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Snappy Answers to Chumpy Questions

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband keeps cheating on me with the same woman. They were in a relationship before he and I got into one. For many years, I thought that they’d stopped. It was initially a 5-year gap before I found out about the second time. Our relationship has been threatened by her before we were married. Is it possible that he loves this woman? We have been together 14 years and by now it seems that he would have let her go. I have caught him with other women, but he eventually left them alone. With her, it seems to never end.



Dear Torn,

Your letter can be distilled to its first four words — “My husband keeps cheating.”

That’s your problem. Not with whom. It could be the persistent Schmoopie, the other Other Women, or goats. Why do you tolerate it? You get a vote, you know. He fucks around. What seems to never end, is you putting up with it. Don’t.

It’s not possible that he loves this woman. Or you. Or the goat. He loves himself and the rest of you are of use. He gets off on the power high.

Would it matter if he loved her? He might say he does. He might say he’s a jelly donut. It’s irrelevant. Is 14 years of chumpdom acceptable to you? Are you going to stick around for 15, 20, 50? You have 14 years of evidence that he’s a serial cheater. Nothing to work with, Torn.

Mend thyself.


Dear Chump Lady,

When my ex drops off the kids after visitation he brings OW with him and it really bugs me to have her in the driveway of my home.  Ex and OW were having sex in my home before I kicked him out, so maybe why I’m a little more sensitive about her being here.  Should I enforce a boundary and forbid her from being on my property or is that just kibbles for her?  Should I just ignore it?


Dear Daisy,

I think you should take a note from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. Paint the goddamn driveway. During the George Floyd protests here last year, the mayor had the D.C. Public Works Department paint “Black Lives Matter” in 35-foot-tall yellow capital letters near the White House. A bold stroke!

Imagine, you could write “Betty Danowski Slept Here” in neon chalk (or whatever her name is). Heck, you could change the message for every drop-off. “HOSTAGE EXCHANGE HERE” or “Hi Betty! Is That Your Real Hair?” While this isn’t the meh we all aspire to, it would ensure that drop offs are as uncomfortable for her as they are for you.

Failing that, can your children walk the length of a driveway?


Dear Chump Lady,

How do I handle a narcissist?


Dear Terry,

Do not handle narcissists. They’re toxic. Like that can of old lead paint moldering in the back of your shed.

Deposit them at the nearest recycling center. Disposal is best left to the professionals.


This one ran before.

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.
  • When asked (after now-Ex Mrs LFTT left the kids and I to be with her AP) by someone that I thought was a friend “What does Mrs LFTT’s AP have that you don’t?” my response was “A drink problem and low standards” ….. and I then dropped them as a friend shortly thereafter.


    • Perfect reply and response, LFTT! I dropped a few winners who had the temerity to ask similarly horrible things. “She matches his drinking, lack of morals, and proclivity for dishonesty and cruelty. She wins that talent competition.”

    • What did schmoopie have that I didn’t have? Well, she was exactly like his mother, even down to a noticeable facial irregularity, culty religious bent and a personality that swung between squealing faux-twee (to men) to dead-eyed, spooky cyborg (to women). What ended up traumatizing me more than the idea of being betrayed were all the icky Oedipal ramifications. I’m not a horror fan. If I’d been reading a novel with a plot like what I lived through, I probably would have put it down. When I repeat the story, I feel like I should offer the listener brain-bleach.

      The appearance overlap struck me immediately on D-Day when I was sent a heads up and cell phone pix as evidence by two people (a young couple) who had formerly worked with FW and the AP. I don’t know what I was expecting when I suspected an affair but it wasn’t a dead-ringer for the mother FW claimed to detest. The real shock was when one of the “Deep Throats” described the AP’s personality. I could literally finish her sentences or list a series of specific traits and the whistleblower would say, “OMG, YES!” One thing I couldn’t help asking was if the AP tended to turn weirdly stabby and hostile towards other women who reported or stood up against any kind of victimization by men. It turned out this was one of the reasons one whistleblower hated the AP and was motivated to drop the dime– because the AP had acted as a flying monkey in a workplace harassment situation that led to the female Deep Throat quitting. That was the biggest overlap. As it happened, my ex-MIL would always get triggery and spew cynical shade at any women in the news or whom she knew personally who reported rape, DV or harassment, etc. Ex-MIL would attack victims’ appearances, say the victims wanted attention, had mental issues, etc. It didn’t seem to be politically motivated like people who might only attack the alleged victims of figures on their own side of the political aisle and then defend the victims of figures from the other party. Ex-MIL hated all sexual victims who spoke out. If children– even boys– reported abuse, she’d suggest they were brainwashed into it. When the spiritual cult leader she’d followed for years was accused of serially raping children in all the headlines, ex-MIL sent FW some program literature from the sect which was all about “believing only what you see yourself, not rumor.”

      I’ve always been the opposite of this. I’m a bit whistleblow-ery. Aside from looking nothing like my ex-MIL, I’d stood up against harassers since college, sometimes on behalf of other women. Both my parents been a spokespeople for the NOW organization on equality in education and I was raised with this kumbaya idea that men and women would work together to address injustice, discrimination, etc., not the idea that this was somehow a “man-hating” thing to do. Consequently I fell for FW’s initial “feminist ally” pose (backed up by complaints of his mother’s misogyny) because I didn’t think that was such a rare unicorn thing. But, covertly, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Furthermore, when the “apple” started trying to find a replacement tree, he did this radical 180 and started echoing his mother’s hatred for the fact that I’d once worked as an advocate for DV survivors. He never directly called me a “feminazi” but suddenly started characterizing me as demented, obsessed and anti-social for my “paranoid political crusades.” So, like, the apple wasn’t just trying to bonk the tree but started wearing a “tree suit” ala Silence of the Lambs and began channeling mommy??

      It just kept getting weirder and weirder. After D-Day when FW temporarily threw himself into SLA and RIC, he admitted to trying but failing to launch affairs with three other completely identical women, all of whom had been married or engaged at the time like the AP. It was a pile-up of combo cheater/mate poachers with five chumps and about six children being potentially trampled in the process. He couldn’t seem to settle for one mommy replacement but was trying to collect a harem of them. This was happening in a heavily secular blue state so what are the odds FW managed to find four churchy Jesus cheaters in a row? Then I remembered a story of how FW’s mother had told him as a teen that she– while still married to FW’s father– was “always falling in love” with the married political power figures she worked under at her NGO job. Oh, she was the original combo cheater/mate poacher culty sex crime-apologist. Shudder, help, ugh.

      If FW married me as radical departure from mum, it was a failed experiment since he ultimately snapped back to factory Oedipal setting. For my part, I don’t think it was equivalently twisted to fall for someone I thought reflected my family’s values but clearly my picker needs major tuning if I ended up with the “enemy’s sleeper mole.”

      • HoaC, wow. And eew.

        While your MiL sounds like a horrific human, and mine is not nearly so awful aside from being a FW, I found your observations very familiar. The disdain for the mother, the Schmoopie that looks and acts like the mother. FW’s strident value statements, then suddenly doing the opposite.

        The main difference in my case is I DO look like MiL. People have commented on it since before we were married, that I look like MiL or her nieces. I took it as a compliment (they’re pretty). Our personalities aren’t notably similar, but we’ve always gotten along well.

        I never thought it was gross until I saw Schmoopie who looks even MORE like MiL (hair and smile), then called Schmoop’s husband and found out she’s a lot like MiL in the way she lives her life and appears to others. In terms of her marriage, kids, professional life, fitness obsession, etc. He found someone that didn’t just look like his mom, but validated him in the same way when it suited her (she “flattered his physique;” his mom told him he should be a model), then flaked the minute she found something else to do.

        FW hated his mom’s cheating on both her husbands. He began to lecture her about finances like she was a child. Right after he and Schmoopie hooked up, he called her out in front of my entire family when she tried to pay for everyone’s lunch, literally yelled and scolded her.

        But yeah he also married her looks, fucked her looks + personality, and put on the tree suit to become a fuckwit/sad sausage victim just like mommy dearest.

        I figured it out while untangling the skein a few months after DDay. I called him out over the phone. He said “yeah, my therapist said the same thing.” Wtaf. What is wrong with them???

        • The “tree suit,” lol.

          What is wrong with them? Not sure because I don’t personally relate! (thank God or whatever). “Compulsive reenactment”?

    • LFTT, next time you’re in Australia, I’d love to buy you a drink! 😎

  • I think the excitement of having an AP schmoopie is the draw. Love has nothing to do with it. You’re in a tug of war with a nut job. Let go of that rope and choose yourself.

    Question: can someone love you if they don’t love themselves first? And if they love themselves, would they even want to cheat and feel like a gross liar? I don’t think so.

    • I think, in my FW’s case, he is capable of loving ONLY himself.

      • Loving himself on what grounds though? I’ve started thinking about love in more qualitative terms. It’s not a popular stance in an era where we’re supposed to accept everyone’s feelings as valid. But if you take it to logical extremes, does this mean we shouldn’t question whether, say, the prison groupies who marry serial killers are experiencing genuine love or not? Should be imagine that the professed “love” between two sketchy narcissists is equivalent to the love between two genuinely kind and humane individuals?

        Hello philosophical quandary. Recently I met a youngish grandfather who told me about listening to his grandson’s list of reasons the latter loved his girlfriend and the grandfather said, “I hate to tell you this kid, but that’s not love.” I didn’t get the sense that this was just a case of inter-generational competition and grumpy-old-man one-upmanship because he further qualified that he encouraged his grandson to dig deeper and see if there was a deeper affinity brewing within his teen crush. He went on to describe what he shared with his grandson regarding what he thought constituted genuine love and it was such a beautiful litany of very specific things. One of them had to do with an aligned sense of social justice (bottom line being that only people capable of real love would even have a sense of social justice to align to begin with). He described things like gender parity and men being sure to give equal space to women. We got into some digressive topics. He was an excellent listener and picked up on things a lot of people would miss.

        Then the taxi ride ended and I was left on the street wondering if I’d just met a messenger from God. But no, I’m not religious and he was just a retired teacher picking up extra income. I’m already a flaming democratic socialist so I’m never that surprised to find brilliant, glamorous people in humble roles, but I was impressed at how unapologetically this guy presented the idea that love actually is qualitative. It made me realize that, by the same token, self-love is also qualitative. Do narcissists love themselves on the same objectifying, delusional terms that a pimply-faced teenager worships a short-term crush? If so, that ain’t love, kid.

        I thought the taxi driver’s grandson was lucky to have a grandfather like that.

    • Envisioning your tug of war comment:

      Chump drops the rope, causing AP to pitch backwards into the mud from the momentum. AP leaps to their feet cheering, believing they have won, while their entire backside is covered in mud. Meanwhile, Chump exits the field, confident that their ass is clean.

      • Debbie– That was inspiring! It’s right up there with Velvet Hammer’s “three legged stool” analogy (the iea being that you take out the “victim leg” and the whole rickety thing falls over).

    • I reckon they lack healthy self-love, the sort Jesus was talking about when He said “Love your neighbour as yourself”!
      What they feel is NOT that sort of love. My FW was rubbing his chest one day and when I asked him what he was doing, because it was odd behaviour, he replied “Having an affair with myself!” and I thought “That says it all!!!”.
      That’s the case with most FWs I suspect. They don’t genuinely LOVE anyone really, they’re just having affairs with THEMSELVES!

      • Just … wow.

        “Treating myself like a sidepiece!”
        “Lying to people so that I can be giddy with my naughty self!”
        “Running off to explore emotional highs with myself while letting others clean up after me!”


        • Yep, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, to be honest. What are APs but just mirrors held up to reflect the splendor of the FW to themselves? It’s really just masturbation. And what narcs do to fill the hole where their soul should be. Just imagine only being a able feel good about yourself when someone else provides those feelings for you. Dysfunction in the extreme.

          • When I saw a pic of the AP, a lot of my upset actually left me. He had literally chosen an AP who looked exactly like a female version of himself. It was uncanny. After that I had obvious pain of the divorce, etc., but I never ended up feeling like it was something I lacked. The issues were glaring. Narcissists gonna narc.

      • Amen. I think the larger point you’re making is that, when they have affairs with themselves, it’s a cheap, unfulfilling, not-exactly-soul-nourishing experience.

    • Dr. George Simon’s blog today answers the love debate in a way I agree with.

      Reading Chump Lady, Dr. George Simon, and Divorce Minister daily is how I extinguish the infidelity insanity that threatens to hijack my life every morning. They are a triple threat triumvirate of professional insect repellent on parasitic cheaters and side pieces. The new Chump Lady podcast is the cherry on top that shuts all that shit down and keeps my perspective calibrated properly.

      A relationship can only be as healthy as the individuals in it. People who cheat and people who screw around with people in committed relationships prove themselves unfit with their cruel, deceptive, and emotionally immature behavior.

      • Yes, I read those three regularly as well. They have different personalities and perspectives, but all spot on.

        I realized some months in that my ex was a deeply disturbed man, and I really didn’t know what to do with it until I finally said “no reconciliation, ever” after kids and decades together. Then his behavior was so bad during the divorce that his own attorney figuratively threw him to the curb and told mine that my ex was seriously “the worst client ever.” Mine said I’d get a whole chapter when he writes his book someday.

        So what was I thinking when I married my ex? I was so very naive.

        • Here’s my theory: we were young and beautiful and full of hope for a beautiful future. We truly believed that love is all you need. But life is so hard. It tests you. It takes you over the coals. Some people fail the test, they try to get through it with the cliffs notes! Lying, cheating, living a double life. And it’s only later that we realize what was really going on. Be kind and gentle with yourself. You were young and you couldn’t imagine that anyone could be such a shameless a-hole.

  • My ex-frenemy also kept telling me not to worry about my cheater snake xh leaving, if I prayed hard God would bring him back. I was so confused how she thought God could be so cruel as to do that to me. I instantly dropped her…. Turns out she’s a cruel narcissist ’emotional affair’ cheater & abuser to her lovely husband who’s an old friend of mine. I feel so bad for him, he feels trapped for life.

    • Ka-chump, why does he feel trapped? Is it because of his kids? Have you talked to him about it and suggested he come here?

      • It’s a deep powerful cultural and religious clutch. For me I had already moved abroad and am now largely estranged from that milieu including my toxic FOO. But he remains stuck there and it seems very hard to open his eyes. I gently suggested some things when we’ve rarely spoken, but I’ve had to keep my distance and boundaries, I can only direct him when he asks for directions.

    • Well said!!!! I had a friend tell me she was praying for my husband and I to heal and remain married. I told her please don’t. I told her he was cheating on me with prostitutes and that my life was sooooo much better now that I didn’t have to deal with his abuse. People say dumb things sometimes.

    • Ah…the pray harder. It was constant for awhile.

      Then someone that I thought was a friend told me some months back that she was STILL praying for my ex to come back so we could remarry. It’s been almost six years since he left, and the divorce was even crazier than our relationship. He burned out any regard I had left for him. I couldn’t reason with her, so I put some distance there. Now she has her first grandchild to gush about, and we are fine. Apparently, her oldest daughter also told her it was mean to talk to me about remarrying my ex, but I only found that out recently. LOL.

  • I had the schmoopie on the driveway and she would even walk my kids to the door. I assume she got tired of the hour plus round trip as this stopped after a couple of months. Then douchecanoe started parking on my driveway and leaving the car to pontificate at old neighbors so either I couldn’t pull in after work or my mother who watched my kids after school couldn’t pull out. He so loved the power trip. I sent him a professional and concise email, copying our lawyers, that pick up and drop off was to occur only in the street. I provided no explanation that could be picked apart and used to label me a bitch. My house – my rules!

    • The driveway thing drove me bonkers for a long time. Seven years later, she’s still ALWAYS in the car. Every. Single. Time. It’s so weird lol. Doesn’t bother me anymore, it’s a reflection of her insecurity, like she’s still competing but I stopped caring a long time ago

      • Struggling,
        Probably more than run of the mill insecurity. Me thinks she has figured out that the big “prize” she won is a guy that cheats on his partners. And she has realized that now she IS the partner. She’s riding along in fear that you might want him back (fat chance!) . I completely understand why a chump would be annoyed by the AP being there for drop off every time, but I also think it might help if us chumps recognize WHAT that is actually about. Remember “trust that they suck”? These APs are all learning that lesson themselves. So now they can play marriage police themselves and worry about who the big prize is going to cheat with next. Pretty fabulous if you think of it that way.

  • Love your snappy answers! And it’s way better than the wet dishcloth advice regularly dispensed by some columnists.

  • Sage advice with universal application, especially when it comes to narcissists. CL’s adage that the only way to “win” with a narcissist is to drop the rope, walk away, and refuse to play helped me when I was gathering my courage and fighting my hopium. “Negotiation” with a narcissist is just the same, especially as for a narcissist negotiation is always a contest they are out to win, never a negotiation between two equals.

  • To the driveway one, I mean, it is kind of hilarious if she thinks about it. Schmoopie is so scared he is likely sleeping around on her (and let’s get real, he probably is), she can’t leave him alone for a minute even to pick up his kids. She won! She won a lifetime of anxiety and fear. How lovely. I personally would love to escort my kids down the driveway with a smile knowing that I am truly the one who won. A life without that anxiety, fear, and mistrust eating at my stomach. It’s hard to get there, but Tuesday comes.

    • I agree, formerchump. A smirk (or smothering a laugh in your hand) would be all you need to ruin her day.

    • I commented above before reading the other comments and said the same thing. The chumps with “driveway APs” should change their perspective and laugh. Hell, maybe put on something slinky, heels and red lipstick and saunter out to the car to escort your kids. Really give her something to worry about. (Male chumps- apologies for such gender specific advice)

  • I wonder if Torn stayed with that scumbag. I have a feeling she did. Her attitude seemed to be that as long as he didn’t love his whores, she didn’t mind that much. He doesn’t love them, but he doesn’t love her either. Who cares about his feelings? She should be attending to hers, figuring out why she accepts so little.

  • Sadly and predictably, there are newly chumped joining our ranks every minute of everyday. Over on the CL Fb group, the pain (and they are asking these exact questions) is raw. Because the CL movement and the old forum saved my life and sanity, I try to spend time each day answering these type of questions. My answers are straight from the Lacgal handbook: Get away. File. Stay no contact. You’ll feel ok on a Tuesday (about 3-5 years after divorce IMO… there are no shortcuts). 😘❤️😘 thank you Tracey!

    • Hi MC how does that work on a group like that on FB. If I joing using my actual name, will any posts I make show up on my regular feed?

      While I wouldn’t say anything mean, I wouldn’t want my son to see anything that I post, or see any other folks posts.

      Just for info I have my FB set up so anyone can see what I post on it, would that enable anyone to see what I post in a private group?

      If you don’t want to answer no hard feelings. Just trying to get a feel for the security of it. I would love to help new chumps if I could; but I don’t want to hurt my son or allow anyone else to see something of such a private nature.

      • Private Facebook groups are seen by members of that group only. However, you could easily just start a second Facebook profile/username that is anonymous and used only for that group. I would also use a different/new anonymous email address for that username.

      • Hi Susie,

        It’s a private group so your posts would not be visible to your friends or child. The only way they would see is if they signed into your FB account with your password and looked at your private group stuff OR if there was some nefarious person in the group who knew you and took screenshots of what you wrote and emailed it to people to see.

        • But can any member of CL Facebook page look at the personal Facebook profiles of commenters?

          • They can see whatever is public, but you hopefully locked down any social media profiles prior to leaving your FW. If you didn’t, no time like the present! 🙂

    • Agree MC99 about NC. My kids are older so I’ve employed this tactic, in spite of hoover attempts. It’s been so glorious. Asshat doesn’t get Ginger’s free cokes because I no longer allow him to push my buttons. My
      Asshat kibble dispenser is empty.

      What I would like to add is for the Chumps who have other major life challenges during divorce (both my parents died), this time frame increases. I needed to give myself some grace before I understood that part of my “delayed” journey to Tuesday was peeling away the layers of my grief. Unfortunately, life doesn’t stand still during divorce. But getting to Tuesday is definitely still possible.

      • My mom passed away recently and I am just starting the divorce process. It’s a lot to process. I guess it’s important to remember, it’s not a race. Grief works on its own timeline.

      • I’m sorry for your losses, Ginger. I had the same thing happen. Both my parents died after d-day, a year apart. Neither of them knew what I was going through. I haven’t really grieved these deaths properly. There was a lot of work involved with settling their affairs and I mostly just powered through the best I could. I suspect that once the stbx moves out, I will be hit with all the grief, all at once. That seems scary, but also, it might feel better to get it out and dealt with.

        It really was crazy to have all these things happen one after the other, almost comical in an extremely dark way. I kept waiting for an anvil to fall out of the sky and crush me next.

    • I can’t thank Tracey enough. I don’t know what kind of head space I would be in if not for her book and the continued wisdom of this blog. The UBT may seem just funny, but it really does train you to pick apart the stupid shit cheaters say.

  • To the driveway situation (I’ve told this story before but I’ll recap here):

    FW used to bring OW#1 in the car all the time to pick up the kids. It broke my heart seeing her in what used to my car, with my husband, with my children; it was so triggering. Those were back in the days where I still was in love with him and still in contact (and still in deep, deep shock), so I asked him if he could leave her back at (our former) home when he picked up the kids. He declined; she wanted to come and he wanted to spend as much time with his soulmate as possible. (He also told me during “reconciliation” that she always went everywhere he went because she didn’t want him out of her sight for a moment. FW may be a lying liar who lies but I’m inclined to believe this is true.)

    I asked (read: sobbed to) my old online support group what I should do about seeing her all the time in the car! It was heartbreaking; it’s like he kept everything the same (him, the car, the kids, the home) and just swapped me out. Someone responded with something that saved my emotional sanity (paraphrasing): “My FW does that all the time too; it’s such a power trip to have the OW in the passenger seat where you used to sit, isn’t it? Eventually I realized that this was a huge production for her. Each time she was always done up to the nines, never looked at me, and usually had her nose in the air, trying to affect an air of cool confidence, I suppose. I began to think of her not as a person but as a prize poodle that always had to be shown off otherwise what’s the point in sinking so much time and energy into a show dog?”

    Honestly, that saved my life, figuratively speaking. The next time the profile of OW#1 showed up in my former passenger seat, I thought, “Yup, prize poodle, right on schedule,” and I snickered! It was amazing. There were still years of depression ahead, make no mistake, but it felt very empowering to slightly depower this one trigger that used to turn me into a puddle. Using simple humor really helped to de-weaponize this situation for me.

    Time has passed. I’ve been through a reconciliation (I don’t wish those on anyone) and FW left and eventually married OW#3 about a decade ago. True to form, she’s always in the passenger seat for pickup like a prize poodle. I always keep my front window shades drawn shut for kid pickups and drop offs. FW doesn’t get to look into my safe sanctuary and my poodle watching days are behind me.

    • What my then 18 year old told me stopped me in my tracks and allowed me to stop making HoWorker/Wife central. He said in a very stern voice, like he became the parent in that moment: “This is what you do. You never acknowledge her. You never speak to her. You treat her like she’s dead. She’s beneath you.” That was in 2018.

      It really saved my life. Because at that moment I understood that my children would never replace me. I was the Mom. HoWorker/Wife was just going to be some adult to be tolerated in my children’s lives, up to them to navigate that relationship. And if Asshat wants to “force” her on my children, the resentment will just flow to him. Kids get it.

    • That is amazing, Fourleaf. Honestly, there are so many things that can trigger us that are really hurtful and it’s a VALID hurt. But I think sometimes, if we do change our perspective, we can take away the power of the triggers. She came out of some kind of twisted need, be it pettiness, meaness or the most likely, insecurity. And once you started seeing it for what it was, instead of crying, you laughed. There are many shit sandwiches we can’t avoid, but some, like this one, we can change. I hope everyone remembers this poodle story and uses it themselves when they can.

  • Mayor Bowser’s act was one of my most favored acts of hers throughout the COVID crap storm in Washington DC. I took my granddaughter to see it — our time was limited by the fact that there were no public bathrooms open in DC at that time during the quarantine, but street parking was wide open.

    Mayor Bowser is one of the few politicians who had the guts to stand against the craziness of the time.

  • The beginnings of D day and after are just the fodder for the Reconciliation factory. It is perfect. It’s like having your legs blown off and someone is selling wooden peg legs. You just get in line, you’re sure this is all there is. BUT CL and CN showed me that there are electronic legs, and biological identical legs and there is better out there even if i ended up solo forever. It’s a matter of getting my own self worth back and it does comes back. You are just of use and there is zero love. It’s like another car in the garage except you are the old model. Sad to say but true.
    Don’t stay at all with a serial cheaters NEVER! And OW in the car in the drive way?.I like legal letters as to trespassing especially if it is a trigger . However, the prize poodle gets you closer to Meh and letting go of the tug- of- war rope for the wonderfulness of our cheaters. Once you dont care, you don’t care. I did not talk to OW at all on the phone or otherwise for 20 years. I don’t care if she has my kids..well I do care but not enough to make friends ..they form their own relationship without me
    But I do care about my stability, so whatever works to keep me healthy and balanced during hostage exchanges is what I want.
    Not easy answers but they stand the test of time. CL has the stats, listen up!

  • The writer’s thinking in the first letter is Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing (or thinking) the same way over and over and expecting different results. How do you get a cheater to stop cheating? You don’t. You stop yourself from accepting it.

    Matthew Hussey is an up-and-coming British “dating coach” living in Los Angeles who’s become popular on social media. He’s youngish, handsome, an effective speaker and utilizes something that’s currently missing in today’s culture: Common sense thinking when it comes to human relationships.

    While I’m not his key demographic, I do enjoy listening to some of his videos. A recent one discussed the question of “what to do when your partner seems to easily move on, and you’re still stuck in the pain?” Matthew pointed out that if they could so easily leave you behind, they simply are not your person. You’re mourning the loss of what was hoped for, not of what is. He also wisely said that your partner leaving you for another should become the greatest turn-off about them for you. Your person is your person; your person will not treat you like dried gum on the bottom of a shoe.

    I realize human relationships, when it comes to break-ups, are more complex and simple, straight-forwarded common-sense insights are difficult to digest when you’re in the thick of the initial betrayal and abandonment. When a cheating partner leaves for an AP, or one of many, it’s natural for a newbie chump to internalize it through self-doubt and blame…”I must have done something to make them cheat or drive them away,” “I’m not attractive enough,” “The AP is better than I am” …. yada yada. Once the smoke clears, it’s important to keep reminding yourself – They are not your person. Let it sink in.

    • ” your partner leaving you for another should become the greatest turn-off about them for you” I still felt physically and emotionally addicted to Mr. Sleazy even after D-Day. So I made a list of all the dublicitous and callous things Mr. Sleazy had done, and the worst lies he told, and his worst and also even his mildly irritating qualities that I always tried to overlook before (like it irritated me that his diction was kind of terrible–no matter what language he spoke, it was hard to understand him. This poor diction may have been because he was lying/concealing his true feelings, now that I think of it!) Anyway, from then on, whenever I started to long for him or for the good times we had had, I would take the list out of my pocket and re-read it to remind myself of the reality of who and what I had really been experiencing when we were together. It helped to break the addictive quality of our bond almost immediately; replaced it with a kind of cold revulsion and disdain if I was reminded of him.
      As a child with a controlling and abusive father, I felt like I had to tell lies or conceal my truth from my father and his allies in self-defence. So when I left home for university and finally felt liberated from that threat–I systematically taught myself to start telling the truth again. I can’t say I always succeed in telling the whole truth, but I always strive to be honest and ethical because anything else feels like a return to bondage and fear. So when Mr. Sleazy tried to excuse his outrageous lies and double life by telling me that it was because his mother had lied a lot when he was growing up (he was in his late forties by then!), I did not feel at all sympathetic. And now anyone approaching me romantically who I already know has a history of cheating, makes me feel physical revulsion, no matter how sparkly they appear to be.

      • “This poor diction may have been because he was lying/concealing his true feelings, now that I think of it!”
        Great insight!

    • A agree with him, but yeah as you said not so simple when you have devoted decades to them and they faked a relationship with you, stole from you, etc.

      It is just too devastating to get over real fast for most folks. They rewrote marital history, and now we have to rewrite it to the truth rather than what we thought it was.

      It is just a huge theft of another persons very life.

    • Matthew Hussey is right. Loyalty is extremely attractive and evidently rare.

      Why someone who cheats or is willing to be a side piece is not perceived as the biggest flag in the red flag factory is a mystery to me, and proof that those who engage illicit relationships think differently. And not in a way I want to.

      My dear friend who was cheated on in her 60’s by her longtime partner of 28 years has since remarried to a retired Navy SEAL, Lt. Dan. Lt. Dan is a contractor who is currently building their third home. Lt. Dan’s former partner was his wife, whom he loved dearly and died of cancer. I could not be happier for them.

      The appeal of someone who cheats, abandons children, is willing to be a side piece, basically uses people’s hearts as toilet paper, is completely lost on me.

    • A PS: A little off topic, but if you have not watched the docuseries on Hulu called “Betrayal: The Perfect Husband,” watch it. True account, three segments. Here’s a brief article on this woman’s story:

      This woman was a smart cookie. Accomplished professional. Experienced in relationships. Like so many who have had their lives turned upside down by a psychopath, she did not have ONE CLUE. For YEARS he acted like THE perfect husband. By all accounts they were very compatible, in love, happy and frequently spent their time together. Until she discovered his secret life.

      I believe her when she said she didn’t see any obvious red flags. They dated throughout college and apparently had a happy relationship. She broke it off with him to allow herself the freedom to pursue a career on the west coast. He went on to marry and have children. Apparently his ex-wife didn’t know about his secret life, his sexual compulsions, for had she known, I have to believe she would have warned Jenifer. I view it as a moral imperative.

      Having said that, there was ONE red flag that popped up to me, but I tend to be somewhat cynical anyway when things seem “so good to be true.” (I’m born and raised in N.J., I think they add a small dose of suspicion in the water.) She mentions that for years, he would put a little sticky note on the coffee maker EVERY morning with a saccharin sentiment such as “Love you so much beautiful, have a nice day…” or “You are so beautiful” and constant proclamations of his love for her. Okay — some man does that to me? Not gonna fly. (Remember the Sex & the City episode when Aleksandr Petrovsky is going super-heavy on the romance and Carrie can’t handle it? She faints at Lincoln Center.) After one month of those yellow sticky love bombs I would have been “Okay, what’s the deal here?….” My antenna would have been bleeping. The only person in her family who found the daily sticky notes odd was her father. He knew for most men, even loving husbands, that’s overkill.

      Watch it. How this woman will ever fully trust again is debatable. I can’t imagine I would.

  • I mostly refuse the discussions at this point. He’s been out of our lives for nearly six years now, and I learned very quickly during the first months that I would get blamed for his bad behavior in most cases. They blew my mind and shook my foundation. I learned to say something like, “He lives in another state. I appreciate your kindness and prayers but prefer not to discuss it.” So I didn’t say much about what I knew and what I suspected. I still don’t.

    Of course, I went tell-all with my attorney because I was expecting a high-conflict case and because I live in a state where adultery is still a for-cause reason to divorce. Some months in, he told me that he was a religious man and was thinking that we were dealing with evil. He was the first person to actually voice that. My ex was a part-time preacher from a family of preachers and missionaries, and my attorney was the one who used the word “evil.” Something was really wrong there, and we took out everything requiring ongoing contact. I never regretted that.

    Life on the other side is truly good, but getting there was rough.

  • When he said ILYBINILWY, I wish I had responded “Then who are you in love with?” instead of silently taking on responsibility for failing him. It was intended to redirect attention from his behavior to my shortcomings and it worked.

    • Mine didn’t use the ILYBINILWY. He said he never loved me and he had been “dating” for ten years. I immediately fell to the “what have I done”.

      Ass wipes, pisses me off that I fell for that. It didn’t last long, but even for a day it is too long.

      • My situation has been going on for a few years. The pandemic was a factor, but also good old fashioned foot dragging on both our parts. What is interesting to me is that early on, he pulled the “this is all your fault” and all that BS about “unmet needs”. He was incredibly unkind during that time, and I was a mess and fell for all of it. I can remember how my heart actually hurt as I realized that my life was upending and it was “all my fault”. Now, that was a few years ago. At some point, I found CN and realized that this was NOT my fault. And even better? He now recognizes that HE is the one to blame. I am sure that even with a few years, plenty of FWs would never come to that conclusion. But in my case he did. It doesn’t change much, we are still divorcing. (Though lately he has been kinder and the divorce might have a chance to be done semi-amicably) I guess my point is that so many of us chumps fall for the “it’s your fault” bs. But it’s not our fault. And I bet there are FWs out there that realize that later, but aren’t ever going to admit it to anyone.

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