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The Cheater Was My Best Friend And I Dumped Her

cheat on meHeya Chump Lady,

This is kinda outside your norm. I’m not a Chump but instead the ex-friend of the Cheater. I’m reaching out because I definitely feel like I made the “weird” decision and there’s not a lot of stuff on the internet for people who pull the plug on a ten-year long friendship because their best friend decided to vaporize their moral spine. (I’m pretty sure most people would label me as the disloyal one — after all, she didn’t cheat on *me* right?)

To make a long story short, Cheater Bestie randomly showed up to our friend group with her Affair Partner. I had immediate bad vibes — she went everywhere with this dude, and I confronted her early on how differently she was treating him, how she was on a weird bad road. She insisted it was my anxiety lying to me.

I believed her. And then she came to me one day an absolute mess, professing she’d fallen in Love with Affair Partner. It was both the most vindicating and horrifying conversation I’ve ever had. I took a deep breath. I made sure not to blow up. I had delusions she could be reasoned with. I very carefully laid out that she’d done nothing but speak of her Spouse with love and affection for the decade I’d known her. That they didn’t deserve what she was doing to them, and that she couldn’t keep Affair Partner in her life anymore since she now loved him, that she needed to tell her husband, and that she needed to get therapy. And that if she couldn’t do the above, then she needed to let her Spouse be free.

She told me she couldn’t let the Affair Partner go, but she wouldn’t let go of her Spouse either. Then she told me she’d tell her Spouse and that she’d apologize. That she was just confused. She didn’t love Affair Partner, and her Spouse said she and Affair Partner could be friends.

I didn’t buy it. But her Spouse had said it was okay, so what could I do?

Even so, I withdrew. A long ghosting. She deliberately played stupid. I laid out how she was a complete disappointment. She apologized, told me she was foolish to depend on my ‘endless font of forgiveness’. I told her if she wanted to talk to me she should come alone. We had stilted, awkward lunches for months. I still hoped she could be made to see reason.

No reason prevailed, I called her selfish, and we went our separate ways. I lost my entire close and extended friend group for it.

Her Spouse reached out to me after months, didn’t even realize that his wife’s best friend no longer talked to her, and it turned out she’d lied to me all along. Her Spouse did not approve of her having Affair Partner as a friend still, and that, to my shock, Cheater Bestie had another affair the year before I met her, with another person in our Friend Group. (A person who I had also once been close to and am no longer). I told him that he didn’t deserve what she was doing to him and wished him the best of luck. Last I’d heard, he’d confronted her and brought me up, and Cheater Bestie had exploded into a rage.

Anyway, I’ve dusted my hands of all of it. I hope her Spouse escapes.

In retrospect, I realize that was not a long story short. I’m sorry, it all kinda vomited when I finally put it to page.

I don’t regret my decision in the least — I believe pretty firmly that what you tolerate in your friends is what you’d tolerate in yourself, that I’m not friends with abusers, and that someone who fundamentally betrays their SO is someone who so completely lacks the most basic of moral fibers.

But I have a hard time reconciling. I know, I know, trust that they suck! Except she didn’t suck. For a long time. She was a lot like the big sister I never had. She was the first who pointed out my childhood was incredibly abusive and was what was emotionally destroying me. She was the first person to reasonably communicate with me when we had arguments — she taught me that was even possible, that arguments didn’t need to end in yelling and that good communication was the foundation for good relationships. She helped me get over my instinct to immediately lie to protect myself. She talked me out of killing myself. She encouraged me to get therapy. A lot of times her read on the situation would be identical to my therapist. She always seems to have good instincts.

I loved her. I loved her like I loved my own family members.

What happened? I don’t understand. She legitimately saved my life. How could she be an abuser too?

Bitter Ex Bestie


Dear Bitter Ex Bestie,

I’ve got two takes on this. The first is: relationships die and it’s okay. Take what you need from it, learn, and move forward. Very few friendships go the distance because circumstances change and we change. The best wisdom on this, ever uttered, was by Tyler Perry as Madea. “Some people come into your life for a lifetime and some for a season. You need to know which is which.”

I never get tired of Madea’s sermon about the leaves, branches, and roots people. Check it out:

Your cheater friend was a seasonal friend. You don’t share values. It wasn’t going to go the distance. Dumping her took guts and a bunch of chumps here will applaud you because this woman pressed you into a conspiracy against her husband and you resisted. She mindfucked you, feigning “confusion” about her affair, but her deception was deliberate. Even if you wanted to salvage things, how could you, knowing that she’s not an honest broker? How could you ever trust her to be authentic?

I could almost respect her if she told you to stay out of it and owned her selfish choices. But instead she played you.

she went everywhere with this dude, and I confronted her early on how differently she was treating him, how she was on a weird bad road. She insisted it was my anxiety lying to me.

She insisted it was my anxiety lying to me.

She noted your vulnerabilities and weaponized them. To her benefit. So she could abuse her husband.

Which brings me to my second take on this: Of course she has “good instincts” — she’s a predator.

Oh Tracy, that’s over the top. She’s just a buddy having an affair and her friend circle knows about it. Could be any suburban mom group anywhere.

Yeah, well, predators are banal. They aren’t all Netflix specials. There may be one sitting next to you on a bar stool at your Girl’s Night Out.

This woman listened to your vulnerabilities and your FOO secrets and thought you were weak. Someone she could enlist in her flying monkey squad. But you proved to have a backbone. So then the fun became seeing if she could deceive you too (duper’s delight!) with her “confusion.” And test your boundaries with her bullshit.

That she was just confused. She didn’t love Affair Partner, and her Spouse said she and Affair Partner could be friends.

I didn’t buy it. But her Spouse had said it was okay, so what could I do?

You could’ve checked her story out with her husband. No harm if she’s telling the truth, right? He said they could be friends, so why would he be upset? She played a game of chicken with you, and as she predicted, you backed off, even though your instincts — which were good ones — were on point.

Her Spouse reached out to me after months, didn’t even realize that his wife’s best friend no longer talked to her, and it turned out she’d lied to me all along.

Surprise, surprise…

Cheater Bestie had another affair the year before I met her, with another person in our Friend Group. (A person who I had also once been close to and am no longer). I told him that he didn’t deserve what she was doing to him and wished him the best of luck. Last I’d heard, he’d confronted her and brought me up, and Cheater Bestie had exploded into a rage.

Please let the chump here know about Chump Nation. He’s with a serial cheater. She’s flipping through the three channels of mindfuckery: charm, self-pity, and rage. Cheaters don’t like to be called out on their lies. Next she’ll tell him how this hurts her too, more really. How underhanded it was of him to call you — worse than her affairs — and then she’ll charm everyone around her to make him look unhinged. Of course she has to cheat on him, what an angry, controlling man. Affair dude is so winsome by contrast!

What happened? I don’t understand. She legitimately saved my life. How could she be an abuser too?

You saved your own life. She saw qualities in you that she either found useful, or wished she possessed herself. Let’s start with instincts — you said she had good ones — but really YOU had the good instincts. You sniffed out the deceit. You didn’t squelch your moral compass. You smelled bullshit.

She was the first person to reasonably communicate with me when we had arguments — she taught me that was even possible, that arguments didn’t need to end in yelling and that good communication was the foundation for good relationships.

Who uses the good communication in this story? You do. She’s lying and deceiving everyone. You’re not yelling at her. You’re stating your case directly. Calmly. Compassionately. Are you sure she’s not taking credit (or you’re giving it to her with misplaced gratitude) for qualities you already possess?

She helped me get over my instinct to immediately lie to protect myself.

Spackle? You called her out. You didn’t lie and go along. She lied to protect HERSELF.

She talked me out of killing myself.

Okay, I’ll give her a point here. But then how reprehensible of her to use someone she knows has a history of psychological fragility to front her lies. That’s pretty sinister.

She encouraged me to get therapy. A lot of times her read on the situation would be identical to my therapist.

Wow, she’s an authority. And you’re a sad person who needs help.

Actually, Bestie, I think you’re a really strong person who doesn’t need her. Or her toxic friend circle.

Well done, you. Well done.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • B E-B – For us chumps doing strong No Contact, it’s sort of a relief to hear a “what happened next” story. I don’t know if anyone held my cheater accountable other than me. If they tried, he was fully capable of blame shifting. Thanks for being a decent human being.

    • Agreed.
      It makes me smile to think that someone, somewhere might have stood up for me. I will never know if anyone did, and probably no one did, but your reaction makes me feel good about the universe!

      • It’s heartening. Isn’t it?

        I actually DO know of such people in my life and am incredibly grateful for them. And the ones I’m thinking of were originally HIS co-workers and therefore closer to him than to me (a spouse who showed up at occasional holiday parties etc). I like to think there are others. One can only hope.

    • My best friend, who was the only one really caught in the middle, stood up for me too. I asked her to just ignore him, she said “Well… Too late”. I love her and I’m sure she’d be friends with Bitter Ex Bestie!

      No one else in my close circle ever spoke to him again, that I know of.

    • Hey, I hope someone did. Though I think, in retrospect, looking over my Cheater Bestie’s closest friends…I was the odd one out there. They tend to collect fellows of their ilk, I think. Thank you for the kind words, I hope your progression towards ‘meh’ is as smooth as possible.

    • Yeah it’s hard knowing that most mutual friends or in laws just continue on as if nothing happened. They prefer not to acknowledge the abuse so as not to rock the boat. It’s funny how they don’t want to pick sides and yet remain friends/friendly with the WS.

      • I’m not upset about this anymore. I lost all of my inlaws that I had known over 30yrs. They themselves had witnessed their own parents’ cheating so when I called their sibling out and made him tell them in person, they were uncomfortable. I don’t think they were shocked. Nonetheless I, and my kids-their nieces and nephews by blood, were dropped. It’s been years since we last spoke. So weird.

  • Similar situation, my former bestie helped me through chumpdom and divorce only to confess she was in love with her married ex boyfriend the next year. She never admitted to much, but there are clues that she was/is the other woman. I encouraged her at first to step back and I am 90% sure that advice was ignored and she did the opposite. We don’t speak anymore. Used to talk a few times a day. I still feel thankful for her support during the year after d-day, but I just can’t have someone like that in my life.

    • Oh that’s double awful, I’m really sorry to hear that. I’m glad you got rid of her though, even though I’m sure it was really hard. I guess we can take the same tact, I’m grateful for my Cheater Bestie for talking me off the ledge, and I also can’t have her in my life.

  • Friends are people you CHOOSE to have in your life. This friend group sounds toxic. You did the right thing. Now you have time and space for a better friend group—people who are honest, kind, brave—like you!!

    • Thank you, I really appreciate the support and kind words. I know I did the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel any less crappy. I spent a lot of months with like this weird guilt – when I told people that when the husband came and asked me if his wife was having an affair, and I told him, they looked at me like I’d grown three heads!

      Anyway, the time to make this kind comment is very appreciated! 🙂

  • Bestie, it sounds like you and this woman were quite enmeshed. She decided you were to belong to her, and she did what she needed to do to keep you around by making herself a hero, getting herself an ego boost into the bargain. She sounds like one of those white knight weirdos who attach themselves to troubled people to get high off playing savior. You naturally responded to her efforts to help you believing she genuinely cared about you. It’s difficult to tell the difference between a genuinely caring person and a white knight/communal narcissist. As CL says, these manipulative predators have good instincts. They know what buttons to push to get what they want from you.
    The thing is, they can’t keep the nice guy/gal front fully intact forever. They eventually slip up and let you see the skull beneath the skin. So you saw behind her mask and you acted wisely and ethically.

    It sucks to lose a friend, let alone a whole friend group into the bargain. It sucks to find out that somebody you loved was actually a shitheel all along and you didn’t see it. We chumps certainly understand what that feels like. You were chumped too, just not by a romantic partner. She wooed you and drew you into her web, then dropped the hammer on you by lying to you, blithely flaunting her scumbag AP right in your face, and trying to enlist your cooperation in the abuse of her husband. So I suspect you may have found your tribe here. Please do stick around, because you’re obviously a terrific person with interesting things to say.

    • I appreciate the welcome into the arms of chumpdom, I’m very humbled, because I know a lot of you went through some really awful uh…*stuff*. At least with best friends there are no divorce papers, just a lot of frustrated text messages. Also thank you very much for the insight!

      I think you’re right that we were quite enmeshed, looking back at it. I followed her around pretty dutifully, I was always the first to reach out (until I called her on her cheating, and then she reached out to *me*), she always determined what we were doing…if I didn’t agree, or wanted to do something myself, I had to go do it on my own and then when I was done, come back and hang out with her. I’m pretty mellow and can’t be bothered to care as long as I’m spending time with people I love. So I can see how that made me easy to push around.

      Thank you again for the kind words and vote of confidence, it means a lot and I really appreciate it!

      • I suspect the friendship was the classic co-dependent/narc combo that Ross Rosenberg focuses on his yr videos, and usually originates from what you are familiar with in FOO. None of us are perfect as young people, she probably subtly weaponised your earlier struggles with morality (you said you lied to avoid responsibility – who hasn’t done that in their life when they are growing up) to maintain control over the relationship. She probably has high cognitive empathy as she knows the rules of engagement – she doesn’t care (low affective empathy). You cant save people like that, only yourself.

        • One more comment – I think we are all susceptible to allowing people like your friend into our life when we are at a low ebb. Many chumps would reflect that when they met FW, they were at a vulnerable point for whatever reason. After D- Day, I allowed someone (a ‘friend’) into my life who i had only known through my job. My first interaction with her ever in course of my employment suggested she had borderline tendencies, but after D Day she started messaging me (in hindsight excessively) with messages of support, asking how I was etc. Classic lovebombing and mirroring but in the context of a friendship. We developed a sort of friendship of one year during which the red flags were there (banal ones, but also she told me she had been in psych ward, that her mother was schizophrenic and that her sister had set fire to her house – later on I wondered if she had done it herself), which one night escalated to her spamming me with abuse – she had collected any tidbit she could from our one year contact to abuse me about, really silly stuff. I assumed she was drunk, but saw her in the workplace the next day walking around with a big smile on her face. I ignored her. The abuse continued a second night, without me responding. On and on for 6 hours with utter drivel about all the terrible things I had ever done to her (we took our dogs for a walk a couple of times, that was about the extent of our face to face contact). I was by this stage familiar with Cluster B behaviour, and BPD. She was having a splitting episode, and I was the current target. I blocked her and never spoke to her again, even though we still cross paths at work. My post D Day anxiety evaporated almost overnight once I blocked her – the issue was, and had always been, that I had poor boundaries, which I dont anymore.

  • I dropped my best friend of almost two decades at the same time as I broke up with cheater. She had been my maid of honour at our wedding. After I gave up on false reconciliation and started telling people about what my ex was doing, she was the first person I went to for support. Only to then learn that she had been the OW who broke up her partner’s previous marriage 😲🤮☹️ and have her become a Switzerland friend right in front of me. I went kind of grey rock with her and she just stopped reaching out to me. I realized how much of our friendship had been facilitated by me, or even by my ex. Who I believe still remains friends with her, but I really have no idea.

    Hurtful people can also do good things, sometimes even out of actual generosity, but usually because they get something from it in return. It’s just like untangling the skein, but I bet if you looked back you could see patterns of her selfishness in your friendship.

  • I dumped my (then) best friend 8 years ago.

    Like your friend, she seemed awesome until the day she confessed her boyfriend had just broken up with her. Why? The next 5 minutes were a barrage of trickle truthing and rewriting history. First she admitted she’d hit him because she was mad at him. Then she rewrote the story to claim he’d backed her into a corner and she was afraid, even though she’d just claimed otherwise.

    Then she admitted she’d assaulted another boyfriend in college, so physical violence was clearly a pattern for her. WTF?

    Then she wrapped up the conversation like it was no big deal, she just needed to get something minor off her chest.

    I walked away in shock and had to process it for a few days before I could call her to bring up my concerns. She flipped out and started yelling at me.

    Not today, Satan. I hung up on her yelling and blocked her number. Never spoke to her again. She’s dead to me.

    She tried to connect on LinkedIn a couple years later. A quick google showed she was getting married to her next victim, and I’m sure she was running low on bridesmaids. I denied her request and blocked her on LinkedIn, too.

    She was a piece of shit. Like Chump Lady says, some people come into your life for a season, and it’s okay to acknowledge that and end bad relationships.

    You’re laboring under the idea that you did something wrong, but YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. Your ex-friend sucks. So does that entire social circle who let you go. Shitbirds flock together. You’re not missing out on anything good, only more lies and gaslighting.

    Do you REALLY want terrible people in your life who fuck over those nearest to them? How long until the viper bites YOU? Until she steals YOUR boyfriend or YOUR car or YOUR money? These people don’t operate in a vacuum. Bad morals affect everything they do and hurt everyone around them, including the enablers who for some reason are shocked the bad person hurt them.

    When I reflect on my ex-friend, her chaos was always there, brimming beneath the surface. I ignored it for years. I ignored the fact that her apartment looked like a frat house and I found dog shit in her clothes. I ignored the fact she was in her 30s yet partying in the middle of the week and posting photos about it on Facebook. I ignored the fact she tried to rope me into an unprofitable business idea and refused to get a job even though she was struggling to pay bills.

    I’m willing to bet money that if you think on your friend for a bit, she had red flags before this big breakup.

    Or maybe she really did hide it well until now, but the end result is the same: She’s a piece of crap and you did the right thing ousting her from your life before she blew it up like she blew up her partner’s.

  • Thanks for this one. Since leaving my cheater 8 years ago, I am a 63 year old woman focussing on my friends. It’s hard for me to give up on anything, but you are so right, some people change, and some friendships were not meant to go the distance. Just like spouses, we want good friends to last forever, and life is sad when people change or when you can no longer ignore that they have different values from you. I’m working on accepting that and enjoying the people who are still walking beside me!

    • I’m 27, so on the other end of figuring this whole thing out, and I have similar issues! I don’t like giving up on things or people, but sometimes there was nothing to fight for in the first place, I think. I hope you find good, long lasting friends, and that even your seasonal friends are bright patches in your life! 🙂

  • I think alot of go through this, once we crack the ceiling and divorce fuckwit. We take inventory of our friendships as well. I had a friend of 20 years I just ended. I tried ghosting and slipping away. Didn’t work. Had to go the confrontation route. I remember going to a party of hers and loving all her friends. After my separation I realized they were all chump type personalities. Vulnerable to this monster who could never care about anyone else’s feelings but her own. Very hurtful. The 1st 10 years were fun. Then they weren’t. Unlike bestie, my love for my former friend started diminishing 4 years back.
    Hats off Bestie, you are stronger than you know. You have Powa!! 💪

    • Oof. Right to the heart of the matter.

      I tolerated so much abuse in ALL my relationships (friends, lovers, employers) until my 30s when I finally went to trauma therapy and resolved my abusive childhood. I tolerated abuse because it felt like home.

    • Haha, *ouch*. Point taken, yeah I guess so. In retrospect, I was very young, too, I met her when I was 17 and she was ….30? Early thirties. I’ve now had years of therapy alongside my therapist and I’m a lot more stable now than I ever was before, but fixing the Picker takes a while. Hopefully mine continues to improve! And thank you for the comment, I appreciate the bluntness. Sometimes there’s no point in dancing around the heart of it.

      • Oh, yeah, that’s not functional. It’s certainly possible for people to be friends despite an age gap, but everything about this screams that she picked you as a friend because she saw you as an inexperienced, malleable person she could boss around. She was emotionally grooming you to be an obedient hanger-on

        And her being the ‘first’ person to be kind to you or to point out problems doesn’t make her special. ANY decent friend would have intervened to keep you from self-harm, and to point out when your family of origin was horrible to you. No cookies.

        I bet she got the shock of her life when it turned out you were stronger and wiser than she was willing to give you credit for.

      • The word “groomed” springs to mind – no offence to 17 year olds, but when I was 30 I wouldnt have latched on to one.

        • Indeed. What in the world does a thirty year old have in common with a seventeen year old, a teenager ?

  • Years ago, one of my close friends mentioned that the diamond necklace she wore was a gift from her AP. She was married. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do with the info. I had only met her husband once or twice.

    Soon after, she asked me to give her some proprietary information from my firm’s client, so she could use it in her job. I was appalled that she’d think I’d do something like that, and ended the friendship. My firm had five employees, so she knew the owners. She thought it was OK to cheat her husband, my firm, and our clients. Cheaters cheat.

    • The last disordered person I befriended seemed great (as all con artists do) until suddenly he started fucking over every person in his life: our employer, his new girlfriend, the mentor who’d bent over backward to get him in the door, me.

      Then one day, things shifted at my job. I couldn’t put a finger on why, but I started running against roadblocks and getting ignored by management.

      It wasn’t until I cut off the shitty friend and left the company that I ran into my ex-boss, who told me my friend had run to management complaining I was a needy crazy woman who wanted to sleep with him. Suddenly, I understood why I was getting ignored even though I always had stellar performance reviews and brought in most of our revenue. I was a top performer and had the numbers to prove it.

      I ended up leaving the company, which is now facing bankruptcy, and moving on to a much better company where I’ve thrived ever since. Still, I look back and shudder at what my “friend” did and how badly he could’ve derailed my career.

      He’s since married the girlfriend he openly called a starter wife who he planned to cheat on. She lost her job within months of marrying him. These people destroy everyone around them.

        • Omg, YES. Since the sabotaging friend left my life, I’ve tripled my income and lost weight.

          I think many chumps struggle to believe how much better off we are because we struggle with a) self-validation and b) not owning other people’s garbage.

          It comes down to believing ourselves and knowing the truth, including where we end and other people’s chaos begins.

          I didn’t start trusting myself (and that the abusers really do suck) until I went to therapy.

    • So true. Cheaters cheat at anything they can. Their only limits might be either cowardice over the consequences of certain extreme acts or basic squeamishness. Not everyone has the stomach for murder, for instance. But once it’s been determined that someone has the ability to selectively snuff empathy and harm another person for personal gain or gratification, it’s wise to consider that they may– over time and given the right set of circumstances– be able to develop the stomach for other things. Even if the individual never goes on to commit more extreme acts themselves, if there’s something in them which is geared to tolerate cruelty and inhumanity, they may surround themselves with even more dangerous people. For me, it’s enough to know that someone has developed a particular pathological, self-exculpating pattern of thinking that allows them to commit harm without drowning in guilt over it. Once that’s understood, I don’t think it’s a great idea to stick around and figure out what their limits are, what else they’re capable of or what they tolerate in the company they keep.

      The pathological, self-exculpating pattern of thinking is called “neutralization” in criminal psychology. I frequently post the article below on neutralization because it explains so much, mostly that, when someone gets to the point of rationalizing harming another person, that thought disorder has to be viewed as an all-purpose “justification machine” that can be applied to a range of offenses, meaning the person should be suspected of being generally untrustworthy if not dangerous. Click download to access free article:

      Another reason I post this article a lot is because it describes another theory, “fractured identity syndrome,” as a possible explanation for how the most violent offenders manage their identities and reduce stigma or guilt for heinous acts in order to appear “normal” to others (the better to strike again). The chilling thing about it is that most chumps– like most domestic violence survivors– would recognize in their cheaters/abusers the same kind of presto-chango “quasi-split personality”– a kind of schism that falls short of “dissociative identity disorder” where the person is unaware of their own different identities. Instead, the “fractured” personality is aware enough of their own separate “sides” that they’re able to trot them out or hide them at will the better to avoid detection and consequences (and, again, the better to strike again in the future). It’s sobering to realize the combination of “neutralization” and partly-split personality in many cheaters is literally on the same theoretical continuum as– yikes– serial killers.

      Back to “neutralization,” the term describes an ornate system of rationalization used by serial offenders of any stripe from college exam cheats to serial killers. Theoretically, the learned behavior becomes so practiced over time that the process can be automatic and unconscious. According to certain researchers, neutralization involves 1) denial of responsibility, 2) denial of injury, 3) denial of the victim, 4) appeal to higher loyalties, and 5) condemnation of the condemners.

      “If the offender claims the behavior was outside his/her control or an accident (e.g., ‘I was late because my alarm didn’t go off’) this is denial of responsibility. Denial of injury is where the offender insists no harm was intended or there was no harm done despite the act being illegal (e.g., a juvenile steals a car to joyride, but returns it without damage). Denial of the victim is when the offender insists the victim does not deserve this status (i.e., harm was rightful retaliation), did something to instigate the offender or deserved what happened (i.e., it is really the victim’s fault), or that there is no victim (i.e., absent or unknown victim). For example, the offender may claim that the victim hit them first, so they needed to retaliate which resulted in the victim being ‘beaten up’. When the norms and values of a smaller subgroup take precedence over the offenders’ attachment to dominant societal values, this is appeal to higher loyalties. Finally, with condemnation of the condemners, the offender rejects those who would reject him/her. The offender may claim that those denouncing them are secret deviants or hypocrites.”

      “These neutralizations allow offenders to engage in criminal/deviant behavior while protecting
      their sense of self, avoid culpability, and minimize the stigma of being an ‘offender’. As asserted by Maruna and Copes, ‘neutralizations are variously meant to protect a person from… shame, guilt, remorse, self-awareness, loss of self-esteem, public labeling, and stigma’. By using these to justify wrongdoing, offenders can protect themselves from blame and the associated stigma. Neutralizations may also be the mechanism by which these offenders are able to ‘drift’ in and out of criminality while maintaining commitments to conventional morals, norms, and behaviors (i.e., families, work, school). Neutralizations can be used by those either committed to normative society or those ‘…who are in a state of drift…partially committed to mainstream values but also committed to a certain lifestyle or set of behaviors that are labeled as deviant’. This could apply to serial killers who are committed to mainstream values since many are married, have kids, go to work, attend church, but who are also ‘committed to a certain lifestyle or set of behaviors that are labeled deviant’ (i.e., serial murder) and thus allow them to drift between normative society and serial murder.”

  • Good for you! No one in my friend group held my cheater accountable. They all remained friends with him and kept insisting that no matter what he “loved me” and he was a “good dad”. FALSE.

    • The bar on is on the floor when it comes to being a “good dad.” All it takes is, are they there sometimes?

      • Often not even that.

        I know several single moms who have to share custody with their exes despite the latter’s documented physical and sexual abuse of the mom. Because hey, beatings and rape shouldn’t impact HIS rights, right?

        • My ex’s abuse of me had no bearing on his custody. The magistrate still gave him 50/50 and the only concession was that we had to communicate through a parenting app rather than via email/text (an order he never followed).

  • I suspect that this sort of friend group destruction, triggered by a cheater, is more common than many people realize. Years ago, I belonged to a large group of married couples that socialized together nearly weekly. One man quietly confronted one of the women about the fact she was having an affair with another of the husbands in the group. The woman responded by telling everyone she was being falsely accused, made the moral man into a jealous villain, and tried to force people to take sides. The group was damaged, but most people tried to maintain their friendships.

    A year and a half later the cheating woman and her affair partner went public with their “twu luv” to the stunned surprise of both their spouses. And that large group of friends simply never recovered–too many people felt betrayed in various ways, too many people had said harsh things to each other, too many people saw how their own marriages had been threatened by the two cheaters in the group.

    Cheaters are hurricanes destroying everything around them while they sit comfortably in the eye of the storm feeling self-satisfied and pretending not to notice that everyone else’s life is in shambles.

    • “Cheaters are hurricanes destroying everything around them while they sit comfortably in the eye of the storm feeling self-satisfied and pretending not to notice that everyone else’s life is in shambles.”


    • Oh it’s very common. I didn’t even bring it up, because frankly it was less traumatic, but my Cheater Bestie’s first affair partner, I hung out with still right before my Bestie and I parted ways. (It wasn’t until Husband contacted me that I knew the depths of his depravity).

      Affair Partner #1 I introduced to a new friend of mine…and then they began flirting. Over the top, extremely sexual flirting, constantly. They played it like it was a joke, but both of them had SOs (who I neither knew the name of nor could find, I looked). I stepped back from that friendship too, for that and a few other giant red flags, walked away and got a paragraph essay of a text message from my new “friend” melting down and telling me I was a selfish bitch that was doomed to die alone. (Projecting, maybe?) Anyway, blocked her, blocked him, then I finally gave up on my former Bestie, and turns out I was just playing in shit the whole time anyway.

      Anyway, thank you very much for the comment and insight, I greatly appreciate it!

      • I think the disappointing thing about this is that there are a group of people superficially showing interest in the lives of others, whilst running their own agendas behind the scenes. So you think you are having an authentic exchange with someone, but they are just using you as a prop to give the appearance of something (a cool, kind, popular friend to all) that might advance their secret agenda. Ergh. Time to sort the wheat from the chaff.

    • I’ve experienced the friend group destruction you describe here, Eilonwy. After years of trying to build genuine friendships and authentic community, I thought maybe I had finally found My People. My X had an affair with one of the wives. Rubble.

  • I ended a friendship for the same reason and not surprisingly she painted me out to be the bad guy to our social circle. These folks don’t want legitimate friendships, they want flying monkeys and accomplices.

    Crap behavior usually doesn’t stay compartmentalized. If someone feels entitled to violate their partner’s trust and mistreat them, I assume that they would treat me or anyone else in similar ways if the opportunity presented itself.

    • “These folks don’t want legitimate friendships, they want flying monkeys and accomplices”….ain’t that the truth!

    • Yup. I had the thought that if this is what she would do to her “beloved husband” who she’s been with since they were literal children (met at 17, highschool sweethearts), then I ranked *fuck all* on her list. And I did! As she proved to me over the next few months. But yes, anyone capable of the closest betrayal is capable of betraying and hurting anyone, and you can’t trust them.

      Didn’t stop me from trying to teach a brick wall to fly for a few months, but I won’t do that next time, should next time ever come. Thank you very much for your comment and kind thoughts, I appreciate it a lot!

  • Someone I grew up with turned out to be a predator of men with partners. All of us excused it because we had grown up together & that was “just Sam”. Yes, she had some great points about her, but she was also the type to screw your man!! Shitty people are never 100% shitty because they want to go undetected & they love to test what they can get away with. She had boyfriends throughout so there were periods where she seemed normal & loving. She later moves with her 1st husband (short marriage) to the city that I am living in, has an affair, kicks out husband & moves boyfriend in (not for long). I only introduce her to FW once because I don’t trust her & he says he doesn’t like her. I guess only a con can spot a con! I have only an occasional phone call with her because I know not to have her around my home & husband. The last straw for me was at a reunion with our childhood friend group & introducing me to a pregnant woman & then whispering into my ear “I’m fucking her husband”. I literally wanted to throw up right there! I threw a dirty look at the husband, made an excuse and left. This was six years ago & I haven’t had any communication since. Some mutual friends do still see her (I rarely see them) and apparently she got married again two weeks ago…. maybe karma will come for her.

    • I think women like this are horrifyingly common. Google “women who target married men”. We had one of these at a former place of employment; she was passed from married man to married man until HR finally let her go.

      • Must be very screwed up women! Married men have come on to me….even if I think they’re attractive, nice, whatever….nope!!!

  • There are billions of people on the planet. People like this writer are super rare. The ones who are not like this are legion.

    I don’t need as many friends as social media thinks. I just need a few good ones. And this writer is one of the good ones. May I be more like Bitter and may those I admit into my life be like Bitter.

    My acronym for BITTER is Being In Totally Truthful Emotional Reality, and Bitter is walking that talk, and walking tall.


    • “What happened? I don’t understand. She legitimately saved my life. How could she be an abuser too?”

      She is a CON ARTIST. The cheating was the giveaway, and you heeded the memo. Props.

      • I’ve said here before that how someone treats one person is how they treat everyone.

        People in illicit relationships and those who support/excuse them do not see the linkage. It’s not my job to enlighten the ignorant.

        Traitor Ex’s list of victims includes his own child, our daughter. When she was twelve she made a written list of lies he’s told her and she gave it to me for safekeeping. It is in my safe deposit box.

        Cheaters and their side pieces may never see the linkage. What’s important is that I do, that my daughter does, and that people I call my friends do.

        I can be friendly (civil, polite) without being friends. And I avoid those to whom I cannot be friendly.

      • Hey Velvet, I’m not gonna lie, I cried reading your comment. Thank you so much for the incredibly kind and thoughtful words, they mean a lot. This is something I’ll save and reread for whenever my creeping anxiety makes me doubt myself. Thank you very much, I’m very touched. I hope you have as good a day as you can, and that your own pain dulls into ‘meh’ as you go on, and you find the people you’re looking for!

    • I absolutely love your acronym for Bitter! It is much better to have fewer friends that have the same core values as I do. The whole social media thing and having “friends” really gets one my nerves. Friendship is more than someone liking your photos and posts to social media. I want the real friends that I can talk to and have meaningful talks with (or maybe just be silly and joking).
      My social circle is a lot smaller now than it was but I know I can count on the friends I have. I hope I can listen to my gut and stay grounded in reality so that when something like this comes in my life, I can be like the OP.

      • Thank you so much for the support – while I don’t consider myself an ideal by any means, I hope your friends are the sort to make the right decisions when push comes to shove, and that you’ve got good people in your life now who are there to support you, and that they weed themselves out if they aren’t! <3

  • She’s an abuser/user.
    She lacks integrity, you don’t.
    If a person betrays their spouse it’s safe to assume they’ won’t have a problem deceiving you.
    Cheaters aren’t trustworthy.
    Find your tribe. =)
    People who share your values.

  • “She apologized, told me she was foolish to depend on my ‘endless font of forgiveness’.” That’s DARVO, and guilt-tripping. I wonder how much of your friendship depended on that forgiveness. Do you know what she’s referring to?
    Is it letting here off the first time you suspected her affair, something else she did, or how you forgave others in your life? You talk about what she did for you, but clearly you did something for her as well. OHFFS wrote, “…she did what she needed to do to keep you around by making herself a hero, getting herself an ego boost into the bargain. She sounds like one of those white knight weirdos who attach themselves to troubled people to get high off playing savior.” I agree, and also think that maybe she wanted good people around her as friends, as part of the image management.

    Losing a whole circle of close and extended friends is hard. Are you sure you lost them all, or just lost opportunities to be with them without her? Cheaters are bullies who try to charm or force others into compliance. If there are friendships you wish to continue, it might be worthwhile to reach out, especially now that her cheating is out in the open.

    You have the qualities I want in my friends: ethics, integrity and compassion. I wish all chumps had friends like you.

    • “She apologized, told me she was foolish to depend on my ‘endless font of forgiveness’.” That’s DARVO, and guilt-tripping. I wonder how much of your friendship depended on that forgiveness. Do you know what she’s referring to?

      You made me sit down and think. Oh boy, there’s a lot. I’ll just highlight the most recent case. When I had my ‘you’re a disappointing person’ conversation with her, she still had delusions that:
      1. I could grow to like her Affair Partner #2
      2. That I wasn’t upset about her telling me it was my ‘anxiety’ and that I was basically just seeing fairies when I first confronted her.

      I *despised* her Affair Partner #2, from the very bottom of my heart. I guess much like many Chumps despite the Schmoopies. So I disabused that notion real quick. Secondly, when I cornered her on the whole ‘anxiety thing’, she told me that it was too upsetting for her to consider or talk about the fact she’d done that to me, so she didn’t want to talk about that right now.


      There’s one or two that I thought were good beans, I might reach out to. Tell my side of the story. See what happens. She’s good at fooling people, maybe they’ll be just as mad as I was?

      Thank you very much for your comment and your thoughtfulness, I appreciate it a *ton*!

  • I’m so glad to see this today. I also dropped a friend who turned out to be a cheater. I lost all respect for her and I feel bad for her ex. I do know her ex had a lot of friends so I hope she (the ex) is okay.
    For a while I struggled with the narrative that I was being wrongly judgmental and on a moral high horse. But thanks to CN I now realize that if this friend could just toss away a long term relationship the way she did, she didn’t share my values. I don’t respect her. So why would I give my time to someone I don’t respect?

    • There’s not a lot of stories like us out there, are there? People push reconcilliation, and people push ‘Loyal to your Friends Above All Else”. If they didn’t hurt you directly, then you’ve got no right to be mad at them. Bullshit. My father pushed my brother through a closed *door*, would anyone say that I’ve no right to be mad at him for doing that?

      It all comes down to no one sees cheating as Abuse. We can always be mad at abuse.

  • Bestie,

    Here’s the vision I can’t shake: you, in this friend group, interacting honestly, while at least two people in the group know they’re deceiving you. 1) Your former “best friend,” who knew both that she was lying to you about her current episode of cheating and that another of her cheating accomplices was also in the group; 2) that cheating accomplice. The duper’s delight and the false sense of superiority they must have been deriving from it, while you were “all in” and honest, is chilling to me. And that your “friend” felt ok about showing up at the group with her current AP says she had some confidence that others in the group–some of whom must either have known or suspected she was cheating (again)–had similarly haywire moral compasses.

    Finding out that your former “bestie” had already cheated once on her husband before you even met her means that the persona you interacted with was masking something far less benign than she appeared to be. You never really knew her, and finding out the person you thought you knew is something quite other than you thought–and that they represented themselves to be–and that’s a very chump experience.

    You aren’t the “disloyal one.” You were loyal to your values (and solid ones they are, too), and you were a good and loyal friend to the chump. Her? Not so much.

    • Oh you’ll “love” this story. So that friend, the first affair partner? I will call him Affair Partner #1. He and I were the people she introduced Affair Partner #2 to first. As he and I had known each other the longest, outside of Me and Cheater Bestie Herself, of course, I reached out to Affair Partner #1 to talk to him about it. We talked about how oddly she was treating this new guy, and how upsetting it was, how upset *he* was, and how he supported me if I wanted to confront her directly. (which I did)

      I now realize he was probably just pissed off he had been replaced.

      Thank you so much for the reassurance that I never knew her, and the validation that it is really sickening how utterly unaware I was of these snakes in the grass, and how they took advantage of my faith in them as good human beings. At least I learned something.

  • These predators can spot useful prey a mile away. They are experts at being what we need, because they see our vulnerability. We didn’t marry people who looked like monsters. We married people who understood us, were our best friends blah, blah. Because they are so good at lying and knowing where we doubt ourselves, they can have separate lives. When caught, we think they do 180% in personality. No, we just didn’t see behind the mask.

  • “You could’ve checked her story out with her husband. No harm if she’s telling the truth, right? He said they could be friends, so why would he be upset? She played a game of chicken with you, and as she predicted, you backed off, even though your instincts — which were good ones — were on point.”

    This is where predators used social rules, politeness, as a way to keep others in the dark. People who are leery of poly relationships to begin with are MUCH less likely to bring the question up at all with the person who is supposedly Completely Aware. They count on keeping people feeling unbalanced, flustered and not wanting to delve deeper into private arrangements.

    You were played by a predator, for a time. (Your first BIG clue was when she weaponized your weaknesses against you and had you second-guessing your instincts.) Then you figured it out and got the hell away.

    Nice/polite =/= kind. You mistook one for the other. Don’t beat yourself up but try to recognize it in the future.

    Oh yes, there will be future predators that you will encounter. It will be easier in the future to avoid them or dump them when they reveal their character.

  • Bitter Ex-Bestie,

    CL said “Dumping her took guts and a bunch of chumps here will applaud you because this woman pressed you into a conspiracy against her husband and you resisted.”

    And that’s exactly what I’m doing — I’m here simply to applaud you. You deserve it. Thank you for being strong enough to make the healthy decision. A hard choice. You are stronger than you realize. Well done indeed. And thank you.

  • This story belongs here. After Dday I found that I had several dysfunctional relationships— they were not reciprocal, or we weren’t compatible. It hurt to end what I thought was decades of best-friendship, and I did so by pulling away gradually but purposefully. I also distanced myself from any of the vipers in my family, which is rife with cheaters, narcissists and addicts. I have a smaller inner circle now, but it’s very solid. I feel at peace. I have moments when I grieve the losses, which are based on the delusion that they were good people despite evidence to the contrary, but then I remind myself of the facts and my grief passes. I believe my picker is fixed. Thank you ChumpLady.

  • I had a friend since kindergarten who, in her 30s, believed her spouse’s porn addiction justified her cheating. And then she thought he cheated so she could also cheat. She didn’t want to divorce because of having two small boys she felt needed their father. It turned my stomach and I grew more distant from her. She finally filed and divorced. Then she took up with someone else and got into drugs. The final straw was when I was pregnant (yes, the same pregnancy where D-day struck in my 7th month) and she was always texting me, pushing for her and her BF to come visit. Finally it turned out they wanted a 3-way with me. And I was married and pregnant. And when I said no she claimed he took her phone and texted all that stuff without her knowledge. I was just done. DONE. Went total no contact. No regrets.

    Then a few months later in my D-day findings I read all these lengthy FB chats she was having with FW, asking him to talk to me for her and him saying that I’m unforgiving and cut people off for no good reason. 🙄

    Good riddance to them both.

    When you see red flags waving, I don’t care WHAT good they have ever done for you before. You run and cut them off. It all boils down to it being a manipulative person who takes advantage of your chumpy good nature. There is nothing wrong at all with putting up good boundaries and removing yourself from relationships with people who have no morals. The fact you do that tells you that you are on the healthy side. Your gut told you right. I think the OP was brilliant to walk away.

    • Bleurgh… acid flashbacks to my first pregnancy when, to my horror, I discovered that preggo-pervs are really a “thing.” Shudder. It’s so violating.

      • Still makes me nauseated remembering it. And she had no shame at all thinking she would use FW to somehow get in my good graces. And I had told him WHY I cut her off. Any decent spouse would have told her to F off. “Oh, you and your boyfriend wanted a 3-way with my pg wife? F you both!” The fact he wasn’t disgusted and didn’t support me is just another thing to add to the pile of why he is not acceptable to me. Why – even without the cheating – he is a disgusting pig of a human being.

        • I’m sure if he’d discovered by accident that you were being pursued he would have been hypocritically outraged that you hadn’t told him. But she went to him so it’s as if he had control somehow. Pig is right.

  • 💯 BESTIE IS AWESOME!!! “This woman listened to your vulnerabilities and your FOO secrets and thought you were weak. Someone she could enlist in her flying monkey squad. But you proved to have a backbone. So then the fun became seeing if she could deceive you too (duper’s delight!) with her “confusion.” And test your boundaries with her bullshit.” BESTIE GOT OUT & PREVAILED!!! 🏆🙌

    A final phase (bonus round?) of the GAL journey is purging all character disordered nut clusters & their enablers out of our lives. Addition by subtraction! Or to put it another way, check out this excellent & instructive TikTok by @SpiritualWhistleblower/ Chanel Jasmin Clark.

  • My ex helped me stand up to a dysfunctional FOO. I do appreciate that.
    I realized much later that what I saw as his ‘strengths’ were being seen wrong, through my own lens of low self esteem. And he hid his character disorder behind a veil of ‘good works.’

  • That Medea speech made me cry. I downloaded it. What a wonderful way to look at life.

    Deep friendships are like marriages without sex. You tell them everything and they tell you. It must be so painful to know that she has another selfish side you knew nothing about. It is probably as painful as finding the truth about a cheating spouse.

    Let her go. Tyler Perry and CL know what they are talking about.

    My name Letgo was coined from watching my brother, and his children, let go of their wife/mother. I found it when YouTube wandered across my ipad with a sermon by TD Jakes.

  • My husband and I were best friend with another couple. We traveled as families, acted as “aunts and uncles” to each other’s kids, helped each other through hard times, etc., for probably 10 years. Then they start having trouble, and “Amanda” starts pulling me aside and telling me that her husband “Sam” is mistreating her, saying she’s a bad mom, constantly criticizing, etc. This goes on for about 8 months, and while I’m shocked, I’m supporting her.

    Finally one night Sam comes over, falling apart, saying he’s found a mountain of evidence that Amanda has been cheating on him for more than a year and a half. It was as awful as it could be, and we were devastated for Sam. He tells his story and reveals that he hasn’t been mistreating Amanda — he’s been pick-me dancing because he sensed something was wrong. Amanda, my best friend, had been lying to me and trashing Sam to me. Besides the fact of the way she treated Sam, she’d totally manipulated me to be part of her cheater drama & support. When I told her I needed space, I got DARVO’ed so hard that having any further conversations were unnecessary. We were DONE. Now Sam is engaged to a wonderful person who has a narc in her personal history, and they are great for each other!

  • I have to distance myself from my BFF since college, and fear I may need to dump her eventually. My FW hit it off with her husband so grandly that he was a groomsman in our wedding. BFF’s husband knows what FW did, and cried he was so upset. Well, guess who hung out with FW last weekend? My FW is a “sex addict” and I think he feels like “I shouldn’t abandon someone who’s so messed up.” I told my BFF I was very uncomfortable and she is not a safe friend for me right now. I will not be talking to her about my divorce. I will see if they continue hanging out – if so, I will talk to the husband about the implications of that choice. I hate that it puts us in the role of “bitter woman who can’t let go.”

    • Take the blame-shifting stereotyping you’re being subjected to to logical extremes. “Oh those bitter former sex trafficking victims who keep helping the FBI catch traffickers. Why can’t they let go?”

      The wonderful thing about erasing someone from your life is that it erases whatever demented shit they think about you. It’s more painful when we have to contact-trace the demented shit and get rid of a whole daisy chain of people who subscribe to it. I’ve been kind of thorough at times and will burn any bridge that danger can cross over to get to me or my kids. It’s not just the danger posed by the original liar or lie but the danger that hovers around people who subscribe to untrue things. They tend to do this in a general way and are typically walking disasters, always trusting people they shouldn’t trust or alienating people they should, etc. They get ripped off, let sharks in their tanks, put their kids and others at risk, etc. I think of it as stepping clear of a wrecked car before the gas tank explodes.

  • I saw this first hand with my ex and her best friend, I’ll call her Sara. They had been friends since early grade school and we often hung out as couples. I got to witness the fall of their marriage due to her husband becoming an extreme alcoholic and eventually dying from it. Throughout that whole sad situation, we were both there for Sara and she even had to live with us with her two kids during the worst of it.
    About a year later, we all became friends with a guy who had left his wife because she was cheating (I’ve later learned this was a lie). He immediately took a liking to Sara and she went out alone with him a couple of times. She got bad vibes from him and told him she wasn’t interested in a relationship with him. He bombarded her with texts saying he loved her and was looking for a city girl to take care of him. My ex always talked about how creepy and gross he was and supported Sara. A few months passed and he sent Sara one final text asking if she ever thought they could have a relationship and get married at some point. She politely turned him down and the texts ended. Three months later, I was told by my ex she was in love with this guy and wanted a divorce.
    When my ex confessed to cheating, Sara was the first person I called. I wanted to know if I was blind and everyone else knew about the cheating. She was as stunned as I was. Sara dropped her best friend since they were kids without a thought. I’ve gained an amazing friend who helped me through the worst of it and has never waivered on her morals. My ex reached out to her one time asking why they couldn’t be friends and that they should just put everything behind them. Sara didn’t reply.
    Me and Sara have talked often about everything that happened and trying to fill in timelines and uncovering all the lies and manipulation that occurred.
    After reading this post, it hit me that she’s just as much of a chump as I am with my ex.

    • What a keeper. I’ve noticed people like this tend to stand up for what’s right quietly. They might seem exceedingly rare compared to loud apologists and cover up artists who tend to brigade and gang up but I think it’s mostly a illusion caused by noise. The definitely exist and I’ve been lucky to know several. Frankly that’s the only kind of “glamour” I recognize in other people– the ability to recognize right from wrong and to do something about it even at cost to themselves.

  • I dumped my best friend of over 25 years because I realized I didn’t like her as a person anymore. She was single so not a cheater but I realized she’d become a nasty, judgemental hypocrite and I didn’t like her anymore.

    Then my father died and I cleaned house and she went out with the ttash.

    I think the mistake people make when evaluating long term friendships is that they struggle to let go of the memory of what was. I missed our old friendship but eventually I realized that we could never have that again because those people no longer existed. The people we became were not compatible.

    Fuck her and fuck your friend group that stayed with her. That kind of group is toxic because they all know deep down they can’t trust each other.

    I found better friends and so will you.

    • I had a similar experience Kim. My best friend who I’d known since the start of high school turned into a person I didn’t know anymore. She was always incredibly hardworking, and went into finance and has had a very successful career that’s brought her considerable wealth. She was unhappy with her husband and cheated on him with her boss, before hooking up with a man whom I cannot stand, who treats anyone he considers beneath him extremely shoddily (he will walk into a room, ignore you completely and start a conversation with my friend, finish and walk out again without any acknowledgement), is verbally abusive, puts her down sexually and will willfully spend money on stupid shit and blow their lavish budget on purpose to rile her up. They are very into personal development and attend seminars with those big familiar names that you associate with the self-actualisation movement and consider anything that happens to you is a direct result of your own thoughts and feelings. She kindly invited me away on a weekend to the air bnb complex that they own when I was newly chumped, but treated their employees like shit and then told me that if her partner had cheated on her that she would know that she had done something to make him do that. I felt absolutely sick and cut her off after that, but now hear that she and her partner have now invited a younger women into their relationship as part of a throuple (which okay, if that’s what works for you, go for it, but I have a feeling she’s succumbed to pressure from the partner to open the relationship, rather than draw a boundary). Sometimes I miss having someone I had that history with, but then I remember how I felt, driving back after an awful weekend of her throwing her weight around with the staff, my sick 5 month old crying in the car, and being told that all the cheating bs was my fault. Nope, I’m good thanks.

  • As a chump, Ex Bestie has given me hope. I’m so glad there are actually people out there that can see through the BS and do honorable things. It’s so rare, and I honestly get beyond emotionally fatigued after all of the stories out there…all the abusers. The number of chumps hurts my heart. Thank you, Ex Bestie…I’m so glad you are out there standing up for people like me. You’ve really touched me. I truly hope you find another, better friend to do life with because whoever that person is, she’ll be damn lucky.

  • I really want to reply to everyone here, I’m overwhelmed by the staggering amounts of support from Chump Lady and Chump Nation – thank you so much for welcoming me with open arms, even if I’ve not struggled with some of the really awful shit you guys have had to go through. (Like I said somewhere else, at least with a ‘Best Friend’, there’s no divorce papers, only frustrated text messages.)

    I hope all of you have people in your life now who will stand up for you, and I hope I find those people as well! At some point we’ll fix our pickers and attract the good ones, right?

    I will get around to responding to everyone today at some point, or I’ll try my damnedest anyway. Thank you very much for your response Chump Lady, it’s given me a lot to think about, and for all the kind comments everyone. It helps me feel at peace.

    Much love to you all, and I hope everyone here has the best day they can!

  • “Make new friends and keep the old
    One is silver and the other is gold”

    Well, as a chump I can attest that sometimes that gold turns into fool’s gold. When their mask slips…

  • Bestie’s ex-friend really condemned herself with that attempt to gaslight Bestie using Bestie’s previous trauma. That’s a practiced psycho.

    There are two layers of fuckery within that kind of gaslighting. It’s kind of a carrot and a stick arrangement: “Either you take the carrot of my insultingly patronizing faux-sympathy for your mentally incompetent state or watch me wield the stick of telling everyone what a crazy freak you are because I’ve systematically studied and collected all your vulnerabilities and can weaponize them against you.”

    In the DARVO stage before D-Day when FW was becoming increasingly weird and callous, FW actually tried to use my previous traumatic experiences (prosecuting a workplace stalker before marriage, then filing civil rights claims against school staff for physically abusing our disabled 7 year old) as “proof” that I was overreacting to his behavior. But all his gaslighting did was make me more suspicious because that’s right out of the “Shit perps say” manual. What’s more, it was a declaration of war on his part. As a former advocate for survivors of domestic violence, I was way too familiar with the classic veiled threat within “crazy baiting”– that he was going to cast me as “mentally unstable” if I fought back or defied him which could feasibly cost me socially, professionally and as a parent. Very scary. So even if the gesture made me stand down and stop struggling openly, I went underground and started lining up ducks, checked devices, put feelers out to see if anyone in his workplace knew something and hired a PI. True to form, people only say the kind of thing he said when they’re guilty as sin and, voila, he was all that and a bag of chips.

    Back to the issue of gaslighting on the basis of previous trauma, back when I attended trials and court procedures on behalf of victims, I’d watched every defense attorney bring up victims’ previous traumas and injuries as grounds to dismiss or at least parse claims of trauma and injury at the hands of defendants. But I’d heard a few judges instruct juries not to view victims’ previous traumas and injuries as grounds to discount how an abuser compounded trauma and injuries. When it happens, real justice is a beautiful thing to behold. The judges’ logic was that, if you know someone had previously broken a leg and you re-break it, that’s all the more grounds to see the act as done out of malice. Furthermore, the previously broken leg would have been easier to rebreak requiring less effort on the part of the perp to cause serious harm and perpetrators shouldn’t be given brownie points for shooting fish in a barrel. I assume those bench instructions lent to greater punitive damages or longer sentences.

    Anyway, I think the bench instructions are how everyone should view attempts to gaslight someone whom the offender knew to already have experienced personal trauma– as warranting more condemnation, not less.

  • Tracy, I had never before seen the Madea clip. What truth. I will keep this in a file for those times when I feel sad about my divorce. And Bestie, your former BFF is the biggest loser . I can’t imagine discarding your friendship. Well done indeed.

  • When I was gong through chump trauma, I had a lifeline of a friend. I hadn’t known her all that long, and it felt lucky to stumble into support. Fast forward a few years. I got back on my feet. My “good” friend changed. She cycled through rage, self pity, and love bombing. I exited the friendship. Looking back, she was the third female friend that’s happened with. Some people serially date narcissists; I pick them as friends. (I married one too.) Disordered people skillfully pick victims. Once you recognize what’s happened, there is no shame in getting out.

  • Bitter, what are you into? Tv shows? Music? Video games? Cool nature shit? Tiktok memes? Basket Weaving? We’re your friends now. Have a good day. Make sure you are eating, brushing your teeth, sleeping ok, etc.

  • I wish my WW had a friend like you. After a year+ of wondering WTF was going on with her, I reached out to her best friend who I believed knew more and possible was being used as cover. I politely asked to talk. She summarily rejected me, berated me for going behind my wife’s back, we should seek therapy, said I was controlling and she was telling my wife. I graciously said I was sorry for any trouble, we were in therapy but my wife quit, wished her the best and asked that she be a proponent of faithfulness and authenticity to my wife. She replied she had no reason to believe my wife was unfaithful and refused to ever talk to me.

    Fast forward a year and I discovered the truth. For three years my wife had been in contact with long distance high school X boyfriend. At least one of the physical meetups was under guide of meeting up with her best friend, who knew about the whole thing and probably even facilitated. I contacted her and told her how shameful that was, she could have given me a discreet indication, our family was being destroyed and that she was unhealthy as a friend for our marriage to continue.

    Fast forward ten years to today it still plagues us. We are still married but it has never been the same. Trickle truth, never full disclosure (I believe) and further trust breaking events (though not affairs) have prevented quality connection. My wife continues to see this friend periodically, and I remind her it is against my wishes, she is unhealthy, but I do not stop or forbid it. I tell my wife she needs to address this to make it healthy. I offer to meet with friend and a preacher or counselor to talk through how I feel and perhaps find an agreeable relationship. My wife refuses, keeps some distance but does goes out with her and did a girls weekend with her, and despises me for it.

    I often have regrets about reconciling, but wanted to keep my family and financial future intact. I believe it can work but not like my situation, when rug-sweeping, denial, victim blaming and history revision continue. So rare has there a been a deep conversation that felt authentic, sincere and based in good will.

    I applaud you for confronting your friend. We need more people to do the right thing and not just “be loyal”. We all know it’s in everyone’s best interest to bring these dark behaviors into the light so everyone can work to resolve them or make informed decisions otherwise.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this letter. I could have written parts myself. When my best friend was telling me that she was “staying away from AP because the chemistry is too strong” and later, after she dumped her first husband, told me “we didn’t sleep together until I left Chump,” it didn’t occur to me she was just using me to justify her actions. I believed that she was just unhappy, had found someone that made her happier, and eventually left and made a family with the guy who made her happier. That may also be true, but the way she used her first husband to launch herself to find her better husband should have been a warning.

    She too was the first person to treat me a certain kind of kindly. She identified things about my abusive family and jerk boyfriends and told me I deserved better. She tried to set me up with single men she knew through her professional circles. She was my “best friend” for years, but because my FOO is so emotionally immature, I didn’t know that best friends should actually, like, maybe enjoy the same things I do and want to hang out and just laugh etc. I always felt a little judged, and also always felt a little lucky and validated in my perfectionism that she was my bestie (I became a prof and writer; she became a high-powered lawyer). I spoke at her wedding.

    The first real D-Day of seeing a certain side of her (the real her?) was after I was raped. She showed up to talk once, in the hours right after (I should have known not to call someone that made me feel so ashamed of myself for calling, but that’s probably part of the issue right there) but then she basically stopped speaking to me. I didn’t want to beg for support, so I hoped she’d check in, to see how I was. Six weeks later, when I finally broke and was like, hey, I haven’t heard from you, she was like, “I’ve been busy, you know how busy I am!”

    I no-contacted her for a bit and then after a couple years, I ran into her. She cried; I took her back. Then COVID and BlackLives happened and she showed her indifference again; I tried to talk about it with her, and she dumped me for being “untrustworthy” because I’d told her and other people how shitty it felt to have a best friend not call you during COVID / not reach out after George Floyd was murdered.

    I’ve since come to think that all along, she knew exactly how easy I was to keep feeding crumbs, and that her being friends with me once she got into a certain social circle and professional life was, to her, “being generous.” Basically she groomed me to be her flying monkey.

    It has been such a weird mindfuck to process the kind tone in her voice and sparkly-eyed gaze of fondness, and remember the brilliant conversations we’d have, and integrate that with her sucking. She would often kind of use me to feel better about how she left her marriage: “Sometimes I think God is punishing me for leaving Chump.” The punishment? She had a sensitive child who cried a lot and required a lot of kindly, sparkly-eyed love in order to perform in the way she could be proud of.

    Really appreciate this post!

  • I’m gratified to learn of someone outside the cheater/chump relationship who shows the moral courage to call out the cheater. When I learned that my husband of 12 years had been cheating on me for most of our marriage (multiple women, never wearing a condom), I was really stunned by how many people reflexively stated that they needed to remain “neutral.” It seems that many people don’t see the difference between divorce (where the neutrality of friends and family might be appropriate) and cheating. If my husband had been honest about his desires/feelings and left our marriage, I would totally understand people supporting both of us. But instead, he lied to me, diverted our family’s money, put my health and safety at risk for years, gaslighted me when I suspected something wasn’t right, and then exploded with rage and resentment when I confronted him about his deceit. He didn’t leave our marriage because he was getting a lot of out of it that he wanted, and he knew I wouldn’t agree to the arrangement that he wanted. So, he just took it without my consent. He engaged in deliberate fraud and psychological and emotional abuse. He stole from me. And every friend or family member of his who knew what he was doing, either while it was happening or after, and who remained “neutral” about that behavior, truly brought themselves down to his level. Good for the people who stand up for what is right, even when it is uncomfortable. I’m so grateful for them, however rare they are.

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