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Dear Chump Lady, My dad is cheating on his girlfriend

Dear Chump Lady,

My parents have been divorced for about 6 years now, and my parents have moved on to see new people. My dad has a girlfriend who is somewhat younger than he is. She has a son who can be a pain, but we love him. Anyway, recently I was having just a girls night with my mom and we were eating dinner. I forget what we were talking about but she brought up my younger brother seeing some odd texts, not disturbing, my dad is way too old for that, but strange texts from people that didn’t seem fitting. Now I understand that seems like he’s a snoop, but he is nothing of the sort.

After dinner, I was a bit sick to my stomach so I went to my room and sang, which is what calms me down, while I thought. It suddenly made me really angry, so I got on my computer and looked on all of the dating sites that I could to see if i could find my dad, but he was nowhere to be found. I felt like I should have stopped there because I thought I was being a skeptic. I was totally wrong.

Today we were watching football, as the whole nation seemed to be. I was sitting on the recliner and he was looking at his phone. I turn over and glance at his phone and I see (dating website). It was a senior dating website! I looked at all of the young people websites and I never thought to look at the other websites. This broke my heart and now I am locked in the bathroom writing to you. In the beginning, I was hoping that maybe he used the dating website before and he stopped using it, but he was just online 15 minutes ago checking his messages from this lady who is not even as close to as pretty as my dad’s so-called “girlfriend.”

I knew that the reason my mom left my dad was because of his anger issues, so I’m afraid to tell him because I know he’ll get mad at me and accuse me of being a snoop and he’ll deny everything like he always does. My mom has always been there to support us, and this year, my dad didn’t even want to buy us school supplies, but he did. I’m so lost and scared about what’s going to happen to him and his girlfriend if she finds out because, honestly, I think she is what’s keeping him sane. He treats her well, exploding every now and then. I know it may seem like I’m a snoop and please don’t say it’s none of my business because it is sort of. My dad’s girlfriend is super great and nice. I was really surprised that she stayed with him this long.

Please help me because I’m not really sure what to do…

Thanks.

Molly

Dear Molly,

Don’t worry, I’m not going to say you’re a snoop and it’s none of your business. Your father made his love life your business when he introduced his girlfriend and her son to you. You bonded with this woman and her son (the pain) whom you love. He is cheating on people you care about. People HE brought into your life and encouraged you to care about.

Damn straight you get to be upset about this.

Your father acts like these people are expendable and can be disrespected to suit his whims. He’s a cake eater. He’s enjoying the attentions and one-sided commitment of his girlfriend, while he gives himself permission to unilaterally explore other options. This is cruel to his girlfriend, her son, and to you. If he wanted to date other people, he could’ve had an honest conversation with her and broken up with her first. As painful as that would be for everyone, it would be honest. But he’s not doing that, he’s two-timing her, letting her (and you) continue to invest in the relationship.

Your dad is behaving very narcissistically.

Molly, I’m going to try and pass along a painful grown-up lesson that took me AGES to learn, so I want you to be a much quicker study, okay?

We don’t control shit. We only control ourselves.

Now, that is not to say be an apathetic, do nothing person. On the contrary, be a kick-ass brave person. Know who you are, what your values are, and what you’re deal breakers are. Just because your dad has lousy morals and treats people like crap, doesn’t mean you have to be okay with it.

That’s different than having any CONTROL over it. Because (and this sucks) you don’t have any control over this. You can’t stop your dad from treating his girlfriend like crap. Or the next one. Or the one after that. At a certain point you’re going to accept that is just who he is and what he does. He’s a guy who doesn’t respect people and who blows up a lot.

You’re a kid, and I can understand how you wouldn’t want to confront a volatile parent. You’ve been put in a very unfair position. If you see his girlfriend, you’ll be keeping his ugly secret and will feel complicit. If you confront your dad, you’ll worry that he’ll blow up at you or say it’s not your business, or lie. You’ve pretty much predicted what he’ll do based on his previous behavior. He’ll deny everything like he always does.

So don’t try to speak truth to stupid. If I were you, this is what I’d do — first, I’d confide in your mom and let her know this awful position you’re in. Something tells me she may have broken up with your dad for more than anger issues. Chances are your dad treated her the same way he’s treating his girlfriend now. Get an adult to support you with this (assuming they will. Adults can sometimes be spineless.)

I would hope your mom reaches out to the girlfriend and tells her what you saw. However, she may not want to be involved or feels she won’t be believed.

Next, I would tell your dad that you won’t be hanging out with him and his girlfriend anymore, because you feel uncomfortable getting close to her knowing that he’s cheating on her. That won’t go over well, I’m sure, but you CONTROL you. You control that boundary — you cheat and hurt someone I love? I don’t have to keep your secrets and stay in that position.

See how that works? You can’t control your dad’s cheating but you DO control who you hang out with and if you’ll be party to a secret.

You could, of course, also tell the girlfriend what you saw. That would be super brave of you, and risk your father’s wrath. I wouldn’t do that without your mom’s support on this. I really don’t know how volatile your dad is. It’s a tough position — who is more vulnerable? — her being chumped or you being a young person mixed up in this? UGH.

Molly, I don’t know how this is going to shake out for you and your dad and his girlfriend, but I do have some other advice for you – – Don’t date a guy like your Dad.

I’m so lost and scared about what’s going to happen to him and his girlfriend if she finds out because, honestly, I think she is what’s keeping him sane.

Molly, imagine I am grabbing you by the shoulders and my face is two inches from your face. Do I have your attention? HIS SANITY IS NOT HER JOB. 

Just the fact that you crafted that sentence makes me fear he is modeling really abusive shit to you.

We don’t keep scary men sane by what we do and do not do. Our goodness doesn’t keep them on the straight and narrow. That chump thinking leads to believing that when he DOES do something insane, or cruel, or unfair — that we brought it on ourselves because we weren’t good enough. If only I’d have been better… he wouldn’t have done that. It’s my fault.

He treats her well, exploding every now and then.

He cheats on her and explodes at her? HE IS NOT TREATING HER WELL. People who love and respect us don’t do those things. Making excuses for cheating and raging is what we call “spackle.” You’re trying to justify the unjustifiable. Don’t do that.

Know your worth, Molly. Know who you are and what you stand for. What your dad is doing is WRONG. You can’t control him, but you can control YOU. What kind of relationship you continue to have with your dad is YOUR choice. Being party to his secrets or outing him, is YOUR choice. Whatever you do, doesn’t “make” him do ANYTHING. He is responsible for HIMSELF. His shitty behavior is on him ALONE. You, or your mom, or little brother, or his girlfriend, didn’t compel him to do ANY of this. Do not take one blame-shifting lie off your dad, okay?

Don’t be a chump, Molly. Don’t be a woman like dad’s girlfriend someday, nice and sweet to the guy who rages at her and cheats on her. Be the woman who dumps the cheater and knows her worth. ((((BIG HUGS))))

{ 41 comments }

Dear Chump Lady, I’m working with the OW

Hi Chump Lady,

Thank you so much for all of your help! You gave me the backbone to go no contact 3 months ago. I am finally starting to feel some relief and peace after dealing with a cheater and a liar for the past 4 years. I feel that I am getting closer and closer to meh, but had a set back today that I could use some advice on.

Background: I met my ex when we started medical school and ended the relationship this past summer after trying to get over his numerous infidelities and habitual lying. Upon graduation in May we were both hired by another physician to run his outpatient clinics while we apply for residency. We do the same job, just different shifts. The catalyst for me to finally buck up and end my misery occurred in July on the one day we were at the office together. We got in a fight on the way to work, and he was just nasty. Then, I watch him being sooo nice to one of the nurses, and thought….. she is his next pick. We went home that night and I ended the relationship. I was tired of being treated disrespectfully and knew that he was making his mark on the nurse, so I removed myself from the equation.

This nurse got wind of our relationship demise and told me that she just wanted to make sure that she wasn’t the reason for our break-up. She also told me that nothing was going on between her and the ex-boyfriend, and that she can’t even get him to talk to her. I was shocked as I had told no one that we were no longer together. I thanked her for coming to me, but assured her that she was not the cause of our break-up. Since then I have overheard her telling co-workers that she was dismissed from the military for getting pregnant by a married soldier — and she followed that gem up with — don’t you all have stories like that? The other nurses said NO and scattered off. I will admit that when I heard this I thought they are PERFECT for each other.

Fast forward to the last couple of weeks. A colleague, and friend, shared with me that they (ex and nurse) are getting close and I told her that I didn’t want to know about it. The nurse has been acting strange since then. She has asked me twice if I was still single, and then asked me to grab a drink with her sometime because “we single ladies should stick together”. Today, she kept talking about her “friend” who had told her this and that about computers. All the same verbiage that I have heard the ex use over the years. Then, she starts talking about how she has plans tonight, but becomes coy when other nurses ask her who with. Five minutes later she starts laughing at her text messages, but won’t tell anyone who she is talking to. She follows this up with, “SmmGood, aren’t you so glad that you are single?” (What? Where did that come from, and why are you asking me?)

The last time I didn’t listen to my gut, I ended up in a hellish relationship with a POS where he repeatedly cheated and lied to me. My gut is now telling me that this nurse and the ex have something going on, and she is being passive aggressive and acting as if she is getting one up on me with her secret. As much as I try to not let it bother me, it does. My rationale side tells me that I should be happy that the trash is collecting together, and that she is just another pawn in his game. My ego wants to tell her that last week he sent me an email entitled “Our Love” that I promptly deleted without reading (aka, no one is special to him so get over yourself). I feel like I am getting wrapped into a mind game AGAIN, and do not want to go back down that road. I am not leaving this job until March 2015 (contract), and need to figure out a way to keep my sanity. I was doing okay with the job since I never see him, but do not know how to handle this nurse who I do see everyday. I am afraid that I am going to say something bitchy and unprofessional to her, and the ex and she will relish in my unhinging.

What would you do — let the cray-cray out and say something to her about the passive-aggressive comments or just keep ignoring it?

Thank you,

SmmGood

Dear SG,

This is one of those situations that you think is a problem, but really isn’t a problem. You have a non-problem.

Staying four years with some idiot’s “numerous infidelities and habitual lying” is a problem. You solved that problem. You dumped him.

Let that problem stay solved. He’s out of your life. Who he dates, who’s next in line for his mindfuckery and cheating isn’t your concern. If this nurse was a nice person, a chumpy innocent, who was being buffaloed by a smooth operator I might say you had a closer call. You could warn her.

But you’re not dealing with a nice person. You’re dealing with an experienced Other Woman. Who is brazen about poaching people’s partners and who wants to rub your nose it with her “Aren’t you glad you’re single?” crap.

Yeah, bitch, I’m glad I’m single. Much better than being hooked up with that man-whore you’re with.

All of this “Are you still still single” crap is her trying to goad you into the pick me dance. Ignore her. It’s what these wing nut cheaters do. “Oooh… don’t you want what I have? Dontcha? Huh? Boy, you must be so LONELY there, all single and alone while I enjoy your boyfriend!”

Your ex is so much more delicious if she thinks she won some victorious pick me dance, and then continues to win it each time you’re visibly annoyed with her.

Refuse to dance.

Next time she starts in, if you look at her like she’s the delusional idiot that she is, a) you keep your sanity and b) you suck the joy out of their affair because you won’t play hypotenuse. Win, win for you.

Project an air of WhatthefuckEVER. You want that cheater? That piece of garbage? He’s ALL yours, sweetheart.

Trust that he sucks. To project that he sucks, YOU have to believe it to your core. This woman is getting NOTHING of worth. She will be briefly valued (kibbles!) and then devalued, just like you were, and the next, and the next.

When she natters on with her stupid, just smile at her benevolently. Like you would a small, dim-witted child presenting you with a nightcrawler she dug out of the garden. “Oh that’s marvelous. Aren’t you a clever girl to dig that up! You must like slimy creatures. Go toddle back into the mud now and set it free. That’s a good poppet.”

(Pat, pat, pat…)

SG — you’re a doctor. You’re going places. You were a chump for a few years. You learned from it, and you managed come out of it with a medical degree. These weren’t wasted years. It’s all good going forward. Are you going to let this silly girl derail you from the peaceful path of meh and better living? Of course not.

You’ve got six short months of this situation. Whether she’s dumped before Thanksgiving or she hangs in there as his miserable chump in perpetuity is their fucked up business. Don’t make it yours.

{ 98 comments }

There’s Going to Be Some Changes Around Here…

Hi Chumps,

Hey I just wanted to let you know that next week the site here is going to look different, and while it’s going on you might load your page and see some weirdness. Don’t be alarmed, it’s not you, it’s me. I figured it was better for the site to remain live and functional (but weird) than have an “Under Construction” sign up.

What’s going to be new? Well, I’m chucking Thesis for one thing, and going with Genesis. (This is Greek to anyone not fluent in Word Press, apologies.) There will be a widgetized home page, which means the landing page will be a lot more visual — and my hope is — easier to navigate.

The problem is I’m outgrowing this format. I’ve got over 700 posts/articles to date and the archives and lame-o search bar are not the best way to find what you’re looking for. I’ve now categorized EVERYTHING (which was incredibly tedious), so if you want to search for how to parent with a wing nut — hey, up will pop all 23 articles. Also, on future posts, the categories will appear on the bottom, so you can read more in that vein.

There will also be the long-requested glossary of terms and acronym list. Nothing is disappearing, the forum will still be there, and everything else. It should just look prettier.

I’ll also have a gallery of all the cartoons, which are fairly invisible now, until you plow through my posts.

All to say — bear with me!

In other news, I’m excited to tell you that I’m filming a book trailer video this weekend in my small town here in Texas. We’re going to be going around town getting average Texans to say “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say.” I’ve culled the best from over 1,000 submissions.

Yes, imagine your local cowboy drawling “I wasn’t buying strippers, I was buying self esteem,” or a 7 year old saying “I love you but I’m not in love with you” or Longhorn cattle saying “I am not defined by my relationships.”

I’ve been going around town scouting locations and getting permissions. Most people are super friendly and onboard. A couple were sniffy and weirded out. (I’m talking to YOU Smitty’s Barbecue!) When I approached Wayne, the guy with the vegetable stand off the highway — OMG, out poured his chump story. Happened to him — his ex-wife cleaned out his bank accounts of hundreds of thousands of dollars and took his two kids to a foreign country. He said “And then when I got home, I found she’d dug a hole in the front yard, thrown my clothes in there, and buried it.”

“It’s kind of funny now.”

He went on to tell me how he moved on. Married a good woman, has been happily married, had four more kids with her and everything’s fine. But he confessed you always wonder what was lacking in you that made them do this. Even when you tell yourself this person’s nuts.

All to say — members of Chump Nation are EVERYWHERE. They’re selling you watermelons and grapefruit off the highway. We just don’t know what painful crap people have endured and who gets it.

Well, hopefully after this funny video taking the piss out of cheaters, a lot more people will get it. That’s my hope any way… or else  I’m making a total idiot of myself here.

While the site is undergoing its redesign, I’ll still be posting. Just wanted you to know it’s going to be a bit wiggy here next week.

Stay tuned!

ETA — check out my new book ad “Every time you buy this book, a unicorn dies.” Also — every time you review my book, a unicorn dies. Or gets Ebola. So please review my book (positively). Anyway… this is my attempt at marketing. (Bill Hicks says I can off myself now. I’ve become an advertiser.)

{ 67 comments }

Dear Chump Lady, He “can’t remember”

cakemanDear Chump Lady,

I’ve been reading your site for some time and have found it extremely helpful. I love how you don’t “beat around the shrubbery”, and that kind of directness is what I need now.

I discovered last year, within a weeks time, that my husband was having an emotional affair (EA) with a co-worker for 5 years (they both are government) and a serious porn addiction, of which I had zero knowledge. Boy, I was full of not knowing, wasn’t I? We have been married for 17 years and have known each other for over 20.

After I discovered the EA, I asked him to send a no contact letter and he did. Well, I found out 5 days later that they had set up secret email accounts. I gathered this info and sent it to her husband and that pretty much curtailed the EA.

The porn addiction is a result of PTSD during war time. It still doesn’t stop the blow to your self esteem when your husband is turning you down for sex constantly. I started keeping a calendar and we would generally have sex, if I was lucky, every 60 to 90 days. I had NO idea he was using porn for self gratification and therefore that is why he wouldn’t touch me. Didn’t help when I found out though as my self esteem was way in the sh*tter by now.

Not only did I not have any intimacy in my marriage due to his EA, I also had no intimacy in my marriage due the porn use. Both of these things I had NO IDEA of until I discovered them myself.

Fast forward. We went to marriage counseling which was a flop. I became resentful because I felt like I was doing all the work to “fix” something I didn’t do. He let me do it and that made me even more resentful. After reading your site I lost it one evening and told him I was tired of the trickle truth, the no effort, and the fact that not one fact he has come forward with on his own. I’ve found out EVERYTHING on my own and he won’t own up to it unless I have him dead to rights. 

I let him know the other day that I couldn’t stand not being able to trust him. When I ask him a question about the affair, most likely I already have the answer, and I’m just looking for a hint of truthfulness from him.

Let us fast forward again to this evening. I asked him, point blank, WHO set up the secret email accounts? Was it YOU or was it HER. Now this is not a tough question but he still answered with his coined “I don’t remember”. This does not fly with me anymore so I said, “Well did you log in to the website and use YOUR fingers to create both accounts? If the answer is NO, then she created the account. If the answer is YES then it was you.” Now let us take in to mind that this was last year so the “I don’t remember” is not flying.

My question to you is, Why does he continue to not answer a direct question, even when he knows I know the answer? Again part of the healing comes from not the details but the knowledge that the truth is being told. It is not like I don’t know that he had an affair and the porn addiction. I’m the one who found out for crimminy sake.

He is in counseling now and so am I. I am in it more for my sanity and I hope he gets the help he needs to battle his demons. I don’t think I can stay in this marriage anymore but I keep taking puffs off the hopium pipe. I need someone to tell me, in laymans terms, how I can explain to him why it is I’m really leaving. I’ve told him that I can’t handle anymore trickletruth and I can’t keep digging as I always find something. I need him to come forward with some information of his own before I find it. I know that won’t happen but I’m so sad and frustrated. Please kick some sense in to me.

Thank you and buffering up my backside for the kicking I need. 

Angi

Dear Angi,

You wanted direct, so here it is — your husband is still in his affair.

You can stick your finger in the dyke all you want to —  intercepting his latest secret email addresses, monitoring his porn, calling the OW’s husband — but so long as your husband is doing the You’re Not the Boss of Me tango of entitlement, this “reconciliation” is a non-starter.

He’s going to therapy as the price of admission to eat cake. And he’s sullen and resentful about it, happy to let you do all the heavy lifting on this save the marriage shit.

He’s not having sex with you, most likely, because he’s been getting it somewhere else — the OW. I’m sorry, but people don’t have EAs for FIVE YEARS when they have direct access to one another daily. And continue to have access. They still work together, correct? I didn’t see anything in your letter where he’s found a new job or she left hers. Grown-ups don’t flirt for five years — they have sex. Sex, especially if the guy is a porn freak, is the preferred form of kibbles.

Look, even in the highly unlikely event that this is “just” an EA, your marriage sucks. Ask yourself if this relationship is acceptable to YOU. It sure doesn’t sound like it, Angi. You’re begging for scraps of dignity from a guy who is clearly checked out emotionally and physically. What’s left to be married to? His military pension? You can get that in the divorce.

My question to you is, Why does he continue to not answer a direct question, even when he knows I know the answer?

Simple. Because he prefers to keep you in the dark.

You know that, it just frustrates the hell out of you and you’d prefer to not listen to his ACTIONS.

His actions are communicating a very clear message — CAKE.

He makes a weak reconciliation gesture and immediately undoes it each and every time, Angi.

Send a NC letter? Okay, and the next day he sets up new secret email accounts.

Go to marriage counseling? Okay, but he won’t do any of the work.

Go to individual counseling? Hey, you don’t get to monitor that and he could be anywhere that afternoon. (“I was at therapy!”) Anyway, whatever he’s doing, he’s still an asshole who “doesn’t remember.” Perhaps he should try past life regression therapy, where he can recall the details of his various double lives under hypnosis.WTFever.

I need someone to tell me, in laymans terms, how I can explain to him why it is I’m really leaving.

You don’t explain it to him. You just DO. You leave. You see a lawyer and don’t tell him boo about that. You line up your ducks and you divorce his ass.

Time to trot out the old Dr. Simon axiom — it’s not that he doesn’t see, he disagrees. He doesn’t need insight that you’re unhappy — HE DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT. His actions clearly demonstrate that. So you need to wake up and act accordingly. No marriage here to save, he’s not in it, time to lawyer up.

Do NOT lawyer up to make him “come to his senses” and do the pick me dance for you. He might well do that — to maintain cake. No, divorce him. If he wants to reconcile after you’ve been awarded a settlement and half his military pension, he can demonstrate his sorry then. I could recommend a post-nup to you, but the guy is having a work place affair in a government job. He may well be fired for it, or subject to a lawsuit. You need to get out and secure that settlement before the worst happens, and if he gets uppity about it, your lawyer deposes his workplace. Get out NOW before the OW’s husband complains to her boss or human resources. Save yourself, Angi!

Why doesn’t he tell you the truth? I can’t keep digging as I always find something. 

You answered yourself. The truth is worse than you know, and he’s going to be goddamned if he tells you that. He’d prefer to avoid the consequences and continue to eat cake at your expense.

Fuck that, Angi. Take back your power today. Call a lawyer.

{ 184 comments }

Dear Chump Lady, Is “True Tori” a Good Thing?

Dear Chump Lady,

When it comes to “True Tori,” I’m wondering if the show isn’t actually a good thing for fidelity…?

You are 100% right that “True Tori” is pure trash, and that the disgusting protagonist (?) is just pimping her trainwreck of a family and sadly, her innocent kids, for a few more moments of fame and money. But, and this is where we may differ, I think that the show is actually important and groundbreaking for the infidelity discussion (even if badly acted), because it’s the only show I know of that takes a step back and shows an unbiased view of cheating. It doesn’t romanticize affairs, and it exposes what really happens in the long term when people cheat:

1. Cheating devastates families and kids.
2. Cheaters are total POSs (trust that they suck).
3. OWs (Tori) are not at all special. Rather, Tori is a dime a dozen of an OW, and also a total idiot/loser for signing up for a marriage with a known cheater.
4. Cheaters often had a good, loving marriage with a gorgeous, successful spouse (am talking about Dean’s original Ex here), yet they still cheat and lie about their marriage (because they’re entitled and they suck).
5. Cheaters turn their guilt around and, without any basis, try to blame the affair on their spouse (Dean tells Tori, “you’re so controlling, such a nag, etc.”)
6. The whole “soulmate” excuse is a total farce/ bullshit. “Soulmate” Tori gets the same shit sandwich that she helped serve Dean’s Ex-wife. Amen.

And I’m sure you could come up with many more lessons, too… Anyway, let me also say, the promo scene for the upcoming season, where Tori meets Dean’s ex-wife, is oh-so-validating for us chumps. The subtext is strong: Yes, Tori, you were morally wrong. Yes, Tori, you needlessly destroyed innocent people’s and children’s lives. Yes, Tori, you deserve what you’re getting. Yes, Tori, when we see you sitting alongside Dean’s Ex, it’s obvious that his Ex is so much better than you. Yes, Tori, you were used and played, and now you’re just a pile of shit.

It’s about time an infidelity program showed the true, full circle of what really happens when people cheat. Maybe it’ll help educate the public. And Tori might be making a few bucks, but really, I think it’s the producers and we chumps who are getting the last laugh…

Sunshine

Dear God, Sunshine, is Tori Spelling the best chumps can do for media representation? Seriously? A former OW is our poster child for How Infidelity Plays Out?

Sadly, I think you might be right. I can’t think of any other show that portrays what cheaters really look like. The Affair? Scandal? Those shows are cheater aspirational drama — sexy people doing sexy things and being terribly misunderstood as they fight the cruel forces of monogamy. This is how cheaters imagine themselves. It’s fantasy escapism.

True Tori, on the other hand, is pure schlock.

And isn’t that fitting? How many of us after D-Day say to ourselves, “When did my life become a Jerry Springer episode?” Infidelity IS schlocky. It is full of bad actors delivering ludicrous lines.

My favorite Stupid Shit Cheaters Say submission right now is: “I wasn’t buying strippers — I was buying self esteem. You spend money on things you don’t need!” Could anyone in Hollywood write anything that absurd? No! If you’re a chump, you know that shit is real because your cheater said something equally ridiculous to you. Infidelity is by its very nature farcical.

Hollywood trappings aside, McDermott and Spelling are the perfect examples of average cheaters — dim-witted, but consider themselves fabulous; obliviously narcissistic;  and as shallow as a urine sample.

Mary Jo Eustace has done us all a public service announcement on the futility of confronting the affair partner. Many chumps sent me that video clip of the heart-to-whatever-it-is-that-beats-inside-Tori-Spelling. (Mexican jumping beans? Television ratings? Cyborg vapidity?)

I’ve said before, trying to speak meaningfully to affair partners is like trying to shame a doorpost.

Watch the remorse that drips from Spelling as Eustace says, “We were real people, a real family.”

“Yeah.”

YEAH. Given evidence of a love letter that McDermott wrote to her right before his affair, Tori doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion that she’s not special, NO ONE is special to someone like McDermott. No, she concludes that “he just changes so drastically.” She’s still retaining her belief that she is SPECIAL. It’s Dean that changed — so suddenly! I guess that must be because Tori’s so overpoweringly awesome as to obliterate the love he had for Eustace.

Spelling remains completely indifferent to the harm she inflicted on Eustace. Spelling tries to get in front of the whole “I told you so” narrative, waiting for Eustace to take the bait, but Eustace instead tells her how kickass she is (was that necessary Mary Jo? really?) and how horrible this must be for her children. A thought that surely didn’t occur to Spelling as she renewed a second season of True Trainwreck.

Eustace demonstrates that good character and charitable kindness are as impervious to narcissism as a chump’s pain. Eustace tries that tack too and tells Spelling about her D-Day. The humiliation, the isolation, how she told her brother to tell her parents. When Eustace gets to “my dad started crying” — you expect the apology. The oh my God, I am so sorry, I was so thoughtless, I was so selfish, I didn’t have a thought about your family and how this would hurt you.

But of course it never comes. Instead, Spelling directs the attention back to herself.

“So if there had been no me, what would’ve happened?”

If there had been no ME.

Did your father cry? WTFever. Let’s imagine I wasn’t there. This is like a triple word score for narcissism. She’s disassociating herself from the responsibility of destroying a family, while at the same time turning the conversation back to herself. ME!

“There would’ve been somebody else.”

Eustace again tries to speak truth to stupid and fails. YOU’RE NOT SPECIAL. If not you, it would be some other Hostess cupcake.

Leaving aside the whole issue that I would’ve pressed (because I’m a bitch like that), that it was you. You WERE the person who broke up my family and didn’t feel one bit sorry, and instead trumpeted your marital bliss with a reality TV show, which then blew up in your face because McDermott doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.

But Eustace doesn’t go there. She just persists in helping Tori try to untangle the skein.

“He was determined.”

Meaning, he was determined to get some ass. To be a cake eater. To cheat no matter what situation he was in, because YOU ARE NOT SPECIAL.

“Are you insinuating that he went after me because of who I was?” asks Tori.

No Tori, she’s clearly telling you that he went after you because that is what he does and that is who he is.

“My dad didn’t leave me anything, so it has nothing to do with that… If that what he was looking for, a free ticket, it didn’t work out.”

Play for self pity! Your dad left you $800,000, which to 99.99 percent of the world is not nothing. It’s a fat inheritance. And you’re on the hook to inherit millions when your mother dies. I’m sure Dean did the calculus on that, and yes, found that you could be of use to him more than Eustace could. So he jumped ship.

All he has to do is gamble on your ability to keep believing you’re special. The price of admission is doing hammy faux remorse on the Saturday slot for a reality TV program no one watches. How long does he have to keep this shit up?  Until Candi Spelling dies or some other stupid heiress falls into his lap.

They don’t make stupid like Tori Spelling stupid. Nothing will ever permeate the narcissism of Tori Spelling. A father’s tears, public ridicule, Dean’s parade of bimbos…

Nice try, Mary Jo Eustace.

{ 114 comments }

Dear Chump Lady, I cheated on my husband

Dear Chump Lady,

I stumbled upon your site while looking for help, thought you might be able to give me some useful advice and now I’ve come to humbly ask for some. Yet I’m not quite sure my question’s welcome, or that you’d want to help me, since I can see you don’t usually publish questions from the cheater. And that’s who I am in my marriage. I’m the cheater. I’m not cheating anymore, and I’m remorseful, but I did it. And I think I might have broken my marriage.

I won’t bore you with the details of the affair because I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it all. The basic facts: less than a year into my marriage (yes, I’m that much of a piece of shit) I cheated on my husband with a guy from work. I had never cheated before. The affair lasted for about a month, then it was broken off very painfully. I had fallen hard for the OM, and had a few horrible months feeling heartbroken, guilty and sullied. During this time, adding insult to injury, I neglected my husband, and our emotional and physical intimacy took a nosedive. While my husband is not perfect, and definitely has some issues that need addressing, I take full responsibility for what happened and I know quite well that my behaviour is inexcusable, and I won’t try to explain it away. I cheated because I was immature, selfish and vain. I overestimated my self control as an excuse to continue the flirting and, after the fact, tried to drown the guilt I felt in self-serving explanations. I deserve all the pain I caused myself.

As a consequence of this whole mess, I lost attraction, started getting short-tempered and distanced myself from him and the marriage. He reacted to that by also shutting me out, neglecting the house and himself. What had once been good became a crappy, cold marriage between two people who never fought, but also barely talked; were never abusive, or even rude to each other, but also didn’t touch one another lovingly and rarely had sex. This all culminated a couple of months ago when husband sat me down to say he is unhappy and, while he loves me very much, he has no intention to continue to live like this forever, and we either fix things soon or get a divorce.

We’re now trying to fix it, and I do want to save my marriage. Even while deep in the shit, I never wanted to hurt my husband (and I know I did, very much). He doesn’t know about the affair, and I can’t stand the thought of telling him and making him hurt even worse from my shitty choices – it would feel like sacrificing him to make myself feel less guilty, and I don’t deserve not to feel guilty. I want to make things better, and get back the intimacy, the mutual admiration, the shared plans and the commitment we once had.

I’m trying, and have taken steps. I have cut all contact with the OM and got my ass in therapy to try to get my shit together and understand how I got us into this mess. I’m trying to be a better wife, and control my temper. I’m trying to spend a little more time with husband and encourage him. He’s also made some changes, and is taking better care of himself and the house. Things are, overall, a bit better.

Still, the feelings are not coming back, and I’m at a loss. It feels as if we had this thing, which was precious to both of us, and we’re both trying to fix it, him scratching his head as to why it isn’t working anymore when it used to work so well, me trying to help and fix it while shutting my mouth, filled with guilt, knowing damn well that it’s broken because I broke it. We’ve given ourselves a deadline, and when it comes we’ll sit down and see how far things will have improved, and if it is enough – or at least enough to keep trying.

Part of me desperately wants things to just go back to what they were; part of me wants only to believe that we really can get over this and come out with a much better marriage, and never ever cheat again; and part of me feels that I just don’t deserve him anymore, and that the most decent thing I can do is divorce him and allow him to find another wife who’s not a whore.

What should I do? Any help (even a smack to the head, which I fully deserve) will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Leticia

Dear Leticia,

The most decent thing you can do is tell him the truth.

Things are not going to go back to the way they were. That’s a fantasy thought, like “Gee, I wish I had my 18-year-old body back.”  “We can come out with a much better marriage” is just unicorn bullshit. That’s the hopium they sell over at the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Grievous betrayal does not make for better marriages any more than bullets to your head improves your cognitive functioning.

But he doesn’t have to know! You can take this to your grave!

I’m sure there are some people who would advise that, but I’m not one of them. This isn’t some episode in your long ago past. This isn’t something that happened in another relationship. This is about NOW. You betrayed your husband just months into your first year of marriage. Your husband knows the marriage is broken too, he just doesn’t know why. YOU know why.

I argue here that cheating is based in entitlement. If you want to stop being a cheater, it’s not enough to give up the OM or do therapy. You have to stop acting entitled. You have to lead with humility. Having all the knowledge of what’s wrong is holding on to power. Let that shit go. You need to stop making unilateral decisions for other people. Let your husband decide if the marriage is worth saving. If he were writing to me, I’d tell him it isn’t.

I think you know that, which is why you’re trying to prevent that outcome by holding on to the truth. You think you’re protecting him from further harm — and yes, when he finds out, it’s going to hurt like a motherfucker — but the fact is, you’re covering your own ass. Not telling him is about you maintaining the vestiges of power. This isn’t about guilt. It’s about you not wanting to do that painful, difficult thing. Is he suffering? Well, you’ll just try to shore it all up!

That’s not sustainable. This is a terrible foundation with which to build a relationship, so please just tell him.

You need to stop lying to yourself.

You wrote: we had this thing, which was precious to both of us…

It wasn’t precious to you. That’s the truth. If it were precious to you, you wouldn’t have cheated on him. We ACT our values.

Your actions showed that you didn’t value so much that you wouldn’t indulge in some cake-eating at his expense. Apparently, he didn’t take your lack of affection and attraction to him very well — he shut down. His reaction is totally understandable under the circumstances. But then you used that shut down as further pretense to not be attracted to him. God, things have gone to shit and surprise! The feelings aren’t coming back!

Leticia, I’m sorry but you broke your marriage. The compassionate thing to do is to let this man go. As Dat eloquently pointed out in yesterday’s post — “once a cheater, always a cheater” is not true. But “once a cheater in this marriage, ALWAYS a cheater in this marriage.” This relationship will always be tarred by your infidelity, and my advice to you — for your husband’s happiness and your own — is to let this marriage go.

Some people can do the mental gymnastics to reconcile, but a) they need to know there is infidelity and b) I don’t recommend that life. He’d have to live with never really trusting you, pained by your affair, and you’d have to live this marriage as the perpetual fuck up trying to get back in his good graces. It’s a crap dynamic. Just admit the thing is dead and move on.

Here are some pointers on remorse for when you tell him.

1.) Don’t make this about your pain. Don’t say how hard this is for you, or how difficult it was to carry this secret.

2.) Don’t expect him to comfort you. Expect him to be righteously pissed.

3.) Give him a very fair and generous divorce settlement. You sound young, there’s probably not much to settle. Accept responsibility. Pay his share of the lawyer bill. Whatever you have, don’t burden him economically. The emotional weight of this shit is hard enough.

4.) Get STD tested and show him the results.

5.) Remember that sorry is as sorry does. It’s not enough to say you are sorry, you have to keep behaving sorry. Don’t gaslight, don’t blame shift (i.e., “You let yourself go, you didn’t clean the apartment…” etc.)

This is a failure, Leticia, but you can learn from failure and you can act with dignity even in failure. Try out that new improved character  today. Stay in therapy. Straighten out your head. Chuck entitlement thinking. Once you figure out your values and the kind of person you want to be, LIVE that. Ending this marriage the right way is a good start.

 

{ 170 comments }

Worst Infidelity Advice Ever

hasty

 

Worst infidelity advice ever? Don’t decide anything for six months to a year.

If I could wave my magic chump wand and eradicate one bit of post-infidelity stupid that would be it.

Can you think of any other betrayal in which someone would give such dunderheaded advice? Business partner is caught embezzling? Hey, take some time and think about it. Don’t be hasty. Maybe you still want to stay business partners, so why embarrass him by cutting off his company credit cards. He said he was sorry and wants to work on it. What’s all this ugly talk of money? Don’t be one of those cold, bitter people who can’t forgive. Just wait it out. I don’t believe “once an embezzler always an embezzler!” People change. Think of all the years you spent together making widgets. Are you going to let some stolen $73,000 get in the way of everything you built together?

Was your scout leader molesting you? Okay, that was wrong. But you’re 11 merit badges away from Eagle scout! Just see it through and don’t be a quitter. The important thing is to stay positive! Maybe you won’t feel so violated in six months. Police reports can wait.

Oh, I’m exaggerating. Extramarital affairs are nothing whatsoever like embezzlement and sexual abuse. Those things are criminal and infidelity just happens when two splendid people succumb to forces larger than them both.

Did your partner steal marital resources to have an affair(s) or pay for sex workers? Did your partner plot and scheme behind your back? Did your partner promise their affair partner they’d be dumping you soon? Did your partner eat cake and waste years of your precious life? Did your partner risk your health by having unprotected sex with the affair partner(s)?

To any new chumps out there reading this — PROTECT YOURSELF. Affairs are crises. Act like it.

Whatever you decide to do, divorce, reconcile, or yes, even stay in soul-sucking limbo — PROTECT YOURSELF. The dumbest thing you can do post-discovery is act like your situation is static and you’ve got forever to decide. You don’t. Let me bitchslap some sense into you.

Why is Waiting to Decide Things dreadful advice?

1.) It assumes that your cheater is going to immediately straighten up and fly right. This is unicorn thinking. Oh, they were discovered. They’re so “sorry.” They’re not divorcing you right now, so there’s hope! (No, see the Unified Theory of Cake.) They’re immediately going to discover a newfound appreciation for you and monogamy.

This thinking is dangerous. It comes from a place of “Oh, They Would Never.”

They would never move money or hide marital funds.

They would never see a lawyer first.

They would never poison the children against you.

They would never put the narrative out there first that you’re crazy.

They would never leave you for the affair partner (and go to marriage counseling to throw you off).

They sure as hell would and may be already. People who will fuck you over  with an affair generally have no compunction to fuck you over a multitude of other ways, especially financially. You’re dealing with entitled uber-beings who’ve demonstrated that the rules don’t apply to them. People who have already lied to you quite easily. You really want to take their word for it?

Why don’t you consider a post-nup and a credit report? You know, just as collateral on that sorry.

Your cheater balks at that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

2.) You could legally fuck yourself. An affair has been discovered. If you have ANY hope of using this shit in a divorce, NOW is the time to act. If you wait and then you try to use your evidence later, do you really think a judge is going to care that you tried to reconcile? No. You make a squawk about infidelity a year or two after the fact, the judge will think, why should I care when YOU forgave this person? There are even legal consequences for this in some states. If you sleep with your spouse after discovery, it’s legally considered forgiving the affair.

Who do you think this “wait 6 months to a year” advice benefits? You or the cheater?

You want to reconcile? You’re not sure about divorce right now? You get that post-nup.

Your cheater balks at that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

3.) It minimizes the abusive, parasitic nature of infidelity. Could you tolerate someone physically abusing you or stealing your money? No? But sharing a marital home with someone who is emotionally abusing you and disrespecting you is sustainable?

Everyone here knows what a powerful sucker punch betrayal is. It can give the most stalwart person PTSD and suicidal thoughts. And the common advice given is STAY WITH THAT?

Even with the rare remorseful spouse the days after D-day are so very hard. Now, imagine the far more common scenario in which the person isn’t one bit remorseful. No, they’re pissed off that they’ve been discovered. They ramp up the blameshifting and the gaslighting. STAY WITH THAT?

“Don’t make any decisions right away” minimizes the affair. Why would you impose consequences on a “meaningless fling” or a “one-night stand” or a “mid-life crisis”? People who act swiftly are people who recognize danger. Your situation is meaningless! You’re just overreacting!

“Stay” is just another directive to eat the shit sandwich.

Did this person take marital resources to conduct their affair? Did they make unilateral decisions about the safety and security of your family? You’re going to TRUST this person right now to do right by you? Seriously?

No, you separate the goddamn money with a separation agreement and you put a support order in place. You ask for that credit report and find out where the debts and the bank accounts and the PO boxes are.

Your cheater balks that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

4.) It rewards paralysis and fear and makes them seem ennobling and not chicken shit. The whole “wait” advice is a crock because it feeds your hopium addiction and allows you to feel good about your gutlessness. No, I’m not avoiding a painful crisis — cooler heads are prevailing! I’m not being hasty, I’m being prudent!

Bullshit.

Worse than making paralysis okay, it gives you permission to lie inert and lick your wounds. I’m very frightened now, I’m so afraid of what next. 

Suck it up, Buttercup. Your house is on fire. (And there’s a bear trap/hungry alligator/manure lagoon/mushroom cloud).

Being afraid is not an excuse to keep staying afraid. Step up. This is a crisis. You’re afraid? So was Every. Single. Person. who walked this path before you. Being afraid doesn’t make you special or different. It makes you a run-of-the-mill chump. Fear has you by the shirt-tails? Wrestle that motherfucker to the ground.

Do not react to infidelity with passivity. And don’t trying pawning off your codependency as activity. You know, the whole Amazon chump, untangling the skein, helping them with THEIR crises. I’m sure that shit keeps you very busy. No, what are you doing for YOU? Whatever you decide, stay or go, PROTECT YOURSELF. See a lawyer, get real about the money, the kids, the living arrangements, your deal breakers, your boundaries, the tangibles of remorse.

Your cheater balks that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

What’s your precious life worth? They already stole from you. Don’t give them another six to twelve months.

{ 206 comments }

flowerweldDear Chump Lady

Here is a silly question. I have been through years of hell. In short, like most people here, my husband of thirty years cheated with a woman at his office 30 years younger then him. I went through all the usual crap including forgiveness, starting again, listening to him gaslighting, blaming myself, counselling, anti-depressants, pick me dance……thank the Lord I then found this blog. Yes dear readers he did it again and I threw him out, we were moving house at the time.

I was devastated. He then got cancer and had a major op…. Which killed off my no contact with the miserable toad.

However, I was preparing myself for my son’s graduation. I went for a haircut and came out with a really brilliant cut and very loud pink highlights. The question is, why did a simple cut and admittedly extreme hair colour so change my mood when everything else failed? I would say I am me again and achieving Meh. Do explain if you can.

Pink Pauline

Dear Pauline,

One untold benefit of the infidelity experience is that you feel more alive.

I know that doesn’t make any sense to someone reading this with a recent D-Day. Alive? I feel run over by a Mack truck. I feel nauseous. I feel numb.

Hear me out — yes, you will in time feel MORE alive, not less. Your senses are heightened, you’re raw with emotion, and in a weird way you are more receptive to the world. There is a certain thrill in letting go. Your world is falling apart and you just fall with it. You look at everything in new ways. That sad song you heard on the radio a thousand times now takes on such import and significance. You relate to the pathos. You sing along and it feels so fucking meaningful.

This stage doesn’t last forever because we can’t go through life like an exposed nerve, but while you’re there you’ll find yourself incredibly receptive to new things. For you, that’s pink hair. For me it was welding. Embracing new things means you’re healing. Shaking yourself out of that old identity and into a new one, requires some experimentation.

Some people buy new bed linens and stop there. Other people dye their hair pink. I learned how to use a plasma cutter.

A little riff on welding — it’s like a glue gun that can kill you. Oh, I’ll just stick this piece of steel to this piece and look — it’s a flower! (See picture above — I made that!) But you ground it wrong and the current goes through you, not the metal. I did that and burned a hole through my hand. The fleshy part between my thumb and index finger had a neat, cauterized hole! WOW! Did I ever feel alive after THAT!

Sane, cautious Tracy would probably never take up welding. Heartbroken WTF Tracy did.

Old you probably would not have attempted pink highlights. New you wants to shake it up a bit and see yourself in new ways. Good for you! Rock that pink hair at your son’s graduation and enjoy your new life!

(And please tell me that even with cancer this guy is your ex. Last I heard radiation doesn’t cure cheating. Somehow I’m doubting his 30 year younger OW is sticking around for the chemo appointments…)

 

{ 197 comments }

Season 2 of True Tori… Why?

As long as we’re talking about cheater TV drama, I’m sure you’re all aware that “True Tori” has been renewed for a second season.

I hesitated to write about it because Dlisted did such an awesome smack down. I don’t think I can top “useless beady-eyed sex possum of a husband The Deaner cheated on her half-melted margarine-looking ass.” (God that’s good, Dlisted. May no one I love ever get on your bad side.)

What I lack in colorful insults, however, I can make up for in befuddlement. Who watches this? Why does this improbably vapid woman continue to get reality TV shows? Improbable vapidness likely being a requirement for getting reality TV shows aside — doesn’t anyone pity her children enough to spare them another season? Whatever Spelling’s getting in residuals couldn’t begin to approximate the therapy costs these kids will need.

Nevertheless, True Tori inflicts itself on the viewing public October 21. I’m sure you’ll all want to tune in to discover the answer to the big teaser — Is Tori Pregnant? Apparently, she’s already wearing maternity clothes. (How could you tell it isn’t just a loose fitting sweater? The woman is so anorexic a bean burrito could give her a baby bump. What constitutes abdominal weight gain in Hollywood, anyway?)

“Why are you with with me?” asks the slightly perturbed but reaching for angst-y Dean McDermott. Yes WHY Tori? Why is anyone with this serial cheating, alcoholic Canadian ham?

“I feel like such a nag, tyrant. You’re making me feel bad all the time.”

Poor Dean. He can’t even get the mindfuckery right.

“I just want to see a picture of the woman my husband cheated with,” whines Tori.

LOOK IN THE MIRROR. He cheated with YOU on his first wife.

Also “woman” singular is being terribly optimistic, Tori. Women.

Shock! Horror!

Dean clutches his chest then bows his head in faux remorse. I think there are duck blinds in Winnipeg with better acting skills.

Don’t miss it, guys.

 

 

 

{ 87 comments }

Premiere Of SHOWTIME Drama "The Affair" Held At North River Lobster CompanyAre there circumstances when an affair is not immoral? asks the Huffington Post. Ah, click bait. Plugging the upcoming Showtimes series “The Affair,” HuffPo puts the hay low where the sheep can get it.

Here’s a moral conundrum — let’s ask some actors what they think! Actors who appear in “The Affair” — Showtime employees who are, of course, completely unbiased. It wouldn’t hurt your contract at all to star as a cheater in a new series and then say, “The entire premise of this show is revolting. Personally, I find my character so morally repugnant I wouldn’t spit on him if he were ablaze.”

But they didn’t ask my imaginary actor, they asked Dominic West who plays the star-crossed, hunky cheater “Noah.” He thinks affairs are totally awesome, so long as you engage in them for the right reason — your happiness.

Yes. I think it’s a conflict between knowing that you can’t really be of any good to anyone unless you look after yourself, unless you are happy. And if you’re not happy then it’s gonna be hard to make your family happy, or to live. And in that way, I think if malice is not intended then I suppose you could say morality doesn’t come into it. It’s sort of, it’s an inevitability.

Does anyone in West’s moral universe derive any happiness from knowing they aren’t a total asshole?

I’m trying to wrap my brain around “if malice is not intended, then I suppose you could say morality doesn’t come into it.”

That’s a nice bit of word salad. It makes sense I suppose if you don’t understand the concepts of malice, intention, or morality.

Hey Dominic, next time you run over a kid while driving drunk, try that line of defense, that malice wasn’t “intended” and see how far you get. I was irresponsible? I broke the law and someone died? Hey, I didn’t mean to do it, no harm, no foul!

Putting aside the point we make here all the time — cheaters mean to do it. They are completely aware of what they are doing and how it will hurt you, which is why they keep it a secret.

But anyways…

HuffPo wants us to know that “The Affair” is breaking new ground by alternating the narratives between characters! (No, the Victorians never did this.) The story “alternates between Alison and Noah’s perspective of the events in their relationship. The storytelling mechanism allows the show to offer a much more nuanced portrayal of an affair than the stock ‘evil cheater’ storylines so commonly portrayed on television.”

Are there evil cheater villains portrayed on television? Did I miss something? I thought they were all poor, confused sausages like Alison and Noah. People fated to be together, but kept apart by cruel, cruel monogamy.

“The idea of the show is to tell the same story from two sides or two perspectives,” series creator Sarah Treem told The Writer. “And each perspective has valid weight. I think that’s radical in a love story because so often the woman is written as the object and the man as the subject. But in this show, they are both the subjects of their own story and the objects of each other’s. And the story changes depending on whose perspective we are in.”

You know what would be REALLY radical? Telling the story not alternating between cheaters (idiots on the same team), but between the chump and the cheater.

But I suppose that wouldn’t make for compelling television. Watch Helen, Noah’s wife puke as she discovers the affair. Watch her fall apart at work and lose 20 lbs in a week from shock. Watch her look after her children alone while Noah is busy fucking Alison.

No, we couldn’t possibly have that. People might feel sympathy for Helen. And they might judge Noah and Alison. Better to keep the chumps off screen as bit walk-on parts. If they must be seen, make sure they look frumpy and unfuckable. Mean and controlling. Who wouldn’t cheat on those schlubbs?

The camera pans back to Noah and Alison… and their “inevitable” romance. Who wouldn’t wish these beautiful people happiness?

{ 170 comments }