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Stupid Sh*t the Reconciliation Industrial Complex Says

unicornI can’t even with this latest bit of quackery from the Guardian on “how to survive an affair.”

What should the betrayed partner do?
Often, the discovery of an affair creates an unequal dynamic – one partner becomes crushed with guilt and accepts their pariah status,

the other becomes judge, jury and executioner.


Oh, who slipped in that righteous Angela Bassett gif? That was me trying to wrest the narrative back from this blameshifting RIC bullshit.

You’re too JUDGY, chumps!

Also… it’s your fault.

“The betrayed partner will usually have to accept that they had a part in co-creating a betrayal,” says relationship counsellor and author Neil Wilkie. “My experience is that a betrayal never comes out of a clear blue sky. It usually happens because there was something lacking in a relationship. But if the betrayed partner says, ‘It’s all your fault, I had nothing to do with it,’ then the relationship can never recover.”

(I added the link so you can check out his groovy sweater vest. And full array of life-coach quackery services.)

I thought this was supposed to be a Friday Challenge, Tracy?

Oh yes. I’d like to know what bit of RIC fuckery tangled your brain.

Was it the ASSUMPTION that every cheater is contrite?

Or qualified mental health professionals intoning that you’re responsible for another’s double life that you were unaware of?

Or that what you really need after a full STD panel screening is more FUN?

In your RIC experience, what was the Stupid Shit said, and when did you realize it was total nonsense?

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.
      • Same. Makes me furious. Fuck these relationship counsellors who seem to totally miss a whole chapter in DSM 5 about narcissists.
        So glad I cancelled my Guardian subscription. Fuckers.

        • I was really disappointed they didn’t have a comments section. I would have gone to town on idiot counsellor.

          • The ‘Grauniad’ very seldom has a comments facility. They can’t cope with anyone who rationally disagrees with their pap propaganda. ????

    • I am almost through year one of ‘reconciliation’ but i am not really reconciling. I am just here, seeing what he will do.

      – no pick me dance. He went no contact immediately.
      – post-nup with generous terms and infidelity clauses.
      – full disclosure and passed lie detector test (for whatever that is worth)
      – no real evidence of any other infidelity, etc.
      – in counseling and also in counseling with adult child

      Still, it is fairly evident that he is a liar, selfish and a narcissist.

      • And he has emotionally immature communication skills. Almost no connection to emotions.

        • Janey, I admire your resolve to give it ago— a year ago I did the nuclear pick me dance and lost and I regretted losing and believed I would have made it work with the first ever unicorn. Time and distance, while I am only really on late Wednesday, I understand that she will always be a freak, liar who I could never trust again, but I’m a chump and I would’ve still tried had I not “lost”, I mean “ gained a life “ :). I wish you the best.

          • Once you get more time & distance, you will realize that by “losing”, you ultimately ended up winning. Again, that concept of addition by subtraction.

            One year is not enough time. It took me several.

          • I fought the fight of my life for 13 months in my marriage before he ultimately left to be with the OW anyways. A year later, I land in the office of a therapist identifying me with symptoms of PTS. Two years of almost weekly therapy with a person trained in trauma to unpack the emotional and mental devastation my pick-me dance caused to my brain because of the gaslighting of a lying and cheating man who took advantage of my love and naivite. But, this was just one layer of understanding a lot more about different traumas I grew up with that hindered my capacity to judge this man and my situation more clearly when it arose in my life.

            Four years later, I understand that what occurred was never my fault. I did not drive my husband to cheat. Though I was not a perfect wife, I was not a horrible person who deserved any of this. I better understand the red flags that were there early on but didn’t recognize because they were different flags than what my alcoholic/abusive father presented growing up. I am no longer bound to faulty messaging from my Church, who I thought would want me to stay and make it work (but later learned that if I had talked to my priest earlier, he would have advised me to protect myself and the kids immediately – it was family religious pressure that influenced me).

            Now I find myself standing strong in the face of a new “toxic” force. The pressure that I should “forgive” my ex after all this time. That him and his AP are just flawed human beings who made a big mistake. Time has passed and that I should let things go because then I’m staying stuck.

            Ummm…I’m not stuck at all. My unwillingness to forget what my ex and his accomplice did is not a reflection of having not healed, it’s a reminder of the need to protect myself from those who have done me harm and who have demonstrated no real contrition (the fact that they are still together and he still denies it was even an affair is case in point). You need to own up to what you did and take responsibility to actually be sorry. That hasn’t been done, so no forgiveness has been sought and so none is needed to be given.

            I have let this go from paralyzing me in my daily life, from allowing it to put me down or doubt myself. I have risen from this stronger in myself, my values and convictions, and smarter about how people work in the world. I know who and what they are, and I will not hold any illusions. They are not trustworthy people. They do not share my values. They are not my friends.

            At all times, I aim to be unfailingly polite to my ex-husband. Engage in no conversation outside of matters regarding our kids. Always keep a slight smile on my face. Hold my head high. I ensure the kids have a birthday, Xmas and Father’s Day gift for him every year. Always make sure to wish him a happy birthday or Father’s Day, or a merry Christmas. It’s the respect that I would accord to any stranger on the street in honour of their inherit dignity. But, he gets nothing more from me than that.

            RIC is sadly lacking in sound psychology. It lacks awareness of how insidious abuse can be and how they are setting up the victims to be further victimized by their perpetrators. I’m not against the idea that there can be a possibility of reconciliation for some (not in my case though), but there is a plethora of steps that needs to be taken before calling on a victim to become even more vulnerable to the ministrations of their perpetrator. And, it all rests solely on dealing with the perpetrator individually (to take responsibility) and the victim (to heal from the trauma without responsibilities to the perpetrator) separately. All of this is lacking and so it’s all messed up and dangerous.

            • Very well said;your fourth paragraph resonates strongly. ????????????????????????????????

            • “Though I was not a perfect wife, I was not a horrible person who deserved any of this.”

              I am so sad whenever I see a betrayed spouse feeling the need to justify her/himself with the “neither perfect now awful” line. Cheaters do make us feel awful by projection and blameshiffting, don’t they?

              From what you describe of your behaviour toward your XH I can only imagine OptionNoMore as a very nice and considerate person (maybe a little too nice to bad people), and therefore a splendid partner in your marriage (I bet you were). You know who is awful? Your XH.

              Who in this world can honestly claim to be the perfect anything? Was “to be perfect” in any of your wedding vows? Was your XH perfect by any standard? Is perfection the only way to avoid being abused, disrespected and cheated on? And what is perfection after all when the goal posts are moving all the time? Oh, and as if the pile of abuse they hurdle at us didn’t hinder our “perfection” in the least.

              I am now scared of people who seem to expect perfection from others (from their coworkers, from their parents, from their partners… from their kids, for god’s sake!). It takes lots of unearned entitlement and a childish attitude toward life to fell that you deserve nothing short of perfect. This is bratty behaviour at its worst.

              No one deserves the ultimate betrayal of infidelity, even the shittiest person on the face of earth. More so in a time when you can just be honest and end a relationship that is not working for you.

              The thing is, the triangle (or icosahedron, as Tracy says) works *perfectly* for these thrill-seeking assholes. The relationship *alone* is not perfect but it fits right in as an hypotenuse (Tracy again), and the triangle crumbles once it is removed. Hence the pick-me dancing and hoovering. Not to mention how useful we chumps are (wife/husband appliances, uncertified therapists, ATM machines, sex machines, babysitters, cleaners, handyman, personal secretaries, grammar correctors, spell checkers, the list goes on). We are human swiss knifes; APs are just for entertainment purposes.

              You would have to be several people at the same time, with many, many faces (with sometimes diametrically opposed physical and psychological traits) to be the “perfect” polyhedron they seem to be seeking to make them happy.

              They don’t want people, they want toys.

              “I have let this go from paralyzing me in my daily life, from allowing it to put me down or doubt myself.”

              I’m still stuck with this right now, paralyzed, put down and full of self-doubt. Still take the most unreasonable request from my XW as on order and a mission to be accomplished before I can get a modicum of peace of mind – knowing fully well that she is most probably lying about her intentions and just playing with me. It is my dysfunctional way to appease my guilt and atone for not have been “the perfect husband (TM)”, you see? Rationally and objectively I was a pretty decent hubby, but I was long trained to see myself as somewhat lacking, always missing a spot. You’re right, emotional abuse is insidious, this shit internalizes as hell, and it is very hard to get rid of it.

              Sorry for rambling on your post, OptionNoMore. It was meant to be just a short comment, but I am dealing with these unreallistic expectations of perfection and forgiveness right now and it gets me all over the place.

              Hope you are feeling better from all the tough stuff you’ve been through. Cheers!

              • I used to start physically shaking and my heart would race when I said “no” to my ex, or even decided not to reply to one of his demands.

                I promise – it gets easier. It’s a skill and you practice it.

              • Thank you, ISawTheLight, I hope it does get easier as you say.

                Same here: severe anxiety bouts eveytime I have to stand for myself and not accomodate her. Mild anxiety whenever I have to interact with her, which is at least twice a week during hostage exchanges. Those days are ruined for me.

                Last thursday was my oldest son’s birthday and I spent some hours at her apartment. Leaving was like getting out of a toxic cloud. I feel nauseated by her presence and her voice. Even worse that the place itself ellicit so many traumatic memories.

              • BrazilianChump,

                What you wrote helped my heart so much. I realize I’ve been carrying around a lot of shame because after all, I wasn’t a “perfect wife”. And that searing accusation from others that because I wasn’t a perfect wife, I couldn’t really blame my husband for his terrible betrayal. No one was perfect after all so we must be both equally guilty/responsible. That’s such a cruel thing to believe and tell people.

                I am right there in the place of working through expectations and forgiveness. While I am in this spot I was so helped hearing you ask that question, “ Is perfection the only way to avoid being abused, disrespected and cheated on?“. I have read your post over a few times and that part makes me cry every time. Trying to be perfect to avoid abuse, disrespect and cheating was one exhausting and painful way to live.

                Thanks for your post.

              • Dear Chumpalina,

                I am so happy to have been of some help for you! Thank you very much for letting me know of this.

                I hope this late reply somehow reaches you.

                Yes, people are cruel. Or I would rather say they are clueless. No one who hasn’t travel the chump road does really get it: the desvastation, the self-doubt, the loss of self-worth, the letting go of life long expectations, the undue guilt for another person’s bad choices, the sickness onto death some of us experience. It is a dark night of the soul that only us, unfortunate initiates, can understand. I have never been really aware of the fallout of marital betrayal till it wrecked my home and I must confess I wasn’t that empathetic to people who suffered through it (my own mother for instance, mind you!).

                “Trying to be perfect to avoid abuse, disrespect and cheating was one exhausting and painful way to live.”

                Yes, indeed, I feel you. That’s exactly how I’ve been living for the last two decades and I do feel exhausted too, even now that I am divorced. I guess it takes time to get our energy levels back to normal, hold on!

                I couldn’t infer from your post if you’re currently in close contact with your cheater, but in my experience (I just had one sad episode today), this is what keeps us exhausted and in pain. If you can manage to go no contact with the piece of shit that is making you miserable, then please go for it. I unfortunately cannot, grey rock is the best I can do and I fall off the wagon from time to time (just today I bit a bait, hook line and sinker).

                I am sorry to have made you cry, I wish you to be strong now, know your worth, quit apologizing and justifying yourself altogether and go back to smiling some day soon (I am almost there; faking till I make it).

                No one is perfect, but only a good person could entertain the thought of assuming part of the blame for her partner’s lack of character, so you look formidable to me.

                I hope you keep posting, would love to read more from you and how things are going. For me its being truly therapeutic to put my thoughts and feelings out there to these amazing people who comprises Chump Nation.

                Wish you the best non-perfect life you can live. (((Hughs)))

            • I love how you still show your children how to be the bigger person, and provide him gifts during the holidays!

      • Janey I have to ask why? If he’s still a lying selfish narcissist you know he’ll not change even with all that penitence. And obv this relationship is not working for you.
        The only reason we hang on for so long (I hung on for 10 months and through 6 d-days) is because we don’t want the agony of ending it. Yes it hurts like a motherfucker but your living in a holding patter right now. Which is not really living. You do move on from the pain. And life is so much better

      • “… but i am not really reconciling. I am just here, seeing what he will do.”

        Janey, you should not be waiting to see what this fuckwit will do. What you should be doing is lining up your ducks, and deciding what you will do.

        By waiting, all you’re doing is giving this fucker a chance to fuck you over big time. He’s demonstrated he doesn’t give a fuck about you already, don’t give him a chance to get his ducks in a row, to your detriment.

        The most important person here is you.

        I’m confused about ‘post nup’, and ‘infedelity clauses’ – WTF?? Also all this shite about ‘full disclosure’ and lie detector tests??!! Either this fuckwad has cheated on you, or he hasn’t. Which is it?

        The ‘counselling’ you speak of; does this counsellor understand that cheating is abuse?

        Your post is very strange to me, “no very real evidence of any other infidelity” What the fuck does that even mean? I really want to be sympathetic/empathetic, but I just don’t understand what you’re saying.

        • Sadly she is saying all the “BS boundaries and actions” that are used by the Reconciliation Complex to keep us Chumps tied to the cheater.

        • I understand that I am living with a fckwit. He’s not a unicorn. He really has no empathy and feelings. I am shocked (as many of us are) that I thought they were there. I would say he is as close to a unicorn as one can be but no, I don’t believe in unicorns. I am getting better/stronger. I think it just takes longer for some of us to get there, perhaps bc we are not anything like them.

          My counselor is a former betrayed person and works solely in this area. She sees him as trying/remorseful but is not encouraging me to stay and working with me on building my own identity, putting myself first, etc. I am educated but too kind. That’s all.

          • Janey. Many of of us were ‘too kind’. And we tried. And eventually we threw in the towel when we had had enough. It finally comes down to ‘is this acceptable to you?’ CL says this all of the time. But many of us waited and waited until it was no longer acceptable before we gave heed to her sound counsel. We gave it our all and it appears that so are you. But please heed the advice. Get YOUR ducks in order. We’ve been where you are now and hindsight tells us that you’re wasting your time. If we could turn back time we would have thrown in that towel sooner. However, because I waited, I know that I gave it my all and I will never doubt that I did everything in my power to save my marriage. Hindsight tells me that my efforts were wasted. But would I have known that had I not given it every chance? Who knows? Maybe I would have always wished I just gave him ‘one more chance’ but bailed before I knew my efforts would have only been wasted. Now I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that I did the right thing by saying ‘enough is enough’. But I know that NOW — 7 years later. I should have tossed that fucker to the curb years previously. But that’s what maturity does. Maturity and time. You’re still smoking the hopium pipe (even though you don’t realize you’re taking tokes.) I’m 61. I KNOW I should have tossed that ass to the curb years earlier. But in my early 50s? I was still very confused. I guess for me I needed to give it every chance possible. In my 60s I KNOW I should have gotten rid of that asshole the first time I caught wind of his fuckery. Good luck to you in figuring it out, but in the meantime, get those ducks in order.

            • AmazonChump, very nearly 62 here and what you say is so, so true. Thank you.

              Janey, the ex accused me of being ‘too altruistic’ (the pompous oaf was never going to use a word as simple as ‘kind’ ????). The thing is, these people exploit the kindness of chumps. They know that chumps are kind and they use that wonderful, caring, loving character trait to their own advantage. The ex laughed while he was doing so. He smiled sardonically while he did so. It turned him on. You’ll do what you must do when you’re ready. Don’t let your kindness kill you while you wait.

              • “The ex laughed while he was doing so. He smiled sardonically while he did so. It turned him on.”

                Oh, God, yes.

                Before I knew for certain, fuckwit had stayed the night at the rat faced whore’s place, telling me his van had broken down, and rat faced whore had” very kindly offered me her sofa”.

                Chumpy me believed this, and I told him I was so glad he had a friend who could put him up. ????????

                Apparently rat faced whore had said to him if it was her, she would have immediately been suspicious, and hired a private detective.

                I’ll never forget how he sat across from me, and with a big smirk, said, “I told her, chumpnomore6 trusts me”.

                Duper’s delight.

            • Agreed. I did a power pick me dance for 9 months, and in the end it didn’t change a thing. I signed off on our divorce settlement a week ago, she’s out of here, and I feel a little better every day with such a toxic influence removed from my environment.

        • “I’m confused about ‘post nup’, and ‘infedelity clauses’ –”

          I am too because of course they will lie and say they didn’t do it. Then you are stuck with spending whatever assets you have to prove it.

          If it were a post nup that said no matter the reason for D and even if D wants the D then Chump gets this amount. Even then, the likely hood of chump prevailing is low.

          Plus they will likely make sure there is nothing to get by the time it happens.

          For instance lets say I got a post nup from my ex that I got 50 thousand dollars. Fucker went on after our D to gamble and lose everything he had. He had to file bankruptcy. He literally gambled every thing away. I mean yay for whore; but if I had stayed with the sucker I would have been screwed. She had nothing to lose, but he likely would have gambled away my retirement away too.

          • People of poor character don’t heed legal directives, such as contracts or restraining orders. ????‍♀️

              • “People of poor character don’t heed legal directives, such as contracts or restraining orders.”

                ““you are not the boss of me” is their mantra.”

                Tell me about it.

  • Well welcome to triggered Friday. Man where do I start.

    He was asked with much sympathy during our session how he was coping with the breakup with affair partner.
    Therapist advised me not show any anger as it would drive him away.
    Was asked how I thought I contributed to him having an affair.
    So found out later that he had never was and had no intentions of being faithful. 30 years married at that point.

    • As IF they break up with the affair partner.
      I’ll bet you wish you had the money back, that you paid that therapist! What a biased hack. Chumps should get all the sympathy, for how much we were lied to, but at least we get free with integrity.

      • Before I finally chose to divorce I tried reconciliation. Mine (MC) told me, in front of cheater, that it’s unreasonable for me to expect cheater to go cold turkey with his AP, that for a short time, as long as we set clear boundaries around it, he should be allowed to break away from AP at his own pace because I shouldn’t devalue his love. When I said my clear boundary was to go NC immediately with AP I was laughed at like a child telling a joke. Of course cheater took that hall pass and had multiple “last time farewell fucks” that spanned 19 months.

        • forgot to add Spoonriver that I was also told in that same session not show any anger while that was happening for the same reason, it would cause distance. I was so hurt by that session and cheater was so damn delighted.

          • ” I shouldn’t devalue his love. ”

            Right? These fuckers can devalue us and our love; but god forbit we devalue theirs.

    • I notice here another example of how the betrayed must project a certain “correct” behavior that The Counselor says will keep him from being driven away.

      • Right?!?

        Like. Is it not Therapy 101 that we are responsible for managing our own emotions and reactions to others’ behavior, we aren’t responsible for others’ emotions and behavior? It certainly was the cornerstone of my personal therapy.

        (I would say that, but for the 4 therapists who failed to be explicit with me about what dynamics they were seeing between us, the RIC got to me more by being the soup I was swimming in: my church preaching forgiveness but not how to hold boundaries (and also being so steeped in traditional patriarchy that it fosters a belief in many of our men that they are inherently entitled to All The Things and among our women that we are not); my belief that marriage would be a challenge but nothing would be insurmountable if we didn’t try (but not any understanding of what to do if there wasn’t a “we” who was doing the trying),; a general lack in my formal or informal education about dealing with NPD/NPDesque people; a lack of cultural narrative around the fact that divorce is NOT the worst thing that will happen to children (that living with a supremely unhappy mom is worse); and a personal belief that my worth as a person would be diminished if I were not a full-time mom. In fact, I’m forever grateful to my therapist that she managed to cut through the crap and heal my pain.)

  • The Beyond Betrayed group at our church taught that we shouldn’t make any decisions in the first year. To me, this implied that my anger and hurt were temporary, and I would/should get over them.

    • When someone tells you or implies things like”get over it ” they are really telling you to take the shit end of the stick and be glad you were offered the stick

      • This is when you should say, “Fuck you,”. And leave.

        I wish these shitheads could witness what I did. They would NEVER tell another Chump to get over it. How about the kids? How about them falling apart? Are they suppose to get over being abandoned?

        • I stayed in my churches betrayal group to make sure there was a voice of sanity there. As a result of me staying, repeating the healthy, non BS truth until I was blue in the face, my work paid off. Even though the leader is a co-dependence junky, almost every other woman in the group was defending why it WASN’T their fault and started refusing to take responsibility for his secret double life.

          I can’t even begin to say how proud I was listening to them argue with the group leader.


    • I also was told to not make any decisions, for 6 months.

      Also, fuckwit’s depression needed to be addressed before we could really tackle the affair.

    • Yeah, the Fuckwits must looooove that “give it one year” shit: gives them plenty of time to take things WAY deep underground, REALLY screw up and/or sabotage the finances, and get THEIR ducks in a row.

      • To wait at least one year prior to make any decision was a request coming straight from my cheater’s lying mouth, not a therapist.

        You’re right on the money about what cheaters would be up to should this ceasefire be granted.

        Have I waited, me and my kids would be even more screwed up financially than we already are. Fuckwit blew up our finances in the previous months with her funny business. I was left to clean after the chaos.

      • I think the first thing to do is get a bulldog for an attorney and let them handle it. Find a fair judge if at all possible. Get what you are entitled and then WPP. ????

      • Exactly what I was thinking. One entire year to squirrel away marital assets and find the best lawyer.

    • While I think they can have good intentions about the wait for a year, it is very dangerous to do for most folks.

      A cheating spouse can run up tons of debt, steal more money etc in that time. At the very least there should be a legal separation which protects the betrayed financially. I know some states don’t have what is called “legal separation” but all of them that I have researched have a process to protect finances, they just call it something different.

    • Your church had an entire group for betrayed spouses? I have so many questions. Was it a very large church or did they have a disproportionate amount of cheating?

      • It’s much more common than people realize. Religious men/women are just as likely to cheat to on their partner. I think sometimes more so because of the sexual repression that’s encouraged as they’re being raised. Douse that with a little shame and guilt and voila! Perfect conditions for secret sexual basement. ????????

        • Oh, definitely, I don’t think church attendees are any different than the general population. I was just surprised there was enough demand for a whole group. I think at my parents’ church they offer counseling, but they don’t see divorce as a bad idea in these situations either.

          • I agree, a church is after all a hospital for sinners, not a sanctuary for saints. At least that is how I was raised.

            However, also there are just as many non cheater in the church population as the general.

            When I went through my ordeal there were two more women going through a D. One about my age (40) whose husband had left her. She said there was not another woman, but I wonder now if she was just not telling,(hoping to reconcile) or didn’t know. He was still coming to see her a lot and they were still intimate. She said he just didn’t want to be married, but didn’t want another woman.

            The other lady was about 70ish. Quite attractive and in good health. She said she was constantly praying for her husband to come back. I have thought of them through the years and wish we had someone at that time to guide us in a talk group. But, again this was many years ago, before internet and as easy of communication as we have now.

      • IF churches really have support groups for the betrayed, they’re ahead of most communities who don’t want to talk about it. Maybe certain denominations are so opposed to divorce they decided to tackle the cheating head on. I wish I could have found secular support.

        • ????

          Many churches do, the counseling class I went through was via a Baptist Church. It was not about infidelity, but moving on after D.

          But, there is such a need for victims of betrayal.

  • That I needed to wait a year to make any big decisions. Worst advice I’ve ever been given.

    • Yes, the advice really should be proceed immediately to divorce. Divorce takes a while, you can adjust if you feel the need.

      I always think betrayed should shop around before they recommit to an adulterer. I’ve never met a betrayed spouse yet who didn’t marry beneath them. Lots of fish still in that sea.

      • A betrayed spouse should focus on self-care and deal as best they can with the hurt, anger, shock, pain, ect….not ” shop around ” for a replacement….Gosh, that never crossed my mind

    • That and “don’t tell anyone they won’t understand”. Which really equates to “don’t tell the people who truly love you and care about you because they might hit you upside the head with the 2×4 of reality and you’ll exit this profitable blame-sharing thing I’ve been orchestrating”.

      Sweater vest. Of course.

  • The one and only time Cheating Bastard Ex and I went to a marriage counselor was shortly after his arrest for solicitation of prostitution back in 1998.
    About three or four questions in, the therapist turned to me and asked, “So, are you over the prostitution thing yet?”
    I picked my jaw up off the floor and walked out.
    CBX moved out shortly after and I filed for divorce.
    In my case, the RIC that sucked me back into the marriage the following year was all those psuedo professionals… from a lay minister to counselor with zero training or education into sexual deviant behaviors and betrayal trauma … dive bombing me with guilt that removing my children’s father from the home would cause irreversible and irreparable damage to them.
    No and no! Letting him back in our lives was the worst possible decision with the worst possible outcome.

    • I’ve watched my share of Affair Recovery videos (still can’t seem to find any announcement about Sam and Samantha divorcing).

      There’s a woman who is a coach who tells her story about staying, and she said after she realized her husband was really married to masturbating to pornography, she wanted to leave. But she had two sons, and she knew that divorcing their father would leave them with “a father wound.” So she resigned herself to a terrible marriage she didn’t want to save her sons.

      It was remarkable how she and AR thrust so much responsibility on the spouse who has been violated.

      If you invest all your time to affair partners, pornography, drugs/drink, etc. YOU’RE the one responsible for the father wound. If you’re a shitty dad, it’s not mom’s fault.

      Sorry not sorry.

      • ???? My kids talk about Daddy issues all the time. And the blame goes right to where it should. I may not be a great mom every second of every day, but at least they see and feel my effort. (Effort into schmoopie gets one very little…)

      • I used to watch Affair Recovery with my ex when I was doing the pick me dance ????????‍♀️
        What was I thinking?Recovering from his 30 years of living a double life?
        Anyway, but accident my YouTube channel suggested the video where Sam sort of BTW announces that he and Samantha are divorcing. Can’t find it right now but it was this fall if you want to look for it.

        • Yeah I used to be hooked of AR videos. I nearly signed up for their expensive course. Thank god reason prevailed on that one.
          I don’t remember a lot of videos that blamed the chump but I do remember a powerful video with a proper trauma counsellor who describe in detail what we were going through emotionally and on a primal scale. I think she also linked it to PTSD. it was absolutely wonderful.

        • I went to the link and I looked everywhere for the comments and link to post a comment and from my end looks like they have disabled comments. Of course when Unicorns disappear right before your eyes you just keep your opinions to yourself!

            • My FW paid for a course from AR. Also has done Christian counseling in the past. Whatever – I’m long gone, Tuesday, meh, NC so if he never cheats again good for him.

        • LOL LOL.

          I think “unicorn” just means the narc has a longer timetable for chumps to “just get over it.” Sam’s clock ran out and he probably started spewing affair era bs and deflections.

          Though I don’t really think the classic FW goal is for chumps to get over it, just shut up about it. The point of affairs for FWs seems to be pulling a kind of coup to become and remain the center of attention forever. For chumps, it’s a bit like having a funnel web spider in the room that you’re not allowed to swat, shriek at or jump on a chair. Once the chump has seen FW’s fangs and hairy legs and spent a few nights in the hospital taking anti-venem with various appendages blown up to the size of a Christmas ham, chumps just can’t take their nervous, sleep-deprived eyes off FWs. Yay for FWs.

        • What IS amicable divorce from abusive people?

          Is it to ensure the betrayed spouse does not utilize the full extent of the law when creating a parenting plan or MSA?

          There is nothing amicable about how the spouse abuses the partner and the family.

        • Anne, thank you for this link. I had never heard of Sam (or Samantha) before this and I watched part of his video on their divorce. Part was all I could take. What a load of horsesh** he speaks. Does he believe any of this or is it a money-making industry?

          • I hate to in any way put anything on his wife the betrayed. However I do wonder if the reason she stayed so long was to rebuild their finances, then leave in a better financial situation.

            They had lost pretty much everything according to my understanding. Not that I blame her for that, but she did participate in the rebuilding by going along with the bullshit. Yet, I can’t think ill of her because she was devastated I am sure.

            I do find myself wondering about the full story. By that I mean did they sit down and plan it, or did it just evolve etc.

      • 100% agree when they invest all their time…….somewhere else especially with porn, affairs, etc. they are the ones that caused them not to be present for the kids. NOT the betrayed spouse. Where was the suggestion that the betrayed spouse needed to model good choices for the kids. Not there, of course. Blame the betrayed when things blow up.

        • It was quite sad when my daughter admitted that when she heard FW moved out, (he didn’t say goodbye) she didn’t really feel anything, at least not what you’d expect. I suggested it might be a delayed reaction but she said she usually just thought about the gifts he’d bring her, not about him. She’d hacked all his devices and knew all about the affair at that point and was sort of casual when she said this. She said he never really bonded with her even if he’d occasionally play two-player video games. She also mentioned that she hadn’t been able stand it when he talked in a baby voice to her since she was 12.

      • RossLucy465,

        Yes to that!! They used Sam and Samantha as a picture perfect example couple of how successful RIC is on their platform. Sam was the front and center UNICORN. I was pushed to watch those videos and learn from that couple as to how to heal my marriage. My husband was an out of control sex addict and alcoholic but he was in Sex addicts anonymous program with a fellow sex addict accountability partner. That group hosted in the church and pushed RIC line on me.

        When I watched Sam who I thought paid too much attention to his well sculpted appearance, I felt maybe I judged my husband’s addiction too harshly and he just needed help through it.

        Well Sam was a sex addict liar and manipulator predator who loved attention. And Sam still is a sex addict liar manipulator predator who loves attention. The UNICORN Sam went up in smoke as all fairy tales do. No wonder that RIC doesn’t utter a peep about it.

        The RIC complex is just the vultures who are opportunistic. Money spins the wheel and we are victimized twice. So much time and money on sex addict counselors.

      • I found a youtube where Sam told about their divorce. If I remember later I’ll try to post it here.
        Early on I found Affair Recovery and have been watching videos for 9 years now. Overall I like them. X hated Sam so he had a reason to not cooperate in this step of reconciling.
        However, I tried all I could except a few things including: 1) I wasn’t going to live 100% in marriage while he had a girlfriend, and 2) I guess I wasn’t willing to give up my whole life and soul. I sure gave up many friends during my pick me dancing (at the time it was standing for my marriage – thanks Tracy), I gave up a dream, I gave time, I gave furniture and a household because I moved out and started over, I’ve given up 2 grandkids that I got close to because I babysat them every weekend for 4 years, I gave up a lot of self respect.
        Being off the fence now for 4 months because I filed for divorce and divorced 30 days now, I already feel the weight of it all off my shoulders.
        Hindsight tells me that RIC if you must but put a short leash on it or you’ll lose too much.

  • Checked out his web site. Why do men of a certain age thinks it looks good to have a stubble beard. They look suspect.

  • One week it was ” Mr Nutbag, your actions were the main catalyst for the betrayal ” and I thought “hmmm, so if I was the perpetrator then why the label betrayal?” Wouldn’t it be more of a term Meaning justification?.then next week “you Mr Nutbag need to take a stronger less conciliatory stand to wake her up from her behavior!” I asked her to see her counselor certification

  • During one of several false reconciliations, we saw marriage counselors–a husband and wife team. In their “radical authenticity” they proclaimed during a session, “3 out of 4 people in this room have cheated,” revealing that their own marriage was the result of cheating on previous spouses. They actually weren’t pushing too hard for reconciliation (my ex made it clear how worthless he thought I was) but they certainly weren’t holding anyone accountable or giving my feelings any space. I never felt more isolated.

    • They did start (when we were initially trying for reconciliation) by telling me I need to focus on making him feel good so he wants to come back. To stop nagging. To put on the perfume I wear when we make love! I was raising three little kids by myself (one a nursling) and it was on me to be sexier and show no feelings so he could feel good.

      • That’s insulting and I’m sorry. My FW started cheating on me when my first two were little. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention or whatever. Then ramped it up when I had another couple because I didn’t seem as into it as I used to…

      • I’m sorry you dealt with that! It must be part of the cheater manual. I had four under 6 and the youngest needed constant care, feeding tube and at least 5 appointments a week. This all after long deployments and hospital stays with no family nearby. FW wondered why we were struggling? The spark disappeared? Maybe he was just sparking off with whores instead.

      • Elkay,
        That there is the absolute BS of what happens after the affair. The betrayed is encouraged to do something (and we want to) that is all about twisting ourselves into a pretzel while we dance the “Pick Me” I smell so good dance.
        What isn’t put out there is the details we need to retain our self-respect. Even if we are dancing.
        Add the chart “Cycle of Abuse” and it’s all there.
        Years ago I got away from a man who slapped me across the face. I left that second. Swore I’d never put up with that. Same with an affair. Except, this time I did put up with it. I regret making “marriage” big enough to tolerate what I knew would never be acceptable to me.

      • Dear lord. I hope you dropped them like a sack of potatoes after they spewed that garbage.

    • It sounded like they were proud to be cheaters and saying to FW, “Welcome to the club! We are here to help you keep your chump in line, buddy!”

      I would have quit them after one session. I don’t think admitted FWs are the best source of marital advice.

  • The worst for me is and always will be: He may be a bad husband but be a great father.
    Umm, how? Why? When?…
    No to the nope!

    • THIS.

      A good father doesn’t defraud his children’s mother. Same for mothers who cheat. Cheating mothers are not good mothers.

      • Yes this! The idea that someone can be a terrible spouse but a good parent is parent is as prevalent as it is wrong.

        It also is completely contradictory with another nugget, which is that the best thing one can do for their children is to have and model a happy, healthy marriage (sucks for those of us who thought that’s what we were doing, only to then be blind-sided by our partner). And yet both of these ideas live side-by-side in our cultural views of parenting.

        This is another narrative that needs to be rewritten! I would love to see CL take on this “bad spouse but good parent” narrative.

        • I think people love the “bad spouse but good parent” narrative because of RIC. Hopefully that narrative will change as CN continues to kick the RIC BS to the curb.

          For so long, society compartmentalized infidelity. It was a lapse of judgement! They were unhappy! You drove them to it! Mistakes were made!

          It’s only with Chump Lady that the narrative’s slowly turned to recognizing infidelity as what it is: Abuse.

          Also, that cheaters never operate in a vacuum, they always abuse their victims in other ways too: emotional, physical, sexual abuse, stealing money, abusing the kids, etc.

          The more society recognizes cheaters as abusers and lacking integrity, I think we’ll less of the “bad spouse but good parent” bullshit.

          • AP’s ex-wife (OBS) said exactly this to me when I called her to ask what kind of man would be spending so much time with my kids: AP was a crappy husband, cheated on her and lied during their divorce (she also mentioned he was bad in bed, just in passing), but he was a good dad.

            That was five years ago. Now, he’s cutting back his time and attention with his kids to spend it on my XW. He is pushing the kids into a relationship with my XW (now their stepmother) that they don’t want, and punishes them when they don’t feel the way they are supposed to. He ignores and trivializes very real mental health issues with his own kids because he needs to leave town to be with his new family and just doesn’t want to deal with them. OBS doesn’t describe him as a “good dad” any more.

            So, while in principle I suppose the cheaters could be good parents (apart from breaking up the family, of course), in practice the character flaws that led them to treat their spouse like shit will usually lead them to treat their kids badly too.

            • Tragic but true.

              FWs lie to kids, gaslight kids, rob time and emotional energy from kids, embezzle kids’ college funds, shatter or make ill the betrayed parent making them less emotionally available for the children even if for a brief time, even expose kids to the types of STDs that don’t necessarily require sexual contact. Some FWs try to buy their betrayed kids’ love and/or pry loyalty away from the betrayed parent.

              Sublime parenting, yes?

              • My 20 year old daughter just told me about the time she asked her father if he would ever leave our family. She was 6 and her cousins’ parents had split up and the father moved to an apartment. Douchecanoe, already fucking around behind my back, promised dear daughter that he would never do that. Forward 3 years to Dday and our family is blown apart. Daughter said she has never recovered from him breaking this promise nor him trying to blame it on me because I filed for divorce.

              • ☝️☝️☝️ This! So true!

                They aren’t available or willing to take care of their children and nonetheless “shatter or make ill the betrayed parent”, out of what I can’t help but think of as sheer cruelty. There is no point to it, they are robbing their kids of their primary caregiver just for fun. Or maybe they expect to be seen as the fun parent by constrast with the shell of human being they turn us into?

              • Sunrise– I’m horrified and shocked by that broken promise. Not because the same didn’t happen to us in a way but because I sense from what you’re saying that your daughter is an especially tender soul.

                Brazilian Chump– I don’t know why they do it and I’m a big skein-untangler. You might be onto something that they think they shine brighter as parents if they make our light go out. But I’ve got news for ’em: kids don’t enjoy borrowed glory from cheater mom/dad getting good reviews for oral sex.

                That’s more disgusting than funny, I know. But it could be these freaks think what kids need is a parent with swaggering hoochie mojo.


              • “Kids don’t enjoy borrowed glory from cheater mom/dad getting good reviews for oral sex. That’s more disgusting than funny, I know. But it could be these freaks think what kids need is a parent with swaggering hoochie mojo.”

                Disgusting AND funny, HoaC,
                I think you are spot on ????. I needed a laugh today, thank you!

    • I don’t even think it’s a relevant point, true or not. A dad doesn’t stop being a dad because of a divorce! He can stop being a married dad and still be a great dad. It’s not on his partner to make or keep him being a good dad. It’s on him. (Pronouns can be reversed here of course)

    • A good father doesn’t betray or break up his family.

      A good father doesn’t put the health of his children’s mother at risk.

      A good father doesn’t steal family time or money to fund affairs.

      A good father doesn’t emotionally or physically abandon his family.

      It’s breathtaking, the entitlement in that statement you were given. So your ex can fuck around but still deserves a family and a best dad of the year title? Hell no.

      • Also a good parent models better behavior for their children, does not live a double life or abuse the other parent. A good parent teaches their children to respect the other parent, affairs, porn, prostitutes, LYING, betrayal does not model good parenting. If the parent decides to leave the relationship, doing so honestly by leaving before cheating is preferable to betrayal by all the things FWs do. A good parent does not bring embarrassment to their children by screwing around and the whole town talking about their children’s father or mother and their activities. I see these activities as abusing not only the spouse but emotionally abusing their children. If a spouse wants to screw around, be an adult and get out of the marriage honestly first and better yet decide before marriage whether you want to be a loyal spouse, etc. or whether you want multiple partners.

        • Lee Chump – you articulate it exactly.

          When news of my ex’s affair got out to the school community, my daughter had a ‘friend’ say to her that her father ” is a player”. At twelve years old, it was devastating and distressing. She was broken already, without experiencing mortifying embarrassment and shame in her social network. Around this time she developed an Eating Disorder; the stress she was under from everything took an immense toll.

          The shit sandwich is loaded and communally consumed by the whole of FW’s family.

      • A good father doesn’t act entitled to the home and woman he abandoned. And doesn’t let himself into her house by asking a kindergartner for the garage code.

        A good father doesn’t start round after round of nonsense litigation post divorce.

        A good father follows his courts orders, you know, the ones he signed himself under the guidance of his own capable attorneys.

        A good father appreciates all the free child care his ex mother in law provides and reimburses her the $19.50 he owes her for one of the kid’s prescriptions even if he never actually thanks her.

        Jeez I could go on and on.

    • We help show our kids how to be by who we are. So bad spouse = bad parent. Sorry, not sorry.

  • He cheated because I was not a good communicator. Also, I had to explain what my boundaries were as relates to his interactions with other women because he did not understand what I would consider crossing the line. You know, because having a burner phone to text and email nude photos and intimate messages and fucking other women were apparently things he could reasonably think I was OK with. Because I never said during our marriage vows explicitly that I expected him to not chase tail the rest of our days. If I said “flirting with other women” as a boundary, he and the RIC counselor would pick apart what that meant because apparently I Didn’t Want Him To Have Friends. Every boundary I stated was analyzed. He can’t DM women through Facebook? What could be wrong with that!?! ????

    • Yes, after I had to repeatedly and thoroughly explain the word platonic to my ex, I finally clued in that it wasn’t confusion, it was disrespect.

      • Agreed but to today’s point, the RIC totally enables it. They sit there and nod their heads when FW claims to be witless about this boundaries concept and don’t call them out on their bullshit. I couldn’t believe the counselor thought it reasonable that I needed to communicate and explain boundaries.

      • Yep. I had to define “intimate” and “working on marriage” for him. I was being gaslighted and trickle-truthed. That stopped when I got a lawyer.

    • Samsies. I didn’t realize that I had to explicitly say that I didn’t want him fucking around. Hilariously, this also translated to me giving consent because I didn’t say otherwise… ponder the logic for awhile.

      • Wasn’t fidelity in the marriage vows??? I never understand how this part is just so casually overlooked in the therapist office.

        • How this is “overlooked” is that counselors are just people who got a degree. Now they hang their shingle as The Counselor. They bring their values to counseling. Not yours or mine. Theirs, current popular values, and a supposed non-judgement thing where some just never talk but listen for an hour, take your money and make another appointment.

          • And unfortunately for many, the longer they keep their patients ringing their hands, the better they do financially.

            Not all, I know there are good ones, but dang what a risk; and when you are at your most venerable is when you need a therapist, so not a great time to discern a good therapist.

            With an MD you can levy charges against a charlatan, but a therapist, not as easy.

    • I had a similar experience and of course the RIC just accepted it, along with anything else she said.

      I just didn’t give her clear enough guidelines. Just a big misunderstanding, really. Of course, she had enough sense to hide it from me, but still, if I’d only communicated better she wouldn’t have done that underground stuff or lied about working late.

  • Oh boy, where do I start. I will say that I did not last long in the RIC. I guess the things that bothered me the most were:
    1. The chump has to take part of the blame for an affair. Okay, so I have to apologize for going thru menopause, being busy with work, kids and running a household.
    2. They said it is because you don’t give the FW enough sex, attention, affection, etc. that is a two way street people.
    3. You cannot mention the affair. Yeah, your world gets blown up but the chump can’t have feelings about that.
    4. You need to trust the FW. How? He just proved he can’t be trusted and is not honest.
    5. You have to give him privacy and cannot look on his phone, etc. that goes back to trust, if FW is not willing to let me see this then obviously he is keeping SECRETS. Privacy means he can use the toilet without anyone watching him.
    6. You need to wok on trusting him at his word. He has shown he is a liar.
    7. You need to compartmentalization and bury this. Why??
    8. You need to rebuild. Um, there is nothing to work epithet here. Trust is a foundation and without that there isn’t much to work with.
    9. You need to give FW time. Why so the time limit on adultery can pass, so he can continue to abuse me?

    Sorry, this has me triggered so much.I lasted a little less than four weeks in the RIC. That time allowed me to gather documents, get ducks lined up and get a pit bull attorney. Nope, this chump is not going to allow herself to be abused by a FW anymore. Time to build an authentic life with people I CAN trust. Yep, those people who show through their actions that they are good people.
    Schmoopie will get her prize in the end. I may get the heirloom china but at least that is a win.

    • RIC’s narrative is so pervasive that we hear these exact lines from laypeople. My XW gave me each one of them, from 1 to 9. Your list is a very concise and to the point account of the mainstream opinion on infidelity. Those chumps who dare defy the underlying assumptions are deemed bitter, unforgiving, self-righteous, intolerant, insecure, you name it. To the best of my knowledge, Chump Lady is the only one out there calling bullshit on all this and giving people the real talk.

      You mention in #2 that sex, attention and affection are two way streets. From my personal experience and from reading stories and comments here at CL’s I would say it is usually the chump who lavishes those onto the cheater only to find her/himself more and more neglected over time.

      The scolding for not respecting the cheater’s privacy in #5 is flummoxing. Not only there is the obvious breach of trust in sexual, emotional and financial infidelity, but the cheater usually doesn’t give a flying fuck to the chump’s privacy when confiding (while usually lying about) intimate details of work, health, financial, sexual, emotional issues of the betrayed partner to the AP.

      The quack therapist quoted in The Guardian’s article is right about affairs not coming out of a clear blue sky and that something is lacking in the relationship: that something is reciprocity. Usually the relationship is already heavily lopsided in favor of the abuser by the time of the affair as it come to expectations of what one partner owes to the other. To the cheaters all; to the chumps the law. To try and make the chump double up on that after being gutted is to add insult to injury.

      • Brazilian Chump,
        Yes, I was told that I did not give him the attention, sex, love and affection he deserved. That is so not true. I gave him all that but at the same time, it is very hard to do these things when my son was young and would get sick and so on. I remember one time it was a long weekend and FW had plans for us to go to see family. Unfortunately, our son got sick fever of 101 and I said we can’t take a sick kid. He went alone but 15 years later, he brings that up in the session. He was so neglected and abused that I decided to take care of our sick son while neglecting him and he stated he never got over that I was so selfish. Go figure.

        • You selfish while taking care of your (his!) sick son? You are the selfish one and he holds a grudge against you for 15 fucking years over something so normal? Wow, what a nasty piece of work your XH is, if you don’t mind me saying so.

          You don’t have ever to justify youself. Childcare and the resulting exhaustion aside, nobody is supposed to be 24/7 into worshipping her partner or else he will fall onto strangers’ genitals. Adults are not that high-maintenance. A grown-up that compete with his own children for attention is pitiable. Good riddance!

          • Sorry for bothering, I am curious: did not the therapist imediately point out his utter immaturity once he said “he never got over THAT”? What a spoiled brat!

            • No the therapist called it repressed anger and felt it was a good thing to air issues that helped cause cheating. That’s when I knew that the RIC was bull crap.

              • I see… repressed anger… but you were told to suck it up and repress yours (sigh).

              • Now that I re-read #3, #7 and #9 (don’t mention the affair; bury it; give cheater time) I realize that maybe you would be allowed to air your “issues” what? 15 years down the line? When your life would be further in shambles?

                Don’t these quacks realize they could ruin lives (or outright make people ill and die) with this sort of nonsense? How come these charlatans get their licenses?

          • *Sigh*…. yup, we chumps are sure selfish. For my part, I had *just* (like.. a couple months ago) given birth to our second child and our first was still running around in diapers. I was breastfeeding and not sleeping because.. you know.. two babies! One right after the other.

            After D-Day #1, a few months after having our second child, my former FIL advised me that I really needed to give FW more time and energy. Keep the romance alive. Book dates. Put the work into the marriage.

            At the time I nodded and agreed with every word. This was my fault for not paying enough attention to my husband.

            Today? I think back to that advice and I’m angry about it.

            • Wow! More time and energy, keep the romance alive *just after Dday* with two infants. Chip of the old block, huh?

              My XPIL were both awful to me too: prior, during and after their daughter’s affair, of which I am sure they knew of before me. My XMIL stated many times that I left much to be desired as a husband. It was my fault too. As chumps, we are at fault for *everything*, even what we don’t know about.

              Hope you are free from this bunch.

              • Mostly free. The children keep me bound (with as much NC as possible) to my XH and the Wifetress but, barring weird conversations that come out of left field occassionally, my life is 95% free from FW and his family now.

                It didn’t happen overnight and I never exploded at anyone or flipped anyone the bird (look up meek in the dictionary and you find me) but I steadily distanced myself from my former partner and his family over the course of many years. I never wish them ill but I also never, ever reach out to them.

          • I doubt these kind of complaints are really about long held grudges. They are just something the fw came up with as a stupid justification. All it proves is you actually were a great spouse if they are that desperate for something they can use against you.
            Fws are almost always disingenuous so you can safely assume their complaints are trumped up and don’t reflect any real feelings. It’s all bagged salad when you come right down to it.

            • Yeah, I see where you are coming from, OHFFS, but still… think about it: the guy still remembers vividly this minor disappointment of his after 15 effing years!

              The only good reason I see for him to recall this episode is in the fact that notwithstanding his son being sick the motherfucker did not rain check his family visit (of course it was his side of the family), he went *alone*, for a long weekend! Could it be shame, instead of resentment, that keept this memory alive?

              • Yes, my experience with the RIC only dates back to late last Spring. Now looking back, I just roll my eyes at that and it pisses me off. I had a sick ten year old boy with a fever and all the crankiness that goes with it. Looking back, it was always about him wanting to do what he wanted and screw me or our son if we got in his way. My son did not deliberately get sick to ruin his plans. Kids get sick and they don’t do well traveling when they are not feeling good. Of course, that just opened everything up to cheating.
                At least now he can be happy because he will not have to sneak around with his Schmoopie who is 32 years younger than him. I am just glad my son turned out well and is no contact with the FW which is another story.

              • Mine still remembered a time from more than 25 years ago when I didn’t seem to like a gift he had bought me. He trotted that one out after Dday. I have no memory of it so it may not even be true. He also had some other complaints about minor things from decades ago.
                They store these things up to use against you later. That’s why they remember them, but not the thousands of good and selfless things you’ve done. They dismiss those immediately but hoard anything the least bit negative.

            • Totally. It’s so much easier not to respond, take it personally (even when it affects you personally), or get caught up in the skein once you realize this.

              Even their long held grudges are total BS, all about whatever is convenient and comfortable for the FWs. Their word salad has little to do with reality; it comes back to internal and external image management, consequence avoidance, compartmentalizations and kibble procurement. There’s a definite pattern, but I too suspect that their is very little self awareness or long term planning.

              • “There’s a definite pattern, but I too suspect that their is very little self awareness or long term planning.”

                Totally. They say or do whatever they feel is expedient at any given moment, which is why their behavior often seems wildly contradictory. It can take time and distance to see the pattern, but I’m convinced it’s always there. It’s about avoiding accountability and the dread of facing who they really are, which is why they prefer fantasy to reality.

              • Thanks, OFFHS and bread&roses, there is a lot of food for thought in what you said.

                You’re right: assuming they’re insincere in their complaints and long held grudges is the best mindset when dealing with a fuckwit and almost always accurate. It does avoid us wasting precious time and energy in skein-untangling.

                This comment from OFHHS resonated deeply with my own experience:

                “Mine still remembered a time from more than 25 years ago when I didn’t seem to like a gift he had bought me. He trotted that one out after Dday. I have no memory of it so it may not even be true. He also had some other complaints about minor things from decades ago.
                They store these things up to use against you later. That’s why they remember them, but not the thousands of good and selfless things you’ve done. They dismiss those immediately but hoard anything the least bit negative

                The part about the event that was in the origin of the “grievance” being a either a misconstruct or an outright fabrication gave me pause.

                The first appointment of our kids with a therapist my wife was long interviewed about how she experienced motherhood from the pregnancy on. She stated “facts” that I have no recollection of and I was puzzled as to how could I possibly have missed them, since I have always been a present dad and spouse (almost a helicopter dad). Also the timeline within those “facts” would have taken place was totally messed up. After the feelings of confusion subsided, I checked with close family and friends and, again, no one had the faintest memory of those “facts”. I assume now it was outright lies, designed to garner sympathy and promote and excuse her sad sausage bit (surprisingly, she unpromptedly admitted to our kids’ therapist that our separation was caused by her affair – that was a first).

                Well, all this is just silly, oversharing me’s way of conceding that you’re probably spot on when you say:

                “Even their long held grudges are total BS, all about whatever is convenient and comfortable for the FWs. Their word salad has little to do with reality; it comes back to internal and external image management, consequence avoidance, compartmentalizations and kibble procurement.”

                Some of us try hard to salvage at least some relics of our ex-partners’ preciously perceived human decency, but I realize it is to no avail. Even if those relics were actually anywhere to be found, what good would it do other than making us vulnerable to their mind games all over again?

                Time for me to retire the whole skein-untangling gear altogether. Thank you again.

              • I always come back to ‘even our holidays weren’t that great’, said with a smirk because he knows how to wound. This man travelled the world with me! But it wasn’t that great! Once, the night before we went skiing which we did every year for my birthday, I came home late from my high pressure job as a CEO. There had been a last minute crisis and I had stayed late to support my team in sorting it out. With travel I get back in at 9pm (have to drive to airport over an hour away for 5 the following morning). He’s in front of the tv, drunk. No meal cooked for me. Nothing sorted. You get the picture. I suggested that instead of having yet another drink, he might help me. He went berserk. Abusive, swearing, holding my wrists, I’m a puritan, I’m restricting his drinking, the whole passive aggressive narc rage routine. I became very upset. I loved skiing. But could only afford to go once a year. I was so scared of who he was in that moment that I said I wasn’t going. He calmed down. It got patched over. This event was thrown at me 4 years later when he was telling me what was wrong with me (I did not then know about the affair that I later discovered). He said ‘you said you didn’t want to go skiing with me. How do you think that made me feel?’. I apologised! I felt bad! A year divorced and well over 2 years since he left for long distance exgfOW, I look back and see that there was nothing of me left. They do store the negatives, the flaws (we all have them) to use them ‘later’ whenever ‘later’ turns out to be. And they do it consciously. I don’t buy the therapist line that it’s unconscious. I knew that I was turning a blind eye to his abuse. He knew that he was abusing me every time he abused me.

      • Amen, so true.

        FW only weakly barked up that tree because the evidence leaned so heavily the other direction. He’d even text me photos of what he was wearing (always new clothing purchases while the kids and I wore second hand to save for our family’s beautiful future) before his extracurricular assignations in 4 star hotels and pricey bistros so I could tell him how handsome he looked.

        What more proof of my devotion than my lies about his looks? Lol. During the affair he became pretty bloated and lost a lot of hair from spiraling secret alcohol addiction and general iniquity. I kept that to myself. I’ve always been a pretty nice person.

        • “What more proof of my devotion than my lies about his looks? Lol.”


          • True story lol. During the D-Day DARVO fest he was trying to tell me I was too critical and forced him into an affair. So I did a “find in page” of our text threads for the word “handsome.” And there were the selfies he sent on dates and times that corresponded to hotel bills and clothes shopping on the secret affair credit card. I always cluelessly sent back heart eye emojis or “handsome” comments.

            It tortured me for a long time thinking how chumpy I was but I look back now and love the person I was then.

            • Wow, Hell of a Chump, I did something very similar when my XW accused me of not showing her love for not lavishing enough attention, praise and compliments onto her 24/7. I did a quick search into our chat history, in front of her, for (the portuguese equivalent of) words like “love”, “gourgeous”, “hot”, etc., you get the gist of it. And also for swear-words and insults. What became imediately apparent was the complete doormat I was years into our relationship and the utter emotionally abusive monster she has turned into. She responded to the evidence with (presumably fake) tears and “you’re right, you always loved me, I just didn’t feel like that”. WTF? And this was just our *daily* text exchange. My nickname for her at home was “gorgeous” (“linda”, in portuguese) and a couple more spicy ones at the right times. Now I see she was never gougeous at all. Love must be blind, as Velvet Hammer uses to say.

              I, for one, am not pride of who I was back then. Being a doormat is not healthy. I wish someone more appreciative of my affection and hard work and love would have benefitted from them. I feel sad when I think the tender feelings of my youth were all wasted on a joker. No one will ever get me to this position again, no matter how good and safe a person can (seem to) be. The stakes are too high now.

    • Chumpedforanewermodel.

      Most of yours but at the head of my list was:

      You need to give him time to grieve the loss of his affair partner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Took ME months to figure out that meant I wasn’t supposed to acknowledge/admit/talk about my own grief.

      Therefore I didn’t even feel MY own grief for months yet was still not allowed to mention it because of what it might do to him.

      All about HIM.

      Because I was trying to keep him. To get him to see his mistake. To get him to wake up.

      I had 30 years and 3 children with him.

      She = 6 months.

      This before I knew about his illustrious 30 year serial cheating….just took him 30 years to find ‘her’.

      Months drifting into a couple of years before I realized it was ME who needed to wake up.

      Oy vey!

      I am 4 years out, awake, very alert and much wiser now. Thanks to CL and CN.

      • Understand completely. I was heartbroken and then decided that he was not worth that. I went to rage mode after that but silent rage and gathered up everything I could. Hired a PI served him papers. Luckily we are in a fault state so he got adultery on the papers. That is now public record so everyone will know what he is about. Court date set now. He is trying to settle but wants me to take the short end of the s stick there too. Fortunately PI got some great shots of them in action outdoors. We have the glossies.
        Can’t wait to be free of this FW.

    • I sooooo wish I had done what you did for only 4 weeks.
      But no.
      It took me 9 years, 7 years separated, and a 4 week stint of letting him stay here after he got COVID to realize that there was ZERO anything he would be able to do or not do that I would ever trust him. My inside voice was always saying to me “ummm yeah no, I don’t believe THAT for a second”. And the idea of everything on your list… no thank you. I don’t care to be the marriage police. Been there, done that.
      Thanks ChumpLady and CN because now I’m divorced!

  • The last therapist we saw tried to convince me I could change X’s behavior when he started spinning out of control. Like I could get in front of the abuse before it started and keep him calm. That killed me as it was impossible for me to know when he would rage and abuse. It happened out of the blue, during normally happy occasions like holidays, Christmas vacations, Sunday before church services, a trip to Disneyland or just any happy event the X could destroy. Putting the responsibility on me to fix or control him almost did me in and that was before the final DDay. I danced so pretty, so fast to keep the man happy and what did I get but slapped in the face with a smug, unremorseful jerk the day I learned of his latest affair.

    After learning of the affair, the therapist said I needed to tell X how I felt. I was allowed 15 minutes to speak with him, to clear the air and my crazy emotions I guess. And wow, did X use that against me, like a punishment–15 minutes of pure torture. Then, in the end, X decided he should get 15 minutes too, so he could tell me what a bad mother and wife I was because I made him the abusive, lying, cheating jerk he is today. So horrible, I still harbor ill will towards that therapist.

    • Haha, ChumpedToTheMax, they ruin holidays because it cuts in on their sexy time.
      My ex ruined a trip to Disney World. Our two boys remember it to this day. He was texting on Space Mountain and, SURPRISE, lost his phone. Not only did we all have to wait around until the end of the day for the ride to close so he could make the staff search for his phone, we had to spend the next day at the Verizon Store while he got himself a new phone.
      Some of the worst RIC advice actually, for me, turned out to be the best. Laura Doyle advises being the best wife you can be, no nagging, no complaining, rephrasing everything into “I would love” phrases. Example- I would love it if you were home with me every evening and I was your only sex partner. Barf.
      Anyway, I tried it for 6 months and he was still cheating. It led me to the realization that if that didn’t work, nothing would. So I left.
      Actually I tried to kick him out but he wouldn’t leave so I left.

      • There is a museum near use that is in an old train station with temporary exhibits in the basement where there is no cell reception. We took the kids (then 1 and 5) to see and exhibit there and FW kept disappearing. The kids wanted to keep going and we figured he would catch up at the end. We finish and wait another 20 minutes by the exit and don’t see him, we walked back through the whole thing to the beginning and couldn’t find him so we went back to the exit and wait. Like another 30 minutes later he came out like he’d been there the whole time. I found out on DDay that he had been texting with AP the whole time so he had to keep sneaking up to the main floor to get phone service.

        • He texted the AP from the cafe across the street from ER where I was being treated following a knife attack. The injuries were semi serious but the trauma pretty extreme. Yet he had to go get coffee at that exact moment.

          Then a few days later he took one of our sons out on Mother’s Day to text the AP, figuring our youngest didn’t have the ability to snoop. I thought they were out buying mum a Mother’s Day gift. Nope. He was just arranging his assignation for the next day.

          Monsters are real.

      • Wormfree,
        We should talk. 🙂
        Laura is who I found pretty much immediately when I moved out 7 years ago. I loved the Skills she taught overall, but after lots of $$ and time, it was clear that no matter how much I expressed desires in a way that inspires it wasn’t changing the actions of Cheater Peter.
        Found CL.
        Now I see how the Skills had me “pick me dancing” for way way way too long. Giving cake all under “a wife trumps a mistress every day of the week and twice on Sunday.” Being involved in what was always completely unacceptable to me.
        CL and CN changed everything. I mean EVERYTHING.
        I still value what I learned and know Laura has changed a lot of women’s lives / marriages for the better. For me it just wasted too many years.
        And I no longer want that dream of marriage which is still very sad. But I can’t.

  • One of my older sisters said to me when he left “fight for your man!“ I told her, I don’t even know what you mean by that. I didn’t think the issue was going to be decided by a jousting contest. Fortunately I have a congenital inability to pick-me dance, so I wasn’t tempted, but it does bother me that even someone as intelligent as my sister would have that mindset.

    • I told myself that! So embarrassed now, but I think I just had to get through that, to give up. I fought so hard for that sparkley turd. I guess I thought I could ‘save’ my family, a noble cause, I’m sure, but also based on a fraud. He was never going to stop his hidden affairs ( which were none of my business, unless of course, I’d like to join a threesome), and when I accepted that, I found my backbone and left. Still wish I could get back the years I tried to fix that mess! It doesn’t work.

    • I’m sorry you had to hear that from your sister. That’s heartbreaking. One of my former friends – Switzerland verging on flying monkey – was the same, and that was hard enough. She’s decades older than me, but very sexy and with an air of hard-earned wisdom, so at first, I thought she knew what she was talking about. I also think I listened because she told me what I wanted to hear: that FW loved me passionately and we’d get through it.

      I’d already started to mistrust her advice and recognize major differences in values when she recommended I get dolled up to meet my abusive ex when he invited me to join him in a particularly offensive Hoover attempt. I was mortified, as this would’ve been incredibly degrading – not to mention, ill-advised. I was living at her house because the fucker had hurt me and wasn’t safe! That was the beginning of the end for that “friend” ship.

  • The worst advice is that I was the one to repair it, YOU can save your marriage, for $399!
    YOU have to be braver than this!
    That is a crock of sh——t
    Talk about a mindf——k!
    These cheaters have already left the marriage.

    • My parents divorced when I was 20. Dad was a liar, thief and pathological gambler who spent the years afterward stalking my mother. Luckily, he’s not very smart. He blamed everything on his Parkinson’s disease & had a new girlfriend & new stepfamily within months. My 17-year old sister & I were cast aside & the only time he showed interest in either of us in the following years was at Christmas in front of his family or when he needed money. That’s it.

      His mother, my grandmother, blamed my mother (the chump) for EVERYTHING. “You never leave a sick man!” “Um, Nana, he left us.” “FUCK YOUR MOTHER!”

      So when my 3-year marriage happened at 23 it was a disaster from the beginning. It was never the quantity or quality of the sex, we were humping like horny rabbits all the time. Married people don’t use condoms.

      I stuck out the marriage with a brain-damaged (drugs, alcohol, multiple head injuries) poorly-tattooed cheater because “You don’t leave a sick man.” Instead, I threw him out on April Fools Day. I was 26.

      I married a wonderful widower at 33. I never knew what a healthy relationship looked like until I was in one.

      I’ve been in a bad marriage & I’ve been in a good one. It’s better to be in a good one. If you’re reading this & are on the fence, remember that.

      • I was blamed by my MIL like your mom was blamed by your Nana. She told me if he was going to be accused of screwing everybody in town, then he was going to screw everybody in town! But she had it backwards. He was screwing everybody in town BEFORE I accused him of it. Atrocious people…

        Your story of finding a good husband the second time around gives me hope that I can find that for myself one day. Hope is good when its directed toward a decent person. There is no hope in a cheater.

    • ????????

      Was this by any chance that creep Mort Fertel? “Make the marriage a good place to be” puke.

      I actually toyed with this shit for about 5 minutes(before I found out fucktard was fucking the rat faced whore), and clicked on his site.

      Yep, “send me $399 and I’ll show you how you can affair proof your marriage”.

      For weeks after I was inundated with emails, offers, etc, until I figured out I needed to ‘unsurscribe’. I wasn’t very computer savvy. ????????

  • I wasn’t given a chance to reconcile. FW walked out within an hour of me confronting him. And that was that. So I read and watched tons on my own— including Esther Perel. But seeing as I couldn’t act on any of it, it only added to my sadness and confusion. Still, it didn’t take long for me to get free of it because FW stayed away and never looked back. Thank G-d.

    And thank you to my therapist that actually told me I was lucky… she said that so many can’t decide what to do and are stuck trying to reconcile. She said that I would be fine but needed to get through the trauma. And that I was better off. She was right. And I’m thankful.

    All of these RIC idiots need to fuck off

  • “You must own your part in it”. Alrighty then, counsellor, here it goes: I slept in – instead of getting up & making him flapjacks & bacon- so he could bang the OW in the parking lot before work. I let him stay home instead of insisting that he come with me & comfort me for my Grandma’s funeral so they could get their freak on in my house while I was gone. How about letting him pout & go back to the hotel alone instead of making the whole family go too while we were on family vacay so he could call her & have phone sex? I also didn’t grill him enough about our finances either when I noticed not enough money was in our account & accepted flimsy “tools are expensive” excuses. How about showing up to kid’s soccer party & noticing they were away from the crowd having a heated conversation & instead of walking up & punching them both, I calmly strolled over & asked what’s going on instead? Oh and instead of squeezing myself into that size 0 (when I’m a size 8) Victoria’s Secret french whore getup that he bought me & instead wore a romantic buxomy lace gown for our anniversary….do all of these account for “my part, my bad”? Would you also ask the defrauded, the bullied, and rape & murder victims to “own their part too”? How about a nice plate of go-fuck-yourself brownies with your Mr. Roger’s sweater vest?

    • “Would you also ask the defrauded, the bullied, and rape & murder victims to “own their part too”?”

      Great point …and yet, for most of our history, that is exactly what society did. Blame the rape victim because of the clothes she wore or how many other people she had slept with. Blame the bully for being too weak. Blame the defrauded for being too stupid or gullible. It has taken decades to change these views, through tremendous hard work in the legal system and in all aspects of society (and even now, those old views still persist in some circles, but thankfully not in our laws or most of popular culture). That is the change that needs to happen now with cheating.

      With cheating, I feel that we are at a tipping point in the narrative. Tipping from old-school thinking of “blame the chump, coddle the cheater, you never know what goes on in another person’s marriage” to “cheating is abuse, cheating is destructive, cheating is the sole responsibility of the cheater, cheating is a reflection of bad character.” CL and CN are at the vanguard of this change, and we need to not only push forward but actually double-down, until the RIC is as dead as those other old victim-blaming constructs. Someday, cheating will get its own #MeToo moment that finally tips the scales, and that will happen because of all the groundwork laid by those here and the new narrative that CL has framed with her fusion of deep insight and hysterical snark. Vive la resistance!

      • Happy Now – Your comment here has inspired me. I feel I have a way to contribute to this movement. Also contending with voices from others I respect – as well a voice in my own head – that discourage me. I’ll be saving this comment and referring to it again. Thank you.

      • I think this has to do with hindsight bias. Which, as we know, is impossible. How were we to know that these people would abuse us? But, according to mainstream RIC, we should have known and therefore, are culpable.

    • “Would you also ask the defrauded, the bullied, and rape & murder victims to “own their part too”?” SERIOUSLY.

      Your “flapjacks & bacon” comment made me laugh though.

  • I never got entangled with the RIC, thankfully.

    I only had our preacher who told me “you need to get mad”. He was right I needed to, and I finally did.

    But, I am looking forward to other responses.

  • I think the reason that the whole “cheating is caused by problems in the relationship” assumption prevails is simply that therapists and others have an unfortunate tendency to just take cheaters’ claims at face value. We know that most of them do blameshift once caught, but it doesn’t seen to occur to many that this blameshifting could be just that, an attempt to minimize their own apparent malice/accountability or rationalize their behavior. Unfortunately, a similar issue happens with abuse. In Lundy Bancroft’s, “Why Does He That?” he recounts an exchange with the therapist of an abusive man who had admitted to verbally and physically assaulting his girlfriend, who proceeded to defend the abuser and blame the girlfriend despite never even meeting her:

    “THERAPIST: I think it’s a big mistake for Martin to be attending your abuser program. He has very low self-esteem; he believes anything bad that anyone says about him. If you tell him he’s abusive, that will just tear him down further. His partner slams him with the word “abusive” all the time, for reasons of her own. Ginny’s got huge control issues, and she has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She needs treatment. I think having Martin in your program just gets her what she wants.

    BANCROFT: So you have been doing couples counseling with them?

    THERAPIST: No, I see him individually.

    BANCROFT: How many times have you met with her?

    THERAPIST: She hasn’t been in at all.

    BANCROFT: You must have had quite extensive phone contact with her, then.

    THERAPIST: No, I haven’t spoken to her.

    BANCROFT: You haven’t spoken to her? You have assigned Ginny a clinical diagnosis based only on Martin’s descriptions of her?

    THERAPIST: Yes, but you need to understand, we’re talking about an unusually insightful man. Martin has told me many details, and is perceptive and sensitive.

    BANCROFT: But he admits to serious psychological abuse of Ginny, although he doesn’t call it that. An abusive man is not a reliable source of information about his partner.”


    Have you ever read Bancroft’s work, CL? I really, really think you should! He spent 30 years as a counselor in an abuser program and he says so many of the same things that you do. About why bad partners do bad things, about what real remorse would look like, about bad partners’ attempts to try to force their victims to share the blame, about how there is no “being neutral” when it comes to mistreatment, and even about mainstream therapy/culture (especially couples counseling)’s tendency to blame the victim through quid pro quo treatment. He also considers cheating to be a form of abuse (he specifically prescribes a “NO THIRD CHANCES!” rule in “Why Does He Do That?”) and emphasizes that a victim does not and should not be making “deals” with a destructive partner to make them change.

    I encourage everyone to do so, it’s great. “Why Does He Do That?” is about abusive partners specifically, and “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” is about destructive partners in general, including cheaters. It is extremely validating to have a professional confirm what so many have suspected for a long time about shitty partners and to give a firm smack to all the conventional, Perel-style advice out there.

    • I think the reason most therapists coddle the cheater is that if they don’t, the cheater will walk, money stream ends. The only one they can continue to get money from is the betrayed; because the betrayed is emotionally destroyed and desperate to save their marriage.

      Please not, not all betrayed are desperate to save their marriages, but if they are in MC with a cheater, most likely they are.

    • Great points!

      I think so much boils down to the assumption you point out, the myth that cheating is the result of problems in the relationship.

      What we’ve seen on CN is that cheating is very often one abusive behavior in a larger pattern of abuse. If therapists made THAT the assumption, they’d be of much more help.

    • Starry Eyed,

      It’s been recommended numerous times on this blog. Lundy Bancroft admits that most abusers are unwilling to do the hard work of changing but the few that do make Lundy’s work worth it.

      • Bancroft isn’t as lily white as people think. Deep Google him and you’ll find some things like i did.

        • Please share.

          I could never find any of his credentials or training but his book resonated with me.

        • Your statement isn’t credible because you give no details or links to details. Are you a cheater/abuser? Sorry I have to ask, but why else would you drop in with a completely vague accusation against this author. Bancroft’s books are among the few that call out abuse and cheating for what they are: intentional behaviors, not mistakes or weaknesses.

          • Thanks for saying that.

            I get a little tired of the hints about subjects or book, but no direct information.

            I am not going to spend my time googling for some obscure info on anyone. Put up or shut up.

    • I read this book a few years ago and the light bulb went off. I live my life and have taught my children that the person who has hurt you is never the one to instruct you on how to heal from it.

      • I heard Lundy recently on the female dating strategy podcast. It was like a breath of fresh air. Book was written 20 years ago!
        My experience with the RIC, I jumped on the bandwagon right away. Sent him videos. Bought the books. With his sister, I went on a campaign to dig out every possible reason that I may be at fault. His sister believed he was angry with me. MC said I need to worked on my anxious attachment. All this while, FW seemed very happy in our marriage and had no complaints. I gave him a big fodder of things I may have done which contributed, which he deliciously used later to write a 9 page secret document called “Journey to the end”. He kept telling I was not to blame, while secretly sending this document to his family to demonize me. I had not come across CL back then. DDay3 happened. Walked out. Divorced. Found CL. No contact. Started healing. Felt like I got ejected from the Matrix. 2.5 yrs later…. At peace.

    • Starry Eyed, that book changed my life. It came up when I Googled “why does my husband glare at me in public?” I ordered it right away and was amazed at how my husband’s behavior fit the profile of an abuser.
      My divorce was seven years ago now but I just re-read “Why Does He Do That? for the third or fourth time. Each time I read it I find something that helps me. I think every therapist should be required to read it as neither of mine had a clue.

    • A friend gave me Stay/Go, and I read it and decided to go back and give it one more try. Spoiler: if you’re even reading that book (and I specially if a well-meaning friend gives it to you), it means YOU SHOULD GO. I still have it at my house and am curious to revisit now.

  • I the “betrayed” must be a safe place for the “Wayward spouse”.
    Are you frickin serious. He’s not safe for me, hasn’t been for 3 years, but I need to be safe for him to heal so he can help me heal. WTF?! I need to overcome this pile of shit just dumped on me and push aside myself again for his needs. I think his needs have been more than taken care of in his best interests long enough.
    I’m playing the patience game. Our kids are grown with their own families so we have an empty nest. I’m not leaving until all debt in my name is paid. Should be done with that in 6 mos. or so. I have become a very convincing safe place. Oh yes dear I understand your struggles, here sign this postnup, so I know your serious and I’ll stay. He signed it. Got my alimony amount set, the percentage of his 401k that will come to me, etc. After 30 years together he should’ve known I’m not the one to “betray”.
    Chumps, after the first day or two of crying and questions STOP, take true inventory of your marriage, your life and act proactively for yourself. No one else can or will. Play the patience game. Kids in my opinion suffer more in an unhealthy marriage environment than a 1 parent home.

    • So true!!! I always said my ex husband’s biggest mistake was betraying a wife who was a local chess champion at 11, quoted James Woods “Diggstown” character, and whose favorite movie was “The Godfather”. He always thought he was so much smarter than me; he still hasn’t figured out what happened – six years since the divorce. But he does now realize he really got nothing.

    • The last D-day, klootzak was all set to discard but couldn’t stomach filing. He couldn’t even utter the “D” word. His reason for wanting me gone was that he thought it best for our child to see an example of a loving relationship. That is to say, I’m certain he had schmoopie waiting in the wings in the new town he planned to move. But I put on Oscar winning acting skills and held him off and then the pandemic hit and his ability to move was shut down. It bought me time to get an attorney and line up the ducks. Had I only known about post-nup agreements, I would have secured one years ago. Too late for that but I can keep us from moving, keep the house, and have had tons of time to research and sort out what I would be entitled to in my jurisdiction.

      He tipped his hand with the wrong woman.

  • So many choices, too little incentive!

    My FOO culture influences produced gems like the country anthems of Stand By Your Man and You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man. They inspired you to tolerate and forgive him for being “just a man” and to pick me dance to keep him at home. The burden of keeping your marriage together was clearly, “women’s work.” If you did not do your job, you “cause” your children to grow up without a father, and to become part of the failure statistics attached to children from “broken homes.”

    So, if you do not have superpowers to “fix” someone else and prevent them from making “mistakes” you are clearly to blame for all his bad choices. After all, he’s just a man. Another superpower, you are expected to forgive and forget, because the Bible tells you to.

    I found many superpowers hiding in my psychic bag of tricks, including being a good mother, being reliable, going to work through my pain, keeping a roof over our heads, and food on the table. I was not willing to ignore his bad behavior and put up with it for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to dance for someone I found to be beneath contempt. So sorry/Not sorry.

    • ” I would rather adjust my life to your absence, than adjust my boundaries to accommodate your disrespect ” I read that somewhere, I think it applies here. I applaud your strength of character and appreciate your example. Wishing you all you deserve.

    • PORTIA

      Me too. That generation…

      ‘So, if you do not have superpowers to “fix” someone else and prevent them from making “mistakes” you are clearly to blame for all his bad choices. After all, he’s just a man. Another superpower, you are expected to forgive and forget, because the Bible tells you to.’

      Watched my mother and step-mother do it.

      Only now am I seeing more deeply how I bought that narrative hook, line and sinker.

      As I wrote somewhere in this discussion in response to someone else I went as far as completely denying my own grief over the loss of my 30 year marriage but gave him the space to grieve the loss of his 6 month fuck-buddy – that is what the RIC books said I was ‘supposed’ to do and all the ‘good’ spouses were doing it so I jumped right in because I hadn’t found LACGAL or CN. That was also when he came back to ‘give us another chance’ and I was over-the-moon because he was giving ME another chance…That is now much denial I was in back then!!!!! Yes, I seriously thought he was a prize worth fighting for – could not see he was seriouslly damaged goods not wanting to really ‘come clean’.

      That didn’t happen until months into this dance when I learned he was a 30+ year serial cheater….

      Enter Mack Truck…Full Stop….Me slammed and flattened across the windshield spread eagled….

      I am so much a Chump.

      And I know so much more now and am loving who I am discovering myself to be and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t see him and what I thought we had as an utter and complete lie and how that has effected me and our beloved children.

      As I have mentioned many a time he is a covert,passibe aggressive narcissist so his persona was
      Mr. Wonderful to all who knew him.

      You can guess where that left me, my opinion of myself and our children…..

      CN has been a life changer. Too bad my mum didn’t know about it back in her day…..I’m doing it double in her memory 🙂

      • I love this post because I can sooo relate. It makes me feel energy, you know? That you are doing double for your mom. I’ll consider that, too. Not for my mom because I doubt my dad ever cheated, butr for everyone else who was / is sucked into the vortex of the RIC like I was.

      • The behavior we observe as children leaves such an imprint! My mother now has dementia, but when she was young, I remember her as smart, funny, and strong. She worked outside the home, and inside the home, and if there was a particularly hard or nasty project on the outside of the home my dad needed help with, she signed up as volunteer crew without hesitation.

        But her father and grandfather were strong domineering men, and she was raised to believe the man should be the head of the home. Her own father told her she was wasting her time going to college (which he did not contribute to, by the way) because she would “just” marry and have children. She did marry and have five children, and eventually completed a PhD in Botany, while working throughout her life. She always looked to my father to “be the leader” and only took charge or made decisions when he proved, once again, he was ill equipped for the job.

        So, I received contradictions locked inside mysteries throughout my impressionable youth. When I married, I looked for strong men of character to be my “partner” but surprisingly I found men who had an appalling lack of strength or character. I was well into my 30’s, and had 2 children, before it occurred to me my marital problems had actually started in my childhood.

        A chump is not created in a vacuum. I have learned that to understand my own problems I have to be analytical about my ancestors. I have had choices they did not have, and thankfully I finally stopped searching for a “strong man” to be the head of my home. My mother was always a natural leader, but she never saw herself as entitled to lead. Women were clearly supposed to be “helpmates”, not leaders, according to her primary education.

        I now know with certainty I am capable of running my own home and life without male supervision or approval. Learning to trust yourself and rely on your own instincts and abilities is the way a chump becomes independent IMHO.

        • AMEN!!!

          When I began looking back at the friends my mother had, when I was an adult and able to see more clearly, what I discovered astounded me.

          I discovered that my mother, as so many women were in her generation who married men with salaries that allowed them to stay at home, was pretty damn smart ‘for a woman’. As a child I just saw her as ‘my mother’. When I got married and my eyes opened up I realized all that she had sacrificed to be at home. I just though that was ‘normal’.

          She too was one of those smart and fortunate women who did get to go to college for the education. NOT to be groomed to be a wife and mother.

          Yet that is where she ended up after WW2 when she had to give up her career.

          Her friends had all done the same thing so I was surrounded by smart, intellectually frustrated women catering to domineering entitled men.

          Despite what society dictated/relegated as women’s work back then – I feel like the determination that they all had somehow got funneled into me although I could not see it at the time. Now I realize that I was swimming in it but I was simply totally blind to it due to my age and my own personal issues that were weighing me down during my 20’s.

          It is challenging to put all of this discovery into words here. I suspect you know exactly what I am trying to express.

          Sounds like we are on similar paths in discovering who we are by looking at where we came from and the struggles our ancestors had due to constraints put on them during their lives and times.

          A glorious web reaching for the full potential of all human beings filled with pitfalls, compromises and dead-ends that they faced as best they could; expressions of the undauntable human spirit.

          Love the part of being older and realizing that yes, I do not need the approval of others.

          Amen 🙂

  • Therapist- “Mrs. LTC Fuckface, you need to accept responsibility for your part in the failure of your marriage.”

    Mr. Fuckface- “ I’ll tell you my part. I got tricked. That was my part in his affair. He lied to me and cheated on me. That was my part. I was his victim. He deceived me.”

    Therapist- “LTC Fuckface, what do you say to this.” That fucker lied to her and she ate it up with a big spoon. Why he was the victim of my paranoia and my inability to trust. Subsequent sessions were the two of them trying to fix poor inadequate broken me.

    Thank all the gods we PCS’d and he was too busy to go to therapy. I finally found my own therapist who stated “Adultery is abuse.” and freed me. I found Tracy’s book a year later and then this site.

    I stayed for thirty three years with an abusive man because of stupid shit the RIC advocated. Oh I tried. I tried to be accountable for my part in his failure to be a decent human being. Now I am free. Thank you from the very glittery bottom of my disco ball heart, Tracy.

  • One thing that people don’t really talk about is these people giving advice, or therapists, might be the biggest cheaters / abusers there are. The person telling you to work on your relationship marriage might have brainwashed their spouse into accepting 5 other partners while remaining dedicated just for them on their side. They might be cheating with 20 year olds at 50. They might be the spawn of Satan and honestly most of them sound like they are. I really am personally not into therapy because I can’t take advice from someone who might be doing a horrible job on their own life with no moral compass and i don’t let people tell me what is right or wrong. A therapist told me that a man have multiple women, while the women only had them is fine in some cultures. I was like that’s wrong. If a woman was getting stoned for being raped would he support that too? I hate people on soapboxes.

    • “One thing that people don’t really talk about is these people giving advice, or therapists, might be the biggest cheaters / abusers there are.”

      Agree with you on that! I’m from the UK, we don’t really do therapy (stiff upper lip and all that ????????????) but from reading CN’s descriptions on this and other posts, so many of these ‘therapists’ are full of that RIC shit. I’m convinced anyone who vomits up this crap is a cheater, or apologist for them.

      People who have actually experienced betrayal are the least likely to offer up this putrid bullshit.

      • No he wasn’t. He was driving the knife in further and twisting it. It’s what these disordered fuckers love to do. We are so much better off away from them, the sooner the better. Let rat-faced whore have his nasty ass.

    • Every shrink I’ve ever met (save possibly one) have been really fucked up people.

      • One of Mr. Wonderful’s APs has a master’s degree in marriage therapy and has worked 20 years at a national organization of counselors. Didn’t stop her from giving BJs to FW at a park. She obviously had so much respect for other people’s relationships. ????

        I have long found it true that those who seek out careers in counseling are themselves often very disordered. I think they start out trying to read and figure out WTH is wrong with them and then turn it into a major in college. And I’m sure their textbooks are dripping with RIC platitudes so they diagnose themselves as perfectly normal people with “needs” and blame the chumps. They identify with the abusers, not the abused. The good ones are rare and hard to find and, as someone else here has said, who the hell has the mentality to interview and seek out a good one when they are in the throes of D-day? Most people assume the counselors know what they are talking about because of a sign hanging outside their door.

        I thought something similar when interviewing attorneys. I went to law school over 20 years ago. Know how long it has been since your attorney took the bar? Never assume they are all very good or know particular nuances of the law. Klootzak is a military retiree so I picked apart every attorney I interviewed to make sure they knew their stuff. Doctors make the worst patients and I will try not to be a bad client but I was a tough interviewer. My future depends on his knowledge. Same goes for a counselor but since mental health is what floats their boat, it does concern me that they came to it from a place of maybe not being balanced themselves.

        • A counselor I saw for group therapy (waste of time and money, like marital therapy with a cheater/abuser) referred to himself as “crazy”. Doesn’t that inspire confidence ? One of several ???? that led me to the exit door from his practice.

    • The exgfOW for whom the ex yearned, pined, got teary about, blah blah mush mush for all 26 years of our relationship is a life coach with a doctorate from a decent UK university. As part of my character assassination, while he was lying about the affair to everyone save a few enablers, he spewed amateur psychology at me. Once I knew about the affair I got myself a proper BACP regulated therapist who helped to get my life back on track (no mean feat as I was 60 at the time without a job, no kids, little support). I sometimes wonder how the golden life coach ‘coaches’ her clients. She specialises in helping mothers juggle their lives. Presumably that includes diary management to fit in exboyfriend affair partners stalked over many years via Linked In (not excusing the ex – he is an abusive, sadistic tiny little creature and she is welcome to him). It’s an ever growing niche area for therapists and coaches, I suppose. ‘Manage your affair efficiently and effectively, with my help, an expert with the T-shirt’.

  • Where to begin? Our therapist implored me to be compassionate and understand that FW is a victim too, and was a victim well before he ever met me…. And then during one of our sessions when I was being so demanding and pushy by pressing FW to tell me really how it was that he knew he had not kissed her (FW claimed there were certain “special” intimate things he kept only for the two of us), I was told that FW knew he hadn’t kissed her because she had his dick in her mouth at the time. Horrified by this and in tears, I was told that I should not have pressured him to answer me and that FW was just trying to be honest with me.

    • Slow head shake toward your therapist. I have to hope they know not what they do… and thank gawd for those that are understanding the trauma involved in these situations. It’s like they are punching you in the head and then saying, ‘stop crying it’s upsetting me.’ Oh gee sorry.

    • No he wasn’t. He was driving the knife in further and twisting it. It’s what these disordered fuckers love to do. We are so much better off away from them, the sooner the better. Let rat-faced whore have his nasty ass.

    • My individual therapist (who I started seeing during the final Pick Me/wreckonciliation) said the same. She also found it strange that I was still struggling and feeling raw a couple months after leaving my home and FW. She also frowned upon support groups (like CN) because she worried I’d come to see myself as a victim.

      I have to give her some credit. I do think some of the earlier work we did together helped me gather the courage to move out, because I was very isolated due to Covid and abuse, and I felt very trapped and powerless to do anything. She was the only person I could talk to for awhile. Though looking back, I’m also shocked she didn’t tell me to call the cops and GTFO, after hearing about the intense emotional abuse, escalating physical violence, guns and stalking. If this mindfulness/let FW coach was Switzerland, then RIC counselors are flying monkeys.

      • *’life coach,’ not ‘let FW’ (You might be a CL junkie if… your phone autocorrects to FW.)

  • Oh man, where to begin?
    First, my ex was in ministry (on a path to ordination) and after each D-day I was asked if I was ok with him continuing to be in ministry. Each time, like a complete chump, I said yes. It was completely unfair of them to put that on me, when a no answer would mean they pull their support for his ordination and he can’t continue. That should have happened, (and eventually did) but it shouldn’t have been on ME to make that call.

    I was also told I needed to meet with a Christian counselor and ONLY a Christian counselor. That way I couldn’t be swayed toward divorce. Glad I didn’t listen to that one.

    Additionally, I was told that forgiveness meant moving forward together, that I should not withhold sex from him, and that I should continue to submit and serve.

    There’s more, and worse, but it’s just too much to post publicly.

    Almost divorced and doing my best to gain a life!

  • Thank goodness my XW just pretended to be interested in couples therapy during our short-lived wreckonciliation. I was spared the further traumatizing experience of sitting in a quack’s couch and being lectured as to how my shortcomings led her to fuck a hideous, creepy, probably criminal subordinate while I was taking care of two autistic kids, three elderly people and an autistic adult during the first covid lockdown. Her exciting double life endangered each one of these boring single lives. Again, thank goodness no one’s got sick, except for her and her fuckbuddy.

    Even though I was spared listening to these stupid RIC lines from a certified therapist, my fuckwit at some point uttered almost these exact words:

    1) that I had to accept my share of responsibility for *her* affair;

    2) that we haven’t had enough fun in the last couple years;

    3) that I have become her “judge, jury and executioner”.

    And her fake naugahyde remorse was so easy to spot, even for a chump like me. But it was *harder on her* than on everyone else, sure.

    Funny how this lame narrative has become mainstream. The RIC is a thing.

    Thank you, Chump Lady for describing accurately this state of affairs and empowering chumps so that we can hopefully someday change this blameshifting, mindfucking narrative. If it wasn’t for you, I would probably be stuck today, accepting my blame and trying to improve my unlovable, unfunny self for the very person who repeatedly gutted me (or worse). You and Chump Nation saved my life, my sanity and set me free.

  • My x listened to sex addiction podcasts. One recommended the sex addict “go towards his triggers” and face the deep grief of losing their [email protected]. I was “unfair” in that I didn’t understand how an addict thinks—he needed a sobriety counter app to memorialize his many seconds it had been since he’d last contacted a hooker, damn it. Why couldn’t I understand his pain? How was he supposed to heal from his addiction to rape porn and hookers when I was so judgy?

  • I am forever grateful for my psychiatrist and therapist. They FINALLY got it through my head that my ex wife was a narcissist/BPD and that there was no chance of reconciliation. I remember my psychiatrist shaking in anger about what my ex wife did!

  • 4 out of 4 therapist have told me straight out and in gentle ways that there is indeed something wrong with the way I was treated. You have to understand that I was busy trying to get them to tell me what was wrong with me and how I could be better because I was the only person that I could control. They were looking at me like OMG what? No, you might want to consider getting out but… The only couples therapy session we had were where I was told that I needed therapy for being upset but that was before he confessed to serial infidelity and deception… After that, he didn’t want to go anymore.

  • Our marriage counselor wanted to meet with us separately prior to meeting together. After I went through with him all the silent treatments, cheating, lying and other abusive behaviors that occurred during my 14 year marriage, the counselor actually told me that I needed to leave the marriage. I think the counselor knew my ex was a narcissist before I did. I thank God for that counselor- it was another wake up moment that I desperately needed.

  • Legitimate therapists can be awful RIC therapists, but I question his credentials. For all his multitude of professional claims, he doesn’t provide verifiable specifics for what’s most relevant, and his other “accomplishments” are mostly says so and not much substance. There seems to be a lot of misdirection and exaggeration. Sound familiar?
    He claims on his sites t be a “qualified behavioural therapist,” yet his sites provide no list of any such degree or licensure. Per a January 2020 BBC investigation, “there are no laws against anyone operating as a therapist, psychotherapist or a counsellor in the UK. Cheap online courses allow you to cheat to complete them, meaning qualifications are often meaningless.”
    He says he has organizational membership in a therapy organization, yet he does not say he is a registered, accredited, or senior accredited member as an individual therapist. Fishy.
    And the Royal Society of the arts’ full name is The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
    I find it interesting that at one of his websites he claims to be an MD, but at his other site he doesn’t mention it. The MD is mentioned here: but not here:
    In his Amazon author’s bio, he tells his life story, emphasis on story, and never mentions being an MD, but he does claim to have made his fortune as a chartered accountant, something not mentioned elsewhere. His book, by the way, is a “parable,” and I suspect it’s self-published because no publisher is listed. It has nine reviews. Wonder who wrote those?
    I don’t see anyplace where you can pin him down to having an actual, verifiable legitimate degree.
    Even if he did, it could be as fake as my ex’s. For decades, Mr. Cheater claimed to have a specific graduate degrees from an Ivy League university, then during our divorce told the employment evaluator that it was from a different Ivy League university. He had put the second one on his Linked-In page. I checked, and both registrars verified by phone and email that he had never even registered for so much as a class. He also either claimed or misled an organization and audiences to believe he was both a veteran and an MD; neither was remotely true.
    Since Neil is counseling couples on lies and infidelity, meaning that at least one partner he counsels is justifiably leery of cheating liars, you would think he would make a point of proving his credentials. But that would require him to have them.
    He similarly has some rather different stories about his marriages and partnership that vary from site to site.
    I wonder, too, about his list of media coverage. No links to the coverage. Even if it’s real, it could be a letter to the editor or something completely unrelated to his “work.”
    Agree completely with comment about the unsightly facial stubble, and think I know why they do it–to cover up their lack of chin and fat jowls. They think we can’t see behind the sparse stubble. Fooling themselves and thinking they’re fooling others. One you know that, you can’t unsee it.

  • Sorry for the typos. Once you know it, etc. And that my paragraph indents went missing.

  • Went to a Christian therapist. His advice was to write a letter on how I forgive the cheater and to give the punishment to God. I wrote the letter about how I forgive him for the crap he did.

    FYI divorced and happy now. Still don’t forgive him, but am at MEH

  • “…one partner becomes crushed with guilt and accepts their pariah status…” This is reminding me of something husband said just last night. Backstory…my husband had a two-year affair with a friend of mine. Affair was discovered three years ago (by now ex-husband of my now ex-friend), subsequently blowing up the little corner of our community. After three years of “recovery”, I have recently arrived at the decision to unmarry him. But we are still currently living together. A few weeks ago we find out another college friend has been cheating on his wife. They have been separated for four months. My husband reaches out to this guy, and they end up talking. Last night husband tells me this guy is “feeling hopeless” and husband said he “gets” that feeling. I felt myself gritting my teeth when he shared this. That’s annoying, right? That the cheaters make multiple decisions inflicting trauma on their partners, and then the CHEATERS feel “hopeless”??

    • After the first D-Day mine told me he felt “lost.”

      Poor boo.

      Him having to decide between

      [his long marriage to a loving, high earning wife with 2 adoring teen daughters] vs. [some younger idiot bohemian twatwaffle unmarried mom of a 4 year old at his work];

      gee golly that was a real head scratcher. He just couldn’t figure it out so after I blew up their fun by confronting OW#1 he sat in his dirty diaper and took his lying and cheating underground for the next 9 years before leaving for a different much younger OW#2 ho-worker.

      I can’t believe I put up with his shit. What a worthless human.

    • They don’t feel hopeless. They just feel sorry for themselves because, lo and behold, they have discovered that actions have consequences, and the only consequences they care about are to themselves. They thought there was an exemption for Speshul People like them and they’re sad when it isn’t so. This bursting of the fantasy bubble doesn’t do anything but send them deeper into fantasy land in search of a way to pull off shit behavior with no consequences to them. They will do this until they die, because giving up on their feelings of entitlement would mean giving up their identity. They don’t have a real identity, just the fantasy that they are exceptional.

      • This bears repeating: “They don’t feel hopeless. They just feel sorry for themselves because, lo and behold, they have discovered that actions have consequences, and the only consequences they care about are to themselves. They thought there was an exemption for Speshul People like them and they’re sad when it isn’t so. ”

        I wasn’t in the room when it happened, but I am betting my fw was astounded and crushed when he was told he was getting busted, and losing his cushy office next to the mayor. I only knew because it was in the paper couched as “organizational changes” Sure it was. He was busted right at a year after he was promoted, that always happens, had nothing to do with him fucking his direct report; or that complaint filed against him.
        Nothing to see here. Lol.

        I found out just recently that he told my son that he couldn’t believe the mayor did that to him, after he had been so loyal to him. I asked my son if he said it with a straight face. We both just laughed; we were going through a rough time, so it was good to laugh.

  • I was told I needed to figure out what was missing in the marriage—what I was failing to provide—that forced my then-wife to look for it outside the marriage. Weirdly, my now-ex couldn’t articulate what this mysterious missing thing might be (Affection? Respect? Support? She knew I gave her far more of these than she ever gave me).

    This advice was reassuring in that it gave me a sense of control (“I can fix this!”), but an absolute lie and horseshit victim-blaming that truly scrambled my brains for a while. My XW got from me EXACTLY what she wanted: a high-earning, devoted, co-parenting CHUMP. The only thing missing by the time we got to counseling was my cluelessness, which I could not give her after The first D-day.

  • BattleDancingUnicorn, what a betrayal! They put you in a horrible situation and acted against you instead of offering any support. If you haven’t done so already, search the archives for Jesus Cheaters.

  • Marriage counselor #2 (ex fired #1 because he didn’t like being held accountable) was a piece of work. During our first session, MC asked how my ex’s “so called affair” made me feel. Seriously, he called the 5 year betrayal a “so called affair”. It was pretty early on, so I didn’t have the vocabulary or spunk to counter that stupidly phrased question. You can bet I have responded in my mind a gazillion times since that dreadful session!

    • My first individual therapist yawned her way through our session and said, “If what you say is true…..” when I described being abandoned by e-mail after 28 years of marriage.

      She was the counselor I got from the emergency assistance program at work to keep me from committing suicide in days immediately after experiencing the major trauma of sudden, brutal abandonment. She yawned. She didn’t believe me.

      I am lucky I survived.

  • I went through counseling twice, because cheater ex was a lying, betraying POS.
    The first counselor suggested a book for cheater to get over losing his girlfriend???????? She had no reading list for me, only a suggestion that I needed to step it up in the bedroom. Lack of effort in the bedroom was not my issue. My issue was he is a sexual predator who gets off on lying, sneaking around and fucking random skanks, male or female. He is also an exhibitionist and porn addict. A true prince among men.
    The last “marriage counselor” seemed to think that I was cheated on because I’m an atheist and cheater was “spiritual”. Hmm, shouldn’t I have been the one to cheat, seeing as how I couldn’t possibly have any morals due to my lack of belief?
    Should have used the money I spent on the first counseling sessions on a divorce attorney and never looked back.

  • Within 5 minutes of starting our initial joint consultation, the nitwit attempted to shame me for using a vibrator when I had a perfectly good sparkle dick available.

    I walked out and never returned.

  • BS, BS and more BS. For the past few years, I’ve been in an unhappy marriage, with my husband pointing out to my behaviour whilst refusing any responsibility for his, withdrawing intimacy and stonewalling me when he didn’t like the tone I used when I tried to talk about the issues. I finally left him a couple of weeks ago after trying to talk in every possible tone of voice and way for him to listen to me, with no success. I’ll be filing for divorce unless he wants to do that (yes, I asked him whether he would – call me chumpy but I don’t like to do things behind people’s back). I’ve also been looking into legal means on how we can cut financial ties in a way that’s fair to both of us.

    You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t cheat. And not because I didn’t have opportunities and temptations but because I know that this is a betrayal. People say that cheating “happens”. Well, it didn’t “happen” to me, and it was very difficult for me to resist temptations in the last few months when it became obvious that my marriage is over. Getting hit by a car “happens”. Getting naked and hot with somebody is a series of conscious decisions.

  • I just want to add this link for the weekend, as I just discovered it and I think it might counter some effects of the RIC, just like reading here on Chump Lady. For instance, scroll down the Museum of Broken Relationships to the ‘Ex-Axe’
    …”She was the first woman that I let move in with me. All my friends thought I needed to learn to let people in more. A few months after she moved in, I was offered to travel to the US. She could not come along. At the airport we said goodbye in tears, and she was assuring me she could not survive three weeks without me. I returned after three weeks, and she said: “I fell in love with someone else. I have known her for just 4 days, but I know that she can give me everything that you cannot.” I was banal and asked about her plans regarding our life together. The next day she still had no answer, so I kicked her out. She immediately went on holiday with her new girlfriend while her furniture stayed with me. Not knowing what to do with my anger, I finally bought this axe at Karstadt to blow off steam and to give her at least a small feeling of loss – which she obviously did not have after our break-up. In the 14 days of her holiday, every day I axed one piece of her furniture. I kept the remains there, as an expression of my inner condition. The more her room filled with chopped furniture acquiring the look of my soul, the better I felt. Two weeks after she left, she came back for the furniture. It was neatly arranged into small heaps and fragments of wood. She took that trash and left my apartment for good. The axe was promoted to a therapy instrument.”
    Thank you to chump lady and chump nation for providing alternate spaces

  • Our married counselor had an affair with one of his married clients while we were seeing him for the same thing. Lost his counseling license forever. Hmmm wonder why I thought he wasn’t helping me?

    • My ex is with his therapist now! Theyve been seeing each other for years. She makes a perfect ” beard ” for him- after he flipped out and was taken to the psyche ward when i confronted him about the then mistress. Therapist new girlfriend is the perfect ” nurse with the purse” even gave him cash to buy out my part of the house. I know this because he tried to pay her back through our business account! Oh the lawyers… that sparkly turd is a real piece of work
      He deserves some kind of award for duplicity

  • Friend said “There’s two sides to every story”. Yes the liar-psycho’s side and the truth.. no longer a friend .

    • Sigh, yup. The “two sides to every story” bit that applies just as much stink to the chump as it does to the FW. I’ve lost so many friends from the old days that, while admitting that my cheating husband was the one who behaved “more poorly”…and yet, they say “there’s two sides to every story, so you must be kindof a sh*t person too otherwise your spouse wouldn’t have cheated.”

      I’m grossly paraphrasing, of course; very few people come out and say it that explicitly but the meaning behind “two sides to every story” is crystal clear: your fw cheater stinks and, by association, so do you.

      It’s so depressing.

      • Our best couple friends, whose children grew up best friends with mine…..the wife said to me” well he didn’t cheat on us, so he’s still our friend”. And you’re welcome to him. They invited both of us( him and his Howife)to every party they had. Guess who never went? I don’t need anymore gaslighting and abuse in my life.

      • I too feel like a leper to some old friends because of my XW choices. All of them married. I think our sad sight looks ominous to their relationships, sort of a contamination scare. Depressing, indeed.

  • I was blindsided on DDay back in late 2017. (With some reflection in the years since, there were a gazillion red flags and I was knee deep in spackle.) For the kids, I wanted to save my marriage. I signed us up for marriage counseling and started googling. I read something about giving him more compliments and always wear a nice lipstick. I tried that for a few days and then realized that HE should be making an effort for ME. And he wasn’t. So I went into super slueth mode; discovered his secret email account and found out about his Craiglist casual encounter activities. Compliments and lipstick….OMG. 😉

    • I remember that advice, too. And always keep the conversation light, make poor wittle baby feel safe, and of course, initiate sex! None of that means a thing, when your partner is getting freaky with the neighbor, while you’re at work.
      It was called the 180, implying that I had been hostile, and asexual, before.

      • Becoming hostile and asexual is a healthy response to your spouse cheating. You know, to protect yourself from further harm, like more heartbreak and s.t.d. ?

  • Yeah it’s been over 7 years and I still have not recovered from our first experience with a marriage counselor after d day number one.

    My ex-husband refused to make an appointment with a marriage counselor so I had to call around and found one based on recommendations from well my kids school counselor actually.
    The marriage counselor on the phone told me that he was on the side of marriage, that he never asked to meet separately with couples because then it makes it feel like he has a bias and that he has a specialty in sex therapy all of which we needed

    Somehow in the first session he and I got off on the wrong foot
    I was trying to explain myself and he asked me if I was trying to run his session? After that he was openly hostile.
    He asked my ex-husband if the affair was going on my ex-husband lied and said no.
    The marriage counselor literally pointed at me and said what’s wrong with her? Why did you feel like you had to go out of the marriage. Those were his words what’s wrong with her ?
    At some point marriage counselor asked my ex if I was abusive?
    at which point I almost fell out of my chair because my husband had had an abusive temper for 20 years.
    He then asked to meet with my husband separately. When I pointed out that he had said he wouldn’t do that marriage counselor said He had to hear with the man has to say and you may be hurt.
    The night before one of our sessions after 25 years of marriage my husband had discussed a traumatic sexual experience in his life. The marriage counselor never asked never learned it – never knew that it had taken place Although now my thought is my husband finally disclosed this after 25 years in an attempt to distract from his cheating or to lay blame. Because he never attempted to get help for it
    And the final coup de grace the marriage counselor
    Asked if I had any support in my life and I said no and he responded “must be tough “.
    He was openly hostile it was so bizarre and I never figured out why.
    Another therapist at some point suggested it might’ve been cross transference.
    Where therapists subconsciously relates or projects onto a client. Therapists are supposed to maintain neutrality
    At that time Ex was a prominent business leader he is 6’ 1 and puts on quite a good public appearance.
    My theory was the small insecure therapist might have felt intimidated I don’t know
    Or saw dollar signs in maintaining my husband as a client
    I never made another appointment with a marriage counselor and neither did my husband
    I look back on it as such a horribly destructive few weeks and really one of the only opportunities we could’ve had to maybe work on our marriage or for my husband to get real help
    My ex said I just want my wife to be happy etc. etc. and the guy just couldn’t work with it. At one point he just suggested we make our marriage a business arrangement. Neither of us had suggested that or implied it in anyway

    Another therapist said my husband was finally vulnerable and the guy just threw it out the window.
    It never happened again we never had another opportunity.

    Of course my ex never stopped cheating either so in the end that what the biggest problem
    My therapist even contacted the marriage counselor and he completely ignored her

    If I could do it again I would have stayed calmer in the sessions but nobody is in a place to do that after d day and there was no empathy for me at all

    I would publish his name here if I could. I am in north Texas ill say that.
    I have no idea why the marriage counselor set up all these parameters for therapy for himself and then blew through them all.
    An additional negative point because I stopped the marriage counselor because he wasn’t doing any good, because he wasn’t helping – my husband then got to accuse me of not being cooperative

    My therapist now said that marriage counseling never works with narcissists that marriage counselors arenot trained to handle them. I don’t know but what this man did was criminal

    • I will add my husband site individual counseling some milk counselors he was looking for validation as well. He found a very prominent male therapist who is therapeutic advice was “women get old you have to deal with it.”
      And, man hope their wives won’t change and women hope their husbands will change and it never works.
      Well his therapy didn’t work either

        • Of course they do but if you’re a misogynistic chauvinistic asshole trying to be cool with your studly male client that’s what you say

          This was another one I believe with some ministry and academic qualifications and a very very fancy welcoming website professing equanimity and kindness

          I know we have some lawyers out there, what are the consequences of having a website where people can list the names of psychological professionals and their experiences with them.? Would that possible without legal consequences

          • The legal profession has sites like that. I really wish there was a Yelp style site for counselors. I am not opposed to finding a good individual counselor. I know some folks here have had such luck and I would hope to have therapy with someone so I have a safe space to vent some anger and also to work through guilt I feel about what FW cheating, the divorce, etc. will do in harming my son. But trying to find someone who doesn’t buy into the RIC concept is hard.

            If anyone knows someone good in SE Virginia, let me know!

    • I’m so sorry you went through that. That therapy session sounds like a nightmare.

      Mine was nowhere near as horrid as yours, but… yes, the “marriage therapy” that I dragged FW to did not help. Not one iota.

      • Thanks. I just remember the raw pain And frustration and basically the double betrayal by the therapist

        We are divorced now about six months
        I my exes affair partner was in his office place. After human resources forced him and her apart
        He began to compulsively text and sext strange women on line.
        Dysfunctional will find it’s outlet

    • The minute you hear these words, you are in trouble: “The marriage counselor on the phone told me that he was on the side of marriage.” That is probably pretty seductive to a chump wanting to save the marriage, but in any marital counseling, the therapist’s first goal should be to figure out if either of the parties is being abused physically or emotionally or if either is abusing alcohol or drugs. There is nothing a marriage counselor can do to fix those problems; that’s for individual therapy for the person who is over the line.

      But your story suggests that even being “for the marriage” was a lie, eh? Once he (the counselor) began to abuse and attack you, the only way the “marriage” would survive is if you consented to be a victim.

      I’m glad you encountered other therapists who were both smarter and more compassionate.

      • Thank you
        I will add my husband had sought individual counseling before I knew he was cheating several times.
        He may not of been cheating at the time but he was abusive as heck. And he was struggling and obviously beginning to blame me
        I went on an invitation to speak with his therapist for some background information. The man told me it takes two to tango and that I was a masochist that it was a sadomasochistic relationship/ As if I was enjoying the. abuse or getting some secondary benefit from it
        Forgot about that one.

        However on a bad day I do find myself wondering if we had found competent help if it would’ve made any difference

        I believe that CL and CN are having a real impact on changing the narrative on cheating and betrayal and spousal abuse.
        We are absolutely paying it forward
        All our input and support for each other Will save future women and men going through such heartbreak

        • I remember being asked “… what are you getting out of this…?”
          First I was just confused. Second more confused. I was in too much pain to even consider the idea that I was somehow doing this to myself. Another way how it all gets turned around from their behavior to mine.

          • A version of “what is your payoff ?” from a not-so-friendly friend (now ex friend). She learned that in Landmark/the Forum which is e.s.t. repackaged. I think an emotionally healthy therapist is more helpful, not a cult leader who sexually abused his daughters.
            I also heard this doozy from a male therapist who teaches at a local uni. “What do you do to make men so angry at you ?” ???? He was including two male abusers from my f.o.o. ????that the.rapist.

  • I knew I was done with RIC nonsense when my therapist encouraged me to ignore my instincts and logic. I came home from a work trip to find a packet of open condoms on the side table in our spare bedroom. ‘What the fuck?’ I asked my husband. ‘Oh,’ he said, straight faced, ‘My younger [33 year old] brother [with his own apartment] came over to use our spare bedroom with his new girlfriend.’
    I mean, what in the absolute fuck is that lie?
    ‘You have to trust his word,’ our therapist said.
    ‘What that a grown man with his own place fucks his girlfriends in his married brother’s spare bedroom and leaves the condoms for show?’

    I think at this point my husband deliberately left them there just to see what kind of lies I would let pass.

  • Different story here. We went to a couple of marriage counselors cos he was looking for an ally which he never got. Each time he was singled out as a lying cheat who betrayed his family. Each therapist asked him his “intentions” for coming to therapy and when he said it was to get me to agree to his new idea of an “open” marriage (after 30 yrs), they shut him down FAST. Told him HE needed psychiatric help, that he couldn’t make unilateral decisions about MY life, and when he ran out of the room in anger, therapist told me to get a lawyer FAST. He never did find a therapist who would go along with his BS but I found an amazing one who helped me see that he was a narcissistic sociopath and supported me all the way through a very long and contentious divorce when I was in such horrific pain. I owe her a lot. Waiting a year or not filing immediately would have given him time to hide money and do even more harm. The RIC isn’t helpful at all.

  • After the first Day we had to fill out questionnaires ahead of our first counseling session. “Do you feel guilt about the affair?” was one of the questions he was asked and it triggered his rage. He turned to me in the waiting room and with a sing-songy snark said, “Oh, you would just loooooove me to feel guilt, wouldn’t you?!” I should have left him that day.

    Instead he lied his way through 3 sessions and when we turned to his issues he simply stopped going. It took 9 years more before he finally abandoned me and nuked the family. He future-faked, lied, and hid from me in the years in between. I was never in control.

    The idea that I contributed to his lack of character or had any power to stop him from being a cowardly, lying asshat is nothing but victim-blaming garbage.

  • “He is trained in: Counselling, Coaching, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming, Systemic Constellations, Clean Language, Clean Space, Symbolic Modelling, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Psychotherapy. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts.”

    Arts, people, not psychology…

    Each “expertise” deserved a snort…

    Man, am I ever relieved to know that I don’t pay to read The Guardian. They don’t have a paywall, so they must use this kind of shit to get at least some subscribers. Tell’em what they like to hear, not what they need to know.

    • Not surprised to NLP on there. It’s junk science that went out of favor 30 years ago.

      Con artists, however, love it. Over the years, I’ve met a lot of fake experts claiming to be “trained” (lol) in NLP. Every single one was a fraud and a sociopath.

      If someone tells you they’re trained in NLP, you’re dealing with a dangerous person. Run.

  • Where are all the cheaters crushed with unrelenting guilt about there cheating? Hell, where is ONE?!? This complete fabrication of a “common problem” in reconciliation shows the factual and moral bankruptcy of the RIC.

    My sense is the overwhelming majority of cheaters have ZERO guilt about cheating—and are actually giddy with their boundary pushing and their centrality to all the folks they harmed—and only regret getting caught.

    • Never caught a glimpse of genuine remorse from FW XW. Some tears every now and then (usually conjured in response to mine), crawling in the ground while grabbing my legs to prevent me for leaving her place with my stuff, lots of hoovering, a (most probably fake) suicide attempt when I stood my ground for the divorce, and things like that. Only drama, no substance. Never a honest conversation in which she assumed the responsibility for upending our family’s life and promised to make amends and followed through. The longest stretchs of time she took the blame and behaved almost decently toward me were whenever she needed money. It lasted from the request for money to the money being granted. Shortly afterwards, business as usual. Guilty trips, criticism, devaluation and general nastiness. Just like when we were married.

      “My sense is the overwhelming majority of cheaters have ZERO guilt about cheating—and are actually giddy with their boundary pushing and their centrality to all the folks they harmed—and only regret getting caught.”

      I have the same impression, nomar. All the cheaters I have come to know in my life apart from my XW were quite bragging about their exploits.

  • My own MOM said I had to have breast implants, “like his mistress”, and “it’s woman’s responsibility save the marriage “. It was almost 4 years ago and I never recovered. No self esteem at all. But you saved my life, Tracy.

    • ???? ???? are the answer ? ????‍♀️ Make the clown ???? happy. Not.

    • What the what?!

      Those would be some really powerful boobs. Marriage saving tits! Holy implants, Batman!

    • You deserve so much better, Violet. I hope you come to see and believe that. Sending you strength and hugs.

    • My mother also told me to make the home a welcoming place and not bring up any affair or sexting issues. If I did why would he want to stay she said? Worst most upsetting input during d day
      Also caused flash of hopelessness and momentary thought of suicide. Not to be able to express my pain.
      Ignored her from then on. When I did divorce she was supportive but I had to do it on my own

      • Oh I still Struggle with anger towards her and her input helping me stay in what was a horrible and abusive marriage.
        Basically I feel now she was saying not what she felt was best for me but what was best for her

        she didn’t want a single daughter
        she didn’t want me falling back on her.
        She is now elderly and In need of help and I am there for her, but I have not forgotten and can set boundaries with her clearly

  • Yes, the whole thing was my fault. He wanted lots of kids so I gave him three kids even though I would have been happy with one or two. He complained that I wasn’t giving the kids enough attention so I cut my work hours to 32 hours a week and made sure the kids got plenty of Mom time on my day off, evenings, and weekends. He complained that I wasn’t making home cooked dinners every night after I got home from work so I started doing that, dishes and all. After he left his high paying job he complained that I didn’t make enough money and why hadn’t my career advanced more (after having the three kids and cutting my hours) so I started working longer hours and eventually got a promotion and a raise. I didn’t get any thanks for any of that though because he was too busy with his affair which happened because I wasn’t giving him enough attention. It’s all my fault for trying to give him what he said he wanted.

    I think I knew I couldn’t win that game but still tried for reconciliation for a bit. He is the one who gave up on reconciliation. I think he was afraid of this: “one partner becomes crushed with guilt and accepts their pariah status, the other becomes judge, jury and executioner.” I knew it was going to be the opposite. He was the one who had already judged me unfit and if we had stayed together I would have spent the rest of my life trying to make him not regret that decision. At some point, I realized that wasn’t a life worth fighting for so I let him go. Now I have my freedom and he has Schmoopie who is constantly judging him and he is the one constantly striving to please her and never quite succeeding. The weird thing is, he seems happy that way. Better him than me.

  • The whole 180 thing. If I just ignored Jackass and seemingly got on with my life, he would come out of his affair fog and things would be fine. When a person is desperate and convinced that getting a cheater to hoover back is the only road to happiness, that advice makes a kind of crazy sense, creating an illusion of control over what is both uncontrollable and undesirable.

    The only good aspect of that advice was that it got me focused in part on my own life instead of having Jackass on the brain all the time. But it’s a perversion of a powerful truth: we all have to focus on our own life, our work, and our own character all the time. That’s where the question “Is this situation/behavior/affair/abuse acceptable to you?” comes in. It’s not what the cheater wants or the cheater does. It’s our own lives that matter, first and foremost, along with the lives of those who are dependent on us (kids, pets, elderly parents). Once I started gaining a life, for real, it changed everything.

  • Honest questions from someone in the midst of fighting off my urge to do the pick me dance: Is it ever possible, though? Do unicorns exist? What about all the the percentages given about marriages that make it? Are there counselors out there who actually know how to help the situation?
    I know deep down that’s it’s just a big NO, but I thought I’d ask. Thanks.

    • When you got married, both of you promised in front of others to be faithful, in good times and bad. Marriage is a contract.

      Your husband broke his promises; he broke the contract. Your question is really whether you are willing to COMPETE to get him to choose you again, in spite of the fact that he has already betrayed you and shown you his promises are empty and meaningless. You should not have to COMPETE with an AP or a mistress or a revolving cast of hookers and exotic dancers. Supposedly, your X made that decision before you married. No one should have to ask a cheating spouse to “pick me!”

      I suppose there are people who do a terrible thing and then learn a lesson and never repeat that terrible thing. They only murder one person or rob one bank. But I don’t want to lay my head on a pillow at night next to someone who will casually betray me and tell me secrets to some affair partner, any more than I would stay married to a drug dealer, murderer, thief, or child molester.No. Nope. Nopety nope. Character only changes with a lot of time and a lot of work. I’m not wasting my time waiting around for a liar and a cheat to change. That’s my take on unicorns. They’re imaginary.

      • “You should not have to COMPETE with an AP or a mistress or a revolving cast of hookers and exotic dancers.”

        Once they put you in that position, the marriage is dead. Best to bury it before it stinks up the house.

    • The question isn’t ‘Can cheaters change?’ It’s ‘Do I want to live my life in the fear and knowledge that the person who is my intimate partner has betrayed me on a deep and fundamental level?’ You know your own boundaries but there isn’t a ‘situation’ that can be helped, there is a cheating person who has smashed the marriage and the shards that need gluing together. Is it really your responsibility to do that, knowing the odds are now high they’ll smash it again, or is your responsibility to your own good character and one life to walk away from the person who hurt and betrayed you?

    • There were 9 years between affairs. If you asked me after the first affair I would have said we made it but it was simply him taking his cheating underground and lying to my every single day after that.

      When he finally dropped the mask he blamed me 100% for everything and raged at me that I was the worst person on the planet and everyone including our adult children agreed, and said he had to lie because I couldn’t handle the truth. He said I deserved to be abandoned and that he never EVER loved me (married 28 years).

      Unicorns are not real. They have zero problem wiping away any prior statements or fake wreckonciliation and will blame you for “making them” go through it. They are disordered.

    • The comparison of a cheater to a murderer is an apt one, not in the severity of their crimes, of course, but in the way that once a person has taken this label on it stays with them forever. A murderer may have murdered once, sincerely regretted it and pledges to never do anything like that again… but, for the rest of his life he will always be a murderer.

      It’s funny how some labels can be shaken off. A thief can undertake the work and self-reflection required to become a former-thief but a murderer cannot ever, ever become a “former murderer.”

      Cheaters are much the same, I believe; that’s why the expression “Once a cheater, always a cheater” exists. Sure, they may never cheat again (stats on that are low but it’s possible) but *how could any partner ever trust them again!?* “Former cheater” makes as much sense as “former murderer.” These people have really dug themselves into their own graves; they are always and forever cheaters now.

      I thought I had a unicorn. He said all the things he had to say to get back into my house and into my bed in order to “work on our marriage” and I thought how *lucky* I was that I had one of the very few men out there who stumbled once (waaaay more than once, I found out years later) and then never again. “We would be stronger than ever!” I thought, “and what stories we’ll have to tell our grandchildren about how to make a marriage work all you have to do is persevere and then cheaters will never cheat again!”

      The moment he started stepping out again to clandestinely meet up with GF#3 (who would become the Wifetress), the reality severely, but sadly, hit me in the face with the force of a speeding truck: I didn’t have a unicorn. In fact, they call them unicorns for a reason: unicorns don’t exist.

    • This is an interesting question and I think that the question more is ‘can you live with it.’ Can you live with what he did and can you live with the possibility of it happening again. I don’t know your situation and certainly infidelity is on a gradient from a one night forgetting of commitment or some saucy talk with a stranger on the internet to systematic multiple relationships outside of marriage where there was no prior consent on part of the spouse. There’s probably people who are genuinely remorseful and some that feel entitled to their acts. There are those with serious personality disorders and then there are those that are just jerks.

      I get the impulse to be kind and understanding as its a common chump trait. I also think it’s not impossible for relationships to have an acceptable realignment but I only know of one personally that has worked out AND I have to point that she was honest with her husband from the beginning about her need for sexual exploration (there was just some incomplete disclosure after the fact) so there was already something to work with. The other four that I now of personally were doomed relationships though it wasn’t evident initially.

      • He’s very remorseful but the entitlement just won’t go away. AND is was one very long secret relationship (that I know of – I know I know!).
        I was clueless and happy.

        Ugh. It’s just hard not getting sucked into the statistics and I think I’m at this point where, even if I know that reconciliation is not possible, it’s still easier on my heart to allow myself to have some hope. Does that make sense?

        I really appreciate everyone’s answers to my questions. I definitely asked them knowing what I would hear and knowing that I need to keep hearing it!

        • “Remorseful but entitled” is a contradiction. He’s sorry but not sorry? Sorry but still thinks he’s entitled to do what he wants?

          “One very long secret relationship.” Every day he lied to you was another betrayal. The fact he could do that for so long, again and again and again, means he didn’t care about you or your feelings.

          His “remorse” sounds like bullshit of the “I’m sorry I got caught” or the “I’ll tell you whatever so you won’t leave me” variety.

          I’m sorry. This is a horrible situation he’s put you in and it’s so, so unfair to you. What a selfish bastard he is.

          Do you have any support you can turn to during this time? Friends, family? Sounds like you need emotional backup right now. DON’T lean on him. That’s like giving the executioner another bullet after he missed you the first time.

        • I forgave my Cheater TWICE, for two separate cheating episodes (that I knew of). After time #1, I was always looking over my shoulder. Never trusting him. It got worse after Time #2. After Time #3 is when I finally wizened up and said “enough”, and got rid of him.

          If you can live with always being suspicious, being untrusting, wondering as to their whereabouts all the time, then continue with the Cheater. I was stupid & too trusting after the first 2 episodes. I should have kicked him to the Curb after the first time.

          I literally never felt safe with the Cheater. I finally felt safe in my life once he was gone for good.

          • Chris W.

            I forgave him after he admitted to cheating but his admission had the caveat that he owned up to two ‘affairs’ when he fessed up. I had no idea he had cheated . He was in a 12 step prog. and it was part of his amends thus I figured it was a thing in his past – door-closed sort of thing……Had no clue how big of a problem it was back then.
            (30 years ago)

            I felt insecure for awhile but he was so good at covering it up and getting mad at me for bringing it up that I did what a good chump does. I turned my feelings onto myself and felt like I had the issue of not being trusting….

            After all, he was ‘the love of my life’ and he had come to me with the admission in the first place. It was my job to be forgiving! Right?!? In fact, on top of being heartbroken when he told me, I was shocked at his confession. I was also VERY ignorant.

            He appeared to be so happy with me and our children.

            I was very good at not really looking at his behavior and I excelled at blaming myself and accepting all of his blame shifting.

            Moving forward I did always feel like he had one foot out the door, like you said in your closing paragraph but, due to FOO issues I became very adept at intellectualizing my feelings and further turning them onto myself. I too never felt safe or secure in our relationship either.

            Fast forward 30 years and a few months after dday the truth spilled out that he NEVER stopped cheating. He just stopped confessing and apparently got a different sponsor in his 12 step program that didn’t suggest that he ‘come clean’ in his amends.

            I was shocked again at his admission and heartbroken all over again. He was/is so very good at being deceitful while playing the loving, devoted spouse….He had us ALL fooled.

            Like you, I now feel safe. I am now learning to trust my feelings/intuition. And I am learning how to forgive myself for what I have done to myself.

        • Kate, what you are feeling is not hope, it’s magical thinking. Put down the hopium pipe.

          Entitlement is NOT compatible with genuine reconciliation. Entitlement means that someone will rationalize and lie to themselves – and to you – to do as they like because they feel entitled to do it.

          Remorse means nothing about whether it will happen again. How often have you heard somebody with a hangover say “ugh, I’m never drinking again”? Or somebody who let their diet go step on a scale and regretting having eaten a whole tub of ice cream? Their remorse may be genuine in the moment, but what do you think the odds are that those people will in fact never have another glass of wine or bowl of Cherry Garcia?

        • Kate,

          x, a serial cheater, never stopped.
          Constant betrayal.

          I spackled, “understood”, spent many long hours talking with him about our marriage and worked hard to keep our family intact.

          39.9 years later, divorce.

          I didn’t know back then that my family could be intact without x in it.

          x is a sad sausage, poopy diaper face, cheater, liar, abuser, fraud adult toddler.
          I’m free from the abuse and constant mind fukk.

    • I think the definition of a marriage “making it” or “surviving” is purposefully vague.

      Do some people stay together? Sure. Is the betrayed spouse ever truly happy/secure again? No. Do they get cheated on again? You betcha.

      People can live in all sorts of abusive situations, if they put the abuser’s happiness over their own – which in a nutshell is what the RIC is all about.

    • Consider what you would be fighting for. You can pick the right coach, train like crazy, follow all the advice and the rules and give it your all for 9 rounds. In the end when you win the price you’ll realize it’s a big old turd.

      The question is not can you do it, but why would you want to?

      • For some of us it started when we put on that little white dress and veil and made our First Communion right after we made our first Confession. Urged on to stay pure, put others first, be honest and truthful. We believed. Then around seventh grade we wee told to ” dumb down ” boys don’t like girls that are too smart. Also about this time we were told since boys can’t control their ” desires ” while dating we were in charge of how far things went. We believed that too. I know this was back in the 60’s so things have changed. Now after 50 years of marriage and recently finding out my now ex had been cheating for many of those years I was told ” people today don’t expect fidelity for a life time.” Lesson learned.

        • DoneWithIt, it sounds like we’re about the same age. Last year would have been my 50th wedding anniversary, after getting married at 21 to a “good Catholic boy” who turned out to be hiding a secret life as a gay man his whole life. He’s still in the closet as far as I know.

          I had twelve years of Catholic education, the last four in an all-girls convent school. We were taught (by priests) that girls were the “near occasion of sin” and it was our responsibility to control male lust. It was very confusing and humiliating and was part of the reason I thought my ex was such a good guy. He didn’t have that overwhelming lust that I was warned of.

    • What about all the the percentages given about marriages that make it?”

      These are either misleading stats or outright lies. They measure that only by whether they stay together in the short term. Divorce stats show that most of those who do stay together after infidelity actually break up within 5-7 years.
      Of course, the RIC does not concern itself with how happy the chump is either. Nor does one individual therapist’s claim of a high success rate at “saving” marriages prove anything about general trends.

      As for unicorns, I suppose there has been the occasional cheater who had a impulsive, drunken ONS, confessed, did the work to make changes, and never repeated it. As for serial or LTA cheaters- not a chance. At any rate, it’s a hell of a chance to take even if the cheater does appear to be a unicorn.

    • Let’s switch out unicorns in this metaphor for winning lottery tickets. I think the latter’s easier for our brains to grasp.

      Do winning lotto tickets exist? Of course.

      But have you ever personally seen one?

      Do you know anyone who had one?

      Would you quit your job, give up your 401(k), and bank your entire future on the hope that maybe YOUR lotto ticket was a winner?

    • Kate,
      Don’t twist yourself into a pretzel or do any fancy dancy pick me dancing.
      If you must dance, go out and dance and feel the real world out there. Find out that Cheater Peter isn’t worth it.
      Ask me how I know…

  • Knave-man’s therapist didn’t explore reconciliation — he slept with her too. ????

  • My cheater left on D-day, never to spend another night in our home (now MY home). But that didn’t keep me from falling down the RIC well of hell.

    I spent hours on Affair Recovery. They claimed their workshop materials could benefit anyone, even those like me who were NC with the cheater. That simply wasn’t true. Everything assumed the cheater would participate. What was I supposed to do…run after him? “Hey, FW, when you’re not f$%king schmoopie, can we work through these discussion questions?”

    That did so much damage to me. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, that I didn’t have a partner to discuss with. How could I work on rebuilding my marriage alone? In the midst of my grief and utter devastation, it too way too long to figure out….duh…you can’t! And you shouldn’t even try.

    What a waste of precious healing time. Thank God I found CL and CN a few months later.

  • Guessing a few here have read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed? If you haven’t, here’s the stupid sh*t her therapist launched into the atmosphere when Doyle told the therapist – after four years of trying to recover her marriage to a husband who had cheated – that she couldn’t stand having sex with him anymore: “Glennon, have you tried just giving him blow jobs instead? Many women find blow jobs to be less intimate.”


    • I’d like to know why the RIC keeps getting away with dismissing the cheater’s personal experience. What other legitimate clinical or therapeutic field does that?

      • This. If you went into any other therapy situation and said “This person I live with had a major personality change, started acting out in ways that hurt people and showing no remorse for it, saying irrational things and impulsively making life-altering decisions,” they’d say oh good for you for bringing this person to therapy, let’s find out what’s going on with them.

        But in the RIC, they tell you “Don’t diagnose your spouse,” and the assumption is that you might be lying or exaggerating, due to the hurt you’re feeling or an urge to get back at them, and there’s probably nothing wrong with your spouse, they just got swept away by feelings for someone new and you couldn’t handle it. But they PICKED you, eventually, in some way! They’re here, in therapy! Why aren’t you grateful?

  • The bar is low in my state to earn a therapy license. We have state-accredited “universities” where the only admission criteria is ability to pay tuition. The state will disbar you for egregious behavior like stalking you, molesting you, etc., only. Life-shattering bad advice doesn’t count.

    Doesn’t it make sense that RIC members make more $$$$ from “reconciling” with a cheater than telling you common sense advice like once a cheat always a cheat? No more therapy! We gotta be woke to RIC greedy tricks.

    Thanks, CL, for pointing this out! I thought I was the only steaming mad at these therapists for taking the lying, narcissistic ex-husband’s side.

    • “Doesn’t it make sense that RIC members make more $$$$ from “reconciling” with a cheater than telling you common sense advice like once a cheat always a cheat? No more therapy! We gotta be woke to RIC greedy tricks.”

      Exactly. They know exactly what they are doing and whose health they are putting in jeopardy. Greedy scum.

    • These therapists are not unique in making money telling people patently dumb stuff they want to hear. Lose weight on the cookie diet! Reduce poverty by cutting taxes! Get healthy by smoking pot! Improve schools by freezing teacher pay!

      The world will never run out of immoral assholes who commit fraud, or desperate (or sadly ignorant) people who will fall for it.

  • The pukey article CL posted reminds me all too much of one of the first red flags I can remember identifying from FW (only in years later hindsight, of course). We were freshly married and in our first apartment together and I was in a perpetual state of bliss. An Entertainment Tonight kind of show was on and it announced that Halle Berry was getting divorced from her husband because he had been caught cheating on her. I mused out loud, “How on earth…?! She’s so gorgeous; why would anyone cheat on her?” My new husband shook his head sagely and advised me, “When someone finds themselves cheating on their spouse it means that there’s something wrong with the marriage and something’s lacking at home. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous she is; he’s cheating for a reason. There are always two sides to every story, you know.”

    I was a newlywed in love. I didn’t see that as the giant, waving a red flag that it was. I just accepted his wisdom and agreed with him while he victim-blamed Halle Berry and out-and-out told me, to my face, that if he ever found me lacking in any regard he was going to go looking elsewhere for satisfaction and it would be kindof both of our faults, but, really… mostly my fault for not providing him with what he needed in a marriage.

    “There are two sides to every story.” Barf. Cheaters think that way. The world, at large, thinks that way. Even I used to think that way. And, often, this perspective can simply not be altered unless “it happens to you.” And sometimes not even then.

    • Fourleaf – “And sometimes not even then.” I have been shocked by betrayed women who have have questioned how sexually available I was or have suggested I wear some lingerie.

    • When cheaters say they weren’t given what they needed, it’s just another bagged salad excuse. You ask, they don’t tell, then they move the goalposts later on so it’s still your fault – even after giving them everything they could conceivably want.

  • They are right. There was something missing in the marriage: my husband’s character and integrity.

  • I like to do lots of research before making any decision. So I read books and looked at anything I could get my hands on. I went to some blogs and sites where they promote reconciliation. I figured it might be possible for some people to get past it. All it took was reading the posts of people who were in it. They were all miserable, even the ones who claimed the cheater had reformed. The happily reconciled folks, whom the RIC claims are the *majority* of cases, proved to be impossible to find. I drew the obvious conclusion.

    So I said no to MC and starting house hunting. The fw helped make my decision easier by continuing to be an asshole. He never went back to the way he was pre-affair. I presume that’s because the real him is an asshole and he couldn’t fake it anymore. Later on I found CL and felt validated in my decision, but it was made before I had seen anything suggesting one should leave. The only thing I wasn’t quite sure about was whether or not a cheaters ever change. After finding CL, I was sure.

    This article is infuriating. These “therapists” are nothing less than co-participants in spousal abuse. Plus, if they had done their research, they’d have seen the studies which found cheating happens in happy marriages as well. Most of them, I suspect, actually do know that. But since they know the cheater is not going to change, they focus on getting the chump to accept the blame, all so they can claim they kept the marriage together. Cynical bastards.

    The Guardian used to be a decent publication. It’s sad to see the worthless clickbait they are publishing these days.

    • “He never went back to the way he was pre-affair.

      Same with my ex fw. I remember catching him and the whore at our River Property when his mother and I drove down there to pick up a vaccum cleaner she had loaned me. Whore and her ten year old son were there. I had a key to the trailer and walked right in. I only saw his car out front.

      He told her to leave, and his car disappeared; so I guess she took her son and drove somewhere. Anyway, I just looked at him and said, why are you doing this to us? he hung his head and said “this is who I am”. I think that may have been one of the few true statements he ever made to me.

      It didn’t occur to me until just now, that whore drove his car away. It was an unmarked city police car and she was not authorized to drive it. Weird how that just hit me.

      I am sure she just drove down to the local greasy spoon, still had she gotten in an accident he would have been screwed.

      • “It was an unmarked city police car and she was not authorized to drive it.”

        What the hell? The shenanigans these people get up to are like something from a bad movie.

        • Right? It is so odd that I only remembered that years later.

          I am guessing he was in a panic and was trying to protect the whore. Even though he knew I didn’t have a violent bone in my body. In fact I barely remember what she looked like, I just remembered she was short and chunky. (not that there is anything wrong with that).

          I do remember though his mother chased her around the house saying “you should be ashamed of yourself” Maybe he was protecting her from his mom. She was a scrapper. They ended up Daughter in law and mother in law. Bet that was awkward on the first visit.

    • I was in two POSA (partners of sex addicts) support groups for about 6 months. It still breaks my heart when I think about how these were the most beat down, traumatized and sad folks I’ve ever met. The only ones who found happiness and hope in their lives were dumping the “addict.” A year after I had divorced the fuckwit and his harem of prostitutes and adult friends I went back to a meeting to tell and show them how better life was on the other side. Like I had been, almost all of the members were in therapy with CSATs.

      • Good for you for going back and showing them how to gain a life. I hope somebody listened.

      • Good for you. I know I could’ve used real life people who got out or successfully reconciled way back when. Instead it was books and talking that sucked me into pick me dancing for a marriage that really wasn’t one.
        Yesterday I was just thinking I want to go back to marriage counselor #1 and tell her all about what happened since we first saw her. I think they never know either what happens long term to people.

  • When his therapist told him that my feelings about it were a pinball and eventually the quarter would run out and I’d be able to accept it all.

    • Holy shit. Boy, I’m still waiting for the game from my shitty childhood to run out – lol

    • More like you are the pinball in the machine, pinged around (violently) until you drop down the chute. Game over. The chump stays in the game until the bitter end, dying of exhaustion (heart attack,stroke, dementia) or suicide.

      Run people run !

  • That a cheater in reconciliation deserves credit for how hard they are “trying” to walk the straight and narrow path. That THEY are the ones suffering and giving something up, for you.

    The word says it all – they need to “try” not to lie or cheat because what they WANT TO DO is lie and cheat.

    I used to fawn over his feeble efforts to be a basic human, until I realized he does what he wants to do. This is the life he picked, and he’ll have to live with his consequences.

  • The worst RIC directive I was given happened before I knew my fuckwit was a cheater.
    Fuckwit is a classic narc (liar, cheater, stealer) and when I called him on his bullshit, I was told that I had to accept everything he said as truth and not read into his tone or body language. I was told that I was looking for lies that weren’t there. I lost all trust in my ability to know what was true. I lost myself by not trusting my gut. This led to more years of gaslighting and abuse.
    I still fantasize about emailing that therapist with the knowledge that she destroyed my spirit and should be ashamed of the damage she did.

  • Wilkie: Self-proclaimed “Qualified Psychotherapist” with no actual degrees. And, dude, button your shirt.

  • Mine wasn’t the RIC – it was our minister. Turns out he had been having sex with my ex. Ex and I went to one session of marriage counseling – with minister’s husband! He told me I had ‘contempt’ for my ex and that that was utterly unfair to ex.

    Minister told me that ex was ‘in much more trouble’ than I was and to ‘forgive’ and essentially shut up about ex.

    I never returned to that church.

    Ex was one of those creepers leading a sordid double life: turned out he had raped his little sister for eight years (his FOO know about it – shamed her into ‘forgiving’ him; he tried to purchase a child prostitute from the Phillipines; he spent all of our savings of twenty years on prostitutes, on-line sex, Craigslist ads, the whole shebang.

    TBH, I don’t think any counseling service can address the depravity of these entitled assholes in relationships. I live in SEattle and the Gottman Institute is a big deal in this area. Their approach suggests that any marriage breakdown is evenly shared by the people in the relationship. It is woefully inadequate to the Chump experience.