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Therapist Says Not to Tell People He Cheated

ninaDear Chump Lady,

Do you think chumps should tell their family and friends that the reason they are separated from their spouse is because he/she cheated?

My marriage counselor (MC)’s advice was that the reason for the separation was not anyone else’s business and said that by telling the truth (i.e. their spouse cheated) the betrayed spouse was portraying themselves as a victim. My MC’s advice was to say the separation was a mutual decision.

My spouse has moved in with the OW and is living far enough away that my family and friends have little chance of contact with him. We have no children. What’s your advice?



Dear Blinkered,

My advice is to replace your lousy marriage counselor with a good divorce attorney.

Your husband left and lives far away with the other woman. You have no kids. What exactly does your marriage counselor hope to “save” here?

Let me guess, the MC is peddling the notion that you can single-handedly save this if you don’t make any wrong moves, like, for example, speaking the truth about why you are separated.

Presumably telling people this separation is a “mutual decision” instead of an abandonment is supposed to preserve your dignity and keep your friends and family stuck in neutral should you reconcile. Gee, we’d hate for them to have to base their opinions of your husband on the truth. Which is “no one’s business.” The important thing to remember is Not to Portray Yourself As a Victim!

This baffles me. If you got pistol-whipped by a mugger and had a black eye are you supposed to go around and tell everyone you ran into a door by “mutual decision”? Hey, you wouldn’t want anyone to think you were a Victim of Crime.

Being a victim just means that someone did something to you against your will. You were harmed and had no choice in the matter. See the definition:

  1. a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
    synonyms: sufferer, injured party, casualty;

I don’t think your husband cheated on you with your consent, did he? You were duped, right? You’re a victim of infidelity. Stating the facts of what happened to you is not playing the victim — you ARE a victim. You got chumped.

Now listen, Blinkered, infidelity does NOT define you. If you acted with faithfulness and integrity in your marriage, you have NOTHING to be ashamed of! So you got played. Okay, it happens. What you do with chumpdom is entirely up to you. There’s a big spectrum of reactions between emotionally vomiting all over everyone’s shoes and taking this to your grave. And hell, emotionally vomiting when you’ve been shocked and traumatized is pretty freaking normal. If a drunk driver ran over your grandmother and you collapsed in grief, would your counselor tell you to “stop playing the victim”? Fuck no. You’re grieving a loss.

You asked for my advice — so here it is — if you want to get past being a victim, start taking your power back. Divorce this asshole. He walked out. He lives with her. There is nothing here to save. If he’s living with her and throwing you lines about “needing time”? He’s eating cake at your expense. Collect all the financial information and see a legal professional immediately.

You want to stay a victim? Remain in “marriage” counseling alone. (Is that like one hand clapping in a forest or something?)

Seriously, nothing says “I can’t move on” more than trying to save a marriage all by yourself. You’re dancing with that corpse and ignoring the stench. And your MC is only too happy to keep taking your money and signing you up for more ballroom lessons.

Walk away from this. Like this brilliant Nina Simone quote — “You have to learn to GET UP FROM THE TABLE.” Fold your napkin, push your chair back, and leave. This guy has no love for you.

Next, tell whoever you goddamn want to what happened. You can keep it brief, you can come up with a line like “I didn’t like his girlfriend,” but you are not obliged to keep his secrets. His abandonment is NO reflection on you. And wearing the shame is acting like it IS. So fuck that. Hold your head up and file.


This is a rerun.

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  • OMG, CL. This is gold.

    “Is that like one hand clapping in a forest or something?”

    “You’re dancing with that corpse and ignoring the stench.”

    Amazing zingers. I am dying.

    I actually didn’t tell that many people that he cheated. I kind of regret that now. I kept quiet because we were in a custody battle and I didn’t want to do anything that might endanger my case or make me look unhinged. But it wasn’t easy. I did file for adultery and cruelty, so if anyone looked up our case it is there in black and white.

    I still feel some unresolved trauma because I see OW being complimented and lauded for being such a great person (I know, I shouldn’t care, or look) and I just want to scream what a piece of shit she is. So far I haven’t, but it’s hard. FW died, and I have no contact with our former social circle. Part of me really wishes I’d sent out a mass communication to all those “friends” setting the record straight, because I know FW and OW lied their asses off about what really happened and slandered and smeared me. At this point I’m not sure what it would accomplish. My real friends know what happened (more or less – I didn’t go into all the gory details). So maybe it’s no longer important. I also (in age-appropriate terms) clarified the situation for my son. I felt like he should know the truth. I don’t rant and rave to him, but I definitely have had conversations where I explain (calmly) the things that daddy did that weren’t good (not just the infidelity, the abuse as well). I want my son to learn that there are better ways of handling your feelings than what he saw modeled for the first 9 years of his life, and that one should treat one’s spouse/partner with respect and kindness.

    I think that too often chumps stay quiet about being cheated on and it isn’t very healthy. But there’s such a big chance that people 1) won’t care, or worse 2) side with the cheater anyway and blame the chump somehow. It’s risky because there are a lot of shitty people in the world.

    Personally, if there aren’t any kids in the scenario, I’d say go for it.

    • Personally, I’d say that even if there are kids in the scenario, then if the subject comes up, then tell. I don’t think you should put it out in the paper, or post it on a billboard, but if somebody says, “Where’s your husband?”, then say, “He’s with the other woman and not my husband much (any) longer.” I think most people do care, the honest people care. But then there are the people that side with the cheater and blame the chump, and there’s nothing that you can do about it but hold your head high. And those are the kind that you now decide aren’t in your circle of friends. If they want to continue a relationship with you, you say, “Sorry. I’m busy, but go ahead and hang out with my ex and his OW. I’m sure you all have lots in common.” Immediately after my DDay, I was anxious about losing mutual friends. They wanted to stay in touch with the FW, and yet they’d reach out to me because they cared for me too. After a while, I figured that I don’t need that kind of friend in my life and eventually didn’t bother responding to them anymore. And I was better for it. I couldn’t stand the thought that someone wanted to be my friend and his. In fact, my own brother said, “He never did anything to me.” And I had to say, “He beat the shit out of your sister, over and over again. I had bruises all over me. You just didn’t see them.” Many times people don’t ‘see’ it, because they don’t equate infidelity with abuse (like getting your teeth knocked out.) So I tell them. And if they forget by once again being ‘friends’ with the fuckwit, then I tell them again. And I don’t care if they don’t want to be my ‘friend’ anymore. I’m sure many still see the fuckwit as wonderful, and his skank as well. In fact, my own sons love their dad and want him in their lives…., even though they know that he cheated on me for years with his skank wife. It’s extremely hard to accept, but I have had to let it go. They’re my sons and I want a relationship with them. If it takes ignoring the fact that they want a relationship with their fuckwit father as well, then so be it. I won’t cut off my nose to spite my face. However, I don’t need fuckwit’s friends in my life anymore.

      • My brother is still friends with my X. The last few years have put my brother in a few situations where his character has come out – and he’s more aligned with the X than me. I don’t make much of an effort to communicate with this brother anymore. He’s proven to be untrustworthy.

      • I’m so sorry about your brother. I can relate to that. My sister told me how she’d known my ex husband for a long time so it was hard to believe what I was saying. She even said that if her best friend told her that kind of stuff about her husband, she wouldn’t believe it because she’d known him for so long too.

        All I could think was OMG, if your best friend tells you her husband is a pedophile or if, god forbid, he raped their three children, you’d call her a liar… Holy shit. One of many things she said while I was going through hell that made me decide not to talk to her anymore.

    • “Part of me really wishes I’d sent out a mass communication to all those “friends” setting the record straight, because I know FW and OW lied their asses off about what really happened and slandered and smeared me.”

      Oh the fantasies I had over this issue. It was going to be The Christmas Card that would be talked-about for years…..but alas, I thought I was a Unicorn and stayed until he died. After they are dead, we know that we would look like assholes if we air their dirty deeds in public. I did tell some people who I knew he would HATE to know that he was a cheater…kind of retro passive aggressive behavior, but it worked for me.

      • I had similar thoughts, thinking that I’d write a long letter post-divorce with the whole story and all of the additional dirt that came up during the divorce process. I was attending an online divorce support group run by the in-house therapist of my attorney’s firm at the time. I can’t remember the exact moment, but she did several presentations on healing that helped me see that it was better to just live my best life without the ugly letter going out. I wrote it and burned it for my own healing though.

        My ex is still alive but has ongoing health issues, so I also thought about airing the dirty laundry at his funeral during the first year or so post-divorce. At this point, I wouldn’t even go, nor would our two young adults. He’s distanced himself from his family, so I’m not sure if we’ll even be notified.

    • I think it might be worth staying silent if doing so motivated a narcissist to agree to a fair settlement quickly. Otherwise, the narcissist’s opinion on having the matter come to light doesn’t matter to me. 🙂

  • My husband cheated with his coworker and left me and our son on the spot when I discovered it. He moved out and moved right in with AP and her 2 kids. Facts. Those are facts.

    Saying it was “mutual” would be a lie. That therapist is a loser. I am no longer FW’s secret keeper.

  • Lying about the reason for the split is just off. Especially, with trustworthy people close to you, tell them.

    That said, you may not feel like telling everyone the details, particularly nosy types who may not be on your side. Or you may be at a social event where you prefer not to talk about it. I did a lot of, “He has chosen to live in another state. It’s a difficult time for our family, and we appreciate your prayers. What’s new with you?”

    Even years after the divorce, I run into people who ask about him, and I still say something like, “We are divorced, and I am in a new chapter of life. How are your children these days?”

    In other words, don’t lie, but you are in charge of what you tell to whom and when. Don’t lie to your closest friends though. You need support.

    • Elsie, you can tell whomever you want to. If you prefer not to tell, that’s totally ok.

      But I tell everyone. Why? Because it’s facts. If I’m at a social event and meet new people, if it comes up about my son and my boyfriend or in some way I need to clarify mymy divorced status, I might say something with humor like “this is my boyfriend xxx — he’s not my son’s father but he’s more of a father to him. Awesome guy and son and I are happy. Son’s dad left us in 2015 for a coworker… but all is good now. There’s so much more to that story but it’s way better over drinks “ and I laugh and move on.

      And if anyone is not in my corner, I have no interest in talking with them further. “Nosy types who are not on my side?” Fuck em

      Because I’ve told everyone what happened, if I run into anyone, no one asks about FW except occasionally “Is he still with AP?” And my response is “beats the fuck out of me. Don’t care. I do know he’s always on work travel, so if they are still together, she’s an idiot.” And I smile and laugh

      • Emma Thompson was interviewed after the Harry Potter films, in which she appeared along with her ex and his one of his APs. She was asked specifically about the Bonham Carter/Branagh affair and replied, “it’s all blood under the bridge.” Oddly, Bonham Carter used the same line when asked about being chumped by Tim Burton and Eva Green.

  • Funnily enough some of my own family members told me not to tell anyone the “truth” as it would make me look BAD!?
    No one should have to live a lie… speak your truth goes all the way for this. We have done nothing wrong except be with an absolute loser.

  • This may be a re-run but “Is that like one hand clapping in a forest or something?” is a line to keep!
    Love you CL and that line is just one of a million reasons why ❤️

    Hope the writer got a new therapist AND divorce lawyer 👍💪

  • A very powerful and helpful quote: “You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served.”

  • I’m a fan of the short, honest answer, like Chump Lady suggests. (Though I did plenty of sharing way too much at the beginning and even for a while.) Now, I most often say, “He got a girlfriend, so we got divorced.” It comes up often because people frequently ask why I moved here, and I moved here for him. I also think people’s reactions to the honest succinct answer give you a lot of helpful information about them, so it gets the truth out and helps you have more information to judge the other people’s character. A two for one.

    • The only thing I’d add to that simple answer is to always pluralize the APs. First, it’s likely the truth. Secondly, it tends to kill bystanders’ “twu wuv” speculations. And, bonus, since a lot of the people making “concerned inquires” are really just rabid gossips, it’s good fun when APs catch wind they were merely one in a heap.

  • To me, it’s so disheartening how a therapist could make or break you. Our marriage counselor told us she thought it would be a good idea for my unfaithful spouse to meet with the OW to see if she really understood what would happen if he left me for her. Like after 20 years I was still a fucking choice.

    The therapist I got after that, who specialized in infidelity, wanted me to tell fucking EVERYONE. His work, his family, friends, our children ( in an age appropriate way), basically anyone I felt I wanted to tell. Her reasoning was that an affair is nothing but a fantasy and it’s about time that he deals with real life.

    And I did. I told anyone I wanted. And the best thing to come out of that was that instead of feeling alone, and like I was dying, I found out this is a whole lot more common than I thought.

  • I went to see a recommended counselor when cheater moved out. She told me it is best to NOT TELL my 12 year old son that the reason his parents were going to divorce. If felt off to me and I wasn’t sure. The thought of not telling son FELT like a lie and made me feel like I would be loosing a part of our relationship.

    I told my then 80 something year old old school conservative father what she said and he responded that seems like a bad idea and makes absolutely no sense, but whatever I decided was fine. He was an honest to the core person. Thinking back, he would have had an issue knowing we were keeping this kind of a secret from his grandson as well. It’s like gas-lighting in a way to give a false story. To downgrade ones reason for divorce to the same level as the person who defrauded their entire family is not accurate. On top of it, it is mentally unhealthy and soul crushing to ourselves to keep things like this inside, let alone the damage to the person who was never given the truth in order to work things through in their own heart and mind.

    By the way, when I told son I kept just to the facts, no emoting. I’ve been respectful of cheater in my relations with my son and others because it is my son’s dad still. This has nothing to do with being fair or harming the cheater.

  • Talk away! That’s my theory…perhaps to a fault.

    I had nothing to hide. I had no desire to protect him, AND I wanted to get my side of the story out there. Plus it just felt good to be honest and open.

    That I started crying while looking for new mascara (waterproof!!!) at Blue Mercury and ended up spilling every bean to the two kind young women who worked there might have been excessive, but they gave me some needed TLC right when I needed it.

    Sometimes the best help comes from strangers.

    • The only help I’ve gotten is from strangers. My family is useless and filled with cheaters.

  • I hope Blinkered took CL’s advice. I never went to any counselling, for me, cheating was a deal breaker, and that was that. I did, however, tell people exactly why I was divorcing the fuckwit. I just said, “he cheated, lied, and that’s a deal breaker for me, so I’m divorcing him”. I didn’t have to explain anything to his horrible family, either, since not one of them reached out to me, despite 23 years of marriage, so that told me everything I needed to know about them.

    • My ex’s family enabled him and denied most of the key points I tried to share. I was told that my reality wasn’t true, and/or I had to squash it anyway. They were trying to make my faults and failings the cause when he abandoned the marriage to live as a single man. I was told that if I had been a better wife, he would have stayed.

      Their beloved sibling was the one to kick off the divorce because I refused to do the “right” thing and reconcile. During the divorce yet more horrible things came to light, and I was so very glad that I hadn’t been afraid to refuse reconciliation and to distance myself from his family. Post-divorce, one of them told my adult son that “time heals all wounds” and that they hope that at some point I’ll be in contact again. I can’t foresee doing that anytime soon, certainly not while my ex is alive.

      • “Post-divorce, one of them told my adult son that “time heals all wounds” and that they hope that at some point I’ll be in contact again.”

        That’s stupid. They treated you horribly and they aren’t your family anymore, yet they think you’ll want to talk to them. Note that by using that particular expression, the in-law is admitting you were wounded. That seems like a bit of an about face from the “you were a bad wife” narrative.

        • Yes, my son and I took it the way you said. They think I would want to talk to them, yet there’s a bit of admission that the situation was off. But they haven’t owned up either. That phone conversation was over a year ago, and nothing since.

          My ex has the potential for violence, so we keep our distance. I don’t want anything to do with anyone close to him at this point.

      • Time heals all wounds – which is why you won’t be re-opening those wounds by contacting the people who made them.

        Funny how none of them said “If only FW was a better husband, he would have stayed.”

        • Yes, it was a weird flip because they are very patriarchal. I never quite got why they felt that having the “head” run away was a good approach to marital problems. They were all for it somehow and even joined him for a housewarming party once he rented a place. At times during separation, he’d also travel around and visit them all, but not us.

          However, years before at family events, there were often discussions about how women had “ruined” themselves and their families with secular education and work. They were a very gossipy family, and I’d sometimes remove myself from the table to do the dishes or look after the kids. I didn’t like how they talked about people. I often wondered what they really thought of my multiple degrees and managerial work history.

          I was largely a SAHM when our kids were growing up, but it was easy enough for them to blame my refusal to reconcile on my previous history, not my wandering husband. And that worked for him as well.

          • Your ex-husband smeared you to them telling them all the “bad” ways you treated him. Maybe he even said you cheated. That’s why they buy-in to the FW’s story. Mine did exactly that. They do project all the shady stuff they do onto others!

  • They moved away and took about 300+ lbs of toxicity with them. Cleans the air.

  • I didn’t announce the details of our break up to most people but the friends and family (including mutual friends and ex’s family) who really cared and could see how emotionally distraught I was asked all of the right questions and figured out the truth. These were the people who provided the most support and validation when I was at my lowest.

  • Great advice from CL! OP is a victim. The marriage counselor is the idiot. I see no reason to gloss over the truth. If people ask why should you lie to cover for a cheater. Cheaters lie, chumps do not!
    Yes, at first many of us did some emotional vommitting. I did. I will never forget the first time I was asked for my spouses information for emergency contact at work. I responded to the poor guy of how Iwas dumped for a woman 32 years younger than FW and so forth. Later I found that he was a fellow chump and much longer after that we began dating. He is awesome, kind and very compassionate. We are both experiencing reciprocity and it is fabulous thing. It is a new relationship and we are moving very slowly but it is very calm and great. There is no walking on eggshells, there are no secrets, we respect each other’s boundaries.
    I hope the OP followed CLs advice and is now happy on the other side. I also hope newly minted chumps will take all the sage advice from this community. There is a much better life waiting for you. I did not think so in the early days but the pain is finite.

  • My ex’s family had this huge all-family email-based network (basically old school group text, and almost as annoying because your inbox could fill up in a hot minute and things would end up all out of order). I sent an email to that network saying I was devastated to say I needed to ask them to remove me from the list because the ex and I were getting divorced, that the differences weren’t reconcilable because I couldn’t get past his unacceptable choices, and that I appreciated their family kindness. I said I understood that they would need to support the ex because he was their family member, and that I wasn’t asking anyone to stay in touch and I wasn’t going to talk more about his choices with his family.

    There were two responses. One of his aunts spit out a weak ‘nice knowin ya’ sort of thing to everyone.

    Another aunt (my favorite) wrote me privately. She said that she understood why this needed to happen but she was very sad about it, she loved me and wished me well, and she appreciated my message and thought it was brave and ethical and that I wrote it well. She said it was true that she wouldn’t be writing again but that she would miss me. This made me feel sure she knew exactly what had happened. (My guess is that they all probably knew.)

    That was the only place I was indirect about it. In every other scenario, I would tell people he lied to me a lot and secretly had sex with other people and spent lots of our shared money secretly, and none of those things are ok for a marriage, so I choose not to be married to him anymore. Short, direct, and a little brutal — and no apologies. Once in a while a person would start into a thing about marriage being for life or whatever and I would just say “if that’s what you want, go for it. It doesn’t work for me.”

    I have no children, but I told the children in my life “He wasn’t nice. He broke promises and told lies and did things that could hurt me or make me sick and lied and tried to hide them. And that means he maybe could also hurt other people I love. That’s why we couldn’t stay together. And if he ever did anything that hurt you, it’s ok to tell me, or your parents, about it, and I won’t mad at you, promise.”

    Everyone’s situation is different. The only choice I regret within all of that was reconciling once without being that honest. But I get why I kept things close to the vest at first. I was reeling, and trying to be the expected good little girl.

    What a bunch of bullshit. I don’t have to accept abuse to be good. If you ask me, I’m better when I shut that shit down.

  • A therapist with this view is at least one of the following:
    — a cheater themselves
    — very old school and harbors a belief that the victims of cheating did something to deserve the infidelity
    — believes in reconciliation above all things
    — more interested in having you as a very long term client than in helping you move on from the experience and knows that having you dependent on them rather than having a network of support is likely to keep you in therapy longer
    — incompetent

    • Great list. Agree that it could be all of the above.

      This one irks me the most: “very old school and harbors a belief that the victims of cheating did something to deserve the infidelity.”

      Society as a whole seems to harbor this belief (thanks books, tv, movies!), but therapists should know better.

      I shouldn’t care, but I sometimes wonder if some people think this of me: “Wonder what Spinach did (or did not do). We don’t now what goes on behind closed doors. He probably had his reasons. The heart wants what the heart wants. This happens all the time. blah, blah, blah.” 🤬

      Murders happen all the time, too.

  • Yes! Chumplady called it! I suspect this so-called therapist is a cheater. Leave the therapist and save your wallet and sanity. Spend the money on the divorce and tell whom you want what you want. 8.5 years out and I occasionally tell people I meet “I was married 25 years until X cheated and wouldn’t stop so I divorced him.” I’m re-partnered and engaged 2 years now. It doesn’t come up often but is a big event in my life- similar to my dad dying of a heart attack when I was 15, becoming unhoused at 16, becoming a mother at 19…. These were major life events for me. Shaped the course of my life.

  • Oh hell no. I got accused of “playing the victim” by FW. It’s nothing but gaslighting. As CL says, you are indeed the victim of an unscrupulous person. Three unscrupulous people, actually, counting the schmoopie and the therapist. Dr Feelbad is either a cheater or an enthusiastic flying monkey to cheaters.
    In an ideal world you could stop paying your bills, and when he objects, tell him he sounds like he’s portraying himself as a victim. He gave shit advice that supported his own ugly agenda rather than your healing, so he doesn’t deserve payment. He didn’t do his job. Sadly, the world is far less than ideal and he’ll just get a collection agency on you. So be done with this son of a bitch. No need to ever talk to him again if you don’t want to. The cheater, too. No kids? Good. That means no opportunities to continue to fuck with you once the divorce is done.

    For me, the silver lining to being cheated on was seeing others in a new light. I take no shit from anyone now. I wasn’t a believer in taking shit from people previously, but I did give people too much benefit of the doubt and too many chances. FW got way too many chances, as did my eldest child, who turned out to be like FW. I would tell myself they didn’t mean to be assholes. Now when I see somebody behaving like an asshole, I assume they do, in fact, mean to be an asshole. I’m open to having my mind changed about that only if the behavior changes. I will give a reasonable amount of benefit of the doubt and a second chance if the offense is not major, but no third chances. I used to pride myself on being easygoing. Unfortunately, being easygoing made me easy prey. So now I’m pricklier and less tolerant of foolishness, though I do strive to keep my impatience with others within reasonable limits. The reason I’m telling you this is because I would like to suggest that you, too, use this experience to tighten your boundaries and develop your bullshit detector. As horrible an experience as being cheated on is, every experience is an opportunity for personal growth. Blinkered, I know that rings hollow when you are newly chumped, so I’ll shut up about it now. Concentrate on getting through the tough slog of divorce and get a better therapist.

    • Oops, I missed that it was a re-run.
      Maybe Blinkered is still around and can give us an update. I love hearing the gained a life updates.

  • I’ve always been clear with others that the ex was having a long-standing affair with exgfOW, that he lied to me repeatedly throughout our 26 years together, and that he cheated on me financially too. They can draw their own conclusions about him, of course. My experience of him is as I describe. Theirs may or may not be different. Over Easter, the husband of my friend (I am godmother to their daughter) was bemoaning the fact that friends lose one half of the couple when the couple divorces. I emphasised that he is welcome to have his own relationship with the ex, knowing what he knows and saw of the ex’s behaviour. What’s unsaid is that if that’s what he chooses to do, over three years out, his relationship with me will change too. I am protective of myself and will keep my vulnerable underbelly guarded from further injury. If I allow the ‘she’s crazy and we drifted apart’ myth to be perpetuated, further injury is a serious risk.

    • Anyone who believes the “she’s crazy, and we drifted apart” myth doesn’t belong in your inner circle. I have a handful of people I run into who still ask me how my ex is doing. He left almost six years ago, and I’ve been divorced for over three years. So I remind them of those facts and say, “So why are you asking that?”

      Frankly, it says something about them.

      • Agreed Elsie. I don’t miss the people who I no longer see, including the ex’s horrible family. I’m learning to focus on how I feel about every situation instead of on what the other could be thinking (which I can never know). The ex is a profoundly dull man (I mistook his dullness for stability!). When drunk, he gives the illusion of being entertaining to those who do not have to live with him!

        • Yes, it’s about your truth. Of course, you should think of other people in what you say, but not by hiding the facts or making excuses that aren’t yours to give. I had to work on that.

          My ex was a horrible man who figuratively burned down marriage and family. I did not deserve that, even with my faults and failings. I did not deserve the long, expensive divorce that followed.

          And no, I am not crazy. I consulted a variety of professional and lay counselors after I left, and none of them believed I was crazy. A people-pleaser and a hopium user, yes. But not crazy.

    • What blows my mind about mutual friends is they literally think to themselves, “hmmm, so he repeatedly lied to and cheated on his life partner of 26 years and stole money from her BUT he would never do anything bad to me because I’m super special!”

      That’s their thought process. It still blows my mind.

      • Yep. It’s the equivalent to saying; I know so and so is an embezzler, but he/she never embezzled from me, so it’s OK. I know so and so is a rapist, but he never raped me, so it’s OK. I know so and so is a paedophile, but he never assaulted my child, so it’s OK. The logical disconnect, and the lack of a moral compass is horrific.

  • “Your only as sick as your secrets.” This therapist is literally prescribing a festering infection. Right up there with bloodletting by leeches and topical application of mercury for syphilis.

  • They don’t want you to say anything because then they get the sadz, and maybe they will feel some guilt in what they did.

    Anyone with some semblance of right and wrong will help.

  • I told everyone that mattered to me and got nothing but support. I had no desire to protect my piece of shit ex’s phony image.

    I did not tell his dad and dad’s wife because I didn’t think it was my place. They always really liked me but they lived 3000 miles away and his dad was pushing 90 at the time and I didn’t want to upset him. He would’ve been very upset.

    About 18 months later I got a call from his dad’s wife letting me know that his dad had passed away. We spoke for a long time and I told her everyone. She told me his dad knew it was ex’s fault because he knew his son. She also said that ex was quick to tell them that no cheating was involved and she now understood why.

    She agreed that it was best his father didn’t know because it would’ve really upset him. She and I have kept on touch since that call….she just turned 85 and I called her for her birthday. She was so happy to hear from me.

    Ex and his brothers were always shitty to her….she married his dad after his mom passed away and they were worried about his money. But she took good care of him and his boys didn’t lift a finger.

    His dad left all his money to her. She deserves it….fuck him (my ex) and his asshole brothers.

  • Ironically, my ex-FW was a super popular guy. One of the main struggles after D-day was coming to terms with the fact that the whole world was going to lament the end of our relationship. I thought I would have to endure so many insensitive comments like “oh no, he was so great. I am so sorry to hear you are separating”.
    Just because we spackled and believed they were the best we could ever have doesn’t mean that the world was equally deluded…
    After the separation, over the course of 6 months, a lot of mutual friends came out of the wood work to lend me an ear or say a quiet word of support. Most had similar grievances towards my ex-FW. He cheated on me in our personal relationship and private life. He also let down a lot of his professional collaborators and behaved selfishly with some of his friends. It all aligns with CL’s statement “trust that they suck”. You really have to trust that they suck. I was fortunate enough to hear some testimonials of how he behaved to other people. Sometimes the world will not validate your experiences. But no one can invalidate your feelings other than yourself.

    • Yeah, these phonies don’t fool as many people as they think.

      My ex was super image consciousness and alway had a phony smile on his face. But after I left him I started getting comments from people that led me to believe they had him figured out.

      • The ex and I are godparents to the son of the ex’s female university friend so she has known him for longer than I have. She and I have remained very close and she has been a brilliant friend in our recalibrated relationship, as has her husband who was very close to the ex. Her husband met with the ex shortly after I discovered the affair and gave him a complete going over about doing the right thing financially. Sadly the ex took no notice! They knew the exgf who was his main affair partner and they had always disliked her. What is interesting is that my late teens godson told his mother that he knew who was the real godparent who cared for him and it wasn’t the ex. My godson texts me, and we have a sweet relationship. I’m sure that the ex does his thing with them. But, they respect my boundaries and we make it work in a mutually respectful way.

  • It’s fine to expose abusers for their conduct, but the biggest priority for the victim getting their ducks in a row and what information they’re comfortable discussing.

    If the subject comes up these days, I tell people fuckwit cheated, that he and the side piece discussed attacking me, along with her list of other women she wanted to harm, and leave it at that. People can process the facts however they please; the reality is that some won't care, until it happens to them or someone they care about.

  • Keeping the cheating a secret is a RIC staple. The only reason I kept the Lying Cheating Loser’s abusive behaviors secret for any length of time was the toxic brew of shame and trauma-bonded “love” that filled my brain.
    I wanted to keep my fantasy of our relationship alive, and that would be untenable if my friends and family knew of all his dirty deeds.
    Next month I’m celebrating the five-year anniversary of my dumping him. It’s been arguably the best five years of my life.

  • When I caught Fuckwit cheating, the thing that surprised me the most was that they seemed more upset that I was telling people about it than they were about anything else– the discovery, the chaos and drama at home, the impending divorce, the financial uncertainty, my pain and confusion– Fuckwit took all of that in stride.

    But when I told people!!! It’s like Fuckwit hadn’t even thought to prepare for that. It’s like Fuckwit believed l I’d happily agree to keep it all a secret. Fuckwit was OUTRAGED that I did not cooperate!

    That’s when I got my first inkling that I was dealing with a dysfunctional person.

    • My experience too, Dracaena. The ex was outraged when I told our next door neighbour because she found me crying when I was putting the bins out! And all I knew then was that I had been dumped after 26 years. He looked at me accusingly and said ‘but I haven’t told anyone’. My response ‘ I need a support network’. He wanted to control the messaging and I think at that stage he wanted to keep his options open. The fact that I told people quickly made that more difficult. Once I knew about the affair I started divorce proceedings as it was a dealbreaker for me. Even more so when I knew who the affair was with! There was no way I was going to be plan B to her.

      • “He looked at me accusingly and said ‘but I haven’t told anyone’. ”

        Because it would make you look bad, dumbass. What a response!

        I told my Fuckwit, “I have the right to tell people the truth about why my life is imploding. If you don’t like it, act better.” I was just so, so fucking done at that point.

        I’m glad you were able to get control of the narrative. I wasn’t so lucky. Fuckwit had been busy getting out in front of it for months at that point, and I lost all of our mutual friends. I’m still glad I told the truth. Having to pretend that my heart wasn’t broken would have destroyed me.

  • I wrote to Carolyn Hax and asked her what to tell people, including my adult step-daughter about the divorce. I wanted to be classy. In an answer posted on what would have been our twentieth wedding anniversary, 3 months after the divorce was final, she told me I didn’t have to tell anyone anything. It would be better not to. I suppose I didn’t have to tell anyone anything, but he was such a bright and shiny Narcissist (diagnosed, if that matters) with such a bright and shiny public image that people kept telling me they couldn’t imagine why I’d divorce anyone so wonderful. I must therefore be the problem. It took me a long time to begin to stop blaming myself. Now I know I should have left him the first time he knocked me down and not stayed long enough to discover the cheating, too.

    I’ve told my oldest and most loyal friends, but said goodbye to all of “our” friends, his family (except for the step-daughter who kept me) and most of my family. His family is a nasty nest of vipers and my fucked up family of origin is no great loss either. My parents, upon watching a former cheater viscously swing a canoe paddle at my head, begged me not to cancel the wedding because I would never find anyone better. Words to live by. (Sadly, I followed their advice and married that man — and almost didn’t live to regret it. Different cheater, different story.) I didn’t give my lovely step-daughter any reason for the divorce, but now I wish I hadn’t kept quiet. Perhaps if I had said something, I would have lost her, too. I don’t know. But I wish I had been more authentic at the time, and I wonder if it’s too late to tell her now.

    • I didn’t tell my adult son the whole truth either, and wish I had. I agreed to do so because it felt like protecting my son, but now it feels as if I agreed to carry his relationship to his father on my back while allowing my ex to escape the consequences of his actions.
      For what it’s worth, I have found that as time goes by and we all move farther away from that time, it feels more not less difficult to remedy the omission and tell my son the truth, although it feels more and more important to me that I stop carrying my ex’s load for him.

      • Adelante, I am struggling with this a bit myself. I have a 12 year old child. We haven’t told them anything yet, not even that we are divorcing. We are in the early days of the process. I KNOW my stbx is not going to want to tell the kid the truth, that they cheated. I swear he thinks that he can just wish away all the facts and turn this into a mutual choice that we both agreed to. I don’t think my kid needs to hear the nitty gritty details. But here is the thing, as we have all learned here, many cheaters are abusive in other ways besides the cheating. My kid has witnessed my spackling and eggshell walking their entire life. Mind you, that’s on me too. Like a chump, I put up with a whole plethora of fuckwittery and only said enough’s enough when I found out that not only is he mean and selfish, but also a cheater. I personally feel that it’s actually GOOD for my kid to see me leave and know it’s BECAUSE of dad’s behaviour, not some soft cushy story about how we grew apart. We didn’t “grow apart”. He decided he wanted strange and went and found it online and told his wife about it YEARS IN.

    • I don’t think it is. In my opinion, telling people about the abuse of infidelity, the indisputable fact that by its very nature it entails lying, deceit, gas lighting, often financial abuse, is important to get out there, and to counter the RIC bullshit, the smug ignorance of those who never had it happen to them. At the very least, you can tell what people’s moral attitudes are by their reaction, and can embrace or avoid accordingly.

  • “We were in an open marriage, unbeknownst to me and without my approval.” Short, and sweet.

  • I hardly told anyone that my ex cheated and had left for his OW (who he never took public before they disintegrated 6 months into my divorce filing.) And of those I told, very few got the traumatic details. I was embarrassed, trying to protect my young son’s family privacy… I think even trying to protect my ex’s reputation for the sake of my son. Now, almost 6 years after our divorce was final, I wish so much I’d been more honest and told more people. Ex is very sparkly, popular, etc., and has pretty much skated through life socially since our divorce. (He is currently dating a much younger woman who left her husband last year after carrying on with my ex, who was her boss.)

    I don’t think sharing would have won me much more sympathy from friends and family. Most people have a “ho-hum” attitude towards cheating until it happens to them. Most wouldn’t believe me if I told them the abusive and terribly cruel things my ex did to me in relation to his affair, and they don’t want to hear it. But keeping quiet hasn’t won me any benefits either. If more people spoke up about infidelity and all the cruel, abusive things that go along with it, maybe we ‘d make a difference for chumps in the future. Or if there were some real, societal consequences to cheaters, maybe (doubtful but maybe) they’d think twice about blowing up their families.

    A few weeks ago, I ran into a neighbor at her local shop and she randomly asked me if I had a good relationship with my ex after commenting how nice it is for my son his dad lives close. (He’s a well known “community leader” in town.) I’ve never done this before, but before I could even think, I said, “well we’re divorced because he cheated on me and had an affair when our son was a baby. So its hard for me to have to live so close to him.” All she did was kind of give me a sad face and say “I’m sorry.” But it made me feel good to succinctly share my truth. I didn’t call names, or use bad language. I just stated my truth. As an abuse survivor (and infidelity is abuse), I have a right to share the truth.

    • Lay out the truth and move on. Bravo!

      I didn’t have custody issues, and my ex moved far away as part of the discard. The divorce happened long-distance with attorneys here, and he never had to show up.

      Yet I still get comments every few months that require the approach you took. As if a divorced person is a problem that has to be fixed. Uh, no…

  • You say: “We broke up because he was dating other women while married to me.”

    Then you say: “let’s talk about something else, shall we.”

    Truth is liberating

  • My biggest regret looking back to D Day is that I thought it would be best for my daughter if I peddled the ‘we haven’t been getting along’ narrative and shared the responsibility. Oh looking back I didn’t know about the OW then.

    If I could go back in time when he said he wanted to leave I would make him sit her down ALONE and tell her he was going.

    Fuck that therapist saying don’t act like a victim. What a quack.

    • The other day my kids asked me why I divorced their dad. I simply said “I am not supposed to talk about that until you turn 18.”
      IDK if that idea helps anyone else, but it avoids the “we grew apart” type reasons.
      Kids aren’t stupid, either. They see more than we know.

  • When folks found out, whether I told them or not, I was suprised how many said they never liked my ex. Most of his friends thought he was stupid running off with a reputed office tramp. I did keep it close at first til I had my ducks in a row. My poor sisters took the brunt. I think the secrecy is very harmful – I’m an adult child of an alcoholic. Secrecy gives them so much power. It’s very shame based. An believe me. I was ashamed I ever married the fucker. Worse getting dumped for the office whore. So I do get not wanting anyone to know. And yeah, people look at you, express sympathy, go home and wonder just how shitty a wife you were to have him leave. Lying and secrets and cheating go together like peas and carrots. But no professional should be telling the cheated to keep secrets. Never ends well. But no matter what, judgements will be made against you. No matter how well kept an appliance you are. Warranty is up and you are dumped.

  • I actually believe this type of advice, along with the ‘don’t tell the kids you’re splitting up because of infidelity’ advice, is intended to PROTECT ABUSERS. These attitudes have stuck around since the days when the abusers had the power. We didn’t used to talk about sexual abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, addicted spouses …. The victims were encouraged to take on that shame and ‘protect’ the abuser.

    The only thing I don’t understand is why revealing this ONE type of abuse (and it is abuse; the dishonesty alone makes it abusive, never mind all the rest ….) is still discouraged by couple therapists. It’s right up there with the ‘infidelity is because of unmet needs’ and ‘save the marriage no matter what it costs the chump’ narratives. BLERGH! We’d never (I hope!) be told not to say we are divorcing because our partner has an untreated serious addiction, or because they have been violent, or because they are coercively controlling.

    I got the advice not to tell the kids about their father’s infidelity. Of course they eventually figured it out, and it damaged the kids’ trust in ME (as well as in him), I really wished I had handled that more openly. Not spilling your emotional guts all over your kids is good advice; lying to them by omission is not.

    And I told EVERYONE ELSE, felt GREAT. I really needed to talk about what was ACTUALLY HAPPENING, and I needed
    that support, I needed to see the shocked looks on people’s faces, I needed to hear ‘what an idiot’.

    • “The only thing I don’t understand is why revealing this ONE type of abuse (and it is abuse; the dishonesty alone makes it abusive, never mind all the rest ….) is still discouraged by couple therapists.”

      I tend to think it’s two things. 1) For the same reason they blame chumps- to protect their pratices and the RIC in general. Infidelity is so common (probably the number one reason people get marriage counseling, but I don’t know the stats) that if they were to urge their chumped patients to tell all, it would enrage the FWs and they wouldn’t continue therapy. They know chumps can be manipulated into keeping quiet and accepting blame, so they can milk that for many sessions of fruitless so-called therapy. Cheaters, OTOH, will not accept blame and don’t want their secrets known, so they would fire a therapist who encouraged the chump to tell.

      2) They believe their own bullshit that infidelity can “improve marriages” by being the stimulus for change, and they believe in saving the marriage at all costs. They think they are protecting the marital bond by telling them chump to keep it quiet. They don’t really understand the psychology of cheating and of FWs. They think cheaters do love their spouses, but just “made a mistake” as cheaters are so fond of saying. They know cheaters may bolt from their marriages if chumps embarass them by making cheating public. Telling the chump to be quiet about it is a form of rug sweeping. The RIC encourages the chump to swallow shit like that in the name of keeping the marriage together because, in fact, it does keep the marriage together in many cases. Not happily together, but keeping a couple from divorcing is a win for the MC and is the way the industry measures success.

      IOW, they are both mercenary and ignorant.

  • I usually do not talk about any of my business, unless I feel I am talking to someone who is legitimately interested in me, and who will actually listen thoughtfully. If it’s a casual question, like “How’s FW?” I simply say we are no longer in contact; we were divorced some time ago. If they genuinely didn’t know that, or were asking a general question, I might say “The kids tell me he’s ok.” Now I can say “He died.” It really cuts an inquiry short.

    When I first separated and divorced, my emotions complicated any answer I may have wanted to give. I usually gave little information, depending on my relationship with the person who asked. Basic acquaintances may get “I don’t really know; we no longer are together.” If a good friend of mine asked “What happened? ” I may provide some detail.

    I do not like it when people I consider strangers pour out way too much personal information to me. I even move quickly away when people are talking on a phone in public and using bad language or say inappropriate things. I don’t need to know what the doctor said, or whether their neighbor is having an affair, or whether their spouse is. I may just be a private person, but I don’t believe many people need details about my life or poor marriage choices. I post here because I feel CN is a place to be honest, and the truth may help someone else.

    I am not a social media person. Cheating is a traumatic subject and I believe trauma should be handled carefully on a need-to-know basis. I don’t intend to drive away people with any financial crisis or work crisis I am having, either. They really do not need details. Sometimes I will say I’m having a bad day, or I am dealing with some personal issues, please forgive my dark cloud attitude.

    I guess my best advice would be to consider when someone asks about your business, why are they asking? I have nothing to hide, but I do believe people need to mind their own business. There is a line from an old song I like, “If you mind your own business, you won’t be minding mine.”

  • Yep, don’t carry his shit for him, put it back out on the step for him to own. Sounds like the MC might have some complicated relationship dynamics of their own to sort out. It bums me that anyone pretty much can be a counsellor. We had an older women who was firmly entrenched in the ‘all here in good faith’ model as well as an underlying ‘men are simple creatures who will be lured off by other women if his needs are not met’ paradigm. What a waste of time and money.

  • I told everyone….standing in grocery line, dry cleaners, waitresses, store clerks….everyone listened! Most had their own stories. You did nothing wrong, tell whomever you want!

  • I don’t believe in pressuring people to share personal traumas. I’ve experienced a sting of back-to-back crises over kids, politics and family that left me feeling raw and particularly stabby towards people who make thoughtless remarks, victim-blame or don’t get it. It’s weird how certain experiences make you stronger and weaker at the same time. Survival is like growing a third arm: you can bench half a ton but it’s hard to buy clothes off the rack and it makes you feel like a freak at cocktail parties. It might be tempting to shut up to avoid exposure to idiots but it feels too much like accepting perpetrator gag orders and also missing out on chances to find like minds. What I usually do is just avoid the classic personalization trap and, instead, approach the issue as an abstract or, you know, “general political philosophizing” in order to test people’s values and characters first. Only after a certain trial period would I consider talking about the personal. What’s really fun is when I meet someone else using exactly the same stealth approach and, at some point, we both recognize that we’ve tripped over a fellow member of the resistance. Happy days, vive la revolution.

    Plus those “abstract” discussions are interesting in their own rights. After all, the personal is political and vice versa. Some of the most effective activists and advocates were “radicalized” by firsthand experience. I think there are some lofty arguments to make about why it can be beneficial to share. I figure most humanistic progress has been advanced by survivors of various traumatic experiences who feel compelled to insert meaning into otherwise meaningless horror by spreading the “gospel” of what trauma has taught them, thereby finding other survivors and combining forces, raising awareness, raising supporters, shifting the paradigm and potentially making the world safer all at the same time. In healing themselves, survivors better the world. It’s like first hand traumatic experience can turn people into human white blood cells that detect sociological disease, fight it, heal the damage and create philosophical antibodies against future infection.

    By that analogy, the forces that silence that process and the creeps who make it unsafe for survivors to share their experiences are sort of like HIV which screws up the natural “social repair” function that survivors perform. It’s a risk of speaking out and people are going to be particularly susceptible to the “infection” while still bleeding from previous injuries. They could be so crushed and discouraged that they never trust or reach out again which is a precious service rendered to perps. Depending on how skinless someone feels following personal misfortune, it’s probably better to be cautious about sharing at first in order to live to fight another day.

    • Hell of a Chump, I just want to thank you for everything that you write on this blog. Your words continue to be a huge part of my resurrection.

    • The best explanation of how chumps are re-traumatized by the current narrative and why it needs to change.

  • You do what you want. It is your story.
    If you want to stay quiet that’s fine. Personally, I was a bit of an emotional vomiter. Couldn’t stop it coming out. Most people were supportive but eventually some got sick of it so I stopped. By then I had moved on anyway. But for me, it helped to get it out.

  • I loved this one! Your posts make me so happy! My ex and his family said that it was wrong for me to tell our 3 grown sons about my husband’s infidelity which was the cause for our divorce. I’m so sick of cheaters trying to hide behind their bad behavior. My ex would say “you’ve brought too many people into our marriage problems” because I told a few close friends and my brothers about his infidelity and love for porn and chat rooms. I said ” you brought too many girlfriends into our marriage”. They just want to keep hiding their dirty deeds. I also think its next to impossible to find a really good MC that has experience with serial infidelity and abuse. My MC would say “he said he was sorry, Isn’t that enough”. She believed all his lies and then we all later found out what a fool we all had been.

  • “My MC’s advice was to say the separation was a mutual decision.”

    So lie for him. That is one thing I did right. I didn’t talk to many folks about all the crap he heaped on me financially, emotionally, verbally etc; but I did make it clear he had left me for a woman he had been committing adultery with for at least three years. If they asked they got the truth.

    No way was I going to say it was mutual. For one simple reason, it wasn’t mutual.

  • Blinkered! I’m so awful. I told everyone. More details at church because my STBXH took over the narrative early and was trying to take any single lady out for lunch. I tried to warn them before they got hooked. He was really out of his own control and was bipolar but felt I drove him to his excessive behavior. The sheep.and the goats I could soon see clearly and friends were friends no longer. Others took their place. I got the best support from strangers actually, which I don’t think even CL would advocate spilling beans everywhere. Those strangers had stories too and so many were divorced and understood. What’s with the secrets? Ok I might agree with kids but with my first cheater I told who would listen also. I’m private too, not on FB or any while my.STBXH is parading his gf who moved from Calif to move into my house with him all over FB. So he’s out there with his joys. My Switzerland friends tell me what’s on Fb. I’m OK. There is nothing to work with. It is devastating but I need the outlet of good people. I used to sit on the back of church rather ashamed of my 2x chump record but now I’m next to the front row, sitting alone with my head held up. It helped me to talk and I hope I can be a sounding board for someone else in need of a kind ear. Blinkered do what you need to do but get rid of that mc…I’m not sure what she’s smoking!

  • It’s horrible that the cheater lies to us. This MC then expects his clients to begin lying.

    When I knew I should get divorced due to his chronic use of prostitutes, but lived in limbo, I knew I lost some of my integrity. I didn’t want to “work on the marriage” by myself anymore, but I didn’t feel free to be myself because I still WAS married. I felt like an imposter.
    Luckily I found CL and took in the wisdom of telling the truth. And I told the truth to the people that I wanted in my life: my adult children, my parents, my good friends, some acquaintances.

    It made me feel real again, like I was finally letting people see me, understand me, and I wasn’t hiding this huge thing. What a relief!

  • To me, the lies are just as bad as the cheating. I tell the truth. If I cover for a liar, I am a liar too. I remember a lot of lies my parents told me decades ago. There is always an age appropriate way to tell the truth, just the facts, without judgement or vitriol.

    Yes son, I believe your Daddy loves you. You need to talk about this with him. I will always be here for you and take care of you just the same as I always have. Your Daddy decided he wanted to live with Jane so he is living with Jane. This was in no way your fault. Or had anything to do with you. Daddy is a grownup and he made his own decision.

  • I was very vocal about it because I use humor to deal with things. When someone asked me why I was getting divorced I might say something like “Well…you know no ones perfect, we both made mistakes. Like sometimes my wife would get upset when she would come home from the salon and I wouldn’t notice she got her hair done. And I would get upset when she fucked spent 3 months fucking some dude in the backseat of her Lexus”

    I do regret announcing it that way as much as I do, I don’t know that it’s done either of us any favors but whatever. It’s done and it wasn’t completely unjustified after she cheated and filed for divorce. I just try not to talk about it going forward

  • If one’s actions were esteemable, respectable, admirable, legitimate, healthy, appropriate, acceptable, one would not be advised to lie about them and conceal them.

    My therapist advised me to make choices as if everything I did would be in full view, completely known to others. Or, as I heard at a meeting, “Live your life as though it were going to be on the front page of the newspaper, because someday it might be.”

    Advocating lying about infidelity, which is secret sexual behavior which requires lying, and lots of it, perpetuates it.


    • PS….secret inappropriate abusive sexual, that is…..

      Keeping secrets about behavior which is wrong, causes grievous and extremely serious harm, incalculable damage to and lifelong scars on the victims?

      That sounds insane to me.

  • Everything CL says times a million! Read it, re-read it, and then read it again. I cannot say it better than CL so I won’t reiterate her wisdom, but I will share that ex-FW accused me of playing the victim, and I retorted that I AM the victim! But for a counselor to say that? Time to get a new counselor. I will also share that I emotionally vomited over so many people, it’s not even funny. And I also told my son to share what happened with whoever he wanted to share it with, for all the reasons CL lists. (I didn’t even have to tell my son that his father was unfaithful; the cops told him. I’ve shared that story before, so I won’t repeat it again.) The important point is to share whatever you want with whomever you want. You don’t have to hide what the FW did. It’s not your shame. And it’s ok to be a victim.

  • I made FW tell his family, while I was there. This is a generational trend of cheating fuckery within his family. At the time we didn’t say we were getting divorced, just we were having issues. And- this was kind of Tip of the Iceberg type info shared with his family. I didn’t yet know much of the extent except that this married AP had been in my personal life for a decade.

    I told my family. We told our kids, age-appropriate and refrained from the going into details. Now divorced and discarded, my kids are now adults and FW and the AP have recently “legitimized” their situationship by getting married last year. FW hasn’t even told his sibs. BUT I made sure to tell the kids WHAT the AP is because the gaslighting & manipulation is in full swing. It’s VERY important to me that the kids KNOW the AP doesn’t and hasn’t ever given a shit about them. The kids can figure this out on their own with about their father.

    Now the AP is trying hard to present as a stable source of relationship advice for my young adult kids. Offering advice on romantic relationships and the difficulties of coming from a “broken home”, because -ya know- she came from a “loving and intact family…”.

    You NEED to tell. My younger kids thanked me when I provided added context recently. When they were younger and I was trying really hard to keep my shit together, they thought I was an unreasonable grump.

    • “Offering advice on romantic relationships and the difficulties of coming from a “broken home”, because -ya know- she came from a “loving and intact family…”.

      Omg. That made my blood boil. The audacity!!!!!!

  • Argh…. So many years ago I told only 2 people about his cheating. 1 friend and my doctor. Why? To save his reputation and to save me from shame. WTF! Then, after avoiding this stumbling block and marrying him, 3 kids later and always an insecurity I got the strength to leave. I was 55yrs. And turns out he continued cheating all through that marriage. I’m a counsellor and damn sure wouldn’t advise any client to keep quiet. It certainly didn’t serve me.

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