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UBT: ‘Dear Therapist’

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Sometimes I wonder if I made up the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. How could advice be so manifestly stupid and devoid of commonsense? It’s a joke, right? Some kind of cruel performance art?

Then in waltzes Lori Gottlieb aka ‘Dear Therapist’ of the Atlantic Monthly.

While other bullshit artists are pickling sharks in formaldehyde or suspending themselves in glass cages over town squares, Lori Gottlieb is mindfucking Atlantic Monthly readers.

I guess we’re all supposed to gasp at the transgressive originality of her unexpected advice.

A woman writes in who’s been cheated on and instead of validating what a crushing experience that is and offer advice on what to do next, Gottlieb a) questions if it happened (gaslights) and b) scolds the woman for not being sufficiently curious about her husband (blameshifts).

I wonder if we could pickle Lori Gottlieb in a vitrine? Consider it my installation The Physical Manifestation of Bullshit in the Mind of a Chump.

Was that offensive? No! It’s ORIGINAL and unexpected!

Anyway… The Universal Bullshit Translator.

Woman writes in to Dear Therapist, married 50 years, 26 years ago they both cheated, but reconciled. Now her husband is carrying on with a high school “friend”.

But I just learned that for more than two and a half years, my husband has been having a phone relationship with a single woman with whom he went to high school. There’s been no sex, according to him, but he did take lunch to her at her home. He knew I was not fond of her, because she had expressed interest in him, and he said that he didn’t tell me about their communication because of how I would react.

Oh yes, it was just lunch. He was delivering salami.

When I asked, “Did you go out to lunch or anything?” he replied, “Never.” Then I asked whether he’d gone to her home and he said that he brought her lunch one time.

I am at a loss as to how to proceed. He says he loves me, but I have a huge hole in my heart. Trust is very important to me, given our past.

Lunch is the new Appalachian Trail. Sure, guy keeps his relationship with nearby woman a secret for two and half years because… singular lunch. They just chastely held hands over grilled cheese.

Is anyone buying this? Lori Gottlieb is.

Dear Linda

I can imagine how painful it must be to feel betrayed again by your husband after working so hard together to establish trust and safety in your marriage. As for how to proceed, it will help to separate the circumstances of the earlier infidelities that you both engaged in from what’s going on now with your husband and the woman he went to high school with. To do this, let’s take a closer look at trust and what it means.

Dear Linda, you distrustful harridan…

You weren’t betrayed. You feel betrayed. Pay no attention to my grammar — I smother verbs because I care.

#feelURpain

It sounds like after the infidelities 26 years ago, you together decided that trusting each other would mean “no outsiders allowed in”—as if by not allowing others in, you’d create a safe barrier around the relationship. But healthy relationships don’t thrive because of what does or doesn’t happen with people out there—they thrive because of what does or doesn’t happen between the two people involved. In other words, trust isn’t about keeping other people out; it’s about letting each other in.

It sounds like you meant “no outsiders allowed” in the don’t-fuck-them sense. Or spend 2.5 years phoning them under the pseudonym “Bob” to share lunchmeat.

But healthy relationships don’t thrive because of what happens with people out there — did he fuck someone? Do you have an abnormal Pap smear? An itchy rash? Irrelevant! What matters is that you let him in. With a safe barrier and lots of Clorox.

Letting each other in, of course, is a lot harder than keeping other people out, because letting your partner in requires a great deal of vulnerability. It’s so much easier to set rules about other people than to deal with the person right in front of you. And I have a feeling that what’s going on with your husband is less about this woman and more about something unsaid between the two of you.

I have a feeling that what’s going on with your husband is your fault. You weren’t vulnerable enough.

Broadsided? Hurt? Betrayed? Not vulnerable enough. Go stand in a snowbank without your clothes. No, still not vulnerable enough. Now cry.

In my work as a therapist, I’ve noticed that people rarely tell their partners exactly how they’re struggling; instead, they express their loneliness or fear or hurt in other ways. Which is why sometimes affairs are about an underlying issue in the marriage—a lack of connection, a feeling of being too merged or controlled, a mutual avoidance or inability to communicate, or an escape from ongoing conflict. Other times, infidelity is about something internal—long-standing issues with intimacy and vulnerability, unresolved childhood patterns, personal insecurities and questions of self-worth, or a reaction to a major loss. Sometimes people relieve untreated depression or anxiety through the distraction of an affair. Others are addicted to affairs, using them in the way others might use alcohol, drugs, food, or compulsive shopping.

In my work as a therapist, I’ve noticed that I ignore abusive behavior and focus instead on hypothetical reasons why an abuser may be abusing. Unresolved childhood patterns, personal insecurity, how much you suck.

When people feel betrayed,

Betrayal is a feeling. It can’t hurt you, like, say, a stolen bank account or chlamydia. Betrayal is all in your head.

they tend to be so wrapped up in hurt and anxiety that they lack curiosity about the person they feel betrayed by. At the same time, they’re so wrapped up in anger and self-righteousness that they lack curiosity about themselves.

Yes, the proper response to abuse is to be more curious about the abuser.

Put down your cloak of anger and self-righteousness and wear the burka of shame! I Am a Bad Wife Who Was Insufficiently Curious About Her Husband’s Unspoken Childhood Patterns.

They focus instead on the details of the betrayal: Was there a physical relationship, how much of a physical relationship, how many times did they talk on the phone, what did they eat and where?

Is there an affair partner stalking me? Is money missing from my account? What is this strange rash on my genitals? Why doesn’t my son look like me?

#somanydetails

And getting caught up in the details—which can be painful and also elusive, creating even more unanswerable questions

Unlike Unresolved Childhood Patterns which are completely knowable.

—prevents the betrayed person from getting answers to the much more important question, which is: What’s going on with each of us?

These are imponderables you can bring to a therapist for $180/hr. Divorce is finite. Therapy not so much.

Which brings me back to trust. Being trustworthy means being honest, but it also means being able to receive your partner’s honesty. If your partner doesn’t trust you with his truth, he may create a situation in which you don’t trust him either—meaning, he may go underground with his truth.

He cheated because he doesn’t trust you with his truth.

I WIN THE PICKLED SHARK OF MINDFUCK!

Your husband gave you a key piece of information when you confronted him about the phone calls: He didn’t tell you about them because he was afraid of how you would react. You don’t trust your husband right now, but he may not trust you either, in the sense that he may not trust your capacity to tolerate his truth, were he to share it openly with you.

It’s Not What He Did, It’s Your Reaction To It.

Okay, this isn’t a very original mindfuck, the false equivalency blameshift (hey! you’re not trustworthy either! Even though you don’t fuck other people at lunch!), but let’s explore it in expensive 45-minute segments, okay?

What is his truth?

Do you give a shit? I think you should.

It may be that he feels constrained by the boundaries regarding “outsiders”—that the very protection you two set in place 26 years ago instead made things more dangerous, with unrealistically narrow parameters around even friendships with members of the opposite sex that started to feel suffocating. Marriages do well with boundaries that are neither too loose nor too tight—neither a vast ocean nor a cramped fishbowl, but a roomy yet contained aquarium. It’s possible that despite this woman’s interest in him, they really are just friends, and that it’s a friendship that he felt he had to hide from you because he knew you’d object.

It may be that his dick needs to wander. It feels constrained by the narrow parameters of its trousers. His dick suffocates.

It’s possible that he and this woman are really just friends. Which is why he lied about it for 2.5 years and didn’t invite you to lunch with her. Because secret friendship. You are a cramped fishbowl. She is a wild ocean shark. He is a suffocated harpoon.

If you allow for his truth—whether that truth reveals a friendship or something that went beyond that—you’ll find out what the relationship with this woman means to him.

I have zero suggestion about how you uncover this “truth” — GPS? Private eye? Conversations in a shrink office? — I just assume a practiced liar has a truth and that you are resistant to it. Be a mindreader! Be vulnerable!

#missedaspot

Maybe as he ages and faces his own mortality, it’s important to him to have a connection to his past—to someone who knew him growing up, who knew his parents when they were young. Maybe he’s been struggling with waning self-worth or power, a fear of losing his identity or charm or vitality, as people sometimes do when they age, and being admired by this woman feeds his ego or helps him cope with the loss of his youth. Maybe he’s getting something that’s missing in other parts of his life—feeling seen, understood, respected, enjoyed. Or maybe it’s another reason entirely. But you won’t know if you focus on the betrayal instead of being receptive to the truth of his inner experience that he felt he had to hide from you.

Maybe he’s an asshole and you invested in an asshole. Oh no, that’s too direct. I need $180/hr theories.

Be receptive to the truth of his inner experience. Also ask Jeffrey Epstein why 14 year old girls? Is it the perky tits? Is swapping human beings like trading cards enjoyable? What does Alan Dershowitz look like naked? A defrosted ham?

There’s nothing like feeling loved and accepted for who you really are to draw people together. What you learn from these conversations will most likely bring the two of you closer if you create the conditions of trust in which to have them. Marriages, at least the ones people tend to enjoy the most, are dynamic and fluid, shifting over time—embracing, rather than resisting, change. That’s because love, at least the kind that pushes us to grow, is incredibly durable. It sounds as if the two of you have that kind of durable love. Now all you have to do is nurture it by making room for each other’s truth.

Marriages, at least the ones people tend to enjoy the most, are ones where people hide their affairs and the chump pretends it never happened. Some people call that rug sweeping — I call it fluidity.

Let him have his dalliances with Lunch Lady. There’s nothing like feeling loved and accepted!

#makeroom4entitlement

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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.
  • This burned me up inside; how cruel to the letter writer! I couldn’t read past a couple paragraphs.

    I have no fear giving my strong opinions about infidelity as abuse these days; hopefully the more of us speak up to combat the RIC response the more the tide will turn.

    • Yes. I wrote to Gottlieb with a link to Tracy’s UBT, and told her exactly what I think of her ‘advice’. Vomit.

      • She calls a lying cheating married man an absent lover. Life isn’t a romance novel. I prefer a 2×4 based on the shitty character.of the OW. Just a bit watered down per usual.

      • Thanks Tristess- I wrote Ellie a thank you note, and directed her to chumplady for her further education.

      • ‘Dear Prudence’ at Slate is also super excellent when discussing infidelity, both the current writer (Daniel Mallory Ortberg) and the previous one (Emily Yoffe). They also have their heads on straight about kids (of any age) being estranged from parents.

        They really focus on honest, respectful, caring behaviour, in any relationship, and on our right to have great boundaries. I love them both!

      • I’m glad to hear Ellie has enlightened herself. I wrote to her twice when she gave bad advise to a Chump recommending the RIC line of discussion. I also recommended Leave a Cheater Gain a Life to her. Maybe she actually read it?

    • The implication is that the one who strays is the one whose needs weren’t being met and that makes it all justified. Nobody seems to care about the needs of the one being cheated on. If you don’t cheat then it must be because you have nothing to complain about so stop whining and figure out how to be a better partner.

      • THIS. So much THIS.

        Horace lied to me constantly because “I knew you’d be upset if you found out.” Really? I’d be upset if he were going back to behavior I said would be a dealbreaker? Behavior that led to the destruction of my trust in him? But when I pointed that out, “You just want to control me!”

      • Chumpinrecovery, you nailed it! Even my own family thought I must have done something to “make him cheat,” and suggested I figure out how to better meet his needs. The first person who said anything different was a work colleague when I was stumbling my way through my first shift after my first D-day. When she found me sobbing in the utility room after my then-husband didn’t answer the phone when he was going to be “home studying all evening” (I was putting him through school), she asked me “What about your needs? What about what he owes you?” She was the first person to suggest that maybe he owed me something. That was nearly 40 years ago, so Emily is probably gone now, but Thank you, Emily! That calm, quiet question has kept me moving through several more D-days with different partners and is probably why I’m the Ex-Mrs. Sparkly pants after just one D-day with Mr. Sparkly Pants.

        • Beautiful story, she probably has no idea how much of an impact she made in your life and for the better. Just goes to show we never know how far our kind words and support can travel.

    • I can’t even read shit like this. My therapist should have been hung by her thumbs. The damage they do is criminal.

  • WHERE IS THE EMPATHY?

    Gottlieb needs to find another profession. Walmart greeter? Meter maid? Any job in which she is not allowed to dole out advice.

    • Every time you post one of these I deeply hope the invalidated chump finds it so they can get the more cogent perspective on their issue. I’ve never hoped it more than I do with this one.

      You’re a superhero, CL.

      • You’re a superhero, too, Tempest, but this wasn’t supposed to be nested. One of those days. 🙂

  • I wonder why they don’t include a comments section. Don’t they want to know what their readers think about their columnists?

    Hax is far from perfect (ditto for her readers) but at least you can agree or disagree about the submissions, her advice and one another at WaPo.

    • They don’t include a comments section because they don’t want to hear any dissenting opinions.

      Especially when you’ve got a sweet gig as a therapist charging $180 an hour. Don’t want any angry Chumps bitching that up.

      • Slate.com ran a letter last week from another woman lamenting if the married man she planned to fuck had told his wife and if she should proceed even if he didn’t.

        https://slate.com/human-interest/2019/07/affair-with-married-man-sex-advice.html

        Thankfully Slate allows comments and they certainly took the letter writer to task for her lack of character.

        It was refreshing to see an internet community outside of ours address adultery as abuse and not just the dreamy star crossed narrative that so casually gets passed around.

        • Where are the comments? I can’t see them.

          I noticed, right at the end, the cunt was told if the fucktard has an ‘open’ marriage, to go for it.

          Of course the piece of shit sexting with this bitch is going to tell her the *truth*, right? 😈😂 FFS.

          • You have to click on the yellow prompt that says “Comments” and they will open a page with the comments. There is a button at the top to the left right after the headline and a button at the bottom of the article.

          • There were a lot of comments there but I liked this one.

            “It seems like a waste of sociopathy to just use it for hot sex with married people. I mean really, does this lady know how much money and power you can get if you have absolutely no empathy or regard for anyone but yourself? Sure, sex is great but even decent human beings with normal brains can get that if they put in a little effort.”

            • LOL! Friday challenge. CL writes an Onion-esquire article about infidelity and we try to outdo each other being wickedly funny in the comments section.

        • I love that part about- you could rip the last page out of every book you run across – but you probably shouldn’t.

  • And when did the TRUTH become subjective? Or is our society now using the word truth as a synonym for happy?

    “Make room for each others truth”. Yeah, make room for his lying, cheating, breaking of vows. I’m sure he’ll make room for your trauma that he continues to cause. Yep…there’s room for it waaaaay over there…where he can’t see it from lunch lady’s house as he delivers the salami platter.

    • F&L

      I was told HIS truth and then I was told ‘it is too painful for ME here’ and now HE is gone and in HIS fancy new house enjoying HIS freedom.

      Nowhere in that was there any room for perhaps a bit of my truth – goops, I forgot, I though I mattered and the 30 years I had devoted to him and our children devoted to him mattered. Nope, we just brought him pain once he found the wuv ov HIS life after trying to find her for 30 years of fucking a bunch of frogs along his way to HIS truth.

      I hate this columnist and I don’t even know her. Was hard for me to read through it all too. I am now well into the anger stage of Grief and this kind of crap really irks me. Makes me wonder if she is a cheater herself.

  • Ack! Ick! Yuck!!!

    Probably the tip of the iceberg ( just the tip…).

    I hate that this poor woman had to pay money to listen to this drivel. Why are they focused on what he did or didn’t do. What about her needs?

    I hope HS fuckbuddy chokes on his rancid salami

  • I thought I recognized the name when I saw it, and googled her. Lori Gottlieb’s first book is a memoir of her anorexia (“Stick Figure”), a fact she doesn’t give on her website, instead simply referring to the timing of the publication of “my first book.”
    In my long career as a professor, I saw that some people who went into teaching writing (and champion “process”), were those who never finished their dissertations. Lots of students who asked me to write letters for their pre-med files were those who decided to go into medicine because of a family member’s illness and/or the physician who treated that family member. My ex, an academic, who had and continues to have serial infatuations with students he mentored and junior women faculty (at least one of which he mentored), was so obsessed with “happiness” that he developed a course in it. And some of those who major in psychology or become psychologists are grappling with their own psyche and their own psychological profiles (or that of a family member). I have no doubt Gottlieb is one of these psychologists. I bet she doesn’t specialize in Borderline Personality Disorder, though.
    Far-fetched? Am I reading in? No more than she did.
    Thanks, Chump Lady, for taking this on, and for giving us the tools to dissect this kind of invalidating victim-blaming crap.

    • My cheating spouse got a phd in psychology, specializing in self determination theory and emphasizing on self autonomy on the pretext that it would be less likely to deplete self control. But i say the asshole had too much autonomy, and ultimately it is about her own rights, interests and preferences that she dont even practise self control…of course there is no depletion of self control. I do think some psychology majors, psychologists and psychiatrists need more help for themselves. The so called “therapist” and my STBX are supporting evidence!

    • My STBX’s ho bag is a Dr of neuropsychology who treats adults and children. This genius and fuckwit had my children spend the night at her home 6 weeks after d-day (unbeknownst to me of course until after the fact).

      Someone explain to me what person who has studied child psychology thinks it’s ok to be around my children so soon after we told them about the divorce much less have them in her home? What’s super fun is having fuckwit email or tell me psychological bs I know is coming from her…when she’s the one helping screw them up. How self-centered do you have to be?

  • Maybe he needs a connection to past to accept his mortality? He’s been married for 50. His wife has been huge part of his past! Nah, he has to go back to the teenage years to get his willy wet. That was hard to read.

    The Dickhead actually stated the obvious, “I was not a good husband.” That pretty much sums up 19 years in one succinct sentence. Not a good husband and an even worse person.

    • “Not a good husband and an even worse person.” X asked me for a divorce “out of the blue” one day. The preceeding two years he had spent everywhere but at home (“work” and the “racquetball club” were definite priorities). When x was home, he enjoyed picking fights, belittling me, gaslighting, and being an all around jerk, modeling that crap for our teens. I of course explained his behavior away but after a while I just became more confused and angry, like WHO THE FUCK DOES THIS????? and called him out…. Life is way too short to deal with crap. So by the time his little whore gave him an ultimatum, which forced his brilliantly vomited out ILYBINILWY speech, I finally understood. Infidelity doesn’t even begin to explain the shitty plans he had. Come to find out he was also getting creative with our finances even going so far as to get a part time job rubbing elbows with the good ol’ boys at our local family court. Pulled out all the stops. At this point we had built our dream home and he began pulling out equity over and over again. Towards the end of the marriage, began buying “things”, robbed or moved the savings’ accounts, etc. And when x walked, after taking us all on a big vacation to check out colleges for our son, soon after he was “no longer willing to support him” then he took our youngest daughter’s college fund, and walked out on our mortgage. Ten years later and this still pisses me off. You don’t get to be any part of my life after fucking me over like that. Boundaries, right? My only advice to those who are married to a cheater is to get out.

  • Why is it always the Cheater that is misunderstood ? Needs not being met , needs emotional support , needs to talk to ” Friends ” outside of the marriage .

    WTF about us ? You know the ones that put up with the BS day in day out . Mostly working full time , bringing up a family . Doing most if not all the domestic duties do we not have needs ? Are we not misunderstood ?

    RIC is basically if your spouse cheats well its your fault you misunderstood them ! Yer Darn right i misunderstood . Bunch of See you next Tuesdays

    • Yes 100%. If you don’t cheat then your needs don’t matter. No wonder so many cheated on spouses respond by cheating themselves. Apparently it is the only legitimate way to get anyone notice you have needs.

      • My needs are very simple

        For my husband NOT to stick his dick in his Ho Worker & run off with her

        That’s it simple !

    • “Why is it always the Cheater that is misunderstood ? Needs not being met , needs emotional support , needs to talk to ” Friends ” outside of the marriage .

      WTF about us ? You know the ones that put up with the BS day in day out . Mostly working full time , bringing up a family . Doing most if not all the domestic duties do we not have needs ? Are we not misunderstood ?”

      Substitute “depression” for “cheater” and discover very few differences between RIC therapists and regular ones.

      Too bad Anne Sheffield is dead. “Depression Fallout” is a good book, even if it is dated. I miss the old online board she hosted.

      I think she and Tracy would have hit it off.

    • I agree. Even though my stbx may have felt I dint sufficiently appreciate him or love him maybe eve. I felt very neglected in my marriage the last few years. Where the heck was he doing anything with me. And I did not cheat. I worked full time. When I left for work in the morning he was either in bed still, or just getting up and in the couch drinking coffee. Then when I got home he was already very drunk. That’s a lot of “me “ time he got.

  • Let’s imagine an art installation with a salami resting on a gallon of Clorox and Lori’s “feeling” about Linda’s “fault” represented as a nice white enamel thunder mug with a pile of plastic turds in it.

    I can never finish reading these ‘advice’ columns, I don’t know how the UBT manages.

  • I often wonder if somebody had not told me about CL/CN what state my head would be in now as I suppose I would believe there was something wrong with me is for not just feeling okay with this kind of bullshit advice on any level and then and then of course blaming myself and not having done enough, been enough, forgave enough etc.

    I just think it’s very dangerous. I understand the premise that probably you have to look at your relationship and yourself to truly understand things but this is actually harmful and I would say completely obscene advice.

    No surprises there then!

  • (Music by Bryan Adams, lyrics by Lori Gottlieb)

    When you’re feelin’ dejected
    Because he’s suspected
    Don’t ya worry — it’s only lunch

    If you think he’s been cheatin’
    He’s only lunch-meatin’
    Take a chill pill — it’s only lunch
    And that’s all, yeah

    You’ve stifled your fears
    For more than two years
    Trust me Linda — it’s only lunch

    Don’t believe what you’re thinkin’
    The marriage ain’t stinkin’
    Have a sandwich — cuz it’s only lunch
    Only lunch….

  • What a crock! “Make room for each other’s truth?” Really? How about this truth? Only weasels and worms sneak around.

  • Oh, I see! Welp, all I need to do is invite myself to lunch. If there is truly nothing going on with the good ol’ high school buddy then all I need to do is show up and introduce myself. Let’s explore our past and compare notes on my husband! What, no go? Would me being there make someone uncomfortable? Then there is my answer.

    Sounds like he is letting his “suffocated harpoon” roam free for the price of a boloney sandwich and she is riding the boloney pony. Or maybe peanut butter and jelly…. PBJ = petulant blow job, BLT = blows long time, and endless salami metaphors.

    • I forgot to add- Adults have sex. Especially entitled fuckwits who perceive that they have “suffered” for so long and “just couldn’t tell” their spouse, and especially entitled fuckwits who have been down the cheating road before.

      • Yeah, I think anyone should have a problem with the ‘secret friend’. All it does is foster that spouse as an adversary or jailer idea. Make this guy single again, and he won’t have to hide his activities!
        What? That’s no fun? You’re married to a con-man, so sorry. There’s the truth you’ve been looking for!

  • Here’s my favorite mindfuck from her loooooong series of mindfucks: “Which is why sometimes affairs are about an underlying issue in the marriage—a lack of connection, a feeling of being too merged or controlled…” So let me get this straight. Sometimes affairs happen because Chumps aren’t connected enough to their partner and sometimes they happen because they’re connected (merged) too much? Well how the hell are we supposed to know how much is too much or not enough?? Not that it matters really, as long as we accept we are at fault for not doing it right. Giant eye-roll.

    • Excellent observation. Last thing we may expect is that the cheater open their fucking mouth to express which it is, either; zero expectations are ever placed on the cheater. The blame only comes out after they are caught and the chump is informed how they screwed it up and were so woefully inadequate, couched in the lie, “I couldn’t tell you the truth because you can’t handle it.”

      Poor wittle babies.

      • Omg I had that. Just went to someone who would understand his problems. He says— I could not tell you. You would not understand. Only wonderful shmoopie understood me. And that’s why two luv triumphed over your naive ass. We get to traipse off into the sunrise and get all dreamy together. Because we’re Twu luv and understand each other.

        Oh and here’s the clincher. After dealing with his angry psychotic rages, “I’m becoming a better person, she’s helping me. We’re both Gemini and are matching twins. “

        Oh Man I feel very vomitus right now.

    • I think her answer lies somewhere in this: “neither a vast ocean nor a cramped fishbowl, but a roomy yet contained aquarium.” It is up to us to figure out what constitutes the “roomy yet contained aquarium” and whatever we think that means, it’s just going to be wrong because it has to be wrong to justify cheater. If the “happy medium” line is not drawn and not specifically defined, then the cheater can always claim that we landed too far on one side or the other of that imaginary line.

      • Yeah, it’s up to the Chump to figure out how to make that aquarium thing work, apparently through telepathy, and the Cheater gets to sit silently around, seeing how they feel, and deciding they don’t feel good enough to be faithful or honest.

        Uh huh.

    • That is a classic cheater attitude she’s expressing. Damed if you do and damned if you don’t seems to be the standard cheater MO. My cheater said he cheated because he fears closeness. He also said it was because he felt we weren’t close enough. 😄
      Perhaps Lori is a cheater herself, since she certainly has the cheaterspeak.

    • She and her husband have separate homes and an open marriage.

      The perks of being WHITE and RICH (and entitled and crazy) are very real.

  • My Wish for this therapist is for her to counsel this couple. Then maybe like mine, she can spend 12 months dissecting what the husband needs, what he was looking for, how the wife must learn to State what she wants in open yet receptive ways, blah blah blah…… until he lies to the therapist! When that happened with us, I watched my counselor go through shock and betrayal. She actually said, “I can’t believe you’ve been lying to me” to my husband. Then she fired us from couples therapy and gave me the business card for a lawyer. I think it was the first time she really advocated on my behalf. It wasn’t funny then, but I’ve had a few laughs about it since.

    • Lols, our couples therapist was pissed when she realised MrBigPlans was lying to her- I think it brings a few things home!

  • Call it I’m-already-tired-’cause-it’s-Thursday… but it’s hard for this chump, anyway, to get worked up over what happens to a *pair* of cheaters. A small perverse part of me thinks perhaps this quack therapist merely wants to delay the reentry into the wild of two additional cheaters? OK, nah, I’m reading far too much into it. I’m cynical AF. Even for me. Looks like the filter of my sympathy pump got clogged. And my bile is now spilling over the sides.

    • I don’t have a ton of sympathy for her, either. Since she’s cheated herself and cheaters always lie, how do we even know we have the whole story? Their pattern was both of them cheating. I see no reason why that would change. Their “reconciliation” clearly was less than a resounding success. Why it would be a flop for one cheater and not the other is puzzling.

      Regardless, this “Dear Therapist” gasbag is vile and deserves to be ruthlessly mocked, which the UBT did a stellar job with.

  • This Gottlieb has a long fucked up history of being a total (narcissistic, entitled) asshole and has been compared to another cheater Elizabeth Gilbert, whom I despise. Trash, pure trash. The Atlantic should do better. It’s becoming like TMZ.

  • “but he may not trust you either, in the sense that he may not trust your capacity to tolerate his truth, were he to share it openly with you.”

    What they trust is your capacity to tolerate abuse.

    • YES!

      ‘I couldn’t trust you, boss, to disclose I’d been embezzling money. So it’s all your fault I’ve been sneaking around hiding my embezzlement activities. And I was right to do so because look at how you’re trying to get me fired now that I’ve told you!’

      I can’t trust you VS. I can’t disclose my own lack of trustworthiness to you. Biiiiig difference. But the liars and the cheaters and the narcs sure will try to pin the focus on option 1 so they can keep hiding in the shadows about the reality of option 2.

  • I couldn’t even get past the first paragraph. She started word-salading about “it’s not about keeping others out, it’s about letting each other in” and I gagged so hard I could’t keep going.

    Is Lori Gottleib an actual therapist? These columnists doling out advice…are they legit or is this another self-proclaimed “expert” with no credentials and a fancy laptop.

      • Ugh ew…

        Not sure what’s worse…the hoity-toity Esether Perel types with no real credentials touting themselves as experts or the people with credentials who spout word-salad.

        It’s harder to discredit bullshit when it’s coming from a professional. -_-

    • I always let my ex “in”. I had nothing to hide. He knew exactly who I was and what I was feeling. I never played games or pretended that one thing bothered me when it was really something else. I always spoke my mind until maybe the last few years of our marriage when I was already pick me dancing and didn’t want to “rock the boat”, but even then I never saw cheating on him as the answer. He is the one who wouldn’t let me in. He didn’t tell me what was bothering him whether it was me or something else. He claimed I was emotionally unavailable but it is hard to be emotionally available to someone who has surrounded himself with an emotional brick wall. That was my fault of course. If I really cared about him I would have taken an hammer to that emotional brick wall and forced my way in. That is apparently what was expected of me and I failed to deliver. Schmoopie, of course, was allowed to just walk right in through the door he opened for her pussy.

      • So much this, I could of written exactly this about my STBXH. I never in our 13 year marriage presented anything except exactly who I was. Then he put up a wall and shut me out.

        I can’t count how many times I asked explicitly what he wanted and or needed in order for us to work through whatever was going on with him.

        That’s because he wanted and needed his Cumpster, but instead of being honest about that with me, he decided to mentally abuse me instead.

        He is still denying it to this day even though he moved in with the Cumpster not three months after abandoning his family. I am thoroughly convinced that the coward will go to his grave denying that he did anything untoward and that he was justified in abusing me and destroying our family.

        • Same here. He accused me of having an affair, while he was the one screwing around. Moved her in 3 months after I left. He STILL denies it all -4 years later and after the AP moved out barely 8 months after she arrived. And he WILL go to his grave telling everyone that I was the one who blew up the marriage. Cowards -absolutely.

      • This. His trademark phrase was, “Maybe–I don’t know.” I finally said, “You know, you just won’t discuss it.”

  • “The best predictor of future behavior is … past behavior”.

    He cheated before & got away with it. He’s cheating now.
    That therapist isn’t a good one.
    Find one that wants to help & care for you and not the POS.
    Otherwise you’ll be F’d over by the therapist & the POS.
    That therapist’s advice made my head spin. She gets paid for that terrible advice?!
    My cheater wouldn’t go to counseling because he said they’re just as screwed up as the people that they counsel. There’s some truth in that.

  • Yes, ex had a secret Lunch Friend too. I’m not sure what alternate universe this should be acceptable in ??

    • What is it with cheaters and lunching? Mine lunched with his slag every working day for over five years. I have the credit card charges and google maps timeline which prove they weren’t at some motel, but in a restaurant or at the workplace cafeteria. I suppose it’s partly that it’s easier to hide than dinners. But what’s thrilling about having lunch in the first place? It’s not like you can have sex in a restaurant, and you have to go back to work afterwards. How dreary. Dinner at least holds the possibility of some ass for dessert. Cheaters are bizarre people.

      • Some cheaters are more interested in the ego kibbles than in the sex. And you can get and give a LOT of kibbles over lunches, with the delicious (!) sneaking around and aren’t we special feeling as the secret sauce.

        Blech.

  • Personally I think this couple should have just divorced 26 years ago. I shudder think that this could have been me if we had reconciled (which is what I wanted at the time) and I could have been dealing with this all over again after my 50th wedding anniversary.

    “people rarely tell their partners exactly how they’re struggling; instead, they express their loneliness or fear or hurt in other ways. Which is why sometimes affairs are about an underlying issue in the marriage—a lack of connection, a feeling of being too merged or controlled, a mutual avoidance or inability to communicate, or an escape from ongoing conflict. Other times, infidelity is about something internal—long-standing issues with intimacy and vulnerability, unresolved childhood patterns, personal insecurities and questions of self-worth, or a reaction to a major loss. Sometimes people relieve untreated depression or anxiety through the distraction of an affair.” – All of this was true for my ex and none of it had anything to do with me and there really wasn’t anything I could do about any of it, especially as he wasn’t telling me what was really going on. He was the one failing to communicate.

    “they tend to be so wrapped up in hurt and anxiety that they lack curiosity about the person they feel betrayed by. At the same time, they’re so wrapped up in anger and self-righteousness that they lack curiosity about themselves.” – Bullshit, being curious about the partner and yourself is not the solution. I should know. In the first couple of weeks after DDay I as all about looking at myself and what I was doing wrong and trying to understand what my husband was feeling that would have caused him to stray (being “curious” about him – otherwise known as untangling the skein). After a couple of weeks of trying to figure out what I needed do differently to make my husband happier in our relationship he turned to me and said “have you done any self-reflection at all?” At that point it became quite clear to me that he hadn’t done any himself and that I was wasting my time by doing so. Ms. Gottleib is full of shit. If I did anything wrong it was in not being “curious” about why my ex was being such a dick before DDay and not trying harder to figure out what was going on. Unfortunately, I was too busy trying to address all of the criticisms my ex was throwing at me which did no good because the things he complained about were never the things that were actually bothering him.

    • “they tend to be so wrapped up in hurt and anxiety that they lack curiosity about the person they feel betrayed by. At the same time, they’re so wrapped up in anger and self-righteousness that they lack curiosity about themselves.”

      Missed that session with my therapist. I took this to be directed to the chump, not the cheater.

      So many curiosities to ponder. There were things I was curious about come to think of it:
      He called her a dream girl; I’m thinking, “You fuck that?”
      He said she didn’t make any money; I wondered why that was exciting to him.
      She said he was the best lover she ever had; given he missed the title for the Guinness Book of world’s record for the smallest penis by one, I was curious how long she could fake orgasms.

  • Secret relationships are not ok for a married person to have. Full stop. It doesn’t matter if all they did for 2.5 years was talk about the weather. My ex husband’s affair with a young girl started out as a relationship kept secret because he “knew I wouldn’t like it”.

    If you think your spouse won’t like something, maybe it’s because that thing is super shitty behavior.

    • Any Relationship a spouse has with the opposite sex that the other spouse does not know about is inappropriate, disrespectful, highly suspicious and just wrong. He didn’t tell her about his “lunch” date because he’s been fucking her. Plain and simple. So yeah, I guess wifey would not be able tolerate his “truth”.

  • God forbid we should be “wrapped up” in our own reactions to betrayal, because the cheater is the only one who is allowed to have emotions. The cheater can have those emotions, refuse to deal with them through honesty and self-awareness (and even, possibly, therapy with someone who isn’t a fraud or a useful idiot), and destroy whole families through selfish behavior, and what they need is tender understanding and blameshifting. But let a betrayed spouse show one emotion in response to having their life destroyed, and they are The Problem. You want your partner to keep vows? You’re controlling and stifling. You expect truth? It’s your fault they lied! You have boundaries? No, only cheaters get those!

    I spent decades trying to help Horace get help for, and get through, his problems with his upbringing, which I had figured out in the first six months. He had a therapist very like Gottleib for awhile; she told me to my face that I was the problem. He fired her when I told him I was out if he didn’t. I wish I’d left instead. I got nothing but resentment and acting-out for trying to tame the timid forest creature (where’s my rabies shot?). He now has a therapist who urges him to “explore” his addictions, i.e., act out. I’m sure Gottleib would blame me. Fortunately, I’m out, on my way to meh, and mostly angry that people like her have a forum. I’m done being hurt by this BS, but I hate that other people are still being hurt.

  • “…you’ll find out what the relationship with this woman means to him.”

    This is where chumps go wrong. The very spot where we forsake ourselves.

  • “It’s possible that despite this woman’s interest in him, they really are just friends, and that it’s a friendship that he felt he had to hide from you because he knew you’d object.”

    People (and I use the term loosely) only hide secret “friends” for years and decades, because they are either already having inappropriate contact or are working towards that end. Period. I heard this explanation plenty. The very moment you decide to keep something secret from a spouse (other than presents and birthday plans), you are grooming a nice little set-up that benefits you and you alone. Naming these “friends” interesting masculine-sounding nicknames in your phone is still part of the “protect the little wife from her many insecurities” campaign, no doubt. And visiting them during work hours or when out to play “tennis”? Just normal, routine behavior. Why are you concerned about what I am doing when I tell you I am playing “tennis”? YOU clearly have issues, whereas I am a lying piece of shit who betrays you every chance I get.

    It is possible today’s post struck a nerve!! ha

    • My ex’s reason for keeping his double life secret for 4 years while I made irreversible career decisions for our family was that “I would get mad”. It’s brilliant circular reasoning. It’s always the chump’s fault.

      • madkatie63 that’s a lot like what happened to me. My ex convinced me to uproot our daughter, move cities and to move jobs so we could “be a family” whilst all the time he was splitting his time between us and his other family! He was even trying to get me to move house so we could be nearer to them (though that wasn’t the reason he gave me of course!). It defies all logic, how do they think they won’t get found out?

        • They are horrifying! Mine also had me move to a different county, take a different job and buy a car in preparation for the baby we were about to start trying for. It sends a chill down my spine to realize he wouldn’t have hesitated to impregnate me and trap me despite having no intention to stop sneaking off to see countless other women.

          I swear there’s gotta be a special place in hell for that lot.

          • Mine wanted us to get pregnant again but luckily I had realised by then that something was really rotten in Denmark because he kept disappearing, having weird mood swings; accusing me of stuff. I found out later he’d just had another baby with his supposed ex while he was meant to be living with me, that’s why he was a little bit stressed!
            I swear if I wrote it as a tv drama people would say it was too far fetched to be real!

  • I yearn to achieve your articulate, confident state of meh Chump Lady! I was writing all sorts of blogs I never posted about this very thing-the people who normalize affairs and make it either a romantic story or take the act of passive aggression and betrayal that an affair is, split the blame into quarters and hadn’t 3 quarters of it back to the betrayed partner. No self-respecting liberated person of the 21st century wants to look like a prude. The only solution to that is to condone affairs. Because they involve sex. And sex is this beautiful and yet etherial thing that we must respect and let it work its magic where and when it pleases. The worst thing about this attitude. Teens are growing up thinking cheaters constitute another protected group, as if somehow struggling with your ability to respect a commitment and be honest in a relationship is somehow connected to sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s offensive from every angle. END RANT. Thanks CL! Thank you for your blog.

  • Post divorce, my ex-hole voluntarily went to counseling in an attempt to “straighten out his head”, the stupid head on his shoulders. After texting me over and over he was doing well with counseling and wanted to have a talk with me soon, I told him whatever he has to say to me he can say it in front of the counselor. So we went to counseling together for a few months while he was going by himself as well. I was encouraged by this.

    I have to say it was very enlightening pertaining to what is wrong with him. Ex-hole NEVER blamed me, he takes full responsibility for his actions, as he should, and he stated more than once we had a great marriage. The problem lies with him and him alone. Some of Gottlieb’s observations do hold water, such as, “infidelity is about something internal—long-standing issues with intimacy and vulnerability, unresolved childhood patterns, personal insecurities and questions of self-worth, or a reaction to a major loss. Sometimes people relieve untreated depression or anxiety through the distraction of an affair.” This was confirmed during our counseling sessions. He also is not great at communicating and has admitted he keeps a lot to himself. Idiot.

    The thing that bothers me the most is that the counselor told me to “strengthen my trust muscles” and she encouraged me to trust him. I should have bolted out of that office. He’s not trustworthy. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

    • “Your husband is totally fucked up, has so many issues that you’ll never have enough tissues, so obviously you just need to strengthen your trust muscles.”

      Brilliant. I wonder if she’d suggest we should practice that theory on ISIL. If only we just trusted them more, it would help them to resolve their issues.

    • Exactly. There is a lot I could forgive in terms of occasional failures of character, but lies, no. Never. We’re either accomplices in how we lead this life, demons and all, or we can’t call ourselves a family. Loyalty above everything. If you want to flirt and explore the world, against my own good sense, I might allow it, but AT THE VERY LEAST you need to keep me in on it. It never works that way, though.
      People who want the security of other side dishes will never want to share that much with you.
      It’s just a different relationship logic, a different style of attachment (and I’m being generous trying not to marry the idea they enjoy duping, though some definitely will).

  • Oh, for fucks sake. This whole column makes me nauseous. Luckily, we have found CL and UBT rocks once again!

    Please get this “therapist” out of your life. She is NOT helping you. And ditch this delivery man…let him deliver his sausage and sadz elsewhere. You deserve so much better!!

  • If the spouse engaged in a 2.5 year friendship/relationship with an old friend and HID it from his spouse, it’s called cheating. Emotional cheating, and most likely physical cheating. And that is abusive and a betrayal to the chump spouse. Lori Gottleib needs to get her head out of her ass and find another profession. And preferably one that involves no human interaction. She sounds like a professional gaslighter, not a professional therapist. This make me furious and my heart goes out to this wife who definitely needs to end the marriage.

  • “he doesn’t trust you with his truth”…. as an excuse for cheating?

    Of all the bullshit I’ve read here at Chump Lady, this takes the cake (pun intended).

    This Lori creature needs to lose her license.

  • “That’s because love, at least the kind that pushes us to grow, is incredibly durable.”

    Like priapism???

  • This woman’s a Grade A word salad narcissist who’s agenda is self promotion. Is it really that difficult to just say to someone “Cheating is a betrayal, and betrayal is wrong. Betrayal in marriage is abuse. So, is being abused acceptable to you?”

    On another note–here’s another cautionary tale for those who think a couple can successfully get through the betrayal of cheating and be “stronger.” 25 years later and this couple’s “durable love” is in the same place it was earlier. This is called a dysfunctional pattern or cycle. This is not the path toward happiness.

  • #thatswhatithought #lunchsausage #mixedthoughtsoflunchmeatnow #subwayanyone #damnitjim #newcodeword #bwahaha

    • 😂 How did you know snarky Star Trek hashtags are my one twu wuv?

      #timidforestcreatureklingons
      #warpedspeedschmoopie
      #primedickrective

  • Therapists can do a lot of damage. I was told I was too negative about marriage (after a 3 year betrayal). The wrong therapist just adds insult to injury. They won’t get any repeat business if they call out the cheater.

    There are so many ways that a spouse can change and grow as a person that don’t involve having secret sex and/or secret emotional ties with other people.

  • “There’s nothing like feeling loved and accepted for who you really are” Gosh it’s kind of hard to feel that way when your spouse of however many years is gaga over somebody else. I guess the feelings of being loved are for the cheaters and their APs. The betrayed spouses, not so much.

    • Unconditional love is what CHILDREN need from their parents. Any adult who thinks that’s a reasonable adult goal is … fucked up.

      Or we could look at it from another angle; there truly is nothing like feeling loved and accepted for who you really are, which means you have to really be love-able and act in acceptable ways, in order to get that amazing feeling.

      • but the downside to that, and chumps are too sensitive targets for this, is that you must have value in order to prove you’re worth loving, and that borders on a little inhumane.
        Cheaters leverage this all time, if only you were this, and that, and sometimes they may not be wrong. And sometimes your personal failures may not be a good reason not to be loved. They might be genuine struggles that you need help with. The problem is with the intentions/motivations behind, but motivation cannot be explored if not through actions, and so in the end, someone who tried and failed will just be seen in the same cruel way cheaters see chumps as unworthy.

        “Haha you’re mess, no love for you!” Look at me, fantasticly established and functional human being.

        That’s not right, either.

  • Best. UBT. Ever.
    Delivering salami. Defrosted ham Alan Dershowitz. It doesn’t get better than that.
    Allow me to be blunt about this; Lori is a passive aggressive cunt.

    I have a pretty awful therapist story. Adolph, my estranged wandering dick, went to a therapist (who specializes in treating spousal abusers) about his pattern of emotionally abusive and sexually coercive behaviour, which caused me to develop long term depression and PTSD. The guy said; “Are you fucking with me? Compared to most of the guys I see, this is nothing. Don’t waste my time.”
    Unless he breaks my bones, it’s “nothing”. A broken brain doesn’t count. Suicide attempts are “nothing”.
    What an asshole.

    • I was in an abusive marriage back in the 80s, and the first therapist we went to — for couples therapy, because you know it’s always the wife’s fault somehow — asked me what I did to make him hit me. The second told me that if I hadn’t overdrawn the checking account (he did his accounting by ESP and was always writing checks and never telling me about it, so the checks I wrote for the electric bill and groceries would bounce all over town), he wouldn’t have had to hit me. The third flat out TOLD us that if he hadn’t put me in the hospital, he didn’t have a problem. The fourth spent the entire session talking about how she caught her husband cheating on her. (Although she did prove to be useful in helping me get on the military base where we were living without ID so I could get into my house and get my things and my car after I left the asshole with nothing but the clothes on my back and my dog for trying to kill me). The fifth told me, “He doesn’t respect women,” and suggested a male therapist. The male therapist suggested that I didn’t have a problem anymore since I had filed for divorce.

      I’m not sure if he ever actually cheated on me or not, but since he often threatened to “Go out and NAIL something,” I suspect he did.

      • TEMSP,
        I am SO sorry that you had such horrible therapists! It’s a wonder you’re alive! Thank all that’s good that you escaped!
        I understand they have advocates available now for military spouses who experience abuse (I guess they’ve acknowledged how common that is in the culture there). Just hope they are effective.

  • It sounds as if the two of you have that kind of durable love. Now all you have to do is nurture it by making room for Schmoopie.

  • Gottlieb gave birth to her son at a story-telling event. Point being, I’ll bet she’s adept at spinning a yarn, which lends itself to her “counseling” of folks. And in light of her latest advice, I’d put money on her being a current/former cheater.

    • See my link posted above. She lies (oops), “tells stories” about people she has harmed for a living.

  • Hmmm. Is Lori. Oh. The other women?? Or just a good old narc? Maybe even both? What a shocker!!

    Lori’s boss better rip her off the advice column for her town! What a shitty therapist too.

    Linda from one chump to another lawyer up and leave the dick. In about a year u will feel so much better.

    Hugs Linda

  • When I read columns like this I just assume the person writing the advice is a cheater themselves. Who else would have such insight into what the cheater was thinking while at the same time showing zero regard for the Chump.

    • Perhaps she is herself being coerced into an open relationship? Or maybe she tries to convince her spouse that her screwing around is ‘normal’? Something is very wrong with this picture.

  • I’ve got one of these mindf*cking therapists down the street from me. And she teaches human sexuality at one of the local “universities”. Googled her and her husband when they moved in and listened to a podcast interview where she uses Perelesque wordspeak “And then the affair happened”. Y’all get the picture. I completely ignore her when I see her.

    Went on a few dates with an acquaintance. He quoted the opening passage to Nabokov’s “Lolita” and takes pictures of young teenage girls which he posts on social media. Nabokov researched father/daughter incest for his book;several of them rejected his manuscript. I didn’t respond to his last email and have never crossed paths with him since. Thank you Universe for taking this pig out of my social sphere. I bet he doesn’t see any problem with what Epstein did.

  • I love this! Here’s an article about a Gottlieb book, one which shows her total hypocrisy given the advice she dispenses to others about looking at yourself when you’re cheated on. Unsurprisingly, Gottlieb does not look at herself as being responsible for her failed relationships, but simply blames feminism. 😂 The writer correctly pegs her as a narcissist.

    https://m.huffingtonpost.ca/melissa-lafsky/why-settle-for-lori-gottl_b_466985.html

  • That’s quite a date ender. “Hey, did you know I’m a pretentious pedophile who thinks quoting Nabokov makes me an intellectual? I bet that gets you super horny, amirite?”

    • He asked me to flash him in his car. JFC. He turns seventy this year. I’m not surprised his marriage many moons ago ended after just a couple of years. Ex wife recognized who he was/is and filed for divorce. I now why he’s single ! Thank God it’s much easier to file divorce than it used to be.

  • I saw this and immediately thought of here. What a mindfuck. She trusts her husband again, he fucks her over AND the advice columnist blames her for not making enough safe space for her husband to be himself. She obviously got it wrong and was too much of a fish bowl and not enough of an aquarium.

  • Therapists like this give therapy a black eye. Just as there are shitty doctors, lawyers, janitors, crappy therapists are everywhere. Given a wide readership, their toxins are gobbled up by the disordered everywhere.
    I am SO grateful to my phenomenal therapist who brought me back around when I tried to untangle the skein. He said, “We’ve already established that the car is on fire. Why doesn’t matter. GET OUT OF THE CAR.” ♡♡♡ ya, Steve.

  • Holy crap – she also does REPRODUCTIVE COUNSELING AND THERAPY!

    Can you imagine the bullshit she dishes out? In addition to blasting chumps for being “too close” and “too distant” she probably justifies cheating on pregnant wives. Clearly it pays to justify shitty behavior to those who want to hear it in Beverly Hills.

    https://search.dca.ca.gov/results

  • Here’s another barf-worthy take on infidelity by Lori.

    https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/is-my-husband-having-an-affair.html

    “What I mean is, where’s the nonsexual infidelity in your marriage? How are you being less than truthful with him? How are you avoiding him, keeping him at arm’s length? Of course, this isn’t to blame either one of you, because nobody’s at fault here. You’re both doing your best to be in this marriage the way you know how, and you’re also both struggling. In the conventional way of thinking about an affair, there’s a villain and a victim; Person A did something hurtful to Person B. It’s an open-and-shut case. But a betrayal — and in any marriage there will inevitably be some (big, small, sexual, emotional, intentional, accidental) — is something a couple goes through together. It’s a shared experience. And I’m guessing that one betrayal you two are sharing right now is your mutual silence. You’re both hiding out and finding ways to avoid each other. Neither one of you is willing to show up, to make an actual appearance, to declare your presence to the other.”

    What a bitch.

    • She’s clearly had an affair or been an AP or both.

      There’s no way that anyone who has working moral compass (or has been chumped) would say any of this garbage. That she does it in the capacity of a “therapist” is frightening.

      • I’m betting on both. The things she wrote in that freaky book of hers about “settling” (breathtaking hubris on her part – she’s such a prize that any man should be grateful she “settled” for him) plus garbage written since.

        She defined herself as “popular” from the start and she got more pathological and even more shallow as she aged. I can’t say matured.

        Lori Gottlieb’s essays in The Atlantic seemed more on target. In 2005, Ms. Gottlieb wrote about her decision not to settle for the one she was with at age 36 but rather to plunge into motherhood by means of a sperm donor while continuing to search for her soul mate. This spring, she renounced that decision. In a provocative essay called “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” she says a man, any man, would have been better than solo motherhood (marriage is not so much a “passion-fest” as it is “a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business”).

        The depth of a stick of gum.

  • Bull fucking shit.

    I was the girlfriend of 10 years; the Cool Girl to end all Cool Girls; the girl who never questioned a friendship and laughed off other women’s advances towards him. But when the time came, he still chose to hide his emotional infidelity. He was afraid I would take it badly because HE DID BAD.

    The kicker is that I was fully willing to hear and accept his truth, but the problem is that his truth would reveal that he is a lazy escapist with a “good guy” complex and a total aversion to any and all criticism. The problem isn’t that I wouldn’t hear his truth, but that he couldn’t rely on me go along with his self-serving fiction.

  • Thanks for your line, “He was afraid I would take it badly because HE DID BAD.”

    The X hid decades worth of physical and emotional infidelity from me and our children and your description in your final paragraph sums stuff up pretty damn clearly.

    Only now am I beginning to crawl out from beneath the boulder of denial I lived with and now I know that is due to the talents he does have – being an expert manipulator so I was covered in bits of sand so small I had no clue what was happening until now.

    Thanks to CL and CN that boulder is being blown to bits. You all contribute because I need lots of reminders and to hear this stuff via different voices in order to really GET IT and for it to sink in.

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