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Shakira v. Schmoopie: The Timeline

Pop diva Shakira learned one of the basic laws of chump physics this week: It’s always worse than you know.

This blog is full of examples.

They were just holding hands at Bible study in the Motel 8. It was a 7-year affair.

She’s never met him. She’s pregnant with his kid.

He broke it off, years ago. Why are you punishing him by bringing this up?  It never ended. He just hid it better.

At a certain point, you stop untangling the skein and trust that they suck. But the early days of discovery are agonizing, as revelation after revelation keep sucker punching you.

Shakira’s intrepid fans made an interesting discovery — reviewing a 2021 Zoom interview with Gerard Pique, they discovered his “new” girlfriend Clara Chia Marti in the background.

Is this a wrinkle in the time-space continuum? Does Gerard Pique have early onset dementia after too many football hits to the head? Perhaps he forgot boffing his Chia pet in Shakira’s home. Or Claravoyent Chia Seed is just that forgettable.

Tabloid Page Six reports:

Page Six is told that Shakira is “devastated” after her eagle-eyed fans spotted her ex Gerard Pique‘s new girlfriend, Clara Chia Marti, in a zoom interview he did from home back in 2021.

It was shot at the home he shared with Shakira, and they were supposedly “happily together” at the time, we’re told.

A source told us that the “Hips Don’t lie” singer is “devastated to learn that this woman clearly felt at home in the house they shared with their children.”

Shakira was away traveling with their children when he conducted the zoom interview, but “they were very much still together at that time. It’s devastating for her to learn that this affair had been going on for a lot longer than she imagined,” the insider added.

((((Shakira))).

In an interview she gave to Elle magazine in September, she discussed how she put her career in second place for Pique and moved to Barcelona.

I had lived my entire existence as an artist, traveling non-stop, going to different places around the world, touring, doing shows, promotion, building schools in Colombia, and recording in different countries around the world. Even for the first few years of my relationship with Gerard and when I had my first son, Milan. I took him with me everywhere from the time he was 2 months old. I even remember breastfeeding him constantly on the set of The Voice.

Once Milan started school, at the end of 2014, I knew that my constant travel and nomadic existence had to be put on the back burner and my career had to be put in second gear. I knew that when he started school I had to settle down, plant roots in Barcelona, and be there for him and for Gerard and then later on for Sasha as well. As a soccer player, he wanted to play football and to win titles and I had to support him. I mean, one of the two of us had to make a sacrifice, right?

And so, one of the two had to make that effort and that sacrifice. And I did it. I put my career in second gear and I came to Spain, to support him so he could play football and win titles. And it was a sacrifice of love.

It goes to show, even global superstars eat shit sandwiches.

For those women like me who believe in values like family who had the dream, the big dream of having a family forever, to see that dream broken or shredded into pieces is probably one of the most painful things that you can ever go through. But I think that women, we are resilient. You know, we have this resiliency that is just innate in all of us. And we are meant to nurture and to take care of those who depend on us. So you ask me how I manage this. And I just manage, I guess, reminding myself that I need to become an example for my kids, that I need to be what they want, what I want them to become.

I know people like Shakira, or recent chump actress Toni Collette, probably have publicists telling them to take the high road. They don’t have the luxury of losing their shit. (I suppose none of us do really, especially those in custody battles.) That leaves Shakira’s fans to wonder.

And read between the politesse and further investigate this “new girlfriend” shit.

It’s always worse than you know.

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.
  • Oh yeah for sure it’s always worse than you know. When I started digging I uncovered a harem of schmoopies who knew nothing of each other even though some of them worked together and knew each other. He was that good at the double life thing.
    A devious ,cunning puppet master and stone cold sociopath. Still makes me shudder to think I was so duped by such a creature.

        • Yep, me too, 23 years married and 25 years together, WTF? We all know, that I’ll never really know the depth and breadth of it.

          • 26 years here. At the beginning of the relationship, I saw him with his arm round a woman’s waist when he was drunk. I should have walked then! But I didn’t so I’m working on happiness as the best revenge in 2023.

    • I really struggle with the anger I have with myself for getting involved with my ex. 18 years for me. I felt something was “off” with him, but everyone, I mean EVERYONE I asked that knew him said the same thing…..he’s just kind of a nerdy dork and harmless…..he loves you. UGH I wish I would have trusted my gut. Is there anything that helps you feel better about this? My therapist says my “wiser self” has to forgive my previous self, because I didn’t know that my ex was an evil sociopath, he lied and pretended to be someone else.
      It’s been three years since the divorce and I’m still so angry and disgusted with myself for being duped. I always thought of myself as being pretty insightful and now I’m embarrassed at how naive I was.

      • Please be compassionate to yourself. You demonstrated you were trying to be fair to him and were faced with everyone you asked that he was okay. Now you know that your gut is much better than most people’s at sensing a sociopath–good knowledge to have!

        In the workplace, I gave 2 men I supervised second chances they didn’t deserve instead of moving to have them fired because people sometimes do fix the problem and go on to be good employees. I was badly burned by both (continued subpar performance), and both wound up resigning in the end–one because he sensed I was out of patience because he continued to pull crap and the second one because he knew I had him dead to rights and was watching him closely so he knew he’d have to toe the line. I’m sure the latter was kicking himself because at the time, I was planning to give notice myself a few months later and he would have been someone else’s problem (and so he would have someone else to try to manipulate). I know many supervisors would have cut them off at their knees much sooner.

        So I live with regret that I didn’t act sooner. It would have saved me a lot of anguish, especially since I think the second guy worked to poison his colleagues against me. I’d never had problems supervising people before until these two assholes. But the regret, in a sense, punishes me a second time, so I try to shake it off. Besides, they were such jerks that taking action could have not turned out well (asshole #2 has an attorney wife and they’re a very litigious couple).

      • There was something “off” about ex but like you I felt a little sorry for him and he was just a nerdy dork.
        When I introduced him to friends and people at work and no one liked him. I thought that they just didn’t know him when in reality they probably saw right through him.
        He’d act like he was just a nice guy and girls didn’t go for nice guys.. I know now that was a con along with mirroring my values and pretending to be a family guy. A man of integrity as he like to call himself.

        I was conned for 23 years.
        It haunts me that I lived with an imposter for that many years. It makes me cringe.

        • I’m a case where others saw right through him, but didn’t tell me. One did, but in an insulting way which I dismissed. I struggle with self forgiveness too. So I remind myself how little I knew about sociopaths or toxic narcs. At school, we get fire drills, but not how to spot predators. Even the adults are overconfident and ill-informed. (Check out books like Carla Van Damn’s “Socially Skilled Child Molestors” or Anna Salter’s “Predators”.

          So many people believe in what I call the Star Trek treatment, that any miracles is possible with tolerance, understanding, and hard-work. Bad people are never so bad that competence can’t win the day. We never saw Star Trek visit the Planet of the FWs and say Nope. Wouldn’t it have been great is Star Trek characters went over a detailed list of how to spot the race of shape-changing FWs? Then admit that nothing works with them.

          When forgiveness is difficult, I remind myself that self-blame is right where the bad guy wants me. According to Don Hennessey, one of the primary characteristics that abusers look for in their targets is self-blame. This aligns perfectly with the abusers worldview that their target doesn’t deserve better. So forgiving ourselves is a F U to the abuser. It is also freedom from their evil, toxic perspective.

      • You tried to be a kind person who saw the best in him. There’s no reason you should be angry and disgusted with yourself for that. Humans are social beings. Sociopaths and creeps abuse the kindness of others. Never beat yourself up about having tried to be kind.

      • BlueChumparoo
        I know what you mean by the anger with yourself. I gladly left and divorced fuckwit but I still can’t get over the humiliation and embarassment of being an adult women with loads of smarts who fell for the crap. I really can’t discuss it with my adult daughters because I’m the one who had always modeled adult behavior to them.

      • I had that feeling, too. It took years for me to see how manipulative he is. I try not to beat myself up, though, because he put on a good act for a long time. I had never even heard if gaslighting or DARVO. I had no idea how textbook things like that are with people like him. I sometimes say to myself that I wish I could go into high schools and colleges and teach a class about these characters to try to prepare people. When I heard of dysfunctional people growing up, I thought that meant someone with addiction or mental illness. I had never heard of a monster that preys on your body, emotions, and mind. It’s a nightmare.

    • 24 years married and 28 together for me. Salesman of The Year had a 4 year affair that I was completely blindsided by. Unimaginable…..

    • Me too. Took my clothes for his lovers to wear. Even the dress I married him in. 25 years married and in discovery found lots of dinners and flowers and jewelry and trips he paid for with the equity of the house I bought, and multiple comcast boxes. Total soft con. sociopath , subversive . 2 1/2 years divorced I finally feel he’s gone and I’m in the clear and alone. Never gonna do that again. But he keeps going with his game.

  • On D-day 1 cheating ex-wife copped to one affair supposedly ending eight years prior. Within six months I’d learned about six likely long-term affair partners (hundreds of hook-ups with them) dating back to the start of our 22-year marriage. My psychologist explained: The personality traits that allow someone to carry on a double life form in early adulthood. If someone is doing this in their mid-40s, they were inclined to do it in their early 20s.

    Overcome the desperate impulse to “rescue” a period of time in your memory when you can believe the relationship was good. It’s a fool’s errand, because the person you had the relationship with is probably incapable of it.

    • Very true. In my case, cheater x FINALLY admitted that he was cheating from the time we were first dating, all the way through the 42 years of marriage and 3 kids.
      Initially, he only admitted to what I found proof of on his phone (meeting up with men he met on Craigslist).
      Of course, “it was the first and only time” because he was “curious”.
      He then trickle-truthed for months until he confessed to many meet-ups, several short relationships with coworkers, countless ONS and, oh yeah, a 10-year affair with the neighbor (which he only told me about because she was attempting to extort money from him).
      There were no periods of time when he was not cheating, so everything was a lie. Nothing to salvage from that.

      • Very similar situation here through 30 years of marriage. I knew of an infatuation with my cousin (who did NOT return his feelings in any way) but that was all I knew about. Cut to 30 years later and decades of lies, cheating and deception came to light. He trickle truthed me for months. There is ALWAYS more.

        • MollyWobbles, it’s helpful to me that you mention all you noticed was infatuation. I’ve largely quit trying to untangle the skein, so will never know the extent. But I noticed various googly-eyed infatuations throughout the marriage that I generally tried to explain away unless they were affecting me. I could have saved myself a decade if I took them seriously instead of waiting for a DDay.

    • “Overcome the desperate impulse to “rescue” a period of time in your memory when you can believe the relationship was good. It’s a fool’s errand, because the person you had the relationship with is probably incapable of it.”

      This advice is excellent, and probably is an accelerant towards trusting that they suck and reaching meh. If you believe (as I do) that the values that make up a person’s character are fairly well cemented by their early 20s, it’s easier to see that their lives are essentially one long con-job.

      • Yes. Mentally, I have thrown the whole relationship in the dumpster. I feel no need to parse out good moments for safe keeping.

        Once a person is found to be a liar, everything they ever said is suspect. As far as I know now, he cheated the entire time we were together (29 years, 26 married)

      • This was a moment for me – when someone said, “But, you have all those good memories to hang on to.” It stopped me dead in my tracks because it was the first time my brain made that particular loop….and there were no good memories. It was so black and white truth for me in that moment.

        I had 40 years of marriage and two adult children and their families I was super involved with. Yet, every memory was tinged with pain. I was their wife appliance. They all were always very clear that I was beneath them; there to serve and cook and clean and give hugs, child care and then become invisible when I was no longer needed. I had begun a self-talk loop when I was with them at what should have been family get-togethers, “it’s not about you, remember, it’s not about you.”

        Not to take anything away from true slavery, but a friend who is a history teacher made a comment to me that stuck at the time. Southern slave owner families LOVED their house mammy, the woman who raised their babies and cooked their meals and cleaned their homes. They would tell everyone far and wide how wonderful they were; just like a member of the family. But, did she sit at the dinner table with them? Did they buy her a Christmas gift! GASP! Of course not!

        It’s been three years since my divorce. I have come up with ONE good memory. He was being cruel and condescending to me, but it was a funny incident. That’s it. 40 years of marriage. One good memory.

        I was so stupid.

    • Nomar, I agree with your psychologist. Personality traits don’t change much over time, so we can presume that our cheater spouses/partners were betraying us for longer than we thought. They’ll only cop to what they think we know. [Note: we can also presume that they will not change for their new partners. This realization has helped me abandon the fantasy that he is skipping along merrily through a field of daffodils with his AP-now wife.]

      Mine, too, copped to only one affair–a one-night stand when we were first married. On, and lap dances. No doubt he betrayed me in one way or another throughout our mirage. I try not to think about it.

      What I learned before going NC is that he has his own cheater definitions for things. Maybe others can add to this Cheater Dictionary.

      *Double life: In his mind, having an affair for nearly 3 years, which involved lying to me every day, does not constitute a “double life.”

      *Cheating: When he slipped and wrote that he worried my lawyer would ask about “all the other women,” he then said that one-night stands aren’t really cheating because they aren’t affairs.

      *Lying: He said he lied about “only one thing” and the he HAD TO LIE because I would have been so upset and unforgiving. #myfault Oh, and lying, to him, is really just “pretending.” #manchild.

      • Love the cheater dictionary. Maybe a Friday Challenge at some point? Mine had these:

        1. Lying- I did not lie, that is my version of the base line truth.
        2. Adultery-It was not adultery because in my mind we were divorced years ago (they fail to give us notice that we were divorced)
        3. Friendship- I always give underwear, perfume and jewelry to my friends.
        4. Abuse- You abused me by not staying home with me 20 years ago when I had the flu

        I could think of more but some are way too whacky to believe.

        • ChumpedForANewerModel – same! Well-put.
          My D-day was discovering #3. He had subscribed to some underwear of the month club & I never got any! Surprise! That was the first thread. He tried telling me she was “just a friend” & – get THIS one – “Like a sister to me.” I turned back to him & said, “if that’s how you think one treats a sibling, I will never let you see our (daughter, 15 at the time) again.” Sick F-@#. He had given her a jackrabbit vibrator for Christmas (Classic schmoopie, her response was a vapid, “It has made me a better person.” ).

          30 wasted years here, 29 married until I could finally divorce his a$$. I try not to regret my decisions as they were based on a fiction, but I’m the only one who didn’t realize I wasn’t in the reality section. I have learned so much – THANK YOU, ChumpLady & ChumpNation!! My best decision ever was to not waste another second of my life with anyone who could treat me that way. I finally starting loving myself that day.
          Regretting learning important life lessons would only hurt me. I spent a good dozen years wrestling with addiction, and it was necessary for me to seek & find truth, myself, freedom. I now see this chapter as another opportunity to refine who I am and find deeper joy than the hologram I married.

          Sorry, Shakira. I guess it wasn’t my post-baby weight, after all. FWs gonna F.
          Love y’all.

      • I’d be surprised if this hasn’t already been a Friday challenge:

        “According to the Dictionary of My Fuckwit . . . ” with words/phrases and how they were defined by the FW in question. My guess is we’d have some real doozies.

      • I also heard that he “had to lie” because he was “scared” of how “mean” I could be.

        I would ask him to list times I was “mean” and he never had an answer.

        • Ex was forced to lie because if he told the truth he knows what a drama queen I am.

          Vocab.
          Cheating-is not cheating if we weren’t getting along. It would have been nice if he had let me know.
          Man of Integrity- Man of integrity says his integrity is still intact despite being caught telling blatant lies.

    • Great post Nomar. I agree. I was getting the trickle truth for weeks after DDay but at some point I stopped asking. I don’t have solid proof of how long the cheating went on in my 25 year marriage, but everyone thinks I’m in utter denial when I don’t believe it went on the whole time. My mind has trouble comprehending he cheated the entire marriage, but it’s probably just because I’m seeing it through my own honest lens. And yes, they’re incapable of being in a good relationship. I know now that my good memories are the love I was feeling inside myself- not the love directed towards me because there wasn’t any.

      • FKA you are so right about the only “love I was feeling was inside myself”. I have beat myself up so many times about how could I have taken all the crap for so many years not knowing his double life affairs went on for 40 years. I loved myself or I would have never been able to RUN when I found out just a little bit of trickle truth in his attempt to “save” the marriage. Absolutely nothing to save. I have thrown out all photos of us together or of just him. Very cathartic to get anything and everything related to him as far away from me as I can get it. A very pathetic sick limp dick 72 year old man! I have since married up and younger! Living my best life now. Thank you CN for helping me see the light!!

      • FKA
        With time and distance you’ll begin to see your relationship with clarity. Our minds want to believe they’re the person we fell in love with. The sad reality is that person never existed.

    • “It was only an emotional affair a couple of years ago” wasn’t the truth. Physical affairs with multiple men for the last 7 years of our marriage is what I found out although she never admitted to any.
      “Overcome the desperate impulse to “rescue” a period of time in your memory when you can believe the relationship was good. It’s a fool’s errand”.
      Only someone who has been through it can understand this. Well said!

      • “Overcome the desperate impulse to “rescue” a period of time in your memory when you can believe the relationship was good. It’s a fool’s errand”.

        So great! And it reminds me of this from CL: “It was a big shit stew and I was there trying to strain out the occasional dumpling going ‘okay, THIS was a good memory. I can salvage THIS’.”

    • They’ll only cop to what you know… My FW did one better and made a two-page typed list of all the women he DIDN’T sleep with.
      Uh… Thanks. Bitch cookie?

      • Ha! Flashing on the scene from album cover scene in “This is Spinal Tap”:

        Record Company Exec: “You put a greased naked woman on all fours with a dog collar around her neck, and a leash, and a man’s arm extended out up to here, holding onto the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it. You don’t find that offensive? You don’t find that sexist?”

        Spinal Tap Manager: “Well, you should have seen the cover they WANTED to do! . . .”

    • The thing about the “cheated the whole” time revelation is that it’s proof star-crossed wuv has nothing to do with cheating. In the lamentable RIC stage after D-Day, FW failed two polygraph questions on certain details of the one affair he copped to but passed the test on the question of whether he’d had physical interactions with anyone other than the AP. In early days– at least before I fully appreciated that anyone who’d start up with a partnered or married person is bottom of the barrel by definition– that lent to the lie of how “special” the affair was. Finding out about all of FW’s previous attempts to bang coworkers in a sort of descending order of character, attractiveness and basic physical health– including attempts that overlapped the affair– painted a much different picture: two losers who, despite best efforts, couldn’t score any better than they did. Even if FW had been more successful in dogging around it would only have underlined that impression.

      If asked (and if I feel like answering), I say FW cheated continuously. It’s technically true, has a more satisfying ring and also– fun bonus– robs apologists of the chance to project “wuv” as a motive.

  • So true. People came out of the woodwork with stories and names after they found out about my divorce. Apparently he was known as a “playa'” in his industry…even though he was married to me. Interesting how every comment/experience that seemed out of place at the time now adds up and make perfect sense.

  • Cheaters always have fuzzy math for their affair timelines. When my ex-h was ready to exit our marriage, he confessed to a 1 year affair with a howorker. I thought then that gee 1 year is a long time to lead a double life. Once he unexpectedly died of a heart attack post divorce, I learned that his affair was about 3-4 years long before our marriage ended. Cheater use whatever narrative serves them best.

  • D Day is bad. Finding out the extent of the betrayal was, for me, gutwrenching and soul crushing…I liken it to filling in the puzzle pieces to the largest puzzle in my life. Knowing your spouse is a cheater is one thing. Seeing the timeline to include things like engagement ring shopping, going house hunting, gathering with family and mutual friends is like a hammer to the skull. No matter the pain, it’s still important to remember that the betrayal was unacceptable before we knew all the gory details; the gore just confirms the extent of the disordered FW and OW/M. Once disordered to this extent…it just becomes a pattern to all aspects of their life.

    • I should add…by extent…I mean the convenient amnesia cheaters have about their timeline. Mine claims he started dating/moved in with weeks after separation. Reality check: 4 years of living double life.

    • Realizing the juxtaposition of cheating with life events is so painful. I also had the “discovering an STD test taken the month we went ring shopping.” I spent a lot of energy comparing clues to dates and had to eventually just cut myself off and trust he sucked.

    • “…filling in the puzzle pieces to the largest puzzle of my life.” THIS EXACTLY!

      D-day was both devastating and a relief. I finally confirmed what my gut was telling me. I wasn’t crazy. I had been gaslit for so long, I had started to question my own mind. Finding YEARS of emails, texts, photos, etc. was like I took the reality pill in The Matrix and finally was able to see the real world. (The RIC, I feel, put smoke and mirrors on again because it tried to sell me on how I had somehow caused this or contributed to it.) But that raw moment when you see it all and out it together made me want to vomit. My knees buckled and I collapsed to the floor. During our engagement? Right after our wedding? While we were trying to get pregnant? While I was pregnant? All those times that were supposedly happy times, the BEST of times, were now all sullied.

      I think when you find out how bad it is, how far it went, how it overlapped your life, is when you get the full “A ha!” of the puzzle being completed and also know deep down you have nothing to work with.

      • I think that I had the most careful Cheater on the planet. He behaved like a quirky dude from the very beginning and that was (tragically enough) something I loved about him. I now believe that his moments of non-cheating were lightly interspersed with endless cheating.

        But his behavior was the only tell…there were never notes, weird calls, unaccounted-for money, texts, clingy women friends, nothing…..and since there was never a CHANGE in his behavior (until the BIG Affair with Susan of Seattle) I was clueless.

        I now look back at his actions and see huge red flags. He was big into the “I have to work” and any questioning would have led to an accusation that I was a “non supportive military spouse” which was the worst thing in that subculture.

        Now, with clear lenses, I think that most of his quirkyness was likely Double Life Balancing and his rational was that he never wanted to get married thus I had chosen my fate and I sucked as a wife.
        It was All My Fault.

        He fessed up to VERY LITTLE. His denial was deeply entrenched.

  • It seems all we chumps get served is the constant buffet of shit sandwiches. After my second DDay, I found out so much crap it wasn’t even funny. So much info on Schmoopie #1 and also a couple of local Schmoopies and then hookers and happy ending massage whores as well. The trail seemed to go on and on. He was pretty good at keeping his double life secret but when it fell aparat, it crumbled. Glad it has been over for 1.5 months now. As a free man he can have as many Schmoopies his little heart desires. His primary Schmoopie will find out about the others in time. She won the prize, I hope she loves the shit sanwiches that come with her “winnings”.

  • Once a cheater always a cheater. The best comparative analysis isn’t about what we’re lacking.

    It’s about what we gain vs what they’ve lost. By the time #19 came around he was stuck with it. #ICK

  • It is interesting to me that she mentions “the dream”. We dream of the life we want to have, which is ok, until the dream interferes with our accurate perception of reality. We have to wake up from the dream to live in reality.

    No matter how much I dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer when I was a young girl, the reality was I did not have the body or skills needed for ballet. I had to accept that and find my real-life skills elsewhere. I might dream of understanding mechanics, or physics, but in reality, I don’t. Somehow chumps absorb the “dream” of a loving and true relationship from our culture and FOO, and then we blindly follow it. One day, reality catches up with us and we cannot ignore the warning signs anymore. When we investigate, as CL says, it is always worse.

    I believe that when chumps “fix their picker” we learn to temper our dreams with reality. It is ok to dream, but you cannot truly live in a dream. My idea of a perfect companion has changed considerably over the years. I don’t dream of a “Prince Charming” anymore. I dream of finding smart, funny, interesting companions, and I search for them in groups where I already share an interest. I have made good friends that way, tested over time and observation. I no longer dream of finding my “prince”, but I have not excluded the possibility of finding a true companion. I won’t ever rush into the dream anymore. I walk in reality. My heart lives in a much safer space here.

    • Well said, Portia! I too was conned into having the “dream life” but I was the only one working for it.

    • This is entirely unfair to all the people who held up their part in supporting the DREAM.

      Shakira wasnt just expecting passively for the dream to live out for her, she was INVESTING actively and expected RECIPROCITY.

      The onus is NOT on whoever nourishes a dream, but on those who actively DESTROY it.

      Let’s stop internalizing abuse, please!

      • I don’t believe I am internalizing abuse. Following your dream is not a passive activity. If you dream about something it is possible for you to have, it can become reality. Chumps actively believe in and pursue their dreams. Sometimes we have to realize and accept a particular “dream” is not obtainable. When you realize your partner is not investing or reciprocating, that is the time to wake up and realize you are dreaming a dream that is not possible to obtain. I never excuse the behavior of the FW cheater! The cheater abuses you by pretending to believe in the dream, while using you. However, you have to be the one who wakes up and refuses to be used any more. That is fixing your picker.

        You are not wrong to dream. You are responsible for continuing to let your dream control you when you discover it is not a shared dream. You are not “wrong” or “internalizing abuse” because you have to fix your picker and recalibrate your focus and actions. You are actively making a positive change for yourself and discarding a person or habit that is toxic for you. The onus for controlling your life is on you. No matter how much you nourish the dream you cannot control the partner you trusted and believed in to live up to the bargain you thought you made. Actions have consequences for dreamers and FW’s alike. Thats when the dream meets reality, and reality always wins.

        The RI complex sells the idea that your love will empower you to change the circumstances and the truth about your dream relationship. You have to change there, too. You have to fold your needs up until they disappear, and pick me dance until you fall down, and pretend the FW’s bad actions and intentions were “just a mistake” or a quest “to be more alive.” If you continue to believe in your dream with that person, IMHO, you are doomed to failure. CL says leave a cheater and gain a life. Leave a bad dream and gain a real life.

        • I always said as long as a guy comes home at night, isnt abusive, has a job, helps raise kids thats a great guy. I also like kind and intelligent people. My dream was very no frills and basic. Realistic, not lifestyles of the rich and famous, no romance novel. Building a life together, respect, commitment. Pretty basic. When those basic needs cant be met by the other person, what can you do? I dont think any of us are being unrealistic in our “Dream”. And I dont call my basic expectations for a person a dream. Nice, normal non- abusive person is not a dream. They actually exist! I know because we are all one of those!

          • I believe it was Velvet Hammer who said she loved the man she thought she married — the actual man was not part of her dream. She calls her relationship a mirage. In cases where your dream expectations are realistic, but somehow you end up with a mirage, you are dreaming about the wrong person. To be clear, dreaming is not the problem. For some reason the chump became entangled with someone who was not true to the dream, or the relationship. The chump has to change the dream of a wonderful marriage to that person. You wake up and realize that you are investing in a bad person who does not value you or the life you are living. That is reality. Wanting to love, and have a healthy thriving relationship is not a bad dream. Wasting your love on the wrong person is.

            My FOO culture taught the “stand by your man” dream. I grew up watching Disney fairytale cartoons like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. I thought I was choosing a good husband. But somehow, I missed the cheater and liar and financial phony part of the personality. Maybe I believed I could fix other people. I had a dream of working hard to build a life together. I did not see I would be the only one working. I had to wake up and accept the reality that the man in my dream was not the man I had married. I had to fix my picker to keep myself from falling into the same bad dream again.

            Finding out you made a mistake in judgement does not make you a bad person who does not deserve the relationship you dreamed about. It means you are human. You have to do something differently to protect your heart from your own vulnerability. That means you are a sane human. Continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different outcome, because you believe you did nothing wrong, seems like a high-risk dream to me. Self-awareness of your vulnerabilities is no different than choosing not to eat something you know you are allergic to. You are not wrong to have an allergy. It is just a reality. You are not wrong to love. Loving the wrong person causes a severe allergic reaction in your heart. Choose wisely.

        • Portia–

          I like the term you use– “recalibrating” the picker– because I’m not sure every victim’s picker was particularly broken to begin with, at least not compared to the norm. In a clinical and measurable sense, domestic abusers are often so skillful at mirroring targets and impersonating upstanding, loyal citizens and are able to maintain the ruses for such inordinate lengths of time that they frequently fool professionals. Once recognizable red flags begin appearing, victims may have already been frog-boiled, weakened and subtly blackmailed to the point that escape becomes daunting.

          If anything, the chump experience has made me realize that the average Joe picker isn’t fine-tuned enough to detect abusive traits soon enough to make a smooth exit and that, when relationships seem to work out, it might be more “luck of the draw” than most would like to think. If we want to be truly safe in our personal lives, we’d have to fine tune far above the norm. I can tell by bystanders’ reactions to someone who’s been chumped whether they’d be able to recognize the earliest warnings. Knee-jerk victim-blamers are either sitting ducks or abusers themselves. Bystanders who respond hinkily to stories of misfortune, as if someone just told them there’s no Santa– also sitting ducks. People who lecture victims in a “this would never happen to me because…” tone– sitting ducks. In fact, the only people I’ve encountered whose intimate relationships don’t seem precarious are the ones who don’t judge or patronize you on learning of your misfortune and instead tend to respond with a batch of supportive insights. The latter may never have been victimized by a partner but will always have acquired this wisdom through some other intense experience, whether professional or personal. And they’re usually just as happy to encounter someone who’s receptive to their take on things as the victim is to find a bit of support.

          Anything that makes us depart from the norm– even in the sense of gaining wisdom and calibrating defenses in a positive way– takes courage because it can put us socially at odds. In my experience, there’s actual social pressure against acquiring the degree of wisdom to be truly selective. If those “calibrated” views leak out in casual conversation, it can piss others off, make them feel threatened and defensive, be taken as “cynicism.” When you acquire real wisdom, you’re cutting down on the percentage of people you’ll easily get along with. Of course this has the benefit of weeding wheat from chaff and you can end up in much better company but it can be a somewhat lonely and painful process getting there.

        • portia… I followed the RIC for several years. I was completely in believing (yes empowered) in what I was doing toward my marriage. Honestly, that part gives me a lot of peace knowing I did so much. At least little regret except for getting / staying involved after the first major red flags waved at me. Luckily during this time I wasn’t living with him so I didn’t have to fold all that much of myself into the dark. Just mostly into a pretzel. Basically all it (the whole cheating thing) was swept under the rug because I was being the goddess of fun and light whenever we were together and not being a judge and jury. I kept hoping he’d get rid of OW and then what… looking back I’m not even sure what would have made any of it work.
          Thank goodness for LACGAL that came at just the right time. It opened my eyes t how humiliating it all was and that he wasn’t providing even the barest minimum to being a good husband. Overall he was/is just a good date.
          Now I have a real life and have so much peace of mind!

      • I get what you are saying.

        I worked my ass off to help my fw succeed, for his dream because I loved him and thought we would share in that dream, and also I truly believed in his dream and his committment to our marriage.

        As far as picker, I married at 18 (it was common in those days). The fact that we married young does not mean I had a faulty picker. Eighteen year olds just do not have the track record available to judge. We can argue 18 is too young to marry, maybe, maybe not. Lots of folks from my era, in fact most everyone I know have enjoyed long committed marriages.

        As you say the onus in on the con artist; not the victim.

        I didn’t need to spend years after being conned by fw to “fix my picker” My picker was just fine, and of course as a 40 year old was different and more mature than at 18.

        All of the folks I have allowed in my life have been fine folks, and have not conned me or treated me badly. FW conned me and treated me badly. He was the issue, not me.

        Self reflection is great and most of us folks with functioning moral codes do it automatically. FW’s not so much.

        • Susie Lee… I’ve never really like being told to “fix your picker” and take the responsibility on because I picked him (and didn’t say no.)

  • It is always just the tip of the iceberg you will see. Especially at first. I untangled my share of skein after FW abandoned. I agree with Nomar’s comment above
    Anyone capable of living a double life, does not suddenly develop that skill later in life. It is not a “mid-life crisis”. It is a personality disorder(s).

    • Agreed, Chumpadellic. We Chumps cannot defer to believing many of these Cheaters are bumbling idiots incapable of thoughtful process toward their goals. Many Cheaters, while appearing like the laughable scatter-brain known as the police investigator Columbo from years past, are very adept at cunning, diabolical, premeditated, systematic and stealth attention to detail that can bury a Chump.

      Double life living is personality disorder(s) personified.

    • “It is not a “mid-life crisis”. It is a personality disorder(s).”

      So succinct. I wish I’d trotted this line out every time someone told me that x must have been having a mid-life crisis.

      • It’s not a midlife crisis. It’s shitty character.

        I told fucktard when he came to pick up our child … after he got back from his six month, out of country, dial a bride quest:
        “I hope you got a character transplant to go with your new wardrobe”.
        Roles up like he stepped out of a European GQ photoshoot with leather fucking runners, skinny jeans, and Ray ban aviators. He was a 47 year old alcoholic drywaller blowing through our equity ‘cause … shitty character (and ugly fucking shoes).

        #FuckingGoof

    • Anyone capable of living a double life, does not suddenly develop that skill later in life. It is not a “mid-life crisis”. It is a personality disorder(s).
      Yes. It’s not that they change, it’s that the psychic energy required to keep the mask in place becomes too much, and it slips, revealing their ‘real’ self (if they even have one).

  • Welp, in case anybody ever wonders if they always “affair down” — dude lands an internationally acclaimed and accomplished woman admired by half the world for her talent and extraordinary beauty, and steps out. I mean, I know celebrities are just people, but there are standouts even among celebrities, and she’s surely one of them. One hopes a Wile E. Coyote moment of realization hit him, and he spends the rest of his life regretting this one.

    • As has been noted many times here, many beautiful, talented, and accomplished women, and handsome men ditto, have been cheated on, and many times the whores have been nothing in comparison to the betrayed spouse.

      It really doesn’t matter how beautiful/handsome/talented/accomplished a person is if they’re matched with a person of low character an no integrity.

      What cheaters get off on is novelty (you can become used to the most beautiful face, in time), and the thrill of deceit. They think of themselves as *entitled* to have whatever they want, whenever they want it. Sometimes that turns out to be a dirty little whore who has nothing more than the ability to stroke their ego for a time, who like them gets off on duper’s delight, and the queasy excitement of “we know something *you* don’t know”. Sometimes it’s a whore who’s beautiful, etc etc, but the core reasons I just outlined still apply. There’s something fundamentally inhuman about all these people, and they gravitate towards each other.

      The only ‘realisation’ that will ever hit this shitbag is if his whore turns out unsatisfactory in some way, or Shakira takes him to the cleaners (which I hope she does) and he’s landed with consequences he doesn’t like. Then it will be the usual cycle CL has described before.

      Poor Shakira. It must be a lot worse to have it all played out in the glare of national publicity. I hope she has true friends and family who love her, and I hope she kicks this fucker to the kerb, pronto.

      • Another reason that they “affair down” I think is that it takes too much effort for a FW to even pretend to live up to the values of partners with higher moral standards. That’s when they find a Shmoopie who “gets them” AKA someone with low self esteem or no standard. But you always get what you pay for.

        • Agreed. My fw’s excuses were that he “had a connection” with Schmoopie, and that he didn’t want to work on the marriage; he wanted it to be easy. Ann Landers said, “If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you’ll be married to a man who cheats on his wife” and that is enough karma for Schmoopie and FW in my book. Someone pass the popcorn.

          ALSO – FW so generously told me on his way out the door that I should work on my self esteem. I did. I got rid of a FW, and viola – all better.

          • “ALSO – FW so generously told me on his way out the door that I should work on my self esteem. I did. I got rid of a FW, and viola – all better.”

            FW texted me (could’ve been AP, always taking his phone🚩) “you should move on with your life, I am”…. Among other things I said “ I filed for divorce, pretty sure that’s moving on!”…

        • That’s very true. One of the things fucktard threw at me was “OK, I’m not perfect ! Not like *you* (sneer).”

          I replied “No, I’m not perfect, and I don’t expect anyone to be perfect. What I do expect is honesty.”

          But chumps aren’t entitled to expect anything. That’s the prerogative of the cheater 😡

      • I’d take it further. If you take abuser psychology into account, I’d say that the more intimidatingly commendable qualities anyone has, the more brutally they’ll be betrayed if they have the bad luck of getting hoodwinked into a relationship with an abusive personality. According to various DV researchers, abusers are typically reenacting whatever abuse they witnessed or endured as kids but with roles reversed, playing “powerful perp” as opposed to “helpless victim” as a means of “mastering” the traumatic experience. By the same token, abusers also tend to subject victims to the abusers’ own worst fears so the nature of the abuse reflects whatever the abuser fears the victim might do to them regardless of whether the victim *would* do such a thing. If the abuser perceives that a partner has qualities which are in high demand, they’ll campaign to a) destroy the partners’ sense of their own worth; and b) be more fearful of being replaced which can trigger a disordered person to make preemptive strikes. There’s a line from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that I think best describes the basic “death match” relational style of abusers: “…all I’ve ever learned from love was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.”

        There’s also the problem that highly commendable or unusually attractive individuals have that the only people who aren’t instantly intimidated into awkward or negging or otherwise stupid and off-putting behavior are too often cold-blooded predators.

    • Idiots don’t regret, alas. Or if they do, it’s for self-serving reasons that never reach remorse. That would require empathy and the ability to look beyond their own needs.

  • She probably paid the chia twit salary, too. And he will still get a big payout from her as well. Maybe alimony. There’s no end to the humiliation.

    • Welcome to my and every other breadwinner chumps world. It is the shit ice-cream sandwich served after the huge shit sandwich and side of stool fries, and dammit you have to clean that plate!

      • That’s got to change. I feel like divorce laws have been infected by cheaters. I don’t think people who were too gormless or innocent to demand pre-nups with airtight infidelity clauses or who couldn’t afford a lawyer to generate one when they were engaged should be financially punished. Evidence of cheating should automatically cancel alimony in most cases.

        (Climbing up on my soapbox) I keep piping in that chumps should get involved with shaping “coercive control” legislation and getting civil or criminal statutes passed because even if the act of cheating itself can’t be criminalized without causing bigger problems, the typical abusive patterns of behaviors that most cheaters engage in to facilitate betrayal may fall within definitions of coercive control.

        What’s more, if chumps don’t get involved in shaping this kind of legislation, I’m afraid the laws could end up booby-trapped with overly broad and “de-contextualized” definitions of conduct that risk framing victims’ common, understandably self-protective responses to abuse (such as searching for evidence of affairs on cheaters’ phones, etc.) as “coercive” or “controlling.” This happened with DV legislation in many places and was disastrous. If well-written, laws like these might act as a reminder to chumps not to lose their shit and veer into over-the-top reactions but wouldn’t act as traps to prevent chumps from protecting themselves or their children in normal ways.

    • She may well have a prenup, and I hope to god she does.

      The problem with laws designed to punish cheaters is that they can be weaponized against chumps – especially when the FW has more power and money.

  • I despise the trickle truth. When I discovered his online AP, who he planned to marry, I asked if he had sent her any money. At first he denied sending anything. Then he said he had sent money once or twice, but it was under twenty dollars. Then I found he bought gift cards, scraped the backs to show the numbers, and sent her photos so she could cash them. Then I found bank transfers, where he paid her $5K for “work” on his music. When he was desperate to come back into the house for specific clothing, I knew he had hidden something. Yup, hidden in his shoe collection were two plastic grocery bags full of more cards and receipts, including three Western Union transfers. The cards and wire transfers were $7K and $14K. He also got her credit cards and had paid $5K per month of her expenses, AND arranged for her to buy the latest i-phone and laptop at his expense. Each time I discovered something, he said he had forgotten, but that was all. Keep in mind this was over two months, and he’d never met or videochatted with her, and after their sole short call, he emailed that he didn’t understand a word and she sounded like a man.

    It all started when he left an email open on our computer inviting “her” to live with him, and others promising to pay for her school, her business and a baby, and to marry her. He initially insisted he was renting an apartment just so she’d have a place to stay a few days.

    He recently emailed me that he never physically cheated while we were married, and only had a few intense emotional relationships. Since I didn’t know about those, I assume that’s more trickle truth and they were actual affairs.

    I don’t respond to his emails or his voicemails begging me to visit him, support him, etc. Much as I’d like to believe his claims that we had many happy years (married for 40) and that he loved me, I’ve realized I can’t believe anything. I doubt that he can love anyone but himself.

      • Yes, and it comes in waves for many. I pulled the financials after I found out about the whore. While I was scrimping and saving, and not getting flowers, or even a birthday card, he was spending our funds showering her with gifts and dinners. That isn’t even counting the cash I know he handed over.

        Keeping side pussy quiet is expensive. Especially when your job is on the line.

        • My stbx refused to turn over his bank records, and then he died. So I honestly have no idea what money he spent on what. I do know schmoopie gave HIM money, so maybe he didn’t spend too much of mine. All I know is that once we separated our finances, I had so much “extra” money, even though my expenses actually went UP (since I was living on my own, renting an apartement that cost more than my mortgage, and living on just one income). So someway or other, he was draining me dry.

    • That’s one of the worst things, isn’t it. The theft of our reality, the knowledge that *everything* we thought was so, just wasn’t. I’m so sorry. xx

      • Agree. It’s interesting to me how the theft of my reality bothers me so much more than the image of those two having sex. Now (3+ years since becoming aware of the cheating), I can more or less shrug about the sex part. But the lying for years and the feeling that I was so trusting and vulnerable with someone who was untrustworthy causes trauma-induced flashbacks.

        I shudder when I think of how, the day before he planned to reveal his multi-year affair to me and tell me that he wanted to be with her because he thought he’d “be happier,” I complained of terrible back pain. A physician, x handed me a bunch of pills. Such was my trust that I swallowed all pills (6 or so) without question. I slept from roughly 10pm that night to about 2pm the next day. When he called me later that afternoon, he asked how I felt. “Drugged,” I responded. He said, “Well, you were drugged.”

        How easy it would have been for him to give me an overdose. He could have told people that I’d committed suicide. He would have gotten sympathy for having lost his wife. He would have kept ALL his money and the respect of friends, family, and colleagues. His kids would probably still be speaking to him.

        We are vulnerable when these cheaters want us out of the picture so they can be with their APs.

      • Yes the theft of reality- exactly! It’s the gaslighting like that that makes recovery from FWs very challenging. It’s like infidelity PLUS…

    • Wait so he only messaged her, no video calls or phone calls, and he was going to *marry her*? That’s even more disordered than the usual tale. Are you sure he hadn’t? He must have such massive attachment problems, holy moly.

      I really hope you’re ok. There’s nothing worse than actually cringing at your partner’s embarrassing behavior.

  • Per the Toni Collette link, her husband of two decades was photographed making out with his new schmoopie. “It is with grace and gratitude that we announce we are divorcing,” Collette posted on her Instagram Wednesday. “We’re united in our decision and part with continuing respect and care for each other. Our kids are of paramount importance to us and we will continue to thrive as a family, albeit a different shape.”

    Yeah, because nothing says respect for your partner like making out with another woman while she wears a string bikini with her butt cheeks almost bare. And nothing shows your kids have paramount importance like having them discover you’re cheating on their mom when their friends read about it in the newspaper.

    • Goodfriend I had the same reaction. I love Toni Collette and it would have been really refreshing for her to say, “I’m kicking my husband out because he’s a cheater.” That magnanimous shit in the article is annoying.

  • What a blow… to have strangers all over the world pick up on details of your abuse.

    Good looking out, I guess! I’d be grateful to have a flock of people pointing out inconsistencies publicly.
    But still, nothing makes it less traumatic

  • Cheating isn’t an option that crosses my mind.

    It was an option for Traitor Ex.

    He kept this fact hidden, and had I known about it I would never have dated him.

    Whenever it was that he acted on it, whatever he did and whoever he did it with is a moot point, except for that I need to know who the Whos are so I can put them on the Unsafe and Untrustworthy list and stay away from them as well.

    Just the fact that he considered it an option is what makes him a jerk and makes us incompatible. People who are cool with cheating should stick together, but unfortunately they like to pick from the pool of people who aren’t cool with it. Maybe the duper’s delight high is more intense that way?

    Wonderful people don’t screw around with people in committed partnerships, and wonderful people who are in committed partnerships don’t screw around. I wanted to be married to who thought he was. I want nothing to do with who he is.

    And the lower companions who cheated with him? All they will ever be are living proof that he has no respect for himself or others, and vice versa.

    • “Just the fact that he considered it an option is what makes him a jerk and makes us incompatible.”

      Exactly. #nutshell

  • The trickle-truth gut punches are horrific. Usually there is a primary AP, possibly several others, whores, massage-parlor happy endings, craigslist hookups, online correspondences while grooming potential APs, and hours and hours of porn (my xFW actually archived the porn he liked, which took up several hard drives).

    And that is just the sexual stuff. The other betrayals are equally serious: financial, people you thought were friends, family. Discovering that what you suspected – you were the one doing all the work – turned out to be true. And wondering what was real. Was his so-called happiness in your relationship as fake as his dating profiles?

    • Yes, this!!! I was doing so much work, and feeling sorry for him, and doing more work, exhausting years of working so f&cking hard! As dumbstruck as I was on Dday (so naive, totally dumbstruck), suddenly it at least made sense, and I remember saying, “no wonder you have been so mean the last two years” and “you have let me do everything around here.”

  • There have been some “aha” realizations since the split. Friends have asked me if I will ever ask him about those. He lied about our marriage being over (in his head obviously) and thus free to take up with Schmoopie. Therefore, this is a guy who would never cop to anything more. He would try & preserve his “good guy” bahaha image. Pointless then. Might as well carry on knowing that where there’s a tip of an iceberg, the rest of the iceberg is hidden & ready to gut open a ship! I won’t let his shittiness harm me anymore than it has. I hope Shakira has enough evidence of Pique’s shittiness (and of Chia pet’s too lol) & doesn’t waste anymore of her life wondering or looking for anymore. He ain’t worth it, babe. Sing that song 🎶

  • You never will know the whole truth. Most will only confess to what you know or you have 110% proof. My ex wife’s main affair last 6 months to 2 years depending on her stories. The other affairs were only “emotional affairs” but she refused to tell me with whom. She would only say she made “many mistakes”.

  • i don’t believe anything my X says anymore, as his words and actions do not align. in effect, i don’t need to ask anything else from him because he’d lie about some or all of it. i just assume he’s said and done a number of things to serve his own interests. the details aren’t of importance. i do, however, want to know the name of his GF (he’s not announced the relationship to the kids). i suspect i know who it is but don’t definitively know. #thatsit

  • One of the (many) things that ex-H said when he left for intern-AP was that this was a first-and-only-time thing. That he’d become a cheater but he hadn’t started out as a cheater and he never would be again, because it was just that he was struck by true love and felt he couldn’t pass up a chance at happiness. When I read all the “it was so much worse than I imagined” stories, usually they involve multiple affair partners or sex workers over many years or an affair that went on for much longer than it initially seemed. As far as I can tell, ex-H really did have one affair over 9-ish months, leave me, marry her and quickly have two kids. This seems to be a point of justification to him and others – like if it was really true love and only one person, that redeems it somehow.

    I’m not sure what my question is, but this is something I struggle with all the time. Was my hurt out of proportion to his acts?

    • no, your hurt was not out of proportion! Your ex SAID that it was a first and only time… do you have any proof that it didn’t go on longer? How did you discover it? Did he come to you and say he had caught feelings for the intern BEFORE dipping his wick? If not, he’s just a lying sack of… you know. Many cheaters try this line, but it’s not ever true, because their ACTIONS would have been different if it was true.

      • I guess I wonder – if it DIDN’T go on longer, if there WEREN’T others…does that make it less bad? He did tell me – he got me alone one day by saying that he thought we were financially ready to buy our dream house and needed to talk details. So I sent the kids off to his parents and prepared to discuss the next joyful stage in our life. Only, when we sat down it was actually “There’s no house, there’s no future, I’m in love with Intern and I’m leaving you.” She left her (new) husband the same weekend. It was a shit show. He’s a psycho – I can still picture the high/giddiness on his face when he told me. Like he got off on it. But as far as I can tell, no others. I’m not trying to start a pain olympics, but my experiences were so swept under the rug here (by friends, his family) with the true love/one time nature of the affair, I sometimes wonder if I’m justified in still hurting seven years later…or even ever really hurting.

        • Maisy, Yes, you are justified in your pain. He still lied to you, he still betrayed you, he even let you believe in the dream of a house and a future when he knew there would not be one. He let you invest in your relationship with him while he planned to leave you.

          Yes, you are justified! Even 7 years later to feel hurt. This all just sucks.

          • “He let you invest in your relationship with him while he planned to leave you.”

            I think this is the most painful part. The theft of life/agency. I still have some residual pain years later. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a good life, just that some pain is lasting. I definitely did not retain feelings for fw, his life with the whore became a full on public doomster fire. It became embarrassing that I was ever with him.

            But, when a major portion of your life is stolen, well it just leaves some permanent scars.

        • MaisyL, You have every right to feel what you are feeling. It does hurt like hell, but you were lied to, abused, gaslighted and everything that came with it. Your hurt is real, and it is okay to have that with you as you continue to heal. Have you had counseling or been able to talk about this to someone? After a long-term marriage, it can take a long time to heal but what he did to you was not deserved. Please never think that it was you or your fault. That FW enjoyed doing that. You are right that he probably was giddy with the duper’s delight when he actually got you for that final “talk”.
          You were a committed person who held up the marriage. You are the sane and honest one here. Give yourself credit. You can still hurt years later, it is perfectly okay as long as it doesn’t rule your life. The trauma of cheating is like a scar. That scar is going to itch and act up sometimes, that is natural. These FWs do a lot of damage and healing takes as long as it needs.

        • No, the fact that it was only one affair doesn’t make him any more redeemable. For 9 months he strung you along, then he dumped you for her, enjoying your pain. That is evil and your hurt is in proportion. You were treated with total disregard, contempt and cruelty.

        • A lie is a lie is a lie. His word is worth dog poop. There were no others? Why should we listen to a proven liar, especially about anything which makes them look better? Also, he obviously doesn’t protect “loved ones”, although he’ll punish & lie to cover that up.

        • MaisyL, Don’t worry about how long it takes to heal. I’ll admit that it took me 7 years to get over my first FW, father of my kids. The same long time to get past a boyfriend turned live-in who smacked me then stalked me (I left that one immediately). Then there is my first crush I was into for years and he wasn’t even part of my life. At 49 years old, here comes LCL and he’s cheating in the first couple years and I move out but hold on for like 8 years. As he’s still cheating with her. I’m far away and divorced, but I still have a big hole that is healing.
          Stop thinking about how long or if you are justified.
          It was your experience and your feelings. Honor them and yourself.

        • ’T go on longer, if there WEREN’T others…does that make it less bad? He did tell me – he got me alone one day by saying that he thought we were financially ready to buy our dream house and needed to talk details. So I sent the kids off to his parents and prepared to discuss the next joyful stage in our life. Only, when we sat down it was actually “There’s no house, there’s no future, I’m in love with Intern and I’m leaving you‘
          Abusive on top of abusive

    • MaisyL, no, your hurt is absolutely justified. Let’s say he really did have only one affair, he still lied to you, deceived you and cheated on you for nearly a year. Then he left you. He’s a piece of shit. He and the others you mentioned are also gaslighting you into believing that “twu wuv” caused this. Bullshit. To have an affair a person has to lie to their partner thousands of times. That has dick to do with love for either you or the AP. That’s a character defect. He’s a lying liar who lies and you’re better off rid of him.

    • It hurts because what he did was extremely hurtful. He chose to abuse you, regardless of his justifications for it or if he did with the assistance of one co-conspirator or with several.

      That he monkey branched, remarried and had children with the schmoops/co-conspirator is more an indication of his craving for new supply and attention than his stability or fidelity.

    • The ‘twu wuv’ thing that cheater apologists spout and seems to be the popular opinion now, always makes my blood boil

      Someone tried to convince me of this the other week and I wouldn’t have a bar of it

      IF they are soul mates why are they all so foul at DDay and throughout divorce proceedings

      Instead of quietly going away with Schmoopie with apologies to those they hurt and giving a generous settlement with as little fuss as possible, they spread lies and rumours about the chump, make divorcing them as difficult and expensive as possible and generally create carnage in the process

      Whether it was one affair or many, as CL says they act out of entitlement

      Entitlement isn’t love, just two vile, selfish people conspiring together

      • “IF they are soul mates why are they all so foul at DDay and throughout divorce proceedings

        Instead of quietly going away with Schmoopie with apologies to those they hurt and giving a generous settlement with as little fuss as possible, they spread lies and rumours about the chump, make divorcing them as difficult and expensive as possible and generally create carnage in the process.”

        Exactly. People who are genuinely in love don’t act that way. People in love are happy, not resentful and vindictive.

        • I gave my stbx an easy out to be with schmoopie – I offered to walk away from the marriage and let him be with her. He lied and said there was nothing between them, while planning a future with her. That means he deliberately strung me along, lied and deceived, and was absolutely horrible to me (so was she). If they were so in love, why go out of their way to hurt me? Why drag the divorce out for 3 1/2 years? Why lie about their relationship? It’s all BS. FW wanted to use me as his utility wife. To have his cake and eat it too. And I think they both enjoyed the deception and the secrecy. Because when I did finally go grey rock and let it all go, their relationship imploded.

      • One of the most shocking parts is when they do dump you, it’s the opposite of “it’s not you, it’s me.”
        At your lowest moment when you find out you’ve been betrayed and your life is blowing up, you are hit with emotional rage from the cheater “they arrogantly tell you that it’s you you you you….. “ I really felt that my best friend drove over me and then reversed and did it again.
        Cheating aside, that is not a normal way to leave somebody who is in a vulnerable position and who was not betraying their partner.

    • Your hurt was not out of proportion and he’s a lying liar who lies. “It was true love” – nah, it was novelty. That’s all.

    • Aw, Maisy – he isn’t a unicorn. He cheated on you. Marrying immediately is all image management “See- It was THAT marriage, not me!” Another fake. As they lied to cover it up, so they simply LIE. Constantly. About everything. It isn’t “one decision” or “A mistake”. It was a thousand daily choices to act to betray you.
      Don’t fall for it. New wife is now the hypotenuse for whatever triangle he will be playing while she changes diapers.

      I thought I had a unicorn. They do NOT exist. Mine cheated when we were married for 3 years (at least 2 women – that I know of), I filed, but then we reconciled (with the help of a therapist who cheated on his wife – I learned much later. RIC bullshit), then “stopped” for the next 25 years? Nah – he got better at hiding it. I trusted him. He juggled the affair with the skank for at least 3 years before I discovered it. That erases ANY delusion I had that he was ever honest with me. Ever. People don’t just stop and start again so much later. He was honing his duping skills over the decades. Every memory is tainted. But, I brought the REAL THING for my part: love, honesty, trust. I will not regret living my values. AND I will never settle for anything less than someone who is real.

      • It’s been a few days and I’m not sure if any of the incredibly supportive folks who commented here will see this, but if you do, I really appreciate the helpful comments. I found the holiday season pretty tough this year and have been feeling so down. When that happens, I go back to the thing in my life that made me feel the lowest and find myself ruminating. Thank you for lifting me up.

  • I originally thought it was “just” an exit affair but then memories came up that make me believe it’s way worse than I know. I’m NC and divorced so I try not to think about it.

    The one he left me for is half his age. She quit her job recently and I’m pretty sure he hates her. He puts on a good show for my kids though. He blew up his life for a parasite.

  • In many way (even though I’m not big on celebrity worship) I love women like Alice Evans, Taylor Swift, Adele, are changing the narrative on cheating ex- assholes.
    We need more of that in the public light from public figures saying it’s not ok.

  • Chumpnomore6:
    “There’s something fundamentally inhuman about all these people, and they gravitate towards each other.”
    Yep, they sure as hell do!!
    My exFW was working in another state the last 5 years prior to our retirement. The apartment building he lived in I’ve coined ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’. It was chock full of entitled fuckwits screwing with thousands of ppl’s lives for their own entertainment. Who was heading to whose bathtub at 3 in the morning, etc and so on.
    40-50 year old successful ( in business only) ppl living in a giant out of control college dorm, the dregs of society.
    The hurt, hurting others for revenge and feeling fortified in numbers that it’s okay to do that. It’s so sick.
    My exFW was actually proud of his life there. He told two of my kids about it and humorously called it his “ ho days” to them, telling it with a very pleased bad boy smirk on his face. They are still traumatized by that 6 years later!
    These cheaters will NEVER change their stripes, it’s so deep in their DNA.
    I know the pain of our betrayals is bigger than most any other pain in our lives, it’s simply horrific.
    I feel bad poor beautiful and talented Shakira is going through this right now, we don’t wish it on anyone ( except the cheaters themselves).
    But it’s a massive blessing to be free of that level of abuse and the further out I get from it, the more aware I am of that and the more realization of gratitude I feel.
    It’s a gift to escape it, no matter the pain that gift unfortunately comes with.
    We get our lives back, that we didn’t even realize were taken from us. The cheaters get themselves, not a good outcome for them.

    • “He told two of my kids about it and humorously called it his “ ho days” to them, telling it with a very pleased bad boy smirk on his face. They are still traumatized by that 6 years later!”

      🤬 He should be strung up by his balls.

      “But it’s a massive blessing to be free of that level of abuse and the further out I get from it, the more aware I am of that and the more realization of gratitude I feel.”

      Amen. The peace is wonderful. It gets better all the time.

  • I never found any other confirmed schmoopies and he insists to this day there were none.
    However, in my frantic investigating after D-day, I had found a draft (with nothing in the address line) of an email that pre-dated schmoopie. The email said; “I need to see you tonight.” He tried to say he had no memory of it and it was probably for a male friend, but that is not the language you use for a male friend. Male chumps, maybe you can back me up on that. Would you ever use the words “need to see you” to ask a buddy to get together with you?
    It’s possible, since it was just a draft, that he lost his nerve. I’ll never know. But it is evidence he was, at a minimum, scouting for APs before he found the one whore I know about.
    I think I know who it was, too. At the time I thought about asking her, but then I figured it doesn’t really matter how many he cheated with. What I could prove was more than enough to understand he was irredeemable.

    In thinking back, I believe he may have had sex with my roomate 30+ years earlier when we were first dating. I recalled coming home to find them on the couch together, sharing a bag of chips and watching a movie. He had an odd expression, which I now know is his smug look. It isn’t concrete evidence, but some things you just know.

    People don’t just suddenly become cheaters. They always had it in them, so it stands to reason there were other instances of cheating. I feel for Shakira. It sucks when you find out it’s even worse than you knew. I now take it for granted that it’s always worse.

    • Ah … that is a hard “NO”. Male buddies never “need” to see each other. We pick up the phone or we text. We “like” seeing each other but we don’t “need” to see each other. It was a woman.
      As for Shakira, there would be a lot of uncertainty because her husband’s mistress was his “personal assistant”. I’m sure the jerk is saying that he only cheated once.
      Personally, I assume the worst. I found videos of my ex working out where I can see the OG in the reflection of the window. That was three years before discovery day. I also came home from a camping trip with me and our two sons to find leftovers of dinner for two from a restaurant she hated. That was a year before discovery day.
      Ultimately, I caught her red-handed.

    • Yeah.
      “They always had it in them, so it stands to reason there were other instances of cheating.”

      x cheated at a golf tournament when he was a teenager. He walked home with the first-place trophy.

      Years later, when he told me he felt remorse about what he’d done, I comforted him: “You were just a kid. We all make mistakes….” But now I see that it was a character flaw. He thought he deserved to win so he gave himself a better lie while no one was looking.

      I believe that became his M.O.. I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. #betterlie

      • Exactly. I did the same thing with Best Regards when he told me about cheating on one college girlfriend and then a “misunderstanding” with another: he sobbed as he told me of her “false” rape accusation and the abortion that followed. I comforted him exactly the same way you did, not realizing that I was talking to a man who fundamentally didn’t understand women as people with lives and feelings—only as mirrors to look at himself in and conduits for his needs. The tears were entirely for himself—that those mean women had made him feel bad about himself, poor thing.

        In the end I’ll never know if his exit affair was the only time Best Regards cheated on me in our 20-year relationship, as he claimed it was. And I don’t care. The problem was his character, and as you say, Spinach, I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner because it was there the whole time.

    • OHFFS it’s got some Brokeback Mountain vibes ~ your FW is in the same world’s dumbest liars category as mine. But you are so smart, and I am not quite that smart but not exactly stupid. How do they pull it off (pardon the pun).

      I just had a memory of FW going on a flight for a business trip, and when he came back telling me some story about accidentally leaving a vibrator (a gift to me when I was heavily pregnant ~ no thanks)at the bottom of his suit bag, and it got picked up by the x ray machine, so he had to take it out and show security. And then he forgot about it again and did the same on the way back. I have no idea wtf that was about. The old duffer strikes again. Probably nothing untoward just being a run of the mill airport sex creep.

  • I remember reading an interview a few years ago. I was blown away by her strength of character and values. A superstar putting her family first. It just shows you that you either have character or you dont. Im not worried about her, she has money so wont be financially devastated and I bet has a great support system and will find real love. The bozo soccer player whats his name can enjoy his chaos and drama. I always enjoy seeing the shit show life they create for themselves.

    • “A superstar putting her family first. It just shows you that you either have character or you dont.”

      That smells like mommy-shaming to me. Do women with happen to be mothers who also work outside of the home or have a career lack character?

  • I always liked Shakira. I took belly dancing lessons when it was in vogue in the 70s and appreciated how much of this type of dance was incorporated into her performances (and how good she is at it!).

    I know she is mighty because she is aware of her resilience. It hurts like hell to find out that it was even worse than you thought, but I suspect the vast majority of us chumps eventually learn there was much more lying and deception going on than is revealed on D-Day.

    I hope that the support that she receives from her fans all over the world will be of some comfort to her.

  • Yes this is true. I was chumped twice, 32 years apart. My first husband had one woman for 3 years and ate cake all those years. What do you call a pick me dance when you don’t even know you are dancing and in a competition. That’s not fair!!! Whaaa…😭. The next husband at age 58-61 was doing all kinds of woman and I had no idea I was back in the dancing competition against my Will and against my knowledge. Hey another pick me dance and I had no idea except for meaness, condescending and the demands to dance harder and faster …but why?? So this story just give me courage that even a sext gorgeous woman can be put in the dance competition against her will.. even a WORLD FAMOUS DANCER could not keep up. I rest my case that Cheaters DO NOT CARE about you and discard us because they are disturbed sausages that need to dance with each other and not us poor chumps WHO LOVE and TRUST! My dancing shoes are off! Phew!!

  • my ex-FW always felt guilty. we would be walking down the street and suddenly he would be having an existential crisis about how guilty he feels towards me. I was truly clueless and I would be confused and ask where this guilt is coming from. The answers varied from “you’re too good for me, I don’t deserve you” to “you love me more than I love you” to “I don’t think I love you as much as I feel I should”. These confessions always hurt me so much because they kept repeating themselves, bursting out of him. I unconsciously believed there was something wrong with me, that he could not love me as much as he felt he should.

    When the truth started to trickle out about his affairs (one emotional as far as I learned and one physical), his 3am conversations under streetlight, his lies, his crushes, then it was clear where the guilt had come from, and that I should have listened to that FW when he said he didn’t deserve me.

  • ChumpedLHopper, I used to hear the same thing from my ex FW.
    Sometimes he would get really down on himself and seemingly distressed. He would confess how he felt he didn’t deserve me. I was too good a person and he lost his temper frequently and I didn’t deserve any of that. It was pretty believable too.
    I was always super confused by it and sad to hear he felt that way. I didn’t like that he wasn’t able to see the goodness in himself that I saw all the time. I felt it must partly be my fault, as his partner, for not letting him hear how much I loved him, even though I felt I never gave up a chance to show that in reality.
    Boy, was I off the base bag!! By around 100 miles!

    • Exactly maybe that is why I have been kind of queasy and a bit angry about the term exit affair. First of all I hate the word affair used to describe adultery, and second so you destroy me to get away from me.

      As you point out, how would it sound if on the news we heard that a man murdered his wife, but it was determined it was just an exit murder. Or she embezzled ten thousand dollars, but it was determined it was an exit embezzlement.

  • These parasitic OPs just moving themselves in on kids’ homes and squatting there comfortably literally or even figuratively are absolutely despicable. Don’t give me this nonsense about it being only the responsibility of the cheater to protect their family. I call bullshit. APs know damned good and well what they’re doing, and it’s gross.

    • I agree Stephanie. I have no doubt fw’s whore knew exactly what she was doing and how to do it. Innocent ap my ass. She had targeting several other married men, and yes they were wrong for screwing around with her. They were just smart enough not to tango with their direct report. But, don’t even give the the bs that she was just an innocent maiden who got caught up in love. I call bullshit. FW bankrupted them into poverty and then died, so at least she didn’t stay on easy street for long.

  • I just realized I posted this yesterday to the 1st Shakira post that was written by CL in June!
    Perhaps somebody mentioned her instagram post already? I haven’t read through the comments yet. I like that she’s going public with the pain the cheater caused her. Part of the problem with being cheated on and having your life blow up, is this type of abuse stays silent – because it usually doesn’t serve the chump to be real about it.

    I also saw pictures of his parents warmly greeting the 20 year old whore over the holidays, they were all on a walk together.

    ‘On New Year’s, Shakira wrote a post in Spanish and English. It read, “Even if our wounds are still open in this new year, time has a surgeon’s hands. Even if someone’s betrayed us, we must continue to trust others. When faced with contempt, continue to know your worth. Because there are more good people than indecent ones. More people with empathy than indifference. The ones who leave are fewer than the many who stay by our side. Our tears are not in vain, they water the soil our future will spring from and make us more human, so that even while suffering heartache we can continue to love.”

  • So about Shakira taking the high road… have you all heard the song that came out this week where she eviscerates the ex and the schmoopie? Devastating. Priceless. Full of puns.

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