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UBT: ‘It Has Not Broken Me’

HopiumMost of us understand being high on hopium, lost in the Reconciliation Industrial Complex.

But a unicorn who polygraphed a Jesus-cheater-sex-addict? That’s some Pablo Escobar-level hopium.

And a RIC quack trying to make a buck off the “forgiveness”?

I really try not to feed unicorns to the Universal Bullshit Translator. They don’t go down as smoothly as Lebkuchen and there’s a saccharine aftertaste.

But the UBT made an exception for this one. An alert chump sent “Elizabeth’s Letter” found on RIC site Affair Recovery. The story of benevolent, long-suffering Elizabeth — held out as a model of what all chumps should aspire to. (#1 free resource!) Amnesia. Forgiveness. Wishing only the very best for the person who Did a Thing we can’t be super specific about.

April 2018
I am a year and a half past the first of several D-days. My husband and I went to your EMS Weekend intensive, and it changed the course of our marriage and our recovery. I continued through the Harboring Hope program with an amazing Group Leader who helped so many of us through very tough times. We also did Married for Life by group conference calls with our small group of couples we met at EMS Weekend. We have continued with marriage counseling, and my husband just in the last few months has really committed to 12-Step work as a sex addict with the L.I.F.E. Recovery Group at church. He was unfaithful every year of our dating life and marriage which has spanned twenty years. The level of lies and deceit nearly broke me. However, thanks be to God, amazing counselors, and programs like yours I can say it has not broken me.

It has absolutely broken me. I am shilling for quacks.

I think the measure of a marriage is how much deceit you can stand before you crumple like a wet Kleenex.

My cheater hasn’t chosen me for two decades. Or a year-plus of pick-me dancing. But he’s coming around these last few months! All thanks to amazing Group Leader.

We know we have a lot of work to do, but we aren’t giving up.

Pile on the lies! I will not break! I’m a human Jenga tower. Build that bullshit! You cannot topple me!

I just wanted to share with you that I was able to forgive my husband even after sitting through a full disclosure as well as the results of a polygraph test which revealed volumes of infidelity.

I just wanted to share with you that polygraphs make a marriage stronger.

Also: sodium pentathol.

What follows is my forgiveness letter to my husband of twenty years:

What follows is some top-shelf spackle.

I picture forgiveness like a thick, white gym rope.

The noose imagery is completely coincidental.

As I am holding it in my small hands, I know it’s long but I can’t see where it ends. I can tell it leads to something that holds the blame for all the wrongs I have suffered and all the hurt I have experienced.

Holding on to this rope represents a semblance of control, a need to find a logical conclusion that there is someone or something to blame for my pain.

Accountability is controlling. Thanks EMS Weekend Intensive! Dear Leader says I must reject logic.

Letting go of the rope is like letting go of the need to find the source at fault for something so deeply wounding. It feels like I would be surrendering the need to find logical justification for my sadness and confusion. Without something to blame, the world simply doesn’t make sense. So, letting go of the rope (forgiving) makes the world erratic and scary.

Polyphonic waffles! Giggle biscuit gumption snorter. Abacus laughter mattress.

(The UBT has blown a gasket. This happens when too much bullshit gets trapped.)


Forgiveness means not thinking too clearly about the offense. What offense? I surrender.

In my quiet time of continual prayer, I have learned to do EMDR on myself as I fall in and out of rest.

I have learned to do marriage on myself, all by myself.

Because I come from faith, I asked the Lord to let me receive what He might want me to discern and wait faithfully as my heart and mind try to sift through conflicting thoughts. Today, He led me to an image of myself as a confused 5-year-old girl wanting to do everything I could to avoid my mother’s anger, to feel loved and feel a closeness to my father that I never had.

The Lord wants you to work on your FOO issues.

I pictured myself at that age holding this heavy white rope wishing I knew why I felt it was so important to hold even though I could not see where it ended. I saw myself in a gorgeous field filled with warm sunlight. I could see all my pain and sorrow but desperately desired to be in the field. I pictured God walking in the field, inviting me to join Him. But in order to join Him, I would have to let go of the rope that anchored me to some unknown destination. As my eyes were focused on the field, I saw you and all the confusion, despair, anger and sadness I have felt.

God wants me to reject logic. The very same God who gave me logic. This is illogical.

When I looked again, God revealed both of us as children holding hands in the sunlit field before the broken world tainted any part of who God meant for us to be. We were smiling – happy and innocent. I felt peace and contentment as the warmth of God’s love covered us.

Let us be innocent children again. Back in a time before hookers.

At that point, I knew I could let go of the rope. I understood that there really isn’t anyone or thing to blame.

There’s no one to blame! I just feel confusion, despair, anger and sadness because of a tainted world. You didn’t taint it! The world is just like that. The problem must be my feelings. I’m to blame for holding on to those… and this metaphorical rope.

The brokenness started at the beginning of time and has shaped generations before us. The only way to move forward is in faith, in forgiveness, and by holding His hand while surrendering our future to Him.

“I forgive you.”

You’re just part of a long cosmic strand of brokenness that has shaped generations! Should you fuck a hooker again, hey, cosmic strands. Whaddya gonna do? So I’m not entirely clear on what the EMS Weekend Intensive™ is going to accomplish given this predetermined outcome.

What’s that Dear Leader? Fork over $399 and surrender logic, there’s a unicorn waiting? In a gorgeous field filled with sunlight? He’s nibbling grass and never asks hard questions?

Sign me up.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This kind of shit proves to me with absolute certainty that the RIC is a crazy cult. “Elizabeth” has done all this deep “work” (read: brainwashing and amnesia) to try to forget the terrible wrongs that were done to her. (Wonder how she’s going to “forget” the STDs and the thousands of wasted dollars). Her FW is probably busy gallivanting with someone else right now.

    • This hits too close to home. I stayed because I meant my vows. I stayed because of some horrible advice from therapists who wanted me to take accountability for his decisions. I stayed until the abuse escalated to him brandishing a weapon as I argued with him. The argument? He was never home and I was begging him to spend time with me.

      This article about Elizabeth horrified me. It is horrific that she didn’t kick him out and snatch back her power. Divorce him and never look back. How I wish I could deprogram Elizabeth. She has been brainwashed. All that hooey about the rope and the field read like a fever dream, a hallucination, a complete and total break from reality.

      The reality is that cheaters cheat and will continue to cheat. Once you figure that out and accept it, divorce is a gift, not a failing.

      • The rope in the field read to me like God telling her to just let go of the Cheater and move forward without him. The light, the beauty, but first get rid of that FW (the rope).

      • Yes, and even if they are too old to sexually cheat they will lie and deceive you in other ways. That is who they are.

    • CMC, it is a certainty that her FW is lining up his next victim.

    • “This kind of shit proves to me with absolute certainty that the RIC is a crazy cult.”

      CMC – Maybe not. The way I see it, it’s basically a matter of supply and demand. A person has already demonstrated a willingness to spackle when they sign up for the RIC. The RIC merely provides the service they are seeking. At some point, some realize that spackling is bullshit and walk away. Others are willing to suffer it out and the RIC gives them just the kind of language and technology that is required to maintain the delusion that their abuser and the abusive relationship are worth holding on to. Guaranteed that if the greater demand was for a “kick me in the pants and help me get out of this shit” service, things would be different. I place greater responsibility on society for pushing a certain narrative about marriage (which includes the notion that husbands and wives are “one”. Nope. There are TWO people who every day must make choices that benefit the union.), as well as the lying, cheating assholes who use this narrative to manipulate and exploit their spouses by signing up for counseling, knowing full well they have no intention to stop lying and cheating.

      I knew what a piece of shit my ex FW was (and most likely still is). I also instinctively knew that he was choosing the behavior, just like all other cheaters and abusers. I for damn sure wasn’t going to sit with anyone to hear his reasons for choosing to be a piece of shit or take any part of the responsibility in an effort to get him or “us” better. I knew I wasn’t the problem nor part of the solution. My only work was to get MY mind right so that I could get out. Ultimately, I did. I’ve never looked back.

      I am now married to a wonderful man who loves me and is very good to me. We treat each other with kindness and respect. He is the love of my life. But, if he were ever to flip the script? I’m gone. Period. Full stop. Fk holding on to some story of “for better or worse” or being “one”, because that doesn’t apply to cheating. And there’s nothing that ANYBODY could say to convince me otherwise. I don’t give a fk how many degrees or credentials they have. I think that most of us know when things don’t feel right. The challenge is in accepting what we know and acting accordingly. Until we collectively shift our perception around this, the RIC will continue to exist. Just my two cents.

      • “Fk holding on to some story of “for better or worse” or being “one”, because that doesn’t apply to cheating. ”

        I agree, and to me the bible is the first word on this. There is a commandment about it, and there are verses in the bible that clearly give the betrayed the Christian right to walk away.

        I also get enraged that the word of God is twisted to entrap victims in abuse.

        • I’m a christian too and I HATE how christian ministers, pastors, counsellors etc will ask a betrayed spouse to stay with their adulterer spouse. Obviously they haven’t read Jesus’ words to divorce a spouse who has been cheating. But they conveniently put so many conditions on that like “oh but they’re remorseful” and “oh God hates divorce” and at the same time ignore the bible’s commands in Exodus “adultery is evil and you must put the evil away from you”. It annoys me to no end.

        • This is so true. I’m not a Christian but I’ve always been shocked at how much “good Christian/bible” rhetoric the RIC uses. Christianity literally condemns adultery probably more than any other religion.

      • I totally agree – the industry exists because there is a demand for it. With that said, most traditional cults also prey on people who are vulnerable – the recently bereaved or divorced, for instance. The people who work in the RIC understand that they’re exploiting these people, I think. And you’re right on the society part too – if society was different such that chumps weren’t as vulnerable as they end up being after being betrayed, if there were better narratives about lying and cheating and marriage out there, the RIC would struggle to find consumers. Which is why, sadly, the RIC also contributes to these toxic societal narratives – to keep itself in business. You can see it on their websites – “a big conflict just makes a marriage stronger,” “forgiving helped me become a better person,” “nothing trumps the true bond,” etc. They know that chumps are hearing this from everyone already and are delighted to add to the pile.

        Like you said, the best way for us to combat this is to fight for ourselves and our own boundaries – and support others who are. We need more: “no it’s not true love if you’re being abused” narratives. For anyone who is interested, all about love by the late bell hooks is an amazing treatise about what love SHOULD look like, in the individual and in society – and it is NOT abuse.

  • She’d be better off to drop the ridiculous bullshit and accept that she’s in an open marriage.

    It’s not required that one must leave a cheater but if that’s the road you wish to take being honest about it is much better for your mental health.

    If you’re not going to dump him then stop bullshitting, stop marriage policing, stop polygrahs, and stop martyring. Accept your open marriage and go on with your life, getting whatever it is you get from him.

    I think she’s out of her fucking mind but it’s her decision.

    • Yes, just admit he is never going to change. She is so busy making excuses for him.

    • She can’t do that because accepting an open marriage would mean accepting her husband and her circumstances as they actually are and not how she wishes they would be. As indicated in her letter, she is a victim of childhood abuse; she is recreating the same dynamic in her marriage, hoping for different outcomes.

      She has also spent thousands of dollars and hours being brainwashed by professional grifters who are validating her delusions. The support group she is part of is filled with other desperate chumps who validate her self-destructive behavior.

      I seriously doubt that she has a single friend or relative who has had an honest conversation with her or offered her genuine support, or if she ever did, she cut them out of her life because they weren’t telling her what she wanted to hear.

      This is probably among the most depressing letters CL has received, second only to the woman whose husband kept a concubine in their home during the COVID lockdowns.

      • I get that. I was a victim of childhood abuse too.

        But I was fortunate in that I was close to my father and from the time i was little he used to tell me that it’s important to deal with people as they are vs how you want them to be or think they could be.

        Maybe this woman will come around.

      • I agree with all you say. Reading her delusions made me sad. I can’t even work up much in the way of snark.

    • So true!

      My FW offered me an open marriage like it was steak on a platter. I asked him ‘what do I get out of this?’

      Even he couldn’t think of anything.

      Finally, he said: ‘You get to sleep with other men.’

      Me: ‘That’s what a divorce is for. Plus I get more closet space. I’m gonna stick with divorce.’

      • Awesome answer. I was offered this before I knew I was already in one, and I didn’t want to divorce. Once I found out she was cheating, the thought immediately crossed my mind that “great, now I’ll probably need to get divorced”. Deep down I knew it was a deal breaker even before it even sunk in.
        Once you see all the lying necessary to keep up a many month long affair, it’s just the icing on the divorce cake.

        • When I found the communication between my ex and his whore ex gf I knew in my gut the marriage was over. But it did take me a bit to come to terms with it.

          Finding out the extent of it (our entire relationship…even before we married) and the nasty prick he turned into I’m order to try to get me to rugsweep definitely helped me detach. There came a point where I realized he had zero to offer me.

          • Hi Kim
            Recently durning a therapist visit (me AND the him) she said let’s be honest this isn’t the first time(him cheating) and he said oh that was before we were married. Her jaw nearly hit the floor.
            The NERVE
            Reason I’m telling you is because it’s also his dirty whore ex. Who’s child I have take care of for years when she was too busy. Or broke. Or being herself out there.
            Such a slap in the face. Not sure how I got here! I hope you’re doing well. Any tips are appreciated

          • Such a lovely feeling when they become small, soulless, out-of-work vampires. I imagine the “nasty prick” as a pathetic cartoon character, shuffling around with a dirty cape and one fang missing — a joke with zero to offer, as you say.

            • Add a shitty toupee to your image ????

              He works but doesn’t make that much, and he has bad ED.

              His whore sure is lucky!

      • You are awesome!

        Besides…even if you had just slept with other men how long would it have been before you found someone better?

        • That’s exactly what I told my husband. I don’t need or want side dick, so the whole time I would be looking for your replacement. Kind of negates the whole point of an open marriage.

    • Kim, even in an open relationship Elizabeth’s husband will lie, cheat and defraud. It is who he is. He gets off on the deception, the “hidden sexual basement”. That cheater isn’t capable of a relationship with anything but his dick. I agree. Elizabeth is out of her fucking mind to stay married to this abusive man.

      • I’m sure that’s true. But she can’t control the fact that he lies…she can control her reaction. If she’s determined to stay married she’s going to have to accept that he lies and fucks other women.

        I couldn’t do it…..I left my ex for a lot less then she’s put up with.

  • Wow!!! It is too early in the morning for all the BS in this one. I can’t blame the UBT for having issues digesting this. This is some serious hopium and spackle. If you have to have a polygraph, then there is not trust and where there is no trust there can never be a “real” relationship. I realize the RIC sucks you in because it happened to me but fortunately I decided I could not handle the BS anymore after about a month. I don’t feel that I have to take any part of the blame for cheating. I did not decide to cheat and no matter how awful I was, he should have just been honest and said that he wanted out. He didn’t and he kept on cheating. After getting out of the RIC and pick me dancing, I filed and began no contact. There was no cake or kibble for the STBX. This really upsets him and whenever he tried to engage me, I simply told him to take it to the attorneys. He would throw a fit over that and it was great to watch. No contact is the way to go and it is great seeing them go through kibble withdrawal. Schmoopie is now the one who can serve his kibble. I am almost done. He has agreed to settle and hopefully I can have my life in about 60 days. His 32 years younger Schmoopie won the pick me dance and boy did she get a prize!!!!

    • CFNM: Loved the “kibble withdrawal” comment. Made me laugh ???? They are such pathetic wankers!

  • I too wrote a forgiveness letter to my cheater after a church therapist suggested it. He said to write the letter and give the pain to God. He said to write everything he had done to me so that I could forgive him properly. My cheater was supposed to write a letter, also, of all the thing he needed to be forgiven for. I wrote my letter and “forgave” him. Of course, he never got around to writing his letter. We were not supposed to read each other’s letters, but God would know. I reread my letter after I found out he was still cheating and filed for divorce. How was I supposed to write a letter of forgiveness when I didn’t really know everything he had done, he continued to lie. Hopium is strong when you go to a therapist.

    • I’ve been asked many times over the past 6 years if I’ve forgiven XAss. Well hmmm, to me to gain forgiveness one must first show contriteness and actually, meaningfully apologize. So no, I have not forgiven him as he has never once admitted anything and continues to blame me for our divorce. I have, however, forgiven myself for spending so much of my life high on hopium.

  • As Orwell said, “If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.”

    • Thank you for this Nomar. Truth needs no defense and this statement, from all if have learned and experienced since dday, in my opinion is true.

  • This is why I have a complete disconnect with the RIC … the level of gaslighting here is over-the-top! (Insert huge eye roll here)
    Elizabeth, come to the Jedi side!

  • Love the site update!
    My thought was skip paying for all the group sessions. Get a real therapist that recognizes abuse. Try to do financial assessment, which will not be close to the real amount, of what he’s spent on his other life and go for a divorce. Consider it extra money within a settlement. Get back in touch with things that would bring you real joy in your one short life. A donation towards a women’s shelter. Fund a program within your faith that actually educates about abusive relationships and love them towards the message that no higher power wants anyone to be abused. Go skydiving. Build a small home you love and gives you peace. Volunteer. Whatever floats your boat.
    One therapist told me to unpack what I needed to in order to move on due to my age and length of the marriage. You deserve happiness and a genuine life.

  • A person can pretend they still respect their cheating partner. But deep down they do not. They would not have to go through all these BS contortions if they could truly ‘get over it’. Deceit is deceit.

  • wow I was unexpectedly triggered by this letter. It reminded me of my own forgiveness letter that I wrote to my FW. It was at a time where he was majorly withdrawing from me, and I was asking forgiveness for my “anxious attached style”. We were fighting a lot “because I was being clingy”. In reality, what I did not know was that the active discarding had started he was intentionally pushing me away/treating me poorly. Trust your gut, it knows when something is wrong!

    • I wrote one too. I wonder how some of these mightier chumps were able to detach easier than I did. It took me an additional 4 years and another DD before I had enough. Oh well. I can’t ever get that time back but at least I know that I gave it my all.

      • Knowing you won’t have regrets later “if only I gave them a second chance” is worth a lot. You can truly move on.

        • Yep, I totally agree. I look back and think I should have left much earlier. But if I had, I’d carry the guilt of destroying our family for the rest of my life. I know myself. I would have. It probably doesn’t help that I’m from a family with no divorce. I had to know just how bad it was and how there was no hope in order to gain real freedom. I have zero doubt and zero guilt now. It sucks to think of the time I put into the marriage but it hasn’t haunted me at all. It would have if I’d left earlier. That’s worth a lot to me. Marriage was a very big deal to me, I needed to be able to look back and know I tried as hard as I could.

      • I think it just depends on the chump and the circumstance, FW etc.

        In my case he flat out (initially) left me for the whore. He stayed gone for about two months after we legally separated, then he called back to “try again” I foolishly let him come home, it lasted less than a week before I told him to go.

        That second time was pretty much the love killer. The mask came off, he was revealed to me as who he was. Oh he tried a couple other times down the road, but it was a no go.

        Asshole finally pissed me off, which was what my preacher was hoping for. He (preacher) told me early on I needed to get good and mad. I finally did.

      • Amazon, it takes what it takes. I try not to beat myself up. I had 26 years, 4 kids, businesses, pets, family, friends with XH. I still loved the miarage (thanks, VH!). It took me 18 weeks of from Dday and false wreconciliation to tell him to GTFO. Then another 8 months to file for divorce and another 15 months to go to trial and get my final decree. All the while I was lapsing into breaking no contact and offering him a life with me and our kids (treatment, polygraph to confirm he wasn’t lying, iron clad postnup). Thank God he didn’t agree and I’m free of him. I think I held on because I was conditioned to accept narcissist abuse from birth- my parents were narcissistic alcoholic cheaters. They abused and neglected me. Trauma bonds are real. Wire monkeys can seem like better than none in that conditioned state. I work hard on my scarcity mentality today. I notice those thoughts and redirect to thoughts that serve me.

        • MC, your word are golden. We hold on even after we see that the monkey is mostly wire and the padding is falling off. The trauma binding of childhood makes us glad to have the wire monkey and we treat the padding with the TLC we want to be giving to a real mate. Hopium makes us believe that he will turn out to be a real person underneath those scratchy wires.
          Takes so much work to get past this way of thinking -living.

      • you did your best amazon chump. you took your vows seriously. There’s a nice poem from T.S. Eliot (about his conversion to Anglicanism, although I am an atheist) called Ash Wednesday. The last part is dedicated to accepting that he cannot regain the time he “wasted” before conversion.

        “Although I do not hope to turn again
        Although I do not hope
        Although I do not hope to turn

        Wavering between the profit and the loss
        In this brief transit where the dreams cross
        The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
        (Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things

        Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
        Teach us to care and not to care
        Teach us to sit still
        Even among these rocks,
        Our peace in His will”

        This poem always spoke to me about accepting and forgiving ourselves

    • Oh god, the anxious attachment style. We did EFT couples therapy post-d-day. I won’t malign the entire field because I think there it can probably be applied more appropriately but I remember discussing the “dance” we would do. I was anxious and he was avoidant. I would weakly try to get across the point that I got anxious when he would literally leave the house for HOURS to avoid a confrontation and refuse to respond to texts or phone calls. Wouldn’t most spouses? This isn’t exactly a pathology or something I should try to change.

      • 100%, Limbo Chumpian. I would never have thought that I was “anxiously” attached until my FW. I am an anxious person and I get anxious in relationships, but it’s always been a part of my self work and never an issue or a reason to get abused. The truth is, they MAKE you anxious. Your gut knows that they’re abusing you and that makes you anxious. Why wouldn’t it? The only change needed is to leave the source of anxiety.

    • Same here. We think that we’re still in control and that if only we were less anxious/clingy/dependant/monogamous/”controlling”, we can save the relationship. In reality our anxieties were due to the very real emotional discarding being done by our FWs. Until my fw I was always genuinely just very cool with my partners having female friends, being friends with exes, and flirting with other women. It just didn’t bother me at all. But suddenly when FW started his shit, it DID start bothering me. I was confused and thought maybe I’d become the things you’ve mentioned – too anxious, clingy, whatever. In reality, my gut was telling me I had been discarded. And guess what – it was right!

  • Taking out the religious-culty vibe of the letter, I’m exhausted by how much work she’s putting into justifying-grasping-saving. I mean, I get it… twenty years is a lot of investment but, dear desperate chump… it’s twenty years of lies. This is a house built on sand; the foundation is… not good.

    The letter was hard to read because of how damn desperate it was. I remember those days. I grasped at all the straws. I clung to every forgiveness metaphor I could. I pardoned him repeatedly until my heart bled.

    And he didn’t change his behavior.

    Yes, it reeks of hopium smoke (I remember the smell) but what struck me was how much work was being put into this letter and I can promise you that all the sweat going into this is 98% hers. The cheater is just along for the ride and throws in the occasional 2%. I remember the reconciliation days. I showed FW all the work I was trying to put into me (recovery from the first D Day) and us and all I asked was that he match those efforts. For example, I told him that we could “work on us” but he would have to seek out some therapy for himself. He enthusiastically agreed… and then never followed up on it. I told him that we would need to talk about his affairs and our separation in order to process it and move on. He enthusiastically agreed… and then effectively forbade me from ever bringing it up again once he had moved back in with me and the kids.

    I approached him with a few pages from my D Day diary and asked him to read it. I wanted him to see how I had felt when he had first left me. And then I wanted to have a conversation about it. The children were asleep, I had made tea, it was time. He looked at the paper I was holding out and refused. He said “I will never read that. What’s the point? That was the past. You just want to stay in the past and, I’ve got to be honest, that’s making it really hard to keep this marriage going.”

    I remember feeling numb. I remember realizing that all the stuff he had promised he’d do when he was begging to be let back into my life and house… well, that he had actually done none of it and was actively refusing it now.

    I went to the backyard and burnt my D Day 1 diary. I was hoping it would feel cathartic. It didn’t. It just felt awful that my H didn’t want to look at any of it or stand by my side while I did this symbolic thing. I went back inside and let him know that I had burnt those pages in the pit. I remember he didn’t even get up from the computer or look away from the screen. He just nodded and said, “Good.”

    It took more months for him to pack his bags and move into GF#3/Wifetress’s house but I remember realizing that this was the beginning of the end again. The enthusiastic “I’ll do anything to keep you in my life” forgiveness junkie was back to barely even acknowledging my feelings or me.

    So, I read all the desperation and work the letter writer is pouring into that letter (forgiveness rope metaphors! images of them as sweet, innocent children!) and I feel badly for her because I know her FW is not even going to be putting a fraction of that same effort into their marriage. Why should he? She’s desperately rowing the boat to shore herself and that gives him time and energy to kick back and line his next move up. I remember those days. I was there. I’m so sorry letter-writer. Your house is built on sand. I know you don’t want to hear it but eventually you’ll have to.

    • I’m so sorry you went through all that. I hope you’re through all the muck you lived with and had to process. I know of only one unicorn and it’s too early to know for sure if the unicorn is real. I’m of the opinion that it’s just a matter of time…

    • “You just want to stay in the past and, I’ve got to be honest, that’s making it really hard to keep this marriage going.”

      Ah, the classic blame-the-chump retort. #yourfault. How dare you remember that shitty thing I did?

      I also was blamed for bringing up the past. Either my memory was “too good” or “really bad.” ????????‍♀️

      Sometimes I thought he had dementia because he couldn’t seem to remember anything. High on hopium, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Now I see that all that time he was just being an a**hole. I also think he probably *did* forget the shitty things he did, such is his disordered thinking.

      Glad I’m not dealing with that mindfuckery anymore.

      • I so relate to this, Spinach. Mine had those same memory lapses. He admitted to deliberately forgetting things he’d done. Years of that led to a permanent state and now his memory is so bad it seems like dementia. He can literally forget something that happened ten minutes ago. So he gave himself what he deserves- a busted brain. Nice work, fuckwit.

      • Yup…FW said: But that is in the past!!

        Me: It happened literally 12 hours ago. By your logic, you could fuck her and 5 minutes later being saying: But that was in the past!!

        FW: You’re acting kind of bitter. ????

        Me: I think some time has to pass for me to be considered ‘bitter.’ ????


    • My letter I wanted klootzak to read after D-day 1 was an email. I’m not sure he really understood any of it. His response was all this stuff he was going to do blah blah blah me me me blah blah blah. No apology. I think there was an “I’m sorry you feel that way.” And I read it, felt like it wasn’t good enough, but was desperate to keep us together so I accepted it.

      I remember talking to my favorite priest for 2 hours. I remember how clear-eyed he was. G-d would not want me putting up with this shit. I would have been granted an annulment easily as klootzak lied to me about who he was and what his intentions were all along. To be clear, the priest was telling me to run. Don’t worry about what the Church or anyone thinks. Go. Everything he said felt right and true. Yet I was pretty trapped at the time and desperate for hopium. I hung up the phone and walked into the RIC – all counseling that was secular – and did all the work trying to fix what klootzak broke.

      It amazes me how we can pour our pain out in writing, maybe even edit over and over to try to make it logical. Struggle to capture the depth and breadth of what we are experiencing and our fears. Try to pin down what could restore our trust. And they just shrug it off. How DARE we expect them to digest it and actually apologize and do real work.

      I remember after klootzak went along with “It must be a sex addiction!” and I sought out websites and support groups for spouses who were sex addicted. And they were FILLED with people saying, “Run! File! Nothing to work with here” and I stopped reading and turned them off, never looking back. I was looking for a way to rebuild and stay and the veterans were saying it was not possible.

      You really have to grab the fucking rope and climb to freedom. Climb to meh. That is what is at the end! It isn’t “the unknown.” My G-d threw me the rope and I was too dumb to grab it.

      • The RIC peddles sex addiction and “brain malfunction” to the FWs to absolve them of any responsibility.

        I was very clear-headed on D-day – I knew that betrayal was the end.

        I did listen to his excuses, not expecting an apology, just information. I got all the information I needed – he is entitled and selfish.

      • Ha, I went to my priest, and his answer was, “Just be nice to your husband”. That was one of the last times I went to church, as I couldn’t believe it!

      • “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

        Translation: “yawn” (personality disordered, image-management style).

        Take a baseball bat to his balls, and when he’s doubled over gasping for air, say “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

        Sometimes you just have to meet a psychopath where he lives.

        • “Take a baseball bat to his balls, and when he’s doubled over gasping for air, say “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
          I couldn’t stop laughing at the imagery.

    • I think your boat rowing metaphor is especially apt. Each person has an oar in a marriage. It doesn’t matter how hard you paddle your own side, if the other person doesn’t match your effort you just spin in circles forever.

    • Fourleaf, wow, you told my story. I filled out volumes of workbooks for spouses of “sex addicts” ahem, abusers. He wrote three words in his workbook…. I looked when he left everything after I said GTFO. “I have to quit drugs” is all he wrote. Drugs? That was a new Dday of a different stripe. Not one word about he millions of choices over 26 years and innumerable lies/affairs. Seeing those hastily scribbled words and all of those blank pages in contrast to my workbooks that had almost no space left and pages added was a form of the mask dropping. He really is soulless. I also showed him my “work” during wreconciliation and he was dismissive.
      Nothing to work with. I am so glad I divorced, walked through the hell and didn’t stop. I’ve been divorced 5 years now. My life/children/career/finances has never been better. I’m engaged to a committed man who wants a monogamous relationship. Meh is wonderful.

    • I had so many of the same experiences, unfortunately. There is undoubtedly a PATTERN. I’m so sorry for your pain.

    • Agreed, Fourleaf. All I could think about reading her letter was “is this Wreckconciliation a full-time job for her? Does she not work, have hobbies, want to sleep?” I was exhausted just reading it. Just her wasting more of her precious time on Earth trying to hold onto a Loser.

  • I understand how devastating and painful it is to discover that the person us chumps love can betray us so brutally. Especially after a long marriage but we must love ourselves more. Myself after 35 years I was blinded to the red flags because I was afraid of losing him. But my mental and physical health was at stake.
    If the writer wants to make excuses and live in this open marriage it’s her
    choice. IMO it’s a waste of time staying with a partner where there’s no respect or love. I’d rather live alone and realize I’m worth more than that.

  • Jesus Unicorns are a breed of their own…. they seem to go well with Jesus Cheaters.

  • Geez! This is triggering. I hope Elizabeth stopped allowing herself to be abused by continuing down this horrible road and she found some peace. This reminds me why I absolutely hate “Godly” RIC cults. They take good things like God, forgiveness, trust, love, etc. and twist it to keep victims in abusive situations. Either for money, “for God”, to save a “sacramental marriage” or some other bullshit excuse they put out there. What sick fuckers! I found the same mindset in Evangelical, Baptist and Church of Christ church members, which is why I only attend Episcopal now. Their bullshit really damaged my relationship with God.

    The “Wonder Woman” Bible study group I was in raked me over the coals and ostracized me. Then the Preacher had the audacity to ask me to meet and talk to my soon to be ex after I had him arrested and a restraining order slapped on him for beating me and threatening to kill me and my kids. The Preacher told me that God will protect me. I told him not sure what kind of idiot he takes me for but a restraining order is a 2 way street and I couldn’t meet or talk to my soon to be ex or communicate through a third party of which he was trying to do through him. I bookended that convo with I was reported him to the judge for failing to abide by the restraining order and communicate to me on my exes behalf. That shut him the fuck up and left me the fuck alone! I reported him to the judge and to the church counsel of which he was promptly removed as the lead Preacher. However, I was chastised for “breaking up” their church. What horrible horrible people!!!

    • I am very sorry that happened to you. I felt very sad for the letter writer then I started to get mad at these RIC people. Their advice is dangerous. They tell you to put yourself in risky situations- health wise, financially and emotionally- and give you hope that anything can be overcome if you change enough and put up with enough. How many people have risked diseases making themselves “available” for their cheaters? How many people have self-harmed because they could not make the cheater stop cheating? How many people have been killed or badly beaten because they did not leave the abusive cheater? How many people have wrecked themselves financially because they continued to give money to their cheater or made large purchases to keep their marriages while the FW got their ducks in a row and left? And what about the damage to the kids witnessing this crap?

      At best RIC is delusional, at worst they are malignant predators. At any rate, being a biblical “expert” with no psychological training does not qualify you to counsel chumps. If you aren’t qualified, shut the hell up and offer kindness. Anything else is hubris and I don’t know how they can look themselves in the mirror.

    • SouthernChump, I hope all of those false prophet assholes ceased and desisted. If one person broke up their church it damn well needed breaking up. I admire you for standing up to this abuse. I salute you.

  • I think the rope is the marriage, not forgiveness. The letter makes more sense to me reading it that way.

    Forgiveness does not mean maintaining a relationship with the person you forgive.

    When a bank forgives a loan, they let go of the money, and the customer who defaulted.

    • typo/clarification:

      You can forgive someone and continue the relationship, and you can forgive someone and terminate the relationship. I know many who believe forgiveness means you have to continue the relationship and I’ve been taught otherwise.

      I also get really ticked off when someone starts in on me about having to forgive. It feels like I am being told my feelings are wrong. I need to find my own way through the fire swamp of forgiveness and I don’t like unsolicited advice about it.

      As for Elizabeth, I wouldn’t be asking her for advice about forgiveness or marriage.

      • My ex thought that forgiveness meant putting on blinders to all that happened and reconciling. He heaped on the religious guilt. Nope, his long-term patterns and lack of trustworthiness meant that it had to end. Then he behaved very badly during the divorce, showing just why he had to be. His attorney knew of my ex’s religious background and that my attorney was a man of faith himself, so he ranted to mine about the hypocrisy. Mine said that he mostly listened but had to agree.

        I have indeed “Let go, let God.” No trust in my ex though. Zero.

      • Agree.

        I find it really curious that some, namely x-MIL and others in x’s family, seem to think that I can’t move on with *my life* unless I forgive. By their definition, forgiveness seems to mean giving up NC and embracing the x and, by association, all of them.

        I fail to see the connection between forgiving and resuming contact/continuing a relationship. They can be mutually exclusive.

        I’ve moved on quite nicely with my life despite not forgiving the FW. That they assume I can’t possibly move on because I haven’t forgiven reveals their own effed-up logic.

        • What they think about you forgiving him or not is not something they should be allowed to bother you with. Tell them it’s none of their business, and try to arrange things so they cannot see or contact you enough to try to manage your business. In other words, do everything you can to cut them out of your life.

          • Oh, they are out of my life. I don’t respond to any of it. I considered writing “return to sender” on her last letter, but I don’t want to give MIL even that satisfaction. For all she knows, her occasional letter, which usually includes bible verses about forgiveness, ends up in a black hole. Probably frustrates the hell out of her.

            So, I really don’t want to tell them it’s none of their business, which they would probably somehow weaponize. #boomerangeffect. Instead, I prefer to ignore them and vent to you fine folks. ????

        • Yes, my ex’s family believes “time heals all wounds” and “love conquers all.” That’s hopium and religious denial, brothers and sisters. For as picky as they are about the Bible, I don’t see those aphorisms there at all. I do see times in the Bible when drawing a line and getting out of there is justified.

      • I have to be fair and say that though my initial
        response on DDay was GTFO, he said that he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. Out of my astronomical pain and fear (which makes a lot of people consider things they wouldn’t otherwise) I agreed to attempt
        to repair (and I now know his intentions were total BS). I can’t be critical of Elizabeth because what I see in her letter is the brainwashed trap abuse victims become ensnared in. I think the antidote is truth delivered without sugarcoating with a matter-of-fact demeanor, often, and with assistance. Professional deprogrammers are often necessary to extricate people from cults; I needed lots of support and therapy, my own de facto team of de programmers to help me see and think differently. And since DDay I have found that I still have work to do. ☹️
        I am not accepting blame for his actions. I just see now that I had some big blind spots and blew past things I now see were enormous stop signs. I had to be willing to talk to a good therapist who was crafty about telling me what I did not want to hear. In my face with a 2 x 4 would have resulted in my ears pinned back as I headed for the door, never to return.

        I will never have X-ray vision, be able to read minds, or control another person’s decision to be violent, but I can improve my awareness, my limits and boundaries, and my ability to let go and walk away sooner. It’s really important for me to look at where I stayed in the car when I should have gotten out. Then there’s the man I met who was so skilled at lying and hiding his true self that he flew right under my radar until I discovered him on the Megan’s Law website as a violent offender. No, they aren’t always obvious.

        And Traitor X talks to the people who tell him what he wants to hear, like any good criminal does….

      • I forgave the FW.

        I dumped him, then eventually forgave him. I did it for me, not for him. I needed to let go of my anger and move on in my life. He gave me no choice; I wouldn’t take him back no matter how much he begged. I won’t ever forget, or ever talk to him again. Whatever else happens in his life he still has to live with himself.

    • I have struggled with this. Forgiveness is good. Not easy but I forgave my husband. I don’t think it means automatic reconciliation either. I believe in God. I am thoughtful I know he’s a human. I also know what I see a marriage being. And in my eyes and I believe Gods eyes for me: it’s not him with a other person. I’ve tried to think of this cheating so many different ways. And I have struggled with what true forgiveness really means(along the way). But the more time goes in I realize I am not obligated to do anything last forgiving. And people who offend us should appreciate the gesture.

      • You can forgive a person and still divorce them. Forgiveness and self-respect are not mutually exclusive.

    • The bank lets go of the customer because they’re a credit risk. If they defaulted once, they’re likely to default again. It’s the same with FWs. You can only forgive them if you let them go – if you don’t, they’ll certainly repeat the behavior.

  • Years ago I caught a tv show about sex addiction. It was the first time I had heard of it. The thing that came through was the overwhelming shame a true addict has. It had costs people marriages, jobs and self respect. An alcoholic told me there is an addict mind and it is always centered around the drug of choice and that shame is constant. So many of these so-called addicts blame the spouse which makes me think they are probably very selfish people who do not care about the pain they inflict.
    This poor woman has spent tons of money, including a poly. Is he better? Who knows.

    • You know, I strongly doubt so-called “sex addict” cheaters are ever ashamed. They feel justified in what they are doing, so why be ashamed of what they are entitled to do?They believe it’s perfectly okay because bagged salad, muffin top, etc. ad nauseum.

      • I can attest that the sick sex addict I married, who led a complete seedy life (and continues to do so), had not an inkling of conscious, never. It was always entitlement with and using me as a ready excuse for his gutter life. She’s crazy. She’s can’t have sex. You name it. It’s twisted and it’s psychological torture at it’s worst. He still cannot fathom that his myriad sex activities, gaslighting, and abuse are the reason the marriage ended, but of course, he doesn’t care because he always had another chump waiting for the day I finally saw the light. Creepy soulless beings.

    • Klootzak is a so-called addict. He went to meetings for a few months and then he said they changed locations and it was not convenient to attend. A year later when I found his big box of Christmas presents for his AP and her kids, I asked WTH. He said oh, she is just a nice person I know through my SA support group online. ???? So he started using the online group – which was co-ed – as a way to pick up more APs.

      Their lives revolve around entitlement and betrayal. The betrayal just makes the entitlement kibbles more tasty.

      As someone posted above, he doesn’t deserve to be married.

    • It is confusing, isn’t it? There must be a difference between sick & evil . Sick as in wounded, weak & acting out to kill pain & others get hurt “by accident”.
      Evil as in willful selfishness, giving self god-like privilege & others get hurt “on purpose”.
      Either sick or evil, there’s consequences, sooner or later. Unfortunately, faithful, unselfish people get unfairly traumatized.

  • She fills the holes in her dysfunctional soul with dysfunctional chunks of her cheater. And they fit. If she can stay tethered to (matched with) him, she doesn’t have to heal.

  • liz, you’re struggling and i’m sorry but you need to dial this back to you. deal with you. you’re worth it. it sounds like your FOO has some bearing on your current situation. why don’t you funnel all the RIC money into individual therapy and take a good look at FOO?

    a test i often use is to ask myself “what would i counsel my kid to do in this situation?” or “what would my kid think of my decision?” it usually sets me straight.

    i exercised at the Y at the same time as a married woman who started an affair with a fellow gym-goer. i caught her making out with him in a tucked away location inside the Y, closest the racquetball courts. anyway, we used to change at adjacent lockers–you know how you always use the same lockers–and, later, as we changed, side-by-side, i quietly said, “i think you need to ask yourself what your kids would think and whether they would want to know what you’re doing.” she looked at me, pale-faced. nothing more was said and i left.

    i didn’t see her–she must’ve changed her exercise times. no surprise! anyway, i did see her at a grocery store with her husband a few years later. he was a type A business guy, kinda distant. coincidentally, he looked almost identical to the fellow gym-goer she was fucking around with at the Y. that stuck with me big time.

    people are fucked up.

  • Someone needs to bang two massively large pots just inches away from Elizabeth’s ears with the remotest last ditch effort of jarring her from the Jim Jones pit, Third Reich depth she’s currently zombie walking the through.
    She’s reached transcendental states of self brain washing no god that’s ever existed would condone.
    Maybe an alien abduction WOULD be the best outcome at this point. Anything is a better scenario from the one she’s chosen.
    That imaginary boa constrictor sized rope she wants to metaphorically release, has her so tightly bound up from head to toe at this point, she’s about to stop breathing!
    (It might even be the lack of oxygen getting to her brain that’s the issue here, who knows for sure!)
    My advice to deeply deluded Elizabeth is to let that snake devour her completely worthless spouse instead of herself.
    Besides, large filthy diseased rats are their preferred food source.
    Run, Elizabeth, run!!
    Your hair is IN FLAMES girl!!! ????????????

    The new site looks amazing CL! ???? ????????

  • I legit couldn’t get through this word salad drivel. She has been chomped twice, first but her husband and second by her “group leader”????

  • I would bet money that “Elizabeth”‘s husband is continuing to cheat and hiding assets in preparation for filing for divorce.

  • Different circumstances, but like Elizabeth, I thought that faith and love would save the marriage. He preached at times at our church and came from a family of preachers, so there was the appearance factor. I actually hid what was going on and was in denial myself. We separated for the second time, and I hid that reality. I was so ashamed and afraid. He took off many states away. Then I told, and it was a long, slow path to stop taking hopium and refuse reconciliation. I found my way through the divorce and closeout with the help of a top-notch legal team and a local twelve-step group. He behaved so badly in that process that there was no doubt that it had to be. The church amazingly got that the marriage had to end, but didn’t know how to counsel me, so I went elsewhere.

    I learned two basic lessons from that. First, there is evil in the church, period. It may be sitting with you in the pew, or it may be a few rows up. It is there though, and you need to accept that reality and get away or keep away from it. Most of the congregation denies that and believes that people who look good and act good must be good (legalism plays a role), but don’t believe it. Trust your gut. And second, the church is built around a basic premise of fake reality. They believe that all marriages can be saved and all addictions can be overcome. No way. Certain people are so deep into their disorder that a line has to be drawn to protect those around them. Our family therapist (a Christian with secular training) once quipped that some people don’t deserve to be married, and my ex was one of them. So true.

    • The wheat (real believers)
      & the weeds (frauds)
      grow together in the same
      field (church).

  • As I was reading this I kept on hearing, “Thwack. Thank you Sir, may I have another?”

    Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that’s some Olympic level masochism there.

  • I used to lead DivorceCare groups in two different churches. This exposed me to a lot of ridiculous religious gobbledygook about forgiveness and marriage. DC did pretty well separating forgiveness from reconciling, but were too narrow about acceptable reasons for divorce and remarriage (adultery is an acceptable reason for them) The biggest offenders in misrepresenting forgiveness were the pastors and unlicensed Christian counselors. It almost seemed like a game to torture victims of adultery with the promise that God would transform their spouse to be something they are not. “But God needs you to make all the sacrifices to enable this miracle. Just hold on for another season and don’t sell God short. He wants your marriage to mirror the relationship between Jesus and the Church, so don’t fail Him! More prayer, more sex, more shit sandwiches will accomplish miracles. But if it doesn’t you can be satisfied that you are suffering for Jesus! Be sure to plaster on a happy, shiny face when you come to church on Sunday.”

    • Yes, someone recently asked me to lead a DivorceCare group. I had looked at the materials early in the divorce process several years ago, and I saw the red flags right away.

      Out of curiosity, I looked at the time into where it was being offered locally. Oh, my. A dear friend of mine divorced her serial cheater, and his second wife was leading a group through a local Christian counseling group. Talk about weird!

      Part of my healing came through a twelve-step group. Now I recommend that, but I always say that you have to find one that is healthy and resonates with you. There are some toxic ones of those too.

    • A great resource for Christians facing divorce is “Life Saving Divorce” by Gretchen Baskerville. She also has a Facebook group. She has a good grip on reality concerning abuse people suffer from other Christians as they go through divorce. She even lists ChumpLady as a resource in her book.

  • “before the broken world tainted any part of who God meant for us to be.”

    Uh-huh. The broken world made him a cheater.
    No, I think it was him and his dick that did that, dear. We all live in the same broken world. We don’t all cheat.

    It’s bad enough that we have Jesus cheaters, but the Jesus chumps make me so sad, justifying putting up with abuse because it’s allegedly Godly to do so. This brainwashed woman is so depressing that it was difficult to even laugh at the hilarious UBT.

  • Wow, those EMS Weekend Intensives are like the chump Olympics! The most delusional wins the gold! Looks like poor Elizabeth stands a chance.

  • Whenever I hear someone justify staying with a cheater because God wants them to have a loving and forgiving heart I am gobsmacked. My very own minister, the man who married me and Mr. Sparkles, said to me after telling him I was getting divorced… “As Christians, we want to believe that God brings this to us… but we must also remember that God will also take away things that are harming us.” For me, God loved me enough to put me through the pain of being a chump… instead of putting me through the pain of living my life with a cheater.

    So many times I was tempted to sign-up for the $399 miracle course, just like I was the one who signed us up for marriage counseling. I’m so glad I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation instead. I was a voyeur here for the first year, but heard everything I needed to get my ducks in a row, file first, be the sane parent, and build a new cheater-free life.

    Does God love me, yup. Does the RIC just want their hand in my wallet, yup. Does Chump Lady and Chump Nation help you find your inner strength and leave a cheater, yup.

  • It reads like a paid review, especially at the end. Either that, or there was an agreement to lower or waive the course costs for her stellar review.

  • darn it CL “Abacuslaughtermattress” is my password. How did the UBT know? It’s the new site I’ll bet.


  • Ahhhh the old “praying away the gay” program. (Never works) And insult to injury… when he inevitably cheats again, the deflect will be- SHE didn’t pray hard enough, what was “her part in it” , she must have done something bad for god not to help her—and all the other victim blaming tropes set up by the patriarchal and misogynistic religious RIC. While he gets to be the victim because he has “the disease of sex addiction” (snort gag barf eyeroll)

  • I was deeply involved in this specific site, Affair Recovery, after my first of dozens of Ddays back in late 2019 and early 2020 while he trickle truthed me with everything he had done for the past two decades. My STBX and I felt very connected to the couple featured heavily in their videos, Samantha and Samuel. I was steeped in RIC Hell and majorly smoking the hopium pipe as I watched hours of their videos every day. To be fair to myself, we were stuck in lockdown with each other and I was desperate for anything to help me feel like things were going to be ok. I finally broke out of the fog in October of last year and kicked him out and we are divorcing. I just learned about a month ago that Samuel and Samantha are no more. She left him. I sent my STBX a note letting him know that his hero had fallen. So much for being cured!

    • Yes, I also read/watched a number of the Affair Recovery resources in the few months after D-Day #2 in 2018, while I was also reading Chump Lady. I had a more “timid forest creature”-type cheater, and thought she really might see the light. (Nope.) I was not at all surprised to hear that Samuel couldn’t follow through- I remember vividly the video where he was trying to model how cheaters should stay calm while listening to their spouses describe their hurt. He nodded, said “uh huh, uh huh” – looking all the while very dismissive and aloof. Basically, he was modeling condescension, and suggesting that cheaters don’t really need to hear or engage with their “betrayed spouses.” Total BS. By the way, I do think that we chumps can get flooded when we’re dealing with trauma, and it’s highly unlikely that our cheaters will be able to hear us and really take responsibility for our pain. Yet another reason to Leave A Cheater and Gain A Life!

  • This letter made me sad for the woman that wrote it. It also made me realize just how far I have come in healing. Dday was June 2019 and my divorce was final in March 2020. After Dday I figured out that the ex was a serial cheater for the entirety of our marriage. All 15 years. Even knowing that, I still was smoking hopium. “Maybe we can fix this! Love conquers all!” All that garbage flowing through my brain. Despite not really wanting to divorce, I went forward knowing that it was the healthiest thing for me and our two kids. I desperately wanted to believe that we would somehow work it out. That he made a mistake. I’m so glad that I followed through with the divorce. I’m so glad I went no contact. I’m so glad I started to tune out those little voices in my head that said “what if?” Life is a lot better now that the marriage is over and he is out of our lives. He died shortly after the divorce was final. Today would have been his 47th birthday. I try to remember the good things about him for the kids’ sake, but really, there is peace in this world without his chaos and drama. I hope that Elizabeth stopped smoking the hopium.

  • Put down the cross, Elizabeth–you need the wood. (To burn your marriage license.)

  • This really is some industrial-grade bullshit. With apologies to the godly reading this, can it be a coincidence that the victim seems up to her ears in religious, God-wants-women-to-stay-married-and-keep-that-stinky-muff-off-the-streets voodoo?

    I think not.

  • A word about forgiveness: I’m not sure all of us have the same definition. I’ve noticed that it’s often conflated with “letting go” and would be curious to hear others’ definitions.

    For me, forgiveness is having compassion for the perpetrator of the harm. In the case of infidelity, it’s recognizing the affair(s) and lies but coming to the conclusion that although what the cheater did is wrong, it’s ok. We move on. All’s well that ends well.

    Um, no.

    I doubt I’ll ever forgive. He hasn’t asked for my forgiveness, which seems like a prerequisite. Also, he hasn’t copped to all he’s done, so I don’t even know what I’d be forgiving. Doing so strikes me as cheap forgiveness.

    Does he dominate my ever thought? No.
    Have I gained a life without him? Yes.
    Am I happier without him? Yes.
    In many ways, have I let go? Yes. And by that I mean, I am not curled up in a fetal position, unable to function.

    That said, I still get hit with an unpleasant memory at least once a day. Turns out emotional squatters are tough to evict.

    TL;DR: I’m letting go as best I can. But, to me, that’s not the same as forgiving.

    • [email protected],

      Ex-Mrs LFTT has never asked for forgiveness (or apologised, or tried to make amends or tried to change her behaviour) …. because that would mean admitting that what she did to the kids and I was wrong.

      Interestingly, it was when I realised that it wasn’t that she wouldn’t apologise but that it was she couldn’t apologise that enabled me to move on; no point waiting for an apology that is never coming.


      • Exactly LFTT. The chump will be waiting, putting their life on hold, until either the chump or the abuser dies. The abuser usually doesn’t see they’ve done anything wrong.

        • SPbaS,

          This realisation was important for our children too; particularly for our youngest, who took a long time trying to reconcile knowing full well what her mother had done (it was her who discovered and exposed the affair) and her mother’s flat refusal to acknowledge what she’d put us through.


            • [email protected],

              Thanks for asking. She is doing well now, but it has been a long and hard road. She now sets very firm boundaries and has found her voice, which is great. This has helped when Ex-Mrs LFTT’s family have pushed her to forgive her mother and accept the AP. MIL got firmly (but politely) put in her place with “I am not punishing my mother, but I do not have to forgive someone who still lies about what she has done.”

              She’s a great kid; all 3 of them are.

          • Trying to reconcile what doesn’t make sense is painful and harmful. Causing that alone needs apology.
            That you let go is strength.

        • Yes, waiting for an apology or something that will set things right- does put your life on hold. What’s going on is so confusing that all you can do is wait for it to be fixed( hopium). Until you can see that it’s not going to be….GTFO.

        • DrC,

          She very well could be. The important thing is that our children (now 25, 23 and 18 but 18, 16 and 11 when she left us) know that she is very manipulative and will always put her needs before theirs.


      • This is a brilliant analysis of cheater mind that cuts through.
        Knowing that a corrective, an acknowledgment, thanking responsibility will never come- – should indeed create a breakthrough. Sounds like a:sign of good mental health that you were able to make enough sense of that to move on. I’m keeping your words for my inspiration page as I am doing this work.

    • I agree with this. Mine did cop to (pretty much) everything and approached me early on with an apology, but as a “step” in his 12-step program. I took that as insincere. I am not a “step” to be taken just so you can complete your “program” and feel better about yourself. He offered up other brief apologies along the way, but there was always a hint of an excuse or blame or justification along with it. And he never understood or acknowledged how truly horrific betrayal is and the effect it had on me and my son. Even If he came to me now, several years later, and sincerely apologized with all the proper acknowledgment of our pain and suffering, I still don’t think I would forgive him because to me, like you, it connotes that everything is ok; I’m ok with you now and what you did. But I never will be. I guess to me there are some things that just can’t be forgiven; once bad behavior reaches a certain level it’s simply unforgivable. My take, anyway. I know many others feel different.

    • Spinach, I appreciate your point of view and feel the same way. His not having acknowledged what he did and the fog of deception that he created leaves me with the psychological residue of having lived in it . It’s hard to let go of the emotional chaos that was never
      resolved.Flashback now as I’m writing this….when I told him about the stress of the cognitive dissonance, he brushed it off —like it was beneath minor on the scale of significance. No acknowledgment, no concern for what he’d done, no asking for forgiveness or offering restitution.

      That may be today’s upsetting memory-but you never know when there will be more.
      It’s hard to heal from what you don’t know you are trying to heal from.
      Yes, progress is managing the better life while still being subject to the intrusion of the memory of the chaos and mixed feelings. And the regret for not having been
      able to see what was happening.
      It is still hard work.
      I’m glad you are here Spinach.

    • Spinach-your words are golden.
      If there were acknowledgment with a sincere apology for the years of gaslighting, confusion, double messaging (alternating live bombing with distancing), creating emotional chaos,
      maybe then we could heal, move on, let go.
      Without that we are left holding the mess and trying to figure out what was happening, what was being hidden. It’s hard to heal from what you don’t know you are trying to heal from.
      Even away from it now it still pops up in flashback memories that absorb emotional energy.
      As you say you can’t forgive without acknowledgment of what was done.

  • This entire “system” is religious abuse. BTDT. Maybe the rope is actually God sending her a lifeline to follow to get out of that mess. I’m annoyed beyond reason that this stuff goes on.

    Also, it’s a huge moneymaker for Dear Leader. I’m SHOCKED at the price tag for the weekend “retreat”. You can make a single payment of $3700, or spread it out over 4 payments at $3835 or 6 payments totaling $3970.

    Also, there’s a dress code….but only for women.

    • That is a deal compared to what the RIC experts at Center for Peace charge. >$20K, prepaid, no refunds, and they can kick you out too.

  • I was deep into affair recovery and used to send FW a raft of their videos during wreckonciliation. I remember on one forum someone mentioned Chump Lady and it was like someone took the lords name in vain. Anyway I googled but at that time it looked too scary. I wanted to fight for my marriage. There was another forum that had a thread called “just found out”. The number of posts that led with “I’m here again!” was a wake up call I needed.

  • I really feel for this woman. The thing is the church talk a lot about forgiveness but the bible itself says that forgiveness follows repentence! It also says that someone who repeatedly sins is following the devil.There really is no “sex addict” excuse. It’s evil, and clearly this is being twisted to some sort of buddhist type detached, no anger, no pain stuff. I wish I could talk to this woman and help her understand what her faith teaches about someone who is behaving this way.

    • Halfthecake: so true! I never bought into that forgiveness stuff. I bucked it 36 years ago when I started ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) meetings, and I still do. If you don’t ask me for forgiveness, you don’t get it.

      When you forgive an abuser who takes no responsibility for what they’ve done, you open yourself – and everyone else – up to more abuse. There are a lot of people who will disagree with me, but I think 1) you sacrifice your dignity in forgiving someone who doesn’t ask for it, and 2) most people who say they’ve forgiven their abuser are just trying to bury their pain.

    • It’s been a long, deep dive for me to thoroughly understand what Forgiveness really is. Same for Repentance.
      Forgiveness is writing-off theft;
      accepting the fact that there’s no compensation fix for loss & damage and it’s the end of expecting anything.
      Repentance is a voluntary decision to make internal change of character that requires humility & ongoing honest looks in the mirror.
      12 Steps aka sanctification.
      Can anybody forgive or repent without divine intervention, truth, wisdom & mindful effort?

  • Thank you, Chump Lady, for being honest and sane in a world that rewards the opposite.

  • The whole idea of a “forgiveness letter” is sick. Assigning something like this to a chump is similar to assigning it to a sexual assault victim: “I was harmed by you, abused by you, traumatized and forever changed, but that’s OK – I still forgive you.”

  • Oh yes, this was my life although I never went to any weird church groups for reconciliation. I reconciled for all of my insecure and anxious reasons. I told myself that if something was going on, God would show me and I left it at that. Pushed it to the back of my mind and ignored questionable circumstances.
    Three weeks ago I got a positive STD test. Filed for divorce. I already knew I was putting my head in the sand, I just needed that one more reason and here we are…
    I hope this woman’s situation doesn’t come to that, but it probably will.

  • I don’t want to bash religion, but I’m gonna bash religion. All of that God wills this, God wills that, cover us in His light stuff makes me ????. If you’re that religious, you should know that adultery is the only acceptable reason for a divorce, according to St. Paul in the New Testament. You’re good to go.

    In all seriousness, this is a great example of how the RIC loves to guilt people into putting more money in their pockets. I haven’t set foot in a Catholic Church since 2012, but in my desperation to save my marriage I wanted to drag my FW into a priest’s office to slap him upside the head ala Cher in Moonstruck – ‘Snap out of it!’ My ex-husband was raised as an evangelical Protestant, so I thought going through religious route might help. That’s serious desperation. I’m now sure that it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference.

  • Yeah . I read a book about forgiving but it was for me and it didn’t mean reconciliation. It means peace for yourself. it doesn’t mean you get rid of the boundaries.
    I found out what the FW did to hie previous wife and decided it wasn’t ever going to get better. Same ole empty whore the rest of his empty life. He can’t even figure out where he’s at. I’m pretty sure he’s not ready for my answer. which is go back to your childhood and commit yourself to intensive therapy but oh yeah covert narcissist cant really be cured.

    Let me tell you what these boys really go to church for. lol. Yeah I sat in those pews …..

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