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UBT: Monogamy Is a Gift

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giftYou know you’re wading in deep bullshit when you see the title “The Unsparing Genius of Esther Perel.”

Oh please do spare us such genius.

Sorry. “Leading Mindful Living Expert” and “Certified Yoga Therapist” Ira Israel broadcasts to The Good Men Project and Huffington Post that Esther Perel is nothing short of GENIUS. (Like picnics are a few sandwiches short. Or loads are a couple bricks short. Or casseroles are a few peas short…)

Maybe Ira lost oxygen to his brain attempting a double Buddhasana (Google it). How else can you explain?

“Esther Perel commands a much more expansive breadth of knowledge regarding relationships than anyone I have ever read, her insights are blistering, and the manner in which she has aggregated the academic literature and assimilated her clinical observations is nothing short of genius.”

Maybe you just haven’t read a lot, Ira?

Frankly, I couldn’t get past the douche-y first sentence. “For patients who wish to deconstruct the myth of romantic love I always recommend…”

I thought people went to therapists to learn to get along with their mother-in-laws better. Or fight fair with their spouses. Or cope with their children’s drug habits. No. Apparently there is an entire segment of the therapy market that goes to Deconstruct Myths.

Do they sit around camp fires and read John Campbell? Are there hash brownies?

There’s Sartre!

Anthropologically she observes that the shift during the Industrial Revolution from village to city life caused the burden of selfhood to shift from the tribe to the individual. Just as Sartre posited that we are “confronted” by our relatively new freedoms, Ms. Perel notes that contemporary urban life places the onus on the individual to decide “how much we eat, sleep, work, and fuck.”

I hate when the tribe tells me what to do. The tribe is not the boss of me! But how will I ever deal with the Burden of Selfhood unless the tribe tells me how much to eat, sleep, work, and fuck? I can’t be expected to make decisions! Damn you freedom!

The UBT can’t take much more of this article. Just one Esther Perel concept at a time, otherwise the engine starts to melt.

..her work on infidelity which she reframes as “a desire to feel alive;” she claims that the majority of people who stray from their marriages have been faced with their own mortality in some way during the preceding three years and their affairs function as a temporary antidote against certain demise.

I’ve done some work on bank robbing, which I’ve reframed as a “desire to have money.” I’ve also done some work on hegemonic systems and colonial rule, which I’ve reframed as “I can take your stuff because I have guns and chicken pox.” And I’ve also done work on the stubborn existence of my squidgy midsection, which I’ve reframed as a “desire to eat cookies.”

Esther and I should really compare scholarly notes some time! Over hash brownies!

Anyway, that’s not why I was writing. I just couldn’t skip over those nuggets without snarking. (I am avoiding the whole divorce is dignity over forgiveness shit. The bitter chumps who can’t get over ONE SINGLE indiscretion! Otherwise my brain will explode.)

I wanted to Deconstruct “Monogamy is a gift.”

What the fuck does that mean? Monogamy is a gift? What, you mean like a hostess gift you take to a party? Monogamy is a scented candle?

Monogamy is a commitment. You choose (oh damn those individual liberties!) exclusivity with your partner.

I’m not entirely sure why I find the “monogamy is a gift” argument offensive. I think there is this whiff of triviality, along with this monogamy as a dog treat imagery I have in my head.

Monogamy dangled over a hungry schnauzer.

“Have you been a good boy?”

Schnauzer: Pant! pant! GIVE ME THE TREAT!

“Are you deserving of the monogamy biscuit?”

Schnauzer grows more frantic, circles madly.

“Maybe I should give the biscuit to Ginger, the Australian shepherd instead? She’s been a good girl.”

NO! DON’T GIVE MY BISCUIT AWAY! (barks desperately.)

(Flings the biscuit.) “Here you go!”

(gobble, gobble…)

Do cheaters even WANT the monogamy biscuit? Only chumps want the monogamy biscuit. I gave the “gift” of my monogamy to my cheating ex. He accepted it as his right and due, and gave me a counterfeit “gift” in return.

Here’s what monogamous commitment looks like to me: I am so lucky to have you. I respect and admire you so much, I want to be yours. To be your partner, would be such an honor.

I want someone to feel that way about me. Not give me monogamy as a grudging gift, or a badly chosen one, like an itchy sweater from Aunt Mildred. I want a commitment that is shared happily and freely. And that has substance — through sickness and health, for richer for poorer.

You can’t do that? Fuck the biscuit.

This one ran before.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I don’t like Esther Perel…the whole Euro-suave attitude while lecturing the earnest proles who beleive in fidelity…blech. But my jaw dropped at her contention that most people who cheat do so because they have had to face their mortality in some way over the past three years.

    I’ve cheated death twice in the past 15 years, and rhere are blessings that come from being handed your life back. These incude the opportunity to deepen relationships, grow spiritually, an acceptance of life’s fragility and the profound sacredness of it. Those are the kinds of things that come with it for a normal human being. The idea that someone would use this experience as a launching pad to betray their partner is pathetic. It would be like having a child and being overjoyed because now you have someone to enroll in child beauty pageants, which have always been an obsession. I just can’t fathom this response and it makes me feel like crying.

    • I guess you can call our nephew being killed in Afghanistan a “face your mortality” moment. I base this on the actions of my now-ex, who completely fell apart (he is extremely close to his sister).

      He responded to this “brush with mortality” by beginning a secret life of sissification porn with the aid and comfort of an ex-student of ours. I responded by questioning my own role and responsibility as a citizen in a country in which an all-volunteer military means 1% of the country serves in uniform, and developed a college course on the writings of veterans of the Iraq War.

      My husband’s “exuberant quest for aliveness” consisted of masochism and porn and women’s lingerie. My response was to think about who bears the burden of life and death in our country.

      I know whose response had more positive consequences, both individually and collectively. He got his jollies and blew up a 35 year marriage. I got wiser, gave a forum to the veterans whose stories we read and who came to talk to my college class, and asked my students to do some thinking about their own and others’ roles and responsibilities as citizens.

      • Bless you, Adelante, from an Iraq War veteran. What an insightful and empathetic response. You deserve every happiness.

      • I’m sorry about your nephew, Adelante. Your response to his death honors his life. I’m glad you are free of your ex, and his dick-centered life.

    • Yeah, so while I was healing from and mourning over the loss of my SIXTH pregnancy (which fuckwit said he wanted more than anything), which also was ectopic and nearly killed me within four hours, I had a near death thingie too. And found out it was directly due to the scarring that the chlamydia caused that he gave me from the cowgirl’s skanky skankness…so he recovers from his death feelings by purposely deceiving me and giving me an infection that almost killed me and did kill our potential child? Well fuck that fuckity bullshit. What a load of awesome crap. Hope he finds one of those long lost land mines.

      • Oh shit. What a trauma. What a waste of oxygen on this planet these FWs are. We need to find a new planet for them all…an entitlement fixer.

      • And I am so sorry for your loss six times over in pregnancy. Heartbreaking and such an intense trauma to deal with on top of the lack of support and harm to you from a so called partner. The traumatic stories on this page are so frequent, but each deserves individual sorrow and validation of the grief it causes.

        • Well whatever was his near mortality, it allowed him to cheat on me for years and years. The only gift I got was HPV. And now having to worry about my mortality. Of course he takes no responsibility and thinks I got it from a toilet seat.

    • My FW father’s (FWF) response to two near-death experiences within six months of each other (first through heart surgery, second through heart attack) was to double-down on his foolish behavior. Out-of-control spending, pornography, canoodling with whores, buying gifts for said whores, coming up with ideas to support said whores, wanting to fix said whores lives. You get the picture. Granted, I do think that there was some sort of mania involved there and a psychiatrist agreed with me. I talked to so many doctors about his out-of-control behavior, but only one sort of tried to help. The others were like, “he has a new lease on life, he’s happier now than he’s ever been!” Fucking assholes.

      FWF now says that “So many people don’t enjoy their money before they die; I want to be the guy who spends it all and there’s not enough to pay for my funeral!” REALLY? Fucking really? Are you fucking kidding me? You have done nothing BUT enjoy your money. You built two houses. You spent it on gifts for whores and sugar babies. You did whatever you fucking wanted with your life and my mom was just a wife appliance who had no voice and went along with everything because the other option was to suffer your rage and disrespect.

      Well, not exactly. The other option was to leave you and divorce your sorry ass, which is what she did after a very long marriage. Oh, and she took half of everything. Oh, and now she has almost all “your” cash and you have two houses that will leave you broke in a year because you refuse to stop spending money.

      So much for your almost-death experiences making you be a better person or have a change of heart or making you want to repair relationships and not se such an asshole. So much for not fucking over your kids when you die, either! Nope, why not just double-down on your assholery and go for it! Spend your money into oblivion! Pick up ALL the whores at the bar! Sexually harass any young woman you meet! Stalk people online! The world is your oyster….you thought you had it good before, now it is even better since you almost died! Fuck everyone else! (If you can….you probably can’t.)

      Fucker.

      • Bullshit and Lies,

        Damn. So what you are really saying here is that near-death experiences aren’t all that they are made out to be via the media….

        Double damn another illusion blown out of the pile of illusions I have sitting around here. 🙂

        CL’c snarky comments today have left me feeling snarky too. I do not mean to offend with what I have written…Just that I have always thought that NDEs made people wake up and be better people because those who have experienced them always say that they now know that they will pay for their shitty behavior….Apparently that part got left out in your FW father’s experiences….

        So sorry you had to go through all of that with him.

  • I hate the assumption that to have an affair is to feel “alive” and to be married, well dead?
    Another excuse
    Stay single and be as “alive” as you want

    • Exactly.

      It just is full and pure entitlement. They believe they are due, and the spouse should just shut up and take it, and of of course the spouse should be totally loyal to them, in every way.

    • Exactly! I just don’t understand why people get married or stay married if it’s such a burden on them, or kills their spirit. I’m single and can duck around as much as I want. When I’m in a relationship then I’m monogamous. Not difficult and not a rocket science.

      BTW, I’m fine if people consensually have other arrangements in life even though that’s not something for me.

      • My FW actually said he got married to have “guaranteed sex” when I asked him why he bothered to get married if he wanted to fuck around. Apparently he didn’t understand that meant monogamy, even though he claimed to understand that prior to marriage.

        I gave him the “gift” of monogamy. He gave me the “gift” of HPV.

        • Same. The HPV tuned into cancer which spread to my lungs and brain. I hope the sex was worth the chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

        • Yep just discovered my gift was HPV too. Waiting for my biopsy results. I’ve been with him for 20 years – never cheated – yet he is in denial that he gave it to me.

    • 100% this. JUST STAY SINGLE. Don’t rope someone else along on your “journey” if you have no idea where the fuck you’re going.

      • Or, if some sort of travail has made you rethink your life, your relationships and so on, that is absolutely okay. Go and get some therapy, really talk it out. If your marriage or partnership is not working and perhaps the cracks are now really showing, yes, okay, maybe the shake-up can help you see that a fair, kind parting is better.

        But cheating? Yeah, no. That’s just deceit and betrayal and hurting the person you are supposed to prioritise above all others.

        • I only mean that if committing to a partner is not something you’re sure of, just don’t do it. Don’t take a joyride with someone else’s life. Shake ups and crises are bound to happen. I know my ex couldn’t deal with this at all. It seems like true to the fashion of this Esther Perel twit, it’s all supposed to be happiness and sunshine or you are the problem (nevermind the turmoil they cause us with their nebulous moping and disconnection). Nope. Stay single and flit around like a butterfly your whole life if you can’t bear a little trouble now and again like the rest of us poor mortals must shoulder. Love is so much deeper than these shallow sparkle turds think it is.

      • 100% This Too…

        Tracy woke up my sarcastic persona today hence….

        One of the first things I remember the x telling me was that he wanted children. I didn’t but, I did want him. This was after the love-bombing stage so please do not throw things at me….I am innocent 🙂

        I had children and, by the way, I do not regret it.

        Along the way he somehow became one of the children….. which he hadn’t told me he had planned to do. I didn’t see this until it was way too late. Did I mention that I am a late bloomer?

        So I guess I am supposed to think of him as a good man because he didn’t father a neighborhood full of illegitimate children, at least not that I know of anyway….but chose to get married so that his children would be legitimate and he would look good???

        Oh, but how silly of me, I forgot to mention that he not only managed to marry me but he also was able to maintain his former status as a swinger/single person and ‘date’ other women while simultaneously appearing to be the ‘perfect husband and father’.

        He managed to pull it all of without a hitch for over 30 years….

        Alas, the stress of living a double life became too much and rather than staying with his loyal and devoted family he chose to run off with his latest conquest to pursue his dreams of freedom and a life filled with passion. (AKA Ultimately he wanted to ‘date without feeling guilty about it anymore’….His words NOT mine.)

        Last I heard his true love had dumped him and things maybe weren’t panning out as he had expected.

        Too late. By the time this news got to my ears I had abandoned the RIC and was a regular reader here…

        Thanks for today’s topic. Excellent snark material.

        • Wow, just wow Elderly Chump. You and I have led the exact life!
          Only difference is my coward wouldn’t admit any of his serial cheating, double life bullshit. Blames me for the divorce and projects his cheating on to me .
          I hate them all. 6 months free and I’m getting better everyday .
          Hope you’re having a wonderful day 💕

  • Incredibly, this is the first appearance of the Beatles in this collection . . .

    ———————

    (music by Lennon & McCartney, lyrics by Ira Israel and Perel fans everywhere)

    Esther P.
    Thought my troubles circled back to me
    Now it know it’s just monogamy
    Oh, I’m a fan of Esther P.

    Half the time
    Thought that cheating was a callous crime
    But she rectified the paradigm
    Oh, Esther P. transformed my mind

    How she justifies telling lies and treachery
    I know I’m not flawed, oh thank god for Esther P.

    Esther P.
    Such a woman of ability
    Gives the cheating class immunity
    Oh, I’m a fan of Esther P.

    How she justifies telling lies and treachery
    I know I’m not flawed, oh thank god for Esther P.

    Esther P.
    Such a woman of ability
    Gives the cheating class immunity
    Oh, I’m a fan of Esther P.
    Mmm- mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mmmm

    • “(music by Lennon & McCartney, lyrics by Ira Israel and Perel fans everywhere”

      Truly inspired. Thank you so much for this bit of genius. You made my day! 💜

    • I keep thinking you’ve done your best work and here you go again with yet another brilliant gem, UXworld.

      Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

    • OMG 😆
      In 1982 I got a Casio digital wristwatch that played this tune as the alarm sound. It’s seared into my brain. Your lyrics just made it even better! 🙌🏽

      UX do you make TikToks of your masterpieces?

    • My X loves the Beatles so much. He spent the day of my sister’s funeral dedicating Beatles song to his affair partner. His affair began 6 months after my brother and nephew were killed by a drunk driver. I was so heartbroken over their deaths that I wasn’t meeting his needs so he found someone who would. I tried to move past that two year affair, eighteen months of which I was clueless. His AF went back to her husband. But, a lot came out 3 years ago about his double life which was far worse than that affair. We have been divorced since November of 2020. I’m not sure when he met his new love but I learned about her while walking with a friend. They were on the opposite corner of the street crossing towards me. I told AF that I was his wife but it obviously didn’t matter to either of them. He told me he was a “new man” after going to sex addiction counseling. The new part of him appears to be that he is shameless in his cheating. At least he hid the first affair. Esther P must be popular in our town because no one seems alarmed. I might just have to move somewhere far far away. We were married 35 years. He is 66 and she is 45 so he could be her dad. In fact I learned after we were married awhile that he had a son that died. He would have been 45 or 46 now. So many secrets…

      • Kills me to think that all one has to do is admit to having a sex addiction and it makes it all okay in their minds and apparently others minds too….Mine did the same thing.

        Shit.

        61 with ed and ran off with a woman in her early 50’s – or at least that was the exit affair. Who knows how old the others were but that is ‘okay’ because “I am a sex addict and in recovery now….”

        I believe all of this like I believe what the RIC preaches…..

        Sorry for all you have had to go through and continue to go through. My lawyer warned me about these baby boomer men and the epidemic of divorces created by them before I even met with her. They are legion….ask me how I know 🙂

        • My X had ED too. I’m sure it was all the porn and M. He spent 20,000. of our savings for sex addiction counseling and claimed to be a new man as he joined the singles meet up group in our county. This was during marriage counseling with his counselor’s partner. They told him he had to make a decision and he didn’t want to be the bad guy. So he offered me nothing but more pain and asked ME if I wanted a divorce. What could I say. It was obvious I was holding on to nothing. I guess no one ever plans to be divorced. I certainly didn’t. I believed a Christian marriage was forever. I’m not sure how to pick up the shattered pieces at this time in life. It was easy for him but then he had been practicing being single for at least half our marriage.

          • “but then he had been practicing being single for at least half our marriage.”

            I think this is true for many of us. We don’t get how they can just coldly walk away. It is usually because they walked away a long time ago, we were just still useful to them for whatever reason. Then we aren’t.

            Heck for many of us they were never really in the marriage.

  • Oh that woman, she’s just another person who cares more about the institution of marriage than the people within the union. There’s money to be made telling these poor souls there is hope. Self-respect is hard. It’s easier to stay in a situation you are used to, maybe due to money, status, self-esteem, etc. Respect comes first. If someone isn’t respecting you, you can’t have a relationship. If they don’t respect you, you can’t trust them.

    These cheaters can go find out about their mortality on their own.

  • “..her work on infidelity which she reframes as ‘a desire to feel alive;’ she claims that the majority of people who stray from their marriages have been faced with their own mortality in some way during the preceding three years and their affairs function as a temporary antidote against certain demise.”

    BS logic wrapped up in academic-sounding words.

    Also, “temporary antidote”? What the hell does that even mean? Affairs aren’t temporary antidotes. They are home-wrecking, soul-destroying bombs.

    Hey, Esther. Here’s an antidote to infidelity: don’t get married!!!

    • I have not read much of her drivel, but it seems she and many RIC charlatans totally disregard the effect of infidelity on the innocent spouse.

      I guess is it our duty to suffer so the cheater can feel alive. No thanks, go feel alive or anything else you want to feel on our own time and dime.

        • Agreed.

          I absolutely know he enjoyed the duping of me the clueless wife. Honestly I am betting they both enjoyed pulling one over on the stupid wife. Not sue how much she enjoyed his cheating on her; but hey they had fun while they wee sneaking around; so that is something.

        • Correct. Our suffering or denial, or protest, or tears prove to them that they DO have value and are loved, viable, respectable, needed etc. This fights the ever-present voice in their head saying that they are a useless, empty, fraudulent, unlovable piece of – – – -.
          In their own childhood they were treated poorly, manipulated, unpreferred, and learned tactic of king cheating, sneaking and manipulating. Feeling that they were gypped, they fully believe that ( as my x said): I’ve had a rough time- all the rules don’t apply to me.
          Seriously he said that in the midst of my leaving after 40 years of unending BS. Why was he there for decades-to get then loyalty, the family the perks that he so enjoyed while he confused me and confound every expectation, value, commitment that makes a family a family.

      • Even worse: Perel writes very eloquently about the experience of being betrayed. So, like our cheaters, she *claims* to care about our experience. But then she recommends all these ridiculous things that show she isn’t really interested in helping the cheater make real amends. I had to stop reading State of Affairs when Perel described advising a ruminating chump wife to erect a shrine to the AP in her home, to “thank” her for the “gift” of re-energizing her marriage. Of course, Perel framed that “advice” as refreshingly out-of-the-box, but it actually borders on sociopathic, flying in the face of any clinically-advised treatment for trauma.

        I’m an academic, and I know a lot of academics who love Perel because she speaks our language. And she is right about some things, like cheaters being so full of shame they can’t hear their partners (nor exchange the shame for guilt, which is more appropriate in the context). The main problem I see with Perel, as with all other RIC therapists, is that they don’t acknowledge the role of disorder. People with personality disorders, like most of the cheaters I’ve read about here in CN, don’t see a problem with hurting others to get what they want – so they will keep re-enacting the toxic relationship cycle of idealize-devalue-discard. My disordered STBX would much prefer to cop to a “quest for aliveness” any day over acknowledging her own disorder. That lack of self-awareness is a hallmark of disorder, btw. And Perel-style bothsideism (“everybody hurts!”) is a hallmark of abuse.

        • “when Perel described advising a ruminating chump wife to erect a shrine to the AP in her home, to “thank” her for the “gift” of re-energizing her marriage.”

          Good grief, that is absolutely sick, I don’t care how she framed it.

        • “…they don’t acknowledge the role of disorder.”

          This is so true. There are way too many therapists who don’t bother with diagnosis of personality disorders. My guess is that they refuse to admit to themselves how very difficult that can be – it requires humility and recognition that skilled liars (personality disordered people) fool them all the time.

          Not to mention how narcissistic many therapists are….

          • Are therapists even qualified to diagnose any mental illness ? In the UK it has to be a psychiatrist that diagnosis mental illness and personality disorders. A therapist in the UK is basically only a counsellor.

            I agree many do fall for the pathological lying of the disordered. I fell for it for years with my ex wife and my mother who was a psychologist even failed to notice certain things with her but when the mask fell it was a whole different ball game.

            • That’s a good point: in the US, not all therapists are created equal. Doctors of psychology certainly should be able to diagnose personality disorder, and even licensed clinical therapists (who hold a master’s degree) – though in my experience, since it’s gotten much easier to get the therapy licensure over time, there are a lot of professionals who are not able to see recognize more complex (sub-clinical) disorder, esp. if it’s not a textbook case. (Keep in mind that personality disorders exist on a spectrum of intensity and can be co-morbid.) Licensed clinical social workers have proliferated in gene US in recent years and, while they can be helpful with run-of-the-mill forms of therapy, they are much less likely to be able to diagnose disorder than a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. As for pastoral counselors or whatever…again, depends on the person.

              • It varies by state. Where we live, LezChump, Licensed Clinical Social Workers are trained and licensed to diagnose mental disorders. Whether they are inclined to do so (“I prefer not to use labels” I heard one say) or get the necessary continuing education required to be really good at it is another matter.

              • I can’t reply to the below comment as it does not give option but in relation to the social worker who “prefers to not give labels” is just absurd. So if a patient ends up being diagnosed with psychosis or schizophrenia or bipolar type 1 or any other the other serious tier one mental illnesses, they just prefer to not label it 🤦‍♀️ ffs how stupid are some of these people. Imagine a cancer specialist did not want to give labels to cancer patients.

        • Is trauma-informed infidelity therapy a unicorn? I do not understand how these “professionals” watch cycle after cycle of abuse play out, same behaviors and red flags and outcomes. How many times can a therapist take $150 (or more) from a traumatized chump sitting on a couch next to an abusive cheater? How often is cheating *not* serial cheating? (And whose word do we take for this?) Do Esther Perel and her flying monkeys feel shame, guilt, or none of the above? At least one word in the title of that article describes Perel accurately, and it’s not ‘genius.’

          The correlation between cheating and personality disorders is undeniable and should inform any work around infidelity. Understanding cheaters’ disordered personalities and tactics helps chumps LACGAL. (I credit CL/CN for everything I know about this that wasn’t gleaned from my own field research.) Regardless of whether therapists can/should diagnose personality disorders in couples sessions, they can AND should be on the lookout for toxic behaviors and signs of abuse. Which brings me back around to where I started: unicorns.

          • I am glad that I divorced Nitwit in the middle of the pandemic, when I was uncertain if I would ever get my job back again (I did). Glad that I did not have the disposable income to waste on quack RIC therapists. Yay for being a broke (ish) Millennial. As a result I got out after just 3 years of marriage, 5 years together.

        • “Perel-style bothsideism (“everybody hurts!”) is a hallmark of abuse.”

          Thank you for that clarity. And the rest of what you wrote– all of it. Such an antidote to bs.

          • Hell of a Chump,

            My sentiments exactly. Lez Chump nails it!

            I remember once joining my ex for a session with his IC, which ended up being a big mistake. This was before his cheating (or was it?).

            Anyway, it happened that on our anniversary, he felt I’d “abandoned him” when I suggested we watch a movie after we’d had a nice romantic dinner. The horror!!

            In response, he threw a tantrum and behaved terribly for hours, stomping into the basement, locking doors, calling my cell phone that he knew I always kept with me because of my kids. He seemed unhinged and really scared me.

            The therapist tried to say that my suggesting a movie and his tantrum were EQUIVALENT. “You abandoned him; he abandoned you.” A little see-saw action.

            Hours after the session, she called me to apologize. She basically acknowledged that he’s disordered and said she would “take care of things.” She said she was trying to form an alliance with him. It came at my expense.

            She quit him not long after that. Talk about abandonment!!! I remember trying to soothe my then-husband after that happened. I said, “She’s trying to cut back and must think that you’re doing so well. Don’t take it personally.” CHUMP!

  • Faced with their own mortality… Antidote…

    Just sprinkle some classy, sophisticated words here and there and the lazy dimwits will take the bait and buy lots of her.

    I bet there’s an algorithm for writing self-help books that sell well to dimwits who are too lazy to do their own thinking

    • “I bet there’s an algorithm for writing self-help books that sell well to dimwits who are too lazy to do their own thinking.”

      Statistically, if you had infinite monkeys using infinite typewriters, one of them would write Perel’s next book.

      She’s captured some zeitgeist that has rocketed her to fame and fortune. So did Hitler. So did QAnon. Doesn’t make it right or valid just because a bunch of people jump onto her sociopathic bullshit bandwagon.

      I actually had a marital counselor give us some photocopied Perel essay. Even the entitled ex didn’t like Perel, or the counselor.

  • Yes, yes. I’ve heard it before. People cheat because it’s a part of their makeup. Cheating later in life is part of the desire to find one’s self and is completely valid.

    Nope. Plenty of solid upstanding people never cheat and have all the same makeup as those who do. Playing the field later in life isn’t the norm at all. Plenty of people honor their commitments and follow through. They live their ordinary lives in love and care.

    After my ex retired, the spark to experiment sexually was lit in my ex. I went along with it, but it soon started going into areas that I found very disturbing. When I said no, he was upset. I didn’t talk about it with anyone, but I wondered if there was going to be any stopping point with him because it was escalating. Then he began getting massages at a local place known for happy endings. I got what was likely an STD. I kept doubting myself, but I had suspicions.

    Then he went off on a vacation by himself, and we separated. He went many states away. The house was sold, and we divorced. An ugly, horrible divorce that he initiated.

    I didn’t share any of that with our college kids, but I found out later after the divorce that they knew to some extent. They saw the boxes, and he wasn’t always careful with his laptop. The one positive of that is that we had a very honest discussion about pornography, the sex industry, and marital sex.

    My conclusion? Despite his insistence that he wanted to reconcile, deep down he was done with monogamy with me. He wanted life on his terms without any of the day-to-day. So be it. He got what he wanted. His attorney told mine multiple times to tell me that he felt so sorry for me and was doing all he could with his “worst client ever.” You know it’s bad when your ex’s attorney is apologizing like that.

  • Esther Perel and the “past 3 years” and “facing their own mortality” crap. Here’s the truth… most of these cheaters go balls to the wall shitty when their spouse is actually the one truly dealing with mortality. It’s usually the chump who deals with a parent with cancer or their own parent’s death or they themselves have a terrible illness/cancer…. that’s when fuckwits RUN. They go and fuck around with other people and use their chump’s suffering to make it sound like they are being ignored or not getting enough attention or just have the sads. Meanwhile, chump is adulting. Chump is doing the work. Chump is grieving. And fuckwits are emotionally stunted midlife children. What a bunch of horseshit, Esther. (my ex idiot told me point blank that it was when my dad died of cancer that that was when he stopped loving me…. he apparently didn’t like me as much when I was grieving. My bad. I’ll work on that. What a moron.)

    • Yes. The messy realities of life….living and dying are such a buzz kill. They deserve to be happy.
      The dick’s family, though they can all afford better, revels in “regifting” they see nothing wrong with it, and aren’t even a little embarrassed when they regift to someone their own gift. “ isn’t it perfect….I chose it just for you……and you, and you, and you…..”. If everyone has it, it loses its value.

    • Wow. My mother died after 11 weeks in an ICU, mostly unconscious. For that whole time I worked a full day then made the 150 mile round trip to see her for just 1 hour. Ex was always traveling for work so I did the drive alone. We would the spend much of the day visiting her on one of the weekend days. His parents lived nearby so we would take visiting breaks at their home.

      After she passed away I was damn tired plus I was in charge of her estate – 2 brothers lived out of state. Two months later I quit my job to take care of everything & myself. Ex understood & brothers were grateful. Plus my inheritance would more than makeup from taking off a year or two from the full time workplace.

      Flash forward to dday 6 years later & in one of his hate filled diatribes he said he always felt I should not have quit that job. WTF? I worked admin for a local college- nothing special. I was crushed that he was throwing in my face the after effects of my mom’s death & the year off from work. He by the was was making 6 figures.

      But I know now it was just another one of his excuses to blame me for his cheating. He was fully in control of his travel schedule & never adjusted it to help me with her illness & later her estate work. Never thought about it until now how selfish he really was throughout that whole period.

      • Oh the same, apparently our having a cleaner was a ‘lifestyle choice’, he had tried to talk to about money but I had ‘shut him down’, that the ‘magic money tree was about to run out’. All said with such glee.

        All during or after one of the hardest times of my life. Cocksucker

    • Eeeeuch, what kind of decent human being says that to someone ‘when your dad died was when I stopped loving you’. That stuff is beyond cruel. Mine was a super-duper deep down decent cheater who, when I found out my dad had terminal cancer, he decided not to up and leave straight away, although looking at their call records that diagnosis prompted a half-hour call with me and three days of two hours phone-calls with the OW as clearly that meant a change of plan because how shit are you going to look if you leave someone when their dad is dying. Better to be fucking nasty human being for the next six months, generally making the person looking after a dying relative and close friend single-handedly more stressed that was good for my health and then discard them a week after the day of the funeral. Classy! Happy to stand next to my dad’s death bed and sit next to me at the funeral. How can you do that. Using bad shit that happens in life as a reason is the lowest of the low. I mean, everyone goes through tough times and your partner is supposed to be there to support you, not up and leave the minute you become less than optimal. Morons indeed MichelleShocked.

      • Rachel, you asked (rhetorically) “what kind of decent human being says that to someone ‘when your dad died was when I stopped loving you’” —
        The exact moment was more like this… he said “I stopped loving you 3 years ago”… and I said “When my dad died?!!” and he stood there blinking. He didn’t even try to defend his words or deny it. And that’s when I realized that not only was he not a “decent human being,” he’s completely abhorrent. He is so selfish that he rationalizes that it’s my fault that I grieved and couldn’t give him more of my time (while my dad was dying over 6 months in the hospital from pancreatic cancer… the most awful time in my life. And he didn’t show up once to see him. I was going every day and spending overnights… and then hospice. It was so awful). But guess what? It is only about FW. FW is the sad sausage because wifey appliance wasn’t performing and doing backflips for him while dealing with her father’s death. Poor FW… wifey appliance wasn’t fun for a little while — that must have been soooooo hard. She also didn’t make him doing anything to help…. and he didn’t. He also didn’t come to the funeral.

        Truthfully, the first real big red flag with this dickhead was 6 years before that, when our child was born. FW had the sads because he didn’t get all my attention then too. He would come home late that whole first year… leaving me stranded with my newborn. He was probably cheating then but I’ll never know for sure.

        FW is still with OW and she still has 2 parents. I hope she enjoys all the “support” she’ll get when one of them gets ill or passes away.

      • My dad died three weeks after the divorce was final. He came two hours later than he said he would. My dad died 30 seconds before that two hour mark. (I looked at the clock when he stopped breathing.) The kindest thing he could say to me was “none of your business” when he was yelling at me for not answering his text when he got to the hospital. I was holding my dads hand and saying goodbye to him when he sent that text. I didn’t hear it. He was yelling at me 5 minutes after my dad died. He is cruel and heartless. BUT seven years ago he insisted that he had to break no contact with his affair partner when her father died. He wrote her mother a poem (since he couldn’t write one to her … he thinks I’m dumb). The marriage counselor said it was a “kind gesture.” That was a tough one.

    • One reason my XW gave me for leaving (not for cheating, because she still denies that to this day) was that she thought I would fall into a clinical depression, lose my job and be institutionalized. She didn’t abandon the marriage because she couldn’t deal with my illness, she left because she couldn’t deal with my imaginary future illness. In a way, it was a smart move on her part; she’s not criticizing me for an actual character trait I could change, or citing examples of poor behavior I could explain or apologize for; since it’s all fantasy, there’s no way to disprove any of it.

      I understand her concern because it’s a real issue in her FOO (XW’s mother has been dealing with her father’s Parkinson’s for 50 years, and repeatedly told XW that she wished she’d divorced him when he was first diagnosed), but projecting it onto me is just inaccurate. XW bought herself some time by swapping me out for AP (who’s significantly younger than I am), but we’re all aging and someday he’s going to exhibit some human frailty too … and then what is she going to do? They’re one oddly shaped mole or high PSA test away from a major marriage crisis.

  • A lot of writers here saw the cheating start when facing mortality: Their own, their parent’s, their child’s. I haven’t seen anyone mention their cheater started when faced with his OWN illness. Mine first ran away after I was injured in a major accident. How many fellow chumps have similar stories of a partner cheating or bailing when they faced a major crisis?

    • Goodfriend, every now and then, especially during this pandemic, I remember that I had two small children, 1 and 3, when sparkledick left me in a godforsaken city in the jungle with pneumonia while spending the weekend in civilisation after (I hope) a business trip. I was so sick I couldn’t sit up on my own. My neighbors had to help me.

      My mother also did not come to help, but that is another story (she is also a cheater).

      What more of a red flag did I need that sparkles did not love me, he just loved just what I did for him?

      • Thast is awful

        I remember when I was young and my son was 5, we decided no more children; so I had the TL surgery. It was outpatient, so I went home right after the surgery. Of course though it was not awful, I was tired and had some lifting restrictions for a few days.

        That very night he stayed out the whole night. I had to have my five year old bring me water and help me. This was pre cell phones, so no way to find him or contact him.

        He came home the next am and said he got caught up in an all night poker game. I spackled that huge red flag. 14 years later he discarded me for the whore. Well for a whore, I am sure it wasn’t the same whore he played cards with all night.

        I am so glad I didn’t have any more children with him. I am glad I have the one, as he is amazing; but if I had any more; I would have been in a lot worse situation when he discarded me.

    • I think it’s common, because genuine adulting – which includes dealing with situations that aren’t convenient or gratifying – is something these snowflakes prefer to avoid. FW cheated with OW while his aunt was comatose and dying, while his mother was hospitalized for a life threatening illness, when two of my pets passed away from cancer and old age and during the months that I was assisting in caring for my wonderful friend (who passed away after I left him).

      Meanwhile, the OW complained about her deceased fiance’s family to FW, because they hadn’t removed the fiance’s possessions from her home yet. Whined about having to parent her children as well.

      Humans are merely appliances to these type of people, and the only sorrow and loss they prioritize is theirs.

      • Ain’t It a Shame — these are quotable and spot on:

        “I think it’s common, because genuine adulting – which includes dealing with situations that aren’t convenient or gratifying – is something these snowflakes prefer to avoid. ”

        “Humans are merely appliances to these type of people, and the only sorrow and loss they prioritize is theirs.”

        well said.

        • It’s helpful to read this and accept it, without rehashing why it rings so true. Like “trust they suck.” Chumps help each other carry burdens and let go of ugliness isn’t ours.

    • Wow–I had never really considered that. Looking back, I went through a series of health issues; large tumor in my leg removed, then hypothyroidism, then fibromyalgia, then finally sick in bed for 21 months give or take with severe allergies. And even then I’d still take care of all the adulting and would travel with what I called my ‘upchuck kit’ for the times when I’d have to, well, upchuck while traveling. I think it was when the first of the ‘unseen’ illnesses hit that the very beginning of the discard started. When it was a solid, verifiably visible tumor then he was still ‘him’; kind and so forth. But again, what he couldn’t see I don’t know if he really believed I had and by the time the allergies hit I think he was already listing my shortcomings and fvck him all to hell for that now that I can see it. For the most part I had thought it just coincided with our youngest going off to college. Self important assholes, the lot of them.

    • Goodfriend,

      Snark alert….CL got me going today…

      Major crisis….if one calls child birth a major crisis then I qualify….To me it was a blessed event. Apparently for him it was a major crisis….

      So apparently it was all my fault since I was the one who gave birth.

      Hummm. So he must have been God and the child an immaculate conception…

      Gaslighting at its best….

    • I was caring for my Exhole while he was dying from terminal cancer. He had died on the operating table once, was terrified of leaving the house because he was immune deficient and a cold could kill him – I was the one working and paying for everything including his life-extending experimental therapies. Guess what? He was using online dating to meet multiple women – I’d say even he wouldn’t remember how many he ‘dated’ and wined and dined on my money. He was ‘terrified’ to go out and grab dinner with me because he could catch a cold (I would always cook at home) but he would go and meet complete strangers off a dating site for lunch/coffee while I was working. Oh, and due to an operation downstairs he was unable to obtain an erection due to sever nerve damage – he cried when the doctors told us. So…he was risking his life to meet random women off a dating site. No rhyme or reason for the cheating except that he must have felt awesome doing it.

    • Nitwit was weirdly super attentive whenever I was sick. Of course this is the same man who put laxatives in my coffee to avoid taking me out for Valentine’s Day. I don’t think it was image management or Munchausen by proxy. I think it was all a part of his mind games to make me think he really loved me even as he was cheating on me, depriving me of sex and sleep, and publicly humiliating me.

  • Is “not deceiving me” also a gift? Like, being deceptive is their baseline and when they’re feeling like I’m a charity case they will toss me the bone of telling me the truth for a day?

    I think the actual gift is getting an effing liar as far away from me as possible. Not friends with Esther Perel or anyone who thinks she’s great? Clearly that is its own gift, for which I’m unendingly grateful.

    • Perfect description Amiisfree, thanks again for your honesty. Divorce, the gift that keeps on giving! What a relief to be free of the constant lies, deceit, wondering, begging for the truth, fear of what is coming next, hiding your suspicions from family & friends because I can’t find out the truth. That was hell. This is heaven compared to that. Esther Perel can go to hell. The rest of us will help each other without cheap advice from someone who encourages adultery.

  • You know, I wasn’t really happy in my marriage for a number of years, even before the cheating started. But that doesn’t mean I was wholly unhappy or wanting to give up on my marriage. I was stuck with someone who didn’t want marriage counselling and didn’t stick with any of my suggestions to boost the marriage for more than a couple of weeks. But, I persevered by taking a long vision to my marriage and recognizing that adulting isn’t always fun and games. We had two young children (one with Autism), a sick parent I cared for, strapped for cash because I was supporting my husband through full-time studies for a degree. Not a lot of time and money for “fun” and that was okay because this is life. I was willing to make the sacrifices for the long-term gain of a better life for us.

    I guess it wasn’t good enough that my ex has getting a whole new lease on life at the expense of our family. What man in his early 40s gets to reinvent himself by being able to return to university to complete a degree, for three years? How was that made possible? By his wife being the sole income earner and his children making due without some things so that he can have his opportunity. Why make the sacrifice? Because we loved him and thought he was worth it. Because we were willing to invest in the possibility of a better life by him having more secure employment prospects.

    But his re-invention went much further. I guess being around all those 20 year olds got him re-thinking what he’d been doing with himself throughout his life. Mid-way through his degree, he began his affairs. He felt “alive” for the first time in years. His eyes were “opened” to some reality in which he realized he never loved me. He felt happiness after his years of sacrificing himself for others (?!?!), and it was “unfortunate” that his happiness was hurtful to me (but not the kids because they’ll bounce back and turn out fine).

    Not sure how Esther Perel thinks that the pursuit of this kind of “happiness” is healthy or, worse, a gift to be embraced. I was also seeking happiness in the midst of the stress of keeping the family afloat financially, caring for our young kids (son’s therapies and mom’s doctor visits), and trying to be patient with my completely disconnected husband. I certainly wasn’t always being my best self. I was frustrated with my husband and even resentful. I complained. I became nagging. I gave him the silent treatment. I snapped. I had the occasional meltdown. I was stressed and overwhelmed. I was deprived of compassion.

    Why didn’t I think of cheating as the remedy to escape and feel alive? How stupid and short-sided of me. Instead I foolishly thought getting a facial would be nice. Going away with some friends would be a let-loose getaway. Planning some budget-friendly outings with the kids would be fun. Getting my house clean would feel good. Staying organized would be stress-relieving. Praying would be affirming. Eating healthy would de-toxify. Etc. etc. But, not once did I think that cheating would be the antidote to my melancholy.

    I would like to see Esther Perel explain the discrepancy for me. Why one person can remain true to principles and values, but the other can’t. In light of that, how can we, in good conscience, allows the immoral one a free pass.

    • “Why didn’t I think of cheating as the remedy to escape and feel alive? How stupid and short-sided of me. Instead I foolishly thought getting a facial would be nice. Going away with some friends would be a let-loose getaway. Planning some budget-friendly outings with the kids would be fun. Getting my house clean would feel good. Staying organized would be stress-relieving. Praying would be affirming. Eating healthy would de-toxify. Etc. etc. But, not once did I think that cheating would be the antidote to my melancholy.”

      Truly outstanding. Filing this away for future reference.

    • OptionNoMore, your third paragraph? I literally could have written that myself. Word for word. 😳
      Also, we have a son with autism, too (and a younger son with epilepsy and a variety of other neuro issues). It feels like it makes his discard of our little family so much worse. Like, how could you create these beautiful, special, sensitive little humans with me and promise to raise them together with love and care…and then suddenly just “change your mind” when something better came along because you “deserve to be happy”?
      And yes, “his eyes were opened to the fact that he never loved me”. So he was fooling both of us for all those years, 20 full years? He must be some kind of an amazing actor because from all outward (and inward!) appearances, we had a wonderful life, family and home together. It baffles the mind. 🤦🏻‍♀️

      • Being Catholic, I actually appreciate his claim that he never loved me in order to better my chances of an anulment with the Church. My divorce was finalized on April 1st and now the only attachment I have to him in marriage is through the Church where I will always be considered married. So, he can keep on saying he never loved me all the way to the tribunal, please. Set me free spiritually so that I can be set right and be free in the eyes of God.

        • “Being Catholic, I actually appreciate his claim that he never loved me in order to better my chances of an annulment with the Church.”

          Yep, same here. I didn’t even realize it at the time we said it as neither of us were catholic, and remarriage was not in my mind at all.

          However, I met a Catholic and after several years we wanted to marry. I agreed to go through the process, as honestly it didn’t matter to me and I knew it would mean something to him. My annulment was granted post haste, and yes the first part of my statement was exactly what he said to me “I “dated” for the last ten years (of our 21 year marriage) and I never loved you.

          They told me that he would have to be sent a letter and have the opportunity to respond. I said well first of all his adultery wife likely wouldn’t like that, but that I didn’t care what they did; but do not call me in to read what he had to say, as he has said enough. They said I don’t have to read it, and it would have no affect of the outcome.

          He didn’t respond in the thirty days, so my annulment was a slam dunk. My H’s wasn’t. We got married in my dads church. When his ex wife died a few years later we did get remarried in the Catholic Church.

          My daughter in law told me that he threw it away because he said it meant our marriage didn’t mean anything. ??? Seriously. I just laughed and said, yes we know how seriously he took our marriage.

      • Chumpiest…it is particularly vile when they discard you as the mother of their children with challenges. It’s no walk in the park to parent a child with high needs and keep your shit together. It puts that much more stress on a marriage and calls on the adults to really rise to the occasion. No doubt your ex also accused you of being controlling, no fun, and too busy. Mine actually went so far as to say that he didn’t think our son’s condition was that bad and that I was making a bid deal out of nothing. He didn’t participate in the therapies, read a single book or buy in to anything. Just thought we should just chill and love our son. How convenient for him that his “parenting style” calls on him to do the least possible. Whenever I attribute any of our son’s gains to the therapies, my ex will sometimes respond by saying that we can’t really know if the therapies were effective because there is no actual proof. It could just have been his maturing or time passing that did the trick. It’s enough to make me scream like a maniac.

        Well, he went from being a man demanding 50-50 access three years ago so that we didn’t have to pay child support to now having the kids about 1/3 of the time and not engaging in any aspect of his son’s condition (no engagement with school, special education, doctor’s appointment, therapies). I do the legwork and keep him informed. At best, he’ll show up to an in-take appointment so that he doesn’t look like a neglectful parent, but no follow through on strategies.

        You know, thank God I don’t have to live with that. I have now adopted the response, “He is performing as expected” – radical acceptance that this is it and not to expect anything more from him. Had we stayed together, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown by this point.

        You mention the outward appearance of your family was a wonderful life, family and home together. I would rather the inward truth that I do have a wonderful life and family and home with my children without him, than to hang on to the outward appearance with him. Man’s rejection indeed is God’s protection. I raise my glass to you warrior mom. We stayed sane for our kids’ sake and persevered. Well done!

    • Option, to your question
      “I would like to see Esther Perel explain the discrepancy for me. Why one person can remain true to principles and values, but the other can’t.”,
      I think she would reply: “But, dear Option, you can and should cheat too!”

      And so then I would ask her how this works, what are the chances of two fragile fuckwits building something useful and rasing good human beings, if they are both busy facing their mortalities. How does the pharmacology of these two antidotes work togehter?

  • Ugh. It’s such a crock. “Deconstructing myths about romantic love” sounds like making excuses for the harm caused by some fuckwit’s abhorrent behavior and then blaming the suffering for their not being sophisticated enough to get on board. I loathe this crap, and it needs to be exposed for the garbage dumpster of rot contributing to the already immeasurable pain heaped on the chumped in the name of “science”. Thank you, Tracy – we know, but so many are still confused and are easily led to believe they are responsible for their own abuse. I’ts diabolical.

  • Justifying infidelity, which requires lying and deception and fraud and holding another person as an emotional hostage, is just as bananas as justifying any other kind of crime or abuse. To put out there that it is anything other than completely fucked up is a crime in itself.

    Those cool with cheating are best identified ASAP so I can avoid or launch them ASAP. I don’t pull wings off butterflies and I don’t want to be around anyone who does. And that’s what cheating on someone is, so good riddance those that partake in it.

    I put her books and a bunch of others in the recycling bin. I’d be willing to bet she’s a cheater and her books are a big fat effort to make herself feel better and get paid for it.

  • “Anthropologically she observes that the shift during the Industrial Revolution from village to city life caused the burden of selfhood to shift from the tribe to the individual.”
    …Also? That’s not an anthropological observation dummy. It’s a historical one, and a highly disputed notion. (My mother was an anthropologist; my father was an historian. I know the difference!) I myself have…too many degrees. Never mind. When you read a trashy description like that, you know that the writer has no idea what he’s talking about. (Oh, hi! Good Men Project.) It’s a clue in trying to decipher the absurdity of Perel.
    And, as always, cheating sucks!

    • Imagine! These people having no idea what they’re blathering on about! How can i ever go on? 😂

      Thanks for sharing your expertise with those of us that don’t know the difference either, but are willing to learn. 😉

  • I watched a very interesting series about Vikings. Throughout the program, many of the characters wanted to know what their fate/future was, wondered why the gods were causing distress in their lives, celebrated when the gods “rewarded” their behavior, made sacrifices to the gods to seek favor. Everything about their fate was out of their control. But it wasn’t out of their control. They made choices based on their desires, and sought solutions to their problems, some of which they had created by their own interactions. They were greedy for wealth and fame, they were promiscuous, they were ferocious fighters. They didn’t fear death — if they died fighting, they believed they went to Valhalla, to drink and fight with great warriors from their past.

    I cannot comment on historical accuracy, but it was a fascinating character study. These folks lived for “exuberance” and were bored when they were content. They expressed love and respect for their partners, but cheated anyway when given the opportunity. They coveted their hero’s wife, fame, and prowess. Agreements were just words for today, tomorrow will be a new day.

    Does any of this sound familiar?

    I think chumps just view life through a different lens. We are willing to commit to another person, to work hard towards a goal. We seek contentment. We don’t like unnecessary drama or fighting. We make mistakes and marry a Viking, and we cannot understand why they discard us for something new and shiny and different. Something they will discard later for a new shiny and different. We can be content. The Viking cannot. We make promises to keep. The Viking agrees to get what he wants for the moment, with no intention of keeping the agreement.

    I don’t think about my mortality as a trip to Valhalla. I want a long, healthy, content life filled with some comfort, and my family and friends company. I am not willing to travel to other people’s homes and take what they have worked hard for. I don’t think the gods have determined my fate. I think I make choices every day, some good, some bad, and there are consequences to my choices. I will never be a Viking.

    I am glad the Vikings in my life sailed away to pillage elsewhere. I think Perel is a Viking. I hope she falls on her own sword of exuberance. She would like Valhalla, plenty of warriors there to seek exuberance with. Meanwhile, I am content, here in the Land of MEH. We will both die one day, but I hope I am not fighting when I do so. I prefer a quiet passing.

    Understanding another person’s point of view does not mean you agree with it. I think Vikings live the life they choose, with little to no regard for my life. I do not wish to adopt their choices, no mater their fame and no matter their many shiny things. I don’t need those things to be happy. I’m glad my Vikings moved on to other targets, I suppose I didn’t have enough possessions for them to plunder. Lucky me!

    My advice is, avoid Vikings!

    • This resonates with me. The coveting of their hero’s wife etc. – I had been feeling for a while that a close friend wanted what I had, she wanted to be me, move to my city, move into my career which she started in on, started to learn the language, told me often that she ‘envies’ me, would visit often, and now — she’s dating my ex. She didn’t know at the start that he’s my ex, but he knew that she was my good friend. He told her eventually after a few months, and she kept talking with me without telling me. Her being a viking makes sense, and he definitely is. I am squarely in the land of meh, and I do like it here, its quiet, its peaceful, and I am not responsible for other people’s monkeys.
      And.. Sartre mentioned above — he was full of it, and him and Beauvoir were exploiting young women.

  • Boy, today’s post sure touched a nerve in me! Fester P. reminds me of politicians and demagogues in general.

  • I had a cheating husband, a flirtatious boyfriend, another boyfriend who was lining up his options when it looked as though we might not make it (when Plan B is the reason for the failure of Plan A,) so I started trying to ease my heart by reading online and watching U-Tube videos.

    I got mesmerized by Esther Perel. Not in a good way. Not in a bad way. But mesmerized, yes. She has that thing that makes you want to listen and watch. She’s good on her feet! Ask her a question; she can answer with a 30 minute speech that sounds engaging, thoughtfully provoking, poetic sometimes and extremely on point. She’s likable and attractive.

    And she might be brilliant. She is very glib. I could not do what she does. My hat; off. She’s good at speaking.

    Esther said, “I see people in satisfying, happy relationships. They say, ‘I love my partner, I’m having an affair’. It’s not that they want to leave the person they are with, it’s that they want to leave the person they have themselves become.”

    She’s all about understanding self and understanding the other person. She’s all those shades of gray. That’s part of her appeal; look at it this way, look at it that way, etc., etc. And she speaks with eloquence.

    But consider this blog. We’re all here because it helps, in some way, to read stories and hear opinions from people who’ve had similar experiences with cheating spouses or partners. We’re here because it hurts SO MUCH, and the hurt doesn’t go away. It’s a hurt that goes straight to the core. And figuring out what to do when it happens to us is not easy! Nothing takes the pain away. And the pain of heartbreak is intense.

    If the ONLY thing to do is declare GAME OVER and LEAVE, and force the truth into the open, and CHANGE EVERYTHING, then this blog wouldn’t exist. Esther says there is a huge, unseen pressure by our financially independent society to divorce. And she says it’s not the only way. People can stay together if they try to understand each other.

    I say there is a huge, unseen pressure by our everything-is-okay society to stay. And that that’s not the only way. We can understand our cheaters and leave them, too. That’s why I enjoy reading this blog.

    It’s a personal preference.

    Is a cheater always a cheater? No one knows.
    Is a liar always a liar? No one knows.
    Do I have the capacity to cheat? Yes. But I have never cheated, and I can’t imagine a scenario where I would carry it through.

    I believe in redemption. But redemption is an inside-out change. It takes TIME. It’s a change at the core, that core that was stomped on and mistreated and cheated on. Or the core that was so uncaring and oblivious that it mistreated and cheated.

    My take on it is that I do not want to tolerate cheating. I do not want to bet on the chance of a change at the core. I do not want to continue to invest when I have been devalued to the point that my input could be the cause for no change.

    My personal tolerance for cheating is just zil. Rubbernecking, flirting with others, having lots of women friends, secret conversations, Messenger activity on Facebook… I just don’t want a man who does those things.

    And I don’t want to be a model for my kids that I’m a person who accepts those things. I don’t want to be a model for my girlfriends that I’m a person who accepts those things.

    Some things are sacred. The marriage bond is sacred.

    Cheating breaks the bond. Cheating breaks the marriage.

    I guess the clincher for me is that the cheater decides to risk the relationship with me when he decides to cheat on me. And if I’ve been devalued to the place where he’s willing to take the risk, how do I live my life? How do I delve into those shades of gray and try to think about what makes him feel alive when he killed my joy for living? How do I get my value back? I cannot. So how do I live, hoping that he will have a change at the core, so that he sees my value again, and love can return? It seems that change will come when it will come. I no longer can be a catalyst for it. Possibly my leaving can. But my presence cannot.

    As Esther says, I can find that joy for living in religion. But Esther, the ONE thing mentioned in the Bible as a reason for divorce is infidelity. Apparently even God knows the heartache involved. Especially God knows. Didn’t he once say, “I divorce you, Israel?” Israel had chosen another god.

    I think it’s difficult when there is pressure from any direction. I once was in a group and one of the guys was having a hard time with something. One night when we were all together, he told us his problem. One by one, we all tried a solution. And one by one, he shot them down. “Already tried that,” he said. “That wouldn’t work, because…” “That one is not possible; I already looked into it,” And on and on. I suddenly realized that what we were doing, by offering suggestions, was reinforcing his status quo. WHAT IF we’d said, “Hey, I don’t think that’s such a problem. Maybe it can be fixed!” Then, do you know what he would have said? “I TRIED to fix it and it can’t be fixed! I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ELSE.” Suddenly his mind would open to other possibilities.

    I wonder if some of us jump to conclusions – here on this blog – and always say divorce is the best thing, when it is a personal preference? It is really what a person decides they can handle. It’s how a person sees the world. It’s whether or not a person can embrace all shades of gray and allow conflict and pain into his or her life, and whether or not they want to wrestle with it, and wait for the possibility of change. It’s how a person decides to BE in the world and SHOW UP as an authentic human to others.

    It does require a lot of thought.

    I know I shared my story here. In the story, my boyfriend had dinner at another woman’s house. The comments I received: “Oh, they had sex.” “Not his first rodeo with her.” “He’s been seeing her for quite some time.” And my thoughts were: “Hmmmmm… I do really believe him.” So I stayed. Until he did it again.

    So I think I’m saying that I agree with Esther on some things. There are a million shades of gray. Love does include forgiveness, of ourselves and others. Joy can be found in religion, to the point that second chances are sometimes possible.

    But I also agree with you, Chump Lady. Hoping for change is Hopium. Thinking the best is Spackling. Trying at all is Pick Me dancing. I love reading what you have to say! You’re funny, you’re brilliant, you’re wise, you expand an idea so we can see it clearly, (and I LOVE that.)

    Whether to stay or leave is our personal decision and it will affect many, many lives around us. What we do when D Day happens to us is important.

    Fortunately for me, I’m single. I have no big decision to make at the moment. I ended a relationship a few weeks ago because of a few hearts and words on Facebook, because it looked as though my man was headed in the direction of women friends, secret conversations and infidelity. And I don’t want that in a marriage, so… it’s over. Because I would like to be married… someday. To a man who (as Chump Lady says,) I can respect and cherish and honor…!!! To a man who respects and cherishes and honors me!!!

    • IDK what she is talking about when she says there is pressure to leave. Most people don’t leave their cheaters. Studies have borne that out. Most people stay hobbled in bad relationships rather than standing on their own. It’s sad, but it’s just what the numbers say.

      If anything, it’s harder to be alone in a society that glamorizes relationships and puts them on a pedestal. Heaven forbid a woman put herself first. Living for yourself is deemed selfish. I don’t care, though.

      • I agree that the pressure seems to be to stay rather than leave.

        Even when I was going through my discard, I felt pressure to wait it out, surely he would come to his senses.

        Thankfully, he didn’t initially give me the option. When he did start the circle backs, I was done. I had lived a couple months without him, and though I was of course still heart broken; I could see better times ahead.

        I also was convinced his circle backs were not about him wanting me back; but of him needing to destabilize me. Just in case he had some use for me down the line.

      • There is much more pressure to stay than leave – external pressure (from society that viewed me as the “worst person ever for leaving my terminally ill partner) and internal pressure (I’m never going to be loved again because I am too fat, too old, not pretty enough, not successful enough, not enough period).
        Ask me if its easy to leave a home, take a massive financial hit and give up the person that I thought I was in love with to face criticism for being heartless in leaving a dying man. On top of that I had the heartache and betrayal to wade through. It was hard. Harder than staying stuck and toking the hopium pipe. But I genuinely realised that I was not loved, cared for or respected. I was being used by a con-man and that all I could control was myself. Ultimately, I chose to have hope for finding a better future as a single woman that continue to be used by a lying, cheating conman that didn’t give a fig for me.

  • How to recognise a charlatan.

    It seems that the charlatans like Esther Peres and Jordan Peterson like to sprinkle their nonsense with anthropological theory. Both of them have no idea what they’re talking about but certainly not about anthropology. Also, I’m quite sure that the philosophers wouldn’t recognise Sartre in Peres’s gibberish (but philosophy isn’t really my area of expertise).

  • My cheater (denied, of course) left me in a year when I seriously injured my knee in a skiing accident, shortly followed by the death of my father, followed by cheater’s departure 8 weeks later. The ex-girlfriend Schmoopie sent him an email ‘something to hold on to’ containing a ‘poem’ in which she wanted to ‘tell the world about our love and not give a f**k who knows’. He was ‘moved’, ‘teary’, ‘yearning’. This was 3 days before my Dad’s funeral. When challenged with the contents of the email, he smirked (his default expression) and said ‘did I’, ‘did she’ repeatedly. And he did me a favour. My heart was immediately full of disgust for the creature I had lived with as partner and then wife for 26 years. He repulsed me in every way. Ugly, screwed up little face.

    The story is it was all my fault because I was ‘crazy’. He is the innocent victim who ‘cared’ about me. That’s why Perel and her ilk, apologists for the liars, cheats and fraudsters, don’t think about the damage done to innocent spouses and partners. In Perel’s eyes, the latter are in the wrong. They have fixed mindsets by believing in loyalty and faithfulness. Let’s all applaud the growth mindset of the adulterer, especially the runaway adulterer who does nothing to clear up his mess. As long as you’ve got a growth mindset, who cares about anyone else.

    • Good point. The damage done by the split is really not a consideration.

      Mine took off and somehow flipped it so that I was responsible and said that I deserved the chaos afterwards. No woman deserves that. Even if he wanted out, there are decent men who handle that in a respectful, honorable way.

      He also said that I deserved the financial problems. I gave up asking him for more money because he just blamed-and-shamed. Later he blamed me for not asking. I couldn’t win. I hadn’t worked full-time in 20 years, so it was really rough for some time.

      Then the crazy divorce. I hired a heavy hitter and didn’t regret that at all. His attorney told mine late in the process that he completely despised my ex on every front and got that all the drama came from my ex, not me. Later my ex blamed the drama on the two attorneys and said they were both big crooks. I can only imagine how he spun that with his family.

      Not long ago an older friend of mine talked about praying for a miracle in my ex’s life. Yes, we all love turn-around stories and miracles, don’t we? I was blunt though that if he showed up claiming complete change and love, I wouldn’t trust him a bit. I’m happy for all the people in the world who don’t go through these horrible things, but really?

  • If someone consents to sex with a partner with the understanding that a condom will be used and then the condom is secretly removed before penetration, that is sexual assault. In the same vein, how is it any different when married partners have the assumption of monogamy and thus safer sex with their partner but then unwittingly put themselves at risk for an STD because there are extramarital partners? Infidelity in some circumstances is akin to assault. You are consenting under circumstances that are false.

    Oh well, at least someone gets to “feel alive”!

    • Yes! Someone else who understands consent.

      I screamed at cheater about consent and he just looked snuggly at me and said “SHE consented every time”.

      I just fell apart and had to explain that he didn’t have MY consent to have sex with ME because I had no idea he was with someone else.

      It just didn’t register with him. In his mind consent was something he automatically had since we were married? I guess? He could just do whatever with my body I guess since it belonged to him.

      THIS is the piece I have yet to get past. And I have yet to find a therapist that sees it as the sexual assault my body feels it is.

      I’ve actually heard, “yes…but it’s not like you were raped”.

      • Joyce Short calls it rape by fraud and is diligently working at changing the narrative. Wrote some books and advocating for legal change, state by state.

      • “I’ve actually heard, “yes…but it’s not like you were raped”.”

        Any therapist or friend who says this should read the comments from a couple days ago about foul smells, tastes, stains, STIs, and all the other scarring intimate sexual experiences chumps routinely experience.

  • I had not understood that there are individuals who want monogamy for the purpose of taking advantage of the other person. And of their children, if there are children.

    Monogamy, it seems to me, is such a good thing, that having it marred in such underhanded way… well there are no words really.

  • If marriage counselors told chumps to leave the cheater, how do you expect marriage counselors to earn a living?

    Half kidding.

  • The entitlement just drips off “the desire to feel alive” …not a concert or holiday or spending time somewhere scenic but duping a trusting partner? seriously? The assumption that if a cheater ‘needs/wants’ something they are entitled to deceptively go for it rather than have an honest conversation with their partner is despicable.

  • I’d like to think that even if I had not gone through Chumpdom, Perel’s argument would seem just as obtuse and amoral. Sociologists can come up with theories on what motivates us to do what we do, even if these are anti-social or destructive motivations, and they often put them in that context.

    Why are incidents of violent rape committed almost exclusively by men? You could go into the reasons, but there is no one justifying the crime. “Industrial society has left men angry… or something.” Whatta are ya gonna to do? (shrug)

    Esther serves up some really selfish motivations that may have grains of truth to them, but why are these represented as admirable? It makes me crazy, and also why the Emperor’s New Clothes bullshit? Are we the only ones who have to see her naked?

  • “This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.”

    The HuffPost has published bullshit before.

  • My wife told me she wanted a divorce one year to the day from when her father died. I discovered she had been cheating and felt certain she was acting out in grief. I almost felt sorry for her until I discovered there had been at least one other going back a few years. So no Ester Perel, she is just a skank.

  • “she claims that the majority of people who stray from their marriages have been faced with their own mortality in some way during the preceding three years and their affairs function as a temporary antidote against certain demise.”

    Unfortunately for Ms. Perel’s theory Nitwit was barely 29 when he began his affair. No health problems that would make him face his own mortality. It’s not like he was a soldier in combat either. No, he had a nice desk job tutoring the very community college students he was screwing. His closest experience to a brush with death came a year AFTER the affair started when he had the chutzpah to ask me for a flat screen TV as a parting gift and I told him my parting gift to him was not cutting off his dick after I found out about the cheating. Overall he had a soft, easy life with me (pre-affair) that he proceeded to throw away because he is a disordered person.

  • That’s the trouble with cheaters, they think that their monogamy is something that they can bestow or take away, not something they want to commit to doing.

  • I’ve never had much use for Ms. Perel. She’s one of those people who refuses to accept any personal responsibility.

  • Pelers garbage nonsense makes me want to puke, ugh, such stupid horsheshit but the worse part is so many people buy it……how could soo many people live so naively??

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