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UBT: Gottman’s ‘Reviving Trust After an Affair’

Yesterday, when we discussed Gottman’s The Four Horseman as an instrument of cheater mindfuckery, an alert chump sent me further reading on the Gottman’s.

Apparently they were gods of relationship research and then seem to have veered off the rails into full blown Reconciliation Industrial Complex madness.

I give you this sales and marketing pamphlet, “Reviving Trust After an Affair.”

“Employ the Gottman’s Trust Revival Method”!

“The three phases in Gottman’s Trust Revival Method are: Atone, Attune and Attach.”

What follows is a testimonial from a cheater about how, gosh darn it, he sucks, but with his dick tethered to a GPS and a little love and understanding, he’s restored his marriage. And pretty soon, once she trusts him again!, he can go back to bar-hopping.

You can read the whole mess here.

The Universal Bullshit Translator is plum wore out after tackling Jada Pinkett Smith’s “entanglement” on Monday. (Send cookies!) So you can hardly expect it to get off the sofa and decode this crap…. but with some coaxing… (THERE WILL BE NO MORE SNICKERDOODLES UNTIL YOU READ THIS), it heaved its heavy machinery into gear.

Only if I promised segments, not the whole stinking tray of bullshit. Without further ado..

Never in a million years would I have thought I’d cheat on my romantic partner.

I always scorned cheaters for their lack of self-control and their selfishness. I would harp about the importance of loyalty in relationships and preach good virtuesand then I went and cheated.

I was puzzled.

Who crafted this dating profile? What witchcraft is this?

Confused at how I could do an act that I vehemently and firmly stood against…

What’s wrong with me? Do I really just lack self-control? Or was I just a steaming pile of turds?

UBT: You, sir, are a steaming pile of turds.

After I cheated, I shamefully owned up to it with my romantic partner. We decided that we wanted to continue the relationship and were recommended the book, What Makes Love Last? By John Gottman, an American psychological researcher who specializes in divorce prediction and marital stability, to help us recover from the act of infidelity.

Act, singular. It was a one-time fuck. No more.

We took the initial steps laid out in the book to decide if we should part ways following the affair. We analyzed if our relationship was worth saving and examined if I had a higher probability of not cheating again. Upon completion of that process, we decided to move forward with the steps to rebuild trust.

My partner and I employed Gottman’s Trust Revival Method from the book as a blueprint to move forward from the adultery.

Yes, I am a real person who speaks like a timeshare pitchman. How dare you doubt my veracity! I am a real customer!  Hair Club for Men has changed my life. Also affordable Florida condos.

The Gottman’s Trust Revival Method is a three-phase process that is derived from his experience as a counselor helping couples recover from infidelity. His approach has been tested and produces a fairly high success rate among couples to heal after an affair.

And the peer-reviewed studies are…. where? And you followed up after 5 years, 10? 20? And “success” is defined as?

There is no specific time frame for completing the process.

How convenient for your research.

One of the hardest parts for me during this phase was being on a short leash. I absolutely despised it. I loathed having to regularly tell my partner where I was at all times of the day. If I missed or forgot to notify my partner of my whereabouts at any time during the day, I would be harshly criticized.

I felt imprisoned.

As discouraged as I was during this time, I knew I was responsible for the situation and I begrudgingly accepted my lack of freedom. My partner had my phone’s location, so she had an idea of where I was at all times and she would often ask to see my direct messages on my social media accounts. It gave her peace of mind that I was not going to cheat again.

The wounded partner really must feel a sense of security that the affair would not happen again and receive constant proof of their partner being faithful.

The partner who cheated must sacrifice some of their privacy and activities such as late-night partying or bar stops for a while until after the trust is rebuilt.

Once that trust is rebuilt, commence with late-night partying and bar stops. The dick tethering is only for “a while.”

What a joy it is to be in a hypervigiliant successful marriage. I would say more but I must send my longitudinal coordinates to my overseer.

In order to move past this trauma, Gottman advises a steady diet of intimate conversations talking about sex. In the attunement phase, you discuss very personal and intimate topics. Now, in the final phase, you sprinkle in discussions about sex to discover your partner’s feelings, attitudes, and preferences in bed.

Because that’s how betrayed people get better — by being more vulnerable with the person who abused them. Forget the Chlamydia! Okay, so I blew 10K on hookers! What’s your favorite sex position?

Having enjoyable, intimate sex requires good communication. Partners are not going to have much satisfying sex if they have a hard time talking about their desires. Practice asking your partner what they like in bed.

Partners are not going to have much satisfying sex if they can’t talk about consent. Did I fuck someone else without your consent and give you an STD? Let’s talk about what I like in bed!

Yes, sex is very important. Fuck me right or I’ll stray. No, this isn’t an implied threat. It’s about OUR preferences. I prefer a smorgasbord of pussy and you are just three orifices in one person. We’re ALL making compromises here.

  • What areas do you like to be kissed?

Yeah, Schmoopie liked that too.

  • What is your favorite position?

UBT: Utah. Position yourself over there.

Our society perceives cheating as a simple lack of discipline or moral ethics in the face of sexual temptation…

In actuality, research shows that the majority of affairs are not caused by lust. If a relationship is strong and each partner is getting their needs met, there is no temptation for lust outside of their partner.

I cheated on you because you didn’t meet My Needs. But thanks to Gottman’s handy checklist, I’ll know what those needs are!

UBT: This is like arguing I never would’ve robbed that bank had I known you wanted your cash in fives and twenties.

If your relationship is not getting your needs met, better communicating and working together with your partner is a much safer route to take than cheating to try to fix things.

Cheaters cheat to FIX THINGS. They’re not fucking randos for fun, it’s a cry for help. They didn’t enjoy it one bit. They’re just timid forest creatures who couldn’t communicate their needs.

Won’t you help them?

This column goes out to Dr. Jeremy Sherman who called bullshit on the Four Horsemen several years ago. Well done, sir.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Funny how I was getting knocked back for sex in my marriage yet he is the one who cheated. I didn’t cheat, because I have character. So happy he is gone.

    • I’ve listened to this song a lot….

      “I Hope” by Gabby Barrett

      some of my favorite lyrics from it are:

      “I hope it goes, comes all the way around
      I hope she makes you feel the same way
      About her that I feel about you right now”

      • That’s a great song, isn’t it?

        So true from a chump’s perspective… least mine, that is ????????

        • LOVE that song! And definitely true for me as well!

          I go for runs listening to that song. I even listen to it when I’m doing my hair and putting on my makeup.

          That song is a great release!

      • Wow, awesome song, thanks for introducing it. I’ve sought some inspiration from songs throughout my nightmare, nothing has really nailed it for me, so many more miserable songs about love and loss and you’re the only one for me, I can’t live without you….yadayada.
        Dixie Chicks’ ‘Not ready to make nice’ kind of conveys my anger and repulsion nicely, but I like the more specific context in ‘I Hope’.

        Anyone else have some good motivational song recommendations for people who’ve been chumped?

        • My post Dday music might be a little different than others.
          I went to My Chemical Romance’s Black Parade and enjoyed imagining fuckwit dead. Just imagining, no plan, no intent whatsoever. “I’m Okay” was my angsty anthem, played full blast, headbanging included.
          Also, I tried Amy Winehouse – she has a few good ones. Recent additions include Missy Elliott, Lizzo, Beyoncé. I needed that stuff at first and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for MCR & other music of darkness and mayhem.

        • “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” by Taylor Swift is my go-to

          • Mean by Taylor Swift
            Lose You to Love Me by Selena Gomez
            Gravity by Sarah Bareilles
            Pearl by Katy Perry

        • Music was so important to my healing! It’s been 6 years since DDay, 4 years divorced, so life is MUCH better now. Walk away dear chumps! I promise it’s the best thing that ever happened to you in disguise. Thank you Chump Lady for giving me hope and understanding. Your generosity changed my life.

          I still find a song about betrayal validating, especially since there are so many about the “take me back baby, I won’t do it again” bullshit. Here are a few I collected on a playlist called Infidelity.

          Stay strong! Love and healing to you all.

          Arlo Parks Cola

          12 Stones
          Lie to Me

          Hayden Panettierre
          Nothing in this world will ever break my heart again

  • Yes, the pink elephant in the RIC bullshit. Do they ever ask if the chump’s needs were being met?

    It seems I should have cheated. HMMMM, lets explore that. How do we address this flaw in chumps that we don’t cheat when our needs aren’t being met and we accept that we don’t get to live on a constant high where everyone puts us first. What is wrong with the sick mind of a chump? Where are the studies?

    • Feeling it- THIS!!!! It became apparent within the first year of my marriage that it wasn’t going to “meet my needs” so I spent the 9 years until D-Day and 3 years after changing everything about me that I could and doing anything to make it work. Never considered cheating. But no one EVER asked if I was satisfied with the marriage pre-cheating. It’s mind boggling that this isn’t even a thought.

      • That is what is infuriating about all this. This should be the first thing a cheater is confronted with in “reconciliation” efforts.

    • THIS!!! My needs in our marriage were not met…but I didn’t run off with a person half my age and abandon my partner! Why are the chumps always blamed?! Oh, you had an affair…your wife must have done something to cause it…was she frigid? Did she nag? Did she constantly berate you? No??? Well, that does not fit the formula so we must rewrite the data.

  • I’ve known plenty of cheating couples and I’ve never seen one where the cheating spouse was “doing more” than the betrayed spouse. It’s ALWAYS the betrayed spouse overcompensating for the entitled one. It’s a classic taker and giver situation where the cheater always takes and never gives. This is the main reason why chumps are better off leaving.

    • Definately a third “this”! So so very true! I’ve always known this. To see it written out really hits the nail on the head though!

      • Different in my case which I think made the recovery even worse .

        My cheater was a true and true people pleaser ( I didn’t realize it at the time I thought he was just an easy-going and generous person). He was always giving and never taking. Everybody thought he was the best guy in the world because he seemed selfless, kind, caring, calm and affectionate. Everything you would hope your picker would guide you to. He
        Is actions were loving.
        I definitely had a very challenging time feeling better off without him.
        It also makes it hard because I know how the world perceives him – as the loveliest of people who was simply in the wrong marriage….
        (although I was told the opposite it by him- I was told how lucky he was to be with me).

        And then one day to the next – Poof, Mr wonderful is all of a sudden a cheater who is dumping his family for a married coworker with kids ( his latest soulmate ) and the wrecking ball just keeps rolling around destroying different parts of our lives -slowly but surely – as we deal with all the challenges this has presented.

        I literally feel like paying people just to hear that he is a horrible person, an asshole, he will be miserable, he will regret it….. even 2 therapist who are making money off me don’t want to judge him!
        I also feel like paying people to hear the same of the office slut who poached my husband. She has the same number of kids and same genders as mine.

        I wish he had been an asshole in our marriage so I could focus on bad traits and how life will be more joyful away from him – but the asshole part only showed itself once the affair started ….. and then the level of insensitivity was and continues to be gob smacking .

        • Mine was Mr. Wonderful too. I had friends and family tell me what a great couple we were and that we gave others hope that happy marriages exist. He told me he loved me every single day. I have probably 70 empty vases in my basement from all the flowers he had bought me through the years. We never fought, had a fantastic sex life, I could go on and on.

          And then one day poof, he was miserable, our marriage sucked and he met the best person in the world. He completely turned into another person, which zero affection for me. It really was a mind scramble; I remember thinking if he was a dick throughout the marriage it all might have been easier when it happened.

          How the fuck do you trust anybody after that? lol

          • This was my experience, too. My husband and I always laughing together, having fun together, we said we loved each other several times a day, we texted when we were not together and then … poof…that coworker he mentioned a little too often…and suddenly I was a horrible wife and he was never happy…he had a list of things I did wrong from before we even married…now he’s marrying the coworker half his age.

            • Yes, yes and yes. Except for the 70 vases! But I did get flowers sent to work! Until poof, he’s leaving, he’s met his true soulmate and I heard about grievances for the first time.
              I was desperate to know that some part of our relationship was good to him so I said « wasn’t the sex good? » -because he had continuously told me the sex was amazing. But then he acted like he had to think about it to even remember it, and I got some lame response like ‘yeah it was good I guess.´
              I mean, his adult son on several occasions thanked me for making his dad so happy. He counted my children as his own.
              Then poof, he dumped us all for a married woman and her children.
              I agree, how does one trust again when you really honest to God thought you were with the best person in the world? And how do you not take this personally and convince yourself that it’s all about his fuckedupness?
              I just think nobody knows how much I struggle with these questions.

              • It’s going to take some time to move past it and just accept it. I’m remarried now (to another Chump), but yeah, I can totally relate.

            • The last memory my friends have of my ex was at a party (I was out of town) where he was telling everyone how much he loved me and how lucky he was to have a sexy 50 year old wife who looked 35, how she’s sooo smart and hey! She also makes a lot of money and can cook and is a great mum and hot in the sack. It was so bad my friend texted me to let me know what he was doing. My friends were used to how wonderful he was to me, but this night was a bit too much. Once I told them he was cheating and now he hates me they were all so perplexed. Everyone says “but he was so in love with you and he couldn’t talk about anything else. We were always so jealous, blah blah.” Now even my friends are paranoid of their own husbands because they could not believe how badly they missed it as well. Remember they are lying liars who lie and they image manage to everyone. Sad but true. So who knows what the Me Wonderful was all about? I do know I believed it for 26 years and I’m still trying to untangle…

              • I agree, it was all image management. My ex loved to be viewed as the awesome husband/family man/military vet. The good guy. The reliable neighbor that would help you out if you needed it. But it was all bullshit. If he loved me as much as he claimed to, he wouldn’t have cheated on me for a year before I found out.

                And once that mask fell, it was over. He couldn’t get out quick enough.

              • Wow ladies, it’s nice to know I’m not alone,however I wouldn’t wish this on anyone! Talk about a brain warp! Good to know rumble was able to go on and trust again.
                It’s almost laughable, are we supposed to look for somebody who doesn’t treat us so wonderfully?

        • I know it seems counter-intuitive but the long term boiling frog effect of intermittent assholery is very weakening. Not to say that a sudden psychotic shift isn’t paralyzing. It all sucks rocks. It’s all intended to destroy the victim’s perspective. More than one way to skin a cat as they say.

        • Hey Zip–

          CN will listen to the litany of cheater assholery and poacher fuckery free of charge. Have at it. 😉

      • I don’t know where this statement ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ came from?
        I didn’t write that!

      • My comment posted with a first sentence that I didn’t write- and then it disappeared so here we go again.
        I just wanted to add that it was different in my case which I think made the recovery even worse .
        My cheater was a true and true people pleaser ( I didn’t realize it at the time I thought he was just an easy-going and generous person ). He was always giving and never taking. Everybody thought he was the best guy in the world because he seemed selfless, kind, caring and affectionate. Everything you would hope your picker would guide you to.
        I definitely had a very challenging time feeling better off without him .

        And I hate knowing that people probably still think he’s great. It was one day to the next, Pouf – affair with married colleague with kids ( same # of kids and gender as my kids ) discarding, and a new incredibly insensitive man emerged.
        I was completely and suddenly discarded for the newest woman of his dreams .

        • Sounds like a covert/vulnerable narcissist. You don’t get the grandiosity, but the entitlement and other narcissitic BS is there (just hidden and more insidious).

          • ZIP and all chumps with a ‘wonderful’ cheater, as someone who could go on for years of dreadful anecdotes making therapists jaws-drop and Catholic counselors skipping to divorce immediately, I can totally get your need for validation and I’m sorry about your feelings of being at fault.

            Maybe in these cases we could do with some untangling for trust that they suck to sink in.

            My take: covert narcissists (as all narcissists) are said to been breed by objectification in early childhood. It doesn’t matter if they were lifted upon a pedestal or stomped under it. If they are so in love with ‘tradeable’ traits of you, really what they are doing is objectifying you instead of being loving.

            Another thing to me would be that they get a high from love-bombing and grooming. It’s a very evil power-play – the groomer of all groomers. Look at me – I can do it for years. I can fool the whole world!

            Finally, I was told by a therapist that a big part of the contempt and rage you receive by a narcissist is for your failure to be perfect. It becomes their failure. They chose the chump as perfect kibbles. How dare you prove to them that they made a mistake. Now they are imperfect and that can’t be.

            It would make sense to me if they refuse to let this ‘failure’ fall back on them by rather upholding the narrative of how perfect you were and are right through the discard.

            It’s really just a different flavour of fucked-upness. A very cowardly one if you ask me.

            My cheater tried to weasle out before D-day by stating ” you are a great woman but somehow not for me”. Claiming he had no option lined up. I remember how awful I felt for those few days thinking about his grand image to outsiders and how they might perceive me.

            So big hugs to you and remember they can’t fool all people for all times.

            • Thank GermanC
              I agree, he took my not being happy 100% of the time as a personal failing of his. Mine also adamantly swore there was no one else…I had to find that out myself….and then even more lies- it was over etc.
              I guess I get stumped on the narc piece because he doesn’t check all the boxes – super high in some and then not so much. The devaluation stage was very subtle- just distancing. I guess it doesn’t matter in the end.
              Interestingly though he too had been badly Chumped years ago.

        • @Zip–same. Biggest plot twist ever. In my situation, it makes it more difficult than prior breakups in that I think ‘he was such a great guy there must be something wrong with Me’. Having said that, in hindsight I can see that I was a good wife, I’m an excellent Mom, and I’m trying to come to terms with the idea that he cheated because he’s an asshole who decided he was too special for the little life we built together, and none of that had anything to do with me. I’m still working on that.

          • Zip and ThursdaysChild – this is spot on! My ex was very nice to most everybody and, of course, the everybodies liked him. He was also very charming, successful in the Wall Street world, and really into our Great Danes like I am. Got along famously. 36 yrs.

            My sister was here a while back and said something along the line of how could he do this when he was such a nice man. I replied I was just as shocked but she made feel like I was at fault. Admittedly, he was soft-spoken and I have a loud vocal expression.
            He’s also calm and steady to a fault and offered good financial advice to friends and family.

            I was fully at meh and she’s just pushed me down 4 stairs.
            And, it passes through my brain there was something wrong with me and I know better.
            I did yell a few times but it never once phased him.
            He never once said he was unhappy – but I know this is common.
            I think I reminded him of his mother because she’d do it too over being too particular about housework.

            • Yes, thank you everyone for responding. The truth is, when your cheater was such a nice person to you and everybody else ….. deep down you wonder if there’s something wrong with you. And I don’t know how long it will take to get over that insecurity now . And then there’s the knowing that other may think it must be you because they think he’s a wonderful man.
              It would make more sense to me if he left for a different lifestyle, like for someone without kids. But he suddenly traded in his life with me, for a life with somebody else with children . I mean WTF ? Family hopping.
              And for someone who cheats on her husband with a married man . I thought he loved me in part because of my good character.
              It’s like a really bad movie of the week.

              • Zip – I get it. We didn’t have kids and her 3 were grown.
                So, they were free to roam the streets.

                He really downsized in his location and house and I don’t think either can work now. It’s still astounds me how much he seems to have traded down. Not only was she married and had a 3 yr old affair with my husband, she pretended daily to be my best friend, thru email, text and lots of pictures. I met all her grandchildren and parents.

                It’s all pretty sick.

            • Obviously he wasn’t such a nice man after all. Your sister needs to be educated.

            • I could not make sense of his behavior either!

              Then one day I realized: my brain is like a filing cabinet. The folders had names like He Wasn’t Feeling Well. Or Hard Day At Work, or Has a Headache, Worried About Money.
              Every unkind action went into a specific file folder. For example, “Why did he yell at me?” went into the Because Of Hard Day at Work Excuse folder.
              It all started to make much more sense when I added a Because He’s an Asshole folder.

        • I’m still dating my cheater, he has been cooking, cleaning, making my lunches, taking care of the house and errands for 3 months while I lay around feeling broken.

          He is a serial cheater. Throughout our 3 year relationship he has been loving, supportive, even moving to a new city.

          He tells tells me he only wants to be with me and spends all his free time with me and has our whole relationship. It makes it so confusing that he treats me so well and it’s so easy to be with him.

          For most of our relationship he has been swiping through tinder, slept with his ex early on in our relationship and had multiple emotional relationships. All of which I had to figure out on my own.

          I’ll never know the truth, I know our relationship isn’t going to work out, yet I’m still here. Everyone loves him, I love him.

          I can’t wrap my head around the awful things he’s done because I’ve never seen him like that, I just can’t process this and I don’t know how. But I know it’s over 🙁

          • Protect yourself and get out. He’s set the terms. All the “wonderful” comes with the serial cheating. It’s a package deal. It’s either acceptable to you or it isn’t.

            • All I wanted was an honest relationship I feel like that’s such a low bar, his behavior is unacceptable. I’m just struggling to come up with a plan, the world is so crazy right now and I need to figure out a lot. I told my sister I want out, I’ll make it happen. But in the meantime it’s hard to be around someone who is promising you the world, going to counseling, doing the work, ect.

          • CrowdedUniversie – PLEASE HANG ON.

            You will get through this but it’s certainly all a mindfuck.
            You have to learn to un-love the jerk, after you’d left him.
            I know what situation you’re in, still living together and it only gets more emotionally destructive and very very stressful. I did it for 4 months while I got my ducks lined up, but as much as that benefitting me for the divorce, the following months alone did no good in relieve my grief. I still kinda love him – for the gentle nature that he was.

            • It just makes it so hard to see him for who he really is, I know it’s over but I just feel so overwhelmed. It really is a mindfuck!

          • Reply to SheChump
            Yes, that is very messed up. I don’t understand why somebody would want to be with such a person. If you can get through that, you can get through anything.

    • Exactly.

      Same as in my case years ago. We didn’t “grow apart and he started cheating” He started cheating and turned away from me. I can pretty much tell you the day it started. He had gained a lot of status at work, and I had been doing all his volunteer work, because he was just so darn busy. Then a year later kaboom, he threw the bomb in the middle of the marriage. Oh the bomb had been set to go off for awhile, but I didn’t notice because I was too busy trying to help him because he was just “so darn stressed.”

      When I asked why he was ignoring me, it was just all that stress from work, I’ll make it up to you later sweetie.

      It has been years and I had not thought a lot about it, but when he and his smoopie threw a bomb in our sons life, it brought up some old issues. So I started researching, and found Chump Nation. I have laughed and cried.

      Thank God for CL who is fighting back for Chumps everywhere, who are going through hell and can’t even think straight. I wish I had had CL in the 90s. I did have a good therapist and a killer lawyer, who managed to get me to see that I was important not my ex. Thank you Thomas Fara.

      • OMG Susie Lee! I am always amazed at how non-unique these situations are. Mine matches yours almost exactly. I can also look back and identify the exact time. He got promoted and all of a sudden became very distant while I bent myself backwards trying to fit everything around his stress moods.

        Instead of volunteer work, I had three small kids and his family and everything else to take care of. Instead of one year, mine went on for twenty. Yup. Serial chump here. No d-day. I am not supposed to know about the multiple affairs/hookups over the years. I keep telling myself I am over it but these issues still come back.

        Glad to have found CL.

        • I have been going through a flash back time due to the horrible way my ex and his smoopie treated our son recently. I happened upon CL.

          Lordy I wish I had her around when my marriage exploded. So many questions would have been answered.

          I was so mad at myself for being so trusting, I really felt stupid. I had to quickly get out of the horror, and I am glad I did; but having all this insight would have been so much easier for me. I handled it as best I could, but if I had known then what I know now about how alike they all are; I would not have been so nice to him in terms of pickme dancing and giving it one more try.

        • Me too!!! Similar situation-new job working long hours well he wasn’t working that much during day just trying to make up for all the hours flirting talking and meeting in hotels and parking lots with 20 yr younger girlfriend.

      • Yes, even though mine was Mr.fantastic, the distance did start… And I kept telling everybody how hard he works …. He kept telling me he was quiet because of work, thinking about work etc. Stressed because of work… But it never once occurred to me he was having an affair with a coworker.
        If I am in another relationship and my partner suddenly becomes quiet and distant ….I will freak out! Whereas in this marriage, I just figured that was him and he can’t be perfect and I was ready to go with the quiet and distant flow.

        I feel like I want to hear over and over again that he is horrible, that his cheating partner is horrible… that they won’t be happy, that he sucks big-time – I want them to be judged and I want people to tell me that he is a degenerate. When do chumps stop needing that validation?
        Dealing with all the damage and loss caused by the wrecking ball suddenly let loose makes it hard to reach or stay in Meh. The hurt has moved to ANGER.
        When do we stop needing to hear that the person who betrayed us is an absolute loser?

        • I think the time frame is different for everyone. I began to see the mask drop off him about half way through our year of separation, which I assume was just me taking off my rose colored glasses. The only thing I wanted at that time was that he married the exit affair partner, I really really thought he deserved that. Honestly, I still do. Once they married it was like a sigh of relief. After that, my feelings began to change, and I just kind of got caught up in work, my new guy who I married after a four year courtship. I was 41 when the divorce became final, I am 70 now. My husband and I have now been together longer than I was with my ex. (I was married the first time 21 years, including the separation year).

          Then my ex and smoopie caused a big issue in my sons life, and it went on for over a year, and I started looking for answers on why folks do what they do. Found CL, and will be recommending her to anyone I know of who is going through a cheater situation. These Chumps need help, they are being abused by their cheaters and by therapists.

          The situation with my son is resolved, his dad did apologize for the way he treated them, but their relationship will never be the same, I was very careful not to let my son be in the middle, but when all this happened, I opened up because he called me asking for advice, and I had to be honest. Son’s wife will not speak to them to this day.

          I know it is trite, but taking care of you, and being the best you is the fasted way to recover. But, after all these years there are still scars and those scars can be scratched as evidenced by my son being hurt.

          So keep walking through the fire.

          • I don’t really understand why you wanted your cheating ex to marry the cheating partner?
            That thought of that makes my stomach turn.
            I hope they marry for a few months and then get divorced or separate before they get married … I don’t know what you mean by he deserved to marry his cheating partner?

            – but I’m glad you ended up with a nice life .

            • Oh in my mind was that he wanted her so I wanted him to get her, in marriage, full time. It didn’t much matter to me whether the marriage lasted or not, in my mind at the time I just didn’t want him to escape her.

              Part of it was, she was very unappealing in most ways. He even told me once that when they got in fights she threw stuff at him. Even a couple of his fellow police officers made the comment of “I though the idea was to trade up, not down” I just wanted him to get a full dose of smoopie right out in front of God and everyone.

              Later on, I realized I didn’t really care, but this was in real time of when I was hurting a lot. I guess at the time my mindset was, I had to live with the results of his actions, I wanted him to have to live with them too.

              If I had small children at home, I might have felt differently. My son was fully emancipated and in the AF when this went down.

            • Zip! {Hugs} I feel like I know exactly how you’re feeling, once again.
              I was cut by a 1000 cuts until DDay.
              I sort of expected what was going on but I refused to believe it and, after such a long term, I thought if he ended it before he got caught, I might let it go.
              (I had no proof at the time)

              About a yr after the divorce, he freaking married the freak! WHY? I’ll never know. She was a gold-digger in every way shape and form. I’m still waiting to hear about their nasty divorce coming up, especially after Covid and the court house is back in business. There’s no way they could last and I sort of want him to wallow in the ditches of skid row with no money. Yeah – so, this is me 6 yrs after divorce. I’m at Meh, except for that. It was so deceitful on every level and I never would have suspected anything close to that. He was more of a gay, not a girl flirter.

              • I hear you SheChump, I am miss compassionate no more. It’s just really too much to mess with real lives this way.

              • SheChump,
                I believe it was here that I read something like this:
                Often the cheater marries the AP because they don’t want to “fail” at the relationship.
                Cheater wants to go all in to prove he made a good decision by choosing her. If they broke up, he’d look like twice the fool. And cheater would be alone. Better lick it down quick with a ring.

              • Oh gosh. I meant “lock it down”. Fat fingers plus tiny keyboard.

        • Zip— The need for reminders that they suck seems like a stopgap until the incontrovertible proof they suck is made manifest, as it almost always is. By then you may not care. I think of “karma” as a built-in self destruct button. Liars lie most to themselves and this leaves them unguarded, unprepared and incautious about the company they keep.

          An underrated little film that really illustrates the issue of jerks ending up in poor company is “Clay Pigeons.” At one point, Vince Vaugn’s character explains to Joachim Pheonix’s “Clay” character why Vaugn’s character was drawn to Clay. The film doesn’t discount that innocent people get shivved for no reason (tragedy) but simply adds this quirky, brilliant little twist that feels chillingly true– that there may actually sometimes be a reason when a lousy person has a lousy fate (irony).

          My mother wasn’t religious but when in instances where I couldn’t get justice for really shocking fuckery, she’d say “Leave them to God.”

          How right she was. If I got specific about what happened to some of the people who made my life hell at various intervals (I worked in a competitive, harassment-filled industry), it would actually scare people even though I had nothing to do with how things worked out.

          I have no Voodoo powers. People tend to hoist themselves on their own petards.

          • HOC-
            Exactly. Give them a rope and let them hang themselves, I say! And don’t be stingy with the rope.
            You put that so well. And brought up a good point about vulnerability. The only one he fools is himself.
            How can we use this to our advantage? Can you give an example?
            I realize the point of your post was that we don’t actually have to do anything but sit back and watch the inevitable implosion. Still, I am curious.

        • @Zip–I can relate. I’ve said “I don’t wish him dead, but I do wish him miserable”. I want to know there are consequences for his actions, and not in the ‘oh you know he’s lost you, his kids, the entire family so he has to be unhappy’ platitudes but I actually want to know he’s not happy. I keep hearing that when I do, it’ll be so far in my rearview mirror that I won’t care. I hope that’s true.

          • Thanks Hell and Thursday- I was feeling better…but had an emotional setback…sucks.
            The Karma thing……well I didn’t deserve this based on how I’ve lived my life….so……I dread them not getting pay back. And since I’ve moved from hurt to anger – which I have expressed to him big time -as we are still dealing with arrangements- now there’s no more Mr nice guy …. It’s like he copies my emotions-
            – I want to be hypnotized to not feel the betrayal and rejection. Is that a thing ???? ?

            • Zip–

              No way out but through as they say. Please read the Wiki entry on Positive Disintegration– an under-appreciated post-war theory by Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski. If you can’t escape the feelings, at least you should get perks and creds for having the courage to experience of them. I think you’re on your way to being an emotional athlete.

              There’s payback. When it comes you’ll only cringe and cover your nose as if you were witnessing a sewer disaster.

              • Zip– if you think about the way a sewer begins to explode, first with a glug, a gurgle and a burble and then a violent spew of lethal methane gas, liquefied shit and used tampons, it’s so much like a cheater meltdown.

      • “…’We didn’t “grow apart and he started cheating’ He started cheating and turned away from me.”

        Yes! A thousand times yes to this!!

        I’m convinced they backfill rationales to justify their cheating. In my case, I believe that my ex was so flattered (kibbles!!!!) that this young nurse had the hots for him that he “went for it.” Once he fucked her, he kept doing it and then, to make himself feel better about the entire fucking affair, he actually created conflicts in our marriage so that he could say to himself and his schmoopie, “My marriage isn’t going well.”

        And no doubt she did the same damn thing re her husband. “He’s emotionally abusive to her,” my ex said, which reveals a startling lack of self-awareness on his part. They live together now. Schmoopie jumped form the emotionally abusive frying pan into the fire.

        • Spinach – YES! Exactly! And no matter how often I tried to get him to talk, he said he needed his space and he was seeing a counselor for some ‘issues’ and needed his ‘privacy’. Chumpy me thought “oh I’m so happy hes finally seeking help for some of his issues”, and offered to go to marital counseling as well if the issue was our relationship. ????.
          Looking back – That seeemed to be an underlying theme of our relationship…him needing ‘space’. So I learned to give him space… because i’m a loving wife and that is what he needed right? So then I gave him too much space and he didnt feel wanted!? I call bullshit! And then eventually he used his ‘space’ to start fucking his ‘friend’.

          Almost 6 months from d-day, finally moving thru raw grief and anger… now approaching “I’m done.” Divorce is in process.

          • Yeah, that is total BS! Too much attention, not enough attention. Too this too that not enough this or that. It’s an endless stream of blame that we can’t take on. In my clearest moments to myself, I imagine softly saying to my ex,, “I release you, if you weren’t happy then it’s good you’ve gone to go and find your happiness.” It wasn’t us. It’s them, and best of luck to them.????

          • “I need space” Oh lordy, that is a direct confession. Any time a man says that, it means he already has a space and his whore is there waiting, so don’t get in their way.

            After the worst part of my ordeal was over, I went to visit my brother in TX, who is my best friend. He knew I didn’t watch much TV, so he said you need to watch “ladies of the night” which was a show of female stand up comics. One night, one of them said; my ex told me he needed space, I told him if he needs space to tie himself to fu cki ng MX missle and blast off. I about died laughing. Sure wish I had that line when he told me he needed “space” to get his head on straight.

        • Ah yes, the whole rewriting history thing is just so fu*king universally cheater. I can look back now and see around the time he was starting to get interested in his whore every thing I did he would mentally log and use it as a check mark in my ‘see? THIS is why I’m unhappy’ column. Ask him to take out the garbage? “She’s always nagging”. Sick for 21 months? “She never wants to do anything”. Get the blues because my kids are off to college? “She’s never happy!” Then the whole ‘we grew apart, haven’t been happy for years’ shit…it’s infuriating, especially since I was never informed we weren’t happy and we were growing apart. Would’ve been nice to get that memo.

          • I agree with you, ThursdaysChild!

            Keeping this sicko ledge is yet another part of the abuse. “Ah, look at her reaction to my negative comment about the flavor of the coffee. Add that to the I’m-not-happy column.”

            And if an “I’m not happy” incident does not occur organically, cheaters engineer them. “If I do x, she’ll react with y. Then I can add THAT to the column. Yay me!”

            On top of the betrayal (bad enough) is the feeling that we never consented to play the “I’m not happy” game.

            So, on top of feeling chumped, we feel duped.

            • Spot on. For example, I was ‘always nagging’ because I asked him to fix a broken lock on the sliding door–in 1999 I asked; I remember because I was pregnant with my youngest. Sometimes I’d ask in a ‘tone’ because, ya know, it was broken and not getting fixed. He would yeah yeah me. (Hey jackass, how about you just be a grown up and get it done because it needs to be fixed? WHY do I have to ask?) But I know now the friggin’ passive aggressive shit was logged and used as fuel that was twisted all around as me being a demanding shrew who was never happy and was horrible to him and made him feel so bad and inadequate and this whore would never make him feel that way she understands him! Oh, and that lock is still broken.

      • Susie Lee. Yep, exactly the same for me…exactly! Poor didums was stressed at work (I thought he was having a breakdown at BD) but no, he is just the same old cheater. He couldn’t exit fast enough. Lucky me, found CN and moved on with my life. Yep still hurts but know that I am a survivor and thriver!

    • You’re exactly right! In every relationship in my entire cheating family of origin, back to my great-grandfather, the cheater did all the taking while the chump did all the giving.

  • Top 10 Reasons Why Gottman’s Solution Would Not have Worked with the Kunty Kibbler

    10. “There is no specific timeframe for completing the process.”
    KK: If there’s no instantaneous result that works in my favor, I’m not interested.

    9. “One of the hardest parts for me during this phase was being on a short leash.”
    KK: UXworld doesn’t own me. Trust should be automatic simply by virtue of the piece of paper that verifies that we are married.

    8. “As discouraged as I was during this time, I knew I was responsible for the situation . . .”
    KK: I cannot emphasize this more strongly — we BOTH are responsible for my cheating. I can own up to my role if and only if UXworld owns up to his.

    7. “In the final phase, you sprinkle in discussions about sex to discover your partner’s feelings, attitudes, and preferences in bed.”
    KK: UXworld should know what I want and don’t want. If he doesn’t know after 15 years, I’m certainly not going to tell him.

    6. “If a relationship is strong and each partner is getting their needs met, there is no temptation for lust outside of their partner.”
    KK: My needs change daily, perhaps hourly, depending on what I believe I deserve and am entitled to at any given moment. I don’t think UXworld has the capacity to keep up.

    5. “I shamefully owned up to it with my romantic partner.”
    KK: I owned up to it with a specific plan — as a way of proposing an open marriage.

    4. “We . . . examined if I had a higher probability of not cheating again.”
    KK: That’s none of UXworld’s business. He doesn’t get to make my sexual decisions for me.

    3. “If I missed or forgot to notify my partner of my whereabouts at any time during the day, I would be harshly criticized.”
    KK: Any possibility of criticism directed at me is a non-starter.

    2. “The wounded partner really must feel a sense of security that the affair would not happen again . . .”
    KK: If UXworld feels ‘wounded,’ that’s on him. He’s certainly entitled to those feelings, but I’m not responsible for them.

    And, the Number One Reason Why Gottman’s Solution Would Not Have Worked with the Kunty Kibbler. . .

    “I was puzzled . . . What’s wrong with me?…”
    Every bit of verifiable evidence indicates that this question never once entered KK’s mind.

    • Yep, UX. (Hope this nests right under your response…)

      “If UXworld feels ‘wounded,’ that’s on him. He’s certainly entitled to those feelings, but I’m not responsible for them.”

      The justification for almost all abusive behavior is “your feelings are your problem because you are flawed, but my feelings are your fault because I have no flaws and I own you.”

      • Amiisfree…

        Concise gem: ‘The justification for almost all abusive behavior is “your feelings are your problem because you are flawed, but my feelings are your fault because I have no flaws.’

    • Yep on your final point. The big realization, tough to accept, that made me decide to divorce, was acknowledging that he is not capable of self-reflection. It was never a discussion in all those years of marriage. Never a moment he asked if he could improve in some way, or if in a disagreement with someone else, he never took a moment to run it through his mind to see if perhaps he could have made an error. Nope, the other person was always the looser or a-hole. So sad because in his case I still think he has a decent soul lost in there. So happy to not be responsible for any of that anymore.

      • Agree 100%… Mr. Sparkles never reflected on how he failed in three relationships (and the children he fathered in them)… Instead the best he could come up with was wanting to get back to working out and joining multiple gyms… apparently, he cheated because “we never spent time together”… this while I was raising two of his teenage children and our own elementary age child, while working full-time and running the house… so his idea was we join a gym together… not have date nights… not him getting therapy to understand why he cheats in every relationship he has, or why he can’t be a 100% present father to his children… let’s work on pecs and glutes to save a marriage. *facepalm*

        • I got the same – that we were not doing enough together to bond us –
          In my view, if we were doing any more together we would’ve been conjoined twins .
          They just say whatever to justify their entitlement to new found infatuation.
          I think it’s like a drug for the emotionally needy

      • So totally right! I was the problem never ever him. He was always right I caused the issue and then couldn’t get over the issue fast enough.

    • UX, my X sounds like the male version of KK. They could teach a class together! “Entitlement 101”!

    • Is it weird I feel bad for the SOB who lands KK? She sounds like A LOT of fun (sarcasm).

      Imagine how many dudes would run if they saw a personal ad that said all of this?! Lol.

    • “I cannot emphasize this more strongly — we BOTH are responsible for my cheating. I can own up to my role if and only if UXworld owns up to his.”

      Hahahaha. OMG! Spot on!

      My ex said, “You gave as good as you got.” Wait. What? That one still puzzles me and makes my head hurt. Those blender blades!!! Ouch!

    • I got that comment word for word from my delightful ex
      “I hate that my actions have consequences on your feelings”
      I think he wanted us to be a modern independent couple. ie. he gets to do whatever he wants but he still has that +1 for weddings, dinners, receptions, hospital stays, financial bills.
      1 year I played therapist free of charge, pandering to his neuroticism, until I was completely burned out. He didn’t hate it at the time, that his actions had consequences on my feelings.

    • Oh my goodness! 8 and especially 9 describes Wasband exactly! One of the conditions as stated by his lawyer was literally “Most importantly, D.C. has to TRUST Wasband”. I would have fallen off the chair laughing if I wasn’t so terrified at that meeting.

  • “There is no specific time frame for completing the process.”

    Wow! Even babies have to reach developmental milestones before they are considered to have some kind of deficit.

    So the Gottmans’ hypothesis is… cheaters can cure their bad character as long as the chump does his/her part in the deal. Sorta like testing if the orbits for all the planets in the Solar System can be changed with a bump by little asteroid.

  • “examined if I had a higher probability of not cheating again. ”
    “tested and produces a fairly high success rate”
    *probability and *fairly high.
    Real words to bring that feeling of safety. NOT!
    And FFS, buy some damn condoms for new single life; ya self-centered prick!

  • “And the peer-reviewed studies are…. where?”

    Reader, I cackled.

  • I love you CL. I’m going to fall on the sword here. I have counseled with many counselors and the most helpful one was my Gottman certified counselor. I urge you not to write off their approach based on this blog, which I recognize as problematic. There is a disclaimer “Editor’s note: The “After an Affair” series shares one individual’s experience in the aftermath of his own infidelity—reckoning with it, then repairing using Gottman’s Trust Revival Method. We recognize that this may be challenging for some to read and advise those still dealing with the trauma of an affair to exercise their best judgment in reading this. The experience and opinions expressed in this article are by no means exhaustive and belong solely to the author. You can read Part 1 here.”
    My own personal experience with my Gottman counselor was different than what is posted on this blog. She helped me so much and I am grateful for her help and insight

    • Sure, I don’t have a problem with the Gottman method in general – I think that it can be helpful for individuals and couples BEFORE there has been infidelity. But everything I’ve seen about its application AFTER infidelity is problematic. As we in CN know, most cheaters get stuck on the first item on the Gottman checklist after infidelity, “atonement.” (See Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse.) Unless you have somebody who is really trained in identifying and confronting character disorder, it’s far too easy for a couples counselor (like mine!) to say: “See, she SAYS she’s really sorry! Time to move on to ‘attunement.'”

      My STBX finally wrote me a long letter in January 2020 listing all the individual harms she was sorry for. But without any plan for amends. This came 17 months after D-Day #2, and we had been working with therapists almost the entire time (including a Gottman-trained one). I was exhausted, and we were done – the letter was a Hail Mary on the part of STBX, and it didn’t work. We never got anywhere close to “attunement,” Step 2 on the Gottman Trust Revival Method (TM).

      Like I said in response to yesterday’s CL post, the Gottman Four Horsemen were deployed against me by our first therapist (M) after D-Day #2. That therapist had us read the famous article right away, and it came up in general terms several times. Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t being supported by M the therapist, and she wasn’t holding STBX accountable through months of ongoing deception (hiding photos and texts from the affair, etc.), so we stopped seeing M. A while later, STBX informed me that M had told STBX in an individual session (so I wasn’t there to defend myself!) that M thought I was sometimes expressing “contempt” in the Gottman sense. So of course STBX felt totally absolved by this, and was able to shift blame even more effectively onto me. (Guess why STBX informed me of this after the fact? To weaponize it against me.)

      I am thinking about writing a letter to M one of these days to try to educate her about how she became complicit in my abuse, and why the Four Horsemen model should be suspended for a while after dealing with trauma in a relationship. I agree that eventually – like, more than two years down the road, after returning to “attachment”? – a couple would have to get back to a place where they would need to start watching for those signs again. But, since “attachment” post-infidelity is already a unicorn, the obvious thing to do is to suspend all judgment of the chump indefinitely.

      It certainly is inappropriate for ANY therapist EVER to suggest that “nebulous things led to the cheating partner feeling unvalued” (see “the problems in the relationship did not cause the affair but are important to change” Those issues should be addressed ONLY when a couple gets to an “attachment” phase – if they ever do. Unicorn!

      • I think it is a great idea to write and let the therapist know how she took part in your abuse! It may point out something she is unaware of and help others down the road as well I can’t imagine having that mind-fuck added in during the horrifying Wreckonciliation days. Ugghh.

      • LezChunp,
        You should definately send a letter to that therapist. You write so well. You’re able to clearly get your point across. Who knows, you might cause one bad therapist to actually get it and change their tune. Doing that could potentially help hundreds of future chumps/clients.

        • Thanks for your support, Wonder and Rose.

          I hope it goes without saying that I was not really “contemptuous” by any standard in our therapy sessions with M – I didn’t even give STBX a very hard time, though I did defend myself when I felt it was necessary! I certainly didn’t call her names or yell at her. (I should have mentioned above that STBX and I are both women.) During the time we were seeing M, I was feeling a lot of empathy because STBX’s mother had died right before she started affair #2. Not surprisingly, my empathy waned as the months passed and STBX still kept playing sad sausage and refusing to do various things I asked her to do to make amends. I presume that M said I had been “contemptuous” presumably because I sat on the couch looking pained most of the time, and maybe twice I interrupted STBX because I couldn’t stand hearing her manipulations (but M never called them out). Being a chump, I always apologized after interrupting. One time, STBX covered her face in a moment of sad-sausage shame, and I kept talking calmly about my feelings for a few seconds. M then called me “mean,” for continuing to talk while STBX was composing herself. I contemplated ending our therapy with M that day, but was too sick with trauma to imagine starting over with a different counselor. I didn’t know about M’s observation of my “contempt” in her individual session with STBX until several months after we stopped seeing her!

          I am a very self-deprecating person, but have never once felt any twinge of regret for anything I did or said in response to STBX. I have been very circumspect throughout this whole excruciating process, and if anything, I was too kind to STBX for a long time. It wasn’t until I realized that she just felt completely absolved every time I expressed empathy, that I stopped doing it.

          Of course, if I write M (and possibly our other counselors as well, who were unsupportive in other ways), I will have to let go of the outcome. I hope that she’s young enough to learn from my experience, but who knows? A lot of people of all ages think they know everything. (As a college instructor, I’ve met a lot of twenty-something know-it-alls.) All I can do is speak to my own experience – and maybe leave a Google review based on how M responds.

          • LezChump – I am so sorry that you had that experience in counseling. I feel fortunate because my counselor (The Gottman one) was the first person that told me that I had been abused and she diagnosed me with PTSD.

            Hugs to you.

            • I’m glad you found a decent therapist! I think the moral of the story is that individual therapists can differ greatly in skill. The Gottman method itself can be applied either well or badly – and all therapists need to have the training to be able to spot disordered behavior, or else they can become complicit in that disorder.

          • LezChump, I, too am sorry you had that experience with counseling. It’s not an uncommon experience, but you seem to be self-aware and articulate enough to express yourself clearly as so many of us weren’t.

            My experience with Gottman was having read an article on “The Four Horsemen” and reflecting that since my spouse was contemptuous of me most of the time, divorce was pretty much inevitable. I think it led to me leaving him far sooner than I might otherwise have done. I am thankful to Gottman for that.

            The reconciliation after infidelity part of it seems like RIC bullshit. I’m glad I never ran across that because in my reluctance to give up our lifestyle (living and cruising full time on our sailboat) I might have tried working through the steps. It wouldn’t have worked, and I still would have ended up leaving, but how much MORE time would I have wasted?

          • LezChump-
            It definitely goes without saying. The fact that you had to explain how you weren’t contemptuous. That reeks of gaslighting to me.

      • Why is contempt an inappropriate feeling AFTER infidelity? My ex was fucking prostitutes in our bed. I still have contempt.

        • Contempt seems perfectly appropriate after infidelity. I always took it to mean that the cheater expressed contempt for the chump even before the infidelity was discovered.

        • You’re right, Geode. Contempt is often appropriate after infidelity. I wish I hadn’t self-censored so much in my couples counseling sessions, and my therapist M was really wrong to be looking for the Four Horsemen at that point.

          Like most therapists, though, it sounds like the Gottmans aren’t okay with expressions of contempt for very long in a reconciling couple – they want people to start having conversations about the “context of the marriage” (or, ahem, why the cheater felt compelled to cheat, as in CL’s cartoon for the day) in the second phase of “revival,” called “attunement” (following “atonement”).

          Of course, very few if any of us chumps ever actually make it to that point. Meh is about working through the contempt – and any other feelings about our cheating ex-spouse – and getting to the other side, where we just don’t expend any mental energy on them at all. I’m looking forward to that Tuesday!

    • I’ve never seen a Gottman counselor but I remember reading the books WAY back in the day, and my impression was that they were very research-driven, measured, and even dry. I can’t imagine any of this blog post being part of those writings! The Gottmans are getting up there in years and I wonder how involved they are in the day-to-day operations of the Institute. Looks like they’ve got a separate management team and maybe that’s where this money-grubbing tripe is coming from?

      This one statement alone is mind-boggling even with the bizarre disclaimer on the blog post:
      “The partner who cheated must sacrifice some of their privacy and activities such as late-night partying or bar stops for a while until after the trust is rebuilt.”

      What is this guy, 20 years old? He’s specifically saying he’s biding his time until he can go back to late-night partying and bar stops, and the editor doesn’t delete this?

      And this one: “In actuality, research shows that the majority of affairs are not caused by lust. If a relationship is strong and each partner is getting their needs met, there is no temptation for lust outside of their partner.”

      WHAT research? An organization that built its reputation on research lets this complete bullshit slide and publishes it?

      Whatever the reason, looks like the Gottman Institute has jumped the shark.

      • Brandon is 25 now. He was 20 when he suffered a TBI in a car accident (he was the passenger, not the driver).

        There is no excuse for him cheating at any age.

        • Who is Brandon? I’m evidently not following this well enough.

      • Yeah, I totally agree with the assessment that the entire Gottman organization likely has changed now that the original Gottmans are semi-retired. Someone will keep the cash cow going, regardless of whether research is ongoing. (And really, why bother investing in additional research when the Gottman brand already has all the answers?)

  • RIC forever circles back to the chumps willingness to forgive, trust and take responsibility for the success in keeping the abuser.

    Acceptance is knowing you babe all the evidence you need and leaving.

    I had to laugh about how the cheater felt being on a short leash feeling imprisoned. Let the OW/OM have that responsibility. It’s a well deserved self created hell.

  • Someone said it yesterday and it’s so true — cheating is not rooted in anything about human sexual relating. Cheating — like rape, stealing, bullying, racism, dictatorships, pedophilia, pornography (the massive majority of it, anyway), sales (the massive majority of it, anyway), and any other thing that gives one person or group clear advantages over the other for personal gain — is all about having all the power.

    Anyone who tries to solve a cheating problem by addressing anything other than the cruelty, power peseveration, and lack of empathy on the part of the cheater is (a) off base, (b) ineffective, and (c) likely just its own inappropriate power grab to gain something from you (usually money).

    This doesn’t mean the chump is perfect or that the chump doesn’t have any issues to work through. It does mean that none of the chump’s issues are relevant to the cheating or to the treatment of the cheater. There is nothing you can do that causes you to deserve abuse.

    Read that again. There is NOTHING you can do that causes you to deserve ABUSE.

    (Sure, if you start punching someone and they physically fight back to defend themselves, or if you start screaming awful things at someone and they scream something harsh back to defend themselves, you, the puncher/screamer may be hurt by that. This is not the same thing as abuse. Reasonable self defense is not equivalent to abuse, even if it lands a bruise on your (real or metaphorical) cheek. Outcome is a place to start analyzing, but it doesn’t define the event. False equivalencies start with oversimplifying. They are common DARVO tactics. We can’t allow them to take the narrative over.)

    Bottom line, if a person cheats, deceives, betrays, harms, or otherwise tries to hold all the power over anyone else, that dysfunction lies 100% with the perpetrator.

    The chump didn’t make the cheater cheat. The cheater always has many other options for remedy of whatever they didn’t like. The cheater cheats because the cheater wants to cheat. That’s the ONLY reason. Anyone who doesn’t focus on the cheater to solve the cheating problem is going to fail at the task, period.

      • You can make them cheat
        You can’t make them stop
        100% responsibility.
        Yet, the society believes, that it’s chumps job to somehow prevent the cheating by ( God knows what) doing something and then, take 50% responsibility if the cheater cheats again.
        Hell no!
        My h married me- smart, independent, beautiful 23 yearS old, devoted to each other and our careers, but mostly To creating the family together.
        15 years of living with a narc- I’m a SAHM, PTSD and depression is on, my immune system is down… but Mr. wonderful shines and sparkle all the way.
        I stopped believing that karma will catch to his devilish acts….
        Moving on( slowly)

    • “Anyone who doesn’t focus on the cheater to solve the cheating problem is going to fail at the task, period.”

      Absolutely. To include the cheater focusing on himself/herself.

      • Yes! My therapist explained to me, when comparing something I was going through to a couple who wished to get over an infidelity, that “the cheater has to do 95% percent of the work to restore their partner’s trust in them and make them feel safe and secure again (by not cheating again, being honest, apologising, and fixing what’s fixable), and the cheater needs to own that. Their partner has to do 5% of the work to not stalk or control the cheater, because even though the desire to do so is understandable, that’s an unhealthy dynamic”.
        Polar opposite to what this Gottman con-artist is advocating. A controlling, co-dependent relationship does not read as a ‘success’ to me.

        • Agree.

          And only when the cheater has restored at least some credible good intentions, and proof that he/she is no longer cheating, can they both work on the marriage as a separate issue.

          Like CL, I think that is unlikely to happen in most cases. The cheater will be in self preservation mode for a long time. My guess is by the time the cheater shows any remorse or interest in admitting his/her failure, it will be to late.

          Or as I told my Ex just before our divorce became final and he wanted to “talk” about reconciliation. Sorry, you stayed too long at the fair. Go with schmoopie and be happy.

          Note: There was no way he really wanted to reconcile, he was either trying to get me to delay the divorce, so he wouldn’t have to marry schmoopie right away, or he was trying to destabilize me, to get me hooked hopium again. Maybe, both.

        • No therapist or RIC ever put my STBX on the exam table with that much blunt white light. He would have done well to hear it but I doubt he would have actually listened to the words. Instead we got the infinity loop BS. So much time and money I wasted trying to find help only to be sold snake oil.

          • Yep, and I believe CL has mentioned, they won’t do it because the cheater won’t take it. If the cheater won’t take it, no money.

            • I was paying not the cheater or his insurance. Just my hard earned cold hard cash that I produced from my purse and he handed over with a big flourish like he was something special. Mr big shot who couldn’t possibly take off work to go to these appointments. Nope, I had to make all the arrangements and accommodations. There’s another big red flag.

          • I’m sorry you went through that, unethical mental health professionals are the worst 🙁 No couple therapist should advocate for a method that keeps harming one of the partnerts, that’s awful.

    • Great point about power. I wanted to be the one to initiate divorce ( we are legally separated but have to wait a year ). I thought this would make me feel better since I was dumped for cheating partner.
      He didn’t even let me have that! I emailed him and said we could talk later re divorce – I picked the month ( around the one year mark ) said we can look at our schedules then. I said I would get back to him regarding the divorce.
      I got an email right back saying he’d really like to get on the divorce immediately ( start the paperwork online ) and get it wrapped up ASAP.
      It was another slap in the face… Right away I thought does this is make him feel powerful?

      • I think it is individual. In my case he wanted me to file after I called him and told he he needed to file because I had retained a lawyer. I told him, he wanted to break the marriage he needed to file.

        For one reason I really did think since he initially broke the contract, it should be on him to file, but also my lawyer said if he files it would help in getting a good maintenance agreement for our period of separation. Wouldn’t help in finally property settlement, as our state was basically 50/50, but as an abandoned spouse it would get me some time to recover with him paying the house payments. He thought the divorce would be over in two months, but little did he know my lawyer was going for a six month separation package, and he said he could easily extend it to three years if I wanted that. After the six months I said I am done, but then the ex started dragging his feet and it took another six months.

        My ex’s lawyer was a sad sack. My ex actually called me and ask if we could use the same lawyer to save money. Ahhhhhh hahahahaha. Yeah right. I just said nope, you pay your lawyer I will pay mine.

      • Hi Zip. Yes it makes him feel powerful. Don’t ever trust him. I gave my ex the necessary document to Quit Claim my house per our finalized decree 7 months ago. All he had to do was sign and notarize at not cost to him. He still hasn’t signed it and thinks it’s a big game now. I know once I file a motion to compel him to sign he’ll comply. He’s done it before. Your ex is showing you who he really is. Believe it.

    • I totally agree. I hate how the betrayer in the example is also suppose to manage the cheater by spying on them. WTSF is that about? That’s setting up the chump to take responsibility for the cheater’s actions. And of course, if the chump didn’t spy we’ll enough it will be their fault!

      I have a comment on the talk about sex. In my case, I had a very healthy sexual relationship before my husband. But my husband was rather odd sexually and liked to talk about it a lot, was down right objectifying me all the time, eg you bend over to pick something up and he made a big thing of telling me how hot my ass was. But-this didn’t translate into much sex. He was all talk and no action. It was like constant power and control. I was the one wanting more sex. I could never figure out how he could be talking about it all the time but then not deliver. We all know how the story ends-he was getting it elsewhere and yet blaming me for our lack of sex. Poor guy! He was just not getting the sex he wanted at home so he simply had to cheat. That’s what he’s told schmoopie. He even told me he told her that. It was about power and control and mindfucks. He was shocked when I kicked him out and now he tries to control parenting, our property and any little thing he can. It won’t work anymore. I’m done. So the talking thing is BS in my case. That wasn’t the problem-he never cared what I wanted and he wasn’t concerned with building a healthy sex life with me even when I wanted one desperately.

      • Sometimes they’re getting mental images for pleasuring themselves. May partially explain the mostly dead bedroom.

  • Did I miss the Chapters:

    1. How to create and notarize a Post-Nuptial Agreement
    2. How to get checked for STDs
    3. How to identify burner phones the Cheater buys because “you’re not the boss of me”
    4. How to tell the kids they are having shit sandwiches for dinner
    5. How to tell the kids, do as I say, not as I do
    6. How to discover personal ads on sites you never even considered existing (see chapter on cybervigilance)

    Well done, UBT… you had me at #floridacondos

  • 7. How to hide cash from your cheater?
    8. How to make an escape plan?
    9. How to make and store go bags for you and your children.

    Feel free to add more information

    • Love it, MehComing and Chicken!

      10. How to tell that a cheater’s remorse is actually Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse
      11. How to Trust That They Suck
      12. How to Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life

      Oh wait, that’s not the Gottman Trust Revival Method (TM) – that’s Chump Lady! And she doesn’t even charge anything for her time-tested advice!

      • 13. How to take care of everything even when you’re traumatized
        14. How to eat when you’ve got PTSD
        15. How to be a solo parent with no support while getting abused
        16. How to be alone instead of taking shit

  • We went to a “Save my Marriage” intense retreat outside of Nashville over a weekend in 2017 – when I discovered I was a Chump. The advice was very Gottman based and I left feeling that if I had been good enough, he never would have cheated. A quote that will forever haunt me “people only go for something they see as better – it’s up to you to be the better.” So, he cheated because I was not 20 years younger? because I don’t think he hung the moon? (cheating usually has that effect on spouses). Basically this was my fault and if I could just make myself better I could make him see that in the Pick Me Dance – I should be the winner. I look back and can’t believe I let myself believe any of this. My BFF said “Nashville fucked up your head” and I believe it did. Save your marriage – lose yourself – it’s worth it!

    • I’m so sorry you also experienced this mindfuck, Chumpin’. I thought about going to one of the Affair Recovery weekend retreats in the early days after my D-Day #2, and STBX was all for it (of course – she saw it as an easy fix). Fortunately, I chose not to do that, for several reasons: the expense, the fact that we were a same-sex couple, and the gut feeling I had that our marriage was beyond repair. I’m now glad we didn’t waste the money – though we spent plenty on other forms of therapy for months.

      The best advice by far is CL’s, given for free: Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.

    • I am so sorry you had to go through that. Please know that everything you heard in Nashville was BS designed to part fools from their money. Forget all of it and know that you live way above it. How awful that you had to go through that after suffering D – Day.

    • All our cheaters who leave us are basically telling us that they are leaving us because they think the next person will be better.
      Unbelievable that you had to hear that message from an institution . And a lot of people in society think that there was something wrong in the marriage so they kind of agree with that.

      Mine told me over and over again that it was a “tough decision!” I think he felt sorry for himself that he was put in a position of having to struggle through making the tough choice to abandon me and his step kids or choose the married office whore and her kids. Ultimately he decided she was better.
      Maybe he thought by telling me over and over again that it was a tough decision ( like I made it to the finals ) was supposed to make me feel better LOL

      • Of course she’s at least a decade younger-He would’t even tell me her exact age because that has nothing to do with it. It’s just a magical person she is. Married women who like to fuck other people‘s husbands and destroy two families are apparently very wonderful .

      • Mine kept saying, “I’m having so much trouble with the idea of losing you.”
        This means “I don’t care that I hurt you and shredded our family. I just feel sad that I’m losing something that was useful to me. Who’s gonna cook the meals and pay my bills now? My young girlfriend is good for sex, but adult life? Not so much.” Truly- he didn’t even realize that he was hurting me so deeply by everything he said. I cannot fathom what schmoopie was thinking and I do sometimes wonder how she feels about destroying a family.

      • “Like I made it to the finals.” Omg! haha

        Mine gave me the line that he thinks it’s possible to love two people at once. So I guess I was in the finals, too. But she won by a nose or, in this case, a dick.

        • As Chump lady said, we were the only ones who didn’t know we were in a competition! I mean, the cheating partner is following a strict diet, training, maybe taking performance enhancing drugs, thinking about the financial endorsements she’ll get when she wins, but we’re cuddling eating Chito’s watching Netflix – while the coach is deciding whether or not we will make the cut.

          • I always said I was walking around all dumb, fat and happy. Then…ka-boom!!!

            • Oh, and when he dumped my ass for schmoopie he told me’go get yourself some friends and do things’….(you know the ones he ran off.) He said ‘you need to get yourself a boyfriend.’ (how cavalier) and then he had the audacity to tell me to ‘wear my hair up, because I look sexier that way.’ You know, to snag a man. MY HUSBAND TOLD ME THIS SHIT!

              I’ll go to my grave knowing he NEVER loved me.

              • What an ass. You didn’t deserve that shit. That’s pretty low. Mine said some similar shit although he also implied I was on the wrong side of 50 and he found someone younger so he could have another family whereas I couldn’t.They’re fuckwits from hell.

              • Wow, similar conversation with my ex. After, we were legally separated, and I knew it was over, he came by one day while I was out front working in my flower garden.

                First he asked me if I wanted to come see his apartment. (he lived in a small apartment for a few weeks before he moved in with schmoopie, I think he was still trying to keep her secret while he managed his job fallout) I said no, why would I want to do that. He said, I hope you find someone some day. I said, when I want someone; I will find someone and he won’t be a married man. (I had already turned down two police officers, but I didn’t tell him that) He just got up and got back in his squad car and drove away.

                Funny thing is, when I did start seeing a guy that I met after I moved to a new DoD facility, he came by again and said; that guy is a lot older than you. (I assume he looked up his license) I said “and” he said I just don’t want you to get hurt. I just said I am a grown woman, and the getting hurt train has already left the station.

                He also, drove by my new guys apartment several times, I guess trying to see if I was there. The guy became my husband, he lived on a first floor luxury apartment and his patio was in clear view of the road. He watched him go by slowly several times.

                My sweetheart husband has said through the years, your ex was crazy. For the record I think his ex was crazy too. She didn’t cheat, (that he knew of) but she had an alcohol issue, and she just didn’t want to be married anymore. Broke his heart.

              • Chumptopia, He’s a monster……I mean who does he think he is? I don’t want to blame the mom’s….but I’d like to see some research…Do most of their mom’s blow smoke up their ass?

        • Hahaha!
          Immediately I pictured the end of a race where the tape is broken by- you guessed it.

      • ‘Like I made it to the finals’, love that. The ones who leave and destroy families all seem to say similar things.
        ‘It was a really good competition, thanks for trying – you didn’t win but here’s your participation medal.’ None of us wanted to participate or even knew the competition existed. Curse all the fuckwits who destroy their families but think they are good people by admitting it wasn’t easy for them to do so.

        • Waiting, Yes you are right. By his saying repeatedly that it was a tough decision he is trying to make himself sound good -like he’s not doing this on a whim.

          However, when I told him that I lost the competition that I didn’t know I was in’ ….. he said “what competition? I really worry about you… you really night need to talk to somebody!’

    • We went to the same retreat in 2015. It was recommended by my pastor. It was awful. It was very expensive and a big waste of money. It did nothing to help me. After the retreat, cheater promptly took a “temporary” job in another state where he shacked up with the schmoopie.
      The outfit that runs these retreats brags on their website that 75% of couples who attend a workshop stay in their marriage. How in the world would they know that? No one from their organization ever contacted me beyond the 6 weekly follow up phone calls which were moderated by someone with no counseling experience or credentials.

      • Woo boy, we almost went to this one but instead went to counseling locally instead. I’ve always wondered if I made a mistake not insisting on going to this one. Thanks for the insight, one more “maybe I should have” I can let go for good now.

        • You should have no regrets about not going. It’s one less thing you should worry about.
          Cheater had stopped going to the local counselor, because that counselor wasn’t fooled or intimidated by cheater. He had been to other younger and less experienced counselors and pastors who did not hold him accountable. He always was looking for an excuse to justify his behavior so that he wouldn’t look like the bad guy.

  • UBT: Utah. Position yourself over there.

    I just expelled my coffee onto my keyboard, through my nose. Thank you for that incredible moment of laughter on this rainy Thursday morning.

  • “Our society perceives cheating as a simple lack of discipline or moral ethics in the face of sexual temptation….”

    This is a minimization statement in itself. “Our society perceives” it as such because of hundreds of years of wisdom teaching from various religious traditions that teach us that adultery is a moral failure (on the part of the adulterous party). The Gottmans feel like they are wiser or smarter than all those traditions by making this corrective statement. No wonder cheaters like their stuff! Such arrogance!!

    • @Divorce Minister
      Well stated. Cheaters might have the upper hand on earth, but they won’t in the end. And the lame confession(s) are pathetic, self-preserving to the perp. Lack of personal integrity, untrustworthy and arrogant are how I frame it. Its sad to me that the world and the “help” industry always circles around to the cheater.

      • @ Fireball
        Take heart, I think that is changing. Resources for faithful spouses are far better now after Chump Lady started this blog. Plus, I hope my blog has helped in that vein as well. There are others as well. Faithful spouses, we are legion. That is what the Chump Lady blog has demonstrated.

        • @Divorce Minister,

          I found your blog about 6 yrs ago when someone on SOS suggested it to me. As a believer I had a bad case of religious abuse from councelors feeding me the shared responsibility, forgiveness, don’t be angry etc and DON’T get divorced. After 3 decades I was done with all that and it was YOU that enlightened me and gave me the advice I needed. I filed for divorce immediately after reading literally everything you were posting back then. I still read your blog couple times a week. Thank you and God Bless your work. Yes, much has changed because we are finally getting the support from blogs like CL and DM.
          Keep Looking UP ^^

  • Has anyone had any experience with the ex marrying the ow and later they divorce and looks like the ow married someone in a short time after the divorce? I’m trying to figure out how I feel about this. With everything both of them done to my life I am wondering why was that all necessary?

    • No but my ex and OW broke up and ex moved in with and married another woman within two months of that——– The reason why that was all necessary you ask? It was to set us chumps free! I thank God almost everyday for OW getting this going now instead of ten years from now.

    • I know of a few stories, here they are:

      1. My mother walked in on her first-husband with OW. She wanted to work it out but while in counseling with him, he stated he was just done and wanted to be with the OW. He was awful and would even go to the restaurant my mother worked at and take the OW with him (talk about cruel). My mom eventually left him and moved to another city to get away from them both, she also filed for divorce. When he found out, he called her and asked if they could just stay separated while he “explored”. She told him she wouldn’t be his sloppy seconds and that was the last time they spoke. She found out years later that he was single, broke and living with his mother. My mom met the love of her life a few years later and remarried.

      2. A family friend left their spouse for another man. Her husband was heartbroken and waited a year to file for divorce to see if she would come back to him, she didn’t. He filed and the divorce got processed. Six months later the guy she left him for had overdosed on drugs and she had to move back in with her parents. Her ex-husband on the other hand, has found new love and is engaged to be married. He says he’s never known love and happiness like this and can’t believe he ever loved someone so selfish.

      So in answer to your question, maybe the necessary part is finding real love that you would have never known otherwise? Hope some of these stories help.

      • @Alice–thank you for these stories. Being in the middle of all of this crap…sometimes I feel like I’ll never be truly happy again. And I don’t mean that to imply that happiness is defined as being partnered up, but in both of those stories the chump ended up doing fantastic and right now that seems like a far off impossible goal for me. Gives me hope that maybe I’ll be well and happy again too.

        • @Thursday, you will be happy again and so will I. I have my moments too of sadness, what if’s, defeat, etc but I recognize them as just that, moments. Give yourself grace to feel them and know they will pass.

          In both stories, the chumps wanted to work things out with the cheater. It was a blessing in disguise though that the cheaters refused to work through things. The Chumps ended up with better lives, better partners, and the reassurance that finally letting go of their cheater was the better option as well as right thing to do.

          I have to believe God has a better man in mind for me. Its scary to think I have to start all over, but I trust him. I just see what he did for other Chumps I know personally and it helps.

          • @Alice–in that vein, my friend’s aunt got married last November right after turning 68. A client where I had worked had told me the week before my job ended that she was moving in with her boyfriend; she’s 73. My co-worker chimed in saying she married her current husband when she turned 60. I’m older, approaching mid-50’s, and this came up because they were making fun of me for saying I’m too old to find love again. =-)

            • @Thursday-do not give up hope. One of my dearest friends didn’t marry until she was 57. Although she was busy with traveling and her career most of her life, she also had said she didn’t ever find a good fit with anyone she dated and refused to settle.

              She’s completely in love with her husband and is so happy she waited and found the perfect match. You’re never too old to find love, in fact sometimes it finds YOU -hugs

              • I LOVE these stories! And although right now I have so many other piles of crap on my plate and I also don’t think I need to have a partner to be happy, it does allow me to daydream once in a while that something like that could happen in my future. I really can’t see it for me, but hey you never know and in the meantime I really love hearing when it happens to others. =-)

        • Please remember too – even if it looks like the cheaters are together and or remarried and “happy” that can be so far from the truth. They have big egos most likely and care about how things look. I have a friend whose husband cheated, left her, got remarried – I see them and they look “happy” – her kids tell her they sleep in separate wings of the house or she’s at their lake house by herself more than with him. It’s all BS. Also sometimes it just takes time – someone else I know – yes “happy” at first – 15 years later divorced and miserable. Relationships built on lies and cruelty don’t end up good. And they are forever marked as cheaters till the day they die. And everyone cringes at that even if they don’t cringe outwardly.

          • Similar just happened to my friend. Her cheater left her 20some years ago with 2 kids under 4 for his “soulmate”. They were the perfect couple, became church leaders and gave marital counseling of all things. Years and years of how God brought them together how perfect their family was. Couple years ago I hear rumbling of issues and I understand that late last year she moved out and are still separated. Although I don’t wish them ill I did get a “HA! SUCK IT” feeling out of it.

            • Goss! Masquerading as Church Marital Counselors?!?! May Jesus have mercy on their souls!

    • That’s the whole point Angela. If he could give it all up in an instant for that, he never did have any heart inbit to begin with. And that is what’s the hardest to accept.

      They never loved us as we did them. Their love was only surface love = shallow. They’re good at faking it but, they’re incapable of a true deep love. At least not for anyone but their self.

      My xh threw away his family for a 1.5 year turbulent relationship with ow. After his attempt to get back with me when this failed (to use me ven more), he proceeded to have 5 live-in in the 5 yrs following that (involving our kids in the mess as he had visitation then).

      So that’s the whole point we need to accept. If they would give us up that easily for something so shallow, they never were the person we thought to begin with.

    • My ex married his smoopie, two months after the divorce was final. After he had contacted me three times to come back and the last two times I said no. I tried the first time and it lasted a week, before he treated me so terrible I told him to leave.

      I have often wondered if smoopie knew that he called me to try again less than two months before they went to Vegas and got married. Oh he didn’t really want to come back I am sure, he was just trying to see if he could get me to do the pickme dance again. I am guessing smoopies dancing was starting to get old. Also, I wonder sometimes if he was desperately trying to push back marriage to smoopie, he was in a bind because he was her supervisor, and while they were involved in their fu kfest, he had petitioned the city counsel to get her a raise. He got him self in a huge mess at work, I am surprised he didn’t get fired. If it had been a few years later, he likely would have.

      But, I am glad they are still together, the only thing I was afraid of once we were legally seperated was that they would not end up married. I wanted them stuck with each other.

      I don’t know if they are still as excited about each other as they were when they were sneaking around, but they soon after they were married ran up over two hundred thousand in gambling debt. My son bought their house to allow them to have a home. They moved into the mother in law portion of the house and my son and his family moved to the main house.

      Then they blew up their relationship with my son, and he had to sell out to get rid of them. They moved to FL and have had horrible health problems. I am sorry for the health problems, and have prayed for my ex’s health situation, but the rest is all them.

  • Wow!!

    Just yesterday I was defending the GOTTMANS in this comment section, having read a couple of their older books, which we aimed at

    addressing (non adultery) marital woes with a generally rational approach of “communicate more, really listen to each other, make the the time, etc”

    Nothing radical: just solid advice that is, of course, easy to say but hard to execute

    But this garbage means they’ve gone full RIC, which is extremely disappointing!

    Now I must decide if this shocking, verified new evidence means I must change my mind about someone I previously thought shared my values and my boundaries on topics that are extremely important not only to my family but to millions of families everywhere

    Mind changed!

    These folks have turned into (or maybe always were) pieces of garbage! I just calmly put their books in the trash and will be moving on without a second thought to the many MANY resources that don’t tell lies for money!

    Thanks UBT!

    Stay mighty, everyone

    • Yes – as BetterDays noted above, the entire organization has likely jumped the shark now that the original Gottmans are semi-retired. I’m sure it will make a ton of money going full-on RIC. 🙁

      • That sucks. The Gottmans did solid work on how to be married. Best for young couples starting out, who don’t know how to fight fair. Maybe I should say, how to disagree fair — “fight” could mean physical. All couples will disagree at times, and need to learn how to handle it. So their institute has jumped onto the RIC bandwagon — well, that just sucks.

    • Really pisses me off too – because I actually thought that if I end up in another relationship, we would both sit around and read the Gottman advice together. – it was solid advice. Is this because so many people are cheating… Is this what all this RIC is about – besides the $?

  • Keeping a leash on them & 24/7 surveillance so they won’t cheat is beyond ridiculus. After xh cheated 1st time (I stayed 12 more years), his Dad actually told me it was because I hadnt been monitoring him enough. I had to be up at 5AM for work. Xh worked nights and didnt get off work until midnight. FIL said I should be waiting up for him to be sure he came straight home after work. I’ve always had difficulty falling asleep. It takes me hours. So it would have been after 2.AM before I got to sleep had I wated up. No way I could function in a high stress job with just 3 hours of sleep a night.

    Then when in-laws were visiting, 5 months after the cheating, I saw the ow pushjng her kid in a stroller at a Flea Market xh had a booth set up at. The pain pf the cheating shot through me & I just had to get out of there to break down crying
    MIL criticized me for leaving. She said she had kept a good eye on him for me. She made sure he didn’t go talk to her but, I should have done that. I was asked why I would leave when then he could have gone & talked to her & cheated again. Thank goodness she was there to do it for me.

    I did meekly say to in-laws that I shouldn’t have to monitor him for him not to cheat on me. I didn’t fully understand how completely messed up my inlaws were until the divorce. I should have been monitoring him day & night. I should have had complete control of even his checks so he didn’t spend it all on toys instead of bills. I was actually told I hadn’t kept a good enough eye on him.

    Omg, he wasnt an 8 year old boy! Yet they thought that’s how I should have treated him so he would have stayed in line. You see, it was all my fault he hadn’t. I didn’t care enough to be strict with him. I always said my xh seemed to want a second Mommy more then a wife. Is there any wonder why? I didn’t fully realize how sick & messed up his parents were until our divorce.

    • Yeah, this is what continually blows me away… the reflexive anger (some) people have when we Chumps simply say

      “I have no interest in spending my life playing cat and mouse with someone who took a specific vow that we would never play cat and mouse”

      If I paid an airline to fly me to MIAMI, FL and they instead flew me CEDAR RAPIDS, IA … how many of these folks would be saying ‘well, you should really give CEDAR RAPIDS a chance before you start demanding your money back”


    • Yup, we are ‘supposed’ to watch over them like an un-neutered or un-spayed dog ? I don’t think so.

      • I seriously think that when my ex was involved in this last mess, he thought of me as his mother; and I was getting in the way of him “dating” his true love. He was acting like a pizzed off teenager.

        Well mom walked away pretty quickly in the context of a 20 year marriage, so, if his life didn’t turn out like he thought it would (and it didn’t) he has no one to blame but himself. Though I am sure he is blaming his schmoopie now. As his “mom” I know him well enough top know, he won’t hold back his anger at her.

        • Yes! Being shoved into the mommy role is so sick in so many ways.
          Wasband’s mom died 20 years ago and he never dealt with it. Guess who is bearing the brunt of 20 years of built up rage?
          This gal.

  • OMG – I almost want to be in a bad dating situation so when someone asks:

    “What’s a good position for you?” I can answer: “Utah. Position yourself over there.”

    Gold – pure gold!

  • “Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA, who is skilled at building better relationships, handling divorces, and bettering marriages. He hopes to share his knowledge and experiences to help other couples or individuals create deeper connections in their lives.”


    I’m a little surprised he didn’t blame his wandering dick on his TBI suffered in when he was 20. Not that blaming his partner for not paying attention to him is any better.

    Since his TBI was the best thing that ever happened to him, he may have decided to pay it forward. What a guy. /s

    • A traumatic event, that is. Not a literally TBI. Adultery is devastating enough without a devastating brain injury too.

  • GPS on phones only works if that’s their only phone. The more devious ones get a burner phone from Walmart and buy lots of minutes to continue the deception. I wouldn’t be the marriage police.

    • Yep! One night I feverishly checked my husband’s phone as I suspected cheating. I was so shocked that I didn’t find anything and I felt like a crazy woman. But… Voila! He had a burner phone that he showed me as I was kicking him out. He was so proud of himself! He loved making all of his confessions as he was packing up. Did anyone else experience those confessions?

  • “The partner who cheated must sacrifice some of their privacy and activities such as late-night partying or bar stops for a while until after the trust is rebuilt.”

    This of course explains why the “marriage police” option can’t work–it’s like a bad diet. Things are fine for the 30 or 60 days the cheater is “policed.” But the unstated goal is to go back to the behavior that was problematic in the first place. A partner who wants to do “late-night partying “or “bar stops” is already not a good bet for character change.

    The question I have is: how academics can be this stupid?

    • I very much doubt that the Gottmans themselves vetted this content. They seem semi-retired to me now (maybe coming out just to lead some in-person sessions now and then at their compound) – and they were the academics. As BetterDays noted above, the organization has probably moved on without them, and jumped the shark into full-blown RIC using their well-known brand name.

      It’s sad – the Gottmans should care how their name is being used. I’d write a letter if I thought it had a snowball’s chance in hell of actually getting to them.

  • This may or may not be related …….

    To provide context, I have been divorced for two years now after a twenty three year marriage, out of which I spent half wondering what I had done wrong and how should I fix myself so my husband, whom I loved dearly, would not always seem angry at me. My chump status was confirmed by one of his friends at the time of my divorce. I’m not sure if my ex still knows that I “know”.

    Annnywaaay………. over twenty years ago, when we were still a fairly new young couple with a toddler and I was very much in love, I watched an episode of the Oprah show which was probably about cheating in general or maybe in a specific work area (memory fails me a little). One of the things that came up was “it’s not what she has. it’s how she makes me feel”. The subtext being that my wife did not make me feel special enough and the affair partner did.

    As a twenty-something wife and mother in a supposedly happy marriage, I thought, “oh no, I always make him feel so very special. These people must be right”. I want to take this opportunity to apologize to all chumps, myself included, for thinking such a thought.

    I have had other thoughts too, for example, “if a man leaves his wife because of her hip measurement then he is not worth keeping anyway”, also oblivious to my own chumpdom, but that one I stand behind :D.

    Happy Thursday CL and CN. Thank you for being there. You have been a lifeline.

    • It’s just infuriating.
      Yes therapist number one gave me a book to read and a big part of it was how it’s not actually about the cheating partner it’s how your spouse feels around them. Which is exactly what my spouse said to me, it was how he felt around her. And how do you ‘Make’ your spouse feel like a rockstar 24/7 when they are weak enough to get caught up in an affair with a married coworker?
      We chumps didn’t feel great around our cheaters when they were doing the various things that cheaters do while they are cheating.
      But we didn’t go looking for someone else to feel great around.

  • Wow. Nice takedown, CL. I had not read that particular spewage (without the “p”) from the Gottmans, and I admit to being a fan.

    I believe what the Gottmans have to offer is best in the early stages of a relationship, NOT after one partner has decided to unilaterally cheat/lie/manipulate/and throw their SO under the bus and repeatedly roll said bus back and forth over their writhing body. I believe many people (Ivy guiltily raises her hand) jump into relationships, ALL IN, while in the early stages of limerence and love-bombing.

    The sad thing is how many people desperately seek to try to repair something that really can’t be repaired after that kind of breach (Ivy guiltily raises her hand, again), so there is a HUGE market for the RIC. The desperation of chumps equals big bucks. I can only imagine how the Gottmans, with their research lab, were implored by frantic chumps on how to get their wayward cheaters back in line. Gottmans at your service, chumps!

    CL, I would love to see another book from you systematically taking down the RIC gurus AND Esther Perel. I would love a chapter on that favorite cheater topic, “polyamory”. My cheater used to say, “I think you can be in a committed relationship and cheat.” Delusional, maybe?

      • I too would love to see a book-length CL takedown of Perel and the RIC. Maybe we could offer to help? I’d be happy to ghostwrite/edit sections based on CL’s existing posts for free, if that would help CL find the time to do it. I know the book on parallel parenting with a fuckwit is priority #1. Keep up the great work, CL and CN!

        • Me too! The ghostwriting thing. But I think the overall organization of the book, coordination and getting things moving as being the most difficult job.
          That shouldn’t have to be on Tracy. Also it is far easier said than done.
          Anybody have publishing experience?

  • Thanks CL. I still respect Gottman’s actual research based work on communication but they have gone badly off course over time. The early work seduces too many into believing the later dreck. I appreciate the UBT and you taking it down!

  • The Gottman’s theory of Pursuer-Distancer dynamics was one I stumbled upon within the first week after abandonment by my X Asshat. I saw that had always been the Pursuer and he was the Distancer, for 31 years. Chumpy me provided him with the Gottman articles and oh-so-helpful home diagnostic quizzes on the subject so we could work on it.

    Obviously as the Pursuer I was crowding the poor Distancer and I was willing to back off. If I backed off I expected (per the Gottmans) that he would see he was losing me and would turn into a Pursuer. In my pick me dance hysterical bonding I had completely mentally buried the fact that I had been the Cool Wife who had zero problems with him running all over the globe for months-long expat assignments and never bitched when he “worked late” constantly while here and never made demands on him. I was very willing to assign myself the total blame he also agreed was mine. He had been ignoring me for three decades and had already had a known affair 9 years earlier, but I was sure it was all my fault for clinging to him somehow. I was delusional from the sudden loss of my marriage and future.

    He loved that I had conveniently come up with this theory. His abandonment the week prior, by e-mail, moving out while I had been on a business trip fit perfectly into his story of the Awful Controlling Judgmental Wife he had to escape (the 24YO foreign ho-worker twat he was fucking and lying about did not fit so well). The article on the Pursuer-Distancer dynamic said that the “Distancer gave nothing of themselves to the Pursuer” and that was spot-on for him. He wasn’t being a withholding, lying, passive aggressive cheater, no, he was….. A Distancer. What a nice label, with nothing expected of them and no analysis of how they became such entitled pieces of shit in the first place.

    Every theory these Gottman quacks come up with fails to acknowledge that when there is a lying coward in a full blown affair then none of their hoity-toity theories mean a damn thing. And the fact that the Four Horsemen or the Pursuer-Distancer dynamic (or others) is playing out in a marriage means it is very likely one of the people is hiding affairs. They would do well to START THERE.

    I realize now that Distancers should be allowed to run as far and fast toward the sunset as they like. I will never waste my life Pursuing an entitled child.

    • “Obviously as the Pursuer I was crowding the poor Distancer and I was willing to back off. If I backed off”

      As did I, he said he was acting distant because he was under so much pressure at work, (poor baby) so I backed off and when he first moved out to move in with smoopie, it was because we had “grown apart”. So I backed off and let him and smoopie enjoy themselves, as any good wife should do.

      • I backed off being the pursuer as well-advice from a quack. What’s suppose to happen is the distancer comes back towards the pursuer. In my case it was like out of sight out of mind! No amount of pursuing influenced the distancer. So I tried to make him feel better and support him. Like a good chump, that meant he was freed up to fuck others and have a free for all life. What’s the pattern here? We chumps are the dumping grounds and punching bag for their bad feelings and stress. We’re suppose to soothe them, look after them and help them with their stressful lives, all so they can find a schmoopie to fuck? Why bother with the chumps in the first place? So they can treat us like with contempt and be at their best for others??

        • ” So they can treat us like with contempt and be at their best for others??”

          It does seem the chump serves as a good punching bag, whether emotional, or physical. I can’t count the times in the last year that I was screamed at, insulted, ignored etc. But to the world (before smoopie was exposed) he was wonderful. Once smoopie was exposed, he went into self preservation mode, given that he was her supervisor; by then I was legally separated and going to my own counseling to get my life together and be able to function. I even had to go on antidepressants for a few months. Really pizzed me off. I hate taking meds of any kind.

          • I had the same treatment-and he was with a work client. I know what you mean about self preservation mode too. Mine went underground after being so bold and horrible. He even took his photo off LinkedIn ( but not his job). Mine lost his job in the same week as he lost our marriage because he was bullying and intimidating and not at work at all so they got rid of him. He changed the narrative though and he’s lied to everyone. I was a controlling bitch so he had to leave! He lost his job because the owners were assholes! Classic.Im on two antidepressants ????

          • Susie Lee–

            The med trap– ugh. How many people end up hooked on sleep aids because of abuse? Makes you wonder if Ashley Madison or RIC or the sex industry have some overlaps with pharma (haha- retch). “Bundled profits.”

            • Hmm could be a connection between RIC and meds.

              Luckily I was able to go off them in a fairly short time. I do think they helped me to focus and once I could focus I was able to do it myself.

              But, yeah; it is infuriating.

              • Susie Lee– Glad you evaded the pitfalls. I’m not radically anti-pill but I know a bit too much at this point to think of this stuff as anything but a short-term bandaid. Lack of sleep can kill. If someone loses their whole family in a violent home invasion, emotional painkillers may be in order for a week or so. But the meds certainly aren’t like “insulin for diabetes” as industry once loved to claim. No evidence that any of them “correct brain chemicals.”

                I attended a week long psychiatric reform conference in DC several years ago out of concern for the rate at which kids were being drugged, the pressure put on parents by schools to drug kids, drug side effects and the creepy ties between the DOE and the drug industry.

                This wasn’t some crunchy antipsychiatry group but preeminent scientists, representatives from the Cochrane Collaboration and the authors of black box warnings on many of the drugs. It also wasn’t a new topic for me. I’d originally taken interest in the subject out of feminist sentiments after learning that a known drug front group (exposed in the NY Times) had taken over Chicago’s official domestic violence response network and that battered women were being automatically steered to psychiatrists by “public-private” state agencies to “treat” the “underlying disorders” that “contributed to their being battered.” These women were being systematically drugged and, if they didn’t cooperate, they were menaced with the possibility of losing custody of their children to the state.

                Amazing how bs marketing universally relies on victim blaming.

              • I was on antidepressants for years. All they did was make me docile and help keep me in denial. When I got off them, I got out of denial and the D-Days started happening.

              • Madge– There’s a chapter in reform psych Dr. Peter Breggin’s book Toxic Psychiatry (very old book but still relevant) about the many dangers and political ramification of psychiatric pacification of abused women. Breggin wrote, word for word, the current FDA warnings on SSRIs and antipsychotics.

  • Bottom line is cheaters will always be cheaters! There is no “fixing” them, FUBR

  • “We analyzed if our relationship was worth saving and examined if I had a higher probability of not cheating again.”

    Um, if someone has already committed themselves to massive lying and deceit, how can their take on either of these things be valid? You can’t make an honest assessment with a dishonest person.

    “There is no specific time frame for completing the process.” Translation: Prepare for perpetual pick-me dancing.

  • Filling in while UX attends to business.

    The Horsemen With No Name (music by America, lyrics by Cheaterpants)

    In the first stage of adultery
    I looked leerily at my wife
    She was too short/tall
    And too thin/fat
    Too this and not enough that
    The first thing I chased was an underling
    With a butterfly tramp stamp
    My wife has no ink, her pubes are unwaxed
    She mis-folds my underpants!

    (Chorus) I’ve been to the RIC to up my Four Horseman game
    It felt good to jujitsu the blame
    In the RIC, you can reject toxic shame
    ‘Cause it’s just “criticism” when chump says my alibi’s lame
    La la la lala la la la
    La la la la (etc.)

    Two days of RIC showed me the way
    To reverse offender/victim
    Like crying “contempt” when he snubbed my v-jay
    ‘Cause he knew where it had been
    And the stories I told
    Of chump offenses so old
    N’er a word how I’d gaslighted him

    (Chorus) I’ve been to the RIC to polish up my horseshit
    Complaints of herpes are “defensiveness”
    Or of the assets
    I dissipated on gifts
    Bar tabs, hotels and the coke shmoopie sniffed
    La la la lala la la la
    La la la la (etc.)

    After nine days of RIC I let the horsemen run free
    ‘Cause RIC’s the perfect profit machine!
    Affair Recovery, Gottman and Perel
    And sex addiction drivel for the really hard sell
    I love RIC’s broad applicability
    It’s like a bad astrological chart
    Innocence and guilt lose disparity
    In clouds of morally relative farts

    I’ve been to the RIC to boost my Four Horseman scheme
    It’s makes DARVO science-y!
    I shift the goal posts
    And call it stonewalling
    When my chump goes NC
    La la la la la la la la la
    La la la la (etc.)

  • I read the results of a very large survey. They interviewed male cheaters (who gave their answers anonymously). The vast majority said they cheated for sexual variety and sexual adventure. That I believed.

    • Mitz–

      Did the “majority” add any details about how rando adventure and stranger boobs were totally worth it for their wives to end up in stirrups being painfully swabbed for STDs or their children’s lives being irrevocably altered and damaged on discovering (as many kids do, often before mom does) that dad was bonking randos in the car or the vacation time share or on top of their toy bin?

      Cheaters as a whole tend to be a pretty emotionally repressed bunch, otherwise why wouldn’t they straight up opt for an open marriage/poly lifestyle? How did they get so damaged that they could systematically crush another person, moreover a partner, and grossly neglect their children?

      To stress the point that the psychologist CL refers to in the post makes in his Psychology Today critique ( of Gottman’s approach, many people aren’t exactly self-honest or actually in touch with their true feelings. By extension, they may not be in touch with their own motives. What guy trying to get laid is going to admit that he cheats because his mother was too distracted and traumatized by dad’s emotional and physical abuse to properly attend to toddler cheater’s needs? Or the time Uncle Pete “babysat” and things got weird? Some do go “deep sad sausage” and relay events like this when they’re scrambling to prevent their lives from exploding but “variety” and “adventure” barely explain the abnormal suppression of empathy necessary to betray on this level.

      • “Cheaters as a whole tend to be a pretty emotionally repressed bunch, otherwise why wouldn’t they straight up opt for an open marriage/poly lifestyle? How did they get so damaged that they could systematically crush another person, moreover a partner, and grossly neglect their children?”

        I think most of them are a mess, from the get go. Most have cheated throughout their marriages, I am pretty sure mine did. He just hid it well until the last smoopie put the marriage screws to him. Quite honestly I think he was having a blast until the screws started tightening. That I am pretty sure is when he started being hostile to me. In his apology letter he told me when he said “I never loved you” he was just trying to get me to hate him. I really think he wanted me to file so he could say that it was me who ended the marriage and not him. But, I insisted he file. And the schmoops was getting hard to handle, so he did. I will never know for sure, but given the vice grip he was in between job and schmoops, it seems plausible.

        However, the reason my ex would not have opted for an open lifestyle is he would never put up with a cheating wife. He deserves better. Just ask him. I suspect a lot of cheaters are just like that.

        • Susie Lee–

          Double-Standards-R-Us! I disingenuously asked cheater if he wanted a poly lifestyle while I was in the midst of retaining an attorney and putting duck in a row. I’d already figured out he was cheating but had not yet confronted him. He said, and I quote, “Noooooooo!”

          I don’t know if the “good times” you mention last long. I imagine there were some giggly drinking binges in the beginning of cheater’s affair. But the photos and videos taken by my PI (who’s now a pal I have coffee with from time to time) showed only abject misery. The PI’s investigators kept reporting that cheater and AP “looked like they’d just had a fight” when they appeared in public. Nope. That was just how they were with each other– glum as fuck and functionally, morbidly drunk.

          In a lucid moment, cheater admitted that the entire affair was a return to his dysfunctional family environment where no one told the truth and only communicated their needs via brutal manipulative tactics. That was his comfort zone. Marrying me was out of a lifelong longing for something exotic, different, better. You know, direct communication, expressiveness, honesty, lack of chronic substance dependency, etc. That was all new territory to him. But that takes work.

          A bird’s eye view of the affair (and his family of origin) looked like apes flinging shit at each other and eating it. In a sense I’m glad I was left out of it.

        • Susie Lee–

          Forgot to respond to this: “He just hid it well until the last shmoopie put the marriage screws to him.”

          That “Manchurian Candidate” behavior seems like a “thing” with a certain brand of cheaters. My now totally alienated MIL didn’t draw breath if she wasn’t manipulating. She raised her son with a button panel on his back for anyone who knew the “carrot/stick” code she programmed into him. I imagine a shmoopie putting the screws to cheaters is probably a frequent trigger into the shift to hostile behavior towards betrayed spouses. They’re ciphers.

          I was never very very good at pushing buttons in day to day life– withdrawing love or putting on tears/rages to punish and yank, etc. Remember the old film “French Kiss” with Meg Ryan? I have the corresponding face for the corresponding emotion. Only if the stakes are incredibly high am I capable of serious manipulation. And then look out. I must have latent hacker genes but frankly it’s an exhausting way to live in the long run. I would just rather not.

          • I think in my ex’s case it was his dad that screwed him over emotionally. He was an alcoholic, he died of a massive heart attack when we were young marrieds. I didn’t have much time to get to know him, but he was verbally abusive to my mother in law. I never saw that until after we were married. It worried me, and my ex did say some nasty things to me when we were young, but I talked to him and he did try to do better. At least until the exit affair.

            My guess is he just took his bad actions underground. Until, this one came along, and being she was his subordinate once he dipped it in, he was screwed in more ways than one.

            I remember once asking him, (after I had given up) why are you doing this to us; he hung his head and said; this is just who I am. It was weird, and likely one of the few times I felt almost sorry for him.

            • Susie Lee–

              That “I yam who I yam” thing is such a cop out. People are who they are until consequences catch up with them, then suddenly they manage to show self control.

              Cheater’s entire family was dysfunctional for generations. My own ancestral line was pretty quirky but the generations right before me did so much work to straighten out that I was largely shielded from that legacy. I’ve also known people who came from horrifically destructive families but bootstrapped themselves into great individuals. Those are the people I admire most because they travel greater distances than average to be who they are and there’s also a lot of wisdom in surviving trauma.

              But cheater’s family unreflectively stewed in the sins of their forebears. Plus cheater’s late father developed quasi schizophrenia. He was never drugged for it so didn’t develop violent traits. He just had an unsettling habit of having full conversations with invisible others in the last years of his life. Personally I think schizophrenia is an industrial age immune system disorder that reduces tolerance for oxidative stress and that, in the future, things like stem cell therapy, IVIG, etc., may be the go-to treatments. The genetic immune susceptibility could explain cheater’s bizarre reaction to alcohol and weirdly high fevers and the fact that our middle child developed a chronic primary immune system disorder as a toddler and reacts horribly to synthetic chemicals and food additives.

              At least cheater’s dad was smart and I think my kids inherited all the talent in both sides of the family. Cheater’s mom wasn’t stupid per se but she carefully avoided actual thought which might threaten her house-of-cards construct of reality, denialism and her membership with a new age cult which required members relinquish all analytical capacity in order to swallow the guru bs. She alternated between fluttery innocent antics and brusque officiousness, smiling cut-throat behavior and then hysterical tears if she was confronted with her own aggression. Clinical “vulnerable” narcissist. She couldn’t stand any females her sons dated– couldn’t even bear to hear his childhood friends say nice things about their girlfriends or wives.

              Cheater’s dad was never an asshole to me for some mysterious reason since he was a notorious bully to everyone else. So I was more impressed with cheater’s mom’s horribleness due to sheer exposure. She had married the dad assuming he’d be famous. Typical climber. She put up with verbal abuse until the father’s mental health and career collapsed, at which point she discarded him. You can’t really blame her. She was a verbal abuser in her own right but I think abusers can also be abused. None of them had an excuses for the way they behaved– reasons maybe, but not excuses. Cheater’s mother’s abuse tended to launch verbal attacks on the sexuality and “sexual value” of other women so I would call it a brand of sexual abuse reminiscent of rapey objectification. Oddly there was no cheating or drinking in that family but I’ve always assumed there was at least rampant cheating or worse (raping the maids? Child molestation?) in previous generations.

              In any case, dysfunction is cheater’s comfort zone– people who control through silence, withdrawal of love, inappropriate sexualized behavior, fear-obligation-guilt, pandering and kibbling, lies and crocodile tears, DARVO, elaborate social triangulation and sudden vicious verbal attacks if you look like you’re trying to rebel from the program and established narrative.

              After having a fallout with his Mommy Dearest, cheater developed a secret severe drinking problem and seemed to change overnight. He apparently went down a descending list of available office bimbos to bolster up his fibrillating Oedipal ego, but the only thing he could get was a visibly unhealthy intern half his age with a far more advanced alcohol problem and more sexual experience than either of us combined, plus the requisite daddy problems.

              In any case, she had FOG-ing tactics down. It was like a return home for cheater except I don’t think cheater’s mother was ever quite as tasteless or intellectually null as the AP who unashamedly consumed trash media and either watched films for 12 year olds or 50 Shades of Ick stuff.

              A coworker who blew the whistle on the affair told me the AP was a flaming idiot and a flagrant husband hunter. But you never can tell if people are inherently stupid or if they’re just so psychologically mutated and repressed that they function on the level of Chinese fighting fish– all instinct and competitive tactics and not a lot of emotional intelligence or intellectual curiosity. Apparently she knew she didn’t exactly have shining career prospects so, as the story goes, after failing to get the attention of the golden boy trustfunders at the firm, she began trolling for older married guys with investment portfolios and thicker beer goggles.

              I imagine it had to do with the sexual taste of whoever did the hiring in that firm since all the interns seemed the same– somewhat dumpy and from second rate schools. But what they lacked in professional acumen and basic physical health was apparently made up for by their cutesy ability to suck up to the firm’s drunken old narc overlords. Other firms in the same field often require Ivy League degrees or stellar independent accomplishments to even get in the door. But this firm only required this of male employees. The female interns in this place were like a Smurf reunion. I’ve never seen so many women in one place that talked like giggly gerbils. At one holiday work event, I found myself momentarily trapped in a drunken cluster of them and had to put my wool hat back on to shut out the sound of all that yapping. Even an openly lesbian secondary manager sidled and cooed and giggled and wiggled for men in that place. My jaw was on the floor when I saw this. The collective hair flipping would probably be seen as hazardous in the age of COVID– you know, blowing all those airborne bugs around.

              It never even occurred to me that any guy in his right mind would stray for “that.” I only took note of the gerbily women in that firm out of feminist concerns that the place was probably rife with harassment (that that these chicks supported the #MeToo movement), unequal pay and unequal female representation in leadership.

              I didn’t feel threatened by the bimbo ghetto in his firm because cheater was supposedly critical of those conditions as well and it’s true that it was tough to be picky about employers after the 2008 crash. But I guess that’s the wife material/side chick material disparity. He married someone who’d fought off sexual harassment at every turn and even protected other women from it. He married someone who wouldn’t clean up his pee from around the toilet and made him pick up after himself and equally parent. But the side chick was another breed. She used to follow him around with a dustpan yapping kibbley praise in that chipmunk voice or feigning helpless, hysterical tears if he didn’t, say, skip Christmas with his wife and kids for her. Eventually the screws turned tighter and tighter and she began getting nastier. Scheming and self negating at the same time. Yikes, cheater’s mother minus a few million brain cells. My first feint inkling of an ongoing affair was what a slob cheater had become around the house.

              Water finds its level and so does dysfunctional shit. Dysfunctional people often long for a healthy life and healthy partners as if this were something exotic. But many eventually regress from burnout after trying to adapt to something different than what they grew up with. I think when cheaters attempt to degrade and destroy healthy partners it’s partly a way of “proving” to themselves that they, as dysfunctional people, really have “no choice” but to revert to the worst of what they came from. They want to see integrity fail as proof that integrity is not really possible. Failing, in the eyes of the dysfunctional, is simply showing real emotional vulnerability. In their backgrounds, emotional vulnerability is either faked as a weapon or hidden as a weakness. But in a healthy emotional environment, those capable of being open are the geese with the golden eggs capable of rebuilding their lives and creating new and lasting bonds.

      • ‘ the abnormal suppression of empathy necessary to betray on this level.´

        I need to remember this. Thank you. I need more of these comments to remember that he sucked big time and I’m just flawed like the avg person.

        • Zip– flaws, please. Proof we could all probably be canonized was the list of bizarro accusations of DARVOing cheaters.

          So, uh, Zip, that time you didn’t wash out the trash bin? You fiend lol.

          A lot of betrayed people also obviously end up questioning their own attractiveness. Also crazy. I worked in fashion and had a lot of friends in the biz when living in NY. No one on earth gets cheated on more than models. The problem is the kind of men who typically approach these women. They’re schmuck magnets. Some do end up numb from kibble overdose and get skewed pickers. But the fact remains that normal, nice guys don’t even think they have a chance. The smart girls end up making first moves just to break the negative cycle.

          So why this cultural assumption that cheated on people are somehow particularly unattractive?

          Not saying we the betrayed all have to be Beyonce, but if a sex addicted faker bends over backwards pretending to be good spouse material long enough to marry someone, chances are the target oozes sex with maybe a wholesome “presentable” sauce on top.

          So, flaws, okay. A freckle in the eye, not closing cabinet doors, etc.?

          • Oh absolutely a cop out. That is why I said “almost”

            And absolutely looks have nothing to do with it. I was a very attractive 40 year old woman when we divorced. I had no problem finding an upgrade.

            He affair ed down, as I guess most do, unless it is a really rich guy dangling money, and they still affair down morally usually.

  • That sounds like a sure way to waste decades of your life — no specific time frame. So as long as the cheater can convince you that they’re “working on it,” you should stay with them, giving them all of the benefits of marriage while taking on all of the obligations.

  • Shirley Glass (Surely Jest?) from “Just Friends”. Buried in the chapter TO THE AFFAIR “PARTNER”.

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

    Did she even read her own book? And why did I buy this book? It was actually the most useful and only necessary sentence out of the 3000 infidelity books I bought during my Amazon Chump phase.

    Let me extrapolate.

    Not only is a person with a history of infidelity a poor choice for a life partner, so is a person who screws around with married people.

    The solution as I see it is everybody stay in their own lanes. If the Poor Choices stick with each other and the people with the clean relationship records stick together, maybe we can all go home and get a good nights sleep.

    Like that would ever happen.

    But take heart. Cheaters cheat because, like water, they seek their own level. You just have to remind yourself of that until it sinks in.

    No trust + no safety = game over.

    • “But take heart. Cheaters cheat because, like water, they seek their own level. You just have to remind yourself of that until it sinks in.” <<<— somewhere along the line I've forgotten this. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Love the water metaphor, VH!

        Also this: No trust + no safety = game over.

        That sums it up nicely!

      • But they really think it’s true love. They think this is an isolated incident in both their lives, this has never happened before… They’ve never been in a situation where both people were willing to destroy their families for each other. It’s that intense !!! They feel so whole around each other.
        Someone please make a hole joke.

        • Assholes are the holes I think of. Honestly my ex said that schmoopie felt bad that she broke up our marriage. I said, “oh how sad for her” He said, “she’s so upset” and I said, “don’t say another fucking word about that to my face ever again.” And then I thought-oh shit! He’s blaming her! She feels bad about breaking up the marriage? That’s on him! Classic. Now he’ll hold that against her. He lost his family, our business, most of our friends, money, support, etc and he got the woman who broke up his marriage. How charming. I hope she sleeps well at night knowing my daughter hates her fucking guts and blames her too. Must be shit to be her (and him).

          • A friend of mine who was abandoned for a coworker and left with three kids/ had her Ex’s schmoopie come in her house for the one yearly visit to pick the kids up for a vacation/ And she complained to my friend’s Ex, family pictures were still on the walls and it made her (the OW )
            feel badly.
            The cheating ExH had the nerve to ask my friend to take down any family pictures so the OW wouldn’t have to see them during the one yearly pick ups. These people are from another planet.

  • Along the same lines as the Gottmans’ “Reviving Trust After An Affair”:
    * “Reviving the Titanic After An Iceberg”
    * “Reviving Pompeii After Vesuvius”
    * “Reviving the Patient After An Autopsy”

    Um, no thanks. Very happy I (eventually) decided to leave my marriage to a cheater UNrevived, at the bottom of the ocean/under 20 feet of volcanic ash/embalmed and six feet underground.

  • “I would say more but I must send my longitudinal coordinates to my overseer.”

    Priceless…absolutely priceless….!!! This is why I love this site…sanity in the face of complete mind distortion…

  • A year after divorce long after I had gone no contact and set boundaries to only contact me about kid emergencies XH sent me a text asking if I had read the Gotman’s materials. Nope. Then he texted “if only you would have dealt with your part….”. Fuck you asshole. BLOCK

    He was in year 3 of living with one of the APs. Bet she didn’t know what he was up to! Sicko looking for attention/kibbles/cake.

  • I did read the article by Brandon Leuangpaseuth. (Who marries into that last name!!! I thought I married into a tongue twister with STBXH’s last name, but that is a doozy!) Anyway, on topic, NO ONE mentioned how Brandon’s partner is feeling about the relationship. Does she feel safe or is she sleeping with one eye open for the rest of her life.

    Knew a couple that “reconciled” after she had a 2 year affair. I know he ate a ton of shit sandwiches in the process. I lost contact with them because they were both toxic. What I do know is their 14 year old daughter (who looks 19) can only feel acceptance from members of the opposite sex. Their other daughter is 12 and has paralyzing social anxiety, to the point that she can hardly survive time spent with life-time family friends. This puts the entire family in isolation to protect her from her fears. So, reconciliation led to a lot of dysfunction for the kids. Maybe better off letting the cheater go her own way? Those girls have had a lifetime of front row seats on the crazy train. (They had both kids after her affair, so the girls have only known life after reconciliation.) Congrats at passing the dysfunction onto the next generation.

  • Yes! Same here.

    After putting on this big teary show (crying for himself and the consequences he must have known would follow the confession), he pivotted quickly to telling me about this OW (do you want to see her picture?) and describing where they had fucked in our house. He seemed to be bragging! It’s sick and abusive.

    • Oh, my comment was supposed to be in response to FormerlyKnownAs’s comment left at 4:37pm. *sigh* I need to go to bed.

  • “and then I went and cheated.

    I was puzzled.”

    loved that bit.

    it is possible to commit unforgivable acts. reconciliation is childish.

  • Many cheaters simply love the thrill of deceit, aka “we know something *you* don’t know!” Or, as I think CL once described it, “Duper’s delight.”

    This was certainly true of my ex fucktard.

    He actually *planned* for me to live in his flat with him and his rat faced whore, under the pretence she was the ‘friend’ of both of us, and it would “help with the bills”.

    I’m sure the idea gave both of them thrills and frisson of delight, how delicious to have chumpnomore6 completely in the dark, whilst we fuck each other behind her back, *under the same roof, *
    snigger snigger, chortle.

  • I love you Chump Lady and Chump Nation.
    I wasted one year of my life reading John Gottmann’s books, reading bullshit advice on r/relationships “but HavE yOu CoMMunICaTEd?”, to try and make it work with a deeply selfish, superficial person.
    I think the fact that he is emotionally superficial hurts me so much more than his selfishness.
    The Chump ends up taking a deep dive into self-help, psychology and philosophy… what for?
    I am happy I discovered your blog. I wish I had seen the light sooner (and hadn’t indirectly supported all these charlatans by buying their books) but there is silver lining in knowing that I learned my lesson.

  • Does anyone else have major issues with “meeting their needs” phrases? I was not meeting his needs – not all of them. I am not a touchy person and not comfortable instigating sex- we had it but he instigated – sort of what I thought was no big deal. I was exhausted too- yes that sounds like excuses – but SAHM with six kids-college age to infant in ages – up late at night, up during night, up in morning – and trying to hang on during the most stressful time of my life – baby with chronic condition, job change and lawsuit for my husband (when he happened to meet happy go lucky overly sexual all the time in the world because she’d dump her kids anywhere 20 yrs younger rich daddy’s girl who worked to flirt go to lunch shop and have fun) and I was meeting a lot of other people’s needs leaving mine far behind out of necessity while he was gone a lot. I cooked and cleaned and did laundry and raised the kids and arranged date nights (sorry we didn’t make out or have hot sex in the car after our date nights) and helped with homework and drove to sports and counseled and then listened to him talk and was nice and tried to get along and sometimes got mad when he yelled too much at teenagers because he loves to argue endlessly and make people feel like shit so he can win but still——NEEDS. Are we supposed to just always meet their needs? I didn’t even think about MY needs being met – I just figured it was up to me to make myself happy and meet my own needs. And don’t needs change all the time? Daily weekly yearly? And what if you have no space during certain really really intense years of your life to concentrate on meeting needs of a grown adult? I wasn’t lovey dovey – I am shy and quiet and introverted (but I’m the one with all the good true friends) and so when I see “needs” it makes me feel like shit did I screw up? And he fled to her as he says to feel loved because he didn’t from me. He said she holds my hand and wants to make love to me and thinks I’m awesome (and said things he told me like you deserve to feel loved and if I was your wife I would do this and that and the other and it doesn’t sound like your wife really loves you and just showers him with attention and he told me he could do anything and she’d come running back to him.). I played the pick me dance for two years filled with lies and deception and trickery while I also battled cancer. And kept doing all that kid raising and house keeping and sex like crazy because after all that’s why he cheated – I didn’t meet his “needs”. And he kept cheating. (Although he said he didn’t while I was in treatment (16 rounds of chemo) but waited till the end). I read every book on reconciliation – built my trust up only to be traumatized all over again catching him together with her or in lies saying he never talked to her. He told me he fell in love with her and couldn’t stop but at least he was trying to stay with us. Finally after 6x taking him back I filed. I promised my mom and dad – this was it. My mom showed me cycle of abuse and I thought holy shot I’m one of those women. 27 years of marriage – six kids- 8 miscarriages (he said after last one oh no here we go again she won’t want sex for months) – and his lawsuit and job change and I was just surviving – I was not meeting all his needs. I know I could have done better – deep inside me I feel like I could have done better as a wife and I deserved this – there were times I know I didn’t appreciate him at all – I took him for granted and could have shown him so much more gratitude and love. “Needs” triggers me.

    • He wasn’t meeting my need for communicating his needs.

      That is all horseshit anyways. They cheat because they have a need for the duper’s delight of a secret double life.

      A cheater isn’t a monogamist. They need a third party in the dark for the cheating dynamic to work, a “straight man”. That third party is us.

      Affairs are not relationships; they are games. The only way to win is to walk away and don’t play.


      • I did say after all these years didn’t I deserve 5 mins of a sit down on how you were feeling and he said I didn’t want to ruin a good day and he didn’t want to stop cheating either and was afraid if he told me I’d divorce him and he didn’t want me to do that either. He also said he told me – once at night when he couldn’t get it up he said “I’m losing my spark with you” and asked me if I loved him. I said yes (but wasn’t like of course I do you are the best ever, just said yes) and asked him if he was cheating (it was weird because I had NO idea at the time I asked him almost as a joke) and he said no. I really was fed up with him at that time – and he had been cheating for months and feeling guilty so he was trying to set me up I feel now. And being a distant unavailable jerk.

    • Suzy— you are a Saint! That rat bastard didn’t deserve one minute of you. Sending the biggest hug.

  • I’m going to take a risk and be a devil’s advocate for the Gottman’s.

    **Caveat** It was clear to me that the Gottman Institute website is wading, or swimming, in the RIC waters and my review of their site was by no means comprehensive…

    I read articles on the Gottman Institute site that I agreed with – some marriages should not be saved, particularly if there is abuse, and that it is best to divorce so you can find happiness, and that the chump should hold no responsibility for the infidelity. It’s not the same dreck that many of the RIC (Andrew Marshall) is spouting.

    Crazy, I know, but what if CL asked the Dr. Gottman’s (not the Institute) to address their turn toward RIC and if any have any longitudinal research to back up this shift? If they have a stable of unicorns I think they should be asked to prove it. I am curious if they would be willing to engage, explain and perhaps be educated.

    Please be kind when you redress me!

    • Well I think the stuff being put out by that group provides all the necessary evidence of how they’ve chosen to morph their practice. If your saying “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, there’s some good advice in their archives…” well, that may be true. But it’s hard to see sunshine through a thick cloud of smoke once a good fires been started.

  • The flawed underlying presumption with all of this BS RIC advice is that you’re dealing with two people on comparable emotional/character planes. That, all things being somewhat equal, people can “recover” together. But, the mere fact that one has cheated obviates this presumption because it takes someone with poor character and a bereft emotional landscape to betray their most intimate relationship. So, yea, there’s no common baseline to make any of this work.

    I’ve conveyed this concept to two couples therapists who I know socially and been met with either a blank stare or incredible defensiveness. One said “you don’t have to have this major character flaw to cheat on your spouse…” to which I said “yes, by definition, you do, betrayal is always a major character flaw. We can argue about how major of a flaw it is, but it is without question a major flaw. Our society uses the name ‘Judis’ pejoratively for a reason.” That conversation didn’t end well…and yes, it turns out, that particular person had cheated on her partner at one point. Of course.

    • Great point NotANiceChump. I was on their site for a bit today and clicked on their relationship quiz. Three years a go I would have checked all the “right boxes” because I was totally in the dark. Now I know we certainly were not on the same emotional / character plane.

  • Of course.

    She doesn’t have a major character flaw, she’s a cheater and feels perfectly splendid.

    Awful to think this slag is offering *therapy* to others.

    • Cheaters give themselves permission to stray and I say good riddance to them because we, the spouse that was faithful deserves better and we will find it!

    • Interestingly enough, the cheater therapist and I had a later conversation where she *sort of* admitted she had a major character flaw that resulted in her cheating. She told me that our conversation got her thinking and doing more research and she’s since changed the way she counsels people in infidelity situations and had “looked deeper into her own character to find some answers.” I doubled down and said “well unless your telling your clients that cheating is abuse and a total marriage ended, you’re still enabling one person’s character defect to ruin another person’s life.” So basically, she was willing to take one or two steps toward changing the narrative, but wasn’t willing to go all the way. Which, is what I find pretty common. Disappointing, but common. I told her about CL and suggested she seek a new perspective here. I hope she has!

  • There is no such thing as trust after an affair it’s a deal breaker at least for me!????

  • Omg – I just watched it…

    Jada fed him his own Word Salad! She looks so intense, looking at him… and he looks nauseous and angry at the same time as being ashamed. She’s looking at him like, “Yes, that’s right- eat this bowl of your own vomit on live television. Uh- oh! There’s a little dribbling down your chin… don’t lose a drop.” Trying to catch his eye. Dig it in. Feed his nonsense back to him. She is oooozing with smarmy satisfaction… has a different tone when feeding him words that sound like him, not her.

    Not a healthy relationship by any means but it looks like this interview was revenge. Because he doesn’t get to cheat, then call it an open marriage, be “done with her/toss her a$$ to the curb,” then get mad when she does NOT, in fact, want to kiss his ass and come crawling back. She had a relationship with another person. Openly. Because they were separated. And Will is crushed for himself, that she didn’t dress in sackcloth and cover herself in ashes.

    Sorry, Will- you don’t get credit for keeping your fucking around on the DL.

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