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‘My therapist wants to know how I caused my husband to cheat’

shrinkDear Chump Lady,

I just finished reading your book. Your words about using caution when finding the right therapist were life changing for me. I found out after 24 years of marriage that my husband had been having an affair for over a year. In the many counseling sessions I have attended since D-Day, I found myself getting worse instead of better. I would wonder why I felt enraged after every session. Was something wrong with me? Was I crazy?

Then I read your book and it as if the clouds parted and I could see. As your book mentioned, if my husband had pushed me down the stairs, people would not be asking me what I may have done to cause myself to be pushed. And yet for over a year I had been seeing therapists who asked me to spend a lot of time thinking about what I may have done that pushed him towards cheating. One therapist even suggested that my husband may have been struggling with depression at the time and being mad at him over depression would be like being mad at him for having diabetes. What? Some of this therapy hurt me worse and made the recovery more difficult.


Dear Jones,

You’re not alone. One sad motif on this blog are the vast numbers of chumps who got the victim-shaming shrinks.

I’d like to take this moment to ask chumps about their D-Days. Folks, when you discovered you’d been betrayed, and the bottom fell out of your world, your marriage was at an all-time low, and you were nearly paralyzed with depression — was your first response to go fuck another person?

No? But you had EVERY EXCUSE! Clearly your spouse didn’t love you! You were depressed! Your marriage SUCKED!

But you didn’t blow your boss, did you? No, you danced furiously to save your marriage, didn’t you? You booked those shrink appointments and bought 50 infidelity books on Amazon. You asked yourself what you did to be so unlovable and how you could change.

Now then, cheaters — let’s say for the sake of argument — were confronted with the same stressors: depression, lack of love, sucky marriage — so why didn’t THEY dance furiously, book shrink appointments, and ask themselves how they could change?


This is fucking common sense, therapists! I’ll say it again — we don’t MAKE people hurt us. You no more made someone cheat on you than you made them shove your head through a plate-glass window. I’m sorry, you were irritating me with your Donald Trump memes… I had to hit you. Look, you might seriously be irritating. You did NOT make that person HIT you. They CHOSE to hit you. That was their crappy response to perceived irritation. Should you stop sending Donald Trump memes? Perhaps you should. BUT THAT WON’T PROTECT YOU FROM BEING HIT. Next it will be the way you cook oatmeal, or part your hair, or parent your children. Until the abuser’s ENTITLEMENT to hit (cheat) is addressed, the “provocations” are moving goal posts.

Here’s an example of this horse shit someone sent me this morning, from “AH Resources.”

Perhaps one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the past condition of your marriage. I am in no way suggesting that the affair was your fault. It wasn’t. However, if you hope to enjoy a restored (and, perhaps, improved) intimate connection with your spouse, you will need to recognize your own missteps in the dance of your marriage.

The affair isn’t your fault, except that it is. We only ask people to “accept responsibility” for things that ARE THEIR FAULT. Otherwise, why mention it?

I’m not saying that meteor hit was your fault. I’m by no means suggesting that 700 burnt acres and that crater had anything to do with you. But one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the condition of your planet.

Yes, if you’d only practiced better forest management, that meteor would never have obliterated Caldwell County.

Jones, you didn’t really ask me a question, but you did give me an opportunity for this public service announcement. We Don’t Make People Cheat On Us. It’s on THEM.

Thank you.

This column ran before. I’m away for the holidays. Fresh snark deliveries next week. 

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.
  • Cheaters cheat because they are cheaters.

    I now know this. It has nothing to do with me.

    • Mine cheated “TWICE” in our family home because he felt “ENTITLED”, and I served him “DIVORCE” papers at work because I was “ENTITLED”!????????????

      • I actually walked in on mine, in our home. Talk about entitlement! A week before I moved out she had the audacity to ask me to pick up toilet paper on my way home from work, like nothing fucking happened. So now I’m feeling entitled to finish paying the retainer and have her served with divorce papers. I love Tracey’s analogy on the meteor! Spot on as always.

  • I wanted to wish everyone happy holidays.

    I got away from my ex (let’s call him Twatcock) a little over 2 years ago. He tried various ways to punish me for leaving varying from financial ruin to physical threats. I have to say that after the fall-out, my life without Twatcock is 1000% better – peaceful and relatively calm.

    Thank you to Tracy and Chump Nation. I really couldn’t have made that first step to get away without you.

  • When a column has run before I always wonder about the letter writer. Did Jones find a good therapist? I finally did. When I heard my earthbound angel of a therapist pronounce “Adultery is abuse.” it was as if “the heavens had opened and a great light shone upon on me.“

    I worked to find a good therapist. I went through several therapists who tried to get me to be responsible for my STBX’s choices. I would leave a session feeling beat up and STBX would look gleeful. Yup, I made the mistake of getting marriage counseling with a cheater. Don’t bother. They only use the therapist as another way to punish you. Bitter experience confirms Chump Lady’s wise counsel.

    Jones, I hope you are cheater free and living the good life. Merry Christmas Eve eve, dear Chump lady and Chump Nation.

    • Every single one of the gladdest of the season’s glad tidings to CL and CN.

      I thought I was well on the way 2 1/2 years out, but in the last month or so hit a few setbacks. The Delusionist pulling a few master strokes of smug sucky image management plus abandonment and accusations from Switzerland (so-called) friends and family. Finding myself back in the “maybe I AM the monster after all” territory. I never realised how many gas lighters I had in my life. It’s sad and it’s scary.

      But when I start being overcome with doubt and woe, it’s here I can remember that I really am ok. And what’s happened to me and my kids is mindfuckery of the highest order. People really just don’t get it.

      Thank you thank you thank you CL and CN for helping me stay sane. I’d be so lost without you.

      • I’ve said before that my ex-wife channels Mary Poppins (practically perfect in every way). She started a week after I said I wanted a divorce and continues to this day. If I’m not feeling 100% I can easily start to think about all the things I wish I had done differently. Her image management is really that solid.

        However I have recordings of her and phone backups of her at her very worst behavior. Also, a list of every shitty thing I can remember her ever doing.

        When I doubt myself I go back to those to remind me. Also, I remind myself on the difference in attitude towards both of our unwanted behavior. When I was confronted with behavior that was inappropriate, I could say that I wished I didn’t do it. My ex-wife, on the other hand, would typically say “I never did that”, “that’s not true”, or “I didn’t do anything wrong”.

        Gaslighting really screwed up my head without actual proof. Even now with proof my ex has tried to gaslight. Shortly after the last D-Day I mentioned that I didn’t trust her going a particular place by herself and wanted to all go together. She said she’d take our child but I didn’t have to go. I explained that having our kid with her didn’t stop her from cheating before. She went off on me with such conviction and masterful gaslighting. I pulled up her phone backups and showed her exactly where she had left our child alone with a distraction (but in a public place!) to go fuck the AP. She cried and ran away to the bathroom and locked the door. Stayed in there for an hour and came out like nothing happened. Said she was ready for us to all go together.

        Always have something to remind you how much they suck! Sometimes you’ll need it.

        • SPF— in my opinion, your ex-wife seems like a sociopath — what you described is terrifying. Mary Poppins isn’t real. And to me, even that story is flawed— Poppins wasn’t perfect.

          I hope you stay as no-contact as possible with kids— the longer you do, the faster you will change this story you are telling yourself about her “perfection.” She’s a cheating, lying, child-endangering, using, discarding, soulless woman with no empathy or integrity. Perfect?! No way in hell those traits would be “perfect” to anyone.

          She’s a master manipulator, though.

          Sending Chump Nation strength to you!

          • Thank you very much Motherchumper99! Believe me, I know her “perfection” is just an Oscar winning performance! Until I got copies of her phone backups, I rarely got more than a glimpse behind her mask. She can play innocent victim better than I thought possible. Perhaps she is a sociopath…who knows?!

            I’m at minimal contact now. Trying to keep it that way. Knowing her, there’s a new way that she’ll try to engage with me coming. The last time she was confused about a replacement part for her house (she bought me out in the settlement). Several messages about it over a couple of days. She made comments on how she never understood that stuff and how I was so much better at dealing with that sort of stuff. I ignored it all because it was BS. She’s repeatedly shown she’s more than capable of dealing with such things. She played the self-pity and charm card throughout. Zero rage even though I ignored her. Kept saying she wished I wasn’t so jaded that I’d even ignore an honest request for help from her.

            I know it’s all an attempt to get kibble. However, I guess I can’t understand because I’m not addicted to the stuff. It’s manufactured nonsense to make me feel like I look bad for not buying into it.

            • Congratulations on resisting the bait! You XW sounds pretty similar to mine. I have occasionally succeeded in nipping these conversations in the bid by saying “I have no further information about X” or “I don’t have any particular way to solve X that isn’t also available to you”.

        • Imagine a bubbly First grade teacher who can keep the children engaged and the parents charmed.
          That is my cheating XW.
          But the emails, receipts and photographs don’t lie. They are stashed away in a locked briefcase. Everytime a Switzerland friend or relative speaks well of her my vision becomes like that of Superman. From where I am I can see through the briefcase and review reality again.
          Sometimes I think I need to throw that briefcase away, just to mark the end of my healing, but having it keeps me anchored to truth.

          • Exactly!!!!

            There’s something extremely disturbing about my ex-wife’s ability to play her persona so well. The last D-Day I told the AP’s wife what I discovered. It exposed ex’s lies to enough people that it killed her position in some of her community activities. Ex was on full damage control trying to salvage what she could.

            The first thing she raged at me about was the fact that I destroyed everything she worked so hard to build. Took me a while to understand that she meant that the church and community no longer saw her as someone to be trusted.

            Zero mention about how our family was destroyed. Nope, her image in the church and community was more important.

            Still, she’s got the damage control process down pat. Channel Mary Poppins for as long as possible, to as many people as possible. Most people really don’t understand. After enough time, almost anyone will think that she either changed her ways or was a victim of false accusations. Lord knows I thought that too.

            I definitely don’t think that way anymore!

            • The XW gained a new reputation in the school district where she worked. An acquantance worked inside the district office and told me she had become quite the sorry joke as result of her adulterous misadventures there.

            • WOW It hasn’t dawned on me after 2 1/2 years that the comments my X was making was based on his image to others!! He made comments like, “Well, I guess you told our neighbors and your family”!!!! I just looked at him!!! It took me by surprise and I was still in the initial shock stage (1st week of DDay). Now, I’m sitting here reading all your posts tonight and DUH my little lightbulb goes off!!! He didn’t give a rats ass what I thought but, his image was the most important!!! He now lives 4 hours away and I haven’t had any contact with him since August, 2018 when our divorce and was final. No children here and am so glad I didn’t have any!!! Merry Christmas to Chump Lady and all Chump Nation!!! May 2020 be the best yet!!!

        • I do this as well. Whenever I have doubts as to whether my cheating ex- wives were really that bad, I reflect back on some of the truly egregious abuse they dished out, specific instance that are mind boggling.

        • SweetPotatoFlakes,

          Good Lord. You and some of the others are giving me a sick feeling in my stomach right now. You’re all describing a person very much like my FW XW. VERY good at maintaining the deception of being near perfect, unless confronted w/the blatant truth of her words and actions. Even then, she probably wouldn’t say anything apologetic.

          She’s a local politician, and she’s got a good portion of the local populace thinking she’s such a wonderful person, too, even after blowing me and our family apart. It’s frightening. She’s doing it very well w/our three kids, as well. That’s sickening, but I’m dealing w/it.

          She admitted to me before she left me and our son (our only minor left in the family) for her rich, married for 40 years boss that she thinks there’s something wrong w/her (now her former boss but still current partner, as she got fired for unethical conduct in the workplace. Not him though. He shits gold both personally and work-wise it seems, so…????). I, then in the middle of the pick me dance for the woman I thought I knew and continued to love stupidly, bit my tongue and said, “I don’t know that something’s wrong w/you, but there’s definitely something different.”

          I now KNOW there’s something wrong w/her. Either she has some type of personality disorder (narcissistic traits have been identified by me, but I don’t know if that’s the whole of it), bad character, or a mixture of both.

          Later on, you mention your XW was more concerned about her image in the community than she was about blowing up your family. I could very well believe my FW XW feels the same. She hasn’t come out and blatantly said it like yours, but her actions all point towards that. Hell, she told me when I confronted her on D-day that a major reason for her “partnering up” w/her (now) former boss is that as a former bigwig state politician, he’s going to “mentor and push her towards her goals in politics.” Ugh, I just ate lunch and I think I might have to hurl after repeating that shit.

          And I did hear from w/in her former higher ed, large workplace community that she was part of before D-day (but that her AP, who is still her current partner, is still the head of), that the scandal was huge. When you’re administrative assistant to the head of a state college system and it comes out that you, a 24yr+ married woman w/three children is betraying her loving husband’s trust and FUCKING him (in his former wife’s and his house to boot! ‘Cuz ya know, it’s close by their workplace), it’s hard for it NOT to be a scandal.

          So, yes. I keep writing back to you guys on stuff like this to remind me that the FW XW may act near perfect, but it’s just that: an act. She’s rotten on the inside, and so is her partner. It seems she’s not alone from your post and others, not to mention all the times CL has pointed it out. They are fucked-upped people, and we are MUCH better off w/out them. I’m so sad that others like yourself had to suffer this shit sandwich as well.

          Sorry for the lateness of this reply. I wish you, your family and all of CN peace and happiness, at least as much as possible, in the new year. CN, unite! Male chumps, unite! Female chumps, unite! [Ok, I think three unites is a good start to the new year.????]

  • Swedish friends said my hair, was the cause of ex cheating, or the skin colour, what the hell I’m I supposed to do about my skin. Why should I change my hair its my fucking hair.
    I’m on a lot of insulin which swells your stomach, and they complained about it.
    We are neighbours they actually look at your stomach, you think you are screwed up there are people more screwed up than you.
    Incidentally weight at docs was same, but had gone up 2 sizes, not that its anyone’s business.
    Her husband at the time used to go to Italy for group sex, with men, with fellow employees, she told me, who is she kidding.

  • Our therapist has been okay, though at first when we went there and I didn’t even know about my husbands ho-ho yet, it was all about why STBX wants to leave me, why is he not feeling well, what I need to do… and he was happy to just sit there with his lies and let me do the pick-me-dance I didn’t know I was doing because he denied having another woman.

    But many church members have suggested that perhaps I wasn’t giving STBX enough sex. Granted, our previously great sex life dwindled to barely there after our daughter was born but he did not initiate sex anymore – I did occasionally but he wasn’t very enthusiastic. And yeah, I was super tired and had a lot of health problems.
    Well, he had started the affair with ho-worker. Just recently – after I found out more crap about him, like the fact that he’d been buying drugs in the dark net and got caught once and got convicted and fined for it – he has been more into me sexually than ever since daughter was born 11 years ago. What is that about? An inkling of a thought of maybe possibly losing me? There was some hysterical bonding sex. I was a mess after finding out the latest.
    But yeah. It wasn’t about me turning him down for sex. And even if I had done so, the proper response would be to talk to me about the problems and suggest couple’s therapy or something.
    It makes me mad. Like there is ANY EXCUSE to casually cheat on your wife FOR YEARS until finally dumping her for the ho-ho, then crawl back with the sadz, then continue the mindfuckery and sociopathic behavior..
    The victim blaming is shameful.

    • Do I understand that you’re still with him? Please go see a lawyer and start making steps to get away. You are endangering yourself and your child by staying with a man who is “buying drugs on the dark net.” And find yourself another church. Pronto.

      • He would not leave and so I’m moving out with my daughter in a couple if weeks while he’s away on a business trip. He knows I’m moving. I don’t like being in the same house as him but I know it would make my daughter upset to not be at home. He could stay at his dad’s house but won’t.

        • If he’s going away in a business trip can you not send his things to his dad’s while he is gone?

  • This column has sky parting revelations and validation every single time I read it as it applies to therapists and friends and family who don’t call it like it is.

    For me this is a particularly good year for my ex’s Switzerland family who now has to deal with him and his antics 7 years post divorce. At D day they smugly swept me and my reality of what their beloved son (brother, uncle) did by his adultery then abandonment and financial harm to me.l right under the proverbial rug. They retold the “situation” as well to suit their impression management. They said things like, “I takes two to end a marriage”, “You never really know what goes on inside a marriage”, “He loves his kids and is a great father” and the worst, “Poor guy he deserves to be happy. This is hard on him.”

    Now they see because you can make up the current facts of his life now that I left even though he’s 1,000 and hides 95% of what he does, the truth eels out. He has gone through a slew of very young girls, (now dates one younger than our youngest daughter who cannot bear to look at him), lost a fortune in a business he started but likely gave half assed attention to, threatened suicide, writes rambling texts and emails to be kids about how they don’t support him are hurting him and was recently arrested twice in a month which his family found it on an innocent Google search of his name looking for LinkedIn profile ????

    So now I am still yesterday’s news to them but I no longer care. I didn’t want this validation and it’s sad this is where he is. But, I’m free! It’s not my problem and he is their problem now. No tag backs!

  • Fuck, I love you Chump Lady. Your words saved me 3 years ago. Key words, triangulation (remove yourself), trust that they suck, no contact etc etc
    We are more than worthy…
    Disclaimer: One or two Christmas beverages may have been consumed in the making of this post. Love you Chump Nation! xxx

  • Moving goal posts… every time it was brought to my attention that I was doing something “wrong” (not to her liking) I would change my behavior and every single time she would simply find something new that I needed to change.

    I didn’t realize what was going on at the time, looking back it must have been very frustrating for her, she was trying to get me to leave. No way was I leaving my kids with a whacko.

    Eventually I won, she ran out of ways to try to get me to leave, so he left. And told the kids it was a mutual decision, which they didn’t believe, and asked me for the truth, so I gave it to them.

    Although it worked out for me, it was 3 years of misery and I would not recommend that anyone try to keep up with the moving goal posts.

    If someone is moving the goal posts on you, they’re not suffering from mental illness, they don’t need help, they know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t play their game, confront them and ignore their goal post moving, at the very least.

    • Thank you! I am in the process of divorcing a cheater and covert narcissist, but I repeat myself. He has made several “attempts” to save our marriage (read: all he does is talk about what he is going to do, should be doing, etc.), and every time his true nature surfaces he goes all, “from this moment forward.” It’s obvious he isn’t serious so there is no point in prolonging the pain. Rip the band-aid off and plow forward.

  • When cheater realized I knew, and we were sitting across from each other at a table and I was describing with incredible detail how I knew he was lying then and that all cheaters suffer from the delusion of grandeur that makes them think trickle truth is better… at one point he said ‘ok but if we stay together you have to change too.’

    And I looked at him and said ‘Um… how exactly is that?’
    Cold, dead eyes. No actual definition of anything I could be that was wrong. Because this isn’t about not being enough it’s about selfish entitlement and desire to have power and use and abuse . Keep that pivot plan to yourself ass wipe I’m done.

    I used to be funny. I used to be full of wit about this. Sarcasm was my strong suit. Now it all just makes me grumpy. So many people out there ruining lives. Awful.

    • Creative— I got the exact same response from XH, including the cold shark eyes…. chilling. When pressed, he finally cane up with “you must sign an agreement that you will always speak kindly to me and never criticize me.” This was after he was caught red handed cheating with the young OW by our kids on Christmas— we had been married 25 years at that point…. ABSURD! It’s laughable now but in my pick-me terror I signed the agreement for my conduct he drafted….. he left anyhow for young OW. Later, other OWs came forward….. sickening. It went back 20\+ years! All while having kids, having sex 3-5 times a week, him telling me I was his beloved wife and best friend blah blah blah. Liar! He lies about anything and everything.

      • Yep. That’s the story.

        Well. It’s different but the bones are the same. Sad man can’t express self, except when he rages and manipulated and guilts and uses my weaknesses against me. When he makes me feel like nothing I do is right and he has to put up with me because no one else would and yet swings the pendulum and says I’m perfect. And then spends tons of money on hookers and knocks up a coworker.

        Now we are separated and heading for divorce once the albatross of shared property is dealt with. And he is soooooooooo butthurt because I am far away and he has had to deal with this issue on his own- he had to yell at contractors and condo board people yknow. He had to drive to view the repairs yknow. He should be compensated…. because I should be doing half of this. Gawwwwwd. Poor poppit i don’t know how he managed with the emotional internal backlash using his angry voice with paid people who are failing him, not after all the years of training and practise he got using it to gaslight me into thinking I was nothing but dirt. Hmm. How he ever managed to ask them to fulfill their contract. How much should I pay him for being the one who drives 8 minutes out of his way after work every 5-7 days to check on the status of the rebuild. That’s worth at least 3 rub and tugs from a ho, right? I’m sorry I guess I should ask for a price list, I’m not up to speed with how much a visit to ‘Ay pappi escorts’ is anymore, I don’t see them on the credit card receipts while I wonder where all my money goes anymore (here’s a hint I never saw the bills I just blindly paid them. Never again.)

        No. My life isn’t mired in that tumult anymore. I still have a pretty bad panic disorder situation going on and I struggle with getting things done as if I am recovering from a brain injury. I often feel like I am failing at everything. I often worry that I will lose all the people who love me because I am going to make cookies wrong or not express things right. I am overly expressive to these people because I just want them to know I care and ex called me the ice queen so obviously I didn’t show enough (although most people I know think I am a cuddle bug once they are through my shields and armour. Hmmm. Gaslighting) I have no way to suggest an amount of compensation for that and I am not paying a forensic accountant to go through 15 years of bills scattered and hoarded across Canada to tell me that he spent a shit ton on pussy that wasn’t me, and that because of that I have massive debt, because I already know it. And I just don’t care.

        I will be free of the louse this year. He can go be better or worse with someone else- he seems to already have one and that makes me happy because I want him to not focus on me and how I wronged him. How does he get to be the cheater and the bitter boiler bunny at the same time (he is so bitter. I get a lot of vitriol because I am grey rock and he hates it, then moves to charm and self pity and then back)

        Well. What really matters is he is far away, and I’m working on me, and I was pretty lucky to find and enjoy chump lady before I knew he was a cheater, it was divine intervention because I knew the score as soon as I found those nasty stank panties in his pocket, and the mobile bill was a million pages long.

        Because of chump lady I went full ninja, I ended up backsliding like everyone, reconciling seemed like so something I should try, everyone is doing it, just like cocaine. Fuck that noise. It wasn’t possible.

        But now I’m ok. And soon I will be good. And someday I’ll be great.

        • Creativerational, sounds like your sarcasm is still alive and well. Some excellent, biting lines in your rant!
          Anger is good fuel for change, and I hope you allow your anger to propel you forward into a life that makes you happy, peaceful, and content. Once the divorce is out of the way, you can start channelling all that energy toward yourself instead of wasting it on a cheating, lying, gaslighting jackass.

        • Good article re: constructive use of anger:

          Creativerational, please be kind to yourself. You’re in shock. Shell shock. A very special kind of TBI. Your world has exploded out from under you.

          • Nemo, I am pretty good to me, thank you for the compassion. This isn’t new, I am now mainly a lurker but my discovery was several years ago, separation also several years past I haven’t had the funds and ability to cut the legal ties yet.

            I do however maintain a pretty comprehensive list of names for his awfulness and while I don’t wish him ill, I won’t cry if when the paperwork is done I never hear from him again.

            I’m on the side of meh we all want to be with a few bubble ups of anger, and some fucked up anxiety as battle wounds. But… awesome people dig scars, they are sexy proof that you survived. So I’m ok with it.

            We are all here for support to each other thanks so much for lifting me up.


    • “Sarcasm was my strong suit.” Same here! I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting it back.

      I got to where I wouldn’t use it anymore because I constantly felt like it created more issues. I thought my ex-wife would get confused about if I was being ironic or actually being serious. I started being completely literal about everything because I didn’t want to start a fight by her getting the wrong idea.

      I should have realized that it just made the eventual outbursts happen over almost anything. I’ve been raged at for even the most innocent of things.

      • Me too, SPF. I actually have a great sense of humour which my kids really get. Fuckwit didn’t get it most of the time so I had to rein it in. After my dad died, when we went back to the house after the funeral, he was “disgusted” because we were all telling funny stories about my dad and my mom was laughing along with it. Never heard of humour deflating a story you idiot? God I don’t miss him!

      • I feel ya SWP, I literally have to ask a question several times and get it just right or I get lied to, but it’s not really a lie because I didn’t ask the question properly or I get the third degree because my sentences don’t make sense. My post must be a great example of that.

        • It makes perfect sense to me! My ex would never read between the lines. Even extremely easy questions would be treated like they were confusing.

          The one that drove me insane was when I would ask her “what are you doing?” I’d say 70% of the time the reply would be “what do you mean?”

          Even saying “nothing” is a better response than that! How hard is it to misunderstand such a simple question?

          • She probably needed super specific questions in order not to trip up on lying. When your living double and triple lives, “what are you doing?” could be asking a lot of different things.

            I think it’s also part of gaslighting.
            My cheater always used words against me too, claiming that I didn’t “use words correctly”. For example I would say we should spend time with each other and get away for a bit without our child. He threw that back in my face after I found about the affair. He managed to find the time to spend with his howorker, (he was her boss) using vacation days and pretending to “work from home” ???? so they could be together during the day and screw. I yelled that he had managed to find the time for his hussy but he always claimed he was too busy for us. In a “there there” you’re such a simpleton tone, he claimed that I never asked him to take time off work to spend a day together but that I was really asking for a long vacation away together, and I should have been more specific. “You just don’t communicate well, nor do you use words correctly”.

            I have a Masters degree, but according to cheater it’s a failed rendition of Pygmalion here.

      • I just reread one of my first blogs where I describe a fight where the new Star Wars (the force awakens) came out and after watching it I wasn’t fan girl enough about it, I was listening to him extol how great it was and basking in liking it… (I actually knew he was cheating so I didn’t care anymore and was trying not to die but I play a good game, and I did like the movie, but I just don’t have questions or need to talk as nauseam about it) and that lack of enthusiasm was apparently just… reprehensible. He was absolutely irate, stomped out after a huge blow up at me and went and did god knows what with god knows who.

        Yep. The whole idea of making these people happy is a sham. Even when you’re trying hard to make sure they are happy and totally unaware that you know they are cads they will flip the switch just to make you feel like shit.

        • Everybody is different! What you love, I might hate and vice versa. So what?! Healthy people don’t have a personal vendetta against people who think differently than they do! Especially about trivial things such as style of entertainment. Sheesh!

    • “Sarcasm was my strong suit. Now it all just makes me grumpy. So many people out there ruining lives. Awful.”

      This is great. I feel the same. Thanks for saying it.

      Best wishes to you and your family, and happy new year!

  • Whenever anyone has asked me what I did to cause him to cheat my answer, thanks to ChumpLady, has been “I married a narcissistic asshole.” Had I not, he wouldn’t have cheated. It’s as simple as that.

  • Happy holidays all and remember they suck! This site continues to bring me comfort too. My children leave for a week long vacation with their dad, his ho-worker, and her three kids. And I keep eating the shit sandwich. The situation is so fucked up, it’s hard to believe it’s even real. The ho-worker just took my place and brought her 3 kids! WTF! I’ll be staying home with my boyfriend and my dog. Thank god for both of them. Sorry for the rant… but 3 years later it still hurts.

    Today’s rerun is good. I found a new therapist when the first one told me that my ex and I just need to go on vacation to patch things up! The second one held my hand as I left the asshole and saw him for who he is. Adultery is abuse. I just pray that I can teach my children how to love. I was never going to trust the Fuckwit again. He will always be a Selfish, Entitled, Asshole!

    Stay strong CN and thank you CL for your amazing words of wisdom.

    • Gosh PeaceAgain, we take so many hits for the sake of our kids. I think some of the real unsung heroes of this world are parents that smile and wish their kids a happy time, as they send them off for time with a pair of adulterers. That takes a ton of character and self restraint.

    • I was literally replaced overnight. I can’t even believe someone is so capable of such betrayal.

      • It is unbelievable- like a switch has been flicked and their attentions turned to someone else ☹️ And you are like a piece of sh1t on their shoe just in their way.

  • Nothing has made it more clear to me than when chumplady points out MY reaction to his cheating. Sure I had depression at that point. And I did not cheat. I had every reason and every right. I could have gone out and had a revenge affair. But I did not. I pick me danced. I had sex with him like my life depended upon it. I cooked, I cleaned, I made nice, I asked him out to dates, we went places and did things. I thought if we started back baby steps working on our marriage every day it would bring it all back and make it better than it was. I realize his cheating action is all on him. It’s HIS lack of character that caused him to cheat.

    In his own admittance after DDay, I am a “beautiful woman”. He “loves me”. So, that’s what you do to your beautiful wife that you love? You sneak around behind her back and bang a woman you work for down at her beach condo? For months? If not longer because I don’t know really how long it went on. That does not scream “I love my beautiful wife”.

    • I got “I never faked a snuggle”

      Of course you didn’t. I wasn’t doing terrible shit to you. I was just an imperfect human. I deserve to be loved. Really nice that you could snuggle me AND fuck your hos. Sure thing. Way to go.

      Gold Fucking Star.

      • Ugh the snuggle comment brought back a memory… when my stbx told me he no longer loved me, he was in a very dark place..blah blah … all while his much younger employee whore sat at the bar of the restaurant he took me to to tell me WTF. I had no clue she was the other woman. I knew her and we said hi to her when she walked in. We went home and snuggled while I assured him we’d be kind to each other and figure things out! The memories I try not to remember or unravel the skein except at times they are a good reminder about home fucked up the situation was and just how much he sucks!!

  • Chumps, the best screening question for a new therapist (or in general): “Is cheating abuse?”.

    Ask this right off the bat – not three sessions in.

    If the answer isn’t an immediate, “Yes!” – then run from that therapist.

    If this is your hair dresser – start to look for a new hair dresser.

    Chumps just don’t need these people in their lives. We have a right to this boundary.

      • Imagine a bubbly First grade teacher who can keep the children engaged and the parents charmed.
        That is my cheating XW.
        But the emails, receipts and photographs don’t lie. They are stashed away in a locked briefcase. Everytime a Switzerland friend or relative speaks well of her my vision becomes like that of Superman. From where I am I can see through the briefcase and review reality again.
        Sometimes I think I need to throw that briefcase away, just to mark the end of my healing, but having it keeps me anchored to truth.

    • 100%! I saw one therapist after Dday and X gave a release (after many threats to immediately divorce if he didn’t) for her to talk to the sex addiction counselor he had very reluctantly agreed to see (twice). After my counselor talked to that counselor she called and told me:”your X has no remorse, he is not going to stop cheating, he has no motivation or desire to change his behavior, he is a narcissist with borderline personality disorder, he will only continue to harm you, and you need to get away and divorce him as quickly as possible.” I was gobsmacked. I fired her on the spot….. but she was 100% right. Instead of heeding her words, I spent the next 5 months with the farcical sex addiction model and wasted thousands and was nearly suicidal and had PTSD from the blameshifting and rage that followed and occurred in the SA couples “therapy.”

      After I found CL and my guts to live I knew that I could not live like that (pick me dancing, with X’s continual cheating and blaming me) I told him to GTFO and I soon contacted that therapist and told her that she was right.

      I have almost zero confidence in the therapy model for chump recovery. To me, what has helped the most is going no-contact, getting best divorce attorney there is and fighting all the way through trial, focusing on building my best life possible, coming here everyday for support and perspective, and time. Meh is wonderful. But it took a 3+ years to get there.

      • That is very close to what our couples therapist said as our wreckoncilliation blew up. I am very grateful for her. She skilfully set up my XW to reveal her true character during therapy. She saw right through her.

    • Truth. I have zero tolerance for this from anyone. I walk away from conversations where others hold a different viewpoint. This is one area where I’m not open minded.

  • Merry Christmas, Chump Nation!
    X and I went together to therapy exactly twice. First time was with a counselor I had seen previously alone. X behaved rudely and counselor was intimidated. X said we had been discussing him behind his back (well,duh!).
    He found another male therapist. Refused to see a female. I told the therapist how much X drank and about his nasty alcoholic behavior. Therapist asked him and he confirmed. The counselor said, “so you are self-medicating.”
    That was the end of that therapist. X raged about that guy for months.
    CN is right. Going for therapy with someone having a half-assed attitude and wanting to protect their secrets, lying in counseling….is utterly useless.

    • “Self-medicating” is too often used as spackle that denies the fact that a drinker drinks because a drinker is an alcoholic–an addict.

  • We went to several marriage counselors. One was trying to send me veiled messages to leave, after she had confidential sessions with both of us. Messages that I was too naïve to comprehend. Another said that I was too negative (ex loved that guy). A third told me that he was not equipped to help me because my ex was too bizarre in his behaviour (gee thanks). Group marriage counseling consisted of listening to 6 pairs of couples who had cheated on each other, and now had even better, stronger marriages because of it. Those sessions drove me into a major depression And gave ex TONS of ammunition to hold over me.

    Never do joint counseling with a cheater. And be careful of individual counselors as well. If they don’t condemn cheating they are idiots.

  • Therapy, with GREAT therapists, was a regular ongoing part of our entire 27 years together, at my request when we got together. We met in recovery
    (AA) and both came from troubled alcoholic families with domestic violence added in. I did not want to waste time recreating what we grew up with and I thought he was in agreement.

    Now I don’t know how much he participated or how long he was lying and about what. I was honest about what I thought, what I felt, what I wanted, what I was doing, and who I was with. He was not. It boggles my mind that he would hang out so long being deceptive in our situation. I can only assume I was of some very important use to him which I to this day do not know.

    Of the therapists who have been part of our lives… whom we saw for ten years said it’s not my fault he’s a jerk….the one we had been seeing for 11 years when I found out about the affair fired him for lying….all involved have told him he needs to get rid of the affair partner if he ever wants to repair things with our daughter.

    For the first time in his life he is going to a therapist on his own by himself. And he is still lying and keeping secrets!!! TWO YEARS AFTER DDAY! Geez. Proof that divorce is a good idea.

    I could not be more grateful for my therapist pit crew.

  • After D Day and the discovery of OW 3 days later on our anniversary, I danced like crazy and he agreed to counseling. We ended up going for 5 months, yep I was a glutton for punishment. He lived 2 hours away and would drive in on weekends for counseling, We went for 1 hour and then he talked to the counselor alone for 1 hour. I always left angry and hurt, after an hour of listening to how my communication style caused his cheating. Well on the day I found out he was still seeing OW and I called the counselor to end our sessions, and the counselor was shocked, “Why would he lie about seeing her, he even lied to me???????” I was so tempted to tell him it was his communication style….

    Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!

    • “I was so ready to tell him it was his coomunication style”
      Thanks for the laugh.
      Merry Christmas CN and Thankyou CL.

  • If I knew then what I know now, I never would have went down the crazy rabbit hole with the mind-fxcking, lying pastor. He was the first person I went to. Dday happened less than 12 hours before I met with the pastor. I told him that I caught my husband out on a date with a newly divorced whore (didn’t use those words). Gave him all the details I knew at the time, including all the many lies my husband told me in order to go out on that date and all the many lies he told after he got caught. The first thing out of my X pastors mouth was, “How often do you have sex?” Yep! Here came the first of many questions and accusations that pointed to me sharing the blame for his cheating. I should have run right out of his office, but I didn’t because I didn’t know better. I went on to meet with the pastor, along with my husband at least six more times. And every single meeting I felt beat up, confused and to blame for his cheating and for not understanding why he needed to have “healthy female friends”. I would not be the least bit surprised that the pastor is a cheater himself and his “happy, blessed family” is a big show. Only time will tell.

    • I asked my priest for a marriage friendly counselor and he recommended someone. We met together, then separately, then together again. The counselor then asked for me to stay and said my husband was lying, that I was much stronger than I think I am, that I should get a good lawyer and I would be happier without ex. I went through the Catholic church and in almost no time the priest-picked therapist to get out
      Still took me months and months to get it.

      • Pulmafool, that’s so great your church recommended someone who saw your X for the liar that he is and also gave you great advice. My X pastor actually did recommend two counselors for me (my XH had me 100% convinced that I was the problem and had “trust issues”) and they both were very wise and had my back. The first counselor was the first person who said to me, “He sounds like he’s a narcissist.” This was five years ago and way before I found CL and many other books and materials which help me see that I was dealing with a very disordered person. Like you, it took me a very long time to “get it” and believe it to be true.

  • Me and ex-narchole never went to therapy. I suggested it because we had started disagreeing and fighting. He told me a therapist would tell him he was wrong; and that he needed to change. About a month later I found out he was involved with a drug addicted prostitute and had been since the time we started disagreeing and fighting. Therapy would have been pointless; so I filed for divorce!

  • In a similar vein, there is one phrase I hate hearing more than anything else in the English language. Of all the infinite combinations off words, the endless possibilities of phrases and sayings:

    “You should focus on yourself.” (Also comes in other flavors such as “You should love yourself before you can love someone else” or “You should learn to be happy alone first.”)

    I fucking hate this phrase. Before anyone starts attacking me, here’s why:

    It is almost always said by someone who isn’t even remotely close to empathizing with my experience, and often said by people who have also just done something profoundly hurtful and are using it as a way to make it my fault. My painful reaction isn’t because they’ve done something selfish, hurtful, narcissistic, or cruel, it’s because I don’t love myself enough. It’s my personal failing that I don’t just “let it go.” (Sidenote: …Elsa was full of shyte. Abandoning your kingdom and building an ice castle in a remote tundra and blocking everyone out isn’t letting it go.)

    It all carries the same subtext: “How is this your fault?” “What part of you isn’t good enough?” “What personal failing of yours can I blame this on?”

    Is it important to have self-esteem? Yes. Is it important to be self-sufficient? Of course. Is it important to value yourself? Absolutely.

    But telling someone who is experiencing a painful end to a relationship, or someone who is experiencing the pain of betrayal, or the realization that they have been used by someone they’ve loved, that they need to “work on themselves” is kicking someone when they’re down. And every time I’ve heard it, I’ve felt like my actual words and feelings are being ignored.

    Have I encouraged others and fellow chumps experiencing pain to do something good for themselves? Yes. If your ex or soon to be ex always told you that your hair color was stupid, or didn’t let you cut it in a way you wanted to, go do that. Or if it’s been a long time since you had your nails done because you were always so busy kissing your cheater’s ass, go get a no-chip. Sometimes a small treat can help bring a little positive light on the day.

    But you will never see me telling someone any variation of phrases that implies the situation is their fault because they didn’t love themselves enough. Ever.

    That will go in the trash with all the other word salads.

    • Agreed, validation is what is needed. Do not tell someone they need to love themselves, be better and let it go… Tell them Cheater sucks and they did not deserve this treatment!!!!

      I found an individual counselor that was the validation King, he told me I was full of love and just needed to be gentle to myself because my Ex abused me and that abuse causes so much pain and I should never forget I did NOT deserve it (repeated over and over again and many different ways until it sunk in). Accepting they suck and you do not deserve it is the start to moving forward without feeling guilty about grieving. Talking about it in a safe place for as long as you need too is ok, because everyone heals from abuse at different times.

      They suck and we are going to be ok … someday … Tuesday.

      • For me, it feels more like I am not deserving of love until I reach an arbitrary level of perfection that is always defined by someone else and constantly moving. And it makes me angry. It feels like everything I have achieved on my own, everything I’ve done for myself, and all forward progress I’ve made is being pissed on. It’s a condescending pat on the head “That’s nice sweetie, but you’re still broken.”

        Broken people don’t get to have loving partners, they don’t get to have dreams of a future family, they don’t get to have better lives. They have to “focus on themselves” and “work on being better” because that goal post just moved about ten more yards down the line…maybe if you just practiced mindfulness a few more times a day you could get…a little…closer OH whoops there it goes again, try harder.

        I first really started hating this when I was going through the worst of the pain after my last cheater about three years ago. Because it came from 1) Him. and 2) People who were either in long term relationships, engaged, or newly married. (I.E. people who were not even close to empathizing with my experiences.) It felt like I was trying to be honest about my pain and my words were coming out silent.

        And even now I hate it because since then, I have done so many mighty things. I’m in the middle of making a career change to emergency medicine and I know I’m GOOD at it and I belong there, and being there makes me happy. But god forbid I mention that I would like to eventually have a family.

        “You need to be happy with yourself first.” “You need to learn to be alone first” “You can’t be happy with a family unless you-”

        No. Shut up. The only person who gets to define what happiness means to me is ME. I get to decide what is good enough, and I get to decide that I am good enough to decide I want more in my life. I have done far to much to save my own life to have others dictate to me what my happiness should be. I’ve walked away from too much shit, too much pain, and listened to too many selfish people tell me their cruelty is my fault.

        • Yes. All of this. I hate the phrase “You can’t love someone/anyone else until you love yourself.”

          It is absolute BULLSHIT. I love hard. I have saved peoples’ lives countless times and continue to demonstrate love, empathy, and compassion toward every person and animal that has come across my path. I don’t yet love myself fully, but that does not negate the validity of my love for others. Thank you. I needed to read this today.

    • “Move on” or “moving on” pisses me off.

      I AM

    • Kara, what is your opinion on this phrase in the context of dating too early?

      • I hate the phrase no matter what context it’s used.

        There’s other ways to help someone who isn’t ready to date than tell them something with a subtext that they’re not good enough.

        -Remember to not ignore red flags.
        -Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
        -Be upfront about what you are looking for and don’t let yourself get caught up in puppy love and not think about the long term.
        -Be forthcoming about your concerns with your partners, don’t emotionally spill at their feet (see CL’s bit on emotional sewage) but be honest about what has happened to you and why you’re cautious.
        -If being in a new relationship scares you right now, it’s ok to wait.

        “Focus on yourself” “work on yourself” and “you need to be XYZ before you can love someone” all carry the connotation that there’s something fundamentally WRONG about you that has to be “fixed” before you’re allowed to want a partner. Like until you fill up a personal happiness thermometer drawn on a large piece of paper on the wall, you aren’t permitted to even download a dating app. It still sounds like there’s something about you that isn’t “enough.”

    • Yes! My ex took his hands from around my neck, as I begged him to finally move out, his parting words were “maybe now you’ll put yourself first”

      I just thought no I will continue to put the needs of our children first!!!!!

      I realised after that it was part of his justification for emotionally, financially and physically abusing me. So people telling me to “put myself first” is the absolutely last thing I ever want to hear!

  • Happy Holidays Chump Nation. My dday predates CL’s wonderful site. After 24 years of marriage and two children, the ex cheated. I did the internet search and only found unicorn chasing websites. There I discovered that if I took half the responsibility for the “breakdown of our marriage” which pushed him to an affair, we could rebuild it; better than it was before; like the 6 million dollar man. This sentiment was repeated in marriage counseling every other week for 5 months until I pulled the plug. There was something that always felt wrong about taking the blame for any of it but I couldn’t articulate it.

    I wasted 3 years after dday trying to save our marriage. I picked me dance to his heart’s content and I was a full time member of the marriage police force. One day a regular poster on my favorite unicorn site pasted a URL from CL’s site and I finally saw the light. It took the better part of that year to finally get the courage to tell him I was done but better late than never right?

    The cheating is bad enough but the blame shifting is just more abuse that’s piled on the chump and in some cases more hurtful. It was bad enough when he did it but to have a therapist do it was 10 times worse! So for all the newly minted chumps out there, know this isn’t your fault. You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you certainly can’t cure it. The cheating is on the cheater and no one else. Ditch the therapist, get a good lawyer and dump the cheater. It will be the best move you make in 2020!

    • It wasn’t the act of cheating itself that hurt so bad. It was the gaslighting, the deceit, the blameshifting, manipulation, the loss of trust and respect (on my part), eventually the full-on realization of the betrayal.

      • Well said, Miss Bailey. Adultery, especially when repeated, is often just part of the s–t sandwich combo of betrayal, mistreatment, and sometimes, outright severe abuse.

  • Cheater and I went to marriage counseling for the first time during bogus reconciliation. We were in the therapist’s office for at least two hours, and I doubt I said more than 20 words. Cheater spoke almost nonstop, and poured out all the gory details about his endless cheating with anonymous men, his affairs with multiple married women, his bizarre actions and plans. I hadn’t even known about all the stuff he shared and it was really upsetting, truthfully.

    At the end of the two hours when cheater finally stopped talking, the therapist sat quietly for a few minutes, and then said he did NOT recommend that we reconcile, he recommended we complete our divorce and focus on coparenting our son. He then gave us back the payment for the session. Unfortunately, it took me nine more months to realize that therapist was 100% right, and call it quits.

    I think my experience was unusual, though. I wish more marriage counselors were honest, and recommended divorce when it was obviously the best option.

  • We went a couple of times to marriage counselling but he HAD to choose the therapist. Had to be someone who spoke English so I wouldn’t have the advantage as my French was better than his (sidenote, after 30 years in France with free lessons available in work hours how did that happen fuckwit – you just too lazy to do the work?) Anyhoo, his “bestest friend in all the world” suggested a Brazilian lady so that’s where we went. When she one time asked him to stop shouting he said “she” makes me so mad I just can’t control my temper. So the lady asked him if he shouted at people at work and when he said no, she said “so you CAN control your temper, you just choose not to”! He stormed out and never went back, but she certainly helped me see that I wasn’t the one in the wrong. Then he decided she was on my side because she was a woman. You can’t win with a fuckwit. Glad Schmoopie “won” in the end!

  • We went a couple of times to marriage counselling but he HAD to choose the therapist. Had to be someone who spoke English so I wouldn’t have the advantage as my French was better than his (sidenote, after 30 years in France with free lessons available in work hours how did that happen fuckwit – you just too lazy to do the work?) Anyhoo, his “bestest friend in all the world” suggested a Brazilian lady so that’s where we went. When she one time asked him to stop shouting he said “she” makes me so mad I just can’t control my temper. So the lady asked him if he shouted at people at work and when he said no, she said “so you CAN control your temper, you just choose not to”! He stormed out and never went back, but she certainly helped me see that I wasn’t the one in the wrong. Then he decided she was on my side because she was a woman. You can’t win with a fuckwit. Glad Schmoopie “won” in the end!

  • I was very fortunate to have been referred to a fantastic individual therapist by the local domestic abuse center. No wishy washy bullshit. No being told to own any part of ex’s lunacy. I would not have even been in contact with those folks had the ex not turned violent at the end. At the time, I did not see his other behaviors as abusive, which of course they were.

    That resource is widely available, so please do use it if you are looking for a therapist who understands the cheater dynamic and will have your back from day one. Chumps shouldn’t be looking into themselves to find fault; they need to look into themselves to find courage.

    • Survivor,

      Could you be more specific about the resource? That would be a big help. Please and thank you.

      I really appreciate you letting us all know there’s something like that out there. Best wishes to you and your family, and happy new year.

  • About 5-6 years in I had reason to suspect x concubine was cheating. I had what I’d call an emotional breakdown even though I initially stuffed and muted my suspicions. It affected my ability to function at work and created concerns with my employer. I blew up one day stressed to the max and went off on a coworker I had worked with for years. She knew this was out of character for me and complained. This was my friend and she was always supportive of me. She taught me the art of schmoozing with Sales prospects which was a skill set my intellectual introvert ass needed. To this day she gets the credit for my success because of her inate ability to be comfortable meeting new people. Initially it scared the shit outta me.

    I ended up at the VA emergency room where I saw the on call shrink. A woman. She set me up with a physical examination and a Psychiatrist. My attending physician immediately recognized depression, informed me that angry lashing out at someone close to us was a red flag sign. He put me on a fast acting antidepressant and Prozac.

    I worked through it but kept that underlying suspicion of my wife. Post divorce I found burner phones and went through them. One had voice messages from several men. At the time x concubine went on image management, gaslighting DEFCON 1 and covered her tracks. She squelched my anxiety and I reverted back to trusting mode. A master manipulator NPD. I did implement a secret marriage police monitoring strategy but nothing appeared out of the normal. That monitoring process went on a year. I told myself it was All me and I didn’t trust my reality having no knowledge of cheating behaviors.

    FF another 7 years. She came home from work and detected something amiss in her character. She was present BUT NOT PRESENT. Later in bed that evening we got intimate. I sensed something TOTALLY WRONG. She had been with another That night. After she went to sleep I quietly got her phone and went to another room to have a peek. BAMM!! D day. I could not believe what I was seeing. She woke and saw her phone gone from the nightstand and running found me fully aware of her double life.

    I did all the chump RIC drills and even considered an Affair proof marriage weekend resort and the $399 tool kit until I found CL through a poster on a FB support group. I ordered my LACGAL Audiobook and began my chump masters degree course of study.

    Hopium was revealed to be the root cause of my desire to search out the RIC for a ‘Quick fix’ to time warp me back to my previous world of marital bliss.

    I didn’t fully buy into RIC from the beginning because I noticed two types of responses on the FB (and SI) webs. One was a RIC laced meme that ultimately lead to me pulling out a credit card. The other response was a meme of THEY SUCK! QUARANTINE and Fumigate if you want to live.

    Enter the model Tracy 1000 Terminator. She extended her hand and said “COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE”.

    My moment of Clarity was cemented. I’m physically Fuck wit free and divorced 2 years Aug 2020. I’m divorcing myself of the internal abuse stains x concubine left on my soul. The sanitation exercise is a Work in Progress with Absolute MEH the prize.

    Oh Yeah and the hope of meeting a genuine female with character to spend the rest of my days with. I’m going into 2020 with 20/20 vision about my relationship with the opposite sex.

    Come with me if you want TO LIVE

    • ML,
      “Model Tracy 1000 Terminator”….Love this 🙂
      Thanks for your post.
      As a female Chump I get so angry when women run the “all men are the same” bullshit line.
      Chump Nation is daily proof it doesn’t matter your sex or sexual orientation: when a relationship blows up there is always a cheater and and a Chump..
      God Bless you Chump Lady.
      Merry Christmas Chump Nation

    • Brilliant image. Terminator 1000 Tracy.
      Thank you for that. It’s a Christmas present.


  • After Sparkly Turd and I separated, I got dragged to a “reunification therapist” when my young teen son accused his father of verbal and emotional abuse and refused to return to his father’s house. I told the “therapist” that on DDay I witnessed the Turd telling my son (and my other children) about his AP and that he wanted a divorce to be with her.

    This quack therapist said my son blames his father for the divorce and so I should give my son “a new narrative” that includes “how you both did wrong in the marriage.” WTF. I’m supposed to tell my son he is wrong to blame his father when his father confessed to an affair and said he wanted the divorce to be with the AP right in front of him? Furthermore, I’m supposed to take this obviously abused kid (who at this point was showing signs of PTSD) and GASLIGHT him to what he experienced? HELL NO.

    I even caught crap with the parental coordinator and she dragged me into court for refusing to obey the quack, but I still refused. I will refrain from speaking ill of my ex to my children, but I do NOT need to participate in his image management, AND I will NOT further damage my children by denying them their own experiences. I really hate to think about how many of these quacks are out there hurting not only victimized chumps but also their victimized children.

  • I forgot to add, I’m currently reading “Look what you made me do” and while unlike many people I’m not particularly enjoying it (too much “Franc wrote this, and I wrote that”), she does describe how a narc can get into your brain through coercive abusive control and make you think everything wrong in your life is your doing, when in fact they are abusive! Just my two pence worth!

  • I think cheaters agree to go to counseling to keep up the farce. They know it will keep cake on the table. They know they can then rationalize “I went to counseling…” I notice that in posts here that the cheaters are RARELY making the appointments.

    I think counselors are deep in the belief that “it takes two” because what are the chances that they have cheated also OR that they were taught this philosophy by the university professors who are cheaters? 50%? 75%?
    It sounds reasonable so the naive pass it on.

  • Am I hoping for a Christmas miracle? It’s been two weeks since D-Day, and OTHER THAN telling me the full truth right away, my husband has said and done all of the right things (accepted that it is 100% his fault, listened to me whenever I expressed pain or wanted to talk about what happened, moved out when I asked him to, agreed that if I chose a divorce that I would get 100% of our assets, agreed to sign a post-nup if that’s what I want, been to individual therapy, scheduled couples therapy for us – which I declined to attend). He has even told his whole family what happened (even the really uncomfortable details) and told them that he knows it is all his fault. I told him that he would need to find a temporary living solution because I was not making any decisions about our future for at least 3-6 months. The hopeful part of me wants to believe this is the start of a permanent change. The CL part of me is very skeptical. It would be helpful to know whether anyone has any thoughts on how long it takes to believe that a change is permanent, or how long it took to discover that it wasn’t. Looking for some helpful input!

    • Dear Anon,
      I’m really sorry this happened to you. You are right to not make any reconciliation attempts. Chances of them succeeding are slim. If you want to read more about that, look at
      It will probably make your eyes more open to what has happened or is happening.
      Probably the first test is to let him put his money where his mouth is. Get everything in writing what he offered and make it legal and let him sign the papers. That wil give you a good indication of his long term thinking. He may ne serious, but most of us here have the experience that he is affraid of losing everything nd just says whatever it is he thinks you want to hear.
      Hope you have the support you need for the holidays.
      Stay strong. e are here for you

    • Get a lawyer now!
      He sounds like my husband at the time of my first DDay when I discovered his affair. When I saw a lawyer she gently said that he will be the most fair in dividing assets now for a short time. I ignored this invaluable advice, followed an RIC website, bent over backwards trying to make our marriage work. I thought we had reconciled and everything was wonderful again in our marriage. Then, 4 years later, he dumped me, tried to get me out of the house and has been hiding his assets. Cheaters lie.
      Here’s a glass of cold water and a 4×2 to wake you up:
      Read Chump Lady’s book.
      Get a Lawyer Now!
      (Hugs also, its the worst situation ever, and my heart goes out to you)

      • Thank you for the support and helpful advice! I just thought I would clarify two things in case it makes a difference for people’s advice.

        1. I am a lawyer and I have no delusions about the difference between people offering to do something vs. actually signing documents and doing it. I fully intend to draft contracts and have him sign those this week as protection.

        2. Frankly, it’s not even a money thing. I make 5x what my husband makes, and we don’t have many assets to divide up anyway. Even if he took half of what we have today, I wouldn’t really care, because I’m perfectly fine supporting myself on my own. I mostly want the protection for the future, and he knows a post-nup is my condition to even talking about moving forward together.

        • You might be paying him support in the future. Think about that. Get it in writing that he relinquishes any claim to your income or retirement.

        • You husband has done the MINIMUM that any decent human being would do.

          I suppose the bottom line is: is this acceptable to you? Will you be able to trust him ever again?

          Or are you thinking of compromising your legal career by giving most of your future energy to being the Marriage Police?

    • Anon,

      Lock up that post-nup and anything related to asset division. Get it in writing, signed and notarized, NOW. He may not be as remorseful or generous with the passage of time.

      • Ditto everyone who says get the documents written up. And stay wary. My ex tried to play mister nice guys, but meanwhile was hiding assets and making 6 figure purchases behind the scenes. They will say whatever they have to in order to get their way. Protect yourself.

    • You are gambling with your life. The odds are not not not not not good that he will change.

      How will you feel if (more likely, when) you find out he is still cheating?

      Can you live with what he did? This is not leaving milk out on the counter or squeezing the the toothpaste tube differently. This is DELIBERATELY FUCKING YOU OVER. You will ALWAYS be wondering if he is still doing it and you will NEVER know for sure if he isn’t. You never know with anybody, but HE has for sure shown you he has no problem enlisting a joint principal to throw you in front of a moving freight train.

      They all do the right things and everyone I know personally (lots!) found out they continued to cheat.

      YOUR SPOUSE IS AN ICEBERG TIP. They NEVER tell you everything…you could never verify it….and you would NEVER buy a HOUSE or a CAR without full disclosure….let alone choose a LIFE PARTNER?!!

      If a restaurant deliberately served you a poisoned fried rat and told you it was chicken, would you ever go back?




      • “A joint principal to throw you in front of a moving freight train”. This is where I can (finally) get angry. How fucking dare they? Planning MY future??

  • To be fair to the bad therapists who don’t get it, weren’t we all not seeing clearly until God parted the clouds and there stood Chump Lady with her glass of ice cold water in one hand and her 4×2 of Snark in the other?
    Plus, my cheater, lying XHole was a perfect smooth con man.
    He conned me for over 20 years, so of course, he can con a naive therapist for an hour.
    Even conned the judge in family court.
    People really don’t get it unless they’ve experienced it and the simple words “it takes two….” lets me know instantly if they are asleep to the truth.
    Thanks Chump Lady.
    Merry Christmas Chump Nation

    • Well said, Enough Already. I, too, have seen a con husband (my now ex-husband) work his magic.

      I know very effective, perceptive, and compassionate therapists, as well as those therapists who are the complete opposite, leaving me wondering, ‘How did this person get licensed?’

      Five years since my abusive, adulterous husband left and two years since my abusive last boyfriend (guy I thought was my friend for 30 years) left for other women, (No ‘real’ dates since the man I admired most left over two years ago to almost immediately marry extremely successful, young work subordinate.) I am still trying to recover from the scars of being told and shown that I’m ‘not good enough.’ Sadly, these overt and covert signs of disrespect have affected my ability to progress in school and work (successful application to jobs) to support my family. It’s really tough to write policy papers on ways to address major global problems (global warming, poverty, etc.) and earn 99th percentile on a graduate entrance exam in order to coach it when one feels as though she is too traumatized to add two and two or write even one coherent short sentence. (Out of full-time work for a year, in spite of submitting hundreds of tailored applications to get a wide variety of jobs at various levels, job fairs, workshops, books on job searching, career coaching. I am getting extremely worried about my family. I don’t care any more what happens to me. I am ‘ok’ with living on the streets or in my car. A few weeks ago, I gave first aid to a homeless man who had been hit by a car and probably died within a couple of hours. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to get fatally hit. I’d rather not die violently and painfully, but death itself would bring some relief.) I am extremely scarred, feeling embarrassed and ashamed at spectacularly falling down again and again on easy tests and easy interviews for excellent world-benefiting and life-altering for my family (due to high-salary) jobs. (I have thought about apologizing to my interview panels for responding so poorly, awkwardly, incorrectly in interview.) I am worried that my professional and personal reputations are taking a hit as a result of all this falling down. But I can’t quit trying, as much as I would like to stop humiliating myself, because I must support my family and have virtually no income. I can’t even use youth as an ‘excuse’ for my shortcomings as I am now in my fifties. It would be wonderful if I could turn back time to do things right or at least erase people’s memories of my screw ups. I can’t even join a Buddhist/Catholic convent as I am too old to be accepted. I feel no hope of a better future (at least for me) and wish that I had never been born. I look forward to my life ending once I have organized my paperwork to ensure that my kids will get whatever money to which they are entitled (and need) and will be supported and guided by a good caregiver (not just their father). I have repeatedly tried numerous approaches to get out of less than ideal situations and mindset to no avail. I don’t know what else to try to improve things. The only things I can think of I can do to help the world is donate my body to science.

      • Raw you have been through hell. I have a brilliant friend who has not gone through any trauma in her late 40s, ivy league education, law school, etc. She has applied for everything from her field to dog Walker and has gotten nothing. Her local economy is terrible. I have another friend, a career changer who is never married, no kids, no responsibility. She just asked to borrow $1000 because she cant find work and also cannot plan. You have been through so much and are so hard on yourself. Keep plugging. All you need is a little bit of luck. People are more understanding and compassionate than you know. Just stop blaming yourself, hold your head high. You are the kind of woman who stops to comfort a hurt, homeless man. I wish I knew you in real life. Be proud of yourself and look forward. Wishing you so many good things.

      • RockStarWife,
        I second GHG and am sending you a virtual hug.
        My cognitive capacity and functioning have been affected too, and it’s a long slow path to recovery.
        Please be gentle with yourself, and call a Help Line immediately if you think you are going to self harm.
        I have had to call them a few times myself.

  • The last therapist we went to didn’t hold my ex accountable not only for his affair-but also for the fact that he wouldn’t even call it an “affair” and referred to it as, “We got coffee together. We got a lot of coffee together.”

    I think I must have reminded the therapist of some girl she hated in high school…

    Fast forward 10 years-I moved out, bought my own house and am one billion times happier.

    I’m still going through the divorce a year after I moved out. He won’t give me any of his retirement-so I’m fighting for it. Unfortunately-he has mistaken this for me not “letting (him) go.” He is “asking my kindly to let (him) go.”

    “Yeah-I’ve let YOU go years ago-it’s half your retirement which I am owed that I’m not letting go of. Don’t flatter yourself….”

    • Well done, Stronger Now! I wish you luck in getting retirement funds that you are due! Some of these exes really are full of themselves!

  • I’m on my second counselor but she specializes in narcissism. My first counselor was good but had no idea how to help me with the character disordered. I really owe pretty much All my healing to cl and CN. I understand and internalized many ideas and concepts to help me on my gaining a life journey. People just don’t get it until it happens to them. It’s amazing how the trama bonds, magical thinking, hopium, anxiety, and health issues have disappeared since doing low contact, No contact, grey rock, reading cl, and working out. That pos was holding me back from being me. A happy person.

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    • I think it is the exception to the rule if you find a cheater who does not have a personality disorder.

  • We got coffee together? They are such idiots. Tell him ur going for coffee with his retirement. Dick. Get what ur entitled to now!

    • Poconochump-that’s a good one ????????.

      These narcs are absolutely off the charts certifiably NUTS!

      That’s awesome that you found a therapist who specializes in Narcissistic behavior!!

      • So true! Ha. Ha. I went on the website psychology today and found someone who specializes in narcissist personality disorders. Didn’t want to be hopping chair to chair.

  • I discovered my husband of 42 years had been having a long term affair and was living a double life. He had convinced me he was impotent after prostate surgery, and for a decade we had a “dead bedroom”. I was pissed. I quickly filed, he did not contest, and I ended up with 2/3s of the marital assets. (I was the higher wage earner throughout the marriage.)

    I never went to counseling. I was a well functioning professional, and did not believe that counseling for a basically healthy person would be worth the money. Instead I journaled my rage and my grief, and used the money that would have gone to therapy for an eyelift and vaginal laser resurfacing. Now, 10 months after DDay, I am happily dating a very passionate man 2 years my senior.

    Sounds like that was a better use of my money.

  • The day after dday, ex announced he wouldn’t go to counseling because it would just give me hope that wasn’t there. It was the only bit of truth that came out of his mouth after I found out about the Owhore the day after Christmas 10 years ago.

  • An acquaintance once asked me, upon finding out my husband had cheated on me,”was I a bad wife?” I laughed, although it bothered me enough that I remember it I guess, but I laughed (my default) and told him “He didn’t cheat because I was a bad wife. He cheated because he was a bad husband.” he looked stunned at this simple reply, and now, years later, we’re friends, and he doesn’t ask stupid questions anymore 🙂

  • I have never been in therapy, never really felt the need or wanted to make the time, but I am also lucky enough to have a very strong support group so that sufficed for me. I highly recommend therapy for anyone struggling, even if they have sufficient support through friends and relatives. That said, while there are great therapists sometimes not all people “click”. Nothing wrong with that but both parties should recognize this more than likely will not work out and move on. Then there are therapists that have absolutely no business working in this field. Currently I know a woman, changing careers rather late in life from what has been a lucrative career in finance to now pursuing a career in therapy. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a dream at any age, but she has no business being anyone’s therapist. She is extremely bright, articulate but she herself is mentally hanging on by her fingernails. Her political views are extreme and she perceives anyone that does not align with her extremism as the enemy. She labels nearly everyone a narcissist, tends to be paranoid (sees insults or innuendos where none are given) and basically is a very sad angry woman. While I could give some great examples, I hesitate to do so as if she came on to this site it would be very obvious. This woman is a law abiding citizen and does not pose a threat to society but as a therapist I can’t even imagine.

  • This is a classic.

    At the root of this problem is that even some (too many) therapists don’t value the life sitting in front to them. They value the MARRIAGE. They assume that the outcome the patient/client wants (to fix the marriage) is the only or best outcome.

    In truth, the best outcome would be for the patienst/clients to value themselves. To have boundaries. To look seriously and with steady eyes at the marriage partner who is cheating. To figure out if the cheating is part of a pattern.

    My therapist did some hand-holding during the discard because she had limited information, and Jackass has a sort of built-in excuse, the death of a parent. But when I told her I found evidence of cheating, her first words were: “You can never go back.” It wasn’t really there emotionally, yet, but her words were a life raft for me until I found CL and started to learn what had happened to me and how I got there.

    How do I know this was the right advice? Six years out and my life keeps improving because I figured out how to value myself. That’s what therapy is for, not for patching up relationships with people who “relate” assymmetrically.

  • I do this as well. Whenever I have doubts as to whether my cheating ex- wives were really that bad, I reflect back on some of the truly egregious abuse they dished out, specific instance that are mind boggling.

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