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Where’s the Data on Reconciliation?

Dear Chump Lady,

Here is what would have helped move me forward, something that seems more rare than unicorns themselves: unicorn research.

I’d expected that relationship experts would have gobs of years-long, scientifically blessed research on topics that really matter when you’re struggling to figure out what to do, right? Because when you go unicorn hunting, investing a lot of time and energy, you have to think you have a reasonable shot at catching this creature.

But try to find very basic, non-anecdotal unicorn info: How many unicorns are there out there, for example? How many unicorns return and then gallop off again in 10 years? What are the costs of unicorn maintenance? And do they look ugly up close?

It does matter — I based my entire chump quest around a few unicorn stories and suspect many do. And isn’t the whole Reconciliation Industrial Complex based on the idea that reconciliation is possible and a reasonable goal? If so, Iets see what that means.

If you’re speaking to RIC professionals, ask for big long-term studies and numbers and data. And ask for data that reflects followup, not just the temporary patches that seem to characterize “success stories.” (Success stories are so hard to resist!)

Long Ago Chumped But Haven’t Forgotten

Dear Long Ago,

Well, you could ask me the same thing. Where are all your long-term studies and numbers? How do we know Chump Lady isn’t one anecdotal Gain a Life story? Where’s the research?

Oh hang on, here it is:

Intrasexual Mate Competition and Breakups: Who Really Wins?
Craig Eric Morris, Melanie L. Beaussart, Chris Reiber, and Linda S. Krajewski.

I wrote about it here  “Science Vindicates Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life

Psychologists asked over 5,000 women chumps about their relationship break-ups. Turns out the chumps fixed their pickers, learned from the experience, and had better future relationships. They also experienced more personal growth outside their relationships.

And karma bonus — the Other Woman who “won” the cheater?  They turn out to be the losers.

The study, led by Dr Craig Morris, an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University in New York in conjunction with University College London, explored the experience of 5,705 women in 96 countries — and is the largest study ever on relationship dissolution.

The largest study ever on relationship dissolution. EV-AH. Gee, I’m surprised more RIC professionals aren’t citing it.

I could point you to my blog numbers (millions) which would be a nice data set on how that reconciliation thing is working for a lot of people. And your mythical researcher wouldn’t have to stop at me, they could visit the other infidelity boards and do a head-count of how many chumps there are.

I’m not a researcher, but I would love it if more professionals would turn their attentions towards this subject. I suspect they don’t for the reasons I wrote about the other day in The Silent Chumps — We. Don’t. Talk. About. This.

Which leaves the field open for wishful thinking and charlatans who would like to sell you $399 Affair Proof Your Marriage toolkits. And also probably scores of well-meaning therapists who think they are helping, and assume it All Worked Out when that couple leaves therapy.

I’d expected that relationship experts would have gobs of years-long, scientifically blessed research on topics that really matter when you’re struggling to figure out what to do, right?

Well, it’s not Consumer Reports. And if it were, that partner you bought would be a one-star lemon. The better analogy would be the Maytag repairman. Can this lousy appliance I invested in be fixed?

(How about you try a new brand of person?)

Because when you go unicorn hunting, investing a lot of time and energy, you have to think you have a reasonable shot at catching this creature.

Well, that’s the sticky wicket. People want to think themselves exceptional. But I do think research would help, like the warning labels they put on cigarettes. WARNING: Reconciliation has been linked to Bad Outcomes. Or on those RIC toolkits: WARNING: This product contains bullshit.

Could research really save chumps? I’m all for the informed decision and the longitudinal study, but when it comes down to it, there’s only one data set that matters — yours. Is this an acceptable relationship to YOU?

Everything else is measuring cheater potential and skein untangling. Okay, 13,457 cheaters have Changed For The Better in Columbus, Ohio. Do you want to risk your one precious life? You control your Gain a Life much more than you control their Gain a Clue.

Let’s hope science finds a cure. Until then I’m sticking with the success story of left a cheater, gained a life.

This column ran previously. If you’ve got some longitudinal studies, post links in the comments. 

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.
  • I am a researcher (not in the field of psychology) and I have a pretty big issue with research. People. People are super messy, have biases and can justify all kinds of crap. Once your bias is peer reviewed – now it’s ‘fact’. Consumers reports and car shopping Is an awesome comparison. Cars are pretty damn stagnant with arguably finite variables. I agree with: is he an asshole or not (is that acceptable). Pouring over longitudinal studies to determine if my heart was just ripped to shreds sounds like my idea of hell (or self imposed insanity). I’d say if you’re looking for research to prove their an asshole you already have enough data.

    • I’m a heavy user of data and statistics in my job and it can be manipulated to say anything you want, which is why you always need to follow the money and agenda trail.

      Who paid for it and what’s the agenda of all involved?

    • There are ways and ways to tell when research is providing results that actually mean something. And yes, I am a psychologist and a researcher, and teach research methods and have served on research ethics boards ….

      What we would want to see is the big sample, and the long-term follow up. That would give us the basics; of 10,000 couples in committed relationships with agreement to monogamy where one partner cheated, with the 1st ever DDay in a given year, how many broke up immediately – and who made that decision, Cheater or Chump? Of those who stayed together temporarily, how many ended up separated within the following year, two? What kinds of assistance was sought (RIC, church, couple counselling, individual counselling for who …) Then the long term; percent still together each year, and assessment of satisfaction w/the relationship. Percent separating each year, percent reconciling or re-reconciling each year following a separation, and percent where further cheating occurred/was discovered each year. Add in factors like physical, emotional and financial abuse, hx of cheating in a previous relationship ….

      Actually, enough factors overall, we might need 20,0000 ….

      But frankly, even long-term follow up by couple therapists and RIC programs, that would give us a better idea.

      I think reconciliation is big business, and I think couple therapists are both trained to think reconciliation is a good outcome and one that is mostly achievable, and have a personal tendency to believe in the ‘hurt people hurt people’ and the ‘enough caring and empathy can transform the Timid Forest Creature into a caring and empathic and connected person’ myths. AND of course Chumps and Cheaters both WANT reconciliation to work, each for their own reasons, so it’s easy to put on those rose-coloured glasses.

      Part of the problem is also the way research funding is allocated. MILLIONS of people would benefit from knowing the actual chances of a SUCCESSFUL, happy reconciliation, and the conditions that would make that more or less likely. But that info isn’t going to make anybody a billion bucks, or save the gov’t a billion bucks, so where would the funding come from? Good research is expensive to do.

      • “MILLIONS of people would benefit from knowing the actual chances of a SUCCESSFUL, happy reconciliation, and the conditions that would make that more or less likely. But that info isn’t going to make anybody a billion bucks, or save the gov’t a billion bucks, so where would the funding come from? Good research is expensive to do.”

        R’amen to that!

        Which is why I get so angry with pharmaceutical companies that basically swoop in to pick over the published papers of federal research, tinker a little on the edges, and pretend they did any REAL R&D while they overcharge the consumers by hundreds of percentages. Gotta make money for the shareholders (while completely overlooking and discounting the basic research done FOR the public and paid for BY the public that got their ball rolling).

        So very angry. This shouldn’t have happened and the price should be dropped – without having to enroll in any special program.

        “Martin Shkreli’s 5,000 Percent Drug Price Hike Is Still In Effect. Daraprim, used to treat AIDS, malaria and cancer patients, once cost $13.50 a pill. Now it costs $750 a pill.” 2018

        Couldn’t happen to a more deserving shit heel.

      • As a just retired professor (in the humanities), may I just say this is what universities USED to be for. Especially public universities. To do the research that would benefit the most people.

      • There’s a lot of research on the size of the male penis but there is one problem with it all – no one agrees on how to measure a penis.

  • In my own experience, I read the books, the blogs, saw numerous councilors who promised they could fix “us.” I wanted to leave in 1999, was so close, but got talked into taking him back. I worked hard for two years to accept our marriage again, for the kids, for the family, for the church. His abuse started back shortly after his return and grew steadily worse, no matter what I did. Now I was even more stuck and determined I could fix “us.” More books, more blogs, more councilors. In 2010 if caught him cheating again. I figure there were more, but this one he couldn’t deny as I actually had a picture of him on a cruise with his old GF. More than 20 years with this waste of time cost me health issues, my kids being involved in the abuse, and loss of half of my pension. If I would have left in 1999, things would have been so much better, but I can’t complain. I finally got out and am better off. Just wish I would have had your blog in 1999.

    • Exactly – same situation -almost the same year. If Chump Lady had been around then I very likely would have divorced – but my kids would have suffered ( one in college one still in high school) and I had just retired from the military and discovered I was ( on top of her affair ) 25k in credit card debt. I was also suffering from chronic (combat) PTSD while bouncing from job to job. I was really stressing badly (thank goodness I was working out alot – it helped me ‘soldier on’ – something I was very familiar with).
      I realize now there is NO REAL HELP (I went to therapists )- I should have been able to discuss the affair with a competent therapist to determine where I actually stood with my ‘wife’ – I sure could not get anything from her but more lies (since this was all my fault). It was horrible.
      These ‘therapist ‘ have factory boxes labeled ‘ various marriage spare parts ‘ like an auto shop. The whole thing SUCKS!

      • On the other side of this exact coin in a military marriage. Husband is the cheater and the Combat PTSD sufferer. So after 17 years with him and staying loyal and having four kids, always by his side, the moves the infinite deployments and his shit downs, never prioritizing us, putting us on the back burner for his career he spiraled in depression and shame and PTSD and whatever other excuse people make. The emotional, verbal and psychological abuse is horrific and it doesn’t stop. He insists he would never hurt me again, but he can’t stop the abuse. Add in the years of abuse from him anger and rage from his PTSD and it’s unbearable. He has me financially trapped though; four kids, and I did everything he wanted. I was the stay at home Mom who made sure I never had a job that took time away from him. Even my coaching our boys in lacrosse angered him. He said I didn’t have time for him. One season every year, I get to coach a sport I love and my boys love and make a difference in a life that has always been about him, and even that is a source of contention. So, no job history after this long and four kids, how does someone leave and start? He knows it… I’m SO sorry your wife did this to you in a life that requires so much trust. It’s horrific. Just know, us wives suffer this constantly on this side too.

  • Why spend thousands of dollars in a research study to verify that water is wet? Cheaters cheat. The problem is the mass brainwashing by the RIC community.

  • Turns out I was married to a sex addict for close to 20 years. After the final D-Day, we (I) did the whole RIC thing. I attended support groups of women in the same boat as me and we all were asking this exact same question. Neither the therapist leading the group nor any of the women came up with any satisfactory stories of unicorns. In fact most of us in the group are now divorced and much happier. I keep up with a few of the women who are trying to hang on to their marriage and for the most part they are not at all happy. As chumps, many of us look through the rose-colored lenses. We think we see unicorns, but after taking off the glasses what we actually see is a herd of jackasses.

  • That infidelity expert, Shirley Glass, in that book
    “Just Friends”……the ONE SENTENCE of wisdom, from the hundred books I bought during the Amazon Chump phase.

    From the chapter TO THE OTHER WOMAN (?!!!!)

    “A man with a history of infidelity is a poor choice for a life partner.”

    Change the pronouns to suit your situation and write it in Sharpie on your bathroom mirror.

    • And that assuming the person talking to you is telling the truth. Cheat? “I never cheated, she cheated on me” Later, after you are in the relationship and married, “she cheated on me with her boss so I cheated too.” Cheaters lie.

      • THIS

        How can we trust we are getting the full story from a new potential partner? I think I need a fix your picker primer, first chapter: red flag phrases.

        I really want to approach new people with trust and an open heart, giving the benefit of doubt but let’s face it, that’s what got me into this cheater mess in the first place.

        How do I employ the Gorbachev method of dating: trust but verify.

        • Fearful&loathing,

          “I really want to approach new people with trust and an open heart, giving the benefit of doubt but let’s face it, that’s what got me into this cheater mess in the first place.”

          Trust is earned and our hearts should be guarded when we meet knew people. We should not be an open book and think everyone is trustworthy. Take things slow. Ask questions. Do more listening then talking. When something doesn’t seem right, don’t spackle. You catch someone in a lie — have a rule you will follow thru with — one lie, one more chance. Lie again and dump them. I have an entire folder with Chump Wisdom about how to fix my picker and also how to learn to keep myself safe. I’m using my new skills on people I meet out in the world, co-workers and my close relationships. I’m practicing every single day every time I have an interaction with someone. I have to constantly STOP myself from being a chump and not repeating past chumpy behavior (fixing, over giving, oversharing, over helping). These new skills are like muscles and I have to keep using them to make them strong to keep me safe! I have an entire folder filled with CN wisdom and other articles that I read when I need reenforcement. I like this article a lot, because it sums up a lot of ways we end up in abusive relationships.

          ARE YOU AN ABUSE MAGNET. By Leslie Vernick Many women wonder if there is something about them that attracts abusers, especially when they have experienced multiple abusive relationships. For a number of reasons, some women (and men) may be more vulnerable to predators.A woman may be more vulnerable to being abused because she is too naive and/or too nice. She has not been taught by her mother or father to “bare her teeth” when she is in relationship danger. Instead, she learns to ignore the warning signs, to pretend everything is fine, to make nice, to be accommodating to her own peril, and to go the extra mile.While being accommodating and kind are fine qualities, a girl must also be taught how and when it’s time to speak up, set boundaries, say no, and walk away from a relationship that is disrespectful and dishonoring to her before it ever becomes abusive.When a woman does not know how to protect herself against a predator, or she’s taught it’s ungodly or unfeminine, she is far more vulnerable to being manipulated, intimidated and abused.

          Thirteen Traits that Make You a Target for Abusers

          In my counseling and coaching work I’ve observed 13 traits people possess that make them more vulnerable to being abused. Having any one of these traits or all of them does not make the abuse you experience your fault, but in your naiveté and/or unhealthiness, you do become a magnet that attracts abusive people.

          These traits are not in any specific order nor do you have to have all of them to make you more vulnerable. Just having one of them can make you an abuse magnet and put you in an unhealthy or dangerous place in your relationships.

          1. When you are initially attracted to someone you don’t look for good character qualities (such as honesty, faithfulness, diligence, and responsibility) but easily get swept away by charm (such as a great smile, a lot of money, the way he kisses you, his flattering words)

          .2. You frequently ignore your early gut instincts that something isn’t right. Instead you rationalize, minimize, or tell yourself you are imagining things or overreacting.

          3. You believe you don’t deserve a better relationship, therefore, you settle for what you can get and what he gives you, even if it’s hurtful and abusive. You believe that having someone is better having than having no one.

          4. You fall for smooth words and fast-talk over looking at the hard facts and his past behaviors.

          5. You feel empty without a man (or woman) in your life.

          6. You have a hard time sticking up for yourself in assertive ways. Sometimes you try but it’s usually in an aggressive over-the-top manner, which you later regret. In your guilt you revert back to your passive accommodating ways.

          7. You typically over-function and/or under-function in your relationships. You feel all the responsibility to repair what is wrong and take all the blame. You tend to not think for yourself or make your own decisions. You allow yourself to be controlled.

          8. You perpetually avoid conflict and feel bad or guilty for saying no to people

          9. You cling to fantasy story lines and love myths such as if you love someone enough he/she will change, and God will make everything work out in the end.

          10. You have few or no boundaries or you allow others to violate your boundaries with no consequences

          11. You accept unacceptable behavior from others and blame yourself.

          12. You do things for the other person that is against your own values and better judgment (like co-sign a loan, let him sleep over when you barely know him, lie for him).

          13. You make excuses for abusive behavior or minimize and rationalize it. (He’s tired, he had an abusive father, he’s depressed, he’s had a hard day, he has poor self-esteem).

          • This is a great checklist, one that I can check off too many boxes. I’m ok with being alone though. But I so loved my exes that I brushed aside all the abusive behavior and accepted relationships where I definitely loved more than I was loved.

          • I honestly don’t believe there’s a certain type of person who ATTRACTS abusers, narcs, etc. I think the difference is; we don’t DISCARD easily enough.

            People do give signs of who they are. People who are too trusting, too empathic, too naive (did YOU realize there were narcs and sociopaths who manage to look like reasonable people, much of the time?), too optimistic, we don’t recognize the warning signs, and when we do, we give people the benefit of the doubt, we project our own values, we spackle like crazy, we have empathy for the difficulties/consequences the person might experience. Nobody is perfect! Love will bring out the best in people! They do care, they just don’t show it very well! They will learn to be better at relationships …

            And I do believe that if we had less-than-caring FOO, we are much more vulnerable, or were taught as children that our needs are not that important, etc.

            I not only think this way of thinking of the problem is accurate, I believe it makes us better at fixing our pickers. We don’t have to change some pheromone we give off that ‘attracts’ abusers, we don’t have to immediately recognize someone is selfish or entitled (because we often can’t), we don’t have to start out distrusting. We just have to keep our eyes open, and then be willing to DISCARD. We have to have HIGH standards, and not cut people too much slack. When words and behaviours aren’t lining up well, we have to believe the behaviours. When grown-ass adults don’t ‘get’ something basic, like being affectionate and not petty, like having an argument in a fair way, like not being mean, like thinking of others, we have to get that person out of our lives, rather than trying to explain and help and coach and spackle ….

            • KarenE,

              I 100% agree with you that we don’t attract abusers. We fail to discard them once they start showing their true colors. I think the author of this piece titled the article this way, because I think it’s common to asks ourselves, “Why do I keep attracting abusers/cheaters/narcs?” I know I have asked myself this question when it came to boyfriends, husband and former friends. I thought I was attracting them. I wasn’t. I just wasn’t discarding them when their bad behavior showed up. I just like the article, because it points out so many ways that get us stuck in relationships like this. And once we can “see” ourselves and our own behaviors, we can then make the necessary changes in our own behaviors to not be chumped again. I can relate to almost ever one of the #13 above. I’m not to blame for my XH’s cheating. But I’m at fault for not discarding him way back in 1992 when I first thought he was cheating. And I don’t blame myself. I didn’t know better and I didn’t trust myself and what I was seeing with my own two eyes. But now I have knowledge. And knowledge is power. And that power is mine that I can now use to help keep myself safe from abusers.

            • KarenE- I think you’re definately on to something here. It’s not necessarily that we attract abusers (because they often appear “normal”). It’s that when red flags appear, we spackle, empathize, & believe that love, encouragement, & understanding will bring them around. We give them the benefit of doubt. Maybe it’s not just our “pickers”. Rather, it has more to do with our failure to discard. Very interesting food for thought!

            • Great post, KarenE!

              I also feel like the idea that “our pickers are broken” is kinda inaccurate and maybe a little counterproductive as a framing device.

              Because when you get down to it, we don’t “pick” a partner and take them down off a shelf and then marry them in the checkout line.

              We select a partner, become closer to them and eventually become a couple that is (one hopes) interested in mutual growth, reciprocal support and shared growth….all of which require constant vigilance on the part of BOTH parties to make sure they have the same general vision as to what that looks like.

              Which is the #nail you hit right on the head when you say we have to make sure our DISCARD muscle is well-developed and ready for use should we find ourselves with a partner unwilling to meet our needs and, perhaps more importantly, chronically dishonest about why/how they will not be meeting those needs.

              So while picking someone to date/marry is a single choice, the process of setting healthy boundaries and then enforcing them with the person that you “picked” in an ongoing relationship is really where we all (Chumps & non-Chumps alike) need to be mindful.

              Because it’s not possible to prevent the tail risk of someone having (&hiding) poor character, nor is it really possible to figure out of someone is showing you their true self, we must be very clear and completely upfront about our boundaries not only on date 2… but we need to ENFORCE those boundaries also later, in month 17, when you’re tired and they’re being a jerk about something or other etc etc

              Remember, WE are the prizes here: we are thoughtful decent people who would never think about lying and now have about 100x the “wisdom” of #civilians as it relates to human relationships…and part of that is our ability to understand that trust starts with reasonable boundaries on both sides…and if they have any problem with that, it’s time to say “Thank U, Next!”

            • Karen E,
              Your words are SO SPOT ON.
              I have allowed snake oil salesmen into my life- men who love bomb. I held onto them when I should have eventually pushed them away.
              It is the sunk costs AND the associated inability to discard that secured my membership into the Chump club.
              I need to apply the “Marie Kondo” theories to my relationships. If they do not spark joy…
              Thank you

            • Thank you KarenE. This is so helpful.

              I just had a therapist say to me that I attract toxic abusive people two days ago!
              It has been bothering me for the past 48 hours and with your post here you’ve perfectly answered why it rankled. The problem isn’t my attraction of abusive types — the problem is my tolerance levels are out of whack and I fail to discard on experiencing a boundary crash or other poor behaviour. It seems super obvious but it’s also super subtle. It’s recognising that moment when our intuition is saying “What the…?” and being prepared to re-assess at any time without fear.

          • Thank you for posting this. I copied these 13 items into a note on my phone because I am definitely in the early stages of learning how to fix my picker. I really appreciate you sharing this info.

        • And watch out for the lovebombers. Anyone who is into you too quickly could be trouble. I wish I had known about them back when I was 31. I would have made the Dickhead back off and then he probably would have moved on to someone else.

    • She died in 2003. It would be nice to believe that she would have been in CN’s corner, but I have a feeling she and Esther Perel would have been super-happy to congratulate one another on polishing turds.

      Fortunately, CL emerged from the diarrhea stew that RIC dishes out, spat it out and said, “WTF? NO!”

    • I love this: “‘A man with a history of infidelity is a poor choice for a life partner’.”

      Change the pronouns to suit your situation and write it in Sharpie on your bathroom mirror.

  • I don’t know if the asshole ever cheated again – I suspect he hasn’t (yet – new Schmoopie), but I know for certain that he is/was still violent with the original Schmoopie ‘cos she sang it loud and clear to anyone who would listen as her justification for cheating on him!

  • I know this is not totally NC, but the data for affair partners relationship success is in the single digits.
    Apparently, marrying or coupling with a cheater is not a good idea.

    Bur, then really, who knows? Cheaters usually are not truthful, ever and the data is probably skewed.
    Ah, to live without someone lying to your face daily. “Lieabetes”.

    But, I’ll just sit over here, sipping my tea, wondering about my own future opportunities and potential.

  • From my therapist: studies have been done on overall life happiness, putting people into 4 groups:
    1. The most happiest – married men
    2. The second most happiest – single women
    3. The third happiest – single men
    4. The least happiest – married women
    Of course these are averages with all the reasons why. Food for thought.

    • To add, father of sociology Emile Durkheim (19th century) did a large study on suicide and social alienation. Among others, he concluded that the happiest people are married men and single women. His conclusion was that marriage is an institution which benefits men but doesn’t benefit women. And every study since then came to the same conclusion.

      • It might benefit women financially in many cases, but it doesn’t benefit us emotionally because we tend to do most or all of the emotional labour as well as most of the household labour whether we work outside the home or not. We do the giving and it’s often not reciprocated adequately, if at all.
        There are lots of exceptions (like male chumps here) but that is the usual pattern and it’s backed up by research.

    • I can believe this! Men have it made at least mine did. I did EVERYTHING for him, I look back and think WTH did he do for me? Now that I am single I do EVERYTING for myself and I am much, much happier!

  • I don’t know any reconciled couples except one and that is so shitty both are miserable.

  • The research already exists. It just exists in other fields. Once a person’s basic character and psychological patterns are revealed, studies show they have a very poor chance of changing.

    What studies you ask? Studies on recidivism. If someone has been incarcerated for committing a crime, the likelihood of them committing another crime and ending up back in prison is around 75 percent.

    But it wouldn’t be fair to simply extrapolate those odds to a cheating spouse. A person who has experienced incarceration has experienced real consequences, yet 75 percent end up back in prison. A cheating spouse who experiences no consequences (divorce) has no real incentive to change until they experience consequences (divorce). Even after divorce, the odds of repeating the same cheating behavior are at least 75 percent, but they must be much higher because the consequences of divorce are comparatively mild compared to the severity of prison as consequences.

    So if you’re using your brain and looking at the data you can easily come to the conclusion that staying married to a cheater or marrying someone who has previously cheated is a fools errand.

  • I felt so shitty about myself after we reconciled. After the final split it was horribly painful for a long while. But I got my self esteem back.

    Jesus may have been betrayed by Judas, but he didn’t have to keep looking at him over the breakfast table every morning.

    • LOVE this!! I also disliked myself when I reconciled. I’m honestly thankful for the last betrayal because I got to realign with my values.

  • Here’s what I know for sure:

    My father cheated on my mother with multiple women. He got caught as part of a blackmail scheme. Knowing my mother would be more pissed if he gave away their savings to “hide” affairs would have made her angrier than the affairs, he came clean to her.

    Remember that these were children of the depression and financial security meant even more than it does today.

    18 year old me got to watch her beat the sit out of him with a wooden cane. Lucky me.

    My father sold his business, retired, they sold the house and moved away and he devoted the next 10 years to her until he died.

    No cell phones, internet or email back then so it was very different.
    He was a Unicorn.

    Would they have spoken about it to a researcher? Hell no.

    Stories like theirs are rare but the few that may exist aren’t running to be part of a study. They don’t want anyone to know what happened.

    One of the hardest things for me was my fathers response was what I expected on my own DDay!
    I was devastated when my ex just turned around and walked away without a word.

    So, I had the one statistic I knew not work out for me and may have made the shock even harder.

    Add to that the fact that my ex and his AP came out publicly despite working at the same firm. They are together for over 10 years post DDay and about 15 all together. Huge condo in the city and an even huger weekend house. Another so called anomaly!?

    I believe chumps will hold on to any statistics that make then feel like they have a shot of maintaining the life they thought they had. In the end, stats wont tell you what will happen in each particular situation or in your own.

    No Contact and moving forward with your own life may be the only way to see what is best for each of us. Every morning I wake up better, happier and with more acceptance of what is real and the new direction of my life and far less pain.

    Hope this makes sense.

    • I believe chumps will hold on to any statistics that make then feel like they have a shot of maintaining the life they thought they had. In the end, stats wont tell you what will happen in each particular situation or in your own.


      When we are chumped and in shock and denial, we spackle and we flail like drowning people from a capsized boat looking for something to grab onto. The best “something” is “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” and the hands of the members of Chump Nation.

    • Mine did everything in the world to keep me back anything I could ever dream of and I kinda almost bought into the reconciliation bs but I just had this feeling constantly like this is bs this is bs I let it go on three months. Him doing everything for me and he was being a good boy but one day I just said bye. There wasn’t one particular thing just no it’s bs and then I found this page and it was everything I’ve been feeling. He had his chance he lied, gaslit me, humiliated me and he had fun doing it. There is no way in hell that is my husband no freaking way. I never claimed to be mother Theresa f that noise. All I’m saying is the ones who do nothing are probably better cause you don’t even have to question it. Years down the drain but I feel so hopeful for the future even if I’m alone.

  • In case there was a shred of hope in my mind that I had a unicorn, that hope was decimated last night when I had a major no-contact failure. The cheater is a doctor and I spent most of our 9 year marriage moving around the state for his medical education. 4 times I had to pull up roots, quit my job, and start over. As a spectacular chump, I was of course the one who hired the movers, bought the boxes, reserved the moving truck, found the new places to live, found new daycare and preschools for the kids — in addition to finding a new job 4 times.

    At home, because he was so busy with medical school, month-long elective rotations where he lived elsewhere, flying around the country for interviews, board exams, studying, making presentations, working long hours — I did everything. I worked full time, but I took care of our kids almost exclusively. He never got up at night one time with either baby. I did every daycare pickup and dropoff. As they got older, I did every sports practice and game, every school dropoff/pickup, every birthday party, every parent-teacher conference, every school party/event, school volunteering, packed every lunch. I would often stay up cleaning and packing lunches hours after he went to bed.

    Well, last night, after we briefly discussed spousal support in mediation (a week ago) he went on a rampage because he wanted me to give him a new deodorant (I just ordered them but he thinks anything in the house is still his property.) He said “spousal support is ridiculous. What did you ever do for me? Did you have meals on the table? Did you keep the house clean?” When I argued that he never cleaned a single thing, he said, “I don’t make messes.” You can’t make this shit up.

    I know that he is delusional and he will never find the perfect woman that will work full time, take care of kids alone, and keep the house perfectly clean and have meals on the table and not ask for ANYTHING in return. But it still hurts pretty badly that he has zero recognition of how hard I’ve worked. Thank GOODNESS he left me for his greasy Schmoopie (I call her Seafood Queen given her penchant for 100 dollar seafood brunches) and I’m not going to waste any more time with someone who values me so little. No unicorns here.

    • I’m so sorry you are experiencing all of this. But you are also the same parent and your kids will love and respect you for this.

      I humbly ask you to truly consider NOT mediating with this man. The stakes are too high. You have small kids and bills plus schooling, braces and even college come before you even know it!

      You supported him financially and emotionally thru his studies and will not only be awarded a better settlement but truly appropriate spousal support thru legal channels than mediation.

      Been around this blog long enough to know that mediation with a liar/cheater may not be your best path. Please interview some lawyers to see their opinions on what your mediation looks like at this point. At very least, I sincerely hope you each have your own lawyer as you do mediation.

      • I agree. I even had my own lawyer and she didn’t do much for me during mediation. It cost a ton to go to court but happiness in this aspect can be bought. 70K in court and Attorney fees = Happiness and freedom. Well, for the most part minus having to deal with him with our little one. But So nice on a daily basis.
        Do not Mediate. I’m guessing like most of us chumps he will make you feel bad or guilty about something and you will give in. Even in Court I gave in just to be done. You deserve more!

      • I did well in mediation. My lawyer was well informed, I had other team members a forensic accountant and a CPA. we mediated in separate rooms. The mediator was well respected. First round the mediator told my team and I that my ex wasn’t there to negotiate and advised us to walk out. It took 3 more times. So it can work but you have to be well prepared

    • As Rebecca previously stated “do not mediate with this man”. Get a lawyer and go for all you can get. Screw him and his entitled narcissistic ass.

    • Mediation is the worst thing for you to do.

      They have NO obligation to keep one party from screwing over the other and they have NO legal definition of “success” to uphold.

      They’re the equivalent of RIC therapists. Who may be fine IF both parties are committed to honesty and being equitable – but you’re dealing with someone who is already known to be a liar.

      So don’t bother playing a game that is rigged against you. Please.

    • I mediated, had my own lawyer, thought he would play nice, dumb of me, I paid a lawyer to do nothing for me and lost half my pension and savings because he played the victim and lied about his worth and pension. I just wanted to get it over with, now I am regretting how I got screwed over again. Good news is he’s gone and my life is so much better. At least I can save money instead of him blowing it all on himself.

      • Yes, I am pretty worried about trying to mediate with this idiot. But I am so far into debt from supporting him through med school/paying for multiple moves/the whole family living off my credit cards over the summer when we moved for his fellowship. I can’t justify putting thousands more on credit cards for a lawyer. At this point I think that if I can get him to take all the debt, and he has to pay me child support, maybe that’s enough. I might prefer to be free than have him raging at me about spousal support every time we exchange the kids for the next 14 years. I make a decent salary and could support myself if he took all the credit card debt. Is this a terrible idea? Is this just me being chumpy?

        • Chump47…please go for EVERYTHING you can get and that includes spousal support. You totally deserve it so don’t let his rages dissuade you. You will be happy that you did….guaranteed.
          My cheating XH gave me everything I asked for in a legal separation because he was in such a hurry to run off with schmoopie. Months later he decided he gave too much and wanted to change things and got himself this horrid attorney to fight me. Oh hell to the no!! I was not going to let him change a thing that he had originally agreed to. I fought and kept every agreement in tact. I am so happy I did because a large part of what I got will help support me in my old age.

          These assholes always say things like ‘you never did nothing.’ My first XH would send me into a rage when he said things like that to me. No one worked their ass off harder than me. I did it all too plus worked full time. I should have walked out the first time he told me that I didn’t do anything. He said things like that to me all the time just to get a rise out of me. Sadistic asshole.

        • Chump47,

          DO NOT MEDIATE WITH THIS MAN!!! You supported him for years. You took care of everything for years. You gave up a lot for years. You started your career over and over again for years. It’s now time to get paid back by the doctor for all your service and time. Money spent on a GOOD lawyer is money well spent. You husband has proven that he’s an entitled narcissist who doesn’t value you and all you’ve done for him for years. I was married to the same person as you. My XH said to my face, “You never took good care of me.” Just like you, I could easily list off a long list of all that I did for 20 years. Pretty much the only thing my XH did was go to work every day. You deserve spousal support if you are entitled to it. Only a lawyer who is working for you will help you fight for what is rightfully yours!

        • “I can’t justify putting thousands more on credit cards for a lawyer.”

          Sure you can because a good lawyer is going to make your husband pay for YOUR attorney. Even in mediation.

          Going to mediation without a good attorney is like performing brain surgery on yourself. Don’t do it.

          Not even good divorce attorneys will represent themselves – they hire someone who ISN’T emotionally invested in the relationship. Or former relationship.

    • @chumpy47 I am so sorry your spouse is so delusional about your contributions to the family. I was married to one who was as well, only I had to read about it in emails to his affair partners-all the things I didn’t do, all the meals I made that were so horrible he could barely eat them, how messy the house was, etc etc etc…. Honestly, if you read them you would think that I was a fat, feeble minded, lazy, incompetent person. I was horrified that this was his vision of me, and of course, I fed into it and redoubled my efforts to be perfect in his eyes, because, of course, that was the reason he cheated! 7 years later I am realizing that all that blameshifting was his way of disowning his own behaviors and that his cheating had nothing to do with whether the house was clean, or whether or not he liked my cooking, or how much I weighed, and everything to do with how much of a coward he was, and how little character and integrity he had. When I told him I was leaving, he collapsed, begged me for yet “another chance”, wanted to know if there was “any way he could regain my trust”. The best thing I did was to not waste any more energy on someone whose actions demonstrated how little he valued me in his life.

      I WAS ENOUGH, he just didn’t want to do the emotional hard work to address whatever he thought wasn’t working.

      I AM ENOUGH. I don’t NEED a man in my life, yes, I’d like to have another person to share my life with, but I have made a new, wonderful, (kind of) exciting, interesting, fulfilling, hobby filled, well paid life so that I. am. enough.

  • Woman in our church caught her husband cheating with his secretary (so original!) when she was pregnant with her first kid. They reconciled, and 8 years later they have 4 kids and seem happy, but tbh I don’t buy it at all. I feel so bad for her, and imagine all sorts of ‘smiles that hide the pain’ scenarios in my head whenever I see them, and I don’t like the guy at all.

    I am very grateful that when I did my one reconciliation attempt (3 years wasted there) I did NOT fall for the x’s plea to have another baby.

    Let’s be honest. Those unicorns, even when they do present, are no prize worth having.

    • Unfortunately women in marriages with cheaters/abusers that make out like all is just peachy keen, tend to end up with an assortment of illnesses. The combination of living with a complete jerk and also living a lie will take it’s toll on a person’s health.

      • So true, I had so many health issues that have seemingly cleared up since lying X is gone. I literally didn’t want to live anymore, just holding on until death did us part. Thank God he cheated again (and so stupidly) and gave me an out.

        • What I noticed was how UGLY I was when I was married. A friend of mine lived with me for a couple of weeks while her house was closing and she would stay up late with insomnia and look through my picture albums. She called the pictures of me ‘Soul Death.’ I got fat married to a drunk who I drank with to keep him in company. I weigh 40 lbs less now and I’m much healthier. I eat better, I sleep better. My skin looks good. I’ve had so many people comment on how great I look since I left a cheater and gained a life. Never again will I live some man’s life instead of my own.

    • After D-day, I found out that a young pastor at my X church cheated on his wife. Their two children were still toddlers. She stupidly stayed with him and within a few months she was pregnant again. She’s on Facebook and she posted tons of photos of her pregnant and them being “happy” together. And all the professional family “happy” shots too. I told my daughter that I thought she was stupid for staying with him. Daughter said that the wife forgave him. Daughter has no clue. I forgave her cheating dad for all he did to me when I was pregnant with her. Stupid me. I should have run for my life. I forgave him and he cheated in various ways non-stop for the next 14 years.

      • Martha, your daughter needs to know. At least the basics. You are NOT doing her any favours by hiding YOUR history, and her father’s, from her. You are actually make her at GREATER risk for being cheated on or abused in other ways, and for staying if it happens. AND you are confusing the heck out of her; she KNOWS there’s something off about your marriage that she doesn’t know about, she KNOWS there’s something behind your divorce (I hope you divorced him!) that she doesn’t know about. She KNOWS her father didn’t treat you right (in many ways beyond the cheating, I am sure), but can’t make the connections.

        You don’t have to rant and rave. But she deserves to know the basic story of what happened in your marriage.

        • KarenE,

          She does know the truth. Both of my kids do. They know even stories from way back, including how my XH treated me when I was pregnant with daughter. But my XH is a pathological liar and master manipulator. He turned into Disney Dad and Father of the Year over night (a dad who was pretty much the opposite before D-day). Along with me, our children thought we were happily married. They grew up with two parents who acted and looked like they were in love every single day. I covered for all my XH’ selfish and bad behavior. I made him seem like a great husband and father. I did most of the adulting which made our marriage and his fatherhood seem ideal to them. I have no idea what the XH has told our kids. I did see him lie to them right in front of my face. I also witnessed his gas lighting and rewriting of their/our history to them. I have no doubt in my mind that he hid his whore out-of-sight until months after our divorce was final. They know she’s the whore I caught him out with, but I have no doubt that he told them he didn’t start dating her until way after the divorce was final. He’s a snake and that’s what snakes do. I know he was with her when we were married, but I’m sure he’s told all that will listen that he wasn’t. He’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and he’s really good at it! I brought my kids up to always tell the truth to me and that I would be forgiving to them. I modeled this behavior throughout their lives. So now they just want me to be forgiving and I’m guessing they have forgiven their dad. I have no clue. I just don’t talk to them about him anymore. I do however talk to both of my kids about relationships. Whenever something comes up that I feel I can impart some wisdom or advice, I do. I don’t think my kids will ever understand what their dad put me through and all the damage he did to me, unless they go through it themselves. And I pray to God they never end up with someone like my XH. He is such a scary person underneath that Mr. Nice Christian Guy persona.

  • I agree. Better to invest in a new (decent) person than a broken nasty narc. The worst 4 years I ever invested in anyone( hell might as well say the worst 36 and include the whole marriage rather than just the wreckonciliation)

  • I used to run DivorceCare groups at my church.
    One woman’s husband abandoned her with seven kids for another woman. Moved out of state. She was destitute for a while, but somehow managed to survive, despite more devastating family tragedies. She is a lovely person despite all that happened, but extreme in her faith practice. Some how this weasel worked his way back after ten plus years with the support of a very patriarchal church. They remarried a few weeks ago. He was full of remorse and gratitude for his restoration.
    I don’t buy it for a minute.
    He is an opportunist always looking for a greener pasture. Now that he is older and has fewer options he comes back with the support of an abusive church. She has her eyes open at least a bit, but I fear this church will enable his abuse again.

    • I always think that most will try to hoover us back in once their dicks are broken for good.

    • If they can win the partner back it absolves them of all their dirty behaviour. In their eyes.

    • My experience is that churches ALWAYS allow the shitty behaviour from the man. Women are supposed to be “submissive.” I was told I should be a better wife. That’s MY experience in this whole thing. While I still have my faith I have never gone back to church.
      She will land up in shit again. She is not weak she has been brainwashed.

  • I have inside knowledge that a big study will be launching a month or so after the new year. Stay tuned (and participate!).

  • When my husband first asked me to marry him, I said no. I was in my 20s. I was afraid of him because he had a short temper, sometimes reminding me of my abusive father, who had used me as a punching bag during my childhood. My then-boyfriend said, “What do you mean, ‘no’? You owe me. After all the things I have done for you?” I admitted he was correct. But I said I had to think about it. I asked my mom about it, and she said, “Well does he actually hit you?” I said no. She said I should say yes because he was a hard worker and was usually nice to me. So I went through with it. Soon after we were married, I started feeling attraction for another (single) guy at work. I had started talking to the guy quite a bit at lunch and at work happy hours and I could tell he was attracted to me. I slow-danced with him at one happy hour at a bar and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. During this period, even though we weren’t having sex, I was sharing intimate details with someone who wasn’t my spouse. Finally, I sat down with my husband and told him that if I felt this strong attraction to another man, I shouldn’t be married and I wanted a divorce. I moved out, got an apartment, saw a lawyer and had the paperwork drawn up for the divorce. I couldn’t sleep, the guilt was killing me. I lost 30 pounds. Then my husband asked if we could hold off filing for divorce and go to counseling and maybe figure out what the problem was. I reluctantly agreed, and we went to marital counseling. The counselor determined pretty quickly that I had a lot of issues and said she needed to see me alone. I continued living in my apartment and went to her once or twice a week alone for over a year and dealt with some extraordinarily painful issues with my upbringing. I saw the guy from work several times during this period, and we had sex. After awhile I ended it when I realized he was not a good person. My husband also dated other women during this time. I have no idea if they had sex. Then the counselor said, “Do you want to try to recommit to the marriage?” I said I was ready. She brought my husband in, and she said taking me back was completely up to him, but if he did, I had to live my life as an open book. No passcode on my phone, he was allowed to look at any of my devices at any time he wanted. This came in handy when I lost my cell phone – the people who found it just started calling the numbers in it and finally figured out who I was and called my home number and told me to come get my phone. I was to make sure he knew exactly where I was at any time and with whom. It was completely one-sided, and I had to be OK with that. I lived this way for 28 years, relieved that I had worked through some of my issues and had no more secrets. I continued to see the counselor for quite some time after I returned to my husband. So why am I on Chump Lady? My husband used this as an excuse to cheat on me for many years after this episode, with at least 2 women that I know about. After D-Day, I spoke to one of the OWs, and she said, “He told me you cheated on him first.”

    I suppose what happened to me is just a risk unicorns take. I know, this is anecdotal and not research.

    • Reality check; you have admitted to being with and having sex with another man while trying to work on yourself in order to save your marriage. That is not unicorn behaviour, that is just more escapist cheating. Your husband is also a cheater and likely would have at some point anyway even if you hadn’t, since you indicated he was emotionally abusive. Cheating is a form of emotional abuse. Given your delusion that you are a unicorn, you haven’t learned a thing and should never commit to anyone again.

      • To clarify, no one including the therapist was under the impression that I was working to save the marriage. By that time I was simply trying to work on myself while separated, divorce was pending and my husband was already seeing other women. I did it poorly for awhile, until I got my head on straight. But let this be a lesson to any other chump out there who thinks they might be a unicorn and might want to work up the courage to tell their story. Even if you have put yourself through a long and painful life-changing experience, confessed to and apologized for the harm you have caused, and subsequently done everything in your power to devote yourself to an ultimately unworthy spouse for 28 years, with the intention to remain devoted for life if D-Day hadn’t happened, prepare to be attacked on this website and sanctimoniously condemned as unworthy of commitment from anyone, coupled with a nice healthy dose of implied blame for the cheating spouse’s ultimate betrayal. No wonder no one comes forward thinking they might be a unicorn.

        • I get this. Being in your 20s and growing up with an abusive parent, there was fallout that hurt your husband. You made mistakes, including getting married in the first place. But it sounds like you needed some space and worked on yourself for many years.
          I’m trying to figure out my own situation and coming across a lot of sanctimonious judgments along the way that are not helping me either. It’s all making me even more confused.

  • Oh, this is so good! I missed it the first time around – living in “Meh” doesn’t need any booster shots of empowerment to stay the course and never look back anymore. But I often get asked this as well, what are the odds that he does come back, repent, really mean it, and never cheat again? Women want miracles. A narcissist (NPD or BPD) changing his (or her) personality… ain’t gonna happen! Believe in miracles… not personality transplants. 😉

  • I’m still waiting for a source for the “It takes 2-5 years for a relationship to recover from infidelity” statistic that is often touted on Surviving Infidelity.

    From whose ass was that number pulled?

  • I gained zero % from anything RIC.

    I gained 100 % from anything Gain A Life.

    Our marriage counselor claimed he saved 85% of the marriages that came to him. Reality = zero %.

    • How long have you been on RP? That was the mindset shift that ended my depression. Specifically, taking personal responsibility for my reality was a tough pill to swallow but ultimately ended the pain. By that I don’t mean I’m responsible for her adultery, but I married the thot and bent over backwards for sex. Dumb moves, will not repeat.

  • There’s a female documentary maker who’s posted in the fb Chump Lady Infidelity Support Group today, looking for people to talk about their experiences, if anyone is interested (she a chump herself, who has reconciled but doesn’t necessarily see that as a positive experience).

    • Stig, I saw that. Will she profit from our despair? Will our stories be used as titillating entertainment? I don’t trust her motivation. She believes she has a unicorn.

  • What more evidence do we need than the fact that (and stats vary, but not by much) 70% of couples where there has been infidelity do end up divorcing, perhaps not right away in all or even most cases, but eventually. Many of those who eventually divorce tried to reconcile. So we can conclude from that alone that reconciliation attempts often fail. Nor is the fact that some people do stay married evidence that they stay *happily*. Lots of people stay in unhappy marriages for a variety of reasons.

    RIC scammers love to twist the fact that some people do stay as proof that reconciliation works and that these cheaters are unicorns. They cannot factually demonstrate that those people who stayed with a cheater are happy with their decision or that the alleged unicorn never cheated again. If they could, there would be the data to back it up, not just a few worthless anecdotes.

  • I am not a researcher, I am a couples and family counselor. Please, don’t shoot.

    I am also twice-chumped. First, in 2004 discovering my 41 y/o husband of 15 years had been having multiple affairs, including coworkers and students–20 y/o students–for years. At the time, my children were 3 and 6. Second time around, 2019, my 52 y/o husband of 9 years and seemingly committed, loyal stepdad, left our family for his 23 y/o girlfriend. She is 7 years younger than his son.

    All to say, in my professional life, in addition to disclosures about confidentiality, in my first session with couples I also disclose that, “I am not attached to a particular outcome. I do not know the future of this relationship; I do not know what health and peace look like for you as individuals or as a couple. My job is to help you see what is and support decisions from the vantage point of that clear view.”

    Many of my professional colleagues struggle with this, they assume that because I work with couples I must have a mission to save relationships!

    In my experience, couples who are working toward recovery from the abuse of infidelity rarely, rarely–YES! like unicorn-rare!–even begin anything like real work in therapy. The reason? Because the internal, individual work required by the abuser/cheater doesn’t happen. Few unfaithful partners have the stamina, conviction, courage, contrition, humility or basic values to do the internal deep dive and discovery that is required before they can even begin the work of healing an abused relationship. And the abused, faithful partner? Most, already exhausted from what is often years of abuse and neglect, are already running on fumes. They see the long haul ahead, with surely no guarantee and an endless stretch of more pain, more loss, more fear and they put down their cards (or, hopium pipe, as they case may be) and walk away.

    Some colleagues comment that this must be a very frustrating specialty area of service. I don’t feel that way. I’m grateful that I get to have a small supporting role in folks finding their ways through, even if it’s not to some fairty-tale ending. A beautiful ordinary wins over a unicorn fantasy any day.

    • The reason? Because the internal, individual work required by the abuser/cheater doesn’t happen.

      Yes I 100% believe this. I’m actually grateful my ex wife refused my suggestion of counseling. Looking back, I know she would’ve just blamed me for her cheating, it would’ve been a total exercise in futility and I would’ve gone crazier. It was better to just let her go, as painful as it was. Thanks for posting

      • KBChump, yes, there’s no way out but through, and the way through is painful and healing at the same time. But as you well know by now, YOU CAN DO painful and you can do healing. Keep moving through it, feeling the pain, knowing you’re healing, each step of the way.

    • My STBX went to therapy for years. And we went to couples therapy. The problem is, he wasn’t honest even with his own therapist. I suspect he just went there for kibbles.

      I’m moving out with our pre-teen daughter soon, STBX’s newest lie still stinging in my mind. I thought he made such a handsome unicorn, misguided genius. I took him back after he left me for a ho-worker with whom he’d been cheating on me for five years at that time. Turns out the next day after telling me he regrets everything and doesn’t want to divorce me after all, crying and being such a believable sad sausage – he regretted THAT but then couldn’t face me and my family if he didn’t come back after all.. You can guess everything didn’t just miraculously fall into place. It’s been four years and one month or thereabout after I took him back. 10 years of cheating and lying (that I know of, there were at least some lying by omission before that), 21 years together, and I can no longer keep inhaling the hopium. My health is a wreck and I just want to LIVE IN PEACE, a normal, simple, quiet life with no mindfuckery, gaslighting, anxious-but-don’t-know-why-feelings, fear of when the next emotional beating will come, whether in the form of affair, hookers, or being convicted of a crime (he denied doing it in court but was convicted anyway).
      I’ll be content with my daughter and cats, my small business, a few good friends and family. I don’t think I’ll ever want to married again. Of course a lot of members in my church say awful things like they think that in God’s mind we’ll always be married. And how great I was the last time that I took him back with such forgiveness. I’m thinking of getting out of there as well. My faith is still strong, I just went from missguided to Miss Guided.

  • Here are my stats on RIC. I bought into that hogwash for too many years. In 2001 I discovered an affair. He was turning 40. So much RIC bullshit. We stayed married.
    2008 I discovered him cheating again. More apologies. More crap. 2017 third time’s the charm. She is 22 years younger. He says it doesn’t matter how hot I am I can’t be younger. Divorce final in 2019.
    I wish I had left him in 2001 even though our child was only 11.
    I wish I had found a voice like Chump Lady then to Speak common sense and self worth.
    Now at 58 I am learning to be happy on my own. I will be ok. I am enough.

    • What these men forget is that yes, she might be 22 years younger and yes, you can’t be like at her age. But neither can he. He’s just an older geezer who soon won’t be able to keep up with a young woman who’s probably already losing interest.

      • Persephone, I am bewildered that my STBX believes that a 32 year old has any interest in his fat, sick old ass. The conman has been conned. The only thing she “loves” about him is wallet. That “love” will be severely tested by his rapidly depleted wallet. He is a deluded fat, sick old man. There is his Karma.

    • I just made the painful but relieving decision to leave my cheater husband though my daughter is just 11. She was 6 when he left me and filed for divorce and it was much, much harder for her then.
      Now she cried on two nights and she is already looking forward to moving with me to a new apartment soon. I didn’t lie to her, but didn’t go into specifics. I just told her that she can ask me anything she wants to know and I’ll be honest, but I won’t tell her if she doesn’t want to know any more. STBX has always been a good dad so at least that is good and I will support their relationship. Though she doesn’t want to live with him at all, but we will live close to her dad so they can spend time together.

  • It’s really amazing there’s no empirical data to back up the claims of the reconciliation pushers. I’ve been in a three-year limbo/reconciliation-ish hell. My wife is doing everything to show me she’ll be a great wife going forward and she’s been consistent for three years. Problem is the gaslighting during the affair and the humiliating circumstances of it, plus her early trickle truth and some really harmful shit she said early on after D-Day (like that I’m ‘sexually immature’ because I couldn’t accept that her AP sex was ‘meaningless’) have made it really difficult for me to see reconciliation as a viable path. I’m just not that into it, but I am not willing to be a part time parent, and I (humiliatingly) do enjoy my wife’s company and companionship.

    What I’m getting from this discussion is that there is really ZERO evidence to back up the claims of the RIC.

    Am I getting that right?

  • I have to agree, the RIC is fundamentally a paradox. Staying with the cheater rewards his behavior, so he will cheat again. The only message he gets is, “cheating must not be that bad if I get to keep my relationship!” The only way for a cheater to improve is to have consequences for misbehavior, as in breaking up permanently. It’s the only language they understand, the only thing they’re afraid of (hence all the effort put into hiding the cheating)

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