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Would You Tell a Dying Woman She’s a Chump?

bad choicesHere’s a hard question: Would you tell a dying person they’re a chump?

(Yes, Mondays are improved by a Hobson’s choice for breakfast.)

This was a moral dilemma faced by author Rachel Hancox, which she wrote about in the Daily Mail. And a subject on which I’ve been asked to comment by BBC Surrey radio this morning — so send the talking points, CN!

Rachel’s acquaintance Jane has advanced cancer. And an asshole for a husband.

Little did I know I would soon find out something so devastating that it would make her heartbreaking situation even worse.

I’d only ever met Jane’s husband John a few times, at school events. He was tall, wiry, good-looking with long, curling hair, very dark eyes and a way of fixing his gaze on you, even when you were only exchanging a word or two. It was definitely him in the garden centre cafe, fixing that intense look on the mother of a child in another class at our school. She was a recent divorcee with shiny blonde hair who we’d all believed had run off with her yoga teacher.

Yes, the Other Woman is a cliche in Lululemon.

Maybe there was nothing to it, I told myself. I could imagine John needed support. I even felt guilty for thinking he could be flirting with another woman while his wife was so ill. I walked, out of the cafe and back to the bedding plants.

But then I spotted them again — in a clinch among the climbing roses. There was no mistaking what was going on now.

For a few moments I stood rooted to the spot, too shocked and dismayed to move. Perhaps I should have called out? Perhaps I should have walked on towards them until they spotted me? But I was a coward. I dumped my basket and rushed back to my car.

I did my best to avoid Jane at school for the next few weeks. I was waiting for the news to break, as surely I couldn’t be the only one who knew what was going on?

Oh probably not, Rachel. And that’s the shitty thing — Rachel never should’ve been put in this position. This is what affairs do — they enlist unwitting co-conspirators. And very few people have the guts to refuse that role.

I hated having this dire secret weighing on me, but I was terrified of doing the wrong thing and it felt better to pretend I didn’t know. It wasn’t mere cowardice nor was it just the strange shame of being the person — perhaps the only person — who knew what was going on. It was also that I really, really didn’t know what to do.

In the end, Jane dies before Rachel can decide what to do. John basks in the glow of loving, supportive husband.

And I would’ve accepted this unsatisfying post-modern ending, except Rachel ends the piece with a call for understanding about what people will do under duress — like cheat on their wife who is dying of cancer.

I wonder whether we can forgive adultery in some circumstances — if it doesn’t harm the other party and even, arguably, has some benefits for them.

And whether any of us can judge what other people do under unimaginable stress.

What people do under unimaginable stress is the stuff of character. And not fucking around on your dying wife isn’t a very high bar. John is not being asked to resist the invasion of Ukraine.

I could forgive Rachel for not telling. I can see not wanting to destabilize a woman’s health or inflict such knowledge at such a vulnerable time. But I do not understand how she can give John a pass. Unless it’s to protect her own moral discomfort.

it doesn’t harm the other party and even, arguably, has some benefits for them. 

May it happen to you, Rachel.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I don’t think I would tell a dying person they’re being chumped, but Rachel has no idea what damage the affair has caused. She doesn’t know when it started, how it might have divided the attentions of the cheater, whether it exposed the chump to STDs, whether it risked compromising the family finances at a time when financial stability was particularly needed.. .

    Obviously I could go on. We all know the kinds of harm this supposedly victimless act really causes.

    Rachel should stfu.

      • I’ll never know for sure, but I think my now-ex FIL started his relationship with his second wife before his first died. First wife was terminally ill and died. Two years later, FIL had a big retirement party and his “new” girlfriend attended with him. In his speech, he talked about how they met (at work) and the timeline meant a likely overlap with his first wife’s last months. He WAS awfully checked out then, which I/ex attributed to grief, but…

        • Lia,
          My ex-sister-in-law’s father, who was a pastor at a Baptist Church, hooked up with his new girlfriend and developed a relationship while his wife was dying and constantly in pain. The depths of depravity…even from church officials…it astounds me.

      • Exactly! And conversely, this woman had only so much time left and perhaps would have spent it differently had she known. Unfortunately, I have heard similar sentiments from the letter writer from other people.

        • I can’t even imagine how lonely Jane was, stuck at home alone waiting on him, while John was at that garden center with the yoga ho. Oh wait actually I can. Fuck you, John, and the care you faked when you came home with flowers that it took you two hours to buy, and Jane had to be grateful and feel bad about herself for wondering where you were for two hours. Nobody that hasn’t been through it knows the damage that’s done (even if by some miracle no one gets STDs or pregnant or spends anyone’s money), and Rachel can keep her advice to herself until she’s been there.

      • I absolutely would tell my friend if I saw her husband canoodling.

        That’s why I think Rachel might be speaking of herself.

    • I disagree. I’d rather have the chance to process it before I die, and know just what a piece of shit my partner was. At least I might get it together enough to tell the piece-of-shit partner just what I thought of them. Might have time to change my will, too. I’ll bet this woman might have if she’d known what a scumbag her husband was!

      • Plus, like many of us here, it might give her the chance to make sense of things that before seemed so odd or out of place or having been gaslighted and lied too. Could make things much more clear. And yes, give her a chance to change her Will.

  • Rachel ensured that the dying woman didn’t get a chance to write her cheating husband out of her Will.

    • The thing that enraged my FW the most was the discovery that I’d changed the inheritance on my considerable IRA funds to exclude him. I did it, actually, to protect my assets for my children and to keep them away from OW’s child, should he outlive me. But oh my! Did he take offense!

      • Quite. She might have chosen to leave any assets differently had she known. I know a (very) rich man who’s first wife died of cancer. The money came into the marriage with her. Ive always felt slightly sick that his mistress (now his 2nd wife) lives in the big house with the big life style. The amount isn’t the point. It doesn’t matter if its £5, or £15 million. His first wife, who didn’t know about the affair, might rather have left it to the hospice if she’d known….as might have Jane.

        • There is nothing more frustrating than pinching pennies and eating Kraft Mac and Cheese for dinners in an effort to try to scrounge up enough money for a down-payment on a home – and then supporting your husband’s career until you finally reap the rewards – only to have him leave you in middle age for a much younger woman while screwing his wife out of thousands in the divorce settlement and leaving her homeless, all so he can impress a young girl with a daddy complex. Selfish pathetic-ness. I hope she dumps him when he’s 65.

    • You can’t really write a spouse of out a will, assets are always split much like a divorce. You can “disinherit” your spouse, which means they will get their 50% of everything – and then you can choose who gets your half.

      You can, however, change the beneficiary of your life insurance!

      • I wrote my spouse out of my will. First thing my solicitor friend said was to do this and change the house ownership to holding it in common rather than keeping it in joint ownership. This meant that if I died he would not automatically get the whole house, I left my half to the children.
        I had the will done professionally to make sure that it was ok, there was a clause in it to cover him trying to claim anything, saying presumably that I was bonkers, was badly advised, whatever they say. It was along the lines of because he had left me and had moved in with OW I was not leaving him. And because the will was made with divorce in mind when I was divorced I didn’t need a new one, it was checked by my divorce solicitor’s colleague who did wills
        I risked him dying and only owning half the house but I do not believe that he had made a will by that stage, maybe he hasn’t now. But if he died intestate then I would have got it anyway. It was so much more important that anything I owned went to the children not him and had he made a will and left his half of the house to either the children or the OW then that was better than the alternative
        This is in England, not sure about other countries but would assume that Scotland was similar so any UK chumps, get that will sorted and cut him off without a penny. Worth the cost of getting it done for peace of mind
        [The value of the house was way below it should have been as he wouldn’t let me get anyone in to do necessary jobs and wouldn’t do anything himself. I got the money added to the half of the house to do it up to a habitable standard in the settlement. Not wholly finished but everything inside the house is new and up . to spec. Windows that keep the wind out, holes in the floor, covered by chipboard, a working boiler, working lights all over the house

  • I would not tell a dying person. Hopefully they can die in peace without the emotional stress of knowing they were chumped. BUT something dear Rachel did not consider is that if he was having an affair, he was not giving his wife the support she needed. As we all know cheaters tend to be completely distracted and cold. He had already moved on, before she was gone. There was probably harm and definitely no benefit.

    • I’m a cancer survivor who was, at one point, given a 30% chance of 5-year survival. (Here I am, 26 years later.) I would hate to think that anyone would infantilize me at any point due to my cancer – assume that they know what choices I might make with vital information.

      Plus, many of our cheaters framed it as a “kindness” that they deceived us. In my case, I have never once felt really rested in 20 years, so my fuckwit thought that cake was the answer to her problem: she could do what she wanted, as long as I never found out. But a number of researchers have shown that what we don’t know CAN hurt us. Even dying people deserve dignity. Arguably, they deserve it the most.

      • That was one of my cheaters refrains though he flipped it and told me – much to my puzzlement at the time – that he wouldn’t want to know of any of my dalliances. At the time I said that I had none… what I didn’t realize… Knowledge is power. Withholding knowledge is an abuse of power. Full stop.

        • You are so, so right about this…”withholding knowledge is an abuse of power”. I couldn’t agree more!
          When a person is being deceived, when information is being withheld, they can’t make decisions that will benefit them.

          The person who is lying and withholding the truth holds all the power when that happens. You are so right.

      • Yes! I hate it when people make decisions for me that I should make myself. I am the only one who knows where my shoe doesn’t fit! The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

      • Authoritative words. I might have at least have quietly gathered evidence and blown the whistle to the chump’s adult relatives so they could decide whether to warn and so they could try to ensure any inheritance went to the kids, not the cheater and his town pump.

      • LC,
        As you know I had the same cancer and grim prognosis. I now know FW was cheating on me before, during and after my treatment. She didn’t stop when I was diagnosed and People knew and said nothing. I hate them for that.

  • I am generally a believer in the “Tell!! Tell!!” philosophy and I hate that he might get money from the dying wife (There is a risk it would have been hard to change paperwork fast enough even she knew).

    My real answer, comes from the fuzzy memory of how upset I was when I was betrayed…I wasn’t anywhere near OK, for like 2 years…my level of distress was “catastrophe” and I would have (at the time) said that betrayal was worse than impending death (I had a death wish for a while…whew…glad that is gone).

    I would not have wanted to have my last moments being as upset as I was of learning of his betrayal…if the wife is nearly gone, I wouldn’t tell her. If it looked like she had a few years left, I would tell

    • Agree with this. It’s about impact and perception. My aunt had a neighbor who clearly was a schmoopie complete with new home and child. Come to find out decades later John’s wife was terminally I’ll, maybe even comatose and divorcing her would have ended her care and medical oversight. She did die.

      Now after having my significant health crisis alone I do worry the impact this may have on a loved one. Some people can handle it, some are runners. Often we don’t know until the experience. I’d like to think I’d be able to have a mature and reasonable discussion and set boundaries. Betrayal is the absence of that, but as an observer we wouldn’t really know unless we intervened. This is the tricky part, loyalty to our friend and respecting their relationship boundaries.

    • Oh yes. Thank you for remembering her
      what a horrific story. She suffered horribly with her husband’s betrayal and her last months energy were put into going public and publishing a book about betrayal.

      I remember seeing her I think it was on Larry King

      She was trying to be dignified but she was clearly still so angry

      • I think one can be angry and dignified.

        She had a chance to protect her children, and out him for the scumbag he was.

    • I always wondered if Elizabeth’s cancer was caused or triggered by the fertility treatments that she undertook so she and John could have more children after their son’s death. The science was conflicting at the time but the fact that she went through that hell, then got cancer, while he was an entitled piece of crap with a love child with a weird, disgusting whore – I just have no words. Rest in peace, Elizabeth. You deserved so much better.

  • “What people do under unimaginable stress is the stuff of character”.

    Have found this to be true over and over again. Hardship has this way of showing what people are made of. It brings out to the surface the very best and the very worst of people.

    • Way before I knew my then-husband was a serial cheater, I had a biopsy and sweat out the possible results for a few days (the referring doctor had said “you will like this doctor, we send all our cancers to him”). Husband acted aloof and stressed and one day, I got the call of “all clear, no cancer” and I called Cheater.

      “Thank God” was his response but it felt contrived. I have always wondered what was going on in his head. I think he wanted out of the marriage but the absence of a wife-appliance would have meant single parenting of 3 kids which would have been quite a cock-block. I think he built his house of cards to be exactly what he wanted…appliance and side fucks…and he got his wish for another 3+ yers.

      When I learned he was not devoted, I feared getting sick and how humiliating it would be to be ravaged by illness and have a cheater for a (likely X) husband. I remember thinking that I would not want him to see me sick. In the end, my fears were pointless as he died young(wish) and Im rather healthy.

      • Whoa! This really took a turn with the last sentence. I can probably pass on that second cup of coffee now.

        • It was supposed to say “he died young(ish)” since he had just turned 50 dang that autocorrect but he did sort of have a death wish too. He knew he didnt feel well but refused to go to the doctor and dropped dead at home. I didnt know he was a serial cheater for 2 years after his death. Now that my kids only have one parent, I work hard to stay healthy and I love my life.

      • When I was in total chumphood, an ant bit my tongue (I picked a berry straight from the tree and didn’t see it) and I immediately developed an anaphylatic reaction. Sparkledick resisted driving me to the ER, and huffed and puffed while waiting for my release. But the weirdest part was that he seemed disappointed that I turned out fine. FWs are awful people.

        • Im so sorry. I wonder if our collective Accident and Emergency Room experiences would make a good Friday Challenge? Three weeks after the event, I still couldn’t get a slipper onto my foot, let alone a shoe. After very lengthy negotiations, I drove myself to A and E with a suspected broken foot while he huffed and puffed in an absolute FURY at home. I wish any newly minted chumps, or any chumps reading and wondering if they should stay, or go could learn from us that deliberately discouraging medical treatment is a very common abuser’s tactic, so they could be free sooner. I had no idea about that sort of thing at the time, did you? So glad you’re free.

          • Aristocratic Chump, LTC Fuckface complained to the recovery room staff while I was still groggy from anesthesia. “How long is this going to take?” It took hours. He was pissed. He wouldn’t stop and get me the pain medication. He took me home and left saying he was going to go get the prescription and bring back lunch.He didn’t come home until late. Then he threw the bag with the medication at me. He was furious because it didn’t hurt that much and why was I crying. The surgery was on my hand and wrist. He stormed out. I couldn’t open the bottles and suffered until my son got home to help me.

            I hope everything he did to me is done to him. I hope is is in post surgical agony with no pain meds. I hope he is treated with disdain and hatred. I hope both of his whores give him STI and then leave him.

            • What is it with LtCols? I was sick with something they couldn’t identify and they kept sending me around for more testing. Couldn’t stand up and breathe. Couldn’t sit up and breath and they did not know what it was. He called annoyed and I had to tell the base drs that I had to go. They got pissed and started saying they’re sorry they wasted my time, and so forth. Wheeled me out of hospital and was sick two more weeks. Eventually got meds but I was unable to get help sooner because he didn’t want to watch the four kids while I went to the dr. After each birth, he stayed a little while and bolted-even after the first when there was no responsibility at home. It’s after these events I started getting chronic pain. Trust that they suck!!

              • It might be a military officer thing, I had a hysterectomy and cheater left the hospital as soon as I was out of recovery. I was in excruciating pain, the pain meds weren’t doing anything for me. I could tell he was annoyed that I was in pain.
                When I came home from the hospital I needed help getting out of bed to walk to the restroom. When I’d ask for his help he’d make me wait. He was either finishing watching something on TV, or just going to swim some laps in the pool when he’s finished with his laps he’ help me.

                A friend stopped by while I was asleep, she asked how I was doing, he said, okay.. but she’s kind of needy..

                Which reminds me of when I was in labor having our son. I had been in labor for 24 hours while he slept in a recliner, then went home, showered, went to lunch. When he returned it was time to push, after pushing for two hours…, they finally gave me a break.
                He walks up to me and says, uh, how much longer? it’s been long time and my feet really hurt…
                In hindsight I should have divorced him then.

  • If it’s the right thing to tell (and IT IS, lest anyone be confused), it’s the right thing to tell at all times.

    I would want to know. Do not let me die without the truth!

    • Quetzal, I agree 100%! Tired of all the goddamn lies, lies of omission and all the sorry excuses given to keep the truth from chumps and the children.

  • I read somewhere that this is a thing. Men cheat on pregnant wives, dying wives and exhausted wives. In my brother’s case his wife could not be bothered with him or their children. Yes, CL, it always comes down to character. Something in short supply these days.

    • It is a thing….. I posted an article I found a few years ago on the subject. Can’t remember if it was on the old forum or the Reddit. Don’t really know how to search.

      • Oh gag……just did a google search…… “men who cheat when their wives get sick”. Apologies to our male chumps for the gender bias…….there are so many articles on the subject.

        • It’s a thing. I had a brief cancer scare literally days before FW and the office doorknob arranged their first assignation in a parking lot. Narcs don’t do family crisis.

    • Addendum: men and women WITH POOR CHARACTER cheat on incapacitated spouses. I’m a woman whose female partner justified cheating on me in part because I have been chronically fatigued for 20 years, despite consulting a bevy of specialists every few years.This is not a gendered thing, but a matter of character, and I would imagine disorder in many cases.

      • Maybe people of poor character are just using any excuse to feel entitled to cheat, lie, steal, deceive.

      • Yep women are just as capable of having poor character as men.
        I understand the frustration of sex not happening at the frequency one wants but I don’t understand cheating.
        Let me add, I’m no saint. We’ve had plenty of couples therapy. But not cheating is a low bar.

        • Testosterone may increase certain expressions of character — or lack of it– for better or worse. Gendered social strictures might exaggerate the difference a bit. But I agree that having or not having character is not a gendered thing.

      • LezChump, it’s true that poor character crosses all gender lines, but this isn’t about women being more saintly – it’s about expectations of gender roles in hetero marriages.

    • In my long career as an ob/gyn I saw all this, plus the big one: men cheat on wives who give birth to special needs children. They cheat right away and sometimes they leave the labor suite and never show up again. I am sure it has something to do with their self image taking a hit.

      • God I’m a statistic all over the place. Child with chronic illness, check. Cancer scare days before before affair was launched, check.

    • From the letter writer’s descriptions of him, sounds like the cheating husband was seasoned scum. I’d guess most people who “cheat under duress” have been at it for a while and use grief as a convenient cover. Anyone who’d do that is horribly messed up. Fucking a random AP is the last thing I’d have on my mind as the love of my life was suffering and about to die.

      • Well that’s just it bread & roses…you’re not the love of a FW’s life, nor is the AP. Only the FW is the love of a FW’s life!

      • People love my love story with my new husband…young widow reunited with childhood neighbor and found love (I leave out the Cheater part in most tellings of the story) and a gal at my optometrist was like “Me too, I was just reacquainted with an old friend and my husband is dying”. Cue horrified look from me “Your husband is still alive”…Im not sure I found any more words, I was so horrified

    • Totally a thing. My cousin was dying of cancer at age 29 and the absolute bastard she was married to treated her like dirt. We don’t know for sure if he had other women but he stopped at nothing else so it wouldn’t surprise any of us if he did. The hospice staff says it happens more than we’d expect.

  • I say: tell. When I finally knew what was going on, so many pieces fell into place. I had a completely different view of myself and my life and my marriage. I went from blaming myself and thinking I was a bad person and a bad wife to knowing I wasn’t that. I hold my head up high and am proud of how I managed. I see all the crap that was thrown my way. Yes, it took a good 18 months to get there. But it recasts everything. I think a dying person deserves that knowing. That being free of any blame they’ve taken on themselves. We all know that this one affair was almost definitely not the first. The poor wife has likely been putting up with awfulness for years.

  • This is purely wild speculation, but it makes me wonder if she had cervical cancer. This probably wasn’t the cheater’s first rodeo, and there are strains of HPV that can cause cancer. If he brought one home to her unknowingly, then may the karma bus swiftly level him.

    • I had a creepy, very much married, college professor in the 1980’s who hit on me relentlessly. I avoided him after classes ended and forgot about him until a friend’s daughter was going to the same university 20 years later. I asked if Professor X was still there, and the daughter said yes, and he hits on his students all the time. Another 20 years later I Google Professor X and find the loving obituary he wrote for his (certainly chumped) wife: she died of cervical cancer. Gee, I wonder who gave that to her? Cheater Professor X, I’m certain.

      • I found out Fucktard ex met his attorney, who lied constantly on documents and in the courtroom, in his program for “sex addicts.” He too had written an over the top homage to his wife who died of cancer.

    • As someone who now has to get two paps year for the next decade because FW rawdogged the office doorknob, I can attest to the risk and uncertainty surrounding HPV.

      The shots don’t cover cancer causing strains, vaccinologists have warned that vaccine tech can’t always keep up with uncovered strains becoming dominant, there’s no blood test for men for the most dangerous forms, online testing is notoriously dicey and people can silently carry and pass on the active virus for years.

        • The club no one wants to join. I’m so sorry. HPV is the sword of Damocles.

          After D-Day FW whined that he had the doorknob tested like a stray dog through some cheap online lab but only blood tests and no pelvic exam or swabs, plus he knew she was still using dating sites throughout the affair and even started out with a rather suspiciously professional-level arsenal of porn gymnastics, sleazy lingerie and toys. According to her frenemies, the AP was secretly flushing her pill prescription and trying to get pregnant and baby trap at the end and claimed to hate condoms. FW was playing Russian roulette with four bullets in the chamber– one for me and each of our kids.

          As a professional (in medicine– not gymnastics, yikes), are you in agreement with my GYN and family doctor that updated HPV testing of women may be overhyped and that more frequent pap smears are still the best response to possible exposure? My doctor also thinks the new buzz that HPV can show up as cancer even twenty years later (I think the old story was that it could take ten years to develop?) sounds improbably. I think it sounds like a legal defense of cheaters by cheaters to argue that when loyal spouses of twenty years end up stricken it’s because they tramped around before marriage. What thinkest thou? I prefer to play it safe and I can totally see cheaty researchers scrabbling for funding in order to make their cheater narratives and blame reversal go global.

          • I have always had a yearly pap and now I have pap + HPV every 6 months. this nonsense about delaying the tests after “x” number of negative tests completely ignores the facts that 1) partner/new partner may carry new strain and 2) false negative tests are a fact of life. As for my FW, when I was diagnosed 2 months before my 49th anniversary, he had the gall to try to claim I must have had it since before we met… and four courses of prenatal care and yearly exams had missed it. Six months after initial diagnosis it had advanced enough to require surgery. Six months! And the fastest I personally saw a patient go from yearly normal smears to a sudden invasive cancer was 18 months. Her delay in her yearly was due to her care-giving of a sick partner.

            • Thank you so much for the feedback. This is what I suspected. I’ll request more HPV tests.

              He said WHAT?? Yeah, how do you get through pregnancy screenings with no one noticing? Please know that there’s an agnostic out here in the world who’s just condemned your ex to the flames of hell. Take a week off even thinking about the creep, I’ve got it covered. I’m so sorry you endured that. Motherfuckers.

    • It would be interesting to know what type of cancer. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and cause health issues, cancer being one of many ailments caused by stress. If this asshole was cheating on his dying wife, imagine what he was like as a partner during their marriage. Walking on eggshells and trying to please a narcissist would make anyone seriously sick.

    • If it was, I wish that it had taken him out first. People are saying karma about that guy that had a heart attack while burying his murdered wife, but I just think how much better it would have been if he’d had the heart attack just before he was trying to murder her

  • I believe that each situation, with each dying person, is different. You must evaluate what you tell them by what you will accomplish in the telling. I don’t care for deathbed confessions, myself. I don’t like people who unburden themselves, and then expect forgiveness. In this particular case, we don’t know how close the friend was to dying, whether or not she already knew, or what the cheater would gain by her not knowing.

    I am presently caring for my 90-year-old mother, who has dementia. She does not remember years of experience from her past, her cognitive function is seriously compromised. The powerful smart mother I knew is long gone. I have to tell her the same information, over and over. It is awful. One of my brothers recently died. He was always her favorite child. As surviving family members discussed this, we decided not to tell her. If we told, we would have to tell her over and over. She has had what the doctors presume to be 3 mini-strokes since January. We fear this info would cause, at the very least, another mini, possibly a big stroke. Are we wrong to withhold this information?

    What else? She knew my father was a raging ass — it took her 40 years to finally divorce him. Should we also tell her additional tidbits we have learned about him since his death? Is she entitled to know things which would make her terribly unhappy, or ashamed, or devastated? My mother was a proud woman. She was not perfect; she carried the emotional baggage of her FOO upbringing and managed to find some matching sets of that baggage to pass on to her children. Several of us have sought therapy to help dispose of that baggage. She always believed seeking therapy was a sign of weakness. So, what is it, exactly, she should know before her death? What will providing a truth gain, for her?

    If the woman who has a cheating husband is close to death, she may have bigger problems to deal with than a cheating spouse. We don’t know what she knows. How will it benefit her to know before she dies?

    When I joined the marriage police force, I already knew what I did not want to know. I hoped my sleuthing would prove me wrong. It did not. I was not dying, so I set about doing the things I needed to do to make whatever was left of my life better. Knowing I was married to a cheater had a purpose. If a friend had confirmed that information, at that time, it would have made sense to me. However, if I was close to dying at that time, and didn’t know, I may not have needed that additional burden.

    The truth doesn’t always set you free. Sometimes you learn the truth when it is too late to do anything about it. Sometimes, you may prefer not to know the truth. As a friend, or family member, who learns a truth, are you compelled to share it with someone who is dying? I don’t think so. If knowing a truth is not helpful to the person who is dying, then why share it and bring them additional pain?

    • Thank you Portia for sharing this perspective. I wish everyone could have your compassion. May peace be with you & your family.

    • I’m sorry for your ongoing challenges, Portia. But mental incapacity is very different from having cancer or some other life-threatening disease. You are not wrong to withhold certain distressing information from your mother, when you can reasonably judge in her behalf that there’s nothing she could do differently with that information. That is NOT the case with the letter writer and the dying acquaintance – there is no hint of mental incapacity, and the friend could do things differently based on the information before dying. To withhold information in circumstances like these amounts to infantilizing the dying person.

      • Full disclosure: my 95 year old mother also has dementia and is in hospice, and, like Portia, I’ve had to make similar decisions about what to disclose to her. That said, I agree, LezChump, that there is a difference not of degree but of kind between mental incapacity and a life-threatening disease. And, I would point out, the cheated-on wife with cancer in the article is not in fact dying (or considered to be dying) when the writer discovers the cheating. At that point, all the writer knows is that she is in treatment for cancer.

        • Good points there. What I was thinking reading this was how my health began failing during the DARVO stage before D-Day and began to bounce back after the cat was let out of the bag and I got really pissed off. Before D-Day, flattened and inert, sick all the time, randomly fainting and, no matter how much I ate, losing so much weight I was barred from donating blood. After D-Day, on fire and activated, not so prone to random infection, put on a bit of weight, had color in my face again, no more Victorian vapors.

          Even if some current research is right and anger messes with immunity, I suspect that chronic depression, helplessness and hopelessness do even more damage. At least anger can drive an individual to protect themselves, get support and move towards solutions, all of which would theoretically boost immune response. So I wonder if withholding information like that could increase the victim’s risk of death from cancer even more than the shock of discovery.

          And not all researchers agree that the “fight or flight” response is bad for immunity, at least not in the short term:

          ‘You’ve heard it a thousand times: Stress is bad for you. And it’s certainly true that chronic stress, lasting weeks and months, has deleterious effects including, notably, suppression of the immune response. But short-term stress — the fight-or-flight response, a mobilization of bodily resources lasting minutes or hours in response to immediate threats — stimulates immune activity, said lead author Firdaus Dhabhar, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and member of the Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection.

          And that’s a good thing. The immune system is crucial for wound healing and preventing or fighting infection, and both wounds and infections are common risks during chases, escapes and combat…’https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120621223525.htm

        • This is amazing – my 96 year old mother also has dementia and is in hospice. This community is awesome. The funny thing is, she’s reached the point in her dementia where she thinks my Dad (who passed away 8 years ago) is still around and isn’t speaking to her, which makes her angry. Last week, ironically, she was convinced he’s having an affair with her caretaker (he never did, died before this caretaker came on the scene). Full circle.

          • I have talked to several friends who learned more than they ever wanted to about dementia when dealing with a loved one. The mind continues to try to resolve “inconsistencies” even though it may behave in an inconsistent manner itself. This community is amazing. We want to help people, and right wrongs, and pay it forward — but there are some problems we just are not able to solve. Illness, medications, and stress all have side effects. Some days I wonder how I make it through the day. I try to read this site most days, because I am amazed at the resilience here. It gives me hope.

      • However, you can’t know if the dying person is already aware of the situation, in which case you have caused more pain and shame.

      • Thank you for your comment. It is funny that you used the term infantilizing. Even though my mother knows, some days, that she has a “bad memory”, other days she accuses me of trying to make her take a bath when she knows she has had one already. Or trying to make her take medicine she does not need. Or not letting her do something she knows she is capable of doing. Except she hasn’t had a bath, hasn’t taken anything but her prescribed medicine, and is not capable of doing whatever it is she knows she can do (like driving a car). She accuses me of trying to make her into an invalid. She forgets who I am sometimes. She tells me my memory is worse than hers. She can be very insulting and mean. She makes up lies about other people, both in and out of the family. Her boundaries have all but disappeared, and she says insulting things about other people’s hair and weight, and clothes. I have found she is much more racist than I ever suspected, and what I knew was bad enough. She completely denies an incontinence problem, even though I clearly know better and am the one who cleans up after her.

        I am not saying any of these things to be cruel. I had no idea it would be so hard to be a caregiver for someone I love. She has been a good mother to me, in many ways. She has helped me over the years. I am trying to keep her out of a nursing home — she has a dreadful fear of those. I am not particularly suited to nursing care, and I probably could not do it except for my mother or my child. But I am not making her into an infant. Her illness is doing all the damage. I understand how strong denial can be. She does not want to be 90, or dependent. But she is.

        I think that sometimes people try to do the right thing, or help, but they do infantilize people who are ill. There may be some people, who are like me, who are not suited to be caregivers. But my point in my answer was that I think every situation is different, and I question if we should tell someone something when we do not have all the facts, just because we know. It is a very difficult and sometimes dangerous position to be in. We cannot presume we know what is best for someone else. If there is a chance I may do harm, I would rather be silent. The question was broad — would you tell a dying person they were a chump? My answer was maybe, depending on the circumstances. My question is are you sure telling would help and do no harm? It is not clear to me, from the facts stated in the letter, that the question can be answered just one way.

    • I agree each situation is so different.

      I think of Elizabeth Edwards, and I am so glad that she found out. But, she had time to change her wills and eventually die with dignity. Not everyone has that time.

      As bad as the horrors of this are, the worst part is the dying spouse leaving all their worldly good to a cheater and their whore. But again sometimes that is the best thing to do.

      I know in my case the moment I knew he was cheating I went into work and changed all my insurance to my son as beneficiary. It was legal, and in my case there was no way he would know. I changed my retirement fund to leave my son 50 percent and FW 50 percent which before would have all gone to FW.

      As soon as our legal separation was ruled on, I changed it all to go in its entirety to my son. Totally legal.

      • Same here. I have changed all I am allowed to until I can change more. I am going to ask my attorney if being separated is enough to allow me to make certain changes or if the divorce needs to be final.

    • Portia, my own mother had dementia and the related small strokes that can go with that condition. Once she stopped recognizing people, there was no point in telling her news, good or bad. My goal was to keep her safe and comfortable. Once a person cannot process information cognitively, telling them bad news doesn’t help.

      • Thanks. Yet another thing in common with you! Which I find comforting, in a way. But that is why I don’t think there is a black and white answer here. Every case is different. I believe in living in the truth as much as possible, but I don’t believe in causing pain if nothing can be accomplished. We rarely know the entire story about our friends and acquaintances. Just knowing a fact is not enough, with devastating information, you must judge the whole situation.

        That said, I never knew dealing with dementia could be so draining. I am caring for my mother, and I am caring for a stranger. It is the worst of both worlds. Sharing bad information with her would just be cruel, in my opinion.

  • My asshole ex didn’t visit the stepdad who raised him or his stepsister in their final months. He was “working at home” during one, and only a few hours drive away. He found every excuse in the book, blamed other people, and finally owned( with the boyish smile and shrug) that he’s “ just not good with those things”. Well ,Asshole, most people aren’t but they do it anyway. Now his Mom is sliding into dementia and can’t be alone. People are fed up with him, but my daughter( a nurse)said to me” Mom, he’s just not good with those things”. And the circle closes……no one wants the dying woman’s last days to be more difficult, but the cheater addict in my neighborhood had the ladies bringing him casseroles when his wife finally found her mighty and left him. There’s no good answer, but cheaters seem to exploit every loophole.

    • Oh, boy does your post ring bells. My 95 year old mother is in hospice care. I live a thousand miles away, and for the past three years have spent five to six months a year living in her house, so I can help her. My brother lives 50 miles away, and visits for a couple of hours once every four to six weeks. Last time I spoke with him, he said it’s “just too hard to see her.”

      • I don’t believe it’s any less hard for you, but you do what needs to be done. I wish peace for
        you.

    • “Not good with those things.”
      As if caring about others is a skill. Such nonsense. It takes no skill, only compassion, which fuckwits lack.
      My fuckwit tried that excuse for his lack of compassion for my health problems, his daughter’s health problems, and his dying father.
      I told him it is not a fucking skill you can practice like playing a piano. You either care, in which case you do whatever you can for that person, or you just don’t care.

  • I had repeated miscarriages. One was ectopic, caused by a chlamydia scarred Fallopian tube. It pretty near killed me. Now I have high risk HPV and have to have biopsies twice a year to check for cancer cells.

    I would have wanted to know. A friend battling cancer with a cheater husband wanted to know and it gave her a drive to live for her son.

    Their image management needs to be exposed and imploded. Characterless evil deserves expulsion and denigration. Many cancers are viruses that can be passed. Stress and secrets can eat at peoples health. Let’s start treating them the way they deserve-with punishment and marginalization.

  • The attitude of “the dying person can’t handle the truth so it’s OK to lie to him” was common in medicine a generation ago. There’s been a sea change since then, and it’s now considered unethical to lie to a person about his medical condition, even “for his own good”.

    We’re overdue for a similar change in other spheres of life. Maybe we need a general term for the deliberate withholding of materially relevant information necessary for life decisions – something like “theft of agency”.

  • There are no winners here. I loved someone who died a long and painful death at a young age (30s). Towards the end, in the waning weeks of her life, information on infidelity would have made little difference, other than to cause more pain. She was already facing leaving her children, the unknown, pain, fear, loss, the end. Her spouse had long been a dutiful caretaker, but they had not been husband/wife for years. She died. He remarried a year later. I couldn’t demolish a dying person like that, agency or not. FWIW, he was at her gravesite yesterday (Mother’s Day) with their children.

  • What about telling John, directly or anonymously, that you know, and that he should be focusing his time and energy on his wife and their kids, not on Schmoopie? Rachel knew both John and Schmoopie from their school, so we know there were kids. It’s likely that as CL said, “John basks in the glow of loving, supportive husband,” and “I do not understand how she can give John a pass. Unless it’s to protect her own moral discomfort.” Rachel didn’t have to give him a pass. Even if she didn’t tell Jane, she could tell other parents. Maybe even before Jane is gone, so they can step up and support the kids while John is busy with Schmoopie. Rachel wrote in the article that she hesitantly asked one of Jane’s close friends–there were two or three– how things were . “The friend was eager to tell me how marvellous John had been and how Jane couldn’t have picked a better husband. I really hoped my feelings didn’t show in my face — the doubt and dismay.” I think this was the point she could have told the friend what she had seen.
    It wasn’t the only time she saw John and Shmoops. She actually saw them kissing IN PUBLIC. “Perhaps, I thought, I should find a way to speak to him, to tell him to stop. But then I’d be in on the secret too — I’d be complicit. If the truth ever came out, could I bear Jane to blame me? To ask why I hadn’t told her? I felt strangely embarrassed, as if it was my fault Hang on, though — wasn’t that about protecting me, not her? What was best for her in this awful situation? ‘John’s so marvellous,’ I remembered her friend saying. ‘He’s really doing everything.’ How on Earth could I pull the rug out from under her and perhaps risk the marriage falling apart?”
    Well, she was complicit, because she had seen them twice and knew what was going on. And in the end, when JAne dies a few months later and John and schmoops become a couple soon after, she still keeps her silence shen people are happy John could find some happiness. .
    There have been many stories here about husbands who run off to affairs when their wives are ill, dying, and dealing with ill/dying parents or high -risk pregnancies. I realized in retrospect that my ex also tried to run off whenever I was at my worst physically and mentally. Soon after I was seriously disabled by an on-the-job accident, he decided it was the perfect time to go back to college for a second career–an another state. I couldn’t even feed myself when he left me to take care of myself while he lived it up in gradate housing. When friends convinced me I should move into an apartment there with him, he abruptly dropped out of school and came home. Later, the very week we got custody of our grandchild after a contentious court case, and knowing I was permanently disabled, he announced that he was going to get a job out of state and come home weekends. He probably would have done so it he could have found a job. In retrospect, it’s clear he was running away from caregiving. I don’t know if there wee already schmoopies, but given his character, maybe he hoped to find a twu wuv that would justify leaving.

    • GF, I am so sorry. He actually left you alone and completely helpless? Absolutely appalling! Whenever I think I’ve heard the lowest of the low, there’s always a cheater who is even lower.

  • I totally agree with you, CL. I have empathy for Rachel when faced with such a dilemma, I really don’t know what I’d do, I can only judge by whether *I* would want to know, and that would depend on a few things, most particularly if I had something to leave, I’d want to make damn sure the fuckwit got nothing.
    But the *sickening* thing is her (Rachel’s) suggesting that evil fuckwit should get a pass on *lying and betrayal* when his *wife is dying*!!!

    No no no no!!!! If that was me, I’d out that *evil* fucker, and the equally *evil filthy cunt whore* who is happy to fuck a married man when his wife is dying. 😱🤮😱

    As you say, CL, this absolutely comes down to character and integrity, and someone who cheats when his wife is dying, and the whore who cheats with him, has neither. Rachel should out him and the vile skank, so they can’t go around posing and preening, and pretending it was all so tragic, they couldn’t help themselves, blah blah blah, or whatever vile rationale they’re putting out.

    This just makes me so *angry* I feel quite ill. 😡😠👿👿🤮🤮

    I hope that evil bastard and his evil whore will *rot in hell*.

    • Absolutely!!
      This is the MOST SHAMEFUL period in which to conduct an affair. HE needed support?

      I didn’t realize the support group for terminal illness is found inside a whore’s vagina.

      Poor sad sausage. 😭

      There are legitimate support groups and therapists and doctors, as well as friends (platonic) and family.
      It’s just another way these FWs show how cruel, uncaring, and self absorbed they really are.

      • Yeah, the schmoopie had the lost fleet of the Spanish Armada up there, Dale Carnegie and several members of the Freud family.

  • Ok, I read the article. Here’s my response. The writer lets herself off the hook in the very first few sentences by saying “I didn’t know her all that well” (paraphrasing), so I’m not surprised she ended with that bullshitty appeal to a wider principle.

    Here’s my take on whether she should have told: She should have told the wife when she first found out the husband was cheating, when the wife was still up and about, and had time to do something like change her will. Instead, she temporized, over a period of several months.

    Also, at no time does she consider going to the cheater and telling him that she knows. If she is worried about the wife’s condition, the cheater himself deserves no such consideration. All that time the cheater spent with his affair partner over the course of those months should have been spent with his wife and his children. By the end of the article she may be willing to shrug off the morality of the husband’s cheating, but she also wants us to know she judged him as she watched as the wife’s friends praised his support and were solicitous after the wife’s death, knowing the husband was a cheater.

    What I want to know is this: why did she write this in the first place? It has no useful conclusion to make. I think she’s just using the whole situation as an opportunity for a byline.

  • It just occurred to me–despite all her doubts about disclosing when it would have made a difference to Jane, Rachel has chosen to do so when it’s profitable for her. Rachel is the author of a book that came out at the end of April. I suspect she wrote this article to promote her name and book, which happens to include infidelity.
    Per the subhead of the article, “She contemplates whether the affair provided him with the strength to continue.” No, John had to take time and energy to plot his meetups with schmoopie, and we all know that took away the energy and time he had for Jane and his kids. And the idea of “strength to continue” is ludicrous. Would he have crumpled up like a wet tissue without schmoopie? Per the footnote, “Identifying details have been changed.” Just how many of Rachel’s fellow parents died while their kids were in primary school? I wonder how much of this is even true, and how much is capitalizing on that woman’s death as a means to get publicity for herself. Yech. Rachel is a Switzerland friend.

    • “despite all her doubts about disclosing when it would have made a difference to Jane, Rachel has chosen to do so when it’s profitable for her. Rachel is the author of a book that came out at the end of April. I suspect she wrote this article to promote her name and book, which happens to include infidelity.”

      Exactly!!!

    • “It just occurred to me–despite all her doubts about disclosing when it would have made a difference to Jane, Rachel has chosen to do so when it’s profitable for her.”

      Great observation. What a hypocrite Rachel is.

  • By the way, Rachel’s book is a novel. One of the main characters has an affair after decades of marriage. I’m not naming it, although it was named in the footnote to her article.

  • I would want to know at any stage of illness besides being extreme cognitive impairment, when it wouldn’t matter anyway. I would hope that I had advocates/friends/family for me during that point to care for me and my well being enough to (publicly, hopefully?) shame the cheater.

  • It isnt fair or nice to learn about cheating during a health crisis , and especially not when terminally ill, but people can have a terminal diagnosis and live for a few years.

    sadly keeping silent means that a cheater likely has influence on choice of treatments over the wife, if she was incapacitated. May be in control of medications, pain relief and the comfort and hygiene and final wishes of the victim.
    They may choose to exclude family
    and friends from visiting, isolating them.
    Or refuse to advocate properly for their victim , going against their wishes or flaunting the affair partner by having them visit the sick bed/ death bed.

    It has taken a lot of therapy for me but I realise now that my abusive ex hoped I would die of a stress induced heart attack ( brought on by discovering the final cheating ) , so did everything to deter me from going to hospital for days , and once there, was argumentative and obstructive with staff and likely telling the doctors lies about me.

    He didn’t even tell our adult children or anyone that I was in hospital.
    And wouldn’t even get me option of TV access!

    He pretended to be the devoted husband to staff whilst giving me verbal abuse quietly and sticking by my bedside to I couldn’t say anything he didn’t like.
    If I’d died he would have been the grieving widower “comforted” by his young colleague and everyone woukd have been happy when he ” moved on”.

    He could have made decisions about my care that were literally life and death.

    • What a vile individual he was Kintsugi! It’s so horrifying the depths these evil people sink to

    • I agree absolutely that it is a terrible idea to be at the mercy of someone who does not have your best interests at heart. The abuse partner should never get to call the shots, dementia or otherwise. This goes for medical decisions, care giving end-of-life or sickness, child rearing etc.

      • Your comment reminded me of Terri Schiavo. Her husband, who was then in another relationship, had her life support turned off while her parents fought tooth and nail to keep it on.

    • “sadly keeping silent means that a cheater likely has influence on choice of treatments over the wife, if she was incapacitated. May be in control of medications, pain relief and the comfort and hygiene and final wishes of the victim.
      They may choose to exclude family
      and friends from visiting, isolating them.
      Or refuse to advocate properly for their victim , going against their wishes or flaunting the affair partner by having them visit the sick bed/ death bed.”

      Exactly. What a chilling scenario.

      “my abusive ex hoped I would die of a stress induced heart attack ( brought on by discovering the final cheating ) , so did everything to deter me from going to hospital for days , and once there, was argumentative and obstructive with staff and likely telling the doctors lies about me.

      He didn’t even tell our adult children or anyone that I was in hospital.”

      OMG, how evil. I am sorry. I certainly wouldn’t want my FW making decisions about my care. For this reason alone Rachel should have told.

    • Oh my God, thank you for pointing this out. My mind was reeling a bit from all the factors in this story but you just sold the case that the victim– *particularly* if suffering from a life-threatening illness– must always be told.

      “sadly keeping silent means that a cheater likely has influence on choice of treatments over the wife, if she was incapacitated. May be in control of medications, pain relief and the comfort and hygiene and final wishes of the victim.
      They may choose to exclude family
      and friends from visiting, isolating them.
      Or refuse to advocate properly for their victim, going against their wishes or flaunting the affair partner by having them visit the sick bed/ death bed.”

      I’m so sorry you were forced to learn this through firsthand experience. Monsters exist. I think anyone who could cheat on an ill partner should be under suspicion for being capable of hastening their death. My attorney friend sees this a lot in cases where adult children are fighting over inheritance from a not yet dead elder or are simply sick of footing the care bills. She’ll see one or more potential benefactors trying to rush their elders into hospice where the palliative drugs– which can relieve pain and panic for someone genuinely at death’s door– can also quickly hasten death in someone who otherwise would have had more life in them. She’s against the right to die movement because in places like the US where hospice is being rapidly privatized and there’s no public option for healthcare, “right to die” can quickly become “duty to die.” It may be different in Switzerland where healthcare companies aren’t allowed to make a profit but it’s becoming a big problem in the Netherlands and Belgium apparently. I would say that anywhere there’s a profit to be made from death people should be particularly careful about who holds the strings in case of illness.

    • Wait…. Are there two of us???? I am Kintsugi (MTKintsugi on Reddit) too and I did not write this…. CHUMP LADY???

    • So sorry you went through this! I hope this man is no where near you now. This is sobering for all Chumps and to keep in mind that the Cheater isn’t for us. Many are in long term “Cake” mode where they are getting stable life and cheating, keeping double incomes, their stuff, reputation, and such, assets that remain unsplit by divorce. If we can’t trust them in marriage to be faithful how can we ever trust them in a health crisis!

  • JFK Jr’s cousin Anthony Radziwill was dying of cancer. They were best best best lifelong friends. Who would have ever guessed in a zillion years that JFK Jr would die before Anthony? Anthony went though that massive trauma while dying of cancer. Totally uncontrollable timing of a tragic event. As if there is ever a good time for a tragic event to occur.

    The husband’s cheating is also beyond the control of the person who witnessed it. Yes, I would tell. The wife has a right to make her final wishes and spend whatever time she has left based on facts and truth with people who love her.

    I am going to die too. I just don’t get to know when or how. All I control is how I live today. And I want to live today in truth, with facts and reality and with people who love me. And someone who tells is protecting me. AKA, love.

    Not telling is part of the “what they don’t
    know doesn’t hurt them”, straight out of the cheater rationalization playbook. I do not believe that anymore.

    I tell because I now believe to my core that what I don’t know does hurt me.

    Finding out my husband cheated? My lifelong best friend dies in a plane crash?
    Man plans and life has other plans. Life on life’s terms is going to happen, usually inconveniently.

    I went out of town and for the first and only I left our daughter with Traitor X, who left her alone, without a phone and with a lie about where he was, every chance he got. She was ten.

    This jackass’s wife is dying, and he can’t
    even wait until he is legally single again before getting together with someone else?

    Guardian angels are also the people around us. May we all be surrounded by guardian angels, especially at the hour of our death.

    IMHO.

    • PS.

      Evidently John has children.

      Much of my divorce was about installing whatever firewalls I could around the assets so they would go to my daughter and so the Craigslist cockroach could not get her grifting claws into them.

      Preventing the assets from getting into the wrong hands is a major reason for telling, if not THE major reason for telling.

      • My life insurance goes to my mother for the care of the children. I’d never trust the FW in a billion years with it.

        • During the post-D-Day craziness, I frantically hid all evidence of our kids’ social security numbers from FW. This involved buying 12 banker’s boxes at Staples late at night, packing up all tax returns (for 35 years) and squirreling them away in a safe location because I knew he planned to enter the house the next day.

          I realized I couldn’t trust him with anything. It was so scary and destabilizing. But I know I did the right thing. The kids thanked me. Ugh. I still marvel that, in an instant (D-day revelations), I went from trusting my partner with EVERYTHING to not trusting him with ANYTHING..

          p.s. Maybe the creep has their socials somewhere else. I tend to doubt it though because I handled all that shit. #keeperofthefiles #knowledgeispower

  • people dying from a terminal illness need info to make decisions about what happens after they’re gone, and i would think that this woman needs info about how to arrange her personal directives. it isn’t pretty/pleasant/free of stress to have difficult conversations, particularly with a dying person. but they have the right to make decisions for themselves while they can, you know?

    reading these comments today, i’m struck with relief that my marriage has ended, because i realize my X would’ve likely ditched me if i became ill or infirm or inconvenient. i’m thankful to go that route alone. at least i can depend on myself.

    • ☝️Right?! Mine would definitely be looking for a replacement wife-appliance too if I was too sick or dying.

  • This is so not me, I have the cojones to confront cheaters (who are in my peripheral life) & tell them to ‘fess up or I will for them! The only basket I would be leaving behind would be the one on the cheater’s head! This Rachel chick bugs me acting all damsel-in-distress-like bullshit! Grow a pair, Rachel!! My answer to tell or not a dying person would be dependent on the person. Could they handle the news or not? Some can & some prefer remaining in their bubble world (dying may or may not change that). Not a black & white answer to me, at all.

  • Someone I had just a passing acquaintance with who was dying? No, I wouldn’t tell, but I’d go with my gut on the particular situation. She may have already known and/or been told by people closer to her.

    I think it’s awful whenever someone has an ill spouse and cheats, but I know it happens. Mine was a gray divorce, and I have several friends who were abandoned/cheated on during their bout with breast cancer. Supposedly, good, upstanding men too, until they weren’t.

    • Since I was helped by whistleblowers who didn’t know me before they anonymously dropped the dime, I would do this even for someone I didn’t know well. It’s their information to do with as they choose. I will not be party to gaslighting.

  • I would consider telling the sick, dying wife but again it would depend on a few things. I would definitely confront the cheaters and let everyone know what was happening. The husband should have received contempt, not sympathy upon his wife’s death.

  • Why is so hard to be faithful in our marriages? Some people think monogamy is out dated and not natural.
    Myself after 35 years married then cruelly abandoned ( a breast cancer survivor) is sometimes doubtful also.
    I always felt it’s a good life when we marry one who feels same.

    • Yes, I don’t get it either. My ex and his family bought the “men can’t help it” myth. As if they are horribly flawed because of hormones and perpetually tempted by a “good” time. Deal with it like any other impulse, guys!

      My divorce attorney (married for 40 years) said he was disgusted by that sort of attitude. My ex’s attorney had a history of cheating with clients that was widely known in the legal community and even written up in a regional paper, and my attorney mentioned that too as being something that he despised in other attorneys and a sign among other things that he knew about that attorney as poor ethics. He said to be ready for that and more.

      I already knew and had been warned off of that attorney. The word around town was that he was a big ladies’ man, even married to his third wife. When he died of COVID late in closeout, the obituary didn’t even mention his kids from his first two marriages. I think we know why.

        • Ultimate justice or something. Friends said I should grab a consultation with that attorney so my ex couldn’t use him, but I live in a large metropolitan area with tons of good divorce attorneys, so I didn’t. Why would I even want to be in the same room with someone like that?

  • Andrew Wilhoite won his GOP primary from jail. He was charged in March 2022 with killing his wife, Elizabeth “Nikki” Wilhoite, 41. She had completed her last chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and was seeking a divorce after she found out her husband had been having an affair

  • If I only had so much time left to live, I would only want to be surrounded by those that truly love me. Also, I had X on my life insurance and the thought of him benefiting even further from my dying- no thank you! He got enough out of me- two degrees, my time, my love, and all of my money. His mother kept asking for him to build her a house (we never had one)- if that happened I would be spinning in my grave!!

  • It’s the kind of thing you get paralyzed over, in the moment, and only much later you realize what you SHOULD have done.

    What you SHOULD do is walk right up to John, as he embraces Schmoopie, and tell him he’s a worthless ungrateful shit for cheating on your good friend, and if he can just manage to keep his fly zipped for a few more weeks he’ll get lucky, his wife will die, and he can exploit his new status as bereaved husband to attract a much younger (and hopefully child-free) piece of ass than that skank he’s embracing in the bushes.

    I am channeling the ghost of Elizabeth Edwards, but you get the picture.

  • This is not an easy one to answer. I can only speak from my own perspective. I did not have a terminal disease, however, the ex- husbands behavior caused me countless sleepless nights and stress. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it. He treated me like crap when no one else was looking. I gained weight, my hair fell out, I felt ill most of the time before I confirmed his infidelity. This went on for years and then ramped up when he “fell in love” with one of his tramps. After I found out what was going on, there was actually a sense of relief. Of course there was grief and anger and all kinds of other emotions, but there was a sense of relief that I wasn’t crazy. I became borderline anorexic then but still…..
    What is my point? We don’t control outcomes and there is no way to predict a dying wife’s response to her husband’s infidelity. Maybe she won’t even believe you, maybe she’ll be furious with you for daring to give her this information on her deathbed. On the other hand, maybe it’ll bring her a sense of peace. We can only act with good conscience and with love.

    • Your description of the causation of health problems in connection with a cheater is on point . It goes far beyond mental abuse . The internalizing has a definite harmful effect on the body.

  • Having learned of my ex’s first affair we began counseling in our very small town. Another couple always left ahead of us . We both had lengthy marriages. The Husband worked with my ex and I recognized his wife from working at a salon. I would become good friends with her as time went on and she relayed this story. She had been going through surgeries and treatment for colorectal cancer. She had told her very needy Husband that maybe he should think about finding someone new because of all her health issues , disfiguring surgeries a colostomy bag , all, she was depressed and trying to be brave but feeling altered and less attractive. So he had cheated on her for a lengthy time. All the while putting her through the common grinder tearing her heart to pieces. We agreed how the counseling had failed us . She needed the health insurance he provided and felt trapped to stay . I know she was unhappy , I know she fought to improve her relationship while fighting her condition. This wonderful amazing kind person who became an advocate to help others . Her life should have been so much better mentally . She passed away last year . I keep hoping that more can be changed with law concerning harm with adulterous and a charge be usable in a divorce. My friend might have lived longer without all the insurmountable pain of deceit .

    • “Love does not alter when it alteration finds.” -WS

      “Her hair got thinner and she wouldn’t iron my shorts so I fucked strange.” -FW

      What a monstrous tragedy. Her type of cancer is supposed to be one of the more survivable too.

  • Assuming any of this is real, I think CL’s reminder that cheating brutalizes certain bystanders is spot on. I had whistleblowers in my situation. One had serial nightmares, both were terrified of professional retaliation and I gathered it was a real struggle to decide what to do about the sewage leak that sprang up under their noses. In the end they resented the cheaters all the more for stinking up the workplace, did the right thing and did it with a satisfying amount of prejudice.

    But my “Deep Throats” had no reason to think I might be dying. In fact I think they may have saved my life because cheating primarily brutalizes victims even when they can’t prove it. The studies finding higher rates of cancer in abuse victims ring terribly true to me now. The gaslighting and emotional abuse that inevitably comes with cheating feels damaging on a cellular level. I was sick all the time during the affair, partly because the cheaters were living a skanky and unhealthy bar fly existance and passed all kinds of bugs on to me and the kids and also because I was so ground down that my immune system started failing. Despite eating, I lost so much weight before D-Day that I was banned from donating blood. Had I already been dangerously ill the gaslighting could certainly have hastened disease progression. Getting the truth at last was a relief.

    But had I already been deathly ill, that last jolt might have killed me. So, again imagining that “Rachel’s” saga is real, if it been me in that situation I might have quietly gathered evidence of the affair, glued myself to Jane’s side to try to make her last days bearable, anonymously warned the cheater that all eyes were upon him so he might be compelled to do the same and then blown the whistle on the cheaters to Jane’s adult relatives after Jane passed in case there was anything they could do to ensure inhertance went to Jane’s children, not the cheating creep.

    I was put off by “Rachel’s” descriptions of avoiding a dying woman– who was likely already feeling abandoned by the creep. Then the humanizing physical descriptions of the cheaters were also off-putting– made more suspect by the lack of same regarding the victim. It could imply Rachel gives a pass to creepo because she personally finds him attractive or else she thinks readers would forgive him happily cashing in the victim’s life insurance, inheriting her estate and sharung it wuth the town pump because he’s supposedly dishy.

    And did proxy-cheater yogazilla get a dissy “shiny hair” jibe because Rachel was miffed she got passed over or is she hedging bets readers will dislike female homewreckers more than male homewreckers? Weird.

    Is anonymized Rachel just a desperate stringer on assignment (or secretly the side chick)? Was the whole rhapsody just a fake moral quandary set up to deliver an Ashley Madison-friendly (or pervy old editor-friendly) apologia for people who cheat on dying spouses?

    • Sorry, er Rachel was not anonymized (though she should have used a pseudonym if she had any shame). I meant to edit that in for “Jane.”

  • ‘May it happen to you Rachel’

    Exactly, until you experience being chumped for yourself, you’ve no idea of the horror and agony it causes the innocent spouse and children

    Literally watching the mask fall, to reveal the horrors within, while not believing this person you thought was so loving and kind (in reality, just sparkly) could be so cruel

    That would cure most Switzerland friends

    • It’s tough to see other chumps play Swiss or cover up for cheaters or even side piece themselves but it happens. My middle child had a chronic illness (since largely recovered) for which many a pharma shill would try to hawk really unhelpful and sometimes life-shortening blockbuster drugs for years. Because of kickbacks for on-patent snake oil, doctors would get really aggressive in trying to prescribe the drugs, sometimes– especially regarding families on public assistance– menacing parents with threats to report them to child welfare with charges of “medical neglect.” While this was happening, other parents of children with the same condition as my son would say (of the shills), “Wait until this happens to their child.” So pharma found medical professionals who were also parents of affected children to shill the junk science and shit drugs for them. It was a huge scandal that was fortunately upended after the opioid crisis was the subject of headlines and Senate hearings and pharma front groups and all their sneaky means of paying so-called “independent experts” were exposed. What’s hilarious now is that even if a parent ASKS for these drugs they may face accusations of “drug seeking behavior.” The scandal was, as always, eventually blamed on the patients/public.

      Anyway, just because someone is the horse’s mouth doesn’t mean they’re not also a horse’s ass. I hate seeing people who should know better sink so low but sink they sometimes do.

  • There is an older woman in my chump support group. She is on her last months of fighting cancer. She’s battled for years and she’s down to the wire. And wouldn’t you know she discovered a few months ago that her husband of 45 years has been cheating on her for years. Yup-and the most recent ow had the audacity to tell her they are waiting for her to die. So cruel and sad. But honestly the tenacity of this woman to face what has happened as she lives the last chapter of her life. She come to our weekly support group and speaks of her feelings and disappointment and also how she won’t give up on her marriage. She committed to having her h own what he did and work on his truth and recovery. It is hard to see an old woman, near death, have to face such an ugly truth. I and several of the other women in the group go easy on her because we feel her timeline is so short. Let her deal with it how she wants. She’s as brave as the rest of us.

    • Mary Ann,

      Good luck with this woman getting her husband to “own what he did and work on his truth and recovery.” Is recovery a buzzword for a “sex addict” ? What a waste of what little precious time the woman has to live. Just my opinion. (((Hugs))) to her.

  • No. I don’t think telling is the right thing. I’m a believer and know that as soon as Jane has one foot in Heaven, she will know all the mysteries and entanglements of the physical world she just left. Such a terrible position to be in.

    • I’m always respectful of people who have the faculty of faith. But if another person does not, they may not be comforted by the idea of rewards in the hereafter and might rather know to keep the creep from cashing in the life insurance after making decisions on their healthcare that shortens their lives further. I don’t think there would be any reward for me for enabling crime.

  • I was treated for cancer in the past. Believe me, if my FUU had cheated on me, I damn well would have wanted to know. I’m not a puling infant and haven’t been in decades. If he had cheated, I would be changing the beneficiary forms on a bunch of stuff, overhauling my will and contacting an attorney. Even if all I had was a few days I would ensure that he wouldn’t profit by my convenient death.

    Rachel’s moral compass is little better than “John’s”. I am also amused at her choice of name. She should have kept it all lower case.

  • I’ve had a similar problem recently. My ex was in an EA with a lady from his office before the pandemic and she died of an overdose during lockdown. I found a bunch of empty spaces in the texts between my husband and this woman, and the ones that weren’t deleted all had “my very good friend” at the end of them (e.g. “Thanks for the coffee break this morning my very good friend. It’s always so great talking to you!”, “You’re welcome my very good friend. I feel like I can tell you things I can’t tell anyone else <3") which is very suspicious to me. Additionally, her husband hated my ex. My ex always made it sound like the guy just didn't like his wife talking to a Democrat, but now I wonder if he caught on before I did/ how much he knew, and whether I should try and tell him or not now that she's dead. I don't have social media but his info was in the obituary so I probably could contact him somehow if I tried. I don't have evidence of the EA anymore though, so I'd basically be saying "Your dead wife that you adored was having an EA with my husband, and I thought you should know, but sorry! Forgot to take screenshots from ex's phone to prove it! Sorry for your loss!" So I don't know…

  • “May it happen to you, Rachel.”
    Seriously CL? That’s a shitty thing to wish upon someone. Usually you’re spot-on, but not with this statement. We don’t wish chumpdom on others. Remember – we don’t wait around for karma, we live our own lives away from that mindfuck.

    She wrote about it because she didn’t know the right thing. And the right thing isn’t just one thing, now is it?

    A moral dilemma isn’t easy, and if she hasn’t been cheated on then she’s in new territory.

    To answer your question on talking points:
    1) More information is needed is the major point.
    2) Is he her primary caregiver? Who will take care of her if not him? Is he abusing her or neglecting her?
    3) Will it make her suffering worse to know?
    4) Do they have minor children that are in his care?

    5) What are the financial ramifications for survivors? Is he executor? Will the kids be provided for? I think this is the biggest reason to tell, to make sure schmoopie doesn’t take away from the kids.

    I have relevant experience in this which I will put in another comment.

    • May it happen to her as she thinks it is beneficial (to the cheater) and of zero harm to the chump. It’s only horrible if you think being cheated on is horrible. Apparently Rachel, at the end, thinks it’s a victimless crime, and so her entire dilemma isn’t really a dilemma, is it?

      • I missed the “victimless crime” part. Maybe she said it between the lines?

        “And whether any of us can judge what other people do under unimaginable stress.”

        As a child I had the dying mother and the cheating father. I saw the situation through many different perspectives.

        • No one here seems to see it beyond the black and white issue. As a 10 year old I saw that it was complex.

          My mom was ravaged by MS – she should have never gotten pregnant with me or birthed me, She had 6 other children to care for. but the Catholic church…
          When I was 8 she needed 24 hour nursing care and entered a nursing home. She died when I was 13.

          I met the OW when I was 10.

          My mother was not lucid enough to know who I was, much less understand that my dad was unfaithful. He visited her every single day in the nursing home for the 5 years before her death. I could barely stomach it once a week. She was younger than I am now when she died. Nursing homes did not treat her with dignity, and it would have been worse if he wasn’t there daily.

          Did my siblings and I love the OW? We hated her. But my dad actually parented me a little bit because he had a little glimmer of life. Otherwise he would have drowned in despair. So I did get some benefit of the OW being in my dad’s life. She knew better than to mother me, that wasn’t it at all. But she probably encouraged him to be a dad and not forget about us. He never spent a night away from home. He was absent though, and I’m only realizing now how that abandonment has affected me.

          tl;dr telling my mom that her husband was unfaithful in her rare moments of lucidity would have been wrong.

          • I Am Enough,

            The mother of one of my high school classmates was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after marrying in her early twenties. She and my mother graduated from the same junior college and they both raised their families in the same NYC tri-state ‘burb.

            I learned of her death in my alumnae magazine and looked at my classmate’s Fakebook page. Classmate’s father quickly remarried in his seventies. Had the side piece been patiently waiting all those years ?

    • I have to disagree with you, with all due respect. The most painful revelation in my FW’s saga was that my employees and medical colleagues were all well aware of what was happening and not one of them had enough affection for me to speak up. I lost not only my spouse of 49 years but all but 3 of my friends. I lost everything because nobody would speak up. I think each and every person who knows about infidelity and fails to call it out deserves to suffer from the same situation. Let it teach them empathy. Shame on Rachel.

      • I wrote a comment above about corrupt shills who should have known better than to do what they did but still did it. I’d worry that if dear Rachel were chumped, she’d get a book deal and use her horse’s mouth status to hawk the RIC/Perel angle. By the same token, as a former advocate for DV survivors, it always appalled me when I’d encounter former victims who ate up all the victim-blaming pop-psych drivel and then wouldn’t miss a chance to aggressively stuff it down other survivors’ throats. All it showed me is that there’s no common denominator according to personality traits, psychology, background, etc., determining who will or won’t become a victim. It can happen to anyone. The only personality predictors are about who is likely to become a perpetrator.

        So I don’t really care if Rachel is chumped– except maybe for the comedy fodder it would provide. That might be worth it. But chances are she wouldn’t learn a goddamned thing.

      • Whitecoatburnout, I lost all of our so called family friends, all of his family and even my oldest sister to infidelity. So not only was I an abandoned and discarded wife, the very people who said they loved me did not. They didn’t even reach out to me in any way. My own sister told “Don’t ask me for anything. I can’t help you.”

        Their abandonment and betrayal was every bit as traumatizing as being cheated on by LTC Fuckface.

        • I’ll do it for you. I hate them all completely and I hope they suffer the consequences of their choices.

        • Yes, I know you think it’s harmful, IAE, and I respect your point of view and agree. Rachel, OTOH, thinks it’s not harmful. It may very well be because she, not unlike a cheater, cannot bond, so she can’t imagine the agony a chump goes through. Perhaps those kind of people aren’t that bothered by it other than as an ego blow. At any rate, it seems to me CL’s point was rhetorical and not to be taken literally.

        • Rachel doesn’t consider it harm though. She thinks it could even be beneficial. So it isn’t wishing harm on her, it’s wishing a situation on her that she thinks is beneficial, by her own logic. I hope she thoroughly enjoys her very beneficial situation of her partner cheating on her while she’s dying. I hope it’s a magical experience for her, just like she thought it would be.

    • I say screw her, I hope it happens to her. All the people who helped my ex husband abuse me while I was dying and losing my mind and in so much pain and so confused… may it happen to them. Oh, I know, gasp! shock! Would I really would want them abused while they suffered with dementia?!

      They think it’s just fine that it happened to me. So fuck them. They think it’s so perfectly fine and hurts no one and is maybe even beneficial? Then let it happen to them. If that’s the only way they’ll learn it’s not cool to abuse other people and it’s not cool to turn a blind eye to abuse, then let them learn a hard ass lesson the hard way.

  • I’m in the don’t tell her camp.
    It would be simply awful to have to deal with such a shocking deep, and immensely painful betrayal at the exact same time you are working through the spiral of emotions, sadness and loss from your own imminent demise.
    Wow, no way, too intense!
    She will need her own time to get to some level of peace, acceptance, and closure with the ones she’ll be leaving behind and that’s where her failing energies needs to be directed now.
    She doesn’t need the skein of confusion and drama of deceit to be her last thoughts and mind hijack, the FW is not worth that level of her precious time!
    He’s already stolen enough from her.
    Besides, she does not have the time it would take to process a betrayal and move to a better mental and physical space that could benefit her. ( not sure if I do at 67 and I’m healthy!)
    That emotional hornet’s nest needs to be walked around and her concern only with wrapping up her life as best she’s able to muster.
    I would, as the friend, confront the loser husband though.
    I would try and stir up a little guilt and shame in his vacant soul if that’s even a possibility.
    Maybe it could direct him to momentarily give more to the passing wife then he otherwise would have been inclined to do and maybe she could get some inkling of added peace from him in her last hours.
    Just on the outside chance, he could be made to feel a bit less comfortable frolicking through the tulips of infatuation while his wife is left alone with a very heavy burden to process would be worth the attempt.
    They all skillfully weave their delusional narratives though, so it’s doubtful his brain can come back online to see what he is doing as horrific as it actually is.
    It probably wouldn’t have any effect on his actions, but just having him know that others KNOW how low a life he is, has some vague feeling of perceived benefit.
    Cheaters don’t want to be judged negatively by others, forcing him to look at his selfish lowlife actions, even if fleeting, would feel worth the effort I feel.

    • Just to point out what another cancer survivor here said, there’s a risk that if someone is so sociopathic that they can cheat on an ill spouse, they may also be capable of hastening the victim’s death by taking control of their healthcare, also socially isolating them, etc. Chances are the victim in this case was already in a haze of complete misery because, as we all know, cheating is never “just cheating” but invariably comes with gaslighting and emotional abuse at the very least. Victims should at least have the chance to change the beneficiaries on their life insurance and put more trustworthy people in charge of medical decisions if need be.

  • “if it doesn’t harm the other party and even, arguably, has some benefits for them.”

    Benefits for dying chumps;

    Making fun new acquaintances with names like HPV, HIV, and HSV who can network with your compromised immune system.

    You don’t have to spend your last days on earth with your boring spouse since he/she is busy making out in the rose bushes with randos. Phew!

    Your children get to watch you suffer alone, which builds more resilence.

    Your spouse has somebody to spend your life insurance on instead of wasting it sending your kids to college. Yay!

    Victoria’s Secret, Ashley Madison and Teleflora will benefit from your life insurance as well. You love the idea of supporting business.

    If you’re lucky, spouse and AP will hasten your demise due to stress or (ooh!) perhaps even poisoning. So humane of them. They don’t wan’t you to suffer for long.

    PTSD will be a welcome distraction from your physical illness. In fact, it will make you want to die, which enables you to feel better about the fact that you will die. Who doesn’t want to welcome impending death? Bonus!

    Your children get a brand new instamom/dad when the AP moves in. That will totally take the sting of your death away.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Suffice it to say the benefits are numerous. Every dying person deserves the awesome experience of being chumped. Just look what it did for Liz Edwards. She even wrote a book.

    Hey Rachel!🖕 You stupid bitch.

  • That’s on a case by case basis for me. Depends on how close I am, how close she is to dying, so many many factors.

    I may not tell her, but I AM telling someone… her mother, sister, her adult children…. Whomever I had a good idea would believe me. And then I’d leave it to them to deal with accordingly. They’re in a much better position to protect her than I am.

    It’s a shitty position to be in.

  • Whether or not to tell Jane is debatable (and much debated above). I don’t know what I would do, as it would depend on Jane’s state
    However, I am very sure that I would let John know that I know and not let him lap up the smug “loving husband” sympathy so easily.

  • Kintsugi absolutely nailed reasons why it’s very important to let a dying chump know a cheater isn’t to be trusted, because of the damage they can do in directing medical care, visitor access, etc. My ex gaslit me and my neurologist into a risky medical procedure to find out why my memory suddenly got so bad (i.e. I was finding evidence, but had not yet realized he was cheating), and for the duration of it, he was texting schmoopie, then gave HER and our friends the news that my brain was deteriorating. It wasn’t. If I had known about schmoopie, I wouldn’t have taken that risk for that procedure. He was willing to put me at risk to cover up his behavior, which at that point was an online affair and financial infidelity.
    I will also add that Rachel said that because she knew, she spent less time with Jane, and their relationship became limited and strained. I’m sure Jane must have picked up on that, and if other friends knew and withdrew like Rachel, Jane must have felt terribly isolated.
    Other here have pointed out the changes that Jane and others who are terminally ill might want to make to protect their children, such as making them sole beneficiaries. John’s OW was cheating with a man she knew was married, and she probably also knew his wife was very ill, and knew when she was terminally ill and dying. If OW was willing to “steal” the cheater for herself, she might feel comfortable stealing Jane’s assets for herself and her children. I don’t see her as great step-mom material. Jane lost her chance to take measures to protect her kids.

  • I would want to know in plenty of time to change my will/etc. POD all my accounts to someone else. Maybe I would keep my mouth shut and just leave him a big shock after I died. Sort of a Sad Sausage Surprise. The last laugh and all that.

    She may have already known. It is not that uncommon for long term caregivers to negotiate some sort of open arrangement with their disabled or sick spouse.

  • My ex mother-in-law began having an affair with her ex-husbands identical twin brother when her current husband’s health started failing. Essentially her rationalization was that he was no longer…”vigorous,” and she shouldn’t have to be confined to a lack of excitement due to that. So she began an affair with her former brother-in-law (who was blind and at the end of his life due to cancer).

    Looking back, I’m ashamed that I didn’t say anything, and I should have been concerned when my ex was proud of her mother for “continuing to find her joy in life.” And go figure, my ex started her affair shortly after.

    The apple doesn’t fall far. If anyone thinks adults no longer look at and model their parents behavior, I would argue otherwise.

  • Last week’s episode of “This Is Us” brought tears to my eyes. Miguel was a devoted caretaker to his wife Rebecca (she has Alzheimer’s) until his death. Her adult children had to intervene and insist that he allow the home care aide to do her job and eventually care for him as well.

    A litmus test for relationships. How do they respond when you’re sick ? T.l.c. (tender loving care) or indifference, outright annoyance or disappearing ? This applies to partners, spouses and friends. Adult children as well.

  • Here’s a related what if question for CN; suppose you find out that a friends’s spouse who has already died was a cheater. Do you tell the chump, or do you leave them with the mirage intact?
    I slightly lean towards not telling, since there’s nothing tangible the chump can gain from knowing. But then again, that’s just my perspective. The chump might want to know in order to make sense of things about the marriage that did not add up. Is it better for the chump to mourn the person or to mourn the lie?

    • I know someone who found out about multiple affairs after her husband died unexpectedly. The whole situation was handled poorly and the person who told her did so in a very indelicate way (it was not a former AP though). She wishes she had not been told as she was just filled with impotent rage at her dead spouse and felt like his legacy was haunting her. He was not very kind to her throughout their marriage and his death brought was a relief. That said, she did admit that finding out the affair put into place a lot of things that didn’t make sense during the marriage. So…it’s complicated. And she may feel differently about the disclosure after more time has past i.e. view it as more of a positive.

      • LC, that’s what I’d be afraid of; that it would lead to rage, which would be impotent rage because the cheater is dead. The chump would not have closure such as the lucky ones of us got when we dumped a cheater. It would be more like when the cheater just pulls a disappearing act on the chump and poofs.

  • Rachel should have confronted John, if not when she saw him with the OW, but certainly soon after before her friend died. Let him know that what he’s doing was not right, and he should stop with the affair. At least he would know someone thinks poorly of his behavior.

    I often wonder about my ex’s own unwilling accomplices. Years later I’m still finding out that someone or other knew but didn’t tell me, and still remained friends with her. That’s on them, but for sure they enabled her cheating by not calling out her bad behavior, at the very least, and condoning it by staying friends.

  • When my father Harlow’s (a.k.a. P.P. short for Philandering Philatelist-peepee, Dick/dick you get my drift) second wife (not a cheating cohort as VH writes) was dying of pancreatic cancer, he took off for two weeks to attend a stamp convention. Wife number three was waiting in the wings. Who knows when Harlow and Hell started up. What an awful feeling for wife number two, having some bitch nipping at her heels.
    I’ve been tempted to contact number two’s sons, out of curiosity, to find out if they sensed the bitch was circling like a vulture. They were teenagers when their mother died. But why bother, after all these years ?

    Ps Wife number three targeted my father since serious stamp collectors “have money”. Plus she worked at my grandfather’s law firm and knew my father would inherit mucho dinero one day.

  • I probably wouldn’t have told Jane, but I would have told her husband that I knew what he was doing and that he’s a selfish, cowardly, disgusting jackass. And I would tell him that I hadn’t yet decided not to tell Jane, in case she wanted to change her will. My own experience is that some cowardly cheaters are more protective of their image than their Schmoopie. Jackass was done with MOW when I found out and reminded him that if my name was coming off their lips, the door could swing both ways.

  • This really hits home. My mother had terminal breast cancer. During this time my dad cheated on her and lined up wife appliance number two. He began treating her terrible and would disappear when she needed his assistance. At one point he said he no longer loved her right to her. Very cruel to do for a woman who only had a few months left to live. No one knew of the affair with the co-worker until he moved in with her a few weeks after the funeral. In hindsight I remember during her last year alive saying that this wonderful lady at work knitted him and my mom hats and showed them to me as a really nice thing to do. I thought it a bit strange but dismissed it. After I found out he cheated on her when she needed him the most I went no contact for a long while and thereafter had a tense relationship with him but came to a peace when he was terminal with his own cancer. To cheat on a vulnerable spouse is the lowest of low. Little did I know that I married the same sort of man and got Chumped myself! When I picked up my dad’s ashes I was talking to husband cheater and said to him that he I married someone different than my terrible dad…..boy was I wrong. Funny how these things repeat.

    • If I had known and my mom was at the terminal point, I probably wouldn’t tell her, BUT I would not let it slide with the OW and my dad. I would expose them to the rest of the family as the despicable selfish creatures they truly are.

  • Just love it when writers write self-serving crap (about themselves, enlisting use of the collective “we”) to (try to) justify and absolve themselves, of their own low character.

  • I think, especially, a (rapidly) dying person has the right to know the truth of her life. I would tell.

  • My dad did this to my mom. He had a previous history of infidelity. My mom dying of cancer on the phone told me he thought my dad was speaking to another woman. I didnt want to believe it. So I told her I didnt think so, dad loves you and is taking care of you. He did take care of her. She died in hospice with me holding her hand. My dad ran out and told me that he had to ket the cleaning person into the house. He was gone 3 hours. Again, I thought it odd. I was left alone with her dead body. But didnt realize he probably went to this woman for comfort. She was a widow. Maybe 6 months later my dad tells me he has a date. Looking back I see clearly what was happening. I choose to believe that he was not having a full blown affair. I think they were friends and an emotional affair at the very least when my mom was alive. As I said now I put it all together. She is a nice person, we all like her. I have distanced myself from my dad. He has nothing I need. I am grateful he paid for my education, but I have never been particularly close to him. I did worship him as a child.

  • As someone who was cheated on before, during and after 16 rounds of chemo, and numerous surgeries I can tell you the stress of the cancer patient is a hell of a lot more intense than the caregiver. Cancer doesn’t make people cheat. Being an unloving selfish asshole is what makes people cheat.

  • Tell her. Jane is not dead yet. It’s her choice as to how she treats this information.

    If it were me, I’d want to know. A short time with truth is worth a lifetime with lies.

  • Rachel, among the climbing roses at the garden store: “Oh hi John! It is you, John, Jane’s husband, right? I thought I recognized you! It’s Rachel, my kids go to the same school as your kids with your wife, Jane. I was just telling Jane, when I visited her the other day, how lucky she is to have such a devoted husband standing by her through her difficult illness. It’s delightful to see you! I’ll be sure to mention to Jane on Tuesday when I drive her to chemotherapy what a pleasure it was to run into you here. Have a good day!”

  • Is there certainty that Jane is actually dying? Or is that wishful thinking on the part of the Cheater?

    When I had breast cancer, my husband (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, diagnosed) was the perfect husband and support . . . in public. In private was another story. When I was in pre-op holding, he invited two women “friends” of HIS (not ours or mine) in to support him because caregiving is such a difficult role. I was groomed to agree with that — after all I’d be getting the GOOD drugs shortly, while he was left to wait for word. They comforted him throughout my hospital stay. No one was comforting me — everyone thought that he was. After all, wasn’t he the perfect husband? Had I known then what was going on, I might have saved myself years of abuse. After all, cheating was a hard boundary for me; the only one I had after my fucked up family of origin. I might have emerged from the marriage with more than what I could carry and my dog, which is what I ended up with. I still had a car, a job, a community, a house and a houseful of furniture at that point, all acquired by me. It was five more years before I left, and in that time he disappeared a lot of money and assets.

    I wasn’t dying, but I wonder . . . is Jane truly dying? Or might she have some chance of saving herself from a fuckwit if she were told about his behavior?

  • Add Albert Pujols, ST Louis Cardinal to the list of men who leave their wives when they are sick. Deidre, his wife was having brain surgery when he had her served divorce papers. I have no respect for him and now have zero desire to go to a game. Why would I spend my money to see a cheater ruin baseball?

    I had wanted to snatch back Cardinal’s ballgames since the last time I was in that stadium was with LTC Fuckface and his Howorker. Now I just won’t. Damn these cheaters.

  • I say you tell, I’d want to know that I hadn’t been imagining all the things we do imagine, (of course I would never cheat on you BS, I was working but idk where the money is….) I’d want to make sure my deathly ducks were lined up if possible. (I revised my trust during the divorce process just in case I was dead before it was over). I would want the opportunity to let him know, that I Know.

  • I personally would want to know so that I could protect my children’s inheritance, or at least half of it. I’ve seen time and time again where a wife dies and the surviving husband immediately marries the OW. What happens if he dies before the OW? Then everything that should have gone to their kids could wind up in the OW’s hands for her to spend as she sees fit.

  • I have a friend whose father was a serial cheater. He ended up marrying an OW and later descended into dementia. The OW absconded with significant assets that rightfully belonged to my friend and her siblings.

    I say again, this is the ultimate reason for informing someone. My domestic violence training educated me that staying silent about abuse is called “colluding with violence”. Both of my feet, my head, and my heart are firmly planted in the If You See Something, Say Something camp. The cheater, not the whistleblower, is the cause of the harm done.

    I don’t feel I can credibly maintain infidelity is abuse if I stay silent about it.

    • I agree. This is not our information. This information belongs to the chump, whether he/she is dying or not. It’s just like having a serious diagnosis and people would not inform me because they think I can’t handle it. Tell me and I decide if I can handle it or not.

  • I’ve given this one some long hard thought and, let’s face it, Rachel is a pussy! You can hate me for using the P word but that is what it amounts too. I understand she didn’t want to crap more on an already crapy situation but I think people can always find a way to tell the truth so a victim can have some real peace. Especially in their final days bc no telling what jack legged gaslighting BS that dumbass was pulling while Jane was dealing with saying her goodbyes to the people she loved. Rachel could have had told her and then been a true friend by being their for her through all of the trials and tribulations of heartache and death (mentally and physically). Which leads me to why Rachel is a pussy…..she fucked over her friend so she didn’t have to show up! She knew Jane would need a caretaker during her dying days and Rachel didn’t want to be it so she allowed the caretaking to continue with the sleaze ball. If I’m in the same boat, I hope my friends love me enough to have gonads! The kind of gonads to kick his cheating ass to the curb and love me enough through death.

  • Wow this one hits home. I had aggressive lymphoma and AP’s wife knew (along with some of the other school moms) and nobody told me. AP had nerve to sit in front of me with his family at Christmas mass. He shook my hand and hunged FW. I was filled with chemo and looked like death. No eyebrows and My wt had dropped from a muscular 220lbs down to 180lbs. I had left the service twice to vomit. Sorry but fuck those people, just fuck them!
    Looking back It is obvious FW routing for the cancer. My brother and best friend later both told me that FW called them during my treatment when I was septic To discuss planning my funeral. I laugh that both told her “Cancer isn’t going to take him out he will live to 100”.

  • Tomorrow the judge is to sign off on my divorce. It is a little over 10 months since DDay. Interestingly tomorrow is also my birthday and a Tuesday but not the Tuesday I am wishing for.
    In the last 4 years in consecutive order I was diagnosed with cancer. I was then fired for having cancer. I Had to start my own medical practice. I then Had to have my hip resurfaced as a result of chemo. Next my father get diagnosed with terminal cancer and I watch him rapidly die. A couple of months later I had buddy drop dead. Through all of this I kept telling wife of 18 years we were lucky to have each other and then I am blindsided by finding out last June wife was having multiple affairs going back 7 years.
    Out of all those horrible things FW’s betrayal was hands down the worst thing. Much worse than being told I was possibly going to die. Worse than the chemo and the betrayal of my medical group.
    That being said I want to thank everyone here at CN for all of the support. I don’t think I could have made it this far, with so few, mistakes without all the wisdom from LACGAL and advice from everyone. Chumps are compassionate, intelligent, trusting people and the world would be a better place if more people had our qualities. Tracy, you are doing for doing God’s work here. Stay Mighty!

    • Omg, Dr. Chump. I’m so sorry. Sounds like the book of Job. But congratulations on the divorce and I hope you will be healed and restored in every possible way. Happy birthday/divorce/Tuesday! You can get divorce-themed cake toppers on Amazon. I got one that said, “You’re Dead to Us!”

      • “You’re Dead to Us!”

        Laughing in its simplicity and accuracy. x is not my tribe. simple.

        (This after 40 years, so even though a long time chump, no longer a chump.)

      • Thank you. I retread the book of Job a couple of months ago. I am still hurt and will lay low for today

  • Freedom Day, Dr. Fuckwit Free

    Happy Birthday
    Happy New Life

    The toxic is excised. x was a cancer, you didn’t know it.

    Life is good.

  • I can’t help but thinking of my own therapy here. One of the main concerns my psychologist has is my tendency towards fantasy thinking. This is how I got abused for so long. I let my gut instincts slide, I was gaslighted, I held onto the dream, the hope, the fantasy of what I wanted and what I thought I had. My fantasies harmed me and meant I failed to see the truth- I ignored a lot of things I shouldn’t have. I was narcissistically abused for sure, do I had a lot of brainwashing going on. But fantasy thinking was not my friend. I can’t help but think that even a critically ill person shouldn’t live in fantasy. It harms people to be lied to, and yes, it’s dreadfully painful to be pulled into the real world. I just wonder if the truth is the greatest gift you can give someone. Maybe that poor woman needed to hear that her husband was cheating because maybe she’d felt all fucked up and crazy like a lot of us did. Maybe she would have been set free by learning that the shitty way she was feeling was actually real and that her instincts were spot on. It may have given her soul the peace it needed.

    And there will be a special place in hell for him for cheating on his dying wife. Fuck him.

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