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Dear Chump Lady, But He’s Such a Nice Guy!

mrNiceGuyDear Chump Lady,

My husband of 25 years is a really good father/uncle/church member, who is friendly to everyone and is generally a very nice guy.

He is also a well-meaning though largely clueless husband who doesn’t really understand what emotional partnership means, though he has an inflated sense of romance, loves chick flicks and desserts, is an emotional adolescent who gets sulky if I imply I am upset with him for something, has not much interest in sex, (not that he’s particularly skilled), and does not usually grasp what I am upset about when I am upset, unless it a) explained very clearly to him, and b) isn’t blamed on him, and c) isn’t too emotional, because he has a “problem with emotional outbursts, like raised voices.” I have contemplated leaving many times, but he’s such a nice guy…

Six weeks ago I found out he had a 7-month affair that ended six months ago, though they “remained friends,” on his pleading, for three months after that. There was BDSM involved, and threesomes attempted, neither of which I thought he had ever heard of. They met online, through an online matching service.

When I confronted him, he admitted that though he was only ever looking for friendship, the friendships only began to have a sexual element ten years ago. Because the sex was meaningless, he considers the lot of them irrelevant. He has not denied that one per year is still 10 women, and has admitted one for three weeks, one for three months, on for five months, blah blah, but insists that he only had one affair, the one last year, because she was the only one he fell “deeply in love” with (was that before the whips, or after, I wonder?). This was while we were in marital counselling, by the way.

Anyway, he is extremely sorry about that affair (the others are, according to him, irrelevant, so he will not discuss them), and “knows it was stupid”. He is being all nice now, helping in the kitchen (didn’t even know he knew where it was), coming home on time (7:00 p.m.), spending time with the teenage kids, complimenting me.

This stuff is so far from who I thought he was, clueless, adolescent, and emotionally flat as he was, that I am having trouble comprehending it. It’s like saying someone came from 1796 in a time machine, and while you believe it, you really can’t believe it. It would be so easy to forget that he wrote the woman sex poems, and kept a running tally of the BDSM equipment they liked, and confessed to her he is only staying with me because of his assets (ha ha), and has had sex with (he insisted he didn’t “sleep with” (what an idiot) any of those ones…) a number of “friends”, met on the internet.

I look at my kids and wonder if (chump alert!!!) this is not a good enough reason to disrupt their very smooth lives (though an unhappy mother and the polite but non-affectionate parental relationship they have grown up with are good reasons to reboot them). It is just so hard to comprehend that all that crap is from the same person I share a bathroom with.

Would you be able to spare a large bucket of ice water ? I need to douse my head.


Dear SoCal,

Hand-knit socks are nice. Puppies are nice. Chocolates on your pillow are nice. Men who tie women up and whip them in secret are not nice.

Apologies to any 50 Shades of Grey fans out there, but the guy sounds nuts. It’s not just that he gets off on sado-maschochist sex — it’s that he’s been living a double life, for at LEAST a decade, that he admits to.  My guess is he hasn’t much interest in sex with you because he needs the thrill of deceit and the threat of violence to get a boner.

Now if I were Dan Savage, I’d say something like, poor man, he just wants to share his kink, and his kink is so very important to him, and he was just too emotionally fragile to share it with you, (oh, the judgement!) and if you’d stop being vanilla and try to be more understanding, he could coax you into a kinkier sex life. Yes, it was shitty of him to do this behind your back, but the important thing is He’s Getting His Kinky Needs Met. Buy a leather harness and a trapeze, be game and giving, but whatever you do — Don’t Break Up the Children’s Home!

Fuck that noise with a studded dildo, SoCal. He’s a serial cheater. He’s “clueless, adolescent, emotionally flat” AND he’s a serial cheater. A real combo plate of delight, that one. He’s been holding you and your kids hostage for cake. He knows you don’t want to destroy their stable home life, and so he gives himself carte blanche to fuck around on you, give you the scraps of his attention, and then correct you if you get uppity about that. “No raised voices!”

Oh, but he’s “nice.”

How about his excuse for online dating? He was looking for FRIENDSHIP? Doesn’t that strike you as a slap in the face? What about you, his wife — aren’t you his friend? Can’t this “friendly” guy find friends? To say that is a dig at you, SoCal. A subtle implication that you let him down and he must seek solace elsewhere. (Well if you had been a FRIEND….) He’s blameshifting.

He’s also minimizing (“the sex was meaningless”) and refusing to be transparent (“they are irrelevant so we need not discuss it.”) Even if you wanted to reconcile, you have absolutely NOTHING to work with here. He’s without remorse. The only thing he has to fall back on, what he’s hooked you in with before, is Nice. He helps in the kitchen. He acknowledges the existence of his teenagers. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

His “kindness” is an insult. It’s window dressing. He betrayed you, exposed you to a decade’s worth of STDs, and his failure to acknowledge that in any meaningful way is cruel. He’s upping his game, ever so slightly — a compliment! be grateful for the kibble toss! — so you don’t divorce him and take away his cake.

Divorce him. Talk to a lawyer immediately. Start auditing your finances and figure out how much of your marital resources have gone to his alternative reality. Don’t tell him any of this. Let him keep washing dishes and being a church deacon — you quietly go on the offensive and make your escape plan. You just learned of this 6 weeks ago — you’re in shock. I know it’s very hard, but you need to fight back. This guy isn’t a time traveler from 1796, he’s your enemy.

It’s okay to be furious. It’s okay to raise your voice, or weep, or be completely immobilized by the enormity of his lies. But you must, MUST protect yourself.

I know you feel that protecting yourself from him is betraying your children in some way. It’s NOT. This is NOT on you. Do not model this dysfunction to them. Life is going to toss them some tragedy too, no one is immune — what you are doing now is modeling to them how to handle adversity. How to not take shit. How to rebuild your life. Stick up for yourself. You are deserving of so much more than his abuse. Yeah, I said abuse. His infidelity, his endangering your health, his passive aggressive schtick — it’s abuse.

Read on this forum — so many of us had to break divorce news to our kids, and watch the fall out. We’ve gotten to the other side — and thrived — and you will too. Please take the long view and save yourself from this “nice” man.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Check your definition of “nice”. He is just a pervert. Your children don’t need this shit in their lives. Throw him out. Clean him out if you need to. Then figure why what you are thinking now is destroying you because it is. I know how hard this will be. Not changing now delays the possibility of a healthy life hopefully with a healthy partner. And it will be harder later.

  • CL is correct. Don’t waste your time. We have all wasted time. Some of us wasted more time than others. It hurts like hell, but bottom line is. Don’t waste your time. The man you thought you were married to is not there a hasn’t been there for a long time. And possibly never was.

  • SoCal, I fully understand you not wanting to disrupt your kids. I get that you want everything to go back to “normal.” Chumps are very good at subjugating their own needs for the needs of others. For watching others get two or three full helpings while we smile and choke down crumbs.

    But let me ask you one thing:

    Would you want your mother/sister/child/friend to stay in marriage like this?


    If it’s not okay for people you love to endure this, then it’s not okay for YOU, either. Get out, upset the apple cart, and let everyone know that his finding “friends” on a matching service is NOT acceptable in a monogamous relationship. He messed up. Now he has to pay the price.

    And while it’s going to be hard and uncomfortable at first, one day you will look back and wonder why you stayed five minutes after learning about his deceit, let alone five days/weeks/months/years. This wasn’t a one-time thing. It’s been going on for 10 years AT LEAST – or half your marriage. Do you really think drying a few dishes makes up for that? It doesn’t.

    Take your kids and get out now.

  • Since you mention church, I’d like to put this in that perspective.

    I really admired Jenny Sanford and the way she handled things – she forgave her husband and gave him a chance to stop. He didn’t, so she divorced him and took care of her kids, no looking back.

    Your husband has not repented. He thinks it doesn’t matter if he commits adultery so long as he doesn’t like the people he is having sex with.* Cruel to you, mean to the jerks who slept with him, and 100% against the teachings of his religion.

    I think we often misinterpret forgiveness. First, there are times when the right thing to do is to distance yourself from someone for your safety and/or sanity, whether or not you forgive them. Second, forgiveness and reconciliation work better when the offender feels remorse.

    Another way of talking about it – loving someone is a verb. It has to do with your actions. Your husband’s actions have not been loving. He has hurt you and destroyed his family.

    About your children – I don’t think anyone can expect you to take this much pain and betrayal for their sake. There’s a limit – adultery is a Biblical grounds for divorce for a reason.

    I would add that while you think about what is best for them, you should look at what kind of a father he has been to them. It sounds like he hasn’t really been around for them.

    In addition, although he doesn’t see it, your husband’s actions were a betrayal of his children. He has destroyed his marriage and broken up their home. He has put you at risk for STDs (and maybe even them). He has been involved with strangers who might be dangerous to you or your kids. He is the one who has caused the problems.

    *So you are supposed to talk to him about the time he did fall in love with the twit? to make you feel better or something?

    • Well put. Love the statement “your husband’s actions were a betrayal of his children. He has destroyed his marriage and broken up their home.”

      Chances are he will say that they didn’t betray the kids. If he does, don’t listen to it. My STBXW has tried cramming that shit sandwich down my throat. Sorry but I’m not eating that. He betrayed YOU and YOUR KIDS. I feel cheaters also betray all of those around you and those that are in your world. Friends, family coworkers etc.

      Now comes the part that you need to realize and is stated he quite often. Trust that he sucks.

      • Bud – you are absolutely correct -a cheater cheats on ALL his family – not just his spouse. I am so appalled when I hear a cheater say ” Hey – I didn’t do anything to the kids, I just did it to you.” My own ex tried repeatedly to claim that he was still a great father, even though he’d treated me and my kids like yesterday’s trash to just toss away. I do not understand why cheats cannot comprehend that when you lie, cheat and endanger your partner – you do it to everyone connected with him/her. All are affected. All are suffering. A family is a UNIT – not a bunch of random components that just happen to be hanging out together. It is a betrayal of the FAMILY. But my ex and every other low life that cheats and abandons simply refuse to imagine that they are anything but just ‘looking for happiness” and not really hurting anyone except the chump and that’s too bad but shit happens, you know. Either stupid, or nuts or deliberately hiding from their own sins. But either way – all are punished in the orbit of a cheater.

    • DianaL, you make some excellent points regarding forgiveness, divorce and religion.

      SoCal, my heart goes out to you and I understand the conflict you are wrestling with. As a mother I would do anything for my children, including stay in a marriage where I felt emotionally starved and neglected. Maybe your ex even has a decent relationship with the kids and of course they love him. It is so hard to take that step towards learning to value yourself more than everyone else in your family, but it’s the healthy thing to do. I promise, when you get out of this relationship and do the hard work, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever stayed. He has betrayed you on every level, and he has betrayed your family. As my counselor told me, the most important thing isn’t figuring out what’s wrong with him, but what’s wrong with you for staying in such an unhealthy relationship?

  • CL – Thanks for your comments on Dan Savage. I think his ideas end up being hurtful to women, although he would probably be surprised to hear that.

    • I agree. He has some good points at times, but his attitudes on cheating are particularly wrongheaded.

  • Oh, one other thought on kids and staying with a cheater.

    There was a study done a while ago about unhappily married people who stay together versus unhappily married people who got divorced. Long-term the ones who stayed together ended up just as happy – most of them worked things out in their marriage.

    The thing that sometimes get forgotten by the media is that these were couples with no adultery, abuse, or addiction. So if an unhappily married couple is dealing with cheating, this does not apply.

    I think many of us hear about how divorce hurts kids and how unhappily married couples can make it – but it’s important to know that this is not about staying with a cheater.

    If you can work it out after an affair, great, but nobody should be pushing you on it.

    • Diana L…
      Everything you wrote sounded great ….until that last sentence,
      “If you can work it out after an affair, great, but nobody should be pushing you.”
      That last remark negates what you just wrote.
      Mr. NIce is betting on her “working it out “… exactly what can that possibly look like? Hell… after all he IS helping with the dishes !
      What kind of excuses should she tell herself to ever make this “workable “? He goes to church ? Even more reason, a cheater AND a hypocrite !
      I guess I am confused.
      Ten years of , kinky, friendly , unfulfilling, meaningless sex … is still BETRAYAL !
      It should NEVER be tolerated !

      • I didn’t mean that the letter writer should try to work it out.

        I was thinking more generally – there are some people who work things out after an affair. That’s their business.

        I don’t think it’s very likely to happen if you’re starting with a cheater who isn’t particularly sorry.

        • That’s how I read your response.

          CL has done a blog post on this before, showing why the Unicorn of Reconciliation is so rarely seen in infidelity cases. For reconciliation to occur, the cheater has to admit that s/he cheated, that s/he is sorry (i.e. actually verbally apologize), take complete responsibility for the cheating (i.e. not blameshift by saying that some quality of the Betrayed Spouse drove him/her to cheat), and then do the hard work to rebuild trust: therapy (including all the homework), complete transparency with respect to financials, phones, social media, computers, credit checks, regular STD checks, etc.

          It’s clear that SoCal’s husband is not one of these. He doesn’t want to admit that he cheated, he’s not sorry he cheated, he hasn’t taken full responsibility for cheating, and he isn’t doing everything he can to rebuild trust. My reading is that Diane L understood this. 🙂

        • Sorry…
          I am just tired of the great myth that even tho a woman has been stunned by deceit, cheating , lying, risky sex… she bears the tremendous burden to “fix, mend work out, heal,” save a marriage” that an asshole is deliberately ruined.
          Mr. Nice probably feels better now that his perversions are now disclosed, and fully expects her to “get over it”… cause it is no big deal, “just meaningless sex”.
          The best and truly the only way to “fix it” is to purge him from her life.
          Men like this know full well it will harm their “loved one” , yet go ahead and do it anyway.
          I have read in some states that IF you stay in an marriage 6 months after you know of infidelity… is looked upon that YOU CONDONE IT ! The courts tend to be less sympathic because you know the circumstances, and stay because you condone it.
          The odds are very much against “working it out” less that 25% will survive… most will try , but within 18-24months post DDay will give up and divorce.
          When you give a second chance… you give a second chance to cheat.
          That is why you see many noting DD # 2, # 3 # 4…… and go on !

          • in Virginia if you have sex with your spouse after infidelity the court/legally says you condoned it. It “resets the clock” on your separation also. I think that’s where you have the idea that if you stay you condone, because you sleep together and have sex.

    • Diana,
      This is so important. I have relatives who keep telling me about Dr. Laura’s statistic that five years on, 80% of people regret having been divorced. What she doesn’t say is what caused the divorces. “Just not happy?” Stick it out. “Just not normal?” Run like hell.

      • SoCal, it’s how you look at the divorce statistics, too. Infidelity is the single most common reason for a divorce, but there are a whole lot of other reasons, too. Say you have 30 reasons for divorce, and infidelity causes 20% of all divorces. That’s % from other reasons. It’s just that none of the other reasons, in and of itself, accounts for more than 20%.

        • And I would TOTALLY doubt ANYTHING Dr. Laura says. (You know what her doctorate is in, eh?) She’s notorious for making shit up, when it serves her purposes. And she’s a huge promoter of unicorns.

          I want to see the research on that, because I’ve never heard of that number. Plus lots of studies on divorce exclude couples w/abuse, addictions or infidelity, as they consider those ‘necessary’ divorces, and even if they’re not excluding infidelity, don’t forget they’re asking the cheater too! My ex appears to regret the divorce a great deal – he didn’t want a divorce, he wanted cake! And the divorce is not working out that great for him, either ….. So 50% of the people in our former relationship regret the divorce, just not me!

            • I don’t mind the right wing bit, but…. hasn’t she done a lot of adultery herself? Or is that not true?

              • Yep – Dr. Laura is a card carrying member of Whores R Us.

                I wouldn’t take any advice from her.

              • According to Wikipedia, Dr. Laura was living apart from her first husband when she met someone else’s hubby – the two lived together for many years and may have gotten married because she got pregnant.

                I never knew this, but it explains a lot about her advice to wives. It is common for homewreckers to blame wives when men stray and to say the wife did not give enough sex. It is a way to avoid guilt and taking personal responsibility.

                I am actually surprised that she is so hypocritical and think this is a good reason to reject her marriage advice.

          • Hahaha! Ex didnt’ want the divorce, you did, ergo 50% of the people in our former relationship regret the divorce! Classic!

      • Bullshit. I don’t know a single soul that regrets being divorced. In my own random life sample everyone is exceedingly grateful to be out and their life is better for it.

        I suppose cheaters regret the loss of cake, or perhaps they regret their actions that led to divorce, again, I doubt it.

        Dr. Laura, FWIW, was an Other Woman — I would take what she says with a grain of salt. Also, she’s not a shrink, she’s a doctor of kinesiology.

        No one WANTS to divorce. No one wakes up thinking rah! rah! divorce! It’s tragic. It feels like failure. It’s painful. But sadly, it’s often NECESSARY especially in cases of abuse, and this is ABUSE.

      • I don’t believe that statistic. Besides, I think the majority of people are remarried within five years of a divorce, so probably not filled with regrets.

      • That statistic is probably true. It’s just Dr. Laura RIPPED it out of its broad context and turned it into an anti-divorce talking point.

        My mother regrets leaving my father the way that she did. She felt she didn’t handle the situation right, acted childishly, and to this day (probably) carries around some guilt, even though it’s been almost 30 years.

        Does she regret ending the relationship with my father? NO.
        Does she wish she would’ve stayed with my father? NO.
        Does she regret leaving him the way she did? YES.

        There’s a fine line between regretting a divorce and regretting what led to your divorce. This can easily apply to cheaters and chumps. (“I’m sorry I got caught!” and “I’m sorry I subjected myself to that man’s vile behavior.”) Both can fall under the umbrella of “regret” and you can see where Dr. Laura conflated procedural regret with the divorce itself.

        I think if the end of your marriage was particularly traumatizing, regardless of who wronged who I can see where someone can carry a lot of guilt and regret throughout the rest of their lives. But it doesn’t mean they wish they were still married to the person. Nowhere has Dr. Laura ever said THAT was the case, which was intentional because it would blow her anti-divorce sentiment to shit.

          • Agreed, out of context statistics are always a mess, I’m betting if there is a study that asks; the same % of people regret getting divorced as they do regret getting married in the first place. Meaning, no one wants a failed marriage, I think the stat is more like 80% of people who got divorced regretted getting married.

  • I’ve decided that these kind of “nice” men are the worst of all. I felt like throwing up when I read about the mind games and doubts and abuse and manipulation he’s putting you through. I really loved Chump Lady’s response, as usual.

    • Agreed. My STBX was one of those “nice” guys and they are the WORST of all because the abuse is so damn subtle which makes it so easy for us chumps to spackle.

      SoCal, my STBX was also “… a well-meaning though largely clueless husband who doesn’t really understand what emotional partnership means, though he has an inflated sense of romance, loves chick flicks and desserts, is an emotional adolescent who gets sulky if I imply I am upset with him for something, has not much interest in sex, (not that he’s particularly skilled), and does not usually grasp what I am upset about when I am upset, unless it a) explained very clearly to him, and b) isn’t blamed on him, and c) isn’t too emotional, because he has a “problem with emotional outbursts, like raised voices.” .”

      Mine wasn’t into the BDSM, but there were at least two long-term affairs (that I know of) throughout the 8 years we were together. It doesn’t get better. It never will. You need to get rid of this fuck-tard. ASAP! It sounds like you’re in the denial phase right now (divorce is a death and so you will go through the phases of grief). I was there too about 6 months ago. You’re head is spinning, you’re trying to make sense of what is going on and you can’t. You feel like you don’t know what’s real anymore. This is called cognitive dissonance. Reality and your perceived reality aren’t matching up. It’s confusing and it sucks. CL’s advice is on point as usual. Like she always says, at this point you need to “trust that he sucks.” Get your shit together and kick him to the curb.

      Good luck to you SoCal. You’re not alone. It will get better. :::::::HUGS::::::::

      • MovedOn,
        Feeling the love, sister. Sorry to hear you know exactly what I am talking about…And *hugs* back.

      • I agree MovedOn. I recognized my ex in the description as well. He was also a “nice guy,” an outstanding member of the community, a professor who inspired young people. And he couldn’t quit accepting attention he got from other women. He couldn’t draw boundaries to protect our relationship or our family.

      • MovedOn, Ex was also the proverbial nice guy and he was a lot like SoCal’s husband in that he could not deal with raised voices, loved chick telly and movies and was oh so sensitive. He wasn’t into BSDM but he sure was into screwing other women. As far as not being able to deal with emotions and/or confrontation Ex actually told me, in the wake of dday, that my reaction (screaming, yelling, much freaking out) was part of why he had to cheat. I was just so danged emotional and actually tried to deal with problems instead of telling him, no matter what, that he really was the most specialist special bunny on earth.

        I look back now and think ‘you dumb infantile fucktard. You think no one has the right to call you on your shit and if they do then THEY’RE the problem, not him’. Because, you know, telling someone when they’ve upset you is very, very wrong.

        His bloody mother is the root of this shit. She once told me you should never tell your kids no or that they’ve done anything wrong because it would ruin their self-esteem. I laughed and told her she was wrong.

        • OH, and I agree that it’s difficult when you finally see their abuse for what it is, because they’ve spent their whole lives cultivating this ‘nice guy’ image and thus loads of people do not buy that they are abusive assholes. They’re sneaky about it, which is part of why, I now realise, I would get so bloody frustrated at times and couldnot figure out why. Now I know why. He was pushing my boundaries, little by little, and something was telling me it was off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was happening because it was so insidious.

          • Nord, that was my experience as well. Just couldn’t put my finger on it, but things felt wrong. What I notice most now is that I’m not like a boiling kettle of water with a lid on it. I’m not trying to hide things I can barely admit to myself are probably going on. I don’t have to pretend that everything is rosy or make excuses for a person who is different behind the scenes than he appears to be.

        • Nord, this, exactly THIS! I am still not at MEH, and a lot of it has to do with how much, even more than the ex, I just despise his mother. She cloaks herself in this “sweet, Christian” facade when in reality all she is is an enabler. When I dared question anything he did, I “wasn’t supporting him”. No, bitch, I wasn’t kissing his ass like you do. As some of his other family, that I still talk to, complimented me: “You don’t take his shit!” And she couldn’t handle that. But she could handle taking her cheating ex’s shit. Hmmmm, modeling dysfunction much?

          What is it with mother’s and sons? She didn’t treat her daughter this way; she has her own issues, but none close to the NPD son. So he has a penis? Get over it.

    • I so agree, the “nice” ones are the worse. I had one of those too.

      If they had screamed, broken things, said vile things to our face, gotten physical, or really drunk or high, it would make it a little easier. The anger we would feel from the obvious disrespect and abuse would push us to action faster.

      But no, they say “sorry”, they promise to do better, they make sad faces and feign hurt and depression. All the while they continue to lie and cheat and do whatever else they want at your expense. They sneak attack you, stab you just a tiny bit in your back so it doesn’t hurt a whole lot, but after years of it, you will still bleed to death from the pain and betrayal

      No they aren’t nice at all. Nice is just a mask they use to hide their fangs.

      • ThatGirl,

        “But no, they say “sorry”, they promise to do better, they make sad faces and feign hurt and depression. All the while they continue to lie and cheat and do whatever else they want at your expense. They sneak attack you, stab you just a tiny bit in your back so it doesn’t hurt a whole lot, but after years of it, you will still bleed to death from the pain and betrayal

        No they aren’t nice at all. Nice is just a mask they use to hide their fangs.”

        This is the most accurate and succinct summary of my entire 28-year relationship with my STBX I have ever read. Thank you. I may copy it onto 3 X 5 cards and post it wherever I need to in order to remind myself, when I start thinking he’s a nice guy, why, no, he really isn’t.

        • Agreed. That’s my ex in a nutshell, which is why so many people were shocked by what came out in the wake of dday. They just couldn’t believe how he behaved.

          Funnily enough it was on the world front where people seemed to get his number a lot more quickly than on the personal front.

      • “But no, they say “sorry”, they promise to do better, they make sad faces and feign hurt and depression.”

        Oh yes. And they smother you with their feelings of guilt, just to make sure you eat your shitsandwich without causing them the least amount of discomfort. It took me a while to learn that there is a huge difference between ‘guilt’ and true remorse. They’re really not the same. Not at all. Guilt, to them, is just another expression for self-pity. True remorse takes someone who is able to ‘walk in your shoes’. It’s not so nice waking up to the fact that your ‘nice’ husband or wife isn’t able to do just that.

      • wait–apparently twin brother to mine. And now…he has all “our” old friends. I am the crazy bitch, and “he’s such a nice guy” and “such a sad back story” (FOO issues, don’t you know). One so-called friend actually emailed him, about 6 months in to the never-ending stream of disgusting revelations to ask HIM if I was reliable and safe not to destroy property. ME!

        Not sure I’m meh with the shock of that one!

        But the nice ones, oh, yeah, death by a thousand cuts to your self esteem, your helpfulness, your loyalty, your lovingness.

        So fucking passive aggressive–does anything make a person more enraged?

        Personally I would rather deal with actual white hot rage, or contempt, than the dismissive passivity that says I’m not even worth a response. Ugh.

        • I’m thankful to report that I got most of the friends, mainly because he rarely put any effort into the relationships. He tried to snag one close friend of mine, playing his pity party full force, but then said friend saw that even while Ex was playing puppy dog eyes sad old me he was lying through his teeth about several things and that friend just walked away. He tried to do the neutral thing but in the end realised it was a fool’s errand.

          So ex has the two friends he came into our relationship with, along with his batshit family, and I’ve got everyone else, other than the few I unloaded for various reasons.

  • SoCal,

    Think of marriage as a box. Inside the box is safety and security. Well, he jumped out of the box. Now, and for the rest of his life, the box is just home base that he stands on the outside of. Dump this motherfucker now! Do as CL suggests. Do covert actions by seeing a lawyer. Get your finances ready. Then when the time is right sucker punch the shit out of him. Until then be really nice to him until you’re ready to attack like the beaches of Normandy!

  • He knows it was “stupid.”

    I got this too when I confronted. “Stupid”? STUPID?!!?

    No. Stupid is when you lock your keys in the car. Secretly fucking other men and lying about it for years, and then libeling me in order to try to salvage your image is a betrayal of my love, our marriage vows, our children and our family.

    Likewise, living a double life and having kinky sex with scores of women…. well… it’s not in the same freaking solar system as “stupid.” How fucking warped are these people?!!?

    “Stupid”…. fuck you and your “stupid.”

    • A, my x told me, about his 4 year affair w/ our neighbor, that ‘it wasn’t worth it’. For some reason this made me really, really furious. It was like he was tallying up what he got vs what he ended up losing ( me, and everybody’s respect, oh, and our future we could have had, and all the deep love I used to have for him)!
      I’m most pissed that I spent so much energy on such a shallow person, masquerading as a caring, ‘nice’ guy. So, so self-absorbed and shallow. To them, it’s just stupid, and not worth it, and we are collateral damage.

  • SoCal,

    You are confusing big things with small things. “Likes chick flicks” does not begin to balance out “cheats and lies and lives a double life.” This confusion is common among emotionally starved chumps. We accept crumbs and make more out of them than we should. It’s a form of spackle. It’s how we cope.

    Get a piece of paper and write down in a column on the left-hand side the things your husband does that bring you and your family joy. Then next to that make a second column on the right of the things he does that cause you and your family pain. I think it will become clear pretty quickly which way the scales are tipped.

    Also, “likes desserts?” Really? You mean, like, CAKE?

    Good luck!

  • I hope he stays “nice” going through your divorce and as a single dad. I suspect u will see him in a new light once his cake is gone. Get a great attorney, and leave him to his sexual fantasy land.

    • NOt a chance he’ll stay nice unless she continues to kowtow to him. Trust me on this one. I thought my ex would play fair because he was promising me the moon during the divorce. Naturally, the second I questioned anything or said ‘no, I don’t agree with that’ he turned into one nasty asshole and has remained one every since. Quite astounding that he could keep that side of himself hidden for 20 years, although when I look back I realise that his whole family is like this and I did see flashes of it over the years.

      If I questioned something that they did or said or whatever there would be this momentary flash of anger that would run across their faces fleetingly then disappear.

  • Wow, SoCal, although the details are different, your husband reminds me of my ex. I also was married to the nicest, kindest, Mr Helpful, loves-puppies kind of guy. To this day, he successfully maintains that image. But of course, his not-so-nice side cheated on me hundreds of times with other men, to say nothing of the orgies, threesomes, and who knows what all else with married people, both men and women. My ex liked to be hurt during sex as well, though he never hurt me or even asked to. And that’s not even getting into all the other bad stuff he did and still does.

    So I understand completely the unbelievable cognitive dissonance you are going through. When you discover a COMPLETE double life, it’s very hard to wrap your head around WTF happened. Being chumped is bad enough, but when it’s a bizarre, unbelievable story that flies in the face of what the cheater pretends to be, well, that is the ultimate mindfuck.

    SoCal, there is absolutely nothing you can do now except call a good divorce attorney ASAP. And after that, a good therapist. Recovering from the soul-crushing discovery that you’ve been chumped is hard enough. But I can tell you from painful experience that when the chumping went far beyond the “norm”, when there was a really bizarre double life going on, it is a lot harder to get over.

    Your kids will be hurt, but they will survive. If necessary, get them into counseling as well. You would never want them in a marriage like the one you’ve endured, right? So don’t keep on modeling that for them. Get yourself free to find a normal, decent man who isn’t a blazing pervert and pig.

  • Dear SoCal,
    I feel sorry for you and your family, and I remember clearly the disgust I felt on DDay.
    Although we weren’t married, we had been together for 13 years and I have 2 grown daughters and and 4 Grandkids he was very close to.

    Here are the two things that stand out for me in your letter… I found out he was trading drugs for sex almost from ” Day 1″ (his words) of being with me.

    First of all he said sex “Meant Nothing” to him… it didn’t matter there were so many women…to which I said “Then why did you do it over and over again when you knew how much it would hurt me?”

    Two…Some of these women I knew, alot of them I didn’t but all it takes is one crazy high, or in withdrawal bitch to possibly show up at my home at the wrong time and endanger my Grandkids, that’s why he HAD to get out of my life, there WAS no going back! As a matter of fact a letter from one of them at my job is what started the whole ball rolling. + Drugs = police…what if your husband accidentally hurts/gets hurt by someone while “playing games?”

    I did it for myself, and I did it for my kids, I hope you can too. Oh, and mine was really nice too, dishwasher, floor mopper, grocery shopper, skank fucker…the whole package!

  • You describe pathologically conflict-avoidant and passive-aggressive behavior. Anyone whose emotions are repressed to the point of needing painful perversions and addictive diversions just in order to “feel” is sick and too damaging to have in close proximity. (I’d bet that his FOO is a teeming cauldron of dysfunction but that would be a whole other post.)

    Best way to help him? STOP enabling him. In your case, I would get my ducks lined up, broom his butt to the curb, and go through with the divorce. I’d have healthy boundaries and behave in such a way as to enforce them.

    Should you put him out there will be an “extinction burst” before he decides to look at himself… OR just gives up and goes away. He will either turn very ugly (at which point you need to take every precaution to protect self, peace, and sanity) or will step up his “Hoovering” efforts. This will pass if you do NOT cave at the point where he becomes so unbearable that you will do almost anything to have peace. It is at that moment you must HOLD THE LINE.

    Don’t yell, don’t try to reason, don’t get sucked back in. Let your behavior do the talking for you.

    Stopping the enabling is a win-win situation for you. In essence you have all the options and much more power than you believe.

    It’s a long shot but he might actually get some heavy duty therapy, clean up his act and want to attempt an HONEST reconciliation. At that point the decision would be purely up to you and shouldn’t even be contemplated unless he had demonstrated long-term (as in at least a year) positive behavioral change. Should he have a life transformation, there is nothing prohibiting remarriage at a later date.

    If he is unable to change, you have your answer and your closure.

    People don’t like hearing this, but I’m going to say it anyway because it is necessary. You might want to look into therapy for yourself to find out why you have tolerated his maladaptive behaviors for as long as you have, and how you can learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries in any future relationship you enter.

      • No. Thank you!! I do want to add something, though. Probably more contributors here than we are aware of are spiritual people who practice Christianity or some other faith. Often faith-based advice centers heavily on forgiveness and tolerance, which in cases of personality or character disorder merely prolongs the suffering of the betrayed spouse and does nothing to address the bad behavior or “sin.” But there is a Christian psychologist whose advice is one of the “toughest of the tough-love” for aggressively confronting adultery or any other behavior that is damaging a marriage and family. And he openly admits that some people cannot be “redeemed” at which point ones’ only option is to, “let the nonbeliever go.” His name is David Clarke and I think some people here will like his style. A sample of it is at this link:

        • Wow, notyou, I went to that site and am bowled over by the no nonsense advice. My cheating husband went to confession, was given a few prayers to say and absolution, then he continued the affair as he felt he had a ‘clean slate’. I went to talk to our local parish priest about my
          inability to forgive (at my cheater’s urging); I was told that it would take time but I would be ‘OK’. Blech, and they wonder why people have issues with religion.

          • Hi Annie,
            This particular psychologist is of some protestant denomination, but he would fall into what I’d describe as “Old School Christianity” instead of this watered down “anything goes” because God forgives attitude that has taken over the faith. I’d be willing to bet the last section of that article where he describes how he goes about therapy got your attention! I got onto him when out of curiosity when I read a friend’s copy of his book, “I Don’t Love You Anymore.” His no nonsense attitude got my attention, too.

        • wow notyou!
          That one is an exemplar! This is how a human society should function to restore humanity and civilization.

          • The Christian aspect of giving up on someone, of not continuing to try in a sacred contract like a marriage was what I struggled with most. It’s good to know there are some in the clergy who don’t always recommend reconciliation.

            • Lyn, you might try looking at it this way. Forgiveness and reconciliation are two entirely different things. Christians are only instructed to forgive. Nowhere are they instructed to reconcile with one who has broken the sacred contract and remains stubbornly unrepentant.

        • Wow!

          I really like how Clark tells the woman to stop “her pathetic, humiliating efforts to please” her cheating spouse because in doing so, she is effectively agreeing that the affair is her fault. This is basically the “pick-me” dance, and is why doing it is so counter-productive.

    • “People don’t like hearing this, but I’m going to say it anyway because it is necessary. You might want to look into therapy for yourself to find out why you have tolerated his maladaptive behaviors for as long as you have, and how you can learn to set and maintain healthy boundaries in any future relationship you enter.”

      HEAR, HEAR! I have said before, that I don’t regret my 5 year’s unicorn false reconciliation, because during that time I have (and continue) to work extremely hard on developing a sense of self, developing boundaries and looking at why my needs were always so minisculely small. I have looked at my whiny acceptance of all his wishes and preoccupations, and the passive aggressive way I signalled my unhappines. (oh, and I also went back to college at 49 and got a job).

      No more. Never again. It also means that I can start having compassion for him by recognising that my sh*t comes from a place way before him. Just like his stuff does.

      Only difference, I am prepared to work on it.

  • SoCal:
    Your husband sounds like a passive agressive, insecure, pathetic asshole. He has shown you who he really – believe it. He sucks! He has no morals, no integrity, and obviously no self respect either. He is not the person that you thought he was. That person was an illusion that was created out of deceit, lies, manipulation, and betrayal. That “nice guy” has no regard for you or your kids at all. He never put you or them first. Helping in the kitchen and being “nice” does not mean he is a good person.
    If he was someone you knew in your social circle, and you knew all that stuff about him – what would you think? Would you ever want to associate with someone like that? Probably not. You would avoid that person.
    You have now boarded the chump crazy train, and it is a bumpy ride! It hurts, it is painful and confusing. You need to get off that crazy train right now for your sake and for the sake of your kids.
    Look inside yourself, find your self respect, and get the hell out of that toxic situation. Show your kids that it is not okay to be abused and take care of yourself and them. Kick his ass out and get a divorce!

    CL said it all as true and clear as possible. “Fuck that noise with a studded dildo, SoCal. He’s a serial cheater.”

    I recently got off the chump crazy train myself after three years. I have been married for 21 and a half years. My husband cheated with strippers, hookers, random woman in bars, co-workers, had affairs, all while supposedly trying to save the marriage too. He cheated on me for a decade as well. I only found out about it 3 years ago. I stayed and tried to reconcile for my kids too. [I was a fool.] I filed for divorce 2 months ago. Things suck right now. And, he has shown himself to be an even bigger asshole than I thought he was. My kids now know that I will stand up and protect myself and them. I am getting rid of him – and I am looking forward to my future (and changing my name back)!
    They want what they want, and they don’t care about us. They just want us to take care of the family and provide the image of stability so that they can go on and live an indecent double life. They want cake! That is it!
    I don’t know what it is with these perverted men in middle age. It really is pathetic and disgusting!
    Just try for a moment to picture yourself having to sit at a high school or college graduation and look over to see that disgusting person is the father of your kids. It is not a very good place to be. Wouldn’t you feel better if you had your own life, lived by your own morals, and didn’t have to continue swalling the shit sandwich you have been choking on? Wouldn’t that be a better example for your kids? You would be able to get to a place where you wouldn’t care if he is there or not. You are better than him. You deserve better! If you have a girl – what would you tell her if she had been married for 25 years and was in this situation? You would rent a U-Haul and get her the hell out of there right away!
    Please don’t waste time sitting on a fence trying to decide what to do. [I made that mistake myself.] The time you waste doing that is time you can’t get back. The result will be the same in the end anyway. If you hang around, he will continue to cheat, he will just hide it better for a while. Then you will be relegated to being a detective because you will sense that something isn’t right. Your gut will tell you that. You will find hints, and evidence along the way until you reach your breaking point. Believe me – you will reach a breaking point! It is inevitable. When that time happens, you will get divorced anyway. But, you still can’t get the time back.
    Believe me – I know.
    I read a book that really helped be get to the place I need to be in order to get out.

    Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship [They have it on Amazon.]
    by Mira Kirshenbaum
    She has another book entitled I Love You, But I Don’t Trust You.

    Both of these books helped me so much. I advise any chump that is on the crazy train to read them as soon as possible.

    Take care of yourself, SoCal. I hope you can find your strength to get out!

    Best wishes,

    • Mira, I found the Kirshenbaum ‘Too Good to Leave’ book super helpful as well, and that was when I was feeling ambivalent BEFORE the ex’s second affair. The book helped me clarify that the relationship was really not great, and not likely to get better, but was tolerable in the medium term (raising kids and all). Given that, when the second affair began, it was actually pretty easy to kick that idiot’s ass to the curb.

        • I put the “Too Good to Leave” book up in the Amazon box — so check it out, chumps. 🙂

      • “Too Good to Leave” – reading it was like finding water…. my XH had convinced me I misperceived reality and was the source of so many problems. I read that book – and it clicked, just clicked. I never looked back.

  • SoCal,

    I hated having to hurt our kids with the D. My eldest was shattered, and he is still the one who struggles the most. When DDay originally occurred, XWH and I were going to “work things out.” The kids were probably paramount in my mind when I was having those thoughts. Five days later, I wanted a D. XWH had confessed a whole bunch of other stuff that made it impossible for me to stay married to him. He still wanted R, though, and I told him: “If I stay with you, I will spend the rest of our marriage making you pay for what you did, and we will be modeling an unhealthy relationship for our kids.”

    That was what I had to now keep paramount in my mind– if I stay with this remorseless cheater who was only “sorry” that he got caught and that I wasn’t falling all over him in a frenzied rendition of the “Pick-Me Dance” (which took him by surprise, I’m sure), my kids are going to grow up with a VERY screwed-up version of what a marriage should look like. Truth be told, one of the reasons I felt so strongly about getting a D was because of what a college friend told me. When I confided to her about XWH’s A, she begged me to think carefully about what I wanted to do. She said that her father was a serial cheater whom her mother stayed with, and my friend WISHED that they had divorced years ago. She said that their dysfunctional dynamic is what put her in therapy at age 16 and why she continues going today (she’s in her late 30s).

    Your kids are older, but you still have the chance to teach them important lessons about honesty, boundaries in healthy relationships, self-respect, the gravity of marriage vows, etc. My kids are still little, but they know an age-appropriate version of the truth about what happened. Although it hasn’t been easy for them, I know I’m teaching them at least one thing that is important– I’m a woman of my word, and I won’t put up with people who treat me poorly, who lie, or who break promises. They see me modeling that every day through my actions, and they know that I’m true to my word because I can no longer be with their dad after what he’s done. As my eldest son put it last night: “Mom, he BETRAYED you.” He sure did. He betrayed all of us, and though my kids are forced to be with him for now by law, I’m hoping that my actions show them that they don’t have to endure a toxic relationship with him (or with ANYONE– especially in their own romantic relationships someday) when they’re adults.

    • Totally with you one this one, MovingOn. Any slight temptation I felt in the first few weeks of finding out about the ex’s second affair, or at the two times (so far) that he came seeking reconciliation months after, was killed by knowing that I HAD to give my kids a good example of relationships, and of not letting yourself be consistently and repeatedly disrespected. I HAD to show them that you don’t just put up w/people who consistently and repeatedly treat you badly and hurt you. I HAD to show them that you can walk away even from someone you loved very much, and be happy again afterwards. I HAD to show them that if you consistently and repeatedly treat people badly, they should and will walk away.

      My ex is the son and grandson of violent serial cheaters (and that’s only as far back as I know about!). I needed to know that I was doing everything I could so that my kids would neither grow up to be the next generation of cheaters, not the next generation of chumps. And the only way I could do that was by example.

  • Oh boy do I remember the feeling of having my world ripped out from under me. Its almost surreal to try and reconcile the man you thought you knew, with the fact of what that man has actually been doing for many years behind your back. It just wont add up no matter how you rearrange the facts and it never will. You can’t control what he does, you cant change him or what he does – you only get to control yourself and make your choices. Do you want to live with this man and trust that now that he’s helping out with dishes he’s all A-OK and back to “nice guy” mode? 10 years of consistant (and crappy) behavior tells you all you need to know. What he says or promises doesn’t mean a thing, actions are what tells the truth. The best prediction of future behavior is past behavior. When I finally faced the fact that my now ex husband had been having affairs for more than 5 years, the main thing that delayed me in pulling the emergency-stop rope on that crazy train was how the financial loss that I would be sure to endure would affect the kids. Then I realized that if I turned a blind eye to the cheating in return for more of his paycheck, I was basically prostituting myself. Im worth more than that. So are you. You deserve a husband that love you, honors you and will protect and cherish you.

    Your husband is a cheater and a liar, right now he’s being a good boy till you relax and stop watching him so close. Then its back to business as usual. Right after I confronted my ex with having resumed his affair with his ho-worker (for the 2nd time with this woman) I told him I was finding a lawyer and filing for divorce. The next day was Valentines day, and he sent me flowers. Like helping in the kitchen, it was too little and way too late. Get a lawyer and free yourself from a man that has no respect for his wife or the mother of his children. I know its scary and I know it hurts so bad that you don’t think it will ever stop. But the hurt will heal and life is so much better on the other side.

  • When I read the title of the post, I thought I had contacted CL in my sleep. Practically everyone who doesn’t REALLY know him (and that includes almost his entire family) thinks my STBX walks on water. He comes across as so calm, so reasonable, so understanding, so compassionate, so, caring, so giving, so loving – until he doesn’t (and he isn’t), usually behind closed doors. In real life, he is a pig-beast from the deepest bowels of hell.

    SoCal, your husband’s VENEER is that of a nice guy. That is a role he performs for the benefit of public (and your) consumption. That is not his true character. His true character is what he does when he thinks no one is looking and what he has shared with you. The truth of his character is that he is a lying, cheating, personality and character-disordered steaming pile of hyena shit. If he wanted to play his sex games as an unmarried man, no one would care except the people with whom he participated. He did not come to you say, “SoCal, I like kinky stuff and you don’t so I don’t think that we’re compatible. Perhaps we should separate and get a divorce.” That’s what a “nice” person would have done. That would have been a sign of caring in that he would have acknowleged that he had a problem, was unwilling to change, and he did not want to hurt you or your family by continuing to live with you. It would have been painful, but it would have been truthful and you would have been able to make a choice for your own life based on truth. However, that is not what he did – he has lived a double life of betrayal and deceit for the better part of your marriage, endangering your health (perhaps even your life) and the well-being of your family. “Nice” people do not lead double lives of betrayal and deceit, possibly endangering their families. Shit-encrusted baboons from hell do that.

    “Fuck that noise with a studded dildo, SoCal.” THIS! Please re-read CL’s advice to you. Print it out – print a few copies if nececessary. Put it in your car, your make-up bag, wherever you need to and read it every time you want to believe that you are better off staying with pile of shit posing as a human being. He is not clueless and he does not have trouble “grasping” why you are upset. He doesn’t care and he doesn’t want to hear it. He uses the “problem with emotional outbursts” excuse as a form of minimizing, manipulation and control.

    Gather whatever information you need to gather, get an attorney, send Mr. Nice Guy packing and bar the door. You and your children will ultimately be better off. It is not easy; it is painful as hell, but better to suffer the pain and get through it than to continue to live in the pain that is your marriage. There are some days I am in so much pain from the break up of my marriage and our family that I can barely breathe, but I still get out of bed, I still go to work and I find things to be happy about. I find that not living with my lying, cheating, manipulative, gaslighting, blameshifting, minimizing, steaming pile of hyena shit from the deepest reaches of hell is helpful in that regard.

    I am sending you hugs and strength and your requested bucket of ice water in order to start you on your journey. Good luck.

    • His true character is what he does when he thinks no one is looking

      Bingo, ChumpPrincess. That sums it up pretty well.

  • Thanks everyone for all of your thoughtful, kind, and supportive replies. Too many to reply to, and we just got started, but love to all. Ditching the afternoon and going to the beach to grab some rays, contemplate my new CL sisterhood, and work on my speeches. Kisses, sisters (and brothers).

    • No, Thank You, SoCal! Today you have made me grateful that my ex was just run of the mill cradle robbing lecher.

    • SoCal. I won’t advise you to stay. Only you can know what is right for you. You are essentially being asked, is it okay if I cheat, a lot, if he is an otherwise good husband/dad. It is questionable that he is as good as you say, since deception and lies are not the path of a “good person”. If you decide you can live with it, or join him, is up to you. My perception is that this secret life hurts you. Your husband should never lie, deceive, or hurt you. It is not a happy place to be, I wish you all the best, all the strength, and courage you need. Find a good counselor, and decide what is best for you. And follow that path. It isn’t easy. Everyone here , no matter what they decided, will tell you it was very painful, and my bet is most here have no fear of Hell, because they have lived it. I won’t spackle it. He deceived you, he is a poser, and a liar. But only you can decide what life you want for you and any children you have.

  • If adults want to have sex with each other is doesn’t matter to me if it’s two men, two women, missionary, with whips and chains, five people in the bed at once. Whatever. The question is one of consent. You did not agree to have sex with the AP. If your husband was sleeping with both of you at once you were.

    I have no problem with BDSM. But if that’s what you’re into you should find someone else into the same thing. Likewise I have no problem with homosexuals getting married. But if you’re into men don’t marry a woman and have an affair or vice versa.

    • Yep. Be honest. Of course, for most cheaters, the dishonesty is part of the thrill, so that’s never going to happen.

      You know, if my ex ever came out and admitted he prefers men, I would actually have a little bit of respect for him. At least then he’d be honest. But he’s never going to do that, he’ll always be looking for a woman to give him that veneer of “normal” family man. Oddly, my ex is actually against homosexual marriage being legal.

    • I agree GreenGirl. BDSM is fine if that’s your kink. But I’m sorry I couldn’t resist the cartoon juxtaposition of “nice guy” with “pudgy middle age dude with whip.”

      The issue is the deceit, the duplicity, the endangering of her health, the betrayal, the unilateral-ness of it. I took on Dan Savage (a defender of kink), because I read this sort of shit that says oh, the problem is you are vanilla, the problem isn’t that he/she cheated. The Real Crime Here is he can’t be free to share his kink. I hate that shit. No, the real problem is he is a deceitful, entitled asshole.

      Fuck goats for all I care. But do it honestly.

  • Hey the original poster asked for a screen name change, so if everyone could address their advice to SoCal — thanks. We all get a little paranoid sometimes. 🙂

  • Dear SoCal
    I know this guy! I mean I know a clone of his. Only difference I met him long ago when he was young and not married, only with long term gf.

    One word first: Run! ASAP!

    I bet he’s got a soft kind voice, huh? And maybe dreamy eyes? The guy I knew tried to involve me in a relationship. I was curious about it and when I asked what is he telling to his gf he said: Oh she is believing whatever I say. Because he was so NICE right? I could almost feel her trust.

    Plus, he was so boring! Only caring about himself and never interested in an argument. She was agonizing with his apathy, but how could she leave him? So kind, so faithful, how could she find another one like him?
    Please, RUN

    • Apathy. A great word to describe my ex. He was so apathetic about everything that didn’t have to do with him. I cannot believe I didn’t see this for so long.

  • SoCal, I’d also like to suggest that you be VERY careful about trusting Mr. Nice Guy about anything else … especially MONEY. He’s been having almost-perfect cake for 10 years now (the wife, the kids (with little time or energy invested), the good reputation, the nice family life, AND the thrill of sneaking around to get kinky sex), and he may start getting mad once he realizes you’re serious about separating. That attitude of ‘how could you be so mean as to take away my cake?’ is very common!

    A lot of apparently nice people who are actually self-centered and entitled get vicious when it comes to the actual divorce. If you do decide to separate, get ALL your ducks lined up before you say anything at all. Make sure you have a good, tough lawyer, one who understands they are probably NOT dealing w/a reasonable person on the other side of this separation, and try to get a financial and custody agreement as quickly as possible, while Mr. Nice Guy might be feeling a bit of sheepishness or even some guilt.

    As others have said, if Mr. Nice Guy really does want to fix things, he’ll make all the efforts, no matter what you do. But 10 years? I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    • Totally agree that apparently nice people are actually self-centred and entitled. This applies to my ex and his entire family. They are sooooo nice but the second you don’t go along with the way they want things or what they think they turn. I’ve seen it for years and now it’s my turn. Which is good because I want nothing to do with any of them. This apparently upsets them.

      • Shit…hit submit before finishing: me not wanting anything to do with them upsets them because I’ve taken cake away from the lot of them. All those years of Nord planning things, doing things, taking care of things, going along with things and suddenly I’ve dropped the script on the ground and walked away from the whole crazy mess and all of them. And they’re all running around crazing that sweet, sweet sugary cake I so helpfully provided.

        Now they’ve got final OW but she’s not really up to the task, as she’s very young, not too bright and seems to be on par with their level of manipulation. I look forward to seeing how it plays out, as she’s not well liked by Ex’s mother, which can only mean passive aggressive insanity in the future.

        God, I am so glad I’m away from all that shit.

        • Me too Nord,
          So far he’s lost his truck, owes child support, AND taxes….I knew he would do badly without me but he’s 50 years old! Now his Mom has no bridge between the 2 of them yet he was PROUD to throw the OW (homeless girl) in my face and act all on his high horse, snotty and entitled because I didn’t “age well” and she was younger and “skinny”. Well no wonder, I was depressed, gaslighted and an ATM! Can’t wait till the weather gets cooler so I can go outside again and lose some of this weight….I need the energy boost and I want to be happy again. Single, but happy! I’ll get there…

          • Girls!
            Please don’t fall for the not fit enough argument . Look at all the celebrities cheating stories. I myself am VERY fit and even though she is a Barbie, everyone is thinking I am so much better looking than her ( not to mention brains that’s another story) He is going to do it no matter what. There are men out there in love with ungly or average looking women. It just takes lack of integrity …

          • Agree Anna! It’s NOT that the new girl is ‘skinny’, it’s that she’s damaged enough to buy the cheaters offer of an underhanded life, hurting others for selfish gain, and the luuurve he tells her he has. If he loved her, he wouldn’t drag her ass through the muck! I swear I believe that my X started his affair because I had fixed alot of my FOO problems, and healed and matured. So, he needed a more damaged plaything, and she was it. It has NOTHING to do with the way the AP looks!

            • Final OW in my sitch is not an attractive girl. Sure, she’s young and more in shape than I am (she IS, after all, more than 20 years younger) but 100% of people who have met her (including his mother) say that she is not attractive in any way.

              Her attraction is that she thinks Ex is the greatest thing in the world. He’s a very handsome man, by any standard, and very charming. So the plain, stumpy girl got the good looking guy and thinks she’s hit the jackpot.

              It’s going to be awesome to see when she finally figures out how disordered he is.

  • CL, I read Dan’s columns regularly.Dan is generally pretty intolerant of cheating , he would defend the husbands kink but not his dishonesty.
    I’m sure Dan’s advice for SoCal would be the saMe as yours- DTMFA !

    • SD, I like a lot of what Dan Savage writes, and I think all the work he’s done on anti-bullying gay kids campaign is heroic, but he has excused cheating quite often, especially if the person isn’t getting sex, or the sort of kinky sex they want. I find him quite inconsistent on DTMF. He wrote an article (you can google) on “monogam-ish”, and I wrote a response awhile ago here

      • CL, I still have to disagree – Dan Savage is of the opinion that many couples would be happier and more successful in their unions if they were “monogamish”. He’s said often he and his spouse are, but they do it honestly, not cheating. He has said over and over that such a thing has to be honest and by agreement. His statements about it are often plucked out of context where his caveats are missing. I’ve read his column (I’m addicted to all advice columns) pretty often and he actually is pretty consistent in recommending DTMFA if your spouse is lying and disrespecting your boundaries.

        On the kink sex, we all have something so I won’t put someone down if BDSM is their thing and plenty of people do experiment with it even if it’s only having your partner cuff you to the bed in those fuzzy handcuffs :).

  • I believe that “nice guys” (and gals) don’t cheat. I guess that makes my thinking black and white but it takes a certain kind of character to openly deceive another; to expose a loved one to STDs and other health concern; to show little to no remorse for their actions and then continue on in life as though somehow YOU are at fault.

    No, that’s not “nice.”

    • I said this to someone the other day. Everyone always says how shocked they are because my ex was ‘such a nice guy’. Well, that ‘nice guy’ boned my friends and who knows how many others….and then tried to blame me. Nice guys don’t do things like that, nor do they scream at their kids for being upset about what happened.

      Fuck the nice guys. I think I’ll go for openly grumpy but cute on my next relationship go-round.

  • SoCal,
    I understand exactly what you are talking about.
    It’s the same way that criminals are able to strike because we never see it coming and when it does we are so baffled we don’t react fast enough to prevent it.
    You are in shock, your brain can’t catch up to the strange world it woke up in.
    Don’t think for a moment you can stay with this man and expose your children to him.
    They will (if they haven’t already) catch a glimpse of his, way off to the odd side of the bell curve” sex life/lifestyle, because people into fetishes are like addicts, they think about it all the time.
    You are his cover, don’t do it.
    Print out the proof you have, get a tape recorder and record a conversation with him and remind yourself all the time of what a nut job he is…..God, don’t let him touch you ever again and take your children and leave and don’t forget the child support!!!


  • SoCal,

    I keep thinking about you sharing a bathroom with this abusive, sex-addicted man. You need trauma counseling. What you are going through is trauma. If you can afford one, seek out a good counselor. The most important boundary you need to set, as soon as you can set it, is to get distance between you and your husband. Distance could start with getting him out of your room and bathroom immediately. No extra room? He needs to sleep on the couch, or in the office. Ideally, kick him out of the house. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BOUNDARY: SPACE, away from him. You will be able to think so much more clearly then. No raised voice, just tell him he needs to leave the bedroom (ideally the house). Please do these TWO THINGS: get a good, degree-qualified, state-licensed counselor for yourself. Do NOT go to marriage counseling with him. The marriage is not the problem, his addiction is. He needs to see a PhD who specializes in addiction. There is bad, bad advice on sexual addiction coming from an author named Patrick Carnes. Carnes considers the spouse of a sex addict a co-addict. Carnes’ theories are sick. Do get Barbara Steffens’ book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse. This book will help you with setting those all important boundaries you need to set. Steffens uses the trauma model with the spouse of a sexual addict. Check out I’ve heard Lily is fabulous to talk to at posarc. DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH THIS GUY. Have him tested immediately for STD’s and get yourself tested as well. A particularly good website for you would be

  • SoCal, I agree with everyone’s advice. I found out yesterday that my STBX had had more than 6 affairs in the last ten years, two of which were long-term and overlapped. He just plain couldn’t keep it in his pants! He felt entitled, he hated to be alone, he was confused, he wanted a threesome, he wanted sex every single day..or else. The minute I heard him say the number 6 in his depo, I started free-associating SIX-SEX-SUX!! I wasted ten years of my life, eating kibbles while he tried to understand his own needs while totally ignoring mine. This behavior, no matter how they rationalize or justify it, is ABUSIVE. The pain has been excruciating!!! It would have been less painful to be pushed down a flight of stairs! I found out about one affair, believed him the times he told me it was over and we could work it out, put the divorce on hold, dropped the divorce when he falsely claimed we had sex which would condone the affairs, and then found out that he had only gotten more clever about hiding it, and become a skillful liar. Working out of state for the last 10 years also helped. These guys are crazy-making! Take a few deep breaths, call a divorce attorney, and plan to have a wonderful new life with someone who is NICER than nice!

    • I remember finding out about more affairs the the one that was discovered on dday and it was horrific. All those years where I was working my ass off to keep the family going, always being his biggest support, blah blah blah and he was off boning anything with a pulse. And telling them how great they were, putting all sorts of effort into these other women (who knew about me and the kids) and then he had the audacity to say that he wasn’t getting enough attention and we were missing a ‘connection’. Well DUH! He was ‘connecting’ with who knows how many others and there I was, busting my ass to make sure everyone was happy…and not a soul was doing that for me.

      Well, since I threw him out and divorced him (after a bit of the pick me dance) all of a sudden people are actually caring about me, making sure I’m ok, including my kids. I am suddenly surrounded by relationships that are two way – and I’m so much happier than I was for years. Ex tells the kids he didn’t realise how unhappy he was until I kicked him out (yet he remains miserable…figure that one out) and I can say the same…and MEAN IT.

      When we’re in the middle of it we forget our own needs and we often wonder why we’re depressed or grumpy or pissy or just feeling a general malaise. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s because we’re giving and giving and spackling and care and rarely are we getting that back in any significant way. We’re carrying the whole load and our backs are breaking.

      Now, despite some extremely serious money concerns I’m a happy lady. The ONLY thing in my life that causes me any real stress or worry is financial and I am busting my bum to sort that out – and am slowly making it happen. I will be poor for quite some time but that’s ok. I’m HAPPY and after nearly two years of pain and strife I feel content. Recently I started finally sleeping well most of the time, I started belly laughing again, I started being silly with my kids again, news about the ex raises barely an eyebrow.

      It’s hard work, SolCal, and it’s pretty bloody painful to go through this but in the end you will feel so much better and freer and happier. Trust me on this. Get out, rebuild, go through what you’ve got to go through. And when your idiot stamps his feet and turns into a flaming turd from Satan’s asshole (a nod to Chump Princess) laugh at his stupidity and carry on with what you have to do. He’ll toss his toys out of the pram because you will no longer be following his script and it will piss him off.

      Don’t give one shit about his reaction. You will give a shit, trust me, and you will question everything you do, but JUST KEEP GOING. You won’t believe it now but the pain will recede, you will laugh again and you will look back and wonder why in fuck you put up with his shit for as long as you did. And when you reach that point you wlll be open and ready to accept someone who will adore all that is wonderful you. And that person will make your ex look like the asshole he is.

      • Nord,

        I love you. You are an inspiration – and you are right. You just keep moving, no matter how much you don’t want to. Every time I read your posts, I know that no matter how I’m feeling or how hard it is, I will make it and I will be not just happy, but full of joy.

        All of you inspire me every day. We may be Chumps, but we’re the champiest chumps ever!

      • I think you’re awesome too!
        I remember reading one of your posts about how he expected you to do bloody everything forever and ever- I thought OMG, there are other chumps in my shoes, I’m not alone!
        You are inspiring, life is going to give you great things, and thanks for helping all the rest of us!

        • Thans everyone! At almost two years since I kicked him out I am ok. And the financial stuff is slowly getting sorted. I will not have the high income life I had with him but I have a few things that are much, much better: the respect and love and absolute support of my kids, friends and family. Things are working out through sheer perseverance and I do know it’s going to take time to get back on track but I’m determined for my children to see me, after an epic meltdown/rock bottom a few weeks ago, brush myself off and get on with things.

          We can ALL do it. It will suck at times and for longer than we think but we CAN do it.

          This place is great. CL rocks for creating it. 🙂

  • SoCal,

    If you’re in California, you’re in a community property state. You could claim all the money he spent on his sex crap as a waste claim against the community property. This could add lots of money to the settlement, if you could prove. Run a credit report on him. You can do this for free online. See what credit cards he has, check bank statements, follow all the paper trails of all the assets you own together. This is a lot of hard work, but you could get LOTS of “extra” money in the settlement because of your efforts. He wasted YOUR money on this stuff. Hotel rooms, gifts, trips, etc. You might be very surprised how much money was siphened from the community property. See a lawyer ASAP. They’ll let you know if this is possible in California.

  • SoCal,
    Sounds like he put very little effort into the relationship with you and just played happy go lucky, nothing strenuous.

    What would you miss about him? the kids can do the dishes.

  • SoCal,
    Buy or rent the 1945 version of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” – THAT is your cheater. THAT is my cheater. So kind, attractive, charming – but has a debauched secret double life that makes his True Self – his Soul – utterly hideous.
    It is the hideous vision in the painting that is his reality, that we have been married to – not the charming “kind” person.

    • I love that movie and I think about it every time I have to deal with my STBX!! Another great movie is the version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde starring Spencer Tracy. That’s what it was like living with my STBX sometimes – more Mr. Hyde for sure.

      I should have paid more attention and used those movies as not only entertainment, but lessons.

  • I havent read all the comments so forgive me if other people have said this.

    I had a vaguely similar experience SoCal. My ex shared that he liked BDSM, but not the extent.

    He had a very strict very religious Baptist upbringing – so I attributed his lack of skill to lack of experience. I was wrong. He was clueless because he’d had 20 years of shagging hookers, and didn’t ever learn, or care, how to please a woman. And beating women was far more pleasurable than intercourse would ever be.

    I told him I was up for the BDSM stuff… but it turned out that he didnt want to do it with me. It was like CL said – he wanted the dirty seedy side of it. Plus he wanted to infict *real pain* on a woman… the type you can inflict on a hooker and she won’t report you to the police, but you’d get thrown in jail for 10 years if you did it to a partner.

    I share this because I don’t want you to countenance for one second “oh maybe I was too vanilla” or “oh if he’d shared this with me we could have tried it…”

    Don’t even go down that path, because *NOTHING* YOU DID COULD HAVE STOPPED HIM DOING WHAT *HE* DID.

    A lot of us learned the hard way – it’s not about us, it’s about them. Trust that they suck.

    And ditch that mofo stat.

    Hugs for you – and GET THAT LAWYER NOW!!! 🙂

  • Many people are affected by his actions. The boyfriend of one of the women he was involved with has flashbacks of their BDSM lifestyle while he tries to move forward with a loving, caring relationship. She was manipulated, as was his wife. The fallout extends to many people doesn’t it?
    Time heals all wounds.

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