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Marine Chump: This Is Worse Than Being in Iraq

Dear Chump Lady,

Here’s my story and I’ll try to keep it short. I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been married for almost 20 years. We have three kids 20, 18 and 6.

Shortly after we were married and had our first kid, I joined the Marine Corps. Life was pretty good; we went places and were able to see a lot of the country. I was gone a lot once the Iraq War started, but I came home and we picked up where we left off. I went to war and she stayed home taking care of things at the home front.

I’ve always thought she was a strong woman for being able to handle everything in my absence. The war did have some emotional effects on me, but nothing that made me irrational, angry or abusive. I just became more aware of my surroundings. I always had my wife as my rock though and she helped me through everything.

Fast forward to 2015. I retired from the Marine Corps and took a government position in Washington, DC. We were here four months when things started going wrong. She took a position on a Marine Corps base and always had to work late and so on. I was the blind one who never thought that she would cheat. She hated people that cheated.

She was always on her phone and I figured that it was for work. Even at our anniversary dinner I had to ask her to put her phone down. I found out through looking at the phone records that she was having an affair with another Marine. I confronted her and of course I got the trickle truth that she only kissed him and so on. Then I found a pregnancy test (I’ve had a vasectomy).

Now she admitted after the finding that she slept with him, but the condom broke and she didn’t want to take any chances. Again more bullshit. She started taking the pill during the height of her affair because it “helped” with her cramps and so on. She still takes the pill to this day. She has said that she fucked up and can’t see her life without me.

All of this happened because she “never got to play the field” and this guy was “just a friend with benefits.” Since we’ve been married for almost 20 years, I just bought a $500K home in Northern Virginia and we have three kids, I decided to try to work things out. She says that she’s not cheating on me, saw how bad she hurt me, and doesn’t want to lose me (Cake).

I have my good days and my bad days like all the other chumps out there. I think that I’m the chump winner for my pick me dance though. She said she wanted a get away from all the responsibilities. I flew her and a friend to New Orleans to have her get away. I bought her a new diamond wedding ring because she said that she wore her old one while she was with him. I still watch the kids even though she left them with me to go have an affair. It was me that was running back and forth to the football games/practices while she was out getting laid. I give long back massages and sexually try to destroy her so she’ll think I’m the best and not stray. All of this while I’m eating the shit sandwich.

I know that you’re going to call me a jackass because I see it now too after finding your site. I’ve had plenty of chances to cheat but I never have because I couldn’t stand to look at her afterwards or myself knowing what I had done. This guy I mentioned is the one affair that I know about. She was texting another married guy all hours of the night for a month and a half too while having this affair. She even sent him a picture on the morning of our anniversary. I received one of her naked two minutes after she sent him a MMS. She said it was only about a workout though and not the naked picture that she sent me. She was also texting and calling a guy in Arizona while she was on travel there. She was hard to reach while she was gone. She said it was just a guy from class and it was nothing.

Untimely, I love this woman. I always have. I don’t want a divorce, lose 50% of my youngest child’s life, lose my home, retirement (she rates half) and be financially drained with court/lawyer fees. I didn’t do this and I’m eating the shit sandwich. I know all of this is fear and like most chumps I’m looking for that unicorn. I live in fear every day that pales in comparison to anything I did in Iraq. I’m asking for the harsh reality that I probably need to hear; I’m a chump, she sucks and leave a cheater, get a life. Hard to accept when you are in love with the person who fucked you over for selfish pleasure. The shit sandwich sucks and I’ve been eating it for 6 months now.

Thanks,
Chumpomatic

Dear Chumpomatic,

Let me put this in Marine terms you might understand: “PUT DOWN THE SHIT SANDWICH, SOLDIER! THAT’S AN ORDER!”

Chumpomatic, I’m just echoing the sensible voices in your head giving you the same damn order. You KNOW this isn’t sustainable or right and you know you don’t have a unicorn. You know that a good marriage does not require an unending diet of shit sandwiches. You want me to bitchslap some sense into you, or drop and make you do 50 pushups or something.

I’ll kick your ass in just a moment. But first, on behalf of Chump Nation, I want to give you a great big (((HUG))). You’re battling alone to save your marriage. It’s a very miserable place to be. We get it. We’ve been there. Consider us your scouts — we’re up ahead, we’ve taken mortars to our heads, and had our lives explode. RETREAT.

The problem is, Chumpomatic, you’re a good person and your values of loyalty, honor, and sacrifice — values also forged in your military service — are in conflict with your sense of self-preservation. You’ll keep waging this losing war because you feel you must. You’ll eat shit sandwich after shit sandwich, humiliate yourself and take any kind of punishment, because you’re not a quitter. And the advice I’m giving you will sound like failure. You’re a Marine. You don’t fail! You adapt and overcome!

Listen to me — you CANNOT adapt to abuse. And the only way you overcome this shit is by getting the fuck away from it.

Let me belabor the metaphor — you can’t go to war with a traitor. You think you’re in this war together (getting your marriage back, winning your cheating wife’s commitment to you and your family). You’ve thought of this woman as your partner for 20 years and you just woke up one day to find out she’s the Taliban. You don’t quite believe it and you’re spackling like hell. Oh, that’s not a trip to New Orleans incendiary device, it’s a fuzzy kitten!

Dude, she’s still cheating on you. She’s suffered ZERO consequences. And she feels entitled to KEEP cheating. You’re there. She KNOWS you don’t want to lose your children, your home, and half your pension, so she feels quite free to eat cake. She’s playing a game of chicken with you, convinced you’ll never call her bluff, convinced she can have it her way, and all she has to do is feed you some bullshit and you’ll buy it. Kibbles and cake!

Unmask her as the traitor that she is.

She said she wanted a get away from all the responsibilities. I flew her and a friend to New Orleans to have her get away.

The woman DESTROYS her marriage and what she really needs is a trip away with a “friend” (read fuckbuddy)? You’re not utterly staggered by her entitlement? You’re not wondering why, if she really needs a trip, it’s not with YOU?

Chumpomatic, if she’s not a cheater, I’m a Mardi Gras float.

I bought her a new diamond wedding ring because she said that she wore her old one while she was with him.

Lovely. She cheats and gets new bling.

What did you get? Oh, the bill? A twitch? Permanent trust issues?

I still watch the kids even though she left them with me to go have an affair.

Cake is so much nicer with a babysitter.

Read Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse until it sinks in. You don’t have a unicorn, you’ve got a traitor.

Find your courage, face your fears, and call a lawyer today. Don’t announce it to her, just DO IT. You live in a FAULT state — you are incredibly fortunate in that respect. You’re also fortunate that one of the affair partners is a Marine. You could hurt or destroy his career with proof of that affair. I want you to gather up ALL your evidence of cheating, document all the times you had the kids while she was cheating. And gather up all your financial documents. With this woman’s penchant for travel and bling, I’m going to make an educated guess that you have financial infidelity as well. Take all this evidence to a lawyer and figure out how to PROTECT yourself.

You are at war, it’s just not the one you thought you were in. Time to get clear on who the enemy is.

There is no dishonor in protecting yourself and there is nothing shameful about divorce. Get an individual therapist to help you shore up your boundaries now. We’re also here for you.

I know you don’t like your choices (eat shit sandwiches and die by a thousand cuts, or divorce and lose half). But you have nothing to work with. The only way forward is to cut your losses and build a new life. That, sir, is a battle worth waging. Good luck.

This column ran before and I hope if he’s still reading Chumpomatic will give us an update. Happy Memorial Day to all our veterans and service members. Thank you. Back tomorrow.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I share this story often. It strikes true with military and former military and anyone who thinks they have to warrior through this, or feel guilty if they don’t or can’t. Like me.

  • Thank you for your service. If you live in Virginia, please see an attorney as you can file for divorce for cause. It will preserve a lot of your assets.

  • How about this as motivation to leave? You will be saving your kids. Actually saving them. Do you think the current situation is a good life lesson for them? They can do whatever they like with zero consequences. That is an awful life lesson. And not one a marine would pass on to his children. Even in war there are consequences. Look at what happened when europe tried to appease Hitler? Things got a hell of a lot worse. How bad does it have to get for you to say fuck this shit? Child neglect? Using your kids as cover for her hunting strange. Get yourself a lawyer, an sti test and show your children, that while you gave their mum a second chance, she blew it. And you are not willing to live like that and that you will be the same parent.

  • Please remember the US Marine motto . .” Semper Fidelis ” (Semper Fi) Always faithful . That’s you sir, the proud the few. It is not her. Your ilk have been from the “Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli ” She and her ilk have been from the halls of Microtel to the shores of treason and triangulation . You have Honor and courage she brings horror and cowardice . You are far more worthy of better sir. I salute your service and sacrifice sir God bless you always and I and many others offer a hand in gratitude and healing to you our treasured veteran .

    • Thank you!!! After D-Day I decided to make a tattoo to close that horrible life chapter and go on. Have been wondering for months now waiting for sth that will capture my soul. And there it is! Sempre Fi! Totally opposite od my husband’s life values. Thank you!

  • Chumpomatic – First off, thank you for your service to this country.
    I’ve been exactly where you are!!! After DDay #1, for which I know I never got the full truth about, she cried to me and swore that she saw how much she hurt me and the fear of losing everything will keep her honest and committed moving forward. That was the motivation she needed to never betray me or our family again. I did a major pick me dance as well, lost 80 pounds, tatted up my body, changed my personality, did everything she “needed” of me because those were all the reasons she claimed she cheated on me in the first place. Fast forward 10 months and DDay #2 came along. More lies occurred after this discovery, screwed with my head for 2 weeks about what happened until she decided to text me a confession. Truth was that it never ended after DDay #1, even when she sat on the edge of the bed, held my hand as we shared tears together while she promised to never hurt me again, she was still doing it. Only after DDay #2, did she tell me the horrible truth that after DDay #1, she didn’t feel remorse for what she did and she only stayed out of guilt. She was angry at me for catching her and she was even more angry at me for eating the shit sandwich that she fed me. She was confident that I’d fall on my face, that I would dump her over the betrayal and I wouldn’t become everything she “needed”.
    I lied to myself after DDay #1. I knew she never really apologized, I knew I was ignoring signs of how angry she was at my fabulous pick me dance but I needed to lie to myself for my own sense of stability and to keep my marriage intact and our family. She was willing to let me do all of that, while reassuring me that we got through this together, all while continuing the affair. DDay #1 is a major mental and emotional blow but when DDay #2 hits, it’s catastrophic.
    After she texted me her DDay #2 confession after she was clearly caught again with text messages, I had a moment of courage and self respect and asked that she leave the house and stay with her parents while we figure this all out. She never really came back, we tried a few counseling sessions which turned out to be nothing more than about more of her “needs” and what I needed to further change about me. Eventually after less than 2 months, she dumped me on our front steps, gave me a hug and our marriage was over in less than 5 minutes. The unfortunate obvious truth was, no matter what I did after DDay 1 or 2, she had no true intentions of having a loving, honest and healthy marriage with me. She would have been equally as willing to string me along after DDay #2 if I let her and who knows how many DDay’s would have come thereafter.
    I am a firm believer that good people make mistakes, do horribly selfish and cruel things and I think we all need to admit that we are capable of doing that to someone we love. It’s what you do with that hurt you caused others that truly shows who you are as a person and a partner. When they decide to use your weakness, hurt and pick me dancing skills to kick you even harder, then you must walk away for yourself and your children. A true partner and someone that loves you wouldn’t leave you wounded on the battlefield, walk over the bodies and continue to march ahead for their own safety. They wouldn’t leave their platoon and they’d risk it all to ensure every member is safe and not left for dead.
    That’s not who you have on your team. It may be really hard to accept that now as you went to battle with her by your side for 20 years, but once you make the decision to stand up for yourself, save yourself and your children from the battlefield, you will have the beauty of hindsight where it all becomes clear, the enemy perpetrated your squad and was systematically destroying it from the inside.
    It may be an extremely painful truth but she doesn’t want the marriage or the family you built together, she wants someone and something else now and no matter how hard you fight, change, dance or commit, she no longer wants to be on your team and needs you to let go. Like my wife, she never had to the courage to say that and instead, selfishly strung me and our family along. She clearly has no courage so you need to be the one who is courageous by standing up for you and your children and put an end to the game she is playing.

    • Yes, they leave anyway. Sometimes by saying they want out of the marriage, and other times by continuing to cheat and never being able to hold their marriage vows. I knew I had to let him go, even when he repeatedly said he didn’t want a divorce. I was tired of living in the marriage alone, it took everything I had to keep pushing through mediation and remind myself I had to get away from him. Chumps really cherish their marriage vows, it’s soul crushing to leave the person who you made them with. It must be done though, it must.

    • Justin – Oh Man, I’ve heard a lot of awful stories on this website in the past 7 years but this one was especially horrifying. The cruelty of your two D-days was very emotionally descriptive. Many people have 2, 3, 4, 5 d-days, and you put really put emotional perspective into it.

      It’s always a treat, if you will, to get a man’s perspective on the most horrible day in his life.
      Sadly, but it helps everybody.

      • Thank you SheChump for the encouraging words. I have read what I wrote endless times since I posted it and I am still in disbelief that I am the author of that story. I’ll never accept that this was the story that played out in my life with the person I loved more than anyone else in this world, many times even more than I loved myself. While I can’t accept the story, I have finally accepted the reality, thanks to this group and the endless stories of courage and fortitude, I’ve been able to pick myself up and move forward in my life. It’s certainly a long journey and certainly one I never thought I would be on.

  • If they are capable of lying to your face repeatedly they are of lousy character and that will never change.

    It is a shitty fate to keep rewarding traitors and backstabbers. I did it for awhile but it was sucking the soul out of me. I walked. He wanted to keep trying to work things out but I walked. Because he only wanted to keep his cushy lifestyle intact. I eventually accepted that I was being played for a sucker. His actions screamed that.

  • Wherever you are Chumpomatic, I hope you got out. If you haven’t, I hope you’ll consider it. You are worthy of a deceitful-free life and deserve better then this.

    Happy Memorial Day. Peace.

  • I share a similar story (without the military and deployment – thank you for yourself service) but let me tell you that two years post divorce, the cheater went on to get married to a high school boyfriend, is now getting divorced, and maintained an affair through the entire two years with the affair partner that blew up our marriage.

    My point is, not only did she NOT change, her affairs had nothing to do with me. Divorce sucks and I lost everything that I accumulated but the kids now live with me and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My sense of family has changed but it is no less strong, and I have become stronger than I ever would have thought I was.

    Best wishes

  • I still love my hugely confused and abusive ex. I had to see him recently. I cried all day afterward because he is alone and growing old and I can’t help him. Trying to help him would destroy me. You can love the cheater and still leave them because life without them is better for everyone. Even them. It does them no good to get away with abuse.

    • My experience, precisely, Madge. Thank you for sharing that…..

      Ones who have never been through this likely can not understand how we can still love someone who has gutted us the way the cheaters do.

      It is because our love is genuine & authentic. True love can not be turned on & off like a light switch. However, it can be made to slowly fade away when one is cheated on. I, too, continued to love cheaterpants for some time. Still not sure my love for him has totally died, but No Contact helps. “Missing something (usually because we still feel love) is not the same as wanting it back”

      Therefore, I do hope that chumpomatic came to understand: What has love got to do with it?!

      What if your home that you love has been irreparably contaminated or is in a ‘danger zone’, such as Fukashima? Yes, you love that home, but to save your life, you have to leave the danger zone. Thankfully we chumps here finally figured that out.

      Love to all as we ForgeOn!

      • I recently had coffee with the ex-wife of my ex’s buddies. They’ve been apart for about 10 years. He had cheated on her. He was also the only one that knew about my ex’s affair and he was often used as the alibi. Oddly enough, he never agreed with my ex’s affair, told him he needed to stop and that he had fucked up his life for nothing. He was speaking from experience because he regrets having cheated on his wife all of these years. But my ex didn’t want to listen.

        Anyways, she told me that, despite the cheating, despite the ten years that have passed, and despite having a new man these last five years, there is still something in her heart for her ex. She figures that there always will be because of the bond of having a child together.

        I can see that and I think it will always be that way with me too. It doesn’t mean that I will suffer for the rest of my life. I think it means that there will always be a pang of regret that I will feel that things had not worked out differently and that I didn’t get to fulfill my dream that I would be growing old with the father of my children. It doesn’t mean that I miss him or that I want him back. I’ll always just be a carrier of the virus, even though I won’t ever be sick with the illness.

  • It is such a chump tendency, giving so much to an undeserving cause, such an undeserving person, a person so unlike yourself: Semper fi versus Sometimes fi. Leaving is hard—none of wanted to lose time with our children—but that same competence and commitment that got you through a war and a bad marriage will get you to a much better place without this Fifth Column inside your family. Be strong: “adapt, improvise, and overcome.”

    • I would bet that part of what is/was holding him back was his belief that she was his “rock.” Yes, he’ll lose half his pension, the house, time with his children (or maybe not, given that Virginia is a fault state), but at some place in himself he must believe he needs her, just like he knew he needed the other members of his platoon. The difference is she doesn’t have his back, hasn’t learned the lessons of courage and fidelity, and unlike a good Marine, will sacrifice him and then leave him lying wounded on the battlefield in a war she started.

      • I picked up on that too. He counted on her, rightfully so. She’s a disrespectful pig. It’s terrible to use someone so badly. He’s got to stop allowing that behavior

  • CL this is genius writing! Hammer down and give a hug. Took some of the words right out of my mouth!
    Thank you, sir, for your service! It can’t be easy being away raising kids including a grown woman child. I am so sorry, she disgusts me.
    You’d never go without your kids unless you chose to
    Everyone would eventually understand. You know how to fight, so… love isn’t always enough. Simplify

  • I read this the first time & find it too painful to read again. I hope he has freed himself from this user & found peace & maybe even someone who is worthy of him.

  • Thanks for your service to this country and to your marriage vows, your family and your kids. We need more men like you in this world for sure.
    One thing that I cannot get my head around is how they can so adamantly be against cheaters and say that they are disgusted by cheating and do it like it’s nothing…this is what really disgust me after everything I learned he did. I hope things worked out well for you, sending hugs!

  • Chumpomatic: You say you still love your wife. Love is a strong and meaningful word. What do you love about her at this point? Could you make a long list about the qualities you love in her? Could you use the words – trustworthy, compassionate, empathetic, kind, grateful, honest – to describe why you love her?

  • Unfortunately, when we are young we tend to believe in certain cultural fairy tales we have been taught, and we make decisions based on those beliefs which we think will last a lifetime. Foremost, in my opinion, is the belief that somehow we are special, and our emotions are special. We find special love. We are entitled to special treatment, and material possessions.

    I believe the truth is that we are more alike with the rest of the population, than we are different. What is special is that due to fate and other people’s actions, some of us are afforded better lifestyles and opportunities for success than others. We need to be appreciative of these opportunities, but we also need to realize we are not entitled to them.

    Some of us respond to the needs of others, who are less fortunate, and develop empathy and character, and a work ethic. Some never develop this skillset, and live their entire life as a selfish willful child, who only considers his/her own needs as important, and sees others as a means to obtain gratification.
    The problem is those who do not think they are entitled usually have a blind spot, and do not see the truth about those who are selfish. We concoct a scenario of what “should” be in our heads, and we act as if it will be that way. Then we are devastated when we find we have coupled with someone who was only an illusion, one we wanted desperately to believe in.

    At some point we have to accept that we will never be able to change the past, nor will this person make any effort to change personality type for a different outcome in the future. No matter how senseless or dangerous their outcomes are, they will not, probably can not, change. They do not love anyone. They live in the moment, and feel entitled to all the joy and sparkles. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change another person. The only person who ever changes is one who has decided to change himself/herself. That person will make the effort needed, and do the work required. If they need to change YOU to be happy, then they are unwilling to change themselves, or accept any responsibility.

    It is hard to accept that your cultural belief system is based on error. It is hard to live an authentic life where you build on your own hard work and accomplishments, and learn to depend on yourself. You may find others who have become this way, or realized that no one is entitled to be “special.” You will have to observe their behavior over a period of time before you can actually accept them as an authentic person. Magic moments only occur in fairly tales. We are destined to be human, and that is not an automatic pass to believe we will behave in a empathetic manner. Human’s have to make an effort to choose to live in an ethical, empathetic manner. They are not born into an authentic life.

    This is how I explain the trip to MEH. You let go of your old belief system, you move forward honing your true skillset and independence, one step at a time, and then one day you wake up and feel content with who you are as a person, and the way you choose to live your life, and find authentic others. Then you can help others, because you have learned to help yourself. You cannot change others, but you can be honest and supportive of changes they want to make themselves. Their outcome depends on their choices, just as your life depends on yours.

    • >>Foremost, in my opinion, is the belief that somehow we are special, and our emotions are special.

      I never got what was wrong with this. Everyone feels special, and special magic moments make life worth living. A special moment of triumph, a special moment with children, etc…. I’m sure I’m not translating the word “special” right.

    • Portia, your thoughts always resonate with me! I’m copying this to my notes, to think about it again. I really want to grow, and be authentic.

    • Portia, that was excellent, as always.

      Everything spot on.
      When are you going to write that book?

  • Does anyone know how long ago the original article ran? Anyway, I hope he got away from that torture. I know how frightening it is to leave someone who you thought you knew, all the memories, all the financial growth you two accomplished together, and then you have the thought of “i’m afraid to be alone and have no one”. Still, I’d rather be on my own than suffering from my ex’s constant gas-lighting and crazy-making. I thought for a minute I was losing it when I’d question him and he’d deflect and tell me I was the issue, he really had me believing it too. The weird thing is, I was alone anyway. I was alone in the marriage. So every time I get sad that I’m alone now, I remind myself that I was alone with him anyway and it just wasn’t a way to spend my life. Wishing this Marine warm thoughts. Good women are out there, we’ve been were this Marine has, and as someone once told me “the sun still rises, the clouds make their journey, and you will too”. I’ve always loved that they told me this.

  • the sun still rises, the clouds make their journey, and you will too”

    Alice I love this thanks! My STBX mother in law told me that the sun would shine for me one day. Except she meant that it would still be while I was with her son. They have begged and pleaded for me not to go ahead with the divorce. Even today she told me not to do it because then the mistress would win. How old school is this mentality, like seriously? I’m supposed to turn a blind eye and forget the past which will definitely be repeated for all of eternity. I married the worst of the worst narcissists. When I finally told him that I am DONE he admitted that he was juggling several women over our decade long relationship and that the main mistress was always there even before he married me.

    Like you Alice I was always alone in the marriage. Naive, in denial and practicing exceptionalism. So when I feel myself start to cry now I remind myself that I never really had a relationship, so there’s no real loss here. I am merely mourning an illusion of the relationship I thought I had.

    Narcissists need standing ovations and Emmy nods for their brilliant acting.

    What angers me the most is why cheaters can’t just spare us the pain of going through such an ordeal? How selfish to rob someone of finding genuine love and commitment somewhere else? Why mindfuck us? Why lay down and have babies with us when you know you are unfaithful?

    I know I have made the right decision to leave the marriage without a doubt. And like the sun rises and the clouds make their journey, so will I. And I pray that love awaits me. First self-love, and perhaps if I’m lucky… even true love.

    • Oh wow Chumpedout, your mother-in-law sounds dreadful. Last time I checked, a cheater isn’t a prize! I don’t understand that mindset? Does your mother-in-law really think that spending your life with her son who had multiple women outside your marriage is a way you want to live? Your soon to be ex-husband isn’t going to make you feel safe and bring thoughts of comfort, it’s crazy she doesn’t understand that. My Exmother-in-law told me I needed to “get over it” after her son’s first affair, yea she was a peach (sarcasm). I know love will find you Chumpedout, because there is only one way to go now and that’s up! A lonely marriage is tragic and I don’t know why so many people (like mother-in-laws) advocate for sticking it out. I’ll never understand a cheaters mindset, I actually feel sorry for them because they will never know the love that fills your heart when you give love and live by your words/vows. You are strong to keep pushing through with the divorce, that sun will RISE and you’ll beam in it’s light and be happy.

    • The main mistress was in the picture before he even married you? So he married you and she has remained the OW? I know this happens but it still is mind boggling how any woman (or man) will hang on to someone for dear life, even when they up and marry someone else. The dysfunction…where to begin? Getting away from this man is such a blessing.

  • Well apparently her son is a prize because he put a roof over my head, got me a nice car and a nice life so I should be grateful and turn a blind eye. I have 2 degrees and left postgraduate studying 2 years ago to be with my newborn twins at home. So apparently I need to be really grateful that her son is taking care of me. Just imagine!

    I have daughters I’m raising and I will set an example to them. They cannot accept cheating in any kind of relationship, and they can be smart and educated and make something of themselves one day. The goal is to get back to studying and being financially independent on my own as soon as possible. I cannot wait!

    I’m so inspired by you Alice and all of CN that have left a cheater and gained a life. I hope to reach Meh sooner than later. I hope that Chumpomatic is at meh wherever he is.

    These cheaters are a piece of work I tell you. Mine left an hour ago to spend the night with his mistress (a weekly occurrence since we agreed to divorce just before lockdown happened in March) . He told me his new apartment is almost ready and that he’s leaving for good this coming week so that’s at least one step in the right direction. No more disruption for me or the kids. We need to start our new normal…

    • Ugh I remember those days, when he would leave the house and we both knew who he was going to (the mistress). I once told him, can you just hurry up and go be with her full-time already, you’re her problem now! You are being such a strong and wise mother to set the example for your girls and you will absolutely love it once he’s fully moved out and you have your own space all to yourself without him dropping in, etc. You can decorate, rearrange the furniture, make your favorite foods for dinner and never have to consider him in any of these decisions.

      You don’t owe him anything like your mother-in-law wants you to believe. He provided for you as a husband should, it sounds like you two were a team at one point with him earning and you taking care of your girls, that’s teamwork. Doesn’t sound like you are in debt to him by forgiving all of his infidelity. Shoot, I’d rather live in a car than stay with a cheating husband just because he provided us a nice house.

      I’ve noticed a lot of people will project their fears on you when they see you doing things that they themselves are afraid of. Sounds like your mother-in-law isn’t nearly as brave as you are just by the advice she’s trying to give. You will get to that financial independence, you will have your own life separate from him and you will be happy!

      Those girls of yours are going to cherish your strength as they grow up and run to you when they need lifting up. You will get to Meh, and when you have hard moments remember that sun is still going to rise!

    • Change the locks asap. They always feel entitled to still come and go, even after they have moved out.

  • The one thing I have learned is that things, cash in the bank, enviable vacations, and social position can never compete with peace and sanity.

  • I wish I would have married you instead of my cheating Chair Force active duty asshole… who repeatedly joked “bro’s before Ho’s”

    I’m sorry this has happened to you, Chumpomatic.

  • One thing that struck me about this post was how much more obvious it is that a cheater has a personality disorder when the cheater is female.

    It shouldn’t be that way. I was raised by feminist parents but I still live in the same culture as everyone else. That knee-jerk bias is about culturally instilled disparity in gender expectations, which is political.

    This set off a light bulb for me: In that period when many chumps first try to determine if the cheater’s remorse is genuine or naugahyde, aside from demanding a postnup, maybe chumps should also require cheaters to go out and get themselves an official Cluster B personality disorder diagnosis before even considering reconciliation.

    Personally I think if a therapist worth their salt is working with all the information and not just the image-managed, blame-reversing spin rendition of events most serial abusers serve up to manipulate onlookers, BPD, HPD, NPD or anitisocial personality disorder would be appropriate in a large majority of cases.

    Think about some of the criteria and common “comorbidities” surrounding, for example, BPD collected from various applications and specialties:

    Attachment issues, particularly disorganized attachment.

    “Masked dependency” and preemptive abandonment to ease chronic abandonment fears.

    Triangulation and manipulation to psychologically hobble and socially isolate victims, simultaneously rendering them less credible to onlookers and turning onlookers into accomplices, accessories and abettors.

    Splitting (shifting between idealization and demonization of others)

    Blame reversal and guilt reduction strategies

    Compartmentalization and dissociation

    Risk taking and compulsive, addictive behavior (substances, sex, gambling, etc.)

    Unstable identity

    Belief that the truth is only what one can get others to believe is true.

    There would be many benefits to slapping an official label on cheaters. For one it would simplify things if push comes to shove and there’s a custody dispute.

    Speaking of children, even if a marriage doesn’t survive, therapies targeting personality disorders might at least give cheaters a few tools and a slim chance not to be horrific role models and really rotten parents.

    It would also return a certain balance of power by stymieing any continuing gaslighting campaigns: pointing the “crazy finger” at a victim is that much harder when you’ve been officially labeled Cluster B because regarding and depicting everyone else as “crazy” is a known thing in personality disorders.

    Furthermore, maybe it would even things out in a political and gender sense since it’s mostly women labeled with borderline personality disorder based on some pretty shoddy and biased hypotheses and statistical research. One glaring example of this bias is how “high risk conduct” in BPD includes “being raped” (barf). If BPD were applied in a less gender-biased manner, heinous criterion like this would probably eventually dry up.

    Since infidelity is included in some research on IPV (interpersonal violence) and domestic abusers have been theorized by modern and more cutting edge criminologists to be “afflicted” with BPD coupled with attachment disorder, it may not be merely strategically beneficial to victims to start categorizing cheating within this perspective. It could have some cultural benefits by addressing the social and therapeutic tendency to minimize the destructiveness of cheating.

    For anyone concerned that a PD label just adds to the “sad sausage” image of cheaters, bear in mind that the domestic abusers being studied are in prison settings and those studying them aren’t arguing they shouldn’t be.

    Another social bonus might be a much sharper separation between cheaters and those who practice radical transparency within open relationships and polyamory. No more blurring of the lines between the two very different, character-defining choices by chalking up cheating to “hypersexuality” and “evolutionary mating strategies” or whatever. Instead the question would focus more on what’s wrong with people who can’t be honest and open about their lifestyle choices and who are willing to victimize others through the practice of double standards in the name of sex? Why are some so dependent and fearful of abandonment and loss social status that they’d deceive, psychologically abuse and put at physical risk a faithful partner and rob that partner of rightful autonomy and choices? Why drag innocent children through an avoidable and destructive drama in service of adult gratification (akin to child sexual abuse)?

    I don’t think it would be hard for cheaters to pull off getting this kind of dx. They’re notoriously skilled at manipulating therapists. Let them manipulate in a more apt direction for once.

    Of course most cheaters won’t agree to such a thing but, like signing a postnup, unwillingness could be a good litmus for the betrayed to determine risk of continuing fuckery.

    • Awesome! Thanks for finding this Brightness! I’m so glad Chumpomatic is happy and has moved on, almost brings tears to my eyes.

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