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Dear Chump Lady, My therapist says don’t tell anyone he cheated

ninaDear Chump Lady,

Do you think chumps should tell their family and friends that the reason they are separated from their spouse is because he/she cheated?

My marriage counselor (MC)’s advice was that the reason for the separation was not anyone else’s business and said that by telling the truth (i.e. their spouse cheated) the betrayed spouse was portraying themselves as a victim. My MC’s advice was to say the separation was a mutual decision.

My spouse has moved in with the OW and is living far enough away that my family and friends have little chance of contact with him. We have no children. What’s your advice?


Dear Blinkered,

My advice is to replace your lousy marriage counselor with a good divorce attorney.

Your husband left and lives far away with the other woman. You have no kids. What exactly does your marriage counselor hope to “save” here?

Let me guess, the MC is peddling the notion that you can single-handedly save this if you don’t make any Wrong Moves, like, for example, speaking the truth about why you are separated.

Presumably telling people this separation is a “mutual decision” instead of an abandonment is supposed to preserve your dignity and keep your friends and family stuck in neutral should you reconcile. Gee, we’d hate for them to have to base their opinions of your husband on the truth. Which is “no one’s business.” The important thing to remember is Not to Portray Yourself As a Victim!

This baffles me. If you got pistol-whipped by a mugger and had a black eye are you supposed to go around and tell everyone you ran into a door by “mutual decision”? Hey, you wouldn’t want anyone to think you were a Victim of Crime.

Being a victim just means that someone did something to you against your will. You were harmed and had no choice in the matter. See the definition:

  1. a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
    synonyms: sufferer, injured party, casualty;

I don’t think your husband cheated on you with your consent, did he? You were duped, right? You’re a victim of infidelity. Stating the facts of what happened to you is not Playing the Victim — you ARE a victim. You got chumped.

Now listen, Blinkered, this infidelity shit does NOT define you. If you acted with faithfulness and integrity in your marriage, you have NOTHING to be ashamed of! So you got played. Okay, it happens. What you do with chumpdom is entirely up to you. There’s a big spectrum of reactions between emotionally vomiting all over everyone’s shoes and taking this to your grave. And hell, emotionally vomiting when you’ve been shocked and traumatized is pretty freaking normal. If a drunk driver ran over your grandmother and you collapsed in grief, would your counselor tell you to “stop playing the victim”? Fuck no. You’re grieving a loss.

You asked for my advice — so here it is — if you want to get past being a victim, start taking your power back. Divorce this asshole. He walked out. He lives with her. There is nothing here to save. If he’s living with her and throwing you lines about “needing time”? He’s eating cake at your expense. Collect all the financial information and see a legal professional immediately.

You want to stay a victim? Remain in “marriage” counseling alone. (Is that like one hand clapping in a forest or something?)

Seriously, nothing says “I can’t move on” more than trying to “save” a marriage all by yourself. You’re dancing with that corpse and ignoring the stench. And your MC is only too happy to keep taking your money and signing you up for more ballroom lessons.

Walk away from this. Like this brilliant Nina Simone quote — “You have to learn to GET UP FROM THE TABLE.” Fold your napkin, push your chair back, and leave. This guy has no love for you.

Next, tell whoever you goddamn want to what happened. You can keep it brief, you can come up with a line like “I didn’t like his girlfriend,” but you are not obliged to keep his secrets. His abandonment is NO reflection on you. And wearing the shame is acting like it IS. So fuck that. Hold your head up and file.

Rerun. This deserved to be said again. 

Ask Chump Lady

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  • …Rerun. This deserved to be said again…

    It needs to be said over and over and over. It can never be said enough times.

    Walk away. And like Tracy says … tell the truth to whomever you wish.

    • Agreed my lying ex Narc can eat shit and we have two teens caught in the middle. He lives with the other woman he’s complete “SCUM”!

      • Yes Carol they can all eat shit! We have 4 kids (20, 17, 10 & 7) caught in the middle. She even thought it would be a great idea to move Sparkle Dick & 4 of his kids in as soon as we had our temporary order in place. The same day I moved out he moved in. Hopefully your kids & my kids see what a bunch of disordered cuntbags your ex & my STBXW are soon.

        • my 12 year son knows what dad did and sees ex and howorker exactly for what they are!!!! Ex also thinks having her around all the time during his parenting time is just fine- son sees differently. They are only digging themselves a giant hole! And I told everyone- he can’t show his face at kids school or games without knowing that EVERYONE knows!!! and I don’t care!!!! Live with it!! He’s so angry about that- and I DON’T CARE!!!!!

          • Good for you! Why should we care how they feel about it? They didn’t give a fuck what we thought about them stepping outside their marriage/comitted relationship and putting us at risk, not to mention blowing the family apart, did they?! No, they sure as hell didn’t.

    • my ex wanted to keep it a secret and I let him for 4 agonizing months, and I let him because if he came back I didn’t want anyone else to know. Then he turned on me and blamed me for his abandonment – I told the truth to all of our friends in a mass e-mail, and to my family. He told his family it was “personal and none of their business”, but I made sure they all knew the truth. 30 years married, down the drain.

      Thanks for posting this again, Tracey!

  • What the hell?!!? I’ll bet Jeff B of Amazon fame wanted that nice bland announcement about his divorce because billions of dollars were riding on his wife keeping her mouth shut. Do you have billions of dollars? What have you got to lose? Here’s where honesty helps. You give other Chumps a voice.

  • Oh hell no!!! I TOLD EVERYBODY! I wasn’t going to be the “victim” of speculation that I had done something wrong. Ex wanted to tell everyone it didn’t work out… uh- no! I told him you shouldn’t have had a five year affair with your howorker if you didn’t want people knowing it! He wanted to protect her and their jobs! Their jobs didn’t stop them from hitting every hotel within a 5 mile radius of work after work for 5 years and going out to dinner where they could be seen! But me telling- oh that would be too much! You are not playing victim- you are telling the truth!

    • Me too. I told anyone who would listen how she slept with a family friend and moved out. I wasn’t letting her get away with that bullshit and still walk into our grocery store with her stupid happy grin. Everyone knows what she pulled and I could care less

      • My XW won our local election by EIGHT VOTES last year. EIGHT VOTES! I’d like to think that my refusal to “not spread around” (I’m loosely interpreting how she put it) the awful truth of her leaving me at home w/our 11 yo son to move in a half mile down the street w/her soon-to-be former boss and POS AP after 24.5 yrs of marriage had something to do w/it being such a close race.

        My two older daughters and my son wanted me to keep quiet about it too, because they felt ashamed that they were involved in this thoroughly sordid mess their mother and her POS partner created. I honored their wishes at first, then realized it was killing me to do so, not to mention making all of the XW’s and POS’s dreams come true. So I opted for quietly letting as many people as I could know my side of the story, and let the word spread. The XW was a golden local politician before she left me. I don’t think she’s so golden in our community now. At least, I hope not.

    • Agreed 200% agreed I told everybody and his mother even tried to cover I told her to “KISS IT”!

    • Raising my hand, I told everybody too. And I mean everybody. And, because we were in a covenant marriage, I had the joy of being able to list adultery as the reason for divorcing him. Him: You are F’ing up my chances of renewing my clearance putting that on there. Me: No you did that when you COMMITTED the adultery. I’m just divorcing you. I have to out why because it’s a covenant marriage. I couldn’t divorce you if you hadn’t cheated. Maybe if you hadn’t done it, you wouldn’t have to worry about losing your clearance.
      Of course, I knew it wouldn’t affect his clearance, but he didnt know that.
      Why is it always us that are the problem for just telling the truth about their actions and not them for the shady actions they do.

      • “Why is it always us that are the problem for just telling the truth about their actions and not them for the shady actions they do?”

        Answer: because narcissists use DARVO as a highly effective manipulation technique. Deflect is the “d”

        • RVO is “reverse victim offend”. Meaning: it’s not what I did that is wrong, it’s your reaction to it.

          This is emotional abuse and very damaging to the victim, which is the reason the abuser uses the technique.

      • Oh that is brilliant. Kind of wish it did mess up his clearance but once you realise you’ve been played it feels good to play a little back. Good on you!

  • Exactly. Ex told me I was “ruining his reputation” (Mr. Good guy/white knight) by telling people he was a whoremonger. Nope, you are ruining it yourself by Being a whoremonger.

    • My ex threatened to sue me for libel. Legally if it’s the truth it’s not libel. I told.

      • Oh, geez…. They’re all the same. My ex said the same thing. Told me he was worried about ‘character assassination’ and ‘slander’. By me – the one he degraded to the multiple other women, and to the first counselor we went to many years ago (because I suspected an affair). He called that counselor before our first appointment and told him that he had not had an affair, I was crazy and making shit up, and that he had a polygraph that proved his innocence. He did have a polygraph – took it secretly, after wording the questions himself so he would pass. The counselor believed him – he is that good of a liar. My response to the character assassination and slander comment was “Oh, what you’ve already done to me?”. I’ve told whomever I want, also.

        I’ve done research and talked to my therapist about it – he fits all the criteria of a narcissist and a sociopath.

  • I told anyone that asked the truth! My ex MIL bitched that our kids shouldn’t know the truth since they were already suffering, why hurt them more by knowing what their father did. Fuck that and fuck you, he’s a liar and fucking criminals. The kids are young adults I think they can handle the truth since fuckwad abandoned them/us.
    20 months later he chooses no contact with his kids, his choice.
    Hope that trash was worth it while you’re rotting away in your vodka.
    Kids and I couldn’t be happier with the life we’ve created.

  • CL is right on. This deserves to be rerun again. I’ve heard this before from abandoned chumps who were doing just that!
    I shouted it to from the rooftops after being cheated on after 34 years married. It has nothing to do with the faithful spouse, it’s all his selfish narcissistic character.. using “character “ loosely.

  • It is not your job to protect his reputation. I am sure he is and has bad mouthed you. Tell anyone you want. Hell post it on billboards. He cheated now let him deal with the consequences. Dump the marriage counselor. Lawyer up and don’t look back.
    My ex did not want me to tell anyone that he cheated with my cousin. He said that it is not anyone’s business. He just didn’t want his dirty secret out. What kind of man screws his wife’s cousin?? I told him it was not my job to protect his reputation. He needed to deal with the conscquences.

    • >>> What kind of man screws his wife’s cousin??
      My STBXW screwed her own cousin =:-0 and no I’m not making that up — as you said, what kind of (disordered) people are they

      >>> He needed to deal with the conscquences
      Yeah but they hate that. And taking responsibility for anything too. That’s why we chumps are so ‘useful’ for so long.

      >>> Tell anyone you want
      Absolutely, totally agree. If as my STBXW said “she doesn’t regret it” then who cares who knows what they did. Consequences, which of course they hate.

      The further and further I get from D-Day (2 years now) the more I look and think WTF was I thinking in getting involved with this disordered person. I totally sympathise with those for whom this is still new. I wasted a good year or so on pathetic wreckonciliation and for absolutely nowt. My gut reaction on D-Day was to leave and I wish I had. 2 years down the road I finally am leaving and tonight my first night in my own apartment (yay!) as STBXW is still in her long-distance mess of an affair. My advice to all newbies as always is, if you can, to leave asap and don’t look back

      • just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS!!
        and much future Happiness to you

    • I ran into this question on Quora today — people told me I was being immature, selfish, mean and vengeful to out the cheating. “It’s no one’s business,” they said. “Just say you grew apart.” Yeah, I’m sure that’s what the cheaters want you to say. But I’m not going to say we grew apart when that’s not what happened. What happened was he followed his wandering dick, and that’s what I’m going to tell people. Even his daughter, if she asks.

  • My personal favorite is “We divorced for religious reasons. He thought he was god and I didn’t.”

    • Hahaha! My favorite too now, Alison! Mine actually said it so many times: “I am your God and you should worship me.” This from a hard-core atheist. Go figure.

    • I always tell people I divorced X#1 because of a math error. At the end of our marriage, he had four children, but I only had one.

      • I’m liking all these explanations for divorce. But I like yours, Sunny, because it’s good enough for me to adapt, if you don’t mind. When asked why I divorced my XW, I’ll tell people it was because of a math error. She had two partners, but I only had one.

    • Sunny I like that “religious reasons” divorce…good one.

      My one liner as to why we divorced is b/c “I didn’t like my husband’s girlfriend.”

      Succinct, and ends the discussion with a laugh, so we can move on and enjoy our narc free lives.

    • To be honest, I don’t think I have ever had anybody actually ask me point blank “why did you get divorced”. Most people don’t want to know. The ones who care already know.

      • Too true, for me as well. But, it never hurts to have a good line about it in your back pocket.

  • And exactly what is wrong with portraying oneself as a victim when one IS a victim? Oh, these flabby-assed, mediocre MCs… what a waste of time.

    • The word ‘victim’ is officially a trigger for me. A member of my family said to me when I was in tears on the phone one day “stop being such a victim!” It cut me to the core.

      I am a victim, but I am also a survivor and now a thriver after Ex’s cheating and abuse.
      I don’t owe anyone an explanation but I am no longer Ex’s PR and Communications Manager. He cheated. I didn’t. The End. I will say whatever the hell I want as and when it suits me. It’s my truth.

      • Samsara, I’m so sorry that your family member talked to you that way. That’s incredibly insensitive. Perhaps they have their own personality disorder? I liked what you said about being a victim but also a survivor and thriver. I strongly identify w/that, as well as what you said about you will say whatever the fuck you want when you want to.

        You’re goddamned right; it IS your truth. Just like for the rest of us, it’s our truth, and we’re the only ones truly empowered to speak it. So why shouldn’t we? For a couple of fuckwit’s who asked us not to?

        NO, I DON’T THINK SO.

        Wishing you health and happiness in your post-fuckwit stage of life. May you continue to be mighty in your battles against fuckwittedness. And may we all find peace in achieving meh.

  • “You’re only as sick as your secrets.”

    Dump that mind-fucking therapist. Live—and speak—your truth.

    • Well said Nomar! I would like to add that the more you speak the truth the better you will feel.

  • I didn’t out his ass on Facebook. That’s about as quiet as it’s going to get.
    Daughter (21) still believes it when he says he didn’t cheat even though he was living with OW before divorce. Other daughter cut ties with him.
    According to him it’s all my fault.
    Oh ok, sorry asshole.

  • My marriage counselor, I came to find out, was having an affair with one of his patients while counseling us about infidelity. Sometimes perpetrators tell victims not to tell. That would be my experience anyway.

    • Ha – mine is sleeping and sneaking around with a therapist. Her instagram is filled with advice about dealing with Narcissists. Guess she hasn’t taken any of her own advice. Frauds, both of them.

      • Foolmetwice- mine too!
        AND the thereapist gave him “emergency”money ($56,000) to force/buy me out of my share of the house after I left him,
        THEN a year later after court orders, he tried to pay her back- through our business!!
        Oh the machinations, drama, court apprearances and covert messages from (loyal to me) business employees.
        5 years on, she literally saved the N’s life (he had a heart attack in Paris) and yet they still don’t live together (and never will).
        I beleive he tricked her in many many ways and she still can’t beleive he’s a fuckwit and she’s being used.
        – am I astonished? yes, quite. But at the same time, I know it’s par for this course she’s on

    • Army Colonel Asswipe was investigating 2 of his soldiers in his unit having an “inappropriate relationship” (Lieutenant and a Sergeant Major) while he himself was having an inappropriate relationship with an Army Captain.

      • This is rampant in the service. My smug second cheater was also doing a 26 year old captain under his direct command. So many are screwing around that they almost always cover for one another. Army wives should parse very carefully whether they want to pursue adultery charges (because of this and loss in pay and benefits if he is actually busted). Mine was retiring so the very threat that I would take it all the way to the adjutant general or even the press was enough to secure my settlement.

        • Jojobee –

          My first instinct was to report his sorry, cheating ass to his higher-ups. Both the 1-star and 2-star. A cooler head prevailed once I realized that my euphoric glee would be short-lived as I would then be shooting myself in the foot regarding any military retirement due to me if he was relieved of his Army career. (A long shot with an adultery charge… but it could happen). You and I are soul sisters. I raged, I screamed, I yelled, I threatened, I was 3 seconds away from being a story on Dateline…. and he caved. What followed was 6-months of a mental 4-D chess game. Timing was everything. And I used everything I knew about him to my advantage. Why play fair? He didn’t. Will be getting my 16 years due of military retirement as well as SBP if he should have a heart attack and keel over while fucking his 28-year-younger Twat Muffin. Also, kept the house (paid off) and all the contents, relieved him of 150,000 airline miles, and took the vast majority of the IRA. He also has to pay my health insurance and prescription costs for the next 2-1/2 years as well as pay and maintain a life insurance policy on himself for the next 10 years. All of these contractual agreements were written into the Divorce Decree. He left with a suitcase and a box of Q-tips. Of all that stuff, what pissed him off the most was giving me those airline miles as it affected the future trips that he and Schmoopie could take. Since quite a few of those miles were earned taking “emergency Army trips” to see her, I took extra great delight in relieving him of those.

      • Militarily Mindfucked Chump and JoJobee, my military cheater blamed me for not making COL. He retired at LTC. Now I am sure it was due to his character flaws and had nothing to do with me. Once he retired and had to spend more time at home it became more difficult for his to conceal his cheating. Either that or he just didn’t care anymore.

        I’ll never forget going to a Female captain’s quarters to realize her dog knew him. That dog was very standoffish, growled at the rest of the party, yet pranced right up to my military cheater. I said out loud, “That dog acts like he knows you.” The look on her face was hilarious. She blushed. He didn’t skip a beat and claimed he was good with dogs. He didn’t even like dogs and always resented my dog.

        And yet I stayed. I’m working on forgiving myself for staying.

        The Army is ridiculously rife with adultery. It is nearly a part of the culture. Get you a rock solid pre-nup if you marry a soldier.

        • Thirtythreeyearsachump –

          I understand the blame game that you mentioned. One of the 8 ways that I wasn’t meeting his criteria (yes, I got a written list) was that I wasn’t military-minded enough to suit him. I attended speeches, command ceremonies, pinning-on-rank ceremonies, Army family days, banquets…. but somehow as a Colonel’s wife because I possibly didn’t head up some committee to decide on the color of a cocktail napkin at an event (??), I sucked as an Army wife.

          Don’t blame yourself for not seeing the forest for the trees. And most definitely forgive yourself. You did the best you could with the information that you had at the time. Hell, 33Chump, I have a Psychology degree and I never saw any of this shit coming. <— ( I beat myself up pretty good for awhile over that).

          • Yep, Mr. Marine Corps had an affair with a married women when he was stationed in Egypt (this was before I met him). I think it was some kind of honey trap to be honest but whatever. And then he screwed his bar whore that he eventually left me for. He was good on the talk – you know, honour and acting like a man – but when he faced the possibility of going to prison for domestic violence he was talking about just upping and running back to the States before they could imprison him. So I asked him which window his “honour” just flew out of!

  • Tell everyone that he was cheating and with whom (since you know who it is) and do it now. Before he pushes the narrative that you knew, you approved, they were separated when they met, it was a mutual decision, etc.

    Let that genie out of the bottle. After all, he let the trouser snake out to play!

    Ditto for male chumps. You were chumped – used and abused. In a better world, no one would blame you for it. I suspect the more frequently men speak the truth about cheating wives and the damage they can do too, the sooner more people will get it. Maybe before we wipe out the planet.

    • … or even pushes you to tell everyone it ‘didn’t work out’ whilst he goes around gas-lighting and insinuating you caused the breakup !

      • That’s the narrative he wanted to spin with our kid. “Mommy and daddy’s feelings changed.”

        NOPE. I’m not participating in that lie.

  • My STBXW was insistent that I tell no one, so they wouldn’t think she was a whore. She had cheated on me for 10 years. I gathered my support and was honest with them and they have helped me through this traumatic time.

  • I live and work in this community and have a really strong reputation.
    McFakeboobs also live and woks here….expect people don’t like her much. So this was my response when people brought up the divorce…or seeing the 2 of them swapping spit in local bars like teenagers…..
    “I made a decision to demand respect and fidelity from my husband, and he made the decision to provide me with neither, so we are divorcing.”
    I memorized it. If shut down ever conversation and I look refined.

    • Ug…this is what happens when I don’t wear my glasses.
      “Also lives and works…..except”
      “Down every”

      • Chumpnomorewithorwithoutglasses, I like your explanation. That is a dignified response. I’m going to try memorizing/rehearsing my explanation because I’m a crier. I’d like to be able to tell without tears as he doesn’t deserve one tear. Thanks for the good idea.

        • Here’s an easy one to remember
          “He fucks around like a dog and brings home diseases.
          I don’t like that in a marriage. “

  • Your friends and family already know. Or at least guessing. As my lawyer said “Most marriages end because there’s a Barbie or a Bruce in the picture.” Your not portraying yourself as a victim. So what. You’re portraying yourself as a martyr or a fool and that’s worse. Your therapist is a fraud and wrong.

    What CL said. Use that line “I didn’t like his girlfriend” and move on. You’ve got nothing to work with here.

    • Anon, I realized that some of his friends and family did know. They betrayed me too. I was a member of that family for thirty-three years but I wasn’t deserving of a heads up, a warning, a “Hey Girl, I saw him with a skank.” His friends are all cheaters. I truly have nothing to work with there.

  • I have had such a hard time telling my extended family about the divorce.Sometimes I cry and that makes it hard to talk. I haven’t disclosed many details. I haven’t had too. Everyone who knows him hasn’t been surprised at all that I left him.

    When I told my oldest son he said “I’m sorry Mom. I thought it would come to this.” When I told my youngest son he said “You are doing the right thing, what took you so long?” When I told my Mother she said “Good.” My BFF said “I don’t know what else you could do. You can’t be married by yourself.” My other BFF said “You’ve already lived through the worst, I promise you it will get better now.”

    I moved out and filed. Things are getting better. I refuse to tolerate his abuse anymore. He has no power over me. I do not care about that filthy disordered liar. He lost his power over me. He does not love me.

    I’m learning to love myself.

    • Thirtythreeyearsachump, your mightiness shines through this. Proud of you, fellow chump ❤❤❤

      • Artistformerlyknownaschump, thank you. I appreciate the encouragement. His betrayal has damn near killed me but I’m still here.

    • I’m glad you’re learning to love yourself, because that means you’re going to catch up to where the rest of us already are. We love you. ❤️ Big hugs from all of us at Chump Nation xoxoxo

      • Sunny, thank you. It is good to know that I’m not alone. These are lonely days. My beloved dog was put on hospice care just yesterday. So to be loved and supported by Chump Nation helps immeasurably. Between Chump lady CN and a kick-ass therapist I’m going to get through this.

    • I didn’t tell anyone for the agonizing year we — or I — tried to reconcile, and it was incredibly painful to be covering for him AND dealing with my own pain. It is very freeing and empowering to be able to tell whoever I want — or not. I’m not playing the victim, I’m speaking the truth. The fault was in the doing, not the telling. (My stbx ended up telling our kids (older teenagers) about his other woman a few months after he decided he wanted a divorce — but when I recently used the word “affair” they told me that “no one” had used that word with them — or cheating or infidelity. Whose truth is that? Not mine. I want them to know that an affair planned over many months is not “a mistake.” Bonus: telling my ex that I was going to tell them that freaked him out big time. I can’t wait to use that “I didn’t like his gf” line.

    • Thanks Mandie,

      The story from across the pond is rife with narc behavior. Mr. Hollywood (!) was nicknamed Cake Cake by his much younger girlfriend who knocked boots with a married man and then cries foul when he bullies her (via his solicitors) to sign a NDA. Too rich !

  • This notion is almost instinctive if you chase the unicorn of reconciliation. Ask me how I know.

    Whether it’s because we’re ashamed or we don’t want people to think less of the cheater while we are busy clapping one hand in the forest a lot of chumps stay silent.

    The respectable thing to do (as s counselor) is to tell the chump this isn’t their shame and actions have consequences. That it is okay to speak their truth.

    This counselor is not responsible or respectable. This is a re-run but new chumps should hear this message!

    • Me too. Just like you said, I was chasing the unicorn of reconciliation and didn’t want anyone to think less of my “wonderful” husband since we were definitely going to make it through the “rough patch”. Ugh.I spent two, almost three, years chasing that damn unicorn. Once I was able to look the truth squarely in the eyes myself and admit that I was a victim of infidelity as well as decades emotional and sexual abuse, I was ready to tell that truth to everyone. For me, sharing that truth was a necessary step in moving from victim to survivor.

    • This counselor wants the therapy $$$ from Blinkered’s cognitive dissonance that will surely arise when she starts telling lies about herself. After they work through that, they can start on her family of origin issues. And then the things about her that forced her husband to cheat. I see years of therapy here and so does that unethical therapist. Ca-Ching!

    • I was reluctant to tell because I was still smoking the hopium and I didn’t want people to think less of me for sticking with him if they knew he cheated. Never the less, I did tell my dad within a week of DDay when he was in town and I was a mess and really needed some support from someone who loved me. I begged him not to tell my mom but he did. Then ex was upset because now his inlaws would think less of him. I would say that’s why he chose Schmoopie in the end but part of the reason I was upset enough to tell my dad was that it seemed pretty clear he was likely to choose Schmoopie anyway so I really didn’t have much to lose.

  • 3 Things I Used to Keep a Secret, Now Talk About More Openly:

    – I had 3 miscarriages, before having my (one and only) healthy pregnancy & baby
    – I have and manage depression
    – My ex-husband cheated… A LOT… and yes that is why we got divorced

    What the lousy MC really means is “your pain and unhappiness makes other people uncomfortable”….

    • ^^^^^^

      Before I left it, several members of my small religious “community” started telling me that “enough time has passed, you need to get over it and stop your objections to OtherWhore coming to services – you’re making everyone uncomfortable” (Fuckwit had stopped long before that).

      Like there is a time limit on how long you’re allowed to hurt.

      • People who say get over it and move on just don’t get it. That’s why this blog is great – it’s a community of people who get it. Of course there is no time limit? It amazing me when righteous are self-righteous.

      • I’m glad you left, ChChChump. Time limit aside, the fact that they complained about being “made uncomfortable” because they saw your response is a red flag to me.

  • One of my favorite responses ever!
    Can’t remember the exact convo, but I remember saying once “I hate to sound like a victim, but I am one.” At that moment I decided I’m calling it what the fuck it is – he victimized me, I spent years covering for his shitty, abusive behavior and I’m over it.
    Enough with the victim blaming and shaming!

  • Even the first time Ex cheated, when he said he wasn’t leaving (because nothing says loyalty like not leaving the spouse you’ve been lying to!), I told the people closest to me. I NEEDED THAT SUPPORT. Ex, of course, tried to get me to not ‘ruin his reputation’; I pointed out that if what he’d done was not that big a deal (which he kept saying) and so normal in long relationships (which he kept saying), then it wouldn’t ruin anything, right? I was already trying to keep a sane face on for my kids and at work (the 15 lb sudden weight loss did call attention, though). I needed some people who knew what I was going through, so they could help me and be there for me. Which they totally were. I have way better taste in friends than in men …

    (Of course, Ex was then clueless as to why a couple of people weren’t being as warm to him …)

    The 2nd time? I TOLD EVERYONE. All my friends, all our ‘couple’ friends, (he had 1 friend of his own; I didn’t tell him because HIS stories of his cheating exploits, followed by remarriage to his Chump 10 years later, had encouraged Ex). Both our families. People at work. Our dentist, our hairdresser, the cashiers at the grocery store we’d been going to for years, the other parents in the kid pick up wait at school, EVERYBODY. (Funny how he never went back to that dentist or hairdresser ….)

    It’s the TRUTH. And it’s a super important thing happening in your life. And it’s so very dishonest and unfair. People around you need to know, and you need them to know.

    The one regret was that I didn’t tell our kids sooner. They were 11 and 12 when I kicked his cheating ass out, I hadn’t found CL yet, and the kids just assumed that I’d finally gotten too fed up with his OTHER forms of being a bad husband and father. When they figured it out, about a year later, they were super upset that I’d been lying to them by omission, and letting them try to have a relationship with their father, assuming he was one type of person, when he was actually quite different than that.

    Tell the world. And the more Chumps who do, the less all the crap people think about cheating will be believed. Hah, I just thought of that. YES, abuses need to be denounced, and people need to know that this is unacceptable.

  • Speak truth and truth finds you.

    Lies, even those of omission, burden us. They prevent full self-awareness, make us struggle to keep our stories straight, makes us prone to telling more lies, and prevent connection with other people. There is evidence that people who tell lies become more habitual at hiding the truth, and it becomes more automatic.

    Losing the lies is liberating. I started by telling my infidelity story (briefly) to anyone whenever it was relevant to a conversation. In so doing, people then opened up to me–the woman processing my registration at the DMV, an Uber driver in Washington, D.C., friends whose parents had divorced because of infidelity.

    But speaking the truth goes beyond simply telling our relationship stories. Once I embraced honesty wholeheartedly, it became easier to tell people how much they meant to me. It also became easier to confront people who were behaving badly. As a result, my inner circle became filled with people of higher integrity–friends who also were open about what I meant to them, and willing to issue 2x4s when needed.

    All of us chumps have lived a life of lies (someone else’s lies, to be sure) for 5, 10, or in my case, 24 years with Hannibal Lecher. We should not perpetuate the experience. Reject lies, and life becomes filled with truth.

    • This is one of my favorite comments from you ever, Tempest and you’ve said a lot of things I love over the years. Thank you for your wisdom. Trying to live with integrity every single day is what it’s all about.

  • I love this particular column, probably because it has such longevity after the fact. And for a lot of us, after the big ka-boom, THIS is what we’re really dealing with for years on end. The slow cycle of realizations about what you thought your life was and what it really was, and filling people in over time.

    Remember that you cannot control what other people (especially the cheater) are going to say. But you can control what you say, and how you handle a tough situation outwardly. Also remember that having a tendency to stay silent is probably one of the factors that made you a primo chump in the first place.

    What worked well for me is this:
    — At home, mostly before and after my toddler was awake, I felt however I needed to feel. Heartbroken, stupid, angry, the whole range of emotions for the betrayed. I journaled. I listened to sad music. I ranted to my best friends on the phone. Etc.
    — Out and about, any time the question would come up (“Hey where’s [ex’s name]?” when entering a cookout or whatever) I would simply state the facts: “He was having a relationship with someone at work, I gave him the choice to end that or leave our house, and he left our house. I’m doing fine though! Really.” And then if they asked for more details I would give them, because as others have pointed out, I was no longer his PR manager! But most of the time that explanation sufficed, and I just left it at that. You don’t really need to go into extra bad-mouthing because frankly, it’s easy enough for them to judge on their own. If they immediately don’t believe you or question your decision, that tells you exactly how much you should be associating with that person. Haha.

    ^ This also works as your children start to ask questions, provided they were young enough to not plainly see all the details for themselves in the first place. My daughter asks things now and then and I give her and age-appropriate response. “Well, when we got married we agreed not to have any more girlfriends or boyfriends. But he started spending our family’s time and resources in another girlfriend anyway, so that’s why I asked him to stop or leave” etc.

    I agree with @No Shit Cupcakes above that it’s prudent to make sure you’re giving people the straight truth before the cheater gets out there pushing their false narrative. That’s something I didn’t do very well, because, well….I’m not super into pushing a lot of propaganda. But it sucked that from day one, he was out and about actively seeking out people to tell his false narrative to, and then those people were already in his pocket by the time I pulled myself out of my wallowing and had any conversations with people whatsoever. But again, if any “friends” were so easily swayed by merely hearing his lies first, and none of them thought to even ask me what happened, they were never my friends to begin with.

  • I yelled it from the rooftops! The Dickhead wanted to end it with “the marriage failed.” I’m sure that’s exactly what he’s told everyone. I say “he’s not a good person”, “he cheated”, “he’s a narcissistic SOB who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants”, or “he turned out to be a bad person”, depending on the person being told.

    The marriage didn’t fail – he failed.

  • I told the truth and my family told me to stop airing my dirty laundry. And I was asked why I would want people to know that he cheated, don’t I have any shame?

    I believe in telling the truth. I didn’t do anything wrong, so I don’t have anything to be ashamed about.

    • I was told the same thing by an erstwhile friend and my ex mother-in-law about “your (plural) dirty laundry”, and said, “I wasn’t the one who soiled the laundry and I want it out of my house. If you have a problem with how it smells, talk to the person who did soil it.”

  • My ex was didn’t care who knew about him with OW because he thought everyone would understand that he needed to make himself happy and I that was such a crap partner and mother.

    • My answer to the ‘he needed to be happy’ thing is that I and our three kids need to be happy too. Why would his happiness trump all of ours? Usually blows that argument out of the water.

    • So what the hell was he? Liars and cheaters are the crappiest partners of all. No one is happy with them.

    • Yeah, I have come to a place where whenever a person talks smack about their relationship in a “my partner just doesn’t make me happy/fulfill my needs” kind of way, I am immediately suspicious and wary. It is ok to feel dissatisfied in a relationship and to want to work on it, but if all a person wants to do is sit and whine and triangulate and bad mouth, then I figure what they are telling me is that they are searching for cake and cake enablers.

      • Yep, I started a forum on this topic….can we be friends with cheaters? I am having difficulty with a friend who left her husband years ago because she was ‘in love’ with someone else and DIDN’T cheat technically, in that she never had sex with him. She is having a hard time, 10 years later, with my sentiments-not about cheating but about “falling out of love” or “falling in love” while married to someone else. She needs to believe it can happen and that it is something we have to accept. Fireworks and butterflies are for the young and those that expect them to remain around forever are immature. And falling in love took a lot of work for me. It was hard to find someone back in my 20s. And a lot of people feel that way. I was more likely to go on dates and be disappointed, and go months without meeting anyone even remotely date-able than to find myself unexpectedly falling for someone when trying not to. You have to be neglecting your spouse to fall in love with someone else. And so I, too, am put off whenever I hear this from someone.

        • Yes, and even if you DO find yourself feeling that way, the appropriate first step is to change the relationship, not to explore it.


      • Amiisfree, I have a feeling you just perfectly described my FW XW. She was running around telling a lot of people in both our families pre-affair that she wasn’t happy w/me. Not telling them that she was planning on leaving me, and definitely not telling anyone that she was having an affair w/her boss (she claims if her married, rich, sparkle dick turd of a boss AP hadn’t spoken of his twu wuv for her, she would have just left me. Whatever, bitch).

        My brother pointed out to her that while she expressed unhappiness w/me in modest terms to him and my SIL, she never said it was bad enough that she felt the need to leave me or to have an affair w/someone. I was in the middle of the greatest depression I had dealt w/in my life, so no, I wasn’t Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky.

        But I loved her, told her that on a daily basis, tried to show it to her whenever I could muster the energy (I was unknowingly battling the onset of diabetes as well), and tried to help take care of and entertain the kids as much as possible.

        The depression came about because I realized that I was going to have a nervous breakdown if I continued in my high paying job. After 20+ yrs of doing it, I had realized it wasn’t a good fit for me, and I had to get out. Then I struggled to find another job that would allow me to contribute to the family, but that would also allow me to heal. I did that, but it was much lower paying than my previous jobs in my profession.

        So when I started to go back to school to try and better my job status (at the XW’s request), she started the affair. Right after I confronted her on D-day, she started telling people that I was claiming she was acting this way because of her perimenopause. This was because in my grief I called a couple I thought were mutual friends (silly me, they were her’s alone), and in my crying and rambling to their answering machine, I had mentioned this as a possibility, as I had no idea at the time what the fuck was going on that made her do this to me, our marriage and our family.

        She started repeating to me (and I can only assume others) that she knew I was telling everyone that this was why she had left me. Obviously the “friends” had told her I mentioned this, and she took it up as an easy way to discredit me.

        So, yes, she’s a cake eater and a POS, for twisting things I said in extreme grief and uncertainty about the end of our marriage and using it to enhance her standing w/her cake enabler friends while putting me down for saying it at the same time. Even though that was the only time I ever voiced that thought.

        To paraphrase from a Richard Russo novel that the XW and I both enjoy, “Fuck her eternally!”

        Amiisfree, may we both find our way to meh soon. Thanks for being mighty and speaking a truth. I wish you all the best in your future.

  • I had not read this one before, and I love that quote! It can be applied in so many situations! (e.g. GET UP FROM THE TABLE WHEN respect, kindness, compassion, attention, etc. are no longer being served.) I also like it because visualizations really help me stay centered on my intended actions and keep me from being reactive.

  • I want to speak my truth without dragging up the full nitty-gritty every time someone asks, so I just say, “We’re divorcing because he broke my trust in ways that could not be repaired.”

    It covers so much more than just the infidelity, like the gaslighting, lying, being a disinterested and disconnected father to the children we both planned together, the years of pushing me to be smaller and less of myself, etc. It’s never just the cheating; there’s always a constellation of mindfuckery that puts the stake in the heart of the marriage.

    • Yes. It’s the deliberate lies, the broken promises, the manipulation and the deception that made it impossible for me to live with him. A Switzerland friend said “But he never lied to you” – he did, but even without the direct lie to my face, his actions were dishonest and I’m very happy to be out of that web.

      • This is why I no longer say “oh he had an affair.” Most people see “an affair” as a one time nebulous things that I should have just gotten over by now. But when I succinctly state, “oh he lied and cheated for years” they get it. Behaviors are much more concrete and relatable.

    • This reply would work for me – a victim of infidelity due mostly to cybersex. That’s the fact but it doesn’t describe the omission of truth in almost every situation, the neglect of our family, the narcissist-like behavior, the manipulation, deceit, and the intent to deceive- the list goes on and on. I don’t know what else I MAY be a victim of due to his inability to be honest with anyone. . .

  • I would also add that you need to tell the truth to your kids. You will drive them crazy and make them think that they’re responsible if you don’t tell them what happened. With the support of the kids’ counselor, I answered all of their questions honestly in an age-appropriate way. Not only did they need to know what sort of disordered man they were dealing with because he still insists upon treating my kids as second-class citizens and defending the disordered OW, but I also wanted them to know that cheating is wrong.

    I don’t want them thinking that cheating is something that can’t be talked about, is the fault of the chump, that the chump should feel ashamed, or that cheating is something they should put up with in their own relationships some day. I wanted them to see that I dumped their dad and that I want nothing to do with either him or the Owife because they are not good people, and my kids don’t have to put up with toxic people in their lives (at least when they become adults… they have to slog through visitation for now).

    As far as I’m concerned, if I had kept my ex’s cheating a secret, I would have been managing his image for him and contributing to the “free pass” attitude that we frequently seem to have about cheating in our society. Also, the more we share our stories, the more that we encourage those who feel trapped and powerless with a cheater to realize that they’re not alone and that they can make moves to get away from their cheaters and live better lives.

    • One thing I noticed is that I was doing a lot of things that made me look “crazy” for no explanation. Once people are aware that you are reacting to adultery, the things you do make sense. I have gotten to the point I can usually tell who has been cheated on by the way they act.

      • Great point! When you are triggered and act wierdly around apparently random things (navy blue cars, horses, fiddle music, vegan food in my example) of course people will think you’re crazy.

  • I told the truth to anyone who asked. I was also astonished by the number of people — including good friends — who made it clear they didn’t want to know. They preferred to go on thinking of Cheater as a “great guy.” I am no longer friends with most of those people.

    • That seems to be very common, which is depressing. My own mother pulled that crap on me. I no longer speak to her.

      • My mom tried to do that. I have to live with my parents now though, because I have nothing (me and exhole never did) and through the months of SEEING his behavior towards the grandchildren. She kinda gets it. But I don’t talk to her about it, my pain is not even a point for my parents, and I can see patterns now that set me up for being narc bait. I’ve established lots of boundaries when it comes to my family now. I still love them, they help me a ton, but I’ll leave my emotions for people who care now. Thank God for a best friend and a few close females I can message now and then.

  • This is wonderful! Tracy, I love you! I love how you tell the truth! You are a treat to read And I do – every day. You remind me of who my cheater really is. I need that. You are a savior. Never quit what you are doing for us chumps! Thank you a thousand times!!!

  • I overshared with a couple of people early on, but I eventually distilled down my answer to the “Why did you divorce x” question with “X decided monogamy wasn’t his thing” or “X wanted to be a swinger and I wasn’t interested”. People nod knowingly, and I tend to then change the subject. I’m not going to lie to people, but I’m also done giving that jerk real estate space in my brain.

  • Dear therapist:
    Fuck right off.
    Protecting the abuser.
    Get hip.
    You suck.
    You’re fired.

    Used to be a Chump

  • The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good (wo)men to do nothing.
    Edmund Burke

    I love how they say “it’s no big deal, everyone does it” BUT “don’t you DARE breath a word of this to anyone”.

    They know what they are doing is wrong and a sign of their immorality and shitty character but they desperately don’t want people to know who they really are because all of the cake would end.

  • It used to be that people never spoke of a cancer diagnosis. It used to be that families didn’t talk about kids who were adopted. It used to be that police arrested the prostitutes, not the johns. It used to be that women didn’t talk about sexual harassment or rape. Someday people will say, “it used to be that spouses didn’t talk about their partner’s infidelity and broken vows/trust”.

    Truth. Always. Wins.

  • For a while I used the line “His girlfriend didnt like that he got his wife pregnant, so he walked out on us.” But now I just just call it out straight. He is a cheating asshole. I find that the lighter I make my response, the more people tend to argue with my decision not to reconcile. Fuck all of that. As soon as the howorker dumped him he started to try to sniff around me again. Thank God he doesn’t have my new address!

  • These days, after many years post-divorce, I usually just say “he lied about wanting monogamy and just about everything else.” Sometimes I even just say “he’s a serial cheater”. Most people just nod and look knowing, like “well, obviously, makes sense you’re divorced”.

    Once a person violates the relationship bond, it is hard for me to see anything other than a monster. I don’t think there’s really any going back, because it’s the kind of thing you can never un-see. So, if what’s ahead of you (including the memory of the betrayal always being with you) with that person isn’t something you want, then all you can do is go forward without that person.

  • I hate that 1950’s bullshit! SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS!
    I did! This “stay classy” “keep quiet” shit is a trap! It has nothing to do with class but is designed to protect cheaters and the age old system of infidelity. If we don’t talk to each other about how we were victimized, then we are isolated and have less power and support. Part of flipping the infidelity script is shining a light on the truth. We need everyone who is victimized to speak up. Why suffer in silence, you did nothing wrong. They deserve the embarrassment. Speak your truth!

    • Totally. It’s just like how other forms of spousal abuse are not supposed to be talked about and are supposed to be the victim’s shame to wear. Fuck that!

  • A therapist tells somebody who has been victimized that telling the truth means playing the victim? Whaaaat?
    This reminds me of my cheater claiming I was playing the victim. My daughter shot back; “She’s not playing. She IS the victim, you asshole!” That shut him right up.

    This therapist SUCKS. I hope Blinkered took CL’s advice.

  • I found that the old fashioned biblical term adultery seems to carry more power and slam home the message in a way that the term cheater doesn’t. It also shuts down all the blame shifting, maybe you could have, didn’t, etc, etc, etc.

    When asked my response is simple “He is into adultery and I’m not.”

  • Eff that. My husband cheated on me and left during my cancer treatment. He left to go have fun while I, the cancer patient, took care of our child, ran the household and made sure both his and my bills were paid. I drove myself to chemo and radiation and drove our child to school and sports and kept up on homework and conferences—I didn’t miss anything. He did not do any of that. All the while he portrayed himself as a great dad.

    I will tell anyone who listens the real story. Not because I think I am a victim but because I think people who interact with him should know his character.

    • Who are these lowlife scumbags?
      He does not deserve oxygen.
      YOU are mighty, CC!

    • My God. What a piece of shit. He should be oxygen deprived. Involuntarily. I’m so sorry you had to deal w/that CC. But what a survivor and thriver you are! Good on you. May your future be great w/out that asshole in your life.

  • My marriage counselor said the exact same thing!

    So did my personal therapist.

    His personal therapist probably said the same thing too – the therapist I sent him to who specialized in sex addictions – but we can’t really trust her judgement since she started sleeping with him and moved in with him before I had even moved out.

    I finally quit taking advice from therapists – or even talking to therapists – and got a lawyer instead.

    Now I’ve been to court for custody so many times, I feel prepared to represent myself the next time he files, so I won’t have to bother with therapists OR lawyers! 🙂

    Oh, yeah, and now everybody knows the real reason for the divorce. He feels a lot more victimized by that than I do, though. Because all our former friends and neighbors still talk to me, and they cross the street to avoid him. Wonder why!

    • UGH lisa!!! a sex therapist who sleeps with her clients!
      Perhaps its part of the required credentials…
      I just wonder what my ex-slime ball told his therapist before she started sleeping with him.
      What a pushover! And then gave him thousands and thousands of dollars to buy me out because poor sad cheater didn’t want to live by the court orders and sell the house.
      I’m pretty sure he despises her now because she will do ANYTHING for his sorry 69 year old ass, inlcuding saving his life.
      yep- a classy case of the Nurse with the Purse, literally.

      • Oh my gosh, please report these therapists to their respective licensing boards so that they have their license taken away.
        It is a direct ethical violation for therapists to get into a relationship with current or even former clients.
        I’m a marriage and family therapist and a former chump. When my clients tell me that they are being cheated on, I tell them that I consider infidelity as a form of emotional abuse at the very least and then process that info with them from there.

      • I don’t know what it is with these therapists! Had started to attend alone, but after she met him and had a private session, she turned on me completely to the extent that she started yelling and almost hit me in the face!

        According to her, the right to happiness is in the American Constitution (we’re not even in USA, and nope, that’s the Declaration of Independence) and by trying to stop him cheating I was abusing him.

        I told her that he can cheat as much as he wants, just not as my husband (whereon see above)

    • You do know that the therapist s should never get involved with their clients? They’d lose their licence for practice if they get caught.

    • Lisa

      I hate your therapists….I’m a therapist. They give the good ones a bad rap

  • Your spouse’s behavior is not your problem nor your responsibility.

  • Pretty much any time a couple divorces and goes out of their way to issue statements about how friendly and mutual the whole thing is, I immediately assume one of them cheated and that the other is being hoodwinked into playing along with their impression management. The problem is that you never know which person is the cheater and which one is the dancing chump. That is another reason not to cover for your cheater: people might assume YOU were the one who cheated and abandoned them. And they’re especially likely to assume that if you have one of these dime-a-dozen cheaters who spread false rumors about their chump before you get the chance to set the record straight.

  • This thread hit on my ultimate pet peeve about this whole situation. I have started to write essays on it but it is so complicated I can’t focus on one aspect. There are two loosely defined categories of people who chastise those of us who want to talk about infidelity. I personally link them to political views but people have argued that point with me. One is the conservative/religions type who believe it is improper to discuss personal matters, especially those involving sex. The other is the liberal/free love type, who will gladly talk about sex but doesn’t want to “judge people’s choices” when it comes to anything sexual. There’s also the group that straddles all political or religious categories that believe children, regardless of age, need to be kept in the dark about anything negative a parent may do. Obviously there are many of us who walk left, right or center, religious or atheist, and don’t link sex to religion and politics. But I have been chastised by the free love types who seem to think that porn-addicted philanderers are a protected group. A lot of marriage counselors fall into that category. I was fortunate to find a therapist who told me to write letters to everyone I wanted to tell about my ex, and then we discussed them in therapy, paring down the story to what was appropriate for each person. To my close friends, I told them everything-his porn addiction, his dating profiles on transsexual dating sites, the details of his affairs, all of the terrible things he said and did. On facebook, I would make cryptic posts every time he did something cruel and heartless post-D-day. Usually those not close to me thought I was talking about a politician. My therapist also said “This was not simply an affair. This was a double life. Don’t use the term affair.” For me, since I gave up a career for him, based on carefully weighing the facts minus the ones he kept from me, I could not face the world, my children or myself without having the deception I was subjected to known by all. Some people have the gall to accuse me of being the narcissist because I am “making it all about me”. Well my life is about me. And how it is in any way beneficial to a 15 and 17 year old to believe that the parent who is always encouraging them to strive for their career dreams would just walk away from her career for a marriage to a man that she was “drifting apart from” isn’t useful. Nor is it beneficial to teach them that marriages can fall apart on you without warning, that love is fleeting. Nor is it beneficial for them to learn that it is ok to just walk away from a commitment when it becomes a bit difficult or something new comes along. It is better to know that someone they love, their father, did something weak. That he may have many good traits (pretty eyes, scientific acumen, skiiing prowess, musical talent, a great sense of humor) and still have flaws (dishonesty, lack of empathy…). [Don’t worry, I didn’t say all of that to them]. Cheating causes massive trauma regardless of how you try to spin it-the lies are as frightening as the truth to young minds. But if the kids are old enough to have boy/girlfriends, they are old enough to know the truth (minus the X-rated details). They are NOT going to think “Oh daddy just met this nice lady he’s living with after mommy told him to leave.” They will know it was going on and it helps them understand what happened. And finally—-the CHUMP DOESN’T HAVE TO SHARE THE BLAME. If people don’t want daddy (or mommy) to “look bad”, then they should talk to the daddy (or mommy) that did bad things.

    • And I’m still wishing there was an edit button because I can’t seem to post anything that isn’t riddled with typos that I can’t see on my tiny screen while I’m typing…

    • “I was fortunate to find a therapist who told me to write letters to everyone I wanted to tell about my ex, and then we discussed them in therapy, paring down the story to what was appropriate for each person. ” what a great idea.
      I had a letter ready to post to my daughters and my therapist told me to tell them not to read it. I’d already sent it. This was a huge mistake! As the ex immediately set about claiming the narrative. He was on the phone to them before I could tell them not to read it. So they dutifully put it in the garbage!! My letter included a very “telling” email from the OW at the time.
      Other than this my therapist was actually a great and supportive therapist. Perhaps this is how they are schooled? Don’t tell while in shock?

      Anyhow- the story would have been VERY different if I had not cautiously assumed the “higher road”

    • I’ve been divorced for 5 years and just last night my ex told me that I have to assume half of the responsibility for the relationship failing.
      Yup, he still can’t accept that the marriage failed bc he was cheating!!!!
      So tired of these narcissistic assholes making us responsible for their crappy choices. Nope and never!!

      • Mine did the same thing. His shitty behavior was not my fault. It’s still one of the things that makes me realize he is just a POS and always will be.

  • When I found out, I made the mistake of telling my XW before I told my children. I thought it would be best that she show them how to own this decision she made and start telling the truth to the kids.

    What happened couldn’t be further from what I expected. I came home to her preemptively telling the kids yet ANOTHER lie before I got home. She still had some strange control over me at that point and I didn’t want to hurt or confuse the kids further.

    I ended up telling the kids the truth later that night by myself. I didn’t editorialize, just the age appropriate facts.

    Don’t do what I did…THEY.ARE.NOT.CO-PARENTING.WITH.YOU and they are not your friend.

    • I did the same thing- and lived to regret it. The narrative became what he said it was.
      This is how he conducted himself throughout. They only ever saw what he wanted them to see.
      I commiserate with you chumped to dump

  • Two incidents come to mind. First, I didn’t tell the kids right away. Early on I tried to get him to tell the kids. He never did. Withholding that information from the kids was hard on me but I didn’t want to “betray” ex. After he moved out and Schmoopie wasn’t in my face quite so much, I started to believe that maybe things had started to cool between them and maybe he really was just not wanting to reconcile with me because he really had grown apart (not we, just him), and maybe Schmoopie really didn’t have anything to do with it. I did start to think that maybe the kids didn’t need to know about her after all as a factor in our divorce if they weren’t a couple anymore. Then I found out the hard way that they were very much still a couple when I ran across the charges for dinner, show and valentine’s flowers for Schmoopie on our joint credit card. I lost it, raged at him and daughter overheard. That’s how she found out. After that ex told the boys. I wish now I had told them earlier when ex didn’t so that they could have found out in a more controlled way instead of via Mom losing her shit. I don’t recommend that method. Just tell.

    Second, about a month after the divorce was final, I went on a boyscout camping trip with a boy scout leader who used to lead Schmoopie’s son. When we got back, ex was very concerned about whether or not I had mentioned Schmoopie’s name and that the answer to that question might impact how active he would be with the scout troop going forward. The response in my head was “life sure is simpler when you don’t go around doing things you don’t want people to find out about” but instead I just told him I hadn’t mentioned her name. This was true. I never speak her name. It’s a pretentious name and she definitely doesn’t live up to it. She is always just Schmoopie or “her” in polite company.

    • “There’s also the group that straddles all political or religious categories that believe children, regardless of age, need to be kept in the dark about anything negative a parent may do. ” Well, unfortunately my ex did not agree. He was so cunning that he “prepped” my youngest son for three years prior to Dday. It made no sense that my son had cut me off yet, not his father. Needless to say, this son has no idea what his father has done: the length of his cheating, his perjury in court, his spending marital monies on the whore, his sudden retirement (due to almost getting fired), his slander of me, his forging of documents, his compulsive gambling, his continuous lying. No, my younger son knows none of this, all because my ex made sure that he was not around to tell. Victim? I have been victimized by both my ex and my younger son. PS: My son has a four month old and my son gave him my Ex’s name for a middle name. What a wonderful person to emulate! I will never utter or write my grandson’s middle name/ or middle initial.

      • OH. Horror! I just want to say that I am SO very sorry for you NotMyFault.
        One of my daughters ignored me for two years. I didn’t know whether it would ever end. I kept in touch with my grand daughter by sending her cards and letters with a return card and stamped envelope that she could drop in the mail by herself. and we still have a great connection. My daughter waxes hot and cold depending on her circumstances.
        What has happened to you is terrible terrible terrible. I feel your pain and the horror of it all.
        I did find a kind of relief using Melanie Tonia Evans modules (they are not for everyone- but hugely helpful to me).
        Hugs to you. May your suffering ease.

        • Thank you so much. It really just feels like compounded trauma. I have NEVER met my new grandson. I have been given a few pictures (and for some reason, he is never smiling). I actually claim it’s because he is missing out on a VERY BIG part of his life, ME his grandmother!

          Just last week I sent a generous gift and a lovely note to my grandson. Needless to say, I have not received an acknowledgement.

          • NotMyFault – Good for you! Keep sending things whenever it feels right.
            And yes, it IS compounded trauma.
            I don’t know what to say except protect your heart in whatever way you can. Some kind of soothing mantra.
            and hope that Maybe “grandad” will have a short life… 🙂 if only…
            In the depths of my heavy heartedness I used to visit a friend who runs a daycare, so as I could enjoy the company of little kids. Maybe you can access something like that, too.
            lots of love to you

      • Totally feel for you. After DD I found out my ex had spent the last year trying to fill our elementary age daughters head with his lies about me and all of my family. While I cared for our bills, house, laundry, meals, cars, toddler and her; while working. While we were on vacation at Disney World while riding rides with daughter; he was telling her about AP. Once I knew about AP – I told him it was over(15 years). He sent our daughter a text saying you, me and AP can live in the house together. After I left our marital home because of threats from him ( I took our children with me when I left). This has been a Mind**** for our daughter. Since shes a pre-teen I hope she’ll figure it out; but the road ahead is long. I try to stand strong what is right and wrong and hope she will have my morals and values, because he ain’t got any. The damage and lies the people perpetrate should be a crime.

  • Of course her therapist doesn’t want her to have anyone else to discuss it with, then why would she need a therapi$t.

    There are good therapists – unfortunately this isn’t one of them!

    Anyone who wants to isolate you from your friends and family, is not someone who should be trusted, period!

  • Do you remember when Princess Diana gave an interview about Prince Charles and Camilla’s affair?
    She said, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” I remember the huge uproar over her going public with this. She was the abused spouse, but she got blamed for bringing shame on the royal family.

    My ex also told me that his cheating was between me and him and no one else had the right to know. He was livid when I told his parents, my family, my friends, our neighbors, and anybody else who knew him that he cheated on me with an adulterous whore. I told them this wasn’t the first time he cheated on me, but it was the last.

    One of the main reasons that I told so many people was to help me stand my ground when he starts hoovering, which I think has begun. I could never face my family and friends again if I took him back.

    • Diana was a public relations nightmare for the royal family business…

  • Oh my gosh I needed this today! My ex called me to the side last night at my oldest son’s school open house and right in front of my oldest son asked me what I said to our youngest son’s coaches wife about him. He then commits to tell me that he is trying to figure out why he didn’t make the team. Never mind the fact that my son had to be bumped up due to how his birthday fell and the team up only had a few slots open or the fact that over 60 kids tried out some of which that has played with them and already is in the system. He basically in so many words accused me of being the reason my son didn’t make the team because I told about his cheating and year and a half affair. Yes, I opened up cause I knew her and she acted interested because she too was cheated on by her first ex and was able to console me. Guys, to blame my conversation as the reason my son didn’t make it is an all time blow. And second, how did he even know about my convo with her? Another issue. How long will he keep being mean and blaming me for everything? Advice greatly appreciated. Oh and I couldn’t agree with ChumpLady more. Tell whoever you want but do know it might get back to you as it just did me. Sucks…

    • He will never see nor accept his culpability, never. He is not capable of it. As maddening as that is the sooner one accepts this fact, the sooner one gets to ‘Meh’ and Tuesday.

    • It’s an ego thing. It couldn’t possibly be that your son wasn’t the best player at the tryouts, or that they prioritize kids who have already made the team in the past, or are familiar with the teammates. Nope. It had to be you. Only HE cares about the kids’ happiness!

      Yeah, if he dances really fast maybe some idiot will buy it. You aren’t one of them.

      Next time you have a discussion with the coach’s wife, tell her it got back to your ex and that caused real problems. She may have had all the good intentions in the world, but if she talked about it with her husband and then he blabbed…well…you see where this is going. But only if you give a flying fuck whether or not people know he committed adultery.

      He’s an idiot and try not to let him push your buttons.

    • As long as you allow him to take you aside for chats plus 6 months after you stop contact = how long he will be mean to you.

      Advice: just stop talking to him. Email or text about your kids in a business like fashion. DO NOT RESPOND to anything that is not neutral and kid related. Ever. Zero response. As an example, in that conversation you’re describing, once he delved into non-neutral talk, you just put your hand up, look him in the eye and say “we’re done here” and grab your kid and walk away. You handle bullies by standing up to then cutting them off.

      It’s tough and takes time and strategy and effort and he will get worse before he gets better…But you can do it. I did, and it was worth it.

      • Thanks to all of you guys. So needed your words of wisdom. After the third DD in January 2018, I made him leave. He went straight to her. The affair was going on for over a year at the time. I give him two chance to stop seeing her. Fake wreckoncilation. Divorce final June 2018. He moved her from another town two miles up the road from me and put her son in the same school system as mine. I have been grey rock since he left and only allow text and email. He chose to call me the side in front of others and my kid because he knew I would go along with it. I thought it was school related. I also knew if I didn’t speak to him, I’d be accused of not parenting correctly even though the subject was beyond unnecessary. I follow ChumpLady and you guys advise big time but he got me on that one. Will not happen again. Ugggg….

        • He can accuse you of ‘not parenting correctly’ all he wants! He isn’t the arbiter of what good parenting looks like. Believe me, courts don’t care about this kind of ridiculous crap. Absolutely refuse to speak to him beyond a civil ‘hi’ if he’s right in front of you.

          And I hope you straightened your kid out on this idiocy. Your poor son, having to listen to that! I wouldn’t say a WORD to the woman you spoke to about this; one of the reasons we tell people is because gossip is EXCELLENT! He didn’t want to be gossiped about? He should have acted like a decent person.

          Wow, wouldn’t it be fun to go back to that convo and look quizzically at him, asking ‘You think Son didn’t get chosen for the team, not because of his skills or experience, but because you’re a cheater? Wow, that’s a weird way of looking at things …’. Unfortunately, I NEVER think of something clever to say when people are being ridiculous.

          • KarenE – “He isn’t the arbiter of what good parenting looks like.” Thank you. Helps knowing I’m not thinking irrational. Man, have I questioned my thoughts sooo much with him. And yes, I told my oldest son today that his dad should not have tried calling me out like ever much less in his presence. He’s 14 for heaven’s sake. He’s used to his dad doing narcissistic tactics sadly. I also agree with you on not saying anything to the coaches wife. It want do anything but stir the already settled pot which is what my ex wants. He’s so predictable now. Staying grey rock and not feeding kibbles. Got it!!!! Thanks so much.

    • Yeah. You do have to be careful who you tell. I confided my marital problems to another cub scout mom. I didn’t tell all of the parents, just her when we were on a hike together with nobody else around and I was feeling especially hurt that day and needed to let it out. The next day, ex said he had something to tell me. He said Schmoopie 2.0 wasn’t his first affair, that there had been a Schmoopie 1.0 before her. When I asked who it was he said “The woman you were blabbing our marital troubles to yesterday.” Doh! Of course he gave me a hard time for telling “everyone”. I was traumatized at the time, but now I take some pleasure in the possibility that Schmoopie 1.0 might not have been aware of Schmoopie 2.0.

      • Chumpinrecovery – you certainly feel my pain. I can honestly say you just trumped me. That is awful and he is brazen. He was bragging to you in a weird morbid way. How awful is he. POS!!!

  • My ex decided she was gay 6 months after our 25th anniversary and left to explore her authentic self.

    My response on why?

    “We had irreconcilable similarities. We both like women. “

    That usually ended questions.

    • Yeah, but HONEST people leave FIRST, sleep with other people AFTER. A divorce at that stage of life is always super tough; cheating and dishonesty make it a lot harder.

      • KarenE, you hit a nail on the head. An honest, caring person, even if they were no longer in love w/you, would tell you first, leave, and then go sleep w/someone else. Not sleep w/someone else, tell you (only after you confront them about their awful behavior towards you), and then leave. That’s what people of weak character do. That’s what the FW XW did.

        And yes, after almost 25 yrs of marriage (almost 30 years together romantically or as friends), finding out the person you’ve always tried to love w/your whole heart doesn’t love you anymore, and has been holding secret resentments against you for the last 10-15 years of your marriage? Yes, and please hand us a total betrayal by having a secret affair w/your boss! That betrayal and all the dishonesty for years is a little hard to swallow.

        She tells me about the laundry list of resentments she’s been holding against me at the one true MC session we had. And nobody’s a perfect spouse, but never was I unfaithful. I think I grown to love her more than I did when we first got married because I thought she was willing to be w/me at my worst time. Not to mention that any resentments I had had against her in the past now seemed to become endearments of what I thought was her great humanity.

        Her reason for the affair and leaving me? She said she had to know if she could “make the leap.” Bullshit. Making the leap is the easiest thing to do. It’s working w/your partner to try and get through your problems together that’s the hardest fucking shit. Giving a shit about your partner instead of looking for every other possible romantic relationship to solve your problems and make you happy. Showing real CHARACTER. That’s hard shit. But it makes you a better person.

        Thank God for CL and all of Chump Nation. Straightened my chump ass right out as to what happened to me and our family, and how it’s natural and right to be angry at my XW (to be clear, not violent, just angry). Meh will come, but right now I’m using the anger to motivate me to get better for myself, for my kids, and in how I relate to other people. I’m trying to find the bright side in things more than I ever did. I wish us all luck in doing that. It’s got to be easier now, right? I mean, at least we’re fairly rid of these fuckwits! One less obstacle on our way to a better life. And they were a BIG obstacle.

  • Yes, the truth. The only thing worthwhile.

    Why is the film “The ice storm” of 1997 one of the few places in which the fatal consequences of infidelity are portrayed?

  • One of my regrets in the aftermath was us both having the ‘mummy and daddy haven’t been getting along’ conversation and taking equal blame. It haunts me to that day. It breaks my heart I will never get over having to tell her that. I literally well up every time I think about it. OK so at that point I didn’t know about the cheating but only took me short while to suss it out. But o wish I had known and said you bloody tell her you are leaving. And why. Do it on your own. I did actually put her straight after he had gone in age appropriate way and said it wasn’t quite the truth but I hadn’t known. I would love to turn back the clock and he sure would have been having that conversation on his own. Sure I would be told by RIC or therapist that wasn’t right but I don’t care. I can’t even bear to think about that day it will haunt me all my life. A small part of me died seeing her face.

    • Sorry. You can tell the daughter the truth now if you think she is old enough to know. Kids do process things slowly and this will help her to know the truth.

    • ((((DuddersGetsChumped)))),
      I am so sorry for all your pain when you write of seeing your daughter’s face that day.
      Even if she never knows the whole truth of what happened, she will always know of your deep love and genuine caring for her.
      I understand your pain, even though my daughters do not know of the cheating.
      They have suffered because of some of their Dad’s character ways, but they sure know where they stand with me, their Mother, front and centre, always have, always will.
      Please be kind to yourself. You are a good Mother.

    • Dudders, hugs to you. I also regret hugely letting him talk to the kids alone, seeing my 15 year old son sitting in bed wracked by sobs broke my heart. Our kids got the ‘we just drifted apart’ story for 18 months while I was on hopium and he hoovered back in. My daughter knew, so that must have been a special kind of mindfuckery. It was only when we’d moved to our own place and I told them we were getting divorced, and oldest son said “Why?” that I managed to tell them. How I wish I’d been totally honest from the start, truth is very important to me and I hate to think of them living a lie, as it seems I was doing for years. But I have forgiven myself, as I still hoped and I couldn’t have done anything else at the time. Love x

  • “I didn’t like his girlfriend” ????????

    Oh hell yeah to this. Best line ever. I also didn’t like his lying, I didn’t like his temper, and I didn’t like his sense of entitlement to my body and every other women’s body he came across, and the odd man. I didn’t like paying for other people’s underwear. And I also didn’t like the gaslighting that came with my underwear being stolen from my house by someone who lived there and given to other women, pressed and clean so it came across as being new for them ????????‍♀️. Basically, I just didn’t like him I guess. Moving right along …..????????

  • I found the more I talked about it the easier it got. Some days I talked about it rationally other days I raked him over the coals. It just depended on the mood I was in on that day. He was the pig not me. I had no shame to bare.

  • FUCK THAT! I’m 4 weeks post DDay, my lying sack of shit husband left me using the old ‘I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore’ story which I fell for like hook line and sinker…until I found out he’d taken his side piece on holiday to Ibiza (she was dumb or shameless enough to plaster it all over social media lol). Turns out he’d been seeing her for at least 3 months before we split up. When that shit hit, I TOLD EVERYONE I could think of, including his parents. As if HELL I was going to take ANY BLAME for our marriage going to shit… (his official line was ‘we had problems) NO CHANCE MATE. We didn’t have problems, you made a problem when you shoved your dick in someone else. He’s 40 she’s 22, we were married 8 months before it started…how pathetically cliché.

  • You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    ― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

  • My spiel: “He is a cheater. He abandoned me while I was on a business trip, by e-mail, for a chick our daughter’s age. Not his first affair. Our daughters don’t even speak to him.”

    Yep. I tell everyone.

  • We are victims. Victims of emotional abuse.

    The two things that absolutely haunt me is that 1) this was supposed to be THE person in the world who would have my back, not abuse me. 2) The years stolen from my life. I’ll never get those years back or the love I might have had with someone worthy of my love and devotion.

    That doesn’t mean we don’t work out way through the shit. Just like victims of other kinds of abuse. But even when it’s in the rear view mirror, we were victims of abuse.

    As far as whether to explain why you’ve split, I was one that emotionally committed. Everyone knows. Lying is his mo, not mine. I live in the truth.

  • i told anyone who asked.

    if you don’t want people to know you’re a cheater, then don’t cheat.

  • He should have thought about it first if he didn’t want anyone talking about it. Mutual decision my ass.

    If it were mutual then it wouldn’t be cheating.

    But it wasn’t mutual.

    Therefore it would not be authentic to say that it was. It’s not being a victim, it’s telling the truth. That is what happened.

  • I’ve found that people who don’t like the word victim also issue a 24/7 positivity diktat-they can’t tolerate anything negative. No fear, sadness or God forbid anger, especially coming from a woman. Eff ’em ! Being a victim means somebody hurt you and caused harm. That takes time to heal.

    Nina Simone at the Olympia in Paris 1991. One of the best concerts I’ve had the pleasure of attending. A queen.

  • There’s a big difference between being a victim (which one has no control over) and “playing” the victim, which one uses to manipulate others into a particular reaction.

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