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How to Leave a Cheater

How to Leave a CheaterLeaving a cheater is an intimidating process. It’s not like you want to blurt out to everyone in your life, “Hey, Bob won’t quit cheating on me. Do you know a good divorce attorney?” And anyone close to you who knows, like your father, probably will not give the best advice. Mine would have preferred to steer me away from the legal system entirely and straight toward the shotgun he keeps in the front hall closet.

So how do you do it? Here is your step-by-step guide.

1. Do NOT tip your hand. This is the first rule. It’s so tempting to flounce off to a lawyer and announce it to your cheater, expecting, boy they see that I really mean it this time! And half expecting them to do some Hail Mary maneuver to win you back. Bad move. When you tell your cheater that you’re seeing a lawyer, all this does is kick them into high gear to hide the evidence, fuck you over financially, and get to the biggest pit bull attorney in town first before you do. They’re probably doing that at the VERY SAME TIME they are trying to throw you off the trail with “remorse” and “needing time” and booking trips to the marriage counselor. Hide the payment to the attorney as well, by whatever means necessary.

2. Do not think “Oh they would never…” Oh, they would never ask for full custody. Oh, they would never hide money. Oh, they would never throw me out of the house. Yes they would. Anyone who would fuck around on you and expose you to STDs and gamble with the well-being of their children is certainly capable of all sorts of things. Your cheating spouse is not your friend. These are acts of aggression and you need to protect yourself accordingly. The best approach is to treat this like you are severing a business relationship. Detach. But do not ever for one second think that this person will treat you fairly because you shared a life together.

3. Gather your evidence. Whether you live in a fault state or not, evidence is important and your lawyer will know what to do with it. Back up copies of everything, put on a flash drive, email stuff to yourself at another account — store it away safely.

4. Find a good family law attorney. Make sure they specialize in family law. is one resource. is another good place to look, these are the top professionals in their field recommended by other attorneys. Hiring a lawyer is expensive, but you can do a lot of the work yourself, such as copying and research. Do ask them how you can help make this affordable. A good experienced lawyer will usually get you a much better settlement and will push the process along faster. Remember, your lawyer is not your therapist. Save your emotions for people who don’t bill in six minute increments.

5. Move the money. Move half of all cash and liquid assets into your own account that only you can access. Cut off all credit cards you have in common. Check your credit report to look for weird charges. Any money spent on an affair is marital money you can ask for back in a divorce. Also, run a credit report on your spouse at — you will have to answer some identifying questions (like the amount of your last car payment), but this can unearth a wealth of information, like credit cards you don’t know about or post office boxes. Usually cheaters have slush funds to hide the evidence of their cheating. If you don’t want to be an amateur sleuth, hire a forensic accountant.

6. Go No Contact. How you announce you’re divorcing is a very personal decision. You might just want your cheater served at work. Or do it in the therapist’s office. Or if your cheater is volatile, be VERY careful and just get out safely. Don’t be afraid to seek the services of a domestic abuse hotline. Whether you remain separated but living together (pure hell, don’t do this unless you absolutely must), or one of you moves out, don’t talk with your cheater unless it is about kids or finances. Preferably do ALL this communication by email so it is documented. It’s easier to be less emotional this way as well. No contact means no new hurts. Don’t get sucked back into their drama. Don’t tell them how you hurt (they don’t care, and if they act like they care, it’s to further manipulate you). Now is the time for crickets.

7. Stay strong. You’re going to get wobbly. It’s entirely human. You will doubt that you’re doing the right thing sometimes. You’ll fear for your children. Stay the course. If your cheater is sorry, they will do the hard work and be sorry regardless of what you do. If a cheater tries to derail the divorce, it’s because they don’t want the consequences for themselves. That isn’t remorse. It’s self interest. When you feel weak, it’s good to look at that evidence again and let the anger fuel you forward. Focus on yourself. What kind of person do you want to share your life with? What are your values? Divorce from a cheater is terribly painful, but it’s also birthing pains to a new beginning. The pain is finite. Push past it. There’s a good life here waiting for you.

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  • Great advice! I especially like number one. Waywards do not give us a heads up when they are cheating, we should not give one to them when we file.

  • Love your blog! I hung in limbo for 3 months waiting for her to make up her mind. Then she announces she’s moving in with her AP. Started divorce the next day, I have the house, my daughter, and my money. She’s got a 58 yo alcoholic stroke victim with high BP and ED. “Divorce from a cheater is terribly painful, but it’s also birthing pains to a new beginning. The pain is finite. Push past it. There’s a good life here waiting for you”. You have no idea how those few sentences have helped me. Thank you for this blog.

    • Thanks Jeff! I truly appreciate the words of encouragement on the blog and I’m so glad to be of help. But dude, you got the kids AND the house AND your money?! Do you know how many guys would like to be YOU? And her karmic consolation prize is an old man who can’t get it UP? Karma doesn’t get a lot better than that. Wow.

      • I at least had the clarity to kick her out, otherwise she and him would be living in my house. I had the opportunity to expose the affair to his wife, and also have a long conversation with her. All three of his adult children don’t speak to him, in fact they helped their mother change the locks on the house. My wife is a quite attractive 43 year old Asian, and in her words he “adores her”. Look up histrionic personality disorder, that’s my wife. Bottomless pit of validation, and he’s feeding it now. Good luck to him, he’d better be on his game. Thanks again for your insights, at this point I’m looking for real advice that slaps me up side the head 🙂

        • You need advice? Seems like you’re navigating this very well. But happy to reply, if you send me a question. Email is on the home page. Or form at Ask CL.. Thanks!

  • This post is superb. I read it a month ago and it’s remained in my head. Yet somehow I was already putting most of it into practice instinctively.

  • I read your Huffington Post blog today and it lead me to your website. I FREAKING LOVE YOU!!!! Thank you sooo much for your no nonsense attitude towards infidelity. In my situation, I met him 4 months after I had lost my late husband suddenly to an asthma attack. He was charming, attentive and “understanding” of my grief process. For 9 months, we were talking everyday but only during certain times of the day. Since I was not in a rush a be in a physical or sexual relationship , things seemed off, but i was happy to just have a confident. When I started to develop feelings for him, I finally started probing into the gaps his stories and life events that didn’t make sense. That’s when he finally came clean and told me that he was in a 13 yr marriage and had 2 kids including one that was conceived weeks after we were first intimate. The wife did not know and he didn’t want to tell me because he loved “what we have”. He wanted me to continue to maintain this relationship and “didn’t want anyone to have me” and I was his “soul mate”.

    I developed the courage to cut off contact with him and now left to mourn 2 losses. I felt so stupid for not being as alert as I usually him. I hated the fact that I loved and cared for him and the betrayal is so painful. I am so happy that he is no longer a part of my life. He told me that he told his wife, but who knows. Either way, I feel bad for his wife and his 2 daughters who have the unfortunate misfortune of having such a lying, cheating, controlling and manipulative excuse of a man in their life. Karma is a bitch and I hope that the universe has mercy on him because there is no way that someone can go around and ruin people’s lives in the way that he did without it catching up to him. I did nothing to him, or anything to deserve this and I hated that he came into my life at all. UGHHH….

    • Did you tell his wife? I would let her know, it’s the humane thing to do. And then go no contact. But she deserves to know the truth about her life. I’m so sorry for your loss. And I promise you, he did NOT tell his wife.

      • Hi Chump Lady, I actually would not even know how to even contact his wife. After the revelation, I went into self preservation mode and did not want to get involved in his life drama because the outcome might be worse for me. What if she is one of those wives that is in Denial? What if she doesn’t have the support to handle that news? What if he in turns make my life a living nightmare because knows so much about me, where I live, where I work etc. Those were answers that I am not willing to find out. For me he is not different than a psychopath with no conscience or remorse. So I am running far away in order to avoid becoming one of those tragic lifetime movies.

        • I understand not telling out of a sense of your own self preservation, if he really is a wing nut. But really, I think he’s got more to fear from you exposing him. Don’t assume his wife is in “denial.” She may have absolutely NO CLUE what he’s been up to.

          You know, one of the worst things about being cheated on is that whole crap that oh hey, you must’ve known. You must’ve been in on the deal some how. Had an “arrangement.” Or you’re turning a blind eye. The unspoken is — you kinda of deserve this for being such an oblivious idiot.

          We all see the world from our own moral lens. If you’ve never experienced infidelity and you know that *you* wouldn’t cheat on your spouse — you do go around with a naivety. You wouldn’t have done such a thing and you can’t imagine a world in which the person you are most intimate with daily would do such a thing.

          That’s why it is so shattering. It completely up-ends your view of the world, your sense of reality, of who you can trust.

          But I come back to — it’s not a pathology to trust your spouse. It’s what normal, loving people do. And that is why betrayal and manipulation are so very ugly. Because abusers take that trust — that social glue that binds us together — and they turn it on you. Use it against you.

          So, listen, if that shit isn’t painful enough — it’s that much MORE painful to have the Peanut gallery out there gawking and pointing and saying you were somehow party to your own abuse.

          That woman can only be in denial about something she knows. If she doesn’t know it, she’s not in denial. She’s living in ignorance.

          I’m sorry you got duped by a cheater. IMO, these flaming personality disorders can sniff out vulnerability and clearly you were in such a place, having lost your husband. I’d try and have some compassion for the poor woman married to that creep. You dodged the bullet. She didn’t.

          • Oh my. You nailed SO many things in this reply. You have such clarity, I’m going to live and learn and remember. I’ve had one of his friends and one of my grown kids blame me. Something I would never think of doing. In the meantime, being an honest loving person who trusts IS NO CRIME. Learning to attend more to actions than words is a great thing to learn. Thank you for more well thought out wisdom to take home and save.

  • Followed the breadcrumbs the same way that Chasing Waterfalls did (through HuffPo) – OH how I WISH I could have read this blog four years ago!! Even two years ago! Would have saved me so much time and pain. I eventually figured it out, but why learn from your own mistakes when it’s so much faster and easier to take someone else’s good advice?! Keep fighting the good fight, CL – you’re doing a lot of good 🙂

  • Ditto the above comments. 6 years ago I was scrambling to find some information and advice like this. In my case, we were married for 28 years, together for 31 and I thought we had a great marriage. And yes, I really did NOT know that he was asking women in our social circle for sex and flirting behind my back and no, I’m not stupid or in denial. I simply didn’t know. This went on for years and years. The women he approached never told me because ‘I was so sweet and loving’. He purposefully approached only certain types of women – those who had low self-esteem and who were unhappily married. That way, he knew they wouldn’t tell me or their husbands. I felt doubly betrayed because these “friends” should have told me. I don’t know half of what he did because he was such a skilled liar/omitter of certain truths. Later I found out he was also on a site where he could set up threesomes with other couples so he could indulge his bisexual desires. All the while, he was this great Dad, loving and adoring husband, coaching our kids sporting activities and a civilian member in our Police Department.
    His attitude over the next few months was he was sorry(he was caught) and let’s put it behind us. I was in such pain and so angry and he minimized it so efficiently, accusing me of trying to make him feel bad while I was trying to process this devastating information. I left after several months. The same week-end I moved out with our son, he met someone and she slept in our house.Within 2 months he had divorce proceedings instituted. Cold, distant, detached. Who was this guy? After such a loving partnership that we had, he moved on so quickly it was astounding. Your posts are so spot on I am blown away. Wish you were around then!

  • Great post!

    I discovered 2 months ago that my husband of 16 years was cheating on me with one of his former staffers. I’d tentatively brought up the OW (“Do you think X is in love with you?”) just out of the blue. He denied it and went into his study, but left his iPhone on the counter. It hadn’t yet locked, and I saw him post on fb, “my wife just confronted me” followed by her response, “what did you say?” I then googled infidelity resources and came across your blog. I stifled my desire to confront him. After all, 24 hours earlier, he’d still been a cheater. I just didn’t know about it. Now, at least I knew. I also made an appointment with a family practice lawyer, who gave me good advice and recommended three other lawyers in town I should speak with. She also offered recommendations for therapists that her clients had found helpful while dealing with the process.

    I can’t leave my cheater. Yet. I’m too financially dependent on him. However, I’m looking for another job, and I’ve calculated how much I’ll need to live independently, pay my student loans, buy a (used) car, and care for my dogs (thank goodness we have no children).

    In the meantime, I’ve been able to watch bits and pieces of the affair. I’ve seen him tentatively break things off. Two days later, he’s arranging for a hotel rendezvous. About 3 weeks later, he’s still trying to break things off (“you deserve someone full-time”), but he’s getting ego kibbles from her (“I believe we are soul mates. I think we can make things work.” Two days later, he’s making hotel dates again. There’s no “This is wrong. I can’t do this any longer.”

    He’s having an affair with a woman who’s been married and divorced twice. She’s had numerous affairs with married men, and has had one-night stands after late night bar hopping. However, this isn’t about her. I agree that she has her own issues–going after married men is symptomatic of deep issues with commitment–but it’s his choice to sleep with her, to text to her, to betray me for her. He’s also likely picked up at least one STD from her. Condoms aren’t foolproof against HPV, after all. I am relieved that he doesn’t have the sexual stamina to keep two women satisfied.

    So in the meantime, I’ve been gathering evidence. I know he’s sending her money (and even in my no-fault state, the courts will love that, and it will likely help mediate a better settlement for me), and I know how he’s doing so (yay for electronic records). I plan to rent out a storage locker and start “cleaning” our house, i.e. moving things that I brought into the marriage into a locker, where he can’t destroy it when I leave him and where the moving van can come pick it up.

    Thanks for this great post. I am still hurting from the betrayal, but I’m also very angry. Whenever I start to waiver, I just look at the screenshots of his facebook chats. I deserve and will get better. But until I can afford to leave, I have to keep my cool, and your posts help me do that.

    • KB, I commend you for your cool head and field marshall skills. But please be careful with your health — he’s picking up STDs?

      I wouldn’t waste too much time in limbo. Get all those ducks in a row, especially the financial ducks and the evidence. If he runs up debt, you may be liable for that. It’s actually to your advantage to earn less right now (debt is usually divided according to income). He may have to pay your insurance or some spousal support until you get on your feet. I’d try and get a settlement ASAP.

      Stay strong! And I’m so glad you found this site. Welcome!

      • Thanks for the support. I don’t plan on staying in limbo for longer than I can help. Pretty much it’s a case of lining up a job while “cleaning” up the house to make for an easier exit. My field has steady openings, but it’s competitive so I realize I will have to keep my cool for perhaps a few more months. In the mean time, instead of screaming at him, I’m trying to channel my anger into planning both my exit strategy (my divorce lawyer emphasized the importance of a plan) and a settlement that we could both live with.

        I will definitely need counseling or some other sort of support. Not having someone I can confide in IRL is huge. Once my ducks are lined up and I’m on my way out, I don’t plan to be silent–I’m sure that the secrecy is a huge bit of the allure for my STBX. This is a smallish sort of town, and word gets around. His reputation will be in the dirt, especially since the OW has such a lousy reputation in this town that when word came out that she was in a serious automobile accident a few days ago, some of the people where they’d worked (she was a former staffer) said that they wished she’d died. He was horrified and angry. I bit my tongue from suggesting that that kind of sentiment is generally reserved for people who’ve harmed other people in a major way. When it comes out that he has had an affair with her, it will very likely have an impact on both his current employment and his chances at future employment.

        That’s another reason not to stay in limbo.

        • I hate to say “karma” but WOW.

          Yes, a plan will make you feel MUCH better. I left in a similar fashion — took me several months. I bought a house on the sly (a story for another time), did inspections, financing, everything. I made excel spreadsheets of all my possessions. When I moved out, I took photos of every room — his/mine itemized. This way he couldn’t accuse me of stealing his diamond encrusted fishing rod or WTFever. I had the movers as my witnesses, room by room what was taken, what was left. Like you, I started moving my papers and important things and things that wouldn’t be missed (sweaters, kitchen stuff) early and stored them with a friend.

          The plan kept me sane. It was very, very detailed. You’re essentially planning a NATO air strike. It’s very good to go on the offensive with cheaters/narcissists. They don’t expect it. It gives you the advantage. You are an extension of them, so it terrifies them. As if your right arm started whacking you in the face. What? I don’t have control?!

          Be an actress — the limbo and the pain are FINITE! Stay strong and let us know how you’re doing!

          • Nato Air Strike for sure! I was in limbo for 5 months (couple of those playing pick me ugh) and I’m so not the “pick me” type. I was just devastated at what was about to happen. I got all my duckies in a row and waited until April (tax time) to get some extra money. I filed and served him while he was on business. I’m sure he was shocked as hell. I gave him a kiss goodbye before he left on that trip and I said, “I will miss you.” I was a stay at home mom for 20 years so luckily this smart girl stashed away thousands for this rainy day. I always thought if I never get divorced we will go on a great vacation…well…he did.

          • Just found this website a few days ago, but feel like I’ve been introduced to a branch of my family I didn’t know was there, family that gets all the punch lines.
            Find myself reading and thinking, “Wow! I did that! I rented a storage unit and moved most of my stuff out! I bought a house and moved into it!”
            My situation was different–this man is verbally and emotionally abusive, and physically abusive with the kids. Spent years trying to fix things, protect kids, mollify, walk on eggshells. But the whole `you are crazy, I’m a good person, you’re not’ stuff sounds just the same as with the cheaters.
            Lacking a similar site for my STBX’s kind of crazy (and mine), so I hope you don’t mind if I hang around for awhile.

      • STD’s…
        I was totally oblivious until one day, I had chlamydia. And get this…omg, you’ll laugh when you hear this…claims the Dr. told him “anything is possible when it comes to contracting this.”
        I guess I’m just stupid, as well as all the other Dr’s and scientists and Communicable Disease specialists…
        However, I am planning my exit strategy. I have 4 kids with this man. I have been a sahm for the past 15 years, and am continuing to look for SOME type of job that would help financially in any way. He just got hired perm from a temp agency, so I plan to get moved into a new house and then file for legal separation/divorce. I have invested so much time into this prick. I owe it to my girls, to show how a strong woman acts. Except I have no idea how to.

  • It just became 2013 and I found this website. Love it! I was not married to my cheater but we were together for 10 years. He did the I hope we can be friends. I said I was your friend. Even with low self esteem I was at least clear enough to know that I was not going to eat that sh-t sandwich. I did not call him or try to see him or ask him to come back. The damage was done. I bump into him from time to time and he trys doing his snake oil act but it does not matter how much perfume and lipstick you put on a pig, it’s still a pig. And I already know I can’t trust him so what would be the point. I sure would have loved to find this site at that time. I am just now looking at dating again, it’s been about 3 years, however I am in much better shape and a lot wiser. He is a control freak so he thought I was going to pursue him. He would call me and ask why he had not heard from me. I just let the machine pick it up. I thought, well the OW got her karma, cause this jackass can’t be alone for 5 minutes. Strange thing, he’s ex wife cheated on him and he bitched about it forever. Then he turned around and did the same thing.

    • Jennifer…going through almost the EXACT same scenario only my cheater was using escorts, massage paroles etc along with standard infidelity bull. The getting my ducks In a row so I can get gone is killing me. My horses are being moved next week and I will be a lot more free to speak my ind and put an end to this. I did we’ll not answering for 2 days after the last major lie, then caved. It is hard to stay angry and resolute when anxiety creeps in and screws you all up. I feel super alone and confused, sociopath narcissists really do a number on you after so many years….nice to find a place where people are going through the same thing….

      • Elizabeth… The thing I did that was helpful to me was noticing how I felt after any contact with him and I always noticed I felt worse. When someone is a liar, you have to decide if you can live with that because, it is NOT going to change and if you put up
        with it, you are just giving them permission to behave that way with you. I cannot be with someone that I cannot trust. What’s the point?
        My father was a liar, a charmer and a pedophile. My saving grace was doing some inner child work. It helped me see that sometimes the upset came from the child part of me and at other times it was the teenage part of me. The child will always love them no matter what so of course it is hard to stay angry. I had to learn how to re parent myself. That is how I learned to stand my ground and be straight with myself.
        It is an ongoing process but as time goes on it does get better. Now I look back and go WTF was I thinking? I would never choose him now, I have a very good life and I don’t have to put up with his crap. I actually wake up happy!
        Things get better sweetie but not without some work. Get some help and some new information so you can reinvent yourself. It changes things when you start to love yourself.

  • CL – Great site! I’d just like to add one thing. IF your cheater is also someone who has been physically abusive or who has frightened you enough that you think he potentially could become abusive, take every precaution in the first few months. Someone with this potential who loses control of you is apt to do something particularly violent in the weeks or months following a separation. This is the most dangerous time for a woman.

  • A very long story. I met my wife when I was 19. She was my first sexual encounter. Moved in after about 3 weeks, we were having sex after 1 week. We didnt date as such, it was very sexual. My wife had been sexually assaulted numerous times before I met her. When she was 14 she was raped by a teenager aquaintance.

    She then was also raped by a boyfriend quite a few times during a abusive relationship, through their time together of about 3 years. Another time she was raped by an older man, when she stayed at his and his wifes house. The wife left for work in the morning and he raped her. She claims she was too afraid to stop him.

    Another time she says she went home with a couple of guys after her 18th birthday, and you guessed it the guy raped her. Another time she was physically touched and this is the only time she laid charges, and the man was sent to jail. So a lot happenned to her before we got together. She never got much support from her family etc. or counselling to help with this.

    We got together and it was all fun and such. She told me about her past problems, and i was fine with it. She was always extremely touchy, and edgy. One little disagreement and she would go off, many times punching and hitting me etc. Getting on with this we got together in 1995.

    Around 1998, i went away for a weekend to my parents, and she didnt come because we had one of those little disagreements before. So she stayed home, we had a male flatmate. I went away and came home. She was so happy to see me. But very insistent in going to new years where this flatmate was. We got there, and that night, she said she wanted to break up. So we kinda did, but not really, and we had new years together with the flatmate at a few nightclubs. We came home, for a few days before the flatmate came back. Over the next few weeks we got back together. About a few weeks later the flatmate moved out.

    Fast forward to 2000, and my wife became pregnant with our first child. She suffered a lot of depression, i was working long hours, and no support from her family. We had our second child in 2003, depression really bad after this as well.In 2004 we had our first (really second problem). My wife went with friends and their 15 year old nephew away for the day, as I couldnt get babysistting for our child. She came home and over the next few days behaved weird and got many text messages on our mobile, but wouldnt show me.

    At the third day I came home. And she told me to sit down. She had been caught out by the 15 years old sisters who read his phone and told their mum. The mum told our friend that if my wife didnt stop what she was doing she would tell me. They had basically been sexting each other to the point where she was organising for him to leave school at lunchtime and meet at our house, whilst i was at work and the child was in babysitting. I was shocked and heartbroken. Didnt know at the time but I was too weak,and she really didnt get any consequences for it. A bit later we were having a fight, and she blurted out, no wonder i didnt tell you about me and the flatmate sleeping in his bed that night you went to your parents. She claims she was upset, and needed someone in the bed. She claims nothing happenned. Her version of events is he tried to get her drunk, so guess what she slept in his bed, but they didnt touch each other. She didnt even like him apparently. I rang this guy, and he said nothing happenned that night, but they did have sex later. When I said to him, he better not be lying, he said he has nothing to gain from telling me lies. She has continually denied this. Okay another thing to give me nightmares over. How the hell can you do that, again i really didnt give her consequences. I do know they never communicated again after he moved out.

    We never really got going properly again. I always mulled over everything, occasionally just bluring out stuff about this to hurt her at times. She was still very depressed, on and off medication etc. Still physically abusive etc to me.

    2009 she begins a emotional affair on facebook with another guy(45 year old) from overseas. Goes on for about 3 months before i had enough of her spending all her time on facebook, and i installed a spy program, and got copies of all her conversations. I hit her with it and she went off her head even to the point of saying she would hurt the kids. I rang the police and they took her to hospital for an assessment. They said she was fine and wouldnt hurt the kids. I sent her packing to her parents and she stayed there for about 3 days before she came home, and we sorta swept it under the carpet. She has over all this time quite a few times threatening suicide, been admitted to hospital a few times. We did have marriage counselling for about 6 months after this. Dont know if it helped, but I felt better for it.

    Late last year she needs to go to here aunties place to help her female 14 year old cousin who has been sexually assaulted. Her cousin was going to court. I began to feel funny when she acted weird on her text messages etc. She rings me on the day before she was coming home, and says she was bringing her 17 year old male cousin home for a few weeks. i say no, i just lost my father, i dont want anyone here. She in the end says ok, i wont bring him. Next morning she rings, and says he’s coming i dont care what you say.

    Well they get here and over the next few days , not much, just feeling uncomfortable as they seem to be way too touch feely for cousins. On the wednesday night, she tells me she wants him to move in, as it would be much better for him here as he doesnt like it at his mothers. We fight, and i say no way. Next night i go into the computer room , and find him on the seat perched behind my wife. I go off, but she just says i am being silly. He stays for another week, i dont know why or how i let him stay, but nothing major, but small stuff that cousins dont do . REMEMBER i was at work during the day but who knows.

    Also whilst he was here i kept saying to her , that what looked to be going on wasnt right, and she kept saying you are being silly. You need help maybe you need to see a shrink, you are going crazy. Long story short, she does tell me whilst she was at her aunties, the cousin (who has autism, and is a drug user etc, dropkick) told her he wanted to sleep with her. She said she was feeling attracted to him (apparently they have an emotional connection) but told him she couldnt because she was married and she was her cousin. During this time they were still talking on phone and texting. Also i told her mother about this and his mother, but they dismissed it. My wife even made me apoligize to him and his mother for suggesting this stuff was going onBeen a year now, we have done some counselling etc, but nothing really going there. She hasnt had any contact with him since. Says she doesnt even think about him. She says how silly she was, and doesnt know why i stay with her.We are just going through the motions. I always ponder over whether she has had sex with the cousin, or the flatmate. She has always denied this, even at points where she is so broken down emotionally she is going to kill herself.

    I dont really know what to do. I do love her, but always in the back of my mind is all this crap.

    I need help to leave and get out of this

    • Wantogetout,

      My STBXW didn’t have a history of this but it came later. It sounds like she has BPD, borderline personality disorder. You need to get away from her. If you don’t have a pre-nup then see if she’ll sign a post-nup. Then divorce her. It’s just that simple.

      Psychologically and spirituality it’s the best thing you can do. Financially it’s the worst. Take over the finances as well. She’s not the person you thought she was. Unfortunately in America the constitution protects infidelity but doesn’t protect marriage. That’s why the divorce rate is so high.

      Be strong and get away from her.

  • Thank you, am grateful to have found your website. 2nd time for me. Was involved with a socio-path, lying, cheating porn addict for almost 4 years. Finally divorced and moved on. Found out a year ago that the guy I currently am involved with loved the porn and craig*lst bull as well. Found it all on his phone. He apologized, said it would never happen again, blah blah blah, you know how the story goes. Two weeks ago, 900 number calls his phone. Now, you must be a pretty good customer for them to be calling you? Regardless, I demanded full discovery out of him (after reading your blog, know this was a waste of time). Found out he never gave up the online casual encounter link and has called 900 numbers for the past year and long before we ever were together. It hurts. This is the second go around for me with a cheating liar. Thank God I didn’t marry this one. My heart is breaking, and have pretty much come to the conclusion that I must attract whack jobs. I knew a year ago what he was doing, looked the other way I guess or just wanted to believe he had stopped it all. I am a fool for sure.

    • 2ndTime, there’s a useful book out there, called ‘How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk’ that gave me lots of food for thought about what to look for as a relationship progresses, in order to not keep making the same types of mistakes. I sure wish I had read it before meeting my ex!

  • That sounds like my good friend. He grew up in a very happy, trustworthy family, so he was like “My ex would never do X,Y,Z,P” I told him what you said here about assuming that the person will destroy you without blinking an eye to save their asses. She wound up stabbing him when she found out that he started to withdraw assets. Her ass was in jail for assault, but my friend has a nasty case of PTSD.

    He still underestimates her evilness and it frightens me. Their divorce is final in a month. He has a protective order out on her. 🙁 I fear for his life more than he seems to fear for his own.

    And yes, I was a victim of attempted murder from my serial cheater ex. When I announced I was leaving, he beat and strangled me. We weren’t married. He is still wanted by cops.

    Please, please please trust your gut. Always assume you are in grave danger when dealing with people like this. It is better to be over cautious than injured or killed. 🙁

  • Thank you so much for everything you do on this site. I’m sitting in the dark bawling my eyes out because my husband of 10 years told me about another woman today and that he wants to have a relationship with her. We’ve been together since I was 14 (so 16 years total 10 years married) and I’ve supported him through his career in the military, stuck by him through three year long deployments to Iraq, and stayed home with the kids, giving up my chance at a career as I moved all over the world where ever he was stationed. Im devastated. I felt so alone all day and didn’t know what to do, but your blog has helped me to see that this isn’t my fault. I hope I can get over this, it seems like a long road ahead, but you’ve given me the fuel to keep driving on. Thank you.

  • how do you move half the money, cancel credit cards, check past purchases etc if you were at home for 25ish years with the kids while he worked and you traveled to countries with him while he followed his career and you kept the family together thus preventing you from getting a full time job. how do you move money when he gives you 3 days notice AFTER he gets back from climbing Mt Everest. then moves into his new downtown apartment and buys a new car and new furniture with “his” money.

  • Hi! I need your advice. I found out one week ago my husband was cheating on me sexually and emotionally (the worst)
    I have evidence, I filed for divorce, I threw him out if the house. But I don’t know what happened, he cried apologized, promised things, I didn’t give in but I don’t know when I failed. We are going to couples therapy, he said he was willing to go (but I found the therapist), he’s back in the house, acting like everything is awesome. And telling me “everything is going to be ok, we will get through this”.
    All the evidence and actions from the past tell me to leave him. I think is HOPE and FEAR (I read your 5 things make you stay with a cheater) but where do I get the strenght ???? I am miserable I know I can’t trust this person again, every time is see him I see lies… I wake up with pain. But I don’t know how to say enough is enough. I keep trying to find more evidence, as if what I know and found wasn’t enough. Please help!!!!

    • I can’t tell you how much this site is helping me. But I am still struggling to decide what to do. My BF of 2 1/2 years has been regularly texting and possibly seeing at least 4 or 5 people. He denies everything. The only thing he will cop to is that he went to the fair with one of them.But that was only becuase I found a text on his phone from her saying that she had a dream that they got caught in bed together. He says it was just conversation, along with all the rest of the text messages where he was saying and getting very intimate and suggestive texts, even about hooking up with these people. So he denies, denies, denies. After the Fair Lady thing, now he is saying that he “knew all these people BEFORE we started talking and that they are JUST CONVERSATIONS.” Says that he never meets them, has not been with anyone but me. But I am pretty sure he is lying, and has been lying. But now he is crying, saying he loves me, that we belong together, and calling me, trying to convince me to stay. I almost feel like this is making him feel so good to have me so weak and confused and crazy feeling. Bringing me flowers, buying me groceries, telling me things he NEVER did until I caught him red-handed. He says now that we can make it through this if we just keep trying…but I keep going back to the fact that if I had not found out about the fair lady, then he would have kept doing all that he has been doing. And really, only dating for 2 1/2 years, and already this is what I get???? None of these were one night stands, they have been ongoing since BEFORE we met. HELP!!!! WHY can’t I leave his lying, cheating ass? Oh, I actually think part of it is the sex, which is the most amazing I have ever experienced. I think I have become addicted to him….and I hate myself for it. If I were my friend, I would tell me to dump his sorry ass……AAARRRGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Firstly, kick him back out and stop talking to him. Listening to him just gives him the chance to manipulate you and makes it harder for you to heal. Also, “we will get through this?” WE? WE didn’t cheat. The fucking nerve of him, acting like this a a mutual goal that you both have to work for! Just tell him you need more space and that he has to go for a bit.

      Secondly, go back to the lawyer and re-start the divorce work. Don’t tell him you’re going it, just do it. He can find out when he’s served.

      Thirdly, accept that it will suck but it’s necessary and you will recover.

  • I feel your pain Esthellar. How much more do I need to see before enough is enough? I don’t have any physical proof of the cheating, the ones I had years ago I destroyed thinking it would only depressed me more to keep it around.

  • Just wanted to point out that is the better one to use. is much more scammy. 🙂

    • SB, true, there are many scam websites on the Internet offering “free” credit reports. Do not use Google search to find the right site. Scammers use similar url names and copy the credit bureau logos for their sites so it’s hard to tell which one is legitimate.

      Instead, go straight to the Federal Trade Commission’s government site to get the correct link:

  • Hey what if you own property together? Both houses have both names and one loan has both our names. if it were just cash it’d be easy to split.

    • Mirad – I am in the same situation. We own 2 houses, but only one mortgage with both our names on them. You need to get an appraisal done for both properties. Figure out how much they are worth less the mortgage. If one house is worth less, than whoever moves to the ‘cheaper’ home needs to be bought out from the party receiving the more expensive home – assuming the debt covers the amount of equity in the ‘more expensive’ home

      • Thanks Lady Strange. One house is in another state, so neither of us can really move their unless my husband returns to his old job. I need to extricate myself from our financial ties. At least we don’t have kids.

  • Hi
    I just divorced my cheating husband of 20 plus years. I did exactly as this advice. I went no contact, hired a really good make attorney, took him to court and hurt him where it hurts the most. Financially. I had enough of his lies and betrayals. He is a cop and has an affair with a young female cop. Now his child hates him. He destroyed everything. Whores come and go but family is for ever. He just lost it all. As for me, my life is good now. She can have him. Please who wants someone who is capable of doing such harm to his family. He is a coward and a loser. Thank you, little minion for being my replacement. You saved my life. It’s peaceful and sane now and the best of it. He has to pay alimony for the rest of my life.

    • Kaya – you seem to be in a better place. I can relate to your situation (20+ years of marriage). I can only hope my attorney is as good as yours and am able to recover (financially) what he has stolen from me. Although I can never recover (emotionally) the pain he has caused. I’m happy for you and am glad you are able to move on!

  • My Gay husband met a man on Craig’s list and viewing gay porn for years. married 25 years; house paid for; I was a home maker and home schooled our two daughters for 9 years. in my case (the gay thing) would it be better to have a female attorney or does it matter. I sub teach and make about $5,000 per year. He makes $52,000. My heart is shattered but it has been a while now and I feel stronger and realize it is time. We live separately in the house. Any thoughts?

  • May 2012 Chump Lady:

    There are so many good people in the Chump Lady archives. To anyone reading this email, Chump Nation needs you.

    Could you spare a few minutes to help drum up support for Tracy’s new book? Go to this post and see if you have anything to add.

    If nothing else, could you come over to the forum, start a thread, and give us new Chumps an update on your Gain a Life goings-on?

  • I have worked in law offices. Chumps, depending on the size of your city/town/area, go to the top three divorce attorney offices for an ‘initial consultation’ – some of those will be free and some will not. You do this even if you cannot afford those attorneys. What you are really doing it creating a conflict of interest for those law firms so your Cheating Ex cannot use them. It was one of the best things I learned while working and saw it used several times against Chumps who ended up with less than the best representation or who had to go out of the area to get a decent lawyer because the Cheating Ex did this. Let me tell you an attorney that is not from the area will fare far less than those that are from the area. The legal system is a ‘good old boy’ fraternity. Hope this helps at least one person.

    • Yup. Always shop around for the lawyer. You get a good feel for who you like best, and you hamstring the other side – it’s win-win!

  • Now it’s my turn .my wife is a a ceriel cheater and a sex addict ..talked to a lawyer today and was going to wave it in her face …glad I read your post first .changed my mind …keeping my cards close

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