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UBT: He Blew Up the Marriage to Improve It

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blowupA submission here from “Deaun” to the Universal Bullshit Translator that was too fucked up to pass over.

According to my counselor [the affair] was a subconscious way of blowing up our marriage to improve it. It was physiological, my brain enjoyed the dopamine.

I’m assuming from the “my brain enjoyed the dopamine” Deaun is the cheater here? If so, I give him props for submitting his therapist’s get-out-of-remorse-free bullshit. On the other hand, there’s enough therapy quackery that I wouldn’t be entirely shocked if some counselor told a chump that no, they secretly enjoyed their betrayal. Subconsciously of course. You can’t prove shit if it’s subconscious.

But more likely what we’re dealing with here are two tenets of Reconciliation Industrial Complex that always need debunking —

1.) Affairs improve marriages.

2.) Affairs are addictive.

According to my counselor [the affair] was a subconscious way of blowing up our marriage to improve it.

Okay, for your next therapy appointment I’d like you to bring a bucket of tar and pour it all over your therapist’s office. If he complains, tell him you were just destroying his office in order to improve it. And hey, that was an ugly sofa anyway.

If he gets upset, tell him your urge to pour a bucket of tar all over his office was subconscious. I’m super sorry it resulted in actual damage to his office, but hey, subterranean urges — what can you do? Heck, we probably evolved to have them.

Shrug. Don’t apologize.

It was physiological, my brain enjoyed the dopamine.

My brain enjoys dopamine too. Especially the dopamine that is released when I eat German Christmas cookies. Put me around a plate of lebkuchen and I cannot be responsible for my actions. I LOVE lebkuchen.

We’re dealing with a dopamine high here. If those cookies did not want to be eaten, then they shouldn’t have looked so alluring with their green and red sprinkles. Should I stop eating lebkuchen and fit into my pants? Let me ask you something — do you think carrot sticks release dopamine? Or lunge squats? Or those sugar-free protein bars that taste like glue and cat litter? NO. NO DOPAMINE.

I DESERVE my feel-good lebkuchen high. Fuck the cost! Fuck my pants!

My lebkuchen cravings are physiological.

And they’re probably subconscious too. Excuse me, I have to end this column now. I hear the cookies calling me.

This one ran before. The cookies still beckon…

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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.
  • Until I found a therapist who specializes in abuse, I was under the influence of a therapist who kept telling me that “sex is really important”. Yep, totally agree with that statement. And how exactly does that fit into the scenario of serious serial infidelity and gaslighting? He was implying that it was okay for my husband to cheat because “sex is important”. Funny that-my husband and I had a great sex life. These fucking RIC people are starting to really scare me. They are part of the abuse and blame shifting. I’m worried about this mass gaslighting by “professionals”. Anyone else feeling that?

    • Walking in on your husband’s masturbation sessions were also endorsed by the RIC. Poor thing needs a release!🤫🥴🥴🤭🤮🤮🤮🤮

        • Nope, I was uncaring. He was supposed to be allowed to have his relationship with himself. I’m not making this up! I cannot forget the memory. It’s etched in there forever.

        • And when a cheater says they’re in a sexless marriage it’s part of the con. Personally, I was called a frigid cunt by a bar whore who was placing ads in the newspaper looking for a dance partner with rhythm.

          • So I was kind of in a sexless marriage and I am really struggling with his. My then husband was never home, never helped with the kids, came home and played video games until 2 in the morning and then used to stick his dick in my face at 2am. He had bad breath, and there was never any foreplay or anything for me. Eventually I really dreaded sex and I guess we had dead bedroom. I was never frigid before this ass. I really just don’t know how to process. The whole while he was fucking people in the side, so should I feel guilty that my body seemed to process something my mind did not?

            • I feel your husband engineered a sexless marriage – even if he didn’t intend to, it benefits him because he can feel justified in making that claim now. Is that what you’d call the sad sausage channel? Feel sorry for me, I get no sex from my spouse (but I’m going to leave out the part where I ruined the intimacy and trust that led to said sexless marriage!) If someone says their marriage is sexless they’re often either lying or they caused it by acting in a way that puts their spouse off. Not in every case but damn, it’s a common theme on here!
              And as you know, the type of person who justifies cheating because they had a “sexless marriage” is never at fault!

              • Thank you. This sums up the 30 years I wasted, waiting for him to participate in our marriage. Even from the first couple of weeks after our wedding, I couldn’t get him to turn off the television and come to bed. I kidded him that his perfect partner would be a TV with boobs and a vagina. Fast forward to recent times, I began to suspect something was going on about 6 years ago and he gave me denial after denial. His latest partner (prior to the divorce) was 30 years younger than him.

              • My ex wife started using the term “dead bedroom” that you so often hear. The funny thing is that we had a great sex life until she stopped having sex with me. Funny how the dead bedroom was her excuse for renting hotel rooms and fucking her dance partner.

              • Shit this is all so familiar. Our sex life tanked because he made himself unavailable at the times we could normally have sex. He was in the iPad, playing computer games, working, asleep in the early evenings, at work, out with others, slept in the spare room. Then it was all my fault. By the end I really couldn’t see how we could have sex and when we finally did he admitted I was too “vanilla” for him. I didn’t know what that was until I learned more about his BDSM world he’d gone to. So how dare he blame me for being sexless? It was so not true on every level.

            • My need to enjoy sex kept me out of so many abusive relationships. I didn’t know it at the time but I never saw the point if I wasn’t enjoying it to. Now I know that is a major sign of entitlement. Not that all bad partners are bad bad partners.

            • There was a time when he was acting like a cruel asshole (more cruel and assholish than normal) that I consciously had no suspicious that he was cheating but I lost my libido. I look back and now see that my body was screaming at me. Cheater said all the things husbands are supposed t say but acted like he hated my guts and couldnt stand a moment with me. He yelled at me that I never initiated sex…looking back he was SO disconnected.

              I later learned that his cranky aloof self was side-fucking…likely during that whole era. He blamed me blah blah blah Im sure he gave hos hos the expected narrative.

              What is odd for me is to realize that my body sensed something my conscious self was refusing to acknowledge.

              • “My body sensed something my conscious self was refusing to acknowledge.” How true this is! Even down to things like how we detect that our cheating spouses smell different to us, and we’re put off.

            • Pumafool, I was married to the same loser, different name. About five years into the marriage, he switched from video games to tennis, which was “better.” That turned into 4-hour tennis games, 3 or 4 times a week. So here is me, working full time and caring for the kids, and he comes in at midnight wanting me to wake up and have sex with him.

              After I caught him cheating, he said it was because he thought I didn’t love him anymore because we “never” had sex. He told me in front of our marriage counselor that I had “never, in our seven years of marriage, satisfied him sexually.” That was a real kick in the teeth. So I told him my truth, that over time, it had become really hard for me to have spontaneous desire for a man who only puts 20% effort into our marriage and family.

              So, with the help of our cash-only $160/hr marriage counselor, over a period of several months, we wreckonciled. After that, the father of my children made dinner for us every night, and only played tennis after he had finished that task. On my part, I pledged to save our marriage by making myself “available” for him sexually at least 3 times a week. I even offered to quit my stressful job so I would be less of a drudge (and not have to neglect myself and our kids to show how much I “desired” him). Of course he didn’t want me to quit, since he was chronically under-earning as a public defender, and I was making three times what he was, working my ass off to support our family.

              Three years later, he blew it all up again, confessed to cheating, and asked for an open marriage. Sorry, “it was not cheating,” it was “only anal and genital stimulation.” I showed him the door, he moved into his parents’ basement, and he immediately quit his under-earning job. He now makes $200k a year, so his commitment to a life of service was all bullshit too. Since then I have learned what he actually meant when he said he had “never been sexually satisfied.” He’s been exploring every sado-masochistic kink and form of open relationships there is, in search of that dopamine hit. Still lives in his parents’ basement and has them watch the kids while he is out playing tennis and fucking strange, and so far has introduced the kids to eight overlapping girlfriends.

              I so wish I had not debased myself trying to keep him. But hey, live, learn, dump your marriage counselor, and find Chump Lady.

            • I could have written these exact words.
              Perhaps you feel guilty because abuse makes you feel guilty about everything, all the time.
              It’s a way for the abusers to trick us into abusing ourselves, so after a while, they don’t even have to lift a finger.

            • He needed so much sex that it became a freaking chore for me. Well, so much so that he had to fuck my best friend, tell me she was better than I am and now they’re together in their little “harem”.
              I think sex is important to a lot of people in marriage because it’s hard to get such raw emotion and passion otherwise. As people become complacent in their relationships, they crave that passion that once was (and think they can have it elsewhere).
              And that’s what we call a “mid-life crisis” here.
              Ho-hum

      • I’ve heard so much BS re: his need to release…YUCK
        “My balls hurt really bad.” “Sometimes I just need to let it all out” I don’t use porn anymore, I have a picture of your butt in my phone. Oh yeah?? I’m supposed to feel special?
        He EVEN started doing his thing RIGHT NEXT TO ME on morning. I took a breath, sat up and walked out of the bedroom. L

        • The disgusting thing is the men that view sex as “release” or whatever, and not a social interaction.

          And because I’m not a man, I can’t even know if a man like that exists.

          All my partners made me feel that sex was “yeah, yeah, feels good, whatever “, but I know now they had no values of attachment or bonding, so of course they couldn’t see it as any more than that. Mechanic. So, partners become interchangeable.

          • Whether or not pornography is considered cheating is kind of a gray area. I had a much higher sex drive than my cheater. She encouraged me to take care of it myself. I never once cheated on her, even when we were only intimate once a month or so. She never took care of herself, ever, and cheated for five months with a nerd on the internet, and started going to hotels with strangers she picked up at bars.

            Masturbation and pornography is a poor indicator of a cheater, that is unless you’ve established boundaries that would make it so in your relationship.

            • I absolutely do not think of pornography as cheating, as long as it’s not hidden. If it’s hidden, then it’s just as problematic as any other hidden behavior.

              But I also don’t believe in “mismatched sex drives” or “being vs not being in the mood”. You create the mood. You create the occasion. You create the relationship. Case in point, the person who cheated on you didn’t have a lack of libido, she had a lack of integrity and investment in the relationship. She just chose to spend her libido elsewhere, because that’s power.

              • No he had stashed it at the house and at work. He knew it was not kosher. He did it anyway.

            • When you are asking for sex and getting the I’m too tired. Yet the credit card bills show 900 numbers called, pornography purchased, Schmoopie called long distance, yeah there’s no grey area. It’s cheating. When he’s caught, and it all stops to go underground. You start finding it again ie the pornography. ITS CHEATING! You just haven’t found the rest. The MP is tired. What you worked out is for you. These are my boundaries.

              • I learned, after the fact, that my ex was turning to porn regularly for a few years before he started turning to actual women in real life. He wasn’t engaging me in sex very often at all, mostly because he was increasingly suffering ED issues. There is research now showing how regularly (secretively) turning to porn, rather than your actual partner, kills the intimacy and attraction to the real life partner and leads to ED. In such situation, people may turn to the excitement of affairs to seek that rush or to live out fantasies. Or, they turn to more graphic and disturbing forms of porn.

                Porn used to enhance your sexual experience as a couple might have it’s benefits, used casually and openly.

                However, when it’s used secretively, that’s indicative of a problem because it’s become a replacement, and it’s worse when the person can’t seem to go back to the real life intimacy with their spouse. That’s why porn IS a problem.

                My ex loved to throw in my face that he only had a problem with me, that I wasn’t meeting his needs, even though I was always the more passionate one in our relationship. Then, I learned about the porn issue. Then, he left and found all the hits on the computer’s history for cialis or viagra. Then, my son caught his dad watching porn twice when spending the weekend “with daddy.” Twice…in the middle of the day…leaving the kids watching tv downstairs so he can go watch porn on the computer in his bedroom.

                Yeah, that’s a problem.

                Maybe the grass isn’t greener in the adultery partner’s yard after all.

              • I agree. Porn or masturbation in and of itself isn’t cheating, but when it’s hidden, deceptive, and covered up by lying, that’s the problem.

                I dated a guy once who was more into porn than he was real life. No surprise he was also a cheater. It wasn’t the porn itself that bothered me (I worked in an adult toy/porn shop) it was the deception. He’d lie to my face about who he was with, he’d demand I do sex acts I wasn’t comfortable doing, and he’d guilt and shame me for not looking or acting like porn models. He’d walk into whatever room I was in, do whatever he wanted to me, and leave the room again without a word, but he’d absolutely flip his shit if I dared come near him while he was masturbating. That was “his time.” Yeah his time to cheat…

                The partner I have now likes porn. But the difference is, he never hides it. He was 100% open about it. I asked him if he likes it, he said yeah, and told me what kind, asked if I like it, what kind, etc. No secrets, no deception, no pressure, no lies, no shaming. Just upfront. Like an actual adult. No hiding. I was actually happy when he said he does without lying or pretending otherwise. I’d have been very suspicious had I asked and he’d said no or given a vague reply.

                Deception really is the key difference between normal self-pleasuring and harmful behaviors that damage relationships.

            • No I don’t care about the masturbation or really the porn. Just the pressure being put on me. Sort of felt like well if you’re not going to do anything about this…
              And I was perfectly fine with sex all along. Sometimes wanting it more than him I was never a great “initiator”.
              It just all makes me feel sick. And really sad.
              He NOW tries to say, it’s not just sex I feel it in my soul and all these things about “love making” which he didn’t really express in the years prior to our problems and his confession of cheating

          • As a woman, I think the difference between having sex with a man or self-pleasure is the connection in addition to the release. However, I sometimes wanted the physical release just because of the pressure of needing that release and not because I wanted to connect with my then husband. Overall, I wanted both connection and release. At least I did when the marriage seemed healthy before all the betrayal. After that, it was impossible to force my brain and heart to “connect” mentally and emotionally. Also, sometimes, part of the connection occurs outside the bedroom. So, I don’t really mind men feeling like they need sex just for the physical release. Plus, now that I’m single, I have to separate the physical release that occurs by myself from the non-sexual connection that occurs with other people in platonic relationships or else I will be really lonely and/or pent up with frustration. What bothers me is when men (and women) don’t care about the human being they’re having that release with at all. This is the real problem with cheaters and narcissists. They’re willing to run roughshod over another human being’s needs/rights/boundaries/feelings/well being/emotional health/mental health/safety/physical health/etc. as long as it makes them “happy”.

            • I agree. Thank you for sharing. My husband never talked about our sex life as an intimate event until now that we’re having these “problems”. His lying and confession of infidelity… he’s wanting to be “better than ever”. And help me any way he can…
              I’m with you, in that I can no longer get my heart and mind to agree on this and it just wouldn’t be the same.
              We were together ONE time since dday and I cried. Couldn’t wait for it to end it felt wrong

          • Quetzal,
            Men like that do exist. I consider myself a demisexual. Sex is only good for me when I care about someone. Don’t get me wrong. I’m adventurous. I’m no prude. I never have any dysfunction when I care about or especially love someone. The funny thing is, if I’m trying to just meet and fuck, and I have to TRY, not only can I not reach orgasm but it’s hard to sustain as well. This meat market culture in today’s society sickens me. I’ve never used a dating site. I just want someone I can love and be loyal to that loves me and is loyal to me. I want to grow with someone. Luckily, after a lot of time and pain, I found someone just like that.
            And with that, I say Sayonara cheater. Get lost and never speak to me again.

    • I got that—from my ex—“sex is really important to me and you aren’t allowed to say no”. Funny but I rarely said no anyway. This was when we were in “wreckonciliation” after the first affair( that i caught him at). I spent the next 4 years never saying no( the hostage situation). He cheated again anyway ( still denies it, but moved in with her and her daughter, 16 years younger than our youngest child, right from our house to her house 6 weeks after our separation was official)

      • Every time I see an advice columnist go tsk tsk about someone “withholding sex,” I am furious. It’s a matter of consent. Anyone has the right to consent or not at any time. In my case, I couldn’t trust him, and that made me uninterested in sex. And let’s not even get started on “sexual anorexia,” a term the RIC uses to shame people into servicing sex addicts.

        • In my case, he was the one withholding, AND he was the cheater. The withholding started first. Kim Saed says it is a sign of covert narcissism. It’s Schmoopie’s problem now.

          • OMG…I’m so glad that you provided this piece of info from Kim Saed so I can read up more on this. I have definitely identified my ex as being somewhere on the “covert” narcissist spectrum, but haven’t come across information about withholding sex. My ex totally did this, but he told me that he just had a lower sex drive and didn’t appear hugely concerned (he was also increasingly having ED issues).

            I have to look into this further. Thank you.

    • Suggesting that all sex is equivalent to secret sex, hidden sex, harmful sex, selfish sex, and/or nonconsensual sex is completely and entirely unreasonable.

      Cheating isn’t sex. Cheating is deception via sex. It’s denigrating and disrespectful behavior via sex. It’s assault/endangerment using sex as the weapon.

      If your therapist doesn’t proactively grasp this simple concept during your first visit, that should be the last time the word “your” lands in front of that “therapist”. No exceptions.

      • Totally! My cheater was about deception, control and power. I was the one often wanting more sex. He was never home, always tired, and just generally unavailable and always on his iPad or phone. He had the audacity to tell me that we had too many periods without sex so it’s all my fault he had to cheat. It’s simply bullshit and we just don’t need to accept any of it. Therapy can’t help this amount of deception.

  • I went to therapy twice after learning my then husband was (and always has been) a serial cheater. He was not particular – strippers, prostitutes, neighborhood women, etc. After he got caught, I tossed him out of the house that day, closed down all accounts (I was the primary income earner – not by choice) and he was trying to get in my face, begging for forgiveness and another chance. No way and I lawyered up asap.

    I was struggling with how a man who had seemed to be so loving and genuine was the exact opposite. A psychopath! My therapist told me that once I found my anger, and that I should be very angry, I would not need to come back to therapy. I went back to her one more time to tell her “I am pissed” and she smiled and said I could come back if I wanted to, but that my anger would prevent me from going into a deep depression. The therapist was right. I got very lucky that I found a very good, no nonsense therapist.

    As an aside, in the months before D day, my ex was demanding that we sell the house, sell my business and move far away to the middle of nowhere. It made NO sense and I wasn’t having any of it. He enlisted the help of a life coach to try to talk me into it. This woman was the top life coach for a hospital system and she’s either evil, or she is more stupid than I was. For weeks, she worked on me aggressively (with him by her side) telling me I needed to do what he was asking me to do and that once we got to the “other side”, I’d be happy, too. She refused to answer any questions about how we were supposed to earn a living in the middle of nowhere, or that this would ruin the close relationship I had with my family.

    I knew something was up with him. I just didn’t know the extent of his evil. He wanted to get his hands on everything I had, including the money from the sale of my business. I told him there was no way that money would last long if there were no jobs where he wanted to move. I wanted to pull my hair out, I was so frustrated.

    Long story short, the “other side” very likely included my early demise. The only way he was going to get really rich is if I died because I had a ton of life insurance at the time, and he was the beneficiary. I called this life coach back up and told her what he was cheating with a prostitute and was being blackmailed by her, and that there were others as well. She was totally silent and had not one thing to say. I told her that she had been trying to talk me into completely ruining my life. I’m not sure if she was just stupid, or if she had something going on with him. It doesn’t matter now. It’s been years and I’ve been in strict NC with him. He sent me a text message a few months ago and I sent one back and told him if he tried that again, there would be very serious consequences for him. Psycho!!

    The first therapist really helped me. The life coach was just plain evil and I’m so glad my gut was telling me there was something going on with her and to not trust her.

    • Holy shitballs, Chumpchange. I’m glad you had the wherewithall to stick to your guns and not let your psycho ex move you into the middle of nowhere to dispose of you. This is truly chilling. There are some really, really subpar therapists around who can’t see beyond the end of their own training, give everyone the benefit of the doubt when it comes to goodwill/best of intentions and just get walked over by charming psychopathic narcs. I wonder what he told her to make her come on so strong, perhaps that you were mentally ill/in the middle of a breakdown and you needed the country air? Perhaps he accused you of being a workaholic and told her that you’re addiction to work was getting in the way of your relationship. They are such weasels about the way they set up the story so that when you resist they say aha, isn’t that just what I told you, even though you are resisting for totally different reasons than they’ve given. Glad you’re safe.

      • Thank you, Stig. It’s been twelve years and it still goes through my mind in terms of how evil he is. I landed on my feet and he did not. He doesn’t like to work and had a horrible attitude toward his business. Very stressful to live with that and it made me have to be the main source from financial support. I think what it boils down to is that he was insanely jealous of me and he wanted to destroy me.

    • I gave up a fabulous job in Switzerland for him because I felt like I owed it to him to try to make a go of it in the States. Got a job at the World Bank. He still wasn’t happy so we had to move to Pittsburgh (near his family). Sorry, but I did NOT give up Switzerland for Pittsburgh (my apologies to all the Burgers out there but there is just no comparison). Then I was offered another great job back in Switzerland. We jumped at it because he still couldn’t get a decent job in Pittsburgh. Eventually he also got a decent job in Switzerland and we were living the good life. So about 15 years later he wants me to jack it all in YET AGAIN and “move to Montana and build a log cabin”. Now at this point I’m getting older and he had never even been to Montana. I finally got the balls to say “ok, YOU go to Montana, get the great job (with the health insurance, pension plan and education grant for the kids)” and we’ll follow you out there when that’s done. He knew he couldn’t do it – it always had to be me, so we never moved. But I just thank God that I put my foot down this time because I would have lost EVERYTHING I had ever worked for and been totally screwed over in some backwater town in Montana which, although beautiful, probably didn’t offer the kind of job opportunities we had in Switzerland.

      • Wow Chumpchange, what a story! It also makes me very thoughtful.My ex also suddenly came up with a plan for us to sell everything we had and move to a remote area where we knew no one. As I was the only breadwinner and needed to stay where I was I wouldn’t agree, and two years later he left me for someone else. But now I’m thinking maybe there was a far more sinister motive…
        What is it with cheaters wanting to move to nowhere to lead a simple life, anyway?

        • Same as the cheating: “I’m not happy now, but it can’t be me, so it has to be everyone and everything around me – and if I just keep throwing everything I have away to bang strange and move faraway, everything will be perfect.”

        • Mine wanted to move to the back of beyond for the “simple life” but it was always me that had to make it happen. He thought he just had to click those ruby shoes together three times and voilà!

          • Gosh, do I understand that! Then mine turned the table on me, and started to blame me for breaking the marriage vows bc I couldn’t continue w bad in the vow of in goodness & bad until death do we part.

            Feels I did not love him unconditionally as he did me! WTF??

            He thought our love of 30 years was strong enough to work thur his 1.5 year affair.

            It broke me. 9 years later, we are only separated and I can’t go & I can’t stay, so I’m now no good to anyone.

            Don’t let him make himself become the victim.

        • In recovery from drugs and alcohol it is fairly common for a person to “start over” in a different situation that they think will allow them to be sober in. this is called a “geographic”. I wonder if it’s not similar to what’s going on with serial cheaters that maybe they think that if they move then they can start fresh and not be that dick that they are. the truth is it doesn’t matter where you move to or who you are doing, you’re still that same person until you have a character transplant or some other revelatory experience that changes thinking fundamentally. Just a thought. hugs!

          • My thoughts exactly…. cheaters can never be happy…. always seeking external stimulus…. true happiness is an inside job and we are responsible for our own happiness, which come from doing good acts and managing our thoughts.

            Cheaters by definition are incapable of this.

            Buh-bye! Good riddance.

          • Or moving to a new location might just make the discard easier for them….

            My ex and I moved from Tacoma to north Idaho to retire, although I ended up working to provide health insurance while he took early retirement. I was on board with the move and excited about starting a new chapter. But the move fed his narcissism. With new acquaintances (he never really made any friends) he greatly embellished his former career. Suddenly he was a retired psychologist with a former “practice” who did not correct people who called him “Doctor”, rather than a dead ended public sector mental health case manager. While I developed new friendships, we never developed any couple friends in our new home — so he had no male friends to confront him with reality. Being retired, it was easy for him to frequently travel back to LA “to see his brother with cancer” while really seeing his AP. I am sure he looked good to her in his rented car bragging about his farm in Idaho and his rental properties. I am sure he never told her whose income financed the lifestyle or the property investments.

            Chumpchange, I hear you about the early demise. It hit me afterwards — how easy it would have been been for me have an “accident” on the farm, and with no strong ties in the new community, no one would have noticed my absence.

        • I hear a lot of moving out of state stories and the husband dumping his wife for another woman shortly after the move. I’m sure it could be the other way around as well but all the stories I personally know of has been the husband dumping the wife. I always wondered why didn’t the couple just split up before they made a major move to another state? Now I believe the cheater needs support, either financial or someone to do the heavy lifting (organizing, etc.) to make the move.

          • This was the scenario in both my cheater XHs. I was the breadwinner in both instances yet, I was expected to wait my job and follow them around. 1 fell for it with 1st cheater XH and DD#2 only 2 days after I was finally able to meet up with him after 4 mos (cause we absolutely needed my job/salary to sustain his lifestyle on Cape Cod). So when 2nd cheater XH (aka, attention whore) tried the same shit sandwhich on me 2yrs after I forgave him for DD#1 (again expecting me to risk my breadwinner salary) he pressured me to move to upstate NY in the country. I’m like no thanks!! Been there. done that. Got screwed. Not 30 days later after I said no (was 1st time I had ever denied him anything in our 15yr marriage) he finds schmoopie #2. Up there. (((Shocker))). Had the balls to tell his family that if I had agreed to move to upstate NY to support his horse pulling hobby, we’d still be together! Umm no. He’ d still found schmoopie and left with me paying him alimony and stuck me with all the debt in a very progressive divorce state. That was 18months ago and it scares the shit out of me I almost made the most financially devastating and professional mistake of my life at 53 yrs old. This is why I call me self a seasoned Chump. While I am aware of my chump tendencies, at least now I am able to recognize red flags.

            • And I cannot over emphasize how much I rely on and appreciate CL & CN. You guys are my much needed daily buckets of cold water that keeps me sane!

          • I know of a couple who moved from CA supposedly more favorable divorce terms than TX and then he dumped her for babysitter schmoopie. Different laws by states mileage may vary. Truly evil.

          • KB22, I can answer your question why we didn’t split before making a major move. It’s because I DIDN’T know he was cheating. My exhusband told me about his affair while on the road to our new home state!!! YES, that does happen! We were leaving my home state (on the other side of the country) to go to his home state and be closer to HIS family. After I left my friends, family and state job, he waits to tell me about his affair while on the road!?!?! I was in shock and felt like I couldn’t even turn around because he refused to let me drive. A year and a half later, he was cheating again and so yea, it’s another story to add to your list of men doing the cheating while moving out of state. He basically waited till I was alone, without any support to drop the bomb on me so I would have a harder time being strong to see him for what he was.

        • >>What is it with cheaters wanting to move to nowhere to lead a simple life, anyway?

          I think it is the 4th mindfuck channel, Chaos. It is easier for them to be in control when the chump is ragged exhausted with chaos. Disordered characters like chaos. Tracy has posts tagged under Chaos.

      • What is it with cheaters and Montana? My cheater (just before he confessed to his affair and just after he asked for a separation) hissed, “Would you ever be willing to move to Montana?” We lived on the east coast. I actually (and pathetically) said, “Yes as long as we can get a small place in Massachusetts to be near our kids and grandchild.” Two days later; he tearfully confessed to a 2 1/2 year affair. He and his AP just bought a house in the burbs of New England (a far cry from Montana). I’m shaking my head.

        • I think my ex just pulled it out of the sky (or his AH) – he had never been to Montana either but all of a sudden that’s where he wanted to live!

          • I think mine longs to live out west where he can fly fish on some remote river all day every day. He is addicted. I mean it. Addicted. Oh, and waddya know, the OW loves to fly fish, too!! He taught her. And bought her all the expensive equipment with marital assets. They even sealed their love (of both fishing and each other, I guess) by getting matching massive salmon tattoos on their upper thighs. Very high school. Right? He’s 61. (On the opposite thigh, he has a tattoo of my initials. Lol. Wonder if he has since had that removed.)

            During my 35 years of marriage to this angler who is also a cheater narcissist (goes without saying), I actually took up the sport myself, catering to him and forgetting what floated my own boat. Sad. I went on numerous fly-fishing vacations with him. Other than enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, I never really liked it because when the fish put up a fight (the part of the catch that my STBX loved) I felt bad for the fish because I knew it was fighting for its life. Basically, I identified with the fish. I’m sure there’s something analyzable in that.

            Anyway, over time, and despite myself, I actually became a good angler. Still, I guess I didn’t love it *enough* whereas the AP really loves fly fishing.

            Maybe they’ll end up in Montana someday. I would actually be happy if he moved far far away.

            • My ex had me move from the Bay Area to Chicago. I realize now that what they are doing is trying to isolate you from your support system/friends. Anyone who you might confide in and might say, hey–you deserve better. Once we moved, he could do whatever he wanted and I was stuck trying to rebuild some sort of network of friends around me. If you read “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft, he talks about this isolation technique a lot. I’m happy to say that I am back in the Bay Area where I belong.

          • Yeah, we almost moved to Montana too after WASband lost his second job (he is a doctor!). Thank god they wouldn’t hire him because of previous alcohol abuse and chronic pain narc use due to an injury. Dodged that Wild West bullet!!

    • CC, you described living with a serial cheater perfectly. I was abandoned in my last year of graduate school when he made that move promising to send money and I lost my home. His response after that was that he’d supported me and now it was my turn to support him.

      He didn’t land well once I said no to buying another home. I found a great therapist who said I needed to divorce him and I did.

    • Speaking just from personal experience, but every single “life coach” I have known are seriously fucked up themselves. Going to somebody like that is like asking somebody who has filed for bankruptcy multiple times to be your financial advisor. One I knew was in the midst of an affair with her Schmoopie, blew up her marriage, moved away from her kids to be with yet another guy. She took some sort of online course so she could help people be their “best selves”.

      My “life coaches” are here.

      • I’m not saying there aren’t any good ones out there, but my XH is a life coach so I tend to be skeptical of the vocation. According to promotional material dug up by my divorce attorney, XH and Schmoopie claim to help people ‘live authentically’. I guess that’s one way of putting it. He also encouraged me to leave the company I’d been with for 20 years and then was furious when I accepted a job offer from a different firm. Apparently, my insistence on going back to work meant that I didn’t trust his ability to support us. My cheater was yet another one that wanted their spouse to be completely dependent on them. Not sure if it was intended to ensure the continuance of cake, or was meant to maximize the devastation when the betrayal was discovered. Not that it matters. Anyway, thank God I took the job since I’m receiving zero maintenance from XH. It turns out it’s super easy to hide assets when you’re a self employed life coach.

      • I made a mistake going to a life coach. He helped us greatly during a real slump but once there was an affair in play he had no clue. . .he gave ex the validaiton to continue the discard. Happiness: yourself, your spouse, the kids. I wonder if Jesus counselor wouldve been better. . .he wasnt willing to come to the house. But then again. . cheaters know no shame.

    • I can relate to this, but sort of in the opposite way. We were penniless, on food stamps, etc. The house was in foreclosure. I desperately wanted a better life. Cheater claimed that none of this was his fault–that it was the bad economy in our area and the high cost of living. So I made plans to move, did a lot of research, looked for employment options, etc. He refused to move. He would go along with it for a while, act like he was considering it, but then after I got a job offer, he put his foot down and refused to even talk about it anymore.

      I later found out that the whole thing was nonsense. We were penniless because he was spending all his money on whores. He was defrauding the state into giving us welfare that we didn’t qualify for, because he didn’t want anyone to know how much he was really making, and he used the welfare to pay for food and utilities for me and the kids. He was happy living in a foreclosing house, because he didn’t have to pay the mortgage anymore.

      In his mind, I was nuts for wanting to move, because he had a “good thing”–wife, kids, whores…. all funded by his complex web of deception. He even had free housing. Why go somewhere new?

      I was absolutely sickened when I realized the truth. All the time that I pinched pennies and went without trying to pay bills, all the time I worried and made plans… he was just screwing whores and dining at upscale restaurants without me.

      Whatever their plans, it is always about them. Whether they want to drop everything and move far away or whether they want to stay–it’s always about them.

    • Love this. In my case the life coach is the other woman. She coached him out of the marriage and into her spidery arms. They deserve each other. Oh, the lectures I received about ‘growth mindset’ from a man who was scared of trying anything new. So he went back to coachy, his ex-childhood sweetheart. That shows a lot of growth and imagination, not. Pathetic.

  • I spent way too much time and $$ with multiple RICs trying to spackle after DDay. Only to be rebretrayed and go back for more degrading RIC. To say that I had tried to save my family. Meanwhile, he doubled down on his undercover activities and ramped up the abuse and manipulations. Great stuff! Pass the Hopium please. They said it would help!???

  • We had a very old-fashioned therapist who believed everyone was coming to the table with good intentions, but who also bought into a very patriachial paradigm. She told me at one stage that cheater was a good guy and basically insinuated that I had been too rough on him when I expected him to man up after the birth of one of our children, instead of act like a slighted man baby because I was superbusy with our children. She also blamed the OW for leading him astray, characterising her as a manipulator who had taken advantage of his good qualities for her own advantage. She probably did, but he wasn’t some helpless baby. I felt so ganged up on during the whole thing. She gave bullshit advice that was basically her trying to tell us what to do instead of finding our own solutions and wanted us to set up regular appointments in advance. In it for the money, I’d say.

  • Therapists who string along chumps by excusing adultery (or lies of any sort) are simply in it for the money. The longer they can mindfuck you, the more money they collect.

    So ask them what their definition of “successful reconciliation” looks like. Then how many they can say they have vs. how many are still paired but unhappy, or divorced.

    Then run. Clutching your wallet so they can’t snatch it out of your pocket or pocketbook as you bolt for the door.

    “Life Coach” is simply another term for unlicensed Hopium peddler. They don’t even have to pretend. Like psychics or palm readers!

    • I went to Therapy (individual and couples) the first time my STBXW “felt something was missing”. I actually found it helpful and had some serious self discoveries. A few years later, after ILYBINILWY, I found an AMAZING Life Coach……wayyyyyyyyyy better than any Therapist I had and it was the BEST $$$ I have ever spent. I was coached to improve myself, be outcome independent, and know and set boundaries.

      Just like not all men/women are cheaters, not all therapists and coaches are bad.

      I had good therapists and a life-changing coach…..I believe he literally saved my life.

    • I hired a life coach after my DDay. I tried therapist but I couldn’t connect with them. I was too distraught and I just really needed somebody to help me move forward and not go back into my childhood to see what my relationship with my father was blah blah blah. She was fantastic. she help me set goals about the divorce about my new life, to really try and understand what I wanted having spent my whole married life worrying about what he wanted and really focus on moving forward. so like therapists, there are good ones and bad ones. i wouldn’t dismiss life coaches out of hand. hugs.

  • CL I think you should (and maybe you have) do a post on the most crazy things we’ve all heard from therapists.
    I was told that I was “having an affair with my babies” my whole life since I nursed them in my bed and payed a lot of attention to them- because you know they’re babies and I was the only one waking up with them anyways!!! Somehow that equated to finding a woman 20 years younger than him at work to cheat with (while I had breast cancer and was home raising those babies turned children all day.) Not sure how caring for your kids = cheating is the same?

    • Good God Suzy, you would surely win any ‘crazy things therapists say’ competition. I have heard some BS in my time but whichever therapist told you that should be struck off. It’s disgusting that someone who is a supposed professional should be coming out with such drivel. As if being a devoted mother is some sort of character flaw!
      I never had therapy after leaving my con artist ex but I did have one lawyer say something awful to me. After I tearfully told her that my ex had raped me and that I was afraid of him, she said flatly “Family courts don’t care about stuff like that.” I felt like I had been punched in the gut. And she was supposed to be my lawyer, not his! I sacked her after that.

      • Yeah, if co-sleeping and breastfeeding is “having an affair” with one’s babies a huge percentage of the word’s female population is engaged in one!

    • That would almost be funny if it weren’t so disturbing and disgusting. Crazy false equivalence.

  • Maybe some agree to therapy because they think they can convince the therapist to side with them, and tell you to change your errant ways? When that doesn’t work, they may not be interested in therapy anymore.

    Maybe cheaters always feel empty, and search for ways to fill up the emptiness inside. No hard work, no change on their part, just open a bag of full and pour it into the empty. Right.

    The grass is always greener in Montana. The family is always more supportive in Pittsburg. Assets are always more obtainable when they are liquid. You are always more attractive when you have lots of life insurance, and they are the beneficiary. Isn’t it rather isolated in many parts of Montana? Maybe you could accidently fall off a hiking trail, and they could have all those liquid assets, and your life insurance. Maybe the empty would go away then?

    If your spouse requires you to support their dream to buy their love, they are not into working on a relationship. They want an investor who won’t ask nagging questions while they do what they want to do. A marriage is a WORK in progress. Both partners contribute. If one partner constantly sucks like a hoover, you need to unplug, and set that suck at the curb. Trash pick-up is usually once a week, if necessary the trash can sit in the rain and wait for pick-up.

    Thinking this way is my subconscious way of leaving a cheater and gaining a life. Not listening to the drone of a sucking hoover causes dopamine to release in my brain. Wait! I could stop to smell the roses after I left the trash at the curb! It is amazing how peaceful life is when you don’t try to fill up an empty bottomless pit of need every day.

    Have a cookie, chump nation! They are delicious!

    • I spent 30 years juggling money buying a life we couldn’t afford to make him happy. Multiple houses, multiple cars, multiple campers, a boat, lots of clothes, shoes, vacations and after all this he still wasn’t happy. I was puzzled but kept throwing money at it thinking that would solve the problem. It didn’t so he found someone new.

      I’m not anywhere near meh but I’m a whole lot less stressed over money and I’m living on the peanuts he’s been paying me. Praying my lawyer does her magic and soon.

      • Wow! I hope your lawyer works her magic. Mine, too. My STBX doesn’t want to pay alimony or share any of his current paychecks. We’re technically still married. My lawyer told his lawyer he could pretend we are divorced and give me the agreed-upon 30% alimony, which is a better deal for him than 50/50. But no. He’s keeping it all.

        My lawyer says he’s got this. Fingers crossed for both of us.

  • I think it’s interesting what all of you have been saying about your cheater exes pushing for that out-of-nowhere move. X#3 did that to me quite relentlessly towards the end of the marriage. Now, I have some serious medical conditions that are well under control, but may need ongoing maintenance. I can’t be very far away from higher-level medical providers/hospitals in case they’re ever needed; which limits my choice of vacation spots and who I can visit. It has been this way for decades. X#3 knew that. Nonetheless, X#3 wanted me to sell the house, give up my lucrative career, leave what family I have here, and move 11 hours away to the X’s family farm in a very remote part of a very rural state.

    Out on this farm, if you had to call 911 for any reason, *if* the ambulance was available, it would take 45 minutes to get to where you were, then another 45 minutes to get you “into town” where the only medical facility was a small clinic. A “real” hospital was 2 hours away. I kept pointing out that if something happened to me, my chances of survival under those circumstances would have been unlikely. It didn’t seem to matter. X#3 would NOT drop it. Plus I would have been living with the (now former) in-laws, who are the most toxic malignant narcissists I have ever met in my entire life. They’re the kind of people that live to be cruel to others.

    Years ago, when I was still married to X#3, in the back of my mind, the thought briefly danced through that semi-twilight consciousness that if I ever went out to that farm, I’d never come back. But I dismissed that feeling as being weird or paranoid or stressed. Nowadays, I’m increasingly convinced that was on their agenda. Three against one would not have been good odds. And if I’d sold everything and moved… well, X#3 and I had had a joint bank account at the time… wouldn’t have mattered what was in the will. By the time the kids found out something had happened to me (IF they ever found out), there wouldn’t have been anything left anyway.

    Fortunately there’s no way to know of a certainty now, but Tracy, I think you may very well have saved my life. Part of me doesn’t want to believe it or deal with it, but the other part of me knows deep down in my gut X#3 was more than capable of this. Even after all these years it’s still difficult to wrap my brain around the depths of evil in these people. That’s why I keep coming here. Even over half a decade later, I learn something new every time I visit.

  • Well, of course, the main difference between the bucket of tar and an affair, of course, is that bringing a bucket of tar to a therapist’s office involves premeditated planning and probably some hiding, whereas an affair, on the other hand…oh, wait….

  • My attorney was my lifesaver. She’d been around the block and knew her shit.

    I’m sure she didn’t go to all the work (below) she did and risk not getting paid.

    I was at my very 1st free session and told her my story through many tears.
    I didn’t know what I was doing so I asked her to write up Separation papers.
    And, maybe see ya later. (thinking maybe never)

    Well, I was back seeing her less than a week later.
    She said, I knew I’d see you again.
    Then she pulled out already written-up preliminary Divorce Papers.
    I was sorta shocked and was confused.
    (she wanted to protect my assets asap)

    Matter-of-factly, she told me in all the divorce (& separation) cases she’s handled, not one ever went back to their spouses. And, if they did, it was short-lived and they were back in her office soon anyway. She was referred to me as the best attorney in Oregon and she lived in MY tiny fishing village.
    And, she got it done and over in an efficient 9 months. She was great!

  • I think I got pretty lucky with my therapist post d-day. I purposely chose a man who was known for dealing with high powered executives – his profile read he was no nonsense.

    First session, I let it all out – I revealed all the wretched deceit, lies, the phone records which proved all the lies, the illegitimate kids, his lesbian lover (yes, his married lesbian lover) who was suing him, and so much more that I get dizzy thinking about it. He said I was spiraling down and told me to come back in 2 days. I did. And in that session, he told me he knew I didn’t have anywhere to turn, nor an income to support myself, but I had to leave. He told me my ex was toxic and likely a sex addict, but whether he was or was not, he said point blank, ” You need to leave now.”

    I went back for a 3rd session and there wasn’t anything to talk about. He was a no-nonsense therapist and he didn’t have any other advice for me. LOL.

  • That’s great! I am so sorry you had to experience all that garbage geez…so glad you’ve made it to the other side.
    I had one therapist say “what happened six years ago isn’t necessarily what’s happening TODAY” and I never booked An appt again. (This was after telling her I discovered hubby cheated claiming it was six years ago)
    The next therapist said my you do have a lot to think about.:(.
    The third one said some people DO make it through this
    Why is it- I just want someone to tell me NO
    just like yours did.
    So I get therapy HERE

  • I think it is interesting how long the responses went on about self-servicing by cheaters. When I began to discover my out of control raging husband seemed to again be on a “porn kick” probably was serial cheating.. . I was put in touch with a very nice lady who has coached women through discovery of infidelity and an attempt at RIC via lie detector. I won’t get into that here. The one thing of value that I did get out of it and what I hear echoed on this blog. . .is that it starts with porn, then its prostitutes , then its an affair/s. Theyve done so bad that when you catch them you would never be able to forgive them so they leave you. So it is like a continuum. Our wi-fi usage was through the roof and we fought about it and I tried to limit it. I didn’t know where the road led or maybe I would’ve taken it more seriously, not that there is anything that can be done. . .i dont know??. This blog hasn’t necessarily echoed this is a continuum. . .but that when we enforce consequences they would rather take the easy way out. (might depend on how much they have to lose to some extent) Is that a unicorn? hah.

    • Interesting observation. My ex went from porn, to S&M clubs, to sex workers and then he found a girlfriend. He actually presented it to me like that. He said it was too risky to do those things so hey! Getting a girlfriend was a safer option for us both. He thought I’d be happy with that arrangement and he wanted his cake and eat it too. I said no, of course. And he pretty much chucked in our 25 year relationship and just left with the girlfriend. He truly thought I would allow that. So deluded.

      • My ex went from “mentoring” young women students to porn to more extreme porn (sissification, ladyboy) to claiming he was a woman, “exploring” with one of these young women (now an alum) and calling himself and me lesbians. His porn caused erectile dysfunction became “evidence” he was “really” a woman.

  • SNL did a sketch a while ago where “Sean Connery” went to “Celebrity Jeopardy” just to taunt Alex Trebek and when they got to one of the choices and it said “THERAPIST” he read it “The Rapist”, because they wanted to make him look stupid.
    Fast forward 10 years and that’s the perfect way to describe my own “The Rapist”, I mean, Therapist when I went to see her after finding out about my ex’s infidelity and how it was affecting the kids and she made the point of scolding me about the fact that I was reffering to her as the OW and not by her name…..so she stopped the session and asked my ex what’s the OW’s name and he said it and then she proceeded to look at me and say:”Now, let’s all please call her by her name because she is a person and deserves to be treated with respect
    How I didn’t punch that woman in the face and left is still haunting me to this day…..

    • FIRST- I love SNL! And remember those skits they’re great! Hahaha
      And that therapist clearly hasn’t been cheated on. Lucky her
      I pray for mine but still have many selective names NONE of which are her birth name. What is it again…? Who cares none of it is out of jealousy or envy, I just know she doesn’t deserve my respect
      Thanks for sharing. Insane!

  • Many therapists won’t tell the hard truths. Because they want the couple or individual to keep returning for more visits. They have bills to be paid.

    The people that helped me the most were the women at the abused women’s center. They had zero to gain by my calls/visits to them. They assured me that abuse was going on, and gave me the literature to back that up. They gave me a list of local lawyers who understood an abusers mind. They did not push anything on me, but they were clear in what is defined as abuse and it’s various forms.

  • I agree. I’ve had the best luck with my therapist from my local women’s refuge. They are skilled in abusive infidelity.

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