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Dear Chump Lady, When can I tell my in-laws the truth?

Dear Chump Lady,

My DDay was May 19th, 2013 after 22 years of marriage. I went through the humiliating dance…the gaslighting…all of it. I discovered you about a month ago, and have become 100% stronger because of it. When I read the comments, I am so thankful that it didn’t take me years like it did some people. I filed for divorce in July, and am just surviving until the final day.

In the meantime, my future ex has not yet said anything to his family about our impending divorce.

Despite our differences, over time I have developed affection and respect for them. I have just come to realize, however, that he will entirely control the narrative about why we are splitting. I imagine him saying things like “we don’t want the same things”, “she wanted more out of life than I could give her”, “we just drifted apart”. Some truth to that, but mostly bullshit. Bottom line, we are splitting up because he had an affair. He “loves” her, he “loves me but he doesn’t “love” me”, “she is sweet and goofy and you are bitter and controlling”, blah blah blah.

The kicker is, at 50 years old, he is having a near-end-of-life crisis, rather than a mid-life crisis. He has a health condition that will prevent him from living a normal lifespan, and is likely to become terminally ill within the next 5-10 years. When I married him at 22, I knew this, I accepted it, and was prepared to help him through to the end. How will his family see this? Here’s how: he did all that work over the years to make her a beautiful home. Now that the going is about to get rough, she decides she “needs more out of life” and is going to bail. She was a left-leaning vegetarian and we overlooked that because she did seem very nice and devoted to him. But see, those types can’t be trusted after all!” That will mainly be the thought process of his very conservative parents. A couple of his younger and less conservative siblings, who I’ve become very fond of, will simply be thinking “WTF?!”

Now, they all certainly will have the opportunity to reach out to me and get my side of the story. However, I will not be able to disclose much. Until this is all over, I have to walk a very fine line. I make more money, I have the big 401K and the pension, he does not. This is a marital property, no fault state, and he could get half of everything even though he has been very capable and working all through our marriage, and has had little to nothing to do with my success. He admits this, and is willing to leave my income, 401K, and pension alone, for now. If I were to blow the lid off his bullshit narrative, he could change his mind on that, get his own lawyer, and let the fun begin. Out of self-preservation, I have to keep my mouth shut, but is extremely difficult. I suppose I could start talking after everything is final, but should I? Or should I just suck it up, keep my mouth shut, and let them believe what they’re going to believe? At the end of the day, does it really matter what they think? Will I really get any satisfaction of letting them know the truth?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Newly Betrayed Spouse

Dear NBS,

Well, I hope you’re one of those cases where he settles quickly out of guilt, so he can go have his fantasy life with the affair partner. Fingers crossed for you.

Really it just all depends on exactly how dumb he is. Apparently, he’s quite dumb as he’s already chucked a devoted, high-earning wife who would stick with him through a life-threatening illness. But can he go the dumb distance? Will he be so staggeringly stupid as to not lawyer up?

If you filed in July, how long until you have a signed settlement? That shouldn’t take long to draw up — it is just a matter of him signing it? What exactly is the delay here? You can have a signed property settlement before the divorce is final.

Don’t trust that he won’t act in his best interest — to go after that half. Cheaters lie. He may tell you he’s willing to settle for what you’re offering, but the truth is in his actions. It doesn’t sound like you have a signed settlement. He may very well be playing dumb and has already seen a lawyer.

In which case, you need to change your tactics. The fact that you haven’t disclosed anything right now is good. Perhaps he fears you will. If that’s the case, and he gets stroppy, you threaten to expose. You ask your lawyer to depose the affair partner. That might light a fire under him. I’m not a lawyer, of course (I’m a chump) — just passing along what has worked for others. Consult with your attorney on this. Your divorce might become a battle you were not expecting — so prepare for all contingencies.

Now, on the in-law issue? That’s simple. Get your divorce settlement and THEN tell. Take out a front page ad in the New York Times if it pleases you. The job of protecting his image isn’t yours any longer.

It may be that the cheating will not matter to your in-laws. Yes, even conservative old people — imagine that. It may also be that his family already knows about the affair to some extent, and he’s already spun that narrative you fear. It could be they’re completely in the dark and will be crushed by the news and take your side — this is unlikely, I’m sorry to say, as blood is usually thicker than water.

The point is, once it’s safe to do so, speak your truth and let go of the consequences. You can’t control how people will react to the news and you can’t control what your ex will say about you. All you can do is live your life with integrity and let them connect the dots, if they choose to. (Many choose not to.)

NBS — you’re ahead of a lot of chumps in that your ex’s sad trajectory is immediately apparent. He’s going to make his Devil’s trade for the affair partner and then she is going to get saddled with Mr. Terminal Illness. Or she’ll be the person his family feared you would be — she’s going to dump him because he’s sick and vulnerable.

Hope he signs that thing. Report back and let us know!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • From experience, there’s no point. He is their son, their flesh, their blood. That’s all that will matter. They won’t care. My in laws have given away their grand children in support of him. They claim to be sad, but that doeSn’t change anything. My MIL told
    my children off for being horrible and selfish spoiled brats while their dad was sad!

    • There might well be a point! My ex’s father is 100% behind him, because he (the father) is the one who showed him how to be a narcissistic, violent adulterer. His mom is still supportive of the ex, because it’s her son (and she’s a wet noodle, although she did eventually divorce the father, at least!), but recognizes that what he did is very wrong, and especially unfair to the kids. She’s still very nice to me, and very appreciative that I keep the kids in touch w/her. The ex’s 4 siblings already weren’t that crazy about him (the negative, critical, self-centered part) and now can’t STAND him, don’t speak to him, because of the affair/separation. They’re SUPER supportive of me and the kids.

      Plus all our ‘couple’ friends walked away from him cold when I told them what had happened.

      So telling the truth even to the ex’s family can be useful, and quite satisfying! My ex’s mom told me ‘he’s my son and I love him, but you did the right thing, kicking him out’.

    • Agreed, my Exlaws are the same. The dad told his son that he should do what feels right and makes him happy and his mom said she supported the grandchild until it impacted her relationship with her son – now the only grandchild she has, has been kicked to the curb – oh and she says she now has two more grand kids b/c of STBX has a g/f with two kids. She brings presents for them and not for her real grand child.

      They all feel sorry for the STBX because he is having such a hard time with all of this and he’s having it so rough and he really needs support during this crisis time of his life.

      Don’t depend on them at all – they will support their son and completely dump you and your kids as if you never existed. ARG and we had a good relationship for the past 20 yrs – what a waste

      • Weird. I heard from my SIL, when it became clear shortly after I kicked ex out that they were going to support him and his cheating no matter what, that my MIL was just happy ‘he had someone to support him through this difficult time’. Because, you know, me being far, far away from my family, falling apart, two kids to put back together and a long-dormant career to reboot-nope, I didn’t need support but they were thrilled he had a very young girl to tell him he was wonderful while he recovered from this horrible event in his life (brought on by his own actions, of course).

  • I plan on telling y in-laws after I move out, I am close to my M in law and I plan to do this:
    “Did H tell you I moved out? No OK please call him I would rather he tell you why, if you want to call me back after you talk to him great,” Of course NBS your situation is different than mine each one is and one can only think Nat1 that your exH got his sense of entitlement from parents who would rather support him at the expense of their grandchildren

  • Other than the terminal illness, I could have wrote the same story. I have a good job, with a 401K, insurance, etc. He has nothing and is willing to let me keep it all when he sold his soul. I too am afraid that he will change his mind.

    I did however tell his family part of the truth. A good portion of the truth I learned though hacking into his accounts, but I cannot share this part since I think he is the only one who knows the depth of his serial cheating. If I were to share the full thruth, I’m not even sure they would believe me. Blood is thicker than water and although the in-laws claim to support me, they have most definitely chosen their side. The rest of the extended family however fully support me.

    I am sick of walking the very thin line and not completely exposing him, but for the sake of children and myself I need to.

    • Get that separation agreement and settlement done pronto before he does start really thinking about practical legal stuff.

  • NBS – First and foremost – listen to CL and protect yourself financially and legally. History of behavior on this site (and with my own NPD Ex) tells us, your STBX is verrrrrrrry likely to try to screw you. Please be over prepared.

    Regarding your In-Laws; I think in general Nat1 is right, blood is thicker than water and often the in-laws will end up in his camp. HOWEVER, I say tell them, tell them strictly for the satisfaction of “saying your peace”. Tell them, knowing that likely you will have to let them go. Let them know up front that you understand that this may be goodbye, but that it was important for you to tell your truth. Sadly, you can’t even say “I just want to be heard”, because they may not hear you. You can only control you (as CL reminds us a LOT – because we need reminding – a LOT!) But, for the satisfaction of saying it out loud, for yourself, I say do it.

    Welcome to Chump Lady and our Chump Nation. Big Hug to you.

  • Dear NBS,

    I am sorry for your pain. Your situation is deeply unfair.

    I told my in-laws almost right away. They were crushed and outraged. They will eventually accept the situation and welcome him back into the fold, which is fine by me. I just couldn’t let him spin the tale that this was a mutual decision and that I was “fine with it”. The truth needs to be spoken even if no one is listens because these kinds of fantasy are destructive. I believe telling the truth at a strategic time is healthy. Maybe even liberating.

    With respect to your 401(k) and pension, you may be required to split it regardless. Also, the dynamics of the divorce can change very quickly and without warning. A good lawyer will help you navigate the landmines.

    Good luck to you.

  • My state is no fault/marital property as well. In my state, if the spouses sign off on the property division, then as long as it’s not contested, the divorce will be finalized on the 60th day after filing.

    My advice is if he’s okay with that division, then have him sign the paperwork and sit back.

    But your question is more to do with telling the inlaws. To be honest, I’d sit tight. As CL says, if he’s dumb enough to dump a devoted spouse willing to stick with him through a terminal illness, if he’s dumb enough not to lawyer up before signing off on a property division document, then the last thing you want is for him to get advice from his family.

    If he’s not told them, it’s possible that he feels guilty and a bit ashamed. Work with that. Once the divorce is official, then let them know that the two of you have divorced, that you were surprised to learn he hadn’t notified them, and that you were devastated by his affair.

    After that, you can’t control what they think, and you can’t control what he says. And the likelihood is that they’ll rally round him, though it’s also possible and likely that they’ll rally round him while absolutely disliking what he’s done.

    Best of luck.

  • Don’t tell the in-laws until he shows signs of balking at the property settlement you want. At the first sign of a fight it might be to your advantage to spill your guts given their traditional views. They are far less likely to push him to “go for blood” if they know that this is primarily the consequence of his bad behavior. In fact, at that point they might just tell him to back off on the financial battle. They won’t want the bad publicity that kind of battle can generate.

    My in-laws were like that. Rumors about the affair were already circulating, before I even knew, so I recommended to Ex that he tell them before they heard it elsewhere. He did give them a thoroughly sanitized version of the events. Now I never hear from or see his family but I suspect they did encourage him to do “what was right” if he was going to exit the marriage with “honor.” Like that was possible.

  • In my case my in-laws knew right away what was what, as STBX brought AP to his sister’s wedding. Never mind that MINE was the name on the invitation.

  • CL nailed it, get your property settlement signed and filed asap. My ex was all about being fair and not fighting and blah, mediation, blah. BUT he saw a lawyer secretly while he still had me in marriage counseling and was of course still cheating.

    Here’s the thing, you get him to sign that agreement and file it before the “bloom is off the rose”, by the time I went to divorce my ex had already figured out I was the better meal ticket and he wanted half of everything which I can tell you was NOT fair given our situation.

    After it’s final, if you want to tell the in laws then you can. Hell, I told our hair dresser, the guys at the grocery store, any place my ex and I were known and they’d ask me “how is ex?” It felt good to tell the truth.

    • I did the same, Datdamwuf, told everybody who showed any interest in the topic (even HIS hairdresser, when my son was getting a cut from her)! Feels very good to tell the truth!

  • As soon as I found out what was going on, I called my in-laws and told them the truth. The stolen money, the cruelty, his affair. My MIL told me to get the best attorney money could buy (and they would help if I needed it), and my FIL was just…sick. Mortified. I’ve known them since I was 17, and they love me. I had a signed marital agreement within a month of him moving out, I forced the issue and got more than what I wanted, so he didn’t have to disclose his financial activities to an audit. I agree with Chump Lady here, get while the getting is good – it most likely will not last forever…

    My in-laws held him extremely accountable, because they are good, honest people. I would do the same thing if my son/daughter perpetrated that kind of behavior – I don’t care who does it, it’s unacceptable.

    • great advice all! I have also thought that if one of my sons did this to his wife, I would string him up by his balls! The older one has THE loveliest GF. I sincerely hope that it all works out for them. I have stressed repeatedly, that if there are problems, of ANY KIND, cheating is not the solution— ever. I think (and pray) that he gets it.

      • Thank you! I will always love my children, (as my in-laws love their son, tremendously), but I love doesn’t supercede love or ethics. I can still love them and hold them accountable. I also pray they never make those kinds of choices, but based on the way they feel, it’s highly unlikely…

      • I’ve already had this talk with my son — it went like this: “If you marry some woman and then find that you can’t be faithful to her, well, God help you, because I won’t.”

        Young teenage years are the perfect place to get that across, since he couldn’t be more disgusted with the rutting pig behavior of his dad.

        My son and I have always had a good relationship so I’m not worried about him. The ex– definitely mommy issues.

        • I have also had this talk with my daughters and sons. I’ve explained to them that it is important to lead an honorable life, and an honorable life never includes cheating, and I’ve tried to lead by example. Since they were the ones who sat me down and told me I needed to leave their father because he was selfish and self-centered and he was never going to give me the love and respect I deserved, I believe they may have gotten the message. I’ve explained to them that I would always be on their side and always have their back, but if they were wrong, I would not support them in it – and that included the mistreatment of a spouse.

          • Most importantly no matter how bad it might be…to treat other people with the same respect you wish to be treated…..If you need to get out…then get out….being unhappy doesnt make cheating OK…its just a crappy way they try to justify their bad behavior…..I send this message to my kids all the time.

            Do unto others……

  • I have a very close relationship with my ex-inlaws and told them immediately what I thought was going (an OM, but had no hard proof at first). I didn’t have a lot of choice, she told me on a Sunday night she was leaving, three days later I came home from dropping my daughter off at school and she was gone. I didn’t even know where she went for a couple of weeks.

    It was left up to me to inform everyone she left, I still had her work calling me a month after she left to arrange schedule changes, she carried on like nothing had changed. As soon as I had proof of the OM, I told the ex-inlaws, I also told them that I realized that blood was thicker than water, and I would respect anyway they wanted to handle it and would always be there for them if they needed me ( both have health issues) Both of them were very upset, MIL cried, FIL very angry, both said if they’d had the opportunity to pick a son in law they couldn’t have done better. I’m glad I did it this way, we are still close and I resent the position these fine people have been put in now having to deal with it.

  • It is liberating to tell the truth!!! I did tell him when I found out that he better contact his parents or else I will as we just returned from a visit with them. I hid for so long. I was so embarrassed at what he had done to me and my kids. I couldn’t even stand when my boys wore their sports jerseys with their last name on it….. It was humiliating! I even let his parents move in with us for three months last year as they needed a place to stay with their two dogs. And this was of course after they knew about it. It took me a year and a half to file for divorce as I was stuck with my xray unicorn glasses on. Funny thing, I never found that unicorn. After I filed, I told everyone. My kids tell people too. I made a choice to tell them the truth from the start and am so glad that I did. He can eat his own shit sandwich and gag on it while he is at it. Nice, trustworthy cop, eh? And they wonder why they get a bad rap. My kids and I did nothing to deserve what he did to us. He can carry that baggage with him forever for all I care. I no longer will be ashamed at what HE DID because it wasn’t me. I can only control me. Why hide from it any longer? And why should I be ashamed?? Because as a wife, I trusted my husband and put him on a pedestal. Wow, what a horrible person I must be.. LOL

  • I would like to echo the “Settle quickly while they are in flight mode” sentiment.

    It worked for me, and I have seen it work for others, and I have seen dragging it out result in sub-optimal settlements for people who drag their feet because they are still hanging on. When people seem determined to hang on, I usually tell them “you can re-marry later”. In fact, when I was getting divorced, a woman in my lawyer’s office was there to see him for her 4th divorce to the same man. Can’t say I envy her.

    In reality, you will probably move on if you divorce him because why would you want to keep going through this over and over? But… apparently some people choose the former option rather than the latter.

    If in some fit of temporary insanity you do re-marry, get a prenup 🙂

  • I was married over 20 years. Since separation (now divorced 1.5 years) I never heard again from any of my in-laws with the exception of ex’s brother and his wife. I am still very close with them. They were the only family members who told ex flatout what he was doing was insane, wrong and stupid. They tried to make him see how foolish his videos, book and the many other schemes were. They tried to get him to keep his job. They told him he could not call himself a Christian and cheat on his wife. He turned on them viciously because of that, and now ex and his brother are estranged.

    As for the rest of the family, ex’s sisters say things like, “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever,” offer to let ex live with them as long as he wants, no need for a job or to pay rent and they all say as long as he is “following his dream” everything is great. Other than the brother, the rest of the family pretend not to know about ex and other men. Heck, just about everyone in his family are cheaters themselves, so no big deal to them.

    Your ex’s family will believe what they want to believe, and likely that will be he is “good” and you are bad. Even if you tell them the truth, they will probably rally around him. He is their relative. They might not like it, but they will accept the AP. As for him dying of a terminal illness, well, at least now you don’t have to be around for that. Let his “young and goofy” AP wipe his butt and spoon soup into his mouth. Just see a lawyer ASAP, because he will go after your money no matter what he says now.

  • NBS: you don’t mention any kids — (I’m sort of assuming not), but FWIW, my sister handled it this way: She called her in-laws (long term married) and informed them of the divorce and told them that she recognized their grandparents “right” to contact with their grandchildren and that ANYTIME they wanted to see them they could have them for a visit if they would buy the bus fare (they lived one state away)

    That did two things: Got the news of the divorce across and took the kids out of a tug of war situation. I think they went to visit a couple of times, and then life goes on.

    Many years later, after dealing with their son all by themselves, her ex-inlaws said divorcing him was the smartest thing she ever did.

  • Get your settlement done and recorded..yesterday. The guilt subsides remarkably fast, and as my attorney told me, “This man is NOT your friend anymore. Strike while the iron is hot.” Once you have protected yourself financially, feel free to inform anyone you like as to the real reason for the D. CL’s suggestion about potentially deposing the AP is a good one. When adulterers become delusional, you need all the leverage you can get. This situation is going to get very ugly before it gets over. Put your business hat on and make protecting your financial future your #1 priority.

  • Once the divorce is finalized, call or write a letter.
    I did this. I wrote a letter 3 months post divorce (went from 8 pages to 3!). I did it to explain how things happened (ex still denies new wife was an AP), but basically to say I would never keep the kids away from them. Ex moves overseas soon, so it will be my responsibility to ensure they see the grandparents.

    Ex MIL had a nice chat soon thereafter. She commented that her son had “not told her everything.” He says he did. Problem is, that entire family lies to make things/themselves look good, so who knows what they believe?
    I did make me feel better. I kept it very straightforward and left most of the emotion out. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

  • Get everything legal. Get your settlement in place while he still is offering to not touch your end of things (keep in mind, though – he could decide even after a divorce that he was “badly advised” by council and come back and try to get a piece of your financial pie after the fact – so get stuff as iron clad as possible on the front end.)

    Also- if possible -get the truth of the story on record in the divorce. That gives heft to the facts to have it stated under oath.

    Once it’s all done – and if you still feel the need to set the record straight – reach out to your in-laws. But others who’ve commented are correct – you’d be surprised how much God fearing conservative, family values older folks can overlook when it’s their child.

    My ex used to laugh and brag that if he murdered 20 people – his mom would find a way to believe that it was the 20 victims’ fault – not his. Fortunately – I never had to test that theory, as both my in-laws (who I loved like parents and who loved me just as much) passed before he started hooking up with the teacher union’s “slut du jour” at conferences. But I saw enough of her interaction with him to wonder if she would have ultimately overlooked his horrific abandonment of our family and convinced herself that he was the victim – not us.

    His only brother and his wife, however, along with his cousin’s family – have washed their hands of him entirely. So blood doesn’t always trump decency. Thank God.

    Good luck and keep us posted on how things go!

  • I was married 31 years. My ex talked to his mother and told her our “marriage was over” before he even said a word to me. She apparently encouraged him to work at our relationship. However, she also said if he was that unhappy he shouldn’t worry about what other people think if he left (according to what I discovered later in his journal). After discussing our marriage “being over” with his mother he came back and told me he had “fallen out of love with me.” He’d never once mentioned before that he was unhappy, although I definitely felt distance in our marriage. Once I found out he was in love with his married coworker, I let his mother know. Guess what? She called him and asked if it was true. She told him being involved with a married woman wasn’t right. My ex told her they were “just good friends” and his coworker was “someone who really listened to him.” My MIL of course believed her son. It was useless trying to convince her otherwise. He is HER SON. Later I wrote and told her that her son never said he was unhappy, and that he refused to go to marriage counseling as she’d suggested. Then I told her I understood she loved her son, that he needed her, and that I’d do the same for my own son. Doesn’t really matter anyway, we are divorced. He’s going to tell his story and I’m going to tell mine. The most important thing is focusing on the future. Your true friends will know what happened, and they’re the ones who would have stuck by you anyway. I told my ex’s parents that I loved them like my own and that kept the door open between me and my ex-MIL. I told her “I am the mother of your grandchildren, and you are the grandmother of my children, so we will always be family.” I still send his parents cards on their birthdays and occasionally text his mom about the kids, but as usual our relationship has drifted apart. It didn’t surprise me because I’ve watched how divorce works in my own family. Even though people have the best of intentions to stay in touch, it’s just not the same. Better to use your energy on focusing forward and building a life that makes you happy.

  • PS – I also credit my ex’s mother with him agreeing to pay me maintenance for life. She seemed to feel it would be dishonorable for him to abandon me financially as well as emotionally.

  • My dday occurred while sitting in a coffee shop with ex. Though he had never mentioned being unhappy, and had always told me I was his best friend, suddenly he was miserable and never should have married me. Denied having anyone else, though. Yeah, right.

    The next morning, I told him we either went to counseling and saved our marriage, or he should leave. He left. 1.5 HOURS later, he sent out a mass text message to everyone we knew, including his own family, informing them we had separated and they should all pray for us as we started our separate lives.

    Guess he figured doing it that way gave him a headstart on spinning the whole thing to make him the good guy. Not one person in his family contacted me.

  • I agree with most that you need to get everything in order.
    My in laws new about things immediately because groceries thought I would tell them as soon as I knew. They already knew of the anonymous letter saying chainsaw man and her were going to NY so groceries had to tell them she had lied about everything and chainsaw man was real etc.
    I had a really good discussion with them and just told them what I knew and that the boys were fully accessible etc.
    At the time I knew bugger all about chainsaw man but then when I learnt that he left a 12 and 16 year daughters in another country well I had been replaced by father of the year. This was one of my great resentments.
    I went no contact with the family for self preservation. They all of course want everyone to be happy families but it can’t happen when so much upheaval and betrayal occurred.
    The bottom line is the boys have the same relationship with the grand parents.
    The in laws spend a lot of time with groceries and chainsaw man which is cool. For me it’s just a consequence of the mess. Hard to accept but its life.
    I think it’s really important to tell the truth in time so long as your assets and children if any are protected. Blood is thicker than water so their reaction while sympathetic will be to protect their son.
    Good luck

  • I doubt if anyone in USA will know this guy but I will briefly tell you about Clive James, an Australian writer and tv host who has lived in the UK for many decades.
    He is 73. He is married (over 40 years).
    About 2010 his wife discovered he had been having an affair with a ex Australian model for 8 years.
    The wife immediately kicked him out f the family home.
    Concurrently he developed two firms of cancer and today is basically fucked. Of course the AF abandoned him. He only has his daughter to look after him.
    Talk about karma. Talk about consequence. This is a guy with an IQ of 140.
    What a sad miserable way to end a life.
    I worry that if chainsaw man pisses off groceries will live a very sad lonely existence. It happens so often. I often thought about looking after her later in life and I was very involved with taking in laws to doctors and visited them many times a week. All that is gone but its life.
    These cheater often pay a huge cost for five minutes of happiness.

    • I’ve read about this guy. He’s given interviews moaning ‘poor me’ and wanting the wife back and saying what a mistake he had made. He’s an ass.

      • Yes they all say what a mistake they have made but their actions cannot be taken back. He’s going to die a very sad man. What worse the family have to live with it. The AP really served it up to him once he got sick and didn’t need her anymore. It’s called a train smash

  • My ex-wife’s parents both had affairs, my own mother also had an affair and has been married three times and MR.#4 is “the one”.

    Sometimes the in-laws are more f***ed up than the cheating spouse.

    I say keep quiet to the in-laws and get as much as you can from your loser husband.
    Anyway, regardless as to how stupid and an ass your soon to be ex is his parents will choose him over you in the long run.

    In order to prepare for peace you must prepare for war. Use his cheating as your trump card if he reneges on a separation agreement.

    Good luck

    • My ex-inlaws are most definitely as fucked up as the ex or more so. They’re seriously dysfunctional, particularly his mother. I would say most people who know them would agree with this, including quite a few relatives.

  • Brava to you, NBS, for not belonging to the Chump Hall of Fame, like me. Took me 23 years from the first affair to finally leave. I was extremely close to my in-laws, and in the end, even though they told me they were upset, they never said so to my ex and welcomed his girlfriend to family events and even family trips even before we were divorced! They even betrayed my son in favor of their son. So in the end, they will side with their son no matter what. I do agree it is important that they know he had an affair but do tell them after you get your divorce settlement. Think long term and your future financial status if you get the urge to tell them sooner. The immediate relief will not be worth it, especially since in the end, no matter when you tell, the comment will be, “There’s nothing we can do. He’s still our son.”

    Wishing you the very best.

    • My in laws invited her to sleep in their home before we even filed for divorce. It was gross and beyond hurtful. I have no time for my ex-in laws. They are as dysfunctional as their son.

      • Mine are allowing OW to come for Thanksgiving 2013. BD was 6/13, so, barely 5 months since I thought we were happily married.

  • I told my in-laws the very next day after my STBX left. I did not want him spinning a tale. I was as kind as I could be but wanted them to know the truth. My FIL was extremely supportive. My MIL was supportive, but my FIL was always the stronger personality of the two. The first thing my FIL said was that I could move in with them. I didn’t need to, but I was so touched by that. He also told me to protect myself financially. They called me every Sunday to check in on me. Here’s the thing, shortly before my STBX left me, he picked a fight with his dad over nothing and said he was fed up with him. The last time I spoke with my FIL he was in the hospital and his son still had not come to see him and still was not speaking with him or his mother. He could not figure out what he’d done wrong and I kept having to reassure him he did nothing. My theory is that the STBX pushed his dad away because his dad would not buy the BS he’d want to peddle about our marriage. My FIL had such integrity, was so kind, and he was so disappointed in his son and so hurt by his actions toward me and him. Sadly, my FIL recently and unexpectedly passed. I found out from someone in my family who saw the obit, though my MIL called the day after the funeral. So sorry for the loss of my FIL and that he had to pass knowing his son, who does a great job of appearing to have a lot of integrity, actually has none.

  • My advice is to tell your story, otherwise someone else will tell it for you. As everyone has said, if you think it will have an adverse effect on the marital settlement, then wait until that is done and you have gotten the best deal possible. How your in-laws respond will ultimately depend on the type of people that they are and how they view their relationships in general and their relationship with you, in particular. Will they be worried about how their son will respond if they do x, y and/or z? That will affect their response if they care about that.

    My children have tolerated my STBX’s behavior because they just need whatever assistance he’s willing to give so that they can finish school. Narcissists are very punitive and the STBX and his Ho-Bag are extreme narcissists. MY SIL’s and my nieces and nephews for the most part have been very supportive and have basically told me he can do whatever he wants and they will love him, but I’m their sister/aunt and he will have to deal with that – or not. My MIL is a complete narcissist and is going to follow whatever road from which she can extract the most – so she will follow her son and the Ho-Bag because of the money.

    I always say you don’t have to run around like you’re the town crier, but he fired you from the job of polishing the turd that is his image. You don’t owe him anything and you owe yourself the right to tell your own story and to speak your truth.

  • My sister-in-law called me soon after she heard from STBXH about our pending divorce. Her words, “What did he DO?” I told her of his 5-year-affair. She vows we will remain close (TBD). She reported that Mommy-dearest-in-law’s words were “Well now the chains are off!” which I found hilarious. I told my SIL that his dick certainly wasn’t chained up! I’m guessing STBXH had used me as an excuse for years to avoid visiting his mother (who is a BPD for sure). Anyhow, I’m not close to the rest of his family–they are all crazy. I will not miss them.

  • Oh, and off-topic, STBXH gave our son his car (before our divorce is even final! WTF!). I’m sure it’s so my son will be obligated to talk to him. My three adult kids are all furious with STBXH but since they know he has the cash, are willing to interact with him and use him for that. How fucked up is that? I don’t blame them. But STBXH has not even spoken of the affair (covered in shame, much?). So it’s all very awkward, and I really feel for my kids. STBXH has not tried to help them at all during this very painful time. What a supreme asshole.

  • One more thing. My niece is getting married in 2 weeks (on STBXH’s side of the family). I’m going to the wedding but not the reception (although my SIL really wanted me to, I just can’t. We are only 4 months into this thing and not even divorced yet. Way too raw.). Anyhow, my daughter plans on subtly dropping it to the cousins–“oh, it’s hard to be close to my dad because of his, you know, affair he had for 5 years.” I told her she has to be careful not to get anything started at the wedding! But still, I think she’s awesome and she’s an adult (22) so I can’t stop her.

  • I loved my in-laws especially my MIL. I told them almost immediately. Four months after dday & 3 months after his departure, I fell apart & was hospitalized for several days & never heard from his side again.

    About a year later I received an email from him that was nothing but a diatribe on all “my faults” and his search for happiness. I replied to every fault & lie with my side & cc’d his parents & adult siblings. His rant was so ludicrous & my responses were sane. I never received another “nasty gram.”

  • I told MIL shortly after I found out, when I was trying to find my then stbxh one weekend. He’d fled the OW’s house when I tracked his mobile to her home, then disappeared. So, I called his mom, on a hunch, figuring he was on his way there.

    Did I mention that he is a coward? He is a coward.

    I called MIL in shocke and in tears and said I was looking for then stbxh, and that he was having an affair. “Oh, Stephanie! I’m so sorry,” she offered. I told her that no matter what I would love her, that she’d been a good MIL. And she said same. But something in her voice told me she’d known for some time. Certainly xH had been complaining about me and my mothering since the beginning. And the fact that her son had been driven into the arms of an ex-lay he found on Facebook was all the proof needed that I was, indeed, unbearable.

    Nevermind the fact that I’d raised three of her grandchildren and done a very good job of it. She never could stand to hear my brag to her, their grandmother, about what great kids they were.

    Then she counseled xH on how to protect himself in a legal case, advised him not to agree in writing to pay half of the kids’ college tuition, etc. She is a retired teacher, too! Well, ever the victim, and a good role model for being a victim, she quickly assumed the role once again. She and her poor, POOR son were victims. I wrote to her begging her to reconsider her advice to xH, and she wrote me an unusually articulate letter in which she defended her position, stating that, essentially, xH might find himself financially unable to help our children (NOT bloody likely), and, after all, help with the tuition that had been promised to our kids from the womb would be a gift, one contingent upon the maintenance of a good relationship between the children and their coward run-away father. Meaning, tuition assistance was revocable upon whim, if stbxh should decide he was not being given enough respect, in spite of his own disgusting and immoral behavior. Oh, and she cautioned that I should not put the children “in the middle,” as if I had any intention, inclination, history of doing so.

    And she never called to ask me if I was ok. She kicked me off her Costco account without warning. She calls my kids now and then to harass them to love their father. And once, out of the blue, she abruptly addressed me at a school event and asked me if it would be “ok” if she had breakfast in the morning with my son and her son–would I please allow it? The implication was that I interfered in the relationship between her son and his children. Never a peep from either of them about his role in the strain–no, I am obviously the bitter gatekeeper. Except I am not. But they cannot see beyond their victimhood.

    So, she nurtures xH’s victim status by teaching him how it’s done, and by reinforcing the fact that all of this just happened to him–and they have a convenient scapegoat now.

    Anyway. Don’t expect a lot of sympathy or support from the family that created your ex. Don’t be shocked when they throw you under the bus. It hurts, but when you step away from it, it sort of makes sense. And you can wash your hands of the whole dysfunctional family, so there is a silver lining.

    For those of you who experienced great support from your in-laws–I can only say that you are very fortunate to have found such comfort.

  • My XH walked out 2 weeks before Xmas 2011, he told his dysfunctional parents and our so called couple friends we had finished after 16 years, without providing me with any explanation. I received a text from his MIL two days later saying sorry to hear about XH’s (her son) sad news ‘look after yourself’ and now I know why my XH is so f@cked up! I have never heard from them or our ‘friends’ since and not one person checked I hadn’t topped myself Xmas day when I was left in our house on my own with the cat.

    I would say wait until the financials are done then tell them the truth, they won’t believe you, and you may find that they aren’t worth bothering with by then.

    Recently divorced (he wanted it, after waiting a year I filed and paid – see I am the bad one lol) I am holding out for my 50% of the equity (straightforward UK divorce and no kids) after the sale of our house which we (me – I organised it) are just renting (it suits me and I am hatching a back up plan). I often want to vent at his fucked up family and friends and show them all the cruel things he has said and done, he is a classic sociopath and I am the bad guy but I am waiting til this is all done.

    I know it’s supposedly better if you can ignore them and move on, but I say get your settlement sorted, then unleash how you feel, you have probably already been painted as the ‘crazy bitch that made his life a misery anyway’, I know I have.

    All my XH’s couple friends are serial adulterers and XH’s brother is on his 3rd wife, he met her after he dumped wife 2 who he left wife 1 for (seriously). I think society accepts cheating too readily and people are uncomfortable standing up for what is morally right nowadays. My integrity remains intact, those who believe his lies are lacking in morals just like him.

    • Did I mention that I really don’t miss his fucked up family and friends and that my XH is a baboons’s arse?

      She once fed me dinner off a plate I saw her feed the dog from earlier that day……no seriously………and she kept calling me the dog’s name by accident as it sounded the same……no it fucking didn’t!!!!!

      rant over! 🙂

  • My in-laws have infidelity all over their family as I’ve mentioned on other posts. When my FIL was found to have been in a 10 year affair with a love child, he dropped all his moral upbringing. He became a strong supporter of the Darwin and “seed & suitor” BS. Goes against all logic of marriage vows and boundaries.

    I realized blood is thicker than water and decided not to waste my breath regarding my stbxw’s multiple affairs. My MIL has chosen to live in denial with my FIL selfish lifestyle. There really is no one worth telling on her side.

  • My story is almost identical to yours. I too am a high earning professional and have supported our family for the last 10 years. My soon to be ex, had an office affair, believes she is his Soul Mate, and could not decide what he should do. I love her so much, I care about you, but I am no longer “in love with you”. So being the definitive person that I am, I made the decision for him and asked for a divorce. Because he wants (and needs) money now, he has agreed to mediation instead of a traditional divorce. We have negotiated our settlement agreement and will be filing it within a week. He too has not told his family of the divorce. They live in another state and are completely clueless. Whenever I ask him whether or not he has told them, he gets very agitated and states that he “will tell them when he is ready” it is “not any of my business”. His mother is very religious and I know will be completely devastated over this. I feel as if I am lying to her, but I also do not want to mess up my settlement by pissing him off. So I have decided once the divorce is complete (about 4-6 weeks from now), I will send his parents a letter with my side of the story. I have already written it and it is already to send. I know he will counter it with his own story, and I realize I cannot control what he says. I just want to get my side out, and whatever they believe after that is beyond my control. I will just feel good knowing that I was honest to them and told them what he is ashamed to tell.
    So if you want to get your side out, by all means you should do it. Just wait until he can no longer affect your divorce.

    • Sadly, it won’t matter how “religious” his mother is. My x’s mother had the martyr thing down pat (my mom has always called get a doormat), good Christian that she is. So good that she let her husband cheat on her numerous times because, “well that’s just what men do”. Any wonder that her son is a serial cheater and her daughter has let her husband cheat on her? But see, that what good Christians do: they fiforgive.

      F’ them all

  • Being a”Cheater” once myself I can tell all you ladies now that EVERY man cheats or thinks about it,and if you want to “hide” your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t happen or turn a blind eye,then I feel sorry for you. I’m not trying to brag or write a thesis,although I should. It would be a BIG hit with the men. Some women are just so gullible that they will belive anything men tell them when they come home late or don’t call when out of town. Some women just “want” a guy to feel secure or loved and don’t want anything to “ruin” it. “Don’t ask, don’t tell!” A guy named “Rick” told me the other day that when he separated from his wife,”He felt single again.” You women are everywhere. In the stores,resteraunts,banks and at his work,and some don’t care if he is married because he’ll divorce his wife for her. Right? And I haven’t even gotten around to the internet or “singles clubs”. Then there’s the Post Office Box! What a way to get letters without the “wife” finding out about it.

    Afterall,I’m still a MAN!
    Thinking about sex is all we do!And which one would you rather know about? Me telling you that I’m thinging about having sex or not telling you and doing it? I agree with you that what I did to my wives was dishonest,cowardly,unfaithful and sickening to you women.But it is what it is..

    I’m sorry if my posts offened anyone or hurt some feelings because I do not want to start another “WAR”. But don’t ask what a man thinks if you don’t want to know! I’m done. Ice packs for black eyes and bandaids for all!(LOL)

  • Thanks to everyone for their comments, advice and support. I will wait until the divorce is final and then decide whether or not to disclose the truth about our split. After reading some of the comments, I realize that it really won’t matter as far as they are concerned; he’s their son/brother/brother-in-law, and they are going to love and support him no matter what. The only reason for doing it is that it might give me some sense of satisfaction or closure. Maybe by that time, I’ll have cultivated my own sense of satisfaction and closure, and won’t care. In any case, thanks for listening and weighing in. I’ll update when all is final.

  • Hey people…i am 20 year old,i am really in love with someone who’s 26..his parents doesn’t really seem to like me..the reason behind this is that when i was 16 i sort of dated my boyfriend’s brother that was just a teenage attraction that i couldn’t realise…but today i very well know that i did very very wrong..and i really love my boyfriend i am with him since 3 years now..sometimes when i call my boyfriend his father picks up the phone saying he doesn’t like all of this..i am really looking forward to marry my boyfriend,he has already broken his engagement as he wants to marry me to,my boyfriend is a very nice person,he’s mature enough to understand things but we both really don’t want to hurt our parents…so what should i do..i am so confused..i don’t really wanna loose him..

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