotions. And very, very deviant morally.

        • What is up with the cringe-worthingly bad “romantic” poetry? They always have to do stuff for the AP that they’d never dream of doing for you. I guess douchebags who think they are good writers use poetry. Mine knows he can barely write a shopping list, so he relied on childishly lovey-dovey texts multiple times a day, even though they worked together, took all lunches and breaks together, went to the gym together and on dates and “romantic” walks together. Yet still, he spent more time texting her than he did talking to me. He surely must have texted her WHILE talking to me since he rudely played with his phone during conversations. The bastard even played some stupid game on the phone while I was talking about being suicidal. He made extensive use of kiss and heart emojis in his whore maintenance texting because he doesn’t know how to verbally express tender feelings, even fake, fantasy feelings, which are all he ever had for her or for me. I never got a single affectionate text, phone call, or email until after dday when he had the bald-faced nerve to send me a kiss emoji and text “kisses for my love”. No doubt he had texted that same line to her, so that was a fun little mindfuck for him. I didn’t get “romantic” walks, he didn’t want to work out with me, and he certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have lunch with me every single day for many years. They give the AP everything they have deprived you of and more, and they do it to be cruel and to feel powerful. They get to decide what crumbs of affection you are entitled to receive and it makes them feel that you are under their thumb and they are Godlike. Yuck. How repulsive.

          • If you got one fiftieth of the attention they get you might have a flaming relationship to hang on to right. So dad gets diagnosed with cancer that year I didn’t know it was going on. Half hour call with me. Two and a half hour call to her cause did that scupper their plans right. When we were in a thankfully short crazy break up bit I was giving hugs and kisses telling me that this were kisses of gratitude, gratitude for everything that i’d done for our family. Repulsive is the word. Now his insta has pics of her with face emoji’s with heart eyes saying GODDESS. Wonder sometimes if we’re not all in some strange parallel universe where we are all actually taking about the same person. It’s uncanny.

          • Oh I did get the bad poetry back in the day. It was quite pornographic in nature involving me in the staring role as an animal. I was rather embarrassed. He was disappointed that I didn’t immediately contact him to express my admiration and gratitude. When he asked me why I hadn’t responded, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings so I told him I was so touched I didn’t know what to say.

        • Mine too – when I found said poem I was ashamed for him. Tragic. Sent it round to my friends of course for us all to dissect it. 4th grade lovestruck nonense. He also started playing guitar (was awful at it) and taking pics of everything and putting them on instagram (cause she is of the age where everything has to be on social media). Funny today every comment here down the last relevant. The playbook indeed. That said wish I had found many poems. Many poems = more laughs. If she is falling for that she is one pathetic individual.

        • I LIKE Fuck Fuck – start a sentence out with it. Or end a sentence with it. It just always feels good to say when the foam is rising to the top. Fuck Fuck. 🙂

  • “Happy people” cheat because they entitled to feel *happier*.

    Because they feel entitled to have 100% of their desires accommodated, 100% of their anxieties tranquilized, 100% of their fantasies fulfilled.


    • My nowdeadcheater was never happy but he was not willing to look inside to discern if maybe he was the root of his misery, so he looked outward where he found me….faithfully at his side, thick and thin…and since I was there and he was not happy, then surely I was the reason he was not happy.

      So I deserved whatever he did to me in order to improve his happiness quotient.

      Much later, our son fell into a deep depression right at the age Cheater was when we met. Then the next son did the same. I think there was a genetic switch that caused depression in them right at that time of development.

      So Cheater conducted 26 years of abuse and subterfuge with the idea that I caused his misery and I deserved it. Imagine what it felt like when God told him that his assumption was wrong.

      On the forum, we have discussed if mental health is an excuse and even though people struggle, I have met some very unhealthy people who still grasp where their boundaries are.

      • Yes. My not dead cheater is the same. He’s unhappy so he tries to change his external environment thinking that will fix it. When that doesn’t work, he goes looking for the next big change. Changing himself? Nah, nothing wrong with him, just his environment.

    • When giving dating a shot after my divorce, I talked to a divorced guy that told me “For children to be happy, they need their parents to be happy”. (I knew what the “happy” word really means and didn’t proceed with a date) And sure enough I was informed that the “love and commitment was gone from his marriage” (aka he cheated) supposedly from both sides.

      People that tell me how they seek happiness are scary.

      It’s also scary that so many sites recycle ethyl Perel. I really think the only explanation for all the attention she gets for her dribble, is that she sold her soul to the devil.

      I would like to see Tracy out there on talk shows and being interviewed!!

      • That’s a trigger for me J. — KK said after D-Day: “The best thing I can do for my daughters is to be happy. They deserve that.”

        It’s one of the instances that really crystallized the concept (before I’d even heard it) of “trust that she sucks.”

        • Gee, I have never run across that finding in any developmental research–that a parent’s happiness trumps being a responsible parent in terms of child outcomes.

    • Mine sounds like yours also. My Ex was 100% entitled. He was raised by a narcissist family who taught him “everything is someone else’s fault.”

      I caught mine at a weak moment when I asked him, “Why her?” His response, “She does what I tell her to.” My response, “She’s an employee! She’s supposed to do what you tell her to!”

      • You are incredibly sweet to say so. Flattering angle 😉
        So many friends and acquaintances said exactly that when I told them about the affair…it was a weird sensation. It was frustrating to wonder why he did what he did, because I am attractive, nice, I work hard…and here were all these people who thought so too! But I finally realized that it didn’t matter in the slightest. I could have been a supermodel rocket scientist who fostered puppies in my free time. It was not about me–it was about him and his disordered brain.

        • Same here. Educated, good job, good dad, was a good husband, and in shape and attractive, I think. And you’re right, it doesn’t matter. Entitlement trumps it all.

          Sounds like you have the right perspective. It’s them, not you.

          • Yeah–my brain believes it, my heart believes it most days, lol…but it’s a work in progress. At least after all these months of analyzing the situation to death, I can honestly say that I’m a pretty cool person, I like myself, and that’s what matters. External validation be damned!

            So for that ironic silver lining to betrayal…I guess I am pretty grateful.

    • Uxworld spot on for me. “Because they feel entitled to have 100% of their desires accommodated, 100% of their anxieties tranquilized, 100% of their fantasies fulfilled.”

      My Ex asked me after the divorce if I was all right sarcastically. I told him no, then asked if he was all right. To which he never replied so I did for him. I said that he wouldn’t know how he was feeling because he never could face or pay attention to his feelings

  • It is really shallow to base one’s ethics on feelings of happiness or unhappiness. See how far that gets you in the business world when you just feel like breaking a contract because you feel “unhappy.”

    • Well said! A Marriage contract is no different.

      That’s why I will have a prenuptial agreement for my next marriage. Not for “just in case” I get divorced again. It’s for “protecting my marriage” from getting divorced. You cheat, your not entitled to half of anything

      • I told mine the same thing, that he was breaking our marriage contract, our vows, our promises to each other. He started quoting “monogamish” stuff and wanted to RENEGOTIATE the contract so he could now have an open marriage or force me to let HIM be polyamory. That was his solution. NOT to self reflect but to change our agreement so he could continue to have his cake and me.
        NOPE. 2.5 years of him also delaying the divorce. Now it’s final but he’s hoovering every way he can. I guess the grass wasn’t so green after all.

          • I wish I had said that at the time. It’s perfect. I’m no contact now that the divorce is over-nothing I said made any difference to him anyway-he wanted what he wanted and he felt he “deserved” and was “entitled” to be happy. No matter who or what he destroyed.

      • oh how I wished I had this contract BEFORE I got married. How is it my unbelievably morally bankrupt ex spouse ended up with half of everything? I even had to pay for his medical for two years! He should have gotten nothing and had to pay ME! 10K plus in attorney’s fees on my part and everything in the end was split down the middle. My divorce was final in August and I am still reeling from the decision. Sorry- not ever going to get married again, cohabitate, sure, but no way in hell I am ever going let myself be that vulnerable again.

        • For sure. The law sucks. To me no fault divorce is a crock of shit. IF someone abuses or cheats on their spouse, ruining the marriage, they damn well should not get half of the assets!! . And at one time they did not. This is not progress. It’s just further proof of a new dog eat dog amoral society.

  • I don’t think it has anything to do with happiness. It is a sense of entitlement, shallowness, feeling a need for something new and exciting , a desire for adoration and just an inability to truly love someone in a deep way.

    • I’ll just add that I really don’t believe that Cheaters are unhappy in their marriages. They may be miserable shallow beings at their core, but they enjoy the stability and support and all of the other perks that come with a devoted spouse. And so the vast majority of them are content to deceive their partner and eat cake while running around behind their back. It’s all about feeling entitled to have MORE. The notion that they have been deeply unhappy for months/years/decades is a construct that pops up fully grown as soon as their dual universes collide and they face consequences.

      • Abso-fucking-lutely. He totally was happy keeping me jumping for his approval while he did what he wanted . I called him on his behavior and gave him notice to step up, he then he began to whine to everyone how mean and unfair I was to him. He already had chump#2 waiting in the wings when I finally walked. She only made it 9 months before bailing. It’s been 3 years and he’s still trying to find his replacement chump. And whining to Social Media the whole while how everyone is so mean and unfair to him. Poor guy, why won’t woman just shut up, take care of his every need, be his doormat and blame taker?

  • X needed to be happy. We’re 5 years since he dropped the bomb and 3 years divorced. He has since married his college gf (40+ years later) and they moved to take up residency on the family farm with his 92 year old father and mother who has dementia. He’s given up all of his former life. No longer King of the Castle, Lord of the Village just a lowly serf who now works in a local bank doing farm loans (and not the Wolf of Wall Street). Wife works nights and he works days. I’m sure this is not what he was thinking when he told me he “needed to be happy”! Our oldest daughter, who hasn’t seen her father in 3 years and doesn’t speak to him, told me that her psychiatrist called him the other day and said “the fight has gone out of your father — he’s not arguing with me anymore!” Who wouldn’t be depressed giving up your friends and family and all the people who really knew and loved you?! But to have the Doc lay this at my daughter’s feet is infuriating. X made his bed and the thrill of new love has probably worn off. Now he’s left paying college loans and alimony. If I had to guess, I think he turned 55 and realized he was not financially successful. So he thought his old Schmoopie could make him happy and he could start over with her. So sad but I’m out of the equation…

    • “Schmoopie could make him happy and he could start over with her.” Ironic, isn’t it?

      My XH thought the same. Now he’s a first time father to their newborn child at the age of 47. He’ll be paying for college when he’s in his late 60s. While I’m sure he’s in luv with his skank (they’ve been together for 6 years and married to each other for 4), I don’t think he would have defined his current situation as happiness. On his way out, he told me he wanted to be single and have no responsibility. #Carefreelife, #52pickup (from kindergarten).

  • Excellent article, hitting all the high points.
    I’d like to add the #1 point.
    This is a choice to lie and deceive. Not screw around.
    You get to be in a relationship.
    You get to screw around.
    But it’s not obligatory to CHEAT
    (ie deceive, sneak, triangulate, delight in hiding, dishonesty, undermining the lives and wellbeing of partner and kids. Screwing up the whole family system.)
    The DEAL is the choice to HIDE and LIE and do the daily juicy DECEIVE.
    There may or may not be pathology in non-monogamy. But that’s not this.
    The essence of a Cheater is they don’t choose to be up front and honest and say what they want to do and have the consequences.
    That’s not what they want.
    They want to DECEIVE.
    They WANT to triangulate.
    They want to hide
    And they want to sneak around.
    THAT’S pathology .
    It would be pathology to cheat and lie in a workplace, on a sports team, in any arrangement or agreement in life. It’s DISHONEST.
    There’s a reason it’s listed as a no no in all religions and courts of law.
    To me, that’s the gist of the whole deal.

    • This. Why marital cheaters get some special rules is stupid. If I lie to a professor and cheat on a test I get kicked out of the course (maybe even the school). Cheating on taxes is punishable by fines or jail time. If I lie in a court of law I’m held in contempt as a perjurer. Hell, even if you give a kickback to get your kid into college you may wind up in prison. BUT you lie and cheat on your life partner and you get…a wag of the finger? Fuck that

  • The x had nothing but a chaotic swirl of incoherent need where the heart and soul should be. Pure appetite always, but no particular aim, so nothing could satisfy. Told me himself, in the one chilling moment of something resembling truth that he managed, that no matter how much sex, money, power, or stuff he threw at the vortex, he never achieved satisfaction. My takeaway is that happiness does not compute for him or those of his ilk at all. He hasn’t the inner depth or stability ever to appreciate the lovely but fleeting moments of joy each day brings, much less to find anything like contentment. Since he has no capacity to experience object permanence, ideas, traditions, history, and memory mean nothing. That means that concepts like love, home, or bonding cannot be meaningful to him, and that kind of meaning and connection is what a normal human life is all about. All of which is to say that neither happiness nor the lack thereof have anything to do with infidelity. These folks just aren’t that deep. Whatever causes that brokenness, it’s just not a thing that’s fixable.

    • Truth. Even the ones who actually actively work on fixing themselves can never really be ‘real boys.’ They’re all wooden puppets.

  • Welp, it’s been 18 months and he’s still “unhappy”. He moved in with the cheating accomplice, his “sole mate”, and was caught on Tinder, still going to the massage parlors, and only God knows what else. The cheating was NOT about me, our marriage, or the socks not being folded correctly. He is unhappy because he completely lacks integrity, and likes to blame other people, places, things, circumstances, ANYTHING but himself for his lot in life.

    He IS unhappy, but it isn’t me and he has no clue how to get to happy. I, on the other hand, am realizing how much pain (unhappiness!) I was in being abused by his lying and cheating and control. I was the frog in the water coming to the slow boil. ????

    Let’s review. You are an alcoholic with no recovery program, you lie, you cheat, you steal, you don’t communicate, you hold resentments, you don’t problem-solve, you don’t work on any of your issues/character defects, you are emotionally immature and morally bankrupt, you are a liar cheater fraud traitor, and you are unhappy because of ME?

    Nope. It’s the man in the mirror.

    • ~Sigh~ It sounds like we were married to the same person. But once we start to realize — truly realize — that is was not about US but about what’s morally bankrupt in THEM, then detachment and healing is possible.

      Co-parenting with him has been a daily diet of shit sandwiches, but I am ready to take back my power and change the dynamic.

    • I agree with this. I realized on our “wedding anniversary” a sense of calm came over me because for once I wasn’t dealing with his drama. I had been dreading the anniversary and thought I would be depressed all day but I was fine. I kicked him out 7 months ago, filed for divorce this month and while I know there will probably be a battle with the divorce, my kids and I are happier in our home. I really wish they didn’t have to spend time with their serial cheating dad but all I can do is be the parent they can actually talk to.

      I was told by RB (Rat Bastard) that be cheated because he wanted more. Except he told me I was beautiful, sexy, a great mom, great at my job, a great cook and great in bed and the problem was him. Duh.

      More is now a rental house, part time with his kids, a ruined reputation in our community…not sure what more meant to him. And I was lucky enough to receive a letter in the mail stating he was going after another married person. I don’t understand how cheaters find “happy” at other people’s expense.

    • VH, mine hated AA because then he’d have to admit he’s not God, that his issues were caused by him—4th column was too terrifying for him to look at because no willingness, no surrender, still on the elevator going down and won’t get off. Nothing I can do — selfishness is the root of the problem…..

  • The author of this article, Winifred Reilly, is seeking buyers for her book about saving her own marriage, which is the first sign that she’s full of it. (Boundaries, anyone?)

    Second, she is just parroting Pester Perel, so there’s nothing original in her bloviating.

    Any therapist who condones deceiving/betraying your partner for any reason should lose his/her license, and permission to professionally cite ever having said license. Any licensed medical professional who violates the “do no harm” ethic doesn’t deserve to be in healthcare.

  • Can’t I see he’s just a nomad of desire in pursuit of Happiness? A suffering soul because his mom tried to abort him and used to forget him in kindergarten all the time?

    No I can’t. Because all I see is a pompous fool, too damn lazy to think or count to five.

  • Stop the presses! I thought cheaters cheat because, “We/I haven’t been happy for a long time.” Isn’t that the trope they all recite when busted? Despite never having shared any indication that they were so sad with life (and their cake) they suddenly trot out that bullshit when the cheating is discovered. The archive entry on CL is a good one if anyone needs a refresher.

    Never forget that cheaters cheat because they want to and happiness is a fleeting concept identified only by the tumescence of their naughty bits.

  • Most of these cheaters have never understood that only THEY can make themselves happy — no other person or thing can.

    My Ex has spent her life trying to fill the void in her soul with people, things, trips, jobs, volunteer work, etc and she feels “happy” for a little while and then it goes away.

    You can look at her FB and she is still the same with OM#3 her current husband –nothing is EVER good enough for her “happiness”. She has never really deep down been “happy” and never will be but she (and all our cheaters) will spend their lives looking for “happiness” and will never find it.

    • As an aside, a good little kids book that most of you may have read about this elusive search for “happiness” is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
      The poor tree tries to make a boy happy and nothing is ever enough.

      My Ex got furious when after Dday I said that I was the tree and she was the boy because deep down she knew it was true.

      • That book freaked me out when I read it as a kid! Everyone goes on about generousity and unconditional love. I saw a selfish boy/man who didn’t appreciate anything. Why didn’t I see it when I was older and met my ex?!

      • I hate that book. You stop at giving the apples, but you need to remain a whole tree first and foremost or else there will be no more apples or anything else to give. That book is awful.

      • All I remember of that book is feeling sad after I read it as a kid. So, I googled it to remind myself what it’s about. Ugh. That’s an awful story!

  • I changed continent to get married only to be abandoned some twelve years later.
    I was given the emotioal abuse treatment in all its facets.

    Oh yes, the suffering soul. Treated so unfairly by life. His happiness surely must come first.

    Deceiving is about power.

    When I read these lines of Jung it all quite made sense.

    “Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.”

  • I never expected Tracy to comment on this as anything that references Esther Perel is rendered total nonsense by default and no longer worthy of the wonder of the UBT. I sent it to her because I was on public transportation when I saw it and, thus, my screams had to be internal, which was totally insufficient to express my disgust and I knew she would find it as vomit worthy as I had.

    I guess it caught my attention because I had the “I am so unhappy” Cheater and he cheated (all the time, with me clueless) to be happy. The double mind-fuck of his “happiness” canard was that, according to him, I had met all of his “love language” criteria, save one. Say what? When I pointed out to him that I had never seen him truly happy, even when I met him he was sad and depressed most of the time, and that a cheating contact high was not “happiness,” I was labeled naïve and not being able to understand things at a deeper level. Yeah, okay.

    I love all the comments as they all speak to those internal screams I was experiencing when I saw this article. So many people are comfortable overlooking or making excuses for cheating until they get cheated on. The OWife in my case keeps tabs on the Ex’s phone, monitors his comings and goings, etc., things I didn’t do. I never felt comfortable during that period as the marriage police and can no longer imagine spending another moment of the limited amount of time I have left on this earth attempting to control or manage the behavior of another adult. Hope he’s “happy!” LOLOL!

    Love y’all!!!

  • Prior to D-Day, he yelled at me, “I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR HAPPINESS.”

    After D-Day, he said he was leaving because I wasn’t making him happy. “Ahh, so I was responsible for YOUR happiness, but you weren’t responsible for mine. I get it. Thanks for clearing that up.”


    • This is unreal. About a month after we were married, the Ex told me that he was not responsible for my happiness; that I was responsible for my own happiness. Of course, when he was giving me his reasons for cheating it was because he had not been happy for a long time and all the reasons why my inability to do my part to make him happy was a major part of the problem.

      There really must be a book entitled “Cheating for Dummies,” and this excuse is definitely in the chapter entitled “Useful Mindfucks.”

      This book should not be confused with the book aimed at Chumps entitled “Cheating is for Dummies.”

      • Ha ha!!! Great book title.

        And then there’s the book “Am I Vague Enough for You?”

        Example: When a cheater says the all-too-familiar: “I made a mistake!!!!”, does that mean, “I made a mistake picking AP, I should have stayed with you.” Or does it mean, “I made a mistake picking you in the first place.” Or does it mean, “I made a mistake picking out my socks this morning”?

        We shall never know … luckily.

  • I have no objection to people striving for happiness, as a general principle. My objections arise when they add ‘at any cost, to anybody’ or ‘the ends justify the means’.

    Absolutely we all have the right, nowadays, to leave a committed monogamous relationship because we are unhappy. If there are no kids, we even get to do that without making much effort to figure out the marriage, or try to make it work or seek professional help to be happier within the marriage. BUT, we are obliged to do it in an honest way, including not becoming sexually or romantically involved with other people prior to informing our partner that the relationship is over, facilitating and speeding the physical separation, and being very fair about any legal or financial issues that need to be resolved.

    Personally, I think that once you have kids with someone, or are raising kids together, there is an extra level of obligation; to make an honest effort to find ways to be happy in that relationship, in order to give the kids the best shot at a healthy and stable family life that you can. Divorce and shared custody is not the end of the world for kids, and is certainly better than an ‘intact’ family filled with conflict or dysfunction. But if you can avoid your kids having to turn their backs on one parent to go to the other, over and over again, avoid their always having to be without one of their parents, always missing one, that is far better. And by dint of having made children or taken a parental role in their lives, we owe them that effort. THEN, if that doesn’t work, we can proceed to divorce honestly, as outlined above. AND make sure that decisions about custody and finances are truly made in the children’s best interests.

    You’ll note that cheaters don’t do ANY of these things, usually. The cheating is the catalyst, but there’s so much more, both preceding and following the cheating and separation.

    Because in the end, it’s about their selfishness and entitlement. Not their happiness, actually. Some cheaters are happy a lot, many are almost always unhappy and irritable (that would include my Ex), but there seems to be very little relationship between their happiness levels and their actual life conditions and relationship status. So the ways they ‘pursue happiness’ are both unethical AND ineffective.

    • Well put. You are allowed to leave a marriage that doesn’t work for you, but you have an obligation to do it in an ethical way – and the more people are entangled in that marriage (in particular, kids) the greater that obligation is.

      When that doesn’t happen – when your partner lies to you and deceives you – it’s not really surprising that post-divorce relations are less than friendly. Why is this so hard for them to understand?

      • Dead on, IG.

        “You are allowed to leave a marriage that doesn’t work for you, but you have an obligation to do it in an ethical way – and the more people are entangled in that marriage (in particular, kids) the greater that obligation is.”

        Etching this in my memory in case I ever break gray rock when KK yet again wonders: “It’s been X years — what is keeping you from getting over it?”

        • KK: “It’s been X years — what is keeping you from getting over it?”

          UBT: “Why the hell aren’t you missing me?? What’s wrong with you? How dare you not
          mourn and grieve for my lurve? Damn – why isn’t this Enslavement Button working??”

  • Well the unhappy cheaters are no picnic either. The implication is that it is the chumps fault they are unhappy when the reality is that they are making themselves unhappy and no amount of strange pussy or strange dick or any other external change is ever going to fix that. Self reflection is scary, however so best to just keep chasing those temporary highs that come with the newness of change and call that the pursuit of happiness.

  • Wowzah – I had to read this one twice! I loved it – you could also replace ‘happy’ with ‘sick’ (i.e – ‘sick people steal elections’, sick people drown kittens’)
    They’re ‘happiness’ is contingent upon someone else’s misery! That’s their sickness – they can’t feel anybody else’s pain because they’re overwhelmed by their ‘quest’ for happiness – like an addict who is ‘happy’ after their hit.
    I personally think it’s a form of mental illness – like extreme racism.

  • Why do happy people cheat? It’s not a question about why “happy” people cheat.
    It’s simply fact that entitled people do whatever the hell they want.

    • I look at it as shallow people don’t require a lot to be “happy.” Steak and blowjobs will suffice.

      I’m surprised society still correlates happiness with values, as if happiness makes you well-adjusted or a person of morals. Ted Bundy was never happier than when he was raping and murdering women.

  • Oh gosh, I had to quit reading when Esther said millions of people cheat so millions of dolls can’t be disordered. Fuck het, why the hell not? Millions of people can get the flu, should we just go into denial and say that can’t be?

    No doubt in my mind Esther Perel is the poster child of disorder. I want a dart board with her picture on it!

  • My STBX said he went out(still denies sex) with my cousin. Because she liked to have fun. She liked to go play pool. Liked to go away etc. Yea, on my dime. My husband said if I would have wanted to go away more he would not of went away with her. What a bunch of bull. The only reason people cheat is for their own self gratification. They are selfish pigs who don’t care if they hurt their partner. As long as they have fun.

  • I’m casting a vote to take the word “happy” back from the clutches of predators.
    Predators including but not limited to:
    flying monkeys,
    grooming for marriage policing articles, Carnation Instant yoga gurus,
    the “what you need to do is…” Club,
    the Shamey-Judgy Parents Association,
    As for unhappy consequences-
    that list could take years to write, but I love CN-CL for summing it up so neatly.
    And for providing the map to Meh.

    • The “I’m not racist but” Klan.
      The Just take this pill and you’ll be fine crew.
      The See how many likes I’ve had on my post club.
      The Stand on someone’s head to climb the ladder colleagues.
      The Be mean, cruel and nasty but make it sound like a joke bullies.
      The “I’ve got the latest phone, handbag, car, brand name, materialism junkies.

      Yes! Let’s take the word happiness back, by demonstrating how to be happy with living true to our values, moral code, ethics and aligned priorities.

  • Maybe not most likely – maybe also more understandable and forgivable. Either way, it’s bullshit.

  • This is a top-5 post by CL (with stiff competition from 6 years of posts), IMHO, because it cuts to the thick of the matter. Pursuit of happiness does not justify deceptive and unethical behavior. Full stop.

  • Here’s another angle – it’s essentially saying “yeah, unhappy people cheat and it’s totally understandable. Happy people cheating requires an explanation . . . Here it is. But yeah, cheating when you’re unhappy is totally justified.”

  • I think, going forward in my future relationships, it will be a flag for me if someone states “YOU make me happy”. Cheater said it to me all the time, in fact said it a week (!) before dday then turned around with “I haven’t been happy for years” and ILYBNILWY.

    No one else should be the source of your happines. That’s why we chumps are in this boat too. I was defining myself and my happiness in relation to someone else.

    Being happy to be WITH someone or because of WHO they are is acceptable: “I’m happy to BE with you”. But the need for the other to MAKE you happy isn’t healthy. On both sides.

  • My XH told anyone who would listen “OW makes him HAPPY”… … …
    When asked how his children would take this news, he confidently replied; “They will be happy for me that I AM happy and found someone to love”.
    When the kids DID NOT take his abandonment well, he replied; “My family does not want me to be HAPPY.”

    … … OH, the SHIT affair partners tell each other.

    Graduations, holidays and two weddings, he has not been invited nor wanted. Hope the side fuck was worth his kids. He deliberately dumped them for her. In fact, my attorney- a 32 year family law guy said that he had NEVER seen a father so disinterested in the welfare of his children.

    • Magneto sweetie I feel for you… the father being disinterested should be useful because it helps you to dislike him, but it’s a kick in the guts too isn’t it, on behalf of the kids.


    • Ex told everyone during his relationship with first AP “he’s never been happier in his life!”
      said the same thing with current gf now wife.

      It’s all about him and his happiness, they appreciate nothing or anyone. it’s all about them.
      Who cares if he shatters our family, has sons life.
      Cheaters happiness is formost..

  • It’s a crap article, and I did google Reilly, who’s book is not just on rescuing her own marriage, but “rescuing” it with hardly any help from her spouse.

    She bought into hopium, and those of us here in Chump Nation know how that story ends.

    I feel sorry for her. She ate a lot of shit sandwiches.

    • And will likely be eating a lot more, in time, as so many here know too well ….

      We’ll keep a spot for her at CN! As long as she agrees to write the retraction to her book, and publicize it heavily.

  • This has been a really great thread for me– never thought about these angles of entitlement (new Chump here). X went all out on the “I’m not happy” angle. Threw it at friends and family who naturally reacted with, oh, if she/your life with her is making you this dreadfully unhappy then by all means we must get you out of there! Everyone bought his pleas hook line and sinker. His mom helps him get an apartment and buys him towels and kitchen items so he could have a love nest for schmoopie. Funny, X never talked about being unhappy, until bam! SOOOO unhappy must get happy go away I’m unhappy! It’s a word we all respond to, especially me chump! It resonated with me: well, we all should be happy right? (blamed self for causing his unhappiness)

    • It’s bullshit, Cali. My cheater also used the excuse that he was unhappy and it had to be because of me. The truth is these disordered clowns will NEVER be happy. They are searching for externals to make them happy, but happiness is internally driven. It can’t be found in a new vagina. Cheaters are always externalizers who have no inner resources to create meaning in their lives. I’m so sorry your cheater and his awful family manipulated you into believing it was your fault. That is abusive and they’re just bad people.
      Cheaters often come from families who are also disordered freaks. That’s how they become freaks themselves.
      Just the other day, my cheater’s brother wanted to know whose fault the affair was, as if it could possibly be mine. The nerve of these people!

  • To Tracy’s Snarky Smartness ! Big Bow, Courtesy, HUGE Roaring Applause!!! Thank you ! Thank You Very Much!

  • Town and Country magazine’s latest issue has a bunch of articles about cheating and cheaters (Bezos,Mugrabi,Trump and co.) One of the writers tracked down the Mayflower Madam. Remember her ?Her response to the women,back in the day,who cornered her in restaurant powder rooms asking her “Why do men cheat on their wives ?” was that they don’t feel seen. Same sh*t, different decade.

    I think this woman is looking for a book deal to write a follow-up to her ’80s hogwash. She never married and has lived in the same one bedroom flat all these years.

  • The Limited would have been happy if only I allowed him to control my pay check; happy if I signed on the dotted line to finance a mortgage.

    What made this weak coward happy was the con, the duping and the power. The mindfuck turned to rage when he found out I consulted with an attorney, a powerful woman who was well respected and previously a judge. That rage caused his attorney to withdraw.

    My daughter was outraged when he went after my pension after bragging that Nanthony made little money.

    The thrill of the chase, the excitement, equally made him happy and will always be a constant along with the con. Infatuation, the high never lasts. The void of the Limited can never be filled or sustained.

  • Having been chumped a VERY long time ago, I have had a lifetime of lessons to learn and truths to be understood coming from that horrible experience. While I absolutely agree that everyone deserves to have an honest ending to their relationship if it is not working for one of the partners, I also believe that all cheaters are cowards. The theme of their lives is fear. I have known cheaters and chumps alike, and it has been my personal experience that cheaters don’t usually want to stay in the marriage. They stay out of fear… fear of losing pensions, reputations, money, and often, unfettered access to their children. Years ago, when I was chumped, I “if only” myselfed nearly to death. I say that, sadly, quite literally. Decades later, it is my firm belief that if one spouse wants out of the marriage, it is already done. Sad, but true.

    • Queen Bee, I don’t think all cheaters want out of the marriage but are too cowardly to take that step in an honest way. My Ex TOTALLY wanted the ‘having his cake and eating it too’ scenario. During his first affair, he LOVED having both of us AND both of us knowing that, for months, before breaking off with her. LOVED feeling like he must be so great and so hot, to have two women competing to keep him and declaring their love for him. LOVED my pick-me dancing and re-investment in trying to make him happy, while we reconciled. The second affair, I think he thought I wouldn’t find out about, but once I did, he clearly believed I would fuss and fume but in the end not actually make him leave, or would take him back quite soon. I had to push him out of the house, months after he had agreed to move out, he kept trying to hoover me, while still w/the AP and after she dumped him, and when he eventually figured out that I really wasn’t taking him back, he became very angry.

      He also wasn’t scared of losing his pension or money; I had more than him, and we weren’t legally married (and there’s no common-law marriage here). Unfettered access to his kids? We’re in a 50-50 custody time jurisdiction; the kids preferred and I offered him about 20% of their time, which he immediately said wouldn’t work, he’d take 15%. Then immediately started missing his time, quite often. Then in less than a year moved away and saw the kids for a day and a half, twice a month. And not even his reputation; he completely and immediately dumped ALL our family friends and the two friends of his own, then he did what he’d done before, and done again since; moved to another city, where he could give the impression HE wanted to give, to new people who had no reason to doubt him.

      So yeah, he actually is a huge coward. But it wasn’t fear that kept him with me.

  • Tracy, you summation was absolutely spot on:

    “Moreover, I think what Happy Cheater mindfuck purveyors are saying is they like the power. Should someone steal their money, vote, or Amazon package? They’d be pissed. But that never happens to winners. Who oddly can’t seem to win without unethical behavior. And have created an entire propaganda machine to justify their ‘winning’ and obfuscate the concerns of those harmed.”

    Unethical behavior sucks. The Python used to complain about unethical behavior on the part of management where he used to work (before they fired him for a rage channel outburst). At the time, I had no idea that HE was a liar and a cheater.

    But this self-centered, double-standard, entitled worldview is so disordered that they are totally blind to the hypocrisy.

    The Happy Cheaters article suggests that all the millions of cheaters in the world can’t all be pathological. No? Why not? As George Simon suggests, we may be living in a time that fosters narcissism. Bigly.

    • The writer sounds amazed that we could believe millions of people are sociopathic. Only someone who’s never been chumped could write that with total sincerity.

  • Two things I found particularly humorous in that article, though there were a ton of howlers. I shall address this to Molester Purehell;

    1) “Millions of people can’t be pathological.”

    They can and are, Molester. That’s why the mental health field exists, you dunderhead. That’s why flim-flammers like you have a worldwide audience of disordered folks who salivate over the excuses you offer them for either cheating or being a doormat for a cheating bully to wipe his/her jackboots on. Buy a clue, you pretentious peddler of sop for the tender sensibilites of whiny, narcissistic douchecanoes.

    2) They call the ability to “function” (meaning just ignore and deny reality) with a massive dose of cognitive dissonance a sign of “first rate intelligence.”
    Hahahaaa! No, that’s actually a sign you’re both an addlepated ninny and a kook. To understand this, just watch Sesame Street when they play the game “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.” Even five year olds get the concept that certain things don’t belong together and bear no relationship to each other. Like an antelope and a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado. Like a peach and ice fishing tackle. Like cheating and respect for your partner, YOU IDIOT who wrote the article!

    Whoever wrote this is not part of any actual good men project, and you’re one of the millions of those headcases you don’t belive exist, Molester, you narky assberet con woman. Now both of you can fuck right off, pronto.

    • Ten to fifteen percent of the population is disordered (narcissist,borderline,antisocial and paranoid) so millions of people are pathological Fester !

  • After being married 34 years his ED started to cone into play. Many times his limp dick wouldn’t work while I was frustrated but I said “ it’s ok.. it’s not your fault “
    with compassion & love. Trying to soothe his narcissistic ego. Little did I know then he was taking Viagra with the Owhore & not having that problem.
    I guess sex with schmoopie was worth the cost of the
    prescription. ????

  • Happiness is a bullshit metric. What exactly are we measuring here? Is happiness supposed to mean somebody’s a good person? Happiness doesn’t measure whether a person has good values. Ted Bundy was never happier than when he was raping and murdering women.

    In response to the subheadline in the linked article:

    “We can assure ourselves that affairs only happen because of broken people or broken relationships but do we really think millions of people are pathological?”

    Yes. Sadly, now I do believe millions of people are fucked up and even dangerous. Sociopaths are everywhere.

    • Any number of people can be incomprehensibly selfish without actually being pathological, which is how I can live and reconcile my being a chump with Ester Perel’s overview of why infidelity is so pervasive.

      My ex turned out to be selfish to an extent that was frightening. Is he actually personality disordered? We’ll never know because seeking help or a diagnosis is not serve her self interest. Selfish people never look in the rear view mirror, so pathology is moot point if you’re part of that reflection.

      For most of us it’s the level of deception that leaves us reeling. If we dated before marriage then we are already aware that intimacy and sex alone do not disqualify us from being marriage material. It’s the deception and cover up that ultimately inform us about the other person’s true character.

  • You can use Fahrenheit or Celsius to measure temperature and the answer you get looks very different based on the thermometer.

    “Happy People” is the wrong thermometer because when we measure infidelity we measure selfishness not happiness. It shouldn’t be to hard to figure that out in this age of the “selfie.”

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