Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

When You’re Married and ‘Fall in Love’ with Someone Else

Dear Chump Lady,

I am a recovering chump, happily divorced and living in the State of Meh. Your blog saved me, and I still read it regularly to remind myself how far I have come.

My 17-year-old daughter (10 at the time of divorce) recently asked me about infidelity. She is aware of her father’s betrayal, and his 8-year relationship with Schmoopie during our marriage, who is still his girlfriend.

She said, “Mom, what do you do if you are married and you find yourself falling in love with someone else? What if you did marry the wrong person?”

I tried to tell her that you end one relationship before beginning another. And then she said, “But what if you’re not sure?”

I really struggled to answer this, and have been thinking about it since then.

CL – can you weigh in on this question? I want to give her good advice on relationships and she sincerely wants to do the right thing , seeing first-hand how hard betrayal is.

I haven’t seen this topic addressed in your column, so I thought I’d send you this request.


Chump with Daughter asking questions

Dear Chump Mom,

Tell your daughter to quit untangling the Schmoopie skein. “Cheating is wrong.”

That’s your answer.

“Cheating is wrong.”

Period. Full stop. Cheating is wrong if you’re married, it’s wrong if you’re stealing petty cash from company funds, it’s wrong if you’re trying to buy your way into an Ivy League.

Cheating is wrong.

Yeah, but what if you really needed some new Ugg slippers and your old slippers were disintegrating and green with foot fungus and the Uggs were on sale and petty cash was not going to miss that $75 and besides the company is run by assholes?

Cheating is wrong. Find an ethical way to meet your new slipper needs. Like, stop working for assholes and get a better paying job. Cheating is not an option.

See how that works?

Mom, what do you do if you are married and you find yourself falling in love with someone else?

Well, first off, Daughter, this question is bullshit.

It’s blameshifting disguised as a question. (“Falling in love” versus “cheating on your wife.”) It’s like asking: “What if you’re in charge of the Flint water utility and you find yourself offering alternative water resources to consumers?”

Alternative water resources is spin for “lead.” It’s not okay to let consumers unknowingly drink lead. I don’t care how prettily you ask this question, it’s never okay to let people drink lead.

By disguising the question as something noble “offering an alternative!” or “falling in love”, you’re hiding your crimes and implying that the victim misunderstands your noble intent as harm. (i.e., I wasn’t poisoning you. I.e, I wasn’t cheating on you.)

“Falling in love” while married to someone else is cheating. That means duping someone into thinking you’re invested in them (the chump and children), while screwing someone else. It’s risking another’s health, making unilateral decisions about their future, it’s extracting value and using people you purport to love. It’s sexually humiliating, and abusive.

But, but love!

People don’t “fall in love” unless they’ve made a considerable investment in the other person. That’s a series of decisions. Love does’t hit people like thunderbolts across the copier machine. (Hallmark movies notwithstanding.)

Infatuation? Sure. My, I like the cut of his trousers! Okay. Wow, she’s an attractively conversant person with a real grasp of 19th century Russian poets! Delightful. You can think all these things. You’re human and many people are attractive and interesting. You can appreciate that, and you can simultaneously keep your genitals in your pants.

Boundaries! Ethics! See also, our Guiding Principle — Cheating Is Wrong. We don’t harm the people we purport to love.

Also, 17-year-old daughter — adults don’t fall in love unless they’ve fucked. That’s what adults do — they have sex. So, the fucking happens before the “falling in love.” That’s cheating. Again, refer to “Cheating Is Wrong.”

What if you did marry the wrong person?

That happens. You have some painful, honest conversations and you get out ethically and fairly. Like, you see a lawyer and you divide the assets and time raising the kids. Because even if you Married the Wrong Person (like, say a cheater), you made a commitment to this person and you have to clean up that mess first.

Also, daughter, at any given point in marriage, you’re going to have days where you feel like you Married The Wrong Person. They’ll piss you off, hurt your feelings, not remember to change the car registration sticker. Love is not all gooey warm feelings. There is adulting. And days with baby vomit in your hair. And if you’re committed, you work it out and know that those days pass.

What you may not do during those hard days is fuck another person or steal the petty cash. Got it?

I tried to tell her that you end one relationship before beginning another. And then she said, “But what if you’re not sure?”

Your indecision does not give you a pass to abuse people. Cheating is wrong. You’re not sure? Then you have some hard decisions to make — and you have to give some things up — like security and the services of the Wrong Person you are married to.

Also, Dad can’t on the one hand argue that a Love Greater Than Us Both was so powerful as to make him forget his wife and children, but simultaneously he suffers from A Confusion of Uncertainty.

Dude’s a cake eater. He was extracting value from his family and Schmoopie both. That was the point of his “confusion.”

Chump Mom, your job is to explain basic values to your daughter. I think Dad has fallen down on the job. If you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to others.

No more skein untangling, please.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • On D Day when i called her a whore he said she is not a whore she is the woman i love .

    Nice and classy telling your wife that – Thanks a bunch !!! Sticking up for her like its the most natural thing in the world .

    He also seems to think they will NEVER EVER have an argument or crossword cause she is not like that .

    • Even though he cheated on you, your ex officially became a cuck! Not only did he throw away the principles of morality but he has become a bitch

    • Don’t call her anything. He likes the centrality, the pick me dance, your hurt.

      Think anything you want, vent it online, but around him? No contact. Because yes, he’ll defend her (and himself) — mindfuck blender.

      The writer here wasn’t calling the OW a whore, she was trying to manage the whitewashing narrative of how her marriage ended. Seems a bit of a thread jack.

      • Never seen or heard from him since that day CL so no worries about the no contact !!

        Sorry for thread Jacking just wanted to say mine said he loved her too

        • It’s okay! They don’t really “love” the AP either. To “love” someone, you need to be available and if you’re not available, I think you’re using someone for kibbles, not loving them.

          Romance novelists would probably disagree. Triangles make good narrative arcs.

          • haha-Chump lady-that’s exactly it. It seems that cheaters often need their life to be a romance novel (or porno film, right?) And I sympathize with you, karenb6702. It’s so tempting to verbally thrash the OW to the ex. I had the same reaction-the words came out of my me as if I had been possessed by someone far more foul-mouthed. I am going to go with the theory that it is a protection mechanism that pushes the cheater away so that you don’t get looped back in. If you’re too nice, they may drug you with “hopium”. When you turn into a screaming banshee, you create space. It’s not a complete thread hijack –it’s an example of the fall-out of this stupid “falling in love” narrative cheaters use.

            • This is interesting timing for me as I’ve become a repelling-agent for unhappily married middle-aged women who are becoming empty nesters at my health club lately. I tell them they need to go get counseling, wear their wedding rings and ask them if they know any single women who might want to date me and are trustworthy. As things go I’ve been thinking about the Bridges of Madison County lately – a romance novel. The kids found letters after the mom died and then learned their mother was secretly in love and had an affair with another man while the kids were away with their father at the state fair. Cute love story until you think about it in real life. I just finished CJ Hauser’s book Family of Origin and between this blog and that book I’ve decided that if kids find old love letters between their mom and another man while she was married and raising them the reality is the kids will wonder if mom really loved dad all those times she said she did and if she really loved them the way she did or if their entire childhood was fake and phony.

              • I thought the exact same thing. Bridges of Madison County was the story of a sordid affair, not a great love. Love is an action, a verb. It’s being there for other people, wanting what’s best for others even when it doesn’t benefit you, and selflessly giving of yourself when you are tired, hungry, angry, etc. It’s the same way a parent should treat a child. If you only meet your OWN needs at any given time you are only loving yourself (and honestly, I’m not sure how risking STDs, sneaking around, lying, spending money irresponsibly and a lot of the other actions that surround cheating could ever be loving of yourself – they are self-destructive!). Anyway yeah I agree that we tend to rationalize and romanticize cheating when it should be condemned! If you find yourself tempted to stray in a relationship maybe you should look at how committed you are and how you could extend yourself more in your current relationship! Or just have the decency to get out. Too bad most people seek drama also. I hate drama but I guess that’s just me!

              • The Bridges of Madison County made me want to gag even before I found out I was being cheated on.

                I couldn’t believe the kids were like “oh wow. Mom is so awesome she gave up this ‘great love’ for us.”

                Yeah…… no. How sickening. Imagine as a kid thinking “oh I won the invisible pick-me dance.” And then PROFITING off of your father’s betrayed state. Unreal. Make me puke.

            • “It seems that cheaters often need their life to be a romance novel ” – EXACTLY!!!

            • Exactly. My STBX and his father both used the exact same narrative. The unknowing family buys this shit- in this case twice. They will quickly remember all of your faults and think you must have deserved it and it must be true. My STBX now tells me we forced it-after years of love bombing, babies, and everything we’ve worked so hard for now nothingness.

            • madkatie63, I agree that it is a protective mechanism. One that I didn’t realize was at play for many years after upon much pouring over memories and actions that took place. I had the crap beat out of me for a year for bad mouthing the Ow. Now I can realize that I pushed my views of the situation being unjust for me and my children hoping for compassion to win out and sense to be restored. I thought a vow meant a vow to be held to. I definitely see now that it was probably me pushing for a result because at the time I didn’t have the strength to leave. Hindsight now for me for knowledge for anyone just entering into this hell… the best action to take is say nothing, don’t disclose your upcoming actions to leave… just get it done and be silent.

    • So reminds me of fuckwit telling one of our children that whore is the love of his life. Now there is a quick road to alienation.

      And falling in love is really a misnomer. True love is a long honest path with ups and downs, sure there may be butterflies and excitement a big fall is a big red flag for lovebombing.

      Yep, astute advice from CL again cheating is never ok and cheaters never really love, they lust, a subtle but huge difference.

      • Yep. Declaring their love for the OW tells the kids that they have just moved down in priority.

        My kids are teenagers and want nothing to do with her. That leaves their dad having to choose between OW and then. He takes them to dinner a couple times a month. He takes her to family Christmas, weddings, vacations, etc.

        I always tell the kids to pay attention to actions. His “I was not happy” is not a free pass to devalue your wife or your kids.

    • Reminds me of a letter I received from OW immediately after DD that began,”I am not a whore.” If you have to announce to the wife of the (most recent) man you are fucking that you aren’t a whore, you probably are.

      • I got that from the howorker too. She said, as much as you’d like to believe I’m a whore, I’m not.” My response was, a whore is the very definition of fucking someone else’s husband.

          • I always tell my close friends that I am not really sure whether the AP is a slut or a whore. It depends on whether she got paid. I intend to ask her if she ever comes near me.

        • My definition of a whore is: Did it cost you money to have sex with her?

          It cost mine his job and his career. He didn’t get another comparable job for the remainder of the time we were married. We had to live on withdrawals from our retirement fund. I doubt the three jobs he now has that he’s married to her equal what he made in his previous job.

          So, yes. In spite of his protestations, she IS a whore.

      • I got the “I am not a Whore” speech as well. Straight from the OWhore playbook. Despite what they think, they are all so unoriginal. Well, in my play book … if it waddles like a duck, and it quacks like a duck … yup, you got it.

      • I got the “I am not a person with loose morals!”

        My thought process is the same. If you have to tell someone you aren’t something, you probably are.

        It happened again when OW sent a 5 page email trying to “help” with communication between the 2 homes. It didn’t go well and at one point she said “Despite the past day, I really am good at communication.”
        Again, if you have to say it, you aren’t.

        • I got “I don’t want to be a home-wrecker!”
          In reality it was already wrecked by silence, but when you know he promised not to see or contact you and he comes knocking at your caravan door and you let him in, all the protests that you never turn away a friend who needs comfort will stop you being a home-wrecker.
          I still err on the side of her being a pigmy of emotional intelligence because of her age, but she once asked me if I thought she was a fucked up little girl and really I should have said yes…

      • OMG what is it with OW??! Right after D-Day I wrote OW a lengthy letter, AND sent it to her, that detailed all of the ways in which she was a deeply selfish and horrible person because she knew about the relationship and pursued cheater anyways. Those were literally my words and the kind of language I used. Selfish and horrible person. THEN she whined on social media about how I supposedly slut-shamed her and how anti-feminist _I_ am… Uhhh… I never once even SUGGESTED for a moment I care how many people she sleeps with or that I care at all whether she’s a slut. I said I thought she was a real bad person and that she participated in helping cheater perpetrate gaslighting, abuse, and non-consensual sex because I didn’t know and would not have consented. I guess the terminology of “whore” and “slut” are so ingrained in these losers’ brains that it’s the best they can do to make people feel sorry for them. As if they are the victims here!!!

        • Lol. If you fuck somebody else’s husband, you deserve to be shamed for it. She knows she did wrong and is using political correctness to try to dodge responsibility for it. If I were you I’d stop reading her social media and just leave her to hang herself. Good people will understand she is in the wrong, not you.

          • chumpedupthevolume, I completely agree!!! Luckily the me attempting to talk to all the affair partners phase is LONG over because I have left serial cheater and am happily no contact. That earlier story was me learning the pointlessness of trying to contact affair partners because they will just spin it and make themselves the victims. And use their shoddy comprehensions of feminism to do so!

            These people — the ones who know and do it anyways — are disgusting monsters. The one who cried that I “slut shamed” her isn’t even the worst of them.

            Ah memories….

            • Ugh. Multiple schmoopies? My sympathies. You are mighty indeed to have overcome all that. ????

              • Thank you! 🙂 I am sure you are as well. I counted 10 that I _know_ about but I am sure there were more…

        • I think encouraging husbands to disrespect their wives isn’t very feminist.

      • I just got a visual of Marcy Darcy from Married with Children, saying “I am not a chicken”, while looking exactly like a chicken….

    • My daughter called OW a slut and my x was incensed. He defended the slut.

      WRONG MOVE! He lost his daughter with that one – hopefully for life!!!!

      (Had know slut, one among many in his past, for about a year; daughter quarter of a century)

      At this stage in discovery I was still under the illusion he was suffering from a mental disorder or brain tumor since his behavior was so out of character. I have since learned THAT was his character and what I had known was all a ‘show’/lie)

    • Karen I read a text message between my stbx and schmoopie, that was sent during our mediation. I happened to be in a situation where I could read this haha!

      It said: “protection of you is paramount, everyone else can fuck themselves”.

      Wow just wow. Marriage to a fuckwit pays off in really fucked up dividends.

      • Fairytale, similarly I got to see a Facebook message that said something like “I am going to go on adventures with you and fuck what the world says”, including his wife of 23 years. Hmmmm.

  • It’s our number one job as parents to teach our kids right from wrong. After all how can you love effectively if you bend the rules

    • A quote that comes in handy:

      ‘Nothing another does can EVER make it right for me to do wrong, because wrong is NEVER right and NO combination of circumstances can ever make it so.’ ~Aaron Crane

  • “adults don’t fall in love unless they’ve fucked”

    that quote made my day

    • See, I’m not sure if that’s correct. I think you can fall in love with someone romantically (I add that last because English disastrously only has one word for love, while you can love different people, animals and things in very different ways) and never get to fuck them. That’s unrequited love, but still love. Change my mind, anyone?

      • A lot of people fall in love with their fantasies, in what they think a person is.

      • I do agree with you. Mine never really fessed up to much – but eventually admitted to cheating (but doesn’t like that word -lol). I believe mine did not fall in love but very much lust. He spouts to his children about his alternative lifestyle – I think he believes he’s poly now (although poly is very much against cheating). I believe many of these narcissistic cheaters really can’t love (other than themself).
        It is sad though because they use any excuse to make themselves look like a decent human being and many people want to buy into that narrative (it is easier to accept that then the alternative – there are a lot of shitty people out there that will hurt you without a second thought – even after long-term marriages that you thought were good). No one wants to think this can happen to them and let’s face it I thought it would never happen to me. Happily trudging towards the mecca of Meh!!

        • Again, it’s very simple and not difficult to explain. It’s poly when BOTH partners agree in advance that they’re in a polyamorous relationship and they BOTH agree in advance rules of engagement. When one partner decides and acts as in a polyamorous relationship without informing/ agreeing with the partner than it’s cheating. Simple.

      • @Artistformerlyknownaschump- good point!!!! One word for what one feels for a child, spouse, parent, pet, close friend, favorite song, chocolate cake, a favorite vacation spot. Perhaps that’s why the “falling in love” or “in love” vs love thing came into our language.An attempt to distinguish these. But making that distinction based on novelty is what screws everything up.

      • No, I agree with you. I seen our much loved CL say it before and its one thing I dont agree with

      • I personally think the quote is spot-on. But regardless, I think the point here is that a cheater father who tells his daughter he had an affair because he was already hopelessly in love with the other woman is LYING. The whole premise he’s set up for his daughter where he had to choose between two women he loved is a lie. He could have avoided making the choice between two women he was in a relationship with by not starting that second relationship. “But I was in love with her!” is an excuse that gets applied retroactively to an impulsive decision to bang strange.

        • If he was in love with OW (happens) he should have dissolved his first relationship and start a new one. If he loved second woman he wouldn’t have waited and cheated for 8 years, and he would have been married by now.

          I have a male friend who was in his 30s and married. His wife suddenly stopped having sex with him. He didn’t cheat but after two years of asking and pleading for reasons and marriage counselling he divorced her. He’s now happily remarried. That’s how it’s done (though two years is a long time).

          • My x stopped having sex with me. I didn’t cheat. A friend of mine’s husband stopped having sex with her and she didn’t cheat. She finally did divorce – after 20 years. Another friend had a husband that cheated and wouldn’t divorce her or leave their home. She did not cheat and remained in the marriage and home until the children went away to college.

            Moral of these few stories, I know there are many, many more of the same: Cheating is wrong and nothing can make someone else cheat. It is a decision they make themselves.
            “Trust that they suck.”

          • Persephone, I think there’s way more to the story re your friend who says his wife suddenly stopped having sex but gave no reason when asked for 2 years. Someone is lying!

            Maybe it’s your friend, who made up some or all of that. (Who just stops having sex and refuses to answer when the spouse asks why? For 2 years? That doesn’t make sense!) If you think your friend couldn’t make stuff up to make himself look good (and make his wife look bad), my stbx is exhibit A: liar extraordinaire, who fooled me for years and many other people too, with a bunch of stories that he just made up.

            Or the ex-wife was a superb gaslighter who was cheating and hiding it. She knew she couldn’t fake it with hubby because schmoopie got all of her sexual energy. I’m sure, if his story is true, he must have suspected she was getting sex elsewhere and went into marriage police mode – his ex may have been exceptionally skilled at hiding her tracks.

            I’m convinced one of them was lying, and doing it very effectively.

            • “Who just stops having sex and refuses to answer when the spouse asks why? For 2 years? That doesn’t make sense!”

              My ex stopped having sex with me and refused to answer when I asked why. For way more than 2 years.

              I begged, cried, screamed, repeatedly asked him to see a doctor, we went to 3 marriage counselors for YEARS.

              Was I naive? Was I stupid? Looking back, yes. But I truly believed there was something physically wrong; he said he was depressed and overwhelmed with his job and his life.
              We had kids and a busy life and I loved him (loved the man I thought he was).

              Please don’t judge anyone for staying with a partner who withheld sex and gaslighted and manipulated their Chump. No matter how long it was.

              • Rebecca, I’m so sorry you endured that!

                But you illustrated my point: somebody in Persephone’s friend’s situation was lying. In your situation it was your ex – and he didn’t refuse to answer, he DID give you an answer. He actually gave you more than one. He did refuse to tell you the TRUTH.

                There’s a big difference between “pleading for reasons” and being given no reason “after two years of asking,” and you asking your ex why and BEING TOLD LIES (he said he was “depressed” and “overwhelmed with his job and life” – both of which are “reasons” that he gave you, just not true ones).

                The part I don’t believe is that someone would stop having sex and then when asked why by their spouse, they just clam up and say nothing. Not even a lie. That story is very hard to believe.

                I don’t judge anyone who stays with a gaslighting, manipulating, lying partner: look at my username. I tried wreckonciliation for 4 years.

                Take care. Chumpy hugs to you!

      • My gf and I fell in love before we did anything sexually. For me, it’s because I’m very demisexual and also have a history of childhood and adult rape trauma. So I am unwilling to sleep with someone until I know I love them and I am secure in their feelings for me. It’s a sexual orientation thing and a safety thing for me.

        I get that this is not the norm though. But it happens!

        That said, I seriously doubt there’s many cheaters who don’t sleep with their affair partners until they are in love out of demisexuality and safety after rape trauma. Also, as Chump Lady said, there would have been a LOT of lead up for people to fall in love, regardless of whether that actually included sex.

        At least for me and my gf, we spent a lot of time getting to know one another and flirting and talking about very intimate things in the process of falling in love before sex. If either of us had not been single in that situation, it would have DEFINITELY been cheating before we fell in love and then later had sex. But also, neither of us would do that to another person or one another.

      • Adults are in control of their emotions. They fall in love because they choose to fall in love. Part of maturing is being aware of, and controlling one’s emotions. This fleeting “unrequited love” is not love, it’s a sign of something missing in yourself that you need to work on. Any feeling is really just a notification to you that you need to figure out what is happening in your mind, what it’s telling you it wants and what you have to work on to be fulfilled. And it’s not telling you to go fuck your receptionist.

        Children and teens “fall in love” like this because they don’t have the necessary emotional skills to figure out what they are really missing. Sadly neither do many adults which is how we all ended up here.

        We call many things “love” that are actually needs we have and the thing we say we love are ways to meet those needs in the simplest manner possible. This is true for hobbies, addictions, pets, shopping, anything people purport to love. It’s a romanticized view of complex issues and a socially acceptable view that gives people permission not to work on their issues.

        Cheaters fall in love because it’s how they deal with what ever is missing inside them. It’s a way for them to avoid looking within themselves and doing the hard work.

        • Thanks for this UC, and it rings very true. Ex wanted to be in love but a year before D-day we were in the car with me sobbing, telling him I felt that I was disappearing behind a veil and that he didn’t love me any more. His response was not to work on us, as we then agreed to do, but to find a sparkly new love object.
          This blog is proving very useful, thanks CN and CL x

      • “That’s unrequited love, but still love. Change my mind, anyone?”

        That is not love. Its limerance.

        Having said that, according to both ancient Greek philosophy and the Bible, there four main conceptual forms and distinct words for the English word ‘love’:-

        Agápe – is love for God and from God and also for the world in general. A love for humanity and for all living beings etc

        Éros – is the sexual/passion variety between lovers but does not mean they actually care about each other’s welfare. Practiced mostly by cheaters, whether with spouse or schmoopie.

        Philía – is the affection type for friends and extended family. Fellow chumps too, probably.

        Storgē – is generally the type of bond between parents and children. However, disturbingly, it can even refer to love for the twats in your family, so most chumps are probs guilty of this.
        Almost as disturbing is that it can also mean supporting Chelsea instead of Aston Villa.

      • It is one thing to develop FEELINGS for someone – of whichever form and intensity. One may even develop a crush for someone. Another thing is to ACT on it.

        If you get a crush on someone, your duty is to ponder what that means. A simple infatuation? Hormone levels come and go – tough it out. A symptom of a marriage on the rocks? Work it out, or – if not possible – end it: BEFORE you even dream of ACTING on your feelings.

        It ain’t rocket science.

        • Well said. I knew a friend who found herself attracted to another man, but she did not act on it. Instead she went to her husband and told him how she felt and wanted to work together on their relationship and figure out why it was failing (or not working for her). Ultimately her husband was not willing to work on it, but she did the right thing and could leave the relationship responsibly.

    • Amen to that. That has been my confusion with the whole romantic mythology since forever. It’s Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

    • Im not convinced of that. Ive known women to be in love for years, with men online that they have never met in person. I also have a close female friend who has secretly been in love with a male friend of hers for over 10 years. They are both single, but she is scared to tell him in case she loses the friendship. She also figures that if he felt the same he would have made a move by now so she stays silent.

      • My post was referring to the fact that I dont think you need to fuck to fall in love.

    • I fall in love first, fuck second. Always. That said, I would never, ever allow myself to fall in love with a married man and when I was married I went out of my way to ensure I didn’t fall in love with anyone else.

  • Well done Chump Lady!!!

    The bottom line is that there are no grey areas between right and wrong. Period.

    The little baby steps leading to the question of “what if you aren’t sure” are all lies and deceit.
    Lunches out with Schmoopie. Texting and conversations that should be directed at one’s spouse but are being discussed with a third wheel.
    Sex. Money Spent. Emotions given to a new shiny third person. All done under the chumps nose. Usually under the radar because – duper’s delight and cake.

    So, if we do pull at the threads of the “skien”, we will see it’s much more complicated than a simple crush from across the cafeteria.

  • It isn’t only the pain of betrayal but the abused that comes along and the gaslighting effect.
    There is no justification to be cheat on, best to talk straight that you want out the marriage. The cheater becomes a self narcissist! Best to have 0 contact and never expect an apology. Always better to tell the truth so we teach our kids to respectful to themselves 1st and others too!

  • I call bullshit on the whole “falling in love” line. Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. They make the choice to cheat, because they wanted to.

    • yep, I know my ex didnt love ho-worker. Problem was little wifey found concrete evidence of an affair and he knew he couldnt get away with it this time, so off he ran to ho. He knew I’d eventually figure out (after maybe a wreckoncilation) that I wanted no more to do with his cheating self. He went while he still had the chance to be with the stupid child he had the affair with. Only person ex loves, is himself.

    • there should be a way to mark a “thumbs up” on some of the comments! Good insight Lady Jane

  • It sounds like your ex might be telling your daughter his version of why he cheated. He could not help himself. He just fell in love and had do be with her. I cared for your Mom, but I should have never married her. I love your Mom. But, I was not in love with her. He is trying to make his cheating and lying romantic. He doesn’t want his daughter to realize that he was screwing the OW when he should have been spending time with her. Nothing tells a child that you love them like abandoning them for the OW. He is confusing her.

    Tell her that there is never any excuse or justification for cheating. As an adult if we realize that we married the wrong person. You are honest with your spouse and end the marriage. You do not replace your spouse before the marriage is over. But, as we know cheaters are never honest nor have character.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. He’s selling his daughter a bill of goods about why he cheated, and spinning her a sales story based on a false but common narrative about love: “love above all.” He wasn’t “uncertain” for 8 years! He was selfishly extracting value from his wife and family because he was an entitled, narcissistic cheater.

      To me the most succinct statement in CL’s response lines up with what you say:

      “‘Falling in love’ while married to someone else is cheating. That means duping someone into thinking you’re invested in them (the chump and children), while screwing someone else. It’s risking another’s health, making unilateral decisions about their future, it’s extracting value and using people you purport to love. It’s sexually humiliating, and abusive.”

      Ask your daughter whether she agrees that not giving your spouse the information they need to make informed decisions about their own future is unfair to the spouse. I’m betting she says it is.

    • My ex told me daughter just before the divorce was final “There is a part of me that still loves your mother but Schmoopie means the world to me”. That doesn’t just happen. He allowed it to happen and he had no right to put himself in a situation where it could happen. If he wasn’t happy in his marriage, he had a right to divorce me, but he had no right to be intimate with others in any way until he did that.

    • Exactly trying to make it sound all gooey and romantic. I reckon mine will tell the lie to his dying day that they ‘were just friends’ and only got together after we split. And that she won’t admit to the problems that we had in our relationship and need therapy or some such crap.

      The thing is you can say anything about me and it never makes it right. I just couldn’t take it any more so I lied to your mum then left and then continued to treat her like crap. Delusional R us. Well not delusional just unable to tell it as it is.

  • I get your daughter asking, what if you married the wrong person? And those situations do happen. However, that is not license to cheat. You make decisions and get a divorce if that’s the answer. But, you do not cheat, disrespect, or betray the person you promises to keep safe. You divorce with some integrity intact, staying aware of the other person’s feelings and trying to do your best in a bad situations.

  • “People don’t “fall in love” unless they’ve made a considerable investment in the other person.”

    Excellent point. It is a series of decisions down the cheating path. Such is a path best NOT taken!

    • Yes, that is one major beef with all of it. If he had stayed in his lane and been concerned with his wife and kids and not the gals at work, his cheating would not have happened. He “fooled around and fell in love” like the 70s song (except that I refuse to see the feelings that come from cheating fairy dust as “love” like someone mentioned above).

      I felt intrigued with men over the years…guys hit on me but I kept laser focus on my marriage because that is what I vowed to do.

      I have even developed a dislike for the term “In Love” (aforementioned fairy dust) as if it is something that overtakes us when we really were being devoted spouses but Bigger Than Us. No – dont buy it…love requires time and involvement.

      • “Love is a behavior not a feeling” Dr. Goerge Simon from “In Sheeps Clothing” I believe.

  • “Also, Dad can’t on the one hand argue that a Love Greater Than Us Both was so powerful as to make him forget his wife and children, but simultaneously he suffers from A Confusion of Uncertainty.”
    This part rings true to my situation upon DDay. He told me he was torn. Has a lot of thinking to do. Said he was conflicted. I now understand this to be cake eating. He stayed for one month while going back and forth between us two. Trying to “decide”. I didn’t know he was going back and forth that last month because he told me he had ended it with the OW. Turns out he did not. And I learned that when he told me how important she was and how they were star crossed Schmoopies. And when in June I found her Instagram Which documented the pick me dance all through that February. Even the valentines present she had for him. Then the “winner chicken dinner” she posted about a week before he moved out. He must have said he chose her on that day. Her pick me dance won out!!! But he never told me there was someone vying for my husband and his love. He told me he ended it. Then just went underground.

    That’s when I knew this was all lies. All this I’m so conflicted I don’t know what to do! Oh my! Who do I choose both of you love me and I love both of you! Blah blah. I’ll decide for you, I’m done with you.

    It sounds like the daughter in this post is skein untangling. Dad must be talking to her about how he loved schmoopie so it makes it ok. And it must be confusing for her to see dad with someone else after supposed to love her mom for ever and ever. Dad is showing her a bad example of love and marriage and at 17 she’s starting to have thoughts about love and marriage and her life moving forward. She wants to understand it. And be prepared for her own marriage.

    • Today’s topic brings to mind a previous Chump’s post in an earlier archive, saying that a cheater carefully chooses an OW/OM. They groom them. He/she portrays to them that it is ok to go ahead and have sex together. They put time and effort into convincing them it is the proper thing to give in to. It doesn’t matter if that same cheater has a commitment to someone else, like in a wife or a husband.
      Again, CL, you are right on with, “Adults don’t fall in love unless they’ve fucked.”
      Also, the pruning, the planning, to get into someone else’s pants, when that cheater to be’s used underwear is in the hamper at home, waiting to be laundered by wife appliance, is just wrong, WRONG, WRONG.

      The 17 year old daughter has witnessed all the pain of betrayal, and is wise to reach out to her strong, present, sane, parent.
      This young lady is wise and mature.

    • Our culture is full of narratives of how live wins all and love justifies everything, star crossed lovers etc. It’s the basis of our culture.

      In this case, it’s very simple. Nobody is “not sure” for 8 years (or is it even 15, 8y of affair + 7 y post divorce?) and continues to be “unsure” (he still hasn’t married the mistress). I think the mother would spend her time better if she explained “people who can’t commit” concept to her daughter (and it has nothing to do with love).

      • “Nobody is ‘not sure’ for 8 years…”

        Absolutely nailed it! Explain to the daughter that Dad is retroactively white-washing his actions with this “uncertainty” narrative but this one fact–that he was cheating behind his wife’s back for 8 years!–belies his claim.

      • I just remembered something my ex-BIL (sinister’s sister husband) said to me in the hospital parking lot. Dickhead had a near-fatal anaphylactic shock and they wouldn’t let me know to see…long story. Anyway, he made a comment about the Dickhead not being able to commit. We were married for almost 18 years. Which part of commitment was so fucking hard? Commitment has absolutely nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with not giving a shit about other people and not being able to truly love another human being. The OW will fare no better than me.

        • MissBailey, that is her OW reward! I comfort myself thinking my STBX will be true to form and abuse his howorker and the side chick. It is only what they deserve, they earned it.

          Chumpy Thirtythreeyearsachump worries a little bit for those gals. Then I get back in my lane. They won, they deserve all the joys of being involved with a married man.

      • I read a book where the antagonist killed a lot of people. Apparently he was motivated by a desire to create an advantage for his son who he loved more than anything. No, love doesn’t justify all.

    • Ex said to me, during wreckonciliation, “I don’t understand this cake-eating thing.” I didn’t respond at the time fortunately – I think I just said “Look it up”- as now I recognize that as an attempt to start a discussion where he would minimise/confuse the issue. Dodged a bullet.

  • My ex certainly explained himself to me in a way that left me frozen and in shock for days. He wanted to be rid of the “obligation” he had with me and told me he has multiple affaira. Even went as far to tell me that I was clueless when he came home to me and saying “I love you” after he banged a co-worker. My kids believe he is “happy” now and that is all that matters now. I’m telling you, it is hard picking up the pieces after that bomb went off. Only thing that gets me thru is knowing that I was the loyal one. I know who I am. I would never hurt someone in that way.

    • (((sweetChumpgirl))))
      I am so sorry for the way you were so disrespected. ( to say the least).
      A person with your integrity, with your loyalty, will never never understand how your ex could ever be truly happy, because he is incapable of this. If he was capable of true happiness, he would have been faithful to you.

    • I was told that I was “Nothing but an obligation” (but I continued to pick-me dance). Perhaps very oddly, I wish that I had had some of those conversations with my Cheater. Not learning that he had multiple affairs until after he was dead leaves me railing at the wind.

      Like you I find solace in my loyalty

      • This kind of language from my husband is what helped me to know I needed to divorce. In my case, my husband did not (well he says not) actually have skin to skin contact. However, he was looking at all kinds of gay stuff–porn, hookup sites, and lots of other stuff, including articles about how married men find other men for sex in rural areas. So: technically my husband did not cheat? Except he did, when you think of cheating as using the wife as an appliance, for cake, etc. because I later learned he had: known this since his first sexual yearnings, initiated contact wtih other men less than a year before he started dating me, and that he looked at gay hookup sites throughout our 28-year marriage. He was never ever going to tell me–except I found this stuff.

        In the 15 months after that, he said things like “I really am inconsistent in my feelings.” “What is love?” “what is enough?” “I think I can be happy with you now.” “I was thinking I had to come out but then I decided I did not want to give up my lifestyle.” “I married you because you were strong and independent and I figured I would not have to give you emotional connection.”

        When he said he was actually bisexual, I asked, well, I am one of the two genders, why were you looking at men? And he told me “I felt alienated from you!” “I never get what I want!” “That is like asking why I would want dessert after a meal.” Etc.

        When I told him what I had discovered, he said “not to be tit for tat, but I resent how our lives have been taken over by your health issues.” Sorry about that hysterectomy, dear! My uterus had 5 pregnancies, 4 full term, your children! And, this man hated to take me to the doctor–high fever, rash all over my body, lethargic for days, and more–“well I will take you if you really WANT to go. But you know how it will be–just sitting there and then home. A waste of time.”

        I finally realized that for him to stay in the marriage actually WAS him choosing a schmoopie, because him staying in the marriage was a total and utter discard of me. He never valued me enough to let me make informed choices about my own life, and he wanted to put me right back into that closet ASAP–the closet is his schmoopie. Either way–staying married or not–I have been chumped. For almost 30 years. He always wanted something other than me. I was the consolation prize from the start. I have learned that from about 3 weeks after starting to date me–when he was very physical and talking about marriage–he privately had already decided he could not stand me. But “how could I do better than her?” He was shopping for cake all along–I was that cake. What is an affair? It is a lot more than skin touching skin. An affair is a lack of honesty at the foundation of a marriage. If the person is turning elsewhere, even if it is in their heart, that is betrayal.

        • Oh yes! Meant to say he also said he thought of me as “an obstacle” and as “a threat.”

          • This was pretty much me too, Grumpy. We got out of that mess to a better cleaner life. ❤

    • Oh, I am so sorry. To be described as an “obligation” is so horrible. Mine essentially said that, if he couldn’t have Schmoopie, he would manage to “settle” for me. Until his next “true luv” came along, I’m sure.

      I am worth FAR more than a consolation prize. It took me a while to figure it out (I’m stubborn that way), but have learned what my boundaries are, and enforced them. Buh-bye. Thank you CL and CN for your support.

      • I got the same. He told me that he and his married whore discussed: their “love and affection” for their spouses, how good they had it at home, how they could “always just go back to their spouses”. Yeah, cause I’m the crockpot sitting at home. I was told that he felt our marriage had become too comfortable but that he will always deeply love me. He was “conflicted” too. He told me that it wasn’t originally her but BECAME her (guess this was the BJ’s and f*cking in her car). Everything CL said is true. He needed to put in the investment and chose to not put it into the “comfortable” marriage. Oh well, not so comfortable anymore is it Dickwad? Looks like divorce proceedings are starting to move forward.

    • I got the whole I am in love with the whore speech myself. He knew her way before he knew me, so I’m unclear why he was pursuing me, giving me the love bomb shit, when he just as easily been giving it to her.

      I think the I’m in love with the whore thing is just basically a declaration of how immature cheaters are. They think they look stupid if they just leave a good family and marriage, but if the leave for True Love they look like the romantic lead in a movie they imagine themselves to be.

      Riddle me this, if he was so in love with this slut, why was it virtually impossible to actually get him the fuck away from me?

  • I have friends who cheated. They had cold feet that they ignored. Within months after married knew it was a mistake but didn’t know what to do. They married too young and tried to fix things and then they cheated. They all said their husbands were good men so the idea of a divorce didn’t even show up on their radar. They hurt good people.
    Tell your daughter that if she has doubts two seconds before the marriage don’t do it. Until both of them know without a doubt they should not marry. It might spare a good person a lot of grief.

    • Sounds to me like you need new friends. “We married to young” is cheater speak, my ex keeps trying to feed this line to our daughter (to cover for his cheating). He was 22 and I was 18. We were married over 15 years (everyone thought we had the perfect life) we had minor issues nothing serious. Our marriage blew up when he got involved with a whore online then told me he wanted an “open marriage”.
      I was younger than ex and never cheated. He moved the whore in the day he threatened me out (didn’t agree to open marriage, so violence was the new operating principle). There relationship lasted 8 months after our divorce finalized. Was he too young in that relationship, almost 40.

      My Parents have been married 40 years, both of them were younger than me and ex when they married.

      Cheaters will say anything they can to excuse their behavior.

      • Ex was 20 and I was 25 when we married. 23 years later he’s saying “We were too young.” I think nowadays when more people feel its ok to cohabit, the zeitgeist has changed, but at the time and as people of faith we didn’t do that. Even if he had been too immature and had made a mistake, it shouldn’t have taken 23 years for him to be able to tell me that, which he only did after leaving me for a 25 year old. The inertia is strong with that one.

  • Cheating or “falling in love with someone else” while married is a choice. Everyone knows what behavior is inappropriate. Conversation that leads to carefully planning a rendezvous at Motel 6 is a choice People with morals and respect for themselves, their family and marriage don’t find themselves falling in love with someone else.

    • ^^^This. I valued our marriage. I took extra steps to protect that which I valued. He did not. He invited the whore into his phone and his life. Without those steps, no hookup would have occurred. Without her poisoning his ear, he would have stayed the course of just asshole instead of cheating asshole.

      It’s hard to break down the barriers in my mind still. To protect something that I don’t even have anymore is a process of breaking down long standing walls.

  • Motel 6 is where STBX took his AP. Yes, he made a choice to be selfish and entitled while using me the whole marriage.

  • I realized I married the wrong person too. Of course it took him cheating and three years of wreckconciliation before I finally came to that conclusion but hey, better late than never right? The point is that I still had to have that difficult conversation. I still had to pick up my big girl panties and tell him that despite the fact that we agreed to try to save the marriage, it wasn’t working for me and I wanted to divorce. It wasn’t easy and I was scared since we were married for 27 years at that point but there is a certain order to things.

    There are no grey areas when it comes to ending a relationship. There is a right way and a wrong way. It’s black and white; plain and simple. The only people who see the grey are cheaters. I could have been as big a coward as my ex; hedge my bets and make the choice to start another relationship before my marriage ended. That would have been just as wrong as what he did.

    • What a great response. No one likes discovering that their marriage is broken and they need to end it. People who make the internal decision that their marriage is over and choose to have an affair instead of initiating a breakup just pass the difficulty over to their spouse. Now it is the burden of the betrayed spouse to make that awkward and painful decision.

      • I knew I had married the wrong person immediately. I tried for so long but eventually asked for a divorce. He said no and fought me all the way. But I never cheated. It was him – you know the guy that “loved me” – who cheated. And oddly enough he never claimed to love the whore – she was just “fun” (read “barroom slush who could down a bottle of whiskey while your wife takes care of the kids”). Oh well, hes Schmoopie no. 2s problem now

    • Agree with you. I didn’t start dating until after I was legally divorced. I see some say “I was separated or waiting to file and so I am free to date”.

  • I’ll never understand the “reasons” others cheat, it seriously baffles me. I just don’t have that kind of malicious/selfish behavior built in me like others do. Even when I think another man is attractive, my morals go on high alert and say “stay away, you love your husband”. It literally breaks my heart to know my soon to be ex-husband would do this to me, to us, to the life we built. I’m just not wired to hurt people, especially the ones I love and would give my life for. Cheating, keeping secrets, lies, it’s all just wrong and I’ll really never understand.

  • I would make sure my daughter knew that there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ person. There’s no-one in the world you can have a perfect, problem-free relationship with. All you can hope for is that you committed to a good person, and keep boundaries in place to spot it if they are not a good person, and to end the relationship kindly if they turn out to be not a good person. Hoping for Mr or Mrs Right is handing over all the responsibilities in the relationship to some nebulous destiny thing. Sorry ran out of words ????


    A child feels love for a teddy bear, an inanimate object, because of his or her actions toward the bear.

    That’s why wedding vows say FORSAKE ALL OTHERS.

    When you water the neighbor’s garden and not your own, you are loving (verb!!) the neighbor’s garden and of course your own garden dies.

    Cheaters don’t understand this principle and I am glad I do.

    By the way, he has already cheated on her, he is still unhappy and angry, and he is still going to the massage parlors.


    And as much as I choke on saying this, he was using and abusing her too. Cheating is evidence that the cheaters and their accomplices don’t understand what love is.

    I taught my daughter, now 12, to walk away and not play if she is playing with a child who cheats.
    We had this discussion many, many times over the years when we walked to school. I never thought her dad would be an object lesson.



    That is ALL anyone ever needs to say about it, and that’s all I say about it.

    • PS…

      I spent yesterday morning washing and detailing my car, which was SO dirty from neglect in recent weeks. (I am riding out another wave of Chump depression).

      When I was done, I LOVED my car!!!

  • I say if the marriage is good unless you are in love with someone else then the marriage is good you just want to cheat. If the marriage was not good you should know that long before you find someone else so get out before you find someone.

    • I wonder if the marriage becomes “not good” because one partner is devoting his time and energy elsewhere? I think a lot of cheaters cheat for the rush, the limerance, and then retroactively blame a “not good” marriage. Well duh…..only one person was doing the heavy lifting, while the cheater put them down for the size of their muscles.

  • Is your daughter in therapy? These sound like Fuckwit comments or someone preparing to accept Fuckwit cake eating “I know he loves me; he’s just unsure”. I know we all do our best, but children learn from observing. We can not give them what we do not have ourselves so they absorb all kinds of messages when they are growing up and we are still figuring our own shit out, often focused solely on dancing for our Fuckwits.

    Leaving a marriage doesn’t magically reset all our children’s programming. This is why things like abuse and cheating are intergenerational issues in families. Chumps and Fuckwits raise Chumps and Fuckwits. How many of us say that our Fuckwits father also cheated or own Chumps mother put up with the same behavior?

    It sounds like you are really doing your best and you love give daughter very much, but it seems like she’s dealing with some very difficult emotions and trying to figure things out. Therapy may be very helpful to her in this process. Help her to break the patterns. Help her not to be accepting and understanding of her own Fuckwit’s “ambivalence” and cake eating, help her not to be a cake eater herself.

    • Thank you. Yes, my daughter is in therapy and that has helped her a lot. I’m not sure her question comes directly from her father. I’m not sure what he told her, but I suppose it was along these lines. I also suspect that she is simply 17 and thinking about relationships and falling in love, and how it all works. We have talked a lot about cheating, and she is so clear that she doesn’t ever want to do that to someone else. The “falling in love” part was what I was having trouble with, and based on the responses, I now see that this too is a conscious decision, not just a random act that “happens” to someone who is married.

    • Yup, cheating seems to be passed down in families. Wish I had realized that sooner. My FW spent his teen years watching his divorced Mom pick me dance with her new husband (she didn’t have much choice to leave at least financially). They remain married but I think it normalized that behaviour for my FW.

      I am concerned about my own 2 sons. I have stressed how important it is to be honest in relationships and how damaging this is. Their father has been a horrible role model lately. Even his sister was cheated on (and perhaps cheated herself) and recently told me “all men cheat”. Great – that’s an awesome message to put out there. Of course I countered with only cowardly pos men and women cheat – there are others who are kind, courageous, and respectful. I am not going to normalize this behaviour.

  • “… disguising the question as something noble”. Yes. Always manipulation, always manipulation.

    Way back in my days after D-Day and before divorce, sparkledick wrote to me complaining that I was “depreciating” him to mutual friends. So I delivered Tracy’s line, “If what you did is not so terrible, it’s not so terrible to tell my friends.” No reply from sparkles.

    I know this may have given the cheater some kibbles, but it felt so good.

  • Thanks CL! I love all your analogies – they are perfect and hilarious, as usual. And thanks Chump Nation for all your insightful comments. I will go back to daughter and talk to her about this with some of this new language. I think the best point made in here is that falling in love with someone is a choice and a series of acts, and those acts while you are married, constitute cheating, which is wrong. Carry on, warriors! I am grateful for all of you who have helped heal me over the years.

  • I think you have to be emotionally available to fall in love – and you can turn that off and be emotionally unavailable when you’re married. There’s a barrier you put up when you’re committed to your marriage – no falling in love unless you’re looking for it like a cheater.

    Love is a choice.

  • I agree. There are a whole lot of poor decisions that have to be made before anyone can ever even get to the point where they would be at risk of falling in love with someone else while married. You have to be open to it and already disinvested emotionally from your primary relationship. If you get to that point without already being divorced, you are either selfish, stupid, entitled or some combination thereof. My ex may well not have expected to fall in love with someone else, but he absolutely intended to cheat on me which means he had already decided that my feelings didn’t matter long before he “fell in love” with a woman who was in the right place at the right time and willing to fuck someone else’s husband and tear families apart.

  • The OW and her husband were online checking me out. (Google cloud kept informing me that “Someone in your area is researching you!”)

    Well, sure-shooting, when I told stbxh about the stalking, he confidently said; “I KNOW it is not her… because of the caliber of WOMAN she is!”

    Really. Told his wife of 30 years his stalking girlfriend was a high caliber woman.
    What pieces of shit they are.

    • He was probably upset to learn that his high-caliber woman wasn’t driven by pure infatuation for his penis, rather by jealousy toward you and the thrill of triangulation. I’m sure there are some evil genius cheaters who understand and play on that dynamic, but for the most part it seems to me that men do not understand how much competition plays into OWs’ interest in them. Mine looked so deflated when I pointed out to him that that amazing orgasm he gave her had less to do with his magical penis than with the fact that she was in our bed looking at our wedding photo while it was happening.

  • My X Asshat always made himself available to others. He saved his disdain for me and ignored me and treated me like a doormat. Others were so shiny and interesting and he could charm them and I was just the aging appliance. His anxiety with having chosen the “wrong” one in me haunted him his whole life and as he aged it got worse.

    I worked with 98% in my engineering field and never screwed around. There were always dudes around who wanted to have a go but I was clearly not available and spoke of my H and daughters frequently. I made sure they knew I was not available to others. My fidelity in this male dominated field won me no prize with the asshat, he never valued me and occasionally accused me of cheating (projection I now see).

    The you-can’t-help-who-you-fall-in-love-with narrative is complete bullshit. My X trolled for skanks and caught a couple over the course of our 28 year marriage. I kept my gear dry and was faithful.

    • I’ve worked with mostly men in my office and my vibe was closed for business. I have a hunch that the Dickhead wore a flashing Open around his neck.

  • Tell your daughter that, in the adult world, promises SHOULD carry weight. Nobody is entitled to a consequence free life, a life where they get to make promises to others, take resources (time, money, effort, affection) and then randomly decide to test the waters elsewhere. The answer to being afraid of commitment is DONT COMMIT. If you’re young and unsure, don’t walk down the aisle, don’t make promises to someone. In the past, you didn’t have that option. Now you can stay unmarried for your whole adult life, consequence free. The point I’d hammer home is that commitment is a choice, not an obligation. There will be times when it’s harder to follow through than others. That’s normal and to be expected.

  • Dear Chump With Daughter Asking Questions,

    You daughter asked, “Mom, what do you do if you are married and you find yourself falling in love with someone else?”

    Here’s the real answer: If you are married and find yourself attracted to someone else, you start avoiding that person. You made a commitment to your spouse, and you are not supposed to explore the idea of falling in love with someone else. If you find yourself thinking about that other person, you do something to change your thought pattern. You spend time with your kids and your spouse. You think about how awful it would be to not see your kids every day and you decide NOT to mess up your marriage. It’s not really that hard to keep from “falling in love” with someone.

    • This is useful advice even if you’re not married. For example, if your daughter tends to fall for men who mistreat or abuse her. If you find yourself falling in love with someone who displays red flags, you should distance yourself from that person and look inward to work on why you’re drawn to that kind of unhealthy situation. Speaking from past experience, young women get pressured into tossing their lives away in the service of “love.” So many of us stay in unhealthy relationships for years because we “love” the person and feel like failures if we leave.

      • Interestingly how many people put themselves knowingly in tempting situations. I recently told a friend (and we’re all single) who knows that a guy is not for her but still wants to hang out with him. I personally don’t put myself in situations where I could be tempted. If I know that a guy is not for me then I won’t visit him when he’s alone in his apartment, and I won’t drink with him. I must admit I’m easier when I’m tipsy. No reason to put myself into temptation, the same as I’m not going to apply to work in a cake shop if I’m trying to watch my weight.

        I’m an atheist but Christians plead with God in their daily prayer not to lead them into temptation. So, God is not supposed to lead me into temptation but I’ll jump into it? Doesn’t make sense.

        Shit happens by itself, no reason to run after it.

    • This is so true. I was in a long term marriage and while there were plenty of opportunities, there are beautiful, attractive, successful people everywhere, I simply chose to love my SO… period. Every day I put my family first and it showed. I trusted myself not to destroy what I had so carefully built over the years, the same could not be said for x. When you are in a committed relationship you know what not to do. You have strong boundaries. I enjoyed our male friends yet always “lived with intention.” I respected and honored their wives too (many of them good friends), it’s what good people do. Honoring ones marriage and honoring others’ is a great way to live your life. When I was young, single, and in college, I was much like every other young adult, just finding my way….I really didn’t know what I was doing, going out, and was just beginning to figure out what I wanted. Like most young adults I juggled a few guys while dating, and even with that I had a hard time…even with no commitment. My advice to young adults is to get out there and date, figure out what your values are, recognize red flags, and to not settle for the first person who comes along. The old joke is that many people fall in love with sex and not with the person they are having sex with. I believe this is true of many of our exes. Life just hsppens to them while the rest of us recognize we make choices. ChumpMom, Let your daughter know that in any committed relationship, Cheating is a deal breaker. When you are married and have taken vows together, this is not ever okay.

  • Where to begin…..when you marry you forsake all others. Archaic I know, but if you really can’t commit you have no business getting married. If you marry with all the intentions of being a faithful spouse but down the road you find someone else that gee whiz could be the love of my life and I might be willing to leave my marriage/family but not quite sure or the other person is not yet a for sure thing….you need to leave your marriage honorably. No waiting and seeing “how it goes” while your spouse hasn’t a clue they may or may not be dumped. You have just proven no matter what the outcome with the AP or potential AP your spouse is not important and easily disposable.

  • Commitment and respect is a choice, shows character, and is seen in all areas of one’s life. This has to be important to you in yourself as it is to expect others to honor these values as well. When we ‘fall in love’, it’s infatuation and hormones after we’ve gotten close to someone we’re attracted to. It’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of, is part of the human experience. It’s how we act on those feelings.

    For someone in a committed relationship, you don’t act on those feelings to ever get yourself into a compromising position and hurt not only yourself, but everyone you love that would be affected by those actions.

    For someone not in a committed relationship, proceed slowly. Know that these feelings are normal but could cloud your judgment. Look at the other person’s actions and decide if they are compatible with your own values. If you find yourself making excuses for poor behavior towards others, realize this is that person’s nature and they will one day treat you with those poor behaviors once the infatuation wears off.

    This summer the shit hit the proverbial fan with my kiddos now that they are 3 years older and can smell a rat. DS20 and DD18 want very little to do with their 50 year old father or his 30 year old schmoopie. Dr. Cheaterpants was volunteer coaching DD14 (at the time) and 20-something schmoopie was an assistant coach in the kids’ Catholic high school. I maintained the sane and loving parent interactions while fuckwit continues to be a fuckwit. Mirroring a young, needy, immature ho. They both see clearly how selfish these two shits for humans are and want no part of that.

    As a parent, you walk the walk and talk the talk. Behave and treat others as you would want to be treated in your every day life. If you have plans and a commitment with a friend and ‘something better’ is proposed, you don’t cancel on that friend by telling a white lie so you can choose the ‘better’ option. As CL says, cheaters don’t have a character transplant. These are the things to teach our children and they figure out the rest.

  • If you’re not sure, you’re not in love with the new person.

    Falling in love with someone isn’t some cosmic thing that hits you and robs you of all agency. It’s something you can do with almost anyone if you try, including the wife you already have. So the advice I’d give to a non-cheater asking this question would be to consider that their “love” for this new person is a sign of some otherwise benign change within oneself. When faced with that situation, it means you’re at some kind of transition point in life, or you’re bored with where you are. Take it as a sign to shake things up a bit. See a therapist. Take up a new hobby. Make an effort to do something special with the spouse you’ve gone cold on.

    • This is very important Nicole. Thank you, especially for this ” So the advice I’d give to a non-cheater asking this question would be to consider that their “love” for this new person is a sign of some otherwise benign change within oneself. When faced with that situation, it means you’re at some kind of transition point in life, or you’re bored with where you are. ” So much THIS. The feelings are a signal that the cheater is bored with himself more than anything. That is how almost all temptation works, when you think about it. You know how life is day to ay, you become bored, and so novel experiences seem like the answer. BUT those novel experiences don’t have to come in the form of destructive sexual actions, when tempted to change. We need to realize that changing out our partner will never permanently satisfy us. Changing ourselves in new and interesting ways is the answer to temptation.

  • On D-day I heard ILYBINILWY, ‘I didn’t mean to hurt you’ and “I have always been a one woman man, it is just no longer you.”
    OUCH! That hurt a lot.

    It took me a month to find CL and CN, but it was just the cold water in the face I needed.

    He CHOSE to cheat.
    He CHOSE to spend time, energy, money, resources on someone else.
    He KNEW that when he cheated it would hurt me.

    He could have chosen to:
    honor his wedding vows
    spend that time, attention, energy on me

    He didn’t. Now he is on his way to being my STBXH. After 27 years, I deserve better!

    Thank you to CL and EVERY SINGLE PERSON who posts. You are mighty, supportive and strong. You all deserve better. Go and find it!

  • I have strong feelings about this as my Ex “fell in love with OM#3 and Jesus brought them together and ordained it” (didn’t know Jesus ran POF). ????

    Still on the issue if you were married and not really happy and fell in love with someone else, my Great Great Aunt is a good example of what to do if this really happened and you weren’t just being a cheater. This happened in the 1920s but she was in an arranged marriage and her husband was good to her but there was no love (this was common back then–marriages arranged by families).
    She was at a dance with her husband when she met this man (who was also married, also arranged marriage) and the two of them were attracted like magnets. They started talking and talking and cupid fired his arrows.
    The key though is what they did — they were in love and couldn’t stand to be away from each other so told their spouses that they wanted a divorce and they would give their spouses everything. It was a huge scandal at the time but they filed the divorce suits giving their spouses everything. THEN they left the state to start over and got married.
    My family on that side is very blunt and honest and both of them lived to a very old age (they were married for 63 years after that). She swore to my Mom and Grandma that except for a stolen kiss, they did not do anything physical until they were married and they believed her as do I — again very different time and culture way back then.
    The laws back then were very pro man (woman had just been given the right to vote) but he had a partial ownership in a company and he sold it and gave all of the money to his first wife. He always said that he “gave up a fortune for my Great Great Aunt and she was worth every penny”.

    They lived well into their 90s and didn’t die until I was in college and I knew them both well. The point is that if you were in a loveless marriage and wanted to divorce and remarry, you are honest with your spouses, do nothing physical until after divorced and pay the financial and social price that the divorce costs without anger, bitterness and games. It is then a good idea to move far away so that everyone can start over.

    • I forgot to say that she had no children (was unable to have them) and he had 1 son in his early teens.
      He always did right by his son but still it was hard on the son for a few years.
      I’m most definitely NOT saying that what they did was great and there were no consequences because there were. Still if you REALLY were unhappy in your marriage and REALLY in love, then they went about it the proper way. Oh and their exes remarried with a couple of years and had good lives.

      • Good story, LG. I agree, that is the way to go about it. Any time a relationship ends, there is going to be some hurt. That is inevitable. The real key IMO is whether the person does as your great aunt did and is honest about how they feel and is willing to suffer the consequences of their actions. As opposed to cheating, lying and all the attendant gas lighting and blame shifting that most of us experienced. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Chump Mom- First, kudos to you because it sounds like you reacted to this question more elegantly than some (like me) would even internally. I want to acknowledge how painful being asked that question is after you have been cheated on. I have lost friends over this idea of “falling in love” while married because it is such an issue for me. You don’t have to be religious to believe that there are actions that are morally wrong (aka sins to the Judeo-Christians) and that adultery is one of them. It’s funny that this is the topic of the day because I had this very discussion with some friends last night. My thesis was: You can’t “fall in love” while married to someone else without putting a lot of effort into the relationship, and once you are putting effort into a relationship that isn’t your marriage, you are on the moral low ground. You just don’t go there. One person argued that there are situations when it “just happens”-like working closely with someone but then gave an example of two people in a demanding job where they are working in close quarters for an extended period of time-like stationed overseas together. So…we’re taking about a pretty rare situation. For most of us chumps, the cheater was creating situations that facilitated sex with another person, and this involved an intricate and complicated network of lies, separate credit cards, secret bank accounts, fake work trips ….a whole lot of work. That’s not “falling in love”. That’s throwing yourself into an affair. I think there is time to go back and try to work on your marriage before you are to the point of no return. Another person argued that sometimes you marry the wrong person. Okay, yes. But it shouldn’t take 15-20 years (or more) to figure that out. Chump mom-your daughter was 10, so you were pretty far into the marriage by then…I think someone has to be pretending to be the right person (like your ex) to get that far into it without noticing irreconcilable differences. That line is usually used by the cheater as a posthumous excuse for killing a marriage. “Falling in love” is a crush that is returned. It has nothing to do with commitment or the kind of lasting love and respect we are supposed to feel for a partner. I told my daughter that I only “fell in love” a few times when I was young and the idea of a guy you liked liking you back was thrilling and new. But that, with her dad, we shared some core interests and (I thought) core values. We understood each other’s dreams, sense of humor and we appreciated each other’s differences. We were proud of each other’s successes and empathetic for each other’s failures or hardships. Our lives easily melded and we felt deep affection for each other. Or so I thought. That’s how I felt. Butterflies? No. Did I think he looked like Brad Pitt? No. But that didn’t matter. I loved him the way he was. We don’t “fall” into that. We ease slowly into it with care and thought.

    • Yes……people talk about cheating as if it’s a single act…..but never think of the lies and deceit that take place before, during, and after. The stealing of marital assets.Not just to the chump, but to the kids, other family, friends, coworkers, bosses….they lie to everyone! Even the AP….if you said they were dishonest liars others think they suck, but cheaters? Oh…..there must have been a reason, love.

  • When I caught ex & Owhore together, I called her a whore. He immediately said to me “ she’s not a whore
    I love her”. Well for over 30 years I assumed he loved me? I guess I was a chump for the entire marriage.
    Original Owhore died so then he moved into another woman’s house .
    He’s probably telling this one “I love you “ too.
    Cheaters never care about their spouse or children.
    They think with their dicks thinking great sex is love.
    3 years out for me but not close to meh. Wasted my youth on a cruel selfish narcissist. Evil walks among us ????

    • Kathleen, it is never to late to have a do-over. My Mother told me that she was sorry I’d wasted my life. I told her I wasn’t dead yet. You still have time. You still have worth. You still have value.

      Youth is wasted on the young anyway. You can live the remainder of your life as you see fit. You can have a good life right now. Now you see those red flags and can avoid the evil walking among us. Better things are waiting for you!

      • Thirtythreeyearachump
        After reading your post I realized your advice is correct in so many ways. I ran into my ex recently at a wake . He was with his new 84 year old girlfriend.
        He’s 70 now & still using people for his own selfish needs.
        Every hear of the expression “Any Port in a
        Storm”? That’s what his life us now. But your right.. my life maybe lonely & I’m financially strapped but I’m not being cheated on & mentality abused any longer. Trying every day to find peace
        in my life & not think of the past.
        Thank you for your encouraging words. Good luck to you also. Stay strong friend ????????????

        • Kathleen, I now have two friends. Thank you so much. Since my beloved dog lost his battle with cancer I am very lonely most of the time. It is a daily battle to keep up my spirits. I am determined to not give up on myself. Connecting here at Chump Nation gives me hope every day. I am financially strapped too. I can not wait to be divorced and receive spousal maintenance. I want to enjoy the years I have left free of my STBX. It can only get better.

          • Oh Kathleen I hear you. Wasted time – wish I found out so much sooner – wish I left right away. Not much to do other than live it up the best we can!!! Hugs.

            Thirtythreeyearsachump — you have more than 2 friends – we are all here for you. Join the reddit thread and reach out if you need to. Hugs!!

          • ((((Thirtythreeyearsachump))))
            I am so sorry for the sad loss of your beloved dog.❤️

            When a Chump loves with all her/his heart and she/he is betrayed I believe we lose a great deal of self confidence. Why weren’t we enough? What did we do wrong? Etc.
            So many questions and very few answers.
            We learn here to trust that they suck and that it was never us.
            We also find understanding, love and kindness here, in this place called CN. No Chump judges another Chump.
            You are never alone here. 24/7 there is a friend who will listen, and who will understand.

            ((((Kathleen and Deee))))
            I hear you.
            I understand.

          • Thirtythreeyearachump
            I’m so very sorry you lost your beloved dog ????. You miss the love he gave you but try
            rescuing another dog/cat that needs a forever home.
            Time will help you heal a little more each day.
            I know the pain & loneliness after we’re so cruelly abandoned. Stay strong ????????❤️

            Peacekeepers & Dee
            Your words are comforting & so true.
            Here at CN we try to help one another knowing we are not alone. Hopefully these cheaters will some day know the pain we feel
            in their narcissistic selfish lives. Bless you ????

  • *barely related to the topic comment follows*

    You know what bothers me? When someone dies who was married twice (due to being a widow or widower) and at the funeral someone talks about the last spouse as “the love of the [deceased’s] life”. Particularly when there are children from the first union.

    Oh, by the way kids? The 40 years your parents were together – well, they weren’t much really. No, no – it’s the LAST one who was their one true love.

    No. Just don’t say it. Discuss how lucky the dearly departed was to be loved by (deceased spouse) and widow/widower but don’t slap the first family in the face while you’re doing it.

    Maybe it’s just me, but it pisses me off.

  • There’s an additional angle to consider: he hasn’t married Schmoopie, 8 years later.

    Daughter must also be wondering what the hell he means when he says he loves anybody – particularly his daughter. I bet she is figuring out that he doesn’t really love her when it is in any way inconvenient for him. It is conditional and she is starting to get wind that her dance moves aren’t good enough for her father.

    He “loved” Schmoopie enough to blow up his marriage and tear his daughter’s life apart, but he doesn’t “love” Schmoopie enough to marry the bitch.

    • You hit the nail on the head there, No Shit Cupcakes. She is really starting to understand his narcissism and how he only loves himself. It hurts her. Sadly, she is also friends with the Schmoopie, and wants to stay friends with her (She is more like a big sister in age, so it makes sense.) But you’re right – they’re not married and now it has been 15 years!

  • I love the term fuckwit for this discussion because of the sequence of the terms…cheaters fuck before they use their wits ( it’s pretty stupid to blow up your spouse’s life and your kid’s life)… people with integrity use their wits before they fuck.

    They either work out their issues or leave with integrity if it really is the ‘wrong person’.

    • Fuckwit is one of my favorite terms for cheaters. Your analysis of the term is dead on. 🙂

  • Sorry if it’s already been said, but it sounds like your fuckwit ex is brainwashing your daughter with tall tales of woe is me, I married badly, then luuurve, and he just haaad to go pursue happiness because surely she can’t begrudge him that. You know the rom com trash straight out of Hollyfucked.

    Anyway, what CL already said:

    1)Cheating is wrong. Period. Full stop.
    2)You don’t fall in love with a stranger without a whole lot of lying, cheating, dating, sneaking around and fucking – cheating is wrong.
    3) If you married the wrong person, you don’t cheat, you get a divorce. Cheating is wrong.

    Cheating is wrong. Still wrong. Always wrong. No and’s, no but’s, no what if’s, no excuses. The best thing you can teach your daughter is when you are not happy in a relationship, leave it with honesty and dignity and clear finality. It’s the kindest thing you can do.

  • At our second marriage counseling session. He says, “I love LotusDancer. But I love Kristine too.”

    Right then I knew. He doesn’t know what love is. It threw my part 20 years into a swamp.

    That’s why my avatar is named LotusDancer. I rise from that muck, anew. And now I dance.

    • Yup. That’s not love. I do not believe it is possible to have real partnered love for two people. Genuine love for one person is too all-encompassing to be watered down so you can make room for another. Dday my fuckwit tried to claim he loved both. I told him he didn’t really love either of us and would probably never love anyone.

      Long may you dance. ☺

      • Sorry. That was supposed to be a smile emoji. Don’t know how it came out as a blush.

    • A lot of these disordered think that the hormone rush that you get when first together is love and when that fades, then the love is gone in their minds. That is why most of these morons hop from relationship to relationship each only lasting a few years.

  • The answer to the question is simple and comes down to respecting your CURRENT partner.

    You do not start another relationship until ending your existing one is perfect advice and the reason is because you MUST take into account your current spouses feelings. If you go off on your own adventure it means you have NO respect for your current spouses feelings.

    So you then ask them, how would you feel if your spouse went off and did something that would be devastating to you and they did not tell you they where going to do it?

    A narcissist would not care about the other spouses feelings because it is all about making themselves happy.

  • If you’re not sure whether you want to stay in your marriage or not, you see a therapist. You talk to your spouse about your doubts. Maybe he or she feels the same way. Maybe it’s a problem that can be resolved if you just get off your ass and work on it. Or maybe not. Maybe the marriage needs to be ended in an ethical way. Regardless, what you don’t do is opt out of your commitment to your partner without telling her/him so you can fuck somebody else.

    FFS, how hard can it be to just be a decent, honest person? Tell daughter that to be a good person, it’s of paramount importance that you *avoid harming other people*, and that your precious little feels don’t give you the right to run roughshod over others. I get why an adolescent has adolescent ideas about love and marriage. That’s to be expected. But her father is a grown man. Having such adolescent attitudes as an adult is bad enough, but acting on them is flat out WRONG.

  • Welp, I’ve been reading, following and bettering myself because of your blog since I found it in 2012. After a 36 year marriage it completely changed the way I approached my divorce and live my life post hell.

    Just when I think you couldn’t possibly come up with one more topic, one more good answer, one more way to support the chump legion, you do.

    Best response yet because it deals with the passage of time and generational issues. Succinct, didactic, complete. Thank you once again for changing the spin, seeing past the BS and arming chumps with the tools and strategies they need to move forward.

    There is NOTHING like Chump Lady!

    • Nain~
      I completely agree! I find it amazing that I am 7 years out from d-day, and still I have need for Chump Lady’s thoughtful response and the feedback from Chump Nation. ONWARD!

    • Any special tips for the rest of Nain? It sounds like you are doing awesome. Yes, thank-you Chump Lady for making such a difference in our lives.

  • Chump lady I have your book now and the cartoon above is my most healing one. My EW ‘s second AP was a parrot owning plagiarizing poet from Mn. Out of 12,000 emails over a few months this one was my favorite .

    When in truth….
    You are the beautiful flower emerging from the dirt. ????

    So you can see, the rose in her hand above caused me to LMAO, because he is a few years older than her….and him girded with what appears to be a diaper is freaking priceless.
    I mean “when in truth”???? They were both married and continuous liars. They wouldn’t know TRUTH if it ran them them down in the street.
    And I must give the parrot disclaimer. He constantly wrote of his parrot. My ex hates freaking birds in the house. Hell we are from Texas. We typically wrap bacon around a bird that size and stuff it with a jalapeño!!!!

    Thanks again chump lady, your timing for coming into my life was perfect. I was a three plus year chump. Not any more.

    Oh, and no parrots were harmed in the making of this post.

  • I don’t know what love is anymore but i do know what integrity, honor, commitment and respect is. ill stick with those.

  • Today’s column is a saver CL. I have two young adult sons who know a little about why we divorced. But it will also be good advice for them as they grow and want to marry. Cheating is cheating. Plain and simple. Thanks!

  • Getting married is a promise to not “ fall in love” with anyone but your spouse. If that is not a promise that can be kept ( by any necessary means!) it should not be promised.

  • It sounds like the daughter has been listening to cheater pants and smoohpie about how they “just fell in love” to defend his cheating on her mom. That would confuse any kid. It sure confused mine.

  • Daughter: “But what if you’re not sure?”

    Mom: “Then you would be really, really stupid to blow up your beautiful family by cheating and lying to your wife and your daughter.”

    Mom: “Anyway, falling in love with someone else is really beside the point. The point is he cheated on us. The point is he lied to us. The point is he decided to be an utterly inadequate human being because “in love”. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. Cheating and lying is not love. You and I deserve far better than cheating and lying. We deserve real love; we deserve to be treated always with care and respect. He promised to love us always and then he didn’t love us at all.”

  • what if you’re not sure?

    maybe ask yourself what it is about your personality that thinks you’re entitled to prance around testing your feelings against real people’s lives.

    if you’re not sure, i think, you’ve already got your answer.

  • CL, thank you for taking the time to pick this apart with us today. So much of it is just mastering the obvious but sadly, I need this kind of fine parsing sometime to help me reframe and see clearly (LOL my CN name is ClearView!) how the path to chumpdom is paved with buy-ins of the cheater’s narrative. Dear lord, what a mess of mixed-metaphors but anyway, thank you!

  • What I am going to tell my child is this:

    When someone cheats on you, your relationship can never be Right again. You are wasting your time staying in it. God agrees with this because he allows for divorce, which is what needs to occur.

    No exceptions. I also don’t think you need to “prove” it. If the intent and sneaking is there, that is all you need to know. Good bye.

  • Somewhat unrelated but honestly in need of some help(:

    Long story short…cheater met a coworker and they had a spark which led to an ongoing affair. He loved me but really liked her too and just couldn’t decide. Misery ensued, I tried to get him back and finally had enough and said I was done. He immediately moved to a new town (running away from the problem I’m sure). It’s been about a month and I’ve been trying to get my life together. He just started calling and has suddenly decided he made a horrible mistake. He says wants me back, he was being selfish, he is sorry and realizes he made a horrible mistake. He knows for certain now that he will not go back to his AP(has not broken it off with her though which is really concerning). He says he was afraid of commitment before but he’s got his head straight and he will even marry me (we have been together for 12 years though). I told him I am not sure I trust that he is being honest or that he won’t run right back to the AP.

    He swears it is different this time because he could never say this for sure before. The affair made him realize what he was losing. It’s all such a mindfuck to figure out if he’s being real or not. He wants to do whatever it takes to make me happy in the relationship. I’m trying to be strong but of course he comes back to promise all of the things I asked for before. Is it all a lie? Could any of it be genuine remorse? I know I sound pathetic but it’s such a fucking struggle every single day 🙁

    • morecoffeeplease,

      Run, change the locks on your doors, stop contact. Read all you can here in the archives.

      Yes, this is tough stuff but he WILL cheat again. I got the same story. I fell for it hook line and sinker. Fast forward 20 years later and I found out the cheating never stopped. He just got sneakier.

      I wish I had known about NC. It makes a world of difference – really it does but it does hurt like hell until it stops hurting and you start feeling grateful that the idiot is gone. I never thought I would feel grateful but I do. The x is a hot mess and I would have never survived had he not taken a quick exit in order to be with his twu wuv.

      Run. Lawyer up. Run.

      But don’t take my word for it. Read all you can and then make a decision for yourself.

    • Morecoffeeplease, it is a lie. To both you and himself. What he wants is to have things back to how they were before you found out. I haven’t completely shared my story but please read (sorry that it’s long) and see if you can see the similarities with your own (and others).

      We met at 19, married at 25. 2 amazing kids, a few moves and now we’re 48 and having the oldest graduate from high school. Marriage had been great, no problems, sex was good, always felt like we were in sync, never had a fight in the 27 years together (21 married). I gave up my career and became a stay-at-home mom so he could focus on his. We were the couple that everyone envied. The words, “I’m shocked” and “but you always looked so in love with each other” have been uttered by many.

      April 2018 I discover his affair with his married coworker. I am completely blindsided and can’t process it. My husband loves me. He is kind and attentive and tells me everyday that he does. Nothing makes sense. I confront and he has no chose to admit (evidence is damning). Tells me that ending it with her would kill him. I allow him to maintain a “friendship” with her with boundaries (rookie mistake, trauma induced bargaining). In June (2 months later) I discover that these boundaries have been violated and she is more in the picture than she is supposed to be. I tell him to get out or end it. He ends it (maybe? The verdict is still out on this). We start marriage counseling. Things are rocky. He doesn’t want to talk about it. Prefers to sweep it under the rug (huge red flag). He says horrible things to me but continues to tell me how much he wants to be here, how much he loves me, how losing me is his greatest fear (idolize, devalue, rinse, repeat…). In October after telling me how much chemistry he has with her and how he wonders what life would be like with her, I tell him I need a break for a few days. This is when I found them in a Motel 6 together (6 months after D-Day#1). I tell him it’s over, that I’m done. I then tell friends (he wouldn’t let me before – image control – we were going to get through this!) . They rally around me and ask him wtf is he doing. That’s when he “hit rock bottom” and “realizes that it’s me that he wants”. I give him another chance. I am now suspicious and paranoid, needy and desperate. I am cynical. He is now saying all the right things. He is being attentive. He is doing things around the house (we have now temporarily separated – he’s in an air bnb). I get the following card from him,

      “Dear (LeavingToxicTown), I’m deeply sorry for everything I’ve done to us. I promise to work hard everyday to make this better. I love you deeply and it pains me to know how much I’ve hurt you over the past year. I hope you’ll give me a chance to win your love and faith back.”

      In marriage counseling during full disclosure, he tells me that he initiated contact with her in August and the physical had started up again in September. This adds to the paranoia. I check his phone (it is now December 2018). I find two messages with her that he forgot to delete from his trash. One was dated two weeks after his card. I now no longer believe that he ever ended it. I was lied to daily. Oh the stories he would tell….

      Get out now. Lawyer up. Please don’t give him a chance to continue the abuse. I know it’s hard and scary. I am still having some really hard days and it still hurts but trust me when I say that I deserve better. YOU DESERVE BETTER. The fact that he hadn’t ended it with her speaks VOLUMES. It is simple. Him not choosing to end it is him telling you that he doesn’t want to. I know it’s hard to hear but trust me, you don’t want to continue down the “pick me dance” road. Please read Tracy’s book. I bought it after I kicked him out on D-Day #4. It’s unbelievable how accurate it is. Know you are amazing and that you are not going through this alone. Hugs 🙂

      • Leavingtoxictown,

        My story too in so many ways but he moved out as soon as he disclosed because he ‘couldn’t live without her’ and I would not allow that…Me or her. He chose her.

        and then the crazy really began as you so well described above. All that happened to YOUR behavior because of what HE did. I am so lucky that I had strong minded friends who told me to let go or that I would go down with him. Inconceviable at the time but their words were true.

        I am 2 years out now and it is getting better although I do have my days too. Hard thing to really get is that the man I loved doesn’t exist anymore. Puff – gone. And now I know he never did since he disclosed that he was also a serial cheater but the final woman was the one he was ‘waiting’ for…I was Plan B for 30+ years and didn’t even know it. My kids were Plan B too and that is what really gets me….grrrr. Anger mixed with grief mixed with massive confusion 🙂

  • MoreCoffee, I am so sorry you’re going through this, sending a big hug to you and thank you for posting here x

    Your story is heartbreaking and tragically familiar to all of us Chumps. You do not sound pathetic, you sound like every one of us, having to live life while you’re world is cracking apart. MoreCoffee, the fact he hasn’t given up the AP isn’t just concerning, it’s a flashing hooting signal that you, despite your 12 years together, are not his priority. He’s a classic (read predictable and banal) cake-eater. If he really wanted to commit to you, AP would be out the window right now. In fact, if he really wanted to commit to you, there never would have been an AP! This talk of commitment us only because he knows he screwed up and is scared you will actually take it seriously and kick him out. It’s an attempt to avoid consequences. Chump Nation doesn’t believe in unicorns, check the blog. This is a hoover attempt straight out of the Cheater’s playbook.
    MoreCoffee, drnk that coffee abd wake up, read everything on the blog about wreckonciliation, join our subreddit with lots of responsive, supportive Chumps who have gone through and are going through what you are. Much love to you today ❤

    • Thank you for your support. It is so cruel of these cheaters to drop back in promising everything you’ve ever asked for. Total mind fuck. I was bombarded by all this at 7am, not even knowing he was back in the same town as me. I felt sick the rest of the day and couldn’t even focus at work. After work I cried for hours and realized he was just playing on my emotions, my kindness, my usual unconditional love for him (sick I know). And then my head kicked in and I reminded myself of the month I spent living in hell. I couldn’t sleep, eat, think, or live. I had nightmares, a pounding heart all night and had to go live with my parents just to regain some sort of strength. I just can’t ever forget that he caused that misery for me and did it again and again, knowing it would crush me every single time. Need to hold on to the anger to get through this! I too first found all the reconciliation sites and the hope, the fucking hope they give you is horrible. Be happy, give him time, be a better you and he’ll come back and you can build a stronger relationship. Absolute bullshit. Appreciate this site and everyone here so much!

      • morecoffeeplease,

        I have a wonderful friend who went though this stuff years ago and has been a tremendous support to me. She has a line that says it all when the x shows up unexpectedly and I end up in a tail spin:

        “You just got infected.”

        Yep, that sums it up and it takes awhile for an infection to work itself out.

        I assume you know about NC. If not, it has made wonders for me in my recovery.

        Whenever he oversteps my boundaries and I get infected, again, it only gives me even more resolve to lay out the boundary again ASAP and I am getting better at it too knowing I do not deserve the emotional abuse since when he drops in it is not about me at all – it is all about him wanting to feel better. He doesn’t care at all how I feel and that was very hard for me to really get in the beginning.

        Good luck.

  • all she really needs to think about is the golden rule, do to others as you would have done to yourself.

    if she would want is honesty and respect then she should treat everyone else that way.

  • I made that rookie mistake too, trying to all stay friends. It took four months of horrible mental confusion, losing weight, drinking too much, before his broken promises during that 4 months drove me to tell him it was her or me, he couldn’t have both. He left. She didn’t want him after that so he hoovered his way back in “I realise now that… I’ve remembered that…” and I did another nine months of wife appliance pick me dancing before coming to my senses. The only way is a clean break. Listen to your gut, Morecoffee. ‘No contact is the way to the truth and the light’ – AllOutOfKibbles

  • Great advice, CL. I am watching Gilmore Girls with my kids, and the teen character (Rory) just cheated with her ex-boyfriend who is currently married to someone else. My kids all remarked how awful it was that Rory, who up until this point seemed like a good person with a smart head on her shoulders, was cheating. I must be doing something right! I straight up tell my kids that cheating is wrong no matter what the circumstances are. Sometimes, certain things can be seen as black or white. Cheating is one of those things.

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: