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UBT: Tim’s Review

Universal Bullshit Translator
The Universal Bullshit Translator

Today’s Chump Lady rant goes out to “Tim,” a therapist who left a thoughtful review of my book on Amazon. He gave it 4 stars (out of 5), which was very kind of him. So it’s probably churlish of me to put his review through the Universal Bullshit Translator, but my blogging fingers got itchy when I read his criticism that I “leave no room for grace.”

Chump Nation, hold my beer.

Tim, how can I put this gently? I don’t write for nice, mild-mannered marriage counselors. I don’t write for cheaters. I write for chumps.

Meditate on that for a moment. Okay, maybe 45 moments. Now bill yourself $150.

The whole idea that a chump should “leave room for grace” for cheaters — is not the mission of this site or my book. The tagline is “Leave a cheater, gain a life.” I’m selling exactly what I’m advertising. I don’t review Amazon cookbooks on Texas barbecue and inquire why there aren’t more vegan recipes. Similarly, I wouldn’t come to a book, which brazenly encourages readers to leave cheaters, and wonder why it doesn’t discuss happily reconciled relationships. Or ponder the likelihood of their existence.

Now, maybe grace-for-cheaters is your job as a therapist, but I’m not a therapist, I’m a chump. Cheaters’ grace is above my pay grade. Moreover, the whole meta level idea — that any worthy discussion of infidelity must include a grace-for-cheaters caveat — is offensive.

Tim, consider our radical perspective here — an entire discourse around infidelity that does NOT revolve around what the cheater wants, needs, or might become. 


What makes chumps chumps is having spent entire relationships being lopsidedly, slavishly devoted to cheaters’ wants, needs, and potential. And now, having been fucked over, we reject FW centrality — in our lives and in the greater infidelity discourse. Chump Nation is about what the CHUMP wants, needs, and can become (mighty). That distinguishes this place from 99.99999 percent of the rest of the infidelity resources.

Now to UBT further misconceptions from your thoughtful review:

:: Disagreements ::

> You are a “chump” if you focus on hope for your marriage.
From the author: “Asking a marriage counselor if your marriage can be saved is like asking a barber if you need a haircut.”

​Let me first admit that I am in partial agreement with what the author has to say on this point. Too many counseling services and products promise (for a fee) to help a betrayed spouse save their marriage without the cooperation of the betrayer. And when these methods don’t work, the wounded partner is left to shamefully conclude, “I couldn’t get that right, either,” accepting inappropriate blame.

We should probably throw religious leaders into this mix as well. Many well-meaning people are too quick to direct a betrayed spouse into attempts to save their marriage. That is a risk they are not required to make and should not be pressured to do so.

But denying hope for a healed marriage is a shift to the opposite extreme. The book leaves very little room for this consideration. In fact, the author wants to push chumps in the opposite direction. She writes, “I’m not here to help you save your marriage after infidelity. I”m here to help you save your sanity and protect yourself.”

Here’s the truth: there is hope. I’ve seen healing in marriages, the kind of healing that moves a couple back into connection and trust. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, many couples do not experience this. But marriage healing after an affair is not a foolish hope.

The best healing choice for some is to leave their marriage, but that is not only choice for everyone.

Tim, what makes someone a chump is NOT that they hope for their marriage. (That would make them an ordinary, married person.) What makes someone a chump is that they were PLAYED by a con. They were duped, lied to, had their health risked, were UNKNOWINGLY cheated on.

If that happens to you, and you want to reconcile? That makes you a volunteer, not a chump. Now you know. I might call you a unicorn (because I think your odds are long), but chump just means you were the victim of infidelity. Someone did this to you.

Also Tim, hoping to reconcile your marriage should NEVER be inconsistent with protecting yourself. Hell to the NO. I’m arguing that if a cheater resists you protecting yourself (particularly your finances) or setting boundaries like transparency and STD testing — you’ve got jack shit to work with.

But denying hope for a healed marriage is a shift to the opposite extreme. The book leaves very little room for this consideration.

I make logical arguments why reconciliation is a long shot, and that if you do it, do it with protection. Which I find preferable to slouching towards grace toking a hopium pipe.

Reconciliation is a myth.
From the author: “I liken successful reconciliation to a unicorn—a mythical creature that I want to believe in, but that is rarely sighted.”

There are many examples of marriages that somehow managed to avoid divorce after infidelity, but fail to experience a genuine return to intimacy. Online forums are filled with stories of people who tried to fix their relationship yet remain disappointed and frustrated. I can understand the tendency to conclude that reconciliation is little more than an empty dream.

But couples can and do reconcile in ways that are satisfying to both of them. Some of them are open about their stories, while many remain private about this part of their lives. Every decent affair recovery therapist I know can account for many marriages that are strong despite the devastation of an affair.

Reconciliation is not the only outcome, but it is a true one.

Yeah, about those “affair recovery therapists” — got any longitudinal studies on those marriages? Or just the self-reporting of people in affair recovery therapist offices who want to recover from affairs? Or the self-reporting from affair recovery therapists themselves?

Leaves no room for grace.
From the author: “This is what enforcing a boundary looks like—the cheater decides to commit to the marriage then and there—or you put their crap in Hefty bags and throw it on the lawn for the raccoons.”

This book is a great counter to the common tendencies of “chumps” to overlook the severity of the betrayal. Forgiveness and trust can be granted too quickly and easily.

But I want to live in a world that values grace and makes room for it. I know it is empowering to embrace justice and agree that many betrayed spouses SHOULD be taking a much stronger stand for their own well-being, but there is a way to balance grace and justice. I believe we are better people when we do.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that traumatized spouses should just roll over with an “It’s okay, I still love you attitude.” Real grace will still establish real boundaries. Grace is not the same thing as trust. Some cheaters should never be trusted again, but I would still encourage a consideration of grace, not just pure justice.

Well Tim, I want to live in a world where cheaters don’t fuck over vulnerable, trusting partners. Where men don’t rate sex workers like Amazon purchases, or pregnant chumps don’t discover abnormal pap smears at their pre-natal screenings, where faithful husbands don’t have to paternity check their children, or the middle-aged aren’t abandoned for much younger models, and families aren’t left when the new shiny wears off. Heck, Tim, I’m such a crazy dreamer, I wish child support was enforced!

We don’t live in that world.

What makes you think we didn’t already offer cheaters grace and get kicked in the teeth? Again and again and again and again? (Four D-Days here, Tim. FOUR. What’s my grace score?)

There is a way to balance grace and justice. Justice is just natural consequences — the relationship ends. Grace is — no one backs up over the cheater with a truck.

What’s grace to you? Wishing cheaters well? We don’t wish our exes ill — we just wish them nothing. We reject revenge. We reject their centrality. Meh.

You want “grace”? Meh is Really. Fucking. Hard. It’s a goddamn achievement.

Cheaters have one primary motive.
From the author: “Why do people cheat? Because they can. It’s that simple. People cheat because they value their autonomy to engage in affairs more than they value your well-being.”

No motive justifies betrayal, but it’s not accurate to say that every cheater is driven by the same reason. Every cheater is 100% responsible for their choice and its consequences, but understanding an affair means giving attention to the unique vulnerabilities at play.

These vulnerabilities are not reasons or excuses. The unfaithful spouse had a multitude of other choices they could have made, but understanding the various influences at play in a person’s life is necessary for healing, whether or not the marriage survives. Many cheaters did not choose to cheat before, even when there was an opportunity to do so. It’s important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play so that appropriate changes can be made and necessary boundaries established. Only then can there be a secure return to trustworthiness.

Yes, at the core of every affair is selfishness, but cheaters do not all pop out of the same mold.

This is similar to the grace point — it’s NOT MY JOB to ask what drives cheaters. Is the guy who pistol-whips your face and steals your wallet driven by his desire for cash, or how much he hates your haircut? Does it MATTER? Are you going to preach “grace” to the guy with a shattered nose? Or deliberate over mugger motivations as the victim lays there bleeding? Chump Lady is calling 911. Meditate on grace all you want to, I’m mopping up blood over here.

Dude, there are no “unique vulnerabilities” at play. There are only so many ways to manipulate a person, all of them very well trod. Cheaters say the same stupid, banal shit.

Cheaters don’t change.
From the author: “I believe people cheat because they give themselves permission to cheat—and that’s a matter of character… After suffering my own series of false reconciliations, reading infidelity boards, and running my own blog, I’ve yet to see the grateful, prodigal unicorn.”

I doubt the author would claim that a cheater could never change, but it seems clear that she believes it is so rare that it is a near-fantasy. I wonder if her story has attracted like stories.

Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now. And I know many other former cheaters who have long years of evidence pointing to their trustworthiness.

Some spouses have always been and will always be cheaters. Some spouses cheat once and never cheat again. And some were habitual cheaters who, like addicts, become “sober” in their relationships.

Thank God there is hope for us!

I don’t preach “once a cheater, always a cheater.” However, I do think once a cheater, you’ve put a bullet in that relationship and no one owes you reconciliation. Your character may change (I’m glad it did), but the person you fucked over is still fucked, and shouldn’t be expected to invest in your potential.

I wonder if her story has attracted like stories.

Yeah Tim, millions of like stories. Or as scientists call it — “one hell of a data set.” Oh hey, here’s an actual scientist who did the largest study ever on infidelity that vindicates leave a cheater, gain a life. Psychologists asked over 5,000 women chumps about their relationship break-ups. Turns out the chumps fixed their pickers, learned from the experience, and had better future relationships. They also experienced more personal growth outside their relationships.

Five thousand people? Those are my numbers before noon. I got more chumps here than ever walked through your door or sat on your shrink sofa, Tim. I believe in the grace of self-worth. I see miracles of mightiness here every day. Cheaters are just the catalysts — the grace is all ours.


This is a rerun, but thought it timely as therapist Tim’s review is now voted “most helpful” on Amazon.

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    • Is Tim’s review still the most helpful on Amazon?
      Let’s get every chump/Amazon member to vote for ANY other review as most helpful and show Tim what a nation of chumps can do.
      Running to log on now…

    • Seriously! Preaching to the choir, Tim. Empathy, forgiveness, selflessness, yada yada — yeah, chumps have that in spades. Multiple DDays over multiple years. RIC, MC, thousands of dollars. Reading Esther Perel. Worrying about hurting abusive cheaters while they are actively abusing us. I think ‘grace’ is maintaining our integrity and not resorting to their level.

      I actually have no idea what he even meant by ‘grace.’ Well, maybe I do (eat shit sandwiches and accept abuse and keep stroking that cheater’s ego), but it’s not pretty… which is why he resorts to that word salad.

      Also, loved that manipulative move where he writes, “Sure, you see lots of struggle in the online forums… but that’s not all there is. Trust me, I’m an expert! And I’m also a ‘recovered’ — isn’t it ‘recovering, Bud? — cheater.” (Tim, we knew you were a cheater after your first few sentences.) Wonder what Tim’s wife (ex-wife by now?) could add to this comment. Maybe she’s here…?

  • “Yes, at the core of every affair is selfishness, but cheaters do not all pop out of the same mold.”

    And yet how often here do we see THE SAME EXACT SCENARIOS played out again and again? There’s even a book called “The Script” because these people are so predictable.

    I gave so much “grace” to my ex, I tried SO HARD. It made no difference whatsoever, caused me YEARS of more pain, and very nearly killed me. I wish I’d just left the minute I found out about the “emotional” affair and never tried to save our “marriage”. All FW’s “remorse” was faked and manipulative, because I was useful to keep around. Maybe after OW left FW, I could have taken his bait and slogged through a “reconciliation” and stayed married, but what a miserable half life that would have been (and would only have lasted until he found another willing victim). My FW-free life is full of so much joy and happiness (not to mention financial stability, peace, freedom, etc.), I often find myself grinning like an idiot and doing a happy dance because I just can’t believe how good it is.

    • “There’s even a book called “The Script” !! Wow, it was bound to happen, now even the most pathetic cheaters have a playbook they can buy for $14.52 on Amazon, I wonder how much Bezos has read…yeah 4 ddays for me too, maybe even some I inherently overlooked in my chumpiness, maybe my cheater had to read this script to improve his game so stupid me would get the hint sooner.

    • “…cheaters do not all pop out of the same mold”. (Tim)

      Of course not. Tim’s special. 🙄🤮🤣

      • Tim, consider our radical perspective here — an entire discourse around infidelity that does NOT revolve around what the cheater wants, needs, or might become.

        A cheater therapist promoting grace to chumps is profiting from victims of abuse.

        That’s right Tim, cheating is ABUSE.

      • Yeah, I had an open mind with his view until I got to the part where he is a cheater, so no wonder he wants ‘grace’. Wonder how much ‘grace’ he gave to his partner all the while he was cheating. He wasn’t ‘graceful’ but wants Chumps to be. Typical of cheaters, THEY don’t have to do the work, Chumps do!

    • Yeah… I wanted to give my cheater grace, too. I wanted desperately to save our good times, and the stable family unit that my children had enjoyed to that point. Problem was that he threw grace back in my face with unbelievable vitriol and cruelty. Eventually I was bound to come to my senses… but he could have had grace, if he’d wanted it.

      But he doesn’t. Never did. He wanted kibbles and centrality and absolute submission to whatever he felt like I deserved as punishment for my many shortcomings. He is a fucking psycho.

      • Punishment. You nailed it.

        What is it with these fucking psycho’s? I was cruelly punished, especially during the divorce and even after in post-judgments. I just couldn’t understand why he was so angry at me after 25 years of marriage (knew him for 35 years) and kept doing absolutely horrible things, especially if he was leaving me for his “soul mate”. I was confused as to why he wasn’t happy. Now I understand (covert narc) and I’m almost glad he treated me so badly because 1. it showed me how strong I am 2. proved what a bastard he is and 3. made me be able to go NC early on. I never want to see him again.

        • Yes,…couldn’t understand his anger starting on dday. He yelled & screamed something he never did in the 26+ years were together. He became mean as well – told water company to turn off service because he no longer lived here but I still did! He bullied me about finances almost daily. It was just awful. I too never want to see him again. Chances are pretty good that I will never run into him as he ran away about 50 miles way 3 weeks after dday.

          • Asshat was so angry after our mediation (the mediator point blank told him that he was going to owe me a lot of money, which would have been true but that my attorney screwed up my settlement calculations) that he called our insurance company to try and get me kicked off the house insurance of all things. I had made a plan to go out with the GFs and was drinking wine when I started to receive angry texts from him and phone calls from the insurance company. The woman on the phone was very sympathetic, practically apologizing for his rude behavior. She said she told him that he didn’t have the authority to take me off the insurance and that made him really upset.

            I even got the most vile sexual fantasy email from him after I rejected him when he handed me the divorce paperwork. I really can’t believe he thought I was that much of a chump that I was going to have sex with him–I must have been pretty pathetic for him to think that. Which made me realize he hadn’t really met his “soul mate” as he was being so disrespectful to her–ha ha!

            Good riddance!

            • FW continued to have sex with me and send me sexual texts, etc. all throughout his affair (I didn’t know it had progressed to physical – call me naive – or I would NEVER, but he swore there was nothing going on). Poor OW thought she was his twu wuv and I was the cold, sexless wife he hated. She had no idea he was cheating on her the whole time. (Once I knew what was up, I never touched him again, but it took awhile for me to realize/accept it for what it was. It’s embarassing now. I was definitely in denial. But even then, he tried. He actually once time started trying to touch me in a sexual way WHEN OW WAS THERE. I looked at him and said “what are you doing?” and he mumbled “sorry” and stopped. Later I saw OW crying on the porch. I can’t deny I found it rather satisfying. So, so disrespectful to his “soul mate”, but she stayed with him anyway, so that’s on her.)

          • My stbx canceled my cell phone (we shared a plan, and I was actually the one who paid the bill) late on a Friday night (without telling met) so there was no way for me to get another til the next day and I had our child with me at the time! So no way to contact anyone in case of emergency. His attorney was apparently pissed off at him for that, and told my attorney that FW didn’t consult him on that because he (the lawyer) would have told him not to do that. Just petty. However, he didn’t remove me as an authorized user, so I could still go to the store and get phone records, etc. So if the idea was to protect his call history or whatever, he failed at that. I think it was just to punish me.

            FW would also often be nasty about finances. I’d always handled them, so he would send me money to pay the things we still shared, like the mortgage. Several times he transferred the money, and then took it back out of the account because he was angry. He also would fight me when I’d send him the breakdown of what was owed, claiming not to understand it, arguing if a bill went up slightly, etc. Separating our finances completely was such a relief. He was so irresponsible with money. He neglected to pay the utilities on our home (where HE was living) for months, so the power got shut off when we were in the middle of closing the sale on it and I had to send all kinds of documentation to the electric company to have them turn the power back on and let me open a new account in my name, since I couldn’t afford to pay the huge balance he had. Once we had completely separate finances, I realized just how big a drain he’d been on me. My bank account grew so quickly, I was amazed. Meanwhile he was broke, even though he made more than I did at the time, and was sharing expenses with OW. FW was angry that I wouldn’t help him financially and called me to scream at me, bully me, and try to guilt me into it. But I didn’t budge.

            • We married the same FW.

              Asshat actually emailed me that he turned off my phone service, cc’d his attorney and mine, while I was watching my mother die. When I got home and saw it, I hit reply all minus Asshat to let them know my mother had died. We were suppose to have our divorce trial that day (Thursday) but I had asked for a continuance (Monday), completely pissing off Asshat. He told the entire town I was holding on to him and didn’t want the divorce, nevermind my mother was in hospice. Tuesday was Halloween so my son & I handed out candy while Asshat sent someone to spy on me taking photos of me on my porch which I assume he was going to use in some legal motion to punish me. I found out that he had driven the 4 hour round trip to “check” on my mother pushing his way into her locked facility on that Monday when he received the news I had asked for a continuance.

              It was a very bad time.

        • Yeah, it’s so weird. Breaking up is one thing, and I would never expect it to be pleasant. But I remember being shocked that after loving — in the active, authentic sense — and compromising so much for my ex and his family (who I treated like my own) for fifteen years — he could turn around and treat me like his worst enemy. The preceding love bombing and gaslighting doesn’t make it any easier to understand.

          My life fell apart because of him (although he would disagree). I had to find temporary housing in the pandemic, then scramble to look for a new job and apartment. I was physically injured because he assaulted me and couldn’t do parts of my job because of it. I had to buy a new car because he wrecked mine. In spite of years of investment of time, money and dreams, nothing was in my name, so I walked away with nothing. All of my belongings were in “my” old home, and it wasn’t safe to go back. I moved by myself. I had to go back to school and navigate complicated licensing processes, healthcare during the shutdown. I needed therapy but couldn’t find a therapist because because the whole world was going nuts. I wound up spending thousands on all of this — which was pretty much all I had. All of my belongings were in “my” old home, and it wasn’t safe to go back.

          He lost nothing, and he was the perpetrator. And yet he continued to punish me. And I did nothing to him. Except for send him distraught, sad, angry emails for a few months. I plan to read Judith Herman’s Truth And Repair: How Trauma Survivors Envision Justice. We chumps figure out how to GAL and get to meh without closure or amends from cheaters, but I think the lack of justice is a major hurdle to healing, in an emotional/psychological as well as a practical/financial/social capital sense. And being betrayed by those closest to you is just a total mindfuck.

        • Ginger….wow..just wow… same narrative here…except for 30 year marriage…I LOVE the 3 points you made because they echo my sentiments EXACTLY, especially regarding the NC early and never seeing him again……If you havent read Debbie Mirza’s book on Covert narcissism I highly recommend it….it will give you the chills because you (we) lived it

      • Mine liked to punish me too. I don’t know why I put up with it. He used to say to me after he did something mean, “I did it to teach you a lesson.” and I used to say to him, “Your just trying to punish me.”

        They do all come from the same mold. I keep reading here daily. It’s my therapy. All of your stories have helped me so immensely in my journey because they are soooo similar to mine! This ChumpLady and community has saved me.

        • Who the H$$& do they think they are? The audacity. They think they have some sort of authority over their spouse? There is no more obey in vows! It’s supposed to be a partnership. Another way of looking at it is reciprocity.

  • I think Tim should willingly give ALL of his money, retirement, and savings to his spouse to the point where he doesn’t have any access to his money when he needs it. He takes on ALL the responsibility of cleaning, cooking, taking care of the kids, working his job, and all household chores while his spouse just takes a backseat to all duties and reaps the benefit of unlimited access to money while no responsibility. They should have this arrangement for at least 10 years. Then Tim can peel back the onion of his own life and marriage (May I suggest a nice forensic review of social media, technology, and your spouses spending, Tim) . I’m sure his level of hope will be more of a moment of “WHAT THE FUCK” clarity and he will take that review and shove it up his ass!

    • May I add ‘Tim’ should also subject himself to a variety of medical tests and exams for STDs and maybe add a few extra vaccinations or a series of them to his lifestyle just to be completely sure that in his middle aged life of trustworthiness he is confident he may not have contracted any diseases his chump family of multiple decades were unaware of that would impact their health and safety.

    • How about adding an incurable STD to Tim’s experience… see how graceful he is when his dick has to be cauterized again and again. As he curls in a ball of agony a loud speaker will shout in his ear: “where’s your part in this, Tim? You deserved this, dontchaknow???!!!

      WHERE’S YOUR GRACE NOW, TIM???!!! Get up off the floor and bring her a drink with a smile. Sign up for more abuse! Smile, Tim! Smile…..

    • I’ve learned that there will be no moments of clarity for fuckwits no matter what happens.

      I’ve had daydreams of strapping Wasband to a chair in an auditorium surrounded by everyone he has ever known. I’d show them all a video compilation of his lies, secrets, and betrayal.

      It’s fun to think about. But what would he do? He’d sit there and say it was all lies. Just like Larry Nassar sits on his ass in prison and to this day thinks it’s all one big overblown mistake.

      [LN was a university gymnastics physician who molested many, many girls under the guise of medical treatment. He had 15+ victims testify at his trial.]

      No matter what anyone does or says, they will never see the light. Their survival depends on it.

      This is a very hard shit sandwich for me to swallow. Sometimes I slip up and try to make Wasband see how it really is. For the most part, however, I put my energy toward real things.

  • I refuse to give grace to anyone who lies, cheats and steals. I refuse grace to a person who vowed monogamy and then decided that it was not natural. I also refused to live my life being the marriage police. Once the trust is broken and the mask is off, it is over. Getting away from some who lied, cheated and took money from the marriage to support a hooker habit is NOT someone I want to spend my life with. I don’t believe that trust can be rebuilt after the ultimate betrayal. Sure, you can pretend but who wants to be a Stepford wife?
    Tim, I divorced a cheater, got a great settlement and am now healthier and happier than ever. Life without a cheater is better than life with a cheater and nothing can convince me otherwise. By staying and reconciling, you will only diminish yourself every single day. I want a full and rich life with authentic, honest and trustworthy people. I may not have a lot of people in my circle but those that I do let in have my back. I also don’t think I should settle for life with a cheater when there are supportive loving partners who will not betray me and have enough character to be honest with me.

  • Grace. Quite beautiful and wonderful.

    Cheaters throw grace out the window.

    If the cheater’s consequences lead to an awakening and a commitment to transformation, Im all for it.

    That doesn’t mean I have to continue my life tied to what cheater wants, desires or aims for in cheater’s life.

    “an entire discourse around infidelity that does NOT revolve around what the cheater wants, needs, or might become”

    A large part of my life was tied to serial cheater x. x continues to run from grace. His consequences are his, not mine.

    My life is precious and I do not choose to sacrifice it for the benefit of another person’s indulgence. Who they choose to be belongs to them. Who I choose to be belongs to me.

    Took me many years to arrive to that conclusion. I don’t recommend spending that many years insisting on the potential of the cheater.

    LACGAL is much more realistic and accurate.

  • I’m grateful everyday for the sanity and wisdom of Chumplady among the chorus of the gaslighting, flying monkey Tims in the RIC world. I would gladly have extended grace, but there wasn’t much reciprocity in return in my marriage. I got rage and contempt. Not a fair trade.

  • I hadn’t read the first run of this post.

    It is simply the best summary of the true impact of infidelity and should be at the core of training for professionals. It should inform malpractice law.

    Will it fix character? No, but you gotta love the potential consequences.

  • I’m reading Tim’s review and thinking, “Either he’s a cheater or he forgave a cheater.”

    What do you know—door #1!

    I’d bet money Tim didn’t even sign a post-nup after cheating

      • I saw Tim’s review on Amazon the other day and reported it! Doubt it’ll do anything but one can hope.

        I got 80% through his word salad wondering, “What the hell is this guy trying to say?” until he casually mentions he’s a “reformed” cheater and it all made sense. Hit dogs holler.

        Honestly, I suppose his review isn’t the worst thing in the world. I doubt it’s going to stop chumps from buying the book. If anything, it shows a window into a cheater’s reality and how entitled and not sorry they are, even 20 years after supposedly reforming. Welcome to the Fuckwit parade.

  • Hmmmm, I say out loud as I read this, this sounds a lot like it rests in the intersection between therapy-speak and cheater-speak. Tim is very carefully, very gently continuing to DARVO the hypothetical chump throughout his essay–to paint the chump that CL preaches to as an unforgiving grudge holder incapable of extending grace to the cheater. Hmmm, where in my personal experience have I heard that before? Oh, yeah… from the cheater in my life.

    Still, I think, it’s unfair of me to label this review as cheater-speak, even if it is setting off my inner alarms. He’s a therapist, so I’m sure his focus is probably on defending his field and his vocation as a counselor and…

    “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater”

    Ah. There it is. I guess I shouldn’t have doubled my spider sense.

    “Hey, extend some grace even though I through a grenade into your life resulting in health problems, financial debt, ptsd, depression, and the inability to trust people… man, why can’t you just believe in me anymore?” smells very similar coming from a currently cheating cheater all the way to a 20 years reformed cheater.

    I felt uncomfortable reading it before I got to the author’s revelation. “I believe in hope and giving people second chances” is a thinly disguised “If you don’t agree then you’re a bitter ex and I’m a better person,” imho.

    For myself, I’m not aiming to be bitter. I’m aiming for meh and it’s going to take a long time getting there because the damage done was catastrophic. My aim is to remove FW from my thought patterns and hope, wherever he is, that he’s doing well. I think that’s pretty graceful.

    And I believed in reconciliation too once upon a time. I staked my life on it and poured all my hope into it. There’s a reason, now, why I say that I wouldn’t wish reconciliation upon my worst enemy. It truly was one of the worst times of my life. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but as CL noted, she’s working with one heck of a data set and, yes, currently cheating or otherwise “reformed” (Hey, I said I had trust problems now; I can own that), cheater-speak tends to hit very similar, focusing on the chump or society with very little in the way of personal accountability or self-reflection, beats.

    It just all sounded so depressingly familiar, Tim. And I was trying to tell myself that I was imagining it.

    • *Wishing I could edit that “through a grenade” to “threw a grenade.” Oh well.

      • Ack, also doubted not doubled. Autocorrect stuck again and I didn’t even notice.

        • I’ve actually trained my phone to recognize the word “autoincorrect”, LOL!

    • Agree, FL. Tim is the most dangerous type of gaslighter- the more subtle one who can sound reasonable. Most chumps have given the cheater way too many chances to change into an acceptable partner even before knowing about the cheating, and more chances after. No more.

    • Reads CL’s post
      Scrolls through comments before adding comment
      Sees Fourleaf’s post
      Nods satisfyingly and says “There it is”.

      “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now.”

      There it is.

      “My livelihood has its foundation in working with people on this subject matter, and I’ve been a deceptive intimacy monster myself in the same subject matter. That’s why everyone should trust me to know how victims of people like me should behave and think and feel. Also, clearly I’m an objective authority figure who knows more about this topic than millions of people who have suffered harm at the hands of fancy professionals like me. Why, just look at my beautiful license. That paper was expensive. And the frame cost, like, $29.00. I got the nice one so it would look great on my wall next to the photo of these beautiful children I also harmed. When I was a cheater. Which I’m not now. They look happy, right? We’re happy now. Don’t judge me.”

      Whatever, Tim.

      • “Believe in reconciliation and grace because that’s what favors the cheater (here, represented by me); Don’t close the door on grace and reconciliation in order to protect yourself from the cheater’s shrapnel! Why would anyone recommend something like that which overwhelmingly seeks to protect the chump instead of giving the cheater even more free passes? Let’s face it: cheaters are the real victims here.” – A Cheater

        Okay, so I kindof took off there like a rock rolling downhill, but the spirit is there in the original review.

    • Hit the nail on the head. I had the same reaction. This sort of formless discomfort about all of his blather, but also like “ok he’s a therapist so maybe he’s just sharing wisdom in a professional capacity. I can accept that!”

      … oh, wait. Nope. There it is. He’s talking about himself. And he’s a cheater… so of course he’s talking about himself. That is what they do.

    • Fourleaf, this review totally made me think of the UBT of David Brooks where he was going on about the grace he expected from/of his ex-wife.

  • Grace is a spiritual concept far outside a therapist’s lane, and insisting on grace in the face of an interpersonal health crisis could expose patients to tangible danger. Would an orthopedic surgeon insist on “leaving room for grace” for a day or two before setting a compound fracture? Would an oncologist insist that a cancer patient “leave room for grace” for a couple of months before starting chemotherapy? A therapist’s job is to provide therapy (i.e., treatment to heal or relieve a disorder or illness) promptly and compassionately, specifically, therapy that is effective as established by data. I want spiritual finger-wagging from my therapist as much as I want a colonoscopy from my minister. #NotAtAll.

    Also, BTW, every chump I’ve ever known DID “leave room for grace”–waiting, hoping, and praying against all odds for their cheater to see the light and change their ways–often at the cost of their retirement savings, their reproductive health, their relationships with their family and children, and their sanity. Don’t tut-tut us about grace, please. Might as well fat-shame a walrus. Chumps are nothing if not generous with opportunities for grace. Our habit of refusing to believe what’s right in front of our eyes, and given second (and third, and fourth) chances is part of the illness, not the cure.

    Finally, God’s grace is usually defined as undeserved favor: Grace cannot be earned. That’s a beautiful model for a relationship between an all-powerful God and an inherently flawed and limited human. But it’s a deeply fucked up model for a relationship between equal spouses. CL’s message of reciprocity and focusing on actions over words and fuzzy word-salad psychological concepts suits that need far, far better.

    • The biblical parable of the the “Prodigal Son” is likewise misused. It is about a son who shames his father and family by taking his inheritance and squandering it on high living, only to be reduced to abject poverty and shame by being forced to eating pig food. Broken, he returns to his father who lavishes love and restores him to his esteemed position in the family. It is a beautiful parable about God’s unconditional love.
      It is not an instruction manual for child rearing. In real life the father is likely rewarding poor behavior and only encouraging a rerun of the same. It is how abusers are wired. Most people having experience with substance abusers or FW’s, will have alarm bells go off when stories of grace are repeated. Long term change does not occur this way. It takes a lot of small steps that acknowledge personal responsibility, attempts to repair damage they caused and personal growth. Think 12-Step programs, not a new robe, ring on their finger and a feast as in the parable.

      • My ex loved that story, but indeed not a parenting story. Nor a story for a wayward spouse.

        If every friend of mine who had/has an addicted kid opened the door and threw a party every time the kid claimed “all better” after wasting family funds and emotions, it wouldn’t have gone well. One friend said it was the worst day of her life when she bought her kid a sleeping bag and said, “You can sleep in your car. No drugs in my house ever again.” But the daughter decided that if even her mother was fed up, it was time to get serious. She got sober and remained so.

        On a similar note, my wayward husband took off for the beach in another state when we separated. He immediately had female friends and didn’t seem to really miss us, which didn’t sit right with me. He returned some months later to put the house on the market. He was expecting a hero’s welcome and that we would join him at the beach. In his mind, the HERO of the family had returned.

        Except I had only agreed to sell the house, figuring that I needed the house money for the divorce that seemed inevitable. I never said we were going to go with him, not once. My reserves with him were approaching empty.

        The college kids and I had already moved out, so only his stuff and a few remaining items that I had to have taken away remained. Needless to say, the situation blew up. No hero’s welcome, and we didn’t leave with him.

        Later, he wrote our adult kids that HE was the father in the prodigal son, waiting for his wayward children to return. He had SO MUCH love for them, hoping they would see that and come home to their father. He would forgive all, and all would be well. They both caught the irony in that but remained no contact.

        Then he did it again recently. Oh, the father waiting for his wayward children…

        Except he’s not God, and he’s the wayward one. He never did own up to what happened.

    • Funny, when I was in couples counseling with my ex, I recall the therapist saying to ex when he was being a total FW and I was just a fragile heap: “Give her some grace.” Bestow it upon this poor lamb. FW thought he was God. (Probably still thinks it.) It’s part of the narrative that centralizes cheaters and that misleads chumps into thinking we are worthless and powerless. As if we need grace or closure from them. If we think we have that… we are merely being manipulated.

    • And I love CL’s last paragraph: “I don’t preach “once a cheater, always a cheater.” However, I do think once a cheater, you’ve put a bullet in that relationship and no one owes you reconciliation. Your character may change (I’m glad it did), but the person you fucked over is still fucked, and shouldn’t be expected to invest in your potential.”👏👏👏

      • I wholeheartedly agree with your comments [email protected]. It looks like ‘guilty’ Tim was using his ‘review’ to justify his own shortcomings. CL – thank you for your honest and realistic advice.

        • This sentence stopped me in my tracks, too, “It’s important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play so that appropriate changes can be made and necessary boundaries established. Only then can there be a secure return to trustworthiness.”

          We did that. I wore a cream colored skirt and vest I made special for the occasion. We decorated my mom’s house and invited our closest friends and family to witness our agreement. Last anyone knew, including our now adult children and their children, this was the agreement, Tim. These were “the necessary boundaries established.”

          Since it was my marriage, and therefore my life and my family, should I not have been notified of this great boundary problem BEFORE I was knifed in the back and left for dead?

          • Yeah, my bad for thinking that “forsaking all others and keeping only unto thee until death” was a boundary WE ALREADY ESTABLISHED. Whoops.

  • I would ask Tim how much “grace” he thought that Ex-Mrs LFTT showed me and our 3 kids while she was busy cheating on me and lying to, stealing from, manipulating and gaslighting the four of us? The answer is zero and, as a consequence, this is my baseline for any reciprocation; any shift above this level is entirely discretionary and entirely my decision.

    Tim can (to quote the great Douglas Adams) go stick his head in a pig.


  • I wonder what Tim (a cheater, no surprise) would have to say about grace and murder, grace and rape, grace and arson, grace and assault, grace and embezzlement, grace and mayhem, etc.

    Would Tim hire a bookkeeper who had been convicted of embezzlement? If Tim had children, would he want to live in a neighborhood of registered sex offenders? Would Tim want a roommate who was an arsonist?

    I think the problem is that TOO MUCH grace has historically been extended to cheaters, and it therefore not respected as the severe transgression and violation and abuse of another that it is.

    • “I think the problem is that TOO MUCH grace has historically been extended to cheaters, and it therefore not respected as the severe transgression and violation and abuse of another that it is.”


    • Meanwhile, I haven’t heard many ex-convicts or drug addicts in recovery make any of Tim’s excuses or demand grace.

      Talk to any of these people and they’ll be the first to tell you, “I made horrible decisions and hurt a lot of people. I was selfish and my family paid the price for it. Don’t do what I did. I deserved what I got.”

      (Even sociopaths who don’t truly believe any of this have the common sense to fake it, because they know it doesn’t sound good to say, “Yeah, I committed fraud/embezzled/stole cars/did ALL the drugs/destroyed my family, but it wasn’t my fault and I enjoyed every minute of it. You people owe me understanding and don’t you dare be mean to me!”)

      I’ve also addicts openly call other addicts out on being selfish and tell you to let them hit rock bottom instead of enabling them.

      So why do cheaters think they’re special?

      Tim sounds like a dry drunk who hasn’t done any of the internal work and still hasn’t taken responsibility for the hurt he inflicted on others. Typical Fuckwit.

      • “Meanwhile, I haven’t heard many ex-convicts or drug addicts in recovery make any of Tim’s excuses or demand grace.”

        Unfortunately, I have. Cornerstone of the sad sausage/rage/charm routine, and works like a charm, too.

    • “I think the problem is that TOO MUCH grace has historically been extended to cheaters, and it therefore not respected as the severe transgression and violation and abuse of another that it is.” EXACTLY VH!! What I have experienced myself, and see at play in stories here is that the FWs often haven’t “just” cheated. They were abusive and shitty spouses in many others ways as well. Chumps, by nature, have extended alllllllllllllllll the grace and that is BEFORE DDay.

      • “FWs often haven’t “just” cheated. They were abusive and shitty spouses in many others ways as well.”

        THIS. My ex treated me like garbage. And yet I forgave him every time he verbally abused me, or shoved me, or punched a wall and scared the crap out of me, when he ignored and stonewalled me, insulted me, made fun of me, etc. For a DECADE. The affair was just icing on the cake. For me, that was crossing the line. I’m actually grateful that FW cheated, because that was what I needed to finally emotionally detach. I would have continued living in misery if he hadn’t dumped me for OW. Now I get to be happy.

  • Tim was a cheater ‘once’? 20 years ago. That’s all I need to know. Fuck off Tim.

  • “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now. And I know many other former cheaters who have long years of evidence pointing to their trustworthiness.”
    As soon as I started reading Tim’s review, I thought it had the tone of a defensive cheater. And OMG….he’s taken his cheater skills and is now a marriage counsellor advocating for cheater grace???? No thank you!!

  • “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now.”

    Of course I believe him. It’s not like he has a history of lying. 🙄
    Not being a cheater at the present moment does not mean one will never cheat again, anyway. Maybe he/she/they never will. It’s certainly possible. The point is that this person has demonstrated a willingness, indeed an eagerness, to con a partner, so the supposed reformation is quite likely to be yet another con. Being in any relationship is a risk, but the level of risk can and should be managed. Hence the advice to leave a cheater and fix one’s picker. There are people out there who can be trusted, so why should anyone stay with a partner who is untrustworthy? Even if you have a rare cheater who wants to change, why should anyone wait around while a cheater goes about the dreary business of spending years in therapy to reform him/herself, with results far from certain? I’m not wasting my life waiting on somebody to become worthy of me. It’s too much to ask. I deserve somebody who is worthy now, and if I can’t find it, I’d rather be alone. Most chumps, before even knowing we were chumps, had already wasted many years of our lives on cheaters, hoping they would change. It’s not like cheaters have just this one flaw and are good partners in every other respect. It would be madness to continue to wait around for them to change after D-day, or multiple D-days in many cases.

    “And I know many other former cheaters who have long years of evidence pointing to their trustworthiness.”

    What evidence? That they say they are no longer cheaters? That they haven’t been caught again? Here’s the thing with cheaters; getting caught makes them better at not getting caught. The lies get more believable. They go underground, and they learn to fake a willingness to change. Again, it’s about risk management. I would love to have somebody who is pro-reconciliation give me a good reason why I should live with the knowledge of that high level of risk, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have never heard what I consider a valid reason. They often cite love. Meh. I could love somebody else if romantic love mattered that much to me. It does not have to be the cheater. They cite history. Again, I can build history with somebody else if that’s ever important to me. Tell me why I need to be in a relationship with that specific person, Tim? I’m not unlovable. I can find somebody who isn’t a fixer upper. I can also be okay with not having a partner. One of the things RIC folks do to manipulate chumps is to try to scare us into believing it’s a relationship with the cheater or nothing. They want us to believe that a bleak, lonely existence is in our future if we don’t hang onto the FW and hope for change. BULLSHIT.

    • Hey. If Tim wrote it in an Amazon review, he has to be telling the truth, OHFFS. That’s practically as good as signing a legal document or swearing over a Bible 😉

  • Tim’s praising grace, how quaint the thought
    That holds the cheater dear
    And veils the rot that twat hath wrought
    Chump Nation, hold my beer . . .

    • ‘Amazing Grace’ has 4 verses beyond the first, more well-known one. If anyone out there is feeling creative today, post additional verses here.

      • Through many mouths, through holes and fists
        I have already cum
        ‘Twas grace that hath made me your therapist
        The sweet source of my income.

        When you’ve been here ten thousand years
        I may yet let you go
        Till then you must stay, to keep away the stray
        I took a course. So I should know. 🎓😃

    • Amazing Grace, my ex bangmaid,
      Was fully worth the cost
      I never paid in consequence
      For what my chump has lost

      ‘Twas Grace that filled my heart with thanks
      That I had dodged the risk
      Of losing income, custody
      And drug-proof syphilis

      ‘Twas Grace inspired Chump’s pickme dance
      For fear I’d stray again
      Wasting twenty years in stirrups
      Being poked by GYNs

      Chump could have spent those wasted years
      She blocked my banging strange
      Getting several doctorates
      And solving climate change

      But yay, more cake! Amazing Grace,
      You’ve trapped my chump in dread
      While I fondly store your sick moves in
      The spank bank in my head

        • ‘Tis but the toil of humble hack
          No prizes had I sought
          To rhyme “cum” with “income” can’t be topped
          Nor the immortal “twat hath wrought”

  • As I’m reading Tim’s tripe I’m thinking “this guy has to be a cheater”. Then came his admission. I knew it!! His commentary just oozes manipulation. Even the “leave room for grace” motto is a slimy condescending demand placed squarely on the victim and posing as guidance from on high. Typical cheater view of the world.

    • Exactly. He didn’t bother going in to what happened to his relationship after he cheated. Did his chump mightily divorce him? If so, how did that go? Is he being a bitter bunny whining about “grace”? Are they, somehow, still together? If so, DOES HIS SPOUSE TRUST HIM?

      Never mind the mental gymnastics a chump must go through every. single. time the FW has to take a “business trip”, or anything else that allow them time away from the chump where the chump can’t police their every action.

      Yeah, that kind of grace isn’t what I think any of us have in mind.

      • …..not even counting that they can be sitting right beside you, having sex with you, and be engaged in a secret sexual double life.

        Not even the physical presence of a cheater proves their fidelity to an individual.

        If you are strapped to someone’s back 24/7/365, you can never verify what’s in their minds and hearts. You have to watch their actions and TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT, which is why cheating and lying tends to render one’s word worthless forever more.
        One’s word and character are true wealth, priceless beyond measure, available to all, conferred by our choices. And thrown away with both hands by the deceptive.

        I told my daughter the other day that people of genuine and sincere good character (aka that “guileless” part of Corinthians) have admission to an awesome VIP section in life, with gifts and benefits and positive consequences, that will never ever be available to those who let their poor character run riot. You can’t fake your way past the usher.

        Access Denied is the karma of cheaters.

        • … when someone reveals themselves to be a cheater, while an extremely painful revelation, at the end of the day I can be grateful the lowlifes are being denied access to the VIP section.

        • “Not even the physical presence of a cheater proves their fidelity to an individual.”

          100%. My husband was involved in an affair for years long distance. I had not even the faintest clue. He claims to have only met her once in person, doing the math, it really is only possible that it could have been 3 or 4 times even if he is trickle truthing, and 3-4 times is a stretch. I am sure they video chatted or talked on the phone when I wasn’t home. But mostly it was all via text… likely while I was feet away from him. There is NO way to come back from that. And it shows me that “being present” means jack.

          • One of the reasons it took me so long to accept that he was cheating was because I couldn’t figure out WHEN he’d have time for an affair. He was always home! It was only years later that I figured out all those times when he “had to work late” were times he went with her (she was a coworker). I was so trusting I never compared the paychecks to the supposed hours of OT he was working. He also talked to her on his commute to and from work, as I discovered later via the phone records. Texting in the bathroom. Lunchtime walks. Going out with “friends” (i.e. just her). Etc. I didn’t have a clue either, for the longest time.

    • I couldn’t find a way to respond to his drivel. If somebody figures it out, please post.

      • Only the author can comment on a review. Our only way to interact is to consider it ‘helpful’ or ‘report’– which isn’t warranted. But theoretically, members of CN CAN review the book and drop this link in it, and if those reviews get enough ‘helpful’ clicks, it would drive his ‘two sides to every story’ drivel off the list.

      • I went and looked, too. What about screenshot of his review with the title of most useful, so readers would be sure they had the right one…..and then, what to say? Short and sweet? I considered, “Tim is a cheater.” Is that enough? Doesn’t seem like enough….. We could add 100 of these and people would notice and maybe think it over.

  • “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now.”

    And there it is. But what about ME! ME! I AM DIFFERENT AND SPECIAL! WHERE IS MY RECOGNITION?! You may not be dicking down the office staff (for now), Tim, but your apparent need to deliberately and publicly miss the point of a very sensible and rational book so that you can tell everyone what a special boy you are belies what you STILL are — hungry for kibbles.

    • Hee hee hee Squeaks I love it!

      Tim is jumping up and down shouting “I’m speshul”

    • “Listen, just because I beat my wife 20 years ago doesn’t mean I’d do it now. How dare you judge me!”

      Whatever, Tim.

      • For a second there, I thought my ex had infiltrated CL. He would totally say something like this! Even the judge part. I mean, he did… except he said it days after I left, not years. It’s one of those cliches you read about abuse and think, “Weird,” and, “That would never happen to me.” But it’s actually happening to you as you think it! They really do say and believe that crazy shit. Like, all of them. And victims, too. Before dday but during a discard, I went to a therapist for the first time in my life. She told me that it sounded like I had “battered wife syndrome,” and I thought she didn’t get it. The term is off base, but I was a victim of IPV. The patterns are so incredibly similar. Discouraging, but also freeing and a wakeup call. Once you leave, it’s just shocking to realize what you spackled.

  • There is a way to balance grace and justice. Justice is just natural consequences — the relationship ends. Grace is — no one backs up over the cheater with a truck. :’D

  • Schmoopie reconciled with her now ex after he cheated on her. See how well that turned out?

  • I was writing to support victims of infidelity on a forum years before Chumplady came out.

    I WISH Chumplady had written her book and put up her site on DDAY 1, or even DDAY 5 would’ve helped me immensely.

    The one thing I noticed was that the chumps in-forum were varietal. All walks of life, attitudes, ages etc on the forums.

    The cheaters that would come in were virtually all the same. A lot of them were manipulative with words like Tim.

    He practically screamed he was a cheater right away, building to his final, manipulative conclusion. He really brought it up and set down the narrative on why we should give people like Tim another chance because he “cheated once 20 years ago.”

    I dint believe him. Cheaters minimize and minimize to such a degree and it’s a part of their personality. And he’s got that script so fine-tuned, ugh.

    Cheaters that would come on to the forum became so blatantly obvious it was like the were more patterns than people after awhile.

    I used to joke on the forum that it seems like there’s really only one married man out there cheated, but he gets around A LOT.

    Used to do support for women were who involved with married men too.
    Those tended to fall into 2 different camps: completely naive or completely vicious. And boy were there some very young broken hearts in the naive category. Usually very young women with poor or no father figures who really believed they were helping this timid forest creature leave his abusive wife. Then finding out she was really affair number 6 (600?).

    I find most Cheaters are predators full-stop

  • The first time that I had to be in the same room with my ex post-divorce (son’s rehearsal dinner), I asked my other son if he’d like to check my purse for a gun? My son responded “Mom, it’s worse if you let him live”! That’s MY grace. (Also, I do not own a gun.)

  • “It’s important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play so that appropriate changes can be made and necessary boundaries established.”

    Important for whom, Tim? And what’s with that passive voice – appropriate changes “can be made” and boundaries “established” by whom, did you say?

    He means, of course, that he thinks the cheater is entitled to a second chance, but he knows how it would sound if he came out and said that directly.

    • Oh, and 3rd and 4th chances. Maybe “70 x 7”. Grace is not hitting the FW with a 2 X 4 in the knees. Oh, THAT’s assault. Cheating is NOTHING like that. Grrrrr……

    • …”important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play”. Just ugh.
      Here is my insight into this sackless POS who is in my view basically trolling the review section to lure a chump who is maybe on the fence about leaving a cheater, over to his therapy services. Tim is not so lowkey hoping to find a space on the bench next to Esther Repel. He is talking about himself in every moment of this might-as-well-be-fake review. Tim was no doubt reading LACGAL to find the loophole and thinks he found it with the tender word “grace”. Newsflash Tim, there is no loophole for the cheating narrative within CL. She is airtight.
      Tim is but a poor grace-seeking timid forest creature, who is omg SO VULNERABLE he had to cheat.
      The grace that should deservedly be extended to him, as he has reformed on his own say so. In his porous mind he is the missing unicorn who is carefully and cleverly dancing around the bitter bunny narrative by leaving it just enough unsaid. JFC.
      He may still be with the schmoopie who he left his spouse / partner for 20 years ago but that is no evidence that he is a changed person and does not and would never cheat. Because when those “vulnerabilities” rear their head next time, from this we can see he already has a well greased word salad mindfucking excuse routine to fall back on.

  • We had a therapist up the road and I was going to make the appt for ‘us’. But then I thought. Well, I’d have to either force, drag or guilt him to go. Then hear everything I did wrong etc. and I knew I just couldn’t fix this anymore. If ‘he’ decided to stay, what would I have? I didn’t want to touch him. I ran out of lipstick for that pig. Even if he wasn’t cheating, the marriage was just so hard. I had to do all the work and he’d still have the upper hand. The truth is, I gave myself grace for once. Finally. And it was still hard. So hard Starting over.

    • Exactly. The turning point for me was once when he had called me “to talk” and seemed to be toying with the idea of asking me to get back together (he tried to apologize, he actually listened to what I had to say, it was very odd – I now wonder what OW had done that made him try once again to get me in place as backup), and I realized in that moment that even if (big if) he cut off all contact with OW, the marriage held no appeal for me. It was so much work. I didn’t want to deal with his mercurial mood swings, his constant need for validation, my constant need to “perform” for him, his constant criticism, me doing ALL the work of running the household, etc. The path forward alone looked so much more peaceful. And that was the end of me doing the “pick me” dance. He finally said he was tired and he’d call back another time so we could continue our discussion, and I just said “okay”. I think he clued in that I was no longer desperate to have him back, and he never called “to talk” again.

      Starting over at 39 was hard, but it has been so worth it. Back then I could never have imagined being where I am now. One of the big reasons I still come back here and comment, even though I’m pretty well healed, is to encourage newer chumps that there is such a bright future waiting for them once they get through all of the muck. I thought my life was over when FW left, and it was really just beginning.

  • “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now”


    “Over 20 years ago, I was a murderer. I am not a murderer now”

    Errrrrrrrmmmmm…. Yes you are!

    Once you’ve cheated…. You’re always a cheater!


    To any newbies don’t listen to Tim. Tim is a twat.

  • But of course, he is writing from the point of view of a cheater. Burying the lede, there. Therapist or not, that fact alone really makes him unqualified to review the book. Like having the big bad wolf review the story of Red Riding Hood. The wolf was so mistreated.

  • With all due respect Tim, I gave the Dickhead 19 years of grace. I did everything a wife and person can do to make her husband happy and contented. I worked, cleaned, took care of my stepkids’s needs, shopped, did all errands, and my loving wifely duties that I freely gave. I ignored the signs of his cheating because they were too painful to face. What did my grace and love get from him? Jack shit. Nothing. Nada.

    There are times that I feel sorry for him because, in his messed up narcissistic way, he knows that love exists and sees it in other people and their relationships. But, he doesn’t know how to love so as he barges through his life hurting those that love him back. That’s the extent of my grace.

    • 30 years of grace here. I calculated and I’ve probably had 100 Ddays, including the trickle truthing that he vomited up over months in the lockdown during Covid. Before that I had 8 Ddays that I can think of. I spackled and puffed on that hopium pipe so hard, trying to save my marriage for three freaking decades. How’s that for grace Tim? Did I give him enough chances or should I do more?

  • You know, Tracy, your book DID help me give my FW grace! I read Real vs Naugahyde remorse and it gave me great clarity. My FW had real remorse (AP not so much) and it allowed me to move forward while co-parenting and figuring out finances. I know it’s not the pain Olympics, but just having THAT instead of what so many on this site have was very liberating. Your book and blog very much taught me the tools to understand what I was dealing with in my specific FW. I didn’t have to go scorched earth, but was ready to if FW didn’t act the way a remorseful one should. And NO, reconciliation was never on the table from either of us.

    So F you Tim! Tracy gives out HOPE in buckets daily!

  • I often say, “It’s not an excuse, but it is an explanation.” However, something I also often say is, “Focusing too much on the explanation can often become a form of indirect excuse-making itself.”

    We don’t live in a culture where people are too hard on cheaters or where chumps need to be more understanding of them, we have the opposite. OF COURSE everyone deserves some degree of compassion in life, but they do not deserve endless compassion from everyone all the time, there is a time and a place for it. Tracy’s pistol-whipping example is actually spot-on in this regard, because most people do turn to mugging out desperation rather than malice, however none of us expect a person who gets mugged to put aside their anger to ponder the socioeconomic hardships of their attacker; not because those hardships don’t deserve to be considered at all by someone, but NOT by their victim.

    I’m sure there are some couples out there who have successfully reconciled, statistically it’s possible. But from what I’ve seen, this is so incredibly unlikely that I don’t feel it’s ethical to actively encourage people to consider giving it a shot. A lot of people think that just because something is technically possible we should therefore always be open to allowing the possibility, but I don’t agree with this. Sometimes the likelihood of it going wrong and the consequences that come with that are so overwhelming that any potential success is firmly outweighed. I think it’s technically possible for abusers to change too, and I have read at least ONE story where a severe serial batterer allegedly made a complete overhaul for his wife (don’t know how true it is since I can’t remember the book it came from), but we don’t encourage women to stay with them and see how counseling goes for a good reason. Sometimes the dice roll just isn’t worth it.

    • Or as one of my friends says: “the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.”

  • According to Tim, “Many cheaters did not choose to cheat before, even when there was an opportunity to do so.”


    And clearly by “many cheaters,” Tim means himself. “Believe you me, I’ve had ample opportunity to cheat before I actually cheated. I’m THAT hot. And I’m being crucified (kinda like you know who) for giving in THAT ONE TIME (ok, maybe more). But I still resisted a bunch, too.”🍪

    • yes I may have robbed a 7-11, but think of all the convinence stores before that I DIDN’T knock over.

  • How did know, before even reading this, that Tim the therapist is/was/whatever a cheater entitled to cake/forgiveness,/”grace”/whatever due to his super special unique vulnerabilities.

  • Yeah, I spent 5 years extending grace and forgiveness to the FW for all the crazy @ss crap he pulled. Was I ever given the same? Ever? Nope. No grace. No forgiveness from him. Just more crazy @ss crap. FWs want grace and forgiveness but can’t extend it to their Chumps before having their doorknob polished.
    F you, Tim. Your patients deserve a refund. And your wife deserves a generous post nup.

  • One more thing. I’ll alow that not every single cheater is cut from the same cloth, as Tim says. The vast majority of them do seem to be narcissistic, abusive, chronically dishonest, selfish assholes, if the stories here (and elsewhere, including RIC sites) are any indication. Tim wants us to not consider the staggering odds and believe our cheater is one of the maybe 3% (I’m feeling generous) who are even capable of reform. Tim tells us that in his practice, and in the practices of others, he has observed many reformed cheaters. He’s actually only observed cheaters who claim to be reformed. He has no way of verifying that. But even that is missing the point. True reform is a long and arduous process. Who wants to stick around to nurse a cheater through that, especially with slim odds of success? Would the cheater do the same for you? Not a chance.

    • Spot on! If you asked my marriage counselor what he saw in front of him, he would have to say a FW who apologizes profusely, says he knows he messed up, realizes he hurt me, etc. and has now dedicated himself to me and our children and is committed to making it work. All better, right? FW has seen the error of his ways, right? But if I pull out his phone we could google all the random text numbers and see how many escorts he’s been going to. The number is decidedly NOT zero.

  • I think every time a chump doesn’t punch the cheater directly in the face is showing grace. I think every time a chump doesn’t take out a billboard with the FW’s face and “CHEATER” smeared across it is grace. I think every time a chump firmly enforces their boundaries is grace. I think going NO CONTACT is grace. I think getting to “meh” is grace.

    This “expert” clearly hasn’t spent much time on this website reading the horror stories we have experienced. His whole practice appears to be in line with the RIC.

    Now, where is the “grace” for us chumps?? Where is the expert who nods with compassion of our stories of barfing our guts out, of STD discoveries, of kids college funds strangely missing, of learning the person you trusted decades of your life with was, in fact, leading a very secret double life: one in which you were disparaged, devalued, and looked at with contempt?

    I’m glad he reformed, much like I applaud former addicts. Goody for him. Now excuse us while we try to help clean up the debris left by FWs in the newly chumped. Shut up with your “grace” narrative while tourniquets are being applied.

    Oh, and you can bet I’m heading over to Amazon to give his review a thumbs down. He doesn’t need to be anywhere near the top.

    • To find out that the person with whom you entrusted with literally everything in your life – kids, finances, health, security, safety, your past, present and future – has been secretly fucking you over – I can’t think of anything more contemptuous. Who else in your life has the capability to destroy you like that? And what is a bigger FUCK YOU than betraying the person you promised to be faithful, loyal, protective and supportive to. It’s not a casual betrayal. If FW had stolen my car 10 times and destroyed it I would have more sympathy and disgust for his behaviour from others than his having multiple affairs and fucking me over in every possible way.

      Also – I’m a maternity nurse. I see the result of infidelity and STDs EVERY DAY – they do not give a shit about the health of their partner or baby and the very serious potential life threatening conseqences of having a fetus/baby exposed to STDs. And when that woman is pregnant she is already incredibly vulnerable, and they just treat them like shit. Nothing says I love you like syphilis. Get fucking real.

    • I just tried to do the same, but it doesn’t look like there is a thumbs down option. So instead, I’m clicking the “Helpful” button on every unequivocally positive review (there are many such reviews, fortunately). If enough of us do that, those awesome reviews will sail past Tim’s word salad cheaterspeak.

  • If all of CN goes in to Amazon and upvotes all the reviews that ARE helpful in their eyes, old Tim will become pretty irrelevant pretty fast. We are many and we are mighty. (Not suggesting any one person on purpose. Doesn’t matter which ones we specifically vote for as helpful. Skewing the results isn’t the point. If we all we vote for what we feel actually is helpful, we are simply representing our own voices in the data, and our voices matter as much as anyone’s.)

    • I read the most highly “helpful” (65 votes as of now) 5 star review and upvoted that one. And it deserves to be.

    • Tim wrote this review in 2017. If we all post 5 star reviews over the next few days, will that bump Tim down?

  • Tim cheated 20 years ago and never has again. Okay, congratulations Tim. Good for you. CL never said no cheater ever has the potential to change. But what she DOES say is even if the cheater becomes a better person, the person they initially chumped doesn’t have to wait around for that to happen, nor do they have to forgive. Tim is missing that point here…

    I honestly do not care if the men who cheated on me have ceased their two-timing ways. Good for them. I don’t have to forgive them for the cheating they pulled on me, nor do I have to speak to them ever again. It’s not about the potential, it is about the Chump having boundaries.

    • If we could respond to Tim’s review directly, I think it would need to be two words: Bitch cookie.

  • I wonder how much of a grace period Tim gives to people who are late paying his bill.

  • So Tim decided to mansplain to you why you should have written a different book and taken a different approach other than the one you have. Maybe Tim should go to a therapist and figure out why he is compelled to do this.

  • Hey Tim, if you’re reading I have this to say:

    I left my cheater and my life is way better. So fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

  • I feel as though I gave my FW grace when I kicked him to the curb. Why should a FW stay with someone like me who believes a healthy relationship should be based on trust and honesty? Why should a FW stay with someone who no longer loves him? Tim doesn’t understand that grace is described as ‘courteous goodwill’ which was not demonstrated to any of us Chumps, yet many of us left or set the FW’s free allowing them to live their lives as they choose. If that isn’t showing grace, I don’t know what is.

  • How effed up are Amazon’s metrics that the top featured review for a book about infidelity–out of 2,200 reviews (most by women)—is by a man who has NEVER BEEN CHUMPED and WHO IS A CHEATER? Like pushing someone who never saw the ocean as an expert on the State of Hawaii.

  • I go to divorce care, and they even want me to lead it. And after trying to save what was left, I swung radically in the other direction. I will come out in say it in meetings that it’s not worth it, do not even attempt, if they want out, it’s a waste of time and sets your own healing back.

    That might put me at odds with the church and others, but it’s a giant waste of time and puts the onus one one person to bear an evil burden than no one should.

    Any good marriage counselor should be up front and not work with any couple where one spouse doesn’t want to.

    • My hairdresser used to lead Divorce Care locally over a decade ago, and this was a negative that she warned me about. She went “off program” on the reconciliation aspect, being far more realistic. She also said that sometimes programs like that attract some pretty awful people as participants, so if I ever did that, to be on alert.

      I never did it because I was too busy trying to keep my family afloat financially, but I appreciated her warnings.

      And yes, religious people in my life STILL believe I didn’t try hard enough.

    • “Divorce Care” was good for somethings in my experience and poor for other things as you write. Specifically, they failed to distinguish between victim and perpetrator in adulterous situations. This leads to bad counsel as the advice needs to be different for the victim and the perpetrator. Glad you are being a voice of reason in your church’s DC group!

  • I love you, chumplady. And as I have said before, it is very truthful that if I had not found your book I would not be here. You were the first port in the storm and you continue to be there for me day after day along with my new peer group on your forums.

    Interesting that Tim suggests your book should be focused toward unicorns, because any book publisher could easily pull stats and say, “Nah, looks like it’s a miniscule or non-existent market.” Maybe Tim could spend the labor and effort to write and publish that one for his tiny community of like-minds. As for chumps, yep, we are a growing market and eagerly looking for resources to help us regain our life!

    • “…it is very truthful that if I had not found your book I would not be here.”
      Same. Cheater was well on the way to killing me I believe.

  • It was interesting to see the considerable gaslighting and deflection in Tim’s review. Kudos to Chumplady for cleaving the Gordian knot with one deft stroke. We live in pretzel logic world where it is far too easy to be distracted by special circumstances and the need to be nuanced.

    Cheating is a selfish act that often imposes catastrophic consequences on the unsuspecting spouse. Chumps need to evaluate that unpleasant reality from their perspective and take action they deem appropriate. Taking Tim’s convoluted rationale only muddies the decision process and prolongs the pain. Leave a cheater to their fate and move forward to the best life you can live. You are not your brother’s (cheater’s) keeper.

  • Before I had even heard of Chump Lady, my therapist told me marriages like mine that reconciled would not be good. Some people might put on a brave face but behind closed doors, at the very least lukewarm. It could also go very, very badly and even be harmful. In her opinion, he was incapable of a good relationship. He had significant attachment issues from his childhood that had never been resolved.

    We were on separation #2, and he got way worse after separation #1 after promising that he was 100% on board again. It was like a honeymoon for about a month, and then it went further down the tubes. Before that, I had been with him through multiple cycles of getting sober and then not. I was also questioning certain aspects of what he was doing with himself during separation which didn’t seem above board. The therapist pointed out that I had no proof that he could sustain significant changes. No, I didn’t.

    I quit seeing her because part of me thought she was being too negative, and I went to a life coach to work on my issues on the spiritual front. She was an absolute game-changer, but more than once said, “If he’s not doing work like this on himself, your marriage isn’t going to change.” The coach also told me about a three-month “structured separation” program they had where we met separately with coaches and then together with the coaches, but she said that she was 95% sure that would be a waste of time. I told my husband about it, and he said no way.

    I finished with the coach. She recommended that I read Gottman’s “What Makes Love Last” and join a 12-step group. I read the book and ended all relationship talk. I joined a twelve-step group. During the divorce, I did computer work for my therapist because I was so very broke, and we’d talk. It was helpful, but I was pretty much on the other side of it by then. The twelve-step group took me even further.

    So, I get creeped out when people say “There’s always hope” and “This program/counselor will work.” Hopim anyone?

  • I wonder, Tim, how many cheaters come to you ALONE, for therapy, after they have been discovered and are permanently kicked to the curb by the chump? Oh, NONE. That’s right–the only time a cheater will go into therapy is if he or she is putting on a show for the chump. And the therapist.

  • Grace means I didn’t back over him with a truck… yup!

    When Mr. Sparkles discarded me for an OW after so many years of my keeping my head down (showing him Grace and believing in reconciliation through counseling)… when I didn’t challenge him anymore about his online personal ads and Craigslist hookers and sites like Adult Friend Finders, he left me for a new future chump… a mini me, ten years younger from a family with money. He was bored with me. He didn’t need my grace… he needed a spark (his words).

    Yet – after a year of pick me dancing after discard and trying to get him to reconcile and “save our family”, when I found Chump Nation and realized I had rights too… I filed and I asked that the pre-nup I requested when we married be upheld… he balked. He contested it. All it said was that I could leave the marriage with everything I brought into it (e.g. the house I bought). Anything joint from the marriage would be split (mostly debt, go figure!).

    The OW dumped him just before the divorce was finalized because a little bird informed her and her family that he was cheating on her now and she didn’t like the adultery charge in the complaint. Yup, no unicorn here Timbo.

    GRACE = Get real about cheater expectations – they want you to treat them like timid forest creatures while they run around setting the forest on fire.

    No thanks.

    And, CL, I’ll hold that beer any day. Your book saved my sanity and my family. My son and I are just MIGHTY fine nine years later.

  • Like-like-like. Grace means I didn’t back over him with a truck. My attorney and I also pushed for a reasonable settlement while he was trying to make it a high-conflict mess.

    Ultimately they can chase all the shiny bling they want and trade it in whenever they want. Just don’t expect me to stay married while they are on the hunt.

  • I shocked to have read this guy’s review and he makes no mention of how hard it will be to ever trust someone who lied to your face every day for weeks or months or years. How do you tell whether cheaters understand the damaged they’ve done or just prefer to stay married to avoid consequences like child support or selling the house or giving up half the pension?

    And how does someone who has reconciled 1, 2, 3 or 4 times or who “forgave” the slip-up a decade ago get any clarity about a situation while still living with a manipulative person who has devalued them over and over?

    No thanks. It might be one thing to separate and wait a year or even two to file for divorce, but to lay my head on a pillow beside someone who has no respect or affection for me? No. Nope. Nopety nope.

  • Tim says it himself. He was(/is?) a cheater. Of course he’s looking for “grace.”

  • I can translate what Tim is saying.
    “Well, I cheated on my wife like 20 years ago and she’s fine so I don’t see the big deal.”

  • Here’s the thing, CL. Your book/perspective is hugely under-represented. If a chump wants to try the “grace” route and enter the RIC, they have a gazillion ways they can do it. It’s amazing to me that Tim, and others like him are so hell bent on changing your mind/motto to allow room for the RIC. The RIC has representation EVERYWHERE. LACGAL is something that many need and are way less likely to find. (So glad I did, I am in the early days and this site is everything)

    But I want to say something a bit “out there” and maybe even a touch controversial. I think that if every Chump found your site and LACGAL’ed themselves into a divorce and new life- they would ALL be better off. Now, I believe that some marriages could possibly survive an affair and be just as good after. Admittedly, I can’t think of what scenario of cheating would allow for that, but I imagine there are a few examples in the world. So, technically if every Chump left, potentially a couple of those Chumps could be leaving a marriage that could have possibly been saved, and we will never know which ones. But even then, is that SO bad?

    Which is worse…having 1000 Chumps leave and have 2 of them be unknowingly leaving something that was possibly salvageable or having 1000 of us go the RIC route and waste time, money, and heartbreak only to realize that it was the wrong call. From that perspective I think Tim’s “grace” is far more dangerous than your “lack” of it.

    • “Which is worse…having 1000 Chumps leave and have 2 of them be unknowingly leaving something that was possibly salvageable or having 1000 of us go the RIC route and waste time, money, and heartbreak only to realize that it was the wrong call.”

      I agree with this, overit. Besides that, the struggle to save a marriage to a cheater is likely more than the chump can deal with, especially given how traumatized the chump already is. In most cases the stress of it is not worth the slim chance of true reconciliation. Divorce is also stressful, but the misery of divorce has an end point. Where is the end point for a chump who can be triggered just by sitting at the breakfast table across from the person who destroyed his/her peace of mind? I don’t think there is one.

  • The forgiving attitude conveyed in this guy’s viewpoint wreaks a bit of self-promoting his perceived emotional intelligence, and perhaps the desire to have us believe he lunches with Richard Gere and the Dalai Lama, knees crossed in a levitated position.

    My personal belief is a marriage based on monogamy cannot thrive in a healthy manner after infidelity. Once the damage is done, it’s done. Once trust is broken it can never be repaired; at best it morphs into some sort of superficial, whitewashed version Kintsugi, the Japanese philosophy as it pertains to broken pottery. Marriages that experience infidelity often do remain intact for legal and emotional reasons. Dividing assets is expensive, living solo is at a financial disadvantage for many, and some people are simply terrified of being alone or raising children without a partner. But the whole “this deceit has brought us together and made our marriage stronger” crap … Pffff.

    People will tolerate much. As Tony Robbins has said, there is a “pain vs. pleasure” principle at play in our lives. Most people will finally react to any given situation when the “pain” of the situation outweighs any “pleasure” it may bring (or “comfort” or “protection from fear”).

    I know women, who for their own personal reasons, have chosen to remain in a marriage with their unfaithful partners. There always seems to be remnant anger simmering beneath their surface and the wheels of retribution are in motion, even if they are imperceptible and hidden behind a Facebook lovey-dovey photo (“Smile for the camera, see we’ve happy on our new sailboat. We also have grandchildren and the perfect beach house.”) I personally have never witnessed infidelity as being a glue that bonded a couple closer together. It may exist, I’ve just never witnessed it.

  • It’s very difficult for me to imagine that a couple that stays together post infidelity is actually “strong” (or, as Esther Perel would have us believe, STRONGER).

    I’d love to give a truth serum to reconciled couples and ask each separately how it’s REALLY going.

  • I’m having tremendous trouble with the term “grace.” It means many things, and many of them fit, but all of them seem to involve divine intervention, the abilities of the person possessing the grace (i.e., the chump, coming through AGAIN!), or the absolute specialness of the recipient (i.e., the fuckwit).

    I particularly like the first and last — “Yes, Your Grace, I have forgiven your adulterous sex.”

    Emphasis mine.

    1a: ****unmerited**** divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
    b: a virtue coming from God
    c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through ****divine assistance****

    2a: approval, favor
    b archaic: mercy, pardon
    c: ****a special favor: privilege****
    d: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
    e: a temporary exemption : reprieve

    3a: a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
    b: a pleasing appearance or effect : charm
    c: ease and suppleness (see supple entry 1 sense 2b) of movement or bearing

    4 —used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop

  • “I’m mopping up blood over here”… no one can truly understand that unless you are a chump. Such an accurate description of what it takes to begin your healing process. I’m so thankful there is a place for us Chumps where someone has our back against affair and cheater apologists! Grace is important in life, but where was my grace when my ex husband went to nursing school on my dime while having an affair with girl he met while doing clinicals? When I originally tried to extend grace, he turned around and tried to blame me for all his actions. We are not dealing with remorseful people over here!

  • OK this is CL = Tracy, at the pinnacle of her career in writing. The most succinct I’ve ever heard. It is like taking aim at a flea with a Lazer gun and hitting it. Micro surgery. I had to hold my breath just reading it!Stunning, amazing. Tracy is on target. The truth is, cheaters have had front row seats and gained all the sympathy for their sad sausage stories of unmet needs that others have to meet or Else he/ she has to look around!!! No choice, no option and most definitely No HONESTY or direct communication. And everyone applaudes….!!!!I believe CL and CN ARE changing the narrative as cheaters take notice of those who might encourage a reduction in cake bakers!!! Oh no!! Don’t start agitation and conversation to reduce those calories or even slow production!!! Never!! Why if everyone starts getting wind or reading 📖 books that say Take a stand and stop volunteering for MORE STDs STIS, lies, abuse, lies, blame, lies to risk family sanctity..hey!! Where did my chump go???? Bring that wounded person back with my cake slices,or muffins, heck i don’t care!!! Just get back in the bedroom and do your duty! Ok so i was chumped royally twice. A hand wringing guilt ridden it”s all my fault chump”. That WAS me until I changed the locks on my abuser and stuffed my ears with cotton and my eyes with a blind fold so I would not cave again to start the cake production!! Again!! At the beginning of my 2 husband’s affairs, yes I begged, cried, pleaded and would do ANYTHING to save us. The fear was there, the losses were huge and my intact family was all I cared about. But after seeing the results of rowing a boat with one oar, or swimming in an Olympic competition with one arm and no legs, I became a warrior to save my precious spirit. I just got an email from my STBXH where he said he wants us to be friends…but please don’t try to take my money, but be my friend and let me and all my girlfriends live off your retirement. Well we are NO CONTACT from what i learned from Tracy’s book, so I shot the email to my lawyer. But I also said in my heart. No way would I ever volunteer to be your cake for years as I did before. No way would I subject my heart and body to your abuse. Thank you Chump lady and CN for helping me see through the smoke screen of cheaters and learn their language of self serving and harmful lies. I am forever grateful to this forum and Tracy’s book. This is the best rebuttal I’ve ever heard. Go get them for us all Tracy!! But let’s all change the narrative, one broken heart at a time.

  • I wonder if this is Tim Tedder from the Affair Healing podcast? 🤔

  • I think CL does leave a small window for grace in her advice. The post nup with all the promises in writing, and explicit pain and consequences if the reconciliation does not work. When they don’t want to do that, the grace door is closed. I just wish I had been so smart when I was offering forgiveness and hope for a future. Alas, I was a chump and a slow learner. I had too much FOO crap to overcome and did not think clearly.

    The hardest part for me was the realization I was merely useful, not a real person with feelings, as far as cheater(s) were concerned. If you understand that is the cheater’s point of view, where is there a place for grace? It may be useful for a social order run by entitled people for a chump to stay in place being useful for the overall good of the society. Chumps and slaves are quite useful to the entitled. But it is not a lifestyle or choice that is good for the chump. LACGAL is.

    • Exactly! And I would argue it’s actually a BIG window for grace. When someone has abused and betrayed you, and you’re willing to give them any chance to redeem themselves…that’s grace.

  • I guess it’s not surprising that unfaithful-just-one-time-Therapist Tim thinks his personal experience makes him well equipped to counsel a chump and a cheater, whether it’s toward ending their marriage or reconciliation.

    He reminds me of Snakeface’s sister Princess, who also cheated on her first husband. She outed herself a year into her affair before she and ex-BIL filed for divorce so she could control the narrative. Snakeface and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house a few weeks after Princess and ex-BIL separated, and since ex-BIL took the kids to see his family for Thanksgiving, Princess joined my ex-fil and mil at our house.

    Toward the end of the evening, when the pie was gone and we were finishing our coffee, Princess, who saw herself as an equally wronged party in the marriage, had the gall to talk about how she wanted to teach pre-marriage classes in a church setting because her life experience gave her such deep insight into the relationship red flags couples should watch for before getting married.

    I didn’t say anything even though my cheeks were burning. I just kept sipping my coffee. I was appalled but also kind of entertained by Princess’s conceit that she had anything of real value to share with anyone about marriage. Snakeface’s first affair some years before was family knowledge, and I couldn’t believe that Princess hadn’t taken into account who was at the table with her when she put her shamelessness on display.

    • You had a Princess and I had a Sinister Sister, who also cheated on her current husband. The ex-SIL is just as narcissistic as her brother but she’s smarter, and because she’s in a female body, she comes across more caring and mom-like. She’s not. If anything she’s worse as I witnessed how she treated a foster child in her care. The stories would you shake your head in disbelief. Gawd, I’m so glad to be out of that nightmare.

  • I believe in grace, forgiveness etc. But…you can only act on that grace when someone is truly contrite and they change. Not when they tell you it’s your fault, you’re not sexy enough, you do too much parenting and adulting and not enough pleasing them, when they don’t apologize that they lied, that they don’t care they hurt you, they walk over your sobbing body and tell you to get over it while they walk out the door on a Friday night to “hang with the boys”.

    • I went and read Tim’s blog post about all of this. And I must say, though he’s got a maddening assumption that we all share a definition of “grace” (and he never really defines what he means), you’re almost paraphrasing what he said about all of this. He’s not entirely off-base, just quibbling over this “grace” business and whether to give somebody more of a chance than those of us who are here, scarred and burned because our “grace” was met with a decided lack of it from the cheater.

      Here’s what he said:

      “If a cheater tries to tell you they had an affair because you weren’t ____ enough or didn’t do ____, just walk away. It’s not even worth arguing. Their excuse is evidence that they don’t get it. Like every marriage, there were likely problems and you probably contributed to some of them, but none of that justifies their choice to cheat.”

      • Yeah similar. Except I think some of these people aren’t clued into the narcissistic psycho type cheaters that a lot of us faced. Like mine! I could forgive a normal human foibles but being a dead inside human who is cruel and creepy… probably not! My comment was probably airing on the side of normal humans 😂

        • I know what you mean, for sure! In dating post-FW, I’ve occasionally run into women who have a strict “must be on good terms with your ex” policy. And I’m left speechless. Because how is one supposed to be on good terms with a machine gun emplacement?

          I say something plain and necessary like, “hey, could we talk about the school break schedule?” She unleashes a snarl of insults and calls me crazy. I guess there are people who never encounter our psychos, and think everything is puppy dogs and rainbows.

          • Even though my ex is dead, I bristle when I run across admonitions to people who were cheated on that criticize them for going no contact or grey rock when it comes to their ex. “If you aren’t friends with the other co-parent, you’re too selfish to have custody.” and “you’re hurting the kids” and “I’d NEVER deny my kids their other parent.”

            The “other parent” drug me through court in a horrid custody battle and the day he killed himself he could have easily taken our daughter with him and I was powerless to stop it.

            I believe God protected my kid that day.

            The ex was a psycho.

            And no one believed me until he was dead.

            Don’t talk to me about co-parenting.

  • These ex-cheaters who claim they’re the unicorns who no longer cheat give me “dry drunk” vibes. “Dry drunk” is an AA term for people who are physically sober but still make shitty life decisions and justifications like they did when they were using. True sobriety requires more than just abstaining from alcohol and true cheater reform requires more than long-winded justifications for grace. I’d respect the Tims of the world way more if he said something like: cheaters suck, cheating sucks, I suck cause I did it. I try everyday to suck less, and so far I’m successful!

  • I value Tim’s opinion on how to be a Chump about as much as I value his opinion on how to be a single mom, or anything else he’s never been. Bless your heart, Tim. Just be happy you have the luxury of believing in unicorns without putting your health or sanity on the line to test the theory.

    • P.s. today’s column makes me so happy I have a hard copy of the book in the mail as I write, that spare copy I’ve been meaning to have on hand to share!

    • And to clarify, I would have found Tim’s review helpful in the first few fragile months of desperate, confusing wreckonsillyation. So I hope some of those who have his review a thumbs-up still came by to check out the blog.

  • Aw Tim, I feel ya, bro. I’m a sucker for grace, too. It is amazing, after all. I’m of the Care Bear generation. I’d like to buy the world a Coke.

    And maybe chumps do have a grace problem. We don’t lack grace. We MISPLACE grace. I can think of at least two people who are alive today thanks to an IV drip of my grace and tears. Tragically, they still suck.

    But I did the unthinkable, and that’s when the magic started happening. I turned that grace on myself. I try to apply it liberally and daily, and I share it with the un-sucky around me.

    Care Bear Stare, CN 🌈

  • NJ Amazon’s review for Tracy’s book has 160 helpful likes. Why isn’t that one higher than Tim’s 104 I wonder?
    Tim needs to recuse himself from any discussion of grace to cheaters when he was a cheater himself! That’s unscrupulous.
    In my opinion, someone that crosses the line to cheat, even one time, can never be fully trusted again. That’s a character flaw that is ingrained in the person and they don’t just shake it off one day because they are so repentant for hurting you. I put myself in their shoes and if I cheated just once on my spouse, I devalued that person to such a level that it is not salvageable in my mind.
    If someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. And once that bit of doubt about trust is introduced into your relationship, it’s the turd in the punch bowl. You can scoop it out, but it’s already contaminated the beverage beyond fixing.
    Of course it makes sense Tim needs to believe in cheaters changing, it pays his mortgage and feeds his kids to believe that. He has to own that narrative.
    Great job Tracy with this review. You are such a class act in your response. I’m pretty annoyed by Tim’s contribution at all honestly.
    We’ve all given out so much grace to cheaters, the grace well has just runneth completely dry.
    There comes a time when the abundant grace given to cheaters for decades and decades, should be viewed as a very poor investment.
    You are not the individual who has any right to peddle grace to chumps, Tim!
    I go so far as saying I’m appalled you have the gall to review Tracy’s book at all.
    Your ‘better than thou’ attitude is not appreciated and we see right through your carefully disguised agenda here.
    It would not surprise me one iota that you wrote the review waiting on your gf to jump in your car for a quickie. That’s the cheaters I’ve come to know. Hopefully your review will drop to the nether regions on Amazon too.

  • I’d say we leave plenty of room for grace. We leave. We gain a life. We don’t engage, retaliate, or make shit up. We live our values of truth, family, and self-respect, and let the cheaters pursue their own. Cheaters are free to make their own way in the world and enjoy whatever grace comes with that. In the immortal words of Kesha, “I hope you find your peace…But there are some things only God can forgive.”

  • Sheesh, Tim, you’re a couples therapist and a (former?) cheater, mansplaining that you are living proof that unicorns exist and we should stop being mean to them.

    I think I’ll stick with Chump Lady on this.

  • “can understand the tendency to conclude that…” :vomit:

    Incredibly dismissive with perfunctory acknowledgements of the chump’s situation linked to an implicit expectation that you be the better person. My counselors wouldn’t even talk about the infidelity and I got to do “love language” exercises for $100/hr. At least firing them felt good.

    • Nice. Love language talk for $100/ hr when you can learn it all for free from Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages from the library.

      There the RIC for you.

  • His “truth” is what misleads people!

    It is in fact NOT true (statistically speaking) that these marriages CAN be reconciled.

    Cheating is ABUSE and anyone working in abuse will tell you that abuse is TYPICALLY NOT healed and they work just to see the maybe 1 out of 10 abusers see the light and change his ways. Everyone is advised to part ways with an abuser, it would be irresponsible to do the opposite, which is exactly what you are doing, Tim.

    Sincerely, a therapist!

  • Victim. I love how people like to tell us not to play the victim. Do you tell a rape “survivor” that they were not a victim of abuse? Should we say we are “infidelity survivors” because it’s less direct and more comfortable to hear?

    Bullshit. We have been lied to, betrayed, cheated, deceived. Robbed of marital assets and time. Time we will never, get back. 20 years in my case.

    I chose not to forgive, but I acknowledge what happened cannot be undone and take responsibility for my own happiness moving forward.

    He’s married the other woman, who makes 2x what he does (like I did when we got married). Big new house on a golf course, cars, vacations, rental property. You get the picture.

    I live in a house smaller than my first house I bought 35 years ago. My income is less than I was making when I married 32 years ago.

    Sometimes if feels like he won. But I have to remind myself that I’m happy in my little home and have the freedom to do what I want, when I want, with whomever I want. All those things I didn’t do because he didn’t want to.

    • The time I wasted is what I am also most bitter about. My precious, precious time wasted on a fuckwit.

      At least we were married more than 10 years and I can collect survivors benefits along with our two minor children. (He killed himself 11 months ago)

  • Chumps show more extraordinary grace even during the frantic, oxygen-deprived physical shock of those first days after D-day very than any cheater will ever realize.

    Examples of Extreme Grace:
    Not picking up a gun and shooting you.
    Not setting fire to the house you lead them to believe you were faithfully sharing.
    Not blasting an email to every person you know letting them in on your secret life and private fetishes.
    Not going Lorena-Bobbit on you.
    Not printing big copies of all the nude selfies you kept sending Schmoopie and super-glueing them around the place you work.

    Examples of Ordinary Grace:
    Divorcing you rather than destroying you
    Expecting regular child support to help stabilize the lives of the children you weren’t concerned about when you were screwing other people.
    Letting the cheater live with the normal consequences of what they’ve done, because maybe they will grow and learn…though we Chumps aren’t counting on it.

    Cheaters get more “grace” than they will ever realize. And why don’t they realize it? Because cheaters are professional, delusional ‘victims.’ Just ask any cheater, and the answer is always the same: “I only cheated because_____.” Poor hapless victims never would have cheated if only the super-powered laser beams of the Chumps hadn’t made them do it.

    Bite me, Tim. Your successful reconciliations are few and far between and I’m willing to bet they’re all on borrowed time.

  • I saw that review on Amazon a couple weeks ago and it was way too long for me to read through, but I thought to myself….”I bet he’s a self proclaimed reformed cheater.”

    Ding ding ding… winner winner chicken dinner.

    Only a cheater hell bent on making people believe they’ve changed writes mind numbingly looooooong drivel trying to convince the readers the merits of grace for the chump.

    Fuck that noise.

  • Thank you Chump Lady.
    I don’t know how you do it, you have a gift – your clear logic is beyond brilliant.
    Your analysis and reply to Tim on so many points is factually brilliant. You are a force field of support constantly protecting Chump Nation.
    You put into words so many things I try to say but since D-Day (30 years of FW’s secret double life hooker habit) my mind is still mush, still in shock.
    I read “ grace is not backing over a cheater with a truck” and I laughed right out loud – brilliant. Thank you as always

  • That whole review was him trying to justify his own actions. I had 3 D days, I gave buckets of grace, only to be shown there’s no changing a cheater.

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