The Mid-Life Crisis Made Me Do It. Really?

midlife_crisis

Awhile back, Chump Lady discovered a link from The Hero’s Spouse a support forum for folks whose spouses had a “midlife crisis” (MLC) and cheated. On this blog people attribute having affairs in middle age to depression and faulty, aging neurotransmitters. Damn, I knew my knees were gonna go… but my neurotransmitters and morals too?

Cheating on someone is a matter of character, I posted over there, but was told I am mistaken. No, their spouse was terrific, giving, loving, a model parent, but one day they were essentially abducted by aliens and replaced with some shitty spouse who cheats.

Cheating, they told me, is a “symptom” of the “disease” that is a MLC.

The affair is just part of a larger “syndrome.” (I suppose Mazda Miatas and Life Time gym memberships are the other signs.) The site divides itself between those who are “standing” for their marriage (refusing to divorce and/or waiting for the cheating spouse to come to their senses) and those who are not standing. (These are the quitters, or those whose crafty MLC spouses got a divorce without their consent.)

It seems a very odd site to me, one modeled around reconciliation in which the cheating person doesn’t even have to consent to reconcile! The betrayed person is going to “stand” whether the cheater likes it or not. Nobly enduring the other’s cake eating, convinced that really that this isn’t “the real person” committing these acts, but some misbegotten soul afflicted with a syndrome.

I poked around gently over there, but if anyone from that site is reading me here — I’m going to give you an unvarnished take on the Midlife Crisis as an excuse to fuck around — that’s some crazy codependent shit you’re smoking.

In no particular order, Argument for Why I Don’t Buy This as an Excuse for Infidelity are as follows:

1) The Midlife Crisis is a myth.

I’m sorry, but the consensus among researchers seems to be it’s some psychobabble remnant from the 1960s. And Scientific American concurs. If anything, personality appears to become more constant and unvarying in middle age. Crisis (and bad decisions) can happen at any age.

2) The Midlife Crisis is not a valid excuse for cheating.

The dopamine made me do it?

Presumably your spouse is aging with you. How come their neurotransmitters didn’t go wiggy and they didn’t cheat? If depression is an excuse for losing your marbles and fucking people you aren’t married to, well few things are more depressing than being cheated on. The devastation completely alters your well-being, and presumably your neurotransmitters too. But how do you explain that person’s decision to “stand for the marriage” when their mind is so addled by depression and bad brain chemistry? How can they stand on character in the face of such a neurological onslaught?

3) The MLC brain chemistry theory contradicts itself.

If this is all the fault of our neurotransmitters, they make us cheat — why should we assume they get better? What is there to work with for reconciliation? What if the cheating neurotransmitters get worse as you age? Or is there some follow up syndrome — Old Age Reckoning — in which the cheater gets a clue and returns to their family?

Do you see how nutty this is? Cheating is about CHOICE, people! The saddest thing about that site is that it is full of people who have all this false hope. That there really is some syndrome that ate the cheater’s brain and that those decisions don’t reflect on the person they love. And they’re going to wait like the Lady of Shalott, doomed with unrequited love, forbidden from looking at reality and endlessly needlepointing until their beloved returns.

I’m sorry Left Behind Spouses of the MLC — you were betrayed. Those cheaters chose to cheat on you and destroy your world. Don’t sugar coat it with a MLC. Don’t waste your life waiting for them to come back. They knew what they were doing and they DIDN’T CARE. Nope. Not enough.

Go reinvent yourself. Stop enabling cake eating. You cannot save a marriage by yourself. Don’t spend one New York minute with someone who doesn’t honor the commitment they made to you. You’re BETTER than that! I say so, and the dopamine in my head agrees with me.

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Rollercoasterider
Rollercoasterider
11 years ago

Chump Lady,

I wrote quite a bit in response to this a few days ago, but I was going to a conference and wanted to review before posting–and I thin I will post my responses to the articles at my blog. The articles are nothing new–I’ve seen them and others like them and they are not disputing MLC…but more on that at my blog in the next few days. But I’ve got a few that work as direct comments.

Is my forum divided into Standers and non-Standers? And is that division divorce? Um, many of the Standers are now legally divorced. Some have chosen not to Stand before or after the finalization of a divorce. The dividing line is their choice, not their legal status—though it does not seem to divide us as a group. I created the forum as a safe haven for Standers; at other forums they often felt ridiculed and bashed.

Who said that MLC is an excuse for infidelity? Certainly not me. We may use MLC to understand and explain the actions, but it doesn’t justify the infidelity. MLCers give excuses and reasons, but that doesn’t make them either excusable or reasonable. And who said that MLCers were not choosing to cheat. The statement “cheating is a choice” is a giant DUH. (I’m not intending to be rude to you in saying that!) Of course it’s a choice and not all MLCers cheat and not all MLC infidelity is taken to the full sexual level.

There is a stereotype idea that MLC is about fear of aging or dying. That may certainly be the case with some, but it is certainly not a requirement—and asking an MLCer will probably give unreliable information since one of the attributes is denial or an avoidance of self-awareness or reflection. Asking a former MLCer may not be reliable either, memory from the crisis is often blurred. Sweetheart remembers actions—though he often is unable to link them chronologically—he has more trouble recalling the fears and emotions he felt at the time.

I also do not say MLC is a disease as though it is a single word. I don’t believe it is. I explain it as dis-ease with a hyphen to show the difference—a lack of personal ease which is not due physiological to abnormalities within the organism. There are some at my forum who consider it a disease and would like it included in the DSM, I am not one of them. I think it’s a time of internal turmoil. You’ve had people at the forum tell you that their spouses changed, they were not like this prior to crisis—“this” referring to lying cheaters with narcissistic tendencies. Why dismiss their anecdotal evidence? I don’t know the parameters of the survey where 26% reported having a crisis during midlife when asked later, but that may also be anecdotal. Or what about the cheaters who have returned to their marriage and stopped cheating? They give anecdotal evidence as well. It’s not uncommon for them to look back at the crisis period and be shocked and ashamed of what they were doing and who they were during that phase. Of course that doesn’t mean that is most MLCers—or that it can’t or won’t be—but right now, reconciled marriages are not in the majority.

I have a few more comments citing some of your words, but I’ll start another comment since this is already long.

Rollercoasterider
Rollercoasterider
11 years ago

“The saddest thing about that site is that it is full of people who have all this false hope.”
False? Having hope that I will win Olympic gold in the 200 IM would be false hope. Having hope that when I go home, Gram will be there to hug me would be false hope; she died last year. But having hope for something with any possibility of happening is not false. Though banking on such hope would be foolish. I don’t try and lead anyone to believe that there is some guarantee of reconciliation if they choose to Stand. I don’t even try and lead them to believe that there is a high probability. Standing is not even about reconciliation for many Standers. It’s about taking the time to heal before making a decision about what they want for their marriage—taking back their choice. Their spouse may have filed for divorce and they feel like they have no say—no power of choice. Through their Stand, many come to a place where they don’t want that person to be their spouse either. But by Standing, they keep the possibility of reconciliation open for a while and they learn to let go with love rather than bitterness.

“And they’re going to wait like the Lady of Shalott, doomed with unrequited love, forbidden from looking at reality and endlessly needlepointing until their beloved returns.”
You came to our forum and posted. You may not agree, but you were quite nice and you even claimed to not be against Standing. But your words here do not give such an impression. Waiting does not go along with Standing. It’s about living and moving on even if that means moving away from the choice to reconcile. Some talk about moving on as something they will do later—if they choose to stop their Stand. I talk about moving on as something you just do as part of living. Move forward, move on, Get a Life (GAL). Standing is not about waiting or putting life on hold, but it is about continuing a person’s commitment to their marriage—even while their spouse is not. That doesn’t mean they sit by the phone and twiddle their thumbs, that they pine away waiting for the next text or email or that they take up have to take needlepoint if it doesn’t interest them.

As for MLC adding a coating of sugar. Well that’s pretty laughable—I like sugar, I don’t like MLC. Does the idea of it being MLC make it easier to swallow. Yeah, for some it probably does. The dis-ease concept can help some LBSs to separate from taking it personally, it helps them cope.

“They knew what they were doing and they DIDN’T CARE. Nope. Not enough.”
DUH, I completely agree. But how does that statement mean MLC is not real or that a person shouldn’t Stand? How does it support your belief?

“Go reinvent yourself. Stop enabling cake eating.”
That is good and standard advice for Standers.

“You cannot save a marriage by yourself.”
Maybe you can’t, but I did. Oh wait, I didn’t. I kept it from being destroyed until Sweetheart was willing to return to the team and work with me to repair our marriage. Basically, a person can save their marriage alone up to a point…at some point the repair effort needs to be a team effort.

“Don’t spend one New York minute with someone who doesn’t honor the commitment they made to you.”
That smacks of a demand which smacks of a should. How about encouraging people to choose for themselves rather than what you think they should choose? I don’t care if someone chooses not to Stand—okay, I care in the sense that I am saddened when a marriage ends, but I will support their choice either way. For some, Standing is empowering because they take back their power of choice. They may not get what they want—their marriage may end with divorce and there may be no reconciliation—or they may change their mind and choose divorce. But they still have their say.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago

All these “Standers” need to read Chump Lady. They’re wasting their time. Maybe they should sit down occasionally. I think the biggest problem with reconciling after cheating is that most people – if they are HONEST – do not see their spouses the same way afterwards. You realize this person is not who you thought they were and they are capable of things you would never have imagined. There’s a whole nother, very ugly side, to someone you thought you knew better than anyone else on earth. Your reality is upside down. When you see this in them….the lying, deceit, manipulating, gaslighting, theft of resources, conspiring with a 3rd party (the AP), ignoring their kids – this is a new person and usually not someone you like. And not someone you can trust. You may come to a point where you might still love this person, like a sibling or a cousin or friend….or you might believe they love you still in some way….but you rarely stay IN LOVE with them and you don’t see that in them towards you. The romantic element that makes us want to stay together as a couple against the world….has died. The blind trust in someone you considered your other half, your bailiwick against the world….has died. It’s not often revived. When that stuff dies, it usually stays that way. Standing for something that is, in all honesty….dead….is just about keeping yourself in a holding pattern instead of moving on. Moving on is about an honest assessment of where your relationship is at in reality. Right now and in the future.

I see so many comments so often of people regretting recon….some of them waste decades in recon or attempts to keep the marriage together and they almost always regret it. I see very few people who were cheated on who regret divorce.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I think you are right it is like a holding pattern, and for some maybe that is helpful. Honestly it did help me for a few weeks until I could jump start my brain again to have that hopium. Luckily for me I had a job that I had to do. My sweet brother called me and said Susie, you go to that job, you work your ass off and don’t think about anything all day but that job. It saved me.

Then in about a monthish when I began to see him for who he was, you are right; he sickened me. Plus I had run the financials and I knew how long he had been lying and conning me.

Quite frankly if you stand too long before securing your financials these conmen can put you in a financial ditch that you won’t recover from. Some of them get it done before you find out. I was lucky enough that he was still desperately trying to save his ass at work; so he couldn’t came back from a public nasty D. We were both well known.

Also, when the dust settled and I was safely away from the fray, he got busted and put back out on street patrol, He and his twu luv didn’t get to keep the spoils.

I would encourage all chumps standing or other wise to secure a legal separation and freeze any access to your share of funds. That can be hard to do with bills coming out, but take a three year history, and that will show the courts what has been happenings, and what has happened since the cheater left. Fraud is not covered under the “no fault” 50/50″.

Margaret
Margaret
10 years ago

I disagree with your comments Rollercoasterrider & if your husband came back good for you & shame on him! I hope you trust him????? your site is full of people wedded to the misery of being victims – they talk constantly of betrayal, cheating & indeed false hope. I know from bitter experience that ‘moving on’ is the only way to a happier, healthier future & staying around on a forum of people who reap up the past & somehow fantasise that their cheating spouse will miraculously come back is ridiculous….a marriage is a contract of love & trust, once the trust is shattered nothing can put it back together unless you are either a saint or someone who is willing to settle on being the booby prize, a man/woman who truly loves you will talk to you & work things out & not tell intimacies & have sex with some OW/OM who just happens to offer themselves! No decent man or woman does that…. so divorce or stay married but get on with your life you only have one! MLC? Buy a bike, go hand gliding but don’t use it as an excuse to ruin a partners life. Marriage can ONLY work if two people want it to!

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  Margaret

Margaret, I think you hit the nail on the head regarding how I feel about the whole MLC paradigm. My cheater did try to come back, but I could not feel safe with someone who emotionally abused me to justify his own entitlement, at any age.

Ana
Ana
5 years ago
Reply to  Margaret

Well said!!!!

Carol
Carol
5 years ago
Reply to  Margaret

Agreed 200% and there is no excusing a cheating POS!

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago
Reply to  Margaret

I totally agree with you Margaret!

Jim Kirby
Jim Kirby
8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

The bottom line is we’re all wired differently and therefore different conscious wants and needs. I definitely know that mlc is a reality. Both sexes, particularly women, go through some serious biochemical changes which create all sorts of issues. It seems to me that the folks claining that the way to deal with the “crisis” of middle aging is to leave their spouse and if not you’re somehow being weak. We in western society have bought into ourselves as being priority one and to put another first is somehow viewed as a weakness. I firmly believe”standing” is the humanistic answer. To stand and wait. People do come back to their senses every day. Typically dealing with a crisis like this in a loving way is so much healthier than to lash out with hatred and anger.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Kirby

What are you standing for? What are you going to get back? I think people rarely get back the sense of romantic love and intimacy they want – need – in a marriage – after a real affair (maybe not a 1 night stand). The overwhelming need of most people in a relationship is for exclusiveness – that sense that you are MY person and we are together against the world. When you listen to great old songs that are classics about relationships – “My Girl” or “My Guy”….it’s NOT My Girls or My Guys…..When you know your Girl or Guy has been intimate with another and lied to and manipulated and deceived you (and maybe worse) those feelings don’t generally come back. It’s more like a resigned feeling like…..yeah, I guess this is the best I can do and he or she is okay but it’s not the same. It can’t be.

That said, I know some people try to do recon just to be able to say they did everything possible to save the marriage esp with kids, but once that one on one bond has been broken….I don’t think it comes back. You may love, but you’re not IN love, and that IS important. Even crucial.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

” I think people rarely get back the sense of romantic love and intimacy they want – need – in a marriage ”

Especially when they walk out the door and leave you for another woman.

And what is this shit about “particularly women” in terms of fake MLC’s. Like men for centuries have not abandoned their families in droves at midlife. Good grief. Male or female MLC is a hoax to cover perfidy.

Apidae
Apidae
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim Kirby

What Western society are you talking about? The Western society I’m familiar with is the one where pseudoscience is used to excuse selfish behavior of every stripe, and the people harmed by that behavior are scolded to suck it up and be martyrs because ‘they just can’t help it’.

Standing and waiting works for a bus. It doesn’t work for when your emotional and financial future are at risk.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Apidae

“It doesn’t work for when your emotional and financial future are at risk.”

Yes, yes and yes.

Claudio Fahmy
Claudio Fahmy
7 years ago
Reply to  Jim Kirby

Well said, Jim.

Walter Graff
Walter Graff
11 years ago

MLC is very real. I had it happen to me. When I found a network of men (over 1200) who all had it happen to them, I found an uncanny similarity to their ex’s and mine, down to the things they said. It was like a textbook and all of these women followed it precisely. PRECISELY!

I did much research on MLC and found very simply that it occurs in people who think people outside of themselves make them happy. It comes from a childhood where the world is taken care of for you. Where you are emotionally immature and unsophisticated. You are taught that life is about performance but given nothing inside as resources to deal with life. It has little to do with hormones but does have a lot to do with a certain type of childhood as the foundation (I’ve interviewed hundreds of other men and all our ex’s are exactly the same upbringing) and a sudden change in life later in life (death of close relative, major move, etc) between the ages of 35-42 and 48-53. That change brings about a boredom. But keep in mind that these people live a life where they are easily bored, don’t express their true needs, and are all very codependent. Those that “stand” for them are also very codependent as the utter crap thrown at you when these people think they have met the man of their dreams is unbelievable.

I was a stay at home dad who made a major move after seven years of marriage to give our then 18 month and 4 year old a better place to grow up. A month later my ex started hinting that she was not happy with move. While I offered to move back she said no. She then started feeling inadequate as a mother (see wasn’t the best of nurtures to begin with). Eventually she started telling me things like we should leave the kids in a parking lot and started doing air stabbing motions as my kid walked by. I know, it sounds crazy but but yourslef in the scenario and you just don’t know what to do in response other than to tell he I was going to call the cops. A month later this became depression, and a month after that an affair with a guy she met on craiggslist. I caught her and forgave her and she came back.

For a month it was great. But she couldn’t get his scent out of her head. Things got a bit nuts. Want to hear her one night in my car as we drove home from a date where she started to act strange and ended up disappearing into the woods? Yes that is me asking her not to pound her head with her fists. Wait 15 seconds for the real good stuff. http://www.bluesky-web.com/mlc-beast.mp3

What I didn’t know then but know now is that is a girl who is mad that she left her affair. And one destined to start it up, all while destroying her family. A month into her coming back she started acting strange. Hinted to me that she was “talking to someone”. I would find out in court that was a woman’s abuse group that was brainwashing her into thinking I had abused her for 7 years.On her divorce affidavit the first line said that the worst day of her life was teh day she met me because I used mind control to convince her that she loved me. Yeah, she wanted this guy bad, didn’t know how to end our relationship so needed to blow it up, and she did. She went to my kids school and said I was abusing the children.

I was suddenly arrested while driving because she called the police and said I hit her. I NEVER HIT HER IN OUR ENTIRE RELATIONSHIP. I am not a hitter. Later she bailed me out (guilt about what she did, but not enough to beat the demons of her paramour). The next day she went to my arraignment and told the judge she made a mistake. A week later she had a restraining order taken out wish got me out of my house and kept me from my kids. On that she said I had hired a NYC mafia hitman to kill the guy she had an affair with.

YES!!! all through this I’m standing. Why? Because when someone goes form telling you that you are the best husband and father that she ever could love one month to this craziness, you think their must be some hope. You married her to take care of her. And that is the other problem with MLC. The ones who marry these people are savers. They see these weak people (subconsciously) and think they can save them. That has to do with our childhood too. And one of the reasons why we stand by and have this crap done to us. I lost 40 pounds in 35 days going through the worst hell with a girl who could have simply left but her codependency made her do this to me instead.

That was enough for me. I would stand no more. She served me divorce papers on my birthday. Now I was done with her and only wanted my children. I fought her hard in court. Went to divorce trial. I lost everything. Got half custody of my kids. All I really wanted.

Now three years post serving me papers, I am in serious debt. Still have my kids and focus my life on them, ignore the rest. The emotional pain never goes away. Many guys whose wives do this describe it as losing your fmaily in a car accident but they are still on the earth. She married the guy she moved into my home just after getting me out only a couple of weeks ago. Her family was not there. She gave me the kids. Her fantasy must be fulfilled. And you thought Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

I have written quite a bit on various MLC sites on the subject of MLC having done extensive research. I don’t call it a disease. Rather I call it a conditioning. We all wake up one day and wonder what happened to us. How did we waste our lives. What can we use as a crutch to get us to “feel” better. For some it’s a sports car. A motorcycle. Others an affair. Those that can’t work out that this point in life (midlife transition) is about us and only we can fix have a crisis. Everyone has a mid-life transition. Only a certain type have a crisis. As I said, you have to be emotionally immature and unsophisticated to go down that path of crisis.

I remember the day I woke up and suddenly thought I had wasted my life. I somehow thought a motorcycle was going to make me happier. I eventually talked myself out of it and found happiness again. most of us do. Who doesn’t get to point of wanting to leave their spouse.

Life is a cycle. We all remember how good it felt that first time around with our spouses. How tickley feeling felt inside. Eventually that goes away. That is natural part of a relationship. And we cycle from lows to highs for the rest of it. It’s the immature who don’t see that it’s about them when the bad times come to be. Rather they reason in their mind this way:

You don’t make me happy anymore. We used to be happy, but I don’t get that from you anymore. He makes me happy. He gives me that feeling we used to have. So if he makes me happy and you don’t it must be our relationship…

And to that I say, no, it’s you. I can’t make you happy. Only you can.

I am a loving guy. My ex used to always say (right up until she lost it) that I slay her. That I am an incredible catch. I know I am. I’ve had good relationships in my life. I’ve also learned a lot from this. Mostly that I took too much care of others and not myself. I was a “Mr Nice Guy”. Robert Glover’s book on the subject helped a lot.http://www.nomoremrniceguy.com/index.php

The good from this is I’m better person now. More centered. A better father. Overall I have a lot of what I needed that I couldn’t find but through this near death experience (yep, thought about how I couldn’t go on) I am much more happy with myself.

The bad. I’m damaged. I live in fear of my ex. Just a few weeks ago my son feel from a swing and fractured his arm. He was taken to emergency room. I notified her as I’m supposed to all the way through. She thanked me (we only communicate through email and text). But a few days later I got this:

Walter,

(Our son’s) arm has no abrasions whatsoever–obviously he did not fall off a swing. He has, however, been carefully trained to tell that story, even down to the tidy details of which parts of his arm supposedly collided with the ground. I need the truth of what happened, please. As the primary insurance holder, I also need to know exactly where he was treated before his Orthopedics appointment.

I expect the real story by the end of today.

(My ex)

So three years later I am still constantly in fear of her. She just doesn’t stop. I wonder if a fish who gets caught in a net is then always afraid of getting caught again. I don’t know if I will ever be able to trust again. Ever be able to be that caring and loving guy that I was.
I often think about it.

There are many MLC sites out there with lots of real people who have either suffered the worst, or think they have found the best.

Here is one that is quite good:

http://womeninmlc.lefora.com

You’ll find lots of these women there and there men who suffered.

But if you really want the simplest and most accurate description of MLC I invite you to listen to this. Its a internet radio program with Mort Fortel. Mort is probably the best marriage councilor in the US. He cleary describes what MLC is, who it affects, and why:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rlrn/2010/03/19/postcards-from-oz-navigating-mid-life-on-the-yello

Sorry, there is no mystery to MLC. Only terrible hurt and pain as a person destroys their family due to selfishness.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I am so devastated by this guy’s story – I’ve seen variants of it with people I know. I hate when bad people – and yes, Walter, your ex is a BAD PERSON….and she is quite crazy. I would not call this MLC…I might wonder if this is post partum depression and probably an underlying existing mental disorder which got worse after pregnancy/childbirth and the actual responsibilities of having children. I wish the courts would recognize insanity more in making judgments. Personally I do not think adulterers of either sex should take anything away from the marriage other than what they brought in and I don’t think they should have ANY custody. People need to be punished for this kind of behavior. Instead we ignore it or reward it.

Walter Graff
Walter Graff
11 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Yes narcissism is a big factor in MLC. Everyone is a narcissist to some degree. It is normal to have a healthy sense of self. It’s when that becomes too much about ‘me’ that it’s a problem. During the crisis, since these emotionally immature people have no resources to deal with it, they can only focus on their needs, even if it means destroying the relationships they have. They go through a bout of sever narcissism. Like a child, or better said a baby. Some try to associate it with middle age and hormones, but that’s a load of crap. It’s about immaturity.

Entitlement. The word of the day. The first generation of entitlement babies are now heading into their early forties. This was the group that was told everyone is a winner, no need for you to actually try, you are good, just because, you all get a trophy. We don’t want to leave anyone out. What we are seeing is a society where it’s about “me”. Look at the “Occupy Wall St” movement. It’s now pretty much done with and most of those involved have gone back to living in their parents basement. Saw a few stragglers in Union Square in NYC the other day. Sitting with signs begging for money to survive. They think they are entitled to it and don’t know any other way to really take care of themselves other than some sort of umbilical cord. They get pissed because someone worked hard and made a lot of money in the process. Nothing wrong with success. There was a day when we actually looked up to it.

All part of a bigger issue in our country of people who are entitled. If they aren’t happy they look for reasons to blame the world and don;t know it’s really about them. Cases of this MLC form of cheating are now epidemic. And the average age of those I’ve interviewed and dealt with who are going through it is 41.3.

As for cheaters, unfortunately there are far too many reasons that it happens. Often it’s really about their childhood, sometimes about animal instincts we deny but can’t control, still other times it’s simply a reflection of our dysfunctional society, and other times, just plain stupidity.

A recent study shows that those who reported being very unhappy in a relationship mostly reported being very happy five years later. Point is, it’s always about you and what you do as a result of your situation, not what others do to you or what you think they are doing or not doing. What you do in response to your situation is always about you. Hang in there and you show character. Take the easy way out and you show the lack of it. No one ever seems to ask about character in a partner. Rather it’s always about “him making me laugh”, or “making me happy”. A recipe for failure.

As for you comment about my ex and how she sounds scarey… um yeah! To think I was married to her. What kind of fool was I. The signs were there but I either ignored them or didn’t see them. I could say she has any number of disorders, but I don’t think she’s diagnosable to any of them. I tried, and at this point, what does it matter. Interesting how people say things to you after the fact that they wouldn’t say while you are dating. Love is certainly blind. Glad I’m not blind anymore. I’ve watched men stand for eight years. I mean how much of a doormat must you be to put up with that. Talk about codependency. No one likes divorce but eventually you have to throw in the towel. I mean eight years walking on eggshells. I’d put a gun to my head first. In the end mine even asked me if she could go back to him someday. And I actually continued the conversation.

People ask me if I had the chance to go back, would I not have moved (the start of her craziness). I say no. If I had the chance I’d go back and not have met her. Of course they say but what about your children. And here is the part that unless you’ve been though this hell you’ll never understand. I love my children. I’d give my life for them. But to think about what she did to me and them in the process… I could have easily had two amazing children just like them with anyone else and still had been a family with two loving parents rather than two boys who must juggle and compartmentalize two families now. Do you know how hard it is for me to this day to see a loving family at a park.

My friend said it best, you have to look at the mother to know what you are getting. He was right. Her mother is nuts. Her and I even used to joke about her mom all the time. I was too stupid to see it existed in her. Even funnier, one of her best “friends” from college couldn’t believe what she did and said to me in simple terms, “I always thought her mother was a bit off, and I always thought she was off too”. He was right. I was just dumb enough to be with her and even through the years as she told me of times where she had opportunities to cheat and didn’t I didn’t take that as a sign to get out. She was a time bomb and she was going to do it to me one time or another.

Lots of stuff I see now that I just didn’t see then. Sometimes you have to live the worst nightmares to find a better place. Trust me, none of you, male or female, want to live what I went through. Men and woman do it equally. Thy just have different ways of doing it and different mind sets when they both do it and get caught. The old men are from Mars, women from Venus. Come to think of it, I think mine was from Pluto!!! 🙂

Apidae
Apidae
6 months ago
Reply to  Walter Graff

Everyone is a narcissist to some degree. It is normal to have a healthy sense of self. It’s when that becomes too much about ‘me’ that it’s a problem.

Narcissism isn’t just an inflated sense of ‘me’. Narcissists are people whose sense of self never allows them to be wrong or to place another person ahead of themselves.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Apidae

Yep. Not everyone is a narcissist. Another slice of bologna.

Marked
Marked
9 years ago
Reply to  Walter Graff

OMG this is EXACTLY MY SITUAYION! I am a chump, but I agree, and went through exactly what Walter went through (except older daughters). I don’t see how what Walter says is any different than what CL says, except that CL says cut to the inevitable end game and don’t waste time. I did. A favorite quote: Time Lost Can Never Be Reclaimed.

nottoobright
nottoobright
10 years ago

I read everything on that site and even convinced myself to “stand”. Essentially it was like getting out my bucket of spackle again and biting my tongue. It almost killed me. The other side effect was that it seemed to encourage my husband to amp up the affair. Last week, someone suggested that I visit the Chump Lady and I began to emerge. So…yesterday I told him to leave and with each passing hour, I feel more and more peace.

Sarah
Sarah
9 years ago
Reply to  nottoobright

You are so brave! I admire You! You are an unbelievably strong person!

Happy
Happy
8 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I am so glad i found you!!! so tired of finding sites geared to waiting for the man to come around, whilst you wait patiently. HA! I was going to try that, but now realize I would see myself as a victim. I have always focused on improving upon myself, but his cheating brought me to ground ZERO. I will continue to focus on rebuilding myself on the devastation and self-blame it caused and by no means am I a man hater as a matter of fact when he does decide to sign the divorce papers I will be ready to start off into the world of dating. i am focused on friendships right now. And if he keeps prolonging it, I just might have to date. No judgement calls please I don’t need them.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy

Absolutely no judgment! I think the only thing people require is honesty about your situation and I’m sure you would do that.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  Happy

Hi, Happy! No judgement girl, you deserve someone who is a true partner to you. I wasted a decade of my life on someone who wasn’t a partner. He dragged out the divorce almost 3 years. At 2.5 years into the process I started dating and it’ll be 2 years together with my new partner this Jan. Both he and I are frustrated we wasted so much time on unsuitable partners.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago

I see absolutely no reason someone should wait until the D is final while the cheater goes on with their life. Secure the finances, check with legal to make sure there are no issues; and get on with your life when you are ready.

My only advice would be to take your time before entering into another legal knot.

Sheebee
Sheebee
8 years ago
Reply to  Happy

No judgement from me. Happy dating!

Margaret
Margaret
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Exactly! Set yourself free of living In the shadow of MLC! Onwards!

Stayed
Stayed
10 years ago

Hi Chump:

I think you chose a very appropriate name for yourself… “CHUMP”! You are a chump to come into an on line support group and then go to your own forum and ridicule us. Not nice, my dear, not nice at all!

We find solace in the Hero’s Spouse forum. We sought out this particular Forum because we were all so BLINDSIDED… shocked, at what our spouses did/do/still doing. We simply could not get our heads around it. Most of us had been married for a good number of years, children grown up and grandchildren on their way or already here. Quite frankly Chump, we just did not expect this from our spouses, as most of them had been good, spouses and parents. So excuse us for wanting to understand.

I don’t think any of us believe that a CRISIS is an excuse. We are gruesomely aware there is not any excuse good enough to allow one/anyone to, abandon, betray and dishonor, anybody, let alone a faithful, supporting, loving, long standing spouse. That being said, I think it is understandable that the betrayed partner would want to be strong and capable again, BEFORE making any future choices and decisions.

HS, does not give us “false hope”. WE are very aware of the likelihood of reconciliation, plus we do not WANT that old marriage back, we truly want a new and better one. With or without our spouse, we loved being part of a team. The only way to be healthy enough to have the slightest chance of having a healthy, happy new partnership, is to happy and healthy within ourselves.

H.S. and the members, have provided the support and security we needed to find ourselves again. Encouraged us to slow down, allow ourselves to grieve and heal. Thank goodness their is “forum” for everybody, even for MEMBERS like yours who like to think they are just being REALISTIC…who prefer to remain bitter and angry at how their lives turned. How their spouse “fucked” around on them, betray them.

WE chose a support group that helped us to find our way through this while remaining true to ourselves. Without becoming bitter and angry. We wanted our WHOLE LIVES BACK, not just our pride.

Your comments were beneath you Chump, as they were mocking and sarcastic. Belittling others is helpful to no one, especially people who have been betrayed by someone they truly loved. WE don’t need you or anybody else to mock and criticize us. We don’t come onto your forum and then return to our own, to MOCK what you say and think. I am saddened by your ignorance.

Hugs and peace Stayed

Apidae
Apidae
6 months ago
Reply to  Stayed

Belittling others is helpful to no one

….you say out of one side of your mouth, while out of the other, you sneer at posters here for being “bitter” and likening them to farm animals.

Sounds like somebody hit a nerve all right!

Jayne
Jayne
10 years ago
Reply to  Stayed

Please excuse me but calling me ‘bitter’ has ever been one of my STBXH’s favourite insults. Apparently a much, more heinous crime than wrecking the life of someone who loved him dearly. Yes apparently, trashing every good thing I ever gave him, bringing doubt to every good thing we ever shared, destroying my, admittedly naive, belief in the fundamental goodness of humanity – basically tearing apart the foundations of everything I thought I could believe about the last 13 years of my life, was nothing compared to the travesty that is my ‘bitterness’. And you see, unfortunately, for over 4 years I’ve been fogged out of being allowed to express and feel my true feelings. Sadly for people who find displays of bitterness much more distasteful than lying, deceit, abandonment and betrayal; like my STBXH and your good self ‘Stayed’ – my failure to match up to the saintliness of Mother Theresa or that I simply couldn’t carry my cross with all the enlightenment,serenity and, above all ‘silent suffering’ demanded of me, must be a dreadful disappointment – certainly, the weight of all that expectation from well meant advisors and STBXH telling me to try harder to save this marriage, accept my responsibility for his behaviour and never, ever be bitter made me feel like the abuse would never, ever stop. I’m afraid you calling me ‘bitter’ for expressing my righteous indignation at my beloved’s disrespect and abuse is, and this may surprise you, of absolutely no help in my recovery out of this hellhole of depression. More surprise – finding this wonderful site which validates my absolutely valid right to be furious about being abused. That says you are absolutely right, he behaved despicably and you really don’t have to eat that shit sandwich anymore, has been much, much, much, more helpful to me than any amount of psychic torture I’ve been put through by the ‘reconcile’ brigade. The demands for me to tie myself in knots in an expectation to be ‘better’ not ‘bitter’ and find ‘love’ for someone who used that very stuff (love) to blind me to his self-centred / self-regarding / self-justifying self- indulgence. Well, count me out. If getting into heaven requires me to swallow that pain down whole with a big benign ‘un-bitter’ smile on my face – guess I’m going to flunk that exam – but do you know what – I stopped hating me and started loving me the moment I took off the yoke of demand to ”reconcile / stand / be so divine that my door is not open to Mr Bitterness. Dear Stayed, if what you are doing works for you, great, I wish you the very best – but do try to refrain from abusing me with insults like ‘bitter’ just because I don’t agree with you. As far as I’m concerned ‘bitterness’ has been the tool that got me myself, my sanity and my life back, and until I no longer need ‘bitterness’ to help me define my personal boundaries, like any other MasterSpeak insult, I’m going to take that insult and wear it with pride.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Jayne

BRAVO!!!!!!! Well said!!!! Finding your anger and outrage over bad treatment is much more powerful and healing than trying to understand why someone has turned into a rotten, scheming bastard.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

In my day (Dday era) bitterness was generally only used as a description for angry women, if a man was angry he was defined as righteously angry.

Unfortunately, I think some of that still stands. But CN and some others are changing that.

EMC
EMC
6 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

Jayne, so fucking well spoken! Thank you for that release. 🙂

Stayed
Stayed
10 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

My dear Chump:
You seem to be confused. It was not Hero’s Spouse Forum that came to you and told you you must stand/reconcile/forgive/whatever… our forum has never told anybody to do anything.

People that came to the Hero’s Spouse Forum were looking for an ALTERNATIVE to the usual “kick their ass to the curb”… “close the door and don’t let it hit you on the way out” forums, that there were APLENTY. You came to our forum, where we were minding our own business dealing with our crisis as best we could. Trying our best not to become bitter, angry old cows and bulls, when YOU came into our site and told us we were all fools to be taking the routes we were on.

I am glad that being bitter and angry got you to where you are now, an obvious upstanding citizen, who values input of other views then her own. Seems I hit a nerve. Glad to hear you are happy where you found yourself. I am as well, and no bitterness, anger was required.

Standing isn’t about just saving the marriage. Standing is for ourselves, until we are able to move forward, with or without our spouses. If you had done your homework, you would not have felt threatened or criticized.

Have a good life. Hugs.. Stayed

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Stayed

Your use of the terms “bitter and angry” seems repellent to me. It is MORE abuse. People SHOULD be bitter and angry over bad treatment – that is natural and healthy. Hopefully we all reach a point where we can move on to other emotions, but that is something that people normally go through after what is for most, the worst experience of their lives done to them by the person they loved and trusted most. It is a natural feeling and experience and you shouldn’t shit on the victims any further, which is what it sounds like you’re doing.

Sman55
Sman55
10 years ago

Mating for life isn’t natural. No animal does it. Swans do mate for life but they also cheat. There’s a good reason why 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.

KatiePig
KatiePig
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

There’s always some gross slut who shows up to conversations like these to brag about how dirty their genitals are. Yuck.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

Hmmmm……makes me think of those old Motown love songs…..”My GuyS” and “My GirlS”….because only our grandparents were capable of exclusive intimate relationships based on the ideas of romance, responsibility and mutual aid. We can’t reach those standards any more. We need harems now.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Even if it were true; cheating and lying and stealing from another human being (to keep them in place) who trusts you isn’t the answer. Divorce/separation, and then moving on would be the proper behavior in those cases where you discover you don’t want to be in a monogamous relationship.

It is heinous to live a secret life while keeping your partner in the dark and loyal to your marriage.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

That you, Esther? 🤣

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

Murder is natural too. I considered it when he cheated, but I’m a civilized human with executive functioning, and made the choice not to.

Rape is natural. It’s that ok too, Sman55?

Apidae
Apidae
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

Lots of things aren’t “natural”. Pooping in a private room instead of in the bushes is not “natural” and no animal does that, either.

GrandmaChump
GrandmaChump
6 months ago
Reply to  Sman55

Many species, including gray wolves, gibbons, beavers…swans…certain fish… reportedly do tend to mate for life, with the caveat that individual pairs may cheat. Fun research would be to see if, among the cheaters, one sex is more likely to cheat than the other. Catch is, if researchers are observing those pairs closely enough to confirm sometimes/never, they may intentionally or otherwise be interfering with the course of natural events.

For humans…making vows may not be natural, but for those who ascribe to the Judeo-Christian ethic, vows once made must be kept. Of course, in the Judeo part of that ethic, breaking one’s marital vows was grounds for capital punishment, so the innocent party could go forth and prosper as a widow or widower. Things get fuzzy after that. Divorce allowed…but in the beginning, it was not so.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  GrandmaChump

My understanding is: The new covenant (new testament) isn’t fuzzy, it clearly sets the betrayed free to leave an adulterer and go on with his life. The adulterer can also move on, but not while staying in sin.

Divorce Minister has a blog that explains so much. As is CL DM is a great resource.

Mike
Mike
10 years ago

I’ve been over to th HS forum and there is a mix over there, some do work on healing and getting themsleves back on track, others seem to be obsessively documenting their X’s every move, looking for some signs of reconcilliation 3 and four years after the “bomb drop”. It is a horrendous thing to have a spouse bugger off with the plumber or yoga instructor after 10-20-30 years of relatively domestic bliss, so much so I think it can cause a form of denial of reality in those left behind.

Personally I do think MLC is hormonally driven for both men and women, when you read forums dedicated to midlife issues they are full of people that appear to be suffering from the more severe symptoms of low “T” or menopause.

sara
sara
10 years ago

Finally! Someone with some sense. This is my entire take on MLC:

The biggest mistake women make when their husbands are having a midlife crisis is sticking around waiting for it to pass. What is wrong with all of these websites and blogs telling women how to “hang in there” and “stick by their man.” If MLC was a real disease it would happen the world over but it DOES NOT. There has been some research that says it is more prevalent in materialistic, narcissistic societies like the U.S. – what does that tell you? No woman should have to sit on the sidelines waiting years for husband to decide or realize she is worthy of his love. I don’t care what his excuse for those feelings are. If it were any other issue like real anxiety or real depression the person could get counseling or take a pill and be human again but men can take 1-10 years to get over their MLC and in the meantime the wife is left with pain and misery all the while trying to shield her children from the destruction left behind by their dad. Men need to grow up and get over the illusion that they will live forever and have some vestal virgin feeding him grapes. I’ve been married nearly 20 years and if I had to put up with my husband being distant, moody and self absorbed for even 6 months I’d be out that door in a microsecond. Woman do not deserve to be treated like that and society should stop making excuses for men who treat them that way. We still live in a society that can’t decide whether PMS is real or not but MLC, oh heck yeah, that’s a real serious problem that we should all sit back and let men wiggle through until they come out the other end a totally different person than the man we married. Sure, I’ll waste 10 years of my life waiting for that. No thanks!

Walter
Walter
10 years ago
Reply to  sara

You seem to think only men go through this. Just as many women do it. It is a product of our society but not limited to the US. I attribute it to one key factor, a person who is emotionally immature and unsophisticated, traits that started in childhood.

In the thousands of first hand stories I’ve read (yes thousands) I found one of two situations where women do it. First is where they are in a relationship that started in the very early years of their life. These “teen brides” hit a wall after getting older and since they have no worldly experience when the “I’m in love” moment comes around with another guy they look at their “old” relationship and say wait a minute, he makes me happy but you don’t, so it must be YOU! Of course no one can make you happy. You have to find the happiness in yourself and the world.

The second scenario (mine) is when you marry someone a bit younger. That isn’t the deal breaker as much as again they (the cheaters) are emotionally immature and unsophisticated. You are an unconscious “fixer” aka “chump” and she needs the fixing. She’s usually not the first born but middle or youngest. Shes a “daddys girl” meaning her daddy isn’t available to her in some way and that means the role model of her male relationships is never finding a guy that she feels really truly secure with. But at the same time she was very dependent on her family at a young age. A lot of children of alcoholics suffer the same fate too. When she meets “the man of her dreams” while she’s married to you or “rediscovers” him on Facebook, again she looks at you and “realizes” it’s “your” fault. You held her back. You are a chump and she runs off to find the “Ken and Barbie” relationship she was told as a little girl exists, and that she has “found” in the loser she ran off with. Unfortunately 75% of remarried people get divorced. As some comedian says, if you went parachuting and they told you three out of four parachutes don’t open would you jump? That doesn’t stop you from diving into getting remarried.

Anybody who knows the term MLC from experience knows the acronym IMILWYBNILWY. That is the speech they give you just as they are planning to leave but trying to have their cake and eat it to. Mine said it to me and I know a thousand guys from my days on MLC boards who had their ex say it exactly the same way too. In fact not just what they say but uncanny similarities in what they do and how they do it. Some say like aliens. Oh, it stands for “I’m in love with you but not in love with you”.

To clearly understand this phenomenon simply read “The Cinderella Complex” by Colette Dowling. She explains a culture that taught women to fear independence, and their unconscious desire to be taken care of by others. The complex is said to become more apparent as a person grows older. It should be mandatory reading for every woman, men too.

And yes, male or female narcissism is a key factor as is unrealistic expectations and a lack of guard rails for behavior.

In the end MLC is simply an immature person having a late blooming and finding a ‘new’ self, only at the expense of their spouse, their family and their children.

sara
sara
10 years ago

Oh, I know women use the MLC excuse too and if I were a man, I wouldn’t sit around and wait for them to get through it either. It is one thing if someone is going through a life “transition” and quite another to be going through a “crisis” that can last years. It isn’t good for anyone’s self esteem to have to sit by and wait until their spouse decides who they are. Imagine standing by your spouse for 3 years and then one day they get through this perceived MLC and decide they aren’t interested in their partner or their children anymore. So wrong and so so damaging to all involved.

sara
sara
10 years ago

BTW/there is tons of research and links to such research all over the web in articles that address the MLC myth.

“The idea of a midlife crisis that took hold in the 1960s is based on anecdotal evidence and is not supported by empirical research.”

There is no MLC. It’s just a term invented by an individual that gave men and women the excuse to behave like children and ignore their responsibilities. Hence, its “discovery” in the 60’s.

Having a transitional phase is normal but having a crisis is not. Funny how people who are in a MLC for 10 years always come out the other end a more calmer, centered person. That’s because they’ve had 10 whoppings years to not only act like an imbecile but to age to the point of accepting their eventual deterioration and demise.

Walter
Walter
10 years ago
Reply to  sara

The problem with these “standers” is that whereas those of us who get into these relationships because we are fixers found out we can’t fix people and let go. Standers are more dysfunctional fixers who think this person will “come out of it”, “get out of the fog”, “wake up” and their destiny to fix the person will be realized.

I’m very sorry that these folks can’t move on. It’s the ultimate in codependency. I knew a guy who was standing for eight years. EIGHT YEARS!!!! He might still be but I lost track of him as I found his constant struggle to walk on eggshells around her to be incredibly sad and had to change the channel so to speak.

Walter
Walter
10 years ago
Reply to  sara

Yep. Like I said late bloomer who hit crisis, acted like a morn and eventually grew up.

Sara
Sara
10 years ago

Great posts Walter, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Walter
Walter
10 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Thanks Sara. I know both sdies of it well unfortunately. My ex went nuts and did the MLC thing so I completely get why people call it that and believe in it. When you watch a person have an affair, destroy a family, and try to take you down in doing it, it cuts to your core and you can only succomb to it or become a much better person. At the same time I know iMLC is a product of our dysfunctional society and not a diagnosable disease. The stories I could tell.

notyou
notyou
10 years ago

Chump Lady? Are you not aware that cerebral narcissists do not like realistic straight shooters (like yourself) who call a spade a spade? It is much more palatable to use psycho-babble euphemisms like “MLC” instead of identifying an adulterer for what s/he is… character disordered. When one’s own arrogance (or delusions) won’t allow for recognition of the fact that an error was made in judging the character of another, it seems to me that there may be more than one narcissist in that mix. The freshly wounded (and I have been there) need a healthy dose of reality and some concrete suggestions about how to get grounded and get the hell away from a toxic relationship. Keep up the good work.

notyou
notyou
10 years ago

Funny. Thought provoking. Helped me mentally dismantle the “MLC” myth.

http://thecurvature.com/2008/01/17/it-wasnt-me-honey-it-was-my-midlife-crisis/

Frances Lake
Frances Lake
9 years ago

Hi,
The jury’s out on MLC. From what I’ve seen, it’s not a single, definable thing, with an identifiable cause, but a set of behaviours, and a variety of outcomes. But it is a crisis, a critical point, which generates a lot of confusion/ hurt for the person in MLC and their nearest and dearest.

My husband went through one. Severely stressed, he lost the plot of life, and started to behave in ways that were unusual for him. He didn’t quite have an affair, but had a crush on a (young) lady friend. He told me that he didn’t love me, and needed his space.

It was through the sagacity of the Hero’s spouse forum that I gained the courage to detach, stop clinging, get over my pain and let him go. I did more than that… I positively encouraged him to go. Then, when he wanted to return, it was the forum that helped me forgive, and decide whether I wanted to reconciliate. It was through the forum that I was able to reflect on what caused his break down (which is what it was).

The point is that the forum is NOT about clinging for years while looking for signs of our spouse’s return. There are undoubtedly people who cling, who take the possibility of hope as a probability. These fail to understand the most important aspect of the forum: our future is based on building ourselves, becoming strong and independent, detached but compassionate, in which a relationship is an option, not a need.

Not everyone does or should get back together. But not everyone who faces a major convulsion in their marriage should just throw it away. Marriages that can be reconstructed after this can be far more rewarding than before.

Frances Lake
Frances Lake
9 years ago

Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

First of all, I have to add that my H did have an affair of sorts… an emotional one. Harder to prove, but incredibly hurtful, involved a lot of lying in order to meet her. It just didn’t go physical. This made it easy for him to say he didn’t have an affair at all. Meanwhile, he did leave home, and kept bouncing back.

I agree with you on two points: MLC is questionable as a phenomenon (RRR is quite clear above that it is not), and the cheater is not absolved by the fact that he had “MLC”. He can be forgiven, and that’s got nothing to do with MLC. It’s a choice, and needs boundaries. Yes, I agree, demonstrable remorse is vital. There are plenty of books / therapists out there who talk about forgiveness, and marriage after an affair. It’s not new to Hero’s spouse.

Standing is a choice, and a position of hope, NOT expectations. This hope gives people a chance to reorganise themselves mentally, and consider whether their spouse is worth the wait. This hope gives the mental energy to detach, work on oneself, etc. Although people initially identify themselves as standers, through this detatchment process, some people realise that standing is not the best thing to do. They are able to make a second choice not to stand, and that is an empowering thing (rather than just accepting that they have been abandoned).

The forum does have members who have re-written hope as expectation. They expect that if they let the process work, they will be a “lighthouse” which will attract their spouse back. They believe that their spouse’s bad behaviour is caused by MLC, so therefore not their fault. This is a reinvention of the forum’s aim, and a dangerous one. They can easily fail in RRR’s primary suggestions: to detach, rebuild themselves, and set boundaries. Nevertheless, this is a choice too… the information is there, and they ignore it because perhaps they cannot yet deal with it. We are all human.

The forum has created a spirit of support which is exceptional, with global meet ups and friendships formed, which continue even if an individual no longer stands, even if their situation is resolved, one way or another. The emphasis is on choice and respect for each other, and that’s no bad thing.

Amazing G
Amazing G
6 years ago
Reply to  Frances Lake

Dear Frances

Thank you for being so articulate about why some of us have been standing. Standing doesn’t have to be part of being a Chump because you can set clear boundaries, lawyer up and be Mighty – all whilst standing. Let’s just all get in on the same chumps page please and stop knocking each other. There are too many f***tards out there doing it to us already.

David Smith
David Smith
9 years ago

Married 19 years, 14 year old son with Cerebal Palsy , 17 year old daughter. I worked from home to care for him, did the housework ,cooking ,laundry etc. Life was tough we were homebodies, few friends,went on a lot of camping trips. For me it was a good life, came home one day from a Drs apptt. with my son to find a note, she said she needed to focus on her career. said i was a good father and husband but she could no longer be my wife. Had a breakdown went from 175 to 130 lbs. She had to take the kids, told me i was suicidal,she’s been gone a year this Oct 17. Ive been in therapy but each day without my family is a waking nightmare. In the past year she has little by little taken back all the terrible things she said about our life and last week texted me that her life is chaos and despair. I feel powerless and confused, she seems terribly depressed, looks terrible, lost 20 lbs so now she weighs 100 lbs, i gained weight back and workout at home everyday. What is a man to do? I have not dated but the loneliness is pretty tough. She said she has not been with anybody contradicts herself often so i don’t know what to believe, or why she continues to process thru me. She filed for divorce then dropped it. I have no idea what the future holds but i guess i am a stander, hope is a luxury i can’t afford ,so i just live one day at a time. Still dazed and confused. thats my story.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  David Smith

((David)) you sound a lot like the husband of my ex-husband’s affair partner. He was emotionally abused; she told him she wanted a divorce but never filed so she always had him on the back burner, for years; she moved for her career without making any provisions for him; she took the kids, at least twice that I know of. She was not focusing on her career, she was sleeping with her coworker (my ex husband), which could have resulted in her losing her career.

This other betrayed man was standing for his marriage, despite all this mistreatment, until I called and told him about the affair. He then saw the abuse for what it was, focused on getting the divorce she supposedly wanted, and getting 50% custody of his kids.

You sound like a great dad. Frankly if it helps to do so -IF – I think you should forget your abusive wife. Forget her and her issues, fight for whatever is right for you and your kids. Being with their unstable mother and not seeing you simply cannot be the best thing for them. If I were you (and I’m not) I’d file for divorce myself. That will protect you, your finances, and your kids.

nah
nah
9 years ago

Hero Spouse is a support group for all people who are trying to understand what the hell happened.

I was married for 28 years, 28 YEARS!!

My husband for a few months started acting strange, very angry, very quiet. When I asked what was wrong he always had an excuse (stress at work, not feeling well). Then one day when I pulled in the driveway after a few errands, he ran out of the house and jumped in the passenger seat and gave me a 2 minute BD (someone else, want a divorce) and left. Up until this time we had a very loving relationship, sure we argued sometimes but overall we were often told we had the marriage everyone else wanted.

The next day he came home to talk (ilybinilwy)–we all hear it, ALL of us. Then he left, he didn’t take one thing and hasn’t even drove by the house since (it’s been 20 months).

I nicknamed my husband Mr. MLC here are some of his traits in just a few short years…

*Changed jobs after 28+ years (big mistake works 2x as much for 1/2 the money)
*Joined his band from the 80’s (sings songs such as Rihanna…yep)
*Wears designer jeans and Ed Hardy shirts (He is 50 and is fat, put on 60 lbs after he left)
*goes tanning, plucks his eyebrows
*Takes handfuls of “men vitamins” and Libido pills (every day…handfuls)
*Bought and sold Red Mustang (why red??? never drove it, didn’t have time)
*Tattoos everywhere, dyes hair, dyes new “soul patch” wears earrings (did I mention he is 50??)
*Has a harley davidson but “the girl” won’t ride (too many anxieties) so it sits in storage
Oh yeah, left his devoted wife of 28+ years (yelled over and over at a hearing “i’m not stupid, you know, everybody says I’m stupid for leaving you)
*Shark eyes (if you don’t know what this is, then you don’t know MLC)
*If he sees mutual friends or family he runs the other way
*Mad at me for making him feel guilty and for people treating him like shit (couldn’t be further from the truth)

His “girl” is in her 20’s (I don’t know her name by choice)
After divorce he bought a “McMansion and has a cleaning lady yet always complains about not having money)
Now has 2 dogs and 3 cats (all w/i a few months, my son says their house smells)

I filed 5 days post BD, and we are now divorced. I live with my new boyfriend (who for some reason sticks around even though I have been an emotional nutbag).

Yes, I am divorced and I have a boyfriend. Hero Spouse has welcomed me and I am very grateful to them. I believe in MLC because I have had a front row seat. You can read and talk about studies but the man I have loved and lived with for almost 30 years changed suddenly and I need to understand why. I am not angry or bitter, yes I am often sad, who wouldn’t be? It’s easy to judge until you have walked in our shoes. People on the Hero Spouse are amazing, we all share similar stories (so similar it’s scary) and we all deal with it in our own way with support from others who understand.

If my husband died, I would have the support of the entire community but b/c he just did a “mic drop”, the community thinks I must have done something to cause him to leave, well I didn’t, and Hero Spouse understands.

Gabrielle Hunting
Gabrielle Hunting
5 years ago
Reply to  nah

Thank you , how well said . No one can understand unless they’ve experienced it . Married 38 years , just had first grandchild, just moved from family home of 25 years so we could move somewhere cheaper in this country & then also by a ” dream family house” in France . All this in same year & then I discovered his affair with assistant at work , who is younger than our children ( he is 60 , she 30 ).
He spent 4 months “making up his mind/ sorting his head out “, then when the children found out , they told him not to come home .Our grown up children are disgusted, having little to do with him . He made no moves to instigate divorce , happy swanning around , as if on holiday. I have instigated proceedings, much to his annoyance.
He has lost everything & the respect of all , but we will not let him destroy our family .

My life is a Lifetime Movie Meets the X-Files....
My life is a Lifetime Movie Meets the X-Files....
7 years ago
Reply to  nah

I so enjoyed your response. So many similarities in these stupid men – 21 years of marriage for me when I got the bomb drop. It was like the rug was ripped out from under me. For months he had a “bestie” and nothing more, he claimed. 2 weeks after the divorce he signs a contract on a house with the “bestie” and 2 months after divorce was final he sold his car and an engagement ring showed up. Drives the old beater pickup now that I pretty much gave him to get him to sign the stinking divorce papers. Oh, and the precious woodworking tools that he threw a hissy fit about. His marbles are rolling all over the floor. But your descriptions of the MLC traits – wowie wow wow! Super description of what we are dealing with. Shark eyes – the smirk. And being angry at me for people treating him and the bestie like crap. Umm, dude. I’m not the one who cheated!! Fantasy la-la land I call it!

UnChump
UnChump
9 years ago

Well, everyone’s situation is different, and I can only speak for myself. My husband and I had been together for 14 years, married for 9. His mom sold his childhood home earlier this summer, and he drove out to help her move. The weekend he came back, he was like a different person. Yes, like an alien. I’ve known this person for years. He started seeing someone else, the antithesis of me. I was in shock. I did find solace in standing forums. I’m not a Christian, but I did believe in my marriage. I moved out and said I would give it 6 months and at the end of that time, if things hadn’t changed, I would file and be out. Sure enough, four months later, he went back and helped his mom with one final move, and he came back, completely normal. Remorseful, sad, penitent. We are going to marital counseling and figuring out how to continue on. For the last three months it’s like the summer never happened. He’s back to normal. I ask him about details and he says he can’t remember a lot. Look, I know my husband, he doesn’t lie. He’s a good man. We’ve lived together for 15 years. He’s not lying when he tells me he can’t remember. I could tell. So, yes, sorry, but people do things sometimes that is completely out of character. Now, for me, 6 months was my limit. Personally, I’d have a hard time with one plus years, but I do not judge other people’s reasons. What’s good for one person is not good for another person. I’m not a chump. I’m someone who loves her husband very much and realizes no one is perfect. And second chances are just that. Second chances.

Leedy
Leedy
6 months ago
Reply to  UnChump

Yes, Apidae makes a great point. The more you read about brain science, the more you realize that brain injuries, tumors, and even certain medicines (such as the medicines used to treat restless legs syndrome) CAN cause personality changes that can include sexual impulsiveness. That is not at all to say that a person whose spouse suddenly becomes a cheater should say (without a medical diagnosis) “aha! brain injury,” which would be a form of denial, as I’m sure Apidae would also say.

Lola Granola
Lola Granola
6 months ago
Reply to  Leedy

Oh dear God yes. I diagnosed one of my four Cheaters (count ’em! four!) with Cushing’s disease as a way of trying to explain why Mr LoveBomb had suddenly turned into Mr IceBox.

Spoiler alert: Turns out he was actually just an asshole.

These days, I’d say that if you’re spending a lot of time googling different sets of medical symptoms to explain why your partner is ‘suddenly’ distant and acting weird/suspiciously, the relationship is in deep trouble – and it’s probably not your fault.

Leedy
Leedy
6 months ago
Reply to  Lola Granola

“Turns out he was actually just an asshole”–this made me smile!

Apidae
Apidae
6 months ago
Reply to  UnChump

He’s not lying when he tells me he can’t remember

Has your husband been medically evaluated for a stroke or traumatic brain injury? Did he have a genuine psychotic break due to an underlying and severe mental health condition? Because those are things that genuinely affect memory, and if if he honestly, really, truly doesn’t remember much about his little four-month vacation to Side Piece Planet, that is very concerning and he should be talking to a doctor ASAP to figure out what’s going on with his health. It is not normal for people to ‘just not remember’ an entire summer out of their lives.

If nothing like that is going on, well, yes, he’s lying to you. Your explanation as to why he isn’t makes no sense – do you think good people never tell a lie? Did he never lie to you about seeing this other woman or when his affair started?

I understand you want to believe him, because you want everything to be OK again, but marriage counseling is going to be an uphill battle if lying and denial are in the picture.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
6 months ago
Reply to  Apidae

I’ll second Apidae; he needs a medical evaluation, not primarily to see of he’s lying about “not remembering,” but because how do you know this isn’t going to happen again after you invest another six months, or 14 years? I would need to know, just to survive on the daily — how on earth can you enjoy your life knowing he might fall into some mysterious black hole triggered by who knows what? Moving vans, high school girlfriend sightings, packing tape? Yikes.

Love Yourself Too.
Love Yourself Too.
9 years ago

My now ex husband went threw all of the above. Left me with the kids to take care of alone. It hurt tremendously after putting 25 years of marriage and commitment in. I loved him almost more than myself. There is that, “What the hell is going on” moment when the words start coming out of his mouth about being roommates and not loving you like a wife any longer. If you can think it, I can tell you mine said it. I stood by him during so much in our marriage but when he started putting the demise solely in my lap, that was it. I filed for divorce. I had no education, no friends and kids depending on me to step up. And I did. I survived loosing him. It was so hard and their were times I cried so hard I was sure I broke every vessel in my eyes. It’s been 3 years since. We are divorced. He lost Full Custody and we do not talk. He does not see the kids and I do not see him. I learned so much about who I am and what I am about. I am a strong person who loves her family very much. I am a good person who did not deserve what I was given. I did not wait for him to sell off everything (He did try) and leave me dry. I stood up and said, ” Okay, This sucks but I will survive this and put my efforts into the kids and making a career and life for myself. Never let someone tell you that you are not worth it. The one thing he could not touch was my inner spirit. It was strong and my self worth was good. You have to love yourself enough to move forward. I did. If someone wants to deal with the verbal abuse and wants to deal with walking on eggshells than that’s their right. I for one am not angry and bitter, just done. I would not take him back if he came crawling because what he did for me and me alone can not be repaired. I want my kids to see a strong woman who stood up and said, “Enough.” It was enough. I don’t want them to waste their remaining childhood years on eggshells and watching me allow their Dad to talk to me like that or to be upset all the time because their Dad did not come home again.. I want them to see a Mom that said, “Okay, I know who I am, I know what I can tolerate, and I know my worth. Never take verbal abuse label it and then try to sell it. It all just breaks down to the same thing. Verbal Abuse. I don’t fear anything in my life. I live it with my kids dead on, no regrets and always looking forward doing the best I can. I am not dating and I am not out with friends. I am studying, working and parenting. Through it all I just want woman and men to know that dealing with physical or even verbal abuse because you think or hope he will come back around just teaches him that he can get away with it. Where is the self respect in that? What are the kids being taught to respect and love themselves? Who is loving you while you allow him or her to do that? Because honestly, if you are allowing them to do that in the first place, you clearly don’t have any love for yourself. I wish everyone good luck and happiness. For those that staying works I am so very happy for you, but for those that are being told they are crap need to really look at what you are allowing. Just think about you for one minute. You and any kids you may have. Is this what you want to teach them? Because if you come back and say, “Yes, I want my kids to see me fight for my marriage” than what they are really seeing is a Mom and ONLY a Mom fighting to save it and sacrificing their safe free home in doing it. Kids should never have to walk on eggshells. And, if he does not come back than you just taught them that their life had less value, because you wasted their childhood in a sad, cold, fighting house. That’s my opinion. Have a good night all and hang in there:)

Love Yourself Too.
Love Yourself Too.
9 years ago

Also to note, I was told he needed space, Our entire past was changed in his mind and he told the kids his new version, Threw fits, yelled, tried to turn the kids against me, was gone with his other atleast three nights a week, told me it was my fault he felt the way he did, told the kids I was stealing his money and put the kids dead center in our divorce. He spent our money with his other and had the time of his life while I filed for Divorce. I kept my cool and made the kids my top priority. In the end, he gets. His other, His apartment, His family and his money. I got a home, the kids, my family and a smile from the Judge and I got my life back. He can do whatever he wants and I don’t have to hear about it any more. My kids are warm, loved, safe and above all happy. I am happy too. I miss a ghost from time to time but I miss what was. Not what is with him. He is a complete stranger to me now. I am proud I got the kids out of there and have made something good for them:) Telling me that I was fat, worthless and not fun to be with, re writing the past to suit his cause, throwing fits and scaring the kids with his yelling is a form of abuse. I’m so glad I moved forward. Can’t imagine still being there. Doctor told me after he saw him he had severe Mid Life Crisis. Guess what? I don’t care because I have, ” Love myself and Kids.” (LMAK) Syndrome. No regrets, just forward. Have a good night all:)

David
David
6 years ago

My wife had a mlc after experiencing the loss of her parents, her job, (disability) empty nest, moving across the country repeatedly, (pastors wife). Health problems, hers and mine. She walks in one day tells me were just an “old married couple”, she’s met someone else, wants a divorce etc. Did I mention spends 10,000.00 on new clothes? The only thing that saved our marriage after 37 years was that the OM was not real. She was catfished on Facebook by a romance scammer. The day this all blew up I saw shark eyes too. When she came home, I’ve been trying my hardest to make it work. It’s been a year. Time will tell.

EMC
EMC
6 years ago

MLC is bullshit! I almost bought it…
No, it’s character, not to be mistaken for personality. An excuse is an excuse and this type will find any, and most of those excuses aren’t even genuine or credible.
X is 11 my Sr. and I was barely drinking age. (That should have been my first clue.) We had the longest and most “stable/evolved” relationship either of us had had. I concluded, it was the pressure from our stressful lifestyle, of co-owning everything (business included;) and I was also not a pleasant person after our first kid was born.
I bought the cheating as a symptom of deeper marriage issues, (yes, they definitely lurked from the kitchen sink.)
Looking back, he left me once B4 the marriage, and I found tons of evidence of other questionable behavior. He actually told me he cheated on a couple of previous girlfriends, (how many margaritas did I ingest as he was telling me this??? Actually not much of a drinker.)
His mother’s current hubby of a quarter of century, was her exit affair partner.
My X secretly hates women and puts us down but is resentful of them because he needs them to manage his emotions.
I do see how a great deal of things that I dislike about my ex, are also present in myself, but not the lying and cheating. I could drink w friends and not have it turn inappropriately unless I made a full conscious effort! His was an exit affair as well as a culmination of all the “other types” of affairs.
There is always a choice. You don’t just accidentally trip and fall into someone’s vagina! I owned my choice to have a rebound relationship while separated and moved out, after x moved on w A.P. and told me to do the same…(forward 2 yrs, still not divorced, and him trying to make me the OW to his A.P. g/f… lol!) I ended my rebound 3 yrs ago and took a 2 yr break from all dating. It’s been great! I will never settle for shitty excuses anymore!

Esther
Esther
2 years ago

I am having a little giggle… I found your site shortly after D-Day now almost 4 years ago… it helped me then… although I still did a lot of the things you advise against, even though many of us feel compelled to do so, research, come up with reasons, therapy, etc, etc… Luckily I never got in the habit of blaming myself… sure there are always things one could do differently in relationships but my character and beliefs have always led me to be the best partner (and faithful chump) a man could wish for. Now, 99.9% healed and moved on, I stumble on your page again but it all resonates so much more this time around. Many lessons were learned and I feel the urge to print some T-shirts with the many words of wisdom I found here.

What sticks the most is that you can do the research in trying to figure a serial cheater out and search for the many reasons why an unfaithful partner did what he/she did, attempting to get closure… but in the end, CL is correct that it simply comes down to entitlement… they do what they do because they can and want to… all the while being fully aware of their discrepancies being against what was agreed upon or understood… they simply don’t care and will find a gazillion ways and give BS reasons to justify and defend their actions that only is of benefit to their own needs and opinions. (for example, one business trip hotel room encounter didn’t count because he could not get it up woohaahaaa). Even though he confessed to 6 physical partners… thinking back to a few oddities over 28 years, I have a high suspicion some online stuff happened as well.

ENTITLEMENT … it is as simple as that.

Wise words but in the end, every chump will have to go through their own journey of one-day grasping that that is all that it is…

WalkawayWoman
WalkawayWoman
6 months ago

So much pain and anger in these old comments.

Having walked away from a cheating husband (18-year marriage) and, later, a lying cheating sociopathic boyfriend, all I can say is:

Had I chosen to “stand” with either of those cheaters, I’d be a twitchy, paranoid, depressed, hot mess of anger and pain today.

Instead I’m five years single, healthy and happy, living my best life. The things I’ve accomplished (career, homeownership and subsequent renovations, travel etc.) would have been impossible had I continued to devote most of my energy and brainspace to being the relationship police.

Thank goodness for CL and CN!

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  WalkawayWoman

👍

If I had stood for that hopium (and I did for a few months) it just got me more pain and delayed my survival; I would be living in a broken down trailer in Florida having had my entire retirement account wiped out by his gambling and subsequent bankruptcy.

Instead I escaped rebuild my life, met and married a decent man and have lived a peaceful quiet life that I am sure my ex would have found boring.

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
6 months ago

Clinging to the midlife crisis theory is an effort to prolong hope or avoid reality. Infidelity is so present among young adults and new fathers. And the frequent use of Viagra suggests it’s a behavior choice which exceeds mid-age and extends into (hormonal and vascular deficient) senior years.

A married person can, and should, call it quits if they are truly unhappy. But that is a separate decision from having a secret sexual life. Can you imagine if embezzlers and muggers were given a pass because they were “overly mature”?

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

“A married person can, and should, call it quits if they are truly unhappy. But that is a separate decision from having a secret sexual life. Can you imagine if embezzlers and muggers were given a pass because they were “overly mature”?”

Gold. If you are are married to a person you think is bad enough to cheat and lie and deceive, then few would argue that you should stay married.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

“And the frequent use of Viagra suggests it’s a behavior choice which exceeds mid-age and extends into (hormonal and vascular deficient) senior years.”

I am convince Viagra is the reason so many marriages are falling apart. These older men get a new lease on their dick and off they go. If we are lucky we get away before they want to come back.

No I am not posting this based on my own experience. My fw pulled his shit all before age 40, he didn’t need Viagra, and it didn’t really exist then anyway. But, I am sure the whore provided lots of excitement in the back seat of his squad car. I assume he thought it would last forever, but he was cheating on her even before he married her.

But, with exceptions men used to age out of that intense stuff by about age 50. Not that they couldn’t perform, but few would be able to keep pup with a years younger partner. It has definitely had an effect on marriages ending at mid life. But, MLC, is indeed bull shit piled on top of chicken shit.

Yes women can be ass wholes and cheaters too, and like men it is a character issue.

KatiePig
KatiePig
6 months ago

I found that site before this one and it was the most depressing, horrifying shit I’d ever seen. That woman with her dead eyes, smiling next to her sociopath, piece of shit husband and holding up their poor adopted children brought into that nightmare. “Yes, he cheated on me, treated me like garbage, and humiliated me! I’m so lucky to have him back to adopt all these children and pretend life is so great!” And he’s just smiling with his sociopath grin. “Look what I can do to this dumb bitch! I can fucking anybody and this dumb bitch will always take me back and accept my new strains of disease!”

Horrifying. Their “family” photo made me want to vomit. I feel so terrible for the kids brought in to “fix” that monster and his absolutely pathetic victim. Her story was so bad. He probably beats her too. She would let him. I felt sorry for her at first but the more I read, my God. There is something extremely wrong with both of them.

weedfree
weedfree
6 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

KP after reading that colourful description i was incentivised to check the photo to see if he did indeed look like Charles Manson. Looks like a bit of a clown tbh being dragged into her life of toxic positivity.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
6 months ago

4) It isn’t relevant, even if true.

You don’t need to stay with a cheater who makes you miserable. They are making themselves happy, and so can you.

“Stand for the marriage.” This isn’t a civil rights march – it’s an arrangement between two people who agreed to be faithful to each other and to care for one another, and your spouse broke it. Many of us chumps “stood” for our marriages. Sometimes for years. We tried hard, only to realize that our spouses were … crappy people who weren’t even all that sorry.

However, there is no need to ignite a flame war between two websites. Once you have had it – once you have stood for your marriage after your spouse’s third or fourth “midlife crisis,” or through their bout of “sex addiction,” the Chumps will be here to celebrate with you. 

Last edited 6 months ago by ChumpDchump
OHFFS
OHFFS
6 months ago

Reading all those delusional, self-justifying posts insisting that MLC is real and that the spouse can come out of it is depressing.
No, they don’t come out of it, they just get dumped by the schmoopie or realize that schmoopie is crazy, then go back to their spouses with their tails between their legs. I’m convinced those who’ve allegedly had a miraculous recovery from MLC and returned to their marriages have since cheated again. MLC, in this context, is just another word for the “fog” the RIC claims causes affairs. What it’s really about is disordered people who hit a certain point in their lives where they are tired of wearing a mask of normalcy. They may take the mask off for awhile, then put it back on when life without it proves to have more disadvantages than they thought. This should not be confused with coming to their senses and valuing their spouse again.

My FW tried to pull the old coming out of the “fog” thing, pretending to have an epiphany, but there never was a fog. He continued to be an asshole after the mistress was gone. He was like a dry drunk. But if you really believe your spouse just went middle aged crazy, you’re probably going to ignore the signs that he/she is really just a shitty person and spackle, spackle, spackle.

I Count
I Count
6 months ago

I started at that site. I could not stand and just let things happen. I friend pointed me here and this was more my speed. My ex didn’t cheat till his mid 50’s so it was a total mindfuck.

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
6 months ago

Sorry, I just can’t handle using mid-life crisis as an excuse for cheating. Like love, cheating is a choice. I tried for a few weeks to “stand” for the marriage but the trust was broken and I am sorry but in an age of disease, there was no way that I could bear the thought of touching the FW again.
The nice thing is that we are free to choose what we want to do. I made the decision to get rid of the cheater and get a real, authentic life. I did not want to live the remainder of my days as the marriage police and let a FW spend our retirement savings on OW and massage parlor hookers (yes, I have the evidence because FW was not the best on technology).
I am not a big believer in MLC. That is cheater speak because cheating is absolutely a decision made by the cheater and not just one decision it is almost an infinite amount of decisions. I don’t believe in the fog either, that’s just further cheater excuses to keep the chump in place.
I can understand that divorce is not easy or fun but it was the choice for me. A marriage without trust is not a marriage. I think I have the right to be in a loving relationship with mutual trust and not in continuouss anxiety about my spouse. I know that had I stayed, my soul would have died a little more each day. Divorce was the right thing for me and I am much happier and healthier now than I ever was after multiple DDays. I am also lucky enough to be in a relationship now that has mutual trust and is completly reciprocated.

Viktoria
Viktoria
6 months ago

Wow their point of view is delusional. Indeed, are they high?

Maybe this is some kind of BDSM fetish (no offense to the empathetic, safe, careful and all-are-consenting- BDSM people). As in, perhaps the chumps think this is kinky or something, to remain sexually and relationally available to their partners/spouses all while knowing said partners are getting a bit on the side however and whenever they want, for the rest of your life.

Or maybe it’s a fake-humble thing. As in, they think themselves morally superior for being committed no matter what infidelities their partner does; a form of self-punishment, a self-flagellation, dark ages style. Ick to both. Oops.. I just realized I’m trying to untangle the skein of fuckupedness of these particular chumps. Go figure.

OHFFS
OHFFS
6 months ago
Reply to  Viktoria

“As in, they think themselves morally superior for being committed no matter what infidelities their partner does”

I’ve always had that feeling from people who promote staying with a cheater. They tell themselves it’s a sign of how strong they are and how pure and deep their love is. They put down people who leave, whether they are passive-aggressive by offering clichés that stink of toxic positivity, or, as we chumps have most often experienced, directly hostile and judgemental to us for our “failure” to be more patient and tolerant of the cheater’s antics, because, as they insist, that’s what love requires.
Most of us were far too patient, actually, and love needs to be reciprocal. Otherwise, it’s just an excuse for being self-destructive.

Viktoria
Viktoria
6 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Mindboggling: We chumps publicly declared at some point that we were committing to our partner(husband etc) for an exclusive, monogamous relationship (marriage if we got married). Now the sanctimonious RIC crowd thinks that a chump should be patient and tolerant of their actual spouse having extra-marital sex (or extra-relationship sex), that we NEVER agreed to before? Like suddenly, when we discover that we have been betrayed, we are supposed to now accept the “forced non-monogamy”. We are expected to be sexually faithful to the cheater, but the cheater gets to have a smorgasboard of pussy now?

And these people probably think themselves as caring about social justice, feminism, anti sex abuse and anti- DV issues. Right.

The RIC are asking the chumped to simply be a willing and available sex slave. “I am faithful but…. hubby cannot be faithful because of his FOO or his MLC issues…or his sex addiction issues, so it’s okay.” With this philosophy, the chumped is presented with merely being used a sex option for the cheater in a non-reciprocal relationship. This is not okay.

Viktoria
Viktoria
6 months ago
Reply to  Viktoria

I meant “forced one-sided monogamy”.

Strugglingnomore
Strugglingnomore
6 months ago

Boy am I glad I didn’t have that “support” group” to turn to when I was going through it all. I would have kept myself in hell longer. I certainly had that mentality, that sticking around for more torture made me strong and noble, rather than the wounded, terrified, shell-shocked mess I really was. Volunteering for more abuse is not “taking back your choice” what a bunch of BS these people are telling themselves (and each other). It’s hopium, plane and simple. If anyone over there is reading this, you don’t have to put yourself through it anymore! I promise it’s going to be more than ok. Come join us at Lake Cheater-free. The water’s just fine

Elsie_
Elsie_
6 months ago

My ex was retired when we split, and initially, I made excuses. He had trouble adjusting to not having work. He didn’t know what to do with himself during hours of unscheduled time and no more work milestones. Life as a retiree wasn’t what he expected. He wanted every day to be like a vacation, but that wasn’t practical with the responsibilities our kids and I had. It wasn’t our job to entertain him, either. We still had one in high school with assignments due, and one was in college locally and had a job.I taught online a few hours daily but was planning to end that as he retired. Thankfully, something told me not to just yet.

Now I believe he blew up our family because he did. Post-divorce, I processed the lead-up to that. He had used the threat of divorce to end arguments in his favor, and he had talked about taking off by himself as well. He even told me which attorney he was going to use. So he effectly seeded and manifested the mess to come.

But yes, it was all about character, and I had nothing I could do to change that.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago

Midlife crisis = narcissist reality crash? Who wakes up one day and suddenly realizes they’re over the hill? Were they totally deluded that they were dewy adolescents right up to that point? By that token, affairs make sense as emergency caulk for sudden reality leaks.

In any event, the whole “waking up on the Beach that Makes You Old” crisis– aka MLC– sounds distinctly narcy, not normal. There was a study about how narcissists tend to think they’re hotter than they actually are. I imagine part of that is fantasizing themselves to be younger than they are and the bearers of every other variety of wonderful and ideal qualities. But singling out appearance, researchers intentionally called into question earlier studies that had allowed study subjects to rate their own attractiveness, then the studies made conclusions based on self-assessments, say, assuming that adulterers and mate poachers are “more attractive than average.” But, oops, apparently not. And does that disappointing reality break through at times and periodically burst the bubble?

I think the rest of us get daily updates on aging while brushing teeth. It’s a long, slow process with lots of time to adjust. But you can see that, for someone living in a fantasy, the reality check could be quite violent and jolting. Restoring the delusional state probably requires a slew of strategies. For instance, I’ve been reading about the “projective identity” theory lately where narcs and domestic abusers in general attempt to “free” themselves of awareness of their own flaws, fears, insecurities, self-loathing, etc,, by externalizing these things onto an unwitting partner. Once the abuser manages to brainwash the partner that the partner is useless, worn out, ugly, unloveable, “bad,” etc., the abuser apparently feels better or “restored,”. Cheating could be a means to this end too since betrayal would be the most effective route to shift their own fears of abandonment, competitiveness, envy and pathological neediness and dependency onto partners by engineering a condition that would, at least temporarily, make most average people feel that way. Projective identity sounds sort of like junkies who mug people by wielding infected needles.

Elsie_
Elsie_
6 months ago

My therapist didn’t use the “projective identity” term with me (that’s one I haven’t heard of), but she did comment many times that my ex was throwing all his junk on me as a way of dealing with his pain and inadequacies. Because that sort of thing is never truly satisfying, she noted that they have to constantly one-up us in their quest to feel “better.” In my case, the ultimate one-up was that he left me to deal with all the chaos while he secretly “reinvented” himself in another state. Then he told his family how crazy and unstable I was to cover his tracks. He also said I’d never make it on my own because I was so weak and stupid. Both of those stories got passed on to his attorney too (of course).

There was nothing to work with by then. Nothing.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago

I’ve been having a mid life crisis for oh….about 40 years now….it doesn’t involve cheating though, so I must be abnormal. Doesn’t everybody have fears or difficulty about getting older? You know, you reach an age where you haven’t achieved what you want – or maybe you have – but it’s not all that. Or maybe you start having physical problems – the eyes can’t see as well, arthritis sets in, etc. Or maybe you’ve put on some pounds and you don’t look “sexy” any more to the babes. That’s life. You can deal with it in a healthy way and embrace getting older and being a leader of your family and your community, or you can be a pig who chases after the young ‘uns and pays them off to fondle your crepe folds. America especially is a country where many people simply refuse to grow up…..that’s not only unnatural, but you lose a lot when you devote yourself to pretense instead of accepting the natural seasons of life and what comes with them. There may not be many good things about getting older but there are some….like knowing which ones are the poison berries. And being able to warn and advise others. Time to grow up and stop using MLC as excuses for bad behavior.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Lol lol “or you can be a pig who chases after the young ‘uns and pays them off to fondle your crepe folds.”

I think the only people who experience so-called MLC are so entitled they think their entitlement extends to mortality and have the luxury of being terribly surprised that it doesn’t. But there’s an alternative manner of largely shielding oneself from the shock of aging– never having objectified oneself to begin with. It’s not really protection against awareness of death but at least can make the appearance changes involved in aging seem far less important. That was my mother’s approach. She thought it was all hilarious. Ironically, I think this was one of the reasons she probably aged so slowly.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Yep, and to be fair there is one thing that getting old has that not getting old doesn’t have, and that is the privilege of getting old, not everyone gets to.

I laughed and laughed when I read “pays them off to fondle your crepe folds. ”

Pretty much says it, those youngins aren’t after his physique. There’s money in those thar (sic) folds.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

OMG, my friends and I had a running gag in college about excavating jewels and the lost fleet of the Spanish Armada from the “folds” of the old Bentley-driving dudes who hung around the young’un clubs in LA and NY. We figured there might be a few skeletons of lost bimbos of bygone eras lodged in there with “help me” notes. It sounds terribly mean and ageist but these guys were aggressive and sometimes scary. One would dose women with GBH, videotape them and then keep the tapes in a vault for the purposes of blackmail. We always bring up that gag whenever we reunite.

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago

Aka, Bill Cosby drugging them.

But, to be fair many young women are ready and willing to sell it to the highest bidder. To me is is heartbreaking, as it can be so dangerous as you mentioned.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago
Reply to  susie lee

Yikes, daddy issues are so sEXy. :/

susie lee
susie lee
6 months ago

I don’t even think a lot of it is daddy issues. Just plain money grubbing.

Mehitable
Mehitable
6 months ago

Didn’t Stephen King write “The Stand”?

OHFFS
OHFFS
6 months ago

This comment from the site owner about saving your marriage by yourself was particularly delusional;

“Maybe you cant, but I did. Oh wait, I didn’t. I kept it from being destroyed until Sweetheart was willing to return to the team and work with me to repair our marriage. Basically, a person can save their marriage alone up to a point. At some point the repair effort needs to be a team effort.”

So it’s all about what “Sweetheart” is willing to do. “Sweetheart” has no responsibility to the marriage, he can bugger off to be with somebody else while his spouse hangs around waiting for him to get tired of the latest AP, “fixing” the marriage by having zero expectations of him.
Once the vows are broken, it is already destroyed. If marriage isn’t conditional on keeping those promises, what is the point of making them in the first place? “Sweetheart” sure got himself a sweet deal when he walked down the aisle.

I looked at the site and see she is offering Zoom coaching for $125 a session.
Ugh. Such predictable RIC monetization. You can get an actual therapist for $200, and this woman has no training whatsoever, so that pricing is pretty outrageous.

KatiePig
KatiePig
6 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Well, there goes the last bit of empathy I had for her. She’s just as evil as her horrible husband, charging desperate people going through the worst shit of their lives over $100 an hour. She’s scum.

She sees the cheating spouse as an innocent victim, that’s why she calls him sweetheart. While all the women he gleefully ejaculates inside of, because the act of abusing and betraying his wife literally makes him orgasm, are considered evil usurpers. He was simply attacked by a violent and evil succubus, that’s all. He did nothing wrong, total victim. It’s so gross.

I was so desperate for support, I read a lot over there. It’s fucked up. I’m not surprised it turned out to just be a scam for her to profit. That explains a lot, honestly.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
6 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

$125? I can be a doormat for free, thank you very much!

2xchump
2xchump
6 months ago

AMEN AMEN AMEN!! I’ve been waiting for this AND CL is right on the money!💰💲! How do I know?? 2 cheaters. First one was 33 when he started his affair. I counted that midlife because he told me his ” life count down was clicking downward and he wanted LIVE FREE, free of his parents pressures and free of me pregnant and with a 6 year old!! “I wanna be me🎵was the song here. I got ALL THE BOOKS ON MIDLIFE and yes affairs were more evident in the 30s???but perhaps I’d missed the years of underground basement activities??? Hmmmm .
Next cheater was 60 when there were obvious shinnanegans( Sarah, I’m sounding like you) going on. I thought I needed the MIDLIFE books but WAIT…60??? Oh my goodness….THIS IS ALL ABOUT CAKE and doing what one wants and BLAMING ME OR TESTOSTERONE or whatever else. So blameshifting to aging factors and my lacks. My last 60 year old cheater said his ED was telling him he needed to get busy and do other woman before he died or his manly parts might shrunk down to zero. It is true, Tracy is right!!!! It is character and fear of death of ‘said parts’ or not getting enough. Plus blaming me, plus I have a MIDLIFE shift too,why don’t I run away, get laid have partners since I’m going to die too??? How much has been hidden by these MIDLIFE guys we don’t know. How much they lie, we do not know. Do they get to eat cake while I pray for them to come back and rejoin civilization? Do I stay in the harem and put frosting on his cake??. Do I wait until his male parts take a dive and now he is all mine? Health problems, old age, heart attacks, whatever the harem leaves me? I get to keep him and the family together. Who gets the prize here? Who is the loser, who is the winner? It all sucks but a mid life crisis is the excuse to keep on eating cake and this is the TRUTH. After a 30 year old cheater and a 60s year old cheater it is all the same. Entitlement, arrogance and more cake. No way Jose!!!! Not me anymore!! Thank you Tracy!! Your cartoon today I had never seen, it is perfect!!!!! Your book is crazy on target🎯🎯🎯and I love what you are doing for this planet!! Thank you Lord for Tracy!

Elsie_
Elsie_
6 months ago
Reply to  2xchump

Oh my, the “get busy…or his manly parts might shrunk to zero”

That was completely my ex. It was like he suddenly decided that time was running out, so he’d better become a sex addict or else! The logic of that is just bizarre.

I stayed put and got the house sold, handled all the ugly questions from friends and family, and got the kids through college. I picked the superstar lawyer that his attorney was afraid of, and we got it settled. Not without a lot of drama, but done. That all was meaningful and good.

He did whatever he did with whomever. And somehow that is meaningful?

Sarah
Sarah
6 months ago

These are the practical questions I would have for those stand by-ers and their encourages and/or supporters-
What happens to the children if there is no system in place for shared parenting? Are they seen at the whim of the MLCer and is the stand-er “allowed” to say yes or no? Is a system worked out and honored? What if it is not? The MLC-er by all accounts seems to do untrustworthy things number one being breaking the only one and most important vow they had to make in their life.
What if the stand-er doesn’t have her own income? Or a sufficient enough one to support the children herself and their home that was built on a trusted partnership? How would one enforce financial integrity with someone who doesn’t seem to have any integrity for weeks or months or years – even if he did once possess it how does that help now?
How does a spouse live with all this unknown safety – the safety and security for herself and her children? What does that do to her mentally and emotionally and how does that affect her health and the health of her children? How would she feel confident she would have food shelter clothing tuition transportation for the life they both built and agreed upon when the plan was suddenly changed? If it was changed again at a whim? What if the midlifer needs marital money (isn’t it all money when married marital money?) to provide for his new sporty young life? Where does that leave a stander?

I think there is a lot of theorizing going on but I’m a practical person with mouths to feed and medical and house bills to be paid and I’m also a PERSON, a person who deserves dignity and to be treated with the very least consideration and compassion. I am not second pickings or someone who is desperate to be treated with an ounce of respect. I learned all that through years of being a stander. It doesn’t work. I didn’t want to be the old faithful wife who is always there waiting. I wanted to be A wife. A wife with a forever faithful husband. I made myself sick over this. Read a few posts back. I had cancer while my husband began his MLC (I don’t believe in MLC’s really but especially them being used an excuse for terrible abuse regardless if the person was stellar or not before) but now I am literally dying from the stress from what I put myself through by standing by. Standing by is perpetuating the cycle of abuse. Practically speaking it puts a spouse through incredibly lonely scary heartbreak and constant instability which comes at a very very high price tag. I would never ever suggest it be an option but most especially when the abuse of infidelity is present.

OHFFS
OHFFS
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah

I am so sorry. That is heartbreaking.

You made some great points. ITA with all.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
6 months ago

“Honey! My MLC is flaring up again.”

If your spouse suffers from moderate to severe MLC that seems to recur every 3-5 years, ask your doctor if divorce is right for you.

OHFFS
OHFFS
6 months ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

😆

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago
Reply to  ChumpDchump

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Leedy
Leedy
6 months ago

This is such an interesting discussion, on all sides of the question! But as I read these comments, I keep thinking that I’m glad I’m the kind of person for whom (as for CL) infidelity is just a deal-breaker. At least for me–though I don’t want to belittle others’ perspectives–I can’t see how reconciling with someone who had betrayed my trust could possibly be better than being single. And I feel bad for people who choose reconciliation and thus must continue to live daily with the poison of not entirely trusting their spouse. How is that not poison, invited right into the heart of your family life?

Conchobara
Conchobara
6 months ago

It sure seems to me that MLC is just another name for when our FWs let the mask drop. You see the selfish, narcissistic people underneath. It probably happens a lot in middle age coincidentally because they are generally in a financial position to cheat with greater resources to hide it (at least, this was my case), and because FWs think they are “all that” so when their own insecurities (due to age and natural changes) get the better of them, they go looking for “better”, which we all know means “easier” and morality-free.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Conchobara
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago
Reply to  Conchobara

Lol, what you write reminds me of how pathetic the whole thing is. In order to start a family, we ended up in this second rate city where people can afford to actually breed rather than NY/LA/SF where only the alpha billionaires or very poor seem to procreate. Meanwhile the dwindling middle class typically have to escape to the boondocks unless they want to be single, childless and living in a coffin-like Brooklyn studio at 55. Anyway, everything is pretty much second rate in second rate cities– hotel rooms, work promotions and even the resident office doorknobs. FW finally got his lame promotion in his mid-forties, which put him in the sites of all the sad-sack, musty provincial office doorknobs. When he finally finds one sad and musty enough to bonk him, it’s off to the supposedly 5 start hotel that, in any genuine metropolis, would be about 3 stars. Livin’ large lol.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
6 months ago

Point being, “greater resources to cheat” in middle age is typically on a very pathetic standard.

Lola Granola
Lola Granola
6 months ago

Mid life crisis, my ass.

It’s common-or-garden FEAR OF DEATH. This is the great existential crisis that every human being has to face, because it’s inescapable and we’re scared stiff of it.

How you come to terms with your fear of death – the great use-by date – reflects your character, and helps to shape your character as well.

Path A: Do you talk to your spouse about your fears? Do you find a good therapist or support group for fear of ageing and loss? Do you at least crack open a decent book or quality magazine article on the topic? Do you use this fear to help you put your life in order, make a legal will, and talk to your spouse and children about how you see end of life happening for you?

Path B: Do you hit the dating apps or Craigslist or the prostitutes, and then mysteriously ‘not remember’ lengthy affairs or even a series of one-night or one-afternoon stands that required executive brain function to scout out, book, and pay for?

Which of these two is a grown-up response from a person with decent character to the age-old and inescapable fear of death?

Conchobara
Conchobara
6 months ago
Reply to  Lola Granola

Oh Path A is SO unlike FW. He didn’t read, snowed his therapist, didn’t read any magazines that weren’t p0rn-related… he avoided (and continues to avoid) any responsibility so no will, no grown-up conversations.

almostbluegirl
almostbluegirl
6 months ago

What a discussion! A lot of people here seem to be conflating the entitled narcissism of a So-called “mid life crisis” with actual mental disorders. Speaking as someone divorcing a person with mental illness, it’s been important for me to learn to distinguish between things my ex’s mental illness made him do, things for which he was using his mental illness as an excuse to do, and him just being an asshole. (This even includes refusing treatment for the mental illness, which helps with the whole “using it as an excuse for his behavior.”) It takes a lot of work and therapy with a therapist who KNOWS how to support people in family’s with mental illness. I still get tripped up (and still have to play games with him bc kids) because guess what–mental illness doesn’t always look like a person spouting nonsense on a street corner. But even mentally ill people have to take responsibility for what they do. And if they don’t, or try to point at their illness to excuse it? Then they are taking advantage of you.

People talk about these episodes of “MLC” but all I’m hearing is more nonsense about “fog” and “timid forest creatures.” Okay, fine, they’ve got this heretofore unknown “mental illness” with no known treatment.Give me a break.

Turned A. Corner
Turned A. Corner
6 months ago

Here Here Tracey, totally with you.

unicornomore
unicornomore
6 months ago

This is interesting because when this post was initially created 11 years ago, I was a new widow trying to find my way after the death of my spouse who (I believed) had gone through a doozy of a MLC but we were together and had ostensibly triumphed over it all.

I still loved him and was grieving.

It would not be for a few more months before I started finding proof in his personal papers that his relationship with Susan of Seattle was MUCH more than he admitted. It was about 2 years before I found out he was a serial cheater and a while before I found something he wrote that said “I never loved my wife”. The love I had for him died one day as I found documents indicating he lied so much more than I ever imagined. I dropped the pile of papers and before they hit the floor, my love was dead.

My Cheater even copped to being in MLC (which I thought would solve our problems). What I didnt know is that he was guilty of so much more than I ever imagined, it was easy for him to cop to this one thing and keep me going down that particular rabbit hole.

I still think that melting down in various stages of life happens (teen years, post partum, middle age) but I no longer see it the way I did before.

I am now closer to a “Cheaters cheat, Liars lie” philosophy.