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Clapping Back at Switzerland Friends

Dear Chump Lady,

My ex-husband cheated and ran off with the nanny. According to my ‘friends’ and family, it’s all my fault and they knew all along that this was coming. I feel like I’m being abused and cheated on all over again when they say these things. Can you please please put these sentences through the UBT? Here are the response I wish I could fling in their face, if I was brave enough.

“Well I would never hire somebody else to take care of my children. See what comes of it.”
– Because working men never cheat on their SAHM wives.
– Aren’t you lucky you have a husband with a steady job and no disabilities.

“I knew something was fishy 5 years ago.”
– So you are a co-conspirator?
– Funny you are only mentioning it now.

“What did you think would happen if you left him home with the nanny all day?”
– Do I control his actions and dictate that he should stay home instead working outside of home, as was the plan?
– Should I have quit my job and let the family starve to death so I could watch him all day and make sure he wasn’t cheating.
– What did you think would happen if I worked with men all day (which I do). Somehow I’ve managed never to cheat with any of them. Weird, how did I manage that?

Your webpage is my lifeline these days!

Chompingchump

Dear Chompingchump,

What an odious assortment of Switzerland friends you have there. I don’t think you need me. Your internal UBT is pretty awesome. What you do need is COURAGE to respond. Look, if these people can have the slack-jawed NERVE to blame you for your own abandonment? Then you can summon the self-respect to respond with basic common sense. Every reply you gave there was a rational statement, not an insult.

Yes, men can cheat on stay-at-home mothers just as easily as working-outside-the-home mothers.

Yes, people exist in a world with millions of attractive people — and even work along side some of them! and manage not to cheat on their partners.

Yes, I committed no crime hiring a childcare worker.

Why are you finding it hard to speak truth to stupid? I understand that this sort of blameshifting broadsides chumps. It’s hard to think on your feet. But it’s also hard to respond if you’ve internalized any of the cultural messages that say this shit IS our fault. We could’ve prevented it. We weren’t trying hard enough. We missed a spot. Or if we’re just being too damn chumpy — well, I wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings with a tart remark. Really? Because this person just sputtered absolute crap with ZERO consideration of YOUR feelings.

Change the narrative, chumps. Speak UP. If someone blame shifts infidelity on to you? RETURN TO SENDER. Do NOT accept delivery.

When I explain the phenomenon of Switzerland friends and family, I usually couch it with insights like “they’re afraid.” If they can assign blame, then they won’t feel vulnerable themselves.

But really people, this is just shitty behavior. If someone takes your heartbreak as an opportunity to score superiority points (“Well, I would never leave my child with a nanny”), cut them out of your life. At the very least, speak up. Yes, you may as well exhort a lamppost, but you will also telegraph that you are NOT accepting the blame.

Okay, let’s UBT those sentences and be much bitchier this time.

“Well I would never hire somebody else to take care of my children. See what comes of it.”

Yes, hiring childcare… see what comes of it. I get a career. My children get food on the table and a roof over their heads. I’m financially independent of the abandoning fuckwit in my life. I have better life choices. Horrors, this is what comes of daycare — self-supporting women.

I’m so glad YOU would never put yourself in a position to be cheated on. Knowing that you’re exceptional is so very comforting.

“I knew something was fishy 5 years ago.”

Unsaid, you think I didn’t know something was off? So what? You were ahead of the curve? You could NEVER be deceived, because you have awesome powers of observation that I lack — which you’d like to share with me now. Five. Years. After. The. Fact.

#mondaymorningquarterbacking

“What did you think would happen if you left him home with the nanny all day?”

Sex orgies. White slavery. Fucking right there on the Pack N’ Play. Carnal abandonment with tinker toys.

Oh I know I shouldn’t leave my children in such over-sexed surroundings, but I forgot to tether my husband to a post that morning, and well, mistakes happen. (Turns out, posts and tethering just turn nannies on.)

#lessonlearned

Chompingchump — Please dump these people from your life.

This one ran previously.

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  • One finds, as they journey farther and farther away from their last D Day, that Switzerland friends drop by the wayside. One of the saddest realizations I came to was just how many friends I lost, pretty much all of the Switzerland friends (who I let go of right away not because I thought they were monsters but because I needed as much NC with FW as possible and that included anyone who hung out with him and the Wifetress) and even I lost quite a few friends who were decidedly on my side over time. My circle is very small now.

    Trauma and disasters change people and they change relationships. It’s one of those hard pills to swallow. And it sucks.

    Switzerland friends though? I have no regrets leaving any of them behind. Not because I hate them (I don’t; I empathize with their position to not take sides) but because in order to stay emotionally sane I need as little of FW in my life as possible. It was pretty easy to figure out who to distance myself from in the early days. While seeing mutual friends post photos of them, FW, and his GF all happily clubbing at the bar together was always soul crushingly difficult, it helped me figure out who to cull from my life right away. I never wrote any angry messages to these Switzerland friends; I just stopped reaching out to them and stopped talking to them. It’s not worth the effort or the pain. Just like GF#3/Wifetress, those friends can have him and they’ll get no pushback from me.

    • I lost almost all of “our” friends during my divorce, and all of the ones that started out as “his friends.” (He’s a Narcissist, I don’t think he really does friendship at all; they’re just drinking buddies and fuckbuddies.) I don’t empathize with their decision “not to take sides,” and not to “judge” because anyone who doesn’t think it’s reprehensible to cheat on a spouse doesn’t share my values. Anyone who thinks it’s OK to cheat, for that they “shouldn’t judge” is not someone I can or want to trust. Anyone who prefers a “life of the party” drinking buddy over an authentic friend is someone I have no time for.

      “Not taking sides” is shorthand for “I don’t care about your trauma as long as it doesn’t change my social life.” I have no patience or empathy for that.

      • For me, it didn’t anger me. But I certainly made a list of who to drop: “If you choose to be in FW’s life you won’t be in mine and I do this to preserve my own sanity, not to punish you.” Protecting myself became the name of the game.

        It was surprisingly easy to rid myself of the Switzerland friends. It almost took no effort. It was also easy to let go of the friends who weren’t really “my friends” but who were, instead, “our friends.” Those “our friends” friends were really just “his friends,” as he was the social, extroverted, outgoing one, not me. FW can have all the Swizterland friends and the “our friends.” It didn’t feel like that much of a loss to me.

        Losing the long-time friends I had before I met FW who took my side and loathe FW for what he did… well, now that hurt. Those friends, the “my friends” friends were on my side for a long time and still are… but they grew weary of my depression and didn’t really understand that I couldn’t “just get over it.” (If it ever happens to them then they’ll get it.) Gradually, I drifted away from the non-Switzerland “my side” friends too. We’re still in contact just not close.

        When the FW cheats, they throw a grenade into the middle of a crowded room of friends and family. It changes everything, relationships are never the same, and there’s always fallout and lingering damage. People don’t look at you or their relationship with you ever the same way again. It damages so many more people than just the FW and the chump.

        • It does damage so much.

          And in most cases a lot of those friends didn’t know, maybe none of them. I know in my fws case he had lied and presented a façade to the community that just didn’t exist in reality.

          Did some folks know, maybe; but they kept it quiet. But, for many they are left reeling as they believed a lie too.

          • I was faced with complete disbelief that the ex had rekindled his relationship with his exgf from, at the point of my dumping, 28 years before. His family and school friends and his university friends who had become my friends too had seen him in the relationship with the girl then woman. They had seen him dumped by her twice. One university friend who is still my close friend said ‘But Mighty, they fought all the time’. People said that he would never be that stupid. The ex denied that there was anyone else and I looked crazy until he slipped up and the truth was revealed. By then so much damage had been done to all the relationships surrounding our relationship that there were no choices for anyone to make. There was a time when the truth looked like the ravings of a woman scorned. That was very difficult.

            • ” There was a time when the truth looked like the ravings of a woman scorned. ”

              That is horrible. And I know so many get away with it.

        • The same thing happened with my own long-term friends, who were on my side, but got tired of hearing about the trauma. They’re just clueless because they never lived through it themselves. There are very few people in this world who are true, true, friends, who love you “for better or worse.” Most people cannot deal with “worse.” Very few people have that kind of love, depth and understanding.

          • Ugh…all these comments. They make me so freaking sad. They are also so, so validating.

            My husband’s almost two-year affair was with a good friend of mine. She and I shared several mutual friends. A couple of them are related to her by marriage, a couple have been friends with her since childhood, a few since college. One of these women had grown to be MY closest friend the few years before d-day. When things blew up, the mutual friend was genuinely caught in the middle, close to both OW and me. (And simultaneously trying to support OW’s ex-husband, as he’s been reeling and recovering too.) I feel compassion for this mutual friend. She was supportive of me in many ways that most people were not. But sometimes when I would be in the depths of grieving/raging – and occasionally question her interactions w the OW – she would say “I love everyone involved.” I mean, I’m sure that’s true. But I wanted mutual friend to say “I love her, but I’m in your corner.” My friendship w mutual friend came to a screeching halt last summer when I mistakenly called her out for attending a party with the OW. I apologized but things haven’t been the same since. The pain of losing mutual friend has rivaled that of my husband’s betrayal.

            The OW is the pretty, demure hometown girl; she has deep roots (tentacles?) in this community, smack in the middle of the Bible belt where there’s excessive talk about “forgiving”. It’s maddening. Thanks for normalizing my feelings, CN.

            • I feel your pain, Juniper. I’ve lost his friends, “our friends,” Switzerland friends, and a fair number of “my friends.” Even the friends that are still kindof sortof around… well there’s a distance now between us. So much destruction; nothing’s ever been the same.

              On the plus side, we become experts (not because we wanted to) at rebuilding our lives.

          • Trying not to wear your friends out is the tough part. Perhaps we talk about it to them so much because we are trying to understand it in our own minds. I am eight months post dday and I still can’t believe what was going on. For lent I’ll try to stop talking about it but it is tough. I have started thinkIng my friends for listening every time I hang up the phone

            • DrChump – I am three years post d-day, and I talked about it a LOT. And…still can’t believe what was going on. I think I talked about it so much for exactly the reason you suggest…trying to understand it. It was all so unbelievable. Still is. And I think it does wear people out, unfortunately. My therapist once used the word “battle-fatigued” to describe my close friends who pulled away. It makes sense, but I also think “THEY’RE battle-fatigued??”

          • I am in so much pain at the moment.
            I lost all my “best” friends in the divorce and reel from the number of people who like him even when they know what he’s done. Some people dropped me and clung to him even though they know details of what he did.
            Why?!
            My friends stopped hanging out with me almost instantly after the divorce was finalized, telling me to get over it, hanging out behind my back and hiding it from me that I wasn’t invited, and so on. They didn’t even apologize after I found out. They just dropped me.
            It drives me crazy how many people just loooove him especially when he’s not that likable.

            It hurts so bad. I’m lonely.

            • I am very sorry to hear this
              that is a really really tough thing to go through.
              But you will get through it.

              Seems dismissive to say they weren’t worth being around because I know that you cared for them but you will find Better friends who can be reciprocal and caring.
              One day at a time

            • That is awful. I just don’t get why if folks can’t deal; they can at least have some compassion. But, I think it is not uncommon.

              I was fortunate in that regard, I think except for a couple folks, he was pretty much shunned. But, in his case he had conned so many folks with his fake persona.

              He was a police officer and folks generally go with the power, but in fws case he was demoted and kicked back out on the street, so he no longer had any power. He had conned the mayor, mayors don’t like that.

              Does your fw have some kind of power or standing that might be influencing them.

              Either way, it is so hard; and I hope you find some new friends quickly.

    • Perfectly said. Neighbors who have FW and AF ( neighbor) for summer barbecues while I work they aren’t my friends. And the one friend said to me: I can’t say no to neighbors.

  • I off-loaded the last Switzerland friend a few years ago.

    Never felt better. So good to choose who I spend my precious time with.

  • I AM angry at the Switzerland friends. Community norms are not solely individual choices, they are determined and upheld by the community. If the community won’t uphold the principle of standing by your commitments in my individual case, all of the community suffers. When I say “Infidelity is abuse,” all I’m interested in hearing in response is “Amen!

  • I lost all of our so-called family friends. Every last one of them went to the dark side with LTC Fuckface. Not one of them reached out to me after knowing them for decades. Their actions speak louder than words so I blocked them. Then I changed my number and set my social media to private. I lost my best friend of twenty years. My social circle is now a dot.

    I haven’t had to use my defensive art of a snarky reply in nearly three years. I’m ready with a quick quip just in case. But I’ve removed my precious self from the sphere of their influence. Those people suck. I want nothing to do with anyone who abandons after decades long friendship. They didn’t even make an effort to see if I lived. So seriously, fuck those fucking fuckers.

    Time for a Blocking Party ChompingChump. Sit down, and remove from your contacts. You are under no obligation to spend a second of your time on people like that.

    • I was in the same boat largely, thirtythree – see below. It reduced my circle to barely anything. And made space for new friends, but I am very cautious before letting anyone get close to me.

    • Same story here. They gave me a second deep wave of pain and shock after the first wave of pain and shock from DDay and divorce. I couldn’t believe my family and friends verbal abuse. I had to cut them all out to stay sane.

      They even have the gall to invite me to functions requiring presents. RSVPing no and giving a nice, crisp $1 bill enclosed in a greeting card feels great after the nasty cr@p they pulled on me.

      • Yup. My adult son gave me a Bday card that said look inside for the World’s Best Mother

        It was a reflective mirror surface inside the card

        It was meant to hurt, and it did

        His narc father had him convinced that I was at fault for finally having enough after years of his father cheating and lying

        • I’m sorry, I don’t understand. My kids made a card like that for me, the point being that they thought the person I saw in the card WAS the best mom.

          Maybe the context was different? If the person giving you the card is smirking rather than smiling, that would change the meaning, for sure.

          • The card was intended for ‘good’ when it was created no doubt.

            But it was sent to me after a period of verbal abuse and accusations from my son and his wife.

            I was blamed because I ‘refused’ further family therapy

            • I don’t see what the card having a mirror in it has to do with anything though, how was that intended to hurt, or sick? It’s saying, you’re a great mother, as you are who is in the mirror.

              • When I got a card like that my kids meant that THEY thought the person in the mirror was a great mom. I think Mitz’s son meant the card ironically, that he was implying that Mitz was deluding herself.

                I hope the therapist supported your decision, Mitz. Family therapy is all well and good when the people involved want solutions. The therapist my ex and I saw offered to help us save the marriage or to help us divorce as smoothly as possible, but said that no therapy would start until we had committed to a path. The first two sessions were mostly my ex telling her how selfish and unfair I was being, how much pain he was in, and that ACTUALLY, the OW was the REAL victim here. The third session the therapist said that she had heard enough of his side of the story, turned to me and asked if I was ok with any of this. That’s when I realized that I mattered too, and that it was time for divorce. The ex tried to guilt me back into indecision and stormed out when she wouldn’t let him. She then ended our counselling and referred me to a support group for chumps.

              • It was sent during a period of verbal abuse from my son

                It was dripping sarcasm

                Twisting the knife

              • Yes SwedeChump, therapy had been a horror show with him. We saw at least 6 MC’s and his lying never stopped. At one point a therapist had him sign a note that he would not contact OW. And of course he did, 2 days later.

                One mistake I made was to not share with the children (they were teens at that time) that we were attending marriage counselling. And that he was cheating.

  • I remember someone saying, “I bet he is really hurting since you left.”
    “No,” I responded, “you give him far too much credit in assuming he has the ability to feel anything. No man who has done what he did deserves your concern.”
    As for the Switzerland friends and family… I’ve heard nothing but crickets and that is just fine with me. I’m surrounded by so much love and support from many others.

  • I was dumped by his friends in the main as well as his family. Immediately. Like a piece of trash. There was some complaint from his family that I was responsible (along with my mother) because we had failed to send Christmas cards to them 4 months after my dumping for his exgf and 6 months after my father’s death. How shocking were we, not to recognise how wonderful they are by failing to send anyone a Christmas card in those circumstances. One couple (his ex-university friends) has stayed closer to me than to him. The female part of the couple views him with disgust. She has been shocked by his behaviour and has nothing to do with him. The male part of the couple sees him about once or twice a year but doesn’t invite him to any of the stuff that they used to do together. My no contact is absolute and we never discuss the ex. My boundaries are respected. I don’t pretend to understand what goes on in the heads of these ‘friends’ and alleged family. I’ve always been the family scapegoat and I suppose old habits die hard. I blame myself before anyone else gets a chance to do so. At 62 it’s a hard habit to break. I’m happy not to have contact with awful people. There are a lot of them around and I prefer to steer a wide berth.

    • That was my first thought: OP successfully unloaded her deadbeat husband onto the nanny, who now has the doubtful honor of carrying his useless weight. Hopefully, OP sues him for child support, lives her best life, and starts dating guys who are not deadbeat cheaters!

      • Sadly, this reminds me of Robin Williams. He is mourned and venerated like he’s the most perfect person in the world. But he cheated with the nanny and married her. That ended the absolute last time I watched Robin Williams do anything.

        • I stopped watching him after that, too. He plain got on my nerves after that.

          The nanny dumped him, and he remarried quickly after the divorce.

  • Why is there what appears to be contempt for not-self-supporting-cheated-upon-spouses/partners?
    Isn’t it a further form of victim blaming?

    • Someone who isn’t self-supporting who cheats on the person who supports him is contemptible. Cheating is contemptible whether or not the cheater supports himself or his family. The cheater is not the victim. The affair partner is not the victim. The victim in the original post was the family breadwinner. The deadbeat spouse and the nanny or both cheaters.

      • I was actually talking about cheated-UPON-not-self-supporting spouses/partners.

        A case in point in my comment further below.

  • I don’t think many of our (his) friends stayed close to him. But, he had lied to to many folks. Plus he lost his job power and his political power.

    However, I took myself out of the whole community. Never to return to any of it. I had to. I needed to survive and being around all of that just wouldn’t have worked. I knew that even way back then.

    I got to read of his demotion in the local paper, and my son and daughter in law told me a few things through the years, but that is really the only contact I had aside from a couple birthday parties, where I made an appearance, and left fairly quickly. Had my own party with the grandchildren at a different time.

    The last time I saw him was in2016 at my granddaughters graduation from HS. He looked bad, and he was still acting like an ignorant ass. I can honestly say I was both embarrassed to have been married to him, and I felt a twinge of pity for him.

    He screwed his life up so bad, but the thing is he was a con man and you just can’t (or at least rarely can) get away with all that.

  • My ex and I taught in the same small college department. As is true for a lot of people, university work took up most of the time, energy, and focus not devoted to our child, and most of our socializing and friendships were with the other academics with whom we taught, both in our department and out of it.

    Cue the divorce. The number of people taking the Switzerland stance was sufficient to people a Swiss canton. Or so it felt to me. Some of these people I had worked with for 30 years. Even the very few who otherwise cut ties with my ex had to continue to work with him, which was difficult for them, and, obviously, for me.

    I understand how difficult it can be to cut ties with the Switzerland friends. I had almost no friends outside of my academic circle, and at a time when I was reeling, alone, grieving, down on myself after the discard, and living in a small apartment rather than the home I gave up in order to get away as quickly as I could, I needed the friends I had, even the Switzerland friends. At the time of the split, their “neutrality” was painful to me. I needed others to acknowledge the wrong that had been done.

    It has been a slow process to reconstitute or remake my social circle, especially during a pandemic when it has been difficult to make new friends. To get away from my ex, which I could not do while we were both professors in the same small department, I made the decision to retire a year earlier than I otherwise had planned to do. Some of my friends in the department or elsewhere on campus were also retiring, which meant they would no longer have a collegial relation to him. I did stop going to a weekly pub night with other retired colleagues from my department because one of them sees my ex for a separate weekly social occasion, and I don’t care to be around him. Another of those retired colleagues from pub night is married to someone my ex has a continuing relationship with, and although my colleague and I take walks together, I avoid situations in which I would need to interact with her spouse. In most cases, we have an understanding–sometimes explicit–that they don’t mention my spouse, and I don’t mention him, either. It’s an uneasy peace, but as time goes by it gets easier.

    • “ I had almost no friends outside of my academic circle, and at a time when I was reeling, alone, grieving, down on myself after the discard, and living in a small apartment rather than the home I gave up in order to get away as quickly as I could, I needed the friends I had, even the Switzerland friends. At the time of the split, their “neutrality” was painful to me. I needed others to acknowledge the wrong that had been done.”

      I can relate to all of this. In the early days, it was triage, and sorting through and letting go of friends – and my need for understanding and validating responses from those I considered friends – was not something I was capable of at first. In fact, the safe home I found (leaving a physically abusive FW at the height the pandemic, during extreme quarantine/isolation protocols) was thanks to some Switzerland friends I am no longer in contact with – forever grateful as I am for that temporary home when I needed one.

      • Same here.
        I agree with sometimes you need all the friends you can get
        One of my closest friends, the first one I told about the divorce over takeout and shots of whiskey, the one who sat with me when my raging husband went through the house to remove his belongings, the one who stayed in the house by herself with him while he had a lawyer brokered walk thru – when I had to fly Out of state for a sick parent, the one who is there for me in every way, the one who understood what I was going through the most, her husband is my exes golf buddy and they had started a side business together
        My friends husband came over on my last night in my house when I was desperately trying to pack before the house closing and I couldn’t get my U-Haul truck to start he came over and started it for me. 10 o’clock at night

        They let me stay in their home for two or three weeks while they were out of town when I was in a hotel, until I found another place to live, they have included me as fifth and seventh wheel for many holidays

        But her husband talks to my ex.

        At first I was very upset
        I was concerned I couldn’t confide in her anymore
        I was concerned that she would know things about his life maybe new women etc. that I would not and it would put a wedge in our friendship.

        But I agree sometimes you just need all the friends and all the support you can get and sometimes people are not without values they just don’t understand, or they don’t want to make the choice and if they’re still your friends you can pick and choose how much you confide in them.
        She continues to be an incredible support for me, and last weekend her husband played 18 holes with my ex.

        I chose her. I was not left for a specific woman I had a husband who is a serial sexter and liar and flirt and was literally dating behind my back
        And emotionally abusive
        . I don’t know if my ex will reach out to them to engage with another woman
        I don’t think they’ll agree but if they do I’ll deal with it. It’s been pointed out sometimes friends tire of the trauma, And don’t want to be dragged into.
        Unless she does something that I specifically feels is a betrayal of trust, or prioritizes my ex and any random woman over me. She has my friendship

        I feel as if my ex has done enough damage to my life
        I’m not going let him bust up my friendships as well

  • Agree with CL and CN. I got rid of the flying monkeys first and then as Switzerland “friends” revealed themselves, they were blocked as well. Yes, it does result in a very small circle of friends but these are the friends you can feel safe with. That feeling of safety and trust is what I give and receive from friends. The Switzerland people can go to hell if they think cheating and dishonesty are valued traits.

  • As a spouse/partner, you might have been entrapped under coercive control, so your children, even if almost grown-ups, or grown-ups.
    You might be stalked by spouse/partner’s cheating partner and annexed people.
    People in the community complacent, might even get a high our of that. Enjoy the spectacle.
    Voyeurs of the highest calibre from their homes of safety. They have access to opportunities, which they are happy you and your children have no access to, because, after all, let’s get rid of the competition.

    And you as a not self-supporting-spouse/partner are victim-blamed because you have been denied access to jobs, opportunities?

    • People love to blame the victim, in hopes they will never be a victim of something similar. They turn us into their reality TV show. The best thing to do is not play the role you’ve been assigned and just walk away. You don’t have to play.

    • The cheater in this case was the not self-supporting spouse who also apparently could not take care of his children. Whether he was denied access to jobs/opportunities or whether he was just a dead beat is unclear. What is clear is that he cheated on his wife with his children’s nanny. That makes him the cheater, not the victim.

      • I was just bringing a case of cheated-UPON-not-self-supporting spouse/partner, as there is often additional contempt for such a person owing to his/her being not-self-supporting.

        For that reason I am speaking of further victim blaming.

        • Q,

          I’ve read CL for years as I’ve dealt with my marriage coming to this end and I cannot recall anyone EVER blaming or finger pointing at any stay at home parent, disabled spouse or other.

          Give a specific example or be more forthcoming about where your pain is coming from but the CL community has never committed the disrespect to which you allude.

          • BusyGal7,
            I get the feeling that Q is not talking about people within Chump Nation…but people in general – neighbors, coworkers, etc. – being contemptuous of the chump if he/she was not self-supported when their FW left. But perhaps I’m wrong.

            • Exactly, they’re talking about in society.

              As in, people saying to housewives who are left by career guys, you shouldn’t have been so dependent on him, you’ve set yourself up. As if they weren’t running households, raising kids, supporting said career. Etc.

  • As I’ve gotten older, my circle has gotten smaller and smaller, and smaller. And guess what, I love it!!!!

    I’m actually kind of a loner anyway, and don’t have a lot in common with the people around me. I’m part of a small Girls Group that gets together to eat every month or so. But mostly it’s just boring Gossip. Not my thing. When I am with them, I wish I wasn’t. I think I’m going to tell my main friend I’m not interested in the others anymore and be done with it.

  • Yes, the Switzerland friends are gone which included his entire family. It seriously messed with my mind to think that his family could view our breakup and divorce and say and do what they did. They spouted the “men can’t help themselves” message which made me sick, as if men have no self-control and scruples. Then I realized that they were actually just as dysfunctional as my family of origin. There were others that I kept on the outskirts who voiced their support but really weren’t there. I let go of them too.

    Eventually, I came to see that I certainly had problems, but I was not the problem that destroyed the marriage. There was no reasonable path forward but divorce.

    • ““men can’t help themselves” ”

      Makes me sick too. There are plenty of me who remain decent and faithful.

      No, men/women with no character can’t help themselves. Except of course they can help themselves, they just don’t want to.

    • They spouted the “men can’t help themselves” message which made me sick, as if men have no self-control and scruples.

      Ew, on so many levels. Why even get married then.

  • In my discovery days and subsequent pick me dance and weepy attempts at reconciliation I confided in a friend that I considered a brother , the kids called him uncle , he would give me all this fire and brimstone advice about how to deal with her. Fast forward 30 odd years and I find out he was calling her after our talks to tip her off and talk about a future together with her after our divorce . Complete piece of shit.

      • You would think…but she was aware of what he was up to and wS revolted by it…sadly she didn’t let me know and I continued to have him be a part of my life…seeing him through numerous medical issues, relationship fails and other traumatic life events as well as including him in family events…shit I sat him at my table at my daughter’s wedding! She told me about it recently and things started to click

  • I cut some Switzerland friends out of my life, because they, in the least, knew about my wifes transgressions. My suspicion however is that they were complicit. My friend and his wife were in an open relationship, and even in that he managed to cheat. I always suspected him hitting on my wife, but I was never concerned because I trusted my wife.
    The problem I’m facing with them now, is that I will be confronted with them in the summer at a small wedding in Italy. I kept no-contact with them and was always afraid of suddenly meeting my former friend, because I’m not certain I will be able to control my anger if suddenly faced with him.
    I know it won’t be out of the blue when I see them, but I think it will be hard to keep distant, but cordial. I dont want to ruin my friends wedding of course. Tips would be welcome

    • Guide Dog, envision yourself overlooking those terrible people. You will be too busy in beautiful Italy soaking up the scenery to even notice those pathetic little cheaters. Envision yourself as a Regency Rogue delivering “the cut direct” or channel the Amish and shun them. Those cheaters don’t exist. You see right through them.

      Better yet, cultivate a slightly bored, Ho-hum attitude towards them. Be civil and move on like you would with any other person you don’t want to talk too. Refuse to be drawn into their drama. Cheaters adore a triangle. Any reaction from you is sweet, sweet kibbles. Deny them. “Cool, bummer, wow” and move away from their cheater stench.

      You refusal to play into their game will do more to hurt them than any reaction from you. Start right now saying, “He is nothing to me.” Internalize that.

      Good luck to you as you face this. I have turned down wedding invitations because I didn’t want to be the figurative wet blanket of tears. Don’t go if you think it will hurt you. Send a nice gift to their home and stay home.

      • Yea, I was about to say…don’t go. Spend that money taking a trip that makes you feel great about yourself instead of riddled with bad emotions. Your friend will understand. You can celebrate with with new couple later on—take them to a nice dinner or something.

        • I really want to go and already paid for everything. Plus his brothers are my friends to, so let’s focus more on the distraction then the triangulators!

    • I lost our best family friends. I Brough them into the marriage all the way from college. But alas, there they went. I still am sad/angry with that.

      BUT, they came to my son’s graduation party last summer with their tails a little between their legs. Granted it was on my family soil, but still.

      I was pretty stressed out, so I focused on the journey I’ve traveled and the ways I’ve blossomed. I stood tall and proud. I welcomed them, then got busy being busy with other people at the event.

      It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I worried about it being. And its not like my anger and sadness is all gone now. But I survived the event. And, in a way, grew a little stronger from it.

      So my advice is to go head held high. Enjoy the event (you said Italy!) and let your strength shine through.

      Then get the hell out of there and continue to grow into your new life!

      • Thnx!
        I think you’re right about the tails between their legs. I’m pretty sure he is nervous about seeing me again

    • Dear Guidedog, I too have a wedding in the future where I will be faced with the same issue. This will be my third. The other two were very hard, but I did get through them. The sad part is that the memories of the weddings are tainted.
      Since you asked for tips, here’s what helped me. I avoided these people at as much as possible. When someone brought up the subject of them in whatever context, I excused myself. I also had a retreat area that I could go to in order to get away. For the second wedding this was simply the restroom. A place to compose myself, regroup and head back out to join in again.
      Give yourself grace. It is probable that some surprising feelings may come up out of the blue and catch you unaware. When that would happen to me I made a choice to either seek a distraction or to go deal with it privately in my chosen sanctuary.
      Good luck, Guidedog. And if you do decide not to go as some here have suggested, that is a perfectly understandable option for you.

      • Thank you.
        Let’s hope that some of the unexpected feelings, will be triumph and mightyness! The thought of a safespace is very good.

    • Stare him straight in they eye with no emotion and say nothing. If he chooses to make a scene that’s on him.

  • Trust a lot of people suck. Who knows why selfish, mean, people think, do, and say what they do. When people show me who they are, I don’t spackle anymore. It’s my post Dday super power.

    My world became smaller, much smaller immediately after Dday, BUT those who remained were even more precious to me. Slowly, over the last 7 years since Dday, my new life has expanded and I have a growing social circle. After 26 years with XH, it has taken time. There are a lot of people in my life who never knew me as part of that couple. It’s uplifting. Time takes time.

    • “When people show me who they are, I don’t spackle anymore. It’s my post Dday super power.”

      I feel the same way. Spackling used to be my default response to all bad behavior. I called it “giving people the benefit of the doubt” and was more inclined to fault or question myself for being so quick to condemn. Now I realize just how much I was trained by both my FOO and my ex to do that. I have boundaries now, and I set them to protect and uphold my values. When people show me they don’t share those values and/or are willing to cross clearly expressed boundaries, I don’t blame myself. I’m getting very good at emotional distancing when and where it’s necessary.

      • I am having to work really, really hard on this. My ability to make allowances, excuses, give the benefit of the doubt knows no bounds, literally! I’m a lawyer who did crime at an early stage of my career. I could sit in a cell with a convicted murderer and make excuses for them. I was so well trained by my FOO that it came easily to me. My default setting is how did I make this happen? What did I do wrong! Why is it my fault? And this habit is very hard to break, 62 years down the line. But I have to persevere.

        • I think that having had my eyes opened, I am more able to see the evidence that bears out the non-spackled view. That, in turns, gives me more confidence that my non-spackled impression of their “showing me who they are” is right. But you’re right, it’s tough to let it go. It’s still my default, too; it’s just that I am quicker to understand it’s my knee jerk response, not reality.

      • Adelante – OMG. “The benefit of the doubt.” I have heard this from so many people over the years. When I reflect on it now, it was usually to excuse shitty behavior on their part. “Give me the benefit of the doubt, will you?” I absolutely cringe anytime I hear someone use that phrase anymore. Even other betrayed spouses. “You have to give people the benefit of the doubt.” I did. That’s what I’ve been doing. For years. Still, I ended up with a cheating husband, deceiving friend, and a community that abandoned me.

      • I made a promise to myself not to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s easy to just wait to make a judgment, to not be in a hurry to befriend someone, to take my time to see if the person shares my values and knows how to do friendship. We don’t give “the benefit of the doubt” to people who behave well; we give it to people who behave badly.

  • I think it’s a bit weird that our society seems to revere the notion of not picking sides when a couple divorces. I see tons of advice columns out there about how to stay friends with both halves of a divorced couple, holding it up as some sort of Platonic ideal. Even if there isn’t infidelity or other types of abuse happening, there’s nothing wrong with picking sides. Knowing this, the boundary I drew for myself is while I didn’t cut off Switzerland acquaintances, I did cut off some formerly close friends who decided to still hang out with my ex even after I told them about the abuse. I gave people a pass if I wasn’t close enough to them to disclose the abuse. What I found was interesting was who distanced themselves from my ex all on their own. One fried said she unfriended him because the stuff he was posting in social media made her feel really uncomfortable.

  • I found that the people who knew us both – his family and some mutual friends made it clear (through their words or actions) that they couldn’t provide the support I would need.

    I am grateful that I had still had people in my life who proceeded my thirty-year relationship with the ex. And I had the resources to put together a self-care plan and quickly make new friends.

    The grief/healing is surreal in this situation. Bizzaro worldish. I suppose people don’t know what to do in the face of that much pain. I had to internalize the belief that infidelity is abuse and use it to fix me, not to try to fix them. No contact.

  • Just get rid of them. All of them. Clean slate. My sister told me at a lunch she understood where my ex was coming from and showed me pictures of him and his new girlfriend. I told her 1. That’s the adult baby who plays pedophile sex fantasies with him. 2. He talked about killing me, he could have just divorced me. 3. He said I’m incestuous. Who in our family am I supposedly fucking? You?!

    All stuff I already told her, multiple times. But she acted surprised to hear it… again. It didn’t sit well with me so I didn’t see her for the holidays. Offered to see her for dinner around Christmas. Well, she wanted to do something late night and didn’t give a shit I work early mornings. Well then nevermind. If it has to be unpleasant for me, I’m not doing it.

    Saw her once after the holidays and it went ok but upon leaving she tried to hit me with a guilt trip about how tough the holidays were for her. Yeah, because holidays have been so great for me the past couple years. I put the holidays on and invited her the first year after my divorce. Maybe she could grow the fuck up and host, have some consideration I’m going through some shit. But fuck me, only her feelings matter. I’m just a non human thing to be used.
    I’m fucking done. I don’t have a sister anymore. She can go play victim and whine and cry about how mean I am. I’m done with the gaslighting and her acting shocked every time I remind her of things I’ve told her over and over again. She probably fucked him anyways. She can go be his family.

    • That’s horrible. Thats something very painful, when its your own flesh and blood
      Your last assumption was something that went through my mind.

      • She lived with us for several years and I worked nights. It would’ve been really, really easy with them home together alone four nights a week. I’ll never know for sure either way but I know I had weird feelings several times. I’ve learned the hard way to listen when I have those weird feelings now.

    • KatiePig, “blood don’t make family”. Good for you for standing up for yourself. You will be fine without that level of disrespect and cruelty. My sister told me “Don’t ask me for anything I can’t help you.” then got in the vehicle that I gave her and drove away. Never again.

      • The vehicle you gave her… that hits close to home for me. I did so much for mine (let her live in my home) and what did I ever really get back? Not even full support while going through the most difficult time in my life? She has to “see his side”?!

        They’re unbelievable. We’re better off without them.

    • Hi KatiePig. Your sister sounds a lot like mine. She also does the “You never told me that” crap over and over. It drives me crazy and it’s been going on for years. I used to think she just wasn’t listening but I’m not sure now. She also sided with my ex and I think she had sex with him the night my second daughter was born. She had come to visit and stay for a while after I got home from the hospital. But, early the next morning she and my ex showed up and said they were on the way to the airport as she had decided to go home. To this day she acts like that was a normal thing to do and seems surprised at how upset I was. I wish I could divorce her too.

      • Ugh, I’m so sorry. I know it’s awful. She’s gaslighting you. They know they’re doing it. You can divorce her too. I know it may seem impossible, took me several years to get to that point, but you can cut her out. You do not have to take it.

  • I allowed the XFW. PF. to keep the 2 vacation homes and all the property. Almost all mutual friend became Switzerland and still enjoy the benefits of these properties and the parties and his dazzling company. It is crystal clear why they chose him and I am NC with all. I have a great group of friends and do not miss any of the old ones.

  • “Every reply you gave there was a rational statement, not an insult.”

    ^^^
    The mindblender effect! With FW, even my worst “insults” made sense and were usually attempts to explain myself or make some sort of sense out of his mindfucking words and actions. (His response was to DARVO and make it about how mean and abusive I was.) I so relish getting to see CL’s snarky take on the deserved/rational response. UBT helps scratch the “if it feels good, don’t do it” itch.

    When it comes to Switzerland, I’ve had an easier time refraining from responding because far less is at stake. Most of the insensitive comments I’ve encountered stem from ignorance and/or weak character, but I rarely feel personally attacked – nor do I feel invested in the outcome (whereas with FW, I was quite literally fighting for my life, home and sanity). I also remind myself that Switzerland has not been on the receiving end of FW’s abuse, nor have they seen the emails and texts I’ve seen, showing what the sneaky coward was up to while shamelessly sobbing to me, professing his undying love and overwhelming sadness. They didn’t uncover evidence from years worth of double lives that revealed FW as a shameless, shallow, pity-seeking phony. They didn’t love him, they didn’t experience PTSD, and they didn’t sacrifice themselves only to lose everything. It’s unbelievable, and it’s not that important to them. I get it.

    My approach has been to share at least the basics with mutual friends I care/cared about. It’s no secret that I was a good person and loyal partner while FW cheated and lied for years, with multiple partners, nor that the final time I came back to “reconcile” (after he begged me to) was absolute hell for me. Scary. “Friends” know I do not forgive FW and that while I am relieved to be rid of him forever, I am not “over” the consequences of his longterm abuse, cheating, stealing and lying. I know where I stand with folks who nevertheless choose to stay in touch with him, or if they say things like, “but he really cares about you,” or, “I’m really worried because he’s really struggling and we shouldn’t abandon him,” or any number of other trite and idiotic victim-blaming/shaming responses I’m sure we’ve all encountered. (Contrast with those who ignore and avoid/block him, mock him, want to kill him, joke about castrating him, fight the urge to confront him or comment and out him on his ridiculous YouTube channel.) I don’t bother to tell Switzerland how I feel, because I already have. I just stop responding and eventually they leave me alone. It was painful at first, but it’s fine now.

    The best way to sum it up, for myself and for anyone who wants to know: Any friend of mine is no friend of FW. If I make myself central, this simple and true statement leaves no room for ambiguity, and it helps me let go of people I once loved. It helps me have expectations, and it makes me appreciate the people I can truly call friends because they actually care about me and share my same core values around honesty, kindness and integrity. I also love that with my real friends, FW rarely comes up, and it’s not because we’re avoiding him; he’s just not central or important.

    • I think your point about just going silent toward these people is well made. In my experience, most of the Swiss friendships were casual at best, and often somewhat one sided (meaning I put in most of the effort). Just ceasing to reach out has solved about 95% of these relationships for me.

  • switzerland friends came to visit not long after X left and we were in the mediation process, discussing how to split pension.

    SF (husband): “are you feeling pressure during the mediation process?”

    me: “no, but i need to understand how pensions work and i’m having the pension evaluated by an independent pension actuary just to ensure it’s accurate.”

    SF (wife): “but it’s important to just get this agreement done, no?”

    me: “it’ll get done but i do need to understand all components.”

    SF (wife) says to her husband: “you agree with me, don’t you?”

    SF (husband): “well, it’s important she understands what she’s signing.”

    SF (wife),visibly steaming, says to me: “there is no need to get emotional (said in italics) about this, now.”

    me, eyebrows up in my hairline: “is that southern lady talk for bless you? because i know what that means.”

    SF (husband): awkward silence

    they left not long after this exchange and i’m never having them in my house again. fuckers. they have no clue what’s going on and refuse to face the facts.

    • Why was she so emotional about it? Based on all the horrible things I’ve learned about what’s typical for cheaters my knee jerk reaction is that she’s fucking him too. And her husband is probably a cuck who watches them screw. Maybe he jerks off and cries during it.

      Oh, the things I wish I didn’t know about!

  • I left the city where ex and I reared our kids about a decade ago. I pass through there from time to time when I go see my son in San Francisco.

    I was in a Starbucks there after cruising by the old house (just gotta stop that, yeah, it’s appreciated a million bucks and I could use the money. But I digress.)

    I ran into one of “our” friends in the Starbucks—really one of the parents of schoolmates of our now grown children.

    She insisted in catching up on things. Ok, fine, why not.

    At some point she tells me that she always sounded off what my ex used to tell the “girls” about me when they all used to go for a walk regularly.

    So I shouldn’t have let her go on, but I did. 10 years out, I’m remarried, but there’s still ways to get more pain out of the past.

    She tells me the ex blamed me for her cheating and used to tell the girls I had cheated so she was cheating “and did not know how to stop!”

    (Note: I never cheated.)

    I just looked at that lady in disbelief, not that the ex would try to boo-hoo about her active cheating. But that this person who had been in my house many times, along with all the other “girls” never once thought to tell me that the ex was both giving up juicy details of her infidelity and slandering me by telling them I had done so first.

    Then I told her she was at least 15 years too late in telling me about what she knew.

    I stood up and left.

    I really have no contact with anyone in that place I lived for 20 years, so to find out through a rare random moment a decade after leaving that my ex’s behavior is the only topic of conversation an erstwhile friend can manage with me is kind of shocking.

  • “At the time of the split their ‘neutrality’ was painful to me”. Adelante, I completely agree with that!
    It’s such a raw and vulnerable period, every heartless jab cuts.
    I felt like I wanted to be big and mature about the whole thing and tried in the beginning not to have every bit of my life blow up at once, piecing together what was left with some scotch tape and post its, trying desperately to keep it as whole as I possibly could.
    But what I was forced to realize, it’s just so much bigger than two ppl splitting, it affects the entirety of our lives and all the people in it.
    The collateral damage is not avoidable and our goal should be to protect ourselves, blocking access of the Switzerland “ takes two to tango” mentality so called “ friends”, which only magnifies the abuse we are experiencing.
    It’s easier for them not to get it, it selfishly lessens the impact on them.
    It then becomes essential to drop certain ppl from our lives that may, whether conscious or not, derail our healing by implying we were somehow a catalyst for the abuse, thus compounding it for us.
    That BS is in a no fly zone!
    We can’t continue to make excuses for their ignorance,or lack of wanting to understand.
    It’s pretty fascinating how you get to see others’ true colors in times of crisis and discover that some ppl are, basically, just not worth the effort to keep in our lives.
    It’s been a real eye opening experience.
    So we scale down our relationships, spring cleaning out our innermost circles down to a really tight, loving and genuine cluster. We really have no time for ppl who don’t have our backs.
    I believe the results will be a nice clean and safe house that we are all really proud to live in.

  • Switzerland friends are worse if they are relatives who have, somewhere along the way, decided your marriage wasn’t worth preserving and then proceed to diminish, oh, the last 20 yrs of one’s life. Oh, and you were a horrible wife and or you could have ended that blob of imperfection such a long time ago. Or you knew he wasn’t a good spouse yet you had a baby how dare you. How stupid. And of course his relatives believe all the crap he said to justify his behavior. Oh I could go on and on. One even caught him cheating but never said a word. Until he was gone. Then they mention it. Ho hum!

  • Turns out it helps that we really didn’t have many joint friends to divide. A small pie!! I used to say that we needed to cultivate more friendships. Little did I know he was busy with a double life and probably couldn’t even imagine fitting in extra activities. Poor guy was juggling so much! A bulging bullet journal of lies and trysts. And he had to keep it all secret! Tough times!

    Frankly, he had/has only activity-specific friends, namely other guys who like to fly fish (and women who like to fuck). I’m slightly sad about losing those fishing guys and their wives. I’ve seen them at a couple weddings, and I’m wary. They say things to me like, “So shattering” but then invite him on yet another guy-guy fishing trip. No thank you.

    There’s just one of these women that I’m still friends with. Ugh. I just don’t want to let her go. I know her husband maintains a friendship with x; but she doesn’t. I’ve told her not to tell me anything about him; still, stuff slips out. Although I really value her friendship. I have one foot out the door. I hate this feeling.

    And I’ve ghosted his sister who is herself a chump and was my college roommate. Honestly, I don’t blame her for wanting to maintain a relationship with her only sibling. But she can’t have me, too.

    Soooo, the damn FW has ruined more than our 35-year marriage and and family. So much collateral damage!

    And yet, x has the sadz. “It’s just that you’ll get everyone.” Give that man points for a moment of self-awareness. When you don’t cultivate relationships, you can’t count on maintaining those relationships when times are tough. Helps to have a friendship green thumb. All it takes is integrity and empathy–qualities that x lacks.

    When he would say something stupid at a party, I would swoop in and help erase the damage. I’m not there to do that now. Maybe wifetress does the honors, or maybe not. I don’t care.

    Hello Tuesday. I don’t care.

    • I mention his party faux-pas problem to show that he has an uncanny ability to say stupid shit that alienates people. Because I’m not there to “fix it,” I assume he’s alienating even his few friends. Or maybe not. Maybe they’re a forgiving lot. Maybe the wifetress does the codep chumpy two-step even better than I. No idea.

      Not my circus and all that.

  • These aren’t even Switzerland friends. These are people who are chumps in denial or cheaters, and seeing what happened to you is scary. What if it happened to them? So they lash out at you to punish you for making them have these uncomfortable feelings.

    None of that is an excuse for how they’re treating you – but what they’re doing isn’t about you, or even out of some misplaced desire to be “neutral”. It’s about them and their own crappy little lives.

  • I ran into a mutual friend (male) and there was a bit of awkwardness- so he tried to sum it up by stating: “The heart wants, what the heart wants.”
    I was so stunned at his insensitivity that I stared at him for a moment and then I just walked away.
    I think now, that was probably the best reply I could have given.
    And by the way, I hate that expression.

    • Oh FFS!

      I hate that expression, too.

      You know, I suspect a lot of people share that sentiment and/or they assume there was something terribly wrong with the marriage (or the chump). Even if you clarify and say that infidelity is abuse, I get the feeling these people nod in agreement but really think, “Yeah, they just had a bad marriage. Happens all the time.”

      Dammit.

      • In the UK we are suffering Matt Hancock, MP and ex health minister, justifying his actions regarding his affair with his aid during lockdown. He had no control over what happened blah, blah. And no respect for his ex wife and kids it seems. He woke one small child up in the night to say he was leaving before the press broke the story of his affair. The current whining is part of his ‘rehabilitation’. It nauseates me and I have to accept that it represents reality for most people who haven’t been through this. There are some kind empaths who get it. But most people have no idea. I’ve given up saying anything save in a space that I know is safe. And so many people have had affairs that I don’t know about.

        • They were in love so social guidance suggestions were wrong for them!!! Early Partygate or what!

          • I remember my fw saying to me, it wasn’t about sex. That is when I knew it was all bout sex, because everything he ever said to me was a lie; so I knew that was a lie.

            Fast forward years later he told my daughter in law “Susie was attractive and we never had an issue with sex, I just was in an environment where I wanted to fit in, it was my ego.” That is all about sex. He just eventually got tangled up in the workplace auger, shit all over himself and me.

            Sometimes I still shake my head at how stupid he was.

            She just told me this recently when I was spending some time at my sons. It was a time of trying to get through some awful losses, first his dad, then a month later my brother and his wife.

            She had a strained relationship with fw, and she absolutely hated whore. I am sure what whore did to me was a small part of it, but the biggest issue was the way whore and fw treated her and her children, who were my and fw’s grandchildren.

    • Yep – that’s probably the sentiment I would hear if I was still in contact with his family or friends.

      I’d be tempted to ask “Oh, how many hearts are in your marriage?” or “Mature, honest people consider more than their heart” or “Really? I thought the expression was “the dick wants what the dick wants”.

      Hee, hee. I’m on a roll.

    • That exact quote was Woody Allen’s excuse for marrying his stepdaughter (after grooming her as a teenage). Your ex-friend revealed an awful lot about himself with that comment.

  • PSA to CN

    Sorry to hijack this thread, but just want to alert people to the new Ali Wong Netflix comedy special.

    I love Ali Wong so was excited to watch this latest special. Unfortunately, the main story line is that she wants to cheat on her husband.

    Let’s just say that I was triggered and angry. This is how infidelity gets normalized. I know. I know. Some will say that I need to have a sense of humor, to understand that it’s just a joke. But dammit. Such casual reference to infidelity serves to minimize the pain for all chumps. We are truly off in the wings, left to lick our insignificant wounds.

    • Thank you for the PSA. Post chumping such stuff is triggering. There is good material out there that does get it but it sounds like that was not.

    • That is such bullshit. I’m sick of the glorifying of cheating being used as a cheap device to add “spice” in movies, books, and on TV. Aside from being morally objectionable, it’s lazy writing.

    • Has CL ever done a page just on triggers?

      Some of my triggers are bands/music I used to enjoy. Colors. Restaurants. Vacation places. Comedians. BRANDS of WOMEN’S SHOES. Entire brands of shoes FFS!

      FW ruined so many things for me, sometimes I feel so thin skinned & raw I can barely stand it.

  • You need a heart friend. Someone who gets you and loves you and supports you no matter what. You only need one of those. My brother had his best friend from childhood and me and the rest of the family but it was mostly me and his friend. Other siblings were sometimes not as available but I always was. So was his friend. I heard a psychologist say one friend like that is worth all their weight in gold because they never tarnish.

  • I think there’s a difference between Switzerland friends and complete assholes. Switzerland friends are the ones who say things like “affairs happen for many reasons” or “there are two sides to every story”. And complete assholes are closer to the ones in this post. Most of these comments are just straight out victim blaming. I had a mix of Swiss and assholes. For example I got the “two sides” BS but I also got “sex is really important to a man”.
    Both the Swiss and the assholes suck and are unhelpful in their own special ways. And honestly I yearn for Schadenfraude for some of the assholes I had to deal with along the way!

  • 😆 Love the snappy answers to stupid things Switzerland passive-aggressives say.

    My answers would be ruder, because I’m a meany-headed harpy from hell, according to ex fuckwit. Hell yeah I am, but only when people deserve it. Oh boy, do these people deserve it.

    “Well I would never hire somebody else to take care of my children. See what comes of it.”

    -Spoken like an ignoramus who doesn’t require childcare. Are you suggesting women shouldn’t work outside the home and deserve to be cheated on if they do? Wrong century, dumbass.”

    “I knew something was fishy 5 years ago.”

    -Fishy? What- did you smell pussy on his breath? Anyone who who cared about me would tell me that my spouse was cheating, so we know where that leaves you.

    “What did you think would happen if you left him home with the nanny all day?”

    -Oh, should I have quit my job too, just to stay home and monitor his chronically unemployed ass? Perhaps I should have put a chastity belt on him, since according to you he has no control over where his dick finds itself?

    Those people suck. People in my life knew better than to try to blame me, but they wanted me to forgive fuckwit so we could all pretend it never happened, just for the sake of their comfort. They were furious when I wouldn’t and I got yelled at on a family visit, accused of being inconsiderate to their feelings. The gall of them! Here I was with serious trauma, suicidal, and I was supposed to stay with the person who caused it because of their feelings? My mom even pulled out the “I don’t have long to live” card. I guess she meant I was supposed to stay with fuckwit until she died, which is bizarre. I told them they were being selfish and mean, that they could shove their feelings about *my* life where the sun don’t shine. Then I left. After that didn’t work on me they softened it to trying to guilt trip and gaslight me more subtly instead of shouting at me and casting aspersions on my character.
    My answer to their manipulations was usually; “Really? Have we met?” then to hang up the phone. I wouldn’t talk to them again until they stopped.

    One night, a short time after Dday when Mars was visible, which it normally is not, my mother said she thought that was a sign for me and fuckwit staying together. I said; “You do know Mars is the God of war, right? So yeah, it does seem like a sign.”

    WTF is wrong with these people. Being cruel to an already devastated person is despicable.

    • Love your replies, OHFFS! I will use these. FW’s sister was my best friend. She was the first person I told when I found out my husband of 22 years had been having an affair for 3 years. She was sympathetic at first but at week 2–literally 14 days!–she said I really should stop talking about it, why haven’t I gotten over it, and “bitterness was unattractive.” Oh and “We really don’t know the side of the other woman.” What the fucking fuck. I cut her off after that. I tried to reconcile with her a year later, but she was resolute in her assholery. So that’s it. Goodbye.

      • That’s rough, Chumpupthejam. For me, it’s one of the losses that still hurts, even though I’ve accepted it. As chumps, we have to leave behind so much, essentially overnight. I can tell myself I’m better off and that I don’t care, but sometimes, I do.

        A couple months after I moved away, my ex-SIL apologized for not telling me about her FW brother’s infidelity when she learned about it, several months before I did. I was shocked and hurt to learn this, but I was taken by surprise enough that it didn’t really hit me until after I hung up, when a flood of past conversations and memories resurfaced and I realized how terribly she’d betrayed me. At the end of the conversation, after saying how sorry she was about everything (I believe her) and how ashamed she was of her brother, she added that he still cared deeply about me. WTF, how could
        she honestly believe, let alone tell me that? In the moment, before it all sank in, I forgave her and accepted her apology, but it didn’t take long for me to decide our relationship was over. I considered her family and loved her kids like my own niece and nephew, but I haven’t spoken with her since that phone call. It’s all so surreal. No more holiday or birthday gifts and cards, no more phone calls and FaceTimes, no more hugs and visits. I’m afraid that if I run into those kids unexpectedly, suddenly two years older, I’ll crumple on the spot. I miss them very much, but it would be too complicated for me – and confusing/unfair to them – to maintain contact. Fucking fuckwits!

      • What a bitch! It sounds like she decided the sparkly new couple was more her cup of tea, which they were, being selfish assholes like she is. Sorry you went through that CUTJ.

  • When I was going through my divorce, a “friend” told me that I brought it on myself because I had forsaken God and he is a jealous God. She told me that I had put my husband before Him. Funny how she was able to read my mind psychically and knew this. Because I thought I loved God more. Guess she had to tell herself that. Turns out she had forsaken Him too because her husband went and did the same thing. Lol, yes, the petty was strong in me and I told her the same thing when her time came.. Do NOT kick me when I’m down, I don’t fight fair, especially when I’m in pain.

  • Yes, men cheat on stay-at-home moms who give up their career for the benefit of his career and the family.

    I realize there was nothing I did or did not do that caused him to cheat.

    He was jealous when I worked; he was jealous when I didn’t. He saw me as competition, not his partner.

    When he had an opportunity to stroke his own ego, he took it. Again and again — as I later learned his was a serial cheater. Yes, there were signs I either missed or chose not to see… No, I actually confronted him about those. He lied; I believed him. Because he was supposed to be the ONE person in the world who I could count on to have my back. Instead, he abused me. What a douchbag.

    • “He saw me as competition, not his partner.”

      This struck a nerve. It took me two decades to realize ex-spouse competed with me in all things: professionally, obviously; by the end, the last three years, as kids prepared to launch, her attempts to be cool mom resulted in grotesque triangulations of the kids: keeping secrets from me with the kids, etc. The triangulating f my personal friends and mentors? The triangulating of kids is what irritated me most. The positive aspect was that on paper she was attentive parent; the negative aspect, she sought always to win. She sought so cunningly to alienate our kids from me. Besides being exhausting to deal with, it’s clear her sabotaging and faux parenting was driven by a desire for impression management in wake of multiple affairs.

      I don’t know: we hang on; we try real hard; we lose. I’m four years out and miss my family that will never, ever again be in tact. My kids are launched by now—colleges far from home—and I miss them too.

      Lately I’ve been reading Dante’s DC. Sounds weirds but it helps.

      My point? Genius does not compete. I know a few geniuses who say that and did long before they were so labeled by the various authorities who claim to know: MacArthur, Pulitzer, Guggenheim, even the folks over at Noble. My own feeling, not being so smart: genius derives from one’s spirit, or soul. And a good soul does not sabotage the lives of others to win; a good soul does not sweep the leg; a good soul does not compete with others seeking to tear it down. A good soul loves, and heals, and moves on. As John Milton observes, “Those also serve who stand and wait.” Be kind. The universe is bigger than the sociopaths who run it. I despise those who seek to raise themselves by the tearing down of others. Love wins. Grace heals. Or so I remind myself when the pain—even after four years—still rises.

      My first rule: do not lash out in anger; my second rule, seek joy, fellowship, grace.

      It’s a pretty day.

  • Cancer survivor here putting in her two cents when it comes to Switzerland friends and life in general:

    1) Life is short and can threaten to become shorter at any moment. Remember that when contemplating who you spend your time with and how you spend it.

    2) Ditch Switzerland friends. Ditch ‘em like they’re radioactive waste. No Geneva Accord. They’re not on your side, they’re charlatans hanging around for tidbits of gossip to fill their half-baked lives, like the void cream filling leaves in an empty pastry shell. There are no benefits to keeping them around.

    3) While flawed people in an imperfect world necessitate navigating gray zones at times, some things are simply black and white. Example: If I ever witnessed a person abusing or torturing a helpless animal, they could never, ever, ever enter into my world. Not only would I never have anything to do with them – including crossing the street to pee on them if they were on fire – the only interaction I would consider would be to beat them back until they looked like bloody tomato. Animal abuse in my book = black and white. There’s not an in between.

    When Switzerland “friends” side with, or fluff over your pain, to cozy up with your tormentor and diminish the egregious betrayal you experienced, what they’re really saying is, “you’re unworthy of acknowledging your wound. Your pain isn’t deserving of being respected. Mine is, but yours isn’t. Aren’t you used to being kicked around and having your feelings ignored by now?” (Coincidentally, these are usually the same people who when getting a hangnail, complain about it on social media while giving daily updates of their distress, and expect their spouse to bring them an “I’m sorry your toe is in pain” floral bouquet.)

    Ditch the Switzerland friends. Slam the door in their face as if they’re a door-to-door salesman trying to sell you day-old dog shit. YOU matter. YOUR pain matters. You ARE worthy. It’s better to be alone that amongst quislings and turncoats. True friends are out there.

    • This is a great post, MsAzure. Chumps should recognize that they don’t need to be kicked around by people who claim to be friends but aren’t: “When Switzerland ‘friends/ side with, or fluff over your pain, to cozy up with your tormentor and diminish the egregious betrayal you experienced, what they’re really saying is, ;you’re unworthy of acknowledging your wound. Your pain isn’t deserving of being respected.'”

  • While still married 35 years and me having him sleep in our basement after discovery my cold ex sister-in-law said to me “ don’t worry he’s just in Lust” hit me straight in my heart. She had an affair with her now husband while married to first wife. Dropped her immediately and blocked her. She now is a widow which I won’t give her any comfort. One of the many Switzerland friends gone. 👍

  • My ex was a champion PAS’er. He pulled not only our kids but most of our neighbors and all of our “friends” into a fiction that featured me abusing our offspring. Oddly enough, CPS never contacted me, and he made no effort to get custody. It was all just him flapping his gums at anyone credulous enough to swallow his crap.

    Nowadays the details bore me too much to recount. Long to short, a Swiss Miss whom I’d considered my closest friend tried to pull me into a triangle that included her, me and the child she now considered my “abused” eldest daughter. I responded to her efforts with mockery and derision. And you know, some sh!t just sticks. It shocks me that years later, I’m still angry enough to hope that my scorn and contempt hurt her as badly as did her abandonment of me.

    I assume she went elsewhere to create the outside drama she needed to distract herself from the lyin’ cheatin’ scuzzball she’s still married to.

  • “Where there is deception, there is no relationship.”

    You don’t cause someone else to deceive you. To betray you. Nope.

    Cheating is the final frontier of victim-blaming. Say so whenever appropriate.

    Anyone who engages in victim-blaming is on my No Fly list. If they realize the serious error in their thinking and want to make amends to me, maybe I will reevaluate.

    Wedding vows say to forsake all others. They don’t say anything about not feeling attraction to others, which is normal and human. But when you cross the line into acting on it and break the contract, that is on the person who crosses the line, and the person or persons who knowingly cross with them.

    A person of honor and integrity, upon feeling attraction, would give the nanny notice and severance pay. If the nanny was flirtatious, she would be shown the door STAT.

    It is re-traumatizing to be blamed for other people violating you. It is then up to me to protect myself from being violated by them again.

    • Having been to Switzerland, I don’t know that I even agree 100% with the term “Switzerland friends”, though I appreciate the thinking behind it.

      From my domestic violence education came the term “collude”.
      “Colluding with violence” means standing by and doing/saying nothing to prevent it or oppose it.

      I prefer the term “collusive friends”.
      And switching out “friend” for “associates”.

      Used in a sentence?

      “I thought they were my friends but as it turns out they are just collusive associates.”

    • I liked Switzerland very much and appreciate the concept of neutrality, though in my own life I need to stand up for what is right and speak up if I think something is wrong.

      (If you ever go, be sure to see the Chagall windows in the Protestant cathedral in Zurich…..)

      • I’m of a similar mind to you on this, Velvet Hammer (as well as many other of your other comments!) Not only do I have literal Switzerland friends, (you know, friends who are Swiss and live in Switzerland), the term just rankles today, the day that Switzerland dropped the neutrality it’s had for more than 200 years in favour of supporting Ukraine and adopting sanctions against Russia. I think it’s HUGE they’ve done that, especially as they’re not even members of the European Union.

        So, RESPECT to Switzerland friends. On the other hand: collusive associate, go fuck yourself!

    • So true!!!

      In particular, this part resonates: “A person of honor and integrity, upon feeling attraction, would give the nanny notice and severance pay. If the nanny was flirtatious, she would be shown the door STAT.”

      I keep thinking of how x told many of his friends that this nurse was flirting with him and that he wondered what he should do. “Oh me. Oh my. Whatever should I do?”

      All of them told me that they told him to basically shut that shit down “because you’re married.”

      Obviously, he didn’t. He ramped that shit up. He went in with eyes wide open. He knowingly betrayed me. It wasn’t some accident. He contemplated it A LOT.

      Also, regarding his asking for advice: That’s BS. He wasn’t looking for advice. He simply wanted to tell them that he was some hot shit who enjoyed the attentions of a hot, young nurse. If it had been socially acceptable, he would have taken out an ad. In other words, he was just bragging. Typical covert narc move.

      To this day, I wonder if he still thinks they’re all jealous of him. Shallow as he is, he assumes they all secretly wish they could leave their wives for someone younger. Ok, he also knows they wouldn’t trade places because he’s lost his kids and grandkids, but that’s my fault…

      That he encouraged at least one of his friends to cheat shows how low he can go. Hop in the mud with me so I can feel better about myself! Truly despicable (p.s. That guy remains his friend.) Go figure!

  • We were only together about 4 years, both after long marriages. So we each had our own friends. I cut out all of his friends and family from my life – that was easy. Sad, but easy.

    I have a problem now – I have a friend who is good friends with a woman who had a very public affair with a coworker, and who is now married to him and very public about their love. He lost his career for her. And yet, all these happy pictures of their vacations, their older kids all together, make me sick for their Chumped spouses.

    And my bf’s ex-wife is also good friends with the FW woman. She probably cheated on the bf. I think they encouraged each other to cheat.

    So even though it doesn’t directly involve me, it’s hard to see these FWs lead these lives with their “the heart wants what it wants” attitude.

    • I need my relationships to be with people who have similar values and character. Maybe you feel the same?

    • If these pictures appear on social media, just make sure that you have all accounts blocked where they might be posted. Out of sight, out of mind. If pictures are being thrust at you by your mutual friend, well simply ask her to stop because they’re triggers for you and bring up past pain.

      Social media’s a terrible place for painful curiosity and/or pain shopping. It’s so easy to peek at others online. The practice is not doing so, and setting up your feeds to never see those types of pictures. I spent a fair amount of time doing this immediately after the split with my ex. Worth it.

    • I think sometimes we have to just decide not to give these people any of our precious mental space. Note that they are not like you and avoid them.

  • Get rid of shitheads pronto because you don’t want them around in future times of either great fortune or misfortune– the moments when shitheads “activate” and either spoil any joy or put out fires with gasoline.

    I’ve done this automatically for years because of past experience. Apropos of the subject, I fired and replaced a nanny a year before D-day because she plugged polyamory. It never occurred to me back then she might be the screw-the-employer type because she was a dumpy, neurotic pothead (oops, so was the AP). What triggered me was that she had a glint in her eye as she said married sex must get boring. That followed several earlier comments about my appearance. Not “exactly” criticisms but passive aggressive stuff that could be taken either way which, like the poly opinion-foist, were completely unbidden and obviously intended to unsettle.

    The glint gave it away. I get away from glinters as a rule because, again, shit can happen in life– deaths of loved ones, disability, economic mishaps, etc.– and I figured out over time to quickly get far away from anyone who looks like they might revel in your misfortune even just a teeny bit. Or they crush the highlights– either way.

    I may have been clueless about FW’s cheating back then but I wasn’t clueless about the importance of surrounding myself and the kids with allies. Consequently when D-Day came around, I was sitting pretty with no potential enemies in the fold except FW. It really helped get me through and also prevented further social upheaval in the kids’s lives. All the good souls we’d collected over the years held steady and the shits had already been weeded.

  • I found that I never felt the same about friends or family who said shit like “an affair would never happen in MY marriage because we take care of each other’s needs.”

    It felt like victim blaming, because it was. And they were too stupid/egotistical to realize it.

    • About the only thing an acquaintance ever said to me was “I promised myself I would never get divorced”. The preachers wife was standing there and she was horrified, as she knew the basic situation. I just said “sometimes you don’t get a choice”. Preachers wife backed up what I said. I politely walked away.

      As if, I had a choice in what he did. I am sure that made the speaker think they had control; and honestly she was about 35ish, and I wonder if down the line she got her life blown up. It isn’t as if it is unusual.

  • Fortunately, I didn’t have people saying inane things like this to me, aside from OW and FW.

    However, I DID drop every single friend that I’d had with FW. If they so much as were Facebook friends with him or OW, I unfriended and blocked. I actually had some of them spying on my social media, taking screen shots and sending them to FW. OW also lied her way into some private divorce support groups on FaceBook for the express purpose of stalking me and taking screenshots, with which FW tried to blackmail me. They weren’t anything I was ashamed of or afraid about. Just me venting a bit. And OW wasn’t smart enough to crop her profile picture and name out of the shots, so I knew who it was and shut that down fast.

    I don’t regret losing any of those “friends”. They weren’t friends, not even to FW. They were sycophants, using him as much as he was using them. He was in the arts community (filmmaking) and most of those friends were actors or otherwise involved in the community. They saw him as someone who could advance their careers, and so it was really no surprise that they would open their arms to his AP and drop me like a hot potato. I had nothing to offer them. I also found out that a lot of them knew about the affair long before I did. Not one person thought to tell me. Not one person checked on me to see if I was okay after FW left me. I don’t need people like that.

    I’m not a super-social person. I have one really good friend whom I love. We talk for hours on the phone every week. She’s been there for me the whole time. My ex didn’t like her, because she never bought his BS. He tried to discourage me from spending time with her, but I did anyway. She is a true friend and I’d rather have one true friend than a hundred fair weather friends. They weren’t even Switzerland friends. They all came down firmly on FW’s side. I realized later that he had likely been trashing me to them for YEARS, so they were actually happy for him when he left me. I have no use for people who smile to my face and trash me behind my back, who lie and pretend to care. Fuck that.

    It’s ironic, and very sad, that NOT ONE of his “friends” noticed my ex was missing. I was the only one who went looking for him. I was the one who contacted the police. I was the one who found his body. I found out later that he had actually confided that he had tried to kill himself to a couple of those “friends”, and they did nothing to try to help him. They didn’t think to contact the authorities, or me (the mother of his young child). They just stayed silent. When my ex’s sister found out, she was furious. My ex had completely cut off his family (parents and sister). He hadn’t spoken to them in years. He didn’t want me to have anything to do with them either, but I stayed in contact with his sister. She came with me when the police went to his house.

    The people he pushed away, whom he thought didn’t love him, were the only ones who really cared about him – me, his sister, his parents. It’s tragic, really.

    • “I don’t regret losing any of those “friends”. They weren’t friends, not even to FW.”

      I think that is so true. I know his childhood friend who was a very good man, tried very hard to get FW to wake up to what he was doing when fws house of cards fell. I doubt he knew how long fw had been fucking me over, not to mention the community with his lies, as he was not really involved in all that.

      While I know they saw each other a few times after the fall; their relationship eventually faded. Bottom line is a good person can not have that in their life, they just can’t.

  • I received the following email from my rugby buddy who went through this a couple of years before me. It was in response to me thanking for being with me for the last 8 months since DDay. I told him that I must move on and appreciated all his help. His response was beautiful. He, like us, understands. Here it is;

    My dear friend, my ear and advice will always be ready and willing. You
    have never been or will ever be a burden. You are a brother, a friend and as
    much as you may feel this is one sided, it’s been amazing for me as well.
    Our talks have helped me heal. I’m not alone. We are human. We will hurt.
    It takes a superhuman strength to be able to keep this inside.

    Time will heal your wounds. There is no correct path, just A path. It’s
    crooked, muddy, sticky, cracked and oh so much more but it’s your path. You
    get to build it from here as you see fit. The cool thing about looking at
    the path you walked is to see how far and how much you went through. You
    are tough and loved. Now that you are part of this unfortunate brotherhood,
    at some point you’ll be called on to help those who are on that path behind
    you. Share your stories, help them, heal them.

    All I ask is that you don’t bury your feelings. Don’t hold them inside.
    Continue to reach out and share. I love the Alpha messages you share with
    me. I truly enjoy our conversations. So please continue to call me, text
    me, share with me. I need that in my life.

    Your friend,

    Nick

  • It’s really very simple. These aren’t your friends. They’re either really just his friends, or they’re cheater types themselves & their values are too different from yours. Stop socializing with them.

    One thing you learn from an ended serious long-term relationship is that your ex’s family & friends who claimed to care for you as much as for him really didn’t. They liked & loved you only as his other half. Once you’re not that other half, you’re no longer family or friend. It’s harsh but true.

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