Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

What Happens to Couple Friends After Divorce?

Dear Chump Lady,

I am 6 months post divorce after discovering my ex-wife’s infidelity in September 2013. This holiday season my children (12, 8) are with my ex-wife abroad with her affair partner on holiday with my ex in-laws. It sucks that my kids spend time with the man that helped break up my family and end my marriage, but that’s another topic.

My question today is what happens to couple friends after divorce? Can anyone remain impartial and be friends with both sides, or do things naturally drift one way or the other over time? Can I remain friends with someone who has seen me crushed, particularly those few that know the whole story of the infidelity, and who stay friends with the ex-wife? Even more challenging, are those, who as a couple, are friendly with ex-wife and her affair partner.

After a year, I’ve decided to start letting the latter category of friends wane, because it’s too hurtful, as I wouldn’t the same to a friend. Or am I wrong or unique in my view? Do you need to have been through infidelity to fully understand the hurt that this causes?

Appreciate your view and advice.

Carlos

Dear Carlos,

You don’t need to have gone through infidelity to understand that it hurts like a motherfucker. You just need to know that it’s unjust.

And there’s the rub, Carlos. We live in an age where people are loathe to judge injustice. Two sides to every story. No one knows what goes on in a marriage. They grew apart, blah, blah, blame shift, blah.

I can’t explain the fashion for being Above Judgment, because judgement is essential to living and especially to avoiding disaster. Should I invest my retirement savings in Beanie Babies? Should I befriend the neighborhood pedophile? Ride my bike down a flight of stairs?

If we didn’t judge people and situations, we’d be a bunch of jelly-brained imbeciles. Anyone could steal our lunch money. We’d be adrift. Good Samaritans would have to pin our addresses to our sweaters and walk us home.

Fact is, we judge every day. Worthy! Unworthy! Good risk! Bad risk!

The shit sandwich of dealing with the People Above Judgment is that they did judge, they just found you unworthy. But they don’t want to come out and say that. They’d rather pronounce the situation ambiguous and unknowing. We can all be friends, of course. Because that’s easier on them. Then they don’t have to make judgment calls or think of people differently, or rearrange their social calendars and seating charts. Let’s Pretend That Never Happened. Your grief isn’t nearly as important as their discomfort. So let’s make believe you aren’t grieving.

In fact, let’s pretend the problem is you and your bitterness and inability to confer forgiveness and move on. Then we never have to consider the injustice of this situation, the pain of you and your children, or our moral culpability at befriending someone who helped break up a marriage. If the problem is YOU and Something You Did (or did not do, like grant forgiveness), then infidelity isn’t so scary. Infidelity only happens to those who deserve it, who do the Wrong Sorts of Things. Unlike the smug People Above Judgment who are immune from chumpdom.

Cheaters have many narratives, but the favorite is happiness. Hey, we deserve to be happy. Really this is for the best. Carlos, in time, will be happier too! He’ll find someone who is a better fit, and hey, really he owes to all to this life change made possible by infidelity. No harm, no foul!

Dimmer people think… well, who can be against happiness! They don’t ask themselves at what cost? And who is paying that cost? They think… Carlos’s ex seems happy. Happy people are easier and more fun to be around than grief-stricken, angry people. Walking into Carlos’s pain is rather a bummer. So… let’s (judge!) go with the Happy People.

Don’t you like Happy People, Carlos? What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you forgive and be friends?

Well, that all makes a perverse sort of sense if you lack empathy and have no moral compass. (I’m sure stealing my bank card and buying 15 hamburgers confers happiness on someone.)

The fact is, Carlos, you don’t have anything in common with people who would be friends with your cheating ex. You don’t share the same values. You said yourself, you would not do this to a friend. Ergo — these people are not your friends. There is no reciprocity there. They would not behave in the manner you would behave. You don’t share the same moral world view.

One hard blessing of infidelity is that it shows you who your real friends are, and who is a waste of space. Who can stand with vulnerability and grief, and who runs away.

This is an opportunity, Carlos, to fix your picker in all aspects of life and cherish the people close to you, who really have your back, and dump the losers who don’t. And when you do that, you’ll discover that you’re a hell of a lot more “meh” about your ex. You ARE happier. You aren’t pick me dancing with the friendship circle over who gets the “friends.”  You really don’t give a shit any more.

Your new life will eclipse your old life Carlos, and into the darkness goes the smug assholes who don’t deserve you.

This column ran previously.

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.
  • The word I like to substitute for “judgement”, which people ironically judge as being judgey and therefore some
    kind of character defect, is

    DISCERNMENT

    It also makes sense to me that people who judge that infidelity is A-OK on par with a paper cut would also be hesitant to judge making judgements as judgey.

    Discernment is normal, necessary, and how we all weren’t wiped out ten zillion years ago.

    Judge on, Chump Nation. And hold out for First Class seats on the airplane of life.
    Which you get into by judging.

    • PS…

      Of course no one is perfect. I tell my daughter that everyone has issues. The difference is that there are people who work on them and people who don’t.

      BUT/AND

      Someone who is doing things that hurts others does not get to claim Good Personhood no matter how many items are on the character asset list. Ted Bundy had double lives of murdering women and acting (deliberately chosen word) kind and loving toward a long-term girlfriend and her daughter. Bernie Madoff was simultaneously ripping off his friends while acting like Mr. Nice Guy Best Buddy. Hitler loved his dogs. If you’re hurting people then the kind behavior is just manipulative theatre and snake oil you are selling yourself to assuage your guilt.

      I also think it’s the ultimate contradiction that affairs are defended in the name of love and happiness. If the participants understood the true meaning of those words and walked their talk, they would never have an affair in the first place. He actually really truly unbelievably told me she was “kind”. I told him, “Kind people don’t hurt other people.” Their thinking stinks to high heaven and their behavior has ZERO to do with love. Being Better Off does not neutralize the pain and trauma and damage done by infidelity, and I want NOTHING to do with anyone who can stay “friends” with him and his hired hitwoman after they deliberately hurt me and our daughter so deeply.

      Having standards and limits and boundaries is a GOOD thing. Go ahead and criticize me for judging. I’ll just keep my focus on the amenities available to me in First Class.

      • “Manipulative theatre” is a terrific phrase, and an excellent alternative for the term “image management.” It conveys the way others who are not in the know are co-opted into a stage managed production, while making it clear that those who are in the know but lend themselves willingly as actors make themselves complicit.

        • Yes, I think this term “manipulative theater” also captures the how those who are not in the know come to see the “stage managed production” as reality. It produces the cognitive dissonance that chumps experience when D-Day hits and the show is over.

      • “If the participants understood the true meaning of those words and walked their talk, they would never have an affair in the first place.”

        This. There is a HUGE difference between ending a relationship (or marriage) because you can no longer see yourself in it and/or want to pursue a relationship with someone else AND betraying/lying/cheating to have an affair. We can disagree on whether the former is wholly virtuous or honors wedding vows, but we can ALL agree the the latter is trash.

        I have known people who have ended marriages because they want to start new relationships. Their former partners were PISSED, but they didn’t have the complete devastation of us chumps.

        • A very, very long time ago, I had a boyfriend who I dated for 3 years. At the beginning of the relationship I had told him that if he ever felt like dating someone else, to please let me know rather than go behind my back. He came to me (at the 3-year mark) and told me that he met another girl and really wanted to date her. I was hurt, but I truly did love him. He did the honorable thing by telling me, and I did the honorable thing by letting him go. I wanted his happiness. I told the same to the dick. He was not honorable. It’s a character flaw.

    • Yes! One of my favorite words and one that I’ve meditated on a lot in the past 5 years.

      Especially the year I left where I had a married man trying to “help me out in a time of great distress for me.” Yes, he was very kind and understanding, physically helped me move my belongings, but he was also married and walking a fine line with me. Turns out he was a Jesus cheater. I remember the day when he was very thinly veiling an attempt to get me to do something I would regret with him when I tossed that word out to him. I think my exact quote was, “Discernment – the word of the day. Something I’ve been trying to practice. I suggest you do the same.” And the real irony of that was that later on I was reading about its meaning, came across how that term is used in Christianity. This guy acted like he’d never heard word before, yet I’m betting he’d heard quite a few sermons about it.

    • This usually come from a Christian view of Matt 7:1-3. Here is the footnote in the Amplified Bible. “This is not a prohibition of judgment, nor is it a command to stop using godly wisdom, common sense, and moral courage together with God’s written word to discern right from wrong, to distinguish between morality and immorality, and to judge doctrinal truth. There are many judgments that are not only legitimate, but are commanded….however, you cannot judge another if you are committing the same type of sin.

  • Oh, how I hope Carlos has a whole new and improved friend group. I have No Contact with anyone who condones the cheater and his howorker plus the side chick. I gave up my dearest friend of nearly twenty years because she told me “We talked and we are going to support both of you. We love you both.” She had no answer when I objected. This same former friend suggested that if only I’d given blow jobs like she gave blow jobs I could have kept my man. She is no friend of mine.

    My circle of friends can be counted on one hand. My family can be counted on the other hand. Adultery has destroyed my former family. So I’m cautiously making friends who won’t tolerate cheating and establishing a cheater free family.

    The only way for me to heal from the abuse of adultery is to separate myself from it and those who condone it. I have made dear Internet friends through this site and the FB group. Because of Covid I don’t socialize, so the online connections are invaluable to me.

    I have discovered that I can have boundaries. I have no time for fuckwits. I’d rather be alone than with a cheater, Switzerland friends, or anyone who tolerated adultery.

    • “We talked and we are going to support both of you. We love you both.”

      This is the exact comment that makes my blood boil. So cruel. So holier than thou. So minimizing. So asserting the power dynamic (“we” as in the 2 of us know better than the one of you). And the feeling of power that comes with saying “we are about love, whereas you, bitter bunny, are about unforgiving bitterness.”

      Thirtythree, sounds like you know your boundaries and have made very wise decisions. Role model for us all!

      • Switzerland is know for being neutral during conflicts/wars. Especially during WW2. There were/are others, but Switzerland is usually the one cited.

  • My best friend took my ex and his ho worker on holiday. They could not see why I might be upset. My other best friend invited himself and Ho worker to her housewarming party, I found out by accident. I had done much of the donkey work assisting my friends house refurbishment. It almost hurt as much as the adultery and cheating after 34 years of marriage. I went no contact with them too.
    I might add that it was a relief to go no contact with former best friends as they made me feel really uncomfortable and unsafe as I didn’t know if they had my back or they were spying.

    • I agree. It hurts to end friendships but when I kept hearing that people were not going to judge him for what he did? I was totally out of that friendship. Because at that point they made a choice.

      • Anyone who says they’ll stay friends w/the cheater because “who knows what goes on in a marriage, we were friends w/the cheater, we don’t want to pick sides,” etc (I had my share of them following D-day and before the final divorce), I call them “intellectual cowards.” And I know, calling them intellectual might be a bit of a stretch.

    • We had really at the time only been socializing with about three sets of friends, sometimes together sometimes separately. I only really considered one of the women a friend of mine. Thought I like the others, we just weren’t as close.

      I lost them all, but in fairness; two sets quit socializing with him pretty much too. Not so much as a judgement, but he withdrew from the community. The one I was close too, may have been as much my fault as hers. I just didn’t have much in common with couples anymore, also she went to work for the city as a police dispatcher, so just by working for the city she had to be careful of what she said.

      As to the spying, that is exactly what one of the wives did. She feigned such sympathy and support for me when she came over to see me right after it was exposed. Of course as we do, I told my whole story. I never saw nor heard from her again.

      From that I learned early to keep to myself, and only talk to my close family and one close friend who had been through the same thing.

  • I gave him custody of the family and friends on his side of the fence. Anybody questionable was off my list. I’ve really paired down. But I’m saving a lot of postage on my Christmas cards this year. I’ll make new friends.

    • and here’s something I forgot to mention, none of those people that I cut out of my life have contacted me. Even though they know what I’m going through, not one has reached out to me so in my mind, I did the right thing.

    • Mutha,

      Ex-Mrs LFTT (an alcoholic) got custody of all of her drinking buddies. I got custody of the kids.

      I suspect that I may have got a good deal.

      LFTT

  • Carlos,

    The bad news is that a many people who you thought were friends are going to prove that they are no friends of yours at all. They will – despite everything she did – continue to support her or “fence sit” at the very least. While it may hurt in the short term, these people are no real loss to you.

    The good news is that some people who you had no idea were or might be your friend will step up to the plate and fill in the gaps. These – along with the pre-existing friends who know right from wrong – are your support group going forward. Focus on them; everyone else can go f*ck themselves.

    LFTT

  • ‘You said yourself, you would not do this to a friend. Ergo — these people are not your friends.’ Exactly right. The Tiny Dancer Ho was a part of our large friends circle, she had been to our home and before I knew about the betrayal I felt sorry for her, she seemed off/awkward. Of course now I know why. All my social media contacts were also connected with her, so I quit FB and dropped out of that circle as none of them dropped her. Even a woman I considered my best friend, was connected with her and wouldn’t want to cut her off, so I cut my former bestie off. Like others, my friends today are of a higher caliber, they’re loyal and trustworthy, and fewer in number. I don’t need the drama, I prefer peace.

  • I’ve learnt two good things today:

    I have no problems with judging (and variation ‘labelling people’). I do have an issue with Smug People Who Think They’re Above Others. Thanks, CL.

    Question At what cost? I tecemtly lost my job. Yes, I immediately found another one, far better paid and with great benefits. Should I be grateful to my bully ex-boss? No, because this new job came with a cost. We aren’t friends and she isn’t a good person.

  • This issue weighs heavily on me. It’s in our chumpy nature to develop meaningful relationships.

    Of course, we judge. We should judge.

    And some people are easy to dump.

    For example:
    *My MIL who told me (after only a few weeks of D-Day): “Don’t judge!” “You need to move on.” “You need to forgive.” “Judge not lest ye be judged.” “A Mighty Fortress….(I got the sung version)” “I love my son.” Note: She also met with the AP right after D-Day. “What could I say? She was sitting alone at Starbucks and we were at Panera next door.” My GOD! Sitting alone at Starbucks! Imagine the hardship!

    I could also easily dump:
    *Various “friends” who’ve treated me as if I am afflicted with COVID, walking around and coughing on them without a mask.

    *The mutual friend who said, “I love you both.”

    *The mutual friends who clearly have gone to the dark side (i.e. his).

    But, what’s more confusing are the ones who have really been supportive and have walked in my pain but remain either directly or indirectly in contact with my ex.

    One person in direct contact is his sister who is the one who introduced us in the first place. She’s since apologized. She and I go way, way back. Although I remain friends with her (she’s a fellow chump), I’m wary. For instance, I’ve yet to give her my new address. I’m also careful about what I tell her. And I’ve told her to please refrain from mentioning anything about her brother.

    Also confusing to me is the female half of one of our old couple friends. She, too, has walked into my pain and sat there. She’s let me tell stories over and over. She’s been extremely supportive. I’ve posted here before that her mousy, conflict-averse husband continues to accept invitations to fish from my ex, spouting whiny versions of: “I don’t really want to go;” “It was hard to say no;” “I regret accepting the invitation.” He is also the one who, according to his wife, said, “Well, this happens all the time in marriages.” My friend set him straight (or tried to), but I think he revealed himself.

    The other day I convinced myself that the AP probably joined them on a recent fishing trip. I know that my ex is DYING to show off his new catch (the OW!). She makes him feel young, in a Hugh-Hefner way. She’s cute, perky, and happy. Beneath the shiny surface is a woman who knowingly cheated on a married man. She also betrayed her own husband. These two betrayers slept in each other’s marital beds. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do this. I don’t know about you, but I need to feel VERY relaxed to enjoy sex. I honestly don’t think I could relax in that situation. I just don’t get it. But, hey, they have their own ethical standards, that don’t include shame or the urge to change sheets either before or after the act. Gross. It disgusts me that I slept in that bed, completely unaware.

    But I digress.

    It’s this female half of the couple friend that I would hate to lose. In fact, she’s driving hours to have a socially distant meet-up with me tonight. Is it possible to split off a couple? To be friends with one half?

    • Spinach, I have a couple friend that I am struggling with too. She helped me figure out that Fuckwit was cheating and with who. She is the only person, that I know of, that called XFW to tell him he was terrible and what he did to me was terrible. The husband’s first marriage ended b/c the XW cheated. But he said to me “I am not going to pick sides.” She has called me anytime the XFW is going to come and see them b/c he is in their town. She claims she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but her husband wants the friendship to continue. The bro code is strong. They have been friends for too long. I told her, I don’t want to know ANYTHING about XFW or his stripper (not GF b/c they aren’t defining it, barf) so please stop. I think she wants to dish the dirt and that maybe I wanted to know. I don’t. It is too painful. But we haven’t really spoken since then. I think XFW can have them… I appreciate her support of me, but the bro club wins the FUCKWIT.

      • In a sense, the boundaries you have set will forever change the relationship. This woman may actually be your friend, in the classic sense, but her husband’s bro-mance with your X requires that both of you censor and filter what you say.

        Deep friendship requires intimacy and trust. I could stay friends with someone whose husband was a fishing buddy with Jackass but only if I know, for sure, that she is a VAULT and that she could and would have a firewall where stuff about my life stayed between us.

        • LovedaJackass,
          Such a great point! Thanks. I’ll have to discuss this with her. She does need to be a VAULT.

          Damn my ex.

    • Spinach,
      Thank you for raising the issue of relationships/friendships that are more difficult to put in either the category of “keep” or “discard.” Not every decision is clear-cut. My relation to my former in-laws (my ex’s sister and her husband) is of this type. I have no illusions about where their loyalty lies. My ex-sister-in-law, in fact, is my ex’s #1 flying monkey, working hard to support my ex’s “we grew apart” narrative. My ex-brother-in-law, on the other hand, has been both sympathetic and supportive, in word as well as deed, but he is married to my ex’s sister, which I never, ever forget. But because of generous financial help they offered to my college-age son at around the time of the divorce, I do not feel comfortable simply cutting them out of my life. I continue to correspond with them on a superficial level (luckily they live several thousand miles away), a shit sandwich I eat on behalf of my son.
      I also maintain friendly relations with some former colleagues who worked with my husband and me, and who continue to see both of us. We were all professors in the same academic department (I have retired, as have most of these former colleagues; my ex has not), so our relationships were in some ways always “couple’s friends” and in other ways individually maintained professional ones. I have found making a distinction between “friendly” and “friend” useful in re-negotiating and re-calibrating this group. A few remain my friends, and these people do not interact with my ex. Others I continue to see socially, although never in situations that include my ex, and they continue to interact with him. But with this second group, with whom I remain friendly, I have erected boundaries about what I reveal of myself and make sure I don’t get too involved with or drawn in by them. Covid hit at a time right after I was finally free to develop new friendships, but I know that when we are all able to resume a more normal existence, it’s likely most if not all of these “friendly relationships” will fall by the wayside.
      Someone above wrote this is a difficult “heart journey,” and that feels right to me as a description of this re-negotiation with the people in my life.

      • Oh, I forgot to get to the “is it possible to be friends with one half of a couple” aspect. In the case of one of our former colleagues and her husband, my ex and I were friends with both of them. Her husband, who was my friend before he was my ex’s, made it clear just about the time Covid hit where his sympathies lie (not with me). Covid restrictions on socializing has ironically made it easier to distance myself from the husband but not the wife, because she and I walk together (and did before Covid as well), yet there’s no pressure to be around him.

        • Yeah, as terrible as this pandemic is, there are some social perks.

          Like you, I’ve avoided the guy entirely because of the pandemic. It also helps that they live a few hours away. I think I could avoid him indefinitely.

          Time will tell…

          I wish you all the best in navigating your own tricky social situations. It’s not easy.

      • Oh, Spinach: It was YOU who said it: “heart-forging.” Such a perfect description of how we are tempered by fire.

      • I have a couple of similar situations that are hard to call. No one clearly chose my ex’s “side” because I made and maintained the vast majority of our mutual friends. One narcissistic friend (and colleague of mine) chose to support my ex’s “overlapping” relationship right out of the gate, which hurt me very badly; he claimed to be my friend but never once checked in on me—meanwhile he was climbing out in public at the gym with ex and his AP while I was at home unable to eat or sleep. For a while at first, back when this kind of thing mattered to me, I competed for this guy’s friendship by being extra nice to him when he was basically being hurtful and oblivious. But I knocked off that codependent bullshit and am letting that relationship sunset, which it was time to do anyway.

        Another tough case is my in-laws. I got along with them very well, and they were shocked and saddened when my ex exit-affaired me. Of course, he lied to his parents about the reasons for leaving me, but his mom asked me outright, and I told her the truth. She was very sympathetic, and they’ve been as supportive as they can from a distance, but he’s their son, and the family dynamic is…not healthy…and they’re never going to confront him in a million years because he, like everyone else in that FOO, uses “love” like a lever to get what he wants—and he’ll simply take it away if they do anything to anger him, just like he did with me. So, even though it broke my heart at first, I’m to the “birthday and Xmas card” point with my former in-laws, and I’m OK with that. Anything more would be awkward and painful.

        The toughest case in some ways is a couple that we had just met, but bonded with very fast, when my ex left me. They chose to stay friends with both of us b/c they are kind, loyal people and because my ex is a good liar, and I genuinely think they didn’t know whom to believe. They were also incredibly supportive to me in important ways in the early days—helping me with things around the house, making sure I ate and got out, etc. And they were very careful not to tell me anything about their interactions with my ex. They even went so far as to negotiate a discrete solution to my ex’s stated intention to bring his AP to a birthday party we had RSVP’d for jointly even though he knew I would be there. He said, “It’s a big party, it won’t matter,” but the couple negotiated with him to stay away from part of the festivities so I could come and enjoy them without him and his whore being there. I’m still very good friends with them. Part of me resents that they won’t take my side; part of me realizes that everyone makes their own decisions, and I need to stay in my lane and judge that relationship purely on what goes on between them and me, and not what might or might not be going on between them and my ex. I trust them not to tell him my business; they don’t tell me his business. It works right now, and I’ll dump the relationship if it stops working.

        My only concern with maintaining these joint connections is that my ex may use these parties as flying monkeys to get around my No Contact and to pressure me to talk to him. I’ve decided if that happens, I will simply sever those connections.

        I don’t know—maybe not the best solution: maybe others of you have thoughts? But that’s the best I could come up with….

    • I’ve been divorced more than once. When I left my abuser, I lost all of my friends, not only the “couple friends” or the “mutual friends” or the friendships that started with him. I left him after he strangled me and dumped my unconscious body on the highway. The “mistake” I made was in telling everyone exactly why I left him. I got a lot of push back from unexpected sources claiming “Tom would never do that. You must be making it up.” Even my father responded with, “You used to be able to beat your wife as long as you didn’t use anything bigger around than your thumb.” And yes, that’s where “Rule of thumb” comes from.

      After a decade and a half or so, I remarried. I thought I had found my soul mate, the love of my life. I hadn’t. One of the big, fat, flapping red flags I somehow missed was that *he* thought it was OK to remain friends with cheaters and abusers. After all, they were “lots of fun” and they hadn’t done anything to HIM. I should have taken it as a sign that we had different values. I was never OK with cheating and abusing, or with being friends with someone who had done such a thing.

      If you want to hang on to half of a couples friend when the other half of that couple is hanging on to a cheating, abusive fuckwit because “I don’t have anyone else to go ice fishing with” or whatever, you know that the fuckwit friend has different values than you. You might suspect suspect that either the half of the couple that is still your friend might possibly share their spouse’s values. Or they might simply be a chump waiting for their D-Day. If you value that friend, it might be worth some time to try to ascertain which it is before dropping the friendship. On the other hand, if you keep that friendship, you’ll run into the spouse from time to time. But it is worth considering whether or not YOUR friend’s values align with yours rather than their spouses.

      Not sure all of that actually made sense. Hopefully it did.

    • Yes, Spinach, I’m really struggling with the friends who’ve been supportive and validating but continue to positively interact with my ex on social media or when they see him out somewhere. I don’t know how to feel about this. If it were me, someone who did this to my friend would be dead to me, but apparently most people don’t feel this way. And, I live in a small community and my STBX is big man on campus so he’s someone folks want to count as a friend.

      I’m just keeping my distance, as someone else wrote “friendly but not friends” with most of the people who I’d counted as my community at one time. Moving might be the only remedy. As they say, this town ain’t big enough for the both of us.

    • “Is it possible to split off a couple? To be friends with one half?”

      Yes. Think about some good friends that are married to people that make you cringe. You love your friend but their spouse is not your cup of tea. So you make time for one on one get togethers and if there is an occasion where friend will have their spouse present you tolerate the spouse for your friend’s sake. This is of course if friend has nothing to do with your cheating ex and AP. All bets are off if friend decides to socialize because of pressure from spouse. Just a side note on friend’s husband going on fishing trips with cheater and AP. Don’t put it past cheater and AP to fix hubby up with a “friend” of AP’s. First they have no loyalty to your friend, second they are scumbag cheaters and low lives love bringing people down to their level.

  • Yes just what a chump needs: more betrayals after a soul shattering d-day. First the cheater. Then the friends you thought were mutual. Then some of your own friends. Then the cheater’s family. And if you’re as unlucky as i am, the cheater’s entire professional network because he happens to be an Influential Person.

    Sure, filtering out the low quality people is ultimately good. But when it happens all at once like that it’s enough to drive a person to desperation.

    • ForgetMyUsername,

      Yeah! Perfectly put. We hate them for the betrayals. We hate them, too, for fucking with our friendships. Then again, as CL points out, maybe they weren’t good friends to begin with. Although it serves as a good friendship litmus test, it does happen too suddenly. It’s hard to process so many losses at once.

      It hurts like a motherfucker. It’s as if the universe is saying, “You felt pain with the betrayal? Well, take this! Here’s more pain!” It’s part of the heart-forging process, I guess.

      Strength to all my fellow chumps!! 💪

    • ForgotMyUserName,

      So well said and captures how I feel.

      To everyone here who has family who has turned on them, I would like to share….

      Many people in our family sided with my cheater, and liar psychopath. Sadly, even my two daughters, who knew that he had disenfranchised me in every way possible. They have cut me off. One daughter came home to inform me that “daddy is buying her a Prada purse.” She also lives in a beautiful apartment in NYC-chelsea area. It took me two years to get her off alcohol and drugs, and now she is back on them. My lying cheating psycho takes her out for drinks. Basically he has “bought” my daughters.

      In the meantime he pays no meaningful child support and ignores my son, has only seen him twice this year. Maybe three times.

      On a good note, my friends, who I always felt were more his friends, are utterly disgusted. I received text messages on cheater’s birthday from people who said they were not texting him out of loyalty to me, and to stand-up for what is right. One of the women was his assistant for over 10 years. She sees right through it.

      Some people are decent. I never suspected the people to support me who did, I never suspected my daughters to side with their liar father. I was always a decent mother, I stayed home, and took good care of them. I was not perfect, but I tried…

      You would think family and friends would have the moral fortitude…..but it doesn’t always work that way. The cheating and fraud that I encountered were horrific. But then to see family doesn’t care makes me feel like I am caught in some sort of double jeopardy….. I am pretty confident my daughters will turn out like their father….one is already almost 24, so her personality is formed, with a dollar bills in both hands…… So sad.

  • I’ve been thinking about this a lot, what with the holidays and all. I miss old friends. I brought our best “couple” friends to the marriage from college. But I had to eject them after D-day and it was painful. I still get lonely for them, but its more lonely for having couple friends.

    These are weird days. It is hard to make and build strong new friendships in so much isolation. There are opportunities to grow deeper in other, more personal things, but geez, I’ve had enough of that!

    I was so mad at XW for preventing me from being married for “30-” or “40-” or “50-” years. I wanted to be that couple. I’m really learning now that its the quality of days that matter, not the number. (obviously, but here I am).

    It is the same with friends; its the quality of connection more than the length of time.

    • Tall, being angry that you don’t get to be part of the couple that has been married 30, 40 or 50+ years really resonates with me!! I was so proud of the “we made it!” badge. I have to remind myself that badge required eating a lot of shit sandwiches.

      • I used to “brag” also. Made it 10 days short of 24 years. Almost made me want to throw up as I became a chump starting in year 8 (unknowingly, of course). People use to say “I haven’t met someone married that long before”.

        • Made it through the 21st year, though the last year was hell on earth; I just didn’t know why yet.

          Same year my ex (with my help) threw his best friend a 40th birthday party (Nov 14th). My birthday was 6 October, he didn’t even mention that, though he always forgot my birthday, and took great pride in it, always joking about it. I realized after Dday, forgetting my bday was likely just part of him contempt for me as a wife and as a woman. He always seemed to enjoy the birthday celebrations I made happen for him though.

          • My marriage should have ended at 7 years, when I had my first d-day, but I could not stand the idea that my husband’s crazy sister would have a marriage that lasted longer than mine. My in-laws had been married 40+ years and I felt like I had come from a broken home because my parents divorced after only 13 years of marriage. LOL.

            My marriage only made it to 11 years and now I marvel at how my parents managed for 13. I appreciate now how relatively normal my upbringing was and that my parents might have been flawed, but they learned from their mistakes and were doing the best they could for us. Meanwhile, I have learned that my religious ex-in-laws have spent the last 47 years hiding my FIL’s dirty little secret: soliciting sex with male strangers on Craigs List.

      • Divorced 2 months shy of what would have been our 20th anniversary and 24 being together.

        But I’d say (and say) the last 10 were horrible. Her first affair was 10 yrs in, so that was the beginning of the end really.

        So not really worth the dinner out if we would have made it.

      • The years don’t matter. I’m trying to NOT still be embarrassed over being married 36 years and just NOW divorcing. I put my all into the marriage, I forgave multiple times, I “lived together peacefully “ as one divorce attorney suggested to me 10 years ago because we had no money, no assets and I had only a part time job.
        Several years ago, after 3 D days but before finding CL, I purposely gave up outings with “couple friends.” They weren’t my real friends & I was hiding my pain & devastation when we were all together. It got more painful than I could manage.
        I am filing on Monday & it’s nice to know I have used these past 2 years to develop my own friends who know me& my past. They will be supporting me through the months ahead.

        • Right on! You´re filing on Monday!!! Awesome, I wish you all the best. Don´t give up, don´t look back and know you are doing the right thing. It´s sooo hard but sooo worth it. You can completely trust that life gets way better, peaceful, HAPPY on the other side. Stay strong, because you can do this! You are worth all the love in the world. A big hug to you!

          • Thank you! The support here, too, has been wonderful. I’m looking forward to so much, including changing my username.

    • Yes, I also have flashes of anger that my 30 year marriage was destroyed before the pandemic and before the promised “til death do us part”. I have had to work hard to come to terms with the fact that I can’t control others behavior, BUT believe that I am worthy of love and commitment.

      I wish the family and friends who attended our wedding and were part of our lives understood the depth of the betrayal.

      • Lemon…My DDay was 5 months shy of our 30 year anniversary and 3 months shy of our older daughter’s wedding. Your post resonates with me SO much….you nailed my feelings/thoughts exactly. NO ONE can understand the pain, depth, and magnitude of betrayal unless they have experienced it themselves…….My STBX’s best friend’s first marriage was detonated by HIS ex-wife’s affair/infidelity. He was just devastated…and we were for him. Fast forward 20 years to my daughter’s wedding where the Best friend, now remarried, comes up to me and says…”He’s my best friend, referring to my adulterous husband,..I have to support him.” Here was this man, a devout Catholic, having experienced the utter gut-wrenching pain himself, telling me he had to support my STBX. The cognitive dissonance is unfathomable.

        • What an asshole! He knows the pain of betrayal. And you supported him. Shame on him! I don’t get it. Cognitive dissonance, I suppose, or these are just crappy people.

          Good luck to you!

          • Thank you Spinach…..He told me at the wedding…..’You are family but I have to support him…” …….he had allowed my husband to live in a vacant home that he owns when my STBX abandoned me and left our home —– minutes after telling me about the affair (the woman’s son had seen them and was threatening to “out” them.) They live together in that same home now…the woman left HER husband of 30+ years….my STBX is her FIFTH affair (thats why her son was going to out her/him…..) When the best friend was first divorced I would send food and baked goods to him and his son…I was so angry at his then-wife for destroying their family….Now he enables my STBX and the serial adulterer…and tells me I am “family”….Go Figure……..NOTHING anyone says or does surprises me anymore

    • Tall One,

      I’ve been divorced for a decade and got married last month to a former chump. We had that discussion about never making the long term numbers. If we are alive for the 30-year mark we will be flirting with turning 90! But it was so lovely to have a conversation of this type with someone I trusted is as invested in the relationship as I am. We decided it was even more important to strive to pack in as much living and loving as we can in the time we have together – it got a bit philosophical as we noted we really only have the time right now. Nothing else is guaranteed. So, as much as possible, enjoy your time of solitude even if it has gone on too long with this dam virus.

    • Same here. On our honeymoon Nitwit pointed out an elderly couple and said, “That’s going to be us in 50 years.” He knew what I wanted to hear.

      I filed for divorce 1 month before what would have been our 3rd wedding anniversary and moved out mere days before it. At the time it saddened me but now I am grateful I did not punish myself any longer.

      • I know it hurt, but hooray for you! You got out early! You’re gaining a life!

        Signed,
        Spinach (a glutton for punishment; stayed 35 years!)

  • I don’t see the ethical debate. No, just no. Even a small child knows when they have hurt someone. My husband of 46 years died, just as I found the reality of our marriage. Trust me, no less pain, blindsided. My wonderful, kind, gentle son left his wife for his personal assistant. Guess what , I still love him, but he chose to be an ass-hole. He is a grown man, so I don’t make his choices. But I do make mine. His slut is not and never will be welcome. It is his job to manage his relationship with me that does not include the slut. Meanwhile, I totally support emotionally and sometimes financially his ex wife. “When people tell you who they are, believe them “ and then walk (run) away. No, explanation, excuse or reasons needed.

      • Mothechump, Thank you. It hurt worse than from husband. Blamed myself for being a chump, teaching, by example etc. but he is in his 40s, grown. I will never say it’s ok, in the past or just one of those things. Nope! It’s wrong.

    • HCard. My heart hurts with yours. It must have been devastating to find out both betrayals. Hopefully, living with the truth, even when it hurts, will help you heal. Plus your loving care for your DIL, & to an extent your son.

    • Hcard,

      Wow, that must have been so hard. But, good for you. I am sure your x DIL appreciates you so much. I don’t know if they have kids, but that also ensures you will have an open door policy in their lives.

    • Hcard
      Hardly anyone would do this for the betrayed spouse.
      We are discarded twice.
      Maybe the only good thing that came out of your betrayal is the loving hand you are giving to the person who needs it – your former daughter-in-law who was betrayed.
      Something tells me my former mother-in-law would welcome the slut because she adores her son -,and anything to make him happy.
      And she likes to be invited out.

  • In a 33 yr relationship and 26 married there were no couple friends and only two people that I thought may have been common friends. One was an employee who was aware of his behaviors and was always polite to me. The second was a guy and customer of the ex that I helped when his wife was dying of cancer even as I had just finished my treatments and had two small children. I was in awe of how much he loved her. I thought we were friends.
    The first one was involved in overseeing me as I got to return to the house and collect my things two ys after i left and repeatedly told me to contact me if he could help. I was smart enough to stay away from that monkey. I did stop by to visit the second person but immediately knew he was uncomfortable. He said yeah I guess people change. I realized ex ran me into the ground with lies but found it strange he also accused me of being involved with this person. I was quick to respond that of course people change but abuse is not acceptable. I never went back. The ex is claiming broke and had this person write a check for our sons tuition. That clearly told me he was still involved with the ex.
    Anyway, the ex has me tied up in court and I was thinking of who could attest to his behavior and these are the only two I know. I was actually recently considering reaching out through my attorney to subpoena them. Thank God I came to my senses. I realized that though they may have different mannerisms than the ex, they are at core value just like him. He would also have the ability and means to manipulate and bribe them to say whatever he wanted them to. I wasted a lot of time worrying what these two thought of me. Now I don’t give a fuck.
    I stay in my lane with my friends who were never mutual due to isolation and my family that I know have my back after I was able to speak the truth.

  • The most painful loss was when my own brother invited my Ex and my children (not me) to his house for christmas last year. While my brother didn’t know everything that stbx had done, he knew that the ex drained our joint bank account, and that I asked him (my bro) and his wife to be on standby while divorce papers were being served in case I needed to flee my house quickly with my children. That was in May of 2019 and December of 2019 he invited the fuckwit and my children to his house on christmas eve. I didn’t have plans, I was available and when I asked when WE could see each other for christmas the earliest date my bro gave me was Dec 30th. Which was lucky because as soon as my son quietly and reluctantly told me they had gone to their uncle’s for xmas eve I cancelled those plans and told him to fuck off. (there was confusion because my ex and I both have a brother with the same name so I assumed they were going to my ex’s brother’s house- because how on earth could my own brother do that to me!). Haven’t spoken to him or anyone else in my family since (except for my niece, who gets it). When I look back over my relationship with my brother, I can now see so much indifference I know I made the right choice.

    • “he invited the fuckwit and my children to his house on christmas eve. ”

      I can’t even imagine the pain of that.

      My brother was my rock when I went through it. He is two years older than me and had always been my protector. But, even my other brother who is 9 years older, wouldn’t have done that. In fact the oldest brother might have beaten the crap out of him, had he lived in the same state.

    • How horrible! What an awful brother. You made the right decision.

      I had to make the same decision about a very close family member who invited the cheater to visit to “discuss the situation”, telling him to be sure to not let me find out. Well, I found out anyway. I, on the other hand, was never invited to “discuss the situation” from my point of view. If that isn’t a fuck you statement then I don’t know what is. I haven’t seen or spoken to that traitor since, who was so cowardly as to un-friend me on FB and block my number after realizing that I knew about the treachery.

      • OH yeah– what an ASS!! yeah– nobody in my family wanted to hear even one word about it, but to ask the asshole and NOT ask you?? wtf??

  • True friends are like diamonds. You don’t have many of those but the ones that you do are priceless. My question to you is are you uncomfortable around these Switzerlanders? If so move on. You control your own life and you can do with it as you wish. If they accuse you of being bitter tell them you’re damn right and to kiss your ass!

  • Due to my childhood experience of frequently being the new kid in school, I have a different view of friendship. I learned early on that you meet many types of people, and good manners go a long way in public situations, but you should choose your friends carefully.

    People you know socially because of your job, or the ex’s job, are not friends. People who have life skills you need, like doctors, dentists, accountants, etc, are not friends. People on social media may be supportive on various issues, but they are not friends. You can be friendly with a stranger, but you are not a friend. I love live music, and when I am able to attend, I am friendly with the musicians, because we share a love of music, but they are not my friends.

    I avoid discussing politics, religion, and social injustice with the majority of people I know. I love my biologic family members, but we don’t discuss these issues. I have family and friends who have made decisions in their lives I do not approve of, but it does not stop me from loving them. We either agree to disagree, or we don’t continue to review those decisions. I have made mistakes in my life, and so has every one else I know, but I don’t want to talk about something I did when I was 16 anymore.

    With regard to children, if my ex can offer an experience I cannot afford to offer to my children, like a vacation, a chance to visit another country, or purchase them a car or a new computer, I am grateful my children gain something I cannot afford to give them. They are not betraying me. They are getting a gift from their dad. His motive for giving the gift does not matter, he has proven he cannot be trusted, and he is not a friend of mine. Over time, my sons will judge all the gifts they have received in their lives, and hopefully they will decide some non-monetary gifts are better than some expensive others.

    My oldest son gave me one of my best gifts ever when he married. He chose the Beatles, In My Life. as our mother son dance song at his wedding, and sang the lyrics to me as we danced. While dancing with my full grown son, all of the years of memories surged through me, good times and bad times, proud times and wondering if I had given birth to an alien times, all of it. It was one of the happiest moments I have ever had. My bond with my sons is beyond friendship, of course, but it shows that we do not have to agree on everything in order to endure.

    I have a small circle of true friends. These are people who have been there over time and changing circumstances. These are people I care about, people I support. Outside of this small and intimate circle, I really don’t care what other folks do or think. I don’t care who they have a drink or dinner with, what social function they attend, or even what their view is about infidelity. Their opinion of infidelity is only tested if someone betrays them. What they do then, how they act then, what they expect then, will show them and others how they truly believe. It will also not be my concern.

  • I don’t believe in “couple friends.” In most cases, these people fall into a couple of categories:
    1. People in your neighborhood who over time come to socialize together in couples. They may even pet sit when you go out of town. Your kids may be friends. But the relationships are not built on the personal intimacy and commitment that characterizes deep, long-term friendship. They’re built around going out to restaurants, having parties and BBQs, maybe even taking the kids to the shore or DisneyWorld, and as kids get older, around kids’ activities and sporting events. These are essentially social acquaintances with the veneer of “friendship.” The chances of these relationships ending up either as “Switzerland” acquaintances or as being
    2. Situations where one spouse has a bond with one member of the other couple. That relationship might emerge from work, kids’ activities, golf, hunting, yoga, church, etc. The spouses get along but are essentially there because of that friendship, not because of a bond they have with someone in the other couple. If the Chump is the one with the initial friendship, there’s a chance that this relationship will survive, if the friend turns out to have the depth for real friendship, standing by someone who is struggling and suffering. The easiest tell is whether the Cheater and the OW are still in that person’s life. But in this case, for sure the “couple” will go with the person that has the bond with one of the partners.
    3. Then there are the “couple friends” where the bond is between two cheater involved with each other, with the spouses being the unwitting victims of their cruelty. Obviously THOSE “couple friendships” aren’t going anywhere–although I do know of situations where the two chumps actually end up together.

    It’s useful to redefine what “friendship” means. For me, a real friend is someone who has your back, who gives as well as receives, who can be trusted even when you are at your lowest. My BFF flew across the country and spent 3 weeks with me in the middle of a polar vortex when it was too cold to go anywhere. I would do the same for her. I’ve never had “couple friends.” I’ve socialized with couples, usually when I’ve been married to or dating someone who has these relationships. I enjoyed having a meal, going to a BBQ, or watching a kids’ game with them. But if the marriage or relationship ended, those connections ended with it. If you are clear on the nature of the relationship to start with, you can reduce the feeling that the X “won” the couple friends. None of my true friends would give Jackass the time of day. And the did a Snoopy dance when I ended the marriage to XH the substance abuser because they hated how he treated me.

    • My best friends I have kept since I was four and five years old. We have been through everything together even though we no longer live in the same town. A conversation is like talking to them 10 minutes ago. They are exactly who they have always been. I can trust that.
      When we were transferred years ago I was fortunate to make friends with a group of women here. We look after each other, and we care about each other, but they are nothing like the diamonds I have brought from my childhood. Everybody else is a friend of the road. We walk along together for a while and then we get to a crossroads and go our separate ways.
      My husband has had three good friends but two of his buddies have died and he can never replace them.

      Portia, that was beautiful

      • I love that description, “friend of the road.” It perfectly describes friends who are with you for a part of your life — you are connected because you are walking along the same stretch of the road, but at some point your life goes in a different direction. That is perfect! Thanks!

  • **The chances of these relationships ending up either as “Switzerland” acquaintances or as aligned with the Cheater are very good, since socializing is the foundation and Chumps in deep pain aren’t all about socializing.

    [Sorry–something happened to the end of this sentence in the post above.]

  • I cut drastically after dday. The reduction in drama in my life is tremendous. I kept one couple (as Switzerland) friends, but had to eventually go no contact with them too. My ex is big on impression management and flying monkeys, so I’m very careful with personal information and who I share it with.

  • As CL says, they do indeed judge. They look at you in your snotty-nosed, sobbing grief and are repelled by you. They judge you for not getting over it right away and putting on a brave face for the sake of their comfort. They might not admit it, but they do blame you, because the only alternative is to accept that it could happen to anybody, themselves included. They look at the schmoopie wuvbirds and judge them as the winners and you the loser. That’s what they really think of you; you’re a loser, and they prefer to associate with winners.
    I got those people out of my life and have some fiercely loyal family members and no friends left. I’m glad I found out who really has my back. I cherish them all the more now. But it still hurts like hell when even members of your own family say stuff like; “Well, he didn’t do anything to me, so why shouldn’t I still be friendly with him?” or “I’m not going to get in the middle of this. I’m trying to understand both perspectives.” That’s the soul-shredding moment when you realize they aren’t even bothered by the grievous injury that was done to you, let alone angry about it as they should be. Thus they don’t care about you, nor do they have a functioning moral compass. That’s when you know they aren’t members of you’re tribe, so you have to cut the cord. I hope Carlos did just that.

    • OHFFS, hooray for fiercely loyal family members!

      For what it’s worth, this internet stranger is angry on your behalf. These comments are terrible:“Well, he didn’t do anything to me, so why shouldn’t I still be friendly with him?” or “I’m not going to get in the middle of this. I’m trying to understand both perspectives.”

      Charles Manson didn’t do anything to me personally, but, were he alive, I sure as hell wouldn’t be his prison pen pal. And “understanding both perspectives” is nutso. As we’ve said many times here, it assumes that chumps contributed to their own betrayal. Give me a break!

      • Thank you Spinach.💜 Your analogy is spot on, though I will admit the fuckwit isn’t quite in Manson’s league. 😉

  • I never expected to continue a relationship with my surviving ex in-laws, or the friends that my ex-husband had brought to the marriage. Instead I called the ones who had been kind to me during our marriage to thank them for their kindness over the years, and essentially to say goodbye. I kept the focus on the friends and my past relationship, rather than my ex’s cheating. However, I was 100% honest if asked, since I had nothing to be ashamed of.

    These phone calls were universally well received. I am glad I did this. I did not feel that I should act like I was just “slinking away” and these people’s kindness should be acknowledged. It turns our my ex had not been fully honest with anyone.

    • Great idea. I did some version of the same, after a seriously needed cooling off period. I reached out to his family and a few “shared” friends and let them know how much I appreciated their role in my life for all these many years and how I will appreciate their ongoing role in my daughter’s life…and that was that. A couple of them pulled the ole “oh, this isn’t the end of things, we love you and will see you again soon.” But, I knew, that no matter what gestures they put forth, our relationship had run its course.

      Maybe this was easier for me to do because I have good family and friends on my side. I could see this being harder if you were someone without many relations outside your cheater ex…but, even still, it’s an opportunity to build a life.

    • Yes, I did this as well with my ex-MIL. She and I were very close during my almost 12-year marriage (19-year relationship) to her son. I now realize we were close, because we both could bond over shitty actions by our husbands (e.g. red flags…), which we did discuss at times and commiserated with each other. In 2008, she had her dday with my ex-FIL, and she took him back literally sleeping in the same bed with him that night after he leased, furnished, and moved into an apartment with his OW. The controlling behavior continued by my ex-FIL (even got worse in my opinion), and she was never allowed to talk further about dday while my ex-FIL pretended the affair (and further actions) were caused by depression – to which he stayed on anti-depressants for less than 3 months and never went to counseling. Then my dday happened last year, and I served her son with divorce papers soon thereafter. I got texts from her about how I was such an angry person, and I needed to let go of my anger before it ruined my life. I did not respond. Then she sent me texts about how I would always be like a daughter to her and my ex-FIL. I eventually responded that I was deeply appreciative for the happy memories, warmth, and love shown to me by her and her family, but this was goodbye. I have not talked to her since.

  • THIS JUST IN…..

    “The anthropologist invited the children from the African tribe to play one game. He placed a basket of fruit near the tree and announced, addressing the children: “The one of you who reaches the tree first will be rewarded with all sweet fruits.” When he signaled to the children to start the race, they locked their hands tightly and ran together, and then they all sat together and enjoyed the delicious fruit.

    The astonished anthropologist asked the children why they all ran together, because each of them could enjoy the fruit for himself. To which the children replied: “Obonato”. Is it possible for one to be happy if everyone else is sad? “Obonato” in their language means: “I exist because we exist.”

    If the happiness you seek results in the destruction of others, there is no clearer indicator that you are on the wrong path.
    I think it fits with today’s theme of standing together for what is right and taking a stand against turning a blind eye to the catastrophic damage of illicit relationships.

    (IMHO)

  • Initially, I tried to keep things friendly w/her family and our friends. Some of them knew the full details of what she did, while others were shared partial information depending on my level of comfort w/them. Over time, I realized that sides were going to be taken, and I had hoped that I would’ve gotten more people to align to my side since I was the betrayed spouse, but alas I realized that some people took the mindset of “it is what it is,” and wanted to be friendly w/her. As much as it pained me to lose family on her side, and not reconnect w/mutual friends we had made, I’m taking the approach that if any of her family and our (previously) mutual friends want to re-engage w/me, then I’ll approach it w/caution and determine if I want to re-establish a connection w/these people.

  • Do these couples who remain friendly with the adulterous spouse never consider that the next time that jerk crosses the line, it might be THEIR marriage that gets poached?

    • No, they have convinced themselves it was the chump’s fault precisely because they don’t want to live with the fear of it happening to them. So they stay smug in the belief that they are so much better as partners than we are, so their spouses would never “have the need” to cheat. That’s why they treat chumps like crap and prefer to be friends with the cheater; what happened to us triggers their own fear and so they don’t want to be around us.

      • “they have convinced themselves it was the chump’s fault precisely because they don’t want to live with the fear of it happening to them.”

        I am absolutely convinced this is the reason for most who blame the betrayed. They want with all their being, to believe it won’t happen to them because they are a good spouse. (usually wife believes this more than the husband) I think the reason many husbands side with the cheater is they are one themselves and the wife has no clue. I know because I was that wife.

        Oh I didn’t blame the betrayed wife, because she was my best friend; and I knew what happened; but I definitely didn’t have a clue as to what my FW was doing, nor did she. I think she was even more surprised than I was.

      • So true. It’s almost a perverse “everyone loves a winner”. The cheater being the winner and the chump, the pathetic loser.

        However, these people are usually scared and weak. They have no moral compass and more than likely never (independently) stood up for a cause or what is right, in their entire lives. Usually have a kiss up kick down mentality. They are the perfect candidates for the “Flying Monkey” position.

  • This is a very fitting topic due to some of the emotions and feelings I am working through right now. I appreciate reading all of the posts.

    One of the things that I struggle with is that I battled terrible cognitive dissonance on dday and beyond. Our friends and family were in the same boat. I had multiple friends that told me my now exH would be the absolute last person they would think of to do what he did. My mom still remembers the morning I called them to tell them about dday – it was that much of a shock. My exH truly displayed sociopathic behavior being the charismatic fun caring one, yet setting up an entire future with the OW and planning my discard behind everyone’s backs. It took me three weeks to come to my senses to file for divorce, and then another two months to fully establish NC and believe the true terrible intent behind his behavior and actions. It was multiple therapy appointments for me before I myself started to see the behavior in my marriage as psychological abuse, so of course there were no “red flags” I shared with others while we were married – I barely saw them myself. All of this to say, is it that hard to believe why some people would be confused about how to react – especially early on? I eventually approached my friendships and relationships carefully knowing I myself was still raw, and I started to trust my intuition – for perhaps one of the first times in my life. I went to friends that I felt comfortable and safe with, and I still think the word of these people today. I had other faux friends that were clearly “checking in” or chatting with me for the drama and what was in it for them. I soon realized this, trusted my “off” feelings about them, and stopped contact.

    I also, though, had friends who tried to be “Switzerland” for a bit, but it wasn’t long before my exH displayed his true colors. They eventually dropped contact with him after some time, and I still chat with them. I sometimes wonder if these friends were like me originally, and they were just trying to settle their own cognitive dissonance. Perhaps though this is part of why I was a chump – trying to “spackle” behavior of others as well?

    • So similar SoontoBe
      When I called my mom to tell her H was leaving me- she asked me what store he was going to!
      No one could believe it. I made him repeat his discard 10 times because I. Could. Not. Believe. It. Was. Happening.
      “it was that much of a shock. My exH …. the charismatic fun caring one, yet setting up an entire future with the OW and planning my discard behind everyone’s back” ditto

      It took me way longer than you to let the truth sink in. The shock lasted a long time. Sometimes I still can’t believe it!

  • Our betrayals are like earthquakes. The very ground beneath us shook and shifted. We thought it couldn’t get any worse. The devastation!

    But then there are the aftershocks, the sudden loss of supposed friends. It comes like an unexpected tsunami, causing even more pain and loss.

    Thank god for the true friends and family members who help us hold it together.

    I want to be that kind of friend for someone else if ever they need it. That’s my definition of true love.

  • “My exH truly displayed sociopathic behavior being the charismatic fun caring one, yet setting up an entire future with the OW and planning my discard behind everyone’s backs. ”

    I remember the day right after TG weekend that my ex drove up in the drive way, I was putting Christmas light on my little tree out front, it was early in the am, so I had my warm robe on. He laughed and said one of the officers had seen me out in my robe putting up lights. He laughed and said yep that is my beautiful wife, can’t wait for Christmas. Dday was Christmas morning a month later.

    Oh I was already suspicious by then, but I remember thinking, all is ok; he is acting like himself now. “work stress” is over. Wham, right up the side of the head.

  • The flying monkeys in my situation either didn’t believe me or didn’t care when I told them how cheater ex is a serial rapist and serial statutory rapist and that I have proof and have personally heard from multiple victims and know about multiple other victims, some of which ex even bragged about sexually assaulting. Cut the flying monkeys off. They will never have your back, will think they are morally superior, and will only hurt you.

  • Just last week my sister was walking through Lincoln Park in Chicago and thought she saw my ex. She looked more closely and saw it was just a look-alike, but by that time she was shaking so violently she had to sit down on a bench. That’s someone who cares deeply for me.

    An old friend, Peggy, told me that she was so sorry for my suffering, but she and ex had been friends for so long…so, she’d be friends with us both. (Yay you Peggy! Always taking the high road!🤮)

    Now I can quickly and easily classify people. They don’t need need to know; I don’t need to break-up with them. But I expect nothing from them, I do not trust them an inch, they are like strangers who are somehow familiar, and I put up my guard as I would do with a stranger in a dark alley.

  • I could really use someone’s opinion.
    The other day a friend I went biking with said “I feel like I’ve cheated on you.” I had no idea what she was talking about. She knows what I’ve been going through and how this past year has been hell. Turns out she had just hung out with a former friend of mine who had treated me badly and caused me A LOT of grief and pain a couple of years ago (not cheating related).
    My friend knew this pain causer former friend casually, but was never close friends with her and hadn’t seen her in several years.
    Out of the blue, Pain causer former friend, asked my friend to hang out with her and my friend did.
    That’s why she told me she felt like she had cheated on me when I saw her.
    I have to say, I felt betrayed and confused. But I didn’t say much about it.

    I feel that I’ve already lost a few friends because of how they reacted insensitively to the cheating issue – and / or I just can’t accept their philosophical ideas on an OW not being at all responsible.
    Now this! I feel like perhaps being discarded has made me overly sensitive and I can’t even trust my own judgement anymore.
    I have to see Pain causer former friend at work – she never apologized… but has she has been O.K to me of late. I’m guessing she texted my friend out of boredom and my friend just said yes to getting together without giving it too much thought. Then my friend later felt guilty and greeted me with a ‘I feel like I cheated on you.” By the way I loved hearing that right before my Dday anniversary!
    Now, I can’t bring myself to respond to my friend’s casual texts.
    And I don’t even trust myself to tell her that this bothered me. I can’t really afford to drop more friends! I hope Carlos doesn’t mind, but I know letter is a repeat.
    What would CN do?
    Thanks

    • I think it’s unfortunate that she used the phrase: “I feel like I’ve cheated on you.” Those are triggering words. And she didn’t need to use them. She could have simply said, “I feel I should tell you that I spent some time with Pain Causer and now feel bad about that. I know how she hurt you, and I know that this is the last thing you need to hear right now.”

      Actually, that’s exactly right. It’s the last thing you needed to hear. I’m confused about why she told you unless she thought it would get back to you and she needed to come clean. I’m sorry you experienced this added hurt.

      It’s ok to feel especially sensitive right now. Heck, I think most of us here are emotionally raw. Open wounds hurt!!! The meh-scarring process can take time!

      As for your judgment, I think you should trust it. Just because you’re a raw, sensitive chump doesn’t mean you have poor judgment. You’re Zip! If memory serves, you often make great comments on this site.

      If you really want to continue a relationship with your friend, if she’s truly a good friend, then I would tell her how you feel (“I” statements) but then let it go (unless she wants to continue to hang out with Pain Causer). Maybe make it clear that you really value your friendship and don’t want Pain Causer to cause even MORE pain. Don’t give PC so much power! (Of course, if your friend wants to continue to hang out with PC, that changes things.)

      Anyway, that’s my two cents. Good luck and ((hugs)) from a fellow, sensitive chump!

    • Hi Zip:

      I think it is wise to never overlook any signs of betrayal, no matter how “small.” In love, friendship, business, or any kind of relationship. Especially for us Chumps, with our mad spackling skills.

      That being said, I would talk to the friend and tell her, calmly and honestly, how you feel. She knew you had a year from hell and still chose to do something that hurt you. Talk to her, and then see what she does. The ball is in her court for apologies, remorse, and amends. And it is in yours to decide whether to accept it if proffered. Of course, if she doesn’t offer any of that, your choice is easy.

    • Sounds to me like Pain Causer was doing some espionage to find out how you’re doing and targeted your friend to sound things out. I’d talk to your friend and see if she can clarify the situation that might be what she meant by her cheated on you comment

      • Friend said pain causer didn’t ask about me at all – I believe that, she’s not gossipy-.
        I think friend said she cheated on me simply because she hung out with someone who had been unkind to me and me caused me A LOT of stress and grief – after not having seen her in 5 yrs. It’s not like they were close friends.
        People really don’t want to choose…..or take a stand for others. It’s all water under the bridge for them.

  • There are few ‘silver linings’ of infidelity, but I do think it helps you ask the following questions and get clear answers.

    Who, among your friends are loyal? What are their values and are they aligned to yours? Who has the courage to risk something because they care about you? Who shows up when you’re not ok? Who will give you honest feedback rather than fuel unnecessary drama?

    I’ve had to do some mental re-shuffling of who I consider my inner circle, but I’d rather know who the people are that I can trust than have a larger group of fake friends.

  • Just a word of caution to the newly chumped.

    Once I moved out and realized my in-laws and former couple friends were not available, I reached out to the few single/divorced women I knew. I don’t know if my pain was too raw or if my husband was seen as future attraction, but the friendships didn’t continue.

    Also, I think the husband of our closest couple friends was told to keep his distance. Very sad.

  • My X was the charming, outgoing teacher. I was the quiet at-home-mom. Our marriage was difficult/destructive. He had a porn/masturbation addiction which permeated our entire family life. He also lied constantly. I would get angry and call him a liar, a cheater, and a baby. (because he pouted all the time). He claimed that I was combative, not submissive, and over the top.

    He had an online affair with an old girlfriend. They were talking about leaving their spouses. They had cyber sex regularly. When it all came out 2 years later, I read their messages. In them he said he never loved me, didn’t want to marry me, and loved her but was stuck. I was devastated to read this. He said “sorry” (and continued to communicate with her and pursue a couple other women at work). We went to counseling. Nothing changed. I was blamed for not forgiving him.

    Finally we went to a sex addiction counselor. He called him out on his behavior. I thought it was going to be okay. Then came the disclosure after he failed 2 polygraphs and passed the third one when the question was changed. It was devastating, shocking, and sickening. It included stuff about our two daughters when they were VERY young. I left. I didn’t want to believe what it looked like but I couldn’t stay. I kept hoping we could talk all this out. I kept giving him a chance to make it right. He didn’t. He said it was in the past. He was passive. He minimized. He did his “homework” emailed it to me and considered it done.

    He joined a singles meet up group because he was “lonely”. He kept it a secret because he was “afraid I would not want him to go”. (He was right. I thought we were trying to save our marriage) The counselors made him quit. He cried and complained about how it had made him feel alive (unlike me since he only had fun on one date since we restarted marriage counseling … at the same time he was going to the meet ups)

    Two years of sex addiction counseling with no change in his treatment of me went by. He asked if I wanted a divorce. I said I wanted to wait until he finished his class. He strongly stated that after that he would NEED an answer since he was not getting any younger and wanted to be married to someone. I gave up. I said yes to the divorce.

    From what I hear, he tells people he hurt me but I wouldn’t get over it. He tells people he had an addiction but he is recovered now. He says he is a “new man.” He has a girlfriend 21 years younger than him. I hear she is quiet, submissive, and adores him. (He found the lost me).

    Our friends say they love both of us. They only spend time with him. He had friends help him sell our stuff (mostly mine), help him move, and celebrate his retirement. He rents from one of them. I see him around town. He is happy. I am still crying my eyes out every day. I barely function. I feel like my life has been a lie.

    The church made him a co leader in the purity group since he beat his addiction to porn and masturbation. Having remorse and caring about his spouse didn’t seem to matter. He gets an F in my book for that one. I had to stop going even though church had been my safe place. He has a loud voice and was always talking to other women. It was too much. I asked him to take turns and he said he wasn’t responsible for my recovery. (I wasn’t asking him to be responsible though I think a good person would care about the spouse they devastated) I just wanted to be able to be with my friends without being triggered. I have a handful of friends that have stuck by me.

    He looks like a nice guy. I often wondered why he was so good to other people but not to me. I understand why people want to remain his friend. I understand why they wouldn’t want to be around someone who is completely broken and crying all the time. I still love him too. I am still trying to get used to seeing him for what he really has been/is to me not just who he made himself out to be when he felt like it. Maybe when I finally accept who he has shown himself to be I will be glad its over. Like he said to his affair partner and proved with 35 years of marriage, he didn’t love me. I feel special. I am the only person on earth that he felt comfortable being cruel to.

    • He is a fucking sociopath. There’s nothing wrong with you; he is a shark with a human face.

      Are you divorced or divorcing?

      I am so sorry. No one deserves to be treated like this, let alone by someone who promised to love them.

      • Yes. He divorced me. It was final Thanksgiving week. I’m expecting a wedding announcement with my replacement any day.

        • Oh my god – a sick and evil sociopath. I hope you are getting therapy to help you process all of this and move on.
          The thing that makes your head spin is the acceptance he is finding in his church community and the new girlfriend – he is not a new man; he is a master manipulator. Imagine being surrounded by a community and friends who saw him for what his is. You would be well on your way to healing right now. It’s this bizarre alternate reality where he has found “love” and you are crying alone. It’s hard to wrap your head around which is why therapy would be helpful. You are the good person, you deserve happiness. ((((Hugs))))

          • Yes, if the church had stood up for me instead of making him a co-leader in the Men’s Purity Group, if they had told him to take turns coming so that I could continue meeting with my support group, or if the pastors or leaders had contacted me and showed some care for me I agree I would be doing better.

            If his counselor hadn’t asked me over and over “What is your sin?” when I was blindsided by all the stuff that came out in his sexual disclosure. If that same counselor had met with both of us occasionally to see if what X was saying was true (like he was trying so hard but I wouldn’t forgive), if my personal counselor hadn’t become our marriage counselor so that I could no longer trust that she would be open with me, or if the community of our friends would have stood against his lies and infidelity, I would probably be better off.

            But, I am struggling with everything I have ever believed about God, marriage, fidelity, commitment, love, and especially who I was married to. It seems that I am the only one in his life who has experienced the lying, blaming, cheating, manipulating, and the shame of being in a relationship with him. Everyone else sees a “nice guy.”

            I have lost who I am and what I stand for. Our vows and our family plus a lifetime (35 years) mean a lot to me. It seems like no big deal to everyone else. . . And that sends a message to him that he is okay and it sends a message to me that I am not.

            • Yes, they should have supported you.

              Our preacher didn’t bar him from coming to church, but told him he could not counsel him, and that he would refer him to someone else if he wanted counseling. He didn’t want counseling, he wanted patted on the back and rug sweeping.

              Our preacher was the Police Chaplain and the ex had lied to him, and attempted to manipulate him. Did not go over well.

            • Ted Bundy. Handsome, charming, smart, killer. Sociopaths are so good at this. You love his facade. There is nothing behind it.

            • Stuck and Alone Chump,

              I don’t typically do this, but I have to chime in here. These smart ladies are 100 percent right. You were married to a psychopath. I hope ChumpLady chimes in here. The church is NOTORIOUS for allowing these types to get away with their crap.

              Your sin????? Are you kidding me? Now you are being gaslighted by your own church. Please go to therapy, and a codependency group. Of course you are crying your eyes out…this is horrible.

              • I just want to clarify, it was his sex addiction counselor not the church who asked me to tell him what my sin was. I was in a betrayed wives class with him. He also told me to take my head out of my butt becasue I wasn’t sharing much since the other girls had only been married 10 years and I had been married 32. I didn’t want to discourage them to reconcile and they could have been my daughters. And the last thing, the counselor said was he didn’t realize that I was Neurotic when he first started working with my husband. By the time this counselor was finished with me, I felt like if we reconciled, I would be the booby prize not him.

    • Stuck and Alone Chump,

      I don’t typically do this, but I have to chime in here. These smart ladies are 100 percent right. You were married to a psychopath. I hope ChumpLady chimes in here. The church is NOTORIOUS for allowing these types to get away with their crap.

      Your sin????? Are you kidding me? Now you are being gaslighted by your own church. Please go to therapy, and a codependency group. Of course you are crying your eyes out…this is horrible.

  • Losing friends & family has caused more ongoing pain than the XW walking out. She had a large family and friend group, mine was much smaller. Yet despite a 9mo emotional affair followed by a sudden unpleasant departure, most of my family and our joint friends volunteered they were going to keep in contact with both of us. As Captain Awkward says “What does it mean when my friends won’t take sides?” “It means they’re definitely not on your side.”

    • We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
      Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, the Accident

  • My STBX convinced me to keep his affair and subsequent assault secret, supposedly so he could find a new job. Unknown to me, he used my silence to seek out our friends and acquaintances and spin them his story that I had become violent, mentally unstable and they should avoid me for their own safety. Apparently that’s easier to accept than to believe I’d discovered–and could show them—hundreds of pages of emails documenting that he’d paid tens of thousands of dollars to strangers he met online, and planned to move in with and marry someone he’d never spoken with or met.
    Most of them literally refused to see, declining to look at the evidence. A few couples told me outright that their policy is to be Switzerland friends because couples grow apart, and they have no right to be morals police.
    That’s why I was shocked to find out that one couple not only closed him out of their social lives, but also had cut him off as a client. Their business took a heavy hit during COVID, and STBX was a significant source of revenue. When I found out months later, the husband was matter of fact: Ethics matter.
    What remarkable, wonderful people.

  • What happens is one of you becomes the pariah. Which one, will show you what those “friends” are really made of.

    (I lost the friends, no regrets – more room for good ones)

  • I don’t typically comment this much, but I guess I am feeling a little triggered here with all the stories.

    I am so sorry for everyone’s pain, and I can relate. So very grateful for ChumpLady and this community of people who care about one another, and offer strength and hope to those who are new to this site and experiencing betrayal for the first time.

    It was this sight that helped to wake me up to the horrific abuse I was experiencing. It continues….especially through my daughters, who have sided with their father. He is a high-income earner and influential. I have come to realize that people value money, and business prospects more than morality and kindness often times.

    However, the good news is that anyone who is left standing is true blue. They are good people and I can trust them. In some ways the whole experience is so dreadfully painful, but when you are having a lucid moment you realize that everything that was “false” was stripped away. Often times that means something new is coming into your life that will be much better than you ever imagined possible. At least that is the belief that I am currently hanging onto. I don’t have much financially anymore, but I have more fun. I have more of a life. But most importantly….I am not living in abuse.

  • My brother remained best friends with my emotionally and mentally abusive ex-cheater husband. He was his flying monkey and devalued me to my family and my teenage children. I refuse to forgive him and have cut the switzerland family and friends out of my life. My sister recently told me that our brother was the best man in my ex’s wedding to an affair partner. They had a very public wedding and she wore white…….I’ve lost half of my family and all of my fake friends because I left and went no contact with these narcissists. Five years out and my life is much better now. I’m working towards meh as I patiently wait for the karma bus to arrive.

  • >