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UBT: The Mayo Clinic

The Unicorn of ReconciliationThe un-chumped people of the world sometimes think I exaggerate The Reconciliation Industrial Complex. When my book was first being pitched to publishers, this came up.

Leave a cheater? Well, DUH. 

No, you see all the infidelity resources are predicated on reconciling with cheaters. There isn’t a single “leave the jerk, you’ll feel a lot better” book out there.

Enh. Really?

Yeah. “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” was a BEST-SELLER.

(Look of incredulity)

That was five years ago. I flatter myself to think we’ve moved the needle a bit. We’ve kicked some hopium-snorting, victim-blaming unicorn ass.

And then…

The Mayo. Fucking. Clinic. comes out with: Infidelity: Mending Your Marriage After An Affair.

Yes. The MAYO CLINIC. Fine if you’re googling pancreatic cancer. Not so great with the relationship advice.

I could not kick the Universal Bullshit Translator into gear for this. It took a solid week of cajoling and leibkuchen bribery.

Grok! Too depressing.

You are a bullshit translator! This is your JOB. DO IT.

(Rolls its sprockets at me.) Snork. (sigh)

Few marital problems cause as much heartache and devastation as infidelity, which undermines the foundation of marriage itself. However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.

Few problems cause as much heartache and devastation as shooting off your kneecaps. Which undermines the foundation of your tennis game. However, if you are committed to real healing, and think happy-intact-kneecap thoughts, your tennis game will improve, and become STRONGER because you had magical thoughts about your kneecaps.

What? You can’t walk and your kneecaps are shattered bone dust? I don’t think you’re committed to real healing, sir.

Defining infidelity
Infidelity isn’t a single, clearly defined situation — and what’s considered infidelity varies among couples and even between partners in a relationship. For example, is an emotional connection without physical intimacy considered infidelity? What about online relationships? Each person and couple need to define what constitutes infidelity in the context of their marriage.

We can’t define it, but let’s forgive it.

Why affairs happen

Infidelity can happen in happy as well as troubled relationships. Many factors can contribute to infidelity, including:

  • Lack of affection
  • Loss of fondness and caring for each other
  • Imbalance of give and take in the relationship
  • Physical health issues, such as chronic pain or disability
  • Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Addiction, including addiction to sex, love, romance, gambling, drugs or alcohol
  • Unaddressed marital problems, such as fear of intimacy or avoiding conflict
  • Life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood or empty nesting
  • Stressful periods, such as when partners are separated for long periods of time
  • Personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem also can play a role in causing infidelity.
  • Lack of affection

  • Loss of fondness and caring for each other

You’re not as cuddly as you used to be. You can be replaced.

  • Breakdown of communication related to emotional and relationship needs

My “I want a pussy buffet” conversation broke down.

  • Physical health issues, such as chronic pain or disability

Your cancer compelled me to fuck randos.

  • Addiction, including addiction to sex, love, romance, gambling, drugs or alcohol

Being married to me is a GREAT idea! Our marriage can be stronger with addiction! Let’s buy a hooker!

  • Unaddressed marital problems, such as fear of intimacy or avoiding conflict

I wanted to tell you about the pussy buffet, but I was too shy. #timidforestcreature

  • Life cycle changes, such as the transition to parenthood or empty nesting

The children made me cheat. The lack of children made me cheat. Two decades of chicken nuggets, sticky countertops, and middle school sports banquets made me cheat.

Transitions make me cheat. Also dangling participles and Oxford commas.

Discovering an affair

The initial discovery of an affair usually triggers powerful emotions for both partners, as well as a sense of loss. The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatized by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. The partner who committed the infidelity might fear being punished forever. It’s usually difficult at this time to think clearly enough to make long-term decisions. Consider the following:

The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatized by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. Or might not! They might look at their STD tests and decimated finances and sexual humiliation and think “Gosh! This is an opportunity for relationship growth! I can work with this!”

Don’t make rash decisions. If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately.

You’re a little insane and angry now. Don’t make any rash calls to lawyers or forensic accountants. Just seek professional help for your irrationality, K?

Give each other space. The discovery of an affair is always intense. You might find yourself acting erratically or unlike yourself as you attempt to grasp what has happened. Try to avoid emotionally intense discussions as you begin the healing process.

You know who needs space too? Schmoopie. It’d be great if you could just, like, back off. Maybe pay the rent for the crash pad and not ask any questions?

Seek support. It can help to share your experience and feelings with trusted friends or loved ones who can support, encourage and walk along with you on your healing path. Avoid people who tend to be judgmental, critical or biased.

Avoid people who recommend lawyers and STD tests. They’re so judgy.

Some spiritual leaders have training and might be helpful. Consider seeing a well-trained, experienced marriage and family therapist alone or together.

You know what’s great for pancreatic cancer? Leeches! Send me $399 and I’ll affair-proof your leech.

(Sorry, the UBT is experiencing technical difficulties.)

Mystic crystal revelation! And the mind’s true liberation!

Take your time. Even though you might have a deep desire to understand what has happened, avoid delving into the intimate details of the affair initially. Doing so without professional guidance might be harmful.

Avoid delving into the intimate details.

If untreated, STIs can increase your risk of acquiring another STI such as HIV. This happens because an STI can stimulate an immune response in the genital area or cause sores, either of which might raise the risk of HIV transmission. Some untreated STIs can also lead to infertility, organ damage, certain types of cancer or death.

Oops! That comes from the Mayo Clinic on STDs.

Organ damage can make a marriage stronger!


There’s more. But the UBT has overheated. Read the whole blame-shifting, catch-a-unicorn mess here.

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.
  • What putrid bullshit is this?

    This advise is very helpful for Marriage Counselors and Cake Eaters but Chumps are double chumped by this narrative. Gah, there is not even a mention of exiting the marriage or the abusive nature of it all. A cheater wrote this crap.

      • Dr Cheatershit,
        Report to the newsletter. Your classic tome has been published. Maybe your wife/husband won’t keep that attorney appointment now

    • Where’s the advice for those of us who had a cheater that just up and bailed and abandoned the marriage? We’re always conspicuously absent from that discussion which really makes it that much more isolating and painful. It’s like no one even considers that the cheater will actually leave and has zero remorse.

      • So true. These type of things always paint the picture of the cheater actually loving their spouse but something just went wrong… But deep down they’re really committed to the relationship and everything will work itself out.
        If they both put the work in.
        I like many others was quickly discarded and my whole world flipped upside down.
        Many people with children are left for their cheating partner. Why is this never in the conversation?
        Esther P’s quest for aliveness doesn’t address that issue either.

        • I think this is connected to the whole “cheating is a mistake” narrative. No one *tries* to make a mistake, and everyone recognizes that making mistakes is a bad idea and attempts not to repeat mistakes. If cheating is a mistake then the cheater will, of course, regret doing it and try not to repeat it. This whole narrative is familiar to anyone who has forgotten to pay a credit card bill, or put a red sweater in with the whites. It doesn’t, at its core, upend anyone’s core sense of relationship reality, because we have all made mistakes in our marriages.

          But what if your spouse could – one day, with no warning – deliberately betray you and destroy your collective life? It’s not a “mistake” if it was done on purpose, with foresight and planning, and with no regret or apology (or even admission). This is too threatening a concept to most people, so it doesn’t even rate mentioning as a scenario. Plus, of course, for people with a financial stake in promoting reconciliation there’s no possibility of payment if the cheater has already decamped.

          • Agreed. It’s too threatening. People don’t actually want to believe that humans can be monsters.

            • This. I legit called my ex a “monster without a heart” when he went back to her last week, right before I blocked him on everything and said the only thing I would contact him about was the divorce.
              The reality is, the ones who do not want to work on it, may be the worst of the worst.. however, in some contexts, maybe we have it better because we can cut it off and move on with our lives, rather than having the narcissistic hoover. As much as it fucking sucks.. I keep trying to remind myself.. he’s your problem now hunny. He’s a mess, but I am glad he’s not my mess.

              Human nature wants to believe there are not monsters like this.. but the reality is 95% of the cheaters are horrible people.

          • Yes, this narrative perplexes me as well because even if it was a one-night stand and the cheater appears remorseful afterward, it wasn’t a “mistake”: it was a whole series of conscious decisions. And the “mistake” narrative is just patently ridiculous when talking about the concealment of a months- or years-long affair. But I guess it’s all just par for the course–cheaters gaslighting chumps as usual…. It’s disheartening, to say the least, when an august institution like the Mayo adds their voice to the gaslighting. I think you’re right that the only possible motivation must be RIC psychologists wanting to make $$ off chumps and their faux-remorseful cheaters.

        • Yep. The reasons for cheating never mention “I’m an entitled asshole and I deserve kibbles”. Which is pretty much the only reason.

      • Chumparoona, I feel the same way. After my husband of 14 years dropped his ‘I fell in love with a stripper on the east coast’ bomb, I calmly spent all night pleading for marriage counseling for our sake and for our brand new babies (1 and 2 years old at the time). He agreed at first and then he messaged his affair partner and told her we were going to try to work it out, and she responded that her period was late and she thought she might be pregnant. That was enough for him to instantly go back on the promise of counseling, and the next morning he simply took his packed bags and drove 1,500 miles away from me and our babies. 20 hours from the moment of discovery of the affair to him driving off to his romantic new beginning while I sobbed and vomited on the floor with my babies crawling on me. I moved back to CA to live with my mom for a year and then eventually got a rental house for me and the kids. We’ve been here happily for 6 years. As for me personally, it’s safe to say I’m at MEH. I’ve had my Tuesday. But the pain my kids go through because of his absence and the loss of our intact family? That spikes my BP and makes me filled with rage on their behalf, and that never, ever ends. He’s been promising them he’s ‘going to buy a plane ticket’ and come see them. He’s been saying that on Skype for 6 years now. My sweet, wonderful little 8-year-old daughter said to me the other day through tears ‘You know what, Mom? I’m starting to think Dad’s just been lying this whole time. He’s never going to come see me and he doesn’t care either. I just want to scream at him and tell him he shouldn’t be promising that! The other day my friend was at the gate after school at pickup time and said she was looking around for her dad. And I just wanted to yell ‘No, you don’t understand. I’M looking for MY dad, but he’s never coming!’ And she sobbed in my arms for a good 10 minutes. This is just one of dozens of similar breakdowns both my son and daughter have gone through because of what he’s done.
        Mayo Clinic, you can f*** right off. Advocating that affairs can provide some ancillary benefit to marriage is like saying cancer has its upsides. Affairs destroy lives, and these people that are disordered enough to engage in them are often perfectly fine with innocent children becoming collateral damage. Thank God he didn’t go through with counseling with me. I’m thankful for that every day because I can see who he really is now (thanks in large part to Chump Lady), and that human being capable of hurting me and his own flesh and blood would NOT have changed just because we sat across from a third party who he could lie to as well.
        Side note: She never was pregnant, by the way, but has accidentally-on-purpose gotten pregnant twice with him since then and he now has 2 boys with her that he actually raises. My kids have to watch him be a dad to some other family on Skype while they’re left out in the cold. These are the moments when my MEH slips off my healing cracker a little, but as CL advocates, all we can do is be the present, sane parent. Screw the RIC!!! They’re nothing more than false-hope peddling charlatans. You’re better than that, Mayo Clinic.

        • As a child of an absent father ( he left when I was 1 year old) I’m grateful that instead of years of mindfuckery- it was clear – he never contacted me, he had different family, other kids, I didn’t even know what I was missing.
          Yes, it sucked at times ( there is a special place in hell for parents who decided to leave the kids) but in general- I was ok.
          Please, if possible, cut this piece of shit …. Go no contact, don’t let him break their little hearts over snd over again. It’s so cruel- to promise them a visit and never deliver ????
          To let them watch to be a father to other kids, but never to them
          The never ending stream of rejection….
          I can assure you- as long as you are ok and kids have some good male role models ( coach, cousins, teachers, your male friends, neighbors etc) to look up too- THEy WILL BE OK.

          Your post made me really mad????????????
          Breaking a heart of another adult is one shitty thing, but playing with hearts of innocent children…????????????

          • I lived this as well. Cut him off, it’s so bad for little girls to have this shit in their lives.We had a great mom and were better off without him.

            • I wish I could cut him off with every fiber of my being. But the court order I have dictates that he be given ‘visitation’ via Skype. My daughter told me this week she no longer wants to talk to him. This next video call that’s scheduled, her brother (who keeps the calls really short) will answer and she’s going to go into my room and we’re going to snuggle and watch cooking shows together. I wish I could take this pain from her. It’s killing me to see her in so much pain. It’s in moments like these that I want to say ‘hey, sweet girl, mommy will be back in a minute, ok?’ Then I want to fly to the east coast, ring his doorbell, kick him squarely in the cash and prizes, and fly home. Thanks for your support, all! I know many of you relate.

        • I am so sorry you have to deal with that.

          I know it is all painful for all of us, but for me I still think having young children is the worst. I don’t know how I could have done it. But, you are and I am sure you are doing a good job of caring for your children.

          “Screw the RIC!!! They’re nothing more than false-hope peddling charlatans. You’re better than that, Mayo Clinic.”

          I agree, except I wonder if the MC is better than that, I hope they respond to the push back and prove you right.

      • Exactly! The whole premise of MAYO’s shit-filled hoagie is inaccurate, so the body of work is pointless to read. However, it does make good fodder for the UBT!! 😀 lol!

      • Same
        I didn’t even get the chance to do the pick me dance I was stone cold abandoned . Never a look back

        I think everyone thinks everyone gets a some what remorseful cheater or even a sorry , us abandoned ones got none of that

        We didn’t stand a chance

        • Another one, abandoned for ex girlfriend from school after 26 years. Never admitted, always denied in spite of the emails waved in his stupid smug face. Massive blame piled on to me while he did the sad sausage pity me dance with mutual friends and his disordered family. We met once in real life after I had found out about the affair. At the end of what was a very difficult conversation, I said to him ‘I was suicidal. I called the Samaritans. I had a safety plan at hand at all times. I’m on anti-depressants and in therapy’. His ugly, bland face just stared with the dead eyes of a vacant brittle expired crab. Nothing, not a glimmer of remorse, regret, sorrow, care for a woman who had given him everything she had to give. This from a man who did the whole wallowing in sorrow because he was so moved by the suicide of his close male school friend. Sad face and tears eyes every time the boy’s name was mentioned. And yes, I have asked myself many times since my discard what the ex’s real role in that might have been. Put it this way, at the very least he would not have been there when his friend needed him.

          People who have affairs are the lowest of the low. Mayo Clinic, you are added to my long list of enablers and apologists for whom I have nothing but disrespect and disdain.

        • I don’t think everyone thinks that at all.

          Yes my ex circled back, but it was never remorse, of that I am sure. He just needed to try to destabilize me, just in case he could use me again. Hell, I let him use me for a second time; and he shit all over me even worse. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. My only regret is I let him.

          I doubt my ex ever spent any time reflecting, or in remorse. He was never going to think about what anybody wanted except for himself.

          What I did get that you likely haven’t seen yet (doesn’t mean it won’t happen) is my ex continued on a downward spiral due to his own shitty decisions. Only difference is he didn’t have me to blame anymore, but I assure you he blamed someone. The mayor, the whore, the universe, whatever.

          My hope for you is when you do see it, you will be so wrapped up in your new life that it won’t matter that much.

          My ex, by his own admission had been cheating on me for over half of our marriage. I never really had a chance either. Not because there was something wrong with me, but because he never bonded to me, at all. If he had he couldn’t have treated me as he did. Same as with yours I assume.

          I still maintain these folks do not change who they are. A snake remains a snake.

        • Are you familiar with the book Runaway Husbands by Viki Stark? You may find it helpful. It deals specifically with spousal abandonment.

          • Second this recommendation: I read this book before I found CL’s book, and it saved my sanity (I love the companion volume Planet Heartbreak as well; there was something so healing at the time about reading woman after woman telling essentially my story).

            Spousal abandonment is a different animal from the remorse/wreckonciliation cycle the Mayo is talking about here. I’m not saying it’s worse, just different–with different consequences for recovery, contact strategies, custody, etc. I also really liked Margalis Fjelstad’s Healing from a Narcissistic Relationship in this regard.

          • Thirding this rec. It helped me wrap my head a bit around the fact that he just up and left me.

        • I agree, one day, out of the blue, he said, “we need to talk. I don’t think we’re happy.” I asked if we could work on it – seek marriage counseling. He said, “No.” My vote meant nothing to him. He lied about there being someone else. But, as suspected, he left me for a girl half his age. He never looked back – except to blame me – I was never happy…I never loved him…

          Reading this BS from the Mayo Clinic just kicks me in the gut. I’m tired of this narrative that “it takes two to tango.” No, it doesn’t. It takes two to make a marriage – only one to destroy a marriage. When will liars and cheaters be held accountable, society???

      • I agree, that makes it even more painful.

        However, I believe for the most part (not always) but most cheaters have no remorse; not even the ones who circle back. Most of the time they are circling back to get themselves in a better position to exit with more of their stuff, and to tell folks; see I tried.

        • It’s true! this is how it feels, so he can say “I tried and still didn’t work”
          I always felt he came back but has never truly been remorseful, he wanted me to accept that he made a big sacrifice to leave the lover so we could stand a chance, and how I wasn’t seeing that.

      • The reason for that is because they think that if your cheater left you must’ve deserved it / been impossible to live with / sexuall deficient.

        • Exactly. I too was abandoned without any way to try to reconcile. Now I’m thankful (no back and forth or pick me dance) but it’s still so painful that when a spouse cheats and leaves, many put the fault on the Chump. I was told by a man (my personal trainer) “FW must have been very unhappy” —- insinuating that I didn’t do enough for him. I was told by FW’s GRANDMA that I should use my “feminine wiles” to “win him back” —- because clearly I wasn’t fulfilling him sexually or dressing nice enough to keep a man. FFS it’s no wonder we’re all traumatized and need therapy. The MAYO clinic deserves a swift kick in the ass for this misinformation. Makes me want to organize sending thousands of letters to them. But then we’d just be considered “angry and bitter” right? ???? There’s so much bullshit mythology protecting cheaters, isn’t there?

          • I’m sorry you had to hear those awful comments. In my case, Fuckwit was unhappy, because of his own internal make up and lack of relationship skills. His coping mechanism to feeling the sadz was to have a secret relationship with constant kibble supply.
            I didn’t have a chance to’ woo’ him back-they carried out their plan to break up both their families.
            Those of us who are completely discarded one day to the next are left out of all these cheater narratives. But it happens. I think people think that it’s so much work, so damaging to break up a family… that people must only do it if it was an awful situation. Well everyone in my house was completely duped and we weren’t let in on the fact that our happy family life was an awful situation. And I was told I was loved, and we were having sex – unlike all the narratives out there about a sexless marriage.
            The healing is long and hard and even most therapists don’t get it!

            • “And I was told I was loved, and we were having sex – unlike all the narratives out there about a sexless marriage.’

              Right? I was giving him my emotional and physical love, not knowing there was another woman who was in his mind and heart. He put on a good show.

              Oh the last couple months we were together I knew there had to be someone else. I knew something was wrong at the beginning of the year of discard. I asked him about why he was being so distant and not spending much time with me, he put it off to work stress and he needed space. So I backed up and gave him space to finish bonding with the whore.

              But up to that last year he was playing the devoted family man to me and to the community. In hindsight I knew he still needed me to secure his promotion. He got the promotion late in the year of 1988, by the end of Jan 1989 I noticed the change.

              During that year we still went to all the social functions that helped him, and he sat in church with me (which helped his image). By mid year he started love bombing again and convinced me to co sign for a river property. As soon as the signatures had dried, he started with drawing again.

              By the end of the year, just before Christmas if I came near him, or tried to hug him; he accused me of being clingy. In bed one night I reached over to lay my hand on his side and he slammed my hand away.

              I went into hunker mode and never reached out to him again. He moved out Jan second of 1990. The D was final 14 Feb of 1991. He did come back and it lasted a week, he treated me even worse than before. I figured out in short order he only came back to be able to get his politicking done in the family car. That is how little I meant to him as a human being with feelings.

              • ‘I was giving him my emotional and physical love, not knowing there was another woman who was in his mind and heart. He put on a good show.’
                Talk about being used. Yeah that’s not abusive at all. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg. People have to start equating cheating with abuse and with trauma.

          • I am appalled at the laziness of the article. It is a generic, one-size-fits-all, RIC-roll with no substance. Articles like these are everywhere. Nothing enlightening or helpful, no personal confessions, just tropes. Reading the article is like turning on Channel 7 news and getting “5 tips on how to prevent global warming”: 1. Turn off lights when not in use……

    • If they wanted this to have validity (and “follow the science”) they should have done a peer review of this “study”, by Chumps. Especially from long marriages with children…

      That way, all of OUR IMPROVED lives (after traumatic, long term betrayal) could be further encouraged and amplified.

      Cheaters AND OR Idiots wrote this and no, I won’t click on it again.

      I don’t want them to think their study had value.

      It sucks.

    • There is a link for a contact form on the mayo website to report website issues. I submitted, ‘This is misinformation and will lead to further health problems. It is also victim blaming and gaslighting. Infidelity has to do with abuse. Most of the time a cheater has a disordered personality and cheats as a manifestation of entitlement. It is not the victims fault. If anyone of your ’causes of infidelity’ were accurate a healthy human would talk with their partner before leaving a marriage. Please take the page down or do a complete rewrite with accurate information about abuse and add under domestic violence.

    • These kinds of articles kept me lingering in a dying marriage for nearly 3 years. Why isn’t it ok to just LEAVE?!

  • Tempting as it might be, no thank you. On my quest to Tuesday, I religiously wait for CL’s morning post. I am weak, lonely and vulnerable (the reasons my soon to be ex validated her affair) and it is tempting to believe in unicorns and contemplate rekindling with my ex, but thankfully CL reminds me, you, us, that we are better off without these freaks. Actually, Mayo, the thought of any intimacy with my ex is so repulsive I’d rather, just yuck, no thank you— my ex and her twu wuv howling like rapid cats in heat is just … Ugh. No thank you. Thanks to CL for being the voice of reason. Tuesday here I come.

    • You are not weak – you are changing. You will look back and see how strong you are and feel very proud. You are becoming wise. You are becoming more whole. You’ll see this for the gift it is (shitty as it feels).

      keep going.

  • Everyone can have a excuse for anything
    Cheaters always have excuses.
    Always someone’s else’s fault.
    Sometimes you don’t realise how crap your ex/partner is.
    I had surgery heart stopped would partner help with kids no. Heart attack ex not interested. But I was supposed to be interested in him when sick. Foot broken, ankle in words of consultant devastated, still not interested. He actually said it was my fault. Did he ever offer help.cause not.

    • Mine wanted me to accept 50/50 blame for what he did (7 year “primary” affair, additional shorter affairs, Craigslist hookups, prostitutes, online flirtations, and lots and lots of porn). Somebody on here, and I truly wish I could remember who it was, wrote something along the lines of “One person is capable of destroying a marriage all by themselves. And a person with low integrity and character is just the person to do it.” Forgive the paraphrase.

      Uh, Mayo Clinic? Why on earth would a respected medical institution advise people to stay in a relationship that has the potential to destroy their physical and mental health??

      Next up: Love sugar, but are diabetic? Keep eating it and maybe your pancreas will suddenly decide to start producing insulin again!

      • Hell, Ivyleaguechump, my ex wanted me to accept 100% responsibility for his cheating. No, thanks, asshole.

        • Mine tried that, as well, then magnanimously allowed that he might be 50% responsible.

          In our short-lived therapy sessions, the therapist finally bluntly said to the A-hole, “this isn’t her fault, and you need to quit trying to blame her.”

          The pretzels cheaters will turn themselves into in order to maintain their own belief that they are a good person is stunning, if not predictable.

          • It’s really, really amazing the lies and deceit they tell themselves to make themselves feel better about their lack of values and integrity. But, I mean.. most of these people are pathological liars, so it never surprises me that they also lie to themselves as much as everybody else.

      • ABSURD. It s absurd that you should shoulder even 1% of the blame. I write a series about this where I created a fictional character named Hutchins who likes to try to use cheater-speak excuses in other areas of life. I have a post about him trying to justify car theft in a courtroom, one where he steals a burrito out of some guy’s hand, and one where he tries to blame shift as he’s calling out of work. When put in any of those contexts, the absurdity of the excuses are very easy to see. Why is it though that these lame excuses somehow hold water when they’re used about cheating?

        After my ex left me and our babies, I got my bachelor’s degree at night in criminal justice. In one of the classes, I learned about a crime theory that explains how and why criminals justify their actions using what’s known as ‘neutralization’. It’s a way for them to still feel good about themselves when their actions are anything but good. They minimize the offense, they blame the offender, they use ‘softer’ wording about the crime, they claim the crime was for some ‘greater good’… there’s a long list of ways they do this. They employ these excuses/re-frame reality so they don’t experience cognitive dissonance (discomfort felt when actions don’t match up to belief about the self). Fits the behaviors of cheaters like a glove. If you want to read it, it’s titled ‘Crime Theory Meets Cheater-Speak’.

        Cheers Ivyleaguechump! Gonna go eat a donut and hope my pancreas has a change of heart.

        • Thank you! That helped quite a bit. I honestly wondered if the fuckwit was a sociopath; however, after reading your article, I believe he did double-think and has made a lifetime of excuse making. The article on “Lying” by Jonathan Wallace was also helpful because he says ‘lies become habitual and the goals may be of decreasing importance”. There’s so much insight between your article and Jonathan Wallace’s.

        • Fantastic article and it really aligns well with the mind of a cheater. I asked often.. what do you think people would think if they knew about what you have done and who you really are? – Which usually sent him spiralling, or.. no response and dead eyes.

          I guess my only solace in this all, is that the criminal behaviours will continue until he gets significant therapy.. all the while proving to multiple people that he is, in fact, a terrible person. Meanwhile, I continue to shine bright and be a good person. Peace out loser!

  • Sounds like a mini penis dickhead doctor who wanted to write an article about justifying his whorish ways. He’ll probably send it to his poor wife saying….”Read this! It’s from work and since we are doctors, we are right!” Stick to cancer dickheads! Healthy relationships is definitely not up your whore ass wheelhouse.

  • Don’t make rash decisions…can you make decisions based on rashes?

    Anyway. The best thing I did was file for divorce while I was just 3 days out from DD. I sat at the local library with the electronic form pulled up and a article about how most women who work at rub and tug places are victims of sex trafficking and pushed file.

    I waffled alot in the coming month hell even after the divorce but the initial disgust and anger pushed me to protect my financial well being if nothing else.

    Every time he bitches about his mountain of debt (he left with only HIS student loans) in response to any request for child support. I am glad I reacted rashly.

  • Shows the degree to which basic tenets of the RIC are accepted as true throughout the culture, despite the lack of specificity, peer-reviewed study, or objective supporting data. Pretty terrifying.

    Thank goodness CL is out there calling the emotional leech-mongers on their shit.

    • “However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.” Really? “Most” marriages? How many out of how many? What are the sources of these data? Right on Nomar!

      • I thought that too—Never heard of data showing 50+% of marriages improve after cheating comes to light. If it’s 5% I would be shocked.

      • This is a non-falsifiable statement.

        How do you know if “both spouses are committed to real healing”? Because they don’t divorce! If they divorce, then obviously they weren’t both committed. Ergo, in 100% of cases, spouses who are committed to real healing see their marriages survive.

        • Exactly so, IG. And what is non-falsifiable cannot be tested. Or so sez this scientist.

  • I’m one of those loonies who stayed. I’m not going to explain my reasons or the story, it’s irrelevant now, the infidelity happened a long time ago, there was no Chumplady back then an things are actually good now. BUT… Of course, there is a but…
    I know that his infidelity was /is a dealbreaker. It changed me. I know there is no cure for it, even with a remorseful and truly changed partner. I can honestly say, he’s not the same person he was back then. And neither am I. What I wanted to say before I “outed” myself, reconciliation is aoverrated, it’s an euphemism for “eat-shit you stupid chump”. I’m very pro divorce and I’m not even married. If somebody cheats, it’s over. Period. I really despise all the people and institutions that feed of the poor chumps, getting them hooked on hopium and charging exorbitant prices for that. In the, we are still chumps, they just took more money and confidence from us, so we can’t leave.

    • Hi al K – I’m so interested in your story because I too have stayed, having found out seven years ago about an entire marriage full of infidelities (25+ years, including through my pregnancies, parents’ death, illnesses etc etc). He is now reformed and I am sure isn’t looking for any more on the side, partly because he was terrified by how strongly and angrily I responded, how close he came to being outed in our community, how close he came to being on his own, but the main reason I think is that his testosterone levels have dropped with age, so he is less angry and aggressive, but also has no sex drive left. This suits me because I don’t fancy him at all now – knowing where he’s ‘been’ – but the relationship is now a kind of friendship. It’s OK and I’ve kept my home and a stable life. I’ve acquired a new toughness and determination to do what I want and not put his needs before mine, but there’s no way I would consider this a better marriage than one in which there had never been infidelity. I do sometimes wish I’d had the courage to leave and I wish I’d found CN at that time – I read all the reconciliation stuff and believed it. I think if cheaters realised how loathsome they make themselves by their actions, and that they can never undo it, they just might think twice about it. My message for Chumps wondering whether to go for reconciliation, is to leave if you can, because even if the cheater does reform, the relationship is tainted for ever.

      • My situation was/ is much less interesting and dramatic, I have to admit. I admire your resiliance. I couldn’t agree more, the relationship is tainted forever, that’s why I still come to Chumplady and read not only her texts but all of the comments too.

        The relationship with my partner now is much like yours, more like a friendship, I have to admit, his infidelities were nothing compared to stories I read here, he was young and stupid, it was more or less an emotional affair with a friend of ours. Only couple of friends know, none of the relatives. I wouldn’t/couldn’t stay if they knew. I was very depressed for al long time, started drinking heavily, then stopped one day and I’m sober for the last 10 years or so.

      • Yes, a therapist friend of mine (30+ years of experience) says that he follows the lead of his clients to some extent, but even if they are determined to make it work, he’s blunt about the realities. If they are on the fence, he’s super blunt and recommends not reconciling. He perpetually has a waiting list and is fine if a client ends it with him there, but he’s seen too many negatives to universally recommend staying.

        • This is interesting.. my therapist today did mention that in some cases people can change and really be better. He’s seen it. However, he said that the only way it happens is if the cheating POS decides to do it themselves for themselves, not because somebody pushed them to do it. AKA. It is very rare.
          Your friend sounds like my therapist. He asked me if there would ever be reconciliation for us.. but I’ve established a boundary I know my husband will NEVER achieve. Moving out on his own to be alone (he moved in with the loser he cheated on me with, who knew the entire time he was married and trying to work it out with me) for a significant amount of time, and some in-depth therapy (he’s against therapy because he thinks he’s fine).. my therapist is blunt and to the point, saying I am way too good for the cheating POS, but clearly if the next time we talk I am back with him, he will try to support me that way too.

      • Agree, TAINTED FOREVER. Betrayed spouse is forever changed by the betrayal (and not better–mentally, physically, etc.)

      • ” I think if cheaters realized how loathsome they make themselves by their actions, and that they can never undo it, they just might think twice about it. ”

        I don’t think most of them care. They just keep lying and excusing themselves. My ex went on to cheat on the whore after they married. Twice that my son and his wife knew about. Whore made a big deal out of leaving him for a day or two. My guess is he took his other whores under ground, and convinced her he was done cheating. He in short time started getting pretty sick, so he likely aged out of a stiff dick, so the cheating likely stopped at that point. She still had her meal ticket, though it lost a lot of value with his gambling and stupid decisions. Still something is better than nothing from her view I suppose.

        I agree with you that I would advise folks to get out. I am so glad I was not give much of a chance to reconcile. It would have been a miserable life. Instead, whore got that life.

        I got to go on and earn several promotions, in short time out earning my ex. I have to say, I loved that.

    • I totally agree, Alk. It’s really not something that will ever truly overcome.

  • Hmmm…, I wonder if CL is in danger of being silenced because she doesn’t fit the narrative. Are there fact checkers out there that are going to plaster a banner across her web site that cautions a reader to get their facts from the Mayo Clinic?

  • “If you are BOTH committed to healing your relationship ”
    How do you determine the commitment of a cheater? Is there a special blood test that can determine that? Can you tell on an echo that their heart grew three sizes? Their words may say it but their behavior certainly doesn’t show it.

    • ☝️ This. I tried reconciliation for a brief time – right up until I saw him refer to me as “the ex” in an email to one of the girlfriends. Thus confirming another lie to me that he had “told her everything” – apparently he skipped the part about still being married and trying to reconcile, which was his idea.

      • Reminds me of an outline ex wrote just days after dday to take to his attorney consult appt. One of the bullet points read “other woman – who needs to know now?”

        I came across the paper a few weeks later while emptying a trash bin in his home office – he had already moved out. It was torn into bits but I pieced it together & took it to my next therapy session.

      • I also tried reconciliation after 3 affairs came out on D-Day one. Went to 9 months of therapy, where I was asked to “take my share of the blame for not meeting my wife’s needs” by the therapist. Turns out, the ex was engaging in ANOTHER affair, this time with her boss the entire 9 months of therapy. I found out about it and brought it up in session. The therapist said… “Oh, I’m just so shocked and taken aback that this could possibly happen. I almost don’t believe it.” The ex-wife confessed to secret meetings, lying to me and to the therapist in order to continue to cover up the affair, but continued to try to blame me… “Oh, he was never going to get over the first affairs, so what was the point of me even trying? I need affection too and he was too wrapped up in his own grief and depression to give it to me. If he wasn’t so depressed all the time, maybe I wouldn’t have had to get what I needed from my boss.” She actually said that with a straight face, with not a hint of self-reflection as to why I was depressed. Moral of the story: They never change and couples therapy is a complete waste of time. Don’t bother. I moved out, divorce is in the process of being finalized, and I’m currently building a better life. It’s amazing how much the depression simply melted away after I moved out.

        • Yes the crazy moves out and the peace moves in. At the time you’re so lost in grief you just don’t realise your life is just beginning.

        • Wowza.. narcissistic much? You dodged a bullet and clearly are 150% better than her.

    • No one is committed to a relationship they betrayed. Those things don’t live together.

    • I’ve been trying to figure this out for the 2-1/2 years I’ve stayed post second D-Day. It’s just finally hit me that the words and promises mean nothing. There’s been sporadic action, but nothing that’s too inconvenient or takes up too much of his time. He recently admitted to still having a major problem with lying, and doesn’t seem inclined to take any extra steps to change this. Enough is enough.

      • It took me a long time to figure that out as well, Dee! Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words. As a good friend told me, “It takes what it takes,” and it took what it took until I finally took the leap of faith (in myself) and my faith is so much better placed in myself than cheater X.

        You can do it too!

  • Well thank you Mother Mayo. Guess who my provider is? My therapist.
    The Mayo masterminds do know about personality disorders, STD’s and other abuse? Ohhh Mother Mayo…..

  • Reading this article made me start to shake a little bit. It’s this narrative, that SO many people believe is true, that continues to cause me suffering: the false equivalency.

    “The partner who has been cheated on might feel traumatized by the betrayal of trust and obsessively think about the details of the affair. The partner who committed the infidelity might fear being punished forever.”

    Awww, both cheater and chump are traumatized and sad. Awwww.

    It’s similar to what X fuckwit said to me, “We are both human KathleenK; and we both made mistakes.”
    Just the other day a “friend” started lecturing me about forgiveness and how my kids (NC with their dad and 22 and 24)must have a relationship with their dad -it’s the right thing to do. And where does she pick up this shit? Articles like this.

    • Oh god yes. Same. 100% agree that this article supports the idea that cheaters and chumps are BOTH suffering.

      And the implication is that the chump is at fault.

      As my ex likes to say, “You (Spinach) weren’t perfect either.” OH FFS!

      And I, too, have been given the side-eye by some who think it’s terrible (and overly punishing) for my adult children and me to have seized all contact with the cheater/emotional abuser.

      One neighbor exulted in how a friend of hers remains friends with her ex. “They even walk the same dog!” She was holding them up as a model of how divorced people SHOULD be. It makes everyone feel better when cheaters and chumps play nice. “Oh, and let’s not use that word ‘cheaters.’ So judgy! Be evolved! Forgive already!” #Demi&Bruce

    • KathleenK, where do people get off with their telling your adult children what they should and shouldn’t do?

      3 of my adult kids chose no contact with their dad. ExMIL kept getting up in their grills about it when they visited. They asked her to stop. She didn’t. So they stopped seeing her as well.

      • It’s wonderful to see their strong boundaries. Hard lesson to learn for Grandma but they did the right thing.

    • Yes, mine are in their twenties as well and have been no contact for several years now. They were commuter college students during the divorce process. When I went no contact and had my attorney take over everything, I explained what that was to them and why, and they both told me a few days later that they were going to do the same.I didn’t share a lot with them beyond major decisions like that and things that affected them directly.

      I’ve taken flack for that, but it’s absurd to think as a parent that I could control their relationship with their father when they had their own email accounts, cell phones, and were on campus most of the day. Of course, I encouraged them to work through things, but at no time did I block or discourage them from keeping in touch with him. I paid for therapy for both of them as long as they felt they needed it. I never asked what they talked about with the therapist or friends of theirs that they discussed the situation with.

      In many ways, I wish it was a lesson that I had learned in my 20’s. They know now that you are always in control of who is a close to you, and that you can choose who to keep away. I had to become a “gray divorcee” learn that. That’s kind of late, but at least I got there.

    • It is so frustrating. It’s because cheating is not considered abuse. When cheating is recognized as abuse the entire conversation changes.
      The level of trauma betrayal causes is astronomical. Yet, this article shows how it’s considered to be on the same level as a family squabble, or a hard misunderstanding, or somebody being hurt over their birthday not being celebrated properly. NO, it’s life altering betrayal that affects the entire family system for generations.

      The hard facts are never ever touched on by people who consider cheating just another blip in relationships.
      They seem to have fairytale ideas of cheating. No STDs, no financial losses (sometimes dire), no mental health leaves from work, no destruction of families, no trauma to the spouse or children, no suicidal thoughts or long-term depression, no future consequences for the children involved. Rather cheating is treated like a one off bad couples date that both people in the relationship can heal from (because they both created it).
      They also seem to imply that the relationship just goes on as usual while the cheater is having an affair. And that the only thing that has to be dealt with is the specific deceptive sexual exchange… As if it happens in isolation.
      The spouse is being devalued and used. This can take the form of passive aggression, aggression, rejection, emotional abuse, stonewalling, manipulation, gaslighting, unequal parenting, unequal trying to take care of everything in the home and relationship – while a cheater is off trying to heal their ‘pain’… The spouse is not being treated in loving ways. But since the spouse doesn’t know what’s going on, they just keep trying harder – while their self-esteem decreases.
      Then the blame-shifting – which is more emotional abuse.
      The whole cycle is abusive.
      So much is not talked about, so much is not understood or recognized, And articles like this just add salt to the wound.
      And after all this, the chump has been so devalued and diminished, that they blame themselves for their own abuse.
      And we get to have articles like this explain cheating to society.

    • This. “The partner who committed the infidelity might fear being punished forever.”

      FFS. DUH!! You made your bed now lie in it. If you are not punished by your chump, I hope you remain punished by Karma, your own shame and guilt, and the world around you. Mayo you suck ass. If my husband fears being punished forever, maybe that is a point he should reflect on. He is a trash person. And he deserves all the bad karma and more.

      I hate that “we both made mistakes” narrative. It goes back to the.. what, you tripped and fell into his/her genitals? No.. you made a conscious choice to go against vows, to fuck with your commitment to another person, and you are a fucking coward. Your mistake was not being a genuine good person and breaking things off before you destroyed another’s life. That doesn’t measure up to the time I forgot to take the clothes out of the dryer asshole. Not same same. Very different.

    • Better yet…..

      Maybe we can email blast him with links to Dr. Omar Minwalla’s paper on the Secret Sexual Basement?

      Maybe we can send a case of LACGAL to him at the Mayo Clinic?

      Maybe we can hire a manure truck to dump a load into his convertible in the parking lot of the Mayo Clinic and leave a copy of LACGAL like a cherry on the top?

      Our own Gorilla Poop has some experience on delivering snappy responses to idiocy like this.

      I nominate Gorilla Poop as the head of the Chump Lady task force and response team.

      • Dr. Minwalla comes down squarely on the side of the chump, and mentions the lack of resources for the betrayed partner, who often displays symptoms of PTSD. “The Secret Sexual Basement” made me cry with relief. What I experienced is NORMAL, though not healthy. I’m sending his article to the idiots at the Mayo, and a link to CL to Dr. Minwalla.
        And you can BET I’m going to add my voice to any of CN who will be emailing the Mayo.

    • Thanks! I think I’ll write my own email.

      I will reference the following line and ask Dr. Sawchuk (is that really his name?) how they know this:

      “However, when both spouses are committed to real healing, most marriages survive and many marriages become stronger with deeper levels of intimacy.”

      What study? Exactly how many? How do they measure strength and level of intimacy?

      I’ll also ask why they don’t advise people to be STI tested.

      • My point, EXACTLY! This was clearly an OPINION piece. In a medical publication.
        Not. One. Shred. Of. Evidence.
        No research. No statistics.
        No data. No interviews. No STI tests. No DNA tests. No child support/alimony statistics.


        THIS is quack science, right here.
        Wipe the shame off if your face, Mayo. Complete fail.

        • Yet, studies like this were ignored:

          Infidelity in Couples Seeking Marital Therapy.
          Atkins, D. C., Yi, J., Baucom, D. H., & Christensen, A. (2005). Infidelity in Couples Seeking Marital Therapy. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(3), 470–473.

          The revelation of an affair is often an emotionally explosive event for a couple, yet little is known about specific individual and relationship factors that accompany infidelity. The present study examined the qualities of individuals and couples that differentiate couples with (n = 19) and without (n = 115) infidelity using couples from a randomized clinical trial of marital therapy. Findings indicated that couples with infidelity showed greater marital instability, dishonesty, arguments about trust, narcissism, and time spent apart. Gender also proved to be a significant moderator of several effects. Men who had participated in affairs showed increased substance use, were older, and were more sexually dissatisfied. Results offer initial clues to concomitants of affairs for couple therapists. (APA PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

          • ‘Men who had participated in affairs …..were more sexually dissatisfied’ I hate findings like this. Yes people can identify as unhappy as a reason for an affair and say they were sexually unsatisfied. It reads as blame shifting.
            Also, what are the reasons for their dissatisfaction? Are they addicted to porn and thus the real thing is not producing enough endorphins?
            Are they taking into consideration their wife and her needs and trying to continually find a way to have mutually satisfying sex over the years? I could go on, it’s an excuse and it’s blame shifting.
            And Lord knows, sadly there are plenty of sexually bored and unsatisfied wives who are not cheating.
            I think studies should stop asking cheaters why they cheat. Most married people can also say they were unhappy at one point, or bored in the bedroom, or didn’t feel acknowledged or appreciated and blah blah blah. It’s life -marriages go up and down. Most people don’t cheat.
            Let’s ask cheaters why they felt entitled to abuse their partners and families.
            Let’s start asking why society gives cheaters a pass instead.

            • “Let’s ask cheaters why they felt entitled to abuse their partners and families.”

              Right, and as far as sex, I submit that most of them have what normally functioning folks would consider a great sex life. But, what they crave is non stop new partner thrills and the thrill of deceiving their spouse/so. Please, we did it in cars, beaches, porches and many places I have forgotten, not to mention variety. There is no way he was sex starved.

              • I hear you! Mine used to always say the sex was fantastic. Then when he was discarding me and putting me down for this and that, I asked totally destroyed « wasn’t the sex good? » And he looked like he had to think about it and then he said « yeah it was OK »

  • Something tells me there’s a strong likelihood that the person responsible for the Mayo Clinic’s online content was caught cheating on their spouse.

    • Yep.

      I believe the time is coming when CN and a few other voices in the dark, are going to come to light and these assholes will be put to task; I have seen evidence of it.

      I likely won’t live to see the full disclosure and push back, but just knowing folks like CL and others who are on the march including many of the folks who post here, makes me feel better.

      Movements tend to work quietly in the background, then burst forward. I believe it is the same for this movement.

      I personally refer a lot of folks to CL when they find themselves a betrayed and are confused. I also refer them to DM, who works from a faith based perspective. (Not that CL doesn’t have faith) But, betrayal transcends faith and secular and the pain is the same. Excruciating and humiliating and just horrible.

      Cheater will never feel the pain that the betrayed do, they just won’t.

  • Mayo, you disappoint me. This makes me so angry! I went onto the Mayo site and submitted the following comment (didn’t even BEGIN to unpack all the other RIC BS, just focused on abuse):

    This post is irresponsible. Infidelity is abuse, and in my anecdotal and lived experience, many betrayed spouses are also abuse victims. If you’re going to post a page like this, you should acknowledge the potential for abuse/domestic violence, and provide links and phone numbers for access to help. Also link to STI information for betrayed spouses.

    PLEASE SEND MAYO COMMENTS ON THIS PAGE, using the following link:

    Include the link to the Mayo page in your comment:

    Maybe if we mobilize Chump Nation we could make a change, even at Mayo (a culture I know well, very slow to change)

    • I don’t know where the “comment is awaiting moderation” came from?

      Clearly I am triggered by a group of (majority) white, male doctors because my X (white, male doctor) has been wreaking havoc in my life the last week, first with me and then after I cut him off, through his attorney. I FINALLY went no contact, completely and totally, even blocked his emails and set up a fake “bounce back” reply that will go to him if he tries to contact me via email.

      I’m so tired of these abusive, gaslighting bullies beating the chumps down.

      • Anything with multiple links goes to moderation. It’s the spam filter and nothing personal.

      • Thanks, Wooshy! I sent a comment, suggesting they stick with cancer, and that, Oh by the way, HPV causes some types of cancer. In case they forgot.

    • Thank you for taking action. I have used your links to sent a comment to the Mayo Clinic.

        • My pleasure! I was hoping if they got a shit storm of comments on this post, they might realize they have a problem.

    • Just left the following comment, “This Mayo Clinic article on infidelity asks people who are being abused to accept responsibility for other people’s actions. It references nonexistent research on the feasibility of reconciling with one’s abuser. This article is irresponsible and puts vulnerable people in harm’s way by perpetuating false hope based on -at best, anecdotal evidence”

      • They’ve deleted all the complaints/comments in forum. If anyone wants to complain, I suggest contacting the editor directly.

        • Let’s hope they are getting the message! I’d love to hear if anyone – including Chump Lady – hears from Mayo. I just got a canned response to my web form comments. I have some Mayo connections I may try, this is really not like them. They are very conservative, data-based. I didn’t realize they were venturing into relationship advice.

        • Not surprised.

          They don’t want to hear from victims. Makes them no different than the abusers.

    • Also list the short and long term effects of trauma, including a significantly increased risk for suicide.

      Solid points, wooshy.

    • Thank you, I wrote in and I hope others will as well. It’s an irresponsible piece. Cheating is abusive. If I am investing in something, I am entitled to the truth of what I am investing in. If I am being scammed in an investment, it is not up to me and the scammer to work on healing / fixing the problem. I have done nothing wrong. Scammers are highly manipulative and deceptive and we don’t expect this of our marital partners.
      It’s infuriating to read the same old blame shifting and simple simon narrative around cheating from the Mayo clinic.
      ‘Although your Ex’s actions impact your experience, they aren’t really about you or something you lack. They’re about something lacking in your Ex. This doesn’t mean there weren’t other issues in the relationship that both parties could have contributed to, but the act of cheating is a reflection on the cheater, not you’ from Deb Purdy a divorce coach.

      • CL said they have deleted the dissenting opinions.

        That is what Dan Rather meant in the early 70s when he said he got into journalism to shape public opinion. Of course the best way to shape public opinion is to only let one side have their say.

        He who control the press controls the world.

        • Oh and I get the MC is private and they can publish whatever they want, but this goes beyond that. They are harming victims, and covering for abusers and there is not way to challenge them if they won’t print dissenting opinions.

        • I got an email back from Mayo in response to my criticism of the article. I don’t know if they are posting responses but I think you can still write in – I used the link that was put out yesterday and then I put the link to the article I was referring to.

          • I am going to go ahead and try. Can’t hurt.

            What did they say in the response?

            • Canned response, it will be forwarded on. But enough of them will go somewhere and somebody will eventually look at them.

              • Exactly! I got likely the same canned response; but I’m hoping volume of comments will make an impression!

              • I sure hope so. Maybe just maybe there are a couple chumps in that group who will see them and can do something.

                Going against power is always risky.

  • I notice they are only speaking to the chump here. “You might find yourself acting erratically” yeah- don’t think they expect the cheater to read this. It’s up to the chump to do all the emotional heavy lifting. Someone at the Mayo Clinic is a cheater. Imagine getting paid to give bad advice to your spouse. Kind of like that spiritual advisor who was banging the wife.

    • My ex-FIL (also a physician) used to like to tell the story about how one of his partners had an affair and, when his wife found out, she ran into the office waiting room and started yelling. She was unhinged, you see. Erratic! Rash! Off the wall! Hysterical!

      That was the point of the story. Nothing about what a loser the cheater was. No compassion for how this woman must have felt. In fact, there was an implicit understanding that her shrill response made everyone appreciate why the guy cheated in the first place. “Who’d want to be married to that?”

      • *Sigh* Mine too. He told me that he cheated on his high school girlfriend and when he (heroically!) confessed it to her she slapped him. Then she burnt all his photos and love letters.

        He framed it like he was a poor sap who had made a simple mistake and she was a harpy who he, thank God!, didn’t have anything to do with anymore. And I bought it, hook, line, and sinker.

        • Similar stories from my ex while we were dating. Me, trying to ignore the football-field sized red flag.
          They don’t change. The words may change, but the song remains the same.

          Now when someone tells me who they are, I love my “Bye, Felicia!” moments!


    • This is a really good point. Where’s the language directed at the cheater? The entire Mayo post intends to gaslight a cheater’s innate drive to flee their betrayer. I’m so glad CL exists to validate that drive.

  • Cheaters are manipulators, fakers, they can future fake and pretend for years. Then we finally figure out what they’re up to and it’s the only honest glimpse that we get into who they are and the reality of our relationship. It’s shattering for us because we thought our life was a certain way and then we realize it’s all be a lie. It’s crippling, traumatizing, heartbreaking when we discover the cheating. It’s the realization these cheaters live double lives and we’ve just been around for the ride the whole time. You cannot go back to that without losing a huge part of yourself. Many of us try and the cost is more than it’s worth. Mayo Clinic needs to stick with what they actually know something about.

    • It makes you question whether these “experts” really know anything about anything, including cancer or viruses or the heartbreak of psoriasis.

    • My ex admitted he had been “dating” for ten years of our 21 year marriage. He stated that he and the whore he left for had only been “dating” for three years. I found out years later because my son remembered some things from when he was in the 4th or fifth grade that strongly indicated that in fact he and the whore had been “dating” for at least six years and likely ten years.

      All but the last year of that time frame, I was living and making decision based on what I thought was a solid marriage/partnership. I had no idea the money that he was spending on another woman/women (who knows). But, I ran the credit card history for three years and the money reflected on those alone was a massive amount. How do I know it was on another woman, because I know I wasn’t getting jewelry, flowers, expensive dinners and clothing from stores I had never been to. And I am pretty sure he wasn’t donating that to charity.

      In fact there is strong suspicion that her youngest child was indeed his. He denied that to my son, but now my son will never know because both the child (died at age 20) and my ex are dead.

      My son told me that if the whore ever came to him now and tried to say that yes her youngest is his half brother, he would only assume she is now lying to try and exact sympathy and money from him. The time to come clean would have been when they were both still alive.

      • The “what ifs” are the things that keep us up at night. The “friends” that you wonder were really just friends. The possibility of other children, I think many of us wonder about this. So many unanswered questions chumps just have to let go for our own sanity.

  • I’ve been coming here for 5 years. I was with my ex for 17 years on and off. We finally married and he was on dating sites afterwards, never confessed to anything other than just wanting to see how many he matched with. We divorced and I’ve struggled but excelled at work (hit a lot of personal goals). Just found he’s remarried and expecting a baby. He told me many times he didn’t want kids (messy and expensive). Before we got married I was always catching him texting talking to other women, left me for 3 years and then came back about 5 years into relationship. What if with the right woman, who has more self respect he’s changed?

    • SB, poke around the archives. CL has addressed this very question that many people grapple with. It is a hard question and one that can keep a chump stuck in a cycle of self-recrimination.

      Basically, the answer is even he does change it doesn’t matter, he destroyed the relationship with you. But, of course, we all know they don’t change. Just because there is a baby on the way doesn’t mean he wants the child or that he has stopped texting other women.

    • Your ex could be with the most confident woman in the world and I can guarantee you he hasn’t changed one bit. In fact they just get worse. Right now he and his wife (this poor woman has no idea what she is in for) are expecting, wait’ll the baby arrives! No sleep, messes, the production of packing baby stuff just to go somewhere for a couple of hours and the expense. If he’s not trying to hook up with other women now he soon will be…

    • No, they do not change. Here’s what he will most likely do- leave 99% of the parenting to the mother, get cranky when her body is changing/the baby gets attention, and start disappearing. And, even if his new relationship looks nice from where you sit, he was a bad guy for you! He was cruel to you, and getting rid of that situation was correct. (((hugs))) SB

    • I have been thinking about your post SB and in a way you are employing magical thinking. Specifically a twisted variation of the same magical thinking that many OW and OM employ -“I am so special and am so much “better” that my partner’s previous partner that even though they cheated to be with me they would never cheat on me.” Or the other form of magical thinking that I was guilty of way back in the day when I was dating (before I met my ex)- “even though he admitted to cheating behavior in his past – he would never cheat on me, he told me so….” I don’t need to tell you how that turned out!

      From your description he had you pick me dancing for years – he clearly has a major kibble addiction. You have to at some point stop untangling the skein, trust that they suck, stop blaming yourself (you may be doing this subconsciously), accept that the right partner is no cure for a personality disorder and come to terms with the knowledge your ex is completely okay with who he is – a liar and a cheat. As chumps we want to believe that beneath it all there is good in everyone, sadly that just isn’t always true.

    • Do you really believe self respect is a sort of force field that stops cheating or, for that matter, fists and speeding bullets?

      Do you think that someone’s lack of self respect has the power to alter the thoughts, actions and characters of other perfectly good people, telepathically making them do bad things?

      If either is true, I would be a new type of superhero with a switch to turn on and off this magical self respect according to whether I was dodging sniper fire as a war correspondent or manipulating the stock market with my mind by orchestrating group investment behavior. I would rule the world!

      Seriously though, was there ever a cheater who didn’t campaign to lower their victim’s self esteem as part of the general abuse that goes along with betrayal? Even this tendency to scrutinize victim self esteem implies victims have some power over abusers’ behavior.

    • “What if with the right woman, who has more self respect he’s changed?”

      What if with the right woman, who has more self respect, the rapist stops raping?

      What if with the right woman, who has more self respect, the wife beater stops battering?

      They didn’t cheat because we lacked self respect, SB. So no, there’s not a chance in hell of that happening.

      • I guess after many years of playing the pick me dance a part of me decided it was my fault. 1- for allowing someone to treat me with such disrespect 2- it’s dawning on me that after all the work in therapy that little monster in my head still thinks if I had been prettier, less anxious and just happier he would have been happy and not looked elsewhere. I spent years checking bank statements, cell phones and always finding a new crush (of course they were “just friends”). Once every 2 years the rug was pulled out from under me and I was told I was crazy to think 200 text messages in 2 days was normal from a co-worker or not coming home from work until 9pm. It’s always bugged me he only confessed to what he I had proof of. When he was found on the dating site he said we just weren’t compatible and with the right person he’d be different. For some reason the recent news of him remarrying made me go back in time. I know in my head this is ridiculous but there’s this monster of self doubt still inside. XOXO to those that replied, you’re words of encouragement mean more than you’ll ever now. I’m starting to re-read leave a cheater gain a life, I think I need a reminder.

        • Hi SB. I think part of the self blame a victim of anything shitty goes through is the just world fantasy. We want to believe that things happen for valid reasons, because the alternative is a terrifying randomness, meaning we aren’t safe.
          Sadly, luck plays an enormous part in where we end up. First, you were probably born into a family environment that didn’t nurture your self worth, which left you vulnerable, then you met somebody who decided to take advantage of that. Pure chance on both counts. The mind tries desperately to find the element you could have changed which might have changed the outcome. If makes us feel safer if we believe there was something we could have done. So the chump paradox is that we ruminate on the why of it in order to feel better about the world we live in, but need to feel bad enough about ourselves to find some flaw that explains it in order to do so.

          You are a lovely person and he’s scum. That you can be sure of. I hope your luck improves my friend. ❤

    • Think about how hard it is for YOU to institute meaningful change in your life – for example: lose weight, get ripped, level up in your career, or heal trauma.

      It’s HARD, right? You’re looking at YEARS of consistent hard work, and probably hiring outside experts like a therapist or personal trainer.

      Most people never try. Some that do, never succeed. People don’t magically change, let alone overnight.

      The few people who DO change don’t do it for someone else. They do it because they hit a wall, had a come-to-Jesus moment, woke up disgusted with themselves and thought, “I can’t live this way anymore.” Ask any addict or alcoholic in recovery what was their wakeup call. Guarantee you it wasn’t their family begging them to get help. Same for people in cults. Family and friends don’t convince them to leave – if the person’s ever going to wake up, it’s going to be an internal thing.

      This is a long way of saying it’s unrealistic to think your ex changed because “the next woman was better.” That doesn’t happen, though we all fear it. As abuse survivors, we tend to blame ourselves for the abuse. For some reason, it makes more sense to think we caused the abuse than acknowledge the abuser was a shithead.

  • What a load of triggering blame-shifting bullshit.

    Thanks for calling this out CL.

  • Turns out there is a whole Mayo Clinic Connect community online. So many people have posted their infidelity horror stories reporting PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. Most of these comments and letters are from 2017-2019. This morning I have registered for an account and am adding comments and asking pointed questions. Let’s see what happens…

    • Good idea! Some well deserved backlash may be in order for the Mayo Clinic here because this article was gross.

      • I see your comments, MKJ! The Mayo Connect Volunteer Mentor, Ginger has been responding to our comments with, “It takes two to tango”. I’m no Chump Lady or UBT. Please jump back in and add comments

        • It takes two to Tango. The cheater and his accomplice in adultery.

          I can’t figure out the site to get to the right place, so I will have to let the others speak.

    • How do you register for an account and get to this article. I don’t want to register just to receive and bunch of shit in emails and texts.

      I want to zero in to this article and lambast them.

    • Could you ask two questions for me as well? Could they cite research demonstrating that ‘many’ marriages are back on track after infidelity, actually even stronger than before? There’s plenty of research on how much makeup a woman can wear to still appear professional, so I’m sure there’s plenty of evidence of happy marriages after infidelity.

      Second question: any tricks and tips on how a man can strengthen his marital bond while waiting for the results to find out whether he’s the father of his child/ children/ some children?

      Thank them in advance for their answers.

      • ‘Second question: any tricks and tips on how a man can strengthen his marital bond while waiting for the results to find out whether he’s the father of his child/ children/ some children?’????????????

  • You notice how every item is what the chump should or shouldn’t do? Where is the advice for the cheater to keep her panties on? The authors know cheaters won’t be the ones scouring the internet trying to save the marriage. That’s the chump’s job.

    • Exactly right and sadly true. In fact as a freshly annihilated chump, I scoured the internet reading article after article on how to “save the marriage and make it stronger from infidelity”. As I scrambled desperately to find the miracle, he saw my desperation and enjoyed the centrality and ate cake with as many as he could get under his belt.

      • Yup. If you Google “why people cheat,” it’s always going to say because they were unhappy and their needs weren’t being met.
        I’d like to know how many people in marriages are always happy and feel like their needs are always being met? I’ve. Ever met one. Yet strangely, most people don’t cheat.

  • I guess infidelity shit sandwiches are served with Mayo Clinic “Miracle Wish” mayo-substitute.

      • Nomar and Persephone,


        Chump Lady,
        I ❤️ you to the ends of the earth

    • The philandering philatelist preferred Miracle Whip to Hellman’s or homemade. Speaks volumes ????????????????????

  • Wrt moving the needle, I just want to say I stopped by a prominent RIC site (haven’t been there in many months) this morning before CL’s post hit, and read only one person’s story that was remarkably like mine, of the covert-narc variety. She used “Chump” in her screen name and was still in the “What is happening?” skein-untangling stage of discovery. Pretty much every comment over 2 pages told her to get an STD test, snag a lawyer, and run.

    Thanks to online Chump communities, even Mayo Clinic RIC bullshit can be subverted. Thanks to all of you, CL & CN.

  • This is so disappointing coming from the Mayo Clinic. These articles which treat cheating as a “singularity” as opposed to the ongoing abuse it is need to stop. Cheating isn’t a mistake it’s a decision.

    I would love them to study how many people who cheat end up being narcissistic or giving their partners STI’s?

    • Absolutely correct Chumpedtodumped. They should also research how many of us wind up in the discard pile after years of psychological and emotional abuse that infidelity causes. I, too, was Chumped then dumped once I discovered his prostititute and Craigslist hookups etc. Oh and he was juggling 2 mistresses at the time that I know of but I have no doubt there were more aligned for his great escape plan. He had many lines in the waters as I “researched help for us.”
      Cheaters love to dump when it will hurt to the maximum – he waited for the eve of my fathers celebration of life to walk out after 21 years. Blindsides are a cheaters specialty.

      • “Blindsides are a cheater’s specialty.” ^^This. 1000%. My X told me he enjoys “keeping people on their toes.” He just managed it yet again, 4 months after divorce finalized! There was a pension from his previous employer he “didn’t know about” during the settlement phase. Per our decree newly discovered assets are split equitably; after much abuse, he and his lawyer confirmed we’d split 50/50. I thought it was done. Fast forward to last week, his lawyer suddenly announces that due to some trumped up issue (an “issue” only in X’s mind), they’re willing to settle for 75/25! So I’ve spent a week being triggered by this madness with crushing migraines (my primary PTSD symptom). I finally pulled the trigger on NC, blocked everything including emails, even used an app to send him a fake “bounce back” on the email where he told me I need to “have the courage” to respond and “resolve the situation that you (WooshyM) have created.”

        My lawyer is good, called his bluff and told him if they don’t back down and go with the documented 50/50 agreement by noon today, he’s requesting court conference.

        I am trying to re-center, and really looking forward to my Tuesday.

        • Yeah, if cheaters feel remorse, they should facilitate an easy and generous divorce. So many don’t. Good luck, wooshym.

          Stay strong. Hope the migraines go away over time. That sucks.

          • Thank you Spinach! Like yours, my X is a MD who was having an affair with a nurse 20 years younger. I got a great settlement, which of course he is now feeling victimized by. I thought we were done, but as my lawyer said “he seems to be having a hard time letting go of this marriage.”

            For the first time EVER, I resisted all of his bullying and abuse and held tight on what I’m entitled to, which is 50/50 split of this “newfound” pension. It is killing him, he’s used to manipulating/controlling me any way he can. I’ve moved pretty far away from him, have my own house, great job, my own FW-free life. I just need him to let it go so I can move on with my new life.

            Last time I spoke to him, he’s spun it that I’m the one who quit the marriage, since I filed for divorce. What is up with these entitled FW’s? He actually wasn’t even going to tell me about the affair, ever – his GF ratted on him when he tried to break it off. Or so he says.

        • WooshyM, I’m so sorry. I’m am attorney, although on the business side, not divorce (although some business disputes are like a bad divorce), good job going no contact – it really does help. Just let your lawyer handle all of the communications. He can tell your ex’s attorney only to communicate through him. Hopefully it helps reduce your stress – which should be totally unnecessary! – somewhat. And if you can afford it treat yourself to something nice once you have a court order or agreement giving you what you are owed 🙂

          • CheesyGrits, thank you very much. Part of what triggered me was that his lawyer actually sent an email that clearly X had drafted. (What lawyer sends an email to another lawyer asking them to “put yourself in X’s shoes?”). Seeing those words that I knew X wrote (“put yourself in my shoes” is one of X’s favorite expressions because well, he’s a narcissist) – even that triggers me! I’m pissed that his lawyer is doing that, I guess not realizing that he is in fact perpetuating (and legitimizing) abuse. My lawyer says X’s lawyer is fed up with him, they don’t have a leg to stand on regarding this matter, it’s just drama that X created. But of course his drama has a serious physical and emotional consequence for me! I’ve got everything blocked, forwarding all (including angry blocked VM I found yesterday) to my lawyer to handle. I know, it’s late on the NC but it was a process and it took me this long to get here.

            • I understand! I can tell you sometimes it is just easier to send the email the client wants you to and basically throw up your hands. I’m sure he’s a difficult client. Not your problem of course, but that’s what it sounds like reading between the lines.

              Total NC was when I finally got some peace, and it took me a bit to get there as well. Best wishes your court issue is resolved ASAP and sets you totally free, WooshyM[ighty]! And I hear you on these idiots not even seeing their basic responsibilities through to get what they say they want. I also had to file for divorce even though I very much did not want it at the time, because he couldn’t be bothered to do it himself. Oh well, looks better that way on the docket in retrospect!

            • These narcs must make terrible clients. I’m sure my ex’s lawyer wanted to throttle him (my ex). My own lawyer described my ex as a “snake.” Suckitude on full display. All those years of being revered as a doc came crashing to an end. He couldn’t pretend to be decent when he was stressed and didn’t have me to calm him. That’s my theory. He’s fragile and disordered. Occasionally, I wonder how he’s managing now. Then I dismiss the thought…cuz meh.

      • OMG. The eve of my birthday.. he may have left on my birthday but I said to him.. listen, go now, it’s my birthday tomorrow and I want a fresh new start without you in it.. Fuck off!

        He later apologized for being so brutal before my birthday, and wished me happy birthday too.. to which I responded. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • From the Mayo Clinic, huh? Wow, that’s depressing.

    The whole article felt like a finger pointing right at the chump informing them that this is all their fault. It was so uncomfortable to read.

  • The Hair reference, love it! ???? Takes me back to high school, when our English teacher snuck our class out, on a ‘field trip’, and we went to see the musical in SF. That was cool!
    This drivel, oh I’m sorry, wonderful Mayo advice, is making my eyes roll around in my head. What made the cheater cheat? Is it lack of affection, not enough attention? Or is it the empty nest too-much-togetherness? Take your pick, but, really, they just love the sneaking and self absorbed fun. Who cares if four family members got traumatized? I had fun!
    That’s how shallow this really all is.

    • Cheating is like cancer. How it got there is only relevant in as much as is necessary to get rid of it.

      • I had a few of them! Even though I didn’t really like HS, our teachers were fabulous!

  • The people from Mayo need to read up on Dr. Minwalla’s “Secret Sexual Basement”.

    Someone from CL recommended this a few weeks ago and it is excellent. Honestly, it’s the first clinical description that best describes the abuse and trauma I experienced from my ex’s infidelity and double life.

    Why isn’t information like this more widely known?

    • Oh, now I see it was Velvet Hammer who recommended Minwalla’s Secret Sexual Basement. Sorry, I had not read through all of today’s posts yet. CN – it’s really worth checking out and reading through all 30 plus pages. It’s a game-changer for me in my healing process.
      Thank you Velvet Hammer for recommending it!

  • it’s the old shame and blame, a bait and switch game that’s centuries old. it’s tiresome.

    it’s like the mayo clinic is a decrepit carnival at night, with all the carnies in their worn clothes, pulling drugs from their back pockets and dispensing advice on the fly. “try another throw, you’ll get the giraffe, i can feel it. look at those biceps. you’re strong.”

    fakes, phonies, grifters.

    PS i’ve always thought the mayo a reputable source on medical info.

    • Hey, Mayo doesn’t have the best track record for treating cheaters, either. Hemingway had been in treatment at Mayo for 7 months before he fired both barrels of a shotgun into his mouth in 1961. They just loaded the guy up with lots of drugs and declared him cured. Boom.

      • You would think this world renowned clinic would have better treatment plans fifty years after Hemingway killed himself.

  • The RIC always fails to openly acknowledge that cheating is Betrayal 101. In virtually no other context do humans give each other a pass for betrayal. It’s a relationship breaker across the board…except in marriage?! Arguably the place where loyalty is the most necessary?! So dumb.

    I’m thankful for CL and CN spreading the good word about gaining a life. I send people to this site all the time. But, the indoctrination is strong. When I tell a new chump that cheating is abuse, that they’re a victim of abuse…well, it’s either a lightbulb moment or I never hear from that person again.

  • Yeah, WHEN both partners are committed, blahdy blahdy blah…
    Infinitesimal sub 1% chance of that. Put down the pipe.

    Bitch, bye. <– My non-Mayo advice

  • Unf’ing believable. Mayo. WTF. Can’t stop saying it. Total BS. Where’s the comPassion for the family? Recognition of irretrievable loss of trust and respect -a foundation of any marriage or relationship. Discussion of recovery from Grief. This is complete crap. Hang in there newbies. Take care of yourselves! Hugs!

  • Couples therapy to “save the marriage and make it stronger from infidelity” is a money making farce. The therapist sets up a series of sessions in which the chump pours their heart and guts out and the abuser / cheater sits smugly wearing a shit eating grin while basking in the centrality. It is nothing more than a FORUM FOR FURTHER ABUSE and the therapist gets a front row seat to eat popcorn.
    Ask me how I know.
    Domestic Violence advocates know this to be true. In fact, the counsellor I was assigned told me she did not believe in couples therapy with an abuser / victim in attendance together as it often allows the abuser to further abuse. She said it takes a highly trained therapist to navigate this dynamic and even then, she still would not recommend it as the victim is often further traumatized.
    Her words haunt me to this day as I recall vividly myself pleading with the cheater to save our marriage while he smirked at me. The therapist knew full well the marriage was doomed yet continued to book the follow up appointments.
    This is all disgusting.

    • Oh, and yes, it was I, Chumpadellic, who googled and found us the “very best marriage counselling” – Gottman Method – and set the appointments pleading with Fuckwit to come. Just as CL mentions in LACGAL. This gives FW a narrative for the masses how he “did the marriage counselling but there was no saving the marriage cuz x wife is crazy.” How many times has this song been sung by a serial cheater?

      • My ex finished off the marriage decapitation by announcing that he wasn’t going to counseling because it might give me hope that wasn’t there. I truly believe looking back that that was probably the one & only one truth to come out of his mouth.

      • I brought up a Gottman video for my ex to watch because he couldn’t/wouldn’t read the handouts from the counselor.

  • I liken this article to medical malpractice. I’m going to follow NoMoreNarcs advice above and push back against this shit!

  • “No one is committed to a relationship they betrayed. Those things don’t live together.”


    Hey MAYO, stick to the cancer that has a chance for real healing. Infidelity not so much. Another point is how many develop cancer and other serious diseases due to partners risking their health without consent!!

  • Dr. Craig Sawchuk is the editor for Psychology at Mayo Clinic. I found his email address for him on the researcher listing. It is [email protected]. I’m going to email him directly about this article and ask why it is responsible to send an abuse victim back to their abuser.

  • Dear Chump Lady and Chump Nation,

    I would really like to see how the Mayo Clinic defines “survived” in terms of marriage survival post-affair.

    Are they speaking in terms of length of time?
    John and Jane continued to stay legally married as their children graduated university, married, started their own families, etc. All the while the Chumped John or Jane has continued to sustain a bittersweet smile at every occasion. They took one for the team staying with the fuckwit. They Surrrrviiiiiiiivvvvveddddd!
    Oh, but Mayonnaise Clinic forgot to mention that in the course of that survival the chump was treated for STI’s, is STILL in therapy and on anti-depressants a decade later, plus a handful of pills to medicate all the other auto-immune diseases that mysteriously coincided with the discovery of the many, REPEATED fuckwit follies.
    Oh but look at that Chump Go! Survival of the fittest! There should be an Olympic Decathlon event for Chumps who’ve endured the most gruelling of training grounds, only to come out VICTORIOUS as the Chumpiest Chump to have SURVIVED the worst of the worst FW abuse! Crowds will cheer as the Chump gets repeatedly knocked down the comes back up swinging, begging for more! (cue the Rocky theme song????)
    Shake your effing heads Mayo-nutz.

    • Howard the Whoremonger aged out of a plethora of cheating options but tried hard to stay in the game. He got a facelift in his seventies. Died of pancreatic cancer with his wife appliance of 50+ years overseeing his care. His widow suffers from dementia caused by decades of being married to that narcissist, in my opinion. She had an abusive childhood which primed her for the crap Howard flung her way.

      • The wife was abandoned by her father after her mother died. Aunt and uncle took her and her younger brother in and the uncle sexually abused her. She never went to college, didn’t have any marketable skills, married young and grew accustomed to the rich lifestyle her husband created.

    • True. A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that because a couple stayed together, it proves there was a genuine reconciliation and that the marriage recovered. However, we know it proves nothing of the sort.
      Who hopes for the mere survival of legally married status besides cake eaters and gold diggers? Chumps hope for change and for recovery, but it never comes because fuckwits don’t want to change and they never stop abusing the chump.
      Shame on anyone who peddles false hope to victims of any kind of abuse.

  • Two years post DDay now — and I am more and more grateful for my initial reaction. IT WAS PURE RAGE. I called and emailed everyone I knew the night I got confirmation, right AFTER throwing my cheating husband OUT. I had three people recommend the same attorney to me that night. I called as soon as business opened the next day and had an appointment for two days later. Never looked back.

    My rage was a healthy reaction to the severe violation and victimization I had suffered. I quickly realized that I had two modes — rage or utter emotional devastation and fear. If I was not enraged, I was paralyzed with depression. So I fed my rage, because it gave me the strength to do what I needed to do. I got a quick favorable settlement while FW was still in affair fog. Not taking immediate action would have allowed the depression to set in, and I would not be nearly as far along on my healing journey as I am now. Not taking immediate action would have benefitted FW, not me.

    I am grateful for the words of my Catholic mother, who had told me as a teen “Don’t get divorced for frivolous reasons. But if you do get divorced, file first and get your own attorney.” I am also grateful that I went through with my eyelift, botox and vaginal resurfacing when my divorce was final. I unofficially took 10 years off my age. I tell people who know my true age that God has given me time off for good behavior. The last decade of my marriage was anything but pleasant. but I was a loving and loyal wife through it all. I deserved better — and now I am getting better!

  • I wrote Dr. Sawchuk at Mayo and implored him to read Dr. Minwalla’s work for the benefit of psychologists treating those suffering from the complex trauma of infidelity. I’ll keep CN posted if he responds.

  • I really truly felt nauseous reading through that crap. I think I can help MC define cheating. Sneaking around behind another person behind your spouse’s back and lying about it. Defending that relationship and sharing inappropriate information about your spouse or marriage. Hope that helps, Mayo Clinic.

  • Hell, Ivyleaguechump, my ex wanted me to accept 100% responsibility for his cheating. No, thanks, asshole.

  • If I had to write one line of advice to anyone who has been cheated on, in any way, it would be this.

    No matter what the state of your marriage before cheating, good bad or indifferent, it can never be RIGHT again, ever, even if was before.

  • Or “Stay in your lane.” Esther Perel has a degree in art therapy. Not treating ptsd.

  • Haven’t read all the comments yet, but this really enraged me. The only MEDICAL advice to give someone who has just discovered infidelity is:

    Get STD testing
    Get paternity testing
    Ensure your personal safety, if domestic violence is possible contact a shelter or the police
    Find a therapist to help you cope
    Remember to eat, drink, bathe, exercise if you can

    That this claptrap is published under the guise of medical advice with the seal of the Mayo Clinic is gross. In case no one linked it – here is their comment form:

  • Both partners are never committed to the same goals. That was proven by the infidelity. One partner might want to forgive and go on, and try to achieve the lost dream. The other might want to conceal assets, and eat cake. Ultimately, trust is destroyed. Our cultural marriage mythology can create stories of reconciliation till the end of time. It doesn’t make any of them true.

    People who think they are entitled take without thinking or remorse. People who give too much, love too deeply, and keep their promises need to learn how to put boundaries around their Chump nature. It is sad but true reality. We chumps dream too much and come to realize things too late. Cheaters probably pick us for just that reason. We are easy marks.

  • Hi all,
    I just e-mailed the following to the editor:

    Dear Mr. Sawchuk,

    I am writing in regards to your online article about Infidentily:

    This article perpetuates the harmful idea that the infidelity is explained by fault within the relationship rather than what it is, a betrayal of trust and a form of mental and physical abuse.

    When a couple commits to each other either through a formal marriage or through a decision to be exclusive to each other, they are, in effect, making a contract of fidelity. If either member of that couple choses to have an affair, either physical or emotional, that is a breaking of a contract. It inherently involves lying, uses of couples joint funds and other resources without the other’s consent, and exposure to STIs. This is mental and physical abuse.

    In advising the person who was betrayed to do anything but seek emotional support from family and friends, mental health counseling, STI testing (if a physical affair), and legal advise, you are perpetuating the abuse. Encouraging them to work to reconcile before determining all their options is irresponsible.

    I agree there should be no rash or quick decisions, but the person who is betrayed needs sound advise and support. They can look to their own actions that may have led to a breakdown in the relationship, BUT they are not responsible for their partner making a decision to betray their commitments. When a relationship deteriorates, the mature choice is to recognize this and either seek counseling or end the relationship BEFORE seeking another relationship.

    Now, lets look at the person who chose to stray. I agree they may feel that they have reasons for making this choice. But, in doing so, they broke promises. They need to own up to the betrayal and seek forgiveness. Then they need to seek counseling themselves to determine why they made that choice. Once they have recognized their own choices, and faced the consequences of their actions, then the couple can each on their own decide if repairing the relationship is possible.

    Having an affair is a narcissistic act saying ‘my happiness is more important than my partner’s’.

    Please do NOT perpetuate the idea that betrayal is a reasonable response to unhappiness in a relationship, nor that reconciliation is owed.

    I ask that you edit the article. Some cites you may want to visit for an alternative viewpoint:
    Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life by Tracy Shorn
    Runaway Husbands by Vicki Stark
    Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft


    Nancy B
    Master’s of Social Work student, aspiring therapist and victim of infidelity

  • Here is the email I just sent to Dr. Sawchuk:

    Dear Dr. Sawchuk,

    I am writing to voice my concerns about an article entitled, “Infidelity: Mending your marriage after an affair” on the Mayo Clinic website. This article appears to be an opinion piece with no data to back up its assertions. I see it as medical malpractice to give this advice to victims of abuse. Infidelity exposes the non-cheater to STDs, financial risk and theft, and a toxic environment for children and others in the household. I expect much better from the Mayo Clinic, the online resource I go to first for medical advice. If you, as the editor for psychology, are not aware of this article, I recommend you review it and take action to replace it with sound advice to victims of abuse based on real research and data.

    Thank you,

    Will let folks know on here if I hear anything back.

  • “Don’t make rash decisions. If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately.”

    To be fair, that specifies “physically hurt” someone or commit self-harm, and the advice to get professional help instead is very sound. Although the chump wouldn’t be around this person, potentially to be enraged and physically threatening, if the rest of the article didn’t encourage them to stay together. So including this might be a CYA move.

  • “When *both* spouses are committed to real healing” (Emphasis mine)

    So they are saying that in approximately…..oh I’d say one out of every five hundred thousand marriages where there has been cheating, you should maybe give reconciliation a try.

    If you apply their own caveat, the article is theoretically worth reading to somebody, somewhere. Thanks Mayo Clinic! ????

  • I wonder if we’d have an impact by requesting Mayo publish a side-by-side article called something like

    Infidelity: Mending your life after betrayal

  • mary says
    August 16, 2021 at 6:09 pm
    The bottom line is this – What everyone wants to know- were they in fact happier? Were they right to discard us? Did it actually work out for them? Do they thank God everyday that they got away? Haunting….

    • Mary, your line of thinking strongly implies that you are still blaming yourself and have not arrived at the point of accepting that they are the one who is abusive, disordered and chasing rainbows in order to find happiness in their life rather than taking the time and energy instead to build it themselves. I started out with those feeling that you described but they my changed dramatically when I got to the point of trusting that they suck. Now, I honestly don’t feel the way you described at all. I understand that assuming my ex is happy is assuming he had a personality transplant and now would actually be capable of finding happiness or creating happiness for that matter. My children believe the only way he could be happy is if he suffered some sort of brain injury.

      Continue to come here and soak in the wonderful wisdom of CL and CN. If you haven’t read it please read LACGAL, if you have read it – read it again- read it until you truly believe it, poke around the archives on this site (the topics trust that they suck, and stop unravelling the skein are good places to start), read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He do That?” and the Dr. Minwalla paper that is being shared currently on the site by multiple members of CN in the comments almost daily (thanks VH for the original share), if you do not have a therapist find one that understands that cheating is abuse or look for someone who specializes in DV. Most of all be kind to yourself and trust that you don’t suck, you are a beautiful human who deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

      • I think there are stories out there that feed that narrative. Recently a lot of anniversary good wishes were in the media for Julia Roberts and her husband. They had an affair on set when they met. It was news because he was married and their families on both sides were close and against this. Then J.R. made and wore a t-shirt with the chumped wife’s name on it! Talk about entitlement.
        And her long happy marriage is toasted and recently she was quoted as saying it was the best thing she’s ever done.

        • Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue started as an affair and wrote a book recently interviewing couples about advice to having a good marriage. Destroying others to lay a solid foundation ?

          • I didn’t know they started with an affair. His?.

            I don’t think she was ever married before him. Of course she may have been in a relationship.

            For some reason I thought they were both single. Dang. I always liked Marlo.

  • Marriages can be improved by betrayal just like a relationship with your financier, Bernie Madoff, can be improved after you learn he’s defrauded and robbed you.

    Or in the same way as when you are a crappy hack writer for Mayo clinic and your relationship with your boss improves after he promotes a worse crappy hack writer because he’s sleeping with her. What an opportunity to learn both forgiveness and resiliency! Lucky you!

    We are at this odd point in history where sexual infidelity is not recognized as Domestic Abuse, Sexual Infidelity Variant. (There’s also Domestic Abuse, Physical Violence Variant.) In the future it will be recognized as abuse, because that is so clearly what it is. CL and CN are the pioneers for those who come after, and Minwalla is one of the few therapists who gets it.

    In my post-Dday untangling the skein madness, I could not find any scientific proof that infidelity makes marriage better, or even that a marriage with betrayal could ever return to baseline. I contacted the Doug Weiss folks, and pressed them for stats, and they painfully eked out that “for couples who did the work, 83% were still together a year later.” which means shit, basically, because you don’t know how many “did the work” or how that was defined. And they tell you not to make any major decisions for a year, so that statistic is hopelessly skewed. It’s all psychobabble bullshit, AND THEY KNOW IT. Carnes built his empire on the backs of abused women and children (and some abused men) and it bothers him not at all. Weiss seems more sincere, but don’t trust my judgment because after all I am a Chump.

    The Mayo article was shallow as a puddle, bereft of science, verifiable data or rationality. Embarassing to read.

  • … it’s so blatantly obvious when FW’s go through the motions of marriage couples counselling just to save face and spew the BS that they “tried to save the marriage but it just didn’t work”.

    This is always the precursor to the then 6 month waiting period before the Schmoopie AP comes up for air after hiding out like a groundhog afraid to see their own shadow. Then VOILA! FW announces to the world they are “in a relationship” and all the dumb dumbs congratulate them because, you know… people just need to be “happy.”
    Evidently, lobbing a grenade at ones own intact family then running for cover brings about bliss?

  • Even if your spouse is the one who shot your kneecaps off, if you forgive him/her, you will surely play doubles tennis again.

  • Wow, so disappointing for Mayo. I’ve been there a number of times for family and friends and always been impressed with their process, facility and thoroughness of their work. This is just pure garbage for them and a stain on their reputation as a leader in the medical community. They failed to site ANY of the plethora of Statistics available from a number of “scientific” sources. Such as, they almost unanimously agree that Infidelity is the NUMBER ONE cause for divorce……..followed by all the statistics showing that wreckonciliation after infidelity is astronomically low. Not impossible…..but next to impossible, and I even question some of those studies as to what they considered reconciled. Is it stayed together for 5?10? till one of them dies? And of those, is the relationship really as good or better, or just a miserable codependent unable to throw in the towel. Abuse and violence is usually 3rd or fourth place but what most fail to point out is that Infidelity is ALSO abuse…….so double whammy. Now you’re 2 of the top 4 reasons. And the number two is finances which ALSO is quite often to occur with infidelity. But hey…….to quote Jim Carey…….”So….Yer sayin there’s a chance!?!?!” Good luck with that one Mayo…….I’m sure with you’re rates you’ll be happy to sign some chumps up for another FIX YOU’RE MARRIAGE class.

    • Yes, it’s like these people who write articles on cheating in marriage have no idea what it looks like. The picture painted is that of two mostly great people living together and one slips up because of some hurt in the relationship. And hey, everybody makes mistakes. ‘Slips up’ takes on the same depth as buying the wrong fruit- you know not that big of a deal in the big scheme of things.
      Then these two equally at fault people – the one that picked up the wrong fruit, and the wronged fruit partner – can both work at the simple mistake in the grocery store and forget about all things fruit.
      It’s really a simple as that.
      The depth of betrayal and everything it entails – the narcissism, entitlement and abuse, is just not understood by those who take a very light approach to cheating.

  • “If you [are raped, assaulted, taken hostage, blackmailed, stalked or harassed, given an STI; are the victim of theft or credit card fraud; discover your long term business partner is embezzling…], don’t make rash decisions [about calling the police, reporting the crime, getting to safety, defending yourself, protecting your assets, seeking legal assistance, getting emotional support from close friends and family seeking medical care].”

    It’s not *like* Mayo Clinic is advising this. They *are* advising this. What’s their advice for people who are suffering from ptsd? For victims of abuse? Can you imagine if they wrote this. Cheating isn’t “just” infidelity, as we all know here.

    “If you think you might physically hurt yourself or someone else, seek professional help immediately.”

    However, if you fear someone else might hurt you, keep calm and carry on? Tried that. Didn’t work. Just kept escalating.

  • Just hit him up myself. Fuck this shit.


    Dear Dr Sawchuk –

    I’ve just finished reading the shameful piece of biased misinformation entitled ‘Infidelity: Mending your marriage’ posted on the Mayo Clinic website at

    This piece urgently needs at least equal time given to the many victims of infidelity – infected with STIs, their money stolen, their lives destroyed, and in some cases their children murdered.

    Infidelity is spousal abuse, plain and simple. Would the Mayo Clinic recommend victims reconcile with a domestic abuser? Maybe fifty years ago, but not now.

    I would recommend you read Dr Omar Minwalla’s excellent proposed model for trauma treatment for victims of infidelity, available at

    It might also help you to become aware of the excellent work of Tracy Schorn in providing a safe haven for victims of infidelity, and her efforts to change the harmful narrative of reconciliation.

    Many thanks

    Dr [Lola Granola]
    BA(Hons), PhD, Grad Dip Psych, Grad Dip Psych Advanced

    • Lola – did you write this to him?
      You are my hero.

      If there is a cheater, then there is a victim.
      Thanks to Stacey, there are victims who come out stronger on the other side.
      Everything else is bullshit.
      Dr AFS, MD, FRACP

      • I absolutely did, and emailed it off right away.

        If we don’t say anything, how will they know?

        • THANK YOU for putting all your degrees after your name, it’s really the only thing that carries any weight at Mayo.

        • Thank you Dr. Granola!

          I emailed them but I don’t have the credentials that you worked your ass off to earn.

  • The day this was posted was my first day working with Mayo Clinic! Haha!

    Are unicorns even possible? Has anyone EVER seen or heard of one???

  • This was a textbook case of blame-shifting garbage which most chumps are subjected to all while reeling from the most traumatic experience of their lives. The gaslighting and betrayal from your spouse wasn’t enough so here’s a third party here to spew RIC crap to put the blame and work on you while using kid gloves with the culprit.

    It’s because of this stuff that I am just 100 percent against couple’s counseling. Lots of terrible advice just thrown around which is always at the expense of the betrayed spouse, delaying their recovery.

    Want to be on your way to healing and have it cost ZERO dollars? Go no contact or at worst, gray rock. See a lawyer. Surround yourselves with family and friends who you can speak to and not be concerned about image management. Take care of YOURSELF.

    Anyone who tells you anything different do NOT have your best interest. They either have the interest of the cheater or their book or a perceived “image.”

  • To the surprise of nobody, they don’t care.

    “Thank you for your email. Your feedback is appreciated and we will certainly pass your comments to our staff.

    New content is added daily; please continue to turn to us for your health information needs.



    Mayo Clinic Online Services”

  • I’ve said this many times……first experience with couples counciling after D-day one, so she’d already groomed the counselor…….pffffff…..counselor. Counselor to me devastated and teary eyed……XW, arms crossed ready for me to get put in my place. ” SO, what do you think you did that led to her cheating on you? End of counseling session. “walking away won’t help this.” No, I beg to differ. It’s the only thing that will. Followed by a long tearful car ride to the hotel alone. Whoever wrote this article needs to go back and demand a refund for that education. An education that life gives freely and oftentimes brutally.

    • I think you should not be allowed to counsel a couple going through infidelity unless you have suffered yourself. Absolute bullshit.

      • Or at the very least gotten specific training on the effects of infidelity on a betrayed partner, which is to include clinical counseling with abuse victims who have been decimated by the betrayal.

  • Idk, I used to tell myself that I would rather he had robbed a bank than cheated on me.

    Cheating kills the ‘we’. There is no we after that.

    I never could get over the revulsion, the knife in my back, the fact that he COLLUDED with someone against me.

  • “the fact that he COLLUDED with someone against me.”

    I don’t see how one ever forgets that, much less reconciles with someone who did that. Don’t get me wrong in the very beginning I wanted so bad to reconcile, I simply wanted my old life back.

    Thank God for denied prayer requests.

  • No reply to my email. Also, a few of us joined the Mayo Clinic online forums and posted comments critical of the article. All of our posts were removed! Frustrating.

  • I submitted this (wanted to say more, but there’s a 1000 word limit):

    Regarding “Infidelity: Mending your marriage after an affair,” I think it is irresponsible for a medical website to neglect to advise immediate testing for sexually transmitted diseases after an affair is discovered.

    Also, the list of items under “Why affairs happen” begins with “Lack of affection,” which suggests this is a “common” reason. By definition, all people who commit infidelity are dishonest – at the very least in terms of lies by omission but most often they tell numerous outright lies. “Lack of affection” is one of the lies they frequently tell both affair partners and therapists. By listing this first, the article gives credence to this lie.

    • I know! There often was lack of affection… for the chump!
      This whole idea of asking liars why they cheated is lost on everybody.
      ‘It felt good’ is the answer.

      Would we care so much about their excuses for burning down a house?

      The more I hear about cheaters, the more I realize these people simply think they are entitled to feel special.
      For a lot of them I think it’s the way they were raised – mine was certainly the golden child and put on a pedestal. They are kibble eating machines and society (and sadly often their family ) cuts them a pass.

      • If they are going to do a “study” and are asking lying cheaters why they cheated, then at the very least the cheater should be hooked up to a poly to answer the why questions.

        Same as for betrayed, I would gladly hook up to a poly for any affair related questions. My answers may not be the reason the cheater cheated, but they would be to the best of my ability honest answers.

        • Pathological or delusional liars are so adept at deceiving others, as well as themselves, they would pass the polygraph with flying colors. They have no shame or remorse.

  • Chump Lady,
    I am so happy you put this Mayo Clinic article through the UBT. I had actually read it, prior to your UBT, and I ended up with my head in my hands asking myself how society got here.

    This Mayo Clinic article is so full of BULLSHIT that it caused a momentary brain meltdown after I read it.

    Thank you for putting it through the UBT because I am now able to stop banging my head against the table.

    I am still in shock that the Mayo Clinic can promote such garbage when they know that there is no such thing as safe sex.

    The cancerous form of the Human Papilloma Virus IS sexually transmitted and 1,000 drugstore condoms do NOT prevent – a cancerous STD – from being transmitted.

    The Mayo Clinic KNOWS this. So why don’t they mention it in their article? ????

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