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Dear Chump Lady, My wife won’t go to counseling

Dear Chump Lady,

My wife recently disclosed that she’d had a five-month affair with her former boss which ended two years ago. During the course of it she lent him $200k against my advice, money she’s now taking legal action to recover.

We’re in marriage counseling but she tends not to speak, do the “homework,” or discuss her feelings in between sessions. Last night she blew up, said she felt abused when I spoke in therapy, and was tired of not knowing what I felt before we went. “When do you tell me what you feel?” I asked. “It’s not about me!! You’re the one who’s depressed!” was her answer.

I told her that if she had nothing to say, didn’t think it was about her, and felt abused, she should probably just not go. The following morning we had a counselling appointment. “Do you want me to go?” she asked. “Or do you just want to go by yourself?” I suggested she go by herself so she could discuss her feelings about the counseling with the marriage counselor (MC) without worrying my reaction. She declined, so I decided to go by myself.

The MC, when we talked about it, seemed to think she was showing willingness, as did my individual counselor. I think it was a pretty obvious ploy to weasel out of it and that my initial reaction was correct. Am I right? Should I just concentrate on myself? And why can’t psychologists see through shit like this?

Looking forward to your insight,

ANR

Dear ANR,

Well, I can’t speak for all psychologists, particularly because I’m not a psychologist — I’m a chump — but my take on it is that your wife is full of shit. If I were you, I’d dump the marriage counselor. It’s a farce. She’s not doing the homework. She’s not taking the initiative (a remorseful cheater would jump at the chance to do MC with you, or go alone). And she’s not discussing her feelings between sessions. Which I read as a big rug sweep — Let’s Just Get Over This Already, Shall We?

That’s what her actions say. I don’t know what is wrong with your shrinks. They either see her potential, or the potential of more billable hours. Why they can’t call her on her shit, I don’t know. I suspect that puts an end to things quite quickly and leads you to draw conclusions, which then results in fewer billable hours.

That shouldn’t be the concern of your own shrink though. Why does your individual counselor see “willingness”? Did he take a hit on the hopium crack pipe too? Was he specific about what exactly he found hopeful about her behavior? (She wore her lucky pink sweater? She wasn’t dragged there in chains?) I’d be shopping for a new shrink. One with a reality-based methodology.

Here’s a big red flag to me, ANR — “When I spoke in therapy, [she] was tired of not knowing what I felt before we went.” Yeah. Wanna know why? Because she needs to prepare her script. And she can’t do that, if you don’t give her a nice look into your head. If she’s going to manipulate you, and snow the therapist, she needs something to work with. And you’re not cooperating. Too risky, so best you go yourself. That’s how I read that.

It’s also an artful mindfuck to make it seem like she’s all about you and your feelings. “I just want to know what you’re feeling!” Oh, but hang on — she already knows. You’re “depressed.” Really, I think she’s just taking your temperature about if you’re going to dump her. Best not to be transparent about that. Let’s make it about you and your inability to express yourself properly.

If you haven’t already, read the interview here with Dr. Simon, and check out his book “In Sheep’s Clothing” (for sale in the Amazon box to the right). Cheaters — especially the ones with such flaming, colossal entitlement as to lend their affair partner $200K (we’ll get to that in a minute) — have integrity issues. (“Character disordered” in Simon’s parlance.) The usual rules don’t apply. She’s trying to game the system and play you. Simon goes off on a whole tangent (you can read at his books, or website) about how traditional therapy models don’t take character disorder into account. They’re going to work from the assumption that your wife wants “insight” into her behavior. They’re NOT going to work from the assumption that she’s a fucked up piece of work who wants to manipulate you.

Guess which camp I think she’s in?

In any case, if she wanted insight, she’d avail herself of therapy. She’s not doing that. She’s putting the burden on YOU. “Do you want me to go?” That is your cue to do a little soft shoe of the “pick me” dance. “Oh yes, please oh please oh please oh please go to marriage counseling with me! Oh, I really want to save this!” And when you don’t do that — she sulks. She refuses to go. You didn’t dance pretty.

She isn’t going to do the marriage counseling unless she feels at an advantage doing the marriage counseling. Some cheaters go just as the price of admission to keep cake alive. Okay, I’ll pretend at some insight here. Some, I’d hazard a guess, are sincere at their attempts to figure out what the hell is wrong with them. (You know how you can tell? Those are the ones that go to therapy and make their own appointments.) But your wife isn’t doing those things. She’s just having a pity party of one. She’ll sit this one out, thanks.

ANR — dude, that isn’t even the bare minimum to save this marriage. I’m sure she feels mortified that she was swindled by her fuckbuddy, but she needs to be on board and she isn’t. Oh, and the affair ended two years ago? No. For you, my friend, it did not end. It gets played out every day as you try to extract $200,000 from the OM. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?! Is she independently wealthy? Does she have a trust fund and can she just afford to siphon $200,000 out of it to invest in her fuckbuddy? Or ANR — is this money a joint marital asset? Because if it is… I don’t know, call me a uncaring capitalist… but that might bother me even more than the cheating. Is $200,000 chump change to you? I would divorce her just on the unbridled audacity of that “loan.”

Talk to a lawyer. I’d want to know what portion of that I could ask for back in the divorce. A 5-month affair is bad enough, to risk your financial well-being for the man she fucked? OMG. The disrespect! I’m gobsmacked. I’m without anything pithy or snarky or rude to say. I’m just… jaw. on. floor.

The other day we had a letter from Nadine whose husband spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on strippers — and OMG that was atrocious, but I could almost wrap my mind around it. Strippers. Hey, if you’re a horny goat, there’s some bang for your buck (forgive the pun). But just to hand that kind of cash over in a lump sum and ask for an IOU? UNREAL. It’s staggering!

Perhaps it was invested in oil wells or railroads or iamadouchebag.com IT startups. It’s still crazy! The fact that this woman won’t have a conversation with a shrink is the least of your problems, ANR. Your problem is that she’s an entitled princess. She endangers your finances with a stunt like that, and she feels ABUSED in therapy? Oh my goodness, are all the little people going to point and laugh at her idiocy? Must we talk to her in hushed tones? Tiptoe around her tender feelings?

Quit looking to her and the Reconciliation Industrial Complex to fix this. Start making your escape plan. Talk to a lawyer and a forensic accountant.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Abused” by therapy.

    I’d say that’s classic projection. She’s using therapy as a way to fuck with your head, and get insights in how to do a better job of it.

    And then bitches that *she* is being abused.

    Andy also felt “ganged up on” during MC. When the psychologist would not let him blame me for his behavior, when the psychologist told me to ignore his death threats, when the psychologist told me Andy was going to do *whatever* Andy wanted to do, regardless of anything I did or did not do, *Andy* felt “abused” during therapy.

    Demanded we go to a different MC. The second one? Told Andy he was not taking the counseling seriously—and this one had previously been Andy’s therapist in the past, so I was on red alert. When P came down on Andy’s behavior, it was a huge turning point for me in understanding that not one, but *two* MC called his bullshit.

    As some one who’s been a little farther down that road, the MC you are seeing now is a quack. A good one would be all over calling a sparkly turd a turd.

    Save your co-pays for an attorney. It is money well spent on you.

    • Yep, ex felt ganged up on because therapist called him on his shit. God forbid he face up to the crap he visited on me and the kids.

    • Wife couldn’t possibly feel “ganged up” on by our MC, but I think she’s pissed off that he didn’t tell me I was out of line when I pointed out that she engaged in false equivalencies and demeaning name-calling.

  • ANR: My ex wife reacted in a very similar manner, which just made me try harder. When she wouldn’t read the books our MC recommended? I bought her audio books on CD. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear they were never even un-shrinkwrapped.

    And speaking of shrinkwrap: You’re therapists sound like they have you bundled up pretty good. To give them the benefit of the doubt, infidelity is a very specific mental health issue. Your folks might be good with general depression or goal setting or WTF-ever. But you are getting bad advice about infidelity and reconciliation for all the reasons CL explained above. And the cynical part of me says they “see willingness” when you ask whether reconciliation is possible the same way your barber will see shagginess if you ask whether you need a haircut. It is in their financial best interest to see it, after all. Ask them for the following fee arrangement and see what they say: If your marriage is still intact one year from now, you pay them $5,000 each; if your marriage is not not still intact one year from now, they pay you $2,500 each. I’m guessing that would be a nonstarter.

    In my situation? When my ex-wife engaged in a similar counseling rope-a-dope? She was continuing an affair the whole time, an affair completely different from the one that sent us to counseling in the first place. Which shouldn’t be surprising, really. Anyone who is that unwilling to share in counseling is usually continuing to hide plenty.

    Good luck, my friend.

    • Our MC specializes in marital issues, including infidelity, but his approach seems to assume willingness on the part of both parties (really, I guess, that’s almost inevitable, what else could it assume?) He’s great at advising my wife on how to proceed — just not so great on calling her on her inaction.

      • “He’s . . . not so great on calling her on her inaction.” Yeah, BTDT. Very difficult to deal with that, I know. Like a dragon with no head at all. Where on earth do you even start?

        Just remember that inaction is a choice just as much as any action. It is in fact the action of choosing the status quo. And the status quo for you right now is a living hell. Don’t know how you can reconcile with someone who makes that kind of choice for how your life should be.

        I wish you strength and courage for the difficult road ahead.

  • Actions speak louder than words. Her actions?

    – 5 month affair with her boss (this is what she admitted too, so I’d take a wild guess and say this wasn’t her first, or last, rodeo)
    – gave her ho-man $200,000 because lets be honest, a loan implies that you will get it back
    – refuses to participate in counseling
    – refuses to “do” any work to make repairs to your marriage
    – wont listen to your feelings because she already knows everything (which actually means that she doesn’t want to hear about how her selfish shitty behavior has torn you apart cause gee, that might make her feel bad)
    – claims the counseling makes her feel abused because holy crap, someone might actually hold her accountable for her actions.

    To me, all of this “says”:

    IM GOING TO DO WHATEVER MAKES ME FEEL GOOD, IM GOING TO IGNORE OR AVOID ANYTHING THAT MAKES ME FEEL GUILY – AND FUCK YOU IF YOU DONT LIKE IT.

    Its easy to get caught up in what people say, especially if they are good at slinging the old bullshit around. Watch what she does, or doesn’t do. It will tell you the truth.

    • Sounds to me like her affair may be over but she is still not valuing or respecting you. Maybe you are just her security blanket or she’s biding her time til she finds another AP. Take your power back and let her see you are no wet blanket!

    • Angie points out what something that Tracy just wrote about .
      http://chumplady.com/2013/07/you-are-not-the-boss-of-me/

      She doesn’t want to be told what to do and feels like you are making her do something she simply does NOT want to do.

      Not sure how long you two are/were married not that it even matters but losing $200K would be a huge problem for me and my family and our finances.

      She needs to leave ASAP!

      • Funny — just the other day she was saying re work that she doesn’t like being told what to do. As if I didn’t know. She’s an accountant (!), so if she felt that strongly about it she could establish her own practice, but that’s probably a little too much work for her. And, of course, she blew the money that would have allowed her to pay for the set-up costs, extra liability insurance, etc., etc

          • No. She quit a year ago, while drunk, at the big end of the tax season party (they’re accountants). Maybe that’s when the affair really ended — looking back (I was there) the way she quit (tearfully telling him “I can’t do this anymore.”) seems to point to that . That would make it a seventeen-month affair rather than a five-month one. Other things (how often she was absent from home) seem to point the other way. I may never know. She tells me she meant what she couldn’t do anymore was keep working for someone who didn’t pay his debts. But then, after she quit, she took on contract audit work for the firm — which actually put her back in the office for a bit. She never got paid for that work.

    • Hahaha…love the ‘she doesn’t want to hear about her shitty behaviour because, gee, that might make her feel bad’. So, so true of the wingnuts. How dare we call them on their shit and let them know that it actually hurt us deeply! We are big old assholes for making them feel bad for being a bad person!

      • I told douche bag that in my book you are a bad person. He said that ” I am a good person, there are always other books”. Perfect, just pick another book. LOL
        This was right after his AP was in the paper mug shot and all for her dui and hit and run. Yes, I did mouth off about what a class act she was/is even though I don’t believe he is with her anymore but he did throw away his family for her and himself. Even the kids got to see daddys girlfriend. Sad to say, that boosted my mood for quite some time. 😉

        • I told ex he was a bad person and he got very upset. He likes to be the good guy. Good guys don’t cheat for years.

          • Yes, image is everything…. He can keep telling himself he is a good guy. Let his actions speak for themselves.

            • Well, he’s on his best behaviour with the final OW right now. I’m wondering how long it will last. There are rumblings that he’s back to some of his online actvities.

  • An affair with her boss? Prospects not good.

    200K ‘loan’ to her affair partner? If you’re not Bill Gates , Warren Buffet, Charl,es and David Koch or a Walton, that’s probably a significant attention getter too! How does one get played for 200K?

    I’m intrigued. If you want to elaborate a little, I’d be interested in reading this.

    • The only–and I mean ONLY–time I think that an affair with the boss is excusable and reconciliation is possible is if the boss initiated the affair and blackmailed the subordinate by making veiled threats regarding job security. In these situations, the subordinate is a victim and needs to be treated as such. Sadly, this stuff happens.

      If that were truly the case, the ANR’s wife would be all over therapy. The guilt at the affair and the relief from disengaging from it would be huge. The $200K would add to the guilt.

      Sadly, I don’t see that as happening.

      I am also puzzled about the money. It sounds as if she talked to you about lending him the money in the first place, and you said not to do so. i can’t see her saying, “Honey, my sidepiece wants to borrow some cash, so I wonder if we could funnel a few grand out of our retirement accounts to loan him.” If she specifically asked about giving him money, she was actively gaslighting you on why. If you went ballistic after finding out, and THAT is what uncovered the affair, then no, she’s not sorry for the affair (though she’s sorry she was found out!). If he absconded with the money and that’s what triggered the end of the affair, well, she’s still not sorry about the affair. She’s sorry about being played.

      Anyway, I do feel for you, but I agree that you probably need to go shopping for new therapists–ones with enough guts to fire clients if those clients don’t do the homework.

  • As CL points out, your wife has a huge sense of entitlement, the hallmark of the personality disordered. I think you should start reading and researching on the cluster b personality disorders. You will see they are intractible and you need to get out asap.
    See a lawyer. These types never change and are very poor partners/
    If you stay with your wife, your life will be shortened. And, the life you do have will be hell.
    Just think of the absurdity of her feeling “abused” (cheaters love to play victim). This is a woman who engaged in what many consider the most severe form of emotional abuse:infidelity. Yet, she has the temerity to feel “abused”(they do this whenever someone tries to hold them accountable).
    It makes no sense at all to stay with her. Your therapists are either incompetent or delusional if they characterize her actions as demonstrating “willingness” (whatever that means. Perhaps willigness to fake like she gives a shit until something better comes along).
    Read up on Hypergamy and infidelity. Some of these women are always looking to trade up.

    • “Some of these women are always looking to trade up.”

      My guess is that she saw the affair as becoming a marriage that got her more benefits ($$$ and status) than her current one. She give him money like a normal person buys stock – expecting to get more back eventually. Now that is not happening, she wants her current meal ticket to comfort her and get her money back. She’s embarrassed that her gold digging didn’t work, not remorseful that you got hurt.

      She’s an adult. We teach our children that actions have consequences, but while they are children we make sure the consequences aren’t too bad. When you are an adult, you face the consequences of your own decisions. She doesn’t want to. She wants you to suffer for her decisions. Don’t..

  • After I read this, chumpy me started to feel bad. My douche bag of a husband was the one who suggested MC after disclosure, made the appointments, and actually went. Even went to the Pastor of our Church (lied to him as well). Ironic because we just went throught the ceremony to officially join the church the day before he first fucked her. Or so he said…. This is the only affair that I know of but I know that he lied about a lot of other things before, secret credit card, family matters, and I am sure plenty that I don’t know about. I believe the only reason that I know of these is because he got backed in a corner and either had to confess or would be flat out busted. Better to confess and put his own spin on it that be “busted”. At MC most of the responses that I got were “I don’t know”. He did order a book but barely read it and never read any of the books that I purchased. Nor did he ever seem to want to “talk” about it as I had requested. He too said that he felt that he woke up every day just to get beat down again. Hmmm, like waking up every day for me after D Day was beautiful. Hopefully, the divorce should be final by year end. He will not leave the house and lives in the basement. However, I pay more attention now to his actions and not his words. He treats me like I am a piece of shit, like he is a victim. He has had a pity party the whole time and now just does whatever he wants – fine by my if only he was living somewhere else and there were not two children involved. But the entitlement is ridiculous! And his little mug shot of a girlfriend, well rumor has it she helped break up another marriage. What a catch! The whole MC for us was a joke – this MC asked him if he could forgive me. Really??? I was committed to the marriage, family, husband, you name it. Need me to take care of something, I’m your gal. I guess the whole MC must have made him uncomfortable, poor thing…. Sad thing is, I even offered to try another one because I didn’t feel this MC was a good fit. But no, he wasn’t willing. Guess that should tell me something. I just feel mean or chumpy sometimes because as far as I know, this was the first and only affair not the years and years of adultery as some of you describe. But I do see how he didn’t invest in the family, he only invested in himself….. Somedays better than others.

    • My ex kept saying he ‘didn’t want to live with this hanging over his head’. As in he never wants it mentioned again and if it does get mentioned he gets very angry and screams about being abused. This, from a man who cheated for years and was finally busted.

      • Nord, I Swear it is freaky how all of these wing nuts are the same!! Mine would say “I will NOT remain in a marriage where you get to drag this out 10, 15, 20 years down the road and throw it in my face!!” My response? “I get to drag this out whenever it comes up, whenever something happens to trigger me back to finding out that my “soul-mate” lied to me for 4 years while spending 10’s on thousands of dollars on massage parlor prostitutes! And if you don’t have the compassion and accountability to let my pain wash over you and apologize again, and re-assure me AGAIN (as many times as I need Mutherfucker!) then we have nothing more to talk about. AND, mind you, this was 2-3 months after D-Day. So. Weird. – So. All. The. Same!

        • OH! And I forgot to mention the “abused” part. To his Dad he said,”I know you think this is all my fault, but you have NO idea how many years she has emotionally and mentally abused me!!” (I can’t even keep a straight face as I write it, it’s so ridiculous)

          • Yes, apparently me being absolutely furious for quite some time after finding out about his serial cheating and calling him on it (yeah, I know, no point in doing that but I didn’t know that at the time) was ‘abusive’. His serial cheating, fucking me over financially and years of lies were not abuse, though. Fuck him.

    • Casey – don’t feel mean about dumping him after “just” one affair. I did too… “just” one 4 month affair (though I now believe there is now a possibility it may have been off and on for some amount of time longer, but it does me no good to investigate that further at this point).

      It was still an insanely traumatic betrayal, and if he wasn’t willing to do any work or take responsibility to save the marriage, the only thing you can do is leave.

      • Thanks AE. It wasn’t like it was a o.n.s. it went on for almost a year at least their relationship. He never mentioned her and she has an unusual name that i would’ve questioned. From what I was told it only was sexual for about half that time. Even so he does have a history of lying. Chumpy me was raised to give people the benefit of doubt and that we all make mistakes. In my eyes he did not put much effort into the reconcilation or the relationship for that matter. But like so many of you I doubt myself sometimes. I know it is done and time to move on.. I just need to trust that he sucks.

        • I really love the “trust that they suck” mantra. That’s one of the hardest things to come to terms with, that they weren’t who you thought they were.

  • My ex wouldn’t go to marriage counseling. He burst into tears one day but wouldn’t tell me what was wrong other than “he fell out of love with me.” I asked why he wouldn’t even try going to a counselor to figure out what was wrong before he wanted to throw everything away, so he agreed to go by himself. However, he would never let me come with him. He said the counselor told him “You need to keep me to yourself for a little while” when I asked if I could come along. Chumpy me was so sympathetic, I told him “If that’s what he said, then that’s what you need to do.” I have a feeling he didn’t want me to come because I’d hear all about what was really going on. So I decided to get a counselor of my own the day I felt like crashing my car into a tree instead of going home. That was the best thing I could have done, o work on myself. The “it’s your problem to work out because your depressed” argument is so familiar to me. Guess why you’re depressed? You’re living with a selfish, crazy person who blames everything on you. Of course you’re depressed. I now know what it’s like not to feel depressed for the first time in over 30 years.

    • Yuck, not the crocodile tears! And yep, you’re depressed because you’re living with someone who treats you badly but you don’t quite want to face it. I think back to ex crying and realise his tears were for himself, not me and not hte kids. Why for himself? Because now people might know he’s not such a nice guy and he’d also be on the hook for support. What a freaking idiot I married.

      • The tears are the ultimate manipulation. OMG! A grown man is crying! He must really be a sensitive soul!

        They quit working on me a long time ago, but I know he used them to great effect to get the AP and even his own sisters to believe every nasty lie he told about me. Why would he lie about something like that — look at how much he hurts!

          • They sure get massive positive feedback for doing it. It must become like a Pavlov’s dog response — only tear ducts instead salivary ducts.

          • My ex once boasted to our son that he could cry at will. And he did too, whenever he wanted to seem “sensitive” or was pretending to be so remorseful for his actions. Total bullshit, talk about crocodile tears.

          • I’d almost never seen my ex cry in over 36 years, except when he had the emergency appendectomy. NEVER did he cry for emotional reasons. Well, the day he burst into tears started waterworks I’d never seen in my life. He was sobbing and crying for weeks, curled up on the couch in fetal position, etc. I kept thinking his behavior was so bizarre he must have a brain tumor, that something was physically wrong it was so out of character. I pleaded with him to go to a doctor but he wouldn’t. I even had his mother try to talk him into going to a doctor. Of course it wasn’t until a few months later I discovered the reason for all the crying. He did feel terribly sorry for himself for falling in love with his married coworker and having to leave me. Believe it or not I actually felt sorry for him! It made me nuts, I felt like I was losing my mind with all the gaslighting he was engaged in.

            • Mine cried right before I kicked him out. It was all about him, though. His thoughts, fears, various worries. Not a single tear shed for me, the kids, our marriage, our life. Nope, a few trickling tears for himself.

        • Mine played that card very well. His parents sure believe him and his tears and I did at first too. But I realized the tears were really for him and him only. When I told the kids that we were getting divorced he stormed out of the room and said “I’ve ruined everything”. Yes, you did. What a great show! I just recently received a letter from his mother in which she writes that she is positive that everyone wishes things were different. Really??? And that is why he treats me like shit even now? Because he has so much remose and regret, right? LOL She also goes on to write that this was one of lives “cruel curves”. Wow, so life threw this at me and not her son? They all do not want to have ANY accountablility. I even let his parents move in with us along with their two dogs for three months about 8 months after D Day – never charged them rent or anything. Prepared meals and was gracious with them. Her note went on to say that life is about everyone and not just ourselves. I guess my hospitality along with putting my family first all those years 15+ just didn’t show her that. I must be the selfish one for not forgiving her son, right? It was also disclosed that his father cheated on his mother years ago. Yeah, I don’t think she ever really got over it and I decided that I don’t want to live my life like that. He can fool everyone with his tears and the poor me good guy image, but we all know the real truth – at least I do.

          • The mother even stated that she believes marriage is forever. Even after she dies (she has some medical issues) she hopes her husband does not get involved with another woman. And if he does she said.. ” I hope with the first thrust, he has a massive heart attack and dies because he is mine in life and in death”. Okay then…..
            Also learned that he was facebook messaging a woman behind her back around 2 years ago. Yeah, don’t think he has been driving the faithful train but dammit she is going to stick it out.

          • Ex’s parents totally fell for his tears. HIs sibling told me about the night it happened. Then I remembered hearing a similar story when his relationship with the girl before me ended…him crying in front of his parents and her being the big bad wolf. Same script, different woman in the co-starring role.

  • ANR the few times I went to MC with my ex after DDay and me kicking him out were useless. Ex, when I finally told the whole story, FREAKED RIGHT OUT. You want to know why? Because it meant he was no longer controlling the narrative, he was outed for being a serial cheater and he could no longer bleat on about how ‘the marriage was already over’ when he started his final affair. He had to face the music. Or not. It was me and the therapist who finally decided to not bother having him face the music because it was pretty clear that he had no interest in getting insight, he just wanted a free pass and to not actually deal with the destruction his behaviour caused.

    And the money? Fuck me…dump that woman and find one who will actually respect you. But be alone first, and get your head together. You’ll be fine. It will just take awhile.

  • Thanks for you reply, Tracy. Maybe there’s something about getting an advanced degree in psychology that makes you stupid, because the non-psychologists I’ve talked to about this all have a take similar to yours. To be fair, my individual counselor was way more tentative about the willingness thing — more just putting it out there as a possibility — and, after a brief foray into “maybe she has trouble expressing her feelings” that was met by my pointing out that in fact wife is very eloquent when she’s angry, got as close to criticizing our MC as she could w/o falling into professional discourtesy. She then recused herself from the topic and steered back to ways of coping with depression — which she’s very good at.

    • IMO a good way of coping with depression is getting the hell away from toxic situations that depress you. You’re not a zen warrior. You don’t have to wage a mental battle with Ms. Crazy to keep your sanity. The situation is insane, IMO. I think you’d find your mood would improve if you took actions to save yourself, i.e., see a lawyer.

      Disordered people keep you in a one-down position. Exhausted. Depressed. Fighting to make sense of your reality. Inertia sets in, and you cease to be an obstacle to them. What They Want is paramount. What you want, not so much. This is not a person who has your best interests at heart. That is demonstrated by her behavior and flagrant lack of remorse and willingness to fix this. No wonder you’re depressed!

      How a shrink can help you with depression and not address the root causes of why you’re upset (depression as anger turned inward) — IMO isn’t very helpful. You can do all the deep breathing exercises you want to. As long as your wife is there mindfucking you every day, you’re going to feel like shit.

      Shut her down. Lawyer up. I think you’d feel a big boost of happy neurotransmitters.

      • This is by far the best description of how I’ve felt, for decades (!), married to my X! It’s so great to see my discomfort so defined. And of course, the whole time he was love-bombing me if I got a clue that this was going on, and then I would cool down because ‘well he loves me…..’
        CL how do you figure all this out?

        • Yes PattyToo, I was just about to copy CL’s words and save them in my little CL and Chump Friends archive. 🙂

            • I did copy the paragraph that begins”Disordered people keep you in a one-down position.” That has been my reality for many years. But I am taking my power back now, thanks to CL and all the wonderful people here!

  • I think a lot of people will be interested in the incredible story of the $200k. I’m going to tell it in chunks — it’s deserves a full telling but it’s a busy day for me.

  • ANR, I don’t get why you are fuming, fuming, fuming angry about the 200K. That’s how much my husband wasted of marital assets and it was front and center and an absolutely non-negotiable item as to whether I would work on the marriage. I either divorced or we got a partition strongly in my favor. No matter how much money you have, you should not be financially connected to someone that lends 200K to an affair partner, even if she is bringing in all the money. That’s how I saw things. You should document the affair and the 200K loan, and get yourself to an attorney about this. In the end, marriage is a contract about staying faithful and true to one another and sharing monies faithfully and openly together. She’s broken your marriage in two fundamental ways. Even if she lent the money with your knowledge, you did not know she was involved with him sexually and emotionally when she lent this money. No wonder you’re depressed, you’re suppressing anger. Get angry and start taking action.

    • I can’t wait to hear ANR’s story about the $200K either and I’m betting it’s some version of saving the boss’s business and thereby saving her job.

      While narcs play the victim to the hilt, they also love to go into rescue mode — it makes them indispensable (they think) and keeps them close to the new cake.

    • Preya — I’m disgusted at the deceipt, but the actual money doesn’t mean a lot to me. Seems to me she’s already punished herself by blowing the money her mother worked a lifetime of low-level jobs to pass on to her. But maybe that’s just how I’d feel.

  • ANR– you’re dancing. Sorry to say that so bluntly…but you are. You’re hoping what she says is the truth. Tracy is right–the affair actually is eclipsed by that loan of $200K. The douchebag that she was screwing–I am suspecting that he got into the affair just for the sake of the “loan”. That sounds harsh, but….again….these crazies do only what is in their best interests.

    If she were truly done with this affair, she would write that “loan” off…and find a way to repay that money to the marriage. Meaning…perhaps getting a second job and banking up to $100K and writing you that check. Voluntarily. She is keeping that affair alive by keeping that situation alive. She owes you your half of her “loan”. She should eat that.

    About the therapist. Billable hours is what that screams to me at first. But then you go into how she won’t go or feels abused because she doesn’t have foreknowledge of your inner workings.

    My STBXH is more “classic”–isolation from family and friends. If he couldn’t do it emotionally, he would do it physically. What your wife is doing is a variation of that theme—keep everyone separate that knows anything about anything. This way, no one gets together and puts all of the pieces of the puzzle back into the Big Picture of Reality.

    They don’t allow or will resist in every way—anyone forming a consensus about what they’re doing or what they’ve done.

    Your therapists clearly either have not had experience with sociopathic behavior (which, by the way, if you haven’t suspected yet….your wife is one) or they are more interested in keeping their practices financially afloat. I suspect it’s a combination.

    Sociopaths are not crazy. They’re not insane. They know EXACTLY what they are doing, and they do it deliberately. She knows she’s twisting you into pretzel shapes….and this blaming you for not sharing what you want to talk to the therapist about? You, my friend, are keeping her (however unintentionally) OFF BALANCE.

    Nothing cures a sociopath of you more than you doing to them what they do to you.

    See a lawyer. Find another therapist on the basis that they have experience with sociopathic behavior models (ON YOUR OWN).

    I’m doing just this very thing. I have stopped listening to ANYTHING my STBXH says. Not “run it through the bullshit filter”. Not take it with a grain of salt. Not argue with him over semantics.

    Is his mouth moving? He is lying. He turned in his “free pass” of me giving him ANY benefit of the doubt, in ANY way—when he fucked his “friend”. I hold the moral high ground and he knows it. I may not be the perfect wife, but he clearly thinks he deserves the world served to him on a silver platter (as all NPDs do)–and I am the cash cow. Not any more. He got angry the other day that I didn’t cave to something he wanted, some bullshit high ticket item that he felt he just “had to have”.

    This is difficult–but you have to start doing things their way for awhile. Not meaning go along to get along….no….you need to start being secretive and doing things just for your own safety (moving money, seeing a lawyer, getting a new therapist, hiring a forensic accountant, hiring a PI). Don’t tell her a goddamn thing. She proved she has NO RIGHTS to the inside of your head.

    Your wife doesn’t give a rat’s ass about how you really feel. If she did, she would eat that loan, sign a post nup that includes an infidelity clause, get a second job to pay you in cash the $100K that is YOURS…..just for starters.

  • Oh boy. ANR, I really can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said more eloquently by others, but you need to GET OUT as soon as you can. I’m kind of doubting your wife’s affair was only five months, or that it was her first, for starters. The disordered only admit to what they think you already know or are about to find out. IMHO, there is ALWAYS more to the story with these people.

    And $200K……. wow. My ex disordered husband left us financially devastated as well, and certainly lost a lot of money, but not THAT much, and not by giving it away to some fuck buddy. I hope your attorney nails her to the wall for that money.

    I agree with others, your MC is just looking for billable hours or is the dumbest MC on the planet. Your wife is like most cheaters…. just wants you to “get over it” and move on so she can continue her charade of being a good person. Cheaters like when their chumps carry all the shame, all the blame and all the pain, because cheaters sure as hell aren’t going to do that sort of heavy work.

  • ANR,

    Great comments from all. Your wife is a personality disordered nut job. Personality disorders, such as the immense narcissism she’s presenting are next to impossible to treat. Its never HER problem. Your depressed. You didn’t do this. You didn’t do that. He did this. There’s no culpability even in the face of the fact that she LENT her FB 200k which my jaw is also on the floor.

    Of course you’re depressed! If you weren’t, I’d say that something was amiss in your head. SHE is the abusive one, but she transfers her load of shit onto you and that is just plain crazy making. The only way to escape all of this is to leave.

    She ain’t changing. So, either you live with her the way she is and suck it up or you leave. Couple’s therapy is a waste of time and money and its only going to push you deeper into the tar pits of her disorder. I’m so sorry, but the less you engage with her the better, because whatever you do, she will twist it to suit her own agenda. And her agenda sucks. She is not capable of the kind of relationship that you thought you had– with anyone and she’s not interested in finding out why that is… xo

  • Hello ANR – I am so so sorry that your wife, the woman you chose to partner and share your life with has betrayed you in these awful ways. There is an article that Tracy wrote just last week about the level of pain that we have all or all are going through having to face this kind of betrayal. It’s devastating. I swear my brain could only process at 1/4 capacity for almost 2 years I was so side-swiped, in such utter disbelief and shock. It took me a very long time to “believe my own eyes”. So, I’m so sorry for your pain. We’re all here in it with you. And all that everyone has said above is totally spot on. It’s hard to hear and harder to believe, but I think it’s the truth. You must start to “believe your own eyes.”

    Big Hug and Best of Luck.

      • Yes ANR, ditto to what FLBright said above. I am so sorry you are going through this, and I know that feeling of “not wanting to believe my own eyes.” It is SO hard, but get a lawyer, forensic accountant, p.i., and get out.

  • Once you get away from a disordered spouse, gradually, things start to become clearer. You remember all the ways she demonstrated how she does not give a shit about you. You, again , gradually, begin to see how you were walking in a minefield and how you lost your true self.
    These monsters grind you down to a nub. They are relentless in their abuse.
    Your wife is a classic NPD or ASPD. One can tell based on her long term cheating and her lack of remorse or empathy.

  • I may be in the minority here, but I would separate the affair from the money action. If one does not clearly write down/sign/seal the terms of any kind of loan in any amount, they are simply stupid. The affair is a different case and has no explanation or defending it. So, I am not sure which one was used for what: revealing the affair to justify poor and stupid decisions or the consequences of those decisions bringing the affair to light. It doesn’t really matter in the end. Both show some major character flaws. If you decide to accept them and live with them, that’s your choice. At least you will now be making an “educated” decision. So, this is a good thing in the end, no?

    • Most of us probably have trouble separating the loan from the affair because she was screwing the person to whom she gave the ‘loan’.

  • The Money (Part 1)

    I’ll start with where the money came from.
    It was the proceeds of my mother-in-law’s estate, less about $50k. Getting it is was a big deal because my in-laws were separated but not divorced (my father-in-law being a verbally abusive serial cheater played a big part in that) and my mother-in-law died intestate. Everyone involved knew it was my MIL’s wish for everything to go to my wife (and only child), but when you die without a will and are married (and without a separation agreement, even), the law is that it all goes to your spouse. My wife refused to believe the evidence of her own eyes that her mother was dying (and her mother just didn’t think about the will — dying is kind of preoccupying) and by the time she got to doing something about the will her mom didn’t have the capacity to sign. So we incurred legal costs to draw up a document by which my FIL waived his rights to the money (he didn’t fight about it) and further probate costs. Just selling the house took a good long while, so the money wasn’t available for any purpose until maybe 6 months after my MIL died — about a month before the affair began.

  • The Money (Part 2) Money and Guilt

    My wife was devastated by her mother’s death — her mother had basically devoted her life to her. But the relationship was fraught, marked by selfishness and ingratitude on my wife’s part and passive aggression on my MIL’s. It didn’t improve after my MIL’s diagnosis with a type of blood cancer that some people live with for years and years but which kills most within 5 years. My wife didn’t handle the illness well, wasn’t nearly as supportive as she should have been and, during what was pretty obvious to everyone but her was my MIL’s last stint in hospital, didn’t visit as often as she should have and even rejected my suggestion that we cancel a planned trip to Disneyland with our two boys. The night her mother died she hadn’t been to the hospital in a week.

    So she felt guilty about the money and using it for our own purposes. I understood that — suggested we put it in a GIC until she could think more rationally about it, or donate a large portion to charities her mother supported (we eventually put about $25k into that) and put the rest into trust accounts or education savings plans for the boys. I wasn’t concerned about using the money for us — it was a (horrible) windfall which we hadn’t been planning on and we had and have a fairly large investment profile, a paid-off house worth $500k and no debt. But my wife couldn’t make a decision about what to do with it all.

  • The Money (Part 3) Rick’s Dilemma

    As all this was going on, my wife was working part-time for a small public accounting practice. Her boss (let’s call him Rick) had somehow ended up getting the shaft from a business partner which left him as the sole owner of a bar (let’s call it Studio) that that he couldn’t sell except at a loss. Instead of sucking it up, he decided to put more money into the bar, rebrand and turn it that to a money maker, not for a long-term business but to get it to the point where he could sell it at a profit. Problems with this idea include a) that this now upped the break-even point for a sale WAY higher, b) while he was renovating the bar was bringing in no revenue, c) he really had no experience running this type of business and d) he didn’t have sufficient liquid capital. He financed the renovation with bank loans, and after he’d tapped out the banks, by private loans from wealthy friends, most (but not all) of whom got some sort of security for their loans. He also diverted money from his main business — the accounting practice/learning centre (of which more later) where my wife worked on the accounting side.

  • The Money (Part 4) Hey, I Have Money!

    And then the affair started, with Rick sweet-talking my wife at a Christmas party which I will always remember, because I have never seen anyone be a more obnoxious, drunken train-wreck than he was that night, But I guess tastes differ. Three months later, while I was preoccupied with being laid off, starting a new business and moving my mother into a dementia care facility, my wife floated the idea of lending $100k to Rick. She had already discussed it with him before bringing it up to me. She told me then and still says it was her idea.

    What did I think? I thought it was a bad idea. Lending money to people you work with is dumb. Lending money to your boss is dumber. Lending money to someone who can’t get a bank loan is a bad idea. So is lending money to someone who doesn’t know the business he wants to use the money for.

    But the interest rate and payment schedule she had written into the note were highly favourable (in fact we were very relieved later that the court didn’t overturn the interest agreement as being unconscionable) and she was unmoved by my argument that a favourable agreement wouldn’t mean anything if he couldn’t actually meet its terms. “He’s a good businessman. I’m sure he’ll make a go of it.” Like a chump, I left it at “well, it’s your mom’s money, so I guess if you really want to …” The only financial dealings she’s had with him at this point involved his paying for obligatory PD courses, which he dicked her around on, and his refusal to give her a wage matching that of an employee who, unlike her, didn’t have a designation (but was a really pretty, flirty alcoholic, who he later fired for continued drunkenness, leaving my wife to clean up the files she’s made a drunken mess of for years).

  • A Digression — Crazy Disrespect

    As I said, I was laid off about three months into the affair. I’m a writer and instructional designer, and my wife suggested I write some of the marketing materials for the new Studio, as well as pitch rewriting some learning guides for the non-accounting side of the business — a government-funded learn how to be an entrepreneur program for the unemployed. Rick was a dick about paying for the marketing materials, and took the two chapters of the learning guide I’d rewritten on spec without contracting for the rest of the work. “Well, I guess we both knew he was a dick,” I said. My wife agreed, but pointed out that he was having cash flow troubles because the launch of Studio was so delayed. He was just being a careful businessman. She suggested I enroll in the entrepreneurship program, which would allow me to collect unemployment (once my package ran out) without having the payments reduced by any revenue my business earned. That seemed like a good deal, and I didn’t really know much about running my own business, so I enrolled for a session starting after my unemployment claim became active — months later.

    So yeah, she had me working for and enrolling in a program which would bring money to the guy she was fucking.

  • A Further Digression — You Probably Guessed …

    …that Rick is married. He has grown children and a number of grandchildren. He’s not as old as that sounds — married very young — but is a good ten years older than me and fifteen years older than my wife. Did I mention he was a heavy drinker? And had heart problems? I got to hear about those a lot — ostensibly because my wife was concerned about how these troubles would affect the business and her job. My wife did some work with Rick’s wife, who ran the bookkeeping side of the business, and who always treated both her and me with kindness. My wife thought Rick’s wife didn’t know about Rick’s financial situation — of course now I can say she knew that was the case.

  • A Further Digression — You Probably Guessed …

    …that Rick is married. He has grown children and a number of grandchildren. He’s not as old as that sounds — married very young — but is a good ten years older than me and fifteen years older than my wife. Did I mention he was a heavy drinker? And had heart problems? I got to hear about those a lot — ostensibly because my wife was concerned about how these troubles would affect the business and her job. My wife did some work with Rick’s wife, who ran the bookkeeping side of the business, and who always treated both her and me with kindness. My wife thought Rick’s wife didn’t know about Rick’s financial situation — of course now I can say she knew that was the case.

  • Really? ANOTHER Digression?

    Well, yeah. This one about my wife’s behaviour in these months.

    Before I was laid off, my wife had been spending an increasing number of evenings out of the house, supposedly out with the work crowd. She would often return very late, and very drunk. She was irritable with both me and the kids, asking me at one point if she should just leave as none of us seemed very happy with her. I thought she was still dealing with the effects of her mother’s death, and tried my best to be patient and reassuring.

    After I was laid off, she didn’t do that as much. She had (naturally enough, it seemed to me) ramped up her work hours now I wasn’t earning, leaving me with our younger son in the afternoons (he was in half-day kindergarten) and both boys until she arrived home. She was still irritable, but not as much. I was glad to see she was feeling a little better, at least. Then, once the flurry of activity around moving my mother ended, it was tax season. She worked a lot, including some evenings, and was back to going out a lot, though not staying out as late. She felt she needed to get away, she told me, and suggested we spend some of my package money on a trip to Italy that summer. I agreed — and planned and arranged the entire trip — she pretty much refused to have anything to do with it, which was actually kind of a relief from the micromanaging she’s usually prone to.

    I don’t regret the trip — we had a fantastic time and I had built in visits to places I was interested in which I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have done if we’d planned the trip jointly.

    After tax season, as spring made its slow way to our part of Canada, my wife pretty much entirely replaced going out with the office crowd with running and exercising. I can’t vouch for her whereabouts every time she said she was going to the gym, but she sure as hell got buff, so I think the affair was over at this point, as she’s said. But I don’t really know.

  • The Money (Part 5) Rick’s Second Dilemma

    The original note was for $100k at 20%(!) interest, with both interest and principal to be paid monthly — $10k a month. Rick paid the first two installments. Non-payment triggered a higher interest rate for the late portion. Rick didn’t pay the third installment, and after not mentioning it eventually he admitted he couldn’t because of a “temporary” cash-flow situation. He asked my wife if he would lend her a further $100k on a thirty-day note. She said yes, but the interest would be $10k. He found that too high. This initial discussion took place, supposedly, after the affair was over, and without my knowledge. My wife did discuss it with me and I told her what I’d said before but more vehemently — it was a really stupid idea. Again, she was taken with the idea of getting a whole bunch of money out of him. But she wanted security. He said all available security was securing other loans. She still gave him the note.

  • The Money (Part 6) You Should Sue Him

    After our return from Italy, it became really apparent that Rick wasn’t going to and could not pay back the loan. My wife was of the opinion that he could call on friends to help him out — I doubted that, as he was into everyone he knew. There followed a long period in which he talked of various offers on the bar that would allow him to pay. He was engaged in complicated transfers between his different lines of credit, bank accounts and credit cards — kiting, basically. We found out later that this was also when he stopped remitting payroll taxes and CPP payments to the government — a pretty stupid move for someone whose livelihood depends on a good relationship with CRA (Canadian equivalent of the IRS). At this time I was at the office a fair bit taking the entrepreneurship program. Rick taught part of it, and gave very solid advice that seemed not to reflect his personal business practices in any way. Oh well.

    In the fall I had the opportunity to speak to one of our city’s most esteemed trial lawyers (long story — not a legal matter) and we became friendly. I asked him for advice on my wife’s situation and he suggested she quit her job and sue him, meanwhile contacting the Ethics branch of the accounting professional organization. I passed this on to my wife. She started snooping through Rick’s e-mails and files, and became increasingly angry as it became clear that he had been paying other, richer people back while pleading poverty with her. But she still didn’t sue. She only took action after she quit her job — two years after the original loan, one year after she says the affair ended. Even then, she felt compelled to tell Rick that she’s filed suit (which I advised her against).

  • Holy crap — this chick is a bottomless pit of narcissism. Don’t you feel the least bit glad to be rid of her? How can your love remain after all of this? A psychologist would have to be pretty great to figure her out. Cut your losses, dude. ASAP. My two cents.

  • The Money (Part 7) The Never-Ending Case

    After a series of attempt to arrange an alternate repayment schedule through a solicitor — all of which were rejected and/or ignored by Rick, my wife eventually engaged a trial lawyer. He brought suit. When it came to trial, my wife won judgement for the principal and current interest on both notes. But that’s not enforcement. Enforcement involves the debtor submitting financials, undergoing questioning by the creditor’s lawyer and then attaching of assets. It takes a long time, and Rick delayed at every step of the way. He avoided contempt of court charges narrowly and now my wife’s lawyer will be launching further contempt proceedings, as Rick refuses to release information about a relevant bank account. My wife is on the title for Rick’s house, his son’s condo, his business real property and her lawyer has filed for her to get shares in a corporation that owns another piece of real property. Rick’s affidavit of debtor claims he’s separated from his wife, but we both suspect there may be an attempt at hiding assets involved there. We’re pressuring the lawyer to just start taking assets already, while he’s waiting on the full financial info, but he’s moving kinda slowly. We’ve spent $10k on legal costs, only $1k (the court costs from the trial) of which have been covered by Rick.

    My wife told me about the affair three months ago, during the course of an argument. She seemed to regret telling me right away, especially when I asked her who it was with. But the genie’s out of the bottle now.

    THE END

    • It’s good to get it out. My thoughts? Divorce this woman, recoup any money you can but be prepared to get little back. Cut your losses and run. This woman is not a loving, caring, respectful person and she does not have your best interests at heart. I’m really sorry you went through this.

    • Wow. Sorry you have had to go through all of this mess that she has drug into your life.

      At least I think I understand now why she wants to know what you are going to tell the counselor. Shaking my head.

      And if you are a little depressed, I can imagine why: the one person you trusted to have your back didn’t, and instead she drug all kinds of chaos into your life, and she is telling you it is your problem.

      That just sucks.

    • ANR, it is pretty stunning!

      I’m sure the other chumps will weigh in. Off the top, and in no particular order I think
      a) Your wife has a long history of being a rather shitty, entitled person. The whole not visiting her dying mother thing is quite beyond the pale.
      b) Your DDay was recent — you’re in the Twilight Zone of grief and disbelief right now, so I’m sure everything we’re saying to you seems a bit… hard to take in.
      c) This affair was going on a lot longer than you knew about.
      d) When your wife went through those emails, and got all teary and said goodbye, it was more likely that she discovered she’s not his only fuck buddy, as well as not his only debtor.
      e) She’s trying to get him to do the “pick me” dance too. I imagine your trip to Italy was part of that — trying to make the OM jealous. I imagine the high interest rate is part of one parasitic individual trying to play the other one. Her thinking she could control him at some level and make him “need” her.
      f) The lawsuit is still part of her “pick me” dance. I’m mad at you! Give me back my money! but more important “pay attention to me!!!” This idiot is still in your orbit.
      g) For someone who fucked up soOooOOOoo spectacularly, she doesn’t seem one bit sorry, as evidenced by her mindfuckery around the therapy.
      h) I’m glad you’re financially okay, because you can afford a divorce. I’d let her assume all that debt she’s owed, btw.
      i) You need to talk to a lawyer like yesterday.
      j) The fact that you worked for him and paid him is sick, sick, sick, SICK.
      k) I think your wife is a flaming personality disorder because everything you’ve written is crazy, manipulative and selfish.
      l) I think you have a false notion of being in this pickle together. Maybe feel a bit sorry for her for getting played (she sure feels sorry for herself). And a lawsuit is her way of pulling you on her team. I’d back away from that shit.
      m) You’re Plan B. He was Plan A.
      n) I hope you found another job that isn’t related to either of them.
      o) I don’t think this is salvageable and I think you should run, not walk, away from this disrespect and insanity. I’m sorry about your kids, but read the other posts here. Kids will be okay in time, and you deserve a life without this kind of crazy pain.
      p) She’s probably fucking you over in ways you have no idea about right now.

      • a) it kills me to admit it, but yeah
        b) it does
        c) definitely possible
        d) i can think of two candidates off the top of my head, so yeah
        e) that makes sense
        l) as does that
        m) I can’t bear to admit that right now, or even think about it, really
        n) I run my own successful business now
        p) see m

        • Per m) — the “loan” might’ve been a way to transfer an asset to him as she thought they were going to start their new life together. And then he threw her under the bus, or she found out about his other fuck buddies.

          Can’t cheat a cheater, KWIM?

              • Oh yeah, no doubt. They are clever con artists, the two of them. I also think that money was being transferred to him, not loaned.

                Every word of CL’s post is spot on. Especially p. because most of the time, the stuff you know about is only the tip of the iceberg. That’s why you need to get out asap and hire an attorney. My guess is if you stay, your wife is going to hit you with a lot more bullshit and some of it might stick.

                You need an attorney who is skilled with financial stuff, not just divorce, because otherwise your wife might stick YOU with her debt. Watch out.

              • They’re accountants alright. And he’s a way more experienced and sly one than she is.

            • BTW, if you have any life insurance that lists your wife as a beneficiary, I’d change that, like, YESTERDAY. Also, you should immediately email your family that you are making this change and cc the wife. No need to give the reason, just tell them that is your intent and you are beginning the process immediately.

              I had a $1 mil policy when I discovered my ex wife’s last affair and was reminded of it with your “blood ran cold” comment.

              I am serious. Do it.

              • No life insurance, but she’s the named beneficiary on my RRSPs (I think those are the equivalents of 401(k)s and the sole beneficiary in my will

              • Yes, Nomar, I had millions and when I saw that cold reptilian look suddenly come over my ex’s face, I almost sprinted to the phone to call my lawyer and life insurance company….spooky….

              • ANR, I have no idea of the Canadian regulations governing RRSPs, but at least in the U.S., it’s pretty much impossible to have the spouse’s name off 401(k)s while you’re still married.

          • I know of a situation just like this with a friend of mine. The money was lent to the business. My friend’s x and the x’s business partner were having an affair. I don’t have all the details, but somehow in the divorce she was screwed out of all that money.

    • Wow, she told you about the affair during an argument? She used it as a weapon. Also, it was bound to come out during this court trial I would think, otherwise you may have never found out. I would suspect this may not be the first time. All I can say is she does not seem to have what it takes to be a proper partner… She seems to only consider herself and not you or the kids.

      • Well it’s not Judge Judy, so I don’t see that it would come out in the legal action. But it occurs to me just now that Rick may have threatened her with revealing it if she didn’t desist. He claims in an affidavit that his separation from his wife was as of May 15 — 25 days after D-Day for me. Once his wife knew about the affair — and seeing my wife’s name on the title for her marital home must have raised some questions — Rick was free to use his knowledge as a weapon.

        • Thanks for that insight. I was so confused about why she would have told you. So out of character. This makes sense.

    • I would stabilize the financial situation for you and your kids by separating everything legally and financially from this woman. How do you know she isn’t criminally involved in fraud? she certainly has the personaltiy for it if she could screw her kids out of their college funds. nice mom.

      Once you are fully separated, if you want to maintain the marriage, save it or whatever you can work on that, but I would protect my kids lifestyles if possible.

  • Two accountants decided to screw each other, agreed to terms and got it all in writing! Sell the story to Tyler Perry quick!

    I’ll just make one suggestion — women don’t compartmentalize issues and events like men do. She’s probably totally absorbed with trying to legally unwind her stupid mistake, which she seems to be doing a good job of. It’s always there front and center on her mind’s computer desktop — even when sitting in a counseling session with you. She just can not really focus on anything else until this issue winds down to where it becomes background noise.

    SO, I would just humbly suggest that you not dump a divorce action on top of everything else just yet. Especially if you want to keep things sorta together for your kids. Back off some and allow her to get this dealt with, and then see what you have to work with.

    (I still think you’re married to a narc though, based on how she handled her mother’s death)

      • I don’t get what your advice buys ANR, Chumpalicious. I particularly don’t get what the advice buys the kids. The wife is a world class narcissist. She’s got ANR twisted in knots. The kids don’t have a present parent in either of them right now. I so disagree with staying. Get out asap, ANR. FOR THE KIDS. They need you, ANR. They need you whole and complete. She is bringing you down to the depths of hell on earth. She is clearly never, ever going to change.

        • Also, now may be the most opportune tiome to get a favorable divorce settlement, while she is all wrapped up in the battle for her money.
          Many of us make the mistake of not acting quickly enough(that old bullshit, oft repeated crap about “not doing anything for 6 months(vomit) ). The best time to start a divorce proceeding against a cheater is, IMO, really soon after discovery.
          Often they are reeling a bit, and, a minority may actually feel some shame or guilt(not likely in ANR’s case). In any case, they are a bit off balance and that can help.
          No way should he stay while she sorts out the deal with her fuck buddy. She may be distracted enough to fork over the kids and some child support/maintenance(or forgoe maintenance) while she is dealing with this.
          Giving them time, to self justify, get indignant, demonize the betrayed further, get their propoganda demonizing you out etc , is a mistake, IMO.

      • In ANR’s initial letter he didn’t mention that he had kids……
        Kids are the only reason I brought up that way of looking at things. I put my life on hold for my kids all the time. They only get one dad, one mom in actuality.

        • Whereas I think that when there are kids involved, it’s even MORE important to get OUT, as fast as possible, when it becomes obvious that you’re married to a self-centered, entitled narcissist. You don’t want your kids growing up thinking that this is the way relationships should go. And the fact that you’re pretty depressed right now is a big ‘jump ship now’ sign too Your mind and your body are trying to tell you something really important! This woman is bad for you, and your kids need at least one healthy, sane parent.

          If your wife really does want this marriage to work, you can straighten out the money and get at LEAST a legal separation, as well as an actual separation. That protects you and your money, while she makes all those efforts needed to repair the relationship (that she’s not making now, right???). My recommendation would actually be for a couple of months of No Contact, just to get your head clear, and THEN if she wants you can try to work on reconciliation. Although I’m betting she doesn’t actually want to do that kind of work.

        • Bullshit, divorce action is what you need to do. Dammit, get a damn PI and you will know the truth. MCs often are invested in saving long term marriages and yours sounds like one of those. My MC insisted it was hard for my ex to stop contact so I should be ok with emails. The whole time he continued to lie, was in affair and was fucking me over. His fav thing to say? “It’s you and me against the world”. If I was unhappy with his shit he’d say how he had my back, why don’t I have his. It’s a mindfuckingfuck from hell when the person you love screws you with no conscious. You are not plan B, you are part of plan “whatever I want is right”.

    • I disagree! If that was me in your wife’s shoes, I’d be more concerned with my marriage not the $!!! She is obviously ‘disconnected’ on all levels, to her mother, husband and kids. I’d say she ‘s like her father!

    • Agree about the handling of the mother’s death. My ex, when his grandparent was dying, refused to visit said grandparent and even got in a huge argument with me when I suggested we take the time to make the visit, as the grandparent was not going to last much longer. Ex never did visit that grandparent before death but ex went to the funeral and played the sorrowful grandson to the hilt. Very weird but I just didn’t see it for what it was.

      • My ex’s father spent 10 days in the hospital dying of heart failure. It’s a slow awful way to go, and there was plenty of time for him to go visit — which he should have done because the unfinished business he never got a chance to deal with later drove him to distraction. But he was just too busy.

        I had many peaceful years without in-law troubles because he wouldn’t deal with them at all — not realizing at the time that that was one of the biggest narc red flags around.

      • When my father went through his final bout with prostate cancer, he was in and out of hospital quite a bit with blood in his urine due to problems finding the right blood thinner and dosage. My wife usually tried to dissuade me from visiting him as he’d be out soon and “there was nothing I could do.” Sure glad I went the last time — as he unexpectedly died of a blood clot in his brain. We had a great talk together before he went.

        My wife was very helpful in the immediate aftermath. A day later, though, I returned from my mom’s, exhausted and still sort of in shock. When we went to bed my wife started in on me about my smoking — just wouldn’t stop, Eventually I pretended to sleep and just cried to myself. This was the first time I suspected there was something really, really wrong with her.

          • This became clearer to me in hindsight, too. About a year before XH started his affair with his dingbat secretary, I unexpectedly lost my mom in a very tragic car crash (only 7 months after our wedding day).
            Right after the funeral, XH reached out to a group of complete strangers on an online sailing forum, to ask whether it would be ok from him to ditch me for the weekend and go attend an out-of-town regatta. Because this was really sad and all, but he hadn’t gone sailing in soooo many weeks and really wanted to go. He literally didn’t know what was the *right* thing to do, and thought he’d get a consensus from fellow sailing enthusiasts. The comments he received were priceless:
            “Christallmighty, dude – it sounds like your mother in law’s passing was a tragedy. Hell, sounds like you even liked her too – if my MIL turned up deceased, I’d likely be brought in for questioning. So, how about you skip a couple of regattas for a while?”
            “you’re coming to THIS website asking for THIS kind of advice?”
            “What the hell is wrong with you? Stay home, asshole.”

            Zero empathy. Totally clueless.

        • Here’s my parental daeth story, which ties in with the narcissism aspect.
          I was in California, playing golf with my brother, when I received a call that my Dad had taken a turn for the worse and was not expected to live much longer(lung cancer and emphysema).
          My brother and I got a flight out to Connecticut immmediatly. Spent the whole day traveling, with last minute connections and layovers etc.
          I visited my dad for three days. He was in really bad shape, suffering immensely and doewn to about 100 lbs(Btw , he told me during our visit that my XW was the most insincer person he had ever met).
          I got back to Minnesota on Sunday night. I was pretty messed up and grieving.
          I forgot to take out the garbage, as was my routine on Sunday night.
          My wife was furious. She layed into me for this terible transgression.
          Finally, after years of her abuse(which included her bragging about the physique and dimensions of one of the men she had spent the night with during our marriage), I had enough. I told her she was a fucking selfish asshole(So, she got her wish. She had provoked me, finally, into “abuse”, used latetr to justify the cheating).
          Two weeks after my dad died(during which she was going out “dancing” with a man from her AA group((she did not attend my dad’s funeral, either))., my wife announced that she was going to Chicago for the weekend with this mena from AA and they would be sharing a hotel room while they “visited museums”. This was two weeks after my dadd died.
          For the next six onths, I was bombarded with requests that I move out, that I remain sleeping inthe basement and that she be allowed to take our sone sithe her 150 miles to another city to be with yet another man she was banging.
          These creatures have no empathy. They are monsters.

          • You were emotionally abused for the entire marriage, Arnold. I’m so sorry. Your Ex sounds like a toxic waste dump. I hope you’ve found a decent therapist who won’t cut her slack or do the “it takes two to tango” crap about the marriage. You never get “over” the abuse, but you can work through it. Not quickly, though.

    • Not sure if anyone will read this, but as an update re the legal case: 10 months later she’s no closer to recovering the debt. The legal bill must be up to 20 k by now.

      • I see you ANR – That must be very ____________!!! Fill in the blank – so many things to feel about that. I’m so sorry. Epic Sucking. I hope that you are doing better, though. Closer to MEH? Hugs…

        • Closer to meh, yeah. In other news, found out the affair went on a year longer than she told me. She will not admit this.

          • They never do, unless you have proof in your hands. My EX had only been going to massage parlors “since Christmastime, you KNOW how stressful the holiday’s are for me!”

            Then I sat him down at the computer and we opened his CC statements (Yes, he paid for the hookers on his CC) and he LITERALLY would only admit to as far back as the month we were on. Ultimately it turns out it wasn’t “since Christmas” – It was FOUR years. We’d been married less than 5.

            ANR – I hope you’re getting out….

  • Jeez. From the mother and daughter dynamic, it just gets worse and worse.

    Good luck, ANR. And we know how much this stuff hurts.

  • ANR, I relate to how good it feels to finally get the whole story out and have other validate that what’s going on is crazy. It sounds like a complicated mess and I’m very sorry for your pain. It takes a long time to realize that they really thought nothing more of you than a floor rug. My ex took me to Hawaii right before D-day and I thought we had a wonderful time. I hoped it was the beginning of our life post kids. It was so hard to reconcile that the person who did nice things like that was just acting like he cared. As he was leaving for good he kept saying he “cared” about me. It felt sort of like being beaten by your mother while hearing her “I love you” over and over. Who wouldn’t be depressed with that kind of crazy going on? Anyway, I really feel for the confusion and pain you’re feeling, but you’re a great writer and looks like you’ve already got an audience for your next book.

    • Thanks, Lyn! For years during our marriage I had a monthly books column. Got nominated for a National Magazine Award twice. When I wrote something I was particularly proud I’d show it to my wife, who would usually point out typos or other flaws.

      • Oh ANR,

        You are freaking me out worse and worse!

        I was very very close to my Father, out of 13 kids I was “the favorite” I spent many hours at the hospital with him after work, which the X encouraged (as if he could stop me, he knew better) I’ve since found out since he was busy getting comfort of his own while I was with Daddy.

        Also, I had started a blog, through that was able to do an amazing thing for a family with a disabled child, vacationing where I live. He never met them, never even read my post about their amazing vacation they could have never afforded without my help, or the many others that were posted about it by other, well known and read bloggers…he just wasn’t interested. At all. And they were such wonderful loving people! I didn’t even think it out of the ordinary, because I knew he was busy working…SO HARD…although he never contributed any extra towards the bills from these ” side jobs”

        Thank you for the reminder, really it’s mind boggling to me how many knives were stuck in my back that I never even noticed!

        • Toni — I didn’t take that sort of thing too personally, either, though my side writing projects are really what I’m most proud of. But just a a week or so ago, I got news I was really excited about. I’ve been writing songs — well, mostly just lyrics — for a couple of years, and I’m good at it. Have a couple of cuts on an upcoming album from an indie artist next year. Anyway, out of the blue a Montreal folksinger contacted me and asked for permission to use one of my songs on her Western Canada tour — also invited me to the concert in her town. I said yeah — put me down for two tickets. Asked my wife — she didn’t want to go and didn’t even ask me which song it was (my 10-year-old did). Hurt like hell. So tonight I’m going by myself to meet a bright (two degrees in philosophy), talented, drop-dead gorgeous woman twenty years younger than me who admires the work I’m proudest of — while I’m at the most vulnerable I’ve ever been and my wife is supposedly interested in “reconciling”. WTF?

          • Behave. Don’t sink to your wife’s level. Enjoy your success. But if that songwriter turns your head, take it as a sign — that you’re not all in and you realize at some level life would be a lot better without your cheating wife. It would be awfully nice to be FREE and surrounded by people who support you and your talents.

            Those people exist. And you can have a better life with good people in it — you just have to navigate yourself through divorce first.

            • Update — had a terrific night at the concert — though it was a bit embarrassing being pointed out and having the audience all look at me — and a nice chat with the singer. We’ll probably be in touch again, but strictly music stuff. When I think about it, you’re totally right about what the head-turning means. Last year, before all this, I had dealings with a singer just as attractive, bright and interested in my work. Had no thoughts that way at all. Mind you, she’s married, which, in my hopelessly old-fashioned way, makes her unavailable even as fantasy material.

              • Well, take from that evening that you’re a stock that will trade high on the open market (read: OPEN and AVAILABE… back away from the pretty married people!)

                Know your worth. And perhaps when you know your worth, you’ll stop putting up with your wife’s shit and make your escape plan.

              • Yep. From my perspective, anyone married or in any kind of romantic relationship was always, always, ALWAYS off-limits.

                Post Dday, and especially after I’d lost enough weight for people to notice and enough that I could wear clothes I’d not worn in years (read: dress professionally), one of my male colleagues complimented me on my outfit. I realized in that instance that he was an attractive man, funny, well-read, etc. That I was aware of him was a big red flag to me about my need to get divorced AND my need to get therapy so that I don’t rush into any relationships until my head is straight.

      • Lots of typos for me, too. See my post above :).
        Your wife is a crazy NPD, like mine. I bet others feel this way about her, too. They may come forward after you divorce her. Many keep their mouths shut during the marriage, not wanting to interfere.

  • “…hearing her say “I love you” over and over again.” Geez, I wish we could edit posts after they go up.

  • ANR, you’re living my life.

    My narcissistic xw loaned $150K from our HELOC to her POS business partner in a construction project, over my forceful objections. I don’t know if she was screwing him (though it wouldn’t surprise me), but she did definitely start something up with one of the clients. The two things coming almost at the same time were the final straw for me.

    I’d echo what CL said. Waiting around for your wife to straighten out her mess is a fool’s errand. I can say that because I’m a chump par excellence myself, having put about 10 years I’ll never get back waiting for my wife to straighten herself out.

    She’s a source of chaos. Her mother’s presence was probably a big part of how she kept it together before, but those days are over (also featured in my own story). You can wait it out, continuing to endure the death of a thousand cuts, and hope she doesn’t find some new way to fuck up before the current mess is resolved. I think you’d be better off looking for the exit.

    Myself? I have a lot less disposable income now, but my life is a lot more peaceful, and I’m not dealing with the grind of being in an incredibly one-sided relationship with a very selfish person. Life can be much better on the other side of a divorce.

    • Well there’s something to be thankful for — she didn’t borrow money to give to Rick. I’m sorry to hear about ‘s your trouble, but glad to hear it’s over for you.

      • It’s DRAMA!!! DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA!!! They feed off of it while we pay, financially, emotionally, physically taking each new idea/problem/business venture of theirs to heart till we have nothing left to give.

        I am no where near the financial brackets you all are in but I get payed in lots of cash and I gave him thousands and thousands of dollars. I’m struggling badly now but SO much better off! When I have the occasional extra bit of $ I give it to my grown kids for my grandkids. Thank you for that CL!

    • Well said, vre. Me, too. Life is much better evn if I had to have some financial doownturn, for a while.
      Now, witha NPD spender out of my life, I do have more $$. though.

  • Wow, ANR, that is quite a story. Sounds like your wife and Rick are both a couple of con artists, and got caught up in a daisy chain of two, both screwing each other literally and figuratively. What with the way Rick borrowed from so many, and so clearly never expected to pay people back, I’d be keeping my eyes open in the back of my head if I was him. There are people out there who would harm you for a lot less money loaned and not paid back.

    I’m not sure how marital assets are divided in your state (wait, you’re in Canada, right?) but assuming the $200K was considered marital property, I hate to say it but you are never going to get your share. That money is gone.

    Divorce Ms Cheating Con Artist as soon as possible, before she devastates you even further with her games. Because she is seriously bad news.

      • From a cursory look, it isn’t here either, but it sounds complicated enough that only a lawyer in this province could give a definite answer.

    • Inheritance CAN sometimes be considered marital property if it was commingled in a joint account, making it difficult to trace exactly which was the inheritance, which was money from other sources. That’s here in CA, might be different elsewhere.

      At any rate, what is certain is that your wife is trouble and that Rick is even bigger trouble. What’s that old saying about the tangled webs we weave when practicing to deceive? Considering the efforts these two con artists have taken with their schemes, it seems quite plausible that they’ve gone beyond legality somewhere along the line, or will do so in the future. When dealing with the disordered, always remember that the real story is much worse than whatever they want you to believe.

      I’m still blown away by the brazen entitlement of the disordered, and how casually they destroy the very people they once claimed to love, and vowed to be with forever. Every time I think I’ve heard it all, something new comes along and amazes me all over again. ANR, your story is definitely up there in the truly amazing category.

  • Forgot to mention that she’s now actively poaching clients from Rick, who’s such a fuck-up he never bothered to have his employees sign non-competition agreements. That’s sort of funny. And some have approached her, because his firm is falling apart and he can’t afford to hire another accountant.

    • So what are you getting out of this whirlwind of impossibly low integrity that has swept through your life considering all that has happened? I am having trouble seeing it.

      I’m kind of slow, though, so I usually ask folks to explain it to me like I am a 9-year-old 🙂

  • ANR,
    Wow, I’ve been following this all day, and My 2 cents, because that’s the financial category I’m in says run – run- run! You don’t need the money. Your wife and her “man” have got you tied up in horrible knots, neither one cares about you, OR the respective families, and this will go on forever, giving them both an ongoing reason to “have” to deal with each other. And it sounds like he took her…but GOOD!

    I went through crap like this for years, on a much MUCH smaller scale of course, he owes me a lot of money and as of monday I have no car, no money to buy one, OR credit but I consider it a price I’m (still) paying for my freedom from a lying, thief with absolutely no ethics or morals.

    He did major crocodile tears because I was his ticket to him getting his Mom’s house when she dies ( he hadn’t spoke to her for 20 years before me) and I QUIT being a part of his sick games!!! They are nothing but users, run and save your kids while you can!!!

    • Just the fact that she’s done so much damage and then has the gall to tell you to go to the counseling because after all you ‘re the one who’s depressed. She has no real remorse or intention to help you heal. She’s only out for herself. That’s not a real connection or marriage and these sentiments will only continue in various shapes and forms. It took me 23 yrs to realize that! Now he’s gone, life is peaceful again and I have a much better partner now. It’s a hard thing to face and get through but worth it in the end. Good luck!

  • ANR…You sound like a reasonable, caring and supportive man.
    Run.
    Run.
    Run.
    Run.
    Don’t “reconcile”… the only reason she wants you back is because Rick betrayed her in some way. You are PLAN Z. This will implode. It is only a matter of time.
    Bottom line:
    YOU DESERVE SOMEONE BETTER. GET YOURSELF TOGETHER. THEN MOVE ON.

    I’m so sorry. My ex husband “day-traded” all of our considerable savings.

    The hardest part is to accept who she is now. Maybe (*) she wasn’t this person before, but this is WHO SHE IS NOW. She isn’t going to change. No matter how much you pray, will-it, beg, or give up your soul. You have SEEN her for who she is now. BELIEVE IT.

    Once you do that, you will understand. She will trick you by giving you glimpses of the “old her”. It is a ruse. People who love you don’t behave this way. They would be falling over themselves to apologize. This is not her. Your wife isn’t who you thought…BUT…you can still be happy.

    There is no doubt in my mind that he agreed to those conditions on the loan thinking that they were going to be together. That was THEIR plan. As in SEE u later.

    So hard to understand, accept, admit. However, the longer you stay involved in this, the more damaged you will be. Put yourself and your kids first.

    • Thanks, starlight. It really does help for me to have the hope that she wasn’t always like this, that I wasn’t wrong about her from the get-go. Maybe that’s not true, and maybe I’ll find that out, but for now it makes me feel less stupid.

      • Think about it ANR. If she was not always like this, how can she have just changed?
        She is NPD from the get go. Just had her mask on and you beleived the mirage.
        I’ll bet you a beer this is not her first foray into infidelity in some capacity. She may have had more affairs or, just as likely, been an OW before you were on the scene.
        There is no fucking way she could display the behavior you describe without always having been like this(unless she has a brain tumor).

  • ANR,

    That is QUITE a story! You just can’t make this stuff up!

    I’ve been checking on the comments intermittently today, and there was something that made no sense this morning that makes perfect sense now: why your wife was SO resistant to counseling if the affair had (supposedly) been over for two years. I mean if it was truly over, she was suing OM, and she felt true regret, she’d be jumping through hoops to keep the marriage together. But she’s not. She wants you to leave her alone and for everyone to stop “ganging up on her.”

    Then CL said that she thought the trip to Italy was really a routine from the “pick me dance” show, and that your wife had probably uncovered evidence of other affair partners by snooping through OM’s emails.

    That one struck a chord with me, because about 2 months before DDay, I was online dream building, looking at homes for sale, when XH happened by and asked me what I was doing. I told him, and pulled up a chair, and wanted me to start looking at horse farms. He and one of our daughters had been riding for several years, and we’d talked about farms off and on. So I did. We looked at pictures and descriptions of several in our area – none of which appealed to me or that we could afford – yet the whole exercise made XH very….amorous. We went upstairs for a quickie. I thought it was odd.

    Until one day after DDay, that is, when I was snooping through XH’s emails and found several about the horse farm HE planned to buy OW once they were finally together. And yes, it was around the same time he had ME looking at horse farms. Ewww! Nothing like being part of an affair fantasy and not know it! (He can’t afford to ride anymore, so the horse farm dream is gone…)

    Anyway, there’s ALWAYS more to the story than they tell. Your wife’s reluctance to go to therapy + her determination at “getting back” at OM = she’s still obsessed with him.

    At the very least – and because you can afford it – I would suggest a separation so you can have time to grieve, be with your kids, and wrap your head around this whole mess WITHOUT your wife being there. I desperately wanted to save my marriage and was SO upset when XH moved out, but soon discovered that the absence of manipulation + not walking eggshells = huge emotional burden lifted.

    After a few weeks of no drama or chaos, you’ll ever wonder why you put up with it as long as you did…

  • on a note about the MC – my ex agreed to go to counseling with me after one of our DDays (there were several over the years) and he went – and boy that meant he really, really wanted to work things out. I backed out after 3-4 sessions and ultimately went alone somewhere else. Why? Because my ex and the and MC (male) spent half of every session discussing mutual acquaintences – because my disturbed, cheating, alcoholic, lying husband at the time – was a therapist. Yep, so they would sit there and talk shop and industry gossip (and I found this MC through my HMO they didn’t know each other prior). My ex charmed the MC as he did most people. And the other half of the time, they ended up essentially BOTH COUNSELING me about how I was struggling to move on and my ‘codependency’, and my depression. I shit you not.

  • The only payoff I got from supporting him for 8 years for his higher education (at one of the best public university pysch programs in the country) … was his being able to become a JediMaster at screwing with my head.

  • ANR,

    First, I hope you can feel the love and kinship in all these posts – everyone here has felt the kind of pain, shock, disbelief, etc. The gory details don’t matter in the big picture – you’ve been betrayed and it feels like a massive, shit-filled sucker punch to the throat. Money or not, reconcile or not, take some time to let yourself recover and really consider how you want your life to go. Legal separation is probably a good idea (just to pause all the legal/financial wrangling) and can give you space to breathe – that’s what you can do for yourself and your kids – breathe. If you can, connect with a good friend that can listen to your story without trying to solve the problem – just spill your guts. I think that’s why this site feels so good – there are “friends” here who have no stake in the game other than supporting each other. Give yourself and your kids a giant hug and know that you’ll get past this craziness. Peace.

    • mzmama — i can, and I thank everyone for their words, whether soft and empathetic or tough love. i know you all wish me the best, which is a great feeling. i do have a wonderful friend who’s been there for me through all this — he lives a long way away, unfortunately, so he can’t give me a hug, but he gives me the same wonderful long-distance hugs you all do.

      • One thing that’s struck me in the past couple of months is just how superficial my wife’s friendships are. I can say, with near-certainty, that she doesn’t discuss what’s happening with the women who consider her a friend. If she were all broken up about it, I imagine she’d want the support. I always felt lucky that I didn’t have the sort of wife who complained about me to her friends — but now I think about it, if she had she might well have got good advice from some very kind and reasonable women. Instead, she put her effort into projecting an image of perfection. Neither of us has a lot of friends, but I seem to be the only one with friends I can actually speak honestly to.

        • My ex had almost no friends either, one earlier in our relationship, who later moved out of the country, and one a bit later. Both were people who had sought him out (kibbles!) and who he could see as losers in several ways (more kibbles!). And he NEVER talked to anyone about anything important (except me and the OW – not getting the best advice there, I bet!).

          So now, not having close friends or close relationships w/any family members is a big red flag on my red flag list! Something wrong w/somebody who has NOBODY they can really open up to, or who opens up to them, and no long-term friendships.

        • And … turns out at least three women knew of the affair while it was happening. All of them asked her how she could do this to me and wasn’t she afraid I would find out. Her answer? “He’ll forgive me … he loves me.”

  • ANR, If you haven’t already done so, take some time for you. Sit down, write up three lists.
    One titled: I’m angry…
    One titled: I’m sad…
    One titled: I resent…
    Let it rip as you write. Get every last thing you are angry, sad, or resentful about down on paper.

    Lose the MC. You do not have a marital partner. No point in continuing marriage counseling. It’s completely inappropriate to be in counselling with this woman.

    Take the lists you write up to your counselor. Read them slowly out loud to the counselor. Notice the items that cause your voice to crack, etc.

    Reread everything we have said here. Looks as though others did what I did and interjected comments along the way, so you may have missed some. Main point: we all pretty much agree your story is over-the-top crazy and you need to get the heck out. Your head and your heart need to catch up with each other. I’m wishing you could go no contact (or as close to it as possible with children) immediately. No contact is very important for your children and for you. Your kids need one sane parent. She’s nuts and she’s made you so off-balance, your kids have no fully present parent. You will piece this together so quickly if you can get away from her. It is the single most important, healthy thing you can do for yourself. Get in the driver’s seat and either kick her out or you get out.

    My understanding about inheritance (from Texas) makes me think the lent money was pretty much hers anyway. It sounds like her attorneys will be able to show the money wasn’t much co-mingled, even if it was in both of your names for awhile. I can’t believe a parent with young children wouldn’t think to put money in an education fund for the kids. Lend this to your AP instead? You need to see an attorney immediately about how to protect your assets financially.

  • ANR – To me, the affair is a *much* bigger deal than the money.

    From what you wrote, the money was hers all along, as it was a sort-of uncomfortable windfall from the death of her mother, and it sounds like you weren’t emotionally attached to it or counting on it at all. You were fine with leaving up to her what to do with her mother’s money. And she did ask you before you gave it to the AP (granted, you didn’t know it was the AP at the time!), and even though you said it was a bad idea, it sounds like you were still ultimately okay with her decision, since it was kind of her money, in your mind. So, to me, the money isn’t the big deal here.

    The *affair* is a huge deal. She is so entitled and has shown no respect for your feelings. She is not even close to being sorry. Not even close. She is just pissed that her plans didn’t work out with Rick the Dick.

    The lack of consideration for your feelings is immense. You need to leave (divorce) before she sucks you in with Hopium and then has another affair 5 years from now.

    • Yeah, that pretty much perfectly describes why i’m not as upset at the money aspect as many people here think I should be.

  • The money is not the biggest deal, nor is the affair. The biggest deal is you are married to a nutcase who is not going to change. You can get the definition of her kind of nuttiness defined for you, if you want to take the time, but you’d be best off spending all your energies getting away from her so you can see objectively just how nuts she is to the depths of your soul. Then you can confidently leave her in the dust (as much as is possible with young children) for good. Document to death (thank goodness you love to write) so you can get a good settlement with custody issues and finances. Hire a private detective, a forensic accountant, whatever is necessary. I did all this stuff on my own, but it takes a lot of time to do and really can’t be done properly if you are working. Get after this, your kids’ well-being and yours depends on your action.

  • ANR,
    All of this is just a series of transactions to her. It’s just kibble in, kibble out. NPD’s “love” to come to the rescue. They literally purchase kibbles with dollars. But, what happens when the Cheater gets cheated on? Oh Hell No!

    Your wife is transforming and growing her Inner Narc. It’s always been there, but the working out and getting buff? It’s the external Narc now. Superficial? Yeah. Just step back my man, and see what you already know. How many catalogs do you get in the mail every day, that she thumbs through while ignoring you? I bet Rick will *totally* want me back if I rock this hot little skirt and some come-fuck-me-heels.

    Sorry. Peeling back the layers of onions is going to make you cry, hard. You can either know what you already know, or continue the investigation and get evidence to prove what you already know. Either way, your fucked.

    She won’t invest the time or effort into saving your marriage, because the transactional costs are way too high. Simply put, your not worth the investment. It’s a business decision to her. The cookie factory pays dividends when you work out so you look good for other people, have stupid money to throw at “rescuing” stupid people, and wear the latest fashion trends.

    It’s not your fault. I’m sorry your here. This is a fucked up club. Getting to Blah is a journey. Keep checking in here. The next Chump that comes along, share what you have learned with them. Every character typed, helps re-enforce the character that’s inside of you. Every time I post here, I have tears man, for you, for me, for everyone that’s wound up here. But that’s alright, that’s alright.

    • Thanks, Chump Man. Your comment reminded me of the botox and laser vein therapy she got done when she started working out. Her preferted reading is about fitness and dream homes. I don’t think I’ve reached my peaks earnimg power yet, but I think we also know these are homes I’ll never be able to afford. She used to be a reader of serious, thoughtful fiction … becsuse I was, maybe? I just don’t know.

      • Botox? Check. Mommy make-over? Check. Laser age-spots treatments? Check. Obsessing over fitness? Check. Checks bouncing? Check.

        What is a “dream home”? Is there a magical size, or feature set, that will make her happy? Nope. A “dream home” is where your dreams of living a happy life, raising your kids, growing old together… until some fine day, when your kids visit with their own spouses, grandchildren, and then, your done. Pretty much, that’s it.

        She used to read fiction, when her reality was fine. Then, the months and years went by, age started to take it’s toll (don’t forget, rules don’t apply to NPD’s) – and that’s when the fiction needed to become her reality. No longer satisfied with reality, she dreams of something she is not, until she becomes, in her mind, the mythical Perfect Person. No wrinkles, no fat, no defects. The perfect house. Not home, house. You need to get your earning shit together, because she needs MORE. More shit. She *fucked* another man, cutting your penis off in the process. Trust me, I’m still looking for mine. She can further look down upon the mere mortals with that much more disdain. Simply put, she’s more worthy. Read up on NPD, and start looking out for yourself more and more. Start dorking with her back. Take an hour to return a text. Go short on words. Withhold. Lie about something stupid, of no consequence, and something she would know the truth anyway about. If she asks you “How did your therapy session go ?” – and she knows you went, say “I did not go”. She will be confused. Remember, she’s Kibble Hunting, she’s looking for you to say, “Oh, now I further understand how I caused you to spread wide open for Rick; it’s all my fault, I now know the part I played…” All that bull shit. Tell her, you did not go. GO OFF SCRIPT. Act odd. Secretive. Watch her reactions. As far as your “peak earning power” is concerned… whatever. Money can’t buy love or happiness. Don’t get me wrong, but put it in proper context. Money, the thirst for more, debt, legal battles… fuck that shit. Best thing I ever did was split my finances off and open my own checking account, and put my earnings into that, and paid off debt that was in my name only. You can’t afford her, because she’s “priceless”.

    • Chump Man, you’ve got amazingly good insight and ability to cut through the NPD-mindfucking bullshit. I’ve saved your comments in my “CL and Chump Friends” to re-read when I feel bewildered or weak. Thank you!

      • Thanks, Kelly. Thank you. I’m glad to know the shit we share here is helpful. I wish that I was not such an “expert” in NPD, but having lived with one for 15+ years now, here I am.

        I guess, for me, it boils down to finally having an “answer” to WTF just happened to my family. Years of self-doubt, anxiety, depression… after pretty much having lead up until 4 years ago or so, a pretty damn “normal” life.

        I do find reading, and writing, a cathartic release. Maybe, one day, I won’t even care that all this shit happened, you know? But until then, when I feel bewildered or weak, I come to this venue. Birds of a shat-upon feather, crying together. But somehow, I do think this all helps us move forward, too. To read stuff and go “Whoa! That sounds *just* like Bill!” or Jane or whomever… You know, there is a just right, healthy amount of narcissism. You have to look out for yourself, a bit. To swing back towards the middle, after getting shoved down. I struggle with it every day. Sometimes, I can feel myself growing testy with co workers, impatient… simmering anger at my own fucked up home life, and then, regret and sadness washes over me, and I can feel my eyes watering… blinking fast as to not allow a tear to roll down for no apparent reason. I have sort of thought of these episodes now as training opportunities. To end the frustration and sadness pity party faster. Getting to Meh. See yall there.

  • Now that’s some advice. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what purpose following it would serve, exactly, but I do know the times I’ve gone off-script — a couple of times just to fuck with her and a couple of other times less intentionally — she’s been pissed as hell and it was well, amusing.

    • You know what we Chumps have in spades? A sense of fairness. An ability to self-examine, to hold one’s self accountable. We Chumps are perfectly capable of making any number of mistakes in life, and then, in hindsight, learn from it. Grow because of it.

      And right now, your in asymmetrical warfare and you don’t even know it. Your and your wife *are not* playing by the same set of rules. But, your still in the game. Chumplady is right, the best thing is to lawyer up, go No Contact, and be done. But let’s be real, you (nor I, to be honest) is “there yet”. Nope, we are belly up to the Shit Sandwich Buffet. It’s an acquired taste. In the meantime, Unicorns appear and you think of the children. You want, no —– you NEED — to do the right thing. The problem is, what is the “right thing”? You think it’s it’s to save the marriage. Your still in love with the person, and promise, and life, you married. Your willing to take the Shit Sandwich in every orifice on a daily basis if somehow, someway, the nightmare ends.

      So the Great Relationship Industrial Complex is here to save you. Google’s got your back, your a smart fellow, you can fix shit, you can fix this, you can fix her. Yes, yes, no, and no.

      It’s cliche, but all you can do is work on you. And right now, she’s mentally abused you. She tells jokes at your expense. Would you rather just get hit by a baseball bat sometimes? If she spit in your face, and was truly sorry, you have something to work with. Instead, she committed premeditated adultery. The though about, contemplated, and executed a plan to fuck another man. She simply just lies about her whereabouts. And when she comes home? She finds the whole transaction, well, amusing.

      So your depressed. And then you get depressed about being depressed. The antidote is action. Since your stuck here, go ahead and Google “Doing the 180” to “save your marriage”. It’s a less hearty way of fighting back, but the idea is that it shocks the wandering partner into real action while your preparing to move on with your life. I did it, and it lead to a “False Reconciliation” that lasted about a year. Of course, I thought I fucked that up, too.

      Anyway, you already know what happens when you go off-script, and it works. If you really, really think about it, it is about being fair. No longer will you play this game by two different sets of rules. She has her cookies, and you have yours. She does not respect you, and she is not deserving of yours. You Are Not The Boss Of Her, and… she ain’t yours, either. And since your 20 points behind late in the 4th, you gotta start making up ground. I’m *not* saying do evil. Don’t go have a revenge affair, nor do anything that could legally bite your ass later on. Just stop responding. Go aloof. It will kill you inside. It’s not easy. Good luck.

  • And yeah, you don’t need to tell me that about money. I’m glad I have some, but I don’t really need more stuff.

    • YEA!!!! Good for you ANR!!! Well done!!!

      And do tell Rick’s wife. I’m sure her “separation” may come as a surprise to her. In any case, she deserves to know and it’s the humane thing to do.

      • Thanks! We know one family lawyer, who happens to be the top one in the province. Figured I should get to her first.
        If Rick and is wife aren’t separated, she may not get the message, but I can always write her.

        • Interesting time at the lawyer — evidently the 200k isn’t marital property, but on a division of assets I’d be entitled to half of the legal costs of recovering it. She recommends a variety of moves to protect property in advance of a separation. Don’t know if I’m ready to do everything yet, but it’s a first step.

  • But on the still-a-chump side of things, it’s my wife’s birthday tomorrow and I’m feeling bad that I haven’t got her a gift.

    • Woah, ANR, buddy, you know the answer already, right? You want to buy her a gift?? You’re still doing the pick-me dance. STOP. Please please please don’t get that POS a gift, a card, or even tell her “happy birthday.” Do not have any contact except that necessary for the kids. If she wanted to celebrate with you she would not have done the things she did. If she wanted to have a life with you she would not have done the things she did. Remember- She is not your friend. She is not the wife you thought you knew. She does not give a flying fuck about you. In fact, she wishes you ill.

      ANR– It’s terrible but you have to get this through your head. She is a stone-cold enemy.

      • This is so hard. We were talking after dinner, just about books we’re reading, and she was so funny and sort of radiant and just … lovely. Fuck this is hard. I’ve never loved anyone else, not the way I’ve loved her.

        • Other women read books. Other women are radiant. Other women don’t “lend” their fuckbuddies $200K.

          Back away from the sparkles, ANR. They all sparkle. If they didn’t, no one would put up with their shit. They *always* have hooks.

          • That’s right. I just want to wake up and have it all have been a bad dream. But it’s real. Jesus. When I first met her I was such a mess, and she made me feel loved and … worthy. How can this be the same woman?

  • Here’s a little song about the whole thing:

    I Didn’t Do That

    Seems like all our life together
    I’ve been doing things wrong
    I was quiet and weak
    Instead of angry and strong
    I tried to give you what you wanted on a silver plate
    But I was either too early, or always too late
    I may have done this, but I didn’t do that.

    (Chorus)
    I didn’t rip out your heart
    And throw it down on the ground,
    Give two hundred thousand dollars
    To some lover that I found
    Sniiffin’ round me
    Like some Romeo rat
    No, I didn’t do that

    I could’ve taken the betrayal
    If you’d tried to be kind:
    Tried to make it right
    Somewhere outside of your mind
    You couldn’t bring yourself to listen to the pain I felt
    Couldn’t care about somebody who wasn’t yourself.
    You should’ve tried love, but you didn’t do that.

    (Chorus)
    I didn’t rip out your heart
    And throw it down on the ground,
    Give two hundred thousand dollars
    To some lover that I found
    Sniiffin’ round me
    Like some Romeo rat
    No, I didn’t do that

    (Bridge)
    You wanted to stay, at least that’s what you said:
    I don’t know to this day if you were playing with my head.
    But you wanted the me who would still stick around
    While you stood on my heart lying dead on the ground
    And I couldn’t do that.

    (Chorus)
    I didn’t rip out your heart
    And throw it down on the ground,
    Give two hundred thousand dollars
    To some lover that I found
    Sniiffin’ round me
    Like some Romeo rat
    No, I didn’t do that

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