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Ex Wants Chump to Go to Therapy with Her

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex-wife (20-year marriage) went to my therapist. (Chump that I am, I recommended that the cheating ex-wife use my therapist to save money because she knew the story.) Now she wants me to go to a meeting with her this coming Monday the 14th!

Therapist called, told me it was about finding out about what went wrong, and to learn and build from there.

I read a lot on CL — I feel like I’ve fallen into a trap!

History: Dated 5 years; married 20 years, two children 19 and 15 awesome girls, (they know). I’ve been divorced now 8 months. I asked her to stop talking/texting/Facebooking with Hector and she said no. I said goodbye!

My wife’s mother was ill for 2 years and passed away. I gave 110% (maybe an underestimate as I’m a chump) following her death. A few months later my wife is lying, gaslighting. I thought I was going CRAZY. I enlisted a therapist several months later and put it all together. My ex (a first-grade teacher) was cheating with a co-worker for at least two years. (It might be longer.)

I lost 35 lbs. For two years, I slept maybe 3 to 4 hours a night. I’ve kept my job so far (not sure how)?

Divorced, she got half, kids are in the middle (I don’t say anything bad). She calls occasionally, as if nothing has changed….this KILLS ME! Like she did nothing wrong.

So on Monday, how do I handle confrontation with my cheater?

I sacrificed for her mother and she choose to spend that time with Hector?
I asked her how she was on a regular basis, and she chose to share her emotions with Hector?
I asked her to go out for fun vacations and she turned me down to be with Hector.

Do I dare ask her about this? I’m pissed!

What would you do?

Chris

Dear Chris,

What would I do? Hmmm. In how many languages can you say “No fucking way”?

Dear God man, un-chump yourself! Say NO. And while you’re at it, dump the therapist. Why on earth would you go to therapy with your cheating ex? That’s like going to remedial driving school with the drunk driver who hit you. You’re not the bozo who plowed into a semi. You’re the chump who went splat.

She and the therapist want you to help them figure out what went wrong?

Fucking Hector for two years is what went wrong.

I sacrificed for her mother and she choose to spend that time with Hector? 

Yep.

I asked her how she was on a regular basis, and she chose to share her emotions with Hector?

Yep.

I asked her to go out for fun vacations and she turned me down to be with Hector.

Yep.

I think these actions clearly demonstrate why you are divorced. I have a pretty good handle on it in three sentences and I don’t even have a masters in social work! (Your therapist and ex might be slower learners. Not your problem.)

The only reason to go to that idiotic “confrontation” is so your ex (and probably the shrink) can get you to own what you did to make her cheat. Then you’ll have the same “understanding” and Can Be Friends For The Kids.

Fuck that shit.

Maybe you should explain the dissolution of your marriage to your ex in first grade teacher language she can understand?

  1. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  2. Clean up your messes.
  3. Use your words, not your genitals.

Failing that, maybe some arts and crafts? A Hector paint-by-number? An adultery diorama? A puppet show?

Anyway, Chris, her understanding of the divorce isn’t your responsibility. Here are your obligations — abide by the court order for another three years. Pay child support (if it’s ordered), maintain the custody schedule, communicate with the ex by email or scheduling software. You only have one minor child who is 15. Heck, the schedule is probably up to her.

Here are things you are NOT obliged to do — a) pick up the phone and let her make friendly chit-chat with you. b) Go to therapy with her. c) Let her think you’re friends.

Does that make you churlish, bitter, scorned?

No. That makes you a man who is moving on with his life.

If you’re keen on therapy, go find a new shrink to teach you boundaries and the beauty of NO. No, I don’t have to accommodate you. No, I don’t have to soothe your discomfort. No, I’m busy then. NO.

Call the shrink and cancel.

This post ran previously.

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  • Do. Not. Go. To. The. Appointment.

    There, problem solved. Not your circus and definitely not your monkeys.

    • I am a bit confused.

      IF the therapist knows the things you posted here, I’d simply say “what went wrong” in the marriage is abundantly clear.

      But just to play devil’s advocate, YOU did refer your ex to the therapist who MAYBE thinks you want this. And referring your ex to YOUR therapist to save your ex money – was an unusual thing to do.

      Regardless, tell the therapist you’ve reconsidered and retract the suggestion you gave your ex. So the therapist (presumably) knows “what went wrong”- , in REALITY so it should not need further clarification.

      (“remember, my ex wife was selfish, dishonest and disloyal FOR A LONG TIME and SHE cheated. Those things are went WRONG. Then I left. The End”) .

      But Chris, I’m baffled as to why you give a shit about saving your cheating ex any money for HER therapy.

      A few questions I want to ask rhetorically.

      Why would you discuss ANYTHING like your therapy, with the person who CAUSED you to need it?

      Why are you letting your ex fw discuss HER “problems” with YOU at all? Shut that shit down.

      Your mantra needs to be “Wow, that’s too bad. But I am busy meeting interesting people, doing fun things, and going to cool new places so—- BUH BYE.”

      And as for the therapy WITH her – the stated goal confuses me most. What is there to build on? And What is there to build?

      You have joint custody for 3 more years and then there will literally be no need to ever talk or see her again but for a few graduations and weddings down the road. That’s maybe 5 semi mandatory “sightings” the rest of your life…

      You’re done. Nothing to build with her, and nothing to build on with her. Your ex cracked the foundation of the marriage and home, until it crumbled and

      NOW

      YOU ARE REBUILDING… don’t let the demolition expert back anywhere near you.

      Good luck. And maybe MAYBE get a new therapist but I’d have to know how this whole thing got set up b/c I have a feeling the therapist thinks you want something from it.

      Like a reconciliation – and I have to wonder if maybe down deep a part of you wanted that too.

  • Fire that therapist STAT. It’s irresponsible and maybe unethical for one therapist to meet with both parties to a relationship problem for individual therapy, and definitely not for any couples session. I know this because it was in the first email I ever received from my own therapist when I’d queried him about both individual and couples therapy. (I was in shock and hadn’t discovered this blog yet and thought then maybe we’d end up doing wreckonciliation.)

    That said, post-divorce therapy seems to be a “thing” with some cheaters. Mine suggested it after he’d moved out. Because he’d been listening to Esther Perel podcasts, no less, and thought that might help us deal with our “communication problems.” I shut that one down pretty quick and may have used the words “fraud” and “charlatan” although it’s been long enough now I don’t remember….

    • Oh brother. When did this become the guideline for therapists ? Is it applicable in all 50 states ? At one point, the therapist was seeing all four family members individually, also as a family AND. my parents for couples counseling. Kaching for him-a house in the tri state area, a Jaguar and a Corvette plus a fancy wardrobe. 😡 Family imploded anyway.

    • I was wondering about that, I feel like even if cheating wasn’t involved, there’s a line being crossed here by the therapist.

    • Where I live, a therapist can’t ping pong back and forth between individual and couples therapy this way without facing an ethics inquiry.

      Even if they could, point is, it’s an ethical clusterf***. This example shows why.

      It’s an abuse of power of the highest magnitude, this setup. Super, super janky.

      • This is true where I live, too. In fact, when I discovered that my then-stbx (he’s ex now) had seen the same therapist I had, probably because she was affiliated with our health care group, I called the therapist to tell her this, and to say that it was unethical for her to see us both.

        She agreed, and told me that because we had different last names, and my then-stbx didn’t give her the details that would allow her to put 2 and 2 together until the third session she had with him, she hadn’t realized we were married until then, but after that session, she told him she wouldn’t be able to continue counseling him.

        I’m fairly sure that although my then-stbx knew I’d seen a therapist, he didn’t know the name of the therapist I’d seen, and thus didn’t know he was seeing the same one, because he would have wanted to control the narrative to manage his image–and knowing that I’d seen her first would prevent this.

        • I realize my comment wasn’t about seeing people in both couples therapy and individual therapy, but about seeing two people individually, my larger point was that it is unethical for a therapist to see two people in a relationship, neither of whom knows the other is seeing the same therapist.

          • Right. And really just any scenario that risks crossover and dual relationship. It is important to avoid crossing streams. ⭐

      • My therapist did do MC with myself and ex….I offered him the option of another one but he opted for mine.

        I think he just wasn’t invested in it and was thus too lazy to worry about it. He commented in mc that i must enjoy being there and the therapist pointed out that I was in a corner with my arms crossed and that I was clearly afraid to open up to him.

        He didn’t even respond.

        Yet he still fought the divorce.

        The therapist told me I was wasting my time with him.

      • We saw a couples therapist that was also his individual therapist during the awful wreckonciliation. I kept questioning it but the therapist maintained it was ok. As he wasn’t a psychologist there were no rules. I was so desperate I believed him. All he wanted was our money. He used to say we were both “wonderful” people. The next couples therapist we had felt sorry for Fuckwit and told me I was overblowing a year long affair that he kept under wraps for 9 years and a whole lot of other betrayals as well as sexual violence. I think all couples therapists are complex charlatans

  • it’s unethical for a therapist to counsel both parties to a divorce surely? I thought therapists were obliged to refer people on if they were in the life of one of their clients.

  • Chris, please don’t, just don’t do it. Therapy with a cheater is similar to handing that cheater a loaded gun. It is a dangerous choice. Sure it could all go fine, or that person who betrayed you in the worst way could attempt further harm. Please reconsider. Reconsider your therapist too. Ask your therapist is they think adultery is abuse. If your therapist waffles on the response get another therapist.

    Your cheating ex-wife abused the hell out of you. You are under no obligation to “learn and build from there” with your abuser. Learn from this betrayal and build a cheater and cheater apologist free life.

    I am very sorry you feel any obligation to continue to allow the cheater access to you under the guise of therapy. Stand up, stand strong and say NO!

  • I sincerely hope Chris never went to that appointment! A few years ago, after divorce, my ex sent me an email asking me to “take 10 minutes, or 10 hours” (how about 10 years) to write down when and how he started abusing me. When he started making my life hell. It was for his therapist to help him. My first thought was “great, I can tell that MF everything I’ve ever wanted to tell him”. Then I thought I’d better tone it down because I was afraid I would push him over the edge and he would commit suicide (I didn’t want that for him or for my kids). And then I thought WTF??? Why are you even contemplating this? Hasn’t he already stolen too much of your brain energy? So I never replied! And it was the best thing I could have done!

    • I completely agree. Good for you for not even engaging. Let ex spend his own money untangling the skein.

    • I can’t imagine why a therapist would recommend this. Lazy and makes no sense. Your ex knew the details of what he’d done to you – more than you. And I’m sure you’d told him how it destroyed your life and made you feel. This is the explaining trap I got tricked into, time and again, and it was a major waste of time and energy that prevented me from going NC.

      The real root of the problem was your ex’s lack of empathy, conscience, honesty and accountability. He’s the one who needed to think about the consequences for all parties involved, identify what abuse is and why he chose to abuse – and why this needed to change, develop goals and strategies, make amends, etc.

      Also, what a selfish thing for him to ask you to do so he could feel better. He clearly didn’t care about what this would do to you, even after he’d already asked/taken so much. So glad you abstained! Not your problem anymore, even if he was genuinely committed to change – which we all know is highly unlikely.

  • I’m in therapy and the x goes there, too. Different therapists. I think maybe I should change practices.

      • “DO NOT CALL, TEXT or PICK UP” was Jackass’s name. I blocked but didn’t delete the number until I was sure he wouldn’t hoover back.

    • This. They have an ongoing agenda that has nothing to do with introspection or goodwill to the people that they’ve mistreated.

      I’m also thinking that perhaps Hector isn’t so accommodating about providing the ex ego kibbles as OP was.

  • WTF is wrong with your therapist. You are divorced. There is no relationship to fix. Individual therapy warrants looking into past behaviours as they might relate to cheating (for her) and staying with an abuser (for you). Once you knew you left … kudos!
    Your therapy should be concentrated on your recovery from betrayal and your ability to move forward. You should be concentrating on personal growth, being a sane parent, setting boundaries. Big boundary is abusers don’t get to confront their survivors. Your mugger does not get to tell the judge how you deliberately tempted him by flashing your billfold or driving your fancy truck in front of him.
    Her therapy should be whatever the hell she needs to get past being a lying cheating asshole without your physical or zoom presence.
    Your therapist sucks big time!

    • The chump recommended his ex cheater wife go to his therapist as the therapist already knew most of the details of their marriage and divorce. The therapist should have declined to take cheater on but in any case there is absolutely no good reason for the chump to be involved in his cheating ex’s therapy. My two cents. Chump has clearly not moved on from cheating ex, he needs to move on and it is time for a new therapist.

  • I know this is a re-run and I hope Chris said “NO!” and dumped the therapist.

    An update would be keenly appreciated if Chris is still around. I bet life has gotten a lot better since this was first posted.

  • This is a rerun, I would love to hear how he and his kids are doing now. Did his ex, circle back? Chumps have to remember therapist, clergy, teachers, police, doctors etc, are narcissist too. There is no profession where they don’t hide. Chumps don’t think like they do, so are surprised. Our best defense is to learn boundaries and the ability to spot gaslighting, manipulation, love bombing and lack of basic morals. Newbies take note, be forewarned. This disordered, POS humans, have low.

  • What is it with cheaters wanting to do therapy with chumps? It’s so tiresome. Rev Cheaterpants keeps asking for therapy with me for two years to help us “coparent better.” (I have told him NO and to stop asking.)

    Throughout our marriage there were years of marriage therapy in which HE chose a (male) therapist and then spent time creating alliances with that therapist–and used our sessions to further gaslight, minimize and abuse. Thank God it’s not my circus, not my monkey anymore. I don’t need to learn how to “coparent better” with someone who lied to me and everyone else.

    I found my OWN therapist who believes infidelity is abuse and has helped me find myself, fix my picker, and live my best life. I’ve moved on and it feels great to be rid of all of that dead weight.

  • There is a time and a place for couple’s counseling, but this is not it.

    None of us was a perfect spouse, so if you want to soberly reflect on your shortcomings in the marriage, with the aim of improving yourself and doing better in future relationships, then by all means do so. But since your previous marriage is now steaming on the slagheap of history, your objective is not to understand what went wrong with your previous marriage *specifically*, but rather what changes in your life would improve future relationships *generally*. You are not going to be married to your ex-wife again, so diagnosing the particular idiopathies of that failed relationship isn’t going to be much use to you. Any generalizable insights can be gleaned through individual therapy; any non-generalizable insights are useless. In addition, the defining problem of your previous marriage – your ex-wife’s deceit and betrayal – would overshadow everything else; plus, of course, your ex-wife probably has some other agenda (probably trying to coax you into being “friends” – which really means being more compliant during post-divorce disagreements, and buttressing her fake narrative to the kids and/or the world – but who knows? ) that conflicts with honest self-assessment.

    My ex-wife tried to pull this on me shortly after divorce (while, it turns out, she was also going to couple’s counseling with her AP due to the “difficult circumstances” surrounding the origins of their relationship) and I gave that a hard no. Anyone from CL out there who DID get sucked in to this want to chime in with personal experience?

    • This is a very smart distinction to make: “But since your previous marriage is now steaming on the slagheap of history, your objective is not to understand what went wrong with your previous marriage *specifically*, but rather what changes in your life would improve future relationships *generally*.”

    • Well said. Methinks she was in counseling with OM because neither of them could trust the other and were probably cheating already. Instant karma.

  • Don’t go, its just more blame-shifting with a witness
    My ex made up stuff the entire time to reinvent the marriage/relationship
    Hate that “need better communication” BS.
    Finally I bowed out, but I would say it changed me…
    The extend they will go to protect themselves, even to further harm the partner and the relationship
    Learned a few months later from his first wife that adultery was the reason for their split too
    They do not change, even give beautiful opportunities to
    LIS

    • I would not go at all in this case. My last MC who decided we had a “communication problem” allowed my stbx to attack me verbally and blame me for whatever his shortcoming are. He accused me of being so jealous that I single handedly ruined his friendships! And he was “forced to no longer initiate sex” because I supposedly turned him down twice! And that I attempted to sabotage his efforts to go back to school ( even though I was paying for it). And that I blamed him for everything! When I asked for examples of what I blamed him for he could not come up with anything and said I “blindsided him.” all of this blameshifting just made me feel worse and he felt emboldened to ramp it up. When he finally said to the therapist that he became sad when he met me, I left that counseling session. . I agreed to talk to her alone and she then suggested that if I could not accept the way he is since he was not/could not change, I should divorce him. And she offered to counsel us as a couple through a divorce. Oh hell no, if he was allowed to be abusive and not accept any responsibility during marriage counseling, how would that change in divorce counseling?

      Just as an example of what a jackass these fw are, the counselor was trying to teach us how to “communicate better” by repeating what each person said. When I would bring up something, for example I would like to spend more time with him doing things together, he immediately went to I wanted to have sex with him, which was not what I said. He admitted it was not what I said but wanted to put his own spin on it. This is the kind of thing he did throughout the counseling. What a waste of time and money. The one thing I got out of this? I finally saw him for what kind of person he really is. And I knew I had to make a plan to get out.

      • Don’t most couples counselors say it’s a “communication problem”? Even when there’s abuse, they fall back on that standard line. A gorilla could be sitting on your back, crushing you to death, and the MC would be telling you that you just need to communicate better with the gorilla.
        They are trained to deal with actual communication problems and other mutual issues, not character disorders. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

        • Yep. I’ve heard of so many marriage counselors who call it “communication issues” when there is actual abuse. Thereby further victimizing the victim because the abuser becomes emboldened. That is exactly what happened in my situation.

  • Chris,

    One of the key steps in dealing with your “Chumpdom” is reaching the point when you can clearly see a “This is Cheater’s problem and not my problem” moment for what it is, and then put in place an appropriate boundary.

    In this case the correct response is saying “Thanks but no thanks.” Or indeed “Do you think that I’m f*cking stupid?” Whatever works for you, although maintaining at least a veneer of civility will probably be appropriate as you are coparenting.

    To give you an idea of how damaging this could be, our youngest daughter attempted family therapy with Ex-Mrs LFTT to try and address issues with their relationship that stem from Ex-Mrs LFTT’s behaviour towards me and our children. They managed a grand total of one session together before the therapist said that he would not even try to work with Ex-Mrs LFTT again. He judged that Ex-Mrs LFTT’s inability to even listen to her daughter’s point of view without interrupting or contradicting – let alone her inability to own her own sh*t and accept responsibility for what happened – meant that to continue the therapy would be a waste of time and likely make matters worse for our daughter.

    Thankfully the therapist saw Ex-Mrs LFTT for what she was and acted responsibly; many would have just taken the money and enabled the perpetuation of an abusive cycle legitimised by its clinical setting.

    LFTT

    • My XH recently broke NC to ask about tax-related stuff, specifically if I knew what his gross adjusted income was. After all I had always taken care of the taxes while we were married why would it be any different now that we are divorced? I texted back a simple “No. That information is on the document I forwarded to you.” Not my problem any more.

      Just the other day I was thinking of my ex and the OW and realized I no longer cared whether they broke up, rode off into the sunset, or held regular orgies in my former marital home. Just one more step towards Meh.

      Thankfully I divorced Nitwit in the middle of a pandemic, when our finances were uncertain and we straight up lacked the discretionary income to spend on any kind of therapist. Had we been better off I could well have been sucked into the RIC. I never thought I’d be so grateful to be a (relatively) broke Millennial. He got the condo but I walked off with my savings, which was most of our money. Overall I prefer being cash rich and house poor than the other way around. I do sometimes miss my old condo, which was larger, cleaner, and quieter than where I live now. Then I remind myself of all the maintenance issues and how difficult it was to get any rent from our tenant, who lost her waitressing job in the COVID downturn. At the time I was moving out Nitwit was on the verge of being sued by our downstairs neighbor because our sink had, unknown to us, developed a small leak that built up and eventually flooded their kitchen. None of which is my problem any more. The karma bus did not disappoint.

      • Oh and the fact that Nitwit routinely called their biracial children a slur (never mind that we were an interracial couple ourselves!) at a volume audible from their apartment while I apologized profusely to them after their kitchen flooded might explain why they seemed far more interested in suing him than me.

  • As this happened a while ago – I want to pull out some of CL’s nuggets that helped me:

    – Triangulation… cheaters will look for ANYONE to use to triangulate with you to keep you engaged in THEIR DRAMA… it is never about gaining clarity or healing or “for the kids”… it is purely and simply ego kibbles. Just say no.

    – Traumatic Stress Symptoms… are you losing sleep; dropping weight due to no appetite; drinking too much; feeling on the border of rage every second of the day… these are all symptoms of traumatic stress… your body (and your subconscious) recognize abuse and they go in to survival mode… PAY ATTENTION… this is not your mind/body telling you to double-down and do more to make your cheater stop cheating/lying/gaslighting manipulating… this is your mind/body telling you to GET OUT… the house is on fire and you need to save yourself (and then your kids)

    – First Grade Teacher persona… cheaters come in all shapes and sizes… Ministers; school teachers; grocery clerks… don’t let their cloak of normalcy confuse you from thinking “hey, they aren’t like Ted Bundy, look at them… they’re normal”… put down the hopium pipe… anyone… anyone who abuses you and tries to normalize the behavior is a sadist… they enjoy your pain… read that again… they enjoy your pain. See people for they are… believe their ACTIONS not their words… if they’re hiding their phone; if they are just going out alone to “shoot pool”; if they can’t explain the credit card bills; if they’re telling you that person is “just a friend”… you are being manipulated.

    – You have choices in this: don’t share therapists – they bill by the hour; tell the kids the age appropriate truth – don’t continue the gaslighting; trust your instincts and believe that you deserve better and only you can make that happen.

    I went through 5 years of this abuse in my marriage… I even saw a cardiologist because I was having heart palpitations every night at bedtime (turns out it was anxiety/panic attack caused by knowing I wasn’t sleeping with someone safe, go figure)… when he finally abandon me (he thought he found a better meal ticket) he actually did the one kind thing I couldn’t do for myself… he opened the door to a cheater free life for me… and I thank God daily for CL and CN… you can make it… and I hope Chris and his daughters did too.

    Rock on Chump Nation.

    • Its taken ages to realize that confusion is what happens when you are being lied to! Manipulation has the same effect. So like iCanSeeTheMeh says, watch yourself for this reaction too. If you are always feeling anxious or confused, you are probably being lied to. Clarity is kindness. And you will NOT ever get clarity from a narcissist/cheater.

  • I may be the exception here so far today in that our daughter’s therapist wanted us to go to co-parenting therapy. I objected because of his conduct despite an entire relationship in therapy. I thought we were in relationship school so we would have a great marriage and unload the crap baggage from our respective shit show alcoholic families. He was lying for who knows how long, evidently counting the carpet fibers and the leaves on the tree outside her window. So no, I did NOT want to go to ANY therapy with him after he blew up our family.

    I resisted. He kept bugging me. Daughter therapist kept asking. I decided to relent for my daughter and did not want to obstructionist if it went to court. He thought it was going to be a magic bullet that would restore him to Best Friend Hero Dad. I thought it would be a colossal waste of time and money (again).

    Wow, was I depriving myself! It has been nothing but validation for Velvet Hammer so far. Dr. Co-Parent is the best one I could find in our area. She is a griddle and he is bacon. I don’t care what goes on for him; it has helped ME. And if something contentious comes up, I can shelve it until we talk to her. I am surprised by the wide range of topics that can be discussed there. I don’t know how he feels but in this situation he has to follow through with actions agreed upon.
    I look forward to it. Watching him fry has been great.

    It’s been a total checkmate. If he doesn’t want to go anymore, I don’t care.

    If he goes he has to sit on the griddle.

    All the chickens he was trying to run away from during our marriage have been coming home to roost and shitting all over him.

    I win either way.

    I would have to say it depends on the therapist. If it’s a great one that helps YOU feel better, try it out. If it makes YOU feel worse, don’t bother with it. I would NOT go to help the cheater feel better. My participation strategy has been to LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN….let him talk and dig a Tiger trap with the hot griddle in it, and then ask questions that push him in it. Then I sit back with my cup of tea and enjoy listening to Dr. Co-Parent cook the bacon.

    • Co-parenting sessions have an entirely different focus than this complete crap “finding out about what went wrong” idea. Cheating is what went wrong, end of story!

      Glad your sessions have been validating and helpful to YOU, VH.

      • Interesting to me is that “what went wrong” is often woven into it as it is relevant. A very nice bonus gift. Turns out that his conduct which destroyed the marriage has a LOT to do with why his relationship with our daughter is in ashes.

  • I did a few sessions with a couples therapist post DD and the therapist started handing me folded up articles to read as I was leaving—subtly telling me GET OUT of this relationship. It was scary then but funny now. My ex would ask what was the article about and I would say—uh….inner child work that you wouldn’t like.

    Later when my daughter’s therapist asked to meet us—she was so adept at handling ex—so calm and focused. And she would always send me an email saying what a great job I was doing—like a wink of acknowledgment of the sane parent.

    In my case—my ex is troubled, but not a narcissist. He admitted wrong doing with no smoking gun, has been generous financially, and never tried to intentionally hurt me or kids post DD. So going to a therapy session with him wasn’t scary, but it wasn’t fruitful either.

    The AP/former friend is a total narcissist who tells the ex that therapy is bullshit despite herself taking xanax every day. Daughters joke about selling her Rx’s on the street to pay for college. Now—laughter is the BEST therapy. And teenage girls are so brutally funny that I’m in expert hands!

  • Yeah, I remember cheater ex trying to con me into “one last session for closure”. Oh sure, I am going to sit defenseless in a room with some strange male therapist I don’t know along side of a sociopath who told me he felt like killing my children and I. As the Irish say “I didn’t just come down in the last shower of rain.”

    That retort would be oh hell no, not now, not ever you colossal dipshit. The condensed version was nope, not happening. Of course his version was I refused to work on the marriage. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Go whine to your girlfriend fuckwit.

  • My opinion of therapy is very poor.

    I was further abused in so-called marriage counseling…. therapist was wife of sex addict therapist X was reluctantly seeing after days 1-29. The whole thing was abusive to me and a colossal waste of time and money.

    I wish to God I’d kicked X out on Dday 1, gone no contact, hired a lawyer and divorced his ass. It would have saved me and our kids untold further abuse …. 20 weeks of literal HELL of fake wreconciliation.

    I got more out of this site than I ever got from any quack therapist.

  • Thats poor form on your therapist’s fault. I’d look at them sideways if they

    1. Agreed to intake my ex and
    2. Tried triangulate me into their relationship.

    Seems like a sick way of your ex to keep in contact and “prove” that she’s right in front of a supposedly objective third party.

    Nah, nope, non.

    This meeting would not happen if this were me.

  • No way. Pretend away, but she messed up big time and deserves to be on the outskirts of your life. Out of guilt she wants to act like little if anything happened. If she wants to go to the therapist, fine. But you aren’t obligated to go with her ever. Do your own analysis of your own life and let her do her own.

    Of course you have to communicate about your daughter, but that’s it.

    I didn’t have custody issues, but my ideal was to remain acquainted in a cordial way. He ran many states away and remains there. However, he took a burn-the-bridges approach which he somehow justified in his mind. You also know it’s bad when opposing counsel tells yours to tell you that he feels sorry for you and is doing his best to close things out.

    Closeout was just as disordered, but I held it together until the last piece fell into place. Never again. If he emails or texts, there will be no reply.

  • What total and utter rubbish. Classic example of society favoring the cheater instead of the chumped.
    1.Do Not Go.
    2. Fire your therapists

  • I was very fortunate to find a good counsellor on my first try. She worked her way up to me finally saying I was an abused woman. Never tried to convince me to do couples counselling. Concentrated on my healing. She was a godsend as was this community along with some other communities on facebook, my friends, family, Stephen minister,all pulled me back from the abyss. I will forever be grateful. I hope that for all chumps–find a good counsellor or therapist, one that validates your pain.

  • This story is so close to mine.
    First Grade teacher
    Recent death of parent (she told me she wanted divorce one year to the day!)
    Two teenaged children (they knew)
    Massive weight loss and barely hanging on to job
    Refusal to let go of AP
    She wanted to see therapist together for reconciliation or closure. I was hopeful as therapist did not buy her excuses. But after a few sessions she admitted to still seeing AP. The therapist was pissed and suggested she see XW alone. After two sessions we met together again and XW said she wanted divorce. I asked her to leave the room, at which point therapist told me I dodged a bullet. XW had lots of problems and no capacity to change. I am so thankful for that therapist.
    Later, XW wanted to be “friends”. Said that was always her intention. Ha!
    I have maintained almost complete NC for years, except for weddings and graduations.

    • Bruno,

      Glad you dodged that bullet!

      Mine wanted to be “friends” as well? WTF???

      I guess it just makes cheaters look less skeevy if they can retain friendships with their chumps (not to mention keep a formerly reliable kibble source). But how can they seriously believe we’ll remain friends? They live in fucking la la land…

      ….or lived!! Consequences splash cold water on these cheating, miscalculating, narcissistic dreamers and schemers.

      Mine is likely on terra firma now. He has lost the following: me, his kids, his grandchild, many family friends, family members ON HIS SIDE, his once stellar reputation, and more than half is net worth.

      He gained one AP who is a cheater herself.

      They deserve each other.

      May they suspect each other of lying and cheating for the rest of their lives.

      Oh, and yea, I’m still bitter.

      • ” He has lost the following: me, his kids, his grandchild, many family friends, family members ON HIS SIDE, his once stellar reputation, and more than half is net worth.”

        Pretty much the same as my ex fw. Though I would put me at the end of the line, as he “never loved me” so not much to lose there. He also kept most of his money, though he gambled them away a couple years after the divorce. I think the loss he suffered most was his captains bars, and his chance at becoming town mayor; all for a sleazy whore.

      • Mine not only wanted to be “friends” he thought we could just get back together after a few years as if nothing had happened. His exact words were “You’ll never get over me.” I’m not quite sure what part of my old life I’m supposed to miss the most, the deprivation of sleep and sex, the snide criticism, the constant spackling, the laxatives put in my coffee on Valentine’s Day so he could avoid taking me out for a nice dinner, or his drama king antics.

        He also “joked” about bringing all his dirty dishes and laundry for me to wash whenever he visited me. Needless to say I made sure he never learned my new address and instructed my father and brother not to reveal it to him as they helped me move out. They didn’t even know about the affair at the time but they trusted that I knew what I was doing and kept it from him. I’m glad I can count at least 2 good men (3 counting my best guy friend) in my life.

  • The problem here is self-evident, and most people have covered the main points.

    But let me say this again for the hundredth time: Don’t talk phone calls from cheaters. Chris writes: “She calls occasionally, as if nothing has changed….this KILLS ME! Like she did nothing wrong.” The problem here is that Chris (back then) lacked boundaries. And maybe Chris still had the urge to keep the door to communication open, or else that number would have been blocked.

    If you don’t have kids or the kids are old enough, block the cheater’s number. Block them on phone, text, social media, and messages from the Goodyear Blimp. Obviously, if a chump has minor children, there must be a way to exchange information and a way to have contact in the event of an emergency. But think about how to have required contact without intrusion. If you must leave phone available, make it clear that you will ignore what doesn’t come via email or OFW. If you get a phone call, do not answer. Let it go to message and then listen to the message. My iPhone gives me a transcription of messages so I would know right away if it’s BS. And if it’s BS, do no respond.

    We teach people how to treat us. If we answer all communications like Pavlov’s dog hunting for a kibble, we teach people you can be manipulated using phone and text. You gain control by CHOOSING how and when to have contact with people.

  • A few days before Dday, my then-husband wanted to go to couple’s therapy. I agreed because he had just asked for a separation, and I was desperate to keep my marriage, which I didn’t know was troubled. I had no idea about the other woman, but I was smart enough to know that most men don’t leave their wives unless they’re having an affair. No doubt I was ready to lace up my dancing shoes.

    He received two therapist recommendations from his own therapist (a guy who, as it turns out, advised him to go to MC but not mention the multi-year affair). My then-husband, the liar, said he called their offices and left messages but never heard back.

    I don’t believe him.

    Instead, he ended up fessing up two days later, so therapy never happened. I’m sure I dodged a bullet. No doubt there would have been an attempt at serious and harmful (to me) blameshifting and gaslighting. No doubt he had NO desire to reconcile or leave the AP. In fact, when he fessed up only a couple of days later, he said he wanted to marry her.

    Therapy can put unsuspecting chumps in a very vulnerable position unless the therapist is VERY perceptive and spots the cheater’s BS. And consider this: the cheater is prepared to spin his narrative. The chump, especially those like me who were completely in the dark, isn’t. It’s too risky!

    • My cheater agreed, after much resistance, to go to couple’s therapy. I thought this meant she’d agreed we would work on our marriage, but it turned out she just wanted a formal setting, with a professional in attendance, in which to tell me that she was done with the marriage.

      You ended up in the same place you were going to be anyway, but saved yourself some hefty session fees.

      (The therapist we saw for the one session was, as best I could tell from our short interaction, pretty good: she correctly identified that our relationship was salvageable – it had none of the hatred or contempt that typifies really bad marriages – but naturally couldn’t do anything about my XW refusing to discuss anything other than immediate dissolution of the marriage. Now that my relationship with XW has deteriorated – I no longer like, trust or respect her – I can easily see the difference. The problem wasn’t really the state of our marriage, it was the contrast between a real marriage (with 20 years of real life encrusted on it) and the lure of the affair partner (new and shiny and proving his love for her by discarding his wife in her favor).

      • Yep. I would have taken a long, expensive, painful ride back to square one.

        “The problem wasn’t really the state of our marriage, it was the contrast between a real marriage (with 20 years of real life encrusted on it) and the lure of the affair partner (new and shiny and proving his love for her by discarding his wife in her favor).”

        Switch the genders and, voilá, you have described my situation to a tee. Oh, and make that 35 years instead of 20. Potatoes, potahtohs.

    • Apparently divorce attorneys recommend MC. It’s being used against me that I refused to go. Which isn’t entirely true. I had some qualifiers to get me there which he refused to do. Then he said he didn’t want to pay $200/hr. I begged my husband to go to MC for years prior and he refused.
      So I now think maybe it’s a red flag that they’ve consulted with an attorney, if there is a change on their opinions with MC. It was all a set up in my case.

  • Tell the ex no and tell your thetspist this request is inappropriate.
    Find a new lady who wants to share feeling, experiences, and joy with you. Fire the therapist.
    You rock, remember that, you Totally rock

  • I took the bait after 4+ months of separation and went back to couples’ counseling with my cheater upon his request. He said his IC had recommended it. At our first appointment the counselor assured us my cheater was in a “different place” now and I decided to give it another go, because who doesn’t deserve a 4th chance? We attended weekly counseling and he moved back in. I don’t think it was damaging, and I do think the MC’s heart was in the right place (although the $200/hr price tag didn’t hurt), but after 4 months and little improvement (he wasn’t “all in”, lack of remorse, little reassurance when I was triggered, plenty of finger pointing back at me) I decided to end it again and move forward with the divorce. I feel like I ended up back in the same place I was before starting counseling. My heart is newly broken and I have to get used to being the only adult in the house again.

    The MC will do their job to convince you that you can save your relationship if you both own your part in the marriage breakdown and work on your communication. And because you’re a chump and think the best of people, you will find that very hard to resist. The most likely outcome is you’ll end up back in the same place where you started.

    • “The MC will do their job to convince you that you can save your relationship if you both own your part in the marriage breakdown and work on your communication.”

      Step right up, folks!!! YES!!! I’m talking to you, chumps! You, too, can save your marriage IF you accept the following equivalencies:

      He/she cheated; you forgot to buy decaf coffee.
      He/she cheated; you once reacted angrily to something terrible he did…
      He/she lied; you once forgot to put the vacuum away (after vacuuming the entire damn house)
      😡
      Gotta learn to swallow like a drug mule to get that shit down. But, for $200/hr, you can do it!!! Oh, and buy dancing shoes. You’re going to need them.

      • Add to that, you didn’t dust often enough, though it could be included uner you didn’t put the vac up after vaccuming the whole house.

        We could have hired a full time house duster, for the money he spent on the whore. Or he could have hired her to dust and fucked her while she was doing it. At least that way I would have gotten something out of it.

      • Nitwit once complained that I loaded the dishwasher wrong. Even at the time, which was long before D-Day and certainly before I found CL, I thought, “If that’s the biggest complaint you have about me as a wife you’ve got it made in the shade.” They truly don’t understand that cheating is in a different category than any imperfections in appearance or housekeeping abilities. They have no idea how ridiculous they look to outside observers.

        • They really have no self awareness, or if they do they are looking into a magic mirror.

          It is like the “I never loved you” idiots actually think that lets them off the hook for cheating. Well I never loved her, I lied to her for 20/30/40 years, I was a complete fraud, so my cheating is understandable.

    • Of course you have to own it. The MC knows the cheater isn’t going to. If they couldn’t get chumps to take the blame, they wouldn’t have much of a success rate at “saving” marriages. MC is such a scam.

      • I agree and I am so glad i didn’t get caught up in that. When he tried to set it up with our preacher, I turned him down. I was done by then. had he tried to right after he dumped me, I would have been susceptible.

        Our preacher was very supportive of me, and was very blunt with him on his responsibility, but he would not have been our counselor, as he was not a trained MC. I fear whoever he sent us to might have tried to dump it on me. I might have accepted it in desperation to save my marriage.

        I was so lucky/blessed the way it went down for me. As painful and horrific as it was, it could have been so much worse.

        • I’m glad you didn’t have to endure the agony of false R and accepting the blame, Susie.

          I had asked the jerk to go to MC before D-day, but his angry response showed me how pointless it would be. He was gone. That much I knew. I just didn’t know why at that point. So naturally I didn’t go after Dday either.

  • My not-yet-EX asked me to go to the church and have a divorce ceremony. I wasn’t aware any denomination had divorce ceremonies and asked for more details. “Oh,” he said, “I just want our divorce blessed like our marriage was blessed so that I can move on and be as one with God. The pastor does this for many divorcing couples.” (Note: Acquiring a 30-years-younger soul mate had not required the blessing of the church, apparently).

    I agreed to go talk to the pastor about this ceremony as I was still trying to make the divorce as easy as possible in order to make my escape as quickly as possible. I was imagining something resembling a marriage therapy session with the pastor but with a focus on prayer.

    When we met with the pastor to discuss the divorce ceremony, it became clear this whole plan was news to her. She had not suggested it or ever participated in any such thing. The more my not-yet-EX talked, the worse it got. The “ceremony” was to be in front of the whole congregation. Our kids would be there. The point was I would be repudiating my wedding vows in public before God as I was the one initiating the divorce, so he would be freed from all blame, etc. etc. etc. I think he was imagining some modern version of taping a Scarlet Letter to my chest (despite the fact that he was the adulterer) and a hundred people commiserating with him and the tragedy of his divorce. Clearly, the kids were supposed to understand me as a giant sinner forcing their father to accept a divorce he did not want and had done everything possible to prevent.

    I said absolutely not. The pastor said absolutely not. He called me a “liar” because I had already “promised” to participate. He told the pastor she did not understand her job and that he knew more about respecting marriage and God than she did. (Note: The pastor stopped asking me to consider reconciliation and how to “put the kids first” after that meeting!)

    In short, don’t agree to be part of your cheater’s healing fantasies. They are all about making the cheater feel fantastic and making sure you carry the blame.

    • This guy created some divorce ceremony to blame you, wow! Just when we think we’ve heard it all. What denomination? I am just laughing thinking about this in a mainstream church.

      • Who knew, right ? I learned from my mother they have such a ceremony in the Episcopal Church.

        After my parents’ divorce, my mother worked as an administrative assistant in our diocese, with Rev. Denise the Game Player and Bishop Judas Jack.

        Mom and Denise met as suburban housewives-we children attended the same schools and the families belonged to the same church and swim club.

        Denise and D.’s marriage started to fall apart as Denise became very religious. She was the first female vestry member in our church and was one of the first women ordained to the priesthood. She and D. divorced after 24 years of marriage. My mother was shocked to learn Denise wanted to have such a ceremony. “How humiliating for D. “ my mother wrote in a letter sent to me at uni. “I hope D. finds a woman who treats him well since he deserves it;he has been a good father to his three kids” He did ! He died a couple of years ago after 30 years with his second wife J.

        Back to Denise. The diocese’s core staff found her to be very manipulative, using her feminine wiles to get her way. And she had an affair with Judas Jack whose wife was in a mental institution. He claimed his wife suffered from acute paranoia. He was also dating C. at the same time. C. won the Mrs. Bishop competition. Denise died single though included in family gatherings with her ex D., his second wife J., their three kids and the grands, according to Fakebook.

        Denise’s daughter’s parentage is questionable to me. A bit of an age gap between her and her two older brothers. And she doesn’t look anything like them-a towhead and bros are dark haired, as are her mother and supposed father. Plus she cheated on and divorced her husband.

        It takes all kinds. The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker. And a person of the cloth.

          • Denise coauthored a book with J.J. challenging the foundations of traditional Christian doctrine, offering alternative interpretations of the Ten Commandments. Like the one’s addressing adultery perhaps 🤔 ?

  • The snark in this is on point!
    Do not go to therapy with the cheater. No point, you’re already divorced. Your youngest is 15 and you seem to have a really good handle on the line of separation between your cheater x and your 15 year old. You’re making your children central. Your cheating x no longer is central, she’s likely trying to figure out how to be again.. step 1 therapy (and with your therapist)! Then step 2 blame you for her affair with Hector (that name, mine cheated with a cliche name-the names are telling). Just don’t go to therapy with her. Why didn’t she want to go to therapy with you before she chose to cheat? I envy your current position, don’t risk losing all the hard earned ground you’re gotten.

  • Anything done post-divorce like going to a Therspist together is going to be Performance Art for the Cheater. An utter and complete waste of time for any Chump. Do not entertain any of this for one second.

    I’m lucky my Cheater is 2,000 miles away, but if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t do doctor’s appointments, parent/teacher conferences, kids sports, nothing with him, because it would all be an avenue for him to be Performative. Insert the puke emoji here!

  • Mine tried to get me to go to couple’s counseling just in case I changed my mind and wanted to reconcile. They have no shame.

    • WTF?!!! No shame. Plus, there’s a pathetic cluelessness. Isn’t there?

      Mine wanted family therapy when he realized his adult kids had gone NC. That wasn’t on his bingo card apparently. Clueless bastard. I could have told him he was hanging by a thread with his own kids (and I was the thread). Well, scratch that. Pre Dday, I occasionally did try to very, very gently urge my TFC to work on his relationship with the kids. Each time he flew into a rage. “What? I have a great relationship with them.” Nope.

      He cheated for years, treated everyone like shit (except the AP), flung open the barn door, wondered why all the animals ran for the hills, and only then tried to get a therapist to help him corral them all back.

      Too late, buddy. You should have thought of that before the abuse and cheating. Geezus.

      • The jerk has an embarrassingly low EQ, but I tend to doubt they are quite as clueless as they seem, because they seem so clueless that a small child would know better. I think they spend so long pretending not to understand like adults do so they don’t have to act like adults, that it becomes habitual. As I would tell the jerk, I’m not buying it because nobody is *that* stupid. Your ex, for example, could have been pretending to believe he had an ideal relationship with his kids so he didn’t have to do anything fix it. The anger is the giveaway. Why get angry if he really believed the relationship was so good? Nah, the truth hurts. Remember the George Simon motto? They’re aware. They just don’t care. I would add that because they don’t care, they naturally want to weasel out of taking any action, so cluelessness works for them.

        It’s not worth giving much thought to, though, untangling the skein and all that.

  • “Use your words, not your genitals.” 😂😂😂

    Omg CL, that is gold!!! Will (mentally) tattoo that on my STBX’s forehead.

  • OMG So I’ve been going to a therapist for about two years. She would never think to suggest contacting my ex, getting a list from him about anything, or getting his take about anything. Never, ever.

    What she has me work on is myself. We’ve moved beyond treating the trauma symptoms to now just working on me being a better me in relationship with others. I can now identify things I did in the marriage that I could have done better (not that any of that contributed to his affair activities), but it’s done in the context of me identifying ways that I was not solid in myself and became reactionary. The goal is to be a better mind mapper so that I see red flags, keep myself grounded emotionally and identify my boundaries.

    None of this requires my ex to complicate things with mindfuckery. I don’t require him for my own healing. Any ethical therapist would know that one’s own healing must come from within oneself, not reliant on any outside validation.

  • This is why you never give too much information to a sociopath narcissist.

    Narc Pity channel: ‘I want to go to a therapist’
    Chump, wanting to help. “Call my dr…..”
    Narc; sees manipulation opportunities. Goes to therapist who now sees $$$$$$$$$$ from long term couple therapy. “Come to couples therapy with em”
    Chump: “No”
    Narx/. Anger channel

    Or chump, “yes”
    Narc: Kibbkes

  • My vote: ditch your therapist! Here’s why…
    She/he can either be YOUR therapist, assisting you as a patient, or she/he can be a therapist to BOTH of you, as a couple. But they cannot be a therapist to you individually AND as a couple, it’s a conflict of interest…and you’re therapist should know that.
    Again, ditch the therapist – I suspect they’re more focused on $$ than on your mental/emotional well-being.

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