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I’m the OW and I’m Terrified He’ll Cheat on Me

Today is Election Day and Mr. CL is off at an ungodly hour to go cast his ballot. (I already voted using a handy drop box.) I hope you all get out there today and VOTE, if you haven’t already. My neighbor has been stress baking and leaving us pumpkin bread, cookies, and scones. Which I’ve put in the UBT strategic reserve for sugary carbs. Anywho, I’m taking the morning off, and am rerunning one of the more favorite columns here, where an OW wrote to me expecting chump compassion…. and it didn’t end well.

Dear Chump Lady,

I am probably the biggest chump of all, but here goes…  I was married for 21 years and had an affair (the only one) with a married man I work with, who had been married for 17 years. 

He said I’m number 8 for him. He told me about all of them — even about sleeping with his wife’s best friend (who also happens to be his best friend’s wife and neighbor). My naiveté made me believe that it was a one time thing. He told me it went on for 15 years! I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that, but I am still with him. 

He also told me he went to a strip club when he was away for work for a month and picked up a stripper — also that she stayed with him the entire time he was there. We both divorced our spouses and are living together, but as you can probably guess it’s not good. I obviously don’t trust him and a lot of times can’t stop thinking about his past. It makes me want to vomit. I am terrified he will cheat on me — he said he won’t of course. AM I THE BIGGEST CHUMP OF ALL?


Dear DB,

No. You’re not a chump at all. You’re the victor in the fuckwit Thunderdome. You’ve beat out the competition and won the sparkly turd, DB. No tag backs. He’s all yours.

If Chump Nation wonders why I run these OW letters (which invariably devolve into troll fests) consider them a public service announcement — this is what winning the Pick Me Dance looks like.

The obvious but nauseating realization that you’re not special? Check.

Twitchy, mind-bending hypervigilance? Check.

Living together (presumably between strippers), clinging to the facade of your shitty relationship, to prove that annihilating two families was worth it? Check.

DB, I’m sorry. You competed for this Dreamboat with the full knowledge of who he is. Regretting your decision doesn’t make you a chump.

Perhaps you think being a chump means making stupid relationship decisions. Or having the kind of piss poor self-esteem that allows a person to tolerate fuckwits. Let’s be clear on the concept. Chumps are UNKNOWING. They are duped, lied to, humiliated, used, conspired against, conned. You are none of those things. You knew exactly what you were getting — a cheater. You’re a cheater. He’s a cheater. You aren’t us. Chumps are acted UPON, they are not the actors. Chumps do not consent to be chumps. You, on the other hand, signed up for this shit.

Ergo — you are not the victim here. You’re Number 8. One idiot in a long line of idiots.

So now you’re terrified that he’ll do to you what you were complicit in doing to another? And you want MY sympathy? Who the fuck do you think you are?

Look, I’m an actual chump, so part of me feels bad ripping you to shreds for reaching out to me. You has a sadz and maybe I can help. But then I bitchslap myself, because post-infidelity Tracy has zero tolerance for your kind of malignant entitlement.

Entitlement? Yeah, the kind of chutzpah that writes “I had an affair (the only one)…” You want a bitch cookie? Tell it to the guy who lost 21 years of his life to a cheater (YOU). You’re scared shitless that Mr. Wonderful MIGHT do to you what you actually DID to your ex-husband. Meditate on that.

Or how about the entitlement that led you to fuck a married co-worker? Did you consider his chump wife? Let me guess — she didn’t Sufficiently Appreciate Him. Compelled him to fuck those strippers and her best friend, huh? She must’ve deserved it. Unlike YOU there Sparkletwat. Best of luck with all your super specialness. Hope it serves as a magic barrier against STDs.

DB, it takes some gobsmacking gall to come on a support site for chumps when you’re the OW. I’m sorry that merely thinking of being betrayed makes you “want to vomit.” (Actually betraying chumps, however, must be just tickety boo.) How hard it is to be you.

I’d hate for your visit to Chump Nation to be for naught, as you wanted advice and all, so here’s some:

Regular pap smears.

Good luck.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “I’d hate for your visit to Chump Nation to be for naught, as you wanted advice and all, so here’s some:

    Regular pap smears.”

    Regular blood tests (HIV and syphilis).

  • Sparkletwat. Tee hee, has always been in my top 10 Chump Lady/Nation best lexicon. Never ever fails to amuse me. Just so apt.

  • As I get ready to vote today, this was a great way to bring a smile to my otherwise “this is going to be a terrifying week” face. Thank you CL

      • Chump Lady is there anyway to determine who that came from? I ask because that describes my current situation exactly to a T, and I am wondering if my ex infiltrated this website. Either way I am saving this article for future reference and possible court purposes. Thank you for sharing.

        • The cheatetrs, regardless of gender or nationality, use the same playbook. Reading the archives and all the comments was very enlightening for me.

  • Interrupting the OW’s sadz to give a shout out to Mr. CL for getting out so early and voting ????????.

    So much more important than any words to an OW. Hope she’s miserable and that her ex-husband and his ex-wife are living wonderful, happy, health lives!

  • Epic. Thanks for the reminder of what winning the pick me dance wins you. :::dances in the other direction:::

    • Yes, this is SUCH an important lesson. I wish I had thought more about it when I was vying in The Pick Me Dance. During that time, did/said numerous things which indicated his shitty-partner status but Oh no, I was gonna WIN!

      When he returned (with nebulous promises of actual repentance in the future but it was just “too hard right now”) his lack of remorse or respect for the magnitude of what he did traumatized me all over again. Most days I hobbled along trying to find something redeeming in whatever day I was sharing space with him.

      As most know, I kept hobbling along until his sudden death whereupon I achieved the perfect Chump trifecta of being betrayed, abandoned and widowed by the same person. My meh is pretty good these days…thoughts of them that used to make me vomit now illicit zero response. Your Tuesday is coming.

  • What comes around goes around, typical cheat, full of me, not even thinking of the people they originally hurt. She wanted his ex wife life, well she got it, enjoy!

  • Not only are you not special, you’re the whore who was dumb enough to break up her family for a piece of shit.

    In his defense he didn’t try to hide anything….he was quite clear that he is a piece of shit and thinks that much less of you because you went for it anyway.

    Good luck….you need it.

  • Before I get to OW, I, too, hope everyone VOTES!

    This email is so over the top, I get the feeling it’s fake because my little chump brain cannot comprehend such delusional cheater thinking. But let’s assume it isn’t.

    Dear OW,

    You have to earn these chump stripes!! You can’t just waltz in here and say you’re a chump. It’s a special club, filled with blindsided loyal people who are in various stages of pain caused by f**kwit cheaters like you. You can’t be a chump and a f**ckwit at the same time. It doesn’t work that way. You’ll get no sympathy here.

    I can only hope that my ex’s OW feels as you do.

    I will give you one bit of advice: leave this guy now, get STD tested, and seek therapy to figure out why you want sympathy for behaving in an entitled, shitty manner. Oh, and maybe go out and do good things in the world. There’s a path to redemption.

    Oh, and vote.

    • I get letters like this all the time. Most of them regret being the OW, should they tell, etc., but this one was particularly tone deaf.

      • the best thing about reading this letter (and your perfect, hilarious response) is that it’s just confirmed to me how far into meh i actually am. i don’t even think about the ow anymore. i don’t think about him. if he comes up in convo, i have no negative feelings…nothing. oh how wonderful this place is. thank you soooooooooooooo much for everything you’ve taught me CL and Chump Nation. for those early in their pain; you WILL get past this fuckshit stage and one day end up in meh. i promise.

      • Do you ever get any follow ups from the OW, or replies to your UBT? ????????

          • Very rarely. I think I’ve published one letter.

            Yes I hear back sometimes from OW.

            • I can’t imagine what they would say, especially after a devastating UBT! Oh, *do* publish some, please! ????????

            • Chump lady,
              You should post more OW letters. I see it as Karma biting their asses and it helps me more closer to Meh!

              • Years ago, while still separated and awaiting the divorce, my ex played games with the finances one time too many. I got PISSED and went into his voice-mail to be petty and vindictive and erase whatever he had. Yeah, I know, not my finest hour, but I won’t bore you with the details of how contentious and vicious he was playing with the finances to “punish” me for divorcing him. Anyway, I listened to several messages of his new mistress (his first ex wife), and then several from the other woman. The new mistress was all fake sweet and loving. The other woman was leaving him messages begging him to return her phone calls more often. Basically, the pick me dance. It was obvious that she knew on some level, he was now cheating on her. Apparently, he was telling her the same bullshit lies he was telling me (that it was so dangerous where he was and phone calls out were very dangerous because he was always having to run for the bunkers), except, unlike me, she was desperate for some attention. We were dual military, so i actually had a life and didn’t feel threatened if my husband didn’t call me every single night while deployed to a danger zone. I later learned that he was actually using time he could have used to talk to his kids and wife, to call his affair partner everyday, but meh. Whatever. What I got a little satisfaction from, was that she now was getting the same crap cheating treatment that she’d been complicit in helping him dole out to me. Karma at its finest. Reap what you sow slut!

    • @Spinach, yes indeed OW’s are really truly that deluded and worse. I got similar drivel from fuckwit’s whore for over a year. Yup, whore was sending me, the chump, self pitying drivel like this and worse. Sometimes I wonder if I should dig through and submit one to the UBT. It’s mind boggling insanity and these idiots are very much real.

      These psycho whores are the ultimate karma bus to the fuckwits. Don’t ever fall for the facade of all happy and lovey dovey bs these idiots may present to the world. What goes on behind the facade makes hell look like a pleasant vacation spot.

    • There is a path to redemption, but I doubt this OW letter writer has what that requires. This letter is so tone deaf it’s almost farcical and I do wonder if it was even legit.

      Redemption takes admitting you’ve done wrong, genuinely with no qualifiers or blameshifting, taking responsibility for your actions, changed behavior, and committing to the tough work it takes to repair lost trust.

      I doubt sparkletwat here has even an ounce of that.

      • I just love the name “sparkletwat” it just works.

        I wish I had known that word when the ex FW called me to tell me he and the whore were going to Las Vegas and getting married. I wish I would have known to say “Good luck, hope Sparkletwat is worth the price you paid for her”

        Instead, I just said; “why are you calling me” He said; “I didn’t want you to hear from someone else” Weird.

        If he only knew I breathed a sigh of relief when I hung up the phone, because I was scared to death that he would end up not marrying her; thus escaping his punishment’s, er I mean reward.

      • We have had at least one former OW who looked at herself and realized that she was a fraud. This is a rare thing, and I know it happened once. So yes, there’s a path forward, but it’s not an easy one and the APs who tread it do so knowing that they are not entitled to forgiveness.

  • I voted in person days ago. The other household members voted days ago too (mail-in). Our state made mail-in voting remarkably easy despite it being the first time to encourage everyone to do so by mail. The many ballot drop boxes made a HUGE difference, I suspect.

    They also changed the law regarding tabulating mail-in votes. They can be counted before election day so that minimizes the risks of making errors.

    I know my little state is blue and isn’t big enough to be a prize worth wrestling over, but we still take voting VERY seriously in my family.

  • Thank God that thoughts of the OW I was left for no longer traumatize me. I have completely internalized CL advice that the OW/OM is never, ever a trade-up as her complicity in colluding with my ex for over 21 months of my marriage reflects her lack of moral character too.

    As a woman, I feel saddened for the OW. She’s so stupid in so many ways. She doesn’t understand that she’s being used to satisfy a man’s needs. She thinks she’s special, yet I know that she wasn’t the only one. She’s just the one that lasted the longest because she had the lowest standards. She must really be desperate.

    We’re a couple of months away from the third anniversary of my ex leaving the marriage to pursue this relationship. Yet, she hasn’t met a single member of his family, and it will never happen as they are standing firm against his adultery. She hasn’t met the friends that my ex was closest to over the years, as all the wives have confirmed that he never mentions this woman to their husbands and has never brought her out. And there was a period of about three months last year in which my ex had the kids meet and hang out with her kids – six times only. Our son has Autism and he started to derail. The visits stopped shortly after.

    How doesn’t she see that she’s still his dirty little secret? How doesn’t she question that he’s still living a double life and that she’s still compartmentalized from the rest of his life? They now have an almost five year history together, and she doesn’t even know the kids nor has she ever attended one of his family functions.

    I’ve read the emails they shared in the last few months before he left to be with her. It’s riddled with lies on his part. There is even a day in which he invites her out, but she can’t make it. One of his friends confirmed that he slept with another woman that night, a woman he had been hanging out with for a bit. Meanwhile, he still hadn’t left the home yet. And she doesn’t understand the level of lovebombing in these emails, mistaking it for twu wuv. He becomes whoever he is with, and so she doesn’t recognize that the phrases he uses are hers parroted back to her. I was with this man for almost 15 years, and I don’t recognize the man presented in these emails, nor do the people who know him who have also read these messages.

    It’s so sad and pathetic. I can’t even feel threatened by it anymore. Just two pigs rolling around in shit who don’t smell each other’s stink. Thank God it’s not me. Thank God he’s her problem now.

    And so to read another OW feel sorry for herself because she was an accomplice in the grievous act of infidelity starts my day with a chuckle. Honey, you should be worried, very, very worried. You get what you paid for. Congratulations!

    And BTW…if I ever meet the OW, I think I shall thank her. “Ah, honey, let me extend to you my heartfelt gratitude for having freed me from a liar and a cheater. Congratulations for having been more special than the others he played with to validate his fragile ego. You have allowed me to finally achieve peace in my heart and peace in my mind. So, thank you, thank you so much for having ambiguous morals, low self-esteem, and poor character. You win. I bestow glorious victory upon you. Have fun with that.”

  • How long ago was this originally posted? You know this OP is a special kind of ego and STILL cruses this site. Dear “DB” {Lord we know what that stands for!}, how about a little update?

  • There’s something just so messed up about a person who feels that they need the secret, the hidden, the deception. And then when they get it suddenly they realize it’s a bagel with turd topping.

    She’ll move on. And he’ll move on because neither one of them have that little thing inside them that wants to hold a marriage together.

    The sad thing about this is that it opens up hurt to two other people who are going to come along and believe the garbage that these two put out and perhaps get snagged into a chumpy relationship.

    So I would say this to her, stay with him. He really loves you. He really really loves you. For reals.

    • My aging ex will hang on to the OW as if his life depends on it because it does. He’s socially awkward and introverted (covert narcissist). He might like to think he’s a playah, but deep down he knows that she’s the real thing. They started the multiyear affair while both were married. He couldn’t believe his good fortune that this woman who was “so nice” and flirty to everyone chose HIM. A narc orgasm right there!

      Now that they are both divorced, they are living with each other. No doubt she saw dollar signs in taking up with him (went after another married doc before having success with my ex). But with the divorce and all, his net worth, while relatively high, has taken a dive. (I pause here to thank my lawyer once again!).

      I have a feeling he is probably the paranoid one, much like this OW. He has the sadz every day. He will live in terror that this cute, bubbly, flirty younger woman will find someone else. Oh and he’s lost so much more than she. I imagine there’s considerable resentment. Maybe, someday, he, too, will write a tone-deaf letter to CL.

      • [email protected]– I could have written this too. Young, (fake) bubbly goldigger, XH hitting 50, 7 figure earner. 25 year marriage, 4 kids. XH turned out to be covert narc serial cheater. When i said Gtfo XH moved OW out of her Daddy-cheater home (at 30 OW still hadn’t launched!) and XH put her through law school. OW recently graduated, passed the bar, got a good job (XH’s connections). XH has gained 75lbs, is falling down drunk every day, and career is starting to nosedive. It’s been 5+ years since I went grey rock/no contact so he can no longer blame me 24/7 for his self-created woes. She’s both the target of his rage now (haha!) and the source of his fear that he’ll get dumped, publicly. Then EVERYONE in his sick circle will see what’s obvious— she’s a using whore. I’m so glad to be free of that disgusting scene. Cheaters cheat and liars lie. They both suck.

      • That cute and bubbly thing– over it. I’m happily cultivating cynicism.

        Someone my family knows got “cute, bubbly, flirty” in younger wife #2. I’ve told the story befire- wufe #2 also turned out to be, oops, a violent ex felon and child abuser who cheated on teaching exams and on her older chump with everything that moved. Little did I know that the other family’s cheating scandal would help me navigate my own about a year later and wake me up to the risks.

        Everyone around that family friend had been fooled by wife #2 except the guy’s son from his first marriage whom this woman had abused when he was a teen. As I talked to this guy’s then-adult son (before my own D-Day) about his family’s drama, I started doing a reasessment of my life long confusion over “cute and bubbly” behavior in adult women, reflecting out loud on how many like this had turned out to be con artists and betrayers. Not all but way too many.

        The young guy talked a lot about his allergy to two- faced charm since experiencing trauma and gaslighting. His lovely and very grownup young fiance felt his stepmom had obviously been stealthily campaigning to get him blackballed from the family so stepmom and her own spawn could get more of rich dad’s resources. Since it turned out this step-witch had a violent past (assaulted a sugar daddy who took away her credit cards in her secret stripper days), I got a chill thinking of how far people like this can go to get what they want.

        At that point I thought maybe my “live and let live” accepting attitude needed updating. Maybe I needed to be a little more– gasp– judgmental. I told the son of the family friend that I felt genuinely horrible for having been yet another adult in his orbit who’d missed the cues and had been fooled by his evil stepmother in a time when he was being viciously persecuted by this woman. I said it must have been terrible for him as a kid watching people smilingly interact with this cutesy fiend while he suffered in silence, not believed by his own family. I know I would have believed him if he’d confided in me but it pains me to think how he couldn’t have known who to trust when everyone seemed charmed by that fiend

        For those of us who are rather sober and earnest dorks, bubbly diplomacy in other people can be an icebreaker, and sober and earnest people tend to project their earnestness on everyone else, assuming others are being their natural, honest selves. Wrong. I’m glad my default is to trust, but when it comes to children’s safety, it’s irresponsible for adults not to be somewhat leery.

        Who knew that these realizations would serve me well when I learned from a whistleblower that I was being cheated on with a dead ringer for evil step-witch. Due to what I’d learned from the other scandal and out of terror for my kids, I went into military mode immediately, retained a top attorney and a PI to gather rock solid proof. Then I chumped out for awhile but at least I had the upper hand (and full color incriminating photos in a fault state) in my hopium crack pipe phase. I wasn’t dancing as hard as FW. And I learned that gratingly fake “cute and bubbly” had cost my family mid five figures and could have led to much worse.

        In the end I couldn’t get over how close to danger FW had placed his family. The overlaps with the family friend’s evil stepmom were many. I developed the same allergy and it extended to fake FW integrity.

        Now that I have a teen daughter, I’ve realized that cute and bubbly is the domain of actual kids, not so much grown-ass women. During the wreconciliation stage, while her brothers were visiting friends, my daughter asked to come downtown with us while we interviewed a marriage therapist so we could take her to a comic emporium afterwards. During the interview with the horrible therapist, I heard my daughter talking in the lobby and peeked out to see her bouncily chatting with a resident of the building, a woman of about 25– one of those that dresses like and probably passes for a sporty teen and who seemed to be trying to play along with the “just a kid” routine.

        Maybe the woman was genuinely into Pokemon, but next to an actually innocent actual teen, this chick looked like an imposter and a weirdo and my hackles went up. Instant perspective.

        The woman looked slightly guilty and skulked away. She probably wasn’t up to anything nepharious other than getting caught in the throes of age regression and talking to an unsupervised tween she didn’t know, but even that looked creepy.

        I saw the crappy therapist wrinkling her brow at my mama bear maneuvers when I sat back down. I thought go ahead, Dr. RIC, jot a note about how I’m “overprotective” and “cynical.” It’s what ultimately saved me and my kids.

        • HellofaChump – thank you for this. Makes me more glad to be a sober dorky earnest Chump. I plan to be of service to others who are unsuspecting of the danger that lurks in overly nice and overly feminine pariahs in fluffy dresses.
          I agree, also,chat I have an obligation to children who are suffering with abuse to be discriminating about the information I receive. Yes, the damage they inflict can be truly… Heinous and irreversible. I trust my gut more now and you and CN are a part of that process. Glad to be free and grateful.

          • Peregrine– Sorry I missed this comment. Same to you! It’s so important to have like minds to strengthen gut instincts and sense of truth.

            Speaking of faux feminine and fluffy dresses… Because there were some stuffy matriarchs at evil stepwitch’s bridal shower, I gave her a bias cut, form-fitting semi-sheer silk chiffon La Perla pajama set. It had long pants with a drapy peekaboo thing happening and barely-there crop top. It wasn’t all-out bordello but still unmistakably, er, lingerie. As soon as she opened it, she bounced and squealed that she was going to wear it on girls’ night out! A little foreshadowing of how that marriage went.

            That awkward moment when you realize you could have saved a bundle getting Frederick’s of Hollywood.

      • The OW has my ex by the balls also. He lives in her house and is on her health insurance (filed a domestic relations order). He’s too afraid to live alone and cannot move to his mom’s house because two other brothers and an adult grandson live there. Yes, glad I got away from THAT family!

  • DB,

    No, you are not the biggest chump of all …. but you might be the biggest idiot. You knew what you were doing was wrong. You knew what you were getting into. You knew that innocent people were going to get hurt. And you still went ahead and did it, didn’t you? You’re no chump, as you did this to other people; it was not done to you.

    DB, you are like a thief who, having stolen something that doesn’t belong to you, is now b*tching to anyone who will listen that you don’t want someone to steal that which was not legitimately yours in the first place. I suggest that you crawl back under your rock, have a good hard think about your life choices and shut the f*ck up.


    • CL nails it. The AP went in knowing that she was party to destroying 2 marriages.

      There are some sociopathic cheaters who are so good at leading a double life that the AP has zero idea that the cheater is married. I have known at least one case of this, and when the AP discovered that he was the unknowing AP, he was physically ill and has had to go into therapy in order to be able to start to date again.

      The unknowing APs are victims, not this sparkletwat.

  • I am still surprised how, someone can lie daily, cheat, steal money from families and act in a totally disgusting way and be cheered on! I guess as long as they are getting what they want it doesn’t count. This is why Switzerland friends, family need to be tossed out of your life. They have told you who they are, please believe them.
    I will be watching cds, today. I can’t stand the rhetoric or stress.

  • My daughter-in-law’s BFF is a woman in her early 40’s who blew her own marriage apart by having an affair several years ago. Her two children were quite young at the time. She was “so sorry” and wanted to work it out with her husband but the wreckonciliation didn’t work out. My daughter-in-law says this gal knows she made a big mistake and is very remorseful. I, personally, cannot even look at the woman, let alone interact w/her in any way. As far as I’m concerned, once a cheater, always a cheater. It is pretty much an unforgivable sin (or really series of sins) because it says so much about that person’s lack of character. I don’t know if there is really any way for them to come back from that.

  • Once upon a time during a freezing snowstorm, a rat got trapped inside a house and away from its burrow, ate its fill of party leftovers, then tipped over a decanter and got tipsy. To stay warm, the drunk rat decided to nest down with a new litter of kittens, like “Oh here I am, just a cuddly wee ball of fluff like the rest of you! Ignore my hoary, patchy coat, yellow fangs and slimey naked tail. I’m a widdle baby kitty!”

    That didn’t end well either.

  • Dr. Asshat reached out to Schmoopie #1 during the scorched earth divorce, in spite of his glee in exclaiming to me “I’ve found my soulmate”. He even was Instagramming with her and she was commenting on my daughter’s photos. Do I wish HoWife knows about that? Maybe she won’t ever find out, but it made me realize he hasn’t changed and she’s not “special”. Or that he wanted to have sex with me when he handed me divorce paperwork and when I refused, sent a horrible three page sexual fantasy to me later that night (like I was going to continue being his fuckbuddy)?

    What I don’t get is how can anyone feel that their relationship is so perfect, when it is based on a foundation of lies? In my case, HoWife got what she wanted, a big white wedding at 53. But she doesn’t understand the large tab she incurred by marrying a covert narc. I just wish sharing the kids (DS24 in particular who is FB friends with her) wouldn’t sting as much. That’s definitely a shit sandwich.

    • It does smart.

      However, I always think “she deserved him way more than I did” In fact if it comes up at any point, you could easily say that to her or his face. “she deserved you/him way more than I did” They can make of that statement whatever they want, but they will know.

  • By proverbially “coming clean” with you, he was actually testing YOUR morality and YOUR future chumpdom willingness. Narcissists regularly do this… to determine if you can be groomed. You won a cheater… and you were told going in, so no returns.

    • My ex did the same thing. She confessed that she had an affair during her earlier serious relationship, when she felt taken for granted. She was so in tears and remorseful about it,I thought she was genuinely sorry and learned her lesson.

      Well.. guess what happened when she felt taken for granted during our marriage…
      When I found out, she also used the fact that she told me about her earlier cheating as proof that her affair was unplanned and just happened.. (twu wuv!!!) Because I knew how awful she felt about it and she would never do that again!! She would never intentionally do that to me and it just happened…
      That was a big mindfuck

  • “Am I the biggest chump of all?”

    All I hear is, “Me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me, HEY how come everyone stopped looking at ME?!?”

    Spot on answer, CL. ⭐

  • You’ve got a lot of nerve coming to this support group for chumps when your the OWHORE!
    Enough said….????

  • I bookmarked this column ages ago to reread whenever I got triggered. THIS IS WHAT THEY SIGN UP FOR. Nothing to envy or be jealous of in reality.

    These are NOT healthy people.

    Wonderful people don’t screw around with married or otherwise committed people, and wonderful married or otherwise committed people don’t screw around.

    It took me a long time to reconcile who he IS with who I thought he was. It took me a long time to reconcile what they ACTUALLY have (a crap low quality association) with what I thought they had. I still have moments where I have to take action to remind myself of who he is and what they have. They do NOT have what I want. I don’t want to catch what they have, actually.

    Reading this column….OUT LOUD…..really helps with reprogramming.

    • Further, when you are a cheater, your focus is on shiny appearances and you ignore rotten insides. Big gulps of denial must be downed constantly. It is inevitable that disappointment ensues followed by the need to cheat again. A new game player must be located.

      Don’t let it be you.

    • “They do NOT have what I want. I don’t want to catch what they have, actually.” (and I know exactly how they are living) They can put on a big grin and say all the religious affirmations they want, but I know. Quite frankly I suspect most of them are not nearly as good a liars as they think they are.

      Same here V, however; it still bothers me some that I was so bamboozled for so long. I hid that anger at myself until a couple years ago, then it resurfaced when he blew up his relationship with our son.

      Thanks to CL and a couple other sites; I have worked through it, especially since I opened up to my brother and my best friend about the treatment I got from him.

    • Thanks, VH.

      Why, oh why, do I need a daily reminder that these are crappy people and that there is “[n]othing to envy or be jealous of in reality”?

      My mind plays tricks on me. I start imagining my ex and his OW (OWife?) having a beautiful life together. They’re eating crepes with fresh raspberries, drinking mimosas, and staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, ready for a post-brunch roll in the hay.

      An annoying inner voice whispers, “Maybe they *are* soul mates (or sole mates for VH’s ex). Maybe he and I were never meant to be together, and he finally found someone who is perfect for him. How could I begrudge him that happiness? Sure, he shouldn’t have betrayed me, but still….

      Daily I fight this voice.

      I have another voice that knows full well they are crappy people, amoral lowlifes who cheated on their spouses and blew up two families. They lie. They can’t be trusted. They feed on deception and kibbles.

      And yet, that damn whispering voice is like an earworm.

      Oh to be rid of it! That’s why I keep coming back here. Thanks CL And CN!

      • [email protected], me too. My ex has the most sparkly of lives after marrying someone else, not the woman he cheated with. I know he was still having the affair and kept on with it, months into dating his now-wife. There’s no way he told the now-wife that he was still having the affair because he is a full-on love-bombing narcissist.

        The fact that he’s getting away with revisionist history eats away at me and I have fantasies of going scorched-earth on he and his now wife. Karma is sometimes alive and well, but, the now wife stuck with him when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 HPV positive oral/throat cancer and everyone felt sorry for him because of the C word (I wish people realized it was really a STD word).

        On my good days, I laugh because it’s so outlandish. On my bad days, my subconscious ruminates. On my eventual days, I will be at full meh. It seems to be the ultimate ‘it’s not fair’ and while I know how childish that is, I’m trying to be as kind to myself as I would be if this were happening to a friend.

        • You are not alone.
          I feel this way today which is why I am here. Reading and getting my “therapy”
          Or reality check.
          I feel like… its not fair. Why am I so upset and he gets to live his sparkly life and move on?
          Then it hit me
          I lost what I thought was the real deal.
          I was fooled into thinking I had a partner for life. Someone who had my back forever.
          Through thick and thin.
          And he knew better.
          He knew he couldnt/ wouldnt give me that.
          He knew the MINUTE he decided to cheat.
          Maybe even before.
          So it take awhile
          To get over the loss. And realize
          He is still putting on a front
          For everyone else and himself.
          That he is “normal” and “ok”
          That sparkling, dazzling life you see??? Its a veneer.
          Nothing exists beyond the surface.
          And thats all I/ you can see now, because we are no longer in their life like that.
          So they look normal
          They look sparkling bright at times
          Reality… they are a sad hollow shell
          And thats it

          • Zeike, WOW!!! You said it do eloquently!!! After 3 years now, I finally realized how shallow he really was!! SHALLOW!!! Always wanting to look good for others!! How could I have been so blind. He never had my back and threw me under the bus many times!!! I guess I didn’t want to believe it, just blew off his sometimes negative comments to me.
            One time he told me I looked like a Billy Goat because I had some chin hair!! I was embarrassed and tried to make sure that it was always plucked!! Another time he said I had so much mascara on that my eyelashes looked like I dunked them in an oil can!!! It makes me happy to give things to others (I’m a flight attendant and travel to foreign countries and love to buy coffee and goodies) and know some of my friends don’t have the privilege of traveling like I do. Well, every now and then, I’d gather up some goodies and surprise a friend with a little gift. It would make me so happy when they would call and tell me they got a package from me!!! My XH said to me that I was trying to buy my friends!!! Why do I send stuff to people!!!??? OMGOSH that hit a bad nerve for me!!! I was so hurt over his callous remark!! He was not the giving type unless it made him look good!!!!
            I have gone back over my 26 year marriage and thought about all the shitty things he’s said over the years to me and I don’t miss him in the least!! I thought I did, but as time goes on, I know I’m the real winner here, not him!!! Oh, and BTW: they met at work and she is/was married also with 4 college age children!!! We didn’t have any children. Since we didn’t have children, I went NO CONTACT right after the divorce 8/18!!! Good luck with that Scoundrel!!!

      • “I have another voice that knows full well they are crappy people, amoral lowlifes who cheated on their spouses and blew up two families. They lie. They can’t be trusted. They feed on deception and kibbles.”

        This is so true, and it very well may be that they have found their “soulmate”, or in this case found their level. They are who they are, they did what they did; and no amount of lying to each other can hide that. Can they convince some other folks, maybe, doesn’t change who they know they are.

      • I think this is the hardest part about being replaced. He’s not a happy guy in general but I did try. Now after 30 years together he’s with someone else. My d-day came after he left so I have no idea how long he’s been with her. My best guess is at least 2 years maybe more. Who knows. I imagine she makes him happy and he’s a better man now. She’s riding around with him listening to Christmas music (my son let this slip). This sucks.

  • Me too. I actually feel bad for my ex’s whore because he’s apparently the best she can do.

    To put that in perspective, she’s 16 years younger then him (I’m 20 years younger), she has a good job , she’s reasonably attractive…..on paper she should have a lot of options.

    But in reality a guy who’s 16 years older, has a low paying job, wears a shitty toupee, can’t get it up, and is shady and dishonest is apparently the best she can do.

    She’s been married 5 times so take from that what you will.

    If she were here I’d tell her she could do better.

  • Here’s hoping another whiny little bitch gets some well deserved comeuppance today. ????

    To the whiny little bitch letter writer, if you still lurk here; we’re pointing at you and

    • WeAreTheChampions!!! YOU said it!!! I’ve heard that many times!!! Thanks for the reminder!!!!

  • Excellent job once again chump lady I’m so tired of these losers and the odacity to whine! My ex Narc plays the victim it’s sickening!????

  • The OW, sparkletwat in my case knew exactly what she was doing. She was bi-sexual, never married and deeply into her “fur baby” dog as a replacement family. She was pining away for a family – as I worked with her, she would talk about how lonely she was, how shitty her weird love life was with her ex-girlfriend and the new bi-sexual man and their sick love triangle, which also had some drama with ownership of the “fur baby”. You can’t make this shit up.

    In enters my mid-life crisis husband, who asks her if she can provide the kinky S&M sex that he’s not sure he can get from his wife – he’s quite fatigued at this point of going to hookers and meet ups and sex clubs. Well, she jumped at the chance to steal this man’s family, take his money that we had in our business, and move the wife and child out. And that’s exactly what happened. So now Mr FW has a desperate, young, bi-sexual, dog loving sparkletwat that sold her soul to be a sex slave to his fantasies. I hope some day she writes to CL to cry about what a shit husband he is, how he looks at porn all day, fucks hookers, sleeps in, is addicted to his iPad and doesn’t do anything (and that he’s highly allergic to dogs, so the fur baby is at risk of not being central in their lives).

  • This is what it means to be the AP who “wins” the pick-me dance: “You’re the victor in the fuckwit Thunderdome”!!!!

  • I felt compelled to reply today, because my story kind of ties into yesterday’s post as well.

    The (original) OW in my case, was Asshat’s best friend’s wife. I had been marginalized by Asshat in partaking in ‘normal’ couples friend stuff for years- Asshat had told me that his bestie and bestie’s wife felt that I was a “Debbie Downer” in social situations- after I openly cried at their 4th of July fireworks celebration, 2 months after I had lost my adult daughter to suicide. Fireworks were my daughter’s favorite thing in the world. I accepted that. I know, chumpy to the max.

    A few years later, I discovered Asshat was fucking bestie’s wife by looking at his cell phone. After I had asked Asshat to set a wake-up alarm for me on his phone, as mine was old and dying at that point. Asshat did his traditional weekend thing of downing a fifth of whiskey and passing out on the couch. When I got up to go to bed (I had to go to work the next day), I picked up his phone to take it to bed with me. A message from bestie’s wife flashed up. She wanted to know when she could see Asshat the next day, as “the iceberg” (meaning ME) would be at work- and her husband would be taking their kids to sports etc.

    I spent the next couple of hours going through about 2 fucking years of messages between the two of them, and saw the progression from him simply complaining about me, to their breathless “OH I WUV YOU” bullshit. When I had had enough, I jumped on his sleeping carapace like a spider monkey. His reaction? “This doesn’t affect YOU”.

    Fast forward to a month later, in couples counseling, where Asshat announced that he would not give up his cherished AP, because they were “IN WUV”. Counselor then tried to change the session to anger management for me, because I wouldn’t stop calling Asshat and his AP names. Fuck that, I was out of there.

    Fast forward again to (now ex bestie, husband-) busting up our mailbox with a Louisville slugger and Asshat running to the State Trooper neighbor for help. Me sitting on the sofa, laughing my ass off. Yeah, I told shmoopie’s husband. That was eight months later, as soon as I could get my financial ducks rowed up enough to leave. And I did.

    Switzerland friends told me later that Asshat started dating a 29 yrs younger woman he met in his favorite bar one time, when bestie’s wife wasn’t able to get out of the house to meet him. Bestie’s wife went ape shit when she found out, and broke it off with Asshat. Bestie’s wife and ex-bestie are now divorced, and Asshat and the youngin’ are now married. Ha.

    I eat a lot of beans since I moved out. But I don’t eat shit sandwiches anymore.

    • My condolences to you on your loss, Katie. I’m sorry you had to deal with that tragedy on top of all the toxicity in your marriage. As for the Debbie Downer bullshit: one of my best friends from high school, Anne Boyer, won a Pulitzer Prize this spring for her book “The Undying,” a memoir of her breast cancer treatment. Here’s the first paragraph of the excerpt published in the New Yorker last year: (

      “Before I got sick, I’d been making plans for a place for public weeping, hoping to install in major cities a temple where anyone who needed it could get together to cry in good company and with the proper equipment. It would be a precisely imagined architecture of sadness: gargoyles made of night sweat, moldings made of longest minutes, support beams made of I-can’t-go-on-I-must-go-on. When planning the temple, I remembered the existence of people who hate those they call crybabies, and how they might respond with rage to a place full of distraught strangers—a place that exposed suffering as what is shared. It would have been something tremendous to offer those sufferers the exquisite comforts of stately marble troughs in which to collectivize their tears. But I never did this.”

      • Katiedidn’t,

        I’m very sorry you were married to a man mean and small enough not to recognize that you should honor your tears, no matter why they are falling. There are religious traditions that see tears as a sign of being touched by the Divine. And human who have empathy usually respond to tears by asking, “Are you OK?” and then…listening to the answer with respect and human affection.

        You already know that he had obvious conditioned you to respond to overt abuse (which this was) with acceptance.

        And please don’t discount how intertwined cheating and substance abuse can be. They’re both about using something or someone to numb pain or avoid reality. You are so much better off.

    • Katiediddn’t !!! Giiiiiiirrrrrllllll!!! I LAUGHED my ass off at your post!!! Too bad bestie didn’t take the Louisville Slugger to your X!!! You’re my hero!!! Hahahahaha ps: beans are always better!!!

  • Other members of the mighty Chump Nation have pointed this out before, but I thought it bears repeating.

    Sharon Glass, PhD, in her “Not Just Friends” (2003) guide to infidelity that many of us were enjoined to read in couples therapy, gives the following advice to OWs aspiring to become OWives: “A man with a history of infidelity is not the best candidate for a life partner.”

    If that therapeutic advice is good for OWs, why isn’t it good for chumps? I much prefer “Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life.” Note that it’s open-ended: it doesn’t matter if the cheater cheated on YOU.

    We should write letters to Sharon Glass, PhD, asking why she thinks it’s a good idea for any of us to bend over backwards to try to reconcile with a cheater. My STBX really loved the section where Glass describes specific ways that chumps & cheaters can keep trying to “reconnect” during the reconciliation process, so that it’s not all awfulness all the time. Well, guess what? Reconnecting also feels awful to a chump! Would you recommend that a trauma survivor of any other stripe live 24/7 in a triggery situation, and routinely make themselves vulnerable to their abuser? “Here are photos of the explosion you survived. Be sure to pull them out regularly while you’re drinking your favorite beer, so that they don’t seem so awful!”

    Nope. No Contact. You can’t heal from abuse in relationship with your abuser. (The Al-Anon acronym is DETACH: Don’t Even Think About Changing Him/Her.)

    • “We should write letters to Sharon Glass, PhD, asking why she thinks it’s a good idea for any of us to bend over backwards to try to reconcile with a cheater. ”

      Good point. I quite honestly think in most cases trying to recon with a cheater is setting ones self up for a life of pick me dancing and cold treatment by the cheater. Once they have messed up their brain with their lies and blame shifting; they just won’t ever feel loving towards the chump again. I just don’t see how they can.

      Now I am not talking in absolutes. I recognize that there are some situations ONS, or short term and the cheater does a turn around and confesses. I acknowledge that there are indeed unicorn cases; just not many.

      My husband now is a hugger, and he is always affectionate. At first it was difficult for me, but I began to trust it, and I know he is real. I don’t think I could have ever trusted the ex FW again in those terms. Too much nasty water had gone under the bridge.

      • I can attest what it feels like to reconcile: my STBX’s first affair (we are both women) was in 2004, when our oldest daughter was 2. It was *relatively* benign: my STBX had a fling with an old college roommate for a few days while she was away on a research trip. She didn’t divulge the affair to me, but I discovered it about a week later when STBX left an email open on a shared computer. She immediately ended the affair, was contrite, arranged for therapy with me, etc. According to CL’s definition, it looked like Real Remorse, not Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. By 2018 (Affair #2), I hardly ever thought about Affair #1 anymore.

        BUT, none of our individual or couples therapists ever correctly diagnosed the trauma I went through after D-Day #1, even though I now see very clear evidence of it: I have never once felt rested since 2004, even after a good night’s sleep. I had a really hard time focusing, and never completed my PhD dissertation before leaving my grad program in 2006. I escaped into books and screen adaptations.

        And meanwhile, STBX continued with her fuckwit behavior, even though I do believe she did not actively have another affair until 2018. She had emotionally intense friendships with people she was attracted to. She had immature and unrealistic expectations for our marriage and life (esp. since I had become tired all the time!). She battered at my healthy boundaries and couldn’t maintain them for herself, like with her narc mother. She treated our kids like kibble dispensers, and then got flummoxed when they had inconvenient needs.

        So, I wish CL (or some equivalent) had been around in 2004, so that I could have found the strength to walk away at that time, instead of sticking around for 15 more years of pick-me-dance. I wasn’t always dancing to keep STBX from stepping out again (although, sometimes I was!) – mostly, I was just dancing to keep her “happy,” to try to hold the family together and to do the adult heavy-lifting around the house. Funny thing, though – I didn’t get any credit for my dance, or my spousal appliance skills.

        If I could counsel myself back in 2004, I would say, “I understand why it feels scary to leave now, as a graduate student, with a toddler. It may seem like STBX is really sorry and wants to make it work. But you have been traumatized, and this relationship is effectively dead. You will never again feel really happy in it, and STBX doesn’t know how to sit in discomfort, so it’s just a matter of time before the next betrayal. In the meantime, you will wear yourself out trying to square the circle. So do everyone a favor and call it, now.”

        • I too wish CL had been around, or that I had access to some actual knowledge of these types of behaviors. It was 1989/90. No internet, and there may have been books; but I didn’t know of them. It wouldn’t have changed the outcome, thank God as painful as it was I got out of it fairly fast; but I sure would have understood more that I was not the issue, he was.

    • LezChump,

      Excellent analogies. We don’t expect victims to move their burglars into the spare room…

    • LezChump,

      Shirley Glass (NOT Just Friends) is dead so letters won’t reach her.

      I bought her book too in my Amazon phase. Along with a bunch of other stupid books in infidelity.

      Wish I’d gotten CL’s book FIRST!

      I think a lot of the bad advice out there boils down 2 big problems in the weird world of the RIC:

      1 – the idea that therapists should start from “where the client is” (even if the client is wanting to save a dead marriage, because as we chumps here now know, breaking this most fundamental vow means the marriage is DOA)

      2 – the anti-science stance of too many therapists who say “we should avoid labels” – such as diagnoses of personality disorders.

      (Also motivating some, but I don’t think all therapists in the RIC: making money off of chumps who want to be supported in the Sisyphean task of rolling that reconciliation rock up a hill when they know it’s doomed to just roll back down again.)

  • This is exactly what I was thinking of the other day. You cannot be an Other Woman (see homewrecker) without victim blaming to some extent. If you think a piece of shit will behave for you because you are better than their ex, you already somehow believed that they deserved it. Don’t expect sympathy from their ex.

    • RE: APs. “If you think a piece of shit will behave for you because you are better than their ex, you already somehow believed that they deserved it.”

      For Chumps: The discard is about an easier target, not about you.

      • Im trying to see it that way myself. She was easier because she didn’t have the trauma he gave me. Eventually she will have that trauma too and will be discarded.

  • I don’t think my STBX will cheat on the other woman who is his best friend’s widow. Everyone involved is retirement age.

    But I do remember how sympathetic he was when we discovered his adult daughter had become involved with her first cousin’s live-in boyfriend. He was sympathetic toward his daughter, not his niece. Apparently, blood and cheating are thicker than blood and fidelity. One of the red flags, I suppose.

    • My ex FW cheated on schmoopie several times after they married. From what my daughter in law said, she left him a couple times. Lol, right, like she was going to walk away from that meal ticket back to the trailer park. “theatrics” At the time they had bought a house. (though they live in a fixer upper trailer now, so who knows) But, he is now 71 and can only walk about 50 feet before he can’t breathe, (for that I feel sorry for him, don’t wish bad health on anyone) she is 66, but looks older than him. At least she did the last time I saw them in 2016.

      Likely schmoopie has found a willing old goat male somewhere who isn’t real particular, if FW isn’t up to it.

      I will see them again (possibly) when the granddaughter graduates from college next May. If they even have a ceremony.

    • These older cheaters may not get involved in sexual infidelity, but they are fully capable of unplugging emotionally, devaluing the spouse, and discarding the marriage without leaving the house. That sounds like hell on a stick to me.

      • Yep. Schmoopies better watch those insurance policies and benefits packages, they can easily be dropped and cancelled.

        Hell I found out after our divorce that my ex didn’t even have fire insurance on the house his mother was living in. I got that house and found out after the fact. I got the insurance right away, but that is how much he even cared about his own mother.

      • My mother died a long time ago of cancer, years after my father cheated on her and dumped the entire family. She attended a cancer support group. One of the other female attendees shared that her husband would kick the corner of the bed where she lay resting after chemo and radiation, telling her to get up and fix him dinner.
        We all deserve kindness and caring, especially during times of illness.

    • Don’t rule out retirement age cheaters. Second hubby at age 75 got a new girlfriend.

      • Honestly, I can’t believe the stories I read of 67/70 year old men hooking up with young women (under 30) Either old men are way sexier than they were when I was young, or we have a nation of messed up young women.

        I get that rich old men have always been able to buy young women, but middle income men at that age? That is relatively new.

        • In a word, student loan debt. It’s very Duckensian. I sort of doubt this will ever be fixed in the US- too much cheap hoochie to be had, too many grads forced to work for global corporations they might otherwuse loathe or work against if only they could afford to have integrity.

  • I just noticed a new series on Hulu called My Sordid Affair. Blurb from the show: “Tales of ordinary moms, dads, wives and husbands who strayed from their relationships and lived to regret it after the affairs destroyed their lives.”

    Should be mandatory viewing for potential cheaters. Karma, baby!

  • This OW letter reminds me of a quote from Mark Twain: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt”.

  • I wish I could send this to the ex’s wiftress, but I don’t really care. He’s her problem now. She’s too young to have cheated with him, too- she’s not much older than our oldest, but she had no issues cheating with a cheater and is now terrified he’ll do the same to her- controls every aspect of his life and made him convert to her religion. It’s such a laughable train wreck- but I’m just glad it’s not one I have to deal with anymore!!!

  • Sigh.

    I wish the OW/wife would cheat on him or her on him. But he has embraced “honesty” and aspires to a life where there is no jealousy or secrecy. Translation: They do swinging and gang bangs and call themselves enlightened.

  • I know there’s a lot of competition for first prize but this might just be my favorite Chump Ladyism ever: “You’re the victor in the fuckwit Thunderdome.”

    In my case the fuckwit Thunderdome victor was Stripper #8645 who managed to get Edgar Suit to let her move in with him and be her meal ticket (She must be REALLY good at her job because she actually got him to put a ring on it last year). After my divorce was final she called me and complained that he was cheating on her with wait for it… Strippers. What a surprise!!! My response was to laugh and tell her there’s no give backs.

  • As she can always be relied upon to do, Chump Lady hits one out da park with this eloquently scathing reply to SparkleHo.

    The scenario is nearly identical to the denouement of my fourteen year marriage, preceded by my fuckwit husband and his also-married HoWorker being sordid on the sly for several years. They married each other two years after our divorce – his fourth marriage and her third.

    Most gratifying thing about this OW’s letter is that the pick me tables are turned and it serves her right. And hell no, this chick ain’t a chump and deserves all she gets from winning her very own Sparkling Turd.

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