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4 Ways Melinda Gates Keeps Her Divorce Classy

CN, if you ever wonder if you’re changing the narrative, take heart. Melinda French Gates just spiked one over the net for Team Chump last Thursday.

Several folks asked me to weigh in on CBS’s Mornings conversation with Melinda about her divorce from billionaire Microsoft mogul Bill Gates. Detracting points for Gayle King’s goopy use of “healing journey,” it was an otherwise stellar interview.

I’m not really sure why Melinda Gates would subject herself to such a thing. Perhaps it was to shove that “bitter-wife-drove-her-husband-to-stray” narrative down the toilet, hold its head underwater, and flush. Another swirly, Bill? 

Melinda was classy, scripted, and did not let anyone pin this divorce shit on her. She brought her A game, meant her vows, and let everyone know it.

How is that radical? It’s pathetic that this is radical, but it’s RADICAL. Melinda Gates didn’t go old school Stand By Your Man (after all… he’s just a Man…). And she didn’t go New School Esther Perel (Stand By Your Man 2.0.) — affairs are exuberant acts of defiance and I’m a silly unsophisticated goose for expecting monogamy.

Nope. Here’s how Melinda Gates flipped the script.

1.) She doesn’t accept fault. “I did nothing wrong. I hold my head high.” She went into marriage expecting to be married for life and says she gave every part of herself to her relationship.

2.) She’s real about the trauma. She talks about being planted face down in the carpet sobbing, “a lot of tears for many days.” How she wondered if she could go on. “How can this be? How can I get up? How am I going to move forward?” This is not the expected narrative of ‘Tis But a Trifle.

3.) She doesn’t let Bill Gates off the hook. You got a question about Jeffery Epstein? You’re going to have to ask Bill. You got a question about how many affairs Bill had? You’re going to have to ask Bill. Melinda has closed the spackle shop. She told you her side: She was a good wife, she hated Epstein and told Bill to stay the fuck away, she tried to reconcile with Bill, but she couldn’t continue to trust him. What Melinda Gates has left unsaid tells the story.

4.) She refuses the “friend” narrative. No conscious uncoupling for this billionaire philanthropist. Yes, she still works with Bill Gates. (I wonder how that works? “My people will call your people” as they send emissaries down the hall?) Why should she have to give up her life’s work?

It’s cordial. I’m sure Melinda extends the same courtesy to Bill that she does the Xerox vendor.

Melinda says, “There’s still healing that needs to happen. I certainly wish him well. I don’t wish him harm. I think we have a productive working relationship, and I think that will continue.”

Melinda will take two more cases of toner. Thanks, Bill.

I got the honest to God sense she’s happier to be rid of him. But the good sense not to say that. She let her classy exit say it for her.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “Society puts things on women, like it is our fault”

    BAM, Melinda…soul sister. I wish that we could have coffee.

    CL, thanks for posting this !

    • I don’t necessarily disagree with Melinda, because I think Society does – that said, as a male chump, having a Y chromosome still didn’t stop folk insinuating my ex’s cheating must be my responsibility somehow. Chumps gotta be blamed, regardless I guess.

      • It’s true that society does like to dogpile on women but society also loves to dogpile on chumps (if they left you or cheated on you it must mean there is something wrong with you). It sucks being either and/or both. 🙁

        • I think you said it EXACTLY RIGHT, Fourleaf. It doesn’t matter if you’re the wife left or the husband left. If you’re a Chump, the general consensus is something is wrong with you. Otherwise, this could happen to ANYBODY! And, most people can’t come to grips with the fact that, yes, it could happen to YOU!

          • “the general consensus is something is wrong with you. Otherwise, this could happen to ANYBODY! And, most people can’t come to grips with the fact that, yes, it could happen to YOU!”

            I am going to save this and use it.

            I have said it too a lot, but you stated it much more succinctly.

      • From the stories by male chumps, it sounds like she-cheaters are, like male cheaters, basically batterers, give or take death threats or broken bones.

        I’m glad professionals in the field are starting to identify cheating as “interpersonal violence” or IPV. The psychology of cheaters is so often identical to batterer psychology. Since the norm is not normal and our species can be pretty messed up, abuse is more common than it should be but is still not normal.

        Anyway, I think if cheaters are identified as abusers, it all makes more sense. I worked with battered women for several years and started to understand that, while most violent abusers are male, female abusers certainly exist (I’ve encountered them) and it still always boils down to character more than chromosomes or hormones.

        On the one hand, there’s no question that testosterone increases strength and aggression. For instance, female hyenas are among the most aggressive animals on earth and are known to have more testosterone than males of many other species. Also a sizeable percentage of women in prison for violent crimes have polycystic ovarian syndrome where their bodies produce too much testosterone. But top female athletes and CEOs may also have elevated testosterone and never abuse or assault anyone and there are very masculine men who wouldn’t harm the harmless and whose vigor is geared to protecting others.

        So while testosterone and family of origin issues can increase the odds that someone will be an abuser, what identifies abusers– aside from the bad things they do– is that they all have an elaborate system of rationalization for all the bad things they do whether it’s “evolution” or FOO or “she/he made me do it.” Latching on to factors that may only increase statistical likelihood but do not “cause” abuse and trying to cast these factors as “causes” is the hallmark of any abuser. Hormones and chromosomes don’t code for bullshit– that’s all on the bullshitter and abusers, regardless of gender, are bullshitters.

        • “ while most violent abusers are male, female abusers certainly exist… and it still always boils down to character”

          Humans of all genders and orientations can be rotten. CN stories about female cheaters have made this patently clear to me, as has the abundance of female AP’s.

          And then, there’s the patriarchy. Separate issue. Gender dynamics cannot be ignored or minimized in the context of infidelity or abuse of any kind. Chumps of all genders and orientations face many of the same challenges, but the gender of a chump *and* the gender of his/her partner are significant.

          I also think that HOAC’s point about testosterone, as it relates to aggression and strength (generally speaking), is significant when it comes to abusive dynamics. It sucks to be in an abusive relationship, but it is far more dangerous, and often more limiting and difficult to leave, when the abuser is bigger, stronger and more violent than the victim.

  • When I first read about this interview, I was initially skeptical. Billionaires don’t really breathe the same air as we normal folks, right?
    But I am happy that I was wrong. This beautiful, highly intelligent woman spoke her truth, but more importantly, knew exactly when her silence spoke volumes.
    I hate that the media has inferred that she knew and accepted her cheating bastard ex’s annual getaway with a former girlfriend. Oh hell no! I’d bet good money his extracurricular activities were cunningly arranged and covered up with the same lies and deceptions the we chumps know all so well.
    Hat’s off to Melinda today … and to every other man and woman who has empowered themselves by leaving an abusive partner and are reclaiming an authentic and fulfilling life, whatever it takes.

    • Cunningly arranged and covered up – brilliant wording. You speak for us all.

    • Bill’s reps are always quick to point out that the affair “that ended amicably”approximately 20 years ago. Uhm… their youngest child (of 3 kids) is also approximately 20 years old.

      What an ass!

  • Years ago when I left exhole, I met with a very respected well liked psychiatrist who advised me to extend the same courtesy to exhole that I would a cashier at Walmart. The good Dr told me I no longer have a relationship with him, that is over, and to interact with him on yes or no responses and say no more to him than I would a store clerk. It took me a bit to fully implement this, but I wish it hadn’t. Best decision I made for my healing was to to find this, it serves me well today.

    • Yes, my older attorney knew Bill Eddy personally and built his firm around his materials. Bill’s BIFF method made such a difference for me:


      I do like the store clerk example though. Keep it focused on the issue at hand, don’t be rude, and move on.

      • Oh my goodness, what a coincidence! My former boss, a family law attorney who knew Bill Eddy, also regarded his work highly. He incorporated it into his practice as well. I’m glad to see more of the legal community was catching on. Bill Eddy’s insights were life changing for me in my own life (and eventually divorce) too. My former boss has since retired from law and I have gone on to become an elementary teacher. Now I teach my new colleagues about the wonders of Bill Eddy and BIFF. If anyone hasn’t read BIFF I highly recommend it. What a game changer.

    • Yes, I agree that is the best way to treat them.

      To be fair it did help that he was so busy trying to save his ass at work that it wasn’t difficult for me. His whole life was falling around him, the part of his life that he valued (his promotion/big office/power) he was trying desperately to save it. So he was pretty pre occupied. He didn’t speak to his mother for over two months. She was agonizing her self to death. I finally told his sister where he was living and mom hunted him down like a dog.

      Once the D was final the only place I saw him was at a couple birthday parties for grandchildren and each of our two grand children’s graduation. A handful of times. Only the polite nod, and move on.

      But again I was helped by the fact that I moved far away due to my place of work closing.

    • Tough one for me. I am super nice to clerks at stores. Restaurant servers, Uber drivers, the pharmacist… I am smiles and friendliness with them all. Klootzak won’t be getting smiles and “How are you today?” out of me. He will be treated more like a used car salesman who I can’t trust one bit but am forced to deal with. No smiles. Just negotiation and how fast can I be done and away from this person.

      • I agree, MrWonderful’sEx. I work in retail and I have customers like you–who are warm and friendly and courteous. I would not expect them to be even as cordial and nice as they are to me, to their cheating ex. Non-trustworthy salesman treatment is what the cheaters deserve, in my opinion. (And thank you to all of you who are friendly and courteous to those of us in retail!)

      • I’m friendly with store clerks too, but I keep it impersonal. I don’t stand there and chit-chat like some people do, unless the clerk initiates, in which case I will. I decided to be friendly in that same way to the FW in order to keep him doing stuff for me that I find unpleasant, like taking the car in for service, cleaning the gutters, giving the dog a bath, and running various boring errands. It’s worth the trade-off to me. We don’t talk about anything deep or anything at all for long. I don’t contact him, he contacts me by text to ask if I need anything done. I either say no thank you or text back a list of chores. FW seems to be desperate for any contact, even just as an errand boy. I made it clear to him that I see him only in that way, and that I wouldn’t be unpleasant to him as long as he was of use to me. It was okay with him. I suppose he deludes himself that he still has family this way, but it makes no difference to me. It seems to be an unorthodox arrangement in CN, but it works for me. FW is no longer able to manipulate me and he knows it, so it’s safe. He doesn’t try anything stupid.

      • I think this advice can be helpful in many contexts, but my mind went immediately to an unpleasant encounter I had with a gas station clerk this winter. For no apparent reason, he raised his voice aggressively at me during a polite, brief transaction. I was startled and then a bit triggered, but I kept my cool and did not respond the way I wanted to; I also didn’t let him see I was shaken. Needless to say, I refuse to go back there, even though I live in a rural area and it means driving out of my way or paying extra for gas. I guess that’s not an option where FW’s you are forced to routinely interact with are concerned. Pesky boundaries! I’m getting better at this, but it still takes so much effort and is uncomfortable.

      • MW’EX…Totally ! Clerk style exchange is too neutral, ok for brief polite exchange with someone doing a job. But not for the
        used car salesman who wants you to buy his phony disinformation story-and to profit from it. Sounds familiar. Nope-
        polite doesn’t match-shows a level of trust that’s not warranted. Cool thank cold seems better-demonstrating,
        I know who you are. I’m not affording you the image management opportunity you are trying get again to get from this contact.

      • MW’EX…Totally ! Clerk/style exchange is way too neutral, that’s for a brief polite exchange with someone doing a job.
        But not for the
        used car salesman who wants you to buy his phony disinformation story-and to profit from it. Sounds familiar.
        Nope-polite doesn’t match-would show a level of trust that’s not warranted. Cool to cold seems better— demonstrating,
        I know who you are. I’m not affording you the image management opportunity you are trying get again to get from this contact.

    • Of my cheater ex-husband & cheater post-divorce ex-boyfriend, they are both some people I used to know. End of story.

      • Hurt 1:

        I didn’t talk to my ex after he cheated on me. We were still married and he was living with his girlfriend. It was before the No Contact trend but – reasoning it out – it just didn’t seem like talking with him would help/ mend/ fix/ get him back/ or solve anything. Once I did email him and signed it with my first name (the same as his daughter’s first name.) He responded as if I was his daughter, so I sent another email to clarify with my name, and (ex-wife) on it.

        He wrote back and said, “I’m not your ex-husband. I’m just a guy you used to know.”

        ?!!???! !

        I thought it curious that he would say that; it felt like it was meant as a low blow, but I was busy with my new life and instead I felt a vague sadness for him. It was interesting that he wouldn’t face that we had a history together. (Don’t say I’m a person who would ever do something like get married! I’m cool. I go with the flow. I wear cargo pants and tie-dyed shirts now and I have a full beard. I’m just a guy, experiencing different women, and I move on if they don’t continue to work for me in the way I want them to. I’m a seeker, a risk taker, a daring entrepreneur who follows his heart. Women are crazy over me.)

        • Light heart,
          Their indignation to try and cover a shit show they created and then act all Mr. cool . My ex flake would meld with whoever he was running with , chameleon who needs to show off and be noticed and get attention from women whatever it takes . Needy beyond normal. He fooled many but many also saw through his lies and deceit . But hey it’s hard to ignore such a fun guy , gag! Memories , he acts like twenty years and all we did was a mirage nothing to be bothered with. Now his newest young ow can have him and cheaters both twu. Lov. Miss Hates actually has ability to help bring changes to law for more equity and help with Law on adulterous acts and tram-a in divorce.

        • “Don’t say I’m a person who would ever do something like get married! I’m cool. I go with the flow. I wear cargo pants and tie-dyed shirts now and I have a full beard. I’m just a guy, experiencing different women, and I move on if they don’t continue to work for me in the way I want them to. I’m a seeker, a risk taker, a daring entrepreneur who follows his heart. Women are crazy over me.”

          Gag. Loser. That’s a typical cheater rationalization for his pathetic, aimless life. In what passes for their minds, they try to turn the lack of an authentic identity and a moral core into an asset.

          • Loser. Yep. Reminds me of Austin Powers…which reminds me of the penis pump… They think they are international men of mystery, but they’re just pathetic.

        • Light Heart…. was this ex for real. Sounds like women are like tissues for him, use and toss.
          Did you see this coming in the kind of character( or lack thereof ) he had all along???

        • Light Heart…. was this ex for real?
          Sounds like women are like tissues for him, use and toss.
          Did you see this coming in the kind of character( or lack thereof ) he had all along???

    • This is the rule I use in my interactions with my XW. I am hoping that she will eventually extend the same courtesy to me. It’s been more than 6 years, though, and it hasn’t happened yet.

      • Probably best not to expect reciprocation.

        Be dignified and courteous because that’s who you are, and you’re a good person. That’s more than enough.

        Someone very wise once told me, “Never do anything just because it’s a good example”.

  • Yes, she handled it beautifully. She spoke factually about Bill and what happened without making it a tell-all about him.

    Whatever led up to that point, she couldn’t trust him anymore. That was the end.

    One day during separation, I was journaling about trust and realized that there was nothing left that I could trust my ex with. NOTHING. I also realized that he saw no need to rebuild trust at all. He wanted reconciliation, period. He was trustworthy, so let’s get back together. Ah…no.

    So I refused reconciliation, and he initiated the divorce process. I had to agree. I didn’t like how it felt at first and told my attorney that I had doubts, and he said to give it time. Nothing was set in stone until the papers were signed. Some months in, I had no doubts at all.

    It had to be.

  • I too, at this time, continue to own a business which I co-founded with Traitor X. I channel Melinda Gates every Monday when I go to the weekly business meeting.

    I need handy phrases to keep me on track. I am not responsible for my thoughts. I am responsible for my actions.

    This week’s winning handy phrase is


    It’s an addendum to Mr. CL’s “if it feels good, don’t do it.”

    It’s a better mnemonic for me because if there’s anything I want, it’s to reinforce my position as the person wronged.

    Business meeting today at 8:00.

    I’m taking Melinda with me in spirit.

    • I love that. Maintaining my integrity reinforces my position as the person wronged. I screenshotted that. Thank you x 100 for that.

    • Hope the meeting went well, VH. ????

      I like to think that maintaining my integrity probably does reinforce my position as the wronged person, despite x’s attempts to tarnish me with baseless claims and argue that he’s the most wronged person in the room…and the saddest. #DARVO

      In x’s book, I’m a bad person because:
      1. On the advice of counsel, I used marital funds to secure my apartment (he did the same, but hey…what goose? what gander?)
      2. I have gone NC not only with him but also with his family.
      3. My kids have done the same, which, according to x, is ALL MY FAULT. [Note: They are adults.]

      I trust that people who know me won’t buy his lies. Even so, it’s frustrating to have no control over the lies he must be spreading.

      Why people would believe a known liar/betrayer is beyond me.

      • I’m behind enemy lines right now, in the meeting, with “Melinda”
        sitting next to me…..maintaining my integrity…..

      • Spinach, I get the same thing about my son who went no contact. My son is almost 26 years old and is in the Navy. He wants no contact with his father after FW unwittingly let his nude photos him and Schmoopie go to my son’s shared photo account. Yuck ???? of course it is me that turned him against his father. They have no idea of consequences. My son is an adult who can determine who he wants to include in his life and who he doesn’t. I just trust that the FW sucks. My lawyer sure does love those pictures, they are helping my settlement agreement right now.

      • A lot of people believe whatever is most convenient for them, regardless of the source. Generally these are people not worth knowing. I’m sorry your ex is smearing you, but in so doing, he is showing you who you can trust and who you can’t. It’s a giant pain in the ass now, but will be helpful to you in the long run.
        The games they play are so tiring. Eventually he’ll lose interest in playing this one if it doesn’t get a rise out of you. You’re playing the long game whereas he can only see what benefits him right now.
        That’s an advantage for you that he’ll never understand.

      • “ I trust that people who know me won’t buy his lies. Even so, it’s frustrating to have no control over the lies he must be spreading.”

        Same. Just curious, Spinach (I think we’re on a similar timeline, and I have also picked up on many similarities in our ex’s, based on some of what you’ve shared)… is this frustration beginning to abate? It is for me, finally – though I honestly couldn’t have believed, a year ago, it ever would. I think Meh is beginning to take root for real, and just in time for spring. (Don’t worry, I won’t get carried away and mention anything like a “healing journey” 😉 )

        • Yes! It’s abating!!

          On the good days, which are more frequent now, I truly don’t give a fuck. And I’m trying not to care that he might be spreading lies. Anyone who would believe his lies is no friend of mine.

          Also, he can’t get a rise out of me because I am NC with him, except for the occasional businesslike response to a tax/alimony question.

          What’s important to me is that the people I care about are in my camp. They know the truth.

          Bread & Rose, I’m happy you’re doing better, too!

          p.s. Today I just noticed that my hair is no longer falling out!

          • Cheers to that! Doesn’t hurt that days are getting longer, does it?

  • The Epstein comment makes me wonder if she picked up on something spiritual and dark with him in her only meeting. Sometimes you can just feel the evil.

    • Yes, I keyed on that too. My attorney is retired now, but he shared once with me that he prayed every night with his wife for each of his clients by name, asking God to show him how to get their cases settled and how to interact with them. He said that in a very humble way, not pushy at all.

      So when he told me that he had decided that my ex was evil, it got my attention. There was a discussion later between the two attorneys where my ex’s attorney had similar concerns, although he used the term malignant versus evil. At least both attorneys agreed as to the basic assumption there.

    • It sounded like it was a sensitivity to evil that Epstein cultivated around himself.

      I can perceive evil..I dont know how often its there and I dont perceive it but I surely have felt it.

      One of those times was after the “Im divorcing you because you are a terrible wife” and learning of the affair. He had invited evil into our home and there was a metaphorical bonfire in our living room.

      Chumps often describe “shark eyes” in their cheater…I think that is one of the physical manifestations of evil taking up residence in a person.

      When she said that society blames women, Im sure she meant all Chumps (As do I when I consider the dynamic of betrayal)

      • Yes, I think cheating involves the demonic. It does not mean “the Devil made me do it.” Rather, they invite evil into their lives and allow it to run freely. We are spiritual beings, imo, and we can sense such evil.

        • And the cold, dead, dark eyes is a shocking manifestation of what’s going on in their heads. You recognise that only when you’ve seen it. I look closely at people’s eyes now. If they are cold I walk away, no matter what they are saying. And tough if that means I treat some people harshly. It’s an area where I won’t take risks. The ex wished me dead. He hated me with every cell in his body. After 26 years, of not knowing that he was yearning for his exgfOW. The hatred was in his eyes. I expect Melinda Gates saw that. It makes the decision to end the marriage much easier. It’s a matter of survival.

      • There’s still this idea out there that it’s always the husband cheating and the wife being cheated on, so once you start talking about infidelity it’s easy to slip into the shorthand of “woman” for “the person who was cheated on”.

        As far as I understand it (and to the extent the numbers are reliable) there are more male adulterers than female, but it’s not an overwhelming disparity. I don’t think that that statistical reality has made it into popular discourse, though.

        • I’m wondering if the chemical shitstorm of hormone disruptors that we’re swimming in has increased the rate of she-cheaters and other forms of female aggression. By changes in body shape and from broad studies, it seems girls are increasingly masculinizing and male children are feminizing. Though science is only awkwardly speculating on the ramifications of this modern shift and the long term impacts on sociology, fertility and health are unknown, it’s quite scary.

          By the way, there’s no evidence the above has anything to do with LGTB or gender preference (for instance, many gay men have higher than average testosterone, etc.). It’s also not meant as an excuse for sexually abusive behavior. I posted my thoughts on the “chromosome/hormone” excuse above. It still boils down to character but I’ve considered whether the fact that we’re being hormonally altered as a species has affected how lousy character is expressed and channeled.

          • I predict an exodus of run-away moms. Moms these days are very intense and critical of themselves and each other. They aren’t pacing themselves (child rearing is a LONG process) and some are gonna snap. Mark my words.

          • I’d say that there are a heck of a lot of entitled people that are being raised to constantly put themselves first, find THEIR happiness, have THEIR needs come first in a marriage…tell THEIR truth (or tell their “lies” and expect me to accept that that is what they want me to believe) ????

            I used to read a number of blogs and initially I thought it was all about empowering single women to be strong and take care of themselves…until I started to feel uncomfortable about how “honouring” yourself is putting yourself first…in everything…with everyone…all the time. That’s not empowering. That’s SELFISH and completely uncaring of others’ needs or boundaries or rights. If you apply critical thinking…you can’t be the centre of your and everyone elses universe all the time. And if you live that way, you are very narcissistic.

            But this is what a lot of people are being raised on and parroting as being “true to yourself”. I think those messages can be healing when you are coming out of abuse but not when you have loving and supportive people around you.

        • I spent 21 years in the military. Numerous hardship and deployments are under my belt. My personal experiences show that women slightly cheat less than men, but more women cheating than men do the shadiest shit. I’ve seen the men who cheat on those deployments with the unit’s bicycle. But I’ve also seen the wives bring their other men into their husband’s homes while the male soldiers were living under the worst conditions possible. They brought them around their children, even the family dog. They would be driving the husband’s cars, wearing their clothes, all kinds of shady dirty shit. Don’t get me wrong, on the scale of narcissists, gender doesn’t applybecause both sexes are fucked up if they are a narcissists. But not every cheater is a narcissist, some are just dirty asswholes. And both sexes seem to always affair down in some way or another…some in multiple, obvious ways. Believe it or not, only fools assume that only women get cheated on.

      • I noticed the eyes months before the cheating came out. I looked him in the eyes one day while we were having a disagreement and his eyes looked black and I was actually terrified. I will never forget it. I didn’t know what was going on inside of him at the time but his eyes made me feel like I was staring into evil incarnate. Now, I have read that others feel that way too. My friend said she noticed his eyes too right before the affair came to light. It is weird. There is something about the eyes.

        • I believe evil can be seen in shark eyes.

          I know that the night I looked up at my then husband and saw him staring at me with shark eyes, that evil was in him. Was he always evil? did he become evil after indulging in damaging sin, who knows. But, evil was there that night and it was soon to be disclosed to me just how much evil he was carrying around.

          While my belief is evil is Satan incarnate, I don’t believe evil is restricted to religion, evil just exists regardless of its origin.

      • Re: shark eyes.

        I’ve said this before here, but the FW has reptilian eyes. Even when I was deeply in love with him it was disconcerting. He would stare into my eyes during sex and I had to tell myself that he was looking at me with love.

        But it wasn’t. He was just always trying to seduce everybody,

        But he’s a snake.

    • I think she was emphasizing that Epstein was a bad guy – evident from first meeting. More of a shifting of poor judgment back to Bill.

    • Yes, one can feel evil. I remember a place I went and I probably stayed less than half an hour, but I couldn’t wait to get out there and other people would ask what I was so rushed about. Just some baaddd energy.. it exists!

  • Class act, indeed!!

    “But I also think society used to put things on women like it was our fault. No, I did nothing wrong, so I hold my head high.”

    Society still does. But maybe, creating a path forward–brick by brick–changes the narrative. CL lays bricks every day. Individual chumps do, too, although in a less public way. And now we have Melinda.

    It’s helpful and refreshing.

  • Meanwhile, CBS Morning invites Amazon rep to celebrate cheater apologists Esther Perel and Glennon Doyle during Women’s Month.

    This bias excusing cheaters is baked in from the fairy tales we tell young girls to the uphill legal battles when families are discarded.

    Having money doesn’t protect anyone from heartbreak, but it could level the playing field if chumps knew their financial future would be protected.

    • Having enough money to weather the changes during the storm is a blessing but it creates its own problems. Kobe Bryant’s widow… Melinda, Tiger Woods ex… they have big money and everyone knows it. How can they tell which suitor is sincere and trustworthy.

      I don’t have their money by a long shot but enough that I feared the challenges of dating with $. Thank God my new husband has his own and is a cheapskate. Our money isn’t going anywhere cause he won’t spend it. Problem solved.

      • Dating and money is tricky. You don’t want to come off as looking for a sugar daddy, and you don’t want to come off as having a lot.

        I don’t have “a lot”, but I can retire comfortably at age 62.

        What I learned about myself from the whole chump experience is that I will never get too entangled with another person again. I don’t want to share my home for more than a weekend.

        I have a great relationship now – he has his life, his place, his money, and I have mine. A mutual friend told us about “living apart together” as a relationship status and that is perfect for me.

        • I agree on the money thing. When I was a single mother living below the poverty line, I noticed a breed of male that had the following characteristics: 1) Domineering, demanding respect; 2) possessive and easily jealous; 3) volatile (see domineering); 4) chronically unemployed underachiever, usually a dropout. These men sought out women who had housing, welfare, employment and food stamps; and would get into relationships with these women. The woman worked, but the man would feel entitled to all the money even though they did nothing all day. I call these men, “Little Emperors,” and learned to avoid them after accidentally marrying one. After my divorce, I vividly remember one man who felt I should give him money and resources even though he contributed nothing – because he had less than I did. *eye roll* No matter the financial bracket, money can always be a factor.

      • The problems involved with having money are nothing compared to the problems involved with not having money. Nothing.

        • I agree.

          Not saying wealthy folks don’t hurt and don’t get abused, but still different than suffering that and having no money.

          I was working at a minimum wage entry level job when fw bailed. And I am the first to say that I was so much luckier than those who had no job and/or young children to take care of.

          It doesn’t have to be great wealth, just knowing you have enough to eat and a place to stay is different than a young woman who has children and has no idea how she will feed or house the kids.

          But great wealth, is a whole different ball game. MG was given a safe venue to tell her story because of her great wealth, most of us not so much.

          That is why CN is so helpful.

          I know many say her pain happened in front of the whole world. Mine did too, it was the story of the year, everyone knew what he had done. I was not give any place to give my story surrounded by the best coaches and protectors.

          Your whole world is your whole world, whether it is the actual whole world, your city, or your neighborhood.

  • Yes-Melinda is being a good role model for us chumps. I also am impressed with Mackenzie-Bezos ex. I love that she is giving away her fortune, has remarried and seems happy. One could say it is easier to be strong with that kind of money. At the end of the day, it is our sense of self worth that matters-not our $. We can’t buy love, respect or peace. So met the girl friend this weekend at my sons reveal party. Happy to report it did not bother me. In fact I surprised myself by feeling embarrassed to have been married to such a loser-like that reflects on me. It is nice to be free of the feelings of anger and bitterness. It feels like that was a distant part of my life that offers nothing to serve me today. Progress…..hugs!

    • ” In fact I surprised myself by feeling embarrassed to have been married to such a loser-like that reflects on me. ”

      I remember feeling that for the first time. It was weird. Especially since I had been so proud of his accomplishments, yes I helped his feather his cap in the community and in politics, but still I felt he had come so far from a troubled teen. Then I found out about the double life.

    • “In fact I surprised myself by feeling embarrassed to have been married to such a loser-like that reflects on me”.

      Thrive, and I cringe in shame… especially now that sparkedick lost his job and is asking friends for mone. I can´t even gloat at his current situation. And I feel so sorry for my sons.

    • Thrive, you’re mighty! We are hosting my son’s reveal party this week (mazel tov to you) and to my knowledge AP (who apparently started screwing my XH several years before Dday, which was 7.5 years ago and they are still “together”) is not invited. My grown kids despise her and barely tolerate their dad. It’s not what she did as an accomplice (they found her mate poaching texts on his burner phone), it’s how horrid she’s been since I told him to GTFO. Selfishness personified. No filter. She made her bed, now she can lay in it. Not my problem.

    • I don’t have to see the FW at all – we don’t have kids together and he moved to another town.

      But my curious social media stalking (not pain-shopping, I’m just a serial stalker) shows me that he has reached a new level of cringe.

      It started with posting a picture of him wearing a speedo (he’s 57). (the last time I saw him, last summer, was when he was doing a triathlon wearing an American flag speedo with matching tank top).

      Recently he posted vacation pictures with new victim. She’s wearing a bikini which she clearly shouldn’t (I normally don’t body shame but no, her 60 year old body is not equal to the task). He is wearing leopard print speedos, and in another pic has a matching leopard print shirt.

      I am so happy he’s with her and that I don’t have to be with that cringe. He’s like a bad Sigfried & Roy without talent.

      • Yep, I think folks should wear whatever they want, but few 60 year old’s of either sex look good in skimpy beach wear. Maybe Christie Brinkley, but I am betting even she doesn’t look as good in person as in her magazine pics. She also seems to have the sense to wear appropriate clothing for her shape and age.

        I think there are many, many beautiful and in shape older women; but a skimpy bikini likely does not do them justice.

  • What MFG has left unsaid tells the story… Brilliantly so.

    Just to set the epstein taint a little better, I wish I could sprinkle some of sparkledick’s demise on BG for Melinda: sparkles just lost his fancy, think-tank, “I-earn-3-X-more-than-you-do” job AND has been overhead by son asking friends for loans…

    But I can´t even enjoy my schadenfreude moment because I feel so bad for my sons having to see their father in this degrading situation.

    As soon as I messaged a friend (also a chump) with the news about sparkles’ asking friends for money, she called me up to tell me she had just dreamt that sparkles was begging to reconcile. Yeah, when hell freezes over, I told her.

  • Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos…. 2 of the wealthiest men in the world. Both horrible self serving idiots. And their ex-wives were both instrumental in their success but the big reveal was that they were treated like appliances. Now both women can finally live their best lives without those FWs.

  • I loved how she takes no responsibility for his actions. I’m so sick of seeing the pathetic wives of male public figures as they do press conference apologies. We need strong examples. This is not political but I am so mad at Hillary Clinton for covering for her husband. There were no other models for me (pre CL). I thought if she could move on then I could. I did make my own decision but I didn’t see another clear way. Thank goodness and CL that I’m out of the shit show. CL made it easier.

    • I feel mad at Hillary sometimes too – but I then I think of how she likely had to become a professional shit sandwich eater to become a powerful woman in DC during the era she did. Distancing herself from Bill in that period of history have meant the loss of her own career and ambitions.

      I don’t know what I would have done presented with the buffet of shitty choices she had to choose from, but I do agree it set a bad precedent for a lot of ladies who were in similar situations at the time. Thank goodness this generation has Melinda and Mackenzie!

      • As we all know, Madam Secretary could have stood by her man and baked cookies.

        I’ll take door number 2, Monty.

      • Both Bill and Hillary knew that they could fulfill their ambitions better together than apart. They knew that early on. So yeah, Hillary had to eat a shit sandwich. She’s eaten A LOT of them.

        Was she a bad example? Maybe. But then again, the global level of the Clinton’s power and influence is in a different realm, different even of Gates or Bezos.

    • What wouldn’t I give to see one of those betrayed political wives, bravely clutching her handbag behind her FW making his public apology – what wouldn’t I give to see just one of those ladies commence to beat that man about the head and shoulders with that handbag, right in front of the camera for all the world to see!

      • I would pay to see that.

        They stand there like a robot, you can see the fear and humiliation in their eyes. I can’t judge their motives; but dang I would like to see that.

    • For all we know Hillary and Bill had an understanding where both played away

      Would not be a first

  • With respect to critical messages — I would love to see post-nuptials written in stone. All Chumps should understand and consider a solid post-nuptial the minute after discovery. There is absolutely no downside to this, and the process reveals a ton. The degree to which cheater wiggles reveals tons (though Chump may still deny the wiggles while encased in the fog — like me).

    CL encourages post-nups. I think we need to talk about them more as a proactive step for traumatized Chumps to protect themselves and their children from inevitable future deception. Beyonce, of course, is the Queen of the Post-Nuptial. How I wish I would have moved forward with mine, but of course, FW gaslighted me out of it. Annette Roque (Matt FW Lauer) is another of my heroines. She had a solid post-nup and got out quick with her class act in tact.

    • Despite being in the RIC he’ll and not yet finding CL, I had the presence of mind to demand a post nuptial as a condition of reconciliation. XH refused. Channel flipped from Charm to Rage. I turned the TV off. BOOM.

      When they show you through their actions who they are, believe them.

    • 100% this. A post nup would have protected me from stealing my retirement fund to dump in his failing business( during wreckonciliation). My actual belief is that it would have ended the marriage as that was his plan).

    • I am a bigger fan of legal separation vs a post-nup. I feel like a post nup has the potential to incentivize deeper secret keeping and in the worst of cases murder. It says you may lose X if you do Y – which means if you do Y you REALLY won’t want anyone to know.

      If someone is truly sorry, they can grant a fair and legally binding division of assets through a legal separation, and still stay married to try to wreckoncile.

      Oh, they don’t want to give you a fair settlement? There’s your “sorry” and lucky you, you already have a lawyer.

      • Not a lawyer, but post-nups sound like a spectacularly bad idea to me, too. See the Netflix series Dirty John for a dramatization of why. I hope your kids are savvy enough to take you up on your offer to pay for their pre-nups. I wish everyone was savvy enough to get one. I insisted Mr. Violet sign one, and boy does it let me sleep better at night.

    • Yes, I foolishly insisted on a self-written separation agreement and then later tried to negotiate with him on a settlement agreement that he wrote. Both were train wrecks, but I hired my own attorney and we went paragraph-by-paragraph through them both. My attorney considered it a win because he learned a lot about my ex’s motivations and character from those cringy documents.

      Then my attorney and his associate wrote a perfectly valid agreement that I signed. My attorney sent it via Fedex to my ex with what he called a “there’s a new sheriff in town” letter.

      I told my kids (they were in college in the time), that I would pay for a prenuptial agreement for each of them. I doubt that I’ll ever remarry, but if I do, I know who to call.

  • Melinda did the right thing to leave that cheater. He was tainting his reputation with his choice of associates and their nefarious conduct. She would be viewed as an enabler if she stayed. Staying with a cheater condones the conduct.

    I look at this rich, successful, beautiful woman and hope that somehow she found Chump Lady and Chump Nation. All her billions didn’t keep her from the trauma of betrayal. I think of all the other Chumps struggling to pay legal fees and envy her wealth. But even that didn’t protect her from this devastation. Cheaters gonna cheat.

    Every story recounted here reinforces the utter banality of cheaters everywhere. It is a rarity a cheater commits an original act. Cheaters are predictable. The more I learn the more I see that they all do and say the same things, even Bill Gates.

    One beautiful thing about maintaining your integrity is rising above the petty bullshit. I think of Mr. Chump Lady and his “If it feels good, don’t do it.” Refusing to sink to their level and rising above the devastation of the devaluation and discard is the ultimate Fuck You.

  • The point I have learned from years of observing marriages — my parents, my relatives, my friends, and my own — is that marriages should be run like a business partnership. Our social narrative of love overriding all is nonsense. What we call love is often limerence and/or lust, and it clouds our judgement.

    Melinda appears to have been a partner in every way, strong, dedicated, committed. I have followed the Gates story in the news — when they made a commitment to donate a part of their vast fortune to helping countries without water get clean drinking water, I was impressed. It is not a sin to become wealthy. What you do with your wealth, and how you obtain your wealth is what we judge. I’ve never been wealthy, but I have worked hard to become comfortable.

    Personally, I do not appreciate any media source trying to peek behind the veil of a relationship. I do not like inference. No one but the two parties involved know the real story, and there are parts of the reality we may never know. If there is evidence of abuse that must come out in legal proceedings, that is fair game, I suppose, but dissolving a marriage should be as equitable as dissolving a business relationship. What is difficult for the courts to do is quantify the cash value of maintaining a home, raising children, keeping family and business relationships going. I don’t know of anyone who is successful in life without a support system. The support has value.

    I saw the interview. I think Melinda handled it very well. I think people who interview others often ask questions that have no real answer because they have to, they are looking for a reaction. I also think media has to present the gunk from the other point of view, or they would be accused of showing prejudice. Some news outlets clearly do show prejudice, so I don’t watch their news programs. I don’t believe they are reporting news, so I vote my disapproval by not watching.

    I believe Melinda has found happiness. Not the way she expected it, but happy, nevertheless.

    • Society actually has more sympathy for a business partner who was embezzled or the family member who was ponzi-schemed. Maybe it’s because they presumed legal protection was available, as opposed to the marital contract. In addition to the difficulty with placing monetary value on in-home services, adultery is not treated as a breach of contract.

      • Totally. I love the scene in Dirty John: Betty where she says something like “if he defrauded a business partner the way he defrauded me he would be in jail.”

        I’ve never understood why marriage is the only contract that who breaks the terms has no bearing on the consequences.

  • MFG has lived her marriage in a fishbowl and yet her ex still figured out a way to cheat. The other thing that was weird is that with his affairs, he would draw women in by wanting to take business or science or something intellectual flattering, but he really just wanted to fuck. And he’s the richest ass in the world. He can do anything he wants. No matter how ugly he is. I’m assuming Epstein invited him to some sex party and then had that on Bill. So when she next JE, she sensed his smirk meant he knew something on BG she didn’t. And that’s a super crappy feeling. Same with Bezos. I’m glad his ex is enjoying using so much of his money making the earth a better place while he keeps trying to escape its gravity. And his side chick. CN she get more plastic surgery? Cause she is still ugly on the inside.

    • Oh boy, that universal smirk. I suspect all of us have been smirked at by somebody at some point at the Cheater’s Ball. I cannot describe how much I hated seeing that smirk on so many faces after DD and before.

      • Yes, I lived with the duper’s delight cheater’s smirk for a long time. I recognised the smirk on Bill’s face. It’s disgusting.

  • And that’s how it’s done.

    Thank you Melinda French Gates for stating the obvious, loud and clear, and nothing else. Class act all the way.

  • I don’t necessarily disagree with Melinda, because I think Society does – that said, as a male chump, having a Y chromosome still didn’t stop folk insinuating my ex’s cheating must be my responsibility somehow. Chumps gotta be blamed, regardless I guess.

    • I think when you are doing something that heinous, and the cheater and everyone knows how heinous it is, they have to find a way to stand themselves and blaming others is the only option. Most of them have likely been blaming others for their failures for a long time and we just spackled.

      A few months after fw left, he got busted in rank and kicked back out on the street, losing his cushy office right next to the mayor. My son told me not long ago that his take on that was that he had been loyal to the mayor and friends don’t do that to friends who have been loyal. Keep in mind the mayor had no idea he was living a double life, of that I am certain. There is no way the mayor would have authorized a promotion for him had he known he had been screwing his direct report for years. He was pissed.

      But the point is fw blamed the mayor for not being loyal, no mention that he was the disloyal one for not disclosing his relationship, he had spend four years lying to everyone.

      He had become radio active to the administration and he had to be dealt with.

      Were there folks that knew, of course I am sure; but police officers tend to keep that shit quiet for obvious reasons. The keep it quiet until it suits them to disclose.

    • True. I brought up that the issue is how society treats Chumps of both genders above under the comment by DivorceMinister

  • Thank you for sharing this, Tracy! I don’t have time to watch the clip until tonight, but just reading the highlights gave me the chills and has me blinking back tears. It is radical. I feel like Melinda did this for all of us, whether or not that was her intention.

  • Long ago in college, I had a class where we studied communication. When Melinda is asked if there were multiple affairs, she says that no she won’t answer and BG needs to answer that. But her HEAD is nodding strongly up and down. Her body is saying what her mouth won’t. Very telling when you watch body language!

    I am going to add a photo of her to my vision board. She represents how I want to conduct myself. Class act!

  • ‘She couldn’t continue to trust him’

    I felt the same. After the discovery everything my ex did and said was tainted by the realization that he was not trustworthy. His word was worth shit.

    Add that you lose respect for them. Once you lose respect for someone it’s over. I was ashamed to be his wife.

    • Agreed. I look back and feel ashamed that I was ever his wife and that I stood by his side through so much (even D-Day#1, GF#1, GF#2). I’m glad my children and I don’t have his last name anymore (even though my children do have a good “visit him every weekend” relationship with him; they’re happy with that and I’m happy that they’re happy).

      I can’t believe I stood by him through so much. He never loved me. He loved being loved.

    • Right. It gets to the point where no matter how they spin things, they lose your respect.

      “Ok, so you didn’t even like, let alone love, that college girl you were lovebombing and sneaking out to fuck while I cooked you dinner? She had terrible problems… but you went ahead and messed with her anyway? You were hiding her from friends and family, like a real gentleman, while also treating me like garbage? Then the instant you decided you weren’t prepared to lose me, you threw the OWs under the bus and blamed them for everything?” Solid. Those kinds of excuses are literally the best they have. Quality humans, these cheaters.

  • This post was so empowering today, it’s ex FW’s birthday, so I’m annoyingly triggered, damn it!
    Melinda is such a classy bad ass who appears at peace with her life, which will be so much richer without cheater Bill continually torching it.
    Thank you Melinda and thank you Tracy, for sharing that interview, two very strong ppl I admire.

    “Melinda will take two more cases of toner. Thanks, Bill.” Lol, you are hilarious and wise!

    I love all the mental images the posts today allowed me to see of being able to put the cheater in the third seat of my SUV, as I take my own life back and then with confidence, drive the vehicle wherever the hell I want it to go. Feels good to imagine that. Heeeeellllllll yessss!!!

    I got goosebumps when Melinda mentioned meeting Epstein that once and viscerally feeling the evil within him. That’s so real. I’ve had experiences like that myself ( one, from a next door neighbor that was abducting women and keeping them for days in his a/c company’s office building, who fled the country when he was found out.
    I felt the evil he emitted and I sensed his deep hatred for women too, before any of his acts were ever revealed)
    It was chilling. Our guts know!

    The shark eyes were also present in that man, and I’ve seen them in my cheater, which I continually attempted to excuse away for years and years.
    I think we all always have had the radar for picking it up too, but the facade of love and trust conned reality and we got flummoxed into not being able to accurately access the frequency.

    “ There’s a lot of swimmers out there with floaties on”, was a great description of reentering the dating pool by that newscaster in the interview.
    I have no present intentions of getting my own feet wet again, but neither do I have any solid ‘nevers’ about most anything at all in my life.
    Just starting with feeling safe again and then I’ll find my way down the road from there.

  • Thank you, CL for sharing this interview. I would have totally missed it. I didn’t realize what a down-to-earth gem Melinda French Gates is. Like a lot of chumps, I found her candid take on what occurred in her marriage to be very relatable.

    While I’m the first to admit that I’m not a perfect person, I can also confidently say that “I did nothing wrong” to bring about the end of my marriage.

    No matter how much my former spouse would like to blame me for her actions and behaviors, the blame rests solely with her and her (sociopathic) character.

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is AWESOME. I’ve always thought so (I’m in the non profit sector too) and word on the street has always been that it is Melinda who effectively runs it. I used to like Bill too, since he was involved, but he did a lot of Terrible Shady Shit in Microsoft (business shit), so I was always in two minds about him. I had the misfortune of meeting him once for work, and felt like he was very creepy (but couldn’t prove it).

    When all this came out, I knew I was right!! Bastard FW and possible pedophile! And do you know, he actually made Melinda sign a document saying he was going to see his ex-girlfriend for one weekend a year?!

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