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Dear Chump Lady, I discovered my new friend is an OW

Dearest Chump Lady,

You pulled me through my darkest days when I found out my husband was cheating. Your blog was my sanity and North Star. It pointed me towards a new life, one that is now free from fear, chaos, gaslighting, lies, and all the other horrible things that go along with being married to a cheater! I am happy to report my new life is full of joy, fulfillment, traveling, a loving boyfriend, job growth, some fun hobbies, and new friends. It’s taken me awhile to build these areas of my life, especially new friendships. I was isolated in my marriage, so after we divorced making new friends was a big priority.

Fast forward and I have a couple of nice friends now, but they have been hard to find. One of the women who I really enjoy spending time with just shared with me that the reason for her divorce was that she cheated on her husband with a married man and then her husband cheated on her. She also shared that she’s still is in contact with the OM even though he has a girlfriend.

I had thought this whole time she had been the one cheated on! I thought she was a fellow 30 something rebuilding her life, determined to make it too! Needless to say I was astonished! She has been kind, fun, thoughtful, smart, and we seemed to have so much in common. Except, I don’t FUCK married men! In fact, all I can think of is the pain she caused his wife and then I think about the OW who fucked my husband and the pain she caused me! Did that bitch have friends who just looked past her destroying an innocent women’s life too?!

Is your advice the same for when someone finds out their friends are cheaters?! Cut your loss and find people with better morals. I don’t know if I can get past this in a friendship, but she seemed like an AMAZING friend. I feel conflicted… Is there a gray area with friends who cheat, especially since I didn’t know the husband? Am I being a harsh Judge Judy or a realistic person with standards?

Your friend,

NotThisGirl

Dear NotThisGirl,

How about just… next? There are a bazillion people on this planet, many of them worthwhile and many of them lonely for a good friend. You could invest your energies in other places — so why honor this person with the gift of your awesomeness?

First off, you don’t have that much invested right now. She just looked promising and then you discovered you don’t have shared values. It’s disappointing, but it’s not like you have years of connection and history to weigh.

Left out is how she related her OW story to you. Did she know your story? Did you share it? Any remorse or awareness for chumps? Any therapy or regrets? The only detail we have here is that she’s still friends with the OM. (Presumably he got divorced if there’s a girlfriend, but maybe not! Cake.) So… I’m thinking that remorse thing is a big nope.

She has been kind, fun, thoughtful, smart, and we seemed to have so much in common.

Well, yes, except as you pointed out, the fucking married men thing.

Consider that new friendships are like dating. Stakes are pretty low and it’s fun stuff. Dining out, movies, kickball. It’s not deep character stuff like your mother died and someone needs to attend a funeral, or watch your kids, or show up with a casserole.

Chumps often make the mistake of projecting our character on to others. We assume investment, that people would show up for us the way we show up for them.

Until they don’t. And we look back on the whole thing and realize there was a lot of kickball and not much else.

In fact, all I can think of is the pain she caused his wife

Isn’t it funny that you think of it, but apparently she doesn’t?

then I think about the OW who fucked my husband and the pain she caused me! Did that bitch have friends who just looked past her destroying an innocent women’s life too?

Probably. Maybe she had some brave friends who told her this wasn’t her best self, it was wrong, and she’s selling out the Universal Sisterhood — but she did it anyway. Maybe everyone was being desperately cool and un-judgy. Maybe their character is unformed and they’re inchoate blobs of potential who never put down the appletinis long enough to shriek, “Stop being a fuckwit, Martha!”

I don’t know. These imaginary friends don’t matter. You just control what kind of friend you want to be. And who makes the cut into your circle.

she seemed like an AMAZING friend.

I bet your husband seemed like an AMAZING husband, up to that moment he stabbed you in the back. #character

Is there a gray area with friends who cheat, especially since I didn’t know the husband?

Are morals only for the people we know? Fuck the rest? How’d you enjoy being chumped?

Am I being a harsh Judge Judy or a realistic person with standards?

It really depends on what kind of friends you want. My message here is a simple one — don’t stay with someone who has cheated on you. Know your worth.

The world is full of people who don’t know your worth. Or who are convinced they’re worth more than you, and would happily put a boot on your neck for a sandwich. Most people are quite oblivious to our worth, and that’s fine. We navigate accordingly.

This site isn’t about punishing cheaters or branding their foreheads. (As much as many would like that, the worst I do is put some of them through the Universal Bullshit Translator.) It’s about valuing yourself. And when you do that, the fuckwits lose their centrality.

I don’t care if a cheater takes out my gallbladder, or paves my roads, or prepares my tacos. I just don’t want to be married to a cheater. I refuse to invest my emotional energy in someone I can’t trust.

This is one person. She’s not your only chance at friendship. You are not unloveable or unfriendable. Know your worth and the fuckwits lose their centrality.

If it were me, I’d demote to acquaintance.

You’re rocking the new life — keep going.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Here’s my take on it – if she’s willing to be an OW, then that likely means she’s got bad boundaries on other matters too.

    • Yes this boundaries issue doesn’t get enough play. OW was a “friend” and would frequently critique how much I paid for my groceries, one time telling me where I could get the smoked salmon I was serving to her at that moment for less. That is just one instance of her behavior that seemed benign until it turned into her inserting herself as my husband’s confidant unbeknownst to me. He is to blame more than her, to be sure, but this is a testament to how people can seem benign with their boundary issues but it is a sign of a deeper problem. Even if OW and my ex could rationalize that it wasn’t an affair (it was) there is a huge boundary issue with getting involved with your longtime friends former son-in-law, or friend’s ex husband. These behaviors are traits of a person who sees no obstacles in the way of their desires, they are dangerous people.

      • This was my ex’s modus operandi – any hint of a problem in his friends relationships and he suddenly became their wife’s/girlfriend’s bestie…. What a kind and caring guy – NOT.

    • My cheater ex was a master at mirroring. We had so much in common! We shared all the same values! Never was a relationship as strong as ours…. until I realized it was all game and that he had very few real interests, very few values, and very little regard for me.

      Think of it this way – this person sees nothing wrong with lying to her SPOUSE, betraying the person she promised to love above all others. What makes you think she’s going to be good to you?

      • My fiance cheated on me but it took awhile for me to figure it all out. My Sister was one of my go to people for advice but I had a hard time with it since she cheated on her husband and is now married to the OM. Hard to say but I don’t know if I would be friends with her if she wasn’t my sister.

      • This reminds me of a work friend I made (and currently no longer have).

        I was tasked with training this new staff, I will call her Tina. She was a fantastic trainee. Eager to learn, we had a lot in common (mirroring), etc.

        We became friends who had tea together often. Then her husband started complaining about me. Stealing her time from him. How, she would normally just lay around on the couch, all depressed in her track pants, but if we were going to have tea together, suddenly she would jump to life, and get dressed and be…..happy. He was very jealous of our relationship, to the point where I offered to bow out of the friendship if it was threatening their marriage. She said no, it was fine. That’s just how he was. It was all very strange.

        Then…many life events happened in each of our lives and we grew apart. She didn’t like my new boyfriend (now the ex narcopath) and was very competitive and jealous of HIM. She felt ignored by me and our friendship fell to the back burner.

        Her mother died, her marriage was in crisis, and then a work situation was the final blow. At this point she had worked with us for 2 years. In that time, I had caught her doing a few things that I cautioned her were inappropriate, were going to get her in trouble. We worked different floors, so after the initial training period, she rotated to another floor, and I only saw her in action if I happened to be walking through that unit, or hearing her troubles with co-staff (which she had a lot, and I couldn’t figure it out…). According to co staff, she was always in the bosses office, complaining about other staff.

        One day, she decided she wanted a full time line. But there were none presently available. She was a part time employee. I remember her calling me, and asking me “hypothetically”, since I was in the top 4 seniority to be promoted to full time, whether I would take it, if available. I said no. She then called the 3 people beneath me, but above her. They all said no.

        THEN. She made an allegation against a full time co-worker, for abusing a patient. Ironically, that same co-worker lived near Tina, and often asked the two of us if we would join her for tea. Tina didn’t like her, but I did. I worked a lot with said co-worker, and she was a wonderful staff, and I just couldn’t see it. The co-worker was immediately suspended pending the investigation and she had no clue what they were even investigating.

        I remember my boss phoning me to ask questions about the abuse investigation. I knew nothing.

        Tina phone me later that day to ask if the boss phoned me. She then told me she purposely threw co-worker under the bus, specifically because she didn’t like her trying to be friends with us, and she wanted her full time line. I was sickened.

        Because our employer could not conclude 100% that coworker did NOT abuse the resident (it was only coworker and Tina in the room, and the resident was mentally unable to offer a statement), coworker was given the choice of being fired or let go with a severance. She chose to leave.

        Tina immediately applied and got her full time line. And gloated. And then went after another different coworker that I sometimes had tea with. Got that other coworker written up for something inconsequential. We had a pretty epic blow up about it after she gloated about THAT incident and I went no contact with her. She continued asking various coworkers why I was mad at her. They all told her to apologize. She refused.

        Ironically, she was fired 2 weeks later. For abuse.

    • Exactly!
      I found myself in a similar situation with a female friend whose company I enjoyed. Eventually she told me she had an affair with a married man during her marriage and her ex subsequently cheated on her, causing a divorce.
      She told me she only saw her ex-AP (still married) at their shared workplace. I found out she had been lying to me and had been continuing her affair with married AP.
      I needed friends lying to me about their affair like I needed a hole in my head!
      I was very honest and told her I did not want anyone in my life who would lie to me to suit their own purpose and that i would not longer be her friend.
      The pity and rage channels came next. I didn’t experience that during my divorce so it was quite a shock.
      Bottom line is she didn’t keep her wedding vows and did not meet my criteria for a friend. Honesty and integrity are important to me even in friendships.
      It comes down to what CL always says…is this acceptable to YOU?

      • This sounds like her story too! It was a little triggering to be lied to and led to believe she was a chimp too.

        • It is true that you can’t trust her.
          Down the road she could be angling for your guy or future husband next, after gaining your friendship longer term. Then you will be kicking yourself for trying to be “fair” with someone who has questionable values. It has the potential to hurt you.
          CL’s post makes me think of my friendships and what their history holds. Thanks NotThisGirl and CL for this very useful post! We need to stop being Chumps all the way around!

    • One requirement for repentance with Cheater o’Mine was that he make a 180-degree shift from the adulterous relationship and never (NEVER) have one drop of communication with her ever again. ‘Still in contact with’ screams ‘still having the affair.’ She’s testing the waters of your boundaries, Not This Girl. If it turns out you’re okay with this tidbit of information, then she will eventually (and incrementally) give you more of the truth. She’s a cheater and a liar.

      And yes, her friends from the past are not judging her for her affair. If they did, she’s written them off as not her ‘true friends.’ How do I know this? Because I know this woman–she’s my ex-friend who waxes eloquently about how her affair enabled HER to know who her true friends were. She gushes over those ‘true friends’ who are happy for her and her ‘second chance.’ Btw, her ‘second chance’ is Cheater o’Mine.

      Not This Girl you should RUN from this woman. There’s a legion of women out there you can befriend who you can trust not to sidle up to the man in your life now. Drop this one like a hot potato.

  • IMO — once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It will keep popping up and worming its way into every situation when that little voice asks “Can I trust this person with (fill in the blank)?”

  • I unfriended someone who I thought was a good friend who thought it was ok to cheat on her husband with some 20 year old ski bum who couldn’t even legally drink yet (we were in our 30’s having completed PhDs with great careers). She wanted me to cover for her when she was with her fuck buddy. I refused and ended our relationship. This was before I had met my narcissist sociopath cheating ex. To me cheating is unforgivable, even if I am not the victim. She clearly doesn’t have your integrity and don’t settle for cheating partners nor cheating friends.

    • Great advise!! 🙏🏻 It’s been hard to find women who have a desire for new friends or the time to foster a new relationship. Most women I’ve meet have little kids and so understandably don’t have the time to spend on a new friendship. I was so excited that I found someone in the same stage of life…. except we have totally different morals.

      • Have you tried Meetup?
        It’s a great way to find like minded people while pursuing existing interests or trying new activities. It’s a great way for women to meet new friends.

  • I had a “friend” (demoted to acquaintance…she had wierd non boundaries then she endangered my child while tending him) who I put 28 years and 3000 miles between us then she moved to my current home town and wanted to rekindle our “friendship”. We got together for coffee and she said she married her new husband after his wife killed herself. That was after “friend” had dinner with said man on a business trip…. yea, well here such a story stinks to high heaven and I avoid her like the plague.

    I think that NTG above should tell the OW why she doesnt want to be friends, but I dont personally want to have this conversation. eeek. Avoidance it is.

      • Yea, I was horrified, but honestly, I am the least accusatory person you ever met (Im a serious Chump) and I cant ever see myself insinuating that she actually contributed to the suicide…if I was wrong on the cause/effect, that would be horrible. So I will just avoid.

        I have been in a few situations where I got a song and dance from someone and it sounded really fishy, but I was not in a spot to call someone out on conjecture alone…but I also dont have to be best buddies with them.

    • The slow fade away may work best in some situations. If you let her know you see behind her mask,she may flip to rage (thanks again Tracy for explaining the charm/pity/rage cycle these sharks use) and conduct a smear campaign against you.

  • I had made a new friend for a few months until D-Day happened. The month afterward, I learned that this new friend was sleeping with the point-person on one of her accounts. Every time she went down to check on things… a few times a month. She was GIDDY. She was also married… to a drunken, irresponsible, patronizing, coke-hiding a-hole. It was too soon for me to see anything in that except feel it was wrong and be shocked that she was telling me this while I was still sobbing into a glass of wine every night, eating nothing, and was gaunt with grief and betrayal. I lost probably 40 pounds in a month. “Does she not SEE how hurtful that is?”

    Cheating is a manifestation of entitlement. Selfishness. It’s not a Naughty Thing… it’s an inherent character flaw.

    I let her stick around but pointed out that I didn’t want her to talk about cheating. She fell all over herself, apologizing. She “didn’t think.”

    And then I found CL. I read about reciprocity. Boundaries. Words vs. Actions. The bullshit of “intent.” (You DO the things you actually, really, really WANT to do.) Nice vs. Kind. And this bitch didn’t measure up. Every time. She really was selfish and entitled and a liar, with nice veneered all over the place, kept shiny by a staggering number of lies. To anyone and everyone, large and small. I used boundaries to get her to stop coming around… I was suddenly always busy, and offered no explanation. I couldn’t un-see it anymore. I stopped letting her use me and it made room in my life for REAL friends to find me. For us to find each other.

    • Something to think about: do you know her husband is a real asshole? Or is this just what she says.

      I shudder to think about all the horrible falsehoods and half-truths my ex uses as excuses for the affair.

      • I do. He was a usually-unemployed but ALWAYS underemployed wine rep. He stole wine that was supposed to be for events. Their garage was full of empty bottles, which “friend” had to dispose of when – after he was fired – the company came to collect. They should have been full. He made maybe $20K/year and spent most of it on hosting fancy dinner parties and clothing and drugs. He’s a poser, pretending to be upper class and a man of leisure but his brother pays rent on his inner-city hovel, he has no vehicle, was hooked on heroin for a while and relapses occasionally. Still calls his ex-wife “White Trash” for not being a “more polished woman.” She never told him about the affair but I never told him because I strongly suspect that he was fucking men at his dinner parties… ones he said she wasn’t refined enough to attend in their own home. He’s a real asshole.His sole role in parenting – when he’s not binge-ing – is to remind his daughter about etiquette, how to act like you have money, and the importance of getting good grades for scholarships so that she “won’t be white trash like her mother.” I have HEARD him say this and he was always telling me what garbage she really was but was pretty and worked hard so he’d “keep her.”

        I told her that this was all a GREAT set of reasons to get a DIVORCE, not cheat. She didn’t like that at all.

        • This woman is not really a classic cheater. From how you describe her husband, through personal contact, so you have seen it, it sounds like she was with an alcoholic who hid his sexual identity and used her as his beard. Having some experience with this – the sexual rejection, the declassifying, the not knowing – it sounds like she was looking for validation of her very existence, which this jerk robbed her of, by making her feel low class and sexually undesirable, but she “was pretty and worked hard”. Then bad-mouthing the mom to their child! Jesus. This is breath-taking abuse. I am not excusing the cheating. It’s not clear if this friend was cheating with a married person. But you might want to reach out to her and take her to an Al-anon meeting. Her “giddyness” was due to her feeling like a desirable human being for once, not being pigeon-holed by some dirt-bag closeted fucking asshole.

          • Yes, exactly. She is, however, a professional victim. Loves the drama. He wasn’t, by all accounts (her friends and family), nice to her at the start of their marriage either… but they each wanted a child and a “regular family.” 9 years of marriage and sex less than annually, after that child was born. She lost weight. Did well in her career. She wasn’t fond of him but liked having a husband and a “regular” family. He liked having her support him, having a beautiful, intelligent child, a home, etc.

            He didn’t, imo, deserve to know that she had cheated… so I didn’t tell him.

            And I don’t give her “credit” for cheating because she held all the cards. And still does. She was the sole income, essentially. She wasn’t remotely dependent on him. He would fail any drug or alcohol test. It would have been (and was, in fact) very easy to have a court rule against him having any visitation whatsoever. He had priors for various kinds of exposure and misconduct. He didn’t contribute to their household in income, household duties, parenting, etc. She rented their home and could have simply moved somewhere cheaper… HE wanted the nicer house in order to entertain.

            She had all the ability in the world to divorce him – and funds to do it – the entire time… and come out the other side with fewer expenses.

            She chose to cheat instead. I don’t hate her for it… but with other behaviors that speak back to her character (being FWB to married, long-time friends after her separation, always stopping by at meal times because my “cooking is just amazing,” asking me if I was free during certain times and thusly baiting me with watching her child constantly instead of us hanging out… I mean, I’d not have been a SAHM if I’d had free childcare, obviously… I stay home to watch MY kids, not others’ for FREE), I didn’t want this person as a close friend.

            I tried to let her back in once… she’d found new drama with a “single” friend who had a girlfriend – “it’s fine; it’s not like she’s his WIFE or anything” (???!!!!) BDSM while the girlfriend was away… he never let her sleep over, she always had to go to his house and only when he picked her up because the neighbors might see, she had to duck from x-intersection until his garage door was closed.

            She’s not pure evil. She’s simply selfish and feels entitled to anything she views as good for her in the moment… and to hell with what the consequences. That’s why she’s an acquaintance, not an ex-friend. I feel for her to a degree… but she chooses this, over and over.

            Horrible partners who treat you like garbage should be DIVORCED, not cheated on. Period.

            • Yuck. Okay, insistonhonesty, I got you. I had a toxic friend like that, and once I cut this person off life got much easier. Showing up at dinner, check (empty handed, off course), are you busy tomorrow? me – “no, I’d love to hang out!” being met with a request for a favor, check, etc. etc. There is a great Yiddish word for these types – schnorrer.

        • Yeah, that’s pretty bad. There’s no excuse for cheating, but I’m genuinely glad she is out of that situation.

      • No doubt ‘your marriage had fallen apart long ago’ and that jazz right. Yeah can’t trust ‘em to be telling the truth right. The self-justification will be on high.

        Maybe they convince themselves but you will see through it all and then I bet they turn on you if you even dare to state a negative opinion about their behaviour.

  • At best she is a selfish person who doesn’t really care who she hurts to get what she wants or what makes her feel good in the moment. Can you every really feel comfortable around this woman or feel like she has your back? Is this someone you want to share your deepest darkest secrets with? I think acquaintance is a a better place for this person in your life.

    • Agreed! I don’t think I could ever trust her. Once I found out, I haven’t felt comfortable. I wished I would have known her character from the beginning.

  • Dear NotThisGirl,

    I had this exact same thing happen to me. Lovely new friend, very intense, lots of support and help given to me by her.

    She spoke all the time of wanting to seduce one of the husbands at school and how they flirted. I was constantly trying to explain why this was a bad idea.

    Anyway, after confiding so much in her about my situation, she back stabbed me by becoming friends with my ex and his new women and trying to keep it a secret from me. I was really confused by this as she clearly tried to hide it and then had a load of excuses as to why it’s all completely ok behaviour (seen these tactics before anyone?)

    She then removed herself from my life by being “angry with me for moving house” and not speaking to me any more (bit nuts maybe?)

    Really odd behaviour right?

    Anyway, maybe she was already sleeping with the guy and testing my reaction to it. Who knows.

    And while it all sounds a bit dramatic, I don’t care that much, haven’t talked about it much, I’m sharing it here to say that is was an interesting observation.

    Shitty people end up being shitty to everyone, it’s logic really. And that they often remove themselves from your lives naturally. A downgrade to acquaintance sounds like a very diplomatic solution.

    • MB,
      You mentioned that sh—-y people are sh—-y to everyone. I wish but don’t think that is generally true based on my own observation as well as what I have read of history. It seems as though many people are selectively kind—kind to those they value and horrible to those they don’t. Virtually everyone, probably his new wife, too, thinks that my last boyfriend, who was often a jerk to me in generally covert ways, is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

      • RockStar, kindness is not a mutable characteristic. People can be selectively “nice.” People who are “kind” in general can at time fail, for one reason or another. But they are not “selective.” Kindness is a character trait that human have, along a continuum. They are kind or not kind or somewhat kind (which is pretty useless). But the fact that “virtually everyone” (meaning people in your social circle) think that your old BF “is the greatest thing since sliced bread” is really, in my mind about how stupid “virtually everyone” is. Lots of people thought OJ was great, too.

        Really kind people don’t pick and choose. They find living things to be of intrinsic value. One thing we know for sure is that some people are really good at impression management. And many people fall for it or share that worldview–that what we look like on the outside is what we are.

        I wish I could convince you that what these other people think doesn’t matter. What you experienced is the real thing.

        • And see below the comment about the difference between “personality” and “character.” Your BF–sparkly personality. Shitty character.

          Reading Dr. George Simon’s work might help you get past this roadblock to your healing.

          • That is a great insight! Personality can be great and character is something completely separate. I experienced that with my ex-husband. I was so in love with him and enjoyed being around him, but that didn’t translate into character!!

            • NotThisGirl,
              A thought that comes to my mind when you described the social friendship environment you find yourself in:
              There is often a REASON why someone of a certain age is so much more available to develop a friendship. Sometimes that reason is that other people have put distance between themselves and that person after seeing what their values are. Does she have a lot of other female friends? Or has she poached boyfriends & spouses in the past, leaving her “free” to make new friends? Also, that sparkly “AMAZING”-ness that you thought about her could be the result of a narc’s friendly “love-bombing” of getting too close too soon, mirroring your interests and likes to pull you into her magnetic “wonderful-ness”, and enjoying your admiration of her. I find myself watching myself & others more closely with a sober mind. I am fortunate for my 12-Step support network gor keeping me plugged in socially w healthier people or those trying to be. It’s never too late to make new friends. I WON’T die a veteran of the marriage police Special Victims’ Unit investigation team; I sure as hell wouldn’t want to have to look over my shoulder with a friend.
              Thank you, NEXT!

        • Thanks, LAJ. It sounds as though we might define kindness slightly differently, but I get the gist of what you are saying.
          Dr. George Simon has done some valuable research and done a great service by sharing it with the general public.

              • I’ve lived and learned. I know people that are sweet as pie to a person’s face and as soon as the person walks away, they start trash talking them. These types are to be avoided.

        • LAJ: “kindness is not a mutable characteristic.” LAJ, you hit the nail on the head! Thank you.

          I fell for the Python’s stories about kind things that he had supposedly done. And he managed to do a few favors for people in my family (he was “nice”), but also refused to do other things, which confused me at the time (because it didn’t fit with his sparkly image management narrative). He gave lame excuses for refusing the requests, but I was a sucker for his lovebombing.

          I had an a-ha moment the other day, when I was watching a baseball game.

          One of my favorite players, Albert Almora (Go Cubs) hit a foul ball which struck a child in the head. Almora was immediately visibly shaken, distraught, and upset to the point that he fell to his knees and wept. He went over to where the little girl had been sitting (but she had already been rushed out of the stands by her family, to get emergency care and to be transported to the hospital). He apparently asked the usher there for more info, and the usher had to hold him to comfort him because he was crying so hard.

          I thought to myself, the Python would not have reacted that way. He doesn’t have it in him. He was behind the door when they were handing out empathy. Nice is not even close to kind.

          Albert Almora is a kind man. The Python is a cold blooded sneaky snake who only pretends to be a kind person. He’s anything but.

      • RockStarWife

        If I can add to some of the very good pints made by everyone about kindness and niceness.

        I put that shitty people “end up” being shitty to everyone. It’s a long game, it plays out eventually. I’ve seen it so many times.

  • Birds of a feather.

    Cheaters don’t belong in my flock.

    I can be friendly without being friends.

    Billions on the planet. And we all have very few slots available for friends. We can have WAY more acquaintances.

    Stick with the winners.

  • I’m sorry, but your husband destroyed your life and caused you pain. Not some random woman. He’s the one you trusted and loved and he betrayed you.

    • No, the OW helped destroy her life. If there were not people willing to have sex and relationships with married (or not married but partnered) men and women, nobody could cheat. No affair partners available means no cheating, except with prostitutes, but I would think most cheaters would much rather have affairs than pay for it. There’s a certain type of cheater who prefers hookers, but they are depraved sexual predators. The average cheater would not cheat if affair partners were not available. My jerk cheated when a married serial cheater came on to him. He never had the guts to initiate with women and would not have done it if she hadn’t literally taken him by the hand and led him to her hotel room, then removed his pants. So I blame her as much as him.

      • If that’s what you want to believe… still the husband was willing to risk it all. If it wasn’t this OW it would have been another one. He’s the one that had everything to loose and he still willingly chose to cheat. OW was merely an accomplice.

        • I think it’s dumb to believe men are dumb creatures with no free will who are easily seduced by sexy women. Seriously… as if there are only cheaters because there are women willing to fuck them… I think it’s the other way around. [part of comment removed; it’s okay to have debates on subjects but drop nasty or ad hominem attacks, please. -Tempest]

          • Hmmm – people come here for support and understanding and lobbing a grenade disguised as a comment with “sorry you are so bitter” isn’t supportive and lacks understanding. I get what you are saying. My STBX is 100% at fault for what he did but the woman he did it with is just as disgusting (she didn’t owe me any allegiance but she is just as morally depraved as he is). We can disagree but still be loving and supportive to each other. Are you really a fellow chump or are you just trolling, Millie?

            • Oh, that’s what she said? Lol. Classic cheaterspeak. I think she either is or has been an OW and she is trolling.

              • You know what. In my case the OW was a dumb bitch but in a way I’m grateful she showed me who my husband really was. Instead of hating her I moved on and found myself an amazing man.

                So if you want to waste energy being angry at an OW. I’m just saying that energy is better spent moving on.

                Not all men are cheaters. But if you believe that they are all weak because there are so many vaginas opening up for them you’ll probably end up with another cheater.

                Get over it.

          • “I didn’t shoot you! I just let killer use my gun, even though I knew what he planned to do with it!”

            “I didn’t rob the bank! I just drove the getaway car!”

          • Oh god – sexy women. LOL.

            If only because it’s almost insulting, how nasty these women are (in looks and/or character.) The men tend to go for the easy prey, when choosing OWs. Low on confidence, easy to placate, low expectations of him, etc. Someone to make him feel like he’s a better person than he really is… because compared to his wife, he knows that he’s not enough to measure up. They get off of the naughtiness, not love. It doesn’t matter what she looks like… but it would be a little less insulting if they weren’t so gross so often.

            It’s sad how many insecure women are willing to be a sidefuck. A booty call. To a loser. We should raise our daughters to never be willing to accept so little in any relationship.

            • Absolutely right. They are losers who enable other losers. The OW in my case is not sexy at all. She doesn’t even like sex and only does it a few times to get men hooked, then cuts them off. She also just lies there like a sack of potatoes during sex because she can’t even bear to do it unless she’s very drunk. Sexy? Hardly. But she’ll give them bullshit praise and pretend to be in love with them so they stick around for the ego boost and treat her like a princess in the hope of getting laid again.
              I’m not being egotistical to say that I am sexier, because I like sex and am good in bed. What I won’t do is lie to a man just to stroke his hungry ego, and I don’t use people or have a hidden agenda. Lying, using and faking feelings you don’t have is wrong.

          • Sexy women? Lol.

            These are women willing to participate in the team sport of infidelity, hurting many in the process, including entirely innocent children. Neither cheaters nor their assorted affair partners meet any legitimate definition of sexy.

            But keep telling yourself that if you’re intent on avoiding growing into a peaceful person entirely comfortable in her own skin—the sort who is actually sexy in every conceivable way.

          • Mille why are you so judgemental? Are you one of those women who get off on screwing married men? No one on this site are bitter. We are on the site for support. When I found out that my husband was screwing my cousin. I was not bitter. I was destroyed. And coming to this site helped me in so many ways. If you can not be supportive of us fellow chumps. Then keep your comments to yourself.

          • That’s a total strawman argument. I have not said or even implied that men are too dumb and helpless to resist women. I was saying my ex (ONE guy) did want to cheat, but was just too chickenshit to initiate an affair. It absolutely would not have happened if the OW didn’t initiate. He’s that much of a wimp. He’s still responsible for what he did. He could easily have said no but chose not to because he’s an asshole.

            You’d best come supplied with logic if you want to debate here. But I’m getting the strong impression that logic is not your strong suit and you’re just an OW trolling. Buh-bye.

        • The cheating spouses bear the brunt of the blame for betrayal and harm to their spouses, but the AP’s are not innocent of any wrongdoing. Society puts plenty of blame on the drug dealers for supplying the addicts and encouraging addiction. AP’s have free will too and know what they are doing is wrong even if they are not the initial aggressors. Not all OW’s are alike either. Some don’t know, some sort of know but truly don’t have the experience to understand the pain they are causing others and my truly believe that they had nothing to with destroying a marriage that they believed was already no good, some know and are bothered by what they are doing but are weak minded and unable to resist the love bombing of the cheaters, some have enough life experience that they really should know better but they just don’t care because they are focused on their own needs and everybody else be damned.

          • Good summary, Chumpinrecovery. I have a male friend who told me that more women were interested in him when he was married than after he was divorced – that it’s some sort of challenge/game to see if married men could be enticed to cheat and that these women found that married men were more attractive because some woman/wife already wanted him.

        • Um, accomplices go to prison too. The getaway driver. The arms dealer. The financiers who knew what was happening and facilitated the crime.

          Whores are still whores whether their partners are also whores or not.

        • Yes, it could have been anyone.

          And anyone who helps my husband beat the emotional shit out of me and my daughter shares the responsibility.

          Affairs require two assailants.

          • Right! The OW to my fuckwit went after my husband and told him that she was going to make him love her. She is known for feasting in middle aged men who have self worth issues. She shook her fanny in his nose and he followed. I told her to leave hi. Alone and she tried harder. She k we exactly what she was doing. They both suck!

            • The bitch who went after my husband is the same; a serial predator who targets middle-aged, insecure men. They are the only ones she can get because she’s a drunk, an idiot, and unpleasantly trashy looking.
              The cheater and the AP are both responsible, except in cases where the AP does not know the cheater is married.

        • I believe only what I know to be true, and I do know he wouldn’t have done it if nobody came on to him. He’s too shy and cowardly. You don’t get to tell *my* story. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I suspect you are or have been an OW and are rationalizing your behavior.
          Accomplices to crimes are considered responsible and punished by the law. Why is an accomplice to cheating not also responsible?
          Rationalize bad behavior away if you like. Just know that you’ll be called on that nonsense here.

      • Chumperella; Agreed that if there weren’t women (and men) willing to cheat it would all fall apart. They are the very selfish & entitled types that only want the excessive attention, romantic dinners, gifts and fun, fun, fun! Meanwhile the wife often cooks, takes care of the kids, cleans the toilets, etc and gets the REAL person at home who may be crabby, rude and certainly distant after taking up an affair partner. The OW/OM essentially take all the good stuff and leave you with the bag of crap. Then the cheater is mad because you are not giving them the affair experience! WTH!

      • Yup, mine was faithful until he go together with a real nut job. Nut job had a fabulous career, but she had a long secret history of deviant behavior. If she hadn’t become available I doubt he would have cheated. He is lazy and would not have bothered searching for an AP.

    • Ummm no, Millie. Spouse is to blame numero uno….and the affair partner is right behind him/her. As Chumplady as pointed out before—-and you would know this, if you’re not an OW/OM troll—the spouse has willingly and knowingly destroyed your family and the OW/OM signed up to help them do it.

        • Millie, what you said was, “Not some random woman.” and “OW was merely an accomplice.” and “If that’s what you want to believe” and “Sorry you are so bitter.”

          It’s not your opinion so much as it’s your choice of words that is pissing people off (myself included). It’s a support sight, so if you want to say something that might be controversial, go ahead, but please don’t talk down to people, and don’t use words that minimize someone else’s reality.

          Then what it will be is a discussion or debate, not an assault.

          • In the legal system, accomplices who aid other criminals are charged with a crime. Being an accomplice.

            • Still. Why be angry at some random woman. Your husband CHOSE to involve her. Blame him first. Be glad she outed him as a dick so you can leave and move on.

      • When I discovered the truth, my first thought was “OMG I can’t believe he did this. How could he do this to us?”. And then my 2nd thought was “OMG someone that I don’t even know helped him do this”. It was absolutely sickening to realize that a complete stranger had conspired with him to undermine me and my children. I had never had “enemies” before. What did we do to deserve this? What did *she* think we did to deserve this? She knew that I was completely in the dark and she was happy to help him anyway. This isn’t about a fixation on the OW. This is about having agency, both cheater and the affair partner. I don’t know about you, Millie, but I prefer friends with good character and who share the same moral values. Birds of a feather!

        • It’s also creepy to think that some stranger knows many aspects of my and the kids’ lives – my medical issues, the kids’ problems, looking at the kids’ instagrams, where we go, apparently even giving advice to the cheater about family issues – it’s a betrayal of the family’s privacy. Instead of being a protector of the family, the cheater brings in outside forces and instability.

          • Yes, it’s all of that. The evil OW kept “advising” my ex to leave me, knowing both my daughter and I are financially depemdent on him for health reasons. She did so not because she wanted the cheater (she didn’t and was just using him), but just to destroy my life, someone she’d never met. She’s a homewrecking sociopath and I definitely hold her 50% responsible.

            • OWs don’t care about the wife and kids. Only about themselves. So it’s not a conspiracy they just don’t give a fuck. And the cheater enables them. Why want a man like that who allows it to happen? Find someone worthy of you and let go.

    • If the OW knows she is with a married man, she is complicit. It works the same with any crime.

      Sure, maybe you didn’t actually plunge the knife in the person’s back – but you helped hide the body and clean up the crime scene, so you’re going to jail.

      A sane person doesn’t stand idly by to someone else’s destruction.

    • … and? Just because this new friend is hurting someone else instead of LW makes it all better? Would you apply that logic to other things as well? “So I got mugged and it sucks, but it’s ok that my new friend is a mugger because he only mugs other people?”

      Even if the new friend never tries to bang any of LW’s S/Os, LW is justified in saying “wow, that’s a shitty and dishonest thing to do – and also it really sucked when someone did that to me so I really don’t think I want to be friends with someone who’d do that to others.”

  • One of the many reasons I refused to remain friends with Cold Slab O’Meat is because I’m not friends with cheaters. My best childhood friend destroyed her marriage by cheating and I refused to support her choices. I’m better friends with her husband and new wife. And I can tell you, they had a better life than she did.

  • Have you considered that this is likely a test to see what you’re willing to accept/put up with about this friend?

    Most of us were put through numerous “tests” by our cheaters (unbeknownst to us) to see just how far the envelope can be pushed, and what you’re willing to let them get away with.

    My guess is if you enforce the boundaries you really do want to hold firm, she’ll realize you’re not an easy target and will move on to find someone else who’ll be more “forgiving” (i.e., chumpy).

    • See Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” on how predators and other dangerous types test us to see if our boundaries are real. Being “too nice” about people who don’t have good character or who push our boundaries can be dangerous.

    • Yes!! The pinging to see what you will tolerate.

      Beware of this in the dating world–I was pinged with a small lie for someone who (18 months later) turned out to be hiding HUGE lies (including high functioning alcoholism).

      Last week, someone I had dated for 5 weeks (had been exclusive for 10 days) admitted he had lied about his number of marriage/divorces. Bye, Felicia. One and done.

      • Thank you, TEMPEST! I am wading into the dating pool and I LOVEloveLOVE “Bye, Felicia!”
        I have met a lot of new people and when they tap-dance around how their marriages ended, I’m outie. BTDT. No second helpings.
        Friends AND dates.
        If I can’t trust you,
        ya don’t deserve me!

      • I married a man who lied about the number of marriages he’d had. Turns out he was a pathological liar. And cheater. And abusive. Name any topic and I’ll tell you one if his lies. He’s currently being investigated for medical fraud.

        They test the waters with their little lies and slips, cultivating their victim’s tolerance and improving their gaslighting skills.

  • I think it’s important to sort out the difference between actual friends, the people who will have your back in the really tough times; social acquaintances, like co-workers you go to happy hour with; and people “you really enjoy spending time with” because they are lots of fun and sparkly but not of the calibre you need in a friend.

    Fixing your picker is about making good judgments about people you allow in your life. When a cheater takes up space in your life, she takes up space where you could spend time with a person who is kind and has high character. It’s not kind to stay in contact with an old cheating partner who is supposedly in another relationship. That’s a deal breaker in terms of friendship.

    I’d suggest adding an activity to your life that you really enjoy. You have a better shot at meeting people of high character if there is more than just socializing involved. Your letter describes the process we all go through as we get to know someone. The person looks super good until he or she doesn’t. Then you know where to put the boundaries. You learned the hard way, through isolation and pain, that investing in people of poor character corrodes your own life. We tend to stay at the level of the people we associate with. You have a lot of great “outside” aspects to your new life (BF, job growth, travel, etc.), but gaining a life is also about cultivating your own character, living with the highest values possible.

    • This is good advice. You’ve not a lot of sunk costs in this friendship, and you’ve just discovered that you don’t share some key values.

      It’s okay to distance yourself. A lot of relationships drift into the more casual realm. You can work with OWFriend and be collegial. You could find yourself at a party with her and still be civil. Enjoy the fact that she’s sparkly, but remember that some personality disorders show themselves in sparkles (caveat–it’s possible to be sparkly without a personality disorder). Don’t invite her to your place. Keep her at arm’s reach.

      The fact is that she found it was okay to have an affair. You have a great boyfriend. While you may trust him, it is also unfair to subject him to being around a woman who has demonstrated that she disrespects the monogamous relationships of other people.

      I’d let her drift off and find me some new friends.

    • Fabulous words of wisdom. I worked so hard to get my cheating husband out of my life. I truly do not want anyone else with that type of character near me.

    • Yep. And this process can take years actually. I’ve been friends with someone for years when I was suddenly able to see the the red flags. Us chumps have such a sense of loyalty, but often it is truly misplaced.

  • To me this is a trust issue

    I trust my friends 100% i know they have my back as i have theirs . I only have 3 close friends but i love them dearly .

    You know you can’t trust a cheater with crossing the road let alone a confidential information ( without it getting thrown back in your face )

    Ask yourself can i trust this person ? If the answer is no then there is your answer

  • I think there’s a lot of detail missing in this backstory, so I would have lots of questions before I could respond specifically… So here is a general response that may deviate somewhat from the norm you’ll find here.

    First, I think CLs advice is strong and sensible. It falls into the “when someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time” category. If for no reason other than wanting an unnecessary-drama-free life, this friend should probably be no more than an acquaintance.

    That said…

    If the person was telling you about something s/he did 20+ years ago while expressing substantial remorse and all the things s/he has done since to work on his/her shitty boundaries, if the person also has some awful history like a massive trauma or abuse history that the person knows about and works on… If the whole thing was expressed in a context of what a terrible choice it was… It might be true that the person truly has grown out of that kind of behaving.

    However, that would be apparent in many, any context clues, and it would STILL be a red flag that you need to pay closer attention than usual to looking for those context clues before allowing the person to be “inner circle” in your life.

    So, bottom line, my advice is the same as CLs, to demote to acquaintance for now and assess cautiously, deeply, and questioningly before you deepen with this person.

    Many here in CN will disagree with me and have anecdotes that are contrary to what I’ve said here. I am not going to share detailed anecdotes describing my view. I am only going to say that serious trauma (an incestuous dad, walking in on a dead person, getting raped in multiple foster homes, etc.) can make a person give up their values for a period of time, and if a person heals deeply and continues trauma work with reputable professionals, the person can re-embrace his/her values and be stronger for it.

    That’s rare, though, so you still need to be vigilant about observing the person for a long time before letting the person close.

    If that all seems like way too much work for a friendship with that person, then you have your answer – the friendship simply isn’t worth saving.

    YMMV.

    • (As far as the “still in contact with the OM” part, that’s pretty suspicious, so I’d need to know more about why that’s true to form an opinion. It has my attention, though.)

    • I have a close friend who was the victim of incest. Sexual “acting out” is common with people who haven’t had psychological help to overcome the trauma. So your words here are compassionate and wise, Amiisfree. My friend is a person of tremendous character and courage.

      • I have a person in my circle who loved this as well. Person and their siblings all discovered as adults that they were all victims. None of them started their healing journeys until one of them was brave enough to speak out. This person changed everything in their life because they could finally get the needed help. Everything.

        It’s devastating.

        So that’s one of my anecdotes, too, and I am grateful to you for understanding my point of view. 😊

  • As my therapist would say… you could mark it with a “pink flag”… not as certain and nonnegotiable as a red flag, but it’s enough to maintain caution.

    From personal experience… one of my best friends had an affair, but given the circumstances*, I would never, ever end my friendship with her… although, if she was a reckless serial cheater, I’d distance myself.

    *In case you’re wondering what circumstances I’d consider “forgivable” (in terms of maintaining a friendship)… my friend was married to a manipulative, abusive serial cheater. While in the fog of (yet another) discovery and gaslighting, she met a married man… who, apparently, had also recently learned of his wife’s affair (with a close fam friend). They supported each other through friendship… and at some point became involved in their own short-lived affair. They’ve both left their respective spouses (I know she’s divorced, I’m not sure if his is official — but he’s definitely publicly “single”), and are still friends.

    I’m not saying two wrongs (or like 8 wrongs, in their case) make a right… but — given her specific circumstances — I would never, ever end my friendship because of her actions.

  • Don’t confuse personality with character. Some people with amazingly sparkly, fun, petsonalities have crappy character and values and some less sparkly people are true gems.

  • Shortly after my divorce was final I joined a hiking meetup. I was looking for friends. There was one woman who I spoke to often on hikes. She was going through a divorce. We went hiking on our own one day. I was telling her about my situation and she seemed pretty defensive of Schmoopie. Turns out she cheated on her husband and left him for another man. She didn’t mention if he was married or not but I suspect he was. She gave all kinds of reasons why she hadn’t been happy in her marriage most of which seemed to me like her ex was trying very hard to please her and she was just never satisfied and always finding fault. She felt sorry for herself and lamented the fact that she was having trouble finding friends, her ex was making the divorce contentious instead of quick and easy (ie. giving her everything she asked for) and she didn’t understand why. One of her daughters also wanted nothing to do with her. She was miserable but could not seem to make the connection between that and her own actions. Everybody was just picking on her and didn’t want her to be happy. A classic case of I didn’t realize I was unhappy until something better came along. Oh, and her OW lives in another country and isn’t around much. Poor soul. I never saw her again after that.

  • She is testing your boundaries and character. You don’t have years of history together and if you had known in advance that she was a cheater, would you have gotten together at all?

    She is a shiny fuck-wit. They aren’t collectible baseball cards. You don’t get a prize for keeping them around. The prize is getting rid of them, like a game of Hearts. She is not the Queen of Spades. You don’t need her and 26 more too!

    Discard her. You don’t owe her a reason either.

    • Yes. She’s just another shiny fuckwit.

      Even borderlines manage to keep a select group around them who never seem to experience any of the venom. Like clownfish to an anemone.

      Her ongoing friendship with her AP shows there’s no actual remorse or sense of any real guilt. She is the same, you’re just experiencing the charm.

      This is a bit “out there” but consider also that this friendship may hold interest in part because it provides a way for you to control the harm done to you. It’s a cheating woman, but not the woman who harmed you. So she may serve as a safe surrogate allowing you non-threatening access to that old bogey monster…to see how it functions, what makes it tick, etc. And in a way, to feel like you’re conquering it.

      Even if that last part is off the wall, don’t be one of her clownfish.

  • Agreed – cheaters lack a fundamental integrity – if they don’t honor their partner to whom they made those pesky vows why would they honor our casual friendship relationship?

    Manchild’s serial cheater ho-worker was very popular with colleagues – but she is still a serial cheater with zero morals. Image management works wonders for these people.

  • She could have been a “unicorn” (a reformed cheater), but her CURRENT behavior proves otherwise, no uncertainty. She lied about her history as a cheater (yeah, she omitted, but I’m betting in your conversations she had a few openings where it would have been a great time for disclosure) AND she’s currently an OW.

    So, next!

  • Every cheater, including OW/OM, I have ever known has turned out to have some other critical character flaw that makes them unreliable even as a friend—they can pull off sparkly or amazing for a period of time but fail at some critical juncture.

    • Yup. And I think that cheaters go out of their way to appear “nice” and “friendly” to their friends and acquaintances so that they feel less guilty about their cheating & lack of integrity. It feeds into their own self-serving narratives: “I’m such a nice guy…..everybody else likes me….it’s only my betrayed spouse who has a problem with me so the real problem is how judgmental she is….”

  • Would you trust her around your boyfriend?

    For me, if I have to “Yes, but” anything as a way of rationalizing their place in my life, they go. I have spent way to many years accepting the unacceptable (to my morality) in an effort to appear open-minded or at, worst, apathetic. No more. I use gray to paint my walls, not my life.

  • My stepdad was a serial cheater. Cost him his marriage and 4 of his 6 kids. His ex is a psychopath (got away with murder). But he put in 14 years of hard work changing. He didn’t date until he knew he could be faithful. Very remorseful. Has been a faithful husband to my mom for 30 years. I have friends who have cheated. I kept their friendship if their actions show they are sorry. They have put in the work and changed. Accept the consequences of their actions and not blame shifted.

  • Hey Not this girl – unless I missed it your ‘freind’ never expressed any regrets for her actions – and since you have a new BF I’d be very suspicious that maybe she’s looking at him with a curious eye – remember she has already cheated and it probably lied, decieved, and plotted against his spouse without a bit of guilt or shame. This person is NOT to be trusted for any reason. Enjoy your ‘freindship’ !?!

  • I come across people like this and I think it’s best to keep them at arms length. Even if they are not cheating with your husband, they are the type that tend to sabatoge. OW tend to be competitive with women. That’s usually why they do this. They are deeply insecure at heart and get an ego boost when they one up another female. And it’s done subtly. An example… we were all out and younger guys were expressing interest in me and insecure acquaintance subtly brought up “ J. Probably has a band aide in her pocketbook. She’s a mom and is always prepared”. (I’m really proud of being a mom and I wasn’t even going to go for these guys – she just wanted to make sure attention stayed on her).

    I myself am a girl’s girl and I am going to support wives and women in general. I want to build them up and I would seek out Female friends That I know would do the same for me.

    • Yes on the subtlety! This is exactly how these sorts of OW work. It’s how they work on other people’s husbands too. All the “sympathetic listening” and “good advice.” Then they move from listening to commisserating. They go from commisserating to asking questions that subtly place the wife in an unflattering light. Then they start telling the spouse how they deserve better and ponting out how “flawed” the faithful spouse is. The new friend above is just seeing what she will put up with. People be warned, when you meet people like this don’t wait for them to screw you over. Be sure, it is coming. Your only job with people like this is to get yourself far away.

  • You couldn’t have known what she is really like, you don’t know what someone is capable of. A acquaintances but not a friend. She knew what she was doing. He probably seemed as a better choice. The Om and fell for the patter. Do you think she was expecting sympathy. My ex’s ow expected sympathy (she didn’t get it).

  • From my experience my cheater XW sought out other females to revel in the adultery with. It was another element of the feeding the ego.

    @NotThisGirl…..cheaters manipulate ALL people- no matter what type the relationship is. They manipulate for sympathy and feel out what someone’s boundaries, ethics, and morals are. My cheater XW had various female friends of various morality levels. She presented her adultery in different ways to different friends.

    Remember cheating is a character issue.

  • My son had an emotional affair with an employee. His wife decided that was not acceptable to her, decided to divorce. The employee, moved in faster than dust can settle. DIL is a great person, mom, wife, love her completely. My son believes because he didn’t get physical, not his fault. The girlfriend is a snake, I would not trust her or be friends with her ever. I intend to be clear she is not invited to any holidays or events I host. I will never accept her as family etc. We have done, and will continue to do everything to help and remain close to DIL. We didn’t know my husband was a cheater until he died. We did know he had all the shitty behaviors. My son is truly the last person I would have thought could do this. Any advice, thoughts, experiences are appreciated. Ditching friends is a far cry from ditching children.

    • You are a really good mom. A mom”s role is to teach and guide. You are right that this OW is a snake and you are right to stand up for decency By not allowing her into your family. She will only screw your son over.

      You also sound like a good person in general. The worst part for me was that ex husband and his mom tried to normalize what he did to me. It’s infuriating.

      My ex mil enables my ex. Guess what? He’s a high functioning addict and depleted his IRA. People need to know that bad choices and behaviors have consequences

    • I think a middle ground might help you here. If you aren’t inviting the new GF to family events, you’ll create a bigger problem if you invite DiL. You can remain supportive and caring with DiL without putting all of you in the awkward position of making your son choose between YOU and the GF. That is, you visit DiL at Christmas or have her over for dinner (etc.) Christmas week, but to the family celebration, you invite Son only. No X, no GF. You can babysit, extend financial help, clean the gutters, etc., for DiL without cutting off your son altogether.

      If he marries this woman, you’ll have other choices to make down the road. But try to keep the door open to your son. With luck, he’ll wise up. Just my thoughts on the matter.

      • Thank you LAJA, but see I believe I have to create a bigger problem. I can’t reward bad behavior. If someone was kind to me but invited a skank so as not to upset them, I would be hurt. I would be Switzerland. Why should I condone anyone’s bad behavior? Didn’t they cross boundaries, they shouldn’t. Are there not consequences? Seems my DIL will be the one with consequences if I make nice with skank for my son. IDK

        • You’re absolutely right, HCard.

          If this is about being in your grandchildren’s lives, you are being supportive of their mother. Your son would choose to not be in your life, not the other way around. In this hypothetical, DIL, grandchildren, and Son are invited, whether he has married his whore or not. If the whore shows up, she is told that she may not be on your property. If Son says he’ll leave if she’s not allowed, that’s his choice. If Whore refuses to leave, plainly tell her (not Son) that the police will be called to remove her if she doesn’t leave immediately. She can go out onto the street and call a friend or an Uber.

          You’re a really stellar woman. Thanks for being so good to your daughter in law. Your grandchildren see it. <3

    • I think the best thing you can do is continue to refuse to normalize your son’s behavior. Like, you don’t have to ostracize or ditch him, that’s pretty impossible to do as a parent, but when this topic comes up you consistently and repeatedly tell him that you consider what he did cheating–not innocent–with victims and that this is a character flaw that you wish he would work on instead of just denying and burying it. Say something like that every single time it comes up.

      Whether you welcome this new woman into your home or not is a personal choice. If you truly can’t stand to be around here then absolutely do not invite her over. Sounds like there are grandkids involved so whatever I did I’d heavily consider their needs as my priority.

      Best of luck. I do not envy you this situation. I think my ex in laws were in a similar predicament. Ultimately, we’ve both created distance between us and, as the ex DIL, I think that’s best. In the beginning, knowing I had their support was useful. But, it was going to be very difficult moving on with my life as a single mom and divorcee with my ex-in laws intertwined in my life. I needed to let them go and vice versa. Just something to consider. Yes, another shit sandwich. It is what it is.

    • Hcard,

      Sorry to read that your son took after his father. It happens. Decide what kind of relationship you want to have with a narcissistic child.

    • Hcard – God bless you!!!

      My STBXH family has also been completely supportive of me since he left me to be with the OW. They made it absolutely clear that they will never allow this woman into their homes, and the relationship is never to be normalized with all of the grandchildren. So, he continues to keep her a secret and nothing gets said.

      He doesn’t argue the point. He doesn’t try to defend her. It’s also likely not going to happen as he is a coward in many ways. However, your son might have more grit than my ex. But, I think you are very well within your right to make it very clear to your son that you do not want his affair partner in your home or around family. There are many days of the week and many days in the year that he can come over to your place without her for visits and during holidays. If he chooses not to, that is his choice. If he cuts holidays short and leaves early to be with her, so be it.

      It also sends a clear message to the OW about what she’s getting herself into. For how long can she justify what she has done in the face of an entire family who knows she had an affair with a married man and will not accept her? That would say a lot about this woman. I know for a fact that I could never be with a man whose family I could not have a relationship with because family means a lot to me. I would be embarrassed if his family knew I was an affair partner and thought poorly of me. Better to try my luck somewhere else with another relationship done the right way.

      I continue to maintain good relationships with all my in-laws. I am friends with all my sisters-in-law and we all still get together for bbqs and dinners. Even going away on a trip for the second summer in a row with one of them. However, for the sake of everyone’s comfort, I stopped attending major holidays with their family. So, we get together on our own without my ex for my godchildren’s birthdays. At Christmas, I stopped in for an hour when I picked up the kids to join my family, and gave my godchildren their gifts and received some gifts too. In the meantime, this OW is no where to be seen or heard.

      In fact, I think it has been my in-laws stance that has ensured that my STBXH hasn’t even brought this woman around our children – even though it’s been almost 18 months since he’s left.

      You will have a much stronger relationship with your grandchildren by maintaining a good relationship with their mother, much more so than through your son. Stand your ground, let this relationship die. One day, your son might just meet someone knew, done properly. Your DIL can feel better about this woman being a decent person and so can you.

      My STBXH family makes sure to always reach out to him. They invite him over on his own, or when he has the kids. They refrain from lecturing, as they said what needed to be said in the beginning. They try to joke around with him and be normal, but the boundary is clearly set that when he does good, good will come of it.

      Recently my SIL told me that at a dinner with a bunch of family members in March, my MIL turned to me ex and asked him if he was “still seeing that woman.” When her replied yes, everyone got up from the table and left. Message clearly sent.

      • Thanks guys. This is soo out of character of my son. I believe the OW only wants him because he makes big bucks. His wife was there when he made nothing, struggling with him. I only have grandsons, this is not the example I want to set for them. My DIL can decide how long she wants to be close to us. I consider her blood family and so does the rest of the family. I decided I will only accept my son being fair to his STBX in all ways. My heart is still reeling. WTF was he thinking.

        • I remember when I broke the news to my in-laws about my STBXH current affair. He had already gotten to them before me to try to cover his butt by explaining that he had a female friend and that I was completely overreacting. Five minutes with me and the evidence I provided that they soon realized the truth of the matter. I remember clearly my 81 year old FIL (a retried professor of theology who has written over twenty books on Catholic family values) with saddened eyes, turning to his wife and saying, “I don’t know how, but somehow we failed in the moral development of our son.”

          I immediately reassured them that this was not their fault. It was not my fault. He is a man in his mid-40s with intelligence and agency. I fought the pick-me dance for a year. Both our families continuously prayed for our marriage, provided support to him to turn back to the marriage, and nobody else has acted in this manner in their marriages (we are now the only divorce to occur in our immediate families).

          A year and a half later and everyone is still reeling how out of character this has been for him. There is no doubt that he continues to live his double life, rolling around the mud with pigs, enjoying his game of self-victimization. My discovery of his secret email account with the OW the last few months of our marriage reveals a slew of immature angst. Boohoo…how judgmental his family has always been, how he’s always been the black sheep, how he could never measure up, how controlling I was in the marriage, how he never got to have a say, how he’s never been allowed to be his real self, how he could never do enough, etc.

          She eats it up hook, line and sinker. That’s what he’s thinking…I hope it doesn’t last forever. For his sake, the sake of his kids, and the sake of his family, I hope that he has a wake up call to all that he’s done and straightens himself out morally and ethically.

          I hope the same for your son as well.

  • One of our wise posters( help with who) stated ….what makes us chumps isn’t that we make poor choices in friends, it’s that we fail to discard them when the red flags start flying. The original post was much more concise. This seems to be a good example. People like this violate boundaries.

    • Yes! These are one sided relationships that chumps always get tangled up in. I don’t know if it is that chumps draw this kind of person to us OR that non-chumps just refuse to engage with this kind of person (like they have better radar and a stronger sense of BS). Either way, if you are in a place of recovery where you recognize the red flag (step 1), then you are in a place to eliminate the person for your life (step 2).

      And these red flags aren’t always obvious. This one is, but some are more nuanced. I had a friend who kept dating this terrible, cheating guy after her marriage ended…in the process she put her daughter at risk (at least emotionally) and kind of abandoned her parenting duties to be with this guy. RED FLAGS! We’re not friends anymore because it was too tough watching that train wreck and listening to her justify it…the theory being if she will treat her own child that way, certainly she will treat me that way.

  • Why would you want to be friend with a women who is proud of cheating? She is the kind of women that would go after your boyfriend and not think twice.

    I have made many new friends after I found out that my husband had a 4 year affair with my cousin. One of the women I befriended came along on a girls night. She was the only married one. My one friend started to talk about how she now met a very nice man. But, she was not going t rush into anything. This women than said to her. Do not be nervous about getting serious or married to your new man. I met my husband when he was still married. And look how good it worked out. I was disgusted by her. I have not contacted her since. Nor would I want to. I have no desire to be friends with a women who is proud of having a part in ruining peoples lives. I would not trust your new friend.

  • What it boils down to for me is that I don’t have relationships with liars. Liars usually engage in a variety of other behaviors that violate my principles, including cheating. After LadyLiar destroyed my family, I had a lot of recovery work to do. I am proud of myself for facing those challenges and hanging on even when I really thought I couldn’t keep going. I recently left my long-term employer and took a much lower paying part-time job without benefits while I’m in transition. I couldn’t continue to participate in a highly dysfunctional workplace where the manager was a narcissistic liar and the new people he hired were all too happy to stoke the toxic fire. I would like to make new friends, but I will not compromise my values again. Someone I know told me that I’m “being too picky.” But I learned my lesson the VERY HARD way that I am worth it.

  • Oh god – sexy women. LOL.

    If only because it’s almost insulting, how nasty these women are (in looks and/or character.) The men tend to go for the easy prey, when choosing OWs. Low on confidence, easy to placate, low expectations of him, etc. Someone to make him feel like he’s a better person than he really is… because compared to his wife, he knows that he’s not enough to measure up. They get off of the naughtiness, not love. It doesn’t matter what she looks like… but it would be a little less insulting if they weren’t so gross so often.

    It’s sad how many insecure women are willing to be a sidefuck. A booty call. To a loser. We should raise our daughters to never be willing to accept so little in any relationship.

  • “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” (which, in my opinion, does a disservice to the many wonderful dogs I have known.)

    When having affairs becomes acceptable behavior in your social group, there is a problem. And I believe one strong personality can influence an entire group. My ex worked in a group that became close socially. Turned out his boss was having an affair with his secretary. Next thing you knew, one of his other co-workers was cheating on HIS wife, and then, you can guess the rest of the story, my ex had an affair with his secretary. So cliche.

    When there are no social consequences for bad behavior, the behavior will continue…until there are consequences. Personally, I have no desire to count in my close circle of friends those who are known cheaters. This person likes you? They seem nice? They cheat? They are NOT nice. Move to acquaintance box.

    Seems to me that when a person confides they are cheating, they are looking for validation, or that you will look past it. They want somebody to share all the illicit giggles with. God knows my STBX shared his story of cheating fare and wide while keeping me in the dark. And while I understand how awkward the position was he put those people in was, I truly wish somebody had the chutzpah to tell me. It might have saved me from HPV.

    • Ivy,
      Your ex’s workplace sound very much like my ex-husband’s and especially my last ex-boyfriend’s workplaces—like the Mad Men office. Sad how common this behavior is still in the 21st century.

  • Personally, I just can’t call people who don’t share my values and morals friends. Friendship runs deeper than just laughing over a martini. It’s about reciprocation, about being there for each other, about a deeper understanding and you cannot have that with people who don’t share your moral values. It’s not possible.

    Keep in mind though that narcs, and most OW/OM’s are narcs, are very very good at creating a false sense of connection, at mirroring your interests, mirroring you, so you get attached quickly and feel like there is something deeper there…..but there isn’t. It may take a long time to figure out that this charming friend you seem to have so much in common with is really a ruthless user, that your friendship is a one way feeding trough for her. You are being chumped…..again…… Of course, now that you are wiser and more aware, you don’t question your instincts and your judgment, you do judge and run like the wind.

    When people show you who they really are, believe them. It’s really that simple. Don’t project, don’t make excuses, just believe them and choose to protect yourself from them, choose your own well being.

  • You are who you associate with. Do you want this person to be a bad influence on you? Do you want to be the “non-judgey” person you couldn’t stand when you were the chump?

    • I’ll add something else. This woman might be “fun,” but she’s clearly not the kind of person you can depend on, or even trust. Given what she did to her husband, and how nonchalant she is about it, what do you think she’s going to do to you?

  • Two of my colleagues—our office manager and the director of a program I work in—were cheaters, and are now married to their affair partners. It was disappointing to discover that. Seemed like cheaters were suddenly everywhere.

    Have to say that both of these people have been amazingly supportive to me during this terrible time. In both cases, I think I represent a kind of a shot at redemption. They are seeing the side of the betrayed wife for the first time, and it is nothing at all like the story they told themselves.

    Would I ever be besties with them? Nope. There are still, especially in the former, some signs of blindness and prejudice in how they refer to their husbands’ exes—much swallowing whole of their spouses’ demonization of the original wives—but both helped keep me sane and steady during the worst of the nightmare, and I appreciate both that and their friendly efficiency at their jobs. They helped me feel at home after many years spent being a SAHM while working to make the former family business successful.

    It has actually been rather stunning to discover this whole normalized world of infidelity that I knew not of, and have no interest in joining. I knew cheating existed, of course, but that it is so widespread and so often just smoothed over with the happy cliches we all know so well, by now, was an eye-opener.

    I know that for my ex, getting involved with a group of older, successful men who had young and new wife appliances was a big part of making him believe that he could do as he wished without consequences. He was wrong about that. Still plenty of the ethical, old-school sorts around. They might not say much, but the judgement is there. The hit to his reputation is permanent among people of substance, and those are the only people whose good opinions are worth having.

  • A snake is a snake, and none deserve to be in the sisterhood, especially as a “friend”. OW have no soul, whether they are complete strangers, or in my case, a co-worker of my Wasband and a guest in my home several times. My Wasband is a co-owner of his company, so I was basically paying her salary to f**k him. I also served her multiple dinners and she rode on my boats.

    Karma may come slowly, but its sweet when it does. My Wasband has been fired as president from his own company, everyone in town knows he’s a demoted & disgraced cuckold, complete strangers know about the ridiculous emoji filled text he sent to me and our children meant for the OW, he really looks like absolute shit and has gained a lot of weight, the OW ceded that I have better taste as she’s used my jeweler for her wedding ring, they’re swimming in over $1,800,000 mortgage debt because “she wants it all”………and I’m finally making headway on my children’s relationships despite constant lies and manipulations from my Wasband. These are what I know about—I smile thinking of the unknown smaller moments that must be adding up.

    I look forward to reading my grandchildren the fairy tale, “The Asshat and the Whore”, where the heroine gets to live Happily Ever After in the land of Meh, where St. Chump has kicked out ALL the snakes.

      • You already have the book, with your own illustrations. It’s the story all chumps have, where the Happily Ever After is much sweeter than the Once Upon a Time. And now we’re creating the beautiful chapters in-between. So there is definitely no room in my biography for extraneous whores.

  • After my 4th DDay, I joined a wreconciliation group at church. I attended for years (thru the 5th and 6th DDAys) until I ended up leading groups. An acquaintance reached out to me, sharing her recent DDay. She joined my group, a member for years. Throughout her husband’s bumpy ‘recovery’ she reached out and we became closer friends. Found out she was also a cheater, was willing to be in an open marriage, already had someone in mind to have sex with, had an inappropriate phone relationship with a guy, … Chump that I am, only engaged me deeper, “I COULD HELP”! About a year ago, I found out she had connected to one of my husband’s OW on social media (she knew). It was definitely a gut punch. Ghosted, done, No Contact. I’m out of the groups. I’m still married, but with real boundaries. Hopeful for a Unicorn (so far), aware that my life could blow up again at any time.

    • Hey friend, I think you know this already but you do not have a unicorn and the sooner you get out the sooner you get to live a happier, more authentic life. You deserve to be loved and cherished, for real, not live in a relationship where you must keep such strong boundaries erected every minute lest everything fall apart. I wish I had left my “unicorn” years before he left me. The other side is amazing, even if it’s terrible getting here. Best of luck.

    • Wow. Six D-days and poor boundaries at group.

      I know you say you have strong boundaries now, but I suspect your cheater has learnt to hide his OWs rather better. Or you might just mean that you are very busy on the Marriage Police force right now, working double shifts.

      Is this the life you wanted? Is this acceptable to you?

      And do you even know who you are any more? Do you recognise the woman in the mirror?

  • This helped me clarify something I’ve been worrying about — what if stbx stays with the OW or even marries her — do I have to be friendly to her? I find that idea unbearable and this makes me feel better about that — I do not have to be friendly to someone whose values include fucking a married man with two children and helping break up his 20-year marriage. Polite, I suppose, yes.

    • No. Neither. It’s your world. Nobody has to exist in it if you don’t want them to. You don’t have to be polite to terrorists. Neither do you have to negotiate with them.

    • My son told me in a very stern voice early on (and he’s known the OW for several years, seen her at our outage and dinner table, and worked with her one summer at his father’s office)—“You never mention her name, you never acknowledge her, you treat her as a nothing. She’s beneath you”.

      A friend who was a chump told me, “You hold your head high and just ignore her. You have more grace and integrity and people will realize it. Just smile and look like you never think about her or care about her”.

      A friend who’s daughter and her watched her husband have a fatal heart attack at dinner (I so wish he’d been alive when I went through my ordeal as he is the most morale outstanding man I’ve ever known) told me—“You never talk about her. You always ignore her. Pretend like she’s already dead”.

      If I ever have to encounter her (they’re now engaged, so I’m preparing myself that it will happen), I’m going to look at here like she has no clothes. She looks like a 12 year old, has a shape that my Wasband hates and he even commented previously how “I don’t find her attractive at all”. Then I’m going to have the biggest grin the entire time I’m in required to be in her space, as it will be my oxygen of pure joy.

    • You have no obligation to be friendly with the OW, even if she marries your CheaterX. You do have to remain civil during those family events when you’re forced to occupy the same space (i.e. graduation, one of the kids gets married, etc.), but for large events like graduations, you can probably avoid mixing with the OWife.

      When it comes to dealing with the kids, just put everything in Our Family Wizard and keep all communication focused solely on the children: pick-up, drop-offs, etc. Make it more business-like than personal. Other than that, go Gray Rock.

      If the kids talk about her, again, think Gray Rock. You do want the children to be able to tell you if there’s anything seriously wrong over there, so telling them NOT to talk about what goes on in the house is probably a bad idea, but you can discourage them from going into detail by responding in a very minimal fashion.

      But no, you don’t have to be friends with the OW or your Cheater. The OW’s morals are lower, but remember that she’d not have had an affair if your Cheater hadn’t thought it was a good idea.

    • I ignore Schmoopie’s existence to the best of my ability and that irks ex but works for me and everyone else. I guess if we are ever at a kids wedding together or something I might have to say a polite hello, but I don’t plan on sitting at the same table or chit chatting beyond that.

    • Hilarious. Entirely up to you how you handle it but you don’t owe them a thing. I know if it wasn’t for CL and CN I would have been under some hideous misconception that I outta be trying to be ‘nice’ to her given she’s now living with my daughter half her life (pass the sick bucket please, just about a year out and yes surprise surprise engagement announced 1st June (literally on anniversary of finally moving out) sporting big ring (I am told I don’t get involved in their social media circus). Nothing says blood diamond like having to steal £10K off your ex to pay for a shiny engagement ring. So for me yeah there life is a total circus and while I know my daughter is stuck in the middle of this shitty relationship I now have with my ex I have gone grey rock because they don’t care about my feelings one single bit and I want my daughter to know that how I was treated was truly horrific from start to finish. I would act like she’s invisible, or like a piece of shit on your shoe (which she probably is).

      I seem OW is full of the meaningful quotes, lyrics and contemplative poems when it comes to them and their new found love but is such a cowardly childish woman the thought of trying to act in any sensitive adult manner around me hasn’t even crossed her mind. I realised the other day after another CL post that for all I know she has OW pick me danced like hell.

      Avoid her like the pox ridden slut that she is.

  • NotThisGirl – after the divorce, I joined every possible meetup group that I could think of, anything in which I might have possibly had an interest. Craigslist still has a platonic friendship section where groups advertise to meet, and Facebook does too. Your Rec Center system in your state may also have lots of activities. The point is to get out and get as active as possible. This way you will meet more people. Once you start to meet people that share your values, then it’s easier to meet their friends who share their values and network that way. It will take a long time to build yourself a healthier social network. It has been three and a half years since divorce, and I am still in the process of doing this. I am sorry that that new friend of yours has a value for tolerating cheating. People like that do not improve, and they do not change. While I don’t advise doing anything dramatic, simply find more friends by joining more social groups, and then just gradually phase this person out of your life by replacing them with people who share your values. It’s a question of time. People reveal themselves eventually, but not immediately. But they will, with patience. Your job is to be on your guard until they do. It’s an eye opener.

  • I think it would be easier for us to assume that the OW or the OM, or even our cheaters, are “all-around bad” people. But our humanity is far more complex than that. Sure, movies and tv often seem to make the bad guy so obviously and seemingly bad so there is no doubt that the character is not to be trusted. But, in real life, it’s not that obvious.

    The reality is that shitty cheaters and their AP have the capacity to be good and kind when it suits their purpose. This website is filled with stories of ex-spouses whom you would never guess would be capable of cheating. Of AP who are generous contributors to their communities, save stray cats, build orphanages in developing countries, coach little league, etc.

    We want to make them to be out to be all bad people so that we can feel better about them.

    What are they really? People with rotten character at their core, poor moral compasses and crappy relationship skills. Otherwise, many are successful enough at navigating the world around them, continuously fashioning an image for themselves. They are in possession of their own gifts and talents that they may foster and receive recognition for it (and sometimes rightfully so, even though it’s irksome for those of us betrayed by them). But, they are not good relationship people – we are testament to that.

    Not this girl – You found someone who, on the surface, is quite nice, understanding, interesting and fun. It’s those same qualities that likely attracted that married man to her, just like it has attracted you to her. As long as she continues to successfully attract people to her, she has no reason to believe that anything she does is truly wrong. What she does wrong, she will somehow rationalize it to herself (cognitive dissonance).

    But, you will take a stand. You will let her know that value systems matter and that she has terrible values that have been hurtful to others. The fact that she doesn’t seem to realize it is evidence that she’s selfish.

    Recently, my MIL informed me that she didn’t think that my ex’s relationship with the AP was going to last much longer. She was thrilled about that because she still holds out that we will be able to reconcile. I let her know that even if the relationship ends: (1) there is no saying my ex would even want to reunite, (2) there is no way that I would ever trust him as he has learned nothing but how to become a more proficient liar and cheater, and (3) there would never be a day that I would believe that this woman would ever truly be out of his life for good. You see, she’s also nice and understanding. She’ll always just “want to be friends” long after a break-up, I’m sure. No thanks. I’d rather drink poison.

  • The main thing I learned as a result of D-Day and my divorce were to trust my gut. If you’re writing in to ask if you should be friends with a person, that’s a huge sign that this isn’t the right move.

    Not to be disrespectful but she doesn’t even sound necessary. You have a boyfriend, you travel, you’ve got hobbies and other friends. Let this one go-not worth it.
    -Sweetener

  • Your ex husband let you know that he was the kind of person that would cheat on a spouse (by doing it), so you left him. Your ‘amazing’ friend let you know that she’s the kind of person that would cheat on a spouse by telling you she did it. Ball is in your court, but I know what I’d do.

    Further, consider whether this new friend will respect decent boundaries with your boyfriend. I mean, it’s not like you’re married to him (which also shouldn’t pose a moral problem for HER), so I guess in her mind, your bf is fair game. I suspect you don’t want to go down that road again, so I’d take a few steps back if I were in your shoes.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • We all talk on here alot about seeing those red flags that we’ve missed and getting/keeping boundaries. These things are challenging for chumps. And here you have a chance to fine tune those skills.

    I get it–having good friends during tough times is awesome. Making new friends is great, but you gotta play the long game. Invest in honest, caring people who share your values. This person is not at all like that. And, as CL points out, it might be more complicated if this was a childhood friend. The question I’ve struggled with is “who do I grandfather in, now, knowing what I know about red flags and boundaries?” Throughout this process I have lost several “good” friends who either could not even begin to understand my plight and minimized it OR behaved poorly themselves and justified my ex’s behavior OR that I was just not overly compatible with. The good thing about a shake up is that you get a chance to clean house. So, keep it clean!

    You’ve been so mighty…keep it up!

  • I remember a CL post about a couple who publicized their affair and subsequent marriage. They met over ducks covered with oil. Twu wuv was only an oil slick away. Of course there was a spouse in the way, but, HEY, they were saving ducks! My point is that she might be the best friend you have ever had but she is still a cheater. Core values should not be traded in for a roll in the hay or oily ducks.

  • Agree. Also strongly agree with your last sentiment. At this point in my life I have a very strong “not my monkeys, not my circus” philosophy. As we chumps rebuild our personal and emotional lives, why take on more drama? Maybe one day, years from now, I’ll be in a better position to be more of a “helper” and friend to people with drama lives…but right now, I want peace. I ain’t out to be Captain Save-A-Ho. Rebuilding a life takes immense energy and focus, so we ought say no to emotional vampires.

  • I think we often use the term “friend” interchangeably with “acquaintance.” Maybe it’s an introvert thing, but I only spend my time with friends who have shared values and good character. That doesn’t mean I am not friends with people who are not like me–to the contrary–but “not causing harm to others” is a guiding principle.

    I liked Chump Lady’s advice about how she told you. What was that conversation like? Two friends/acquaintances revealed to me during my divorce that they had affairs. One was a mistress and the other cheated on her husband. But they shared this with me during intimate conversations with deference and humility.

    One of the women was older than me and someone I really looked up to. She was the type of person I aspired to become professionally and personally, she was self-assured, sophisticated, and independent. We were never close, but she disclosed her past to me after I asked her a pointed question and I wasn’t expecting that answer. I appreciated her candor, but I realized I don’t want to be like her. We didn’t stay in touch, mostly because life moved on, but if our paths crossed, I would consider her an acquaintance. I enjoy her company and her past is none of my business, but we clearly don’t have the same outlook on life.

    The other acquaintance and I are still in touch. The cheating was bad, but she was truly remorseful, accepted responsibility, and honestly, I didn’t have a high opinion of her ex.

    I guess my point is that true friend are hard to find and we don’t have to be besties with everyone. Some people are just acquaintances whose company you enjoy when you happen to see them.

  • A favorite quote I read some time ago ” People of integrity do not hide their reactions or opinions, they do not manipulate others through deception, and they do not pretend.”

  • If u get a man. I would be sleeping one eye up on that cheater. How long before she falls off the sex wagon again.

    I agree with chump lady. Make her acquaintance. Why test those waters.

  • Hi Friend, thank you for the reply. I was afraid to be honest on these pages because I know that I’m waiting for him to decide when my life blows up again. I always figured it would have happened by now, I didn’t realize how long it would take! Your kindness and understanding gives me hope for compassion here. Thank you.

  • I LOVE Judge Judy but then again I’ve been called judgmental. Usually by some personality disordered time waster.

  • I agree that how she told the story has a lot to do with how you decide to act. I have made some very poor decisions in my distant past that were selfish and hurtful and if I tell anyone about what I did, I openly say that I am deeply ashamed of what I did at that time, I was completely wrong to do these things, I cannot forgive myself, and I am working to be the best person in the world that I can be now. I think taking responsibility for and owning your mistakes is key.

    If she didn’t do that, that means she doesn’t take responsibility and is JUST as likely to do it or something similarly awful again. Watch your back.

  • I’m having a similar experience. While sharing my tale of woe with a new friend, I was shocked to find out that my new friend was the OW when she first met her future husband. It was years ago, but the end result is that that guy divorced his wife for my friend. They got together, got married – and guess what? 17 years later he cheated on her. Karma may take her sweet time, but she’s a bitch. Not so sure about this new friend either – I may not be perfect, but I’m no homewrecker. Takes a special kind of person to do that.

  • It is unfortunate that so many people, potential dates and friends, have such shaky values. I have been told I am judgmental. I had to teach myself to protect myself, and that involved setting boundaries that reflect my values and needs. This means I have a very small pool of friends, and currently I know no one I am interested in dating. I know and socially interact with many people, but they are not true friends. I have made mistakes, and I have regrets, and I am not perfect. I don’t require perfection. I am not responsible for fixing other people. I look for people who have values that align with my values — we are more likely to share interests and goals.

    Life is not a popularity contest. I don’t need a large number of friends to feel successful. I only need people I can count on in my life. Some people learn from mistakes they made in the past and experience regret and remorse. Some people work hard to change their lives. Others keep making the same mistakes over and over until they die. I do not apologize for having standards. If time is a limited resource, why waste any of it with someone who has more potential to cause you pain than to actually turn into a helpful and valuable friend? Just like we tell our children, in order to make friends you have to be one. It is not easy to be a good friend, or to find a good friend, but it is worth the effort. Don’t waste time on people who are not worth it.

  • A formerly close friend of mine pretty much ditched our friendship at one point, and I was very hurt and didn’t understand why. When she made an attempt to reach out to me to rekindle the friendship, we got together, and I learned that she had become an OW in the time we were apart. This was before I was cheated on, but I was still disgusted and knew that the end of our friendship was for the best. She proved to be a lousy friend before I knew about the cheating, and then she sealed the deal by cheating. After that one get-together, I was conveniently “busy” from then on, and I have kept her at arm’s length in the workplace ever since. I’m glad that I made that decision. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.

  • This is how I would view that woman ‘She would fuck my husband’…so there you have it. Do you want her for a friend?

  • It is difficult to make adult friendships, especially as we get older, so I understand your reluctance to let this one go. My experience with cheaters is that their willingness to hurt someone they love(d) spills over into other relationships. She’s not a good person. If you want her in your life, do so with the understanding that she’s a cheater and be clear with yourself about this. I, however, wouldn’t take that risk again. My life and my moral character are too important to me.

  • This is something I’m struggling with. A very, very good friend of mine – I’ve been close to her for 23 years, though we now live in different states – had an ‘exit affair’ with a married man two years ago. (He stayed with his wife, who never found out as far as I know.) This friend has been there for me through very difficult times in my 20s, 30s and 40s and I’ve never not trusted her – she had never given me a reason not to.

    I absolutely do not approve of what she did. I was shocked when she told me even though I know she struggled to make her longtime marriage work with her now-ex-husband; we had years’ worth of conversations. But I’m not going to end my friendship with her. Do I view her in a different light? For sure.

    • PathofTotality,
      I made a good friend in high school. We went to college together and studied abroad together. We were both in relationships. My boyfriend and I at the time, sat down and talked about the logistics of a long-distance relationship where we wouldn’t see each other for a year. This was back in the dark ages when email and the internet didn’t exist (unless you had a high security clearance at IBM). Long distance calls to that country? $3.99/minute. He and I were both monogamists, but we hadn’t been together for long. Neither he nor I liked mind games and neither he nor I made promises we did not keep. We decided mutually to part ways. (We were 20ish, but we still had the maturity to know the likehood of a successful, long-distance relationship with two poor college students was low.) He and I amicably parted ways. My friend declared her undying love to her boyfriend of 6 months as we got on the plane and promised him her undying loyalty. She cried the whole plane ride over. Two days after we arrived, she had found someone else. I told her to break it off with her boyfriend at home. She did not. She kept the ruse up all year. Pretended to be loyal. Her boyfriend even came to see us when her new boyfriend was out of town. She still didn’t break up. She broke up with her original boyfriend after we came back to the US. I assumed it was immaturity because we were around 21 by that time. I found out the hard way it wasn’t immaturity. She cut off the friendship with me 25 years later. Why? I drew a boundary. I simply told her that I could NOT accept a very damaging and insane choice she had made. I told her we could talk it through. But because I did not 100% agree with her choice – which was one that was hurting many people – she told me she had no need for me because I did not understand true love. The person she had fallen in love with was several steps worse than a married man. The man was single. But, there was a reason he was single. He “lived” in a place where people are not allowed to date and he was set to live in this place for the next 25 years. Also, the place where he lived, people could only stay inside and receive visitors and speak through a glass wall. My friend was absolutely convinced that he was the love of her life. If he was there because he was a drug dealer, I would say that was crazy. But, the reason he was there was due to pretty much the most horrible thing a grown man could do to an underage child. I begged her to please reconsider her decision. Please reconsider. Nope, since I did not understand why I did NOT understand her soul mate. I begged her to think about reconsidering loving a person who had been prolific in his harm of children. (His harm was on video and he had plead guilty etc). So, that’s how we parted ways. Since I could not understand why she believed this person was her soul mate, she had no use for me.

      It’s very sad that it came to that. As a mother, I could not approve of her behavior. Even if it was not a mom, I would not have understood. There are things so heinous that there is no gray area. Convicted Pedophiles can never be a soul mate to a middle-aged woman. I grieve that my friend has gone off the deep end and won’t speak to me because I ask to really thinking about what she is doing. I want the best for my friend. But, getting involved with such a man is not good for any woman. It’s terrible. Also, I have my own views on convicted pedophiles and they are NOT kind views. I hope my friend wakes up one day. (My friend and I are not in contact because she says I don’t understand and support her in this relationship. So she will not speak with me because of it).

      My take. If a friend shows you early on that they are capable of cheating with married people, cut your losses. They may not be a good match as a friend for someone who has been chumped. I don’t care if cheaters pave my road or make my tacos either.

      If someone is a truly reformed cheater and wants to help men relationships, this is different. But, many are NOT.

      Cheaters who wake up are unicorns and they can sometimes have tremendous insight to give others. Best to move on unless you are speaking to a unicorn.

      Also, if someone divorces and marries the other person, they are NOT a unicorn. They are a cheater who put a ring on whore’s finger. Nothing more. Some idiot who had been married for 25-years-old said he divorced his wife and married the other woman because she could bend like a pretzel. He said this to coworkers. Can’t wait to see him get his karma. Maybe someone will put him on a medieval stretching rack and see if he can bend like a pretzel too.

      A unicorn is able to rebuild with their current spouse, have a real change of heart, a ton of insight, stop cheating forever, and mend fences. They are rare.

  • Thank you for this. I have a friend, an old neighbour, whom I get along with on a personal level great. But her moral compass seems off. When they moved in across the street, she and her husband were going to be paying off debt. Which was great and I encouraged them.

    Then as we were talking and getting closer, it became apparent that her husband wasn’t her husband in any legal sense. Fair enough, none of my business. But then it turned out that they did that so that she could still collect food stamps for her (not his) kids. The waters became muddied. But I reasoned, they were knee deep in debt. If this was the help they needed to get out of debt, who was I to judge?

    Then one day, she was all exited: They were buying a house! It was sudden, considering their debt. But in the market we live in, owning, even with maintenance, is often cheaper than renting. So, I encouraged her, trying to help watching her kids while her husband and her went house shopping. I tried passing on my wisdom from buying a home many years prior and that property tax in our state is a killer. Don’t get drawn in by low home prices, because the monthly payment will be double thanks to property taxes.

    Then one day, she showed me the home. It is worth 4 times my home. I got concerned that they wouldn’t be able to afford it, but she said everything was well, and her husband’s job was doing great! Plus, they’d still get food stamps!

    Hold on… you are going to live in a $400k home. And still get food stamps?!? HOW does this work? How can you even have the moral compass to say: Sure! I live in a giant house. But let’s get something that is meant to help those less well off.

    Since they moved in, I’ve gone back to college, and I’ve talked to her about it. She’s said she wants to return to college too. I’ve explained that with Pell Grants, I’m doing it without student loans. She was excited for a moment, then she looked at me: But I’d lose my food stamps if I got a full time job. I tried explaining that if you make $50k/annually, plus what her husband makes, food stamps isn’t going to matter. But no. She decided to not pursue college because she’d lose her precious food stamps.

    At that point, I realized she wasn’t someone I wanted in my life. But I am also short on friends (read: none), and cutting her off was scary. But this post has encouraged me. I will do so… and hopefully better friends will come along.

    I’ve also decided to cut off a guy that I’ve been trying to date for a few months now. There is no chemistry with him. None. Plus our schedules are opposite anyway.

  • I ended a more than decade-long friendship last year for boundary-breaking and lack of empathy with me. This happened to coincide with her having, at minimum, an emotional affair with a married man boss at work while her nice boyfriend was twisting in the wind/jumping through hoops so hard he started going to therapy. When I broke up with my narcissistic boyfriend about two years ago, a lot of resources told me, watch out: If that person was in your life, you probably have friends with similar personalities you’ll have to purge eventually as well. As I started valuing myself more, it started becoming more and more obvious that this long-time friend was a narcissist or heavy on the traits of one. I spent a year in denial, but between things she did to me and other people, I finally had to realize that she was sadly one of those people who feel entitled to do anything that serves their ego with no thought for the impacts on others. Like Chump Lady says, I think our chump weakness is often that we feel some weird obligation to be loyal and patient with people who are showing us colors our instincts are right to be queasy about. It’s okay to diplomatically distance yourself from people who don’t have the capacity to treat you and others with real integrity and respect. And you best believe that if they hurt others, they have the capacity to do it to you too. I’m agnostic, but I very much believe in the Christian idea that “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”

  • My daughter’s best friend. They grew up together. I also consider her my daughter. She is now a business associate.
    Claimed her husband is physically abusing her. Finally got out.
    Now I hear from reliable sources she was always the abusive one. Stabbed him. Even tried to poison his son from a previous marriage! Tried to kill herself several times. Cheating like it’s the norm. I never knew anything because she was too careful in covering everything up.

    HOW DO WE DETERMINE WHO IS REAL AND WHO IS NOT???

    This is one time I really do not know how to deal with this. If I break contact completely business suffers…..

  • “She has been kind, fun, thoughtful, smart, and we seemed to have so much in common.”

    What are some examples that support the above. Quite often, we project too much when making friends. This woman has probably been no more forthcoming than someone who comes across as less exciting.

  • How can you trust this new friend around your boyfriend? Even if he rejects her, do you want a friend who thinks it’s okay to hit on the men in her friends’s lives?

    And if she has low enough more and high selfishness, she has already shown serious character issues. Do you think you can trust her for YOU?

    And so she cheated and her husband had a revenge affair. It sounds like it didn’t hurt her so much as the rules were different for her than him.

  • It’s a minefield out there! First of all, I recently discovered that my son’s mother- and father-in-law began their relationship while he was married to wife #1. This revelation shocked me, as the mother-in-law has been a friend and was a confidante in the months following the demise of my own marriage 5 years ago. Secondly, my new boyfriend/partner’s father left his mother for a much younger work subordinate in 1975. Although the father has passed away, his widow is very much alive and present in my life. Thirdly, my partner’s brother-in-law left wife #1 for his (my partner’s) sister. And fourthly (!), my partner’s nephew recently left his pregnant wife — for reasons/under circumstances not yet revealed. These are all people with whom I must spend time and maintain cordial relationships. It is truly difficult. While I would like to engage on a deeper level with people so close to my son and to my partner, I hold back. I don’t invite them to dinner or even to go for a walk. I struggle to hold my tongue when they reminisce about their early — and oh so romantic — courtships. At the same time, I now have to wonder . . . am I wrong to judge? Is this behavior so common and even routine that I must accept it as a mere fact (and foible) of human existence? I am grateful that my partner understands my discomfort and is sympathetic. After all, the mother of his children left him years ago, and he had a front row seat to the devastation caused to his own mother (now deceased). Still, it is difficult for me, and I feel guilty for judging these people so harshly.

  • I lost my best friend at the same time as I got rid of my cheating ex. When I went to her for emotional support with the separation and divorce, she gave me the shocking news that she had been the OW in her spouse’s previous marriage. She assured me everything would turn out okay and that she’d stay friends with both of us.

    So … I never contacted her after that, and haven’t seen her in years. That was not the kind of friend I needed then, or ever.

    • Wow..that’s pretty heartbreaking. You think you know the people closest to you but then discover you really don’t. I find that’s the hardest thing to accept – that you go through life trusting yourself in choosing good people to be your friend or spouse and not only are disappointed/betrayed, but then you end up questioning your own sense of judgement (is there something wrong with ME that I didn’t see this?)

  • Watch out for mirroring, OP.

    When people are wonderful the first time you meet them? Be on your guard, because the mask drops in the end.

    A friend of mine has had 4 affairs with married men, broke up one to live with him (he turned into an alcoholic).

    She was wonderful at first. Then the difficult side came out. I remember being jolted and a bit hurt – but I am a sucker for narcissists and it is progress, not perfection!

    Demoted to acquaintance.

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