What Is Contempt in a Relationship?

what is contempt in a relationship

What is contempt in a relationship? And when it’s directed at you in the form of infidelity, doesn’t it make sense to resent and even feel contempt for the cheater?

***

Dear Chump Lady,

It seems if people aren’t on the Esther Perel train when it comes to their relationship ideologies, they talk about the Gottman’s. The Gottman Institute has put out all kinds of info and studies over the years, and my complaint isn’t with their ideology. However, it frustrates me when people cherry pick with “The Four Horsemen” and criticize a spouse for having resentment or contempt for their wayward spouse’s behavior.

“Your relationship is doomed if you can’t let go of your resentment.”

“You need to let go of your contempt if you want your relationship to survive.”

But isn’t resentment and contempt a natural reaction to selfish, manipulative, or abusive behavior by a partner? I guess this part of the narrative frustrates me, that it’s my reaction to my partner’s behavior that’s the problem. Although, I suppose my ex would agree?

Why don’t people stop to think about where that resentment comes from in the first place?

I understand people can resent someone for reasons that “aren’t fair,” but if I resent you for racking up a five-figure gambling debt behind my back, is that really crazy? If I resent you for getting fired from a job for forgery, why is that bad? Why am I expected to have the patience of a saint and not resent you for going to football games with your “just a friend” and her family instead of spending time with your daughter and me? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Sincerely,

Curly Chump

***

Dear Curly Chump,

Who are these people resenting your resentment?

Your EX cheating gambler? Did this expectation of perfect magnanimity come from him? A barmy therapist? Some Switzerland friends of your acquaintance? A cultural zeitgeist? Some insipid article in a lady’s magazine?

Who thinks your reaction is the problem?

Because fuck them.

What is contempt in a relationship, but to find something contemptible? To resent is to find something unacceptable. The sane reaction in that situation is to do something about it. You divorced him. There, we’ve solved the resentment problem.

If someone thinks your reaction to cheating (and reacting with a consequence) is the problem and not the cheating, they’ve got a blame-the-victim problem.

What are your choices?

Stay in the marriage and resent? Or stay in the marriage and eat the shit sandwich buffet of cheating, gambling, familiar no-shows?

I don’t know the work of the Gottmans, but perhaps I should let the Universal Bullshit Translator have a look sometime. (It’s splayed on a sofa recovering from Jada Pinkett Smith at present.) But they may have a point about resentment.

“Your relationship is doomed if you can’t let go of your resentment.”

That’s true. No sane person wants to live that way. Your spouse resenting, or constantly inwardly seething at you. Ugh, that’s not a recipe for relationship happiness.

Yet THAT is the Devil’s bargain you make when you CHOOSE to reconcile. You will eat that shit sandwich and you will learn to let go and move forward. “He fucked the nanny” cannot be your eternal weapon of marital warfare.

When you stay, you must do the mental gymnastics.

That’s the price you pay.

What crazy-talk is this, Tracy? I can’t be angry with my spouse for cheating on me and blowing the rent money at the dog track?

Yes, you can be angry! But after anger comes “And what am I going to DO about it?” Remember, that’s all you control — YOU. You can STAY and resent. And you can believe his pledges to not be an utter asshole. You can take away his credit cards and put a significant asset in your name. You can move to your mother’s. But RESENTING is just conceding your powerlessness. It’s anger without action.

“Your relationship is doomed if you can’t let go of your resentment.”

Your relationship is doomed when someone unilaterally destroys it.

The reaction to cheating, gambling, or an empty bank account (unilateral acts) — isn’t the agent of doom. Your husband doomed it when let his dick wander and felt perfectly entitled to come home and find a marriage waiting for him.

Perhaps the Gottmans and I disagree on that point.

That’s why I find this whole “wayward” set-up a racket.

No mentally healthy, self-respecting person should tolerate abuse in their relationships.

No mentally healthy self-respecting person wants to be friendly with their abuser. (Co-parenting requires civility, carnival cruises are not a requirement.)

To encourage people to stay in abusive marriages — cheating is abuse, gambling theft is abuse, abandonment is abuse — is madness. There’s no mental script powerful enough to tolerate the intolerable. There’s just gaslighting and the self-harm known as spackle.

When your mind rebels at strictures, it resents. But it’s a cage of our own choosing — we can LEAVE.

We can also ignore anyone who thinks less of us for it.

If you’re going to put your powerful brain towards a task, try that one.

***

Friday challenge: Have you experienced contempt in a relationship with a cheater, and then had it turned back on you, like you’re the one with the contempt problem?

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kellyp
kellyp
3 years ago

I think the focus of resentment should be on the cheating spouse not the betrayed.

When you read any of the writings of a cheater, they almost always have this huge resentment towards the spouse for nothing at all. That’s why they come up with all the stupid stuff they say because they know there’s resentment but they aren’t smart enough to identify the cause and fix it. So you get the “you put 4 cheese in the lasagna” BS.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  kellyp

Right? They are allowed to cheat because they resent the BS for running out of salt, or too much red sauce etc, but God forbid the BS resent them for sexual/financial/emotional abuse against them and the marriage.

Carol
Carol
3 years ago
Reply to  kellyp

Precisely my ex cheating husband, my lawyer said these men and women are all the same that cheat. It’s something inside of them that’s wrong but they “BLAMESHIFT” instead of adulting and fixing the problem!????

Fireball
Fireball
3 years ago
Reply to  kellyp

I agree the Xh “resented me” for resenting him. 3 decades of misdeeds from someone who obviously has no personal integrity. I finally came to terms with his secret life of lying, cheating and gawd knows what else. So many respected him that it was simply easier to place the blame on faithful me. People are just lazy and don’t want to face the truth. If he could lie and cheat on me (his best friend) then hey, he will lie and cheat on others as well.

Like I said, no personal integrity. Hold your head high and try as hard as you can to move forward. Remember “they SUCK”. I HATE and get angry at whatever God does. It only matters what I think about the situation……….. call it resentment IDGAF. 🙂

WaitingForTuesday
WaitingForTuesday
3 years ago
Reply to  kellyp

Exactly, my XH “resented me” because I had thoughts of wanting to stay home with our two young children. This is how he started his discard, with HIS resentment towards me, having a feeling about something.

Carol
Carol
3 years ago

I know exactly my ex Narc wanted a stay at home mom so I was then he decided one day, got greedy for more money but didn’t tell me of his plans so my son found out he was screwing around in our “FAMILY” home while I went back to work overnight to aid “HIS” lifestyle. Makes me vomit

Leanne
Leanne
3 years ago

I always interpreted the 4 Horsemen this way. They are the behaviours of the cheater that will lead to the marriage failure. The resentment is held by the cheater. I don’t believe it is about reconciliation or the chump. However i agree with CL. After licking ones wounds the chump has to deal with their own anger and resentment.

Daddypants
Daddypants
3 years ago

I love this. Thank you. I’m so often portrayed as bitter and fueled by resentment. But I divorced her. I stood up for myself. And my actions post-divorce have been nothing but to be there for the kids and leave the door open for mom to participate. It’s HER choice not to. Everything along the way has been HER CHOICE. Before. During. And after. I’m not fueled by resentment. I’m fueled by trying to do the right thing I’m impossible circumstances.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Daddypants

It’s okay to be bitter. You have the right. I certainly was for a while and several ‘friends’ made comments on my bitterness and that I just had to get over it. I’ve learned which are ‘friends’ and which are not. And truthfully, I didn’t like being bitter. I knew that it was eating out my soul. The dick had moved on and “was happy” long before. Fortunately, with great counsel, I got over my bitterness and realized that the dick is the one to pity. (And I do pity him… a tiny, itty bit.) I think the way I got over my bitterness is by getting on with my life and enjoying every bit of it. I found that each time I was enjoying myself, the dick would pop up in the back of my mind and I’d contemplate about how he’d be making my ‘enjoyable’ time miserable. And that’s when I realized the truthfulness of what a good friend had told me, “Trust me. Someday you’ll realize that he did you a favor.” And she was so right. He did me a favor. I’m enjoying my life so much and I’m certainly not bitter anymore.

Susie Lee
Susie Lee
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

I agree. I think the only way for the most part to get over the resentment is to let them go and concentrate on our own life. It worked for me.

I think it would take someone almost not human to stay with a cheater and not hold resentment for a long time. The problem is the RIC many times pushes the BS to stop resenting, most times before they have even had time to heal.

ComeToMeh
ComeToMeh
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

Amazon Chump, he absolutely is pitiable because he no longer has you, a faithful loving spouse. All he’s left with is a lower and degraded version of himself, a proven cheater capable of cruelly hurting someone he’s supposed to love and care for.

Our cheaters did us no favours, WE did ourselves the favour by choosing to assert our boundaries and leaving abusive relationships.

Carol
Carol
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

That’s awesome I wish I could get to that point but I’m still just bitter 3 1/2 years later. I can’t believe I was do dumb to marry that cheating idiot!????

karenb6702
karenb6702
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

You told me that , Amazon Chump last year when I was totally abandoned ( still am never once ever contacted me )

That he did me a favour , I screen shot it ( as I do with all the amazing advice on this site ) and you are 100% right it’s better being abandoned than a cake eater .

Thank you so much for your wise words and support . I couldn’t see it at the time ( I still struggle to be honest ) but I just KNOW you are right . Thank you

Zip
Zip
3 years ago
Reply to  karenb6702

Only a completely unhealthy, cowardly, selfish person would be capable of that.
Accept that he is one screwed up man who was unfortunately in your life, and fortunately he’s not now.
I agree with AChump

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago
Reply to  Daddypants

BITTER is an acronym for

Being In Totally Truthful Emotional Reality

That’s Ms BITTER, thank you.

Chickenchump
Chickenchump
3 years ago

LOL. Nod to Janet Jackson, that’s Ms BITTER if you’re nasty!

UXworld
UXworld
3 years ago

Of course, even if you take action to leave, commit fully to no contact/gray rock and (if you have kids) remain civil for co-parenting purposes, some will harp on your “resentment” and “bitterness.” Unfortunately that comes with the territory and will remain so until the narrative changes.

The ex told the guy she was secretly fucking (in our house, after our daughters got on the school bus) that I was hitting her. I make absolutely no apologies for my resentment. Anyone who disagrees can go fuck themselves.

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

I get this a lot… “why are you still so ‘angry'”… “why can’t you ‘let go'”… and it frustrates me because it is usually when Mr. Sparkles has made a giant flaming leap over a boundary (think Evel Knievel) and I’m trying to maintain No Contact/Gray Rock as a co-parent to a person who I believe has NPD.

I’m firmly in the land of meh (it happened on a Tuesday, it took four years). I do not resent “him” anymore. I “nothing” him… truly, it’s blissful.

BUT… I will continue to actively encourage and lobby for people to see how Cheating is Abuse and how it is a black and white issue for me… consequences and freedom are the only reasonable outcomes.

ThursdaysChild
ThursdaysChild
3 years ago

As an aside to this topic, Thank you for saying it took 4 years. I’m having a rough day and thinking “It’s been 2 years since DDay(s) I should be Over this by now dammit!” and feeling like a complete loser. Your 4 years comment made me think I’m not all that horrible. Thanks again.

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
3 years ago
Reply to  ThursdaysChild

You hang in there TC… at two years out, I was just finally getting the divorce papers filed and through the courts. He was still with the OW (though she was just about to find out he was cheating on her – I wasn’t at meh yet and was cyberstalking him and found his new personal ads that she didn’t know about and I made sure she did)… third year was after the divorce was final and my son was older and growing used to the visitation schedule (so my heart wasn’t breaking as much on my “off” weekends)… just give it time. It takes what it takes… but No Contact/Gray Rock are paramount to getting to Meh. You have to let go of him and forgive yourself for accepting the abuse. You’ll get there!

ThursdaysChild
ThursdaysChild
3 years ago

Thank you for this, and for sharing your timeline. I am completely NC; forgiving myself isn’t going to be an easy task. I hope things are going awesome for you. =-)

Skunkcabbage
Skunkcabbage
3 years ago
Reply to  ThursdaysChild

It’s been 5 years for me. I think I hit ‘meh’ sometime over the past winter. The AP X girlfriend contacted me (yes, she still trolls him 3 1/2 years after she left him!!) to tell me that he’s trying to hook an Asian lady. Trying to get a rise out of me.

I found that other than wondering if, when and how he would tell his teen age son about his new “love interest”, I really couldn’t care less.

Skunkcabbage
Skunkcabbage
1 month ago
Reply to  Skunkcabbage

The AP X sent me her stalking finds for at least 6 years. The last time she sent me a FB stalk screenshot picture of him was over a year ago. I never responded, and she hasn’t contacted me since. For all I know she’s still following him around social media.

Last edited 1 month ago by Skunkcabbage
Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Skunkcabbage

His AP contacted you to tell you what he’s still up to in his personal life?!? I find that so odd.

I’d be like, “why are you calling me?” haha

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

It’s weird to me that Chumps get the “you’re bitter/resentful” talk by people outside of the marriage but no one really says much to the cheater.

The cheater doesn’t have people telling them “you’re a cold hearted cheater”. In fact, most people don’t even say much to the cheater.

Why is it that Chumps get a negative label? Our society is so backwards.

Chumpstoblame
Chumpstoblame
3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

It sure seems that way. No says a word to his face, yet I cop ‘maybe if you stayed hot, or had some self-esteem, or if I was just a more positive person etc etc etc.
All I know is maybe if I had trusted myself, the abuse would have still happened, but I would have got the hell out the first time I smelt a giant rat. Instead I got the love bombing and he questioned whether there was even a ‘rat’ at all? I had trust issues, that was the problem. Well yes, not trusting myself. ???? Trusting him was not warranted at all, confirmed once his double-life was exposed.

Chickenchump
Chickenchump
3 years ago
Reply to  Chumpstoblame

Does this all stem from our collective childhoods? No one likes a tattletale? You’re not fun if you don’t run with the in crowds? Just a thought as to why everyone else wants to easily side with the charming narc and not the suffering chump.

Zip
Zip
3 years ago
Reply to  Chickenchump

I think it’s another way (as C lady pointed out others will do –) to dissociate from the chump. If chumps are painted in an unflattering light after the fact, it goes to reason that maybe we weren’t so great in the relationship…. And that explains to them – why the cheating will never happen to them
-as opposed to somebody feeling bitter after an accidental death, people would be more empathetic (even though the person isn’t dealing with betrayal on top of loss)

I also think that some people think the cheater was an asshole and don’t understand why the betrayed person can’t move on faster -because clearly the cheater was a piece of shit.

-and then there’s all the cheater apologist who buy into the sad sausage story…and life happens attitude (since it didn’t happen to them, there’s a lack of empathy)

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Zip

You’re right Zip, completely.

I think the last one, lack of empathy people, are the ones I can’t stand the most….but really I can’t stand any of them.

Skunkcabbage
Skunkcabbage
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

It’s apples and truck tires in a comparison between your X and my X’s actions, but I also experienced great resentment when XAss told everyone who would listen, including the court, that I was physically and emotionally abusive towards him. How you might ask? – by flicking him in the head! What was one finger flick (and not even hard) on the shoulder one day when he was being an idiot turned into “constantly and repeatedly flicking him in the back of the head over a period of years”. It was absurd. It was ridiculous. It was delusional. And I did resent the fuck out of him trying to turn his bad behavior back on me. Now I just derisively laugh whenever I think about that. (Oh, and the judge rolled his eyes hard on him when he heard that!)

Differently Chumped
Differently Chumped
3 years ago
Reply to  Skunkcabbage

Ugh. Wasband played the abuse card as well. If I was the one abusing him so badly, why was I the one to flee the marital home and go no contact?

Skunkcabbage: if the flicking supposedly lasted for YEARS, why did he go so long without mentioning that it bothered him? If you insisted on doing it anyway, why didn’t he get a helmet? Or walk away when you came up to him with your flicky hand out?
Makes ZERO sense.

ComeToMeh
ComeToMeh
3 years ago
Reply to  Skunkcabbage

You flicked him behind the head?
He fucked others behind your back.

Doesn’t take a genius to see which is the abusive behaviour.

I’m eye rolling with the judge!

Ashley
Ashley
3 years ago

The work of the Gottmans is more for sane healthy relationships with 2 people who want to make their relationship work. It’s useful for before an affair but not really so much after… It’s like the articles that tell you to look at your part in the relationship and what YOU did wrong.
Not that much you can do if you check in to ensure we’re good and the other party yes and lies right to your face.

ivyleaguechump
ivyleaguechump
3 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

I think the “resentment” the Gottman’s refer to is not the reasonable resentment felt by a chump after an affair, but rather the resentment the cheater uses as an excuse to have an affair. My X resented my insistence on getting a “frost-free” fridge after he insisted I would be the one responsible for defrosting the thing. He resented my desire that he give up his charade of being an “environmentalist” by storing his trash in my kitchen cupboards (no joke – hundreds of empty ice-cream containers). He resented me when I wouldn’t cough up big bucks to pay for whatever toy he wanted, while I was trying to be fiscally responsible. And yes, he resented me when I quit having sex with him after he gave me herpes.

There is also the kind of resentment that can rear its ugly head that could be considered “reasonable”, I suppose. When a spouse constantly works late, misses appointments, is a complete utter slob. Those are the type of resentments the Gottmans refer to, and can happen in any marriage. The goal is to head them off at the pass, before they become insurmountable, and to work towards solutions together.

I like the Gottmans. I don’t think they chump-blame. In fact, they come down hard on cheaters (my take).

Zip
Zip
3 years ago
Reply to  ivyleaguechump

I agree, I think the Gottman Institute is right on with their advice-
should be a required premarital course!
-it’s by no means relevant to blaming a chump around feeling resentment

Chump No More
Chump No More
3 years ago
Reply to  Zip

In fix it mode I booked a Gottman Intensive Weekend. Its great information for helping marriages be stronger and better. Unfortunately my house was burning down and that weekend was one more trauma.

Zip
Zip
3 years ago
Reply to  Chump No More

Crap 🙁
And I’m sure hardly anyone goes to these workshops or to marriage counselling when things are going well…

wildcat
wildcat
3 years ago
Reply to  Ashley

Ashley,

I agree – the Gottman work is appropriate for healthy marriages when both parties want to learn ways to improve and fix. It is not appropriate for a situation with cheating, lying and abusive malignant narcissists.

And CL is correct – if you choose to stay and eat shit sandwiches, then you need to own that decision and not resent them for everything. Again, with most cheaters this doesn’t work – you are admitting that you are going to continue to accept the abuse. That is just wrong.

Carol39
Carol39
3 years ago

I love this, but I would phrase it slightly different. It is TRUE that my “resentment” doomed my marriage. I have no doubt at all the if I had simply shut up and cheerfully smiled while the EX screwed whores and blew through all our money, I could have stayed married to him. For that matter, if I even now went back to him bewailing my “mistakes” and pleading with him to take me back, he probably would (although he’d make the most of it and play up the victim role and go on about his “forgiveness” of my sins).

So yes, resentment dooms marriages. The issue here really is this: The marriage is not the ultimate good. We shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice people for the sake of the marriage. Marriage is supposed to serve the greater good–provide stability, companionship, sexual satisfaction, etc in a loyal, trusting relationship. When adultery happens, the marriage is toxic and no longer serves a purpose.

This reminds me of human sacrifice in ancient times. The people who cut out the hearts of victims on the altar actually wanted good things for their community–rain, good crops, no disease, etc. And they honestly thought that cutting the throats of victims in sacrifice to the gods helped them achieve that goal. The problem is that you don’t sacrifice PEOPLE for the sake of some higher goal. It’s not okay to murder someone even if your purpose is something that benefits you and the rest of the community.

Going on about resentment for adultery is like saying to someone walking up the steps of a Mayan pyramid to his bloody death, “Why are you upset about this? You really need to let go of your resentment. We’re going to have some nice crops now.”

The victim says, “Sure, YOU may have nice crops. But me? I’ll be a mangled heaps of blood and bones. Why is that okay with you?”

And that’s my response about my marriage. Sure, the EX may love to have his wife appliance and nice home. The community may be more comfortable when families stay together and there are no nasty divorces and court cases. But what about ME? Why is it okay that I am a heap of mangled blood and bones? Why is it okay that I have an STD and I’m in bankruptcy court because my husband spent all my money on whores? Why is it okay that my daughter has to lock her door to keep her dad from coming into her room at night?

It’s not okay to sacrifice people.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Carol39

Carol39– Read Earnest Becker. One of the power perks of being the shaman or priest regardless of celibacy rules was generally getting laid. Not for priestesses of course. Double standards and hypocrisy are nothing new

I get your point though. If we pretend cheaters and their apologists have noble intentions, it still doesn’t justify the ghastly results.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago

The point Carol is making is “the marriage is not the ultimate good. We shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice people for the sake of the marriage.”

A marriage is a contract. Cheating breaks the contract. The “marriage” as it existed is over. Then it’s either ended or a new contract is negotiated. “Reconciliation” is actually, in this view, a form of denial of reality.

My analogy is a business contract between 2 partners. One follows the agreement. The other lies, steals money and resources, diverts those resources into another business, and resists any consequences. Do you “reconcile”? Forgive and forget? Almost certainly not. Most people wouldn’t even consider entering into a 2nd partnership with that person. The “ultimate good” is the emotional, psychological, physical and financial survival of the wronged partner.

Marge
Marge
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

I agree completely.
Marriage is a contract and, in general, the basis is that you not have sex with other people.
Once it’s broken, that’s it.

What’s the point of staying married if you are the only one who values the contact?

I think more and more that infidelity is the same as physical abuse. No one would encourage a spouse to stay with someone who beat them.

Ruby Gained A Life
Ruby Gained A Life
1 month ago
Reply to  Marge

Oh, Marge I beg to differ with you. Plenty of people DO encourage a spouse to stay with someone who beat them, strangled them, abandoned them on by the highway in the desert at high noon in July. I know that from personal experience. My PARENTS encouraged me to stay with someone, my priest, and even the first therapist I found. It’s not uncommon. I’ve heard plenty of other women say the same thing in support groups.

Carol39
Carol39
3 years ago
Reply to  Marge

Sadly, I think there are many people who WOULD urge a spouse who was physically abusive to stay. I think there is a huge difference between what people SAY they will support and what they actually support when it comes to the point. The EX sexually abused a 14-year-old girl. People I knew STILL didn’t want me to divorce him. He committed fraud using my name and putting me in danger of going to prison for things I didn’t do, and people STILL didn’t want me to divorce him.

I was told over and over that the best thing for the community was staying married, that it would hurt everyone and upset everyone if I got a divorce. Nobody seemed to care what happened to me or to my kids.

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Marge

It’s absolutely the same as physical abuse.

Chumps don’t consent to have sex with their spouse, while fully knowing they are sleeping with other people as well.

We never consented to that!

Cheaters use chumps bodies for their personal pleasure. It’s disgusting and it’s abuse!

Alice
Alice
3 years ago

Had a few people tell me, “you need to let that go” about my ex’s cheating. One of them was my ex-mother -in-law and she said it with a smile on her face, ugh.

It’s not like I wanted to keep the sadness, disappointment, anger, anxiety. I didn’t enjoy living and feeling like that. Who would?

Constantly worried your spouse is slipping again, questioning if you’re doing all the right things to make them happy so they don’t cheat again, over analyzing every conversation or look they give you to wonder if they are hiding something, waking up each morning with them laying next to you and knowing someone else had that view too (heartbreaking), I could go on and on.

I could never escape it, his cheating even haunted me in my dreams. I still have nightmares about it.

After my first D-Day (there were several), I never felt like he was mine again. I didn’t even feel like myself. It was the worst three years of my life. Some people will never understand the pain & trauma he caused. Broken doesn’t even begin to describe it.

ThursdaysChild
ThursdaysChild
3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

I can’t even imagine someone telling me to my face “you need to let that go”. The utter audacity. And balls–I don’t know anyone in my life who would have the balls to try to tell me that to my face even if they did think it. The bad part about that is I tell it to myself and am probably doing my harm to myself that way than if I was able to go batshit on someone who said it to me.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

We understand the pain & trauma. I contemplated ‘ending’ it (inappropriately). Thank God I didn’t!! Once you get rid of the fuckwit, the pain is finite. And then happiness. And then peace.

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

I thought about ending it too AC. I was so defeated after finding out about the third, I felt like I was out of options. I realized though that my XH would just probably use it to say how crazy I really was, and not see it as how heartbroken I was. Glad I didn’t go there.

I’m glad you didn’t either.

HM
HM
3 years ago

Great article. I love the Gottmans and agree with their work. I don’t think their reference to resentment has anything to do with cheating. I think they have a point that you can’t perpetually be resentful in your relationship and expect it to thrive. I think you have to have hard conversations and like CL says, do something to resolve your anger or let the relationship go. The resentment isn’t helping anyone.

But also like CL says, I don’t think you should try to reconcile once abused. Just accept, walk away and work through your anger and resentment until it fades and you find yourself with a better life of your making.

FSW Mid Atlantic
FSW Mid Atlantic
3 years ago
Reply to  HM

Yeah, the GOTTMAN method is good & rational

if you have two flawed but honest people

who want to work on strengthening/repairing their relationship

by recognizing, being accountable and hopefully improving

the counterproductive patterns that can harm any long term relationship

…the issue is that, as Chumps, we are simply not members of that group

our “partners” are dedicated to deception, blameshifting and avoiding consequences

which makes the GOTTMAN Method

kinda like taking your horse to jiffy lube

& then getting mad because they don’t stock horseshoes

Ruby Gained A Life
Ruby Gained A Life
1 month ago

“which makes the GOTTMAN Method
kinda like taking your horse to jiffy lube
& then getting mad because they don’t stock horseshoes”

And I think responsible marriage counselors — even the GOTTMANS — ought to be able to look at a marriage in which there is abuse and refer to another therapist who IS equipped to deal with that issue.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
3 years ago

There’s an unspoken assumption in most people’s minds that “letting go of resentment/contempt” automatically means “releasing all resentment/contempt of what’s actually happening and continuing forward with everything exactly as it is right now”. That is a false equivalency.

It can be true that releasing resentment and/or contempt requires releasing the person whose behaviors prompted it, meaning removing that person from my life. It can be true that I realize that I can’t ever feel truly free and unharmed until you aren’t ever going to be anywhere near me again, so the only reasonable solution that will get me to my desired state of free and unharmed is to do what’s necessary to ensure you’ll never be anywhere near me again.

Gaslighters know if they move the goalposts furtively enough, they can DARVO before we even see it coming. They know if they keep our minds and hearts heavily occupied with confusing dramas, we’ll lack energy to cut through the crap and clearly see what’s actually occurring.

Learning to re-evaluate such mondfucks by starting with re-evaluating the base premise of a person’s justifications has been a true lifesaver, and it’s really CL who taught me how to do that.

Suggesting that letting go of the resentment or contempt you feel about being abused by an abuser must include never holding the abuser accountable for the abuse — or removing the abuser from your life — is equivalent to reading
you half of a story then rising and leaving the room.

Resentment and contempt aren’t solely negative. No feelings are solely negative. They serve as beacons of wrong-ness, light beams shining on dangers and barriers and harm, guiding us to see what we need to address and change. Gaslighters try to use them a sources of easy blame, but that is a false premise. Your unpleasant feelings are simply letting you know where you need to open the space, diagnose the metaphorical tumor within, and remove it. How you excise it is up to you, not to the tumor.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Very smart analysis. The roots of the powerful negative emotions evoked by cheating are indeed “beacons of wrong-ness,” our warning systems that we are in danger.

Gonegirl
Gonegirl
3 years ago

Yes you do eventually stop resenting, it’s called “Meh”.

“Meh” is the best description of moving forward in your life. Those who are preaching forgiveness to you ask them what forgiveness is to them? Many of them have the rose colored glasses view of “being friends “ with your ex and the OW.

My ex and OW are the same self centered narcissist they have always been. I am certainly not friends with them and would not be friends with someone who treats people like that.

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Gonegirl

I can’t be friends with cheaters either. I have a family member who cheated on their spouse and left them.

I don’t go out of my way to talk to them and if they say anything to me, I just keep it short and simple.

I don’t want anything to do with cheaters.

Don’t know if all Chumps feel like that or not. I just can’t even be in the same room with someone once I know they’ve cheated.

ivyleaguechump
ivyleaguechump
3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

Absolutely feel like that. I am able to be polite, but, no, I won’t go out for coffee with that person.

Lasvegaschump
Lasvegaschump
3 years ago
Reply to  ivyleaguechump

I recently got back from visiting family for the 4th of July. In the 7 years since I had been back, I had gone thru a divorce that was very difficult and the kids and I came out the other end quite battered and worn but we made it. To say I have changed is a major understatement both physically and definitely emotionally. I trust no one and sometimes not even myself. I believe my x is a covert narcissist and he left a cemetery in his wake.
I literally could not wait to leave while I was at my cousins house. He is a cheater and left his wife of 24 years for a coworker. I love her and I still call her my cousin even tho she’s not (he is my blood cousin). His nonchalant attitude, his gorgeous huge house, his boats and sports cars in the garage just made me mentally scream “you’re still a loser and a cheater, dude!!!” I barely met his new flavor of the week because I wasn’t introduced to her and I knew she wasn’t going to be in the picture for very long. Supposedly she’s a psychologist or therapist or something like that but she’s not observant enough to see the writing on the wall. Pendeja.
The other instance was a family friend of my brother. His on again off again gf and her kids (none of which are his) is a train wreck and I didn’t even look at her. I couldn’t even be in the vicinity of her. I swear she put a spell on him. He is so completely head over heels for her and she’s married to some other dude!!
After being rung thru the divorce my tolerance level is gone. I have no time for this bs. I am blessed with a face that tells all and no matter how I try to cover it up it never works. I just went with it and excused myself. I literally could not be in that cesspool of damaged people. There is no amount of bleach or water shock that could clean that thing up. I spent the 4th of July with my parents In their house while fireworks blew up over head. I never once looked outside to see the beautiful twinkling lights or smell the acrid powder of burnt fireworks or walk thru the blue gray fog of the aftermath. I watched my kids do that and stayed away from the cheating chaos outside.

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Lasvegaschump

I just can’t, it’s like I’m suffocating when I’m around people who have cheated.

I even have a hard time being polite. I’m never mean, I just try to not interact.

I don’t ask them how they are doing, I give quick and short answers to their questions trying to remain vague. I don’t even want to discuss the weather with them.

They just make me feel sick.

wildcat
wildcat
3 years ago
Reply to  Alice

Same – I stay FAR away from anyone I find out also cheated. Male or Female. Lose all respect for them.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
3 years ago

No one would tell you to “let it go” if you were in excruciating pain because a safe fell out of a twenty story window onto you while you were walking along minding your own business.

Yet, when it comes to the very real and excruciating pain caused by intentionally inflicted trauma, MASSIVE intentionally inflicted trauma, we’re all supposed to have superhuman powers of waving that pain away at will. Would that we could.

Those people are emotionally disconnected people that I need to stay away from. I’m grateful I can now regard those comments as the freak flags they are.

FSW Mid Atlantic
FSW Mid Atlantic
3 years ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

This is a great point, VH.

Whenever I come across someone blithely advocating a “let it go” strategy…it quickly becomes clear what they mean is “stop being so clear and precise about your boundaries and how they are being violated”

“There was a time when I believed STBXw was a safe, honest person who wanted the best for me and our children…unfortunately, her behavior indicates that belief was incorrect.

So I LET GO OF the marriage relationship she was using to hide her abuse, and MOVED ON to the current phase, in which she is treated with the trust and respect she has earned, which is zero. So I guess my question for YOU is why you can’t LET GO of your incorrect perceptions…”

Boy, they really don’t like that.

Not at all.

Boy,

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

PPS…

“What’s missing is not sex but the genuine honesty (emotional intimacy) that comes from airing problems and trusting each other with feelings”
-Charlotte Kasl

In a long term relationship, as I’ve been educated, if you’re not a robot, the footwork outside the bedroom is what determines what happens in the bedroom.

Charlotte Kasl is one of my favorite recovery authors. I call her once a year to thank her for her critical contributions to my recovery. I love my annual chats with her.

I love this quote because it so succinctly summarizes THE essential element of a healthy, functional relationship. There is no room for resentment with regular genuine airing of problems, sharing genuine feelings. I behaved that way in my marriage; his contribution was deception, embezzlement, secrets, lies, betrayal. There is only one outcome as a result and that is DIVORCE. Two people putting in sincere creative energy are required for a successful marriage. The deceptive destructive abusive input of only one is required to kill it.

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago

But then again, I now believe affairs are about sex as much as rape is…as in, NOT…..

LezChump
LezChump
3 years ago

Yes, Velvet Hammer. My STBX craves New Relationship Energy and the sex that comes with it, but mainly because sex/NRE are the purest form of emotional supply. Basically, she needs to be adored because she doesn’t know how to love herself. (She told me so herself in a rare moment of honesty after D-Day #2!)

And I think the notion that affairs are not really about sex is true for a lot of chumps too, esp. those of us who were married for a long time. I was never tortured by images of STBX having sex with AP – and when I read through her 500-page text dump, I just chuckled through all the juvenile sex talk. What really bothered me were the times STBX disrespected me, deceived me, suggested that I was not an adequate spouse appliance, talked behind my back to other long-term friends, etc.

Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
Velvet Hammer ????????❤️
3 years ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

PS….

I LOVE the description of resentment being “anger without action”….THANK YOU Chump Lady!

THAT is the key to unlocking the doorway to the Meh. For me, acknowledging the feeling, then deciding on the ACTION that I need to take. The denying/inaction/helplessness/feeling powerless keeps me on the spin cycle.

Curly Chump
Curly Chump
3 years ago

Hi! Thanks, I needed this reframed for me. Yes, a marriage loaded w/resentment can’t survive, but it’s a consequence of shitty choices. I was so hurt he asked for a divorce over a year ago, but after coming out of the mindf*ck that was being married to him, I realize I’m sooo much better off. Had I been more honest to friends & family about what was going on, I think I would have realized I had a lot more support to set my boundaries and been willing to leave. Back then I was caught up on being a “cool wife.” Not talking about any of our problems, afraid to look controlling by setting hard boundaries. Still figuring out parallel parenting, but this site has been amazing and I’m so grateful for the people here that “get” it.

wildcat
wildcat
3 years ago
Reply to  Curly Chump

My cheater used the Gottman 4-horsemen research as weapons against me. He wanted to keep eating cake, so he agreed to go to marriage counseling and continued to cheat on me the entire time. Then used the counseling sessions to point out all my flaws and how I resented him for the cheating, etc. He is truly evil, using a therapist to push me down even further with more gaslighting and blameshifting.

I had my own therapist (a different one) and finally saw what was going on. CL is really the only sane voice out there as it relates to infidelity issues.

MovingForward
MovingForward
3 years ago
Reply to  wildcat

Mine did too. I spent 5 years asking him to please see a therapist, our kids were very young and the marriage was in the shitter, due to his gaslighting, manipulation and constant lying. I gave up asking him and created a plan to divorce him. Then out of the blue he comes home with the Gottman book, tells me he found a gottman certified therapist and thinks we should go. I went to one session and knew this was a giant waste of time, he wanted cake, he wasn’t there to save our marriage. I told him and the therapist that this wasn’t going to work for me and left. In the ensuing months I finally uncovered the trail of financial infidelity he had racked up, was made aware that he owed the IRS thousands of dollars, his numerous secret social media accounts, and the girlfriend. We divorced 4 years ago and my kids and I are thriving. He is still drowning in debt, and every woman he hooks up with dumps him.
No amount of therapy works if you’re with a cheater who has no morals or ethics. And resentment and anger are valid feelings to be embraced so us chumps can be spurred to action to get the hell away from these fucktards and live the lives we deserve.

ivyleaguechump
ivyleaguechump
3 years ago
Reply to  wildcat

Geez. My X went to counseling with me, but when I started to describe things he had done to the counselor, I glanced up at him, and he was shaking his head with a look in his eye that said, “don’t tell him THAT”. The counselor noticed, too. We both stopped and looked at my X, and I finally said, “we are wasting our money if you refuse to be honest.” I remember the counselor looking at me with sympathy, and I suspect he knew, even then, that our marriage was doomed.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago
Reply to  Curly Chump

It’s not “controlling” to expect someone to keep their promises. The chumps here didn’t marry or enter other committed relationships expecting their partners to lie, gaslight and manipulate.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

It might be “controlling” to stay married and become the “marriage police” because you are married to someone who cannot be trusted and in fact has broken trust and done nothing to earn it back.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

You’re right! He still tries to pull the “controlling” card while we struggle to coparent. Thank goodness it doesn’t work on me anymore! I’m not trying to control you, I’m trying to protect our daughter & insist on responsible parenting. They always resent the expectation to be responsible & think about how their actions affect others, don’t they?

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

That’s why you don’t “co-parent.” You can only parallel parent with manipulators. If you parallel parent, you take care of the kids on your time, you stick to the court order, and you realize you can’t control what the STBX/X does–other than insisting on following the court order. That alone is often a struggle. But if you could really “co-parent” with most of these people, you wouldn’t have divorced in the first place.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

You’re right, I should have put parallel-parent. I’ve given up trying to work out our unresolved stuff with a mediator & am just letting my lawyer handle it. Progress!

ComeToMeh
ComeToMeh
3 years ago

How much i loved the cheater is how much i resent him now. There has to be something to fill in the enormous hole where the love once was, and between baseless hopium and justified resentment / righteous anger, I’d much rather have the latter tqvm.

However i do try to sit down with my resentment and talk it out. It’s unhealthy when it’s a symptom of something else, or if it’s your dominant emotion. After all, its hard to appreciate how good life without a lying cheating asshole is if I’m is too busy resenting them.

WiserChump
WiserChump
3 years ago

Is part of the message supposed to be “if you hadn’t done these 4 horribly damging things then your spouse wouldnt have felt less than, looked elsewhere and cheated on you. Its your fault”? Because I WASN’T contemptuous or critical, I was loving and accepting and he STILL cheated on me. He stonewalled ME everytime I tried to ask him what was wrong or could we please talk about this. Not buying the message.

Jeff I Am
Jeff I Am
3 years ago

Prolonged resentment aint meh.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
3 years ago

I am not familiar with the Gottman’s work but I since I stayed in wreckconciliation for 3 years I feel qualified to say this: You will absolutely not be able to stay in a marriage that is full of resentment and I discovered over that three year period that I couldn’t perform the mental gymnastics required to be happy after discovery. It made me bitter and angry all the time because there was literally nothing I could do to make myself not resent what he did while remaining in the marriage.

I had zero control of his actions to cheat; to blame shift after discovery; to cut off all contact with the OW; to make me feel safe in my decision to stay with him. When I finally took agency and divorced him, slowly but steadily and surely my resentment faded away. I will not be friends with him or really ever interact with him unless my children get married and have children of their own. I feel secure in the fact when that day comes, I will act with civility and never be tempted to take a carnival cruise with him. I don’t see that as resentment as much as self preservation though. Perhaps I am wrong but I’m okay with that.

UXworld
UXworld
3 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

THIS.

You’re lucky in that he does not constantly press you for continued engagement (“for the sake of the children,” “for your own psychological well-being,” “because it’s the right thing to do,” etc.). Some of us aren’t so fortunate.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

Yeah I probably should have qualified my statement with the fact that my children are adults and the ex is completely blocked from everything in my life. He also does not bother to try to keep me engaged. Unfortunately Ux, you are not out of this yet. If I were you, and still under constant attack I don’t think my resentment would fade at all.

Hopefully once the girls are adults KK will find another house to haunt!

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

Bummer! Stay the sane parent. Eventually the children will grow up and realize who really is the sane parent and the most responsible. In my case, one of them (even though he knows who was at fault), has a relationship with his cheating lying dick of a dad but none with me. I racked my brains over what I did wrong to cause the lack of relationship. I did nothing wrong. My heart hurts, but one thing I realized by dealing with the dick is that you cannot make anybody do anything. They’ll do what they want to do. Even your children. Oh…, that child also cheated on his now-ex wife so maybe that’s why he doesn’t have a relationship with me. He wants only affirmations for his behavior and I am not one to do that if the behavior is bad. Stay the course and model good ethics. If you’re fortunate, your children will be decent human beings. But don’t get a guilt trip if they’re not. Each person is responsible for their own behavior and actions. Good luck to you.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

KK of course is the poster child for entitled self-dealing.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
3 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

“Never be tempted to take a Carnival Cruise w/him.” That’s rich, I love it!

Newlady15
Newlady15
3 years ago
Reply to  CurlyChump

He can take the carnival cruise with Owhore. I’m worthy of at least a Celebrity cruise!

Oceanwaves
Oceanwaves
3 years ago

Ugh! This reminds me of the Crappy James Dobson book someone gave me to read…your partner cheated because they lost repect for you and the solution is:
to make yourself a fun, happy and unresentful person again so they will want to come back to you.

Marco
Marco
30 days ago
Reply to  Oceanwaves

Do the pick me dance and they’ll come back. In the meantime be a cuckold/chump. Sounds great and sells book. The problem is it doesn’t work.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
3 years ago

All of these reconciliation groups that treat the “relationship” and the marriage as more important than the person who was deceived, manipulated and abused, who was lied to and gaslighted, who was robbed of time and money, who was used as a spouse appliance.

When someone cheats, the contract is broken. There are only two ways to fix that problem that actually protects the victims–the chump and the kids.
1. Leave a cheater. Gain a life.
2. Separate while the cheaters address their problems and demonstrates over time by giving up their entitle behavior what they are willing to to do to save the marriage. Why would anyone stay with a cheater without insisting on time apart to see if the cheater is willing to make a new contract and live by it?

Either way, the chump should be protecting assets, strengthening support networks, building career options, and getting clear about their own self-worth and self-efficacy.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  LovedaJackass

I truly agree. Those are the only two options. The one I took (choosing to believe the cheater and stay with him) was the wrong option. I should have legally separated to include all assets. I would have seen his lack of ‘trying to save the marriage’ much sooner instead of finding out about his ‘lack’ four years later. That will be my advice in future to anyone trying to save their marriage.

Attie
Attie
3 years ago

I had so much anger and resentment it hurt. Resentment that he had abused me physically, mentally and financially and it was so hard to let it go. In the end I learned that divorcing him at 53 (51 when he left) enabled me to live the REST of my life as I saw fit. I’m now happier than I probably would have been with him even if he hadn’t cheated. It’s not what I would have chosen but there are definitely positives to coming out the other side and letting the resentment go!

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago

“Your relationship is doomed if you can’t let go of your resentment.” I knew this. When the dick said that he’d ‘never do it again’, and I was desperate to save my marriage, I actually said to him (when he didn’t want to kiss me), “I know where your mouth has been and if this marriage is going to work, then you better start kissing me.” I had to CHOOSE to trust him else I knew the marriage was not going to work. So I chose to trust a lying cheater. And sure enough, the lying cheater proved that he couldn’t change. Most recently my son finally gave up on his lying cheating wife. All the way up to the last week he was saying, “Mom, I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing.” I said over and over, “Trust me!! You’re doing the right thing” and then I went on to say that these people cannot change. They wouldn’t have done the crap they did if they were decent people in the first place. His (now ex) wife kept saying, “This time I’m really going to change!” I told him that she really does believe that this time she really, really will change, but after three times of shenanigans (affair, nudie texts, etc.), I told him that just like before, she’ll be good until everything settles down again and then she’ll just go back to doing what she did. Past behavior is indicative of future behavior. Sometimes I wonder if God had me go through all of the crap that I did so I could provide counsel to my son. I didn’t have Chumplady when I went through my crap. I had lousy counselors. My son won’t go through 30 years and 3 children before he’s finally done. He got out early. Thanks be to God.

Attie
Attie
3 years ago
Reply to  Amazon Chump

My son’s wife announced in April that she “had feelings for someone else” and would like a trial separation until September and then see if they wanted to divorce. He was blind-sided. He absolutely loves his wife and there was no indication that this was going to happen. It was during lockdown and he spent 5 weeks in an airbnb on his own because he wasn’t allowed to cross the French/Swiss border and move in with me. BUT, I’ve discovered my son had balls I didn’t know about. He told her he wasn’t ever going to be her Plan B, he loved her but he wasn’t sure he would ever trust her again and let’s just forget about the trial separation and go straight for divorce. It has shaken her up to be sure and he is heartbroken but I have been able to talk to him à la CL and told him he is doing the right thing. So yep, maybe you’re right. We had to go through this crap so that we could help them!

Marco
Marco
30 days ago
Reply to  Attie

Separation is to try out the shiny new AP with the spouse conveniently out of the way. Save yourself the time and trouble. File D immediately.

Zip
Zip
3 years ago
Reply to  Attie

He’s my hero

Alice
Alice
3 years ago
Reply to  Zip

Mine too

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago

Carol39– Read Earnest Becker. One of the power perks of being the shaman or priest regardless of celibacy rules was generally getting laid. Not for priestesses of course. Double standards and hypocrisy are nothing new

I get your point though. If we pretend cheaters and their apologists have noble intentions, it still doesn’t justify the ghastly results.

WeAreTheChampions
WeAreTheChampions
3 years ago

Anger and resentment serve as a warning signals, a necessary reaction for survival. The problem is when things fester for too long. As a ruminator, I know all too well the downside of letting these feelings linger years after the threat is removed. In my case there is a lot of time and distance between us, yet I am still triggered by things, especially since I moved back to the area where I knew him though he is thousands of miles away. He did contact me recently after all these years. The anger and resentment served me well in that scenario. There is a reason we have these feelings. I doubt our species would survive without them.

Adelante
Adelante
3 years ago

Research shows that place is associated with our feelings and affects our emotional response. So moving back to the “scene of the crime” would indeed have an affect on you. I think that’s why some of us just up stakes and move.

Marge
Marge
3 years ago

I follow some blogs where couples are reconciled and the souls crushing resentment the non cheater feels breaks my heart and reassures me that my decision to toss out the cheater and divorce him was absolutely right.
I cannot understand the upside of staying once one knows they were betrayed….what does the relationship offer? Do people really believe the children are better off with a lying cheating parent and a resentful, angry one? Is long term pain better than short term pain?

I can’t see it. Yes, it was very hard to kick out my spouse. After 24 years we had a huge amount of history and financial entanglements, but 18 months post d day I have survived and am absolutely meh. I have a lovely life…better than I could have imagined when this all went down.

And I have no setting resentment and anger. Just occasional disappointment that things did not turn out as I had planned, but, they so rarely do.

Maybe I am jaded, but I don’t think any relationship is worth salvaging once one party has secret sex with someone else. They have nothing left to offer.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Marge

Congratulations for reaching Meh so soon!

Portia
Portia
3 years ago

Remember the statement, “The Truth will set you FREE”? When you find the truth you might not be happy about it, and you may resent it. You find the truth and it changes your life, you have consequences to endure because of someone else. You do the time, and you didn’t do the crime. You trusted someone who turned out to be a cheater, and now you have to disrupt the life you worked hard to build — sell the home, move yourself and your children, face the world with a reduced income. You have to lose a partner, and intimacy, and love. How can you NOT resent this?

CL is absolutely correct. The cure for resentment is the action you take. It does not mean you won’t remember the truth you discovered, or lose your opinion about how unfair the cheater’s decision was in the first place. Your world changed. You were set free by your action. Ready or not your focus changes from working toward your dream of a good marriage, to how to survive today and tomorrow. After so many tomorrows you think more about you and less about the cheater, you start to feel good about your ability to adapt and change. One Tuesday, you wake up and your first thought is anything else except the cheater and your past life. You have entered the land of MEH. Memories exist, but no longer have the power to hurt you or control you because you took action, and you are free.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of realizing you are free. Lincoln may have signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but there was war, and people died, and people still felt enslaved. It was signed in 1862. It’s 2020. Is it any wonder there is still resentment? There has been action, and reaction, and change has been slowly achieved. But there has not been enough tomorrows, and MEH is still some distance away. Like it or not, it takes time.

We struggle with our individual path to freedom. When you feel overwhelmed, maybe it would help to look at history and see how long it truly takes to change things that need to be changed. We are all part of a bigger struggle to be free. If resentment fuels your fire to be free, then use it to burn your path to freedom. No one else is entitled to judge your pursuit of happiness.

Kara
Kara
3 years ago

Ugh, the “resentment” crap. That seemed to be one of my ex’s favorite words to throw at me just to get me to shut up whenever he was doing or saying something shitty. It was one of my shortest relationships, thank god…

“Hey could you please stop telling me about how great your ex wife was? That’s the only thing you’ve been talking about all day…”
“Stop being resentful that I had a life before you! Resentment just breeds negativity.”

(While he’s showing me this youtuber who goes around South Florida “outing” gold digger women on camera)
“These videos look really staged.”
“You’re just resentful that those women are hotter than you.”

(He’s complaining to me, yet again, about a pregnant 20-year-old girl who wants him to raise her child that is *supposedly* not his, and this girl’s ex boyfriend, the *supposed* father of the child keeps coming after him.)

“Why are you still communicating with her if you don’t want anything to do with a child that’s not even yours?”
“Don’t be so resentful that she’s looking to me for protection.”

…Yeah. Sure. ….The problem here was my resentment. …Uh huh…

That guy is out of my life and I have no idea what happened with him and the baby that *wasn’t* his. I don’t care. Good riddance. I will sit here and be resentful all I want with that.

Foolishchump
Foolishchump
3 years ago

The “Four Horsemen” of relationship have nothing to do with cheating or chumpdom. They basically found that couples, where one or both partners engage in criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling as means of communication are more likely to fail than couples that don’t engage in these behaviors. This is nothing to do with resentment for rightful reasons. As anything with behaviors, it’s all a sliding scale.

In fact it rather accurately summarizes fuckwit communication traits and behaviors considering that fuckwits tend to bring all four to the table on the extreme side of the scale. I’d think we all are quite familiar with the joys of destructive criticism (you don’t fold my socks right), contempt (the act of cheating), defensiveness (it’s chump’s fault he had to cheat), and stonewalling (I won’t acknowledge how you feel or that I did anything wrong). If you think back – these were present in many aspects of the relationship long before they got caught cheating.

^If you really want to apply this research to cheating, then quite frankly it fits like a glove and the end result is exactly as predicted – the relationship will fail. This is literally telling you that relationships with fuckwits are doomed.

Anyone trying to twist this to fit onto the chump as some type of reconciliation failure by chumps is either engaging in some serious gaslighting or needs to actually read the research properly.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
3 years ago
Reply to  Foolishchump

Thank you! I like the Gottman’s work, I just get so frustrated reading about / hearing people talk about the need to let go of resentment /contempt when those are natural reactions to someone else’s poor behavior. It’s the twisting that’s frustrating (I guess it’s another flavor of the Jesus cheater dialogue).

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  Foolishchump

I had never heard of “The Four Horsemen”, but now that I have, I’ll make sure to keep this information handy! Thanks.

Kara
Kara
3 years ago
Reply to  Foolishchump

Yeah, that’s what I understood the research to mean. The “four horsemen” are not things that are exclusively reactionary to cheating, they can exist in a relationship independent of infidelity. Cheaters often do bring all four to the relationship on their own, regardless of how the spouse reacts to it. They are characteristics of poor communication, and cheating can create them. Cheating can cause a betrayed spouse to become resentful, feel contempt, defensive, and criticized. A cheater almost needs to be all of these things (contemptful, resentful, critical, and stonewalling) in order to carry out an affair.

But you can also get someone who is just a really terrible, selfish communicators, but not unfaithful.

A cheater who gets caught and tries to use Gottman’s research as a defense is just more of the same cheater holier-than-thou garbage. Trying to seem morally or intellectually superior when they really have no fucking idea what they’re actually talking about.

wildcat
wildcat
3 years ago
Reply to  Foolishchump

Could not agree more! My cheater tried to twist the 4 Horsemen on me (after multiple D-days) and the manipulation worked for a while. He is a sick f*ck. So glad I am away from him and at Meh. In the end, I believe he really did me a huge favor.

deedee
deedee
3 years ago

As I understand the Gottman ‘four horsemen’ theory (and I’ve known about this institute for probably 30 years now), it’s not passing judgment per se on a spouse’s resentment. It’s merely predicting the success or failure of a marriage in the presence of contempt and resentment.

In other words, a spouse may or may not have legitimate reason to resent his/her wife or husband, but the presence of that resentment is predictive of the success of the marriage. Eventually, the marriage will end in divorce – regardless of whether or not the contempt is justified. Just my $.02.

nomar
nomar
3 years ago
Reply to  deedee

Fair point. However, to discuss resentment without distinguishing between justified resentment and unjustified resentment is to encourage a false equivalency, and therefore (intentionally or by negligence) a form of gaslighting.

deedee
deedee
3 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Disagree. Identifying the presence of resentment is just a tool to assess the viability of a marriage. The reason for the resentment (whether it’s justified/unjustified) is irrelevant, because either way, its mere existence is what counts. It only becomes relevant when trying to fix the problem so that the marriage has a better chance of surviving. Then, of course, it matters very much because the work of fixing it depends on the cause of the resentment.

LezChump
LezChump
3 years ago

I got this exact mindfuck from a Gottman-trained couples therapist right after D-Day #2. The therapist was very young and inexperienced, just out of training. The only reason we went to see her is that her practice was recommended as LGBTQ+ friendly, and none of the other therapists there were taking new clients. It turned out to be a terrible idea to see her, and I should have walked away from her earlier because I didn’t feel supported by her, but was literally sick from trauma at that point and couldn’t imagine finding an alternative. (As it happened, the next two couples counselors we saw were equally unsupportive. It turns out it’s really hard to find a therapist in the suburbs who really knows their field, and who can identify and challenge a covert narcissist.)

Anyway, this inexperienced Gottman person made us read the Four Horsemen article as soon as we started seeing her. She would sometimes refer to it in general ways during our joint sessions. Later, several months after we stopped seeing her, STBX informed me that the therapist had told her in an individual session (so I wasn’t there to defend myself!) that she sometimes felt that I was expressing “contempt” in the Gottman sense. Yeah, you think?!?

And of course as soon as STBX heard this, she was able to shift all blame onto me and absolve herself. I would strongly advise all new chumps who are doing any kind of therapy with their cheaters (hopefully to mediate a divorce, rather than to try to reconcile) to make sure that their therapist doesn’t try to pull that crap on them. As others have noted above, a chump’s natural devastation upon experiencing the pain of abuse is NOT the same as contempt in Gottman terms.

I have thought about writing a letter to this therapist, hoping that she could be educated so she’s not complicit in the abuse of others, but haven’t yet had the time/bandwidth to do so.

Amazon Chump
Amazon Chump
3 years ago
Reply to  LezChump

Let’s hope she becomes more experienced and doesn’t give such lousy advice to anyone else. If you can find the time, please write her. She needs to be enlightened.

Quetzal
Quetzal
3 years ago

Abuse experts (like Lundy Bancroft) will tell you that the abusive partner who wants to make a real change must be ready to accept and amend any grievances he caused.

Now, that’s not giving the offended partner a leeway for mistreatment, of course, it’s just righting a wrong.
If they don’t have the patience to go through the CONSEQUENCES of THEIR ACTIONS, they have no business being, much less expecting to be!, in a relationship with you.

Know your boundaries!

Professor Chump
Professor Chump
3 years ago

Hi.

As a pofessor of interpersonal communication, I’ve found Gottman’s work to be incredibly useful and scientific in its development. However, it sounds as if is being mis-applied / weaponized by the people OP is quoting.

The Four Horsemen are Criticism, Defensiveness, Stonewalling, and Contempt. These are present to some degree in every relationship, but it is the frequency with which they occur that signals the degree of relational dysfunction.

I think we can all relate to the fact that cheating involves application all of the Horsemen – especially Contempt (by cheaters for chumps), which Gottman finds to be the most damaging. There is an honorary Fifth Horseman, Belligerence, which has been studied in relation to abuse, which we know cgeating is a form of.

TLDR: Gottman is not the problem, cheaters and their defenders misapplying / weaponizing it is.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago

Professor– Great point. To quote Margaret Atwood (I quote Margaret Atwood too much), “An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it.”

Ideas are also not responsible for the people who weaponize them. Still, my favorite philosophers and thinkers are those who build into their approaches all kinds of qualifiers and obstructions against misapplication and misinterpretation. My favorite example of this is Karl Popper’s principle of falsification (as many probably know, the idea that, if something can’t theoretically be disproved, it’s not science. Therefore any time a form of “science” is officially placed beyond skepticism, it should raise red flags). I think the principle was a brilliant, deliberate attempt to obstruct “scientism”– the cult of false and expedient state science that underlay every totalitarian regime in history.

Maybe the Gottman Institute has a little more work to do.

Professor Chump
Professor Chump
3 years ago

*professor
*cheating
(Sorry, posting from phone)

Splinter
Splinter
3 years ago

I’ve gotten over resenting or being angry that the goal was me being dead by accidental causes.
Or being driven so crazy that I thought me being dead was a peaceful thought.

“Horsemen” … is another word for sick abuse.

Gottman can take his “horsemen “ and stick it where the sun don’t shine.

Ya all can buy And read every book ever written.

You know when the hair on your neck stands up ? Do not ignore that.
Just as PSA.

Elena
Elena
3 years ago

I don’t think I’ll ever read another relationship book ever. How are you supposed to single handedly fix a marriage anyway? All those damn books did was teach me how to spackle better.

Marco
Marco
30 days ago
Reply to  Elena

There’s big money in selling hopium. A lot of betrayed will grasp at any straw.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
3 years ago

I think resentment is neither good nor bad on its own. What can be good or bad is the purpose it’s applied to and what’s being done with it. There’s a lot of data in trauma and anger is part of processing that data. Resentment is just anger with a continuous loop of ruminations and head films thrown in. I think of it as the brain’s attempt to squeeze any possible wisdom out of an experience in service to survival, learn more about human evil in order to be safer from it, etc. It’s autonomic skein untangling.

In my experience, if anyone finds themselves really stuck in resentment that doesn’t eventually at least graduate into a more abstract, sociopolitical type of passion, it could mean there’s false data in the system. Typically the false data comes from the abuser mentality. Abusers con themselves as well as their victims.

Reasons for not graduating:

–Perpetrators of various ugly things never move past it because they’re invariably feeding false data into their own processing to reduce the appearance of their own culpability to themselves and/or bystanders. False data like “I was a hapless victim of circumstance who couldn’t help hitting him/her or fucking my coworker, etc. ,” “my ex didn’t love me unconditionally/didn’t fold my undies properly so it doesn’t matter if I gave them syphilis because they are subhuman”; “My love for my children is telepathically snowflake special enough to outweigh the fact I financially fucked them over and emotionally neglected them while robbing their only sane parent of energy and hope”; “I was the biggest, bestest victim in the world!” etc. They never get closure as much as some put on the “dime store Buddha” act (thanks for that epithet CL– priceless) just to extra-stick it to their own victims. Trust that they suck and trust that they *never* move beyond what they’ve done, not really.

— Side pieces never move past it because they’re also guilty of consciously harming others as co-conspirators and also force-feed their basal ganglia with bs narratives. They rot from the inside out on apologias or romanticization of what they participate in.

— Victims are often bombarded with false cultural messages like the stuff typically dished out by RIC or the cheesier religious communities– that victims “contributed” to their own abuse or they didn’t forgive properly, etc.

— Victims believing the abuser’s DARVO accusations because abusers put far more passion into those attacks than they ever did while saying anything nice and, due to systematic social isolation of their victims, abusers managed to make themselves the only source of feedback.

— A continuation of above– lack of social support for victims to recover from posttraumatic stress. A sense of simply running out of time to have a do-over– the “telescoping sense of life expectancy” and feeling that one will never be happy again that’s typical of PTSD.

— Victims failing to accurately access the scale of abuse. Until the enormity of the abuse is acknowledged and receives social support, there’s no genuine moving on. If someone finds themselves stuck, consider the possibility that their abuser and the abuse may have been far worse than even the victim themselves has factored. The abuser might have been a Jeffrey Epstein type or Jeffrey Dahmer (let’s just call them all Jeffreys). Our lizard brains pick up on this kind of potentiality in people around us even when our conscious minds can’t handle the information. Closing the gap between what we consciously think and the truth is the only remedy.

— Pragmatic inability to leave the abuser like disability or economic factors or the abuser has too much power and could feasibly take custody of children or destroy the victim in some other way.

Pookie
Pookie
3 years ago

My abuser is a Jeffrey. Chilling

ShePersisted
ShePersisted
3 years ago

Ugh. I read the Esther Perel books in the early days after DD#1. That shit sent me backwards. BUT, I do love the Gottmans. I went to a Gottman certified therapist and read lots of Gottman books. It helped me. It’s practical and research based counseling. I don’t consider Gottman therapy as part of the RIC. In fact, there is Gottman-specific therapy about leaving a relationship.

Olly
Olly
3 years ago

Hell of a Chump, thank you for that really insightful note, it’s got me thinking about my own situation. I have felt my soon TBX’s resentment towards me for the last few years, but now that I can piece all the jigsaw together I can see that it started in 2009 and he only left in 2019! He actually told me while very drunk in 2015 that “I d have left you years ago only I couldn’t afford to”. I am so glad that this narcissistic, alcoholic cheater of a husband has left, but so resent that he didn’t leave years ago! I put up with such horrid behaviour. He used me as an ATM! I’m so cross that I was so blindly trying to keep such a wretched relationship on life support for so long! I need to leave those negative feelings behind and realise that the silk-tongued snake (as my son calls him) has been banished and life can only be better!

weddingbelle
weddingbelle
3 years ago

Tried to post this for yesterday’s column, but wouldn’t work. Since it’s still about Gottman…

Definitions of the Gottman 4 horsemen. This is how things played out in my marriage, from his mouth during MC, although supposedly there was no cheating, just almost. Regardless of the cheating, there was verbal and emotional abuse perpetrated very subtly on our son and me for more than 15 years. Please Coronavirus go away. Even though he doesn’t yell much any longer, so many other traits are still there. I want OUT!

Criticism-diapproval based on perceived mistakes or thoughts

Contempt-beneath him, worthless

Defensiveness-behavior intended to defend or protect

Stonewalling-refusing to give answers or giving evasive replies

It started with me finding out he’d been looking at porn, with our toddler in the room. He received consequences. CRITICIZED my thoughts about him. I folded his Tshirts wrong. CRITICIZED my perceived mistake.
The criticisms grew in his mind from pebbles to boulders, then came CONTEMPT.
Long story, but shortened, he tried to pick up the owner of a venue at an event we attended right in front of me. She was 20 years younger. My hackles went up a couple days later. I checked our phone log, first time ever, and discovered he was texting with her. My 1st clue, really! When I asked him why they were texting, the lies and gaslighting began. DEFENSIVENESS!
Other things were uncovered by me snooping, saying I was crazy, forcing me to go to Dr. and therapist to find out if I was bipolar or had dementia (I ‘m was 58), lying by omission, hence the STONEWALLING, which has continued for the last 3+ years!

If you can put this together in your story, IMHO, you have all the ingredients for resentment. Funny thing is, you did none of this! It was all created in their fertile minds.

Jp
Jp
3 years ago

I am pretty sure the Gottman’s are neutral on the outcome of someone’s marriage, they just provide the insight as to how to have a healthy marriage.

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
1 month ago

I would guess that Ex-Mrs LFTT saying to me (straight after she denied having had an affair) that “This is my only chance of happiness, and so I guess that we’ll have to get divorced. I would have suggested that we have an open marriage – for the sake of appearances and for the sake of our children – but you don’t have the emotional maturity to make a relationship like that work” fits the overall pattern here.

Not only could she not admit to doing what she had clearly done, she could not take responsibility for the consequences and, because she knew that I wouldn’t play ball as per the “new” rules that she tried to impose unilaterally on our marriage … she decided to try and make out that I was in some way “less than.”

That feels like contempt to me.

LFTT

Bruno
Bruno
1 month ago

I got a variation of this story.
“I wanted to come back, but I knew you would never forgive me.”
So I was guilty of reacting poorly to something in the future that never happened. Like CL says, it is not what they did, but how you react to what they did that is the problem.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruno

I got, “I knew you would never forgive me.” My fault!

He also called me “vindictive.”

Bruno
Bruno
1 month ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

“Vindictive” as in being held accountable?
Ha!

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruno

I used to rationalise Ex-Mrs LFTT’s behaviour using the term “anticipatory punishment.” She would decide in advance that she did not like the way that she thought you would react to something, and so you would find yourself being punished for something that you hadn’t done yet about something that you didn’t know about yet.

Fundamentally she couldn’t handle being told “no” and when she anticipated a “no” would engage in all sorts of mental gymnastics to justify “getting even” as a result …. even if the “no” would have been entirely justified.

LFTT

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago

Yes, my FW too. They resent how they know you would react if you had the chance.
It reminds me of a couple of times when some bozo dangerously cut me off in traffic, then gave me the old one fingered salute for my anticipated reaction.

unicornomore
unicornomore
1 month ago

I was here 3 years ago, but I don’t see a post from me.

I agree with everything CL said, but how did that work in my experience?

There were massive boulders of resentment and contempt in my former marriage but it was all him towards me and it was bitter and damaging – he truly poisoned the well of any feelings he had towards me and his rage, cheating and hostility showed it.

The most fair summary I can make is that I dont think he was ever meant to attempt a monogamous life – it really wasn’t his goal in the first place but in the 1980s, the concept of being and living a Poly life wasn’t discussed or accepted – especially for a person in the military. He faked an exterior of a person who would “settle down with the right gal”. He future-faked me and threw in a lot of mixed messages and I was guilty of not seeing the red flags that were there. I think now that he was Poly all along and I was his respectable facade.

I had hundreds of reasons to have resentment and contempt for him but I didnt allow myself to because I knew it would end our marriage. I was a Spackle Queen who wanted the Intact Family Charade and fell for the Sunk Costs philosophy.

I was so often hurt by him, and forever in a place of trying to recover from the most recent infliction of pain, rarely even allowed myself to get angry with him, let alone contempt or resentment.

Because he never wanted to live monogamy in the first place, his resentment and contempt started as soon as the ink was dry on the marriage certificate. He blamed me for everything – EVERYTHING. Every single problem, challenge or inconvenience was my fault from broken cars to taxes to yard work, it was MY fault and he would not have this problem if he had just not married me.

He was resentment-fueled.

I fixed and groveled and cried and prayed.

He abused and cheated and left and blamed.

He left for 2 years then came back and we lived in a week and desperate Wreckonsillyation for another 5 years. During that time, I finally gained some clarity and realized that I could not fix what was broken and I was ready to pull the trigger on my escape plan.

I told God I was done and He could lead Cheater wherever it was that would help him be happy. I have the sharpest memory of trudging up the cement steps at work symbolically loosening up my white-knuckle grip on my hope. I expected him to leave for California any time, but instead, with no warning he dropped dead.

I was sad and grieving and I grieved my hopes for him redeeming himself in some manner.

In stages, starting weeks after he died through the next 2.5 years, I learned he was a serial cheater and I got madder and madder. Finally resentment and contempt arrived and killed whatever love I had for him (however misguided it was).

I was in a new marriage trying to process the emotions of the new things I learned about the former marriage. It ruined some of the fun you would expect in my new life, but I couldn’t entirely avoid it.

I got scared that Meh would never come and recently, I started to realize that former spouse and his horrible behavior was no longer relevant in my life. I have always listened for the place in time that people start a story…what was so relevant to them that it was their “Once upon a time” and for decades, Cheater was the start of my story and he no longer is.

I had deep resentment and contempt for what he did and it was my right to have it based on what he did to me and my soul finally let it go and Im happy and I even have pity for him now.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Yes, this is a beautiful and eloquent post, a deep dive into the experience of spackling. Just one of the many things you put so well is this: “I had hundreds of reasons to have resentment and contempt for him but I didn’t allow myself to because I knew it would end our marriage.” I have been exactly there. In a way, your post reminds me that it’s not just our passivity but also our kindness and gentleness that lead us to preserve our relationship by contorting ourselves psychologically.

Since moving out, I’m finding it’s immensely freeing to be single again, and to be able to let my true emotions and even my true insights bubble up and lead me wherever they will. Grateful to live in a country and an era where divorce, and the mental freedom it brings, are possible.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  unicornomore

Such a beautiful and profound post. I guess I just don’t understand their behavior – maybe it’s untangling the skein as Tracy says, but I still like to understand how humans behave (I’m on the spectrum which is why I might be obsessed with trying to understand the “human”). Do you have any insight into why someone would want to have this kind of non-monogamous life for decades? I just don’t get it at all, it seems like something a teenager might do. Maybe there are different reasons for different people, but is it avoiding responsibility? Is it inability to commit emotionally to one person? Is it insecurity and wanting to be “won” or win over, many others? It just all looks so exhausting and pointless to me, like making the same pan of lasagna over and over again thinking it’s gonna be different the next time. I think most of the time they just keep pursing the same person repeatedly but maybe with different appearances, but it always seems to turn into the same person ultimately. Such a massive waste of time and energy and what does it produce ultimately.

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

It is untangling the skein to ask “why?” and to try to figure out the “reasons” for their insane secret lifestyle. I don’t think it is about avoiding responsibility or wanting to not be monogamous. Speaking for myself, in my case I believe the main factor is having “all the control” or having as much “CONTROL” over others as possible. I think that, at least in the case of male cheaters and female chumps, there is serious “woman hating” going on (misogyny). And that’s insanely fucked up (psychologically dysfunctional), and in my opinion, evil. Which reminds us of the “coercive control” (Evan Stark) form of abuse topic which is gaining traction in our DV dialogue circles. I am very interested in this topic, coercive control as a domestic violence issue and making it a legal issue (a crime). I’d like to see this topic as a post or Friday challenge sometime. The reason this control thing is important is because this is dangerous and epically abusive for chumps.

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

I have a friend who is ethically poly. She views it as she just has love for many different people – genuine romantic love and little crushes – and why should she keep it to one person? Why limit that love? And why demand someone meet needs they don’t want to meet, if she can get them with someone who wants to do so? She actually once asked me similar questions to yours about monogamy to me – its equally confusing to her. It was a very eye-opening conversation. I’m completely monogamous myself, and explained that to me, monogamy is the required basis for any relationship I’m in. I need the security it creates. And while she may feel like she shouldn’t change/”diminish” for someone else, that for me, to mold to each other is part of the appeal. Eventually, your sleeping habits align, you learn each other’s schedules and accommodate for the other person. I love that! And I don’t want to try and split my (romantic) love for multiple partners, or have to share my partner’s (romantic) love with other people. I was, apparently, the first person who explained it in a way she could understand and she thanked me profusely.

BUT, she doesn’t cheat and is appalled by it. All of her shenanigans are above the table. Her partners all know what’s going on, and she’s very upfront. It’s definitely not for me, but if they’re happy and not hurting other people, I’m happy for them. I’ve met some of her partners – friendly folk, very kind and welcoming. So I don’t judge. I don’t think it’s immaturity, it’s just a different need.

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago

I never had the contempt, for him in the marriage, but he as most cheaters do built a case of contempt for me, on stupid things; but it gave him the energy to exuberantly defy me.

OutButNotDown
OutButNotDown
1 month ago

Yes, I lived with always just under the surface contempt and hostility towards me for 25 years from my covert narcissistic ex. Talk about wearing a person down! The thing was honest emotions were just not allowed. I couldn’t bring up the state of our marriage or react with any kind of anger at any time without negative repercussions. And if I ever had the audacity to “have a headache” and not be in the mood for sex, that’s when the contempt would be more visible.

The deal breaker for me was the cheating, and then how he treated me after I left him. He definitely had the victim blaming thing going on, with plenty of flying monkeys believing his bs. I learned after our divorce that he told a mutual friend that we divorced because “I couldn’t get past his inappropriate relationship (with his underling at work)” and I had “unforgiveness towards him”. In my mind I divorced him because it dawned on me, after nearly 2 years of separation, that it just wouldn’t ever get better, he couldn’t change, and I was done being abused.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  OutButNotDown

It’s my experience that they really ramp up the nastiness after D day- even though they are essentially getting what they want- free of us and able to indulge their fantasies.
Not enough though- they never miss an opportunity to kick us when we’re down.
And people they know condone it and don’t question the cheater- until it happens to them.

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago

Yes, contempt and stonewalling brought my marriage to the edge. He was also an addict and had documented mental health issues. When we separated the second time, he made it long-distance and proceeded to live like a single man. I was wrung out over all his games. He had been talking about divorce for years and even had his pitbull attorney picked out.

The divorce and closeout did not go well and took way longer than it should have for a case with no custody issues and no real estate. Yet more dirt came out. His attorney got sick of it and basically threw the case. They got their part of closeout done, and then his attorney died. My ex went pro se and continued to stir up bogus issues until he finally decided to leave us alone. Reportedly, he has found his “true love.”

And yet? There remain those who chide me for not speaking well of my ex. In my opinion, the facts speak for themselves. That is NOT contempt. So I avoid people like that.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
1 month ago

The only example I can think of for some reason (I’m sure there’s many but I have reached meh and so much has been blocked from my memory lol)… was during tax season before my divorce was settled. I had a former boss chatting with me who asked how we were handling our taxes in the divorce (he was always big on chatting taxes for some odd reason). I said that we were filing separately and that I refused to file married. He flipped out on me for “wasting money” because I had so much CONTEMPT that clearly I was spiting the nose on my own face.

I answered flatly that I didn’t trust anything FW did. He had fucked up all our past tax years already. He also fucked up all of our bills (see: didn’t pay them…or did bizarre things like DOUBLE pay healthcare for 2 years). So although I knew it was more expensive to file separately, I felt it was the safest option. I also couldn’t get clear answers from FW and there was no way to ensure he wouldn’t further fuck shit up. Former boss still blamed me and said that I was just angry and full of contempt. Made him sound like a former FW himself… not sure if he is. Don’t care really.

Still glad I filed separately lol (my accountant agreed, for what it’s worth)

One last time
One last time
1 month ago

We recently divorced. MSA clearly says that we are to file separately and I claim our daughter on taxes. She is not at all happy about that

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
29 days ago
Reply to  One last time

We had the option in our settlement. And I was not about to allow more mindfuck games from FW — that’s why I opted to file separately. Also I was forced to alternate tax years with FW for claiming our son — which is total BS…but I’d pay any price to be free of that douche FW so I just accepted and moved on

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 month ago

I’ve noticed that the cheaters & pro-adultery folks love to learn and procure all the psychology and therapy words and all the “marriage issue” words and try to use them as weapons to bludgeon chumps regarding the cheater’s sexual infidelity, which is NOT a marriage issue, but an abuse issue.

Leaving the abuse of the cheater is just the first step. Gaining a life includes the hard work of beating back the abuse we get from all their gaslighting us with these false accusations, blame-shifting, projecting.

My eX hasn’t directly accused me of the “sin” of having contempt for him, but he has directly accused me of the “sin” of being worldly enough to divorce him and listen to “pro divorce” voices such as Gretchen Baskerville. Ohhhhh I’m sooo worldly and mean and unchristian.

This coming from a man who secretly chose to pay to use the bodies of strange women for decades, and keep this little hobby of his a secret from me.

The accusation that a chump’s justified reaction (outrage, contempt, divorce, no contact and much more) to being sexually betrayed, is “wrong”, is such a mindfuck.

Do I have contempt for him now? Yes and this stance is keeping me safe, thank you.

Last edited 1 month ago by Viktoria
Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

Manipulation of language is the essence of gaslighting. Getting people to doubt their perceptions of situations and relationships…..

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

I have noticed the use of “excuse” words used by cheaters. In my case tough there was no internet and I can assure anyone he didn’t read it somewhere, he hated reading. But by and large, though he didn’t use the psycho-babble words, the actions were much the same. I haven’t been happy for ten years, I didn’t handle it right, (as if there is a right way to cheat), I never loved you; right down the line.

To me i appears the actions were already cemented and the therapist world build their babble around it to excuse the cheater; because only the BS is willing to pay the freight to save a marriage.

Bruno
Bruno
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

Gretchen Baskerville and Sheila Gregoire are shaking up abusive marriage assumptions amongst the mostly Evangelical Christian community. Their data based approaches give many people a means to overcome patriarchal misrepresentation of scripture and church history. They both have books, Ms Gregoire has a popular podcast and Ms. Baskerville has a popular Facebook page, The Life Saving Divorce.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

On the topic of sin, I guess dude missed out on “Thou shalt not commit adultery”? Did he skip that part of the Charleton Heston movie or something?

Contempt is a defense mechanism for us.

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

100%

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

I’m also one of those “horrid” Christian wives. Gretchen Baskerville’s book came out when I was newly divorced, but what a breath of fresh air. My divorce was a mercy.

My ex justified it with his very religious family, saying that I had been unsubmissive and was a rebel for refusing to reconcile with him. His family did not join me in my outrage over his actions because he painted me as a crazed, dangerous woman. Never mind the secret sexual basement, his long-term pill addiction (maybe sober, maybe not?), and documented mental health issues. I might not even be here if the marriage continued. He was that disordered in his thinking.

But holding the outrage over his actions helped pull me to the other side. No way was I obligated to reconcile with that dumpster fire or to have anything to do with him afterwards. Yes, a type of healthy contempt.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Elsie_

To me, these guys’ ideas about religion seem to center on the good old days of obedient sister wives.

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Yes, but I remember feeling that my ex’s family was rather contrary that way.

My FIL was travelling preacher, so my ex spent much of his growing up years with his mom as the sole parent. It always confused me when the siblings talked about a wonderful submissive wife she was. My impression was very much the contrary, but I held my opinions. Of course, I was only around her after the kids were grown and mostly out of the house, so maybe she changed.

Then his dad passed away, and I observed a bit more. She was not grieving like someone who had lost a beloved husband. I think they had pretty much focused on their own spheres, and then he was gone. And she was fine.

When my ex and I were dating, my ex kept saying that he liked me because I was strong and had opinions. I thought it going to work out just fine.

But no, my ex wanted a submissive, worshipful woman…especially when he began making poor choices that ultimately blew up the marriage. Kaboom!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Elsie_

“But no, my ex wanted a submissive, worshipful woman”

Too bad for these FWs that dogs can’t clean.

Elsie_
Elsie_
30 days ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Better for the dogs anyway. They deserve true love and respect.

One last time
One last time
1 month ago

My ex certainly had contempt for me. I was just too oblivious and “in love” to notice it. I always made excuses for her behavior. The separation and divorce have opened my eyes. When I was giving in to what she wanted, things were good, otherwise I was the problem. Her cheating, her checking out, no biggie.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

I was in the same situation, though toward the end it was succumbing to the gaslighting, spackling, and smoking the hopium that it was just a rough patch. Yes, it very much was a rough patch-just one that she put a pretty major league bullet into the relationship after. It took literally rolling around in her filth trying to move furniture after she left following D-Day before I took an honest to J-Town look at how I had been treated and realized how subhuman it really was(particularly given all of her armchair grandstanding about society-though I don’t think I need to make a strong case for “cheaters feel entitled to commit atrocities” with this crowd.) Coming here and learning that infidelity is abuse(and domestic abuse at that) has been a game changer in my healing process and how I perceive her.

She definitely had a lot of resentment for me for perceived slights(and some of the things I legitimately was coming up short on-nothing that warranted what she put me through though, no matter how long I hold my breath trying to see her point of view.) She was always the “mad at you because you’re mad at me” type. Could never modulate her feelings of embarrassment and would need to double down, etc.

Rather than admit that her lack of boundaries was wrong she doubled down and hated me for being the icon of her own shortcomings. I imagine that was the case with you as well.

Mine did make the veiled remark about “what she has sacrificed for me”, which I found to be very strange until D-Day-I supported her through every personal and professional decision that she made(through what I am only certain is coincidence, she left when her master’s degree was almost complete, no thanks for all of the years of free food and rent). She got pretty much she asked for(within reason) and had the most open resentment whenever I used the word “no”(my boundaries reflected her lack of same). I…guess it was wrong that I denied her the polycule when I was doing all of her heavy lifting for her and getting none of the reward?

Accountability never seems to be the strong suit of the cheater, huh?

“I don’t feel bad for what I did. I feel bad that I got caught and need to fix things now.”

I…guess me saying “no” sometimes justified the abuse in her mind? She did get pretty flustered once when I asked her why certain behaviors can ever be justified? To her credit, she got through it without openly using the word “revenge.”

I did get pissy about it sometimes. And I would confront it. And I would get gaslit and told the things that I was doing wrong. It was easier to roll over. There stopped being right answers.

I’d probably be in that mess still had I capitulated. It’s better that she’s gone. As said elsewhere here today, if I resented her before I resent her a whole hell of lot more now. It keeps me safe from her.

Have a Mighty Weekend!

unicornomore
unicornomore
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

“Rough patch”…yea…mine said that he had “a bad moment” which turned out to be most of our marriage

One last time
One last time
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Jeff, I definitely relate. My divorce was finalized 4 days ago. During the entire process she has “wanted to remain friends” Albeit a very one sided friendship. And for way too long I went along with it. Two days ago I made the mistake of asking her if she realized, or cared how much the cheating hurt me. She has only expressed halfassed regret “if I hurt you”. I told her that if she wanted anything from us in the future, friendship or otherwise she had to convince me that she understood all of the hurt I have gone through. I got another halfassed “I’m sorry” again. I know she can’t provide closure, or acceptance, or any of that. I was hoping for some understanding or regret, but didn’t get it. Anyway I’m on day 2 of no contact, I know that is what I needs to kickstart the healing process.

Marco
Marco
30 days ago
Reply to  One last time

All cheaters want the friends thing. It’s to alleviate guilt. It’s all for them not you. No contact is your best friend. She doesn’t give a damn about you.
Many betrayed project their feelings onto the betrayer. Faulty thinking.

Shadow
Shadow
29 days ago
Reply to  Marco

Anyone who’d stab you in the back whilst smiling and lying to your face is not a friend! They’re a very deadly enemy! They need to be swerved as much as is humanly possible!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

I don’t know if they are capable of emotionally understanding how much they hurt someone else, not just in cheating, but in anything. I don’t know if they care. People that I’ve seen like this just seem to be very hyper-self involved and COMPETITIVE. People who are competitive like this in life only care about getting what they want, and if other people lose, including the spouse, the attitude is like “tough shit”. I won, you lost, it seems to be the way they view life and “if you were hurt” means that taking it as an injury is YOUR FAULT because that’s how you view “the game” they’re playing, rather than the win-lose proposition they seem to think life is. I think we’re all just different types of people – in the most basic terms, I think chumps are “cooperative” people who try to work with others and build consensus and think of everyone’s feelings and concerns and….assume that others are the same way because we think it’s the most productive and helpful way of living. It’s instinctive. The FWs think it’s all A GAME….a competitive game of winners and losers for resources and they are going win “The Game” at all costs and if we lose, it’s our fault because we perceive it differently. I think this carries over into many other areas of life and I think there have always been people like this but it seems to me that America produces a lot more of Game Player Competitive People than the Cooperative People that human society needs to be built on. Maybe each has their place in the overall human society but we definitely should not marry each other and we need to be more aware of these basic differences in responding to the world and to others. Chumps have a lot more faith in people and the world and nature and maybe “God” and the FWs seem to put their faith in themselves only and whoever their “accomplices” are and the idea of plotting together instead of working together. Sorry if this is somewhat incoherent, but the idea occurred to me because of your comments and I just wanted to reason it out.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

That’s the old standby for crappy people of all kinds, adding the if at the front of I hurt you, so they don’t have to admit their actions directly resulted in your pain.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

Mine said the “I love you as my friend”, “dismissed as a partner but not a friend” horse hockey as well. After admitting to cheat on me for a year and a half.

Yeah no. I don’t know a lot of people that get demoted at a job and stick around.

Like, what friendship is supposed to survive that level of abuse? Friendships are built on trust and respect. The amount of handwaving she expected was simply INSANE. It’s pretty much “I’m going to need you to get very cool with a whole lot of shit that I did to you, and also still provide free gourmet meals, coffee, emotional support, and all you get in return is the pleasure of my company.

I repeat: Yeah no.

She sure as hell dismissed friends for far less than she put me through. I…guess I was to remain the moral paragon while she does whatever she wants still?

I got the “sorry that you were hurt” half hearted shit as well. Mine also ran it back on the basis that the cheating was apparently my fault. She realized the gaslighting wasn’t an option anymore so…victim blaming it is!

I told mine that she would need to atone if our friendship was to happen eventually. She (once again) doubled down and asked if I seriously believed that she owed me anything.

5 months of no real contact(apart from her finally returning her keys and getting the rest of her stuff out of storage) and I feel that I have made the right choice.

Stay mighty!

Marco
Marco
29 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Definition of friend – loyal, honest, trustworthy. Why would anyone keep that in their life?

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Haha!
Friendship indeed… what they really mean by that is “I want to keep you on the line and shut you up so people don’t find out what I’m really like – I’m a GOOD person because I want to be ‘friends’- you are just being mean and resentful if you don’t want the same”
Bleh!

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago
Reply to  Bluewren

And if you refuse their wonderful friendship, they can fabricate freely because you’re not around to counter. How convenient!

That was one of many reasons why I stepped away from my ex’s family even before the attorneys got involved. How could I compete with the storytelling?

And then after the judge signed off, I was immediately at meh because I was just plain sick and tired of him. Get him out of my life, I told my closeout attorney.

My ex is not at all a friend, period.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  Elsie_

Oh yes… the stories.
Every time we think we’ve heard it all, they say hold my beer and come up wish more nonsense.
My chosen friends are not people like this.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  Bluewren

Oh mine is definitely trying to keep her foot in the door. 13 years of being super useful appears to only have been temporarily lost on her. Until she had to pay her own rent. Or something broke. Who knows-when she chumped and dumped me she waved goodbye to that. She’s even tried to play it off.

I love that impression management stuff. I can only imagine what her spin on it was to everybody else. “Yeah, he was super good to me and in love with me and things; it’s just that I need to be happy and that is why I opened the relationship anyway after he said no(and was already cheating for 6 months, tee hee). He wasn’t making me happy because he was so worn out from meeting my needs that he forgot to take care of himself! I only abused him because I felt guilty! I mean…shit…”

Marco
Marco
29 days ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Learn to ignore.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

That’s probably almost word for word, Jeff- they’re bloody shameless .
No matter what, they’re the victims or the hero and even more astounding is people you thought were reasonably intelligent, buy their bullshit without question.
‘ oh they can’t be THAT bad’ they twitter.
Oh yes- yes they are- and then some!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Just to fit that idea into what I just wrote about cooperative vs competitive people – I think “I want to stay friends” translates into “I think I might still be able to USE you”. I think they view “friendships” as allies they can get useful things out of rather than exchanging feelings and building each other up and sharing experiences. I really do think in essence that most Chumps are cooperative people who want to work with others for everyone’s greater good whereas the FWs want to use other people so they can win “The Game” they perceive life to be. While we might be civil to people like this….if we have to be….I don’t think we should EVER regard them as friends because ultimately it’s just about how they can use us….and everyone else.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Yep- if you can still be of use, the fishing line will be loaded with bait and dangling.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago
Reply to  Mehitable

Gods the thinking errors with these people. “Well, they said they would always help me and that we would always be friends (A+B=C fallacy) sooooooo they’ll still help me for free! Tee hee!”

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

And the “helping” ONLY goes one way. They’re never there for you.

FYI_
FYI_
1 month ago

Cheater once told me: “You’re so angry.”
I said: “I’m not Gandhi.”

Shadow
Shadow
1 month ago
Reply to  FYI_

Oh Lol! Love it!

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago
Reply to  FYI_

Yep, my fw asked me to take down a Christmas tree that was in our little river from cabin, a tree. I didn’t put up that tree, it was Dec just about three weeks before he left for the whore. Anyway, I got irritated, and walked away and he said “oh real mature” Asshole was a long time cheater and about to leave me for the town whore and I was the immature one. I didn’t answer, but I wish I had said jam it up your whores ass. I was pretty sure by then he was cheating.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago

He has so much contempt that he’s ghosted me since April last year- I came to my home country to work for a while and after visiting me here, he went home and told people I’d said I wasn’t coming back.
He told others we’d been divorced for 18 months .
He replaced me in October via a profile picture on Facebook which I was told about and STILL hasn’t said anything about anything .
Of course I’m the villain- I apparently took all our money, stole my own car that I paid for and are currently fraudulently collecting a carers pension that I got for looking after his aged mum even though her kids have now shoved her into a nursing home .
Christ knows what else he’s told people.
In the past I was a bad wife because I wouldn’t enable his alcoholism and apparently I ‘used to be fun and had a sense of humour’ 🙄
All his lot are lapping up the bullshit – others are getting their popcorn and taking their seats for the big show.
Consequences are on the way.

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago
Reply to  Bluewren

Insane. I don’t understand people who ghost IN A MARRIAGE. You’re legally tied together! You took an oath to be dedicated to each other! How do you ghost someone after that? I’m so sorry, Bluewren.

Bluewren
Bluewren
1 month ago

Thank you- that’s very kind.
He’s a bit disordered- the rules don’t apply to him, you see.
It’s better for him if he just discards his life and starts again like nothing happened.
I’ve got a feeling that’s not going to work out the way he’s planned it to.

Shadow
Shadow
1 month ago
Reply to  Bluewren

I’d say your feeling is bang on and it certainly won’t turn out like he thinks it will!
I have found out some things about my STBXH the other day that are evidence that they often continue to sink even lower! I have to go in a minute and then my best mate and me are going to have a good old natter about it all on Facetime, but I’ll be back to tell CL and CN all about it and bloody Hell, just wait ’til ye hear what the eejit is up to now!

Bluewren
Bluewren
30 days ago
Reply to  Shadow

I’ll look forward to that, Shadow!
Every time you think they have reached the bottom, they just keep digging…😆

Shadow
Shadow
29 days ago
Reply to  Bluewren

Well Bluewren, here goes!
I was at the local shop the other day , had just got back into my car when on comes one of FW’s nephews and I thought Oh No, but I needn’t have. He told me that STBX has gone off to France with a Traveller tarmac gang! I can’t do links but if you search “Irish Traveller tarmac scam” you’ll bring up a fair few articles about it. Basically what they do is offer to tarmac people’s drives or whatever for a very low price, do a cowboy job on it and then scarper with the money leaving the people with a mess that will cost them a fortune to put right! Sometimes they will even just tarmac the drive when the owner has refused and then demand payment with manaces, and some Irish Travellers can be very violent and nasty! They used to do this scam in Ireland and Britain till people copped on to it, so now they go off to the Continent ,France, Spain, Italy etc., where people aren’t as copped on to their antics! Apparently after France, FW and his tinker pals are off to Sweden!!
He’s also doing some sort of banking/credit card fraud apparently! Now I only have the nephew’s word for it but I’d already noticed some traits in him that I regard as sociopathic, and, as he’s even harder on the coke, and boozing and toking now as well, which he never used to, he needs money more than ever. Apparently he wouldn’t even give his mother 50 Euros a week for his keep! He would go out to the shed and start banging the door, kicking things around and roaring and shouting! His nephew told me that himself and STBX’s mother, my MIL, both told him that “That’s why Shadow left you! Because of your carry on!”
He lied that he was the one who left me, but none of them believe it and seem to totally blame him, not me at all, which I suppose is because they’ve been on the receiving end of his crap for a while before he went off to France the other week! What a turn up, eh?
His nephew also commented that I was looking “very fresh” and was that because I wasn’t having to put up with FW anymore, hehe! That was a bit of a boost to this old bird’s confidence alright, and TBH, I don’t look too bad at all for 63, especially with a bit of slap on, as I had that day!

Involuntary Georgian
Involuntary Georgian
1 month ago

I can say that in my current relationship with XW, I have nothing but contempt for her as a person, a mother and a spouse. I don’t trust her motives, her word, and I don’t take seriously any claim or opinion that she states. We have a truly bad relationship now.

But when we were marriage – even while we were divorcing – our relationship was completely different. I treated her with respect and affection. I listened to her and tried to understand her point of view. Now that I have experienced an actual broken relationship, I see clearly how not-broken our marriage was (though at the time, I just thought it was normal, if a little dull at times).

We went to one marriage counseling session where the counselor basically said “I see how you interact. There is no contempt here, so I can work with this.” – and I still think the counselor wasn’t wrong. [I’ll never know for sure, of course, because XW refused to work on the marriage, but that’s another issue.] It’s hard to explain, but now that I have experienced that contempt, it just emphasizes how small – and fixable – our problems were before.

Contempt seems like a very reasonable marker of a marriage that is unsalvageable. (Not that there can’t be others: contempt is sufficient but not necessary).

Elsie_
Elsie_
1 month ago

Contempt based on facts (infidelity, addiction, mental illness) is not the same as choosing to present yourself as an outstanding human over an inferior partner that you disregard and mistreat.

Yes, I have a lot of contempt for my ex. He was not what he presented as, and then he created layers of deceit and abuse that shattered the marriage.

He has contempt for me because I would not cave to his superiority. Too bad, too bad…

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

What they’re telling us to do is pretend that the infidelity and all the attendant issues, like financial theft of marital resources, neglect of kids, etc, never happened. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE COVER-UP. Cover-ups don’t tend to last though because real things like…devastated spouses and kids and emptied bank accounts tend to intrude over time. One of the biggest thefts in adultery is THEFT OF TIME….that’s my biggest one….when you’ve spent years in a relationship, fostering it, loving someone, trying to build what you think is a shared dream, only to find out you were used for YEARS and that the actual relationship was completely different from what you thought…..THAT IS A THEFT OF TIME you can’t get back. It’s your youth gone. It might be your ability to have children, gone. It’s your opportunity to make other choices with full knowledge of what’s happening in your life, GONE. Money can be replaced, we can find new loves, new jobs, new homes, new interests….but you CAN’T PAY BACK TIME.

The other factor never considered by these cover-up artists, is that adultery changes HOW YOU VIEW YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER. Permanently changes it. The guy or gal you may have adored and thought the paragon of virtue….they’d never lie to me….the person you looked up to and trusted to plan your future with, to have children with….is a completely different person than you thought. Doing things you could not have imagined. YOU CAN’T COVER THAT UP. You DO look at that differently. I look at my current husband (nearly 25 years) differently. I only trust him so much – now I’m aware that he IS the type of guy who can go on dating sites and try to romance other women and represent himself as someone he’s not. HE CAN BE THAT GUY. He hasn’t been since it happened….but I know he’s capable of it. That knowledge doesn’t go away, it’s something you have to weigh along with the pluses of being with him or her. For me, the pluses outweigh that. They may not for many, or most, people. Trust is such an essential thing in marriage…..when you find out about infidelity and all of the things, behaviors, ideas, statements, that went on around it….can you really trust this person with your future? What if you become seriously ill? Will he or she take care of you? Do you want to take care of them? What if you have a financial crisis? What if one of the kids becomes seriously screwed up? Can I expect another “episode” and will my life crumble because I trusted this person again? Would I be able to recover from another collapse of faith?

Sometimes even if you WANT to, you just cannot feel the love anymore. Or the trust. Or the respect. Maybe you’ll always look at them sideways and just kind of sigh over what was lost. It usually doesn’t come back. Some people might be willing to make that compromise but it should not be expected of us or even asked.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mehitable
Anna
Anna
1 month ago

POS cheater resented me for resenting his cheating and that is why he cheated. This is what he would allege after I had discovered a new betrayal. Lying POS cheater cheated because he believed he was entitled to.
Make no mistake that his infidelity caused a lot of ‘marital warfare’ and yet I couldn’t let go. It was only after I discovered CL that it all began to make sense. My love for the POS cheater disappeared and was replaced by pure disgust. He was so sure that I’d never leave because I had put up with so much crap. It felt so empowering when I told him to FO. I have peace now. He on the other hand is full of rage. Love it ❤️

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna

Cheaters really do seem to be an angry bunch, don’t they? Trying to solve internal discord with external vices and dynamics where they can hurt others.

One last time
One last time
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna

Anna, I know it might sound awful to others, but I’m looking forward to completely getting to that stage. Intellectually I can list all the reasons to be glad the marriage is over. Emotionally, I stall have a small portion of my heart that still loves not her, but the woman I wanted her to be. Shit, it is so hard to 100% let go for me.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

OLT, it will happen. You’ll let go. It just takes time and working on yourself.

Anna
Anna
1 month ago
Reply to  One last time

Believe me when I say that I was 100% convinced that I would not be able to live without POS cheater. He was the love of my life. I went against my parent’s wishes. Stupid 19 year old girl. They didn’t approve of him.

POS cheater blamed me for throwing away our 30 year marriage when I told him to FO far away.

Believe me when I say that the day will come when the bag of lies, gaslighting, disrespect, crazy-making, hatred, contempt, back-stabbing, arrogance and entitlement will burst open. YOU will feel the DISGUST. No turning back.

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago

Let me be very clear on the F ACT that contempt, demeaning, verbal abuse snips (not long sentences- just pinches of mean or questionable verbal hits and under the table verbal kicks),
PLUS the gift of arrogance and entitlement. These are all the BRIGHT LIGHTS that shine on the stability of your relationship and these hits alone could help you make the decision to leave. The decision is to decide IF this person is worth your life and your mental stability ,your health, your finances and the knowledge that these abuses DO NOT GET BETTER. NO!! , they just go underground, get buffed up and rise again to continue. UNTIL OLD AGE and you STAY and you are still with this creepy abuser. IT DOES NOT GET Better..
Oh wait, it does get better, for the cheater, oh yes it does!! The lies are cleaner, the underground porn- hook ups, massages and sneaking style of the cheater improves, the gaslighting goes to graduate school, the contempt gets more obvious and the disrespect of YOU as a person goes up to a PHD level. I’m sorry to say, that was my experience with TWO cheaters. They lost more and more respect for me as they begged my forgiveness and then trampled me again. I have called this forgiveness grooming from my reading some where.

They love to see how much abuse you can take and then add another scoop to see if more is better? Like going to Baskin Robbins, how many scoops can you load onto one cone until you have a disaster ( albeit a delicious one). Mark my words, you will be blamed and they will stack a case against you until you do believe IT IS ALL You and YOUR FAULT!!! Or we both had issues. It is so horrible. Yes I got out and almost did not live to tell this story. But I did. Don’t wait until there are guns involved, that contempt can go far. Save yourself. Stay with us on CN, Tracy is my PHD, she knows and what she says is true! Believe it, your life may depend on it.