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How Are You Changing the Narrative?

bitter bunnyToday’s award for righteous sass goes out to KatiePig. When confronted with the faux sophistication of cheating apologists, here’s her response:

This is me at this point in my life. I’m the person who replies “Oh cool, I’ll let everyone know your husband is available for fucking, since you think this is great. Oh hi, Cheryl’s husband is available as fuck meat and she’s cool with it, did you need some dick? Oh wait, what’s that Cheryl? It’s not actually great?! When did you change your mind?!”

People either hate me and call me bitter or they absolutely love me. I’m thoroughly enjoying this process of weeding out who I want to be friends with. Should’ve done it decades ago. LOL

Way to change the narrative, KatiePig! Yep, chumping someone is all well and good until that person is you. Funny how people never imagine it could be them. (And even if it isn’t, is empathy too hard to conjure?)

So, today’s Friday Challenge is to tell CN how you are changing the narrative. Got a snappy rejoinder? A new manifesto? Did you once corner Esther Perel and slap her with a wet mackerel? (A girl can dream.)

Viva la revolution!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • For me personally it’s fricken Hollywood and don’t watch those types of movies anymore that glamorize an affair. If it happens and my young daughter is watching. (I.e.Enchanted) I say how messed up this is, that feelings get hurt in the worst way.

    • Great point! And it’s not just narratives about cheating per se. It’s the whole notion of twoo wuv, the idea that raw attraction trumps all other adult decision making. There are red flags waving all over? How pretty! Let’s enjoy them while they last!

      I just re-watched “Speed,” which repeats the line TWICE about how relationships started under intense circumstances never last. But, damn the torpedoes! The only thing that matters, according to Hollywood, is that raw, instant attraction. And if you’re shallow enough to value that attraction above all else, then all long-term relationships will feel boring eventually, even if you’re married to Sandra Bullock.

      I read something recently about the #metoo movement, where a guy quite rightly said he learned everything he knew about chasing women who professed to be uninterested from Hollywood. Han and Leia? That was the model that many of us grew up with: keep battering boundaries until you get the outcome you want.

      But, Hollywood is all about the drama. If some people get betrayed, so be it: chumps make for good compelling storylines in that world. One person’s pain is another’s entertainment. In real life, I say no thanks to that kind of narrative, and yes to healthy boundaries.

      • I was watching some movie on Disney plus the other night and it then started showing an affair and how it was such true love and how heartbroken they seemed to have to return to their partners, can’t for love of me remember what it was called so I should check but either way it got turned off.

      • LezChump,

        You have triggered my Hollywood wrath….I have found that having your past change isn’t exclusively about ones relationship with a fw, it encompasses everything like those movies and love stories that I grew up with…

        Two of the biggies that come to mind are:

        The Sound of Music

        And then the real life ones that stick out were:

        Hepburn /Tracy

        One can even go back to Biblical times….King David…don’t even get me started on that one!

        Seems like we are inundated with this wherever we turn and those of us who are the chumps are portrayed as the ‘bad guys’…..

        I have a hard time watching anything out of Hollywood….sick minds normalizing immoral behavior….

        Today I am glad I am aware though, and despite the pain, that the fw is out of my life.

        • If it’s any consolation, apparently the Hepburn/Tracy affair was made up by the studios because Katherine Hepburn was really a lesbian.

        • I watched a documentary the other day about Frank Zappa. I always loved his music. Then they got to the part about how he was always hooking up with various groupies while on his tours. He said when he would get home to his wife he would just tell her to go to the pharmacy and get meds because he got the clap.and she would do it and remained married to him. She mentioned how she just had to get over the emotional hurt of his fucking the groupies. It made me sick that this is how that industry is. He said something to the effect that he could not help it because there were all of these young groupies around.
          I too will no longer watch movies that I know glorify cheaters, which is way too many of them.

        • Why ‘The Sound of Music”? I don’t remember any cheaters there.

          • Aruna

            No cheating but ….

            The older man hitting on a vulnerable innocent and very much younger woman straight out of a convent while making the appropriate age fiancé look like the ‘bad guy’ so his behavior came off as being okay.

            He very well could have been her father…

            According to this historian there wasn’t a fiancé in the picture at all yet, in the movie, she plays a dynamic role in validating vonTraps attraction and subsequent marriage to Maria. Implications abound….a re-occurring Hollywood theme.


          • Yes-he dumps his fiancé for the adolescent
            nun. My 4 year old daughter understood that and cried about the sad lady who was abandoned.Otherwise I might have glossed over this element. She was presented as a rigid rich aristocratic woman ( his age, (The bitch wife figure), and he just happened to be , drawn to the charming ingenue who was to wild for the convent…( messing around with the baron).

      • What is wrong with Han and Leia? No cheating there. Just two people attracted to each other who can’t admit it.

        • Leia keeps saying no, but Han doesn’t accept her boundary. She’s literally saying “no you’re not, you’re…” when he kisses her for the first time. Now, it’s true that she could have held her boundary more clearly, and stopped with the mixed messages. But, to a young boy, the takeaway clearly is, “she looks annoyed and says she doesn’t want you, but REALLY she does.” Which goes right along with the general cultural message that boys/men can be “boys” (usually by flouting rules and ignoring boundaries), and girls/women are supposed to feel flattered by the attention (read: passive aggression and borderline stalking).

          I used to ship Han/Leia, so I’m as guilty of getting sucked in by their dynamic as anyone. I was very disappointed when the new trilogy depicted their marriage as a failed one that contributed to the rise of a new Sith Lord. But, upon further reflection, I realized how fitting that actually was.

    • I read the old book “Tootle” to my son. It is about the young train who must learn to stay on the tracks and not roam in the fields with the daisies. “There is nothing but red flags for a train that doesn’t stay on the tracks!”

    • Agreed! Same with TV. Despite loving the actors, I turned The Affair off after about ten minutes.

      • My cheater suggested this show to watch with me while he was cheating on me. It’s disgusting.

      • Ugh, I watched that show with my H well before Dday I used to watch all kinds of shows not thinking too much about them – until it happened to me. But that’s a perfect example of how they didn’t show how traumatizing this was to the chump. You could watch that show and just think that people seamlessly get on with things. I mean she ended up marrying a wonderful man and her children ended up fine (I won’t give away the ending). We didn’t see her suffering endlessly. It seemed all the suffering was attached to the OW and the cheating husband.
        – and ‘the English Patient’… That used to be one of my all-time favourite movies
        – and Cairo Time… many of my former favourite movies involved cheating – they always painted the cheaters in such sympathetic light… Often didn’t even show the spouses…

        • Ah, “The English Patient.” I loved the movie & devoured the book. I knew it was fiction & their behavior was wrong but it wasn’t my snug life. Also adored “Dr. Zhivago.” Just thinking about their twu wuv gags me. Matter of fact, I’m going to donate them both to the library sale.

    • My kids– two boys, one girl– literally change the media narrative. Nothing is funnier to them than lampooning ads and films with their own invented captions, dialogue and voiceovers. They’ll even pause mid-bickering to bond over this stuff. No pervy double standard, sexism, schlock or sex trope is safe. They make their teachers crack up. What’s FW going to do about it– tell the court the kids laugh too much or that he feels indicted by their comic radars for icky media messaging?

      • I love your kids’ take on things, Hell of a Chump. Laughing at something really takes away its power!

        I Can’t wait until my boys are old enough to fully understand. For now I just have to say things like “it’s not ok how Han is talking to Leia” and hope they aren’t getting too irreversibly programmed while I’m at work and they’re watching Disney at after-care.

    • Agree 100%. Was watching a show with 12YO DD. cheaters. She’s learned early and detests the whole fucking notion of betrayal. On any level. I trust this will serve her well. ❤️

    • I completely agree! No more “romance” novels with cheaters or affairs either!

    • I’ve been listening to “Two Princes,” a LGBTQ family podcast fairytale thing. Of course it’s meant to change the narrative in ways other than exactly what we’re taking about, but I’ve enjoyed listening. It does take a good swipe at toxic masculinity I think. It’s supposed to be made into film on Showtime.

  • My recent epiphany is that disorder entails inconsistency. As in, my STBX can seem perfectly fine to most people, most of the time – and even to me, when life is going along swimmingly. But when the stress ramps up, she’ll take it out on me. The smooth times don’t make up for the abusive times: the inconsistency means that I never have solid ground to stand on, as long as I’m interacting with her.

    That’s why we have to Trust That They Suck, and I have to stand on terra firma far away from STBX and her disordered inconsistency.

    • Oooooh I had the same inconsistencies with my father (narcissist much?). Did not make for diplomatic relationship when I was a raging hormonal teen. His friends were trying to reason (subdue?) me back to the role of passive wallflower, and “could not understand” I had a beef with “such a great and funny man”. My best retort was: “I am happy for you he is such a great friend. I wish he was a friend and not my father”. They stopped harrassing me ????

      • Vanessa,
        I’m sorry you had to deal with that in a parent. Disorder is hard enough to see/deal with when we’re adults – I’m sure it’s that much harder to individuate when you’re a kid. It sounds like you dealt with your dad in a mighty way as a teen, though!

        The inconsistency of disorder helps to explain the cycle of abuse: disordered people have to deal with the consequences of their abusive treatment of others, including their own shame/guilt. They may well have moments of clarity about the pain they have caused, and want to wipe it all away (and avoid painful consequences) by making grand gestures in those moments. But, because they can’t cope with adult reality – including independent loved ones levying consequences – it’s just a matter of time before they act out again.

        • My ex really got mad when I set a boundary and broke up. But since she was a therapist she used emotional manipulation. She said I was “calling all the shots” as if I was supposed to get her concurrence first about breaking up. Then she insisted on coming over to talk which silly me I gave in and she ultimately coerced me into having sex with her. Then after sex, when it was clear from my emotional state that I had not wanted it, she blamed me for hurting her feelings.

          • They are delusional. My ex told me I was calling all the shots when I asked him to leave the house… After he had already discarded me for the OW. He thought he could just hang out in the house until they worked out their arrangements.

        • This explains the year of absolute mindfuckery Captain FW put me and the kids through after he left. Although I miss my old life (house, friends, neighbors, kids, work), I am sooooo glad I set boundaries that year. I knew deep down that the boundaries meant he wouldn’t be able to manage coming back, but I stuck with them, and I’m super proud that I did. Now I’m building a new life. Nobody is taking this one away because I am the Queen (and there will be no kings in my life ever again).

      • I r ply to comments about how great my ex is in a similar way. Wh n people who have just met him gush over how charming he is I just reply, He has always had a terrific short game and change the subject.

    • It’s as if someone would say, “Well, that huge grassy field is all clear and beautiful except for the landmines…” Can we walk over the field calmly since “most of it” is clear?

  • The longer you stay with that cheating hag, the larger percentage of current assets/pension money she will get. Leave now. I had a neighbor that wanted to wait because she always used access to their son as a threat. She did some pretty nasty things to him including running up credit and lying. Oh how she could lie. And she was so pretty. And cray cray. She was a friend but I was one too many times appalled by her shit. So I told him to run and hurry up about it. and he did. But it was still very hard for him. He’s very happy now.

  • After nearly seven years of gaining of a life (see what I did there, I didn’t get discarded, the trash took itself out)… I’m quite comfortable in calling life as I see it. Some people may consider me “bitter” but they’re not my tribe. My tribe knows I’m honest and I’m loyal and I’m consistent in my beliefs.

    Sadly, the very person who championed me through my divorce discovered her husband was cheating on her when the OW’s husband burst in to our book club to tell her. I spoke to her for the next two days and then she cut ties with me. She was staying with her cheater. The sad thing is, I would still have been her friend and tried to support her choice (no one has to live my life but me)… but I think it would have been too painful to be around someone who rebuilt a life without a cheater instead of eating the shit sandwich. I drive by her house sometimes (we’re neighbors) and think… wow, a year later and you two are still married (dysfunctional, but married)… good luck with that.

    For me, changing the narrative has been about me being authentic with myself. If my truth makes someone uncomfortable, that is something they have to sort out. I don’t apologize that I’m not besties with Mr.Sparkles “for the children” and I’m learning not to apologize for stepping further and further back as my son grows up (he’s 16 now and needs to learn his own boundaries with his Dad).

    Is it lonely sometimes (I’m single)… sure… but not nearly as lonely as being married to a cheater.

  • I was out with my friend. And we met up with her married friend from work. This women rubbed me the wrong way on hello. But, I told myself not to be so judgemental. Half way through the dinner the married friend showed me a picture of her husband. She said is he not adorable. He was married when we met and I pursued him until I got him. His ex was a hag anyway. I told her the only hag I see is you. And that is a special name for women like her. I excused myself paid my bill and left. I informed my friend that if she ever invites her again I will not go. The gull of that women. She was so proud that she was the OW.

    • Good for you! I won’t associate with someone once I know they are a cheater. It’s like hanging out with a felon. Who wants that? I can’t imagine socializing with someone so gross and unethical.

    • Well done, Cuzchump! That’s brilliant. We all need to do something similar in those situations. Water on stone and all that. ????????

    • Cheaters and affair partners shouldn’t feel safe about bragging about their screwing around. That alone is enough reason to change the narrative. It’s one thing to be disordered enough to be proud of yourself for cheating, it’s way worse to be arrogant enough to brag about it. Horrible, disgraceful losers.

    • So the OW landed a lily livered cheater. Big whoop. Of course the OW’s narrative was she was just so special and irresistible that she won the prize. Good for you Cuzchump, for setting her delusional ass straight.

      • The narrative is also that the betrayed spouse was a nag or a hag or a miserable control freak or whatever… The marriage was over a years ago, it was sexless blah blah blah – all lies. We are always made to look like the problem …. every movie paints it that way, even if they don’t show the spouses in the movie! I mean why else would people cheat, it must’ve been a horrible partnership – right?
        It’s never about the cheater.

    • I wish I had done that a long time ago. See, the OW who is now with Captain FW was an acquaintance. The ex introduced us ????. We went to dinner with her and her (then) husband and were exchanging stories of how we met. She proudly announced that she and her husband had met at work. He was married at the time so they had an affair, but he couldn’t get enough of her. So he left his wife and 2 little boys, and they got married and had 2 little girls together. I was shocked and embarrassed for her but didn’t want to be rude. Little did I know that my husband was next on her list….

    • I have realized since this all happened to me that it takes a terrible person to cheat on their spouse and even worse of a person if there are children involved. I have also seen that anyone that can support or even be anything more than cordial to these people are almost as bad in their own way. I have no use for any of them. Her family turned on me in an instant after I told them we were divorcing because there were multiple AP’s. If a mutual friend wants to be friends with her then I don’t have time for them.

      I am starting to no longer worry or wonder about what they think of me but instead I think they should be more concerned about what I think about them.

      • I agree with this. I’m still dumbfounded by the amount of people that went out of their way to support and help my FW when he left me with a three month old. He’s very good at playing the victim but I still can’t even imagine what he told people that made enough sense to leave your new wife and newborn baby and they STILL helped him.

      • How about the FW who cheats on his repeatedly miscarrying wife (me) and infects her with chlamydia so the next one is an ectopic that almost kills said wife (me)? Wish I was Dexter.

    • What reaction was this cretin seeking? “Thanks for telling us that you think you’re special because you landed yourself some sloppy seconds, I’ll be sure to avoid you from here on out.”

    • Standing O right here. Well done!

      She was testing YOUR boundaries with that bullshit. Just put it out there to see how you’d react. She needs to size up her resources, you see. Everyone is fair game for whatever she wants. And she needed to see what she was working with.

      I love that you called it what it is.

    • Reminds me of being out with two potential new work friends, A and B. Women in their mid-30s, successful professionals, like to have a few drinks, looking for love. Of all of us A is flirtier, more conventionally pretty, clearly thinks well of herself. We met up at a work-adjacent charity thing; there’s a married couple, J and K, at our table; also mid-30s. A describes K as her friend; so by extension J and K are both A’s friends? J is square-jaw athlete-y-type; K’s normal, but not exuding sass, not dressed up, etc. Seems a bit shy next to A’s big energy.

      A sits on the other side of J, who is next to K. A talks about how J is “like her brother” and proceeds to joke with him and flirt pretty openly (like not super sexual but just aren’t we special and into each other haha wink wink) and he is not shutting it down. You can tell he likes it. You can also tell K is not thrilled, also trying not to be uncool about this “brother-sister” vibe. I barely knew A, thought it was weird but kind of wrote off my own judgment as judgmental.

      Later, when A and B and I are out again, A talked about her “bad habits” and that “being inappropriate” is one of them and that she loves K and she loves J and maybe she was too forward? Like she knew she was pulling his attention from his wife (her “friend”). What did we think?

      B was immediately like no, no it was fine. Because I was a very new acquaintance, and thought, hmm, it sounds like she’s being open, I said, oh, A, I did notice what you’re saying. Since you asked, I did think you were making K uncomfortable and it did feel inappropriate.

      I was never invited along for a hang-out with A and B again. I must have been being tested to see what kind of support I’d give A’s behaviour. Guess I passed!

      • Yeah, and when K cheats (RED FLAGS a-wavin’!) it will be because he’s just so helpless.

        A real man would have extricated himself and his WIFE from that ridiculous show.

        GOOD on YOU for being direct and truthful. I’m sure you’re now considered arrogant, stuck-up, etc. But we know you’re awesome. And B better watch her back, because it’s a matter of time before A betrays her.

    • Yes!!!If more people put a hard line on this kinda stuff life would be much easier.

    • Good for you!! The fact that she was bragging about stealing away someone else’s husband is absolutely disgusting.

  • I state to people that there is only one reason people cheat—-because they can, they give themselves permission to. (Thank you, Tracy, for helping me to fully know this!)

    I recently had a chat with a young lady clerk at a store I frequent. How the subject came up, I am not sure. Anywho……

    In the conversation, I stated that it does not matter what a partner does, it does not justify the other one cheating. I explained how there are adult options—counseling / tough solution-seeking conversations / divorce attorneys……Once properly divorced, one can then (and only then) move on to a new relationship.

    She said she had never thought of it that way, but absolutely agreed that was so!

    So, in my one-on-one conversations, I feel that if I get through to just one person, that is a shift in the right direction.

    (Plus, I frequently point people to ChumpNation or Divorce Minister)

    Love to all as we continue to ForgeOn! to change the narrative!

    • Way to go, ForgeOn! Changing the narrative is such an important thing in today’s culture. I find that once I see victim blaming, I have to step in and speak. The other day I was reading a post that a neighbor put on FB about how someone broke into their truck and stole their work tools. Of course, some idiot has to comment about how it’s their own fault, they would NEVER leave tools in their vehicle and therefore it was the victim’s fault. I can’t not say something when I see this, it drives me crazy. How about the thief not break a window out and take what isn’t theirs? How about some compassion for the fact that he needed to keep them stowed there, hidden, because he didn’t have room in his apartment for them? It’s always easier to blame the victim, it makes people feel superior and ‘above’ anything bad happening to them. I got news for you, pal. Someone could just as easily steal your entire car, and to have someone comment ‘It’s your own fault, you NEVER should have parked it in the on street’ is about the least helpful thing you could hear at that moment. It’s like the empathy chip in people is missing.

      I read the best article the other day by Andi Zeisler about victim blaming, and though it wasn’t written with cheating in mind, I found the author’s logic about in unassailable (and easily applicable to what chumps endure). She wrote ‘the human instinct to apply moral and intellectual judgment to others is an effort to shield ourselves from the breathtaking cruelty of happenstance. Some people want so desperately to believe that some unhappy accident or random act of violence couldn’t happen to them, so they cheer when it happens to others and make up reasons that it’s the fault of the victim. Whenever something especially horrible happens – and even preventable, had the perpetrator not engaged in an act of violence – happens to someone, there’s a conspicuous casual moralizing about the victim that slips into certain people’s thinking, where they invoke ‘rationality’ to assert that there is something they would have done differently, a moment in which they would have evaded a bad outcome by being smarter, more virtuous, or more compliant. Victim blaming is, of course, a recognized social-psychological phenomenon often used by people to deflect their own feelings of vulnerability, as a result of cognitive bias and the brain’s need to maintain a belief in a just world.’

      I often remark about the importance of spotting red flags, but that is not to say it’s our fault as the victim that we didn’t initially see them. We need to be able to learn about and heed red flags (enter Chump Lady) so we can avoid victimization in the future. So many of us had no idea we were being victimized when it was happening, and to have someone blame us for that is just straight up gross. We’re ALL locking the door to keep the bad guys out but some of us were unaware we were sleeping next to one!

      • So true. I know I’m always focused on protecting myself, and my close ones, but that’s probably from living with a con man for thirty two years! I did ignore red flags, but I FORGIVE myself. I was young, and idealized everything, even him. And then I grew, and got very capable and mature ( of course, he wasn’t going to take care of shit, I had to). I evolved into an adult, and he, to this day, didn’t. I really don’t blame myself for missing that possibility! It’s one of the unfortunately cynical things young me had to learn- some people don’t grow. They don’t improve on themselves, they just learn how to USE others. Not a lifestyle I would choose!

  • I write to get the word out and I talk about it to educate people.
    I won’t get off my podium.
    When people have a blog-like Matthew Hussey for example (the dating coach)… It may be an old blog and although he’s against cheating, he list some sad sausage reasons why men cheat. I respond in the comments to educate and pass the word about character etc.
    I’ve done this countless times on blogs or YouTube videos.
    I’ve written TV networks to discuss how their hosts talk about cheating.
    I don’t tweet or Instagram. Nothing I say is going to go viral -unfortunately.
    I feel that this blog is a true source of education and the opinions shared in Tracy‘s blog need to get out there; we are all preaching to the choir.
    I think the lack of awareness around holding cheaters accountable and the lack of empathy towards chumps and to the devastating effects this has on our mental health among other things, is tied to a non-chumped privilege.
    It’s also the way it’s portrayed on TV and in real life examples. Chumped people in the news don’t want to look as pathetic as they feel. They put on a brave face and carry forward. The attitude that gets put out there by chumps is often a classy ‘well that didn’t work out, let’s just carry-on forward and be a real trooper.’ Where were the consequences for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt? It was twu wuv, and apparently Angelina Jolie broke up another marriage before that-I believe she poached Laura Dern‘s partner.
    Cheaters get away with it, cheating partners get away with it… because chumps don’t want to let the world know about their pain…. The world needs to know that this is abuse and that it’s not to be taken lightly. Even though chumps can gain a great life, it doesn’t mean this should be swept under the rug.
    They are saying now that 50% of millennial’s will cheat within the first five years.
    The word needs to get out there.
    Integrity should matter to people.

    • Right on, Zip! The world is in an integrity deficit crisis and hardly anybody even notices it.

    • Zip:

      Thanks for your posts. I always learn from them or feel validated by reading them and the posts of many others on this blog. Now this term “a non-chumped privilege” is going to stick in my mind. It definitely would be a privilege to be non-chumped.

    • I’m right there with you, Zip! I took the AP Stylebook to task on their website and on Twitter when they changed their “mistress” entry. To those unfamiliar, the AP Stylebook is the guide that all reporters and journalists (among others) use to ensure that reporting styles are consistent across all forms of media. Here’s their “updated” entry for mistress: “Do not use this archaic and sexist term for a woman who is in a long-term sexual relationship with, and is financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else. Instead, use an alternative like companion, friend or lover on first reference and provide additional details later. Smith, who is married to someone else, was accused of embezzling funds to support his lover.”

      • “Smith, who is married to someone else, was accused of embezzling funds to support some dumb twat who spread her legs to get access to said funds.”

        WHY the AP doesn’t consult with me is a mystery. I’m experienced, and everything.

        • I object to mistress because it doesn’t seem to have a male equivalent I know of. Also I don’t think it is ugly enough for the actual actions. We need a strong gender neutral term for people who engage in affairs with married cheaters. I use adultery partner but it doesn’t seem to be catching on.

    • For years we have been told to be the cheater’s accomplish by ” never tell the Chump what the cheater is doing, it will only cause anger at you” Total crap. There are no words to describe how much I would have appreciated this information. Then as Chumps we are told ” keep the details to yourself, take the high road” Again total crap. Having a hand clapped over your mouth only causes the symptoms to appear elsewhere. You are the canary in the coal mine, you have to let people know the evil that is being done, the pain that is being felt, the families that are destroyed. Now you’re a witness. Without a witness they just disappear

    • I often re-post CL on facebook with no commentary. Ive had people private message me. I know lots of people see the posts but rarely will anyone comment. This is fine with me. I know that another narrative about cheating is out there and the one’s who need it will pass it on. It is vital information. And chump nation conversation is SO intelligent.

  • I’m all over the interwebs, in various places, calling out cheater and RIC bullshit and advising chumps. I send complaints about pro-cheater articles. I see a lot of other people taking a hard line on cheating, so maybe it’s changing. Social change is usually slow, but we have the truth on our side.

    One place I would suggest is ideal for changing the narrative is Quora. There are lots of chumps there from all walks of life who are looking for help and there and some ignorant people giving them piss poor advice. I stay away from reddit and twitter because
    they are populated with way too many perverts and “don’t be judgy” moronic young people. Young people tend not to be receptive because they are social justice warrior types who think it’s “kink shaming” and “anti-sex” to object to cheating, abusive sexual behaviors and porn addiction. Some of them even whine about people being bigoted against the mentally ill for finding psychopaths and narcissists objectionable. They are full of arrogance and impossible to reach, so don’t even bother. Older people are more likely to listen in my experience.

    • The problem also with sharing your story in non chump groups is the shaming as you mentioned, I shared my story and got blasted with messages of how I’m a cuck, beta male, doormat, weak, not a real man all because I was chumped. I’m none of those things, I’m an abuse survivor who suffered at the hands of a very nasty disordered female. Yes I stupidly ignored tons of red flags but how many of us did also. I can bet that near all those comments are from younger ones who have never lived their life yet let alone been abused. They probably watch a few MGTOW and red pill videos and think any man who is not x,y or z is a beta and not a macho man but someday they will learn. There are former Navy SEALs and special forces troops who’ve gone through similar situations, are they “beta” or “cuck”. Just so much toxic and nasty people online and you know in person they would never say a word to you.

      • ChumpyNoLove: Any judgment made by a non-chump is pure ignorance. If I ever choose to be in another relationship again, it will be with another chump only. Who else is strong enough, compassionate enough, loyal and honest enough to receive the gift of reciprocity?
        We are the shining pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. That means YOU! Never, ever forget that.

        • Thank you, those kind words really helped me today.

          I’m sure somewhere out there right now is a beautiful, kind hearted woman waiting for us to meet. Well I hope so. I hope we all find that one true person.

      • As the CN says, the chumps don’t ‘force’ cheaters to cheat (beta, doormat etc. man ‘made’ his partner cheat) – it’s about cheater’s character. Also, cheaters usually seriously trade down. If you were so bad, why did they trade down??

      • That really sucks. Luckily you know better, some people just aren’t ready to open up their minds I guess. And really silly they are going for the stereotype male idea – yet another reason to change the gender narrative along the way, too.

        Society is so much about being successful and as is mentioned by someone else here, it takes great courage (which means: strength!!) to be open about being chumped. I feel like in general narcissists get rewarded or at least get away with so much, while there is so much silent suffering all around them. To me it’s more about creating awareness about narcissim I have to admit. Narcissism can show through anything from Weinstein-like abuse to very subtle soul sucking, with cheating in between all that. Narcissists suck. We should Trust That They Suck, but so many people still fall for the sparkly side.

      • I hear ya. You are right on in your description of the kind of people who do that; young, dumb and full of shit. I just plonk them, as we used to say in the halcyon days of usenet. Block, mute, ignore. Keep telling your story and don’t let cyberbullies stop you. I’ve been told to kill myself, had graphic death threats, cyberstalkers, the whole shebang. Fuck them, I am not shutting up. I’ve also talked to a lot of lovely people and heard their stories. If I let the bullies keep me away, I won’t get to hear those stories and offer comfort and solidarity to those hurting people. I try to steer chumps away from the RIC and over here as well. We gotta stick together, my brother.

        I know you are not a beta. I don’t even believe in that alpha beta bullshit. It’s just the product of silly sex role stereotyping that belongs in a previous century. These stupid people are trying to drag us back to the 50s FFS. They can go fuck themselves and you’re awesome.

        • The alpha and beta thing is nonsense. I’ve seen guys who look like skinny nerds and yet they flew through ranger school and the more football jock types failed at it. I’ve met green berets who you’d never expect to be green berets going by appearance. I’ve spent nights in the army with my battle buddy whilst we had to do suicide watch for a huge 280lbs guy who simply cracked under the pressure yet my battle buddy from NY was a nerd with a computer engineering degree who weighed maybe 160lbs and he was EOD bomb disposal. It’s like these videos on YouTube with spotty teenagers and young guys who’ve never even done a week in reception before basic training and they are fighting and arguing over would DELTA beat the SEALS lol. I see a lot of MGTOW as that. Angry young men who want to blame females for everything and then they degrade other men as beta and cuck for not fitting into their little box.

          • Absolutely right. They’re looking to blame their failures on anybody but themselves. “Chad’s and Stacys”, women in general, “simp” men (meaning men who are gentle and show respect for women) are all targets of their wrath.
            Size only matters in porn. In the real world, self discipline and courage are everything.
            I would love to see some big MGTOW knuckle-dragger take on a woman with extensive martial arts trainimg. The moron would sure get some schooling. Guys like that seldom have the discipline to train hard enough and are chicken-hearted, so they’d get a rude shock just at boot camp, let alone in battle.

      • Chumpy, I’m sorry you had to go through that. It used to be that way for survivors of sexual abuse.
        Now many men and women feel comfortable sharing their stories and are supported not shamed.
        Nobody needs to share more than they’re comfortable with.
        We all need to listen to ourselves.
        But we are not the ones who need to feel shame.
        There are anonymous ways to get the message out there as well.
        With so much conversation around privilege and consent right now, I think the time is right to spread this blog and the conversation around cheating.
        But, maybe there’s a way to get the word out there and not paint ourselves as victims (even though technically we are victims of somebody else’s choices). The word victim is just loaded.
        The way men have been portrayed as chumps on TV shows etc. has been heartless. Like it’s a big joke to have your wife cheat on you and it’s because you couldn’t satisfy her.
        That’s the message I’ve seen. It’s ridiculous.
        People are more aware now of racist jokes that aren’t funny and sexist jokes aren’t funny… Jokes about cheating aren’t funny either.
        Neither is a Canadian talk show host on ‘the social’ lecturing people about being Buddhist about cheating enlightening.
        Having said all that, it takes a real man to share his truth.
        Great women don’t want to be cheated on anymore than they want to cheat on someone.

      • Hello ChumpyNoLove, Im a British chump too. Just wanted to say I completely agree. Also, I knew a really nice guy, very senior British Special Forces (Hereford) who was really badly chumped. Lifelong soldier. Good family man. Away all that time. Kick in the teeth. The children were so little. He loved his family so much. Horrible. Bravest of the brave and best of the best. Like you, there is nothing “beta” about him. Nothing. Anyone can be chumped. Really sorry you got blasted online. I love ChumpQueen’s repy to you, what she says is true. Nonchumps just don’t understand. Keep your chin up. You’re free and you’ve been incredible. Keep going. I ignored so many red flags too. I’m not sure I even knew what a red flag was. I do now! We’re all so lucky to have found Chump Lady, aren’t we? Her kindness, humour and good sense. I have many, many thankyous to say to her. Take care of yourself and have a good weekend!

        • Thank you.

          I too never really knew what a red flag was. I knew gut instinct was telling me things were bad. As you said, anyone can be a chump including what I’d consider very tough men in the 22nd regiment. We are beyond lucky to have chump lady and I wonder if she will ever know how many lives she has saved. A wonderful lady is what she is.

      • Ew chumpy – stay far away from those corners of the internet! Every once in a while that incel terminology will crop up in the comments here on CL, And I always try to call it out.

        It’s that same-old victim blaming story people love to trot out to convince themselves that bad things only happen to bad people.

        What was it Ben Carson said about mass shootings? “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me.” Right.

        It’s all so easy to say/type from your mom’s basement. Unless someone has lived it they have no idea how they would really react.

        • Yeah, we had a guy here not long ago making with the incel type talk, all about how women suck so bad that men should never marry, a husband is just a cash cow for us greedy women, bla bla bla. He had a made up set of facts about the Vast Anti-male Conspiracy he couldn’t source, but well, his female lawyer had apparently said it was a real thing so we should trust in that, ’cause women always trust other women or some shit. Hell, I wouldn’t trust schmoopie or any of her asinine friends to tie my shoes. Lots of women are full of shit and assholes, as are lots of men. I wonder if that whiner is still lurking. Just in case he is, this is for him????

      • Oh yeah, I get the woman targeted crap from that type of immature weirdos. I must be fat, ugly, hate sex, have smelly genitals, be dirty, not know how to cook, so old I’m worthless and should be given away as free rape material to incels by the government. They are nasty losers. I’ve tried to help people on Reddit going through this but it’s overrun with just the grossest scum imaginable.

        • Reddit is a sewer and must be run by incel type scum. They banned the most popular feminist subs but let the violent misogynist ones stand. There are literally hundreds of subs devoted to talking about raping women, torturing women, degrading women, even naming public figures they want to rape, but you can’t talk about how much you hate misogynists and rapists. That’s hate speech. Misogyny and rape are kinks, don’t ya know, and no kink-shaming allowed. Fuck that disgusting place. Everyone should boycott it.

        • One of the comments made towards my situation was how I put up with my ex wife because I had no other options to get a new girlfriend. This despite having an ex fiancé, picked at 18 to be a male fashion model, early 20’s was a bodybuilder and had lots and lots of female attention and male attention, had plenty of “girlfriends” in my single months before I met my ex wife. Yeah I had zero options ????. Even now in my 30’s and I have women flirting with me in stores and other places. I’m pretty sure I have no choices with the ladies lol. I watched these MGTOW videos and this nonsense about how all women hit the wall at 25 and our wash up damaged goods after that and blah blah blah, it’s all rubbish. I work in an office and we have some women there in their late 30’s who are absolutely beautiful and single by choice because they were sick of dealing with crap in relationships. As for single mothers only wanting a meal ticket and a baby daddy, well that did not match my experience growing up with a single mother nor my male friends who also had single mothers. Just frustrates me when these “men” want to make stupid sweeping statements.

  • Kunty Kibbler’s most recent narrative: “Chlorine Special and I will not provide any direct $$$ contributions to E the Elder’s upcoming college expenses (beyond occasional living expenses), nor do we anticipate being able to do so for the foreseeable future. We also will not cosign for any private loans she may require. You make far more money than I do, so you should take care of it. And if you don’t agree to all of us sitting down together ‘as a family’ and making sure that E the Elder understands all of this, you’re an asshole.”

    Narrative change: Request for Child Support Modification filed in family court. Take it up with my lawyer.

    • Fantastic, UXworld!

      I truly loathe parents who decide that divorce absolves them from the need to support their children’s higher education. At the very least, they need to provide FAFSA information (for non-US Chumps, the FAFSA is the form that parents need to fill out, based on income, that determines the eligibility for student aid and how much the family is expected to contribute).

      As per usual, Kunty Kibbler wants all the fun of parenting and none of the responsibilities.

      • She completed her section of the FAFSA (has to, by law). But I was the one who submitted on behalf of E the Elder, as the parent from whom the child gets the greater amount of support.

        • Good for you UXworld!
          You paying for E will surely impact support.

          It is a terrible shame that FWs want all the fun, but not the responsibilities. I’m the chump. X makes 10times what I make. I pay for all of the college costs, because X refuses to pay one cent beyond what is court-ordered. We went to court about it. In California, parents are not required to pay for their children’s college. Judge said he could not compel X to pay for college.

          • What a dick. Kunty Kibbler is such a dick. The ex piece of shit you were married to–also a dick.

        • The Lying Liar refused to pay a cent for DD18’s private college. I filled out the FAFSA and it took a court order to get him to fill out the non-custodial parent’s form. Then the school assessed DD18 the expected family contribution amount based on BOTH parental incomes. The Lying Liar thought that was pretty funny. He might be willing to cough up some dough if DD18 would break NC with him. No dice. My family paid for it all – no regrets!

          • “The Lying Liar thought that was pretty funny. He might be willing to cough up some dough if DD18 would break NC with him.”

            That’s like paying someone to be your friend. Pathetic. Plus, if I were your daughter, I would resent him for placing those conditions on me.

            This reveals a certain shallowness in this cheater. He doesn’t really care about a meaningful relationship with his daughter. I mean, how could it be meaningful if there are strings attached? It’s all about image management.

            I’m surprised mine hasn’t pulled this stunt. My kids are beyond tuition age, but I would think he might dangle some cash before them to break NC. We’ll see. Or maybe he has, and they haven’t told me. Then again, this is the same guy who balked at getting our daughter and her family a $4 gallon of milk, saying, “Why can’t they pay for their own milk?” And when I wanted to get our granddaughter a winter jacket, he said, “Are you going to be one of those grandmothers who buys stuff for her grandkids all the time?” What?

            Meanwhile, he was spending oodles on fun times with the OW. Speaking of which, how much do matching, massive upper-thigh tattoos cost?

      • I’m just about to the finish line with a Modification of Custody and Child Support. My son wants to spend his whole Sr. HS year with me, we currently split 50/50. XAss is whining about not wanting to pay me more child support. And he neglected to tell the Courts, or me, that he retired and dropped the kid’s health insurance.

        The Courts just awarded me 4 months of insurance contributions that were deducted from the child support payment, and have reinstated the full amount to be paid to me until he can prove otherwise. He made 3x’s as much $ as me, yet refused to help at all with filling out the FAFSA and other paperwork/steps to get our Honor Roll son a scholarship to the top schools who are recruiting him.

        As soon as I realized he would delay, obfuscate and ignore all these things, I headed to Court. I sent him an email informing him of my actions and I got one in reply that “We can work this out ourselves without Court and lawyers. Lets just keep on skating with what we have now, it’s only for 18 more months.”

        Yeah, nope. I replied with, “The Motion has been filed. Please get your financial papers in order, you will be requested to submit them.”

        He’s not a happy camper. I’m enjoying a big bowl of buttery popcorn.

      • Yes, that bugged me too. Some months back I found a financial plan that we had written which included paying for both kids’ college through a four year degree. Basically I was already paying the first one’s tuition, and then when the bill was due for both kids shortly after he left, he claimed that he couldn’t help because it was so expensive to live in hotels and look for a place to live (I also paid half of his hotel bills). When the next semester came along, he had expenses with setting up his place. So I gave up. I didn’t have much income during that period but did have savings, so nothing from the FAFSA although I did it each year as a separated spouse.

        We went around a bit in the divorce process over college, but ended up taking all of that out. My ex’s plan for dividing the expenses gave my attorney heartburn. He did a lot of appeal and malpractice work, and he said the method my ex wanted for doing that could go wrong a dozen ways which he explained to me. So I told my ex that if he wanted to help, he should decide on an amount on his own and pay the college directly. Needless to say, he never contributed a penny. One finished college, and the other is following close behind. At least they were/are COVID graduations, so there was/is nothing really to invite him to. Both contributed a lot in terms of work and scholarship applications, but I did have to help them financially.

        I don’t know why I was surprised.

    • Was it in the decree that college expenses would be contributed to or covered? FW has had his GI Bill in place for kiddo and I am going to add to the decree that it cannot be changed to any other beneficiaries nor can any other beneficiaries be added thus forcing kiddo to split it. FW said it isn’t necessary for me to put that in there because he wouldn’t dream of changing it. ???? Anyone wanna bet an OW’s kids would suddenly be added on? I’m putting it in writing.

      WTH is it with Kunty Kibbler wanting to all sit down together and give your elder their sob story that they can’t pay? Eff that. Neither you nor elder need to deal with that. Is your modification request to add the college expenses on? Elder shouldn’t suffer because Kibbler and Clorox can’t get their stuff together. Oh, woe is them.

      • Everyone who’s in divorce negotiations needs to know this: get college expenses written into the divorce. Once the kids are 18, there’s no leverage, so you need to get it addressed from the get-go. In the US, anyway, college is probably going to be the single largest expense for raising a child. You can’t just assume your ex will do the right thing.

        My XW balked over college expenses and the negotiations ended up dragging out our divorce proceedings by another 5 months, but now that my kids are hitting college it was well worth it. From little remarks she’s dropped to the kids I know she considers that she was cheated in the divorce (50/50 split – I chose not to pursue her for adultery) and that she believes I ought to pay more. She has all her rationalizations in place for refusing to pay for college, and I’m sure that if it weren’t in black and white with a court stamp on it, she wouldn’t.

        Get it in writing, even if the kids are small.

    • Oh, that makes my blood boil UX. Not only is she thinking that she won’t contribute financially she wants you to sit down with her and E, as a family, to support her decision! Holy ????.
      I’m so glad E has you – this must be a nightmare for her. The college process is stressful enough with that BS.

      I hope the judge throws the book at KK.

    • So not only does she want to skate on college expenses, she wants you to back her up in her selfishness. Continuing on as she has been…

    • Let KK explain to E the Elder that she won’t contribute to college. Just when I forget just how awful she is, she does something to descend to a new level of suckitude.

    • Yes, been there. Both planned to commute to a nationally-ranked four-year by bus each day to get their bachelor’s, but were loving the local community community college which is ranked well and has transfer agreements. I had been paying their tuition so he could focus on putting part of his pay towards retirement investments.

      Then he took off and said he couldn’t help. Several years of excuses, and I gave up asking once both were at the four-year. Note that I knew that he was being very generous with helping various family members at the time. It reappeared briefly in the divorce proceedings, but my attorney strongly objected to how my ex wanted to do it and said that he doubted that our kids would ever get anything out of it anyway with the way it was worded. He was also concerned that it could easily be appealed in a way that would hurt me.

      So out it went. I emailed my ex that he could contribute to his heart’s content if he wished, and that I would provide how to do that directly with the college. We ran all the numbers again. My oldest was paying his own tuition by then, but needed help with incidentals. I could do that. My younger was covering her incidentals, and I was paying tuition. I said one more semester of tuition, and then we would have to do a loan.

      But I recovered financially, and the younger one got a scholarship. The older one graduated and is working from home, helping me with household expenses. The younger one graduates this year and will be debt-free.

      Not long ago I found a financial plan that I did with my ex a few years before he left. One of our goals was that we would pay for our kids’ college. Well, except apparently that was only my goal. I am a professional educator myself, so I would rather see our kids graduate from college than go on vacation and live in a fancy place. He preferred the later.

  • I speak my truth about cheating and it’s consequences. I have started dating and I find it interesting. Some men who find out (because everyone asks what lead to divorce) actually have the gall to ask me if I was still having sex with him. My new line is “it could be as dry as the $&@$&@$ Sahara and it’s still abusive and wrong”. This makes them squirm a bit ????. I believe by being open about the abuse, the pain on spouses and children, and the real life consequences that it makes people think a bit about it. It will never be okay just because it’s more prevalent than I first realized. We are all changing the narrative by speaking up and living our best life. Best of luck to everyone!

    • This happened in 2017 (already divorced), I became Facebook friends with a former friend from high school. I had a crush on him in high school and he also moved from WI to NY. I invited him over for dinner on Christmas Day, because my kids would be at the adulterers that day and my Facebook friend would also be alone that day (newly divorced too).

      We had a really nice evening catching up and talking about old times in high school; all the crazy stuff we did. Anyway, he eventually told me that his wife cheated on him. And the Red Flag moment to me is when he said that he didn’t care and that it didn’t bother him! The old Martha would not have noticed that Red Flag or she would have swept it under the rug/squashed down that bad feeling in her gut that something wasn’t right.

      I could tell he was interested in me by what he was saying and how he was acting. But I listened to my gut and headed the Red Flag when it presented itself!

      And guess what? Less than two years after that, he remarried! Third marriage and married a woman with four very young children (was she vulnerable???). From Facebook pics she looks like she’s in her 30’s and he’s in his 50’s.

      And this just reminded me! I’ve had a few Facebook accounts over the years and would delete them when I couldn’t stand the drama anymore. Anyway…..this happened just after Facebook started up, so maybe 2005. I was Facebook friends with the same guy and he asked me if I wanted to meet out for coffee the next time he’d be in my area. My bad gut feeling immediately came up, because I would never, ever meet up with a man for coffee by myself when I was married. I’m not sure how I told him no, but I never met him. And guess what my cheater husband was doing our entire relationship? Meeting up for coffee/lunch, etc with “friends”. Having coffee sounds so innocent! Makes me wonder if my Facebook friend was the cheater all along and not his wife!!!

  • To one of our couple friends (the male partner). I heard he said the following. Here’s my fantasy narrative reframe. I don’t talk to Swiss friends.:

    —“Affairs happen all the time.” Sure they do that doesn’t make them lesser offenses. Mass shootings happen all the time, too.

    —“We go way back and he’s sad.” You don’t want to abandon an old friend. You’re a guy. He’s a guy. Hey, we stick together. Ok, well, you’ve aligned yourself with a liar and a cheat.

    —“He betrayed me, too.” Yes, he did. Yes, he did. And he’ll do so again. Eyes wide open, man.

    —“It’s not the same when we’re together, but…fishing.” If fishing causes you to lose your moral compass, then I’m happy for the clarification about your character. Also, are you trying to make yourself feel that you have a moral backbone by saying that you have a smidgen of discomfort when you’re with the cheater?

    —“Yes, he encouraged me to cheat, too, but I never did, and I choose to ignore this.” Ok. This is the worst offense, but your head in the sand must feel oddly comforting.

    Dear Swiss friend, You know damn well that if your wife cheated on you, you would fall into a pit of despair. I guess it helps to live in an alternate reality where there’s no conflict and everyone pretends all is well. Know this: if it happened to you, I wouldn’t effing shrug.

    It was nice knowing you. –Signed, Spinach

  • I was at a WI(Women’s Institute) meeting, we were all sitting round chatting after the speaker had finished.

    We were talking about books, and someone said how much they loved “Anna Karenina”.

    I pointed out it was a book about a selfish, narcissistic adultereress, who betrayed a good man for a vapid womaniser, then threw herself in front of a train because she was an entitled drama queen who couldn’t face up to what she was. ????

    A few people agreed with me, said I had a point.

    I then said cheating was abuse, and there was *never* any excuse for it.

    I also comment on various articles romanticising/excusing cheating, using Tracy’s arguments, and recommending LACGAL as an antidote to stupid entitled waffle.

    I just *love* Katie pig’s riposte! ????????????

    So brilliant. I’m going to use it next time some moron trots out that tired bullshit – thanks, Katie! ????

    • Gone With The Wind is another novel featuring a female narc as the protagonist. She only wants men who are unavailable or who have lost interest in her.

      • I always thought Ashley was far more to blame, after all, he was an adult, Scarlett was only 15/16?

        And his conduct in keeping Scarlett dangling, never fully emotionally centered on her, or Melanie, was totally despicable – sort of emotional cake eating.

        Not that I excuse Scarlett, but I really think Ashley was a 24 carat shit, masquerading as a ‘gentlemam’.

    • As an avid lover of literature, I commend you!

      Best book ever on adultery: Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Now that woman was a badass bitch who had some experience with fuckwits!

  • We need to turn the narrative around on men who say, “My wife doesn’t want to have sex with me anymore” to “Why doesn’t your wife want to have sex with you anymore?”

    This is like my TedTalk thing. A friend of mine told me she got to use it once on a guy from a dating app. They had been talking over the app and move to phone conversations. She said she started to get the vibe that he was married and she asked him. He replied, “Technically.” (yes, I know. I rolled my eyes hard too.)

    He went on to give the same old excuses they give, including she doesn’t want to have sex with me. My friend then said, “Wow. That’s mighty big of you to admit that your wife got bored of your sex life.” Well, she said he then got flustered and indignant and started saying things like, “She’s satisfied just fine.” So, my friend said, “Well which is it? Does she not want to have sex with you or does she?”

    The guy called her a “bitch,” hung up on her, and she never heard from him again.

    • My bedroom was dead. My body sent me a loud and clear message that I didn’t and shouldn’t trust him. My brain was in denial telling me I was safe. Something about emotional abuse that kills your desire for sex with someone….

      It took me a long long time to realize he didn’t cheat because the bedroom was dead. The bedroom was dead because he was cheating and abusing me emotionally in many other ways.

      • Yes, me too….You have nailed it once again.

        Thought it was ‘dead’ because of me somehow because, in my love bombed heart, I had twisted it all so very horribly around on myself, into myself completely encompassing myself until there was no self there that I recognized anymore as that beautiful young woman who was so trustingly in love with the man of her dreams – who surpassed her dreams even. (RED FLAG….I feel the need to defend myself since I was so very innocent then 🙂

        • The big clue I dismissed is that I TOLD HIM I was angry, why, and that it was getting in the way of me wanting to be intimate with him.

          I now believe his lack of concern and response was because he didn’t care. He didn’t care because he had other preferred sources.

          I had the most stunning insight just this morning. Our daughter was born in 2007. In one of the pictures from the hospital he is sitting across the room in the chair in the corner. My close friend is sitting in the chair next to the bed. I don’t remember him sitting in the bedside chair except for one picture. Why not move the corner chair to the other side of the bed? He also has a grim look on his face, sitting in the corner chair in another photo.

          I am just realizing how detached he was that day just this morning.

          He also led me on the entire time I was pregnant about buying the Dream House. When it came down to the wire, he did not take action and the house went to another buyer, for 275K less than we offered. He said years later that we were never in a position to buy that house. Which was bullshit. He wasn’t sincere and was fine watching me cry numerous times over the course of ten months of negotiations which were insincere unbeknownst to me. It was stunningly cruel and our therapist (who is now my therapist and not his because she let him go) said as much.

          • I have very similar hospital photos from when my daughter was born in 2007. A disinterested father sitting in the corner with his new precious baby laying in his lap…not touching the baby or smiling or anything. I placed our daughter on his lap, took a photo, then took her back cause he “was tired.” I shoulda left him right then and there.

          • There are sooo many misconceptions and bs narratives crafted by cheaters to smear chumps and if that isn’t horrific enough, society steps right up to the plate and blasts it out of the park some more. “The wife must’ve been frigid,,, she was hard to live with… she’s a bad lay, “ etc. This keeps the pain and suffering of the chump in full swing. If people stood up for the wounded it would make a huge world of difference. I, too, examine photos of he and I now. Looking back on us and those who thought we were the “perfect couple” yet his arm around my shoulder resembles a balancing act more than a warm embrace. HIS HAND NEVEE CUPPED MY SHOULDER IT JUST HUNG THERE! My side of the hug was sincere so I never noticed those pics until now. Oh and yes, Velvet Hammer, he tortured me like a car does a mouse enjoying my frantic tears over and over too. Even in front of the therapist! Sick bastards are those fucked up Cheaters!

      • After I saw the first email I stayed another several years, but I NEVER had another orgasm with him. I was just fine with orgasming on my own, but never ever again with him. And I didn’t even realize that it had happened until quite a while afterward. PFFFT! The response just vanished.

      • Well, my chumpy brain fired off a different command: “All systems go! Sex! More Sex!” as if sex could make everything ok. So, we had sex. But in the months leading up to D-day, he rejected my attempts at times, citing, let’s see, hemorrhoids, work stress, etc… I thought he was just…aging. The poor guy suddenly needed Viagra. I was very understanding, in true chump fashion.

        Anyway, in the end, my ex couldn’t really whip out the no-sex card as an affair excuse, at least not to me. Who the hell knows what he says to others? Liars gotta lie.

        Bottom line: Whatever lame excuses they trot out, we chumps feel the pain. Accusations of being a crappy sex partner, which is always the chump’s fault, of course, hurt. But there’s also pain in learning that it wasn’t about the sex (or so they say), that it was about so much more!

        That bit of news cut me to the core.

      • This is definitely a chicken or egg question in the sense that people (cheaters, cheating sympathizers) will flip it around and make it your problem. Oh the bedroom was dead. Yeah, it’s not exactly a turn on when your partner is removing himself from your life but still expects the same “perks” of marriage. Turns out he was paying for it anyway. Oh yes, poor baby. You get what you give.

        • Ours was dead, because he was an insufferable sad sausage who didn’t work and was constantly in a rage.

          I used to say: “It’s like you’re trying to get a squirrel to eat out of your hands by yelling at it. How are you shocked that your strategy isn’t working?”

          I doubt I’ll ever date again, but “dead bedroom” and “she’s crazy” are on my list of red flags

      • 100 percent this:

        “It took me a long long time to realize he didn’t cheat because the bedroom was dead. The bedroom was dead because he was cheating and abusing me emotionally in many other ways.”

    • Yeah, trigger for me. KK didn’t want to have sex with me anymore either. She wanted to have it with other people (lots of them, as it turns out).

      I never once used her shutting down as an excuse to step out, or even consider doing so. So I would have taken that question with a great deal of offense. Just saying.

      • But remember – you weren’t married and looking for a side bit, so that conversation would never happen.

        • No Shit Cupcakes,

          ‘You weren’t married and looking for a side bit.’

          When I was trying to come up with a way to express how I felt one scenario ran along the lines of:

          ‘It was as though he married me and then shortly thereafter unbeknownst to me, he began looking for my replacement when, fast forward 30 years, voila at long last he found his tru luv. In less than a year, she emboldened him to fess up and discard me and our grown children.

          All of those years I WAS a side bit and didn’t know it. So were our children.

          It is encouraging to know that I was the sane parent after all although I didn’t feel like it at the time.

    • I can see using that line on a guy who’s married and trying to make you the OW but I fear it will be used against us chumps who were denied sex by our cheating spouses. Why didn’t my husband want to have sex with me? Because I wasn’t shiny and new any more, although I was only 29 when the sex stopped. How do you explain that to a non-chump?

      • I wouldn’t explain anything because my (non) sex life is nobody’s business. But if I did, I’d say that my ex was sexually disfunctional.

    • This is why cheating men go after younger women. They’re not experienced enough to call him out yet.

    • Awesome. Will definitely have that line ready if/when a future date should ever manifest.

    • >We need to turn the narrative around on men who say, “My wife doesn’t want to have sex with me anymore” to “Why doesn’t your wife want to have sex with you anymore?”

      Nowadays, I just respond: “Why do you think I give a shit?”

      I have never had a man whine to me about his wife who WASN’T trying to initiate an affair. I have no patience for it and don’t even pretend to be polite anymore.

  • My way of changing the narrative is by parading my pain. It’s there. I can’t seem to make it go away. Meh is taking its sweet time.

    In the meantime, friends say: he was such an awful person, why aren’t you over him already? How could you still love this person, there are millions of better people out there.

    And I always answer that, in my opinion, that’s exactly the mentality cheating starts with. “Better”. Someone “better” came along. Twuer wuv.

    It is impossible for me to not feel my pain BECAUSE this person was truly a part of me.

    And he was able to cheat and leave BECAUSE he didn’t feel this sort of pain at the prospect of not having me in his life. And next time, I’ll know to look for someone who feels the same way I do, and who wouldn’t try to rush someone through grieving/healing.

    • Keep reading this blog and the archives. There is help here. I am so sorry for the pain you have been through. Hopefully the pain will lessen soon or in time and hopefully you were not in a decades-long relationship. The best to you.

  • My husband told me he wanted a divorce. A few days later he told me that there was someone he had met that he wanted to date.

    I don’t know why, but my reaction was: “Then you should leave, and I’ll help you pack. You should definitely go out with this woman.” He said, “Oh yes! If you met her, you would just LOVE her!”

    I was calm and encouraging. (I had been thinking about divorcing him.)

    I think he wanted me to be against it. (But he had anger issues; he’d explode about the smallest things, at least once a day, and he’d take the stage for 45 minutes to an hour and a half, dramatically fleshing out all that was wrong with me and the world, and careful analysis didn’t make sense of it, so there was no way to avoid it except to walk out while he was doing it. It wasn’t personal; it was a character flaw. And I had been thinking of divorcing him.) He liked to argue, and I knew it, so I didn’t argue with him. Ever.

    >>>Just something funny here. I made a bunch of business cards with clever sayings on them, and when he’d get started, I’d get out the deck and start rummaging through the cards until I found the most appropriate one. (And this was done in a light way, a tongue-and-cheek way…) One said, “Darling, I know you can’t help it, but I’m not the one you’re mad at. Let’s go get some ice cream.” And many times I just walked out the door and did something I wanted to do.<<<

    When I found out there was someone else, there was pain. Suddenly. I would have been okay if he'd just left. I'd have been fine with that. But leaving me for someone else? Suddenly I wanted him back.

    I read Homer Macdonald's book, Stop Your Divorce. (What a BOOK!) The book was $80 at the time, but I bought it. And I spoke with him on the phone on numerous occasions. The book said to put on a smiling face. Talk about nothing. Be happy. Do things that make you feel alive. Friends, family, walks, painting, whatever. I wanted my husband back so I started doing all those things, even though I didn't feel like it. I forced myself out and about.

    And one day he said, "I want you back."

    It was six months down the road, and he'd been living with the other woman. I said, "well, we're on each other's NO lists. If you want to be on my MAYBE list, you'd have to have left her, been about six months on your own, and then we might date for a while to see how it'd go.

    We were still married. I had been having some fun out there. (No other guys, just wholesome, wonderful fun. I took all of Homer's suggestions and did them, one by one.)

    He said, "That's too many hoops to jump through." And I said, "Then don't do it." Later he told me that he went up to his place, looked in the mirror, and said to himself, "Who do you think you are?"

    I've learned, since then, to try to turn it around and keep the focus on ME. I was so focused on him at the time that I truly and sincerely wanted the best for him, while keeping myself on solid ground by going with the flow. "You want to leave? Okay, leave." Somehow I knew I'd be fine. It was my natural reaction, and it worked like judo, where you use the opponent's force against him.

    Homer's advice was that acting happy helps you to feel happy, and happiness is a very big attraction, especially when your mate is with someone else, and feeling guilty, or getting stares from other people, or losing face at the office, etc. When I read the book and considered it, it seemed like a Win/ Win. I'd be working on my own life, becoming happier, and that was also the best thing I could do to win back my husband. It was counter-intuitive and I loved it.

    But when the day came, I realized that it could never work for us again. What he had done was far too deep and painful, and it showed that he didn't care – at all – about me. I didn't want him back. I had already gained a life.

    • Goodbye Girl,

      Loved reading what you wrote and just had to say thanks for sharing.

      So many ways to change perspective even after the fact. I didn’t think one could change the past until it happened to me when fw disclosed his double life and what I had thought was, wasn’t and never had been.

      Now I know I can take charge and change my way of looking at it too….all very malleable and I can be in control vs the x and his very sick mind.

  • Oh, speaking of great narratives:
    I highly recommend the new HBO documentary “Tina,” about Tina Turner. Highlights:
    1) We see Tina achieving meh: she admits that she was really angry with her abusive ex Ike for years, but after his death, she realized that was he was mentally ill and horribly insecure. (She uses the language of forgiveness, which of course I think is optional – but she defines it as freeing herself from the anger.) We see her fixing her picker: “I want a man without shame, who sees the beautiful woman I am.” Tina clearly has a mighty sense of her own worth.
    2) Tina does a wonderful job of diagnosing why she was stuck in her toxic marriage for a while: she was “loyal to Ike,” “a friend to him” who told nobody what was really happening. She says she felt guilty about the possibility of hurting his career, and an obligation to help him (in part because he helped her break into the industry at a very young age). Ike was a sad, sad sausage about how little recognition he had received for his earliest hit songs. I’m sure a lot of us chumps can relate, when Tina says she would often feel sorry for *him* after he beat her.
    3) The documentary shows very clearly the lasting impact of trauma, even after meh. Tina clearly was triggered for many years whenever journalists insisted on bringing up her past as a survivor of abuse, evidently without checking with her first. The makers of this documentary have spoken very movingly of how they tried to use archival interviews whenever possible instead of making Tina relive that time again, in her 80’s. Achieving meh does not mean we’re not still impacted by trauma, possibly for the rest of our lives. Tina exemplifies the conundrum that we need to talk about our trauma in order to heal, but public figures can become associated with that trauma so much that they will never get away from it. (Even for us non-public figures, there’s a risk whenever we excavate old triggers in order to be honest with friends and family, new partner, etc.)
    4) On the couple of occasions where Ike is called to account, he shows classic signs of cheater disorder. He chalks up Tina’s decision to leave him to the fact that he was seeing other women and that Tina was trying to be someone she was not in order to attract him. Blameshifting, entitlement, and word salad. Never mind the real impacts to her of his physical and emotional abuse!
    5) Tina’s complex life history allowed her to elevate pop standards into real art. I’m still gobsmacked by all the soul she pours into “Better Be Good To Me,” which easily could be the Chump Nation anthem.

  • I’m pro marriage. I really am. But I’m anti-toxic marriage which includes every kind of abuse, adultery, and addiction. Of course those issues are on a scale, but I think that we have to give people the benefit of the doubt when they end a marriage for those issues.

    I have an older friend who is all about me getting back together with my ex. I’ve been divorced for over a year and not in contact with him at all. He lives many states away, and I haven’t seen him face-to-face in three years. And yet she’s always telling me that anything is possible. Yes, that’s true. But I’m quite happy as I am and wouldn’t take him back if he showed up claiming that he was ready to make it work. I don’t trust him after what he put me through including a high conflict divorce. She’s older though, so I always note that not every marriage can be saved and leave it at that.

    Ironically her daughter’s husband is an alcoholic and is putting her through hell. He’s been in rehab several times, and last I asked had been sober for a couple of weeks for I don’t know how many times. There are kids at home, and she is a stay-at-home mom. I get that she’s in a tough spot. Her mom says that she’s so brave for staying. OK, but that’s tough. I don’t know where the line is there in that situation.

    She’s probably underestimating the effect on herself and the kids, but it’s hard. I’m here though as one who doesn’t regret refusing reconciliation.

    • Elsie,

      It’s a difficult call. And there is SO much pressure to get back with your mate. But I liked what Tracy said (I think it was on a video) that there are only so many chess moves in a chess game, and there are only so many ways a person can act out.

      I like to read this blog because it’s full of chess moves, and because cheaters say the same things to their spouses that my spouse said to me! It reminds me about how common it is to cheat, how uninteresting it is, and how it’s such an illuminator of character.

      • Goodbye Girl,

        Can’t help myself…

        ‘Chess’ being mentioned in your reply reminds me of a saying a woman I know passed on to me in regards to playing chess with a pigeon:

        “They will shit all over the board and then tell you they won.” 🙂

    • Elsie, could you tell your friend that each to their own, but you have zero intention to return to being used and abused.

      This whole intact family as the only ideal bullshit has to end.

      Romanticizing abuse as something everyone can ‘work through’ if they just try hard enough gets many people killed, and ruins their mental and physical health.

      Your friend may have advised Ted Bundy’s girlfriend to marry him. She gives bad advice.

  • I’m the little boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes. I do NOT stay silent when the opportunity to speak up arises. I don’t give a flying f how it’s received, agreed with, understood. Opinions don’t get changed by staying silent. I am always on the lookout for new responses for my arsenal. I also advocate rehearsing because I want to be ready when ambushed. Something good needs to come out of what happened to me. Top of the list is helping others recover. Second is being Johnny Appleseed sowing seeds of reality and truth about this ancient socially acceptable abuse.

    “I’m bitter? Of course I’m bitter. BITTER stands for Being In Totally Truthful
    Emotional Reality.”

    My simple one is “affairs are abuse”.

    The proof of how fucked up it really is is how cool they are with cheating until it happens to them. Emma Thompson in Love Actually nailed it because she was recalling husband Kenneth Branagh cheating on her. That scene made me cry before I was cheated on and of course it’s now even more poignant for me.

  • When I watch a movie about a prison escape, I invariably root for the prisoner. I get it. That this runaway con murdered someone’s kid doesn’t register. They don’t show the crying parents. “Run run! The sniffing dogs are coming. Jump into the river to hide your scent!”

    Similarly, in my pre-chump days, I would watch a movie/show about affairs and cheer on the cheaters. “Do it!!!!”

    Only chumps understand the pain of betrayal. That’s the problem. We can only do so much in trying to reframe the narrative.

    It’s as if we’re holding back a dike with our tiny, chumpy fingers. At least it’s something.

    • Shawshank Redemption = right fucking on!!

      Infidelity recovery is like Tim Robbins crawling through the sewage pipe to freedom.

      I’m still crawling but I’ll make it to the river if I keep crawling.

  • I have learnt a lot from this blog and have much appreciation. The contributions with specific details are a treasure.
    One thing I am struggling with is that it is true that it is so much better to not be around a cheater, but there are life situations where it is nearly impossible to get out or getting out means being on the street.
    In my instance I was discarded by former husband, so that’s it. And am now grateful I am out. In regards to my FOO getting out meant being on the street and, on top of that, leaving an innocent in danger, under the abuse of the collusive family system (although I did not not know/had not such clarity at the time). So one assesses, better have a roof on one’s head, or be out on your own with no help whatsoever, and frankly, I don’t know, but the dangers are high out there.
    So what I am trying to say is that I very much appreciate the advice to leave a cheater, but there are life situations where it’s not easy. With money or a place to stay or good support network, leaving can be done. It’s that life with abusers destroys all that. And then the loneliness. The isolation because other people don’t get it. Not their fault. If you have not lived this you don’t really get it.

    So sometimes I wonder why there are not more contributions by people who made it out but are really really struggling, or by people who would like to get out but cannot, on not yet?
    It’s so good to hear from all the stories of success. It’s encouraging. Yet, where are the others?

    Also, why is there very little consideration given to pushing for the re-institution of fault-divorce (adultery) with monetary punishment for the cheater, so that a betrayed person could at least be awarded monetary compensation for damages? With adequate compensation for damages many more people would stand a chance to get out, and not be stuck in what here is called RIC (reconciliation industrial complex), and is much fought against.

    • Hi Flower,
      I hope you’re doing OK. The short answer to your question is that a lot of the posters here are several years post DDay and are here to give support to new chumps. Many of those folks did struggle at first when they left their cheaters but ended up being happier and more financially stable once they didn’t have a cheater draining their energy and bank accounts. In other words, they’ve had time to recover from the loss and damage cheating invariably causes. But every day I also read posts on here from people who are still stuck with a cheater and are struggling to get out. Those stories are definitely there if you look for them. And I think many of the “success stories” you’re reading now started out as “stuck stories.” Maybe some of the OG posters here can share more details about how they got through that part of their story.

      • Okupin,
        I remember one poster in the past who regularly posted about here struggles years past her divorce. I am two years post divorce and struggle.
        You say that folks do struggle at first but then in time recover from their loss.
        Maybe that one poster and I are the only ones struggling years after the divorce. On the other hand it seems a little strange that it should just two people. That’s why I posted asking about others, those who keep struggling years after divorce, and may even not recover. I am glad I am out of the abuse. But I am not sure I will recover. That’s why I wanted to know if there are other people with this experience.

        • I’m also 2 years post divorce, and I think that’s early days still. Cheating and divorce are incredibly traumatic, and from what I’ve read on here and elsewhere, 2 years is way too early to expect to feel recovered. I still really struggle, too. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and just take it one day at a time. I strongly believe we will both be in a much better place in a couple more years. Sending you love and light, sister.

          • Thanks, okupin.
            I appreciate your words. And wish you all the best in your recovery.

            • Flower, healing takes time. Some people heal quickly and some take a long time. I caught my XH on a date with a newly divorced whore October of 2014. Divorce was final the summer of 2016. It’s now 2021 and am I “fully healed”? I’m not sure and I’m not sure if I will ever “fully heal”. I don’t know what that looks like and what it should feel like. Chump Lady says it’s getting to “meh”. Cheaters get to meh overnight, because they usually monkey branch to their next relationship with their affair partner. No healing or growth for them, because they medicate with their affair partner. Us Chumps have to do the hard work of healing and personal growth. This all takes time! And we are all in different positions in regards to financials/job situations, family relationships, friends, etc. I myself had to quit a job that I loved, go back to school for nursing, get a new job, jettison lots of Swiss friends, move two times, plus tons and tons of stuff that I don’t even care to think about anymore, because it was all so hard to do! But I did it! And I’m no longer the chumpy person I was pre-D-day!! Just last week I stood up for myself to a work bully who thought they could push me around. I held my ground and was able to stand up for myself! I even walked away from her and boy, she didn’t like that! But now……..I have her RESPECT!

              Flower, you are still in the early stages. I’ve been reading CL since 2016/2017? and I still read it every day. It’s therapy for me and the rewiring of my brain from the the mind fxcks from the adulterer and all his supporters! I don’t post much anymore, because my life is busy with my job, etc. But there are a lot of us here at CN that are either still in the midst or are still working on Gaining a Life. We might just not be posting much anymore. 🙂 Just know you are not alone. Keep posting! ((((HUGS)))) to you!

              • Thank you, Martha.
                I too think that I will never “fully heal”. FOO, and marriage. All my life with covert narcs/borderlines. What is good is that now I know what it all was.
                Hugs to you.

        • Flower, I really hear you. I’m 2.5 years out from D-Day #2, still working on divorce (though at least I managed to move out last year), and still struggling daily. I am seriously concerned about my ability to hold down a full-time job, given my post-traumatic symptoms like difficulty focusing. I have been doing EMDR therapy but might have to start taking anti-anxiety meds again.

          I tried to post about Tina Turner here, but I went on too long and got blocked! Basically, she’s a mighty mighty chump and abuse survivor who went on to do amazing things, but she clearly still deals with the effects of trauma and to this day is still triggered when talking about her abuse. While meh is a good goal, I think we all acknowledge how rough the whole process can be. This was the case for Tina even after she rocked the world and maintained full No Contact for years.

          It’s rough to be abandoned outright, but then at least you will have No Contact for yourself and any kids. Unfortunately, in my case (and it sounds like in your case), my STBX is a very hands-on parent who would never accept less than 50% custody, so my kids and I will have to continue dealing with her forever. It’s a lot harder to reduce contact and get to meh under those conditions. Even after I moved out and stopped having vulnerable conversations, my STBX has still tortured me during Covid by refusing to follow public health guidelines with the kids, despite the fact they I’m at higher risk for severe disease if infected (and she knows it). She’s such a fuckwit that she got herself and my kids infected by going to a Halloween party, though fortunately I was not exposed. So, it will be a while before I can get to meh under these conditions, as long as all our fortunes are still tied together, which I fear will be another decade at least.

          All best to you and to all traumatized chumps. I will not gaslight anybody about what’s best for them, though I do think many of us who stayed for months after discovery end up with terrible health impacts based on the amount of toxic stress we experience. I have become diabetic in my late 40’s even though I have few other risk factors for it.

          • LezChump,
            Sorry if you have contact because of the children. I don’t have children. Which means no contact. On the other hand I still deal (albeit protecting myself now to the extent it is possible, now that I know) with one family member of my covert narcs/borderlines FOO.
            All the best to you.

        • Flower,

          My mother never recovered. Only peace she may have gotten was after my father di

          They had been divorced 13 years when he died.

          Seems like it was longer because I was only 10 when he left so that time was a big part of my ‘growing-up’ years- my ‘formative’ years…

          . In those days it was the woman’s fault.

          I feel so sorry for my mother now. As a teenager I had no clue and blamed her for everything and when I ran out of ‘everything’ I made up stuff 🙂

          I am about 4 years out and, in my mind, nowhere near meh. First year or two I was in shock and disbelief. Now…I know it was all a fantasy because the x is a serial cheater, it is profound grief due to other extenuating circumstances that involve our grown children.

          Many days I am stunned when I think that just a mere 5 years ago I was a happily married woman living the life I loved as a wife and mother….

          Now that it ALL gone.

          Never in a million years did I ever think something like this would happen to me.

          Never in a million years did I think I would react the way I have.

          It is hard.

          But not without hope or gratitude. I know that sounds contradictory but I am so grateful that he isn’t around and that I can and do have full NC. … mother never got that chance.

          I take each day as it comes and do my best. I cry in the shower. I tend to what is mine to tend to. I carry on.

          • Elderly Chump,
            Yes, the fantasy. Mine was all my life, with FOO, and then the marriage.
            Thank you for putting down your thoughts.

        • 4 years out. Pissed as hell. That is why I am still a daily reader and commenter here. Married 28 years, together 31, from high school sweethearts.

          I am better without him and would never want him back. He really screwed up his life and if I met him today I wouldn’t let him buy me a drink.

          I am glad I forgave his first affair back in 2008 because the following 9 years and his ultimate abandonment of me for OW#2 proved that I had done everything I could to make it work. I will never wonder about that or regret trying. My adult children agree. He put us through a completely voluntary trauma because he felt entitled to do so and now he doesn’t deserve a single minute more of our time and we are all NC with him.

          But I think of him every day and still find myself amazed that this is my life now, that he did this to his family. Still in shock, 4 years out, if that is even possible.

          I am not over it and I doubt I ever will be. I can’t imagine that I will ever marry again but it would be nice to have someone to travel with and share time. I am not waiting for a dude to light up my life but it would be nice to feel valuable to someone. My X made sure to inform me that I am an utter pile of crap and everyone agrees with that assessment, that he never EVER loved me and despite our objectively incredible accomplishments together, and that I was nothing more than shit on his shoe. A 25YO foreign twat is a much, much better human than me and so I was replaced. No amount of cheer-talking from friends and CN, nor my own counseling, keeps the “I’m unworthy because the person I lived my life for told me so” thoughts from creeping in. I let him (still, occasionally) hold the yardstick by which I measure myself.

          I am emotionally damaged and not at all trusting. I am mostly sad, often angry, but I am trying every day. That is all we can do.

          • NOW I.C., I’m sort of where you are but maybe less pissed, possibly because my marriage wasn’t as long as yours. I too know I’m SO much better off without him and would never want him back.

            But my mind wanders back quite often to the early years, when I believed all his bullshit and really thought he loved me. I thought I’d found a wonderful guy to grow old with. And like you, I’m amazed that my life is like this now, amazed at how wrong I was about him.

            I don’t know why, but I didn’t internalize any of his abusive talk (never heard any of that til the later years, when the mask fell off, and then he was unbelievably mean and nasty). I’m sorry that you sometimes feel unworthy because your stupid ex said so. You said I can’t convince you, but I’ll say it anyway: he was the unworthy one, NOT you. You are decent and loyal, he’s a lying cheating scumbag.

            We are the ones who meant our vows when we said them; they probably never intended to keep theirs but we fell for it because they’re such Academy Award level actors. We have lived authentically. They are opportunistic users and abusers. I hope you will eventually be able to dismiss his voice in your head because he was WRONG. Big hugs to you.

            • Thank you, thank you, for reminding me of the bounty of good people here in Chump Nation. I appreciate the thoughts and I am glad you posted them.

              From the early days I have a shoe box full of love letters he wrote when we were dating, and at the other end, 3 decades later, the final curtain features him raging at me that I am the worst person ever, that I ruined his life, and that it was ME destroying the family, not him. Those love letters? He never meant any of it and he never EVER loved me.

              The devalue was long, and the discard brutal. In the years between I spent a life sentence enduring a lot of frog-boiling, covert narc, passive aggressive abuse until he ground me down to a nub. It seems I really have no idea what it feels like to be valued because he told me that the things he had done early on to show me he loved and wanted me were not true and were only things he did because I forced him to (somehow). He denied ever making decisions in his own life and he was finally going to be free of me.

              I know, I know, he is a complete piece of disordered shit. I think I have been more sorrowful and active on the boards because the 4th anniversary of his wicked abandonment passed earlier this month and it brought up fresh wounds. I have my daughters though and they remind me that I AM VALUABLE.

              I AM.

              Thank you again.

          • Now I.C.,
            I hope those thoughts in your head will go, replaced by beautiful ones to reflect your beauty. I know what you mean because those of my FOO are haunting me still, I’d say even more than those of the marriage. Covert narcs/borderlines all my life, since age 0. Working on all that.
            Thank you so very much for sharing.

    • Flower, I’m on here now and I’m in the middle of divorce. I’m guessing lots of people are quiet when they are in the process of deciding what to do. I walked in on my fiancé with another woman 3 and a half weeks after he asked me to marry him. I moved out of his apartment for several months but later took him back because I thought he was a really a great guy who just screwed up that once. We’ve now been married 12years, together for 15. Five years ago I found his sex bag in his car (viagra, dildo, condoms, etc). Stuff that most people would have instantly divorced for, I think. I’m a stay at home mom with no career and no college degree. Our kids are 9 and 7 now. In August I finally found the final pieces of the puzzle that I wanted in order to pull the plug on this marriage. I found out my husband is basically a man-whore. Fucking around our entire marraige. Swinging with another woman for 7 years. Constantly in search of his next fuck on Ashley Madison. Screwing escorts. Fucking other people within months (probably worse) of each of our children being born. The few people I’ve shared my story with cannot believe I’ve hung on so long. I actually would have left 5 years ago after finding the sex bag, but I was afraid of how I’d handle that with the kids and I wanted them to have an intact family. But was really scared, suffering, and treated like shit for a long time. I can honestly say that even though I’m not at Meh (understandably since I’m still in the process and living with the man-whore), I feel better than I have in 15 years. I’m so excited to be rid of this man and this shitty life. I think the kids and I will be just fine.

      • I will add that a year and a half ago, after again finding condoms and cockiness in his car, I found a wonderful therapist. She has basically been prepping me for divorce since then. She helped me let go of the desperation for the “intact family”. She helped me realize that our family has always been broken and getting out would improve things tremendously for the kids and I. Thank goodness for her.

        • I’ll also add, that I did not have support at all. I’ve done all of this in absolute silence. I have a bumpy relationship with my mother and sister. I have a few close friends that I would have liked to share with. But two are heavy drinkers and I didn’t trust them with this info. The other is a guy friend whom I’ve known since I was 3 years old. He’s like a brother but can be rather immature at times and I didn’t trust him with this info either. In hindsight, I think I should have told him way back the first time I walked in on cheater fiancé. He would have told me to run away and never look back.

          • It’s Over,
            I am so glad you are in the process getting out. And it’s commendable that you are doing it all but yourself.

            • Thank you Flower. I hope you get more peace and healing with each day. I do understand the devastation and sadly we can’t control how long natural healing takes. The long term lies and realizing so many years in your life weren’t even real. I imagine this will haunt me forever. But for right now, I’m actually elated to be getting out. Perhaps that’s been my own fault since I required so much to finally decide it would be best to end the marriage. We’ll see how things go when I get where I’m going. At least at that point, I can live in truth each day. Sending big hugs to you.

              • It’s Over,
                From one that has lived with covert narcs/borderlines all her life, FOO and then marriage, live in truth each means really somthing.
                Suddenly I think I understood “I am the way the truth and the life” from the gospel of John.
                Keep going with getting out.
                All the best to you.

            • Flower, you’re not alone.

              My DDay was 14th August 2017, the Decree Absolute was January 7th 2019. That’s what, 3 years between DDay and the DA, and now 2 years and 3 months since the DA.

              I’m not at ‘meh’ either, though there are days I feel ‘mehish’, and then for no discernible reason I’m swamped with grief. Or anger, and I prefer anger.

              I sometimes berate myself, thinking, bloody hell, woman, you should be over this by now! But I’m trying to be a bit kinder to myself – there’s no time line, everyone is different.

              The thing is, betrayal, the lies, the gaslighting, from the one person you totally loved and trusted, is a *monumental wound*. Something that traumatic takes a long time to heal from, and I think for most of us, there will always be the scar.

              And that’s not such a bad thing either. Scar tissue reminds us of what was done, and hopefully teaches us to have strong boundaries, and never put up with disrespect again. We are learning to know our worth.

              And this is a factor, too – Covid. Trying to “gain a life” under lock downs and various restrictions makes everything so much harder, especially if you’re alone.

              So Flower, you’re not alone. Perhaps there will always be a tender spot, but all we can do is be determined to gain that life – I find it helpful to journal all the shitty things fuckwit did and said – when you’re lonely it’s sometimes too easy to forget or gloss over that, and remember the times we *thought* were good.

              LACGAL, this blog, and Chump Nation have been a lifeline to me, I still come here and read every day, CN gives me strength. Many, many ((hugs)) to you. ????????

              • Chumpnomore6,
                Funny you should mention it, I have been journalling myself. It’s such a good thing.
                Yes, the betrayal, in my case from the ones one loved and trusted (FOO and marriage). I like “there is no timeline”.
                I am immensely grateful to hear from people who further are down the road.
                All the best to you.

    • “Also, why is there very little consideration given to pushing for the re-institution of fault-divorce (adultery) with monetary punishment for the cheater, so that a betrayed person could at least be awarded monetary compensation for damages?”

      I agree there should be monetary punishment for cheaters. When one party breaks a contract, damages are awarded to the other party. Marriage is a contract and when one party breaks the contract, the other party that honored the contract should be compensated.

      • Yes! Where do I sing to help reinstate fault divorce?

        The irony is that fault divorce was removed (as I understand it) to make divorce more accessible for women and those in abusive situations. Just traded one abusive situation for another.

        In my state fault can be filed for 2 reasons: spouse is committed to a mental health facility for years, and not performing marital duties. But if your spouse is performing marital duties with someone else, then no fault!

      • So right KB22, women got screwed with no fault divorce and we need to reverse that. Anybody have ideas as to how to implement some justice? I’d appreciate hearing any ideas. I’ve brought up the same idea’s as you but have been told ” oh, the courts would not be able to handle that kind of load, it would take up too much court time to prove adultery” Waaaaa, then maybe cheaters should quit cheating!!

        • I feel gaslit whenever it is mentioned that fault-divorce-on-grounds-of-adultery is outmoded, or unpractical, or unfeasible. I feel gaslit because I am gaslit.

          And it is one of the things were feminism as part of the trends which have brought to the elimination of fault-divorce-on-grounds-of-adultery has done damage.
          It has thrown out the baby with the bathwater. It has eliminated the one line of defense/protection against cheating/infidelity/adultery.
          No fault divorce has created cheaters’ heaven.
          The matter ought to become integral part of the narrative regarding cheating/infidelity/adultery as abuse.
          I wonder, is it not part of the narrative because then one would have to admit that something of the patriarchy was a good thing?

      • These two statements represent the current no-fault divorce state of affairs:
        Adultery doesn’t exist.
        Marriage does exist.
        What’s wrong with this?
        Adultery does exist as a thing.
        Consequently, if, as per above two statements one holds “adultery doesn’t exist” as true, then one has to hold “marriage does exist” as untrue >> which means that one holds as true that marriage does not exist.
        This is were we are, whether we have realized it or not.
        Sometimes one can find oneself surprised by the consequences of something.

    • Flower,

      I’m still in the middle of the infidelity swamp, too, and I’m wading out more slowly than I ever thought I would if faced with this situation. Knave-man and I have been married for many years.

      My D-day was late 2019, and so more than a year has been spent adopting a new mindset (putting myself first), getting my ducks in a row, prioritizing my health including STD checks, carefully deciding who to tell and from whom to seek support, consulting with an attorney to learn the laws in my state, gaining awareness of my financial situation, and deciding just what I want – all in the midst of this pandemic.

      Knave–man wants to stay married. We share a long history together, a home, and a business, grown children, a grandchild whose lives we don’t want to upend, and elderly parents we provide care for. We’re the couple that none of our friends thought would ever divorce. We travel together frequently (or, we did) and enjoy exploring the world together. We hesitate to implode our kids’ inheritance. And so we remain in this house together, trying to find a new relationship normal that suits us both.

      It’s not going to work for me. His affairs (he calls them dalliances) may have briefly enhanced his life and his image of himself, but even after their flameout, only ashes remain of the marriage. My trust is in that ash heap, along with my respect and confidence in him. Now it’s my job to sweep those ashes out of my life. Why is it taking so long? I’m working on that.

      I just wanted you to know that there are many of us here on CL that are in the midst of the struggle without all the answers, but have self-assurance that clearer skies and better days are ahead. This is a great resource, and many bright and caring people are here to guide us. I read every word they write.

      • Bee:

        We share some similarities: Married a long time. I had a DDay four plus decades ago (a one-week daliance) but thought we could work things out, etc. Fast forward to 2020 and I find out about an EA shortly after the daliance with an EX that went on a few years–her calling him at work etc. I was not living with the knowledge of what was real and wasn’t etc. Someone else (my spouse) was making decisions that affected my life and I did not know anything was going on and could not make decisions based on reality……..We traveled a lot over the years, etc. Now my husband is seriously ill and can not live alone. We also are the couple that our friends & family would expect to be the last ones to split up. I wish I had thrown him out with the first “daliance”. They never learn and never care who is getting hurt. The lack of respect, dishonesty, betrayal all get to me. I will figure this out eventually. Meanwhile, we share housing in the midst of the ashes.

        Good Luck to you. You will make it through.

        • Life passages do become even more complicated after a long marriage, don’t they, Lee Chump? I cared for both Kanve-man’s mother and father until the very end. I hope you can keep what is best for YOU at the forefront while you navigate the end of the marriage and manage your dishonorable partner’s healthcare, and find solace, even happiness, in what lies ahead for you. Take care.

    • Flower

      Please believe that you are not alone in what you are feeling.

      It’s one year since D-day and 6 months since he left. Looking from the outside in, everyone tells me ‘you are doing so well’, ‘you look happier’.

      That may be true in small instances, however the truth is, I am sad. Very sad. I fluctuate between sad, angry and disbelief.

      There are days I can’t even get out of bed (something I have not admitted to anyone except the lovely people on this blog).

      I cry. I cry in the shower, when I’m walking, before I sleep, sometimes even during my Zoom calls (no cameras).

      I’m pissed that this is my life. Im the woman who was left after 12 years, during fertility treatment. You can’t make this crap up.

      I sometimes wish I could go back to the day BEFORE Dday to give myself a big hug knowing what was in store for my future.

      Flower, my point is…its OK to not to be OK.

      I send you that hug.

    • I struggled. I struggled for six months to get my financial ducks in a row before I dared to leave. I struggled with where to go and how to get there. My family (except for my fuckwit sister who slept with my husband) was gone. Most of the people I had considered family were related to my then-husband by blood or marriage and were likely to support him. I had no house, no job, no car, no church, no community and no fixed address because I had retired in response to an ultimatum from him, sold everything I owned and moved aboard our sailboat. We were cruising full time, and all of the people we met were *his* friends because he was the sparkly, shining life of the party.

      I secretly rented a car one day, when he was “out fishing” with “the boys” and rented myself a mailbox, opened an account at a new bank using that mailbox address and planned an escape. Then Irma happened, and I was trapped with Mr. Sparkly Pants on D-day. The storm surge flooded the marina and the parking lot and the surrounding neighborhood. He was sorry for about a week, and incredibly, I began to have some hope. He was sorry; he was listening to me for the first time in YEARS.

      When the flood waters ebbed, I left him with what I could carry and my dog while he was at an appointment with a psychiatrist, mandated by his primary care provider. I walked two miles to an Enterprise, rented a car and drove a thousand miles before I felt safe enough to stop. My best friend let me live in her basement for 2-1/2 years until the divorce was final and I could get a job without having to pay alimony to the fuckwit. During that time, another friend kept telling me repeatedly that she could never leave her husband because she’d be homeless. *I* was homeless, Jane, and I managed.

      I lived that 2-1/2 years on the small savings account I managed to selvedge from the wreck that was my marriage. When I finally got that job, my clothes were rags I still owned nothing and I owed $6000 to the largest local healthcare system for a breast biopsy that thankfully, turned out to be negative.

      I started working (as a nurse) a few months ahead of the pandemic. But I was able to save most of my salary and buy a small condominium. I still have no furniture beyond the bed that a friend gave me when she sold her house and moved to Colorado, the table I bought for less than $100 at IKEA, together with two cheap chairs, and a sofa. I plan to keep working until I can furnish my home comfortably.

      It was all a struggle. I gave up my dream of sailing around the world in my own sailboat and gifted the sailboat to the fuckwad in return for getting out with my retirement intact. (40 year old sailboat worth much less than he thought it was worth. He’ll be finding that out any day now, if he hasn’t already.)

      When I left the Sparkly Turd, what I owned would fit in a few boat bags; now, four years later, I own my own home. I have kitchen cupboards galore, but very little in them. I have a walk-in closet in which my hanging wardrobe is safely two inches apart and my shoes fit on the three narrow shelves built in for that purpose. (Is it a capsule wardrobe if you bought it at outlet stores and Goodwill and your tops only go with your blue jeans and single pair of black pants purchased not by plan, but because you needed a warm sweater or coat to get you through a midwestern winter?).

      I stayed six months after I figured out that my husband was abusive, not depressed, not misunderstood and not kind or generous or loving. I lived on a 37 foot sailboat with an abuser who had tantrums up to three times a day, every day, and who never uttered a word to me that wasn’t screaming, berating, or merely pointing out my flaws. Usually, he was the only person I saw in a day as we cruised down the Intracoastal waterway in our boat, anchoring out at night and stopping in a marina when we needed diesel or groceries. I had a cellphone, but often there was no signal. Even four years ago, there were huge areas on the ICW where there was no cell signal. That meant I had NO support system. None. Zip. Zilch. When we did stop at a marina, I had to wait until he went off drinking with the neighboring boaters before I could try to phone a friend. My friends weren’t always available to talk just because I suddenly found myself alone and with a cell signal.

      It was tough. It was very, very tough. But if I could leave as a 62 year old retiree with no house, no car, no job, no money, no church, no support system, no community and no options, I suspect most people can. I had options that I didn’t realize I had until AFTER I left the fuckwit. Some of those options were pretty unpalatable, but they were options. I’d encourage anyone who feels stuck, who believes they cannot leave, to reconsider some of those unpalatable options. Leaving opens up better options, better choices and a much better life.

    • Thanks all, for sharing your experiences, especially from further down the road.

  • I love synchronicity!

    The latest from New York magazine on our arch enemy, Esther Perel.

    I sent my letter to the editor in. Here it is:

    Cheating is abuse. I put Esther’s books in the recycling bin. Hopefully they will find new life as paper for a book that understands that and offers help to those recovering from the severe trauma of infidelity.

    How about devoting some ink and paper to someone who is calling it what it is and helping people heal, Tracy Schorn, aka Chump Lady, author of Leave A Cheater and Gain A Life?


    Velvet Hammer

    Here’s your chance to change the narrative.

    [email protected]

  • I walked into a conversation with a couple of ladies I work with. They were commiserating about one of their nice man friends who is “stuck in unhappy marriage but couldn’t leave because of his wife’s health issues” and had an affair partner.

    I was amazed at how these woman bought totally into this man’s narrative. I said, “Do you know that’s the absolute truth? And would that be acceptable to you were you the wife? How ’bout another valid reason he doesn’t want to tell his wife he has been lying to her for years? He doesn’t want the consequences of a divorce, the loss of $, the marital home, his standing and reputation. I bet his poor wife doesn’t have a clue. And I bet her “health issues” aren’t exactly what he portrays them to be.” I tried to say it plainly, factually without emotional energy.

    Their jaws literally dropped. They sat quiet for a moment. “I guess that could be true. I didn’t even think of that.”


    • Last summer I refused to be set up with a married man. According to those trying to set me up he was in a roommate-like marriage and couldn’t divorce because the wife would take half his money (he had sold his business so quite a lot was at stake), it was the old trope of them not being “really” married. They were pretty shocked that I was unwilling to even meet this guy. I hope my modeling that boundary has a small influence that they might examine his sad sausage narrative a little more, or perhaps judge him for valuing his money more than the opportunity to meet someone with integrity (me). There is incredible irony that I have such boundaries that I would not be influenced by his money which makes me a great candidate for him to date, and yet he never will get to date me because he values his money more than integrity. Blenders up!

      In changing the narrative I also have no problem telling my own story of my X Asshat abandoning me for a chick half his age. I make sure that everyone we knew together for 28 years is very clear that he is now a cartoon, a joke, a stereotypical dumbass who ruined his life because he was afraid to grow old. I am not defective, he is.

      I refuse to be humiliated because I was discarded, and am damn tired of society accepting when they fly the coop to chase a dream of youth and destroy their families on the way out. They should be publicly mocked and I do my part.

      • I love every bit of this Now I.C.

        The humiliation is so unfairly redirected at chumps. It took me a long time to understand how cheaters manage to do this. Learning about gaslighting helped.

        The cheater broke ranks not me. The cheater abandoned his own publicly made promises. The cheater was the abuser. The cheater is the disgrace. The cheater should wear all the humiliation, the shame, the blame. This is my narrative now. The cheater has no standing.

  • When I, if ever anymore, discuss my divorce I put the fault right back where it belongs. It is amazing how many people thing “both sides did wrong” for there to be a divorce.
    My reasoning:
    #1. After decades, a normal marital relationship should have intrinsic value, that is valuable and should be protected. I had that, he never developed it.
    #2. You can’t make other people’s choices. Full stop. {Even if your could, would you really want to?}

  • The biggest and most important lesson I learned throughout the three years after my husband’s disclosures (there were multiple “issues,” as they say), is that I had, as a therapist told me, “boundary issues,” and I have spent a lot of time and attention in the last three years learning how to value myself and to set healthy, reasonable, and self-protective boundaries that balance the interests of all concerned, and are characterized by reciprocity.

    What I’ve discovered is that lots of people are surprised when I do this, which indicates the degree to which I acquiesced to lots of things that I felt I “had to” do when I really didn’t want to, especially when I could see problems arising down the line that would end up landing in my lap or for which I would bear the consequences. I agreed to do many things I would have preferred not to do because I saw my own value in relation to what I could do for others. I did not believe I had any worth on my own. Well, no more pick-me dancing for anyone.

    I’ve begun to speak openly in conversations with friends when the occasion arises against the idea that people “have to” do things because they “have no choice,” because I know from my own experience that others benefit from a chump’s overdeveloped feelings of obligation and a chump’s underdeveloped feeling of self-worth. It’s yet one more cultural narrative that needs dismantling.

    • Adelante,

      ‘I’ve begun to speak openly in conversations with friends when the occasion arises against the idea that people “have to” do things because they “have no choice,” because I know from my own experience that others benefit from a chump’s overdeveloped feelings of obligation and a chump’s underdeveloped feeling of self-worth. It’s yet one more cultural narrative that needs dismantling.’

      IMO herein lies the crux of the matter/problem…those who will manipulate, the cluster b’s, and those of us who aren’t but are drawn to the cluster b’s because many of them, being their charming selves (JFK) or charismatic selves which may not include charm (Hitler), present the image of being in control and we fall in line because of all sorts of presumptions which may include our personal safety or self-image.

      I liken it to bees. There is but one queen bee in a hive. That bee is destined to be a queen while to majority are either workers or drones.

      I know for myself that I do have the overdeveloped sense of obligation and the underdeveloped feelings of self-worth coupled with the need for approval and attention. I have learned these are very human qualities in us all – our survival as infants depend on it.

      Like you, I do mention it in conversations when appropriate yet I find I am met with a lot of resistance when people aren’t open to looking at themselves and what truly motivates them. Takes a lot of humility to do so and the pain of betrayal is what caused me to take out the magnifying glass and take a much closer look at myself.

      I am not so optimistic about being able to turn the tide on this one as it is so endemic within all cultures throughout history.

      I turn my attention to what I can do be it sharing with others or watch what is really going on inside of me. As I tell others, I try to live each day as it comes and try not to do any harm to anyone in the process – even when I have to set boundaries – which is new behavior to me too. Easier said than done, especially where extended family is involved.

      My circle of friends is diminishing.

      The ones who remain are solid and that is comforting.

      I think this is not only due to having been betrayed but also to age; I just don’t have the energy to keep up the pretense anymore.

      Thanks for sharing your experience and wise words. You made me think this morning.

    • “I agreed to do many things I would have preferred not to do because I saw my own value in relation to what I could do for others. I did not believe I had any worth on my own.”

      Same. And this is my ongoing struggle. CoDa meetings seem to be helping.

      By the way, I think that my Catholic upbringing, rife with I’m-not-worthy messages, contributed to some of my self-esteem issues. “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you….” Serving others seemed to be the highest calling. Young Spinach took it to heart. *sigh*

      • Spinach, i get where you’re coming from with the Catholic thing. The video quality isn’t great, but this talk by Christopher West explaining Pope John Paul II’s ‘Theology of the Body’ flips the usual view of Ephesians 5 upside down. (You know—wives, be submissive to your husbands blah blah blah….)

        If you’re short on time, the first minute and a half explains it well enough. (Though if you listen to the end, I promise you’ll never see Pope John Paul II quite the same way again!) ????????????????

        Our world has it so mixed up. Yes, I think I’d be okay with a spouse who loves me so much he’d die for me!! And a God who loves me that much too. ???? I still feel not worthy, but in a totally different and not-humiliated way. A good way. Grateful and happy.

        (If you want more, here’s the entire TOB: Click on ‘Naked without shame’ at left. Warning though—this sucker’s about 11 hours long)

  • A guy I know went into his work acting like a big shot when my wife cheated saying if you don’t take care of your woman then somebody else will. He thinks he’s a big shot at a local church.

    He must have been unaware that they all knew he suspects his wife of cheating and has went as far as putting tracking devices on her vehicle trying to figure out where she is.

    So I called him and asked why he would say such a thing when he was having to put trackers on his own spouses vehicle. He just starts apologizing. I’m sick of these people.

  • One of the first things we all need to do is to stop laughing at jokes about cheating, and to call them out, just like we do jokes that are racists. Laughing about cheating is minimizing somebody’s suffering. It ain’t funny and we need to speak up.

    • People do need to quit laughing; it certainly is not funny.

      Flower: Some people who made it out are working too hard with jobs and kids to even have time for a blog if they know there are blogs. A lot of people are struggling but it is a different struggle than with a cheater.

      Some people are still in the marriages because they either do not see a way out or the way is too difficult or they are not strong enough. Some people wait too long to get out and one of the couple is diagnosed with a serious illness. If the chump is the sick one, he or she will be less sure about making it if they get out. If the cheater is the one sick, the chump feels people will judge him or her for leaving….There really are people that find out things they did not know until after the cheating spouse has a serious diagnosis and is unable to take care of themselves.

  • I have a couple of cheater acquaintances, and I am in the process of disconnecting from that friend group. It’s hard right now because it means fewer opportunities for socializing during a time when I really need it. And I will likely run into various members of this group when I am out and about in the future.

    But…I had to weigh it out. Socializing with a group that includes others who have broken up multiple marriages without remorse – well, that’s just giving tacit approval. So I have become unavailable and I’m quietly walking away.

    It’s not much, but it’s a start.

  • My daughter in law used to be quite neutral about me being chumped. (I was divorced years before she met my son; she has never met his dad because he died before she could.) Recently she was visiting, and wanted a good book to read and I gave her ‘The Undoing” which was originally called “You Must Have Known”. It’s about a chump. She was completely gripped by it and afterwards wanted to talk about my ex and completely understood my ‘infidelity is abuse’ argument. So fiction can be very helpful in changing people’s outlook.

    • I agree, hazel. In education, there’s an approach to teaching equity and inclusion through literature that is referred to as “windows and mirrors” (and sometimes “sliding doors”). I see it as as one of the most effective and authentic ways to encourage young people to be curious and empathetic. I wonder about the potential of literature, media and art a lot when I read CL and compare her/our perspective about cheating to the narratives that are so pervasive in every other part of our society.

  • Unless a person has a similar experience like all of us here, it is near impossible to understand it. I wa with a friend recently who was talking about her deceased son. All of a sudden she started crying and surprised herself. Then We talked about grief and how it lies dormant in your heart and something triggers a memory and there it is demanding your attention. I have finally achieved meh except for the occasional appearances of grief. My greatest challenge is rethinking my future. Changing the narrative of “divorce means damaged” is a struggle. I have to keep remembering to view the mountain in front of me as being a small hill with as yet underscored joy compared to the mountain of pain I had to overcome. If nothing else, being a chump has given me a huge reference point for pain. And my friend who lost her only son…it is all relative-that is a pain I hope to never experience and makes me feel appreciative of my experience. Paradigm shift in process

  • I’m changing the narrative by telling my story and wearing it like a badge of honor.
    Fuck shame and blame. Good riddance to drama. Hello to FREEDOM

    • I just saw your post, Peregrine — I posted similarly right after you! Exactly! I tell my story and wear it as a badge of honor. We have no reason to be ashamed. And I like to think that every time I tell someone that ex is a cheater who left his family, an angel gets its wings.

  • I’m tired of people wanting to keep the secret and just say “I’m divorced. Things didn’t work out.”

    My narrative is this — when it comes up that I’m divorce, I simply say: “my husband cheated on me with a coworker and left me and my son.” I state it as fact — because that’s what it is. I want that information to be known — it is freeing for me.

    At first I was afraid — because people immediately judge. Most would think there was something wrong with me or I didn’t take care of my husband. I had a male friend say “I hate to break it to you but it was just as much your fault — he wasn’t happy or he wouldn’t have left.” My response was “That’s not true at all. He was an abusive prick and is to our son as well. He literally left his own son. FW is the problem. But the way you worded that sounds like you have anger — you must have cheated huh?” I was correct. We are no longer friends.

    I stick to my narrative. How people respond is very revealing about THEM.

    Now that I’m happy and free (and in a nice relationship) — most are finally responding with “what the fuck is wrong with him?” To which I laugh and say “ooooooohhhhh we need drinks for that”

    • BRAVO! A man (and I use the term loosely) who would cheat on a person of your caliber and wit truly does have deep character flaws.

  • On a Reddit forum I happened across–don’t remember the sub–the topic was about how children raised by single mothers have a higher risk of becoming criminals.

    I politely asked folks to consider changing the narrative, and stop blaming the parent who’s often (not always) doing their best. Let’s acknowledge that CHILDREN ABANDONED BY A PARENT have a much harder time in life, as opposed to constantly blaming the parent who sticks around.

    Often those walk-away parents are cheaters. And most of their children are not criminals, by far.

  • I changed the narrative recently in such a subtle and kind way that I truly believe I was able to mind-fk and pierce the heart of my husband/physician narcissist with the hooker habit. And I was able to do it because of Chump Nation – I reached ‘meh’ this year and was able to say the words below when he pleaded with me last week stating that he’s been in SA for a year- he does two meetings a week – he’s recovered – he’s a new man – he’s found God – he’ll never be with a prostitute again, etc, etc, etc. – I haven’t seen him in a year, I”m 1500 miles away, I spent the time securing my home and finances and kept my flow of blood tears private at night – everynight – my reply to him last week left him speechless.
    I told him: “Oh….Sex Addicts Anony., yes…. that’s a group that I would never want anyone in my circle affiliated with – the spectrum of men in your group begins with the hound dog who banged the baby-sister on one end to the arrogant ass to the narcisstic manipulator to the S&M type that likes to leave red marks to the odd duck with the S&M plus fetishes to the Sex Offender wiping the drool off the corner of his mouth to the bonafide rapist to the rapist who likes to cut to the killer/Manson type. No thanks…. not under my roof. SA is not AA…. Furthermore, I think all rehab houses should be burned to the ground. They are fake crutches. I have no patience for it, while Chumps are out there working two jobs, raising kids and paying bills the ‘addicted’ are sitting in circles blaming mother and their wives. Secondly, I told him I’d help him ‘fix his picker’ – I’ll help you pick a good whore – this time avoiding whores with long arrest records and whores that blackmailed him for money and whores he had to get retraining orders against. I told him he really needed to ‘fix his picker’ and get a good solid whore.
    I concluded my soft spoken kind words of advice letting him know that his creepy SA group had one hand on the keyboard and the other on their dick throughout the meetings with a second laptop to surf porn during the on-line meetings and that as a self-proclaimed brilliant surgeon he certainly didn’t have enough street sense to pick a safe whore – I told him he stuck his dick in so deep in messy whore land with zero street sense trying to play cowboy that he ended up running to ‘mommy me’ to bail him out asking forgiveness. I reminded him I’m not his mother…….his mother is dead.
    No, no thanks….. I recommended he forget about ‘becomming a changed man’ and just continue on his
    natural path of self-entititled narcisstic pricky lifestyle but he really really needs to ‘fix his whore picker’ and pick a prostitute that won’t extort him. HE WAS SPEECHLESS. I stayed calm, no tears, very matter of fact voice. I told him (sarcastically) if he needed help picking one, I’d help look through the photos and perhaps he should build his dungeon at home rather than running his pimpled-ass all over LA – looks so sad to see a Beverly Hills Surgeon on a security camera with his bare ass wiping a whore, although Harvey Weinstein could use a nice roommate. I suggested the medical licensing board wouldn’t like that. HE WAS SILENT. I could hear him breathing. And not that it matters, but I modeled for years before law school – he’s not talking to grandma here. Personally I’ll get a dozen more Bichon puppies – I could care a less about ever dating another man, no, that ship has sailed, but he knows I’m no slump – I’m a Chump and proud of it. Hopefully I won’t be featured on Dateline one day – I’m 1500 miles away and his entire history of whoring is documented and in the hands of three other lawyers. Get smart ladies, don’t get mad. If you go on a path of revenge bring two shovels – it’s better to take the high road and live your best life. Thank you Chump Lady – your humor has helped heal the shock and tears.

    • ‘Fix his whore picker’ – love it. Cheaters can’t even get that right.

    • Bravo Jo! Well played, no reason to dial it down. And the Bichons are an excellent call. I have two myself, kept them in the settlement.

    • You just made me laugh until my tummy hurt. That rant belongs in a stand up routine. Bichons rule!

  • In my narrative the characters played by Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood in Bridges of Madison County are later diagnosed with terminal syphlis. They suffer terribly. Their noses rot and fall off.

    Luckily their partners are resistant to the disease.

  • I realized as I watched the current news about the capsized oil vessel and the Fed Ex office mass shooting, that in addition to everything else chumps go through is the helpless agony of not knowing if our family will survive.

    Being lied to while the cheaters have the true facts and having it slowly dawn on us that our life as we knew it has ended is monstrous. And having to do this while “pick me dancing” or “being the marriage police” because society hasn’t agreed on the consequences for cheaters.

    Infidelity is abuse and should be criminal.

  • Oh wow, what an honor! Thank you! I’m glad there are so many people who can appreciate my snark.

  • This may be a bit off topic but I’d like to report that I finally filed for divorce. After that post on the writers husband saving the other woman and finding out mine has some young girl living in our house who he is also supposedly saving— my butt was finally kicked to my lawyers office.

    I’m feeling empowered. My lawyer told me it is time to move on because I have been living on Hopium for way too long. Yep!

    • Yes! Good for you! Good luck!!

      Use your righteous anger to propel you forward. Oh, and I like your lawyer.


    • Congratulations! You will be relieved when the divorce is finalized and you are free to move about the cabin. May your lawyer kick his ass hard.

    • Yes! You took a big step & feel good about it! Your confidence will keep rising. One good decision after another.

    • Yessss!!! CN is celebrating you, even if you’re not yet in a place to celebrate. You have plenty of challenges ahead, but you just made the most difficult decision. It’s a major turning point. You now get to let so much go that you never should have carried. I doubt you will ever regret your choice, and I hope the slowly dawning peace of mind and resolve this brings will help you begin to relax and heal.

  • Whenever some married predatory dickhead tries to tell me he’s not getting his needs met, I just now say, ‘Yeah, and I imagine your wife’s at home just rolling in ecstasy at the thought of you right now.’ And also: ‘If you’re cheating or trying to cheat on her, it’s because of something lacking in you – not her.’

  • Good people don’t lie and cheat. They ends relationships ethically. Cheaters are what’s wrong with their relationships.

  • Honestly-I treat my ex like he’s mentally unstable.

    Much easier to deal with him when I accepted the fact that his “facts” and my facts are never going to be the same.

    It took awhile for me to get there-and after more than 2 years apart-our mutual friends and associates are finally seeing the person he really is-and they don’t like him.

    Surround yourself with people who energize you instead of deplete you.

    • It’s taken about a year for me to accept–truly accept–that my ex is not only a lying, entitled cheater but also a truly miserable human being. When I scrape away the accumulated spackle, I see that “miserable” has always been his default setting.

      I also have NO doubt that the OW must not like this sad, passive-aggressive man. I’m sure he’s not the fun-loving AP she enjoyed when they were jumping into each other’s marital beds, meeting up at hotels, and getting matching tattoos.

      I also would guess that they’re both so deep into their relationship that they are really stuck with each other. To separate at this point would be to admit that blowing up two families was a mistake.

      They live together now but must be looking over their shoulders, knowing how easy it is for the other to lie.

      CL is right. Their being together IS karma.

      • Omg Spinach! I could’ve written this. I see x as mentally unstable too Stronger Now and the entitled is evident loud and clear within any email or text that trickles through. X is living the “family man” life once again only his new household is AP and her brood. AP has been in all of my matrimonial beds and enjoys strapping my matrimonial mattress onto her back. From all accounts she is very insecure, has anxiety and is submissive. I’m sure the honeymoon is over or almost over and she has seen all his popular RAGE channels by now. Mr Super Fun Party Guy is an ASSHOLE to live with. They deserve each other. Two sparkling turds holding hands skipping off into the sunset.

  • When people defend him, say his needs weren’t met, tell me to get over it and forgive him, or make me feel stupid and inadequate about divorcing him, I say, “This is one time in my life when I have to draw the line. On this issue, you are either for me or against me. Never contact me again. Goodbye.”

  • It’s taken about a year for me to accept–truly accept–that my ex is not only a lying, entitled cheater but also a truly miserable human being. When I scrape away the accumulated spackle, I see that “miserable” has always been his default setting.

    I also have NO doubt that the OW must not like this sad, passive-aggressive man. I’m sure he’s not the fun-loving AP she enjoyed when they were jumping into each other’s marital beds, meeting up at hotels, and getting matching tattoos.

    I also would guess that they’re both so deep into their relationship that they are really stuck with each other. To separate at this point would be to admit that blowing up two families was a mistake.

    They live together now but must be looking over their shoulders, knowing how easy it is for the other to lie.

    CL is right. Their being together IS karma.

  • I had a good friend, when I had already gone through my divorce, who thought I had been shafted, so she called her lawyer friend and he agreed to talk to me. He called me one night, asked me about my situation, and listened to me for over an hour. Then he proceeded to give me some advice, and we talked for four hours. He asked for no payment and said, “Happy to help,” when I offered.

    He said this:

    “You have a case that I could win for you. It would cost you a fortune, (his fee was $400 an hour) but I’d take it out of what you are owed when I win. I’ve won many, many cases like yours and this is a good case. Let me just ask you this: do you really want to go through it?”

    He continued, “You say that you’re not in touch with your ex, and that that’s a good thing, because he was unreasonable, verbally abusive and that any little thing could trigger his anger. You say that this period of no contact has been good for you. So let me tell you what it’ll be like if you decide that you want to open this up…”

    “Let’s say that I win $1,000,000 for you. You could use, that, right? Well, the first thing he’ll do is appeal his case. And when we go to the appeal, it’s the person with the deeper pockets who will win. And that’s him. But yours is such a good case, I believe you’ll win. So let’s say you win it. There’s gonna be a compromise to the tune of 50%, so after the appeal, even though you’ve won it, your take will be only $500,000. So even though that’s not the amount you wanted, it’ll help you, right? Well, guess what? You’re gonna have to collect that from him. And in my experience, the person who loses pays for a while, and then quits paying. To get him to keep paying, you’d have to sue him again, and this time, it could cost you more than you’re due. So you drop it at the $250,000 mark. And this whole process is gonna take you ten years. For ten years you’re gonna have to hear from me with the fresh things that your ex has said about you, and he’s gonna pull all kinds of things to get you to drop the case, and it’s gonna get really, really ugly.”

    Then he said, “So let me ask you this, in all fairness to you. Don’t you think that you could MAKE $250,000 – in ten years – by using your positive energy, and by stepping forward – instead of backward – into your new life without this guy?”

    And I said, “Yes. I think I could. Thank you.”

  • When the two adulterers married each other in Nov, they posted (publicly) on FB their wedding picture of the two of them, and apparently, she posted a picture of the whole “new family” her three kids, age 7, 10 and 13 with my three adult children which was not public (she’s 17 years younger). One of the comments in the feed was “So beautiful. Love your blended families. So great to see healthy relationships and family!!!! Bravo, you all have created something wonderful.” (for the record, my children said they were appalled that this wedding was sprung on them after they visited at Thanksgiving (day after Thanksgiving, no notice), and claimed they all looked uncomfortable in any pictures!) Maybe the commenter should have looked at their faces more carefully.

    I am so tempted to reply to that comment something like “nothing like devastating 8 people so you can have twoo wuv —and there’s absolutely nothing healthy about it”. I won’t post it because she would just delete it and block me, but I just have to wonder who the hell would write such a comment??? I’m sure that person who commented at minimum knows the adulterous whore left her husband and hooked up with my x immediately after and thus can guess what the cause was!

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