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Dear Chump Lady, The AP wants my friends

Dear Chump Lady,

I could really use some advice. My kids and the affair partner’s (AP) kids are in the same school; same grades, different classes (I made sure of that). My problem is that many of my friends from the kids’ previous year are now in the same class as her kids. AP tries hard to show that she is a good mom, Betty Homemaker type, and that’s all well and good, until I noticed that she is trying to go after my friends with her Pinterest Room Mom crap. How do I handle it? Do I tell everyone the humiliating story of my husband having a one night stand with my “friend” while my kids were staying the night at her house and I was out of town? Or do I “take the high road” and give her space to start over?

Back story: AP was my friend, although now she likes to tell people who found out that we were never friends; that we barely hung out. The affair happened when I went to a wedding and my husband went to pick up the kids from her house from an after school playdate. She offered him a drink and he proceeded to get hammered.

His MO was he liked getting drunk, she was willing to take care of the kids for him, and he was gonna pass out on her couch. After she put the kids to bed, she went after him on the couch…less than 10 feet from where the kids were sleeping. She decided to move it to the bedroom, and he followed. BOOM! Doneski.

I was told by my husband after spending an ENTIRE day with her when I got back under the impression she and her hubby were fighting about her getting drunk with my husband. I confronted her that night to see if it was true, and she said, “It was a mistake.” So I ended the friendship, called her husband and told him the ugly truth.

For the next 3 months I received texts about how sorry she was she hurt me, but that she was hurting too, and missed our friendship. Her hubby thought she hadn’t contacted me since it happened, so he was pretty surprised to find my husband outside of his work with a folder full of text messages, pins from Pinterest, and emails showing otherwise. My husband apologized and then asked that the man to ask his wife to leave me alone. I didn’t hear anything after that.

I run into her ALL the time though. We live near each other in a small town, kids attend the same school, soccer league, hell, even a trip to the grocery store can shake me up. I’ve told a few people but like you said: you spend the rest of your days avoiding those that hate your husband or trying to defend your choice for staying, and unless you have been through betrayal before, they just don’t quite grasp how hard it is. And it is BEYOND humiliating; I get comments like, “Whoa. He must’ve been REALLY drunk,” “Do you not put out or something?” or “You have to forgive her because God asks us to and you want to be forgiven for the bad choices you’ve made in your life.” (We live in the Bible belt.)

Help! I’m tired of taking the high road; neither of them did that night. My therapist tells me to avoid her, but with the school year coming up, and the run in we had while I was talking to a friend who happens to be in her daughter’s class (Hi! I’m Gina. Our kids are in the same class. We should get coffee together and maybe do a craft for the teacher), I feel like I should stop walking away. On the other hand, I don’t want to look like the scorned, bitter wife….and more importantly, I don’t want to be pissed all the time.

Thanks,

Nellie

Dear Nellie,

Is your husband getting treatment for his drinking? His “MO is he liked getting drunk.” Is that still his MO? Because I fear you might have bigger problems than living near Miss Super Sleazy Homemaker. (But I’ll get to that in a moment.)

I understand your distress about the nutty OW — but fact is, she wouldn’t be an issue in your life if your husband didn’t have a penchant for getting drunk and passing out on strange sofas. Your letter kinda glided over your husband’s culpability — instead the narrative is that she pressed herself upon him (this is his story, right? All she said by was of elaboration was it was a “mistake”). She took advantage of poor Mr. Shitfaced. (Where was her husband in all this, by the way? Just curious.)

That might be the case, she’s a predatory nut who’s attracted to inebriated, semi-conscious men. In which case — hang on, how drunk was he exactly? So drunk he was passed out, but drunk enough to still get it up? Guy chumps, you want to weigh in on the plausibility of this? Anyway, my point is — alcohol lowers your inhibitions, but he still gave himself permission — he was a willing participant. According to your story — they had sex. It’s not like she felt him up while he was passed out. He did the deed and spent the entire next day with her. (Versus waking up, running outside with his trousers, and puking in the bushes like some college frat boy.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if there was flirting and inappropriateness before that night. I just doubt that people go from 0 to 60 that quickly. It might be more of an affair than a one-night stand. It would explain her investment in him and her fishing expeditions for more attention. I doubt her attraction is based on one night of pathetic, fumbling drunken sex.

It sounds like you’re in reconciliation — for that to be remotely viable (and you know I am skeptical on the subject) — your husband needs to be in AA owning his shit on the drinking AND the cheating. It just doesn’t sound to me like you have the full story. I’m glad he apologized to the man’s husband. I’m glad he threw her under the bus. But those are small things compared to the enormity of your husband’s problems. He’s got substance abuse issues AND character issues. What’s he doing about that? What makes you feel secure in reconciling with such a person?

As for the OW? You told some people. She told some people. It’s a small town — I promise you, gossip like that gets around. People know what she is. And if friends of yours want to be friends with her, or crafting buddies or whatever — they’re not your friends. Those people don’t have your back. And anyone who would have the unmitigated GALL to say “Do you not put out or something?” should be hit with a brick. That idiot isn’t your friend, nor is the Christian who insists you forgive her. Have they been tested in this way? Were they cheated on? No? Then they should keep their mouths shut. Would they say that to a parent who lost a child to a drunk driver? That “friend” is minimizing your grief. You were betrayed. It’s not like you got snubbed at a dinner party. Your husband fucked another woman. If you forgive, how you forgive, or if you even feel inclined to forgive is your private business and nothing that can be dictated.

I’m sorry. You’re surrounded by lousy people, Nellie. Start finding people who have your back, who are true friends, and hold those people close. Forget about the other nincompoops.

You only get to control you. You cannot control who your friends are friends with. You cannot control what the OW pins on her Pinterest board or who likes it. You cannot control your husband, if he drinks or doesn’t drink. If he cheats or does not cheat. You just get to control YOU.

Do you want this marriage? Do you want to live in this small, judgmental town? Do you want your kids to grow up around the OW’s kids? If not, then you have to start taking steps to act in your own best interest. See a divorce lawyer. Consider a move. Set a condition of sobriety on your husband before you will even consider reconciliation. In therapy, figure out what YOUR boundaries are — and how you’re going to enforce them.

If you’re intent on reconciling, you’re going to have to learn to live with your husband and the OW in close proximity to you. Or you’re going to have to insist on a move as a condition of reconciliation.

My advice to you is tell whoever you want about what they did. If it wasn’t so bad to do it, it’s not so bad to speak of it. You don’t get to control other people’s judgement of you. If they think your husband sucks, or you’re bitter — you have to let go of that. Live your truth. You don’t have to protect either of their reputations. Just live your own life with integrity.

I’d also suggest that you get a post-nup. You’re making a very risky investment staying with a cheating, drinking husband. Work out an advantageous divorce settlement with an infidelity clause. Only he controls if he cheats again — if he balks at signing it? There’s your answer to how committed his is to fix this. I’d like you to have a nice, fully-paid-for escape route for the next time he falls asleep drunk on a sofa.

 

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  • If I were drunk enough to be “passed out” I would be too drunk to have sex. I’m 47 and in generally good health. Nellie — is your husband a 22 year old athlete? Do you find that he can perform sexually when he’s so drunk he just needs to crash? No? Then he’s lying.

  • Brilliant response CL. I particularly like a couple of sentences.
    “If it wasn’t so bad to do it, it’s not so bad you can’t speak of it.”

    And the one about “No responsibility to protect their reputations.”

    It is HIS dirty laundry that will be hanging out to dry, for everyone to see, Not hers.

    That is all the permission (or enlightenment) I need.

    • If it wasn’t so bad to do it, it’s not so bad to speak of it, was wisdom given from a fellow chump on this board. I wish I could remember who. I was just paraphrasing. But it’s true — if the cheaters just want you to get over it, no big deal, then it’s not such a big deal that you can’t tell people what happened.

      • My thoughts are that the cheater “should” have thought about the consequences BEFORE, not after. Once it is out, the cheater loses total control over who knows the details. They were using their zipper not their brain.

    • Agreed, Yoder. I find it hilarious and bizarre how upset Ex and final OW (along with the other OW) are about me saying what happened. Apparently I’m supposed to keep quiet about this and in not doing so I’m ‘psycho’ and ‘crazy’ because telling the truth about why and how my marriage broke down (discovery of multiple affairs) was wrong, wrong, wrong and shows me to be a bitter, horrible woman with no sense of propriety. Hahahahahaha…they can bite me, each and every one of them. Sorry if strange women fucking my husband means I get to tell people why I got divorced. They don’t want people to know? Don’t fuck married guys. What a bunch of twats. And what an ass my ex is for STILL being pissed off that I was honest about why we divorced. Guess what, idiot Ex–you fucked around, I found out and now we’re divorced. You didn’t want people to see you that way? You think this hurt your reputation? You should have kept it in your pants or shut the fuck up about it. Gah…these idiots who try to make like you talking about them fucking other people is somehow worse than them actually fucking other people can bite me.

      • but Nord… don’t you know that his fucking other women (behind your back) is between you and him?

        ugh.

        ugh.

        ugh.

        • That’s why when my STBX filed for divorce on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” I counter-filed citing “extreme mental abuse” and “adultery.” It didn’t matter that I live in a no-fault state. Perhaps he only saw differences, but I saw an asshole. Unfortunately, you can’t charge “he’s a narcissistic asshole” as grounds for divorce.

          Anyone asks, including his family, why we’re getting a divorce I tell them, “he’s an emotionally abusive serial cheater who never respected me, my children or his marriage vows.” When they tell me they find it hard to believe? I tell them, “Okay, but it doesn’t change the facts.” How does he feel about me saying that? Don’t know, don’t care, haven’t talked to him.

        • This is where I get confused about contacting the AP, Laurel Nord and Yoder.

          I mean, if it is between me and him, WTF was that bitch doing in my life, my house and my bed?????

          He loses his family and lots of $$$. I lose everything, from my house to my children’s psychological safety.

          Why does she get to waltz off, reputation intact? This bites me so bad!!! Somebody talk me down!

          • I did not want to broadcast it over CNN, but I wanted ow out of the picture. I wanted him to understand there was no one for him to go to and that I would also, soon be out of the picture. OW lived in another state and I sent her unknowing husband all emails, texts, etc. Never heard from her again. This set up, in his mind, “Who else might she gives those to?” We have never discussed it. I simply made up my mind that I no longer wanted him, but I did not want him to have her, either. It is also a way to have insurance (no one else knows yet) or ammunition, when I file for divorce. Small town? Cannot imagine trying to keep my wits about me. There is an old saying, “Don’t play in the garden where you work.” He did and now it is a mess. You need to get out of Dodge, unless he does or she does. Somebody has to go. I find it difficult to believe they can both keep their jobs. Bad situation at work. Unless you can find a way to put either or both of them in their place, you will have to leave. Surely there is something either or both would NOT like for you to do.

          • (((hugs))) Patsy. Of course, its not between you and him. Its between him and him, but him is not operating with a full deck. He truly believes with all of his heartless that you will never find out.

            But, he lies to himself, too. He’s made up a whole cache of reasons and excuses for WHY he NEEDS to conduct his life in this manner. But, the problem is that one can’t refute another man’s “truths” no matter how bizarre they may be.

            ts all FUBAR (fucked up beyond all recognition). And I think the point for us is how do we reconcile for OURSELVES, the truths that are too heinous to even be voiced, too evil for anyone to believe.

            THIS WAS THE MAN WE CHOSE BECAUSE WE LOVED HIM DEARLY AND WE WOULDN’T EVER DREAM OF DOING ANYTHING TO HIM TO HURT HIM AND WE KNEW THAT FUCKING ANOTHER PERSON BEHIND HIS BACK WOULD CRUSH HIS SOUL.

            Isn’t that what’s at the bottom of all of this? We are devastated, traumatized, humiliated to the nth degree, but if we dare voice it, we are deemed bitter, negative, someone who incites drama, and even so far as slanderous. Even if we had presented the concrete evidence, others will make up their own stories to protect THEIR own hearts.

            its all fuckedup.

            • Someone here (Laurel?) wrote that she learned from Horse Whisperer, “What an important mechanism stillness, patience, and understanding your adversary can be in controlling an outcome.” True dat! Also keep in mind it might be just a game to him or AP. Your move…be careful.

        • I always forget that part, Laurel. Here I am thinking it’s my life and I can talk about what happens in my life to anyone I want but apparently that’s just wrong. Aw shucks, I fucked up again. First I made him cheat repeatedly and now I’ve told people about it.

      • I agree with you Nord. And thanks CL for saying – “My advice to you is tell whoever you want about what they did. If it wasn’t so bad to do it, it’s not so bad to speak of it.” Why should we have to keep our mouths shut because of what they did? They should own it; if you’re going to be a piece of shit, you’re going to have to put up with your own stench.

  • Nellie you are sure in a tough situation. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to see the AP all the time and also have your children’s feelings to consider. I was lucky enough to not have to see my husband’s AP at all after D-day (or him eith either) since my kids were grown. It’s so much easier to heal when you can focus on yourself and your own healing without having your emotional would reopened every time you see her. Your first priority is to protect yourself and your feelings, so I would do whatever I could to minimize contact with this woman. Is it possible to move your kids to another school?

    One thing I will tell you about my experience is that I went to counseling to try to work on my issues earlier in my marriage, but my husband only half heartedly went a couple of times. So without him being willing to acknowledge his issues and work on them for the sake of our marriage, it was doomed to fail. If your husband is drinking that much he should be in treatment, if he refuses to get treatment you should file for divorce.

    My heart goes out to you in such a tough situation.

  • CL – You have so much clarity. I really want to get there, sooner rather than later. Great advice once again and in particular, speaking to the unspoken issues inherent in the letter.

    Nellie,

    You sound like a kind and loving person, but IMHO it seems as if your H is not being completely honest with you (read: he’s lying). If she offered him A drink (which I would think means 1), what was the catalyst for continuing to drink instead of going home with the children? If she offered to let the children stay over and he was cool with that, why stay and drink at all? Do you guys have alcohol at home? If so, he could have had as much to drink as he wanted and SAFELY passed out at home. If he can’t stop at one drink, as CL has pointed out, he has a substance problem which needs to be addressed, otherwise I can almost guarantee you that something like this will happen again. Sometimes we use one problematic behavior as an excuse or cover for another problematic behavior.

    And those people who approach you with stupid questions or comments? Yeah – hand them a nice steaming cup of STFU. If they haven’t been through what you’re going through, they don’t know what they’re talking about, don’t have a clue about the pain of being betrayed by a person in whom you’ve invested so much love and trust.

    I hope everything works out for you and children, Nellie. At the end of the day, it is important that you do what is best for YOU and your children. Only you can ultimately decide what that looks like. I would advise you to read and re-read everything that CL has said – it is full of wisdom and good advice.

    (((Hugs))) and good luck to you.

  • “How drunk was he exactly? So drunk he was passed out, but drunk enough to still get it up? Guy chumps, you want to weigh in on the plausibility of this? Anyway, my point is — alcohol lowers your inhibitions, but he still gave himself permission — he was a willing participant. ”

    —As a guy who’s been to college, I can attest that “Whiskey Dick” is very, very real, no matter how well you can handle your sauce. However, many drunken men CAN perform during sex. They just can’t “close the deal” (without being too graphic).

    Anyway, I’m with CL on this one. There’s HUGE CHUNKS of the story missing from your otherwise eloquent letter, Nellie. The worst case scenario is that your husband is an alcoholic who’s no stranger to this type of behavior.

    But the way you describe him he sounds like a college freshman who got drunk at his very first frat party. Since your children are grade-school age, I’m assuming the two of you are at least in your 30s. Obviously he’s been drinking long enough to know his limits, but apparently he has no boundaries.

    I mean, seriously, he goes to pick up the kids from a play-date and ends up passed out drunk on the AP’s couch? WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT?! He had NOTHING else to do with his day that he was able to get shit-faced with the woman who babysat your kids? How did he get home that night? Were your children in the other room while your hubby and AP were having drunk-sex? It sounds like a playdate that turned into a sleepover if she “put the kids to bed.” WHERE WERE YOUR CHILDREN??

    Obviously you’re devastated by your husband’s betrayal and lecherous behavior, but honestly I think you have problems far greater than some Desperate Housewife feeding your husband martinis.

    Picking up children from a playdate is one the easiest tasks you can assign a husband without him fucking it up, and he couldn’t even do THAT without getting hammered and passing out on her couch. You say his MO is “getting hammered.” Are we to believe that includes situations like this where he’s required to transport your children in a vehicle? Did he drive the kids home that night while still shit-faced?

    That is so very, very dangerous. I agree with CL that it sounds like you’re in reconciliation, but I think there’s some other very serious issues you two need to work out. If that were my husband, sure I’d be angry about the affair but I’d be even MORE pissed off that he decided to get loaded on a day when he was required to drive my children home. That makes your husband sound very reckless.

    Do keep us posted, though. Perhaps you can shed some more light on this because honestly I couldn’t even get through the rest of your letter about the AP without my buzzards going off about your husband’s drinking.

    • Spot on, Chris. Had to laugh at picking up children from a playdate is one of the easiest assignments known to husbands. And I thought I wielded the 2x4s… I’m handing the baseball bat to you next time. 🙂

    • Of course, Chris, the ‘passed out on the sofa’ is a LIE.

      What really happened was ‘alcohol lowered my inhibitions so I CHOSE to give her one, but I was well within my capabilities and we had a great time’. Sorry Nellie.

      Where were the children, though?

  • From my side of the bed I find a man can get pretty wasted still get it up but the sex is lousy, they fall right asleep, usually snore and reek of alcohol. Next morning isn’t very pretty either.

  • Nellie, I’m sorry that you have to walk this road with the rest of us. The only consolation I can offer is that there is a great group of fellow walkers here who understand completely, and will never say stupid things like “Didn’t you put out?” or try to blame YOU.

    There is a whole lot missing from your husband’s story, as others have pointed out. But his drinking is the biggest issue here, because that puts your children’s very lives in danger. This guy cannot even pick them up from daycare without getting so drunk he passes out, then stays to play hide the sausage with the babysitter. That is NOT a guy I’d let drive MY son anywhere, that’s for sure.

    As for your friend, the babysitting whore….. I’d stay away from people who side with her, tell you to get over it or seem to want the gory details. They are not your friends. You can’t control what the AP does, but if you run into her, just give her a stiff nod of the head then walk away. Or better yet, if possible, divorce your alcoholic husband and get the hell out of that town.

    Oh, have to add…… that drunken fucking was NOT the first contact between those two, no way. Emotional stuff, flirting, innuendoes preceded the sex at the very minimum. I cannot imagine any man going to his wife’s friends house to pick up kids and actually coming in, accepting a drink, then sticking around. Only a guy who already had some sort of SOMETHING going on with the woman would hang around like that.

    • Exactly. I think the first physical sex that STBX had with OW was after he’d had some drinks (he was out of town on a business trip with her and a couple of other people from his work, and came back talking about Mai Tais–which was odd, since he really doesn’t drink). I found out, though, that he’d been having an Emotional Affair with her for months beforehand, with sexually explicit texts going between the two of them. The alcohol didn’t have to do a lot of lowering of inhibitions.

      Sorry, Nellie.

  • The story about husband being so drunk he loses control of his erect penis, like a long-haul trucker who suffers a seizure behind the wheel of his Big Rig, is pure bunkum. Which is, as we know, par for the course.

    Cheaters are deceiters.

    A good general policy is to assume that the truth is approximately 8.2 times worse than whatever the cheater cops to.

    As for friends who allow themselves to be “stolen” from you by idiots and assholes? Let them go. You can do better. You must. Your sanity depends on it. The symbol of housecleaning applies to so many aspects of recovering from infidelity, this one included.

      • Good point. Some pollution can’t be cleaned up. All you can do is dump it in a pit, cover it with four feet of concrete, and build somewhere else far, far away!

        I always thought it was funny that one of the worst toxic spill sites in the U.S. was called Love Canal. . . .

  • Nellie, I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

    My STBX was also in the the sauce a lot. He had buddies that he’d hang out with and all they did was eat and drink. He drank every day and on the weekend he was often drunk one or two evenings. When I discovered the affair (he met her in a restaurant/bar) I realized that any hope for our marriage had to include addressing his alcohol use. And in perfect chump form, it was I who made the arrangements to see a therapist and a doctor in the hopes of finding help.

    When the doctor confronted him on his drinking using the word, “alcoholic” and encouraged him to start by remaining sober for a month, my ex became very angry. Apparently he didn’t think he had alcohol abuse issues. Denial much?

    Anyway the point of my story is that with the alcohol, the alcoholic friends/enablers and the affair, I threw in the towel. There wasn’t a chance I was going to monitor the drinking and GPS his penis. No. I seriously think it would have made me sick to do attempt to do that.

    It’s a tough situation that you are in. I’d distance myself from her as much as I could and really take some time considering your options on this marriage. It’s not easy but life with a drunk cheater is going to suck you dry.

    Take care of YOU.

  • I just love you ChumpLady, you’re an angel! Not the kind of angel all fluffy and glowing on a cloud, the kind of angel that wields a sword and slices through tons of bullshit! You saw right to the core of this story, and you can heal people if they will listen and GET it!
    I also had a drunkard X, that was the excuse for everything, and BTW, whore AP was a drunk too! So, the answer is to go, then they may finally see (gasp!!) consequences. Maybe they will pull their shit together, maybe not, why should the sane partner/parent waste their life waiting for it? Maybe Nellie, you should move out of hipocrytical small town, and leave all this stinky crap behind. Find a guy who loves you more than a bottle. Sending you good wishes for a better future!

  • I doubt what I have to say is going to be popular and I don’t mean to be hurtful to you Nellie, my heart goes out to you. You have been betrayed by your husband at a very fundamental level, you have the added burden that your (good?) friend also betrayed you.

    You are attempting to reconcile with your husband, this means you are working to trust him again, forgive him, love him and live with him. On the other hand, you are saying that your friends attempts to make amends were wrong and painful to you, you will not attempt to trust her or forgive her.

    It seems like you have reached a state of cognitive dissonance in order to reconcile the irreconcilable. In order to trust and forgive your husband you must paint your friend with a broad black brush and paint your husband in shades of white and grey. To continue your marriage you have to believe your husband made a single mistake for which he was not entirely responsible. At the same time assigning full responsibility with no room for mistakes to your friend.

    This may be the only way you can go forward with your marriage reconciliation, it just doesn’t seem healthy. Your letter was light on details so maybe your friend has done many other things to break trust or harm you and this is the straw.

    In my case the AP was not a friend but when I was in false R I didn’t think of the AP as some seducer, nor did I think of her as unique. To me, the AP could have been anyone – I know if she’d been a long time friend I would have talked to her and perhaps worked through it with her, as I tried to do with my (now) EXH. The only experience I have of this is my best friend & husband kissing many years ago. I talked to her, talked to him and worked through that episode, she is still my best friend.

  • I agree that their story is suspicious. Cheaters cop to about 5% of what actually happened. If you believed that it was just one night of completely spontaneous drunken sex, then they are going to take that as getting away with it.

    I don’t believe that’s all that happened. Since it’s your husband’s “MO” to get hammered, then there is something else going on. I mean, who gets hammered when picking up their kids from a babysitter? Really now. That’s not exactly the hot party spot.

    I think they didn’t tell you the whole truth. Not even close to the whole truth. If there wasn’t any actual sex happening before, there was SOMETHING leading up to it. She knew that he gets drunk easily, and often, so she offers him “A drink.” If it was just one drink, I’d like to know what was in it. Was it European Absinthe? A 24 oz cup of it?

    No, she didn’t just offer him a drink. I call shenanigans. I would agree with the others who said that there had to have been some talking, flirting, some kind of inappropriate communication behind your back prior to this encounter. I also don’t believe he completely passed out. I think he was drunk enough to give himself permission to cheat. Either that, or he had already given himself that permission and used the alcohol as an excuse.

    I also agree that if it is your husband’s MO to get shit-faced, then he has an alcohol problem. Y’know what kind of people have drunken reputations? Frat boys and alcoholics. If your husband is not a frat boy, then…

    I never took “but he was drunk” as an excuse for cheating. If he gets so drunk that he cheats, then that means he cannot control his alcohol intake. Which is an even bigger problem.

    If you want to stay and try to R, which I don’t have much faith in myself, I agree that you should first and foremost get your husband into an AA program. He needs treatment for his excessive drinking. And I do think it’s excessive. No normal person gets hammered when picking up his kids from the babysitter. That is a problem.

    I also agree that you should get a post-nup with an infidelity clause. If he is truly repentant, he won’t have a problem signing it and if he cheats again, you have a way out.

    And don’t listen to the assholes who ask you if you put out or tell you that god says it was your fault. That’s a load of garbage. These people have obviously not been cheated on or they wouldn’t hold such asenine beliefs about you. And if they HAVE? …Psh, deities help them.

  • Nellie,

    I feel your pain. I live in a small town as well and while I didn’t have to deal with what you are (I hid the affair while I was going through “reconciliation”), I can imagine how horrible it is. I think for you to have any chance at moving on from this while staying married to him you need to seriously consider moving so you don’t have to deal with her for the entire time your kids are in school. You don’t need to move far. It’s not running away, it’s building a better life for yourself and your family.

    But you also need to seriously consider whether you should be staying with him. You must be having some doubts, or you wouldn’t be on this site. Sure, a one night stand is the best case scenario in this shitty realm of cheating we deal with here. But regardless of how drunk he was, there were a lot of little choices he made while sober and then choices he made while getting less sober that led to it. And it DOES NOT sound like he’s taking responsibility for his actions. And you also are pushing the blame all to her. And yes, she sucks. I want to punch her myself. But guess who is supposed to show you loyalty? And love you more than that? Your husband. HE is the one that betrayed you. And HE needs to acknowledge that what he did was incredibly wrong and REALLY try to make amends. And these need to be concrete actions, like moving, like a post-nup. You’ve read people’s stories here… you know how many times these cheaters were forgiven once (or twice, etc.) and then they just do it again eventually. Because by letting them off the hook so easily they figure they can just get away with it again. And again. You deserve much more than what it sounds like he has offered you so far. I think you should demand more from him and if he can’t rise to the occasion of truly trying to save his marriage, of trying to be a better person (one that doesn’t get drunk and pass out on people’s couches when the kids are playing), you should say goodbye.

  • Nellie,

    I’m so sorry… but he’s absolutely lying to you and I think that CL’s theory is once again, much closer to the accurate version. It was not only once, because there is no “only” and there is no “once.” and the rest of his story also doesn’t ring true for all of the reasons that everyone else has spoken of.

    In reality, he’s presenting as a man with a multitude of mental health issues. Can he be helped? Only if HE really, really wants it and does not want to be the man HE IS RIGHT NOW. But that is very, very doubtful. and he has to not want to be this reinvented man whether he’s married to you or not, not as a “condition” of your staying with him.

    The latter is not recovery. That’s placating you until the smoke clears.

  • Hi Nellie,

    Mid-40’s male here. So here’s what happened: Indeed your husband and his AP had a couple of drinks, got buzzed, and fucked. Pretty much, they both knew what was going to happen, before it happened. Which is why people with common sense would not put themselves in that position in the first place. A couple of cocktails made things easier.

    He wants you to believe he got “wasted” so he can blame the alcohol, but that’s bullshit. In reality, that’s what he *should* have done, as a second choice, besides not putting himself in that position (so to speak) – he should have just kept on drinking until he really did pass out. If I am that drunk, I’m out. Yeah maybe in my younger days my testosterone > alcohol, and I could at least participate. But unless he’s a functional alcoholic and there’s other issues in play here (so to speak) – I call bullshit.

    As to if this was the first time with her, or whatever… who knows. People make mistakes in judgement all the time. He needs to really fess up to that night, and stop whining about the wine. He needs to own up to failure point number one – he should not have been there, should not have allowed his temptation to hang around, not accepted that first drink, and not fucked her. He could have said “no” at any point prior to the actual deed, and his body would have said “no” for him had he actually been hammered.

  • I want to know a little more about what you mean by the “high road” that you are taking. This convoluted story of your continuing contact with OW (via Pinterest, emails, and text messages) is troubling, not because of what you did, but because it seemed to be a transaction between your husband and her husband. Further, OW seems to be controlling the narrative by saying that you were barely friends with her. Folks in your town seem to be blaming you, the victim, with their explanations of your husband’s indiscretions. Where is your voice in all of this? The bottom line is that these people–your husband, OW, her husband–are passing judgement on YOUR behavior in this situation. How convenient of them to dump on you–a smokescreen to keep you from asking any of them to accept responsibility for what they did and to ask your husband to do the hard work of reconciliation. Your husband clearly needs therapy, but you might benefit from (individual) therapy as well. You need to figure out what is best for YOU and your children.

  • Nellie,

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I hope you really listen to what these smart, caring Chumps have to say. I also hope you listen to your gut. Your letter makes me think you SENSE that you don’t know the entire story. If that is what your gut is telling you, BELIEVE it! Truly, my gut has never been wrong, but I chose to trust HIM when he would dismiss and lie. I believed him instead of trusting my gut. Never again. Trust your gut Nellie. It won’t fail you.

  • Nellie,
    There are only two ways to get through reconciliation business:
    1. Do your maths rationally. All your priorities, utilities, hidden interests etc. properly weighed up. A post-nup should also be designed on this principle as the guy shall at least be forewarned and you shall save yourself the headache of pursuing divorce and financial settlement later.
    2. If you find that the costs of your betrayed feelings (you seriously believe in monogamy) far outweighs the benefits of staying, you should not stay. All of us on this site know for one: Once a cheater, always a cheater. The hatred for OW is a reflection of bottled up hatred for your husband. He won’t get better! You can only internally turn a blind eye to save yourself from the pain of it all. Switching off internal buttons will help. Don’t lose your sanity over his infidelity. If you choose to stay, stay with the fact that your benefits of staying far outweighs the costs. Don’t do moral policing. No need. Only pretend that you are on guard, so that his cheating/ substance abuse doesn’t become rampant. But accept and understand! Your staying is for other factors (that you’ve factored in your equation). Even if, it is for your own love for your H…that is just one of the factors.

    The bottom-line is: Be as rational as you can, if you are in R. It helps to logically break down a problem into smaller parts and do cost-benefit analysis of all possible scenarios that you can assume. It is not a question of performance after D-day; it is about survival. Everybody’s contexts are different. If yours far outweigh leaving, you stay, but with the realization that the expectation of the H changing etc. are just fallacies. You are staying for x,y,z…and are okay about incurring the cost of infidelity/ substance abuse. period. no glamorizing it. It is just that this choice suits you better under given circumstances.

  • Nellie CL is right. The issue here is boundaries. I didn’t set any. I screamed, yelled, analyzed him, screamed some more –

    but I kept quiet and protected him.
    I didn’t call schmoopie co-worker and tell her that either she moved to another company, or her deeply judgemental ethnic community would be told that she admired photos of happy, smiling little children and then would go on and fuck their father in their beds.
    I didn’t tell him that he had one week to find an AA programme or I was calling in the lawyers.
    I didnt’ insist on MC with a no-shit counsellor who could see through his narcissistic BS.
    I didn’t tell him that he was going to sign a generous post-nup cheating clause (yes, I found him in contact with OW again).

    What did I get in return? No effort, deep disrespect and increasing cruelty, forcing me to file anyway. I am getting divorced, with four MORE years of humiliation and unlove to deal with self belief-wise, than if I had filed straight away. It isn’t worth being a doormat Nellie.

    • I did the same thing and all the while he was listening in on my conversations, tracking me and nanny camming me (so he would know when I was catching on to him). He was proud of himself to always be 10 steps ahead of me so he could lay his traps.

      Trying to be understanding or helping just upped the ante in the level of cruelty. That level on insincerity is the very hallmark of evil.

  • To add: I agree with Dr George Simon, that once a counsellor has diagnosed narcissism, the only question a character disordered person in therapy should be asked is: how has your inflated sense of yourself got YOU into trouble/ended up hurting YOU? That is it. If he wants to change he will hang in there, if he doesn’t, you have your answer.

  • Nellie, I think CL covered everything but one thing came to my mind..

    I know the type of small town you live in…been there and escaped.
    Anyway, with all the intermingling of friends, parents, children etc and the gossipy tendencies there, don’t you think (that if it hasn’t already happened) that someone, probably another kid is going to say something to your children. Or they will overhear it from adults…..and I use that term with a grain of salt
    Do they still play with the OWs children?
    What sort of example are you setting for them You and your children deserve a better life than living with a drunk parent and a cheating parent and a parent that is continuously humiliated and gossiped about.
    Get a divorce, take your children (document EVERYTHING) and move. They will get over changing schools and will enjoy a nice peaceful home with a confident, calm Mother.

  • Okay…here is my “not really” response.
    I’d be tempted to say to the ones that gossip and ask me direct questions “Well, we know what sort of woman the OW is, so you better watch your husband too.” They are picking on you because they are grateful it’s not them but know it could be.
    Sort of like the kids on the playground that are so relieved the class bully is picking on someone else.

    • Actually, I think people say hurtful things indicating he cheated because of something the spouse did/did not do because then they can convince themselves such a thing could not happen to them. It makes them feel like they are safe from the cheating in their own marriage.

  • Nellie, You’ve gotten some great advice here. Not much I can add but a bit of my own experience. My SBXH called one of my allegedly good friends for a rousing bit of “what I’d like to do to your body with my tongue” (shudder). He didn’t tell me this, and neither did she… Instead she told a mutual friend who then rang me up to give me the bad news.

    I ditched the friend for not telling my husband he had 24 hours to tell me, or she would – and for mercilessly gossiping about it to several other people who came out of the woodwork to give me advice. Unfortunately I kept my oh-so-remorseful husband for another 10 years (At my pastors beseeching) only to find out that he stopped hitting on my friends and started multiple, ongoing affairs with his ho-workers instead. My biggest regret is that I didn’t divorce him then.

    I know it’s hard when you love them, and maybe your husband will be that one exception. No one can say for sure. But I can tell you from gut-wrenching experience that cheaters are liars. And you deserve better than that, and so do your children.

  • Nellie,

    There are many wise comments posted here, and Chump Lady’s response to your letter contains many astute points to consider. The extremely important point she makes is her point about having a much bigger problem in his drinking. From the content of your letter, it is clear your husband is an alcoholic if his “MO” is to drink. I unfortunately speak from years of experience on this particular issue, and the best I can share with you is my advice and process for getting back to healthy life without an alcoholic husband.

    The last year of my marriage was quite a ride due to my husband’s progression into stage 3 alcoholism. My once sober and functioning husband relapsed in epic fashion, and details of my experience are different than your experience, but affairs, lack of responsibility where children are concerned and the “MO” to drink ring true.

    It wasn’t until I went to a few open AA meetings and listened to the speakers that I got the reality check I needed. I would strongly advise you to do the same….go to an open AA meeting, listen to every word the speaker shares, every share that happens in the meeting and ask yourself, “Does this sound like my husband?” The speakers not only sounded like my husband, they could have been my husband. And I realized, based on their journey, my husband was no where close to rock bottom. Ask yourself this question: do you want to be there when he hits rock bottom? What will he put you through, even more than he already has, getting to rock bottom? Is that OK with you? After the AA meetings, I went to some Al-Anon meetings and they were also very helpful. They helped me decide I wanted a different life. One that didn’t involve drinking, MOs, affairs, risky behavior, and serious denial of reality. I sat down one night and wrote out every crappy thing that had ever happened at the hands of my husband’s drinking. It shocked me when I realized I had a written a typed, single spaced, 8 page document. In the grand scheme of things, my husband’s affair ended up a bit further down the list of reasons to get myself out of the marriage….

    Find yourself a therapist with experience dealing with addiction in relationships and marriages…believe me, it changes their perspective when they know addiction is involved. Know this: the alcoholism underlies everything in his life….everything. The affair is only one thing to come out of it. More will come out of it if he doesn’t get treatment.

    It is the hardest thing in the world to leave an alcoholic husband….the emotional abuse you suffer at their hands (that you don’t even realize you are suffering) keeps working you back to thinking you’re hurting him, you’re letting him down, you’re not being compassionate…..it is a hard cycle to break through, and they want you in the mindset because they know you’ll be there to clean up their mess. I know how hard it is….I spent months worrying after I left he would get a DUI, end up dead somewhere, every worst thought….I got through it and came out the other side with a sense of peace I hadn’t felt in years. You need people in your life to educate you about addiction and how you deal with addicts. The normal “rules” don’t apply to an addict.

    I’m sending you strength and wishing you the best.

  • Ditto Atticus’ response. My XH was/is an alcoholic that found sobriety for the last couple of years we were married, but he never attended AA or worked the program – and the addiction manifested in other ways.

    He resumed drinking several years after our divorce (15 yrs ago) and has since married and divorced twice after we were married – and apparently still hasn’t hit bottom – he has been chronically unemployed for 12 years and lives in near poverty despite having 10 yrs of higher education. He is worse off materially and probably emotionally at 50 than at 25.

    I’ve heard through the grapevine and from being contacted by his former partners, that the dysfunction, toxicity, affairs, and chaos I experienced (and it was really really rough) have only worsened with successive marriages/relationships.

    Nellie, to echo Atticus – you and your children will live in continual and progressive chaos and turmoil. I would also suggest finding and attending an AL-Anon meeting (they are everywhere) to assist you in moving toward clarity and finding support. There’s nothing you can say at those meetings than others can’t related to.

    Prepare yourself that it will be very difficult to untangle yourself if you’ve evolved to feeling that his sobriety and behavior and well being is your responsibility. It is not.

    But, it does get much much better.

  • Nellie – it’s not your humiliation to bear. Its your husband and the ows. In your situation i would tell the truth that he cheated.. Otherwise gossip will tell a different story. Why not be in charge of the narrative.

    • Duck, that is some of the best advice I’ve read. When I am talking to a perspective subject for a new biography, here is what I tell them. “If you don’t write your story (in other words tell your story) someone else will and they will get it wrong.” Address the issues head on, but makes sure you handle it in the right way. Instead of saying what you feel, such as, “That mother fucker fucked up my life, my kids lives and he is a filthy son of a bitch. I suggest, you very strategically, say, when some asks or you just want someone to know the truth, your truth, casually say, “Well, the last straw was his affair.” It stops them in their tracks and makes you look so dignified.

    • Agreed. Tell the truth. It is, after all, what happened. As someone said to me when I was still keeping pretty quiet: you lived a life of lies for years without knowing it. It’s time to stop living with lies and start living with the truth. Only then can you heal.

      And it was true; until I started saying out loud to others that he was a serial cheater who screwed around with people in my own circle, as well as others, I couldn’t really and truly face it myself. Now I can face it and although I still have my moments of ‘are you fucking kidding me?’ I know who he is and the truth about him. And he hates me for it.

      • “[You] lived a life of lies for years without knowing it. It’s time to stop living with lies and start living with the truth. Only then can you heal….”

        Incredibly well-put.

  • I am not sure which one is worse, the drinking or the cheating, but they both show major character flaws.

    I know how difficult it is to decide to pull the trigger (I haven’t done it myself in a way that works yet, and my kids are grown up), but this seems to be the only remedy to the issue. I am speaking from personal experience here.

  • I cannot beleive the sheer number of folks claiming that alcohol played a role in their cheating. This is utter bullshit. Many of us have been drunk, Who cheats because they are drunk? What nonsense.
    This woman’s husband is a miscreant of the highest order. He heads over to pick up his kids, gets drunk and fucks the “friend”.
    How much more NPD is that? Where do people like this come froma nd how the hell did they get so blatantly assholish?
    Why on earth would you want to be married to such a dickhead?

    • What a pithy reply?

      Yes Nellie, unless you really have a strong need for this relationship (due to whatever factors…it is entirely based on your context), you don’t believe one iota in the whole thing. But if this marriage is so important as to continue it anyways…just change your thinking and adapt to his lying, cheating and substance abuse. That is the only way forward.

      • Nellie,

        If your husband is a regular drinker (read: problem drinker), he is well aware of how alcohol affects him. I believe he used alcohol as an excuse to do something he’s been wanting to do. Otherwise, as I pointed out earlier, why did he accept the offer of a drink and then proceed to become intoxicated to the point of supposedly “passing out?”

        As so many others who have posted have pointed out, unless you want to continue to be hurt and continue to make excuses for the unexcusable behavior of your H, you need to cut your losses as soon as possible (now), for your sake and your children’s sake. Believe me, we all know that it is a difficult decision to make – you love him and you married him because you wanted to make a life with him until death you did part. He has failed to honor you, your family and his commitment. You can’t control that or his future behavior. You can only control yourself. Good luck to you with whatever you decide.

        (((Hugs))).

  • Nellie,

    Just so you know. When men get that drunk, we typically aren’t as sexual as all that. When women get drunk they get easier. It sounds more like he got her drunk to take advantage of her. In all reality, they had been planning this all along and have been flirting for awhile unless your husband raped her or she raped him.

    Don’t buy into any of his BS. Prepare to move on. If he loved and respected you he wouldn’t have done any of this. We’ve all been there. It will only get worse and it cannot be undone or fixed.

  • This was EXCELLENT advice! Alcoholics and drug addicts in their acute stage of addiction cannot be trusted. They are liars by default. I agree that he needs to be told to go to rehab or IOP (Intensive Outpatient Therapy) or his butt is kicked to the curb.

    I also agree with moving out of that judgmental little town. Some small towns can be so mean spirited and cruel!

  • The others who highlighted the potential that your husband is an alchoholic are spot on in the seriousness of that as a serious problem.

    It’s possible he isn’t one yet, rather one who LOVES getting drunk too much at this stage, the binge drinker at intervals who will eventually become an alchoholic.

    He may not yet be serious cheater yet either in action, but clearly can like the notion of some fun action on the side if an easy enough option crosses his path.Therefore your friend was someone he must have flirted with before for anything to have happened.

    That shows show he’s been prone to flirt with others. Mostly nothing more happens, but occassionaly he may have struck the single fling bit of action.Assuming that’s his way if having a bit of additional spice to his life without seeking an ongoing affair and is otherwise content in his life with you. He wouldn’t grasp this can be a big issue as long as you don’t find out. He wouldn’t have done this if he shared your views on fidelity.

    He’ll be paying lip service to appease you, while thinking he must just make sure he never gets caught out if a spicy option comes up.

    The poor local responses you’ve gotten possibly indicate that others know a bit more about him, viewing him as someone who’s committed to remaining in his marriage, but a flirt and one that will happily indulge in a brief spot of action given the chance.Plus he likes to tipple too much too at times.He’s been seen by outsiders as he realy may be, passable in commitment to being with you and family with some immature naughty sides, and re you wondering what’s the fuss as “What’s new?”!
    Secondly outsiders think your outrage is unfairly one sided in overblaming your friend for your husband’s decision to be an indulgent drunken belligerant male slut while on dad duty.

    You can only be publicly censorious, slut shaming another over a single incident where you have such elevated views against adultary if you had applied the same or harsher promptly to your husband, plus with him tossed out the door asap.It would be assumed your husband would have known your rules and values too, yet chose to defy them.You need to be consistent to be respected in the broader community.

    If you weren’t tossing husband out the door pronto over this, you’ve then made a big mistake stategically.That’s in accepting husband’s version of events, without staying calm enough to get your friend’s version of events. You’ve missed out on info re his behaviour precursors to side action, any views he may have expressed, deeper insight of the attitudes, motives, reasons that led friend to interact that way with your husband(type of woman & situation he plays up with, the extent he does). As your supposed friend you could demand need to understand how did she end up doing this, what happened?With OW flings that are strangers there isn’t that chance to find out.

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