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The Pretzel Logic of the 180

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Jesus-says-meme-generator-no-problemo-i-forgive-you-baby-6f1da4If you’ve spent any time reading the reconciliation literature, you’ll notice a lot of reference to the “180.” She won’t stop seeing her affair partner? “Do the 180!” He still works with his ho-worker? “Do the 180!”

What is this powerful 180?

It was a concept developed by Michelle Weiner-Davis of “Divorce Busters.” The 180 list goes:

1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.
2. No frequent phone calls.
3. Do not point out good points in marriage.
4. Do not follow him/her around the house.
5. Do not encourage talk about the future.
6. Do not ask for help from family members.
7. Do not ask for reassurances.
8. Do not buy gifts.
9. Do not schedule dates together.
10. Do not spy on spouse.
11. Do not say “I Love You”.
12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.
13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.
14. Don’t sit around waiting on your spouse – get busy, do things, go to church, go out with friends, etc.
15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.
16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING.
17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.
18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing
19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.
20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).
21. Never lose your cool.
22. Don’t be overly enthusiastic.
23. Do not argue about how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger).
24. Be patient
25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.
26. Learn to back off, shut up and possibly walk away.
27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil).
28. Be strong and confident.
29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.
31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.
32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.
33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

On the face of it, it seems like something worthwhile — getting on with your life without regard to what the cheater is doing. The 180, they tell us, is for YOU. To make you strong. It’s not to win back your cheater. Oh no, I’m sure you were going to bake those cookies, take up bonsai gardening, and deep clean the carpets for your very own benefit and not to Make the Marriage a Better Place to Be.

I advise some of these very things myself — don’t beg and plead. Don’t try to speak truth to stupid. Take care of yourself.

And yet, most of this advice is patently ridiculous and predicated on remaining a chump. Let’s take some of these point by point.

6. Do not ask for help from family members.

Why not? Why should you keep their secrets? Why shouldn’t you tell the truth and get the support you need? Assuming you can reconcile, shouldn’t repairing the public image be the job of the cheater and not the chump? If ever you needed help from family members, it’s when your spouse runs off with an affair partner, or eats cake at your expense. If you can’t be vulnerable and need of your family’s help, who else is there? (And I realize not everyone has a safe family to lean on.) Put another way, this advice is — “shut up to those closest to you.”

If this advice means don’t implore their family to “make” them stop cheating. Well, yes, we don’t control other people and family members have no greater super powers than you do. Doesn’t mean you have to keep them in the dark about it either, just expect blood to be thicker than water.

12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.

Act? No, how about ACTUALLY getting on with your life. Is this “fake it til you make it” advice? Alas, you can only pretend at getting on with your life? Is this to goad the cheater into doing the pick me dance for you?

When you do self protective things like see a lawyer and separate your finances — you aren’t faking it. You’re truly moving on. As you should, IMO.

13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.

Yeah, nothing like finding out your husband has been rating escorts to make you want to put on some lipstick. WTF? This advice is just denying the reality of the trauma of infidelity. No one feels “cheerful, strong, outgoing, and attractive” after they’ve been intimately humiliated and betrayed. It’s like advising someone whose kid was hit by a drunk driver to be “cheerful” and “attractive.” Are you aware of the magnitude of LOSS this is, Michelle Weiner-Davis? This crap minimizes the abusive nature of cheating. Would you tell that to a victim of domestic abuse? He hit you? Turn that frown upside down! Tell me how infidelity is different. You had to paternity check your kids? You caught an STD? Your twenty-year marriage is a fraud? Be CHEERFUL?

No, you grieve. It takes time. Meanwhile, act in your own best interest and protect yourself immediately. Don’t expect it to be chuckle-fest either. Infidelity hurts like a motherfucker.

15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.

Well, I sort of agree with this. As I said, I don’t think you should speak truth to stupid. But if this is some kind of silent treatment to goad them into taking an interest? — fuck that. I don’t think you should chase, but I don’t think you should be some passive-aggressive Look At Me! How Well I Get On Without You! cyborg fronting a fake life, either.

17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.

You can’t “make” your partner think anything. You don’t control what they think. In the words of En Vogue — “free your mind and the rest will follow.” Just actually get on with your life — don’t pretend for the sake of garnering some cheater’s attention. You change? The rest follows. The important thing here is that you matter. Fuck what the cheater “thinks.”

18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing.

Ugh. Here’s it’s just spelled right out. “Wait to see if spouse notices…” Then they realize perhaps what they’re missing. Who gives a flip? If they valued it, they wouldn’t have gone out and fucked around on it.

Anger is a NORMAL reaction to being fucked over. People KILL over infidelity. It’s about the most dramatic, seismic shock a person can suffer in a relationship. Don’t resort to violence, of course, but it’s crazy to expect that you won’t be mad as hell! A cheater deserves every ounce of your anger and contempt. And IMO a remorseful cheater will stand there and take it. Because they know they deserve it too.

This advice is in the “you can nice them” out of an affair vein. God, so common and so utterly useless, as I’m sure we can all attest. How lovely for the cheater to come home to a cheerful, improved, and quiet you. Perhaps they will meditate on how wonderful you are!

How’s that working for everyone?

19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.

Because that’s why they cheated. You’re not someone they want to be around. Fix that, okay? Be happier in the face of your missing money/STD testing/anxious children/humiliation/divorce fears. Who couldn’t be CONTENT with that? God, nothing makes me feel more content than a husband who doesn’t return my phone calls and tells me later he was sleeping in his car. In Vermont. In January.

But hey, no problem! I’m cool. Stupid lies don’t disrespect me. I can do happy and content in the face of that.

Your dinner’s in the oven, Sweetheart! Across town. In a rental. Next to the air mattress.

20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).

Cheaters are delicate little flowers. This is all very difficult on them, and you really can’t be a bummer right now. Maybe they’ll want to talk later. Or much, much later. Or, well… how about never? Is never good for you?*

(*Line stolen from an awesome cartoon by Bob Mankoff. “Thursday’s out. How’s never? Is never good for you?”)

Once again, this advice is cheater-centric. What they want is the important thing. Don’t bother them until they’re ready. You, whose life has been turned on its ear? You don’t deserve answers. How impertinent of you to even ask! Can’t you see how this is setting us back? BAD chump! Bad!

21. Never lose your cool.

I’m all for being in control of your emotions. Especially around a cheater. I advise to not show them your vulnerable little underbelly. But let’s face it — we all lose our cool when we’ve been cheated on. If you didn’t lose your cool, I’d wonder if you didn’t care. And that would make you the same kind of sociopathic freak they are.

Best way to not lose your cool is to not be around them. Period. Try no contact. It really minimizes the psychodrama.

25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.

This is non-advice advice. It’s like a horoscope. You could really read most anything into this. Listen carefully… and? Take it at face value? Interpret it? Accept the blameshifting? Or listen to them to determine that yes, they really are this selfish and delusional?

Now, I’m confused. The next item, #26 tells chumps to “shut up” and “back off” and YET, here chumps are supposedly to patiently listen to whatever nonsense comes out of their cheating spouse’s pie hole. Don’t argue! Don’t speak to them about your feelings! Don’t ask questions they don’t want to answer! Back off! But DO listen carefully to them.

I believe healthy relationships are based upon respect, reciprocity, and mutuality. None of which I see in this dynamic of What You Say Is Very Important and in return I Will Make My Needs Really Small and Shut Up Now.

28. Be strong and confident.

I believe we covered this at #13, be “cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.” I’m all for strength and confidence, which I believe comes from authenticity and valuing yourself. Not twisting yourself into a human pretzel to “win” the ambivalent attentions of a cheater. 

29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.

Here’s the heartbreaking thing, chumps. Your actions, consistent or otherwise, will not be noticed by your cheater. To a cheater, the pick me dance is a given. Of course you want them. Of course they’re fabulous. Of course you’ll try harder to win them. What gets their attention is no contact. What gets their attention is you getting your shit together to protect yourself from their entitlement. Lawyers, separate finances, the cessation of kibbles. THAT gets their attention — your NON attention. Not your small efforts to be cheerful, not the buffet of shit sandwiches you choke down to appease them. No, those things are assumed. What chaps their ass are consequences and obstacles to their “happiness.” As long as you’re smoothing the road to their happiness, it’s all good. Shut up and keep at it.

30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.

Yeah, there is nothing more “desperate” than a person who has been abandoned. Talk to the chumps here who found out while pregnant, or nursing newborns. Or while deployed overseas. God forbid you were vulnerable. God forbid you relied on this person who pledged their life to yours. Christ, I can smell the stench of neediness on you. Stop that at once.

The message here is “suck it up.” And what makes you think chumps haven’t mastered the art of sucking it up, Michelle? Do you know how fucking MIGHTY we are? Raising children on our own? Fighting wars in foreign lands as our family falls apart? Birthing babies without the love and support of an involved partner?

You want to know who is “needy” and “desperate”? Cheaters. People who traffic in kibbles and need flattery and illicit sexual hijinks to feel whole. People who sell other people out. People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate.

A person trying to hold their life together after it was detonated from someone’s selfishness? That’s raw courage. STFU Michelle.

31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.

Yeah, why would you do that? You don’t matter. Really, I think you’re the selfish one here, chump. Enough about you!

32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

Gah. This one makes my head hurt. So much mindfuckery in one bullet point.

First off, you told us in item #25 to listen carefully to the cheater. Now seven points later, you want us to discard that and not believe any of it? Do you PROOFREAD, Michelle?

You should believe 100% of what you see. Actions tell the real story. Only believe half? That’s like the Richard Pryor line “Who you gonna believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”

Cheaters don’t speak in “absolute negatives” because they are “hurting and scared.” They speak that way out of contempt and disrespect. What you see is what you get. They demonize their spouses to justify their selfishness. This isn’t hurt people hurt people. Cheaters know exactly what they are doing. They don’t fuck people they meet on Craiglist out of fear and hurt — they fuck people out of entitlement. Because it feels good.

Don’t insult our intelligence, Michelle.

33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.

Give up what? Trying to save a marriage alone? No, I think you should give that up. When things make you feel bad and you live in darkness, that’s usually a pretty good sign those things suck and you should give them up.

34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

Yep. Just work harder at saving your marriage alone! You work at that “change” (because you’re the one really at fault here). You change you, and voila! you can’t help but change your cheater. 

They’re going to come around! Be patient! I see a unicorn coming out of the misty fog! Be cheerful! Don’t ask the unicorn any hard questions, it’s feeling very hurt and scared and tired right now. Just shut up and I think the unicorn might notice you! And wouldn’t THAT be special? Unicorn love is the very, very best sort of love and I doubt you’re really deserving of a confused sort of Unicorn love, but work on yourself. Be good, chumps. SMILES.

Consider yourself 180-ed.

This one ran before. But dear God, they still peddle this crap.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I can speak firsthand about the 180. During ex’s affair I paid thousands of dollars to Weiner-Davis’s Divorce Busters in order to work with coach Chuck.

    I will say that Chuck got me to start eating again– in his words, “Eating is winning, and shows that you respect yourself. You can’t expect anyone else to respect you if you don’t respect your own body by taking care of it.” Given that I weighed 95 lb at the time, that advice was useful. Though I don’t think that any of the other things that I did showed any measure of self-respect– how would a self-respecting person decide to stay in a continually unfaithful marriage?

    The other advice was garbage. I wish that I had found Chump Lady sooner.

    • I found ChumpLady only after my divorce. Oh well. At least I found CL. I didn’t get “The 180” advice from this author, but basically the same type of advice from someone else. “Keep Your Marriage” by Nancy Wasson, Ph.D – “Professional Marriage Counselor.” I not only paid for the book but paid for a telephone consultation. Geez! What hogwash, and what an utter waste of time.

      • I was very lucky, I found CL almost straight away, because a good friend downloaded LACGAL for me, and I got on the forums, and read *all* the archives.

        But I did Google cheating just before, a creepazoid called Mort Fertel (what a name 😂) kept sending me emails about how I could save my marriage all by myself, if I would just send him $399 and attend his ‘boot camp’.

        Even then I thought what a pile of shite.

        • Aj

          The reason the MWD site and books are a waste of time and hogwash (& believe me, I should know) –

          is because -INCREDIBLY, they place the SOLE responsibility for “changing the dynamic” on the chump.

          As a former “DB expert” I liked thinking I could affect the outcome by being more independent (making my needs smaller) and “giving the DOCTOR space” so his “confusion” (= an increasingly malignant sense of entitlement plus warped marital revisions justifying a history of selfishness) could clear up.

          It did NOT clear up. There were a few moments of clarity in which he – probably – felt remorse, but that lead to shame and that ALWAYS led to blaming others for HIS behavior.

          (I cannot think of a single time that his remorse did not EVENTUALLY turn outward to blaming the person HE had harmed. And since there were so few times he expressed true remorse, it’s easy for me to recall the path it then took).

          Therefore, the DOCTOR could not change. His remorse and then shame was far too uncomfortable to last, so he could not make real change even if he (briefly) wanted to do so.

          And thus you use MWD (Div B-) manipulation tactics to essentially pick me dance for a spouse that does not deserve it AND these tactics never, EVER hold the cheater (or non cheater but plain shitty spouse) accountable. How is this healthy? How does this create change in THEM? It does not.

          AND thus, It’s a waste of time – b/c it only delays the inevitable. A divorce STILL happens -but only later!! More sunk costs! More pain! More gaslighting! More damage to children and chumps.

          (IF a divorce does not happen, it SHOULD have, because otherwise it’s just more abuse with even more spackling).

          My biggest regret (of MANY)

          is the DECADE of spackling which = ME Helping to gaslight MY own kids. I thought I was holding the family together but my kids saw through the DOCTOR/their dad long before I did. Ugh…

          The cheater does NOT stop cheating (minus the “unicorns”) and does NOT stop abusing and thus, it’s more damage TO the chump AND to the children.

          I often feel like the RIC should be sued. Seriously. They sell books and promote a dangerous belief system that recklessly harms chumps and families.

          It’s criminal.

          • You know what, that all made great sense to me. Unfortunately for me when I went through my divorce we didn’t have all this information and knowledge back then. She cheated on me and I did the pick me dance as I had three daughters and quite a bit invested in the marriage. She didn’t give a fuck about the kids or me. She was very heavily in the affair of. Had I’d known then what I know now I could of used that to my advantage.

            • Same here.

              If I had the info I found out later, I would have pick me danced a lot less. I would have confronted him as soon as I became suspicious.

              I wouldn’t have put up with two years of verbal and emotional abuse, just so he could have a reason to go to his eph buddy.

              In 1988/89 there was no internet to research. There may have been books, but I didn’t know what was going on, so how would I know what to research. I blessedly got dumped at age 40, though I wish he had done it at age 35. But of course he had to spend several years with the whore to make sure he had a soft landing when he dumped me.

              Then he tried to drag me back in, once I accepted it and walked away. Not because he wanted me or the marriage, but because he might still have use of me at some point and he needed to destabilize me.

              Thank god once I got it, I never changed my mind.

              These cheaters are awful, they are destructive and they will destroy you without a qualm.

          • YES ABSOLUTELY! SUED! It’s propaganda. And very harmful. Its a mindset that some people and professionals knowingly manipulate to make money off of. Just like one of those hokey religions where you mail in all your money for magical blessings and holy water samples. One of the greatest cons from. France, finally went to jail for stealing peoples money. Maria Duval. And all the similar people like her. She made money off of peoples hope! Not reality.

    • I was a volunteer “coach” on DB and it’s a source of shame for me that I gave that same advice to so, so many.

      I could say that some of it helped me not go insane at the time. My heartfelt cogent arguments to the DOCTOR about why he SHOULD care about us and our family and marriage, went nowhere. So I took my focus off of him. BUT then, no I should have said “WTF is wrong with you?” and divorced him back then. So much wasted time trying to get him to value us…Ugh…

      To be totally fair however, marriages without cheaters but with big problems CAN be helped by their approach.

      I had a friend who bitched at her husband b/c he was not romantic enough. He did not show her affection and though she gained nearly 100lbs, she refused to eat healthy or exercise. And she wore clothes I’d describe as from the pilgrim era.

      The real problem though, was that she openly criticized & undercut him for years, and it often made people uncomfortable to be around them as a couple, though separately we enjoyed each.

      Yes – ONCE she asked me if I thought she was “rough on him” and I said yes and immediately (weirdly, to be honest) came up with 3 specific examples. She heard me, and seemed deeply affected, but she never changed her approach.

      Eventually he divorced her. NOW she’s working on being kinder & less angry. I often wish she’d tried a 180′ because bitching at a man to make him like you more, does not work. Oh and yes, she’s lost 80lbs and joined a gym.

      Of course, to my knowledge there was no one else in his life. So it might have worked.

      To those whom I may have advised on that site, I APOLOGIZE.

      • Doc, you only know what you know, when you know it.

        It may be that his treatment of her was a part of her weight issues. Maybe not. But, you had no way of knowing a lot of that.

      • You just described me and my life. I wish I had left him for being a lousy husband and father and leaving everything up to me to take care of us. Instead of undercutting and nagging him about it. I wish I had left him at home with the kids to go get some me-time and keep up with my workouts and beauty care. I wish I had got more sleep and wanted more sex with the man I loved, instead of being tired and resentful and protective of myself against his intrusions on my body when there was no real intimacy. Luckily, I found a tribe of people here who don’t judge and who know exactly what it’s like to be married to someone who appears to be a “great guy/gal” who somehow got stuck with a grumpy spouse who “let themselves go.”

      • For 10 years I wondered, fretted over, discussed ad nauseam with my friends: “Why does he behave that way?”
        Then I gave that up and started asking “why do I put up with that?”. My personal growth skyrocketed and counseling became much more productive.

  • OMG, I love you Chump Lady. Hands down, this may be your best commentary in breaking down BS and stupidity of “professionals” giving affair advice. Essentially this is a pick-me handbook that does nothing other than further blame and mind-f the Chump and encourages the entitlement of the cheating spouse. It’s disgusting, thanks for calling her out!

    • Yes, perfect! God forbid that the Cheater has consequences. Let’s make the innocent party ignore all the pain, confusion, abuse and pretend that everything is ok. I did that for 6 months. Party mask on so none of our friends, family or even kids could know what he did. That everything was still perfect. Just ignore the part of me that was dying inside. There is no way that these people have ever been betrayed. They have NO idea. It took 4 d-days but he’s definitely feeling the consequences now.

    • I wonder is Michelle Weiner-Davis is related to AnthonyWeiner. They seem to own the same value systems.

    • One of the symptoms of being cheated on, at least for me, was a pathological need to untangle the skein. It was my brain desperately trying to make sense of an absurd situation, and my autonomic nervous system seeking relief from the adrenaline rush that was telling me I was in danger and to get out of this marriage immediately.

      The Internet was the most accessible, private way I could search for answers and guidance out of this prison of the mind. I switched rapidly from open-ended searches “how to save my marriage” to specific ones like “what to do when your husband tells you he wants an open marriage to explore BDSM.” I cyberstalked the OW and performed forensics on his email accounts and phone bills. I searched for apartments online to bail out to, and jobs in my hometown where I could move in with my parents.

      After the first d-day, I was not picky. Any RIC site that seemed to have a formula for fixing this problem was pored over and integrated into my approach. I “won” that pick-me dance, but definitely not because I put on some lipstick and appeared aloof and entirely without needs. Lol. He had no place else to go.

      By the second d-day, I knew my way around the block, and I had put some stop-gaps in place for the day I deep-down knew was coming. This time I had a postnup in place so my entire life wouldn’t implode. This time, the crazy-making justifications for why he cheated had all been debunked. This time I was a war vet, not an innocent civilian crippled by my naive false sense of security.

      After d-day 2, I still experienced the same OCD-level obsession with appealing to the Internet for some clarity, but I also had a healthier outlook on what I should be looking for. That’s why I spent one evening on my own drinking a bottle of wine and reading Bad Internet Advice and just giggling at the whole absurdity of it all. My favorite ‘a-ha’ moment was when I learned that women who have spouses who want to explore BDSM without them can just hire a dominatrix. You know, to outsource the problem. That way I could give it all an air of professionalism without all the vanilla, kink-shaming I was imposing on him. I laughed and cried in my tipsy solitude over how quickly my mind seized on this gem of an idea as if it were a life-raft. How I immediately googled the price of a dominatrix and calculated how it compared to the cost of our marriage counselor. (Cheaper, and just as effective.).

      I indulged myself with that one night of BIA humor, and then moved onto searches that would guide me on leaving a cheater and gaining a life. That’s how I discovered CL and CN, thank god!

      The

  • If there is one thing I have learned being married to a cheater, it is that you can’t out-scheme them. I did something of the sort listed above–got a lot more independent after the first time I caught him cheating. And he had complained that I was too dependent and needy. Well, the next time he cheated, it was because I didn’t care about him anymore. He whined about how I used to NEED him, and now I’ve changed and didn’t need him at all. So of course, he had to cheat…

    Turns out he was right. I didn’t need him at all.

    But I especially resent the advice about not telling anyone. I’m not keeping the secrets of a cheater. But he sure expected it of me. He raged that I had BETRAYED him by telling others. He couldn’t believe this massive BETRAYAL. He never gave a thought to his betrayal of me.

    • I got all of those excuses all at once. One day he said “I didn’t feel needed”. The next he said I was too “needy”. I was confused and asked him point blank “when do you want to be needed and when do you not want to be needed?”. He said he would have to think on that. The next day he denied that he had ever said he didn’t feel needed. I really wish I had had the foresight to tape our conversations in those immediate months following DDay because I really did wonder if I was the one going crazy. He said all kinds of contradictory stuff. On the other hand, it did keep me from pick me dancing more than I did because I realized that there was no way to win. Whatever I did it was just going to be wrong.

      • They just spew whatever they think might sound good at the time. Means nothing and they forget what they said because again it meant nothing just some horseshit out of their mouth. The problem is chumps listen and try to make sense of or analyze what cheater said and it is so confusing. All very simple. Cheaters are selfish, lying asswipes that really don’t give a hoot about anyone but themselves.

        • Yeah, they don’t remember because it meant nothing, yet when you repeat something they’ve said, they gaslight you and say they never said it. So tell me, how can they be so sure?

        • Yes, reasoning with a cheater is like arguing with a drunk person, in that there will be no lasting resolution to the problem. Worse though, is that the cheater has long term malevolent intentions. My ex is smart, but I’m smarter. I thought I could outsmart him. First, by arguing him out of his entitled thinking, then by getting him to bow to a judge’s ruling. Sure, I beat him all the time in small skirmishes, but the man is a frickin genius at being a slippery, manipulative, no-consequence-accepting, self-serving, amoral, logic-defying, shameless SOB who lies through his lying lie-hole. There is no way, other than in my fantasy life, I could ever beat him on that battlefield. Not without sinking to his depths, and then what is the point? To join him in hell? This is a game/war I was never equipped to play, and “Winning” would have meant abandoning all the things about myself that make me so wonderful. And what would I have “won” from a man so empty and devoid of meaning or even a soul. No one wins in a civil war. In the words of the Jordan Peale movie “Get Out!”

          • “slippery, manipulative, no-consequence-accepting, self-serving, amoral, logic-defying, shameless SOB who lies through his lying lie-hole” is going to be his name in my phone contact list now.
            Love it! 😂😂😂

    • Right – after having your world shattered in a zillion pieces, you’re going to keep it to yourself? How about NOOO. I did one better – I made HIM tell everyone. Didn’t work though actually. His family was a little miffed but forgave him right away. My family – the same. But that wasn’t my story to tell. F that. Ridiculous advice!

    • I got the exact same rage! Don’t believe it. There is nothing you can do that will make them happy. They will twist the narrative to suit themselves. I spoke the truth and told EVERYONE! I was NOT keeping his secret! No way! After he totally gutted me, kneecapped me, and abandoned me before a major organ transplant surgery? Fuck that! Im telling everyone! I did so much work in our relationship to hold everything together, while had 12 hour happy hours! Its pure entitlement. I cant believe what a monster he became. He was such a kind loving man when I met him. For the first two years. Then after I suspected an emotional affair and told him to stop all contact with your “just friend”, he got angry and super passive aggressive with me.It was 2 more years of me investing in him, being lied too and total mind fucking, gaslighting, and projection! I didn’t know there were other Ted Bundys out there. He wasn’t that bad but definitely behaved like a sociopath. I never even saw it coming. I believed in him that much and he was so sweet. Until…. hw got caught. And since he continued to behave like a coward, and not own up to his lies and betrayal/abandonment, I decided to keep speaking the TRUTH! He is NOT getting away with his entitlement and lies with all of our close friends! He is a coward and a complete fraud. God help his next victim! The lovebombing is great, the trips and dinners are great, then once he hooks you, and you get boring, he runs off to his side piece ho worker. and will never tell you for years. Using women in relationships is his coping technique with stress. And Gorilla poop, I see our cheaters are very similar! Ill keep my eye out for your messages as I have learned from you;) Thank you!

  • I hope every current and future chump packs their cheating spouse’s bags and mails it directly to her home. Then tells their Fuckwit to go fetch. They all deserve one another.

  • I read this at the time, and I might have been tempted to try it (get as chumpy as you can!), if it weren’t obviously clear to me that he DEFINITELY didn’t care about my reactions.

    That was a staple in our relationship, he was thoroughly impervious to my influence.
    He extremely rarely asked for my advice or input and there were zero consequences that would come from my behavior towards him. Lack of adaptive anxiety to a T.

    I thought he was stubborn and independent, which he is, but definitely to a point where he is no relationship material, for this and many more reasons.

  • Make your self attractive. I don’t think so, I think its about control, the ow, is more likely to do want the cheater wants. I don’t know but cheaters don’t like reality, ill kids, homework, bills etc. Cheaters aren’t know more excessive amounts of child maintenance are they. There not exactly wonderful parents.
    My ex used to compare myself and his ow.she was a drug using alcoholic who abandoned her kids.
    He said I had self respect and she didn’t, having self respect didn’t get me anywhere with him.
    He’s complaining of having to buy textbooks, you would think you would want to help your childs education wouldn’t you.
    She the ow, wants people to help her, but she won’t help herself.
    Their both fuckwits they deserve each other, ex moved on to another ow, original ow is missing him, missing drugs and alcohol more like.

  • Some of these, I was like – who are they talking to, the cheater or the chump? #32..I’m like…wait – the CHEATER is “hurt and scared?” Seriously? This is the most devastating thing that can ever happen to a person!!! So, we’re supposed to be all happy-go-lucky, like you’re not broken in a million pieces? This may work after you toss his ass out and he doesn’t have to see the day to day devastation he caused but if he’s still in the house? Seriously – you gotta be kidding me!!

  • I read this during false reconciliation and thought it was a life saver—for a about ten days, until I discovered another affair. I think I was hooked by the numbered-task format, which my chumpy brain thought put me in control (“I can DO these discrete things, and thereby save my marriage!”). Except I couldn’t do them, and also they were garbage tasks, as CL explains.

    Now I also think: If you need to accomplish **33** improbable tasks to have a chance at making a relationship work? That’s a shitty relationship, and you’re better off letting it go.

    • I read it during the discard, when I thought I had done something to drive him away. The 180 is all about getting an uncommitted person to re-commit. That’s a non-starter.

  • Nailed it, CL. The 180 is NO CONTACT, and it is, indeed, for you. Does it get the cheater’s attention? Absolutely. But it isn’t for the cheater, and that isn’t the goal. The goal is for you to regain your life, as far away from the cheater as possible.

  • When I googled when I first found out I read that one about being attractive to your spouse that set me off down hill and 100mph

    I could barley muster the energy to shower ( to be honest sometimes didn’t for days ) get out of my PJs or brush my teeth

    Then I seen whore who is 16 years younger , tall, athletic , long blonde hair really pretty

    Yeah no amount of lipstick was going to save that marriage

      • @Zip, exactly! no amount of beauty and goodness will keep you from being cheated on. if you’re with a cheater, they will cheat.

          • Just to name a few celebrities who have been cheated on:

            Jennifer Aniston (by Brad Pitt)
            Sandra Bullock (by Jesse James)
            Sienna Miller (by Jude Law)
            Sophia Bush (by Chad Michael Murray)

            All VERY BEAUTIFUL women, cheated on. No one is immune if you’re with a cheater.

            • Nope it def doesn’t matter. I was cheated on with a cheap and easy toothless skank. And I do not say that out of anger or bitterness… it is what it is

              • I feel the same way Shann, my XH got a downgrade with his last OW. She’s two years older than me and has to wear a pound of makeup and her hair is bleach fake blonde and fried as hell.

              • Yes. The rat faced whore is at least 25 years younger than me, has black teeth, a nose like a proboscis, and wrinkles.

                *But*, the cunt thinks he’s perfect and wonderful, without fault, and tells him so. Whereas I have seen behind the mask, he knows it and hates it. QED.

    • One of my shitty counselors said to me, “Well, maybe if you fix your hair, wear makeup, and wear a dress…” That was his way of trying to make myself more attractive for my cheater. One visit with that guy and I never went back. I should have reported him.

      • My ex cheated on me the first time when I was 30, 120lbs, athletic and gorgeous, with a 40yo short fat woman. He was also 40. I could not wrap my head around it. I picked me danced like crazy to prove I was the more attractive.

        He continued to cheat on me for another 10 years before I found out again in December. I don’t care who it was this time or what she looks like because it’s not me that is the problem.

        • Yep.

          Same here. I was 40 attractive, and she was 35 and, well wasn’t. I could not understand it at all. At least not in the time it was happening. I do now of course. I understand that he is nuts and it had nothing to do with me, and little to do with her. She was just the last one in a long line.

          Luckily I didn’t pick me dance for long. But, still too long.

        • Same here. 8 years into our marriage, I found out a year after the pick-me-dance (that I “won”) that he had remorselessly cheated when we were engaged. That was when I was young beautiful and we were ‘in love.’ All the reasons he had given me for his cheating 8 years later, and it being my fault, were just lies. Lies that I twisted myself into believing so I could somehow prevent the implosion of a life I loved and worked so hard for. The next time he did it, though, I didn’t blame myself, found LACGAL, and cut my losses immediately.

      • My Ex has seen me in my PJ’s , stomach flu , no make up , pulled my hair back while being sick .
        He’d seen me as drunk as drunk could be . He’d seen me with track suits cleaning gutters or weeding the garden .

        He’d seen me dressed full face on going for nights out . He’d seen me at my best and worst .

        But I’d seen the same in him the same . I’d seen him being sick . I’d seen him in shit clothes cleaning gutters . I’d seen him going bald , I’d seen him putting on weight . I’d seen him with the shits , I’d seen him with no money , I’ve seen being sick . I’ve seen him drunk as drunk could be .

        Yet I’ve to put on makeup and a dress to “ WIN “ that fat fucking mess back ? No thanks

        I’m NOT the most attractive woman in the world , I’m NOT the best wife in the world , I’m NOT the best at sex in the world but neither was my Ex ( genders reversed ) but he still cheated and I didn’t .

        • “I’m NOT the most attractive woman in the world , I’m NOT the best wife in the world , I’m NOT the best at sex in the world but neither was my Ex ( genders reversed ) but he still cheated and I didn’t .”

          This is the bottom line, and should be the first thing that the cheater has drummed through their head in any attempt at a recon. Or in any individual therapy the cheater has. Focused on that last sentence.

    • I agree with Alice 100%. A lot of cheaters “affair down”. I don’t mean to be vain when I say this, but I am miles more attractive than the OW. Knowing that she is a young girl who also met me many times before and knew we were married, I was more attractive on the inside and out. Didn’t matter. It was my cheater that was truly flawed.

      • 100% it’s the cheaters who are the ugly ones and lets not kid ourselves here, the OW/OM are always disgusting people. Anyone who wants to ruin a marriage is ugly.

  • No Contact (or Minimal Contact if you have children) is golden. With time and minimal contact, truth lands like a butterfly on my shoulder on a regular basis and denial breaks like a rock thrown at a trick mirror.

    My own “180” was a recent gut realization that I was upset because she got the Nice Guy, but if he was actually the Nice Guy he wouldn’t have cheated. She took out the trash for me. I love it when my thinking does a 180 from insanity to sanity and leads me back to serenity.

    When my daughter was a toddler, many times I had to take something dangerous away from her and boy was she mad. Until I gave her something better. This process is just like that for me.

    Like Chump Lady says, many of the suggestions on the 180 list are great…..for getting away from a dangerous person. And some of the suggestions need to be modified or launched.

    • PS….this column is how I found you, Tracy! I was a desperate Michele Weiner Davis zombie and a Google search of the 180 while in my therapist’s waiting room one day brought me here. Divine intervention, IMHO.

    • PPS….

      A TRUE STORY

      Several years ago we were flying home from a trip to Sedona. We had scheduled our flight for Thanksgiving Day, around 6pm….dinner time.

      I stopped at the grocery store beforehand for some food we could eat on the plane. On my menu of Clever Airplane Food was Ants on a Log….celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.

      When we got to the airport, which was a literal ghost town, with no travelers but us and none of the shops open, the TSA agent took my unopened jar of peanut butter when I went through security. There went a main part of my dinner plans for me and my little girl! Man was I upset.

      When we got to the gate, there was a cafe open. All muffins and bagels and pastries. My daughter was OK with that, but I didn’t want anything they had and I went and sat at one of the tables in the seating area to be righteously pissed off in peace.

      Just after I sat down, a young guy walked by with something on a plate which smelled heavenly and looked delicious. I asked him what it was and if it was on the menu. He said they were steak enchiladas, homemade by the crew for whoever was working that day. He asked me if I wanted some. And no, I didn’t have to pay him.

      Moments later, a beautifully plated order of delicious, hot, homemade steak enchiladas was set in front of me. Free.
      Because I had to surrender the jar of peanut butter.

      This is exactly the situation I am in now with the cheater being removed from my life. It’s hard to trust because it’s such a big deal, but I believe a Higher Power that wants me to have homemade steak enchiladas on a beautiful plate instead of Ants on a Log wants me to have a better life than I would have with a two-faced, two-timing traitor.

      Surrender the cheater. A far better life awaits you.

      • VH… I love the Paradoxes: surrender to win is a favorite! Wish they were featured in the 4th Ed of the BB.
        😘

      • Velvet Hammer!! I LOVE your wise posts…they tell of class and self-respect!! It’s as though God is saying, “no worries, I’ve got your back with something much better!!! ”
        Right there, is a tremendous blessing in itself and one that has been hard for me to learn!! Arriving at MEH, soon!!! Thank you and keep those posts coming ☺️❤️😊

  • This all reminds me that I got banned at Surviving Infidelity when I commented on a thread that the OP was doing herself a grave mistake by staying with her cheating husband.

    • I got banned as well. Ha Ha! Luckily I had found Chump Nation about a week or so after I was on SI, around 2014 I think. Every thing I read over there hurt my head.

    • I got banned too, I made a suggestion to somebody, who would in my opinion benefift immensely doing so, to read on this site. Actually, everbody there would benefit.

      • I have read some of that.

        I almost cry sometimes when I read of (mostly women) who are staying with husbands, who are almost nightly leaving after dinner for a few hours to screw the schmoopie, while the wife sits there waiting for them and waiting for him to get it out of his system. And the excuses they make for the cheater.

  • Ya, I didn’t know about the cheating and why he left for months it was gaslighting and I followed “save your marriage” advice like this. Such BS, when they leave 99% of the time it’s an affair. I wish I had CL in those early days.

  • This advice reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skits, about self affirmations, and can’t we all just be friends. It is patently ridiculous to think you will gain the respect of others by talking to yourself in the mirror. It is also ridiculous to treat someone who is abusing you as a friend.

    I also see some of these techniques being taught in “How to be a good salesman” class, and the “How to make your Customer feel better” class. Pretend you care, pretend you are their friend. Make them see they will be better off if they choose your product. Make them think you really like strangers calling you by your first name, and treating you with total lack of respect. Right. How do you think that will work out for you????

    This type of thinking, that you do things for other people expecting them to love you, is where we go wrong. We cannot control another person’s thought or affection. They might find us useful, but that is not appreciation. Take a shower and put on lipstick for you, so you will smell nice, and feel good, for you. Clean your house, and cook because you don’t want to live in a mess or be hungry. If you are living with someone who does not contribute to the tasks of living, then figure out how to lose that roommate. You do not need someone who sleeps on the couch or watches tv while you do all the household chores. They didn’t get a job for you. People work so they can have money.

    One of my new boundary rules for friendship is that I watch how people act in a group. I see how they treat others. How they speak to others. Do they offer to help, because someone needs it, or because they expect something in return?. Do they say please and thank you? Do they wait their turn? If they do not treat other people this way, then they will not treat you that way. They want something from you. Think about it as going through life on some type of public transit. If they do not get up and offer their seat to someone who is less fortunate than they are, then they only think of themselves. They observe their needs and wants. If there is an elderly person, an injured person, a pregnant person, a parent with a small child standing while an able bodied person has a comfy seat, that may be their entitled right. However, it shows they have no empathy. I don’t want friends with no empathy. I certainly don’t want a lover with no empathy.

    If you help someone, do it from your heart. Don’t do it because you think they will love you. Be wary of those who do it to impress you, and make you think they are splendid, They probably are good at appearing to be splendid, but once they get what they want, others are no longer important. Including you.

    • Actually, I used the mirror for my self affirmations. I wrote things down on pieces of paper and stuck them to my mirror to reminded myself daily that I’m a worthwhile human being. They very, very much helped. Some of the things I posted were: “I DID NOT CAUSE THIS!” “I’m proud of my heart. It’s been played, stabbed, cheated, burned, and broken, but somehow it still works.” “Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” I read those daily, changing some, adding others…, for about 3 years. Finally, I no longer needed them.

      • Amazon, In my opinion, there are different types of cheaters and I don’t think it’s because all of them don’t see their partners worth. Mine admitted to me that he took me for granted. I think it’s because a lot of them don’t see their worth and some ARE delicate little flowers who need to go looking for constant sources of validation. I’ll use the analogy of a drug addict. They will steal from their beloved mom to get their fix – it has nothing to do with how they feel about their mom’s worth – it’s all about them and their needs.
        If there’s an empty soul to be filled by cheaters, their partners worth becomes irrelevant. Some of them have the emotional IQ of an adolescent and they love being in wuv. We all love being in love, but mature people know what that looks like as relationships progress.
        I feel your pain nevertheless.

        • Agree.

          In my case I am convinced my ex was just a hound dog, and was from the get go. He just hid it for so long, he got comfortable.

          His exit romp was likely in the beginning just about sex on the side. That may even be what she offered “NSA”. But, given the situation that she was his employee, it got to be a mess. She had power because of the situation, whether it was ever spoken between them or not. I have often wondered what it felt like for him, who always had the power, to have to deal with the mess he made, and the loss of control of his life.

          Doesn’t make him any better or worse than any other cheater, but while they generally all act the same when caught, their motivations to begin the affairs are varied.

        • I guess there are many ways to be validated. Perhaps, a go batting cage, bowling, jogging or taking a class might work as well. Wow, you’re knocking it out of the park; three strikes in a row! Alta boy; big five bro.

          It’s a choice.

          • Agreed they suck – VERY SELFISH, short sighted, and cruel. I just don’t think it always has to do with how they see us. It’s about the what they are getting from the candy store.

      • You sought comfort for YOURSELF with your affirmations. You did not study, or seek wisdom for other people to like you. That is different from the comedy skit where the person looked in the mirror and said you are beautiful, you are good, others will want you, some will want to be you, or whatever the script was.

        I read books, sought therapy, set goals for myself , did a lot of things to make myself feel better. I did it for me, and for my children. I did not do it to get the cheater to love me again. I finally figured out the only person the cheater loved was himself. I was just very useful to him for awhile. Then the next woman, and the next woman and . . .

        It does not matter what activity you choose, or props you use to help you heal, if they work, and if you are doing it for you. If you are doing it to get someone else to love you, it is a losing proposition.

  • I never read this type of literature, most to the things I was researching was on XH’s personality type. I read things like “Why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft.

    I would get really upset when people would find out XH cheated and their response would be “buy how can that be, you’re so beautiful? you have everything a guy could want.” I just wanted to scream when those types of responses would happen.

    Yea, I’m attractive, I work-out regularly, we had a healthy sex life, I took care of our household while maintaining a full-time career, I’m a great cook, the list goes on and on. THAT SHIT DOESN’T MATTER if your married to a cheater THEY WILL CHEAT!

    I read a lot on this site from female chumps saying their cheaters told them “they let themselves go” to summarize. I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t matter. A cheater will never be satisfied, that’s just who they are.

    Till this day people ask me, “how could you marry him anyway? you were way out of his league.” It’s a rude question. I want to respond to these types of questions with, “you know my soul goes deeper than looks”.

    • Just another blameshift, a way for them to say, “you were out of his league and you married him anyway so you deserve what you get.”

      Unbelievable. But unfortunately all too believable.

      I’ve had people say to me, “But you’re going to soar now, because you’re a strong woman.” I think they mean well, but it’s as if they’re saying what happened to me shouldn’t affect me.

      • @Adelante, ugh I can’t stand the “you’re stronger now for it” speech people give. Should we all screw each other over so we can all be stronger? Sorry that’s not a mentality I want to carry.

        I don’t want to hurt people so they can be stronger in life, that isn’t my mission. XH cheated and threw away what could have been a life-long committed and loving marriage. That’s his loss and life lesson he’s going to have to learn from being selfish.

        • It sucks when they say it…, but it really is the truth. I’m a heck of a lot stronger after having been through the shit show. I don’t appreciate the fact that I HAD to become stronger. Because I didn’t like hearing that, if anybody I know is going through the same type of shit show, I surely will NOT say it to them. That’s an after-the-fact, after-the-healing affirmation. But if a girlfriend (or guy) finds out her spouse is cheating on her and she decides to divorce, I will say, “Believe me. Someday you’ll realize that he did you a favor.” And without a doubt, the dick did me a favor when he essentially forced my hand to divorce his cheating ass. The OW won the turd for sure! And when my son (5 years after DDay) says, “Trust me, Mom. Dad is miserable”, it’s like icing on my cake.

        • To me those things don’t make us stronger. It just reveals our strength. And most of us have a lot of strength. We have used that strength through out our life and marriage. We just didn’t recognize it.

    • “ea, I’m attractive, I work-out regularly, we had a healthy sex life,”

      Oh Alice, that is why his choice of his exit whore hit me so hard. I have always had to battle my weight, and I did it to stay attractive. (but I was always insecure) Then he left me for schmoopie. I won’t describe it again, as evidently on this site you can’t vent about your pain without a lecture. have to be nice to schmoopie.

      But, yeah; when you did your very best all for them, and then you get discarded for, well… I will just leave it there.

      And we married them because we loved them. All of them.

      • ” as evidently on this site you can’t vent about your pain without a lecture. have to be nice to schmoopie.”

        What? Are we on the same site? The one that calls cheaters and their side dishes FuckWits? You are very much free to vent your pain.

        • I know, but when I did, I got a lecture from another poster on what was appropriate to say or not say. But hey I am sure they feel better.

          • That’s awful Susie, I’m so sorry that happened to you here.

            I also got push back from a poster on her telling me that I shouldn’t place blame on OW/OM who are dating married people because I clearly didn’t know my XH was cheating either. That poster made all these assumptions about my marriage and XH’s affairs. I found that posters statements to me hostile and ill-informed. There are definitely a few in CN who still don’t get it.

            • Yep, they have screwed our husband in the dark of night, they have said all sorts of horrible things about us, they have (in my case) come into my home. They have gone to our lake property that I was helping pay for, for their trysts. They have willingly taken assets that they knew were in part the property of the chump, but we can’t call them exactly what they are.

              We are to not blame them because they made no vows to us. Well I made no vows to them either, so I owe them nothing. No respect, no human compassion.

              They are co conspirators at best, lowest forms of life at worst, just like the cheater. Cheating and lying is cheating and lying, doesn’t matter who is doing it. With few exceptions, which usually end quick, people who cheat and lie with a married person are just as culpable in the crime as the married cheater.

              “There are definitely a few in CN who still don’t get it.”

              True, I will just disregard that poster.

              • I hope you weren’t told by anyone here that you can’t blame the AP because the AP wasn’t married to you. Sleeping with someone else’s spouse is definitely adultery, regardless of your own marital status. This has been true for at least a couple of thousand years.

                Obviously there are people with defective moral compasses, and they can buy computers and write crap on the internet same as everyone else, but it doesn’t make them right.

                Now, it is more productive to channel your answer towards your cheating spouse (with whom you need to negotiate separation of assets, and so on) than towards the shmoopie (who you’ll hopefully never have to interact with, ever). Sometimes this sounds like “don’t be angry with shmoopie” when it really should be “don’t let your anger at shmoopie eclipse your anger at your spouse”.

              • IV, no I had not had that reaction in real life. As you say folks saying it on the internet doesn’t make it true.

                I totally agree, that the main focus is the cheater. I actually knew that in real time. In fact the only time he mentioned schmoopiei to me was on Dday, and I made it clear, I wasn’t his mother and I don’t give two rats about schmoopie.

                She really is in the background, but she still is what she is. Just as he is. And they have proven it with their subsequent actions.

                I do get what you are saying though. I read poor chumps who say, oh she messed with his mind, she lured him away. No, he went after what he wanted and he found someone low enough to participate. That is on him in terms of your marriage. The sooner you can get that, the sooner you can get out of infidelity.

                That is why the RIC advice of being patient while they work their way out of the “fog” bullshit makes me hurl.

                All I wanted at the time was to get away, with even a piece of my life intact, and for him to get stuck with his “fog” inducer for life.

              • Fuck that – I’ll hold that OW scumbag responsible. She knew EXACTLY what she was doing. I read the text messages she ENJOYED abusing me. Sick triangulation. Good riddance to them both. She is a hag, too.

            • OW / OM should never have been a part of our marriage – we have every right to anonymously take those horrid selfish fuckwits down by typing a few words they won’t even see. This is not a cheater support group.

              • Yeah the fucking whore who ended up with my husband knew exactly what she was doing and she’s enjoyed every moment. She’s even tried to have me committed to a mental institution- long story. She’s not innocent at all. I blame them both although if it wasn’t her he would have found some other whore. And he did! She was just the latest one.

              • Thank you zip. I know I can get silly crazy. In my case my cheater and schmoopie also years later detonated cheaters relationship with his/our son. She was every bit as much of it as he was. So double whammy.

                My son and daughter told me everything. They needed my advice and someone to vent to. My advice was to get them selves out the the immediate situation, which they did. Then I told them if they can rebuild the relationship down the line they can worry about that later.

                As of now. Son talks to his dad, but no big family events. Daughter in law has not spoken to either of them since the blow up. It has been two years. She still vents to me now and again, because she feels I can understand more than anyone. She is right I can. Mostly I just listen.

                In fact it is why I am here after all these years. Brought all the horror back. Though I knew it would likely happen, I still find myself trying to figure out how he could have been so heartless and stupid, all over again.

                Her I have no trouble believing simply because she never had anything to lose, in the cheating phase she was not married. In the son/family faze she had her grandchildren and kids, she has her family. Him losing his relationship with his son is of no consequence to her.

                So a pox on both of them.

          • Sometimes on this site I do see some chumps “pounce” if they find something offensive. You know what? We all vent and we will take any imperfection the AP may possess and make fun. It’s just a release and not meant to offend anyone but the AP and cheater. Personally I’m a little tired of the easily offended, they just suck the oxygen out of the room.

            • “Personally I’m a little tired of the easily offended, they just suck the oxygen out of the room.”

              Agreed. Not only in these situations but life in general.

              • Yep. Being easily ‘offended’ doesn’t make you right, mostly it makes you an arsehole.

                Schmoopies, or as I prefer to call them, cunt whores, 😂😈, are the scum of the earth, just as bad as the cheating bastard fuckwits.

                Personally I think anyone who defends these pond scum, in any way, is either an OW/OM themselves, is planning to be one, or one whose moral compass is badly skewed in favour of ‘tolerance’. I’ve noticed these sorts of people have little tolerance for differing opinions they don’t like.

                Hugs to you Susie, and fuck all the cheaters and their scumbag whores. ❤️❤️❤️

              • Yeah, not a fan of people who try to take the fun out of gallows humor or foist rules about dishing on APs. Yes cheaters get the lion’s share of blame. But how precious do we have to be about the people who knowingly connived and collaborated in destabilizing children’s lives, mindfucking and raping family funds and contributed to exposing us to STD risks?

            • Personally I find people whose actions purposefully destroy the lives of others offensive. Under these circumstances – judging what betrayed people say about cheaters is ridiculous

              • chumpnomore6 for some reason I can’t reply directly to you.

                But, thank you for your understanding. I agree with you completely.

              • As Zip says, people who purposefully destroy the lives of others are offensive, or as I would describe them, *evil*.

                Belzebub (Satan) is the “father of lies”, is he not?

                Cheaters and their whores live a life of lies.

                We condemn, rightly, those who lie on oath, those who lie in order to gain a business advantage, but so many people think to lie in ‘matters of the heart’ is not as culpable, whereas it’s *worse*.

                There’s a quote that points this out, can’t remember it exactly, but it’s along the lines of “it wasn’t a stranger who stabbed me, but my own familiar friend”.

          • Dear Susie Lee,

            I’ve only had a couple of people get in my face here in the almost three years I’ve been here.

            This is generally a supportive and well-moderated site. If you are feeling attacked please report it to Tracy or Tempest so we can keep it that way. That’s what I’ve done…they are very responsive and they took care of it.

            ❤️

            • Thanks, if it happens again I will. I think I will let her/him stew in their own offense gathering this time.

    • Its all a set up. They set the parameters, which are solid for you, flexible for them. But you don’t know that.

      When we were first together he told me he loved my ‘natural look’ that I didn’t paint my nails, wear a lot of makeup. I dressed neatly but casually; I didn’t have money to buy, or much use for ‘city clothes’. But even in my minimalist grooming choices, I had to be manipulated.

      We lived in a small remote community. I was told to not ‘dress sexily’. (No shorts, sexy dresses, etc.) That I was to be modest and careful how I went around. I clearly remember the night he made this pronunciation. He basically told me to hide in plain sight and not be or do me…that I didn’t want to cause unwanted attention or attraction to myself. And I because I thought that was how it was, and I wanted to make life easier for him, to be a part of the community (I never was), I went along with it, for 17 years. Turns out, the rest of the community was like huh? All the women wore dresses, makeup, did their hair and nails, even if they were staying home. I guess this prohibition was just for me.

      If I did dress up, such as when going on a business trip, he could never just give me compliment. No, instead he would make some kind of derisive comment about me wearing ‘war paint’ or asking who I was dressing up for.

      Later when I discovered he was doing online hookups (among other activities) – the woman he was viewing were so porn-fake! Heavy make up, plastic parts pushed up to their chins as they pose on hooker heels, with pouty faces.

      So, no it wasn’t really about what I wore, or how I presented myself – other than he didn’t want anyone to see ME as attractive AND he wanted an excuse to use on his other women. “She just doesn’t take care of herself …”

      Last winter I was at the airport picking up my son and ran into one of my former neighbors from the community. She said, with some surprise, “You look really good.” Yeah, life without an emotional manipulator has a way of brightening your eyes…..

      • Without a beat I would have told your former neighbor, “Thanks! I feel wonderful! I no longer am dealing with a fuckwit in my life.” In fact, someone called about 1 month ago to my house phone. (It’s still the same number that I had with the fuckwit because I don’t want my name in the phone book.) The man asked if ‘the dick’ was home. I said, “No.” He asked when he might be available. I said, “He doesn’t live here anymore since I divorced him. He wanted another woman in his life and I didn’t.” He said, “Oh. I’m very sorry. That’s too bad.” And then he recommended that I read Psalm 91. I thanked him and hung up. There are good people out there.

        • That’s like when the debt collector came to my house and I told him the whole sordid story! The look on his face was hilarious and I gave him ex asshat’s new address and I said, “good luck getting your money!” And he said, “thanks sounds like I’ll need it.” Haha! It feels good.

  • “6. Do not ask for help from family members.”

    This is the most horrid point.

    This is exactly what in my time of overwhelming grief that my ex told me to do. Don’t tell anyone as I am trying to get my head on straight. So like a good Chump for three weeks, I told no one. Even kept it a secret from his mom who lived next door to us. After all if I was a good chump, I could win him back.

    Thank God I broke at the three week point, and started calling my family. My son already knew, he was in the AF, and I made the ex call him straight away. But, I was instructed to tell no one, so that is what I did.

    And here is a supposed “professional” telling the victim to keep quiet. Enrages me that other chumps are being abused this way.

    • Once XH’s 3rd affair happened & I was through with our marriage, he made it a point to say “don’t go telling everyone our business, you just love to involve everyone” I responded with,

      “I’m sorry, but when people ask why we’re divorcing I’m going to make sure they get the truth. This marriage ending will not be blamed on me. It’s not my fault you can’t live up to your commitments.”

      He was so angry with me. It wasn’t my problem he couldn’t handle the whore title that he earned himself.

        • “you’re the weak one, and you’ll never know love or friendship” great line from HP to Voldemort. Perfect line to say to cheaters too.

    • I did that. Didn’t tell anyone I suspected my XW was cheating on me. Suffered in silence. Worse mistake I made.

      • I think that would quality as my worst mistake too. had I called my family and friends right upon discovery. I likely would have thrown the whole mess into the public eye and at the very least gotten out of that mess even sooner, taking away his opportunity to use me for a little longer.

      • I told all of my friends.

        They were great and think he’s a douchbag.

        Unfortunately when people don’t know they make assumptions. I know my ex went out of his way to tell his people there was no cheating.

        Fortunately for me I don’t give a shit what his people think.

    • That advice encourages emotional abuse victims to protect and enable their abuser, which is reprehensible. And I agree that suffering in silence only makes things worse.

      I exposed the truth about Former Nice Guy to everyone, which not surprisingly was the genuine concern for his minister mother and functioning alcoholic father (image management at all costs; they even covered up for the relative who had sexually abused his children). I wasn’t about to allow him to continue to hide behind his ‘good’ mask and let me be the bad guy, a narrative that his enablist parents have embraced with their other cheating son’s two ex spouses.

    • Fortunately I had a cousin that said, “Tell everybody!!” She must have gone through the same thing and had gotten (and followed) the same shitty advice. So I told everybody. Several people didn’t appreciate it. They thought that I shouldn’t have aired my dirty laundry. And it probably made them uncomfortable because others would ‘know’ that they still keep a lying cheater as a friend. Had I not disclosed the shit show, they could continue to remain ‘ignorant’ in their choice of friends. But that was their problem and not mine. This way you know your true friends and you can get rid of the flying monkeys.

    • No different in my view than a pedophile telling a victim to keep quiet or he’ll kill their dog.

    • Yeah screw that I called everyone and told them the shocking truth. I didn’t care at all. Chumps have to own their narrative. It’s sometimes the only thing I feel I have power over is the truth!

      • Yes. I told everyone too. No way was I going to keep his dirty secrets. In fact, that was the first thing he said to me, in a shocked voice, with a shocked face, “I suppose you’ve told everyone!”

        I said, damn right, fuck head.

        • It was the weirdest thing. About half way through our year of legal separation, my ex took a road trip to TX to visit my dad and one of my brothers. He apologized to them for his treatment of me. I didn’t even know he did it until my brother called after the fact.

          They of course treated him with respect, but dad said he told him, he would pray for him to get his life together, but cautioned him that he could not go back to his former life. My poor dad was so afraid I would take him back, and as dad stated “hurt for the rest of my life” Of course by then it was never an option.

          My brother said it was the damnedest thing he ever saw, but he just kept it on a formal civil level.

          I mean I guess the gesture was ok, but so weird. I wondered what was in his mind, but never asked.

        • Mine said the same thing!!! It was as though he didn’t want them to know who he really was!!! I was so taken aback by that, I just looked at him!!!

      • It took me right at three weeks then I exploded. First call was to my dad, and he was just devastated, but he helped me likely more than anyone. I asked him not to tell my brothers, he said they need to be told. But, he agreed until I told him to do it. It took me a couple more days and I said tell anyone you want.

        Within the hour I had calls from each of my brothers, offering me money, a home, to kill him; whatever I needed. (they all live out of state)

        I didn’t need any of that, but just to hear it provided some relief and a few laughs.

        My sister in law, who wasn’t working at the time came and spent three weeks with me. It was so helpful to be able to come home from work to her. She was always lifting my spirits.

        My ex came by once while she was there to drop off some tickets for a fancy restaurant that he was supposed to take me to pre dday. He said hi to her, couldn’t look her in the eyes, and said “I guess I made a mess”. She said yep, “it’s one for the books”.

  • This is brilliant,
    Chump Lady, you are so eloquent,
    I’m still trying to free myself from the fuckwit, so doing my best to be no contact in the same house….our adult son does it perfectly in the same house, so learning from my son.
    I actually got asked by a cousin, why did do you think he did it?
    I should have said, because he’s an entitled prick,
    she made me feel like it was my fault.
    Your understanding of the BS out there is so gratifying.

    • Chumped, It’s because people don’t get it -because it doesn’t make any sense to healthy people.
      It’s hard for others to imagine that you had a normal marriage and one partner went out and wrecked things. The belief is that people only cheat because they’re desperately unhappy, and they’re desperately unhappy because the marriage sucked, and the marriage sucked because the betrayed partner sucked.
      A lot of people cheat because they have a hole in their soul and that has nothing to do with their spouse.
      Every time I read that people cheat because their needs weren’t being met in the marriage it’s highly triggering.
      Not enough education out there.

      • Yep.

        And in many cases, mine and apparantly CLs the cheating took place through out the whole marriage, yet the Chump is blamed.

        How could I as a pretty 20 year old woman been responsible for my ex cheating wih a WAC after we had only been living together for less than a year. (the first year of our marriage, he was in
        Vietnam.

        I didn’t supply his needs for sex. Please we were humping like bunnies, day and night.

        I didn’t supply his emotional needs. Please I was all over him, I was so much in love.

        I was too fat, too thin, not attractive etc. Please not any of those things.

        I didn’t trust him, please I didn’t even realize at the time he was humping the WAC, because I trusted him.

    • Zip is right Chumped, so many people can’t reason why someone would cheat if their partner was good to them. They have to rationalize that it must be the chumps fault.

      @Zip, it’s triggering for me too to read “needs weren’t met” stuff as well. I get immediate anxiety.

      • Same here. I think because for many of us, it was actually our needs not being met; at least for the last part of the relationship. And as chumps we kept trying to make it better, or be patient because after all most of us were being told it was something else. In my case, it was his new promotion and sooooo much stress at work.

        • “…it was actually our needs not being met”. So. Much. This! I had made my needs so small, and my ex couldn’t even meet those. Pay his share of the bills? Nope. Change a light bulb without being asked? Not a chance. Take me on a date? No way. I’m so glad he’s out of my life!

          • Same. He sat around the house being a sad, grumpy asshole. No fun, no help, no sex and picking fights. Then blaming me. There’s no explaining it.

      • Alice, even the way the articles frame cheater wasn’t ‘happy’ in the relationship. Very triggering for me.
        My cheater told family he wasn’t “happy” – and that’s why 2 marriages got destroyed.
        The implication is that I didn’t make him happy or that the relationship wasn’t what it appeared. I never heard anything about his unhappiness while we were together.
        Then, some family members gave him heck for not speaking about his “unhappiness.”
        The implication being again that I didn’t know what I was doing to MAKE him unhappy so it wasn’t my fault!
        Nobody ever says ‘ grow up and change your own diaper, be a responsible human being and meet your own needs.’
        All of a sudden we are central in their unhappiness and central in their cheating – but we were clearly never central in the marriage

        • Zip,

          “All of a sudden we are central in their unhappiness and central in their cheating – but we were clearly never central in the marriage”

          So much this!

          I remember when XH told me he was unhappy. I obviously would not stand for it and told him, “you’re unhappy with yourself, grow the F up!” He just rolled his eyes at me.

          The last night before I moved out, he told me “I don’t know how to be happy” ugh I wanted to scream because I had told him this all throughout the lawyer meetings when he tried to blame me for his unhappiness and having to cheat. At least he admitted it, but it didn’t feel how I thought it would. Instead it just made me think “no shit sherlock”, I was just so over his manipulative ways. I couldn’t wait for morning to move out.

          Cheaters think that if they are unhappy with their life, that it must be their significant other’s fault. They don’t want to grow up and be responsible for their own feelings, they want to be insecure and basically say “my happiness depends on someone else”. It’s just so unattractive. Cheaters are the most insecure people on the planet. They hide their insecurity by treating others like shit.

          • I’ll just add, sometimes they hide their insecurity by always saying what people want to hear and doing the right thing, – so they come off as Mr. Wonderful ( until the mask comes off and their entitlement shows up ). It’s that old saying, ‘if it looks too good to be true it probably is.’

            • Yes, my Ex-h always acted like Mr. Nice Guy/life of the party/really good at listening dude/everybody’s friend. Yeah lots of surface relationships and hardly any deep true friendships. He just uses people for whatever is convenient at the time. Once Dday discard happened and his mask slipped to show his narc rage, I could see that married howorker was used not just for sex but her superior Excel skills because he had to sort lots of data for a work project. Me setting boundaries as in filing for divorce resulted in him having to do image management bc I didn’t keep his affair secret.

        • “All of a sudden we are central in their unhappiness and central in their cheating – but we were clearly never central in the marriage”

          Absolute TRUTH!

          • Right?

            The last year together I ask my unknown cheater, to go with me to my work Christmas Party. I was really excited because it was my first work Christmas party. Before I worked part time at a school and we didn’t have parties like that.

            He said no, you know I hate that stuff. However, when his rolled around I went and played my part of the good wife. I thought I was of course, I didn’t know at the time that we had “grown apart” and he was humping schmoopie.

            By the way he sat schmoopie at our table that night. She was his direct report and he said she didn’t have a date, so could she sit with us. I said, sure. God I was stupid.

            About two weeks later it all blew up, you can imagine my thoughts when I found out who schmoopie was.

            • Ugg he was high on duper’s delight. My Ex-h never wanted to attend my work events, but of course we would hire a babysitter to attend his work parties. I now can see the idiot for what he is. Like the time he wouldn’t leave his work Christmas party early (it was already 10pm), but I did so I could pick up the kids from the babysitter and pack my bags for when I had to travel the next day to visit my mom on her deathbed 2 states away.🤦‍♀️

              • 😒 Sounds like yours was much like mine.

                Oh, by the way at his party when schmoopie ws sitting at the table, her best friend sat with her. Her friend said, you two are so cute together, if you guys ever got a divorce people would be so shocked. I know that bitch was egging him on. I did notice that night that he appeared ill at ease. I don’t think he expected the best friend to be there. Just our couple friends, me on one side and schmoopie on the other.

                Later when I said that is why her friend said those things that night, he said; no she didn’t know about me and schmoopie. Bull shit. That’s the kind of person he affaired down to. She and her friend were/are two whores in a pod.

                Honestly I was in so much shock, that there are so many things I wish I had said, but of course hindsight.

        • “All of a sudden we are central in their unhappiness and central in their cheating – but we were clearly never central in the marriage”

          Right? By his own admission he cheated on me our entire 20 year marriage, so he clearly never made a commitment to our marriage, but I am responsible for his cheating. Oh he never said you are responsible, (he just said we grew apart) but he found plenty of fault to scream at me about in the last year.

          I wonder who he blamed for his cheating on his schmoppie after they married, or for them having to file bankruptcy. Eh, probably me.

      • What was really weird in my 30-year marriage is that the dick-ex and I were still having sex right up until the end. So many, many people thought we had an ideal marriage because ‘he was so wonderful!’ What they didn’t know is that I was married to a sociopath. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. I mean really, who has sex with their spouse and still have sex on the side with his skank for 15 frickin’ years and hide it so well? Only a sociopath.

        • “What was really weird in my 30-year marriage is that the dick-ex and I were still having sex right up until the end. ”

          Same here, Dday was Christmas day, I caught him on the phone with a woman (early in the am) while we were visiting our son where he was stationed. He wouldn’t tell me who it was, (I didn’t expect who it turned out to be) and I didn’t want to ruin their Christmas, so I kept quiet to them. By then, I wasn’t enjoying it as much as he was being pretty nasty to me, but up to that point, I assumed it was work issues, as that is what he told me when I asked. I guess I was in denial; but still he knew. He was with her for about three years up to that point. Lying to everyone through his teeth.

          My guess is he didn’t want me to know who it was because his hiney was in a sling at work, and he was still trying to keep it from being known, until he could manage the fall out. But, who knows.

    • Here are answers to those who ask “why he did it”:

      1. I like your–“he’s an entitled prick.”
      2. “He has no respect for me, the family or the marriage.”
      3. “He wants a spouse appliance and a side dish for sex.”
      4. “Evidently he didn’t mean his marriage vows.”
      5. “He’s cruel. And a liar.”

  • It’s the pick-me dance, with impression management and a side order of “accept the DARVO” coming out of the Cheater pie hole. It’s manipulations.

    Chumps need a couple of rules:

    1. Understand that you have been grievously wounded and it’s normal to want to “go back” to what life was before D-Day or before the affair and the obvious discard (whether emotional, physical, or geographic) began. But you can’t unknow what you know. There is no “going back.”
    2. Accept that your view of your spouse and your assumptions about the relationship, the past and the future are almost certainly based on lies and deception. Accept that this person lies to you and manipulates you. Accept that this person acts out of self interest, not partnership. Accept that your goal must be saving yourself. That almost certainly means not listening to the cheater’s explanations, excuses and empty promises while you are craving the life before D-Day.
    3. Understand that you cannot go back to a time when you were clueless and spackling. Understand that any attempt to “unknow” what you now know about the cheater’s poor character will make you a prisoner. The only way out is forward and through.
    4.. If there is any chance to save the relationship, it should only come after extended, serious consequences for the infidelity and a long period of living apart from the cheater to get out from under the lying and mindfuckery. You can’t make good decisions if you are operating without a clear vision of the other person. That means getting a very smart and tough-minded therapist experienced with manipulative people, infidelity and trauma. No RIC types, no “the important thing is to save the marriage.”
    5. Before you confront the cheater, run credit checks on both of you. Get copies of all financial documents, from taxes, pay statements, mortgage/rent, bank statements, retirements, investments. Look closely at all expenses. Look for large cash withdrawals or purchases you can’t account for. ‘
    6. Tell the people who love you most what is going on. If anyone argues “save the marriage at all costs,” you’ve learned that this person can’t help you know.
    7. Even if divorce terrifies you, see a lawyer. Even you are cohabiting, see a lawyer. In fact, see the best divorce lawyers you can find. Learn your legal options.
    8. Get a therapist who doesn’t believe that the marriage is more important than you are. The best therapists understand that some people have poor character and character disorders. The best therapist will encourage you to get your mind clear and process your shock and raw emotions away from the cheater. The person who is abusing you can’t heal you.
    9. Get a physical. Test for STDs. Tell your doctor what’s going on. If you aren’t functioning, ask what might help with your worst symptoms, including the inability to sleep.
    10. Don’t self medicate with alcohol, drugs, food, or a new relationship. The pain is intense but it won’t go on forever.
    11. If you leave NOW, you have your best chance of clearing your mind and getting your own life back on track. If it turns out you have the unicorn of a truly remorseful cheater, capable of addressing his character defects and re-committing, you can always (once you have a clear mind and an understanding of how.why to pay attention to red flags) give this person a chance to demonstrate actual change. Remember that change is hard. That’s why you want to turn back the clock. You don’t want things to change. What you need to see is whether someone who is a liar and manipulator and full of self-interest can actually change. You can’t do that while your present and future are tied to this person. You can’t know if a cheater is “changing” or “remorseful” until you are clear-minded enough to look at their behavior.
    12. You don’t need a 180; you need to reset your life and figure out who you are and what kind of life YOU want.
    13. Put your full focus on establishing your own healthy life: taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
    14. If you need to go back to work or change careers, start networking.
    15. Once you are through the worst of the agony, do a thorough look back at your own relationships, starting with your parents and siblings. Look for where the chumpy behavior started. Where did you learn to put yourself last? To overlook lack of kindness, respect, reciprocity? Where did you learn relationships are one-sided? Where did you learn to turn off your instincts? Your sense of self-preservation? Who started the project of eroding your self-worth?
    16. Make a list of things you loved before marriage–whether in childhood, teenage years, or adulthood. What parts of yourself should you recover?
    17. Remember that kids need one adequate parent. They learn from you how to respect, love and protect themselves. Your home is broken NOW. Don’t leave the kids with someone who doesn’t protect the family on both sides.

    • I’m sure this is buried in your list somewhere LAJ, but I think it’s important enough to repeat (or to add to the list): “Understand that the situation you are in does NOT represent any type of failure on your part. You did not fail your partner. You did not fail your children. You did not fail your parents. You did not fail some societal rule or test that castigates those who are in no-win marital situations. You did not fail your god. You did not fail yourself. Despite your best and most sincere efforts, this situation was thrust upon you and you must deal with it — that does not mean that you in some way asked for it or had it coming to you.”

      • UXworld, Thank you. I can’t hear that message enough. When cheater was an amazing spouse prior to cheating – it’s so hard to not think my flaws made space for this to happen. You feel that naturally and then you read it post Dday in the affair lit that pops up in your desperate search for help. I remember reading that I left an opening for the husband poacher to zoom in.
        At the same time cheater told me I had been too worried about our relationship ( I tried to
        have open ongoing communication to make sure we were on track and that all was good ). Once again, it’s like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      • Absolutely. Make it 2 A, the corollary to “cheater isn’t who you thought they were”:

        2A. You didn’t cause the cheating. You can’t control it. And you can’t cure the character defects that allow him to do it.

    • LovedaJackass, that’s the type of stuff I was begging to hear in therapy. It was so hard to come bye. Thank you.
      I also think a manual should be written – what not to say to chumps. Just like people mourning a death don’t want to hear ‘at least it was a quick death’ etc. We don’t want to hear about how strong we are over and over again. We don’t want to hear ‘get on with it’.
      All I really needed to hear was that it wasn’t my fault, it won’t last with OW, they won’t be happy ….. or anything along those lines. Who cares if it’s true or not, that’s all I needed to hear.
      I did like hearing that I will be fine and that he won’t.

  • This is similar advice given by Marriage Helper. I took their course and read stories of people allowing their cheater to come and go and tell them all about the OW. I would see people encourage others to “reframe” the words and actions of the cheater. Some waiting years and years for nothing. Marriage Helper also encouraged you not to tell your family and “poison the well”. Sorry, but I needed my family the most during that time. I was all for trying to reconcile but couldn’t get on board with all that advice.

    • So is the message that we are supposed to hope to be the consolation prize or Plan B? Or hope to be sloppy seconds -ugh- as one person put it to me? How would we ever feel great about our relationship after that? If I were to take my ex back after he left me, wouldn’t that make me look pitiful even to myself? How would he even respect me and how would I respect myself?
      – but I did try for the first month Postdday-

      • I know of another policeman’s wife who went through the same thing as I did, at the same time. They reconciled. I don’t know of course how he treated her, during the affair, or how long it lasted. Maybe he didn’t gut her, but I have wondered through the years how their marriage went after that.

        I didn’t know her well enough to really keep in touch, but I hope it worked well for her. She seemed like a lovely person to me, the few times I was around her.

      • Zip, yep. They encourage you to stay in the home if you can bear it because there is a greater chance for reconciliation. I kicked my cheater out immediately. Yes, I wanted to reconcile, but I was not going to be a doormat and act grateful that he talked to me that day.

      • Yep. You think I could have ever been intimate with my wife after she screwed another man? HELL NO! Disgust overcomes me even imagining that. Why should any of us even want to be with a person that someone else just used at their disposal.

        You should never have to settle as some piece of shit’s backup option. We are no one’s backup plan and I promise there’s people out there who will value you (us) more than the cheating narc did.

  • I think the hardest things for Chumps to accept is that they can’t change the cheater.

    As humans we believe that our behavior has a causal reaction to another person to some degree – be nice to someone, they’ll be nice back… customer service training models are based on this philosophy.

    The root problem with Cheaters is entitlement. You can offer nothing to the Cheater that will replace/reprogram/remove that entitlement. Years of independent therapy by the Cheater might not even do the trick… that is why you hear so often of people who have “recovered” from their addictions (meaning they stopped using)… but when you go deeper to see how many worked the steps and really evolved their whole person in to someone new, the line gets short.

    CL often tells us that when it comes to a Cheater you have very little to work with and my experience proved this out over 11 years of d-days and trying everything under the sun to fix the marriage and infidelity that I didn’t cause, I couldn’t control, and I couldn’t cure.

    The best thing I did was find CN and CL… get straight on the realities of the NPD I was married to… start to put myself and my son first… and get on with a cheater-free life. I’m six years out, I’m at Meh… it didn’t take a 180 course… it took putting down the hopium pipe, putting my energy in to healing me (and my son), and building a new life without Mr. Sparkles and his shitshow caravan.

    • Yep, can’t change them, or the situation.

      I kept thinking, if I could just touch his heart; he would have a revelation and life would be good again. No, they have spent months sometimes years pulling away, devaluing. They are usually hardened by the time Chump is let in on the secret.

      • 😑 I too fell for this. I was lead to believe I had a unicorn 🦄 by the RIC therapist and the cheater. So I forged ahead. I totally ignored my screaming body. DDay2 came after the birth of child1. He contacted her separately from all the others with a private birth announcement. SHE. ANSWERED. HIS. EMAIL! He claims he didn’t hide it. WTF! I’m postpartum just a few days.

        We went back to same therapist. I tried tap therapy. I can’t shake the double betrayal feeling since it was the same AP. He went on antidepressants. I got lectured by RIC about depression. I’m well versed on medical information and he suddenly had ED. The guy who wanted sex constantly suddenly stopped wanting it at all. We were trying to have child 2 on fertility and he was complaining about having sex every other day. REALLY! Blamed it on his pills and stopped them without consulting his doctor. He still had difficulty with his plumbing. I suggested he see a urologist. The clock was ticking and the fertility window was extremely narrow. The costs for each attempt were huge. We were on the third cycle already for the child 2.

        After I finally became pregnant and the morning sickness arrived, guess who wanted to have sex constantly? Him. I refused. I felt no need to be further devalued by him. He was already emotionally abusing me and child 1. We went to a different RIC after life was less hectic and got more shit sandwich buffets. I filed. I’m not divorced 6 years later as he’s dragging it out as the pain Olympics. DARVO anyone?

  • Ugh, I read all that crap.

    The silver lining is that it sets you on the right course to No Contact. Wrong reasons, but right direction.

    The horror is that you feel like a failure when you can’t act friendly and happy. Nothing like being shamed for having the real and legitimate emotions of anger and sadness. I also got advice like this from stbx’s ex-stepmom (had been the OW and then was cheated on). That stuff all messed up my head so bad.

    I hate the RIC.

    Chump Lady – you truly are a lifesaver. You are a voice in the darkness.

    • There is nothing wrong with anger. It has a place and a use. I now think of it as the psychological equivalent of pain, but for a mental wound rather than a physical one: it warns you to be careful, that you’ve been damaged and need to watch for further damage from the same source.

      • I skimmed through some of the RIC crap on a few desperate occasions, but I couldn’t bring myself to do any of their recommendations.

        My XH also presented a list of things he required of me in order to save the marriage. Although I didn’t *know* he was cheating (because he had done such a thorough job of gaslighting me), I still refused to do what he asked. We had been married for 17 years, and he expected me to prove that I was worthy of his condescending half-presence.

        I’m not saying I wasn’t desperate to save our marriage, but I knew that it would never happen by adhering to some masochistic checklist. Besides, that wasn’t the marriage I wanted. Instead, I called him out on his sociopathic behavior and refused to let him walk back into my life as if he had done nothing wrong. I wanted truth and real contrition. Apparently, sociopaths are incapable of such things.

        So I blocked his number, packed up my minivan, and moved 2500 miles away on a PTSD-driven journey. It spun him into a narcissistic rage that almost destroyed me financially. But it forced “No Contact,” which has been my savior (because contact with poison is dangerous).

        I did a lot of crazy things in response to the nightmare my XH trapped me in, but I didn’t play games in the RIC tradition. Now I’m much healthier mentally, and I can be proud that I didn’t disrespect myself.

        Thanks Chump Lady for challenging the RIC and their snake oil cures. They’re not saving marriages; they’re promoting personality disorders.

  • This whole 180 thing sounds like it was written by a cheater. “Deceive and manipulate to get what you want”, it advises.

    I know some of it sounds plausible. A broken clock is right twice a day, too. Making some pieces of the bullshit pie seem plausible is the foundation of every cult, pyramid scheme, sales job, and magic trick. It’s all deception and manipulation.

    Don’t become what you abhor. Go get a new clock and make a new life that doesn’t require you to mimic an asshat in order to live with one. YOLO. Don’t live it like that, says me.

      • You know, that is true.

        I have listened to the Samuel Affair Recovery crap. Lordy, those folks are entitled. “Be patient with your cheater, while he mourns schmoopie” Vomit.

  • This list would be helpful for a spouse trying to maintain his or her composure and dignity while suffering the hell that is in-house separation… NOT to prevent divorce.

  • Tracy, you hit the ball out of the park with this blog post! It brought me right back to the hell of false reconciliation in early 2015. I tried all of these 180 rules but it didn’t work! XH just kept right on cheating and lying and abusing me.

    Then I found you through a chump-man I met in AA who had his Dday the day before mine – Christmas 2014.
    Your blog saved my LIFE. I cannot thank you enough.

    I went NC, filed, got an amazing award of 82% of all assets and full custody after a hellish trial. In a community property state nonetheless!

    XH is still living with one of the APs but trolling for his next victims on Bumble where he claims he is single. Sick fucker.

    Thank God I listened to your advice and that of the others here and got away! Built a wonderful cheater-free life. 😘😘😘😘😘

  • PPPS…

    “Anger is a NORMAL reaction to being fucked over. People KILL over infidelity. It’s about the most dramatic, seismic shock a person can suffer in a relationship.”

    Thanks again Chump Lady for this VERY important reminder and public service announcement.

    I said this very thing recently on the Facebook group and someone came after me, telling me that “cheating doesn’t cause murder”.

    It’s been an essential part of my recovery from infidelity to get help SAFELY expressing the rage that goes along with being cheated on.

    ❤️

    • People absolutely have killed over infidelity. How can anyone say that doesn’t happen?

      Also, infidelity is one of the most painful things a person can experience in life next to losing a child. Many people will not understand that pain until they’ve been through it themselves. I actually envy people who live and get out of this life without ever having to experience pain by infidelity.

    • HAVE they read any religious information? Bible, Old Testament
      Quran
      Do I need to keep going?
      How about history books?

  • People absolutely have killed over infidelity. How can anyone say that doesn’t happen?

    Two words : Betty Broderick

  • Yep. There are books and plays galore written about actual events going back through time. Anyone remember the lady that went to prison for killing her lawyer husband and new schmoopie. There is no excuse for what she did, however; I think it is possible they drove her mad. He was screwing her out of money, and had discarded her and was parading his whore around proudly.

    Passion killings happen on a regular basis in the military. Sometimes the wife or husband does the killing, sometimes schmmoopie/or male version of schmoopie.

    Most of us won’t resort to that, but enough do to make it a thing.

  • When I first started reading this article I was upset because I thought that I was supposed to do those things. I was so glad to read your take on it because I’m so tired of putting up with the bs.

  • Gah! I did this for 3 years – the last 2 at Olympic levels! And what did it get me? A ramped up response from XAss of disrespect and disdain.

    Nope it wasn’t until I actually had left him that I kinda, finally, maybe got a tiny bit of “oh, there is a problem? ….but if there is, its all your fault.”

    No when I walked out, walked away, and dropped his shit on the side of the road, that’s when things started to get better for me. And I’ve never looked back since.

  • How do we wipe this bullshit off the internet?!

    I think every Chump on their first D-Day falls into this trap. I sure did, and spent 5 years thinking if I religiously stuck to it, it would work. 5 years into an epic pick me dance, he picked the OW, left me and filed for divorce. I didn’t feel any more mighty having followed these ridiculous steps. I felt like a giant chump.

    It wasn’t until I found this site (which should be the FIRST place people land on their D-Day), that I started recognizing the abuse and disordered behavior for what it was — not my problem and not my fault.

    A year after my husband (yes, HUSBAND) filed (for the third time), I am in a healthier place than I’ve been in years, thanks to confidence gained from this site, the book and a great therapist. I recognize now that even his filing(s) and moving out were acts of abuse and manipulation. As well as his delaying of the divorce that I had to move forward with, despite him filing (he dropped his lawyer after filing…).

    Darling Husband frequently comments on the change he’s seen in me. I’m sure he still thinks I’m pick me dancing, when in reality I’m trying to dance 180 in the opposite direction.

  • Face Plant.

    I not only read all of MWD’s advice books, but I printed out the 180 steps and kept a copy taped into my medicine cabinet, and under my blotter at work for frequent daily (!!!) reference. The basic message of Make Your Needs Smaller was so easy for this chump to follow. At the time, full of anguish, after D-day in 2006, this was the only advice out there. Besides the whole “My Husbands Affair was the best thing that ever happened to me” book, seminars and thousands of dollars price tags. I went to three different therapists to try to lessen my feelings, and it didn’t help because they were also RIC-oriented and recommended the MWD books. Argh!! Doing this temporarily gave me a little sense of control, a feeling of “at least I’m doing something” and set my recovery from cheating back YEARS!!!

    Fortunately after a couple reconciliations, lots more cheating, and lots of pain, I found CL in 2012. Got divorced in less than a year. All I can say is that it is easier to forgive and forget now, divorce papers filed, than it ever was before.

    Burning all my Amazon RIC books.

    • Oh Meg – hugs-
      My first therapist gave me an RIC book to read. I don’t even know why he gave me this book because my cheater discarded me. However I remember in this book, there was a clear message that I as the chump would have more success moving forward with my cheater ( in terms of trusting my partner ) than I would with a new person.
      So I would be more trusting with the person who stabbed me in the back rather than with a new person who has given me no reason to mistrust him.
      The thinking was that, if I do the work with my cheater and he wants to stay, he probably won’t cheat again. But if I start a new relationship I will always have trust issues.
      I remember explaining this logic to a girlfriend as she was just looking at me strangely. I really believed this shit and tried really hard to get him back. I mean what kind of twisted logic is that?

    • Make Your Needs Smaller—I hear that. MC said to me after D-Day 1, Suck it up.

      How small is small enough?

      What I know now: at the first sign, get out. Don’t explain. Get out because it will not heal, one can not heal, until one is out.

  • Christians are the ones who are told to eat shit the most. Gah. I cringe at the first few months post D-Day and when my ex wife was still in the affair, separated from me, and then denying reality. My in-laws (who sided with me) were so naive, so into the RIC horseshit and victim blaming crap peddled to betrayed Christian spouses. The books I was given, my God, the books. Throw them in the trash. Those books are weaponized garbage to keep you paralyzed.

    I’ll give myself some grace because pick-me dancing, continuing to fund her BS for three months while she was in the full-blown affair, for three months isn’t really as bad compared to others. It took one more time of me seeing her lies and deceit, discovering Chump Lady, filing for divorce, and going ‘no contact’ to get my life rolling.

    But Christian spouses are told to eat a shit sandwich by so many.

    • I can really relate to this. My in-laws as well as one of my own family members told me our marriage could be saved if we drew closer to God, etc. I was also fed the whole, “women who stay with cheating men are the strongest women in the world” bullsh*t.

      It’s very hard to leave a marriage when people are telling you it depends on how strong your faith in God is that it can be saved. The truth is, my faith in God had nothing to do with XH’s infidelity and I’m still upset that so many used my faith as a reason to stay with XH and forgive.

      • There’s a reason infidelity is given as an out for divorce.

        Want to know some incredibly cruel gaslighting by my ex wife? I was told I wasn’t a strong enough spiritual leader. I did men’s groups, tried to read more Christian books, tried to be disciplined about going to church (I was the one who took our kids to church post separation every week til COVID. She never went). Keep in mind, while she was putting me down. She failed to mention she had an affair years before that she apparently stayed in contact with. And the second AP which she blew our family up over, is an atheist pothead. LOL

        That’s right. Her devoted husband and the father of her children wasn’t being a strong enough spiritual leader but the bar must have been much lower for the atheist AP. Unreal. What a fraud.

        • OH MY GOSH! Your name is correct. She 100% sucks as a human! What a terrible mom! What a terrible wife!

          Ugh. The hypocrisy is real. Sorry you and your kids had to live through that. It really messes you up. Oddly, the kids see through it rather quickly.

        • Wow, I can’t believe she manipulated you like that! She sounds like a very evil woman. I’d have loved for my XH to put that much effort into going to church. We went all the time throughout our marriage but once he started cheating he wanted nothing to do with it.

          • My cheater sat with me in church about 3 weeks before it all hit the fan. It was so weird it was unbelievable. The sermon that week was about marriage. I remember one line the preacher used something like “all of a sudden that secretary looks pretty good” I sat there in my ignorance.

            Also, that was the same week he had invited his schmoopie and her younger son to church. I remember seeing the young boy (about 12 or so) walk down the isle. My ex said, oh that is schmoopies son, I invited them to church. I said oh ok.

            After church she approached him about some situation going on at work, I can’t remember now what was happening, but she seemed fearful that she would get it trouble. He said something. And here is the freaking kicker. I said: “don’t worry it will work out” I rememberd that incident when I found out about her. What I remember is when I said “don’t worry…” she never once looked at me, her eyes were dead on my husband.

            God I am stupid.

            When I broke a few weeks later and told people, I called the preachers wife and told her what was going on. The preacher was livid when he found out he was being lied to, so I am not sure what my ex told him, but the preacher told me he had no idea. I don’t think he did. The preacher was the PD chaplain, so who knows how many lies he was told.

        • I know Susie, it’s terrible. It goes against what the bible says. I didn’t want my in-laws to abandon him, but to tell him what he did was wrong and to work on our marriage. They just looked the other way, broke my heart.

    • Christian spouses should read their own religious books! You don’t need any other books but the Bible to figure out what to do. Out of Ten Commandments, two are against adultery. The story about Jesus who saved an adulterous woman from stoning is very clear on when to forgive. The woman was deeply remorseful, washed his feet with her own tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus forgave her but told her ‘sin no more’. (We also don’t Christian know whether she reconciled with her husband, only that she was forgiven by Jesus). Wedding vows are to love, cherish and forsake all others.

      This is what I know as an atheist. I know there’re many more passages where it is clearly stated that adultery is wrong, wrong, wrong, and pasdages on forgiveness, remorse and not repeating offensive behaviour.

      Read your own original religious books, they’re quite clever and more complex than you’re often led to believe.

      • Thank you for writing all this, these are things I need to remind myself of when I get hard on myself about forgiving him twice for the first two affairs. I really wanted to be a good wife, christian, and person by trying the route of forgiveness before I gave up and went to divorce.

        I know when I die, I can look Jesus in the eyes (probably with tears) and say “I really tried”. My XH cannot do the same. I fought hard to save my marriage, but throwing in the towel after the 3rd affair I thought was fair because I didn’t have to stay with someone who would just keep repeating adultery.

  • Was it Andy Warhol who said that you can’t make people change if they don’t want to and you can’t stop them from changing if they do? Not that Warhol was a role model (not with the creepy company he sometimes kept) but it’s a good point.

    You could do the reverse of everything on the RIC lists and not be able to shake loose a betrayer determined to make amends. Extrapolating from another kind of betrayal I experienced, I think they’d keep making amends long after the ink on the divorce papers was dry and beyond if they were so prone.

    After being sexually badgered (harassment by any other name) by someone I worked with, I told off the offender in no uncertain terms, quit the company and went NC. Five years later I was still hearing from people how this guy had turned himself into a frantic defender of women’s rights. He kept trying to send apologies to me through emissaries. A mutual acquaintance said it was fun making OJ jokes to this guy because he’d go red in the face, fall apart and start sputtering feminist rhetoric. He was actually traumatized by being forced to look in the mirror.

    Years later when a famous rocker was exposed for emotionally abusing women, Mr. Remorse quit working with the singer and turned his back which reportedly contributed to the rocker’s display of public groveling . Mr. Remorse then went to work with some kickass feminist women artists.

    But my attitude didn’t change. I just thought he seemed to be doing very well for himself playing male feminist, aka “faux-minist.” Meanwhile I’d been on a rocky road career-wise and had dealt with more harassment. I could not forgive what he had done.

    Finally he managed to corner me in a cafe that I went to alone to write. He apologized again. Though I did note that his remorse was a rare thing in this kind of circumstance and had a faint sense of justice, I said very little. He offered me his number which I promptly lost.

    I figure that my lack of forgiveness was a public service.

    Was he a unicorn among harassers? Dunno. Unicorns are tempting to believe in because they’re ALMOST seem real. Just a horse with a horn. Let him glue one on and spend the rest of his life tripping over himself to make up for what he did. Other people might benefit.

    • Oh, the male feminist types! Haha. They could not be any more obvious of what they’re trying to hide.

      • Well, let them do such a thorough job of trying to hide it that no one is ever again subjected to their true identities. Win-win.

  • I had one guy who was given my info from someone at church to talk to me because he apparently went through the same thing. While he said some useful stuff, this guy’s wife had four affairs in 11 years. FOUR! The fourth one she left. He stayed because he wanted to keep his family intact out of instinct and for some of the crap advice given to him by people in the church.

    I remember thinking to myself while listening to his story, “Wow! My ex would never get the chance to have a third or fourth AP because I’d have too much self respect.”

  • When I finally did tell the cheater that if he wasn’t happy then lets split and let us BOTH move on he was not pleased. But it wasn’t for the reasons I thought it was. He wasn’t sure which option was best for him yet. Loyalty or a wake up call had nothing to do with his alarm. A parasite wants the best host.

    You can do a 180, a 90, or a 45 but at heart they are selfish POS’s

    • Exactly.

      My cheater tried several time to have the “lets try again” talk. I knew he didn’t want me back, he needed to destabilize me, just in case I could be of further use. The last time he called was about 1.5 months before he married schmoopie. I said “no thanks, you stayed at the fair too long”. One of only a handful of zingers I got to use on him.

  • The videos and BS put out by “Affair Recovery” (I think it’s the Rick Reynolds thing) is disgusting. The Samuel guy who does a lot of the videos was a cheater and then he spews a bunch of babbling BS. I think what they do is dishonest BS and robs people of a life. I also don’t want to hear from a cheater…EVER! Let’s talk to the betrayed spouse. I don’t want to hear the crap from the cheater who made it a point to be dishonest and betray their most trusted ally.

    • “I don’t want to hear the crap from the cheater who made it a point to be dishonest and betray their most trusted ally.”

      I’ll drink to that, Cheers!

  • Agreed. I listened to a lot of those, and wow. Maddening. I am so glad I was not aware of them when I was in hell. I do however wish I had someone like CL.

    They set it up that way because they can extract money from desperate chumps (mostly women) Cheaters certainly are not going to pay thousands of dollars to be told they are the problem, and they need to change.

    Oh I know they give lip service to the cheaters issues, but the focus is the Chump must keep eating shit sandwiches, until the cheater is “healed”.

    Bullshit on that.

  • I feel fortunate that on the worst day of my life (D-Day), the Google gods directed me to Chump Lady, so I didn’t have to waste time on this nonsense.

  • I had no problem obeying rule #11 on the 180 list: Don’t say “I love you.” Nope, I was too busy thinking I hate your lying, cheating a$$. But, Michelle Weiner-Davis sure missed some steps that I am betting most of us did. Since they are negative it would go in descending order.

    0. Do try to occasionally haul yourself out of bed.
    -1. Make an effort to shower (extra points for brushing your teeth).
    -2. Don’t walk around like a zombie.
    -3. Try to keep your ugly crying to only one hours jags.

    Truly baffled that how anyone is supposed to pull off being cheerful during infidelity, discard, gas lighting, and blame shifting!

    • More for the list:

      -4. Eat SOMETHING (even if a gallon of ice cream is all you can manage).
      -5. Make sure that things like caring for the kids, critters, paying bills, taxes, etc. are accomplished, whenever you do manage to get out of bed (cleaning the house is optional).

      And then overachiever Michelle Weiner-Davis thinks I have 33 MORE things to do? Good luck!

      • 6. Lean on others for support. Cherish those who will let you repeat the same damn story over and over, acting interested and supportive each time. The people who will sit with you in your grief are true friends.

        • All of the above. Printing them out to put in my ongoing journal, to reread when I need it. And #6! That is truly one of the best pieces of advice ever. Find one person who has been through what you are going through. I had one friend that I spoke to almost daily and it saved my sanity. This is the true service that Chump Nation offers. We listen! We have been there! We don’t get tired of hearing the story. You (all chumps) matter, and your story matters.

          • Yes to all. Sneak away and cry in the bath with the water running so your kids can’t hear you.
            Write down all the good things in your life so you don’t feel like it’s over.
            Learn how to recover from anxiety attacks when triggered by the thousand things that you see and hear now that remind you of the lie you’ve been living.

            Tracy we need to write our own list!!!

    • Yeah, unless you’ve went through it, you don’t know it. Anyone trying to give you advice that hasn’t went through it, is speaking out of their butt.

      Can’t tell you how many people who were my circle that either grew tired of it, placed some blame on me, or somehow made the moment about them, “I was hurt because you didn’t call me during this” Oh, I’m sorry. I just experienced trauma and my life was falling apart. Let’s make this about you.

      Lol.

      I still had to provide, produce at work, be a dad, figure out finances, lawyers, a new place to live all while enduring the worst shit I’ve dealt with. Chumps are the epitome of perseverance.

      • I will always say to anyone making comments about adultery just being a personal issue, or both are to blame. “Unless you have sat in your dining room all night, then in the early morning hours watched your spouse come home from spending the night with his/her lover, as he/she walks in and just walks right past you sitting at the table in shock, you probably shouldn’t voice an opinion on the effects of infidelity”.

        That night is ingrained in my head. Chumps who survive and are able to build any kind of stable like after that, are amazing.

  • Love these “ran before” posts!
    I’ve been with Chump Nation about 5-6 years now and I somehow missed this most remarkable of posts.
    It must have been before I discovered our most vaunted leader – and yes, thank the heavens above for our incredible and lovely Tracy!
    This article is a keeper – going right into my Chump Lady folder in Bublup!

  • Michelle Weiner-Davis: fuck her advice. For real. I read her book in the 2 days following DD#1. I was pregnant, super Chumpy and desperate to do anything to save my marriage. Her “advice” caused me months and months of unnecessary pain. Finally I found an amazing therapist that diagnosed me with PTSD after suffering from betrayal trauma.
    Thanks you, CL, for dismantling this bullshit. Thank you for helping to change the narrative about cheating.

    • One of the things I have learned on here is how prevalent men betraying pregnant wives are.

      Honestly, I would have never thought it happened so much. It is hard to accept it at any time, but how can these low life’s do this to their pregnant wife, (new mother).

      I hope you are on your way to a much better life.

      Truth is, likely mine did too. In fact I can pretty much assure it. I was only a few days pregnant when he went to Vietnam. Pretty sure he got what he could there. Even if he had to pay for it. So him being with me wouldn’t have stopped it.

  • I know this is an oldie but a goodie but it’s also one that I typically chime in about. If there are any Newbie chumps here either yesterday, today or reading the archives tomorrow: Listen to CL. Do NOT listen to ANYone else that tells you to “Do the 180 on your cheaters ass.” This is class A reverse manipulative bullshit.

    When a rep from the RIC tells you this, it’s bad enough but when another chump tells you to do it, it’s about 1000X more egregious. This phenomenon occurs often times on RIC sites and once upon a time when CL had forums, even this site. Like I said, it’s class-A, reverse manipulative bullshit. That’s all the 180 is. A way to reverse manipulate a cheater into loving you again which is totally delusional. For one, cheaters don’t love anyone but themselves and most importantly, you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. You can’t nice someone out of an affair any more than your behavior causes an affair.

    So beware and run away from anyone dispensing the advice to “do the 180.” It’s crap pure and simple. It’s NEVER the answer and it doesn’t work despite any delusional, anecdotal evidence to the contrary. That is all.

  • I went to couples therapy as my first marriage was ending (no cheating in that case). Saw a couple different counselors who didn’t want to hear about my then-husband’s depression diagnosis; the fact that his mood improved considerably when he took an antidepressant medication but then he promptly turned all negative again when he quit taking it didn’t seem to be very important to them.

    One of the counselors had MWD’s Divorce Busting book prominently displayed.

    I remember some crap about not wanting to “label” anyone and let’s work on both of the partners making positive changes… I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. Hello – YOU try living with a mentally ill crab who complains about not just me, but everyone at his work, and who is so miserable he up and quits without another job lined up first! I was hoping they’d recommend he go back to the psychiatrist to ask about a different medication, but no. Husband up and quit me too.

    I’m convinced that many couples therapists bend themselves into pretzels to avoid recognizing that one of the people is much more (or totally) responsible for a marriage coming apart. It’s probably more lucrative that way: keeps the one who’s behaving like a jerk from bolting by not focusing on fixing the jerk factor.

    Depression is treatable, but only if someone gets help for it. Narcissists rarely get help for narcissistic personality disorder, so once a narc is revealed via cheating, best to do a “180“ by putting that cheater’s ass in your rear view mirror! Nothing to work with here!

  • I didn’t know about this advice. I honestly took this approach when I didn’t know he was screwing a girl at his work. He was being horribly cruel and I just trying to power through the awful. The girl cut him off after learning he had slept with another co-worker (him being married and her boyfriend was no Biggie). During this time, he was especially cruel.
    When her boyfriend sent me the text messages on Christmas day I left and was in complete shock. I stayed with my friends until I got my own place and divorced him in five months. I initially listened to Eckhart Tolle’s the power of now audiobook everynight just for some inner peace. When I found chump lady’s book it was so fucking comforting I listened to the audiobook for two months straight until I finally fealt better about what had happened to me. Eight months later I still look at this blog every morning like bugle bailey and probably until I die even though my Tuesday already came.

    • I wonder if the reason that some folks don’t hold the cheater as accountable is that many don’t know how horrible the cheater is treating the spouse. I know in my case (1988/89 my ex was a monster to me. I was confused, scared, embarrassed. I didn’t tell anyone for years how horrible he treated me. I just recently told my one brother, and my best friend. I am considering telling the preacher where we were going to church at the time.

      Not because it matters to me, but because I assume he still counsels folks in these situations. If he doesn’t know what the betrayed spouse endured, because they didn’t tell him… So I keep praying on that.

      I think it is coming out in the open now, and maybe that is going to start changing the counseling techniques. CL gets major credit for that.

      But, my point is, even my family didn’t know how horrid he treated me, until years later. It was too embarrassing. Oh I told them of the cheating, and what went down at the very end, but not the long term treatment of me.

      I agree with CL and anyone else: Blow that affair to smithereens, tell everyone exactly how she/he has been trating you the whole time it was going on. The lying, the gas lighting, the verbal/emotional abuse,etc. Tell anyone who will listen.

      • I tried to. FOO didn’t want to listen. In fact they became very unhelpful after I finally got the courage to tell them. It didn’t help my raging anger issues. Very demoralizing so I broke contact with FOO.

        • Yes, that is hard.

          My family was totally in my corner, it is just that they didn’t even know the whole awful truth in real time.

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