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Why Do People Help Cheaters Cheat?

badfriendDear Chump Lady,

Why do people help cheaters cheat? Cheater pursued me for 6 months when we were in grad school and in that time I met his family and some friends, none who even hinted that he was sharing a house with a woman he claimed was his “ex” girlfriend.

He moved into his grandmother’s place after I found out and told me that nothing went on between him and his ex. He just stayed there because they shared a dog. And chumpy me believed him because he moved out, didn’t he!

Two years later, I found that he cheated on me with my good friend. When confronted, he said they were “just hanging out/she was depressed and talked of suicide and he wanted to help” and she said that she “thought I wasn’t committed enough and wanted to show him real commitment.”

But back to my question — why were none of them honest? They all knew — his friends, my dear good friend, his ex (they continue to text because of the dog and cat of course, and as far as I know, they’ve had sex twice since he moved out because… well, just because).

Yes, I was stupid. I was so blinded by love that it took me long enough to figure it out. Yes, cheaters cheat because they can. But why did everyone else play his game and make his life easy? Why do his ex and my ex-friend continue to text him despite knowing the truth? (They are literally handing out cake, aren’t they?) I find this hard to understand because this guy meant everything to me and I still wouldn’t wish him any harm, but I value my self respect, and as hard as it has been, I’ve ensured no contact since I walked out.


P.S. I came to the U.S. as an international student and now have a great job here. At 26, this was my first relationship and I feel crushed. I have no family here and Chump Nation has kept me sane through this. Thank you all!


Dear Untangle,

Why do people help cheaters cheat? Because they’re gutless or personally invested. Of course “Switzerland friends” (as we call them here) don’t see it that way. They see it more like “I had to cheat with your boyfriend because you don’t know what commitment is.”


No seriously, there are several reasons people aid and abet, or hang out on the sidelines.

Your cheater got to the narrative first.

Hey, you already knew! You had an “arrangement”. It was an open relationship! That’s one tack — no one tells you because the cheater assures them you’re already in the know. The other tack, however, is more common — the cheater tells everyone how simply awful you are, how much he suffers unjustly, and so, duh, of COURSE he’s finding comfort in (your best friend’s) arms. No need to say anything, because you suck.

This person is feigning neutrality.

One reason a person might not speak up is because they’re a cheater themselves. In fact, they might be cheating with your partner, or want to, or once did. If you think this is improbable? Read my mail.

This person is being gutless, but disguising it as virtue.

It’s very in vogue Not To Judge. Of course, if someone was robbing their petty cash, they’d want to know, right? So it stands to reason that if someone is fucking around on someone (and probably pilfering the petty cash to do it), they’d want to know, right? Wrong. We Can’t Know What Goes On Inside a Relationship. These Things Are Not Black and White.

Let’s face it — no one likes drama. And no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. (Uh, Tangle? Your boyfriend has a live-in girlfriend.) They don’t know you that well. Why bother? Why sully themselves with this little spot of ugly? You’ll figure it out soon enough. What’s five months, five years, a few children and an STD?

People don’t say anything, they collude, probably feel icky about it, but then stuff it down and pretend otherwise. It’s considered good manners.

I don’t know, Tangle. The older I get, the more I’m likely to grab people by the lapels and yell in their face, “SHE’S CHEATING ON YOU! WAKE UP, DUDE!” This baser impulse is mostly channeled here at my blog, but I could see not getting invited to cocktail parties. (The old bat is off her meds. Pay no attention to her truth telling…)

Essentially what you have with Switzerland friends is a values disconnect. Once you’ve been chumped, it’s really hard to ever feel “neutral” about cheating. If someone is okay with gaslighting, deceit, and emotional abuse? Not to mention the health risks of fucking around on a chump? You don’t share common values. You need to find a new set of friends.

Why do his ex and my ex-friend continue to text him despite knowing the truth? (They are literally handing out cake, aren’t they?)

Because they’re engaged in the pick me dance. They’re competing for the awesomeness of a fuckwit.  (Hey, he has a magic dick that prevents suicide! Who knows what other superpowers he possesses?) They think they’re Special. He only hurts other people because they deserved it/failed to appreciate his genius/didn’t know true commitment.

Tangle, you’ve got too much self respect to run with idiots. This isn’t your tribe. Keep up the no contact and stay mighty. Good job!


This is a rerun. Hello from Boston! Tonight is the Jane Does Well fete. Hope to see some of you there!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • For me, it’s also a case of “who is more fun.” A few of our mutual friends dropped FW entirely after his abhorrent behavior was revealed. Most stuck by him and Wifetress and took lots of photos with them at parties and events that eventually found their way to social media (I got very good at blocking and otherwise setting privacy controls).

    FW and Wifetress are active, extroverted, out there and social and they hit the ground running with that. They’re fun, fun, fun and FW, in particular, is very charming, charismatic, and is good with people.

    I was the singular unit left behind with kids to care for. I’d never been extroverted and after the final D Day (combined with stress, depression, figuring out how to survive financially now with just myself and two kids), I just got more introverted. I withdrew into my isolated cave. Some friends tried to maintain a relationship with me but they had to work hard for it (I didn’t care about that; I had trust issues and was done chasing people down; if they wanted to see me then they had to come to me). Eventually, most of my friends gave up on me. My life was the opposite of what FW/Wifetress’s life was. Not social, not extroverted, not going out for good times and photo opportunities, and not fun, fun, fun. Compared to my wet blanketness, I can see why our friends were always drawn more to him.

    And in the end, that’s why I, I think, the ones who knew about his cheating, just kept it to themselves. He’s magnetic and they wanted to keep him in their lives. I even had one former friend (one who knew about the cheating from day one) complain to me (years after the divorce) that he was so tired of FW’s hypocrisy and cruelty (FW had a one night stand with former friend’s then GF). Shocked, I asked him, “Then we did you hang out with him? *Why are you still hanging out with him*?” Former Friend didn’t have an answer.

    I get it. I went back too for reconciliation and to “fight for my marriage.” It was hard to let him go. I can see why it may be even harder for friends to let him go too and for them to keep his secrets. He’s fun, fun, fun after all and our society encourages us to see cheating as an “oops” and nothing to lose a friendship over. Certainly nothing to bother telling a spouse about. Why do that, feel responsible for the break up of a marriage, and end the good times when you could just keep your mouth shut?

    Just my take/situation. I don’t have many friends from those days left.

    • Good take…also when there is a certain crowd or group of friends that socialize not too many will want to rock the boat by confronting or kicking the cheater out. They’d prefer to keep everything as is and it’s much less disruptive to give the male cheater a pass, especially if they’re the life of the party, and dump the female chump. It’s high school mentality and it stinks.

      • It is 100% this. When my ex husband left me after our son died – our mutual friends all wanted to “stay neutral” but they’d hang out with my ex all the time, and never me, because he was the FUN one ( who could pretend he hadn’t just lost a child). I couldn’t. I was grieving and grief is not fun to hang out with.

        Then my husband and I got back together – and he started cheating on me almost immediately. When it came out that he’d been cheating guess who stayed friends with him and his AP? All those old mutual friends. Can’t rock the boat!

    • “For me, it’s also a case of “who is more fun.” ”

      Yep, and sometimes the power or status they possess. I know my fw had a couple of our mutual friends that stayed on good terms. At least until he was busted in rank, and lost his political connections.

      To be air one of those friends (who was his childhood buddy) told him when he left he was going to regret what he is doing. I think he tried to stay friends, but honestly the fw just started spiraling down into the gutter as he continued screwing randos, and gambling. He became a liability as a friend.

      I took myself out of our old life quickly. I had to, it was the only way I knew to start over. So I don’t really hold anyone at fault, and the relationships did fade. Heck he and slut even destroyed his relationship with our son. It was always about FW and what he wanted, there was no reason to believe he would change to a loving caring person.

      • I think that many entitled FWs marry chumps who soften their edges, who make excuses, who give them cover. At least that’s what I did. I was like that person in a parade who follows behind the horses to pick up their poop. I cleaned up his angry emails or advised against sending them at all. I tap danced at parties when x said something stupid. I’m no superwoman or social swan, but I could usually figure out a way to rescue him. 💃🏻

        Alas, this pooper scooper is gone. And apparently FW is flinging his shit wherever, alienating all sorts of people.

        People think he’s “changed.” Uh, no. He’s always been that way.

        p.s. Needless to say, he was never very fun. In fact, he was/is unpleasant AF. I guess that might be one reason many friends/family members didn’t seem to have a problem dropping his ass. I’m grateful to have so many friends/family who don’t approve of infidelity and, oh, by the way, never liked FW.

    • Fourleaf,

      From my experience, what enables people to emanate that level of “charm” is an clean conscience and the only way someone can have a clean conscience while doing heinous things is if they have some form of antisocial personality disorder that enables them to pathologically “forget” the worst of what they do or at least bury the truth deep down in the basements of their rotting psyches. Your ex and wifestress seem to have met their empathy-impaired, quasi-split personality matches. It makes you wonder what they’re like when they’re alone together and stuck mirroring each other’s mirroring of the other’s mirroring and on and on. It’s got to be deathly boring which is probably why they spend all their time socializing in crowds.

      When I did advocacy for DV survivors, I got a few clues about why so many domestic abusers are skilled at charming crowds of people and drawing in loyal throngs. When I first started attending court as a support, I was given a heads up about a particular, typical moment in dv-related civil or criminal court procedures when perps would be forced to listen to either their victims testify on the stand or listen to expert or bystander witnesses for the state or plaintiff talking about injuries or what they saw the perp doing to the victim. I was told to keep an eye on how even the most charming, high functioning perpetrators would start to melt down in a Jekyl/Hyde transformation in these moments because, in a court setting with an armed marshal and judge who could order jail time for contempt of court, perps couldn’t employ all their favorite tactics to stop someone from telling the truth about perps’ behavior. Unlike in real life, guilty defendants in court couldn’t “squirrel,” they couldn’t menace, physically attack, scream out blameshifting tirades, storm out or clap their hands over their ears like three year olds and shout la la la.

      So you’d sometimes see charming masks drop right there in court revealing the monsters underneath. The air would suddenly be charged with danger, everyone would get tense and court marshals would move their hands closer to their guns. Once they’d lost their cool in this way, guilty defendants typically had difficulty retrieving it for the remainder of trials and would “look dangerous.” Because this transformation could cause a backlash against victims where the court and jurors would then start wondering if the victim was a masochist because, to onlookers, the perps would radiate obvious danger and creepiness, we’d prepare survivors to take the first opportunity to testify about their abusers’ “presto chango” personalities, how they would seem charming and calm one minute and then transform into monsters. Since this is always the case with domestic abusers, we weren’t “horseshedding” victims to lie but simply to highlight. That way the jury would be inoculated against assuming the victim was a glutton for punishment and “drawn” to danger.

      As predicted, I saw all of this play out several times. I thought the key thing wasn’t simply that perps didn’t want others to hear about their worst conduct but that they didn’t want to hear about it themselves. It seemed like certain perpetrators had effectively overwritten the facts in their own minds, had changed the story to make what they did seem justified and believed the bs version themselves. It’s obviously more comfortable to feel guiltless but it’s also a strategy: burying and altering memories of their own conduct is how they maintain their ability to charm other people. If they didn’t erase the events and therefore their own awareness of their behavior, they would appear shifty and furtive to others and smell “wrong.” I don’t think the shiftiness is so much an awakening of consciousness but heightened fear of consequences brought on by suddenly remembering what they’d done.

      Compartmentalizing and re-writing events is partly about “vibe” maintenance to avoid setting off other people’s radars the better to lure in fresh prey and maintain the social protection of flying monkey defense squads. So hearing the actual truth spoken was like prying the steel door off the compartment in their brains where they’d stored and sealed factual memories. Their inability to control their reactions– which is odd for people who channel so much energy into image management– made it seem as if they were hearing about their own conduct for the first time. First you’d see the surprise reaction to hearing the facts, then, as if the memories would start flooding out of the sealed chamber, their next reactions would be imploding identity, then rage and an impulse to attack the truth-teller. Actually innocent people don’t react that way. Rich defendants who can afford to be coached by top defense attorneys might be trained to suppress the psycho reaction but most defendants can’t afford that level of preparation. Also, less experienced and less skilled attorneys tend to fall for their clients’ bs and charm while more hard-boiled, veteran schnauzers hold out for the possibility their clients are actually guilty.

      In any case, these defendants were revealed for a moment as dangerous. And no matter how deeply buried or elaborately disguised that danger is, I think it can be felt by most people even on some intangible, animal level. This made me realize why so many bystanders will automatically side with perpetrators in social situations which is something else I’ve seen happen repeatedly. The bizarre thing is that no one ever gets that excited about a charming person who also happens to be a good egg. Instead, that level of fanatical enthusiasm seems to only be reserved for dangerous freaks. Bystanders are groveling for amnesty, trying to stay on the good side of a dangerous person to avoid the consequences of crossing the dangerous person. It’s not 100% about being charmed but the fact that the charm is laced with threat that makes certain awful people seem so compelling. The chief expression of groveling loyalty that perpetrators demand from bystanders is to castigate victims.

      If the danger was always there to be felt on whatever subconscious level, I think victims must have initially sensed it as well. I grapple with that personally. FW in my situation was never violent but he was dangerous in other ways. I imagine I must have subconsciously picked up on that. The way I reconcile this is that, because women in particular spend a lot of their lives being afraid of stranger danger, being courted by someone with a bit of an edge can feel reassuring if the woman is made to believe that edge is “protective.” But the big difference between most victims and shitty bystanders is that victims generally started out with zero evidence that their abusers were capable of harming the innocent whereas bystanders, facilitators and flying monkeys will continue to not just tolerate but loyally defend perps even after they’re presented with that evidence. If anyone’s a “masochist” in the scenario, it’s the bystanders, facilitators and flying monkeys.

      I always seem to take the long route to explaining simple things like “abusers are scary” and “negative bystanders are sick, abnormal cowards.” But I find that many of us have been accosted with so much blame, shame and rejection from negative bystanders and apologists that it can be helpful to kick the victim-blaming/perp cuddling horse to smithereens so there’s no chance of it rising up again in zombie form.

      • I appreciate your long routes, HOAC. Sometimes if I’m rushed, I can’t read what are sometimes mini-essays, but other times, I’m so hungry for someone to go deep that I relish the time and effort of longer posts. Thanks for the care, research and wisdom you give these conversations!

        • Aw, thank you. I’ve had first hand experience of how a thorough argument– one that leaves no stone unturned in countering abusers’ and their apologists’ typical ornate bs– can act like a tourniquet when you’re bleeding out.

  • I suspect that Ex-Mrs LFTT’s friend, who did a lot to help to facilitate and cover up Ex-Mrs LFTT’s cheating did so because she enjoyed living vicariously through Ex-Mrs LFTT’s affair with her AP. More than that, once Ex-Mrs LFTT left the kids and I, this friend (she and her husband had lived next door to us for a couple of years and so I knew both of them) dropped the kids and I like a red hot sh*t smeared brick when the affair came into the open and she fully accepted Ex-Mrs LFTT’s AP at the drop of a hat.

    That said, karma eventually caught up with her; about 5 years after Ex-Mrs LFTT left it turned out that her husband had been scr*wing her best friend for quite some while. While I don’t approve of what the friend’s husband did to her, I did feel that it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.


    • I think you could say that Mrs. Toxic Bystander Neighbor’s chump fate was more biblical irony than biblical tragedy. Being a not-entirely-innocent person or proxy to abuse who gets victimized probably hurts in a particularly horrifying because they don’t even have the comfort of their own innocence and, on some level, will suspect they had it coming. Not that it’s justifiable to gratuitously abuse even people who aren’t entirely innocent but that’s got to suck. Most APs will eventually experience this.

      • HoaC,

        I agree completely, but I wouldn’t describe Ex-Mrs LFTT’s friend as a mere “bystander.” From what I understand that she actively encouraged Ex-Mrs LFTT to cheat on me (cheerleading was the phrase that someone used), as well as going out of her way to provide cover for Ex-Mrs LFTT’s dirty weekends away with her AP.

        Neither I nor my kids have had anything to do with her since D-Day ….. although we had a near miss when I was picking my daughter up from the station and the ex-neighbour rolled up in her car. We just comepletely blanked her.


        • Friends who cheer-on bad behavior can cause a lot of damage. Husbands XW is an oddball who doesnt make friends easily and took up with a wild gal who told the XW that she would be so much better off leaving her then (now my) husband. This friend seemed a Svengali of sorts and they were thick as thieves during the split. Husband knows there was a later falling-out and husbands daughter is not allowed to mention this person in any form.

        • LFTT–

          God, what a creep. I’ve known women like that. Not that anyone should care but they typically don’t end well.

  • Oh, don’t forget the ones who do it for the thrill!!! Even second hand thrills of knowing something others don’t know or coming as close as they can to the trill of cheating without actually cheating are huge motivators.

    I never knew that sick pleasure from cheating existed until I saw that smirk on my ex’s face, sitting back with his hands across that gross, ever-expanding stomach. One of the “cheater helpers” helped because he was under his wife’s thumb and the thrill of helping the ex and whore was as close as he was going to get to the experience.

    Never knew there were so many creeps passing as humans in this world! Still makes me shudder.

    • I know what you mean about second-hand thrills. It exists in other areas as well as the cheating world. For years I didn’t understand why an adult in my childhood did nothing about a molester and finally came to the conclusion that it was a second-hand thrill.

    • Cheater helpers… ugh. FW had a work colleague who was divorcing, after leering at student nurses for years. FW was so jealous of the “bachelor bacchanal” that his friend was living–FW hoped that his loser friend would keep his house (kicking out his wife and children, which he did–they live in a “spacious” 2 bedroom apartment now). This friend encouraged FW’s relationship with his “sugar baby.” I was the boring one who couldn’t move with the times; everyone cheats and why was I such an old fuddy duddy?
      Surround yourself with people you wish to emulate–morals, character, loyalty. Let the Fws stick together.

  • When ex assaulted me, knocking me out, I stopped tween from calling police and had him call our best friends, D & B, instead. Ex had already assaulted tween when tween tried to defend me. D&B came to the house, where I was dazed, bruised and bleeding from a head injury, and convinced me not to call police because I’d be arrested too. They worked hard to convince me that this was their role with their church, they had seen joint arrests happen, and and tween would be left with nobody. (Although they certainly could have taken tween if that happened.) Tween, now teen, is upset to this day because I didn’t call police, although I notified them later. He’s angry at himself for obeying me, and at me for stopping him, although I’ve explained that I had a concussion, and I thought it was the first time ex had been violent. About a year or two later, when we were discussing it yet again, he suddenly asked, “So why didn’t B and D call police? What was their excuse?”

    What, indeed? Instead, they took my ex to their house, and he was there at least two weeks. My former best friend just checked up on me once, and said she thought my refusal to answer her questions, which were quite prying, was offensive. I explained that having discovered my trusted husband was cheating and stealing my money did make me justifiably less trusting.

    They betrayed tween and I yet again when they offered to supervise a visit at their home, and instead handed him off to ex so they could have time privately. They also let X use their car so I wouldn’t know he was coming to the house secretly, and apparently trying to get in. At Christmas, D told me she couldn’t invite me and tween to our traditional party because she had to get the OK from B, and he was planning to invite now-ex. Soon after I discovered that my ex had at least one secret bank account using their address. I’ve wondered if all the trips my ex took with B were actually to cover up cheating.

    When they first came to the house, B claimed that they loved us both and were neutral, like Switzerland. I can’t believe they could stay neutral, seeing me bleeding like that. And I also can’t comprehend why they didn’t take me for medical care, or call police or Child Protective Services, especially since D was a mandated reporter required to report when she saw abuse or domestic violence in front of a child.

    Like ex, they aren’t the people I thought they were.

    • That should have been “Trips supposedly with B.” Tween and I were told music festivals in the mountains were for business, not family events. They could have been for both.

      • Goodfriend, I’m so very sorry for both you and your son. I’m *still* processing family violence from 50 years ago, and I saw what witnessing it/trying to intervene and protect did to my brother. It shaped both of our lives, and my hope is that you and tween somehow recover your faith in humanity. (And the poignancy of your username is a stab to my heart.)

    • I’d put money on them fucking him. They’re both fucking your ex. People think no, no, no, but I went down the rabbit hole with the whole secret sex life shit. It’s vile and it’s EVERYWHERE. Those ex friends of yours are having a sexual relationship with your ex of some sort.

    • They were nasty monsters, posing as friends. I hope karma visits D and B some day.
      Your poor kid! Children love justice, and this must have been so painful. {{{{GoodFriend}}}}

    • I’ve seen several situations where supposedly neutral bystanders suddenly seem to be triggered into some freaky Manchurian candidate transformation and begin rabidly defending various perpetrators. I wouldn’t go so far as to say “forgive them for they know not what they do.” I don’t forgive behavior like that but I do think people who do this aren’t in control of themselves and their behavior can’t be taken personally. They’re just puppets dancing to a familiar tune and the tune is “abuse.” I saw this when I was an intern and was stalked and assaulted by a workplace psycho. When the psycho was arrested and charged, the entire workplace divided into camps with a few on my side and several who sided with the stalker, even two who never formerly liked the psycho and two who were a self-professed feminist. Had any of them been asked prior to this incident whether they’d defend a violent stalker, I’m sure they would all have said no and believed themselves. They all graduated from top universities and were in a creative field that leans to “woke” so their behavior was a huge surprise. It got to the point where police had to step in and threatened them with witness tampering and obstruction of justice but even then they couldn’t stop meddling. Two threatened violence, including one so-called feminist.

      The whole thing was terrifying but it also made me really curious. While I simultaneously worked to get the collaborators fired before they got me fired, I started to poll the flying monkeys about their childhoods. The monkeys had no reason to believe my prying was friendly but they seemed to be in some strange trance where they couldn’t help spilling their guts. Just like I thought, every one of them had grown up with domestic abuse in their families. Like Manchurian candidates, it’s like they were all trained from birth to automatically rush to the defense of perpetrators and silence victims in any situation involving violent abuse. The interesting thing is that my best ally in this experience had also experienced violence as a child by a stepfather. I think the main difference between the ally and the flying monkeys (aside from the fact that the ally had a near genius IQ and the flying monkeys were pretty average) was that my ally’s mother had defended her, dumped the abuser, put herself through law school and became a judge who convicted abusers. The ally learned that abusers “lose” and victims “win” while the flying monkeys learned that abusers always “win.”

      I don’t think there’s anything that can be done to change someone who “learned” the latter lesson at some critical developmental stage in childhood. They may go about their lives thinking of themselves as fair, groovy, reasonable champions of the underdog but all it takes is witnessing some form of abuse or violence similar to whatever they saw or experienced as children to trigger them into demented perp-cuddling/victim-blaming mania.

      • After Cheater died, his 2 best friends (who I naively thought would “be there for us”) fell off the planet. Im pretty sure that they were flying monkeys and helped him hurt me repeatedly and in the end wanted nothing to do with my pathetic grieving single mother self. Well, fuck them both…Im mighty now and dont need their stupid selves.

        • I’m sure they’re worse than you even suspect. What if you had the “good fortune” of keeping people like that in your life only to find out years later that they trade child porn or killed a hooker during a coke binge? You’d wish you were you right now. Which you are. Congratulations.

  • I’ve shared this here before. It’s from
    one of our fellow chumps, whose cheating ex wife reached out to a friend from their married days. Reading this, it seems to me that people who are loyal with ethics and morals and standards and principles and good boundaries who speak up and are up front are RARE. May I be like her and be gifted with friends like her.

    I have taken the names out to protect our fellow chump’s anonymity:

    I recently had a friend get an email from my ex. The cheater who had a 4 1/2 year affair. She was fairly close to this friend and is our daughter’s godmother. My friend replied to that email. I was overjoyed. The response was great. We have been divorced for 2 1/2 years now. I know I was lucky to have a friend like her, I wish you did too. You have us here in the group! Hugs.

    Here is the emails:

    Haven’t heard from you in a long time, not sure if that is because you just haven’t reached out or if it is because you have chosen CHUMP. I have just hunkered down these past two and a half years to weather out the storm. I hope you and YOUR HUSBAND and the boys are doing well. Have a very blessed and happy New Year.




    I haven’t reached out because you are selfish, self-centered, heartless, and certainly not the person I thought you were. You ripped your family apart and never once looked back. You’re right, we are on CHUMP’S side. We’re also on the side of CHUMP’S CHILDREN. You are an abusive narcissist who has hurt them terribly by your selfish actions and won’t even take responsibility for your actions. You place the blame everywhere but where it squarely belongs…ON YOU. What a horrible parent and person you are! Your children deserve a much better mother than they got. I hope the piece of ass was worth what you did to your family. Sorry, but I don’t consider your actions to be hunkering down to weather out the storm you created. What a piece of bullshit. I wasn’t born yesterday, CHEATER. I know exactly what you are. You are evil incarnate, and I want nothing to do with you. I truly hope this piece of ass you’re with does to you what you did to your family. It’s what you deserve. Happy New Year.



    There are a limited number of spots on a baseball team. If you want a winning team you have to choose the best players. There are a limited number of spots in your life for friends. Reserve those spots for high quality people. I have to BE a high quality person
    who deserves their companionship. It’s a daily practice.

    You don’t need a lot of friends. You do need good ones. Being cheated on, though extremely painful, has resulted in a lot of improvements in my life and given me a lot of (oddly wrapped) gifts I would not have otherwise received. I do not want to be married to a profoundly dishonest dangerous person or have a bunch of fake friends.

    I’d rather be friends with a volleyball on a deserted island than be married to a cheater with a bunch of “friends” who are cool with him and his side pieces soul-raping me and our daughter.

      • ….and you won’t lose any true friends.

        This is one of those significant events that sorts out who they are, and ultimately it’s good to know.

    • Velvet, I hadn’t seen this before, and I am so glad you shared it again. Please keep repeating it on a regular basis, not just the emails, but also your comments.

    • “You don’t need a lot of friends. You do need good ones. Being cheated on, though extremely painful, has resulted in a lot of improvements in my life and given me a lot of (oddly wrapped) gifts I would not have otherwise received. I do not want to be married to a profoundly dishonest dangerous person or have a bunch of fake friends.”

      Exactly. The friends I have now are few, but they are REAL.

    • I hadn’t seen this response before either, and now I’m going to save it to a file named “Badass People I Would Love To Know” so that I can revisit it frequently. Wow, kudos to that loyal friend!

    • Thanks for sharing this letter again VH. A good template to tell an abuser and cheater how to eff right off. “I see you, I don’t like you or condone what you did. Now get lost !”

  • I had Switzerland friends too that were my in laws. Blood is thicker than water plus I was married almost 40 years. So sad.

    • My X in laws of 25 years never spoke to me again— they also cut off all contact with their 4 grandkids. Sickening. The apple did not fall far from the tree with those people….

      • Oddly, FW’s family sided with ME.

        He wasn’t speaking to them, and hated when I did. FW’s sister actually did a lot to help me during the affair/divorce.

        FW always told me they didn’t care about our son. But after FW died, we have spent a lot of time with them. Turns out FW was the one keeping them away from our kid, not them staying away. (I think FW was afraid that I would tell them what was going on and also that they might tell me the truth about his sob stories of his childhood. His sister did give me a very different account of one of them.) My son said to me “daddy said grammy and grampa were horrible people, but they’re actually really nice”. He’s thrilled to have more grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

      • I never heard from any of them even once either. Including my ex husband’s youngest brother whom I raised full time in my home from the age of 13 to adulthood. Nothing. No one contacted our son either, to say Merry Christmas or Happy Birthday or just ask if he was ok. Absolutely nothing. It broke parts of me.

        • KatiePig, I always look forward to reading your responses as they are so straightforward. The raw pain in them is literally gut-wrenching to me, as I relive the pain I too felt from betrayal by family/friends. I hope you have been able to find a good therapist to help you process your abysmal former relationship (and I know reading/posting here is beneficial to us all). My conversations in formal therapy were painful, but slowly learning to consider things from a different angle has changed my life. My very best to you.

          • I haven’t had good luck with therapists but I’m doing really well now. I have a really good partner and new friends and I’m happy most of the time. I’ve become extremely blunt though and I don’t pull any punches anymore. I used to be so concerned with being nice to everybody and not making others feel uncomfortable, especially with my problems or feelings. It’s funny though because by letting go of that concern and just being real it’s seemed to draw better people towards me because they can relate. Thank you for your well wishes. I appreciate it. I keep posting here because I hope I can show that things can be horrible but we can survive it and be happy again.

      • Same here, 26 years. It is easy to see why the ex is as he is. His brother, a horrible human being, used to say, of women, ‘look to the mother’ about marriage. As the ex aged and became more obnoxious, he looked more like his dysfunctional mother (who never came to my house with a thank you gift, never wrote a thank you letter and never left my home without spilling a full glass of red wine on the carpet and bursting into tears). I would look at the ex and think ‘I’m waking up with my MIL 🤢’. This was before I was dumped and discovered the affair. I still celebrate their birthdays; with joy that I never have to waste one second of my precious life spending their birthdays with them and being the audience to their show. I apply this principle to all the people who dropped me because they wanted to retain access to the staff discount at the luxury fashion house for which he works. I celebrate every day the fact that I don’t have to waste my life on them out of a sense of politeness.

    • “Blood is thicker than water” is often misinterpreted; it actually means the opposite of what it sounds like. The full saying goes “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” It originally applied to one’s comrades in battle (the “covenant”) becoming closer than one’s family who wouldn’t understand the hardships of war, but can also refer to your good, true friends (the “covenant” of friendship and love) being more steadfast and precious than your (possibly deceitful or abusive) family. I feel this in my deepest heart, coming as I do from a very dysfunctional FOO – mom was a narcissist, sister was the golden child (everyone loved her, even after she slept with my – at the time – long-term boyfriend), and I was the scapegoat (and let’s not even mention the toxic cousins and half-siblings). I have since gotten to the point where my longtime trusted friends (some of whom have been by my side for decades) are my actual family unit, and I have nothing to do with any of my surviving close relatives. Karma has come for a couple of them, but that’s another very long story.

    • Me too. I still miss my ex family (some of them) but their lack of empathy, compassion, concern for me and my son after DDay were devastating. I understand blood is thicker but my son is their blood and I am his mother. I’ve gone no contact with all of them bc they are no longer my family and certainly not me friends. They gathered at my home with donuts and laughter to dismantle what was left of our marital property. As if they were helping friends move into a great new home. It was terribly hurtful and overkill. My Swiss neighbor also joined in the moving party. I’ve had to remove them from my circle as well even tho they live 2 doors away. They are of the “neutral’ party and although my ex was not the “fun” one of our marriage he has business connections and our boat so I guess those trump real values. I love the CL phrase “values disconnect” bc that’s exactly what we have here.

  • I had the complete isolation / social shunning treatment when my marriage was nuked. The cheater was, as CL posits above, way way ahead of the narrative. He had the sadz and I was a terrible thing he had endured. No one held a gun to his head but that was lost in translation of the Chinese whispers or as we call it here, the “bush telegraph”. Among many many other relationships and associations in our community that were destroyed, I lost my best friend and her husband who were our couple besties. So three against one basically and I’m the loser, and well, cheater liked that ratio, a lot.

    I finally understood — after much anguish, pain, self blaming and skein untangling — that it all came down to one thing for most of the Swiss, namely this:
    Of the two of us (me and cheater) who was going to be of most use to them in the future?
    Cheater has weak boundaries and is just a simple nice / good guy, (he wears an excellent mask) whereas (the Swiss rationalize) I was going to be more tricky to manipulate or manage in any given situation given my clear victim / abandoned / discarded status. I do think there is a gendered aspect to it as well.

    There is also the whiff of the victim being the failure, the humiliation is almost a force that makes people very uncomfortable – so much so that siding with whoever they see wields the power in the scenario is the best play FOR THEM.

    They don’t care if that is perceived as a rejection pile-on for the chump. Why? It doesn’t hurt them to hurt you and as long as they (or anyone on their team) don’t get hurt. It’s the only possible outcome where they get to leverage a situation to their advantage. I do not believe they are neutral at all. Fence sitting affords an opportunity to fall each way as needed where it most benefits them.

    So for Swiss, it’s a standard transactional cost – benefit analysis when a couple splits due to infidelity and it happens pretty instantly in the wake of the fallout. My view of it is they decide who will be the most useful or least hassle and let the chips fall. No harm no foul in their mind.

    The cheaters destroy hundreds of relationships when they throw chumps away like trash and will ever be the same. It took 4-5 years but I think I’ve worked it through to a place of radical acceptance. Now I’m actually glad they all dumped me.

    Coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my first D-Day and let’s just say the tables have completely turned a full 360 degrees. They didn’t break me by their exclusionary tactics. The lack of any support and the social Siberia they plunged me into was ultimately a blessing and a relief. The sadistic whiff of the schadenfreud emanating in my direction from so many people who sided with cheating exFW didn’t touch me in the end. I am risen. I glide past my entire former social life and extended network like a Queen.
    No harm no foul in my mind.

    • I upvoted, yet there is harm and foul directed at chumps. That’s undeniable. However, what they do belongs to them and what we do belongs to us.

      Rise above – great comment.

    • “They don’t care if that is perceived as a rejection pile-on for the chump. Why? It doesn’t hurt them to hurt you and as long as they (or anyone on their team) don’t get hurt. It’s the only possible outcome where they get to leverage a situation to their advantage. I do not believe they are neutral at all. Fence sitting affords an opportunity to fall each way as needed where it most benefits them.” Awesome wisdom. I’m glad you are past and above this. Glide on!

    • “I finally understood — after much anguish, pain, self blaming and skein untangling — that it all came down to one thing for most of the Swiss, namely this:
      Of the two of us (me and cheater) who was going to be of most use to them in the future?”

      I came to the same conclusion. FW was in the arts (film, mostly). Most of our social circle were actors/artists/writers/musicians. FW offered the possibility of professional opportunities for them. In contrast, I had “nothing” to offer. Add to that the FW was outgoing, witty, charming, “the life of the party”, etc. and I am a quiet, autistic introvert (unless you are a good friend and we are one on one or in a small group: then I can talk you ear off for hours). Naturally, they all gravitated to him. He was easy. I’m harder to get to know. Nevermind he was all fake, and would talk shit about everyone when they weren’t there. OW thought she was socially outgoing, but she was just loud and brash. I found her over-the-top enthusiasm exhausting (everything was “mind blowing”, “amazeballs”, the most incredible thing she’d ever seen/done – I once her her in my office moaning like she was having an orgasm over a piece of freaking salt water taffy the secretary gave her. TAFFY.) It seemed fake to me. She acted like a 3 year old (jumping up and down and clapping, that sort of thing). She is not the brightest crayon in the box (though she thinks she’s brilliant and profound) and had led a rather narrow life, so naturally she was in awe of everything. FW loved “educating” her and introducing her to new things (read: moulding her into exactly what he liked). Blech.

      • She sounds like X’s last AP. I used to call her histrionic. Her antics were so over the top, they actually afforded me a few laughs among the horror the two of them were dumping on me! She toilet papered my big elm tree, threw a cocktail glass at my front door, and would regularly sit on her porch with one of her friends and laugh really, really loudly.
        I put in the divorce decree that our house had to be sold, and I SURE don’t miss living near all that!

      • Usage of the word “ amazeballs” should be confined to a junior high campus.

        It should not be uttered past the age of 14.

        • She was 33 when the affair started (FW was decade older, and regularly made fun of “millenials”, which OW firmly was) . But yes, she talked like a junior high kid. It’s “totes amazeballs” that an adult can sound like that. And she’s a “writer” (LOL, her book was terrible). And yes, histrionic is a good descriptor. She was prone to screaming obscenities when she was upset, no matter the setting (once in a public parking lot, in front of her kids and mine, so loud I could hear her in my car even though the windows were shut).

    • My ex has been gone for 5 1/2 years now. He was a runaway after I asked for separation #2.

      I’m a better human being because of what I went through. Radical acceptance took root and grew. I’m wiser and more careful with choosing who is close to me.

    • “So for Swiss, it’s a standard transactional cost – benefit analysis when a couple splits due to infidelity and it happens pretty instantly in the wake of the fallout. My view of it is they decide who will be the most useful or least hassle and let the chips fall.”


      • I second this. I saw “our friends” disappear from my life when we separated. In fact, some of them disappeared even before the separation. I had heard FW complaining to them about how “needy” I was, how I was “crazy and abusive,” and how I “wouldn’t even put out since we got married” when in fact HE was the needy, crazy and abusive one who had moved out of our bedroom without telling me why.

        One couple actually explained to me that FW was always such fun at a party, and they couldn’t NOT invite him since “everyone loves him.” “I know he’s abusive to you,” the wife said, “But he’s Steve’s best friend.” So there you go. She knew he was abusive to me, but he was her husband’s best friend. Steve later told me that all three of his wives had slept with FW, but “what can I do — he my best friend.”

        Those are people I don’t need in my life.

  • Welcome to the world of cheaters, liars, abusers, frauds. Lots of ’em around.

    Best for me was education, support and most importantly no contact.

    Sorry for the pain that it takes to reconcile to the reality of who and what this person is.

    Life is good without a fuckwit.

  • Yes your “friends” are not your friends. There is something wrong with all of them. Normal, good people dont do that!

  • “the cheater tells everyone how simply awful you are, how much he suffers unjustly, and so, duh, of COURSE he’s finding comfort in [your coworker’s] arms. No need to say anything, because you suck.”

    This is what happened with me. ALL our “friends” took his side, because unbeknownst to me, he’d been smearing me for a long, long time. They’d known OW for a couple of months, but somehow that trumped the 10+ years they’d known me. I was also the victim of DV, and FW spun my reactions to his abuse as me being “antisocial” (I mean, it’s hard to smile and laugh at a party if someone was screaming insults at you and calling you horrible names the entire drive over there, or terrorizing you with their erratic driving [on purpose] and then telling you what a terrible passenger you are because you are “insulting” their driving by looking scared). Come to find out EVERYONE knew about the affair. Not one person thought to tell me. Not one person checked on me to see how I was doing. Not one person asked for my side of the story. Not a single “friend” that we shared. Worse than that, some of these “friends” were stalking my social media and sending FW screenshots (after I blocked him), even when I posted about domestic violence and abuse. Which resulted in FW calling me and threatening to “destroy” me and take everything I had because I dared to say anything about it (they were just memes, too, not personal experiences or commentary.) I ended up shutting down my social media completely for about 2 years. Only the friends and family who had nothing to do with FW, for one reason or another seemed to care about me. I did have people, but no one from our social circle. FW had mostly isolated me from MY friends, but thank goodness some of them stuck around anyway and reached out to me.


    Anyone who believes the cheater’s narrative, supports or aids the cheater, or hides information from you – DITCH THEM. You’ll be better off. Find friends who share your values and who know you well enough not to believe someone’s lies about you. Delete, delete, delete. Block, block, block. It does wonders for your mental health.

    • “…terrorizing you with their erratic driving [on purpose] and then telling you what a terrible passenger you are because you are “insulting” their driving by looking scared). “

      My ex did this too. I hated riding in a car with him and he always insisted on driving, unless he was drunk. I do not miss that at all and aggressive driving will be an immediate deal-breaker in any future relationships.

      • Yeah, I know all about riding in a car with them, a whole other level of abuse! Mine told me how boring I was in the car and why couldn’t I entertain him with something of interest to talk about. He would actually get angry about that. I laughed at first at how ridiculous he was being, I certainly could have driven and always offered to do that. ( albeit that would take away his ability to control and manipulate the situation, he enjoyed watching me squirm over it)
        If he wasn’t complaining of how boring a passenger I was, he would be road raging obscenities at ppl that only I was able to hear and get stressed over. It upset me greatly and I told him countless times how he was taking out his aggression on me, not the situation and he needed to control his unnecessary anger. But he would turn it around and tell me I was just too sensitive, how come every time he was annoyed at something, I saw it as an attack on me. ( because it was!!)
        If I cried over the onslaught, he would only get angrier. He hated when I cried, that was intolerable to him. ( I am not even an easy crier).
        We were in the car once when I had just found out I had HPV ( I was 61 at the time, it was embarrassing to get that news). The only thing I remember him saying to me was that I looked so ugly when I cried.
        Another car event, we were going to meet friends for pre drinks at their home as they were treating us to a retirement dinner out. The FW missed the exit to their house and, granted, there was a lot of construction and it was several exits before he could get back around, and the traffic was already bad.
        He completely flipped out, uncontrollable rage, screaming at the top of his lungs. Got even more angry when I put my fingers in my ears to protect myself a little, although it didn’t really help. I actually considered jumping out of that moving car, his reaction was so over the top. When we got to their house ( I thought we should have cancelled the outing) he was so hoarse they thought he was sick. Sicker than you know!!
        I literally felt ill whenever there was some traffic on the road, as I knew he wasn’t going to be able to handle it and I was going to pay the price.
        He once pounded my dashboard so hard showing how annoyed he was going through a slow custom’s line, smashing the dashboard to demonstrate his passport getting stamped, that he actually cracked the dashboard! ( this was maybe year 2 or 3 in a 38 year marriage!)
        I could write a whole book on traumatic car rides with this idiot!
        Oh, he’s Italian, he’s just really passionate about life and has a really short fuse. His job is too stressful, he needs to retire, his parents are ill, he can’t handle the stress of that. The kids have him upset, he has to layoff ppl at work and he has so much empathy for them, he is raging at me because of his pain. He has health issues and is taking it out on me, good thing I’m strong enough to absorb it and help him through this. I have to stay strong for him. On and on I would rationalize. Why am I making him so angry? He doesn’t do this with anyone else but me, so it must be something I’m doing wrong! They have never been exposed to his temper at work,no, he felt safer with me to express it, I had to help him through it.
        I take a lot of solo road trips now. I never worry about getting lost, or any back up of traffic and detours. It feels so good not to have to worry about that any longer and be trapped in a car with a raging maniac time bomb.
        I just listen to a podcast or two or stick on some favorite songs to sing along, or call a friend. It’s not a big deal.
        The freedom from that rage is so peaceful and wonderful.
        Gosh, who even knew a car ride could be as pleasurable as it really is?! I even toy with the idea of getting a camping van and exploring the country more with my pup who thinks I’m just awesome.

        • “We were in the car once when I had just found out I had HPV ( I was 61 at the time, it was embarrassing to get that news). The only thing I remember him saying to me was that I looked so ugly when I cried.”

          I’m so sorry.

        • ” I actually considered jumping out of that moving car, his reaction was so over the top.”

          I actually opened the door once while we were moving. FW had been screaming at me, with our 4 year old in the back seat, because he was angry I hadn’t had sex with him the night before. I told him to pull over and let me out because I needed to get away. He refused. I didn’t unbuckle my belt and had no intention of jumping (and were weren’t going fast). I was trying desperately to show him how his behavior was affecting me. He got so angry and I ended up apologizing to HIM for “showing our kid how to open doors while we are driving”. He then spun the story that I was suicidal for YEARS, including during the divorce in our custody hearings (ironically, he’s the one that committed suicide, not me).

          After one occasion when FW screamed at me so loudly in the car that it was physically painful (and when I told him that, he said “I can scream if I want to!”) because I committed the sin of driving him to the doctor when I had a slight sniffle on the tail end of a cold (and I refused to “get in the other lane” when we were sitting in traffic; he couldn’t see, but I could, that there was a DISABLED CAR AND SOME COPS in the other lane), I swore I would never again be in a car with him. I left him at the doctor and he had his mistress pick him up saying “we” had a fight. No, HE had a fight and I was there.

          H.G. Tudor did a whole episode of narcissists in cars. It was chillingly familiar. They love a captive audience.

        • He sounds absolutely horrid. I can relate to so much of what you wrote. My ex broke so many things by punching, throwing or slamming them. Phones, computers, furniture, walls. I kicked him out once when he threw a lamp and almost hit our little dog. He of course apologized profusely the next day and I took him back. 🙄 He too blamed it on work stress. And he also didn’t like it when I cried. He never said I was an ugly cryer, (which was absolutely DEPLORABLE BTW, especially under the circumstances) but he had absolutely no sympathy for my distress and would just roll his eyes and tell me to pull myself together. He considered crying weakness. So I learned not to cry in front of him very often.

          I’m so sorry you had to go through that. And so glad you no longer have to put up with that abuse. I too enjoy solo road trips now, and getting a camper van and traveling with my doggie is on my retirement bucket list. 😊

        • You survived a MONSTER. It makes me so happy to think of you being finally able to enjoy the simple pleasures that life can provide without a monster around. But I think you’re probably the type who would always have appreciated simple pleasures and didn’t need a brush with the devil to supply contrast to amp up that appreciation.

      • My ex always insisted on driving to parties and then would scream insults at me while driving erratically all the way to the party. When we got there, I was scared to death and completely demoralized but HE was a bright ray of sunshine striding into the party with me ten steps behind.

    • “I did have people, but no one from our social circle.” Same here. Sometimes I describe it as a triple betrayal. Husband and friend have an affair, but then my social circle – the friends with whom we traveled, the women with whom I exchanged birthday gifts, the ones who went walking with me, the ones who talked about genuinely meaningful matters with me, who initially were infuriated about the affair – they all went MIA. I’ve never experienced anything like this, in half a century of living. It’s prompted me to consider suicide on multiple occasions. I won’t do it, bc I don’t want to put my kids/parents through another trauma. But it’s devastating to be haunted by the idea that killing myself would provide the most relief. I’m grateful for the people here who understand.

    • The terror of riding in the car with the ex made me physically ill. I thought, on more than one occasion, he was going to intentionally wreck the car and kill us both. Because I grew up with a violent, raging father, it seemed like behavior that I simply had to accept. It took me a long time to realize that uncontrolled emotional outbursts are not a variation of normal behavior. Never again will I attempt a relationship with someone who is unable or unwilling to regulate their emotions.

  • When someone begins building a story of lies and bringing people to their side against you — RUN. There’s no way to find your way out of that.

    I tried for a time to keep it going when my sixty-something husband of several decades became a runner with his family’s approval and let them do a deep dive on our marriage. Of course, they found me wanting, combing through areas of my marriage where they didn’t belong. He told me I deserved the chaos he left for me, and I assumed that his family felt the same. They held a housewarming party for him and got together with him for the holidays. Meanwhile, he was living like a single man near the beach, telling me of different women he was doting on and being vague about how he was spending his time. An old girlfriend lived in that area too.

    After a year of long-distance separation and evaporated trust, I decided I couldn’t go forward with him. His family was a factor. He initiated the divorce with blame-and-game. It took way longer than it should have and was way more expensive than it should have been. I can only imagine what he told his family.

    And years later, his family still hopes to be in contact with me at some point, as if we just drifted apart. No apologies, no owning up. I’m supposed to pretend that the collusion never occurred. Nope.

  • I’ve been through this on a vareity of levels. In my case, the cheater’s family were hoping things worked out and she wouldn’t revert to her old behaviors, to them I was the “one” because she seemed happy so they did not tell me about her background. Wishful thinking on their part. In another situation, my sister did not want to lose her position in the “pecking order” of relationships. So she kept information to herself, split-the-baby between me and the others hoping at some point everyone would come clean and she could keep both relationships. I think it was a control issue on her part. The problem of course was the truth came out before things “resolved” and my sister got angry when I called her out. She now thinks I owe her an apology for saying something to her and I have resolved to move on – hurt of course. But like these articles say, our values simply do not line up.

  • Wait, so she had to show him “real commitment” by talking about suicide?

    #cheaterlogic #makeitmakesense

    • When I read that I thought, wait, this is the cheater’s version of things. We don’t know that was her “reasoning”; we only know this is what the cheater said she said.

      • Not that I’m defending her. She had sex with him.
        Just pointing out that the version the letter writer got was as untrustworthy and meant to hurt (or goad the pick-me dance) as everything else about him.

  • I was the friend that knew once. I knew telling cheater’s live-in bf would get me booted from my only source of income at the time. By the time I was out of that situation, he already knew and they had already split. I always felt icky about it and I wish I could apologize now. We did not remain friends, obvs, and really, we never were.

    • My best friends H was cheating, for years. But, she knew and in fact we discussed it many times. They split and went back together many times. She was trying so hard to save her family, she had two young girls to raise.

      I was in no place to tell her what to do or not do. But, I did help her with her girls a lot.

      Neither of us had any idea my H was doing the same thing. Mine was conning not just me but a bunch of people with his fake stable family life. In fact she was a childhood friend of his. I remember once her telling me, I”you got a good one”.

      Down the line, we both sat down and had a good laugh over that one. Both of us drop kicked by two cheating liars. Mine was just a more skilled con man than hers was.

  • Fourleaf, I could have written your post. I had the “fun,fun,fun” ex that lights up a room too, and doesn’t everyone want to be around that kind of energy?!
    “Well, he just needed change”, said a long time mutual friend when trying to come up with a reason why FW nuked his family to me. I wonder if this friend would feel that way if it were HIS wife leaving with a younger man? It’s all good man, just one of those things!
    But ppl don’t put themselves in your shoes, they all fear going near such a pair of shoes, anyway, as it might rub off on them.
    It could never happen to them, they almost need to imagine some shortcoming of yours to be able to rationalize it to their internal selves that you somehow deserved to be treated so poorly.
    It’s way easier to accept that than the truth of a deep darkness of deceit and betrayal that lies beneath the facade they try to erect for themselves to believe in.
    As long as ppl aren’t themselves hurt by the trauma of infidelity, it’s something they can live with, accept and not lose any sleep over. You just avoid looking it in the eye and move on past, why have to face something that isn’t even your problem?
    It seems to me to definitely have the, ‘oops, well everyone makes mistakes’, kind of societal reaction and explanation, and we can all just move on and be mature about this, can’t we now?
    Life is too short to hold grudges and not forgive and get on with it. We are all just flawed humans after all, right?
    I think Switzerland friends see themselves as being the bigger person for staying friendly with both parties. Magnanimous of them to mind their own business and just live and let live. Especially if it’s someone that is “fun,fun, fun” and they like the influence they have on their lives, some feeling themselves elevated to have such intelligent, influential,talented and exciting a friend be a member of their club. They don’t want that to end.
    He didn’t cheat on them, did he?! Why should they have to lose a friendship over it?
    I only know of one of his friends who really knew what he was up to, a work friend who worshipped the FW, so there would be no way he would throw that relationship away for any annoying personal scruples he might be experiencing, even when he also knew me for almost 40 years too, his real allegiance was with the FW.
    This friend was, I believe, a covert misogynist, as FW was, seeing this with my 20/20 perfect hindsight vision now. They will stick together, wearing the same pair of view of women goggles.
    It was way easier to create a narrative of me not being up to par, having some insurmountable flaw that fully justified my needing to be replaced with a new model.
    The rest in the picture were the Swiss friends. They realized how badly he hurt me, sure they did, but who wants to give up the “fun,fun, fun” for flimsy principles?! You can’t drink and laugh the night away with your principles, they are way less fun to hang out with.
    Let’s just get over it everyone and move on, shall we? People cheat, people get divorced, people marry replacements, it’s just a part of life is what they imagine to be true.
    When I want to be generous, I think about how long it took me to fully get what was happening. ( decades!) Then I think these “ friends” don’t have the same exposure to him that I had to be able to peek under the surface and see the real man. It’s always easier to believe ppl’s lies than that itchy, annoying truth that keeps nagging at you from time to time.
    People will all admit that cheating is wrong in any survey you give them to take, but in the real world where we all operate, they are willing to let it slide on by. Just accept it’s a thing that happens to ‘other’ ppl and holding grudges becomes more of the offense than the flagrantly unacceptable behavior.
    Hope it all goes great up in Beantown CL! How blessed we are to have you as our kick ass, take no prisoners ally! Chump on!!

    • Good post. I do think fear is a big driver of these types of folks. If the chump got betrayed, and they were good spouses, then it can happen to them. So, they convince themselves that of course it takes two to force the cheater to cheat. We all know that is at least 40 percent of those folks they will experience same, or are already experiences and just like us, no one has told them yet.

      So they quell that uneasy sickness in their gut, and they soldier on seeing both sides. Heck I remember before I started seeing the signs, ignorance was bliss. Even after the year of discard started, and I started seeing the red flags, for a while I made excuses. I had to be drug out of my “safe place”.

  • Hope you have an awesome evening in Boston! In my case, the smear campaign was going on thick – my exMIL won’t even look at me to this day because I treated her son “so bad”. I’ll borrow one of your snorts, Chump Lady. So, of course, his family would support him finding his “twu wuv” & shacking up before separating. In my experience, some people DO like the drama & keeping secrets “I know something you don’t know” kind of childish mentality. And all of Chump Lady’s reasons above too.

  • Oh the gutless wonders!

    I’m reminded of an occasion where one of my closest friends (we’re no longer friends but not for this reason) revealed herself to belong to this category.
    I was on a job site as a housepainter when I was sexually harassed by the client’s creepy dad. He touched my ass while I was bent over a sink holding a faucet in place for the plumber.

    I whirled around and said, “Did you just touch my ass??” to which Creepy Geezer replied, “Oh no, I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t touch a mean woman.”

    Note that during the course of the job he had made several inappropriate comments to me, to the point where I refused to be alone with him on site or commute with him to and from.

    Anyhow, after the ass touch and our verbal exchange, I was rattled, so I went outside and called my friend.

    Her advice? “Maybe you can make up an excuse, something about an emergency with your kids, and get your client to take you back home?”

    Every cell of my body rose up and said Fuck No. Instead I called my client (Creepy Geezer’s son-in-law) and told him the truth. He drove over immediately and scooped me up. He and his wife took very good care of me and we remain close to this day.

    Also to this day, I don’t understand some people’s insistence on ignoring/denying the wrongdoing they witness.

    • I bet that son-in-law wasn’t surprised and that Creepy Geezer had a very long history of highly inappropriate behavior. Must not have been pleasant at their family gatherings. Your poor friends, and I’m glad you found some good people.

      • eirene, you hit the nail on the head. Creepy Geezer is a lifelong predator. In talking with his daughter and son-in-law in the aftermath of the assgrab incident, they both apologized profusely for having exposed me to his harassment. The daughter said she had hoped/believed I’d be spared because I wasn’t his usual “type”, i.e. I was older and less attractive.
        I don’t fault them. They hired Creepy Geezer to project manage their renovation because he’s a former multimillionaire who lost his fortune and is now barely scraping by.
        Looking back, I’m proud of myself for immediately calling Creepy Geezer out, and for rejecting my former friend’s bad advice to fabricate an excuse.

  • Is there a chumplady section at Tracy’s event tonight? I’m attending and would love to meet some of the posters here if anyone is in attendance. If I had a pinecone elf hat I would wear it to identify myself.

    • Wish I could be there to meet you, Fern, but it’s just too far for me on a Thursday night. I absolutely love the idea of the clandestine symbol, though!

      • Thanks eirene. I’m sneaking out of work early to get there before the traffic.😜

  • Because it would require them to take a stand with someone they raised or loved, and that means confrontation and other issues, and most don’t want to rock the boat. Any of them that do will be cut off from them. It would also mean they would have to confront their enabling behavior.

    • I found this to be true with my guilty-of-domestic-violence former husband. Guilty, as in permanent protective order, court-ordered psych eval, batterer’s intervention program, anger management therapy, loss of custody and a 55-45 property split in a no-fault state.

      Who would possibly help him after that? Well, that would be everyone. No one was willing to believe that their son, brother, neighbor, college friend, Sunday School teacher, softball teammate could be an abuser. Their “don’t rock the boat” world view required me to be a liar. It was so shocking and unexpected that I waved the judge’s orders in the face of our lifelong friend, now a mainline minister. Look! See! Proof! Rev. Old Friend ducked his head and mumbled, “He explained all that.”

      No one even pretended to be Switzerland. It was shots fired, circle the wagons. Ex re-married very shortly after our divorce in an outdoor ceremony officiated and attended by the League of Extraordinary Enablers. My kids and I are our own little family, now.

  • This was the hardest part for me to accept. It took awhile. Why would they do this? I asked one of them, “Why does everyone hate me so much? What did I do?” And I got a shocked look and a gasp and “No one hates you! Oh my God, no one hates you! It isn’t about you!”

    It was 20 years of my fucking life… how is it not about me? She was the same person who told me that my ex was planning on taking me on a fabulous vacation for our next anniversary so she knew he actually did love me. The same ex who wouldn’t plan anything and had snapped at me because I asked him to look at two cabins for our last vacation and give an opinion. He wouldn’t plan anything. I asked her where this vacation was supposed to be and she gasped, “I can’t tell you that! It’s none of your business!”

    It’s not about me. It’s none of my business. My own marriage. Not my business, not about me. I finally had to accept that these people did not see me as human. There were a couple times I got through to them a tiny bit and they got looks on their faces like they were holding a mouthful of shit but I’m sure they pushed that feeling down quickly, as lousy people do. I told one, “He did not do me a favor by being in a fake marriage with me for 20 years. I did not need a pity husband. I had options. I don’t appreciate that he did this. It wasn’t a favor to me.” cue wide eyed shit face. Or, “You need to understand that he made every major decision in his life for the past 20 years knowing the marriage was fake and he was going to get rid of me while I made every major decision in my life for the past 20 years prioritizing my family and my marriage. That puts me at a huge disadvantage in my life and it’s not ok.” cue flopping fish mouth and wide eyed silence.

    That’s why I had to walk away from everybody. My own sister showed me a picture of him and the girl he roleplays his pedo incest fantasies with and was like, “well, they look happy” like it was an accusation. I’m sure pedos are happy when they find each other. WTF does that have to do with me? God forbid I be a real person with real feelings who was really harmed by all this.

    So many people are just bad people. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. It’s like, if a friend of mine (I’m in my 40s)showed up to a party at my house with a 16 year old date, I’d tell him or her to get the fuck out of my home, call him or her a fucking pedophile, and never speak to him or her again. That’s legal here but I have morals. I’d also kick out and cut off anybody at the party who had an issue with me doing that. Most people would not do that. Because they only have morals when it’s convenient and/or fun for them to have them. That’s the hard reality I’ve had to accept.

    • Yes, it was a bit of a MF sorting out who-was-who as my marriage crumbled. My ex’s relatives thought that it was perfectly acceptable for a husband to take off to the beach when his wife said they needed to separate. As if that would bring the marriage closer? As if having few responsibilities and no one watching would make him better? One of his friends at church said, “We all need a break now and then.” My ex had been gone for several months at that point. Really? If one of their spouses took off like mine did, I doubt that they’d be at all calm about it like it was nothing.

      Yes, some people are just bad.

    • “My own sister showed me a picture of him and the girl he roleplays his pedo incest fantasies with and was like, “well, they look happy” like it was an accusation.”

      Despicable. ☹

      “Because they only have morals when it’s convenient and/or fun for them to have them.”

      Which means, of course, that their alleged morals are not genuine. I suspect that’s the case with the majority of people.

  • People don’t want to rock the boat.

    They enjoy secrets, feeling like special little confidantes.

    They enjoy the excitement, as if they’re part of a romance novel.

    They don’t want to feel discomfort so it’s best to ignore any “icky” stuff.

    They decide they actually LIKE the AP. Oh, and FW DOES seem happier.

    They rationalize that you can’t know what goes on behind closed doors so la la la la la while plugging ears. And they wonder if FW and chump have an agreement.

    They say that FW was never mean/unkind/shitty to THEM.

    They might even delight in knowing that the chump and FW have problems because it makes them feel superior. “My marriage is good!”

    And they also feel superior because they are capable of LOVING ALL and not judging.


    • Spinach, you are so on point. My exFW announced to so many that he had finally found true love with a 32 years younger woman because I just sucked. There were some who were just so delighted about this. One of them actually called me and said they can’t judge him. Really???? Why not???? I judge my friends by their words, actions and deeds. I judged her to be totally unworthy of my friendship and blocked her from my life.
      I just don’t get why people say that you should not judge. WTF?????

      • Yeah.That sucks. A lot of people use the “judge not lest ye be judged” bible verse to justify staying cozy with the FW. My religious ex-MIL trotted this out all the time.

        She conveniently ignored the Ten Commandments.

        p.s. 32 years younger? Gross 🤮. I hope he’s mistaken for her dad.

    • I think that’s an accurate list of the reasons people side with cheaters, Spinach.

      Another reason is that they have a selfish motive for keeping a relationship with the cheater. In my family’s case, it was because FW did all their taxes for free, plus other favors.

    • And from my experience some of them are burdened with the unwanted knowledge by the blabbermouth cheater, and then don’t know what to do.

      • Yep. Sometimes they don’t know whether or not you will shoot the messenger if they tell you, so I can see not being sure what to do before you know. After you know is another matter.

      • Sounds like the “Ben Franklin effect”. Once someone helps out, their mind comes up with reasons why it was a good idea that they always meant to do.

    • I now see how some people just LOVE to gossip about other people or hear about drama (abuse) in others’ lives. A massive, flapping red flag that alerts me to stay far away from those types.

  • My STBXH brought his OW to my church while I attended another . Out of 100 plus people only 3 called me to tell me he was rebaptized on live stream with OW in the front row She flew in for the impression management show. The ones who told me are my tribe. I don’t need anyone else. I’d say forgiveness needs some boundaries and few people know this. Love without boundaries leaves one very open to manipulation and abuse. IMO.No contact is my naturalpathic drug of choice. It broke the bondage of such a destructive marriage and I am whole again. My body is God’s temple and NO ONE will abuse it again in the name of my duty or using religion as a shield.

  • Something else just came to me and CL has hit on this numerous times. But I see the story line of..”I CAN SEE WHY HE LEFT YOU”. You in your drab brown/ taupe dress and head scarf. You who are quiet and dull. You who stands in the glow of your sparkling turd. You there! I can see why he cheated. Just like Tracy has said…we humans like to feel safe and building your house on a fault line the Swiss have been vigilant about, well it won’t happen to them. They wear pink and hats, no hear scarfs! By George, they are SAFE! They build by lakes not rivers that can drown you. I grew up in Brooklyn NY and if you got mugged at sunset, Who’s fault was that? It was ALMOSY DARK, What were you doing out? Human beings are drawn to parties, lights and cool cheaters. I’ll take my shy deep thinking friends any day. I have real friends since I locked my cheater out, and I prefer Italy to Switzerland any day. Find your tribe and live in the blame the victim world. Yes I have learned and grown wiser from my 2 cheaters. I must admit I did have some great times in those two lives so their creepiness in the end will never define me. I’ve got my dignity after all

  • The gross irony of the “friend” cheating with the partner to teach him about “real commitment.” Wow. Just wow. What a piece of work.

  • There are likely a million reasons why few people send up a flare about cheaters.

    I vividly recall Mr. Sparkle’s ex-wife telling me explicity – watch out, he lies. I shrugged it off as “maybe to you because you’re a bit crazy” (I believed what he told me on that front, but witnessed erratic behavior too). She was speaking the truth that time though, I just couldn’t hear it until years later.

    It’s for a similar reason I’m conflicted now. Mr. Sparkles is walking down the aisle in June for the third time to a very nice, if not naive, woman. She financed their buying a half-million dollar house by selling one she owned already (he only lived in a rental where I had to co-sign the lease because his credit score was so awful). She’s had a revolving door of his now adult children live there while the kids got on their feet. They have dogs together. She has sunk costs. I get.

    She tried to create a friendly inroad with me about two years in to dating Mr. Sparkles based on her being around my son so much. I didn’t know what to say because I personally had no issue with her per se, just her judgement in men (ha). SO… I sent her a text saying that I appreciated her kindness in regard to my son, but I couldn’t engage with her as I am no contact with my X as I had survived a very sexually, financially, and emotionally abusive marriage and “no contact” was critical to my well-being. Needless to say, she didn’t question me further and now here they are getting married.

    SO – do I have a responsibility to say anything else? I’m at meh and feel like engaging in any way would be triangulation and a kibble frenzy… but she’s marrying a cheating monster (I know for a fact because in their first year of dating, I found Mr. Sparkles on dating sites for “taken but available for side piece” action… cheaters don’t change remember!)

    Am I Switzerland or I am meh? Brain says meh, but my heart breaks for her nonetheless. All the adult kids know their Dad is a cheater and none are saying a word… are they Switzerland or just still suffering from the cognitive dissonance of having a cheater Dad who blew up their families/childhoods.

    • You did warn her, when you told her he was abusive to you. She chose not to listen to the truth and is marrying him anyway.
      I totally get wanting to protect other people from the FW. If knowing how abusive he was to you wasn’t enough, I tend to doubt knowing he was on dating sites while seeing her would make a dent.
      So I don’t think that makes you less meh. You have a sense of social responsibility and that is to your credit.

      As for the kids, could it be they are afraid to anger him, so are keeping quiet? One of the reasons these abusive scum are so abusive is to keep people afraid to tattle on them.

    • My cheater was a widower. The first time I met his brother and sister-in-law, she asked me “So you knew each other before (cheater’s wife) died?” I’m like OMG, NO! Now I know what she was telling me. Listen to the red-flags, people!

    • One and done. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. One warning shot for somebody to pay attention and then drop it.

      Speaking from my own personal experience, some narc abusive parents threaten their kids with disinheritance if the kids don’t ignore what the jerk parent did and have a pretend relationship with the parent who cheated on the other parent. I couldn’t stomach the thought of doing that and haven’t had any contact with my father in almost twenty years. I heard from another family member that he refers to my older brother, who is in contact with our father, as a loser and parasite. Pops is married to wife number three and her son (an attorney) probably has control of their assets and will take everything after the two narcs die.

  • They don’t tell you the truth because they are benefitting from that relationship in some way

    Self interest trumps compassion for others plight

    For many, not all thankfully …

    My father told his brother in law that my aunt was cheating on him. He refused to let her use the excuse that she was ‘visiting her sister’ when she was with her AP. My aunt never forgave my father for it, and things were ackward thereafter. But my father never regretted it.

    It takes guts to tell the truth

    • “They don’t tell you the truth because they are benefitting from that relationship in some way”

      This is just a basic truth. Oh the benefits may vary from small to large, but they don’t tell until the consequences surpass the bennies.

      If the chump was horrible, they would have no issue leaving.

      In my case the bennie was so clear everyone saw it, I was glad they did.

      He needed me in place to secure his last promotion. I had worked years in the community and politics to help him achieve his dream position. (He didn’t get to keep it, as he was banging his direct report, both of them lying dirt bags).

      I was proud of him. We did so much work together, and he certainly put up a good front. He made all his life decisions based on truth. I made mine based on the lie of a secure relationship.

  • I now know that ex’s parents new about hoe#2* and hoe#3* at least a few weeks before I found out. I don’t think they were facilitating the relationship. I believe they didn’t tell me because they hoped it would blow over and he would return to me. Of course they put on a good show of rejoicing that ex is now free of the horrible chump that kept him from his family. In reality, his mother and father despise him and would be overjoyed if they could stop pretending they are one big happy family.

    *They were #2 and #3 that I knew of at the time. I’ve come to accept that my ex cheated during our entire 25 year relationship. I had my head deep in the sand and refused to recognize the evidence of other cheating. HIs behavior was astonishingly shady. He did everything but scream in my face, “I’m screwing someone else!”

    • Same. Don’t feel bad, they warp our thinking, and turn an intelligent spouse into a Stockholm Syndrome hostage. That’s why they hate when we break free, because we figure it all out! 32 years my X cheated on me. And there were some people who ‘helped’ him, but three of his friends apologized to me later, and said they knew I was always good to him. Weak people.

    • These emojis were meant for pine cone hat attendees at Tracy’s presentation today in Boston,Massachusetts

  • I just remembered, my exMIL knew when I had three toddlers in the house and she told him “ don’t tell Chumpasaurus”. I didn’t find that out til about 15 years later. He told me after she died or I would have confronted her on it.
    I really thought I was loved by his family, but I guess the blood is thicker rule wins in the end most times.
    The last thing she said to him on her death bed was “ do the right thing”. He was onto his 3rd or 4th years long mistress at that point and he must have figured the “right thing” meant whatever the hell he wanted to do, just as he did our whole married life.

  • Ever get frustrated at the person that’s in an abusive relationship, complains about the abusive relationship, recognizes that things are totally off with the relationship – and then when you directly agree with them or state something like “yes what they are doing is not right. You deserve better” etc. they get mad at you? And they just stay on for years in the relationship anyhow but now don’t tell you anything.

    I think that happens a lot with people being cheated on. There are a lot of people out there being cheated on that still stay. The teller risks everyone – group of friends, family and even the cheated on person being mad at them and shunning or excluding them – and often for nothing because a lot of times the cheater still stays. It’s frustrating.
    Yes it’s the right thing to do. The risk for disease alone means the teller could potentially be saving a life. But unless it’s a close friend – or family member – that’s probably why many people stay out of it.

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