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.

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 Doubts

Welcome to Part 3 on my series of the folly of pain shopping. You can read Part 1 and/or part 2 if you are so inclined.

I do not want him back. He is a pox upon humanity. I am madly in love with the mobster and I am happier than I have ever been. Still…. I look at that shit on her Facebook and I wonder…

Was he right and we just weren’t good together? Is Harley better suited for him because she doesn’t mind sitting at home all day long? Will their love of Kentucky basketball see them through every hardship? Is she just better than me in his eyes, because he certainly didn’t want any part of the family life with me and our kids? I couldn’t get him out of his damn bed. I couldn’t pry him away from the TV. We didn’t take trips together. He didn’t feel the need to be a supportive dad to his own kids. He never complimented me where everyone in the world could see it.

Was he right and I was a terrible wife? I never put photo frames around his picture and declared I loved my veteran. I thanked him every year but I didn’t post pictures and photo frames and declarations of love. Maybe she is just all around better than me. I envision her working her 40+ hours a week, bringing home a substantial paycheck and still having plenty of time to cook dinner, clean house and do laundry all while being supermom to her kids. At least three of them.

I work 40+ works hours a week and bring home less now than I did when I first started, thanks to taxes, a 401k, and crappy medical insurance for me and my two kids. My mom cooks and does laundry. I rarely see my kids- Rock Star is gone a huge chunk of the time and Picasso is off doing his own thing in his room. I did begin and end this divorce with two kids so I’ve got that going for me. I’ll put that one in the win column for me.

I see pictures of them with all their pets so I know I didn’t turn him off because I loved animals and had a house full.

I sometimes even see witty memes and I think to myself, “That’s pretty funny; too bad you’re a whore.”

Was he right and I just wasn’t “the one”? I wasn’t a good fit and she is. Is it that simple? Maybe they really are deliriously happy together. Maybe it’s the love affair of the century, Kentucky style.

Maybe I just wasn’t the right wife for him and she is. Did I fail him? Did he at one point think I had all the necessary traits he wanted/needed in a wife, but over the years he came to realize I did not?

That is the fear, isn’t it? It’s not that the two people who did this to you are evil, horrible, rotten people who should be strung up and shot; it’s that those two people who did this to you are so much better suited to one another. They compliment each other. They fit together. They make a better couple. They realized it and weren’t afraid to plunge ahead while you clung to the past with everything you had. It’s about being bested by a whore with no morals who may actually be the better partner because God knows he does things for her and her kids that he never bothered to do for me and mine.

Was I the starter wife? Did he learn from his mistakes with me? Did he finally realize that barricading himself in the bedroom and submerging himself in the television all by himself was not the path to a happy marriage so now he’ll do better? Is that why he’s willing to do all the things that I would have loved for him to do with all of us?

Did I somehow prevent him from living up to his potential? Was I too overbearing when it came to the kids? Is that why he was reluctant to come with us but is always ready and willing to help out with her kids and to act like one big happy family with them?

Would insisting on family dinners around the table have helped? What if I was a better housekeeper? Maybe he wouldn’t have minded being in the living room instead of shutting himself off in the bedroom. Maybe it really was me! If I had kept the house cleaner and cooked more he never would strayed. Okay, that’s a little over the top. But maybe if I had kept the house cleaner he wouldn’t have chosen to stay in his bedroom so much, or chosen to remain downstairs in the basement watching television while the kids and I stayed upstairs. I’ve said before I think that was when the breakdown began and we began living separate lives, so if I had been better at that one thing then I could have saved this and my kids would never know a life of poverty. Her little snapshots of life are all about family life and being together and doing things together. I keep coming back to: If I had been a better housekeeper maybe he wouldn’t have retreated, and all those pictures of cozy Sundays in front of a fire, or outings with children could be us.

He kept telling me I could watch whatever I wanted on TV. He didn’t need to have it on ESPN or History Channel. I never believed him though, and truthfully, didn’t want to spend hours upon hours holed up in the bedroom. It seems like she doesn’t mind and maybe if I had forced myself to do that then I would still be married.

Was I too easy going? Did that disappoint him? Did he want someone to push back? Did he want more fire? Did I make things too easy for him? Perhaps I should have taken a stand and demanded more from him. Maybe when I sighed and took on more and more of the tasks he saw it as a sign I didn’t see him worth fighting for.

Did I just flat-out disappoint him when it came to being his wife? Were there tons of things I didn’t do that a good wife should do and that Harley the Whore obviously does? I didn’t fawn over him. I didn’t call him out on Facebook all the time. I didn’t marvel over him. I didn’t bring him a cool drink while he mowed the yard. I didn’t want to snuggle in bed all day with him. I didn’t want to watch Mountain Men with him. I fell asleep on the couch even once he “allowed” me to come back and sleep in the bed. Maybe I really didn’t love him the way you should love your husband. Maybe he is now getting the love he deserves and he feels complete and happy. We all know I couldn’t make him happy, no matter how hard I tried. She appears to make him happy all the time. If you don’t believe me take a gander at her Facebook page. Everyone there will tell you how happy they both look!

Why? That is the overwhelming question that rushes through my brain as I looked at all that crap. Why was he willing to do all of this with her and her kids? He could celebrate birthdays with them, go to the zoo, take “family” vacations, go to cheer competitions, go to the hospital with her kid and fetch candy. Why can he be Dad of the Year to her kids when all he could do with ours was sit in the bedroom and watch TV? Why did we have to practically beg him to go anywhere with us? How is it that now he’s able to go away on couple’s vacations and spend time together outside of the safety of his bedroom in the evening? Why is he getting his teeth fixed? Why is he suddenly getting involved in veteran’s groups? Why is he wearing sandals with jeans? Was it something about me? Did I lack something that would have motivated him to do those things? Is she just better at getting him out of his shell? Did he give up because he thought I didn’t care?

The mobster thought this had really gotten into my head. Maybe it has but I think it’s natural to see things like that and wonder, “Why the hell couldn’t he (or she) have done all of that while we were married? Why did it take blowing up the original family for the ex to finally act the way I wish he (or she) had acted when he was with me?

I can tell you this: I will no longer be looking at her Facebook page. I do know they are masters at image management. I know that if her head was on fire she would not acknowledge it. She’d be saying, “I’m a little chilly; anyone got a sweater?” I know that ultimately it doesn’t matter what kind of a cook she is, or how promptly she does laundry, or if she keeps a cleaner house than I did because she is a woman who has no qualms about sleeping with another woman’s husband. She’s a woman who is willing to cheat on her husband. No matter what good things she may do to cover up the evil that lies within, she is an awful person with crappy character and no moral compass.

I know I don’t want him back and that life is so much nicer without him in it. It doesn’t matter if he goes out to dinner with her daughter or shows up to support her at cheer competitions. It doesn’t matter if he goes to Show and Tell with her son, or is there to hold his hand when he hurts himself. No matter what good deeds he may perform for her children he will always be an ass who abandoned his own kids, who refused to pay child support for them while he drained a 401k of $10,000, and who tried to get out of paying sufficient support for them during his court trial. He played games with child support once he got a job and calculated child support for his “beloved” daughter down to the last half hour for crying out loud. He’s also a man who has no qualms about sleeping with another man’s wife and is willing and able to cheat on his wife. Not only was he willing to cheat on me, but he was willing to lie to me, make a fool out of me, take money away from his kids and give to her and her kids, and then financially rape me. He has crappy character and no moral compass. I guess they really are ideally suited for one another. Thank God no more nice people will be subjected to their lying, cheating ways. They can both wonder what the other one is up to. I think they are probably both too pleased with themselves to ever even consider the idea that the same could be done to them.

Stay away, everyone! Nothing good comes from pain shopping. Nothing! They make you doubt yourself when you know you’re sane. They make you question yourself and your actions even when you know you did nothing wrong. They can convince you that they are living a life of carefree joy and that all of that could have been yours if you had simply danced prettier. They’ll make you wonder what you did wrong and you’ll find yourself comparing yourself to someone who is so far below you there can never be a comparison. Even when you are happy in your new life one look at the cheaters and their life on social media is enough to make you stumble off of that path of newfound happiness and bliss; they’ll take you down a twisted road of doubt and anger and jealousy.  They are master manipulators and you will never be able to compete with their highlight reel. So don’t do it! Stay far, far away!

 

The Highlight Reel

This is the second part in my five part series on the stupidity of pain shopping. You can read the first part here. Let me serve as a lesson to you! Don’t do it!

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I embarked on some “research”. First up was a new picture of her kids on vacation. It might have been Tennessee but it could have easily been somewhere else as well.

They looked like they were having fun. I don’t know if CF came along or if good ol’ Harley is finally learning the joys of life with him. In my mind he came along, because this is Life 2.0. He’s new and improved. He’s the doting husband and the beloved daddy, always ready for adventures with this new version of his family. Naturally, in my narrative he’s telling Harley how much he loves going on vacation and how I would never let him accompany us, how he missed out on so many of these adventures with his own children because of me.

Of course, I also notice the missing fourth child. I guess he wouldn’t play happy family or accept CF as his brand new daddy so he needed to be eradicated. Not even a mention of missing him.

I go back and forth between hoping he has a damn anxiety attack on the way back (or while there) that she needs to deal with and wondering if there was some magic formula I didn’t know existed that would have made him enjoy vacationing with his kids and me. Why does he do this with her and her kids when he would never do it with his own kids?

I see the pictures once again of the happy couple on their wedding day and honeymoon, I suppose. Everyone congratulating them and telling them how happy they are for them. I roll my eyes at the stupidity. It’s laughable. Two cheaters promising to love, honor and forsake all others. Yes, they’ve both got a real good grasp on how marriage is supposed to work.

I so badly want to comment and ask those people if they’re aware of the price her husband, her one son, my kids, and I all had to pay for their happiness. Do you think she’s entitled to happiness at my expense? At my kids’ expense?

I sleep on a couch. My daughter has spent two years basically with her head down just doing her damnedest to graduate and get the hell out of here, to start all over in college. My son, instead of hanging out with friends, stays locked in his room playing video games. We live on a busy street, not a neighborhood. There are no kids around he could hang out with.

But they’re happy and they deserve it because apparently I was a horrible, evil, mean person who tried to shit all over their happiness. No one cares what their happiness did to anybody else’s life.

She wants everyone to know that lazy days spent on the couch in front of the fire with her beloved are her favorite kind of Sunday. He’s got the remote in his hand so he hasn’t changed that much.

I see her incessantly calling him out, mentioning him, tagging him. “I love my veteran!”, “Waiting to watch the fight!” (from their home, on the couch, with him), and letting everyone know how they’re “getting their Halloween on”. Wow- you managed to get him to watch something other than Ice Road Truckers or Mountain Men? Congratulations! You didn’t get him out from under the television altogether but at least you’re watching together.

Again I wonder: Why not with me? Why can he suddenly do all these family and couple oriented things with her that he never could with me? Their life seems to be like a cozy, warm sweater. They carve pumpkins, sip hot apple cider, and watch Halloween movies together. I’m sure Christmas is now magical as well for him.

I see all their happy couple pictures and people cooing all over them. “Beautiful!” “Such a happy couple!” “So nice to finally see you happy!” My former in-laws are the worst offenders. And so incredibly stupid.

My late former mother-in-law shouts out to all on Facebook that, “That’s my baby boy and he’s going to make them my family, too!” Really? Aren’t they already your family? I could have sworn you told me that day you sat in my kitchen that you couldn’t cut her off because she was family. She might be a whore, but gosh darn it, Sam, she’s family, too! I see my evil ex sister-in-law gush that she loves them.

Funny side note: Maybe it’s a woman thing but I definitely noticed how Harley was always commenting on their pages once CF broke things off with her. She didn’t comment much at all before her affair with him but she was all over it once she got dumped. Imagine my surprise when I saw that she’s not falling all over herself to comment on every insipid post and each picture. Curious.

Always there are the obligatory compliments: You are so beautiful. Pretty. Great picture of you, whore.

I freely admit it has always been a sore spot that my former in-laws never missed a chance to tell her how wonderful she looked, while ignoring me.

I posted a new profile picture (obviously this was back when we were still married). Keep in mind I am not the type of person who changes profile pictures every week. That would be Harley. I think this was the first change in two years. Two years! On top of that I had just got my hair cut. I had kept my hair styled basically the same way for years! This was a major change and the most I got from any of them was, “That hairstyle looks nice on you.”

Maybe the former in-laws always thought I was very ugly and wondered what on earth their beloved prince was doing with such an unsuitable specimen. Maybe they like the Hillbilly Whore look. Who knows?

I do my best to shake my head and continue on.

I see all of the pictures of her adorable animals. Most of them purchased by my then-husband. Couldn’t give me money for a homecoming dress for his daughter but he could buy them new animals.

To inject just a brief moment of sanity in this I will note that I don’t see the pets she used to pose with. I wonder if she discarded them like she discarded her son and husband. Much like her new husband discarded his family and pets. Oh well, everything is replaceable, right?

I see her update on moving into their new home. That’s nice, bitch. I live with my mom. My kids don’t have a home of their own. It’s nice that thanks to my husband’s money (and he was my husband at this point in time) your kids are able to move into the nicest home they’ve ever lived in. It’s fantastic that things are going so swell for your kids. Well, except the one you abandoned.

Guess what? She later reveals she loves their new home. There’s so much for her kids to do! I’m so happy for them.

There’s the post about her youngest banging his head in the pool and needing stitches. Don’t worry, though, because New Daddy was on the job keeping him calm, happy, and stuffed with candy!

Awww… that’s so sweet. I’m glad he can act like a father for your kids. Too bad he’s done nothing for his own. To be fair he did manage to make a few ER trips with us (hey- my kid was a gymnast; she got hurt a lot!) but that pales in comparison to what he’s done to them the last 2 years. Maybe we should start calling her youngest, “Mulligan” since he seems to be CF’s do-over.

There were the pictures of the family outing to the zoo- two whole hours away to boot! I guess that PTSD must be in remission, huh? I suppose since he’s no longer trying to con me out of sufficient child and spousal support he can fully enjoy life as the asshole he is.

Oh, there it is! Yet another new profile picture of the whore so that everyone can compliment her and tell her how pretty she is. There’s CF chiming in, “Gorgeous!”  Really? I was married to that sonofabitch for twenty fucking years. Granted, he was not on Facebook long while we were married and most of the time I imagine he spent trying to fuck other women, but not once did he bother to compliment me.

It bothered me when I was married to him. It bothered me when we were wreck-onciling. He knew it bothered me. I told him it bothered me. His excuse? “I see you everyday! Why would I bother to comment on Facebook when I can tell you in person?”

That’s a good question. Why is he bothering to comment on Facebook when he could just go home and tell her?  Better question: If he really wants to let everyone know how special she is why doesn’t he tell her that she’s worth the thousands of dollars he has to pay out every month? I would think that would be a huge compliment! “Your pussy is so fantastic I don’t mind paying out thousands of dollars a month for it!” or maybe, “You were worth abandoning my children!” Hmmm… perhaps that does not convey the message they want to convey…

I see more pictures of the happy couple posing in front of scenery that does not resemble Kentucky. Maybe they travel a lot now. How convenient. It’s nice to know he spent twenty years wasting my life and making me do everything solo because he got such anxiety anytime he ventured outside of his house. I think the mobster is right and Harley very much is his seeing eye dog. With her by his side as his faithful companion he can go places he once only dreamed of.

One last new snapshot- one of her daughter and her two smiling sons. They’re all going out to celebrate her birthday. I think it’s wonderful that he can finally go out for birthday dinners once again. The last year he lived in the house, the last birthday each of my kids had before finding out that their family was going to be shattered and their lives torn apart, he was simply too upset and anxious to go out and celebrate. He stayed behind, probably texting the whore, while I took the two of them out. Who cares if he fucked over his own kids, right? The important part is that he’s doing right by her kids.

Once again I see the picture of CF with Mulligan at Show and Tell. It was Veteran’s Day. This year she improved upon the picture with a cutesy frame that told everyone who cared to listen that she loved her veteran. The year before though it was simply about how pleased Mulligan was that New Daddy/Cousin Daddy (Caddy?) could be there.

You know what I thought about? I thought about the time he snapped at Picasso because he wanted his dad to drop him off at school. Good ol’ Daddy was anxious and didn’t know how to navigate the carpool lane. The man can fight a fucking war and blow shit up, but a line of cars whipping through the horseshoe drive in front of the school just wipes him out.

I thought about the time he got pissy with me because I needed him to run to Target and grab a gift out of the dollar bin and bring it back up to the school for Rock Star so she could participate in her classroom Christmas party. As always, shooting people and blowing shit up is easy; a quick trip to Target is life threatening. He will probably need psychological counseling for the rest of his life because of it.

Once again I see them posing the day of her daughter’s cheerleading competition- him posing in a t-shirt with her high school name and mascot on it. Both of them gushing about how important it was to be there for her. “He must love her so much to wear that t-shirt!” “Oh, it was painful to put that Cardinals t-shirt on but I wanted to support her.”

He never saw his daughter cheer or compete as a cheerleader one single time. He never went to a single high school gymnastics meet. At the time he was saying this he had moved out of the state without saying a word to either of his kids and he hadn’t seen them in over eighteen months. Yes, it was so important that he support the daughter of the whore he’s fucking.

And always there are the comments. Comments from people I used to call family. Comments from people who still try to act like they care about me and my kids while they support that fucking whore and her kids. Comments from people who used to be family shouting out how happy they are with the jolly new couple, how much they love them, how much they love Everything. About. Them. They are so proud and this is their family. Tammy Faye cooing over the newest grandchildren. She loves them so much! Doesn’t seem to give a shit about her actual grandchildren but the whore’s kids? She was on that shit quick!

As tempting as it may be, don’t do it! Don’t pain shop. Maintain no contact (and that includes social media). You may think you can handle it, that it will be no big deal, but feelings will come. I promise you this. Even if the majority of those feelings are rage and anger it is still a lot to deal with. It can still mess with your head. Even knowing they are masters at image management, even knowing that truly happy people don’t have to make a huge show of their relationship every day and every hour on social media, even knowing he is the problem and she is a whore, it can still make you doubt yourself.

The Pitfalls of Pain Shopping

You’re in for a treat. I knew before I even began that this was going to be long; this here is Part 1 of 5. You know what that means though, right? Five straight days of posts from me!

Hi, I’m Sam. I am a survivor.  I am a fighter. I am fearless. I am kickass. I know my worth. I don’t believe a bit of the bullshit that comes out of cheaters’ mouths, excusing their affairs. I believe there is no excuse for cheating on your partner. I believe the most important question isn’t, “How can I save this marriage?” or “What did I do wrong?”, but “What’s important to me in a marriage?” and  “What is acceptable to me?” I don’t do hurt; I do pissed off. I firmly believe in no contact. I know that cheaters are masters at image management. I know they suck.

I am also not immune to curiosity. I “investigate” social media on occasion. I have recently been pain shopping. I am a dumbass.

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I could easily blame this on my mom. She is the one who informed me CF and Harley had gotten married. I could have comfortably lived my life not knowing that. Who could resist sneaking a peak at the happy couple? Certainly not me!

It started with their wedding picture and making snarky remarks about the “happy couple” to friends. Harley looks terrible. She really does. Her wedding picture is maybe one step up from her most recent mugshot.

When she was chasing after my husband and finally landed him she was thinner than me. I’ll admit I was jealous. People complimented her on it. Now she looks like a beached whale. Seriously. I am not someone who usually picks on someone for their weight because God knows I’m not some size 2. But she has to have a good 30-40 pounds on me.

You’d think that would be enough. Yep, there they are. You’ve seen them. Let’s move on from this train wreck. Yes, he actually married the whore; true love won. Move along!

You would be wrong.

Rock Star announced recently that her dad had contacted her, asked her where she was going to school and if she needed anything. I guess he can afford to act like the big shot because he’s got almost an extra thousand dollars in his pocket each month now. He ended up sending her $200 so she could buy her laptop and then ordered the rest of her bedding for her and is having it sent here. What a hero! Cut off support for her the very moment she graduates and then swoop in to save her. What. A. Stand. Up. Guy.

This gets me to thinking about the possibility that he may become a part of her life once again. He and the whore may sneak up to campus and spend weekends with her. He might invite her down to his house so she can live like she used to. He could offer up the use of the pool in their neighborhood. See how nice and luxurious life could be with us?

I’m trying to wrap my mind around this possibility. It does not happen. I have come to the conclusion that I could accept her having a relationship with him. He is her father. But her? Over my dead body. I will not have that whore weaseling her way into my kids’ lives.

The other very real fear is that as he worms his way back into Rock Star’s life he could easily start to share his own version of what happened with her. His version, of course, is that I’m an evil, horrible person who deserved everything he did to me. I didn’t take care of him. I never loved him. We weren’t good for one another. I’m just a bitter, angry person who refuses to thank him for setting me free from the burden of being his wife.

I would like to think that Rock Star is smarter than that and that our bond is deeper than that. But money talks; you hear stories everyday of children who go with the parent that has the deepest pockets.

This is the background story to my pain shopping. Why I chose my next move I am not sure. I suppose I thought I could handle it; I thought I was prepared for anything and figured I could use it as snark in another post.

Oh, there will be snark. But there is also fury and anger and indignation. There has even been some doubt. Doubt that I was a good wife. Doubt that I was a good partner to him. Doubt that I treated him right.

Don’t do what I did! Stay off the social media! No contact is the way to peace and light. Checking up on them is pain shopping. It’s looking for ways to make you doubt yourself; you compare your behind the scenes to their highlight reel and come away feeling like crap in most cases. They are masters at image management; they will never admit when things go to shit. It’s all posed fantasy. I repeat: Do not do what I did!

The Devil You Know

I came across an article written by someone who purports to rebuild remarriages after affairs. For a tidy sum he can help you keep that delightful lying, cheating love of your life.

I have long said that I’m not here to give advice. If you’ve read much of my blog then you know that I had more than one DDay which means I forgave my lying cheater at least once. Technically speaking I suppose Harley was the gift that resurfaced three times. The first time was when he supposedly spontaneously confessed he had been “texting” other women.

True story? Her husband discovered what they were up to and messaged me on FB. Cousinfucker deleted the message and then blocked him. Why he owned up to texting her is beyond me.

Oh, and he never elaborated on exactly what it was he was texting and then refused to disclose a week or so later. I was so stupid and thought he was so honorable that he might have felt guilty simply because he was talking to other women and spilling secrets about our marriage.

So that was DDay #1. Happy Mother’s Day!

DDay #2 was August 14, 2013, three months later. I got yet another message from her husband.

Yeah, about that blocking thing… when he came back from Jezebel’s wedding Harley the Whore blocked me. I had her profile picture up all over the house when he got home and my lying cheater promptly told his twu luv all about it. Once I realized I was blocked I did some digging and found her husband on my list of blocked contacts, which was really strange because at that point I don’t think I had blocked anyone ever in my life!

DDay #3 was two years later, almost to the day. August 10th, 2015. A day which will live in infamy and is only surpassed by June 10th, 2016 as one of the crappiest days of my life.

I dredge all this up again to point out that I, too, forgave my husband at one point. I don’t condemn those who choose to make a go of it. I don’t look down on them. I’m here telling my story and sharing my thoughts so that hopefully others won’t suffer through the same shit I did.

With that said, what the hell, Mort? You’re selling snake oil!

Some of his wonderful advice? #1- Don’t ask about the affair or go to marriage counseling. #2- Tell them divorce is not an option. #3- Have sex with your partner if you want to. I’m not sure if #4 is from him or some other person promising success for 3 easy installment payments of $299, but I’ve also heard that if your partner is still in the affair then be extra sweet and understanding. Don’t make them feel any “toxic shame”.

O.M.G. This is a cheater’s wet dream! I get to fuck around and you can’t ask me about it!

Of course they don’t want to talk about it! They don’t like consequences. They’d rather engage in all that hysterical bonding. Now that’s where the fun is at!

Let’s concentrate on the sex and forget the talking. When you talk you make me feel something akin to guilt and I don’t like that. I’m so splendiferous that I wouldn’t actually feel guilt but when you use words and say things like, “You really hurt me,” and “I don’t trust you anymore,” or “What were you thinking fucking that low class whore?” then it almost makes me feel bad and it certainly doesn’t get me hot and bothered. Let’s stick to sex and forget all the talking stuff.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but let’s face it divorce is always an option when one person wants out. You can’t prevent it no matter how much you personally may be against it.

Honestly? It’s just another form of pick me dancing. No matter what you do I won’t divorce you. Keep fucking the whore. Tell me everything is my fault. Give me a list of things that I need to work on. 

I think my favorite thing about Mort, though, is his philosophy on forgiving the cheating spouse. https://marriagemax.com/cheater/  What if your spouse has done the work and is truly repentant? Don’t you owe it to him or her to forgive and forget and reap the benefits of all your hard work? Don’t you realize that your chances of dumping the cheater only to end up with someone else who just cheats on you is sky high so you may as well keep the cheater you know? I think Mort says it so much better.

Most victims of infidelity (and other emotional hardships) believe that they’ll be safer in a relationship with someone who never cheated on them or hurt them. I completely understand this FEELING. However, the OPPOSITE might be true.

In the case of the woman above, it appears that her husband really changed. And I’ve seen many people transform themselves after getting the “I want a divorce” wake up call. Unless her husband is a pathological liar or a sociopath, he’s LESS LIKELY to make the same mistake again compared to someone whose track record is clean. In other words, once a spouse learns their lesson, they’re LESS vulnerable to make the same mistake than someone who’s never erred in that way before.

According to a 1998 survey by researchers at the University of Chicago, about 25 percent of married men and 17 percent of married women in the United States ADMIT to having been unfaithful. The noted author Shirley Glass’ research suggests it is probably closer to 25 percent of women and 40 to 50 percent of men! That means that starting from scratch gives the above woman a 50% chance of finding another husband who will be faithful.

Now let me ask you: at this point in this woman’s husband’s life, given all he’s been through and learned, what are the chances that he’ll screw up again? If this woman gave him another chance, what’s the likelihood that he’d make the same mistake that almost caused him to lose his family years before? In my opinion, it’s dramatically less than 50%. In fact, I think it’s slim to none.

Let me clarify that I’m talking in this case about a man who truly transformed himself and succeeded to prove that he’s changed. I’m NOT talking about someone who continually makes empty promises.

If this woman were to leave her husband, I think Las Vegas would give her LOWER odds that this sort of thing would never happen to her again.

Here lies an unfortunate irony. People wait years and years for their spouse to wake up and change their ways. Then when they finally do it, they’re told it’s too late.

I understand why someone would feel, after being cheated on, for example, that “it’s too late.” But the fact of the matter is that they’re about to walk away from a person who is FINALLY prepared to be a wonderful loving spouse.

In my experience, it’s these people, people who have made serious mistakes, people who have had the harshest wake up calls, who become the BEST spouses and are capable, more than anyone else, of forging the MOST fulfilling relationships.

Do you see the irony here?

The mistakes that ruin relationships are those that transform the sinners into people capable of the most outstanding relationships. The unfortunate thing for the victim is that they don’t know how to heal from the hurt that would enable them to reap the benefit of their ordeal.

So the roles become reversed. The person who was ruining the relationship stands ready to transform it; while the person who wanted to work on the relationship all along becomes the cog in the wheel that inhibits true love.

In other words, the woman above has a choice. If she lets her husband go, he’ll most likely fall in love with another woman and treat her like a queen. He’ll be the husband to his new wife that the woman above always wanted him to be to her. I’ve seen it happen too often. Some lucky woman owes a poor victim a lot of gratitude. But this woman has another option. She could forgive her husband and become that lucky woman!

Here’s Sam’s philosophy: Yes, if you don’t fix your picker and figure out why you settled for so little in your relationship there is a good chance you could wind up with the exact same kind of person- a person who is willing to lie and cheat and take you for granted. But if you do fix your picker you have a really good chance of finding someone who won’t cheat on you, someone who will value you. Or put another way, you already know your current partner is a cheater. Those odds are 100%. It’s done. This mythological new person? Hasn’t done a damn thing to you!

But I’ll bite. Let’s take Mort’s theory bit by bit.

Most victims of infidelity (and other emotional hardships) believe that they’ll be safer in a relationship with someone who never cheated on them or hurt them. I completely understand this FEELING. However, the OPPOSITE might be true.

Yes, it might be true. Then it again it might not be. As I said above; however, you know with 100% certainty that your current partner has the ability to cheat on you because they have already, wait for it.. cheated on you!

In the case of the woman above, it appears that her husband really changed. And I’ve seen many people transform themselves after getting the “I want a divorce” wake up call. Unless her husband is a pathological liar or a sociopath, he’s LESS LIKELY to make the same mistake again compared to someone whose track record is clean. In other words, once a spouse learns their lesson, they’re LESS vulnerable to make the same mistake than someone who’s never erred in that way before.

Well, Mort, the devil is in the details, isn’t it? The problem here is that a lot of very remorseless cheaters say they’ve changed.

What they really mean is they don’t want to go through the hassle of a divorce. You are useful to them. They’ll do a better job of keeping the affair hidden.

My own husband swore up and down that he had learned his lesson. Harley was the biggest mistake of his life. He should have bought a motorcycle instead of engaging with her. He talked to her the way he wanted to talk to me. He would never make that mistake again. I was the reason he was alive and why he fought in a war.

Two years later I was going through the exact same hell and with the exact same whore. The man learned nothing. He wanted everything to be perfect and go back to normal and at the first hint that that wasn’t the case he reached out to Harley the Whore.

According to a 1998 survey by researchers at the University of Chicago, about 25 percent of married men and 17 percent of married women in the United States ADMIT to having been unfaithful. The noted author Shirley Glass’ research suggests it is probably closer to 25 percent of women and 40 to 50 percent of men! That means that starting from scratch gives the above woman a 50% chance of finding another husband who will be faithful.

Even if I agreed with your 40-50% statistic for men cheating, I still have a 50% chance that the new guy won’t cheat and I’m still left with the fact that I’m 100% sure that my current partner is a cheater.

Now let me ask you: at this point in this woman’s husband’s life, given all he’s been through and learned, what are the chances that he’ll screw up again? If this woman gave him another chance, what’s the likelihood that he’d make the same mistake that almost caused him to lose his family years before? In my opinion, it’s dramatically less than 50%. In fact, I think it’s slim to none.

I think you are way too optimistic. You are also assuming that every person who does not wish to divorce is invested in the marriage. That is simply not the case. Many times they are simply invested in not suffering consequences. Divorce has many consequences- losing custody time of your kids, splitting retirement funds, moving out of houses, no longer having someone to do your laundry/cook your food/clean your house/take care of your kids, no longer having access to your partner’s paycheck, losing friends and relatives…

Let me clarify that I’m talking in this case about a man who truly transformed himself and succeeded to prove that he’s changed. I’m NOT talking about someone who continually makes empty promises.

That’s the kicker, isn’t it, Mort? How do we really know which one we ended up with? Is the person truly remorseful? Have they truly transformed themselves? Or are they avoiding consequences?

If this woman were to leave her husband, I think Las Vegas would give her LOWER odds that this sort of thing would never happen to her again.

I don’t appreciate your scare tactics. I also don’t believe you should continue a marriage based upon the fact that, “Well, the next person will probably cheat, too, so why bother to find someone who won’t cheat and who will value me?

Maybe this person will find someone who is 100x better than the person left behind. That is another possibility.

Here lies an unfortunate irony. People wait years and years for their spouse to wake up and change their ways. Then when they finally do it, they’re told it’s too late.

I understand why someone would feel, after being cheated on, for example, that “it’s too late.” But the fact of the matter is that they’re about to walk away from a person who is FINALLY prepared to be a wonderful loving spouse.

In my experience, it’s these people, people who have made serious mistakes, people who have had the harshest wake up calls, who become the BEST spouses and are capable, more than anyone else, of forging the MOST fulfilling relationships.

Do you see the irony here?

Ah, the ol’ personality transplant! This person is now going to be everything you’ve ever wanted them to be! Nicely co-mingled with a giant helping of shaming people into forgiving the person who has devastated them.

Here’s the problem with your thinking, Mort. If my spouse has been an ass for 15-20 years and I’ve been begging him to change his ways and to please, please, please, keep his penis in his pants and then I finally wise up and realize his behavior is never going to change so I tell him I’m leaving him, it is NOT my fault that the marriage does not survive when he is finally facing  uncomfortable consequences and promises to change to avoid said uncomfortable consequences. You are putting the responsibility of the relationship succeeding or failing onto the person who has been abused and gaslighted for years. No, the relationship didn’t fail because I finally wised up and accepted my husband was an ass who was never going to change. It failed because my husband was an ass who was never going to change.

The mistakes that ruin relationships are those that transform the sinners into people capable of the most outstanding relationships. The unfortunate thing for the victim is that they don’t know how to heal from the hurt that would enable them to reap the benefit of their ordeal.

So the roles become reversed. The person who was ruining the relationship stands ready to transform it; while the person who wanted to work on the relationship all along becomes the cog in the wheel that inhibits true love.

Again, nice job blaming the victim. This relationship could work if only you would forget what I did! Yes, I may have mistreated you and taken you for granted (not to mention lied to you and cheated on you) for 20 years, but the real reason our marriage ultimately failed was because you refused to forgive me the 21st year.

In other words, the woman above has a choice. If she lets her husband go, he’ll most likely fall in love with another woman and treat her like a queen. He’ll be the husband to his new wife that the woman above always wanted him to be to her. I’ve seen it happen too often. Some lucky woman owes a poor victim a lot of gratitude. But this woman has another option. She could forgive her husband and become that lucky woman!

It so rarely works that way. That’s the fear that keeps people stuck. He/she will be better for the next person!

No, chances are very good that he or she will not be better for the next person. Oh, it may look that way from what is posted on Facebook or Instagram. He or she may even be able to keep that mask on for a few years. It will eventually slip. The shiny will eventually wear off the new relationship and they’ll be looking for something new and exciting once again.

Mort likes to tout his high success rate of couples remaining together. That’s nice, but there’s a difference between staying together because a divorce or splitting up is too inconvenient and your partner is of use to you, versus actually recommitting to your relationship.

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

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.

It Is Time

I’ve been mulling this idea over for a few months now. I know I write an awful lot about my own circumstances, especially since my life took such a drastic turn back in 2016. When I started this blog I really wanted to expand beyond my own situation and offer some sane advice to others who are dealing with this, whether they are in the discovery phase, the reconciliation phase, or in the middle of a divorce. I was reading Chump Lady one day and she said something to the effect of, “I’m only one voice. I can’t do this by myself.” And this gave me hope because I do want to add my voice to hopefully turn the tide on how we look at infidelity. It kills me when I read blogs by people who are going through this, hoping to reconcile, and their spouses are being absolute shits, refusing to give them answers, treating them like crap, blaming them. I want to scream out, “It’s not your fault!” I want to tell them cheating is an entitlement issue, a character issue. I want to point out that if sad little spouse cheated because he/she was unhappy, you were in the same marriage and yet you didn’t cheat. How could that be? I want to tell the cheated on spouse all about the blame shifting mindset of, “It’s not what I did; it’s your reaction to it.” I want to point out all their false equivalencies. Yeah, I cheated. But YOU never put the lid back on the ketchup. You never wanted to play golf. You snored. Or even better, the sneering, “Oh, you’re so perfect. Sorry I’m not perfect like you!”

Really what I would like to see, what I hope eventually happens in all this claptrap of open marriages and polyamory and how humans aren’t meant to be monogamous, is to see people no longer tolerate infidelity. I’d like to believe that the tide will shift, like it shifted for domestic abuse and rape.

I know; I know. Neither of those examples are without fault. There are still travesties of justice. But as a whole we no longer tsk tsk and ask what the wife did to make her husband so mad. We don’t ask her to take responsibility for him shoving her down a flight of stairs or knocking her head into the wall or punching her. It is not perfect yet, and there will always be those who excuse it, but we are less and less likely to put the onus on the abused spouse.

Similarly while examples abound in the news of men getting a slap on the wrist we are making strides in getting the message out there that rape is not about sex. It’s about power. It’s about having control over another person. It’s not because a girl wore a short skirt or had too much to drink. Hell, men get raped as well. We are putting the responsibility back on the person who is actually committing the act, and not asking the person who was violated to take responsibility for that person’s behavior.

There is a woman on another board I frequently read and she does not like the idea of self-defense classes for women at college. She thinks it puts the responsibility on the female to not get raped. And yet this same woman has said about cheating, “It’s a symptom, not the disease. It is an indication of a problem in the marriage.” She would never dream of telling a young college girl that it was her fault she got raped, but she has no problem with distributing the blame in a marriage when one part of that couple cheats.

I have hope that one day instead of blaming the betrayed spouse we put the blame where it belongs- on the person who cheated. I have hope that one day we won’t ask what the spouse did to cause their partner to stray. We won’t look at the woman who has gained weight since the wedding day and cluck disapprovingly, “Well no wonder he cheated; she let herself go!” As I’ve pointed out many times beautiful, thin women get cheated on all the time.

I want to believe as more voices start rising up that we will combat this insane idea that only those who are “perfect” don’t cheat. Or that being unhappy entitles a person to destroy their spouse.

I long to see the day where people recognize that cheating is an entitlement problem. It is a character problem. I was not a perfect spouse but I sure as hell didn’t deserve what CF did to me and our kids. I didn’t deserve to be cheated on. He had a plethora of decisions he could have made instead of cheating. You don’t need to be perfect in order to have a faithful spouse.

I have hope that people will be called out when they toss out such stupid remarks as, “Life is too short to be unhappy,” or “We live in an age where we’re not forced to remain in unhappy relationships.” Yes, by all means, seek out happiness. Don’t remain in a relationship if you are unhappy. But don’t cheat either! I’m sure it will come as a huge surprise to many cheaters out there but you can actually file for divorce without having another person in your bed! It’s crazy; I know!

When people yammer on and on about how monogamy isn’t natural I look forward to people informing those idiots that antibiotics and other medications aren’t natural either. Indoor plumbing and electricity aren’t natural. And if you want to go all, “In nature…” on me. Well… in nature a lot of nasty shit happens, like the weakest of the herd being killed off, or killing the offspring of the former alpha so the females will mate with the new alpha, or starving to death. Cheaters aren’t usually big on consequences. Then again they usually think they are the best in show and above all the rules.

I hope that one day, instead of going back to, “Infidelity is a private matter between two people,” or “Cheating is a symptom and not the disease,” people start to look at what toll infidelity takes on everyone. That is one of the reasons I was upfront about it on Facebook once the divorce was finalized.

Cheating is romanticized and minimized. But it’s not romantic and the impact it has on everyone in its wake can be devastating.

Look at the kids whose lives have been upended. Look at displaced stay at home moms who are suddenly thrust into the workforce making next to nothing. I was lucky; many states don’t have alimony. Look at men who have to paternity test their children, or who lose everything in a divorce to their cheating wife.

My kids and I lost our home thanks to my husband’s cheating. My kids were forced to change schools and move out of state. I worked two jobs to make ends meet and still didn’t have much while CF and Harley lived it up. My kids suffered. I’m no longer around and available for them like I have been in the past.

I also realize I had it easy compared to some of the stories I’ve heard. College funds drained. 401ks liquidated and spent on Schmoopie. Hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on gifts and trips. People losing everything in their divorce- their house, their children, their business. People who have only been with one person in their entire life finding out they have an incurable STD (or even a curable one). Women losing babies or babies being put in the NICU because of STDS. In some instances lives were threatened, poisoned, and even ended. Those stories need to get out there.

I know. It’s not fun and exciting. It makes people uncomfortable. Especially if they truly believe it when we tell them it’s a character and entitlement problem because that means there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening to them.

I want to believe that at some point we stop acting like we owe nothing to another person. So many people want to minimize cheating, want to minimize what role the affair partner plays. They want to be seen as sophisticated and edgy and nonjudgmental so when they hear of someone having an affair with a married person (or just hear of someone having an affair) they play it off as though it is no big deal. Or, you know, they didn’t owe anything to anyone.

No! You do owe it to others in society to be decent. It is not okay to fuck another person’s spouse. It is not okay to lie and deceive another person. You don’t have to owe them anything in order to not do that to them. It is a bad thing. If you are perfectly willing to fuck another person’s spouse because “you don’t owe the spouse anything; you didn’t make vows!” then you are a shitty human being. Those things need to be said. People who do crap like this need to stop being given a pass. It isn’t edgy or hip. It is destructive. It hurts people. It hurts families.

The good news is more of those so called sophisticated articles romanticizing affairs are being called out. People are pointing out that cheating is not your only option. Commenters are stressing character. They’re not buying the bogus excuses. They’re not allowing the wool to be pulled over their eyes.

Yes, I’m still going to be offering up recipes, ranting about random things, talking about my mobster, and chronicling my “adventures” with CF, but I’m also going to stick around so that I can continue to call bullshit on the people who say it’s no big deal and that it’s a marriage problem. No, it’s a character issue; it’s an entitlement issue. I’ll say it over and over again until it sticks. I’m going to continue to call bullshit on cheaters who offer up lame excuses, defend their atrocious behavior, and try to tell cheated on spouses how to behave. Yes, because if I’m going to take advice on how to improve my marriage I’m definitely going to listen to the lying cheater. What’s that? I should fetch him his slippers and draw him a bath and fuck him wildly several times a day? Tell me more! I’m going to continue to call bullshit on the mistresses who say if they had to choose they’d rather be the mistress than the betrayed wife because they get all the great parts of the relationship and none of the mundane shit, or they’re free to walk away and get on with their life while the wife has to deal with the aftermath. Or the ones who preen around, who tell everyone they’re not doing anything wrong and they don’t have a problem with being the mistress. I don’t give a crap if you didn’t make vows to me, slut-o-rama. Are you married to my husband? No? Then don’t ride his dick! I’ll continue to call bullshit on any of the dumbasses who defend them and the people who tout an open marriage as the best way to combat infidelity. When a person cheats they get off on the fact that they are deceiving their partner. They know something you don’t know! An open marriage would never fly. There’s no fun in that when you’re allowed to do it. They also certainly don’t want the other person off having a little fun of their own. Hey, that’s my spouse appliance. No one else gets to play with it. Hands off! I’ll continue to call bullshit on the reconciliation industry which preaches forgiveness at all costs, and tells a person who has just been knifed in the heart that they need to own their part in this. Fuck that! I keep going back to this: If I couldn’t make him eat a damn turnip then I don’t see how anyone thinks I could have made him be faithful.

Ultimately, I will continue to hope that more and more people join in and spread the word.

 

#ItIsTime #RiseUp