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Chris Watts – what happens when the other woman is you? [A Thought Experiment]

Have you noticed, months after the murders, people are still split on the Watts case? Some say he was a shit and she was a saint, others blame her and say she drove him to cheat. A lot of these pronouncements are projections and transference made by folks who are married, or cheating [or both] or once were [married, cheating or both].

This means rather than an appreciation of the actual people involved [besides and apart from who you and I are] and what was going on in their hearts and minds, the crowds are really cheering for themselves.

But that’s not really what decent or intelligent true crime is about or tries to figure out. We’re not here to make sides, choose sides or pick a winner. We’re not here to feel better about ourselves or our sins. We’re simply here to figure out what the fuck happened. Believe it or not, that’s a very difficult question to answer accurately and authentically and very few even try. 

To do so takes time and effort. Fixing a fuck-up also takes time and effort. 

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One way to test our bias is to find an analogy to the Watts case where the people are completely different, but the situation is identical. I managed to find one. It’s an anecdote about infidelity from a woman’s advice column. No one was murdered in this scenario, but the pressure and intensity of the dynamic is nevertheless absolutely plain to see.

Read “Lala’s” salacious cautionary tale at this link.

A few obvious impressions we draw from the story are:

1. Cheating in our society is very common. When cheating leads to a child, a less common but deadly serious occurrence and one fraught with life changing consequences, it’s very difficult to know what to do, let alone to actually do the right thing.

2. Many of us learn the skill of duplicity in our society. Few learn the technique [or have the courage] to admit small mistakes, let alone admit to giant gut-wrenching betrayals of those closest to us.

3. We live in a society that is about maximizing profit and so it’s natural to want [or feel entitled to] the best possible deal for ourselves. This includes the mate we choose, the lifestyle we search and settle for, and the kind of sexual behavior we engage in. Sometimes in our desire for safety and security [the big house, the secure lifestyle] we make trade-offs in terms of the likability of our partners [or they do in terms of us]. 

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4. Our greed and materialism is also reflected in a desire for experiences. Once we have the treasure side of things sorted, we still want to be excited. We want to be stimulated. If our partners don’t give us what we want, we may feel tempted if not justified in getting what we want elsewhere. Does it do any harm if it’s a secret? 

5. In the same way that Lala got what she wanted from her husband, she didn’t like his approach to strict schedules. She felt bored and burdened. Being bored seems like a dumb reason to gamble one’s life, to risk one’s home, and yet people everywhere are doing it all the time. The reason? Boredom is like a living death. Risking an experience is like coming alive again. Everyone wants to feel alive, but feeling alive can come at a price.

6. Like Shan’ann, Lala’s husband Michael traveled often. Like Watts, Lala didn’t mind Michael being away as this gave her [him] a chance to indulge in her [his] Other Life.

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7. When the indulgence leads to a pregnancy, the original fairy tale becomes a nightmare. That’s why it is so hard to give up. Most people want to hold onto the fairy tale. And most people who believe in fairy tales don’t like to own up to being responsible for a nightmare that will end it. 

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8. When the nightmare is real, do you acknowledge it and deal with it, or do you refuse to believe it?

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9. If you could lose everything simply by saying a few words [the truth], by the same token you could save everything by simply not saying those words [lying].

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10. Even with expert advice, the outcome is not guaranteed, and the process is likely to be messy, let alone expensive, stressful and unpleasant. Still think you’re be the first one to own up to your sins?

If you’re cheating on your husband, and the infidelity leads to your falling pregnant, the answer is simple, right – just tell your husband what you did.

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It is actually that simple. If you’re not attached to your home, your lifestyle, many of your friends and possibly even your job, it’s as easy [and as difficult] as that. Just say what you did and possibly [probably] lose your home, your lifestyle, your friends [especially mutual friends] and possibly your job. 

The alternative is to be a coward and not to say anything. And you get to have your cake and eat it. Still think it’s so simple? Still think Chris Watts could have “just gotten a divorce”…?

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We swipe, tap and scroll through social media. There is an immediate sense of connection and, perhaps, the fear of missing out. All your pals and the ones you respect have an ever increasing level of stoke. In the 30 minutes I just spent (lost) here I witnessed skiing, climbing and living that, well, makes me feel all of the 56 years I am. I’m as guilty as anyone, perhaps more so. I curate my public life to highlight the highs and obscure the low points. It’s an ever increasing loop that feeds on itself. Alas the game of gravity plays for keeps. The risk of not returning is part of the allure. What would the sports we play be with out risk? Merely games? The down side is our family and friends don’t always make it back. Gravity always has the upper hand. When it plays its card too soon we all loose.For those left behind the pain begins. Was it worth it? Could it have been avoided? If you escaped the vice of gravity along side your bestie, why not me? What do I do next? I’m not one for cemeteries. When in Big Oak Flat I wander through the headstones of family long past, never known, yet part of who I am. I’ll refresh a few flowers and move on. In the mountains the these reminders are more poignant and powerful. The friends memorialized struggled with the “why” vs “consequence” paradigm just like we do. While walking through Dugla, the terminal moraine of the Khumbu Glacier, a series of stone remembrances (chortens) are a stark reminder of how fleeting life is and how the pursuit of gravity has real consequences. Scott, Babu, Alex and Ueli are memorialized with stacked rock. If you’re ambling about, it’s a reminder that we carry our friends with us. How we carry our friends is up to us. Internalize it, over share it, laugh about it, ignore it or stew in anger over it. We go through all the points of the emotion wheel. It isn’t fun. If you are a serious about gravity, it’s not “if”, it’s “when”. When death strikes unexpectedly – be part of the community. Reach out to others and listen. The challenge of being a survivor could well be you. And if you’ve been there, lend your experience to others. We all heal.

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  1. Duttdip

    These situations are really tricky and tough to deal with. However, in the CW case, if the parties are to be believed, both SW and NK gave Chris the rope to come out of it. He did not take the ropes.

    NK asked him to work it out with SW. That was an opportunity to roll back. Yes-you crossed the line, but then you checkpoint, think through, slow it down and retract. Say, that things have been worked out. I don’t think NK, given her extremely “practical” personality would have cared. She would have moved on.

    SW was desperate to make it work. This was the opportune moment to lay down the cards, spell out the shortcomings, partially confess about an infatuation towards a colleague without spilling the full beans, and rework back. If the discussion goes downhill, seek divorce.

    But then again, I am making the mistake of thinking rationally. Chris was not. He was in a whirlpool of situation created by Shanann’s OCD, the finances, the pregnancy, the nut incident, NK, his altered “self concept”,….

  2. Duttdip

    One thing that makes Chris Watts an exception is the lack of a male buddy to discuss the situation. It does not seem that he had any close friend to vent out to. Whether finances, relationship troubles, new girlfriend, or the possible ways to get out- there was no buddy that he could confide in and vent out to. I can speak for myself and some of my male friends. All of us go through or have gone through s*** in life, whether it is a job loss or a relationship problem. There is always that ONE person you can talk freely to over beer, and in the worst case, use him as a sounding board to relieve the tension. Chris seemed to have NONE. Not even his childhood buddy (Mark??) …

    • Ralph Oscar

      I have known SO many men who don’t have any friends. They are simply involved with their wives. My father was that way.

      And I got the idea that Shan’Ann didn’t want him out of reach. He would either be at work, or he’d be at home doing things for her.

    • DCFan1911

      It appears Nick Thayer was a male friend of Chris’s, they ran together, and the Thayers seemed to take Chris’s side on a lot of things until they realized he was a killer. Aside from Nick, however, you appear to be correct.

  3. CBH

    Although this case makes a decent analogy regarding pregnancy within infidelity, I agree with Nichol Kessinger that the motive both for the divorce and the murders was financial; Kessinger herself knew that she was mainly a symbol for Watts.

    Shannan was absolutely pathological and delusional in her earning and spending. Indeed, she had a literal criminal past when it came to money.

    When one sees the amount of shoes, handbags, clothes for herself and the children, taken together with the trips, dinners, and the hefty Lexus payments, there can be no doubt as to just how very destructive she was. They were in trouble with their mortgage and home owners association, yet she continued spending, and insisting on the ultra-expensive Primrose school for 2 children, not to mention swimming lessons and huge medical expenses. Two toddlers did not need 2 separate ample bedrooms, and the house itself was too expensive for them. She was most certainly NOT earning anywhere near 80K.

    When her mother in law remarked that CeCe perhaps needed to learn that she couldn’t always have what she wanted , Shannan ‘s literal reply was, “Well, FUCK YOU!”. Was this not Shannan’s own attitude toward her own desires? Who can doubt that within the Watts family, the pathology was Shannan’s, and hers alone?

    It’s a shame Chris didn’t seek professional legal and psychological help. By not crying out, it resulted in the problem not getting addressed, and it continued to escalate. As stated I believe Nichol was symptom, consequence, incident ONLY of this horrific problem. She herself guessed as much.

    • Sylvester

      I hate to think what would have happened had Nichol gotten pregnant. There was some mention about old condoms at his house wasn’t there? She said the date on them was 2007 and wondered why he kept them around. Do you remember that – it’s in the documents.

      • CBH

        I do indeed recall that. Either they had been using them as birth control or he kept them for “other” reasons. At least according to Shannan , he wanted the baby, especially if it was going to be a boy, which he was lucky enough to have happen. Between Nichol and finding out more about the finances during those weeks alone, he radically changed his mind.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “Was this not Shannan’s own attitude toward her own desires?”

      That’s a really interesting insight. Do you suppose that Shan’Ann’s kneejerk reaction, in the face of any criticism, was to do it twofold out of spite? That could to some degree account for all the conspicuous consumption – “How DARE anyone tell me to live within my means? I’ll fake it ’til I make it!”

      • CBH

        Quite possibly, yes.

  4. HB

    Why wasn’t Christopher Miller interviewed by the police? Was the paternity of the fetus tested? What about the journal Shanann was carrying around on her AZ trip, was that looked into?
    Perhaps Chris wasn’t the only one having an affair.

    • Duttdip

      If the Chris Miller thingie smelt even 1%, defense lawyers would be queueing up for CW, and he would not surrender this easily. The Chris Miller thing is a figment of misogynistic imagination, who smell something cooking the moment an attractive woman has a drink with a man at a conference.

      • HB

        Chris Miller and his wife Sharon were good friends of Shanann. They both went to the Watts’ home and he was on several of the Le-Vel trips. Most of her other Thrive friends were interviewed, why weren’t the Millers interviewed?

      • HB

        The timeline of the pregnancy doesn’t seem suspicious to you?
        She recorded the ‘oops’ video on May 29th.
        “May 29,2018
        1540 hours: Shanann began filming in the kitchen of 2825 Saratoga Trail. She stepped in front of the
        camera briefly to show off her shirt with the embossed words, “Oops… we did it again.” When she stepped out of the camera’s view Dieter lthe fomily dog) ran off to welcome Watts entering the home. As Watts walked into the kitchen he halted mid stride and stared in Shanann’s direction. His confused
        expression transformed into a grin and he walked to her saying, “We did it again.” When Watts returned in view ofthe camera he is holding a pregnancy test and they discuss the positive result. Watts leaned in, kissed Shanann and, with a large grin, says “l guess when you want to, it happens – Wow.”
        [41 ” Files – Video:]
        Seventy six days later Shanann, her unborn child, Bella ond Celeste were murdered” (discovery page 2082)

        Shanann posted the video to Facebook on June 11, 2018 at 7:36am
        Why’d she wait to post the announcement?

        If you look through some of the comments on the announcement posts, there’s also a picture ‘big sister 101’ on June 10th, some of her friends seem skeptical about the pregnancy timeline. They mention the New Orleans trip, Shanann says, “it must have been the leopard”(I assume referring to the dress she wore in NOLA), Chris watts wasn’t on that trip with her. On the first ultrasound post Cassie Rosenberg questions the due date and Shanann calls her a goof. Cassie responded. “I just wanted to make sure the ultrasound said the same thing. lol”

        Denise Caulderwood asked when she is due.
        Shanann replied, “Feb 1st so I am thinking mid January.”
        Why would she think the baby would come 2 weeks early?

        • Diskodee

          In a video (possibly scrubbed from all indexes)from the weekend of 26-28th named “The fun begins later/or tonight” it starts with 4 other bobbleheaded thrivers, and Chris Miller in a taste testing of the new range of Thrive Magical Bars, and with Shannon directing, asking them all “what does it taste like to you”, she zeros in, on MillerTimes arms and squeels “look at his muscles, you guys”(clearly dripping like a broken tap).
          He replies, after eating some magic bars, “I know it’s random, but it kinda tastes like wedding cake, I don’t know why”..after focusing a bit, too, much on MillerTime, somebody else obviously notices, and comes into view. Camera gos off. Back on, later, inside the event.

    • LW

      The investigators went through Shan’ann’s phone and devices with a fine-toothed comb. There was no evidence of her having an affair with CM or anyone else. They would have pursued it, if there had been.

      • HB

        “Item 42: Shanann Personal Phone
        Cellebrite Report I Apple Device Advanced Logical
        The device is an Apple iPhone 7 plus, serial number F2LsJMV1HFYC. The current operating system is 11.4.1. The device phone number is 91.0-850-3286. The device Apple lD is shanannkins( The device stored 153,672 timeline entriesl 99,011 images I 2,944 contacts | 2,114 videos | 756 audio recordings | | 29,796 SMS messages | 1,581 MMS messages and 477 entries in the call log The vost number of messages exchanged between Watts ond Shanann, while she was in North Carolina, are featured in Shanann’s device, but rarely, if ever, found anywhere in Watts’ device” (Discovery page 2081)

        Do you truly believe law enforcement went through and read over the 30,000 text messages in her phone?

  5. Sylvester

    It must have been other reasons, CBH, as Shan’ann had to take fertility drugs to get pregnant, both with Bella and CeCe. Maybe he used his outdated condoms with Amanda McMahon, and whoever else he was trolling for who wishes to remain anonymous. But it opens up another inquiry. Nichol says she was only in his house a brief time – then changed it to two times. Yet during one of the two times she spotted the condoms – and had dinner – which tells me she was either snooping or he gave her more than just the grand tour. She also knew there was no television in the basement.

    • marielangford3311

      Sylvester, did Shan’nan really use fertility drugs? 🤔

      • Sylvester

        I read it – I didn’t get it from a youtube commenter. She didn’t think she could get pregnant with her lupus problems, and so yes, I read that she took them. With CeCe too – but not with Niko.

    • CBH

      I imagine Nichol was there often during those weeks Chris was home alone. He even said to her in a text, “I’m going to miss sleeping with your warm body close to mine tonight” which gave me the impression she may have been sleeping over at the house some.

      • Sylvester

        Thank goodness CBH I’m not alone in thinking that! I didn’t want to bring it up as there was no proof, but now someone else thinks that. I don’t want to malign her, but there are things she hasn’t said – and that would be one of them don’t you think? I imagine it did give her the creeps to be there, and I don’t think it likely she slept in papa’s bed, but how about the basement? He might have wanted to show her his exercise equipment and then pushed her down on his creepy little bed.

        • CBH

          You’re not alone, and I thought of the basement scenario as well. It would be an extreme temptation to “play house” while the family was away. I’m sure Nichol had mixed feelings, but as she was told (falsely)that both spouses were set on divorce, you can’t blame her for thinking there was only a rapidly dissolving marriage anyway.

  6. Sylvester

    And this is really a stretch but what if that purple sleeping mask is hers?

    • CBH

      That actually is quite possible. As stated in my above reply to you, Nichol had been deliberately misled by Watts to believe that both Chris and Shannan equally wanted divorce. Therefore, although on the one hand she was ill at ease in the house, on the other, she could view them as roommates who were amicably soon to go their separate ways. Hence, she may have warned up to the idea of hanging out there with him.

  7. Sylvester

    Yes CBH, and I don’t blame her. I think he put her in the middle of his “irreconcilable differences” between himself and his wife. He may have pushed the angle that they would soon sell that house after she returned from their “trial separation” so why not hang out in it for now, he’ll even cook her a meal there. And he couldn’t believe his luck that he was able to be with someone like her, who to him was good looking, fit and trim, educated, fun to be with. He may have even wanted to show off the house, to give her the impression he was well off (one of the initial lies). I think since she amended her story to include two visits to the house, it’s not unreasonable to think that she spent more time there than she’s letting on. If they confined their sexual activities to the basement she wouldn’t have to stare at framed pictures of his family and feel guilty over it. And if she had to use the bathroom who’s to say she didn’t do a little snooping – I would. As for the mask, I don’t think he cared if his wife came downstairs and found it, but in general I don’t think Shan’ann wanted to set foot in the basement – much like John Ramsey who said he rarely, if ever, went into the basement.

    • CBH

      Agree with all. And I definitely had the thought that he may have wanted to show off the house a bit to her, while he still had the opportunity.

  8. Diana

    HB – Unless I missed it in the Discovery Docs, I’ve wondered why the report from the laboratory where the fetus was sent wasn’t released with the other Discovery items. If nothing else, to confirm it was male.

    As for the Watts having condoms. Don’t know how true it is or where the source for their info came from, but I read on another forum that Shan’ann said “sex was messy” and she made Chris use condoms. There’s so much bs to filter out, I don’t know what to believe.

    As for pregnancy and lupus. Lupus isn’t so much a disease that makes getting pregnant an issue, it’s that women with lupus just have a higher rate of miscarriage. So getting pregnant wouldn’t have been the problem for Shan’ann, it’s STAYING pregnant where the difficulty can be sometimes.

  9. Diana

    Forgot to add…..As for lupus possibly causing Shan’ann to miscarry – if you read her texts when she was in North Carolina, she was upset when Chris was ignoring her. She said to him in one text..”I could lose this baby at any time…..” I never saw anywhere that she took any fertility drugs, but I could’ve missed it. But my point is, I never saw where Shan’ann said getting pregnant was a problem, the problem was a higher rate of miscarriage. Could’ve only been a very slight chance of miscarriage, but Shan’ann being Shan’ann could’ve made it a much bigger deal than it really was. I have a friend who has the more debilitating systemic lupus. She has 5 kids and has never miscarried.

    • CBH

      Interesting to know. I’d assumed there might be trouble conceiving.

      • Ralph Oscar

        Apparently, Shan’Ann was told before she met Chris that, because of her various ailments, it was unlikely that she could get pregnant. There were no pregnancies in her first marriage, you’ll note.

        Consider that Chris might have been told there likely wouldn’t ever be any children. For a man who really wants children, this would probably be a deal-breaker, but Chris went forward with marrying Shan’Ann. When the children arrived, was he truly happy with that, or was he under the impression that their married life would not include children?

        • CBH

          I’ve had that same thought.

  10. Sylvester

    Thanks Diana – I’m trying to find where I read it. It might have something to do with what Sandra Rzucek said in her statement, but I had to go back to the beginning and I’m not to it yet –

    Finding alot of other interesting stuff though – by starting over.

    • HB

      I think Frankie Jr. mentioned it as well. She most likely was given Clomid for her fertility issues.

  11. Diana

    Sylvester it’s near impossible to catalog everything we’ve read on these murders! I have no doubt if you say you read she took fertility drugs that you saw it somewhere, don’t sweat it. That’s like where Shan’ann made the comment to Chris – “I could lose this baby at any time” – I just happen to recall she said that while begging Chris to talk to her. Normally I don’t have a clue which place I’ve read info on this case since I’ve read so much. She may have taken fertility drugs, maybe someone who didn’t know her well said it? Only reason I would question that would be because knowing her propensity to play the “Woe is me” card when it comes to her health, I would’ve thought we would’ve seen her talk a lot about it. Then she could claim this: I took fertility drugs to conceive Bella. But guess what!? I got pregnant two more times WITHOUT fertility drugs thanks to THRIVE!! Slap a patch on your arm in the morning and you’ll conceive by nightfall! Let Thrive work miracles in your life too!! #thrivebabies #patchbabies #miracles #nofertilitydrugs

    • Duttdip

      I would not take and dissect every word of Shannon and treat them as plan of record. She was an emotional soul, which was doubly accentuated during pregnancy and her situation, and it may not be prudent to put her words under microscope.

      As far as Thrive was concerned, it was her job to promote and advertise, and like all advertisers, she exaggerated her claims. Do 15 minutes with a Geico analyst really save 15% on car insurance? I don’t know. At least the Thrive patch was visible. People even attribute it to an invisible entity called God.

    • mitzi2006

      It was stated somewhere and I think it was from Shan’ann that she took fertility drugs with the two girls but got pregnant without them with this pregnancy.

  12. Byonsay

    I believe the mention of fertility drugs is in one the pre polygraph videos w Agent Tammy.

  13. ganana

    Everybody cheats and lies at some point in their lives. If we are lucky, we realize quickly it’s not worth the grief that comes with it. Later in life, not having been found out, we look back in horror and thank God.

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