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Ashley Madison Study Finds Cheaters Feel Happy

cakeSit down, Chump Nation, I have shattering news to deliver. This is going to upend everything you thought you knew about infidelity. Are you ready? No? Go pour a shot of whiskey, and brace yourself against a sturdy piece of furniture, as you may feel overcome.

Cheaters enjoy cake.

Yes, according web aggregator, which probably cut and pasted the press release straight from Ashley Madison, then got all aflutter:

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Western Ontario delved into the minds of users of Ashley Madison, a notorious dating platform specifically designed for those seeking affairs. The results reveal insights that challenge long-standing assumptions about why people cheat, opening a Pandora’s Box of fresh questions about human behavior within intimate relationships.

Fresh questions! No one has before ever asked why people cheat. That’s never a Google search term, or carved on a stone tablet by Moses since antiquity.

Excuse me, aren’t cheaters’ motivations the subject of an entire Esther Perel career? (Answer: “Exuberant acts of defiance.”) Or a predatory reconciliation industry? (Answer: Unmet needs. Dance harder, chump.) No! We need to untangle those skeins anew.

This groundbreaking study, one of the most comprehensive investigations of its kind, unearths a number of paradoxical findings. Perhaps the most striking is that many of those engaged in extramarital or extrarelational affairs reported harboring strong feelings of love towards their primary partners. This seemingly contradictory behavior uncovers a puzzling intersection of emotional attachment and infidelity, suggesting that the reasons behind unfaithful behavior are far more nuanced than previously understood.

So puzzling! So contradictory! People who are perfectly happy in their primary relationships often want extra helpings. You’re just two or perhaps three orifices and they need 14, at a minimum. They love you. In that appliance kinda way. You vacuum and are occasionally fuckable. But please be assured, they’re HAPPY.

(Well, until you discover it, and then your inadequacies drove them to it.)

But now? While they’re skulking about on Ashely Madison filling out surveys, they’re living their best lives. No regrets!

Seriously. No regrets. No bad feelings. No remorse. That’s the title of the study. No Remorse. Sexual Infidelity Is Not Clearly Linked to Relationship Satisfaction or Well-Being in Ashley Madison Users. The work was recently published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.

“In popular media, television shows and movies and books, people who have affairs have this intense moral guilt and we don’t see that in this sample of participants,” said lead author Dylan Selterman, an associate teaching professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences who studies relationships and attraction. “Ratings for satisfaction with affairs was high — sexual satisfaction and emotional satisfaction. And feelings of regret were low. These findings paint a more complicated picture of infidelity compared to what we thought we knew.”

This comes as a revelation? What exactly did you think you knew, Dylan? You should’ve spent 5 minutes over here. There’s a reason we call the remorseful cheaters “unicorns.” They like cake — DUH. It’s the preferred set up — an unknowing chump fully investing in them (i.e., playing by the rules of monogamy), and the cheater out there gorging on exuberant acts of defiance. That’s why they keep it a secret. That’s why they mindfuck to keep the entitlement alive. And that’s why it’s usually chumps who file for divorce — cheaters can’t quit the entitlement buffet.

The study talked with 2,290 bald-faced liars Ashley Madison customers. And you can rely on this data because cheaters only lie to their spouses, never scientists.

Approximately 10% of the sample (85) reported being consensually non-monogamous (while either dating or married). However, many of these participants’ CNM statuses are contradicted by their responses to later questions; see descriptive results below.

Oh, so your wife wasn’t okay with it?

Isn’t it weird how Ashley Madison gets itself into the news cycle with these studies? Kind of reminds me of that one by Eric Anderson”chief science officer” at Ashely Madison who concluded in 2014 that cheating women he observed online, “much to Anderson’s surprise, were not looking to have an affair because they were unhappy in their marriage. Instead, he found that 67 percent of his (small) sample were seeking an exclusive affair because they desired more romantic, passionate sex.”

Oh, and there was that one in 2016. We snarked about it here. Eric Anderson again, author of The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love and the Reality of Cheating.  His thesis? Men cheat because really, they love you women. His data set? Interviews with 120 male university students.

I guess we’re all supposed to be comforted by this. Absorbed as we are with cheaters’ happiness, to know that by gosh, they’re not having a sadz. They might bring home Chlamydia, but never a frown.

It kind of blows my mind no one has done a longitudinal study on chumps. Social scientists, call me! Let’s talk about our happiness. You wanna compare data sets? Chump Nation has had, as of today, 7,896,395 unique chump visitors to this site, and an archives with hundreds of thousands of stories. You got, what? 2,000 self-professed liars and some college kids.

Chumps will continue to sit on the sidelines while scientists untangle cheater motivations. I mean, who cares if cheaters are happy or unhappy? They’re unethical.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I love that it takes “research” to figure out that children doing whatever they want and getting away with it are “happy.” Because that’s really what this is right? FWs are children emotionally … they make impulsive choices that just fulfill their desires in the moment without regard to consequences. And when the toy or candy is taken away they throw tantrums.

    How is this a study? 😂

    I wish someone would do a study of what’s WRONG with FWs brains that they can’t mature. Why aren’t they able to see consequences of their actions? Why do they lack empathy? Why they lack the ability to take responsibility for their choices? And I mean without sympathy for their upbringing. Label FWs with a disorder beyond “narcissist.”’

    • Michelleshocked-I believe they are sociopaths. That’s why there’s nothing to work with. There’s no fixing that. They don’t change or have empathy. I got:
      1. I didn’t think I’d get caught
      2. I wanted to
      3. I didn’t want to think about anyone but myself.
      Same motivators as to why he started fires/hurt pets/stole stuff from work places/fucked whatever/drive drunk. These people are not just “study” subjects. They are all hazards to the rest of us.

      • I agree, they’re sociopaths. It’s like Chris Watts talking about how much he loved his daughters while describing how he murdered them. “Oh, I wish I could have saved my daughters…” and the unsaid part is “but my new wet hole I’m currently using doesn’t want these kids so they had to go! We can’t have them cramping our style!” And that makes total logical sense to a sociopath. They think we’re the broken ones because we don’t think like them.

        I was surrounded by these sickos. I remember after my divorce, my sister tried to explain to me how “it’s like when your best friend gets a better job and you’re “so happy” for her because you’re supposed to be but you aren’t really because what does it do for you?” And I was so confused because I am happy when good things happen to the people I love and I tried to explain that to her and she was obviously frustrated with me and acted like I was lying to look better than her. “But you aren’t actually happy because WHAT DID IT DO FOR YOU?”

        She thinks everybody thinks like that. That’s how they think. Everyone is only out for themselves and nobody actually cares about anybody. They just pretend to care for etiquette and appearances sake. So, when someone gets upset by them doing that, they’re just baffled. Because they think everyone else would have done the same thing.

          • I was pretty shocked too. She was so sure that everyone thinks like that and just doesn’t say it and I was sitting there thinking, “I think my sister is telling me she’s a sociopath.” I spent awhile trying to explain it and saying things like, “if you really don’t care when something good happens to someone, then maybe you don’t actually care about them so they aren’t really your friend.” and she got upset and said, “no, they’re my friends! But why would I care if it doesn’t do anything for me?!”

            I don’t talk to her anymore. I don’t see the point. She literally can’t care about anyone but herself and suddenly all the snarkiness and lack of support or ever being happy for me makes sense. But she expects other people to support her and be happy for her. Even before this comment I had already figured out that she wanted all the benefits of a family with none of the responsibilities and that bothered me. But this took it to a whole different level. I always thought she was off, even as a little kid, and I used to feel guilty for that. No, I was right. She’s off.

        • It’s true, they don’t do anything unless there’s something in it for them. Ex didn’t understand why I’d volunteer to help a neighbor or call someone on their birthday. He’d tell me not everyone thinks like me.
          If a neighbor or friend asked for help moving a piece of furniture. He’d make up some flimsy excuse. When I asked why, he’d say he was afraid he might pull a muscle then not be able to work. Which seems highly unlikely since he’s a body builder and a pilot. So, yes, if there isn’t something in it for them they’re not going to help anyone. They lack the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Even if they did, they don’t care because what are they getting out of it?
          Reminds me of when our son was involved in little league. Ex had lots of free time at home, he’d like to brag that he has a degree in PE and recreation and what a great baseball player he was. You’d think he’d be excited to share his knowledge coaching his sons little league team. When asked, cheater didn’t hesitate to say no. I shouldn’t have been surprised, nothing in it for him…

        • “it’s like when your best friend gets a better job and you’re “so happy” for her because you’re supposed to be but you aren’t really because what does it do for you?” And I was so confused because I am happy when good things happen to the people I love and I tried to explain that to her and she was obviously frustrated with me and acted like I was lying to look better than her. “But you aren’t actually happy because WHAT DID IT DO FOR YOU?”

          What a horrible way to live.

          My ex never did anything kind or nice or as a favor to anybody without expecting that he’d get something back. He sent me a gift once, after we split, and then later tried to use it as a bargaining chip “I sent you a gift, why are you being mean to me?” (i.e. not giving him money). When good things happened to other people, his usual reaction was to get angry because he felt like HE should have gotten whatever that was (recognition, a promotion, a job, money, you name it).

          • I totally agree. It’s a horrible way to live. I can’t even imagine it.

        • I got this from my XW when I mentioned to her that I’d only agreed to move for her job because – although it wasn’t good for me or for the kids – it was good for her. She was simply confused: she kept asserting that since I agreed to it I must have wanted it. She honestly cannot comprehend that the choice I made then (when we were married, and a team) isn’t the choice I would make now (when we’re divorced, and I don’t have the same obligations towards her), and that I feel betrayed because my choice was based on incomplete information (I had no clue about her affair, and would have evaluated everything differently).

          I don’t think she was making it up. She just can’t wrap her head around choosing to do something that you don’t particularly want for yourself just for the sake of someone else. It doesn’t compute for her.

      • I think, while Chump Lady has done a lot to change the narrative around cheating, wider society still has much further to go in part because it still doesn’t accept cheating as abuse, or that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum, but alongside many other abuses (physical, emotional, sexual, financial).

        Show me a cheater who hasn’t betrayed trust in other ways, and I’ll show you a cheater who simply hasn’t been caught yet.

    • I think cheaters have brain damage. That doesn’t absolve them of what they do, but I have no other explanation for their immaturity and self-centeredness. I’ve met toddlers with more self-awareness and understanding of consequences.

      I remember when the fuckwit who cheated on me demanded forgiveness. I asked if that meant he was sorry for cheating. He said, “Of course not, I did nothing wrong, but it’s not fair you’re mad at me.”

      Ten years later, word has gotten about what he did to me. I’m told he’s reacted with shock and outrage and says he doesn’t owe me an apology and refuses to budge even though the wider community has now shunned him.

      More than one person has complained to me, “There’s something wrong with the guy. It’s like he’s brain damaged.” Yup.

  • I want to see Ashley Madison require that all user at time of sign up agree to have their brains dissected after death in an attempt to see WTF is wrong with them.

    The scientists reading the study, if they had any morals within them, were likely expecting to hear the many explanations of how the chumps caused the cheaters to cheat. They were looking forward to reporting that 60% of these assholes reported their spouses were overweight and 75% reported their spouses don’t communicate enough. Then they read the answers and their mouths fell agape, “They just want to fuck like rabbits with whatever AP crosses their path? Say it ain’t so!” This is why they don’t put any effort into “saving” the marriage. This is why they don’t change their behavior but only get better at hiding it. They don’t regret it at all. Only sorry that they got caught.

    They have no remorse for their crappy behavior. This study says we have nothing to work with here. The scientists were shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you, to find that cheaters are immoral beings who don’t give a shit about anyone else or anything but their own being happy.

    • “5% said their spouses used bagged salad?”
      I’m sure they expected a bunch of nuance and bs about exuberance and some other Esther Perel crap. Nope. Just entitlement and selfishness.

  • I think this just proves how disordered cheaters are. They are happy while participating in a behavior that they know is going to destroy the primary partner whom they profess to love so deeply. I find this sort of validating. It was him, not me all along. As Tracy said I brought my A game to the marriage and I always showed up. Was I perfect? No. But he was happy with me and his life and happy with the cake on the side. I do agree that a more studies of chumps is needed and should be out in the media. I have never second guessed my decision to end it after dday but 2 1/2 years later with what appears from the outside to be a full and happy life, I still struggle emotionally, spiritually and financially.

    • Living, I still struggle too. Every day. Sometimes it’s crushing and I can’t move. Fuckwit’s deception, gaslighting, disease convection, denigration, and outright abuse have permanently changed me. I’ll never trust a relationship again. How’s that for a study, you idiot researchers? How the cheaters abused so badly they curdled lives of partners and children. Most of them do not support their children as they should (millions in lacking child support). They are simply sociopathic criminals.

    • It’s a trauma to find out someone you loved and had committed your best self to was actually far from what you thought. This is the layer on top of their generally bad behavior that chumps had to spackle. The trauma will stay as part of the fabric of your life. In some way you will be stronger but, always, you will be different than you were. 2 1/2 years is still on the uphill climb for recovering from a FW. Be gentle with yourself.

  • Soooooo …. a relatively small sample size and a biased sample into the bargain. Not that scientific really. I would argue that the only reliable deduction from the data would appear to be that Cheaters are – statistically – more likely than not a bunch of entitled scumbags with very little to go by in terms of possessing a functioning conscience.

    But what would I know? Based on a sample size of one (Ex-Mrs LFTT), my analysis reveals that Cheaters barely qualify as human.


  • So they sampled a selection of narcissists and discovered that they do, in fact have the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Great study. huge eyeroll

  • “You wanna compare data sets? Chump Nation has had, as of today, 7,896,395 unique chump visitors to this site, and an archives with hundreds of thousands of stories. You got, what? 2,000 self-professed liars and some college kids.”

    Sounds like a great Chumpalooza Conference presentation. And press release? And PhD thesis? And lobbying effort?

    Every chump’s recovery story is different, but the pattern of abuse is measurable and should be understood to be as deplorable as physical violence.

  • Can we pause for a moment to remember Tina Turner? While we can’t know all the details of a celebrity’s life, she went public with her escape from an abusive relationship. She really did leave a cheater and gained a life. She was a mighty chump.

    • Although I’m very sad about Tina’s passing and loved her as a performer, it sounds like she was an AP to start. Everyone was certainly manipulated by the horrific abusive Ike Turner. And Tina apparently did try to end it with him early on. But Turner (per Wikipedia which is not reliable) “likened her early relationship with Ike Turner to that of a “brother and sister from another lifetime.”[205] They were platonic friends from the time they met in 1957 until 1960. Their affair began while Ike was with his live-in girlfriend Lorraine Taylor.” And as we know, Ike continued to be a rotten cheater and abusive prick.

      • Michelle: proving that the Fuckwit doesn’t change for the AP! And karma showed up in their relationship. I am sad too about Tina Turner but for her music, performances & bringing to light DMV. Disappointed about her being an AP though 🙁

      • Disappointed to hear she was an AP. Damn.

        My aunt suffered horrific abuse from her husband for 25 years (during the marriage and after they divorced). He abandoned the family for his mistress, never paid a dime of child support, and terrorized my aunt via the court system for a decade. Bastard cancelled his children’s health insurance while my cousin was in the ER after a car accident. I think the stress hastened my aunt’s death. He was shit talking her on Facebook the day of the funeral. No remorse. Total sociopath.

        Recently, my cousin told me her parents were dating and got pregnant with her while her dad was still married to another woman. I was shocked and disappointed to hear this. Just another thing to add to the list of grievances I have with my aunt. Her story just goes to show the mistress wins the booby prize.

  • I actually saw this on IFLS on Facebook and thought about sending it to CL. One of the commenters pointed out how this is flawed. They ONLY asked cheaters, specifically ones actively cheating, so their results are biased.

    If the study were to ask a large sample of random people from a random population, they would get a more representative picture of what the wider population (at least for that area and culture) believes about cheating and whether or not it’s “satisfying.”

    However, they asked only a sample of people who are actively cheating from a website specifically aimed at getting people who want to cheat. So of COURSE you’re going to get no guilt.

    If you ask an ex meth user if it’s worth it, they will probably tell you no, it’s not, tell you why they quit, and how long they’ve been clean.
    If you ask someone who’s never used meth if it’s worth it, they will probably tell you no, and give a reason why they will not try it.
    If you ask someone who is currently high on meth if it’s worth it, they will probably tell you”FUCK YEAH MAN! I can do ANYTHING!!”

    If you ask ONLY people who are currently high on meth if it’s worth it, then that’s the only answer you’re likely to get.

    • I imagine next we’ll get: “Study finds serial killers love what they do and are happy doing it.” No kidding!

  • Anything involving Ashley Madison data should be looked at with suspicion. A review of the famous Ashley Madison data-breech in 2015 revealed that 99% of the women profiles on the site were fake. So unless the researchers are ready to provide the names and locations of those interviewed, or reveal a few of them, it is highly likely that any study of Ashley Madison data is done to promote the website. What the study does show is that if the respondents are real then they are as fucked up as anyone to actually believe they are finding people to cheat with. I believe PT Barnum called them suckers. (

    Anyone who has ever tried to date online knows all too well the pitfalls of the “profile.” I started looking into this out of curiosity after my first divorce because I thought the “like” thing, and how it is used by online dating sites to get me to buy a membership to see who liked me, was weird. I’m 63 and have no interest in 18 year olds from Liberia 😂 I got a refund from a reputable site when I accused them of bait and switch tactics.

    The FTC has issued warnings about romance scammers: “People reported a record $547 million in losses to romance scams in 2021. That’s up about 80% from the reports the FTC got in 2020. In 2021, people reported paying romance scammers more with gift cards than with any other payment method.” (,story%20and%20ask%20for%20money.)

    I actually met someone using online dating who sent $5000 to someone she was having a “relationship” with and wound up reporting the incident to the police when she realized she was scammed.

    All this to say, if a chump finds their significant other on Ashley Madison then rest assured they are using marital money for the membership to try and date a bot. Tell them you’ll buy them a fleshlight and then get a divorce! 😂

    (sorry, I was a research analysts for 37 years and have a mile wide curiousity streak about everything, especially when it involves me and my money. My favorite line from the Tulsa King was when Sylvester Stallone told his cab driver how nice it would be if someone invented a device where you could look up information.)

    • I actually got really frustrated with a dating site back in the day because it was only showing me people who seemed to be everything I said I DIDNT like.

      When they got back to me they said it was actually a system glitch that showed people the opposite of their designated interests.

      I don’t miss dating apps.

      • Every dating site I tried matched me with people I said I didn’t want. Then came the “likes” and secret “matches”. To see them I wound up paying – sometimes for a week, most times a month, one popular site required a 3 month subscription. That’s the one I demanded a refund from. Oddly, I met my cheater drug addicted ex at the gym where she worked and I exercised. I thought meeting someone face to face was better because I could actually see the person first and use my New York born and raised bullshit detector to ferret out the garbage before paying for dinner, coffeee, or a membership. Wow was I wrong! I did not know that there were professional liars – I thought it was a detectable hobby 😂

  • Not so happy after the Chump leaves!
    Since we are the fantastic ones, who keep everything together, cheaters are in a bad way once we escape. My X is the most miserable person I know of now. This is an unrepentant serial cheater of at least 30 years. Smug, entitled, fake husband cheater, now a busted, unhappy man. It’s all up to him now, and he hates it! I took my abilities and made a very nice life for myself, and my family. I mostly love the lack of chaos!

    • “It’s all up to him now, and he hates it! I took my abilities and made a very nice life for myself, and my family. I mostly love the lack of chaos!”

      This is so true. And he was SO resentful that I wouldn’t continue to be his personal assistant and bank account (I was that for a while after we split, but I finally got enough self-respect to stop). He also resented that my life got better while his got worse, I paid off my debts and he got further into debt (in spite of OW giving him massive amounts of money), I was happy and he was miserable, etc. OW clued in that the life she’d so desperately wanted was MINE, and without me, it didn’t exist. She left him. FW ended up taking his own life in despair.

      I made a lovely life for myself and my son, and I’ve never been happier. The peace is glorious.

    • “I took my abilities and made a very nice life for myself, and my family.”

      Love that. I used my abilities to help my cheater build his career. He of course didn’t fill me in on the fact that he was wallowing with the town whore and planned on dumping me as soon as he got his captains bars.

      Ass wipe had no idea how his plans would tumble all around him. I was suppose to be erased and he would just slip her in my spot, and life for him after a few well placed lies would go on to new heights. Yeah, no.

  • Well, well, I wonder if these very impressive researchers will move on to researching other forms of deception next.

    Hypothesis: People who are deceiving their partners to get away with hiding financial losses and crimes, sexual abuse, including of children, tort-claim worthy abuses of power including sexual harassment in the workplace, and physically harming others are happy. They love their partners just as much — or more — because it makes them so happy about getting away with their lies.

    Outcome: It doesn’t matter, because who gives a shit how happy repugnant, abusive people are?

    The premise of the study is suspect before it even starts, if you ask me. In the first place, the fact that asking proven liars (they’re on a website predicated on lying to the people closest to them!) to report their experiences is a flawed way to have any hope of gathering accurate data.

    Then there’s the fact that the entire concept of researching whether it makes people happy to be public health menaces and cruel abusive partners is, at its core, completely repugnant and unethical. Do we allow — or even ask — people to drown buckets full of kittens to observe how happy it makes them to drown kittens? Of course not. Why? Because abuse is, even in today’s very strained world, generally considered to be a wrong thing to do.

    Just like Perel, this whole thing gets the baseline premise wrong. The Ashley Madison discussion isn’t about whether or not monogamy should be a relationship baseline. That’s up to individuals to decide when negotiating relationships. The discussion is about whether it’s abusive to deceive a partner into thinking I’m being monogamous when I’m NOT being monogamous. The answer to that is, yes, it’s abusive, and potentially even criminal.

    Even if you’re a monster who doesn’t care how anyone feels, deception about extrarelational sex exposes the deceived person to unwanted sexual contact. That can permanently harm, or even kill, the person. Besides things you never stop having — like herpes and syphilis — there’s unexpected (seems like a flu at first) and therefore undiagnosed and untreated HIV… HPV eventually resulting in cervical cancer… hell, even COVID…

    A partner should be allowed to choose their intimate exposures with full informed consent. Intimate partner deception about non-monogamous sexual contact makes ALL sex with the intimate partner NONCONSENSUAL. There’s another word for nonconsensual sex, and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to equate all forms of nonconsensual sex under the rape umbrella. You don’t have to physically force a vulnerable person to do a thing before the abuse is abusive. Abuse is abusive simply because it’s abuse.

    I expect reputable researchers to do an ethics check at the door before signing their names to any study. Looks like that step was missed for this one.

    • AMEN! Why are can’t these concepts be argued in court? Criminal offenses against the cheater? Endangerment? Assault? I had so many recurring cases of “unexplained” vaginosis, that I had to endure a 3 hour, complete hysterectomy due to the layers of adhesions, results of severe of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease(s). …..and the FW was actually creating an Ashley Madison profile WHILE I WAS IN SURGERY! Who does that? Its criminal!

      • I’m so sorry TfL. I’ve read a lot of terrible things people do to their professed loved ones on this site but this one hit me hard. I know it’s not the pain Olympics but this has to be one of the worst things I heard. I hope you either did not want or already had children.
        Your moniker makes sense.

      • 100% agree, Therapy for Life. 100%. Sending you big healing strength.

    • I learned another thing today too — HPV isn’t just implicated in cervical cancer. It also can cause mouth/oral, anal, vulvar, and penile cancer. Viruses and cancer don’t select their victims based on emotion, opinion, or biology. All you have to be is human to get them.

      Monogamy isn’t just a preference or a desire. It’s a very practical tool for health risk management.

      • Great comments Ami. Agree totally. The whole thing of cheaters pretending this deceptive behavior is harmless by deflecting to their “happiness” etc, completely falls apart when you put the lens of consent over it. Coercion / coercive control are part of this and is criminal now. If “stealthing” is a crime (removing a condom without permission or without expressly gaining consent to the removal of protection whilst in the act of sexual intercourse) how is denying someone their agency and knowledge regarding this in any way defensible?

  • This kind of stuff is funny to me in a really dark way. My ex husband reported he loved me too. He talked about how much he loved me all the time with people… while he was also fantasizing and planning ways to murder me. Part of the reason I got zero effing support is because just a month before dumping me, he was telling mutual friends how happy he was and how much he loved me while we were on a vacation. So, I must be a liar when he starts saying that he never loved me and has been unhappy and planning to leave me for 20 years. Because it couldn’t be him! He’s a great guy who really loves his wife! I must be the bitch who didn’t deserve that love! All the other evidence be damned!

    • I felt that my therapist wasn’t helping me after my ex left, so I saw a local coach that came highly recommended. Not a fly-by-night one, but someone who had been doing that through a local ministry well before coaching was even a term. So she went from “lay counselor” to “coach,” but had almost twenty years of experience that gave her tremendous insight.

      During the second appointment, she said, “How can it be love to destroy the foundations of your family and then take off, throwing your lives into utter chaos? From my chair, that’s NOT love.”

      I journaled after that appointment, and I probably looked at that note hundreds of times before it sunk in.

      Later on, my attorney celebrated his 40th anniversary during the divorce process and said something similar, adding that anyone who thought they could do what my ex did and claim that he loved us was “seriously f*cked up in the head.” LOL.

    • The week before cheater moved out, he was across the street at a neighbors telling our neighbors how much he enjoyed being married. It didn’t occur to me until much later that it was part of his carefully planned exit plan to make me look like a liar when I’d tell them the things he said to me. Who would believe such a kind and sensitive man would come home after saying he was so happy being married and tell his wife she’s repulsive, an ugly stupid bitch who no one in their right mind would want to f***? they didn’t. He’s too nice of a guy.

      • I’m pretty sure this is what mine was doing as well. He told me with a smirk during the divorce proceedings that he’d been actively planning dumping me for four years. I was so confused because he knew NOTHING. He knew nothing about divorces in our state, he was blindsided by the laws, he made no efforts to prepare himself financially, and I thought what the hell was he doing during all this planning for four years?!

        And then everybody proceeded to cut me off or outright call me a liar when I reached out for support during the discard. Even some of my own family. And I thought, oh, that’s what he’s been doing all this time.

  • stats from cheaters.

    i’d rather learn more about chumps. the % of STI and the % of Takotsubo cardiomyopathy (Broken Heart Syndrome). maybe the % of those with adrenal overload syndrome. then there are the anxiety disorders and depressions. and how about the % of those in therapy and why?

    the list could go on.

    being chumped is a physical assault to multiple body systems.

    • I’m convinced it was the cause of my breast cancer! I’m clear now, but I cried every day for almost a year (wish I could take that back!) and then got the diagnosis

      • stress is a force, that’s for sure. i’m so pleased that you’re clear now, FreeWoman. #freedom

      • 👆Me too, Free Woman! I do believe the stress from the chaos and drama going down from his abuse absolutely initiated my BC dx. They make us sick emotionally, spiritually and quite literally physically too. We all need to be way clear of that energy!
        ( I was going to use your initials instead of your full name here, but since it’s “FW”, it looked strange for me to be addressing the fuckwits,haha!)

      • Me too. Diagnosed last year this month. Everything I read said that my type could have been doing its thing for 7-10 years before I caught it… guess what was happening during that time?

    • Doctor’s could find no reason why I contracted MAI (essentially TB, but non-communicable person-to-person), a very rare (in the U.S.) disease which normally only effects people with severely weakened immune systems, like AIDS patients and the very elderly. There’s no reason a healthy 35 year old should have gotten it (most people exposed to it do not contract it), and I hadn’t traveled anywhere where it’s more common (like Cambodia, which was where my infectious disease doctor said she’d seem most of the cases she’d encountered – the disease is airborne, but has to be nebulized, so is most common in very humid, tropical regions). Throughout the whole period, my bloodwork and labs came back absolutely normal, all tests for comorbities were negative, etc. I’m convinced it was the stress of being verbally and emotionally abused daily by FW (pre-affair) that wore my body down to the point where I couldn’t fight off the infection. I also suffered from tachychardia (rapid heartbeat) when my heart was in perfect working order, according to all the tests.

      It took two years of antibiotics to clear the MAI and I was left with holes in my lungs, which persisted for years. After FW died (4 1/2 years after we split), the last hole in my lung closed up. I also have not had an episode of tachychardia since then. I still have scar tissue, and always will, which affects my ability to do physical activities.

      The physical toll is real.

  • Chumplady, you’re just ahead of the curve. A pioneer. I can’t wait until the tipping point!

  • So let me get this straight. They took a sampling of unscrupulous, deceitful, lying as an art form men, the sample size of a box of Pop Tarts, who are quite literally clients of A.M., to ask them whether cheating made them happy and if they still loved their primary partner?!
    (You sure this research paper wasn’t taken from The Onion CL?!)
    So Dylan, you asked an olive jar sampling of men that are already known by just HAVING an A.M. account to have deeply troubling integrity and moral turpitude, to give you ‘honest’ responses to this supposedly serious survey?! ( burnishing the prestigious Johns Hopkins name in the process)
    The shocking results being they still love their primary partners ( the ones loading the dishwashers after they just mowed the lawn and fed the kids) and that they are “happy” in their cheating lives. 😂🤣😂
    Cake, glorious cake, keeps men without an ounce of integrity happy. It’s not their love of anyone. They don’t love anyone, you could have started with that question, but you’d need too much truth serum to conduct it and you would go over budget.
    The close to eight million betrayed visitors to CL’s website to date could have saved you all that intense Pulitzer prize winning research.
    They are as happy as a pig in poop that their convoluted entitled lives are so exciting and secretive, any minute the bottom can fall out, but that only amps the thrill knowing they could get caught. But their massive entitlement keeps the ball rolling along very nicely for them. Only they are worthy of having as much cake as they want, there is great joy in that for them, Dylan. Entitlement keeps their days happy.
    Ask them if they love the other 12 ppl they are also fucking, the answer will be a resounding YES!! to that too. They have great love for anyone willing to sit on their dicks when they choose it and the world is their oyster, so who’s not happy with that?! This is indeed ground breaking research! I had to steady myself from the tremble of it all.
    I have a suggestion for your next research project after JH lets you go.
    Head to any maximum security prison of your choosing. Sample a lunch table of prisoners eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches whose names begin with the letter T.
    Get ready to push your recorder button when you ask them whether they committed the crimes they are serving life imprisonment for.
    Be ready for the ground breaking, mind blowing discovery you will be about to receive, Dylan. Even more earth shattering than your last major discovery.

    • Love this Chumpasaurus45! You are hysterical – excellent point about including only those with names that begin with T. Well said.
      My only comment is that one thing I have learned on here is that the unscrupulous, deceitful, lying FWs are not always men. I’ve been surprised by that. It would be interesting to hear a study of just female FWs on AM. I think the results of such a survey would be similar and equally flawed.

      • I agree with what you say totally, Fern. I stuck with males because only males were in the original survey is all.
        I certainly know from countless chump stories on this site that cheating is, sadly, an equal opportunity fuckwittery experience. Cheaters come in all combinations of chromosomes, seeming to grow larger all the time in the XX category.

    • About that biased study sample, these are people who PAID for the opportunity to be cheaters. So not just cheaters who acted when an opportunity presented itself, but cheaters who paid to get those opportunities.

    • Ask the same questions when these people are dying alone in care homes and their kids won’t visit. It’s a story quite a few geriatric nurses tell on this site and similarly themed pages. At first the nurse or aide will wonder why the poor old dears have no family but, as the FWitty behavior and history begin to leak out, it starts to make sense.

      I’m also thinking of the character arcs of crime biopics like “Blow” and “Goodfellas,” which both go like this:

      Yay, evading the law, rolling in dough, spendy-spendy-bonky-bonky-hump-hump, WEEEEEE!
      Oh noes, CONSEQUENCES?? SADZ!
      Final shot of depressed, hopeless, aging thug.
      The end.

      But those stories typically start like this:

      • Your film synopsis is spot on and SO apt for adulterous cheats ( my STXFW was such a sad sausage that he’d had to sleep in his work’s van for a fortnight after I’d kicked him out! The he got sacked for driving it with drink taken and went back to Mammy’s! Ah diddums!) gave me a right good laugh Hellofachump, thank you!

  • Yep. To make it a truly interesting – and useful – study, the CHARACTER of the cheaters should be included in the data set. That would be a real eye-opener for those who are gobsmacked that cheaters getting away with $h!t are happy about it.

  • Chump lady TRACY, Chump Nation you are so so right !!! I know from 2 cheaters, you know from THOUSANDS!! Do you know why no one asks us Chump anything?? No one cares!!! We are crying, angry, hurt, sick pregnant,.working,tending kids, tending parents, school conferences, getting kids out of rehab, doing the wash, PTA and a billion other tasks..oh wait, maybe getting chemo??? WE ARE NO FUN!!!Responsible, boring!!!!Remember that presidential candidate (Edwards?)that cheated on his wife while she was getting Chemo for breast cancers??Had a baby with his video lady while his wife TRUSTED HIS LIES and wrote a book. She died before the year was out in her state …before she could even file.BORING!! Death dying, kids, chemo, old folks need care???boring! TOO MUCH STRESS,
    WHAT ABOUT MEEEEE?? They don’t care if you die!!! As long as their organs are stimulated. Until chumps get it, until the Cheaters are uncovered for the reptiles they are, this epidemic will go on. Chump lady we need your voice. We need our voices. It does not hurt them to hurt us. Not at all. It’s a play and we are the stooges. What else can we do to bring the truth to light.????
    I love TRACY!! My.STBXH did it all, my first cheater did too!!! You are right° keep preaching!!

  • What irks we is no attempts to separate our moral types and sort for personality disorders. Gu as what? A defining trait of narcissists is low empathy and instrumental “ethics”. Personality disorders like narcissism are really common. General findings like this are stupid. Sincerely a chump and social scientist

  • AMEN I say, 2xchump!! We are all just preaching to the choir, I’m afraid.
    Why do we even care if the scum bag cheaters are happy anyway?!? Is that valid survey material? Why don’t we ask what harms have they caused from their infidelities?
    We are all needed to turn this ship around and let the world understand that cheating is not the exuberant search for aliveness it is touted to be.
    It’s outright abuse with massive personal and societal fallout and we all need to be concerned about that! It causes untold incineration of forests after forests of souls that shouldn’t be dismissed from our collective consciousness.
    Wake the fuck up world! Who the hell cares if a cheater is happy!?
    Is that the question that will save ppl from the massively destructive consequences of a cheater’s actions? What DO we actual care about?
    The happiness of A.M. clients or the soul sucking generational destruction cheaters are very selfishly proliferating on a planet that already has too many issues to deal with in the base case.
    Look in the wake of a cheater and see what damage he has caused to innocent people and the ripples of that trauma keep flowing out into the world over and over again. Survey the destruction. Has that been beneficial to anyone at all? Start asking the questions that we should be concerned with answering
    Are we willing to accept abuse packaged as happiness seeking?
    At our own peril if the answer is yes.

  • This is exactly the lie that my STBXFW is always pulling. The “I loved you all along” card. He also claims that most of the guys in his Cheater Club (Oh, I’m sorry…”Sex Addicts Group”) also love their partners. Apparently they’re all just a bunch of misunderstood sad sausages who, now that they’re getting “help”, deserve to be forgiven. They sit around trashing their partners for not being able to forgive, in my case, DECADES of cheating.This bullshit study just feeds into their narrative of being loving partners who demand forgiveness because they “love their spouse”. They can all eat a bag of dicks as far as I’m concerned. If that’s their idea of love count me OUT.

  • What I heard before DDay.

    Denied having an affair when directly asked.
    Denied being angry when directly asked.
    Said he loved me, our family, was so lucky, blah blah blah.

    For our 20th wedding anniversary, announced that “for the past few months, I’ve been thinking about living by myself for a while, but I don’t want a divorce.” I asked him immediately if he was involved with someone and he said no. I opened the Velvet Hammer Private Investigation Agency the very next second. It did not take very long to find out half of my 54 year old life was not a marriage but a mirage.

    What I heard after DDay:

    He’d been unhappy for years.
    Laundry list of what’s wrong with me, which he refused to elaborate on when asked directly.
    Displayed incredibly cruel and vicious anger toward me.

    No matter how you slice it, this is super effed up, and you can’t be genuinely happy and super effed up simultaneously IMHO. He’s welcome to his definition of happy. It’s not mine.

    Tina Turner is the queen of Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. She’s always been someone I have deeply admired, and today is Tina Turner Appreciation Day at my house.

    • I heard that the Craigslist cockroach told him she would quit seeing him unless he left, and he probably wasn’t prepared to give up cake, hence “I’ve been thinking about living by myself for a while but I don’t want a divorce.”

      She can have him. I want quality people….simply the best….better than all the rest…..better than anyone….anyone I’ve ever met…..

      • Amen to all this, including the Tina Turner references. RIP Tina.

  • I’m in a goofy mood and procrastinating doing emails today. ( that’s my apology!)
    This is to the BINGO song:

    🎵🎶There was a fuckwit who loved some cake and cakey was the mojo:
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    and CAKEY was their mojo!

    Had a Ho and loving spouse
    And CAKEY was the mojo:
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    and CAKEY was the mojo!

    “ Loved” them both, to no surprise!
    And CAKEY was the mojo:
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    and CAKEY was the mojo!

    Got so bored, so found a cliff
    Dropped them off for a joyful lift.
    And CAKEY was the mojo:
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    C -AAAA- K E Y
    and CAKEY was the mojo!

    Some random lot, found the shiny new one…….
    To get to “happy”, will need the # two one!

    And CAKEY is the mojo!!🎶🎵🤪

  • While I think it would be helpful if the issue of cheating were more deeply studied by independent researchers, I don’t think any research team that would join forces with a barfy company like Seeking Arrangements is pure of scientific heart to begin with. We really don’t want those junk science scumbags studying us.

    I still think it’s funny that, by the same token, there could be built-in poetic justice for cheaters involved in this type of research. Sign up for Seeking Arrangements and end up being studied like bugs and having all personal data– de-anonymized, mind you– end up in a Utah database shared by government and corporations via the public-private go-between of the private security industry.

    Not kidding. It sounds like a tin foil conspiracy theory but, as anyone who followed the Snowden saga learned, we’re in a brave new age of mass surveillance and datamining for profit where illicitly harvested private information is being liberally shared between agencies and corporate interests. Remember when everyone wanted their 15 minutes of fame? Now the holy grail is privacy, which no one has anymore, not even on dating apps where many give false names, lie about their ages, marital status and post ten year old selfies.

    The following is going to look like a digression and spooky rabbit hole dive but I promise it’s all nicely relevant in the end.

    I first started looking down the surveillance rabbit hole while working for a sober little environmental health research publication. That was my thing for almost ten years. Because the publication republished studies on, say, the effects of pesticides and industrial chemicals on pregnant women and such and interviewed researchers, it made a few industrial enemies and, around 2011, things became weird. Among other scary events, through FOIA requests, law-abiding activists, advocates, lawyers and researchers were finding their personal data and communications ending up on government databases. Then the Guardian coverage of Snowden leaks began and it turned out that doxing and surveilling nonviolent garden variety activists was routine, making it clear there was no Chinese wall protecting data gathered by government– it was all being shared with interested industries. Revelations about the misuse of “anti-terrorism” surveillance tech to breech the privacy of corporate targets are ongoing:

    “The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO’s hacking spyware, Pegasus, which the company insists is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists.
    Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones.
    Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak…”

    Despite all the claims of reform following Snowden leaks, the US government is still happily involved:

    “The contract, reviewed by The Times, stated that the ‘United States government’ would be the ultimate user of the tool, although it is unclear which government agency authorized the deal and might be using the spyware…”

    Spy tech isn’t the only issue. It turned out that many social media applications and search engines like Google were originally intended as data-mining surveillance machines. For instance, Google was launched by an NSA grant. (

    Google had always planned to process, analyze and share or sell user data for benign-sounding commercial applications (say, determining user preferences for diaper brands), and for “scientific purposes,” including helpful-sounding mental health research scanning user data for trends in depression, addiction, etc,, or for “public safety”– analyzing social media and search histories to identify criminal and terrorist “psychometrics.”

    Aside from the fact that psychologically diagnosing people without consent flouts to Goldwater ethics rule, there are other ethical problems with this:

    “Ethical Implications
    As the above review shows, social media analysis can provide access to naturalistic first person accounts of user behavior and opinions that may be indicative of mental health status, enabling researchers to make population-level inferences. The use of social media for health research has been shown to have specific ethical implications regarding: (1) users’ expectations regarding the distinction between public and private content [57, 58], (2) user privacy [59, 60], (3) and researcher responsibilities [61, 62]**. All of these pertain to the particular kinds of social media research outlined in the above review…”

    There’s also the problem that, once any technological application is linked to “public safety,” it comes under the protective aegis of “national security” and “anti-terrorism” which means “classified.” In other words, it’s becoming impossible to file FOIA requests or sue to find out all the ways personal data is being used or with whom it’s being shared.

    “National security” and “anti-terrorism” also mean “militarized” which brings up the issue inherent in “weaponized” social science– that, aside from being creepy and Orwellian, it also tends to be stupid and grossly biased against groups and individuals targeted for exploitation or targeted as obstacles to hegemonic or commercial schemes associated with wars for resources (

    So, anyway, of course Seeking Arrangements has a “science officer.” It gives away the company’s intended side gig which is all the rage. Former National Institute of Mental Health director Thomas Insel was lured away from public office and offered a lucrative post in Google’s Life Sciences division (now Verily It’s curious that, while in public office, Insel heavily promoted a type of Minority Report “crime gene” research that’s directly relevant to “national security” and so falls automatically under the classified aegis. Insel pursued the supposed link between a vasopressin gene and criminal callousness, violence and terrorism.

    Bear with me because this gets interesting. Insel, like a lot of weaponized science purveyors, peddles in euphemisms and couches everything in philanthropic language (it’s to help drug addicts!). But a classic giveaway that research is intended for application to “public safety” are repeat use of terms like “aggression” and “predation”:

    “AVP was reported to have central effects on memory and aggression…”

    Media reviews of AVPR gene research were more blunt:

    This is where the whole thing comes full circle: in the campaign to apply the AVPR1 allele to Minority Report crime detection, it hasn’t only been associated with dictators, serial killers, school shooters and terrorists but also– tada— cheaters:

    There’s even an AVPR gene test to see if your wife is the type to cheat:

    How very “Pre-Crime Unit.”

    Sort of like Orwell’s Pornsec, Seeking Arrangements seems to have created a kind of Cheatsec. But rather than acting as a mere distraction for the unwashed plebes, it’s arguably an inroad for the modern psychometric-mining “Thought Police.” I imagine that, as flattering or benign as some of the publicly published results of studies using Seeking Arrangements’ user data sound (they’re happy! They shop at Banana Republic!), there may be other conclusions drawn behind the scenes with ties to commercial or security agendas which aren’t so flattering and might discourage people from signing up with the app.

    If having their wings pulled off and their psyches dissected by dirty hands in a modern day psychiatric inquisition sounds like just desserts for cheaters, I’m not sure whether the warped lens of weaponized research would be particularly kind to chumps either, not if we’re being viewed as an exploitable niche market for profit ventures like RIC or pharmaceuticals (“Ask your doctor if MEHximide is right for you!:).

    If we want anyone looking into these issues, it’s indy researchers without ugly industrial conflicts studying abuser psychology and victim experience with an eye to public awareness and protective legislation and policy. I would even argue that we should probably invite those types in first before the rest put the cross-hairs on chumps.

    • Thank you for sharing all of this. (And BTW, I have enjoyed reading your other posts in the past. Your insights are thought-provoking.)

  • CL, You do have an incredible data set here. I have thought about the research potential in this community. Sigh. This is not my area of research, but it could be really instrumental to those people who, like me, have a chump parent and as an adult chose a partner who chumped them. Intergenerational chumpdom. I feel like it’s a setup in need of study. Any other social scientists here?

  • Well, captive and select audiences, predictable questions. Did the researcher expect members of A.M. — willing to talk ON CONDITION OF ANONYMITY— would say they were only there because someone held a gun to their head and forced them to join?

    Let’s do a similar research question here at Chump Lady, just to see if there are any unexpected responses. Ready?

    “You’ve been cheated on, lied to, and in many instances had your daily life utterly destroyed or at least sincerely damaged….Was any of it fun?”

    I’m going to make an educated guess and state that merely by virtue of us being here, none of us found it fun at all. And unlike the infestation of cockroaches who comprise the Ashley Madison clientele, Chumps aren’t in this situation willingly.

  • As with others here, I wonder if chumps were surveyed they would show signs of deceptive sexuality trauma (a term from Dr.Omar Minwalla). He even proposed a psychiatric diagnosis for cheaters; Integrity Abuse Disorder-A type of conduct disorder, a specified psychological abuse disorder, defined by a significant lack of integrity and a (covert) relational abuse system of domination and control. Integrity violations and abusive actions that result from deficits in integrity cause harm or injury to other people and relationships and cause significant impairment to important areas of life functioning. (Minwalla, 2018)

  • Are we surprised when 9-15% of population, 1 in 11 is Personality Disordered, and they are on Ashley Madison actively looking for no relationship sex? They are predators looking to lure their prey. Of course its better to use the unhappy narrative rather than say Im happy looking for casual, cheating sex. Of course they are gonna play that card. Its worked for them in the past. Society has coopted that narrative because they all have used it to justify the cheating.

    And they are unhappy. Unhappy at something all the time. They dont even know why they feel unhappy. Their inner voice is negative so they Point their finger at their dad, their mom, their house, their job, and finally at you!

  • AM brazenly lies about what their own statistics say, too. For example, when they are not finding enough clients in a city or region, they put out a press release saying that place is among the highest in number of clients. They use that illusion to make it more socially acceptable and therefore gain clients.

    Most of their alleged female users are not even real, they are fake profiles used by AM to reel in the men. AM is a huge scam. The chances of a male cheater hooking up on there are no better than any dating app, and probably even worse, due to the sheer number of fake profiles. FWs are getting exactly what they deserve being conned by AM.

  • Scientists do studies and get paid, sponsor/s and peer reviews make them credible in a jury of their own peers. I am guessing this had neither? As a scientist that studies living things and their relationship to their environment…I’m curious who’s fingers are in the AM pie for this study. I am also curious if any PEERS looked at it, ya know, the one’s that weren’t paid for this research.

    Also cheaters commit lies inherently… great point to everyone noticing that as well. How can we trust the results without polygraph? LOL

    AM makes money, that’s no lie. Otherwise, why invest in cheaters? How do you dupe a duper? AM has some sick monkeys running it, but smarter than your average bear kinda monkeys. Maybe even flying. But they dupe dupers into paying for a way to cheat… interesting…

  • “I mean, who cares if cheaters are happy or unhappy? They’re unethical.”

    Exactly This …

  • This is neither journalism nor science. It’s just a pile of horse shit. It’s like asking Hitler if nazis are happy.

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