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Dear Chump Lady, What happens to couple friends after divorce?

Dear Chump Lady,

I am 6 months post-divorce after discovering my ex-wife’s infidelity. 

My question is what happens to couple friends after divorce?

Can anyone remain impartial and be friends with both sides, or do things naturally drift one way or the other over time? Can I remain friends with someone who has seen me crushed, particularly those few that know the whole story of the infidelity, and who stay friends with the ex-wife? Even more challenging, are those, who as a couple, are friendly with ex-wife and her affair partner.

After a year, I’ve decided to start letting the latter category of friends wane, because it’s too hurtful, as I wouldn’t the same to a friend. Or am I wrong or unique in my view? Do you need to have been through infidelity to fully understand the hurt that this causes?

Appreciate your view and advice.

Carlos

Dear Carlos,

You don’t need to have gone through infidelity to understand that it hurts like a mofo. You just need to know that it’s unjust.

And there’s the rub, Carlos. We live in an age where people are loathe to judge injustice. Two sides to every story. No one knows what goes on in a marriage. They grew apart, blah, blah, blame shift, blah.

I can’t explain the fashion for being Above Judgment, because judgement is essential to living and especially to avoiding disaster. Should I invest my retirement savings in Beanie Babies? Should I befriend the neighborhood pedophile? Ride my bike down a flight of stairs?

If we didn’t judge people and situations, we’d be a bunch of jelly-brained blobs. Anyone could steal our lunch money. We’d be adrift. Good Samaritans would have to pin our addresses to our sweaters and walk us home.

Fact is, we judge every day. Worthy! Unworthy! Good risk! Bad risk!

The shit sandwich of dealing with the People Above Judgment is that they did judge, they just found you unworthy. But they don’t want to come out and say that. They’d rather pronounce the situation ambiguous and unknowing. We can all be friends, of course. Because that’s easier on them. Then they don’t have to make judgment calls or think of people differently, or rearrange their social calendars and seating charts. Let’s Pretend That Never Happened. Your grief isn’t nearly as important as their discomfort. So let’s make believe you aren’t grieving.

In fact, let’s pretend the problem is you and your bitterness and inability to confer forgiveness and move on. Then we never have to consider the injustice of this situation, the pain of you and your children, or our moral culpability at befriending someone who helped break up a marriage. If the problem is you and Something You Did (or did not do, like grant forgiveness), then infidelity isn’t so scary. Infidelity only happens to those who deserve it, who do the Wrong Sorts of Things. Unlike the smug People Above Judgment who are immune from chumpdom.

Cheaters have many narratives, but the favorite is happiness. Hey, we deserve to be happy. Really this is for the best. Carlos, in time, will be happier too! He’ll find someone who is a better fit, and hey, really he owes to all to this life change made possible by infidelity. No harm, no foul!

Dimmer people think… well, who can be against happiness? They don’t ask themselves at what cost? And who is paying that cost? They think… Carlos’s ex seems happy. Happy people are easier and more fun to be around than grief-stricken, angry people. Walking into Carlos’s pain is rather a bummer. So… let’s (judge!) go with the Happy People.

Don’t you like Happy People, Carlos? What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you forgive and be friends?

Well, that all makes a perverse sort of sense if you lack empathy and have no moral compass. (I’m sure stealing my bank card and buying 15 hamburgers confers happiness on someone.)

The fact is, Carlos, you don’t have anything in common with people who would be friends with your cheating ex. You don’t share the same values. You don’t respect them. You said yourself, you would not do this to a friend. Ergo — these people are not your friends. There is no reciprocity there. They would not behave in the manner you would behave. You don’t share the same moral world view.

One hard blessing of infidelity is that it shows you who your real friends are, and who is a waste of space. Who can stand with vulnerability and grief, and who runs away.

This is an opportunity, Carlos, to fix your picker in all aspects of life and cherish the people close to you, who really have your back, and dump the losers who don’t. And when you do that, you’ll discover that you’re a hell of a lot more “meh” about your ex. You ARE happier. You aren’t pick me dancing with the friendship circle over who gets the “friends.”  You really don’t give a shit any more.

Your new life will eclipse your old life Carlos, and into the darkness goes the smug assholes who don’t deserve you.

This one ran previously. 

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  • In the wake of the divorce from Voldemort, there have been three rounds of unfriending on FB. Within the first 18 months, I unfriended almost 200 people. They were either Team Voldemort or Switzerland friends. Then the next round got more granular; I got rid of the people who just didn’t share my values. 4 years out from the divorce, I’m on round three. These include people who I recognize as treacherous, unhealthy people now that I have come as far as I have in my healing. And as you heal further, the disordered will appear in greater contrast to the new healthier way you do things. Don’t just expect that those people will drop out of your orbit… EMBRACE that they will self-select out even if you don’t show them the door first. New, healthy people will be attracted to the new, healthier you. My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.

    • Same here Sunny. They do self-select and leave my circle of friends. It’s possible they do this because I call them out on their crap, whereas before, I had no idea that they were ‘switzerland friends’. I don’t pull a lot of punches anymore. If someone who gets called out on their stupid logic doesn’t like me, I save myself wasted time. And I’m okay with that.

    • I did much the same. Fuckwit had begun his smear campaign long before I dumped his cheating lying arse. A couple of close friends said they just wanted to be Switzerland, as “he has always been so kind and generous to me” (read as constantly gave me drugs purchased with your money you didn’t know he was spending, flirting with me and making me feel special, and still doing so”. Out.

      The next round was the flying monkeys. News trickling back to him of my Facebook activity, a level of stalking I wasn’t willing to take on. FUnny how an online unfriend is seen as a real life one. Even with a polite explanation from me saying it’s just a Facebook thing. Tumbleweed. We definitely learn who our real friends are.

      I never made any friends choose. That’s what he did. I either walked away silently, or explaining what had happened. That they choose to stay friends with an abusive toxic man (who they only saw over the last few years of our marriage to buy drugs from) speaks volumes. Who needs enemies with friends like that.

      • You are better off letting those Switzerland friends go in real life, too. Same with the flying monkeys. Those people will run and tell your ex about your life in real life, just like they did on Facebook.

        No need for that drama, and someone who doesn’t understand or respect your need to remove a toxic person from your life, is not a friend.

    • Late to this particular party, but wanted to say, apropos of this letter and the one about the AP posted today:

      There are no such things as “couple friends.” I’d urge all chumps to think carefully about what a real friend is. My BFF flew 2,000 miles and spent 3 weeks at my house during a polar vortex, to get me back in recognizable human shape after D-Day. I once left my house in the middle of the night to help a friend who had a junky trying to break into her apartment. I beat the police to her place and was ready to do battle to save her, all 120 pound of me, at age 25. Another friend of mine and her husband cut my grass for a year because I was so scared of the lawn tractor (I’m OK with it now, but largely because I watched her do it for a whole summer and I figured if she could, I could.) When my parents were alive, they took groceries to a couple when the strip mine closed and the husband was out of work.They took food every week, provided turkeys for the holiday, and when my narcissistic mother died, both of them wept over her grave and told the story of that generosity. (I had no idea they’d done that, and they never told anyone else. Some narcissistic people are a mixed bag.) A FRIEND is someone who loves you, is willing to stand by you, is willing to make sacrifices. A friend GIVES. And a friend can also TAKE your help, your support, your love.

      “Couple friends?” Those are social acquaintances, unless by chance the couples are friendly because one half of each pair are truly friends, e.g., you, your husband, your college roomie, her husband. Then, you may be REAL friends with your roomie and the other two can be social friends so that both couples can go out to dinner, etc.

      If couples who are social acquaintances haven’t shown up for you, they aren’t friends. They are people you used to socialize with. Don’t confuse the two. Your friends are the people who watch you ugly cry, who get you to eat something, who keep you company even if you haven’t showered in days. Your friends pretend not to see how your face has aged 30 years overnight, but when you start to heal, they notice how much younger you are looking. You may only have 3-4 real friends. That would be riches.

  • Anyone who remained friends with my ex is not my friend with the exception of my children and my nieces and nephews. No Switzerland friends they are not good for you

    • Agreed! I stopped associating with people who remained friends with Serial Cheater shortly after I told him to leave. I can’t heal while having flying monkeys around.

      Divorce trial is in two days and the battle will be on for me to keep the time I have with the kids now. My kiddos and I are doing better. We’ve settled into our routine while he has visitation with them two times a week and has them overnight every other weekend. No one except him wants it to change and I get to witness my ex friends testifying to his “amazing” character as a father.

      I guess if blowing up his family while he carried on affairs for several years then brought APs to marital home to have sex with them in the garage while his family slept is amazing parenting, I must be confused as to what a parent should be doing. I sure didn’t do any of that. Just tried to be a loving wife amid the mental abuse. Switzerland friends can have him. They aren’t my friends anymore.

  • I lost friends, family, my grown children, and moved to a new state alone. I regularly encounter people who treat me as if my grief over losing everything is a giant character flaw, ergo my fault…a choice to hang on to pain…not a grieving woman abandoned, buried in debt, with zero comfort. I’ve never seen my grandchildren, while the whore who wanted my family at all cost has a brand new house, my last name, my ex’s income to add to her own, and is called grandmother. my ex even demanded that I give him my wedding ring so he could give it to her. I told him I threw it into the local lake. no way in hell is she getting the ring I designed for me and had hand crafted by a former school mate.

    The condemnation of people around me has done as much damage as he has and made my healing and creating a new life exponentially harder. I work. I grieve. I wonder how a lying, psychopathic POS ended up sooo well while my life was destroyed. It feels as if I will never have anything normal again. I wont have my experience diminished. I wont eat more shit sandwiches. Alone is excruciating, but I’m not shit on daily.

    • Condemned
      Loneliness grows
      It won’t go away
      A constant companion
      That never strays
      I hunger to laugh
      I’m tired of eating alone
      Another woman
      …..now sits on my throne…..
      The matriarch
      …..of my family…..
      …..they give her the honor…..
      …..they refuse to give me…..
      I spent my life
      Giving them love
      Making sure they were safe
      …..fed…..and hugged…..
      I sewed dresses….and costumes…..
      …..cooked and cleaned…..
      …..taught all that I could……
      …..went to ballgames…..
      …..and quiz meets…..
      …..volunteered at their schools…..
      …..wanting…..them…..to have…..
      …..the mom that I didn’t…..
      Truly believing
      I’d made a Grande difference
      …..but all they remember……
      …..are the lies that he’s told……
      …..about supposed abuse….
      …..by a mean mom…..
      Hot chocolate
      …..and snowmen…..
      …..are forgotten…..it seems…..
      Songs that were sung
      ……sowing in dreams….
      Standing up
      To defend them
      …..while he…..hid behind…..
      …..locked bathroom doors…..
      …..and his claim…..he didn’t see…..
      …..anything that was done…..
      …..so damn cowardly…..
      I sewed them all
      …..straight to my heart…..
      It continuously bleeds
      …..torture…..imparts…..
      ……sliced…..and diced…..
      …..by condemning…..accusations……
      ……undeserved labels…..invalidations……
      …..from wife…..and mom……
      …..to object of hatred……

      Freer Every Day!
      10/12/18

      • ((((Freer Every Day)))
        CN feels your pain.
        We stand beside you.
        My God, you are a very strong lady!
        What ages are your Children?
        Surely they will begin to see and feel the truth.
        I hope so much that one day they will realize their father is a fake. Meanwhile, YOU have always been the real deal!

        Your name does say a lot about you.
        Sending love & understanding to you.
        ( never understanding how this could happen, but, understanding the shitty deal you ended up with, which a Chump never never never understands. That is why we are all here.)
        ❤️

          • My sons are 34 and 35. Your story resonates with me as I am also the abandoned/ ostracized one. I have an eight month old grandson I have never met ( but SHE has). That hurts so much. Bottom line is that people do not believe the truth about the “charming” cheaters but have no problem believing the lies that he has spun about US. Lonely, yes.

      • Freer Every Day,
        I feel your pain. Thanks for your poetry. “Sewed dresses”, particularly, grips me, as my mother sewed beautiful dresses for us. And I used to sew myself.

        It happened to me as a daughter.
        It happened to me as a wife.

        Here is the daughter, before she even knew it was happening to her as a wife.

        Pale roses

        Pale roses on the coffin, a humble few, from us.
        Those people there, gloating
        lustful, over a destiny they are spared.
        Sucked hollow by his mother
        he crawled inside this new-found womb
        to stay there nice and warm,
        vicarious incest thus fulfilled.
        On the sacrificial altar
        his creatures of before
        he recognized no more.
        Murderer of his own
        for other ones more suitable
        from his own mother’s womb.
        She knew how to sever
        the roots to mother earth
        of tender girls not hers.
        What an impious game to play
        to take God away from children
        smoothly, the people not to see.
        But guilt was all with him.
        He came and went, a revenant, for many years,
        until nothing of him was ever there.
        God took pity on him, and us, at last
        and put a stake through his heart.

        Periwinkle, November 2014

      • Your a strong woman! Losing your children to lies is the hardest thing I could ever imagine. My children are young and my ex is determined to turn them against me. So I am in a war, everyday I battle the lies. Never give up! Send your kids cards with pictures of you and them doing things when they were little (copy the picture so you don’t lose yours). I hope one day your kids see the truth. I hope mine know the truth when they are grown. During divorce I realized what kind of person I was married too; it was truly scary. I have decided if they choose to not see the truth when they are grown; then at least I saved myself. I was worth saving and so are you! It doesn’t matter what anyone else chooses to believe, because you know the truth!

        • Yes, Freer every day- send your grandchildren cards and presents. Slowly, over time they will come to you. Mine did. Bypass the parents and send another card and a self-addressed stamped envelope tucked in with your card to them, so that they can send it back to you, and just put it in the mailbox.
          I don’t know how old they are but I started to do this when my grand daughter was five years old (that was when cheater shit hit the fan). She always loved me dearly and is now 12. There’s nothing her mum can do to stop that. (Although mum has come around too- but that took a couple of years)

          • Great advice! My teen daughter was turned against me for awhile – so I sent her packages and cards here and there to her work. I didn’t trust my ex wouldn’t confiscate it nor did I want her reaction to be scrutinized when she opened it. (They’re victims too and under pressure to hate the healthier parent too.)

            She’s now almost 21 and starting to figure things out and is reaching out. She finally moved out in her own; away from him. Her executive function and life experience had to mature.

            It can take years but the best advice I got was don’t give up!

            • Thank you I needed this right now. My once close son has gone mostly silent. I hope it’s from trying to figure out where he wants his life to go and not from his father talking smack about me for years. I pray when he gains another decade of perspective he realizes that mom kept silent about dad, not because dad wasn’t a high conflict asshole, but because she cared about him and his sisters.

          • Freer,
            I am sorry that you have suffered at the hands of those who were supposed to have your back. You speak so eloquently, expressing much better what I feel than I do!

      • Freer, I could have written your poem.
        Heartbreaking when the devoted parent suffers rejection from their children due to parental alienation.
        Telling people I don’t have a relationship with my son or a distant relationship, I can sense or sometimes see the look of doubt in their faces, that I’m not telling the full story and I must have done something. I understand their ignorance because I still find it hard to believe that my son could reject me knowing I was a devoted Mom, volunteering in his classrooms, room Mom, field trips, making every holiday special, getting him involved in activities, birthday parties, sleep overs, etc. while ex was disinterested and uninvolved, using the excuse that he had nothing in common with our son.

        There’s got to be a special place in hell for my ex and those like him.

      • A powerful and moving poem, i feel your pain.
        Good job on refusing the ring. Don’t give up trying to get your children to see the truth. If you weren’t abusive they know it. Keep at providing truth to them and your grandkids.

    • I am so very sorry to read about what you have been through, It isn’t right, it isn’t fair and it certainly isn’t just. Sadly, I know more than one friend in a similar situation. Like you, one of them is not “allowed” to see her grandsons. I have known this friend for over 40 years and her son since the day he was born. It is everything I can do not to call him out on his treatment of his mother, but I know it would not change anything.

      I hope you have found the support you need elsewhere. The pain of family estrangement is one of the deepest injuries imaginable. Please take good care of yourself and know you are not alone. You are part of Chump Nation and you are mighty (even if it doesn’t feel like it yet)!

    • Freer, sending love and support. I’m so very sorry that XH and your grown children have acted so abominably. My heart hurts for you😭😭😭

    • Freer, I don’t even know what to say, but I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through and what you are still going through. Just know you are loved and supported here at Chump Nation. I know it’s hard to believe it, but one day there will be justice. Your XH and the OWife are vile people. And vile people do vile things, like turn children against their mother. Big ((((HUGS))) to you.

      • Martha, people who turn children against their Mothers are truly vile people as are anyone who supports them.
        Robbing the child of a relationship with a loving parent is child abuse. The long term repercussions for the child remains to be seen.

    • I’m so sorry you’re still suffering from what your ex and the OW did to you. Why don’t you have a relationship with your children if you don’t mind me asking? This is more heartbreaking then losing him definitely. I don’t understand why they can’t just leave, why do they have to destroy us in the process. I hope you have someone you can rely on for support. Sending you great big virtual hugs!!

  • Why bother? Are these really the people that you want to have around you? They have more in common with the cheater than they do you. Trust me on this one.

  • I found out when we were camping with our friend group, probably 40 people. In my shock I blew that shit out of the water like a bomb went off. A couple things happened but first and foremost the OW and her family got the hell out of there. The initial reaction by “our” friends was disbelief, like no way he would do that, he’s the golden boy. Then as they got the details, some of them shunned him but I also lost their friendship, especially the guys (go figure) I assume their wives/girlfriends didn’t want his fuckery rubbing off on them so they didn’t allow the friendship to continue. I felt like the whole group knew something all along but never spoke up. I am only friends now with one person who was there. Luckily I have different friend groups and am able to continue socializing in totally different circles. At the end of the day only one of his male friends held his feet to the fire and held him accountable. This friend randomly checks on me to see if I need any “guy” things done around the house.

    • At least there was one friend with integrity. It’s really hard when ‘everybody’ would rather stay friends with the cheater. It not only hurts tremendously, but it’s another mind fuck. It makes you doubt yourself even more. It’s not until you’re well on your way to meh that you realize that you don’t need those kinds of friends in your life anyway.

  • How do I tell them without sounding petty? I have a few Switzerland friends that keep messaging me to catch up, two are the wives of his friends and one is our good friend of 30 years. I know they are concerned for me but not concerned enough to stop spending time with him. They all feel so sorry for the sad sausage that he has become.

    • “I don’t Yet know how to be friends with those who are friends with ____”

      I kept the “yet” in there when I said it… made it seem like I would be working on it incase it got back to X. I didn’t want the situation used against me.

      It wasn’t easy. But it’s part of the journey

      • Everyone can choose how they feel about it but my truth is that cheating is abuse and I cannot be friends with someone who is okay with abuse. I am lucky that most people supported me other than his friends and family. His sister is a chump who wants to feel like she is supporting me but is super close to her brother and her new truth is that “all men cheat so really he is normal”. I responded with that is utter BS and that I won’t be telling my two sons that their Y chromosome will lead them to betray and lie to people they love – it is always a choice. My sons are older teens so we discussed this as they have been part of the hurt and damage that comes from betraying not just your spouse but your family. The one other joint friend that wanted to be Switzerland recently became my boss. He said he didn’t want to pick sides so I said then we are just colleagues please don’t ask about my children or any details of my life. I realize now that information can be weaponized. I don’t want any information about my life or my children’s lives getting back to X unless we are okay with it. Funny enough my X complained to my sons that he was abandoned. We all had a good laugh about this as he spent years lying, cheating, gaslighting, and eventually stonewalling yet he was the one who was wronged (the audacity of some). I am happy and I feel much closer to some of these friends than I ever did – they have my back even if he didn’t.

    • Eliza, you don’t need to feel obligated to respond.

      When I separated then later divorced, I heard absolute diddly from out main couple friends. Out of the blue, over a year since our last conversation (and 6mos. post divorce), I get a random text from the wife asking me how I’m doing. I ignored it. A month later I got the same copy/paste text message. I don’t know if she was asked to check in on me, or if she was genuinely curious. I still ignored it.

      Here’s how I see it: similarly to what Tall One said, I don’t want anything about me getting back to him. I have a new life, new interests, and I live in a new town. I hate to sound suspicious, but people share information. I don’t doubt for a second that she’ll be sharing all of your business with him. If you don’t mind, then I suppose it’s okay. But I personally don’t feel like these people have the right to know anything about us as we try to rebuild what they destroyed.

      In addition, if you hang around them they’ll likely start sharing info about him that you have no interest in hearing. You can try to avoid it, but your divorce is the elephant in the room. These asshats will rally all the support and sympathy they can get.

    • Eliza, you might want to consider that these Switzerland friends are quite possibly Fly Monkeys. Look up the term if you haven’t heard it before. They will act as your friend to gather information to give back to the cheater and the OW. I cut off ALL Switzerland friends. I cut off anyone that has any association with the adulterer and his whore. I cut off everyone who goes to the same church the adulterer and the whore goes to (my former church). Everyone associated with them is a potential Flying Monkey. I learned the hard way that not everyone who is showing that they care, really truly does care. Some are just nosy. And others are on Team Adulterer and will do anything to help their team win. For the people who have said to me, “I don’t want to take sides.” Well, I made the choice for them by pushing them off the fence onto the adulterers lawn where of course the grass is green, sparkly and full of turds. That’s where they belong.

      • Martha … I have not ever heard of “Team Adulterer” before. It explains my ex BFF of over 30 yrs. She chose to defend my now ex and replace me with his new young wife ( the age of our daughter!) She was furious with me for telling our daughter the whole truth of what her father had done. But, it all make perfect sense, she was also a cheater, so she had to defend her “Team” mate. WOW.
        The very last communication I had with my ex was concerning the fact that I was at odds with my now ex friend. His comment to me was something like “you don’t have to be on the outside of this relationship, you just need to except and respect, for us all to be friends” … that was almost 2 yrs ago. I decided to respect myself enough to not even acknowledge his arrogance.

        • I’vebeencheateted,

          I’m sorry you lost a 30+ years friendship. 🙁 You did the right thing by telling your daughter and she had no right to be mad at you for this. Cheaters never want people to know who they truly are and what they are capable of, so they want their dirty deeds hidden. Good for you for getting her out of your life!

    • “When one person hurts another very badly, sometimes you have to choose which one to keep. Either the hurt person means more to you and so you don’t like the person that hurt them, or you don’t like the hurt person very much, and so the person that hurt them is still welcome in your home. You chose him. It’d be the same if you still hung out with someone who intentionally ran me over with a car, stole my retirement fund, or started vicious rumors about me.”

        • I’m going out on a limb b/c though I’m a chump, we had neighbors with what I’d call a shitty marriage for years. We interacted with them and their kids often and we loved them.

          BUT the wife bitched at her husband at least half the time we were at their home and my kids and husband commented on it. It was weird and more than she bitched at her husband more any other (educated sober) woman I’ve ever known.

          We liked the family and we liked the couple when they were apart, but together, from what we saw, the wife was just so freaking critical. I assume they had issues privately that colored how she treated him in public but damn…

          Their kids were in college and I assumed the husband had resigned himself to being abused verbally…

          Once abut 6 years ago she asked me if I thought she’d been too hard on him at a party they hosted. I told her the truth and I gave her 3 examples of things I’d never say to my husband in public, ever. She seemed to hear me. But I didn’t see any improvement in her treatment of her husband.

          So 8 weeks ago he informed his wife he wants out, (and to be fair, he is paying a very fair settlement.) She’ll have zero financial problems and never has to work again.

          But the wife is devastated partly b/c SHE FEELS she has pushed him away. And to be fair, she’s right!

          (No I didn’t chime in my agreement, I’m a sympathetic chump, but she was very hard on her husband. I saw it, my ex saw it and my kids and HER kids saw it. It’s not even debatable.)

          So now they are separated and the husband wants to date and this kills my friend.

          I never say he’s an asshole b/c as far as I know, he’s not. I just support her in her efforts to rebuild her life.

          But when he dates another woman, and we KNOW he will, am I really wrong to feel that sticking by the wife is only because she’s a woman and so am I?

          (Also maybe a part of me does not want to be equated with her as a wife??)

          • Um… so what’s your question?

            Can you still be friends with a couple that divorces in a reasonably ethical manner (no cheating, abuse, etc?)? sure.

            Is it cheating when one part of a separated, soon-to-be-divorced couple decides to start dating and gives the other party full disclosure of that fact? No. Cheating is about lying and deception. Once you’ve already told someone you’re divorcing them, separated, and started the paperwork, it’s not cheating. Marriage is over, bro. This shit done.

            Do you have to stick with the wife because she’s a woman? No.

            Can you choose to stick with the wife because she’s a woman? I mean… if you want to?

            Do you have to choose between these two people? Well, firstly, is anyone making you? I mean, the wife seems sad, but it doesn’t seem like she’s angry with her husband, just upset that the marriage is ending. She’s not accusing him of wronging her, she realizes that she played a part in the dissolution of her marriage, and he’s getting the divorce honestly and honorably.

            I mean… there might be some awkwardness if you hang out with the guy and then go see his ex, and she’s like “tell me everything about him and his new date,” but really, this is an entirely different situation.

    • I asked them whether they would have continued to hang out with him if he had beaten me physically, instead of “only” emotionally and financially. I then straight up told them that if they find his character becoming enough to remain friends, then I was done. These were friends I had since I was 14, way before any of us had our first boyfriends, let alone husbands.

      For a few years I did not contact them. I now see them every once in awhile when one of them arranges a girls night, but it will never be the same. I guess I do it for that sense of history, of the time before exhole. Or because I’m a loyal chump, through and through. Or because I don’t want to feel like he “won” them completely. I don’t know…..

    • “I appreciate your kindness and concern in reaching out to me. I hope all is going well in your life.”

      That is all you have to say.

  • I am so sorry you went through this. What kind of creep wants the wedding ring back to give to his schmoopie? That is just sickening. You may be hurting and grieving now. In fact, you are walking thru hell. We all walk through that fire, but trust me, you are better off without him. Even loneliness is better than that. He is a POS. Their life may be sparkly on the outside, but it’s rotten on the inside. Hang in there. It will get better.

      • I’m still wondering why anyone would even want to wear the former wife’s jewelry???? Actually, it would be a fitting torment for them both — she could wear a constant reminder of what a scumbag she married. No bed of roses in the future for either of them.

        • You are thinking like a sane human being. Owhore who wants that ring is anything but that. A disordered psychopath. For her, that ring represents complete victory – a daily reminder of her greatness and complete destruction of another woman, constant ego stroking. Yes, Owhores are that twisted.

          The flip side of that though is that when you get two narcs together, what you will eventually get is a total cage match to the death. Whatever their public appearances, there won’t be any happiness there and a whole lot of bloodshed. If it isn’t going on yet, only a matter of time before it starts up. Disordered psychos are not capable of living in peace and two disrodered psychos means daily competition where neither one will yield, but both will plot how to harm the other to “win”. That’s where you thank God every day that you are no longer a part of that.

          • “For her, that ring represents complete victory – a daily reminder of her greatness and complete destruction of another woman, constant ego stroking”

            The OWhore went to my jeweler to get her ring hand made and when he drug me back into court this March, he was wearing a ring even though they hadn’t gotten married yet. And then she had to have TWO weddings.

            I fully intend to hold my head high and never acknowledge her, let alone speak to her. Let her think she won. I know better.

        • eirene,

          Why indeed would another woman want to wear the cheating POS spouse’s jewelry? In my case, the FW XW didn’t like it when I slowly started to come out of my blindsided daze and took her engagement and wedding rings (which I had to borrow money from and pay back my grandmother for originally), neither of which she had worn in over a decade. Having three children made her fingers fat, was the excuse. I now know that was BS, and was her passive-aggressive way of telling me she was pissed at me that I had gotten her pregnant w/our third child, our son. Even though she effectively jumped my bones to make it happen (that’s another story).

          She’d left them behind when she abandoned me to move a half mile down the street into an upscale apartment w/her POS AP, secure in her arrogance that I wouldn’t do anything to upset her perfect vision of how things were going to proceed when she left me. When she finally figured out that I had taken them (I think I had to tell her or she wouldn’t have noticed), she got angry and claimed she was planning on giving them to our daughters. I soon asked our oldest daughter if she would want either of them, and she vehemently refused them. That was a good enough test of that ridiculous idea for me. Further proof that they just don’t think like we do (i.e., normal people).

      • Guess he figured he gave her my husband and kids…she just as well have my ring too….

        he’s so damn cheap.

    • My XW gave her ring to the OM to have recycled into her new wedding ring for their marriage. WTactualF? POS both of them!

  • I willingly released my second oldest friend of 30 years back into the wild with my sister’s divorce.

    My sister had been systematically abused for years, but friend found charming ex just too too nice to part with, because he is Such Fun at Parties.

    This came at the right time, because we have much less in common now, but it rammed home to me that friend either didn’t believe my sister, and/or didn’t care about the abuse.

    Buh bye.

  • Well, yet another answer to an important question I’ve been asking myself. This all makes sense. But the consequences are going to be painful.

    Thanks CL

  • One of the reasons why people don’t judge cheaters (apart living in No Judgement Era) is very simple. Many people cheat so of course they don’t want to judge cheaters.

    • I have often wondered if my EX pastor is a cheater himself. He of course wouldn’t judge the XH. He wanted to “understand” him. He said to me, “I only love. Not judge.” The one person who I thought would judge, didn’t at all. He’s one of those guys that talks non-stop about himself and his life; and this was how he was in marriage counseling. One time he told us that he would take selfies to send to his wife to prove to her that he was where he said he was (pink/red flag?) Another time he talked about having a stash of photos of ex-girlfriends. And he’d play some type of game of flicking the pics into a jar or something and he did this when he was already married (red flag). So many things seemed “off” about him and how he handled everything. He made me feel like the bad wife who didn’t do enough for the adulterer and he kept throwing at me that I needed to be more forgiving, including telling me that I never forgave my dad (not true) for cheating on my mom and leaving the family. I only brought it up in counseling and then I was told I was unforgiving. You can’t win with these mind fxckers!! Anyway, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised he was a former or current cheater. He’s one of those types of huggy pastors, that comes around to everyone and tells them he loves them and wants a hug. Ugh. Gross. Stay away from me! BOUNDARIES!

      • Martha, I winced at the image of the pastor keeping photos of old girfriends. My ex absolutely refused to get rid of the x-rated polaroids he had of a former affair partner. What the hell was I thinking?!?! Granted, it was before we got together, but she was married with children, and the photos they took of each other were not only raunchy but also seared into my mind.

        • Eirene, unfortunately we don’t always think clearly when we are “in love” and we put up with stupid crap (letting them keep raunchy photos) in order to keep our “true love/soulmate”. I got a long list of stupid stuff I accepted. I forgive myself for not only accepting it. But also for not knowing better and not seeing my value that I deserved 100% better than what he was serving up each day. (((Hugs))) to you, Sweet Eirene. 🙂

  • In the midst of our separation, a friend couple moved closer to us and I was hoping the male friend (who is friends with my ex) would “talk some sense into him”. Little did I know (but how fast did I realize!!), he is even much, much worse than my ex. At least my ex can manage to pretend he’s an angel outside the house, this guy is rude, obnoxious and abuses his woman in public – all in jest, of course! *facepalm*

    Funny thing, once we were no longer a couple, this friend couple dropped us much like a hot potato.
    She’s still friendly with me, but it’s not like before. I think my case hits a bit too close to home with her and she’s far from ready to acknowledge her own situation.

  • 5 years out and I only stayed friends with those who were there for me. I stopped socializing much for a few years. One forever friend (Husband go couple friend) said upon hearing what happened: “He is dead to me.” That is a great person with strong values.

  • I’ve been struggling with this for a good 8 months.

    At first it didn’t bother me that my best friend and her hubby were being Switzerland.

    Then-when my STBX started dating the, ahem, “woman” he had cheated with over 12 years ago, I thought this couple would see how hurt I was and drop him.

    That didn’t happen.

    They even went to a party he threw in order to introduce her to his friends!!

    When I asked what they thought-they said she was “nice” and “normal.”

    Dagger to the heart.

    I’ve come to the realization that this couple is truly lacking empathy to this situation.

    It would be one thing if STBX was dating some rando-but this couple was there all those years ago and they know this woman was the one he cheated with.

    I’ve decided to cut ties with them.

    It hurts-mainly because I thought they had my back.

    Now-§I spend time with friends who care about me and I care about them.

    Divorce sucks. Cheaters suck. But it does “clean house” -and if I have to lose a few friends-it’s still totally worth it.

    • SA – “They even went to a party he threw in order to introduce her to his friends!!” Same. My exfriend even reached out offering a shoulder to cry on and went straight to my ex-husband. My ex then come straight to me laughing about it. I confronted this person. He said, “I didn’t know it was a secret. You shouldn’t be making people chose”. I’ve known this guy since we were kids. Dagger to my heart. He chose my ex who he had only known a few years over our life long friendship.

      • Better-I’m sorry to hear that.

        One thing I started to notice: the husband friend I had mainly hangs out with people he thinks he’s “better than”-in the sense that he has his shit together and they don’t.

        Right now-he’s hanging out A LOT with a friend of theirs who was suicidal when his wife left him.

        This ex-friend has no more use for me because I’m not laying in a gutter and sobbing and desperate….

  • Ditching disloyal friends and family doesn’t come easy for chumps. But it is very freeing once you bite that bullet. I was so indignant when my sister and her husband mentioned they’d met and had a chat with my exhusband at an antique fair. They should have punched him in the face for what he did to me not chatted. It did bring home to me quite forcefully how (un)important i was to them in real terms. Same with a very long term friend whose husband was ‘supportive’ of my exhusband. Goodbye.

  • When I reached out to my “best friend” of 30 years, he told me he did not want to take sides, even though by this point my XW had admitted to the affair. He was also going through a divorce as well, and his XW and my XW were and remain “best friends”. To add insult to injury, my now former “best friend” a year later sat at a bar with my XW and tried to get my oldest to join them.

    I no longer need people in my life who cannot make a proper choice between right and wrong.

    • That’s a fuck’n narc! U don’t need him, he likes sloppy seconds, and he’s not ur friend. Bottom feeder. Sick.

      Just as pathetic as the psychopath who wanted to recycle his wife’s wedding band. Nothing there but a fucked up moral compass.

      Jerks!! Glad u guys are moving on u don’t need that drama.

      I am in the angry stage of grief today. 😡

  • The Dickhead and I were friends with a married couple. He knew the guy from a previous shared hobby and after we got married, we all become friends and even vacationed a couple of times together. After the divorce, I cried my heart to them and they were all “Team MissBailey”. Yet, the Dickhead convinced them to take over a loan for a lawn mower for the next 3 years which means he was still part of their life. I continued with this for about 6 months when the husband called me under some stupid pretext to let me know that the Dickhead finally told him that he was seeing some one. The same women he had been hiding for months. The friend was aghast because the Dickhead had the audacity to lie to the friend but lying to the wife, well, that’s just par for the course. I unfriended him, his wife and daughter the very next day.

    This is your life and your choices! I blocked the Dickhead and his sinister sister within one month after D-Day. I unfriended/unfollowed all of his relatives and friends within that same month. I just recently went through my friend list and discovered someone I had forgotten. I promptly unfriended him as well. The Dickhead lost the privilege to know anything about my life.

  • The only friends I have from my 19 year relationship with the XAss are two woman who were coupled up with his friends and who have subsequently broken up with them. XAss made dam sure that I was isolated as possible and the only people I talked to where his flying monkeys who would be sure to carry his narrative and report anything and everything I said and did back to him.

    I had to cull a LOT of people out of my life after I dumped XAss. It was very sad as I discovered those who were completely co-dependent upon XAss, those who were completely snowed by him, and those who were just too damn lazy to do their own thinking. NONE of them came to me and asked me for the truth. None of them came to me to give me support. And I am so much better off without any of them in my life.

  • I have a hard time with people whose kids are friends and neighbors of my kids. They love me and hate him but have to see him. It’s like no contact for them. I don’t want him to feel like they don’t despise him. No way for that though, they’re not going to sit in his face, because the kids. I know their souls. And I know his. I know they aren’t being Switzerland. And yet. Hurts to imagine he thinks they aren’t judging him. He’s too narcissistic to understand their highly diminished contact is what they can do for now. So yeah. Not sure I’m making sense. Love these friends (2 sets) making my kids’ lives more stable – wasband stayed in home/same street. But. Still.

    So I can’t imagine long term contact with any Switzerland friends at all.

  • My brother and I were both chumped. His ex wife abandoned him and their kids in a most hideous way. A couple years later I was visiting their town and while shopping in a favorite sporting goods store saw that she was also there. I was determined to just avoid her. But she must have seen me and wanted to have conversation because she suddenly appeared right in front of me. “Hello”, she said. I just looked past her. She continued to talk. I gave her no acknowledgement and stared a thousand miles away. She eventually turned and left.
    What the hell was she thinking? That I was going to be glad to see her again? To gleen some small validation? She is dead.
    My ex wife’s friends were all train wrecks. I had no connection to them. They of course knew of her deceit and said nothing.
    Her family, her pastor brother that married us, disapeared. They never initiated any contact with me post DD. Zero. I believe they did not want to know the truth. Her lies about me must have been humdingers.
    I did have to cut ties with the wife of one of my brothers. She repeatedly wanted to tell me about my faults in the marriage and how that made the adultery possible. Good riddance!
    My parents wanted to be Switzerland. They follow a misguided Christian forgiveness and at this stage in life too old to correct. They cannot even see how she manipulates them.
    One upside to divorce is the opportunity to let go of unsupportive people and start over with people who have a clearer, unemcumbered vision of morals and friendship!

    • You gotta love the “misguided Christian forgiveness”. The SAME DAY the XH read me The Divorce Letter, my X pastor said to me after he read the letter, “Martha, you just need to forgive.” XMIL said to me while pointing her finger at me, “The problem with YOU is that you can’t forgive and YOU can’t forget.” Everyone wants to me “just get over it” and “forgive”. That will make it all better (heavy sarcasm). Well, what about repentance? What about the adulterer telling the truth? As usual, it’s always on the chump to do everything, while the adulterer gets away with everything.

      • My adulterous ex at one point said that she wanted to return to the marriage, but knew that I would never forgive and forget. It was my fault for making her leave and my fault in preventing her from coming back. Our wreckoncilliation counselor told me I was fortunate to be making a clean break with her because “she is a mess”.

        • Nice of them to tell us how we think and feel. My ex would say that I wanted him dead. I never thought such a thing, but I was accused of it constantly after Dday.

      • I have forgiven. And if anyone says, “you need to forgive”, I tell them that I already have. But I will never forget, nor will I ever have anything to do with the dick again. Just because you forgive someone does not mean you need to reconcile. EVER. He will always be ‘the dick’. I have a girlfriend that says that I haven’t forgiven because whenever I refer to him, I call him ‘the dick’. I just reply, “No. I’ve forgiven. I’m just calling a spade a spade. Or a dick a dick.”

      • Martha,
        Funny you should mention ‘Christian forgiveness.’ My ex-husband’s eldest sister used to say, ‘Forgive the sinner; hate the sin.’ Now, although my ex-husband for years abused me (and others), had sex with men although he said that he didn’t (although I would not have gotten upset with him for being bisexual when I asked him about his sexual orientation before we got married) and committed adultery (with various affair partners and prostitutes) while married to me, this ex-sister-in-law and her psychotherapist husband treat me as though I was the abuser, telling me things like, ‘You can drive your kids hours to our home for a party, but YOU are not invited!’

      • Biblical forgiveness is the perpetrator realizing their bad behavior, coming to ASK forgiveness, you extending it, the person stopping the behavior, and the relationship is restored.

        that will never happen with a cheating narc. the bible also says to cast out scorner and the strife will cease (no contact). there is no biblical mandate to overlook or mandate abuse. leave and shake the very dust off your feet.

        today the grace is all for the perpetrator, and the victim Is condemned for speaking truth and protecting themselves. its infuriating

    • “Misguided Christian forgiveness” is just the lazy pseudo christian’s excuse to avoid adjusting their social life, or avoid feeling uncomfortable around our grief. It is also a convenient excuse for them to believe that since we aren’t forgiving them (in the sense that we act like nothing happened), then we aren’t good christians, and then that must be why God is punishing us with our spouse’s infidelity.

      Tracy’s section in LACGAL on trust was one of the most impactful to me. It allowed me to see that forgiving doesn’t mean acting like it didn’t happen. They should still be held accountable. Me not killing him for all the pain he caused me and the kids, that is my forgiveness.

      • I like Tracy’s quote, “I don’t wish you dead. There, consider yourself forgiven.” That’s my forgiveness too.

        • So I guess I’m not there yet. Because I still do. A friend said ” you really wish your kids didn’t have their father?”. Yep…..they’d be way better in the long run not having to deal with his BS. Nothing like a good karma fantasy to pull me out of a dark mood🚌

          • Hope Springs,
            I hear ya! I am trying not to be angry any more after all these years, but being impoverished to the point of qualifying for government help and not knowing how to climb out of the financial, emotional, physical abyss into which my ex-husband has repeatedly pushed me, makes it hard not to be angry. I am also saddened that my ex-husband harasses people other than me–his co-workers, bosses, current intimate partners, and others–often with frivolous lawsuits. He seems to get away with murder, almost literally. I would think that, after half a century of (him) living a very corrupt life, ‘Karma’ would catch up to him, but it hasn’t.

            • RockStarWife, karma or judgement will catch up with him one day. It might not be in this life, but most certainly when he’s dead. Judgement will come one day.

              And it’s okay to be angry. For me, being angry keeps me safe. I should have been angry years and years ago, but I was somehow taught that being angry wasn’t a good thing. I now know that being angry at abuse and injustice is righteous!

              (((HUGS))), RockStarWife. I hope and pray one day you will get back on your feet again.

          • Hope Springs,

            You’ve got a lot of company in feeling that way. I’m heading towards 9 months post-divorce, and come next April it’ll be three years post D-day. And I still, almost every morning and night (unless I’m in a rush or tired), give double fingers to my POS XW and her POS AP, who now live an eighth of a mile behind me, as I head to work in the morning and come home at night. I also curse them both, and wish them painful, early deaths for what they put me, our kids, and his family through.

            I find it’s cathartic. Maybe someday I won’t feel the need anymore, but not likely anytime soon. I agree w/you. I think the kids would be much better off w/out their mother’s and her AP’s screwed up, narcissistic, manipulative behavior to deal w/. She’s already accused our two daughters of not wanting her to be happy because they don’t like her shitty AP (despite all his millions in money. Thank God my children have some sense).

            What type of mother abuses her relationship w/her children to try to make them feel bad like that? Unfortunately, after reading so many posts on this blog, it appears many are capable of it (and the shitty cheating husbands, too. Cheaters in general).

            I’m sending you mental and spiritual reinforcement through the ether, to show my solidarity w/you, and all like us. Be well. We’ll get to meh, someday.

  • I think it’s hardest when it’s parents of your kids that are friendly with your ex. I mean, they’re being friendly with him for my daughters sake, so her friends can go to her birthday party at my ex’s house, etc.

    Those parents are still my friends – I feel more like they’re eating the shit sandwich of being nice to my ex on behalf of my daughter instead of being friends with him, but it still hurts to see it.

    • CNS – This just happened to me. A “friend” with a kid my sons age just went over weekend before last cause her son was gonna spend the night with OW’s son (teammates, it’s all for the kids, blah, blah) and ended up staying all evening watching football and playing cards. It is all about her ex who is big buds with my ex now (both cheaters). I know it’s not about me. Still sucks!!! I truly feel people just don’t care about me.

  • After two divorces from two cheaters, I realized that my old acquaintances weren’t really friends. Heck, my family members aren’t even my friends! They are all still conversant with Ex1, who cheated on me with partners of both sexes. Every single one of my siblings/spouses reached out to Ex2, but he rebuffed any attempt at continuing a relationship with them.

    Only two of Ex2’s colleagues tried to remain friends with me, but they both did it pro forma, knowing that it would eventually peter out. It seems that all the joint faculty parties I hosted with them have ended, though, so I now try to think fondly of the good old times rather than to feel bitter about people who choose sides.

    My mother and father divided up friends after their divorce, and as an adult, I can look back and admire my mother’s fortitude as a social pariah in the 1970s. Mom was the innocent party, but she was very definitely shunned.

  • 18 months later, I’m thrilled that it’s radio silence from all of the “mutuals”.
    Those friendships/connections just don’t work for me anymore.
    I actually find the random, guilt-ridden “how are you doing, CV? Flower emoji” texts pretty amusing. So lazy and predictable.

  • My view on friendships is rather simple – you choose your friends by who you are.

    So cheating is a lack of character, a lack of values issue. People who remain friends with a cheater share in the idea that deception, lying, backstabbing is a OK thing to do. These people are not my friends, not my tribe, do not belong in my life – they do not possess the character and a set of values that match my own. So they get the proverbial boot out of my life. I don’t see it as any kind of a loss, but rather social spring cleaning.

    You will carry a lot of muck out to the curb and your house might seem empty after that, but in reality, you’ve simply created beautiful clean space for new connections. For people who are like you, for people who value honesty, fidelity, loyalty and aren’t afraid to stand up for that. That’s the kind of friends you need to get out and find. Don’t let fear of feeling alone stop you. In fact, let it fuel you, just don’t forget to be picky in who you let into your life and how. Be choosy.

    • I actually dropped a friend because of what they professed to be was far from what they actually were. As I was divorcing, I reconnected with an old college friend who was also recently single. She is now a Born Again Christian as well. We re- bonded over our mutually awful X’s, but then something happened that made me realize that her values were totally skewed. I had a man who also claimed to be a Good Christian, a solid, respectable husband and father, making thinly veiled passes at me. When I told my friend that this was happening she ENCOURAGED me to have an affair with this man! All while I was in the process of divorcing and a complete emotional mess, and while he was supposedly “happily” married. If this is an example of being a Good Christian I am reinforced in my decision to stay far, far away from these people!

  • When I was in elementary, middle, and high school, I had to change schools, MANY times. My parents were teachers, and sometimes they changed districts, sometimes they took a leave for a year to work on their advanced degrees. School was important, but my comfort in a particular school, or particular school friends held no importance to my parents. They even made me change schools during my senior year in high school. This was a very bad experience for me, but I did learn the difference between having an acquaintance, or a friend for a season, and a true friend. In my world today, I have many people who are social acquaintances, but only a very few dear friends.

    When I married my son’s father, over twenty years, we had many social friends. We each had a few good friends. Most couples would fall in the social category. Strangely enough, it was one of his longtime couple friends who sat me down and told me I needed to leave him. I had done more than enough. I needed to save myself, and our children. He had proven to be unworthy as my husband.

    This couple did not think I was perfect. They did not hate him. They had come to realize over the years what he was truly like, and to care for me and my children. They reinforced what I had already come to know — he would never change. He could not be fixed. I was the strong and reliable one, I needed to take charge of my life and save my children from further damage. They were absolutely correct. They moved him to the category of social only acquaintance, one they knew could not be trusted. They had enough shared history to have clear vision. I am still friends with them. I don’t think they have heard from him in a long time.

    This couple saw the difference between social friends, who usually have some connection through work or clubs, and real friends who share values. Those are the kind of friends to hold on to. Social friends come and go, and really don’t care about your life. You will hardly miss them when they are gone. Real friends will catch you when you fall, and help you get safely home.

    Knowing how to tell the difference is one of the greatest skills you will ever learn.

  • It’s hard to be at meh when children choose to have a fuckwit in their life. My 30 year old daughter is quite switzerland. Her and my son are the only ones I accept that from( I don’t even accept it from my sister). Her excuse is “Dad helps me with my house” and when it comes to his slut helping her learn to quilt( I know–quite a passive activity for a woman who f*cks married men), she just says ” I just wanted to learn how to quilt and she knows how”. I swallow that shit sandwich all the time. I suspect she spends Sundays’ having “sunday dinner” with the disordered f*cks. Its hard to be meh about that too. I know my daughter has her dad in her including some narcissism. I love her to bits despite it, but it does hurt.

  • I have a sister. We were very very close, best friend really ( except I considered the fuckwit my “best friend”). Anyway we as a family now know she is suffering from mental illness( family history so it is not surprising and she went through hell with her own sociopath). Her daughter and I staged an intervention to attempt to get her into a hospital and start the process of getting her help. Where did she run? Right to my ex–stating that they are “very close”. I actually went to his woman’s house to try to get my sister. Why don’t you just stick a knife right in my back? It was a big crisis not only to her daughter and her but to me as well, talk about triggering! Needless to say I no longer trust her at all, I don’t know what information is being funnelled to the wackjob. I don’t even want to have a conversation with her and am afraid to tell her anything. We have an extremely strained relationship. I don’t know if I will ever trust her again. Just one more shit sandwish I’m afraid.

  • If an ex is sufficiently disordered, he/she may have been spreading poison about the chump for a very long time, and begun the erasure long before the chump figures things out.

    My ex did both of those. No clue what all ridiculous claims about me he might have made, but I know he did it, because he was foolish enough to attempt it with my kids, telling them that I have some apparently scary dark side that they know not of. Fortunately for me, they knew better—I was always the one and only functioning parent, and there was never any mystery about where I was or what I was doing—so they just laughed and shut that shit down.

    On the erasure front, he and the partner in infidelity made a whole new set of social friends who had never met me at all, which sure was convenient.

    Never heard word one from any of the former connections, nor from any former in-laws. Makes me kind of regret the many years of gifts, parties, and quiet financial assistance (including for one sister-in-law trying to raise kids alone while recovering from her husband’s infidelity and the resulting divorce), but so it goes. No honor among the disordered or the families that spawned them, I guess.

    • “If an ex is sufficiently disordered, he/she may have been spreading poison about the chump for a very long time, and begun the erasure long before the chump figures things out.”

      Yep! Happened to me. I am 100% convinced the XH was planting seeds for many years with his “healthy female friends”. One of his longtime “friends” used to come into the school I used to work at to have lunch with her son in the cafeteria. Years ago she was very friendly to me and was even at our wedding. At school, she was cold, distant and would give me strange looks. I couldn’t figure why the change. I have no doubt he was planting seeds with her. He wouldn’t want any of his “friends”/supply/possible future affair partner thinking he was happily married. And he also started a huge lie-filled smear campaign about me a few days after D-day. He laid years of groundwork before the rug got pulled out from me. And then he did his best to get under my skin to get a reaction out of me to “prove” that I was unstable. Evil. Evil. Evil.

      And “No honor among the disordered or the families that spawned them” is a very true statement soon. Once you see them for who they truly are, you cannot unsee it ever!

    • Just saying hello, Cashmere. Your story never ceases to amaze me. Your X is evil. So relieved the rest of your natural born days will be filled with integrity. Xoxo

  • Yup–I played the game: “Ditch the Douchebags”.

    I will confess there were a number of skeins there I tried hard to untangle: the friend & colleague I worked with for years, we published tons of stuff together, really pathbreaking work; I took care of her younger child while her older one was doing the teen-age suicidal dance. Everybody’s OK now, she’s achieved her goal of remarrying a guy with money (and a bad ticker). Somehow I am no longer on the friend list. That confused me, as well as hurt.

    The church friends I had known for 20 years–we raised our kids together. Some bunch of them cooked up the idea that I (who by then was working in historic preservation) would set fire to the historic church building–um, as if?!? (a rumor more calculated to eviscerate me might be impossible). Like, who–how–why did that weirdness crop up? Ex-hole? I dunno (but I have emails–receipts)

    The beat goes on, but finally, it’s just, feh — let them go. I don’t really have any friends–I’ve moved 3 times since the divorce. yeah, I wish I had friends. I joined a terrific book group, so maybe with time. My health sucks, as in I can-no-longer-work sucks. Bummer!

    But I have my kid, even at a great distance, we are incredibly close. And I have a large fluffy dog. I’ll manage, until I can’t.

  • It’s tricky . My ex has made clear that all the school mum’s are on her side . She took on a position in the parenting association to further play the role of the hard working single mum, who deals so well with the divorce.
    It’s a narcissistic ploy of course.
    But my kids are friends with the kids of the school mum – so I need to stay “ friends” with them as well.
    One couple has clearly taken my side which is excellent , because they have values.
    With the rest – I use the “gray rock technique” just like with my cheating ex.
    One other important part however is – people don’t care . Our divorce was the talk of the school parents circle , but when there was no more obvious drama, people stop being interested .

  • Carlos,

    When I was -rather rudely- presented with evidence that some of my friends had welcomed my ex’s affair partner into their home, I was overcome with anguish, which boiled over immediately into righteous fury. I performed the social media equivalent of Order 66 on them all. No contact with her, no contact with them. On the increasingly rare occasion when I wonder if I was right to take that swift and harsh action, I remind myself that not one of them has ever attempted to contact me since. I did right by myself, and to Hell with all of them.

    • Though I was initially unclear about your reference to order 66, (I googled it and see it’s a reference to Star Wars), I did the same thing when it came to social media. I blocked my ex’s family, our neighborhood friends and the OW. Ex didn’t have social media so I didn’t have to block him on FB or IG etc. Went complete no contact with all of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t block his family or the neighborhood friends right away and soon found out it was a huge mistake.

      Trust your gut on this one Josh. You didn’t act too swiftly.

  • I feel really lucky. All “our friends” promptly dumped him and chose me when the truth came out. “His friends” who knew about the affair and didn’t tell me, I promptly dumped.

    My father-in-law and his girlfriend, it turns out, knew about the affairs for years and helped cover them up. Funny thing, FIL became angry with *me.* Ha! Good riddance.

    Of course, the sad thing, is FIL takes it out on his grandkids and my daughter no longer gets presents.

    • ““His friends” who knew about the affair and didn’t tell me, I promptly dumped.”

      But…what if you can’t escape the gut feeling that most of your “friends” knew what he was doing and kept it a secret from you? And that when you ask them “did you know he was doing this?” they’re simply lying when they say No? Once you’ve suffered enough gaslighting it’s difficult to ever trust anyone at all.

  • Agency, chumps. Always exercise agency. Dump the Switzerland friends. Trying to maintain them is painful (ask me how I know). Life is better without them.

  • Mutual couple friends knew the despair and agony I went through when I found out about the Adultery. When the Ex married the young girl, they all went to the wedding. Raising their glasses to the newlyweds were our friends of twenty odd years. cheers….

    • People are lack sense. They do not see themselves as they are doing idiotic things. So let it go. Just don’t be friends with them

    • I found this very difficult also, especially from his family and our friends, many of whom were at our wedding in 1993. I just have to trust the people in the audience know their true characters and I’m glad they aren’t in my life anymore.

      I liken it to when the hurricane hits, it’s often the outer bands that cause the most damage.

  • If you “don’t want to choose sides” between me and someone horribly hurting me, you were never my friend. Shared history is not friendship, and proximity is not support.

  • “If we didn’t judge people and situations, we’d be a bunch of jelly-brained blobs. Anyone could steal our lunch money. We’d be adrift. Good Samaritans would have to pin our addresses to our sweaters and walk us home”

    i have a therapist who takes a relatively hard line against being judgmental. we part ways on this issue. i think her point is that casting judgement on others is immature and reflects a lack of self knowledge and/or willingness to engage with your own issues. this seems like black-and-white thinking to me.

    if someone assaults me physically, for no good reason, i will judge them superficially as being a thug. it’s because they behaved like a thug. probably i will try to defend myself and do my best to avoid them in future. i can also acknowledge that this is a troubled individual who, under different circumstances, deserves to be treated with empathy. my judgement of their behaviour doesn’t mean i need to acknowledge my desire to assault innocent people, because i have no such desire. it’s not secreted away somewhere, waiting for the right moment. it’s just not there. so i will judge this fucker as a thug and reserve my emotional energy for the people i care about, or at least people who don’t try to punch me in the head.

    if i am having a shitty time professionally, or personally, and i take it upon myself to treat the people around me as though they’re all assholes then i am being unfairly judgmental and need to create some space for myself to deal with my issues in a peaceful, mature way. this scenario is quite different from the first one as my behavior really is a projection of my hurt, anti-social feelings. i’m being a prick.

    if your partner cheats on you it won’t be too long before you find out who your real friends are. they will drift away from your partner and towards you. it’s possible you won’t have any friends left at all. it hurts, however, you can be sure there are many others, not too many degrees away from your immediate circle, who have gone/are going through the same thing.

  • And then there are the people who blame-shift so much as to encourage the philanderer: “After she took that job, she became so full of herself” (ergo, “of course you cheated”) said the “friend” about me…the same “friend” who has told me for years what a narcissist my ex was. The ex-hole carried that comment back to me with glee. At first it hurt my feelings, to have judgement from people who really have zero idea what it was like to live with someone as selfish and high maintenance as my Prince Charming Cheater. But, now it makes me smile – because they do my job for me! I could say “gosh, you are right! I should have never taken that job….because the extra money I earned just gave my lying, cheating, thief of a husband more of a honeypot from which to draw to fund his affair on the other side of the country!” Nope. These days I choose being happy over being right; and, I am grateful when ANYONE shows their true colors. Makes picking friends (and enemies) a whole lot easier!

  • I’m young and dumb but I would guess that these Switzerland friends simply cannot fathom the betrayal we’ve experienced. I don’t even know anyone who has been through a divorce. I do recall thinking that the poor shmuck who ends up in a shitty apartment paying his ex through the nose almost certainly deserved it. Very tough lesson about judgment as I look straight down the barrel at the same situation. Side note, I also thought that if my wife were to cheat it would be with a celebrity. But alas, it was a heated love affair with an ex-con from a dive bar. Good luck chump nation.

  • As my last partner (now ex-boyfriend) and I met over 30 years ago and were both in the military, we had several long-time friends and acquaintances in common. As my ex-boyfriend is very social and seems like Humble Mr. Nice Guy to virtually everyone–that’s one of the main reasons he’s an executive–he has a ton of loyal friends, who probably cannot imagine him frequently emotionally abusing his loyal former partner(s) and lying to save himself from being held accountable for his behavior in (former?) intimate relationships. He ‘got’ to keep virtually everyone in our social network, probably to some degree because he, as a childless guy, had a lot more time to go out than I did as a single (divorced) custodial mother of young kids. (Will give him some credit–he did/does work very hard at cultivating friendships, at least with people he values, and at doing good work in his beloved profession.) I miss those old friends. I imagine that they all slapped my ex-boyfriend on the back when, shortly after leaving me, he moved in with and married his second wife, congratulating him on snagging such a phenomenal catch. I sometimes still miss my ex-boyfriend, who I thought was my friend of decades, and think, ‘How could I have made our relationship work so that we could have at least remained friends if not intimate partners?’ (He was The One Who Got Away, who I wished that I had married.) I feel as though I am always on the outside looking in on his beautiful life, wondering why I got shunned forever. My ex-boyfriend blocked me in every way when he discarded me the last time. I wanted to stay friends with him, no matter how badly he treated me.

    Going to work on building a network of friends and allies. I want to do this not just for my benefit but for the benefit of others. Going to really try to focus on helping others as I have control over only me, not over others. Just wish that I could get out of ‘anxious, despair mode’ that comes with questions like, ‘How am I going to support my kids?’ ‘How can I avoid drawing down my accounts so much that I cannot afford even a small portion of a modest two-bedroom apartment, which I share with several people?’ ‘How can I find a family-sustaining job in the area to avoid moving out of the area so that I don’t lose custody of my kids or have to spend several hours a day commuting to a workplace?’ (would rather not commute for many hours a day as I don’t like spending so much time away from kids and don’t like spending time and money polluting the world) and ‘How did I go from working on a doctorate to looking for work and for food?’ (My newest topic of research is dumpster diving.) I never thought that I would ever consider accepting welfare. The constant fear and time spent fruitlessly searching for a permanent family-sustaining job make it very challenging to focus on preparation for my licensing exam to position me to get aforementioned job(s). Spending all this time on (attempted) professional development, for awhile (too long), I haven’t been able to give my kids the attention that I think that they deserve. Life feels like a vicious circle. To cope, I think that I will do (at least) two things: (1) Keep asking myself, ‘How can I help others?’ and (2) live in denial (as acknowledging reality makes me hopeless and almost completely immobilized), pretending that someday I can have (earn) a decent amount of money (enough to eat), buy a pair of oven mitts to replace the tattered ones I currently have, buy a little home in a region that is clean and green and in a neighborhood that is safe, have a husband in a happy, mutually beneficial marriage, kids able to frequently visit, visit Africa before several species go extinct, go back to my doctorate and finish this time. I have never used illegal drugs, but the struggle has made me less critical of people who sell and dangerously use illegal and other mind-altering drugs. The struggle to survive, feeling that you can never escape the whirlpool that keeps pulling you and your dependents down, can drive one mad.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to escape the whirlpool? I am applying to minimum wage jobs although I cannot afford to support my family on a minimum wage job/jobs, as people say, ‘Something is better than nothing.’ (I usually here this quote from people who are financially doing well…So does this saying mean, ‘It’s better to be homeless and have food than be homeless and not have food?’) Trying to figure out how to work two nearly full-time jobs while spending some time with my kids (I have nearly full custody of them, and their father, who travels around the world for work, cannot spend much more time with them–He has been on the road for nearly a quarter century.) As I don’t have a permanent full-time job and thus cannot get employer-sponsored health insurance, I am trying to ignore a chronic injury that is getting worse. I tell myself that as long as it doesn’t prevent me from working, ‘It’s all good.’ I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted but need to figure out a way to be lively, energetic, organized, and clear-headed to support my family. Has anyone found a good career coach for older women? I really don’t want to be part of the ‘downwardly mobile’–would rather be part of the ‘upwardly mobile’ as I might feel a bit more relaxed and much more able to help others who are struggling.

    I wish all the chumps here opportunity to make great friends and get the well-deserved support and love of good people.

  • As usual CL was able to articulate what I’ve been feeling for these last 5 yrs. With me – it was my own family. My friends knew which side to pick – my REAL friends, that is. Truth be told – any friend he had was mine anyway! He maybe had 1 or 2 who stuck around – more than likely all cheaters themselves – and he can have ’em. But mine was even more painful because it was my FAMILY. My SISTERS and my NIECES and NEPHEWS. His side? No real shock there. He too could “shoot someone on 5th Ave” and they’d wince a bit but…well…I digress.

    No, mine were my sisters. One said “well, you never got along anyway so I don’t see what the big deal is.” Um…pardon? Then there was “well, he didn’t live with you anyway so, so what?” (yes, he had a job where he was away all wk and home on long weekends). Then – my personal favorite “Oh, you’re not over that ‘infidelity thing’ yet? I don’t even know how to write a check!” Or at Christmas the chastisment of “he should be here!” Umm…what now? Then there were the text messages – TO HIM – saying “we all miss you.” Uhh…we DO? Where are MY text messages? When I was curled up in the back of the closet in the fetal position – where was MY empathy? Did you miss me when I was nothing but a SHELL of a human being for 4 yrs? Let me answer that one – NO.

    I spent as much time in my therapists office crying about them as I did crying about him, which is the biggest shame of them all. It took quite a long time for me to get it thru my thick skull (God bless my therapist) that all of that had nothing to do with ME. THEY were sad and hurt and frustrated and pained by what he did and, being ill-equipped to handle anything untoward as we apparently are as a family – Sad Sack Magoo walking around all the time was a constant reminder of THEIR hurt. It didn’t matter what I was feeling. It was too uncomfortable for THEM.

    The unfortunate thing is – I actually learned from our parents that that isn’t what family does. I love my sisters and my nieces and nephews don’t get me wrong. If they called me right now and said…”I need…” I’d be there. But that speaks more about me than it ever would about them. I still do the family obligations – weddings, holidays, new babies, birthdays – whatever – but that sister/aunt is gone. There is a distance between us that will never be mended – well – since none of them will even ACKNOWLEDGE how hurtful they are/were, it just is what it is. I have not forgiven nor forgotten – as I have not done so with my husband of (then)35 yrs. But…I don’t allow it to tear me apart anymore. You will eventually do the same. As “friends?” They’re not. I found my tribe. Find yours.

  • The best statement out of a therapist mouth …

    Splinter-
    “ No one cares about you, including your children. Forget about the sperm donor or his FOO.
    “No one cares”

    I fought this tooth and nail. I fought THAT notion -THAT notion or idea Cannot even be possible or remotely true. My kids?
    My children?

    I fought that notion till I was literally a click away from being dead.

    She was right.

    If you have one friend who is in your foxhole- count yourself lucky and cherish that one person.

  • Hi Susannah,

    Thanks for writing. Why do you ask whether I know chumps in my area?

    A couple of years ago, I arranged a meet up in my area in California. I have met face to face three chumps through this site. Two I introduced are now married to each other and have a baby together, adding to their lovely blended family 🙂

  • As a man in a new city for the last 4+ years I can feel Carlos’s pain about friends. Not sure why but it is hard for men to make friends and it just gets harder as we get older. After I discovered my fucked up picker was putting me with the same types of people who did not share my values and just dragged me down I wound up shedding them all and it was painful, lonely and hard. I waffled and struggled because my choice was being with people or being alone. After a few months of staring at my hands, doing things alone, and finding this website, I got comfortable with my decision and myself. Lately I’ve been attracting better people, keeping my distance from the less-than people, and just being my best self. The better people may not be “friends” but they are certainly acquaintances. And as each day goes by the good people are appearing and I am recognizing them better and faster. Those people will stay. Going to bed at night stressed out over what other people think, say or do, sucks worse than going to bed at night alone. To all the men out here – shed the bad people, their shitty life styles that include avoiding their spouses and acting single, embrace the lonely for awhile and before you know it the good people will appear.

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