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The OW Calls Herself a Feminist

Dear Chump Lady,

I am 8 months post divorce from FW, we were married for 21 years. It was such a long road though, years of lying, gaslighting, blameshifting, and slow movements away from me and towards Schmoopie (The coworker and family friend for 10-plus years) that were disguised as “working on us.”

From her calling to wake him up in the morning while he slept next to me, to him following her on find my friends, them renting cars together on business trips while all other coworkers took a bus, to them rooming next door to each other on those business trips, etc…all of which I questioned and was told “she is just a professional woman.” I am still attempting to heal from all of that. But one of the saddest losses for me has to do with my fierce feminist passion — which I used to have and which was used against me.

I am a veteran, and advocate for survivors of sexual assault, writer, member of RAINNs Speaker’s Bureau, etc… I have always been a strong, proud, and loud defender of women and children. However slowly over the years of sensing boundary crossings, by both fuckit and Schmoopie, my feminism was used against me, thrown in my face, and flat out questioned, angrily.

And I bought it. Because of that feminism, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Fuckwit would outright yell at me, “I guess you don’t want me working with ANY women then!” I would think, “no…just her…something is off with her.” Even when she began posting what looked to me, and every other woman I have asked, like pictures that were slightly intimate of him during their business trips (FW, her boss, walking from behind with beautiful landscapes in the background, or FW looking off into the distance in front of a waterfall) even when I saw those and my entire body screamed “she’s in love with him,” I silenced that voice, called myself a bad feminist, gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Now they live together and are getting married. And even now, they both deny anything “started until after we were over,” which I know to be a lie because of an accidentally shared google doc of their “family plan” (6 pages single spaced) that was created the day after he told me our marriage was over. It speaks of them getting married as soon as possible, and that she would be my child’s mother. (FW claims it was a “thought experiment” and nothing more and I misunderstood what I was reading. He also would say, “that’s between you and her” when I would mention HER betrayal of me in additional to his betrayal.)

Now, I am mad at women as well as at men. Now my trust of both sexes is shaken. She used to post all over her social media that she was a “supporter of strong women and girls” etc. That hypocrisy makes me so mad I go numb and silent. (I have blocked them both since then.)

I find myself wondering how many women out there who profess to be feminists have participated in the slow break up of marriages. Every “Woman’s Day” and even today the anniversary of women’s right to vote, I feel a twinge of anger and sadness and cynicism. That fierce protector of women that used to reside in me has gone and been replaced with someone who sees the hypocrisy, who has lost trust in my gender, who feels silenced to even speak about these things because I will be called “bitter,” or worse yet my feminism would be questioned once again because “she’s not to blame, he is.” It feels like a feminism catch 22.

There was never an outright D-Day, it was years worth of drips and drops of questionable behavior. I know the years of lying and gaslighting and blameshifting are the cause of this identity crisis… but I just don’t know how to heal from it. I don’t know how to be who I was. It is like I have seen behind the curtain and what’s back there is all rotten. Please help. How do I heal that part of me, how do I even find her again? It feels like my fierce identity and savage soul were shattered along with my heart.

Sorry so long, but your wouldn’t believe the shit I left out,

An Angry Woman

****

Dear Angry Woman,

Look, fuckwits gotta mindfuck. It doesn’t matter what set of beliefs you hold sacred — feminism, federalism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism — they’re going to use it against you.

Can’t forgive them? You’re a BAD Christian.

Your originalist interpretation of the Constitution made you unlovable.

Unnerved by your husband’s affair partner? A true feminist would roll with that!

Mindfuckery. They’re just weaponizing your values to keep you in line. Which is all part and parcel of the chump experience. Are you trusting? Generous? Hard-working? Every good and decent thing about you will be weaponized.

Cheating is a power play. People think it’s all sexy time and the Heart Wants What the Heart Wants bullshit. No, it’s a power grab. It’s a toxic dynamic of getting over on someone. It’s an unequal playing field. You invest all your kibbles in a fuckwit, and they’ll just pretend to return the investment.

Feminism is all about saying no to unequal playing fields.

Nothing is more repulsive than Other Women wrapping themselves up in a narrative of feminist empowerment. As if cheating and colluding in the abuse of others was some sort of journey of self-actualization.

Other Women suck the dick of the patriarchy.

What could be more pathetically retrograde than pick-me dancing to win a cheater? You think Alice Paul was force fed so little girls could grow up to have Sugar Daddies?

Other Women are Vichy women. Collaborators. They’re denying another woman consent about her own body. When they fuck a partnered man, they’re agreeing to that health risk for themselves, but together with the cheater, they’re denying that choice to the chump.

Now, I am mad at women as well as at men. Now my trust of both sexes is shaken. She used to post all over her social media that she was a “supporter of strong women and girls” etc…and that hypocrisy makes me so mad I go numb and silent.

Her hypocrisy is not your problem. Who cares what fuckwits think or post on their Instagram feeds. What you’re really asking is — how could she? As a fellow woman, how could she backstab one of her own?

There is no universal sisterhood.

If we are to be fully human (and this goes for ALL humans, wherever you are on the color, gender and orientation rainbow), you must accept that some of us are going to be assholes. Women aren’t saintly or better. Oppressed, condescended to, disenfranchised for centuries? Sure. But we are not monolithically ethical. Some of us are back-biting, vicious, narcissistic, entitled monsters. Exhibit A — Phyllis Schlafly.

Not everyone is going to feel oppressed by sexism. Some women are going to use that shit to their advantage and suck up to the power players. That’s true of people, that’s true of unjust power systems. Me over You.

Feminism is refusing to do the pick me dance. Feminism is building your OWN life independent of fuckwits. Feminism is supporting other women and having compassion for shared experiences.

Angry, YOU are the true feminist here. Don’t question yourself and your belief systems.

Now my trust of both sexes is shaken.

Your ex and his Family Plan Special are the fuckwits. They aren’t everyone. They’re just a couple of common, garden variety cheaters. It’s normal to feel flinchy in the aftermath, but don’t let them get you down, or sour you on social justice.

The work you’re doing for veterans, for sexual assault victims, for kids MATTERS. And you WORK at it. That makes you authentic — your words align with your deeds.

I can call myself a jelly donut. It does not make me a jelly donut.

The Other Woman isn’t a feminist. She’s just dimwitted and thinks she’s special.

You’re still a fierce woman with a savage soul. She’s still there. Rise up.

***

This is a rerun and OW still suck the dick of the patriarchy. 

Also, the twig lady cartoon I drew awhile back is my homage to feminist writer Andrea Dworkin

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.
  • “Other Women suck the dick of the patriarchy.”

    Dang…talk about getting to the core of the issue, CL does it here !!

    Yes, Cheaters will hold any and every thing against you to justify their actions. I tell here of the “Im divorcing you because you are a bad wife” speech (followed by a 2 hour monologue of my faults). The complaints he listed at the end contradicted the ones at the beginning. It shows that they will use ANYTHING to advance their manipulation – which includes the things we hold most dear.

    • Oh, same for me. The cheater loved to go into a monologue of everything that was wrong about me and what I did. He also once told me that I was too perfect. At the end I gave up trying to please that asshole because everything I did got complaints.

      • I got the ‘you’re so perfect, you never put a foot wrong, it’s nice to see you make a mistake’ too. I had just knocked over a glass of water

        He looked at me with such contempt it rocked me to my core

        It’s how I look at him now if I ever have the misfortune to bump into him

    • “The complaints he listed at the end contradicted the ones at the beginning.”

      Yep, my fw in the only time we talked to the preacher together said “I always tried to get Susie to be more independent”, then in the next sentence less than a minute; “But, I (meaning himself) am a controller”. It was in hindsight kind of funny because the preacher sat there and stared at him like WTH. Anyway, didn’t matter, right after that he looked at me with his stupid cheating fw ugly face and said, “I can’t make any promises”. I stood up and said “We are done here, thank you preacher for your efforts”, walked out and left the cheater with his whore prize.

      He was a controller that was about the only truth he spoke.

      Preacher washed his hands of him, he (the preacher) called me to apologize for setting the meeting up. He said “He didn’t say the things I thought I would hear”. I assume he convinced the preacher he was ready to apologize and show remorse. I think he just wanted to destabilize me (he didn’t), the only reason I went was to reject him, ass wipe.

      • Yes, he literally FORBADE me from messing with hie good dress clothes. I was not to touch them,wash them, send them to the cleaners, NOTHING. At the MC, he said “at this minute there is a bag of clothes needing to go to the cleaners and she has not taken them”.

        I work in end-of-life care and he said it made me “too holy” and in the same tirade, he said I was too sinful (for having sex…with him).

        Really though…newbies take note: When their complaints become ABSURD, you have officially gotten the notice that there is NOTHING to be done with this flaming pile of shit. You have nothing to work with.

        • Unicornnomore: “When their complaints become ABSURD, you have officially gotten the notice that there is NOTHING to be done with this flaming pile of shit.” No truer words spoken!

        • Near the end, mine would complain that my cooking was “too fancy” with wine and spices and stuff. Sometimes he just wanted plain ramen and I put too much stuff in. I hope he’s enjoying his plain ramen now. 🤷‍♀️

        • “at this minute there is a bag of clothes needing to go to the cleaners and she has not taken them”

          *You* hadn’t taken them ? What, he’s crippled ? Arsehole.

          I got the same sort of thing. A long litany about my failings as a housekeeper, cook, how I was lazy, didn’t care, etc etc. I read somewhere all these accusations they make about us are actually about them. So true.

    • “The complaints he listed at the end contradicted the ones at the beginning.”

      Ah yes, the contradictory complaints. It wasn’t even just that they changed from beginning to end, they changed from one day to the next. I got “you’re too emotional” and not long later “you’re cold and emotionless like a reptile”. I was logical one day and illogical the next. I was too smart and then I was an idiot. I was sexy and then I was ugly. I was too good for him and then I was worthless. I could go on.

      Eventually I realized that nothing I did or didn’t do made a difference. He would find something wrong with me regardless.

  • Please. We had an entire Prime Minister in Australia who was a veteran Other Woman and card carrying feminist.

    She became Prime Minister and then lost the job in exactly the same way: power broking by a male politician. Some feminist.

    There’s a famous YouTube video of her “calling out” the leader of the opposition at the time for “misogyny”. The dude in question was painfully faithful to his one and only wife.

    • The thing is, the opposition absolutely was guilty of misogyny. They relentlessly made fun of her for being “barren”, made fun of her looks, and even referred to her as “Bob’s bitch.”
      Those insults aren’t about her character, they are gender based slurs. So they handed her the basis to rightfully call them out. One can think she is an asshole and at the same time know that what was done to her was wrong.
      I don’t care if a dude is (allegedly) faithful to his wife or not when he treats women that way. He is a misogynist and should be exposed as such.

      • I was just about to make the same point that I don’t give a shit if someone is faithful to their wife and horrible to women in general. I’ve known a lot of misogynist men who are faithful to their wife (or they haven’t been caught) who are disgustingly unfair to women when it suits them. I’ve had at least one boss who fits that description.

      • Isn’t that interesting? I saw it as Gillard achieving cheap political points through DARVO.

        She was given power by one man through backroom deals, and lost it the same way. The man in question was also a cheater who thought he traded up.

        I know politics is a dirty business, but this particular era was pretty low.

  • Chump Lady took on the challenge of the original letter writer’s disappointment in women by rightfully pointing out assholes come in every gender. Almost always, marital infidelity involves both genders as perpetrators with men still getting the “free pass”.

    There does seem to be a societal disconnect which fails to recognize the particular vulnerability of wives/mothers victimized by cheating and abandonment. We are moving further away from honoring the human family unit as a multi-decade necessity. Maybe feminism is (unfairly) taking the hit.

    • There are so many different forms of feminism. The “lean into it,” white, corporate form from the last decade was rightfully charged with alienating women of color and the working class while also disdainfully distancing itself from victim advocacy because successful women would never “play victim” (and are apparently impervious to bullets and blades– magic in fact!). That bit of horseshit seems to come out every ten years or so and I think it’s a pretty young, ahistoric, “inventing the wheel” form. Even Naomi Wolf made noises like that early in her career but, being success oriented, she corrected course a bit.

      Then there’s the crass entryism. A perfect example is when, in service of tobacco companies, godfather of modern propaganda Edward Bernays inserted a group of women smoking into the 1929 Easter parade in NYC. The event was framed as pro-women’s emancipation and cigarettes were branded “torches of freedom.” The famous bra-burning incident in the 1970s was staged as a promotion by some local rotary club or business council. I don’t think Nike’s involvement with the recent women’s march was much different. Nothing says “we respect women” more than whitewashing the rampant rape and abuse of grossly underpaid female textile workers in the third world.

      And these days we have the latest “reinventing the feminism wheel” set promoting “sex pozzy,” anti-monogamy, cheating-is-exuberant-rebellion and freedom-is-having-an-Only-Fans-account in media that’s suspiciously cross-invested with the porn behemoth. The streaming porn industry, which is now bigger than all other media combined (and in which Google invested $34 billion), lives and dies according to public tolerance of under-aged sex trafficking and abuse of sex workers. But in order muddy up the public’s conception of consent, they can hardly openly promote trafficking and rape so instead seem to be sawing sideways at concepts of consent through painting monogamy as uncool and counter-evolutionary and betrayal as somehow acceptable and groovy. I think that American disapproval of adultery was targeted because it’s only grown stronger over the past thirty years even as approval for gay marriage and single parenting have increased, showing that critical views or infidelity are not even related to religious mores.Talk about aiming at the heart and soul of the American psyche and stability. If you can nuke that stubborn ethos, you can sell people anything.

      But for the record, not all feminists are buying it. Susan Brownmiller, author of the groundbreaking “Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape” wrote “In Our Times” which, right from the start, chronicles how factions trying to insert S&M and pornography into the feminist movement fractured feminism in the 70s. And “Backlash” author Susan Faludi has some choice things to say about propping Monica Lewinsky up as a “girl power” emblem: https://observer.com/1998/02/lets-separate-the-women-hillary-from-the-girls-monica-linda-paula/ As far as supposed “liberal” acceptance of anything-goes sexuality and exploitation, Noam Chomsky is vocally anti-porn industry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNlRoaFTHuE

      • Hellofachump: you make some great points! It takes some deep thinking to realize the (latest) con by the patriarchy twisting feminism into a patriarchal version of it: CL mentioned the sugar babies, for example.

        • Kind of Orwellian if you think about. Ministry of Truth, Ministry of Peace, Arbeit macht frei, emancipation via blowing old pervs in hotels for student loan debt relief…

          • Orwell nailed it. Newspeak is here, and at the moment seems to be winning the race. I believe in calling a spade a spade, and call out the latest gobbledegook whenever I can. It can be a lonely job !😂

      • Great analysis, HoaC. As someone who grew up with the 2000s sex pozzy type feminism, it was Chump Lady’s approach that led me to find Radical Feminism. Reading Dworkin and forums like Ovarit helped to make sense of the pain caused by the cheating+abuse. The cheater LOVED saying he was a “feminist”, SexWorkIsWork, porn is empowering, bs all over. Real, rad feminism is never about catering to men’s whims.

  • What you’re dealing with are low-no values people parading themselves as valued people. They exist all over the rainbow -as CL pointed out. It does no one good to raise a child & not warn them about wily cunning coyotes (I’ve been reclaiming my half native heritage recently & learning teachings) that live amongst us waiting to corral us & pounce on our vulnerabilities. Not to scare us, but to prepare us for those inevitable moments. You’ve got some coyotes dressed up as sheep in your flock, Angry Woman. You don’t cull the whole flock, but you definitely cull the pseudo ones!

  • FW’s will screw you over using anything you hold dear.
    In many cases they will use religion to try to shame and blame their partner to accept their lies. Using Feminism is just one more trick in their pustulent bag.
    FW tried to use my religion to abuse me. But I still have my faith. And he is still running from woman to woman, one new idea to the next.

  • Those that preach tolerance (but don’t you dare have a different opinion), the “metoo” movement (but are quite selective)” and feminism (but will undermine fellow women) will always be a problem. Just fw’s that hide behind causes and use our civility against us. Sort of like a shield of protection. Who wants to mess with someone that labels themself an activist for “fill in the blank” cause? Nothing new just a different time period. They’re as full of shit as a Christmas Turkey and should be called out when they attempt to use valid causes to undermine or put forth their shitty agendas.

    • I was recently having a laugh that my ex-SIL– who sided with the family faction that turned its back on my then-disabled son (embarrassing you know. People might think it’s genetic!)– now broadcasts that she’s working for some academic social justice/inclusion foundation. Oh please.

  • “Cheating is a power play.” Abso-fucking-lutey!
    CL hits the nail on the head with this statement.

    Yes, feminism is about empowerment, but those that use it as a cloak to justify bad behavior lack character. And as CL so succinctly stated, assholerie comes in all shapes and sizes.

    • OW make the mistake of thinking feminism is about personal empowerment at the expense of others rather than the empowerment of women as a whole to get to a level playing field. Fuckwits, male or female, don’t want a level playing field, because the only way such losers can feel they “win” is by disadvantaging somebody else.

  • Wow, this sounds familiar: from OW being an outspoken “feminist”, the “slow drip” rather than a D-day, OW being a coworker and “friend”, “you don’t want me to have any women as friends!” (“no, just this one; something is off with this one”). Yup. Been there done that.

    “The Other Woman isn’t a feminist. She’s just dimwitted and thinks she’s special.” 100%

    • Yes. All so familiar, ICSTL
      Every bit of it.
      I only differ on one comment though, I don’t see the OW as dimwits- I think many (most?) are cunning, conniving, and very focused on their pursuit.
      My X’s first OW (that I know of, ha!) was all about saving the sea turtles! I said to my X once:
      “She wants to save a sea turtle? How about me? “ it was lost on him however, big surprise.
      The one he left me for was all over social media on her personal crusade to stop climate change.
      So, to me, it’s the same as Angry Woman’s letter.
      Being socially conscientious… (whether it’s feminism, sea turtles or climate change) -but willing to torpedo another persons life for your own gain.
      I have struggled with this for years.

      • It’s all image management, even for OW. She wants to look like a good person. In my case she espouses whatever social justice issue is headlining in the media. Then that somehow disappears in favor of something else. She seems to care so much about people’s rights, she’s vocal about “kindness”. Yet she ENJOYED hurting me. She was very focused on getting FW, but she was also completely naive in believing everything he told her (all lies).

        I DO think OW is a bit dimwitted in my case. She was so awed by FW and his “intelligence”. He was smart, but not smarter than me or a lot of people. But everything he said blew her mind. She was from a backwoods town, went to her local college in said backwoods town, married really young, and hadn’t experienced much of life outside of military bases. She thinks she’s a brilliant writer with totally original ideas, but I read her novel and it was nothing new and nothing groundbreaking, and frankly it was objectively badly written.

  • I had the same conflict. OW was a very outspoken feminist, and FW would proclaim to be an ally. He never came with me to WD’s marches, but he showed up after we divorced. I stopped going after that.

    It did make me realise too that people proclaim they are feminists for a whole variety of reasons, and one of them is looking good. Does not mean they practice what they preach. This used to make me so very angry too, until I realised this is just another version of a Jesus cheater.

    In my country there is also a very famous celebrity (in the peak of her career at the moment) who is a feminist and appears on all sorts of feminist shows while actively defending cheating and framing it as freedom. I can only think CONSENT. Plus none of the other feminists on those shows challenge her. Money is money, I guess.

    • This, pinknora, CONSENT

      I did NOT know my ex FW was sleeping with OW. If I had I would NOT have consented to continue to have sex with him and would have immediately ended my marriage

      I was not able to make an informed choice as I was being unknowingly collaborated against

      By all means remain single and have as many partners as you choose but do not trick someone into having sex with you

      They somehow thought they were superior to me, nope, liars

      • What you have said 100%. I would not have consented either, and FW of course knows this. But I have lost the count of how many times I have been made to feel like I’m curtailing someone’s sexual freedom because I am in favour of simply NOT cheating.

    • FW was outspoken as being a feminist too, but he abused women and I think he deeply resented his need of a woman to help him in his life. He was utterly unable to be alone. It’s like Hell of a Chump has written many times: abusers resent their dependency. FW wanted a perfect woman on a pedestal, not an actual human being with needs, feelings, or a will of her own. That’s not feminism.

  • “Now, I am mad at women as well as at men. Now my trust of both sexes is shaken.”

    This means her eyes are open, which is a good thing. People suck. Just not all people. She can commerce finding the ones who don’t suck and avoiding those who do. It’s a tall order, so it’s easier to just believe people can’t suck because of their gender and/or their self-professed beliefs. That’s one of the reasons why tribalism is so popular. But if you base who your tribe is on consistently demonstrated good character (actions, not words), you can’t go wrong. It requires you be observant and vigilant, and let’s face it, humans are lazy, but no more shortcuts.

    • Also, it goes without saying that a woman who conspires with a man to take away another woman’s right to informed consent is certainly no feminist, and is actually a rapist by proxy. So to any OW who may be lurking out there and calling herself a feminist, fuck you.

      • Like I’ve mentioned before, the only books the AP in my situation read were apparently from that genre of violently pornographic crime fiction in which women are routinely sexually vivisected, raped to death, etc. Proxy rapist doesn’t sound that far-fetched to me.

      • Amen.

        OW calls herself a feminist, and likes to espouse whatever social justice issue is trending (now it’s trans rights, which I’m all for, but last year it was something else, and the year before that….). Yet she lied to my face, repeatedly, for years, and as someone said above, took away my right to informed consent.

        I do look on cheating as a form of sexual assault. I wouldn’t have touched FW with a 10-foot pole had I known he was having sex with someone else. I didn’t consent to that contact.

      • “… a woman who conspires with a man to take away another woman’s right to informed consent is certainly no feminist, and is actually a rapist by proxy.”

        OHFFS, that is *brilliant*. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it stated so well. The rat faced whore was too dim to be a feminist, she operated more on the premise of being a poor little woman who’d never had anything, activating fuckwit’s ‘white knight’ delusions ( which actually meant he got off on condescension and showing off to her) but your point still holds. She took away my right to informed consent, and was more than happy to do so.

        These shitbags come in all stripes.

    • “But if you base who your tribe is on consistently demonstrated good character (actions, not words), you can’t go wrong.”

      👏👏👏👏

      Absolutely.

  • I was the Director of Women’s Studies at my university. A woman professor who was leaving her husband and contributed a course to the WS program moved into the home of another professor (male), at the invitation of the man’s wife. The male prof and the female prof were caught in flagrante in the home by the man’s wife. My sympathies went to the wife; the woman professor became angry that she was being criticized, and said “feminist solidarity” with her was required. What she thought was feminist about her behavior I never could understand. My “feminist solidarity” was reserved for the wife who seen her generosity and hospitality abused by the woman prof. (And I also felt scorn for and anger at her husband, who had formerly been a friend, and let him know that.)

  • I feel this writer to my core.

    AP , former close friend, and I discussed feminism, religion, family, friends etc. After DDay I felt more betrayed by our nights out than I did about FW. It messed with my head. Nights out with a close friend ARE sacred. In my case FW acted guilty and admitted things when I finally asked despite my not having proof. AP never displayed guilt—even when having special days alone with my daughter . Gross. Just gross. (Said daughter call her the step-c$&@t, so I guess those special days of bonding pre DD didn’t work.)

    I work with children who are victims of abuse. I don’t get paid much, but I am well respected in my field and love the work I do. My FW who earns much more used to say the good I do makes up for all the evil corporations he works for. After DDay I was told that I never earned enough money and took advantage of his corporate diligence. Which is it? Doesn’t matter. FW and APs suck!

    Thanks, as always, for making something complicated crystal clear CL!

  • When your in it, you don’t realize how delusional, dumb and child like they actually are. You are the one helping them lead an adult life. They believe their love is special, everything for them, in life will be charmed. No matter how much money, great job, big house etc. life happens. No, their children are not going to be thrilled for them. No, coworkers don’t envy them.no, God himself has not ordained their love.your house was infested with roaches. The roaches got their own house. They are still roaches. I hope the writer is now enjoying a home that has been exterminated.
    Would love to hear the “now” stories, of these reruns

    • Well said Hcard, they’re not special, they’re liars and advantage takers

      I also would love a ‘where are they now’ column to previous posters

      I hope they are thriving (not FWs and their accomplices)

    • “you don’t realize how delusional, dumb and child like they actually are. You are the one helping them lead an adult life.”

      Yes, yes, yes. FW went straight from me to OW, because he wasn’t capable of being an adult on his own, which became very apparent when OW left him. His life fell to pieces without someone looking after him. He didn’t see it coming, so he hadn’t had time to find a backup girl. He thought OW would be his salvation, and once she was gone he couldn’t cope. He tried reaching out to me, but by then any feelings I’d had for him were dead. He ended up taking his own life.

      The ironic thing is, he tried to paint me to the courts as being utterly incompetent, incapable of taking care of myself, etc. and had also told me for most of our marriage that HE was the one holding our life together. Yet somehow, without him, I’m doing quite well for myself, and he’s the one who couldn’t manage things without me (or someone). It’s rather vindicating. Deep down I knew I was doing an awful lot for us, but I still let his words tear me down for a long, long time.

  • Most cheaters have some kind of invisibility cloak and list of handy excuses to hide, justify, and defend their behavior.

    Feminism is as feminism does. It’s the behavior and attitude and mindset and motivation that defines. Gender alone is not the indicator, as I understand it. Both sexes are capable of being jerks. I don’t give women automatic membership into the club based on gender alone. For me, behavior is the entry requirement.

    Like the Jesus cheater using scripture to justify, or the police officer who is the serial killer, anyone whose behavior belies what they claim to be shakes my trust.

    AND

    The reminder that is the remainder is that the person I most need to trust is me. Everyone else’s trust needs to be earned slowly over time and and can always be revoked if the more is revealed that warrants it.

    I once heard a detective say, “You only know another person as much as they will let you.” I can’t control when the information comes up or when the scales fall from my eyes. What’s important is that I remain awake and aware and read the memos. The main reason I do not drink, do drugs, or smoke is so that I can be as awake and aware as much as possible.

    The world has always been filled with people billing themselves as something they’re not. Traitor Ex’s invisibility cloak is his Nice Guy persona. I now see that he has no long-term intimate friends….just surface ones. The people who know him best, me and my daughter, don’t want anything to do with him. So what if everyone else sees the Great and Powerful Oz? We got to peek behind the curtain, to see the portrait of Dorian Gray in the attic.

    What antidote cuts through all the trust issues for me?

    I decide if someone is safe and trustworthy for me. I decide for myself if they are walking their talk, and then decide if I want to get involved. I reserve the right to revoke that trust if it has been violated.

    Check out Evy Poumpouras on Instagram. She is a my trust mentor. And if I found out tomorrow she was a cheater, I’d fire her and consider her a hypocrite.

    https://instagram.com/evypoumpouras?igshid=NTdlMDg3MTY=

    • TYPO…
      Everyone else NEEDS TO EARN MY TRUST slowly over time and and IT can always be revoked if the more is revealed that warrants it.

      I stayed as long as I did because I my trust in myself had eroded so badly, as is the case in a relationship with an abusive human. I was NOT taught to trust myself in my family of origin, where I was the youngest in a family
      of abusive humans.

      • Trust and safety are the essential characteristics of a healthy relationship.

        The cheater makes it very clear to the affair partner that they are untrustworthy, and the affair partner makes it very clear that they are untrustworthy too. Yet they agree to ignore the memo, the massive red flag, the ultimate stop sign, the big kahuna warning light, and proceed with their entanglement.

        Looking back, I now see he revealed himself as untrustworthy almost right away. I dismissed, excused, minimized, spackled, and had blind spots. I was also confused by the Nice Guy behavior (what all con artists do). He is also an expert liar, and deception played a significant role. I am not taking responsibility for what he did, but looking at facts I need to acknowledge to make better choices now.

        My body knew not to trust him. It took a very long time, the indisputable evidence of his secret sexual double life, and even a long time after he left, for the spell to break and my mind to synch up.

        • For some context, Traitor Ex printed this out ages ago and keeps it taped on the wall next to his desk. He is demonstrably a traitor, thief, liar, cheater, and criminal. It was written by Christian D. Larson.

          Promise Yourself

          To be so strong that nothing
          can disturb your peace of mind.
          To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
          to every person you meet.

          To make all your friends feel
          that there is something in them
          To look at the sunny side of everything
          and make your optimism come true.

          To think only the best, to work only for the best,
          and to expect only the best.
          To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
          as you are about your own.

          To forget the mistakes of the past
          and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
          To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
          and give every living creature you meet a smile.

          To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
          that you have no time to criticize others.
          To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
          and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

          To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
          not in loud words but great deeds.
          To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
          so long as you are true to the best that is in you.

          – Christian D. Larson

          I am sorry to say it still blows my mind. It’s like the famous picture of Lance Armstrong, lounging on a giant couch under his framed yellow jerseys.

          Fraud will always be with us.

          Animals hone their intuition and humans are taught to deny it. My focus is best placed on learning to trust myself and honing my intuition.

          • What an utter twat he is 🤢 🤮, my FW and OW loved these sorts of quotes too

            They’re all the same, deluded idiots

            Disordered indeed. Once the mask slips, you can’t unsee

            I had a ‘Mr Nice Guy’ for years too. Until he wasn’t

            Shudders

  • Spot on, CL, on all counts!

    This method of abuse is a form of DARVO. The abuser uses seeks out values that hold deep meaning for the victim, then chips away at the victim’s connection to those values. Common methods include using a combination of naming ways the abuser’s negative behaviors do fit the values (D-Deny), and ways the victim’s behaviors seemingly don’t fit them (A-Attack and RVO-Reverse Victim and Offender).

    The techniques used to achieve the abuser’s desired appearances usually involve a significant amount of false equivalency, cherry-picking and exaggerating information that agrees with the abuser’s arguments, and omission (and vehement refusal to acknowledge) key relevant facts that would expose the folly of the abuser’s construct.

    I have personally spent my whole life not getting this, and only recently reached the point of once-seen-can’t-unsee. The key moment I’m learning to recognize is that chump moment where I feel shame because a person has pointed out that I’ve acted out of alignment with my core values. I have a strong conscience, so the shame runs fast and hot and deep. ‘How could I do a thing like that?’ I feel small, and awful, and sorry, and ridiculous, and confused, and afraid… And…

    THAT’S the moment of reckoning. THAT’S the moment where I have to stop listening with my shame-self (I can’t stop feeling it, but I CAN stop it from running the entire show real-time) and start listening with my analytical self (gather data to consider on my own, later, when I can’t be interrupted).

    Sure, maybe I truly was as big of an asshole as the person suggests. I may conclude that, and I can then step up and be accountable. But I don’t have to take that as 100% fact right away. I get to take time to think it over.

    Abusers want us to make snap decisions and fall apart and accept total fault and apologize in the moment. Time and perspective would allow us to break the thoughts down and see the gaps in the story. They lose control when they can’t keep us spinning in circles. Stepping away into our own thoughts is their worst case scenario.

    Feminism isn’t any more about elevating everyone with a vulva no matter how they behave than it is about saying every person with a vulva is automatically superior to every person who doesn’t have a vulva. There are many ways to look at it, based on individual values, sure. But at the core, what’s consistent is that it’s about breaking down patriarchally driven power systems. It’s advocacybdoe SYSTEMIC change, not an individual relationship counseling tool. Treating it as such is a false equivalency.

    The abuser is trying to twist it into “if you point out behaviors between me and this person who has a vulva, you’re pushing a person with a vulva down, and that makes you a bad feminist. How dare you, you horrible thing!”

    The proper application of the construct, in this case, is that the abuser is saying “I am the one who knows everything in this situation, and I’m telling you what you should think. Stop looking at all the pesky facts and think and do what I tell you.” Regardless of the genitals the abuser possesses, the idea that one person holds all the cards in a relationship is SYSTEMICALLY aligned with top-down — one party holds all the cards — everyone else should be obedient and subservient — style of thinking. Patriarchy isn’t about penises, it’s about systemic abuse of power. There’s no greater expression of the system of patriarchy than a pat on the head, a set of commands, and an expectation of unwavering obedience, all from a person who thinks “I deserve this because I am me”.

    Ergo, nothing is more systemically feminist than telling a person who is trying to think for you and tell your own thoughts to shut up that THEY can shut up, because you have reviewed all of the facts, not just the pretty ones, and drawn your own sensible conclusions.

    You aren’t required to negotiate with assholes. You aren’t required to accept their bullshit. You aren’t required to respond in their desired timeframes. And you aren’t required to figure out whether everything they’ve spewed out is true before deciding you don’t want to be around them. In short, you don’t owe yourself — your thoughts, your attention, your time, your heart — to anyone.

    THAT’S feminism, HA.

  • Excellent column. I would only add, perhaps as an outlier: My cheating ex wife used me as a husband appliance for 22 years. Then when I finally divorced her, she married one of her more pathetic but relatively high-earning and easy-to-manipulate (much younger) APs.

    Some women cheat, not as accomplices to the patriarchy, but as users and abusers in their own right. Maddeningly, I think my ex would say that, to some degree, the patriarchy justifies her conduct, that it’s a kind of historical gender payback. To which I say: some people are just assholes.

    • I’m a bit confused about how secretly dressing up in Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie and performing Cirque du Soleil gymnastics on hotel ottomans with empathy-impaired and apparently intellectually compromised randos constitutes “speaking to power.” Was she reading aloud from Betty Friedan during these escapades? And I’m curious about why she chose you as the main enemy target. Were you out body blocking women on voting lines? Does dummy OHubs know his marriage was just a tactic drawn from Machiavelli or Sun Tzu to bring down the patriarchy?

  • OW is a sample of a feminist only where it serves her. Sports teams, hiring quotas, college admission, career pay parity, equal rights and maybe a few other interests closer to getting her needs met. One can be a feminist in name only but without character, conscience and courage as her bedrock, she’s reduced to a con with a feminist reputation.

    You just keep on being you. Your feminist values are authentic, genuine and legitimite. Good character gets you a long way in life; reputation never can.

  • At their core, FW’s and the AP are delusional hypocrites. Their main ploy is to create a narrative that will always suit them to portray a victim (image management). They will use whatever traits or beliefs you have against you; beliefs that they once lauded you for having. This is mindfuckery. My ex used to boast to others about my level of education; at the end he used to belittle me (in front of our impressionable daughters) by scoffing “…a degree in women’s studies…” (ironically, it wasn’t). The OW publicly posts cringey motivational Monday feminist and religious quotes. At first, I was livid but now I fully see as shallow, immature and delusional hypocrites. Their actions will never match to their words as they just don’t nor won’t ever understand…it’s who they are…and most importantly, it’s who I don’t ever want to be or be around. Our situation sounds very similar in that it was years and years of insidious gaslighting and abuse. In my situation, it has taken time and lots of counseling to get over what I was told was PTSD in order to find myself again and realize that I like who I am and my beliefs. Sadly there are assholes out there who are incapable of changing because they don’t have enough self-awareness to consider anyone but themselves.

  • There are bad people in both sexes everywhere. No institution or movement is free of them. You have to develop an early warning system which works for you to detect the empty people who use words to pretend they support causes. Watch their actions. Look at their life choices. Good people don’t deny their past bad life choices. Good people pick up the pieces of their shattered realities and rebuild their life while staying true to their principles. Good people learn to deflect words used against them — like shields of truth that cause the accusations to bounce off because they have no basis in reality. Just remember that war is war, and even a war of words will cause trauma. You cannot stop people from accusing you of ridiculous things — you can learn to ignore it, and them, and/or hire legal professionals to represent your interests.

    Years ago, my mother and I had an argument about words. She was raised in a FOO environment that was obsessed with “what the neighbors would think.” She lived in a small rural community where most of the neighbors were related in some way, and all of them seemed to have an unhealthy interest in things that were clearly none of their business. My mother lived a remarkably feminist life, for her time, but she NEVER called herself a feminist. She told me not to label myself a feminist, because people would think I was a lesbian. Not to say I was a liberal on any issue, because people would think I was a communist. I know these are ridiculous conclusions that incorrectly relate two unrelated things — but this was her thought process. She was a brilliant woman with a Ph.D. in Botany, she worked all her adult life, and she raised 5 children. I admired her accomplishments, but I was sad that she could not overcome her FOO belief system. She was taught from an early age to praise the people and institutions which oppressed her, and she could never overcome this cult like influence. Her actions did not match her words.

    I do not consider my mother a bad person. She was not empty; she had many admirable principles. But she could not speak her mind. She was too indoctrinated. I choose to concentrate on her accomplishments and ignore her words. It breaks my heart that she cannot speak the truth about her own life. But I cannot change that reality.

    I live in a state which has a female senator, who goes about crowing that she is the first woman senator from our state. She never told us about her position on any issue during the campaign, never answered direct questions, never has done a single thing to promote any feminist issue. She mouthed several party-approved sound bites throughout her campaign, over and over. She was elected because of the party she represents, a party that IMHO does not represent the interests of women. She may be a female, but she does not represent MY interests, so her sex is irrelevant to me. She represents the patriarchy which represses feminist values. I consider her to be a bad actor.

    Am I a hypocrite because I give my mother a pass, but not this woman? I don’t think so, because I know my mother had to overcome many obstacles to achieve her life goals. She never crowed about her success as a “woman”. Her success was due to her actions and hard work. The senator, on the other hand, tries to use her position to represent a false flag of “tolerance” for her party of choice. IMHO you cannot use words to say you are something you are not. As CL stated clearly, calling yourself a jelly donut does not make you a jelly donut.

    I go out to vote even though I know I am a minority in my political opinions. I speak my mind. I live a life which represents my values. I don’t care what the neighbors will think. I don’t provoke conflict, but if someone calls me something I am clearly not, I challenge their ignorance. Some of the things I have been called (lesbian, communist, etc.) don’t bother me at all, because I see nothing wrong with being either. If people want to believe “bad” inaccurate things, I cannot stop them. The truth of my life is evident and easily researched by anyone who is a “fact-checker.” It took a long time and a lot of work for me to get where I am in my life. I had to establish and enforce boundaries. It is not easy, but it is possible.

    My advice to Angry Woman is to reject the notion that all people are bad actors and embrace the notion that there are good people of both sexes in this world. She needs to channel her anger, a powerful force, into building her own life. Stop spending her time thinking about bad actors or trying to save them. She has plenty of things to do besides wasting her time worrying about empty people. She is not responsible for their actions. She needs to speak her truth, and let her actions show who she is to anyone who is interested in checking her out. What the empty people say or do is irrelevant.

  • In the immortal words of the friend who summarized for me the difference between sexual consent and sexual assault, “If you hit somebody over the head with a frying pan you don’t call it cooking.”

  • I know/knew many examples of this kind of woman. It’s baffling, its madding, its totally unfair. But there they are.

    I judge people by their actions, and then label them accordingly. Don’t tell me what you are, show me. ‘Cause I’ve been gaslight for far too long by many, many people. “Whatcha gonna believe, Baby? Your lying eyes or me?” Paraphrased from the play/movie “Chicago”.

  • Yeah. There’s some kind of brain twist that equates sexual liberation with an anything goes attitude that rationalises affairs with married penises. I have a dear friend that spouts a powerful feminist creed ad nauseam but falls apart when she breaks up with the current boyfriend. Serious depression and clinging to every available friend…until she finds the new guy and then I only hear from her when it’s a couple thing. Or when I get an earful about how Mr Perfect turns out to have no resources, job, assets etc and freeloads off her but fair’s fair so that’s ok because men support women too… I’m not sure if any of them were married but they were all ‘better than nothing’. You would think enlightened thinking would lead to enlightened actions – but it doesn’t because humans are contradictory and loneliness and selfishness leads people to dark places. So for OP, your experiences with your fw and OW doesn’t have much to do with feminism, really. And certainly not yours. It’s a flat out character and integrity issue. Cheaters lie because they can’t handle the truth.

  • I hope Angry Woman has gotten her mojo back. Tracy, you summed it up perfectly when you said “If we are to be fully human (and this goes for ALL humans, wherever you are on the color, gender and orientation rainbow), you must accept that some of us are going to be assholes.”

    That’s it. That’s the whole truth. Everyone should assume that any group of humans will contain a few assholes. I dunno what the percentage is, but 99% of the time there’s at least one even in a very small group.

  • Q. How many legs does a dog have, if you call a tail a leg?
    A. Four. Because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it true.
    –Abraham Lincoln

  • I was told I was secretly a bigot because I didn’t accept his sudden polyamory. I’m a very open-minded person, but this behavior within our relationship was not acceptable to me. The OW is huge on social media and everyone always says how wonderful and kind and intelligent her views on feminism and women are—this certainly added to the mindfuck. I thought, was I just not as enlightened as her? Look, my ex gaslit both of us, but when I spoke to the OW years later, she said to me how my ex would paint me as crazy and beyond jealous. Ok, but even if that was true, as such a poly expert as she claims to be, shouldn’t that have raised some red flags to her?? That perhaps I was not actually on board, or DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT HER?? Come on. She knew, she was playing the game. She didn’t give a shit about her fellow woman then, she could have cared less about my feelings. These people just suck.

  • Love this CL! I’ve come to believe that cheating is a power move. My FW said things like “you are too generous. You made me feel like a man-child.” This f’d with my brain for a long time. It is the one thing that I am- generous. I have analyzed that upside down-a power play by me? Lack of boundaries by me? I finally accept that my generosity is how I show I care. It is not a bad thing. It makes me happy to use my substantial resources (talent, education, finances) to help friends, family and others. How others receive that is not my business. Isn’t that feminism? The freedom to decide how we want to show up without constraints of society arbitrary rules based on our sex? If you want to be a SAHM and can afford to do so-do it. If you want a career-do it. If you want to give all your resources away and live in an ashram, do it. Hugs! Set yourself free!

  • “FW, her boss”? I am old enough to remember that ending sexual harassment and predatory male entitlement in the workplace were OG feminist issues.

  • If there’s some way to say all of those issues in a few words is:

    Ideas are not the problem, people are.

    Personally, I tend to move away from radical ideas or movements that purport to be something that may provoke turbulent social dynamics without considering humanity in present time. It’s commonplace for problematic people to use any “-ism” against one or many people, and take for granted to get what they want, selfishly.

    Formal logic says, that ideas are the problem and not people (this is why argumentum ad humanun/hominem exists, whichever you prefer I don’t mind at all) , but, in real life, some people are REALLY the problem, and will use any idea as they see fit, whenever they see fit and with whoever they may or might think is an individual, or social groups in particular, as “enemies to the cause”. That’s the very same way societies decay, crumble and are reborn. I insist, we must get out of social dialectics! it’s just a form of psychological manipulation…

    For me, chauvinism and feminism alike, and patriarchy and matriarchy alike, are just restrictive forms of retrograde sexism. Once again, it is the confusion and the inaccurate projection of ideas from terrible people that falsely translate into the mirroring of specific human flaws particular to assholes, than the ideas themselves, and that’s why it’s imperative for Angry Woman to get away from the notion that ideas make people, when in reality, people make ideas and rehash them and use them as they see fit, instead of finding the epistemological reasoning behind without biasing too much into extremes. Humility is a powerful value. Hubris is just an explicit form of philosophical egotism and self-importance. Humility does not imply self-harm nor low self-esteem, nor letting other people step over and control. It implies self-control.

    Every single human construct, every interpretation no matter how successful for broadening our sources of knowledge, from science, to philosophy, to religion, to nihilism, all of them are partially inaccurate by their very nature, and it’s up to us to humble up and understand that we need to learn how to be our better selves in this complex universe, without tethering way too much to our cherished philosophical constructs and look for real virtue in practice. So whatever you believe (even “lack-of-believers” who are actually just replacing a belief system for another), it needs to be more “flexible” and “holistic” in the sense of raising awareness without being too quick of taking sides… or else, it becomes another FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), and just another way of going into the social dialectics bandwagon and that’s precisely the thing that needs to be avoided.

  • Cheaters want nothing more than to mess with your head and cut you to your core. They thrill in chaos. They want you to question yourself. They disguise themselves claiming to be the good things that the chump is (mother, feminist, etc.) for many reasons. It gives them a cloak to get past your radar. “Of course you can trust her! She’s a feminist/Baptist/Democrat/Wisconsinite/Prius driver like you!” For the pick me dancing OW, it makes her feel she is like you. Like whatever magical qualities you have that made FW attracted to you can rub off in her. OW are often so eager to BE you. To step into your life. They are like hermit crabs only they take up with your mate and want to kick you out of your home rather than find available mates and homes.

    It makes you question your own beliefs when the reality that they are demented cheaters sets in. How can I believe in X system or religion or drive a Prius if there are other Lutherans/atheists/Republicans/Prius drivers in the world who are complete narcissistic assholes? As CL said, you have to accept that not every Jew/Libertarian/Volvo driver is a good person. It does not reflect on you or the religion or movement. And you also have to accept that some people are make believe Christians/environmentalists/feminists who don’t really believe in the teachings and platforms of X thing. They wear it like a garment they find fashionable to get what they can from it.

    It sounds like this woman is a “feminist” because she like to post platitudes about feminism on her Pinterest boards. Because FW says she has a job and is sleeping her way up the corporate ladder. Maybe she holds a card with NOW. Who cares? Not everyone who goes to church actually practices what Jesus taught – to do unto others as you would have done to you. There are many posers and hypocrites in the world.

    The identity crisis it can give you can shake you to your core. At the end of the day, you were a chump in their game and nothing more. It is a shame when you realize that not all women can be trusted. It is sad that there is no universal sisterhood. If there were, there would never be female cheaters and OW. If all women were incapable of being that narcissistic, well, it would be a lovelier world. But that isn’t the reality we live in. The reality is that there are backstabbers, con artists, and cheaters in every country, religion, and philosophical category. The OW is just one flavor of evil person that exists in the world and often one facet of their evil nature. If someone is a FW or an OW, I expect they are cheaters in the other aspects of their lives as well. They hide money on their taxes, drive recklessly, and steal office supplies. Being a FW or OW is just one part of their horrible. It’s why I have said that even if I knew klootzak would never cheat again I would still divorce his ass because he is such an awful person. I’m sure I am one of many people in his life he has preyed upon. But I digress.

    OW was involved over a long period in wronging you, Angry Woman. She is a piece of shit. She can call herself the Queen of Sheba but she isn’t. What she is or isn’t is completely separate from who you are and what you believe and practice. Her claim to your beliefs being aligned is just plain wrong. There are assholes in the world and she is one of them. It really does wallop you upside the head that you can be so mistreated by people you did not wrong. It’s unjust. It’s the injustice we have to accept (don’t wait for the karma bus) and walk away. If we dwell on it, if we let it mess with our minds, we continue to lose. It is really hard to just accept what is and move on, but it is the only way forward to meh.

    • “OW are often so eager to BE you. To step into your life. They are like hermit crabs only they take up with your mate and want to kick you out of your home rather than find available mates and homes.”

      I think OW may become “hermit crab” in my mind now. That’s perfect.

  • Dear An Angry Woman:

    I am a strong, intelligent, well-educated and financially independent woman, and I believe in supporting other women to be whomever they want to be and to do whatever they want to do.

    Call me disloyal to the gender, but all this talk about “feminism” makes me gag. Sorry, not sorry. Your situation has NOTHING to do with feminism, and trying to make that square peg fit into a round hole has really clouded your judgement.

    What we’re talking about here is good old-fashioned CHEATING, LYING AND BETRAYAL. Your shock and indignation at being screwed over by another woman is well, surprising.

    Why?

    * Because this isn’t about upholding The Girl Code.
    * Because your husband is a sad, predictable, run-of-the-mill FW who is having way too much fun stirring up trouble and doesn’t want to holster his dick.
    * Because his coworker is a common gutter whore who probably lost her moral compass ages ago in the office utility closet.

    P.S. If you open “The Cheater’s Handbook” to Page 172, you’ll see both their photos displayed in Exhibit B.

    • My Red Sandals: 100% agree with you! I see it as purely a low character, cheating, lying and betraying issue. This “friend” (not friend) didn’t break any girl code, or feminism rule, she broke the basic human morals, scruples and decency code with your lying cheating spouse. She’s not even a decent human, it has nothing to do with what sex her toxicity emerged from. Male or female ,they both just basically suck.

  • More of the shit sandwich of being a Chump. It is sad that being cheated causes some Chumps to question many of their core beliefs and values. Having been on this site for 10 months It is MY OPINION that most of us on this blog are moral and ethical to a fault. We see the good in people and naively attribute that others follow the same moral and ethical code. We project thinking everyone is like us. Unfortunately most people are out for themselves and are not ethical. It appears that FWs will use any tactic to get ahead at any expense. This behavior is incomprehensible to most Chumps and leaves us questioning so many things we thought to be true. More theft from the Chumps.

    Season’s Greetings to all of you, my moral and ethical friends

  • Might I suggest a move to radical feminism, which excoriates hypocritical “handmaidens” and “pickmeishas” who undermine the sisterhood by performing supposedly progressive, enlightened, #girlboss feminism.

    • Blessed be the fruit. 😉

      I really appreciate how FDS breaks down the porn industry and rejects the reigning “sex work is work” tagline. It’s made the group some powerful enemies. That’s actually how I first found the group and shared it with my teen kids– after reading one of several hit pieces on FDS in the pseudo-lib publication Vice Magazine. Since Vice is Murdoch-controlled and Murdoch’s empire invests in streaming porn and FDS coverage like this comes up first on Google ($34b invested in streaming porn), I thought to myself, “Ooh, all that to squash some little subreddit. Must read!”

      Even if Vice wasn’t tied to porn and the most powerful, radical right, warmongering media empire on earth, it’s pretty clear why publications like Vice mischaracterize the group. Corporate backed media that present themselves as “liberal-leaning” tend to grub credence for this by hijacking progressive movements and causes like feminism. But like Chomsky said of the NY Times, the hijacking is really in order to harness and limit these movements, setting the bounds of liberalism as “this far but no further.” It’s just a clever way to kill momentum since when has any humanist venture made headway while staying within bounds that are acceptable to the oligarchy and corporate interests?

      Anyway, I may not agree with every individual perspective on FDS but I think it takes guts to consciously go beyond what the media defines as “acceptable” feminism. It’s sad that Andrea Dworkin died heartbroken and discouraged so it’s good to see her work being evoked again.

  • Hah, I love that “Vichy women” bit. There’s a great quote from “Handmaid’s Tale” author Margaret Atwood: “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.” I’d add that an idea isn’t responsible for the people who expediently pretend to believe in it if it gets them what they want or acts as cover for their creepy, unstated agendas.

    There was definitely a hypocritical, mutated, effed-up-beyond-recognition feminist theme woven into my chump experience. When FW was descending into secret alcoholism, his main drinking buddy was a lesbian and supposedly feminist “work wife” who, in exchange for free booze, grub, ski trips and work perks, sucked up to FW rabidly and called him “Captain” just like her tradwife, alcoholic mother called her radical righty, alcoholic dad. While FW would ventriloquize feminist-y soundbites he’d learned from me in order to help work wife reconcile her disgusting brown nosing with her self image as “feminist,” the work wife played beard and pimped various office doorknobs until she managed to hook FW up with one who’d actually bonk him. Then the work wife naturally expected FW to get her a coveted position and, when this effort failed, she was pissed and huffily punished the AP who was now getting the attention she wanted for herself. The whole thing reminded me of the film “Raise the Red Lantern” but I think the irony was lost on this clump of disordered hypocrites.

    Once he discovered the AP was about as intellectual as a bag of wet mice, FW rolled back the extraneous feminist lip service and instead began complaining to the AP of my “radicalism” by way of painting me as a fire-breathing ogre. After D-Day when so much dirt came out, I thought it was funny that, at first, the AP had apparently fallen into the hubris trap of trying to counter the feminism that FW complained of in me by kissing his ass, yes-yessing him, playing “bangmaid in the shadows,” performing degrading porn gymastics, listening to his boring, drunken mansplaining with rapt attention and washing his socks without complaint. She was too stupid to understand that cheaters can count on APs’ competitiveness so that complaining about chumps is really a means of grooming APs to be self-negating fill dirt.

    But when the AP’s groveling and simpering didn’t seem to be getting her anywhere and FW started using a new excuse why he couldn’t dump his family– that I’d had to quit work to care for our then-disabled son– the AP did a 180 and jumped on what she thought was a new wedge and a new angle to compete. After plying FW for tens of thousands of dollars in bistro/bar sprees and weekend vacations paid for out of family assets, this creature called me a “parasite” who should “go get a job” lol. To give a touch of realism to her new feminist pose and to prop herself up as a career oriented “feminist” to shine in comparison to my supposedly parasitic SAHM status, the AP actually started paying for a few affair-related expenses. She even got herself onto a panel of women in industry and did some group video presentations that my lawyer sent me the links to along with a laugh emoji. The video presentations were hilarious because the AP couldn’t stop “what abouting” every time there was mention of certain types of inequality in the field. When another panelist brought up the fact that women with full time careers statistically still do more childcare and housework, the AP’s head practically spun around and, in her gerbil-y, upspeaking, bimbo voice, she insisted that men also make career sacrifices for their children!

    Awkward. Imagine if the panel was addressing racial inequality. It’s not that, say, the woes of the white working class have no place in discussions of race but what-abouters who simply can’t let any mention of racial inequality go by without pointing out how white people also suffer tend to be viewed with suspicion. For all her momentary feminist posturing, it was the fact that the AP repeatedly back-stabbed younger, prettier women at work that eventually led to a couple of whistleblowers contacting me and spilling the beans. Also it seems the AP got drunk at a work event and confided in the wrong person that she was trying to get– oops– pregnant. Yikes, shades of Fatal Attraction. The workplace “Deep Throats” thought the AP might be nuts and dangerous. After D-Day when FW discovered the AP had been blabbing and he dumped her, she apparently did another 180 and started going back to church with her fundy parents as if bible-thumping, flowered tradwife swing tops and Jesus memes might cleanse her tarnished rep. Thankfully her new presto-chango personality didn’t veer into bunny boiling.

    So, sort of like playing “Where’s Waldo?,” can anyone tell me “where’s the feminist” in the above scenario??

    When I got temporarily dragged into the RIC fiasco, it probably didn’t seem like I was much of a feminist either but, as most male chumps know, being blindsided and momentarily paralyzed has very little to do with gender politics but more of a general “What hath God wrought in humans?” existential crisis. All the same, all the mutant feminist posturing and themes involved in the affair could have been really confusing but, since I’m second generation feminist, my parents had already been through lot of disillusioning experiences that temper into a more nuanced, grittier, less Utopian and idealistic strain of commitment to a cause. They’d also long ago lost that illusion that doing good deeds will make make the world nicer to you, which is sort of like thinking bulls won’t gore you because you’re vegan. My parents had also laid the groundwork for pondering the existential crisis of dealing with wolves in “social justice warrior” clothing. I learned that people with personality disorders often cop “helping” or “hero” veneers because, as Jean Paul (“le FW”) Sartre put it, “Everything is permitted the hero.” Then because disordered people tend to lack any set character or principles, they can easily morph into whatever shape they think will get them what they want and then morph into something different when the stakes change.

    So a bunch of unstable grifters weaponizing feminism or occasionally posing as feminists when it served them didn’t shake up my understanding of feminism that much. There’s a poem by the late, great Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko titled “Snow in Tokyo” about a housewife who starts painting as a hobby and inadvertently launches a feminist rebellion which becomes a movement and quickly spins into warring factions riddled with human foibles. But the painter remains involved because:

    “…with all the listed drawbacks,
    this was indeed a rebellion
    and what rebellion
    ever got going without victims and other losses?
    And the artist, worn out in the struggle,
    continued, not only painting pictures,
    but also standing at the head of the rebellion
    which it was now impossible to abandon;
    for deprived of wisdom in its leadership
    it could turn into a rebellion against its own.”

    Written in the early 70s by a dude, the poem has a few clunky, patronizing passages but one thing it really gets right is that political upheaval is always subject to human flaws and corruption. In fact, expecting any marginalized group of people to NOT to be subject to every range of human flaw is a stealth form of bigotry because it demands that those seeking equality be not just generally morally equivalent to any other group of people on earth–i.e., to have the same percentages of assholes vs. good eggs– in order to “deserve” equality but morally *superior* to other subsets of humans. Other then being statistically less prone to murderous violence, I don’t think women are morally superior to men nor are they required to be to deserve basic equality.

    • ” I thought it was funny that, at first, the AP had apparently fallen into the hubris trap of trying to counter the feminism that FW complained of in me by kissing his ass, yes-yessing him, playing “bangmaid in the shadows,” performing degrading porn gymastics, listening to his boring, drunken mansplaining with rapt attention and washing his socks without complaint. She was too stupid to understand that cheaters can count on APs’ competitiveness so that complaining about chumps is really a means of grooming APs to be self-negating fill dirt.”

      It’s funny in my case because even as an outspoken feminist, “down with the patriarchy”, blah blah blah, and all the other crap OW spouted, she STILL played this role for FW. She was trying to counter his lie about me that I didn’t “appreciate” him enough. She hung on his every word and thought he was a genius because she’d “never thought of (XYX) that way”. Everything he said blew her mind. It was actually that she was just kind of dumb and inexperienced, not that FW was a genius, but that never occurred to her.

      • . She hung on his every word and thought he was a genius because she’d “never thought of (XYX) that way”.

        “Everything he said blew her mind. It was actually that she was just kind of dumb and inexperienced, not that FW was a genius,”

        Or alternatively, she was a manipulative bitch who didn’t actually believe a word of it, but knew she was onto a good meal ticket and said whatever your fuckwit wanted to hear.😂🤮

        • I don’t know. It could be. But from what I saw (which, unfortunately, was a lot), it was genuine adoration and hero worship. And SHE gave HIM money – over $30K. She just believed in him SO MUCH. She thought all his problems were MY fault and would disappear once we got divorced (LOL). She also left her husband for him, even though they had two kids, owned a home that was nicer than ours, etc.

          If she thought FW was a meal ticket…LOL. He was broke as shit. The life she wanted (mine) – that was all my doing. Yes, FW made more money than I did for most of our marriage, but he had NO IDEA what to do with it. I managed getting our home, our cars, savings, everything. He didn’t have a clue. Which became apparent after we split. My bank account grew, and his shrank, even though he and OW were sharing expenses and both made good salaries, while I was on my own.

          I think she’s a bitch, but I think she’s more a delusional bitch than a manipulative one. She clearly had low self esteem, and when FW showered her with praise, she just fell head over heels. Although I’m not sure who really started it all. I think she may have made the first move and manipulated her way into his orbit. I think she wanted to get away from her husband but was afraid to be on her own. (She said her ex was emotionally abusive, but she got the “out of the frying pan and into the fire” by ending up with MY ex, who was verbally/physically abusive; and having seen a lot of OW, I’m not sure SHE wasn’t the abuser in her marriage). Who knows? It’s all over now. They were both assholes. She eventually left FW. He’s dead now. I’m very happy in my new life and glad I escaped that hell. The whole affair is rather hilarious in retrospect (NOT at the time, though).

  • Oh dear god, Phyllis Schlafly. I saw her speak in person in the late 70’s shortly after I got stationed in Washington DC. It was a debate with a feminist — I think, but I’m not positive it was the head of NOW Eleanor Smeal. I was gobsmacked when Phyllis’ emotional tactics won the applause of the audience and her debate opponent was booed every time she got up to logically speak.

  • I’ve been following a guy called Robert Torbay on Quora. He says to triangulate with your own great life. I love that. Go out and have a great life.

    On the issue of weaponizing values, my 20yo son is back home for, hopefully, a short while. He is my ex in his raw form. My son is all about power plays ~ he said himself he wants to be in control. It is very interesting to observe. He weaponises values too ~ I value honesty so according to him he can say whatever he wants regardless of whoever it hurts.

    They really are stoopid and not worth paying attention to. I hope my son grows up one day.

  • Just because you’re sitting in the garage, does not make you a car. A priest’s robe, evangelist pulpit, law degree, maintenance man or Indian chief, whatever name you want to call yours, does not make it TRUE!. I was told by my stbxh that it was hard to have a power tool in your pants and not use it. That sentence covers all the maturity you can ascribe to either party. My choices are, good- bye, no dancing, no contact, move on, heal. Thank you CL for putting feelings into words. Get angry, get real angry but live your best life. That is all the revenge I need.

    • A *power tool* ???🤣🤣🤣

      Oh boy. Delusions of grandeur. ‘Men’ who brag about what’s in their trousers don’t usually have much.🙄. What an arsehole.

      Well done you for getting out. xx

  • “Feminism is refusing to do the pick me dance. Feminism is building your OWN life independent of fuckwits. Feminism is supporting other women and having compassion for shared experiences”

    👏👏👏👏👏👏

    Spot on.

  • In a nutshell… Cheaters and OW’s are delusional. Their opinions mean nothing since their value system is tainted.

    As CL points out, cheating is a power play. The spawn from that power play carries no weight as it holds no value.

  • If the OW was a true feminist, she would’ve been eager to tell on FW with Chump-to-be to help a fellow woman. Not suck the dick of patriarchy.

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