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Will, Jada…. Esther?

I’m sorry to interrupt your regularly scheduled Friday challenge to bring you this resurfaced 2019 video clip of Jada Pinkett-Smith mindeffery (that half of CN keeps sending me).

Ever gone to therapy with an abuser, only to have them invoke the name of the therapist to cow you into submission?

“Dr. Theodore says you’re very controlling. You should really exam your issues. I’ll have to bring this up with Dr. Theodore.”

That thing where, real or imagined, they’re a united front against you, The Person With Issues. (See also: I Fail to Understand Your Hostility.)

Well, here the couple is Will and Jada Smith and the therapist is blog archnemesis Esther Perel.

Gosh Esther! That whole make-the-marriage-stronger crap is going swimmingly. Put this one up on your testimonials page.

Newsweek reports:

Will Smith has been shown pleading for his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, to stop filming him during a live Instagram broadcast in a resurfaced video.

In the clip, which was shared on Reddit on Thursday, Pinkett Smith discussed having therapist and author Esther Perel as a guest on her show, Red Table Talk.

After announcing that Perel was “coming to the table,” Pinkett Smith, 50, asked her movie star husband, 53: “Would you say she has been instrumental in you and I redefining our relationship?”

If by “redefining” you mean career suicide?

Anyway, that was the 2019 Esther. “Affairs are exuberant acts of defiance” Esther. She’s rebranded since then to be a trauma specialist. I know. This is like pedophiles getting their own fleet of ice cream trucks.

But whatever, let’s have a look at this clip.

0.11 — Will has a boundary: “Don’t start filming me without asking me.”

0.18 — Jada. How droll. A boundary. “Oh Esther, come help us. I’m still dealing with foolishness.”

0.22 — Will: “Don’t…”

0.39 — Will: “You can’t just use me…”

0.45 — Jada, utterly unfazed by her husband’s distress, marches on with her Esther Perel promo: “Please watch Es-taire, at The Red Table, because she’s helped us a lot. Can’t you tell?”

This is such a perfect endorsement for Jada and Esther Perel. Oblivious to another’s suffering? Minimizing? Trampling over boundaries? Tune in!

I’m sure the trauma specialist referrals for Esther Perel are rolling in as I type.

Your Friday Challenge — either riff on having therapy weaponized against you OR snark on Esther Perel. Esther Perel to trauma therapy is what sushi is to gas stations…


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  • Jada is definitely not respecting her husband here. Is she responsible for him assaulting Chris Rock? No. Will has agency. However, he appeared to be mentally breaking down so maybe he didn’t have agency. IMO, Black women are very strong because they’ve had to be & I love that they’re strong! A glimpse into a marriage here isn’t the entire marriage so there’s that. I think Jada & Will’s marriage was over when coroner Esther Perel came on the scene.

    • He clearly loves her and she’s clearly highly abusive. Look at the clip, the whole purpose is to humiliate him by constantly bringing out her infidelity and doing it in public. There’s not a shred of remorse in her, just blame shifting (we’re doing to each other). Even if they’re swingers/ in an open relationship, it’s most probably all her idea.

      As to Esther, I think somebody mentioned that she’s Jewish and lost most of her family in Holocaust. Respectfully, I think this explains very well why she’s unable to commit and made her whole career about why it’s desirable not to commit. I really feel sorry for her (and her clients).

      • Speculation about Perel’s Jewishness and relationship to the Holocaust here is uncalled for. You may not realize it, but this is a bit of (not so micro) aggression that plays into antisemitic tropes about Jews being damaged, unreliable, unstable, weak, etc. Perel’s Jewishness and relationship to the Holocaust has nothing to do with her views on infidelity or ability to form relationships, as you fervidly speculate. We jews are sick of hearing this type of conflation in the public discourse.

        • I agree. And it’s not even correct. She did not ‘lose most of her family in the Holocaust’.

        • Thank you for articulating the Holocaust-drop problem so well, LP. Happy almost-Passover to you, from a fellow Jew!

        • As a Jew to another Jew I respectfully disagree about Esther Perel’s being Jewish is irrelevant. Absolutely irrelevant concerning the Holocaust YES. You’re spot on about that being antisemitic stereotypes. However what she says about making a marriage stronger yadayada and how she actually treats victims is a very common reaction in orthodox circles when men cheat (sefardic circles like mine are very mâle focused, Antwerp is very orthodox) and how we are taught to deal with what is perceived as « normal male desire » and « marital duties » – especially how women are encouraged to deal with it (get over it). When I hear Perel , I feel that similar barfy feeling I’d get when a madrekha would give me sex advice for my marriage – while my husband was buying humans for sex behind my back.
          I don’t think it’s exclusive to judaism though.
          And let’s keep in mind that in Jewish law cheating on your wife isn’t technically infidelity in itself. Not according to halakha. Infidelity according to Jewish law has to involve a married Jewish woman. Also , if the wife was ok with it and the dude was rich enough polygamy was allowed…. Till recently and depending on the community. I feel deep rooted apologetic BS with perel.

      • I think the Holocaust reference is really, really uncalled-for. It’s not so much anti-Semitic (I am not Jewish so my opinion is moot but just fwiw) as incredibly insulting to the many, many people who have struggled with generational trauma of various kinds as a direct consequence of that dreadful genocide. Various of my own family members battled in different ways post-WW2, and it definitely altered the lives of several of them, and not for the better, but it’s not remotely useful in this scenario, to ascribe the Holocaust to Why Someone Is Dreadful.

        • Yeah, Jada being Black and Esther being Jewish is not the point of this insane shit show! We can assign blame squarely on those assholes without bringing in their ethnicities. The discussion is presumptive, erroneous and rude.

          • Using the race or religion – to excuse shitty character traits is insulting to any other person of color/Jewish- who is able to act like a good human being ( values, priorities in place)
            I get the generational trauma- yet, you can’t excuse any crappy action with it

        • Yeesh.

          My XW : Jewish
          My mother: Jewish.
          Me: half-Jewish.
          XW: Cheated.
          My mother: never cheated, happily married to my dad 53 years till his death.
          Me: never even “half cheated.”


          Cut the crap.

          Bad people cheat, the end. Stop the Black, Jewish, blah blah.

          Oh, and my brother? Gay, never cheated on his husband of 30 years. But not because he’s gay, not in spite of his being gay….. etc.

      • Being Jewish or Black has nothing to do with anything. Can we please move on from that bullshit?

    • Not sure why this clip inspires a “Black women are strong” comment. There are all kinds of things racialized women, and then Black women in particular (and let me also shout out Indigenous/Native American folx in particular) deal with on this continent that test our resilience on the daily and require building resources, sure. But this woman’s behaviour in this clip does not embody any of that.

    • I hope his 1st wife felt strong when Jada poached her husband! Will left his wife ( I guess she wasn’t worth protecting) and child or his cheating partner – and Jada, his narcissistic cheating partner played a huge part in that.

    • You think their marriage was over when Esther Perel came on the scene. I think their marriage was over when they opened it.

      “an open marriage is the oxymoron of oxymorons”

  • If Esther were medicine she’d be E. coli therapy. “What doesn’t kill you makes you miserable, exhausted, confused, flinchy, and humiliated.”

  • Wow! He was so uncomfortable and she just kept pushing. She is definitely a narc and abuser. It was hard to see him trying to get her to respect his boundaries and her minimize him.

    • I am conflicted by this video.
      When the ex was raging and trying to break down doors to get to me, I would use my phone to record him.
      According to him, I was crossing boundaries.
      He learned this from the crappy marriage counselor we went to when trying to reconcile.
      In a session I once described an incident where I walked out of the house to get distance from his badgering and he followed me along the walking path while continuing to harangue me. I told him to go back home and leave me alone. He refused, so I whipped out my phone and began to record him.
      The takeaway from the counselor was that I did not have the right to tell cheater to go home or to record him without consent. That he was an adult who could make his own choices about where he could go and that cheater had the right to deny consent to be recorded.
      The counselor did not consider that I recorded cheater for my protection.
      The counselor also did not consider that I should have been able to consent to having unprotected sex with a diseased pig, but certain truths were withheld from me.
      Apparently boundaries only work one way, in cheater’s favor.
      Funny, when I opted out of continuing the sessions that same counselor called me multiple times to get me to return, even when I told him to stop calling. But he never once called cheater.

      • I’m sorry.
        I have to say, your story really triggered me. (this was before cell phone days so no chance to record).

        My EXH would follow me, get up in my face, harangue me like that. It was frightening. He would be raging mad, scary mad when he did that. I was at the point when I would dare him to hit me, because I wanted the world to see the evidence of his abuse. He was too smart for that. He would pinch or twist my arm, or point his finger so hard at me to cause a bruise, but never actual hitting.

        It took me a long time to realize that ALL of it was abuse.

      • OC,

        Respectfully, I don’t think that you should be conflicted. In your case you were using your phone to document your Ex abusing you; this is not a boundary issue, this is a safety and evidential issue. If your Ex did not like being recorded doing what he was doing to you, then he should have exercised his free right to stop doing it and f*ck right off away from you.

        I hold no candle for Will Smith, but Jada P-S on the other hand absolutely was the aggressor/perpetrator in the video. Her behaviour was abusive and that her recording it was an aggravating factor.

        And f*ck your therapist by the way.


      • I got a similar message from the therapist. I was talking about getting out of the car to get away from Mr. Duplicity when he (yet again) started to rage and how he followed me, first in the car and then on foot when I turned onto a one way street hoping to be left alone, and he complained that I “kept walking away when we were talking” and how that was “disrespectful”. The therapist told me that I needed to stop “running away from him” because it only served to undermine my commitment to working things out.

        When I asked about him fucking other people and how that spoke to his so called commitment? “Hang on SK.Typhoon, we’re focussing on your behaviour right now.”

        WTAF? Wing-nuts from Pluto, the lot of them.

      • Too damn right lady. You couldn’t record him following you and harrassing the shit out of you???? Damn!!!

      • I understand this to mean that you have the right to tell him to leave you alone or get away from you, or simply stop what you’re doing to me. Telling him to go home is the part she’s likely referring to.

    • Karma, karma, karma. He cheated on his first wife. He’s getting what he deserves. May all our cheaters end up sobbing and being treated like this by their nasty ho bags. I find it absolutely hilarious. LOL

  • The fact that this IS public means that Jada disregarded her husband’s request to stop filming him and not use it. The way she ambushed him is how you treat an enemy or opponent. She weaponized her cell phone to damage her husband, and framed her questions to stake out her position and try to compel him to agree. She wanted to provoke him so she would appear to be the voice of reason. She tried to control the narrative by asking Will to agree that THEY had redefined their marriage.
    BTW, Jada mispronounces Esther’s name multiple times. At the 17 second mark, she clearly says ASS-tear.

    • He clearly states his use of social media is tied to his brand, work, and imaging. Not about his raw personal life. He only shares what he needs to. That’s his choice.

      She clearly believes the world needs to see it all, “raw” (until the gossip columns find out you fell in love with one of your kids friends) regardless if how it makes you look or how it can affect your career.

      He’s being clear with his boundaries and expectations, and she keeps egging him on, poking the beast to roar and make her look like the good guy.

      Both aren’t amazing people (remember he met Jada when he was married and was the reason for the divorce) , Will clearly has a temper and can be hostile to work with (ask the original Aunt Viv) but he doesnt deserve this either

      • He deserves it. He was cheating on his first wife right after she had his baby. He put her through hell. He absolutely 100% deserves this. He’s getting what he served up served right back to him.

    • Notice also how he looks like a regular person (kind of tired and disheveled), while she is made up and nicely lit. This isn’t just run-of-the-mill ambushing – this is a deliberate attack on his (curated, I’m sure) public image while elevating her own.

      It’s not a conversation between the two of them about their marriage, or even between the two of them and their “therapist” Perel, it’s deliberate public exposure against his wishes, under contrived conditions that seek to maximize public sentiment in her favor.

  • Thanks for posting this. Exhibit 1 of WHEN YOU SHOULD GET A DIVORCE. I would be furious at someone who violated my statement that I did not consent to filming (in my own home!!!) and proceeded to endanger my “bread and butter” by violating my boundary. Will, buddy, get help, get out, save yourself.

  • It was “just” an emotional affair when we started couples therapy. He spent lots of time rambling about how amazing she is while the therapist called it a “special connection”. *barf*

    After getting the “issues on both sides” line from the therapist, I tried to figure out what exactly I had done to make him so unhappy. All he could come up with was that he “didn’t feel heard in this relationship”. I pointed out that he’d recently given me the silent treatment for 2 months straight. No one laughed.

    • My FW said the same thing and had an “emotional affair”. I now know it wasn’t just emotional. I was dismissive and didn’t hear him apparently. I asked him how and for examples so I could do better. His memory failed him each time I asked. Never mind him dismissing his cheating and lying and my worries surrounding it for months. I ended up apologizing each time I brought up his cheating and was deep in denial. I, thankfully, on the advice of a good friend and mentor refused to do couples therapy and dumped him so saved myself from further abuse.

      I recently had a friend recount a story of his friend getting cheated on. I cringed thinking how much worse my FW was to me and did not tell my story because it would have really brought down the mood.

    • I’m still getting the “I don’t feel heard.” It’s not hard to hear when you’re yelling. Yikes. What page in cheater manual does this come from?

      • They need something to convince themselves they were justified in being terrible. You and I are evil witches who dismissed the timid forest creature’s gentle emotions and words, so they had to find someone sympathetic to listen to him and care for him, never mind the stresses of our own lives we deal with. I was actively being harassed at my job at the time of his cheating, he had no time for listening to me. But of course I was the one being dismissive, not hearing him and absolutely deserved being cheated on.

        I’ve given up trying to understand cheaters, there is no point wasting more time on them. I now believe all FWs have the same hive-mind or playbook universally. It’s all exactly the same phrases and excuses based on the other posts I’ve seen here.

      • Not being heard is so nebulous, so they can claim anything from a bad attitude on your part to didn’t support their dreams . Bullshit, all.

        • Yes it’s a very easy thing for covert abusers to claim as I’ve learned recently. I heard every damn thing my FW ex said, and remembered them word for word. That’s exactly how I caught him in so many lies and pointed them out. He apparently thought I weaponized my decent memory. If he wasn’t lying he wouldn’t have needed one to keep his stories straight. He used ‘not hearing’ or being ‘dismissive’ as an excuse for when I said or did something he didn’t like or when I got upset at his excuses for cheating and told him I’m done with hearing them. I have no reason to bother understanding his cheater logic, because I’m faithful and not a liar and cheater. And finally he will never be heard by me again because I dismissed him from my life for good.

  • My ex, ol’ Best Regards, absolutely weaponized the 1 therapy session he went to in the week leading up to DDay. I think he told me he was unhappy and was going to go to therapy on a Sunday, went to therapy the following Thursday, went camping with the OW over the weekend (on a trip we had planned that he disinvited me from saying he needed “some time in his own head”), and then came back that Sunday night and told me he was leaving me for her. During that (very short) discussion, Best Regards basically told me the therapist had advised him he should end the marriage for both of our goods.

    Funny thing about that: the therapist he went to turned out to be by coincidence to be *my* therapist (we had this EAP program that randomly assigned you to a local therapist unless you gave them specific criteria), and she was very good, with experience with NPD, trauma, and attachment therapy. I can guarantee you those words would never came out of her mouth during an introductory session with a client, or really any session ever. (I put this all together myself BTW–as a conscientious practitioner, she never said a word to me her session with Best Regards.) So, although I have no idea what lies he told her or how much he had to twist whatever she did say to get to what he relayed to me, I did know as soon as he told me whom he had seen that he was lying.

    The odds of a narcissist actually engaging in therapy rather than weaponizing it are roughly the same as the biblical odds of getting a camel through the eye of a needle.

    • I really doubt that he was in therapy with her – wouldn’t that be conflict of interests?

      • Sorry, I didn’t clarify the timeline well: I wasn’t in treatment at the time Best Regards went to see the therapist and hadn’t been for a year or two. During the divorce process, however, I went back to see her, and she did express concern at that point about a potential conflict of interest. However, it ended up being a moot point as Best Regards never went back to therapy after that first session he used as leverage against me.

  • I have no words! I did could not even watch the video after I read the script of what was in the video. I about cried just reading. What a mean *bleep* she is……Typical cheater nastiness

  • Ex Hub: beats the family
    Me: repent!
    Ex: No, and by the way i want you dead, you’re lucky i didn’t kill you before
    Me: fine (secretly arranges refuges and police support, and goes to see her own longstanding therapist to get head straight, hires a solicitor and eventually a barrister which is cheaper than you’d think)
    Ex: You be crazy, you should see your therapist
    Me: i already did *snaps fingers*
    Ex: *gulps*
    Fast forward: 9 years later, we ran, stayed hidden for 4 years, got the house, kid, and had to buy him out with my pension (“i carry this family, b1tch, you contribute nothing, you hear me, you’re nothing” was a lie proven in court), kid is happy at university and i am going out dancing tonight.

    • Damn, Cheryl! You’re MIGHTY!

      I’m glad you lived to share. Sounds like a psychopath.

    • You’re brilliant Cheryl, and I do so love the way you tell the story.

      *Snaps fingers* makes me picture you in an I Dream of Jeannie kinda way.

      I be dancing with you all around the Land of Meh.

      (Unfortunately, 5 years later, I am still stuck at the gates, due to youngest’s severe mental health issues thanks to both the inflicted trauma and dodgy genetic material from FW. Soooo close, and I still dance ALL the time).

    • “i carry this family, b1tch, you contribute nothing, you hear me, you’re nothing” – I got this same line. As if I never worked a day in my life.

  • J is clearly devaluing W here. it’s cringey. i suspect the marriage isn’t long for this world. at this point, post THE SLAP, W will be an embarrassment to J and, as you know, narc’s are all about image management. so, J will be mulling over what next. i mean, she deserves better, right?

    Now, this is a story all about how
    My life got slip-slapped upside down
    And I’d like to take a minute
    Jada, just sit right there
    I’ll tell you how we got chumped by a woman called EST-AIR

  • We went to therapy only a few times during a rough patch about 15 years ago. My sense is that many marriage therapists aim to find fault “on both sides.” As a result, they create false equivalencies.

    Therapist: “He stomped around the house and tormented you, but, I think we can see that you abandoned him when you suggested watching a movie.”

    This actually happened.
    She later called me to apologize.
    But I don’t think he ever found out, so it went down in the annals as a both-side problem.

    x suggested marriage therapy after he asked for a separation (and only days before he would fess up to the affair). [Note: the man can’t be alone. He’d said he wanted to live alone for a few months but lasted only 3 days.] Anyway, glad marriage therapy didn’t work out. It would have been a disaster and a total waste of time. No doubt he would have tried to get ammo to use against me to justify his cheating. His individual therapist told him he wouldn’t even have to mention the multi-year affair!! Oh brother. Dodged a bullet.

    After D-day, x continued the false equivalencies when he said that, although he’d made “mistakes,” I wasn’t perfect. Even Stevens.

    Imperfect Spinach (#human #notacheater #stillenjoymovies)

    • my exFW couldn’t be alone either. After I dumped him on d-day, he moved in with with a woman after 2 months of dating, and was still trying to hoover me back, admitting he didn’t love her. I blocked him and went no contact.

      I think they are so disordered that they know they can’t be alone with themselves, they don’t like who they are.

    • You mean, he SAID his individual therapist told him he wouldn’t even have to mention the multi-year affair. True, there are plenty of shitty therapists out there but then again, your Xhole is a lying liar who lies.

      • Truth that! Yes. He also SAID that none of the therapists had any openings. Perhaps, but, as you point out, lying liars lie.

  • She is one scary witch. I think they are headed for divorce. All his broken contracts means less for her. Lawdy

    • If you mean bitch, please just write that–please don’t subsitute with the word witch. Using the word witch instead of bitch is unfair to us witches–we are men and women who strive to do no harm to others nor to ourselves, it is an explicit and required part of Wiccan/Neopagan ethics. And the vast majority of us take it very seriously–most of us work in human services–social workers, teachers, medical workers, etc. We believe in the threefold law of return–that what you put out comes back to you multiplied, either in this life or the next. We even ask permission before doing a healing for some one who is ill, so as not to overstep their boundaries . We would never consider it right for a witch to behave as Jada did in that clip.

      • Using the word bitch is unfair to female dogs, too. They are harmless beings who strive only to lick the butter dish when you aren’t watching. They believe in the threefold law of treats- if you get one piece of dried liver, the stupid human giving it to you still owes you *at least* two more. But stupid humans don’t have the same standards as bitches and she usually only gets one. It sucks.

        Hmmmm. What word can we use to insult somebody that offends nobody? I certainly wouldn’t want to be offensive when I’m being insulting.

      • I agree. I’m not pagan myself, but I find it absolutely fair to educate people about words we use that cause unintended harm when used as pejoratives because good people with good hearts identify with them. In fact, I welcome the education, because I care very much about not doing harm when I can avoid it.

        I also feel no motivation to apologize to anyone for being intentionally kind. No mocking or negative framing will make me change my mind on that.

        I consider it lazy to insist on using language in harmful ways just because people did in the past, or because I don’t want to make the effort to use the words that mean what I’m actually talking about. There’s not much point in communication if it doesn’t achieve understanding anyway.

        If I want to say someone is mean, or harmful, or unfair, or abusive, or selfish, or sanctimonious, or greedy, or disordered, or dangerous, or smug, or vicious, or cowardly, or deceitful, or immature, I have lots of words available to me that mean what I’m trying to express. (Exhibit A.) Even using “bitch” is pretty lazy if you ask me.

        “Asshat” is an excellent substitute. It’s fun to say, nobody identifies as one as part of any marginalized group, and it definitely conveys the intended point.

        All a long way of saying, I support you.

        • Ammisfree, how about Toe Rag? That conveys disdain! I could combine my favorite insults into Whoring Toe Rag.

          • Great one!

            I also like to make up new ones, like “Buttstink McJerkenstein” and, a favorite for my ex, “The Cowardly Liar” ????

            • Just stumbled on here when I was looking up what those weird people Will and Jada were up to and had to tell you all how I loved your way with words.

              *(I am an ex “finally got rid of the chump” person who had to “BE LEFT” because I was too stupid to leave him and have been in a healthy marriage now for the second half of my life.)

        • I like to use the word ‘dick’ (with a lower-case D) when I refer to the Fuckwit. I also like to use the word ‘Fuckwit’. Fuckwit is gender neutral, whereas dick mostly refers to a penis. I associate the fuckwit with his penis as it seemed to take him into twat-land. When I refer to the fuckwit’s wifetress, I like to use the word ‘skank’. “Asshat” is pretty good too. It’s gender neutral and is interchangeable with both ‘fuckwit’ and ‘skank’. Before you know it, we’ll all be labeled insensitive. Oh wait!! We were! That’s why we’re here. We were just too insensitive and that’s why our cheaters cheated…

      • Wow, thanks! I would have read ‘witch’ as a person’s attempt to not swear or be offensive, and didn’t know that many of the proliferation of people calling themselves witches on media these days are doing so with the context you describe. Learned something!


    I’m surprised no one has dug this story out and put it out front. What stood out for me
    was Jada telling Will to “shut the fuck up” and Will’s response about violence and profanity.

    Never in my life did I ever speak to Traitor X like that. Or anyone else. Until DDay, when one time I told him he was a “fucking asshole.” What is very painful for me now is that I always defended him to others. He’s not quick-witted and over the years there were numerous times that someone made fun of him (he has ADD and dyslexia). I stood up for him to the person making fun of him and then I ended my relationship with that person.
    And then I find out after DDay that he has been character assassinating me for who knows how long and to whom.

    IMHO, Jada and Will should both check into Hazelden or Betty Ford. Probably Esther as well.

    (I’m as someone who needed a lot of help, has gotten a lot of help, and continues to get help).

    I believe Will cheated on his first wife with Jada? It looks to me like neither one of them is a prize. I am getting vicarious vindication from this news story. It validates my belief that wonderful people don’t screw around with married people, and wonderful married people don’t screw around.

    • TYPO

      “I’m SPEAKING as someone who needed a lot of help, has gotten a lot of help, and continues to get help.”

      And speaking of Betty Ford, I think it’s always awesome when a celebrity sincerely gets help with an issue and uses their recovery to help others.

    • VH, as someone who has gotten and is getting help, and I believe is also sober, just wondering what you would say about my FW telling me that his serial infidelity with 3 different howorkers, decade of porn use (some with said howorkers), trips to strip clubs and erotic massage parlors, would never have happened without alcoholism driving it all and now that he is sober (and I will give him propers for the incredible transformation of now being several years sober) he is different. Sober H claims to be baffled and disgusted by his drunken FW abusive behaviors. He also claims he hears these same types of stories in the rooms all of the time.

      • I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re asking me here…..

        I do believe it’s possible that your ex-husband, if he has truly been sober a few years and has a good program of recovery, is now horrified by his past behavior and would not consider that behavior now.

        I don’t have cheating in my history, but there are other things I did when I drank and used that I regret, that I stopped doing when I got into recovery. I got into recovery at 22 and I’ve been in recovery for 36 years, so thankfully my wreckage pile was a lot smaller than it would have been had I kept going. Removing the alcohol leaves the ongoing work of thinking and behavior change and working on improving character.

        I believe change is possible, that it’s hard work, it takes time, and sometimes what we did when we were drinking and using breaks trust with people ways that can’t be repaired.

        I do know that not everyone does that work, and the only transformation I can be sure of is my own.

        It’s also true that alcohol is a drug (a very powerful one even if you haven’t crossed the line into addiction) and as such has an influence over our thinking and behavior.

        If I knew someone claiming to be sober and in recovery but they were
        lying and cheating, I would also suspect they were lying about their sobriety/recovery. (That would be my XH).

        • Very helpful thank you. Not being an alcoholic I find I sometimes do not understand/cannot fathom the choices alcoholics and addicts make while in the throes of their diseases. I agree with you about the power of alcohol as a drug. I think it is something that is not recognized in society in general. I do know that it alters thinking and decision making.
          Yes the destroyed trust is the hardest part to deal with. It’s almost as if once the drinking got so bad that his life became all about lying, the lying then became his natural state of communication.
          I really appreciate and respect what you wrote about the fact that the only transformation you can be sure of is your own.

          • Interesting, I remember my hairdresser saying to me, “ it should make you feel better to know that he didn’t blow up the family because he didn’t love you, it’s because of the drugs“ that and the howorker 33 years younger than him???? My therapist thinks drugs were instrumental too. Dropping adult children & grands for over 3 years seems shame related. In the end, I had to save myself.

            • Sandyfeet, you did good to save yourself. I think your hairdresser was careless with their words. There is no reason that makes blowing up your family feel better.

              • Thanks, I was still numb at the time, she’s always been very candid. I know she thought she was being helpful, I chose not to dwell on it.

            • When I was sixteen, I had sex with my best friend’s older brother in a blackout. It’s the only blackout I ever had (and blackouts are the hallmark symptom of alcoholism.) I have no memory of the evening. I thought I fallen asleep on the couch. I woke up the next the morning, alone in the correct bed, not knowing how I got there. My best friend told me what happened. I was definitely not in the conscious decision-making seat that night.

              Being under the influence does not excuse behavior; it just explains it. Could that be the intention behind what your hairdresser said?


              • I’m so sorry that happened to you.
                Could be totally wrong here, but having sex with someone older than you when you are blackout drunk is not your shame to contend with.
                This sounds like rape, and makes me sad for the 16 year old girl who experienced this.

              • Thanks for your comment, Old Crone. I’ve never felt shame about it, just scared by the blackout. Can you imagine that in the 42 years that have passed I’ve never thought of that incident as a rape? All of us were loaded that night and I’ve stayed sober because I prefer being sober. Funny how many problems go away when you don’t drink……I know someone who is in prison because they got behind the wheel in a blackout and killed someone. I have always been grateful worse didn’t happen. I actually drank so much that night I should died from alcohol poisoning but by some miracle I came to.

                It is the only story in my relatively short drinking career that I need to remember that qualifies me as an alcoholic, and I sincerely appreciate your message.


              • I am so sorry that you were sexually assaulted while blacked out. That should never happen to anyone.

        • ….and also because you asked what I would say, because of alcoholic family members, I’ve also belonged to Al Anon for 36 years, where you learn that alcoholism is a family disease. If you haven’t been, even if you are divorced, I highly recommend it. I have found it to be essential, informative, and enormously helpful. For my infidelity recovery especially.


          • I agree, I regularly attend NarAnon. I’ve lost 2 younger siblings and a cousin to alcoholism and addiction…my favorite quip is Progress not Perfection.

          • Thank you for this suggestion. I went when I was a kid (parent was an alcoholic), but have not been as an adult. I will give it a try. You are the second person this week to suggest it to me!

      • I’m hearing the same story. FW is an alcoholic, blamed us for his drinking and then blamed the drinking for his prostitution habit. He’s trying to change and claims to be disgusted about what he’s done. Doesn’t know how he fell so far and can’t comprehend how he did any of it. Hmmmm

        • Probably like many FWs, mine claimed to be a sex addict. He did try to follow a 12 step program for it (I was long gone, but he did try to use that to hoover me).

          While alcoholism and drug abuse is addictive behavior, sex is not. What is addictive imo is the high they get from the secrecy and deception.

        • BTAW so sorry to hear. Since getting sober and doing a fuckton of work, my FW H blames himself only for all of his choices including all of the drinking lying and cheating. He blames himself for the cheating but says it would never had happened if he had been sober or not so drunk he could not think at all. When he first started to disclose – I did n’t catch him he just starting telling me everything one day – he tried to tell some ridiculous stories about how it was somehow not his fault or that some of it was even my fault. Not anymore though. Sober FW wouldn’t even think about trying to blame anything or anyone else.

          • TuesdaysR4Healing,


            A principle I learned long ago in therapy, and in my various 12 step groups, is to not speak about things beyond my experience, education, or recovery, and to not take advice from or get into debates with those who do.

            Get to know some people with good recovery (none of the programs are Well People Anonymous) in Al Anon or by attending open AA meetings. Therapists who are in the addiction/alcoholism field. My first therapist was also in recovery and it was she who made me go to Al Anon. From there I went to ACA and CoDa. Then I realized I was an alcoholic too.

            Everybody has an opinion, but not everyone has the life experience, the recovery, and the education. It’s a family disease. I have 36 years now. If you want to connect, Chump Lady can connect us. There are a lot of others in recovery, Al Anon and AA, with good recovery, on the site too.

            I’m definitely here for you.

        • Just my opinion, but I’d be very careful believing that line. I don’t think drinking has a single thing to with causing cheating, and certainly not long-term cheating. To put it another way, I don’t believe that if you cheat while drinking, you’re necessarily less likely to do so while sober or in recovery and that you suddenly become disgusted by what you did. You either have good character or you don’t, whether you’re drinking or not. Just my opinion married to an alcoholic cheater for 25 years. I personally found my ex to be more his true self when drinking because his inhibitions were lowered so there was no brain filter to stop his real character from showing through.

          • CBN, not every alcoholic cheats. I never did. All practicing alcoholics have character issues, but not necessarily identical ones. I do see a lot of linkage between addiction and cheating after hanging out here daily for four years. I now think of cheating as a symptom of, not caused by….

            Are you in recovery as well?


            • Hi Velvet! Yes, of course not all alcoholics cheat. That’s my point. I don’t believe alcohol addiction or being “under the influence” makes you cheat or that cheating is a symptom of alcohol abuse. I don’t think they’re related at all. I believe you either have the character defect that allows cheating or you don’t, whether you’re drinking or not. I can only speak from my own experience. My ex lacked integrity and cheated while drinking, lacked integrity and cheated while sober, still gaslights my son while sober, etc. Others may have differing views or different experiences.

              I’m not sure what you mean about whether I’m in recovery as well? I had my first drink in college, and I’ve been drunk once in my life, also in college. I have been only an occasional drinker (perhaps one drink every few months on average) for the past 40 years. However, I was a raging co-dependent and had zero boundaries while married so if you mean in recovery for that, then yes, I’m in recovery — in recovery from my ex and dealing with my PTSD and why I put up with so little and made my needs so small. 🙂

          • Agree. My FW was taking cash out days before his work trips to pay for the women. He was planning on it, knowing he would get drunk and use WhoreDash while away. Not the alcohol’s fault there.

            • Yup, XH did this too. Definitely premeditated, sober thinking when he went to the ATM on the way to the airport.

              Bad character came first, then the alcoholism.

        • Yeah, I got that spiel about wanting to change and being disgusted with himself too BTAW. Then he got sober and reached lower lows of assholery than when he was drinking. Don’t fall for it. Fuckwits who quit drinking just become dry drunks. They don’t have the strength of character for real change.

      • Don’t believe him, Tuesdays. That’s how XH fooled me for many years. I had no idea how much he had been drinking until he had to confess an interaction with a hooker after contracting an infection. He went to a counselor, who he said diagnosed him as an alcoholic. He said he agreed, that he drank to oblivion on every business trip, & he said “I’m just a drunken philanderer. I’ll stop drinking & the cheating will go away. “ I started going to Al-Anon a year later when nothing really changed for me & our relationship. He still forgot commitments, he still was largely uncommunicative, still rather lazy. I became timid, not wanting to upset his “program.” I also learned to “ not go to the hardware store for bread” meaning I just accepted an unacceptable relationship & sought contentment in other friendships & hobbies. He went way down under with his hooker habit- easy for him to do as he traveled at least 2 weeks per month. I just couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. We lived for about 10 years like that. I think AlAnon was great, it helped me in so many ways, but it was like a smoke screen, hiding the real fire.
        In XH case, the porn use preceded the age he started drinking, and sure, it lowered or completely took away his inhibitions, and he admitted that it did fuel the hooker habit. But I’ve heard so many stories of the AA person just getting obsessed with other habits, some as benign as Harlequin romance novels, other habits as what you think would be benign, such as going to the 7-Eleven for candy & soda, except in that case the couple were always financially in the hole & the husband often destroyed or hid the receipts, so the lying, secretive behaviors were still problematic.
        I think it’s a matter of watching what your H does, not what he says but if he’s cheated already with hookers & porn, that’s his real feeling towards women: they are there for his use. Alcoholics say that alcohol brings out the true feelings- like what you really think about your boss. I knew my XH since we were 18. I can remember some statements he & his brother would make about girls when they thought I didn’t overhear. It seemed normal for the times, but I didn’t like it. Should have listened to my gut.
        As chump lady says, is this relationship acceptable to you? Right now? Today?

    • Heya Velvet! In the article you link, Will describes vowing with Jada to have a profanity- and violence-free home and says:
      “I was like, ‘Jada, this is the deal. I grew up in a household where I watched my father punch my mother in the face, and I will not create a house, a space, and interaction with a person where there is profanity and violence,” Smith said. “If you have to talk to me like that, we can’t be together. We’re not going use any profanity in our interactions. We’re not going to raise our voice. We’re not going to be violent. I can’t do it.'”
      All this is a fascinating insight into Cheaters’ mindsets and the absolute confusion and instability they seem to live in.

  • The week before our last couple’s therapy session, my ex got a letter from an ex-girlfriend that he wouldn’t show me. He allegedly had not been in contact with her for 20 years. He also shoved an old, heavy computer tower at me and ripped it out if my arms, leaving me bruised. He didn’t want to go to the session because he said I’d just “rat him out.” I said I wouldn’t. He brought the letter to therapy, where he and my therapist spent most of the session discussing my “jealousy issues.” By the end I had enough, said who are either of them to judge my behavior, and showed the therapist my bruised arm. I never went back after that. I wasn’t paying for that BS anymore – because of course he was on my insurance plan.

  • Therapist: Can’t you see how traumatized TFC is? And how your constant questions upset him even more? He needs time and space to heal. You need to understand he is so fragile you need to treat him like he doesn’t have skin.
    Me: what in the actual fuck? Did you not hear him just say to me that he knew he hadn’t kissed howorker because she had his dick in her mouth and it was too far away from his mouth to be kissing her? Oh that’s right you did hear that. I almost forgot that you blamed me for asking the question if I didn’t want to know the answer.
    That was the last “therapy” session we had. Why? FW said he didn’t like how she was treating me = Here honey, just stick your head in this blender!
    Don’t even get me started on Ester. I agree with CL’s analogy that seeking her out for therapy is like going to the all night gas station for raw sushi.

    • Disgusting!

      I had one (sex addiction) therapist allow XH to scream and shout at me in the session. I didn’t go there for long. What a waste of time and money! I recommend spending therapy money on a divorce and a gym or yoga studio membership rather than this negative advocate BS. A lot of “therapists” are clueless or downright abusive in my experience.

  • People ganging up on other people like on any playground. Oldest game in the book. People need to stop paying Esther the nasty playground monitor.

  • Long ago, when I was about 5 years into marriage with a covert narcissist (didn’t know the term then and no, he has not been diagnosed), we went to 1 counseling session.

    The male counselor asked the EXH first about the issues, then asked HIM about MY childhood. To which my EXH made up some shit.

    When it was my turn the first thing I did was say, “No, that’s not how it was at all.” The counselor ignored me so I stopped talking. They both ganged up on me.

    2 kids and 21 years later I finally got up the courage to leave, right into the love-bombing arms of the guy that I thought was my person, only to have him cheat on me for over a year before discovery. From being verbally abused in marriage, I thought love-bombing was love.

    That song “Harden My Heart” – that’s me. I’m in a great relationship now. He also has been chumped, and we agreed not to say “love” because that gave us years of heartache.

    • “…I finally got up the courage to leave, right into the love-bombing arms of the guy that I thought was my
      person, only to have him cheat on me for over a year before discovery. From being verbally abused in
      marriage, I thought love-bombing was love.”

      I Am Enough – we are soul sisters. This is exactly what happened to me. I am sorry you went through this.

  • Oh…yes.
    My Fkwt cheater with the undisclosed hooker habit throughout our 28 year marriage- ran to a psychiatrist for a year ($30K of money down the toilet…when being extorted by the last whore he came clean, ) he and the psychiatrist sat together in three hour sessions for a year and discussed how he (Fkwt) was pulled to the dark side of whoring ,according to the formal diagnostic letter from the psychiatrist, because:

    1. of His (Fkwit’s) over-bearing mother (she’s dead he’s 65 years old); His mother was too coddling and protective.
    2. I (wife-me) worked too much and was on the road too much;
    3. The whores were just too good; the sex was too good and the sensation of ejaculating became habitual; the whores made him feel special;
    4. He (Fkwit) worked too much as a physician taking care of people and needed an escape;
    5.He ( Fkwit) had his legs in casts as a baby for hip issues and that led to his love of S&M;
    6. His (Fkwit’s) father was absent too much as a research scientist and didn’t provide a male roll-model for him growing up.
    7. The psychiatrist added that the Viagra can make a man need more sex and the whores provided it.
    8. The psychiatrist added that the pot Fkwit smoked became mind-altering and led to the addiction of whoring
    9. The psychiatrist added that the hormones Fkwit was taking for ‘bone strength’ added to his desire for sex……

    —–Not ONCE did the psychiatrist blame Fkwit for Fkwit’s decisions, choices, actions.

    —-I sent a copy of “Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life” to Fkwit’s psychiatrist – via Fed Exp to arrive right during one of Fkwit’s sessions….. Fkwit told me the psychiatrist tossed it aside and said “Never Heard of Her….”
    —-I’m not at meh yet but close – first D-Day was 2017 for one infidelity; 2020 was D-Day for the ‘truth’ of whoring throughout the marriage with dozens and dozens. I’ve taken the high road. Left in 2020. Living with a man who leads a double life I find (found) more terrifying than sad. Although profoundly sad, heart-wrenching, crying those blood tears sad, I still find it more terrifying. There’s no cure for personality disorders like his and there’s no cure for the RIC and bad therapists.
    –I never spent a dime on therapy – I read 100’s of books and LACGAL is the bible of sanity. Thank you CH and CL.
    p.s. Why do men grab their packages? Right after Will Smith hit Chris Rock he grabbed his package as he strutted down the stage….at the Grammy’s men performing grab their packages, you’d think Justin B. had a magnet in his magic wand and hand….. What’s with grabbing the magic dragon? Should we all be cupping our breasts when we feel mighty? Men and their magic wands…….nauseating.

    • Re why men grab their packages I think all the attention makes them hard and they are trying to conceal an erection. Definitely more of a male problem than a female one. I mean, I’m sure there are women who get off to having the spotlight on them too, but it’s not as obvious in women (unless they’re not wearing a bra).

    • The other thing I’ve noticed is how they’ve normalized the talking about it. It is common now to hear the world “dick” tossed around in public. Along with that, it is common, in public spaces, to hear people say “he is s—- his d—-” or “he needs to take his d— out of so-and-so’s mouth” when he is trying to say that one guy is caught up in doing anything another guy says or is another guy’s puppet.

      That talk used to be considered gutter talk, not used in polite spaces, not around “ladies” or children– now it’s so common— part of it is due to the normalization of thug rap with all it’s graphic talk of sex and violence, along with the highly sexualized “dancing” that goes with it (and the lyrics that are too dirty to print, so they’re just referred to as “graphic,” so no parents, etc know how bad they really are, and now a whole generation has grown up with them and think talking like that is just normal.)

      A lot of what used to be kept out of public spaces, reserved for private or for around friends is now out in public (um, like feces, for instance, on city streets!) — like the grabbing of privates or the coarsening of language and culture in general. And the coarsening of language leads to the coarsening of behavior.

  • This was a trigger. One of the last times I EVER spoke to him before total no contact (2 years ago!), he started wordsalading about Esther Perel. In my mind, I said to myself, “Oh no he dint” and told him of course he found her, it was absolutely perfectly in character for him to quote Perel as she was a cheater apologist and he needed to surround himself with pieces of shit to continue to excuse his shitty behavior. “Nuff said on that subject.

    • The exFW started following Esther Perl and Brene Brown on Instagram after I dumped him, when he was in RIC. So I know he will never look inward to his own failings but that he will continue to blame his “brain disorder” and “sex addiction” and not his own conscious decisions.

      • When x wanted a separation, I recommended an Esther Perel video.????????‍♀️ I know. I know. I know

        So, if he’s up to his eyeballs in her rationalizations, I started it. Then again, I bet he never listened to her. At that point (a day or so shy of D-day), he had zero interest in anything I would say or suggest.

        Still, “bless me CN for I have sinned….????”

        • Well Spinach, I first found the RIC before I found CN. I quickly saw that AffairRecovery was victim-blaming and that led me to CN thankfully. The FW stayed with AR, and spent the $399 because they told him what he wanted to hear. I was long gone, but I’m sure that to this day he think he’s recovered. Even if he is it doesn’t matter to me, he can’t undo his actions.

          I’ll give you absolution if you give it to me? 🙂

  • Years ago in 2003 my now ex wife told me when I got home from work that I had to go to MC or she would leave me. Chump me was like OK since I knew she was “unhappy” and didn’t treat me very good. It turned into everything Sirchumpalot needed to change for her to be happy. What she failed to disclose was that she was still in the middle of a two year long affair. The final straw was when I came back from Chicago after seeing my favorite grandmother in the hospital dying from cancer. My ex picks me up from the airport and tells me on the way home that if I didn’t do more around the house (I worked 6 days a week and around 60 hrs a week), like doing all the cleaning, etc. she would separate from me. I was blown away how callous she was to say that after just seeing my grandmother dying. My ex wife brought it up later that week at MC that she did everything around the house and she wanted to separate from me because of it. I did the majority of the cleaning because she worked 40 hrs a week and was to “tired” to do any cleaning. The MC backed my ex up. I got angry and said I will never go to another session again. I immediately left! So even when the one big DDay happened in 2017 I refused to go to MC and filed for divorce 2 1/2 weeks later. My ex wife said for YEARS after MC “Therapist said you shouldn’t do that. Or Therapist said you should do that”. My ex wife weaponized MC and used it to abuse me.

    On a side note, after DDay, she told the therapist once while waiting for me to show up “I do love Sirchumpalot”. Yet it didn’t stop her from having other psychical affairs and “emotional affairs”.

    • That’s so awful. I can just see her seething at home while you were are the hospital that her manservant wasn’t there to clean the house for her. I’m sure having to take care of her own life was cutting into her free time with her AP.

  • A religious seminar for trouble marriages led to me being constantly accused of being ‘un-Christian and not open to forgiveness’ by the ex. Also a marriage counselor who said I was ‘very negative and the ex was very positive’, was used as a whip against me.
    Never go to any counseling with disordered people is my take.

    • Something you might want to carry as an antidote for that experience: I recently had a spiritual counseling session with a minister at my church because I have been feeling guilty that even after divorcing the cheater, going as no contact as possible, and doing a lot of therapy/prayer/work on myself, I can’t forgive my ex-husband. My minister pointed out that forgiving anyone who truly repents is what God does, what Jesus does — and therefore might not be a reasonable standard for me to measure myself against. And even Jesus offers mercy to those who are sorry for their sins — and my ex isn’t sorry, thinks he did nothing wrong. As you say, don’t go to counseling with disordered people— but do try to find a good counsellor who wants to help you!

  • As soon as I read the headline I came to CN bc I knew CL would write today’s column about this “foolishness.” Will needs to divorce her stat. CN never disappoints!

  • that video makes me sad, in that instance I think JS is clearly in the wrong, but I don’t think WS is off the hook either.
    Re: weaponizing therapy… our THIRD (of FOUR) MC’s tried to tell me that my (now) ex’s problem with porn was because I didn’t show enough cleavage. Apparently… my lack of cleve in 2013 (BTW, based on how I looked in sessions, to which I arrived straight FROM WORK) is the reason he started using porn in middle school and allowed me to believe that we agreed in our opinions about it. I should try wearing more low-cut blouses. I mean…
    My current therapist says “you don’t have that much power, and you can’t be the source of the problem and the solution at the same time!”

    • WTF? How crazy was that therapist?
      I’d swear some of these people just walk straight out of a mental hospital and hang up a shingle.

      Mine started using porn around that age too. I didn’t find out until he was in his fifties. That’s how well he hid it. Knowing how I felt about it, he knew that I’d leave him if I found out. Such disgusting con artists and repulsive perverts!

    • “…ex’s problem with porn was because I didn’t show enough cleavage.”


  • Oh, I can’t wait to see that talk. The word salad will be suffocating.

    Jada; “Tell us some of the ways you help couples like us.”
    Perel; “Well, I see a marriage like yours as two people walking on the same street. It’s okay if one wants to go into Dunkin Donuts and the other wants to go in the book store. They each follow their own PATH but are walking on the same street. You see?”
    Will; “Not really. Should I get her Dunkin Donuts or a book? Both?”
    Jada; “Will, don’t be a fool! Estaire is helping us. Just listen to her wisdom.”
    Perel; “Some days you might want to run down that street but your partner wants to amble. You are still doing it in harmony together. You can meet at Starbucks later. This is your dance. You might not be dancing to the same song but you are always dancing exhuberantly together. The life force of the dance is in both of you.”
    Will; “You’re prescribing coffee dates and going to clubs?”
    Jada; “You see what I deal with, Estaire?”
    Perel; “I see your beliefs and Will’s beliefs are in conflict with your primal human needs. The fault, no, I won’t say fault, that’s judgemental, but the base level genesis of the problem is always fifty fifty. What’s problematic to me is that I don’t see much exhuberance here. We’ll need approximately five hundred sessions to get back the exhuberance of your authentic human life force to dance and walk harmoniously and joyously.”
    Will; “And then I’ll get to go to Dunkin Donuts?”

    • ????????????????????????

      That’s hilarious, and spot on. You’re clever. ????????

      • ???? All this donut talk reminds me of an Offspring song where the narrater refers to his cheating GF as “my dumb donut.” I believe the song is called Spare Me the Details. It captures the chumped experience well.

  • Wait. I’ve been so sad lately and this – Esther Perel rebranding as a Trauma Specialist!!???!! This gave me a genuine belly laugh ????. Wow.

    • She probably is an expert in trauma – specifically: causing it, and then minimizing it.

  • My cheater was in therapy before I met him, because of the breakup of his first marriage (a breakup which he said was due to long-distance issues but I later found out was actually due to his persistent cheating). He learned meditation techniques due to those sessions; but he used meditation during the time I knew him to more effectively compartmentalize his emotions while his cheating on me, so that he could hide it more seamlessly.
    My next relationship was a rebound one, with a covert/vulnerable narcissist. I did not go to therapy with him, but was in individual therapy at the time. I made the mistake of confiding in him about a therapy discussion regarding my abusive father. He later used this against me–when I tried to set boundaries with him about his coming over unannouced on days when I had specifically told him not to disturb me ( I work from home!), he said I was abnormal and that it was no wonder that I was not getting along with my father!

    • My rebound relationship after a covert narc was with the FW cheater. ugh.

      The FW used the compartmentalization excuse. I told him I am not a compartment. As if that’s how you treat the proclaimed :love of your life”.

  • I can’t tell if Jada is being sarcastic or just obnoxious towards Will. Either way it is abusive of her to not only film but post. Regarding will: I wonder what he does in private if he can slap a man in public. He may be quite abusive. Nevertheless they are not role models for heathy relationship that we need! Anyway CN take care of yourselves! Be kind to yourselves. What we are going through is very difficult and only living ourselves will get us through sanely. Hugs!

  • Back in the few sessions of couples therapy, it always seemed like the therapist was focused on comparing both of our lives and upbringings to try to find some reasoning (read: excuses) for why XW cheated.

    The therapist kept telling me that FW had a much harder childhood and upbringing than I did (and I agreed because this was definitely true). I admitted as much in the sessions, but they both kept playing this off like this excused what happened. I get that a fucked up childhood can make someone more likely to be a cheater, statistically speaking, but ethically speaking, it does nothing to make it right or justified. Felt like all the pain caused to me by FW was completely dismissed and maybe even justified by the therapist just because other people did bad things to FW at a different time and place in her life. And FW just ran with that shit to act like she had some high-minded reasoning to do as she pleased.

    I am so fucking glad to be done with that shit.

    • Hitler and many in the Nazi command had terrible childhoods. I guess the Allies should have cancelled the Nuremberg trials, right?

      • My husband and I are/were teachers (I’m retired). Admini/counselors tried to tell us for years to let kids misbehave and disrupt others — “they have a bad homelife”! So many things wrong there– so did we, so do the other kids, that’s why they have to learn to overcome– all the above and more.

        We saw miracles by using consistent rewards and consequences. But as time passed, fewer and fewer schools allowed it, even in special ed, where we were. I got burned out and retired early because I, like a lot of trad teachers, was mercilessly harassed for not using the “forgive them– they have a bad homelife” technique of teaching. My husband luckily got into a small town school with an understanding principal who is a guy who believes in “hands- off” with the special ed dept… and lets him do the behaviorism that works.

        Consistent rewards and consequences work well in relationships– like marriages– too, of course — much better than — “forgive him — he had a bad homelife growing up” like too many therapists of all kinds believe.

        (It’s in all the schools now, esp after the covid shut-downs — Everyone is hiring extra therapists for the supposed “trauma” the kids have after staying home for a year.)

  • Typical narcissist moment… the night was for Will… to be acknowledged for acting achievement (something she’ll never achieve)… and what does she do… triggers him to “go crazy”… (note, this is all theory, not an opinion)… but IF we think back to the times with our Cheaters where they had to “steal the show” to feed their egos (ruining holidays or birthdays anyone?)… or times when they’ve sabotaged you and your reaction to it made YOU look like the crazy one… well, I can feel for the “chump” that is Will here.

    That said, the slap was unacceptable and egregious, no matter the root cause.

    • Having been involved with too many narcs (foo, fws) this is very accurate. He was going to win an Oscar, so she had to jump in ahead of his special moment and make it about her. Granted, he didn’t have to haul off and hit the guy, but watching the nonverbal interplay between Jada and Wiil, she definitely egged him on. She has him well trained to always make sure it’s all about her. That’s why we are always bombarded with “gray rock,” which is imperative to maintain.

      • Besides her attempt to draw all the attention to “poor, bald little me,” (there are some great wigs out there, BTW) she knows what tiggers to pull to push him over the cliff and take away from one of the biggest highlights of his career. I don’t know if he’s an absolute creep too, or if he’s a victim of her and acting out. Probably a combination of both. I do know that scapegoated kids in families are often black sheep as well, because they’ve been pushed into it. He’s not a kid though, and needs to straighten up and/or get some help.

        • I don’t feel one bit sorry for his cheating ass though. Abusers with personality disorders generally lack a solid core self and choose partners with firmer personalities or character that they can mirror (until they accuse the partner of “engulfing” and “dominating” them, d’ow, and delusionally seek revenge).

          Part of why abusers abuse is that they begin to blame their own pathological, infantile dependency on their partners as if the partner were cultivating it or causing it. Cheating is one way of trying to dilute that dependency and spread it around among more than one partner. Violence is another way of “taking back” the power the abuser hallucinates their victims have stolen. But very often, it’s abusers themselves who place victims in the adult/parent role and it’s under coercion because it may be what temporarily “contains” the abuser.

          Anyway, victims “taking control” can be an oblique way of following the abuser’s demands. I’m not saying she’s not also bent. For whatever reason, this circus is normal to her or at least she doesn’t seem to be questioning it. But as we can all see from that public assault, Jada’s got herself a tiger by the tail. She could have abusive tendencies herself but he could snap her neck with one finger and that weighs into relationship dynamics.

  • I don’t think Esther Perel can legally call herself a trauma specialist if she has no actual training or certification in trauma therapy.

    • Would love to hear veteran specialists weigh in on that. Dear Frank M. Ochberg, founding father of psychotraumatology, any notes on Esther P’s claims?

  • My first husband was emotionally, mentally and financially abusive. I moved the kids and me out while he was at work one day and then sent him an email that we were gone. I was SO broken, but I finally found the strength to get out of that awful environment for my kids’ sake.

    I agreed to go to therapy with EXH1 to try to “rebuild our family”. I had to do all the work to find a therapist per EXH1’s specifications – a “real doctor”, older male psychiatrist, no more than a ten minute drive from his house. I found that doctor, set up the appointments. EXH1 weaponized everything I said in therapy against me, ridiculing me for having actual feelings and emotions, taking what I said completely out of context so he could play the victim. The doctor once said to him “You DO realize that your wife is a battered wife and YOU are the abuser?”. EXH1 denies that was ever said. After half a dozen sessions, the doctor told ExH1 that he needed intensive individual therapy. ExH1 decided that the doctor was only after money and not only refused to go to individual therapy, he refused to go to any more joint therapy and refused to pay the doctor the hundreds we owed for the sessions already done.

    It took me two more years before filing for divorce from ExH1 because he had me so successfully emotionally cowed.

    Shortly after becoming strong enough to actually file for divorce, I met the lying cheating pedophile known as Evil Fuckwit that is STBExH2 and he was so nice, charming, respectful, generous, even-tempered, and “honest” that I fell in love quickly. Another story for another time.

    Clearly my people picker is broken.

    • wow – I have a very similar story. Except it took me way longer to leave that EXH, and I luckily didn’t marry the FW.

      It’s not our picker that’s broken. It’s the fact that we were never shown love and affection in that first relationship, that when faced with the love-bombing, the openness and honesty, that we didn’t know that it was coming from a fraud.

      I’m now in a healthy relationship.

    • As a former advocate for dv survivors, I learned that once a person is abused, their risk of being entrapped by a subsequent abuser is doubled. Of course the usual grease-monkey therapists surmise this is due to Voodoo Victim Tractor Beams by which victims “draw” abuse to themselves even if this theory doesn’t hold up statistically. DV expert Lenore Walker found that victims actually skew towards higher than average pre-abuse self esteem and were more likely to have had careers.

      After hearing thousands of survivor stories, I came up with my own supposition– that, when victims are emerging from intimate trauma, average “nice people” often aren’t nice enough in the face of it, paving the way for abusers to comparatively look like heroes and play rescuer.

      The whole thing is a protection racket. Victims typically get dumped on and blamed by both random bystanders and “helping professionals” in the wake of traumatic abuse which creates even greater need in survivors for asylum and social understanding. Cue the abusers lurking in the wings to pick off the injured members of the herd.

      Digression: I know the concept above kind of contradicts the statistics that many abusers seek “big game” (confident prey, the better to tear them down). But I think of it as a taste for the “limping tiger.” Many abusers prefer fabulous targets but I suppose it doesn’t hurt their schemes if the “big game” are having a bad day, week or year. That tiger skin rug still carries more creds than a bunny foot key chain.

      Another interesting clinical finding regarding abuser psychology is that abusers are particularly good at faking empathy towards victims of THEIR OWN OFFENSES. They apparently channel more psychic energy into image management than average and are generally good at mirroring but also seem to show a special alacrity for information regarding victimization and victim psychology. Probably because no one knows where the wounds are more than the types of people who put those wounds there to begin with.

      • There is also a lot of new research on the impact of traumatic brain injury on victims of DV. Abuse from infidelity also changes our brains and often leads to PTSD/PTSI. What the latest DV research is showing is that the TBIs are mostly not even considered among this population and that they are in fact a huge and very widespread problem that actually impacts the ability of the DV victim to successfully leave their abusers. Here is a link to a resource in Canada where just last week a young woman was murdered by her abuser who used blunt force to her head.

        • I didn’t read abot the new finding but have read past studies that so-called ADHD in children can sometimes be due to undetected closed head injury (among other physical causes like lead toxicity, etc.).

          Chronic insomnia in PTSD can also create lasting brain dysfunction (never mind the permanently brain-melting drugs commonly prescribed for it). That’s another under-studied aspect of abuse and somewhat akin to TBI.

          I remember a line from the film The Other Boleyn Girl: “If I can’t sleep, I can’t think.” It was maybe the second time in film I’d seen a nod to what trauma related, GITMO-level insomnia does to victims of abuse. The line chillingly explained Anne’s (played by Natalie Portman) increasingly rash, self-sabotaging and risky behavior in the face of the dangerous politics of Henry’s abandonment for another woman in the court.

          Because of Natalie Portman’s activism regarding abuse of women in Hollywood and her own experience as a child actor being hypersexualized by the public (she admitted that many of her “flat” earlier performances were due to trauma), I wondered if she extemporized the line since the line seemed smarter than the novel the film was based on.

          Maybe I’m wrong but generally I preferred Anne of 1000 Days because Burton as Henry created such a clinically perfect, unsentimental portrait of an abuser with none of the attempts in the later film to give Henry little sad saugage moments as apolagism for his brutality (goopy sad music playing while Henry looks “confused). But that one line in the latter film brought the whole film up and saved Portman’s tour de force performance ftom the usual nuts and sluts ghetto.

  • Wow, never saw this before, and honestly ~ appalled. It is incredibly rude to film someone for public consumption without their permission, no matter the relationship. And to demean his wishes is very violent to me.

  • Two days after my 2nd d-day, my ex said his CSAT told him that “[He] did wrong, but doesn’t deserve to be treated like the bad guy forever.” I do not believe for five minutes that his CSAT advised him this way so soon after a d-day, because several months later he backpedaled and said his CSAT advised him to have more empathy for me. I’m sure was just tired of me being mad at him and I’ll never know what his CSAT actually advises him to do. He wanted me to have this attitude of “Aww poor baby, you have a SEX ADDICTION…you jUsT cAn’T hElP ogling teenagers when we take walks in the park, but I know you’re tRyInG…poor sad sausage.” Like…yeah right, buddy! Hes now tooting the “nothing I ever did was good enough for you” horn because I’m still divorcing him despite him joining a 12-step group and staying in therapy. I guess the other part of that is I failed to sufficiently show him gratitude for holding down a job he hated for two years instead of letting him throw a tantrum to his boss and quit/leaving me in financial binds like he did when we were younger. Which…oh brother. I was supposed to kiss his ass for doing what we all have to do as adults. No wonder he had to cheat on me /s.

    • Apparently I never loved FW because if I did then I would understand his “sex addiction” and need to cheat. That was direct from FW and from FW’s brother. Blocked them all.

  • I can’t snark about Esther because the first I heard of her was here and I’ve avoided her ever since. I also avoided therapy with my ex even though he said he wanted to go. I had the foresight to realize that going to therapy with an active addict would be like putting my head in a blender. With good reason I knew he wouldn’t tell the truth and would turn everything into my fault. I didn’t need that. I’m sorry that people end up in the situation where it’s their partner and their therapist against them. It’s disheartening and traumatic.

  • Hard to make me sympathize with Will Smith: dude seems like a narc-y, entitled, image-conscious prick to me, like many celebrities. However, that video is brutal, and he is being abused in that relationship. No one deserves—or should stick around for—that. Gotta think Will has been wanting to hit someone for some time and was happy to find an excuse. Don’t think I’m the only one who saw relief on Will’s face when he walked away from a stunned Chris Rock after slapping him. Can you imagine how bad things are when THAT moment makes you feel BETTER?

  • Watch this video if you ever think your spouse and the OW “won” and you lost. Here is a tiny peek into what a relationship between two cheaters is like. Jada’s voice is so cold and cruel, and she is trying to enrage him on camera. There has likely been violence – a grown man doesn’t strike someone FOR THE FIRST TIME on national television. You have to have been hitting people to get your way for a long time to slip like that.

    Watch this video, thank your lucky stars you aren’t with them anymore, and enjoy a lovely Friday night with an extra spring in your step.

    • YES! That’s why I love the Will Smith trainwreck. It caught up to them! It may take decades but the karma train came around and mowed that MFer down! I love it! There is justice in the world. Their lives look absolutely fucking miserable and they have millions of dollars. It makes me feel very much at peace thinking about how my own FW will eventually get his too.

    • I was fortunate (I suppose) to see my EX and OW’s relationship implode. They’d been together for 4 years, but she only lasted four weeks in the same house with him before she fled. He killed himself four months later. After he died, I had the fun job of clearing out his house (since he’d taken an awful lot of marital property that belonged to me). Between his suicide “note” (23 PAGES) and OW’s letters, along with a few other things I found – they were MISERABLE. To the outside, they presented their relationship as if it were a fairy tale, and their friends were envious of their wonderful “twu wuv”, their happy family (she had two kids, we had one). But the truth was far from that. They abused each other, verbally and physically, got in screaming matches in front of the kids, and were raging alcoholics. They were both severely depressed and suffered from anxiety (I have NEVER seen so many medications in one house – antidepressants, sleep aids, anti anxiety meds, painkillers), OW self-harmed and even attempted suicide (FW got OW to the hospital on time, where she was committed to a psych ward – I found her discharge papers – and HE STILLED MOVED IN WITH HER AND HAD OUR KID LIVING THERE WITH THAT WOMAN).

      They didn’t “win” anything. Even if you don’t find out something as dramatic as I did – these people can’t be happy or be at peace. There can be no trust when both parties have betrayed their spouses (OW cheated on her husband with mine). Just walk away, go live your life, leave them to their “prize”. In the end, They thrive on drama. Don’t give them any. Without me to target, they turned on each other.

      I’m actually grateful the affair happened. I don’t think I would have had the courage to leave, I thought I loved him, I don’t believe in divorce, and he had broken me down to the point where I didn’t even know who I was anymore. Even though OW’s behavior was disgusting (she knew my husband was married, she knew ME, she lied to my face, and she took pleasure in tormenting me and watching me fall apart), ultimately she was my ticket out of hell. If I ever run into her, I’ll flash her the biggest smile and tell her thank you. She wanted to destroy me, and she saved my life. I can’t think of a better “revenge” than being happy and completely ignoring her. After my ex died, she kept trying to talk to me (texts, emails, phone calls), like she bizarrely still wanted to be some part of my life, to stay relevant somehow. I shut that down quick. Shared tragedy will never make us friends (I think she still loves him), and I told her so. I indulged in sending one last text telling her exactly what I thought of her. Then I blocked her number and email. She’s completely irrelevant to me. I sometimes check her social media for a laugh (all the anger and hurt is gone, it really is just rather funny at this point), and found her talking about me, calling me her “arch nemesis” (no names mentioned, but she accused someone of stealing her things, and there really was only me who had access to the things she left behind, even though I didn’t take and didn’t want any of her shit). Arch nemesis. The ex wife of her deceased ex boyfriend, and I’m still looming large in her mind. LOL. I barely think of her at all.

  • Hurray! I’m happy to have the subject of infidelity brought back to the national stage. Maybe SNL will do a Red Table Talk with Esther bit.

    My ex FW left marriage counseling with three different therapists after his solo sessions. I’m guessing they told him he’d have to come clean about the cheating. Ironically, the one he liked best had it figured out before I did. I was describing his lack of accountability/participation and she muttered “cake” under her breath.

    The more mainstream the conversation becomes which links cheating to entitled abuse, the better. Go Jada and Will!

  • I’m not a Will Smith fan but that bitch is crazy! She gave me the willies just listening to her!

  • I just feel so sorry for Will Smith. While he’s obviously not perfect I feel like Jada is a whole boatload of narcissism that has him so gaslit and humiliated and dancing for his LIFE and over identifying with her every eyebrow raise that CN need to whisk him away to our top secret facility and perform an intervention. While I don’t condone violence that whole slap was the culmination of a desperate attempt to keep Jada by trying to control. I suspect she would have emasculated him at home afterward if he’d done nothing. I’m assuming a lot but this video does point to a toxic dynamic within the relationship. Damn Esther for enabling and giving a platform and narrative of permission for behaviours in the name of personal self actualisation. Ted talk over.

    • Well, if he hadn’t cheated on his first wife and threw away his first family like garbage, he wouldn’t even be with Jada to get abused by her. So… guess it’s his fault for being a shitty person.

  • Well, I agree it’s a horrible video. But I can’t dredge up any sympathy for him. He’s a cheater, he left his first wife for her, she cheated on him – really, what did he expect? If you throw everything away to be with someone like that, then that sort of thing is what you should have expected, and in my opinion, what you deserve. The biter bit.

  • I have never seen this before and I’m absolutely appalled. That was disgusting. I never knew anything about Jada except what has been posted here on, but right now I know that she’s a disgusting narcissist just by watching that video. Maybe Will Smith is as well. Maybe they deserve each other. But if I ever experience this kind of behavior from any of my friends, or the condescending attitude as displayed by Jada, then they will no longer be my friends. I’m very particular about my friends these days.

  • Hi fellow Chumps. I was just told by the marriage councilor that I’m not to read anymore chumplady blog until after I’ve read After the Affair. It gave me a laugh at the end of a stressful therapy session.

    • Lol. Good CN is getting the word out.

      God forbit we do anything to scare the cheater and their wallet away.

    • Maybe you should postpone breathing too – all that oxygen might affect your thinking about your spouse’s cheating.

    • Want me to share how that book goes? Shit-sandwiches are delicious. I cheated because it’s your fault. Unicorn, Unicorn, Unicorn. There. You didn’t miss anything. 🙂

    • Find a new marriage counselor. Better yet, find your own therapist, one who agrees infidelity is abuse. Marriage counseling with a cheater is just an opportunity for them to further the abuse.

    • After the Affair? What do you read after 22 OW? Or 68 hookers? 178 strippers? 13 women in bars that just “came on to you?”

  • CN,

    I just saw the news that Will has been banned from Academy events for 10 years. What does everyone think about that? I see this situation from so many angles now, I’m conflicted.

    • Fine as long as they also ban every sicko freak credibly accused of sicko freakery in that industry. But then there would be tumbleweeds blowing across the stage as Emma Thompson and Thandiwe Newton present to an empty theater.

      At least Smith picked on someone close to his own size.

    • I haven’t followed the reason he is banned, if the reason is violence are all the other men/women who have been arrested for violence been banned.

  • My favorite standup routine from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the one where she smokes dramatically in shadowy profile and then growls into the microphone, “REVENGE.” Then she describes the fuckery she’d like to seek vengeance for.

    I relate. I want revenge on the creeptacular geriatic Freudian faux-social-justice misogynist academic therapist who told FW in the middle of the affair that it would “not serve any purpose” to come clean to me. Can I say I hope there’s an especially special place in hell for professional enablers of abuse? Then, icing on the cake and in keeping with the recent study demonstrating that those who harbor “infidelity tolerance” also tend to harbor “rape myth acceptance,” this therapist also told FW later that it was “not possible” that I was sexually assaulted at knife point that year (almost– if not for two construction workers showing up) because “that doesn’t happen in this city.”

    A few months after the assault women here threw a massive shock-and-awe anti-rape protest that caught fire all over the world.

    I guess this “doesn’t happen” to a lot of people. I was still too shaken up to attend and risk getting gassed or arrested but when I saw the news videos I had an overdue breakdown. I still can’t watch those clips without sobbing.

    I hope Dr. Psichobolche had a little ischemic event when seeing the news coverage. Or that he had to walk through the demonstration muttering on his way to work. But not even a global protest against the exact type of views this shrink spewed completely satisfied my vengeful heart. One day I’m going to send that fucker a huge pack of adult diapers to his office at the university with no note. Maybe he’ll wrap one around his face.

  • There once was a quack named Perel
    Top ranked in the word salad cartel
    The Smiths got marriage pointers from Esther
    Their marriage – now a public disaster
    Esther helped them a lot – can’t you tell?

  • That video is horrible to watch. Yuck. I don’t understand what Jada is trying to achieve here. I didn’t go to therapy with my cheater, but I insisted he went because he was so “stressed at work” all the time. He seemed depressed and distant. He came home from his appointment and said that his therapist suggested we have an open marriage. I lost it. I demanded to know why she would say such a stupid thing…. Blah blah blah. I don’t even know if he really saw a therapist. That was like 5 years before DDay. I’ve always wondered if that charade was just him trying to tell me about the cheating but he didn’t have the balls. My husband was very concerned with figuring out a way to have his cake and eat it too. He was really motivated to try and keep me as the appliance wife and then have his sexual side pieces. He never once stopped to think about what I might need or want in this scenario. His cheating was not a way to find exuberance or whatever- he wanted to have it all, in spite of how it impacted me or us. He didn’t care about the “us” in any way. In fact, I don’t think there was ever a valuing of us or our marriage. It was only a scramble to ensure he could indulge in fantasy sex while I did all the adulting- it was a real buzz kill for him to be a parent, pay the bills, do the housework. You can’t find your exuberance at the expense of another Esther and Jada!

  • I love Will Smith’s body of work. I was shocked by what he did at the Oscars. He’s admitted that his wife doesn’t believe in “conventional marriage, and if she’s hanging out with Esther Perel, as some sort of therapist. it’s not a big surprise that the train has jumped the tracks. Who knows what goes on in their marriage? I hope Will finds some peace; it’s clear he’s in trouble, emotionally.

    For what it’s worth, I feel bad for Chris Rock. I hate how the Oscars are treated like a roast every year, and I’m sure many actors, directors and others have gone home on their big night with bruised feelings. The whole thing isn’t necessary. But Rock was all dressed up in that velvet jacket. He looked good and had no idea what was going to happen to him.

    And to all the chumps who are struggling with feeling that their lives are “less than” those of others, take a look at this incident. It’s possible to be rich and at the top of your career and be seriously f*cked up. It’s possible to be on a global stage and someone assaults you out of nowhere. I wouldn’t want to be any of these people right now.

  • If she had any respect for him she would have stopped filming when he told her too.I couldn’t watch the video passed that. She has problems with his boundaries. I really think he needs to leave her. He’s in an abusive relationship and doesn’t know it. He really needed to just leave the room when she wouldn’t stop.

  • My ex is a better liar and manipulator thanks to therapy!

    If I asked to see his phone? – “it’s triggering for me and I shut down”. So don’t ask to see it! Nevermind I needed reassurance.

    If I made polygraph part of my terms? – “it brings up a lot of history from my parents”. But he successfully passed regular polys with his job (before he got investigated for porn).

    If I called him on any bullshit or gaslighting, he’d say “I feel attacked” or “I didn’t know that’s how you define” stuff like “trust” “several” or “honesty.” And then we’d go have sessions on the terms instead of the real issue.

    He once copied my journal entry and read it in our joint therapy session (both therapists). They praised him for the imagery and depth while I sat there dumbstruck.

    He went through the motions in our couples therapy but never practiced outside the office. When called in it, he’d say he forgot a part and was too embarrassed to bring it up.

    And lots more.

  • The Karma bus has made a stop two decades after Will left his first wife for Jada. Alleluia

  • Firstly, this video makes me said for Will. As fellow chumps, I think most of us, if not all, as chumps, talked to our cheater, either before or after D-Day, and calmly conveyed something to our cheater, only to have it disregarded and deemed insignificant. She called it, “foolishness.” It makes you think you are crazy for speaking up. I’ve been there.

    I also was saddened to read some of the comments not pertaining to Will/Jada/Esther.
    I don’t know about all y’all, but I found LACGAL and this website at a really low point in my life. Reading these posts every day, and all your comments gave me the courage to file for divorce from my cheater. I really feel like this place is what helped turn things around for me and I wised up. I read LACGAL and listened to the audiobook and things really started to make sense.
    I like to think of us here as the walking wounded. We are here because we have suffered PTSD, betrayal trauma, and gaslighting. Our cheaters chose to have and affair and we weren’t informed of their decision. It is life changing to go through something like this.
    It hurts me to read some of these posts where we are tearing each other down, or at the very least, making them feel as if they aren’t welcome. We come here for support. I don’t think that was the intent of LP, who even used the word, “respectfully,” before sharing the thought. I, too, have Jewish heritage, and I took that post as a means of the poster trying to understand where Esther was coming from. Many of us are empaths here, which explains our chumpiness and always trying to untangle the skein. I personally wasn’t offended, but that is just me.
    I also want to say regarding the term witch, that my mom is a dear, good person, and she uses the word witch in place of *itch every now and then. She doesn’t mean to offend people. It is an expression she grew up hearing and using and as I am her daughter, out of respect for her, I don’t correct her. She also suffers from a mild but permanent brain damage, and she isn’t able to use new phrases or learn new ideas as easily. It is hard for her. That phrase is part of her paradigm and she is elderly. Just saying. We don’t always know what burdens people are carrying or why they do what they do.
    I want us to all be kind to each other and also to have respect for one another. We can do both here. Please, before you write something, review it to be sure it cannot be misconstrued. And if it is, remember, we are all walking wounded and we come here for support.

    • Well put and yes we are the walking wounded, and many of us suffer from complex post traumatic stress injuries as well as moral injuries. I know that after all we chumps have been through it can be difficult to assume good intent but I think that is something we should strive for within this very special community that CL has created for us.

  • This makes me have a flashback: what about therapists who BLATANTLY ignore the bullshit of your partner?

    We had a therapist (female) who, when she asked why my (at the time) husband and I were there-my (ex) answered, “Well-I started having coffee with my female coworker…and we ended up having a lot of coffee together.”

    I shit you not-that’s EXACTLY what he told her.

    So- sitting next to him on the couch thinking, “FINALLY! She’s going to see thru this bullshit in 2 seconds!”

    But no-she NEVER questioned his statement-and ended up giving me shit because I didn’t have sex with him on our anniversary even tho he took my out to a nice dinner!

    I’m guessing her marriage was also fucked up ????????????.

  • Pfft. My snark is legendary. I wouldn’t waste it on a nothing like Esther Perel.

    As for the Smith Family Saga…the urge to smack both of their heads together and see if anything shakes loose is strong…

  • I just had an interesting blast from my past.
    A few years ago, my ex-wife had dinner with a friend of a friend. He was a CEO in quite a high position. The two were spotted by a friend of mine, who told me that their dinner in a classy restaurant looked like a date. When I asked my ex about this dinner (of which I hadn’t been aware of) , he was “just a friend ” and ” I didn’t tell you because you are always so jealous “. I was such a chump, with no boundaries, that I looked for fault on my side.
    We soon moved to the other side of the country for my work and it didn’t come up again.
    Fast forward , an affair with another guy happened, we are divorced and live separate lives.

    When driving home I heard on the radio that this CEO was arrested for owning and distributing child pornography.

    I wasn’t quite sure what to do with that information:
    My ex wife is a covert narcissist and the affairs I know about have all been with sex pests.
    – the plastic surgeon who publicly boasted about the amount of nurses he has slept with.
    – the CEO, who is now going to jail on child pornography charges
    – The company rep who was lying about his own marital status and was chasing every skirt he came across.
    I read somewhere that the covert narcissists are likely to be ab/used as they are so desperate to be validated. She was of course a willing partner in all of those affairs.
    The lesson for me is
    – I should have enforced my boundaries after that dinner “with just a friend”. It didn’t feel right to me but I let her trample all over my boundaries.
    – My ex and the CEO must have fucked. Those kind of people would have not been happy with a romantic dinner. And that just stretches the time line of her cheating and lying to be right into the first year of our 14 year relationship. Never again will I allow for anyone to treat me like this.

  • To me, it is simple: I am pretty sure that with her credentials, Esther Perel could not practice in several European countries other than as a counsellor. Definitely not as a psychologist or psychotherapist.
    In some countries counselling isn’t even a certified profession.
    For example, in my country relationship counselling cannot be practiced by someone who is not a psychologist/psychiatrist and I am seeing with my own eyes the damage that a poorly trained counsellor can indirectly cause.
    I think I am also seeing (again, indirectly) the damage that Esther Perel is causing, in the anger that stays alive while you are rebuilding your dead marriage. In order to rebuild with a cheater, you have to blame everyone but him – which flies in the face of the image of happy couple, “my marriage is stronger than before” and all these tropes.
    In my country, forgiving cheating is all the rage. Women forgive the worst lies, cheating, manipulating, thinking that they will come out happier with a reformed husband but I agree with CL, for me this is bulls.

  • Oh god, this hurt to watch. Nearly cried watching it. I’m sure Will Smith isn’t perfect but this was very humiliating.

    It also explains to me (finally) why I’d say reasonable things to ex and why it had no effect on his behavior or his disdain towards me. About the only time he didn’t dismiss me was when I was servicing him or serving him.

  • I don’t know Esther Perel and her quotes I read in this site nipped in the bud any morbid curiosity I might have about her theories. Reading from this site also averted the catastrophe that would have been going to couples therapy with a cheater fuckwit. So, a big THANK YOU to Chump Lady and Chump Nation.
    That said, I have an idea of how couples therapy with FW would have played out. They (FW plus the quack of her choice) would have me conviced that I am an undiagnosed, quirky, difficult autistic adult with *serious* communication issues (i.e., I can’t read other people’s minds, specially when they say the exact opposite of what they mean) and that me, plus the drag of having autistic kids (also my fault), drove poor misunderstood Raputia to bring a probably criminal subordinate she barely knew to fuck on our marital bed while I took care of our autistic kids. I think this is how we would have agreed that I was the problem, because the autism that runs through my family was rubbed on my face constantly pretty much since the beginning of my relationship with FW (when she met my autistic adult brother, 22 years ago). Things only got worse after my youngest son diagnosis. Everything was my “genetics”. Her “terms of endearment” to me include “retard”, “nuts” and the good and old plain “crazy”. I caught winds that her flying monkeys refer to me as such too. Why can’t these people just leave me alone and out of their bosses’-dicks-sucking-holes (sorry for the imagery, I am thinking of an actual person I know as I say that). Had I fell for quackery, I am pretty sure I would either be further under FW’s thumb by now or would be deprived of half my sons’ custody if I decided to leave. By the end of my marriage I was pretty convinced of my utter social inadequacy. It would only have taken a quack therapist to push me off the cliff. Turns out I found CL and CN first.
    I don’t dispute the claim that I am autistic, I suspect it to be true since I learned a little about the subject. Actually, even though I won’t seek further confirmation at this point of my life, I would gladly identify as autistic, since I am the very proud father of a cute, intelligent, brave, empathetic, gentle, just *lovely* autistic boy (the eldest is undiagnosed by what IMHO is a pediatric neurologist’s undue fear of social stigma; she diagnosed him with GAD instead; everything I said above about his brother applies to him as well). Yes, I am quirky, eccentric, verbose (you who may be reading this rant, of all people, know what we’re dealing with here), speak quiet and tooooooo slowly, have poor eye contact and can easily lose myself in my special interests (that have become my career, thankfully). Oh, and crazy eyes are not unheard of (she told me on DDay#2 that I have them – “crazy face at times, that scares people” she said, if I am to be exact – but since I became aware, I agree). All taken into account, I am a charmer, huh? What a catch! BUT, I learned here, in this site, that nothing of the above would give FW the right to hurt me and our kids as she did. If I am autistic, I was a very useful one (and conveniently gullible for that matter). I was of use for her life, for her education, for her career, for being her personal secretary, for her finances, for keeping things tidy at home, for taking care of the kids, for providing her dumb ass with a veneer of knowlegeability, for helping her FOO and for her impression management (“how can poor Rasputia tolerate Norbit and their autistic kids for so long? She is so noble and self-sacrificing!” Flying monkeys and sycophants are trash!).
    Anyway, I try to be aware of my shortcomings and work actively on them. Don’t have problems with anyone else other than FW. Right now she is trying to bully me out of my tax refund even though she earns 2x what I earn (by her own words, inside an uber, in front of the kids) and doesn’t pay a rusty penny whatsoever for our kids’ education and health expenses, as per our divorce settlement. She says she is entitled to have one of the kids as her dependant on her tax return because she is their mother. My lawyer and the accountant I consulted disagree. Then her (yelling) argument is that my head “is totally fucked up with wickedness” and that I am “crazy”, “nuts”, that I “don’t understand how real life works”, etc. (I’ve got that on tape). Funny thing, just a couple days prior she sent me an instagram post of an autistic adult that’s got her diagnosis at her thirties. Several of the traits she mentioned befitted me. No comment. Totally passive-aggressive move. I am pretty sure now with hindsight that that was just her subtle way to remind me in advance that I am not to be trusted with “real-life stuff”. I am also sure that a couples’ quack therapist of her choice would make me agree and do exactly what she wants. My individual therapist though (to whom I played a bit of the tapes) was apalled and urged me to protect myself, don’t give in to her demands and follow through my lawyer’s advice. It’s very unlike him to be so assertive, but it seems that the audio is shocking in itself (although it would have been just a common thursday on our old household).
    So, what I mean is, fuck quacks-endorsed blameshifting and gaslighting; neurodiversity is a thing, don’t let an eventual neurodivergence of yours (diagnosed, suspected or hinted at) to be weaponized against you and keep clear of fuckwits of any kind. But stand to the bullies if they do want a fight, otherwise they will get your lunch money everyday. You’ve got this, you just shouldn’t fight alone. Surround you with a team of trusted friends and trusted professionals. Don’t assume proficiency in areas that are not your bread and butter – fuckwits are prone to do so; they’re, as you say, Jacks of all trades (my FW XW is one of those). And that gets them screwed up big time very often. It is funny to watch. Pop up some popcorn for you and sit back.
    And that was the rant of the day! Sorry, folks, wishing peace and love to all of you! Say no to mindfuckery.

  • I feel embarrassed that Chump Nation would comment on such a public invasion of privacy. I feel embarrassed that I watched the video and wish it had not been brought to my attention.

  • Jada and will’s relash started while he was still married to his first wife.

    Jada is the OW. What did Will honestly expect?

    Their kids are visibly hurting and chaotic, so it’s not surprising there’s someone toxic in the house.

    Will has had his own affairs over the years. This entire mess is what happens when two unhealthy FWs find each other.

  • Esther Perel branding herself as a “Trauma Specialist” is actually quite succinct
    She seems to have been very adroit at inflicting a special kind of life destroying trauma on Will Smith via the junk she’s pumping into his wife’s “ethically non-monogamous” “entangling” brain lol

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