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Dear Chump Lady, Does he really love the OW?

cakemanDear Chump Lady:

I’m new to your site and like the no-nonsense approach of those who are here. I’ve been having trouble emotionally detaching from the SOB my husband has turned out to be. Intellectually I know that he sucks, but I can’t seem to walk away. I can’t believe how much crap I’ve taken. But part of me thinks he’s making the affair into much more than it is in an attempt to get me to leave him… and I’m not sure I want to give him the satisfaction. The gory details to illustrate his suckitude:

My husband was emotionally detached for the last year. His behavior became increasingly erratic over the summer — grilling me about when I’d be home vs. traveling for business, staying out until all hours under the guise of going to a movie with his friend, texting on his phone constantly. Yup, you guessed it, he confessed to an affair in September. But he lied about the affair partner, making up some bullshit story about an ex-firefighter who works at the food court in the mall whom he met on facebook (!). Within 48 hours, I discovered that in reality the affair partner was a mutual acquaintance who is married to his childhood friend. He swore it was merely an emotional affair with some occasional kissing and groping (“nothing below the waist”), didn’t know why he did it (except to state that he’s been unhappy and hates himself), and begged my forgiveness.

I calmly informed him that I believe affairs are a symptom of something else being wrong, and vowed to work with him to discover and remedy whatever that was as long as he break off the affair and work with me to repair our relationship. He did… at least initially. However, after a month he moved to his sister’s house to “get some space.” He stopped coming to counseling, only to return two weeks later. Some days he would be remorseful and romantic, other days he would be cold and distant. Finally, at Thanksgiving, the other woman started calling our house to harrass us. Her husband discovered the affair and she wanted to make sure that I knew about how she’d been screwing my spouse all over town… including in my own house. Apparently, the reason my husband moved out was so he could re-start the affair away from my watchful eyes. WTF?

She broke off the affair and my husband moved home in December. He was faced with the full range of my emotions: a barrage of questions, angry outbursts, quiet sobbing. He did seemed to be telling the truth finally and there was no sign of contact with the skank, but two nagging questions haunted me: (1) why did he start the affair again, and (2) did he really choose to be with me, or was a merely his default option? I couldn’t get an answer other than: “I have no feelings for her, but I thought you and I might not work out so I figured if I could keep the affair going at least I’d have that if we split up.” WTF?

I started relaxing over the holiday season and we were finding a new normal in our relationship. Obviously, things were different than before but I was beginning to trust again, slowly. My husband was showing tenderness and expressing regret for his actions. However, in mid-January, my husband moved out of the house while I was at an eye exam. When he wasn’t home for dinner, I called and he said (breezily), “Oh, I don’t live there any more.” He didn’t even leave a note! WTF?

A week later I lost my job. Two days after that, I was served with divorce papers. He claimed that because I was angry about the affair he just knew we’d never be able to reconcile. (Like I’m supposed to pretend it never happened?) He also accused me of forcing him to waste money on STD testing (yup, this amazing human specimen decided that condoms were unnecessary). Then he reversed course and started saying things like “I want you in my life forever,” “I will always come home to you,” and “I will never stop loving you.” The divorce papers were put on hold (he never filed with the court) so we can work together on getting me a new job. Again, WTF?

He started attending marriage counseling again, and this time actually did the work. He also seemed to be applying himself in sessions with an individual therapist from what I can tell. Over month of February, our relationship steadily improved. He started kissing me passionately, telling me how much he misses me, etc. I felt like we’d finally turned a corner and could see a future where he comes out of his fog and works to rebuild our relationship. Then, two weeks ago, he asked me to meet him for lunch. He announced that the other woman called to tell him she’s going to ask for a divorce. Isn’t that exciting? Now they can finally be together! He said he’s just been lying to himself this entire time — because the affair has lasted over a year it just has to be True Love! (But I guess our 25-year relationship doesn’t count as true love??) He invited her to move in with him since she “can’t afford an apartment.” Yet again, WTF?

My husband is being PLAYED by this woman. She’s never been out of state, is saddled with six kids she claims not to want, has never held a job, and has a HUGE inferiority complex. Her husband is an idiot manchild who refuses to parent their children, wears their 16-year-old son’s clothes in an attempt to look cool, carries health insurance only on himself (wife and kids are out of luck), and is so cheap he won’t let her have her own meal in restaurants (they share an appetizer). By contrast, my husband has traveled the world, wears nice suits and cufflinks, has no children, and loves nothing more than to splurge on 12-course tasting menus and bottles of fine wine. So of course the whore would prefer to be with my husband to escape the miserable life she’s created for herself. On the other hand, my husband seems to want to pretend that he’s James freakin’ Bond and whisk this woman off for hotel trysts, keep her on the edge of her seat with stories of the exotic world outside of our city, and play the big stud by throwing down serious cash on food and wine. He can’t see that she fucks for steak. (He even told me that not ONCE has she opened her eyes during sex. Closes them when the panties come off and doesn’t open them again until she’s fully clothed. If that doesn’t sound like someone who’s merely trying to endure it, I don’t know what does.)

So my piece of crap husband keeps running to the skank to reiterate his offer of a place to stay. She keeps saying that she won’t do anything until she has a divorce agreement because she doesn’t want to jeopardize child custody rights. I keep pointing out to him that she may have used him as an excuse to leave her marriage and may have no intention of spending time with him once it’s over. Even if she does run into his arms, it won’t last once the shiny new wears off and they have to deal with the reality of having a legitimate relationship… trying to figure out how to pay bills, etc. I believe that a lot of people who have affairs conflate the whole thing once they’ve gone sufficiently far to truly mess up their lives. If they simply messed up their lives (and the lives of others) for some piece of ass, that’s reprehensible. However, if they mess up lives because of True Love, surely that’s noble, right?

Tonight I had dinner with my husband to discuss some financial issues, and reminded him of all these things. He stated that he doesn’t know what will happen with this woman because she’s not committed to anything, but he hopes that things work out for them. He started saying truly hurtful things to me. (e.g., we’ve been dealing with infertility for 6 years and the problem seems to be on my end, so he casually said, “Maybe I’ll get her pregnant — how would you like that?”) After dinner, I got an email from THE WHORE apologizing for how she’s hurt me, then telling me that I need to stop bothering my husband because she will be moving into his apartment two days a week, they have planned a life together… and that my “ongoing attempts to salvage something that is already gone will only hurt him in the long run.” Once more, WTF?

Anyway, to get to my question: I know my husband is messed up and I can’t believe he’s really doing this out of LOVE. I wonder if he’s just trying to keep hurting me and hurting me until I push him out of my life so he doesn’t look like as much of an asshole. You know, so he can say about the break-up of our marriage: “it was mutual.” What do you think?

And, obviously, when you look at the list of crap he’s perpetrated on me, it’s clear that he sucks. I know I deserve better than this. So why can’t I just let go? Plus, why am I so damned fixated on the OW — he’s gone crazy so why should his stated reason for his behavior matter to me? Do I win the chump prize or what?

Suzanne

Dear Suzanne,

Who CARES if he thinks the break up is “mutual”? Seriously, he can think the break up is the Will of Zarathustra — why should it matter? What matters is that he is treating you APPALLINGLY and you’re sitting there taking it, explaining it for him, having dinner pointing your insights out to him, and getting nowhere. And all you so you don’t give him the “satisfaction” of a divorce? WTF? Suzanne — he’s left the building. Assuming he was ever in it. He sounds like a flaming narcissist (international man of mystery and 12-course tasting menus?) You’re best rid of him.

You know what’s on his 12-course tasting menu? CAKE. Loads and loads of cake! You and the OW. The OW and you. You’re never going to lose this idiot whatever your marital status to him, because he adores centrality. He’ll shack up with the OW, and then he’ll be back kissing you passionately, complaining that the OW fucks with her eyes closed, and he misses you. Then he’ll get you and say the kind of cruel casual aside that NPDs excel at, like “I’ll get her pregnant, how would you like that?” to provoke a REACTION from you — anger, grief, sobbing, ooh! Or better yet a competition! “No! Get me pregnant too!” Because that rewards him with heaps of ego kibbles!

You can play this game of mindfuckery with him indefinitely, or you can lawyer up and leave him. I vote for leave him.

Why are you so fixated on the OW? It’s a common mistake. OWs are usually trainwrecks, and everyone’s a rubbernecker, but really she’s not the problem here and you know that. Your husband is the problem. She’s a wing nut with six poor kids. It’s easier to blame the OW as the aggressor than look at your husband’s culpability for allowing this person in your life. He doesn’t have boundaries, THAT is the problem. It could be her, the Miss February centerfold, or your cousin. He shouldn’t let her in, period. He should be faithful to you, whatever the provocation that he not be. I’m not saying she doesn’t suck, or that she’s blameless. I’m just saying she SHOULD be irrelevant. It’s your husband’s conduct that makes her relevant.

Why is it so hard to put the blame on him? Well, you love the idiot and she’s a stranger. That’s part of it. But the other part of it is that he’s a master mindfuck and a narcissist and you’ve probably got 25 years of experience of him not taking the blame for anything. Narcissists hate personality responsibility. It’s like Kryptonite to them. They shrivel and back off “Must. Not. Accept! Aiiiiigggggh!”

If you’ve lived with one of these characters, you devise all sorts of manners of coping with them. Like researching their behavior and explaining it to them over dinner. You do that, Suzanne. You need to read that Dr. George Simon interview posted here to the right. It’s got this great nugget about character disordered people — “It’s not that they don’t SEE — it’s that they DISAGREE.”

He knows what he’s doing. He knows it’s hurting you. He knows it’s hurting six innocent children and their father (who, btw, you don’t know jackshit about, only what he’s told you — which is probably lies. I’m sure the OW says something similar about you.) He DOESN’T CARE. He doesn’t AGREE that he should stop. You’re projecting your sense of right and wrong on to him. (Clearly, he must be mistaken about his motivations… I must elucidate him….) He gets it. He doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself.

So rid yourself of this horrible man. I’d start by gathering whatever evidence you have about the affair and handing it over to the father of the six kids, so he can use that in his custody fight. Then you should divorce your idiot husband, so he’s totally available to the OW. I think you’ll find he gets very ugly at that point. He doesn’t want a divorce, he wants CAKE. Fuck him. Divorce him. Then go no contact to cleanse your brain of his mindfuckery. Get some counseling to shore yourself up, turn all those insights in on yourself. And read up on personality disorders. I think you’ve been dealing with one. The cruelty of his “pick me” dance isn’t normal — he’s a practiced mind fucker. Good luck, Suzanne!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Does he really love the other woman?”

    Well, no, not in the way you or I or other Chumps understand it. As in, with his whole heart, wanting to give everything he has to the relationship, wanting to reciprocate for everything you give–and more, wanting to do whatever he can to help you achieve your goals and dreams, wanting to be his best self for you, to be worthy of your love. Of course (I’m sorry to say this), he likely never loved you this way, either. Or anyone else for that matter. Excepting himself. That guy? Oh yeah, he ***loves*** that guy. A lot.

    The root cause is this situation? Most cheaters lack the ability to love others. They don’t get it, or they think they get it and think it’s stupid and naïve. Beneath them. A losing proposition. Like a way of giving away the money in your wallet. A game for, well, chumps.

    Where most people have in their soul the idea of Loving Others, these folks tend to have the idea of Using Others. You were of use for a while, but your use to him decreased. OW became of more use because she gave more kibbles, or kibbles he valued more highly. Simple as that. He “loves” her only in the sense that he believes she is of more use to him right now. So, he may tell the OW he loves her. He may move in with her or even marry her. But that doesn’t change the guy’s essential makeup. He can’t love in a healthy way. He’ll just “love” OW in the same profoundly un-loving way that he did you. For a while. Until someone else catches his eye.

    Follow CL’s advice. Lawyer up, get out, and give all the OW’ husband all the affair info, along with a link to this site. You will have a tough slog of it for a while. Be glad you didn’t have a child with this self-loving asshat. But you will have a better life before you know it. And having that idiot gone will make room for someone better in your life, which will happen in due course, no doubt.

    • Nomar – perfectly said. Totally believe that they *think* they love something but they don’t really understand what deep, true love is. It’s like how Arnold Schwartzenegger (however the hell it’s spelled, who know who I’m talking about) still says he loves Maria Shriver. I believe that he honestly thinks he does. And even that he probably loves her as much as he is capable of loving another person. It’s just nowhere near as much as he loves himself or as much as she deserves to be loved. Because, seriously, no one deserves to be loved/misled like what these a-holes do to us. Grrr!

      • AE, you bring up an interesting point.

        It is true, someone like Arnold says that stupidity about still loving Maria. Right. But how is that possible? or these cheaters, who say they always loved their husbands or wives even while they were executing an affair (some of them even planning to leave their spouses).

        I typically sort of dismiss that. “No, you didn’t love your spouse.” because to me it seems impossible. And I think they don’t. I don’t think that Arnold really loves Maria at all.

        What I think these people really mean is something along the lines of: “I understand the “practical value” of this person. I.e. s/he is the mother/father of my child/children, so s/he has value for that reason and I appreciate the fact that I have a child with person. I have value for the fact that this person has (probably in the case of Maria S) strong political connections that I can benefit from….etc.

        I think these people who claim that they always loved their spouse are people who are not at all talking about love but rather are talking about relative value of the person to whom they are married.

        Whatever that is, it is NOT love. It is appreciation for what the spouse means/can do/provides to the cheater. Love should not be selfish like that. If these people REALLY loved their spouse or respected them, they would divorce them not cheat on them.

        • I know, but you don’t think that in their warped mind, they actually DO think that they love them? They might love them BECAUSE they are useful to them, but I still kinda think they believe they love them.

          I struggle with this a lot… like when my ex tries to manipulate me I often wonder whether he is PURPOSELY trying to manipulate me or if it is so innate in him he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it.

          I know it doesn’t matter, because it still results in manipulation, but sometimes I still wonder how their mind works…

        • Check out how they treat their friends too. Are they friends with someone through thick and thin, or are they friends with people who are useful and whom they “fall out of touch” with when the person ceases to be useful?

          • that’s funny, I have also recently rid myself of a (probable) narcissistic friend who almost completely disappeared on me during my divorce process… not sure if it’s because we wouldn’t be available as “couple friends” anymore or if it was just annoying to have to talk a lot about me for once. Or possible paranoia about her own marriage of course. Anyway…

            She did briefly reappear when it turned out one of her friends was cheating on her husband. So, I was apparently useful to talk to about that, get my point of view, etc., since I was the resident infidelity expert (lucky me!). Then she dropped off the map again after she got that bit of insight from me. I actually ended up writing her an email telling her about how I felt about her not being there for me etc., and her reaction was all about what a horrible person and friend she is and how this is the 3rd time she’s been dropped as a friend. I think there might have been a slight apology to me somewhere in there as well. hmmm…

            It worries me even more that that not only was I married to a narcissist, one of my best friends was one as well. But at least I’m now free of them both!

    • You are so right you described my ex perfectly ,he didnt really love me he used me and hes using the OW now after our divorce due to him cheating with her. AND AS U SAID they only care about their needs,they dont know how to love and or think its corny to love.they are selfish and care for only themsrlves.I got out and have found true love and feel it,truly feel it and its wonderful !

    • Omg excellent I so agree my ex Narc was a horrible piece of work also and I couldn’t agree more. He wants CAKE, not a divorce because they have to split all the assets. He just wants kibbles, fuck him!

  • Suzanne,

    Does it really matter whether he loves the OW or not?

    It is evident that he does not love you.

    This has sort of turned into a competition between you and the OW where your husband is the prize.

    Is he really?

    It doesn’t matter whether the OW is the town idiot or Miss USA, you are still fighting with her for a pile of shit.

    Try and analyze why you are doing this.Just so that she can’t have your husband?.you are willing to spend your lifetime being disrespected just so the OW can’t have him?

    Please gift wrap him and deliver him to the OW’s doorstep.that would be the best gift you could ever give yourself.

    • TRUTH!! And Suzanne – how did you get yourself so up the the lip in shit that you were discussing their sexual experiences (she closes her eyes?) That is just like driving a nail into your own head. STOP IT!!! You are NOT his mother, therapist, best bud or wing-gal. You are his WIFE of a quarter century who has done NOTHING wrong except hung around long enough that he decided you no longer were interesting to him. Fidelity, love and honor mean nothing to narcissists – it’s all about the “feel good in the here-and-now” – and if they don’t for whatever reason – they look for a situation or person who can make that happen for them. They are surface only people – like a veneer person – no depth of soul at all.

      GET A LAWYER – kick him out once and for all and STOP CONTACT! And above all – quit trying to reason with him – CL is spot on – they KNOW exactly what they are doing….and are totally okay with it. The ends (their “happy” state) justifies whatever means. He stopped giving a shit about you a loooooooooong time ago.

      You can do it – start living your life again without handicapping yourself with a flaming narcissist cheater. And a pretentious toadie to boot (12 course meals…..fine liquor……he’s a wannabe nobody with delusion of grandeur he’ll never achieve. He’s a boob.)

  • Suzanne, he is not being played, you and OW are. However, she deserves it. You do not. YOU were married to this slimeball. She is an accomplice to his disgusting trickery and vile behavior.
    It takes your emotions a bit longer to catch up on what you know intellectually. You need to work on logic now. You need a good support system. Serve that piece of shit divorce papers. How dare he disrespect you and betray you!!!!! Countless times too!!! And why? Because you allow him back in. Put your boundaries up and keep him out. For good. He will not change, Suzanne. He does not love the OW. He loves the ego strokes from the newness of this dysfunctional relationship. That will implode. You must do whatever it takes to protect yourself from these two idiots.

    • I agree 200% he doesn’t love the other woman it’s the ego strokes and mine was an ego maniac it just took me a long time to see it

  • Suzanne,

    This guy is a bit like my STBX in that he wants to play with both of you. He doesn’t really care if it works longterm with OW, he just wants to make sure he isn’t left alone.

    I’ll tell you a little story: at one point, when my kids were still freaking out about everything they asked their dad why he kept seeing OW when she was so young and not very good looking. His response was that he fucked everything up with me so he hates being alone and won’t be alone so he had to make it work with her.

    How’s that for a steaming pile of ‘are you fucking kidding me’? This is narcissism personified. He doesn’t really care about her, deep down. His actions are based solely on making sure he gets what he wants. That’s not love.

    I agree with CL and others. These types of people don’t know how to love in a way that most people understand. For them it’s about them and that is it.

    Dump the dumb fuck, go through the pain and remember, OW will be left with that steaming pile of shit and you will be well shot of him. it’s going to suck for awhile but in the long run you’ll look back and wonder why you ever put up with one simgle bit of his horseshit.

    • My xh said something similar. When I ended the marriage, I did not know that he was cheating. However, when I discovered that he was living with someone three months later, I asked him how he could so soon and his response was; “Everything was all fucked up and I don’t want to talk about it.” Sounds like true love.

  • You are too focused on the other woman and trying to control your husband. That’s a nonstarter. Get help from a professional about why you want to do that so badly. You will stay stuck if you keep doing that. You may be able to manipulate him into staying married, but then what the hell kind of marriage would that be? I mean, would you really want a man who is with you only because you’ve manipulated him into it? And how would you maintain the level of control necessary to keep him on the straight and narrow.

    Look, the truth is what Sanity Regained said: He does not love you. Nor does he respect you. Why would you want a man like that? Just to have a man? Just so that the other woman does not have that man? Is the “win” so very important that it takes precedence over your own wellbeing?

    Is it impossible to imagine that he may really just not want to be married to you anymore? Just because you still want him, does not mean he still wants you. That sucks and it hurts, but why not try letting him go while maintaining your dignity? Because engaging in what you’re doing right now is (whether you know/acknowedge it or not) slowly erroding your self esteem. “winning” him is not going to make you feel as good as you think it will. Taking control of yourself and your situation, however, THAT is an esteem builder.

    Right now, based on what you’re describing in your post, the person who is making choices that are hurting you the most is YOU. By chosing to try to win this competition you are repeatedly putting yourself into situations where you are being hurt. It is your own fault at this point. You tried to give him a chance, he fucked that up (because he doesn’t want it, not really, and he doesn’t value you and your family anymore). He has shown you who he is. Believe him.

    Get away from him, get yourself into therapy and learn about the reasons why you’re willing to try to fix this situation and why you are more focused on the other woman and him and what they are doing/feeling/thinking so that you can fix it instead of focusing on your own emotional well being and safety.

    You’re making the relationship you imagine you have and want with this man who utterly disrespects you more important than the relationship you have with yourself. That’s really not good. Take control the way you can. Divorce him.

    His relationship with that other woman will not last, but he’s not with her because he wants a lasting relationship. He is with her because he doesn’t want his marriage anymore. He’s a mess. Let him self-destruct elsewhere.

    • Kristina – that is the best axiom anyone in our situations can live by – “He has shown you who he is. Believe him.” It is so hard to cut through the unicorns and cotton candy in our own heads – but the truth has to be faced before a chump can start living again. Perfectly put!

    • Agreed this was my problem also at the beginning I was fixated on the other woman but 19 months out of D day and finally I’m getting to “MEH”!

    • Agreed I love it he’s a mess exactly my ex husband was the same and slowly became a functioning alcoholic. I tried everything to save the marriage but he didn’t want it. I had to serve divorce papers at work because he had a restraining order on me at our family home to protect HER! I was just done and heartbroken! But you have to accept it!

  • Wow, Annie, you are a real nutter and, yes, a troll. I think it’s fair to say that every single thing you wrote is come combination of ignorant, cruel, arrogant, and illiterate.

    Stay away from this website, you blowhard moron. If you are a psychologist, I’m the King of England.

    • Okay, one thing you wrote is likely true. I ***believe*** that divorcing your husband is the best thing you could have done for him. Now please go slink back under the bridge you guard.

    • No, she’s a *musical* psychologist (according to her blog, which she conveniently left a link to). And yeah, Annie, go bang your triangle elsewhere. (Oh, hey, was that a Freudian slip?)

      Divorced as an OW would be my guess. Or troll. Or both.

      • Guys, I just deleted her post and blocked her. She’s a total nutter. Not only a troll, but her blog was psychotic word salad. So, step away from the crazy… back to helping Suzanne. If this makes me Despotic and Censoring Lord of the Manor, so be it. It’s my blog, Annie can fuck off.

        • Thank you Tracy. When a chump is in the early stages of severe grief.. It sends one into a tailspin. Suzanne, and others like her (and all of us at the beginning and wherever we are in healing) need positive support, the truth, and encouragement to leave a cheater. Thank you for blocking that insensitive ignoramus. You did the right and thing and best thing. Back to Suzanne and others that need encouragement, a laugh, and a shoulder.

          • Thanks. My house, my rules. What happens with trolls is the dynamic shifts away from the original poster to a tar baby, where everyone wants to kick the troll and get stuck kicking. Troll gets kibbles and kicks, which is what they live for.

            Have to admit, I had the same thought as others, that this was the OW stalking Suzanne. If you’re in Chicago Suzanne and the nutter has a blog. But I think it was a random weirdo. AnyWAY… back to Suzanne…

        • CL, you TYRANT! 😀

          That’s one of the beauties of the internet– how nice it is to be able to block people!

  • Sheesh Annie, that’s a bit much.

    I don’t think there is man hating involved here. What an incredible misread on your part.

    In spite of your trollishness, and the name calling and all the nonsense blaming of his wife for the fact that he cheated, you are right about one thing: She should let the guy go. There is nothing to be gained remaining in a situation with a guy like he is.

  • The special anti-feminist woman comes to share how special and wonderful and good she is.

    Not like those other sluts. Because you’re special. Like a snowflake.

  • I am laughing at the fact you stated you are a psychologist!!! And yes, you pulled a whole shitload out of your ass. Well done Annie!!! This is NOT a man hating site. Many great guys post here and are supportive and given that support as well. This is a leave a cheater, gain a life website.
    Suzanne’s husband is a dick for cheating and then playing both her and the other woman. However, it is up to her to put boundaries up to protect herself and move on from that asshat. Serve him divorce papers, like yesterday. How dare you, you pompous windbag, come on this site and attack a person looking for support when she is at her lowest point. You are a tool. So go bugger off and take your rude, heartless self back to school to get the proper credentials in proper positive psychology and social work. The only hater around here is you. Cheating happens in good and short term marriages also, not just long term, stale ones. Cheaters choose to cheat, not bad marriages. If his Suzanne was such a shit wife, HE should have filed for divorce, not cake eat. This is not Suzanne’s fault. It is his. And he still was boffing her and the OW. Pig. So sit down and shut up Annie. Your comment is ignorant and ridiculous.

  • Sorry, Annie. I don’t care if you hold twelve psychology degrees. The A was not Suzanne’s fault. That’s all on him. If her husband was that unhappy with the marriage, there were several other healthy, honest options available to him. Should she divorce him? Of course. Should she accept responsibility for his narcissism? I think not. I can’t imagine any decent psychologist would suggest that a one spouse is responsible for the other spouse’s personality traits. I’m pretty sure that most of us come to the marriage game with those traits in place.

    Furthermore, anyone who comes on a site like this and spews your brand of vitriol IS a troll. If you are a psychologist as you claim to be, you’re pretty unprofessional. Do you talk to your clients this way?

  • I think the husband somehow found out Suzanne posted here and that’s not Annie , that’s him.

    No reason whatsoever for anyone to be so vitriolic.

    All the signs are there..blame shifting, taking up for the OW, throwing the ” fertility” (6 children) of the OW in suzanne’s face, calling her barren,mindfuckery, taking on another persona( a divorced woman, to make the advocacy of divorce sound genuine), deriding her for staying, pushing her into asking for a divorce, abusing her, attacking her self esteem, goading her into action…ohh I can give thousand more such reasons.

    It’s all so evident and so crystal clear.

    Suzanne , this guy is worse than what you can ever imagine.I can now understand how he has held you in his clutches and played with you.

    He is toxic..please there is no way you can match up and younshouldnt even want to.

    Please know there is no point in wrestling with a pig…you getvall dirty and muddy and the pig enjoys it.

    Suzanne , run..please.

  • Suzanne–

    For your own sake, for the sake of your financial future, divorce the man pronto. Collect half (or more, if you’re not from a no-fault state) of the worth of your household, and split.

    Hate me, but I spend time at the mid-life crisis forums for people who don’t believe in divorce, and your story is ALL off the script of mid-life crisis. (I learned about MLC there and I believe in it, but I do not believe in staying married to a cheater, nor do I believe in engaging the cheater EVER except only barely as necessary, through e-mail or text.)

    Your husband is mentally unwell. You can expect him to spend as much of your family money as he can get, and that is why you need to legally protect your half. This is all very typical behavior. He, in my opinion, is headed for a deep depression and serious destruction–possibly getting that woman pregnant with a very unfortunate child.

    Your best bet is to stay away, for there is NOTHING AT ALL that you can do to put reason and rationality in his head. NOTHING you can do to change his course. Attempting to engage him, to coax him is an exercise in futility. All this behavior is like a drug to him–the ego kibbles and money and new sex, however lousy, is all very intoxicating for now.

    I agree with nomar–these people do not know how to love. It is very distressing to them, and so they insist that they DO love, and put on a big show to prove it. It’s NOT love. They have no value system by which to measure their “romantic” partners enough to love. They have strong feelings, and they act on bizarre feelings instead of on values. There is nothing deep. The affair partners are almost always shockingly appalling–they almost always make the husband feel like a hero. Except one look in the mirror or into our eyes will tell them they are most certainly far from it–so they run. In my ex’s case, this is true, as well–he took off with a jobless alcoholic, and crafted a fantasy personality for her. And, I have a theory that often there are qualities about the affair partner, in the men’s case, that remind them of their own mother. And yet, we, as the wives, are often placed against our will into a sexless caretaker-mother role by the husbands–“You stay here and take care of me and long for me and approve of me while I go off and play”–like a goddamned overgrown teenager. It is hurtful and disturbing.

    He is not well. And I don’t have a lot of hope that he ever will be well enough for you to admire and respect. And that is why I agree with CL–move on. Move on. It’s hard and it’s unbelievable, but he is hopelessly lost and you must move on, not waste your life on a hopeless case. He is NOT the man in your head–he is the “man” who cruelly disposed of you. As I said in a previous column, you may find, with a little bit of recollection, that he really was, in a lot of ways, not such a great guy for a very long time. He tried, but he found that the role of devoted husband didn’t fit him–he wasn’t really that into it–and so he quit trying to be decent. And, so, being with a loser is a more comfortable fit. But make no mistake, that is NOT love. And won’t he feel like a giant-ass chump when it finally dawns on him in the dark of one lonely night, if it hasn’t already. Even a realization is no guarantee that he will decide to be a man, however. As CL says–the idea of it is a bit like chasing unicorns.

    Hang in there. It gets a lot easier, but not until you let go. Let the OW think she “won.” He is no prize, nor is she. Let them roll around in each other’s filth. Let them enjoy their new life. They won’t. But don’t count on him ever returning to you as a happy and whole man. He may want to return for you to take care of him or to fight his battles for him. What flavor of shit sandwich do you want? Find another restaurant.

  • Suzanne – I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, but it sounds like you have much bigger problems than just his cheating. Your H sounds totally disordered, definitely NPD, almost bordering on psychopathic. Please get away from him. He didn’t start being cruel and abusive overnight. I think when you have put a safe distance between you and him, you will begin to see how long he has been fucking with your mind and soul. That was always his intention. Disordered people are masters of manipulation. You and OW are both being manipulated. Remember, you can’t reason with a rattlesnake – eventually you will get bit. It’s just what they do. Run! Protect yourself! Let OW have him. She won’t fare any better, trust me.

    • I agree… this abuse has been going on for a while. It is a common thread here, to talk about how insidious abuse really is, and how stealthily we are played. It took me several years of being away before I saw just what a mind fucker my x really was/is/will be. TRust us on this one, you will too, eventually.

      believe what he has shown you, that he is disordered and vengeful, manipulative and arrogant. Do you want that? He and the OW sound perfect for each other, let them eat cake together, while you go on to better things. It won’t be long before their cake turns into the shit sandwich it has always been. It is inevitable.

      • Very true. It’s the old ‘drop a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat’ analogy. That’s how it usually works and when you’re just about boiled to death they strike the final blow.

        Being over a year from dday it’s clear that STBX was pushing my boundaries slowly but steadily for years and because it was so careful and quiet and insidious I never really noticed.

        Now I see a lot of crap that went down that I should have said ‘fuck this’ to, or protested much more strongly. They’re a midnfuck, these narcs.

  • Suzanne, Oh WOW! You poor thing, you have endured WAY too much. I strongly advise you to exit this relationship FAST, and go no contact with him, and hire a really good divorce attorney.

    Here is what I see as the first order of analysis. 1) You want a child and have been enduring 6 years of fertility treatments. Yet, although you’ve been together for 25 years this man IS a child and has no capability of being the strong, steady type for a relationship to parent. He would be utterly CLUELESS as to the demands of what bringing a child into the world entails! A man that is into you and the attempt to get pregnant with you would be: 1) Saving money for fertility treatments, 2) talking about adoption or foster parenting if you are unable to get pregnant, 3) Spend time planning with you for the future with your yet to be determined status of parenthood.

    Women dream about parenting. Healthy future fathers dream and perhaps even start talking about college savings accounts, or building an addition on to your home for a nursery. Is ANY of this going on? I would guess that answer is NO. Okay- you now have your answer. Finally, despite the pain of what you have been through with infertility, your husband chose to put the screwdriver into your eye with the comment that “perhaps he’ll get the OW pregnant” WTF?

    Your husband is really messed up. Before you waste another minute spare your physical and mental health and end this craziness! You can get another job. You can start focusing on what YOU want– obviously being a parent is important. If you really want to be a parent, focus on individual counseling just for yourself ( forget couples counseling for a hopeless marriage-don’t waste another dime!) Next, get your finances in order and plan and discuss with your therapist if adoption as a single parent if parenting is REALLY important to you. If it is, then you will be embracing a child who wants and needs love from someone who loves them and will find that this grateful little human will actually give you love back-not headaches and heartache You have spent way too much energy and time on a FOOL of a man-cut him loose!

    Good Luck to you Suzanne. Go No Contact with your husband but Reach out to parents, friends that care and people who have your back- this fool of a husband does not! As CL says: leave a cheater, gain a life.

  • I gotta say Suzanne, that going no contact is about the hardest thing to do, but so absolutely necessary.
    You’ve got to get that worm out of your brain so you can begin to think clearly again. It is something like coming off of an addiction, your brain keeps dragging you back for a while until you’re clear of the substance that was fucking you up.

    • “You’ve got to get that worm out of your brain…”

      Great line! I am going to remember this the next time I am tempted to break no contact. Your advice to Suzanne is spot on – NC is very hard but necessary. I’m still struggling with this “addiction” myself. These NPD folks really do major harm. And they are so not worth it.

  • WOW! Some cheater husbands are just foolish and others are just balls-out narcissists.

    I think it’s PRETTY clear which category your husband falls into, Suzanne.

    All I can say is he doesn’t deserve one more second of your time. And let’s see if the International Man of Mystery can handle himself in divorce court.

    My advice to you is to get a nice, fat divorce settlement before OW bleeds him dry, because believe me, with 7 mouths to feed and 7 bodies to clothe (including her own), she’s going to do it!

    RUN! FILE! NOW!

  • Suzanne, one additional word of advice on the practical end. Get your divorce NOW while he’s still chasing rainbows with the OW. If he’s so keen to be with her, then get thee to a lawyer anon and ask for the moon. He’ll likely give you more while he’s “in love.” If things go south with the OW, and he’s expecting that you’ll be his backup plan, he might make it very hard for you to get divorced without first spending thousands of dollars on lawyers’ fees and lots of time on infinite court appearances. From what I’ve read about the experiences of others, divorcing them while they’re still distracted by the sparklies of their sidepiece will only benefit you financially, and you’ll likely be able to move on with your life a lot faster.

    So get a lawyer ASAP and save yourself. Don’t waste your life stuck in the middle of the cheaters’ drama.

    • He’ll try to take everything and make your life hell while doing it. And he’ll probably drag his heels on the divorce so that you’ll go nuts and then he can point out to all and sundry just how ‘crazy’ you are.

      Ignore all of it, get the divorce done and start healing. Let him wallow in his bullshit with OW and whatever supporters he can gather up.

  • Suzanne – My X said some really really nasty things to me all in the name of restoring his “integrity” – it was mind blowing for me – I so understand how in the moment you just can’t process it – I was like “DID YOU JUST SAY THAT TO ME????” one of the posters here (Kristina) said it to me way way back….. “step away from the crazy” I totally understand being overly focused on the OW but alas, its true, you have to focus on yourself now, its not easy, but, its the only way out. You can do this…. for sure for sure – I’m so sorry, I know how much it hurts.

  • Honey, Honey… you REALLY had me at he was with her, IN CASE THINGS DIDN’T WORK OUT BETWEEN YOU AND HIM.

    WTF indeed!!!

    Don’t need to reiterate the wonderful words and advice of the others, but just that these two are both highly disordered wing nuts and they DESERVE each other. (believe me when I tell you that its a match made in HELL!) I’m just so, so sorry that you are being subjected to this insanity.

  • Wow, Suzanne:
    I ready your story, and it just amazed me. It also made me angry. Being treated that way is just awful. The man you married 25 years ago is not the same person you are married to now. Whatever his psychological problems are [narcissim, misogyny (hatred of women), mid-life crisis] – those problems are not yours, and they are not your fault. I know right now you feel like a victim, and it is very difficult to find your strength when that happens. But, right now – that is what you need to focus on. You have to find your inner strength so that you can carve out a better life for yourself – WITHOUT HIM.
    This jerk does not love anyone or anything. He has no sense of self. He just feels entitled. He just wants, and wants his needs to be met. (Ego Kibbles are what he is after.) That is all he cares about. The person that fills that spot for him is irrelevant. Right now, it is the OW. But, she won’t be there for very long. He will replace her as soon as he has to actually give things to her in order to keep it going. And, I would bet that he does not want to be saddled with 6 kids that are not his either. As soon as they start costing him money, that will be the end of that.
    There is a book that may help you – Men Who Hate Women, And The Women Who Love Them (by Dr. Susan Forward) – Your husband sounds like a mysogynist. Is he controling and manipulative? Has he mostly made you feel that no matter what you did, it was never good enough? Does he verbally attack you and put you down by criticizing you regularly? No matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t please him? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells around him most of the time? Does he have an explosive temper – you never know what is going to set him off? Men like this take control by grinding the woman down, in an attempt to destroy her self- esteem. And, they never take responsibility for their actions. They always look to blame others for anything unpleasant that happens. And, I am sure you have been blamed by him for so much, am I right? But, his actions and his problems are not your fault.
    Please know this – you have the other half of your life to live. Life is too short. This guy doesn’t love you. You deserve so much better that this. He does not define you and he does not control you. Give yourself permission to take care of YOU. He is not going to. And, he is not going to change or miraculously become a better person. You are the only one that really can take care of you. Find the Suzanne inside you that you know and love. Take care of her. Protect her. Give her the love she desperately needs, and let her be free and happy!
    Best wishes to you for a happier life, Suzanne.
    Daisy

  • So unfair. I’m asleep while all the drama unfolds!

    Suzzanne just step back and away from that train smash. Your ex is trying to save her.

    You can’t save him. Look after yourself and try and disengage.. Meh

  • Man… Thanks, everyone, for the support — and especially for beating down that troll. This is the first time I’ve posted to this site and I’m having an especially tough week. It really did freak me out when I saw that response.

    I will tell you what: I’m finally mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more. I am going to meet with my attorney early next week and “unleash the hounds.”

    • Good for you, Suzanne. Hang in there and stay strong.

      It is definitely okay (and vital) that you think of yourself first right now.

    • Not to insult you intelligence, but I would really recommend not letting your Egomaniac H know about your meeting with a Lawyer. Let him be “surprised” by it, when the time comes, and as other people have alluded to, get things going while the bloom is on the rose with the cheaters…… It won’t take long for that mess to start to smell, and then he’ll be back….. Please don’t let him. Good luck to you.

      • Totally agree with surprise, guys like that go nuts when you try to leave, they can become physically abusive so be careful, listen to your intuition. also collect evidence and get a PI asap, and if he moved out that is desertion, but it resets if you let him stay at your house or have sex with him, so don’t.

      • Thanks, James, but this is my little secret. I did retain an attorney last month because of the summons my H sent, which he knows, but all of that went on the back burner because of my unemployment. I think actually filing will surprise him.

        Incidentally, I just received an email from him stating his terms: he will no longer continue working on house projects (in case we need to list it for sale), if and when he comes to the house there must be a third party present for his safety (!), he’s no longer going to attend marriage counseling because it “won’t help him move on,” and he is willing to provide money each month toward my household expenses (guess what — just 10%!).

        What a jerk. I hope I’m able to eviscerate him financially…

        • Be very careful Suzanne – this: “if and when he comes to the house there must be a third party present for his safety (!)”

          My husband concocted a story that I had anger management issues, and that I had abused him for YEARS!!!! He would change each episode of abuse around so that I was the one that did it to him. Therapists say he was “projecting”, I don’t believe he was that mentally ill, he knew what he was doing. He even tried to gaslight me into believing his insane stories. You know what that was about? He tried to get alimony from me, your spouse may be trying to ensure he doesn’t have to pay any to you…

    • Suzanne thank you for sharing your husband is a psycho like mine was! I thought my story was awful what you have endured is 1000 times worse than mine. My ex husband was screwing his girlfriends inside our family home and also not using protection. I was DONE! The first woman he’s screwed was a so called former drug addict, just disgusting and my son caught them and was the man to come and tell me. We were married 21 years and I thought I had the most amazing husband I was proud of his career and it was all LIES! I’m not slowly moving forward with my life, very difficult as I was a stay at home mother and didn’t have a high paying career to support myself. Although I know I deserve better and I will not tolerate cheating.

  • Yes, I got the divorce quick. While he was in looovvee and soooo eager to get out. He wasn’t thinking straight and just wanted to get into the rosy dosy life with the AP and at the same time in shock about what was happening. My lawyer advised me quickly make a settlement and make it happen, while he was in love and eager for the new life. And its the best thing I have ever done and I am forever gratefull to my lawyer and proud of myself for finding that strength. It helped me secure a future instead of loosing all I worked for! He went slowly but surely down the drain, financially. What else can happen with a Latina AP with fake tits..But that’s another story for another time. If I had waited a few months, I might not have been able to salvage anything. Suzanne, just for the practical stuff, pull yourself together, find a lawyer and get going! At all other occasions you can cry your heart out, but focus on getting this through! Lots of strength!

    • Hey cc…. my X and I were in Panama, and he had young prostitutes… you know the ones. I know EXACTLY who you’re talking about. And these stupid men think they are “in love”…..

      right.

      Great advice from your lawyer. Glad you got out, and did well.

  • Gee this is what I get for working I have no idea what Annie said and I don’t really think I missed anything. Suzanne I did read your letter really quick this AM and I thought I was reading part of my own life. 23 yrs married and my H decides he’s in love with an old girlfriend he rediscovered on face book. 23 yrs of putting him 1st and trying to make his life easier and better. Well I’ve been riding the cake eaters roller coaster for about 6 ms. now. I can tell you he may think he loves the OW but he is just likes feeling superior and she probably thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread. He’s going to rescue her ( and 6 kids pls) In my case I’m sure the OW is impressed that he has done as well as he has (finacially secure thanks to me) Anyway you and he can play this game back and forth forever but he sound even worse than my H (who told me he has broken up with the OW because he could’t stand to hear me crying anymore but that he still wants a divorce but doesn’t do anything about it) It is so hard to give up on a relationship you have had for so long. It is not the OW it’s him and shame on him for hurting you like this.

  • I’m not a mental health professional, but this story seems to me to cross over from the usual cheating husband story into mental illness, and perhaps beyond the scope of this blog. I’m not trying to make excuses for bad behavior, but this guy sounds like he has serious problems. I can’t tell you how to do it, but get him professional help if you can.

    • un unh….. that is his problem, not hers. At this point, the only person she needs to worry about is her. I went down that road, and it just leads to further fucked-up-ed-ness. She needs to run… not walk, to the nearest exit.

      Anything else would just be co-dependent.

  • Dear Suzanne,
    Been there, done that. YOu know what my bigger regret is almost two years later? Not having taken his dirty underpants packed them in a suitcase and dropping them off on the OWs doorstep. Your husband and mine sound like two peas in a pod and I did everything in my power to have him pick me to no avail. I also had an unhealthy fixation on the other woman and built her up in my mind to be Heidi Klum, miss america and beyonce rolled into one.
    Almost everyone of those two years was lived in misery. I did not find happiness (maybe not complete happiness, but laughter, friends, hope and most importantly regaining my sanity enough to be the parent my kids deserved) until i just stopped giving a fuck about him or her and started caring about myself.
    In the meantime, husband has lost the respect of many of his friends and family.
    And the OW, well, his friends have called her “greasy” “the fat girl” and “a disgusting person” There is also gossip that she had an affair with the owner of a local restaurant and apparently was always “all over him.”
    I am not sure whether they are still together or what their situation is but I do know that they deserve each other and I deserve a hell of alot more than someone that treated the mother of his three kids and the person who knew him when he had nothing like something you scrape off a shoe.
    I wish you the best. I promise you, in a year you will see things differently and find a quality of life you did not remember was possible.

  • Suzanne–Basically you’re trying to untangle the skein of fuckedupness, all while doing a bit of the “pick me” dance. As you realize, neither is helpful.

    Believe me that many of us look at our spouse and think that there’s some kind of underlying psychological crisis that has caused them to go off the deep end and then train wreck a marriage that’s lasted a decade or two or three. We can’t think that normal people will leave wives, husbands, kids on a whim. We look at the relationship we had–the one that lasted through the joys of watching our kids smile their first smile, through setting up our first home together, and through finding that first gray hair. How can our spouse call what s/he has with their AP “love”?

    Unfortunately, it’s not about us. It’s all about them.

    This goes for even those cheaters who are not pathological. At some level, they believe they’re entitled. And that means that they matter more than we do, than our kids do.

    This is a huge shit sandwich for us to eat. After all, if they’d let us know that they were unhappy, we’d have been willing to work together to make the marriage a good place for everyone. But instead of trusting us, they went behind our backs to screw around with some other person. This is hugely selfish, and shows just how much they’ve broken their trust.

    What you’re feeling now is the denial stage of grief, with a bit of incipient anger.

    Take steps to make yourself the captain of your destiny. First, talk with your attorney, but make sure your attorney is either certified to practice family law or handles family law on a regular basis. The former is better, but the latter is often cheaper. My lawyer gave me the names of other attorneys in town who weren’t family law specialists, but who knew family law well enough to, in her words, “pass the boards if they ever decided they wanted to do so.” They were cheaper than she was.

    Also, go to a Divorce Financial Analyst. Regardless of what your STBXH says, if you live in a no-fault state, the courts will have clear ideas of how to divide marital assets. The DFA will be able to guide the equal distribution in such a way that your future will be better in the long term. If you have access to bank accounts, past records, etc.–all that will be useful. Also, if STBXH is spending money on vacations with OW while married, well, the courts don’t like that. That’s money that has been effectively stolen from marital assets. The courts won’t look at $250, but if it’s $2500, well, that’s another matter.

    Then get some therapy for yourself. Don’t waste it on your STBXH. He doesn’t want to go, and you can’t make him–just as you can’t make him want to be married to you, much as that hurts. Instead, use that therapy to heal yourself.

    All of this sucks, but the fact of the matter is that you can live through it, heal, and go on to live a good life, perhaps finding someone who will care for you in the way that you deserve.

    Your STBXH, on the other hand, will likely be desperately unhappy because he’s chosen the worse path. He has opted to chase rainbows and unicorns. You can’t stop him from doing this, but you can stop yourself from chasing after him.

  • Hi all,

    I can confirm the troll is a random, with no relation Suzanne’s situation. If you read deep enough into her blog, you’ll learn she’s not a psychologist yet, just training to become one. She’s also a recovering alcoholic and addict diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Don’t take any of it personally, Suzanne. Nothing she wrote is truly directed at you. The entire rant is just a major projection of all her own issues.

    Good luck and God bless!

  • The unfortunate part of all this is that you have been unwillingly dragged (over and over again) into his fantasy world. He does not love you or he would not treat you like this. We have probably all dealt with the emotions of trying to reconcile the person we married with the person they became. Infidelity does that.
    Most of us will never know what happened and frankly, if I found out now, I don’t think I would believe it. I was lead to believe it was nothing, that I was crazy and jealous, and then that it was all my fault that the OW’s husband left her. (She was a serial cheater btw…3 marriages.) To this day, STBXH swears that he never had an affair. I have proof otherwise; he can believe whatever he wants in ‘his’ fantasy world.
    All I know is that the life and future I thought I had was ripped out from under me. I saw it happening and was powerless to do anything about it. It is his loss. I am too busy picking up the pieces of my life and trying to hold my kids together to worry about him anymore. I finally found a counselor that is teaching me to truly detach from a wicked situation.
    Best of luck to us all. Live well and don’t look back!

  • Jeez – thanks everyone for your comments. By way of an update, let me say that my husband send me an email (obviously written by her) telling me that he will no longer communicate with me unless it’s through email and he will not consent to see me in person until such time as I accelerate divorce proceedings… and only then with a third party present to ensure his safety (!). Apparently, the whore moved in with him today and promptly overhauled his facebook page, including somehow setting it up so that I can only see his profile picture (no content). Classy.

    I will spend tomorrow preparing for my Monday atty meeting so I have everything in place to make his life a living hell.

  • I’m new here but have read a bit. Struggling, but some really great material here. He doesn’t want a divorce and is willing to do anything. I’m just…not, I guess. This is a great site. Just maybe too fresh to say much.

  • Thank you, thank you Chump Lady and all your hilarious commentators . I am reading this in Ireland and laughing my head off. Tears rolling down my cheeks (the good kind) after a day obsessing and crying over my ex -husband and the woman he cheated with who keeps appearing in my vicinity.

    We have our share of cheatin’ bastards here too. I absolutely love this blog. XX

  • You need a good lawyer. It’s not my field, but I think his strange behavior could be about money. He wanted a divorce until you lost your job, then he tried to reconcile and put things on hold until you got a job. Why? Well in many places, he could end up paying alimony. If you have no job, he has to pay more. And his cheating partner is an at-home mom with six kids – she is not going to stick with him if he pays you what you deserve.

    Anyhow I hope it’s not too late to get tough in court with a good lawyer.

  • Just a note on this topic of ‘do they really love …?’

    For a long time I put up w/the ex’s narcissistic ridiculousness, because I thought that at some level he did really love me and our kids. Low capacity for empathy (you had to be in tears right in front of him, at a moment when he could cope, for him to ‘get’ any sadness or hurt), unbelievably fucked-up FOO, so few communications skills, little understanding of how a healthy relationship might work, but he did love us (and sometimes could show that pretty well!), and was fundamentally an honest person (despite affair #1, 7 ys into the relationship). I kept fighting for our relationship, because it seemed ridiculous that two people who loved each other couldn’t make a marriage work.

    Then comes affair #2. Unlike #1, it occurred at a moment when our marriage was going better than it had in a long time. But the narc was working out of town 4 days a week, lonely, horny and stressed. Only one solution for that, apparently!

    Over the past year and a half, since I found out about affair #2 (only took me a few weeks after it started, he’s a pretty bad liar), he has turned his back on me and the kids, lived his ‘bachelor’ life, alienated the kids, then realized to some extent at least what he’s lost, and tried twice to get back together w/me.

    What I finally figured out is twofold;

    a) he doesn’t love ANYBODY as we understand that. He experiences what I think of a half the coin of love (you know, the kind of coin that has two sides!). He loves what he can GET, from me, the OW, the kids. He has none of the loving what he can GIVE. Chumps have coins w/both sides, sometimes even weighted too heavily towards the giving side. These people’s coins are very thin, and blank on the back.

    b) it doesn’t matter whether he loves or not, or how, or why or who. What matters is how he consistently behaves. Do I want to live in the kind of relationship he has w/me, the same kind he has w/others? And do I want my kids to grow up watching that kind of relationship, thinking that’s normal? And the answer to that one is really quite clear.

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