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Dear Chump Lady, He says it was just a “game”

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband and I have been married over 30 years and for the last several years I could feel something terribly wrong in our marriage. My husband was suddenly very distant, distracted and detached. We always prided ourselves on having such a strong marriage, we were so devoted to each other, willing to do the hard work in our marriage, blah, blabbity, blah!

I finally uncovered his secret life in the spring of 2012. My husband had been frequenting a video sex chat website and paying for private video chats. While I’ve been worrying at how quickly retirement was approaching, he was spending thousands of dollars a month on his video sluts. Yes, THOUSANDS a MONTH!

After exposure, he vehemently insisted it was all just a game and hey, it was fun! He paid for chats with 4 or 5 different “models” and once (accidently) referred to his favorite as “my girlfriend.” I saw private messages where he told her that he loved her with all of his soul and read the love poems he composed for her. But he insists that it was just part of the game!

He is adamant that this was not an affair and is INCENSED when anyone (me, his IC or our MC) tells him that his behavior was infidelity. He insists that this entire devastating, painful mess was a “game.” A game for $4.99 a minute!

I got the usual promises of transparency and honesty as well as his assurances that he would stay off the site and stop all contact with his girlfriend (he had her email address). Well of course, the next 10 months were nothing but lies. Every time I busted him he begged for another chance. When he sent her an email for her birthday, he actually tried to justify it to me by saying he couldn’t be rude to her because he had been talking to her for two years! I guess it doesn’t matter that I have been his wife for over 30 years!

He lied through four months of marriage counseling before he quit. He lied to me EVERY DAY because he never stayed off the site for more than a week (although in free chat, because I immediately took over all the finances).

After 10 agonizing months I saw a lawyer and then presented my husband with my proposal for divorce. He begged me for one final chance. I asked him what the difference was this time and he actually said to me, “because now it is my world being destroyed.”

Fast forward and of course, he’s back on the site. Our adult children are devastated. At this point, I’m just numb. He admits he has “a problem” staying off the site. But now instead of a being an exciting game, he writes the most vile, abusive, dehumanizing things to these women. I can’t reconcile who he is on the site to the man that I have shared my life with for over 3 decades. I can’t comprehend that the man with whom I have built a life and family can look me straight in the eyes and lie to me – over and over again.

I am struggling to let go. What am I holding on to? Please, Chump Lady, I need a good dose of your “dump a cheater.”

Sincerely,

Kammie

Dear Kammie,

It’s a game? File that divorce, Kammie. Do not go past GO. Do not collect $200. This shit is OVER. You’ve given him chance after chance after chance. And when you finally got serious about ending it, he cried — not for you, not for what he did to his family — he cried for CAKE. “My world is being destroyed.” Oh, his beautiful, beautiful cake. Poor man.

Not that you can reason with an addict, but I wonder how he’d feel if you were spending thousands of dollars a month on Scrabble? I’m sorry, you cannot be present in your marriage, because you’re too busy landing triple words scores with “ZOUAVE.” (Try it sometime, word geeks.) You can’t go to bed right now, because you need to finish this game online. And your penchant for little wooden tiles and word play has landed you in debt.

Anyone would think you’re deranged. Only no one is humiliated by a Scrabble gamer in real life. If it were a “game” that was ruining your life, that would be crazy enough — but it’s not a game — it’s porn and prostitution. That he calls it a “game” — is very telling. You’re all just game pieces to be used for his enjoyment. They don’t really matter (they’re all interchangeable for a price). You don’t really matter. Your children don’t really matter. Thirty years doesn’t really matter. What matters is that he is allowed to play the Game.

I just spent today in the company of an exhausting, rambunctious toddler. She’d cry and beg and wheedle to play some game. So, I’d stop whatever I was doing and agree to play blocks/alphabet/coloring. And no sooner did I fall for that rouse, than HAH! she didn’t want THAT. She wanted goldfish crackers. That book over there. Or a different adult. The point wasn’t what she SAID she wanted. The point was to move the target. To be in charge! To have adults running around waiving diversions at her, attempting to please her. The goal was to play whatever game she said the game was.

You’re married to a toddler. That shit’s not sustainable. He wants what he wants because he wants it. And if you take it away from him, (like control the checkbook), you’re being mean, mean mommy. You’re the parent. You’re the heavy. He’s the naughty child. This is not what healthy, adult relationships look like.

It’s okay for two and a half year olds to be little tyrannical narcissists. It’s not okay for a middle aged man to behave this way. And really, his “game” is quite beyond narcissism. It’s more like sociopathy.

I know I’m supposed to wring my hands and say he’s a sex addict or something. But whatever he is Kammie, is not worth saving. He cannot be the person you need him to be. He can promise to be that person. He can pretend to be that person. But he has shown you over and over again that he is NOT that person.

GAME OVER.

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.
  • Kammie I was married for 31 years so I know how hard it is to let go. I understand how difficult it is to reconcile the person you believed your husband to be with who he is now. I just want to tell you there’s a happy life when you’re on the other side of the divorce. Once you’re out, you look back and can’t believe you stayed so long. There are still times you miss having the family together, but it feels good to be in charge of your life again.

    • Thank you Lyn. I feel like I fell asleep one night next to my husband and the next morning I woke up to a complete stranger. This stranger looked like my husband (and snored like him, too). But, the man that I had loved with my whole heart and soul could never look me straight in the eyes and lie to me! Talk about an out-of-body experience. I almost couldn’t believe it was happening even though I was hammering him with the truth.

      The man that I had trusted was a man of integrity. This stranger hid a secret life from me and jeopardized our financial future.

      My husband loved me. This stranger was so disrespectful – and entitled – that he would sit right in front of me on his laptop and pay for privates with his video slut/girlfriend!

      • Mine was “keeping a journal for work.” He would write in it as he ignored me in the evenings, I tried to leave him alone because he seemed to be working. One evening after he went to bed my intuition told me the answers to questions I had might be in there. I took it into the bathroom and shook like a leaf as I read disparaging comments he made about me as i walked around the house, while professing love for his married coworker. He even had settlement details written down and it was clear he’d been to a lawyer when I had no idea he was even unhappy. Later i confronted him and told him that I’d read his journal and finally understood his recent strange behavior. To my amazement he sat there and argued that I didn’t understand what I’d read, that he didn’t write what he wrote, that he hadn’t been to a lawyer, etc. It’s confusing as hell when the mask drops and you see who they really are, as opposed to who they were pretending to be. It’s hard to believe they can lie so easily. My heart goes out to you.

        • OMG Lynn, my husband acted like he adored me (were were married 25 years until D-Day 1 1/2 years ago), but sometimes the thought just seemed to appear in my mind, “what if he hated us and was disgusted with us and we did not know it?” Well, my ex did not keep a journal, but my intuition was dead-on, because I found out all kinds of horrors that made it clear that our life was a lie…. no actually, he was a lie, never the man I thought he was, just pretending.

          And yes, Kammie, I know that feeling that this is not your husband but someone else suddenly. Once I found out the terrible truth, my ex-husband’s face appeared to change from a concerned loving look to someone with cold, dead eyes, someone I did not know. I thought, “oh my god, he looks like Scott Peterson” (the guy who killed his pregnant wife Lacey). In the weeks afterward, my previously adoring husband was now cold, disinterested, and unapologetic, did not even care about our children. I actually wondered if he had a brain tumor or cancer or something. No such luck.

          The hard part is realizing that he is a cold, heartless, remorseless and unloving beast, and was never the man you thought, at least not in recent memory.

          (((Hugs))) to you, it truly does get better with time and distance.

          • similar story here and 25 yr marriage. they are sociopaths. Not all socios are murderers; most aren’t, but they still are capable of fooling everyone that they are these stand up, really, really nice guys. I would notice that when we were with other people, my wasband would look at me with these adoring eyes— I found it so disturbing because at home. no. He looked at me like I was an insect he wanted to crush.

            and he did. He crushed me.

            he fell off his bike a few weeks ago and broke three ribs. Also, no luck. He was fine.

            • Oh Laurel, yes, I actually have a photo of my ex about 6 months before D-Day, snapped when he did not think it was coming, and that look in his eyes…. Frightening, When we were out before D-Day, however, he’d look deeply in my eyes for all to see, tell me how much he loved me, tell everyone how much he adored me and was proud of me, etc. etc. After I kicked him out, he tried to crush me, told me flat out that he had been having affairs with 2 co-workers I thought were family friends, that he loved these AP’s more than me, that he had been having unprotected sex and group sex with them for 17 years, and that he was going to marry one of them. When I became hysterical he literally got this small, calm happy smile on his face, and I realized that is EXACTLY WHAT HE WANTED.

              I went home and read articles on how to manipulate a narcissist/sociopath, divorced him so fast his head spun, and suggested to him that if he got greedy, someone as weak and hysterical as me would probably have to drag out his sorry-ass story for all to see. As soon as the divorce was final, I went NC, and moved on with my life. During one of our very few post-divorce conversations, my ex remarked in a somewhat stunned flat voice that I was doing remarkably well. I now have a new wonderful non sparkly man who I adore, and am getting re-married next year.

              I’d like to say I’m at Meh, but honestly when there is a fiery crash on the local interstate, I sometimes hope it is him and not some poor person with a soul.

              • Wow Kelly! You need to change your name to Kickass! just wow! I’m so sorry that your h did that to you though. We all go through different flavors of hell, but yours is particularly heinous. The trauma is something that no one who hasn’t been through it can possibly understand. I am so happy for you though for your impending marriage. It gives me hope. The right kind of hope.

                I’m still not 100% no contact, but I’ve been having trouble with my puter and instead of calling him, I called microsoft and for 149 bucks, they fixed me up and its good for an entire year.

                its worth every penny and things are running perfectly now! But… for me. it was a small victory!

              • That’s great Laurel, believe me I am no superwoman. I’ve had my moments, and tears (lots of them) just like anyone else. I know what you mean about taking the long route so to speak to avoid contact. My ex was a true sociopaths and even now still so sparkly. I have to consciously avoid contact as he always true to draw me back in. It will be a constant struggle for a very long time, thanks for your words or support. (((Hugs)))

            • Dead on….that has been the biggest struggle for me. at first I wanted the man I had fallen in love with and how we were in the beginning but then I had to accept that that was probably fiction too. And even if it wasn’t even if somewhere deep in his 3 sizes too small, cold cold heart he felt ‘something’ for me, that is not his default setting.
              Sex addict, probably, (and I can tell you because I was friends with a sex addict and it was a constant battle for them, nothing I recommend dealing with in a relationship), but the bottom line is this: whether someone you love….mother, father, husband etc has a mental problem, addiction or is a criminal, it’s not up to you to take care of them or be the collector of all their shit.
              I grew up with an alcoholic abusive father. Once as an adult, my husband and I were in a restaurant and a drunk was seated close by. I asked to be moved. My husband tried to shush me and I said “When I was a child I had no choice but to be exposed to a drunk. I’m an adult now, I don’t have to accept it or deal with it or pretend it isn’t there.” Geez, if I can say that about my husband!!
              Kammie I am sorry your 30 years have crumbled in front of you, but you still have a life left and you should enjoy it.

          • I totally understand the “cold, dead eyes.” It was shocking to see him look at me like I was nothing more than a floor rug after all those years.

            • yes i went through the same,he saw me at the day i walked in to cort
              and he did not say hello to me,like he never has met me in our life before.
              walked like a stranger the stairs and it still hurted me inside.they don t
              know who they are anymore,dressed like a teenager,colored hair and
              earring in his left ear.this was not the man i was married 25 years.looked
              at me like i was a nothing,but i analysed,that he still loves me,if
              not, he would not have to close his heart against me.i did n ot want to be
              divorced,but he wanted it and i made his wish come true.still not easy to
              let him go inside.but i hope in time i will feel better and my panic reactions
              are getting better with my therapist together,had break downs about the
              big shock,feld loved before all the 25 years,so sad that the love story had
              such a bad end.but my life has to go on for my college boy and me.

        • At least you knew there was another woman involved. My ex had a workbook from his men’s group at church. “True Faced” it was called. It was about dropping the masks you wear that make your relationships inauthentic. Not one word in there about being involved and “in love” with another woman. No, the main “mask” he wore was “I’m happy at home”, when he really wasn’t and then spent the rest of the workbook finding fault with me. It was gaslighting in the extreme. Of course he left it around so I could read it. One page came right out and said “I want a divorce”

          When he moved out, he took it with him. Teenage daughter read it on a visitation, so knew that the whole mess was his doing, even before we discovered the other woman. It made that conversation “What are we going to tell the kids” so easy to get through. They already bloody well know, thanks to you, you stupid idiot.

          He actually had a whole speech prepared for us to deliver to the kids about how it was both our faults, it wasn’t any of their fault, etc etc. Gaslighting. It was so great to know he didn’t really love that woman enough to admit it. The cock crowed at least three times for their “love”.

          • TrueFaced? Seriously? And he writes his vile thoughts in there and leaves it where both you AND your daughter see it? And he wants to tell the kids it’s both your faults and neither of your faults (aka not his fault)?

            Really, you can’t make this shit up.

        • “To my amazement he sat there and argued that I didn’t understand what I’d read, that he didn’t write what he wrote, that he hadn’t been to a lawyer, etc.”

          Oh man! That takes the cake! “My journal doesn’t say what it says it says!!”

      • Kammie – I can completely sympathize with your astonishment at your husband hiding a secret life from you. http://dowehavetotellthekids.blogspot.com/2013/04/false-eyes.html I think they are seriously disturbed that they can keep such a secret for so long from someone they supposedly loved.

        Chump Lady is right – it is game over for him. You deserve so much better. It makes me sick. Get out and get out now. Take care and best of luck, you’ll get through it.

      • Mine’s no sex addict–or at least I don’t think so, though since he’s had the one affair I know about, I can’t be sure he’s been faithful to that point–but I get the whole bit about waking up next to a stranger.

        I told the lawyer I first consulted that I felt too strapped financially to do anything at that point (and she agreed that if I could stick it out a bit to get better financial stability, it would probably be a good thing), but I thought I could stick it out longer because 1) I never told him I knew about his affair and 2) he was still the same man I woke up to the day before Dday. The only difference between now and then is that I know that he’s cheating.

        I can’t remember which blog post, or if it were a post on the forums, but the advice was to call the person by a different name, since these were not the people we married.

        Sympathies with Laurel, though. Mine does one long weekly commute, and if he had a terrible accident either on the way there or back, I’d probably feel relieved.

      • I feel just the same way. The man I lived with for all these years was not a liar, hated cheaters, loved me. Now I don’t know who he is anymore.

        • janet,i feel the same way,my husband i lived with 25 years was not a liar,hated
          cheaters,loved me.now i don t know who he is anymore,i am divorced since
          2 month.but i am still struggeling every day.it is not easy to get over such
          a good man before he was and he changed to a monster.

  • I think he is an addict.

    That does not mean you should stay with him.

    People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol lie about their addiction. They get to the point where they put their drug before the people they love.

    I would advise you add a stop at AlAnon.

    You can’t make him stop, he is the only one who can do that. You have to take care of yourself and your financial security.

  • He’s a misogynist! This is all about control, having the upper hand and building up a shaky (at best) self-esteem. Oh, he might hide it very well. He’s a lot like my wasband. Also couldn’t stop. Never even considered what he might be doing to me. Didn’t think that he had the power to hurt me as he did. So, So Sad.

    I left. And I’m not going to kid you. Its not easy, but then with a child with autism, severe financial problems, no family nearby and few friends, it never was. Still, like you… thought my wasband was my best friend and could never even think of behaving in such a manner. We actually were very compatible. Its all crazy and disordered and the only way out, is to leave. I’m so, so sorry.

    • Laurel, you are absolute correct! He told me that he created various “scenarios” with each of these “models.” He would be vile, horrible and abusive to them (again at $4.99 a minute). Then he would start to be nice and they would tell him what a great man he was. He thought of himself as some genius, master manipulator. He was in complete control of the game. Stupid! Of course they will do and say anything to keep him on the hook.

      Sad that this was the way to prop up his self-esteem. My IC asked why he hated women. Sometimes I would think that it is really ME that he hates.

      • well, usually, it stems back to Mommy or some woman who did something to him in childhood. Even if it was just his perception. OR, he could just be born like this. Wives become surrogates for the original abusers. But… yes. He hates ALL women! A misogynist cannot devalue and abuse if he first doesn’t attract, seduce and make fall in love with him… unless, he’s paying them $4.99 a minute. YEESH!!! That is so effing sick, I can’t stand it!!!

        • I agree with this. Ex was ranting at me via email yesterday about having trouble finding a permanent job. I was a SAHM for years and now it’s hard finding my way back into the workforce after leaving my career aside for so long. And he kept going on and on about me sponging off him. Guess who has not worked since the day she met his father? Yep, my ex-MIL the overbearing, overweening manipulative, socio bitch from hell.

          Family of origin indeed.

        • Oo-Ooo-Me!

          My ex was the fourth pregnancy following 3 girls. It was unwanted and blamed on his mother — until………it was a boy, and then his male chauvinist pig father was OK with it.

          Here’s the lesson that little kid learned: You’re of no value to the world unless you have a dick. Girls and women don’t have dicks, therefore they are of less value and beneath you, even as a kid.

          Add to that a bunch of psychological abuse from mother, and you get the raging misogynistic POS that my ex is, cleverly disguised since they seem so “sensitive” in their brokenness.

        • Wow, Laurel, that part about seducing and falling in love with him, then – Bam! They’ve got you, now you can be manipulated, criticized, devalued and left in a heap. I wish that was an exaggeration, but that’s what Narcs do. This was so confusing to me! WTF? He keeps telling me how he loves me, most recently said- I can’t believe you didn’t know how important you were to me. Thanks to my education here, now I know that really means- of use to me.

          • That’s the thing that I mull over a lot. In the beginning of my relationship with my husband it was so obvious I had the upper hand, he was almost terrified he would screw up and I would dump him but there was a moment….and this is what I keep trying to remember what was happening….there was a moment, just like in a wrestling match, when you can feel the shift in their center of gravity, when he suddenly knew he had me and was completely secure in the relationship. Then the games began.
            The reason I’d like to recall what was going on is because it seems fascinating that it was so obvious. I wasn’t gradual, it was from one minute to the next.
            I gave up on the untangling skein, but it was at that moment that he started to twist the skein of fuckupedness and and I think that will tell me where I screwed up, where I gave up myself for another person. Bad mistake.

  • Kammie, I don’t normally offer advice on this forum but your letter made me venture out there.

    Your h is an addict. It does not require hand wringing or forgiveness or any of that horse shit. My H ( of 21 year) is also. I found out this lovely info a little over a year ago. I have 2 kids 15 and 13. My H was spending 15K a year. I did not know. I found out because he was dragging me to marriage counseling and I could not figure out wtf the problem was. I tried to clean the house better etc….

    I would bet money that those chat rooms are the tip of the iceberg. I will tell you now that he has done more than chat.

    I am so sorry. It is devastating. You need to get him the fuck out of your house and get you a therapist now. Be sure and get a therapist that is familiar with the trauma model and not one that buys into that co addict shit.

    If you are interested, I am a member of a support website that is for partners of sex addicts and it has literally saved my life. I found Chump Lady from the members of my group. We are big fans. It is SOS ( sisterhood of support). Please check it out if you need help. The sisters are wonderful.

    Remember to take care of YOU. This stuff is hard ( all cheating is hard). Your H needs help ( they all do) but you cannot help him.

    I’m so sorry for your pain. I hate these fuckers.

  • It never ceases to amaze me how the names and situations are different … But the lines we hear are always the same.

      • Witty…my thoughts exactly.

        Oh, Kammie. I’ve heard so much if the same bullshit, including “it was just electronic. Part of the attraction is knowing nothing will ever come of it.” (Much came of it…electronic stuff, as Bev said, was the tip of the iceberg.)

        It sounds like you’ve raised good children. I know you can’t “lean” on them because they are devastated too. But the only people in the world who know him like you do – in the context of your family unit – are just as shocked. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in being blindsided and dump the bum (i.e., “it’s not you, it’s most definitley him.) He is so, so sick.

      • Thank you bev, I will definitely check it out.

        Of course I spent a lot of time and energy gently trying to “help” him see that this was more than a game. Very gently and carefully broaching the subject of “this seems like more than a game, maybe it’s a sickness/addiction.”

        So far he has lied his way through 2 ICs and one MC. They all seemed to tip-toe around the issue as well. Let’s just call a spade a spade, shall we.

        I keep telling him that I can’t feel safe in our marriage. If he won’t/can’t/doesn’t want to get real and do the hard work, how can I?

        CL had a great post a while back that I printed out to keep on my desk and read as inspiration – over and over. I am trying to “Kick Fear in the Ass and Laugh at Its Haircut.” I need to put “that unswerving faith in myself.”

        Thanks for all the support, fellow Chumps. It means SO, SO much to me.

        • That’s. all very sweet and kind of you to try and reach his heart, it shows something about you. Now, let’s come back to reality! Lots of us tried this, but you know that old saying- the lights are on, but there’s nobody home? I am in the middle of leaving, I have to sell our house first, but then I’m moving out of state and getting away. It’s very traumatic, just like a death. I never pictured this being my future, but I never looked around to cheat. So, they did, and it DID change things, no matter how they deny that.

      • I was on there for a long time… it IS a great group, but I left because at the time… I needed to unhook from all of this.

  • Kammie, no webcam site in the world costs thousands of dollars per month. If that was the going rate to watch naked girls, none of the sites would be in business.

    How it works is you pay a flat subscription fee per month. And once you’re live, you add “tips” to the girl’s virtual tip jar (think Paypal) for her to wear certain outfits, perform certain sex acts, etc.

    If he’s talking to a “girlfriend” off-line, I’m willing to surmise that he’s also playing sugar daddy to her and sending her money. You definitely need to dig deep into your banking activities and find out exactly where that money is going.

    And CL is right. This grown man is pissing away your 30-YEAR marriage (you’ve been married almost as long as I’ve been alive) and spending your RETIREMENT money to watch some 19-year-old in use a dildo on herself? Divorce. His. Sorry. Ass.

    You deserve far better than this. If this is a “game” to him, then let the s.ob. play it on his own time and on his OWN dime. I know far too many people who are retired and have NOTHING; they live one Social Security check to the next. You don’t want to live like that.

    One final note: Please search this blog for CL’s excellent post: “When A Narcissist Gets Chumped.” Sounds like an apt description of your husband. Does this “girlfriend” actually consider him a boyfriend beyond what he’s probably shelling out to her per month to pay her way? Doubtful.

    • “Spending your retirement money to watch some 19 year old use a dildo on herself”. Wow, there’s some perspective! Chris, I think you may just have helped me change my life!

    • arggghhh… years ago… I asked my wasband, “where is all the money going?” we didn’t go on vacations, buy clothes. lived a very modest life and were making 120k a year, after taxes.

      Look, he could have a private PO box and credit cards that you know nothing about. He could be doing some creative banking so that you would never know. I think that you’d have to hire a PI to get to the bottom of what he’s up to. ugh. ugh. ugh.

      • That was the first question I asked STBX. Even with my former pathetic salary, we made a very good salary for our area, and we should have been bursting with extra cash, yet when it came to repairing the plumbing, paying the electrician, etc.–well, that’s out of my savings (we keep separate finances). Since I’m the one who does the taxes, I knew how much we made jointly, and I asked, “hey, we should have more than this!” Initially, the response was that he had significant credit debt from his mother’s illness. I knew that he had debt, as his cheating asshole of a father was fine about having his son pick up funeral expenses instead of repaying his son out of the life insurance.

        But last summer, he fell short on the mortgage twice, so again, I had to pony up out of my meager savings. I knew that OW had been fired from the job she took after she quit STBX’s company and that STBX felt sorry for her. I asked point-blank if we were subsidizing OW. Both times, he said no.

        Liar!

        But it makes me wonder if he’s been subsidizing women previously, since his cash flow started to change about 5 years ago or so.

        • They cheat on the money too — trust that they cheat!

          Plus spending itself can be an addiction. My ex had accumulated so much spare cash he didn’t know what to do with it all, in some way that couldn’t be tracked prior to the divorce. (All while telling me that business was bad)

          So — the whore got a brand new pickup truck (a big, one ton “I’m compensating for a small dick” truck) and my son gets told “Nobody owes you a living”.

          He has so much bad juju coming. I only hope I live to see some of it come down.

  • Kammie, I really feel for you! You will be fantastic someday, but you’re stepping onto the hard road you get to walk because of him. It’s ALL his fault, please don’t worry what you did. You sound like you’ve been manipulated bigtime, and now you’re so deep in his fog you can’t think straight.
    He won’t change. Leave him, and help yourself, and that’s a big enough job for anyone, after what he put you through. Game, my ass. Maybe a war game, designed to destroy everything! I was married for forever too (32 yrs), and sometimes people just go south on you, know what I mean? Best of luck to you, he’s nuts and you’ll need it!

  • His game is breaking your heart and ruining your finances. You are the loser in every way. And its a game you didn’t even know you were playing , and never wanted to play in the first place.

    It’s a game to him, but this is your life.

    If you stay, he will keep acting the same way.

  • Oh and a couple more thoughts, (I’m really mad at this guy!), make sure you tally up all the months he was on that site X money per month= $$$$$$$, and sure you put that in the divorce complaint so the Judge reads it! Financial abuse to us spouses is so painful, just more betrayal!
    And those damn birthdays and holidays, when he HAS to call Schmoopie! So freaking crazy, when he’s telling you he’s sorry, Ugh. Or do what mine did, on New Years Eve, had to run across the street to kiss her, when he’s telling me daily she means nothing. My blood just ran cold for him that night, and I don’t think my love will ever come back, he’s a fool.
    Sorry, bad memories, but know you’re not alone!

    • In my state a portion of the money spent on an affair partner can be recovered for you through the divorce settlement. You have to supply your lawyer with the financial records to prove it, though. Be sure to keep detailed records. I know it sucks to comb through all your finances looking for it, though.

  • (((Kammie))),

    Monopoly is a game (it even comes with its own money); Jenga is a game; checkers is a game. What your H is doing? That crap is serious, very serious. He is compromising your present and gambling away your future. What he is doing is grounds for divorce or murder – your choice. The only accurate thing he actually said was that he is sorry – at this point he IS one sorry ass excuse for a husband.

    There are all kinds of addicts and if he was really “sorry” he would have already done what was necessary to “fix” his problem by getting some REAL help the first 100 times you told him that what he was doing was totally unacceptable. Don’t just kick him to the curb – drop kick his ass to the moon.

    What is it with these clowns?! Do I sound a little angry? Good! I am! He doesn’t want a divorce because HIS WORLD IS BEING DESTROYED?! What about him destroying your world with his repeated and foul behavior? I am someone who hates to see divorce, and if ANY of these pigs from hell had the slightest chance of being redeemed, I’d be all in for reconciliation and recommitment. Alas, that’s the dream world I sometimes inhabit when I haven’t had enough water to drink and I’m disoriented. In the real world? These people SUCK!!

    Kammie, unfortunately your H is now the Booby Prize behind Door Number 3 – You Got the “Zonk” on this episode of Let’s Make a Deal. Say “No Thanks,” take your seat and bring the curtain down on this segment. It’s over.

    • “Alas, that’s the dream world I sometimes inhabit when I haven’t had enough water to drink and I’m disoriented. In the real world? These people SUCK!!”

      Love this!!!!

        • Trying to elaborate on this stuff in humorous terms helps to keep me from being the featured episode on “Snapped,” or, more appropriately, “Who the * Did I Marry?!” Of course, the stuff we’re all describing is so outlandish, so totally Twilight Zone, how else to describe it but in the nuttiest terms possible?

          I really thought my STBX was original, creative and special in his behavior, because I always thought he was shiny and special. Lo and behold, I find these support websites and find out he’s just another lying, cheating pig from hell baboon’s ass – not original, not creative, not even special. It was as if he ordered an instructional manual when he was ordering his porn videos – “How to Be Just Another Run-of-the-Mill Lying, Cheating Asshole in 10 Easy Steps,” because, attention span, dontcha know.

          • “he’s just another lying, cheating pig from hell baboon’s ass”

            Princess, I am laughing HYSTERICALLY, thank you (sorry cant write more tears rolling down my face)…………

  • 4.99 a minute? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Lemmie see, at 4.99 a minute, times a shit load… holy fuck I owe chumplady.com like two hundred and eighteen thousand dollars. And all I got to see was a CARTOON picture of a chick from the neck up!!

    He’s crazy more than anything else. He’s just bat-shit crazy to think he can “buy” a relationship and have a “girl friend” like that. Any man that knows any damn thing about the world understands the basic premise of going to a strip club and getting a lap dance. It’s 20.00 for like a 4 minute “dance”, and the objective is to fool said male into believing said female is “really into” him. Thus, securing the next 20.00 dollar bill.

    Take comfort in knowing that his “girl friend” is probably some 30 year old guy in some offshore call center, pretending to be a woman. And that dude is probably really, really gross.

    The Chump Man does not frequent the Strip Clubs… but when he does, the basketball game is usually on. And its real, free, and goes *great* with cold beer. If I’m gonna spend time with 30 year old men that are all sweaty, well there ya are.

    Yeah I grossed myself out too 🙂

    • About 16 years ago I let my co-workers talk me into going along to a strip club.

      I got us all kicked out because I was reading the newspaper, and they said that was “disrespectful to the girls”. 🙂

      I kid you not. That was my one strip club experience. I don’t think I get the whole idea of strip clubs.

      • TimeHeals, getting kicked out of the strip club for reading the newspaper after getting talked into it by your co-workers- LOL! I can just tell that you’d be my kind of guy!

      • hahaha! that’s rich! they are disrespectful to themselves. But the expected male behavior (I think) is lots of frothing at the mouth and stuffing their g-strings with 20 dollar bills.

        So, of course, your indifference is “insulting.”

        its a wacky world!

        • I have heard of people doing a lot of things in a strip club, but this is the first time I have ever heard of someone reading a newspaper!!! HILARIOUS!!!! That made my day! You have totally given me an idea of what to do at my first divorce settlement conference. LOLOL!!!

    • This is absolutely hilarious and totally made my day. Now, I’ll have a pic in my mind any time I watch a bb game. Definitely worth a cartoon.

    • I hate to tell you this chump man but there are dating sites have that Live Cams…you can see the women, many of them will expose themselves during the “free” chats and if you ‘go private’ they promise to do more. No sweaty fat man…..real women and lots of them. Some of these live cams sites can be accessed without even joining a dating site.
      Yes, the disgusting things that cheaters can get into online is never ending.

  • Kammie, hugs to you.
    My biggest hurdle was probably trying to reconcile with the fact that the man that I thought was my affectionate, loving husband could be capable of such monstrous lies – and be so utterly different to how he presented himself to me, our children, friends and family. We also shared just over 3 decades together as a supposedly exceptionally loving and strong couple.
    Letting go IS terribly hard, but it will get easier, I promise.
    Take those first steps, then it’s one foot in front of the other and life opens up again.
    (And yes, it really IS better to go No Contact with him once you leave.)
    Get you lawyer to work on spousal support for you – a marriage that long with the lying bastard spending so much money on his “game” – the above points made by Chris and Pattytoo are valid – exactly what did he spend the money on? The Judge needs to see where your retirement money went.
    My very best to you. Keep us posted, you have so much support and understanding on this site.

  • It’s amazing what they tell themselves to excuse such behavior. It’s not an affair if no sex is involved? Well, if your online or on the phone and your getting emotionally intimate and physically turned on than isn’t that an affair? For goodness sakes, if these men lie to their closest partners they are perfectly capable of lying to a therapist. And, most therapist aren’t really going to catch them if they are good enough at it. Sex addiction is a crock of crap. They make a choice and the choice is this behavior is more important than my relationship and my family. Men, as far as I’m concerned, are supposed to protect their families from anything harmful. But, when the harm is coming from them that speaks volumes. And adult kids know everything. They aren’t children that can be fed fake information, shake their heads, yes and never ask why. They see and hear and feel all the horror of a father or mother throwing their cherished family under the bus. How to have a deep relationship with such a person? You can’t. Divorce, but just remember. He will tell others another story and surround himself with the same kind of people with the same kind of low morals. They don’t ask why. And you will find out who your friends really are.

    • “Well, if your online or on the phone and your getting emotionally intimate and physically turned on than isn’t that an affair?”

      Definitely. If he called her his “gf” then it is an emotional-affair for him. And he isn’t just chatting or watching this girl on his computer – he is jacking off 10x day as well, thinking about her and paying her big $$ to wear certain clothes, etc. He might justify it to himself that he’s just chatting but it’s a lie.

      • You are absolutely right!! This is what I felt, how I knew something was wrong. He had become SO deeply engrossed in this secret life that I felt the distance in our marriage. I don’t care how many times he tries to tell me it was a game, I felt his distraction and distance. I told him that he had taken himself out of our marriage. He did all the usual – suddenly working late every night, falling asleep in the recliner – but mentally and emotionally he was deeply engrossed and attached – especially to his “girlfriend.”

        And get this – when I finally uncovered his secret life and confronted him – he tried to tell me that if I went on that site and started chatting to one of the men on there (equal opportunity video sluts) that it wouldn’t bother him at all! Talk about delusional.

        • “he tried to tell me that if I went on that site and started chatting to one of the men on there that it wouldn’t bother him at all!”

          He’s kind of hoping you will, that way he’ll be off the hook. It would make what he did “ok”. Fat chance!

          He’s obviously justified it in his own mind. He wants to “prove” to you that it’s okay. At the same time, dragging you down to his level. Ugh.

          BTW, I got a similar line from my STBX. He said to me: “I wouldn’t blame you if you had an affair, I’m surprised you didn’t.” Well, I didn’t. He just said that because it would have helped to get him off the hook about his own affair.

        • yes… same here… wasband was zonked out on the sofa EVERY night by 9:00 PM.

          so, so sexy.

          and your husband is quite right… it wouldn’t bother him one iota if you joined in on the “party”. 🙁

          He has no soul.

          I’m so, so sorry Kammie. It is not you. It is a game. (to him) a very sick, perverted one; he’s very sick and I’m afraid the prognosis is quite grim. He’s a sinking ship. Get thee to a life boat and quickly! big (((hugs)))

          • You are right, Laurel. He is a sinking ship. I keep telling myself to make the decision and take action now, before it is too late! He is obviously more than willing to take me down with him.

            I told him that if I had not finally discovered his activities that he would not have stopped until he had drained every penny from the bank – and then start racking up the cc for real! And he agreed with me.

            • its an escalating disease and there is no cure— But you see, you are an unwitting player in his “game.” I can assure you that $4.99/minute isn’t going to be nearly as fun without his anchor. But there’s no anchor strong enough to hold that sinking ship. Well, you get it. You need a plan; not just a decision.

              Now, prepare yourself… he’s going to latch onto you like a drowning victim going down for the third time. He will cry and promise you that he will do whatever it takes to stop doing this.

              He can’t. Not for the long term. Oh, he’ll stop for a while… until the heat is off and he has had a chance to regroup and figure out how to do it so you WON’T find out, next time.

              that’s what they do… the “remorseful” ones. Mine isn’t sorry. He’s just plain dead inside. He never cries, and I can’t stop crying.

  • What a great thing to wake up to this morning – so much positive, strong, caring support. Thank you all so much!

    Last night I got, “I can’t believe you are divorcing US!” You are right, PattyToo, I have let myself get lost in his fog, but even I recognized this for what it is – trying to blame ME for ending the marriage. He keeps telling me that I am making too much out of his continuing to go on “that” site. He can only do free chat now, but he still goes on every day, several times a day. I told him that every time he does, it is a betrayal over and over again. I told him I can never feel safe in our marriage and that I can’t trust him. So, I’m the bad guy because I can’t “get over it, put it behind me and allow us to move forward.” Yes, this is a direct quote from my game-playing husband.

    I keep saying all the right words but I am stuck on taking action. I think I have known since my very first moment of discovery (and boy was that terrifying) that I have been moving toward the inevitable.

    I am trying hard to view having to having to divorce the person I have spent my entire adult life with as a positive, live-affirming action for ME. I keep telling myself that my new life will be what I make it and that I need to put my energy into myself. I hate being stuck in this limbo – and I am doing it to myself!

    • If you’re having trouble seeing the emotional light at the end of the tunnel (difficult after so many years, show yourself the cold hard financial reality. He will financially ruin you with his compulsive behaviors. You will also end up hating him. When I say hatred, I mean the kind that doesn’t care if he contracted ebola and died hatred. Unfortunately, the human heart can only take so much without reacting in self preservation. He’s done a horrible thing. HE is giving you no other choice than to pull the plug on your 30+ year marriage. HE did this, not you. Think of it as a death. You may have to file, but it’s out of your hands. The life you had is dead. He’s dead to you. That’s what that phrase means. When he starts with his bs think, “You’re dead to me.”
      You can do this.

    • Kammie —

      There is an old saying that goes “Don’t try to save an addict from his pain, because it’s his pain that will save him”

      Unfortunately, he’s not going to end up with cirrhosis of the liver or OD’d in an emergency room with his particular addiction, so it’s up to you to give him pain. Take away ALL the cake and any other emotional support and leave him with his miserable self, which is what they fear most anyway. Take away the money he uses to support his habit.

      Go see a lawyer right away and get that man some pain.

      Don’t threaten or use it as a bargaining chip — just go do it, serve him and immediately go no contact.

      • No contact is a lifesaver. It’s too confusing to communicate with master manipulators and will keep you stuck if you try. For me it was a whole year before I saw him in person again. I had to let him die in my mind and needed time to make that happen. We had to sell our house and I even arranged to sign papers early, then came back to pick them up to spare myself the pain of sitting in the same room with him as we lost our family home. While waiting to go back and pick up the papers I had breakfast with a good friend. Do whatever you can to protect yourself from him and the pain he’s causing you.

        • That fog thing — it’s real. I don’t understand the energetics of it, but I literally could not think if I was anywhere within 10 feet of him. It’s like they put up this force field and if you’re anywhere near it you’ll short your brain waves out. No contact gets you out of range of all that so you can get yourself back.

          I remember one time before he moved out, I was lying on the couch thinking about what was going on and trying to resurrect my feelings for him — and it was working, until he walked into the room and that bubble of positive feelings instantaneously popped and was replaced with that black gloom. I didn’t hear him come into the room, I knew he was there because it felt awful.

          My favorite Christian sage (RIP Dr. Hawkins) would say that the ex is at the center of a huge negative energy attractor field. I can’t see auras or anything else, but it’s as plausible an explanation for the experience as anything else. Stay away from it. It’s not healthy.

          • wow! I experienced this too! when he was awake, that is. Sometimes, I would be petting our cat and he would come over and start petting the cat and it would totally creep me out. I was so uncomfortable, I remember recoiling and couldn’t figure out why. I felt guilty, but then on D-day #2 I found the emails…now, it all makes sense; a man without a soul.

            • That was actually the beginning of NC for me – I stopped letting him inside my apartment. It always felt as though he left behind a cloud of negative energy that would make me sad and uncomfortable long after he left. I think it was because he was still being SOOO deceptive and still telling HUGE LIES and it was just oozing out of his pores. I’m surprised he wasn’t green and scabby.

            • And I bet you said to yourself….”What’s wrong with ME?”

              I went for a ride in his pickup one time and as I sat down in the seat next to him (where the OW often rode) I immediately felt engulfed in disorienting vortex. It was so weird.

              Lots of other examples too – I thought I was losing it.

    • Kammie…. have you read the Aug. 14 th post ?
      It talks about living in “Limbo Land”. Please read for more insight.
      Happy Friday Ya’ll !

    • I think seeing a lawyer will really help. If you have friends who’ve divorced, you could ask them, but if you’re still so raw that you don’t want to let people know, then go do some Internet research. Start with the ones who practice family law and then get referrals.

      Lawyers will allow a consulting appointment at greatly reduced rates. You’ll want to ask standard questions about retainers, process, etc., but also bring in your information about your particular situation.

      The usefulness of seeing a lawyer is that it makes it real. They will walk you through the process. They can tell you what to expect with respect to the law. I found that going over the case with someone who has to look at it from an objective perspective was helpful.

      Additionally, if you aren’t seeing a therapist, you should do so. You need support.

      Your STBX is engaging in classic blame-shifting (i.e. you, not he, is the reason for the divorce) and gas-lighting (i.e. it wasn’t really an affair). He’s been doing this to you for much longer than the time it’s been from Dday. You need someone who can help you right yourself and help you find the strength to move forward without him.

  • Hello Kammie – I’m so glad you found this site. There is so much support here for you. So much wisdom. I’m so sorry to say that everything everyone says here is the truth. It’s truly shocking (Mind-blowing) how all of the stories are the same. I know it’s not a tribe you wanted to be part of, but, here you are. There is a great deal of healing that you will find here, so, as soon as you can, accept that this is now your tribe and listen to the very, very smart, straightforward advice and direction you will get here.

    Someone mentioned being in a “fog”. I got bogged down in this fog when I found out that the man I married had been frequenting massage parlors for 4 of the 6 years we were married and squandering 10’s of thousands of dollars during that time. I got caught up in the addiction/recovery/reconciliation crap. He begged me to stay, said I was his soul mate (Blah!!) He talked a good game and made a good “show” of recovery. But the sad reality, Kammie, is no matter how much they try to convince you and convince themselves that they are going to change, I promise you, they are simply incapable. But they don’t know that they are incapable. They are convinced that they are going to get better and change, and so they are very sincere in trying to convince YOU of this fact as well. But the sad, clear and true reality is, is that they are simply incapable of changing.

    Someone also mentioned NO CONTACT. To me, No Contact was the gateway that gave me my first glimpse of what my life could be/would be like without this sad, disordered person in my life. The view was glorious. Your view will be glorious.

    Please listen to all the good folks here and especially Chump Lady, she gets it right every time. Don’t waste any more time on the hope. What you had has died, and your husband killed it. He means you harm and you must act swiftly (and stealthily) to protect yourself.

    Big hugs and best of luck to you.

    • But the sad reality, Kammie, is no matter how much they try to convince you and convince themselves that they are going to change, I promise you, they are simply incapable. But they don’t know that they are incapable. They are convinced that they are going to get better and change, and so they are very sincere in trying to convince YOU of this fact as well. But the sad, clear and true reality is, is that they are simply incapable of changing.

      I could not have said it better FL Bright!!!!!
      Thanks for this one 🙂

      Kammie, Everything you hear here is the truth. Its sad to say that we all want our x’s to be the exception and really change, but the fact of the matter is they they are the norm.

  • “…He lied to me EVERY DAY …” This! This is the big one that we all struggle with. My STBXH lied to my face every day by not telling me he wanted out. And then lied to my face every day for the entire duration of his affair. I remember saying to him that I never knew him to be such an excellent liar. His response to this and everything is “I was never that person”. But he IS that person and there is no way for me to distinguish if he’s lying or being truthful – it was just that believable! To have never known your spouse as someone capable of such lies and hurt – I get it, how do you reconcile? As much as I still can’t stop myself from trying to get him to see things my way, the need to do that is decreasing all the time. Time does make things easier. Also, even though my STBXH dropped the bombshell nearly 2 years ago about wanting out – he has not done one single thing to get out. So I have had to do it all. I assure you, no matter what may be hurled at you – you are NOT the one that broke anything up. You are simply being the strong one and doing the right thing. As you will read many times on this site – don’t pay attention to the words, pay attention to their actions. None of your husband’s actions show he is going to change. Hang in there!!! You will get through this. I’ve been on the floor, crying so hard that it actually induced vomiting – I don’t remotely cry like that anynmore. It really does get better (i’m 10 months out from my d-day).

    • Yes, Chrissybob, THIS…..

      My ex lied exceptionally well and truly for at least 17 years, in the most astonishing ways, right to my face, sometimes by not telling me and sometimes specifically denying my questioning whether there was something going on with “those women.” He also did the same to my family and friends, convincing them that he was a loving and doting husband and father. Of course it was all a lie. Absolutely the most mind-blowing thing I can imagine. I don’t think normal people can process or get over this kind of evil, vile behavior. Our chumpy minds cannot get it, but somehow keep trying.

      And we all have that desperate urge to make them SEE, to make them UNDERSTAND the horror of what they have done. But they never will, and I am coming to a place of peace with that.

      It does get better with time.

  • The internet opened up a huge new way to cheat without them leaving the house. My X began playing one of those multiplyer Dungeon & Dragon type games. Unknown to me she was obviously flirting with all the guys until she found one that looked like a good prospect. As soon as she hooked one and sealed the deal, she was gone.

    Over time you realize there was really not much you can do about it, but not everyone that pulls this shit is a narcissist/bpd or has been cheating for years. Some people hit middle age and simply go bat shit crazy, menopause/andropause forums are full of self reports of this type behavoir.

    • Mike, one of the first things my IC asked me was if my husband had ever been diagnosed as BP. When I confronted my husband with the grand total of the amount of money he had spent, he was in complete denial. This behavior was completely contrary to the previous three decades. He argued and denied until we added up the total of the cc bills (which he kept hidden from me). He was floored when confronted with the cold, hard truth.

      After talking about our marriage and our lives together, she added in NPD. I think we slowly fell into a pattern where I took care of everyone’s lives. Isn’t that what a wife and mother is supposed to do? I was so busy brining up the kids, working, everything we ALL do living our lives, that I didn’t see the pattern that was developing – the neediness, the control and manipulation – the SELFISHNESS AND ENTITLEMENT!!!!

      After she met him she also added in the possibility of ADHD. Wow! I told my IC I must have been sleep-walking through the last 36 years!

      • It’s called ‘creeping normalcy’, they swing things to their advantage in tiny increments. You don’t notice, except that you are EXHAUSTED AND MISERABLE. You might even think- gee, what’s wrong with me?

            • yes angie and chumpprincess this was my ex.perience as well.
              making love is a romance for me and not all the time and all the time.
              he was endlessly needy and wanted to fill hiss emptiy vakuum with
              sex.romantic hours are wonderful with intimicy,but i did not want to
              be his partner in doing sex as sport.

      • Kammie, I can’t say that was the case with my situation, I never saw any change in behavoir prior to the last six months we were together. We talked about everything and anything everyday, rarely fought about anything and most decisions were by consensus, we shared household stuff and child rearing pretty much equal. For nearly all of our 24 years together things were about as good as they get, we even had regular sex (well above average for middle aged couples from what I’ve read). The negative changes arrived about the same time as peri- menopause symptoms kicked in, hot flashes, tiredness, memory slips, mood swings etc… I do believe there is a hormonal component in this for both men and women at middle age, for some things go mild, for others it triggers BSC.

        • mike whatever it is,but if we all left our families in middle age about our
          physicly prolems,in which sorry world would we live?
          we are the diffrenc from animals,because we are human and every human
          schould have so much reponsibility to talk about the problems and fix the
          problem together after such a long time marriage and not try to be an egoist
          and runn away from your physical problem.this is what a man and a woman
          schould do,love does mean more for me as only sex.like i said romantic hours
          with intim together is wonderful,but what i can read in this programm,i do
          have no exciuse for such a behavior.leavin your nice family about an hormonal
          problem,if that is the way,persons better take hours with a pschologist.

    • Dude, you and me both. My ex-wife (married 22 years) hooked up with several men (grown boys really) playing World of Warcraft. After she continued to cheat and I filed for divorce, she talked her “Guild Leader” into leaving his wife and two small children to move in with and eventually marry her. 4.5 years later they are losers living a crappy life and I am happily remarried and flourishing. Karma is real, my friend. And so fitting to think of my ex and her pasty, pudgy, impoverished hubby as a couple of Level 80 Trolls.

      In my case, I found out that my ex’s cheating actually started years before WoW came out, as in at least the last 12 years of our marriage. I wouldn’t be so sure you ex was faithful for any period of time. My shrink told me that with people who are able to live double lives do so because of issues that arose in early adulthood or even childhood. Not because of issues that arise at middle age. It’s just that they get lazy and/or desperate and eventually get caught.

      • Seriously, World of Warcraft? I hope she was…like….18? Glad to hear karma bit them but good on the ass! And I agree, it was there all along but just got exacerbated with age

  • And let us not all forget about the infamous FaceBook aka FuckBook. That was my stbxw portal of instant gratification and way to meet new guys. I am guilty of online porn I have to admit. I don’t equate this to 4 physical affairs by her. It’s all bad. I think technology is facilitating a lot of loose morals.

    • I think you’re right about the technology. We didn’t evolve with it and we’re too easily mesmerized by it. Too “deer in the headlights” to recognize the danger.

    • “I think technology is facilitating a lot of loose morals.”

      Technology makes it easier. Easier to get porn (anonymously and instantly), easier to flirt and easier to find someone to hook up with. But it’s no excuse. Especially when it becomes a lifestyle.

      I have access to the same technology my STBX did. And I’m on Facebook. But I didn’t use it to flirt daily with an affair partner (like he did). I didn’t sext-msg on my phone all day with an affair partner & ho-workers (like my ex did). We both had the easy access. He choose it, day after day, and lied about it, day after day, and treated me and the kids like shit, day after day.

      Technology makes it easier? Yes. An excuse? Not even close.

      • Indeed.

        I’m old enough to remember rotary phones, but I embraced the virtual world back in the days of usenet. I moved to forums, and play online games. While we all hear about the gamer who dumped his/her spouse for someone they “met” in online, that’s considered weird even in the gamer universe. There’s a line between virtual and real life, and the vast majority of online gamers realize it.

        So, interestingly enough, I use the technology more responsibly than he does, but in the end, I think he’d cheat anyway. Technology makes it possible for him to text her at 2am, but back in the old days, he’d have more business lunches and dinners.

    • I found a notepad with lots of different passwords for different sites (this was in the late 90’s.) I assumed the passwords were work related because he was a software engineer at the time. Now I wonder if the passwords were for porn sites. The time frame coincides with the decade I was being gaslighted about PA’s. My chumptitude is boundless!

  • When he said “It’s a game” he didn’t mean the online chatting with internet hookers, he meant what he’s doing to you. The lying, the manipulation, the hurt, the mind-fucking and the blameshifting. THAT’S the “game” to which he was referring. Like when two children are on the playground and one is shoving the other or throwing balls at her, and when she gets mad at how mean he’s being, he says “Aw come on, it’s just a game!”

    Or when a group of girls are all picking on someone. Starting rumors, making snide comments within earshot, leaving nasty notes for her to find. And when their target breaks down in tears and a teacher asks what’s going on, the other girls say “It’s just a game. We didn’t MEAN anything. We’re all really good friends!”

    It’s childish bullying. It’s emotional abuse. It’s a “game” alright. But only to him. He didn’t ask if you wanted to play, he makes up all the rules, and he keeps making you skip turns.

    So when he said “It’s a game” he didn’t mean the chat site. He meant the affair.

    I’ve been reading through all the comments, and it’s good to know that you’ve felt like you’ve found some good support here Kammie. I hope that you’ll keep coming back through your difficult time. This is a good, strong community. We’ll be here to listen and encourage you when you need us. 😉

  • As far as Im concerned, cheating is anything that you would not do with your spouse standing right beside you. If it was just a “game”, why was he hiding it? In my case, the internet was the beginning of the end of my 21 year marriage. First it was my ex just looking at porn. then he was looking at more, and more and after awhile that was enough. so he starting chatting with a female friend of both of us. that escalated to explicit sex talk, phone sex and cam sex. When that wasn’t enough, you guessed it – he moved it up a notch to screwing around with a ho-worker. All the while he was still having sex with me, and watching porn online.

    Kammie – I know how this kind of pain just devastates every aspect of your life, and you look back an wonder why you didn’t see it coming. but all of the advice you see here is spot-on. It sounds like your husband is a lot like my ex- talks a great talk but his actions never seem to match up to the promises. Don’t bother to try and figure him out, you cant find logic in addiction and lies. Save yourself, and it really really does get better.

  • oh, almost forgot. I noticed that the only time he was ever sorry was when he was feeling sorry for himself. That right there should tell you what you need to know. Ditto for my ex. through all of our confrontations when I caught him cheating (4 times mind you), through the divorce and even just last night – his constant rants are all about him.
    How hard this has been on him
    how he fights depression
    how he feels guilty about not seeing the kids
    how sad he is

    The rant last night was because after he asked me to not only bring the kids to his place on Friday, but asked me to also pick them up on sunday (was supposed to have them till Monday) because he wanted to go on a group motorcycle ride with his buddies. I mentioned that the kids would be disappointed about less time with their dad – and he goes off on a 30 min text rant about how hard his life and how bad he feels about not getting more time with his kids. He wants me to drop off and pick up the kids to make it easier for him to voluntarily have less time with the same kids that he claims to feel soooo guilty about not spending more time with. Does this make sense to anyone??

    This is why trying to explain what your husband is doing and how that affects you Kammie is a waste of time. He wont ever get it, its like trying to explain astrophysics to a toddler. It aint gonna happen so save your breath. Focus on you, and you’ll be ok.

    • Thank you, Angie, you are SO right. Every time we have talked since Dday I have said to him, “Try to put yourself in my place, imagine if…. how would you feel if….. how would you react if…”

      I kept thinking if I could just make him FEEL what he has inflicted on me, even a small portion of the devastating pain, shock, horror, trauma…..

      You’re right, it is a totally useless exercise. He is totally incapable. I just kept trying and trying because I couldn’t fathom that after all our years together that I wasn’t enough of a priority for him to make the effort.

      • (((Kammie)))

        I tried that “try to put yourself in my place” after my “2nd” DDay (because really, there were more) and I was crying my heart out and he said, “I do understand,” while having the blank expression of a goat standing by the side of a road.

        I realized that not only didn’t he understand, but he didn’t care that he didn’t understand.

        It is extremely painful, but you will get through it. We all will – one day at a time.

      • “I kept thinking if I could just make him FEEL……”

        I’m sure we all tried. Again, again and again. Only to find this utter lack of empathy and just more lies and deception.

        I’m glad you found this website. I did and I’m feeling in the proces of regaining my peace of mind and strength. The past cannot be undone and you cannot escape greaving, but truth will set you free. Take care of yourself and loved ones.

  • Oh my gosh, thank you all so much. I am truly overwhelmed – but in a good way – by all your kindness and support. I am kinda’ having a hard time keeping up with all the posts, please don’t feel like I’m not paying attention and reading.

    I found this site several months ago. I would come to read CL’s amazing, no-nonsense and unique insight into the unfathomable pain of infidelity (and NPD). I was amazed and encouraged at the generosity with which you support newcomers and each other. I felt empowered by the strength and conviction you all express. I am inspired by the new lives you have forged.

    I am in awe. Period. I want to be like you when I grow up!

  • Dear Kammie; I know how hard it is to let go of a 30 yr relationship. I’ve been married 23 yrs and in my 60’s and thought I would retire to spend more time with my H and reap the rewards of all our hard work. Wrong! Recconected with old girlfriend says he wants a divorce. I move slowly towards that but I can still feel my heart say “Maybe there is a chance ” even though i know a snowball would have a better chance in Hell. Don’t linger kick him out represent that propsal from your lawyer. Take care of you.

  • Hi Kammie,

    I’m sorry that this is happening to you. I know that leaving a long term relationship is very difficult – it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was with my STBX for half my life and truly admired him. When I found out about his affair and all the lies, deception we had a few conversations about what it was like to be on the receiving end. He felt no remorse or guilt. None. I asked for a divorce. It was that or keep eating it. It was the most painful decision of my life.

    I’m only a few months out of Dday and I have good days and not so good days. I know this: Divorce was for me, the only option. He has continued to lie to me as he builds a new life. I do not believe he will ever understand the pain he has inflicted on me or our family. I go no contact as much as possible and for me, it’s the only way.

    I think you deserve better. I know it’s scary. I do. But think about who you are and what you really want out of life. Is this what you want in a husband? I think not.

    • Hi thensome, thank you. “But think about who you are and what you really want out of life.” For the short term, I want to be able to look in the mirror in the morning and be happy and proud of the person looking back at me. I need to be able to respect myself. I don’t think those things can happen if I continue to stay in a life where I am being handed pain and betrayal every day.

      I guess the rest is wide open.

  • Kammie:

    Whatever your feelings for your husband, you can’t really afford *not* to get a divorce. My ex went through about $12,000 of my money (a savings account that I never touched) during the time of his affair. He also may have gone through about $50,000-$70,000 of home equity. I still don’t know what he spent it on–football PSLs, women in Vegas, gambling? It might also be hidden in an offshore account (he bragged to my brother that he had one). Whatever you decide to do, you need to know how much money there is and have control of it, because he cannot be trusted. I would also consult with a divorce attorney about this, and make it clear that you have grave financial concerns about this. I don’t know if you can have bank accounts frozen, but you need to find out. You might also consider doing a bit of research about his prior financial activities. Go to your bank and get statements of all activity the last few years (they might be able to provide them for nothing or a small fee). Do the same for your credit cards. Sad to say, but you are a poster child for a good forensic accountant–but they are expensive, and he’s draining you every month you are together.

    Frankly, even if you decide to stay with this man, separation would be a very good idea. Get the legal ball rolling and protect yourself and your future. If he is serious about changing, he can do the work from a different address than your own. Sad to say, though, I doubt he will change.

    I waited too long to separate, then allowed ex to drag the divorce out for two years. Big mistake–he either hid money or spent himself into a pile of debt, then claimed to be broke. I put this scum through law school and was with him for 20 years when I found out about his affair. He got the house and didn’t even have to pay alimony, and he still bitches (to the kids) that he has to pay child support. Protect yourself. You are worth it.

    • dear jumplady,i wrote the answer you mailed to kammi and it made me happy
      inside,all you said is the trueth and i will go on with your words
      GAME OVER
      greetings from germany and i am glad i could meet you on this page
      called jump lady.com
      wish you the best

  • Hi Kammie, I’m really sorry about what’s happening to you and this nightmare you find yourself in. You are NOT crazy. You are NOT crazy. You are NOT crazy. You are very smart and savvy. Do not let him allow you to doubt yourself ever. And when you find yourself doubting yourself or your judgement, run to your therapist, here, another site, a friend, a sister, anywhere, anyone, so that you can hear again YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.

    If your husband is so insistent that this is a “game”, treat it like one. Loved Chump Lady’s response talking about scrabble, an actual game. I bet your husband very much cares about his image and what strangers and acquaintances think of him and what he’s doing, how sad that he doesn’t care about your thoughts and feelings. I would let him know that since it’s a “game” and he is happy to defend it as harmless and a game, that you are going to start talking to everyone in your life about the details of this “game.” And I do mean everyone, the cleaning lady, the man walking his dog, your grandchild’s crossing guard, a stranger in the park, the grocery woman at the deli. Everyone. So that you can process this “game” and find out what everyone else’s response to this normal “game” was and get some great advice to help you get over it, like he says you should. And smile sweetly and tell him you were sure he would’t object because, after all, it is a harmless game, but you wanted him to know in case people said anything to him, like asking how to sign up or anything or what his favorite video sluts screen name was. This stuff thrives in secrecy. He’s counting on you to keep his secrets. Only tell your therapist. or just keep it in the family. or maybe your best friend sworn to secrecy. Don’t keep his secrets. Tell the world, Form a community of people who validate you. As a husband, he’s toast. Don’t let him take you down with him.

    • Hi findingmyself, thank you! You are right about doubting myself. He recently told me that I am making too much out of the fact that he is still going on the site – it’s only free chat now, so what’s the big deal? I hate to admit it, but for a split second I did ask myself, “am I making too much of a big deal out of this?” No, no, and a thousand times no! I told him that I can never trust him again. His being unable to stay off the site SHOWS me that he is not trustworthy. How long before it escalates into more and more.

      You are also spot on about the secrecy and his needing to be viewed as a man of integrity. As far as I know he has only told one person “the truth.” He has given a completely different story/version of his “misdeeds” to several other people. So even when he is telling the truth – he is LYING. Wow, still hard for me to wrap my head around that one.

  • Kammie, I wouldn’t worry about escalation. What he’s already doing is horrible. It’s adultery. It’s cheating. It’s abuse. It’s gas lighting. It’s delusional for him to believe that he can choose marriage AND continuing and defending this behavior.
    I saw an earlier post that said this is the tip of the iceberg probably, anyway. If he can treat you this way and defend the indefensible, your husband is capable of anything and he’s undoubtedly already done it. This sort of thing doesn’t pop up after 30 years, he’s just had his activities underground for at least 29 of those years. And I am really sorry about that for you.

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