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When the Other Woman Was a Frienemy

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Dear Chump Lady,

I struggle so much with my situation. My husband of 15 years had an affair with someone I considered a close friend. For over a year. Their lies and manipulation are astounding. We went on trips together with our families (she’s a stay at home mom and was married with kids too), and all during that time they were having an affair.

I was friends with her first, and she met my husband at some point. They started their affair, and then we started doing trips together. (Setting up family trips so you can spend time with your affair partner. How messed up is that?). When I was busy with our kids, either taking them to sports/doctors or volunteering at their schools, he said he was at work but was sometimes actually with her. (He even said he was out of town for work once, but really met her at the beach). They are continuing their relationship together and I’ve heard that they plan on getting married once my divorce is final.

I don’t talk to my soon-to-be-ex; I only communicate over text or email as it relates to our kids. He insists that this relationship “just happened” and that they “never meant to fall in love.” Friends have texted her to tell her what she did is horrible, and she says similar things… how they truly love each other and didn’t think this would happen. She and her (now ex-husband) both had past affairs apparently, and are amicable in their divorce. She said that the three of them (her, her exhusband, my husband) agree that this situation is the fault of all 4 of us. She said to my friend that she admits she made a mistake by having the affair and admits to her faults, but that I’m not admitting to my mistakes and faults.

The thing is, when I tell people about the affair, I tell them my issues in the marriage. But I still believe that things were fine when this affair started. Not perfect, but fine, and with active work my husband and I could have improved things. In hindsight, I can how things were deteriorating, but I had attributed it all to work stress. He was always traveling, always working in the evening on his phone/computer, always on his phone. Never in my worst nightmares did I think my husband was having an affair, especially not with a friend of mine, someone who I had intimate conversations with.

I struggle that they’re still together. I struggle that she’s going to be in my kids’ lives once my divorce is final. (She’s currently not allowed to be around them). I struggle that the three of them say I need to take blame for this. The affair is NOT my fault. That fault lies solely on her and my husband. I may have been a shitty wife, but I didn’t sneak around and have an affair. I didn’t lie. I may have been a shitty wife, but I’m a good friend. She can’t say the same. Her betrayal hurts worse than the betrayal of my husband. She’s a horrible person, and I wish I could shout that from the rooftops.

Menage a Chump

Dear Menage a Chump,

Holy DARVO, Batman! The Other Woman wants you to admit to your mistakes? That compelled your husband to fuck her? How does that conversation even go?

OW: I admit I made a mistake having an affair with your husband. Now you must admit your mistakes.

MaC: I once bought one of those wall-mounted singing fish.

OW: I conspired against you for over a year, and reveled in your humiliation.

MaC: It sang, “Don’t Worry! Be Happy!” every time someone walked in the room. It was like the Mood Police.

OW: I pretended to be your friend, only to betray you and destroy your family. But, you know, we’ll always have brunch.

***

Menage, there is NOTHING you did to deserve this. NOTHING. We don’t compel other people to abuse us.

Let’s UBT some of this crap, shall we?

They are continuing their relationship together and I’ve heard that they plan on getting married once my divorce is final.

Of course they are. They’re trying to legitimize the “Blowing up our children’s home lives was worth it!” relationship. What does marriage mean to such people? It’s an elaborately catered farce held in a great big tent of impression management.

Really, the most fitting punishment for these two losers is to wind up with each other. Although I know it doesn’t feel that way now. When you’re selfish, destructive, and have crap life skills, it tends not to end well.

(Setting up family trips so you can spend time with your affair partner. How messed up is that?)

Sociopathic. Also, not unheard of here. The level of sheer contempt they showed you — getting off on your humiliation and the power of their secret. It’s despicable. And the kids are just props. So are you — the Obstacle to Their Happiness. The hypotenuse who can pack the sandwiches.

He insists that this relationship “just happened”

Oh right. Crazy how you think you’re going to work and wind up on a beach vacation with your fuckbuddy. Could happen to anyone!

and that they “never meant to fall in love.”

No, it was just a Love That Was Greater Than Them Both. They bear no responsibility for the tsunami of passion that washed over them and destroyed the little people.

They’ll take mustard on that ham sandwich, thank you.

She and her (now ex-husband) both had past affairs apparently, and are amicable in their divorce. 

First off, you don’t know anything about her ex-husband. This is being reported by a liar. Cheaters often cast their chumps as fellow cheaters or in the know. Again, this is impression management. Getting to the narrative first that they Aren’t So Bad. Who among us doesn’t cheat? Shrug. But at least we are sexy and adventuresome and madly, madly in love. Whereas the chump is a sexless drudge who makes a lousy sandwich. 

She said that the three of them (her, her ex-husband, my husband) agree that this situation is the fault of all 4 of us.

Oh, isn’t that nice to think that a tribunal of cheaters is voting on your marriage.

Who cares what two (or possibly) three fuckwits think? Do you take fashion advice from hobos?

She said to my friend that she admits she made a mistake by having the affair and admits to her faults, but that I’m not admitting to my mistakes and faults.

I like how she only made one mistake singular, for a yearlong affair. But you have plural mistakeS and faultS!

Listen, you don’t need a portal into her fucked up world. No contact with Schmoopie, okay? And mutual friends are NOT helping you by passing on the details. I don’t care if they texted her to say she was wrong (big emotional investment there), if they’re hanging out with her and listening to her bullshit, these people are NOT your friends. Real friends will cut her off COLD.

The thing is, when I tell people about the affair, I tell them my issues in the marriage.

Don’t do that. The two things are not connected. I know you’re trying to be decent and show that you have the ability to reflect, as if this was some Examine Our Marriage level playing field. It’s not.

Try this sentence.

The thing is, when I tell people about Bob smashing my face through a plate glass window, I tell them my issues in the marriage.

Your “issues” didn’t make Bob ABUSE YOU. What these two people did to you was ABUSE. Intimate, scarring abuse.

I don’t care how much you suck, the OW and your STBX had CHOICES. They chose to abuse you. Don’t assist their narrative that they didn’t.

Her betrayal hurts worse than the betrayal of my husband. She’s a horrible person, and I wish I could shout that from the rooftops.

I’m so sorry. You can tell anyone you want that she’s a horrible person. You sound like you’re suffering under some Fair-Mindedness curse of false equivalency. That you cannot tell the truth about what happened — they had an affair, and screwed around right under your noses, inviting your children and you into their high-stakes illicit fuckfests — without having to come up with something “bad” about you. IT IS NOT EQUIVALENT.

Quit surrounding yourself with people who need convincing! This is objectively APPALLING, friendship cancelling, sociopathic behavior. Your job now is to sane parent and build a new life. Cut these freaks OUT.

((Hugs))

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Menage, you are not responsible for your XH’s. behavior. Even if you were a “shitty wife”, which is the type of idea cheating spouses plant in their partners head for their own benefit. Your brain has been programed to accept what you STBX tells you because you loved and admired him. That shows your loyal character. But he has taken advantage of your admirable qualities and used you like a rented appliance!
    Stay angry my friend.
    That is your path to healing and away from this fuckwit!

    • My guess is Ménage is most likely an awesome wife and mother who was brainwashed by years of abuse to believe otherwise by her STBX. Cheaters tend to be masters at that game. My ex had me believing that nonsense too-a good therapist who understands narcissism and domestic abuse can be a real lifesaver – I know from experience.

      • Yes this. Menage a Chump, please stop telling yourself and others that you were a shitty wife. Chances are overwhelming that your stbx intentionally abused you, picked fights with you, and criticized you for years. Emotional abuse is real and also insidious. It may take a long time to connect all the dots and finally work out what was being done to you and how. Either way, first step is stop telling yourself and others that you were a bad wife. I have it on good authority that cheating husbands (wives as appropriate) causes big problems in marriages. Feel free to use that line going forward. Tell people the actual truth.

        As for the cheaters claiming things about her ex, etc….. Doubtful if that’s even true. Remember that you can never ever believe a word a cheater says. It’s common for cheaters to continue to abuse you via so called flying monkeys – other people, sometimes imaginary people, who allegedly support the cheater’s narrative. Why? Because if they can claim that other people support their bs, the argument they are making appears to be stronger and more credible. It’s all hogwash.

        On that note, please tell your friends not to mention cheater or what they are doing ever again and also take a careful look at who your friends really are. Those you are genuine friends and care about you, will never bring up that topic again and will disconnect from the cheater socially. Those who “object” but then stay friends with cheating losers, are not your friends and not your tribe. Especially those who disregard your request and continue to try to gossip with you about what those two losers are up to. These people are toxic and intentionally stirring the pot. You will need to do some spring cleaning in that respect.

        True no contact means getting rid of the flying monkeys in addition to the two disordered psychos. I don’t recommend rushing in and getting rid of everyone, a la throwing out the baby with the bath water approach, but do keep your eyes open and pay attention and make judgments accordingly.

        • This. I had a “friend” who kept probing my wounds, until I began to question their interest. They briefly attempted “I’m just trying to help you”, then tried to stage a surprise breakup in a restaurant, then randomly out of the blue sent a devalue and discard text message.

          It hurt a little. But at the same time I felt totally validated because I saw each move coming.

        • Thank you everyone. Foolishchump, I like your statement. “Cheating husbands cause big problems in marriages.”

          My friends don’t mention the cheater, her ex, nor my soon-to-be-ex anymore. The friend that told me about the text with the OW has stopped. She called the OW out in the most beautiful way, which I desperately wanted someone to do, and after seeing the text exchange it provided me closure in a weird way. I finally knew where both of their heads were, and knew they were all playing victim and would continue to do so.

          Prior to that, I asked friends what was being posted on social media (I blocked the the three of them so that I’d stop looking, and friends unfollowed them but can still see the public posts)… But I knew me worrying about them and what they were doing was negatively impacting my mental health. I still struggle with thinking about what they are doing… Like when I see her or her exhusband dropping their kids off at school (the same school my kids attend). But I’m getting better.

          • Well, please don’t pay too much attention to appearances. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that as much as cheaters enjoy duping others, they live in abject fear of being duped themselves. Now imagine two liars and cheaters getting together and they know exactly what the other is capable of. Behind the facade, it’s a life of misery and nightmares and constantly looking over their shoulder, policing, patrolling, waiting on the other shoe to drop….which it will…. these people don’t change.

            A good psychiatrist, who is actually an expert in narc behavior, put it this way, “when two narcs get together, it’s a cage match to the death”. There is no happily ever after life there behind closed doors, no matter what picture perfect image they try to paint to the outside world.

            At first I was devastated, but then …..I actually wish fuckwit and his ho many many years together because anything less than that is insufficient punishment for the both of them.

            Meanwhile, I’m glad to be as far away as I can be at the moment. Minimal contact as necessary only. Do be kind to yourself and try to do as many things you enjoy as you can. It does help with the healing.

  • CL, you are the very very best.

    Menage, everything CL said, most especially the part about how cheating is 100% a failure of character and 0% a thing a person who lacks character does “because of” anything any other person did.

    My heart goes out to you. Class A toxic manipulators you’ve got there. Read and read about DARVO so it sinks in because you’re swimming in it.

    “Everyone agrees with us about Menage.”

    Not everyone, My Friend. A huge number of people here at CL agree with CL, and that’s way more people than your ex, your former not-friend, and a handful of drama seekers who love watching the train wreck like they’re watching some bad TV show.

    Run from them and hold your kids close, and stick with us. We’ll support you.

  • Menage a chump, you did make a mistake. You mistakenly thought that gaping black hole was a worthwhile human being, befriended her, and allowed her into your life. You should apologize to her for that. I’d phrase it like, “Oh, you’re right! My bad.”

    In fact, let everyone know about your mistake. It’s only fair that you take the blame for your part in all this.

  • “… how they truly love each other and didn’t think this would happen.”

    What’s the “this” in this sentence? They want the world to believe “this” is the abstract tsumani of passion (gag) that supposedly justifies the destruction of two families.

    Let’s get a little more specific with their behavior, rather than their nebulous feelings —

    “We truly love each other and didn’t think *exchanging private texts and emails of a personal nature* would actually happen.”
    “We truly love each other and didn’t think *covering our tracks to we could meet and fuck without anybody knowing* would actually happen.”
    “We truly love each other and didn’t think *purposely planning family trips together so the lies could be perpetuated and Menage could be kept ignorant* would actually happen.”

    Go down the list of every *specific* dishonest, deceptive, destructive, and emotionally abusive action they took. Each of them MADE SURE that they happened.

    • Bravo UX, Cheaters want you to believe that they had no “agency” they had no control. It was their fate.
      I say “bullshit” people know exactly what they are doing and know full well the outcome that will ensure and do it anyway. Because they want to!
      Cheating with a friend makes it more tantalizing and dramatic and they live for drama. Sociopaths !

    • Well, the question of intent is always the trickiest one. Unless your cheater is a full-on sociopath, of course he didn’t “intend” to commit adultery and destroy your life, any more than a drunk driver “intends” to veer into oncoming traffic and destroy another car. Most cheaters have bad boundaries, poor impulse control, little to no self-knowledge, an infantile Disney-esque conception of love, and difficulty imagining consequences beyond the twu luv feels (either the consequences to the loyal spouse and kids, or often even to themselves). None of this amounts to “intent”; it’s more like used-to-be-criminal-up-until-divorce-law-reform recklessness.

      Couple this with the corrosiveness of living with an active cheater, which can stress a run-of-the-mill marriage with run-of-the-mill problems to the point that the cheater can actually believe the claim that “there were problems at home that led to the affair” (a sentence that contains two truths, but which simply reverses cause and effect), and you have a recipe for avoiding blame.

      So, with my apologies to the people whose spouses deliberately sought out it out, marriage-ending adultery usually follows from a set of character flaws rather than from a conscious attempt to inflict harm.

      • Well said, IG. Intent is meaningless without good character traits to put them into practice. The behaviors are thus self-fulfilling prophecies.

      • You’ve nailed it, IG. I would just add “the corrosiveness of living with an inactive cheater,” because I believe that my STBX didn’t technically cheat between her two “active” affairs in 2004 and 2018. Instead, she engaged in “affair-lite” behavior like emotionally intense friendships with people she was attracted to. She also displayed all the other characteristics you mentioned, like crappy boundaries, immature expectations, externalizing all her discomfort, etc.

        I have never once felt rested even after a good night’s sleep, post-D-Day #1, and I thought it was because of the cancer treatments I had in my 20’s. Now, I believe it was the toxicity of living with a cheater, whether she was actively cheating at the time or not. And both of us have gone through plenty of therapy since 2004! Most therapists either can’t see character disorder, or are unwilling to engage with it. They also didn’t recognize my signs of trauma after D-Day #1.

        Moral of the story: intention doesn’t really matter, if you’ve upended the lives of the people closest to you. CL mentioned Keith Raniere of NXIVM in last Friday’s challenge. He talked a lot about how all that matters is intention: “I do bad things all the time, but I learn from them.” Yeah right! What about the people you “unintentionally” hurt? (But KR appears to be an actual sociopath, so he likely raised the issue of intention as a deliberate manipulation.) If it’s true that you didn’t intend harm, you will do everything in your power to make it right. How many chumps have seen their cheaters do that? [crickets]

      • “Couple this with the corrosiveness of living with an active cheater, which can stress a run-of-the-mill marriage with run-of-the-mill problems to the point that the cheater can actually believe the claim that “there were problems at home that led to the affair” (a sentence that contains two truths, but which simply reverses cause and effect), and you have a recipe for avoiding blame.”

        Yes! A thousand times yes!

      • I disagree with you about intentions. They certainly intended to have an affair. They knew full well that spending private time with someone they were attracted to (and vice versa) would most likely lead to cheating. They wanted it to. They also knew it was harmful to their spouses and families, but they did it anyway. That’s intentionally inflicting harm. The drunk driver in your analogy doesn’t know he’s going to hit somebody, and most of the time drunk drivers don’t hit anybody. That’s an example of taking a stupid risk. However, cheaters aren’t just taking a risk, they are insuring an outcome. They know they are going to ruin their marriages and hurt their spouse and children. The harm is inherent to their actions. IOW, cheating is always harmful and cheaters know that. Never believe their lies about not intending to hurt anyone. If you do something inherently hurtful, then obviously you intend to cause hurt. Harm doesn’t have to be the goal of an affair in order for it to be intentional. All intent requires is the knowledge of the likely outcome and that knowledge not deterring you from your actions.

        • I agree, cheaters know full well that their actions will hurt the other party.
          Giving them the excuse that they didn’t “intend” to hurt anymore is bull.
          It’s allowing them to play the poor little guy that they didn’t realize the consequences. And what abut serial cheaters? My X cheated on me 20 years ago and saw how devastated I was. Fast forward 20 years and he cheated again. Was it intentional or did he just “fall into her genitals walking down the street? You bet it was intentional. He knew exactly the hurt it would cause me but he didn’t care. I give these cheaters no quarter when it comes to excuses. They are adults with agency and know exactly the consequences of their intended actions.

          • Agreed. They intended to cheat and they didn’t care who it hurt. That is intentional.

            It is like punching someone in the gut, and then saying I didn’t intend to hurt you. You knew full well it would hurt and you did it anyway.

          • This is such valuable information ~ off topic from cheaters but really important to understand how psychopathic our society can be. If you have other sites that have easy to read information on this I would love to know about them.

        • Absolutely. Intent requires forethought and planning. Everything about the affair is forethought and planning – the hiding, the lies, the “I’m traveling for work” when in reality they are off on vacation with schmoopie, coming home and pretending all is well or worse, picking mean arguments with the spouse intended to drive them crazy – this is NOT an accident or an impulse. This is all calculated and calculating behavior and the definition of intent.

          It’s absurd to dismiss cheaters as just poor schmucks, “children” who just don’t know what they are doing. I’m sorry to say, but even a 6 year old child knows cheating is wrong. I’m smelling the stench of RIC – please, these poor cheaters just have no idea, no control, feel sorry for them. Nope, that’s a trainload of manure and not an excuse that I’ll ever make for any cheater.

          The drunk driver analogy….. A drunk intended to drive and that alone is enough intent to bring about serious legal consequences. The fact that they didn’t mean to or didn’t think they’ll crash or get caught is irrelevant. A cheater intended to have an affair. That is intent. The fact that they didn’t think they’d get caught or that a chump will have the balls to bring on some consequences is not relevant. The intent that counts is engaging in the affair itself. It’s not a helpless act and no, not an impulse.

          • My STBXW actually stated to me one day that she thought I had packed everything of mine and was threatening divorce was just me being angry and she thought I would have calmed down and stayed. No, I went straight for divorce. They live in a fantasy world.

      • IG– Please consider a side career as an advice columnist (to save us from all the horrible mainstream advice columnists). You’d elevate the whole godforsaken field with your pinky finger.

    • Intention? What did cheaters intend? Hmmmm…

      Initially my ex intended to do those things that made him feel good. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he didn’t care anymore. He built up resentments that he used to justify his choices. It is likely that he sometimes felt a duper’s delight at getting away with what he was doing and used it as a power move to spite me in his resentment. Yes, he intended to flirt at bars when out with his buddy to see what his prospects might be. Yes, he intended to call this woman, go over to her place, talk over a bottle of wine, and do it again and again. He intended to experiment with her physically…at first just a cuddle, then a kissing session, and then beyond.

      My ex intended to keep it all a secret from me. He was thinking in the short-term. He believed he was smart enough to get away with it. He thought he could keep his fun going on the side. He intended the beach dates, the overnight out-of-town, the cottage weekends with her family. But as his cognitive dissonance grew, his mind turned to more toxic rationalization for what he was doing. He villified me. He rewrote the history of the marriage. The impact of his increased disconnectedness brewed frustration in me, and my reactions were used as ammunition for his narrative about me. He was a victim now. He deserved happiness for once in his life.

      My ex did not intend for it to get so out of hand. He did not start out wanting to blow up his life. But once he drank from the poisoned well, he wasn’t really ever able to make a comeback. I started to discover things. It was small things at first, but enough to put him on the spot and hold him to some accountability. And that’s when a bad situation turned insane. He intended to ensure that I didn’t learn the truth of what he was doing by either admitting to only the minimal (she’s just a friend and I have gone over just a couple of times to talk) while gaslighting the rest.

      His intentions grew. He intended to try to make it all go away. Do the counselling. Cut off his contact with the OW. He tried again and again. But, the brain was already rewired, the infatuation had grown, and the addiction to the excitement was embedded. He couldn’t come back to his mundane life, now made harder by my suspicions that there was more. And he relapsed again and again.

      He intended to get back in contact with the OW each time that he did. His intention was to test the waters to see if he was confident enough to monkey branch into this affair relationship. His intention was also to see how far I would be willing to pick-me dance. Maybe I would offer him stakes high enough to pull him away from her. Sometimes, I might have been succeeding, so he intended to make his way back to me and his family. But, he couldn’t get her out of his mind. There she was, with an open door policy, always lending a listening ear, and offering fun and escape.

      His intention absolutely was to create the conditions to make me be the one to do the dirty work to end the marriage. He intended to hurt me when he told me he never loved me, hadn’t found me attractive in years, felt we never had anything in common. He absolutely intended to initiate his plan in which he appeared to be working things out with me again, all to buy him time to line up his ducks and provide a buffer period away from the OW so that no one could accuse him of leaving the marriage for her.

      What he didn’t intend is that I would discover his secret email account in which he chronicled to the OW for the last three months of the marriage the carefully crafted steps he was taking to convince all of us that he was leaving the marriage for himself so that no one would ever blame her. Her responses demonstrated how she excitedly waited for when they would be reunited. He doesn’t know that I ever discovered those emails, or shared them with his family, and even the wives of a few of his good friends.

      Since leaving the marriage, his intentions have continued. He intends every lie that he tells everyone when he still claims that he never had an affair, that she was only ever a friend, and that their relationship didn’t evolve until months after he left. He intended the slander against me that took place for months, subtly insinuating that I might not be in my right mind and that I had been an emotionally abusive wife for years.

      Where exactly is the beginning and the end of intention when it comes to cheating? There is truth when he says that he never meant for this to happen, if he references the beginning as his starting point. But there are hundreds and thousands of intentions that took place along the way, all with their own downstream effects. We cannot absolve the cheaters of the exponential impact of all of their intentions. No alcoholic wanted their outcome of addiction to occur then they first started drinking, but they are addicted because of every decision they made thereafter. They are at fault for it all. Their addiction is the accumulated impact of all of those small intentions.

      Ultimately, it is the cheater’s immaturity, lack of impulse control, and poor coping/relationship skills that keeps them emotionally stunted and incapable of understanding that their entire affair, and all the trauma that ensued, lies squarely at their own feet.

      • Optionnomore– I feel like I’m reading a classic except. Thomas Hardy or Henry James but of course so much more up-to-date. I don’t know if it’s something guiding the planets today but people are reaching some zenith of genius. Please publish this somewhere it will be widely read.

        • “The impact of his increased disconnectedness brewed frustration in me, and my reactions were used as ammunition for his narrative about me. He was a victim now. He deserved happiness for once in his life.”

          This is exactly what happened to me. Yes I started reacting, but to his increased hostility and distancing. I also think when he started he had no intention of leaving, he was having a ball and she likely offered NSA sex. After all it was no secret that she serviced married me as a rule.

          We didn’t do the recon, except for the one week disaster. However, I have thought about how the lies they have told themselves reprogram their brain, and wondered just how one can reconcile after that. Not saying folks can’t, but from the two sites I have read where a lot of folks are reconciling; it seems like years of the betrayed spouse feeling like dirt and eating shit sandwiches; while the cheater plays the part, and takes it further underground.

      • OptionNoMore,
        If there were a Like button here, I would like this a thousand times!!! I believe our intentions lie where our actions go, not what our words say.

      • OptionNoMore – This is well said/ written and mirrors much of my experience. Especially this:
        “He intended the slander against me that took place for months, subtly insinuating that I might not be in my right mind and that I had been an emotionally abusive wife for years.”
        I also read his emails, text messages, and saw all the pictures and videos. He has no idea I know about them because he took my honesty and respect for granted.
        Sometimes, I wish I never saw the photos or read the messages. Then, I know that these are exactly the things I needed to see and know in order to break my cognitive dissonance and leave hm.

        • Twice in my case the evidence, love email, all those hundreds of pages, was intentionally left out to be discovered. The specific affair diary left upon the bank statements. The sociopathic merit badge—

          Somebody I know discovered photos of his wife doing his best friend: explicit, graphic photos. They were placed in the file of his life insurance policy beside the gun safe in their closet.

          There’s intention and then there is intention.

          The horror is we loved these people. If a villain inflicts harm, or a dragon, we say, ehh, that’s what villains and dragons do. Big whoop: build a new village.

          When it’s a spouse and co-parent obsessed with power, cruelty, and destruction? Who gossips and slanders to boot? That at least for me is a whole other world of hurt and, the good side, awakening. The experience feels rooted in Greek tragedy. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, God knows. Sometimes I’m almost glad for experiencing it. There’s light out there yonder—

      • Are you me? This is so similar to my situation. As well as Menage’s because it was a close friend.

        How the hell do you trust life after this mindfuck? Its late and i have to wake up super early but I keep feeling unsafe. I keep feeling as if everyone is dishonest, anyone who cares about me, etc. This is awful and I wish I could hide somewhere and cry for years. I want a life partner some day and all I can think about is how if I didn’t see this coming how can I even prevent this. I feel unlovable and worthless especially when he unleashed all that resentment he held onto.

        • Don’t know if you’re still checking in here…if so, how are you doing? I know the feelings you mentioned here all too well…

          • I still get notifications on this post, so I do see your response.

            I started to read the post again, to see what I had written (I can’t remember). But I stopped when I saw the early paragraph where the OW told a friend I need to admit to my faults in the situation. I was hesitant to read the post to begin with (I have zero desire to relive any moments from 2020, which includes things I wrote). I had forgotten the OW had said those things about me being at fault too. I’ll probably be replaying all that in my head for the next few days. I try to forget most of 2020, honestly.

            I’m doing fine. I completely quit all social media around the time of this post. I’m still in therapy, and see a therapist that does EMDR, and that is helping. I’m on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications.

            When I discovered the affair I was a recent stay at home mom. As a single mom, it would have been difficult to return to my old career due to the schedule. A path for a new career opened for me (a career I was very interested in), and I ran with that path. I took an entry level job in the field while I waited for my life to calm down, and then took all my certification tests. I’m thrilled that all the hard work paid and this year I began a professional job in the new career. With the equity of the sale of the marital home, I was able to buy a house in the exact neighborhood I wanted to be in. It’s definitely smaller than the old house, but it’s perfect for us. I adopted multiple dogs/cats once we moved; pets ex never let us have because he didn’t like animals.

            Exhusband and OW are still together. She’s still a stay at home mom. They bought a huge house together 5 minutes away. (Since all the kids go to the same schools anyway, they bought one close to the schools.) The house is bigger and nicer than our old house. I get almost half ex’s net income in child and spousal support, and she still doesn’t work. She doesn’t get much child support, so I don’t know how they’re affording all this unless he’s just maxing out his credit cards again. My kids tell me that most of the time they can’t stand her kids and hate that they’re there at the same time .

            I have not talked/texted/seen/etc. her since the day I discovered the affair. Over two years now. I still get anxious about the possibility of seeing her. She has not come to any of my kids’ music/school events (although ex takes my kids to some of her kids’ events). I still get anxious about seeing ex also, and sit far away from him at events….. But at those events I am surrounded by people who hate him for what he did. He always sits alone.

            Because my divorced parents didn’t talk to each other and avoided each other at events when I was a kid, I HATE that I’m doing the same thing with my kids. But I truly have no clue how I can pretend to have a friendly relationship with them when I get anxious about the possibility of even seeing them, let alone having to talk to either of them. Perhaps through continued therapy it’ll get better.

            In the first parts of 2020, when I was really struggling, I remember sobbing to friends and my therapist about how I wish i could go back two years (where I was clueless) or forward two years (where I figured I’d *hopefully* be through all this sh*t). Well, I hit that two year mark a couple months ago. While life still sucks sometimes, I’m in a much better place than I was two years ago.

            Thanks for checking in. <3

    • All of you in this sub-thread have so much wisdom.

      When I first discovered the affair, and even before I found any books/blogs like this one, I was telling my husband that there is NO WAY this just happened. Your pants don’t just fall off. You don’t “just happen” to meet and text in secret. He got mad at me when I said things like this. As I discovered more secrets – the secret beach trip, hotels, family pizza nights where her (ex)husband was out of town (which meant the kids and I just the 3rd wheel on their “date”), and other things…. I was just baffled how they both thought they could claim that this “just happened.” And baffled when he said he never meant to hurt me…. What did he think would happen??

      Involuntary Georgian…. I love your quote, “Couple this with the corrosiveness of living with an active cheater, which can stress a run-of-the-mill marriage with run-of-the-mill problems to the point that the cheater can actually believe the claim that “there were problems at home that led to the affair” (a sentence that contains two truths, but which simply reverses cause and effect), and you have a recipe for avoiding blame.” Love it, love it, love it.

      OptionNoMore…. I also love your statement, “My ex intended to keep it all a secret from me. He was thinking in the short-term. He believed he was smart enough to get away with it. … But as his cognitive dissonance grew, his mind turned to more toxic rationalization for what he was doing. He villified me. He rewrote the history of the marriage. The impact of his increased disconnectedness brewed frustration in me, and my reactions were used as ammunition for his narrative about me. He was a victim now. He deserved happiness for once in his life.” I think this fits my marriage too.

  • Hey, everybody, if a cheater thinks you are a bad partner, bear in mind it’s probably because you are a good partner — and even worse, a smart one with critical thinking skills.

    I mean, if Charles Manson said you were a bad person because you’re too sane and unwilling to kill other people, would you agree that you’re a bad person?

    If a small child told you that you were a bad parent because you wouldn’t let them walk up to a porcupine and hug it, would you agree that you’re a bad parent?

    Would you let an accountant remove your appendix?

    Don’t let people who deceive, manipulate, willingly put children in harm’s way, willingly put YOU in harm’s way, and prioritize orgasms over agreements tell you how you measure up as a good vs. bad person in any category. They aren’t experts on what it is to be a quality human. They are as far from that as you can possibly get.

    (I mean, they can legitimately tell you that you’re a bad cheater and a bad manipulative asshat. But that’s where their expertise ends.)

  • Menage, the only mistakes you made that are at all relevant to this situation are that you married an asshole and befriended a bitch.
    You don’t need to admit anything to that miserable hag or be charitable to a couple of abusers. She’s scum, he’s scum, and you’re free to tell the whole world if you want to. So get up on the roof, girl. Then get on with your life, free from their pitiful adolescent drama. You don’t see them or talk to them. After you’ve said what you need to say about them, don’t even talk about them anymore. They don’t exist.

    I’m so sorry about the double betrayal and disgusting triangulation. My cheater’s AP tried to find ways to get me to go out with her, my husband and her husband so we would become friends and they could stick their sick behavior in my face and laugh at me. It must have frustrated her no end that I wasn’t interested in being her friend or going out with them. It’s frustrating your ex-friend now that you won’t cooperate with their dishonest narrative that all four of you are to blame and play happy families with them. Keep on frustrating the malignant POS.
    There is a particular type of highly disordered cheater who loves nothing so much as flaunting their creepiness right under your nose, even in front of their own kids. They aren’t capable of friendship or love, but they’re stuck with each other. Believe me when I tell you there is no happily ever after for these people. They are never satisfied with what they have and there aren’t enough kibbles in the world to keep their demons at bay. But you, OTOH, do love and you are a good friend. You’ll find people who deserve you.

    • Thank you. I do need to move on after I’ve said my piece about them. That’s somewhere I struggle. I keep replaying things in my head, but I’m trying to get better.

  • My husband cheated for almost 7 YEARS with my best friend (who was also a neighbor). She even sat next to me at my 16 year old son’s funeral! I found out a year after he passed away that they were indeed having an affair. She has no children, mine called her “Aunt”. She ended up being arrested for stalking me and my youngest child with in a few months of the affair coming out. She actually said to me that she “lived in my shadow for 9 years” and it was time someone took me “down a notch” from my perfect little life. (She became the Fatal Attraction bunny boiler type when my STBX didn’t chose her – not that I won some kind of prize by him wanting his family over her. Still making my way through that mess.)
    Anyway, it has really surprised me how much this double betrayal has changed me and the way I perceive people and do not trust myself to gauge people and their intentions anymore. Nothing feels safe to me anymore. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life but I now can only get so close. it is life altering and I am so sorry you have had this done to you.

      • Dear God. This evil slag *sat next to you at your child’s funeral whilst she was fucking your husband*??!!

        Your child *dies* and this low life sneers at your “perfect little life”!!

        There are just no words to describe someone so totally devoid of everything decent.

        I’m so sorry. ❤️ xx

      • RS–

        I’m terribly sorry for your loss and for the brutal double betrayal. You were literally surrounded by fiends at the most heart-rending moment any human being can endure. No wonder you don’t feel like you can trust your senses to be able to sniff out good from bad at the moment. You were choking on brimstone and burning sulfer for years.

    • Wow! Bitch thinks you had a perfect life when you lost a child? She thinks you need to be taken down a notch when you’re grieving? She’s clearly a deranged psycho and you’ve been through hell. My sympathies for your loss and for that awful ordeal.

    • You LOST A CHILD and that woman said you had a “perfect little life”????

      She’s a monster. Losing a child is one of the most traumatic things someone can endure. I’m so sorry.

    • I personally know of an cheating wife who had her fuckbuddy acting as pallbearer when her husband was burying their son…their only son. How is that for perverse?

    • This has got to be the most heart wrenching story I have heard since coming on this site in 2018. My apologies to you RealitySux. Losing a child is almost unimaginable in itself, and then to think your memory is tainted by this bitch sitting next to you and ‘comforting you’. Not even Hollywood could conjure up this kind of horror story. Not even if a batch of bunnies were boiled could this come close.

      I really hope there is a special place in hell for this woman. She deserves eternal torments.

  • You say the marriage was having issues in hindsight. Of course it did! He was lying, cheating, and probably gas-lighting, all of which you may have reacted to.

    CL”Who cares what two (or possibly) three fuckwits think? Do you take fashion advice from hobos?”

    ^^^^YES!^^^^^ Let the three of them hang together in the gutter while you take the the high road to new horizons.

    • Yes! I think the marriage issues ramped up when he started straying. I do hope they hang out in the gutter all together. (well, really, I hope that his and her relationship fails so I never have to see her ever again.

  • Cheaters are lazy and go for low-hanging fruit, often neighbors, co-workers, family friends, and sometimes even family (e.g., SIL, BIL). I’m not alone in counting my best man and my cheater ex-wife’s boss among her APs. She had the morals of bacteria and the ambition of a used Kleenex.

    • Don’t discount that alongside that laziness is a special duper’s delight in the double betrayal. The people who do this may be lazy; they are get a certain sense of superiority from engaging trusted others in betraying the chump.

  • Yep. Be like the dice o’ matic and cut all of your Swiss friends OUT! Swiss friends revel in drama and love to stir the pot…..they get off on your pain just as much as Sidepiece and El Heffe. And, by the way it sounds, they’ve been keeping your mind, heart and emotions in the blender. We all know it’s hard in Chump Nation but it’s time. You will be better off for it.

    Also, CL hit the nail on the head – they ABUSED YOU! While it’s not recommended you open up and be vulnerable to people who aren’t safe (aka: the one’s who you are trying convince) if you ever find yourself talking about your narrative instead of saying “they cheated, they did this, they did that, I should have been this kind of wife” you lead with “what kind of stay at home mom becomes friends with a family to prey upon the husband”, “what kind of man lies to his wife/kids to screw her bestfriend behind their back”. Instead of being woe is me, you need to get mad and let the fire come out! I promise it will help change your mindset and ultimately help you regain your power. My chump story started very similar to yours with my ex and sumo wrestler next door neighbor sidepiece (she lived up to her name when it came out she had been and continued to beat the shit out of him 5 yrs later). After my first divorce I was chumped 2x other times after (one left me fleeing and slapping a restraining order after major physical abuse). The 3rd time to be chumped was the charm to force me to do the really hard work (side note: ironically all the OW when I was chumped were “friends”). When I finally stopped being woe is me and changed the narrative to they fucking abused me and let that fire in me finally get burning mad…..it started changing my mindset and helped me take back my power. Now, I see the red flags in people, I see when others are toxic, I see when I’m triggered and responding in a toxic way (and stop myself), I’m really good at setting boundaries, I found my tribe, I finally found healthy relationships with friends, family and with a man who is a chump himself. I share this to give you hope. If I can change my story and take back my power, you can too! Big hugs💗

    • Thank you, SouthernChump. I do see this as abuse, and have started telling people that too. I’m slowly trying to take back my power, and luckily have a great group of friends that support me.

  • Eh…let the two lying scumbags have each other.

    They get to start their marriage knowing they’re both trashy and dishonest, and make no mistake….they know they can’t trust each other.

    You are now free.

  • I am sorry that you had to find out that two people betrayed you. I am even more sorry that you were put in a position where you question your contribution to their bad behavior. Let me tell you. It is not your fault. Shitty people do shitty things. You may have flaws. But you are human. All humans have flaws. You did not make them cheat. Nor do you have to take on any blame. You are not accountable for their choices, their lying, their secrecy, their betrayal.

    Falling in love does not happen by accident. You need to open yourself up. You need to go on a date. You need to text and call, all with the purpose to eventually have sex. Love is not happening at first sight and you are just a victim of your eyes crossing paths when you were sitting at the dinner table together. It just does not happen this way. When you meet someone alone in secrecy, it is preplanned and on purpose. It is not an accident.

    I myself was in a similar story and my friend betrayed me. She played my friend. We traveled together. We trained for marathons together. Our families did things together. And then… I found out that she used me to get more access to my husband. That her friendship was just a pretense to find a better, higher earning man. And that she was way too ready to discard her own family and everyone.

    Here is my story:
    https://notmymonkeys.squarespace.com/blog/you-are-not-welcome-susan

    • Yikes, inescapable! Glad you are free of that scum!

      If the parasite is surprised when he cheats on her that’s her stupidity: cheaters cheat and liars lie.

      My XH has already cheated several times that even I, who am no-contact, know about— even our city of over a million is really like a village and news travels fast. I couldn’t be happier to hear that the parasite who infiltrated into my family to get the financial benefits of my XH and what WE built over 25 years, is getting just what she deserves…. Him!

    • Thank, Inescapable. “Shitty people do shitty things.” YES!

      And I love this part, “Falling in love does not happen by accident. You need to open yourself up. You need to go on a date. You need to text and call, all with the purpose to eventually have sex. Love is not happening at first sight and you are just a victim of your eyes crossing paths when you were sitting at the dinner table together. It just does not happen this way. When you meet someone alone in secrecy, it is preplanned and on purpose. It is not an accident.” … These are all the types of things that I said to my husband when I discovered the affair, but all you guys can put it so much more eloquently than I can.

      I’m sorry for your situation too. She sounds like a horrible human being. Even training for marathons together. Sounds like the OW in my story too. She got me running too.

  • Ah, the old “blame the victim” routine. That’s like a mugger blaming the guy he robs for dressing nice and carrying money in his wallet. The mugger had no choice but to threaten him with a knife and steal his money.
    MaC, I don’t know much about you, but I would guess the chances are good you’re not really a “shitty wife.” Or a “shitty friend.” People who honestly admit they have flaws, in a humble manner, usually aren’t so bad. Shitty people tend to only “admit” wrongdoing when they have another ulterior motive. They either want to absolve their horrible behavior, quickly, and without consequences, or they want to do moral equivalence. Moral equivalence is where you try to equate a capital crime with jaywalking, and say “they’re both guilty.” My favorite description of moral equivalency was: “one man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus. The other pushes her INTO the path of the bus. It’s not right to say ‘they both push old ladies.'”
    Your “friend” and STBX are both shitty spouses, and shitty people. You aren’t even in the same ballpark.

    • Thank you. I like your analogies in this, and like your explanation of moral equivalence. All of you on here are so eloquent with your words and have so much wisdom.

  • I can’t help but see a set up….maybe my NY upbringing makes me extra cynical. The 3! of them wants you to admit your fault in this????! The OW’s husband too??! Wow! Either this was the plan all along or the books and videos from the RIC and that Belgium douchnozzel hypnotized the three of them. Miss you could be the reincarnation of Madam Ceausescu and still this was not your fault. The OW’s husband is an accomplice or has hamster balls! The betrayal here, although sounds like a textbook case, is more foul as you poured your heart out to your “friend” about your struggles and instead of comfort for you it became opportunity for them. The back stabbing here is astonishing. Please please please look at them for what they are deceitful pond scum and live a great life once you have wrapped your head around this and be good to yourself.

    • I don’t understand her exhusband at all during this process. He can be an arrogant hot head, and the only thing I can figure is that he has a lot more skeletons in his closet than the affair(s) that he admitted to. Or, he also does not value marriage and potentially never has. The backstabbing from her is unbearble. I did share so many things about my marriage with her, and I truly think she used this as fuel to get closer to my husband.

  • Me waving my hand! I know how it happened! Some kids pulled a prank and changed road signs so hubby, thinking he was going to work, turned right and found himself at the beach. See how that happened? Those pesky kids!

    I am beginning to believe that there are many more sociopathic people roaming the earth than previously thought. What those two people did is exactly like one country sending spies to another. They used your friendship to get the goods on you. Please don’t mourn these relationships. They are horrible people.

  • You know what, what marriage isn’t without some issues? Even couples that have strong marriages want to sometimes crack their spouse’s head open once in awhile. I guess since you weren’t a Stepford wife you have to take blame for your husband’s affair? Bullshit. How perfect was your husband during your marriage, pre-affair? Most affairs are an escape, so lets see how well they do with kids, hostile step kids, household chores and bills. Oh and she was a stay at home mom? Now ex-hubby has to support his kids, maybe pay out alimony and support her stay at home ass. Good times!

  • This!!!

    “She said that the three of them (her, her ex-husband, my husband) agree that this situation is the fault of all 4 of us.

    Oh, isn’t that nice to think that a tribunal of cheaters is voting on your marriage.

    Who cares what two (or possibly) three fuckwits think? Do you take fashion advice from hobos?“

  • Menage a chump, let me just reiterate what everyone else has said to you.

    You. Are. Not. Responsible. for the vile, shitty behaviour of the fuckwit and his whore. This is just blameshufting 101. These scum *know* what they have done is rock-bottom shameful and disgusting, (or at least they know normal, decent people think this) hence the nauseating attempts to make you feel some responsibility for it.

    And the whore’s ex weighing in on this? Holy shit, the mind just boggles. On the other hand, consider the source, he may not have said anything of the kind!

    You are under *no* obligation to stifle what you feel about this evil bitch. If anyone asks, tell them straight. This disgusting cunt is not just a common or garden whore, she ramps it up several hundred notches with her pretence of friendship towards you.

    I had a similar experience; fuckwits rat faced whore (aka “just my fishing buddy”) was invited by me for Christmas. I felt sorry for her because she had such a horrible family! She hadn’t got her foot over the door 5 minutes before she was suggesting to me I go to a spa for a few days, and she “would look after fuckwit”.

    I should have realised then, but was persuaded by fuckwit “she was just trying to be nice” 😈😈😈

    Then the pair of them asked me if I was OK with her staying with us until she found somewhere to live, and I *agreed*.

    She stayed 6 weeks, and was the guest from hell. I finally got fed up with her lies and trouble stirring, we had a massive row, and she stormed out. Fuckwit of course took her side, as he had all along.

    Later fuckwit and I had a massive row, (long story) which culminated in him going off in his fishing van, because “he needed to be on his own for a while”. I later discovered the rat faced whore had been with him, and they were fucking. It had most likely been going on long before that, but I found out about it from boastful texts he sent his mate.

    Then he got himself a flat. Ostensibly for us. Turned out rat faced whore was living with him there. Unbelievably, I believed all the bullshit gaslighting about how she was just helping him fix up the flat, she was sleeping on the sofa, blah, blah blah.

    His plan was for all three of us to live in the flat, (she’ll help with the bills 😈👿) whilst we rented out our home.

    Luckily I found the texts describing fucking her, left and filed for divorce.

    Sorry for the long story, but I want you to see that you are not alone in this sort of betrayal. We, as normal, decent people, could never even contemplate this massive duplicity and betrayal, so it’s very hard for us to imagine that someone who purports to love us, could do this.

    You are not a fool. You loved and trusted two people who were, and are, totally undeserving of your trust. Ignore whatever shite these gobshite come up with, and speak your truth about what they are. Like CL says, whatever “issues” there were in your marriage, did not give them carte blanche to cheat, lie and betray. They are scum, you are *not*.

    You will get through this sweetheart, and come out the other side, with integrity flag flying. Which is more than can be said for them, two utterly *shitty* people, who have what the deserve, each other.

    ((hugs)) xxx

  • More later, but I have to start off by busting this complete horseshit that illicit illegitimate lower companionships (aka “affairs”) just happen.

    FEELINGS FOLLOW ACTIONS.

    You have to put TIME and ENERGY and ATTENTION into someone to “fall in love”. Mutually. Attraction does not strike one to “fall I love” like a bolt of lightning.

    Marriage vows say to FORSAKE all others. If you’re alive and human and married and are not a hermit, you will very likely experience attraction to others. FORSAKING is NOT ACTING ON IT.
    And like plants without water or sunlight, it dies.

    If he had put positive effort our marriage without acting on attractions, we may still have gotten divorced, but we could have done so without the irreparable thermonuclear catastrophic off-the-charts damage to me and our daughter caused by stepping out of the marriage and character assassinating me.

    Ironically, they DO make a good match. I would never have done what either of them did. May they enjoy their lower level of existence.

    • If you hang out in a barbershop, sooner or later you get a haircut.

      By the same token, if you stick with the winners and act like a decent human being, work on your emotional maturity and character development, the losers will find you repellent and be surgically removed by a power greater than yourself. I got married for loyalty and security, which I now know is not in his wheelhouse (or anyone else’s he hooked up with that knew he was married).
      .
      I lost a MIRAGE, not a MARRIAGE.

      It took me a long long time to realize that I had ZERO to do with what they did and his secret sexual double life. I found out he was cheating on her….surprise! That discovery really helped me put the flaming bag of dog poop back on their porch where it belonged.

      A smart shopper holds out for quality.
      And they both paid way way way over market value for each other. You will get the last laugh, but it’s an ocean of tears first. ❤️

  • FWIW the robot singing bass I recall from the 90s sang “Take Me To The River,” not “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”

  • Tell your friends to stop giving you “updates” on their relationship and the stupid shit OW says. You don’t want a into their lives and you don’t want them to give you a window into yours.

    I guarantee you that anyone who is reporting back to you about shit she says is also reporting back your responses.

    Your divorce and pain and suffering are not entertainment fodder for your social circle.

    The people who really are disapproving of what your ex and OW have done are NOT talking to them about it because they’re not talking to them at all.

  • Dear MAC,

    I agree that one of the first things you should do is read about “DARVO”– the time honored blame-reversal tactic of “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim/Offender.”

    Professor Jennifer Freyd, who coined the term, knows about the effects first hand. Anyone who’s been gaslighted could benefit from reading Freyd’s work. Her own parents, also psychologists, literally launched an entire foundation–the False Memory Syndrome Foundation– to rebut their daughter’s quite credible claims she had been molested by dad as a child.

    The following is to illustrate how feverishly dedicated abusers of all stripes are to covering up their abuse and discrediting victims, even on a global scale, even victims other than their own, and to trying to create an alternative reality in which bystanders automatically believe the accounts of abusers and persecute whistleblowers.

    Very quickly after being launched, the FMSF’s board filled up with preeminent FWs and crap artists who were mostly those who’d been credibly alleged sexual abusers in their own rights or avid professional apologists for same. Through affiliation with the group, a slew of FWs managed to launder their records and make “respectable” public names for themselves, even giving non-scientific members of FMSF the mantle of “scientific expert.”

    Many might be familiar with the names of FMSF board members who, in the heyday of the group, were regularly and unironically quoted in the NY Times and other prominent publications, did TED Talks and network news interviews as experts on so-called “victim false memory” and a range of semi-related topics, were given honorary academic posts, led acadrmic seminars and were the subjects of worshipful Netflix documentaries.

    At its height, the group held huge power in the media and still does. Take the recent respectful death announcements for James Randi, a co-founding board member of FMSF. None of these obits and hagiographies in the news made mention of the existance of 60’s era audiotapes of Randi, then in his 40s, graphically procurring the sexual services of boys so young their voices hadn’t changed. These tapes are still widely circulated on the web and Randi never denied they’re of him. He us still viewed as a preminent “defender of science and reason.” That’s power. Randi, like many propagandists, would sometimes take public positions on legitimate political issues, but only as a way of grubbing credence for less legitimate claims that advanced the well-compensated missions of the front groups he served on. For instsnce, FMSF showily contributed free expert advice to The Innocence Project, which should have looked that rapey gift horse in the mouth.

    The group expanded its market by generating victim-blaming/discrediting “science” and providing expert witnesses in defense of anything from Serbian war criminals, corporate and government malfeasance, OJ Simpson, Ted Bundy and the Butcher of Treblinka. Members contributed to “science” bestsellers “debunking” victims of a range of toxic corporate practices.

    The worst impact of this group is that a lot of modern “victimology”– psychological profiles of victims– has been tainted by the collective professional mindfuckery this group contributed to the annals of social science, much of it weaponized and sold to the highest bidders. It could take decades to pull the shards of this “tobacco science” out of the field of psychology, pop science and public consciousness. FMSF’s star expert witness, Elizabeth Loftus, who’s written books and weilds major influence on government policy and modern precepts of “victim memory,” made herself a media influencer by defending media influencers like Harvey Weinstein ( https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/defense-lawyers-experts-who-s-who-harvey-weinstein-trial-1266395 ).

    Prof. Jennifer Freyd stood her ground for decades against a globally influential group that had been initially founded with the singular mission of destroying her credibility. All the while, she studied the group like bugs in a petrie dish and deconstructed their pet claims, creating a very important archive of anti-victim-blaming-spin science.

    The nightmare of FMSF finally disintegrated when the group disbanded, curiously shortly after Jeffrey Epstein died. With his many funding tentacles and vast reach into academic and institutional science, Epstein had promoted FMSF’s pseudoscientific drivel for years (Epstein’s Neuro-TV for instance https://www.bitchute.com/video/WqN2P2oJgBoD/ ).

    In other words, never underestimate how determined FWs are to discredit their victims, reverse blame and influence bystanders. I’m sure the recent affair wasn’t cheater’s first rodeo and, as time passes and you begin to heal, you will likely look back and realize you’d been gradually boiled like a frog and mindfucked into taking blame (for random anything) for years and years before this final mindfuck manifested.

    What may hurt in the middle run more that the betrayal by FW and your horrible ex friend could be any “shards” of victim blaming you find in your social context. Stay away from anyone bearing shards like your life depended in it. They either don’t know how to think for themselves or they’re secretly abusers themselves. Get all the shards and sharks out of your tank to make way for the dolphins you’re going to attract in your new life.

    Personally I take heart in the fact that the BS victim-blaming empire (FMSF) that– unbenownst to most FW apologists who think they’re uttering personal convictions, not carefully canned spin from a collective that’s generated much of the victim-blaming talking points and psychobabble for decades– has crumbled. RIP FW BS.

    • Hell of a Chump, I love your posts, they’re so informative and fascinating, I never knew any of that. Holy shit. 😈😈

      • CNM6– It’s a whole world of weirdness. I wouldn’t know about it either if I hadn’t gotten into a tangle with an off-shoot group that was pedaling spin and promoting legislation on behalf of big polluters. Hey, who knew PCBs are good for toddler and formaldehyde fumes are no more toxic than eating a ripe pear??

        The more we dug into the front group’s roots, the worse it got, eventually leading to shared board members and backers for FMSF and a big swathe of the “debunking infotainment” cottage industry.

        The giveaway of “debunking” front groups– whether they’re presented as light entertainment or in “very serious science” forums– is nearly always the same. 90% of the claims, urban myths or public misconceptions of science or history or whatever these group’s challenge are no brainers, like exposing TV psychics and faith healers, Holocaust deniers, flat-earthers, etc. But into the swill these group’s will carefully insert false attacks on the cedibility of legit science, like a study of how, say, a particular industrial chemical causes tumors the size of rats in rats is “bunk,” or how the entire population of a town in Upstate NY who swear.their kids starting having tics and seizures right after a particular corporate operation started leaking a neurotoxic cocktail into the ground water near a high school are all suffering from Freudian psychogenic hysteria.

        Propaganda in every form is all about weaving false equivocations and reverse culture jamming. It seems like FMSF created a special model of this type of modern spin doctoring org, one that feigns independence from the criminal entities they serve while funneling payola through “educational foundations” that enjoy the legal loophole of keeping funding sources secret abd ak dine under the aegis if “SCIENCE!”. FMSF at first focused on debunking rape, assault and child molestation claims in a sciency-sounding voice and then branched out from there. Who’s better at and more committed to spin and coverup and playing to the crowd than child molesters after all?

          • P.S.– Double wow. I just Googled “Esther Perel + Elizabeth Loftus.” Behold the promotional media overlaps between the two, particularly on psych hubs. Apologists of a feather.

        • This is such valuable information ~ off topic from cheaters but really important to understand how psychopathic our society can be. If you have other sites that have easy to read information on this I would love to know about them.

    • Thanks for your very informative post. I never knew any of this! Scary to think there are entire foundations dedicated to gaslighting sexual assault and abuse victims.

  • –“What does marriage mean to such people? It’s an elaborately catered farce held in a great big tent of impression management.”

    Every day one gem stands out to me. This is today’s, for all the Chumps who worry that the STBX and the AP getting married is just a giant storybook “soul mate” fest. Instead, “it’s an elaborately catered farce her in a great big tent of impression management.”

    It’s a terrible thing when cheaters chooses a supposed friend or a relative as their so-called SoulMate Schmoopie. It’s such a deliberate assault on the chumps–not only on their marriage and their sense of reality, but also a deep, deep wound to chumps’ sense of self, of their sense of safety in the world, of their sense that they are lovable and worthy. It’s not just two trusted people betraying the chump; it’s that those two betrayers were ALLIES in attacking the chump’s whole world.

    Many chumps here suffer not only from the loss of the marriage, but also from the loss of not just the cheater “frenemy” but also those friends who play “Switzerland” and entertain themselves by carrying information and messages back and forth. That can be very very painful at a time when the chump really needs support.

    But, just as leaving a cheater is the prerequisite for gaining a life without that abuse, so is leaving behind “friends” who are of poor character or are too shallow to be really considered “friends.” I know my BFF got on a plane and flew 2000 miles to be with me for 3 weeks after D-Day, when I was not fully in my right mind. There was no “what did you do wrong?” There was just “I’d like to kill that mf-er” and “He’s a jackass.”

    There are no such things as “mutual friends” with your cheating abuser. There are your friends, there are his friends, and there are “non-friends” who play both sides. Figure out who has your back. Who is fully in your corner? Who can you rely on to be there for you and the kids? This is a small circle, and it should be. This is a select group that has stood the test of time. And as you get further into healing, you may identify people who are real friends, who understand that cheating is wrong and that you and your kids were deeply hurt by what your STBX did, and by what the woman you thought was your friend did.

    Cull the herd. You don’t need a lot of friends. You don’t need friends who listen to your abusers continue to abuse your character.

  • “(Setting up family trips so you can spend time with your affair partner. How messed up is that?)

    Sociopathic. Also, not unheard of here. The level of sheer contempt they showed you — getting off on your humiliation and the power of their secret.”

    Right here

    Went on multiple cycling vacations with ex-wife, her fuck-buddy former boss, and the (maybe unsuspecting/maybe DADT boss’s wife….she was the second wife/was also the other woman when boss’s first marriage collapsed due to infidelity).

    We were “all friends”. All the behind the scenes stuff? Complete news to me. Devastated upon discovery. Former boss immediately flew coop to preserve his own marriage/find a new conquest, so at least I did not have to deal with what Menage a Chump is facing. That’s hard and they have my immense sympathy.

    “And mutual friends are NOT helping you by passing on the details. I don’t care if they texted her to say she was wrong (big emotional investment there), if they’re hanging out with her and listening to her bullshit, these people are NOT your friends. Real friends will cut her off COLD.”

    Again – this.

    Had one of my ex-wife’s former best friends and her husband over this past weekend. I only apply that label for the sake of example. In truth, when shit hit the fan a decade ago, they rallied to MY side, and cut out the cheating harpy. We’re “In each others’ bubbles” as they say now. They live down the street from us. Our kids are friends. We probably hang out at least once every week or two.

    Friends support – they don’t get involved in the gossip/drama. Once the path with my ex- was clear, it was clear where these friends were siding. If your friends are stilling hanging with the ex- and passing along details of how you’ve failed? Yeah, fuck that noise, and fuck those people.

    “Quit surrounding yourself with people who need convincing! This is objectively APPALLING, friendship cancelling, sociopathic behavior. Your job now is to sane parent and build a new life. Cut these freaks OUT.

    ((Hugs))”

    Nothing to add to Tracy’s outstanding closing paragraph. It really sucks, I understand. But listen to Tracy, stay mighty, and I promise, it gets better.

    ((Additional Hugs))

  • Ménage, this is not your fault. You were not a shitty wife, and if you were, your husband could have talked to you about that. But he didn’t, because you weren’t! Cheating isn’t about you. My ex retrofitted the fact that I was too controlling, too sensitive, bad in the sack, can’t communicate….on and on. Funny thing though, just before I heard how I was shitty, I had been love bombed for 25 years. I was the best wife ever! It used to drive our friends crazy hearing him say how utterly awesome I was at pretty much everything (including in the sack). So, now I know that neither was true – the love bombs weren’t true and the devaluing of me wasn’t true. They are lying liars who lie and not good judges of who you are. Hold your head up high, don’t let the news get back to them that you give a shit. Close up shop and don’t let them near you or your heart. Show them the boundary. Fuck them both.

    • ‘not good judges of who you are’.

      They are also horrible judges of who their cheating partner is.
      I mean REALLY.
      He’s cheating on his wife with her best friend and planning family vacations to include his cheating partner. GREAT GUY.
      And REALLY, she’s fucking her best friend’s husband, and planning family vacations which will further humiliate her best friend and break her heart . WONDERFUL WOMAN.
      Do not trust his judgement of you…… he thinks your friend whore is a catch.
      Ignore the selfish slut’s comments – she wants to be with your cheating lying whoring and abusive husband – she’s an idiot.
      Oh I know, they both think they’re ‘so special’ and that the slimy character isn’t really their true character it only got slimy or because they’re both ‘so special’.

      Stay away from anyone who stays in contact with these fuckwits; they are bottom feeders.

  • You are not a “shitty wife” and you bear no responsibility for the affair.
    From my own experience, I was made out to be a “shitty wife” with many character flaws. My so-called “flaws” in a twisted way become the permission slip for the field trip that began the affair. And suddenly they became soulmates.

    The best thing you can do is remove yourself from them- don’t give fuel to their triangle. Continue to take those steps to re-build your life. Surround yourself with those who support your re-build and the hell with the rest. Cheers to sunny days ahead.

  • Omg this is awful. My story is awful also for different reasons but I can only imagine how you must look back and analyze everything you thought was your life but you see now was a lie.
    Also- I blamed myself too with the “I wasn’t a perfect wife.” I wasn’t but I was faithful. I wasn’t flirty and begging for sex and able to meet in hotel rooms at all hours like his skanky GF was. I was home doing laundry and fixing his dinner and raising our children. I can’t be perfection – no one can. He certainly wasn’t.
    I live across from a couple in their mid 70s. The wife has a terminal illness and in the 16 years I’ve lived here he has taken care of her nonstop. She can’t eat walk or talk. That’s a huge amount of care and still he is a faithful loving husband. Not much in it for him-not any needs being met.
    These three crazies in your life – people who do bad things like camaraderie. This makes them look better if we all get along and are besties. Too bad you actually have feelings and expectations.

  • I really hope you email those 2 selfish as fuck people this post. It’s truly mind boggling to those of us with even a base sense of right and wrong the degree to which scumbags can excuse away their behaviour.
    People with a moral compass feel pain when they hurt others.
    People with values feel ashamed if they were selfish and took their happiness on someone else’s back.
    People without an enormous sense of entitlement do not think their thrill justifies bulldozing everyone else’s life.
    Mature people who aren’t abusers don’t blame you for their shitty treatment of you.
    They are delusional- their kids will know the 2 of them are selfish asswipes – nice parenting people. Way to teach your children life skills.

    • “I really hope you email those 2 selfish as fuck people this post.”

      Not worth the effort. It’s kibbles. Do not feed the beast.

      They will not magically be enlightened by all the truth here.

      No contact is the path to truth and light. Or gray rock, it you can’t do total no contact.

        • I get that for true narcissist and sociopaths – and I agree.
          For the others – what I find @#&* is that no one tells these selfish fantasy land types the truth. No one calls them on their abuse. Some of them get so caught up in their Gaga land story and are good people in other areas of their life- that they don’t own the abuse of their ways.
          In my case I did tell him and I don’t regret it. He really was on a cloud of entitlement. I shared my reality with him and a viewpoint on the OW – which he had not considered. Sure there were kibbles for him – but there was also the truth.
          I really wanted him to know what I think of people who do this. The way CL expresses it.

          I don’t think he was expecting that – me hurt – yes. But me taking him down a few notches – no-.
          I guess that’s just where I’m at. All of it is so sad.
          If someone destroys my home and I have the opportunity to make a victim impact statement, I reserve the right.
          I want them to know because I don’t feel that they have the right to live their life without really hearing about the damage they’ve caused. But then it’s time to move on.

          I know people who have cheated (yrs ago). No one tells them the truth. No one. Few people even think about it. Life goes on with silent victims. Many of them never ever have to face their shit. No one calls them on it.
          That’s my 2cents

          But then it’s time to move on.

  • First, a rhetorical question — what made you think you were a shitty wife? This question is for you to answer, ONLY to yourself. What were your crimes? Many marital crimes have a statute of limitations, for instance when folding clean laundry did you accidentally roll up a blue sock and a black sock, and Joe discovered it at work? Oh, the horrors. Solution? Joe should roll his own socks, so that a terrible error like this won’t happen again. Or cause him to have an affair. One day I wore a black shoe and a navy shoe to work, didn’t catch it till lunch, and had no one to blame but me, and poor lighting in my closet. Didn’t cause me to have an affair either, though I was much more careful in the future with my fashion choices. Seriously, your “shitty” status sounds like gaslighting, and false equivalencies. If you don’t like something about yourself, work to change it, but don’t accept a cheater’s opinion.

    Second, if true, both ex-friend and her spouse were previous cheaters? So what do you think the chances are one (or both) will cheat again? Your ex only had one affair you know of. Likely there were more. You don’t need to know. In this category, one and done is a good philosophy. Seriously.

    Third, even if this couple was polyamorous (doesn’t sound like it) if everything is hunky dory why did they need to divorce? Back in the old days before I knew anything about Herpes or Aids, we still had things like syphilis and gonorrhea lurking about. The promiscuous called themselves swingers then, and they were always actively recruiting, and telling other couples how marvelous their lifestyle was. It seemed to me that one member of the couple was always dominant, and usually repellant, while the other member went along to get along (my guess is unenthusiastically). I never felt the least bit interested in joining that group, or giving access to my body to someone I didn’t know or want to know either. My choice, and I may be old fashioned, but just because they want to have sex doesn’t mean you have to. Silly me, I thought monogamy was a good thing!

    Fourth — don’t tell everyone you meet your long and detailed story of anguish. Strangers don’t want to listen, casual friends will be uncomfortable, close friends may ask if they can help when you say you are getting a divorce, but even they don’t need all the details. Shouting from the rooftops is a bad idea. Keep it short, like my husband betrayed me with a woman I thought was my friend. She was our neighbor, too. Our children played together. It was an awful experience. Personally, that is more than enough information for me, and I am an experienced Chump! Save horrid stories to share with Chump Nation We can take it.

    Fifth, and last, your life will get better if you believe it will. It will take time. You may have to work on your self esteem, and learn how to set up boundaries, and do all the things CL calls “fixing your picker.” Just look at all the chumps on this sight who are on the road to a better life, and MEH. It can be done. No one promises it will be easy, but it sounds like you have started on your way to getting better. Don’t give a thought to any past mistakes, you cannot change the past. Don’t worry about what will happen to them. They will probably reap what they sow. Just take care of yourself, and your children. Someday this will all seem like a bad dream from long ago and far away.

    • Thank you, Portia. I have had a couple people tell me I need to work on my 30-second story, 2-minute story, and then the story I tell close friends. I have told the long story to people that probably didn’t need to know. Your short answer is what I try to do, but it usually ends up being longer as things just spilling out of my mouth.

      Thank you for their support. I’m trying to get to meh. But since I have kids with him, ands she’ll be around, it makes it all very difficult.

  • Thank you so much, CL. I was so happy today to see that my letter was posted. I am going to read through all of the responses as soon as I can!

    I unfortunately know that her ex-husband had an affair… to add to this messed up situation, we were on a family vacation all together when I discovered the affair. I told my husband that the OW had better tell hers before I do. She did, because within an hour her (ex)husband was texting us saying he wanted to meet all together. Yes, you read that right. The four of us sat in a room together. Her ex-husband said how disappointed he was, mine said he loved the OW. OW tried to talk to me, and when I said I didn’t want to speak to her, she said, “that’s your decision.” Her ex-husband admitted at that point, that he’d had past affair(s).

    Her ex-husband also told me at the beginning not to tell anyone about the affair. That airing our dirty laundry would help no one. My husband told me the same. At the beginning I had only told my family and three close friends. My husband was mad that anyone knew, and told me to “think about the kids” and stop telling people. I didn’t listen, and luckily found lots of support from some very lovely people as a result of telling my story.

    Her ex-husband is also the one who told me he is amicable with her. I tried to contact him to see if he needed to know anything about my divorce process (to help him with his), and he said he was amicable with her and that he wasn’t going to talk to me. And apparently turned around and told her that I contacted him, because she accused me of stirring up drama by contacting him. I know in my heart that I contacted him to try and help him, and in hopes that he’d help me. But they’ll believe whatever they want to believe, I suppose.

    Her ex-husband also told me that he is dating, with a steady girlfriend. This was less than 6 months after I discovered the affair. Less than 6 months after finding out his wife of 10 years was having an affair, he was divorced and seriously dating someone else. And I was friends with these people?

    I love your posts, love your responses, and love your links to past blogs. I have no contact with the OW.
    I know who my friends are. My friends are 100% on my side. I’ve already cut out the Switzerland friends. Good riddance to the people that are supporting my soon-to-be-ex! My friend who confronted the OW only told me because she knew that I was dying for someone to call the OW out. I needed that closure, in a weird way. But my friends all know not to tell me what any of them (OW, her ex, my soon to be ex) are doing or posting on social media. For my own mental health, I told my friends that I no longer wanted to know what any of them are doing. Unfortunately, I still play past things over and over in my head. Which is why I sent you this letter in the first place.

    You’re right, I need to stop telling people my issues in the marriage. I do agree that what my husband and the OW did to me was abusive, and have told this to people. They made conscious choices, knowing that it would cause hurt and pain. No one deserves to be abused!

    It’s funny that you call the OW fuckbuddy. That’s what I called the OW right away, even before I knew about this book. I didn’t swear before all this (and never used the f-word!), but I sure do swear now!

    • Wow. These people are a nest of personality disorders. People like this love to ensnare others in the epic triangulation that’s going on.

      This is an emotional Bermuda Triangle. If I were you, I would be getting as much distance from this quicksand as I could.

      Time + distance + a good therapist who understands narcissistic abuse would be very helpful for you. The distance especially – No Contact – will settle your own emotions down, give you a firmer sense of your own self, and help you to reclaim your mental real estate.

    • The swearing was a side effect I noticed too at times, never, ever having sworn before. I finally heard an explanation not too long ago: short guttural words are an instinctual response to a malevolent predator. It makes me understand that when a swear word comes up in my mind, I really am in danger!

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kMnJO_r_vgw

      I did not find out all of a sudden like you (hugs to you, no one deserves this crap!). I was so slowly gaslighted and DARVO’d that it took years to understand even some of CL very simple explanations.

    • MAC. My ex also cheated with a neighbor/friend. It was excruciatingly painful. For a long time I blamed OW because I felt she went after him. I thought he was just duped. But that just slowed down my healing and took the focus off him and kept me from my anger. They are married now and well I guess they deserve each other. But it does bug me that my young-adult children are around her occasionally. That is a shit sandwich. But the kids don’t talk about her/them so that helps.

      Those thoughts in your head that keep replaying will eventually slow down. But this shit is hard. I remember going over all the little moments from before dday when we were all together and they were playing their little games. So humiliating. What kind of people do that shit? Not the kind of people you want to be around that’s for sure.

      Hang in there. Keep moving forward, one step at a time, one day at a time. As the weeks and months go by you will think about it less. My therapist suggested not trying to push or brush those bad thoughts aside but instead try filling your mind with new thoughts from your new life. That gaining a life part really works.

      • Thank you, BetterEveryDay. The thoughts have slowed down from 8 months ago, and I have days where I barely think of it at all, and then I have days where it’s all I can think of. My therapist has recently started telling me similar things – focus more on the GOOD things that have happened and the GOOD things I want to happen.

    • I was thinking the same thing here as everyone else….very, very, very sick people. Who the hell does this kind of crap?

      Well, sick sociopaths, that is who.

      This story reminds me of poor Shania Twain, the beautiful country music star, whose trusted friend and confidant had an affair with her husband. They ended up divorcing. If someone as talented, and as beautiful as Shania Twain could have a FW friend betray her, and her husband also, then you know that these sociopaths are just about in every crevice of society.

      You sound grounded MaC, and I hope you immediately get a therapist to help you heal. This is not easy stuff. Four of you in a room and the husband of the OW is helping OW?????? Makes me wonder if he wasn’t having sex with the two of them as well…..something feels horribly off to me.

      • I’ve actually wondered if the OW’s ex knew about the sex and/or participated also. Probably not the case, but all sorts of scenarios go through my head all the time.

        Thank you for the response.

  • Hey, if you will assume some of the blame it helps to absolve them of the dirty tricks they pulled. Don’t play into this crap.

  • Menage,
    ‘Her betrayal hurts worse than the betrayal of my husband. She’s a horrible person, and I wish I could shout that from the rooftops.’
    This reminded me that this happened to Shania Twain and she did use some pretty strong references in interviews for her betraying ‘best’ friend. The pain of being betrayed by her friend seemed equal to if not worse than the pain of being betrayed by her husband.
    No one deserves that – selfish to the max.

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