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‘Why Do Reconciliation Bloggers Annoy Me?’

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The Unicorn of ReconciliationDearest Chump Lady,

Why does the Reconciliation Industrial Complex annoy me so much? I don’t want to name any names, but while looking for support groups, I come across a Twitter of an infidelity survivor who has done podcasts, books, you name it. After some research I find out it’s only been two years. The person admitted to hysterical bonding as well.

Why do people like this give hope to others? Why is it “bitter” to leave a cheater? Why the myth that only healthy people give second chances? Does that mean people who end the marriage aren’t healthy? Wouldn’t healthy people just go?

Why does it mean that you truly love your spouse if you decide to stay, and not if you decide to leave? You can love your spouse but also realize that it’s not safe to stay. And why do people think after two years everything has been solved? That’s nothing compared to the rest of your life with your spouse. I don’t know why this person annoys me, but they do, and I didn’t know where to write about it so here I am.

Signed,

I guess I’m Bitter not Better

Dear “Bitter”,

As I’ve written before, being a cold bucket of water isn’t a winning sales approach. False hope, on the other hand, sells like hotcakes. No one likes to feel vulnerable. So the idea that we can control scary outcomes (i.e., “affair-proof” a marriage) is very seductive.

Also, it’s profitable. Chumpdom happens to a lot of people, nearly all of whom try to reconcile, at least for awhile. So, follow the therapy money. Does that sound cynical? Consider then that one of the best-selling books on infidelity of all time is Anne Bercht’s “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”

The BEST!

Better than ice cream! Better than the birth of your children! Better than a week of Sundays!

The BEST!

If you can sell that cognitive dissonance, you can sell anything.

Oh Tracy, she’s just trying to say that Thanks to This Life Challenge, Her Marriage Is Stronger Now. Not that she enjoyed her husband’s fucking around. 

The BEST!

Only through devaluing, emotional abuse, and sexual humiliation can you have a better relationship. Let Me Show You How! In four easy installments! (These same folks are part of the Beyond Affairs Network. You can google… I’m not directing traffic to unicorns.)

Anywho… I share your antipathy. Now for your questions.

Why does the Reconciliation Industrial Complex annoy me so much?

Well, I’m not inside your noggin. But maybe you are annoyed by hopium pushers and people who commoditize your grief for their multitiered marketing schemes. Perhaps you were frightened by a life coach as a child. I do not know.

Why do people like this give hope to others?

Why does reconciliation give hope to chumps? That’s an easy answer. Because it’s a message most people want to hear, even if it seems wildly improbable. It’s resurrection after death. That the person who harmed you really, in fact, cherishes you. That your investment wasn’t for nothing. That it’s not a deliberate set of choices to disregard you and weaponize your trust. No, affairs are a “mistake” that “just happens” — and you’re to blame! So fix that. OMG, YOU HAVE THE CONTROL TO FIX IT!

What is this particular’s bloggers motivation to give hope to others? I can’t really say. She (I’ll assume this person is a straight she) probably believes it.

The thing is, just because we believe something, doesn’t make it true or beneficial. (Snake oil! Tastes great! Cures gout!)  You can fervently hold a set of beliefs that don’t hold up to critical thinking. And that’s really one of my biggest beefs with the RIC — they hold themselves out as the standard bearers. The default response to infidelity. The assumed position.

And then they skirt around the hard questions. Such as: Where are your longitudinal studies? The actual largest scientific study on infidelity, concluded with the message of this blog — that people who leave cheaters have better life outcomes than those who “win” the pick me dance.

Why is it “bitter” to leave a cheater?

It’s not. Your ability, however, to step into the unknown, champion self-respect, and gain a life may threaten that blogger’s choices and her message/sales pitch.

If she spins the hard stuff (Why should a chump accept a cheater’s entitlement as natural and worthy of further investment?), then she must malign the skeptic as “bitter.”

If reconciliation works for this blogger — okay, great. I’m doubtful, but okay. That’s her choice. But if she feels the need to denounce divorced people as “bitter,” that tells me she isn’t terribly confident in her choices.

Also, consider that the righteous anger that results in consequences (lawyering up, freezing credit, refusing to play hypotenuse) scares the bejesus out of the RIC. Much better to try and convince chumps that a cheater’s entitlement is right and proper. Jesus hates a quitter. DARVO! The problem is you.

Also, there is a gender component to “bitter.” Men get called things, but not “bitter.” Bitter is code for repellent, sexless hag with twigs in her hair who will Never Love Again.

I have Larry, who cheated, but who REALLY LOVES ME SO MUCH that he shared his PASSWORDS with me and doesn’t chew through his leather restraints any longer since I bought this shock collar. But YOU ma’am, have NO ONE.

Gah.

Why the myth that only healthy people give second chances?

One of the greatest lies of the RIC is that people who left didn’t already give their cheaters a second, fifth, or 47th chance.

There have been millions of unique viewers and stories on this site. It’s the rare superstar who gets this shit right on the first go and protects themselves and leaves. (Keep changing the narrative, CN.)

Of course, protecting yourself and leaving is not inconsistent with reconciliation. (If you want that. I hope you don’t.) But the reconciliation peddled by the RIC is reconciliation without reckoning or recompense. Without legal or financial protections. You’re just supposed to swear fealty to a liar’s potential.

Sorry is as sorry does.

Does that mean people who end the marriage aren’t healthy? Wouldn’t healthy people just go?

I think healthy people recognize when they’re being abused and a) set boundaries and, b) know their worth. Is the BEST you can do someone who’s capable of casually betraying you?

Healthy people don’t just give away their futures. Healthy people know their life is precious and invest their energies wisely.

Why does it mean that you truly love your spouse if you decide to stay, and not if you decide to leave? You can love your spouse but also realize that it’s not safe to stay.

Of course. You can love a paranoid schizophrenic, but if that person comes after you with a hammer, you aren’t going to stand there and get hit because you “love” them.

In this example, the person has an illness beyond their control. In the case of a cheater, wielding the hammer is a sober CHOICE.

And why do people think after two years everything has been solved? That’s nothing compared to the rest of your life with your spouse.

No one can sustain hypervigilance. It’s exhausting. Call it “solved” instead.

I don’t know why this person annoys me, but they do, and I didn’t know where to write about it so here I am.

Perhaps you sense phoniness. Maybe you’re offended by the aggressive I’M REALLY HAPPY MY HUSBAND IS A MISOGYNISTIC SHITHEEL WHO WILL RISK MY SANITY AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TO GET HIS DICK WET! BUT GOSH WE LOOK WINSOME IN OUR MR. & MRS. RECOMMITMENT CEREMONY SWEATSHIRTS. FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM!

I don’t know this blogger. I’m just surmising.

This is your little corner of the internet where you can bitch about the RIC. Happy to help.

****

Bonus content!

I imagine the intrepid RIC bloggers who might read this letter and counter…

Well, Tracy, you bitter, twig-haired Gorgon, you have commoditized grief and turned a profit. You, you! With your published book and annoying ads and Patreon tin cup. How dare you disparage the life coaches of this world who only seek to heal broken marriages!

I’d rather stick a knitting needle in my eye than be a life coach. I’m a professional journalist and a former chump and I don’t purport to be anything other than that. (Cough, I don’t have a one-year art therapy degree from a third-tier teacher’s college and swan about as the Country’s Most Original Thought Leader, cough… Esther Perel… cough).

All content here is free. Zero pay wall. No marketing scheme other than snark. If you buy the book, it will make money for the publisher. (I long ago got my advance.) But every copy sold shows the publishing world that the Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life message SELLS. And that matters when you’re going up against the Goliath of the RIC.

Chump Lady is a support site that is predicated NOT on saving marriages, but saving your sanity. It began as my brain dump about what I learned about infidelity (and fucked up colossally. The trial-tested results of What Not To Do.) And then it grew and grew…

All this IT shit requires money. And my time. Thank a Patron. That’s what keeps this place going. It’s entirely voluntary, but there’s extra content on the Patreon site, and I’ve recently hired marketing dominatrix Audra, who is kicking my ass. Starting in the new year, on Patreon, I’m adding audio recordings of letters. (Wonder what I sound like IRL? Find out.) One each week. I’ll write about it more later. But my point is — THANK YOU PATRONS. I don’t say it enough.

Ninety-nine percent of the readers here just read, you owe your entertainment and support to the other 1 percent who pay me. That’s my business model. No false hope. Only bitch slaps.

If you’re in search of a unicorn, however, Bitter knows a blogger…

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I am proud to be a Patron, even an entry level one. Keep changing that narrative.

    Being an unhealthy Daily Mail online reader, I rush to the celebrity infidelity stories just to read the angry chump comments – and these easily out-rate the apologists.

    Bonus points if the comments mention cake, kibble, trust that they suck, unicorn, etc.

    • Me too Lola. Proud and bloody grateful. I owe more than a few pennies to CL, and so do many of us. Patreon is the very least I can do to show gratitude and keep the CN lifeboat afloat, amidst the mindfucking, reality-blurring cognitive dissonance of finding yourself a chump.

      For any RIC snoopers coming by here to cast an eye over to the other side:
      We aren’t idiots. In fact, CN are a bunch of humans with exceptional IQ as well a EQ.

      Ahead of the absurd, juvenile fairytale romance “against all odds” narrative curve. (So bizarre that the deceit and entitlement of one half becomes a “hurdle” that the loving couple must overcome TOGETHER!!)

      Here is where the strong and the brave handle the hard, nuanced reality of being mature adults and parents. It’s not exuberant defiance at first glance (see CL comments above re famous Thought Leader) but actually that’s exactly what it ends up being. Once we’ve done the hard, painful yards and Gained a Life.

      • Chumplady, thank you for everything; I don’t even feel right addressing you that way… you’re a brilliant writer! WITTY, QUICK and mostly- AWARE.
        This commenter is spot on with you and my thoughts recently. I’ve been treated like a bitter hag who doesn’t want to “cuddle, kiss or hug her husband anymore”. Don’t even need to mention sex because all I do is “turn my back every night”. And I get, “ok, just be mad at me forever”.
        My replies are what do you expect? You dont even deserve me as a wife. And you gave me a bad deal.
        My question is are there other reasons I need to leave? He messed around a while back with his ex and claims it’s been years since anything had occurred. (I don’t care and I understand he sucks for that)! We had to be newlyweds at the time… I struggle with leaving my stepdaughter who needs me.
        I haven’t worn my ring due to some lying and betrayal other than cheating THEN in April 2020 he admitted things happened “back then”… all the same crap written here: it was in the past it was a stupid mistake and so on.
        I am being smothered with new things for the house, dinners and his body next to me while I try to rest.
        Basically starting to feel like I have two kids. And I’m not sure what exactly this fear is. I think I can beat it. I want to be an example and be mighty too♥️ Like you ALL
        Thanks for everything

        • I am sorry Shann. I know you are in a mess, but I think it is not a good situation for you.

          You deserve to be with someone who you can fully love and be affectionate with. He evidently isn’t going to be that person for you. How old is your step daughter?

          • She is 12. She stays with us 50/50. I’m sure she can sense we’re not the same. And pretty certain she knows what happened with them… how confusing for a kid
            And yes he’s pretty much smothering me now.
            It’s been since April and I feel like I should’ve made a move by now

            • I don’t know, April is still not that long ago.

              Take care of you, watch out for your finances.

              That is one lucky little girl, and of course I know you feel the same way about her, or you wouldn’t still be there.

        • Shann,
          The classic “it’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it”. He minimizes what he did “happened back then” and shifts blame to you – so unforgiving – just be mad at me forever. He sounds cold, uncaring, and cruel. That’s enough reason to leave.
          I see the spark in you when you say “you don’t even deserve me as a wife.” Now that’s the truth. Keep saying that to yourself.
          Like so many of us, you may need extra time to process and make a decision. I took longer than necessary because my ex did a masterful job at fake remorse. It took a while. You’ll make the right decision in the end. Good luck!

            • Ugh – I waited 2 years. I went to therapy, we did a postnuptial agreement (I had to pay him as I was the breadwinner), he went to therapy. He seemed committed to be a good honest person and keeping the family intact. My therapist told me to watch and see if his words and his actions matched. They did not. He was supposed to have honest conversations with me whenever I wanted them. He did not. But it took a long time to see that. Do I wish I had gotten divorced earlier? Yes, but I am kind to myself about it. He said he was appreciative to have those 2 years to spend with the kids (words), but on his way out he door he made a little porn video in my bathroom and has spent the last 3 years trying to ruin my reputation (actions). Neither of the children speak to him. Thought I had a unicorn and all I had was a master manipulator.

              Do what you can do to live an authentic peaceful life. That’s the goal! xxoo

              • “but on his way out the door he made a little porn video in my bathroom and has spent the last 3 years trying to ruin my reputation (actions).”

                Oh Kathleen, what a *fucking bastard*. I’m so sorry.

                Thank God you’re away from that shit sleaze now. ((hugs)). 💕🤗

      • As a former RIC cult member, I’m ashamed and embarrassed.

        I’ve been watching the Leah Remini series on Scientology (worth watching). I feel many emotions similar to what she describes.

        It’s as if I was in a marriage to the DOCTOR that stopped being a marriage over a decade ago, and then I was in the RIC – which enabled me to hide from the truth and worse, to preach to others to do the same.

        I feel like I recruited others to join my cult and I’ll always regret that. Obviously I didn’t do it for the money, which just makes me a fool as opposed to a crook.

        F— the RIC. They are crooks AND fools.

      • Reddit sub affair recovery– I rarely read a chump story there without someone using CL-isms or outright recommending the CL site. I enjoy seeing the RIC Koolaid proselytizers getting beat upside the head. I actually read it just for the moments when lurking cheaters and chronic side dishes pipe in with apologias and get the crap kicked out of them, but the RIC apologist beatdowns are a bonus.

        I have sympathy for RIC Koolaid drinkers at the same time. It’s a tempered, ten-foot-pole sympathy. I understand how a bad founding theory can beget more stinking thinking and greater and greater frustration among true believers. I saw that when I worked as an advocate for survivors of DV. Most state-funded shelters operated from the antiquated “psychological deficiency” theory of victims which posits that victims sort of/kind of draw abusers to them on dysfunctional Voodoo tractor beams. This is despite the statistically demonstrable fact that there really is no common denominator predicting who might become a victim of domestic abuse or who might succumb to Stockholm Syndrome within an abuse situation other than having a pulse and (mostly, but not always) being female. The only common denominators in DV are that abusers were all raised by wolves, but victims come from every background. Anyway, those advocates who shut out the new research and remained loyal to the psych deficiency theory would become angrier and more combative when their wonderful approaches based on the faulty original premise didn’t “work” and inspire victims to instantly throw off their chains. They’d double down and start outright victim-blaming out of frustration and, as a result, become even more ineffective.

        There’s one situation I always remember when I think of how political victimology really is. A fundraiser I organized for a Santa Barbara battered women’s shelter was held in the garden of a famous sciency batterer while a movie star in attendance– a woman who, two years later, would be all over the news when her abuser husband (also in attendance) had a love child with her son’s nanny– listened approvingly as the shelter director explained how battered women basically “ask for it.” The director said this because this is what moneyed donors and govt. funders trying to spackle or launder their own dark secrets like to hear. I learned about the backstories later from the children of the hosts and the movie star. I suspected that little microcosm probably explained the bigger picture.

        I always found the second-worst proselytizers were former victims who bought into the victim-blaming and then tried to force-feed it to everyone else like stuffing geese to make foie gras (the worst-worst are the abusers themselves). I think victim-cum-apologists do it out of real– and not entirely unfounded– fear that abusers in society hold most of the power. I think the same can be said for former victim peddlers of RIC.

        Anyway, forgive the former victim RIC peddlers for they know not that their premise is full of holes. Forgive them but keep them at a distance and don’t share too much personal information with them while they double down and externalize their own dread and bitterness. To paraphrase the frequently quoted African proverb, history (and psychosocial theory) depends on whether it’s told from the perspective of the hunter or the tiger.

      • Suggestion box:

        1) A”support” link with the other links at the top with a brief description of the Patreon presence and what it’s about

        2) Another way to easily do a one-time donation to you without having to join Patreon (it does have a doozy of a privacy agreement and some may not want to join it just to donate)

        • (Well, maybe not “support” – maybe “Be a patron” or “Help us” or “Support CL” or “Support this site”, but you get the general idea.)

          • It’s in the works. For the last year, I’ve been working up to a promised site redo. The coder I hired got overcome by events… I got busy… COVID hit… my job Job got super busy (no energy for new undertakings)… and here we are. I have the proper help lined up now. It’s happening.

            I am considering killing the ads, although the help pay for the site and me. However, the drag on the site performance and the annoyance factor is pushing me to make this place a reader-supported, no ad site. That said, most people prefer unpaid content, so it’s a leap of faith.

            • I can’t speak for everyone here, but I think a lot of us would pay more, or put up with the ads–whichever keeps Chump Nation online and accessible. Or subsidize subscriptions for others who couldn’t afford it if you had to make it for-fee. Even a few years out from discovering the healing power of this site, I still have relapses of anger or hopium, and need the snarky words of wisdom provided here to whip me back into shape. There is NOTHING like this site and there is no one with a platform providing this advice anywhere that I can find. That’s not surprising since the majority of media outlets and online forums have been handed identical talking points. It’s hard to know where they got the talking points-some old guy behind a curtain, I suppose. Anyway, the world needs your voice CL.

              • Yes, I’m years out too. CL debuted 2 months before my divorce decree yet I still need regular snark to keep the “why me”s away. I know that I am a stronger person because of this site but damn the rawness is still so close to the surface.

          • Ditto from me too on donation options, since I don’t like Patreon. And I don’t mind the ads. Or subscribing. Whatever you need to do, just don’t stop.

  • I’m proud to be a patron, too. If I ever win the lottery, Tracey, I’m sending you a million.

    I was very lucky to find LACGAL two days after discovery.

    I also found a creep called Mort Fertel who wanted to send me to ‘boot camp’, assured me I could save my marriage all by myself, and he would teach me how to “affair proof” it, all for $399, then of course there were the extras, DVD’s etc, which I wouldn’t want to miss. This freak sent loads of emails pushing this bs. It’s true, some people will do anything for money.

    Luckily by then I ‘d read LACGAL, so was immune, but I can see the attraction of this sort of thing to someone who hasn’ t had an astringent 2×4.

    I share the OP’s exasperation with this blogger, but I feel pity for her as well, (the blogger). If you have to constantly shore up your stance and justify it by references to others as bitter, I’d say that’s some frantic spackling.

    I never read anything like that, anything that smacks in any way of ric, staying with a cheater, apologia for cheaters and their whores, I stay well away from. It sends my BP soaring, and I don’t have time for that crap. 😂

    I’ m sorry to say I found the same sort of thing on the CL fb page, from some commenters. There was an OW posting about how she’d cheated but now recognised how wrong it was, and waxing lyrical about her ‘spiritual journey’ (not a word about the people she’d hurt of course, it was all me, fabulous me). I took her down, and was told by a couple of posters that my anger was “very concerning”, and that I “needed therapy”, and a couple
    of sneers, “triggered much?”.

    I thought,shit, these are *not* fellow Chumps,they’re either OW’s, or apologists for them – really,wwho ssneers like that at a fellow chump?

    I’m sure there are lots of nice people on there, but I didn’t get any support so I’ll never go back. Left a nasty taste in my mouth.

    • First, thanks for supporting the site. Second, people send me that MF guy’s stuff sometimes. Egads! I’m glad you steered well clear; and per the private Facebook group — I don’t moderate it. It was started by a group from here that immigrated after I had to close down the forums. But I’m concerned if it’s become RIC in nature. Any mods reading?

      • There are always newbies in that group that haven’t read the book, but we eventually steer them in the right direction. Any reconciliation comments are met with either gentle recommendations to read LACGAL or a friendly “maybe this isn’t the place for you”.

        • It definitely isn’t the place for Chumps who get angry and contemptuous at OW and their apologists.

          When I stated my anger was justified, I was told, “still more concerning”. I then said I preferred CL’s site, and was told ” that’s probably more the place for you”.

          You might want to post a disclaimer: ” OW’s and their apologists welcome, people who are righteously angry, not.”

          Just saying.

          • Wow- I’m glad I didn’t check that out. I would have been triggered right and left. I guess anyone is allowed to apologize for their OWN cheater, but not someone else’s!!!

            • Yep. I actually got chastized once here for insulting the OW. Several regulars came to my rescue, so that helped.

              Chastizer got all up in my face with: “we are women and should support all women” bull shit. I guess I should support the OW even though she fucked my husband, but she is free to take money (from marital assets) talk awful about me etc, join him in the betrayal of me, and I should just be nice and not insult her on a message board designed to support betrayed spouses.

              She is a fucking whore, and just as guilty as the FW she is screwing.

              But, now she is his wife and she has had her own other women to contend with. I like that. Couldn’t happen to a better whore.

              • Susie Lee, I actually felt bad for cowhore and said so, because her and my FW’s sin was the same, but she would be forever tarnished when it came out and he would get a behind-the-scenes pat on the back.

                But then I talked to her husband. Yeah, she’s no more than an evil heartless bitch. She can rot for all I care, sisterhood be damned.

          • “” OW’s and their apologists welcome, people who are righteously angry, not.””

            Yep. I never really focused on the OW much, because honestly; I was so blindsided and hurt, that who it was just didn’t register. Having said that; as I got stronger and found out who it was, I knew she had been in my house as a guest, took the “hot beverage” I offered. She sat at our table at his works Christmas party with her best friend who took pot shots at me. FW just sat there sweating like the ozzing rat pig that he was.

            Of course I didn’t know any of this at the time, but it came out soon. (within a few weeks. I think she insisted that she be put at our table. I remember just before the party FW coming in the kitchen and saying “do you mind if “whore” and her friend sit at our table tonight, since she is my employee”. I of course said, that is fine. Bitch even went to my church and stood talking to FW and didn’t even look me in the face. I honestly hope and have plenty of information to believe, that she has made his life a living hell.

            So yes these whores who knew the guy was married and had the gall to feign innocence in the presence of the spouse, should all rot in hell.

            • I was so afraid OW would show up at our church. She had been stalking me all over town to the point that I’d stopped leaving the house. If she’d shown up at my church, I don’t know what I would have done – but I’d probably have been arrested. It literally took me years to figure out how she always knew where I’d be. My FW kept a cell phone in the console of our car, which he was “taking to Nashville for repair” while really taking her to a motel…she’d put a tracker app on it. I couldn’t walk into Kroger’s and get to check out before the bitch would be smirking at me from the entrance. Couldn’t go to Walmart, couldn’t visit the mall…she’d be slinking along behind me. It is impossible to overestimate the maliciousness of these creatures.

              • Oh my ex invited her.

                Later my preacher told me he didn’t know what the ex was thinking. The preacher had no idea they were fooling around. I mean he wouldn’t have barred anyone from coming to church, and neither would I, but his point was the liar shouldn’t have invited her to our church and carried on as if she was a friend.

                The preachers wife said it was so weird, the only thing she could think was that he was desperately trying to maybe get her religion so she would leave him. Lol, she was sweet, I doubt his intentions were anything so lofty.

                But, honestly I don’t know why he invited her. The only reason I know he did was that we were sitting in church and when her 10 year old son (whom I had never seen) walked by he said. Oh yeah I invited (whores name) to church.

                He may even have been lying for her. She might have insisted she come, or she could have just showed up.

                In fact as an employee of the Police Dept (she was the dog catcher) the preacher may have even invited her (he was police chaplain) and never thought anything about it.

            • CallingSpades Yep. This is not the forum to lecture to folks about the other woman/man. Know your audience.

              I felt sorry for the OW too. Heck I picked out her Christmas Presents and paid for the last one before D day. (she was my husbands direct report) She was in bad financial shape. Fw said her ex husband (not sure which one) made a mess of her finances.

              So he felt so sorry for her he screwed her for at least a year, likely more; then married her when we divorced. She had tried to land several married men before him, but she finally got the brass ring.

              He got got a couple rental houses, all his pension and a boat and a river property in our divorce, they gambled it all away and he had to file bankruptcy. So I wonder whose fault that was?

              They didn’t have Susie around anymore to pin their unhappiness on. They did blow up their relationship with my (his) son a couple years ago with their lies and insults. So, I guess for now they can pin it on him.

              • “They didn’t have Susie around anymore to pin their unhappiness on.”

                Susie, that must feel so great to walk away from that. Go you!

                But, sorry for your son. Isn’t it horrible that when they can’t manipulate you directly anymore, they would be so low as to harm your son. What garbage.

      • Not a MOD for the CN fb group but I read daily. I haven’t read any OW or apologists posts.
        The posts I’ve read supports Chump Nation.
        I’ve never read anything on the CN fb that is RIC in nature.
        Reconciliation is always discouraged.

        • I posted there a couple of times as Jan Andree.

          The post I’m referring to was someone who stated something like, ” I cheated once, years ago”, then went on to explain they now knew it was wrong, they were more ‘spiritual’ now, something like that. As I said, I was angry, and called out her crap, just like Tracy’s UBT. (OK, not as witty 🙁😅), and got the responses I outlined above. It wasn’t specifically about reconciliation.

          I expect if you search Jan Andree you’ll find the thread/comments, unless the moderators have deleted it.

        • I’ve seen a few RIC posts, specifically about how husband’s affair made her marriage so much stronger. And I’ve seen the “you must be angry/bitter/triggered” posts aimed at chumps as well. Not many, but some.

          • Thanks for that.

            I suppose it’s my innate chumpiness coming out, but I just couldn’t believe that *chumps* would sneer at a fellow chump like that.

            “Triggered much” is so sneering and dismissive towards someone else’s pain, albeit couched in anger.

            Not much difference between that response and the way many cheaters react when they’re rumbled. 👿

            • Thanks for that.

              I suppose it’s my innate chumpiness coming out, but I just couldn’t believe that *chumps* would sneer at a fellow chump like that.

              “Triggered much” is so sneering and dismissive towards someone else’s pain, albeit couched in anger.

              Not much difference between that response and the way many cheaters react when they’re rumbled. 👿

              Also the “you need therapy” remark.

    • Oh man. Mort Fertel. That brings back some pretty intense memories. I was one of the guys who paid the $399 and I actually asked my xw’s permission first. GUH!! What a horrible time that was. That was 2.5 years ago and thinking back, I’m happy to say I’m Gaining a Life. Not quite to Meh but actively working on it.

      • BBM, I’m so sorry you got sucked into that, ((hugs)). If I hadn’t read LACGAL I might have fallen for it too – as Tracy says, the notion we can *control* this shit is very seductive to us Chumps.

        So glad you’re out of that mindset now. 👏💕

        I’m 3 years out from Dday, decree absolute January 2019. Not at meh, although I can occasionally glimpse it, (it’s a timid forest creature🙄😁).

        Don’t want to sound self pitying, but it’s 10 times harder to “gain a life” at the moment, when one lives alone, 100 miles from family, and everything’s locked down. If you’re going through this on your own, too, hugs and love. 🤗

    • Isn’t it funny that all this shit is marketed primarily to women chumps. I just don’t see a ton of books/videos out there marketed to cheaters, with titles like “read this and you won’t have to cheat, learn how to treat your spouse like a human being” so you won’t feel the need to cheat.

      Wonder why not. Oh yeah because the sinner is responsible for their own sins. Whether they be religious or secular, they/we are the author of our own behavior. Free will and all. They can come up with all the bull shit they want to, in order to give a cheater an out; and give the chump hopium, in order to extract money from them; but almost all of these cheaters cheat for the cheap sexual thrill. They aren’t addicted in the true sense of the word; they just enjoy the thrill; and they need a chump to triangulate to get that thrill.

      My ex started fucking around on his new schmoopie wife almost immediately. Her magic twat lost its sparkle pretty quickly I guess.

      • ” I just don’t see a ton of books/videos out there marketed to cheaters, with titles like “read this and you won’t have to cheat, learn how to treat your spouse like a human being” so you won’t feel the need to cheat.”

        Susie Lee, that is just *spot on*. Why the hell didn’t that occur to me, before?

        • “…“read this and you won’t have to cheat, learn how to treat your spouse like a human being” so you won’t feel the need to cheat.”

          Susie Lee, so spot on.

          No one would read it though. It would require the intended audience to admit that there was something that needed changing about their behavior/entitlement, and to be interested in doing the work before there are consequences looming.

      • Not (m)any books on How to be the best partner ever after my affair, or Loving and respecting my partner after years of lies and deceit, or Making myself happy: gave her syphilis rather than divorce Probably because once you see such title, everybody can realise just how ridiculous such justifications are.

        I think titles for self-improvement books for cheaters would be a great Friday challenge, even if I myself say so.

    • “We” did MF’s whole program. What a joke. One of the most important things is that you don’t spy, track, question, bring up, look into, etc. the cheating spouses behavior and/or whereabouts. Easy unfettered cheating the whole program! 🤮

      • God, yes. I don’t know how people like that sleep at night. Oh, wait, yes I do, no conscience or integrity. 😈😈

  • Of course hope sells. Most chumps want more than anything to save their marriage and relationship first and foremost. That’s why all those spammers jump onto every social media page with the “win your boyfriend or husband back with the magic of Dr blah blah blah” rhetoric that is the modern equivalent of snake oil salesmen. Thank G-d for Tracey. The Chump Lady is the one person out there that will tell you the truth – that cheating is abuse. That the Chump isn’t the problem (pointing the finger at the one that was cheated on is so gross — I was told “clearly you weren’t taking care of your husband.”). And the assumptions are sexist against women that are cheated on. And equally horrible (maybe moreso) to men who are cheated on. With CL we have a voice for the many chumps who were trying to hold a family and marriage together, while their (mostly narcissistic) spouses ignored them, slept with other people/coworkers/s*x workers… then gaslit and lied to their Chump appliance until the Chump was driven crazy. Thank you CL — you are the light at the end of the long crap tunnel. You’re one of the only ones that breaks the “hopium” lie and shows the true way to finding freedom and peace. You are someone to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

  • Dear Chump lady and friends,

    I have been around this tree more times than Moses walked around the mountain. My STBXH cheated on me in the year 2000, in 2002, in 2009. We went to marriage counseling in 2002 and in 2009. The one in 2009 was after a two and a half year relationship with his ex-wife.

    We moved, thinking that would make things better, he had another affair in 2015. I had kept thinking that it was my duty to reconcile. That is a Christian I had to give him more chances.

    And that’s because he wasn’t a Christian. So I felt like I had to hang around because of the teachings of Paul the apostle. he said that women are supposed to try to win their husbands to the Lord.

    Anyway, I gave it up to God. I told God I can forgive anything that came up to this point ( this was 2015) but Lord, if he steps out again tell me and get me out of this marriage.

    In the meantime I continued with therapy individually. My therapist asked me where I saw myself in 5 years I told her single.

    I got myself a good job with benefits and I started banking every paycheck. I told him I wanted us to be able to still live on his income and maybe save up for a trip to Disney world. He agreed. I started living my life. But I waited. Sure enough in January 2020 he stepped out again and I found out about his whole secret life. It was laid out flat. And he had become addicted to marijuana and his mood was up and down and he was raging at me. He was oh so angry.

    God gave me an out and didn’t I just take it!

    When my ex ended up incarcerated for a couple of days I got an attorney, filed for divorce, got a protection from abuse order, and locked the doors.

    My STBXH wanted counseling. He offered to do counseling with my pastor at church! I turned his ass down. God gave me this chance and I was not going to blow it.

    To quote Tyler Perry who I believe is quoting Maya Angelou who is probably quoting somebody else: when somebody shows you who they are – believe them!

    I am almost free. Praise God I am almost free. But there are still some times when I think maybe I haven’t done enough. I bitch slap myself and I say girl, you have a life too. You do not have to reconcile with an asshole.

    To anybody who is still reading, read the book lose a cheater, gain a life. Get it on audiobook. Listen to it while you’re going through your life. When it’s done listen to it again.

    • I love that you are free! Poor sausage probably thought his come to Jesus schtick would work for him. Fake the remorse, rinse, repeat. Congrats on your new beginning!

      I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes (I love it so much, it’s the preface to my book).

      “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer, until I prayed with my legs.” — Frederick Douglass

    • Hello Mutha,

      I may never forgive the Christian “Enrich Your Marriage by Giving More” complex of books…they kept telling me to love MORE blah. None of them mentioned abuse or gaslighting or that he should be held accountable for his shittiness.
      I prayed and prayed and asked God to heal that part of his heart that was so broken that he treated me like The Enemy. After his cheating (and WILD lying about it) and moving away and coming home. I asked God what to do and He never said to leave (and I was listening). I too started an escape fund and was ready to leave my big house and cute Mercedes (titled in his name only) for a small apt on the bas side of town and a used Chevy.
      I cant explain Gods ways but one day he dropped dead. I believe with all my heart that he was just saved enough in that moment to go to Purgatory. I do believe my prayers did save him. When he got to Purgatory, I hope that God gave him a tour of what my life with him really was…what all his abuse felt like.
      I think in the vast majority cases, God is telling the abused to “run run like your hair is on fire” and I dont encourage ANYONE to stick around thinking my outcome will happen…it was an outlier for sure but explains why He never told he to go. He knew Cheaters days were numbered and wanted him in Heaven (eventually).
      Im neither filled with hate nor willingly offering full forgiveness…Im accepting that I went through awful crap and my reaction is quite reasonable. I call my inner state “Chronic Low Level Distain”. I dont wish him to burn in Hell, but I hope the neighborhood where he lives in Heaven is far from the one where my and my new husband live.

      I later learned that he had cheated all along – it explains a LOT.

      Thanks for bringing another example of surviving and fleeing abuse and loving Jesus but not being willing to be subject to abuse. This narrative needs to be out there.

        • I do too.

          My own mother in law told me when she found out, that I would have been better off had he died. She later joined sides with him; though she wasn’t horrible to me. I get that, she had to depend on him, and he was blood.

          I am betting schmoopie got an earful after they got married; if she ever complained to his mother about him. My mother in law and I got along really well; but she could rip a new one if she wanted to. My guess is her complaints would have been met with; “you wanted him, you got him, or you both did wrong, deal” type of statements.

          She did tell me once early in our marriage that (in her view) men will either cheat, drink or gamble. Her husband did all three until he died (suddenly) at the age of 48. She never married or even dated again, (that I know of) though she was still quite attractive and had the opportunity.

      • My mother was a very devout “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder” Catholic. And yet, I remember her telling my sister and me (when we were teens), that if we were ever to divorce, to get our own lawyers and file first. It was such a shocking statement coming from her, that it made an impression on me at the time.

        My mother died in 2001. In 2019, I discovered my ex-husband’s affair. That night, I heard my mother’s voice telling me to get my own lawyer and file first. I had my first appointment with an attorney 2 days later.

        It was one of God’s greatest provisions for me. A fast filing, while he was still infatuated with his AP, allowed me to get an uncontested divorce with favorable terms for me. He did not even bother with getting his own attorney.

        • It is all a crap fest, but in some cases filing first is not the best option. If he won’t file then of course we have to take care of ourselves. In my state though it is no fault and 50/50; abandonment can come in to play.

          I didn’t know that when my situation came down. I told my FW I wanted him to file, since he was the one who wanted the divorce; it just seemed important to me then. When I hired my kick ass lawyer, he said actually his filing first gave him (the lawyer) more power to enforce a good temp separation settlement, due to abandonment issues. I also had financial records that proved marital funds theft. And he had torn apart our house due to termites that he ignored for years and when he bailed he left the house all torn apart. I had pictures. I am guessing the judge didn’t like all that.

          I got a very generous temp maintenance pkg, and could have gotten it for up to three years, but I only asked for six months. It became a year, when FW started to delay. As long as he was paying, I didn’t care how long he delayed. I think he was desperately trying to delay marrying schmoopie who was his direct report at work. Lol. I know for sure it had nothing to do with wanting me back, though he tried to make it look like that.

          In my state the legal waiting period is two months, FW thought that was what he would get when he first filed. Ha. As a bit of time went on, I imagine schmoopie’s magic twat lost a lot of its thrill. Hard to maintain that excitement when you don’t have to hide and sneak around anymore.

    • I used to run DivorceCare groups at church, but grew weary of qualifying so much of what their video curriculum teaches. Very watered down and wishy-washy to placate patriarchal conservative churches. Too much just come to Jesus and not enough “praying with your feet”. I am much more of CL fan now.
      I have discovered another resource that has grown from the experience of a 20 year veteran of divorce recovery groups in church. Gretchen Baskerville recently a book, “Life Saving Divorce” and has a private Facebook group by that name. She really gets it and has done the research to back it up. Lists Chump Lady as recommended reading too. So now every morning I religiously start with CL and move on to Life Saving Divorce.

  • CL – I tell everyone about your website. It made me feel strong again.
    At first, I did listen to save your marriage type podcasts. A religious based one actually said that there’s not much hope if your spouse has cheated. As hard as that was to hear, it made me wake up and I believe that’s when I found your website.
    It really seems like further abuse when one thinks about the RIC complex. You didn’t make the person cheat on you, just like you can’t make a person hit you. Thanks for clearing up the confusion of cheating. I am eternally grateful for your wise words.

  • I highly suspect my ex cheated more than once, but I didn’t have any tangible evidence.

    Even without the affair, the abuse and gaslighting from him and his family was enough for the divorce. He refused counseling because he didn’t think he did anything wrong.

    Yes, I am much happier with him gone.

  • That’s the thing with infidelity , when it first happens you try and find anything on line to help you .
    It is chock full of RIC and what to do to “ win” your partner back .
    There is next to nothing on spousal abandonment.

    I was never afforded the opportunity to do the pick me dance or any attempt at reconciliation. I was stone cold abandoned and that was that .

    I think this sets a lot of chumps back , I know it did to me when you read pay $399 for this course or that book and DVD and you are left in total shock that most chumps are even offered this (cake as I know it now)
    The RIC is dangerous not just because of the false hope / promises but it makes it sound like every cheater actually wants to try and eat cake. That’s simply not true and I could have paid £££ to find out that I meant less than nothing to my ex husband

    • “I was never afforded the opportunity to do the pick me dance or any attempt at reconciliation. I was stone cold abandoned and that was that .”

      As hard as that is, maybe it is a very small blessing in disguise. I allowed my FW to come back after the abandonment for the whore. He treated me even worse (if that is possible) than he did in the last years of devaluation and abuse. I count myself fortunate, that I saw early on in that week, what he was up to. It really dropped the mask from his face.

      Note: He was in desperation mode trying to save his job. He had to do some politicking for the mayor; and he needed the car (that I had legal temp custody of) to do his rounds. (he couldn’t use his squad car) That is how much respect he had for me as a human, he just used my emotions to get back in the house for a week and have access to that car. If he had just asked, I would have loaned it to him; don’t know why he had to use me to do it. Likely just wanted another couple romps and figured he would kill two birds with one stone. I doubt schmoopie liked it, but she needed his paycheck, so she was doing exactly what she needed to do to secure it.

      I honestly think with these FWs, there is no going back; they will never change. Once they have given themselves permission to treat another human being that way; that is pretty much it.

      I would like to see some sort of high school classes (mandatory) for young women especially, but also men to be aware of this treatment, what to look for etc and to teach them it is not their fault. Then to get the hell out quickly.

      I know how bad this hurt you. But, I just want you to know; at least in my case the “offers” to “try” had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with him still being able to use me. These guys are evil, there is no other word for it. They play us for years, then do the discard when it suits them.

    • “I was never afforded the opportunity to do the pick me dance or any attempt at reconciliation. I was stone cold abandoned and that was that.”

      Dear Karen, don’t think of it like that. Reframe it as that the fucker knew you were on to him, and it would have taken too much effort to keep the mask in place. CL has a post in the archives that perfectly illustrates that;” The Ones who just leave”.

      As Susie Lee says, it’s really a blessing in disguise, I know you have that little nagging hook inside that thinks, at least other Chumps were cared about enough for their cheater to try and keep them. But that is *not* the case.

      Cheaters trying to keep the chump very simply boils down to a few factors, 1) trying to avoid *consequences*, and of course, wanting continuing cake, as you yourself note. 2) Avoiding having to commit to the whore, 3) Duper’s delight – it’s so much fun keeping the chump confused and on the back foot, and still in thrall to the cheater.

      I’m sure other Chumps can weigh in with other fucked up reasons, but the bottom line is, irrespective of attempts to keep the chump, hoovering etc, none of it translates to *love* for the chump. It’s simply that they think we can still be of *use* in some way.

      It’s natural to think that if someone tries to keep you, it’s because they care about you. That’s true for normal people, but for narcissistic, sociopathic cheaters, the only reason is we can still be of use in some way even if it’s only so they can tell themselves “I’m a good person, really”.

      Sweetheart, you’ve posted something similar to this a few times, so I know this still hurts you. Let it go. You are not ‘less’ because a piece of shit abandoned you without looking back. You are *more*, because that evil fucktard realised snowing you was a waste of time, or because he was such a sociopath you were simply not real – sociopaths don’t recognise anyone as real, their only reality is themselves.

      Be glad the fucker is gone, and stop thinking you are somehow less. You are much more than that arseknob fucktard will *ever*be. ((hugs)). 💕🤗💕

    • I agree Karen. Runaway husbands is really the only good resource. Normal people do not up and leave their lives behind. I know my own ex is not normal. I am glad he left me everything and plays his child support, but sending money and never seeing your kids is still abandonment.

      That said, chumpladys basic advice is spot on. Get a lawyer, move forward file for divorce. Don’t let new roadblocks arise. If I had waited I expect the new gf would have demanded his share.

      Cheaters suck.

  • When I first discoverd the cheating, I did read several measured RIC sites and came up with my, here is how we reconcile plan:
    1 He would move to another bedroom
    2 He would stop seeing OW outside work purposes (of course, she was a subordinate)
    3 We would go to counseling together
    He did me the favor of refusing to accept my reasonable plan and immediately moved out and into her apartment. He could not face my anger and disappointment in him.
    We tried talking a couple of times and went to one therapy session where, when I said he had to chose to either leave her and work on our relationship or stay with her, he asked the therapist, “How do I know my wife will forgive me?” The therapist replied, “You don’t.”
    The next week he took a 2 week trip to Greece with the OW. I then started to realize we were done, but still had some hopium.
    1 week later I found LACGAL. It was what I needed to drain the last of my hopium and get me off my butt to find a lawyer. Don’t get me wrong, I still cried daily, greived tremendously and needed tons of therapy (still do, 18 months later). But, it opened my eyes to the BS of the RIC and how his entitlement and narcissism were the problem, not my inability to ‘make him feel loved.’
    I am a proud Patreon and got a thrill to pay some of that with joint funds before they were split.
    When my divorce is final, god willing soon, I will make an additional lump Patreon donation. Maybe everyone can make this a part of their ‘I’m free!’ celebration. Celebrate your freedom by helping others find theirs!

  • The number of cultural narratives that say women should stay with their husbands unless they are physically beaten (and in some cases, even then) ought not to be underestimated. Keep in mind that for hundreds of years it wasn’t even possible to divorce a man who cheated unless he abandoned his wife and set up house with a new woman, and even then it would mean the loss of all fiscal support. When men cheat it is biological (spreading their seed), entertaining (all those shows about plural marriage that only feature men having multiple spouses), a momentary lapse, a way to honor the woman their spouse (my wife wouldn’t like “that kind” of sex), male-bonding (all the other guys on the sales team were getting massages), etc. etc. etc.

    I think the RIC makes you squirm because it is the voice of a couple thousand years of a patriarchal marital system. No, men cannot behead their wives like Henry VIII any more and the sealing of business deals with a call girl sent to the client’s hotel room isn’t official policy at corporations any more, but the idea that men should be able to have “some” sexual freedom if they wish it and women should understand their obligation to turn a blind eye dies hard. The RIC reminds us that this is the way it has always been.

    Thank goodness that it is now possible to leave–and take our property, a custody agreement, and our future with us.

    (My apologies to male chumps. The RIC does not target you, and history has been brutal in its own ways to men who are victims of cheating spouses, but it is usually your dignity that has been attacked when you are cheated on, not your life. You deserve better, too.)

  • There is a fine line between maintaining hope and having faith, and allowing abuse by deluding yourself. It is easy to listen to others advice, and hard to figure out what is the best course of action for you. In addition, knowing the right thing to do, and then actually taking the action to do the right thing, are two separate things. It takes effort, and resolve to change. If you are fortunate enough to have love and support in your life, you have a great resource that is not available to everyone. Sometimes, those who think they are being supportive are actually destructive. They keep digging up bones you have already buried, making fresh wounds when you are almost healed.

    Establishing new healthy boundaries and habits is difficult when you have grown up in a landscape of unrealistic expectations. Compare it to the difficulty of following a healthy choice in eating habits, while living in a world full of alcohol saturated desserts. Maybe your grandmother did make that holiday rum cake as an act of love for her family, but is it really a good idea to sit next to it when you are hungry and eating sugar soaked in rum makes you feel good for a moment, but will cause you to spiral into an eating binge all day long?

    When you are in pain, you want the pain to end. If you have ever had a major surgery, you know they can make you oblivious to pain by giving you heavy duty drugs. Remember, you cannot live a successful independent life while taking heavy duty drugs. Sooner or later you have to wean yourself off the painkillers, and deal with the pain while you heal. Being lied to, and cheated on is major pain. Losing the life you worked hard to achieve is major pain. Looking back and seeing the red flags you missed is major pain. You have to find a way to heal, and a way to tolerate the pain.

    There are many snake oil salesmen who make promises their product cannot keep. You are annoyed because they waste your time and money. You are not being bitter by rejecting their product. You are making a healthy choice by dealing with your pain and realistically making a plan to heal without the malignant presence of a cheater in your life. Those who say it is easy are liars.

  • I’ve noticed some comments about religion that strike me as odd in this context. Being convinced that God will change a cheater and save your marriage is just as much a triumph of belief over observable facts as believing RIC “life coaching” can do the same. Do people actually believe you can pray the cheating away? This baffles me. Prayer has never been shown to do anything but act the same way as meditation or a long walk; it’s soothing and calming. Religious observance can be psychologically beneficial for some people, but certainly not if you believe your prayers are going to be answered and therefore do nothing to change your situation. I have a bunch of ex in-laws like this. They sit around and pray instead of doing something to better their chaotic lives. They’re so fanatically evangelical that instead of getting the bedbugs in their house treated, they just pray they’ll go away. It’s been going on at least seven years. So they have to keep moving because their neighbors hate them for infesting their places as well. But do they get a clue? Nope. They’re sure Jesus is going to come through for them someday if they just pray enough.
    Equally, the RIC wants us to hope, based on nothing concrete, that the equally blood-sucking and disgusting cheater will change. I don’t see a difference between these two types of delusions. Why would anybody afflicted with a cheating spouse be convinced prayer ever helps change anyone or anything? Surely that experience alone would snap you out of it. Am I missing something here?

    • I’m not a Christian myself, but your ex in-laws are certainly not. Nowhere, in either the NT, or Christian theological writings, is it suggested that Christians should just sit on their arses and let God do all the work. In fact, the opposite is true.

      Refusing to call an exterminator but praying for the bedbugs to go away? That’s *really* batshit crazy. 🙏😂

      • Agreed. I was thinking the same, but your post said it succinctly.

        I am a Christian, and I was never taught that prayer without action was the way to go.

        I was always told the drowning story.

        Man is on a boat in flood waters, he prays and prays for God to save him. Three different folks come by in a boat, then in a helicopter and some other way. Man says, no that is ok; God will save me. Finally Man pleads with God, why are you forsaking me? God says I sent three people to save you and you turned them all down.

        Story is laid out better, but that is the gist of it.

        Whether the prayer is for yourself or others action will be required. If I know my neighbor has no food and I pray for them, I am expected to provide food as I am able, call on others etc, until God sends other help.

        • Yeah, the fuckwit sure didn’t fall far from the crazy tree. Funny thing is, he is the “smart” one, the only one in the entire family to get a university degree, and didn’t buy into their beliefs. I’m pretty sure he married me because I represented getting as far away from that kind of chaotic life as he could. But he sure indulged in his own brand of chaos and magical thinking by believing new pussy could solve all his problems. To hell with actually doing something constructive, just chase worthless whores and voila! Instant happiness.
          Blech. What a twat. Some people can transcend their shitty upbringing, but others don’t really want to, even if they say they do.

      • The idea that God and/ or prayers will change the cheater also goes against the idea of free will. If God allows evil, even against children and the weak, because it’s an expression of free will of some horrible individuals-perpetrators, then he certainly won’t change the cheater.

  • I know 4 couples (I’m sure there’s more) that stayed. For each of them, it’s been well over a decade. The trust never completely returned. The anger is still there and comes out if triggered. The marriage police of checking phones, taking over the finances, questioning still happens. In these cases there was true remorse and new boundaries, counseling etc. I would like to believe that the cheating stopped but for all of the chumps there is and always will be suspicion. For my friend who cheated, he says that he loves his wife and completely regrets what he did but the marriage has changed and will never be as good as it was before. I truly believed that my marriage could survive this. We had been together for almost 30 years. Turns out most of those years he wore a mask that now drops and I see the covert narcissist that he is. I’m pretty sure that his 2 year “mistake” was the tip of the iceberg. One that I really don’t want to see how deep it goes. He has moved on to the next potential wife appliance (even though the divorce isn’t final – almost 2 years and 5 continuances). I’m sure the affair partner is still in there somewhere or there’s a new one.

    It feels good to say: Not my problem. No more suspicion & paranoia, diminishing anger and very slowly moving to “Meh”. Pretty sure I’m entering “Monday” and “Tuesday” is coming soon. Think this feels like winning.

  • I am a male. I was called “bitter” and acting like a “victim” because I didn’t reconcile with my XW. Men can be called bitter also!!! After the only DDay (she had multiple affairs over 6 years) I filed for divorce in 2 1/2 weeks. I am STILL called out and lost my position in church because I didn’t reconcile despite her whole double life. Nobody would have blinked an eye if my XW left me for another man. But since I divorced a “repentant” cheater I am bitter and Unchristian. That I didn’t give the marriage a chance…😞😞😞

    • That’s crap and we all know it. I am a believer and have struggled with this… but I don’t care. His knows what I need and don’t. It’s also a learning period. The heartbreak teaches us so much about ourselves and how we look at others.
      Shame on that church. You’re forgiven just like her, right?
      Also I have been told by my husband I’m still being a “victim” and am I just going to “be mad forever”?!?
      He and his daughters mom cheated while we dated I didn’t know until after a year invested. He seemed remorseful… I thought it ended.
      Fast forward nearly ten years, I learned in April that they had messed around after that a few times as well. Now I’m standing here in the middle of a shit show while trying to find my way. It’s just him his daughter and me. My daughter has moved out she’s 23 now. Why do I feel so damn obligated to be here for his daughter after all this?
      How did you tell her you were divorcing? Who served her? And what happens in the home immediately after?
      You sir are NOT bitter. I am NOT either
      Thanks

    • Have you read any of the DivorceMinister blogs. That guy is amazing, and he has been through it with a cheating ex wife.

      His mission is to get religious folks and ministers/priests to wake the hell up and recognize who the victim is in these cases.

  • I also wanted to add: after first discovering my husband cheated- I TRIED to look up certain videos on reconciliation and just never felt good. Makes me want to puke. Feels like a suffocating nightmare. Even IF he never cheated again.
    The nights I was bright eyed had butterflies in my stomach after just getting married… I was working HARD to buy OUR HOUSE. Credit wise it was all me. And taking care of THEIR daughter.
    They were plotting to meet up as I slept.
    He was supposedly working a night job. Isn’t that Awesome.
    Thank you again CL and CHUMPNATION you’re the best for everything you do here

    • Shann:

      I really feel for you and have read your posts and remember them.
      Cheaters do not report in to the significant other when they cheat or do other inappropriate things. You only know what you find out. Sometimes it is many years later that you find out. Also it is great that you are concerned about his daughter but that relationship can be pulled from you if he decides he wants out. You are gambling on knowing all there is to know and it is probably rarer than one percent that the chump has discovered or been told everything. Information keeps being revealed–sometimes decades later and it is sometimes too late and expensive to get out then. Much of a life wasted in a relationship with someone who does not put your FIRST. Good luck

      • I’ve often thought and said that out loud- this can’t be it! When did it REALLY stop??? Hard to believe. Yet here I am. Thank you for the kind words and inspiration

  • I am deeply thankful for this site. I’ll go join Patron when I’m done writing.

    D day for me was 2 years and 2 days ago. I was totally blindsided that my best friend and husband of 25 years would ever cheat…I truly thought our life was too good for that.

    I wanted to buy into forgiveness…I read a few of the books…and then I found chumplady and the advice from others, the archives and the book helped me realize that I would never be able to trust or even respect my ex again.

    We never reconciled. He apologized, but continued to act shady. He moved out immediately and we were divorced a year ago. In his “guilt” he gave me everything…the house, full custody of the teenager who do not speak to him, child support. Even better, he moved away. We work at the same company and seeing him every day was brutal. I was thankful when he left.

    That first year was a nightmare. Being blindsided created intense paranoia and I became very depressed. I questions everything in my life. I took time off work. I mourned. I wished I was anyone but me. Infidelity has a way of destroying ones self image and value.

    And then one day I realized I was free. From then on I have been finding me again. I had been with this guy since I was 23. Now I’m learning about me and what I like. It is AMAZING. LIBERATING. FREEDOM.

    I have a beautiful life with my 2 kids. I cannot believe 2 years ago I thought I would be better off dead. There’s no skipping the grief stage, but make sure you move on the the get a life stage. That’s where the magic is.

    Tracy, you are a lifesaver. Truly.

    • Thank you because some days feel like death. I get in a funk when realizing I have to leave this situation
      I’ve also missed some work some days couldn’t care less. Like now. On the couch getting a refuel of chump nation at 3am
      Be well ladies and gents

      • The secret is to just do it. It will be scary and hard and unknown. There will be lots of tears.
        Taking back your life is also empowering. You will feel brave.

        That pain does go away. I have occasional moments, but otherwise I am very content. My kid are content. I am sad that they now see cheaters on tv and are appalled and judgemental, but THATS OK. They know right from wrong.

        Seriously. Once the divorce was signed it was like a weight was lifted. You will be ok.

  • I am a Patron also and even though I successfully left my cheater four years ago and am married to a wonderful man now I still read CL and CN comments. The support never ends even after you reach meh.

  • The RIC is a fucking goat rodeo. To me they are worse than “Sex Addicts” because they KNOW what they are selling doesn’t work. Or works so rarely that no reasonable person would spend money and time on them, and for that reason they provide no statistics on their successes. They sell a worthless product to desperate and broken people, and build their empire on the backs of the suffering. I hate them all with a passion.

    Early on, when I was a drowning person, I reached out to one organization and asked for their success rates and it was like pulling teeth. Finally, the intake person, who treated me like I had no right to ask questions about their very pricey program, told me that for couples who “complete the program and did the work” that 83% are still together a year later. It sounds promising at first glance, but there is no data on how many people didn’t complete the program or do the work. And since a tenet of the program was a committment to staying together for a year to work it out, that totally skewed the results. Snort! Tell me how many people are together 5 years later, are happy and emotionally healthy, and for whom there have been no “relapses.”

    But no one will tell you that, because the truth will keep you from enrolling in their useless program.

    These programs are all marketed to Chumps, because we are the ones who fight for a marriage. And therefore we are the only people the RIC has to work with….how many tortured narc cheaters look up these programs because they are in agony at what they have done and want to be better people? No, it is always the Chump buying the books, watching the videos, investigating programs…trying to fix the unfixable.

    How the RIC has not faced enormous lawsuits, exposes, and public humiliation is beyond me. Someday they will, and the period of their snake oil salesmanship will seem like a fluke. What they do enables the continued abuse of spouses and children and is in itself abuse.

  • As someone who spent thousands on the RIC only to find out he was cheating the whole time (and honestly I swear the industry causes cheaters to have total justification to what they are doing and continue to do therefore encouraging it) I’m disgusted by them all. I also have to say CL that you saved me- from a downward spiral brought on my the abuse of infidelity combined with the RIC’s victim blaming. Like literally I don’t know if I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for the book, this site, and everyone else sharing their stories. Thank you so much.

    • I went to one counseling session with my ex FW. He immediately started listing my faults; didn’t even mention his whore, or the fact that he was still screwing her.

      To his credit our preacher shut it down quick. He was really pissed at the FW for lying to him. The preacher called me later, (I walked out) and apologized and told me he didn’t know he was lying and that he was surprised at the things he was saying. I said really, didn’t surprise me at all.

      • “The preacher called me later, (I walked out) and apologized and told me he didn’t know he was lying and that he was surprised at the things he was saying. I said really, didn’t surprise me at all.”

        This cracks me up, every time. I love you, Susie Lee! 🤣👏😅

  • Saw this further up in the threads, but an individual donation would be easier than Patreon. I signed up for the monthly payment just now, and was dismayed with the amount of information requested by the Patreon platform.

    Have you considered setting up a business PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App? Many internet influencers simply set up accounts and we can directly send funds without the need to do Patreon. Patreon is great for subscription income and cash flow/stream long term. I understand with the expense of the server and blog, that’s important. The problem is that my own income waxes and wanes, not tied to a paycheck, and disposable income fluctuates.

    You might get a better response through a simpler means. Even a PO Box to send a check.

    My time on the blog recovering from my hideous relationship to Voldemort is over. I moved on, found another relationship, and it is now long over. Back to dating. Ugh. The message here is important and positive; a periodic drive through is mentally bracing, affirming, and clarifying. This site was a great help in linking up my horrible relationship to a former partner, and patterns from my family of origin, something my overpaid therapist didn’t help with.

    I will keep my Patreon rolling. When the one time payment button rolls out, I’ll do that too.

    • I’ll consider other methods. Patreon, however, from my admin side, really simplifies things. (And when you consider how spread thin I am, I give that a lot of weight).

      I appreciate all the blog support.

  • I’m an entry level Patron and I keep forgetting to check my email for little goodies. I really should though, eh?

    • They’re coming. It’s been dark for awhile. That’s changing. You will be able opt in for merch (at different tiers) and the audio files are starting next month. (I’m recording… then they have to go to a digital audio editor.)

      • Oh, I’m not fussing or whining. Simply noting that I don’t check my email as often as I should! Thank you so much.

        I hope the UBT has digested its Thanksgiving dinner, leftovers and platters of lebkuchen.

  • I don’t post much as I am now over two years out from the divorce being finalized and have been focused on moving on to my new life which has included: learning and enforcing boundaries, being the sane parent for our three teen kids, moving cross country, and buying a house.

    This site was the one thing that kept me sane during the dark days which followed DD3 and helped me as I attempted to make sense of all his antics. Cheaters truly are all alike and the disordered exhole’s actions pretty much played out as CL said they would. The knowledge I gained kept me five steps ahead of him during the entire process and resulted in a very favorable outcome for me. (By the time the final agreements were made, his lawyer was the one drawing up severe consequences for his violations in the separation agreement. He continues to show his entitlement and triangulates the kids on a regular basis. CL’s advice on dealing with cheater violations of court orders have been spot on and kept me moving forward and him accountable)

    When Tracy rolled out Patreon, I immediately became a member. It’s my way of paying it forward to future chumps who can hopefully avoid the RIC narrative which is so damaging to chumps and their mental (and sometimes physical) well being.

    I can honestly say this site saved my life and gave my children back a bit of normalcy once the disordered freak moved out. Thank you CL and may you continue to be a source of strength and inspiration!

  • I left immediately upon learning of the affair, so no RIC for me. Would I have considered it if my ex had expressed any interest in staying together? I don’t know. What I do know is that I was traumatized by the shattering news, so my head was not on straight, and I might have fallen prey to this RIC BS.

    A couple of friends have confided in me that their husbands have cheated. They stayed. One said her husband offered her $$ to leave. She stays because of financial concerns. She seems miserable. Another friend has stayed but recently has bought some real estate in her own name. She sighed, “I’ve changed.”

    I’m glad I didn’t even have the option to reconcile. I’m glad I found LAC; GAL on D-day. I’m grateful for my family and friends who talked sense into me when I started to assume the blame for the affair. I like to think that I would have been a mighty chump and left the garbage man I was married to with trying to reconcile, but I don’t know.

    • “I’m glad I didn’t even have the option to reconcile.”

      I am too. Though “technically” he circled back a few times, but I recognized the danger; and also he had stayed at the fair too long; and I had lost all respect and romantic feelings for him. He physically looked ugly to me. He isn’t ugly, but he looked it to me. There had to be a reason for that.

      It was well before CL/CN. So I was just going on instinct. I do remember that I had called my Dad (who lived 900 miles away) and asked him to start praying for God to take away my love for him. So, if that is what happened; I welcome it. But, my dad also backed it up with warnings about how life would be for me if I took him back. Also, my brothers and my dad offered me assistance in terms of money, or a home if I needed it. I didn’t, but knowing I had support helped me.

      I was working at a job that didn’t pay a lot more than minimum wage, but it was secure, and there were good medical benefits, so I got a part time job and made it.

  • The RIC annoys the hell out of me too – it is really the cultural narrative of our time. “The high road” or the way good people behave is supposedly to keep cheater’s secrets and forgive. My ex’s new wife who kids (21 and 23) met once and is well aware that my kids are NC with their dad, called them out of the blue to see if they wanted her to include nice memories of their childhood in a birthday book she was compiling for cheater. She did the whole false empathy thing and tried to make them see that their relationship with their father was so very very important and they must forgive him. He is so sorry for his behavior he can’t sleep at night! Poor sad victim. (She didn’t ask them how they were sleeping.) She told them that her dad cheated on her mom and she still has a fantastic relationship with her dad. She values it so much! She wants the same for them. She also told them their were many sides to the story and they just didn’t understand it all.
    Oh my god, it took a few days for my blood pressure to come down. They both said they had no interest in doing that and if they ever wanted to talk to their dad they would call him and hung up on her.

    • KathleenK,

      Wow! What nerve this woman has! My blood is boiling on your behalf! This is rich. A woman who slid off the low road into the gutter lectures your kids on taking the high road. Give me a break!

      Here’s what she’s really saying:

      “You kids are vindictive little snots. He’s your DAD. You owe this to him. And your going NC is making me look bad. This NC business gives the impression that our relationship wasn’t for the best. We want happy, happy, happy. We want good images. We want to feel that our love is meant to be and that everyone agrees that our affair was for the best!! Sure, you had a right to be upset for a few weeks, but it’s time to get over that. I forgave MY dad, therefore I’m superior. The only good that comes from your selfish behavior is that I don’t have to deal with you AND I can look great in his eyes because I’m writing to you now on his behalf. He’ll love me for this.”

      This hits close to home, minus the reaching-out-to-my-kids part, but I could see this happening. Either that or my MIL will do the deed.

      I’m so glad your kids didn’t comply.

      • Thanks you Spinach! The new wife is not the AP, and boy does she feel empowered to tell people that SHE believes people can change and SHE believes in forgiveness. She believes it takes two for a marriage to fail… blah blah blah.
        Thank god for CL and CN so I can advocate for myself against this classic cheater apologist stuff.
        You get it 100% – thanks!

  • Tracy, if the Nobel prize nominations grew out of the female life experience, you’d have been nominated years ago. Who knows how many children love happy, well-parented lives today because your sanity stomped boldly between their sane parent and a world that devalued them? You’re God’s hands and words with this blog. This Christmas, thanks for being my Santa of Sanity six years ago (and, I suspect, thousands more like me). ❤️🎄

  • Super proud to be a CL Patreon! CL was a lifesaver for me. Literally.

    And yes, only one comment to the letter: I caught Dracula cheating in my 20s and I forgave him and took him back. I caught Dracula cheating again in my 30s and I forgave him and took him back.

    Guess what happened? Yep, at age 42, I caught him cheating again. Between CL and a really good therapist who told me “you should expect this behavior to continue in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, if you live that long due to the monumental stress that Cheating causes”, it was early 40s that I finally pulled the rip cord and got out. And don’t regret it for a second.

    These people don’t change, and if anything, the giving them second (or third) chances just emboldens them and they find new, creative ways to hide their duplicity better. Most of us gave these Cheaters a Bazillion chances. And they still kept cheating.

  • Ugh, these people are the most sanctimonious asshats. But, as it turns out, most eventually abandon their diseased relationships, because that train’s never late. In the meantime, however, they spread their false narrative all over the internets and prolong the suffering of many.

    There was a small time blogger who appears to have stopped her blog, but she went on for years about the value of reconciling, even when it was clearly not working for her. In fact, her slam of CL on her comment boards it what [thankfully] led me here. I just could not buy what she was selling, so when I stumbled upon CL land…I felt, for the first time, understood. Thank you for that CL!

    As for that blogger, her last post, after 5+ years of blogging her reconciliation, was a clear sign of distress and misery. I’d be shocked if her and her cheater husband were still together.

    • I think I read that. She posted something like “It was all for nothing” I wish I could remember the name of the blog. The OW had a baby and drug them through the courts, and she stood by the FW. Then he went on another fuckfest.

      • Another blogger…but it goes to show how many are out spreading this nonsense! I don’t want to give the blogger any more clicks by posting a link here, but she lives (lived?) in Australia and was adamant that it was better to try and work things out with her cheating husband who, apparently, cheated on her while she was pregnant with their second or third child.

        I believe she referred to CL as toxic or, like, a place where people go to just complain, or whatever. OK lady, hope you enjoyed the last five soul sucking years of your life.

        • Yes, it was a similar blog/group therapy like BAN that led me to CL. I remember going to a BAN meeting, and this one guy had been “standing by his wife” for 3 years. She was continually cheating throughout this 3 years, and the husband (BAN member) was so raw and distraught. I said to myself at that meeting “I can’t live like this for 3+ more years”, which led me to other solutions like CL. The only way to peace is leaving. The. ONLY. WAY. There is no other way. RIC or “standing” only leads to more chaos and being the permanent marriage police.

  • I find that supporting this blog monthly for a small fee is a great investment. It saved my sanity and I hope it saves others’ as well. Keep up the great work.

  • I was temporarily homeless after I left my ex, but as soon as I got my finances back in line I signed up for Patron. The words and ideas of ChumpLady are saving countless people from putting themselves through more abuse at the hands of spouses and romantic partners. I am definitely one.

    Shortly before I walked out, my ex had started to rate my performance in the bedroom. I found myself standing in the bathroom, gazing at myself in the mirror, wondering how things had gotten so awful. Later, I was having lunch with a friend who cautioned me that if I ever went back, the abuse I’d already experienced would be the new baseline to my marriage and it would only get worse from there. I still read a bunch of books on ridiculous RIC themes, like whether the relationship is bad enough to leave. Thank goodness, somewhere in all that Googling, I found the ChumpLady website. I’m now divorced and well on my way to ‘meh’!

  • I just finished reading a book by a (religious) woman author who previously wrote a book about her hubby’s cheating. They now have done a ‘vow renewal’ and she claims he was not living in the ‘happy world’ she envisioned his cheating to be–he was actually miserable while having affairs. (LOL) Guess he’s happy now. I do feel bad for her chumpiness–naivete? innocence? wishful thinking?–and kept thinking while reading her book–hey, let’s check back with you in two MORE years.

    • Exactly. Guaranteed they are either split or she’s living in misery as the fidelity police or the Official Keeper of my Husband’s Happiness. There’s truly no other option.

    • I stopped reading another site because the women there who are all primarily trying to recon, would say things like; he was miserable, he was so disgusted with himself and her he didn’t enjoy it, it only happened once, he couldn’t get it up etc. My favorite, was he couldn’t enjoy it because he kept thinking of her (his wife) please as Rachael said “he couldn’t have picked his wife out of a line up”.

      I alternated between wanting to cry and wanting to laugh. I finally realized it was likely disrespectful for me to keep reading it. I still feed bad for them.

  • Thank you, Tracey; I’m a chump (twice!), a patron and a therapist. I routinely refer clients here and cherry-pick particular posts to share as needed, too, because sometimes–perhaps this sounds familiar?–we’re not ready to hear or know what we need to hear and know and if we were ready, it would be like drinking from a fire hose. A trickle, an idea, a gentle suggestion can be a critical first step. Now, I’m off to figure out how to increase my support via Patreon!

  • I am a Patron and it is $25 well spent. I have gained so much strength, comfort and humor from this blog in past 9 months since I found it CL. It seemed like ALL of the other ‘help’ was how to lure your cheating husband back and much of the rest of it was ‘how did you contribute to the breakdown of the marriage’. He wasnt trying to come back, and he lied to me for years and it was NOT anything I did.

    In have a piece of paper taped to the wall above my desk and it says “Fight like hell to be the person you want to be – CL”. That’s god damned right.

  • Nope, Tracy. As a male chump, I recently started my new job as a FedEx courier about two months ago. Shortly after, a FedEx manager rode w/me and wanted to know about me. When he heard I was divorced, and a chump, he explained that he knew more than me about marriage BECAUSE HE WAS ON HIS FOURTH ONE (marriage, that is).🤦‍♂️

    Now, he said his first wife left him their w/two little kids, that he raised w/out the XW, so what did I have to cry about? I told him about the XW exit-affairing me after 24+ years of marriage, three kids, and despite my love. “Oh,” he said. “So you’re bitter, huh?” As if, why should I be bitter, since he was able to power his way thru his first wife leaving him w/the kids to go on to have at least two more unsuccessful marriages w/out her?! (he’s still married to the fourth wife, I gather)

    So, yes, male chumps do get the “so you’re bitter, then?” Maybe it only comes from other males. Not sure. But we do get it. I just couldn’t stop thinking how sad it was that this guy thought he knew more about marriage because he’d had four. He wasn’t thinking about how that might make him one of the worst authorities on marriage. But hey, at least he’s not “bitter!!”😕

  • I read a long conversation on reddit about this blog. People seem surprised when you state your case and don’t budge. Their argument is that all cheaters aren’t alike and there is no reconciliation espoused by you. It makes want to take them by the hand and ever so gently push them out, and shut the door. You could not be clearer. This is you. This is what you believe. This is what you stand for. I think the arguments are coming from fear you might be right. They are still trying to control the narrative.

    • I haven’t been on reddit, but after my unpleasant experience on CL fb, I’ll stick with the original CL. No-one here expects us to be ‘compassionate and understanding’ towards skank whores and cheaters. 👿😈

      What got me the most was the sanctimonious and sheer nasty sneering directed towards another chump.

  • ChumpLady, are there any studies looking at long-term outcomes for betrayed husbands who leave vs. stay? I ask because I am one, my WW had a three month EA/PA which included bringing the OM to our home for sex.

    I exposed after using VARs.

    I stayed for the kids (no, really) and I increasingly don’t like the taste of the shit sandwich. It taste, well, foul. Four years and counting after DDAY.

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