Christ on a cracker, there are a lot of chumps.
Over 5.5 million unique visitors, to be exact. Of course, I don’t know if they’re all chumps, or creepy exes, or rubberneckers. But that’s more people than the entire population of Norway OR Ireland OR New Zealand!
Not bad for an unpopular message.
“Leave a cheater, gain a life” was not the conventional infidelity advice when I started this site nearly 8 years ago. It was “work with that” and “stop asking questions” and “improve yourself so this person will stop hurting you.”
We’ve changed the narrative, folks. We’ve moved that goddamn needle away from “unmet needs” to “abuse.”
I had a hunch we were out there — Reconciliation Industrial Complex heretics — but I had to test the hypothesis with a website. Which grew and grew and grew, because of course, we’re out there.
That’s the beautiful thing about new media (and the awful thing about new media) — there are no gatekeepers. I didn’t have to convince anyone I had a viable idea (“Let’s change the narrative around cheating!”) — I could just put it out there and start my own public broadcasting system. Uncensored. And let the marketplace do the rest — is anyone else craving a new narrative?
I’m no better a writer before I was a published author than I was after. The difference is all of YOU. It was because I could DEMONSTRATE that this message had a platform. That got noticed.
So my advice is, if you meet a gatekeeper, GO AROUND. Do your OWN thing. Do it well. Build something new that no one has seen before. You don’t need gatekeepers to validate you. (Of course, it’s nice when they do, all validation is nice.) I think that’s true of publishing, and I think it’s true of life.
Eons ago I worked as a writer for a bunch of epidemiologists at the Defense Department. I was assigned to help a colonel write a report about creating a death registry and sharing data between service branches. It was a hard sell. (Doesn’t sound terribly radical now, but at the time it was.) Point is, the idea wasn’t real popular. Lots of push back and politics. He was probably a solid decade ahead with his ideas on data analytics, and he was kind of this weird, nerdy, chubby dude. He was utterly obsessed with this idea of saving lives through data sharing.
I helped him write his doomed report. He gave me a piece of advice I’ve never forgotten. He said if you want to change a narrative, you must let people steal your work. Remove your ego. Let them kick it up the food chain. Reject you. Just keep the idea alive.
He retired immediately after that report. And the idea lived. And that vision he had was realized.
Today when I look on the interwebz, the message of “Leave a cheater, gain a life” is alive and kicking. New sites are springing up all over about narcissism and toxic relationships. Twu Wuv feature articles are beset by comments calling people out for their selfish destructive choices. Esther Perel has moved on to corporate coaching. (Guess the Quest for Aliveness narrative wasn’t selling in the new Weinstein-Goes-to-the-Pokey era.)
The narrative is changing.
I am proud of my work here. But I encourage you to steal all the ideas on this site — mine and everyone’s and SHARE them. No more pick me dancing. Trust that they suck! Stay mighty!
Today’s Friday challenge is to tell Chump Nation what you’ve done to change the infidelity narrative.