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Dear Chump Lady, Do you believe in affair fog?

reconciliation_fogDear Chump Lady,

My husband had drunk sex with a woman who works for him when our little boy was 9 months old and we had been married for just a couple of years.

He was remorseful (well he cried a bit and said sorry and, hey, at least he told me — yeah right, now I can see I was a chump…) We had a baby and a new marriage and I thought “we are better than this, this isn’t our defining moment.” Sure you know how it goes! Anyway, we carried on and I put it as far out of my mind as I could  and things went back to “normal.”

We were a couple with lots of friends and family, a gorgeous little boy — we had date nights and family holidays and plans — but it turns out my husband never stopped getting oral sex from this skank. Last Christmas — when I was 12 weeks pregnant — he “kissed” ANOTHER employee. Over the months that followed this developed into a full on affair until I eventually kicked him out.

I did all the stuff I thought would break it — called her, called her husband — but nothing would stop them and I had to practically watch them fall deeper “in love.” Six months on and I have just given birth to our daughter. He is still with this woman (seriously, what sort if woman could get involved with a man whose wife was pregnant??) and juggling his time and his finances between seeing our children and seeing her (she has now moved 2 hours away).

My question is if you have an opinion on the Fog of the Affair? Lots of sites mention it and I really felt that for him to walk away from the son he adores and his new baby there must be something to it? Sometimes it’s as if he has become remorseful and wants us to spend time together and tells me he misses us — or is this all just kibbles and cake?

I really don’t want him back (and my heart is slowly catching up to my head). I would not put our children through this again. I just want him to come out of the fog to a moment of clarity in which he sees how monumentously he has fucked up — or does this never happen?


Dear Liz,

I don’t believe in a great mythical fog that turns ordinary humans into assholes. I just believe in assholes. You know how you can tell if people are assholes? They behave like assholes.

The fog is one of those reconciliation canards that subtly (or not so subtly) absolves cheaters from moral culpability. Your husband didn’t really cheat on his pregnant wife and abandon his infant children. No, he was in a fog. This dark, wet cloud descended on him and muddled his thinking. He knows not what he does! At some point the fog will clear and he will have that “Oh my God, I fucked up” moment of clarity. He’ll return to his senses, return to his family, and be that person you fell in love with again.

Yeah, I don’t believe that. However, I totally believe in the “Oh my God, I fucked up” moment of clarity. But here’s the thing — it’s only a MOMENT. And then the vast majority of cheaters IMO do everything to not feel it. They drink it into a stupor. They shop for new shiny shit instead. They discover new affair partners. Anything to blot out the stench of failure.

Cheating is about entitlement. OMG I fucked up is about humility and lucidity. Entitlement feels better than humility. Lucidity means dealing honestly with the consequences of your appalling behavior. Serial cheaters like your husband are gluttons who need feel-good kibbles. As long as there is an affair partner out there who will shovel the kibbles at him, or he believes in the opportunity for more fuckbuddies when those kibbles run out — why would he change?

Because you hurt? Because your children are so precious and wonderful?

He already demonstrated exactly how he feels about you and your children. He cheated on you while you were vulnerable and pregnant with his child. Not once, but twice (that you know of) with two different women in a rather short span of time. His abhorrent actions tell you everything you need to know about how deeply he feels about his family. You did not matter to him. He is not a person who bonds and connects.

And Liz — that is NOTHING on you. It says NOTHING about how lovable you are or how precious your children are. It says everything about him and his character.

A “fog” didn’t make him that way. That is who he is. If the fog exists, it’s kibbles. It’s his addict’s high. Kibbles feel great — better than the love of your family. He’s sick in the head, and that’s nothing to do with you.

This is not a person who can love you the way you  and your children deserve to be loved. You refer to him as your husband, so I assume you are still married. Please for the love of God, get a lawyer. A kick ass, pit bull lawyer and leave this cake-eating piece of shit.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • It was helpful for me to look into my XW’s past, in order to understand that I did not cause this. I think that if many of us get access to their past history a couple of things will become apparent, which will help dispel the illusion that this was fog vs a character disorder.
    First, you will see that this is a pattern. That cheating on past partners happened. Sometimes , if you have a good relationship with your in-laws or the cheater’s siblings, they can give you this info.
    Or, if during the marriage you made friends with some of his/her old friends, they may be able to tell you about him/her. Many folks hel their tonguse during my marriage, as they hoped my XW had changed. Once we divorced and I let folks know about her serial infidelity, they came forward to tell me about how she had done this in the past to others.
    Second, you may welll see that the sexual fidelity realm is not the only one where your cheater displays dishonest. Many of these folks have ripped off creditors, blown up past employment relationships, dodged taxes etc. Thye do not confine their lack of integrity to the marriage/fidelity realm.
    Virtually every long term or serial cheater is, IMO, personality disordered. No normal person could carry on this long or frequently without cracking. But, these folks do just fine with it, sleeping like babies, partying etc. They are really messed up and the best thing you can do for you and your kids is to minimize contact and the influence of the cheater.

    • Arnold, I believe you’re right that if you look around to other parts of a cheater’s life, you’ll see that he or she cheats there, too. My ex-husband cheated on his taxes every year, illegally downloaded movies, lied on the job, cheated in a contest he entered, and generally enjoyed times when he felt clever enough to get away with something. This in addition to cheating on me at least twice.

      It isn’t that they lack integrity in one area only. They lack integrity, period.

    • I did a backdround check. Ai Yi Yi! Right up till we got together – felonies (drugs) and he’s headed that way again now. I can’t believe how stupid I am..WAS!

  • “He is not a person who bonds and connects” is a hard thing to comprehend when you are a person who bonds and connects. I spent 31 years addicted to the hope that my husband would learn to bond and connect, but in the end all he did was abandon me and blame me for the failure of our marriage. I agree with CL that the kindest thing you could do for yourself and your children is to get out now.

  • I literally snorted out loud and laughed at – ‘You know how you can tell if people are assholes? They behave like assholes.’ That’s funny. Ockham’s Razor says that ‘The simplest explanation is usually the correct one’. The simplest explanation is that he’s an asshole. No affair fog, just an asshole. There’s better out there for you.

  • “I just believe in assholes.”

    yep. But… I think there could also be a fog, except its there to stay; there’s a heavy sheet of plastic covering it, so it ain’t going anywhere!

    This man is addicted to sex and “love” or rather the love hormone oxytocin. Coincidentally, its the same one that bonds you to your children. But he IS a child. HE is the baby and terrified of the responsibility of not only being a husband but a father too. He was carrying on with a married woman at work? That has to be the most reckless behavior a married man who’s young wife is pregnant with this second child can carry on. He’s lucky he still has a job and that someone didn’t press charges! He’s the lowest life form there is, masquerading as a man.

    Yes, get the nastiest, bloodthirstiest lawyer who gets his/her jollies out of rendering him PENNILESS. Sue him. Sue her too! Sue her husband. Sue the whole Goddamned world. You are a mother of two now and you will need a lot of financial resources to help you raise them. This rooster never made it past the chick stage. (unintended double entendre)

    I’m so, so sorry, but there are far better things in store for you. One day… you’ll see… but first you must get rid of the pond scum, before its safe to go swimming again.

    • Yep, that’s another good reason to get to a lawyer. This guy is a lawsuit ready to happen. He could find himself unemployed on sexual harassment charges. And Liz, if you want a good settlement, you get a lawyer who threatens to depose people in his workplace. And see how quickly you get your divorce settlement. You’ve got power. USE it. And fast, before he annihilates his work life as well as his home life.

    • “I think there could also be a fog, except its there to stay; there’s a heavy sheet of plastic covering it, so it ain’t going anywhere!”

      Yes, plus there is a different kind of fog that I’ve seen referenced, the fog that is purposefuly used by cheaters to keep BSs in line: F-ear, O-bligation and G-uilt.

  • The suing the affair partne is, for the most part, dead in most states. I know some of the bible belt states still allow the alientaion of affection cases, but, despite the publicity that the successful ones receive, I suspect few are successful.
    I think one of the obstacles is that the plaintiff may have to prove that the cheater was not so inclined already and that but for the interference of the affair partner, this would not have happened.
    But, as we know, the cheating spouse is defintiely already so inclined.
    I agree get a good, aggressive lawyer, but do not get an idiot pit bull. Get a smart, well behaved, ethical one.
    Bottom line is that for BSs we do not get to leave the cheater penniless. The law does not punish them in any way, in most states. In fact, in the case of the BS who went along with the plan to have the cheater stay home with the kids, absent some egregious behavior(and, apparently, cheating is not consisdered such), the BS is going to wind up losing custody and paying support. If the marriage was long enoguh, the Bs may even be paying spousal maintainence.
    Bottom line: do not agree to your spouse leaving the workforce to stay home with the kids. This will bite you in the ass.

    • I’m not saying she should sue the AP. I think while trying to get her settlement, if things get ugly, she should have her lawyer say, okay, I’m going to depose people in the workplace who knew about the affairs, or depose the APs themselves. Employers HATE this shit. The cheater will not want this crap on public record most likely, or to have his employer rightly assume he is a sexual harassement lawsuit waiting to happen. He will be motivated to make those depositions go away and settle.

      • This can work, however one would have to show that the infidelity has some relevance. Since most states are no fault, one has to be creative to get the evidence of infidelity before the court(hoping that, despite the law, an individual judge will, somehow , give more favorable rulings to the betrayed).
        In my case, I was able to come up with some theory under which the infidelity was relevant to finances. I knew that infidelity, by itself, meant nothing. But, my XW was asking for maintenance, so I subpoened her phone records, arguing that she was capable of paying over $300 a month in phone bills, thereby demonstrating that she had plenty of $$.
        The phone company(Verizon) in response to a subpoena merely for the bills. also sent me her call logs(which I had not requested). These were very illumintaing.
        I think a lawyer in a no fault state has to be creative in using infidelity as leverage, walking a fine line between extortion and a llllegitimate use of infidelity info for a relevant purpose.
        I would think that , unless she can show some relevance, a decent lawyer on the other side would be able to get a ruling disallowing depos of co-workers. The company might retain its own lawyer to do this, as well.
        Unfortunately, CL, I thing it is really hard to leverage infidelity into much of an advantage. I do know of one friend who used it to gain a very favorable settlement with his serial cheating wife. She feigned being a devout person and he did subpoena her affair partner for the hearing( I think he was alleging squandering of marital assets as the relevant issue).
        He had been married to this woman for over 23 years and she had stayed home and never worked. Yet, her embarassment over the threat of having a public record of her cheating resulted in his not paying any maintenance.
        As for the seual harrassment deal, I think you need o show some disparity in power/influence and, it is not clear this guy had. Perhaps the affair parnter was an equal at work, a willing participant etc. Most work place affairs do not involve harrassment. it is two willing participants, both assholes.

      • Threatening to depose the AP is a very quick way to settle and get what you want from the ex. It is also a lot of fun to imagine the hell that breaks loose after the subpoena has been received. I know I enjoyed myself – don’t think anyone else involved in my divorce case did, like, the ex, his lovely AP and her husband!

        • Dissipation of marital assets is something to discuss with your lawyer to see use a leverage to gain a better settlement.

      • That is how I got to a good settlement. After ex’s deposition my lawyers realized that his legal team could never let this go to court. That is the advantage of a workplace affair.
        But these lawyers are expensive, depositions are expensive and Liz has 2 babies.
        Find the smartest matrimonial lawyer you can find. Tell them your story and ask for help. Ask for help from every one of your friends and family.
        You need the support emotionally for yourself and LOTS of help juggling the kids and the process at the same time.
        Learn to let people be there for you.
        Chump Lady is right and I am sorry to say that there is no real fog. We learn that the hard way…one day at a time. His behavior shows what and who he is. Always trust how they behave. It will take a long time to understand it, believe it or begin to wrap your mind around it. You just have to trust us all that he is an asshole.

    • I think the goal wouldn’t be to sue the AP, but to use the threat of exposure to get the best settlement out of the cheater. Being exposed at work could be a great motivator.

      I may use this tactic, too….although my STBX is so entitled he may not even be smart enough to fear exposure.

      • One really has to be careful about being charged with extortion, Duck. If you are tying in the threat of exposure to leveraging a favorable settlement, I think it is critical to never explicitly do so, The use has to be subtle, suggestive etc, so that the cheater comes to the conclusion on his own.
        Sorry to deviate from the theme here. But, unfortunately, a lot of the stuff we would like to d, would like to see happen , simply, cannot be done. We work within a framework where infidelity is meaningless in most cases.
        Ask yourself how could my lawyer, possibly, find a relevant reason to depose co-workers or employers?
        The best use of infidelity in leveraging afavorable divorce settlement is to try to plant the seeds of doubt in the cheater re all this coming out someway. And never, ever explicitly tie the threat of exposure to some tangible , favorable aspect of the settlement or you run the risk of being charged with extortion.

        • Arnold – Very good points. The threat of exposure would be implied and subtle, not stated openly. I wouldn’t spell out the threat of exposure; I wouldn’t need to. He knows how court trials work. He would figure out on his own. If we settle without a trial, his infidelity can be kept a secret. If we have to go to trial, the divorce details will be public record, PLUS deposing the AP (and her husband) would definitely bring the cheating into the light. Not to mention that I bet my STBX doesn’t want to involve the AP and her husband at all! So it might be a motivator to reach a settlement instead of going to trial. I hope.

          Even finding a relevant reason to depose the AP is hard, though, in a no-fault state. In my case, his affair resulted in his “frequent absence from the family home” and affected his performance as a parent….which has shown to be relevant in some cases. Don’t know if it will be relevant in mine or not. He has spent an undisclosed amount of money on the AP, too which may or may not be relevant. He took out a separate credit card for the occasion, and I’ve never seen the bills, so I have no idea if he spent a lot or just a little. From what I’ve heard, judges don’t care if the cheater spends a few hundred on the AP. They tend to care when it’s thousands of dollars.

          Who knows. I don’t even know if my attorney will go for the idea. But it is one of my only leverage points – that the affair is still secret.

          • It is worth a shot. We did get the allegations of infidelity into our pleadings via the marital asset dissipation route and to show my XW’s incredible spending habits. So, it can be done, even in a no-fault state. I suspect it influenced the Judge and he really put a lot of pressure on her and her atty to settle very reasonably.
            I had to pay 18 months of low alimony and she was squirming re the info coming out.
            Of course, I had told everyone already, so it was only the “public record” deal she feared.
            I suspect that if the affair is still being kept secret, one has much more leverage.

    • Still bothers me that even in the state I live in Adultery is a crime but isn’t worth even trying for. Maybe once Tracy gets her book published and is making the rounds promoting it on the morning TV shows there will be more pressure on the system to uphold this law.

      • Bud, it’s a crime in my state, too….I sure wish it was prosectuable. What’s the point of a law if it means nothing? According to my attorney, even though it’s on the books as a law, it still has *no weight* in the divorce. Arrgh.

        • I think it’s prosecutable. They just don’t want to do it because if a case would be won on it the flood gates would open up.

  • Great one CL!

    Liz, I, too, believed that my ex was ‘in a fog’…that he changed overnight into a monster…but this is the line that resonated with me the most in CL blog” “A “fog” didn’t make him that way. That is who he is.”

    Read that line again. Like 100 times. It is true.

    I came to believe and accept that my ex was not in a fog. He was just a narcissistic asshole. He still is.

    CL is right, they feel ENTITLED. That will not change, my dear.

    You are a good woman and mother. Do what CL says…your life will be so much better!

  • Liz, This isn’t a one-time cheat. It wasn’t a one-night stand. It wasn’t a mistake.

    He has been cheating repeatedly. If you stay, he will continue to cheat. Period.

  • The wrongheadedness of “fog” concept, like so many moronic maxims about cheating, is exposed by replacing the word “cheating” with other forms of abuse. No one today take a therapist seriously who said, “Don’t insist that he stop BEATING YOU UP all at once, because he’s in a fog, and if you give him time and space to let the fog clear, he might stop BEATING YOU UP then.”

    Ironically, the person who is usually in a fog (that is, temporarily impaired in their thinking) is the betrayed spouse. A little unconscious projection there by chumps, perhaps.

  • I’ve never heard of “affair fog”, but I can see how useful such an idea would be to cheaters. A perfect way to excuse their behavior without taking responsibility for any of it. My ex tells people he went through “a sordid phase” which apparently lasted the entire 20 years of our marriage, plus several years prior, plus the few years since. No different from fog, I guess.

    As for coming out of the fog and having that moment of clarity…. I don’t believe that ever happens. Or rather, as CL says, I suppose even the disordered have brief moments of clarity, but then immediately stuff and suppress those moments under their entitlement, delusion and lack of conscience.

    One thing is for sure — they never feel sorry, they do not feel genuine remorse and they do not consider what they did to be wrong.

    • If you’ve never heard of “the fog”, you’ve been spared a whole mixing truck full of spackle (to use the local vernacular).

      The only thing I pity more than so many folks who latch onto “the fog” are people who find themselves in an online support group that latches onto the “MLC” (mid-life crisis) and advocates that you “Stand” for your marriage. Some of those folks have been abandoned by their spouses for many years as their spouses pursue affair after affair, and they won’t divorce them, and that’s fantastic cake.

      The MLC crowd have Jesus complexes, IMO: they are on the cross for the sins of their spouse and for their marriage, and when their spouse repents (maybe), then they will finally be Jesus. They like to write in almost-koan form, and their suffering, they argue, is a testament to their strength.

      It’s all very sad. Not a lot of healing going on in those forums. You pretty much have to stop denying the obvious stuff before you can work on why you would even want to deny the obvious stuff, so ?

      • TH, I totally agree. “Standing” for your marriage IMO is a lot like some English school boy being hit with a paddle and saying “Thank you Sir, I’d like another.”

        • There definitely could be an element of “Mascochism” at work with some of the chief proponents of “Standing”.

          They’ve constructed such an elaborate mythos around repeatedly dealing with emotional pain that some of them remind me of the character who deliberately sought out that Box in the movie “Hellraiser”.

          “Paving the way” and becoming a “Hero”, to single out one website, seem like perfect ways to keep people stuck in perpetual victimhood while they seek to transcend the prolonged pain they are volunteering to endure. Very sad stuff.

          • Yeah, don’t “heroes” save people? So the premise is that chumps must save cheaters from their own bad decisions? That isn’t heroic. It’s co-dependent.

            • I read that site early on when I was desperately searching the internet for answers and even in the state I was in I laughed at them and thought ‘seriously? He’s been gone fucking other people for 3, 4, 10 years and you’re still hanging on? Get a life!’.

              Those people are a little bit off.

  • Liz,

    You’ve got a serial cheater on your hands and someone who is freshly divorced from one I will tell you that the only thing to do is run. Just divorce him, lick your wounds, pick yourself up and get on with life. You’ll model for your children how to be treated with respect and you’ll model for them boundaries.

    When I discovered my ex’s escapades it included a close friend of mine, numerous work encounters, online flirt buddies, and numerous other entanglements over the years. People told me about more.

    He was like this before I ever met him, it turns out. A relative told me that he had always been a cheater but everyone thought he’d changed when he met me. Nope. He just hid it really, really well while making sure I was completely entangled in his life, his family, etc. and me being a stay at home mum. You know what? I am fucked financially and I STILL divorced him. I’m scared to death half the time and I STILL divorced him. I’m about to take a job that I am incredibly underqualified for but they seem to think I can do it so I’m GOING TO DO IT.

    Get away from this ‘man’, figure out, no matter how hard it is, a way to survive and then thrive. Get a good therapist if that will help, get your support system in place, get rid of anyone who tries to blame you or does not support you. Get a good lawyer. Do not listen to anything this man says to you or believe that he will ‘help’ you (my ex, to this day, as we continue to figure out some last financial things, will tell me he’s ‘only trying to help’ me. He’s not, trust me).

    If you stay with him he will do this again. If you talk about anything other than kids or finances he will try to play you. He will hurt you when you least expect it.

    Please get away from this man. He’s not a nice person and probably never will be.

      • Nord,

        You are my hero. In this difficult time for me, trying to see the forest through the trees, you made this post. Cut to the chase. Put it in perspective. Your words made a difference in my life today. Thank you!

        • Thanks Atticus! My divorce has been pretty horrible and what I found out about my ex has been equally horrible but 18+ months later I’m slowly putting it all back together and while I probably still spend far too much time thinking about what happened I am more at peace than I have been in years. You want to know why? Because I no longer have this weird feeling that something is off – a feeling I had for years and a feeling that made me into someone I never was: an angry, frustrated person who was negative and miserable. The person I was long ago – the happy, funny, positive, cool person – is back most of the time. The only time I get frustrated and a bit nuts is when Ex gets in touch and has a go at me. But he doesn’t see that from me anymore because I refuse to give him even one bit of anything about me ever again.

          Stay strong and don’t let these bastards get you down.

          • Nord — Me too, me too! You nailed it. That weird feeling you had — I had that too. I spent years thinking something was off in our relationship, but he denied and denied all affairs. Once he confessed to me during our divorce, that feeling (fog of the BS?) was replaced by anger at his betrayal — but also a little bit of relief that I was NOT crazy and those weird feelings were telling me something.

            Liz — he will not figure out how badly he messed up, and he is not in a fog. He is an asshole. Plain and simple.

            • I didn’t even think it was affairs but I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t figure out why we had this great life and were seemingly a great team with a great present and future yet something wasn’t quite right. I actually, a few months before dday, was considering going to therapy without telling anyone in an attempt to figure out what was wrong with ME. Well, turns out there’s not much wrong with me other than the usual stuff that make me unique :). What was really wrong was that Ex was screwing around behind my back for years and basically living a double life. What a relief. I’m not crazy, you’re not crazy, they’re just assholes.

          • Yep, I didn’t like the person I was becoming in my marriage either. And I don’t mean that in a “I just want to be a permanent adolescent and not work at anything” way. I was no longer being myself because I was too busy jumping through hoops and trying to keep my Ex happy, and it turned into a 18×7 job after she quit her last job and was around the house all day (I work from home usually).

            It was exhausting how much energy I was pouring into trying to keep her happy. Huge waste of energy and time, and I was neglecting myself. That’s my bad. I could have stopped that at any time, but it really took a 2nd affair for me to say, “This is not something I can do anything about”.

            School of hard knocks stuff.

            • Yep, huge amounts of energy being put into him and everyone else and no one putting anything into me. For a number of years. Sure, he’d throw me a kibble now and again, particularly when things were going badly for him at work and he was scared and needed extra-special kibbles but essentially we were living his life on his terms his way.

              Now I do it my way and I’m feeling pretty good.

            • It was exhausting for me as well, bending over backwards and walking on eggshells so as not to upset XH. At my very lowest point, I started noticing that EVERY man I encountered – the postman, checkout clerks, guys filling up next to me at the gas station – EVERY man treated me with more respect than XH. They’d hold the door, smile, say hello – basic courtesies that XH no longer bothered with.

              It was then that it began to dawn on me that maybe I WASN’T the problem after all – that XH was, in fact, a jerk, who was acting like a petulant child because I told him he couldn’t play with his girlfriend any more.

              • I didn’t really walk on eggshells, I just wasn’t getting anything…and yet I was accused of not giving him anything. Sigh….what does it matter, you know? I had to go through a bunch of old emails for my lawyer today and saw how, within two weeks, he went from sending me loving ‘you’re hte greatest, Nord’ emails (kibble alert!) to ‘I’m done, I can’t do this’ kind of emails that immediately rewrote history. It was that fast and it kind of freaked me out to see it in black and white because I’ve never gone back and read those.

                He’s an asshole who essentially, I can see now after reading those emails, that the basic problem was that I figured it out, I called him on his shit, I was no longer going to spackle for him and not only did it infuriate him it scared him to death because he knew that the jig was up and he either got help or he got out.

                Within days I kicked him out because it was obvious he didn’t have what it took to face up to his fucked upness.

    • Nord, you are spot on! I’m am learning every day how true everything that you said is. Thank you for saying it so clearly and forcefully. I truly believed (like a fool) my STBX when he told me about all the things he would “help” me with before he moved out — such as doing a couple of home repairs and giving me a lump sum of money out of his retirement account that I could use for emergencies. HA! Never saw any money and the one home repair he did has turned out to be a disaster that I am continuing to pay for to get fixed properly. These narcissists SAY very pretty things and then DO very nasty things.

      • I’ve been through hell and back again and still have to deal with stuff and if I knew then what I know now I would have done things so very, very differently. It took me a long time, it seems, to realise that he really is a prize asshole who does not give a shit about me, the kids, or anyone but himself. I don’t think he really cares about the OW other than the kibble high she currently provides (not that well, it would seem, as he is miserable but whatever).

        Also, get off social media: block him and anyone who might get or give any info about him. Do not stalk him or any of his side pieces. Just ice him. He may come back and beg. Don’t listen to him. This man WILL cheat again. You deserve a life without that kind of crap and a chance to live a fulfilling and wonderful life full of people who value you. This man does not value you. Let him go play with his sad, little needy willy while you build something fantastic that your kids will be proud of.

  • My first XW, a serial cheater par excellence, once told me that we should refer to her cheating times as her “restless period”(this is the same woman who later told me that there was no physical cheating, but “the chemistry had become sexualized”. She loves that type of word salad, as CL calls it).
    I told her I preferred the alliteration of the “prowling period”. Pissed her off. Guess it was not mystical enoguh.

    • Oh. My. G-d. Arnold that is hilarious and disgusting and awful all at once…. Her “restless period”? Give me a break, they’re all delusional!!

    • Now Arnold, I know from your postings that your ex-wife was definitely ‘the devil’ in a skirt and heels and VERY selfish. You absolutely had me gasping for air from laughter with: I told her I preferred the alliteration of the “prowling period”. OMG- that is hilarious!!!!

      • If anyone needs spiritual guidance and help with chem dep, she is a certified spiritual counselor at “The Retreat” , an upscale treatment center in Wayzata , MN.
        This spiritually evolved soul left her kids night after night when they were toddlers to pursue “connection” by having “sex with strangers”.
        See, her high level emotional needs were not being met. So, she got them met by fucking a bunch of strange men and having a couple lesbian encounters, to boot.
        I am sure she can guide us on the right path.

        • OMG, Arnold, talk about hypocrisy! Isn’t it amazing how these fuck ups think they are so above the rest of us, and that they have something special to offer? Your ex sounds like a perfect match for mine, the freak who quit his excellent career to become an actor/singer/author/dancer/screenplay writer/anti-bullying campaign founder and motivational speaker. Too bad he’s actually bankrupt, homeless, unemployed, broke and a con artist. Plus a lying cheater who fucks any one, male or female, that holds still long enough, then piously bleats about what a good Christian he is and so thankful for Jesus. I’m sure he and your ex would enjoy discussing how spiritually enlightened they are.

  • Sadly ‘
    I think some times the “chump” is the one who is in an” affair fog”.
    A girlfriend found out that her husband of 11 yrs had been having an affair for 2.5 yrs, with woman is met on Ashley Madison. She had sent him a text one evening, ending the affair. All hell broke loose, and they fought bitterly all night, really all weekend. He admitted he had been on A.M. for 10 years !
    He apologized, begged forgiveness.
    14 months later they are still together, they are going to make “it” work.
    Sounds to me …”it” never did !
    She is PISSED ! not at him …. but the OW !
    She will never leave him, (he makes a very nice living).
    Not only is she mad at the OW , but me, as well for even trying to talk to her, and NO she will not even read CL.
    She is in a “fog” perpetuated by the reconiliation industry.
    “There are none so blind… as those who refuse to see !”
    “Foggy logic ” works both ways !

    • In a Fog or just blatantly codependent?

      Maybe if she just… and she…, and then if she… he will finally love her, accept her, and validate her, and these things will make her whole?

      If somebody is a taker, I think it’s probably a good idea to look at the people close to them and look for codependency.

    • So 10 of the 11 years they’ve been married, he’s been on Ashley Madison dating other women? What “marriage” is there to save? And my guess is, if he’s been cheating that long, he’s never spent much time not cheating. So the whole thing is a farce.

      She knows who he IS now, and either that’s okay with her, or it’s not. For the right price (her standard of living), it’s okay. And she’ll tell herself that suddenly a decade of serial cheating is just going to go poof! away and now he’s Different.

      I was that chump for about a year — worst year of my life. Hopium is crack. It’s delusional to think a serial cheater like that is going to change — especially if you stick around.

      She just sounds afraid to me — to start over after 11 years of sunk costs. Your message is probably threatening to her now.

      And blaming the OW, while believing in the “change” in your spouse is classic. Look, it sounds like there are a whole host of bad, bad women who led him astray. One lining up after the next to take advantage of him. WTFever!

      • Co -dependency ?
        Yes !
        He has a pre-nup on the house, boat. lake condo.
        I think she feels as tho he screwed up …. why should she suffer the inconviance of moving out ?
        I think it is more like Roseanne Barr once joked,
        “If my husband ever cheated, I would NEVER divorce him….
        I would stay and make his life a living hell !”

        • Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Roseanne divorce Tom Arnold after he had an affair with Kim Silva?

          And didn’t she “become friends” with him while still married and while he was addicted to cocain and an alcoholic?

          And didn’t she marry him 4 days after her divorce to her first husband became final?

          I’m just sayin’, maybe her idea on that ‘evolved’? lol.

      • “Hopium is crack”. that is quite the provocative book title. 🙂
        Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    • She may not listen to you now, but there may likely come a point in the future where she is *fed up* with her husband and wants an answer other than the RIC. You’ll be the first person she’ll call.

    • Honey,

      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Some people simply do not want to be saved. They prefer to live in their delusional head-in-the-sand world, and/OR, they are masochists and to them, pain like this feels GOOD. “Killing” the other woman and “killing” the messenger are the only way that she can cope and keep her delusions alive.

      Will she come to you one day with an “oh you were so right, what was wrong with me?” very unlikely. I know the feeling of desperately wanting that vindication because we hate to see a friend suffering, but it sounds like its not really that bad— for HER, that is. Cognitive Dissonance.*

      *”Mental conflict that occurs when beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new information. The concept was introduced by the psychologist Leon Festinger (1919–89) in the late 1950s. He and later researchers showed that, when confronted with challenging new information, most people seek to preserve their current understanding of the world by rejecting, explaining away, or avoiding the new information or by convincing themselves that no conflict really exists.”

      Yes, its very sad, but until she’s ready to face her glaring reality, her mind is going to keep on deluding her, because the alternative is not something she can deal with.

    • Smart Ass Texan, I agree that “There are none so blind…as those who refuse to see!” The best thing that we can do as recovering chumps is to go out, rebuild our lives, and let women who “choose” to do the mental gymnastics (which is hell), spackle even MORE, (which is Hard work) and continue to wonder if he’s cheating and eventually realize that it is STILL not so great.

      The sad thing is the husband succeeded in fooling her for 10 years and if he’s THAT good he’ll get even better at flying under the radar for the NEXT 10 years!! How SAD is THAT?

      Keep in contact with her to the degree that you can. When she sees that YOU have moved on and made YOUR life terrific and are NOT doing mental gymnastics, spackling no more and she MIGHT begin to open her eyes. Success in our lives IS the best thing for ourselves AND the people we love and care about.

      • While ,I have no major issues in my marriage, I will just leave her alone, see if she reachs out to me.
        I guess she lacks the self confidence and self respect to leave this situation.
        She has a good job, no kids, (second marriage for both, his kids are in their 40’s).
        She is just so accepting of a lying, cheating , back stabber !
        She told me,she loves him more than anyone in the world ! Too bad … because he sure as hell doesn’t love her.
        I will never understand it…. Oh well .

    • OMG. Totally appropriate. “Get inside and lock your doors”. Yes, wish I had.
      “What you can’t see, can hurt you.” Right again.

  • 1999, after being together for 8 years my spouse cheated on me. He did all the right things, by the books that are out there. Apologized, said he never actually had the sex, he couldn’t do it, opened up his email accounts to me, his browsing history, came home on time, never took a trip without me again, cried and begged me to forgive him. It took me 2 years to trust him again…

    2010, I come out of a deep depression over the death of my mother and discover spouse is cheating again. He was cheating the entire time since he was caught based on what I discovered later. He just got better at hiding it for a long damn time. He told me he would break it off multiple times, that he loved me but he never actually did it. The last time we spoke about the cheating he insisted I was to blame for it. Marriage counselors and all the books out there gave him the balls to lay that shit on me, by that time I had learned better and told him he was 100% responsible for his cheating. That enraged him. FWIW, he had been drinking non-stop for months at the time – he was so fucked up he told me his truth. Most chumps are that lucky, the cheater will keep on lying so they can keep on keeping you and the AP.

    Initially, he did come to me in tears and telling me he had completely fucked up and he could not live without me, he loved me, he would do anything to fix it. When I took him back each of 4 times, he would do nothing to fix it, not even stop contacting the AP. The point is, my cheater never had an epiphany leading to a belief that he fucked up. He had an epiphany that if he told me that, well, I’d believe him – he got crazy when I stopped believing him. I too wanted him to admit what he’d done, it’s a useless wish – even if they do you can’t believe them because they suck.

  • “(seriously, what sort if woman could get involved with a man whose wife was pregnant??”

    –This is the wrong question to ask. The right question is, “what sort of man cheats on a woman when his wife is pregnant” The answer is an asshole.

    Dump him. You and your children deserve way better.

    • This made me think back to my first pregnancy, when I was 8 months pregnant and Ex stayed out until the middle of the night several times. Phone was turned off and I would be pacing the floors with worry in the dark, hoping he was ok. It never occured to me that he was cheating – we were so happy about the coming baby, right? – and he always had a good excuse. And I bought his excuses. I look back now and figure he was cheating. I will never know but a man who stays out till all hours when his pregnant wife is home – and lets her worry and not sleep – is a man who is capable of anything.

      • Nord – Reading your post, I am having flashbacks of when my STBX would stay out until all hours of the night, while I was pregnant and/or with a newborn. This happened several times a week. It was our norm. Often he wouldn’t bother giving an excuse because he was *entitled* to come and go as he pleased. I’m not even kidding.

        It all happened so slowly that I didn’t realize how fucked up the behavior was, until I moved out. Married people should act like they’re *married*. They shouldn’t be out “playing” until 2am while their spouse paces the floor, alone (or with a baby).

        • Yep, boiled frog. My therapist keeps saying it over and over again. Little slips that are excused away give room for bigger ‘slips’ until suddenly, years later, you’re living a giant cluster fuck.

          Amazing how we don’t see it happening because it’s so insidious. God, what an asshole he is.

          • Unfortunately, I have a “me too”. During my first pregnancy, my STBXH would stay out, binge drink, stumble in, and then “pee” the marital bed. Great, huh? This went on 2 – 3 times a week. Peeing the bed- at least once every two weeks. Gross, huh? I later found out that when our son was about 13 months, he started an affair with his bimbo married office assistant with 2 kids. The whole thing went on for 9 months of hellish drinking binges and absenteeism, before the lid got blown off the situation. Bimbo married office assistant with kids filed a phony “sexual harassment” claim demanding $10,000. I was stupid enough NOT to walk away, defend him against all claims for the sake of the children and for what? Reconciliation made be a doormat. Although he to my knowledge never cheated on me again, he had NO problem refusing to pay back my mother huge sums of money loaned to him. . . What an Asshole!!!!

      • Mine liked to sleep in late on the weekends and would get FURIOUS if the kids woke him before 10 am. It was my job to get up and keep the kids quiet until “the king” arose. When my aunt came to help me with baby #3, she thought I was crazy. “Tell him to get his lazy ass out of bed and be a considerate husband and father by letting YOU sleep until 10 am!”

        It NEVER crossed my mind! Even though my own brother – who worked full time while his wife was a SAHM – would always get up early on Saturday morning and take his kids to McDonalds for breakfast so his wife could sleep in and have time to herself while he had time with his little ones.

        You’re right, Nord – like a frog in the fire. You don’t realize how much sh*t you put with until someone else points it out…

        • Or you slowly open your eyes and realise just how fucked up thinks really were and how much you were blind to, willfully or not.

  • “You know how you can tell if people are assholes? They behave like assholes”

    CL I <3 you!!! This is so dead on!!

  • CL is right on this one. People’s behavior says a lot more about who they are than what they say.

    I know of a case where the cheater/narc/sorry excuse for a dad tried to say that his affair was all his obsessive compulsive disorder, that he slipped up and threw himself into it mindlessly, etc. His spouse believed this because she wanted to save the marriage. Well, come to find out, he kept the affair going.

    So when folks say it was the “fog,” they are rationalizing, making excuses. Many narcs manipulate Chumps capacity for hopium. They know how to elicit Chump-sympathy and they can set things up so the Chump creates pseudo-emotions for them. (“Oh, your father didn’t really mean that….” “Oh, he did that, but — well — it was all impulsive, in-the-moment. He didn’t realize….”) Chumps are too optimistic and will fill in the emotional gaps of manipulative partners who are good actors. So, stand back and look at the actions. If you smell a narcissist, then it’s all over. Get away. And beware the temptation to puff on the hopium peace pipe when you really need to pack your things and build some walls to protect yourself. There are better people out there. Just look around here!

    • I totally agree! It’s like saying to yourself, or to your children as you model behavior for them:

      “you are not worthy, let that person treat you like crap. Be polite, they have needs. you are not important.”

      • denvergirl,

        You said it.

        Staying with a narc risks turning your kids into either a little narc or (greater risk here) future chumps. The kids “learn” that they should put up with bad treatment. In fact, it’s just good interpersonal diplomacy to pull back, limit or go no contact with people who treat you badly. Doesn’t matter why they are, what title they have (parent, husband, wife, etc.), if they treat you badly, then you should distance yourself from them, physically if you can, emotionally if that’s your only option.

        Anyway, glad we are tracking with each other on this!

  • I had never heard of “affair fog.” I guess this is the excuse my father used to my mother…. up and disappeared one day, came back 2 years later, claimed he could not recall the first 5 months (stuck in the fog??), then was too ashamed to come back. That is, until the girlfriend wanted to get married, so he came back for fake reconciliation, then divorced my mother.

    As for his fog, Liz, no such thing. He just does not want to give up what he’s got.
    I share your pain somewhat… I found out 13 years later that the “infatuation” my ExH had, and we were in therapy about, was a full on affair. He never showed real remorse, and by not ‘fessing up, it is clear he was only worried about getting caught, and what I and others thought of him.
    Never mind that I got pregnant immediately after that, and our daughter could have been born with birth defects since I never got tested for STDs before the pregnancy (yes, I was a big time chump. I truly thought he was being honest and open about everything… why else stay in the marriage??)

    You and your children deserve more than this.
    Trust that he sucks.
    He _might_ come out of this “fog,” but long after you have moved on and created a wonderful life for you and your children. I know I hope that for my ex, but I will not hold my breath.

    Hugs to you and your children.

  • Thank you to everyone who has take the time to leave comments and encouragement, I’ve read them all and really appreciate your words. I’m seeing a solicitor tomorrow and trying to keep the walls high – as I can when there are children involved – believe me I wouldn’t have a problem with no-contact if it weren’t for them.
    This blog has really kept me going the last few months – thank you Chumplady for responding to my email x

    • Sending you powerful Chump Nation mojo for your legal meeting. Remember: The sound of lawyers and judges talking (as insufferable as that is) is the sound of your as*hole ex being being given the bum’s rush from your life.

    • All the best to you, don’t forget for a second we are here for you and doing the right thing for your babies will see you through! XO

  • Liz: I have spent the last 10 months hoping my husband’s fog would lift. How could he throw everything we have worked for and our 23 yrs together for a woman he has only seen a handful of times that he suddenly loves because they reconnected on facebook. As I write this I feel like crying again. Damn him. My therapist says I am slowly facing reality. Well I don’t like this reality. Maybe I’m in a fog. Of course suddenly I’m to blame for all our problems. He did this to you when you were most vunerable. He s–cks. Sorry ranting a bit tonight. You did nothing wrong he and his OW are fucktards and the sooner you are done with him the better. Get a lawyer and go for his balls.

  • This is off the topic, but I had to share it with people who can appreciate approaching “meh” the best.

    Just looked at ex NPD-serial cheater’s photo sharing website. (I know, I know. No judging yet.)

    He posted a picture today of a VERY young woman’s pair of legs from the super short, tacky cut off denim shorts down to heels she was trying on.His comment was, “Shopping can be so much fun!” He’s 68. Ick.

    My reaction was, with a slightly curled lip, “Ugh. That’s gross.” No tears, no knife to the heart, no visceral reaction. It’s messed up that someone who told me I was to blame for his 15 years of cheating because I was emotionally unavailable spends money he probably doesn’t have (he was at least $100,000 in debt on Dday) to fly to Russia once a month for his “girlfriend experience.” Who has problems with emotional intimacy?

    I think I will celebrate with a cocktail now! Yay me!

    • Is he shopping for underaged prostitutes or shoes? Hard to tell from that comment. Ick indeed.

      From what I read those Russian “girlfriends” know how to fleece a fellow. Karma’s a babushka-ed bitch.

  • CL,

    Here is another suggestion for your book/your project (since I think the book will be the start of something, not the culmination).

    I wonder what would happen if this blog were translated into another language? I know other cultures pretty well, and in lots of places (believe it or not), gender roles are more rigid/much worse for women than in the U.S. Narcissism can be supported. I know translation is not likely now, but the book might get into other languages, and I think it could have a strong impact. I’m sure most of your readers are U.S.-based, but the lady above refers to “a solicitor,” so she’s probably from the UK or the Commonwealth. I just wonder what would happen if there was even an occasional article (or maybe just your main articles) translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese…. etc. Now, I know you are probably too busy for this now, but keep it in mind. The way you write incorporates some very traditional American virtues. (Think Lincoln or Frederick Douglass.) I think that could echo in other cultures, too……

    • LOL, David. 🙂 I appreciate your ambitions for me, but I can hardly handle my one site in English! Imagine deciphering the comments in Afrikaans or Urdu… !

      You dream big!

      • This is way down the road, but I think it’s very possible. The one thing that you would need is an outstanding translator. It would be very difficult to translate your unique writing style — a mixture of eloquent, earthy near-slang and profound insight — into another language. But it would be worth it!

        I think your message would resonate.

      • There is a blogger that I enjoy very much, her name is Garance Dore, and her site is http://www.garancedore. She is French, and started her whole site in her language and when it began to catch on got a translator for English. Now where I live, and HOW I live there is not much call for high fashion. (I’m a big tomboy/fisherwoman) But she’s SO charming and universal I enjoy reading her and she’s become quite famous. It CAN be done CL, baby steps…but just think how many people you can help…and like others have said- the whole bigger issue of showing “another side” of living, with morals, ethics and a conscience. These people are PROUD of being nasty, mean, greedy homewreckers. They show total contempt for innocent people that entered into a CONTRACT for God’s sake often in God’s name! And then they are screwed, unless they are lucky enough to find CL…

        • Thanks, Toni. I totally agree.

          CL, you could start with some selective translations of your main articles. It could just be a link off the main site. And, of course, the book should be translated. I’d suggest adding an extra chapter to the book, something like “International Narcissism,” where you cite some examples of how the n-plague is global, not local. I think there are other cultures out there where this is a problem. I’d keep the first book pretty Americano-specific, but the last chapter might branch out.

          Anyway, you have started a movement. It will go places, and you deserve every bit of success that it gives you. As I’ve often said, I’m not a victim of infidelity (Chump Son), but the patterns you describe in CL-speak have helped me understand key relationships in my life.

          Carry On! Chump Nation has begun to march!

  • There is something to the whole midlife crisis thing, I really don’t know what you’d call it in marriages where there has been no infidelity at all over 20-30 years, suddenly the wife or husband totally out of charater goes off the rails and has an affair. I don’t think anyone could hide a personality disorder for 25 years, possibly hormonal changes in both men and women at middle age bring it on. There is more going on here than simple adultery.

    • Not all cheaters have personality disorders.

      Some have exit affairs, or just make the bad decision to cheat. The betrayed still needs to ask themselves if they can live with the cheating, or not. If it’s hormones? Fine, but the main question still stands. Will it actually stop? If not, then can you just carry on and live with it as-is?

    • There’s something to midlife crisis, there’s something to male menopause too. Those people who have some self-awareness may make it through it with competent help. I remember my dad being depressed for a few years but he never cheated on the family.

      My ex was a pompous asshole, but he was MY asshole and we had a pretty tight family or so I thought, until he started making serious serious money. Then women who wouldn’t have given him the time of day if he were a garbage man were throwing themselves at him and he didn’t turn anyone down. Finally, one went for the brass ring and left her husband for him. Oops. Out-manipulated.

      Did male menopause/midlife crisis figure into it or was that just a temporal coincidence with him hitting his big money years? Doesn’t matter to me if he can’t tell right from wrong and he’ll walk away from his own flesh and blood. Screw him.

      • Actually, I do agree there has to be something else — and I’ll just toss this in since I’ve never heard anyone delve into it except the work of one guy: Joseph Chilton Pierce, who blames a lot of this on the rise in bottle feeding babies. I think his words went something along the line of “the un-bonded, under-nurtured bottle-fed male is the current scourge of the planet”

        They have an un-fillable hole when it comes to the opposite sex.

        • Hmm. . . interesting theory on the bottle feeding babies. I nursed and continued to ‘comfort nurse’ my son for 4 1/2 years. My STBXH was resentful about my nursing saying it was unnecessary. I tandem nursed the kids when my daughter was born- she’s competitive with her big brother and self-weaned at 1.5 years when I weaned my son at 4.5 years.

          I don’t know how many times I heard: I was infantilizing my son blah, blah, blah. I didn’t listen to the STBX’s crap. Oh and my son? He’s close to me, 17 years old and he’s 5 foot 10 inches 185 pounds and has played football for 9 years- he’s a fullback. He is enlisting in the marine corps following graduation wanting to be military police officer.

          My daughter ALSO plays tackle football- with the boys. This is her 6th season and NO she is not a kicker but has played middle line backer and will play receiver/running back at 5’2″ and 126 pounds. Yes Sirree!!! I really infantilized my kids, huh? STBXH = Dumb Asshole!

          • I breast-fed all three of my sons for 1 + yrs, because it was awesome! We are very close to this day, and they are all great guys ( and way more mature than their 56 year old Dad, LOL)

      • Oh I think theres something to it too, wrinkle creams, jogging, etc. and altho’ he admitted he’s cheated all along he began flaunting it in my face. All the while letting me know I was unattractive to him after going through menopause. Serious medical problems for me…but of course I didn’t matter..only his ego did. As if he was all that Attractive with the balding and beer gut. Yuck!

      • Not a fan of Midlife Crises Hypotheses: The empirical data is too contradictory.

        Show me somebody who has had a mid-life crisis, and 99.9 times out of 100, I will show you somebody who has had poor integrity and more than a few crises in their life. That’s what the following studies tell us anyway.

        Sure, anybody can ponder abstract models of development based largely on conjecture and dealing with a few hard cases, but the rubber meets the road with the data, and the data doesn’t support MLC, and so I think you’re probably dealing with confirmation bias when somebody says that somebody else is having a Midlife Crisis.

        The idea of a MLC pretty much loses any meaning at all once you find out that most people in their mid-life don’t have them, and those that do usually have them many times through their lives, and folks are more prone to crises at earlier (and later) stages of life (being put in an old folks home is hard on people and young people have a lot of trouble adjusting to all that work for often little wages and no work/life balance).

        Show me somebody whose having a midlife crisis, and I’ll eithr show you somebody having an affair, or I’ll show you somebody who has poor ego-integrity, and chances are… they have had poor ego integrity since they were young adults.

        • Yeah, i tried to convince myself at one point that Ex was in the throes of a massive midlife crisis. But then I had to face up to the fact that he had been doing some version of entitlement his whole life and this was just the Grand Poobah of fuckups. Good luck to him, I say. I would hate to be so confused at his age.

          • I think his “mid life crisis” angle was fear of not being able to attract younger sex partners for the rest of his life…

          • My ex was seeing a therapist for months — projecting his shit all over me in the sessions, trying to get the psychiatrist to prescribe something for me! Of course he wouldn’t do it since I wasn’t his patient, so the ex began trying to get me to go.

            I ultimately bargained this way: I would go to his shrink if he would go to my naturopath and get a prescription for natural testosterone. That was interesting. The shrink could tell I didn’t need Prozac or anything else, and the hormone level assay (he was on fumes) blew the cover that there was nothing wrong with him.

            He got his transdermal testosterone cream prescription and within 1 week I had the old guy back. Sensitive. Apologetic. Happy (genuinely, not deluded). Unfortunately, that only lasted for the few months the prescription did and then he slipped back into the old grouch mindset and there was nothing I could do – I’m not his mother – if he can’t take it upon himself to get the prescription renewed — there’s nothing further I can to but watch the train wreck get geared up to happen again. Which it did.

            None of the above is meant to make any excuses for him — like I said, I don’t believe it has anything to do with knowing the difference between right and wrong. He’s a miserable SOB and it’s sickening that he apparently likes being that way.

        • We all go through stages in our lives…hard times, crisis, etc. We may workout more, get a new haircut, buy a new car, start a new career…..but we don’t cheat on our spouses! A mid-life crisis is still no excuse, in my mind.

    • Mid-life crisis having, bottle fed, personality disordered, sex/substance addicted, foggy, assholes… are still assholes. It really doesn’t matter why, as long as we get the hell away from them.

  • Liz,

    The advice of CL and the subsequent posters is sound….take in it….listen to it, as hard as it may be to accept. We here in the CL community have been through it, are going through it, and just like you are trying to make *sense* of it. We try to justify the actions of someone we love, we blame ourselves, and we take a burden on our shoulders we should never carry. Trust that in finding CL, you have recognized a voice in your head seeking validation for wanting to say, “You are a depraved asshole and you don’t deserve the time of day”. There are A LOT of websites, forums, and psychobabble blogs that will tell you differently. You can read you were supposed to *affair proof* your marriage (my favorite) by being the same exciting woman you were when you met and had your partnership….but what these websites and forums never address, which is addressed here, is what about him (or her, depending on your situation)? What these websites and forums never taken into account is accountability and responsibility. It means, pardon my french, fucking nothing, that you weren’t the woman who wanted to have sex at the drop of hat. You were interested in family. In partnership. Those were you values. And your husband, with his chicanery (my dad’s word, not mine, but I love it so), made you believe he believed in the same. His actions say otherwise, and you need to place this man where he belongs…in the past, and give yourself every reason to believe you deserve a brighter and better future. It’s scary with children. Believe me I know. It is a daily fear of mine that my husband’s “very special friend” will teach my stepdaughter (who I always saw as my own) that lies and deceit are the way to go. That they will pay off with a very Hollywood version of romance and happiness. Stand up for yourself and be the role model for your children you want to be. You don’t have to accept any of your husband’s abusive behavior (it is abusive) and you need to run. Just as Nord advised. It’s scary, it’s filled with doubt, it’s having to accept to you don’t need this person’s “love”….but it so worth it. You will find that worth. You will find that confidence. You will find everything you deserve to have in life. Believe.

    • Chicanery-great word. I’m making it my word of the week. 🙂

      And yes, I am not the girl I was 20+ years ago. You want to know why? Because I grew up and more things came into my life, like kids and family and career and all sorts of grownup things. But I was essentially the same person, just a grownup version. Ex seems to have literally reverted back to the young man he was when I met him. He takes final OW on the same holidays we had when we first got together and seems to be following that same script from 20 years ago, with her in my role…except it’s fast forwarding at warp speed and not working out quite the same way.

      But you know what? I don’t want to be 20 something again. Obvioiusly I was an idiot back then or I would have seen through his crap and run like hell. I’m much more together now and even though I don’t have that gorgeous 20 something year old body anymore I’m probably sexier, wrinkles and all, because I know who I am now, and I had no idea back then.

      • “It’s scary, it’s filled with doubt, it’s having to accept to you don’t need this person’s ‘love’….but it so worth it.”.

        Somebody once told me, “Everything in Life is potentially frightening because everything in Life ends in Death”. Dark humor, I know.

        Looking back now, it’s not like you’re taking unecessary risk by removing yourself from an abusive situation. It’s riskier staying in a situation where you keep being abused, and the risk is to your sanity and general well being.

        Affording yourself the kind of compassion that you’ve been wasting on a cheating spouse is reducing risk to your general sense of contentment, and let’s face it: all that anxiety cannot be good for your physical health either; it’s not like you’re going base-jumping or something crazy; you’re just letting go of how you wanted somebody else to behave, acknowledging what they actually are doing, and admitting you have no control over their choices, and you acting accordingly.

        I say that, but it did take quite a bit of humiliation for me to realize that’s how things were.

        Life is good now 🙂 I actually have whole spans of weeks of general contentment.

        • I too probably took more humiliation than I should have, mainly because I could not wrap my head around what was happening. But, like you, I now have big stretches of time where I am so content and happy.

          Just yesterday I was in the car with one of the kids and we were joking around and I suddenly realised I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. I can’t remember the last time I felt that kind of pure, unadulterated joy – just a real moment of great happiness.

          Life is good and getting better all the time.

  • Ah, the fog! I kept waiting for it to lift. I had to be patient with STBX because his work was difficult/his mother died/he found out he was adopted. Oh, so THAT’S why he’s having affairs! I need to do what he wants, so he can come out of the fog! I have to not bring up the affair, not get mad that he never stopped talking to OW, not get mad that he had sex with her, not get mad when he lied to me…because HE WAS IN A FOG. I had to not get mad when he spent nights with her, and be totally accepting when he wanted her to move in with us! Because of the fog! If I could just be the perfect, understanding wife, he’d come out of the fog, and things would be great again.

    Yes, I did this. No matter how hard I tried to be cheerful and accepting, I truly hated it. The fog – WHEN is it going to lift? That’s what I kept thinking. When will he see just how good and patient I am, and drop the OW?

    Never. He wasn’t confused – he was just doing whatever he felt like, and how dare I tell him what to do (like drop the OW). He kept stringing me along, and he and the OW kept taking more and more from me (well, you COULD have our online passwords, but that’s so invasive – we need our privacy. No, you can’t go on this trip we’re planning – oh, but tell the kids I love them). I had to be pulled out of this situation by my family, because I didn’t want to let go – the fog’s about to lift! I kept thinking.

    It did lift, but the fog was around ME, not STBX. He and the OW are predators. My family and I were used for years – he hid it well. I spackled for him, not even knowing that I was spackling. The gorgeous, kind, caring, misunderstood, wanting-to-give-back-to-society man I met all those years ago, that I was convinced still existed? He’s an aging, but-I-still-look-young-so-I’ll-act-and-dress-that-way, selfish man-boy whose APs came from his classrooms and his former students of Facebook. He’s a “man” who was willing to give up a good home life, two kids who loved him, and a wife who adored him for a 19 year old piece of predatory trash who “understood” him and was sorry that she was hurting his family, but she “couldn’t stop herself falling in love” (gag!).

    The fog’s lifted. I’ve moved on.

  • Liz,

    My ex cheated on me during my pregnancies. Boot him – he won’t change. At best he’ll come back, behave for a bit all the while getting pissed off at you because you ‘can’t get over it’, and you’ll be full of unending anxiety just worrying about what he is or isn’t doing behind your back. He’s not gong to reform himself because he was never really in it to begin with.

    IMHO easier on the kids to leave call it quits when they’re too young to go through the split-up drama. Your lovely babies need you happy and whole. Prepare yourself that the kids may not get any more reliability from him either way.

  • I grew up watching very little TV and I’ve never really gotten into it, I prefer to read more often. I watch movies and now some of the series since they seem to be where all the energy goes now. I never could get into the reality shows or the talent shows – I don’t even know what they are, people think I’m full of shit when I say it but it’s the truth. The only other show I watch is Jeopardy, my ex hated it so I rediscovered it after he left. Maybe it’s because I don’t really dream about being famous? I think this has to be the kernel of the talent shows, watching them and pretending it could be you?

  • I see these other blogs & forums where these woman have has 2, 3, 4 or more DDays & have chosen to stay & I just shake my head, like WTF are you doing? Are you mental? My sister’s husband cheated on her several times & after the 2nd time of forgiveness it was hard to support her. How do you respect someone who doesn’t respect themselves? And who am I to judge right? Well it has happened to me, that is why I judge. I’m a 3 strikes your out kind of person. My ex cheated on me twice that I knew of & when I suspected a 3rd time. I didn’t even stick around to find out, I bolted & it was the best decision of my life. I don’t know why so many women focus on the OW when you can use the OW as a great tool. A tool to get information out of a as well as a key to unlocking the mysteries of what a piece of crap your husband is or can potentially be. I thanked the OW’s in my sitch. They saved me thousands of dollars in what I would’ve spent in private investigator and decoy fees. I eventually was fortunate enough to see the bastard for who he is & got out. Ten years later he is now remarried with a new child. That poor girl. My DDay is a celebration day. A “thank your husband’s mistress” day!

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