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Your Friday Challenge Is…

Today’s post is gonna be meta.

Your Friday Challenge is… Friday Challenges.

What would you love to see Chump Nation weigh in on? Worst RIC book you ever read? Former Switzerland Friend Get Chumped? Lamest Celebrity Fauxpology?

Ooh, or how about brain injury? A show of hands if you thought your D-day was caused by a tumor or mystery concussion.

Stupid Shit Life Coaches Say? Sinister ministers? Pandemic co-parenting?

Esther Perel haiku?

Quests for aliveness
Exuberantly defy
Clear writing and sense.

Pitch me.

TGIF!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Experiences with effective therapy. Trauma based?

    Experiences with effective legal intervention? Which ducks (in a row) quacked the loudest?

    • I laughed at sinister minister…I could write a book.

      A Dean who implied things over a 3 year period. I believe now that he snd his wife are swingers. She was quite interested in me as well – because I now believe they thought I had an open marriage.

      I did have an open marriage – I just didn’t know it. Everyone else did. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. I was so trusting and naive.

      A LOT of duper’s delight goes on in Church World. Do as I say, but don’t do as I do. Sex. Theft. Lies and Criminal Records – Oh My !!!

      I was a minister’s wife. MOW is ordained as well. Dumb as a bag of hammers – but still making $80 a year to f*ck my x.

    • I couldn’t afford therapy when I went through my discard and divorce. It was in1989/90. The more I read the more I think maybe I was lucky I couldn’t.

      • From experience, a bad therapist can screw up your head 8 ways to Sunday. A good therapist is worth their weight in platinum. It was one of those good therapists who, literally, saved my life. Unfortunately, it seems people who need help need to wade through a sea of bad therapists to get to the islands of good therapists.

        • Yes, I’d like to see a private (to CN) database of recommended therapists by area, that we can submit anonymously once we’ve logged in (just to make sure we don’t get spammed by self-recommends).

  • A month after DDay I still thought FW had a brain tumor and I also tried to get him to read a Paychology Today article — thinking AP was a “Spider Woman” (I cringe remembering I sent this to FW) — excerpt from: “Psychology Today
    Beyond Betrayal: Life After Infidelity
    Despite their destructiveness, affairs are not going out of style. Not all affairs are alike; some are even accidental.
    By Frank Pittman”)

    “ Spider Woman…
    There are women who, by nature romantics, don’t quite want to escape their own life and die for love. Instead they’d rather have some guy wreck his life for them. These women have been so recently betrayed by unfaithful men that the wound is still raw and they are out for revenge. A woman who angrily pursues married men is a “spider woman”—she requires human sacrifice to restore her sense of power.
    When she is sucking the blood from other people’s marriages, she feels some relief from the pain of having her own marriage betrayed. She simply requires that a man love her enough to sacrifice his life for her. She may be particularly attracted to happy marriages, clearly envious of the woman whose husband is faithful and loving to her. Sometimes it isn’t clear whether she wants to replace the happy wife or just make her miserable.
    The women who are least squeamish and most likely to wreak havoc on other people’s marriages are victims of some sort of abuse, so angry that they don’t feel bound by the usual rules or obligations, so desperate that they cling to any source of security, and so miserable that they don’t bother to think a bit of the end of it.
    Josephine Hart’s novel Damage, and the Louis Malle film version of it, describe such a woman. She seduces her fiancee’s depressed father, and after the fiancee discovers the affair and kills himself, she waltzes off from the wreckage of all the lives. She explains that her father disappeared long ago, her mother had been married four or five times, and her brother committed suicide when she left his bed and began to date other boys. She describes herself as damaged, and says: “Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”
    Bette was a spider woman. She came to see me only once, with her married affair partner Alvin, a man I had been seeing with his wife Agnes. But I kept up with her through the many people whose lives she touched. Bette’s father had run off and left her and her mother when she was just a child, and her stepfather had exposed himself to her. Most recently Bette’s manic husband Burt had run off with a stripper, Claudia, and had briefly married her before he crashed and went into a psychiatric hospital.
    While Burt was with Claudia, the enraged Bette promptly latched on to Alvin, a laid-back philanderer who had been married to Agnes for decades and had been screwing around casually most of that time. Bette was determined that Alvin was going to divorce Agnes and marry her, desert his children, and raise her now-fatherless kids. The normally cheerful Alvin, who had done a good job for a lifetime of pleasing every woman he met and avoiding getting trapped by any of them, couldn’t seem to escape Bette, but he certainly had no desire to leave Agnes. He grew increasingly depressed and suicidal. He felt better after he told the long-suffering Agnes, but he still couldn’t move in any direction. Over the next couple of years, Bette and Alvin took turns threatening suicide, while Agnes tended her garden, raised her children, ran her business, and waited for the increasingly disoriented and pathetic Alvin to come to his senses.
    Agnes finally became sufficiently alarmed about her husband’s deterioration that she decided the only way she could save his life was to divorce him. She did, and Alvin promptly dumped Bette. He could not forgive her for what she had made him do to dear, sweet Agnes. He lost no time in taking up with Darlene, with whom he had been flirting for some time, but who wouldn’t go out with a married man. Agnes felt relief, and the comfort of a good settlement, but Bette was once again abandoned and desperate.
    She called Alvin hourly, alternately threatening suicide, reciting erotic poetry, and offering to fix him dinner. She phoned bomb threats to Darlene’s office. Bette called me to tell me what a sociopathic jerk Alvin was to betray her with another woman after all she had done in helping him through his divorce. She wrote sisterly notes to Agnes, offering the comfort of friendship to help one another through the awful experience of being betrayed by this terrible man. At no point did Bette consider that she had done anything wrong. She was now, as she had been all her life, a victim of men, who not only use and abuse women, but won’t lay down their lives to rescue them on cue.

    • Holy misogyny Batman!

      Wow — and what are men here? Hapless nitwits who are easily seduced? This is clearly Frank Pittman’s wet dream.

      Also, wow, all affair partners are dysfunctional straight women going after men? Because chumpdom never happens to straight men or gay people.

      • Also “Bette was a spider woman. She came to see me only once, with her married affair partner Alvin, a man I had been seeing with his wife Agnes. But I kept up with her through the many people whose lives she touched.”

        So, as a therapist, he is seeing the OW WHILE COUNSELING THE CHUMPED WIFE? And then sees Bette socially?

        What-the-Ethics-Board-of Quack-Shrinks-FUCK is going on here?!

        • And I believed it. [[FACE PALM]]

          Sooo much crap out there…the chumped not only have to get past the trauma… but then slog through swamps of endless bullshit.

          Still mortified I believed this and sent it to FW — uggghhhhh

              • Me too👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻…. The horizontal pick me dances I did…. I’m still mortified/traumatized.

              • Ugh. Yeah.

                Mortified.
                Humiliated.
                Disgusted.

                And all for what? I went to look at an apt for me and the kids yesterday. One I can actually afford AND get approved for. The chick in the office told me she couldn’t actually SHOW me a unit in person yesterday because, “they’re all trashed.”
                Okay, cool, whatever. There’s always clean up and painting, etc. when tenants move out.
                Then she went on to tell me that the building they have with the 3 bedroom units is shut down indefinitely due to bed bugs and roaches.

                So we have to live in a shit place next door to bedbugs and roaches (I’m not stupid….if one of their buildings has them then the others likely do as well) after I paid the rent for years to keep an unemployed, cheating narc in his rental that he “just can’t move out of”?? Whaaaat the fuuuuuck!

                Sorry. Had a rough night and am realizing just how limited my options are with moving right now. To say I’m angry and extremely bitter this morning would be putting it lightly.

                Not one bit of the pick me dance was worth it.

            • Oh please no. I wonder, how many other chumps just read this and thought, “Mine will be the worst. I can’t possibly share”?

              On second thought… sounds like a great Friday Challenge.

              • Mine isn’t the worst. I wouldn’t dare compete. The only awful thing is that I’m still stuck in it, though I am fairly certain I’ll be unstuck in the next 4-6 months, thank giid ess.

      • “Gay men can philander too, and the dynamics are the same for gay philanderers as for straight ones”

        …..from the same article. He was aware gay people cheat too. Bette the Spider Woman was one category of cheater…the person who has a pattern of pursuing married men.

        As I said, I’ve rarely agreed 100% with anybody. I saw this article years ago and saved it for what it does say that I agree with and that helped me.

        I think I do disagree 100% with Esther Repel.

        • I just opened a box of my things still in storage (something I avoid because it makes me blind with rage and dark with hopelessness) and found an Esther Perel book from the early days. Wasn’t even tempted to open it. Can’t wait to burn it… don’t want to risk anyone finding it in the trash and reading it. I’m a dedicated proponent of intellectual freedom, except for when it comes to Esther Perel. Or David Brooks.

          She said two things that made sense to me. One was something along the lines of cheaters’ delight in the the thrill of transgression (yikes, right? Transgression against a person who lives you, not against unjust laws or “the man”); the fantasy of an affair is what makes it appealing, not the reality of the person or what the relationship would actually be. The other was, to paraphrase: “If your partner can’t have a conversation with you, find someone who can.” If I’d approached my relationship like a “choose your own adventure” and this had been the first question, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble.

          Really, though, VH – agreed. I have to take her out of context to glean anything humane, logical or worthwhile.

        • Thank you! Because what do I do with the fact that this wasn’t the OW’s first go-around? She was married while she was screwing my husband. She met *that* husband at work. He was married with two kids at the time. He left his family and married her. Then she cheated on him with my husband, and my husband left me for her. So, that’s two affairs and two broken families. Which is quite a dysfunctional track record for one woman.

          So, yeah. As a feminist, I *know* FW is responsible for making his own choices, and I don’t want to blame or label her in some misogynistic way. If she did initiate some sort of seductive tactic, he certainly didn’t have to go along with it.

          But what about the fact that she has a history of cheating with married men? Doesn’t that mean something, or am I just being naive? (She once told me that Dr. Zhivago was her favorite romantic movie.) Seriously, isn’t that behavior sociopathic? And why shouldn’t I hold her accountable for targeting my husband with her weird “romantic” fantasies?

          Say two people are involved in a murder. Maybe only one of them pulls the trigger, but the other one goes along with it and possibly helps plan it, or even comes up with the idea. The law might hold the trigger-puller more accountable, but it doesn’t give the accomplice a free ride. And what if she has a history of being a murderer’s accomplice? How do we judge her then?

          I would love to hear what CN has to say about this.

          • It doesn’t matter what HER history is. What matters is YOUR (now Ex, I hope) HUSBAND. HE is the one you had a relationship with, commitments and responsibilities shared, etc.

            She may be a sociopathic temptress. Doesn’t matter. HE CHOSE to betray YOU. It’s not your job to judge her (although feel free to judge away, I do!), it’s not your concern what type of person she is (unless she’ll be co-parenting with you, barf!).

            Focus your anger where it belongs, on cutting as many ties as conceivably possible with the person who betrayed you. There are all sorts of terrible people out there, most of them of no relevance to us. She’s just another one of those. Spreading a little gossip about her could be a public service, but other than that, don’t let her occupy space in your mind.

            Let her go. Judge your

          • What is there to say -that hasn’t already been said -about people who eagerly and happily break up families? There are plenty of single people out there to screw around with.
            They know what they are doing, they like it and they don’t care who it hurts. They think they’re special and they get off on being the ‘chosen’ one. They also think the man who his abusing his wife and breaking up his family is a catch!
            Cheaters don’t place value on integrity or respect. Try to stop wasting energy thinking about that horrible person.

            • Yes. They know what they are doing. OW not only knew about me, she KNEW me! We were coworkers. Our kids played together. She had dinner at my house a bunch of times. We attended the same social events.

              She didn’t care. She enjoyed “winning” and beating me. She’d rub it in my face. It made her feel special and desirable. She had (has) crushingly low self-esteem and no self respect. And she was a huge hypocrite. Her husband moved his gf into their home only a couple months after she left him, and she was furious about it – while she was actively screwing my husband behind my back.

              I will never understand people like this. I don’t really want to understand them. I just want to avoid them. You’re right. Don’t waste time or energy thinking about them.

    • WTF? Seriously. WTF is wrong with people. Bette AND Alvin are two royally messed up people. AND all this Quack does is get off on it by writing this article. OMG. I really hope Agnes is in a good place (Agnes are you in CN?!!) and has no contact with Alvin, Bette, or Frank. Wow. Just wow.

    • This has kind of killed my interest in reading Privat Lies. I had heard so many accolades about Pittman. ick.

      Having said that there is no doubt in my mind that the whore in fws case was after a meal ticket. I just never put a long assed nut job reason to it. She was living at the poverty line, had been divorced two times. First marriage at 15 and pregnant.

      So what, she was still a whore and he was a whore monger. he continued to be one after they married. She may have too, who knows. But he got caught, and I assume took it further underground.

      The only difference between her and his previous whores was she had as George Costanza on Seinfield said “hand”. She was his direct report and she spent years working herself with his help into that position.

      The only regret I have is I didn’t see it when it first started. I hate that those years were wasted on a lying sack of shit.

      To be honest, I think he even controlled her after she became his direct employee. I can only guess, but I believe he controlled her with money. She was desperate, and if he got outed the money stopped.

      What finally blew it up is someone called the City Counsel and outed them. I think they had planned on a little longer to scam me and everyone else before they came out of hiding. I have no doubt he wanted me to file so he could then drag her out of the gutter and “start a new life.”

    • Well, here goes. In defense of Dr. Frank Pittman.

      I’ve read Private Lies, his book about his observations of infidelity spanning 30 years in his practice.

      I’ve read Grow Up!, his book where he tells cheaters who blame their cheating on their marriages, “YOU are what is wrong with your marriage.”

      Dr. Pittman is also the source of “wonderful people don’t cheat with married people, and wonderful married people don’t cheat.”

      I think both books were written in the early 80’s? And there is a lot in them that saved my life and sanity. I also know that I am not going to agree with everything anyone says 100%. I am a big advocate of take what works and leave the rest.

      I have recommended both books and shared some really great quotes here. He is not a cheater apologist. He does not blame the cheating accomplice for the affair.

      My original therapist, still in my life today, from whence most of anything I say that makes sense came from, studied with him.

      When I saw this article, in the context of having read lots of his other work, I saw it as an explanation for why someone pursues married people. I do know firsthand that there are people who are only interested in relationships with married people. I’’ curious about that too

      Of course the married partner is responsible for their own behavior, and I also think there are people who seek out and pursue married people.

      My close friend ended her relationship when her partner of 28 years cheated with “Rebecca”. “Rebecca” then joined the volunteer fire department and pursued the married fire chief. Married fire chief jumped in. Not “Rebecca’s” fault. He lost his job and she was kicked off the volunteer squad. She is notorious now for her interest in married men in a very small community.

        • Oh hell no VH, you are a CN queen.

          “I am a big advocate of take what works and leave the rest.” Great advice.

          • If I am a queen, I am a teachable student queen with issues and a whole day ahead of me today to get it wrong!
            But I never throw babies out with the bath water. Unless certain people are in the bath!

            Heheheh!

        • But before I do, here is one of my Dr. Frank Pittman lifesavers. As always, take what works and leave the rest.

          “In lying, one is identifying the other as one’s opponent, even one’s enemy. In marriage intimacy is developed through confessions, explanations, and soul searchings. But of course intimacy involves equality, and people who are telling lies are not seeking any aspect of intimacy, especially equality. Liars are hoping for advantage, which will be produced by disorienting and distracting the other person. The liar is stepping outside the relationship. The lie may be a greater betrayal of the relationship than the misdeed being lied about. It takes very little misinformation to disorient and destroy a relationship. I often point out to people that if I gave them detailed instructions on how to go from Atlanta to New York City, and threw in only one left turn that was a lie, they would end up in Oklahoma.”
          -Dr. Frank Pittman
          Private Lies
          (p. 59)

        • I have appreciated all of the Pittman I have read and was unaware of the other stuff. No human is right 100% of the time. I didnt read the above in detail but Im circling back to it now. We should read everything with a bit of skepticism.

          “GROW UP” was very helpful for me because my cheater got stuck in the developmental stage he was in when he started blaming me for everything. His avoidance of accountability stunted his maturity…he hit his 40s with the skills of a 20something and it did not go well

      • No, I agree with you. Pittman’s work is usually pretty good. There definitely is a scheming type of OW who targets infantile married men (who are also of low character, naturally). My fuckwit’s OW was just like this.

        Pittman doesn’t say Alvin was an innocent victim, he says he was a casual cheater already. Until he met Bette, a nut job who manipulated him and, reading through the lines, this brought out Alvin’s latent disorder. He sounds Borderline to me, as does Bette.

        I din’t see it as him saying *all* men are this easily manipulated, but some sure are. My fw is, by his narc friends as well as schmoopies.

        I do think he’s wrong in surmising that women who go after married men are usually victims of cheaters themselves. Maybe the ones in his practice were, but that’s hardly enough of a sample size. Some are, of course. But they’re probably more likely to be the cheaters than to be cheated on.

        • Both of my cheater ex’s OWs (that I am aware of) seem very much this type. I’ve been aware of people like this my whole life; it seems to infect their dealings with everyone, not just potential romantic partners. I’ve never been tempted by this phony trash, which was why I was so shocked and disappointed to see what my ex had fallen for. What a waste for our life. I would have been humiliated and out of my mind with regret in his place. How could he go for that? Why? And as for them… What kind of loser would fall for a lying cheater? And worse, get high off of being complicit? I reminded myself of this when I was feeling inferior and worthless about the most ridiculous things. Oh! That would be a good FC: what silly flaws did you find yourself guilty of after dday (and possibly before, when you were being secretly devalued.)

          I don’t think “spider women” – or men – have to be betrayed spouses. Who knows where their neediness and shallowness and insecurities come from. Childhood, often. (And even if being cheated on triggers the insecurity, chumps don’t poach partnered people after being betrayed.) They want so badly to feel special, desired and worthy and they take the easy (and in my opinion, counterproductive, not to mention immoral) route, no matter how meaningless the relationship and regardless of who they harm in the process. Yep, I’m judgemental. And now I’m not guilty about it. At least my judgements are consistent and align with my values.

          I’d like to see a visual representation of a values:kibble ratio – and what this reflects about a person’s character. Cheaters vs. chumps…

          • This is so insightful and validating. I really love the “silly flaws” FC too! That’s such a great way to dump the toxic crap that we internalized. Good therapy!

          • I hear ya. I was shocked at how transparently manipulative, cheap and trashy OW was, too. Everybody in my circle was appalled by her. She worked with fw and nobody there respected her either. She was known for being the office bike, incredibly promiscuous as well as an unrepentant, sloppy alcoholic. Fw was being laughed at by his coworkers and had no clue. He actually thought they didn’t know, even though the twu wuvbirds disappeared for lunch together every single day for years and even went so far as to leave notes under each other’s keyboards, like a couple of 12 year olds passing notes in school.
            Smh. Both of them didn’t progress emotionally past that age IMO and I think arrested emotional development is a pre-requisite to fuckwittery.

            The spider woman type OW probably had emotionally (or even sexually) incestuous fathers and domineering mothers, and thus is symbolically taking daddy away from mommy with each conquest of a married man. OW in my case hates her mom and I strongly suspect her father had triangulated them. But that’s no excuse. They could get some help instead of taking their problems out on others.

            I never feel guilty about judging shitty people for being shitty. I don’t care what FOO they have, what insecurities, etcetera.
            Many of us have pretty dreadful FOO, have insecurities, some have addictions, and some even debilitating mental illnesses. Did we use those as excuses to be destructive to others? We did not.

      • VH, I was hit on all the time by married men when I was young and cute and MARRIED. Their rationalization was along the lines of, “she is married, so I don’t have to worry about her falling in love with me and making my life messy”. I remember telling one of them, “you know, I’m MARRIED.”, and the response was, “So? That’s even better!”

        Gross.

  • Maybe a Friday challenge on a time you may have been about to contact authorities such as police because of something like a theft and been discouraged by your FW not to do so.

    I’m thinking about the time I wanted to report to the police that someone had been in our apartment and I knew this because there was a pack of cigarettes under the bed of 2 non-smokers.

    FW said it was probably left by the building engineer and not worth reporting. I’m guessing the cigs belonged to the AP.

    • Oh geez. That just prompted me to remember that when I was packing up the stuff in our utility closet during a move some 30-odd years ago, I found a cigarette butt in a bucket. Neither of us smoked. I pointed it out to my ex who immediately accused me of smoking. I defended myself. Pathetic. In the end, I think I just filed it under “unsolved mystery” and carried on with loading boxes into the car. I was 8-months pregnant at the time.

      Even if he wasn’t responsible for the butts, it sucks that his first reaction was to accuse me.

      As I’ve said before, there were so many red flags, I thought I was in a parade.

      • Wow. His best excuse was to blame you? His pregnant wife who was moving heavy objects? Good riddance….

        • IKR. Another missed/ignored 🚩.

          He was a blamer. He blamed me for getting genital warts. Then, when that didn’t fly, he told me he must have gotten them from a patient who had genital warts. Poor handwashing, he said. “Don’t you wear gloves?” I replied.

          Only years later (like 34 years) would I learn from my female gyn that he could only have gotten genital warts from the patient if he’d had sex with the patient.

          What a fucker! And damn the male gyns (military) who never set me straight when young Spinach told them how I get genital warts. I was only 24. I believed my lying husband.

          As has been stated here so many times, it’s really the lies that are most disturbing in retrospect. I felt safe when I shouldn’t have felt safe. It gives me the shivers.

      • “So many red flags I thought I was in a parade” is so apropos. Dang. FW gave me flag after flag after flag and in my rose-colored world, I thought they all meant that I was the luckiest girl in the world.

      • According to the very old and out of date and RIGHT ON THE MONEY book, The Script, blaming the spouse is a classic cheater move. Suspicious hair on your pillowcase? YOU didn’t launder them well. Peculiar odor in your car? YOU need to clean it. Cigarette butts, underwear, etc, where they shouldn’t be? YOU are responsible. My own FW liked to reminisce about trips and restaurant visits “we’d made together” that I had no recollection of. For years he convinced me I had a poor memory. Nope! He couldn’t keep his travel partners straight.

        • Yup. I have had that happen. Where I live, there is a glorious old hotel that is well over 100 years old and was completely renovated to its former glory. It’s a big draw for corporate events, weddings, etc. and has a high end restaurant in it. Klootzak swears I dined there and stayed there with him. Ummm… nope. Because even if my mental capacities were failing me, I am an avid photographer of places I visit. I would definitely have taken photos of the place and maybe even the food. I have no photos of that place. And also, I’m the only one who books hotels or restaurant reservations any time we have taken such a trip. I would have remembered. But he swears I was there with him. I don’t even give a f*ck enough to wonder which schmoopie it was.

      • One mystery was the pay stub I found in Cheaters papers after he died. It was from a woman who lived near where Cheater worked. Why would anyone have another person’s pay stub?

    • Soon after we got married, An envelope came to our new apartment and inside was a card with some kind of an illustration and words in a different language and… Razor blades. Razor blades! My husband totally brushed it off I was overreacting to be concerned about this it was probably so and so he was that way and now he left the country.

    • Hello @emma c! The cigarette pack under your bed might have belonged to your FW. Mine lied about being a non smoker. For years. And yes, that lie contributed to destruction of our intimacy.

  • The ways a cheating spouse tried to manipulate the narrative after the divorce.
    With children, even adult children? With community? How did they try to spin or justify their behaviors and how did the Chumps deal with it?
    This smears, the lies, the vindictive behavior when they actually got CONSEQUENCES for their behaviors?

    • Learned yesterday that cheater exboyfriend of several years post divorce from cheater husband, did in fact cheat on his ex wife. His narrative was that she was the cheater, she “poisoned” the kids against her, she threw him out, etc. See, he was a chump himself, right?

      Bumped into an acquaintance who said she knew a woman who had dated him decades ago but dumped him when she found out he was married. Looking at the timeline, his 4 kids were very young then.

      Urrrr…just sick all over again that that cretin was in my life posing as a chump when in reality he has caused so much pain & trauma to his now adult children who really don’t have a relationship with him. I feel dirty & used.

      • Hello Hurt1! I can relate. Unfortunately it happened to me. I was working a lot at that time, and dated another workaholic, so it took months and an angry phone call before I discovered I was in fact the OW. I felt ugly, dishonest, dirty. That was so against my values and who I though I was! I felt like I had no integrity He had just dumped me, so I can’t even say I dumped him as soon as I discovered I was the OW. I felt guilty for a while. Until I rationalised that I did not intend to be the OW. I did not stay in the relationship when I discovered I was the OW. And I learned from it. I became more careful of meeting the friends circle of any new relationship. In hindsight, there were red flags in that relationship (there were many! Stupid naive me!). Still, I married a FW. Now, divorce is ongoing, I learn a lot on FOO and boundaries, and I am being as gentle to myself as I can. Please be gentle to yourself. You didn’t know you were an OW. Your values were demonstrated in what you did when you discovered you were an OW. {{Hugs}}

  • While I would love to read about “worst nightmare” or “worst thing AP ever did to a chump” I always feel lifted by the MIGHTY stories.
    Chumps here do amazing things!
    Some so tiny others wouldn’t even notice (but we do) and some so huge I cannot even imagine.
    But those stories always lift me up and make me feel like I can fly right along.
    Weekly, no. But Monthly Mighty Monday?

    • “Some so tiny others wouldn’t even notice (but we do) and some so huge I cannot even imagine.”

      So true.

    • And maybe a “Meh” Monday or “It’s Tuesday Tuesday.”
      How you knew you’d made it to “Meh.”

      Could be a Friday Challenge, or, if done on on a Monday or Tuesday, CL could use it when she otherwise might repeat an older column. (I like those repeats, by the way, because I sometimes haven’t seen them, or was too distracted by events at the time to fully appreciate them, or just because of new insights I have from reading them and CN’s comments.)

      • I came along to suggest that very thing: “signs of Tuesday”

        I want good stuff! Signposts and landmarks for people still in the painful thick of it.

        • Like this?:

          If your kids tell you that your ex-FW has a new girlfriend or boyfriend, and your only reaction is to feel pity for their newest victim……it might be a Tuesday.

  • How about “The thing that you nearly said at the time – and would have been justified in doing so – but are now glad you didn’t” ???

    LFTT

  • Besides the “Most Mortifying Thing Sent to a Cheater”… how about weighing in on “The Worst of the Flying Monkeys”?

    IE: Mothers in Law who defend their FW sons and lie for them — my EX MIL created a whole narrative that FW was completely innocent and I threw him out… and thank goodness his coworker took him in… then they fell in love. How romantic! And thank goodness he got free of me.

    It was 2 years later that one of my ex sisters in law reached out to me and wanted the truth. She’s a family law attorney and could see nothing added up.

    I’m sure there’s some great (horrible) flying monkey stories

    • MS,

      “Worst of the Flying Monkeys” has real mileage!

      My Ex-MIL (who I now get on with very well) had some real “Flying Monkey Tendencies” in the weeks after D-Day. According to her I should have ignored now-Ex-Mrs LFTT’s relationship with her AP as “it will all blow over sooner or later” and the that the real problem was that I had challenged now-Ex-Mrs LFTT with undeniable evidence that she was up to no good.

      I have to say, I gave MIL pretty short shrift and I’m glad I did, as it got her to understand the damage that her daughter was causing to me and our kids.

      LFTT

    • Yes. ExMIL said that the affair started AFTER our marriage had ended!
      Right now, I’m in a funk. My suggestion: How to deal with the fact that it looks like they WON? Just found out she retired at 60… I’m 65 and still working. Hard to swallow as I know that their financial position has a lot to do with all of the scrimping and saving (and cooking and working) that I did for 36 years. I do know that they are both despicable human beings, but, the rest of the world seems ok with that.

      • This is an occasional but recurring problem for me, too. And the idea that his consequence is living with his awful self does not satisfy. I try to just note who is fooled and remember not to count on them, and get on with my life, but there are moments…

        • Yes. I was ok until I found out that they will be wintering in FL in a condo ON THE BEACH! I’m here, alone, working from home and just trying to hold things together. I am normally not jealous or envious, but, this just hurts…

      • It took me a very long time to realize that they didn’t win.

        Dishonest conduct will never produce the feeling of genuine self-esteem and self-respect that comes from integrity. Just because they are oblivious to it doesn’t make it less so. A car thief will never know how great it feels to go into a car dealership and pay cash for their dream car, with cash they earned. It just does not feel the same. The rooms where peace of mind and self-esteem live are off limits to dishonest people. That’s the price they pay whether they know it or not.

        2 + 2 will never add up to 5.

        Lying + cheating + stealing will never result in self-esteem.

        When you fuck other people over, you are paying for it with your self-esteem, whether you realize it or not. I don’t if they don’t get it.

          • PS…

            This is where you need a name for them that reminds you who they are, not their real name which reminds you of who you thought they were. This is exactly why I call him Benedict OJ Madoff.

            “Oh, I wonder if OJ and so and so are getting married?” totally puts my perspective in the exact right place when worries about them “winning” cross my mind. Which has almost stopped since I started doing that.

            Cheaters do NOT get character transplants. They change people, not their patterns.

            They know that someone who cheats with them LIKES the taste of shit sandwiches.

      • Yes! In my case, the OW is a trust-fund baby with millions. The FW makes a good chunk of 6 figures. I quit the best job I ever had so he could climb his career ladder. Now, I’m working as a high school teacher and going to school part time to get my teaching license. I make 35k, and I’m 56 years old. WTF did I do to deserve this? And why does he get rewarded for being a slithering snake?

        • Here at 57 making 36K. Ex was making 6 figures for years before dday. I did get house in settlement & retirement funds but will have to work until close to 70 while ex will probably retire on or about 60 with a trophy wife & lots of expendable cash. Nope, not fair.

  • I have a question I’d love answered

    Statistics where do they come from ?

    When I was first a chump all I did was google affair related things ( still do if I’m honest) the general stats were

    Only 1/10 affairs are ever found out about ( so by numbers here alone that’s millions that are undiscovered )

    Only 1/15 will actually leave their partner for AP ((again numbers here alone prove otherwise )

    An affair will usually only last between 6-12 months which can vary to 18-24 months

    Only 1-3% will marry their AP ( you should see the numbers on various online forums)

    As a chump who’s ex spouse did marry the AP and is still with it ( children together also) it made me feel even more of a failure . OMG they are going to be the small % that make this work !!! But I’m reality there are millions of chumps like me .

    In my real life I know of 6 couples who’s relationship began as an affair and years later they are all still together ( again not what the stats said)

    My question is where do these statistics come from? Do they actually ask any chump ? You know do a poll of chumps as I guess it would be wildly different to millions of chumps experiences

    I still read here every day and I think some random just plucked figures out of thin air .

    I’ve got a curious mind

    • Same! This is a great one Karmeh – thank you . Even my therapist told me to take heart and that it was unlikely AP and FW would marry or even be together within a couple of years. What BS. They only knew each other a few months… he walked out on me and his son for her… we divorced… 6 years later they are still together. And it makes a Chump feel like a failure when statistics say that it’s unlikely. What are the REAL stats?

      • Same thing, my counselor keeps telling me, “you know statistically they won’t last.” But I know better, here and even Reddit seem to show the true percentage of affairs that turn into long term marriages are much much higher than we are led to believe. It sucks… I’m still worried I will not be able to handle it when our divorce is over and he inevitably marries the woman he left me for.

        • Agreed, it’s a little maddening that the “relationships that began as an affair” thing is thought of as a truism. FW and Wifetress are still going strong and have now been married longer than he and I were. And I’ve heard too many stories of FW/AP marriages that, well, last. It’s better for the chump to stop holding out for “karma” because after it will just never happen. Time to focus on our own lives instead.

        • If you follow Reddit you also know what kind of marriages these cheaters have, continue to cheat on each others, money problems (because they’re both irresponsible and can’t adult), children problems and broken family relationships etc, Not a marriage you want to be in. It’s no good comparing yourself to such people.

        • Reddit can only provide a small amount of anecdotal “evidence” from people who are proven liars. That certainly does not invalidate objective statistical facts, and the stats do show most of them don’t last.

          Of the ones that do last, I have no doubt they are dysfunctional. These people don’t have healthy relationships. Narcs and assorted freaks bragging on Reddit might say otherwise, but do you really believe them? They might put up a happily ever after front on social media, but these people are *never* psychologically healthy.

          • Sadly, all evidence regarding cheating is self-reported or anecdotal or comes from the RIC. Any person of science will tell you that such evidence is weak and cannot be trusted. After all, no criminal confesses unless it benefits the criminal in some way. Same thing with adulterers and cheaters. They aren’t going to talk.

            • But that’s just it. Why would a cheater admit a marriage that started by cheating *didn’t* work out? They are far more likely to lie and say it did, thereby justifying their cheating.

              Not all therapists are part of the RIC, btw. Why would the RIC admit they failed to keep the cheater marriage together, either? They have nothing to gain there.

              I agree it’s not great evidence, but it’s a heck of a lot better than a few anecdotes about people one knows.

    • Consider that you have to ask people if their relationship began as an affair.

      How many people are going to admit that?

      And you can’t possible know how many affairs are going on and what percentage you know about. That makes no sense. What’s it based on? Cheater self-reporting? “I had 10 affairs, and my spouse only discovered one.”

      You’re a social scientist taking data from a self-admitted liar?

      Yeah, be skeptical. I wish a data scientist would work with the millions (literally, millions) of stories here. That’s a pretty big data sample.

      • CL,

        Millions of stories! That’s incredible.

        Could you tell us again what the stats are for this site? How many are in CN? What’s the gender breakdown?

        Thanks.

      • Trust me, I’ve thought about it.

        The challenge is turning it into data in a spreadsheet.

        What I have thought about is an online survey based study on experience of infidelity.

        Age
        Sex
        Jurisdiction (divorce law varies)
        Year married
        Year divorced / still married
        Current annual income
        Religious affiliation
        Education level

        Then the questions.

        How did you find out? Drop down list of options plus Other

        Did you attempt reconciliation? Yes / No

        If yes, approximately how long did this period last? Months/years

        During this time, what reconciliation resources did you access? Drop down list plus Other

        What ended your reconciliation attempt?
        Drop down list plus Other

        I could ask lots of other questions:

        Identify your support network during your divorce?

        Are you happier now than you were before divorce/reconciliation/marriage?

        What other issues can you identify in your ex spouse’s behavior during your marriage, eg violence, alcohol abuse, gambling, obsession, porn use?

        In fact, this is my meta Friday Challenge:

        What would you like an online anonymous survey to ask you about your Chump experiences?

        • I’d like a survey to ask about support vs the support you think you would’ve received if it had been a death rather than death due to betrayal.
          And the chumps learning curve about cheating pre-and post.
          How cheating in media is rarely accurately portrayed.
          The chumps views on how society gives a pass to cheaters.
          If people in second or third marriages are more likely to cheat.
          Did the cheaters family step up in any way shape or form or did they disappear like you never existed?

      • You probaly could come close analyzing the average duration of FW re-mariages when one or both of the people marry within 3 months of divorce. Or where 2nd spouse is 10 + years younger than the other. Or where non-custodial parent moved over 100 miles away. Or where one or both people had a terrible credit score.

    • Another: 75% of marriages that started as affairs end in divorce.

      I can’t help but hope that my ex’s recent marriage to the AP (also a cheater) fails. But then I know that I shouldn’t care. Twenty-five percent last. That’s a lot.

      CL is right about not waiting for karma. Stand on a different street corner.

      • Yup, if a person can’t accept that bad people often flourish they are going to have trouble coping.

        Life is not fair, we do out best. And yes creeps often seem to land on the sunny side of the street.

        BUT they remain backstabbing POS traitors regardless

      • It can last and still be a shitty marriage. After all, chumps had crap marriages that lasted a long time. Since you know it was him and not you, him getting a new partner is not going to fix the problem.
        Maybe the schmoop will just tolerate his cheating and abuse. When they break up a family to be together, they need to justify that by pretending to have a great relationship. However, I’m 100% convinced fuckwits can’t have that. Not ever. Once the honeymoon and “We won!” euphoria fades, it’s still the same pair of assholes, being assholes to each other.

        But as you say, why should we care. My fuckwit is single now, but I’m sure he’ll rope somebody else in eventually, and he’ll be a jerk to her just as he was to me.

        • My ex and I were married 11. 5 years, dated 3 beforehand, 2 kids. He claimed that he realized shortly after he married me that he didn’t really love me, but having made a commitment and me being a decent person, he thought you could learn to be satisfied with the marriage.

          That’s what I had to work with. Great.

          Anyways, he left the marriage to run off with the love of his life, the “only person in his life” that he’s ever been able to be his real self with. He has a lot at stake in making this relationship last. First, his pride depends on proving everyone wrong because no one agreed with what he did. Second, he is very afraid of being alone and won’t let this one go unless someone else comes along (less likely during COVID with him working from home and spending all his free time with the OW). This relationship may go on for years under these circumstances. Doesn’t mean it’s a relationship worth having.

          It took a lot of effort to blow up his first life. He lost a lot over it, including the respect of many. I think that there are cheaters out there who actually learn the first time and don’t want to shoot themselves in the head again. So, they settle with the one they now have and make the best of it. That doesn’t mean that they love the OW any better, it only means that they’re too scared of blowing up their lives again.

    • I’m with you. Not only did mine marry the woman he had literally only had a one night stand with prior to our marriage blowing up and is now happily married to (by distant appearances), but she’s from a country where women outnumber men in the millions and yet she picked him! I am the biggest loser ever if you believe the stats. I’m not gonna lie. It hurts. I’m rocking every other aspect of my life but too damaged by his discard to even consider risking dating again.

      • Gettingthereslowly,

        You are only the loser in so far that you lost someone who was not worthy of you.

        LFTT

        • Thank you for that LFTT.

          I am just realizing this for myself, that morally corrupt asshole didn’t deserve me !

          And that’s an understatement 🙂😀😃😄😆

          Fuck him

    • I sometimes catch myself resenting the cheater/AP marriage. My solution is to take a minute to imagine what it would be like to be in his place, still married to my XW. If I make it concrete, I quickly realize that I don’t want to be him. (For instance, XW and AP went to Venice. I was jealous for a minute, and then remembered what it was like visiting Venice with her: she’s an anxious traveler who only cares about shopping (not art, architecture, culture, or food) and who refuses to take any responsibility for logistics or planning; plus our visits to Venice were always coupled with a long, unpleasant stay with my ex in-laws).

      Actually picturing myself stuck spending time with my XW quickly kills any residual regret I feel for losing the pick-me dance to the AP.

        • My ex got angry with me, ON OUR HONEYMOON, because I wanted to sightsee and wasn’t “paying any attention to him”. I was in freakin’ SCOTLAND. I wanted to look at Edinburgh castle, dammit.

          Should’ve left him as soon as we got home. Instead, I stayed with him for ten years.

          Oh well. I wouldn’t trade my son for anything, so…

      • Good strategy! Everytime I start to fret about FW and Wifetress’s marriage all I need to do is counter that with “Yeah, but… do you really want to trade places with her?” Talk about a bucket of cold water! Gets me back to reality every time!

        • Agree. Great strategy. Thanks.

          Perhaps this could be turned into a challenge: What’s kills any residual regret? What’s your bucket of cold water?

            • I think the “what bucket of cold water recognition kills any residual regret” challenge, would be a really healing and helpful challenge, not only for participants, but as a learning tool for non-participants, to help them see past what the picture of the ex seems to look like from the outside…

              “They’re vacationing at the beach while I have to work”… but just how miserable were vacations with him/her, and if you could swap places to be there with him/her instead, wouldn’t it actually be pretty miserable?

              Outer trappings are so deceptive.

              They still have to live with themselves, and with each other.

              How many exes are actually capable of true peace? Contentment? Joy? Not orgasmic thrills, or the rush of boasting or winning or some kind of fulfilled ego blast. Actual *peaceful, contented, happy moments* ?

              The 60 seconds you hugged your kid today, or cuddled your cat, or talked with your Mom, or helped a stranger carry groceries to their car, or when your dog rested his head on your lap and gazed up at you, or that thing you did all by yourself, or that new skill you honed, or the utter peace of *not* having your ex in your space, may be more actual deep happiness than your ex has felt all year.

              • “How many exes are actually capable of true peace? Contentment? Joy? Not orgasmic thrills, or the rush of boasting or winning or some kind of fulfilled ego blast. Actual *peaceful, contented, happy moments* ?

                The 60 seconds you hugged your kid today, or cuddled your cat, or talked with your Mom, or helped a stranger carry groceries to their car, or when your dog rested his head on your lap and gazed up at you, or that thing you did all by yourself, or that new skill you honed, or the utter peace of *not* having your ex in your space, may be more actual deep happiness than your ex has felt all year.”

                100% true and beautifully put.

              • Love this, Resident Tengu! So true and a great reminder! Thanks.

                (p.s. And thanks 🙏for your reply to me the other day about my checking old texts. You called it a violation of NC, which threw me back on my heels at first. Once I righted myself, I came to some important realizations. #helpful #therapystrides )

      • IG, I agree with you. Ex ran away with his notoriously difficult ex gf from school (said by his friends and family, not by him). Their relationship had failed twice before. I met him 18 months or so after the second failure. She was engaged very quickly after the second breakdown. She married and moved overseas with her husband. 28 years later I discovered the reason for the ex treating me like a grub to be stamped on and leaving me. Not that he has ever had the guts to admit it because he knew that everyone would think he was crazy for rekindling that old relationship. I was suicidal for a while. A mess.

        After therapy (ongoing) and lots of self care I have realised one or two things. It is entirely possible that the gfOW life coach is the ex’s ‘one’. Perhaps he has spent decades suffering from unrequited love. Perhaps he put all his eggs into her basket. And when she popped up via social media she was pushing at an open door. This does not excuse his behaviour in any way. He is a disgusting specimen of humanity: dishonest, cruel, spiteful, immature, moody, difficult. I could go on. I made a mistake in ignoring many red flags because I loved him truly. He has never loved me. He acted the part. The point is that if he had remained with me, he would have deteriorated ever more quickly as he got older. I was at increasing personal risk without understanding that to be the case. The gfOW did me a massive favour because I was too much of a dry husk after 26 years with him to ever leave. I sincerely hope that they marry and have the opportunity to live their ‘true love that lasts decades and crosses oceans’ in real life to the bitter end. That’s what karma looks like to me. With the added bonus for me of not having to spend any more time with the ex in-laws. I always thought that he was the best of a selfish bunch of users. Perhaps he is the best of them, but he is a selfish user too. Lucky gfOW to get to enjoy that into old age. And I’ve now become the notoriously difficult ex-wife, which is fine by me!

      • Life with my ex was like dealing with another child. You know how you have to help little kids calm themselves down? And how you have to keep them entertained or they whine and complain? How you have to explain very basic things, like why mommy can’t afford to buy them every toy they want? How you have to tell them when they hurt someone’s feelings and tell them to apologize, and then they do it grudgingly just so you’ll stop talking about it?
        You know how they throw tantrums and break things and yell and hit when they’re angry?

        Yeah. Exactly. I’m happy to help my 9 year old with emotional regulation and teach him how the world works. I don’t ever want to do that again for an adult. It’s EXHAUSTING. Not to mention that it’s pretty scary dealing with an angry guy who’s six inches taller and 60 lb heavier than you are. And drunk more often than not.

        I remember a pivotal moment during my separation when for some reason my ex wanted to “talk” and so we had a phone conversation (oh yeah, my lawyer sent him a letter inviting him to discuss settlement before we moved forward with filing for divorce), and he was apologizing (sort of), saying he hadn’t been a good husband and hadn’t been there for me, and talking about how much he missed me.

        And I got this really clear picture in my head of a fork in the road, one branch where I got back together with him (and I did love him still at that point), and the other branch where I moved on with my life alone. And for the first time, the path where I was alone looked so much more appealing. I thought about how, even if he cut off the affair and things went back to how they had been before, my future with him would mean going back to constantly worrying about what mood he was in, catering to him, mollifying him, being criticized by him, having to ignore and minimize my needs and wants, no trust, no peace. He was a very negative, doom and gloom, depressed person (punctuated by highs of activity – I still suspect he may have been manic depressive). It just sounded so…exhausting. I realized that what I wanted was PEACE. And that was really the beginning of the end for me wanting him back. I think he expected me to jump at any chance he offered of getting back together. Instead I told him that I couldn’t even consider it as long as he had any contact with OW, and that he had to get help for his anger and alcoholism and admit that he had been abusive to me. I never heard another word about reconciliation from him after that.

        And I was right. Life without him is SO much better. I’m still single and so I am “alone”. And I am LOVING it. I have peace, joy, freedom. I never had those things in my marriage. Even in the “good” times.

    • I have issues with lots of stats too.

      One I have serious doubts that most affairs are never discovered. (one night stands maybe, LTAs no)

      Also, though I have no issue believing that most relationships that begin with affairs eventually crash, either by divorce or by continued cheating and betrayal, I don’t buy the stat that says most men don’t leave their spouse for the AP. I think likely the majority of men do leave their spouses for the OW, whether that adulterous relationship lasts or not.

      I just think in most cases it takes a few years for the cheater to extract all the value they can from the relationship whether it be getting finances in order, or finishing raising children, job security etc. In my fw’s case I think he did want our son raised. He knew I was a good mother, and he didn’t want to touch that. But then when our son graduated from HS and he and I were working to get a new mayor elected, so he didn’t want to mess that up. That was his one shot at grabbing the brass ring at work. Success. He got promoted the next year and then right after he was promoted he started the year of discard.,

      Like you I know of so many women who went through it, and in the end most of them were discarded; no matter how hard they tried.

      Note: I get that men get chumped but this is just from my life view.

      So yeah as the old saying goes “”Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

      I don’t know if it was CL or someone else, but someone said “the marriage is over when the betrayal begins” I agree with that. It is just unfortunate for many of us that we don’t find out about the betrayal until we have wasted a lot of years and love on them.

    • As far as I can tell from the various sources I’ve seen, they come from an analysis of data provided by psychologists and therapists who work with couples.

      You need a large sample in order to draw an objective conclusion, so a few anecdotes about people we know is not worth anything statistically.

      Anyway, who says these people you know are happy? Lots of crap marriages last a long time. We chumps certainly have experienced that.
      Fuckwits are not healthy, therefore neither are their relationships. They are also liars, so what they say about their relationships means nothing.

    • The FW dumped the OW on D-day. Yes I kicked him out. But he knew that he cheated way down, and he didn’t want to be stuck with her when I was gone. My dumping him gave him the balls he didn’t have to dump her. She was only good when he was deceiving me with her. That hurt a lot. He got off on the sneaking and deception. (Which fits his personality).

      So no, the last thing he would do is marry the OW. Instead, he moved on to a new victim, a “good Christian woman” who “carries a calm demeanor”. Moved in with her after 2 months of dating. Said he won’t cheat on her because he learned about his brain malfunction from the RIC. (I am no contact now).

      Statistics-wise I would like to know how close to 100% the phrase “once a cheater, always a cheater” is true. Of course, that is impossible to know because 1) they lie and 2) their partners don’t always know.

      • The stat I have seen repeatedly is that if they cheat in one relationship, they are 300 times more likely to cheat in a subsequent relationship than those who haven’t cheated in a relationship before.
        So yeah, the oft repeated saying seems to have a real basis.

        Betcha your ex cheats on her, and I’d put a lot of money on that bet.

        He learned about his “brain malfunction” from the RIC. Wow, so just knowing you have a “brain malfunction” instantly corrects that malfunction? I guess knowing you have cancer must do the same thing, then. Your ex should be awarded a Nobel prize for medicine for this amazing discovery.

        Fuuuuck, what an idiot.

    • “Together” does not mean “healthy”.

      Eva Braun thought Hitler was really cool and they both killed themselves after getting married.

      My in laws are 95 and 85. They’ve been together as a seriously dysfunctional duo since 1962.

      Benedict OJ Madoff, my former fraudulent hologram of a husband, was on Tinder and going to the illicit massage parlors after moving in with the Craigslist “Sole Mate”.

      No one knows better than a chump here that appearances deceive, and there is LOTS more to the quality of a relationship than just time together.

      I do not want to be married to someone who cheats and lies. Some people are cool with it. Let them flock together and stay out of my lane.

    • “Only 1/15 will actually leave their partner for AP” …
      I forced that on her , two weeks after divorce (she executed) she’s knocking on the door all teary telling me I was the best friend she ever had (kibble shopping) , this after screwing her AP for a year and a half. I booted her nearly a year earlier. Told her if she loved this guy she needed to be with him. Just like that , she was out within an hour with no real place to go. AP was a white trash POS with nothing , living with his mom. Just felt like if he was going to get the goods , he’s gonna pay the bills.
      Trust They Suck.

    • My therapist was certain his affair with a massage parlor sex worker would not last. I never thought it would either. But he married her before the ink on our divorce was dry almost two years ago. They recently bought a home in the very same lower class neighborhood we lived in over 20 years ago. A definite big step down for him. I hear he is in the process of trying to get her family over here to the US. HAHAHAHA! What a fool. I told him that would happen. That’s what those women do. Seduce and marry a stupid American in order to get their green card and their families over here from their homeland. Then dump him like a hot rock! Even if she doesn’t dump him, he will have an 1100 sq. Ft. house full of her family indefinitely and they will always come first. That’s their culture. He deserves what he gets.

      A leopard does not change it’s spots. I have no doubt that he is still fucking prostitutes. And she is probably still plying her “trade” to earn extra money. What a foundation to base a marriage on. They are both lowlifes and deserve each other. So glad he is gone and I am no longer being chumped. Now he’s the chump. 😅

  • * When did your cheater free home first feel like YOUR home?

    * What did you desperately want to do (or stop doing) while with the cheater, then become able to do (or stop doing) once you were cheater-free, and HOW GREAT WAS THAT?!?

    * Did your friends, pets, neighbors, etc. get closer to you/spend more time with you once you didn’t have a cheater around you?

    * If you were 100% certain every negative thing the cheater ever said about you was 100% incorrect, how would you see/describe yourself? Are there ways you like yourself that become easier to see?

    * What hobby or recreational thing do you want to try but you’re holding back, and what would make it become possible for you (now that you know you’re mighty enough to seek out CL and this community and think about and pursue your own well being)?

    • I’m with Amissfree. While CL, LACGAL and CN are indispensable resources for the awakening that follows D-day, there are many other stages of healing that chumps need to grow through to get to the other side. CL does a great job exposing cheaters in ways that pierce any chump naivety or misperceptions concerning abuse. CL pulls it all together to show cheater abuse for what it is.

      Anger can become a stage of stalled growth if a chump stays with this narrative past its due-date. Anger can then become a dominant trait of expression where chumps find themselves stuck. Yes, anger is necessary to sharpen one’s defenses and recognize abuse for protection. Past that, it can have a very negative effect on one’s future development toward interpersonal relationship satisfaction. No chump wants to grow into an angry, bitter hater. Being chumped is an exponential assault on life, but it isn’t the sum total of one’s life experience.

      Therefore, I’d love to see a more balanced sharing of change agents that impelled chumps to grow past the anger into healing. Discussions that also lean toward acceptance and newfound joy are helpful. I’ll leave you with a concept from an analogy I found very helpful for healing:

      The FBI trains special agents to detect counterfeit currency. In doing so, they use authentic, genuine, real currency. Agents spend countless hours learning the intracacies of the genuine article. At conclusion agents have highly specialized training in recognizing the real-deal. At that time, counterfeit currency is presented for comparison. No time is needed to train the agents to recognize counterfeit currency BECAUSE the genuine article is so well known that the counterfeit glares in stark contrast.

      Know the genuine, real, authentic articles of value in life well enough to recognize the counterfeits in life.

      • I’d like to know more about how Chumps have learned what the genuine article is!

        I’d like to hear how FOO might have set us up to not notice red flags.

        I’d like to know what fixing our picker has looked like for Chumps at all stages of healing.

        • For me , I suffered several months after separation. Like a heroin addict , I KNEW if I kept on , she would have just killed me emotionally. A few months in I was reaching meh and began pulling my mojo back together. The pivotal moment occurred one night I had decided to go out alone. I met some friends at a club and we’d decided to go get breakfast.
          We walk into the restaurant and who do I see but one of my ex’s enabler girlfriends (we’ll call Val) with another girl (who evidently knew my ex and the AP ) and their dates. The aha moment was when this other girl saw me (Val apparently told her who I was). The expression on her face , dropped jaw , astonishment , turned to Val bewildered “she left this guy for AP , wtf , is she nuts”. After the self esteem nuke I’d been handed for previous months , that moment was all the validation I could have hoped for. That was the moment meh came down hard.

      • I love this focus on Chumps finding a new way to see themselves. Can’t change a thing about other folks so why not look at our side of the street and keep it as clean as we can. Learning how to navigate relationships without codependent behavior on my part is absolutely key to my recovery. It takes a long time to heal, and it only happens one day at a time.

      • I like balance, too. I am also many years out. We are all in different places and individuals will most enjoy the content they need most at any time. CL does a pretty good job of leveraging Fridays for positive side stuff a fair spot of the time, and I had that in mind when I made these suggestions. Hopefully one or more of them will be fun and/or useful for those who need them! We are all so, so mighty to go through this and emerged alive, however damaged. I’m here for all of it with everyone, like everyone was for me back then (and, who knows, may be again someday.)

      • ‘I’d love to see a more balanced sharing of change agents that impelled chumps to grow past the anger into healing. Discussions that also lean toward acceptance and newfound joy are helpful.’
        YES!
        You articulated everything so perfectly.
        The journey is long and hard for many of us.
        Personally I would be happy if most Friday challenge spoke to healing. We need more of the healing information because it’s a big jump from chumped to mighty
        and frankly there aren’t tons of valuable resources out there considering how huge a problem this is.
        Looking at the past has its place, but we don’t want to be robbed of our present and future.

        • I actually like to hear people’s stories. A lot of times they resonate as they are so close to my own. I guess hearing what other people have gone through, how similar to my experience and what their FW was like was and is a big part of my healing. That it wasn’t me.

          • I didn’t say I didn’t like it,
            I’ve read everything on this blog!
            And there’s a lot. CL is the extremely rare voice of reason.
            And, I also agree with ‘Discussions that also lean toward acceptance and newfound joy are helpful’

            • I agree. For those who’ve been reading all the infos out there of how the fuck it could happen, I guess I’m now also one of the readers that needs more info on how to move on. Okay, I’m happy to have the narc out of my life, but I’ve been pretty unsuccessful in my dating attempts so far and really have my ups and downs in this “breaking the pattern” thing.

    • “* When did your cheater free home first feel like YOUR home?”

      When I went to the grocery store and bought the hugest pack of Charmin toilet paper for my new home. Odd, eh?

      FW refused to buy TP. He stole it from his employer. That nasty, thin institutional stuff. Just wretched. Plus, that he stole it just infuriated me.

      I still to this day buy Charmin TP. I have huge baskets of the stuff in my bathrooms. Rolls and rolls of it, lol. MOUNDS of deliciously soft TP in pretty baskets. I’m FW free and every time I tinkle I am reminded of the luxurious life I’ve created for myself!

      • Ah, I love this! Sometimes small things are really huge factors!

        A friend of mine was in this boat once in her early 30s. Her dad had come to help her shop and she was embarrassed to be taking his money. He grabbed a huge thing of TP and she tried to get him to grab a smaller one. He exasperatedly said “what, are you gonna stop using it?!?!?” and that broke the ice and got them laughing. One of my favorite stories!

      • When I could hire a window cleaner. FW never agreed to one. He always said that he’d clean rather than pay someone. But here’s the thing…… He never fucking did it. I did. So off he fucked (well I kicked his arse out) and now I have sparkling windows every month 👌🏼. A small triumph but a triumph all the same 😁

      • Isn’t it funny how the small things make us so happy? I smile to myself as I put away the silverware by simply putting spoons with spoons and forks with forks. FW demanded that the big forks be nestled with the big forks, and the small spoons nestle with small spoons etc. They had to be in neat stacks, and you couldn’t mix up the sizes. So controlling.

      • Yay! 🧻 🧻

        Similarly, I have a drawer full of reading glasses 👓; there are probably 7 extra cheapo pairs in there. Long story. But now I’m in control. Yay!

        I also hung one of my oil paintings in a prominent place. My ex wanted it to go in the unfinished basement. What a mean jerk! I have so many examples of his assholery.

        • Assholery…my all time new favorite word. Although I never seem to remember to use on my own, I just crack up when I read it on this site.

  • How about the crazy outfits or change in appearamce? My MLCer went from boxers and tidey whities underwear to black bikinis. Yep, he changed his underwear after I threw him out and he thought he looked so sexy while living with his whore. He has a limp 2-inch penis he cannot see because his stomach hangs over it. I still laugh (sometimes barf) at the sight of this guy who in all sincerity thinks he looks studly. LOL LOL LOL

    • There is a picture that CL did of a guy standing on the beach in his tighty whities hugging his chubby little mistress. I laughed and laughed when I saw it. It put the whole soulmate/true love bullshit into focus.

    • The FW, while we were together, and even before the cheating, started getting into tight bikinis and thongs. Thought he looked studly. Granted, he is muscular, but he also is mid-50s, has love handles and is very short. I humored him – who am I to criticize , it made him feel good.

      After D-day I found out that the video he sent to me, dancing in his thong was for made for her, and he sent it to both of us. Ridiculous.

      After I dumped him, before I blocked him on social media, he posted pictures wearing tiny speedos. Again, ridiculous. No one said “wow, you’re hot”.

      I’m really glad to be off that weird merry-go-round of his ego.

      • OMG! We need a CL cartoon of this, or is there already one?

        When my then 61-year-old ex agreed to come with me to a yoga class the day before asking for a separation (I think we wanted to tell everyone that he’d tried to do things I like), he asked if the men take their shirts off. I told him that after a certain age men should probably just keep their shirts on. He was SO insulted.🤣

    • I left after Dday for a week and when I came back to begin divorce process I was shocked. The transformation into mid 30’s bachelor pad was already complete. Husband always wore boxers the entire 14 years we were together. He wasted not time getting these really tight little boxer briefs, you know that show everything off…No joke, he had purchased an ENTIRE new wardrobe, “personal” grooming kits, was exercising constantly, and a few giant containers of muscle milk had suddenly appeared…Midlife crisis much…? I take comfort in knowing he probably won’t keep up this new lifestyle and he will slide back into his fast food comfort…hope the OW appreciates how hard he is working to look good for her. *eye rolling so hard*

    • A guy I worked with liked to say ( he had a raunchy sense of humour ) that “ he loved his dick so much that he put a roof over it”!

      His wife worked there as well and it was all in good fun. But he did get quite a gut over time and he probably had not seen his penis in years!

      • So obese he can’t reach down to grab it and pee. I bet his wife loves cleaning up after Mr. Raunchy Garden Hose in the bathroom ! 🤮

  • I’m still a fan of speaking your truth to the world, I just think we need skillful examples of how to do it. Instead of focusing on the cringiest thing we said to an ex, what about a challenge calling for the most POWERFUL thing you said about your situation to someone else, the ex or just mutual friends and family? We could model for each other a cool, calm, and factual tone that both preserves our own dignity and gets the facts out there. I refuse to eat the shit sandwich of STFU. Part of attaching a price to infidelity (to be paid by the unfaithful partner) is to speak the truth to your mutual circle. It’s all in the tone, style, and content of how you say it. We could educate and uplift each other, and future chumps who read this later.

    • One of the things I’ve been thinking about telling when people ask about my divorce is – “I believed in monogamy and he didn’t so I divorced him” or “He broke a vow and I divorced him.” Is it too to the point, am I going into too many details? Could people connect the dots with those?

      • Yeah, my version of this was “I objected to his girlfriends.” Haven’t heard a single remark back refuting this gem.

        • Tessie, I’ve said the same thing the girlfriend.
          “I broke up with him. I didn’t approve of his girlfriend.”

      • I think either answer is good.

        In my case he left me, and though he wanted me to file; I insisted he file.

        So all I had to say is, he left me for another woman. It rarely came up for me as our was very public as we were highly involved in the community and politics. He shit all over himself at work; and pretty much everyone knew it.

        I doubt he said much against me as pretty much anything he said to anyone, they would know it was a lie.

        There is an advantage sometimes of the adultery/lies being long term then spectacularly exposed. When one has lied and conned so many people, it is a bit harder to play the sad sausage part with any believability.

        • @SusieLee, had to smile at you insisting he file. I did that too and when he came back home several hours later he stated that “it dawned on him, he didn’t have GROUNDS”.

          OMG, mr Jesus cheater, 30 yr double life master, you can’t break the law if you are the law, Xh coward actually makes up and believes his own horseshit!!

          • Yep I can honestly say that when I first told him he would have to file because he wanted to end the marriage, it was because I really thought that was only right. That way when we looked back he and I would both know he made the decision to end the marriage. For some reason it mattered to me then.

            But also in all honesty the second time I asked him to file, I had already seen a lawyer (he had moved out). My lawyer said if I could get him to file it would give him (the lawyer) more leverage for a good temp maintenance plan (abandonment issues) and also it would put all the work of gathering information on fw.

            So I called fw and said you need to file to get our finances separated, the lawyer said the waiting period is sixty days (all true). He balked, but I insisted that he wanted the D, so it was only fair. Of course if he refused, I would have had to, but he finally did. I never got served, it was left in my mailbox.

            The reason he gave me for not wanting to file was he didn’t want to hurt me. What an ass, yeah lying to me for our whole marriage and using marital money to pay the fuckbuddies didn’t hurt at all.

            It was true the waiting period after filing was 60 days. What I didn’t tell him was that was the minimum, depending on circumstances it could be longer. In the end my lawyer said he could get me three years legal separation with him paying the bills. I asked for six months; just to get a few months to save some money and to get stronger.

            It ended up being a year. FW never balked once, at least not to me or my lawyer. Actually he was the one that dragged his feet rafter the six months were up. Maybe he was hoping whore would dump him so he wouldn’t have to marry her. (she was his direct report). Who knows.

            We were in a no fault/ 50/50 state, so he filed IR; but no fault 50/50 does not cover marital fraud. Judges don’t like that. At least our judge didn’t.

            I had three years of credit card history proving his fraud. It also helped that he had a dumb ass lawyer that lived in the same trailers park that his whore lived in.

            This was many years ago, if I had it to do over; I would have gone for the whole three years.

      • @FreeFromFW

        A slight modification suggestion:

        “I *proved* I believed in monogamy and he *proved* he didn’t, so I divorced him.”

      • My general response became (after a few cringeworthy emotional verbal diarrhea scenes):

        “He left.” And then in a lowered, confidential-tone voice, “And then I discovered he had a whole secret life on the side.” Followed by my heavy sigh, disgusted look, and head shake.

        Then a change of subject, leaving the details to their imagination.

        Of course my friends and relatives knew all the gory details.

      • I just flat out tell people that my marriage ended due to infidelity. My husband was having an affair with one of his employees. I don’t get into details, but I don’t censor myself either.

    • Yes, like best comebacks/ effective answers to stupid things cheaters say.

      Also, what somebody said/ did (therapist/ friend/ cute old lady) that completely changed your perspective/ your world?

      • Someone in Chump Nation had a story like this: told a sweet, demure older lady at work. Pause. Sweet, demure older lady: “MOTHERFUCKER!”

        Maybe she’d been through it herself, or one of her kids.

        • Lol, Nemo. This reminds me of when I had to tell my sweet Grammie that I was getting divorced. My Grammie was the most proper, mannerly, went to Mass every morning, sang “Ave Maria” (in Latin) while she vacuumed her impeccably kept home type. I was so anxious to tell her, just dreading it! She asked and I told (because good Catholic girls don’t lie to their Grammie). She said, “That MFer! He can just go to hell!”

          I just sat there with my mouth open trying to breathe! And then we laughed and I knew everything was going to be okay.

  • – When you realized therapy was not helping
    – Tell us about your new post-divorce acquisitions: new pets? degree/education? career?

    And, my favorite:

    – List all the things you *don’t* miss about about living with your FW. Not the obvious things like addressing trauma every day or being lied to, devalued, and abused, but the smaller, more domestic things that absolutely *thrill* you with their absence.

    For example, some items on my list are:
    – I don’t miss how he smelled of ball sweat so often (my apologies for being vulgar)
    – I don’t miss how much he snored (so much! so loud!). I never realized how much I missed not waking up every hour in the night until the constant snoring was finally gone!
    – I don’t miss seeing sweat stains on everything in the laundry.
    – I don’t miss how much it cost to feed him. The man was an eating machine and my grocery bill went down significantly after he left.

    etc etc

    I found making these “I don’t miss ___” lists incredibly helpful in the early months/years of my post D-Day separation blues. Even when I was still in love with my cheating FW, I could see a long, looooong list of pros about “how awesome it was not to live with him” was easy to build. His unkind behavior, coupled with my growing “I don’t miss ___” list really helped to blunt the damaging effects of hopium addiction and helped me to celebrate and thrill in my own glorious independence. Hopium allowed me to “forgive” his more egregious sins (it was a mistake, he’s going through some kind of post partum depression, she seduced him, I must be a bad wife… all that BS). The “I don’t miss” list focused on all the concrete, little, domestic reasons why he sucked. Hopium couldn’t touch that list. Hopium looked at that list and said “Well… he is sweaty, smelly, and does snore… like a lot… You’re right… you’ve been sleeping better since he’s not been snoring in your ear all the time and demanding night time sex. And have you noticed that since he’s been gone you have had no more urinary tract infections? Like… none!”

    Hopium got quieter and quieter as I looked at my growing list and I was was finally able to say “Ugh… do… do I really want all this back in my life? He’s kind of a smelly, selfish, unpleasant slob. My life was better before he was in it and it’s been getting better after he left it. Why didn’t I see this before?”

    The trauma is real. The way a cheater tears your life apart is real. The PTSD and depression is real. I don’t want to diminish any of that. But as chumps, we strangely are able to spackle over the big stuff if we have to. This little stuff though…? I was powerless in the face of my husband’s long, looooong list of undismissable faults. He was a selfish slob. Even in the throes of my “I’m in a divorce I don’t want to be in/I just want my marriage to work out” despair, I could see the light: I, actually, *didn’t* want to live with him. How freeing that was!

    I definitely advocate for chumps, especially in the early stages, to start their own “I don’t miss ___” lists.

    • I don’t miss sharing a bed with him. It is LOVELY to be able to sleep alone. My ex snored, he had sleep apnea but refused to do anything about it so I was always afraid he’d stop breathing, he was a restless sleeper, if he couldn’t sleep (which was often) he’d flop around like a dying fish or get up with loud sighs and stomp to the bathroom over and over (but heaven forbid I move a muscle and disturb HIM, so I often slept in very uncomfortable positions because I was afraid to move and wake him and get screamed at or have him pout the entire next day and complaining about how tired he was), he also sweated profusely so the sheets were always disgusting. I sleep like a rock and don’t move all night and nothing bothers me and it’s so nice. I can stay up and read. I can watch tv. Or not. Whatever I want. I think if I ever get into another relationship (not sure I even want one), I will have my own bedroom.

        • Same!

          I’m a night owl and I usually don’t have to get up early. It’s so nice sleeping with my kitties on my own schedule.

          I am in a new relationship. He’s been divorced longer than I’ve been alone, and we’ve had sleepovers and vacations but neither of us sleep well together He has come to realize that my love of living alone works better for our relationship.

          My dad had a long-time girlfriend. She would never get married or live with him. She valued her independence too much. She didn’t want to be swallowed up by him. So I grew up with this example – that you don’t need to live together to have a successful and committed relationship.

      • Recharging with deep, restorative sleep turns out to be very important for one’s overall health. Impossible to do with Mr. Floppy Snorer in your bed. Also why so many chumps use sleep aids short term when they’ve been traumatized.

      • Ugh…I forgot how ex had a sweating problem. Having sex after divorce was a whole new experience in not being completely soaked. TMI.

      • IsawtheLight, me too. Everything. I slept so well from the day I left, even with all the stress and trauma and grief.

        Different bed, new linen and pillows, no old smells, no snoring fidgety bedhog beside me forcing me to balance right on the edge of the mattress.

        Mine had a cpap machine but wouldnt use it because the mask was uncomfortable.

        I am never sharing a bed with anyone ever again.

        • Remember Dr. Ruth Westheimer ? Happily married and slept alone in her room every night. She and her husband had an active sex life but they SLEPT in different rooms.

            • Me too. No CPAP machine blowing in my face, like the last loser I briefly dated . I found out he cheated on his first wife and didn’t even work during his second marriage. He stole my credit card number when we went away for the night to celebrate my birthday.

  • The “ways in which I became free” list is also good. FW didn’t like to travel. Two years after he left I spent a month living in London – walking around the city, going to the theater, sitting in the gallery in the House of Commons as they debated Brexit, marching in the International Women’s Day march, taking an Italian cooking class, etc. It was heaven!!

    • Good call! One of the first “I can try this now” things I did after he left was to go vegetarian for a year. I wanted to see if I liked it and FW would not have supported that when he was around.

  • I’m sure this was probably done already – but something like “top red flags you missed.” Every time we talk about this on the Facebook group, there are so many “omg, me too” comments because they all do the same stupid shit. Just makes the newly chumped folks feel like they aren’t crazy, despite their FW making them feel like they are batshit. The “manscaping” before a “business trip,” walking outside to take “business calls,” needing to bring the phone into the bathroom because they couldn’t take a dump without it (you know, they might miss a “business call” or something)…maybe this is too elementary a topic for the Fri challenge, but I always feel better after comparing notes with CN.

  • A few nights ago I was bored so I started writing fuckwit jokes. I suggested fuckwit jokes as a Friday challenge.

    Examples;

    Q: How many fuckwits does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: That light bulb needs to get off hopium. Fuckwits only change victims.

    Q: Why did the fuckwit cross the road?

    A: To cheat with the the chicken on the other side. Why else?

    Q: What do you call a fuckwit who knowingly passes you HIV from hookers and you’re dying of AIDS, as he leans down smirking to hear your very last words while clutching your will in his greedy satanic hoof?

    A: Call him darling. You need to own your part in it, bitch!

    Q: What’s the difference between;

    1) A meth head who is suffering from tertiary syphilis, has fifteen kids from five different baby daddies/mamas and whose trailer or teeth have neither been cleaned since Jimmy Carter was President

    and

    2) A Noble Peace Prize winner who lead a movement which stopped a genocide from happening at incalculable risk to their own life?

    A: One of them is your fuckwit’s twu wuv. Guess which one.

    Q: What does a fuckwit inevitably say when you work 60 hours a week curing cancer while simultaneously caring for a house and five kids, unfailingly supporting fuckwit both emotionally and financially and doing everything sexually that he/she could ever dream of?

    A: ILYBINILWY

    Q: What is it called when you ignore your fuckwit ex’s endless attempts to get you back by offering you blow jobs?

    A: Going gray cock.

    You get the idea. We could create a whole new genre of jokes. Fuckwits provide endless fodder.

      • Aw, thanks! Alas, if that ever came to pass, and it would be amazing if it did, I have a fear of public speaking. I have written stuff but do not perform in public.

      • I have actually been considering doing just that.

        I have an introduction chapter so far. I’ll be focusing on decoding cheaterspeak and cheater behavior in a humorous way and classifying them by toxicity level. Like, at one end in Chernobyl and at the other is Salmonella, with various other toxins listed on the continuum.

        I will include funny cheater stories and will probably solicit them from here as well as other places. The stories here are the best! All stories will be used only with full permission of course.

        Plus jokes. Always.

        Looking for title suggestions. Anybody?

        I’m super busy right now so the project is going to take a while.
        I do have experience as a comedy writer, but not under my real name. I always use a nom de plume and I would for this too.

          • Lol! You know, that’s pretty good. You can do that with book titles these days. They just put an * where the u is.

          • Great title suggestion.

            “Bagged Salad; The Absolutely Totally for Reals Scientifically Verified Reasons Why We Point at Cheaters and Laugh.”

            Oh yes, bagged salad has to be there if I can get permission. Plus the classic tales of the dancing yeti, the pillow muncher, Hippity Hop the sleeping bag fuckwit, the two troll preists, the Carrot Singer, Harley Davidson cheater and pink scooter OW, and so many more. The fuckwit who ran away to join the circus from the other day is a good one as well. I’ve told some of these stories to people I know (acting out some of the parts as well) and they just about died laughing.

            Another title could be; “The Dancing Yeti Whisperer; a guide to decoding the disordered.”

            Or; “On Pillow Munchers and the Punchable Faces We Once Loved.”

        • Please make fun of the ones who have pathetic enabler families as well. I had a very charming lovely mother-in-law… Always full of compliments – until she drop me like a hot potato the minute he discarded me for 0W.
          She couldn’t even bother to return an email I had sent letting her know I was thinking of her.

  • I would like to see more about coparenting with a fuckwit. I still have 11 years in the trenches of dealing with the parasite. One CN member said they check their coparenting app at a set time once a week and it has helped me tremendously. I also want to know if I need to be cheery, friendly with the parasite when we are in each other’s presence for mutual events for our child. Do I seem bitter because I choose not to speak to him or look his way?

    • I find a happy medium. I’m not fake cheerful but I’m also not angry and malicious. I’m, instead, sort of uncomfortably civil. Like I’m dealing with a client or a business partner that I don’t want to deal with but it behooves me to be polite to.

      I don’t look his way or force more conversation with him anymore than I have to. I find ways to excuse myself from the situation ASAP. I don’t sit close to him or get anywhere close. If this makes me seem bitter then I’m at peace with that.

    • I can be surface – level civil around my ex and his whore-wife. I mostly keep my distance at sports practices, etc. It helps that I’m mostly at Meh. And I see how heavily she’s being used as a wife appliance! Former in-laws that I’m still friendly with have commented, “Is she that stupid? Does she not see what’s going on?” It really helps that I’ve had the support that I’ve had. Still have to be mighty and not put up with his BS though (currently going back to court because he won’t abide by the divorce decree that has us sharing childcare costs).

      So I didn’t find CL until after we had filed our divorce decree via a mediator. Had I found CL earlier, I probably would have fought for more than 50/50. At the time I was under the mistaken assumption that 50/50 is “what’s best for the kids.” I’ve had to modify our divorce decree via the courts to add basics like, “child must be in appropriate sized shoes & clothing for the weather.” “Parent will help child maintain good hygiene.” Parenting 101 stuff, but unfortunately too small shoes and rashy genitals don’t fall under “gross neglect” as far as the courts are concerned, so my attorney advised me that this was the best way to go.

      His fragile male ego really can’t handle my valid questioning of his parenting abilities, but I have no problem calling him out, in writing. I do my best to keep emotions out of it, just stick to the facts. He gets defensive, rails against how condescending I’m being. Whatever. Eventually he toes the line and does better cause he doesn’t want a string of emails or texts demonstrating just how bad he is at the basics. It’s been a slow process. It’s taken time to learn to ignore the tantrum and name-calling when I stick to my boundaries. Or the manipulation when I won’t give into his latest demand.

  • I cringe thinking about the therapist that told me most women would have just left and that it sounded like I was clinging onto a 17 year relationship where I wasn’t the one and that it’s okay maybe we didn’t have the right chemistry. This was after I disclosed the shoving, pushing, raising his fist at me and countless other women that “were just friends.” I tried my absolute best aka pick me dance and made a fool out of myself and now know I was being abused. I also remember being obsessed (still haunts me) will he be different with right woman – therapist answer maybe but it doesn’t involve you anymore.

    • This is what is frightening about these fraud therapists.

      Just how is a chump supposed to know they aren’t the one, when the cheater is playing the one, and continuing with the physical family side of the marriage as if they are happy.

      Then if the chump believed the lie they are to blame because they should have known, but if they didn’t believe the lie then of course they didn’t have faith and no wonder cheater cheated.

      I strongly believe a lot of therapist should if not be in jail at least lose their licenses.

      • I agree – also the suggestion that FW would be a better person with the “right” partner is sick. If you feel you’re with the “wrong” person, decide what you’re going to do about that, but abuse/disrespect isn’t justifiable.

  • How about a ubt for kicking someone when they are down – ie helping people make sense of the all too common scenario when they get chunked for the evil sin of not lavishing enough attention on their partners due to death in the family, diagnosis of horrible incurable disease for themselves, unexpected job loss or court battle or some other kind of serious trauma that puts them in survival mode for a while

    • What gets me is the assumption that the chump was the one who didn’t give enough affection. In my case I can flat out tell you I have him way more attention, and affection than he ever gave me.

      Before Dday I just assumed that was the way he was, you know things like forgetting birthdays and no valentines day thought; things like that.

      He was always into a lot of sex, up until the last couple months of the year of discard.

      When I found out via cc history he was lavishing birthday and valentines gifts on the whore, not to mention dinners and lots of cash withdrawals from our bank; I was shattered that I had scrimped and saved and that is where the money went.

      I recouped some of it in the settlement; but that didn’t take away the pain and the loss of those years.

  • I second the suggestion to see how many of us had noticeable health improvements once they were gone.
    I had GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disorder) commonly known as heartburn, almost once a night, despite using a pillow wedge and medication. One he was gone, it stopped. I no longer use the pillow or take the meds, and I’m heartburn free. The migraines I’ve had for decades are far less frequent.
    I’ll save the rest in case CL does make this a challenge.

    • “I second the suggestion to see how many of us had noticeable health improvements once they were gone”

      I third this!

  • 1. Best No Contact Strategies While Co-Parenting – mine was setting up an email filter so I didn’t see his responses until I was centered and calm, turning off notifications for texts, etc.

    2. How Friends and Family were Mighty

    3. The Surprising Curiosity of other people in committed relationships who were thinking about getting out

  • What are the top 5 red flags you ignored?

    What would be your best relationship advice for those (teenagers?) who are not yet in committed relationships?

    • I really like the idea of relationship advice for kids of FWs. How we model healthy relationships, and healthy responses to dysfunctional relationships.

  • How about something about how mighty Jason Sudeikis is? Olivia Wilde cheated with Harry Stiles (seriously, what is it with that guy, he’s so unattractive), tried to spin it, but Jason publicly said “Nope, I was not aware our relationship was over”, then went on to win pretty much every Emmy for two years running!

    How I love it when you get to see someone really thrive when they get away from the toxic sludge in their lives.

  • What’s was the best advice you received from anyone when you were dealing with trauma that you were able to digest either emotional or business?

  • A Friday challenge could be ‘what was the last straw?’

    The thing he/she said or did that ended it

    Even if you stayed together for a few more months or years, what was the thing that shut your heart down?

    Mine was when we were still trying to work things out and he said ‘I only stay with you because you are economically good for me’

    Things dragged out for another year, but I was emotionally done after that. He denied saying it of course. But it was emblazoned in my soul.

    • Mine was as he was walking out the door and he told me he had been “dating” for ten years and he never loved me.

      I even let him come back a few weeks later, but I knew it was a mistake from the get go; I still don’t know why I did it. Oh he told me he was lying about that and he just wanted to make me hate him. But, I knew.

  • Best comebacks for Swiss friends.

    Most empowering moments.

    Best one-liners to hurl at the cheaters (if we weren’t NC).

    If you’ve arrived a meh, please describe.

    Most helpful advice from someone/anyone (therapist? CL? CN commenter? friend?)

    • Ohhh, would also like to hear best comebacks for Swiss friends.

      Also, good one-liners and most helpful advise from therapist/friend.

      • Yes please. Comebacks or what to say to Swiss friends desperately needed. No answer on “what happened” when it’s all just mindfuckery secrets and lies esp when no proof of physical affair (just emotional)

  • What about some of the f’ed up “ tells” from their cheating lives that would pop out confessional style in those rare unexpected moments of wanting to come clean and clear their conscience? I don’t think we were able to absorb them though,it’s almost like it gets stored in our subconscious minds, only to surface after the sick truths are finally exposed.

    I like the challenge about whether it’s a brain injury or not too, lol. I thought it was just me that was positive something happened to his brain. I played ‘ label his diagnosis’ many times while still in the fog. From psyche origin to tumors, I never could find the label that matched the warped reality.

    Flying monkey’s deeply delusional beliefs is chock full of material for a Friday challenge too.

    I like the suggestion, 5 top red flags you ignored and the best relationship advice for teenagers not in committed relationships yet ideas suggested by Spinach. ( I still don’t know what I would have done differently, it all seemed so perfect and amazing, maybe that WAS the red flag, if it’s incredibly charmed and wonderful, BEWARE!!? That’s still a sad thought to me to have to feel that way about relationships “ too good to be true”. I have to let the naive, romantic in me die, I think it finally has anyway.

    • I like the red-flags-for-absolute-beginners suggestion so much I’d like to list some right here. (My depth of experience on this is downright humiliating.) Avoid:

      –The boy that all the girls are crazy for, who you already know does drugs and has been having sex with several others, including his own cousin. The attention Adonis bestows on you at this moment is not the longed-for evidence of your value, wallflower.

      –The boy who says he’s dumping you if you won’t go all the way–right now.

      –The one who won’t even discuss condoms.

      –The one who lets go of your hand when he sees a certain other girl walking toward you, and explains he doesn’t want her to know about your relationship. (I did dump that guy–bam.)

      Etc., etc. I made almost every mistake not even in the book.

      Farther along in life….

      When he breaks off the engagement, only to come back and ask you again, several months later….DON’T TAKE HIM BACK.

      That last example wasn’t me, that was our Mom.

      Sadly, I ended up settling for even less.

      Chumps, don’t stay in a toxic relationship “for the sake of the kids.”

  • Yes, the sinister ministers. My ex’s religious family said reconciliation at all costs, it was “God’s only path forward.” Nothing else mattered, period. Our long-term church’s leadership advised me not to go back into harm. Then my ex extrapolated that the church leadership had brainwashed me. He believed that if we had left that church long ago, we’d still be married. Funny, but I only met with them a handful of times, and only at certain crossroads. They always told me to think through everything, and then they’d be there to listen and advise. During separation, my ex was adrift spiritually and perpetually vague about how he was spending his time. He had a documented history of mental illness and addiction. And I was supposed to go back into that and “trust God.”

    Another one is the belief that a “fresh start” will solve marriage problems. My ex and his family said that over and over, but they were the only ones to propose that solution. As if a new place would have made any difference at all. I mentioned that to my therapist once, and she told me “and wherever you go, there you are.” All the baggage comes along with you, period.

    • I think there is a certain truth to the “fresh start” comment, in the sense that if you are married to a person who is incapable of introspection and empathy, and unwilling to work on the marriage, then whatever problems you have in the marriage cannot be solved by remaining in the marriage: the only option is to nuke the marriage and start over.

      It’s likely that the new marriage, with a new person, will not have exactly the same problems as the old marriage, so in some sense the old problems are “solved”. The hitch is that the person who was unwilling and unable to address the old problems in the old marriage is not going to be able to solve the new problems in the new marriage.

      I can tell I was a good husband because it took XW 17 years to accumulate enough grievances to jettison me. I am sure that XW’s marriage to AP is different from her marriage to me, so she thinks that the swap-out was a success. I am also confident that XW is accumulating grievances with AP (because he’s a lying, mansplaining asshole) which she is unable to articulate or resolve (because she is still herself). She may not be aware of this today, and she may never abandon him (because she’s rapidly aging out of the bracket where she can easily monkey-branch to someone new), but that doesn’t mean she has exactly “solved” the problems in our marriage: she has only replaced them with new ones that are, once again, unsolvable because of her character.

  • “Staying together for the kids” is absolutely the WORST thing you can do in an abusive relationship. It took me years of therapy and a lot of dedicated work to sort through the trauma and unlearn the toxic behaviors modeled to me by a cheating drunk mother and a father with “anger issues”.

  • Tell about the times before D-Day that you stood up to the controlling narcissist in your life, and how he or she reacted.

  • I will be the black sheep here: fuck waiting for karma. I want stories about how women got their revenge on FW and OW. I need suggestions. I know, I know; all the advice says “don’t go there”…but I went there and it felt great. Now I need new ideas.

      • I’m 4 months from discovery and new to this blog. After 34 years married my FW finally decided to tell me he was gay all along and after asking him he admitted to me that he had been acting out with men the entire marriage. Filed for divorce ASAP. Best revenge is taking care of ME. Got a therapist. Grief counselor. Std tests. Girlfriend supports. I’m 67 and I stayed home as my husband worked 24/7. No kids. Sharing 3 dogs is hindering no contact, but I’m detaching. The focus is gonna be on me. What I need. What I want. Anyone who doesn’t support my forward motion in recovery can watch my badass waltz away.

  • Can we do a Friday challenge where we post (and then immediately ridicule) the love notes/text/poems we found written to their twue wuvs?

    I have a ghastly one that would have you howling, I’m sure you’ve got some pretty amazing material out there in Chump Land.

    • I have some great material as well. The STBX is not the brightest and let all his crap save to the shared drive. Downloaded the crap and have awesome material for the lawyer as well as fodder for stupid shit cheaters say and do plus visuals🤮

    • Yes! Love it love it love love it.

      Or chumps could write a dripping-with-irony imaginary wuv letter from your fuckwit to the AP.

      I’ve done that just as a writing exercise and had to keep stopping because I was laughing so hard.

      To make it more challenging, we could do it in an interesting way such as in mock Shakespearian language, while chanelling Elmer Fudd, in the style of a bodice-ripper romance novel, as Eat Pray Love pseudo- enlightened drivel, etc.

  • This may have already been suggested but how about tools to help chumps ‘get over it’, to move forward, to get to meh. Tools to help ruminating, intrusive thoughts of ex and AP. Tools to help us when triggered. For example I take screenshots of my favorite pieces of advice I find here on CL’s website. I’m trying to put together an album on my iPhone of the ones related to seeing Ex and AP at the big events like weddings so I can read all the best and most applicable advice when the time comes.

    • It would be great to have a whole day dedicated to people posting their most inspired quotes, memes, links to inspirational talks, links to meditation, videos, songs, articles, books (of course CL’s book is at the forefront!!!). I would return to it again and again to just click through everything and process.

      I first came to CL in the spring of 2018. Can’t believe it has been over three years. In the early days, there was so much that I had not yet understood about my experience. So much that I couldn’t quite put my finger on just yet. I remember writing about trying to understand what it meant that my ex accused me of being controlling, emasculating and never letting him have a say, when he never said any of these things in any of our marriage counselling sessions or throughout the actual marriage. My biggest grievance throughout the marriage had been how I wished he would take more initiative and be more motivated at home. I was begging him to take more control.

      Someone responded that it wasn’t me. It was him not manning up and followed with this post:
      https://bound4escape.com/2015/08/16/dear-woman/

      To this day, I still have this printed and on my bedroom wall beside my mirror where I get ready every morning. It actually was a game changer for me. Later on, the movie, “Crazy Rich Asians” had a short scene that also helped clinche my closure on what my ex had tried to do to my self-worth. I visualized certain lines of these scene with me and my ex so often thereafter as a part of my healing.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9enhv50JqDU

    • i replace it with the great british bake off.

      all that happens is they make a sponge, homemade raspberry jam, and a creamy filling. over and over. tragedies happen–the sponge doesn’t rise, the creamy filling splits, someone drops their tower of sponge. that’s it.

      meanwhile, i fantasize about knocking the cake off it’s platter, leaving the pips in the jam, and pouring too much vanilla into the custard. ruining it. it’s cake revenge.

      i’m surviving my divorce with the great british bake off.

  • I am curious to know about the chumps that are in happy relationships now: what were the white flags that brought you into this safe relationship? I’ve spent a lot of time analyzing red flags, now I want to see the opposite! Because let’s not lose hope in humanity, alltogether 🙂

    • It was so easy and the relationship moved in the right direction without any roadblocks. There was free flowing communication about everything backed up with evidence. There were no difficult texts or being ignored. I asked questions and got answers without hesitation. My husband knew my triggers and was so patient with me and what I wanted while also voicing what he wanted. He went to extremes to make me feel safe and loved. There were no guessing games and not knowing where I stood at any point in our relationship. Since his death I have uncovered more evidence of how wonderful he was – he was doing heavy lifting researching how to support a pregnant wife, make her feel beautiful and how to be a good father. He was asking advice from his married friends and truly excited about being a dad. Good people aren’t shady. They do good things even when you have no idea they are doing it. They have your best interests at heart even when you aren’t watching. It breaks my heart every second of my life that he is gone now.

      • Aw, thanks for your answer Wishingforhappiness. If I’m not mistaken I remember your heartbreaking story from a while ago.

        This will not help, but I do actually think people like the father of your child are very rare. I’ve actually been dating quite a lot, thinking it would be relatively easy to find someone better than fw, but I have met no man so far that gets anywhere close to your description. I have been trying to heal and understand my part of the relationship of being ever too accommodating, and yet I seem to go from one mediocre encounter to the other, leaving me to believe our culture of individualism has turned the majority of people into assholes. But perhaps it’s just a sign that I’m still not ready.

  • Would like Chump Nation to weigh in on:

    SWITZERLAND FRIENDS GETTING CHUMPED:

    One “friend” didn’t really think it was bad and didn’t want to hear about it. She would change the subject quickly. I called her a “Fair Weather Friend”, she was only there for the good times. She hasn’t been chumped, but if I wanted someone for that to happen to, it would be her.
    “We were friends with him too for a long time” It was my friend and FW just came along to events. He didn’t have friends.

    STUPID SHIT LAWYERS SAY/ TERRIBLE ADVISE:

    “Your 16 yo son shouldn’t get to choose where he lives. That I needed to reach out to FW to see what the problem is”
    My son doesn’t always want to go to FW’s house and I will respect my son’s decision. Also, pretty sure the FW knows his son isn’t coming to his house, FW can use his words too. DUH

    STUPID SHIT MARRIAGE COUNSELORS SAY:
    These examples below were from ONE session with a marriage counselor.

    1. A marriage counselor asked FW to read a book to understand what he did. Also to highlight the book.
    Shocker of all shockers, it didn’t work. He liked where his d!ck was going.

    2. Marriage counselor scolded me for calling FW’s mother a b!tch. NOT to her face, just to the FW.
    Stupid marriage counselor NEVER once asked what the MIL did. We were there to deal with infidelity and she took his side.

    3. Marriage counselor said that I apparently had an Anger Issue with him cheating.
    Umm, yes, of course. It’s called a Normal Reaction to Being Betrayed.

    4. FW was not a narcissist. Stupid marriage counselor’s father is a narcissist too and he’s just a grumpy old man.
    Umm, no, that’s not what a narcissist is. Someone needs to go back to counselor school

    • Great idea. And, I’d add, from someone on this site. I’ve copied and pasted so many gems that are posted here. Hats off to Velvet Hammer for producing the most helpful comments.

      • Can’t keep it unless I give it away. You can thank my awesome therapists and army of comrades in 12 step programs. I’ve been in Learn to Be a Better Person school since 1985 and am a perpetual student with oodles of teachers.

        And I am a student of everyone I meet, so thank you, Spinach!

    • Conversely how therapist or friend screwed up your thinking so that you stop trusting yourself and consequently took years more for you to recover.

  • How about “you’re never too old for…” and the accompanying “you might be too old for…” ?

    I’m having a little trouble today seeing how it’s actually going to work for me to leave the cheater and gain a life after 35+ years together.
    My remaining years may be limited, but I’m too young to waste them with a FW.
    I thought our legal separation might be the answer. Think I’m gonna need more.

    • Our cake-eating Dad was the one who asked for a divorce after 30 years, claimed he was just tired of being married.

      Mom photographed his car parked outside his secretary’s residence at night, judge did not appreciate his having lied about the matter, excellent settlement.

      Mom was 50. She built a nice, independent life, was actually courted by another man but on consideration decided no, is now 94 and still living semi-independently–divorced for many years longer than she was married. YMMV but–for what it is worth.

  • Would love CN to weigh in on the many ways that they’ve dealt with their ex being emotionally abusive to their children. Alot of these cheater types are covert narcissists who do a series of passive-aggressive, micro-aggressive things to their kids that IMO constitute emotional abuse and lead to children losing a sense of self worth, confidence, etc. In my case, it’s caused my daughter to become depressed and hopeless and resort to self harm. The courts are rarely set up to deal with these people and often can’t “see” their abuse so nothing changes.

    What have others done to handle this? What can a parent do when the court won’t recognize this abuse but you see your children suffer??

    Of course, therapy for kids is great…but that is not enough for sensitive kids who feel attacked by their other parent and burdened with their emotionally abusive ways.

    • Yes, I want to also hear more about covert narcs. I was married to one and now reading upon it makes so much sense. They literally get off on keeping secrets.

    • Notanicechump I replied to this but it didnt nest under your comment and is way at the bottom of the thread if you are interested…

  • How about a new game called Use Your Super Powers To Spot The Fuckwit? Examples as follows:

    The landscaper we hired to do some work in our backyard. As we walked around showing him the scope of the project, he tells us (perfect stranger to me mind you) all about his crazy ex wife who screwed him in a divorce and took all his money and blah blah blah. After he left I told my husband that if we hired him we would definitely have problems. Husband had done some work with him several years prior which went fairly well and wanted to use him regardless. Guess who screwed up the project big time? My husband sheepishly said I was right and ended up having to micromanage.

    My current mailman who gets out of his truck to chat way too long and keeps staring at my breasts. He tells sad sausage stories about his crazy ex wife who is a drunk & dead bedroom and never lets him see his young kids blah blah blah. I said mildly that there is no way I would ever leave my kids to be raised by a drunk, that I’d sell my organs before I’d let that happen. He’s been avoiding me lately, must not have liked that.

    I think this game might be helpful for chumps to hone their Fuckwit Detector. When it starts beeping, run!

  • I am kind of in the mood for the stupid shit cheaters say. My cheater had some classics and continues to have them. I had no idea that friends buy each other underwear and take pictures of their genitals as a friend-like gesture. There are just so many that I swear they are downloadable somewhere. We can round it out with the craziest thing the chump did after being chumped. I know I did some out of my norm stuff while in pick me mode.
    Possibly a you know you are close to meh when………..
    I just need a laugh right now. My lawyer filed and all the paperwork is now in motion. I live in a fault state which lawyer says will help.

  • How about an Emmy to Best portrayal of cheating on a sitcom, movie or short series?
    Or would this post be empty?

    How about great shows without any cheating characters? Or would this post be empty?

  • I’m sorry. I know it’s not a platform for me to seek therapy but I am so lost and you all seem to be the only ones who understand. One minute my ex is strangely nice then he is angry with me.
    I’ve said before in a previous post that I am not in much contact with him because the head games have messed me up so much that I have become house bound. I have done everything to make it easy for him and his true love these past 8 months. He has his son every Friday night until Saturday afternoon. I’ve not made that difficult. It’s our son who doesn’t want to go anymore than that. His Dad works Saturday mornings so he is actually spending more time with his Dad’s fiancé than him but he seems happy so I have not kicked up any fuss. Today though, our son has asked if he can go away for the week with his Grandparents next week during the school break. It was a last minute thing and my ex has kicked off on me. I said it doesn’t matter then. He doesn’t have to go but he’s still mad.
    I just want people to know that I’m sorry. I want him to know that yes, I was a rubbish wife but I tried. I honestly did. I’m desperate for someone to see good in me. I am still trying to make him see that I don’t want to make his life miserable anymore.
    I have become obsessed with researching narcissism because I think I am one. I am looking for an answer of why I am so bad. Why he seems to hate me. Maybe that could be the Friday challenge. What is happening to me? How do I forgive myself for something I’m not 100% sure of what I did so wrong?
    Please note that I am seeking help for my mental health but the UKs waiting list is long.

    • What you sound like is an abused wife, not a rubbish wife. If you are the one with primary custody for your children, and your ex is a cheater, that is evidence that the rubbish spouse is not you but your husband, and the courts acknowledged this by giving you primary custody.

      Even if the waiting list for mental health care in the UK is long, you can access the Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247.

      Here’s the website, which has some good information that will help you see that you are being manipulated and abused. https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/

      • Adelante gives great advice here.

        Santa’s the only guy for me, remember that his cheating isn’t your fault!

        Sounds like you’re stuck on the pleasing-people and wanting-everyone-to-like-you channel.

        Change the channel. Easier said than done, I know. It’s tough to crawl out of the abused-spouse mindset. I share some of your struggles.

        In addition to checking out the therapist source the Adelante recommends, I suggest you read CL’s book, Leave a Cheater; Gain a Life AND Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself
        by Aziz Gazipura (Author)

        You’re stronger than you think. Stop apologizing. Get angry and use it to propel you into your new, FW-free life. You got this!💪

      • Thank you so much for your reply and suggestion. I really appreciate it. Court’s haven’t been involved. He left in January and everything has moved so fast since. Son meeting the new woman, having to move house and the other bits that go with a separation. All the advice I’ve been given is ‘relationships end and people can’t help who or when they fall in love with someone.’ Also. ‘Kids are resilient and it’s another person to love your son.’
        I have a lot of personal work to do. .
        With two beautiful children I need to be better for them.

    • OK why don’t you look at the narcissist in view of your ex being a narcissist.

      It turns out that narcissists are predators and they pick good nice people to abuse devalue and discard.

    • If you are worried about being a narcissst, IMO that is pretty good evidence you aren’t one.

      An overt narcissist would be proud of their narcissism (yeah, really), a covert narcissist would boil up with indignation at the very suggestion.

    • Santa, were you abused by other people in your life?

      I was abused and bullied extensively as a child, and it’s only now that I’m starting to understand that I am not bad. I thought, if I was good, why would all of these people (family, friends, teachers, boyfriends) treat me so terribly? It felt like rock solid logic that I must be the most awful person.

      In reality, they are bad. They were cruel. They were abusive. I am kind and thoughtful and try my best each day.

      If you had truly done something wrong, you would know what it is. You weren’t abusive. You didn’t commit a crime. You are not bad.

      • Thank you so much for responding.

        Yes. My mum was and is very abusive.

        I’m sorry that you have suffered as a child and then meeting people as an adult who have done the same.

        One thing this blog has taught me is that it is possible to be kind and supportive.
        It isn’t necessary to be cruel and spiteful to get by in life.
        Sadly though good people like yourself are used as punch bags to make others feel like they are top dog.

        Why do they need to feel powerful
        over others?

        I wish you happiness.

  • Stories for kids about how cheaters really are, I mean not too detailed or anything but I found that Toad from The Wind in the Willow was great for my kid starting to understand narcissism. Toad puts lives in danger and cares only about himself. I’d love other ideas like that.

  • Hey CL, thanks for asking CN for Friday suggestions. Some good ones here.
    I’d love to see a Friday dedicated to generating a Mighty play list.
    All the songs that boost confidence, that empower chumps and that, even for a few minutes, put us back on track towards mighty, towards Tuesday.
    Music can be such a mood changer and so many songs are about love loss and heart break.
    It’d be great to have a bunch of empowering songs to pop in instead.

    • The Pointer Sisters, “Dare Me” :

      https://youtu.be/JPelp47Mwn0

      I typed and deleted this like 9 times, because it wasn’t a “chump” situation, but hesitantly decided to submit this, because… this song, played over and over in a loop, for weeks, helped me to stay Brave, helped me rise up to be Mighty, steadied me, and filled me with Righteous Power, when I initiated a terrifying corporate “whistleblower” sort of situation, and had to go up against incredibly powerful people, all overwhelmingly stacked against me.

      I won.

      Maybe it will help you, too.

  • How about:

    When cheater breaks up with Other Person, and they get more sympathy and support from friends/family/church than the cheated-on spouse gets for having been cheated on!

  • I would be interested in know how many cheaters suffering ED while married actually continued to suffer it with the AP.

    Mine claimed that the problem was just me, but I’m certain he had help from a blue pill with the OW. The kids started to tell me how often daddy had migraine headaches and stomach aches when they were with him. He was going to the doctor and had to quit drinking coffee. In 14 years of being with this man, I think he only ever went to a doctor 2/3 times, now he was going?

    Then, came the day when I received a letter (as I kept the marital home) from his job’s extended health plan. I opened it and it was a letter outlining how his prescription plan covers a certain amount of ED meds.

    Considering that he was already suffering a bit from ED issues when I met him in his late 20s, when I was the “most amazing woman” he had ever met, I can’t believe that suddenly he has had no ED issues with this woman now that he’s approachin his late 40s.

    But, still, I would really like to know if ED issues suddenly clear up with affair partners.

    • I think there’s a possibility that ED issues could generally be worse with AP’s. I once thought guilt would make their dicks deflate, but I think they are cold blooded, so doubt they feel any guilt in the moment. I’d be surprised if there isn’t some literature on the topic. I know in the case of my own wandering dick of a spouse, he only needed to use Cialis with the gfs and not with me. The reason I know that is because he told me and of course it made me feel like I was winning the ‘ pick me dance’ and hung around way too long. Any crumb of hope that I meant more to him than anyone else, I would pitifully cling on to. 🙁

    • Pretty sure they don’t clear up. Healthy men wake up with an erection. If they can’t sustain that erection, there is an ED problem. I do think that a lot of men WANT to think it is the wife’s fault and this justifies their straying to themselves. However, ED is a thing that goes on forever. If he was using the blue pill with you, he’s using it with her and everyone else. One of my big pleasures was finding his stash and pouring them in the toilet, then replacing the empty bottle. Ha!

      • He never used it with me. We just didn’t have a very active sex life. Within a few years of the marriage, he claimed that morning sex was just never going to be a thing for us anymore as he couldn’t sustain it. That surprised me as I thought men wake up with erections and would love the opportunity to do something about it. Not him. He was only in his early 30s by this time.

        Then, I gave birth to our first and then second child, he initiated even less. We were lucky if we had sex every other month. I stopped bothering initiating myself often because I either felt that it was just something else being put on my shoulders or I didn’t want him to feel bad if he couldn’t keep it going. Felt it was better to let him initiate when he felt confident about his performance.

        He never went to a doctor to get this checked out. Never considered options, like the blue pill. He just let it go.

        I remember when I started to hear him masturbate in the shower in the mornings in the last year or more of the marriage. Almost every morning, when I had never noticed in the previous years. I felt so alone, wondering why this man isn’t touching me and then releiving himself alone instead. Well, it was during this time that he carried out his affair. He was getting himself back into shape to be with this woman. I think the excitement of the affair likely got him going again too. This is why I’m sure that he got medication for himself eventually. He had a reason to impress.

        I also later learned that he had been watching pornography regularly for years, which I had no idea about. His father had a pornography addiction when he was young. Came to learn that pornography can have a huge impact on someone’s ability to perform in real life. Just over a year after he left, my son was very upset about his father (my son was 10 at the time). He told me that he caught his dad twice watching something scary on his computer in the middle of the day. My ex was watching porn in the afternoon in his bedroom with the kids over at his place.

        Yeah, tell me again, you jerk, how the problem was just with me….right.

  • I am really curious about what other non-infidelity-related crimes your fuckwits have been involved in. Really have a hard time accepting that I missed all the signs of my ex’s sociopathic behavior. He was falsifying receipts for just about everything. Was sued for cyberstalking. Also found out he was writing fake emails to get my friend fired from work. When he left, also saw all these things he has been stealing through the years. The weirdest thing is that he seems to have a thing for stealing desktop computers and monitors from work! The whole darn thing! At least 10 of them. Howwww. I guess I will never find out.

    • I was thinking of something along these lines: stupid shit cheaters DO, whether criminal or humorous or head-scratchingly weird. Not necessarily cheating-related. Just other behaviors that are on top of/in addition to their being a fuckwit cheater.

      I like this idea because I think it helps our healing when we get clarity about how truly disordered they are and therefore how much better off we are without them.

      • I’m lucky that the cheater’s illegal antics never fell on my shoulders. I never got the blame for what he did. One of my wise friends observed about him- he has the mind of a criminal. This is a guy who claimed to always help the downtrodden, and wouldn’t step on an ant! He had a lot of people fooled, that’s part of the game, and also goes right along with cheating on your wife. A total charming con man.
        I can’t express how glad I am to not live with, or be associated with, him now!!!!!

        • There’s a playbook they all must consult, right? The con man I married was similar: captured spiders in a paper cup and took them outside rather than squish them. Now I’m convinced it was all for show (image management).

  • What to do when kids hear lies? My story briefly….the dirtbag who never worked left email open for me on my birthday with messages to the “divining rod of his soul.” During the divorce another woman came forward about her affair with him to apologize to me fir being the cause of my divorce. A play date mother. He convinced my sociopath mother and his mother that I was having an affair. They defamed me to other family. The degree of betrayal was so profound and because facts were shared and ignored and so distorted I never engaged it and went no contact with all of them for years. Now my college age kids are hearing it. Maybe the lies seem true because of multiple sociopath involvement. What to do? Younger two twin kids have some sympathy for narcissist dad because he’d collect them whenever I tried to enforce hard consequences. I took phones away so he bought new ones…. The guy who never paid medical expenses and paid teeny child support based on a whopping lie of a $19,000 income.

  • Further to my last idea about questions on the Chump experience as a survey based study:

    *What helped you to recover / move forward?

    *Would you say that you were now financially better off than when you were married?

    *Would you say that you were now mentally/emotionally better off?

    *Would you say that you were now safer than when you were married?

    Also I’d need to ask about number of kids and year of their birth – with the other data I could work out how old they were at the time of the divorce.

    *How would you describe your relationship with your children now? Better / worse / much the same

  • Did anyone else have their cheater accusing you (the chump) of cheating? My FW did and presented his attorney and mine pictures of the supposed cheating. The photo was of my two bosses giving me my promotion certificate! This was at a ceremony. Then he just said well she probably slept with them. Argh! On the other hand we have great nudes of him and OW in their on line COVID sex sessions. That plus the PI has wonderful stuff on them as well. All I can say is this process may end up being a comedy. I just couldn’t believe that he would actually have the nerve to try this. Even his lawyer was a bit red faced with his crap. These FWs will try anything!

    • Yup! (Sortof) My FW wake up in a terror-sweat with this reoccurring dream that I had just cheated on him and was being vile and cruel to him (in the dream). He’d wake up so violently from these dreams that it would surprise me and wake me up. Then he’d be mad–furious even!–with me until the memories and emotions of the dream were off (usually in 5 to 10 minutes) and I would just have to sit there in stunned surprise as he glowered at me and wouldn’t let me touch or hug him: “I know it was just a dream,” he’d say, “but don’t touch me… I’m really, really mad right now.” I had never been with anyone else. Heck, I was so quasi-religious at the time that I had done my best to “save myself for my future husband.” He was the only partner I had ever had; of course I had never cheated on him, so why did he keep dreaming about it?

      He had this dream a few times. I shrugged it off as “Well, dreams are weird.” Hindsight offers up some different theories.

      • Fourleaf..I swear we are twins. “Hindsight offers up some different theories”. Brilliant.

        His persistent dream of “you’re cheating” which I had to then deny, prove it was a false narrative (!!) and live under the “give me your phone/your computer/tell me!!!!” mindfuckery….ugh. Had I only been [insert here] to see what he was actually doing (and whom! lol). Dark times, those. Proud of myself I made it through.

    • Oh yeah. It’s all projection. He accused me of sleeping with his friends. He was sleeping with a friend (or at least, I thought she was). Any time I didn’t immediately answer a text, he’d accuse me of being out fucking some guy. If I got my hair done, or wore makeup, or dressed nicely, it was obviously for some other man. He accused me of picking up random guys in bars and having sex with them. Which is hilarious, really. I was a virgin when I married my husband. I was 27. We’d dated for three years and I hadn’t had sex with him. I certainly am not at the mercy of my animal instincts. And I’ve never been into casual sex. Nor would I dream of sleeping with any of his friends. I told him it was hurtful that he’d known me for almost 18 years and would think that of me.

      But of course, he really didn’t know me at all.

  • NotaniceChump I went through similar with my youngest son. He developed hair pulling disorder due to anxiety. Its not classified as self harm but it is a manifestation of unhappiness.

    If your daughter is self harming see a doctor immediately and get help – I’m sure you already have but it is really important.

    Is your daughter old enough to say she doesn’t want to visit her father any more? Where I live, a kid’s wishes carry a fair bit of weight once they are in their teens. After about age 14 no court will enforce visitation. So you could see where you stand legally.

    Sometimes kids don’t understand the imperative of court mandated visitation. If kids think there is no way out because you seem ok with the custody arrangement – if you are doing all the work to make it happen and telling her she has to go for example – they can feel helpless and hopeless. If that is the case, can you explain why to her – and even better step back and make her father make all the effort to make visiting happen? When I didn’t make excuses for my ex’s bad behaviour and let my son decide about visiting, my son felt more confident in managing visiting the way he wanted. He was so much happier.

    If she still does want to see her dad, you can support her choice but gently keep affirming that it is her choice and any time she wants to stop going you will support her all you can to make that happen.

    Decoding abusive behaviour of your ex so your kids recognise it is very effective. My son was 14 when we split and after a bit he started to challenge his dad’s abuse, anger and misogyny. At 17, after slowly reducing his visit times he went no contact.

    Try family therapy with her and you. I did that too with my youngest son. He would have a session, then I’d go in and we’d have a shorter session him me and the psych. It was very helpful in deepening the trust between us and also for giving me the confidence to be honest with him (age appropriately) about the abuse we all were subjected to.

    I know Managing custody is hard and theres no one size fits all solution. I hope you find a way to make it easier on your daughter.

    • Thank you for this. Actually I’ve done alot of this stuff but it definitely validates the tact I’m now taking. I’m talking to my lawyer about an emergency custody order and also have let my daughter know that I will no longer force her to go to her dads and will come get her anytime this type of abuse happens moving forward. You’re right, just knowing that fact I think brought a wave of relief to her. And, like you, I’ve been clear of late to label it for what it is–emotional manipulation and abuse. She’s in so much therapy and has so much medical intervention…honestly, short of sending her to some in-patient facility, I can’t do anything more…except remove her from her dad’s house. Which is my next step. She doesn’t need an in-patient facility, she needs emotional peace…and can’t get it with him.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. What you wrote meant so much to me today, which was, of course, another challenging day where she went back to his place and he is still stonewalling me about discussing any of this. So…I’ll take it to a judge. He’s forced my hand.

      The problem though is that she both doesn’t want to be there but also wants to be there because, ultimately, she loves her dad. It’s heartbreaking to watch her make these realizations. At her age, she gets it, but she’s also still a little kid in alot of ways who just really doesn’t understand why he won’t stop acting this way. So, depending on the day, she’s interested in going in front of a judge and asking to not be with him anymore. It’s not consistent and I work real hard to not put words in her mouth.

      In any event, I suspect that the older she gets the more she’ll turn the way your son has and go no contact. My ex is going to lose her as a part of his life, and he’s so f-ing arrogant he’ll never see that. And when it happens, I’m certain he’ll blame me and her and anyone else…except the guy in the mirror sitting there alone on father’s day who brought this all on himself.

  • How about a few Friday Fun Challenges?

    Use 3 to 5 words to describe your life post d-day. Then use 3 to 5 words to describe your life today. If there are anything negatives in any of those 2 statements, write 3 to 5 words that WILL be your life.
    OR
    Write your own mantra or daily affirmation Friday.
    OR
    Bare your soul Friday. We all did stupid shit no one really wants to admit to others. Want to unleash it here?
    OR
    Toxic release Friday: What toxic parts are you still holding on to that you want to release into the universe and free your soul from?
    OR
    What random acts of kindness happened to you post d-day?
    OR
    Therapy is expensive. Any effective free things that worked? CL is one!

  • I have two suggestions for Friday challenge:

    1. Stupidest/weirdest text you ever got from the cheater.

    2. Weirdest legal tactic your cheater and his lawyer dreamed up. (I have a couple of entries in that category!)

  • I like the one Tracy suggested… stupid things life coaches say, but can add, therapist, friends & family, anyone really, who has an opinion, but just do not have a clue.
    Seems to me lots of people in my life had an opinion about how I handled my lifetime cheating now ex husband (including other chumps).
    I had to learn to let go in so many ways. It’s bad enough that we have/had to get past the cheater, we then get to continue with all the other stupid opinionated people in our lives. I can not tell you how many people I’ve cut out of my life at this point.

  • What would you say to warn your young chump self? Explain the subtle red flags to someone who hasn’t yet lived it, before it’s too late and they make themselves vulnerable to/reliant on an abuser? A young, female friend asked me if I had any advice about what to watch out for when getting romantically involved and committing to someone. She’s gorgeous and brilliant and principled and kind and skeptical and strong – and I can totally see her getting sucked in by a fuckwit because she has things a lot of men want.

    You’d think I’d have been able to answer her easily, but I was at a loss for words. It’s hard to explain, because a good manipulator can fool you. Especially when you’re both young and inexperienced, open to the world and more willing to be flexible and take risks. My ex seemed so sweet and interesting and wholesome; we wanted the same things and he made me believe he would always be there. He fooled me and EVERYONE, in spite of his problems (which were significant from the start – just didn’t seem malicious or abusive). He was eccentric and charming, but goofy and grounded and “authentic” and not at all a womanizer. So it seemed.

    Inability to plan and commit? Inability to compromise? Obsession with seeming capable and in charge? Very particular- about certain things? Road rage? Being meanly judgemental about superficial things – in a “joking” way? Difficulty with intimacy? Hard time directly expressing appreciation? Taking things because they feel entitled to? Breaking rules? Pity channel/sad sausage? Co-dependent with parent(s)? Emotional immaturity/arrested development? Substance abuse? Stonewalling? Hate change? Defensiveness? Impulsive? Know-it-all? Center of attention? Own YouTube channel?

    Do you really have to experience abuse and infidelity to understand? I hope not! Because I think the key to avoiding the long term abusive relationships is to avoid establishing a bond or giving them real power in your life in the first place. A lot easier to leave someone when it doesn’t mean losing your home, community, etc. It is normal to be interdependent when you’re in in a committed, safe and reciprocal partnership – you have to trust and rely on each other – but super risky when the person is disordered and/or a substance abuser.

    I know this will also bring up early clues about chumpiness – and the qualities and blind spots that make us susceptible to getting trapped in abusive relationships.

  • Two more!

    DNE (Do Not Engage) – common traps laid by master manipulators:
    I have feelings, too, you know.
    I’m trying…

    TRUE things cheaters say – that were incredibly frustrating/painful in the moment but make perfect sense in hindsight:
    If I’m so terrible, why do you want to be with me?
    I don’t deserve you…

    • I got the tearful and operatic, “I guess I’m just a big fuck up!” gambit from my cheater whenever a mistake she made came to light (forgot to pay a bill, received a speeding ticket, etc.). Very effective way of distracting a chump because it implies the chump is a meanie who must defend himself (“But I only said if you put the bills in the basket when they come in I’ll write the checks each Saturday morning!”) and triggers the chump’s need to bolster the sad sausage (“Everyone makes mistakes—you’re amazing!”). Weird to think the whole time she was betraying me with her boss and other men, threatening my health, destroying our children’s’ home—turns out I was wrong: she truly WAS a fuck up.

      Cheaters seem to enjoy manipulating those around them to feed them praise and forgiveness for small things, often unearned, then take that as a proxy for praise and forgiveness for their shitty actions as spouses, parents, etc. What a mind fuck.

  • I gave away a childrens book- one that the grandchildren love for me to read to them. I wish I would have destroyed it instead because now it will be lovingly read to some other future abuse victim.

    “No Matter What”. I don’t remember the author without googling it. I now clearly see the book as “young chump in training” material.

    I may go on a bender like Carry Nation and bash library shelves with beautifully illustrated, sweet books about loving someone no matter what they do to you in return. We are feeding our youngest minds this hogwash.

    On the same note – I cut “The Truth” Bernstein Bears into tiny shreds. Turns out I may be the only adult in my family who holds the truth as a core value. My x must have had a hard time keeping a straight face all those decades every time i read that to my kids and then my grandkids. The joke was on me! Haha.

    • The Disney version of “Beauty and the Beast” is TEXTBOOK training. Victim’s father is kidnapped, she is traded for his freedom, she is not allowed to have contact with living things, has to hang out with dishware, loses her mind, gets crumbs from Beast who turns into Prince because of her kindness.

      The Giving Tree is another lesson in co-dependency.

    • A couple nights ago my nieces and my sister introduced me to the Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon. The theme is trust, and the Dragon convinces Raya that the way to handle the girl who keeps betraying her is to just keep bestowing trust. In the end, it’s the betrayer girl’s admiration for the dragon, not respect for Raya or contrition for the betrayals, that tips the story into its happy ending denouement. I thought it teaches chumpdom. Anyone else seen it?

  • FLIRTING = CHEATING?

    I hope I’m not too late to for the Friday challenge!

    I’ve left three long-term relationships now because my boyfriends were big flirts. I should have seen it at first, but possibly they didn’t do it as much at the beginning of the relationships.

    And the last one was always trying to set things up with someone else IN CASE we broke up.

    Wow!

    I’ve lost my confidence with men now, because of all this flirting and cheating going on everywhere, because of social media, the ability to communicate secretly with strangers, etc.

    I’m thinking of becoming Amish. 🙂

    • Genius idea. I suspect most of them would make it through the first game of Red-Light, Green-Light. You know, where they cheat and then have to stand perfectly still and look innocent.

  • I went through a short cheating episode with my ex-husband. I believe he was looking to get out of the marriage and used another woman as a stepping stone. It couldn’t have been a long affair if it was an affair at all.

    But the flirting that I experienced with boyfriends since the divorce was devastating. Each time it really was like a huge wave, crashing me down to the ocean floor, and when I asked each of the guys about incidents that were so clear to me, they acted like they didn’t even know what I was talking about. Like I was making them all up. And then they attacked me for asking them anything at all… and talked about how insecure I must have been to have been imagining such things.

    It felt like what most of the chumps here experienced, although of course they experienced so many more hurtful things than I did, and – because I wasn’t married – I could get out any time (theoretically) and I didn’t have children with these boyfriends…

    Still, the wounds are deep.

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