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Carolyn Hax’s ‘Bitter Woman’ Pile On

bitter bunnyIt’s not your imagination that chumps are portrayed as bitter, controlling and deserve to be cheated on. Anyone catch last Sunday’s Carolyn Hax column pillorying a woman who objected to having her children sleep over at the mistress’s house while the divorce is ongoing? Here are some of the comments:

You continually pushed your husband away, you refused to engage with him, consider his wishes or needs or take him seriously. You blame him and don’t take any responsibility for your part in the demise of your marriage. Your level of self-justification and your sense of martyrdom, along with your total lack of self-awareness is absolutely mind-boggling. And now you are trying to damage your kids’ relationships with their father. STOP IT!

LW seems to be a classic example of the toxic, bitter ex-spouse.

The number of times she talks about not trusting him on basic human issues is appalling. VERY controlling, VERRRRRY self-righteous. He is lucky to be rid of her, and be with a lady who actually appreciates him. The LW seems to be a very miserable person.

Leading the pitchfork brigade? Hax, the Wapo advice columnist who is consistently tone deaf on infidelity, (read the link for some background on her cheater apologist history).

The letter:

My husband of 20 years announced to me last year that he would start dating other women because I was “neglecting” our marriage. (I take care of kids and have part-time jobs — I’m busy!) I didn’t take him seriously and saw it as yet another attempt of his to get me to reestablish intimacy with him at a level I find unreasonable. He had a problem with sleeping in separate rooms, but it’s an arrangement that was better for my mental well-being.

We were raising several school-aged children together in relative harmony, although I’m in charge of finances and itineraries because I don’t trust him with money or planning; he is the primary earner. He helps the kids with after-school activities and bedtime routine when I’m at work.

Well, he met someone. Apparently a single mom who is fine with dating a married man with children. I sent her a message telling her to back off and that what she was doing was reprehensible, but I was ignored.

I kicked him out and said I wanted a divorce. Now he expects to have the kids stay over at his current home — the mistress’s house! It’s been several months and I’ve accepted that he’s gone, but I don’t think he should get to swoop in wanting shared placement when I’ve been the primary parent all these years, giving up my career to take care of kids. And to have them be around his mistress is simply inappropriate.

He refuses to agree to my proposed placement plan that is consistent and reasonable. I’m being forced to fight in court.

I’ve put the older children in therapy and I’m seeing a therapist myself. Obviously lawyers are involved. But I’m so angry he’s turned into such a walking midlife crisis who left his family to shack up with a morally questionable woman for what I’m sure is sex. He honestly disgusts me, and I’m glad to be free of him.

But his constant demands to uproot the kids out of the home they know and love are creating stress for everyone, including the kids. How can I make him see there are natural consequences to his actions? How do I shield the kids from his dubious choices?

–Refusing to Be a Victim

First off, I suspect this letter was probably written by the cheating husband or Schmoopie — the giveaways being “reestablish intimacy with him at a level I find unreasonable” and “raising several school-aged children together” — which seem at a remove, and robotic. Or Hax could’ve edited this letter. It doesn’t paint this woman in the best light. Think Lilith in Fraser.

Even still — at the root of it is a woman who’s been recently chumped, but found the strength to throw the cheater out, and objects to his shacking up with Schmoopie and expecting custodial visits there.

Also — forgive me, I read a bazillion chump letters — but I’m wondering why the separate bedrooms and distrust of him with money. To me, that could be a tell that he’s cheated before, and his shady behavior precipitated these actions. Instead, it’s set up as she’s a controlling bitch. Anyway, no one’s asking, so let’s everyone assume he’s innocent of all charges.

I would’ve responded to this with the advice that you only control you. Talk to your lawyer about language in the decree about who you introduce and when, and living arrangements, but realize that enforcement is impossible. You can’t be the divorce police. Marriage police sucks, divorce police is worse. Assume he’ll be a FW and you have to be the Sane Parent. And the children have to work out their relationship with dad. Any arguments you have on custody need to be framed as in the Best Interests of the Children and not how much you despise Schmoopie.

Both things can be true — you might hate the affair partner (understandable) and your children would prefer to live in the marital home. But you need to get your head screwed on straight before you go to court, because the dominant narrative is you’re vindictive and scorned. You can’t protect them from his “dubious choices” — that’s a shit sandwich and you’re getting divorced. So step out of the triangle and let his dubious choices speak for themselves, complete with consequences. Focus on the best settlement for you and the kids. Congrats on the new life, etc.

This is where Hax went, followed by my commentary (snark).

Refusing to Be a Victim: So you want everything but the blame.

Actually, she wrote for advice, not blame. But go ahead and blame her for her husband’s wandering dick.

Let’s imagine the story from his side:

Let’s assume she’s a completely untrustworthy narrator and assume that a man who cheats on his wife deserves unquestioned compassion.

When we had kids, my wife made them her mission, even quitting her career. Great for them, lonely for me.

I tried many times to reestablish the intimacy of our marriage, but she told me I was being “unreasonable.”

I also tried to immerse myself in the kids — not only because I love them and I wanted to, but also to stay close to my wife. We could be all-in on our family together. But she boxed me out, saying she didn’t “trust” me on big stuff. I could “help” in her absence after school and at bedtime — and to pay for everyone. I felt like a wallet.

She moved into her own bedroom for her “mental well-being.” Mine was not considered.

In desperation after years of marital neglect, I told my wife I was going to date other women. Not my proudest moment, but I didn’t know how else to get through to her and didn’t want to leave her, the kids or our family. She brushed me off and accused me of trying to blackmail her.

The threat to see other women (“date”) while married is in fact a threat.

Interestingly, the letter writer did not use the term blackmail, but it is emotional blackmail and psychological abuse. Yet Carolyn, you’ve set it up as another chump sin — “She brushed me off.”

Imagine that. She didn’t enjoy being threatened.

Well, I met someone. Again, not my proudest moment, but I feel human and wanted again.

Not my proudest moment BUT… the qualifier. I feel human. It’s worth cheating on you. I don’t have to be ethical because your suckitude drove me to it.

This time, she took me seriously — by divorcing me.

I don’t have agency, I don’t have Bad Guy status — the chump did the dirty work. No one is calling me out for my cowardice or cake eating.

It’s probably for the best, since we had no marriage left. But she’s enraged and refuses to share custody of the kids.

Nowhere in the letter does she refuse to share custody. She wants to retain primary custody AND she objects to his current living arrangement — him shacking up with his affair partner who also has children.

These are legitimate concerns and divorce lawyers handle these kinds of dilemmas every day. But instead of telling this woman that, you make it seem like she’s a terrible person for having these fears and concerns. She’s scorned and “enraged.”

She treats my partner like a tramp and positions herself as my victim, despite my begging her for years to work with me on our marriage.

She has every right to be angry at the person who conspired in her abuse.

We have zero evidence he “begged her for years to work” on the marriage. He accused her of neglecting HIM. This makes it sound like he wanted to go to therapy and she refused.

In any case, NONE of this is an excuse to cheat on someone. Even someone who SUCKS. It does not absolve Neglected Husband from ethical behavior. Is he excused if he hits her? Drains the 401K? He felt neglected!

She IS a victim of his cheating. She didn’t “position herself.” HE positioned her there.

I’m worried she’ll poison the kids against me; I’m their father and I love them,

I just cheat on their mother. All the poison comes from her.

Does he not worry that his CHEATING will poison the kids against him? It’s just her anger, huh? Misogyny much?

but that doesn’t impress her. It’s all about what a saint she is and what scum I am. Tough on me, terrible for the kids.

Wow, Carolyn. Way to punch someone when they’re down. What a saint she is? Terrible for the kids? You’re going to bludgeon her with the Bad Mommy cudgel?

Her refusal to let the kids stay with me and my partner has forced me to take her to court. That is emphatically not how I want this to go, but she won’t budge. Do you see any other options?

Carolyn, you have no idea how he wants this to go down. For all you know he wants 50/50 custody so he doesn’t have to pay child support and he’s got Schmoopie paying his rent. (Forgive my cynicism, I just read a bazillion chump stories.) That’s every bit as likely as His Noble Custody Battle for the love of his children. Your wild speculation shows your bias.

—Me again. Per your letter, the facts support this imagined husband’s perspective. So please be open to its message, that your “refus[al] to be a victim” crusade comes across as the cherry on a decade-plus sundae of erasing your children’s dad.

You have zero “facts” supporting the cheater’s perspective. The only message you’re “open” to is blaming this woman for being cheated on and shaming her for her grief and anger.

Is she being controlling? Yes, people who find their worlds have fallen apart tend to be controlling. There are more compassionate ways to tell someone this sucks and their choices are limited.

You don’t have to like him, or his “mistress,” or what he did. You don’t have to resign as primary parent. You just have to accept he’s their father, as much “the home they know and love” as any structure. At least run it by your therapist, please. And from there, consider that if the “mistress” is kind to or even just responsible with your kids, then cooperating will be less harmful than dragging their dad through the courts.

I guess this is the sop. You don’t have to “like” them or what they did. As for “dragging their dad through the courts” — they’re in the process of divorce. She’d be “dragging” him if they were in fact divorced and she then sued him. (Which is her right. And his. Until the children turn 18.)

The only dragging going on here is YOU Carolyn Hax dragging chumps for crimes of “bitterness.” Fuck that shit, says this bitter blog lady. And the bitter bunny chorus says “Amen.”


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  • Chump Lady can we have a drawing please of the Bitter Bunny Chorus.

    Actually Chump Nation: can we get an ACTUAL Bitter Bunny Choir going? How much FUNNNN! (Definitely lots of Aretha).

      • I was counting the days for your reply to that letter. And, once again, your reply just knocked it outta the ball park.


      • MERCHANDISE. Yes, please!!!!!

        I would wear a Chump sweatshirt (or anything else) with pride.

        It would be like when I wear a Michigan t-shirt and the appropriate response upon being seen is “Go Blue”. We could come up with an apprioriate chump response (“trust that they suck”) and secret handshake when spotted! I would like to know how big our herd is. Strength in numbers.

      • A suggestion for merch, sold as a set. Two bumper stickers-one with “Leave a cheater, gain a life” and the other with this website’s address. In a large font.
        Some poor chump is behind a member of the Bitter Bunny Brigade at a traffic light, sees the stickers and realizes “somebody is trying to tell me something’”

        • Yeah, I’d like one that said, ‘if you’re looking for a sign, this is a sign’ then Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life in a search engine field.

  • Dear Carolyn Hax – Go jump in a lake. But first, print a correction that parents who want to maintain a relationship with their children should not move into to the affair partners house while still married. Divorce is a complicated process for everyone. Get through it first.

    • Or take their children on a date with their cheating cohort when they’re still married to their kids’ mother. And lose one of their children in the crowd after the soccer match.

      • In fairness to Hax, she says she was separated at the time and living in another state. But yes, her divorce wasn’t final. I don’t care so much about the messiness of her earlier life as I care about how spiteful she is toward betrayed people. How invested she is in the “drove ’em to it” narrative. Which she’s got to have enough self-awareness to know would never be said about physical abuse. If this woman was a shrew, should her husband hit her?

        • CL? “In fairness to” your euphemism, gaslighting, and minimization…”divorce wasn’t final”. If your divorce “isn’t final”, you are…MARRIED. If you can’t marry someone else, you are…MARRIED. If you think that MARRIED persons should be considered “single/divorced” solely for the fact of pregnation/impregnation, travel/abandonment, then by all means say it.

          • I’m saying that people separate and divorce without cake-eating. Some places it takes years to get divorced — Virginia you have to be physically separated one year and a day before you can file. So, yes, I can see someone moving on during that time. I can also see someone fudging their timeline to not look like a cheater. Who knows?

            • It would still seem best to avoid moving children in with your sexual partner while still married. The divorce proceedings may determine much about their future, too.

  • This’s is loosely connected in a DARVO way. This morning I found myself watching a video of Ali Landry. She’s the pretty model (the “Dorito Girl” from a Super Bowl ad) that was married for just 2 weeks to Mario Lopez. She’s a very open Chump. She’s done many interviews and continues to share the story (from about 20 years ago). And she talks briefly about how without social media, it wasn’t as bad and people were more supportive. But now even by talking about it now, people will attack her. It’s worth a watch. There’s many other interviews with her too. I love that she continues to tell the story and she is clear that Mario Lopez never apologized or took any blame. In fact, in his book (who would read his book? lol) he claims that he just didn’t love her and only had that one indiscretion and she was angry — DARVO. Meanwhile, Ali Landry found out he was widely cheating and called it a “Tiger Woods situation.” Here’s a link to one interview

    • The interviewer brought it up and kept asking questions. She answered with grace. Still she got these comments:

      @coolgaucho 1 year ago
      She totally regrets leaving Mario. Seems needy. It was a bachelor party. Move on , lady.

      @westsidefresno4007 1 year ago
      It’s been almost 20 years.. Mario Lopez is married with three children with a beautiful woman😍
      why is she even bringing that crap up again 🙄 .it’s obviously she loved him and regrets losing him.. let It go girl let It go

      • Goodfriend, EXACTLY. It’s so frustrating that we all know that the comments are ignorant trolls, but they still get to post that crap and attack her.

        I hope Ali Landry keeps telling her story — because she’s truly a “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” success story. She is so happy to be free of that slime ball. And she even offers to help others find the strength to get out of a relationship with a Cheater! One day maybe she’ll join an event like the upcoming Women of Courage event in Boston with CL and Vikki Stark.

        She’s also a great reminder that it doesn’t matter what you look like. Cheaters cheat because they are the fucked up ones. It doesn’t matter how hot you are — you can be chumped by a FW.

    • So Mario married a woman that he didnt love and then cheated to salve his feeling of being trapped? That sounds too much like my cheaters excuses. If you dont love someone and dont want to marry them, then dont future-fake them and pretend. Being dumped in the moment would suck, but dont be a coward and marry her not wanting to then blame her (and cheat) because of it.

      Both my nephew and son broke up with women they were with long-term because they realized they did not love them. That took courage. My cheater went through with the wedding then treated me like shit for decades.

  • Just another Cheater Apologist. Like Cheaters, they are pretty much the same and derive their “advice” from the Cheater Apologist Handbook. It is always easy to blame the Chump because the chump will not defend themselves. We should not look at the fact the FW moved in with OW BEFORE he was divorced (still not a good thing to do in some states). I hope the poor chump in this story is in a fault state.
    The truth is that the letter writer has a long hard road ahead of her. She can only control herself and act as the sane parent for her kids. Her kids will see who the sane person is and will understand what happened and where they feel safest. The bottom line is you cannot be safe with someone who lies and cheats. I hope she has found this site rather than listening to a FW advice columnist.
    As for being bitter, I would not call it bitter. If someone burns down your house, they are not your friend. Trying to protect yourself and your kids from that type of person is not bitterness, it is common sense.
    I have asked myself if I am a bitter bunny because I am no contact with FW and everything (he still has some terms to execute as a result of the final divorce) goes through attorneys. The answer is an absolute NO because this is protecting yourself from a FW. The only reason FWs get upset is because their kibble supply is cut off. Boo Hoo.

    • I’ve never understood why feeling bitter is supposed to be so reprehensible. It’s a natural and understandable emotion when, as you say, someone’s just burned down your house. Three cheers for us bitter bunnies !

      • Agree. Our culture likes to blame victims and tell them they shouldn’t be angry or bitter. Eff that. Anger is an emotion that seeks to right wrongs.

      • Agree. Burning down your house is a metaphor I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been divorced for a year and a half.

        Of course getting out of a burning house is a relief. And yet sometimes I feel like I am carrying visible burn scars on my face and body, such that some people would prefer not to see me or talk with me. And certainly they would not be so rude as to mention the divorce nor ask how I’m doing! It’s more difficult to do things with these scars (aka less money and only 1 person to take care of things).

        I don’t like my replacement home as much as my old house (new neighborhood with no shared history with the current neighbors).
        I have some new things to help me feel fulfilled in my new life after the fire, and yet there are days I miss the old life that I thought I had, and my dreams of growing older as a couple.

        Yes, I’m glad to be out of that burning house, but it never should have burned at all.

        • UpAndOut—I relate to this DEEPLY this week. I know in my heart I don’t want to be in a relationship where I the love and respect for I had for my spouse was not reciprocated. But in so many ways, I HAD the life I wanted. I felt cracks in the marriage but thought it was aging and growing pains as we moved to next seasons of life. I didn’t realize the cracks weren’t our foundations settling but rather led to a gaping abyss.

      • It also baffles me, what’s so wrong with being bitter? I like bitter – bitter lemon, bitter artichokes, bitter cucumber …

    • Three years divorced, and I still have people who think I’m horrible for not being friends with him. Our kids were in college when he left and saw it all way before I did. They went completely no contact and have remained so. Other than the two legal teams, most people truly do not know the depth and breadth of what went on because I chose to just close that chapter and move on.

      As my attorney said several times, “Only a fool would be friends with the person who burned down their house.”

  • Remember that scene in Batman where he confronts the Joker? Joker: “But I was a child when I killed your parents…I can’t believe you still hold that against me!”

    Chumps, please guard your beautiful hearts.

  • I hadn’t heard of Carolyn so I dug a little into past columns and found this:

    As I was reading,I caught myself thinking “maybe she just had a bad day advising RTBAV” but near she end, she pulls this ‘tell’ when advising a cheater who wants forgiveness but isn’t getting it:

    “I’ve found this exercise useful: Scour your past for times you were dead certain you were wronged by someone, and see these incidents with new eyes. Were you really so blameless? Isn’t it possible you just defaulted to thinking you were right, because it was you and you meant well (of course!), but in fact you were partly, if not entirely, in the wrong? Challenging yourself like this is like antiseptic on a cut — sharply painful, strangely satisfying and crucial to proper healing.”

    Go ahead — pick any time someone has wronged you. Your business partner of 15 years was discovered to have hidden money from you and put the business in regulatory jeopardy. Unbeknownst to you, your sister has been using your identity to rack up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card bills. You find that your lover knowingly had unprotected sex with you after testing positive for an STD.

    Try seeing these situations with new eyes. Were you really so blameless? Couldn’t you have anticipated them? Isn’t it possible that you were partly, if not entirely, in the wrong?

    So it turns out, Carolyn is simply a variation of a Jesus cheater. A ‘sin’ is a ‘sin’, we’re all ‘sinners’, so judge not lest ye be judged, regardless of the sin’s gravity.

    • Exactly. We are all sinners and, therefore, we are all the same.

      Holy false equivalence! The cheater may have committed numerous acts of betrayal and given the chump an STD, but, dammit, the chump didn’t always load the dishwasher correctly or [fill in the blank].

      I was told I wasn’t perfect. FW seemed to feel that he’d landed a shot with that accusation. But it’s irrelevant. Of course I’m not perfect.

      Reminds me of a thief’s justification:
      *The market once overcharged me for a dozen eggs.
      *Therefore the market is not perfect.
      *I am justified in stealing all the money from the cash register.

    • I’m struck by the ethical dumbness of false moral equivalency but I don’t expect more from hack infotainment. If I want ethical guidance, I’ll get it from better sources like Holocaust survivor and historian Primo Levi.

      Just to qualify, prohibitions against offensively using Nazi analogies for everything and everyone we don’t like are understandable. But sometimes it’s unavoidable if the best source to address certain ethical quandaries deal in extremes and, by rights, every moral claim should be run through the test of logical extremes to see if an equivalency even adds up. In that sense, I think Levi’s work is the best source on the question of whether victims should “drop claims and get over it because they themselves aren’t perfect.” Levi’s The Drowned and the Saved is famous for tackling what Levi calls the “Gray Zone” of morality in the camps which sparked wide debates about moral equivalency because, by design, select prisoners in the death camps were organized by the Nazis into special squads and, in exchange for adequate food and brief amnesty from torture and death, were used as instruments of torture and death against other prisoners.

      What I love about Levi’s analysis is that he’s surgical and doesn’t ignore potential contradictions. On the one hand, he despised reactionary post-war claims that Germans may have been genetically prone to violence and rejects it as “Manichean” or the idea that human beings are black and white and that all human evil can be quarantined to identifiable groups of people. If on nothing else, Darwin and the bible agree on one thing, that “original sin” and “animal nature” are the same. But while Levi agrees we may all be potential “sinners,” he’s disgusted with arguments that this blurs the line between perpetrators and victims. Levi writes,

      “I do not know, and it does not much interest me to know, whether in my depths there lurks a murderer, but I do know that I was a guiltless victim and I was not a murderer. I know that the murderers existed, not only in Germany, and still exist, retired or on active duty, and that to confuse them with their victims is a moral disease or an aesthetic affectation or a sinister sign of complicity; above all, it is precious service rendered (intentionally or not) to the negators or truth.”

      If blurring the lines between victims and perpetrators is a aesthetic affectation or sinister sign of complicity in extreme circumstances, does this analysis become untrue in less horrific circumstances?

      I’m seriously asking this. Speaking of reducing the extreme to the mundane, have I been wrong to apply this principle to raising my kids and, instead of saying the typical “I don’t care who did what to whom, this fight stops now,” I actually try to figure out who stole whose cookie and then exact cookie restitution along with sincere apology to give the kids a solid sense of justice, empathy and consequences? According to Hax this is poor parenting since, lurking in the depths of our souls, we are all the same. We’re all potential cookie thieves. And cheaters. And– oops– mass murderers. If that’s the case, who needs a system of justice at all?

      • I think what you’re saying (and I’ve argued it here many times) is that victims exist. And perpetrators exist. And when we blur those things there’s an agenda. That’s not “black and white” thinking, it’s a statement of fact. Whether the OP is likable or frigid or whatever is besides the point. She was cheated on. Her husband acted unethically. I read in the comments where people said what she did was “worse.” Or equivalent, which is how some people think, I suppose.

        • It’s kind of like dunking witches, isn’t it? If they drown, they were innocent. But if they float, it’s proof they were in league with the devil. By the same token, if a victim eats shit, doesn’t defend themselves and is angerless in response to abuse, then they’re innocent and sympathetic. But if they get pissed and fight back, then they deserved all the abuse that came before.

  • “We have zero evidence he “begged her for years to work” on the marriage. He accused her of neglecting HIM. ”

    I lived on crumbs for years and literally begged him to act like he was a husband of any sort and when he was caught in his big cheating (having no idea there was a LOT before that) he said that OW Susan “picked his heart up in the middle of the street where it had been left abandonned for years”.

    Put me in the Bitter Bunny Chorus…..Im the one with the broken unicorn antler

  • Carolyn Hax got divorced and remarried immediately in 2002. She’s probably projecting her own self-justifications on to this woman.

    • Even better, she was pregnant with the other guy’s kids when she divorced. Her personal timeline is so fishy that I would never trust her relationship advice. Definitely projecting. From Wikipedia, but I’ve seen it elsewhere, too.

      “Hax married her first husband, cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, in 1994. Hax divorced Galifianakis in June 2002. She was pregnant with twins by the man who would become her second husband at the time of her divorce, and had been separated from Galifianakis for 10 months at the time she got pregnant…

      Hax married her second husband, a childhood friend, Ken Ackerman, in November 2002.”

      • Aaah-it becomes clear now. I wondered why an advice columnist would be so antagonistic to a letter writer..she is the cheater. Yep..there it is..fucker!

      • (Also from Wikipedia and other sources, the ex husband’s cartoons are STILL featured with her columns. So, that’s pretty effed up.)

      • So she’s not just a cheater, she’s one of the rapist cheaters who exposed her husband to her disgusting lovers’ bodily fluids and diseases. Because she was having unprotected sex with (at least) him and got knocked up. No wonder she defends cheaters, she’s one of the worst kinds.

        • Rape by any other name. Given the option, I would not have chosen to have unprotected sex with a dumpy, acne-scarred alcoholic with thinning hair who humped in parking lots and took it up the butt with rando Tinder hookups. But FW took that choice away from me because I was inadvertently screwing whomever he was screwing.

        • I was one who proposed the phrase “biohazardous rape” for marital sex subsequent to cheating which exposes the victim to bio threats that they are unaware of thus they didnt consent to. It think its respectful of physical rape victims to quality what were speaking of. Not criticizing here, just clarifying (since I have used that phrase here).

    • I’ve been reading Hax for years. It was one of her columns that started me thinking about the nature of abuse that made me realize I was being abused — verbally, emotionally, financially. He had not (at that time) hit me, so I was sure it was me that was the problem and not his constant nitpicking, criticizing, temper tantrums and siphoning of money. I hadn’t yet discovered the cheating, but I was making plans to get out of the marriage. Carolyn is not all bad; she does give good advice on a number of situations. But she’s soft on cheating and cheaters, and one of her columns also kept me stuck for a few weeks once I did discover the cheating.

      I read the column Tracy references, and immediately thought of sending it her, wondering what the Universal Bullshit Translator would make of it. Because Carolyn was the cheater, she has probably read the cheater playbook and knows how to spin things. She did a great job of making the “poor guy” the hapless victim of a cold and frigid wife . . . .

      There were plenty of comments on the Hax column from Washington Post readers about how the evil LW didn’t even trust her husband with money, and poor guy, what else could he do but cheat? Sadly, financial abuse seems to go right along with cheating and I’ve no doubt there were good reasons not to trust him with money. As far as separate bedrooms . . . she was dragged for insisting on separate bedrooms for her own mental health. How come the chumps mental health never counts? Yeah, it sucks to lie next to a chronic snorer and have to get up for your kids, knowing you won’t be able to get back to sleep because of the snoring. I’m not sure WHY they had separate bedrooms, but there are many good reasons — snoring, different sleep/wake cycles, a pornography habit that leads to him jerking off in bed while she’s trying to sleep and a husband that wakes her from a sound sleep to have sex RIGHT NOW which may have been part of what the LW considers “unreasonable”. I don’t even have kids, and I find it completely unreasonable that the guy immediately moved in with his mistress while still married, and wants to have the kids at his “new home.”

      • Seriously, the only way I would ever have another romatinc relationship is if I could have separate bedrooms. I love sleeping alone. I barely got any good sleep when I was married. My ex was restless, snored, made a lot of noise getting up repeatedly if HE couldn’t sleep, sweated profusely (sheets were yellow and gross), hogged the blankets, had sleep apnea he refused to get treated, didn’t cut his toenails so they were long and sharp and would tear holes in the sheets, would listen to loud music before bed, and liked the bedroom absolutely freezing cold. I like to have control of my environment when I sleep. I like to stay up and read if I want without worrying if the light is bothering someone else. I sleep like a rock and don’t move. My bed stays tidy and clean.

        Sleeping alone has been one of the huge perks of being single.

        Frankly, my preference would be to live next door to a romantic partner, and just visit sometimes. I like my solitude and privacy and my own space. For now I’m happy single and don’t see that changing.

        There is absolutely nothing intrinsicly wrong with separate bedrooms when married/in a relationship.

  • Amen and Amen!

    CL, I am so grateful you addressed this today. I read Hax every day, for the questions and the commentary but never her responses because they suck. She sucks. Usually I just note that and move on, but yesterday my blood was boiling and I really had trouble getting past it.

    I read the comments and they were all in line with her. Somebody commented that The cheater surely loves his kids, and I commented back that good fathers leave their bad marriages with integrity, and live their lives with integrity; they don’t cheat on their children’s mothers. It was a single drop in an absolute ocean of hatred toward this chump.

    Something that did not occur to me until your column today is that Hax literally could respond to every single question she receives by flipping it on its head and looking at it from another person’s perspective. But she NEVER does that. She only did it here. She piled on with such venom towards the chump advice seeker, and with such sympathy for the cheater, that I was in physical pain as I read it. And no one questioned her on why, for this advice seeker and no others, did she turn the question on its head and write a complete new question on behalf of the other person.

    Trust that Hax sucks. And trust that CL always sees cheaters clearly, and always has every chump’s back.

    • This. It was really sickening to see what the commenters (who worship at Carolyn’s altar) were saying about this woman who is clearly blindsided and scrambling. I hope for her sake she didn’t read the comments, or the original advice. So sad.

    • That what I was thinking. I don’t read her column so I wondered if she typically rewrites the letters, or only letters from females, or only letters from female chumps. If the letter writing chump had been a man, I doubt she would have gone this route. The amount of misogyny still perpetuated by women towards other women is staggering.

      • “The amount of misogyny still perpetuated by women towards other women is staggering.”

        Agree. OW are often worse misogynists than men. I’m convinced are driven by their hatred and envy of women and the resulting need to “win” over them. I’d bet good money that Hax was an OW at some point.

        OW in my case had serious mommy issues. She chumped women to get back at her mother. Gross.

  • AMEN

    What a bitch on wheels. I wouldn’t wish the shit sandwich of Chumpdom on anyone, but Hax is going waaaay out of her way to beg the universe for some karma.

  • Even if the original letter really was sent in as printed by the person they want us to believe sent it (which I doubt, and CL and I are in alignment with reasons that feed that doubt), it seems clear that a person whose entire job is “advice columnist” probably ought to take a break if they can’t stop themselves from vitriolically bullying the person asking for advice.

    Seems to me the better option would be to address a different letter and toss this one in the bin.

    And her/their decision to answer this letter at all — especially in this manner — makes me wonder if the advice columnist knows the AP (or IS the AP.)

    I realize this is unlikely to be literally true… but in any case, I smell fishy fish. 😂

    • Then she doesn’t get to justify all her own disgusting moral turpitude by reframing it as “modernity” and “enlightenment”

  • Why did the original poster not send her query to CL? Oh how CL and CN tries to get the Bitter Bunny Gospel out…but we have more work to do! (Reading this made me think..and this is why I NEVER go to my mom for advice. Always consider the source.)

  • ” For all you know he wants 50/50 custody so he doesn’t have to pay child support and he’s got Schmoopie paying his rent.”

    That was my story. My son was living the majority of his time with me because of work/school schedules. FW said he “had” to work in the office so he wasn’t able to keep the kid during the week (it was still virtual school then). The MINUTE my attorney and I asked for child support, FW was “miraculously” able to work part time from home and so have 50/50 and no child support. And schmoopie was dumb enough to pay half his bills (along with handing him tens of thousands of dollars of her savings, presumably for legal fees to fight me, his horrible wife). FW actually admitted in front of the magistrate that he was only moving in with schmoopie because he couldn’t afford to live alone. Poor schmoopie. She probably thought it was the next step to her happily ever after and a sign of his commitment and eventual marriage to her (we were still married, so, you know, they couldn’t tie the knot YET; she had no idea that HE was the one dragging out the divorce while I was pushing hard to just GET IT DONE).

    I hate the “bitter” label. Yeah, I was bitter. WHO WOULDN’T BE???? Being lied to for years and deprived of the ability to choose your own destiny because you don’t have the facts – that’s disgusting and unfair. I would have left right away if he (or OW) had just been honest. They could have had their happy little romance and I would have been out of the picture. Instead, FW kept me around because I was useful, particularly financially. And I suppose he wasn’t completely sure of OW for awhile, so he clung to my branch.

    Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to prevent schmoopies being around our kids. We just have to deal most of the time, short of that person being an actual felon. However, if I’d known that schmoopie had tried to kill herself when her kids were in the house, I would have had FW in court immediately to sue for full custody of my child. I only found that out after FW died. HE certainly never mentioned it to me. Apparently he called the ambulance in time, and schmoopie just spent a few days in a mental ward. AND THEN HE MOVED IN WITH HER the next month. He ended up taking his own life after OW left him. Fortunately my son was with me at the time FW completed, though I don’t know about the previous 11 attempts.

    What a mess these people are. I suppose Carolyn Hax would have me reexamine the situation and see why it was my fault, LOL.

    • Wow. I’m so glad that you got to the other side of it.

      Mine didn’t involve custody issues, but my ex had significant, documented mental health issues. He was suicidal on the phone with his attorney multiple times during the divorce process. My attorney talked with me about the different possible scenarios there, but we did get it settled and closed out. As far as I know, my ex never did finish the treatment he had started just before we split.

      And there are still people around who 100% blame me for the breakup.

  • Wow! She just handed her fuckwit a Darvo script. Now he doesn’t even have to make one up himself. I sure hope Refusing to be a Victim finds her way here where she will get the support she deserves. Wapo needs a new “advice” columnist.

  • This might shed some light on where Carolyn is coming from: Hax married her first husband, cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, in 1994.[1] Hax divorced Galifianakis in June 2002. She was pregnant with twins by the man who would become her second husband at the time of her divorce, and had been separated from Galifianakis for 10 months at the time she got pregnant. Despite this, some of her readers were critical.

  • What they say:

    “I’m afraid she will POISON my children against me!”

    What they mean:

    “I’m afraid that just once in this marriage she will opt not to intervene and sugar-coat my selfish and abusive behavior to my children, and once they see me for what I truly am, they won’t like what they see.”

    Yeah, accountability is a bitch.

      • Great idea.

        What they say;

        “She refused to do her conjugal duties, so I was forced to cheat.”

        What they mean;

        “She wouldn’t do anal or threesomes. She limited sex to once a day, but I absolutely must have it five times a day. She said her breasts were sore from nursing, so I couldn’t squeeze them. Hah! A likely story. That cruel, frigid wench!”

  • I read this article yesterday and wanted to throw my phone. Loved CL’s response as usual. Threatening to file for divorce unless the status quo changes is a much more common attempt to enact change in the marriage. Threatening to start dating other people, not so much. So I’d wager that the husband was already engaged in the affair when he made that comment.

    • “So I’d wager that the husband was already engaged in the affair when he made that comment.”

      Oh hell yes. My FW did exactly that. He threatened to cheat when he’d already been cheating for a year. Wheb that dudn’t cow me, he threatened divorce.

      This tactic is right there in the Cheater’s Manual under “How To Control Your Chump With Threats.”
      In my FW’s case, it didn’t work. I wouldn’t be a Stepford wife and I laughed derisively at his stupid threats. He’s still angry about that many years later. Hax would undoubtedly say I deserved to be cheated on for not being submissive enough to that abusive POS. Fuck Carolyn Hax and the cheater penis she rode in on.

      • Yeesh. I’m so pissed at Hax and all the other cheater apologists and chump abusers that I’m making typos galore.

    • I was threatened with escorts.
      He most likely was already spending $$ on them, but because I found his favorite website, Rub Maps, and some correspondence to working women, he used the threat to shut me up.

      Statements like this are threats and are abusive.

  • I almost can’t read this post because I was so angry about the original from Hax. The worst part is all of Hax’s sycophantic devotées who piled on this abused woman. Just terrible.

  • I have a problem with where the words “bitter” and “jealous” are so often applied. They are often used to describe someone that is pissed off from being screwed over or had their life turned upside down (bitter) or someone that takes issue with being blatantly disrespected or demeaned in a relationship (jealous).

  • My state requires every divorcing parent to take a course on how to deal with children. It specifically stated that children should not even be introduced to someone the parent is dating until at least six months after an established relationship. I don’t recall how long before moving in. LW stated “My husband of 20 years announced to me last year that he would start dating other women.” His marriage of 20 years didn’t last, so why assume a woman he started dating within the past year (if that’s true) will be a permanent relationship?

    While dragging out our divorce by refusing to provide financials, my ex tried to pull this with a woman he’d been dating and love-bombing for less than a WEEK. He introduced our preteen to her over the phone as his new MOTHER (we’re grandparents) , and she said she had seen his pictures and knew they would be a very happy family together. My now-teen told me recently that they emphasized how much better his life would be in a two-parent family, unlike me, a single parent, that it would be so wonderful. She dumped my ex at the end of the week. My now-teen told me because he still feels guilty because at the time, it sounded like it might be good.

    Moving kids in with an affair partner, especially one of short duration, can be a disaster for kids. Judges, unfortunately, don’t always understand that.

    • FW and OW hyped up their “new family” to my poor kid (age 8). They had been “dating” (fucking around) for four years. She also had two kids. They all moved in together (we were not even close to finalizing our divorce). Within a MONTH OW had dumped him and moved out. My son was so confused. Especially since FW lied to him and said she was only gone temporarily, so he kept expecting her to come back.

      • How predictable! Affair partners make such great choices, so why not move right in, and everything will be perfect! That’s what the cheater imagines.
        I’m sorry for your son, and I hope he got past it, because he has you, the loyal one.

        • FW actually admitted to the magistrate that he was moving in with OW at that point for strictly logistical and financial reasons. I’m sure he spun a very different narrative to OW, with plenty of future faking and happily ever after scenarios of domestic bliss. He had neglected our marital home so badly that it had become unlivable. Rather than repair it, he opted to just walk away (much like our marriage). He then offered the ruined house to me (after telling me I’d only get it “over his dead body”), or said we could sell it. I decided to sell, as I couldn’t get financing in my own name (at the time) or afford the repairs it needed, and it was sullied by the OW having spent so much time in it. I think that surprised him, as he knew I had loved it and wanted it.

          In reality, they fought constantly, and were both miserable, angry alcoholics. He ended up abusing her very much the way he had abused me. She fled the state and seemed scared. Her Pinterest page was full of protection spells and spells for getting over an ex. That’s how I first discovered that she’d left (I monitored her social media at my lawyer’s request, rather than having her do it, to save money). This from a woman who said she was all about science and reason, a skeptic who needed evidence to believe anything. She suddenly turned into a magic spell casting witch, reading her tarot cards and using crystals. It was very odd.

          FW died about four months after OW left (self-inflicted). He couldn’t function alone, and I guess hadn’t anticipated her leaving so he hadn’t lined up a replacement.

          So now I have my son full-time. And to be perfectly honest, my son is doing much better living in one house than he did going back and forth between two. That was extremely stressful for him. Without too much commentary from me, I did set the record straight about OW, saying that she actually left and didn’t ever intend to come back. I dislike her heartily, and I’m glad she’s out of our lives, but I was actually angry with her for just cutting off my son completely without a word of explanation or apology. He’d known her since he was 5 and she just disappeared. She didn’t even send her sympathies when his dad died. Her kids didn’t contact him either. You shouldn’t treat little kids like that. It’s not my son’s fault that his dad was abusive and drove people away. It just goes to show that all of OW’s “affection” for my son was just a tactic to get close to my husband, and not any actual love or care for my child. But my kid deserved better.

          My son and I are both doing great. I got my finances sorted, saved money, and just bought a house for us. It’s similar in style to the house I had to give up, but much nicer (central a/c, a basement that doesn’t flood), bigger, out in the country side with plenty of land (our old house was on a tiny lot in the city), and it’s all mine. We’re moving in later this month.

    • Yet in Carolyn’s re-imagining of FW’s perspective, the mistress is his new partner: “[LW’s] refusal to let the kids stay with me and my partner has forced me to take her to court.” 🤣 He is squatting at her place because he has nowhere else to go! She’s not his “partner.”

  • “… consider that if the ‘mistress’ is kind to or even just responsible with your kids…”

    Yes, consider that the woman who helped blow up their home will be kind to your kids, and responsible. She’s ALL about the kindness, uh-huh.
    Love how the word mistress is in scare quotes, as if that is not the proper term for that person. She is, in fact, the mistress, and she is, in fact, de-stabilizing those kids’ lives. Why is this even a debate?

    • I looked her up & she’s a woman after all. Internalized misogyny is a thing though especially in older woman if they don’t recognize it or have an understanding of it.

  • Honestly. When I read Hax’s column the other day, I thought she specifically wrote that column in response to Chump Lady and her message. Hax has been called out by chump nation for her stupidity and this was her revenge.

  • Thank you for going after Carolyn Hax, who I used to admire for her insight, but am totally blown away with her “equality” approach to cheating. It’s outrageous.

    Annie Lane who writes a “Dear Abby,” type newspaper column as, “Dear Annie,” is another one.Annie advised a woman to keep secret the knowledge of her pregnant friend’s husband’s cheating. I hope she’s next on your hit list.

  • I was hoping you were going to write about this! What a pile on for the chumped wife. May Carolyn Hax never know this from the inside. The shear agony of being betrayed because you were working/caring for children/trying to sleep.
    The X used to wake me up at 3:30 to demand sex, on a day I had to work a full time job (because where was all our money going??) I wish I had thought of separate bedrooms! That could be great, and even sexy in a good marriage.
    This poor wittle deprived husband is obviously self-impressed, and he wanted all the attention. Not a partnership. I think she’s well rid of him, and she will have peace once he’s a memory of a mistake in her life. Any man who ditches you to go move in with someone else, before you’re divorced, is showing you exactly where his moral compass is. Bye Don Juan! Enjoy being dumped yourself! Or cheated on! Oh, oops, was that bitter? Nope, just experience talking

  • The justification, the betrayed spouse blaming, the tone deafness of all things cheating, makes the abuse so much worse.
    I had the same feeling that a chump didn’t write this letter. The wording just seemed off and detached.
    What is with these people who take the side of the cheater? Even if they assume both chump and cheater suck, they still seem to have more empathy for the liar who broke up the family. They often have more fuzzies for the cheating partner who felt just fine breaking up a family and conspiring in the abuse of the chumped spouse.

  • It’s not surprising Carolyn Hax is blaming the chump. She divorced her husband of 8 years while pregnant by another man.

  • “Let’s imagine” is no way to accurately assess a situation when diagnosing and dispensing advice.

    Off the bat, I’d seek this woman out for advice like I’d go to the butcher for baked goods.

    Aside from that….

    Decades ago, my beloved and very wise therapist told me that all relationships have problems, and to therefore choose a partner who I could work through problems with. I thought I had done that, and sadly found out I had not.

    Citing marriage problems in defense of cheating is ridiculous. All relationships have problems. Cheating CAUSES marriage problems. Cheating proves a lack of integrity in the cheater, and indicates that individual’s INABILITY to problem-solve and lack of long-term relationship skills. Cheaters aren’t problem-solvers. They are problem-CREATORS. A cheater complaining about their marriage not working is like a sailor complaining that the boat is sinking while they’re busy punching holes in the hull of the vessel. JFC.

    I love Dr. Frank Pittman’s advice to cheaters, “YOU are what is wrong with your marriage.”

    If you get married, act married. If you don’t want to act married (which requires emotional maturity and significant problem-solving skills) or honor the relationship agreement you made, end the relationship before getting involved with other people. It’s not any more complicated than that, and anyone who makes it any more complicated than that is a mindfucker.


    Go back to Tracy’s very first blog post, where she freaking nails what this is really about. Traitor Ex left our family five years ago and is still lying and cheating.

    Cheating is their MO, and they fail to see themselves and their behavior as the cause of any problems. Have you ever met a cheater who didn’t blameshift?

    If I need dental work, I go to my dentist, not some random person on the street. Why anyone seeks advice from internet forums or advice columnists when there are far better resources available I will never understand.

    Carolyn Hax = consider the source and ignore.

    • …..and Chump Lady is the ultimate Far Better Resource on the subject of cheating. This place and my beloved therapist are the dynamic duo who saved my life. Many thanks.


      • ….and the insanity continues….

        I’m home with COVID and Traitor Ex sent me an email saying, “I hope you feel better.”

        It’s totally bizarre to receive get well wishes from someone who knifed me in the back, handed the knife off to his hired hitwoman, and continues to abuse me.

        Chump recovery for me means learning to pay attention to the knife he stuck in my back and ignore his Nice Guy act bullshit.

      • Applause for all that you wrote!
        And a standing ovation for this: “Cheating CAUSES marriage problems.” Of course it does! To think otherwise makes no sense. This is the crucial nugget that can’t penetrate cheater noggins because it wrecks their narrative.

        They add kerosene to embers of trouble in a relationship and then argue that the entire marriage was up in flames before they cheated.

    • Velvet Hammer: “If you get married, act married. If you don’t want to act married (which requires emotional maturity and significant problem-solving skills) or honor the relationship agreement you made, end the relationship before getting involved with other people. It’s not any more complicated than that, and anyone who makes it any more complicated than that is a mindfucker.”

      THIS! More incredible wisdom from you! Thanks.

  • I think this letter is made up, Hax wanted an excuse to support the cheater narrative.
    Society is set up to keep those in power, in power ( think old white boys club) and I’ve been thinking about how that applies to cheaters.
    I hope Tracy will write another column on this with her take on the ‘winners’. Clearly people don’t want in any way shape or form to identify with spouses left behind. The ‘winners’ and their cheating partners get more support. Kind of like the mean, awful, cool kids you see in movies – their peers gravitate towards them, but no one wants to hang out with the smart, bullied, quiet nerds.

  • She appears to want a career as a writer of stupid fantasy rom coms. Let’s just all imagine….as opposed to the reality that cheating is a choice that shows low character and is damaging to everyone else. There is a bevy of hurts and abuse as a result. Anyone who tries to justify or deny that is the same low level character as the cheaters. I would never want them on my committee. Look at the archives here

  • I read that column and thought two things: if Chump Lady sees this, she’d rip Hax a new one. And, Gawd, my didn’t this lady write to CL to get some good advice. I’m pretty disgusted by what Hax wrote. Bad advice yes, but also just so freakin mean, harsh and cruel.

    • I don’t think enough people know about Tracy’s sage advice. Too much garbage floating around out there-blame shifting, victim shaming, etc.

  • He said she said. Does it matter? The kids just got their world destroyed. Then he wants them to bond with their new bonus mommy and their new step brothers and sisters. Then when that doesnt work out(and it wont), they will be ripped from them and introduced to more new bonus mommies and their new step siblings. How many times will this happen?

    He will make schmoopie take care of kids and wont spend anytime with them. If he were a real man and a good dad, he would put the kids first and have one on one time, not throw them in the melle.

    Any idiot can see this is not an ideal situation. If the kids are older they can refuse to see him and the courts respect it.

    • A few years ago I met a young woman at a friends party. She was dating one of the sons. She said I remember meeting you we lived with X next door. As a young girl, the divorced mom lived with a divorced dad who had kids and shared custody for about 1-2 years. That divorced dad married a different divorced woman and they all had kids about the same age. It was heart breaking to see her. She had bonded with his kids and spoke wistfully of their time together. But it ended.

    • This is exactly what happened in my case.

      I was actually rather relieved when FW died, because now my son won’t have to deal with a string of OW (and “siblings”) who disappear on the regular. FW was abusive and couldn’t keep up the nice boyfriend act up forever. Nor could he be alone. I could already see him putting out feelers even when he was “so happy” with OW (flirting online, that sort of thing). Losing OW and her two kids was hard on my son. I’m glad that won’t happen again.

      I don’t want to date (at least right now). Mostly because I’m enjoying my freedom and peace and independence. But I also don’t want to risk exposing my son to yet another person who might end up disappearing (whether that person left me or I decided the relationship was unacceptable). My son has been through enough trauma at this point.

  • Hax is a complete Hack on cheating-related issues. Just garbage. Also on spousal abuse. She just does not understand the dynamic. In fact I’d say she’s pretty clueless about a lot of family manipulation. (I’m a WaPo reading and peruse the bleeding hearts columns.)

  • Oh. My. God. Hax is a psycho fucking bitch who either cheats or has been an OW. There’s no other explanation for her shocking abuse of this woman. She has zero evidence for any of the claims she has made here.

    The way I read it, her husband was a sex pest, so she had to get a separate bedroom to keep him from bothering her constantly. Totally understandable. She didn’t say intimacy was unreasonable, she said the level he was demanding was. I’ve totally been there. FW was a sex pest, spurred on by porn and his sick, misogynistic fantasies. Sex pests are always awful in bed and never give you any respite from their demands, even when you’re ill. There’s no actual intimacy involved, as you’re just used like a blow-up doll.

    Then there’s the ridiculous idea that by being a good mother, she was “neglecting” her husband. He’s not a child, FFS. Children’s needs are paramount. He obviously doesn’t think so, which is why he’s good with forcing them to interact with his whore. He’s a selfish bastard and the LW is well rid of him.

    I hope Carolyn Hax chokes on all the cheater dick she’s sucking with this horrendous “advice.”

    • 💯 Carolyn Hax is an abuser who is entirely spun of Other Woman energy. Disgusting abuser through a newspaper advice column.

    • Note how she avoids directly answering if she cheated on her first husband, using a flimsy pretext. All she says is she has “no ethical hangover.” Well, one doesn’t when one lacks ethics, so that means nothing.

    • Maybe Hax had an affair on her first husband Nick G. Or maybe Nick had an affair “first” and then their marriage was ultimately on the path of ending. Maybe she doesn’t want to disclose that her husband was the cheater and publicly trash him. He still draws the cartoons and is friends with her 20 years later. Not many “innocent” men would have that kind of forbearance for a wife who got pregnant by another man and then married that other man.

  • It’s sad this is so typical. I got the same shit along with being called a bigot because I didn’t think it was cool for him to be screwing teenage transgender prostitutes. Weird to me how all our (former) friends seem to think the moral high ground is saying literal children who are obviously in bad living situations should be cheap fuck meat for 40 year old men. I guess they’re ok with children being fucked as long as it’s not their children. Oh hell, they might be cool with it being their own children too. I’ve come to accept they’re bad people. Anything to avoid even the fleeting thought that it could happen to them. They will harm their own children to avoid that thought by exposing them to a pedo so I’m not surprised when they kick a chump while she’s down. Anything to blame her so they can convince themselves it could NEVER happen to them.

  • If this is a real letter, then I also think the writer may partly being punished for not being ‘devastated enough’, which is often seen as a sign of lack of emotion. The letter writer is strong, no-nonsense and sure of what she will or won’t tolerate, and I think this can be interpreted as being cold or uncaring by an asshole. As someone who since childhood would rather choose expressing anger rather than sadness as a default (and I realize that the whys and wherefores of that dynamic are something to be explored in therapy) , this can work against us. Not being reduced to a puddle, at least publicly, can be seen as evidence of a callous, judgmental or over-critical nature.

    Not tolerating bullshit, and not being sorry for asserting boundaries could also trigger ‘you’re not the boss of me’ narcs who are used to the so-called pleasure of knowing that their actions have left someone devastated at the loss of their splendid self, and if the information stating that Hax is a cheater is accurate, she may have arced up at the notion that she too is being held accountable and judged for her unethical actions.

    I think those of you who state that Hax is running through her own justification of why a cheater cheats (unmet needs) are onto something. It always icks me out reading these ‘let’s be reasonable’ columnists who ask the wronged party to look at the viewpoint of someone with morally reprehensible values who’ve screwed them over. It’s just inflicting further abuse.

    I lost my longest-standing friend after DDay when, in the depths of despair, with a very young baby, she told me, “If [her partner] cheated on me, I knew that I would have done something to make him do that”. I should have known, the overlap between her marriage ending and her next relationship was very blurred, but it felt like a stab in the heart, nonetheless.

  • Her “advice” and the toxic comments make my blood boil. First, it sounds like this woman is reciting the reasons for cheating that she’s been gaslit into believing. Reading between the lines, it sounds like this dude was bad with money, a sex pest and that she was tired from carrying the household. Then he announces he’s going to date, probably just to be “above board” with what he’s already doing. Then this woman is uncomfortable with her kids staying with a new AP who has kids of her own (and who knows what her ex is like?), which is a legitimate concern when the kids are in transition. And rather than addressing the last part – the part she was ACTUALLY ASKING ABOUT, Hax launches into a fake letter about why this woman is a piece of shit and deserved to be cheated on? What a psycho!

  • dear carolyn,

    here are some examples of the incredible X as a partner:
    1. inability to share emotions, thus shutting down intimacy
    2. inability to tell the truth about finances (hidden spending and debt)
    3. inability to nurture kids, only discovered by me after having said kids
    4. extreme over focus on work
    5. refusal to do the “traditional” male ones. “i feel uncomfortable taking out the garbage and shovelling the walks. it’s traditional. why can’t you do it?”
    6. refusal to do any of the “traditional” female ones. “that’s your job.”
    7. inability to set boundaries around toxic mother. i came home to find my MIL, uninvited, measuring windows for drapes, measuring hallway for rugs, pulling plants from my garden. i had to insist on getting the key back. i won’t get into the mean/abusive comments that came from my MIL’s mouth over the years
    8. random misogynistic comments about any and all women in the world, including his mother, who he “hated,” even though she spoiled/created him (narcissist)
    9. in the early days, a kind of thoughtlessness that simultaneously combined exalting me and tearing me down
    10. consistently “pretending” to be one way while being the other
    11. giving the bare minimum of attention to our kids and, after the marriage ended, giving even less attention
    12. expecting sex to be exciting and available, but putting little to no effort into the sex
    13. expecting marriage to be easy and exciting, but putting little to no effort into the relationship
    14. lying about problematic situations at work to make himself look better
    15. engaging in a longstanding work-place affair with a subordinate that should’ve gotten them both fired, but did not.

    this is neglect and abuse, abuse and neglect.

    carolyn, look at the facts.

  • Aman! Getting tierd of the “well , it can’t be just the cheating.” Why does it have to be more than the abuse of trust, health and safty? What more is there?

  • Also, in a fantasy world, stencils with Tracy’s tag line and stock phrases. Chumps go out, under cover of the night, and spray paint the messages on the sidewalk. I don’t condone this since it’s probably illegal but it’s okay to imagine 😉

  • I was going to write a comment about those of us who now ‘see in technicolor’, and those who are fools or disordered themselves, but I think I’ll just say thank you to Tracy and CN. I am so lucky to have found this site fairly early on, had I not I surely might have landed in a psych ward or worse. This place saved my sanity and made me realize I didn’t deserve what happened to me and my family and it wasn’t my fault no matter what bull was being fed to me by my ex and everyone you can imagine. I implore anyone who may be reading this who isn’t sure how to proceed after being chumped to get out as fast as you can. There is no fixing this. Leave before the person can abuse you more. Ignore those who are saying you can fix this if you give more love and attention and whatever else. It’s not true. The person doesn’t care at all about if they hurt you or not no matter how much you give. They SUCK. It’s not about you and your failures – it’s that they are not who you thought they were – they are a shadow of who they presented themselves to be. It’s really like a crappy horror movie. The only thing left to do is leave and make a life without the creepy shadow monster.

  • Jesus why did I go and read the comment section? I knew it was going to be bad, why did I have to confirm it?

  • I think people like the Letter Writer make people like Hax upset because they are living examples that you don’t have to make yourself small, that you don’t have to tolerate abuse or live with indignity. You can flex some self respect and take charge. So rather than admit that seeing people with backbone makes their insecurities flare up, they frame it some other way. You’re bitter. You’re punishing your ex out of spite. You’re blah blah blah. All the while they’re really trying to convince themselves; “I was actually smart and mature to cheat/tolerate being cheated on.”

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