The Pursuit Of Happiness Fallacy

What seems like eons ago, when in reality it was back in June, there was an article posted on Huffington Post about two wing nuts that got together through their mutual love of the Oregon Country Fair, or “Fair”, as the “family” knows it. Tracy Schorn UBT’d it over on Chump Lady and Jennifer Ball posted about it on her Happy Hausfrau Facebook page.

The quick recap: “Ruby” and Paul spent 16 years working “Fair” in Oregon. One day, while peeling potatoes the feelz hit ‘em real hard and they realized they were destined to be together. While his wife and kids were away on vacation Paul invited Ruby over for a “picnic”. They spent the week together navel gazing and justifying their behavior. It was a love that could not be denied. When his wife came back into town he told her he was leaving her for another woman and Ruby left her husband as well. Ruby was simply stunned that her ex-husband didn’t chase after her, begging for another chance, and was equally shocked that Paul’s ex-wife didn’t bow out without a fight. I’m pretty sure if I remember correctly they are now married (going on 4 years of blissful happiness) and own a pot farm.

Even more vomit worthy than the article were the comments. These are just a few of the stand out gems:

Love isn’t ownership. I’ve walked and I’ve had others walk. Learn and grow and move on. Stop blaming people for loving someone.

Good on them. No point continuing a BS relationship just to conform to everyone else’s BS relationships/marriages. Life’s too short and too long to live a lie just to please church goers. Obviously they’re against real love anyway.

In response to someone saying that people who cheat on their spouses have a character flaw: We all have character flaws. People who stay in a loveless marriage also have a character flaw. They keep their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

Yes, it’s a kick in the teeth when your spouse says they’ve fallen in love with someone else, and hard for the kids to deal with two homes, new step-parents, etc. But I can’t think of anything worse than reaching old age, the kids gone with lives of their own, moved to other states even, only to call on holidays and birthdays, and you being stuck immobile or infirm as time ravages your body, depending on someone you don’t love, haven’t loved in a long time, are disappointed with and sad to be around, and knowing you could have been happy, could have actually had a life worth living, years of love, sharing, fulfilling companionship, etc. and missed your chance.

Don’t stay somewhere you are not happy, life is too short! People like to pass judgement based on their own fears and insecurities. Let people live!

…way too many people stay in miserable marriages and hate their lives. Glad they’re happy.

People that are brave enough to admit their faults, their choices, their lives, always get very “righteous” people judging them… you could see that both of them were unhappy in their marriages before they “found each other”.Are people supposed to live a mediocre and unhappy life forever because of what looks good for society rules? No. I don’t think so.

Wow, so much hate because someone fell in love with another person and left a toxic situation.

Life is short, some people will stay miserable to “do the right thing” and never really live a happy life which is ok… but it’s also ok to make the decision to find happiness.

My husband left me for a younger woman. I’m happy for them. My 10 year marriage was unhappy. He wasn’t happy. I let him go be happy. It’s the mature thing to do.

They are both adults who made a questionable decision, but I’m sure all involved are better off, No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their “responsibility” to someone else’s feelings.

Let me remind you what Thoreau said:

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To paraphrase Rock Star, “I. cannot. even. with all of those asinine comments.”

I love how everyone believes that if you’re in a toxic relationship you’re entitled to cheat. God forbid you realize you’re in a bad situation and actually get the fuck out without having someone else waiting on you.

Wait a second! Are you telling me I can actually end a relationship before I have another one waiting in the wings? I can leave someone who makes me unhappy and sucks the life right out of me even if I don’t have another person I’m going to immediately be involved with?

Yes! Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying!

Then why in the fuck didn’t they tell me that? I’ve been stuck in this miserable relationship for the last ten years because I didn’t have time to set up a Tinder profile! Or volunteer at Fair.

I don’t know what to tell you, Sparky. You’ve always had the option of leaving. This remains a free country and more importantly, divorce is legal.

Quick question. Who will have sex with me once I kick my spouse/partner to the curb? Who will hold my hand while I go through this divorce? Who will tell me how awesome I am and how horrible my spouse was? And who’s going to pitch in and do all the things my spouse used to do?

Ah, that is the kicker, isn’t it? It’s not that these cheaters don’t realize they can leave a toxic relationship; it’s that they’re lazy. They don’t want to leave until they’ve got the replacement lined up.

Look, I don’t think anyone advocates staying in a miserable marriage. I know I don’t. I’ve always said you’ve got a couple of choices. The two good choices would be you can try to fix it or you can end it. The two bad choices would be you cheat on your spouse under the guise of unhappiness or toxicity, or you suffer through it for years on end.

About that so-called unhappy/toxic relationship. Cheaters lie. Mine lied a lot. It’s amazing to me how many people who have been cheated on talk of their cheaters telling them how much they loved them, how they couldn’t live without them, how these had been the best fill-in-the-blank years of their lives, how they were the love of their life, they were their rock and salvation, and sunshine shot out of their asses.

Hell, even ol’ Jerry Lee claimed that I was his rock. My family was his only real family. He wanted to renew vows. He wanted to have another baby with me so I couldn’t leave him.

A year later I was a mentally abusive spouse who never supported him and hadn’t had sex with him in ten years.

The story has to change when they start doing shitty things. It excuses the shitty things they’re doing.

So many of them focus on “ownership” and not staying if you’re unhappy. I truly don’t think most people think any of this through. We’re not talking about a summer romance here. We’re not talking about a couple who has dated a year or two. We’re talking about, in this case in particular, two people who were married to other people. They made plans with each other. They bought houses. They may have moved across the country. In one case they had two children together. The time to figure out the relationship is not working for you is before you get married and certainly before you bring children into it.

And again, I’m not advocating staying in a loveless or toxic relationship but, Jesus Christ, could maybe someone put a little effort into maintaining their current relationship, the one that did produce those children, before they decide the potato peeler is the new love of their life? I think the innocent children in these situations deserve a little bit more than, “Golly, I just wasn’t happy. Mommy didn’t support me quitting my full-time job and becoming a pot farmer.” Grow the fuck up! It is not just about you anymore.

That seems to be the popular refrain. You’ve got two choices. You either wait out a miserable life being trapped in an unhappy relationship or you cheat on your spouse and get the hell out. Repairing your current relationship never seems to be a solution. What an antiquated idea!

I loved the one that posited, “I’m sure they’re all better off. No one deserves to live unhappily ever after because of their responsibility to someone else’s feelings.”

What kind of bullshit minimizing is that? It’s a marriage. It’s a legally binding relationship. If he’s in the hospital, as his wife I will be the one deciding whether to pull the plug or not. Our lives are entwined. Our money is combined, I’m taking care of his children. I’m keeping his house and doing his laundry. Do not reduce it to some kind of half baked responsibility to my feelings. No, I’ve created a life with this person. We have made plans for our future. When he decides he no longer has a responsibility to my fucking feelings he’s not just hurting my fee fees he’s fucking with my life.

How does this person know that everyone is better off? Maybe the kids have psychological problems stemming from this. Maybe his ex-wife is struggling to keep a roof over her kids’ heads. Maybe she’s working two or three jobs to keep afloat. Maybe his ex-wife was a depressed, suicidal mess for months, if not years, after this happened and his kids were barely being taken care of because their mother was unable to function. This idea that everyone magically pairs up with someone new and has this fantastic life now is magical thinking designed to excuse people like this.

Look at Jennifer Ball. She’s lived just above the poverty line ever since her husband left. She raised four kids on her own. The jackass ex was rarely around. He was far too busy with his ho-worker and their two new spawn. Is she better off? I think she would tell you that she’s happy and counts her blessings, but better off? I don’t think so.

I’m going to have to invoke my John Walsh analogy one more time. He’s got a lucrative career on television because of what happened to his sweet little boy, Adam. Had he never been kidnapped and murdered John never would have done the work he’s done with missing children or going after wanted fugitives. But I think anyone would have a hard time arguing, “Oh, he’s better off.” Quite honestly, I think anyone stupid enough to say that to him deserves a punch to the throat.

I also appreciated the person who declared that, yes, it is a kick in the teeth to get dumped, and golly, it’s probably hard on the kids to deal with a change in their lifestyle, two different homes, and potential step-families, but gee whiz, wouldn’t it suck to get to old age and realize you’re with someone you don’t want to be with.

Yes, it’s slightly disappointing when you find out you’re being cheated on and deceived. It kinda sucks when you have to return to the workforce after being a stay at home mom for 15 years and you don’t get paid enough to actually support your kids and have a home of your own. 

Sure, the kids do sometimes struggle. I mean, I’ve got one who now thinks he shouldn’t have to even complete high school because it’s pointless and another one who calls me up crying because her anxiety is out of control. They both suffer from anxiety but one gets stressed and cries, and the other finds it difficult to reach out for help and fails school. Neither one of the kids dealt with anxiety or depression when their father and I were together but hey, if one of them winds up killing themselves it’s worth it so long as their dad is happy, right? The kids are collateral damage. Don’t get too attached.

Yes, the real travesty isn’t one parent living in poverty or kids having anxiety attacks or lives being upended. The real travesty is finding out after the kids have left home that you are in a loveless relationship and you were too much of a chicken shit to actually do anything to improve your relationship, or to end it the correct way.

I think my favorite comment though was the one who said that people in loveless marriages have a character flaw because they are keeping their spouse from meeting someone who will love them.

What the what? First of all, maybe the spouse in the loveless marriage doesn’t think they’re in a loveless marriage. Maybe they think they’re in a very happy marriage. Second of all, if you’re both in a loveless marriage, but only one person goes off and cheats while the other person remains faithful, why in the fuck is it the faithful partner’s responsibility to get out of the marriage? Oh, I’m sorry. Why is it their responsibility to make sure their spouse finds someone who will love them? I would think it would behoove the person who can’t keep it in their pants to get out of the marriage before it comes to that.

That whole comment is just one big mindfuck.

Oh, your partner cheated on you? That’s not a big deal. Move on and get over it.

Oh, you stayed in a loveless marriage but didn’t cheat? You horrible person! How can you keep your wonderful spouse from finding love? I hope you rot in hell!

I’m going to say it one more time. I’m not against ending an unhappy marriage. Hell, I would advocate for ending unhappy relationships far sooner than most of us do. Most of us who stay, even when things aren’t going great, do so for good intentions. We do it  because we want what’s best for our kids. We believe in commitment and working through the hard times. We think about things other than ourselves and our own happiness. We regularly put others ahead of ourselves. 

I will, however, take issue with someone cheating on their spouse and then excusing it by saying, “I wasn’t happy.” That’s entitlement and crappy character, not a search for happiness. It’s about selfish people putting their own wants and desires ahead of everyone else.

The Exit Affair

We’re all familiar with this term, right? It’s what they call it when your spouse leaves you for someone else. I guess it differs from the “just want to fuck ‘em” affair somehow.

I’ve never liked the term but I couldn’t put my finger on why until recently.

…minimize the cheating and wrong doing, instead focus on the shortcomings of the relationship.

As in: Yeah, I cheated. But I haven’t been happy for a long time/we haven’t been happy for a long time/we’re not right together/our relationship would have ended anyway/we’ll be much happier apart/it’s for the best, etc. etc.

I think this is another form of manipulation. You’re not allowed to react, get angry or upset about them cheating on you, because instead they’ve switched the focus to ending the relationship as if the affair never happened- they’ve sidestepped and minimized the affair and gaslighted you into thinking your relationship was ending anyway.

Yes! That is exactly it. I was always left wondering if perhaps I deserved it. Maybe we weren’t right together. Maybe he would be happier with her. It wasn’t just an affair. It was an exit affair, which means I was to blame because I was lacking, our relationship was lacking. And everyone knows that if you have a shitty relationship the way to end it is to fuck your cousin. Or the person of your choice. Doesn’t have to be a relative.

He wasn’t just a run of the mill cheater, out having sex with new people because he liked a bit of strange on the side. No! He was still an upstanding man with great integrity. He was practically forced to cheat on me because our relationship was so awful.

An exit affair is all about the relationship; the cheater’s character can never be called into question. Because if the relationship had been better he or she would have never cheated. No, sir!

Someone else on Chump Lady chimed in with this:

You’re so right that the “exit affair” narrative is another form of manipulation, defined by a massive amount of side stepping and down playing.

That is precisely what it is. It downplays the shitty character of the cheater. It sidesteps the total destruction of lives caused by the cheating. And it manipulates people into believing that somehow this is an okay thing because who can argue against happiness and true love?

I’ve written about this before. People like to say they didn’t leave for the affair partner; their marriage was already dead, over. In other words, the affair was simply the catalyst that made them realize the marriage was over. I’ve long argued that, no, if you were still with your spouse up until the moment you began fucking your affair partner, you left for that person. You didn’t leave until you had a replacement lined up. Ergo, you left for that person.

You were too much of a chickenshit to leave honestly and ethically. You were content to sleep with your spouse and take advantage of whatever they brought to the marriage (you know, the long dead one), whether that was a paycheck, child care, laundry services, cooking, yard work, etc. You didn’t get out of this horrible, horrible situation until someone else came along and volunteered to do all of those things for you.

Or as another commenter on Chump Lady puts it:

Ah yes, the exit affair. I hate this term because whenever I read about what it means, it seems like the ultimate blameshift. The relationship was so bad that the fuckwit had to leave under the protection of an affair partner.

It focuses all of the blame on the person who’s being fucked over. It’s all about the crappy relationship. Nothing about the cheater’s crappy character. It’s not their fault, y’all! The relationship was bad! Their soul was dying from the weight of this cancerous relationship. Then this new person came along and suddenly they feel alive again! They can hear the birds sing. They can see the sun shining and marvel at how blue the sky really is. You can’t argue against that, right? So let’s dress it up in a pretty package and spin this sob story into something that has the cheater seen as the victim and the betrayed as the perpetrator.

I didn’t have an affair. This was an exit affair. Exit affairs are all about escaping bad relationships and finding well-deserved happiness. They’re not about sex and entitlement and people who lack a moral compass.

My advice? Don’t take the bait. It doesn’t matter how the affair is labeled. Even if the cheater leaves for the other person it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean their “love” is special. It doesn’t mean they’ve found someone with whom they are more compatible. It doesn’t mean it was your fault. It doesn’t mean that your relationship was lacking. It means they have an entitlement issue and shitty character. They are the same person regardless of who they’re with. Personality transplants don’t exist.

The Delusional Side Chick, Part 3

In the end, the feel good was always temporary, and a little less each time. I cleaned up the thousands of half empty two year old beer bottles, I happily put on gloves and picked up and threw out his spent condoms from his hundreds of past partners, I tossed a few hundred sex toys hidden in the coffee table, under his couch, in his beer cartons, and under his bed. I was not happy about the situation, but I was determined to make a positive impact on him during the short bursts of time that I had with him.

Who’s the enabler now, Lucy?

I wanted him to know what it was like to come home to his house, where there wasn’t a stench of dried cum, moldy beer, and dirty dishes soaking into the walls. I have my own house, and I know depression well. If I’m going to make an impact on anyone, I want above all, for it to be a good one. I know what struggle is like, and I did a lot of it to myself, but in my situations, when I was truly alone, I got myself out of it. I was the perfect antidote.

As much as you deride the long term girlfriend for being an enabler, from all that you’ve written you enabled him much more than she did. When you find yourself throwing out used condoms and tossing away sex toys… I don’t even have words for this. Everything you’ve accused the long-term girlfriend of you are guilty of yourself, multiplied by infinity.

You were not a positive example, or a “perfect antidote”. You were being used. You were the perfect appliance. You were the perfect whipping girl. You were just too delusional to see it. Because sparks.

As I helped him, his skin brightened up, he seemed happier, he told me he loved me, but the lying and cheating continued.

Imagine that!

I began to get fed up. Four months in, on our most recent decision to get back together, I got hard proof of the other women. I addressed the problem to him, showed him evidence that I knew everything, and provided him a safe space to come clean in.

Hard proof of other women? Girl, where have you been? You knew there were other women because he had a long-term girlfriend. Who the hell did you think he was using the sex toys on? Himself? Did he use a condom to masturbate?

Thankfully, you provided him a safe space in which to come clean. That’s the number one reason most liars don’t ‘fess up. Lack of a safe space. Maybe we should round them up and drop them off at fire stations. Then the truth could come pouring out like manna from Heaven.

The number two reason they don’t ‘fess up? They’re liars.

Though he became transparent and willing to compromise with me on most things, he still stood by his longest secret… the main girl.

Wow- he was transparent and willing to compromise on most things. Like, he was willing to tell you how much he could bench press or how he really felt about Grey’s Anatomy’s newest storyline, or if he really liked your pot roast, but he wasn’t quite willing to stop fucking other women? Gotta draw the line somewhere. He is positively opaque when it comes to the other women!

Lucy, she is not a secret. She never was. You admitted you knew about her but ignored her existence from the very beginning. She was his whipping girl, remember? You tried so hard to give her clues and get her to recognize her self-worth.

A week later I gave him one last chance to come clean, and he didn’t take it, so during that one night he spent with her, I walked in on him and her. I was respectful, got my things that I had purposely left at his house, calmly sat down next to her and told her about the other women, waved goodbye, and left.

Well aren’t you just a sweetheart! That’s so thoughtful of you to let her know about all the other women. I’m sure there was no hidden agenda.

He tried to make it work with the main girl, but she enabled him, so he began to cheat again. I went no contact again.

She enabled him so he cheated. You didn’t enable him (in your mind) and he still cheated. Maybe the problem isn’t her so much as it is him. And you, because you keep making excuses for him.

Then, to my surprise, he broke things off with her, he decided to work on himself, and realized that he no longer wanted to lead a life of risky promiscuity, and coping through vices.

I love a happy ending. <eye roll>

The Delusional Side Chick, Part 1

I came across a blog post entitled, “I Was the ‘Side Chick’”. The short version is this: I was the side chick. He had a long-term girlfriend that he cheated on all the time. I can’t believe she let him get away with that. She knew and she did nothing! Have some respect, woman! But me- I knew what I was getting into. I was the side chick and I was special. Even when he was fucking other women besides the long-term girlfriend. Eventually I won him. Yea me!

Let’s dig in, shall we?

My phrase was, “It doesn’t matter what he does with the other women; all that matters is what he does with me.”

How is that any different from the long-term girlfriend’s thinking?

I knew about her, but I didn’t. He was really bad at hiding her, and I could see all the signs. He’d lie about her, and he’d lie about him, and he lied about them, and he kept us a secret to most.

He did not like them on a train. He did not like them in the rain. He did not like them in a house. He did not like them with a mouse. He did not like green eggs and ham. He did not like them, Sam I Am!

So which is it, Delusional? Can I call you Lucy for short? You knew about her but you didn’t know about her. If you know about her then you know about her and there’s no not knowing about her. I think the phrase you were looking for is, “I knew about her but I didn’t care.”

She was the long-term girlfriend that he couldn’t break up with. She enabled his bad habits and never asked questions. She didn’t want to know. She had been with him almost two years.

Are you sure she knew, Lucy? Maybe, like you, she knew but she didn’t know. Maybe he lied about you and lied about him and then lied about the two of you and kept you a secret from her.

She was the long-term girlfriend he couldn’t break up with? Maybe the correct terminology would be he didn’t want to break up with her. Because all that enabling his bad habits and never asking questions worked for him. I’m sure it drove you nuts, Lucy. What is wrong with that woman? Can’t she tell I’m fucking her boyfriend? When is she ever going to get fed up and leave him so I can take that handsome, lying, cheating dreamboat off her hands? I’m equally sure he loved it. So many kibbles!

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I met his friends and family, and was a major part of his life. I welcomed him into my family, and eagerly showed him all that I was willing to show, about who I really am.

Wait a minute! I thought he kept you a secret to most. Now you’re telling us he introduced you to friends and family and that you were a major part of his life. Hmmm…. I’m intrigued.

It also seems that the long-term girlfriend was not the only one burying her head in the sand.

He had been cheating on her from the start, and that’s what helped him convince me that he was single. She made herself into his whipping girl and I wasn’t okay with that. She was beautiful, and she had potential, but she didn’t fight for herself.

Hold up, Lucy. Are you saying that because he had been cheating on her from the very beginning that you felt it was okay for you to try to claim him as your very own? Or are you saying that because he had never been faithful a day in his life he was awesome at lying and making you believe things that weren’t the truth? Wow- you have a major winner there!

You have no idea what this girl made herself into you. You have the word of a liar. It’s also presumptuous of you to talk about how you weren’t okay with that while you continue to cheat with him. I’m sure she values your critique of her; she must be positively giddy that her boyfriend’s side chick thinks she has potential. You are a delusional cunt, Lucy.

Him and I, we had an off again, on again type of relationship, as I struggled to teach him how to leave. I would go no contact and give him space. Once, we broke up for almost a year.

Sounds to me like Lucy was doing the ol’ pick me dance. She “struggled to teach him how to leave” so that he could be hers and hers alone. For the love of God, why are you still with that beautiful woman filled with pacifist potential? Don’t you see what a prize I am? Don’t you want to be with me all of the time? Forever? Please pick me! Oh fine! If you’re going to continue to use her as your whipping girl, instead of me, then we’re over! I’ve blocked you on social media! I’ve blocked your number on my phone. No texts. No calls. You’ll be sorry!

According to Redbook Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Take Back A Cheater

I came across some light reading the other day. Entitled 5 Reasons You Should Never Take Back a Cheater it goes through a list of, you guessed it, five reasons you shouldn’t take a cheater back. It’s more like a checklist, I think. As in, if the cheater in your life did this…

And while this comes backed by Redbook experts (!) it’s nothing that the exquisite Chump Lady hasn’t already covered pretty thoroughly in her excellent post, Real Remorse? Or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse? I think we can all use a refresher course once and again so let’s begin.

Reason #1 you shouldn’t take your cheater back: It was an emotional affair. If sexologist and author, Eric Marlowe Garrison, tells you that emotional affairs can be just as hard to weather through, then you should probably believe him.

In all seriousness, what I hear time and time again is that it is not the sex that destroys the betrayed spouse. It’s all the damn lies and gas lighting.

CF’s first affair was supposedly an emotional affair. We did live almost 2000 miles away from Harley and I can testify that CF does not have a 1500+ mile long penis so perhaps he was telling the truth. Or, maybe on one of the few times he visited with his mom he took off and fucked the whore. I don’t know and I don’t care at this point. What hurt the most was the fact that he told me she made him happy. That was something I had been trying, and failing to do for eighteen years at that point. You want to talk triggers? Any talk of happiness was a huge trigger for me.

He told her he loved her. He made plans for the future with her. They talked about coming home to each other and eating dinner together. All things he didn’t bother doing with me and our kids. He was giggling like a teenager in love to his nephew about bringing her around when he got his tattoo, and telling him, “I can’t say much but one day you’ll be related to her!” Tee hee hee. So yeah, that stung more than a little bit.

Reason #2: Learning new info over the months. I think that’s what those in the reconciliation industry like to call “trickle truth”. It’s a pretty little cover for what should be known as lying by omission. It can also be called covering your ass and what they don’t know won’t hurt them but what they do know can sure as hell hurt me!

For those of you who have dealt with the so-called “trickle truth” you know it’s difficult to heal. For one, you know there’s information you don’t have. For two, every time another bomb drops, usually courtesy of someone or something else, you go right back to square one. It’s almost impossible to heal, or forgive, when you don’t know the entire story and you keep getting little chunks of it over the course of months or years.

Reason #3: They don’t answer all your questions. Well isn’t that some bullshit? They cheat and break your heart, potentially destroy your family, and then they’re going to get a burr up their ass about answering questions.

I like the way sex and family therapist, Jane Greer, Ph.D, puts it: The person who cheated should answer all these questions. If they can’t or won’t, walk away.”

Amen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are quite a few cheaters out there who have no interest in a divorce, but they also have no interest in truly reconciling. Divorce might mean having to do for themselves. Divorce will mean divvying up assets and potentially paying child and/or spousal support. Divorce might mean a lot of unpleasant things the cheater doesn’t want to face. What they want is for you to shut up and go back to the way things were before they were caught. They won’t do any work on the relationship, or helping you heal, and they feel like you should feel fortunate they’ve chosen to stay.

I do my best to let everyone find their own way but I will say a little prayer that any of you who find yourselves dealing with a supposedly remorseful cheater who refuses to answer your questions and does the trickle truth routine will find the strength to tell that cheater they can either start answering your questions honestly, or they can get the fuck out.

Reason #4: Placing the blame elsewhere. Specifically, if they are blaming you for the affair. No one makes a person cheat. I couldn’t get CF to eat a turnip. I couldn’t get him out of the bedroom to join us as a family. I couldn’t get him to enjoy holidays or vacations. I couldn’t get him to replace our screen door. I couldn’t get him to follow through on the promised theater room or the outdoor entertainment area. It follows that I couldn’t prevent him from fucking someone else. That was all on him.

For the love of God, if your cheater tries putting it all back on you, please, PLEASE, stand up to that sniveling coward and let them know you had absolutely nothing to do with their piss poor choices. Be crystal clear that the cheating they did was their own damn fault and a result of their poor character, which had nothing to do with you. And then go one step further and let them know that if they ever dare to blame you for their affair again you will kick their ass to the curb and file for divorce immediately. Or better yet, just leave. You’ve got nothing to work with. That’s a whole lot of entitlement and crazy thinking to cheat on your partner and then expect them to shoulder the blame for your shitty actions.

Reason #5: The affair has been ongoing. I always thought if a person cheated I would end the relationship, no questions asked. Boom. We’re done. And then of course I bought into the whole, “I won’t measure our entire relationship by one mistake,” hocus pocus. But even after I considered maybe forgiving a cheating spouse I always figured I couldn’t forgive him if either the affair had lasted a very long time, or if there had been multiple women.

I hate to quote Audrey Hope, a celebrity relationship expert (whatever that is) but I agree with her when she says, “If cheating lasted a long time, like a year or more, it’s no longer an affair, but rather a full-blown relationship.”

Most affairs are short-lived. I don’t think I could have dealt with a long running affair. Had I found out CF and Harley had been fucking around for 2 or 3 years the first time, I’m pretty sure I would have been singing Ace of Base’s, “I Saw the Sign” and walked away. Nothing to save. There is an awful lot of lying going on when someone conducts a long term affair. The sheer fact that my spouse could have lived a double life for years on end would be enough for me to say, “I’m done.”

Similarly, when Elin Nordegren first took a golf club and chased her husband down, ending with him crashing into a tree, I thought to myself, “Maybe they can rebuild.” And then the long list of women started hitting the news. That’s when I said to myself, “She needs to leave him. She’s got nothing to work with.” A one night stand, or even a one time short-lived affair is a whole different kettle of fish from someone who will fuck anything and everything.

You might be able to rebuild your marriage after an affair. When you’re dealing with someone who endlessly cheats you’re married to someone who wants a pussy or dick buffet. They’re not interested in faithfulness.

There you have it. Five reasons you should leave your cheater. If it was an emotional affair, if your partner won’t tell you the whole truth or refuses to answer questions, if your partner blames you for the affair, or if the affair was long-term Redbook says to run. If you can’t trust Redbook, who can you trust?

They Cheat Because Their Souls Were Starving (Oh Brother)

I needed the perspective. I needed the REASON why he did it. Much like you his only answer was selfishness. That wasn’t good enough for me. You say there’s no good reason but there is. You were lonely and sad and you felt unloved and unwanted and you were HUMAN; you were human searching for someone to feed your soul after a long time of starving. You say it’s not a reason but it is. Your wife has a responsibility in it just as I did. Leaving someone’s soul to starve and decimate over time no matter how depressed we were is still cruel; it’s still not ok. In its own way we should have let you go instead of handcuffing you to a dead person. Isn’t that the same thing as leaving someone before you cheat? They are both actions that denote consequences for another that is detrimental. If you refuse to accept your wife had some part in this I don’t see any hope for you.

I was bored this morning and wanted to languish in my comfy bed, surrounded by snoring dogs, so I read old posts from others I follow and I clicked on links and came across this. It was a comment on a cheating spouse’s blog.

As you can probably glean from the comment the actual cheater was not making excuses for the behavior. It was a betrayed wife who was making the excuses.

As far as excuses go I think this is the one that gets the most traction and the one I find to be the biggest load of bullshit.

I’m going to take a wild stab at this and guess that almost everyone who reads my blog has had a job at one point in their life.

Let me ask you, those of you who have had jobs, if you begin working for a company and over time start to believe you are underpaid does it ever occur to you to embezzle from that company? Do you ever start to think, “Wow! The pay and benefits here are horrible! They really should pay me more. I might be able to make more money elsewhere but I really don’t want to put forth the time and effort to job hunt. I know! I’ll just embezzle from them. Maybe fudge a few expense reports. If they paid me more I would have never done this.

I’m genuinely curious because I do happen to know three embezzlers. Good grief, I’ve lived a colorful life! Thankfully, none of them were close friends. One was a friend of my mother’s and  happened when I was a child. One was the first wife of Pastor Fake. The third was actually an ex-boyfriend. To be clear, I was not dating him at the time.

All that aside I can honestly say it has never once occurred to me to steal from my place of employment because I didn’t think I was getting paid enough. My thought process has always leaned more towards, “Hmmm…. I should look for another job.”

Yet this seems to be a common refrain in the reconciliation industry. No, you aren’t to blame for your spouse cheating but you must honestly examine your marriage and see where the cracks were that led to the cheating. No matter how many different ways you try to spin it the question at heart becomes: What is it that you were doing wrong to make your spouse cheat? What are your faults? Where were you lacking? What can you do to improve?

I think that’s a very slippery slope you start to go down when you begin to explore that. Why? Because again, what it all leads back to is you are responsible for your spouse’s behavior. Your behavior determines whether your spouse will be faithful or will cheat.

Did your spouse feel abandoned by you? Like nothing more than a handyman and a paycheck? Did they feel like a cook and a maid? Did they feel like they couldn’t depend on you? Did they feel like they couldn’t talk to you about deeply personal issues? Did they feel like they couldn’t be their true selves around you? Were they lonely? Feeling sexually neglected? Did they feel like the two of you were nothing more than roommates? Were you focused solely on the kids? Did you no longer wear makeup or do your hair, or belch and fart in front of them, thus erasing the magic of your romance? Did you shut them out? Did you make them feel less than? Did you have poor communication?

Oh, ok! We can work with that! Just stop doing whatever it is that you did and then your spouse won’t ever cheat on you again.

The problem with that thinking is it doesn’t get to the underlying reason of why the cheating spouse thought that an affair was an acceptable solution to all of that. What happens when something else occurs in your life to take attention away from them? What happens if they begin to feel abandoned or betrayed or unheard or unappreciated again?

We don’t do this with physical abuse. We don’t ask the wife, “What did you do to make him mad?” Then when she goes through the litany of answers:  Oh, I didn’t have dinner on the table… I talked too much… I wouldn’t back down in an argument… My clothes were too sexy and he said I was flirting with other men… I blocked his view on the TV… I argued with him… I put mushrooms in the pasta sauce… He couldn’t find his favorite shirt… We don’t nod wisely and then suggest, “Stop doing that then! If you would stop arguing and be a better wife he wouldn’t beat you.”

We don’t ask a person what they did to cause their spouse to physically abuse them, so why do we continue to ask a person what they did to cause their spouse to cheat on them?

That brings us to the second problem with that kind of thinking. You’ve just told the person who betrayed you that ultimately they’re not responsible for their own behavior. YOU are responsible for their behavior. Your actions are so powerful that they will determine whether or not your spouse cheats.

Let me be very clear. I don’t think there is a problem with looking at a relationship and seeing where things went wrong. Acknowledging that you didn’t communicate well, or you never made time for yourselves as a couple, or you fought dirty is all good and fine. Work on the communication. Make time for yourselves as a couple. Resolve to stop fighting dirty. But don’t ever let anyone use those as excuses and justifications for infidelity. You were both in that relationship.

CF told everyone that he was nothing more than a paycheck and a handyman to me. He told me we were nothing more than roommates. He pointed out that we had barely spoken or had sex in the last 6 months to a year. What he didn’t point out is how his own behavior led to any of this. What he neglected to acknowledge is that we were both in that marriage and yet only one of us began an affair with our cousin.

That was the first time around! That was the time when I was eagerly hopping onboard with this idea that it was a marriage problem and if we resolved all of the issues that made him unhappy and led him to seek out another person then all would be okay.

Does anyone else find it absurd that he cheated and yet I was the one with the checklist of things to fix? I was faithful but I needed to fix this. He cheated but he had reasons and therefore nothing to fix.

The second time around was even more bizarre. I was accused of hating him. He’s a crying, drinking, isolating-himself-in-the-bedroom mess, and I’m running around like that guy who tries to keep all the spinning plates from toppling off the sticks and crashing to the ground. I’m taking him to the psych ward. I’m visiting every day. I’m bringing him goodies. I’m taking care of the house and the kids while he’s having a break down. I’m making his appointments. I’m going with him to those appointments. I’m cheering him on. I’m hoping to God he’ll come out of this slump and we can finally start to do things again as a couple. Meanwhile, he’s telling everyone how horrible I am and fucking around with his whore cousin. If anyone had a reason to cheat it would have been me! So no, I don’t give much credence to this thought that the cheated on spouse has to own their part in their spouse’s infidelity.

You can examine every inch of your relationship backwards and forward. You can see every flaw in your relationship, every crack that existed and even nail down who did what to whom and when. It still comes down to one person unilaterally making the decision to cheat. No one made them do it. It is a choice they freely made. I don’t care if they were lost. I don’t care if they were weak. I don’t care if they were manipulated. I don’t care if they hadn’t felt human touch in twenty years. Ultimately this person decided they were entitled to cheat. They decided that “job hunting” would be too much trouble so they were going to embezzle instead. Sadly, they have a whole army of people lining up to pat them on their little heads and tell them that it’s not their fault; they wouldn’t have done any of this if only their spouse had done things differently.

If you choose to believe this line of thinking I would suggest you ask yourself one more question: What has changed in this person so that the next time a crisis occurs or they aren’t feeling loved and special they don’t opt to go fuck another person?

Maybe because of my own experiences with being betrayed, forgiving, and then being betrayed again I am jaded. Or bitter. Pick whichever one makes you feel better. Nonetheless it is stunningly obvious that despite the fact that I was willing and eager to “own my part” and “look at what led to the breakdown”, despite the fact that I made all of those changes he asked for, while he made none, and despite the fact that I uprooted my children and agreed to move us 2000 miles across the country so that he could be happy, when he was faced with another moment of unhappiness/disappointment/crisis he resorted right back to his first response- cheating. He didn’t talk things out with me. He didn’t try to fix things. He took no responsibility. He simply resumed his relationship with Harley and blamed everything on me.

The Myth of the Sexless Marriage

I was reading a conversation over on DC Urban Moms and Dads. The original poster asked why on earth anyone would recommend Chump Lady’s site because she was so bitter, angry and negative. Several people patiently pointed out that anger is useful to get you through the initial phase of being discarded and accepting what you married. Others pointed out her tag line is: Leave a cheater, gain a life. She’s not into the reconciliation business. Eventually it meandered over into the fact that men NEED sex and that most people who cheat do so because of sexless marriages.

Well, of course they do! It couldn’t be the fact that the person has bad character. It couldn’t be the fact that the cheater lacks impulse control, or feels entitled to anything he or she desires. It couldn’t be the fact that they act like toddlers, throwing a tantrum anytime things don’t go their way. It can’t be that they are needy and clingy and are bottomless pits of need. No, it must be because their spouses (wives usually) have cut them off from sex, forcing them to cheat. They wouldn’t do this awful thing if the “refusing” spouse would simply hop into bed and participate. This is not their fault! It’s the cheated on spouse’s fault!

Why not divorce? Coz reasons! It’s no fair that if my wife cuts me off from sex and I believe that’s a deal breaker then I have to be a grown up and make hard choices. One person even put it like this:

I’m not comfortable defending the position of a cheater but…

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice. Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life. That’s a ridiculous choice to have to make. So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Oy. And vey. Dramatic much?

A wife who unilaterally chooses to be sexless gives her husband a Hobson’s choice.

First of all, who are these wives this person speaks of who entirely cut their husbands off? There is a difference between, “I want to have sex six times a week but my spouse will only give it up twice,” vs. “I haven’t had sex in five years.” Not to mention, cheaters lie. It’s what they do.

CF will tell anyone who will listen that we hadn’t had sex in ten years. That is an outright lie. He will also tell people he is an Army Ranger. That is another outright lie. He lies. It’s what he does. I feel like I’m in a fucking Geico commercial!

In addition, the only spouses I’ve ever heard of who cut their spouse off sexually were the cheaters! They did it to maintain control. Meanwhile, they were out there screwing anything that moved.

Either cheat or divorce, and along with divorce comes a free raping by the divorce court. Losing their kids, their house, half their stuff…

Secondly, if you do even the tiniest bit of research you will find that it is generally women who pay the greatest price when it comes to divorce. Hell, I know I got a great deal compared to some people but my standard of living is still far, far below what it was. I will again remind the reading audience that while CF is indeed paying out in excess of 60% of his paycheck to me, he’s doing so because he refuses to leave his sweetie behind to find a better paying job. He was imputed at his previous wages. Even with a ten month gap in employment and being basically fired for drinking on the job, he managed to get a $100,000/year job. I finally got one for $11/hour. He lives in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom 3000 sq. foot home which looks eerily like our old home in Virginia, with a community pool and a community clubhouse. I live with my mother, have no bedroom to call my own, and sleep on the couch.

Sure, there are stories of women who take their husbands to the cleaners. The ironic part? They’re usually the ones cheating. I know far more women who have been left destitute after a divorce.

…and the added bonus of continuing to pay the person who caused this for the rest of their life.

I’m pretty sure CF must have written this. Yet another person lamenting having to pay “for the rest of their life.” No, it’s not the rest of their life. In many states they pay nothing aside from child support! Child support ends at some point. Spousal support ends at some point. In my case it will end in 16 years. That is hardly “the rest of his life”.

I loved this though: So in that case, cheating is not a wholly unreasonable solution.

A wife whose husband has become sexless can make a legitimate choice to divorce with limited negative consequences, so there is no excuse for them to cheat.

Nice! So men are forced to cheat because otherwise they may have to give up some of their stuff. Women, on the other hand, never have an excuse to cheat.

It’s too bad some of these people never grew up. If they had they would understand that sometimes doing the right thing isn’t easy. They would understand that on occasion you get to choose between two shitty things. These poor babies just assume the fact that divorcing comes with consequences they don’t want to face means they should be excused for cheating.

Could we please stop acting like women (or whoever is withholding) have all the power? It’s not like a stay at home mom who is “refusing” to have sex has nothing to lose if her husband leaves her. Many states start with 50/50 custody so she stands to lose her kids. Even if she has primary custody she still misses out on weekends and holidays with her kids. A woman who divorces may find her children being raised by another woman. After reading a Mom vs. Stepmom debate board for over ten years it seems to me that women are much more territorial when it comes to the children. Many states have no alimony, so even if she does get custody of the kids, she won’t be receiving it any longer than 18 years and it will go down as each child ages out. Her chances of finding a job where she makes as much money as her husband are fairly low unless her degree is in something that will remain current- think nursing. I’ve known women who were teachers, IT professionals, and accountants who struggled going back into the workforce after years of staying home with children. If she was already working then he’s not going to end up paying her alimony anyway, if they live in a state that awards it, unless he makes significantly more than her. And, if their salaries are very similar he might not end up paying her much in child support either- probably none at all if custody is 50/50.

It’s all a narrative to justify cheating. Those trying the hardest to justify it keep referring to the “refuser” in the relationship and how that person is the one who first broke vows. Apparently, one of the vows you make when you get married is to have sex on demand. If that vow isn’t met then the other spouse is justified in cheating, or so their theory goes.

Even when it’s pointed out that if that is indeed happening then both parties know they are not having sex. The person being refused sex is not left in the dark. When the other person decides to go outside of the marriage both parties are not aware of it. When that is pointed out, and divorce is offered up as the responsible response to such a situation (not getting all the sex you deserve) they once again chime in with, “But… consequences! Why should I suffer any consequences for any of my decisions? I have to cheat. I deserve to cheat because they won’t do what I want them, no NEED them, to do.” They are nothing but big ol’ cake eaters.

Here’s another truth. It’s not about the sex. If he’s getting it twelve times a week at home then he’ll complain that she won’t do anal, or oral, or some other thing. Or it’s that she won’t do a threesome or let him watch her have sex with another guy, or participate in a gang bang, or agree to an open marriage, or participate in S&M. Look at the swinger from last week. He and his wife are having sex upwards of five times a week and he wants to be able fuck strange on the side. His complaint about his first wife wasn’t simply that she only wanted sex a few times a month. It was also about the fact that she wasn’t willing to indulge his other fantasies.

If you read Chump Lady you will hear that narrative over and over: I had plenty of sex with my husband, but he went looking for other sources because I wouldn’t… (fill in the blank).

People don’t cheat because they’re in sexless marriages. I would be willing to bet that most of them who make that claim aren’t even in sexless marriages. They cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. They cheat because they want to eat cake, as Chump Lady would say. They cheat because nothing is ever enough for them and no amount of groveling and catering to them will ever make them happy or satisfied. They always demand more. They cheat because they don’t want to have to do the hard work of filing for divorce and going through everything that entails. It’s far easier to keep your spouse and some strange on the side, than it is to be honest and do the hard thing. They cheat because they have convinced themselves that it’s YOUR fault. You’ve made them do this; the poor lambs didn’t have a choice.

Don’t fall for the narrative, folks. People with an ounce of common sense don’t ask what the rape victim could have done to prevent the rapist from raping her/him. People with an ounce of common sense don’t tell the battered spouse, “If only you would do (fill in the blank),” or “If you wouldn’t do (fill in the blank) your spouse wouldn’t be driven to abuse you.” People with an ounce of common sense should also realize no one makes another person cheat. It’s a damn choice. Own it!

#riseup

This Is What They Look Like, Part 1

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block lately. Nothing to report. No infidelity articles to snark about. Until today.

I came across someone writing a glowing report about an article that was posted in the New York Times Modern Love. Written by Karin Jones it is all about what she learned about infidelity  by sleeping with married men.

I’ll save you the hassle of reading the article itself. It pretty much boils down to: Ladies, you suck! Or, don’t suck enough, as the case may be. It’s always about the sex. They’re just not getting enough and if only you puritanical types could let your husbands go off and fuck any random woman to get that “intimacy” met then everyone would be happy. You could keep your marriage and your upper middle class lifestyle, and he would never leave because he was getting all the sex he could ever want. From everyone. Sometimes maybe even you! Aren’t you lucky?

We all know they only stray because of the lack of sex, don’t we? And they are all poster children for the perfect husband aside from their proclivity to fuck random strange. It’s never because they’re unable to be satisfied, or entitled, or just have piss poor judgment and life skills. It’s never because they enjoy secretly getting one over on their partner. There is no thrill in knowing something she doesn’t know. Oh no! It always comes down to the wife not putting out enough.

Men, I apologize for being so general. I try to keep it gender neutral. My own love was cheated on more than once by his wife, so I know it’s not a men only thing. However, this article was written by a woman about unfaithful men with whom she was sleeping. I’m speaking only in terms of her article.

Back to the blog on WordPress. That writer praised Karin for being so brave. Yes, it’s so brave to admit you sleep with married men. Something tells me Karin is not one bit ashamed of that. I would bet money Karin feels rather hip and liberated, no longer chained to those old fashioned ideas that say adultery is wrong.

The writer admits he had two long term affairs (18 months) in his own marriage that ended in divorce, and he thinks Karin pretty much nails it! Surprise, surprise! It was all about the sex. If his wife had only put out more he wouldn’t have needed to cheat on her!

According to him he was an amazing husband. He helped out around the house, he was an active, involved father, he made good money, he never yelled at her, he complimented her, and most importantly, he worked out like a fiend so he could be in great shape for her. Plus, he’s pretty sure that he’s awesome in bed so it wasn’t that he just didn’t do it for her.

I’m being unkind. His second wife seems to be very happy with his performance sexually. Coincidentally, she loves having sex and they have tons of it, so it really must have been the ex-wife’s fault that he cheated.

He’s also created charts that show exactly how much sex he was having with his ex-wife and now, his new wife, so he knows he was only having sex with his ex about twice a month and now has sex 4-5 times a week. He’s even older now than he was when he was with his ex but just look at him go! It’s probably all that working out he did.

Hey, I wonder if his wife got fat and that was another reason he had to cheat.

Karin does ask the question: Why not just ask your wife for permission to have the occasional fling or casual affair?

My answer is: Silly Karin. They don’t ask permission because that would spoil the fun of knowing something your partner doesn’t know. They don’t ask permission because that might put a crimp in their lifestyle. They might find themselves splitting their 401k and paying child support. Even worse, if they’re allowed to go off and have the occasional fling then maybe their partner can go off and have the occasional fling as well, and that’s just not acceptable! Cheater gets all the cake! And the ice cream, too.

His response was predictable. He didn’t want to “hurt” people. Ending the marriage would be a “disaster” and would end up hurting everyone- his kids, his wife, his in-laws. He also recognized he would become a part-time dad. More on that in a minute.

In the end he decided that having an affair was the honorable thing to do. It was the only solution. He could keep his family together and get his sexual needs taken care of. What a swell guy! I’m sure his wife appreciated him cheating on her instead of manning up and divorcing her. Throw in an STD for an added bonus!

It is obvious that he and his wife were not sexually compatible. We could argue about whether or not that is a reason to divorce your spouse. Some people have a high sex drive; others have a much lower one. The two of them, of course, lament the fact that the lower libido spouse is always the one that controls how much sex is being had. Naturally they think that either the high libido spouse should rule, or that they should come up with a compromise. I don’t know what the correct answer is. I know what it isn’t. You don’t go off and have affairs and think that will solve things. You don’t go off and have affairs and then try to dress that up as you doing something honorable or helpful. You don’t blame the fact that you chose to have an affair on your spouse and their unwillingness to have sex.

This is where it gets interesting. In an earlier post he talks about how he was afraid that he would never be satisfied by just one woman and he brought that up to his new, future wife fairly early on in their relationship. He concludes, four years later, that he is entirely satisfied by this new wife. Yet, he and his new wife are swingers, or monogam-ish. He is so satisfied with his new wife with whom he has amazing sex 4-5 times a week that they both have sex with other people several times a month. I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.

Furthermore, in yet another post, they (they write this blog together) talk about a swinging event they had where she was very hurt by the fact that he got a blow job from a woman without her (the wife’s) consent or knowledge. So I guess being allowed to fuck anything that moves didn’t stop him from going behind her back. Which again brings us back to the oft recited: It’s the thrill of knowing something your partner doesn’t.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Do We Ever Learn?

On the heels of my uplifting previous post… Drew over on thezombieshuffle wrote about the divorce rates in North America. According to his research the rate of divorce for 1st marriages is 50%, 67% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages.

While doing a little research of my own I came across some statistics from Dr. Phil. His statistics aren’t quite as bad. According to him your chance of divorce in your first marriage is 35-40%. Hey, you’ve been given a 10-15% bump up in success rates! Hooray! Your chance of divorce in a second marriage is 60-65%, giving you a slightly better chance by a 2-5% margin. If you choose to marry a third time (hello, Jezebel!) the chance of divorce climbs to 70%+, which is a slight 3% bump from Drew’s figures.

Regardless of whose figures you use it seems apparent that your best chance for happily ever after is your first marriage. Statistically speaking, of course.

The bigger question he asks though is this: With the identical trend of the rising rate of divorce the more times you walk down the aisle, do people actually learn anything from their failed marriages? Follow up questions: Are relationships a waste of time? Are they all fleeting?

I think more than likely he hit the nail on the head with his first question. I think people don’t learn. Look at cheaters. CF constantly plays the victim. Nothing is his fault. His relationship with his kids is in the toilet, but it’s not his fault. Oh no! It’s mine! I’ve poisoned the kids against him.

I’m taking all of his money. But that’s not his fault. I’m just a greedy, money hungry bitch. His behavior didn’t play even a tiny bit into what has happened to him.

He was forced out of his home. He had to quit his job. He has a drinking problem. It’s all my fault. I didn’t love him. I didn’t take care of him.

He’s not unique. Most cheaters blame the spouse they’re cheating on. They blame us for all of their ailments and failures and unhappiness. And then they turn around and blame us for their affair(s).

You didn’t grow a garden. You didn’t fetch me my slippers. You didn’t wear sexy underwear. You got bald. You wouldn’t help with the kids. We didn’t have sex (often enough or ever). You didn’t support my new pumpkin patch business! You didn’t support my passion for crab racing! You didn’t understand me!

Nothing about where they went wrong. Nope. Just pick a different partner and everything will be tickety boo.

This can apply to almost anyone though, not just cheaters. Many people think the partner is the problem and so long as that changes everything will be fine. Others love that “in love” feeling and bail when things get difficult. Still others can’t bear to be alone so they quickly get involved without ever looking at themselves and the choices they are making. Others are just flat out crazy! No seriously, they have mental health issues that don’t make them suitable partners for anyone.

When you start looking at second and third marriages you have additional complications. There could be an ex or two in the picture, children that aren’t yours, schedules that have to be coordinated because of custody. Then you have money issues: child support being paid, how to fairly distribute funds, what to do when one of you dies. There are family rules to settle and how much authority does the new spouse have? Are your families going to blend? There could be differences in how you raise your children versus how your new spouse has raised his/hers. All of those things complicate the relationship far beyond that first marriage where neither of you had children from a previous relationship or an ex-spouse. Considering all of that I’m not surprised subsequent marriages face an uphill battle.

My favorite Dr. Phil statistic though was the chance of a divorce for a relationship that begins as an affair. He puts it at right around 95%. I guess Chump Lady wasn’t too far off the mark when she described marriage between cheating partners as a farce registered at Macy’s. Or as another reader’s lawyer described it: Repeat business.