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Dear Chump Lady, I’m obsessed with the other woman

cakemanDear Chump Lady,

About a year ago, I discovered a treasure trove of dirty emails between my husband (to whom I’ve been married for nearly 20 years) and his college girlfriend. Some were so raunchy I was surprised my husband even talked like that to a woman. Of course, she was just as raunchy as he was. I guess it’s “their thing.” Whatever. They have “explosive chemistry” and “always have.”

He said they were just friends and that it was just online, but I really doubt that. He travels a lot for work and many of these emails were loving and caring. No way they didn’t meet up. He has begged me for forgiveness and said he’ll never contact her again. A few months back, I found out that he’s been emailing with her again. Telling her that she’ll always be in his heart. These stories are so similar I feel like I’m living in a Lifetime Original Movie. Anyway, I’m getting my ducks in a row to leave while he sits in the doghouse begging for forgiveness. But I am completely plagued by two things and I’m hoping you (and your wonderful readers) can help me through them.

First, I’m OBSESSED with this other woman. We have mutual friends. Everyone tells me that she’s beautiful and I know she’s very well-to-do and professionally successful. I look at her Facebook profile every day and she’s always doing fabulous things — travel, working out, sitting on the beach looking very toned and manicured, skiing in Europe, etc. I even called her work once and pretended it was the wrong number just so that I could hear her voice. Average voice. No light shed there. How can I stop obsessing?

Honestly, this woman is way better looking than I am and I’m nothing to sneeze at. She dumped my husband 25 years ago and now she can just waltz back into his life and make him all googly? WTF?! He says things to her like,”Every day, I think about how my life would be if we were together” and “I dream of you every night.” Is it actually possible that he has forgotten everything we went through together and is just powerless over this ruthless bitch?

I guess I’m doing the Pick Me dance still. But I don’t have the money to dress like that and be all sparkly and fun. Plus, I don’t feel fun. The worst part is that, in my case, it wasn’t lots of other people. It was one person. Who meant a lot to him at once point (and still does, I guess). Has anybody else ever been in this spot? I think it would be easier if she were a hooker or some cheap floozy who meant nothing to him.

My second question is this: he WON’T come clean about all the facts of his relationship with her. The facts just trickle out every time I stumble upon new information. It’s driving me crazy! How did the rest of you find out about your husband or wives affairs? I found out by picking up my husband’s phone to check the weather when it hadn’t locked yet and there were a bunch of messages on it. Then I hacked his phone (his password wasn’t hard to figure out). How can I get all the details of this because I need those in order to move on either way? What did your D-days look like? Mine wasn’t that long ago but I hardly remember it because it was like living in a dream state. I was screaming and crying and he was just walking around looking like a sad puppy.

I think the upshot is that he won’t contact her anymore but I’ll always be wondering if she’s on his mind or he’s missing her or wishing he were with her instead of me. Having this woman lingering in the background is awful. Plus, they have mutual Facebook friends (so do we through mutual friends of my husband), so we both get to see her stupid face all the time on our telephones.

This is a guy who has always been very kind and thoughtful. The last guy on earth you’d think would cheat on his wife. An amazing father. He helps around the house, cooks, cleans, does child care duties. A real upstanding citizen. I think this woman is his achille’s heel and I want her to disappear. I’m just a confused mess. Can you all please tell me if your spouse has one person and it’s love — is that worse or harder? And how did you finally find out all the details?

Newly Chumpified

Dear NC,

Trust me, your husband doesn’t love this woman. He loves cake. Yum, yum, cake. Oh, and I don’t think he loves you much either, because he isn’t showing you one ounce of remorse or respect. He’s a “sad puppy” to your devastation. (Read: poor him) And he’s still protecting himself and his affair partner by not telling you the truth about what’s been going on. (Read: it’s much worse than you know.)

Every action he’s taking right now is about saving his precious, precious cake supply. Apologizing lamely to you, making false promises to quit the affair, never actually quitting the affair — that’s all about cake. He would prefer you just go back into your nice quiet closet and shut the fuck up. It was sooo much better for him when you didn’t know and he had unfettered cake access. You went and messed it all up. That’s why he’s acting sad.

The bullshit he spews to Ms. International Ski Vacation there? It’s to keep her on the line for cake.

You’ve constructed a very handy narrative to absolve him of personal responsibility. He’s this good man, amazing father, who just happens to travel a lot for work, and came under the spell of this seductress. He’s vulnerable to her because she once rejected him so cruelly in college. Her availability is the problem, and if she’d just go away and take her sparkles with her, everything could go back to normal. How can you find out if he truly loves her?

Let’s change the narrative.

You have enough information right now to know that he’s not a good man. He’s a cheater dick deep in an affair. The evidence is what it is — he travels and he meets up with her and it’s physical. He felt completely entitled to pursue this relationship, and his teenage heartache of 25 years ago has fuck all  to do with it. He’s destroyed his marriage, and he’s not doing one damn thing to save it. He lies and withholds information. Why? Because he’s still dick deep in his affair.

Is it because he loves her? No, he loves himself. He loves how he feels being International Man of Mystery. He loves that fantasy more than he loves his wife of 20 years, his family, or anything you’ve built together.

Now, if I was part of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, I would tell you to make him close his FB account and unfriend anyone who isn’t a friend of your marriage. (I suspect many people knew about this affair.) I would encourage your interpretation of The Great Hussy Who Ruined Everything. And I would tell you to wait for the affair fog to clear, and treat him like a timid forest creature who must approach his mistakes veeeeerrrry gently. Maybe if he feels “safe”, you won’t judge him and he can tell the truth?

Yeah. That’s not gonna happen.

If you insist on transparency, like his passwords and phone, and shutting down FB — he’s going to get a new phone, a new password, and a new FB account. This leaves you in a cat and mouse game as the marriage police. Things are “fine” until you bust him and discover he’s lied to you again. Don’t sign up for that misery.

You want more information, but you don’t need it. You have enough, because he is still acting ENTITLED to his affair and his secrecy. That tells you everything you need to know. You’re not the boss of him, and he’d not keen on saving his marriage. He only wants the vestiges of a marriage that will allow him CAKE. A marriage that is whole and committed to you? His actions scream he does not want that. (Pay no attention to anything he says.) You’re not the boss of him! He’ll email his affair partner when he pleases and not answer your questions.

Do you really want the sort of commitment where you have to hold a gun to his head to get it? Grudgingly?

I didn’t think so. Keep lining up those ducks and get out of there. See a lawyer and go no contact on your husband. Time to decide what YOU want. Is this relationship acceptable to you? Do you want to feel forever that you’re second best? Do you want to live as the marriage police, and him the sulky criminal?

Forget his potential. Forget who you though he was. Start dealing with who he is now — a really shitty person who doesn’t deserve you. Those are all the details you need. ((((Big hugs))) It gets better when you start seeing him for who he really is.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • As chump who’s ex just married the ho-worker last weekend, I feel your pain. Believe me I know exactly how it feels to just stand there and think “how is this possible? ” and wonder about the ho-worker to no end. Take CL’s advice. End it now. Every time you think about the ” She must be better than me” affair partner, change the dialogue in your mind. She isn’t. She sucks. And your husband? Oh my. Trust that he sucks. It isn’t easy and half the time it makes you crazy. She isn’t better than you. She may look good on FB but that is self -edited, right? Does anyone ever post anything negative on FB? Seriously? Do you ever see a post where someone writes “I think my raging bladder infection has returned after my weekend sex-fest with a married man that I’m stringing along only because my own husband has a beer gut and is only interested in ESPN”? Nope never. And her ski photos? Terrific. Good for her. Go take a walk in a beautiful garden,hug your children, pet your dog and KNOW that you are a better and moral person, more beautiful than ski bunny could ever hope to be. She has no morals. She knows her affair partner is married and she could care less. So the next time she posts a picture, look at it for what it is—an aging foolish woman who has to go to sleep at night knowing the heartache she’s caused. She isn’t your competition SHE IS YOUR TICKET OUT. If anything, post a message on her facebook page and thank her for giving you a chance to live life on YOUR terms.

    • “She isn’t your competition SHE IS YOUR TICKET OUT.” – Love, love, LOVE this, skatergirl! I wouldn’t have believed it at first, but it is SO true! Thanks!

      • You got it, skatergirl. The Owife in my situation is an idiot– I can’t believe that she legally shackled herself to my needy XWH. I’m so relieved that he’s no longer my problem!

      • I know this is from last week but just found this site. I love this and BELIEVE it…but it’s still so hard to accept. Especially with my 13 year old daughter involved. Sad me.

    • skatergirl-

      Great post! I needed this today. SW now rolls around town in a new BMW, we still aren’t divorced and she came back with a number that was 1/5 of what she owes me to my attorney.

      She might have a new car, lives in a big house, but she had to cheat to destroy a marriage and fuck a troll (can’t call him Shrek anymore. Shrek is loveable and everyone loves him) to move into a higher tax bracket. She sucks.

    • I agree with the other comments. Great post by Skater Girl. As she notes, you shouldnt’ fall for the OW’s FB page. People who are sparkly are going to spend A LOT of time deciding what photo to put on Facebook. What’s more, this woman already dumped “Newly Chumpified’s” husband once. And she has the gall to come back into his life and disrupt it without a second thought? And he invites her back to disrupt his life without a second thought? NC’s husband and this aging vamp are a rather tawdry pair, like vultures in love who met in the desert. They are both living in fantasy land. You don’t have to wait around for any of this to end (which it likely will, and badly). Time to move on.

      • Good point. I know that OW is very careful to post either pictures of her face or pictures from about 10 years ago, when she was more slender. Thus, her FB pages don’t tell the world that her figure is frumpier, and that when she tries to dress “fashionably,” she’s dressing fashionably for a a20-something–pretty pathetic for a 40-year-old!

        Love the “vultures in love” image, David!

        • A good point. the facebook page the OW posted she is wearing sunglasses in most of them. She is attractive, thin (painfully so) but then I saw a picture of her without the sunglasses, big baggy circles. Now no one is perfect, but I use this as an example.

    • skatergirl,

      THANK YOU for a great post — you said it perfectly! I can’t tell you how much your words have offered me courage and comfort and clarity (the three C’s!). Thank you again!

    • skatergirl, good stuff.

      Every photo of my wife, basically, is taken by a pro or photoshopped. I used to think the vanity was harmless. I don’t post on Facebook, and actually, have not for sometime now. My STBX actually “divorced” me on Facebook without me even knowing it. So awesome. The bladder infection? Spot on, great call. I remember, a few years ago, she went to the dyno for a “checkup”.. I found out a year later it was for that “new man” bladder infection, and to get on birth control (of course, I got a vasectomy a couple of years prior to all this).

  • If I knew what I know now I would have told my ex to show me all emails and tell me everything. I would have said that if I find out at any time he had lied to me again then we would divorce. This would have saved me a lot of time, because he would have refused or lied. My ex was an expert at puppy dog shit. At the same time telling his brother I was fucking everything up for him…

    Trust me, he’s pulling that shit on her too. After I insisted on divorce he was still telling his gf that he had to hide their relationship. Note that I called her his girlfriend ? Because once I decided to divorce him, she was/is not the OW. He felt so entitled that after I refused to reconsider, he said we could still live together, people do it all the time…no fucking way…

  • Keep in mind there is huge difference between being truly, honestly sorry for what you have done and for the pain you have caused – and feeling sorry for yourself that you got caught and now life’s just so hard. (picture crocodile tears here) He’s still trying to do damage control by not give you the whole truth, maybe he can salvage the bakery if he minimizes what really happened and looks pathetic enough.

    I went through this crap 4 (yes, I said FOUR) times with my “I love you Im soooo sorry” now ex-husband. He made lots of promises, he blamed me for forcing him to turn to others for the love and affection I withheld from him, we went to marriage counseling – and none of it changed a thing. I did become the marriage police. I put a tracking program on the computer so I could see every conversation he had with other women. I hacked his email account. I became obsessed with what he was doing, and who it was with, etc. Until I finally realized that nothing I did was changing him, it was just consuming me with pain and heartache. Do you a husband that is only faithful because you are watching him? In my case, he went from “just online” stuff (including porn, cam sex and phone sex) to kissing, fondling, and hours long talks with a ho-worker. He swears he never had sex with the last one, but it sure wasn’t for lack of effort on his part.

    It will progress, it might have started online but that’s never where it will end. This sucks, and hurts and seems so overwhelming right now. But you know what? You deserve way better than this and he knows it.

    Actions speak louder than words, and his actions are showing what kind of man he really is. Believe him.

  • “Forget who you though he was. Start dealing with who he is now — a really shitty person who doesn’t deserve you.”


    To our dear LW:

    My Ex also took up with his old flame from high school (the one who thought he’d marry her until, of course he married me). We were married for 25 years by the time the divorce was final. The last two years of our marriage we were separated ~ just so you have the math right. Anyway, when they reconnected (because of him) she told him in no uncertain terms that her two failed marriages were his (but mostly my) fault because we had “blood on our hands” when we got married. In short, she graciously offered to “forgive” him for “ruining” her life if he would love her again (read: have an emotional/physical affair). They began an affair where he really, REALLY wanted cake, and she wanted the life she felt entitled to back, and I wanted my marriage back. If I had been more pathetic, I think she would have cracked and left first the Cakewalk was so awful. The thought of keeping him after the affair scared me, so I “set him free!” CL is spot on here: I wanted to be someone’s WIFE, not his WARDEN.

    He was pissed at me ~ probably still is ~ by the way for ending the marriage “over this”. They are married now. Can’t even begin to tell you what a relief that is. She can have him. (And yes: he’s not “allowed” to do much without her; and all calls he makes to me and his family are on speaker so she can listen in). Karma can be a beautiful thing.

    But I didn’t get there overnight. Took the better part of 4 years. But in the process I learned all sorts of things (good and bad) about myself, him, my kids and our families. I met, fell in love with and am planning to marry an extraordinary man, and life does get better.

    It just takes time; and, I don’t recommend shortcuts. This is not some cosmic game of Chutes and Ladders. Take everything one step at a time. Some steps go quickly ~ some do not. But make sure you go through them all in order. Makes a big difference.

    Right now, I suspect you are at the step where you want this to make sense to you: it can be hard to reconcile the man you married with the guy he turned out to be. Owning Chumphood is a painful, painful process.

    Here’s one tip that helped me quite a bit through this stage (which lasted over a year, almost two):

    My dear brother ~ who happens to be a retired mental health counselor ~ told me in the Dark Days to think of my ex as someone else altogether. His nickname for his then-BIL was “the clone”. He encouraged me to think of my then-husband as someone who may look and sound like the guy I married, but isn’t. And he told me to give him a whole new name.

    I named him “Ted”. And to all the people in my support group, when we talked about him, we often called him Ted instead of his real name.

    I felt silly at first, but in the end it really helped. And I realized that I did *NOT* love Ted. I didn’t even *like* the guy. I sure didn’t trust him; and I certainly didn’t want to be married to him. I loved, liked and wanted to be married to my HUSBAND. But Ted was NOT my husband.

    My husband was gone.

    I learned about bereavement and concluded that emotionally, I was more like a widow than a married woman.

    So I buried my Husband in my heart and mind. And I forced myself to think “Ted!Ted!Ted!” every time I saw my ex. And once that took hold emotionally (grief is a bitch), then it was maybe a nanosecond when I realized that you can’t play for the Red Sox and the Yankees at the same time. So I fired him ~ and asked for a separation and filed for divorce 6 months later.

    After that, it was just a matter of logistics and managing my stress. But the heartache had a name (“death”), my marriage was over ~ and my future did not have Ted in it.

    Best of luck.

        • Yes, I think most of us do some version of that “asshole” thing. But, this idea of naming them a real name, perhaps a name that is some narcissist you knew in the past, well that’s just brilliant for the psyche.

        • I generally think of my STBX as a mother-fucking sonofabitch. Then I think that I need to apologize to the memory of his mother, who was chumped by her husband and stayed married for 20 years after discovering. “Dick” is a much better name.

        • On the rare occasions my ex texts me (the only form of contact we’ve had in the past couple years) his name comes up as “Fucking Liar Sociopath”.

        • Hee hee! re: the names. ~ I saw CL’s cartoon of “Cake Man!” and immediately thought, “…and what’s his favorite kind of cake? — C**T CAKE!!” 😛

    • My sister named my ex “the alien.” She had been through divorce and knew what I meant when I said he was like a person I didn’t know. We had lots of laughs over his nickname.

    • Jennifer,

      Thank you for reminding us all of your “treat him like a stranger” advice posted a few months ago. I copied your step by step instructions on this and have re-read it almost daily. Like all the wisdom here, it has helped me SO much.

      My “independence day” was July 4, almost a full year after DDay #1 (2 more followed). I finally gave him a deadline to move out, which he did on 7-7. I left the house while he moved- even tho he wanted to spend the 4th together. Gag.

      these few tips (learned here) have helped me the most in even starting to get to “meh:”

      This quote: ” the affair is NOT about who you are, it’s about who HE’S not”

      Snooping ONLY hurts you. You know enough! Stop hurting yourself. Once I stopped, I did feel better.

      The books, wizard of narcissists, and, why does he do that.

      Every day I read versions of my own story, and heartache, on this blog. The sharing means so much. Thanks to all!

      • Thanks, Phoenix. I’m going to check out those books. Your words on snooping… thank you.

        One other question for the group at large: The revenge fantasies…when do they stop?

        • They don’t stop… they just get more comical.

          Actually, I once told my ex abuser that I wish nothing bad for him, only that he finds whatever it is he is looking for. Which is trash. Which I am decidedly not. I pretty much stick to that these days. But I do still have fantasies of his dick withering and falling off.

    • If I were to do this I’d call my wife Agata, which is her actual middle name. She dislikes the name, and when I first met her told me she didn’t have a middle name.

      Later, when we were living together, she got government mail with the middle name on it. I asked her about it, and she spun a story that when her family arrived in Canada as refugees (she’s from Eastern Europe, originally), their was some sort of screw-up with documents and they gave her this name as a middle name by mistake. Sounded weird, but weird things happen.

      When we showed our wedding invitations to my FIL, the first thing out of his mouth, because we used our full names on them, was “you didn’t put your middle name.” I thought he was joking and said, “She doesn’t have a middle name.” But, of course, she does. That should have been some sort of clue, but I just thought of it as cute or something and forgot about it.

    • Jennifer,

      You said something really important. There are no short-cuts on the fabled “Road to Meh.” No shortcuts. None. It’s an obstacle course, but, if you get through it, you are better off.

      • Mine is Pervert Pete and I still wish his penis shrivels up and becomes a flaccid appendage. I don’t want it to rot and fall off though – it needs to stay there and be a constant reminder of how flaccid it is. Daily.
        I love the idea of giving them a name though – that is a great way of helping the mind try to come to terms with the facts of who this person actually is. It took me a very, very long time to try wrap my brain around the fact that the man I loved and thought I knew was not one and the same.
        What did I miss with Jennifer’s post? – treat him like a stranger?

  • NC. Step back. Really. Step waaaay back, even if just for a few minutes. When you got married, is this what you had in mind? (I don’t mean the affair) Did you say…”Hey. I really, really want to be insecure and paranoid and obsessed over things my husband does/did/will do”?

    I did this same thing, my family did the same thing–we all blamed her (still do in some respects). It’s a knee-jerk reaction. “If it wasn’t for HER, MY life would be perfect!” Really?? He REALLY just couldn’t resist the siren song? Okaaaaay. Let’s follow that logic.

    He claims he’s not talking to her. So what is going to stop him answering another siren song from someone newer and sparkly-er? You forgave this one. Why not another one? I mean…he’s just helpless. Just a feather in a windstorm. He can’t help it.

    Yes. OW is complicit. But it takes two to tango. OW are what they are–but SHE is not YOUR problem. HE IS.

    Stop looking at her FB page. That’s bullshit anyway. You think anybody puts up on their fb account….”My Life Sucks and Here is Why”? Bad pictures, shitty spouses, horrible jobs, crappy house? Uh. No.

    My STBXH is doing the exact same thing…and I did the exact same thing as you are doing (less the FB stuff). I WANT ANSWERS. I want to know how “she” managed to turn my “oh so wonderful” husband—who, btw—stayed at home, took care of our daughter, supposedly supported me in every decision I made for our future (well, since I am the sole breadwinner, my job and moving for my job does take precedence).

    NO ONE believed it. Some thought he was a real jerk to begin with, but nobody thought he would carry on an affair right under my nose. Literally in the next room, chatting online, emailing and calling her from the garage with me in the house. Using a cellphone that I PAY FOR, telling me that it’s a guy friend he’s talking to.

    That’s called trust. When wing nuts do this—the hardest part is wrapping your head around not just the “how could they do it”—but HOW COULD I HAVE NOT SEEN IT. As if somehow you forgot that part in your marriage vows that you had to forever be the Marriage Police.

    I’ve gone no contact as much as I can, with him still in the house. I don’t tell him jack shit, I communicate when I have to do so—and I am lining up my ducks for my own version of D-Day.

    As far as the OW is concerned, NC….and this has been the hardest part for me (also 20 years of investment in this douchebag) has been truly understanding that even from the beginning, I knew deep down that he was no prize….you need to LET HER HAVE HIM. Tie a nice bow around that sparkly turd and send him on over there without a return address.

    I’m going to make certain that my STBXH ends up with precisely what he deserves….a ruined reputation, 1/4 the income that he’s used to having, part time custody or just limited visitation with our daughter, and some whopping legal bills to go with that child support check. OH. And when my daughter is old enough to understand even the rudimentary basics of this situation? She’ll know that too.

    Then….wonderful Dad can explain himself to his kid. Do you think that Wonderful Dad was thinking of his kids while he’s “talking raunchy” to his girlfriend? Really? Put THOSE two images together and see if you don’t come up with the fortitude to kick his lame ass to the curb!

    Good luck to you NC….I’m a little further along that you are, but fairly new as well. Get Angry. Tracy has a great blogpost called “Got Anger?” Read it. Then think of your kids getting ahold of their Wonderful Dad’s emails to his “It’s Not Physical” Friend.

    • I like your idea to step back. Almost like the boiling frog thing… we get so into it, the details of managing how to deal with it, details of how to keep it from happening again, details, details, details, that it becomes our new normal. We almost forget how WE DESERVE MORE and this was not what we signed up for when we got married. I’m very glad that while I was messing with those details, I somehow held onto the one shred of the big picture, that line in the sand, that told me if he won’t do this for me, then he does not respect me and if I can live with that, then I won’t respect myself. The reconciliation complex just looks at the details, they don’t want you to step back…

      • Yep, AE. The detail. The Skein of Fuckupedness.

        A woman I know said she had a great way to keep her kid occupied while she was on the phone (isn’t is always when you’re on the phone, getting business taken care of, that they DESPERATELY NEED ATTENTION? Sound familiar?).

        Take a roll of cellophane tape, pull out a huge handful of it, ball it up—and hand it to the kid. Ask him/her to unravel it for you.

        Almost funny, but not. Either way–this is an apt analogy for what my life has been like since being handed this shit sandwich of his affair.

        What’s worse is when they protect the AP–identity, where they live, what they do, any kind of true details.

        Oh. Did I say “true details”? And how could we ever believe that what they actually DO finally tell us is actually the truth anyway?

        I have been guilty of getting so caught up in the details, the skein. You can’t believe anything, not even what you hear and see.

        This is what my STBXH is doing now—bringing up past details while I am trying to determine present details. Diversionary tactics. Exhaust and divert. Maybe she’ll get tired of all of it and just forget about it….let me do my thing without a hassle.


        The only details that I need at this point? Did you spend money on her? Can’t remember? Okie dokie—I will comb through our finances. Not to confront you with, but to submit to the court for reimbursement!

        Did you use protection ALL THE TIME? It was “just friends.” well, she had a crush on me but I never reciprocated. Well, yeah, I kinda kissed her but that’s all…. OK enough said because now it’s just insultingly stupid. I’m getting tested. Not to confront you with anything, but for my own health and safety.

        Did you tell her anything about me, our family, our child—has she ever been near my kid or been introduced in ANY way to my reality? Um….well……um……. Okay then. I’ll make sure everyone is in the loop, I don’t need tattletales (unless, of course, someone can get a few pics with the ‘ol camera phone for me), but everyone is going to know who I think she is and if someone takes it upon themselves to dig deeper for me for details—go for it.

        I am starting to figure out that the details aren’t really what I wanted. I, like NC, wanted (and still do) HER to GO AWAY.

        Making her disappear, knowing when/where/how often/in what position they fucked, knowing if my kid likes her better than me, knowing if he actually loves his whore—why does this really change anything?

        It doesn’t. What I am seeing now is that he is a problem (not HAS a problem)—and I am going to solve it.

        Notice I didn’t say “I am going to solve our problems” or “I am going to work on solving his problems”. No…HE IS A PROBLEM.

        How do you get rid of raccoons that have made a nasty mess in your attic, shit all over the rafters and ruined the ceiling drywall? You get rid of them. Nicely or not so nicely. Your choice. If Rocky Raccoon gives you shit, you call a professional and have that bastard taken care of without getting your hands all scratched up, possibly catching some deadly disease.

        I loved that idea of “renaming” the STBXH. Is that the same as “depersonalization”? That also would make me “step back” from asshole STBXH. I’ll have to think of a good one.

        • Wow! It’s crazy to read how someone else feels about their own affair. I feel all these emotions and so hard to put into words or even tell my friends. It reassuring to know other people feel like this. Cause sometimes I feel crazy.

        • OMG, I really thought you were talking about my STBX, he is a Army Officer and of course couldn’t keep his thing in his pants when he was in Korea……oh no not a local national ……. The ugly fat CPT that worked for him. Spent thousands of $$ on her, no protection and so so on. He came back on leave at the half way mark of his deployment, stayed home for 2 days than got on a plane to meet up with her and of course I am the good and trusting wife believed him, I would have never ever thought he would cheat, we have been married twelve years. Being adultery is a crime in the Army, I made sure both of them got punished, she is being kicked out and they have already punished him, yes my revenge was sweet……. I gave up my career to be this Army Wife……… And after all this time he screws this ugly whale.

          • I forgot to mention, the Army investigated the fraternization and adultery, I will soon know the entire truth…… Lol …… Requested her investigation under the Freedom of Information act…..of course all that will be part of my divorce settlement. Forgot this too…… I felt something was wrong when he came home on leave, so as soon as he got on the plane, of course he was ……according to him ……. Meet with his assignment officer to discuss future assignment he failed to mention she was at the same Army Base, so I have about 200 pictures……I don’t think I will be happy with 50% of everything, more like 100% of everything. Hahaha while he was with her in Kentucky ……. She dumped him…… Told him he was not her type……. Yup now he wants his old miserable life back……DONT THINK SO……

  • Skatergirl – “She isn’t your competition, SHE IS YOUR TICKET OUT” is the best advice I ever heard! I wish you had said that to me 4 years ago. It would have saved alot of heartache and pain.

    Newly Chumpified – I was obsessed too! I spent too much time and energy tracking the OW. I was hoping against hope that I would find that one thing that would help me make sense of the affair. I never truly did – lots of little things that enraged me but not the one big thing I had hoped for. Don’t waste your time and energy! Instead take that time and energy and put it towards YOU! Your well being is the most important thing you can have. You need it to fight the divorce battle, you need it to fight for your children and you need it for your sanity.

    Your husband is never going to come clean. Ever. He is stringing you along because he loves cake. He is never going to explain why he did this. He is never going to be truly sorry. He says he is never going to contact her, but that is bull. They will find a way, think that they have you fooled but then you will figure it out. Then the hurt starts all over again. Accept it now. Don’t waste anymore time on him.

    I know it’s hard. I did the pick me dance for a few years. You hope against hope that he will come back, but he’s gone. The dynamic in your relationship has changed. It will never be what it once was. The sooner we chumps accept that, the better off we will be.

    Keep coming here. I wish I had known about this site sooner. I love CL and this community of people. ((((hugs))))

  • Newly Chumpified, my heart goes out to you. I feel your pain. My husband left me for an ex-girlfriend who he claims is his “soul mate”. Apparently, he feels like he owes her something because of their past. He is just making up excuses to justify his selfish actions.

    The most helpful and life-saving advice I received (all from this site by the way) are:

    (1) Don’t try to untangle the Skein. It is a complete waste of energy that is better directed to yourself and your children, if you have any.

    (2) Your husband is gone and has been gone for some time. He is a lost cause now, and someone else’s problem. Cut him out of your life as much as humanly possible.

    (3) The Other Woman is also a waste of your time. Her “reward” is also her “punishment” – she just doesn’t know it yet. The luster of their fantasy will wear off soon enough. These two idiots will become disenchanted with each other when reality sets in… or not…some day you actually won’t care.

    Spend your energies and gather your resources in caring for yourself. Lawyer up. And therapist up as needed. (Find a good therapist who does not insist that you need to somehow acknowledge “your role’ in this debacle. You are NOT to blame for your husband’s lack of character.) You deserve fidelity, honesty, loyalty and your husband has already stunningly demonstrated that he lacks all these qualities. Please take really, really good care of yourself because you deserve it.

    • Well said, jamberry.

      Newly – Like you, after DDay #1 I checked out dingbat OW’s facebook and pinterest pages to see what the big friggin’ fuss was all about. OW knew who I was, I’d even met her mother, and we had some mutual family-friends in common. Yes, she’s tall and blonde w/ big boobs, but has a face that looks like she’s landed on her nose a few dozen times. She developed a sudden obsession w/ sailing (XH’s hobby, not mine) … but I finally realized that she is not made of fairy dust and doesn’t have magical powers capable of luring men out of their marriages.

      She is a dog turd desperately trying to cover herself in cheap glitter. She has massive daddy issues (her dad split up the family due to his cheating), and she chose to involve herself with a married man who was her boss. I was chumped, but she knowingly involved herself with a proven liar and a cheater. She will NEVER come close to being equal to me in any way, shape, form, or fashion. And Newly, the same goes for you – this OW doesn’t even deserve to stand in your shadow. This is not, never was, and never will be a competition between you and her. It is, however, an all-you-can-eat cake buffet for your husband and it will continue until you say stop. TRUST THAT THEY SUCK. A dog turd covered in glitter & perched on a ski lift is still a dog turd.

      I blocked her, XH, and a few mutual friends from facebook and am MUCH happier for having done so. Please don’t focus your attention and energy on a dog turd. Please don’t spend time looking closely at it, examining it, inspecting it… you’re just going to end up with a bunch of shit on your hands that will make you sick and in desperate need of a shower.

      • Yep, the day I started blocking people from FB was a great day towards moving on. NO more people watching my every move, no more seeing things I didn’t want to see. Block anyone who could cause you any sort of discomfort or pain on any social media. I went crazy with the blocking and I’m soooo glad I did. Pure peace of mind from that.

      • LOL, that’s some very funny shit, BB and so true!
        Can we get a drawing of the turd on the ski lift CL? Please?

  • NC, I was obsessed with AP too, for a while. What we’re doing is trying to dissect the pull they seem to have. Why is he so fascinated, dammit? IMO, alot of it is in the raunchiness, it’s oh-so-fun and dirty for them to be texting about(and meeting up and having) forbidden sex. To an infantile spouse, this brings back all those rockin feelings they had as teenagers. I’ve finally accepted that my X doesn’t WANT to grow up, and he’s terrified of true intimacy. Throwing a bomb in your marriage gets rid of any chance of that scary idea!
    Just realize- it’s nothing that she HAS, it’s all about his refusal to grow with you, I don’t think these disordered people can change very easily, if at all.

    • You’re very right. My therapist said to me, point blank, ‘you grew up, he didn’t…and he doesn’t want to, hence the inappropriately young girlfriend’. And she was right. He doesn’t want the responsibility, he hates the idea of facing his age, his mortality, the fact that he has teenaged kids, etc. He’s a man child. He has my pity – I would hate to be a perpetual teenager.

    • Sounds like my ex. He was a teenage boy trapped in an adult’s body. He’s 29 and doesn’t want to grow up yet. I’m 28 and we were living together having responsibilities. It was my ex’s mom who told me he told her “he felt like an old man” ??? What??? an old man? Because we have bills to pay, and live together handling responsibilities. He was in AA and gave up partying, but i guess 3 years of being sober he couldn’t take living a clean lifestyle and being monogamous.

      He cheated on me in the beginning of our relationship, I was naive didn’t know how to handle it, I thought our “reconciliation” fixed everything but since my ex has narcissistic issues, he never fully opened up causing me to slooooowly rebuild trust, well 2 years later he cheats again, I became obsessed with the OW on her profiles, I hacked his FB and she ate up all the lies and bullshit he told her about me and us making him the victim blaming ME for his unhappiness, so she told him “I want to make you happy” and soon after “you’re sexy too, we should have sexy sex together” just adding into his victim mode, reinforcing his behavior.

      At first I couldn’t understand why he would want a “girl” who acts and talks as if she is still in high school, and she started Tweeting things about me and about my ex being a “lost soul” she wants to save. I did the pick me dance too, and my ex wanted his cake, and because I hacked into his account she wasn’t the only cake he was eating, she was just the one giving him more bites, since I didn’t want to be his main slice he kicked me out our house, kept my things, and now they are in a relationship. Putting on a show like they are “soul mates” madly in love. My ex calls her by my specific pet names he had for me. It made me laugh he is a one trick pony.

      She feels she is “the one” to change him that she is special enough because all he needs his “attention” and her to make him happy and he won’t do the same to her, even though I had seen he had about 10 women he’s flirting, sexting, and god knows what else. I was obsessed with her because I had recently quit my job and he was the one who told me to pursue my dream job, but once he started his affair he compared me to her because she is a dancer, he told me he was “talking” to her only to network and have fun…that hurt me, but with time I’ve realized I am a fun young at heart mature ADULT and don’t want to be with someone who wants to party and have one main girl and side cake. I deserve a lot better than what he gave me.

      I have since moved on and no longer obsessed, because a person who will be apart of breaking up a relationship deserves the one stepping out of it in the first place. She already showed him that she accepts a man that could hurt another woman, cheat, and walk out without any remorse.

      • Morgen,

        You dodged a very scary bullet there. My ex is your ex but middle aged with two kids who is now with a 20 something OW who he was cheating with but was also cheating with others, just like your ex. My ex had a number of online things going while seeing her behind my back and was making plans for another fling right when I found out. And the young OW he’s with now was sending him sexy pictures and all the rest and yep, she’s ‘fabulous’ to him. And she has said (to my kids) that their dad was so unhappy and she just ‘wanted to make him happy’.

        These stories, with some changed details, are all the same. The new woman thinks that she’ll be the one to ‘change’ him and that he won’t do the same to her eventually, but they’re usually wrong. My ex didn’t want to grow up, he hated the responsibility of being a middle aged married father of two with a mortgage, a home that needed attending, a family that needed effort and a social life that wasn’t a party all the time. So he went to find it and now spends all his time with a young girl glued to his side and kids who think he’s pathetic.

        Be happy you got away before you got older or had kids or were in any way further tied to him. He’ll screw up with the new one eventually and she’ll be you in a few years.

        I obsessed briefly but quite quickly caught on that she was simply the best option when I found out, so he went to her. If he was really in love with her he certainly would not have been flirting and sexting and making plans to see other women right up until the day I found out everything. Hell, a month before I found out he was messaging with another young woman asking if ‘she was in love, had she ever been in love, he hadn’t fallen in love in years’. It took me a while but I finally figured out, after going over that particular message far too many times, that he is in love with falling inlove, with the rush of the new, the fresh, the excitement of when you first start out. And she was just the one who was in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time. Poor thing. She’s fucked.

  • Tracy, have I ever told you how much I love you? (like the badassiest younger sis I always wish I had kind of love). All of your writing is wonderful, but this one is mega wonderful. Genius, actually.

    I say this all the time, but there is NO “only.” never. Whenever you hear something like it was ONLY chat, its total BULLSHIT!

    To quote CL:

    “(Read: it’s much worse than you know.)”

    “You have enough information right now to know that he’s not a good man. He’s a cheater dick deep in an affair. The evidence is what it is — he travels and he meets up with her and it’s physical. He felt completely entitled to pursue this relationship, and his teenage heartache of 25 years ago has fuck all to do with it. He’s destroyed his marriage, and he’s not doing one damn thing to save it. He lies and withholds information. Why? Because he’s still dick deep in his affair.”

    I second everything and in spades.

    One suggestion, if I may. Close your current fakebook account and open up a new one. Tell your real friends that the old one got hacked into. Make it super stealth private. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t include anyone who is a mutual friend or a friend of a friend where you might possibly see her ugly mug.

    NOW, it is easy to say— block her. Don’t look which of course makes the most sense. However, no one, but no one knows more than me how difficult that is… so I am not going to tell you not to do that, but if you look, just bear in mind that what you see is definitely not what you get. Its all a very thin veneer that she’s created meant to demean and confuse.

    She is NOT that beautiful, rich, jet setting, lovely that she’s presenting for all the world to see. She’s a self-servicing, entitled, heartless, narcissistic cunt. They are perfect for each other! But he doesn’t want her as CL said and I can’t say it any better. She is entirely all about FANTASY and that is ALL that it is. He keeps her hooked into him by vomiting out those disgusting things. He’s using her and he’s using you. He uses everyone and he hides behind a veneer of the “nice guy.” He WANTS you to find this shit! Oh yes… he’s a passive aggressive asshole and he derives sadistic pleasure out of hurting you.

    Oh, my wasband is too… achingly “nice.” He was so nice, that seven years ago, when I wasn’t so computer savvy, he left his cyber sex OPEN, (yes OPEN) on MY laptop– with at least two different women. Oh, and he was talking about my breasts to one of them. In his case, there is a hole in the place where love and empathy are supposed to live… There aren’t enough women in the world to “validate” him and make him “feel” like a man. After D-day #2, all he could come up with (as a complaint, besides the proverbial we don’t have chemistry bullshit) is that one day in 1989 (yes, that’s right 1989) when I was in design school and had work up to my eyeballs and he came home for lunch one day, I refused his sexual advances. He refused mine from time to time too… soooooooo??? He also decided that he would never touch me ever again (albeit subconsciously, I’m sure) which coincided with him losing his job in 2002. (COBOL programmer and he never got that kind of well-paying work ever again which he had done for 27 years!)

    Honey, we all have stories similar to yours or mine or some other insane variation. You are not alone. Why, I’m sure that there are thousands who read this who never comment. There are millions who suffer in silence, who look the other way, who sell their soul to the devil and reconcile that their life is to continue on with nothing but a diet of shit sandwiches (with an occasional crumb of a stale, rancid cookie.) There are those who so dearly want to believe his lies that we are loved and safe only to get our hearts and what’s left of our soul bashed in over and over again…

    It’s exactly seven months since I left my wasband. I’m not saying that its easy, but little by little its getting better. Last night, I took a salsa dance class and it was FUN! I’m going to get good at this!

    Please know that you are deserving of so, so, so much more than this asswipe can offer. Yes, he has some wonderful qualities, I’m sure… but the problem is that its all tainted by his deviant brain. big ((((hugs)))) It takes time, but we are here…

    • The day after D-day my oldest son told me to unfriend my ex and not to look at the OW facebook page either. He said “All it will do is hurt you, and if you decide you still want to look I don’t want to hear about it.” I immediately took his advice and unfriended them and anyone in their circle. I told family members the same thing, “I suggest you unfriend them, and if you decide to look anyway, I don’t want to hear about it.” That simple act spared me a whole lot of pain.

    • Regarding Facebook: I took my maiden name back in the divorce. I wasn’t going share that name with a whore. Unfortunately, out of the woodwork came all the one, two and three time losers from my high school days. What a nuisance. I went on a date with one of them — he was pretty good looking still after 30 years, but he spent the whole time bitching about how his ex wife “turned the kids against him” Shit. They never quit looking for sympathy, they never accept any responsibility, and all they want to talk about is them. So I deep sixed my facebook account and took up a totally anonymous persona. Facebook doesn’t like this and they will try to figure out who you are (like through the email you link to, or by even asking your friends “Is this you?” but at least it cuts down on searches and what my kids call “creeping” — that is your ex, the OW or anyone else snooping in on your life.

    • Ugh…you got the chemistry speech as well? I got a version of that at one point and I remember thinking ‘dude, you were screwing around for years. How in hell would having sex with me, someone you’ve been having sex with for 20 years, compare with having sneaky sex in the office supply room after hours in terms of excitement?’ And then I realised that it COULD be hot and sexy with the right person after 20 years. He just didn’t have it in him to help make it that way. He’s addicted to the new and the exciting and the rush of that first attraction.

      • During bogus reconciliation, I told ex narc husband that I was concerned that the only way he could enjoy sex was if it was illicit, dirty, dangerous or degrading. In a moment of rare honesty, he admitted he worried about that too.

        Yeah, I certainly got the “I feel no passion for you” speech over and over again. I guess to him, “passion” is only found in the thrill of fucking another man’s wife, or most of all, in fucking other MEN in gay bath houses, his own office at work, stranger’s apartments or anywhere else he can get a guy to hold still long enough.

        • Adrenaline (danger) is addictive to the male brain. Dopamine (sex and cocaine) is also addictive to the male brain. Put the two of them together, as in Dangerous Sex and it’s not additive, but multiplicative. Seriously — once they cross the line they’re screwed. And because they’re narcs, they’re line crossers. Nobody gonna tell them what or what NOT to do.

          Regular old cozy marital sex just doesn’t do it for them anymore.
          The punch line is, like any addictive high, it can’t be sustained. So the trap is set, you marry the whore, and bingo, you’re back to pedestrian marital sex. What a downer!

          • My ex would get a boner and sexually turned on after I would confront him about cheating. When I would cry and express my emotional pain he would try to have sex with me. I lost my virginity to him and at one point I remember him telling me he’s afraid of doing certain sexual acts with me because he thinks he could hurt me. So I asked what his sexual fantasizes are he said he didn’t have any. LOL a man who is a serial cheater doesn’t have any fantasizes? I couldn’t even fathom that statement. Specially since I remembered him telling me he didn’t want to hurt me.

            When I was doing my obsessing after we split he decided to write songs in his new “band” about hating me and I was holding him back, I never fulfilled is needs, hating himself for once loving me, etc and he writes a song about the OW oops I mean his new “love of his life” calling her a whore and tying her up, and she was posting that song all over pages. I split from my ex 8 months ago, so he and his little whore are in the “infatuation stage” honeymoon phase, once it becomes settled and real life kicks it it will be just like you said “back to pedestrian marital sex.”

            • OMG. Morgen! His new band. At 29. Seriously. you were not kidding saying he was a teen trapped in an adult world.

              Yes, Disney is right up the street, just take a left where Mick Jagger lives and you can be happy too!

          • Both men and women. SW got a taste of this with her affair with her girlfriend. This combined with her prior substance issues created the Dangerous Sex High that she needed for her next “hit” and created this conversation on Dday…………………after catching her and asking her what the fuck have you done and who with, SW asks me if I want to go upstairs (where our bedroom is at) and “reclaim” her. I’m not making this up. She’s been out all night, she’s hung over, smoked pot, pukes in the toilet, hasn’t had a shower, has another man all over her and asks me if I want to “reclaim” it. I looked at her and I knew if I went upstairs with her I would lose my soul.

            The OM now………..he’s a swinger. What a surprise. It’s all cake for these wingnuts all the time.

          • Too true, Chumpalicious. It was recently revealed that Ex is back to (very quietly) making contact with some of his old sidepieces online. Nothing big yet, just likes on a new form of social media that looks innocent but since I am privy to his ways after reading through and seeing all his online activity after dday it looks like OW is in for a fun ride. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person. 🙂

        • In a moment of rare honesty in an email, my ex admitted that he knew his affair had nothing to do with love because he felt dirty afterward. Well, well. Thanks for sharing.

            • That’s what he goes to church for…….
              Seriously. That insight came after a night’s study with his mens’ group. Confession is good for the soul but it didn’t change anything in this life.

          • My ex told me several of the times he was with hookers I “had nothing to worry about” because he couldn’t get it up.

            Gee… I feel so much better.

            • OMG. Is this the metrosexual version of “She didn’t mean anything to me!”??

              Good Lord. And I thought my STBXs Oedipal Thing with his mother was weird. What it is with the animalistic “marking territory” thing anyway? “Reclaim” it? Is it just me or is there a general “de-evolution” trend going on.

              • My ex asshole actually used that to try and blow a little smoke up my skirt. He actually said ” you know, I’ve never had that problem with you.”

                Aw, thanks babe… I’m somehow more exciting than your $20. Panamanian whore.

                Yeah… I will agree on the devolution trend.

  • Newly Chumpified – I feel your pain. Waking up in a nightmare constructed by the one person you thought you could trust sucks.

    But – and this one took me YEARS to sink in – the problem ISN’T the “seductress” OW. The problem is your husband cheating on you. If OW got run over by a truck tomorrow, things would not just “go back to normal.” Your husband blew up your marriage and lost your trust by cheating. Things will never be the same again.

    I know – it sucks. When people told me that early on, I was in complete denial. I used to think, “No! They don’t know what they’re talking about! WE’RE different!”

    But we weren’t. My XH lied then and he lies now (5 years later) because he’s STILL too busy covering his @ss to admit his bad behavior. He’s never shown true remorse, and like your XH, he just took the affair further underground after he looked me straight in the eye and swore it was over between them.

    You are doing the right thing by getting your ducks in order and preparing to leave. I wish I had had the guts to do that. I endured TWO YEARS of spying, crying, obsessing, and doing the “pick me dance” until I turned into a complete mess with no self esteem that my ex stepped over on his way out the door. Only THEN – with him not around – could I finally begin to heel.

    Being obsessed with the OW is natural – you want to know who this vixen is who lured away your sweet, poor, unsuspecting husband. When she’s attractive and interesting, it’s like salt in the wound. It’s hard to compete against that. But then again, you shouldn’t have to. When he promised “to forsake all others” during the marriage ceremony, you believed him. Who knew he was lying?

    And THAT is the problem, NC, not the OW.

    It takes two to tango. It takes two to have an affair. He could have always said no. But he didn’t. Even when he was caught and promised to end it, he didn’t.

    As the saying goes, “Never make someone a priority who treats you like an option.”

    Unfriend both of them on FB, stop snooping, and come back over the tracks to the decent part of town where you belong. Skankville is a horrific place, and the wounds you get there poking around take years to heel. You know what you need to know.

    Now act on it. Good luck!

  • It’s a bad sign that after he told you he wouldn’t contact her anymore, he did. If he had true empathy for you, his empathy would have overridden his desire for cake, and cake is absolutely all this is. It’s all it ever is, even if they marry, it all started with selfish cake eating, Kibbles, etc.

    You start with setting very clear boundaries: You cannot be lied to. He lied and contacted her again, so he needs to get out (yes, kick him out). Your boundary is you will not, under any circumstances accept any more lies from him or omissions of the truth. You determine whether it’s a lie with your gut. This was a lie and a very big one, to recontact her. Very bad omen.

    Okay, so now he’s out. You see what he does from a distance in your heart and physically. You start seeing what it’s like to live life without this crazy thing around you. You haven’t told him he’s out forever, you haven’t filed for divorce yet, you’ve just set up a boundary of no more nutcase lies around me and the kids. Now you have a better space to evaluate him and the situation from. You can be much more present for your kids. You have him realizing what the deal is. No more pick me garbage from you. “You figure your life out, buddy. You caused this, you fix this. I’m not lifting a finger about this.” I’m on my way with my life. I’m enriching my current friendships, making new friends, joining a new organization, doing something with time I spent with you that I’ve been dying to do for the past 10 years, spending quality time with the kids, getting a job, whatever…you get the picture. You are getting this nutcase that suddenly entered your life out of your life. This is not the guy you married. And what is going on is not the other woman’s fault. It’s his fault. If he changes back to the guy you married (very iffy because of his recontacting that woman), great, you’ll see in a year or so. But, you are reestablishing and rediscovering the very strong and empowered you either way.

    If you want, spend time investigating money spent. Get a hold of reimbursement receipts for work trips they may be laying around at home somewhere, bank account statements, check where stock options monies went and any other large sums of money may have been moved around. This takes a lot of time, but I HAD to do this. I needed to know just how much money was spent and what really happened. If he has a frequent stay situation at a particular hotel chain, check out if he’s used it and where. This is to find out what was done in the past. You could use all this information as waste-claim- against-the-marriage evidence if you decide to divorce.

    When he’s out, limit contact through email. No texting, no phoning.

  • Dear Newly Chumpified:

    Welcome to the world of parallel universes – where everywhere you turn you find stories playing out just like yours.

    Here’s my “good husband” narrative: Wonderful, loving, hard working, caring, funny as hell – always made me laugh – adored me, our children and our life. Gifts galore for every holiday and birthday along with cards that expressed the most wonderful sentiments of me being his one and only and the person who brought real meaning to his life. For 24 years – this was the storyline right up until it wasn’t.

    Here’s the reality narrative: He has a 45 year history of needing to be the center of attention in a woman’s life, and when she no longer fills his needs or holds his interest…he moved on to find someone knew long before using the new relationship as the knife to sever the old one. He did it with every long term girlfriend and two wives thus far….and the OW in my storyline will either face the same fate or have the smarts to leave him or he’ll die first. He was screwing around on me for 6 years prior to my finding crotch shots on his phone of the OW – a fellow teacher who worked the union party lines with him. She was – I found out – not the first affair – he’d been banging an achoholic special ed teacher first. He is a consummate and very skilled liar, manipulator and sociopathic narcissist. He loves no one as much as he loves himself, and only loves those who feed his self love. Anyone who challenges his own fantasy narrative about himself can – as he puts it – just go to hell.

    He was living a bakery dream life – cake galore – and the whole time could tell everyone about how proud he was of his talented and loving wife and beautiful, achieving children. The perfect family man! When I found out – I dug in like Columbo and discovered a ton about his secret life. It was satisfying to question him about a certain time, then be able to lay out the fact after he’d lied to my face and watch him freeze like a deer in the headlights…..for a while. But it got old and fruitless. He would just get mad for being caught in the trap, and I NEVER got an ounce of regret or apology. Just surly belligerence. So don’t kill yourself trying to get every dirty detail – because the bottom line is it won’t change a thing – he is the a-hole that he is whether you know all the facts or not.

    CL is also right about cutting loose those “FB friends” who you share. BELIEVE ME – more people know about his dealings with this chick than you’d imagine, and they are doing their best to protect him either on purpose or by doing and saying nothing. I call it the “not my business” syndrome. They say they are decent people of good morals, but don’t see anything wrong with leaving one friend twisting in the wind while covering – even by not “getting involved” for the spouse’s cheating patterns. There were at least 4 people in my ex’s circle of union friends who treated me as a friend as well. Chatting, laughing, sharing stories about families…….and each and every one of them knew he was cheating with this broad. And said NOTHING. I confronted two of them by email after finding out – basically asking how they could – as “professionals” and as decent people – condone such bad behavior. You know what I heard back from both these “friends?” Nothing but crickets. They didn’t even have the nerve to acknowledge that they were complicit in the affair because they knew and said nothing. But you can bet they both complained loudly to him (he confronted me) and said I had “crossed the line” by holding their feet to the fire for playing their part as cover for his skank and he to hook up at every union event.

    So lose anyone who doesn’t have your back completely or still tries to be “friends” with both of you. It doesn’t work.

    And accept the factual narrative – the sooner you see him for what he is and how good he is at manipulating you and every situation – the better off you’ll be. Good luck – it will get better.

    • Char – I second the notion of cutting lose FB friends and real life friends who were complicit in the affair. There IS no excuse. Real friends tell their friends to drop the ho and go back to their wives. They don’t look the other way and say, “It’s none of my business.” They also don’t smile and laugh with the betrayed spouse. That’s ridiculous.

      • I would like to add family members as well. My ex’s mom knew as well as the dad, and a few of his friends. His mom indirectly blamed me, asking me questions like do I wear sexy clothes for him, he doesn’t like to talk about the past cheating, basically she did what my ex did compared me to the OW. I had to find out after many attempts that my ex was running to his mom who he said he “hates” (they have family issues) instead of coming to me to tell me whats wrong. When i hacked my ex’s FB I had seen him telling his mom he was out with the OW and was spending time with her all while I was at home waiting for him, and his mom was patting him on the back. Saying “oh okay son :)” – Really? That hurt that my mother in law who called me her baby girl was acting as if its okay that her son is out. My ex can do no wrong in her eyes she let him hurt her and disrespect her so I had to realize why would she expect him to treat me any better?

        Apparently my ex’s mom knew before I did that he was planning on kicking me out. In the FB exchanges she told him she hopes I listen and he should stick to his guns, oh no her poor baby has a loving supportive partner at home but he wants his cake and not be questioned about it. But to my face his mom was being so sweet telling me I don’t deserve that behavior from her son, but she didn’t bother telling him that.

        • Again, you dodged a massive bullet. My ex MIL told me how much she loved me, was soooo supportive of me right up until the day I decided to divorce. Then she immediately met OW, cut me off more or less and went super judgemental. I don’t see her anymore and although it’s hard after so many years of being a ‘family’ I realised that nothing her son does will ever make her say ‘what the fuck is wrong with you’. Probably because he’s just like her: selfish, manipulative and very, very sneaky.

          • Same here. XMIL used to be so nicey nicey: “You’re our daughter”. I would wait hand and foot on them when they came to visit. Invited them on our vacations etc.

            I thought I was happily married until June 23, 2013 when XH dropped bomb. He denied OW, but I found out less than 3 months later. Him and her drove the divorce, had me served with papers 8/24, the day before my birthday. Divorce final 11/7/13 – record time. Now XSIL texts me on Saturday saying that XH is bringing OW home for Thanksgiving. Tells parents she is just a friend. His mother is drinking the cool-aid. I emailed his Dad a chronological order of his infidelity including credit card/debit charges and his lies and actions.

            I’m sure it won’t make them change their plans, but deep down inside, they know what she is – they’ll just choose to ignore it until they feel that she is taking advantage of him some how down the road. Its amazing how they can airbrush their “daughter” so quickly from their family.

  • Newly Chumpified, my heart goes out to you. My ex traveled all the time for work and was often with attractive, intelligent coworkers. He seemed to always develop relationships with them that were too close for my comfort. Years ago he hired a grad student and they seemed to develop a deep friendship. That friendship started taking priority over our marriage to the point that he stopped wearing his wedding ring. He stopped meeting me for lunch and started having lots of “work lunches,” they planned activities outside of work while I was busy driving the kids back and forth to soccer practice. Once they even went Christmas shopping together and he brought back some gifts she’d helped him pick out for me. WTF? He hated shopping with me! She sometimes showed up on our porch to hand deliver his dry cleaning which she’d picked up on her way home. Still, I had two children at home and he seemed a good father, and he did nice things for m, so I thought maybe I was overly jealous. A couple of times I got pretty upset about their relationship, and confronted him about it. He always assured me that I had no reason to feel competitive, that they were just friends. I always ended up feeling like I was overly jealous and possessive. She is about 12 years younger than him, is married and has two young children so I kept thinking she wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize her children’s happiness. Once, towards the end of our marriage I picked up his cell phone while it was ringing. It was her and the ringtone was playing “I want to lay you down in a bed of roses” by Bon Jovi (his favorite). I almost got sick and had to sit down real quick because I felt like I was going to faint. I said “You have THAT song for her ringtone?” He put his arms around me and told me it was just a random ringtone that the phone picked arbitrarily, he hadn’t assigned it specifically to her. I didn’t research how ringtones worked because I wanted to believe him. He seemed so genuinely concerned about my feelings. I even remember telling him “That kind of thing could lead to a divorce!” Well, what I’m trying to say is that I wanted this woman to go away. I hoped for years she would get involved with her own life and stop bothering my husband, but guess what? He ended up falling in love with her and leaving me. He had all kinds of excuses like “You yelled at me 20 years ago,” and “you always made me feel like I was walking on eggshells.” He never once said “I fell in love with someone else and I take responsibility for that.” I guess what I’m trying to say is this went on for years and I was in the same boat you were. I kept thinking it wasn’t real, believing his excuses, etc. But it was clear he was not going to give her up. A year after he left me I happened to find an 8 page document detailing his plans to break up her marriage, how he adored her, how he liked giving her clothing and jewelry, etc. They were just so much alike! He is obsessed with her and I have no idea what she feels, but any woman who takes clothing and jewelry from her boss is clearly more than a friend. She has risen to a top position in his department at the university very quickly for a person so young. My ex is in charge of that department. What I’m telling is is your husband will not give up this woman and it will haunt you and hurt you. I wish I’d had the strength to say “I will not put up with this, I’m leaving,” but I was just so afraid of being on my own. He made 5 times what I did, I’d put my career on the back burner and allowed his career to take precedence because his earning potential was so much higher. I wanted to keep our family together. Maybe my ex would have had more respect for me if I told him I was sick of it and threatened to leave. Maybe he would have straightened up then, but I doubt that he would have quit seeing her completely. It’s a lot easier to see what was going on now that I’m out of the relationship than when I was in it.

    • I really hope you got what you deserved in your D settlement! I do think it’s better for your head and heart to be the one who pulls the rug out from under the cheater, and lawyers up and files first (then they have to react to your demands). At least your WH had a good salary, hope you and kids get most of it.

      • I did get decent maintenance for life. He split his retirement with me 50/50. We weren’t rich but it’s more than a lot of people get. It feels so good to be out from under the massive debt we had. After the divorce I bought a small, modest home in town. He bought a half million dollar property near his coworker girlfriend. I hear it’s pretty nice and has lots of room, a finished basement. I worry that my boys and their wives will end up spending lots of time there since it’s like a resort, but in the end I just have to let that all go. If they are swayed by sparkles they might have to learn the hard way that all that glitters is not gold.

    • Lyn, your story really touched my heart. I’m so glad you are free of that horrible cheater now.

    • Oh, I am sorry. We all can sympathize with this.

      I am reminded of this scene from The Sound of Music when the Baroness tells Maria: “There’s nothing as irresistible to a man as a woman who is in love with him.”

      I admit to being much more sympathetic to the Baroness when I watch it now ~ even if she can’t throw a ball for shit….

      • I saw a scene on an earlier episode of MadMen last week where Betty is laying on the couch at her psychiatrist’s office. She pulls out a cigarette and begins to smoke. She’s looking at the ceiling and clearly depressed, she tells her psychiatrist she could be happy if her husband would just be faithful. The pychiatrist stops writing and looks at her with surprise, then goes back to taking notes. She says wistfully, “Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not enough. But other times I think it’s just something inside of him.” Boy, did I relate to that scene.

  • I am coming to Chump Lady with 10 years of cake eater experience. My artist cake eater is a textbook narcissist. I have rationalized and played the pick me dance through round after round of young (as in 15yrs our jr.) girls. It always plays out the same way. The Chump Lady advice that is helping me the most is to pay attention to what he does not what he says. My cake eater is extremely intelligent, a poet and artist with a philosophy background and the way he manipulates with words is astounding. I would always know something was wrong and beg him to be honest and he NEVER would. I finally looked through his car one day and found all the proof I needed. In the trunk, glovebox, and console I found a virtual cabinet of curiosities. Presents and love notes from various young girls including his latest *assistant* who now has her first big girl apartment less than two blocks down the street from my home…sooo convenient. The most disturbing thing is that it has come out that he has been telling people for a long time that he is SINGLE…too bad he never filled me in on this. He somehow convinces the young girls that he preys on that the woman he lives with and spends every night with is not his romantic partner anymore. I am now accepting the fact that I have been played for a fool. He has always refused to post any pictures of us on social media. He has been living a series of double lives for years. He always blames me as not helping him enough with his projects, not holding him in high enough esteem. No one will ever fill the void in his soul or praise him enough to be his only lover. The smoke has lifted and I now see him for the sad fool HE is. No amount of sparkle and charm is enough to make me play the pick me game ever again. He does not care about me, he only cares that he has been exposed. But, actually many people have known for a long time, they just felt too bad to reveal it. I used to be obsessed with the OW(s). Now there have been so many that I realize that anyone providing enough ego kibble will do… they are interchangeable and victims to his deceit.

    • “I used to be obsessed with the OW(s). Now there have been so many that I realize that anyone providing enough ego kibble will do… they are interchangeable and victims to his deceit.” YES – well put.

      It really doesn’t matter who the OW is. The Cheater just wants to see a “pleasing” reflection of themselves in the mirror. It’s all just a facade, of course, as we have learned that Cheaters don’t want to put in the EFFORT to actually *be* a good person, but they are just as happy if they can at least appear as if they are successful, good, smart, funny, attractive, etc…
      The OW is just a mirror for them to use. Doesn’t matter if it’s cheap, flimsy mirror from Wal-Mart, a gilded ornate frame from the halls of Versailles, or the dirty, broken rear-view mirror from a rusted-out Pinto sitting in a junkyard – any ol’ reflective surface will do.

      • “It’s all just a facade, of course, as we have learned that Cheaters don’t want to put in the EFFORT to actually *be* a good person, but they are just as happy if they can at least appear as if they are successful, good, smart, funny, attractive, etc…The OW is just a mirror for them to use.”

        Very true! My cheating ex admitted he’s only with the OW to network and promote his music, and use her friends to see his band. Of course he told that to me and tells her he loves her. My ex decided to start a new music band again, and since I am becoming an artist not yet established he found someone who is already doing performances, although they are unpaid gigs at hole in the walls I guess he wanted to like her FB pictures of her on stage and show he has a woman already doing it, his band member had sent him messages telling him to get the OW to use their music.

        So I guess with me he couldn’t appear successful and use me for his networking, how could he chase his rockstar dreams with me when I’m not performing yet or have me use his music and network for him? Or telling him his “talent is such a turn on” *rolls eyes* He used me for the domestic life, he got a taste of what its like to have a wife and take care of a home, but oh no his “rockstar” ego couldn’t be tied down…

        BUT – the reality is he is an assistant manager at a pet boutique working over 40hrs a week with little time to dedicate to his music dreams thus why all his so called bands have never gone anywhere he doesn’t have the time to pursue it.

        So he’s using the new girl as a way to live out his dreams that he has not yet accomplished. So I am thankful that he’s no longer my problem because I am fortunate enough to be able to devote time to my career so when I am finally performing and making a living as an artist I can be thankful that he’s not leeching off me using me to promote him.

        • Make that career a priority, kick some ass and go be super successful. And you know what will happen? Great people will come into your life and at some point you’ll meet a good man who will value you like no other. But don’t make a relationship a goal: make yourself your goal. The rest will fall into place when the right time comes.

      • Belle; Hahahahahaha…you are so right. I love this visual of any old crappy mirror would do! My husband picked a low life Hispanic who is not only ugly, but has several different kids from different men she was not married to! He even said she was not good in bed, but the attention & the “come on: (you are so attractive) was enough to keep him coming back for awhile. He had hopes for it for a number of beddings, because she made him feel like a “Man”. I told him a real MAN protects his REAL women from harm, disease and heartbreak! It is such a shock to find out how low they will go. Often these women will say they are “OK” with hookups only, so they can get a foot in the door with your man. Then they either work on getting pregnant, or leave evidence to put the relationship in turmoil (ie, scratching his back, leaving panties somewhere, getting him new underwear, asking him to “manscape”) anything to give you a heads up. This way their were innocent and never lied about their intentions! Wake up cheaters! You are being played!! Haha! If only there were mirrors for the soul!

  • One important reason you have to get him out and set that boundary of no more lies, or omissions is because each day you stay you lose a bit more of your self-esteem. With the loss of self-esteem an empowerment, you lose your ability to act. You don’t deserve this. It is plainly and simply abuse of the highest order. You are an abused wife. He is an abuser. Believe what it is.

  • Dear NC: I am sorry that you are here. Know that none of this is your fault and the shit sandwich you are currently being force fed? It will turn into a tasty rib-eye steak soon. In the meantime, it’s gonna hurt like hell, but things WILL get better.
    Obsessing over the OW…natural. Again, the time you spend being Detective will soon turn into time you spend on yourself, becoming happy and healthy. We are here for you! Hugs, nmc

  • And another thought, Newly, you said he begged for forgiveness, still contacted her, told her she’s got ‘a place in his heart’ in his lovey/caring emails, and she’s lingering in the background of your life? Must be on pg 52 of the Cheater’s Handbook! I could have written all of that, it’s dead on my life for the last four years!
    I’d like to just put in here- we’re just divorced, he can’t accept it, and he hates her now (thinks she’s an idiot, mean, whatever, can’t be him that ruined everything).
    Think he just wants his days of cake back, why couldn’t they last forever? Damn life partners with all their stupid RULES!

  • Your husband is a lost cause. Focus on yourself and don’t believe anything he says. He’s only looking out for #1 now and that’s himself. It’s not fair, it sucks, but it is what it is and you’ll never be able to make sense of it. I know I almost drove myself crazy thinking about it until i finally figured out and accepted that the crazy one in this situation isn’t me, it’s him and there’s no explaining crazy.

  • It took me about eleven months to see my lying, cheating npd for who he is. Relatively short time according to most here. I finally left with the kids last weekend. Yesterday, I established NC because, despite my best efforts he is relentless in continuing to try to control me cuz he is having a tantrum about me interfering with his cake. As recently as two days ago, he did the most cliche thing that I never thought he would do: Planned a visit with the kids and tried to cancel at the last minute. Texted ME to cancel !!?? I felt obliged to call and pretty much “beg” him to follow through on behalf of the kids. Again, realizing the sickness of all of this, I got some advice from a trusted counsellor on how to remove myself from this continued power struggle. The point is: I should have left right away. This jerk and the howorker totally deserve each other. This has nothing to do with who is the prettiest, wealthiest or best travelled. This has to do with the absolute fucked up notion that they are entitled to cheat and that “the attraction was so intense” and blah blah blah blah that they feel justified in telling you any lie about anything to keep it going. Imagine the energy I was putting into obsessing about the skunt, into how to win my husband back, into hunting around for more details. The fact is (as Chumplady so eloquently put it) I now believe in assholes. So i put that energy into me and my kids and we are actually getting to happy hour by hour. We are laughing together, eating good food, sleeping well, talking things through and enjoying this great adventure in the big city. Hey – I think I’m at Tuesday! Nothing feels more right than this and I owe this enlightenment to this site – as silly as that may sound. The truth is spoken here and it has truly set me free! You will have this too, NewlyC. Read and reread the posts and articles here and as you are ready, it will start to clarify things for you. It just feels great to breathe.

    • Nottoobright, my heart is so happy for you! You and your children are beginning to get to the other side. Seems you are pretty darned bright to me.

  • NewlyChumpified – I feel for you. You are in a very painful emotional place right now. I’ve been in that place before, and it really, really sucks.

    He is only admitting things he thinks you already know. But there is waaaayyy more that you don’t know, and which he’ll never tell you about. You have seen only the tip of the iceberg. Think about that for a minute. If this is the tip of the iceberg, you better believe this ship is going to sink.

    I was obsessed with the OW, too, right after dday. Wanted to know what she had that I didn’t have. In the end, nothing. She was *different*. But not better. Most AP’s aren’t better. Just new sex, that’s all. The cheater’s fantasy fills in the gaps to make them seem better, but they’re not. And you’re broken hearted-jealously (understandiably so) fills in the gaps to explain the fantasy, too. But the OW is not better. Not in real life.

    And all those pretty pictures on FB? They don’t show the real OW. The real OW is just a regular person – looks like shit in the morning without makeup, when she takes a dump it stinks up the house, and she gets yeast infections. She won’t post that on FB, but if your husband actually lived with her in a *real* relationship, he would find out all of those things. And more.

    The OW in my life was a narc, too, and she loved posting videos of herself, taken by herself. As in, long-arm videos of her face close-up. I watched a few of those and boy, were they different than the oh-so-pretty photos she posted on facebook. Those videos showed what she really looked like close-up, in regular lighting (not outdoors). Truly, she wasn’t anything special. It really killed the mystery of her.

    The OW just wasn’t an honest person at all. In my case, my OW was married, and was singing the praises of her own husband on FB (and likely boinking her husband at the same time she was boinking mine). Likewise, my husband was having sex with me AND the OW. So the line that they really loved each other didn’t hold ANY water. None. Newly, If your husband has been having sex with you while this affair as been going on, then you have your answer right there. He doesn’t love the OW. He loves cake-sex.

    A few months after dday, I stopped looking up info about the OW, went cold turkey. It’s been great.

  • My story is similar, though with a fiancé, not a husband, and his “true love” from high school. Good that you found Chump Lady. Will help save your sanity. Keep coming here, get your ducks in a row, and run like hell from the Pod Person who occupies the body/place of your “husband” now. Since his old flame is also married, you might consider informing her husband with proof once you’re in process of divorce. Get a good lawyer. If you don’t know one, ask your true friends, etc, and folks here may have referrals. God bless and good luck. It DOES get better after this kind of death and grief process.

  • Yup – mine was involved with a bevy of ex-flames as well. Each thought she was the only one involved with him (except for his fuddy-duddy, inattentive wife, of course) Below is the crux of an email I sent to one of them as sort of a “victim impact statement”; the others received similar missives.

    “I am attempting to reconcile the man I thought I knew with the monster involved with you and other women. Unbeknownst to me, he was having a sexual relationship with the morbidly obese, disabled mother of his son as well as the wife of his college roommate. He exchanged dirty emails and pictures, including pictures of his genitals sent on Christmas Day. I also saw the love notes that you two exchanged. You loved him? Hah. You have no idea.

    You wronged me and your husband. You hid like a coward and never had the decency to apologize. My only hope is that you find sufficient fulfillment in your own life that you don’t have to shatter others – including my 5 year old’s- for your own selfish desires. You are a cheating, sneaking, underachieving loser.

    My husband destroyed my trust, my joy and my deep and unconditional love for and loyalty to him. But that would not have been possible had he not encountered his harem of bored housewives with lousy boundaries and malleable ethics to play with him, send him texts and emails in the middle of the night while he’s lying next to his wife, and encourage him to sneak-text them while away with his family. You, my friend, ought to be better than this irrespective of the encouragement of my fucked up spouse.

    Reflect on this the next time you begin a relationship outside of your marriage because, from my personal experience, there is no greater or more enduring pain than betrayal by someone you loved more than life itself.”

    May not instill any ethics or shame even, but I could no more ignore their transgressions than I could if some asshole picked my pocket and took some chump change (pun intended). It’s not the value of the loss that demands protest, it’s the simple dignity of informing a wrongdoer that she’s been discovered,that she’s hurt other people terribly, and that it wasn’t for “true love” or whatever juvenile self-justification she fed herself.

  • Newly, oh, how I understand what you are going through. God, I remember agonizing over the OW, my mind completely obsessed with her and my ex. Turned out they didn’t stay together, for which I’m thankful.

    I’m almost willing to bet the sparkly narc whore your husband is cheating with will dump him the minute YOU dump HIM. All the fun and excitement of filthy text messages and secret hookups will be gone the moment he’s dealing with divorce, support payments, and emotional fallout.

    But DON’T THINK FOR A MINUTE OF TAKING HIM BACK! Most likely, it’s not going to last with this OW whore, but he’s not going to suddenly become a good guy, honest or faithful. He’s a cheater and a liar. He’s always been that way, you just couldn’t see it before. But now it’s out there, and sometimes you just can’t put the Jack back in the box.

    Get an attorney asap and start getting ready to rock.

    • Glad – that’s very close to what has happened in my case. My ex’s ho-worker and he were oh-so-hot for each other and just wanted to be together sooo badly. She was/is still living with her ex husband because he was helping her pay bills. Why can’t a grown woman with no dependant kids support herself? dunno. Anyway, after I finally had enough and ended my marriage, my now free to fuck whothefuckever of an ex was now suddenly finding out that his ho-worker wasn’t willing to give up her current meal ticket to take a chance with him. Guess who’s trolling again.

      In my case the OW is 20 years OLDER than me. Its not about them, its about our messed up, selfish, entitlement minded, needy-and-needs-constant-and-endless validation in every scrap of cake they can lay hands on spouses.

      My ex keeps texing me “Do you miss me?”
      With every bullet so far.

  • NC,

    Your WH sounds a lot like my XWH. He wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around all the time, but he was decent in other ways. However, the minute he started his A, he was no longer a decent man in any way, and once I found out, he continued to show that he was no longer a decent person through his actions, just like your WH is doing.

    Don’t go looking for the why. Don’t stay for the kids. Don’t blame yourself for any of his affair crap. Recognize and accept that the man you thought you were married to no longer exists, and the man that you are married to right now only cares about himself. You can’t be a good father if you are out screwing an affair partner. It doesn’t matter if you do all of the chores, scouring the house from top to bottom– you still suck as a person and as a spouse if you’re cheating. I always look for the good in things, and I did that a lot with XWH– read CL’s entry about spackling, which I did for a long time before the A. Maybe you did as well. Maybe the A needs to be the impetus that you need to stop spackling like it was for me. In the wake of my XWH’s heinous actions, I was forced to take a step back and see him for who he was without the trappings of memories, years spent together, mutual ties we shared, etc. What I saw was sorely lacking, and the A was the final nail in the coffin.

    Heed CL’s words. She’s the ton of bricks we all need dropped on us when we’re trying to make excuses for our cheaters. The more we all make excuses for them, the more their behavior is tolerated and perpetuated in our society, and that needs to stop.

  • Yes, my story is similar to yours. He left me for his ex girlfriend after 23 years with me swearing he had no unfinished business with her. I was always suspicious, and gee, i wonder why? I did the pick me dance for years (other OWs) and hen once she came along, i divorced him yet continue to sleep with him for 18 months. Oh yes, i gave out all the cake he wanted. They are still together ( 2 1/2 years later) When ever i am down, i remind myself that he was sleeping with us both, and only I know about it. Whatever they have, it is based on lies.
    She WAS my ticket out, and now i am so glad for it. My life is so much better without the stress of living with a man with 1 toe forever out of the relationship. It was exhausting, soul sucking and NEVER EVER WORTH IT.
    Leave him, he has shown his true self.

  • I wondered if you were newly chumped before I even got to the bottom and saw your letter signed “Newlychumpified.”

    CL is right. He’s not telling you what happened and you’re finding out what happened only when you stumble over new evidence for a reason. Because he is a LIAR. He’s not an upstanding citizen. Upstanding citizens do not CHEAT and LIE to their spouses of 20 years just so they can hump someone they dated in college. He’s not a great guy, he’s fucking Gatsby trying to relive the past.

    Narcissistic cheat liars like your husband will only cop to what they think you already know. That is EXACTLY what he’s doing. You find text messages on his phone? He’ll admit to that because you have the proof. Find e-mails next? Oh well, then it was just texts and e-mails. Find her underwear in your bed? Oh well it was just once…What he won’t admit to is all the times and ways he put his dick into someone that wasn’t you, until YOU find out on your own anyway, so he figures he doesn’t have to. It’s lying by omission, but it’s still lying.

    If he says he’s ended the affair, I can assure you he hasn’t. You already caught that. He said he stopped communicating with her, but then you found more e-mails. Do you really think he’s done THIS time? Hell no he ain’t. He’s just gone further underground.

    You absolutely can NOT take what he says at face value. You just can’t. He lied to you about the extent of the affair, he lied to you about ending it, twice. There is no reason at all that he sees to magically stop the affair and become the husband you want him to be now.

    And the other woman? Don’t be fooled by the spray-tan sparkles and the ski-bunny suits. She’s a turd. Like CL said, some turds have frosting and sprinkles on them, but they are still TURDS. Doesn’t matter if she’s gorgeous or not. She is having an affair with a married man that she dumped 25 years ago no less. She’s a smelly, crusty, dried-out-in-the-sun dog shit.

    And she has no succubus powers over your husband. She didn’t seduce an otherwise good, albeit helpless man into submission. She didn’t cast a she-demon spell on his penis. Hell, she didn’t even threaten him with blackmail or anything. He chose to have the affair with her because he has shitty character. They both do.

    And though it may sound really, really harsh, but yes, unfortunately, if you become his parole officer in the marriage police, he WILL be always thinking of the other women, or potential other women, that he wants to be with. And that is just no way to have a marriage. It’s miserable for you. (I don’t really give a crap about how he feels, HE screwed it up) but for you, it’s just no fun. You don’t ever feel fully loved. You never stop doing the Pick Me dance. And doing the Pick Me dance for life? Your feet get awful, awful tired really, really fast.

    It’s so, so very true that the kind of commitment that forces you to hold a gun to his head to get it is no commitment at all. It’s defeated resignation by both of you.

    Get a lawyer, get out, and build a better life. This jerk and his Barbie aren’t worth the stress it will cause your heart. It really isn’t. The world is a lot shinier when you don’t have the shadow of some floozy boob blocking out the sun.

  • Thank you all so much for your input. I can’t wait until I get to the other side of this mess. Right now, it looks like a Tough Mudder of insurrmountable obstacles. How will I afford this house or will we have to sell it? Will we have to scale back on the kids’ activities and/or education? I know this sounds horrible, but I’ve worked hard for the good things we have together as a unit. We both have good jobs but there isn’t a lot left over at the end of the month. Do I really want to head back to Square One (or Square Three) when I thought this was the beginning of easier times?

    I really want to block the OW on FB. More than you can imagine. But I’m still watching every move she makes. Him, too. When he’s traveling for work, I look to see if she’s posting from home or if there is radio silence (a bad sign). The one thing that kills me is the email I saw in which he says that they made “terrible mistakes in the past” and are “making up for that now.” Was I just a shitty second choice? The default woman? I know she has no values and is a piece of shit. But I stare at photos of this woman like a psycho. I enlarge them and look at her jewelry, her haircut, etc. If she has so much, why couldn’t she just stay put in her own happy little world and keep her hands off my life? Meanwhile, every time I ask him a question, he just looks sheepish and sad and says, “I don’t know.” It’s infuriating.

    One other thing, how did you all find out about this shit sandwich? The thing that triggered me is that my husband lost all interest in having sex (and he used to be all over me 24/7 to the point that it got annoying). That’s when I started to look. That and his sudden and intense attachment to his iPhone. When he’s gone for work, I call him several times a night. At random times. And make him talk to me until I’m tired. I make him call me first thing in the morning. I check his email and texts several times a day. That’s how I found the second set of emails, saying “I’ll find a way to contact you. Hold on, sweetie. I know how hard this is for you.”

    Seriously, I could kill him. Both of them. This whole thing is unbe-fucking-lievable.

    • One other thought:.

      “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” – Dalai Lama XIV

      Worrying is bad for your health, and it doesn’t solve anything. This is the downside of protracted hypervigilance and playing Marriage Cop ( in a bad marriage neighborhood to boot): it’s literally bad for you physically as well.

      The fact is, you don’t feel safe. If you don’t feel safe, you can’t be open and honest yourself either, and so there is going to be no intimacy in your relationship (there already wasn”t when he stopped being open and vulnerable, but now you are reacting to his ongoing betrayal, and so you have stopped as well).

      Hence the “lioness” simile. You are like that lioness circling the den to protect her cubs, but this ain’t the Serengeti, and Hyenas give up and move onto easier prey pretty quickly, or the lioness would develop some serious stress-related medical problems. This is long-term stress, and it’s not healthy 🙁

    • Hi Newly,
      My heart goes out to you. It’s not right. It’s not fair. And it’s a mindfuck of epic proportions that hurts like hell. I’m glad that you’re here, though – as CL’s posts are SO very helpful. People who decide to cheat have very similar characteristics, it’s like they’re all reading from the same playbook. There is a lot of support for you here.

      #1: “If she has so much, why couldn’t she just stay put in her own happy little world and keep her hands off my life?” You know the answer to this already: “I know she has no values and is a piece of shit.” Plus, you’re giving her waaaay too much credit. She’s no enchantress – it is your husband who has decided to say to hell with integrity, honesty, fidelity, and decency. Doesn’t matter if she’s a supermodel, the village idiot, or a garden gnome. He can get some strange on the side, AND still appear to be respectable, socially-acceptable family-man with his lovely wife and children! Would you like some cake to go with your cake? How about a super-size portion of cake?

      #2: “how did you all find out about this shit sandwich?” Similar to you, my XH suddenly lost all interest in sex and became surgically attached to his iPhone. Started acting like “normal hubby” only in the presence of our (married) friends and his parents – but when it was just the two of us, he was either snippy w/ me or “tired” and wanted to sleep all damned day long. Started emphasizing how important *his* work was, how hard *he* was working now, etc. (I’ve always earned more than him; supported him through 3 career changes) Also withdrew completely from all activities that didn’t interest him. When I suggested we should move closer to his office (cut down on commute), he was strangely resistant to the idea.

      It sucks and it hurts and it’s definitely NOT the person you thought you married. But he is showing you that he is capable of lying to your face, being emotionally abusive, AND he was happy to keep things rolling right along until you found out what the hell he was up to when he thought no one was looking. And he’s not sorry, either. Granted, he’s sorry he got CAUGHT, because now things are harder for him to maintain (he’s just going deeper underground with this). But he’s not ACTING one bit sorry. Please read CL’s checklist post about what Remorse really looks like – because this ain’t it.

    • I keep hoping mine dies in a fire. As long as no one else (save the OW) is involved, I’d be okay with this.

      The only real reason to snoop is to see if he’s diverted marital assets to the affair. Talk to a lawyer to see if your state has any restrictions on how marital assets can be used. It may be okay for him to blow hundreds of thousands on gambling, but not okay for him to spend $100 on dinner with the OW.

      The other reason to talk to a lawyer is to get some idea of your rights to the property. Did you give up a career to take care of the kids? If so, you may get better than 50/50. Talk to a financial planner.

      While it’s awful to lose the house, it may be that you can get the equity out of it and buy your own place. Often, the women get the house, but often it’s a mistake because even though the house represents 50/50, the man’s greater earning power means that the divorce hits him for a short period, after which he recovers. Women tend to suffer long-term financial consequences, so if it makes sense for him to keep the house, let him keep it and give you half the equity. You can then buy a more modest house that fits your needs.

      I feel for you, though I don’t have the complication of children. If STBX hadn’t started dicking around, we would be set for a much more comfortable future together. As it is, I’m going to have to watch my budget. On the other hand, now that I see how financially reckless he’s been with our future, and how he’s started to rack up debts after having paid off everything but the mortgage, I think I’m going to be better off without him (but I still want 50% of his retirement, his pension, and 50% of the equity in the house).

    • The way I found out about it was he made the stupid mistake of actually deleting a post of hers off his page. It was just a normal comment and had been there for a long time. I knew who she was. She was a friend of his. So I wondered, “Huh? Why did he delete this? Are they still friends?”

      I noticed that her name was still on his list of watchers, so they were still friends. The comment had just been deleted.

      Thinking this was weird, considering the comment wasn’t something inappropriate, just “Hey, what’s up?” So I clicked on her name and went to her page.

      And what I found there made me so mind-blowingly, lava-spewingly, seeing-so-much-red-my-eyes-bleed FURIOUS.

      There were links to his profile, a second one he’d made without my knowledge, in which she referred to him as “My cuddly coyote boyfriend!” The outright LOVE BOMBING was sickening. “Oh I love him SOOOOOO mUCH! We’re so PERFECT together!” “He’s so sweet and amazing and patient and attentive and makes me feel so loved!” And I shit you not, dead serious, there were fucking RAINBOWS and butterflies and a goddamn rainbow-colored fox ALL OVER her page. Apparently her “character” is a sparklefox with giant ears and a rainbow tail. It made me want to vomit fire.

      Turns out he deleted her comment because he was trying to hide her from me. Like he thought I wouldn’t notice. His attempt to “hide” her was the thing that gave her away.

      • As for the OTHER AP’s, I found out about them by meeting one of them. Unfortunately I didn’t find out about the other ones until after we had been broken up for a couple years or so.

        She was actually in on of my fiance’s classes. She was really nice and he introduced me to her. She’s one of those people who just knows everyone. You drop a name, she knows them. So we wanted to just see how many people she knew that we knew too. I named off a few of my friends (she knew them) and then I named my ex.

        Her eyebrows crashed together and said “I HATE HIM.”

        I asked her why.

        ….She told me EVERYTHING. Apparently he was cheating on me with her, on her with her friend, and on that friend with a GUY. She didn’t know who I was when she was with them. He had told her that he just lived with a “room mate.”

        He failed to ever mention that his “room mate” was ME. The whole time she was under the impression that he just had a room mate he lived with. Yah. Me…and my goddamned PARENTS. (He didn’t mention that part either.)

        She hated him because he cheated on her with her friend. She and I figured out together that he was cheating on me with her. He and I got together at the end of 2006, didn’t break up until the beginning of Feb. 2009. Apparently she got together with him in 2007 and dated him until 2008.

        And this was the first day we’d ever met each other.

        So trying to figure out how much he actually cheated on me would take hours. It would be faster to figure out when he wasn’t cheating on me. Which was pretty much for about a month or so.

        So…that’s how I found out.

      • Oh my god, I’m dying laughing right now about the rainbows and unicorn shitting fox or whatever. Is she 12? Does she give him candy hearts with special love sayings on them for Valentine’s Day? Bloody hell, that shit is funny!

        • They aren’t together anymore (what a surprise) and the reason they broke up is even more laughable.

          It would still be pretty easy for me to find out what she gave him on Valentine’s Day. …She plastered crap about it all over everything on her page too.

  • Newly Chumpified,
    My heart goes out to you. Much of your story is mine: caring husband, decent father. Always got me thoughtful gifts, etc. He even went to help my sister after her divorce from her narc cheater of an ex; help with tos of house work, etc. we were high school sweethearts. Together for 23 years, married for18 yrs.

    How in the world did he end up just like the exBIL that we all complained about?
    Boggles the mind.
    It hurt. In my case, the OW was someone he worked with, a lot like me in many ways (stature and other physical characteristics, similar background, etc ), except she is 12 years younger. I first found her on FB when she “accidentally” tried to FaceTime me. I did not recognize the email address so I ignored it. Then I searched for the address on line, found out her name, and then looked her up on FB. Turns out she worked with (now) exH. Funny, he had never mentioned her before….when I asked, she was a work colleague, and she must have been trying to reach him. Uh, huh. Now I believe she was trying to call me (maybe get him to finally end the marriage with me???…. I have never spoken with her, and hope to never meet her. Tip going, I know it will happen come high school graduations, etc.
    At the time I looked her up on FB, she had over 850 FB friends. That told me all about her bright there: immature, insecure. Then, ExH lied about their relationship for another month, and then lied when she said she would NOT be on the overseas work trip. I saw her FB post indicating she was there! So, that was the end, I never looked at her FB page again.

    So, try to stop obsessing. It really does not help. Only time will help. It has been just over a year since we decided to end the marriage. My exH is marrying her in a month, and the kids are NOT INCLUDED in the ceremony. Their first baby is due in 3 months. Then he is moving away from his children.

    Trust that your husband sucks.
    Trust that he will continue to lie.
    Trust that he will never come clean with everything.
    Trust that you deserve better.
    Trust that you are much better and stronger than him because you care, and always did your best.


    • Ha–final OW had over 1000 FB friends. I sat there looking at that and thought ‘my nieces and nephews have that sort of thing on FB’ and then I realised she’s the same age as them. Yes, she’s 20+ years younger than me. What a cliché, right?

      • My ex has 5,000 FB “friends” on his personal page, and then he has several other “fan” pages for his various insane projects. Despite having so many “friends”, when he was evicted out of his house by the bank, none of them came to help him move. Pathetic.

  • I’ve been very impressed with CL’s last two posts and all of the meaningful replies. So to the community, I would like to post the following question regarding the cake variety cheating which I cannot seem to comprehend yet….

    Why does a cheater like cake better than the love and respect earned by being a faithful and honest spouse? For me, my “cake” is being faithful, loving, honest and hardworking for my wife and kids. Why does the other kind of cake taste better to a cheater?

    • You’re not the cake. You’re the kibble.

      Cheaters want both. The cake is the affair. It’s the grand romantic narrative. It’s where your cheating wife can play the Damsel in Distress and the OM can be the Knight in Shining Armor. Or maybe they were Lovers from Before Time.

      It doesn’t matter. It’s all sparkles and make-believe and at some level, our cheaters know this. They want it because it tastes so damn good, but they also know they need balanced meals.

      That’s us. Kibble. We’re never as exciting. We can’t ever win in the Pick Me dance competition (and the fact that they’re screwing someone else shows we’ve already lost). Instead, we’re the ones who make sure that the house still runs, that the kids make it to school, that bills are paid, that tears are dried, etc. We’re the ones who can be counted on to remove that tick that affixed itself to the middle of our spouse’s back. The AP doesn’t do all that.

      It’s not that the cake eater likes them “better.” It’s that the cake eater feels entitled to getting cake outside the marriage. In that sense, both the cake and kibbles are means to an end: the cheater’s pleasure. And that’s why all affairs are narcissistic, even if the cheaters themselves are not narcissists in a clinical sense.

    • CL has gone into this at length. Cheaters like OM/OW because:
      1) Forbidden sex is “naughtier” and more exciting. It feels so good to be bad (for them).
      2) They like having one over on their spouse. This why most cheaters have no interest in an open marriage. They actually like the fact that they are betraying their spouse.
      3) You’re not the boss of me!
      4) The OM/OW is the fantasy. The fantasy is the appeal, not the AP or the sex, really. Which is why most affairs don’t last long, once they move in together and the fantasy wears off.
      5) They just feel damned entitled to have two people fighting over them, regardless of the sex situation.

    • They don’t like one better than the other; they like having BOTH. Both is the true essance of cake. That is, no romantic interest can be cake unless it’s balanced off against another romantic interest. That’s why a monogamous relationship can NEVER be cake. That’s also why so many affair romances end (or at least lose their sizzle) once the spouse walks away. What was once cake becomes . . . I dunno . . . a stale crust?

      • Thanks for the input. Personally, reading your comments, I think it mostly the “you’re not the boss of me” phenomenon. It still boggles my mind that they don’t realize how worthless that position truly is. Really, if by cheating they prove the faithful spouse is not the “boss” of the unfaithful spouse, then once the cheating is exposed, it should, ineluctably, still be about them because after all they are the boss. But, no, once exposed, the cheating is somehow a reflection of the marriage or the faithful spouse. Really, cheaters are fucked-up losers with the mental consistency of mud!

    • Because it’s illicit. The cake inflates the cheater’s ego. They either have the naughty thrill of juggling two people, and then the kibble of having two people fighting over them. They are so morally hollow that they need the cake and the kibble to fill the bottomless black hole that is where their heart should be.

      Lining up Ducks is right, it’s the “fantasy.” The AP is pure fantasy. No responsibility. Sex and fun without the responsibility of an actual mature relationship. They can get their spicy sex from their AP, and then have someone at home taking care of EVERYTHING for them.

      A lot of affairs either don’t last long, and the ones that do usually end once the glitter wears off. They move in with/marry the AP, and you’re not there to be an adult for them anymore. Suddenly it’s no longer a fantasy, it’s life, and life is a lot less GLITTERY.

      Serial cheaters are serial cheaters for a reason. And that is because they are NEVER satisfied and they don’t want to be adults and responsibly handle life.

  • It’s natural to be obsessed with the Other Woman. I was for a bit, too. I mean, here she was, 40 (and okay, over 10 years younger than me), just as overweight, and a life FILLED with Drama with a capital D. He knew about the fact that she’s been twice divorced, has had multiple affairs with married men, had sex with men she’d picked up in bars, had one-night stands with (married) men in his company who occupied management positions higher than his. He also knows that she’s the poster child for a discrimination suit, as his company is notoriously bad about recognizing women (he prides himself on the fact that he gives women a chance).

    All of that should make him run, not walk, in the other direction. If she gets mad and dumps him, he opens himself up to legal action, since I’m sure that the other guys in the office know of the affair.

    So it’s natural to wonder what it is about HER that made him do this.

    This is the wrong question. It’s not about her; it’s all about him. CL says to trust that they suck.

    Yes, she’s complicit, but it was his decision. And, by the way, I’m with those who say not to believe him when he says it was “only” an emotional affair. My STBX has had an insane work schedule, such that he hardly has time for anything. But he had time for an affair, and yes, I know he was fucking her. Heck, I’ve discovered that he fucks her when he comes home from a night class that is about 1.5 hours away, and he still makes it home on time. OW must really like quickies is all I have to say. At any rate, all this shows that the physical part doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Amazing, really.

    And yes, there is definitely an emotional side to the affair. That’s the cake part–the grand fantasy. These are always so cliched and you can read about them in the comments. Generally, there are unicorns, butterflies, and soulmates involved. It’s as if they get their scripts from bad teenage romance stories.

    If you can, get some therapy. You’ll need a good one, one experienced in emotional abuse, since you’re definitely the victim here.

    Best of luck.

  • Dear NC: Thank you for putting yourself out there and starting this chain. I just broke up with my long-distance bf (I have written to CL about him before) after the 3rd DDay. I fully recognize how fortunate I am that I am not married to this ass-hat, nor do we share a home/children/money/assets of any kind. I just made the mistake of falling in love with this psychic vampire and now I’m scratching and crawling my way out.

    He was never faithful to me for even a day, though it took me a while to figure it out. He had me lined up for cake on a nice weekend schedule, then checked out all the other bakeries during the week. I have read so many things on this blog that describe my feelings, to a T. Not least of which is this obsession with the OW (in my case, other womEn.) I would find out about the latest one–by picking his phone–then google like a woman obsessed to figure out who she is and what she has that I don’t.

    I am not going to get those minutes of my life back.

    I am a raw wound right now, having just ended it with him last night. Seriously. So I can’t offer any great advice to anyone. All I can say is that this blog/website has been an incredible source of support and was instrumental in helping me get my shit together long enough to tell this fucktard to get out of my life.

    so thanks for that, everybody. Here’s hoping that real love awaits….

    • Be strong Hollywood and keep checking back here for some salve. It’s helped me immensely since finding out what my cheater was up to. I found out 2 1/2 months ago, ran as fast as I could to a lawyer and filed on her ass. The divorce was final yesterday.

      Just be thankful you didn’t waste 15 years of your life and hundreds of thousands of dollars on kibble like I did.

      I’m still in a world of hurt but know that I was (and still am) pining for a human dog turd. It hurts today but, with the wisdom of CL and ChumpNation, I plan on healing fully and living a better life than I could ever have with her narcissistic loser ass.

      • I found out about 3 months ago as well. The divorce was final after only 2 1/2 months? That’s awesome! Hope mine goes that fast!

      • S&S I love your attitude! And only after 2 1/2 months. I wish I had been that tough but it took me a bit longer. Let’s all live our lives kick ass and have some enormous fun whilst doing it. In fact, I think today I shall bunk off work and instead do something fun with my kids. 🙂

  • I don’t have a lot of time but CL I disagree about them not being in love or at least thinking they are in love. They think that this the greatest love and they don’t care about hurting NC or any children etc.
    it’s damn hard and I did the cake and pik me but somehow you need to get out of the triangle.
    I am still obsessed with chainsaw man. He drives me f….g crazy but each day it gets better and while you get used to eating the shit sandwich his or her relationship is built on cheating. It probably will last but it takes time to realise you’re better off and not having to be marriage police.
    They are deeply in love from the emails( or so they think) and now is the time to test it.

    • Hi Baci,

      Who cares about your wife or chainsaw man. They only important, real people in this drama are you and your sons. If your wife was a real, loving, honest person, no affair would have occurred. I struggle with the same notion, but that is the truth. As far as I am concerned, your wife is eating the shit sandwich as is Chainsaw man. Cheating doesn’t mean you love one person more than another, it just means the cheater loves no one, including themselves or their kids.

      Best of lcuk

  • “I really want to block the OW on FB. More than you can imagine. But I’m still watching every move she makes. Him, too.”

    Sigh. So how long do you intend to remain in this hyper-vigillant state believing you can divine her and your husband’s thoughts and activities from her FB postings?

    It’s pretty typical for these things to be taken underground once they are discovered.

    “When he’s traveling for work, I look to see if she’s posting from home or if there is radio silence (a bad sign).”.

    Bad sign? Terrible omen? You do get where I am going, right? You are trying to employ senses you don’t have, and you aren’t trusting the ones you do have at this point.

    “I know she has no values and is a piece of shit”.

    Your husband is willing to throw away his marriage over this “POS”.

    I get it. You are like a lioness circling around outside of her den ready to fight off a hungry hyena intent on harming your cubs.

    Here’s the thing. Your den is your marriage, and your husband invited the hyena in because… I think he’s got some hyena in him too.

  • I feel like a loser for all this marriage policing and FB stalking. I admit it makes me feel awful. I think I’m going to take the first step and JUST STOP. What’s going to be harder is to stop the Pick Me Dance. I feel like the only things that seem to have an effect on him is to cry (which makes him feel guilty and horrible) or to threaten to take away the children (which seems to have sobered him into reality).

    I wouldn’t be entitled to much. We both have always worked full time. Our salaries are similar. He does as much childcare as I do and would probably want 50-50 custody. I’d probably end up owing him half of the equity in our house. In addition, he has some family assets that are not marital assets, including a vacation home out West.

    What burns me up is that the OW is extremely well off (from everything I hear) and I can just imagine them having a sparkly life while I’m left struggling to make ends meet with a house I can no longer afford. I’ll admit I haven’t been the perfect wife. I have a few extra pounds. I get grouchy (doesn’t everyone). I’m not up for wild sex all night. I’m tired from raising three kids and working full time.

    I also have made the decision that, no matter what happens, I’m not going to trash him to the kids (who idolize him). I don’t think I’m even going to tell them about his cheating. That would only make them hate him and that would hurt them far more than it would hurt him, I’m sure. I’m trying to take the high road but it sure isn’t easy. Just yesterday he said, “I”m so sorry I hurt you. You don’t deserve this. You’re a really good person.” How confusing is that?

    • IMO, you should tell the kids about the cheating in age appropriate ways. My son was 9 when it happened to me. I said, when people get married they promise to be each other’s one and only. (Fucktard) has a girlfriend, and I can’t be married to him anymore because he broke his promise.

      Kids need to know their world didn’t fall apart for no reason. You can tell the truth gently, without editorializing (i.e., he’s evil). Otherwise, he will get to the narrative first with something blame shifting or lame like “we drifted apart.”

      Don’t be mindfucked by his “remorse” — he’s sorry he hurt you? Not so sorry that he didn’t stop his affair the first time he was caught. Not so sorry that he’ll tell you the truth. Not so sorry that he won’t stop eating cake.

      Sorry is as sorry does. He’s sorry you KNOW. He’s not sorry for what he’s done.

    • Mine mouthed the words that he was “sorry” but he never did act like it and he chose her over his family.

      You HAVE to tell the kids or they will always feel insecure and confused. The loss of their family will feel arbitrary and frightening. They may blame you for not telling them, they may blame you for breaking up the marriage. They need to know the truth.

      And they will find out, eventually.

      You have to be strong. Stop protecting your H–it makes you weak. You’re hoping he’ll see what a good person you are, but he does not actually give a shit. “You’re a really good person” = “You’re pathetic. I don’t have the hots for you.”

      Don’t tell the kids to spite your H, tell the kids so they will not feel blinded, so they will not wonder where the lines are, what the rules are. They need to feel grounded. I think not telling them is cruel.

      • I agree, Stephanie. I believe not telling creates lots of dysfunction all around. Be the strong one, be the truthful one, be the kind one. Tell the truth. Don’t follow your sick husband’s cues here. Tell them the age-appropriate truth. Your lies will hurt them far more than their knowing the general truth of the situation. They will find out one day. They will. You will be just like their Dad, very unreliable with the truth.

    • “Just yesterday he said, “I”m so sorry I hurt you. You don’t deserve this. You’re a really good person.” How confusing is that?”

      That, my friend, is a load of bunk. He’s saying this in hopes of keeping some supply coming from you and also to keep things ‘nice’, meaning hopefully you’ll go along with whatever script he writes and not make thinks tough for him.

      Fuck that noise: of course he meant to hurt you. Did he think him sticking his dick into another woman WOULDN’T hurt you?

      And as far as not telling the kids? What are you going to do? Lie to them? Don’t give gory details but when you tell them about the divorce and they inevitably ask why simply say ‘Your father was seeing someone outside our marriage and that is unacceptable to me’. It’s not up to you to keep the sparkly image going that they have of good old dad. He needs to face the reality of what he did without you playing spackle queen for him.

      Honesty is the best way forward. You’ve had lies and lived with lies long enough.

      • I figure “I never meant to hurt you” is cheaterese for “I wanted to pursue this other person, and gee it’s just too bad this hurts you. I really wish you’d just be OK with it”.

        I think somebody needs to develop an ap to translate cheater talk into ordinary English.

        • My EW said “I’m sorry I hurt you but I had no choice.”

          That was it: a half sentence of vague apology to me before she got back to excusing the only subject she really loves.

        • Took me a while but I figured out this translation too. Yes, an app would be handy and would save a lot of Chump time 🙂

        • Also an ap for how to respond to these standard lines so the betrayed don’t get drawn in by them. “I never meant to hurt you.” Well, what did you mean to do to me then?

      • My ex also said “I have wondered why I couldn’t stay in love with someone who’s a really good person.” He also said “You are nobody’s fool.” Sheesh. I sure felt one.

  • I think it is hard to not be a bit interested in the OW. I compared myself at first and boy did I put myself down. She was 26, I was 37. She had fake tits, I am all natural. STBX said that she was shorter and maybe weighed a little less. I am 5’4″ and was about 125 at the time I found out – now 105 lbs. I too snooped on the internet for pictures and she was okay looking but dammit so am I!! I finally realized and I hope you will too, don’t compare yourself to a piece of shit like that. You are better than that!! This OW just produced a new glamor shot for the internet and world to see by having her mug short on the front page of the paper. It still cracks me up!! Don’t ever compare yourself to that. I also heard not that I was asking, I wasn’t, that she helped break up another marriage. Bottom line is that she might have helped break it up but in the end, my husband made those vows to me, not her. I also agree, what she posts on FB are just best shots – I would imagine that she looks like a whore in the morning and at night too but doesn’t post those pictures. Every time I now think of the OW I laugh because the mug shot picture pops into my head and I think yeah, she is all yours douche bag. LOL

  • I’ve been playing this game with my husband for 7, almost 8, months now. What it boils down to is this . . . my husband wasn’t the kind to carry on like this either. He’s a pastor. His “girlfriend” is also a pastor. She was married too. Seriously, everyone can be like this. I could have an affair too, if I CHOSE to do so. I don’t choose to do so because I am a person of integrity – he isn’t. My advice – if you did everything YOU can do to salvage the marriage it’s time to move on. I can’t even say that I love my spouse anymore. I’m not so sure I even like him – pretty much apathetic about him. He chose to destroy our marriage and picked his own selfish life over his family. I’m the winner.

    • yeah, we never think they’re the kind do this… or we wouldn’t have married them!

      And there’s a first time for everything… and now that they’ve gone down the rabbits hole, I’m not sure they ever really come back up. Once you’ve made that decision, followed through with it and carried on with it for an extended amount of time, I’m pretty sure that is the true indication of who they really are. Either we were wrong before or maybe over the years they did change. Although somewhere I read that people never really change, they just become more like they really are.

  • She sounds like she’s trying to live the “good life” of a wealthy woman and have the passionate love of a teenager. If she was actually happy she wouldn’t need him.

  • Chumpalicious, of course you shouldn’t trash your husband to your children. It’s not fair to them to get revenge on your husband through them. But if you divorce him they should know (according to what’s appropriate for their age) what the actual reason is. Yes, it will hurt them. But it will hurt them more in the long run to grow up thinking that marriages dissolve out of thin air. They’ll grow up to know that you don’t have to take crap, and that in the absence of crap the partnerships they form in life aren’t destined to end because “people grow apart.” And also, they shouldn’t idolize him.

    • hmmmmm……. don’t think you’re really responding to me.

      I never did trash my husband to my kids. He left without reason and I made excuses for him (I told lies)

      When the girlfriend was discovered and it all made sense to teenagers, his own actions did him in.

      To this day, my daughter allows no talk about her dad, either positive or negative, and she’s quite firm about it. I figure she’s prepping herself to have it out with him one of these days, but for now, she’s no-contact with him all on her own.

  • I read this article in Psychology Today and it totally resonates:

    “Surely the craziest and most destructive form of infidelity is the temporary insanity of falling in love. You do this, not when you meet somebody wonderful (wonderful people don’t screw around with married people) but when you are going through a crisis in your own life, can’t continue living your life, and aren’t quite ready for suicide yet. An affair with someone grossly inappropriate—someone decades younger or older, someone dependent or dominating, someone with problems even bigger than your own—is so crazily stimulating that it’s like a drug that can lift you out of your depression and enable you to feel things again. Of course, between moments of ecstasy, you are more depressed, increasingly alone and alienated in your life, and increasingly hooked on the affair partner. Ideal romance partners are damsels or “dumsels” in distress, people without a life but with a lot of problems, people with bad reality testing and little concern with understanding reality better.”

    This stuck out to me: “Wonderful people don’t screw around with married people.”

    The OW is NOT better than you. YOU are muuuch better than her.

    I love reading everyone’s comments, by the way. You all rock!

    • “aren’t quite ready for suicide yet”……. that’s an interesting turn of phrase for a Psychology magazine.

      My ex did confess that his whole dilemma (after she left her husband but he hadn’t moved out yet) made him consider suicide. Damn. Out you go. Not going to have blood on my hands…….

      • Yeah, that’s not something you would normally hear from a psychologist!

        In my STBX’s pathetic attempt to reconcile, he was crying and screamed at me before he hung up “I ATTEMPTED TO COMMIT SUICIDE, OKAY?!”

        Yeah right! He loves himself way too much to ever think of doing such a thing.

        • Rachel, thank you so much for your post – it’s a gem and I am saving it for frequent re-reads!

            • Rachel. I’m glad that somehow, you got something worthwhile out of that article–personally, I am wondering if that article in particular wasn’t what prompted Tracy to write the her follow-up to this posting, about the Unicorn of Reconciliation.

              Seriously? This author–is a misogynist (perhaps closeted), full of himself, and is definitely trying to either sell books by stirring up controversy—or he’s truly one of those people who get into a profession because of their own demons.

              He uses words, when describing why men cheat—“accidental”, “accident prone”, “accident zones”, “peer pressure by a boss while traveling”, “misplaced politeness to a female friends’ neediness”, “rude to turn down advances”, romantic affairs happen because of a crisis in the poor man’s life/he gets “inadvertently sucked in by a spider woman”/he ends up more depressed than ever….

              Good Lord.

              Then he goes on to descriptions of terrible affairs—and they are all perpetrated by women. He goes into great detail about Spider Women and how damaged OW are for getting involved with married men….

              Um… STBXH is a grown man. NOBODY held a gun to his head, OW didn’t “infect” him with her damaged-ness, she didn’t make him get a second phone, she didn’t make him stick his dick into her repeatedly over a year and a half. AT ANY POINT he could have gotten off that “ride”.

              This article is a perfect showcase for not taking responsibility for shitty choices and shitty, entitled behavior.

              If the affair was an accidental occurrence….then asshole STBXH should have owned up and we could work on it. But NO.

              Entitled. I am entitled to cookies and cake and it’s all minemineminemineminemineminemine and none for you. You get to pay the bills and be the responsible one….because HEY….Spider Woman seduced me four thousand times and I lost my head (haha. in her vagina?) every single day that I looked you in the eye and lied my f**king ass off and made up ELABORATE stories about where I was and what (who) I was doing…

              and now I have the wherewithall to act contrite and sorry because I fully recognize that my standard of living is going to get shot to hell. I can’t tell the truth because I might look like the douchebag that I am to everyone around us—I can’t control the narrative for EVERYONE, just you my dear, sweet mealticket. Awwwwwww.

              This article just made my blood boil. This guy has a fucking excuse for every man who has decided to stick his dick into another woman….but no excuses or sympathy for any woman who decides to do so.

              There is NO EXCUSE—if you can mouth those words of commitment at your marriage ceremony and half of a brain cell in order to understand complex sentences—for infidelity, other than entitlement.

              This whole article smacks of a man with a serious problem (whether he’s got a PhD in mumbo jumbo or not. we ALL have met and experienced QUACKS in this field)—he wrote a couple of books for the RIC. He has ensured his billable hours by fucking up chumps’ heads—your husband wasn’t breast fed long enough as an infant, your husband is bored, your husband is emotionally retarded (well…..that one I agree with).

              But this article is an excuse for assholes and a slam to chumps.


              • This really made my head explode with this article…

                “Men who get caught screwing around are more likely to be honest about the sex than women. Men will confess the full sexual details, even if they are vague about the emotions. Women on the other hand will confess to total consuming love and suicidal desire to die with some man, while insisting no sex ever took place. I would believe that if I’d ever seen a man describe the affair as so consumingly intense from the waist up and so chaste from the waist down. I assume these women are lying to me about what they know they did or did not do, while I assume that the men really are honest about the genital ups and downs—and honestly confused about the emotional ones.”

                Read: Women are liars and men are just honestly confused.

                I think, Rachel, and some others who thought that this article was worthwhile–you’re looking for The Answer as to why your personal shithead did what he did.

                See! It’s All Her Fault! My husband was just “in love” and men do just CRAAAAAAAAAAAzier things than women do when they are in love! That OW seduced him (nine thousand times)—she forced him to come home and kiss our daughter good night 30 minutes after he had his head between her legs.

                Oh yes. Yes. Poor confused, “in love”, depressed dickhead.

                If anything convinced me more that the OW is probably being as mindfucked as I am right now—it was this article.

              • Abby … I TOTALLY AGREE !
                I wonder if he has a category called “INtentional Infidelity “?
                What excuse would he give for a man who has signed up, on Ashley Madison…
                composes a profile,
                pays 250.00 dollars to have a “full membership”
                plus a monthly fee,
                sets up a separate ,
                secret e- mail acct …. all in order to cheat ?
                I wonder if “it” is brought out in the open and dealt with TaDa ! the “marriage” can survive .
                Again.. I really want an all out search for all these awful, evil “other women…. who apparently are holding a Glock to their small, pointy heads! Where are they.. ? Off riding Unicorns ?

              • SAT— 🙂 hahahahaha!!! I know…really. “Accidental” as opposed to…..INTENTIONAL, right?

                What I noticed…and this is NO offense to you, Rachel…but I read a few other articles on Psychology Today, and most of the authors states their….uh….you know….CREDENTIALS. This dude? Nope. Nothin’. Psychologists and Psychiatrists are very, very touchy about that…they want you to know how many years it took them to be smarter than you, why you’re about to shell out $200 an hour to be told…..wear makeup more often?!

                What a dick.

                Speaking of dicks. Yeah. Right–your ex “accidentally” entered his credit card numbers for his Ashley Madison account membership….or was he hacked?? OMG!!! We need to call the FBI!!!

                I got a little hot under the collar at David–and I didn’t realize that perhaps he was being sarcastic—but he hit a really, really, ultra raw nerve with a comment he made about “wiggle room” in marital vows, “where’s the forgiveness” he said. ANYWAY–I shot back that “ACCIDENTS” are leaving the milk out on the counter overnight. Forgetting to pick up your dog’s shit from the neighbor’s yard. Backing up too fast in your car in a tight parking lot and hitting a pylon (yes. guilty.)

                Accidents do NOT include sticking your dick into someone not your wife, or spreading your legs for someone not your husband. Oooops honey! It was an accident! That woman’s legs just FLEW open and my dick just happened to be erect at the time and we just happened to be in a hotel room that I accidentally paid for with my accidentally secret credit card—-and and and….well…..she was just SO NEEDY and I didn’t want to be RUDE… I accidentally stuck my dick into her repeatedly….and well….yeah, I accidentally called her the next day on the cellphone that I mistakenly went and purchased from WalMart….and, uh, well…..

                now since I was just so open and HONEST about the sex, because, you know, I AM a MAN…..we can just forget about this and move on, right?

                THAT is NOT the definition of an accident. I was so offended, I looked for a “comments” section to tell this guy off—and I noticed that the article was written in 1993 and “reviewed” recently, so no joy. But boy. THIS is why psychologists/psychiatry has such a horrible name.

                Arnold knows…..he has been on the receiving end of a detailed description of what his ex wife did with another man—-oh yeah!!! But women are harpies and liars!! Can’t be trusted! Not one of ’em!

                Read how the husband in the first story “never complained” and was just a wonderful husband that just took everything in stride…the wife’s father screwed him out of taking over the family store he worked slavishly at for years….and he met “dull, drab, boring” Myrna (or whothefuckever)—and it’s ALL HER FAULT that she coerced and seduced poor, poor Alvin.

                This guy—needs an ass kicking. But then, it does seem as if someone crushed his tiny little nuts for him once upon a time and now he’s got the perfect platform to make women dance.

              • Hey Abby.. I actually heard that from my ex. He actually said “i keep accidentally hurting you…”

                Like you, I was somewhat puzzled. I looked at him quizzically and said “you accidentally put your dick in her mouth? Where were you aiming?” He got super angry with me and accused me of being “flip”.

                Mental giant, that one.

              • “you accidentally put your dick in her mouth? Where were you aiming?” He got super angry with me and accused me of being “flip”.


                He got angry because he realized you’re not a stupid as he’d hoped.


                “Where were you aiming?”

              • Every time I hear this asinine bullshit come out of my STBXHs mouth…what it translates into now is….”You cannot POSSIBLY hold me responsible for it if I said I didn’t mean to do it, right??”

                It’s not even like they say they’re sorry. They’re NOT SAYING THAT. They’re saying….If I said I didn’t mean to do it, or it was an accident….then I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE for my behavior.


                I wish I had had a moment (it may still happen, who knows? there is still a whole fucking lot of information to be had, I am sure)—like yours, Tamara!! THAT image would be priceless!!!

                I honestly don’t know if I will get to the place that you are with being able to just out and out bitch slap him with stuff like this—because it’s still just so…..DISGUSTING and humiliating to think about the specifics of his affair(s).

                I think this goes to some of the heart of the matter in being obsessed with the OW—-the unknowns are worse at times than the knowns. Wouldn’t you agree?

                You know he’s lying—because there can be no infidelity without lying. Therefore, he is a liar right out of the gate. Then the games begin. What does she “know”…I’ll cop to that or twist that into somehow being OW’s fault or your fault. And even when you get something that sounds plausible—it may be a kernel of truth—covered in semi truths with a hard candy coating of PURE BULLSHIT. It is exhausting!

                All I can say is that if OW believes that he wasn’t sleeping with ME at the same time he was fucking her—she’s delusional and deserves any pain that is coming her way (and there is a boatload with him, “as is”).

                The thought of this is just overwhelming at times 🙁 That this fucking asshole came home to me, requested sex and got it when he wanted it…all the while knowing that just hours or days before, he was fucking someone else. WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOES THIS. What kind of person comes home to our daughter, acting like the Wonder Dad, all affectionate to her (YUCK!!!!!!!! EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!) after fucking his whore? He. makes. my. skin. crawl.

                Having a bad day. 🙁

        • My ex tried that too. All our mutual friends contacted me, so did his POS brother. we’re worried about Bobby… he might hurt himself. I told them not to worry, he was way to selfish. He would continue to inflict as much pain on as many people as he possibly could. “In fact, he’s doing that right now. Look… he’s got your attention again, and suddenly you’re all saying, I know he messed up, but he doesn’t deserve THIS.”

          Welll, WTF does he deserve? A God Damn Pulitzer?

        • geeeezzz… the loser can’t even do that very well either?

          (dark humor, in case that’s not understood)

          of course, its all an abusive ploy.

          Next time, he makes a “suicide” threat, call 911 and tell them that your husband is threatening to kill himself and I’m very worried for his safety and see what happens.

          They’ll take him away in handcuffs to the psych ward. Usually, its for at least three days for evaluation.

    • Thanks for posting this! That line stuck out for me as well, also these statements:
      “but when you are going through a crisis in your own life, can’t continue living your life” – “Of course, between moments of ecstasy, you are more depressed, increasingly alone and alienated in your life, and increasingly hooked on the affair partner.”

      My ex blamed me for his unhappiness all because he wanted to change his life and blamed me for him feeling stuck in routine, ironically I would suggest that we spice things up and go out, but the first day I left him I came back the next day to get my stuff and he had my sweater balled up on the couch along with the pictures of us that I ripped up, he taped them back together, he told me he was crying all night looking at my photos, but was he still seeing the OW during his “grieving” of me leaving? hell yes, he needed her to fill in that void and give him ecstasy so the next time he spoke to me he was mean and cold. I spent 3 months of him being hot & cold toward me depressed with his life.

      My Ex is so unhappy with himself and his life that he goes through life using people to “fix” his issues and when reality sets in and fantasy disappears its on to the next victim. When I had moved out my ex was chasing me and still lying about the OW lol even tweeting online that he’s thinking about death and “on my lonesome” knowing I would see that since we were friends at the time. I couldn’t take it deleted him and he blocked me and made his profile private. He’s such a narcissist – yuk!

    • Rachel, this line–“Ideal romance partners are damsels or “dumsels” in distress, people without a life but with a lot of problems, people with bad reality testing and little concern with understanding reality better.”–this line sums up OW perfectly. I do know her–not well, but I do know her. Every section of that line applies to what I know and thought before I knew she was in an affair with STBX.

      And the line about the person starting the affair “not when you meet somebody wonderful (wonderful people don’t screw around with married people) but when you are going through a crisis in your own life, can’t continue living your life, and aren’t quite ready for suicide yet.”–that describes STBX. His father had died. Work was eating him up. I was concerned about his mental health and was trying to get him to see his physician about possible depression, as I knew he would never see a mental health professional.

      That he was vulnerable doesn’t excuse his decision to cheat. More, it shows that he was in a bad time in his life and the opportunity arose. To me, his decision to cheat shows that when the chips are down, he doesn’t give a shit. Maybe some day he can be a faithful partner, but not to me. Not anymore. Wonderful people do not screw around with married people, and wonderful married people do not screw around with people outside their marriage.

    • “An affair with someone grossly inappropriate—someone decades younger or older, someone dependent or dominating, someone with problems even bigger than your own—is so crazily stimulating that it’s like a drug that can lift you out of your depression and enable you to feel things again. Of course, between moments of ecstasy, you are more depressed, increasingly alone and alienated in your life, and increasingly hooked on the affair partner.”

      I think I have the answer for why my H cheated. He has been going through MLC and depressed for a few years. Opportunity met disfunction when he met up with “someone with problems even bigger” than his. He told me that since the affair the anxiety that he has felt constantly for last several years is gone. This doesn’t excuse his affair, but I believe it does explain what he was trying to explain to me.

  • NC,

    I am responding to you without reading any of the comments above, because my response was so immediate that I want to shout it from the top of my lungs (pardon me if it has been said 100 times above, and more eloquently).

    The affair partner is in NO WAY better than you. She is someone who engages in long term affairs with married men. She is disordered. She is not a good person. If she has a pretty exterior, it won’t be long before the acrid stench of her rotten character will mar the facade. And as for fb, I have seen so many fantastic personal marketing campaigns masking what I know to be miserable lives. Now, whenever I see a sparkly show of fabulousness on fb I think to myself “why is it so important for this person to market herself in this way?” Hmmmm….

  • OMG “Newly Chumpified”,

    Your story sounds “exactly” like mine I was married for over 20 years to my ex “ho hopping” husband. He spewed the same bullshit about me driving him from his marriage and breaking up “his family”, after I caught him cheating for the 2nd time with a married woman who has 4 kids. (WTF!) He lied about everything up until the day I divorced him. My D-Day was just before Christmas, and I was trying to make our situation as tolerable as possible especially for our teenage daughter. She was very much a daddy’s girl at the time. I caught my “ex” hiding in our walk-in closet 4 days before Christmas “exchanging greetings and ‘I miss you’s’ all over the damn place with his side piece. I went ballistic and he ran out of the house as fast as he could, because he knew my next move was going to be spilling his blood and guts all over the snow-covered front lawn.

    Needless to say, I am thrilled and delighted that I “kicked his sorry ass to the curb”. Our daughter is “thriving” as a college freshman and we’ve both moved on with our lives. We happy to be rid of all the trashy ho’s and drama surrounding my ex-husband’s desire to be a “Man of Mystery, an International Play-“boy”, 007 and a Town-Crier, or should I say “The Village Idiot”?

    And here’s the real kicker, after our divorce was “finalized”, this fool broke up with his “side piece” and tried to make a comeback into our lives. To hell with that crap, I’d rather setup permanent housekeeping in Dante’s 10th circle of hell rather than “reunite” with my ex-husband.

    Be strong, be hopeful and keep the faith, you’ll get through all of this, I promise. (((Huge hugs)))

      • Well, at least he had the sense to try and hide. Mine was and continues to be so brazen…he thinks I don’t know about the phonecalls from the effing garage and “going for a walk” while I am RIGHT THERE. And yes. He was arrogant enough to use the cell that I pay for (and get the bills/records for). He even emailed/chatted online with his sidepiece while I was in bed sleeping, our daughter right down the hall.

        I fantasize about the day that I confront him with all of the incontrovertible evidence–I SO hope he “runs out the back door”!!

        Should I do it during a visit to the family? 😉

        • Mine texted the final OW right in front of me and friends at a dinner party, while our children played in the next room.

        • Ahh yes. Been there. And when confronted with the evidence from the phone bill, my ex said, “What are you doing checking the phone bill?” with indignation, as if I were doing something wrong.

          Hey, Verizon sent a usage alert, so I looked. Yep, I’m aweful. I checked the phone bill. LOL

          You can’t make this stuff up.

    • …caught my X in a a neighbor woman’s closet once… POS. sheessh if it wasn’t so pathetic it would be funny.

      • Once when my ex was with a hooker I called. I guess he thought he pushed the “off” button on his phone, but he answered. I heard him talking to her..”oh great, NOW you’re going to act like you’re bored.” Then muffled silence…

        Geez… she didn’t even sound like a very good whore.

        • They’re all cowards.

          About a month after my husband told me he was in love with his co-worker, and we went no contact, he texted me out of the blue that he found a tender lump in his right nut.

          Lemme see…he broke my heart in a million pieces but hey, I should care about his nuts? Wow.

  • NC, A very wise person told me that if I wanted answers as to wtf was going on, I should “follow the money.” I did, and was blown away by what it told me. I went over our cc receipts, atm bank records, and phone bills, and found 1000’s charged in massage parlors, 1000’s pulled out of our money market account through the ATM every week, ( for massage parlors + who knows what else?), and charges on cc for phone sex calls. This not only exposed the real person I was married to, it was very valuable financial information to have as I went through my divorce. This will help you discover if it was an “emotional affair” or, your typical Narc, charging for hotel bills, gifts etc. Trust that he sucks, and go live the life you were meant to have!

    • Dear NC,
      You asked how others here found out about the infidelity.

      He left suddenly when I questioned his drinking. He had a history of leaving if I questioned or disagreed with him. He claimed I was emotionally withdrawn and wasn’t affectionate enough. (This is Narcissistic Personality Disorder code for, “I can’t be emotionally intimate because I’m a fraud but I can’t face it so I project my feelings onto you to relieve my discomfort.”) We had separate finances during our marriage. He initially refused to give me his recent financial records during the settlement negotiations, but soon realized he didn’t have a choice. He said I’d be upset when I saw them and he’d feel some shame. That’s when I found out he was living a completely different life away from me. Thousands and thousands of dollars were spent on his “interests” and plane tickets were purchased in women’s names. His life away from me was sordid, base and so very far away from what I thought he believed. It was horrific. I felt like he’d lifted his face off and I saw a monster or sometimes I felt the monster was distracted for a moment and I could see my husband wanting help to get away but choosing to stay trapped.

      I was not able to stop myself from looking up the women I knew about. I’d read about people on this site that were able pull down the shade immediately and not spend time wondering and looking. I tried. I just didn’t have that in me. I looked them up and I searched for any information and I ruminated over and over and over.

      Then finally, I reached a point that I could save up sadness and anger for my therapy appointment. I could tell myself, “I’ll save that for Thursday,” and I could most of the time.

      But it wouldn’t last. I’d fall back into a dark hole and finally was not able to get myself out no matter how many pep talks and affirmations I’d post on the bathroom mirror.

      I’ve had dysthymia – chronic depression since I was an adolescent from family of origin issues, and/or genes and/or just shitty bad luck. It was mostly under control during most of my adult life but the depth of the betrayal I experienced was unfathomable for me. At my therapist’s urging I saw a specialist to evaluate the medication I’ve been on forever. Whatever people’s feelings about psychopharmacology, this saved my life. I had gotten to the point of texting friends saying I didn’t know if I was going to make it, meaning I didn’t know how I could go on living with that much pain. Now, I feel hopeful about the future and the acute psychic pain is gone.

      It would have been better to have made a clean break and moved on, but I survived the best I could.

      My suggestions are to line up the support of family and friends. Consider a well recommended therapist. This is new ground and you might need someone to help you over the hills and valleys. Think of him/her as a paid friend who is there to listen to you rant and cry and process it over and over as many times as you need.

      I wish you all the best.

      • Great advice! Apparently I wasn’t affectionate enough either. Riiiight, so that means it’s a great idea to “fall in love” with a married woman who has 3 babies. Way to satisfy your needs, bro.

        • Yes, apparently I wasn’t affectionate enough either. Or maybe it was that he was giving all his attention to a slew of other women and there wasn’t room for me or my affection in that dynamic.

      • I suffered with chronic depression too, I’ve been so surprised to find out I’m a basically happy person outside of my marriage. I think some of us with depression deserve a medal for just surviving this kind of betrayal. It has definitely made me stronger.

  • The one thing I did to get the ho-bag out of my brain was to requisition her 3 year long divorce records. Turns out, where she got divorced, it’s all public record… heh. (it varies state by state. just google.) I discovered infidelity after infidelity–mostly with her ministers, her handyman (husband of her kids’ babysitter), a guy “from back East” she had gone to school with…not my baby man, he wasn’t on the scene yet.

    Minister got tossed out on his ass. She followed him half way across the country–I guess in her case that would be cuntry.

    But the best part was that in her custody battle there were tons of depositions that document just what a loony-toons she is, and she made up a stalker who “left” notes on her car in her own handwriting, all kinds of weird shit like that.

    It came in very handy when, after she had dragged *me* through court for harassment…the nerve! actually, the crazy–she ‘s been through this so many times it’s second nature to her), I was able to quote chapter and verse of the depositions illustrating where she had done this before and get her to back down when she accused me, out of the blue, of cyber stalking her. (as in, WTF? hardly, lady. I wish you would disappear like the dragon breath you really are.)

    So, a crazy, racist (per things my wasband told me she said to him, but he “overlooked” in the heat of the affair. Nice.) cloud cuckoo serial adulterer. Nice Choice!

    I have thanked him many times for bringing this bunny boiler into our daughter’s life, and am grateful that daughter lives mostly on another continent! I like to point out that it took me 2- TWO Google hops to collect this information. Really, not hard if you have any brain cells to rub together, instead of rushing to jack off to some old HS flame’s Facebook messages. I mean.. really? How dumb can you be? (and does he *really* think he was the only guy she was fucking at the High School reunion..? Highly doubtful.)

    The point of this ramble is just that, for me, more information about just what a complete clusterfuck of a human being this person is, really helped me feel so much better. Here I thought she was younger, richer, better connected, better job, had my husband all a twitter…

    And I find out that she’s left a trail of broken families and wreckage behind her like some kind of human tornado. Just ghastly. But that’s who they are. And my baby man thought she was just groovy.

    I also got the schadenfreude-ilicious pleasure of learning that, despite being a physician, she had gotten canned from at least one, maybe two jobs, for making shit up, like the afore-mentioned fake-o stalker, and other things.

    Me, I live with integrity, boundaries, am gathering my friends back, my daughter & I are tight. Life is beginning to look like it has possibilities again.

    I’m so glad to be out of the whirlpool, but I’m glad I can look over my shoulder and see the parameters that define it. So long, suckers. Enjoy your parasitic misery.

    You too, will get there. Just keep your eyes on the prize, and every day take another step forward.

    • Yeah, people tell me not to look, but I like knowing everything. Before I knew anything, I imagined OW was this goddess–calm, collected, beautiful, spiritual, intelligent, laid back, mature, artsy–you know, just completely irresistible, and why WOULDN’T a father of three want to trade up to that? I was so ashamed of myself.

      Then dumbass filled me in on the truth–she’s an alcoholic (not a sober one, either, one who became a drunken, raging mess when he tried to cut things off), she doesn’t work much in spite of having no money and no kids–so no savings, she’s still married, and, well, she’s a homewrecker who hurts kids. And he is a little afraid of her.

      I feel so much better knowing the truth.

      I LOVE your description of “human tornado” because that’s what she is. And, like your ex, mine, too, found this prize on FB and reconnected after so many years, at which point she told him she’s NEVER! LOVED! ANYONE! BUT HIM! IN ALL THESE YEARS! And he believed it! They Were Meant To Be Together But They’d Been Too Young To Know It At the Time. (Have you heard that one?)

      Ugh. What a cliche!

      I hate what he’s done to the kids, but that’s water under the bridge and she can have his worthless ass.

      • The final OW is 20+ years younger than me, a gym bunny, looks kind of boyish, seems nice enough on the outside and is fresh into adult life. She’s also a young lady who was happy to send pictures of her business to my husband, asking him what he thought, was happy to text with him while he was on a family weekend away, was happy to cheat on her live in boyfriend and was happy to play the victim when the whole thing blew up. Now she’s happy to play the ‘one true love’ game and pretend I don’t exist while trying to get my kids onboard with her wonderfulness.

        I go back and forth on who is the more selfish, ex or her, and which one will be cheating first. It’s a toss up.

    • Unfortunately I don’t remember who had the brilliant post the other day about renaming the Ex to distinguish the real person from the person we thought we had married.

      But you have given me the name. From now on in my internal monologue, EW is Bunny Boyle.

  • Mine seems to (maybe possibly) regret the actual affair with wonder-cluster-fuck. It’s the preceding 5 years of him laying the groundwork for a complete double life that I can’t get past. Lying to my face. Making plans with me to sell our big old house, change up our lives, all the time him knowing he wanted out, and him rationalizing it was all my fault…because I was loyal, and loving, and supportive. He couldn’t “be himself” (i.e., be an unrestricted cake-eater….) I’ll never know what he did or did not do– I just assume the worst, since every time I got the “that’s all there is folks” line, I always found more. Somehow he forgot I was a professional researcher or something.

    And of course, what he did to our kid is absolutely un-fucking-forgive-able. How do you just forget you have a child in this world, to whom you have responsibilities? Push her away? make her feel blamed for your own issues? Yuck. But especially, the “I just didn’t think about her” line. It slays me, every time. and tells the real story, I think.

    Selfish selfish selfish.

    So–Newly Chumped– there is so much more on your partner than on the OW. She’s just the syphilitic spot on the dick, I’m sorry to say. If she hadn’t been around, it would have been some other moron with no integrity. She’s not worth wasting any neural activity on. Spend it on yourself, and your kids and your future life instead. Get plotting.

    • “If she hadn’t been around, it would have been some other moron with no integrity.”

      You have a way with words.

      And this is so true. xH had been looking for years, being infatuated with several different co-workers over the years, none of whom were as enamored with him as he wished. He even told me at BD that he would have left me for one of them (I’d had no doubt at the time.) As far as I know, he never got very far with any of the women he wanted. I’m not so sure he never cheated–but it wasn’t for lack of trying. What I never counted on was just how low he’d stoop to get with someone else. As I say, there’s a troll under every rock, and he finally connected with one.

  • WOW! Tremendous insight from all of the chumps.

    The only tidbit I can offer you, Newly Chumpified, is that obsessing over the OW and tracking her every move is an exercise in futility. It truly is a puzzle you you will NEVER be able to solve. She could be a jet-setting, self-made woman or she could be a trailer park-dwelling meth-head. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that your husband stepped outside of your marriage and shattered your heart and your trust into a million little pieces.

    OWs don’t come in one size, shape, age or socio-economic background. Read these comments; Ows are all over the class and social mobility spectrum. Sometimes they’re home-wreckers, or they’re married with children of their own, or they’re psycho bunny-boilers. Sometimes they’re drug and drama-addicts. Sometimes they’re well-off and other times they’re penniless. Sometimes they’re other men.

    The point is YOUR EX did this. Not you. HE made the decision to cheat. Nobody else made it for him. You’ll never learn anything or gain any insight by cyber-stalking the OW and all you’re doing is allowing her to take up valuable real estate in your head.

    One final, general comment: I’m mystified to read in these comments about how many cheating spouses pissed away decade(s)-long marriages to rekindle a failed romance from high school or college.

    Seriously, what the fuck is THAT all about? Is this some sort of mid-life thing where a man wakes up and says: “Hey, I wonder what would’ve happened if I didn’t break up with Janice after prom?!”

    I’m 31 and I haven’t even THOUGHT about my exes from high school or college in YEARS. And I just graduated college 9 years ago!! I think I’m friends with some of them on Facebook but I have NO idea what any of them are doing with their lives…..and I don’t….really….care. Is that selfish?

    I get the whole “What if?” part. I think we all get What Iffy about things in all walks of life. And I get that if you’re 19 and your gorgeous girlfriend who’s amazing in bed unceremoniously dumps you, that can be devastating and have lingering effects on your future relationships.

    But what in GOD’S NAME does a cheating husband think he’s going to gain by attempting to rekindle that lost teenage romance when he’s 50?! Especially when he’s clearly moved on with his life and seemingly has no place in that life for someone who broke his heart 30+ years ago.

    I’m not sure if the deeper meaning is that some people can’t let go of past heartbreaks and are determined to make it right even when it’s CLEARLY too late for that, or if the ex from high school is a symbolic reminder of a lost youth that the mid-life crisis-addled cheating hubby wants to recapture.

    Either way, that’s a whole ‘nother skein of fuckupedness that’s almost impossible to untangle. I get cheating with co-workers, subordinates, strippers and hookers. I DON’T get cheating with your high school sweetheart three decades later. Seriously, you’ve gotten through your ENTIRE adult life without them. What the fuck does a cheater think? They’re going to get those lost years BACK? That they’re going to GROW OLD with that person?

    Cheaters truly are something…..

    • You’re thinking too much. LOL.

      He was with her once, maybe he can be with her again, reach out and let his fingers do the texting, sexy phone chats, she can be his! He is virile, yay. Just do him a favor and wait right here while he makes sure this is gonna fly because… well, he knows he has a house, kids, etc, and he’d hate to give that up, especially if this other thing is to not going to work out. Hey, why can’t we just all get along? Better idea, he keeps the house, his image as a decent man and father, and he just screws this other woman, and then… when it turns out he can’t manage that, he’ll realize he screwed up his marriage beyond belief, and there might be consequences, and crap! He just can’t stand consequences for his crappy choices…

      Where this is headed is almost predictable. He’s lying about it, and he knows it.

      Getting your head screwed up by Elliott Jaques is what CL calls “untangling the skein”, and what you end up doing is managing their impressions for them… and to yourself! How screwed up is that?

      It is what it is. He’s doing what he’s doing because he wants to do that, and he doesn’t care much (or probably at all) how it affects anybody else.

    • I’m mystified to read in these comments about how many cheating spouses piss away decade(s)-long marriages to rekindle a failed romance from high school or college. Me too! In fact when I married my current husband I had had a long string of relationships going back many years ( some active, some men just longing for me I was hot when I was 40) I disconnected my phone # and left no forwarding. My sister was instructed if any got in touch with her looking for me they were told I was married, committed and that was that

  • By now you have read 163 comments on this and other subjects but here is 1 more. Newly Chumpd I know exactly where you are at. My H of 23 yrs found an old love on facebook and decided he wanted a divorce ( except in his case he talks the talk but won’t get off his skinny ass to do anything about this) I too have lined up my ducks, seen a lawyer and will probably have to do it all as much as I don’t want to because I DID NOT START THIS! He did and damn he should own some of it! But I too obsessed over the OW. In the long run as much as it satisfies some curiousity on your part she didn’t make your husband break his vows to you; he felt entitled to do this.My H’s affair was mostly conducted over the cell phone and as much as they protest “She is just a friend (oh yeah) it is a woman who has inserted herself into your relationship with him. Would you have done this to him? Probably not. Enough CL and all the other contributers have said it better than I. My heart feels for you because I know how broken it is.

  • Hi NC,

    I know exactly what you mean with obsessing about the OW. I did it too. My ex got a 31 yr old pregnant (hes 24), has known her for less than 3 months and is living with her.

    I have come to the conclusion the obsession is part of a control thing. You “have” to know whats going on because your partner took any and all styable ground you know away from you. It is a sense of control, “at least I know whats going on and he cant lie to me”. It hurts you in the end… Believe me.

    There was this article I found in My grandma’s ktichen years ago and I always look back to it when I am trying to find at least a moment of peace and hopes of finding my center. It helps me take back control of what I DO have control over (also feels like I start making myself a better person, and they can continue to suck together in their circular vortex while I grow and prosper). Hope it Helps:

    Just for Today:
    Just for today- I will live through the next 12 hours and no try to tackle all of lifes problems at once
    Just for today-I will improve my mind. I will learn something useful. I will read something that requires thought and concentration
    Just for today- I will be agreeable. I will look my best, speak in a well-modulated voice, be courteous and considerate
    Just for today- I will not fault with friends, relatives, or colleagues. I will not try to change or improve anyone but myself
    Just for today- I will do a good turn and keep it a secret. If anyone finds out it wont count
    Just for today- I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two enemies- hurry and indecision
    Just for today- I will do two things I don’t want to do. Just because I need the discipline
    Just for today- I will believe in myself. I will give my best to the world and feel confident that the world will give its best to me.

  • I was obsessed too. I still am. I am obsessed with her, her husband, where she works….all of it. She is in another state, so I have to dig pretty deep to find anything. Luckily we have mutual facebook friends who’ve shed a little more light on who OW is.

    Their affair was the end of 2010. Then this year I found more emails between them. So once my husband moved out I sent her the following email. “He is all yours. Good luck”. It felt sooooo good!

    Of course I would prefer a reconciliation, but it isn’t going to happen. My husband isn’t going to change, yours isn’t going to change. Start putting cash aside and taking out an extra $20 every time you go shopping and get a road map out!

  • It sounds like this woman was his first love which is an extremely powerful emotional and psychological experience.

    It sounds like he is having a mid life crisis and he cant help himself its as if he has been emotionally hi jacked.

  • Hi Abby, about the psychology today article:

    the author is Dr Frank Pittman (who has recently died) who was a psychiatrist who specialised in infidelity.

    He said that when he was a young practitioner he used to be amused by all the drama etc that went on in his patient’s lives, the near misses, the chaos…

    until he noticed one overwhelming theme: IT WAS ALWAYS THE WIFE’S FAULT. The man and the OW were always sided together to against the villain of the piece.

    And this piece of injustice made him sit up, take notice and pay attention to what was really going on in affairs.

    He says: infidelity is about the ego of the cheater. And: men need to grow the fuck up (he actually has a book with a title ‘Grow up! How taking reponsibility will make you happier’, written to men)

    Dr Frank Pittman was actually ground-breaking in the area of infidelity, and modern theories of infidelity and even chump lady’s blog is, if you think about it, based on his revolutionary findings: it is about an ego problem, and they need to grow the fuck up.

    • Patsy—well, he certainly didn’t express those views in this article….unless this was satire? Read it carefully, and I am not the only one who came away with this opinion. I stand by what I said about this particular piece of garbage that he wrote.

      Who knows. Maybe he had an “ah ha” moment and realized that being a misogynist doesn’t sell as many books.

      I re-read the article just to make sure I still understand what he’s saying about how men “accidentally” get into affairs….

      Yep. His “opinion” in this article is still misogynistic crap. Sorry.

  • Wow Chumplady, that’s harsh. But so true. Newly chumpified – you married one of “them”. I know that is really hard to accept, but you did, and he ain’t changning. I can’t believe you have not left yet.

    I found out when my (soon to be ex-) husband’s secret cell phone (the one he pretended to throw away the first time i found out about this woman 4 years earlier) accidentally pocket-dialed me while he was calling her to inviter her to our son’s soccer game THAT I WAS AT. Eventually he showed me the cell phone. OMG (pictures and words) and what an ass. (she’s married BTW too). It was really $hitty of him to show that to me. Later he said he did it to give me closure (but he would not move out or file). Took me a while to have enough dignity to file myself.

    get out. get a GOOD therapist (most likely a psycologist, not just an LMFT) and find out why you don’t think you deserve better than this BAD man. You made a mistake picking him, accept that. You are in major denial and have been for years.

    I actually continue to look at the other woman’s facebook page (full of self portraits) to keep myself out of denial. They are still together. This forces me to acknowlege that until i can become healthier and stay out of denial by myslef.

    You also don’t have healthy boundaries and are letting this asshole walk all over you. Stop it. I know it is hard, that’s why therapy is good.

  • I have a friend who caught her husband cheating with one of her good friends. (or so she thought was a good friend!) She collected the evidence without telling him a thing and then called the extended family together (about a dozen people, both sets of parents, grown kids, etc.) Once everyone was seated, she stood up and said “I have an announcement to make, Fred is cheating on me with Charlene and has been for the last year and a half. I have the proof. I have brought you together for this meal and to give you all notice of my intention to divorce Fred.” Meanwhile, this is the first Fred has heard of it and is pretty much knocked over by it sitting at the head of the table! Plus, she is protected by family from having to discuss it with him at that time (at least by herself!) She did divorce him too. They did get back together a year or so after the divorce was final & got remarried. Karma bus did hit a few years later when he was MURDERED in Ft Lauderdale in a robbery attempt while at work. Anyhow, I could not keep my cool like that having all that dirt on him, but she got him back pretty good telling everyone at the same time she confronted him!!

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  • So, it’s not possible that he does still love this past love? I think it is. Anyway, what would the wife want to accomplish by calling the OW? I’ve recently been contact by a boy I knew in elementary school, but he moved away in middle school. We talked, texted and caught up. Then he tells me that he’s had it in his head since 1st grade that he’d marry me one day. His current wife may object to that. I tell him I don’t want to have an angry woman after me. He has told me ALL of the lines – she’s mean to me, I never loved her, I stayed for my daughter, I’m going to leave, I just have to get things in order, we haven’t slept together in years, etc. Nothing has happened, but, I admit I was curious. And, yes, we’ve had some conversations that would be hard to explain. Now, she has contacted me and ordered me to not talk to him anymore and she monitors his cell phone, FaceBook, etc. I’m kinda torn. I told him I wouldn’t be the reason for their split. We haven’t seen each other in YEARS, but when we talked, it was like we’d never been apart. I guess because we have a history, but no baggage. I talked with a friend of mine about him and she thinks he’s batcrap crazy. I was married and he cheated, so I understand her view a little. Except, I didn’t care by that point – I knew my marriage was over. Why would you stay if you know he’s lying to you and possibly the OW? Just wondering.

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