Cheating: The Truth

Let me be very candid and as clear as I know how to be. I was unfaithful to my wife and I make no excuses. In no way am I dodging the responsibilities for my flawed, immoral decisions, my weakness and my abject failure to be loyal to someone to whom I had made promises and loved dearly for twenty-eight years. I lied to her. I betrayed her. There is no justification. She deserved better than that.

More damaging than infidelity though, I had decided to leave her when she was probably at her lowest and most vulnerable. She needed me. I thought she would land on her feet in a better place. Stronger. Happier. I was wrong. I am ashamed for the decisions I made and will be for the rest of my life. I have tried to make that unquestionably clear. I wish I had done a better job of expressing it.

My decision to go public and take my message to the air was not predicated on some master plan to discredit my wife or sully her reputation, as some have suggested. Nor am I trying to play the part of a victim to campaign for your sympathy. Quite the opposite.

I’ve bared the truth of my story because I want others to understand what happened and how. I want others to listen, to apply my experience to their own lives and learn from my mistakes. I want the truth to be out there to be examined.

Publicly, for millions to see and hear, I tried to share the depths of my regret and remorse, but unfortunately there is only so much you can say in a show edited for television, and what was shown wasn’t enough for some people. There simply isn’t enough time, and to date, I have had no control over the questions that were asked or the answers that would ultimately make the cut. For the forty minutes of the one-hour ABC 20/20 episode that wasn’t commercials, I was interviewed on five separate occasions, for a total of fifteen hours. Fourteen hours and twenty minutes of raw, emotional honesty that neither you or I will ever see. But it’s not the job of a journalist, ABC News or any other outlet to tell the story I feel you need to hear. Thus, the book. Thus, this blog.

Since I started this blog, hundreds of people have reached out, some with support, others with anger and hate, but so many more who feel they can relate with their own stories of infidelity, messy divorces, violent partners, and sadly, suicide. I’ve exchanged dozens of emails, messages and phone calls with people for whom my story has somehow made them feel they’re not alone. They’re not. And that, in and of itself, makes this effort all worth it. And for my own reasons, I selfishly feel the need to talk about it with all of you.

In a recent blog post, “Everyone Thought She Was Happy,” a rather dissatisfied reader left a comment that I thought was worth sharing here, at least in part “…The fact is 95% of people don’t cheat and it’s difficult for them to sympathize with even a hint of justification of an affair,” wrote In The Know.

I wish that “fact” was correct. But unfortunately it’s not. The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy reports that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have admitted to having extramarital affairs. And then there are those who will never admit to it.
I bring these statistics to light, not to justify or to deflect my failings, but to underscore the seriousness of the problem and to illustrate just how widespread and common it is.

While 75% to 85% of the American populous haven’t had an extramarital affair, it’s easy to say that you would never cheat or be cheated on. But so often it happens to those you’d least expect. I’ve come to believe nobody is immune.

I recently had dinner with a long-respected colleague, someone who knew and worked closely with both Jennair and me. I assumed she had already heard about what had happened. But minutes into the conversation about business and our respective careers, I wasn’t so sure. I looked up at her and paused. “Laura, you do know, don’t you?”

“Know what?” she asked, puzzled. I took a deep breath, and then for the next fifteen minutes I explained to her the unbelievable events that had unfolded just 19 months before. As I spoke, she stared back at me blankly in disbelief, her eyes growing wider and wider by the second. “Holy fuck, Mark!” she managed to exclaim, trying to catch her breath. To say the least, I took her by surprise. And then, it was my turn to be surprised.

“I get it. I totally get it,” she said looking down at the bar with the strangest twisted smile. And then, seemingly titillated and almost proud of herself, she gazed up and admitted, “I’m the other woman. I’m seeing a married man.”

“No, Laura!” I said loudly, pounding my fist on the bar. “Get out of it. Now! It’s not worth it. This will only end badly for you. For him. For her.

“I know. I know. But it’s so hard,” she explained. “I’ll get out of it. I will. Eventually I will.”

I hope to God she does.

Understandably, some want to shift the focus of my wife’s deadly last act squarely on the issue of infidelity. End of argument. But I would be remiss if I let the argument end there. This story goes way beyond a crime of passion due to infidelity. Way beyond lust, bad decisions, and broken hearts. From our respective early childhoods until the moment I first laid eyes on her, something brought us together. Need. Love. The universe. And for the next 24 years, our life together was a tumultuous ride, full of beautiful memories and loving support, but also disappointment and a dramatic, dysfunctional codependence in which neither of us knew how to be honest about our true selves.

Maybe our marriage should have ended long before. But neither of us knew how. Neither of us had the strength. So without deciding, we stayed in it. And in the end it was weakness, not strength, that ripped us apart. My weakness. My lies. My deceit. I know now I should have done so many things differently.

I’m not suggesting people should stay in an unhappy marriage. Neither am I suggesting people should leave an unhappy marriage. Every situation, every relationship is unique and different. But if you make the decision to end it, there is a right way. With honesty, love and dignity. As I told Laura and as I tell everyone, if you are having an extramarital affair, for your own good and for everyone involved: Stop. End it. With kindness.

For more realistic insights and facts about marriage and infidelity in today’s America, I encourage you to read this 2018 New York Times article.

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48 thoughts on “Cheating: The Truth”

  1. Hello Mr. Gerardot, I am interested in reading more about you, because my sister is going thru divorce now. I am afraid that she might do something crazy. How can I be of support to her? Her husband left her for a younger woman. This other woman is expecting his baby now. My sister has not yet accepted that her marriage, her family with him is no longer his priority.

    1. Ledis, just be there for your sister. But also make sure she is surrounded by others too. Your sister needs love support from a variety of friends and family, and if possible, professional help from a therapist or perhaps someone from church. My wife didn’t have the necessary support. She refused it. As for your brother-in-law, from my own perspective and hard lessons, regardless whether he feels it’s a priority, he has a responsibility and a duty to make sure his wife is okay. If she does something “crazy” (as you say) he will regret it for the rest of his life.

      1. Mark can you clarify your statement about your wife refusing support? Because I recall in one of your interviews you stating that she was seeing a psychologist, a psychiatrist, was taking her meds as prescribed, and I also believe she had a divorce counselor. She also had put out online pleas for support and advice from her new community where she felt stranded and knew no one. And one of those recordings of her repeating what others told her to do (let you go,) which indicated she was at least receiving advice from friends and family. And that couldn’t have happened if she hadn’t told others what was happening. So where was the refusal of help?

        1. Thank you for the question, Joanne, and for the opportunity to clarify. Details around this are in the upcoming book. And yes, as I mentioned in interviews, Jennair was seeing a psychologist, a divorce counselor, a psychiatrist and she was taking medication, all at my insistence. Prior to that, for years she had outright refused to seek professional counseling. According to her, I was the one with a problem. I was the one who needed help. Once our divorce became inevitable, she told her mother and a couple of mutual friends. But she refused their professional and personal advice. “All they want to do is talk,” she would say. “I’m tired of talking.” Most tragic of all, she didn’t tell anyone what she was thinking and planning. She didn’t tell anyone that she had bought a gun weeks before. She kept that dark secret to herself.

          1. Mark, in your Americanreal interview you explained that Meredith was not afraid of Jennair but was Extremely angry with her. Did the two of them have communication with each other? Thus raising their conflict to the point where Jennair decided to include Meredith in her suicide? Is personal contact between the spouse and mistress (paramour) common in affairs?

      2. Mr. Geradot, I’m sorry for your pain and trauma. I’m also a little worried about how you have decided to view this. Mr. Geradot, infidelity is not that rare, we have all probably dealt with it if we have lived to be thirty or so. Home invasions and planned slaughters of other human beings are still, thank God fairly rare. I recommend that you buy the book Until The Twelfth of Never, and also visit Dr. Tara Palmatiers site. You seem to be at risk for another abusive relationship, since it does not appear that you acknowledge you were in one. You should consider that murder is never, ever, excusable, unless in self defense. It is an act of revolting violence and to be killed in a home invasion, a persons safest place is a particularly vile death. Please consider looking into families who have lost a loved one to murder, suicide, sad as it is,is a choice, being murdered is not a choice, choosing to murder can never be justified. I wish you well, and hope that you do not choose to enter into a future relationship where you have to be afraid, your marriage showed every sign of classic abuse, isolation, etc. If you do not begin to learn more about domestic violence in all its guises you are indeed at risk of more of it in the future. You might also read some of the works of Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Kent Kiehl.

        1. Mark, I respectfully disagree with Kathy. To look at your years with Jennair as being trapped in an abusive marriage would be a mistake. Although you did not learn this until after Jennair!s death, Jennair was suffering from severe mental illness. You were her caregiver and provider. You gave her a life she could never give herself. What a noble thing to do. Kathy you correctly describe Meredith’s murder as vile because it occurred in her home, the place she felt “safe”. But Jennair ‘s mental illness made her unable to cope with the trauma of Meredith taking away the place she felt safe… with Mark. My heart tells me Jennair knew she had mental issues and was smart enough to know Mark was her “guardian angel”. Without him she felt helpless. Mark, be proud if your years with Jennair!

          1. Dear Hoosier, I’m sorry it took me so long to reply to you. There’s been this strain of flu going about and its somewhat distracting :). But I did want to address what you said, and I can see it was said in kindness, but even kindness can endanger people. If Mr. Geradot had been a woman, a woman who upon marriage was immediately isolated from her family, and friends. Who had no control over her own finances and was told what to do and when, and who learned quickly that all orders were to be obeyed and that arguments were frightening, would you advise her to stay? Our sex, the gentler sex can and does abuse children, a horrible reality and men as well. Human beings are capable of much that is wonderful and much that isnt. My feeling is that if anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual preference is in an abusive relationship, make a safe plan and get far away, preferably without involving any more people than necessary in the escape. On that note, back to the great milk search of the day. I hope you and yours are all well during this strange time.

          2. This comment is a reply to both of Kathy’s (and thank you for the response, Mark, that answers my question.)
            Kathy, while I personally am very good at “gender flipping” to gain a full perspective of a situation such as this, I hesitate to declare this was a classic abusive situation. How many abused women feel comfortable enough with their abusive husbands to speak of their overwhelming admiration for another man? Do you really think they’d take that chance? Mark made very clear that Jennair’s earliest suspicions were aroused when he came home from work constantly gushing about Meredith. If he was living on eggshells, I find it unlikely he’d have been so open about his burgeoning feelings for his hot new crush. And he was relieved when the truth came out, not frightened. He was shocked by Jennair’s actions at the end because he didn’t fear her, or her threats, in the slightest. I’ve never known an abuse victim to be so void of actual fear of the abuser. There definitely was dysfunction in the relationship, like codependency woven around personality disorders or some such thing, but one-sided abuse? I have my doubts.

        2. Kathy your post is so true. It gets back to your original point of Mark entering a future relationship(s) that is similar to his marriage to Jennair. But I think it is important for Mark to look back on his years with Jennair with some pride. It is interesting how these discussions expose how society views these situations depending on gender. Because Mark is a man so he “could not “ be in an abusive relationship. Meredith, who was Mark’s boss, was not terminated by UD but praised and lauded for her professionalism at such a young age. Many men would be viewed as predatory in the same situation. After the tragedy Mark had no one speaking out in his behalf where Meredith”s family released a statement stating there was no infidelity and that both marriages were dissolved. Hence women need to be protected and men can fair for themselves. You should see the way my husband handles our teenage daughters vs our teenage son!! Truth is people get set in their ways and these “ways” get exposed in situations like this. Thanks Kathy and of course you Mark.

          1. Hello to all 3 of you, Joanne, Hoosier and Mr. Geradot. J, you make an excellent point in terms of fear, and I agree, but my background working with abused children also makes me wonder something. And apologies in advance Mr. Geradot as I in no way wish this to be insulting. Anyway with the badly abused children I worked with, one heartbreaking commonality was their endless (pretty much always futile) hope of validation and a compliment from the parent who had hurt them. No small word of praise from a stranger was left out of family meetings. It was as though they kept hoping, look, see somebody said something nice about me, someone thinks I’m a good kid, maybe if I tell you, you’ll agree, better you, ll compliment me too. I wonder if we ever outgrow that need? I wonder if Mr. Geradot wasnt trying for it when he told his wife about the nice things Meredith said? Sorry just speculating. And Hoosier, I’m eye rolling about the different treatment your husband givess your kiddoes. I’ve totally given up hoping that we/either side will let up on our ancient ways, heck look at Westworld, even robots cant manage it and they are erm….:) i hope all three of you and yours are well and suffering nothing more terrible than boredom and stress overeating, or maybe thats just me.

  2. My mother cheated on my father for several years with her boss. It ripped my family apart. As a teenager girl I was devastated and confused. Suddenly a strange man was in my home acting as my father and bringing his grown children into our home. I refused to live with them and left for college early never looking back. It’s been almost twenty years since then and I still refuse to talk to my mother or her scum bag husband. I will never expose my husband and children to people who live their lives in such a selfish manner. God bless my father!

  3. Good for you for being so concerned with your sister’s well being. When my husband cheated and left me and our children for a younger woman and it was absolutely debilitating. I had unbelievable support from family and friends, a great lawyer, fantastic therapist and huge $$ support from my Mom and Dad. Even with all of this I barley made it!!
    My therapist said it best, “know why you feel tossed aside and abandoned?” “Because you were, and I’m going to help you get through it” . All too often these situations lead to suicide , please watch her closely. Having a pregnant mistress makes her situation even more toxic. Wait till her husband and his mistress take to social media proclaiming their happiness. He will hurt to her core to see it. She has to remember her husband’s words and actions are completely self serving, so do not trust him in anyway. Let her lawyer do her bidding. It has taken me years to fix his financial f ups so a long term view is important. Changing my life purpose to raising my children gave me the self direction to go on and be the person to salvage a horrible situation caused by his immoral actions.

  4. My ex cheated on me with a younger woman at work. I was at home with 4 young children (1, 3, 5, & 7) and had given up my IT career.

    I want to summarize a conclusion I have reached, 22 years later. I am blessed that none of my children are alienated from their father and that they live (part-time) harmoniously with his wife (yes, “that” woman) and their twins. I was surprisingly “proud” when my children tell me about their twin brothers.

    My children have taught me much. I find adultery abhorrent. The ex knew that when he “picked me” because I always detested it. I used to ask, “Of all the women on the face of the Earth, why me, Lord?” I guess He knows when something is “blocking” a person, the best way to release it.

    Do I endorse betrayal? No. Do I endorse adultery? No. But I endorse the freedom of children to love their faulty parent unconditionally. I have many faults, also. I pray that they love me unconditionally, also.

    A great book that I read during tumultuous times was “Why Forgive?”

    It is so hard. And yet, when you do, the breakthrough is incredible!

    1. Love how you were able to create such a loving environment for your children. Sounds like you husband and his wife admit to your children what they did was wrong and immoral but want to make the best of their situation. My ex was the opposite and has tried to install their views if commitment, etc on to our children. Basically anything is ok if you are unhappy. Unfortunately, my oldest absorbed this life philosophy and decided to start a relationship with her graduate assistant professor who is married. Now she has been removed from her college and a family is ruined. It takes everything I have to hold back my thoughts and let her learn her lesson hoping she sees her misdeeds. Forgiveness is so important but both sides have to compromise it just one side.

    2. Theresa, first let me tell how sorry I am you went through that. Cheating in general and adultery in particular are honestly the worst thing you can do to someone you claim to love. And I say claim because I don’t think you can truly love someone and cheat on them. Also as the daughter of someone who committed adultery even taking my sister and I with when he went to see his mistress I applaud you for not souring your children against your ex husband. I do actually remember going to her house, but its a blessing that I don’t remember hearing anything but I definitely did. It wasn’t until years later when I was a senior in High School that I questioned my mom about it. And she was honest with me and told me we would ask if he was hurting her because they were making “animal noises”. My mom’s marriage counselor told her that if my dad wasn’t going to stop the affair she had to get out. Not just for her own psychological health but more importantly to her for us as well. However honestly I think the damage had already been done. I find adultery abhorrent. My husband knows if he cheats no second chances no marriage counseling, that’s it. My parents remained civil always in front of us anyway. My mom even would take us to see his parents because he moved to a different state to be with his girlfriend (not the mistress). I guess what I’m trying to say is adultery, especially when children are involved has severe and far reaching consequences.

  5. Great advice Mark. I fell for a married coworker and left my wife of 18 years for her. I was so stupid to fall for the excitement and drama our affair created. It blinded all my good judgement and common sense as I soaked up her compliments and her good looks. I was inches away from getting remarried when I grew wary of her endless need for attention and her constant criticism of my first wife.
    I wave of panic consumed me when I realized I made a huge mistake and I pulled the plug on our wedding. I realized I did not want my fiancée to become my kid’s stepmom. Because if my actions I get to watch my children grow up under another man’s roof and it breaks my heart. To confirm your statistics on cheating, confused and bitter I spent several years after my divorce hooking up with women I met on my business trips. I am lucky to have some wealth and decent looks … that said I am no Don Juan so it really shocked me how many married women cheated. I am not proud of my actions but I did see first hand how many people jump into affairs risking their marriage.
    Thanks for your message Mark

  6. IHi Mark, Thank you for sharing your story and. I keep your healing in my heart and prayers. But one question is why can’t you forgive Jennair for .killing your married (predator) paramour but you don’t even blame (& don’t forgive) Meredith???
    In the military and in many careers, a boss is strictly forbidden to date subordinate. Boss who who dates or hits on a subordinate employee leaves the to.a sexual.harassment lawsuit. Meredith must have hit on you within weeks of hiring. because you said you said no after her first kiss. Don’t you realize she was in a position of power over you who had a wife to support and you were also vulnerable during a transition of residence? I know Meredith was an achiever, far younger, & attractive, but what I think.your lust and ego fails to admit is that she had little to no respect for personal nor professional boundaries like her own vows and certainly no respect for the sacrament of your & Jennair’s 24-year marriage. Maybe in time and with wisdom, you’ll acknowledge Meredith had low to no impulse control. Statistics show most relationships that start as affairs fail. Likely Meredith would have (eventually) replaced you with a a younger, cuter guy, because that’s karma.
    I feel like the chaplain who interviewed you and mentioned feeling compassion and no judgment. I also think you should ask Dr. Phil for help if you still get upset. Dr. Phil in particular has so much experience and top experts in every area.
    In any case, I pray God fills your heart and life with so much love and happiness that you can write a new book called “Reparable”. Sincerely, Marilyn

    At no

    1. I do find it interesting he has not responded to this. Still to this day he protects Meredith to determent of Jennair’s memory. Making her look like the only wrong party and him a victim in all this when he really is the villain. He places let to no blame on Meredith even though she has culpability here. Its so tragic that Mark and Meredith broke Jennair so fully she couldn’t fight her way out of depression. I have no doubt that Mark and Meredith would have crashed and burned as part of the thrill was the deceit. Its very often why people cheat. And this was not the first time he cheated on Jennair, just the first affair he admits to.

  7. Mark, I don’t believe that your wife had mental illness. You, created the whole situation. You act as if you were experiencing young love for the first time in your life. We all know the excitement that comes with new love. It can happen as often as you allow it. You, were in a 24 year marriage that should’ve ended before you chased your fantasy of new love. Your ego has let you believe that this tragedy happened to you. You were selfish. Admit that. You also underestimated the damage that was caused by your betrayal of what was thought to be your life partner. You also underestimated your wife and the fact that she was too smart to let your affair go unnoticed. Most women get blindsided. She went along for the whole ride. Hearing the depth of your betrayal by listening to every word between you and Meredith. You, created her pain. You said you couldn’t forgive her for taking Meredith’s life. Well she couldn’t forgive you, for taking her own.

    1. Donna, I totally agree with everything you’ve said. This woman built her life around him. That is what so many of us do. We marry young with plans of making a beautiful life and growing old together. When you reach the middle of your life the last thing you want to do is find out your love has found someone new and you’re just lost because he’s basically all you’ve ever known. He gets someone young and fresh. So exciting, right? Yet so devastating to the recipient of the broken vow. It’s really simple; a woman just wants to be loved and to know she’s your world because you are hers. The beautiful thing about a long marriage is that nobody else shares your many memories, your time invested, your quirks, you’re deepest secrets. Lifetime commitment is a precious thing if you want it to be. Why would you want to break the bond all for a younger, newer version? No, really, why? Aging makes a woman insecure enough already with so many young beautiful women out there who don’t care if a man is married or not. Real love is a beautiful and it’s a shame Jennair didn’t have what she thought she had with you, Mark. She wasn’t mentally ill; she was lost and desperate for answers. That’s why she dug for information. She knew she was being betrayed. But she was mainly just- broken. BPD is terrible label to give this woman whose depression and suicide could have been prevented. This whole situation could have been prevented if you had just invested in your marriage and not another woman.

  8. Hello Mark,
    Thank you for your honesty in sharing your heartbreaking story.
    My husband and I have been happily married for eleven years. It is an affair in my “work family” that is causing me a great deal of stress. My boss is awesome, she is almost magical in the way she has put our department team together and how fulfilling it is to work for her. That being said, she is currently having an affair with a coworker from our financial department. He interacts with our team on a daily as he budgets and approves our projects. I am the only one that knows besides my husband. Looking at your situation, for as horrible your affair was on your personal life, it appears you and Meredith were able to navigate your way at work together and even advance into better jobs. My husband is furious because he is good friends with my boss’s husband and he is going to expose the affair. I love my job and my department team. I just see everything being destroyed when the affair is exposed. I am desperate to help minimize the damage, do you have any advice from a career/work perspective?
    Thank you

    1. Jilian, I am very reluctant to dole out “advice”. However I do hold certain opinions from my experience. I’m not sure publicly “exposing” the affair of your boss is the right approach. You can’t possibly know where the chips (or embers) might fall. However difficult and uncomfortable, a straightforward personal discussion with both of them might hold the most promise for the result you hope for. Speaking from experience, they are both blinded from logic by their emotions. They are human. Give them the chance to make the right decision.

      1. Confused ~ how long do you give someone “a chance to make the right decision?!?!” It’s hard enough on everyone involved let alone expecting to be given time to make up your mind! I don’t see how prolonging the agony will help?!

  9. Thanks for the thoughts Mark. I had to laugh when you said “give them the chance to make the right decision”. It is obvious you do not know my boss and the guy she is cheating with!! They were using the stay at home orders as an excuse to be at the office alone. Their luck has run out. Unlike you and Meredith, they were both terminated from their positions. Once we get back to work I will have a new boss. Our department is absolutely devastated. The person who hired us and believed in us is gone, who knows what new leadership will bring. My husband helped his friend (my bosses husband) move out of their home. They have three young children…. my husband said it was gut wrenching to witness. Such a waste.

  10. Mark,
    I want to share my story with the hope that it will bring you some peace and a reminder that even when we do our best, life is unpredictable and messy.

    I was married for 17 years, 10 of which were very happy. Unfortunately, the last seven years were spent with my husband in and out of long- term mental health facilities where he was treated for bipolar depression and substance abuse. I was faithful, ran our company in his absence, and loved him with every fiber of my being. After seven long years of doing the “right thing” I discovered he was having an affair with someone he met at AA. That was it, I wanted out! I put our finances in perfect order, organized his life the best I could, told him he didn’t have to pay me support as long as I had a job,….he was happy and everything was great! A year later our separation was over and we were preparing for our divorce, everything was still great! I had spent 12 months finding myself and spending g time with girlfriends while he dated several women and seemed to be doing well. On my birthday that year he tried to take his life. I unexpectedly stopped by his house that evening and found him. By the time the paramedics got there he had been dead 10 minutes but they were able to revive him. He had left me a note saying how he loved me and I was the best wife anyone could have ever had. I thank God every day that he’s alive. Even though I deserved to leave, I deserved to have a happy life, I know the guilt would have haunted me for a very long time.

    The point I want to make is as much as I tried to handled things “PERFECT LY“ so no one got hurt….life is messy and unpredictable! Even when you do the very best you can, things will be as they will be. I’m sure you question your actions. “What if I did this?” “What if I didn’t do this?” Even if you had the ability to alter history, you still have no idea how things would have turned out. I believe there is a reason for everything and you are where you are meant to be.

    Best Regards,

    Brandi Guarino

  11. Watching 20/20 tonight actually stirred some old feelings for me. 8 years ago my husband started a relationship with a younger woman. The anger, pain and rejection I felt at the time Mark Gerardot was devastating and helps me to understand why someone in a similar situation may make an unwise choice. Instead of dwelling on hatred I relied on my Christian faith to give me strength. Our story was different. I realized my role in breakdown and while he made his choice, I was responsible for my actions and how I responded. His relationship ended and we reconciled.
    I pray you find peace and healing.

  12. Hi Mark. I just finished your book. While I do have mixed feelings about you, I am glad you wrote it. I find it interesting that, when a middle aged man steps out on his wife, it is usually with someone much younger and very attractive. But of course looks and sex have little to do with it. Hmmm, I doubt that. And while I do believe Jennair was sick, and at times very unkind, I believe you did her a real disservice by keeping her in limbo so long. Because you just couldn’t decide who you wanted but sure didn’t mind having a ball with Meredith while you were deciding. Leaving Jennair very hurt, miserable and confused while you were having a grand old time.

    But, I want to thank you for writing this. I am in a similar situation with my husband. Married 20 years with no kids and for the first time ever, I am jobless! But I saw some similarities between Jennair and I. Though I would never give them the satisfaction of me dying, and I would not kill anyone, I too was wasting way too much time playing detective. After reading your book I see where those habits can lead to. And I realize I do not want to be that person. I want to better myself, and let him go his own way. I understand the importance of making hard, solid decisions if your husband won’t. I don’t want to be the clinging, anxiety riddled wife tracking his every move. I have better things to do.

    Your book helped me to realize I need to be responsible for myself. Not him. And that has eased some of my burden. So I thank you Mark, and I hope you are doing well.

    1. Thank you for sharing your comment and part of your story. You’re not alone with your mixed feelings about me. I am ashamed for my actions and for how Jennair was treated. I am glad that me sharing my experience through the book has affected you and you find your burden lightened, even if just a little bit. — Mark

  13. I’ve read your book and I want to commend you for your honestly and for taking responsibility for your part in this; I think it was brave of you to write about such a heartbreaking and painful event with such openness. You are correct in stating that many marriages have gone through or are currently going through the same thing; it’s a very difficult thing to navigate. I hope you have forgiven yourself because you could never have seen this coming; and we all make mistakes in judgement. In addition, as others have intimated, you were in a codependent and emotionally abusive relationship from the things that were said and done to you; I am not, however, excusing the decision to start an extramarital relationship. It saddened me to read that your wife acted as if she was taking the steps to move forward with her life, but in reality she had other plans, which ended so tragically. It also saddened me that she wrapped her entire live around another human being; no one should ever do that. I believe that aside from this being a cautionary tale on the struggles of ending a codependent relationship, there’s another lesson: I hope that both women and men who read this book come to an understanding that relationships change, people change, and relationships end; and that we, as human beings, should not feel that we have the right to possess under human being to point of becoming suicidal or homicidal. In addition, I hope that men come away from this story understanding that they may have fallen in love with someone else, unintentionally, but they only have two rational choices: either swiftly end the marriage before beginning a new relationship, or don’t even engage with someone new, even in the casual sense of just having a drink after work, and instead go straight to a marriage counselor as soon as they feel the distance between themselves and their spouses. I’m speaking from the perspective of someone who was in Ms. Chapman’s position, and I know what it feels like to be caught between the person that you love and his spouse; no one comes out a winner in these situations; and it usually hurts like hell to have to pick up the pieces alone. I’m sorry that you have suffered for being caught up in an abusive situation, and for making a mistake, and for losing two people that you loved. I hope that you find inner peace and that you find the strength to rebuild your life and be happy again.

  14. Mark, just finished your book. My heart goes out to you: living through a murder-suicide as you have is excruciatingly painful. I agree, though, with some of your readers, that you were in a terribly abusive, “codependent” marriage with your wife. I dislike infidelity on general principles, but living with a mentally ill spouse can seriously affect the mental well-being of her partner. The drama, the fighting, the verbal abuse – these can be as damaging as in a marriage with an addict. Based on the book and your wife’s instability lack of empathy, I would agree with professionals quoted in your book. I think Jennair met all the criteria of a serious personality disorder from the start. I think she was struggling with borderline personality disorder. When things were relatively stable with you, maybe it wasn’t as evident. But when faced with an impending divorce along with lots of moves and the lost job, I think she ‘decompensated’, and she may have become psychotic… If not, her illness certainly overcame her reason and whatever self-esteem she had left. BPD is very difficult to treat even if the subject wants treatment, and it can negatively impact even high-functioning family members over the years. You did the best you could with an incredibly difficult situation, and you were trying to bail out with as much kindness and integrity as you could. Don’t be too hard on yourself. There was no totally “right” way to handle this kind of situation, and you don’t owe ANYONE your own mental or physical well-being. Take care.

  15. I just finished reading your heart wrenching book. I am sad and so very sorry for your unimaginable loss. I can’t even begin to fathom the depth and enormity of your pain.

    I am not here to judge as, really, no one should be either. The people who are the most judgmental typically have the largest skeletons in their closets. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Everyone deserves happiness. I hope one day, Mark, you are able to find it again.

  16. I finished your book Mark and like everyone else would like to weigh in on a few points. First point, I’ve been married 31 years to my high school sweetheart and if I saw my husband in a bar with his attractive “boss” that I knew he had a “crush” on I would NOT be told to leave and let him be. I imagine that in itself would be soul crushing. I must say I’m surprised Meredith, being married for almost a decade herself, would sit by and think that your actions were justified. Second point being you mentioned several times how good Jennair looked in her uniform when you first met. It seems the physical factor was very important to you. I guess I’m wondering most of all after 24 years of being married how you felt to watch a person whom you’ve devoted your life to, self destruct in front of you and not notice how badly she was hurting. Your story is a very disturbing one for everyone involved, mostly because I feel it could have been avoided. Thank you for writing it so that others can see sometimes the end result ultimately can destroy a lot. I guess my final thought would be as terrible as I think adultery is, I think how we treat the ones we love should always weigh in our every action. You may not have intentionally set out to destroy lives, but by being selfish in your actions two women are dead and that’s a heavy burden to carry around for a lifetime. I wish you well and hope you find forgiveness to move forward and continue your life’s journey.

  17. Mark, I just completed your book and am grateful that you’ve provided this avenue to share a few thoughts. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA where I saw firsthand the horrific pain and havoc that resulted from the well known divorce/murder case of Dan Broderick and his new wife by his ex-wife Betty in the late 1980’s. I actually attended one of court dates when Betty took the stand. After witnessing her actions during her testimony, reading numerous books on the case, and watching two movies (filled in inaccuracies), I’ve concluded simply that people are complex, filled with experiences that uniquely impact them, and it’s impossible to accurately know what is in the mind of another person, especially when they have been bruised. Betty, like your wife did have mental illness. In your case there was no suspect to bring to trial so people can hear objective professional testimony. None of us goes through life without mistakes. The bigger judge of character is what one does after a mistake. And your character clearly is one that says, “let me share with you in an attempt to help you avoid pain.” That is admirable Mark, and please do not lose sight of that in the years to come. As a nurse practitioner with over 35 years in practice, specifically in oncology, I’ve heard countless terminal patients share their heartfelt sorrow over mistakes. In many cases they were not given the opportunity to address them before their physical decline and thus unable to make something positive out of those mistakes. You have been given that chance and it appears to me you’re using it wisely. Please do not think I’m making light of the loss of two lives, as that is NOT my intent. Rather, in the midst of sorrow, I’m finding a reason celebrate the life that was spared, knowing he’s trying to make his life a blessing to others. Best wishes.

  18. Awareness is paramount!!!!! Please don’t let things go. Protect yourself always. I have not read your book but look forward to it.

  19. I just finished your book. I hope you are continuing to find some form of peace. I grew up watching my mother abuse and control my father, in a very similar manner that you describe your marriage. I always had the thought that if my dad tried to leave my mom, she would kill him. Despite this, I still didnt understand my family life was dysfunctional until I was an adult. I will spare details, but I can understand how this type if relationship can weigh on you, how you could end up enabling this behavior and then not see red flags when they are present. I also feel for Jennair. She appeared to be someone who needed control, and went psychotic when she lost control of the thing and person that defined her. I feel sorry that she was in such despair, but the act of murdering someone is never okay. That extent to which she planned this murder and stalked you and Meredith makes it clear that she had serious mental illness. She had many opportunities to make a different choice. Many many people are cheated, most dont go murder to make up for it. I wish continued healing for you. You are in my thoughts.

  20. Mark you clearly stated that Meredith asked you out for drinks. She made a mistake that would later cost her her life. This beautiful young girl had everything! She had a budding career along with a handsome husband regardless of whether that marriage was in great standing or not. These are mistakes that in retrospect could end up turning into nothing yet on the other hand could end up being very costly. Your beautiful wife did not have a successful career nor did she have children. As you stated her whole life was wrapped around you. In this day and age where everyone seems to be busy I think it’s commendable that she loved you so much that she was willing to emphasize everything on you intentionally or not. I hope one day you forgive yourself because God forgives us all and we all make mistakes but don’t hold Meredith’s death on your shoulders. She knew she was with a married man and unfortunately she paid the ultimate price. The price of adultery is usually never a death sentence but one can never be sure of anything when engaging in risky behavior. It honestly probably would’ve been hard for a lot of men your age to resist this beautiful young lady. God Bless You and thanks for sharing your story!!

  21. Mark I read your book as a wife who live though the pain and anguish your wife had to endure. I also had a husband who claimed he love and cherished me but had lied to me the entire 15 years of our relationship. He did not want to lose the benefits I brought to his life but did not want to lose the benefits the other woman brought to his life either.. So he lied to both of us and created this fantasy life in his head where he got to keep both of us. Fortunately for me, I had enough previous therapy not to allow him to stay in my life until he made a decision about who was “best” for him. I did feel I should have to compete with another woman for my husband’s time and attention. No spouse should have to wait for their husband or wife to decide if the other man or woman is a better choice for them.

    The issue for me was not so much the infidelity, the issue was the continued deception and him trying to keep holding on to me once I discovered his double life. It was also the cognitive dissonance of his saying he loved me and wanted to work on the marriage all while continuing to pursue this other relationship. Like your wife I went into full detective mode once I discovered I could not trust him. I resented the fact that I had to protect myself from the person I loved and trusted the most in my life because he chose to deceive me. Marriage is about so much more than love, it’s about building character, it’s about trust, it’s about faithfulness, it’s about commitment, it’s about integrity. It is about trusting another person with your heart and life. Knowing that their choices good or bad can impact you both. Far too often we take our spouses for granted, my ex husband told me everyday I was the best wife in the world and how much he loved me. All the while deceiving me. He may have loved me in his own selfish way but he only saw me as an object not a person with feelings or my own hopes and dreams. His fantasy relationship with this other woman did not work out either. I love my ex husband with all my heart and wish him the best life has to offer but I will never trust him again with my heart or my life. I feel your brokenness and have empathy for you. However, I also have empathy and compassion for the two women who had to compete for your love and attention. It bought them to a collision course where your wife in her pain and grief came to the irrational conclusion that another woman was stealing her life and the only equitable solution was to end life for both of them. This is never a solution and I do not condone her actions. However, I do understand her pain and the desperation she felt. Again this is from a woman in a similar situation what happened in my marriage completely changed me, it broke me in ways I don’t know will ever be healed. I did things to protect myself like monitoring his activities I never thought I would do. I became someone I did not like or even know. My trust has been shattered but I am strong and getting the help I need to move forward in life. I read your book to help me understand his perspective. Even after reading your book I don’t know that I ever will. His choices are just not part of who I am as a person. I consider myself blessed for having the strength to cut ties with the man I love for both of us.

  22. I am just going on the small amount of information I got from the show and reading this. It sounds like you were dissatisfied with your life and that you, Jennair and Meredith could not be alone. It sounds like you didn’t want to face how you were feeling, what you wanted or needed that wasn’t happening so you just went on trying to adapt. Then it built up and you put all of it onto someone new thinking somehow they could rescue you from everything and your life would be better. Sounds like your wife believed that too. All of it is a complete crock. All you guys had to do was wait a few years and you would have been as unhappy and dissatisfied with Meredith as you were with Jennair and Meredith would have felt the same about you as she did with her first husband. Why? Because you always have to deal with yourself. What is going on now is you made bad decisions and what you have avoided has gained in intensity until it became a critical mess. I hope you stay out of romantic relationships a good long while and take this time to really face yourself and deal with the weaknesses that prevented you from dealing with the problems in your life that caused you to use Meredith as a way out.

    Jennair sounds like she had similar issues to you and Meredith. She didn’t look outside the marriage but it sounds like from what you have said that she tried to make sure you did what she needed to get her needs met and that you went along with it because you didn’t want to be alone. I’ve been through a lot including a physically abusive marriage and I have to say I am very grateful I went through that instead of what you did to Jennair (leaving her for a younger woman). That would have been infinitely more painful and I say that having medical damage from my marriage (I got out).

    Part of that is because our culture still values women for their youth and beauty (one reason you chose Meredith, I’m sure) so Jennair already was feeling less valuable and then your choice just destroyed her. It is not all your fault but that is probably one of the most painful things you could have done to another human being in our current society. One of the things we (females) need to do is realize our culture is entirely wrong and that we are as valuable as men for who we are and find a way to realize our own value instead of depending on men’s reactions for it. She didn’t take that path and when it came down on her, it was too late and too much for her to deal with and she made some incredibly bad decisions.

    If she hadn’t, you and Meredith would have been together and Meredith would have depended on you for happiness for a while and then would have abandoned you to chase the next thing (maybe run for Congress again?) to make her feel valuable. And then the next and the next and you would have been in the position of her former husband watching her chase the next
    achievement to fill her up inside while she ignores you. You would have lived Jennair’s life.

    The great thing is that you are working on trying to figure out what you can do differently this time. Look inside yourself, look at your weaknesses, pay attention to your emotions – spend a long time outside of a romantic relationship doing this. Maybe pray. If you do this, you might be in the enviable position of changing your character and looking back on this
    painful situation as something you are grateful for.

  23. My wife left me 3 months ago, without saying anything, leaving a marriage of 6 1/2 years. She went back to her mother’s house and simply closed all communication with me doesn’t answer any of my message, and my calls… Silence and silence without any explanation. after 5weeks she brought a divorce letter to me. My world fall apart she was the peace of my life I love her so much I refuse to sign the divorce, I was desperate to do anything to bring my family together again, I made a research on to save my marriage were I saw a lady testifying about manuka temple save her marriage I was convince the same miracle can be done in my home I pickup the contact and contacted him. I Am here today as a living testimony to the same manuka temple that brought my wife back and stop the divorce. I cant thank him enough for restoring my marriage and bringing our family together again.

  24. I watched your 20/20 episode and I couldn’t finish it the first time because I had also fallen in love with someone else, and the episode gave me chills. I didn’t act on my feelings though, and I’m extremely glad I didn’t. Anyone who has been married knows that what goes on between two people is complicated. It’s easy to look in from the outside and pronounce judgements, but you can never know the whole picture. I hope you are able to forgive yourself.

  25. I agree with Cathy Leighton 100%.
    Does Mark realize he has subjected himself to abuse for over 20 years and needs therapy for it? If he does not, history will repeat itself.
    Sometimes it takes an ‘affair’ for the lights to come on. That degree of stalking points to a very sick dynamic in a relationship, talk less of the homicide.
    Allow me to quote Cathy: ‘I wish you well, and hope that you do not choose to enter into a future relationship where you have to be afraid, your marriage showed every sign of classic abuse, isolation, etc. If you do not begin to learn more about domestic violence in all its guises you are indeed at risk of more of it in the future. You might also read some of the works of Dr. Robert Hare and Dr. Kent Kiehl.’So you have written the book called ‘Irreparable”. I look forward to this one “I loved a sociopath”. It is Sociopathy and not infidelity and depression that result in spectacles like what we witnessed with Jenair. All the best Mark-and congratulations for not losing it in all of 24 years

  26. People cheat, people break people’s hearts. It should never be an excuse for the “broken” to murder.
    If a marriage is over, end it….instead of continuing to live and “leading your partner on”.
    People suffer from grief, broken hearts and are not murdering. Mark was wrong and weak in many ways and on many levels. The “marriage” was also sick. A woman who invested and lived for her husband instead of sharing her life with him.
    Be with who you should be, and the one left behind should and will have to deal with taking the responsibility of starting a new life.

  27. I listened to the Bad Thing podcast recently and found your, Jennair’s and Meredith’s story heartbreaking and tragic. I was so reminded of my parent’s divorce after 32 years of marriage after my father had an affair. As an adult child, I learned far too much about how it all went down. I saw the intense pain my mother experienced, the heavy guilt my father carried. I found out later how close it all came to mirroring your story. There was a gun involved but thankfully my mother surrendered it to her therapist before it was too late. My mother has never really fully recovered I believe. My father didn’t stay with the woman and ended up dying alone, well except for me being there. I didn’t want them to live in a loveless marriage but I wish my father had had the emotional and mental strength to have leveled with my mother, and I don’t mean about the affair only. I wish he had addressed the issues they had long before he sought comfort in an affair. Maybe they still wouldn’t have worked it out but the scaring would have been much less and they would have both had an opportunity to grow from the experience. I’m glad you’ve told your story and that the podcast presented it in a way that touched on the complexity inherent to a long term marriage broken by an affair. It is a cautionary tale and I hope anyone involved in such a triangle will learn by example that there are other ways to make the changes that need to be made.

  28. Did anyone (and I’m wondering if Mark has any awareness around this as well) notice from the recordings how his relationship with Meredith was already mirroring his relationship with Jennair? Meredith was very demanding of his attention and didn’t seem to grasp what he was struggling with, she seemed to be manipulating/pressuring him into getting a ring before he was even divorced (it often seemed to be a lot about her and what she wanted and not what he needed, Like potentially more space to work through his divorce), and throwing emotional fits to get what she wanted. I got some red flags just from some of the recordings, like needing him to save/ rescue her to make her feel better, which is toxic. She was also getting into the Karpman drama triangle quite often… needing him to be the hero, her the victim, and Jennair the villain, asking mark to be the one to get in the middle (hero). And that dynamic is exactly what happened.
    Without awareness we repeat the same patterns with partnerships until we can understand why and what we are trying to heal within ourselves. I’m sure mark is doing this work, but I wonder why no one has pointed this out and if he was aware that he was repeating some of the same patterns with Meredith. It seems like Mark tended to other peoples needs instead of his own, and did not show up fully in his relationships, or have good boundaries. This came out sideways by not feeling appreciated in his marriage, but if he didn’t bring his boundaries wants, and needs, he is partially responsible. Doing some work around the Karpman drama triangle could be very helpful for him and his growth, and any dysfunctional relationship.
    (Of course I am basing this all off the little bits of information out there on the story)

  29. There is a very good TED talk by Esther Perel on Rethinking Infidelity that really explains the allure of an affair, especially within a long marriage. It has to do with the feeling of “aliveness” that you mentioned in the book. That is such a powerful feeling that it can impel even people who never thought they would ever be unfaithful to betray their partner–and themselves. For those who have no sympathy for unfaithful spouses, I would recommend watching the video. Like Perel, I don’t condone affairs, but I don’t think anyone is immune given the right circumstances. Perel goes on to say that recovery after an affair is possible and it can even spur growth in the relationship, but only if that aliveness can be found and fostered within the marriage. Given Jennair’s mental health issues and probable personality disorder, I’m not sure that would have been possible for her. And if she was unable to find some measure of peace and happiness, and in her despair continued to resent and attack you, I don’t see how you could experience aliveness either. Unfortunately I don’t believe you had any option that would have made Jennair happy, so your only choice was whether or not to share in her unhappiness. I’m sorry you found yourself in that impossible position and I wish you all the best in healing from the fallout. It seems you have a spiritual perspective, as do I, and I believe your, Jennair’s and Meredith’s story is not over but ongoing. Your forgiveness and love are not lost on them, and will help them heal as well. Blessings as you continue on your journey.

  30. I have almost finished your book. I grew up in Radnor and went to VU so I was interested in your story. Overall, I find this story to be so sad for all three of you. Infidelity is never right but it happens. No one deserves to die over it. I know many disagree, but I feel Jennair suffered from a mental illness and personality disorder. She was able to continue with her behavior mostly because you never called her on it or demanded to be treated as normal human being. She put you down a lot and in my experience, that reflects a lack of self esteem on her part not yours. I find it odd that she was unable to maintain friendships with others and wrapped her whole reason for being around you. I suspect there was a lot of dysfunction in her family when she was growing up, especially her relationship with her Father. Why did she always have to have the last word? Was it that she just was controlling or was she a narcissist? I don’t know. She was complicated. It is tragic that she was unable to cope with your loss and move on in a healthy way. In the book, you said she did not have any support when she moved to Delaware other than you and her divorce advocate. That was unfortunate. She could only be whole with you as her husband. I find that very sad. I’m married and know that marriage is not always easy. I married later in life and My husband and I get along very well and share the same values. We were already grown up when we married. You and Jennair grew up together in a way and it appears you grew in different directions. When she lost her job and could not find work she seemed to lose her identity. If only she had a career to distract her from her pain and worries, I think she would have been alright. She had nothing to fall back on.
    You have been through so much and I am sorry for your suffering and loss. Your infidelity was not right but who is perfect? Everyone makes mistakes. Hopefully, you can move on with your life and find some happiness. I wish you the best!

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