Extending Grace: Moving On After Cheating

I’m getting slightly irked how we are getting sidetracked into MMSL becoming the cheating wives blog, but these are hot button topics and having opened up the can of worms, I have to deal with them. I have a few more posts coming, but I have to catch up with an individual reader question in response to a comment I left on Forgiveness.
Athol: Taking a woman back can very much be the worst Beta move possible. Properly framed however, plus with her geniune repentance, it can be possible to move forward. There’s no requirement to extend grace to a cheater and it must be understood as such by the cheater to move forward.
Many couples can recover from affairs and be stronger for it. Some cannot.
Reader Question: I can’t figure out how to properly frame this so that I can do this. How do you move forward and be the captain after a mutiny?
First up let me say this clearly so that everyone gets my perspective from the start… I am NOT an automatic “Kick the Bitch Out” advisor when it comes to a wife cheating. Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis.
Also while I firmly believe the wife has made a choice to betray the husband, I also believe almost without exception the husband has some kind of area of weakness that has helped create the situation that resulted in the cheating. Her behavior is not excused by his behavior, but it is usually a factor in explaining her behavior. If whatever that weak area of his is, fails to be corrected, the cheating will very likely resume or she will straight up leave him.
Now assuming you have already caught the affair and exposed it to her (Chapter 27 of The Primer covers how), the steps…
Expect The Meltdown. When women are caught and exposed as cheating on their husband, and I mean really the “oh snap, I’m screwed, he knows for sure I did it”, they almost always have a complete wailing meltdown and beg for forgiveness and say they will never do it again, and that they are sorry yada yada yada. This is a 100% genuine experience to them and in this moment they are not lying. What they are doing is running a Time Before Writing survival program, where they display complete submission to you, in order to avoid you killing them on the spot.
Remove All Beta Support: During the meltdown, you tell her to get the hell out as you are through with her. She needs to be the one to go, not you. You staying in the home is extremely important. You also stop doing anything supportive for her, you don’t drive her to work like you usually do etc. No calls, no texts, no emails starting from your end. Start the process of contacting lawyers to begin divorce procedings. The purpose of all this is to give her a proper taste of reality and life without you.
She Properly Apologizes. At some point she will get that proper sense of “oh crap he’s really going to end the marriage” and she will make a far more conscious apology. She is trying to save her skin of course, but she’s also trying to save her marriage as well. She needs to fully own that she made choices against you rather than somehow blame you for your weak area as the cause of her cheating. She needs to admit that you would be fully justified in terminating the marriage for what she did.
She Must Be Repentant. There is absolutely nothing you can do that won’t backfire on you at some point in the future if she is not truly repentant. Repentant meaning she is both sorry and going to change her behavior and not repeat the cheating again. You need to see evidence of this change of behavior before believing it. The other man must be completely cut out of her life and whatever other circumstances are relevant need to be addressed as well. (Like if it happen with a gym contact, she needs to find a new gym etc.)
Understand Your Part and Forgive. Whether or not you decide to stay with her, you should come to terms with what your weak area was with her, and leverage it as a path to understanding why she did what she did, and come to forgiveness and peace about it. This is for your long term benefit, not hers. This is about trying to get past the justifiable rage over the cheating, and being able to reconnect again. Whether that reconnection is to her, or another woman in the future isn’t the issue – it’s just that you can reconnect again. It’s okay to admit the weak area here.
Extend Grace. This is now your choice. Even if you admit you did a bunch of stuff badly in the relationship, and understand why she cheated, you don’t have to continue the marriage. Maybe you just can’t feel like she’s worth risking yourself with again. Or maybe she is. Maybe you were the model husband, but she did it anyway, and yet you feel you can try again. The circumstances and length of the affair is no doubt a factor here. It’s totally up to you. But she must understand and verbalize that if you choose to extend grace to her and continue trying, that she is getting a second chance that she does not deserve.
No Third Chance. She also needs to verbalize understanding that there will never be a repeat of this experience. If she cheats again, you will simply divorce her without discussion, kindness or concern for her privacy. Should you ever gain proof of future cheating, that will be supplied with the serving of the papers.
Start Rebuilding. Admit your weak area and begin work on that. She needs to start rebuilding trust and being open. Counseling together may be very helpful at this point as well.
In time, an affair may come to be regarded by a couple as ultimately a bad thing that served as a wake up call to them both that created a positive change in the relationship. Or it can just be over.
If STDs or pregnancy are potential concerns, you should clarify those issues immediately.
Also much of this applies just the same to other extremely serious “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO?” things in marriage. Jennifer and I have extended grace to each other over various issues a number of times in our marriage. Even very good marriages are going to have screw up moments in them. Sometimes you just have to weigh up a couple of dumb days vs years of good ones… and how unbelievably bad divorce may be for both of you.



  1. Anonymous says:

    Is there any circumstance that would be an absolute deal-breaker with no chance for reconciliation from the start? The one that I can think of would be cuckolding; if you find out that the child(ren) you thought were yours were not.

    Then again, the court system says that even then, they are…

  2. Athol Kay says:

    An extremely tiny percentage of men can get past cuckolding.

    Personally I would be all done. I love Jennifer dearly, but I would be truly done.

    If pregnancy is an issue/concern, get that sorted out asap as to the true situation.

    In general though, I leave it up to the individual that has been cheated on to decide. It's their life and relationship. I'm providing insight, not a decision.

    Truthfully most of this topic coverage I hope has a prevention benefit rather than a cure benefit.

  3. Miles Anderson says:

    I like the structure of your response in general but what you were responding to what a fairly different case. Putting up the big threat for something that happened 18 years ago doesn't seem like a good first response.

    As far as the "you are responsible for the kids even if they are not yours" thing that seems to be popular in the MRA world. There have been examples of cases where that has happened. But what percentage do they make up? <1% would be my guess. Anybody done research on that? Furthermore circumstances are not the same. FWIR the first case I heard of the guy had taken care of the kid into her teenage years already. I'm guessing you catch it in the first year and things are different. Mandatory paternity testing would be the best, but I'm not holding my breath.

  4. Looking Glass says:

    This should probably be a sticky on the Talk About Marriage sub-forum for infidelity. (Let me tell you, don't browse that forum lightly, if you want to keep any faith in humanity).

    But! I can wrap this discussion together with everything Athol is doing, the GNO discussion and relationships in general.

    I've mentioned this before, but I'll word it a bit differently. Everyone makes "choices", of which there are results. Those choices have consequences, we just don't tend to realize them quickly, unless they blow up right then.

    What Athol is preaching is to solve the problems of attraction to get more sex in the marriage, as it gives a "base" by which to actually communicate. Most of the time the sex has dropped off because of subtle choices that add up over time. Think of it like Erosion. Desire can be whittled away. This is why marriages tend to last a few years, but were really dead before then. Both parties were making choices that whittled away at the other until "the other side" became a viable option to them. That "option" can be cheating or divorce or a sexless marriage. The result is the sum of *every choice* made getting there. What Athol is offering is a way to *fix the state you're in*, firstly, and, when possible, prevent it from ever reaching that state.

    What the Girl's Night Out issue revolved around was more preventing the *state* of the relationship from reaching the "bad zone" (for lack of a better term). When the GNO's are happening in the meat-markets, the state of the relationship is in jeopardy. But *both* sides have made choices that put it into that state. Both sides are active participants in bringing the relationship to that state, which means that while one party made a massively trust breaking choice, the other party has a huge role to play in the situation.

    An important point that Athol has made several times is that "Attraction isn't a choice", which is correct. But you can *build* attraction, in the same manner that you can *tear down* attraction. The point of Game is to make the choices in your interactions that build attraction. When you get to the state of low/no sex or cheating or divorce, you've torn down that attraction to the point that the other side will fill their needs by another means. That is a failure on both parties, as it means a complete communication break down inside the relationship, but there are ways to work out of that state. Athol provides a way.

    This also wraps into why the issue of "cockblocking" comes up among guys. Attraction can build in the same "erosion" system, just in reverse, and work their way up to Emotional Affairs. Guys, who value their relationship, actively work to prevent another man from gaining that type of traction. Women that value their relationships do this as well, but the circumstances are usually different in kind, not degree. (This is why you should make every company party, you'll quickly be able to spot out potential dangers)

    There is one big caveat to this, though. Sometimes that *choice* was made to get married in the first place, and there is nothing anyone can do to save it. Most that end up here are going to be in the "ground down" mistake category. But there is the choice to get married in the first place; there are times only Divine Intervention would be able to save the relationship. These normally involve people that should have never settled down. It's a tad more rare, but it does happen.

    For an analogy to this caveat: The "grind down" mistake is like going to college and choosing the wrong major. The "wrong from the outset" is like choosing the wrong school all together. There are wrong choices that can't be undone. Or, another analogy. Type 2 Diabetes happens as the result of subtle eating decisions over a life time; chopping a limb off with a chain saw is a singular, super-bad decision.

  5. Looking Glass says:

    @ Miles:

    What started most of the discussion a few days back was a really odd situation. That was more about catharsis for the guy, as the cheating was done for 2 decades, but the hurt was never assuaged. Athol's system deals with that. (The TAM folks have different terms, but it's all the same advice)

    The paternity issue is slightly difficult to take care of, because of too much old-data. The recent stuff is that only 30% of all paternity tests show a different father. So of the people to the point of paternity testing, only 3 in 10 are different. That's a small amount. I've seen claims in the 1-2% range, but that's really hard to break out of one other issue.

    People don't realize how much of a problem mis-assigned children was from around 1900 to the 1970s. If you go to a neonatal care unit in a hospital now, they've got some of the most advanced tracking & ID systems you'll see in any business. That's all down to the fact that parents going home with the wrong children was a *serious* problem. It wasn't common, but, say, 2.5% of birth parents not getting their child (which is 2 standard deviations) is enough to cause a whole lot of problems. It was enough of an issue that they've constantly kept updating their child-to-parent tracking systems. So, for anyone born pre-1970 or so, you're looking at a far higher chance of not cuckolding but hospital screw up. I don't think there is a way to clean the noise out of that data. That doesn't remove cuckolding happening (and it's a horrific thing to do to a man), but it makes getting a solid rate really hard. In the post-1990 crowd is where you'd need to do the testing, but that doesn't help say anything about the older days.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have always held that if our relationship had deteriorated to the point that I was more attracted to someone else than my wife, to the point that I would actually 'cheat' on her, I would terminate our relationship in the most honorable manner possible before ever acting on said desires. To do so otherwise is in my opinion pure betrayal, plain and simple. That is to say, in our case there are no second chances.

    My wife has said that she feels the same, and that if either of us ever truly felt that way, it should be discussed openly, and, if reconciliation is not possible, the left party should let the leaving party go as gracefully as possible.

    We have been happily married for over 20 years and are still going strong.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    The reader asking this question and the "it happened 18 years ago" person aren't the same.

    The non-paternity rate is steady at about 10% per genetic researchers. It's a huge problem to account for in basic genetic research.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I was the original commenter that left the question addressed by this post. Thanks Athol for your time addressing this.

    I am not the guy from the story in the 18 years post. I just read that post and it struck a nerve with me because forgiveness is something I struggle with having gone through this issue.

    It's a little tough because as happens, if you only have half the truth, it's hard to know what exactly you are trying to forgive.


  9. Anonymous says:


    Like you I am a little irked at where your blog is going. I have recommended the site to many friends who are having different issues in their marriage. I talked it up big time because I had gleaned so much information from it. Now it is all about the wives cheating. It is not going over well for any of my friends as they are women and that is not the issue in their marriages. Now that they cannot go back and read your old blog posts they think I am a nut for sending them your way. Since your book has come out it has been a hodge podge of topics that revolve around affairs and the tragic things women do to hurt their husbands. I really hope that you can get back to the style of writing. I miss it and I really do think my friends could gain something from it. However, I may have to accept that they have thrown their hands up at the blog.

  10. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anon 11:48 am

    Tell them to just start back at the beginning of the blog and work their way up. [Use the Sidebar on the Right side, just start someone in 2010, January the best spot, but a lot of good stuff all over the place]. Use the internal-links at the end of articles and read those.

    The recent comment spats were all about dealing with behaviors that endanger the relationship, along with some of Athol's distress on getting to the game late for a few guys who could have salvaged their marriages, and then people coming in and making a mess that *anyone* would suggest that "having a little fun" was a relationship danger. Your friends should take heed of at least that point, but have them start at this link and just read by month.

    Link: http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/2010_01_01_archive.html

  11. Miles Anderson–

    As far as the "you are responsible for the kids even if they are not yours" thing that seems to be popular in the MRA world. There have been examples of cases where that has happened. But what percentage do they make up? <1% would be my guess. Anybody done research on that?

    Commercial DNA labs report 30-35% mis-attributed paternity by the mother. However those are high suspicion situations generally. Other studies have shown that 2-3% of cases where the father had high confidence of patnernity were mis-attributed by the mother.

    The overall rate in Anglosphere countries is around 10%.

  12. I’m recalling the post on June 2 were a reader emailed Athol about his having realized after reading Athol’s blog that what his wife confessed 18 years ago as her going part way to cheating probably really mean she’d gone all the way to do it. However he had no reason to think it wasn’t an isolated incidence and at least his wife partly came clean at the time.

    It seems to me that that’s a clear case of he should forgive her. I mean I’m assuming the sex between them has generally been good in the intervening two decades, she’s still pair bonded to him, and so on.

    To not do so strikes as a irrational male reaction of one off cheating. The main reason female cheating is often so much worse in it’s effects on a marriage is that it runs a very big risk of the wife’s losing sexual attraction for her husband if the extramarital sex was very good and she fell into infatuated love for her lover. Where that clearly hasn’t happened, seems to me let it go.

    But ward off any repeats of course by the no third chances talk.

  13. Anonymous says:

    "At some point she will get that proper sense of "oh crap he's really going to end the marriage" and she will make a far more conscious apology. She is trying to save her skin of course, but she's also trying to save her marriage as well."

    I don't get this. If she has already gone so far as to cheat, what incentives does she have to preserve the marriage? Chances are she has already moved on emotionally. Doesn't she have all the legal and cultural incentives to file for divorce? Realistically speaking, why would she want to stay in the marriage?


  14. Athol Kay says:

    Anon 11:48 – it's a blog aimed at men and it's free.

    Since the book came out I devoted the entire month of April to Girl Game. I generally respond and write posts about topics and situations people write to me about. Recently it's been a large number of questions about cheating.

    All the old content is still available on the blog. Have your friends start at the beginning as most people do. I've always had little seasons on a topic and wandered about a bit.

    The more usual complaint is that I'm a Pollyanna in my approach to marriage and in my belief that not all women are going to be unfaithful.

  15. Athol Kay says:

    Hollenhund – she can still be pairbonded (oxytocin) to him. She's getting the dopamine fix from the lover though.

    She does have some incentives to divorce, but that isn't a lock either. She's usually going to lose at least partial custody of her children to him. Also she knows that divorce will damage her children – thus lessening her ability for them to pass her genes on to future generations effectively.

    Also even with child support/alimony, unless she can secure the lover as a permanent partner, if she loses the husband as a full provider, she will possibly have a net loss in standard of living. If the husband makes it 100% clear that she will lose his support for her, she will attempt to get it from the lover… and usually the lover bluntly rejects her at that point. Which means she gets that sinking feeling in her stomach that she's made a terrible terrible mistake. She's gone from having her cake and eating it too, to having neither. So she folds and begs forgiveness.

  16. @Athol: …it's a blog aimed at men…

    I have learned so much about myself, my husband, and my marriage that I sometimes forget this is the case.

  17. Looking Glass says:

    @ Monica: the only real "male" aspect of what Athol does is start with talking about Sex. Past that, you can look at it as either "How to do this right, Man" or "What your Husband isn't doing that's actually pissing you off". But, once in the door, there's a whole lot of information available. It's just men will, generally, try to fix that aspect in a LTR first. It's kind of an important thing you notice is missing.

    One thing I was crystallizing in my mind from my previous comments & thinking, is the fact that "Game" is effectively two things most guys "know" but don't know what is needed to deal with.

    "Game" for all intents & purposes is this: 1) the skills that you know you lack when you see other guys working well with women. Your gut tells you that you are lacking, but no one tells you what you're missing. 2) The actions that other men make that, at your gut, puts your relationship at risk. Most guys can spy them from far away, but they never apply them to the partner in their LTR (especially as we're told it doesn't work, as we watch it work everyday).

    I think that's why a lot of guys are willing to actually listen. "Game" hits all of those gut instincts you *know* you're missing, but you don't know how to address them.

    While not all guys have that reaction to noticing them (some people just are oblivious), it really keys in those gut instincts that we spend a lot of time talking about. Since attraction isn't a choice, neither is the instinctual reactions to the actions of others in a manner that builds attraction. (I.e. that sinking feeling in your stomach that something is wrong)

  18. Jack Amok says:

    I've always had little seasons on a topic and wandered about a bit.

    Motivation is a good thing. Spending a little time contemplating the ugly possibilities for a husband who doesn't put in the work to remain Captain is… sobering.

    And motivating.

  19. Anonymous says:


    Fair enough. But it seems to me that she still hase more incentives to divorce than her husband, the net loss of her husband will be greater than hers, and she knows this. Threatening a wife with divorce is hardly a good idea of a threat IMO.


  20. Anonymous says:

    I disagree on one point and would like to add another…

    Starting divorce proceedings is wrong. Divorce is the "nuclear option" that if you pull it out, it has to be used. If you don't, you show you won't go through with it. Discussion of separation? Sure. General discussion of what would happen in a divorce? Yes. But if you start down the actual divorce road, backing off shows you weren't serious to begin with.

    I would also add that the cheater has one shot at 100% openness regarding the infidelity. Otherwise, every new revelation (moths or even years down the road) about the cheating just drags the hurt on.

  21. Athol Kay says:

    Hollenhund – you're assuming women are thinking rationally in these moments of crisis.

    If she is cheating on you, she's probably considering leaving you and divorce anyway. You just screw up her timing by bring the fight to her too early. It's one thing to plan for a departure in six months, another to have to find a place to stay immediately.

    Monica – Women are always welcome to read and comment, and I'm sure they learn things too. But yeah… It's not Oprah though.

    Anon 8:07 – catching cheating will always make a wife think divorce is a possiblity. Failing to reach for that as a potential option signals weakness and acceptance to her.

    I do agree about the adding the come clean step. I was of two minds about that as I wrote.

  22. Athol–

    Hollenhund – she can still be pairbonded (oxytocin) to him. She's getting the dopamine fix from the lover though.

    Well, if he catches her cheating quickly.

    Most women, unlike most men, seem to have their feelings of pair bondedness with their husband dissolve if they become infatuated with a lover who's giving them really good sex. For one thing they often stop having much sex or much enthusiasm for sex with their husbands, which weakens the pair bonded feeling over time.

  23. Some women seem to be like men when they cheat, have great outside sex and fall in love with another man, and can still feel in love with their husbands — but not most.

  24. Athol Kay says:

    Doug1 – agree with everything you said there. It's all case specific. And certainly speed of the intervention is critical.

  25. joe schmoe says:

    My marriage had been bad to worse for a few years when I sensed my wife was preparing to have an affair. She began going out to bars, staying out late at night, coming home drunk. Then I discovered she was in communication with a man she met on myspace. He sent her a nude pic of himself and they arranged to meet up. There were a few other men she talked to on myspace and talked about sneaking out of the house at night, etc. I confronted her and she plain denied all of it. said they were just friends and were hanging out and talking and nothing else. Right.

    I followed the plan you outlined here almost exactly. She never would come clean. When I showed her the picture of the one guy and print outs of the conversations she had on myspace, she refused to look at them and kept on denying any of it had happened. It was weird!

    Five years after the divorce, she still insists I was the one lying and cheating and chasing women.

    Heres the thing I think made her act like that. She was on antidepressents, sleeping pills, pain kllers, muscle relaxers, and lots of alcohol. Probably still is. That shit will seriously mess with peoples heads.

  26. Athol Kay says:

    Joe – the next step would have been to expose to her family and ask for their help in intervening.

    Even so, all a good plan does it improve your chances, not make it all a 100% lock.

    And yeah… that's quite a cocktail of stuff she was taking.

  27. Anonymous says:

    In time, an affair may come to be regarded by a couple as ultimately a bad thing that served as a wake up call to them both that created a positive change in the relationship."

    So if she's letting some other guy stick his dick into her, he should just tell himself it was for his own good? I wuv u honey, I know it was my own fault. Good god man, there's no way. She cheats, she's out. Let others walk the path of the chump.

  28. Anonymous says:

    " But *both* sides have made choices that put it into that state. Both sides are active participants in bringing the relationship to that state, which means that while one party made a massively trust breaking choice, the other party has a huge role to play in the situation."

    Not in my case. I have done a lot of work to stay attractive to my wife and we have sex often. She cheats now, she's out. I'm no chump.

  29. Athol Kay says:

    Anon 4:50 – You are hearing what you want to hear.

  30. Looking Glass says:

    @ Anon 5:29.

    When you're making the proper choices, then it shouldn't be an issue (unless you choice your spouse badly). My construction is simply stating the method by which relationships are ground down, to the point that one of the 3 "bad state" situations become active. If you are still able to communicate about everything you feel isn't working in the relationship, then you don't have to worry about cheating. You just have to keep up the good work.

    @ Anon 4:50: you don't start a relationship with the hope an affair happens. But Affairs are like Natural Disasters. There is carnage, but for some people, just do the physical requirement to make changes, ends up being the most important thing in their life. It's the concept of the Phoenix writ small. From the ashes comes a new life.

    That doesn't mean you should stay in the relationship, just that it isn't necessarily the end of having a relationship with that person, just that it will be fundamentally changed.

    @ joe: taking those + alcohol can kill you. If she was doing that while you were married, she became an addict first, the marriage fell apart after that.

  31. Funny. An atheist writing about extending grace to a person in the one area of Christianity that no grace is actually required.

  32. Athol Kay says:

    TLM – there is an element of irony here I agree

    Even so, grace is never required, and the receive does not deserve it. Hence my choice of that exact word.

  33. Candice says:

    Just curious, could those who say grace is not required in the case of an affair please provide me with some theological background? I use the King James Version Bible. Thanks C

  34. Athol Kay says:

    Candice – grace isn't a requirement for anything. That's what grace means.

    However I believe you are looking for Matthew 19:9 as an answer to your question.

  35. Candice says:

    Cool thanks! :-) They did not cover these matters in school theology classes!

  36. Looking Glass says:

    Haha, oh the irony.

    And, yeah, wars have effectively been fought over the meaning of "Grace", so let's not dwell on that too much.

  37. Phil Mueller says:

    "wars have effectively been fought over the meaning of 'Grace'"

    Those sixteenth and seventeenth century Europeans were pretty hardcore, they probably would have found some other reason to slaughter and pillage each other if Luther/Calvin hadn't come along just then. : )

    For the record though, the Catholic Church doesn't recognize an exception– divorce and remarriage isn't permitted even in the case of adultery (though separation may be). They translate Matthew 19:9 somewhat differently than Protestants.

  38. Anonymous says:

    It seems an oft mentioned cliche the each party contributed to the decline of the marriage pre-cheating. But, clearly, that is not necessarily so. I am sure it is true in many cases, but, there are some spouses that are just so messed up(like women with personality disorders such as BPD and NPD) that she , alone, could have caused all the problems leading to the state of the marriage.
    I wonder just how common it is that a cheating spouse, actually, shows true remorse and makes restituion/amends. I never saw these things from my Xw, thus the decision to divorce was made for me.
    Just to emphasize, I think we need to be wary re the accuracy of this cliche about each partner having contributed to the marriage's decline. A betrayed spouse is, often,already so traumatized the he accepts blame/responsibility for things he could have done nothing about. Perfection is not a prerequisite for having an expectation of fidelity(at least my vows never mentioned it).

  39. "Is there any circumstance that would be an absolute deal-breaker with no chance for reconciliation from the start?"

    How about discovering your spouse not only cheated on you, but had been doing so for 10 years, in a series of one-night stands with people of the same sex.

    The BDSM/humiliation hardly seems necessary to add to the mix. And then there was the constant denial, in the face of clear evidence, in the marriage counselor's office.

    I was a chump for giving two chances to this shmuck. I should have laid down the law after I first found out, and placed him under house arrest. But this was my husband, and I was still trying hard not to mutiny.

  40. viagra online says:

    Cheating doesn't matter to modern people! is just another false moral parameter!

  41. I’m responding to the comment about divorce being the “nuclear” option and backing off showing that you weren’t serious about it.

    The key is only backing off after she has done what you need her to do. When I started the divorce proceedings, I viewed it as setting a train in motion and then leaving it up to her to hit the emergency brakes (by properly repenting). In my case, she did absolutely nothing to prevent the divorce, so I followed through all the way.

    One of the things I regret the most was using divorce as a last resort. I would have saved myself so much misery (and money) if that was my first response after finding out about the other guy. Instead, I voluntarily continued to provide financial and emotional support while she did whatever she wanted (which included practically living with the new boyfriend).

    It was kind of like the situation in the Walkaway Wife is Friendly and Likes Cash post. It was very hard for me to read that because it hit too close to home. The biggest problem I see with not pulling out the big guns first is that it’s hugely damaging to your self esteem to act like that much of a wuss and let someone walk all over you. To paraphrase a line from The Big Hit “[I] can’t blame [her] for taking advantage of [me]. [I] made it way to easy…”

    When it was all over, I hated myself a lot more than I hated her, and that’s a bad place to start when your trying to rebuild.

  42. John Q Galt says:

    Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re going to make an error, it’s probably better of too much mercy – within limits, obviously.

  43. John Q Galt says:

    Anon 8:50 – in the law, this is what is called “extenuating circumstances.”

    If one person takes another person’s life, he may, depending on extenuating circumstances, suffer execution, spend his life in prison, spend 20 years in prison, spend 2 years in prison, or get away scot free.

  44. Hi,

    I found a typo / spelling error in your document. Section “She Must Be Repentant” contains the word ‘relivant’ [sic], which should be ‘relevant’.

    Great article by the way.


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