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.

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

12 Lessons Learned From Cheating

Gather round, folks. We are going to learn some valuable lessons about cheating. All kinds of exciting stuff!

Today’s idiot is Parker. Parker is a former OW; she has a plethora of information to share with us about the joys of cheating.

Let’s see what all Parker has to share with us.

To begin she shares this little nugget:

Here’s what happened. I was single and he was married. He and his wife had been together for about eight years, most of the time unhappily and in couples therapy (of course they were, Parker; of course they were!). I had recently ended my own decade-long relationship and was rebounding- I just didn’t know it at the time. Rather than grieving my desperately broken heart, I threw myself into an affair (sounds like a smart thing to do; wouldn’t want to suggest anything like running, baking banana bread, or seeing a therapist). Then complicated things by falling madly in love. Long before I had the affair, I had always judged cheaters. But now… not so much.

Yeah, I hear that a lot. I always thought cheating was wrong and then I did it and I decided it wasn’t so wrong.

I was the same way with embezzling, Parker. I always thought it was wrong to take advantage of people and to steal. But then I started embezzling and cheating people out of their life savings and I totally get it now!

Let the practical lessons begin!

  1. People who judge you for cheating have never cheated.

My ego wants to say, “If you haven’t done it, don’t judge it,” but the fact is, I totally get it. Once upon a time, I thought I understood the rules of relationships. Eventually, some of my friends in committed relationships were unfaithful to their partners (often partners I had grown to love like my friends). When my friends shared their experiences with me, I saw that cheating—like relationships—has a good deal of gray area, and through that, I learned that life does too. There are two sides to every story.

Really, Parker? If we haven’t cheated.. yet.. we shouldn’t judge? I haven’t pistol whipped anyone. I don’t beat my kids. I haven’t shared naked pictures of someone through social media causing them to commit suicide. I haven’t molested children or raped anyone. I haven’t killed anyone. I don’t make fun of people. I don’t use slurs.  Are all of those examples just things I haven’t done yet so I shouldn’t really judge those who do them? Or does that only count when we’re talking about having sex with married people? Yeah, don’t judge those people out there fucking married people. That could be YOU one of these days!

2.  Yes, It’s the Best Sex of Your Life… But There’s a Twist

Or, better said, it’ll seem like the best sex of your life at the time. Everyone says it’s the illicit rendezvous, the secrets, the newness that make the sex so amazing, and to a degree, that’s true. But that fades over time. What made the sex truly hot for me was the exploration and connection I found with my lover, both of us freed from inhibition. And that was golden, because it made me grow sexually. Here’s another bonus: You’ll take that with you into your current relationship or future one, making the sex, and your satisfaction, even better.

O.M.G! Could you not find a connection and explore with an unmarried man? How is that you were sooooo free of inhibition with this woman’s husband? Was it because you knew it was a dead end relationship so it didn’t matter what you two did together? It’s not like you’d be spending holidays together for the next twenty years.

And I’m sorry but there’s just something sociopathic about gloating over how sex with a married man is the best sex of your life. You need to get out a little bit more- and I say this as a self-described hermit for the past 3 years! Volunteer… get a dog… seek therapy.

3.Mind-Blowing Sex Has Risks

Doing things you never knew you could (or never even knew existed) is enough reason to justify just about anything … in the moment. Yes, even the possible destruction of a marriage or family—because in the throes of passion that’s the furthest thing from your mind. But that lapse in judgment usually leads to sloppiness—leaving sexts on your phone that your wife finds or skipping birth control and getting knocked up, all of which often has one huge repercussion: getting caught. My affair, long ended, stayed a secret, but most don’t. So if you’re going to play the game, accept that you’re probably going to get caught, and it could very likely be the end of your relationship, or cause long-term alienation from your family. If that happens, I guarantee those mind-blowing orgasms will probably not feel like they were worth it.

Yes, Parker, getting caught is the big repercussion here. Not devastating your spouse. Not destroying your kids’ lives. No, it’s all about you getting caught and not being able to live your double life anymore. You poor, poor baby.

4. A Cheating Spouse is a Liar, But Their Spouse May Be Lying to Themselves, Too

If you and your partner don’t have sex anymore (sex drives don’t just disappear forever!), if your spouse becomes distant or starts working late or going out with new friends a lot, these are telltale signs of cheating. So is coming home showered from the gym or starting to use device passwords. I’m convinced my lover’s wife didn’t want to know he was having an affair, because he was guilty of many of the signs above. Did she know it in her gut? I’m not sure. You can shut off your instincts if you want to. But lying to yourself about your relationship will catch up to both of you. And sooner or later, one of you needs to find the courage to admit it so you can confront your problems, and ideally fix them. Your gut will thank you. It’s one of your best friends.

I’m channeling my inner Dan Aykroyd here: Parker, you ignorant slut! I’m so tired of people like you blaming the spouse, expecting them to do the difficult things while you lay around and fuck our spouses.

Who’s really lying to themselves? Your married lover that is so unhappy in his marriage that instead of divorcing his wife he fucks you on the side instead? Or the wife that may honestly not know? Or the wife that feels that something is off but is told it’s all in her head when she asks if there is anyone else?

And Parker? You’re not really concerned about any of us betrayed spouses finding the courage to admit our relationship is broken so that we can confront our problems and fix them. You want us to realize you’re fucking our spouse so that we will leave or kick him/her out. It’s not about us; it’s all about you.

5. There’s Always Another Side to Your Lover’s (Crap) Marriage

Lying in each other’s arms, my lover and I shared stories about our relationships. This is what I heard him say about his marriage: “We’ve been unhappy for so long.” “We have no sex life anymore.” “All she does is argue with me.” No one was telling the other side of the story about what was still good about the relationship—what he still loved about his wife, how they were still deeply connected (which, P.S., is why your lover isn’t going to leave them no matter what they say otherwise). And God knows what his wife’s side of the story was. Maybe he enjoyed pushing her buttons more than she pushed his. But looking back, I realize if my lover had admitted the good stuff, it would’ve put the kibosh on the affair, because he needed to justify his actions—and I liked being his salvation. Letting him omit also allowed me to keep lying to myself. (And dreaming that he’d leave her for me.)

I do believe that’s the first sensible thing you’ve said so far. Let’s face it: telling your side piece that your spouse is awesome and you don’t plan on ever leaving is not exactly the way to get in his/her pants. You always go with the ol’, “We don’t have sex…we live like roommates…we stay together for the sake of the kids…I’m nothing but a paycheck and a handyman…I never loved her/him… He/she just doesn’t understand me.

6. Be Brave When It’s Time to End Your Relationship

For those of you whose relationship really is over, who really don’t have any positive, loving connection left with your spouse, it may be time to grow some fucking cojones and own up. “But we have kids …” “But he’ll be devastated …” Those are the reasons most unhappy couples stay together longer than they probably should. They’re totally good reasons. I believe your happiness is the foundation of your life. If you’re parents, no one can teach your kids how to be happy better than you can—and no one can see how unhappy you are better than they can. Will there be fallout? Most definitely, but it won’t last forever. If you need inspiration, listen to comedian Louis C.K., father of two daughters, who came out of the other side of his divorce extremely happy. He points out, “Divorce is always good news […] because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.”

Parker, here’s the problem once again. Your encouragement for my husband to bravely find his happiness comes at my expense and it’s to your benefit. 

Happiness is wonderful. Speaking as a person who is pretty damn happy right now I can tell you it feels fucking awesome. But you know what? You don’t achieve happiness by stepping all over other people. 

You better figure out the source of your unhappiness before you decide to start fucking someone else and then leave your spouse. Because if you wait until you’re balls deep inside someone else then you’re not really all that concerned about your happiness. You’re concerned about your dick.

7. People Need Someone Else to Leave Their Spouse

Most people can’t extricate themselves from an unhappy relationship alone. So they find someone to help them, usually a new love. Which is why, in my experience, 98 percent of all the failed relationships have ended when one partner left the other for someone else. It happened to me in the early ’90s when my first boyfriend and I were at the break-up-or-not turning point. I wanted to keep trying. (Uh, see No. 6. No cojones on me.) He didn’t. He’d fallen in love with an actress on a directing gig. Did their new relationship last after we broke up? Nope. (They hardly ever do.) But it got him out, and we both found much greater happiness afterwards. In that way, I think affairs can be really useful, because let’s face it, life is fucking scary, and it’s hard to make big changes all by yourself. If your partner leaves you for another woman, you’ll understandably hate her (and blame her). But once the dust settles, you might thank her. And after his relationship with her ends too, you guys might even become friends.

Awwww…. poor baby! Yes, Parker, divorce sucks. It really sucks when you’re the one left behind with no shiny new partner to tell you how wonderful you are and to fuck you whenever you’re feeling low. Then again, how often do you feel low when you have a shiny new lover who blows sunshine and rainbows up your ass all the time? I’m guessing not often!

That’s the thing about cheating, Parker. It’s all about the cheater. They use fake platitudes to make themselves feel better about the horrendous thing they’ve done but once you peel away all the paint it’s a horny little goat humping anything that moves and spackling reality with fake platitudes like, “Happiness is the foundation for life.”

Hey, Parker… what is the betrayed partner left to do once the cheater leaves? Who do we pair up with? How do we get to go through this divorce? Wait… that’s right. We don’t matter.

Oh, and as for that, “…once the dust settles, you might thank her. And after his relationship with her ends, too, you guys might even become friends,” bullshit? Hell to the no! I will never thank that cunt face cum dumpster for a damn thing. And I would sooner set myself on fire and run into raw sewage to put it out than to spend one fucking minute in his presence. Ever.

8. Honesty Isn’t Always Better

I knew someone whose husband started an affair while she was in treatment for a very serious breast cancer. (I know. It sounds unforgivable.) If he’d admitted his cheating to her, at least during the treatment, it could’ve hurt her health even more. Okay, so that’s on the extreme end of the don’t-be-honest scale. On the other side is this: Not all spouses want to know about infidelity. (See No. 4 again.) If you know your spouse would rather not know, then think twice about spilling the beans. Maybe a better answer is ending the affair, and channeling the excitement and happiness you found from it into your marriage.

Ah yes… the “better” sort of cheater. 

I didn’t tell Bill I was cheating on him because he was going through chemotherapy. I cared enough to not ruin his recovery with the awful truth. Too bad I didn’t care enough to not fuck other men while he was going through a life or death event in his life.

Oh, and btw? If you’re taking all that happiness and excitement and channeling it into your relationship with me? You can take all that shit and shove it up your ass; I don’t want anything having to do with your affair- good or bad.

9. But Sometimes Honesty IS Better

Yes, Virginia, couples can recover from an affair. I’ve known a number of people who’ve admitted infidelity to their spouse. And after a period of intense anger, separation and/or couples therapy, I’ve seen a number of these couples fix the holes of their relationship to become stronger, more intimate and more committed than when they first got together.

Over on Chump Lady, they call those couples unicorns because they are so very rare. Generally what you are seeing are people, both husbands and wives, who don’t want to lose half of their net worth. You see people who don’t want to lose their cushy lifestyle, people who want to be taken care of while they fuck other people. You see people who want to present their picture perfect family life to others while they fuck anything that moves. You see people who love the idea of two people fighting over them. You see lying and gas lighting and blame shifting and head games and trickle truth. You see people who, in other words, want to have their cake and eat it, too.

Very few couples honestly make it through the devastation of infidelity. The relationships are never the same and I don’t think many of them are stronger for it. Do some of them make it? Sure. Are some of them stronger now? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t bet on it. In fact, although I still believe everyone needs to make up their own mind on how to handle infidelity in their relationship, if I’m being honest I would advise leaving. Too many sunk costs. Too high of a risk.

10.  One-Way Cheating Rocks

There are many benefits to single-sided cheating. For me, right or wrong—remember, no judgment here—it was a hell of a lot easier to have a clear conscience during the affair. Another benefit of being single is it allowed me—during late night crying fits fueled by loneliness, or lack of a sext in 24 hours—to remind myself that my married lover was a lying scumbag* and that I deserved someone better anyway. (If you’re cheating on someone too, this angle just won’t work as well.)

*Okay, so I am capable of a little judgment. But it was temporary.

Parker, you were not an innocent party in this. It takes two to fuck. You were a part of that. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t married to his wife. You knew fucking her husband was wrong and yet you did it anyway. Did you break vows? No. Did you do a shitty thing to an innocent person? Absolutely.

11. Sigh… Single or Not, You’re Not Really Innocent

For most of my affair, I enjoyed my clear conscience. Whenever culpability crept up on me, I easily reminded myself that he was the liar, and sometimes would even blame his wife for choosing not to know. (Again, see No. 4.) But eventually I realized that despite being single, I wasn’t innocent. (Turning this philosophically more enlightened corner really sucked.) I clearly wasn’t as directly involved in betraying my lover’s family as he was, but I certainly played a part in the deceit. It’s not something I feel good about. But it’s something I have to live with. Forever.

There we go! Now you’re getting it!

12. You Can Probably Never Trust a Cheater

My lover and I frequently fantasized about the happy life we were meant to have together as two sexually, intellectually and spiritually compatible people. Yet, deep down, I knew if he ever did leave his life—during our affair or later—I could never trust him. Every business trip, every late night out with the boys, no matter what he told me, I’d wonder. (As a gut truster, I’d definitely bust his ass, too.) Maybe if he’d only cheated with me, I’d have felt differently, but I knew he had a history. And I’m pretty sure he’d still be seeing me now if I let him. That said, there are always exceptions. (See No. 9.) And for me, the most important one was my own. I ended my affair because I didn’t want to be a cheater anymore. And that was my greatest lesson.

Oh don’t worry, Parker; I’m sure you were super duper special. All affair partners are.

Judge Not!

I just love cheaters, their cheating partners and all of their apologists. Okay, I don’t. That was a heavy dose of sarcasm. You got me!

I do find it interesting how they are all so much alike. And I love their poor pitiful reaction to being judged. How dare we? People just need to be a little more open minded. Because apparently if you’re open minded you’re fine with people lying and cheating. Oh, you’re probably not okay with them lying to and cheating on YOU but you are very okay with them doing that to someone else.

I find that to be one of the most interesting things that they complain about. It’s almost like lying and cheating aren’t really the problem. The problem is judging liars and cheaters.

Oh you’ve been lying to your wife and cheating on her? That’s no big deal. No judgement here from me. I’m all about being open minded and seeing all the various shades of gray.

What? There are people out there who won’t talk to you anymore because you’re fucking another woman who happens to not be your wife? Your kids won’t have anything to do with you? Your wife refuses to be friends now that you’ve discarded her like yesterday’s trash? Excuse me. I mean now that you’ve set her free to find her own happiness. There are people who tell you that what you’ve done is wrong? How dare they? THAT is so WRONG! How can they judge you? Don’t they realize affairs aren’t black and white? They are all sorts of shades of gray. In fact, life is gray. That’s why you’re so unhappy and need to cheat on your wife. Because cheating and lying make you happy and you deserve to be happy. And your wife probably deserved to be cheated on. Look at her behavior upon finding out the truth. She won’t be friends with you! There is definitely something wrong with that woman! I can’t believe there are people out there that still believe cheating on your spouse is wrong. Don’t they realize there are all sorts of REASONS a person might cheat? Seriously! If you have a really good reason then it’s okay!

Yes, folks, the problem isn’t with the people who lie to and cheat on their spouses. No, the problem is with the people who have the audacity to tell those people that they are doing something wrong and they are not good people. Those are the real villains and cheaters and their apologists will never forget to remind you of that.

Dealing Gracefully With Infidelity (What a Load of Bullshit!)

Have you seen the article going around on Facebook about the revenge some betrayed spouses/girlfriends took? I’m pretty sure that all of them were very public outings of the cheater. Rented billboards. Yard sales with huge signs about everything being free because he’s a cheater. Writing on truck windows. Banners hung from porches or staked in the yard. The occasional graffiti job on a beloved vehicle. An ad in the paper congratulating the cheating husband and his mistress on their pregnancy. One person even did a treasure hunt.

I like to read the comments because I’m always amazed at the people who think the best thing to do is say nothing and to never take any kind of revenge. They call them crazy, say it’s no wonder they were cheated on, tsk tsk at the idea of airing their dirty laundry, etc. Of course, the number one comment seems to be that the best revenge is living well.

I think that’s all a load of bullshit. I’m tired of being told to keep my mouth shut. I’m tired of hearing someone shamed because they finally got fed up with their cheater and let the world know what they’ve been up to.

Why is telling everyone what they’ve done so bad? It’s not like the cheaters are ashamed of what they’re doing! I’m sure if you asked them they would tell you they are doing absolutely nothing wrong and they are entitled to this happiness. So what’s the big deal? Say it loud and say it proud! This is my whore and I love her! I left my wife and kids for this walking piece of shit! Isn’t she precious? Wouldn’t you abandon your family for her, too?

It’s another way to keep us in our place. Don’t say anything. Smile. Get on with your life. Don’t be bitter. Don’t talk about it. Don’t air your dirty laundry; what happened between the two of you is best kept between you two. Silence is golden. If you out him (or her) you’ll just make yourself look bad. Don’t talk badly about the cheater; you’ll look crazy. The best revenge is living well. Is it? I kinda think the best revenge would be watching the cheater’s life fall completely apart. Or attending his funeral and finding out there’s a million dollar life insurance policy on him which I get to collect on!

I say speak up! Don’t stay silent. That’s what cheaters count on. They count on everyone around you shaming you into silence. They count on you appearing as the crazy one when you out them. They get to skip merrily along, living their fraudulent lives, telling lies, fucking whores and you’re just supposed to sit there and smile. Keep their dirty little secrets. Well, no more!

We don’t owe it to them to be their PR agents. We don’t owe it to them to shut up. It’s time we stop letting them write the narrative. Stand up and tell people what they’ve done. Don’t let people bully you into silence.

They want us to stay quiet because the truth is uncomfortable. Being friends with someone who is chasing happiness doesn’t sound like a bad thing. Being friends with someone who has abandoned his wife and kids doesn’t sound as nice. Telling yourself that someone deserved to get cheated on because he or she is obviously crazy because, gee, look at how he or she talks about the ex, means that you’ll never get cheated on so long as you don’t act like that. If they allow you to tell your story, all of it with all the dirty details and all the horror of what you actually experienced, then it’s not as easy to whitewash infidelity and act like it’s no big deal, or something that is between the couple. Cheating is not some minor issue. It is brutal. It destroys families. It can be financially devastating. It sometimes leaves kids without a parent. It alters lives. There is nothing pretty or simple about adultery but as long as you don’t air your dirty laundry no one has to know that. I would go so far as to say some of those people are simply jealous because they didn’t have the guts to do something as creative or as bold when someone broke their heart.

I haven’t taken on any shame for being cheated on. He did it, not me. He’s the one with crappy character and entitlement issues. While I’ve privately told people what he’s done- my family, my friends, my closer friends on Facebook, right now I’m not taking my own advice because I’m sure I will have a court date sometime in the near future. I don’t want to give him any public ammunition. But after the court hearing, when the divorce is final? Oh, I plan to sing like a canary. And anyone who doesn’t like it can kiss my ass!

A Letter to My Kids

Hey Kids,

The time has come for you to find out that your mom is not all powerful.  That I am, in fact, human and I make mistakes.  So I want to apologize to both of you.

I’m sorry I picked such a wretched excuse for a human being to be your father.  He has failed you in ways I couldn’t even begin to imagine.  For years I listened to him whine on and on about his father and how he was rejected by him.  But you know what?  He always financially supported him and that’s more than I can say for your own dad.

I’m sorry I chose to be a stay at home mom instead of working a job so that when this time came I could support you without his help.  Don’t get me wrong.  I loved being at home with the two of you.  I loved being the one to take you places and plan school parties and volunteer at your schools.  I loved going on field trips and being here at home at the end of day.  I loved being able to watch you at all of your meets and games, being the one to drop you off and pick you up, being able to travel with you.  I truly did.  In hindsight, though, I never should have done it.  I should have worked.  I should have told your dad that his career wasn’t more important than my own job.  I should have followed my passion and done something with my life aside from being your mom.  I know that sounds like a shitty thing to say and I don’t mean it to be because, again, I loved being here for you.  I still do.  But I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place now.  I’m sinking fast and I’m taking both of you with me.

I’m sorry I didn’t stand up to him more and baby and cater to him less.  Maybe if that had been the case he would have left sooner and I would have more options.  Maybe it would have helped and he never would have done any of this.

I’m sorry I can’t keep you here through graduation, Rock Star.  I cry every time I think about it even though everyone tells me you’re going to be fine.  I’m going to end gymnastics for you forever.  I’m going to take away you being captain for your team.  I know high school gymnastics was not what you wanted and won’t take you to college but it was better than no gymnastics at all.  I’m taking you from a place where you are a very big fish in a pretty small pond and I’m going to turn you into a goldfish in the ocean, if goldfish could survive in salt water.  I feel like I’m ruining your high school experience and I am so so sorry for that, my sweet girl.  Once again, I listened to your dad whine for years about how he was constantly moved as a child and never attended the same school each year.  He never switched high schools though, a privilege he is denying you.

I’m sorry I couldn’t do whatever it was that I needed to do to stay married and give you two a stable home, even if one of your parents wasn’t always sane or even around much.  If I knew what I did wrong, or what I didn’t do that he wanted me to do, I would have taken the appropriate action.  But I have no idea what it is I did or didn’t do that made your dad choose to have an affair.  Honestly, I know  that I can only be responsible for my own actions and he is responsible for his.  I am truly sorry, though, that I couldn’t make this marriage work.

Finally, I am so sorry I agreed to this move.  I am so sorry I tore your lives apart for this shit storm we are in now.  I’m sorry for the pool that we are probably never going to swim in even though we’ve spent a crapload of money on it.  I’m sorry about your friends and your sports and your schools.  I’m sorry about everything that you’ve had to lose and all that you’re still going to lose.  I’m sorry I don’t have a home of our own to move us to.  I’m sorry for all the dreams you have that aren’t going to come true because we have to leave.  I’m sorry for all the plans that you are making that aren’t going to happen.  I’m sorry we’re going to be poor and your lives are going to be turned so far around you aren’t even going to recognize them.  I’m sorry for everything.

Your uncle tells me every time I say that that it’s not me who is ruining your lives- it’s your dad.  I’m here, though, and he’s not.  So I’m the one who is apologizing.  I cannot apologize enough for what is going to become of your lives.  I would say I should have picked better but then I wouldn’t have you two.  At any rate, I failed you both, and for that I’m sorry.  I’ll do my very best to make it up to you somehow.  I promise.

Love,

Mom

Welcome to the Jungle, Part 1

Note:  When I started writing this I thought it was going to be one simple post.  Here’s the crazy- enjoy!  As I began writing it became clear to me that there was a lot of material to cover.  It ended up turning into one long post; however, I decided that in order to fully savor all the dysfunction I’ve dealt with over the years it might be easier to chop this up into smaller pieces.  It’s really a lot to digest at once.  This is part one of five.    

Originally, I briefly introduced a small cast of characters, but I’ve heard from some people who think this has been better than an episode of Jerry Springer, so I have decided to elaborate. I haven’t even revealed the best stuff.  Let’s flesh these characters out a bit, shall we?

Just a small disclaimer before we begin.  These are all stories I am relaying to you as they were told to me.  If anything is incorrect it is because lying liars who lie lied to me.

We’ll start with an easy one and ease you into the dysfunction.  My STBX-FIL who I shall call Pastor Fake.  Yes, Pastor Fake won’t say “fuck” but doesn’t seem to have a problem with people actually fucking and cheating on their spouse.  Let’s see… to date, his son is a cheater, his step-daughter is a cheater, his step-son is a cheater, and oh yes, he, too, is a cheater.  Granted, it occurred very early in the marriage and they’ve now been married over 30 years but still.  He’s a cheater.  Oh, I know- God forgives and no one is perfect.  So true.  But I’m pretty sure there’s something about repenting in there, too, and so far, no one in that family is repenting.  Then again, why should you when everyone is telling you to do whatever makes you happy?

My favorite Pastor Fake story, though, is one that involves my mom.  I think I might have mentioned this before.  Harley was lamenting how she was spending a sleepless night because she so missed the comfort she had become accustomed to, i.e. I sure miss fucking Sam’s husband; my bed is so empty tonight because my married lover returned home to his family.  Pastor Fake *liked* her status, knowing full well what was going on.  Remember- everyone down there knows they’re having an affair.  Everyone knows they’re both married.  Oh, bonus tidbit!  Pastor Fake was the one who married Harley and her husband!  Isn’t that awesome?  He marries them and his wife encourages Harley to cheat on her husband with her son.  That is charming.  Shit.Eating.Chimps.  All of them!  Back to the story…. Pastor Fake likes Harley’s status, so my mom, who has had enough of their bullshit at this point, sends him a message, basically asking how he can possibly like that when she’s talking about another woman’s husband.  He’s supposed to be a pastor, a man of God. She goes on to tell him she doesn’t know what his version of the Ten Commandments looks like but hers includes “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”. BOOM!  Needless to say, Pastor Fake did not respond.  In fact, he unfriended and then blocked my sweet mommy.  Can you believe that?  I am shocked!

His Side, Her Side and the Truth

I want to say something about this inane idea that there are two sides to every story.  Or, as the saying sometimes goes:  There are three sides to every story- his, hers, and the truth.

You know what?  I don’t believe that shit and I’m sick and tired of hearing it.  He cheated on me.  He’s fucking his cousin. He lives here in the house with his wife and kids during the work week and then he takes off and spends the weekends and holidays with his whore and her kids.  There is no other side!  Those are all facts.  Period.  He doesn’t even deny it!  I don’t care if I was the worst wife in the world (I wasn’t).  I don’t care if I beat him regularly, shit in his food, insulted his mother, made fun of his baldness, spent all of our money on shoes and handbags, told him he was horrible in bed, never had sex with him, berated him constantly, or ignored him completely.  None of that gives him a license to cheat (and none of that happened, in case anyone had any doubts).  If things are so damn bad then GET OUT!  You can get a divorce without fucking someone else.  I mean I get that in his family that’s pretty much a prerequisite but seriously, you don’t have to have an affair to end a marriage.

Will he have a different version as to why our marriage didn’t work (aka Why he was justified in cheating on me)?  Oh, I’m sure he will.  I’m equally sure that he’s the victim in his version.  He’s just the long suffering fool and I was unbearable; he could never please me or make me happy. We were nothing more than roommates.  We hadn’t had sex in ten years!  He was a handyman and a wallet. I only stayed for the money. For the record, I’m not projecting this; I’ve actually seen texts and had conversations with people where they have told me he has said such things, and I have text messages where he has said these things to me.  For my part when it comes to any problems in the marriage I like to keep it pretty fact based without seeing one of us as a victim and the other as the oppressor.  There are many facts I could give but there is only one that really matters.  Fact:  I didn’t give up!  I was determined to hang in there and make it work.  Oh wait!  There is a second fact.  Fact 2:  I didn’t cheat.

So, sure, when it comes to why our marriage broke apart and he was “driven” to cheat on me I’m sure a person would hear two very different versions.  But when it comes to him cheating on me?  There is only one side.  There is not my side where he cheated on me with his cousin and then his side where he didn’t cheat on me.  Frankly that is the only other side there could be.

Me:  He cheated!

Him:  No, I didn’t!

We’ve already established that he has cheated.  He has never denied it.  His whore is practically shouting it from the rooftops.  She’s wearing a fucking diamond ring for crying out loud. Therefore, folks, we have one side- he cheated.  He’s not disputing it; why are you?

Oh, but people don’t want to judge!  Why not?  Is it that difficult to say that’s some fucked up shit?  Hey, how about the Catholic priests molesting all those young boys?  Do you want to judge that or will you be reserving judgement because there are two sides to every story?  Maybe we should also hold back on judging Jerry Sandusky and Adolph Hitler and Ted Bundy and Ariel Castro and ISIS and people who abuse and kill children and/or animals.  I’ve got an idea!  Let’s do away with our whole justice system because it totally entails judging people! There are two sides to every story.  We have no idea what that victim did to make the perpetrator do such a thing!

Are you seriously saying that you can’t say someone cheating on their spouse is wrong?  Do you need to get all the facts about the problems in the marriage before you can make a determination as to whether or not someone was ENTITLED to cheat on their spouse?  Maybe that is what people really mean when they say there are two sides to the cheating story.  They are saying that they are willing to reserve judgement until they find out WHY he cheated.  If the reason is good enough then there are two sides to the story and we must look at both of them.  If the reason is not good enough then, yes, he cheated.

That’s where we differ.  I don’t need to hear the cheater’s justification.  Cheating is wrong.  Period.  If you’re that unhappy either go to marital counseling and try to fix the problems, or get out of your shitty marriage.  But what you shouldn’t do is stick around until some whore calls you up and tells you she’s still eager to get down on her knees and suck your dick and she’s never stopped loving you.  You have now entered “You Are In the Wrong” territory.  I’m so tired of hearing people justify their affair by saying, “I didn’t leave my wife ‘for’ Whore Tits; our marriage was already rocky.”  No, no, no.  If you didn’t leave until you had someone else lined up then you left FOR that person.  No matter how awful your relationship may have been, no matter how awful the betrayed spouse may have been, you didn’t take any steps to end it until you had someone else waiting in the wings.

That’s where I am, people, and the next time someone tells me they want to reserve judgement because there are always two sides that’s what I’m going to tell them.  No, there aren’t two sides.  He cheated on me.  The end.  The only other side would be that I am a liar, that he didn’t cheat on me and he’s not leaving every weekend to go fuck his cousin. Those are your two sides.  So which “story” do you believe?  Is he cheating on me like I claim, or am I a delusional liar who is smearing his good name?