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Dear Chump Lady, What do I do about the RAGE?

Dear Chump Lady,

Hi. My name is Brian, I have visited your site a few times and I have noticed that most of your readings are directed at women. I would like to know if you have anything to help me out. This is my story:

About 4 months ago my wife and I were in bed having a conversation about the night before. She said that she just couldn’t hold it in any more, and told me that she cheated on me with my best friend last night. I was devastated, and in shock — so much so that I couldn’t even get mad. We stayed up that night talking about it and I sat there and listened to all of her justifications about why she did it and so on. Her justification was that for the entire time that we were married she always knew about the girls that I had been with before we were married and how I was her first and how she never got to experience that.

The whole time all I could think about during this conversation was how I was going to save my marriage and what I needed to do to stay around my son. Anyway we came to an agreement that we would do an open marriage of sorts. She would have her boyfriend I would have my girlfriend, but it turns out she wanted to have her cake and eat it too. For about 2 1/2 months I dealt with seeing them together, knowing about the infidelity going on, so I started to push about me getting a girlfriend. Well, all it did was create problems and arguments. So i started to do my own thing, trying to make her see that she was going to lose me and all that did was cause even more arguments. One bad enough to pull a knife on me. After that I demanded that all of this stop and told them what it was doing to me and how it made me feel. By this point I started to realize that it wasn’t going to stop, so I went ahead and filed for divorce.

So now when visitation weekends are over, I have to go over to her place and see him there. I know that man is there around my son trying to be a father figure and role model, playing with him. It makes my blood boil so much to pull up to her house for whatever reason and see him there playing with my son, as if them having an affair together wasn’t wrong. I am trying soooo hard not to do something stupid, like following any one of the fantasies going through my head where he ends up 6 feet under.  I need some sort of advice to help me cope with the rage that is continuing to build. Please don’t say I need to see a therapist or anything like that, because I am seeing one and it isn’t helping. I just need some advise to help me cope with my son being around a man of his morality. I need help, please.


Dear Brian,

That’s quite a shit sandwich you’ve been presented there with, my friend. No wonder you’re FURIOUS. I would be too. I’m not going to tell you to not see a therapist. But I would suggest you stop seeing THAT therapist if she/he isn’t helping. This is some serious shit and you need qualified help, not some Leo Buscaglia quack with a beard and a turtleneck who wants you to hug it out. You need the company of people who GET it — who have walked in your shoes and lived this, unlike your shrink. In particular you need the BTDT from some men who have survived this — I’m sure some of the guys here will weigh in, Brian. For a larger crowd, check out and the infidelity section there. Surviving Infidelity is okay if you’re clear that it is pro-reconciliation (fuck that noise), but I hear the Just for Men thread is very helpful.

Not passing the buck here, I just want you to have the 24/7 support from people who get it. When you feel the rage, you need someone to talk you off the ledge who is there ASAP and not charging you $150 for 45 minutes. I’ve got a great community here, but the forum isn’t up yet (ALMOST there), so find an online community of guys to help you now too. AND us here, Welcome!

You’re grieving Brian. You’re going to whiplash through all the stages — bargaining, denial, and yeah, ANGER. What you’re dealing with is totally overwhelming, plus you’ve got a double betrayal going on — her and your former best friend. The very best thing you can do is put as much distance there as possible. Only talk with her via email or text — something that can be documented. You said you go by the house for “whatever reason” — don’t do that. It’s not helping with the no contact, which is essential for healing. Only pick up your son on your custodial time and think about doing the exchange in some neutral place. Being around them fills you with rage? DON’T BE AROUND THEM.

I’m not going to tell you your rage is shameful or wrong. You’re dealing with betrayal and a horrible injustice. You’ve violently been jolted out of one life you were  building around, with a child, and thrust into a new life you didn’t ask for. But you need to focus your rage, let it propel you forward into that new life. Channel it. Go punch it out at the gym. Do sit ups until you want to puke. Run laps. Use that energy to make a plan for that new life, make that ex-wife-free life an awesome thing, something beautiful to share with your son.

Do NOT let the rage destroy you. Don’t let it fuck up your young life. Don’t let that idiot ex-wife and her affair partner provoke you.  This is a very volatile situation if she pulled a knife on you — did you call the cops? You have a small child — you need to be VERY careful she doesn’t accuse you of physical abuse or you don’t actually act out your rage on him or her. You’d be throwing everything away. You’ve got to stay strong for your son, and put him first.

Read more of the articles here, Brian, and the stories of fellow chumps. Lots of people are dealing with this same sort of grief. You only get to control YOU. That’s it. All you can do is throw yourself into the hard work of rebuilding your life and making the very most of the time you get with your son. Navigating this right will mean everything to your kid some day. Kids only need one sane parent, Brian, and you’re it. Your ex sounds like a chaotic child. You will move on, you will heal from this nightmare, and you will have a loving partner worthy of you some day, if you want that. So FEEL the rage. Sob, kick, scream it out somewhere safe. It’s finite. I swear to God it doesn’t last.

I can tell you better days are ahead, and I’m sure you’d think I’m throwing you a line. How could you believe such a thing, when you’re world has been shattered and that asshole gets to play daddy to your little boy? No one can replace you in his heart. NO ONE. You are his father and that will never, ever change.

Lean on the people who love you now. Lean on the chumps of the world online who have lived this and gotten to the other side with their souls intact. They’re out there, and they’ll listen. The rage goes away, and then there is sadness and grief, but that’s finite too. Your new life will eclipse your old life. It takes time, but it’s always a better life when you chuck a partner who would lie, cheat, and disrespect you.

Big ((((HUGS))) Brian.

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  • Brian

    I feel your pain, brother. I recently finalized a divorce brought about because my ex slept with a mutual friend. Did I mention I work with this scumbag? Yep. Get to look at his smug face every day. So, yea, I’ve been there. Plenty of mental anguish and effort spent imagining what I’d say to him (we work in different departments, so other than passing in the hallway, I can largely avoid him), what it’d be like to throw a punch, etc.

    But you know what that would accomplish? Absolutely nothing. It’d bring you down to their level, and even worse, could affect your relationship (emotionally and legally) with your son. A child is precious, Brian. Next time you’re thinking of going off, and god knows you’re due some justice, think of your son. Never being able to see him again, explaining why dad spent a night or two in jail. Does that make your ex and OM pay? Does it teach em a lesson or diminish the pain. Not one iota.

    I’m there right now. Everyday is a struggle to find positivity and the will to rebuild my life. But from what I’ve read here, it’s worth it and it gets better. Spending time dwelling on her actions does nothing but waste precious energy. Don’t give them the time of day, sir. You got screwed and nothing can undo that. But what you can do now is transfer that energy into moving on.

    My ex had the nerve to tell me she would have viewed my cheating on her as a, “wake-up call.” Turns out she was right; it’s high time I find someone who loves me the same way I do them, ferociously and loyally. Now it’s up to you to do the same.

    Good luck.

    • Ferociously and loyally. Spot on. STBX had that from me and pissed on it. Now someone else will eventually get that from me…and i will get it in return.

    • So sorry Sid. Great post by the way with some great advice. Love ferociously and loyally. Absolutely. Some people are too selfish/emotionally shallow to have that capacity to love. Cheaters fall into this category too. Creeps. All the best to you in rebuilding and stay strong.

    • Wow, you’re right it is a “wake up call”…for all of us. It’s time to waken up that we do deserve better than some person who needs attention 24-7, and it’s YOUR fault if they don’t get it. So they feel free and justified to get it from, where-ever and from whom-ever.

  • That totally sucks Brian.

    I promise, guy or girl really doesn’t apply to the rage scenario. Any female chump who tells you she never experienced any moments of blind, seeing-red rage is either lying to you or to herself.

    There are moments I still find myself wanting to rip my ex-husband’s nuts off through his throat.

    These moments are much rarer now than even just 4 or 5 months ago. One thing that helped me–eventually I realized my rage would pop up when *I* was minimizing & marginalizing my emotions. Andy was an easy place to put the blame, but I was the one taking the action (ignoring my emotions) that led to the consequence (blinding, barely breathe through it wrath).

    You are NOT alone in having this reaction. What was done to you was a betrayal of the most intimate kind–I would go so far as to say, it would not be healthy to experience no anger in response. No one has the right to betray their spouse with their closest trusted friend. And no one has the right to betray their closest trusted friend with their spouse.

    It sounds like watching this douche playing at living your life is part of what sets you off. So STOP instigating those experiences. There is nothing wrong with moving the placement transfer point to a public place–if there is a police station nearby, those locations are actually ideal. The police station half a block from my home actually has three or four couples that use it as such–some nights, we are a veritable parade of cars dropping off & picking up kids. One caveat : double check that a particular location is not identified in your divorce decree. If it is spelled out, you will need to get the decree modified with the court before conducting placement transfers in a new location.

    Unfortunately, you really can’t file police reports on events that occurred in your past. Believe me, if I was allowed to file reports retroactively, Andy would be doing 15 – 30 years hard labor. Pathological liar & sexual sadist. Broken bones exceed any sane person’s definition of sex.

    You’ve got a shit sandwich of the highest order. The good news is, you’re in good company. There’s a lot of us trying to swallow this excrement.

  • Brian,

    I’m coming at it from the female perspective, but I can assure you that the RAGE you are feeling is not only just, normal and -even – healthy in getting you through this. Believe me – anyone who’s been on this sight has felt the sweet lure of fantasies where the STBX and the OM/W are drawn and quartered, boiled alive, burnt along with their love nest to the ground or – my personal favorite – have one meet with a horribly disfiguring accident that then sets in motion the abandonment of the other, proving that the “soulmate love” they thought they’d found was shallow and false – but it would be too, too late. And that’s just from my fertile imagination in the early days. So you can have your revenge….but only in your head. Enjoy it, play it like a movie and escape reality for a few moments – then let it go.

    Because CL is totally correct on one thing – you can only control yourself. And sometimes I think that’s where the greatest rage springs from. You married and in the relationship you had influence over your wife. Call it partnering, listening to each other’s feelings or give/take – it’s still a form of control. Suddenly – all the influence you are so used to having – being assured that your wife would act and behave a certain way within the parameters of the relationship – all shot to hell. You’ve lost control of her. You’ve lost your influence. And that pisses you off almost as much as anything else – because she has control over your son – and now you don’t see how to protect him because she no longer responds to the old cues. It’s an insecure feeling – and insecurity fans the flame of rage – at least it did for me.

    So right now – start taking ownership of the control and influence you do have – over yourself and over your son as his father. I cannot overstate how valuable the “no contact” rule is. It’s a hard one – there’s a part of you that wants to know what the ex and the OM are doing – are they happy – are they not – that is a lot like picking a partially healed scab. It just tears off, bleeds and festers because you won’t leave it be. For your own sanity and the sake of your son….leave it be. Don’t pick at it. Because your boy needs you to be strong, sane and honest for him – he needs his dad – not a guy looking for a revenge that won’t satisfy no matter how good you think it might feel. Trust me – I know – I and everyone else on this site has been where you are. We all have our own little hellscapes – but we all have to walk the same healing path.

    Get a good therapist – even if you have to shop around a bit. And find a divorce support group in your area if available. Nothing can get you through the dark nights and tough days ahead like being able to talk to someone who’s experienced what you have. And they are out there -men and women chumps galore. We are legion!

    And remember- you can only control your own life- but don’t beat yourself to death if you aren’t up and ready to be gloriously single in 6 months, a year, three or five. Everyone goes through hell at their own pace. The key is to keep going!

    All the best – though you may not no it yet, you are better for being free of such a disrespectful, shallow damaged piece as her.

  • I just read the last 3 posts and CL reply and this is all good advice. You have every right to feel such rage but take it out on a punching bag. Find a different therapist if this one isn’t adressing your rage or is trying to tell you not to be angry. Don’t drink ( very negative feelings come from alcohol and it makes you stupid) I don’t think your letter said how long you have been divorced or how old your child is or how old your are. Life does get better but only if we allow it to. Hang in there and keep us posted.

  • Make every effort to not see the ex’s.

    You’ll feel worst when you’re depressed and feeling like you haven’t done anything good with your life. So figure out what you want to do and make plans and do it–short term goals and long-term goals alike. Give this some thought and some action. You’ll be too preoccupied with YOUR dreams to give two shits about those losers.

    Remember, love is not built upon lies and deception. What they have is exciting for a while–until it isn’t any more. Give them NO more excitement, nothing to work together against.

    NO LYING, CHEATING SCUMBAG POSER will EVER be your kid’s father. So, you stay classy. These are small deposits you’re making into a long-term payout–a relationship with your son built on HONOR AND TRUST. Never forget this. I predict your “friend” and the ex won’t last–and then the dude will split, gone from your boy’s life. I can’t imagine any man of any real substance being attracted to the drama queen your ex is, so don’t worry about being replaced EVER by whatever dude she’s currently with. Sure, it’s possible the two of them will have a relationship that drags on and on and on, but it will be just that to them both–a drag. Nothing to be envious of.

    No, what you now have the opportunity to have, thanks to being cut loose by your cheating ex, is a really great MATURE and mutually respectful and loving relationship. How does that sound? But first you have to pick yourself up and be the kind of guy YOU would want to date….er…something like that. YOU know what I mean. I refer you to the beginning of my post. Who are you, and what do you want to be and do with your life? That is for YOU to contemplate now. It really is a nice exercise. And since your ex has part custody of your son, that frees you up to pursue whatever it is that YOU want to do, whether it is to train to ascend Mt. Kilamanjaro, or take up salsa dancing, or study to be an accountant. Totally up to you. How exciting!

    Big Hugs from California, my friend.

  • Hi Brian,

    good riddance is what I say! As for your son being around him all the time. My money is on that this fling ain’t gonna go on too much longer. Its all just fantasy and dumbfuckery. But it won’t last. Wait until real life intervenes. Lying, cheating, knife-pulling types can’t handle it– so sit tight, knowing that one day they will most likely implode.

    Look. If you burn a pot of rice and then dump it because its inedible and don’t figure out WHY you burnt it and then just start to make another pot of rice… what do you think is going to happen? I am referring to her, not you. Her excuse is nothing but laughably stoooopid and it sounds like she had actually been schtooping him for a while. But what does it matter? She’s a lousy mother and an even a lousier wife. She’s a lousy mother, cause she needs to hang with her dude when the son isn’t around. Its all fucked up.

    I hear you about the anger. I’ve been with my stbx for 26 years and we have two children who are now both of age. These were the years that I was waiting and waiting and waiting for… it would be just the two of us again and… guess what? It wasn’t JUST the two of us… why he has a whole fucking harem and he ain’t no Rudolph Valentino either. He’s just a self-destructive, passive-aggressive, narky, negative, selfish prick, but much of the time IS a nice guy and one helluva garbage dumper. But that isn’t a lover and a husband and life partner and it certainly isn’t the man I thought I had married!

    I am still in the thick of it and some days are good and some days I feel like someone amputated both of my legs and tied my hands behind my back. And on those days, ya know what I do? I cry and then I just veg— rest. Just lots and lots of rest.

    Take good care of you. Show your young son how a man is supposed to behave. Don’t tell him what a dumbshit idiot his mother is.

    Don’t worry. You won’t have to. He’ll find out for himself, soon enough.

    my best ~ Laurel

    ps: I certainly don’t take any pleasure in your pain, but it gives me hope every time I hear of a guy getting fucked over in this way that not ALL guys are douchebags!

  • Brian,
    First I want to say, I am so, so sorry you going through this severe pain and trauma. To be betrayed by your cake eater shit ex-wife and your disgusting, pig ex best friend, I can’t even imagine the overwhelming anger, hurt, devastation, amongst other feelings you are experiencing.
    You mentioned in your letter to Chump Lady that you pick up your son at their place of residence during your visitation time. I understand that typically the parent that does not have physical custody picks up the child/children. Please, by all means, wait in your car and DO NOT go inside the house to pick up your son. Have her bring him to you outside. Only her, not piece of shit other man. The pick up/drop off should only have minimal to no contact with these schmucks. If you feel these could escalate, bring a police escort with you. Never go inside for any reason. It only tears you apart and makes things completely unbearable for you. You and your son are too important to let anything jeopardize the relationship you have together. Brian, how old is your son? Nothing and NO ONE, NO MAN will EVER be more important to your son than you, Brian. YOU are his FATHER. And you are his role model, his go-to guy, his champion, and holds the title for the place in his heart. No other person can take that honor away from you.
    Going through something as horrible and severe as infidelity, my belief is it is very possible to experience post traumatic stress disorder. At this time, I beg you to do all you can to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically. And spiritually if that is important to you. Feel the feelings of sadness, anger, pain, grief, and loss. In a safe environment.
    I am approaching a year in a few more weeks since the first DDay. Brian, I have never had so much anger, sadness, and pain in my life. The first few months, I had PTSD. I was a zombie that lost 20-25lbs in two months. I was a walking skeleton. Size 0 clothing were hanging from my frame. I thought I was going to lose my mind as the wasband was still cake eating. I thought we were working toward a reconciliation, but no. Caught him twice more and finally last summer, I told him to fuck off and I left. I loved myself too much to be shit on and disrespected. My values were too important to me to compromise.
    And I had given up too much already. Enough was enough. It was my family and my friends that helped me through that god awful time when I had no strength to stand on my own. I am still experiencing pain, loss, anger, grief, and sadness. I am in the process of divorce. But the pain is more bearable now. And isn’t razor sharp as it was in the first few months. That gives me hope that it will only get better and easier. My life will go on.
    So what I am saying to you now Brian, is to lean hard, VERY hard on TRUSTED and LOYAL friends and your family. Talk with them. Let them help you back up and put you back on your feet. Take good care of yourself physically. Eat well. Exercise. Beat the shit out of a punching bag/speed bag. Run. Sleep if you can. Scream. Cry. Feel the feelings and work through them and with effort and time, I assure you the overwhelming rage will lessen in intensity and in frequency over time. Dump the crap therapist and get a good one. One that will tell you what need to hear, support your thinking process on things you are facing and will face during the emotional upheaval of infidelity and divorce. Someone that will help you get your bearings and find your grounding again.
    Brian what hobbies, interests do you have? Get back to you. What did you do for fun in your single, carefree days? Take time for that now. Or any new interests you might developed over the years. Spend time with your family. With good friends. They will fill your spirit and you will start to see glimpses of yourself that is not sucked up by this bloody hellhole. Maybe a smile. A laugh. A quick, carefree moment. And when hell is all-consuming, it is those small glimpses that give hope to a better life because you are on the road to one.
    Were you ever a church going guy? No better time than now to get spiritual nourishment.
    Any nurturing or stability you can hold onto right now, is vital when you are at a very low point. Hang in there Brian. All of us here understand the trauma infidelity brings. Glad you wrote in to Chump Lady. Great place to come to for support.

  • Brian,

    Male poster here.

    I’ll tell you what worked for me when I was breaking up with a cheating wife under similar circumstances, although it might sound a bit new-agie. When the rage wells up… several deep breaths, and recite your mantra, “I am better than this crap, this too will pass, I will rise above this.” Try and take a step back and not let the emotions run you, they are just transient thoughts running through your brain, they have no power over you. You will learn that it is actually a little self-indulgant to get all worked up with the anger. It’s good entertainment. Letting go of it is not nearly as entertaining, but is what you need for clarity. Work on letting go of it, over and over. It will come up a thousand times, let go of it a thousand and one.

    Second piece of advice, take a break from women for awhile. Work on yourself. Get strong. Nurture your relationship with your son. Getting involved with another women at this point will be total confusion. Really good women are very rare. Take your time. Choose wisely.

    • Good women are very rare? I know TONS of GREAT women! I know some crappy ones too, but I don’t think that great women are rare at all. I think that they are rare on lame dating sites, but hmmm… yes, it may not be EASY to find the great women, but they are out there. And I also don’t think that Brian isn’t already strong. I think he got gob-smacked, like we all did. And he DID take a break from women. He was married– for years! Sorry if I sound a bit snarky, and I don’t blame you for being down on women since the one you vowed to love and cherish for the rest of your life fucked you over, but we’re not all selfish twats. But I agree, that we all need to work on ourselves. My biggest issue is in wondering how I’m ever to dump this trainload of baggage I’ve been saddled with. I didn’t ask for it. Didn’t want it, but this is what was dumped in my lap.

      • Laurel,

        I was trying to warn Brian against a rebound relationship. In my case, my ex danced out of our marriage without a second thought, after a seven year relationship. She was having new relationship bliss with the new boyfriend. I was stuck by myself. I know how that feels, and it is very tempting to try and find consolation in another relationship right away, but that is usually a mistake. If it makes you feel any better Brian, my situation was even more f**ked up than yours. Super chump, that’s me.

        I appreciate your joke about being married as taking a break from women! If you only knew how much that resonates with a lot of men!! But I don’t want to get snarky either, although I think I just did.

        And yes, good women are rare. And yes, I know tons of great women too! However, I’m sure if that comment was made with reverse genders, it wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow with many people posting here. I’m trying to tell Brian to take his time and choose wisely, being newly single, some guys have a tendency to get distracted by something shiny. Lots of shiny ones out there, not many good ones. That was the point.

        Also, not to start a shit flinging contest, but statistics tell us that women cheat at very near the same rate as men. Who Knew! Google it. We seem to have the impression that infidelity is a mostly male phenomena. Not anymore, the ladies are catching up! They seem to be more skillful at it than men, however. So all of those GREAT women that you know, will cheat on Brian in a future relationship at very near the same rate as any man would cheat in a future relationship with any woman. Not that it is anything to be proud of, but another reason I would advise him to take his time, and wait for a good one. They are out there, your right.

        • Cheating women are certainly not ladies… They are tramps and should be called just that because of how they conduct themselves. The number of tramps is on the rise as more and more women seek validation of themselves through getting the attention of men and use men as trophies symbols. They seek validation outside of themselves. Ego kibbles. Blech!
          Being called a lady is something to be proud of as it means a woman conducts herself with grace and dignity. PS Ladies do drink beer, watch sports, swear, and might have a potty mouth from time to time, but a lady is a woman with strength of character, comfortable with the person she is, can stand on her own, gebtle in spirit, has the courage to be herself, guided by her morals and stands by them in all situations, and is also a loyal, generous, kind, thoughtful person. A lady is proud to be a good woman. True ladies are out there. As I am sure real gentlemen are too.

        • I would never sling anything at you, but hugs and kisses and I don’t doubt your statistics for one second! After all, who are all the men cheatin’ WITH??? And you are right… we’re pretty clever and good at figuring out little details and stuff.

          I guess what I was thinking is that ya never know… the “good one” just might be the woman he meets tomorrow in the check out line at the A&P. So, while I think that your advice is good, I’m saying, tread cautiously, but keep options open. And i daresay that all of us need to keep working on ourselves. That goes for everyone! Everyone has issues, but the first step is acknowledging them and then using that to gain insight towards growth. Doing nothing is still doing something, its just maybe not moving one forward, that’s all.

          and also… big lesson for me, but most fucktards DO tell on themselves in the early days, but we dismiss it. Don’t we?

          “oh, he was just having a bad day…”

          “everyone has their moments.”

          “I must’ve said something to set him off…”

          “oh, he’s just asserting himself. how evolved.” (EVOLVED?!?!? yes, from amoeba to crustacean!) ;]

          and we dismiss it because we are so smitten and this is not his USUAL… (yet, that is…) OR, like my stbx, he was in therapy THREE times a week. I thought, “oh, how enlightened!” NOT, “oh, how fucked up!” I couldn’t figure it out until I met his MOTHER. But that was two days before we got MARRIED. (she lived 5,000 miles away!) another hint. Son couldn’t get far enough away from her… but the reality is that he has her (may she rest in peace as she died last year) imperious, critical, negativity living with him no matter where he is! C’est la vie. He stopped therapy after we had son one and moved to the burbs and that was a big mistake. why, he needed it more than ever! (especially with our kids!)

          my marriage was 25 years (plus relationship years)…and I’m 57 now. I hope that I will feel well enough to have another relationship, one day, but if I wait too long, I might be dead already! lol

    • Range Rover,
      Like the breathing and mantra idea. Good advice!
      Agreed that all chumps should take a break from relationships or dating until they get their bearings, have done the inner work, moved on from the trauma and feel, “Meh!” toward an ex-spouse/partner. That takes effort and time. Well worth it to feel whole again before delving into anything new. It will only empower and strengthen you as a person. I am glad to take this time and use it to better myself as a person, as a parent, and be a good example for my child. My friendships have been strengthened, my relationships with my family have been too. Blessings to be found amongst the wreckage.
      I also agree that there are a lot of bad women (and men) out there. Yet, I also believe there are a lot of good women (and men) out there too. Well stated to take your time and choose wisely. I believe in surrounding yourself with good, like-minded people. It will strengthen the depth of your own character. And hopefully attract people of the same character, moral compass, and basically good peops. Good luck to you in rebuilding. Tough work. But not impossible. A good support system does wonders!!

  • Hey Brian,

    Like everyone said, this is a common emotion on the roller coaster. I’d like to add that what helped me a lot, was exercise. Jumping on that treadmill and running till I was exhausted. Just get all that negative energy out. You could even join a gym and take it all out on the punching bags. It feels great, and gets it all out in a positive way.

    It gets better.

  • Brian, etch CL’s words in your head,put them up as your screen saver on your comp your cell, put up a poster at your work station,even put up one in your bathroom.

    “all pain is finite “.

    What, now, seems to you like a lifetime misery, it will pass.

    One day you will look back and laugh at yourself for all the emotions, love, sadness, anger, rage,you invested in this person.

    Yes, rage is also an investment you are making .This stock is dead, uninvest, cut your losses and move on.

    This is coming from a person who once upon a time wanted to exterminate a serial cheater !!!!

    The rage that you feel will be there in future too, but now I give an imaginary kick to the X’s balls and laugh at the yelling I hear and I am back to my normal life.I have trained in kick boxing so it’s a hard debilitating kick I give with all the fury and rage inside me.

    I appreciate and totally get how much you love your son .It is so evident from all the compromises you tried to make to keep the family intact.But , please get healthy.Once we have children we owe our physical and mental wellness to them.

    The child did not ask to be born , we gave birth to him to enrich our lives.We owe the best care and nurture possible.And in your relationship you are the only one equipped and qualified to do it.So you have to be doubly loving , doubly sane and doubly emotionally healthy to do it.

    Please put his needs ahead of whatever emotional trauma you are going through.It will give you the strength to find a way out of this hell.



  • Brian,

    You now know just what those two are – selfish, fake, backstabbing garbage. Not people you want in your life. Be grateful that you found out what they are. Toxic. Minimize contact with them and focus on the people in your life who care about you and support you.

    Realize too that you couldn’t devise a better revenge than putting those two together. They won’t be any different with each other than they were with you. All you have to do is stand back and watch it all play out.

  • I think it helps, actually, to go back and revisit the whole relationship. Was she often entitled and did she often walk all over you? It’s ok to get mad about that, if it’s true. But it’s really important to understand why you put up with what you put up with. It may have been the noblest of intentions–like the fact that you DO honor marriage and family as supremely sacred. And/or, that you were afraid she was the best you could do, or that you hate to make people mad or disappointed in you, or you were afraid of failure. I hope you’re working through that in therapy. Also remember that, hey–you had the balls to call it when you did, so give yourself mad props for that, for having the strength to rip the bandaid off and bleed for a while, knowing that in the end, you’re going to be ok. That is tremendous, pal! RESPECTABLE. There was honor in trying to make it work, and respect and dignity in standing UP for yourself, and for rising above the filth that those two tried to stain your world with. Take the high road, come here to vent and get support, and trust yourself. You got this.

    • This is good advice for me right now, Stephanie. As I get angry I realize I’m angry for a whole lot of. things before the cheating, too, and I need to know why I put up with it to stop being so angry. Because all this anger is just killing me

  • Hi Brian, what really helped me finally dispel my revenge fantasies (apart from this blog and counseling) was a multiple-murder mystery by Agatha Christie. I know it sounds weird, but reading And Then There Were None — a super intense account of one murder after another, and what killing does to the murderer — really underscored for me that revenge of any type is not a good path to tread. Of course, minimal contact and the advice offered here by CL and other chumps is also essential…

    • Wow, haven’t though about that book in years. One of the few Agatha books I really loved years ago.

      Now, Brian, this all sucks and it sucks hard. Every single person here knows this and can completely sympathize. Your anger and rage are perfeclty normal but don’t let them run your life.

      Your STBX is an asshole and a selfish, self-entitled cow. Accept that. She will not turn back into the person you thought she was, most likely because, deep down, she was never that person. It’s a hard thing to face but the sooner you do that the better off you’ll be.

      Focus on your son. Try not to say shitty things about his mother. If you screw up, admit it, apologise, talk to him about why you screw up sometimes. It will ensure you have a good and open dialogue with him and it will show him that it’s ok to be human.

      It’s not easy, we all know this. Being crushed this way is appalling and yes, I get that there are days where we all go ‘what the fuck?’ because it’s incomprehensible to most of us that anyone could behave this way, never mind the person we loved and were building our lives with.

      Be strong, take care of yourself and take care of your kid. And go NC as much as possible with the cheaters. The less they deal with you the more they have to deal with one another. It won’t be pretty in the long run, I don’t think. Right now it’s all ‘we’re together and we are sooooo happy’. So be it. If they end up together and happy who cares. You will as well. Just take steps towards making that happen.

      And remember that you are not the sort of person who would do that to another so you’re already well ahead of the game.

  • Hi Brian
    We have a few things in common so ill just pass on what’s worked for me. You can take it or leave it. Some of it may work for you and some of it may not.

    Rage. Don’t store it up but please don’t compromise your relationship with your son.
    The most important person in all of this is you. Become selfish. Become James Bond. Fit, mentally alert and focus on protecting yourself. You’re not worth jack shit to your son if you’re not on top of yourself.
    Everything you do every minute of the day is about conditioning yourself. This is the biggest ugliest shit fight you will ever encounter. You can’t do it if you’re on the piss, not eating healthy food or getting enough sleep. It’s ok to pause. It’s ok to stop and think because making rash decisions can fuck you right up.
    Don’t worry, I’ve made every mistake. This is a imperfect science.
    I managed the rage with a number of strategies. I already went to boot camp but since d day boot camp had a new I impudence. Some mornings I began but couldn’t continue because I was emotionally fucked. Overall though I stayed fit. If I couldn’t train I walked.
    I surrounded myself with people that supported me. Anyone who didn’t got cut. No fights just put up a wall. I can remove the wall later as I become stronger.
    I wasted hours days weeks looking at web sites about reconciliation. 180 rule that I couldn’t adhere to.
    Trust me the only way to survive this is no contact. You cannot be your exes friend. Everything has to be in writing. If you talk she has the opportunity to draw you back n like a spider. Give her nothing. Every communication has to be business like. Don’t worrybthatim preaching because this took me months to et it right. It’s plain hard work.
    My lawyer told me we really should exchange kids at Maccas or Westfield shopping centres because there are cameras. She never comes into the house well hardly ever even though she still owns half of it. I respect her for that. I never go to her house.
    Trust me Brian no contact has got to be a big goal for you just like many of us. The thing is if your son is young it makes it really hard.
    It’s no where the same but my ex has the boyfriend atvhervplace 200 yards up the road every weekend. The boys will not go thereif he is there.
    I was paranoid about him taking my kids. He earns three times more and has no commitments other than groceries and work. I thought I’d lose my kids but everyone is right. He can’t replace you.
    The next most important person is your son. Just focus on his well being try and spend as much time as you can with him.
    As young kids I spent every moment with the boys and man has that paid off now. I obviously didn’t do it thinking I would be going through a divorce. You have a responsibility to protect your if the arsehole bf does obvious stuff that is out of line.
    You have a huge advantage. You are morally so far ahead, trust honesty , respect. His actions can’t be hidden or erased.
    If the one you have isn’t working dump it now. I went through two before I got a fantastic woman who has made such a difference. Together with things like all the wonderful people on CL from all walks of life from different countries who offer real time real life experience.

    Easy for me to say and I don’t practice it but I really try. Focus on now ,the present. Not the past. Not the future. That comes later.
    If you get pissed off. Sit down, plant both feet on the ground and breath deeply through mouth and nose. Just focus on the breathing.

    I never believed life would get better but trust me mate it does. I haven’t got a fuckin clue where ill be next year or in five years time. I used to think and dream about the family but that’s all gone now. The future will be different but fir now I’m just focused on today and thinking about sleeping well tonight. It’s 10.45 pm here.

    Good luck mate. Be selfish. You. Your son

  • Brian, I feel your pain.

    My Ex moved the OM into our shared house on her weeks with our sons, while they were both married, and put a lock on the master bedroom. When I found out, only my lack of keys kept me out of jail…..God was looking out for me that night.

    Listen to the advice dispensed here, it’s really good stuff.

    #1, NO CONTACT! Only the minimal amount in EMAIL form (written record) for child support purposes, anything else and she’s just trying to bait you into an argument….they FEED on that attention (even negative, they don’t care….it’s attention). Don’t be the “common enemy” that these two cheaters use to stay close.

    #2, Find as neutral swap area for picking up, or dropping off your son. You don’t need to see the “show” they put on for you about how happy, and in live they are (yes, it is just a show).

    #3 TRUST that they will not last! They will gut it out longer than they want, because they are trying desperately to show everyone they were entitled to cheat……so they will be miserable longer…….but they are both self serving narcissists……they deserve each other.

    #4 Be there for your son. Be the best person you are capable of being. Kids are smart, they know what is going on, and eventually he will choose what is best for him……namely YOU. If this means not drinking for a while, so be it. It is just another way to take back your life!

    #5 YES, there are sooooo many good women out there! You will be AMAZED!!!! But not too soon…… Let yourself catch up to what is happening and take a break. The right women is out there for you, and you will find her.

    You are not alone, and time is on your side. It gets better every passing week…..

    Good luck.

  • Just wanted to toss in my 2 cents worth, though Im not sure it’s worth that much. For me, alot of the rage has come from the feeling that I got stabbed in the back, fucked over and me the kids life/future shattered, while the STBX sails on with his OW into the sunset. Its add so much injustice to the mix, to feel like you are struggling just to get through the day and here the people that betrayed you are living happily ever after. But you know what? There is no payback for that, even if you could do whatever rage-filled fantasys of revenge with no repercussions – it wont make you hurt any less. Yes, its total bullshit that you are hurting so horribly while it seems your ex and her man-ho are doing great. Frankly, I think it sounds like the deserve each other. You my man, deserve a hell of alot better.

    You’ve gotten alot of great advice here, and I agree that you need to focus back on you and your life. I think that often times the ex’s and their AP’s work really hard to make sure that we see this super happy and perfect couple. Let them have their make believe world where they are perfect and to blame for nothing. The very best revenge you can get it so move on, and be happy. Living well, and letting go of caring if she’s happy or not, is a much sweeter revenge than letting the rage consume you.

  • One more thought. You KNOW what your ex is like, what she really is, and just how fucked up batshit crazy she can be. So wouldnt the best revenge you could ever get on your ex-friend be to let him have her? She’s sounds like punishment enough.

    • Angie,
      I think its natural for our imaginations to play mindfuck games with ourselves, but I can assure you that they are not living happily ever after… at least not the “ever after” part. That is extremely rare and even if they do, is it the kind of “happiness” any healthy person would want? its almost definitely not. and a lot of people are so good at putting on a great front.

      In the book, “After the Affair” it says something like 3% of all affair relationships are successful, but those people did a lot of hard work and their circumstances were the rare exception. (I do not believe in absolutes) Yes, cheating is ALWAYS wrong, but again, I know of one instance and its quite a story.

      I’m with you though… life was a lot easier with my wasband around.

      what I really need is a mule. ;]

  • Hi Brian,
    At one point, my XH said something to me that made me so angry, I actually saw WHITE. It was incredible. I realized as it was happening that I was experiencing true rage. It scared me, to tell you the truth. But it turned out to be pretty helpful to me. The next day, I called our counselor, told him what happened. I had looked up “rage” online and had found a list of 8 things things that can cause rage (I wish I could find that article, I just looked) and it was things like fear, lack of control, a feeling of injustice, powerlessness. I cant remember them all, but I had 7 of the 8. I told the counselor I never wanted to feel rage again and I was going ahead with the divorce. Rage helped me see I needed to get myself out and away from a person who would make me feel rage. If you know what I mean. Hang in there, Brian. And don’t go to that house anymore, get a neutral drop off/pick up point.

  • Brian PMed me to write:

    Hello this is Brian again, i just wanted to say i checked out the site and i read most of the replies. I just wanted to say Thank you so much for giving me some advise, and the replies have also helped me out too. Please tell them Thank you for the help if you can. It has been a few days and the rage has subsided a little and the next time i get enraged like that again, i am going to apply everyones advise and push myself forward, i see that i can get past now and learn to love again. Once again Thank you so much for the help!


  • Rage is normal and healthy.. If channelled healthily.

    I second CL… Find a new therapist. I found the most *amazing* one who was right there with me on the anger scale…. Having her acknowledge and empathize with my rage helped me get past it.

    Best of luck

  • Brian,

    Male poster here.

    Your rage is normal and healthy. Here’s the situation: You wife cheated on you. You have been displaced as father and husband. Some other man has muscled in and taken everything you have built. Your son is being raised by an adulterous wife and her scumbag boyfriend. He is being raised to love a man who is a scoundrel. He is being raised to think this situation is normal and healthy.

    In another age, your male friends would beat the living crap out of this guy. I would join them.

    OK let’s deal with the reality. What can you do to get more time with you son? Why is SHE living the marital home? Why didn’t SHE leave and you get full or, at least 50/50 custody of your son? In the end, your ex is not worth worrying about. It’s your son that matters. Can you swing 50/50 custody?

    Regarding the RAGE. Go to the gym. Better yet, take a martial art. Kick–boxing, bad-ass Okinawan Karate, Boxing. Hit a bag. This will discipline your rage into body control and build your strength/confidence. Be the kind of brave warrior you son would want to emulate and look up to.


  • My wife upon hearing that I was considering divorce:

    W: “I always let you take the lead on big decisions.”

    Me: *stunned silence*

    What I wish I had said: “What about the decision to have sex with your trainer? I think I would have taken an altogether different route on that one.”

    Three weeks later and I’m still considering. I guess it takes time for a doormat to get up and dust itself off.

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