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‘My Sister Blames Me for My Husband’s Affair’

bitterbunny_lowrezDear Chump Lady,

I just had a conversation with my sister about my cheating husband. I can’t seem to get it through her head that his cheating wasn’t because there were marital problems. Nothing pisses me off more than having to listen to people say, “Well, he cheated because he wasn’t getting what he needed at home and you were having problems in your marriage anyway.”

How do I deal with this bullshit?

The conversation goes back and forth for about 10 minutes while I really want to hang up on her because I am so pissed. I don’t see how she and others don’t get it. Especially my sister — her husband cheated on her!

My cheater’s mother also said to me: “It could’ve been you who did this too because there were marital problems.” REALLY!!!!! What words can I use to get these people to GET IT? They make me more angry than my cheater does at times.

Pissed Off

Dear Pissed Off,

How do you speak truth to stupid? Wouldn’t we all like to know. If we had that kind of superpower imagine the good we could do in the world. We could have meaningful conversations with world leaders and end global warming! We could persuade the dimwitted public to raise minimum wage! Protect women’s reproductive freedoms! End childhood poverty!

We could just put on our capes and use our Super Sense Powers and they would all see reason!

But as a chump, apparently, the only super power you possess is to compel others to cheat on you.

It’s kind of like being Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you know when she’s just learning she’s a witch and accidentally turns her best friend into a frog? Or she wrinkles her nose and makes her mother disappear? When you’re a chump, you don’t know you’re a chump until you discover that you accidentally made your husband create Ashley Madison dating profiles. I did that? Why yes you did! With your Super Chump Power!

It’s no surprise your sister believes that chumps are responsible for cheating — because she’s still with her husband. That’s the price of admission — eat the “this is my fault” shit sandwich and win the pick me dance. She made that trade, so your narrative, that this is NOT your fault, it’s completely on your cheater, is very threatening to her.

If responsibility for cheating is completely on the cheater, then she has no control over this! She can’t feel secure that she’s a Better Her (always striving!) and the marriage is Better Thanks to the Wake-Up of Infidelity.

Instead, she’d have to trust that her husband has changed character and ultimately she has no control over that either, or whether he cheats again. That’s a scary thought… trusting a person who gutted you. Much easier to imagine, however painfully, that she had some part in the Misfortunate Event That Does Not Define Us. If we just do everything right and don’t upset the apple cart, then we’re safe!

The fact that she has a spouse who lets her think cheating is the fault of the marriage demonstrates that she’s not living with a truly remorseful person, which means she’s not in a true reconciliation, and lives in some sort of limbo hellscape.

Your pain, fresh and new and very real, threatens her. Brings all this shit back into focus. So she needs to shut you up because it underscores the tenuousness of her position.

My advice to you is just go on being your badass self. Don’t accept the blame for your cheater’s shitty conduct and protect yourself with a lawyer. Post-nup and credit report if you’re attempting to reconcile, retainer for the divorce if you’re not.

As for your mother-in-law’s “You could’ve done this too” — the answer is you DIDN’T.

Your reply: Yes, the “crappy” marriage could’ve made me cheat too, but I didn’t. So the only difference between me and him is character.

Don’t expect it to sink in, however. They’re not going to get it because they both have vested interests in not getting it.

This is a rerun. I’m on vacation this week.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My marriage counselor said to me, “you never know, Swisschump, maybe you would cheat as well.”

    I gave her a death glare and said I would never, ever cheat. At least she apologized and acknowledged that I wouldn’t.

    • So did mine, but I was so floored by it that I didn’t say anything. I so wish I had now. I can just hope she hasn’t used that particular cudgel on any other chumps.

    • One marriage therapist in her 40’s (who wore a satin mini cocktail dress with puffy little girl sleeves over tights and a turtleneck– perfect for a “sex addiction specialist”), asked me in front of cheater if *I* had an atrachment disorder. It was like she’d loaded and cocked a blame-reversal gun and handed it to cheater. Even cheater thought the remark was suck-uppy and nuts.

      This was ten minutes into the first interview. My sense was that she’d made a snap judgment based on appearance, her own bias and the fact that cheater paid for the session. I figured if we’re all about breaking the Goldwater rule against diagnosing out of hand, two can play that game. From her dress I diagnosed avaricious exhibitionism, internalized misogyny, major daddy issues and sartorial ineptitude.

      First and last session.

      • I’m so very very sorry you were subjected to that unethical, unprofessional, and frankly horrific therapist. I’ve posted this before and I’ll say it again there are terrible, just terrible therapists and psychiatrists out there taking your money and imposing insults and hurtful behaviors. Before law school I got my masters in clinical psych on the PhD tract and when I looked around and saw the kind of people that were going to be unleashed on the general public it was terrifying. Many professors told us that a good neighbor is often far more helpful than a bad therapist. The monster sweater man psychiatrist my cheater went to for 19 months and $30,000 ( Robert Neborsky, San Deigo) was despicable- he did much more harm than good. Sure, there may be good therapists out there but like Unicorns, I’ve never seen one.

        • Jo, I’ll add that most certified sex addiction therapists are EXTREMELY harmful to chumps. A core principle is enlisting chumps in the marriage police force. Steer clear if you want to have any kind of future!

          I don’t know if CSATs help cheaters, but I wasn’t about to stick around for years of additional trauma and cheater-centrality… no fucking way! 18 weeks of that shit almost killed me.

          As soon as I imposed consequences X stopped all therapy (surprise surprise). Then the hell of his rage towards me and our kids was really unleashed.

          The best “therapy” I ever had was going no contact and getting an excellent divorce award. Daily reinforcements on CL -and the CN FB group also.

          Fuck those cheater-apologist therapists. They are pure evil.

          • I had a friend tell me that my partner went to a Sex Worker because I probably wasn’t having enough sex with him at home.
            My therapist told me (6 weeks after DDay) I needed to stop playing the victim.
            We went back to him months later and made some progress. After DDay 2 I had an argument with the same therapist because he said my partner was probably a sex addict, and as I have been addicted to things myself (Disordered Eating) I should understand and support him, but I told him he’d had 10 months to get his own therapy for SA and it wasn’t on me.
            He also said that my partner probably felt scared to tell me when he was meeting up with female friends because I judged him, and I said that I didn’t mind (because I still wanted to be the cool gf) but that I wanted full disclosure of who he was seeing, and where if I wanted.
            He also said that my partner had “done nothing wrong except betray my trust” and I should give him time to figure out if he wanted a monogamous relationship… at 120$ a session I can see why he was so adament we return. (My partner paid for all of them and booked them though)

            • My God!!!

              A quick word about my ex’s therapist. According to my ex (who’s a liar, so who knows?), his sucky therapist suggested that we go to marriage counseling after my ex announced he wanted a separation. This therapist allegedly told my then husband that he could go to MC without revealing the 2 1/2 year affair!!! What?

              So here’s a therapist encouraging his client to lie about his wandering dick. No doubt my ex liked the idea of therapy because he wanted to get a marriage therapist to pin some blame on *me*.

              Thanksfully we never made it to the MC because my then husband announced the separation only 3 days before he confessed, at which point I threw off my ring and left. I’m glad we never made it to MC. It would have given my ex fodder especially if we were saddled with one of these crackpot therapists.

              No contact is the only thing that has saved me. Thanks, CL!

              • I also had a bullshit, cheater-supporting therapist. She said that it was absolutely none of my business where my now-ex went on their own time so long as now-ex came back to me later. Therapist suggested I was controlling to expect otherwise. She had no concept of consent. That was my last therapy session with her.

              • The more CN tales I read about dodgy and downright evil therapists, the more I think I’m right to forget the whole idea.

                I’m sure there must be good ones out there, but how does one find them?

                No, I think I’ll stick to journaling, books, music, walking, and Netflix! ????

          • While i didn’t like going to a “divorce therapist” at first, at least the focus is not on trying to make the impossible happen. And while i don’t know this to be completely true, i believe the divorce therapist convinced my (ex) wife to leave the family home much sooner than she originally planned.

            D-day was July 4th. Original “plan” was for her to continue living with me and kids in family home while she screws her F-friend on the side. She is moving out on October 25th. Not ideal but i’m so happy.

            I am also buying her out of the family home so our finances will be completely separate.

        • Jo– I have to ask because I sense there’s a great story behind it… why do you call the therapist “monster sweater man”??

          Cheater saw an old, misogynist psychoanalyst throughout the affair who advised cheater not to tell me about cheating. I should make up a nickname for that creep. The shrink also scoffed at the report that I’d nearly been sexually assaulted at knife point before D-Day, saying this “doesn’t happen in the city anymore.”

          The ER doctors who treated my injuries disagreed. They said they saw it all the time, not to mention the mass protests that year against a series of unsolved or unprosecuted assaults, rapes and femicides in the capital. After the near miss, I found a therapist who had personally participated in the protests. She knew cheater’s shrink by academic reputation and did a micro eye roll at the mention of his name. She explained later that the attitude was typical of the old school echo chamber and both a political influence on current disastrous policies towards rape, assault, domestic abuse, sex trafficking and femicide, as well as politically determined by the fact that this is what assholes in power– those who create policy, sponsor academic departments and promote particular perspectives in the media– prefer to hear. She said that, in science and social science, sometimes you have to wait for the old guard to start dying off in order for views to change (I think there’s a name for that), but on that score she wasn’t particularly hopeful since each generation seems to invent new excuses for old biases. What was hopeful to her was the balancing effect of diversity in the profession.

          • Wow, just wow.
            I loved how you ended that story- all the REAL misery and love and life that is going on in the world, right now, and our cheaters are still dithering over the correct Freudian usage of the word “pervert.”
            Also- you prove that models CAN have brains, and can also experience infidelity.

            My ex’s word salad argument was “molestation” versus “sexually inappropriate”…. Ugh. Either way I wanted out.

          • Jo– Oh dear. I remember seeing Jaws on TV as a kid right after someone burned popcorn in the kitchen. Forever after, I associated the smell of burning popcorn with washed up, water-logged corpses. And forever after, you’ll associate the smell of halibut with hookers.

            Oh, that sweater man. I know the type. Pseudo-intellectual purveyors and enablers of all that is fucked up, who specialize is couching biased, old-timey junk theory in mod-sounding drivel.

            • “Oh, that sweater man. I know the type. Pseudo-intellectual purveyors and enablers of all that is fucked up, who specialize is couching biased, old-timey junk theory in mod-sounding drivel”


              Love the way you write, Hell of a Chump!

          • They formed a book club ? Nothing says inappropriate boundaries like socializing with your therapy clients. One of the reasons I dropped out of group therapy with a male therapist was his referring to the guys in his men’s group as his “friends”. He teaches group therapy at one of the local unis. Only holds a masters degree but admits to using his gender to his advantage in a female dominated field.
            I listened to a podcast where he is interviewed about his white privilege. Maybe the next one will address his male entitlement????

            • He has a racial preference for black women. One of the group members saw him out in public with an adorable biracial baby. So this 60 year old felt the need to tell us all that he had a baby with a 35 year old lesbian black friend.
              “Why is he talking about himself to the group ?” I thought. Bonkers. He did call himself crazy too.
              Bye. I’m not spending my money on this anymore.

          • Wow Jo, I went through hell, I’m so sorry you that did too. Our stories are different, but terrible. I hope you have found some peace, I have finally after 6 years.

        • I had a fantastic therapist. We had absolutely nothing in common – and yet we worked so hard together.

          He was brilliant. He asked me three questions:

          1. When is this self pity/swamp of victimhood going to stop/when are you going to grow up?
          2. [as I complained about the 2,567th latest unspeakable thing he did] Why are you shocked/When are you going to stop expecting different, when are you going to accept that this is who he is?
          3. Now what?

          To the one and only session Cheater went to with him, he asked him: Do you understand that you have done the worst thing and committed the most damage to a marriage, that you could possibly do?

          [Cheater refused to go again].

          An excellent therapist who recognised the brilliant work a previous therapist had done. One was in my face, the other was gentle and nurturing, and I remember them both with huge gratitude.

          A shout out for excellent therapists who really help change lives! Their names are:

          Dr Dean Killian (New Zealand)
          Anne Young (Jungian analyst, UK)

      • I wasn’t aware that sartorial ineptitude was in the DSM. Must be the latest edition.

        • IG – I believe it is situational. It certainly can be indicative of ineptitude in other areas. ???? Great comment HofAC

        • I think it’s in the margins of the DSM IV along with that new dx for “eating too healthy” (a real thing, brought to you by payoffs from the junk food industry). The diagnosis is situationally dependent. When most of your practice is in treating sex addicts whose porn addictions– statistically speaking– tend to progress to more and more violent or more and more pedophilic content in order to achieve the same “jolt,” wearing mini dresses with ruffles and poofy toddler sleeves looks financially strategic or pathological or both. Wearing this when it makes your arms look like Virginia hams is basic fashion incompetence.

          • 5 Platinum stars for the Virginia Ham comment. It’s the only laugh I’ve had in a long time. Yes…..why do some of these grown women dress like they are 5 years old or a toddler is beyond me. But the Virginia Ham arms comment paints such an incredible visual – it’s hilarious. And true. Thank you.

            • Not at all a bad-looking mature woman, don’t get me wrong. But imagine Carmela Soprano in a green satin christening gown. Worrisome is the word.

              I studied behaviorism and had to go through mediation against a professor for the truly bizarre fuckery he put me through one semester that nearly cost me my grade. I remember how his mousey TA’s eyes followed him around the lecture hall like a Spaniel. He bragged that his grad thesis had been doing field experiments (testing real people without consent) to discover whether plying women with excess caffeine on dates and making them have to pee increased sexual arousal.

              • Yes, what the ever loving F. After hearing the story of the bizarre things this professor had said and done that semester, the wife of a very sober, serious and honest (in other words, terrifying) local lawyer laughed and said she knew just how to handle that “priaptic mama’s boy.” She came with me to mediation and sat silently with a death stare and her arms crossed. That’s it. She didn’t say a word.

                I’d heard the professor shouting in the mediator’s office earlier in the week about how he was going to project my letter of complaint onto the lecture hall wall and have his graduate class psychoanalyze it. The entitlement shook the walls. But the minute the lawyer’s wife appeared in the mediation session, all the fight went right out of the prof. He was stuttering, stumbling and offering me an exemption on the final exam which should have been automatic since I’d gotten perfect scores on every test.

                No surprise that abusers of power recognize power displays and when they’ve been outstripped. But it’s still a shock the guy even got a grad degree with the kind of thesis he wrote, much less was made professor. The psychopathic status quo from not so long ago.

              • ????????????
                Closest Emoji translation I could muster for the Shirley Temple Goodship Lollipop clothing choice that therapist made. Stylists and interior decorators are in business for a reason. Decorum and a client’s comfort.

      • Good for you to make that your first and last session.

        And why would this therapist dress like that to counsel above all sex addicts!!!!??? It’s like an alcoholic who got sober being flaunted with several mugs of beer during his AA meetings.

        Also my sex addict husband goes to a program called Celebrate Recovery. At prior to the meeting they have men and women of the groups eat a meal together socialize then go to their 12 step programs where they then separate the men and women in classes. But then after the 12 step classes are done the men and women have dessert and socialize some more before they leave.

        Now how is that helpful to have sex addicts together socializing men and women all with deep deep problems that involve sex addiction, drugs, and alcohol??? Set up for disaster if you ask me.

        It’s a crazy life. Glad I am more aware than ever before in my life. Little did I know my pious christian family man was a secret sex addict for decades. Heartbreaking

        • You are not alone. I too was unknowingly married for 28 years to a Sex Addict. I’ve never heard of SA meetings with pre and post socializing with men and women – it’s so ridiculous that it’s laughable – but then I got thinking….heck – maybe it’s a good idea – put all the self-entitled narcissists together so they can cheat and screw around on each other. It might just be the Darwinian solution for natural selection. It’s so sad when self-entitled people take advantage of good people – I’ve been blamed so much for my Cheating Husband’s affairs and hooker habit it’s honestly beyond comprehension. I didn’t realize I was so powerful…. To heck with them all and thank goodness I have my health and my beautiful Bichons and Chump Nation – the land of sanity. And yes…..the Christian good guys with the sex habit — well, that’s just an added punch in the gut.

          • After dday # umpteenth, X said he might be a SA.

            I said bullshit.

            I was correct there also, he’s just a garden variety covert narcissist.

            But now, who cares. I’m onto my life without a fuckwit and I gotta say…. SO MUCH BETTER!

            • And a person who I thought was a good friend (guy) said something along the lines of me not being good in bed.
              I took me some more years of this ‘friends’ nonsense, but I’ve been NC since 2017. Bye assholio.

              • Pretty hard to practice truly great sex with a narc and someone who probably has a Madonna-Whore complex. At best it’s performance art which, frankly, is lame and creepy. Your “friend” was likely a porn addict for whom lame and creepy was the norm.

          • Well, there’s Jerry Falwell, who likes to watch. So evidently, someone can be a self-proclaimed “Christian” and a pervert at the same time.

        • Chump to the Max– is Celebrate Recovery a paid service? If so that would explain the baiting of hooks and fraternization.

          Everything’s monetized. Things that should never, ever be made for profit– like hospice services– are for profit these days. This works out just about the way one would expect. Scary world.

      • The first of five marriage counsellors we had during wreckonciliation suggested my rage at his serial cheating was overblown and came from my history of child abuse. I believed her and tried to contain my rage and heartbreak thru another 4 d-days. In another session she said she was worried about Fuckwit because he’s lost weight and asked for his phone number. We dumped her after that. Unconscionable behaviour. I’m still angry about it and I’m considering sending her an email telling her she has contributed to my PTSD & severe depression & advising her to retire. I can’t understand why she sided with cheater except that she was duped by his pretend remorse & turned off by my heartbroken shows of emotion. Marriage counseling should be banned for infidelity

        • You should report her. Is there an Ombudsman for marriage counsellors?

          Asking for the fuckwits’ phone number? Sounds like she wanted to hook up. *ugh*

    • This is reality though…..when someone cheats on you, there I often (when there are marriage problems) an intent to harm passive aggressively. To settle a score. The cheater perceives this as justice. If you as the chump are a living hell to be with….at face value… observer may logically be agreeing with the cheater as doing an act o settle a score the observer sees and is basically saying settling the score was justified. What your sister may be saying is she sees you as an offender and sees your husband defending himself by fighting back with a defense that has weight and merit. I’ve witnessed this dynamic and that is what is taking place. This relationship is toxic and needs to end.

      • I interpreted my sister’s blaming me for my Cheater Husband’s Hooker Habit much like a child blames mom for leaving dad. Triangulation and mis-directed anger. I think she really liked my husband a lot and is so hurt she’s directing her hurt at me. She said something else that was very hurtful- she said ‘everyone knew, how could you not know, I thought you knew….” KNEW??? I most certainly did NOT know that my husband was laying with 30 plus prostitutes and had I known I most certainly would not have been sleeping with him every night and having sex! I think it’s possible that my sister knew something, saw something and is now feeling guilty for not telling me. I don’t know and I doubt I’ll ever know. She lives in Europe and I’m on the west coast of the US so fortunately her barbs are thrown over the pond and I’m getting better at ducking.

        • ” she said ‘everyone knew, how could you not know’ ”

          Well isn’t she fukked up?

    • I don’t know which is worse—the idea that you would cheat too or the idea that you wouldn’t because you wouldn’t have opportunities. (My cheater father’s assumption )

    • I have to give a shout out to a GREAT therapist in the Northern Virginia area (Anne Ryan).

      First, she redirected my obsessing about the DOCTOR and his schomoopie new wife, and got back to ME and MY choices.

      Second, she gently showed me the ways in which the DOCTOR was in fact abusive and narcissistic and she helped me work on forgiving myself for being such an enabler, b/c I was very pissed at myself for being so blind!

      Finally, she charged me NOTHING for a year, while the DOCTOR paid me a pittance b/c he said he’d “retired” (& I had to hire a PI to prove he was still working – his name was on the building, ffs)…

      And when I finally got my settlement after a 35 year marriage, I went to pay her & she gave me a huge discount for the year of sesssions.

      A very good therapist, a helpful guide in stormy times, and a kind person who helped me during the hardest time of my life.

      • “b/c I was very pissed at myself for being so blind!”

        I think that is important to get out, that rage at onesself. I didn’t and it erupted 25 years later, when the ex and whore blew up my sons life. I never told people in real time how he treated me in the last year. I was ashamed, I thought I was to blame. When it started to reupt again, I let it spill to my best friend and my brother.

        It also helped that I ran across CN and another site. I feel like now, I see it for what it was, his doing and his choice. He manipulated me for his own good.

        I realize now, that the pain I was carrying wasn’t about him, it was anger at myself for being so stupid. Yes I know I was not stupid, but for many years that is how I felt.

        My husband when I would on rare occasions talk about it, would say Susie you trusted him, that is what is suppose to happen. He is the liar not you.

        Don’t get me wrong, I have had many happy years, and for years at a time, it would never enter my mind, but the anger at my self was alway there, now it has faded. As bad as the blow up was for my son, and and angry as it made me, the silver lining was/is that I finally figured out a lot of stuff.

        I just wish I could help other women, but unfortunately many who are going through it right now, are sitting there thinking they are the problem. Hopefully not as many as there used to be, thanks to sites like this where we can see the connonality of so many of these cheaters.

        • Suie Lee, you are helping other women by telling your story. For years I felt shame and embarrassment. I foolishly believed that I was to blame for how poorly I was treated by cheater. Ex is a master manipulator, he plays the caring sad sausage, outsiders think he’s caring. Ex cares for no one but himself and his image.
          I had one therapist tell me how lucky I was to be married to ex. I was the one who made the appointment and made it clear why I wanted marriage therapy. After ex’s solo session the therapist was convinced I had a drinking problem and needed to appreciate what a great husband I had. Ex’s infidelity wasn’t mentioned. I occasionally had a glass or two of wine with dinner at that time nothing that would be considered a problem. I wasn’t given a chance to defend myself and ex left the session incredibly pleased.
          I feel stupid for not leaving and questioning myself for years. I’m angry that I didn’t trust my feelings. I instead thought well if everyone liked him then it must be me.
          Again he’s cunning and knew exactly how to manipulate others into thinking he’s such a great guy.

          I’m so grateful for Chump Lady and Chump Nation.

          • Brit, you are not alone. I had a similar situation. I’m all of 100 pounds, never had a parking ticket – have lived a honest to God hard working life……the Narc manipulators seek us out – 28 years I worked and was loyal to this man – and he whored around with 30 plus whores, read porn and jacked off in his medical office, smoked pot, took steroids for ‘bone’ health, the solicitation of prostitution is a misdemeanor, drove under the influence, lied and cheated on me for 28 years and in ONE session with his Sweater Man psychiatrist they together complained and communicated to me that the ONE glass of Pinot Grigio I drank on D-Day as I was making halibut – panko crusted no less- was not helpful to Mr. Doctor Narc husband – that it was important that I not drink a glass of wine. Really?????? A $6.00 from the grocery store white wine I bought for a sauce and poured myself a glass at the news of 30 hookers?? And they fixated on that THAT? Terrible – mind-fucking. They attempt to drive you crazy like they did Lady Di.

      • Good to know and so very glad you found a true professional therapist. They are out there – just very hard to find, particularly in the United States because the bar for entry in to the profession is low. In the 1980’s during the height of AIDS – anyone could hang a shingle and call themselves a therapist in Los Angeles (and still can if they don’t bill insurance and in the 80’s many insurance companies didn’t cover therapeutic services as they were considered mental health) Nonetheless, there were these pop-shops of therapy and incense burning and massage and hypnosis all over LA for AIDS patients to find a cure – ridiculous theories like “you don’t love yourself enough” “you are too stressed” “change your attitude to being more positive and you’ll live” So ultimately you had 100’s of men dying of AIDS not just sick but depressed because they “didn’t love themselves enough” There’s no shortage of snake oil salesmen in this world – but good therapists are out there. And, frankly so are Unicorns – we just never hear about them because successful reconciliations tend to stay under the radar. Hugs to you for all you endured and came out on top 🙂

  • I found when dealing with stupid people like this the best thing is to disengage and disassociate with them. Silence and void are two very powerful messages! “You want to be an ass and blame me for my cheater….fine, ????poof???? you’re out of my life.” I went no contact, avoided and wouldn’t allow my father in my life for years and then one miraculous day, he admitted he was wrong, was toxic and agreed he was enabling my ex husband. We have a so/so relationship now, which Is better than nothing. I’m glad because he is getting older and I can at least have some resemblance of a relationship with him before he passes away. I had to take this approach with Swissfriends and they learned quickly as well.

  • Shady people with no moral compass or integrity always weigh others with their own bushel.

    Kudos to you for standing up to that mindfuckery. ????

  • And maybe the mother is to blame for creating a cheater. Nope. He is just an entitled asshole. In response to people who blame you “I am disappointed you think that.” And cut all contact.

    • I like this concept… saying back to the blaming MIL… “and maybe he cheated because you raised him to be a self-entitled lying fuckwit”… see how she feels… but no, that will not lead you to Meh… just walk away because soon enough, she won’t be your problem any more than your cheater.

    • My MIL didn’t go so far as to blatantly SAY I was at least partly to blame but she very very clearly had that attitude. She is the type of prissy prude who would never say harsh words, you see. Like the son she raised. Constrained (emotionally stunted) gracious (cowardly) and worried about appearances. (social climber who cyclically lives above her means—cough)

      So I sent her and my FIL some lovely pictures at 1AM (Eastern Standard Time) of her little baby boy and his howorker cuddled up in the bar, and one after I had confronted them. That was the night that we split up, and I never heard from her or FIL again. Not a single word. She might deny but pictures don’t lie! Bitch.

  • So by this thinking

    If there was marriage problems , why did only 1 person cheat ?

    Why is only 1 persons need more important than the other persons ?

    Why is it assumed the chump “ caused “ these issues ?

    Like the cheater is some great partner that bent over backwards to meet all the chumps needs solved every marriage issue , caused no marriage issues and tried everything to save the marriage .

    Yeah no cheater has ever done anything wrong and it’s all the chumps fault .

    • “Like the cheater is some great partner that bent over backwards to meet all the chumps needs solved every marriage issue , caused no marriage issues and tried everything to save the marriage .”

      My guess is no cheater has ever done that. If fact, they are likely the ones who pulled away as soon as the sparkle dick/twat started to tingle. There is no disagreement from any reliable dr. or mental health people that illicit (affair sex) is more exciting, and more addictive. One they go there, they rarely stop. The ones that go there do it for their own reasons. Usually just selfishness and dishonesty.

      Most likely don’t even intend to leave the spouse, in fact most don’t; but then the lying and manipulating and gaslighting/stealing of marital fund begins to keep that high going.

      • I have never seen a cheater who put more than 50% of their efforts into a marriage. The entitlement that enables cheating also enables taking in all other areas.

        • Right? How many do we know who spend time and money on a wife, bringing her flowers, romancing her to keep the romance flowing. No, they outsource that. Same for female cheaters, they turn that charm to the outside.

          It isn’t about the married sex, which can never compete with illicit sex, it is about the excitement of new romance, the ego boost. Then once it starts the lies, manipulation, gaslighting and theft kicks in big time.

          • I swear the comments here are better than therapy. Do these cheaters all use the same blame the chump manual?

            Mine said that I wasn’t ‘women’ enough to keep him from cheating.

            • Mine said several things, the funniest was “you are not a good enough housekeeper”

              I mean, I am no spit shiner that is for sure, but he always had clean clothes, clean food, (I kept my kitchen and bathroom really clean) What I was, was not a good duster, and yes the area around my chair was cluttered with books and magazines. But, then through my daughter in law I find out that compared to schmoopie I was indeed a spit shiner. Daughter in law didn’t know he said that to me when she told me about the messes she found at schmoopies place. Also, my ex became a hoarder.

              So the question still remains how did screwing a whore help the situation? The other things he said was the standard “we grew apart” and “I have not been happy for five, no ten, no our whole marriage.”

              Then when he started circling back, “oh I was just lying when I said that to make you hate me”. Who the hell knows.

              • “Mine said that I wasn’t ‘women’ enough to keep him from cheating.”

                Is that a typo, or did he really use the plural? ????

                If so, he was probably telling a truth, in a nasty way – as CL says, one woman can’t be a “smorgasbord of pussy”.

                I’d bet in fact you were *too much* of a woman for the fuckwit. Narcs hate women the can’t control. ????????

      • Susie – I think you nailed it with your comment. I have spent almost 8 months going over and over and over in my mind to thinking “what the hell happened here”!? Bc My husband truly seemed to care about me (I dont say ‘love’ anymore), and we had a very good relationship for most part. I finally came to the conclusion that my husband did it because he could (of course,) and he got off on the sneaking around and the new sex. I’m sure it was all fun and games for the 3-6? Years they were sharing their ‘friendship’ behind my back. I also believe he felt entitled, as I’ve heard him make comments before about ‘his privacy’. I don’t believe that he fucked around because wanted out of our marriage, as he said to me “I never never thought of us being apart, I never thought of us divorcing”. But where the dick goes, the heart follows ???? ❤️

        • Although I will add that mine did bring me flowers, make my tea, asked me if there is anything he could do for me, I’ve come to understand that these were all tactics to keep his ranking as a ‘good husband’ to my face, while the honesty and loyalty went out the back door. Now the OW gets all the specials treatment and gets to feel super duper special because she won. *sigh*

          • I don’t think she won much, but I get your point.

            Yep, I don’t think a lot of them intend on divorcing when it starts out. They are after the thrill. Honestly, I am not sure the ex even wanted to marry schmoopie, but she was his employee and he had his nuts in a vice at work, so who knows.

            Doesn’t matter, in real time all I can remember thinking is he has to marry her, I want them stuck together. It seemed important to me then. It seemed the only way he could be properly punished. 🙂

    • If there were “problems in the marriage” they were most likely caused by the cheater and not the faithful spouse. The cheater has already shown their poor character and relationship skills. Why is it so hard for people to realize that he/she is most likely the cause of other problems in the marriage too? It’s only logical.

      • I’ve been blamed for every single marital argument as my ex would never apologise for anything ( even his affair )

        He was never wrong and would wind it round to be my fault no matter what the issue .

        I always ended up apologising and then even after I apologised he would throw in my face my flaws and why my behaviour / attitude / tone of voice / facial expression caused this initial disagreement .

        Can’t blame him for getting his co worker pregnant , my tone of voice must have drove him to it !!!

        • Karen, I swear we were married to the same man – I could have written your post word for word including the part about the pregnant co- worker.

      • True.

        But, I think it all comes down to fear and self protection for the general public. For people in the mental health field who blame the betrayed spouse, shame on them. For them I believe it is just a matter of who is going to pay the fee. The betrayed who is deperate to save a marriage, or a cheater who is trying to skate by and blame the spouse.

        Initially I was not given the option of a saved marriage. That hurt me badly, though now I realize I was very lucky. Because, I wouold have been one that took the blame on myself just to save my marriage.

        By the time he started circling back, I was in the “go to hell” stage.

  • I had two friends that continued to excuse my cheater. Marriage is complicated, there’s two sides to both stories, who knows the depth of his feelings… Found out they both slept with him. They weren’t the only ones who slept with him or the only ones who encouraged me to stay married. I got involved with a church group to work on our marriage; he went to his group, I went to my group. For a year we drove in different cars, I just was so pissed. I danced as hard as I could, didn’t stop his cheating. If I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it. I sure as hell did my best to cure it. Wish I had never listened to any of them, changed my life trying to make my marriage work. I can only imagine if I had these years back.

    • Many of these cheaters cheat from the beginning of the marriage. Mine said he did, though he didn’t say that until after Dday. But, that being the case how is the betrayed partner to blame, they were never given a chance. The cheater was never committed.

      Full disclosure: A few weeks after we were legally seperated he said he only said that to make me hate him, but once spoken; unfortunately it stands. He is a liar, so how would I know?

      • My husband cheated with his ex in the first year of dating… I took him back after a short term break up nothing was done right I took it all after a few apologies and promises that was over
        Moving forward we’re now seven years married. I just found out he cheated by meeting up with her while working a night job
        He let her in his truck for whatever they did.
        I have helped raise their daughter we’ve been together 10 years this month.
        He’s “trying” and wants to keep it together with me. Why all the “loving” notions NOW? Why can we be great NOW?
        I’m his “life” and he doesn’t want anyone else EVER.
        I think he’s sorry. I think he knows he messed up majorly
        My concern is what if I divorce him and he truly was a “better guy”.
        Some days I think I have it all figured out and others, my knees get literally WEAK. Why???
        Please help I realize time is short

        • Shann… So you know now that he cheated on you at least twice. That you know of. With his ex. He is a man who betrays, lies and deceives and has no regard for your emotional, sexual or psychological health. He disrespects the integrity of your marriage and prevents your ability to choose a healthy marriage and partner by tricking you and lying to you. He is not, has never been and never will be ‘the better guy’. He is the BAD guy in your life. Read CL Shann, get that knowledge out of your gut and into your head and heart, then leave him and gain a life. Hugs to you and be mighty!

        • That’s how you get suckered in for years – thinking that they will change for someone else. They don’t change for anyone – they are who they are. Your guy will use you to raise THEIR daughter, putting in all the hard work, while they have all the fun right in front of your face.
          I know I’m being brutal, and I’m sure you love your stepdaughter and she factors into this but you only have one life to live and they are using it up. You deserve better.

          • “but you only have one life to live and they are using it up. You deserve better.”

            Yes, this.

            It pizzed me off to this day that I didn’t find out about my cheater early on. At the very least, I wish he had been outed the hear my son started his last year of high school. I would have had three more years of my life back.

            • Susie, I lost 28 years of my life living under the veil of his ( cheater husband) deception of a hooker habit. It’s a miracle I don’t have AIDS. Even though he’s a physician he had reckless unprotected sexual encounters – dozens and dozens of whores. I’ve said before that the only thing that keeps me from caving in is knowing that 1/2, MY 1/2 of the 28 year marriage was authentic, honest, trustworthy, dignified, loyal and loving, I felt unloved because I was unloved- I asked him many many times throughout the marriage to talk, he was so aloof and distant, but he always said things are great- just the life of a busy doctor…… Total sham, total liar. And he’s in the Operating Room right now, right this minute, in Beverly Hills and he is the great and powerful doctor to the celebrities showered with sparkles of adoration from his patients daily to keep his Narcissism fed. If only these co-dependent patients knew that little crusty spot on his White Lab coat isn’t mayonnaise – it’s his dirty cum as he jacks off in the office to porn. I’ve moved on from being disgusted by him to honestly being afraid of him.

              • Yep, once that mask comes off. My ex for the last year ish, screamed and yelled at me for the stupidist things. Once he came after me for running out of salt. Screamed at me non stop for at least five minutes, about how stupid and thoughtless I am. Another time, after I cleaned the house, I left two playing cards on his lamp table, he ranted at me for that. When I walked out to the garqage where he was working on something, just to say hi, when I got home from work; he ranted at me for being too clingy, and I needed to give him space. On and on. Next reason more stupid than the last.

                There is a story on CN about a lady being chased around the house by her husband waving a pickle at her. That is what it was like. He was frightening. I asked him on more than one occasion waht the problem was, he always said, there is no problem I am just stressed a work.

                He wrote me a letter after we were legally seperated apologizing for how awful he treated me, and the horrible things he said. He said “I don’t know why I acted like such a low life”

                The letter meant nothing to me by that time. But, the only thing I thought was, you acted like a low life because you are one. You proved it. I never answered or acknowledged the letter.

                I did give a cc of it to my lawyer, as it did prove I wasn’t totally crazy. I think I was still in shock at that time, and just moving about by instinct.

        • I would tread lightly.

          I can’t give much advice, but I would say if anything get a long legal seperation and see what efforts he will be making to heal the marriage. Then if you are confident he is really trying, decide if that is what you want.

          But, know that he is already a serial cheater. Those folks rarely change, they just take it further underground until the heat is off.

        • Marriage is as serious commitment and should not be terminated lightly. If you’re not ready to throw in the towel, that is your right. I myself probably would have stuck it out another year if I’d been given the option of trying to save my marriage.


          You need to be clear-eyed about what may happen. You can start taking actions *now* that will protect you if your husband is unable to clean up his act (which, to be honest, pretty much everyone here thinks is extremely unlikely). This means: protect your share of the financial assets. Make sure you can support yourself independently. Don’t make unilateral sacrifices for him, on the assumption that you’re part of the same team. Develop a personal identity (friends, hobbies, interests) independent of your role as spouse. Even if you end up staying in the marriage, these are all healthy. Unless he’s some kind of misogynistic asshole who wants to keep you barefoot and pregnant at home, your husband should support all of this regardless of the eventual fate of your marriage.

          Some of these decisions are pretty complex, so it’s a good idea to see a lawyer and find out exactly what divorce would look like. It is completely reasonable to be considering divorce (even if you’re not sure you’re ready to go there yet) and getting professional advice about the process and likely outcome.

          • All good advice.

            In my case I likely would have tried for a bit longer had he given me that option from Dday. But, also in my case within five years my facility closed and I had to go to a different state. Had we been together then, I would have likely had to give up my job to keep the marriage, and I was with a man who had already thrown me over once. He had the capability to lie to me and I would have been without a job, and he would have easily dumped me into poverty.

            Liars lie, it is what they do. They are self serving.

            • He proved my point by the way:

              He cheated on his schmoopie soon after they were married, several times. He and schmoopie ran up massive gambling debts and had to file bankruptcy. He then a few years down the line blew up his relationship with our son, due to his and schmoopies behavior and lies.

              So, that would have been the life I was facing. Schmoopie didn’t steal my future, she actually saved me from hell on earth. I think what she thought she was getting, and what she got were two different things.

        • Shann… he’s manipulating you. Divorce him and spend a year no contact. If he turns out to be a unicorn, his actions during this time will prove it (more than fair settlement, focus on improving his character). You can always re-up with him later. However, you will not want to— once a cheater always a cheater….that year will give you perspective that you will be WAY better off without him, you matter and deserve better.

          Go! Save yourself! You will never regret it.

        • Shann, there is no better guy deep inside there. They only get worse. My ex took years to cheat on me. He started cheating on his second wife almost immediately.

          If you divorce this guy, he will probably marry again and try to circle back and cheat with you, too. He’s a loser. Cut your losses.

        • Seriously. You forgave him having sex with his X while you were in the first year of dating. He’s still at it. So what he has is you at home, helping to raise his child, and the X on the sid for the sneaking around, “I know something you don’t know,” excitement fix.

          It’s his character. He’s not going to change. As for his “trying”? As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

          You don’t say if you have children, if you work or if you own a home together. So give some thought to finances and resources. You’ve been married seven years. If you have a job and you don’t have kids:
          1. Get your ducks in a row, meaning all of the financial documents pertaining to your marriage (mortgage or lease, utilities, insurance, tax records, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investments of any sort, etc.). You want copies of everything. If you find documents about his work or business, take photos. Make sure you have account numbers. Secure your own personal documents (birth certificate for you and any kids, title or other documents for your vehicle, Soc Security card if you are in the US, professional certificates, etc.)
          2. Make an appointment with 2-3 good lawyers. See if there are “SuperLawyers” in your area. Listen to what they tell you but remember that they will give you the worst case scenario. Ask them what the BEST case scenario for you in terms of settlement, timetable, etc.
          3. Make your plan–will you file for divorce and move? Will you file for divorce and stay in your home?
          4. Secure your personal valuables. Family heirlooms. Jewelry. Computers and other electronics. Photos. Anything you can’t bear to loose. If he’s sleeping with his X there’s not guarantee that either of them will respect your personal property or even the boundary of your home.
          5. Tell the people you love and trust the most. For me, it was my BFF, another close friend, and my cousin. Also my hairdresser, therapist and personal trainer (because I was prone to weeping during yoga). You MUST tell. Do NOT keep his secrets. It may help to set your mind to separation or divorce first and then tell them. Don’t ask for ADVICE. Ask for support.
          6. Don’t tell your X until you have everything lined up–what you want to do, where you intend to live, whether you are going for separation or straight to divorce. And from that point on, don’t discuss anything not directly related to your kids, if you have them (not his). And even then, I’d say, “Put that in an email.” If he wants to talk things over: “Send my your idea of how to divide things up in the divorce.”
          7. You can start with separating. If you have a job and no kids, there may not be any pressing need for the divorce. But don’t make that choice until you talk to a lawyer; what you do about your present home may impact your settlement.
          8. Right away, run a credit check and see what turns up. Again, there’s no guaranteeing that your husband’s X isn’t on the payroll at your place or dipping in to use your credit.
          9. Get tested for STDs.

          But really, just stop listening to his words. “No contact” is to de-tox your brain from the lies, manipulation and gaslighting that are always involved in cheating. He’s not a good guy. He’s probably never stopped cheating with her. You’ve been in a pick-me dance with the X and you didn’t even know it. Let her have him. He’s no prize. You’ve been willing to help raise his daughter and this is how he shows your value to him. He shits all over what you’ve done.

          Don’t believe a word that comes out of his lying pie-hole.

        • Shann – I saw a giant red flag in something you wrote – He’s “trying”. That says everything you need to know about him, really. Being or not being a liar and cheater is a choice. When he says he’s “trying” it seems to me he’s saying that the pull to be a man of no character is equal to the pull of being a respectable man who honors his partner and his promises. I think him saying he’s “trying” is just a bid to buy more time and patience from you. I know it’s hard to hear, but I hope you take that into consideration, Sweetie. I wish I could give you a hug.

        • Also Shann, if you need day to day support, there is a private Chump Nation discord you can join. Please listen esp to Loved A Jackass, she is very wise

            • The more the merrier, literally. There’s also a chat over there. It’s a safe space and there’s room for extensive posts and dialogue. Plus a flair for resources, etc.

            • Ugh sorry I meant a Reddit page, not Discord!! It’s called ChumpLadyNation.

        • Sounds like he loves the triangulation. I’m such a great dude that both my ex & my Wife want me. He’s so irresistible in his own mind.

        • Shann, for a normal, caring person, hurting someone you love *once* is a *life lesson.* (Ask me how I know.) If the two normal caring people go through that early in a relationship, maybe when young, and get through it, that could make for a strong relationship. But a normal, caring person, having experienced the pain and guilt of hurting someone they love, and putting in the time to rebuild the relationship — that person would never, *never* make that mistake again. So, a normal, caring person is not who you are dealing with. Please take the great advice others have given you here, and prioritize yourself.

          • Thank you and all the other ladies for the positive feedback and even the raw truth I do appreciate you and it is what I need I also apologize for not coming back I didn’t realize that so many of you lovely people supported me I didn’t get any email notifications

  • “I’m sorry, Officer, I had to rob the bank because my job doesn’t pay me enough.”

  • There is power in telling these unsupportive enablers to “F-cough”. It’s truly amazing how many of them are out there. You did nothing wrong yet they try to change the narrative to blame on you. Bullshit! I got some of that from a (now defrocked) priest…” Oh what was your roll in her stepping out?” Yes reverend I sprayed her with a scent to lure rotten bastards” The enablers are by far an element that only hinder recovery. I have an aunt whose son spent more time in assorted jails and prisons but it was always ” those bad boys he hangs around with” or “the police had it out for him” or “he was sick when necessary little and I had no way to discipline him” all excuses all bullshit. You did nothing wrong… I repeat you did nothing wrong

  • A lot of people stick up for cheaters. They have their own problems. There’s a lot of flying monkeys out there.
    No one forces their partner /husband to cheat.
    your sister is embarrassed, blames herself her husband is probably a bastard. Which he has proven already.
    My ex has me to feel sorry for his ow.
    I told him no.
    He actually tells me he loves me, on the phone, his actions definitely proved he didn’t love me. I put the phone down on him.

    • I don’t think they really know what love, or commitment is. The rote words coming out of my cheater’s mouth carried about the same meaning to him as any memorized set of words does to most people.

  • This is spot on. My sister blames me for my ex wife cheating on me. We didn’t talk for two years because “I made her cheat.” Not only that, but my ex in-laws no longer talk to me because I couldn’t work it out with their cheater daughter. They’re holier than thou.

    My mom, who was cheated on by my dad when I was a kid, still blames chumps because she’s sure they did something to deserve it. We need to change this narrative.

    • I think a lot of this “you must have done something” attitude comes from old-school notions of the role of wives. (Yes, I know that this blame gets attached to all chumps, but hear me out. I’m talking about where it COMES from).

      The idea was that marriage was forever and it was up to the wronged party to suck it up and stay. In particular, it was often assumed that a man (being out in the world and thus tempted) would or could cheat and it was up to the woman to tolerate that, forgive, and stay in the marriage. That was the absolute stance of the Catholic Church about everything from infidelity to alcoholism to abuse. So the notion of “it’s up to the victim to fix it” has been the default for a long time. Hang in there, pray, tolerate, believe the “I’m sorry” promises.

      So we have the birth of a perverse “it takes two” in marriage. One person gets to lie, cheat, abuse, drink and the other one is supposed to hold the family together and suck up that pain. It’s a short trip from there to “you made him/her cheat” because you didn’t do your half and their half of the relationship.

      • Loved a Jackass wrote:

        “So we have the birth of a perverse “it takes two” in marriage. ONE person gets to lie, cheat, abuse, drink and the

        OTHER one is supposed to hold the family together and suck up that pain.
        It’s a short trip from there to “you made him/her cheat” because you didn’t do your half and their half of the relationship.”


  • I cannot try to understand how cheaters and those who want to reconcile with them see the world, it’s making me go crazy. Every time I hear rationalizations or excuses, my brain just malfunctions because nothing they say or do is in line with any of my values or principles. Her sister’s moral compass was probably completely broken by her husband’s rationalizations and she had to swallow the jagged pill to justify staying in a relationship with him and she now sees the world through a cheater’s eyes. I will say a little prayer for her lost soul…

  • I have to share this with everyone: the ad at the bottom of my screen on says “#1 reason men pull away: the mistakes women make that ruin a man’s attraction”. That’s another superpower we chumps have, we ruin men’s attraction! It’s in an ad, it must be true!

    • Well of course it is our fault. We age, we get loaded down with responsibility, we don’t stay the same dopey assed teenager we were when we married them; and they of course never age, are always just full of goodness and light, and always fun, never gain weight, or lose hair, or get a beer belly.

      Clearly we are the problem.

  • Lying and cheating CAUSES marriage problems.

    To quote the great Dr. Frank Pittman, who wrote a great book on infidelity, Private Lies, to the cheater:

    “YOU are what is wrong with your marriage.”

    I don’t waste my time or breath trying to convince anyone of anything, most of all trying to convince them to be monogamous.

    I have zero to do with anyone who blames me for other people’s behavior. Especially family. Those are the people who in all the world are supposed to have my back. I think now that having disloyal family of origin members primed me to pick someone disloyal as a marriage partner…..

    • PS…respond to the urge to talk any further with these people by reading LACGAL, Private Lies by Dr. Frank Pittman, or Cheating in a Nutshell.

      Use your energy to avail yourself of resources that help you feel sane.

      • This ????????????????????????????????????????????????

        If anyone in my family or “friend” circle blames me for what XH did, they are out.

        If I had the power to make XH cheat and relapse on alcohol/pot/adderral why didn’t I have the power to make him be loyal and sober? God knows I tried! Their “logic” is absurd!

      • Velvet hammer I’ve had cheating in a nutshell for a few months but making the time alone to read and FINISH is another issue but just wanted to say I LOVED it so far… thank you! And for your support

    • Yes, family. How about not only “there must have been problems in the marriage”, but, the whore “is nice” as stated by my exSIL. Really? The howorker that blew up my family? Last time I ever spoke to her!

    • “I think now that having disloyal family of origin members primed me to pick someone disloyal as a marriage partner.” Same thing with abusers, alcoholics, narcissistic manipulators, liars and other crap weasels.

  • Yep, the whores (male or female) may be a lot of things, but nice or moral is never one of those things.

  • Tell sis that having sex with others is not the acceptable reaction to marital issues. Going to a therapist, having a trial separation, even planning a vacation are acceptable reactions.

    Exchanging body fluids with strangers or coworkers is piggish, selfish, degenerate.

    She stayed with a cheater so she is trying to justify the backstabber she shares a bed with.

  • There are some observations that others make about us that appear to be true, from their perspective, at least. Have you ever been in a public place and seen a husband berate his wife, or her belittle him, or a parent lose their temper with their child, or hear the excited yelling at a sports event cheering the home team on to kill their opponents? Have you ever wondered what kind of God would favor one team over another at a sporting event, where both teams have a pregame prayer asking God to grant them that victory?

    There are many rituals and cultural stereotypes which make no logical sense. There are almost always isolated incidents where people observe one another, and jump to conclusions that are entirely incorrect. People want to believe bad things about other people, because somehow this makes them feel better about themselves. Please don’t ask me to explain this. I can observe phenomenon and not understand it.

    I have lost my temper and said things I regret. I have tried to test the limits of my ability to multi-task and failed. It does not mean my temper is always out of control, or I always say harsh things. It does not mean I cannot multi-task. Someone who is evaluating me in one of my less than stellar moments only has part of the picture, but they may use that part to label me forevermore.

    I am quite certain I was not the perfect wife, and I am equally certain my husband(s) were not perfect either. We reacted to the events in our marriage differently. My husband(s) chose to cheat to ease their problems with the marriage. It makes no sense to me, and I am not able to bend my mind around how choosing infidelity can ever strengthen a marriage which has a stated basis of a promise to be faithful to one another. Both cheaters wanted to stay married, so whatever grievance they had was not sufficient to end the marriage, it only allowed them to cheat on the side. That was not acceptable to me. I could somehow live with a spouse who did not fully participate in the adulting part of the marriage, picking up his slack and carrying a heavier load, but I couldn’t accept the cheating. In retrospect, I do not understand my willingness to pick up the slack, either.

    If your sister wants to accept the burden of making her husband cheat, step back and let her experience the consequences of that decision. I am fairly certain she will somehow make him cheat again. If that is acceptable to her, you have to agree to disagree with her. It does not make it acceptable to you. You have your own deal breakers, your own boundaries. You do not have to have the approval of others to proceed with your life. My advice would be not to discuss this issue with her. Don’t waste your mental energy worrying about her understanding your actions. Family members may share a genetic connection, but they do not necessarily have your best interests in their thoughts. Let them think what they want to think. You do what you need to do.

    In my experience, family of origin issues have always been the hardest to overcome. Strangers at work have cause me problems, too. Friends have come and gone, some helped, some did not. When I married I created a new family of my own, and I participated in having children from one union. That family did not stay intact, either. Sometimes you have to restrict time with a family member to preserve your own sanity. You are not responsible for making them happy, and I suspect, based on personal experience, you are not able to do so. Accept that, and concentrate on your own needs. When you block distractions from your focus, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

    • My sis once attempted to defend the gross old man who raped me when I was 10 by saying, “but he was the best caretaker our grandmother ever had”. My step-bro stared her down and quietly said, “good caretakers don’t rape children.”

      Her eyes flew open. She had spent so many years trying to justify that man’s presence, she had convinced herself that my horrible experience was worth a well-manicured lawn.

      • Dear *God*, Ivyleaguechump, I am so horrified that you went through something so obscenely awful.

        And for your *sister* to say that! So egregiously stupid and morally blind.

        Thank God you have a step bro with a moral compass.

        ((hugs)) and love. ????❤️

      • I am sorry that you experienced that. And also sorry about your sister being a horrible fukk.

      • Wow. That’s some justification for child rape. He was the best caretaker ever…

      • ILC–

        “When they come for the innocent and do not have to step over your corpse, curses be on your life and your religion.” Martin Niemöller.

        Your sister and cheater’s mother… I will never understand anyone who minimizes rape, moreover the rape of a child, or spins apologias for the perpetrator. When I see this it’s like the earth tips on its axis and I feel like I’m going mad. It’s unspeakable.

        I’ve had people accuse me of “catastrophizing” for taking swift and “extreme” measures to protect my kids from abuse. At first I was stunned. My attitude now is “Hey, I didn’t follow my first impulse to set the perps on fire.” I took legal routes, the definition of “reasonable measures” and “not extreme.” But if put to it, I would have been more extreme.

        I did this because it had to be done and because it must be seen by children to be done. Many trauma specialists say that social response following atrocity makes or breaks the victim.

        You endured multiple betrayals that continue to echo every time someone tries to play it down. May your life forever be filled with the types of people who don’t stand down in the face of unjustifiable abuse. Nothing less is fit company for you.

    • PORTIA

      You have written a very insightful summary. Well said.

      Whatever grievances the DOCTOR now insists made him “miserable for years” somehow never triggered a divorce filing by him.

      I filed when I discovered his double life & he was angry. But those facts are also forgotten.

      The struggle I have is dealing with the reality that I really deeply loved my now ex husband, for all 35 years of our marriage & 2 years of dating.

      BUT – now I cannot honestly say I knew him.

      So, who the hell did I love??

      • You loved a mirage. You loved the man you thought he was. Once you started loving, you no longer saw any flaws with clarity. Your ability to love allowed him to abuse you and the marriage. Your love was strong enough to render you a chump.

      • “The struggle I have is dealing with the reality that I really deeply loved my now ex husband, for all 35 years of our marriage & 2 years of dating.”

        I think that loss will always stay with us on some level. In my case it was a loss of 21 years, including the year we were legally seperated. My sweet husband has of course had his own loss, and though he is not a big talker, I know he thinks of those losses from time to time. What human wouldn’t. We were both dumped, though in his case I don’t think she was cheating. I think she just wanted to be free to drink and live on her own. His marriage was 29 years, so even longer than mine.

  • In honor of the blame-reversing sister, here’s an ancient post from some reconciliation site flaming with hubris about how “light and positive” chumps who stay with cheaters are compared to the awful “bitter and angry” betrayed spouses (and bad parents) who leave and don’t “own up to their own patterns.” The tone is like a ruler-wielding Sunday school teacher rapping knuckles with a prissy holy roller smirk:

    “Infidelity in a marriage isn’t easy on anyone. It hurts, it triggers fears, it ruins the status quo, it just totally and completely sucks. Once it enters your world you will never be the same.

    I wonder then why some people are able to move beyond a betrayal to rebuild a stronger relationship or to at least improve their own character – and others never do. Some women just get stuck.

    I read some blogs recently that were posted on a ‘divorced moms’ site. I think what struck me most is the self-righteousness of the author and the anger that lurked behind every word. One blog in particular was fueled by a belief that simply by kicking her husband to the curb that she had somehow become a stronger, better person. I’m not saying that it doesn’t take a degree of strength to kick your spouse out of your life – but in the case of this particular woman that act alone didn’t seem to change her. Years after the divorce she was still experiencing the same degree of hate and anger – but now she was doing it alone. The hatred that seeped into her words were heartbreaking. Hatred for her husband, for men in general, for women who sleep with married men…it was pretty upsetting. This woman has children with her ex – I can’t help but wonder how much of that hate is felt by those kids – and what happens when one day those children are old enough to read their mom’s blog. Ugh.

    I do understand when women decide to divorce their husband because of infidelity. As much as I’m a believer in staying, I do think there absolutely are cases when leaving is the best thing to do. But it doesn’t negate the need for those women to try to move beyond the anger, to deal with the pain, to forgive rather than hate, to own up to their own patterns and to open their hearts. These things that need to be done whether you stay or you go. There is no sense in dwelling in the pain. It’s needless suffering. Holding onto that hatred and all the feelings that go with it can never benefit anyone and won’t prepare you for the possibility of a healthy future relationship.

    If you are struggling with the idea of forgiving an ex or a current partner who betrayed you – maybe you can start by praying for that person. Perhaps that can be the first step down a lighter more positive path. A path that is lit by empathy, caring and love.”

    • “One blog in particular was fueled by a belief that simply by kicking her husband to the curb that she had somehow become a stronger, better person. ……. Hatred for her husband, for men in general, for women who sleep with married men….” Other than hating all men, her reaction seems pretty reasonable to me. The author if this piece probably hadn’t ever really been betrayed by anybody.

      • I thought the same thing! Honestly, if some women are still “bitter” about being cheated on years later, it is understandable. And the “light and positive” chumps are, for the most part, likely putting on a front and the reality is much different than it appears from the outside. Marriage policing and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

        • Yep.

          Also, there is no one size fits all, many women are treated horrible for months/years and lied to and manipulated etc before finding out what is going on, because they are being lied to and manipulated etc.

          Sorry, but I just can’t see coming back from that. For those that have a spouse who immediately realized their horrible actions, that is one thing; but many don’t get that. Or by the time the errant spouse wakes up, it is too late. So they are making decisions based on a totally different scenario than the betrayed who has a remorseful spouse.

          The idea of spending years marriage policing sounds horrible to me, but if it works for others, God Bless.

          After I looked into my ex’s cold grey shark eyes the day he told me he was leaving me to marry schmoopie, all his apologies down the road just didn’t matter anymore. I could have never trusted him again.

          Did I find it funny and rewarding that he cheated on her several times within a year of their marriage. Sure I did. Do I care now? no only if it helps another baby betrayed. That is what this is about, helping others just get through, by sharing our experience.

        • People with an entitlement mindset never love anyone., apart from themselves.
          In order to truly love someone, one must be prepared to say, “No I don’t like this, but if it’s really important to you, then I will try to understand why it is important to you, and if I can, (with the proviso that my accommodation doesn’t negate *my*values) then we can move forward.)

          Anyone who isn’t prepared to do that is a waste of skin and oxygen.

    • You make an excellent point that is not often directly addressed. I have said over and over to myself that my cheating fkwit hooker habit husband of 28 years may have stolen the integrity, dignity, trust, and honestly out of our marriage but in no way will I allow him to make me become a bitter person. He may have shattered and broken my heart but I will not allow him to make it a hard heart. I want to enjoy a giggle, a good joke, wrap a pretty present, finish a great work report, plant beautiful flowers, enjoy cooking again – just experience JOY again. You make a very, very good point that the goal of moving on or staying if that’s the case is not to stay angry. I’ve mentioned before that in law school there was a professor that would literally scream at us “Don’t get mad people, get smart!” Chumps are brilliant – we may have been chumped but we will not let a Cheater steal our joy. I spoke to a women’s group the other day – young gals – and said education, education, education….no matter what – always be able to provide your own income. Nothing worse than standing there with stretch marks, a screaming baby, a dusty degree, and calling the Cheater to see why the check hasn’t arrived – especially if OW answers the phone. Don’t allow yourself to ever be backed in to a cage.

    • BITTER is an acronym for

      Being In Totally Truthful Emotional Reality.

      So yes, that makes me bitter. And proud and glad to be so, unlike cheaters who aren’t wired properly in that regard.

    • Stop there.

      Instead of spending any more time excusing, forgiving, looking at your own patterns, opening your heart etc etc etc

      spend time recognizing that you were abused by an abuser and you have every right to be angry and outraged and stunned and victimized, because only by admitting that this happened to you can you take the steps to embrace yourself and reject blame for the actions of a totally fukked up person who took advantage of your good nature.

      Keep reading and educating yourself and move past the shallow platitudes of those who make it their business to judge your “bitterness” and inability to move on after two years despite absolute betrayal, instead lecturing you on how to forgive by praying.
      Leave the forgiving to god. Spend your energy on recovery and understanding what happened to you.

    • In the old days a person got stoned to death for adutlery. I guess society didn’t view it as a light and fluffy act. Until recently.

  • That’s terrible to be BLAMED! I’ve often wondered in my overthinking was there anything I could’ve done or it done… it’s unfair. BS. I know I can’t and won’t cheat so it just takes that type of person, I suppose.
    My mother said let that shit go “I doubt he’s ever going g to do that to
    You again, I think he knows better”…
    When your own mothers advice is to suck it up…
    My sister asked “are you getting any closer” in a text so I was unclear on what direction she’s asking so I replied “closer to WHAT I’m not sure…”
    My husband acts like I’m irrational that I would give up after all these years because he’s here and cares about me SO MUCH. Guys you truly have to dig within yourself because sometimes the support system you need just won’t be there
    I know they love me it’s just different than my way
    Anyone been guilt tripped to stay by their husband or wife?

    • “Anyone been guilt tripped to stay by their husband or wife?”

      Just one of the pages in the cheater manual.

      Ex fuckwit said much the same to me, “so you’re just going to throw 23 years of marriage down the drain?”

      You betcha.

      I put up with physical, verbal and emotional abuse for years, but cheating for me was a deal breaker.

      • Funny how they reference our sunk costs – all the time and effort they know we put in – and hold it in front of us to keep us with them. My answer now would be, “And what makes you think it was worth it (or ever will be)?” 🙂

        • I said, “No, *you* threw 23 years down the drain when you fucked that rat faced whore you call your ‘fishing buddy'”.

          • Shann, apart from anything else others have said, (and do internalise what LAJ has said, she is so wise) ; Think. Is this relationship acceptable to *you*?

            If it isn’t, (and it clearly isn’t, or you wouldn’t be asking CN’s advice), then do something about it.

            This man doesn’t give a tuppeny fuck about you, he’s using you. What you *know* about his fuck fests with his ex is only the tip of the iceberg. For every rat you see, there are 50 more you don’t see.

            He’s ‘trying’? Bullshit. As Yoda says, “there is no try, there is only do”. This fucker is quite happy for you to mother his daughter, (the daughter with his ex) whilst serenely fucking his ex??!! No, no, no! And what kind of woman is his ex that she’ll go along with this truly sick scenario?

            Sweetheart, you are being *used*, and you will continue to be used as long as you go along with this shite.

            I can’t better LAJ’s advice. You are a relatively young woman, you have a lot of life to live, a life that should be about what you want, and what is acceptable to you.

            As I said a few posts above, the mindfuckery of guilting you for ‘throwing in the towel when we’ ve had so many years together’, is just that, mindfuckery. This piece of shit didn’t think about ‘your years together’ when he was fucking his ex, did he? No. So see it for what it is, and kick that fucker to the curb.

            CN is here for you. Much love and hugs. ????????

    • Shann,

      I am so sorry you are going through this. Please read the Unified Theory of Cake. Your husband just wants to maintain cake. He is not “learning a lesson” or trying to “make things right.” He needs you to stay to maintain cake. Your mom does not understand this concept.

    • Shann, honey, that just means your own mother is guessing. “I doubt he’s ever going to do that again.”

      My answer? Once would be enough. But it was more than once. And every act of cheating requires lies and deception. So it’s not just cheating. It’s a whole complex of character defects that add up to massive entitlement. That’s a real answer to these family members who blames the chump: Why does the cheater get to lie? to take money from the family? to break the marriage vows? to give what he or she promised to someone else while the chump remains faithful? What makes cheaters ENTITLED to a playing field that is all in their favor?

    • Shann, you have been groomed for years to care about what he thinks. They brainwash people! To the point that we lose ourselves because of their control.

      I am in the beginning stages of leaving, so I am right there with you. I have had to make it into a game. It my STBXH wants something, odds are that is NOT in my best interest, because it is all about him. Well, I played the all-about-him-game for years and it sucked for me.

      Since we are giving people, it is a crazy feeling to mentally say, “NO! What is best for me!?!” Odds are, what is best for you is the opposite of what he says. So if he thinks that you should stay together, then you want the opposite. With a lying cheater, wanting the opposite of them will point you to the truth every time.

      They pitch such amazing fits that you never want to do anything to upset them. Yet, they willing destroy our lives and expect us to be chill with it.

  • When I was going through the discard phase, my circle of influence became increasingly small. People who suggested that it was somehow my fault (after I stayed through umpteen d-days and then he left me anyway for an OW when I wouldn’t sign student loans for my stepson – but that’s another story)… were excluded. I needed people around me who were going to say what I needed to hear: “You can do this. You were always alone in that marriage. You’re the sane parent. You will get through this. Here is the name of a really good lawyer…. etc.”

    Funny thing is, once I got rid of my cheater, I didn’t find it necessary to expand my circle… the greatest gift from the whole cheating shitshow was getting really clear on my boundaries and my tribe. You can too… blood doesn’t bind you, shared values do.

    • “Funny thing is, once I got rid of my cheater, I didn’t find it necessary to expand my circle.” This was the case with me as well. You find your tribe. And that’s all you need.

  • Here’s the thing. Everyone over a dedicated long faithful marriage has marriage issues. Everyone and if they say they don’t they are liars. Everyone at some point in a long marriage deals with extraordinary stress whether caused by jobs, aging parents, death of loved ones, children, illness- physical or mental. There is not a couple out there that doesn’t experience a myriad of stress and communication, sexual, parenting issues in their marriage. That is life!!!!! And the couple is either dedicated to work through that together, seek help together and or separately but the key word here is dedicated. Cheating on your spouse is not dedication.
    When I was in the throes of the first year of reconciling I could not hear that it was not my fault. It is true -if I could blame myself than I could fix myself and prevent the pain from happening to me again. I would cry so hard and close my ears if someone would say it wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t hear it. And my cheater husband loved (and still runs with) all these stories I and others (RIC, bad therapists) told him – how fun to be relieved of all the guilt. The truth is he kept cheating for years and until my lovely very smart mother showed me the cycle of abuse and said no more. Before I died from trauma and stress she knew I had to get out. I had fixed all my “faulty problems” that caused him to cheat – I was a perfect wife (always happy, fun, super sexual, incredible housewife, vacation planner, listener, child raiser) and forgave him and did everything he said I wasn’t or was doing – but he kept it right up. I don’t know if anyone needs more proof than that but I couldn’t convince myself anymore with that evidence blaring in my face. It was never me, it was always him.
    It is complete ignorance to blame the victim. It is no different than asking a rape victim what she did- short skirt, bar late at night, walking alone?, to cause herself to get raped. Or asking a wife what she did to incite her husband to punch her so hard she had a bloody nose and black eyes, or blaming a teen for getting bullied by wearing the wrong clothes. It’s abhorrent to blame a victim and highly ignorant and disgusting. And this needs to change when it comes to infidelity. It is never the fault of the victim of abuse. Ever. And often the victims of trauma and abuse blame themselves wrongly enough, as this is a natural reaction.

    If others can’t embrace this concept they are the same people who blame the rape victim, the bullied child and the physically abused wife. And this is disgusting. I would explain this or discontinue talking to them, since it is only going to hamper your healing. You don’t need to add pain on top of pain to help others see decently.

  • I know this is a re-run, but I suspect others are in the situation where a close family member has this attitude. It must be so galling!! I’m sure CL is right that the OP’s situation threatens the sister.

    Thankfully I’ve been spared such blaming from family and true friends.

    One acquaintaince slid very close to the blame-the-victim line. Although she expressed deep understanding about how “shattering” the betrayal was, she also said that “men have greater sexual needs.” What annoys me is the following:
    1. Assuming my ex wasn’t getting those needs met at home. (He was, dammit!)
    2. Implying that greater sexual needs somehow justifies betrayal
    3. Ignoring the selfishness and lack of character required to cheat
    4. Making a sexist assumption about my own sexual needs v his.

    As for people at large (people who learn of this through the grapevine), I think they probably assume there was a dead bedroom or somehow I was at fault. That’s infuriating, but I’m trying to let it go. I can’t control what people think. My close friends and family know the truth.

    And the “I-love-you-both” friends are out of my life.

  • Here is a recipe for if not happiness, at least some peace:

    Stop caring about what other people think.
    Trust what you KNOW. When you hear people saying it might be your fault or you never know about a marriage—YOU KNOW about yours. You KNOW if your X was playing a part, wearing a mask, living a double life. YOU KNOW. They don’t know.
    Pay attention to YOUR OWN VALUES. What do you expect in a marriage? What is acceptable to you? Did you sign up for a spouse who is having sex with other people? Sharing your secrets? Exposing you to STDs? Spending marital assets to have affairs?

    I didn’t think so. The terrible thing about betrayal is that you not only learn that the closest, often most trusted person in your life is a manipulative, lying, cheater, you also learn that some of your family members and so-called friends have shallow values.

    My BFF, another close friend, my cousin, and my therapist were all 100% in my corner. My BFF flew 2000 miles and spent 3 weeks with me as soon as she could after D-Day. She got me on my feet to the point where I was functional, more or less. My other friend was the one who mocked the AP endlessly and told me I was nuts to get into a pick-me dance, before I even knew what it was. My cousin is just loyal and has seen every single idiot I’ve ever dated, going back to 9th grade, without making one judgment. My therapist said, “You can never take him back.” And none of that is to say that they don’t tell me straight when I’m on the wrong road. It’s just that they don’t think I’m to blame if someone abuses me.

    Other than those few people, I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks.

    • I had one close relationship that was damaged in the wake of D-Day. What she did was tell me to “get over it.”

      I did. But it was years before I saw her again.

    • Yes to all this!!

      Having supportive people (friends/family/therapist) makes all the difference. And not caring what other people think is freeing.

      I’m forever grateful for those who have buttressed me through the worst of this nightmare. My therapist, too! She’s the best. There *are* good therapists out there.

  • That’s some pretty thick gaslighting. I will say that alot of people react this way because it triggers something very scary inside of them that they don’t want to deal with. The thought that they can’t control, or even really anticipate, the outcome of their marital partner’s behavior, I believe, upsets a great many people.

    When you’re in a vulnerable state, this kind of feedback can really make you doubt your path to rid yourself of a fuckwit. I was lucky that most people found my ex’s behavior abhorrent. As to the rest of them, I simply would put my hand up and say “don’t, there’s no excuse for lying and betrayal. If you make one here, for him, you lose my friendship.”

    • “As to the rest of them, I simply would put my hand up and say “don’t, there’s no excuse for lying and betrayal. If you make one here, for him, you lose my friendship.”


  • Hi, Jo, I also have an identical twin who took my ex’s side. She raged at me that I had no right to break up my marriage, that marriage was hard work. This was ironic as I had been married much longer than she at the time. She also claimed that my ex would never have done that, that he wasn’t gay and sleeping with men.
    So, I guess she knew him better than I did, even though we were living in different cities for eighteen years and only saw each other a few times a year. I feel betrayed by her and our relationship has suffered. I hope you and your sister are doing better.

    • Thank you SeenTooMuch. What a coincidence we both have a twin sister. I haven’t spoken to her since May aside from a few e-mails chatting about the weather, LA fires, etc. Being 6,000 miles apart is probably the best thing right now. I also know, from being a twin, that even though we share the same DNA and are identical, we are very different people. The ol’ nurture/nature. She even said “oh, in France it’s common for husband’s to have a mistress” I sent her a posting from a gal on CH that said something along the lines of how that’s nonsense and French wives hurt the same as we do. Time – hopefully time heals all wounds. My very best to you for happiness – we didn’t order these ‘shit sandwiches’ we didn’t see them on the menu – but we got them nonetheless. Making lemonade out of lemons.

  • I wasn’t getting what I needed from my paycheck, so I embezzled.
    I wasn’t getting what I needed from the store, so I shoplifted.
    What? It doesn’t work that way?
    Then why does cheating get excused?

    • Because people read books like “Eat, Pray, Love,” and enjoy movies like “Same Time Next Year.” Cheating has become normalized and even celebrated.

      • I tried reading Eat Pray Love years ago but found it to be a whine fest & could not even make it 1/2 way through as it was such garbage. Fast forward to last year and I looked at my then husband’s Facebook friends to figure out which married howorker he was cheating with…it didn’t take me long and one of her fav books yep that same Elizabeth Gilbert POS so called non-fiction trash.

      • Hmm, never mind that the real life model for the Eat, Pray, Love guru covered up the serial rapes of children by her founding guru for decades, had her own brother beaten up by thugs and then tried to brainwash her followers into ignoring the crimes. Search NY Times and Salon exposés with “Gurumayi + sexual abuse.”

  • Dear Pissed Off,

    It’s a good thing I don’t know who your sister is, because if I did, and she said that kind of asinine remark to my face, she would live to regret it. So in lieu of being able to “discuss“ with her how erroneous her belief is, I’ll just say…


  • “Myth #5: The affair is the fault of the cuckold. The irresponsible belief “You made me do it” is often accepted by both the betrayer and the betrayed. Despite all the therapeutic effort that goes into teaching patients that they are responsible for their behavior, many therapists believe that affairs are an exception, and they can only be brought about by collusion between the marital partners.

    There seems to be some therapeutic advantage to declaring an affair to be a collusive effort, but that is almost a paradox. It quite obviously is not actually true.

    One person cannot make another have an affair. Affairs, almost by definition, require the physical absence of the spouse who is being betrayed. I have seen one marital partner try to make the other have an affair, and rarely has this succeeded. Each one of the swinging couples I have seen through the years began the swinging when one had an affair and was then determined that the other would do so too. Far more frequently, the betrayer tried to coerce the betrayed into having an affair and faced refusal. It is a hard thing to force.

    In general, I don’t find it helpful for a betrayed spouse to take responsibility for any part of the affair. The one being betrayed can’t make affairs happen, can’t make the betrayer stop, and can only make him- or herself available for solving whatever problems there might be in the marriage, though those are going to be grotesquely distorted and exaggerated as long as the affair is continuing or being defended.

    – Dr. Frank Pittman
    Private Lies

    “Affairs are so emotionally and instinctually disorienting, consider yourself temporarily insane.
    Of course your marriage feels wrong right now, but you are what is wrong with your marriage.”

    – Dr. Frank Pittman
    Grow Up!

    My beloved therapist since 1985 did workshops with Frank Pittman. I love his work.

  • What if making your relationship unbearable was a strategy to blame you so they can get out of the house to be with their side chick? Or get you to file so they don’t have to take the blame? Or they just really really have a hard time cheating on the side chick with you? Cheaters do lots of weird shit until you get a view from a distance. Surprise! So yeah, there’s relationship problems and then there’s cheater coverups. Watch The Brothers McMullin. Or I Think I Love My Wife with Chris Rock. Eye openers

    • Narcissists are masters of the set-up. Even if you don’t react to their nasty behavior, they will make up stories about how awful you are to ‘justify’ their affairs and other bad actioil ns toward you. The only thing you can do is shut them out of your life permanently.

    • “What if making your relationship unbearable was a strategy to blame you so they can get out of the house to be with their side chick?”

      Yep. My cheater exit-affaired me, but he told everyone who would listen afterward that he had been “gone” from our marriage 4 months before he met the AP (never mind that he neglected to share that particular decision with *me*, who was still cooking for him and sleeping with him and planning for the future with him during those 4 months while he was out looking for a vaginal escape hatch from our marriage…).

      During those months, all I knew was that he was getting more and more irritable and angry and withdrawn, ramping up all the usual emotional and verbal abuse and even threatening once to hit me. Now, looking back at his bizarre and aggressive behavior during those months, I realize he was (probably subconsciously) trying to break me emotionally so that I would either leave him first or do something that he could use to justify walking out on me–thus making me the bad guy and not him. When none of it worked, he jumped into bed with *literally* the first woman who would open her legs for him (a mother of 2 in the midst of a messy separation from her husband…OK, then) and then came home and announced to me smugly that he had “found someone he was interested in” and was leaving me. He laid all the blame for the affair and abandonment at my feet along with the usual steaming heap of bullshit excuses (not enough sex, arguing too much, “growing apart,” blah blah blah).

      What gets me to this day (1.5 years post DDay; 1 year post divorce) were those months when *he* knew he was leaving me and *I* didn’t, when he was turning up the heat on his abuse so that he could use my hurt, anger, and withdrawal to justify his fables about what an awful wife I was and how miserable we were together and how he just couldn’t take it any more…. Honestly: I’m pretty much over the exit affair (b/c I know better than to compare myself to a woman whom my ex knew for all of 3 weeks before he f*cked her and blew up an 18-year marriage, or to take the blame for that bullshit), but I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the four months leading up to that. Whether he did what he did consciously or intentionally or not–still, that’s some evil shit.

      • He had you in the devaluation cycle of narc abuse. You can’t do anything right and they keep moving the goal posts. My Ex-H worked out of town but was home on weekends. I always cleaned up the house the best I could before his return. I was working full time, raising 2 young kids, and running a side hustle biz. He seemed to get more critical in the months before he discarded me. I always failed to do something. At one point, I remember telling him I could have this house completely clean, no dishes & no laundry, & you would still find something to complain about. That actually made him faux apologize with a work stress excuse. For months I believed that he had so much stress from his new position and commuting home on weekends. Nope – he was stressed out from leading a double life. Sleeping with his married coworker and his clueless wife and trying to keep up with all his lies.

        • Yep, my ex would come in after a night of screwing schmoopie and his eyes would scan the house looking for something to jump on me about. Even in real time I could see him looking for something. Though I didn’t realize he was screwing schmoopie. It was always “work”

          I now wonder what the heck was going through his mind at that time. But, they are such liars that even a psychiatrist couldn’t get it out of them.

          When he wanted to come back, (and I let him for a week) he said oh I lied, I just said it to make you hate me, I love you, I am sorry yada yada yada. Then by the end of the week, it was I can’t get the feeling back, I need space. I told him to leave and gave him a week to drop whore and get to a counselor.

          He didn’t call back in a week, so I called and said you were supposed to call me, he said I can’t decide. I said you don’t get to decide, we are done.

          We were already legally seperated, so I just called the lawyer and said proceed. He said I figured I would hear from you soon. I should have never let him back in the house without professional therepy for both of us.

          He tried to circle back three more times that I remember, but I said no. Still don’t know why he was circling back as he went ahead and married schmoopie, so he wasn’t done with her. I have decided he just needed to destablize me for his own perceived benefit, whatever that was.

          As irritating as this lockdown has been, I think it has been beneficial to me to talk to all you lovely strong women. I just wish you all the best.

      • The thing is we don’t know what is happening when it is happening, so there is no way we can react better, or defend ourselves.

        I know when he ramped up the violent verbal and emotional abuse, I was scared; I was trying to figure out why he was so nasty mean. I even asked. “Oh it is just pressure at work, sorry”

        The horrid thing is, by the time we know what has been happening it is too late. Even if my ex when he started circling back was sincere, rather than just trying to destabilize me, it was too late and so much had been said and done, I was numb and who could ever forget all that. His parting shot had been “I never loved you and I was never faithful” You can’t take that back, once it is out there.

  • The silver lining for me is this: I have a life without a fuckwit and it is a great life. What I put up with is over.

    He’s a fraud, a liar, a user, an abuser. Best thing about it – the kids know and perhaps that will save them from fraud, using, future faking, and abuse.

  • If you want to try ,go ahead and try but and it’s a big but know that it will be mostly one-sided on you the chump!!!! like people of been telling you here at CHUMP NATION , protect your assets and your share of the marital assets make sure you can support yourself !!!!post nuptial agreement !!! I cannot stress how important that is ….I am so glad that I followed that plan, Secretly lawyered up, And kept coming here and getting support from Tracy and CN because after the fifth D day I was done and everything was already in place it has been a three-year slog but my walls are starting to sing????

  • My therapist recommended having a support system after telling me he was a narcissist and that I needed to divorce him. The only support system was my daughter and son who moved back home to complete his college education.

    My sister said no one liked him and yet asked if he could still do service at her home. That coldness kept me away from her for years. My father smirked and asked if she was younger.

    The best support system is right here on CN and my therapist who understood narcissistic relationships. He helped me see and find my way out.

  • I’ve been chumped. I recognized that we had some problems in our marriage that we needed to work on, and we both had some responsibilities for working them out.
    I am not responsible for his cheating, and it is not my fault that he did it.
    I can only speak to the RIC that I have experience with. I was never told that the cheating was my fault. I was told that if we wanted to stay together, we had to identify what the issue was in our marriage, and find the solution together. My husband was forced to accept that the infidelity was his fault alone. We reconciled, but he still has a lot of self hatred and shame, and sadly I still feel hyper vigilant.

    • “We reconciled, but he still has a lot of self hatred and shame, and sadly I still feel hyper vigilant.”

      I seriously doubt he feels “self hatred and shame”, although he might *tell* you he does. Why would he? You’re still there, being the good little wife appliance. I’m sure he’s enjoying that plate of cake and the fork you’re handing him.

      ” I was told that if we wanted to stay together, we had to identify what the issue was in our marriage, and find the solution together.”

      It’s obvious what the ‘issue’ is. Your husband is a liar and a cheater. Having an affair takes a lot of planning, lying, gaslighting, and a fundamental disrespect for one’s spouse. It is never a ‘mistake’, this shit is *planned*.

      “… sadly I still feel hyper vigilant.”

      Of course you do. You’re being the marriage police, and you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, which it will, some time down the road when you’ve invested more years and sunk costs in this piece of shit.

      Is it really worth it?

      I’m being brutal, I know, and delivering a heavy 2 x 4, but I don’t think you really believe your cheater is “full of self hatred and shame”, or you wouldn’t be feeling “hyper vigilant” and commenting here.

      Is this *acceptable to you*?

      You don’t have a unicorn Phoenix, you have a manipulator.

      ((hugs)) to you, I wish you all the best. xx

    • Phoenix, of course you feel hyper vigilant. Now you know he’s capable of lying and cheating on you. It would be foolish for you NOT to be vigilant. My question would be, if he had done the exact same thing to someone else, and you magically knew everything about it, would you have wanted to marry him? Knowing what kind of deception he was capable of? One of CL’s mantras is ‘Is this relationship acceptable to you?’ I respect your wish to do everything you can, Phoenix, however once one side has broken a contract, even the marriage contract, the other side is free to do as they wish. If your wish is to reconcile, I do send good luck wishes to you

    • I wish you the best, and just caution you to always think of what is best for you, because he just won’t. Doesn’t mean you can’t work it out, but you need to be your own advocate, because he will be his. I am sure you know this.

      You have taken a hard route, but then so is divorce; there are no easy ways to recover from betrayal.

      In my case I didn’t get that choice up front when he left me for schmoopie, and when he started circling back, I was done; he had stayed at the fair too long. It was the best choice for me even then, though I had no way of knowing it at the time, he was crashing and burning; the rest of his life has born that out.

      • Susie Lee – your words “he stayed at the fair too long” are sincerely so profoundly meaningful – this needs to be the title of a book regarding the pain of betrayal and the consequences of prolonged self-entitlement. “He stayed at the fair too long….” Wow…..he stayed at the carnival, the adult playground, the fantasy of whoring…. You have a great concept there. Those words, like the Virginia Ham arms of the OW and a few other descriptions I’ve read on Chump Nation paint still images/pictures. But your words “He stayed at the fair too long…” paint a moving picture.

        • I remember folks saying that when I was a little kid, a hundred years ago. I don’t remember the context, but the saying just seems to fit adultery/betrayal.

          In my case, had he came right back after Dday, I would likely still be there trying, or at least would have tried until he did it again. Since he waited so long, I had time/distance to get stronger and start my own life without him.

          So as I told him the last time he tried to circle back, you made your choice, you need to go on with your life. And that was true he initially had all the choices, I had none. All I could do was pick myself up and go on, and so I did.

          And yes you are so right, so many good sayings here, and good info. I wish I had something like this when I was going through it.

          • You are helping so many of us now. I stumbled, literally, across the LACGAL book as I was buying books on healing and infidelity on Amazon – the cover of LACGAL and title was like a lightbulb in a dark cave. Thank goodness I found the book and then her web sites and the postings of wise women like you Susie. I had no idea when I first found her book that D-Day 2, D-Day 3, and D-Day 4 were yet to follow. The only reason I’m vertical and walking my dogs is in no way thanks to therapy…I had none. It’s thanks to LACGAL and the postings of fellow-chumps, particularly the wise ones who have been to the mountain and back like you. I’m walking my dogs today on a clear crisp Autumn day – and for that I am grateful. We are never responsible for the decisions Cheaters make – but even in 2020 wives still get the bulk of the blame – it has to change.

            • ” it has to change.”

              I have decided anytime this subject comes up with family or friends that I will do some educating. I will be polite, but firm.

  • That MIL, acting like cheating is a legitimate response/solution to a problem. Knowing MILs as I do I would say in her case this is her way of avoiding having to face that she raised a FW and any resultant blame that may be apportioned there, your sister, I have no idea what she’s doing, unless she’s projecting her own sense of failure/fault onto you. Throw off the bullshit that they try to shovel your way and let them know you love them very much, but you are not going to discuss it with them, instead if they insist on being dicks about it you will focus on solutions-based assistance they can give. Oh, I don’t want to talk about why it happened, I just need you to recommend a good plumber and somewhere I can get a job/put myself through school now that I no longer have my partner around to support the family. Everyone deserves family and friends who say, you’re a good person, you don’t deserve any of this, and we never liked him anyway, but if they can’t bring themselves to that point they can at least shut up and be of practical help.

  • This is simply abuse upon abuse. Multiple people told me that shit and my own mother said, it must not have been that bad as I stayed 30 years. Just heartbreaking to us chumps when you can’t find anyone to be in your corner. Its pointless for people to understand especially when they really loved the fake XH.

  • Facts – if you are unhappy in your marriage or there are problems you either get some help or get a divorce – not find someone else to fuck or get emotionally involved with to make things even worse. I can’t believe those people actually buy into that bs – cheating IS WRONG there is no excuse or rationalizing it

  • Thank you, Chump Lady, for posting this.

    I did love my ex husband when we were married (25 years). But sex with him was often “uncomfortable” because he would not address certain hygiene issues. Primarily, his horrific breath. I explained to him that it detracted from sex. I had to ask him every time he tried to initiate sex to please go brush his teeth first, which always made me feel bad for him (I worried it hurt his feelings) and he never made a good effort at cleaning his mouth.

    He made other “hygiene” choices saying he thought it would entice me into more sex such as shaving his chest hair and pubic hair. A prickly chest made snuggling even more uncomfortable for me and I told him so. But, he continued to shave it, regardless.

    Slowly, over time, I started resisting sex with him as it just wasn’t sexy or enjoyable.

    I told my sister all of this after he left for his 29 year old girlfriend. She, in turned, blamed his leaving on me not having enough sex with him.

    I took it very much to heart – blaming myself – until my therapist pointed out that I was honest with my husband and had asked him to make changes to make sex more enjoyable for me and he never made the changes.

    Instead he found a young girl he thinks will provide him the sex he needs. And, I now surmise that the shaving was done more to satisfy her than me.

    To this day, I am still hurt that my own sister blamed me for his leaving and for not providing my husband enough sex. I don’t know why she would have hurt me further, so soon after my husband’s leaving, by blaming me. I’ve tried to decipher her intentions since then.

    Unfortunately, I now realize that my relationship with my sister has always been distant and toxic – and her blaming me was the wake up call. Maybe, unbeknownst to me, she had trouble in her marriage earlier and that is her basis for blaming me.

    Regardless, I feel that if you’re honest in a marriage and try to discuss issues and your spouse is not receptive, you are not to blame for marriage problems, your spouse is.

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