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UBT: Investigative Questions for Couples Experiencing Infidelity

Every crime needs an investigation. Not to worry, Inspector Esther Perel is on the case!

And now you can be an amateur sleuth too thanks to this free download on Amazon: Investigative Questions for Couples Experiencing Infidelity.

Whodunnit? Well, that’s obvious. It’s that cheater sitting next to you. (Gasp!)

But is it really? Maybe… maybe… IT’s YOU!

Not meeting their needs were you? Bludgeoning their exuberant aliveness with a candlestick in the library… A-HA!

It’s time to get to the bottom of this mystery. The Universal Bullshit Translator will be randomly answering some of the queries in this four-page exploration of why it’s all your fault.

Without further ado…


What did the affair mean to you?

Well, Esther, it was an exuberant act of defiance. Once I had cast off the shackles of mating in captivity (good rat! push the lever for a treat!) and was free to shag randos, it meant freedom, Esther. Sweet god damn freedom.

Some might judge me as a cheater, but you know and I know, that I am a freedom fighter.

Were you looking for it? Did it just happen?

Well, after I texted pictures of my junk to several interns, posted 37 profiles on, 8 on match, 4 on ChristianMingle, 7 on eHarmony, was catfished by a Nigerian, teased by fembots (yes, I AM a sexy boy, thank you for noticing!), messaged all my old girlfriends on Facebook and their acquaintances, FINALLY got a live one, bought a burner phone, spent 2000 hours sexting, setting up the Quality Inn reservations and mediocre steak dinners….

Yes, it just happened.

Why do you think you could not express your needs to me, emotional, intellectual or sexual?

Cause I got a live one in a Quality Inn across town.

Did you discover new parts of yourself or recover lost ones in that relationship?

Rumors of my third penis are grossly exaggerated. But if you must know, Esther, I have two penises. And a giant vagina at the back of my head. And another under my armpit. My asshole has an asshole.

I am a delightful garden of orifices.

Do you think you could show me those newly discovered parts?

Naughty, naughty, Esther!


What do you want me to know about your affair?

It’s your fault. I wasn’t there. I don’t remember.

Did you lie out of deception or were you hoping to protect me with your lies?

Oh, I lied to protect you. I just noticed some lint on your sweater. Let me hit you with this lead pipe and get it off.


Was your affair a rejection of our relationship? Did you see it as a sign of something missing between us?

Thank you for the prompt. Yes, I wasn’t rejecting you, I was merely pointing out (with my many orifices) all the ways in which you were deficient. I’m not a cheater, I am someone who misses things. Things you could give me if you weren’t so busy with distractions like work and babies and lawn mowing.

Dance a little prettier and I might let you keep the “primary” spot. Perhaps.

Were you trying to get my attention?

Yes, that’s why I bought a secret cell phone and created fake profiles like SpankyBoy56 — to get your attention. You broke the enigma code.

That was my plan all along.


Can you forgive me? Or, how much forgiving do you need for us to move on?

A 401K’s worth? How about we scrap the forgiveness but you continue to fold my underwear? I’m magnanimous like that.

Do you think you’ve changed your values in relation to monogamy?

I think so. Fucking escorts was your first clue.


Can you understand my anger and hurt?

Don’t you have some underwear to fold?

Are you open to further conversation if I have questions that will help me better understand your actions?

I’m glad you’ve approached me with the proper deference after I fucked around on you, stole your money, and risked your health.

Sure, let’s have a conversation about me! Of course, I will lie to you — but not with deception! but to protect you.

Do you want me to stay?

Well, that laundry’s not going to fold itself.

This one ran before. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • After doing whatever I could after the first DDay, I gave up after DDay#2. I hate looking back that I actually went into the RIC and started to blame my “shortcomings” for his cheating. I just am soo happy that I found CL and the CN just after DDay 2. I was able to pull my head out of the blender, started getting the ducks in a row and lawyered up. He was served and is out of the house now.
    Naturally, he followed the cheaters handbook on the things to do like hide assets, move things out of the house, give money to friends and family for safekeeping and all that. Happily, the chump followed the trail of bread crumbs and gave everything to her lawyer. My son was also able to help and provided info as well. My son is with me all the way and wonders why I put up with it for as long as I did. We both know this will be a journey but in the end I will be rid of FW. Son is no contact with STBX and no longer answers pleading texts, etc. No contact is wonderful.
    Now he can be with Schmoopie and she can take over all the chores that need doing to make sure that he is happy. May their love last forever (or until she tires of folding his socks a certain way).

    • I wish I could blame the RIC for letting that snake back in the house. It lasted less than a week, before I figured out what he was really up to.

      I was in so much pain and felt so worthless, I was willing to let that low life take another shot at me.

      The good out of it was, his mask came off right then and there; I saw who he really was and realized my marriage to him was one sided, and he was never who I imagined him to be.

      • They are so pathetic and the RIC just seems to support the idea that it is okay to cheat and lie. I was sitting in these sessions hearing that I have to be available for him. Yes, just give him what he needs even if I have to be on time to work, walking the dog, going to an appointment or doing something with my parents or son. The cheater is supposed to be king and the chumps are there to cater to their whims. I was told about the tone of my voice, that I should nagged in fitness and make myself more attractive, that I need to do things with him etc. Working full time at a stressful job means rip that I am tired when I come home. I do cook, clean and do the laundry on weekdays and use the weekend to do chores and shopping. But we are supposed to use that time to do things with them even though if you don’t do something they will yell at you. NO THANKS.
        I did a mental Spring cleaning and decided that I don’t need to occupy my thoughts with what a cheater wants me to do and cater to him. He made a choice to cheat and I was not given a choice in the matter. Of course, I chose to rid myself f a piece of crap. Does it hurt? Yes, but I know in my heart that I don’t want to be an appliance that can be tossed out at any time. I also do not want to risk my health staying with an FW.
        My journey is at the start but I am feeling good about the decision to toss out a cheating piece of crap. Schmoopie can have him.

  • The sheer cruelty of Perel’s pseudo-sophistication breaks my heart.

    • Nailed it. The cruelty, and the HUGE sense of entitlement. Who do these people think they are?

    • Yes, it is incredibly cruel. Weaponizing the chump’s heartbreak, framing it as some lack of sophistication or enlightenment on their part, instead of recognizing the betrayal and entitlement and abuse on the cheater’s part.

  • These are such leading questions. They are prompts for more lies and making the chump simultaneously blame themself and feel good to finally get an answer about something. My FW is so quick to grab hold of any question where the answer is in it. Means he doesn’t have to think with his big head.
    We blame ourselves enough (too much) already. I’m approaching 1 year post d-day and feel stronger and weaker at the same time. Keep telling myself “when someone shows you who they are, believe them!” It’s like that new Maroon 5 song where he says “I’m in love with the past”.

    • Exactly. Even the title: For couples “Experiencing” Infidelity. Like it just fell from the sky or something. Not something that the cheater consciously and unilaterally decided to inflict on the chump.

      • Exactly Damechump????

        The Chump “ experiences” all the pain, shock, horror, sadness, disbelief, endless heartache, ETC. while the cheater is so busy being the perfect, loving, attentive, soul mate
        adoring, attentive, ETC. to his/her new found love, he/she doesn’t even acknowledge the crumbling piece of nothing lying in pieces on the floor, who he/she made vows with!

        ( gee, I think I just described DDay again)!
        It never leaves you ❤️‍????

    • Yes I find the healing journey has uphills and downhills. I am 3.5years out after a 25 year marriage (where he probably cheated for 1/2 of it ????‍♀️). I have been online dating (or at least trying to) for a while and even had an 8 month relationship (amazing on some levels but ultimately more damaging but I learned a lot).

      I personally believe that it’s very difficult to find someone who can speak their truth and be willing to invest in a relationship. Modern day society glamorizes new and exciting and disposable. It saddens me but I have met many people who can’t see beyond their own immediate wants. I see Esther as someone who condones abusive and arrogant behaviour.

      Best to all of you!

  • “Do you want me to stay?”

    Wait — after discovering or being told about deception, the deceived needs to be the one to volunteer to ‘leave’?

    If anyone ever had any doubt as to the type of person Esther sides with, this should lay that doubt to rest.

    • I think it seems to rest with the Chump to file and clean up the mess the cheater made. They are just way too busy trying to mind fuck us and keep their fuck buddies that they cannot do the right thing. I just think if they are that unhappy with the Chump; they need to say something. Chumps like us would try to fix things but at least we start recognizing the dishonesty eventually. I am very thankful I found sanity here. I think if I had not found this place, I would still be in the RIC and taking all the blame I could. This is not my fault; it was their CHOICE.

      • “it seems to rest with the Chump to file and clean up the mess the cheater made.” 1000% true in my case. I was a very good wife appliance — who cooked, cleaned and managed the family business and investments. I drove my FW to and from the airport on his visits to his AP! (I didn’t know it at the time — I am not completely cowed.) This is a man with graduate degree for heaven’s sake, who got used to a fantastic wife who did everything for him.

        But my FW’s ineptitude ended up working in my favor. My FW could not even manage to hire his own attorney, or finish packing his own clothes. I ended up with a favorable, fast settlement and an uncontested divorce. It took two years for my FW to figure out what hit him. And I took the tax credit for all the men’s clothes I donated to Goodwill.

        What is that saying about she who laughs last?

    • UX, Esther is a full blown narcissist, so all of her questions serve the “how to further accommodate your decietful , self -centred partner’s agenda.”

      In her crappy book of word salad, her dedication read ” to everyone whose ever loved before” Which is her basically saying “you’re welcome humanity”

      She should be forced to plant a tree (by hand) for every cooy of her book sold, as an apology to trees and humans, even if it was printed on 100% recycled paper.

    • That’s the exact thinking I’ve encountered. From both my ex and now ex mutual friends. When I had our first d-day (online) and second d-day (in person) and he begged me not to leave and apologized, he was just doing that out of obligation. While I was devastated and mind fucked I was supposed to know that he didn’t really mean the apologies and “do the right thing” and set him free. And I’m a bad person who abused him and has control issues because I did not do that.

      At one point I said why are we even doing this? If you don’t really want to be with me, let’s go our separate ways and just end it. What is the point? This was over text, he had been telling me I could not expect him to be attracted to me anymore due to my advanced age. (in my 30s, he’s the same age as me too) He left work, raced home, came in the door sobbing and screaming and begging me not to end it. But I should’ve known that wasn’t real and I was abusing him by believing him and trying to work on the marriage.

      That’s literally the story. I’m an abusive, control freak because every time I was about to “set him free” he had a total meltdown and begged me not to. That was me manipulating him and forcing him to stay married to me. So clearly he had to cheat on me constantly since I wouldn’t just leave him.

      It’s so fucking insane. And yes, it says what type of people they are. Shitty fucking abusers.

      • I know, my cheater said we should have an open marriage when I suggested divorce. I just said we already have an open marriage but I was not informed of it. We are accused of everything from nagging, controlling, being unattractive, working too much and everything else. How can they live with such awful people like us? They just want an appliance to cook,clean, raise kids, and work. The RIC and the supporters of it just help them to justify their abuse by blaming the chump. I heard all the lines of how he felt trapped and controlled and of course he had to seek comfort somewhere.
        I also was blamed for being menopausal. Like what can you do about that? Had no idea there was a cure for it. Trust me, having hot flashes is not entertaining or fun. Finally, I came here and found that the little voice in my head that told me I was not to blame was absolutely right. Screw all these people who say that affairs just happen. They are choices.

      • My ex leaned heavily on this particular mindfuck too, KatiePig. I see it now for the word salad it was, and even still, I have to remind myself of how fucked up and untrue it is. One of the stickier rumination traps.

        Violently shaking me after dragging me up the stairs and shoving me around the room, the FW screamed in my face, “This is what I have to do to make you leave?!” This was after the third and worst dday, during the worst of the pandemic, and I was sleepless and shocked and completely isolated from friends and family. (He had the audacity to say this after *he* begged *me* for months to come back, promised the world, and told everyone we knew how sorry and lucky he was.) *I* left *him* – again – that day. For good. So FW turned stalker, wildly flipping through the cheater channels to no avail, until he secured a “new” young source of kibble. Then, scorched earth. Pretty sure that’s not the picture he now paints about who left whom, and when, and why.

        Nothing new. For years, whenever FW was secretly cheating while devaluing and/or discarding me, he reliably tried to rewrite history to make it seem like I was the one who wouldn’t end it. He’d imply (while of course gaslighting) that he kept me on out of pity, or a sense of responsibility, or because I was clingy. (He told me as much, and I saw even crueler and more dishonest lies to his college-aged APs about me and our “situation.”) Therapy, of course, was a joke. Not only did I eat shit sandwiches like the above questions from Perel, but he privately told the therapist is was unhelpful for me to look at what he did as cheating and smugly choreographed Pick Me the whole time. In reality, he was a pathetic TFC and I was loving, generous, reliable and independent. I carried the weight of him and his addictions and crises and dysfunctional family, and on several occasions, I came close to leaving or did temporarily leave because the abusive relationship (which I couldn’t yet name as such) was eclipsing my life and future and I wanted better. For me, leaving wasn’t a game or a threat; it was my last resort. It broke my heart and screwed me over. Somehow, no matter how far away I got, or how well things were going, FW would sob, make promises, profess his undying love, follow me, beg me to come back. EVERY time. I tried to end it many times, long before I knew about the cheating. I was honest and patient and compassionate. He lied the whole time, and he only managed to Hoover me back in by using more deception and manipulation. It’s so gross, and I hate my role in all of it, but I know FW’s version is BS, no matter who else believes him. I love not giving a shit about what he “thinks” or “feels” anymore. 100% recovery on that front, at least!

    • Uxworld Challenge!

      I noticed there are 57 investigative questions and immediately Bruce Springsteen’s 57 Channels (And Nothing On) started playing in my head.

      I defer to your genius to adapt for Chump Nation…..

  • “I’m not a cheater, I am someone who misses things. Things you could give me if you weren’t so busy with distractions like work and babies and lawn mowing.”

    This fits. FW never thought of it as cheating and never admitted as such. He was just tragically and unfortunately married at the time he met his true love(s) and had to keep it a secret because he was worried about me, you see. But loving with me, the woman he married, was killing his soul every. single. day. He couldn’t take anymore! He had to finally stop thinking about other people’s needs and start–for the first time in his life–putting himself first. It would be a brave, brave thing he would do– one night stands, multiple affairs and D Days, STDs, leaving “the wife” with babies and debt, etc–but someone had to do it. He would be the brave, brave hero who would stand up for happiness and truth. He would do it

    Sorry, sometimes a good UBT brings out the snark in me.

    But, apropos to this post and to previous posts this week about heroism and image management, FW *does not* see himself as a cheater. He’s a hero. He’s a good guy. He’s a nice guy. He needs people to believe that. He needs to believe that. So, no… according to him he never “really” cheated; he was just unfortunately married when he found true love (several times over).

    As posted earlier this week, when someone said it drove them crazy that FW’s cult sees him as a hero, I propose that is one of the things we have to train ourselves to stop caring about. People will adore the FW. The FW will adore himself. The FW and his cult admit to zero wrongdoings (only accidents and unfortunate whoopsies). The FW, he and they believe–ardently believe!–is a hero, not a cheater.

    One of the only times I caught FW off guard and he almost admitted to it was when we were signing divorce papers in a mall food court. I was working on my Grey Rock approach but was still a weepy mess, however, I knew that I didn’t want to be in a private space with him ever again (y’know… something about not trusting him), hence the food court meeting to go over the paperwork. I got to the part in the meeting where I mentioned the word “adultery” and he wasn’t expecting it. He visibly recoiled and pulled backwards like I had pulled out a branding iron and seared a scarlet letter on his arm. It was… a noticable display of unexpected body language. He recovered himself shortly thereafter.

    He didn’t even like hearing the word. It was like holding a cross before a vampire.

    I wore myself out, a long time ago, waiting for vindication in the form of him admitting, maybe, to not being a hero or a great guy after all. It would have been so nice to hear him say that he’s not always a great guy and that he cheated on me and nearly destroyed me. He will not say that. He will never say that. Someone here posted that their FW would one day be in the old age nursing home, rocking his chair back and forth, repeating over and over again: “I’m a great guy and a great dad!”

    I don’t require or desire any sort of confession from him anymore (I’d never get it anyway) and that feels great. I only require his absence.

    • As I was writing this, my device auto corrected heroism to hedonism and I thought that was fitting.

    • I’m a mess because my FW is doing the opposite. He has apologized, tried to be patient in answering questions (only to what I’ve discovered though), wrote a letter detailing these indiscretions, moved out when I said we needed time to figure it out, come over every day to try and help (uhhhh maybe), didn’t complain when I showed a spreadsheet detailing what he’d spent and who he’d called the last 5 years and used that info to come up with a large number he owes me which I put in my own account, admits he’s a: narcissist, alcoholic, porn addict, adulterer, toxic person, says he knows he hasn’t treated me well, stopped saying I’m the reason he cheated, and gave me access to all passwords. My issues are: is he acting, what is he doing to stop those behaviors, why do I all of a sudden matter, he is doing things and thinks he’s awesome—but these are things a good dad and husband would do-he’s not reaching out for me, who is he really now? Still on a damn roller coaster!

      • I’d leave that fraudster. There’s no way I could ever trust him.

        Life is indescribably wonderful without a cheater as my husband.

        I don’t care who he’s with or what he’s doing.

        No contact is key.

        25 years married and 4 kids…. 7 year anniversary of Dday is weeks away. 5 years since divorce.

      • My x had to tell me he cheated on Dday 1 (he used a sick day and was caught). He said he was sorry and I hadn’t discovered Chump Lady. I didn’t tell anyone and “forgave “ him. He used the next 5 years to become much stealthier as he abandoned the kids and I (although after Dday 2 he said he’d stay if I let him do whatever he wanted ????‍♀️). Be very careful. I believe most cheaters can’t stop because it’s a high and an attitude of entitlement. I trusted again and I should not have. He used that time to really screw me over. It’s hard to realize that someone you totally lived and believed in would hurt you and abuse you that way but they usually don’t change. Don’t be me and lose more years as an appliance. Take care

      • You’re right to be wary. These seem like manipulation tactics. By taking ownership of his wrongdoing, by confessing (as it were) to all the badness, he raises himself up. It’s as if he’s saying, “Look at me. I’m good/awesome because I admit I did bad things.” Plus, how could you possibly impose consequences on someone who’s owning his “badness”?

        I’m familiar with these tactics. My x has glommed on to this approach, and, in doing so, has probably appealed to the sympathies of others. I don’t want to know.

        In fact, his sad-sack act might have worked on me, too, had I not seen his oh-so-shitty ACTIONS in the divorce and had I not witnessed the continued lying. When x says, “I regret that I acted dishonorably,” I get the feeling that he thinks he’s painting himself as the sympathetic and oh-so-human protagonist in some interesting drama. Surely this is a covert narc’s wet dream.

        As is said often here, judge them by their actions.

        Maybe your FW is the real deal and a rare unicorn. But I get the sense from your post that your gut is telling you that he’s a faker. Trust your gut.

        God, I wish I had trusted mine. [Married 35 years. Divorced one and a half years. Dday almost two years ago.]

        Good luck.

        • My mind keeps fighting itself. The “roller coaster” is maddening. Keep wondering what my 20 year old self would think of me. My 16 and 18 yo boys are rooting me on, but I’ve spent the last 15 years putting myself down and beating myself up. I know I’m not perfect, I know that the cheating is all on him-his choice and not my fault-but I’m in love with the past. I feel like I’m not only mourning my marriage, but the man I married. It’s like I’m a widow, but he’s still here messing with me. The man I married is dead and gone. He Mopes around aimlessly letting everything he “used to” care about fall apart-family, his job, his tools, his car, etc. he keeps saying he doesn’t know who he is anymore. After latest non-support, let-down, he said he guesses he will just get back up, dust himself off, and try again. The try again is about “us” like he has infinite tries to not make me feel like trash he threw away when he ordered younger pussy. Wtf!! I know who I should be, need to get there. He’s also military so I’ve got concerns with all of those issues. Ugh

          • ((Hugs)) BetterThan.

            I was where you are now a year ago. He was doing and saying all the right things after DDay #1, and I thought we were really going to make it work. I still believe he stopped seeing OW for a couple of months.

            Fast forward to DDay#2 this spring.

            The roller coaster is horrible, BUT I am glad I stuck around between DDay1 and 2. I have to say that the divorce settlement went much more in my favor with all of the discovery I was able to do while we were “trying.” And when things get really overwhelming now, I have hard and fast evidence that he lied to my face in a way I didn’t have DDay1, and that evidence keeps me moving. Plus, it killed the hopium. If I had left immediately after DDay1, I think he probably could have hoovered me back later.

            I know there are a lot of people here who say “dump FW immediately no matter what”— but I think you do what is right for you and acceptable to you. Sorry you’re on the roller coaster. It sucks no matter what. Be true to yourself, whatever that is!

          • The moping is a smokescreen. Beware and read about TFC and Pity Channel. My ex milked this most when he was peak cheating and lying. Decidedly not moping behind my back. More like gleeful gallivanting.

          • Please leave, BTAWC, for yourself and your sons. ASAP. Show them self respect, protect them, be a role model with your integrity. You have a lot at stake there. I read your first comment in this thread and (minus the kids and military) it’s very similar to the promises my narcissistic, former alcoholic, “remorseful” and changed, cheater ex made. It seemed confusing to me then, too, but it is very clear in hindsight that it was a con, and it will be for you once you get out. For now, trust us and fake it till you make it. Use LACGAL and the relevant blog posts as your roadmap.

          • If you constantly feel confused, you are still experiencing abuse from him.
            Feeling confused is a big red flag that I listen to now.
            Like, why is he moping around? Confusing behavior.
            Or saying that he doesn’t know who he is anymore. Confusing behavior.
            Or the best one, that “he’ll try again.” The XH in my life would say something similar: “I just have to try harder.” Most confusing behavior!

      • My ex did this. It’s fake. If you fall for it, he’ll mock you on the next d-day for being stupid enough to believe him. Lots of them do this. I’m sorry it’s messing with your head.

      • My take on this is that this is manipulation to avoid consequences. Aside from the cheating aspect where my cheater, after a certain time of remorse, would grow angry if i brought it up as me ‘still not letting it go’, there were many other aspects of our life where I had spent years banging my head against the wall trying to get him to see the big picture both in relationship to taking other peoples feelings into consideration and helping share the childcare and labour load at home. He seemed to have such a hard time comprehending stuff like empathy and consideration and seeing something that might need to be done that I wondered whether he was undiagnosed ADHD or ASD (no insult meant the neurodivwrse in this community) because he could never complete a task thoroughly or well if at all (this feeds back into the post about feigned ineptitude a couple weeks back). When I decided after a few years that I was leaving and he realised I was serious there was a period where the house was spotless, everything was completed to perfection and in the weekends he was a domestic machine tgat saw a need and got to stepping. That lasted about a fortnight until he saw it didn’t change anything and he reverted to doing nothing. All of this to say that all those years I thought he could t and gave him a pass he just could t be bothered but he could snap to if it seemed like it was for his benefit. Yours feels the same.

        • Following on, stay on your course of action and see how long this lasts. My bet is that he’ll flip into one of the othe channels, rage or pity when he sees that charm is having no effect then you’ll know.

      • Better than

        Try this: post nap
        In the case of cheating divorce is set in place- everything goes to you (automatically ) with an alimony

        If he changed- he won’t mind this security blanket for u

        You are risking your life/ the only thing he has to do is to be a decent person
        Easy peasy

        • My state doesn’t recognize them. ????. I’ve been looking into something that would legally protect me and I am not finding anything. Am collecting documents though-taxes, life insurance, etc to make copies of everything. He did manage to put almost everything in a trust years ago and just smirked at me when I said our state doesn’t care what he’s done and he’s managed to protect everything and I can’t touch it. That was in the beginning though-10 months ago. Inheritance is also protected in this state, so I’m looking at debt debt and more debt. We’ve been married 21 years, he’s been in military since before we married BUT he separated and then went back and then separated then went back. If I haven’t been married for 20 while he’s been active in service, don’t get insurance either. Was banking on that if he splits. Ahhhhhhh

          • Hahahahaha. I tried that. At first he said he felt so bad that I could have everything!!
            But when I suggested he sign the house over to me so that if he ever cheated again, there would be a lot less paperwork, he refused saying he wanted to be faithful because that is what he WANTS to do, not because of possible financial implications. ????‍♀️

            • This is all funny. My cheater thought I was trying to steal her house using a post-nup. I kept telling her if she did not cheat again then the post-nup had no effect on anything. She could not commit to such a thing. Someone else here wrote that cheaters are seeking a high. My cheater said she was chasing a high when she ran away for 4 days to f@ck and ex boyfriend. Every time I brought up what she did she said I was punishing her. To me it is weird how all of the experiences here all sound the same. I need to tell my cheater she is normal so she can stop feeling sorry for herself and what she did to me. lol

              • Hahahahaha telling your cheater she’s normal. Think of how much it would pain all of our cheaters to learn they are not special but in fact perfectly banal. I need to tell mine he’s normal – he would throw a pity party for himself on the spot.

          • If he is getting military retirement you are entitled to half of what he gets for the period you were married. If you were married for more than 10 years, DFAS will just send you the money directly once you have the QDRO.

            Also, even if you’re not eligible to stay on his Tricare, they have a bridge program for folks that don’t quite make the 20/20/20 cutoff. I’m not quite sure how that one works, I did my insurance through work instead but I was looking at my options.

      • I urge you consider staying only with the LACGAL 60/40 postnup agreement in place. That is a game changer.

      • Dear Better than…..
        Nothing to work with there. He Is a master manipulator. FIVE years of cheating!!!!!!!
        Do you know how many lies, decisions to cheat, deceive, treat you like crap that Is???
        You will be much better off without him. It is painful to start with but if you follow Chumplady’s advice you will get to MEH one Tuesday. Kind wishes.

      • So what I’m hearing is that he’s an arsonist, he started the fire, he burned the house down…..and THEN hands you the fire extinguisher?

        I’m sure while he was setting the fire he was well aware that it was wrong and damage it would cause. And he did it anyway.

        Too late IMHO. Damage done.

      • Don’t buy it- RUN. DDAY #1 found out he was trying to have sex with anyone with an internet connection. Believed him when he said he never did (he for sure did). But HE WAS SO SORRY. He went to therapy, SAA meetings, shared passwords, monitoring software, the works. Had me so convinced he was a unicorn I agreed to marry him. UGH I could slap myself. He then spent the next 4 years gaslighting me into thinking I was a shitty wife who couldn’t move forward, who didn’t love him, didn’t support him, had anger issues, paranoid, etc. He had me convinced I was letting HIM down. My chumpiness went into overdrive. I started therapy to figure out why I’m such a bitch, tried to be chill, be sexier, be FUN (cause I wasn’t apparently). Never mind he was disappearing on weekends or a week at a time, or he was always on his computer. He HAD to change his passwords because he was worried I would do something crazy because jealous lunatic, with “anger issues”. Those condoms I found – I must have put them there. At that point, I was so beaten down I actually wondered if I had. I will always be grateful to my therapist who point blank told me – its not you it’s him, his stories are bullshit, no I’m not crazy. I finally told him I was done, and if I had to choose between trusting him or trusting myself, I choose ME. It was only AFTER we were separated that I found out about the secret bank account, the thousands he spent on hotels, lingerie, sex toys and trips out of state to meet untold number of random’s he met while playing World of Warcraft (simultaneously childish, gross, and sad AF). I was so grateful when he finally kind of admitted it that I thanked him (he had no choice, I was going to see if all in the bank statements, although he still told me nine different versions, none of which are the truth). I wish I could get back those years, but I settled for the house, a good chunk of his money, and his disgusting ass out of my life forever. These people are sociopaths and they don’t change.

    • I hear you on the “adultery” bit… I live in a no fault state so even though adultery was the primary contributing factor, the court didn’t care. BUT I DID. So I spent the extra money with the lawyer to file the adultery complaint. It gave me JOY to see him and his girlfriend get served with those papers because guess what… the GF had been sold a lie that he was separated when they met and that we had already agreed to divorce (when in fact at the exact same timeline we had taken two family vacations)… and, in his words “it wasn’t adultery… I knew I was done with the marriage”… while we were on family vacations.

      Adultery is such a ugly word to a cheater… use it often 🙂

      • Dam. I live in a no fault state too. Wish I had known that I could have still filed a complaint.

      • Not sure if it was repealed and decriminalized there was some movement in the law against adultery.

        Section 609.36 states that if a married woman has sexual intercourse with anyone besides her husband, she and that person are both guilty of adultery and could be imprisoned for up to a year.

        It is not a crime for a married man to engage in adultery with a single woman in Minnesota. Additionally, a man can use ignorance as a defense.

        • Actually, pretty legit excuse! “I committed adultery because I’m ignorant.” 😉

      • My idiot tried to tell me it didn’t “count” as adultery as he had “mentally divorced me.” (I must have missed that memo, lol). I can’t believe that chummy me tried to argue that point, so desperate to get him to see how hurtful and cruel he was, when it is so clear now that nothing I said or did would have made any difference.

      • Adultery and Cruelty are on the front page of my divorce petition, which my husband will see just as soon as he stops hiding from the process server. He’s been away from the house for a week and a half now, ever since he found out I was attempting to serve him.

        An assertion of fault is optional in our state, but I wouldn’t have had to put a bullet in our marriage if adultery wasn’t part of it.

    • Mine “apologized” and “acknowledged” and “took responsibility” for “not seeing my wound” – all bullshit psychobabble learned from his therapist vomited into letters he sent me that I ignored and never replied to. Full of vague references “that thing” and “i failed” without any actual admissions of the crimes themselves. It was a soppy example of sad-sausage performance art. Fortunately fir this chump, CL & CN had cut my bonds to RIC bullshit and helped me see the truth. He sucks. I trust it.

      Esther P sucks. Plant a tree for every book sold? I love that! As a therapist, I should start an EP recovery group for “everyone who has ever been abused by a whacko therapist”.

      • Sounds like an excellent marketing tool so chumps can avoid being abused by a therapist after their trauma.

      • My FW had his latest affair with a registered clinical counselor who introduces herself as a ‘marriage counselor.’ ????‍♀️ He left for her and the messages he sent afterwards sure sounded like she had a hand in proofreading. ???? I feel like there should be serious repercussions for people in the counseling professions who engage in adultery (among other things). Who in their right mind would knowingly pay to get advice from someone like that?????

  • Jesus to Esther (and a few others) “Thou shall not commit adultery”

    Esther to Jesus ” Who made you God? You are just so patriarchal”.

  • Ester Peral had 4 or 5 questions to ask your cheater. They actually helped me out. Especially the one “what do you love about me?” My ex wife couldn’t tell me one thing she loved about me, only the things I did for her and my positions in church. NOT ONE thing about Sirchumpalot as a human being. She also told me she didn’t respect me. While I detest her, she did help me to divorce my ex wife.

    • Please forgive the correction, guess I’m an awful stickler, but Esther was in the Old Testament. She was a Jewish woman who saved her people from the wicked adviser to a king.

      Jesus was the guy who stopped a mob from stoning to death a “woman taken in adultery.” Adultery is bas, but not a capital crime per Jesus.

      He also spoke against a man divorcing his wife just because.

      But did specify divorce is justified in cases of adultery.

  • I think what really gets me with the whole RIC mindfuck is they think the cheating is a one-time isolated incidence as the norm, when in fact (based on what I read here and what I experienced) it is a THOUSAND cuts of infidelity… from lies, to personal ads, to fucking friends/family/co-workers/online randos, to burning through paychecks and 401Ks and running up credit cards, to causing such damage that children are forever scarred… where are the butterflies and unicorns the RIC speaks of because I’ve NEVER seen it. Even when I was smoking the hopium pipe… and people, I smoked it for FIVE YEARS… all of this abuse was going on. It wasn’t “the heart wants what the heart wants”… it was “I enjoy deceiving and gaslighting you… I enjoy seeing your desire for me and our marriage and shitting on it… I enjoy making you think we have reconciled when I’ve really just gone to the dark web… and WHEN (and there will be a WHEN) I finally meet your replacment… I will leave you.”

    Esther is just another shallow puddle who belongs with the cheaters… Chumps, keeping coming here… we may not have butterflies and unicorns either but we have integrity… we have sanity… we have passion… and our walls sing!

    Rock on Chump Nation – you’ve got this!

  • ‘Did you lie to protect me’ ?

    Talk about handing a cheater an excuse !

    Making Money By Fvcking Over The Victim 101

  • Thinking about the reality involved in carrying on an affair, or multiple affairs, or hook-ups, completely changes the paradigm of popular thought about adultery. It is not Lancelot pining for Guinevere, or that Arthur was a bad husband — it is not about the thrill of secret danger, perhaps a death sentence, for loving someone other than your husband. It is about the planning and the treachery, and the danger of having sex with someone other than your spouse. It is about willingness to use funds officially designated as marital for personal, selfish purposes. It is about the thousand lies and insults you tell your spouse or others about your spouse. It is not an exuberant act of being alive, it is about cheating your spouse and family out of the life you promised when you repeated your marriage vows. There may be many excuses proffered for deciding it is ok to cheat, but they all boil down to believing you deserve the illicit sex, being selfish, and being a thief. A cheater is not a romantic, lovelorn character unable to control the overwhelming power of love in his life. A cheater is unwilling to be upfront and honest about being unhappy. A cheater wants to blame all his problems on someone else. A cheater doesn’t want to give up the goose that lays golden eggs, but does want to share an omelet with someone else, or many someone elses. A cheater is greedy.

    If you think about all the beautiful, rich, powerful, and talented people who have been cheated on, you realize there is no protection, or fault they have which causes cheating. The cheater is never satisfied, is inherently dishonest, and delusional about how wonderful he is. The RIC needs to stop blaming chumps, and put the blame for cheating where it belongs — on the person who decided to cheat.

      • The male cheater in my situation went back to his ex gf from school. After 26 years with me, including 18 years married. That is a whole other type of betrayal. She snapped her fingers about 8 years into the marriage and he went running. He was that lovelorn, ‘yearning, teary’ (as he described himself just before my dad’s funeral) teenager, aged 53. Dumped by her twice. Used me to get back at her, for 26 years. And I had no idea because he is in the UK and she had moved to Canada with her husband 20 plus years ago. When you hear those stories on tv and the radio and see them online, about those couples who ‘found’ each other again after many years apart and marriages inbetween, and society emits a communal sigh and says ‘ah, how romantic’, there is generally at least one chump discarded, disdained, along the way. The rare exceptions are those rekindlings much later life involving a widow and widower. The majority of my adult married life was a lie. And meanwhile his family and mutual friends look on, saying ‘ah, how romantic’. I doubt that enablers like Perel and Marshall think much about the casualties of disordered romantic love. We are inconveniences. Ideally we would never have existed, ‘Sliding Doors’ as the ex said to me. We would be dead. We spoil the picture. We are the smudge in the corner. If there are kids (none in my case) they are inconveniences too. The ex and his life coach deserve each other. I always deserved better. But that knowledge doesn’t make the pain any easier to bear 2 years out.

        • Heck I was told after 26 years that he ‘stays with me because I am financially good for him.’

          I think he only married me because his friends and younger brothers were already married and he felt left behind, he told me as much a few years in.

          He is a despicable user and I am glad to be rid of him. People of depth and character don’t behave this way.

          You lost nothing of value MW

  • After asking him, my ex confessed to cheating for 34 years. First call I made was to an outpatient hospital therapy program. I got in. A week later I filed for divorce. It was not difficult to do this. A lot of therapy helped me see why it was necessary. Five months later and I’m beginning to see how many s**t sandwiches I’ve eaten over the years. And I admit now that my codependency was a driving factor in dysfunction. But I DID NOT look for sex outside the marriage as a solution. It never occurred to me as an option. Couples counseling was out of the question, one’s sexuality is a gift at birth. He’s gay and I never knew, (and yep, he did say “I thought you knew” when I was spinning in disbelief). I wish I had asked my ex many years earlier but I had no clue. He fooled everybody close to him for decades. The cognitive dissonance is real and debilitating. He moved out immediately upon discovery. It seemed so easy for him. He could not understand my upset, saying “ well, I guess it’s because I’ve known this all along and you are just now finding out”. WHO TALKS LIKE THAT? To a partner of 37 years. It’s literally mind blowing. The lack of empathy, remorse, understanding. It’s hard not to feel like a fool here. Apparently I’m not alone though. Grateful for all chumps willing to share their stories, it’s an absolute lifeline in my world these days.

    • This is the devastation of infidelity. They know the life they are living and you don’t. All of their decisions have agency and yours don’t. It is fraud of the highest order but society shrugs it off. Of course he can walk away because he’s developed a secret life. Mine developed a relationship with a co-worker who has a lot of money. While I dealt with our teenagers and lawyers and counsellors and credit cards and selling the house – he partied and travelled. He springboarded into a fantastic lifestyle without any remorse for what he did. There are many people out there without a conscience. My heart goes out to you .

    • He has no empathy. It’s not even about being gay. He’s a disordered person with zero empathy, whether he was gay or straight.

      Look at what he really said to you, “I don’t understand why you’re upset, I know I’ve been lying to you and using you for 37 years and you’re just finding that out. Why would you be upset about that?”

      Zero empathy. He’s a fucking psychopath. I’m so sorry. I spent 20 years with one of these non human monsters myself. Be kind to yourself. I feel like a fool too but it gets better with time.

      • I agree that lots of disordered people of all stripes have no empathy. But there are varieties of disorder, and differences in the etiology of an absence of empathy, and I think in Carolina Chump’s specific case (and in mine…my ex was and still is closeted), it is indeed about him being gay. It’s not about him being gay in the sense of there being something wrong with him simply because he’s gay–gay is just another variety of sexuality–but something wrong with him because he chose to live in a closet for thirty-four years and living in a closet for thirty-four years and justifying it to oneself warps a person. I call it “the pathology of the closet. A closeted person learns to split and dissociate and to justify to himself his deception, devaluing the spouse as necessary because in his eyes the spouse is a hated necessity.

    • I asked him what he (63) was to her (30). He says “well we’re in a relationship” I say so you’re her what? Boyfriend? He says yeah I guess you’d say that. Like it was no big deal. He must’ve been high

      Another time he said “ I don’t want to lose half of everything I have worked for my whole life for a piece of ass“. Doesn’t that sound contrite? What a thing to say to your wife at that time, of 36 years.

      • If only we could make these narcissistic, sociopathic cheating fuckwits understand how we actually view them, their infidelities, their APs. Boy did that make NC difficult at the end…

  • I despise EP, the RIC, and anyone who perpetuates the misery and harm of domestic violence and abuse that “infidelity” constitutes.

    I’m a 30-year civil litigation lawyer and have studied the elements necessary to prove these torts. By its very terms, cheating is FRAUD and when a cheater has sex with their duped spouse that is SEXUAL ASSAULT— the unsuspecting spouse doesn’t consent to what is really going on: want to risk HPV-caused vaginal/penile cancer from cheater’s duplicitous conduct, anyone? Nope, didn’t think so…..that’s why the cheater keeps their victim in the dark. . .

    The laws were written and passed and are applied by mostly old white powerful men— likely a disproportionate number are cheaters, and we rarely hear of cases where chumps successfully sue for these torts, but the conduct nevertheless fits the elements of both fraud and sexual assault.

    Esther Perel, why don’t you turn your attention to helping bank robbers? Your absurd notions would be more apparent and your capacity to further harm chump victims diminished.

    • Motherchumper,

      I mean no disrespect to you with this comment, Your opinions in your comments are very justice oriented. and very helpful.

      I just wanted to speak to the old white men thing. There are alot of Gen x and boomers chumps who are white and getting older and getting unfairly associated with a narrow subset of people’s racist actions. Society is speaking about theman expendable, derogatory way. I don’t think that was your intent, but I cringe when I hear that because the youth of today are often trying to fight injustice with hate instead of upholding everyone’s humanity.

      It was old white men and women who helped the civil rights movement. And wanted to. Who went to war to uphold everyone’s freedom amd wanted to, died and were disfigured doing that. The West has advanced medicine ,and created global structural reinforcements. The kids of these decent people naturally came together as friends, and life partners.

      I have met many women of colour from different nations as refugees and it the west’s treatment of women that has had the most safety and respect. There is still a ton of work to do. But we have to honour the good to keep a balanced perspective.

      Most countries around the world have had, still have horrific double standard towards women. All cultures have done great things and barbaric things.

      But getting back to Perel she is a woman emboldening abuse.

  • Cheaters inflict pain and misery. There are people like Esther that try to appear evolved, magnanimous and honest. What they really are…angry, miserable and feed off others pain under the guise of being phony do-gooders making excuses for selfish asswipes that take pleasure in the suffering they impose on others.

    I think most of us have met or come across these types. When these types are told how someone is hurting us they smugly defend the abuser and you just know they are enjoying our pain. This is Esther only on a large scale.

  • “Because I’ve got a live one at Quality Inn across town.”

    Chumplady – you make my day! Spot on!

    I’m now at two years out from D-Day. And the layers of lies and deception keep seeping out. He’s been leading a double life for at least twenty years of our forty year marriage. But, of course, he was oh-so-innocent and will keep repeating that mantra till the day he dies.

    My Tuesday seems to be coming along quite nicely. My monkey-brain has quit trying to make sense of irrational, disgusting behavior. Trust that he sucks.

    • tall grass, I know the torture of having an ex leading a double life for years. No past, no future. Everything you believed is suspect. Most of your life is false. It’s like the old time soap operas where the woman wakes up for amnesia with no past. There are no words to describe this. Makes my heart happy to hear your Tuesday is in sight. I wish you peace.

  • What you’ve said is so true. The RIC is total bs. That statement “the heart wants what the heart wants” his “friend” said that to me in a text at one time about having made mistakes in “the past” He brought her around me, told me I’d like her, we’re a lot alike.

    At the cottage I watched her fold his underwear standing next to him and there were so many other red flags. I found proof of an “inappropriate relationship” something with her he had but not with other women we mutually knew. He couldn’t explain that away.

    I still smoked the hopium pipe for 4 years and turned myself into someone I didn’t recognize let alone liked. When he finally left after saying “I can’t live this way anymore, I love you but I’m not in love with you” I picked me danced for a bit and then I realized my heart was forged in a furnace and let the anger and hurt over all of it power me into my new life without him.

    All I did was go to work, I worked long hours but I made more, I carried the insurance and he sure liked all the perks of my making more than him. He ran me down to everyone that I’m crazy, I have anger issues, I’m bi polar. Funny how now that he’s gone and I’ve started a new life, new job, someone said to me yesterday at work, I can’t imagine you getting angry. Finally back to that happy (but wiser) person I was before he shit all over the good life we had “because I wasn’t home for him, I was at work” wtheck, I guess he wouldn’t mind returning the ice shack, the smoker, the metal roof installed on his cottage and the carpal tunnel surgery on both hands and all the other stuff he wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t gone to work.

    I mourned and was a mess behind closed doors for 12 months after he left. The funeral service is finally over, the Jerry Springer show has been canceled and the divorce will be final soon and I’ll finally be free.

    Update on him: he’s working on finding that replacement, kicking the tires with ex girlfriends, neighbors, anyone showing interest in him. “Making friends” as he would say. I’m happy for him, and it keeps him away from me.

    I never thought I’d make it this far. Thank you CN and CL, you saved me from making so many more mistakes than I did.

  • I met with my marriage counselor for an introductory one on one session prior to couples counseling and after talking to him about the lying, the cheating, the gaslighting, the financial abuse, he told me to RUN. Saved me time and precious money.

    • Our mutual therapist told me that multiple times in our last year of marriage. I told her to help me “stay well.” Then she told me that again after he left, and I stopped going to her.

      A year later she called me about a bill for seeing one of our adult children and coyly asked how I was doing. I told her that I had given up on reconciliation and was trying to figure out what that meant because I was underemployed and semi-broke. She said HOORAY!

      Yes, slow learner.

  • It’s a very strange tack Esther Perel has who openly promotes the abuse of men and women. Who champions the abuser by making something so obviously wrong, right.

    My guess is she is something along the lines of what Gizelle was for Jeffrey Epstein in his obviously wrong underage crime ring but somehow Gizelle thought it was cool and helped recruit underage girls for Jeffrey and was his #2 essential partner in crime. Why would Gizelle be willingly involved with the abuse of…young vulnerable girls so obviously wrong but so enthusiasticly helped the needs of Jeffrey?

    Might be the same mentality Esther has. Enthusiasticly helping the oppressors and abusers in any way she can. It would be interesting to look into Esthers background and family dynamic as to why. Was she abusive herself? Did she cheat? Is she a sex addict? Is she a B cluster? That would answer a lot.

    • Yes, Esther Perel is indeed a “fellow traveler” who aides and abets, just like Ghislaine (not Gizelle) Maxwell.

  • “I am a delightful garden of orifices.”

    LOL I snorted laughing at that response…

  • They’re just rapists. Esther Perel and all the RIC abusers are simply rapists. They want a non consenting partner to abuse. They could stay single or get a divorce and have all this freedom and unprotected sex and have no victim. But they don’t want that. They want to have a victim. Their idea of “freedom” has to include tricking someone else into a non consensual sexual relationship. They’re just rapists.

    I didn’t need to piss blood from UTIs from his dirty dick and catch chlamydia and gonorrhea. He could have just talked to me and we could have divorced. If he’d done it that way, we’d probably still get along for fuck’s sake. Instead he had to rape me and harm my health and abuse me emotionally and mentally. And before anyone asks, yes I’ve been “actually” raped. A violent rape by a group of men when I was just a teenager, not even a date rape scenario. And I never got any justice and I had to leave my hometown permanently because I was so afraid of these men I didn’t know finding me again.

    This has been worse than that.

    • Katie, I am so very fucking sorry for what happened to you. I am echoing Chump Lady’s (((hugs)))

      This hits the nail on the head, and honestly the most brain-scratching thing about cheaters’ arguments that they were ever trapped or not having their needs met in any way. No one has them under lock and key, they are free to go and be and fuck whoever they want. But they do not choose this. They choose the safety and comfort of a partner who tries (and tries and tries – ever unsuccessfully) to love them. Does this love (or our needs or freedoms) ever get considered in return? All of us know the answer to this: NO. Cheaters are rapists. They get off on deceit and taking, taking, taking without ever having to give in return (aside from whatever scraps they throw to keep us on the hook). They risk our health. Our financial security. Our family stability. This manipulation of the story and helping them to double down on their power tripping makes me endlessly furious. It’s a perpetuation of injustice.

    • Katie – solidarity, hugs, and more hugs.

      And you are so right. Violence from a stranger is somehow easier to understand and process than violence from someone you bonded with and who vowed to love you and keep you safe.

      I hope you are in a safe place now ❤️

    • I’m so sorry, Katie, I have no words but I’m enraged at both your ex and those strangers on your behalf.

  • Gotta say, I also love the whole “were you meeting his needs?” argument. Well let’s see, how exactly am I supposed to become a 400 pound transgender teenage boy but also be an emaciated 30 year old woman covered in bruises who poses for sexy pictures on bare stained mattresses next to dead cockroaches. Oh, and also be a teenage girl who wears diapers and sucks on pacifiers and spends her free time coloring and pretending to be three years old. Because that’s what he’s fucking. That’s what he “needs.” And there’s so many more.

    And I’m supposed to be all those things while working full time, doing everything around the house, being the involved parent, cooking him three meals a day, and being mocked and criticized for not having my own life because I’m so fucking tired. I was supposed to be breadwinner, maid, cook, nanny, and a shapeshifting sex slave.

    Fuck his needs. He’s a piece of shit. He needs to walk off a fucking cliff.

    • Katie Pig,

      I feel ya. I’ve always wanted to talk to Esther. Hey, Esther how do you feel about a man who spent 25 years telling me how much he loved me, but ignored me, bread crumbed me, withheld sex, was generally absent, was really mysterious, told me he was a genius and his brain needed downtime, told me he was a special person so needed extra care, needed to eat regularly so I had to have the dinner on the table. He slept in the other room even though I begged him to sleep with me. I always asked him what he needed, what he wanted, how could I help him? What could I do? I’ll do anything to make you happy I’d say. Well, turns out he “needs” to control and dominate in the bedroom. He needs whips and chains, he needs to hurt young women. So Esther, it was all my fault. Apparently I was lame at meeting his needs so he had to steal money and live a whole secret life. His needs were monumental- mine? Not so much. So I guess Esther what you would think is that because I wasn’t into dressing up like a whore, getting chained up and tortured at nights then it was my fault. You know what Esther? He didn’t even tell me that in 25 years those were his “needs”.

      Katie- we were the cover wives for their fetishes. Esther can go fuck herself.

      • fka, love reading you righteously telling off Esther. Mighty. So much better than hopelessly trying to unravel a fuckwit’s fucked up skein. (I was trapped in that poppy field way too long.) Internal monologue shifting! Deprograming successful! Right there with you. Thanks, CL!

  • I don’t agree with Perel that this kind of a Q & A session is worthwhile or likely to produce any kind of useful truth.
    I was able to get a lot of my questions answered by the cheater and yet he STILL told lies whenever he thought he could get away with it, even after I confronted him with hard proof and continually fact-checked him along the way. But he inadvertently admitted enough about his true core attitudes and past actions, in the following days, to prove that Esther Perel’s questions are based on bullshit premises from beginning to end. The cheater told me that he started an affair with me while he was already in a committed relationship with some one else because he “thought I would never find out about her” (she lived far away)–he said that if the 2 women didn’t know about eachother, “what harm could it do?” In other words, he felt entitled to my deepest attention, energy and love for almost a year, while not truly reciprocating it, simply because he figured he could get away with it without consequences. It was also clear to me that he meant, what harm could it do HIM?, because he was so surprised and disturbed when I pointed out that he could be harming me by sharing STD’s from her to me, that he was putting her and me into a defacto sexual relationship with eachother that we would never have agreed to if given the chance to refuse consent; and that he had also lied about his whole life in order to get my consent to intimacy, which is morally fraud and rape. My body still feels like I was repeatedly sexually abused, and I am still dealing with incest-like PTSD symptoms from that in both intimate or medical settings. I asked him more than once, both before and during our involvement as we reached what I thought were deeper stages of committment, if he was involved with anyone else at the time or even wanted to be, but he repeatedly denied it and reassured me that we were monogamous. I asked explicitly because I would not have agreed to even start an intimate relationship with him if I had known what he was actually doing. I would have also not consented if I knew that his previous marriage had fallen apart because of his serial cheating; it turned out that the woman he was involved with when he met me was one of at least two co-respondents involved in his divorce from the mother of his son (I believe the other co-respondant was the mother of his daughter!!).

    He knew exactly how to appear like he was deeply in love with me, monogamous and committed. My friends and family commented on how much in love he appeared to be, and you can see the radiant, shy, joyful smiles on his face in photos whenever he is looking at me. He was so experienced at deception. After months and months of his weaving a web of seemingly loving and committed actions and behavior, I found out in one week that he was neither committed to nor faithful to me, and that the relationship in his mind was mostly utilitarian. I wasn’t really a human being to him, just something to be used to make his life more comfortable and fun. He also explained that he felt entitled to make use of any available attractive woman if he could get away with it, because as a teenager, pretty girls had not been interested in him, so it was a sort of karmic revenge. He also explained that he was choosing to drop me for some one else only because she was financially successful and influential in his field, and he needed the extra money her influence would bring him in order to pay his child support and alimony payments–so I suppose Perel would say that I should acknowledge that my lack of pull in HIS career field was somehow a personal fault I should have noticed and addressed? that I should throw myself into making more money or becoming more politically influential so I could aid his career better than the OW could, and only then would I be worthy of his fidelity?!? Seriously?!!???!!?!!
    Fuck that, and fuck you, Esther Perel. Why would I want to shackle myself to a mercenary asshole like that? Why would anyone? And it is not like he was detouring his own career to throw himself into MY career field to make me more money; I didn’t expect that anyway, because that is NOT what love is supposed to be about. I cannot help wondering if Esther P. might have been a habitual cheater herself, that she enjoyed it so much that she felt entitled to keep getting away with it with no consequences, and that she got off on having a faithful partner who was following the monogamous set of rules while she “exuberantly” did whatever she wanted with whomever she could on the sly. It is hard to imagine her creating a whole career of excusing consent fraud if she was the one being chumped. The cognitive dissonance alone would cause a normally empathic person to have a breakdown.
    I feel like I am well out of it. He was scum. Just like Dorian Grey in Oscar Wilde’s novel, he will always be basically unloved and alone, even when the world thinks he is adored and coupled, because he cannot help knowing deep down that his partners can only love the illusion he projects, and not the actual calculating, selfish, hypocritical misogynist that is the real him.

    • ““that I should throw myself into making more money or becoming more politically influential ”

      And even if you did that (I did), they will drop kick us when they attain their goal. I spent years working in the community and in politics getting his choice elected to help him. Yes of course I was also working for me and my family, but I thought I though I was in a solid marriage.

      I would have voted the same way had I known the ex was a cheater; but I wouldn’t have spent all my energy pushing his fat ass up the ladder, for him to simply turn over the spoils of victory to the town whore.

      The good news is fw and the whore spent the rest of his life with him first cheating, then major gambling, then bankrupt.

      I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the mayor called him in and demoted his ass. Honestly that surprised me, the only reason I knew was the demotion was in the paper. The mayor couched it as “re organization” But everyone knew.

      As someone has mentioned on this site he paid way above market price for the whore.

      • Susie Lee, you rock!!
        Your ex is bankrupt now? Now that is true Karma raining down on him and schmoopie!
        I am very glad that all your creative energies are now going to your own life and development, because he did not deserve them!

  • Leading questions like this really get under my skin. Even toddlers will take an out like this when presented with one: “Did you sneak cookies because mommy was being unfair and not sharing them?” “Yes,” they’ll nod sadly, “Mommy never shares and it’s not fair!”

    I’ve been binging lots of interrogation shows, so I can start to pick up when people are lying. It made me realize that when my husband would go mute after I asked a question, I always filled in the blanks for him with a story I “wanted” to believe. “Why would you post on craigslist? Are you feeling neglected? Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong?” All he needed to do was nod along.

    • I went one better than this! I emailed the asswipe detailing all MY faults and giving him reasons why he found a ‘distraction’…. This is what he called it a ‘distraction’. I discovered LACGAL 2 months after that email. Oh my I cringe about it.

      Hugs to you NotAnymore and everyone here.

  • Tracey,
    You are truly hilarious. I love the way you write. It’s brilliant. Every morning I sit, drinking coffee, in my closet, yes, a closet, and read your column at 6 am PST. I’m in a rented condo in Vancouver BC, with my 3 kids -safe. I’m living my new life. 23 months into my new life. By the grace of God I stumbled on your blog days after DDay.
    I sleep in the utility closet so my kids can have a room. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry, but as you promised, meh is coming. I’m almost there. Almost. Today’s post made me laugh and cry. Thank you.

    • Wow, you’re tough. Way to hold onto perspective, gratitude and a sense humor.

  • There are FIFTY SEVEN investigative questions listed.

    Fifty seven INVESTIGATIVE questions.

    How romantic. Especially compared to the escapist fantasy of an illicit relationship. Yep. Come with me into my interrogation room from your utopian frolic at the Quality Inn with your Craigslist Sole Mate so I can grill you under the high beams. Yay.

    If I am in a relationship where the term INVESTIGATIVE is being used to describe communication, if it’s necessary to INVESTIGATE, the horse is already dead and I need to get off.

    Couples “EXPERIENCING” infidelity? Oh, it’s an EXPERIENCE, alright. Very DIFFERENT experiences for each of the parties in the legitimate relationship
    when one of them has royally fucked over their unsuspecting trusting spouse/partner. Not a joint experience AT ALL. That is sugarcoating bullshit at its finest.

    Let’s try licking the frosting off that one, shall we?

    “For couples where one party is EXPERIENCING emotional assault, psychological torture, abuse, soul-murder, fraud, deceit, having their life threatened and blown to smithereens, and the longest sharpest knife in the drawer stuck dead center into their heart by the other party aided and abetted by their secret sexual partners, leaving mind- and life-altering possibly permanent catastrophic emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, sexual damage, and the traitorous perpetrator is EXPERIENCING vapid self-centered dopamine-fueled oblivion.

    Sweet smoking Jesus on a Christmas cookie.

    Brevity is the soul of wit, and Chump Lady named that tune with just ONE question:

    “Is this relationship acceptable to you?”

    But, if we’re getting all questionnaire-y, I can think of LOTS more questions for the deliberately intentionally not-accidentally or mistakenly grievously wounded spouse/partner.

    Like these:

    If you have a choice between being on your own or partnered with someone who didn’t hesitate to throw you and your children under a Mack truck, which do you prefer?

    Can you sleep with one ear and one eye open 24/7/365, brain constantly scanning for danger, for the rest of your life?

    Is it your dream to own waterfront property on De-Nile?

    Would you rather get your exercise by going to the gym or from constant twitchy hyper-vigilance?

    Would you rather sleep peacefully or spend every single waking moment looking at or wondering about phones, burner phones, apps, apps that hide apps, laptops, email, spyware, etc etc etc etc etc?

    Can you live without sleep, trust, peace of mind, safety, truth, self-esteem, emotional maturity, mental health, loyalty, or integrity?

    Did you want to be a PI when you grew up, your ideal partner the target of your surveillance ops?

    When matrimony (or otherwise committed partnership) turns interrogatory, it’s time
    to put the relationship into the lavatory.

    • Cheaters do not want, care about, are not interested in, avoid, run from introspection, conflict resolution, problem-solving of any kind.

      That’s why they are cheaters.

      It’s better to spend your time teaching a pig to sing.

  • The cheater questions are bad enough. “Were you trying to get my attention [by yelling and farting or stonewalling and neglecting me]?” But the “reciprocal” and “hurt partner” questions – all two of them – give me a case of the steams! (Of course they come last.) “Would you be open to…?” Even at my lowest, I wouldn’t have been able to choke down that obsequious shit sandwich. Evidently, Perel ascribes to a cheater/chump caste system.

    Trusty chump trick: Imagine this line of questioning applied to any other scenario where there is a clear perpetrator and victim.

    • Oops, the attention question was also a chump script.

      Yeah, EP sucks. One day of my biggest takeaways from CL. I think we get suckered as chumps, after dday and reeling, because she dangles what we want more than anything: not only can we survive infidelity, we can thrive! We can start over and rebuild a relationship that will be better than before, even better than relationships not “marked by” infidelity. She’s an abuse coach, supporting chump spackle and subordination and cheater lying and manipulation. It’s easy to fall prey because she’s touted by many, from many fields and backgrounds: Brenee Brown, Tim Ferris, NYT, and on and on. Everyone is eager to swallow her “pseudo-sophistication” (as one chump put it) and her “quest for aliveness.” Reading CL’s UBT, it’s obvious why cheaters and cheater apologists (one and the same???) love her.

  • OMG. I have never read this one and I am going to bookmark this.

    Hands down my favorite Chump Lady laugh out loud post ever!

    I’m still in stitches.

    “Cause I got a live one in a Quality Inn across town.”
    “Naughty, naughty, Esther!”
    “I think so. Fucking escorts was your first clue.”

    I love you Chump Lady!

    • I agree! Chump Lady, you are a national treasure. In fact, international, I’m sure.

  • Wow….I always wondered why Tracy had it out for this woman…..Esther Perel. I finally decided to check out her website It saddens me how much people will believe from what they hear from the media and see on a website. The quotes she puts out there are something I could have come up with in 5th grade. “I believe that human connection has transformative power in all aspects of our lives.” Wow!!! that’s super deep….like valley girl deep. Nice attempt at big words Esther. Except there’s no big words. So being human and social animals at our core means betrayal and lies and cheating is acceptable? I get that it happens, but asking people to accept this as the norm is deceptive, harmful and just plain wrong. People have fought against this since the beginning of time. Call it out for what it is…..wrong is wrong….no one should have to “understand” it. She’s pathetic and as the daughter of two holocaust survivors who probably had numbers tattooed on their wrists I’d expect better. She’s misguided and making money off of her parents misfortune. I have no doubt she’s content to live and profit from that at the expense of anyone.

  • Again?

    I’m not up on the Esther Perel chronology, but I’m guessing that Google alerts led her here (c’mon, Esther, we know you keep a sharp eye out) and she’s doubling down on some of her recent effusions.

    Either that or she’s actually this full of shit.

  • FW and I went to counseling when I started suspecting an affair. We went to counseling every month for two years. He denied everything, told me I had to learn to trust, and I was told by the therapist that I should say yes to sex more, go get makeup lessons and try a new haircut. He cried a lot during those sessions, about how he loved me but couldn’t live with me doubting his every move. They both pretty much decided that I was paranoid and mentally damaged.

    When I found out eventually that he was indeed having an affair (ongoing for 3 years), I called the therapist first. I think she was in bigger shock than I was. She was a veteran marriage counselor who has been doing this all her life and literally wrote two bestselling RIC books. She was absolutely floored at how flawless his lying was.

    Here’s the crazy part. She quit after that. She said she couldn’t do it anymore considering that she couldn’t actually tell a liar from a truth-teller. She was ridden with guilt at all the RIC garbage she heaped on me and all the thousands of chumps before. She sent me “Cheating in a Nutshell” and said this is what’s true, not all the ignorant advice I gave you. She said she is now writing a new book to undo the damage of a lifetime of blaming the victim.

  • “Did you lie out of deception or were you hoping to protect me with your lies?”

    Way to ask a leading question…

    • Yes, this is the worst one but the whole list is pretty much a primer on how to gaslight.

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