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Dear Chump Lady, Happy Father’s Day. Or else.

Dear Chump Lady,

I am new to your blog, and I can’t tell you how happy I am to have found it. I have been married for 34 years, and have three intelligent, gorgeous daughters all in their 20s. They were devastated when the truth came out about the asshole they have for a dad. Deep grief over not being the fun, close, intact family admired by all. I filed with their support.

Now STBXH is texting them like a teenager (often) and telling them he wants me back, and he’s so sorry, and he wants our family together again. Said he made a mistake. (Like he got a traffic ticket.) But the truth is he’s been cheating on me for 34 years…that came out in a counseling session. As a mom, I want to make things right for my kids, and what’s more right than to provide your kids with an intact family? I know how fucked up that sounds, but is being divorced and your kids going through life saying “my parents are divorced” really better than living under the same roof with a liar and cheater? I’m growing weak. Make me stronger, please!

I am just having a bad night tonight.  Father’s Day is the first holiday. The girls are going to see him briefly, and I get it, but I can’t stand it. How can they see him, knowing what they know? I have been super strong so far, but this is slaying me. STBXH is telling the girls that he really needs them now. That hearing their voices keeps him from doing something dumb…that the book he is reading has changed his life and he sees his mistakes now….he just needs another chance. All lies and manipulation. When they stopped working on me, he came after the girls.

One one hand, the kids see through it, but on the other hand, they want it all to be true. And really, sometimes like tonight, so do I.  I just left a restaurant with six couples and me. It sucks to be out, and it sucks to come home to no one. Did I mention I’ve been married for 34 years??

But I know I could never, ever trust him. With the cheating also came a whole host of NPD problems too.  How do I get over my kids still talking to him? He doesn’t deserve to see their beautiful faces or get a freaking card. He sucks as a father. How do I handle this now and forever?

Bad night.  

Patty

Dear Patty,

Okay. Take him back. Live the lie. Be that “fun, close, intact family admired by all.” Accept his 34 years of infidelities and accept that he’s not going to be faithful to you. Arrange an open marriage and use protection. Or resign yourself to a life of being the marriage police… and use protection. Oh wait. I left out unicorns. He read that book and after 34 years of serial cheating he gets it now. He’s going to be different. He really means it! That guy he was for 34 years? That’s not him. No, really he’s a guy transformed by a book! (Or maybe it was a chapter.) Anyway, it was a really, really transformative chapter and he’s all better.

Do you really believe that? Do your daughters believe it? If not, how’s THIS for a Father’s Day present —  “hearing their voices keeps him from doing something dumb.” WTF does that mean? Give him kibbles or he might off himself? Or does he mean dumb like, he’s going to tattoo “I’m a serial cheating douchebag” on his ass? (Tramp stamp!) Whatever, it sounds threatening. So if you don’t buy his bullshit (charm and “remorse”), he’ll resort to emotional blackmail. Oh THAT sounds healthy. Boy, who wouldn’t want to have Sunday bacon and eggs with that guy?

Let’s unpack this, shall we?

Fun. Was living with his “whole host of NPD problems” fun? Was learning of his infidelities fun? Was telling your daughters dad is a serial cheater fun? I mean, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you enjoy the play?

Close. He cheated for 34 years. Jimmy Carter was president 34 years ago. That’s quite a lifespan of infidelities. You have shared history, Patty. But how close are you? Do really love your life with him, or the idea of “intact family”? How are you going to square your marriage knowing that he betrayed you for 34 years? Do you want to live with those kind of mental gymnastics? You didn’t cheat on him for 34 years. That makes this pretty freaking lopsided. Are you okay with that?

Intact family admired by all. Bingo. You miss what you thought you had. Normalcy. Admiration. More than passing as normal, you were enviable. Top of the heap. Part of the better class of Intact Families who don’t wear the shame of divorce. You got reflected sparkles from your NPD. You were his front, his gorgeous family with the gorgeous, intelligent daughters. You belonged. How nice to be inside the circle of coupled people, instead of outside it with your nose pressed against the glass — divorced. To be pitied. To be the odd numbered person at the dinner.

I get it. It’s a loss. A loss of status. A loss of who you thought you were and your place in the firmament. What you thought your life was going to be, versus what it actually turned out to be (fraudulent). I’m not saying YOU are fraudulent. I’m sure you brought your A game, tried to be a good wife, and raise good kids. He’s fraudulent. And now you’re at a fork in the road. Now that you really know who he is and what he’s been up to for 34 years, you can either leave him, or you can join him in fraudulence. You can try hard to be fun, close, and “intact” — but you’ll do that with the knowledge of who he is. In my opinion, that’s got to feel pretty hollow. No, worse. I personally think it’s death by inches. Especially if he’s really NPD.

You know Patty, I had a friend who reconciled. This shit can be done. When I had DDay 1, I hid at her house and she tucked me into bed and made me tea. She was kind and compassionate, but — I won’t sugar coat it — she was also superior. She told me she was so glad her life was “normal.” She’s married to a guy who literally runs the Eagle Scouts. They’re both magazine spread attractive. Fast forward a few years. She gets an anonymous Facebook message that her husband has been cheating on her. Turns out it was for YEARS. As i was at her house falling apart over my failed marriage, Mr. Eagle Scout was out screwing his mistress.

She stayed for the “intact family.” Well, that and the fact at that juncture she had no college degree and had never had a full-time job. And I think the loss of status was the deciding factor. She as much as told me so. Why should she suffer for what he did? Why should she lose her stay at home life and her pretty things?

At one point, when she was learning of the affair, she showed me an email he wrote to the mistress, joking about killing her. It was a video, of this bitchy blonde (who looked a lot like my friend), who was hectoring her husband about what he was going to get her for Christmas. When he takes her outside and hands her the keys to a brand new Mercedes. Overjoyed, she jumps in the car and turns the ignition. Then it blows up. Ha. Ha.

She reconciled with that guy. The guy who joked with his mistress about blowing her up. If her Facebook status of her adoring family is anything to go by, hey, she’s still enviable and intact. She also looks gaunt, emaciated, and has heart palpitations that she didn’t have before, but hey — her lifestyle is preserved.

Until, of course, it isn’t. As I pointed out to her, and will point out to you — he could up and leave her at any time. She can give him more years, those good attractive years she has left, and then he can dump her. Hide the money. Find someone younger. Just because you reconcile, doesn’t mean they won’t sample the cake elsewhere. You might not be sufficient kibbles. Don’t assume that you are.

As anyone who reads here knows, I am skeptical about reconciliation. But I do know, if you’re going to embark on it, you have to have something to work with — total transparency, honesty, sincere remorse, a generous postnup, shit loads of therapy — and IMO, a history that can be overcome. I don’t think 34 years of cheating is something I could overcome but I’m not you. Maybe you can. But you have to deal with these other factors and honestly assess — not HOPE — but truly assess if this person can give you these things, and if they’re worth the gamble.

So why don’t you try out exactly how sorry he is, if you really want him back. Sorry is as sorry DOES. Say to him, I want a divorce and I want you to make this right to me. We can talk about reconciliation after you give me my freedom and then I’ll let you win me back. But I want my security. Ask for a generous divorce settlement that leaves him something, but you most everything else.

Or tell him, you want a postnup (seeing as you’re still married) that is a property settlement with an infidelity clause — if he cheats, you get everything. Only HE controls if he cheats again, so if he’s sincere, he’s got nothing to lose, right?

Then see if he balks. See how exactly deep that remorse is. My guess is that he’s sorry, so long as it doesn’t cost him anything too dear, like his pension fund. What is he going to give you to make up for those 34 years other than a TEXT MESSAGE?

Next Patty — your kids aren’t toddlers. They’re young women in their 20s. It’s late to talk about staying together for the kids, because your kids have left home to start lives of their own. Marriages and children someday — family you absolutely can be a part of that doesn’t have to include him.

If they were in your shoes, would you want them to stay with a serial cheating husband? What do you want to model to your daughters?

He’s still their father. They’re entitled to a relationship with him, as galling as that is for you. What they’re not entitled to is playing hypotenuse to his fucked up triangle. Don’t let them be go-betweens. They got a text message from him saying he wants another chance? Set a boundary. Tell them you don’t want to hear from him, you need to go no contact for your sanity, and they need to respect that. Shut that shit DOWN. If you want him back, you know where to find him.

Hang in there Patty. I think you’re just afraid of having to reinvent yourself after 34 years. It can be done, and done happily. And it is a hell of a lot easier than living with a serial cheating narcissist.

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.
  • CL,

    Great post. I agree with you.

    Patty, there is no reason to “stay together for the kids.” They are all grown up. From what you write, I think reconciliation would be very, very difficult. I don’t know the extend of his 34-year spree, but it sounds like it goes back a long way and was pretty extensive. His behavior shouldn’t depend on his daughters, and he should not be outsourcing his behavior to his daughters. (He needs to hear from them to keep from doing something dumb? Where is HIS morality, HIS backbone?)

    My recommendation: Give this time. Continue with low to no contact. I think this painful phase will pass and that you’ll be able to find/build truer relationships. At the very least, you should not take him back now. If he’s really sincere (which I doubt), make him wait at least a year and then re-visit this. It sounds to me as if he’s manipulating your daughters and this first holiday to try to get what he wants. I think his manipulative powers will wane with the passing of time as will your withdrawal pains.

    My two cents. Hang in there. You have three wonderful kids and a new life ahead of you.

    • Patty, think about what you CAN be grateful for- your daughters are in their 20’s. There are SO many women and men on this site who have to share the worry, fear, degradation and pain of watching their ex-spouse get visitation with the kids while the OM or OW is in the picture and develops a ‘relationship’ with your girls. YOU do not have to suffer that!! Pat yourself on the back for that and congratulate yourself. When the your adult daughters are sad you can say, well at least you didn’t have to suffer through exchanges for visitation and have to suffer any OW girls! If the girls don’t like the AP or OW in their father’s life they get to just say, “No Thanks, Dad!” Whew!!

      CL is spot on as always. Your husband is a real manipulative shit IMO. Count your blessings and move far, far beyond your lying ass, cheating husband! You can Do this Patty!! A good life lies ahead for you!

      • Ditto this. I can’t tell you how much it sucks that I can’t make a clean break from STBX. Although you have adult children together, that doesn’t mean that your H has to be a part of your life after divorce (except only briefly at certain events, like weddings). In my case, I have at least 14 more years left to be shackled to the doofus, hoping that he’ll always send the CS on time and that the Owife will be nice to our children when they’re visiting. I can’t tell you how much I wish that I could cut off all contact completely and not experience any emotional setbacks when I have to hear about the OW from my kids (and how nice they think she is right now) or when I have to deal with something about the kids or finances and interact with doofus.

        Make the break, Patty. You won’t regret it.

  • Hi Patty,
    I am sorry this is happening to you, and I am glad you have made it to Chump Lady.
    You didnt say how all of this about the 35 years of cheating came out. Did things blow up with his OW? Was it the same OW for all this time or a lot of one nighters or prostitutes or several emotional and physical affairs? You do not have to answer that, and I am not sure it matters.

    CL said:
    “Or tell him, you want a postnup (seeing as you’re still married) that is a property settlement with an infidelity clause — if he cheats, you get everything. Only HE controls if he cheats again, so if he’s sincere, he’s got nothing to lose, right?

    Then see if he balks. See how exactly deep that remorse is. My guess is that he’s sorry, so long as it doesn’t cost him anything too dear, like his pension fund. What is he going to give you to make up for those 34 years other than a TEXT MESSAGE?
    So why don’t you try out exactly how sorry he is, if you really want him back. Sorry is as sorry DOES. Say to him, I want a divorce and I want you to make this right to me. We can talk about reconciliation after you give me my freedom and then I’ll let you win me back. But I want my security. Ask for a generous divorce settlement that leaves him something, but you most everything else.”

    I did this. My wasbund was very very sorry. we made a deal that if he cheated again, I got everything, made that deal in writing. He was unable to stay apart from his OW. So, I divorced him and told him I wished he could win me back, but I needed to get things separated because much as I wished things would work out, I needed to get a life of my own. I got everything. He was not expecting me to hold him to it, it was all talk to him to get me to stay. He got REALLY mad. Because, hey, I called his bluff. How dare me.

    You have to decide what you can live with. My only advice is watch what he does, not what he says. He is really good at lying to you to your face and lying to you through omission, at least I think so because otherwise, how did he pull this off?

    My best to you, Patty. Stay here with us. We will help you do what you need to do, what ever that may be. And if it all works out for you, you wont need us anymore. I hope that is how it works out. Not my experience. But I hope you find that unicorn.

    • wow.your ex did a postnup that gave you everything if he cheated? you are my freakin hero, or he is the dumbest cheater that ever lived, I’m not sure which. I can guarantee you my ex would never have done that, he relied upon being able to fool me but not to that extent.

      • He is just a narc with a narc’s ego and HUGE CHARM. He is so great and I am so nothing, he never thought any of it would actually HAPPEN. He has always been able to charm his way out of anything. Believe me, he is very angry about it now. I am the ex wife who took him for all he was worth blah blah blah. My conscience is clear. I didnt take him, he did that all by himself.

        • The first thing I did before I confronted my H was see an attorney. I confronted H. He begged. I sent him to my attorney. I am still with my H but everything is signed over to me. period. If I file for divorce, for whatever reason, I get it all ( kids too).

          • Bev – That is amazing. How did you get him to agree to that? Especially if you divorce “for whatever reason”, not just infidelity.

            I wish I could have done that immediately post-dday. Somehow I think my narc-husband wouldn’t have gone for it. He even said to me that he didn’t want to reconcile if I wasn’t going to over it quickly, and he didn’t want to put too much work into it. *sheesh*

            • I have no idea why he did it. He says he is sorry. Go figure. I quit trying to figure them out ( untangling the skein…) 🙂

  • wait. please. stop. please.

    “hearing their voices keeps him from doing something dumb???????????”

    oh please, please, PLEASE do something dumb; I dare you! I’m sorry, honey, and I am trying to be as gentle as I possibly can, (I actually feel like ripping out his eyeballs for saying that to them, because THAT is emotional abuse and that is just plain wrong!) but when I see an OBVIOUS case of emotional blackmail, I just cannot possibly keep my fingeryaps shut! (and I apologize because I know that this is difficult reading, but it is born out of love– please know that.)

    So, tell me, WHY oh WHY is he talking to them and not you? (rhetorical question); you know the answer and I know the answer and, hell we all know the answer and that’s because he’s full of shit. He’s obviously manipulating them— and by extension–their mother.

    Now, about holidays and a lifetime of a not intact family and starting over later in life. Honey. please. I know. All of us with very long marriages and adult children, are having a VERY TOUGH time around that one, because it well and truly sucks. But you had it right the first time. You did the right thing, because lonely as it can be and as difficult as it is to start over again (and I’m 57), I believe with all my heart that it is better than living with the INTENSE anxiety of wondering what the hell my predatory fucktard is up to. And yes, yes… mine is a very, very nice, kind, lovely man. Just fucked up. (more fucked up than I’m willing to tolerate)

    and yes, the 64k question is WHY won’t he change? He won’t, because he can’t.

    You can’t put back something that was never there to begin with!

    I wrote more, but (blessedly) ;] I erased it. Please, stay strong. And maybe try this:

    Pretend that this was happening to one of your daughters. Would you want her to stay with such a man?

    There’s your answer.

    • Patty,

      Listen to Laurel and CL – they hit the nail on the head. Would you EVER wish your daughters to have to endure a spouse or boyfriend who behaved like your husband? I would hope to God not. They can’t avoid the biological reality that three sperm with a sense of direction stuck them with a manipulative cheating poser for a father – but they sure don’t have to pick someone like him to live their lives with – and you wouldn’t want them to do so. And neither should you. Be their best example of a strong woman – don’t let the veneer of having been a “golden couple ” (believe me – I was part of that fantasy role for 25 years myself) over a long term marriage make you blind to the actual reality – you’ve been living with an unrepentant douche who has played you quite effectively and willingly and is NOT going to stop.

      Leopards and fucktards don’t change their spots. You are not alone – so many of us who were in supposedly “golden” long term marriages have had to totally reinvent our lives after our miserable cheating narcissistic spouses had been reinventing theirs for years on the side. It’s so hard – it’s almost corrosive at times. You’ll feel eaten away to the lowest point and the barest essence. But that pain and loneliness serves a purpose – to strip away every vestige of the lies you unknowingly wore throughout the marriage – the lies HE draped your relationship in…..and what’s left after the stripping away is……YOU!!!! You must go through the hell to find who YOU are again -and time and point-of-life don’t matter – 30 or 50 or 65 – you can reinvent and find yourself again. And you will be better for it because it is REAL – not a “good life” built on the lies and complications from a cheater who does NOT value what you bring to the table anymore.

      You can do it – make your daughters proud to have a mom with the strength not to tolerate a man who would so devalue her as a wife and – most especially – a person who brought so many gifts to his life.

  • OMG, what a manipulator and bullshitter. His daughters’ voices keep him from “doing something dumb”? Well, having those daughters didn’t keep him from stupidly putting his dick in other women for decades, right?

    And the thing about he “read a book”. My now-ex, horrid cheater of a narcissist, came back bleating how he had watched some movie, Fire Proof or something like that. And it made him “see the error of his ways” and now he had a mantra, “I will not be someone else’s demon” that was going to keep him from constantly having sex with other men and women both.

    I don’t need to tell you how that “reconciliation” turned out, right? I mean, just look at my name here and the fact that he is now my ex. He was still cheating during bogus reconciliation, and his “remorse” very quickly turned into blaming, abuse and threats to abandon me if I didn’t forgive him as quickly as he forgave himself.

    I understand what you are going through, Patty, we all do. And it’s pretty terrifying to divorce after a decades-long marriage, I won’t lie. But your husband sounds pretty bad, and the odds of him really changing are pretty much zero. You deserve better. We all do.

  • Patty, all I can say to “make you strong” is this; You finally had enough and he cannot manipulate you any longer. So what does your husband do? He sets out to manipulate your daughters to get to you. Will you teach your daughters that this is OK? or will you see it for the shit it is and tell them you won’t play? You know he is full of shit and your daughters mostly know it and yet, you all want a happy ending that’s easy, the one you expected. I kinda doubt you can get that. Saying he knows he was wrong, texting, speaking that he was wrong are all so very easy, doing is what counts. What has he done to regain your respect? what actions has he done that makes you believe he has changed?

    Abusers are masters of reconciliation, they are masters of sorry and it won’t happen again, they are masters at beating you down until that last moment when they know they have to lift you up to keep you…and then it happens again, and again. Did you live it? I did. The sweet person we loved is the mask, the real person is there all the time, he’s not sweet, he’s not accountable, he’s not our lover, he’s not right and he won’t stop, not even when we say no more…we have to keep saying it and recognize that he’s a habit, a bad one that stopped giving us what we need a long time ago.

  • Hi Patty,

    I too, am so sorry you are experiencing such agony. You didn’t deserve any of it, and you are allowed to feel angry and crushed. Holidays put a spotlight on the pain of betrayal by a cheater. They cheat, yet still expect to have us and their kids roll with it. Disgusting, but only the cheated (including kids) feel that so harshly.

    I cringe when I hear X’s car pull into the driveway (after I explicitly asked him not to) to pick up our confused, crushed teens who put up with his bullshit in order to see him at all. Tomorrow is going to be a suck fest for all of us as he puts on the dog to show them how much of a great dad he still is on HIS big day (naturally). Only, my kids are smarter than me; they know when they are being fed manure by him and being told to “enjoy the delicious ice cream.” I am in awe of their strength. Their gloves are off now, too.

    I wasted a lot of years on a man who never respected, appreciated or even liked me. I was his ‘wife.” I was a thing he had, an object to him, a servant; definitely not a human being who felt more alone, hurt, abandoned, ugly, and demeaned with every snide comment, forgotten birthday, overlooked effort and sarcastic retort.

    For me, I noticed pesky signs of trouble at the get go, but ignored them because I so wanted to believe in his lies. I was especially put off by the way he spoke so dismissively and rudely to his adoring mother, and how he talked “at” his only sibling, without really communicating any feelings to her except his superiority. Later on, I was so content and comfortable playing my role as the happy homemaker with three children in a suburban cul-de-sac that I forgot I was actually worth anything.

    I remember being six months pregnant with our third child, and crying in a therapist’s office that something was wrong with me, because ostensibly, “I had it all.” She listened to me for three sessions before she concluded, “Suckerpunched, you don’t have it all. You have a child with some heavy-duty special needs, and a husband who emotionally abuses and diminishes you and your efforts to help your child.” I wasn’t ready to face that truth. So naturally, I stopped seeing her and sucked it up for twelve more years.

    One night, we had our neighbors over for drinks and dinner. As the party progressed, one of the couple’s wedding songs played on the radio. We talked about the wedding songs that we danced to, and my husband made a point to play everyone’s song. As he cued up “our song,” I told our guests how special it was, how romantic, old world and sentimental. How it “defined us.” Then, as I said the last sentence, instead of Fairport Convention’s “White Dress,” X played a polka about a fat broad. I was humiliated beyond words. So naturally, I pretended to be amused, too. But I died a little that night, and my respect for him died a little more, too.

    Like I said, signs were everywhere. In the end, X’s unapologetic and blatant cheating confirmed that our marriage was a big, huge lie, a joke to him and a blatant, painful, unavoidable sign that the joke was on me. I realized I was broken, and experienced a period of self-loathing to an extreme degree. Then, while I was hating myself, I looked at my behavior during the marriage. I was horrified at how easily and willingly I sacrificed my beliefs to placate his distorted ego.

    I finally accepted that signs were everywhere for many years, but I chose to ignore them because I was frightened to admit I had failed, and terrified to raise three children alone. But ironically, I was already doing that all along.

    I’m guessing you may have experienced similar humiliating experiences throughout your marriage, too. But, you were also too invested and in your life as a family to realize you deserved (AND DESERVE) better in a partner.

    I will kick my own ass for the rest of my life for not leaving such an emotionally vacant, selfish, hurtful scumbag twelve years ago. That’s on me. But for the rest of my life, I will also take comfort that I finally faced my worst fears and believed I could do so much better. And I will.

    You will, too. You can. You must. You have three daughters who are watching what you will do next. Don’t let your own fear define their belief in their mother’s worth.

    You can do this.

    • Wow, suckerpunched. I really hate him for you. I want to cram that polka right down his throat and make him choke on it. I’m glad he is your EX.

      • Chump Lady, thanks for that! He kind of did choke that night when the men told him to shut it down immediately. Then he got pissed because nobody thought his big joke was funny. Everyone left within 5 minutes, and I went to my bed and cried while he watched TV and had a few more beers.

        85 days to go before our divorce is official. But I’m already feeling so much more FREE! In a twisted, perverse way, his bimbo did me a great favor. He’s all hers now!

        • Wow, the polka thing is classless, and the markings of a bully. That’s great to hear the audience wasn’t buying it. They stood up for you when they told him to shut it down and by leaving within 5 minutes.

          Sounds like something my STBX would do, maybe on a smaller scale, and then say “It’s just a joke, don’t take it so seriously!” or “You have no sense of humor.” But really, he is jabbing at you emotionally and it is big-time bullying.

          The problem is that we all know marriage is hard. Even the good marriages, where both spouses are trying. But no-one tells us how hard is *too* hard. Well, that polka incident is indiciative that the marriage was *too* hard. Oh yeah, and the cheating.

          Glad you are getting away.

    • Wow. Bring back the Code Duello. Divorce is too good for someone like that.

      The condescension and disrespect they have for the scorned woman makes the whole business so much worse.

  • Patty,

    You are awesome. To retaliate after 34 years into marriage was really superb. You have your self-esteem intact. And as Hope49 says your days of responsibility for young kids is over. You have them more as a support system, as an asset. In fact, your situation is better than many of us here, with the only exception that you might be feeling that you would be more lonely than others (maybe that you’ve no job or things to keep you going…sorry, just guessing, pl excuse if not true). I hope your finances are good.

    First things first. Mind needs activity. If you’ve something to keep you busy, it will occupy your mind-space. Mind is also addictive. It wants activities, people, things to be in certain ways (habit you see). So, you need to fight with your mind first. You need to keep it busy with stuff (hobbies you didn’t pursue, social volunteer work, some small business that you can manage….just something…that keeps you engaged and keeps you in interaction with others)…As David says…let the fucktard wait for a few years…maybe by then your mind has done some readjustments too…giving in now won’t be a good idea.

    Secondly, as CL says and Violet enacted…have your post-nup drawn up or proceed for a costly divorce settlement (costly for the fucktard) so that you are financially sound, if cheated upon/ if alone. This is important.

    Even if you reconcile, maybe at a later date, please keep in mind what CL says. Assess…not Hope. Accept the fucktard for what he is rather than hope/attempt to change him. Believe me…this alone is very helpful. I was kind of forced into R (my culture and context r like that). I understood that my ex was a manipulator and sex addict. I just stopped engaging in anything but the most essentials (like food etc.). I ensured clear boundaries (very very difficult for the fucktard ex to adjust). He had accused that my being weak in domestic matters (like cooking) had compelled him to cheat. So, in R, all I ensured was that his food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) had clear laid down menu and was adhered too…just like in a canteen. Whenever he complained, I said sorry or said I felt the taste was okay or said that I would try it better the next time. In return, he needed to observe a few rules as well. He needed to be home by 10pm or not come at all. He needed to observe non-abuse or I had the liberty to be abusive as well (He couldn’t take this one!). He was enjoying his life so he had no right to interfere in mine. He enjoyed by being involved with numerous ladies while I enjoyed by finally being free from having to tell anybody what I was doing or where I was going. I started enjoying my own life with social work and other things that I wanted to do earlier, but didn’t do as ex wouldn’t approve.

    Though, those were not some my best days…n the fucktard just couldn’t withstand those boundaries (he later abandoned us 🙂 ), but that was still not as bad as it would have been, if I chose to do the pick me dance or to change him etc.

    Way to go, Patty

  • Patty, I’ll offer my story for perspective to consider. I’ve been on both sides of this: I’ve been the 20 year old daughter who’s parents were divorcing d/t my father’s infidelities. And, I’ve been the Chump – a big one.

    My father has had two (that I know about) affairs and my parents progressed through divorce twice without finalizing – they are still together, now married for 50 years. Now here’s the thing – I love my dad. He has been shitty to my mom and that is an issue for me – although for the past 10 years or so I think they’re fairly good and seem to have worked it out somehow. He was a decent if flawed dad to me, albeit a crappy husband to my mom. I’ve loved him and I know he loved me.

    As painful as it was, I never saw their issues as mine to negotiate. I was an adult both times and I was disappointed and I was upset and I did feel bad – but it was their marriage. Did I call him out on it – yes I did. Would I tell my mom if I knew he had an AP, yes I would. Have I cut him from my life or still remind him of it 15 year later – no I don’t. But those are my decisions and boundries. Thankfully, they didn’t drag me into the middle of it – either time.

    But what did happen is that I observed that you stick with a bad marriage – even when it’s miserable. I truly believe that if my parents had told 19 year old Marcie, “WTF – you deserve more and he’s a POS” I wouldn’t have wasted my youth and wrecked my emotional health for nearly 20 years.

    Patty, your daughters are adults and they are rightly upset and disappointed and upended…but their relationship with their dad is theirs to figure out, individually and for themselves. This affects their family deeply but it’s your marriage and your divorce -not theirs to determine. Would they be ok knowing you reconciled and lived in misery and humiliation again for them? Would you be ok if your actions showed them that staying together with 34 years of infidelity is something you would expect from them?

    • I still get “stuck” with adult children who say my father was decent to me, so I’m not going to take sides or get involved. If in fact, the father is crappy to the mother, is the father not crappy also to the rest of his family? Because the hurt, pain, disrespect and selfishness associated with his choices wreck the structure of the total family Regardless of the physical sex outside marriage, don’t the lies, secrets, deceptions, deceit hurt you as the children just as much if not more? If your favorite teacher or best friend or some other person you admired turned out to be an untrustworthy liar, would that give you something to pause over with regard to wanting to continue a relationship with that person? What character does the liar/cheater have to offer anyone other that they’re related some how? Trust is gone for the kids too, yes? Remember, your character is defined by how you behave when no one is watching.

      • Well Nain and Marcie, both of you are right…

        Adult children or anybody who hasn’t suffered cheating and abuse, are bad at understanding the related pain n scars. period. Until Marcie saw it happen to herself she couldn’t understand why she continued to love her father dearly, and could have in some way (even marginally) contributed in her mother’s being stuck in an abusive marriage. When mothers take a decision to leave, then they account for everybody – children, herself and many a times of cheaters too. That is what is about being a mother. So, what does Marcie get. A value system, which somewhere kept her trapped in her abusive/cheating marriage for longer than she should have tolerated. And she regrets it. Somewhere she feels that she should have got alternate values…not to accept the shit and move on…that is the price she pays for being an adult child with little experience as to how she underestimated what her father did and to continue to love him…in spite of…how it affected her mother or her subsequent decisions (2 times)…The story comes to full cycle there. Thank you Marcie for sharing this.

        I recently wrote on some other thread on CL of a story doing rounds in India about a celebrity suicide. She was a 25year old, capable and ambitious actress who was in an abusive live-in relationship with a star-kid. Her last letter is very very sad…n all of can relate to it. The cheater and abuser bf is the son of a star couple. The father is notorious for rape of a housemaid, multiple well-known infidelities and violence. The mother is a typical “Bhartiya Nari” (Indian Woman), who keeps taking him back after everything, though she is a well-known actress herself. They have 2 kids. The older daughter was tested positive for drugs and spent some time at police station, a few years ago. The younger son is in police custody for abatement of suicide (of above-mentioned actress). Media is shouting “Like father like son”. But, what was the role of the mother in entire upbringing? She gave wrong values to her kids like – There are no consequences for bad behavior. Even if women are respected for their work, outside their confines of home, they have the last place in a man’s life as wife. A husband can do everything to her and other women outside, but come back. And he is taken back. And the wife is respected for her zeal to take him back and for her understanding to keep the marriage intact. To What Consequences…Marcy n Nain and all of us on CL?

        Nain, I think you have to keep attempting to reach meh…in spite of having the burning feeling inside…that adult children are behaving selfishly. They do not have the experience to understand your stance/feelings right now. But, believe me. They will thank you for it, when they experience any bullshit in their own life tomorrow. They won’t take it easily as their mother had showed at some time in the past that you shouldn’t take bullshit. We can just do only as much for the kids, Nain. Give them a decent upbringing and good morals. Rest is destiny. You let it go…at least for the moment.

      • Nain,

        You are so right in this observation. Cheating is NOT just applicable to the marriage – it is applied to the entire family. A person doesn’t just cheat on the spouse – they lie and cheat and damage and abandon the entire family. Children are just as much the victims as the chump parent. And IMO – YES – the children – if they are adults and can decide for themselves – have every right to condemn the cheater’s behavior and let it affect their future interaction. If a person was cheated or abused or betrayed or let down by a dear friend or relative or even a co-worker – wouldn’t we want them to avoid the bad actor as much as possible for their own well being? Why is a parent who does all this and more get a pass because of a simple biological tie? Bad is bad – and I get very tired of painting “grey” onto a black and white fact simply because someone reproduced. That doesn’t get you a “get out of bad behavior/character free” card. My adult children have no real interaction with their father. That may change….but only when he does. So I don’t hold my breath. They want good influences in their lives. They call a spade a spade. That he is their father makes no difference to the reality that he is a poor example of a man. I’m thankful they can discern the difference.

        • It’s applicable to ALL OF LIFE!

          I once worked for a man that refused to hire anyone that couldn’t live up to their marriage vows. I thought he was a moralistic hard-ass at the time.

          Fact is, if someone will cheat on their family, which includes their own flesh and blood, they’ll cheat anyone, including and employer and this man knew that.

          • I’ve known people like that, too. They wouldn’t be friends with cheaters and other people like that. I thought they were hard-asses, too. Until I was chumped. Now I understand that cheaters don’t just accidentlally cheat on their spouses for years – it is a lifestyle and sense of entitelment. And it typically carries over into other aspects of their lives, sooner or later – how they treat their friends, how they act at work, how they do their taxes, and how they drive.

      • Hey guys. I just want to caution you not to generalize statements about how adult children deal with the grief that comes when one parent completely destroys the family. I am one of those adult children dealing with my father, who I adored more than anything, betraying and leaving the family in such a dramatic and hurtful way that none of us foresaw. Please respect the fact that it is a lot more complex for adult children of divorce – less black and white. I have gone through every emotion possible and hated my dad for so long. But after a while, I realized that as much as I despised him for what he did to my mom and to us, I really needed him, his love, and a relationship. It’s still so hard for me sometimes. It’s especially hard to feel the cognitive dissonance that comes with loving a person who continues to hurt someone else I love. I am constantly aware when my dad is bullshitting or screwing my mom (and as a result, me) over, and I will often call him out for it. But I have found in my healing process that it has been much more painful for me to constantly ignore my dad than it is to interact with him. My advice with older children is to allow them to make their own decisions when it comes to the X and do your best to support them. Most importantly, validate their feelings which may you may not realize may be incredibly complex and painful.

  • The worst thing you could do to your daughters is to teach them to allow men to treat them like shit.

    Don’t put it on them that you want to get back together with your cheating liar ex so that you can give them an intact family. That’s not fair–and that’s not why you want him back, either.

    You want him back because you’re lonely, and this new life is scary. The devil you know, right?

    Don’t do it.

    Put on your big girl pants and roll your sleeves up and make a new life for yourself.

    I’m sure your ex DOES want his old life back. It’s MUCH more fun to cheat when you know you’ve got back-up at home.

    How do you like being back-up? How do you like washing the filth out of that man’s shorts, knowing he’s been with God only knows who? How do you like serving him dinner, knowing he’s a bald-faced liar? You like feeling used?

    How do you like knowing that, by being weak, you’re a role model–not the good kind–for your daughters?

    Or, do you want something better for them? Don’t you want to teach them that you and they are worth more than being used and abused by some aging coward who wants his mommy back?

    Come on, now. Do the right thing. You didn’t break up the marriage–HE did. And you are STILL a family, you and your daughters. I stopped saying “He broke up our family.” Because, in fact, my kids and I and the dogs and the house and our friends are still the same family, minus one. His loss.

    You can do this. It IS hard to face your fears and to GROW from overcoming them by being your best YOU. But it’s much, MUCH worse, WAY harder, really, to carry the heavy weight of shame and humiliation that comes from bearing whatever insults he puts on you every damned day, wishing you had the backbone to leave him. Break free. You got it. You’ve come this far–keep going. Don’t let his empty words keep manipulating you. Stop listening to him. Cut him off. He’s a cancer to your soul, and you only have this one life.

      • ” It IS hard to face your fears and to GROW from overcoming them by being your best YOU. But it’s much, MUCH worse, WAY harder, really, to carry the heavy weight of shame and humiliation that comes from bearing whatever insults he puts on you every damned day” Well said Stephanie!
        Yes, you can do this! We CHUMPS can do this!! I think about my daughter and what I am teaching her everyday. I’m 62 and the fears of recreating a life on my own were (sometimes still are) staggering. One tiny step at a time, breath deeply, ask for help from friends/family, and focus on taking care of yourself!

    • Stephanie, thanks for that big reminder of reality!!!

      This was actually a big factor for me, when I was longing to have the ex back, tempted to do the pick-me dance, and later when he tried to come back. I asked myself; is this the example I want my kids growing up with? This man was difficult and unpleasant most of the time for our entire relationship, extremely entitled and negative. And THEN he threatened me physically on a couple of occasions, and then he screwed around, convinced me to stay, appeared for years to have straightened out, and screwed around AGAIN.

      Is that what I want my kids thinking is a marriage? Is that what I want my kids growing up thinking is acceptable? Would I be OK if either of my kids were in a serious relationship and either treated their partner like that, or accepted that kind of treatment from their partner?

      NO, never.

      And if I went back, that’s what I would have been teaching them. The first time the ex screwed around, that could have been a big mistake, a stupidity. If he had repaired from that, acted in a more mature and caring way, and we had had a happier relationship, the kids would have learned something important. You don’t give up on your marriage and your kids’ intact family easily. People can screw up big time, but repair, through true remorse and true change in behaviour.

      A second time would be teaching them that what their dad did is OK.

      So stand strong, not just for yourself, but for the example you provide your kids. And when the kids are allowing themselves to be used or manipulated by your ex, say what you think, then step back. When the ex is being a jerk, say what you think, and step back. You can only control you.

      Knowing that was a huge reinforcement

  • Very interesting post this. What is it with us women that we feel the need to bear the brunt of everything. Patty, it doesn’t sound like your husband is showing any remorse for the damage he has caused to your daughters and it’s not up to you to clean up his mess – that’s his job.

    Today, father’s day I sit here while my ex toddles off with my kids and the woman he screwed behind my back. It kills me to think about them swanning around together looking like a ‘happy family’. I know it pleases this woman no end and sometimes I feel as though she has stepped right into my shoes at the weekend. They are both remorseless and they try to ‘normalise’ the whole situation.

    What I have learnt over the past few years since my break-up is that appearances can be so deceptive. Some of those ‘happy families’ you see are fundamentally flawed.

    Holidays bring out all sorts of feelings in us and we are constantly being bombarded with images of how things should be. It will take time for you to come to terms with being deceived for so many years and you could tell yourself Patty to settle for his shit but aren’t you worth more than that? You may not believe it yet but you are. Your girls will be fine if their father stops wrecking their heads – just look after yourself and get some support. All the best to you all.

    • Absolutely right, Angela F! A lot of those ‘happy families’ we see and can’t help comparing ourselves to are not happy at all. Don’t forget we’re usually comparing other people’s outsides to our insides!

      • I work as a concierge so I meet thousand of “newlyweds” couples celebrating anniversaries, proposals, etc. I ALWAYS wonder what the real deal is, or if they aren’t really a couple at all! And when I get those people that have been married for decades, all the time (!)I think of all of us Chumps and wonder what those years were like. I’m not a pessimist, just a realist, more than ever now.

        • Don’t become too cynical, however. If you come to believe that there is no such thing as true love–however “un-ideal”–then why shouldn’t cheating be inevitable or even acceptable?

          Well, it’s not. I know so many contented married couples. They may not always be in 100% wedded bliss all the time. I’m sure they bicker and compromise and have disappointments and frustrations in life, but the one thing they won’t do is wander off or defile their own honor. Not everyone is a cheater. My own parents are prime examples. They love each other deeply after 45 years of marriage.

          Look for the good out there. Let it lift you up.

          • True, there are real marraiages out there. Ones that last. My parents are a good example. They have been married for over 40 years. They’ve had good times and bad times. Times where my mother didn’t feel loved or understood by my dad. But they both stuck with it and had better times. And neither one of them ever cheated. Ever.

            That being said, I do hear what Toni is saying. I, too, look at married couples and wonder if I’m seeing the real deal, or if there is a story behind the public face. Considering the common pattern of cheating > Reconcilliation, then cheating again several years later, it only stands to reason that many of these happy marriages are also dealing with (false) R, but the s*** just hasn’t hit the fan yet.

  • I want to thank each and everyone of you who post on this site . My 3rd DDay in a 40 year marriage was a year ago , I filed for a dissolution of marriage and my marriage was over in August of 2012. This is the first holiday I won’t spend with my 4 adult children. My ex went to the OW’s home in Indiana (we live in Ohio) for Thanksgiving Christmas and New Years. My children were angry with this last betrayal and furious I didn’t leave the first 2 times he cheated. But as with most of you I applied the spackle in layers because I could not be the one to destroy my “family”. I always thought of myself as the most lonely married woman in the world. He was always emotionally abusive but I always did the “pick me dance ” and I thought I won. I was the loser every time, remaining with a passive aggressive selfish deceitful pig it took me decades to see who the real man was. I gave up my home with no mortgage on it (he paid me the difference and I purchased a condo. He moved her in 2 weeks after my furniture was moved out. I think they waited until her 3rd divorce was granted. My ex will be hubby number 4. My children feel the emotional pull of this man still being their father but they do not want to see this woman in my house . He doesn’t feel they have done anything wrong since they are both divorced . I guess it didn’t matter that they had a 18 month affair while they were both married, that is just small distraction. Do I selfishly want him to pay for what he did, you bet I do ! You have all given me the courage to keep my mouth shut , not ask what’s happening, (it only causes more pain ) and continue to build my life . I found this site about 5 months ago and I turn my laptop on as soon as I get home from work , Yeah at 61 I have to work full time. The happy couple live off her social security, (she is 63) My ex quit his job to play in the stock market and is now flat broke . He had to give me his retirement money to pay me for the house. What a loser. Well again thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the encouragement and great ideas. Chump Lady has been an absolute life line for me. I do see a therapist and belong to a great divorce support group, but you are all my daily dose of kindness and understanding !! THANK YOU THANK YOU

  • AWESOME post. Those of us who went/are going through the war with a longterm cheater NEED to know this exact message. Need a printout on the nightstand, on the fridge, and in your bag. I totally agree with you CL, 95.5% of the time, reconciliation is just another scam the cheater uses to maintain his cake supply. So think twice, those tearful pleas for ‘one more chance’ are almost always a direct route to more lies, more betrayals, more skanky behavior. And after you cut the cord and end the relationship, the cheater likes to dangle his shiny new relationship in front of you, ‘look how happy I am now, you lost big when you lost me,’ knowing you are still vulnerable to the lure of The Fantasy. Oh sure, we lost big when we got rid of the cheater. Lost pain, heartache, confusion, dread and despair. Something interesting comes in to fill up the space vacated by all that pain. Something real. Real’s the healer.

  • Dearest CL, David, Hope49, Violet, MovingOn, Daddamwuf, Bev, Laurel, Char, GladIt’sOver, Suckerpunched, anudi, Marcie, Nain, Stephanie, Karen, mgr, Angela, LynZ,SnarKula….

    Since DD was more than a year ago, I have gotten more wisdom and good advice from you all in this post than I have in countless hours of therapy. I was flat broke and I just hit the PowerBall. I sit here on Father’s Day evening in a far better place than I was Friday night, thanks to all of you. I feel strong and empowered.

    I met my husband when I was 19 and married him at 22. I was a child, and I really didn’t know if I was in a normal marriage or not because I had nothing to compare it to. He was very needy, but I liked to be needed. We were a perfect pair, and yet deep down I knew something was wrong. We didn’t have any intimacy. Sex we had, ,but no intimacy. He didn’t want to ever let me in because he did not want me to know that inside there was a very dark, hollow man with no morals or honesty. He guarded this secret with his life. He Knew everyone in town, but had not one friend. He didn’t want them to know either.

    I took the good with the bad. He did not. He has tried to blame me for all his affairs. “I didn’t get here alone!” he screams. Here’s how I know for certainty that there is no turning back with the divorce. He says he has felt unloved, unappreciated, and undervalued in our relationship. Same.

    But here’s a newsflash for him. If we were to reconcile, he will feel that again. He can count on it. Take it to the bank. It will happen because we are all human. He cant be at the top of my to-do list every moment of the day. And when he drops to #2 spot, he feels entitled to cheat. To screw me by screwing someone else. By finding someone, damn it, who WILL pay attention to his ego 24 hours a day. So it’s not a risk of it happening again, it will happen again… if I have a grandchild? have a sister who needs help after a knee replacement? get messed up in a car accident? He’s out and in another’s bed.

    Your words have given me Herculean strength to do what’s best for my daughters. To show them exactly what marriage should be about, and yes, to all who asked, I would never want one of my daughters to be married to a serial cheater. EVER. I would beg her to leave.

    We are still a family. We love one another immensely. My girls will heal with time, and will heal faster because of you all. Thank you–all of you–for taking the time to write. Your words will sustain me through this. I found my mojo again. Special thanks to CL for the wake-up call I needed to hear. You are one amazing gal to have put together this site.

    I’ll my hanging out here for a long while now. I found a home in you.

    Gratefully,
    Patty

    • Thanks, Peggy, for your strong words of wisdom. Your insight into your ex sounds just like what I’ve come to know about my STBX: there’s nothing inside him except insecurity and fear, posturing, bluster, and neediness. After 20 years of boosting his confidence and stroking his ego, I suggested he “snap out of it” and actually DO something to fix himself, or try to view his situation differently so that he might be able to find a solution to his (self-perceived) problems with all his coworkers (not one single friend). Bet you can guess what happened next: he moved out so that he could pursue his extra-marital activities with less difficulty, and then he filed for divorce.

      Because he’s the father of my children, I wish him nothing but a happy life filled with peace, but he refuses to get help for himself. As long as he can move from one affirming woman to the next, he can feel good about himself for a short time. How very, very sad that there was only ONE of us in this marriage (to paraphrase Princess Diana’s famous line about three people in her marriage).

      I too have learned that you can have a good, loving, strong family without your husband being present. Best of luck to you, and thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

    • Oh Patty,
      Tough day, but Brava! Yous one badass mamma!!!

      However………… what happened to our “changed” hubby? haha. I could’ve sworn I heard him say… “I see my mistakes now….I just need another chance” (another chance to knock you down again) and I can’t live without your mother (to keep the family intact because that’s what I deserve, not because I give a shit about HER) and thank God you girls are (still) talking to me or I was about to do something “stupid.” (not stupid.) He’d be doing everyone a favor because I think that he’s one sorry excuse for a human being.

      Can we all chip in for a giant billboard?

      it WILL happen again.

      it will happen because HE needs it to happen and it has absolutely nothing, zilch, nada to do with you and whatever you are doing or not doing. You could grovel at his feet 24/7 and he would complain that you were too smothering. gotta go find someone else to fuck. You can’t win.

      What is so wonderful, is that you get it and not only that, have the strength and courage to leave a sinking ship.

      Oh, be prepared for a tug of war from Mr. I-didn’t-get-here-alone / I-made-a-horrible- mistake(s). The tug of war may come within yourself too… It certainly does with me. Thank God for your beautiful daughters. They will be there for you and so will we. I think that you are going to flourish in your new life! (((hugs))) and thank you for warming my heart on a difficult day. xo ~ Laurel

    • Heck, there for a second, I thought you actually won the Powerball and maybe we would all get together for a party!

  • As my 23-year old son told me on D-Day– “We’re still a family, Mom, he’s just not in it anymore. And you’ll see, we’ll be better and stronger than ever.” And you know what, 14 months later, he was right. Hang in there chumps, it does get better once you’re rid of the lies and filth.

  • Patty, you’ve received lots of awesome advice so far. I think you know in your heart what the right decision is. There are few points that CL says in her blogs that are critical in your case.

    Trust that he sucks. Don’t buy his bullshit. You know he’s full of it.

    Trust that you will be in a far happier place when you get away from him. It may take time, but it will happen.

    When you start to doubt yourself, think about what he did. The cheating, the lies, the disrespect.

    I was at where you are for 3 years, when Dday happened. After 1 year of false reconciliation and 2 years of limbo. Years of trying to get out, only to be hoovered back in, I left my STBXW less than 3 weeks ago. I have no regrets. Absolutely none. So what you’re contemplating is very fresh to me. I just want to reinforce that you won’t regret it.

    Please stay strong and follow through. Plan your exit strategy and make it happen. I’m in the early days of the process, and no doubt have a rough ride ahead. So I’ll continue to post what happens. I hope it will be a template for anyone is planning the same road.

    Good luck and stay strong Patty!

  • Typo:

    In the first paragraph, I meant to say:

    ……..There are a few points that CL says in her blogs……..

    Sorry CL. 🙂

  • Patty, I really get it. My ex left me after 31 years. My two boys are grown, but on holidays like Father’s Day, it still really hurts to not be a family. I have no contact with my ex, I don’t ask my boys what they are doing with him and they don’t tell me either. It’s not the life I thought I’d have, but I have accepted that it’s my reality. My ex actually broke off our engagement years ago because he thought he was interested in someone else. I had no inkling so it was devastating. He came back after seeing how upset I was and begged me to take his ring back. I did, but I never trusted him again and that undermined our relationship. Throughout our 31 year marriage I had suspicions many times that he was cheating (love notes in pockets by students, funny phone calls from people who wouldn’t identify themselves), but he always had an explanation and I wanted to believe him. In the end I found his journal. Even though I stood in front of him reading what he’d written about being in love with his married coworker, he denied it and tried to tell me my reality was skewed. It makes you feel crazy and like you can’t trust your own senses. These are messed up people and they don’t get better. You will be so much happier living a life that’s truly authentic. My heart goes out to you, but please know there can be a good life on the other side of divorce.

  • So glad you’re feeling better than you were on Friday night Patty. You can expect to continue feeling as if you’re on a rollercoaster ride for a while yet. With the dips, brace yourself, go with it, try stay strong. We’re all here for you.
    I left my XH after being together for 31 years. We too were a ‘great’ family – 2 beautiful kids who grew up in a solid, stable, loving home environment. We were admired as a family.
    Until the shit hit the fan. 1 false R, two years of me working hard to get over his affair (he never quite admitted to what really happened) with a mother from the lacrosse, ice hockey and soccer teams our kids played on. Note, I was the one working hard to get over it – he forgave himself, why couldn’t I? Then the shit really hit the fan when I found out he cheated on me for all of the 31 years. It was all a monstrous lie.
    I left him. The kids are now young adults who are proud of their Mom. They have contact with their Dad now, which is perfectly fine with me. I am so grateful that I don’t have to deal with the daily/weekly hassle of dealing with him and young children like so many have to on this site. My heart goes out to them. Those of us that don’t have to deal with that are fortunate.
    The lesson I imparted to my kids has sustained them through some of their own trials.
    Sure, I miss what I thought we had. I miss the man I thought he was. It took me a long, long time to wrap my head around that one – that he wasn’t who/what I thought he was. It’s too bad that he is not part of our family anymore.
    I am still growing as a person, negotiating the waters. It’s lonely sometimes. But it gets easier over time.
    Do I regret that I left him? No, not for 1 millisecond. The shame is on him.
    My very best to you Patty. Keep us posted.

  • I can SO relate! And I think Lynn is my alter-ego… so much sounds so familiar. My ex and I split after 33 years and my daughters are also grown and on their own. The difference is that they have a very hard time being supportive of me and blame me (yes you read that right-me!) for ending the marriage. I did, but only after the final straw that broke this camel’s back: his on-going affair with our/my friend and neighbor and now her marriage, too has ended. They both deny that they had a physical relationship before I booted his butt out but they are both liars …but my daughters want to believe their “truth” even though, in the case of their father, his goal (and I’m sure it was happening) was to bed her and pull her away from her husband as he hid behind his mask of respectability (me)…. my daughters believe him and are mad that I am no longer there to pick up the pieces that are the shambles of his life. Soon after he left, he got a DUI after leaving a strip bar in the company of some very young secretaries of his agency…he denies he was drunk and was only swerving because he was texting his skank that he had just been vomited on by a young woman and was heading to her house… nice. And for this she leaves her marriage to her younger, much nicer looking, decent husband? They can have each other. My divorce has recently been finalized and I am feeling so free and good. The best years of my life were spent with that creep who was having an affair on the day we were married (!!) and continued to have relationships with women the entire time. I’m so happy to be rid of him and no longer have to live in his skewed reality. He was a master of manipulation and had me believing that his lies to me were reality and any questioning I did were completely out of line. So, yes, life is better without him and I do miss my intact family and I just hope that at some point my daughters will see him for what he is and what he did and in the meantime I just tell them I love them, live a good life, and hope they will understand. I get that they don’t want to disparage their dad and feel that he needs someone to protect him because he is such a mess…they resent it’s not me. I am so glad it is her now….and to top it off, both daughters are friends with OW on FaceBook! What a slap! But so it goes and all I can do is continue on towards a quality life and know that deep down they know the truth and at some point will let me know. A good life without your long-term cheater husband is out there and getting to a better life is a bumpy road but it’s worth it and at this point in life we’ve been dealt another opportunity to make our lives one we can be proud of and full of independence and charm…we can’t let our age, our history, our family members pull us from that. Good luck!

    • Been Chumped on – so sorry your daughters are at odds with you. It makes it SO much harder to go through this. I admire you greatly for standing strong. Best wishes!

  • peace Patty and everyone in the throes of trying to get through the tunnel.

    Things do get better and one day you recognize the full burden of their weight by it’s absence on your shoulders. I left a horrible toxic situation only after 17 years. And the day I left I was scared but I breathed and it felt good. Fourteen years later – life is good. Nothing replaces being able to look yourself in the mirror and knowing your own worth and dignity.

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