Do Cheaters Have Low Self Esteem?

Re-blogged Chump Lady, June 8, 2016. Find active link below the post.


If you spend any time on reconciliation boards, you’ll read a lot of creative excuses being thrown around about the deep shame and inadequacy that cheaters feel. Really, it’s there buried deep under their secret cell phones, dating profiles, and FOO issues. The whole time they were screwing around on you, somewhere deep in their black little hearts was a sense of… inadequacy and self-loathing.

It took DDay and being carted off to therapy under duress for them to realize that gosh, they suffer from low self esteem. They needed the validation of an affair… and hey, they’re really fragile right now, so they can’t deal with your distress about being cheated on. Their issues are complicated. But perhaps you could do a bit of bolstering? You know, BE there for them during this difficult time of self awareness? Hold their hand, and maybe reinforce how much you care and how much you value being with them? Because you know, if this self esteem thing flags again, they might be out trolling Craigslist. It’s a delicate thing.

Now read on a cheater board like the cheater reddit page and see how much low self esteem you spot, as the cheaters dish about how they keep their affairs secret, the best places to fuck, and managing the occasional guilt pang. (“It passes. Hang in there!”)

Newsflash chumps — cheaters don’t suffer from low self esteem. On the contrary, they think they’re splendid. It’s YOU who are lacking. You don’t appreciate them enough. You don’t fuck them often enough or well enough. You’re a little dim.

Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. You know who feels entitled? People who think they’re better and more deserving than you are. Not people with low self esteem.

But wait! No, it’s really their low self esteem that made them gin up this false self! The arrogance and entitlement is just masking deeper inadequacies! It’s their insecurity that makes them have to puff themselves up so much!

Hogwash. Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement. If you do any reading about schoolyard bullies, you’ll see that this myth, that bullies suffer from low self esteem, has been debunked by researchers. Actually, bullies are little narcissists. They think they’re tops and feel perfectly free to trample over anyone they deem a lesser being. What they need is for a nun to whack them with a ruler and shame them in the name of God. Not a self esteem intervention.

Similarly, cheaters don’t need your patience and understanding. They need a whack upside the head with a divorce summons.

Why do chumps persist in thinking cheaters feel bad, really somewhere deep down? Because we need to think they’re human and they care and we matter. People in reconciliation especially need to see their cheater as sad, soft sausages who didn’t act with agency. Also, chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters. Boy, only someone really sad and depraved would do such a thing, ergo, the cheater must be sad and depraved. No, the cheater actually ENJOYS being “sad” and “depraved.” At your expense. They weren’t thinking of you one bit while they were getting their jollies.

If you think I’m wrong? Go read on those cheater boards — they’ll admit it to each other. Just not to the chumps in their lives. The truth has the unintended consequence of a decline in ego kibble production as the chumps take umbrage. So better to just go along with the low self esteem narrative… more kibbles in that. Tell me again how great I am. I suffer from low self esteem.

Thank you Chump Lady…..I came to the same conclusion…..


21 thoughts on “POST 36: CHUMP LADY GOT IT!

  1. For a very long time I thought my husband was suffering from low self esteem. The stories he told me about being rejected by women when he was growing up and how he felt inadequate. Poor boy. Nu uh. That is life buddy. Six months ago he was forced to look into his beliefs of his self esteem and guess what? The opposite came out. He had so much self esteem it made him think he could do whatever he wanted to make himself feel good. It was the biggest awakening of his recovery.
    We followed the path of sex addiction illness as well. That was until 6 months ago. Something just did not sit right for him. At the end of the day there was a question he was asked.
    If he was a single man and behaved like he did would he be defined as a sex addict?
    . He would be defined as a single man chasing lots of women and cheating on each one and that defines him as a selfish entitled bastard.
    He has made more progress in the last six months than in the previous 18 months. He is being made to dig deep into his beliefs and his thinking and without any bullshit excuses.
    Yus……I married a selfish egotistical bastard self centred arsehole. Can he change the way he views himself and the world? Depends on whether he really wants to.
    I no longer buy into mid life bullshit or sex addiction or marriage counselling.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I think it will be different for everyone, this is a journey with no real guide book and as betrayed we look for answers and whatever makes sense of their depraved behavior might work for a bit but it wont work in the long run if you still feel there is something missing.
        There will be a lot of opinions as everyone has a different story and we all have things that work and things that don’t work. At the end of the day we have to do what we feel is best for our individual journey.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Indeed and if treatment works, who can argue with that. I personally see a difference between alcoholism and drug addiction and obsessive compulsive behaviours. The DSM-5 added gambling, but non of the other “addictions” as the research is not clear on this.
          what works…and no one can argue with this is that therapy works when the therapeutic relationship is healthy. The approach itself accounts for a small portion…the research is clear on this and Rosenzweig already stated this in 1937 with his article on the Dodo Bird verdict: Everyone won and all must have prizes. In the end it is not the approach but the relationship with the therapist that makes the difference to the client and therefore the motivation of the client to do the work.
          Thanks LAA

          Liked by 2 people

          1. The motivation of the client.
            How true is this?
            How many stories do we read where the client( infidel) inherently believes there is nothing wrong with their behavior. Wife and society might not accept it but bugger that it is fun and I might behave for a bit but cant wait for my next jolly.
            I remember reading something you posted a while ago on the DSM-5.
            Thank YOU. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Thanks! I know I have to be careful as some people might have missed it and interpret my responses as criticism. I try to be research focused as well.
              I will never really retire, but when I do part-time, I will become a full-time fact checker….looking at research internationally and being brave enough to post it.
              For instance it was hard to discuss that there are no gender differences in being unfaithful when taking into account “opportunity”. Not many women want to hear this.

              Liked by 2 people

              1. I too am sometimes amazed at how many women are adulterous. Every so often I go and look at the forum called Surviving Infidelity. I know it is like watching Real Housewives of Melbourne. There are so many men writing on there telling sad stories about their cheating wives. Dare I say it might be close to 50%? It is all about opportunity and women are just as exposed these days.
                I don’t believe gender plays a part. I think it is a personality mindset and how people view themselves in the world.

                Liked by 2 people

                1. Yes, the percentages are equal something like 24% and 26% among those 30+ with opportunity, meaning status, money and business travel. This is very new research. All research done in the 90s is invalid. With the equality of women, some behaviours we perceived as male are equally observed in women. One is the controversial issue of symmetry in Interpersonal Partner Violence (IPV) and the other in extramarital activities. In particular women tend to be drawn to sexting. We are not calling that an addiction…I prefer obsessive compulsive behaviour when it becomes a behaviour that impacts daily functioning. That it is harmful to relationships is a no brainer. That those activities are cheating is true as well.
                  Thanks I enjoy having these conversations.


  2. I think this is certainly true for a large number of cheaters –maybe all, in one way or another. I know my husband had to tell himself that he was above it all in order to convince himself that cheating, for as long as he did, was okay. This attitude of entitlement and selfishness is also the reason why I still harbor some anger towards my husband’s parents — because I see it them and I know they taught it to him.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks LPA. I know it is harsh and Chump Lady is very blunt. I read it and felt compelled to add it to my blog as I feel we at times sugar coat behaviours of a large number of cheaters who remain hurting their partners.
      Those who DO THE WORK (see previous post), I admire….and definitely their faithful spouses as I still believe that they do most of the work.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. My FIL was a real flirt. He was also a bully. I have been working on a post about how his attitude towards his wife helped shape my husbands beliefs in life.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That will be interesting and I would love to read your perspective on it. And yes, we are shaped by personality (inborn) aspects, and by upbringing (values). These are strong influences, but….compared to the olden days when families were mainly influenced by their own and their own communities, we are now exposed to so much more. This means that “yes” I know that my own and my husband’s values are shaped by his upbringing, but I also feel that he and I cannot use that as a reason why we have not changed. In fact, e.g. his dad warned him that he felt that my husband was not a person who placed his family first. My father-in-law wrote that letter to me. I think he felt he could not write his own son as he felt guilty for not being there for his kids. he, however, was the oldest son of a very large family and supposed to take over the company. His wife, my mother-in-law was a stay-at-home mother. My husband just got one sister and was given the freedom to study whatever he wanted. He was exposed to so many more influences…These influences interact with what we know and they suppose to challenge our former ideas….alas….
        but I suppose it is never too late.
        Thanks a lot for this interesting discussion. If is funny, but the more controversial the posting…the more responses and although it is scary to throw something out that is somewhat blunt, it also gets people responding and I absolutely love that.
        Life can be an isolated existence (for me) as I have to be so selective as with whom I can be myself…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can understand this mindset- there are many men who think only of themselves and justify destroying their family by convincing themselves they are not.

    I think this is one of those issues that isn’t just simply pat and dry. I think we have to remember, we all are human- we have a life story, experiences and influences that shape us. But by the same token we do have choices and once you make a bad choice the first time it only becomes easier to make more of them!

    I think the more minimized things like adultery becomes in our society the easier it does become to convince oneself that it’s really no big deal.

    But what every man and woman needs to understand is that, if you’re married and you want to keep your family intact and secure, the moment you engage in sexual behavior with another person – you’re basically handing that person the power to destroy your life!

    Maybe people lack basic thinking skills and the ability to think about long term results based on personal choices- I don’t know, but something is being missed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Kaye,
      You are so right!
      There is a personality component. There are people who blame faults to others and take credit for success and who require immediate gratification. They also tend to be impulsive and cannot see the long -term consequences. Although some have brain disorders (frontal lobe) and cannot predict consequences, others have not and seem to care less. This is a problem with a lack of empathy leading to selfish behaviours. When people lack genuine empathy they hurt others as they lack remorse. The less-than-smart ones get caught. The smart ones with a lack of empathy and self-centered behaviours can do a lot of harm to relationships.
      I had another thought related to this. I do some leadership consultancy and a colleague and I were determining how much time leaders spend on people who are for what ever reason not performing. If it is a lack of skills, you can coach them, but the lack of motivation and care….it is often a waste of time. In marriages…often the faithful spouse keeps on working and working on the marriage….and you wonder….
      Thanks for your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elizabeth- sorry i was replying to your comment on my last post and somehow in doing so I managed to delete both your comment and my response. Anyway – thank you for the comment. The anger is understanablr- I think it’s

    Liked by 1 person

    1. More the not liking myself during that time and thinking about the long term wounds my words and actions cause. I do agree you have to feel them. I’m glad your friend got all of hers out- I think because her husband was a priest that just added another dimension to her pain!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Before reading all the comments on this post, my initial reaction is that both extreme characterizations, the cheater with low self-esteem and the narcissistic cheater, are partly accurate and partly inaccurate.

    I think low self-esteem lead me to an unhealthy obsession with comparing my sex life to that of my spouse and other people. At the same time, and on the other hand, narcissism led me to address that feeling in an uncompassionate and self-centered way.

    Liked by 2 people

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