Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

UBT: Leaving and Cleaving

Awhile ago, I got a request to UBT David Brooks’ word vomit “Leaving and Cleaving” — a missive in the New York Times to his dumped, chumped wife. (Brooks, the Foremost Expert in Character, left her for his much younger researcher assistant.)

I needed a rerun today, so why miss an opportunity to underscore what an odious ball-sack Brooks is? How he blames single mothers for poverty, how he hypocritically fancies himself a moral clarion, his grabby wedding registry. (The Petal Pallet Mug is still available!)

Without further ado…


Instead of the drunken ex text, or breezy, blame-shifting clickbait like “25 Ways Your Outdated Haircut Made Your Marriage Fail”, Brooks has presented the UBT with a philosophical meditation on parting ways.

We snarked about Brooks last week, but I felt it warranted circling back, just to dissect this enormous load of self-congratulatory wank. He wrote this about the time he was divorcing his wife of 28 years.

So much of life is about leave-taking: moving from home to college, from love to love, from city to city and from life stage to life stage.

The world is but a stage and we are merely actors. Your starring role in my life has been usurped by a much younger understudy. Exit stage left before I call security.

In earlier times, leaving was defined by distance, but now it is defined by silence. Everybody everywhere is just a text away, a phone call away. Relationships are often defined by the frequency and intensity of communication between two people.

In earlier times, leaving a wife was defined by riding the rails out of town, a Mexican divorce, or having them beheaded. But now it is defined by silence. Everybody everywhere is just a text or phone call away. Demanding answers, explanations, finding hotel receipts. I wish you would be silent.

The person moving on and changing a relationship no longer makes a one-time choice to physically go to another town. He makes a series of minute-by-minute decisions to not text, to not email or call, to turn intense communication into sporadic conversation or no communication. His name was once constant on his friend’s phone screen, but now it is rare and the void is a wound.

I love you, but I’m not in love with you. After 28 years, it’s more like a friendly roommate love. I’m moving on (with my much younger research assistant). I will think of you sporadically or not at all. Unless I need something. Like my pastel, tassel-loafer golf shoes, which I thought I packed, but apparently I didn’t. My name, once a constant, will fleetingly appear on your screen, and your heart will swell with love for me, as you rise from the wounded void of my absence to answer… I only want my golf shoes. Do you have them?

If you are like me you know a lot of relationships in which people haven’t managed this sort of transition well. Communication that was once honest and life-enhancing has become perverted — after a transition — by resentment, neediness or narcissism.

Some people have not managed this sort of transition well — leaving one’s wife of 28 years for one’s 32-year-old research assistant. Lesser mortals have mid-life crises. I, however, have managed it splendidly by writing a thinly veiled screed about your “neediness” in the New York Times. Really darling, you have failed to grasp your obsolescence.

Resentment = I resent your continued presence in my life. You have served your purpose as a birthing vessel to our three children.

Neediness = I’m a desperately needy man who needs the sensitivity and lyricism validating pussy of a much younger woman.

Narcissism = I am a narcissist.

We all know men and women who stalk ex-lovers online; people who bombard a friend with emails even though that friendship has evidently cooled; mentors who resent their former protégés when their emails are no longer instantly returned; people who post faux glam pictures on Instagram so they can “win the breakup” against their ex.

Instant communication creates a new sort of challenge. How do you gracefully change your communication patterns when one person legitimately wants to step back or is entering another life phase?

I’ve posed this as a question of modern manners, when really I’m asking: how does one dump his wife for his much younger research assistant gracefully? Without anyone thinking ill of him, or casting aspersions on his character? It’s a new sort of challenge. Can one legitimately step back from the same old tired snatch when one is now entering another vagina?

The paradox is that the person doing the leaving controls the situation, but greater heroism is demanded of the one being left behind. The person left in the vapor trail is hurt and probably craves contact. It’s amazing how much pain there is when what was once intimate conversation turns into unnaturally casual banter, emotional distance or just a void.

Be a hero and sign this nice divorce settlement I’ve prepared for you. I know you’re hurt, left in the vapor trail of my awesomeness. You probably crave contact — more awesomeness, David! MORE! But ask yourself — what would a hero do?

A hero would fuck off, Sarah.

The person left behind also probably thinks that the leaver is making a big mistake. She probably thinks that it’s stupid to leave or change the bond; that the other person is driven by selfishness, shortsightedness or popularity.

I am driven by selfishness. I am shortsighted. I am popular vapid.

Yet if the whole transition is going to be managed with any dignity, the person being left has to swallow the pain and accept the decision.

Eat the shit sandwich with dignity, Sarah. It’s a hero sandwich. Swallow!

The person being left has to grant the leaver the dignity of her own mind, has to respect her ability to make her own choices about how to live and whom to be close to (except in the most highly unusual circumstances). The person being left has to suppress vindictive flashes of resentment and be motivated by a steady wish for the other person’s ultimate good. Without accepting the idea that she deserved to be left, the person being left has to act in a way worthy of her best nature, to continue the sacrificial love that the leaver may not deserve and may never learn about.

It’s not enough that I’m leaving you for my much younger research assistant, I will now dictate to you from the pages of the New York Fucking Times exactly how you should feel about it, the deference to which you must treat my decision, and demand a “steady wish” for my continued good.

I will shame you with an appeal to continue “sacrificial love” for me. Because I have no shame.

That means not calling when you are not wanted. Not pleading for more intimacy or doing the other embarrassing things that wine, late nights and instant communications make possible.

I, the Great and Noble David Brooks, foremost expert on Character will now publicly humiliate my wife of 28 years by dissing her pick-me dance. You LOST, Sarah. Do not drunk text me with booty calls. You are NOT WANTED.

Who will rid me of this meddlesome wife? #imissbeheadings #makedivorcegreatagain

Maybe that will mean the permanent end to what once was, in which case at least the one left behind has lost with grace. But maybe it will mean rebirth.

Leaving you for my much younger research assistant is good for you too! Really it’s for the best and all part of God’s my bigger plan!

For example, to be around college students these days is to observe how many parents have failed to successfully start their child’s transition into adulthood.

The mistakes usually begin early in adolescence. The parents don’t create a space where the child can establish independence. They don’t create a context in which the child can be honest about what’s actually happening in his life. The child is forced to deceive in order to both lead a semi-independent life and also maintain parental love.

By college, both sides are to be pitied. By hanging on too tight, the parents have created exactly the separation they sought to avoid. The student, meanwhile, does not know if he is worthy of being treated as a dignified adult because his parents haven’t treated him that way. They are heading for a life of miscommunication.

I see you as mommy. It’s not sexy to fuck mommy. I want the liberation of younger pussy.

You forced me to deceive you with your constant helicopter parenting of me. I must have my independence. I am a dignified adult.

But if the parents lay down sacrificially, accept the relationship their child defines, then it can reboot on an adult-to-adult basis. The hiddenness and deception is no longer necessary. Texts and emails can flow, not as before, but fluidly and sweetly.

If you accept this sacrificial hero shit sandwich, my double life will no longer be necessary. I can marry my much younger research assistant, and hey, we can still be friends!

Communications technology encourages us to express whatever is on our minds in that instant. It makes self-restraint harder. But sometimes healthy relationships require self-restraint and self-quieting, deference and respect (at the exact moments when those things are hardest to muster). So today a new kind of heroism is required. Feelings are hurt and angry words are at the ready. But they are held back. You can’t know the future, but at least you can walk into it as your best and highest self.

Sometimes healthy relationships require not fucking the much younger research assistant. They require self-restraint, self-quieting, deference, and respect to one’s family. I am not that hero. I will fuck the much younger research assistant and I will justify my decision on the pages of the New York Times. I blame my wife for not being her best, highest, sacrificial self, when in fact, I was not my best self. I am a hypocritical douchebag. #character

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.
  • He sounds like a control freak. Apparently the more controlling a persons behaviour the likely you are to cheat. Also, addicts are control freaks, I didn’t know that. I wonder how many chumps exs had addiction problems. That would be interesting to know.

    • This is interesting. My ex is controlling (although he would accuse me of it). His controlling is subtle: what I said online, what my job looked like to him, if/when he helped and part of that controlling was to be able to go to the bar as much as he wanted. So addict check!

      His current gf/baby mama is SUPER controlling. So he found his own level and KARMA!

      • CC, I read your comments and it struck a bone. Subtle. Ugh, makes me go immediately to remember she sucks. Thanks for the insight and I hope you’re awesome and mighty.

    • Narcissists/psychopaths are control freaks. And yes, cheating is a pathological antisocial behavior that tends to coexist with other dysfunctional behaviors like addiction, abuse, and personality disorders.

      This letter reads like the autobiography of a psychopath. The detachment, lack of empathy, and coldness towards his wife are viscerally painful to read, probably because they’re so familiar.

    • Raising my hand…
      The X has a massive alcohol addiction, which I’m surprised he has survived this long. Also Xanax, which you’re not supposed to mix the two. I’ve never heard that control traits, and addictions go together. I’ll have to think about that one! Drunks seem so out of control.

      • Drunks are out of self-control, as are all addicts. Controlling others, however, is part of the addict’s way of life. Manipulating the emotions of the people who love them is second nature to an addict.

      • Yes, active alcoholics are out of control and have major control issues. So do the codependents in the surrounding family.

        I’m an alcoholic and also the adult child of alcoholics. I’ve been in recovery since October of 1985. My sobriety date is 8/15/86.

        Alcoholism is a disease, and it’s a family disease. Cheating is not. There are a number of us with long-term recovery on this site if you have any questions or comments.

        It’s been my experience that a therapist who understands addiction and alcoholism, and Al Anon, are extremely beneficial resources for friends and family members of alcoholics, if not essential.


      • Control freaks control others -not themselves.
        Their out of control behaviors make their control of others even more noxious -because they allow themselves to act without a thought, a care, or a concern for the impact they have in others.

    • Does gambling count as an addiction problem.

      Because, I do think my ex was doing some gambling, I wasn’t aware i real time, but looking back, I can see some evidence.

      doesn’t matter now, and if he did have it; he didn’t go full Monty until after he married the whore. (gambled them into bankruptcy). Just interesting.

    • Yes, I had the same impression. I want things the way I want things, so goodbye long-term wife, and hello young assistant. Meanwhile, the long-term wife is left in the dust and is now publically humiliated by a newspaper article by her ex who is justifying his actions. I hope that she got a good settlement and knows what a monstrosity her ex is.

      In the midst of my crazy divorce, I once asked my attorney why people see the need to be so awful to their long-term spouses in the divorce process. I made so little for several years that I paid no taxes, but I bravely hired a heavy hitter attorney because I was expecting a fight. His answer was, “Because they can, but you have my word that I’m trying to do all I can to settle this.” And it did eventually settle because of him. The heavy hitter was worth it.

      They do all this awful stuff because they can though. They go after things in the divorce that a judge would never agree to. They drag it out on a spouse who can’t afford that. They do it because it feels good to them, there are people who will applaud them, and attorneys who will fight for whatever their clients want. The system is horribly broke, but there it is.

      I’m just glad I got out. And yes, I got a good settlement.

    • My ex was an alcoholic. Now I hear he also may have a gambling addiction. And he was a control freak. Wow. Looking back he had all the red flags but I was do damn naive

  • Omg this is gross. HE is gross. I couldn’t even finish reading it. I have no words beyond that.

    • Same. I couldn’t read his words but I read CL’s response/interpretation.

      Ugh. What a horrible thing to do to his ex-wife.

      • I was getting so upset omfg.. this guy is a psycopath… like deranged

  • I hate him just as much as the first time I read this.
    I want to reach thru my screen, thru The NY Times and grab him by the neck and…
    His smug, arrogant tone makes my blood boil.

      • Same here. That’s really got to me emotionally because I can see my stbx thinking like Brooks. It really hits a nerve for me.

  • I haven’t seen this one before. I didn’t read it all. This man epitomises what is wrong with cheaters. There’s no need to spell it out; he’s said all he needs to say in his own words from his own mouth. Very good luck to the researcher. She will need it! A good starting point might have been use of her own research skills and, perhaps more importantly, opening her eyes and ears. But I expect it’s twin flames, soulmates, and all that jazz.

  • Omg-I can’t read this so early in the morning. Such a complete ass. Sarah is so lucky to be rid of this POS. Hugs newbies! This dribble is an example of what your FW is thinking-f$&k him/her. RUN!

  • Ahhh, I know what this is …. it’s another one of those “My right to happiness is absolute, I can sht all over those that I owe a duty of care to without a second thought, I take no responsibility for the consequences of my actions, and I retain the right to lecture the Chump through the global media as to how badly they are handling the situation so that I can control the narrative and maintain the illusion that I occupy the moral high ground” style fckers isn’t it?

    [Performance note – now breathe!]

    Well we’ve all of us here got (or at least had) one of those in our lives at some point haven’t we?

    David, no matter how much you dress up your actions in fancy prose, your actions are those of someone whose conscience should trouble them much more than it clearly appears to. Do us all a favour and f*ck off.

  • Flaming asshole. Wow. Research assistant schmoopie must be so proud.

    Completely oblivious to the trauma he inflicted.

    • My hunch is research assistant won’t stick around to feed Brooks and wipe his ass when he’s no longer able to do so. We’ve all known people who dumped their partners in a care facility in order to move on with a shiny new soulmate.

    • The video sums it up.

      (Isn’t Research assistant schmoopie precious in a catholic schoolgirl kind of way with old geezer.)

    • LOVE Wonkette…wearing their ‘Enemy of the People’ t-shirt as I type!

    • One of those commenting on how her magic vagina affected Brooks for Christ says she is an example by “the morally rigorous way she lives her life.” First time I’ve seen having an affair with your boss cast as “morally rigorous.” Well, Jesus cheaters for Christ unite!

    • So thankful Wonkette put that out there. Spot on snark.

      Honestly, how is it that these horrific freaks like Brooks get to fuck up so many lives — then go and gaslight the world through the media claiming that they are moral and true? What a fuckhead he is.

      If ever I want to believe in spontaneous combustion like a Spinal Tap drummer, it’s for this asshole.

    • …”The kind of Christian faith you can see with a speculum, apparently.”

      Epic. Jesus cheaters– and “secular moral compass cheaters” for that matter– provide endless comedy relief.

      On the not-so-funny side, Brooks’ Times’ missive reminds me of the “deeeluuusion” sermon in “Devil All the Time,” when the rapey pedo Rev. Teagarden (played by chumpy Robert Pattinson, showing yet again how British actors do better North American accents than North Americans) attempts to innoculate the flock against ever believing his pregnant, suicidal teen victim’s rendition of events.

      By the same token, the NY Times previously covered the story of the late pedophilic founding guru of a yoga cult, Swami Mukdananda, and his serial rapes of worshippers’ children. In the denouement of that story, the female guru (Gurumayi, fictionalized in “Eat, Pray, Love”) appointed to lead the sect following Mukdananda’s death, who had reportedly covered up the rapes and intimidated witnesses, responded to the scandal by publishing endless “spiritual guides” for devotees that were all about not believing the stories of detractors.

      Because cheating is currently being so heavily normalized and minimized in the mainstream media (probably as backlash against #MeToo), it’s almost a surprise– and pretty telling– how so many cheaters behave like pedo rapists in terms of propagandizing with self-exculpating gymnastics and preemptive discrediting of victims, etc.

      Not to compare those who betray their families via technically legal transgressions to child rapists or to minimize child abuse with a poor analogy, but cheaters seem to be categorizing *themselves* along the same spectrum by using the same species of coverup tactics as the world’s worst offenders. Let’s just say they seem to know better than anyone else that what they do is pretty bad.

      Interesting. Like any other ill-doers, thou shalt know them by their bullshit and spin.

    • Ugh. Wonkette. I’m sorry, Tracy, but you just triggered me. Wonkette was a favorite for the FW XW, as she tried to pursue her desire to be an important politician, starting at the local level (too bad she lost her last election by two votes, one of which was mine. Oh, wait, I guess that’s not bad at all!)????

      As for this sociopath, I hope he gets excruciating pain in his dick and balls for a few years, then they shrivel up and fall off. He’s just like the FW XW, acting like after she exit-affaired me w/her boss, I should just suck it up and we could be friends. Sorry, not in this lifetime. That he would/could express this bullshit and display his lack of empathy and understanding in a coherent yet evil way in a forum like The NY Times is just fucked up. Who’s the Asshole editor that bought this crap? Another cheater? Good God.

    • Wonkette is freaking brilliant! Thanks for sharing, Chump Lady!

      So he jumps from religion to religion? Like an addict looking for a new fix/puss/high/cake?

      Reminds me of someone I divorced who would “convert” to whatever the supply pussy was part of. Yikes.

  • OMG. He wants to be knighted for Behaving With Nobility after BETRAYING his wife and then goes on to lecture her on how a betrayed spouse should behave. This self-professed shallow man…and really, he is being far too modest in his assessment..doesn’t realize the admirable and heroic restraint his wife has demonstrated in not throttling him publicly or penning an Ode to His Tiny Man Parts.

    Any college level class on narcissism should just link to his article.

  • Wow, PhD in narcissistic entitlement. F*ckwit. So vicious about his ex wife. Blech.

  • “The Road To Character” written by a guy with the character of an amoeba. There is some pretty heavy irony in that.
    Why the fuck do we glorify people like this in society? Remind me why this guy is famous, or even relevant??
    What a douchebag. I hope his chump got a fantastic settlement.

  • OMG! What a condescending piece of shit! I think I may have to vomit. And cancel my subscription. And then vomit again.

    I shudder to think of all the asswipes out there who read this trash and thought, “why, yes, that’s right. How unfortunate that my ex spouse does not have the decency to handle this with grace. It’s more proof that I’ve made the proper choice in leaving such an undignified narcissist. Kudos to me.”

    I literally despise Brooks.

  • The young women who fuck and marry these old geezers are as fucking dumb as one can get.

    Enjoy changing his diapers Anne.


    • Dollars to doughnuts she’ll dump him in a care facility or abandon him entirely when he gets too old to be of use to her.

      • It will be what he deserves.

        A good friend of mine is a traveling health care worker who does a lot of work in nursing homes. She told me that you always have these elderly people that sit there alone and nobody visits them.

        She says people’s first reaction is to feel bad, but if you knew what they’d done to alienate their family and friends you wouldn’t feel bad for them. Some just have jerk families but a lot of them are reaping.

    • Oh Kim, they don’t change diapers. They alienate these POSs from their children, live extravagantly off of the proceeds of the preceding marital union, and then dump them in a care home. My ex and his 15 years younger OWhore, who cheated on her own husband by fucking her married boss, live a privileged life. Revolving door of expensive new vehicles, boat at the harbor, home on acres of unobstructed ocean view, weeks upon weeks of vacation time in faraway places. In the meantime, his daughters got through college with the help of student loans, and even qualified for free food on campus. All while their father rode a mountain bike that set him back the equivalent of a full year of tuition. I managed to cover what would equal half of the costs, but told them I couldn’t subsidize their dad’s half. I had the pleasure of dealing with FAFSA, student aid offices, and the IRS, letting all of them crawl up my ass while figuring out what assistance was available to my daughters. It’s fucking criminal what these assholes get away with. Trust that they suck!

      • Think Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple who refused to pay his first born’s uni fees. Top execs bailed after working with him because no amount of money was enough to compensate for the psychological toll he exacted, being an asshole.

    • Here! Here! I’ve been saying this since my ex left me for his 21-years-younger coworker who talked to him about her vagina at work. Tell me she wasn’t trying to excite him with that discussion?! #stupidbitch !!! Should take her to court for damages for causing my PTSD!

      I’ll get the last laugh when he turns 60 and she leaves him for the 40 year old doctor she works with..or, better yet, the younger med student!

      My ex has nothing in the looks department or any bodily endowment that makes up for the bad looks.

  • I met him a few years ago. He was tone deaf to his audience and can only survive in his tiny bubble of a world.

    I could not read it all. It’s embarrassing and cringe worthy. Does he not have anyone to question the lack of judgement it takes to write or print this? I think the article makes him it clear what he is…. a pig (my apologies to pigs).

    • And the NYT presumably _pays_ this creep for this crap, while better writers, and orders-of-magnitude better thinkers, struggle along via Uber and Patreon.

      • just a thought…Chump Lady needs to think about writing a NYT piece shredding crap like his to pieces. One good turn deserves…a shit sandwich.

  • Even without the cheating, DB would be an irredeemable tool: An arrogant, immature, know-it-all (like any 12-year-old boy). With the cheating, he makes me want to apologize on behalf of my entire gender. #ManFail

  • Oh. Oh wow. His new wife, Anne, wrote a book called “The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Renewing our Social and Moral Landscape.”

    They definitely deserve each other. The absolute hypocrisy and lack of self awareness. Just wow.

    • The Amazon link is amusing. 14 ratings globally and only 5 reviews, one by someone with the last name “Brooks.” All 5 reviews are five stars and sound written by the same bot.

  • Brilliant column. Only a truly despicable human being devoid of any shred of decency would use such a platform to publicly humiliate his ex-wife while promoting himself as an evolved, enlightened person with the authority and grace to shower us chumps with the crumbs of his hard-earned wisdom. For a year and a half leading up to my divorce, my ex used her Facebook platform to shower her fuckwit and co-conspirator with praise and adoration as well as pictures of their adventures together. I blocked her once I learned of this. Not even the decency to wait until the divorce was final. Much smaller scale, but I know well this sting of humiliation. These people have no shame.

  • I’m really disappointed that I missed my chance to heckle him when he appeared at my downtown book store. I have really really good questions for him that I wanted to ask, at group level.

    Please leave writing books and columns about character and morals to people who actually have character and morals, Creepo. I’ll stick with my autographed copies of books by Mr. Rogers, true treasures of my home library.

    • It’s a slow posting morning Velvet. Will you you entertain us with some of the questions you would have presented to this colossal prick?

      • This might be a good pre-Friday challenge?

        “Please describe, in a few words, how you reconcile penning books on morality and character and cheat on your wife?”

        “I notice Mr. Rogers, though an ordained minister, never preached about morality or character. What are your credentials on these topics and where did you study?”

        “What does the phrase “walking
        the talk” mean to you?”

        “Who does your eyebrows? They have a devilish appeal.”


      • Speaking of questions for David Brooks, here’s one from him!

        This is rich.

        I’ll tell you, David. People who rip their own families up by cheating on their wives and dumping them for their research assistants are a MAJOR reason families “get ripped” apart.

        Chump Nation, I think it’d be fun to comment on this.

        Headed over to the NYT now….

        • I just read the column. Unfortunately, NYT is no longer taking comments.

          But a quick read tells me that his kids don’t like him anymore, and he’s pissed about. Que the whining confessional:

          “The most common form of estrangement is between adult children and one or both parents — a cut usually initiated by the child.

          ….there seems to be a generational shift in what constitutes abuse. Practices that seemed like normal parenting to one generation are conceptualized as abusive, overbearing and traumatizing to another….

          The parents feel rejected by the person they love most in the world, their own child, and they are powerless to do anything about it. There’s anger, grief and depression on all sides — painful holidays and birthdays — plus, the next generation often grows up without knowing their grandparents….

          There’s more permission to cut off people who seem toxic in your life.

          ….I write about this phenomenon here because it feels like a piece of what seems to be the psychological unraveling of America, which has become an emerging theme of this column….

          I confess, I don’t understand what’s causing this….

          People who feel betrayed will lash out at someone if there is no one there to help them process their underlying hurt. As the Franciscan friar Richard Rohr wisely wrote, if we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”

          Summary: His kids told him he was toxic and cut him out of their lives because he abused and traumatized them. He has a sadz and feels all rejected and powerless and unraveled. (Just like his family did when he left them for the morality slut.) He knows that his betrayal caused this but he’ll blame this strange new generation of kids. And America.

          Who feels sorry for the poor sausage?

  • If this drivel doesn’t prove the point that NO CONTACT is the only road to redemption, nothing will. IMAGINE trying to reason or extract humanity from that colossal prick. Gah!!

  • OMG this makes me so mad! What an absolute, condescending, narcissistic asshole!

  • I missed this before. What in the world did I just read. The NYT should be embarrassed to have published this.

  • The editors saw nothing wrong with it a few years ago. Would they publish it today? Who knows? CN, we have a mountain to climb.

  • Wow, his chumped wife must have been so relieved to be rid of such a pompous ass. Can you be any less self aware?

    • Seriously, good riddance to this idiot on a soapbox! She must have been skipping to the courthouse, YIPPEE! If she got a fair payout, even better, but just to get rid of him, and get nothing, would be fine! I can only imagine the pompous criticism Sarah had to listen to day after day.

      • And he was teaching a class on “humility” at Yale at the time ????! You can’t make this stuff up, it’s amazing! I would pay to get rid of an embarrassing prick of that magnitude!

    • Right?

      Humility and Morality. May they live to experience their own practices.

  • Wow. What a stinking pile of sanctimonious, pseudointellectual, blame-shifting, narcissistic horse shit! I know this happened quite a while ago, but I’m still reconsidering my subscription to the NYT. They decided it was worthy of space in the publication to give this cheating wanker such a huge platform to shame and humiliate his wife. That is not a publication I wish to support.

    I didn’t know anything about these people before reading this, but I hope his wife is fully at Meh and living her best life. And I hope she took him for all she could!

    And I wish him and his adulterous baby Schmoopie all the happiness they deserve.

  • Also I looked at their registry and it is embarrassing. I fully support similar requests for new couples looking to set up their first home. A second marriage and you can’t purchase your own waffle iron? Maybe the first wife did take him to the cleaners.

  • I didn’t know this character until I read your first UBT. Now I look at him and I see someone who characterizes himself as being conservative and look at Jeffrey Toobin is being somewhat liberal and yet both of them have the exact same moral character. It just means I’m better off not reading the New York Times, or watching the news. I never read about anyone with ethics. Online I have found wonderful stories of decent people doing kind, thoughtful things and I feel much better. Reading, or hearing, about those two makes me ill. They both shit on their marriage vows.

  • Wow, well that was a roller coaster of a ride to read. It went up, briefly, then it was all downhill and down the tracks from there.

    I briefly–briefly!– admired his way with words at the start, particularly how he spoke of how distance these days is measured in silence. I thought that was an astute and poetic observation. Yes, as a chump, I already knew I wasn’t on his side but I thought give credit where credit is due.

    Then the rollercoaster cart went down the tracks and he lost me and never got me back no matter how good his wordplay was or wasn’t. Blah blah blah blame blah blah blah parents these days raise bad kids/no wonder our country sucks blah blah blah a left-behind-spouse should act in this manner otherwise they sacrifice their right to dignity as decreed by me, Dr. Ultra Mansplainer of St. Ivory Tower blah blah blah, in conclusion, I really have made no mistakes in my life and have no ability to be reflective or self critical and I am very talented in criticizing others like my own left-behind-spouse and society in general.

    Wow. May his X’s life blossom and grow, day by day, now that she doesn’t have to live with that anymore.

    • The whole piece reads like he’s writing it through clenched teeth, glaring at his cleaved/left wife and kicking her under the table to shut her up. How did this make it to print?

      I’m sure there are many barriers I’m not considering or aware of (beyond the obvious – negative attention from hordes of fuckwits), but I wish CL would publish a collection of her UBTs and include a handful of the ones that expose the public cheaters and apologists who are spreading false and damaging narratives about infidelity and abuse. People need someone to connect the dots for them, and CL is the only one who manages to tell the truth – and with snark and style, no less.

  • Wow, it’s hard to believe that was really an actual article. And it was excruciatingly painful to digest. Makes you sadly realize how little we have evolved as a species. We fully embrace and actually let rise to the top echelon of our societies, that degree of underdevelopment and entitlement.
    Darwin should have found the biggest rock he could push in the Galapagos and place it firmly over David Brook’s inflated skull.
    The only thing that makes me feel okay after reading this is that his first wife was able to clear her life of his toxic stench. (The research assistant was under the rock next to his and Darwin missed that one too, unfortunately for our planet.)

    • precisely.

      there’s a whole lotta “let me tell you how to think and feel, woman” going on here. he’s missing a valve somewhere.

  • Somehow missed all this on the first go-round. What is is with these people and religious impulses that get into their pants? Brooks seems to have something weird going on with sex and switching congregations.

    Anyway, never liked his scribbling and now I begin to see why. It’s fundamentally vapid and completely void of any moral compass. My response to this drivel: Dignity? I’ll show you dignity, you POS.

  • What. The. Fuck?

    If this was a letter to Chump Lady, I’d assume it came from a troll. Felt a shiver of disgust just reading CL’s intro, and feel nauseous after finishing that UBT. Have miraculously avoided Brooks heretofore, and this gives me all the context I need to understand future mentions of this fuckwit on the blog or elsewhere. I’ve seen more than enough. Once again, I am facing an uncomfortable but essential truth: cheaters really are as bad as we fear. And worse.

  • This is SO triggering: “The person being left has to suppress vindictive flashes of resentment and be motivated by a steady wish for the other person’s ultimate good. Without accepting the idea that she deserved to be left, the person being left has to act in a way worthy of her best nature, to continue the sacrificial love that the leaver may not deserve and may never learn about.”

    Translation: I need to tell my wife how to behave. “Honey, eat this shit sandwich for the rest of your life. Oh, what’s that? You don’t want to? That makes you a vindictive bitch. You wouldn’t want to be like that,
    would you? Show some character–you know, the kind I (hypocritically) write about. There now. Be quiet and run along. ”

    I want to vomit!!! How dare he use his forum on the NYTimes to publicly shame his wife and dictate to her the way she must act going forward. Notice he uses “has to” twice in these two sentences. Hey, David! Your days of telling Sarah what she HAS TO do are fucking over.

    My ex would sign on to all of this, by the way. This is exactly how he thinks, and he’s a fairly good writer who can convince others that he deserves to be treated well, regardless of his “one lie” (a nearly three-year affair and daily lying, but I shouldn’t quibble). He’s only guilty of falling in love. If people can’t be gracious about that, then they are vindictive.

    Here’s how it goes: He abuses. I get upset. He says I’m vindictive. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    I hope Sarah is rocking her new life without this pompous ass.

    p.s. Years ago, I happened to meet him and Anne. I thought she was his daughter. And, hey, maybe I am a bit vindictive by proxy because I hope that he and Anne have all the happiness two low-character people deserve.

    • The chump “has to… continue the sacrificial love.”

      Sacrificial. Sacrifice: an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure.

      I think Brooks qualifies as one of the most narcissistically deranged people on earth.

    • ‘ I hope that he and Anne have all the happiness two low-character people deserve.”

      Agreed. I was lucky to know that is exactly what happened to my ex fw and his whore. I wish every BS could witness it.

  • What a magnanimous and highly evolved man.

    And what an opportunity. He clearly couldn’t object to any breach of his boundaries – hack his computer, plagiarize his writing, burglarize his home, boink the new wife.

    He won’t say a word. He’s just that great.

  • His latest NYT column is yet another study in narcissism. I’m not going to link to it here because he doesn’t deserve the clicks, but I will say that it’s entitled “What’s Ripping American Families Apart?”

    …The cojones on this little man.

    • Seriously? That’s the title?! Not the intended application, but all I can say is: ‘Cool. Bummer. Wow.’

  • Didn’t Sarah change her religion (and her first name) when she married David? And hasn’t he now also changed his religion – the better/easier way to justify fucking and later marrying his assistant?

    I also thought there was an earlier inappropriate relationship with another younger woman.

    He’s an asshole. I change the channel or walk out of the room when he is on TV. I wonder how his long-time opposite tolerated the cheater.

    Anyway, I think someone said that Sarah is much happier since David’s departure. May it be so because he is a bleeding asshole.

    I hope he gets a STD from the replacement. It’s past time for one or both to start cheating.

    • You are correct. Sarah (formerly Jane Hughes) converted to Judaism when she married DB and now he is now a Christian. Oh and his young wife is a real holy roller Christian that apparently has no qualms about screwing older married men. I missed that part in the bible where that is acceptable.
      DB makes me want to vomit or at least smack his stupid face but one paragraph in his article stands out and it should be noted by all chumps that are considering reconciliation or reaching out to the cheater: “That means not calling when you are not wanted. Not pleading for more intimacy or doing the other embarrassing things that wine, late nights and instant communications make possible.”
      I think this sums up that reconciliation is a total waste of time and any attempt by the shell shocked chump to reach out and ask why, is only met with derision and contempt. Just go no contact, get a balls to the wall lawyer and proceed with the divorce.

      • I loathe him and his second wife (who I doubt was the first to audition for the position even when he was married) even more after this fawning article:

        In 2013, the Times columnist David Brooks, then in his early fifties, divorced his wife of twenty-seven years, Sarah, and moved into an apartment in Washington, D.C. The personal crisis that ensued overlapped with a spiritual one. (Translation by NSC – he was fucking Anne Snyder) He was writing a book called “The Road to Character,” offering guidance, through biographical case studies, for how a person might engage in moral self-improvement, and two of the chapters made examples of Christian lives: St. Augustine’s and Dorothy Day’s. His correspondence with a young research assistant, a Christian woman named Anne Snyder, grew intense. (He was fucking her – NSC) Brooks was a practicing Jew, if one on the downslope of belief—his wife had converted and then become more Orthodox than he—and Snyder, in elegant memos and correspondence, worked to persuade him that (fucking her was the fastest way to become a good Christian – NSC) his account of Day’s sense of Christian grace missed the sublime core. “The foundational fact,” Snyder reminded Brooks, “is you cannot earn your way into a state of grace—this denies grace’s power, and subverts its very definition.” (You gotta cheat on your wife first!
        – NSC) For Brooks, this carried the clarity of revelation, and soon he let it be known, among his acquaintances, that he was experiencing religious (SEXUAL – c’mon! – NSC) curiosity. An informal competition opened for David Brooks’s soul. (His wife didn’t buy him enough books through the decades, he was fucking Anne AND he couldn’t be bothered to divorce Sarah first) He received, by his own estimation, three hundred gifts of spiritual books, “only one hundred of which were different copies of C. S. Lewis’s ‘Mere Christianity.’ ”

        Loathsome little snot.

        It carries on

        “Brooks’s spiritual momentum was quickening. While attending the Aspen Ideas Festival, he hiked to the edge of American Lake, pulled out a book of Puritan prayers, and had a transcendent experience buttressed by the appearance of a “little brown creature who looked like a badger.” He eventually realized that he was in love with Snyder and confessed his love to her.”

        He. Was. Fucking. Her. That wasn’t “spiritual momentum”, that was entitlement writ large.

        May his genitals melt off.

        • “you cannot earn your way into a state of grace—”

          That’s the problem with her definition of Christianity. It’s the reason they can do whatever they want. Grace will absolve them.

          Grace is a religious belief for psychopaths.

        • I just read the first few paragraphs of this – couldn’t stomach any more.

          According to the paragraphs I read, he woke up one morning and realized people had souls.

          This was his spiritual awakening.

          What do you suppose he realized when he took his morning shit? Bathrooms had toilets?


    • “Brooks won’t talk about what went down between him and his ex-wife, but he holds up his current romantic situation as a kind of standard: “There was a period when I was dating” — including a “deeply thoughtful” woman in New York — “and nothing felt like this. I can only report the truth. I am very definitely in love.”

      Of course he won’t – he was cheating on her and that damages his brand. Asshole.

    • Read it and weep, CN

      “David and Sarah Brooks, who were married in a Unitarian church and had three children together, both declined to respond to questions about the end of their 27-year marriage due to a legal agreement that was part of the divorce. Sarah Brooks converted to Judaism three years into their marriage.

      Around the time of their separation, he began attending his then-assistant’s church Christ Our Shepherd, a nondenominational church in Washington where many evangelicals attend.

      He said by fall 2013, “strong emotional feelings existed” between him and his assistant, who later became his wife. But they were not having an affair, he and Anne Brooks both said in interviews. She said she does get self-conscious about public perception and their age gap in social situations.”

      “The internet is cruel,” she said in an interview. “It combines into the perfect Hollywood story in a bad way.”

      Well, what the hell ELSE would either of them say when he was schtupping her while married to Sarah?

      Oh no, it’s cruel to criticize David and Anne for being cheaters. They really deserve one another.

      His hatred and disdain towards is the cupcake. His adultery is the cherry on top.

  • I gives a fuck about old hypocritical David. He can fuck right off to Jesus Cheater Land and take his junior whore with him.

    His wife, oh sweet hell, his wife, thankfully ex-wife. I want to send her a copy of LACGAL. I hope she is somewhere beautiful chuckling over her settlements. I hope his ex-wife has the full endorsement of her children and a far better life. Just think she doesn’t have to put up with his cheater stink any more. I want her to know she is the better woman and she won.

    If this twatpot is still penning admonishments to his now ex wife he is the one who can’t get over it. Anyone else think the junior whore is probably boring as hell and old David knows it. Sarah, I hope you are happy and free. Free of this sanctimonious gasbag, old and hypocritical David Brooks, the faker.

    • “Anyone else think the junior whore is probably boring as hell and old David knows it. ”

      Right? I think many of these fw’s are surprised to learn regardless of the age or body shape of the whore, how quickly it becomes routine, and now they are stuck after having upended everyone’s life in the same situation they were before, only now saddled with a downgrade and ready for some strange.

      Who can they blame this time?

      My ex was running around like a hormone crazed teenager; then the house of cards fell.

      I was surprised at the next time I saw him how old and rat faced he looked.

      • He’s become obsessed with the destruction of families from the looks of his subject matter. Reminds me of Lady Macbeth – out, out damn spot! The editors really should tell him to unload his shit in therapy, not on NYT’s readers.

  • It is so shocking that he goes on an entire rant about comparing the difference of running away and silently ignoring his responsibility to end his relationship.
    As though there is a difference.
    The cowardice required to cheat rather than end the relationship and face the risk is always surprising.
    It’s so easy, yet they cannot do it.

    • Don’t you know, ending the relation is so hard! so much easier to establish a new one while using your faithful chump as a crutch. Let’s ace it telling the person left blindsided that they have to be a hero and eat a shitsandwitch while you wax poetic about your superior moral character.

    • “The cowardice required to cheat rather than end the relationship and face the risk is always surprising.
      It’s so easy, yet they cannot do it.”

      Cowards…every one of them!

  • “So much of life is about leave-taking: moving from home to college, from love to love, from city to city and from life stage to life stage.”

    When Anne leaves David, she can include this little snippet in the card. Better yet, include a copy of the entire damn article. “David. Why the bitterness and resentment? I’m just moving from life stage to life stage. Take it like a man.”

  • Anne:

    He’ll be impotent while you are still in your thirties…

    Incontinent while you are in your forties…

    And drooling while you are in your fifties

    The happy news is you deserve every moment.


    • I doubt she will be with him that long. She likely struck while the pussy was hot and got a prenup to take care of her in case of divorce. Plus she will have that anchor baby, and she is set for life.

  • Thanks for this reminder of Brooks’s odiousness, CL.
    I LOLed the other day when I saw the title of his column, “What’s ripping American families apart?” That’s right, DB, you tell us! You would know.

    Here’s my comment in response:
    “Infidelity. Infidelity (financial, sexual, emotional – in all its forms) and all its attendant emotional abuses are ripping apart American families. Mr. Brooks, I imagine you could have something insightful to say about that, instead of clutching your pearls.”

    • The way I read that, his kids justifiably want nothing to do with him and he’s trying to explain it in a way that it’s not his fault. He even mentions emotional abuse, which he’s probably been rightly accused of.
      His columns seem to mostly be thinly veiled attempts to blame something or someone other than himself for whatever consequences have come from his own selfish decisions.

      • Excellent points. I hope you’re right, because karma bus. But, it will never not suck that DB has this ridiculous soap box.

      • OHFFS: We are so on the same page. I hadn’t scrolled down far enough before commenting on Velvet’s link to that ridiculous piece of blame-shifting garbage the Times chose to publish. Anyway, we both came to the same conclusion. That man is the epitome of Narcissus.

        I sooo hope schmoopie finds some young thing to “moralize” with while Brooks is still writing. It would be fun to witness his psychological “unraveling.”

    • I see that at least 26 readers agree with you, LezChump. I wish it were even more, but it’s a start!

  • Oh, she has to accept that he left her because he’s more “popular” than her and she must continue her “sacrificial love” and yearn for his pin dick from afar.
    He accuses HER of being narcissistic? Classic projection.
    I hate this guy so much.

  • Brooks is a very heartless self absorbed man

    I hope his ex refuses to answer any texts or calls from him

  • I only got through half of it this time because this time I was incensed that he would write a column publicly abusing his wife–AND THE NEW YORK TIMES WOULD PRINT IT. The writing alone is execrable. The third person faux omniscient point of view, where he presents himself as the voice of reason, is arrogant. The public abuse of his wife is wicked.

    He’s actually GLOATING that she’s the one who is hurt and “has to swallow the pain and accept the decision. He’s actually rebuking her for “think[ing] that the leaver is making a big mistake….that it’s stupid to leave or change the bond; that the other person is driven by selfishness, shortsightedness or popularity.” In other words, he is not just exposing her private pain to public scrutiny. He’s criticizing her for having any feelings about the end of a near 30-year marriage.

    David Brooks is a terrible human being. His wife is better off.

    • 100% agreed! The worst for me was “to not call when you’re not wanted.”

      That hit ME in the gut, and I don’t even know the prick.

      Poor Sarah must have been floored by the twist of that knife!

      Unnecessarily, intentionally, publicly humiliating and hurting someone who loves you. My God. That is pure sociopathic evil. This man wouldn’t know character if it spit him in the face.

      • Have you read the opening chapters of “A Handmaid’s Tale”? At least in the newly released podcast version from Stitcher (can’t recall whether it’s in the book – has been awhile and I didn’t have cheater/abuse radar then), there’s a scene in which the frantic ex (or soon-to-be-ex) wife calls the protagonist’s lover and soon-to-be husband in a desperate panic. He deals with her coldly, like she’s a demented stranger. After yelling at her like a dog, he hangs up. Definitely a gut punch – just like the line you quoted from Brooks’ article. I’ve been in those shoes. It was humiliating and excruciating and shocking, and I almost couldn’t bear it, but there was absolutely nothing I could do to “fix it.” Like many others here have shared, I didn’t know if I would survive; to be honest, I didn’t want to.

        I had to stop listening to that story. Led me to research Atwood for context; I wanted to see what her motive might have been for including this detail and plot digression. This search, in turn, led me to the controverse surrounding #MeToo, and to Atwood’s defense of Canadian professor and writer Steven Galloway. Worth learning about, but not on the same day as David Brooks!

        • *controversy surrounding Atwood and #MeToo, that is. I’m under a rock, but I didn’t miss #MeToo completely!

        • I don’t believe it’s in the book. But I think the decision to write that scene into the script was made to point out that competing over men is distinctly anti-feminist. Before Boston becomes Gilead, June doesn’t see how important it is to honor the connection between women. She prizes the man instead. The result is that she unwittingly assists the patriarchy in abusing women. It’s a salient point, and one that I continue to find frustratingly ironic.

          • Thanks, ChumpQueen. And, with you on the frustrating irony – sucking the dick of the patriarchy, as Chump Lady so eloquently put it.

  • In reality – you just have to look at this little portrait above his article to realize that this is in face which needs bricks thrown at from close distance.

  • Based on his recent article, it sounds like his kids took his advice and stopped answering his texts – I can hear the kids now saying “C’mon Dad, The person being left has to suppress vindictive flashes of resentment and be motivated by a steady wish for the other person’s ultimate good. Without accepting the idea that he deserved to be left, the person being left has to act in a way worthy of his best nature, to continue the sacrificial love that the leaver may not deserve and may never learn about. You told us to do that.”

    Laughing myself silly that he got a dose of his own slime slurping in a very personal way.

  • This guy really is the worst. He’s basically saying do me a favour and don’t make this awkward for me by demanding I live with the consequences of my actions and at the same time shaming his ex for being human. What a robot, he’s definitely been studying character as though he’s a visiting alien focumenting another species because there’s definitely wires where a heart should be. The worst kind of academic cold fish. Hope his ex knows how lucky she is to be free of him but I have a feeling he’s been a Pratt about money too because he earned it all by being wonderful dontcgaknow?

  • Thank you. I am sharing this with all my “yes, but sometimes he’s insightful” friends.

  • just a thought…Chump Lady needs to think about writing a NYT piece shredding crap like his to pieces. One good turn deserves…a shit sandwich.

  • Wait, Tracey, there’s more! David Brooks is the author of “Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.” In April of 2015 he came out with his fourth book, The Road to Character, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Mr. Brooks also teaches at Yale University, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

  • Wow. His arrogance is simply astounding.

    And now, nearly five years out, I can see my ex in him. It took me a bit, but I got there!

  • What the actual fuck? Seriously. I’ve read this guy’s columns before, usually a terrible ‘conservative’ take. I had no idea he was also a fuckwit extraordinaire. This bullshit is why we have a tv show called Snapped. I don’t know how his poor wife restrained herself from slapping this asshat. I’m in no way condoning violence, but OMFG. This has to be the most unbelievable; self-righteous BS ever fed thru the UBT. I feel so sorry for this woman. We’ve all been through hell, but hers was public, topped off by this column. *shudders*

    • ABarrett, you are a better person than I will ever be. After a public humiliation like the above, I’d backhand the jackass into next Friday.

  • Lord. I thought I hated the guy *before* I (tried to) read this. (Had to stop.)

    Talk about someone who thinks his own shit doesn’t stink!

  • Okay, I had to crack up at the golf shoes part, only because it’s so familiar.

    I’d moved across the country in August 2019, and a year later I flew back to pick up the stuff we’d mutually agreed was mine. I’d timed this trip so I’d be there only two days, packing and sorting and getting the fuck out. As my plane touched down, I got a text from him — he’d had a minor mishap; he’d been “out late” and came in and raided the fridge in the middle of the night, and forgot to close the freezer door. When he got up in the morning, everything in the freezer was melted and ruined. So he thought maybe when I got back after being away for an entire year, I could take a look and just cook any unspoiled food for dinner, and throw the rest away.

    Riiiiiight. That’s gonna happen ……

  • You look this guy up anywhere else on the internet and he’s just a pundit. Not even a whisper about this horrific misogynist mess! Why does popular culture sanitize and protect abusive piles of shit like this?

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: