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Dear Chump Lady, Can “meh” exist for a unicorn?

Dear Chump Lady,

Well, my husband and I are one of the Unicorns that reconciled last February of 2013. I was strong, kicked him out, got an attorney, did NC, and he came crawling back, broke up with her and followed the CL suggestions for reconciliation to a tee. He signed a postnup, went to counseling, took full responsibility, and he’s been unbelievably caring and giving me full support.

I still read your blog everyday, and just as everyone wants to get to Meh, so do I, but alas I don’t know if that will ever happen. And I want to share with my fellow chumps the other side (reconciliation) and that it’s not easy either.

My husband is a MD and I work for his group. There is no way for us to leave this area, because he’s a partner, and our parents need us as they age. The OW also works at this hospital. I was wishing she would find another job, after her meltdown and threats of exposing my husbands infidelity (which makes no sense since everyone already knows). Other than a few of her friends, most people are so happy we have “worked it out,” and have been more than supportive of me especially.

It can be very awkward at times, because I work with her closest friends, and it is an unspoken word for all of us. I’m always insecure that I might say something that would be misconstrued and get back to the OW.

The OW has gone to be a nurse supervisor in the hospital, so she only works a few days and stays away from our area. (Last year, she would purposely come over and make “appearances,” which was not good for my husband, me, or the staff, but since he broke it off, we never see her. We are extremely professional and never let this affect patient care, but at times it can make for some awkwardness. For the last 7 months though, NC, except for seeing her car from time to time in the parking lot.

Now, let me tell you about today. My mom, has had a rectal bleeding since Sunday. She went to another hospital and was discharged Monday, only to start bleeding again severely today, so I brought her to my hospital where I can make sure she gets treated well. In the ER, I heard the OW’s voice, you can imagine how those gut wrenching pains started back in my soul. We both saw each other, no words, but I glared, and she walked away.

My husband stayed away purposely, so we would have no scenes. He hugged me later and reassured me it’s going to be okay. He’s sorry for putting me in this situation. And as he says,”no worries, I love you.” I said, “the problem is, even though I want to believe you, the trust has been squashed. I have a protective wall built up and I don’t know if I will ever feel ‘normal’ again.” He said, “it’s just going to take time, and I’m here with you.”

The sad thing is, will it really get better with time? Will I ever get to Meh? Can Meh exist for a Unicorn?


Dear Tammy,

I’m so sorry. How awful for you. The way I read your letter is that you just can’t feel safe so long as the OW works at this hospital. You have to tiptoe around her at work every day (and hope your husband is doing the same), you have to bite your tongue around her friends, and this is the hospital your parents will use as they age and have health problems. Of course, you’d want that environment to be safe as well. But you can’t feel safe because this woman and her threats are a constant presence in your life.

Of course you don’t feel “meh”! And look, it’s all still quite recent. February 2013 was 8 months ago. The fastest way to “meh” is no contact, and even though you don’t speak with her, she’s hanging around like a bad penny. No wonder you feel unsettled.

Something’s got to give. I would talk with an employment lawyer soonest. Are you in the States? Here, with our federal discrimination laws, I would worry that she could bring sexual harassment charges or retaliation claim against your husband. That’s possible, yes, even in a consensual sexual relationship. As a partner, as her superior, he could be guilty of creating a sexualized work environment. I don’t know the laws where you are, which is why I suggest you consult with an attorney. I would think his business partners must be very concerned about his affair, or they should be. I would look into some sort of legal settlement with this woman, pay her severance, and make her go away for a price.

Sorry, the best suggestion I have for you is an expensive one. I would hope your husband could go to the matt for you on this. Because the only other way I can see you getting to “meh” — if that’s possible as a unicorn (I have my doubts) — is if you just eat the big shit sandwich of having to work with her.

To do that, you’ll have to project a hell of a lot of confidence. Confidence, you most likely do not feel 8 months into reconciliation. You’d have to feel utterly secure in your marriage. And you’d have to feel like she’s not a threat. Even if there is no affair going on, I think she’s still a threat for legal reasons.

I’m also worried that your husband stayed away from you and your mom in the ER under the auspices of “not wanting to make a scene” with the OW. If it were me, I would’ve wanted his support then and THERE, having him visibly at your side. Scene, OW? Bring it on. He could’ve projected: “I’m with my wife and my sick MIL. I’m here to support them.” He missed an opportunity to ignore her and publicly support you, and I fault him for that. It’s much easier for him to say “I’m with you” at home later… after he was not, in fact, “with you.”

He sure made one hell of a mess. I’m sure the OW doesn’t relish bumping into you either. (Not that we care — but I’m just pointing out that he’s hurt everyone. He just gets to float along as if Nothing Happened.) Thinking you can all work together is a very tall order for Meh. I don’t know many successfully reconciled people, but I would think they sure as hell don’t still work with the affair partner.

How deep is his love? How deep are his pockets? It’s going to be seriously expensive to settle this, and pay her off, but that’s what I think is needed here if you both cannot find work elsewhere. Talk to a lawyer.

As much as I’m faulted for my skepticism over reconciliation, I want to believe in unicorns. I hope it works out for you, Tammy. I’m glad you found the strength to boot him out and lawyer up right away. I’m glad he’s doing the hard work and signed a post-nup. But the work ahead may be harder and more expensive than he reckoned. Let’s see if he can go the distance. It’s not enough to say the right things like “I’m with you” — he needs to make a stand.

To me, “meh” is about distance and being healthily indifferent to the cheater. I don’t know if “meh” and reconciliation are compatible. To choose to stay with your former cheater is to stay caring about him, trusting that you’ll learn to trust him again. IMO, no matter how healed you are, how can you ever be “meh” about having been betrayed by your spouse? I feel meh about my cheating ex-husband, but he’s my ex. We have no future together. I never have to make myself vulnerable to him again.

It’s totally natural that you feel the “trust has been squashed” and meh is not in sight. To be intimate with someone, you have to be vulnerable with them. You rightly cannot let your guard down, or feel vulnerable, so long as the affair partner is someone you both work with. Someone’s gotta go. I hope it’s her. Good luck.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My timeframe is similar to yours- about eight months. I work with my Ex and the Whore he cheated on me with. I completely understand how you feel. Work is an unsafe place, where is the justice in that? I think your husband needs to make some sacrifices here. CL is right, someone needs to go, and it ” should” be her. But in this situation, , the morally and ethically right thing does not always happen. You can’t force her out, because she is only 50% of the problem. Unfortunately your husband is equally at fault. You can continue walking around on tiptoes and worrying about running into her everyday, or you can make a change and do what’s best for you.

  • I agree that “meh” isn’t what would happen with reconciliation, but I like to believe that real reconciliation is possible.

    As CL says, meh means you don’t care and that only works if you break up. Reconciliation has the potential to be good, but I think that also means going through some pain.

    I hope you can get rid of the OW.

    • Suzie is essentially saying this site is of no use to Tammy because I did not have a “successful” reconciliation and therefore my advice is skewed. She’s also saying Tammy’s reconciliation would fail because she and her husband are taking a passive approach.

      I don’t agree with either premise. First off — you can learn a lot from people who’ve tried reconciliation and failed at it — either what to look for in false reconciliation, and what doesn’t work (pick me dance, etc.)

      Second, Tammy has not taken a passive approach. She threw the bum out. He came back with conditions. She got a post-nup. I think she’s navigated this VERY well. The biggest obstacle I see is that the OW is still in the picture as a co-worker. She may also have a problem in that her husband won’t do the hardest steps, like find another job, or pay off the OW to save his marriage. That’s unknown at this point.

      • Not sure how easy and practical it would be to change jobs, etc. That would be hard on the wife and family, too. (I’m assuming he has some kind of financial stake in the place he works, etc.)

      • I suspect that Tammy’s approach is actually the best one if you want to reconcile.

        She showed that she really means business and he needs to change if he wants to keep her. Now it’s up to him to show he’s really changed and to make it up to her.

      • My point was, even when people try to reconcile after 18 – 2yrs , they still file for divorce.
        And really whose knows , IF the “H” came” crawling back ” b/c he wanted his “W” or b/c the OW was no longer an “option”.Perhaps the “W” was the default ?
        Cheaters are liars, and “spin” their “narrative” as you have pointed out.
        That’s all.

        • we’ll never know… but cheaters may choose their wife because most of the time I think they generally do care about their wife more. Not because the OW is no longer an option. With the wife they have a shared history, children, money, etc. I remember all the literature talking about how the wife fulfills many more needs for the cheater and the other woman probably just fills one or two. (guess literature doesn’t care so much about the wife’s needs). My ex “chose” me. At least he said all the right things, but he wasn’t willing to truly back it up. I’m sure he “picked” me mostly due to all the things a married life has to offer, as well as that he probably did love me as much as he was capable of loving someone other than himself. But that wasn’t enough for me, especially when he wasn’t willing to put his money where his mouth was and take any real responsibility for his actions.

          • IMO… cheaters “choose” the “W” b/cause it is the” path of least resistance”.
            They come back b/c the “W” is so willing to “make it work”.
            The cheater knows you.
            They have deceived you.
            They know how to manipulate you , to say the right things( mindfuckery), knowing you may give them HELL…. you WILL take them back.
            Simply the cost of doing business for a cheater.
            A calculated risk on their part.
            One that usually pays off for them.
            The best of both worlds ..a.k.a. “cake eating”!
            I bet “Dr. Cheater” loves that fact that he has created this drama, all centered around him.If he was sincerely concerned about you & MIL, he wouldn’t have given the “scene” aspect a single thought. He was more concerned about what HE may look like . This situation is a daily ego boost, two attractive women vining for his attention , while others at the hospital feeding the story, keeping score, keeping tabs on where the OW is , who is she talking to…. “As the World Turns” the daily melodrama.
            Can you really be happy knowing you , your family is daily fodder , for the gossip mill ? You must not be too secure in your marriage , or you wouldn’t be reading or asking for approval / advise from CL.
            Aren’t you above this ?
            Apparently not .

          • Erica you wrote that for me, too. My STBX (how sad to write that) also ‘chose’ me, but really what he wanted me to do was accept that he ‘made a mistake’ and to STFU and get back in the kitchen.

            My rage, pain, need for an explanation and reassurance from him constituted a vicious, personal attack. He was tired of being punished all the time, and got back with OW behind my back, although his counsellor knew. She thought that that meant OW had ‘forgiven’ him. FFS.

            Never make someone a priority that considers you an option, I suppose.

            The part of Tammy’s story I really didn’t like was how he scuttled home, leaving Tammy to deal with all the horribleness. Tammy needs to pick up on that IMO. Next time, he gets to look Spanglerider in the eye, and put his arm around HIS WIFE. Otherwise, he is still full of it.

      • Hi CL, sorry I’m just responding, but my mom just had surgery this am, but she’s going to get better. Thank goodness no cancer, but bleeding diverticulitis. I appreciate this site, and I appreciate all of the advice people give one another.
        First, I found out about the affair officially from a text at a football game. I was devistated, but not completely surprised because I knew he was having an affair. I asked him sincerely 4 times throughout the 16 months. I could tell by his weight loss, distance, not coming home on time, but mostly I could tell urge way SHE looked at him. I planned a trip to mardi gras and she showed up there with a friend from work. Then I really suspected. He kept denying , but I kept looking for proof.
        Directly after I found out I started the pick me dance, luckily I found this site. I absorpted the information like a sponge. After 4 months of couple counceling, him not really making any effort to support my pain, I asked him,”tell me tge truth, you’re sleeping with her again. ” he acknowledged it and I told him he needs to leave and I’ll get an attorney. I packed his bags and he left.
        I drew up papers, he signed everything, he moved his stuff out, and the people around us started to find out.
        My friends were awesome! They encouraged me, and I was getting stronger. I didn’t think that he would come back, and I was not going back! I was NC! My daughter put a calendar up on the fridge and x’d out the NC days. I had 3 weeks before my divorse would be finalized, and he came back a broken truely sorry man! He said he would do anything not to lose me,”his light.” People had told me he was doing really bad without me, and he couldn’t even believe I had taken off my wedding ring. I pulled out my CL advice on if your truely sorry, and he gladly did everything. He even went to his own psychiatrist., which for him is really humbling. He was broken, and I was strong! After we postponed the divorce day, he signed everything, and we slowly started to date, I didn’t move him home for 2 months.
        It has not been easy, I keep doing what I did before to keep me string. I have an extremely tight group of friends, and family. I run 3 miles a day, love girlfriend time, and feel free from worry about marriage police.
        I just have that sick feeling when I see her car, or especially when I had to see her yesterday!
        My friend called the postnup my insurance policy. They all keep their eyes open for him screwing up again. No signs! I truely feel I would know, just like before, and if I suspect, I’ll get a private detective,proof, and go straight to my attorney and kick him out and never look back.
        That’s what I’ve learned from CL. Thx tammy

      • I like the line about infidelity being a flesh wound and slowly bleeding out which is why we divorce 1-2 yrs later. in my case he was out the door immediately, no reconciliation ( only enough kibble to play nice so I can plan and get my lawyer to go for the kill). it was no flesh wound it was an amputation .

        • Why waste time bleeding…. just cut the fucker out of your life ! HA !
          Love it Anna !

  • God bless you in your quest for “meh”, however I agree with CL that your husband missed a golden opportunity to SHOW you that he was at “meh+++” regarding the OW. He chose to not make a scene instead of stand with you and your family and convey support showing your strength together. In a tight situation, who benefited?

    Out of all of this, the simple truth remains – “When people SHOW you who they are, BELIEVE THEM.”

  • Very interesting letter.

    I have a few thoughts/questions:

    1) I got a slight taste of CAKE while reading about your husband. While it sounds like he’s doing the right thing as a repentant cheater and maintaining his professionalism as a medical doctor, there’s a very slight, cake-y tinge to your letter, one that suggests he’s going blithely the hell along like nothing’s wrong. Obviously a hospital is NOT the place to cause a scene, but even a medical doctor who regularly tends to gunshot victims and patients ravaged by disease has be to uncomfortable working with his wife AND his (former) mistress. Yet your husband seems to brush it off with a shrug and “No worries.” Sounds like HE’S the one who’s “Meh,” which is NEVER good a sign when you’re dealing with a cheater.

    2) Did the OW ever apologize? Again, the workplace is NOT the place to hash out personal grievances, but did what do you do there? Are you a doctor as well? Or an RN? If so, do you report to her? Has she ever make any type of overture? That would’ve been the professional and adult thing to do, especially since you have to share a workspace at least SOME of the time.

    3) How did you discover the affair? OW clearly wasn’t the shadowy secretary that you only knew OF. Presumably you had a lot of interactions with her before she became the nursing supervisor. Is this something that was carried on practically right in front of your face? Am I to assume you all work(ed) marathon shifts like most healthcare professionals? When/where was this affair carried out?

    4) I also get the sense that the reconciliation was spawned by HIS choices instead of yours. This is important because your letter suggests that you based your choice to reconcile on HIM being proactive (which is admittedly admirable on his part). But I don’t think you took your OWN feelings and heartbreak into account. Especially since OW is not some bunny-burner who just vanished into the ether and latched on to someone else’s husband. You have WORK together, and interact with her clique, for whom the affair is That Which We Don’t Speak. Those three things alone go beyond Reconciliation and take us into the MindFuck Zone.

    Just because a cheater does the right thing doesn’t mean you’re obligated to forgive and reconcile. I understand that this is all very new, but you still sound absolutely devastated, your trust in him nonexistent, and your heart still destroyed, all of which is totally understandable.

    I don’t believe in chumps having a “part” in their cheating spouses’ behavior. But I totally believe they NEED to have a part in reconciliation. And while it sounds like he’s doing at least some of the work, you’re emotionally frozen because you can’t quite shake the betrayal, consciously or subconsciously. Especially if you can spot her car in an otherwise jam-packed hospital parking garage. It’s almost like you’re still completely tuned to looking over your shoulder even when you’re not trying to.

    I admire your strength and resilience. I can’t even begin to imagine how bitter that shit sandwich tastes. But I also don’t think there are any hard or fast answers on this.

    And while you’re at least trying to maintain your emotional composure and your professionalism at work, I have a bad feeling that “meh” is going to be a little harder to come by in your situation. I also have a feeling that the OW is taking up more mental real estate than most OWs usually do, what with her parked car, her posse, her voice, and her occasional presence that elicits your glares.

    Even if the OW isn’t deliberately trying to taunt you, it’s still some kind of mindfuckery that can slowly eat away at at person.

    Keep us posted. <3 <3

    • Great observations, Chris. I’m going to hand this advice giving gig over to you. 🙂

    • I read the “no worries” statement as him trying to reassure her that he loves her and the OW is gone from his life.

      And I don’t think it’s realistic to think that the OW is going to apologize. There might be some people who can realize they did something wrong and feel guilty, but this OW threatened to expose him when he broke up with her. OW’s sometimes think that they were betrayed by the guy and don’t quite get it.

      I think reconciliation will have to be between the husband and wife without any hope that OW will cooperate.

      • What does it really matter if the OW apologizes? I just recently received a very long letter of apology from the OW in my situation, basically begging my forgiveness and wanting to open the lines of communication “as women who have made mistakes and love our children.” The only problem? No reconciliation here. OW is still with STBX and we are getting divorced. Good riddance. I couldn’t care less whether the OW is “sorry” for what she did to me or our families. I only care how I can move forward and how STBX treats our daughter.

        I imagine the OW is squirming in her shoes a bit with this situation, Tammy. If she has any sort of conscience she would be. (Maybe, though, she’s not.) I frankly, can’t imagine having to worry about running into OW at my place of employment. I honestly don’t know how I would deal with it. I am so sorry. Wishing you the best!

        • The OW divorsed her husband last year, and kept trying to get my H to leave me. She kept telling them they could finally “be free.” She is so angry, but I’m not in competition with her, and I didn’t make him break it off with her, it was all his decision. All I’ve tried to do is eat my shit sandwich, and move forward.

          • I hope this “Mr, Dr.” character recognizes what a mess he has made out of your life, your kids lives, his professional reputation, and the potential to be sued by miss p____y, as well as breaking up another marriage! What a winner! All to get his ego feed. Not that all these cheaters aren’t pathetic cowards, but the more we have, the more we have to lose. Cheating is so damned immature, it makes the person look like an foolhardy idiot. (which they are) The biggest thing they lose is respect-EVERYONE’S!! Including their own. For some flattery, exciting stolen moments, and often an STD! (But they told me they were a virgin!) PATHETIC!

    • Why should she do that ? Ruin her life for Tammys’ sake ?
      The “H” created this mess , let him make the sacrifice.

      • Tammy’s H didn’t create this mess alone. OW gleefully helped. She knew he was married, knew Tammy, WORKED with Tammy. OW could have said “no” (I assuming he initiated the hanky panky). She earned her consequences when she agreed to sleep with a married man, a married man she worked with. If those consequences include losing her job – too bad.

  • I can see the guy avoiding a scene at the hospital. It might not be what the wife would have wanted herself.

    However, if she would have appreciated him standing by her in public, they should talk about that.

    • If it wouldn’t have been at the hospital, he would have stood by me. It’s just best not to make waves where we work. It would be very unethical. He has no problem showing affection to me in front of anyone, including her friends. He broke it off with her and it went ugly. She definately isn’t going to apologize to me. I really couldn’t stand to have her talk to me any way. She sent me ” lovers texts between them during the beginning to hurt me.” She’s very bitter and that’s why we both avoid confrontation. Tammy

      • Tammy ,
        How do you know she is bitter ?
        “H” told you so ?
        That maybe his version. If not THIS OW , how can you be sure about some other woman ? He has shown you what he is capable of. How long did the affair last ?
        I imagine if it lasted longer than 6 months it meant something to him . There were feelings , promises , secrets involved.
        “It meant nothing ?”
        It meant enough to him that he was willing to risk everything to stay in an affair w/her.
        Cheaters , cheat again because they usually get better over time. They critique themselves to learn how to improve .
        Experience counts , the cheater builds his”resume” to become an accomplished master liar, cheater.
        Knowing he is so capable of deception, IMO this knowledge is like a cancer. It eats away at you, eventually destroying your peace of mind.
        Perhaps you need a radical”HIM-terectomy”.
        It seems as tho you are seeking a “second opinion” from “Chump Nation”.
        For what it’s worth:

        • How I know she is bitter. Easy, I have many friends who know her and her friends. But truthfully, I don’t dwell on her. And yes, he could cheat again with someone else or her. But don’t you think in this instance it was worth trying to make our marriage work. He has made the effort and continues too. We have worked together for 17 years, never fight, our kids are great(1 college, 3 teens), families are great, and yes this woman came and asked him if he wanted to have a no strings attached affair and he bit. I know he wanted it, I know it was exciting and fun and they deceived me right in front of my face. It sucked and it still hurts, but I am getting better. I’m not trying to imagine my life as a fairy tale it is very real both happiness and pain, and I swallow that pain everyday that I come to work. I just was hoping I would get to Meh. My H has said to me that he wants to prove CL wrong in that he never wants to cheat on me again. He knows I read this site faithfully and I question him from the valuable in sites a lot. If I’m wrong down the road, you can tell me, “I told you so.”

          • LML…
            Sure you can spent your time making it work….. but at some point “H” is going to be sick & tired of constantly having to prove himself. HE may get to the
            “damn if I do… damn if I don’t” point.
            Why try ?
            I think you can have a life w/ him as co-parents… but why bet your future on a man who has betrayed you ? She wanted him, she offered herself as a NSA?
            Why did he take her up on it ?
            He knew it was morally & ethnically wrong. He knew it would deeply hurt you, & humiliate you…. perhaps cost him his career, AND DID IT ANY WAY !
            A man who is devoted and dedicates his life to a woman…. should be able to have “Lady Godiva ” stand in front of him and still be faithful. Using the OW as an excuse makes your Dr. Cheater seem like a pathetic , weak -willed , shallow , irresponsible dim-wit… without a little “mind of his own”.I doubt she held a gun to his head.
            He couldn’t help himself ?
            BULLSHIT !
            I doubt you can ever have peace of mind.
            You can do better. … but you have to WANT better.
            NO , I don’t think making this “marriage work” is worth it. (You asked )
            Just like after “Super Storm Sandy” so many homes were flooded. The beams were warped, the plumbing shot, foundation crumbling, electrical needed re-wiring. Yes, the home owner COULD repair all of that. Piece by piece, fixing each & every thing that was damaged.
            Most decided to “gut” the entire structure. Start anew, and make changes in the design . They now know how their homes could function better, with new construction. Look better , better meet their needs. A fresh perspective. Most home owners rarely rebuild “exactly” the same home. They have seen better, want something new, something that better serves their life style .
            There’s a reason why insurance companies will total a home or car. Its’ because the old damaged one is too costly to repair, and isn’t worth repairing any way.
            It’s your life. LIVE IT WELL.

            • He has never used her as an excuse. He chose to cheat. He takes full responsibility. I found that out from a personal friend of his. He never even told me, he just blamed himself. He says he’s sorry, he F..ked up, and he’ll never do it again. I’m the one who doesn’t believe. Sounds like Its hard for u to believe too, that anyone can f..k up and truely be remorseful. I understand. It’s just what if it is real? It seems real? It hasn’t been all me trying to save us. I have cried when I’m down, told him honestly each time I feel like crap from it, gotten mad at times and raged even. I’m not begging for him to stay, it was him asking me to give him another chance, and to prove CL wrong. There have been days I have wanted to punish him, days of cussing him, days of asking myself am I doing the right thing? Our kids would be fine no matter what We’ve raised them to be strong individuals. I haven’t even factored them into my decision. It was his humility that I believed. It’s truely I wish she would disappear, but she’s in my reality, and other woman will come and temp him too. It’s all on him.

              • Tammy….
                So what are you getting out of this ? Winning ? Saving face ? Ah yes, love.”Grown up love is conditional.”
                You sounds as tho this devastating betrayal has changed you, scarred you. No one gets by this without it.
                Why do you want to stay ? He has hurt you greatly, yet you stay with self doubt.
                Your children are grown, you make enough $$$, your attractive.
                What happens if some OM comes into your life ? Will you act on it ? Curiousity ? Revenge ? Even considered that ?
                What is Tammy going to do for Tammy ? Knowing your marriage will never be the same. It can’t be, you know that. I think you need to date, go out and see what life has to offer YOU, sans work, kids, aging parents. Travel.
                I think then you can gain a better perspective on what you need to feel happy, fulfilled. A quest that you should go, on to see if Dr. Cheater is your destiny or a known factor. A comfortable convenience.
                This is a crossroad…. why not take the path less chosen ?
                Yes people can be truly sorry but his revelation was only after he got caught.

          • Sorry Tammy,
            Just one more point. Remember… THIS OW is the one you found out about.
            You will never really know IF SHE was the ONLY one.
            There could be more you don’t know about.
            Ponder this, What made the OW even THINK your “H” would be willing to cheat ?
            What signs did he give off that he would respond to her abvances ?
            He obviously gave her the impression he was open to a NSA .
            Ask him .
            What “tale of woe” did he tell her ?

            • Or, says cynical me, what if you found out to conveniently create a drama for the OW so that he could escape her and move on to NEW OW undetected by either of you? Just a thought.

          • Yes, but does HE read it?

            How does finding out you are a selfish narcissistic ASS who destroyed your family just so you could have a little bit of feelgood cake work for you, Dr Lover Lover?

  • My husband still has an “account” where the OW still works. He does his best to avoid her (going there when she is not on the schedule) Hate to tell you we are 4 years out from me finding out, and maybe 4.5 years from the affair. He works for someone else, and feels he would lose his job if the owners found out. He told his immediate boss, hoping to lose the acct (or so he says), but this didn’t happen. His immediate boss did say WTF, because I am so much higher quality, which was at least funny. So there is little contact, but still contact, and it has inhibited my ability to get over this BIGTIME. For the first 2 years he saw her 2 times a week, and had to treat her like every other account. (or so he said) As in “hi, how you doing, how are sales, etc. I told him I thought he ought to ignore her as much as possible, as she is just an employee there, and I shouldn’t have to think about him being all “chipper” with her. Now it is once a week, on a portion of the day she is not there, but that 2 years I had to face living with it did a lot of damage to my trust. Not only did his account appear to be more important, but he saw the stress it put on me & said things like “I think that store will close, I will bet she will be moving soon”, etc. Well, guess what, she is still there! I feel like these spouses got themselves into this mess, and they should do EVERYTHING in their power to make us feel less stress. I especially feel like I was made a fool of, and think behind my back there are more opportunities for that, or there sure have been with her still in his space. I also know that when the cheater is a man (or probably both) there is no doubt when they see them they are imagining sexual encounters with them that are NOT fantasies, but were a reality. They don’t have to wonder what they look like bent over the couch, in their thong or whatever, it is already in their repertoire. I think this pure emotional abuse to put someone through this, and of course they will not ever understand. I stayed mostly because I am older (59) and he told me after it was over because it was eating him up. So at least that exists. But the many ways these affair ruin a relationship is like an IV of poison into your bloodstream. The “triggers” are everywhere, he did this with a Hispanic woman and I live in south Florida, and I would say 85% of who I deal with at my job are Hispanic women, and I work for one. I have some distance from him in my heart even though I am still in the relationship. His remorse is now genuine, but it is hard to forget how he acted at first, which was cold & defensive. Some of that is branded into my mind. One of the reasons I did not leave is because I wanted to get to the “truth” which I still do not think I will ever have. He & she kept it a total secret (or he did) I WOULD HAVE NO ONE TO ASK. I THOUGHT I AT LEAST DESERVED THIS TO MAKE MY DECISION. Anyhow, this site has still helped me a lot, and I thank CL for it. I am a professional with a good job, nice looking & an outgoing personality. I believe the root of putting up with this sometimes goes back to early years. I had 2 alcoholic parents that I had to look after, and healthy boundaries were non-existent. Not an excuse, but a fact. Wanted to tell my story because people who think all this goes away when the person is even remotely in the picture anymore is just about impossible. You feel like a chump. The people who cheat are not full of empathy, or they would not do it to begin with. If I had done this to my husband, I would probably be 6 feet under. We have been together for 26 years.

    • Im sorry to hear that Regina and Tammy.

      I can relate to the working situation. There were twon accounts with my ex:

      1. There was this co worker of his that was about 7 years older than him and unfortunate looking in my opinion that would always give me a weird look whenever I showed up to his work to bring him lunch if I had time (I did that ofter. How many times did he do that for me? Not once.) I always thought it was weird. I even remember my ex telling me that one of his co workers made a comment to him and her about how pretty I was and loved how long my hair was and it was down all the time. Apparently after that she wore her hair down from there on out. Thier relationship kind of bothered me because she would call him at night to talk about “work”. I would mention it and he would just get mad at me and how Im too tightly wound. He then got moved to another location… 2 motnhs later she asked to be moved there because it was”closer to where she lives”. I was pissed but I didnt have any evidenceso nothing mattered to him.
      Then, ill never forget these two days, on Feb 29 2012 I get a call from my gyno to come in because my pap came back irregular and I expressed my concern to him. He kept telling me that there is nothing to worry about (i thought he never had sex with any of the girls I previously knew about, just took them on dates and made out and what not, stupid I know). He pointed out that he even got the blood tests done for me (that was a requirement once). I then pointed out but there are some STDs that dont show up in men. Thats when I knew: he looked at me and said “there are?” and I saw this concern for one split second and then he shrugged it off. I kept talking about it and questioning him begging him to please tell me if I have anything to worry about. He got pissed and said this is why he hates hanging out and going to dinner with me because I make everything miserable. I had to stop after that. March 1 2012 comes along and they inform me that I have HPV and I need a colposcopy. I broke down. I had never been with anyone else. How could he have put me in this situation? Why didnt he protect me? They prepped me for the tissue removal but had to stop because i was shaking so bad. I called him and just cried and said what did you do?! I was quiet and didnt say anything to me and said he had to go because he was at work. I told him he dare not call the shots right now. He admitted to having sex with 7 other people, 2 I never even heard of. Reason? They listened to him and they had a connection, but then (usually after having sex only one time) they REALLY dont listen and he does love me. I was absolutely heartbroken. I went and had the procedure and had to stay a while after because I didnt stop bleeding. That was one of the worst pains I have ever felt. No numbing no nothing. I called him back and lied: I told him the dr said that I had to have gotten it within the year and none of the girls he admitted to were in the year. He finally admitted that he slept with the tea-cup, unfortunately looking, manish woman at work… without a condom. He said she understood him. I ripped him a new one and have never yelled like that in my life. I called her bf and let him know. apparently she found a way to get out of it with him. I got back because I felt like I couldnt do any better, I sounded awful on how he explained me, and HPV is something you can never get rid of. He refused to leave his job. Was even there for her when her mother got sick. If I complained about it enough he would txt her to back off but get mad at me for a week then it would start again. I had an issue with it and he said basically he was trying to be a good person and be there for someone and I was preventing that and he wasnt going to stop so I had to accept it. I did. So mad at myself for that to this day.

      2. She was about 5 months ago. She worked under him and was 20. He was being quite distant and he said it had nothing to do with me but because I kept bringing it up now his issue was with me. He told me I need to learn how to give him space and when he was there just hold him, rub him and just not talk about anything. I tried but it was so hard. It lasted about 1 month and I finally gave in: fine Ill do exactly what he is asking, not call him when he is late, not bother him, be there for him. BUT I was going to see what he did with that. I was able to see where he was going via iphone gps (Im not proud of it but I didnt know what else to do) and saw him at an apt complex. I called him and questionned him why he said that he was working late when he was not. (mind you I never raised my vioce even in these situations, it never worked out well for me; I explained off the fact that I knew someone that lived there and they saw him). He said she was a friend and nothing else and he just isnt happy with me even though I gave him everything he wanted. Said that I let it go on for too long and he isnt sure if he wanted ot be with me anymore. Did the pick me dance and he continued to go over there and lie to me about it. April 13, 2013 came…. thats the day we were supposed to get married. He forgot. We had been fighting and I asked him to go see a movie with me (apparently I never asked himto do anything without bringing up a problem). He sounded happy (he was drunk) and said ok. I picked him up (and would have had to pay) and was trying to be normal but he said something I cant remember so I asked him where we were in his head and he flipped. Told me to take him home and called a friend in front of me and asked to hang out and when the guy said he thought he was doing something with me he laughed a dnsaid “Nah”. I started crying and he screamed at me to stop and I make him crazy and I am like a cancer to him. I dropped him off and I tried to say bye and he slammed the door in my face. I saw him on the gps and he went to the girls place and slept there… the night we were supposed to get married. Called me the nexy day and apologized for the night before and said that I just know how to push him and I turn him into someone he doesnt like and no one else does that to him. I drive him crazy and make him feel bad about himself. I felt bad and tried to make it work again. Said he would stop talking to her. Found her email and I just freaked. Left work early, went to his house, grabbed all of my stuff, left a note and the key. I couldnt take the betrayls anymore. Time went on and I didnt hear from him and panicked about everything he said and felt like I was never going to find someone so I called him and apologized. He said he could never forgive me, he has never done something like that to me, etc. One of the worst nights I have had. I tried to prove myself to him but it wasnt enough after leaving like that. The girl would post love things on her FB and I knew it was about him. At one pointhe told her to back off for good which pissed her off. She went to HR and puut in a sexual harrassment against him and told everyone they dated for 2 months and had sex. He freaked(come to find out that he was talking to the now baby momma then too, late May). She took it back and told the Mgr and said she was just mad. What did my X get? 2 extra weeks vacation for the hassle!!! What his lesson learned was? “Im going to stop being so nice to everyone. This is what I get”

      My ex was never willing to inconvenience himself for me. Funny though… these two girls had such an issue with each other but no one knew why… I do!

      • One thing I have to mention: I know that I addressed me trying in the relationship and him pushing away from me. But hHe did constantly want to get back together with me. Said I just needed to learn how to deal with him. If I couldnt take it he would come running back, saying its his fault, I am the most amazing person in the world, would be completely obsessed, then just get normal again and be happy and faithful, then boom. I was terrible again. I would do the pick me dance, did it as long as I could, fold, then he would not want to let me go and so forth

        • Kristina, I can really relate to you. I’m going through a horrible divorce with a serial cheater. He was the only guy I had been with too and he gave me HPV. We reconciled in late 2008 and I got to hear the same line of BS, “all I need for this to work is for you to care and understand my needs”. He pulled all the stops giving me a real sense of hope things were getting better. He did counseling himself for 10 months, couples counseling together for 4 months and he did everything on bucket list I gave him to prove his worthiness. Plus he showed what I thought was real remorse and ownership of what he did. He had me believing he was on board for fours years until he got caught cheating again. Then he thinks of you as chop liver( does this to make him feel better / ok with cheating ) and says you never cared ( when you were the one who cared the most). It is an abuse cycle! I don’t mean to trivialize your situation, I can tell by your post how hurt you are, but, be relieved you didn’t marry this guy or have kids with him.

          It has been so hard on my older daughter she is in counseling and in the last six months during our temporary parenting plan her Father keeps cutting back how much time he see his kids. She feels sad and unworthy of her Father’s love. That’s just the tip of the ice burg with all the drama and hurt he is causing us from the divorce.

          I have been reading CL for about 4 months. It’s great! It kind of feels like an AA meetings where you go “to stay on track” with what’s best for YOU. Anyway, I haven’t felt inclined to post but you story rang with me and pulled at my heart strings because I know how it feels to sit in the GYNO office so embarrassed and scared. What I want to tell you is that after being diagnosed with HPV in 2010 my now recent pap smear found precancerous cells on my cervix. My out of pocket medicals bills to diagnose the severity are around $1,000 dollars. My STBX says he is sorry that I am having complications but will not pay for the med bills ( a big slap in the face). I consulted with an attorney, I will not be able to sue him (Tort action to pay for incurred med bills and future med bills, and emotional distress) because in my state statute of limitations is three years from being diagnosed with the STD. My time has expired.

          Please think about all you future medical costs, whether you have good insurance( but you can’t count on this you could loose the good insurance), etc. I would really suggest seeing if you have a case for Tort action now due to negligence( unprotected sex) because if any possible complications come later with HPV and you may have run out of time to file a case. Most lawyer consultations are free. But at least please take care of yourself and get yearly pap smears so if you get complications in the future it gets caught early and can be treated with success. In my case since my precancerous cells are low grade there is statistically a 60% chance they will go away on their own in a year. But it sucks to have to wait a whole year to see what happens next. You are probably younger than me and you have that going for you ( easier for your body to fight off complications). All the best to you and take care of yourself Kristina!

          • Thank you for the kind words, TADW and Regina!

            Luckily my PAPs have come back completely normal since the Culposcopy. I do know that I have high risk HPV SO I go back every 6 months for tests. Its a hard fact to swallow for me. You just think about everything you did for them and how could they do that to you. How could they have put you in that much harm?Then to turn around and get upset with me for not wanting you to talk to the woman that gave me this disease and say Im basically preventing him fro trying to be a good person? How come you werent there for me like that? How come strangers deserved more respect than me?

            Ive been doing decentsince the whol thing. Its the longest I have ever been away from him since I was 16. I got a text this weekend asking me to listen to the song”Better Than Me” by Hinder and the song explains how he feels really well. I listened and just balled. I felt like saying, “I get it, were not together, we will never be together, youre with someone else. I get it but why do I have to be reminded of everything that has happened?” He texted again saying that he misses me. He ended up calling and I answered (I cant figure out why I cant not pick up or respond when he calls, part of me is scared if I dont. I dont know why though I highly doubt he would ever do anything to me, that would take effort. When I see a call from him helf of me feels like”Oh, hes thingking about me” and the other side is “Ugh no not again, I dont want to feel shitty again. “) Anyways I answere and it was him crying just saying that he was breaking down and saw our old house together and Couldnt help but to think about everything he could have done so differently and how different things could be. All I could think of is “Im sorry”. I mentioned the fact that he was engaged and he was saying that not really (???). Said that she found my ring and freaked out on him saying he was still in love with me. I told him he said he sold my ring. apparently he sold my diamond, not the setting. He said he couldnt let go of it. Said that he is miserable with her but feels obligated to stay for the baby but is numb to the fact that hes having a baby even though for the past 2 years he was obsessing about having a baby with me. Said he feels like if he stays long enough he feels like hell make out material wise (nice, huh?). I just listened and thought this is not the guy I fell in love with (even though looking back he wasnt all that great either). The guy I knew was very independent, and wanted to succeed on his own. But who even knows if thats the truth, he lies about a lot. Fact is he hasnt left so something is keeping him there and it must be more than money.
            I got off the phone and he just kept texting about how sorry he was for everything he did and he thinks he was just a bad person then. Said he wished he could change it all. Initially, it felt good but I realized that all he did was talk about how it made him feel, nothing was really about me.

            I feel like Im half way out of the fog. I thought I was farther than I was. At least I was able to see what he was really saying and see what it really was about: Him. One day Ill get there.

            • What you just described is part of the abuse cycle- the same thing he’s done before trying to win you back, saying how bad and sorry he feels. He’s doing this to keep you on the back burner in case whatever he has now doesn’t work out or most likely have you both at the same time. I know it’s hard to let go and feels good to talk to him, but you are validating his behavior by still communicating with him. Remember ever bad rotten selfish thing he has done to you, do you want to associate with that? Don’t give him that power. Imagine how powerful and strong you will feel if you go completely no contact( block all his texts/ calls). He doesn’t deserve any tiny piece of you, so don’t give it to him. Let him go, he doesn’t have to be your problem anymore if you don’t want him to be. You are the driver( in control) Kristina, remember that.

              • Thank you TADW 🙂

                I honestly thought I would hear from him teh next day by the way he got off the phone but I didnt. I can honestly say that this is the first time I am relieved that I havent. Usually I am all concerned that if he isnt calling me that means he is happy with her and is doing all the things I wanted from him for her and he is truly capable of being successful and happy with someone else (I still really struggle with the fact that this isnt some of my fault). When I was talking to him more often in the past he would tell me what he does for her and it just hurt so bad because I would have done anything for that. I know she doesnt take shit so then I figured I was too soft and maybe he did need a bitch to keep him in line. But then the fact still remains he was still calling me without her knowing so he couldnt have changed that much? I am constantly confused on what is the truth. Was it me? Is he capable of making it work and giving her everything I tried so hard for? Will a baby change him and make him grow up? Should I have just given him one when he wanted one? (In my defense, he wanted to have one ever since 2 years age[I think] when I was 22. I just got out of college the year before and I was starting my career) He even admitted when this woman first told him she was pregnant (a month after knowing him) he just started balling and kept saying it was supposed to be you.

                The constant questions in my head are exhausting. I think Im getting to the point that Im starting to see him as pathetic. What he is doing is not the man he made himself out to be.

      • I am so sorry you have been hurt so badly, and had your mind screwed with. Life can only get better without this creep! And blames it on you to boot! NICE!
        CL Lady is right. Chumps are usually very good people who have a conscience and the disordered have an internal radar for. We give people multiple chances, assured that there could be no way they would intentionally hurt us!! It takes years to catch on, and to be sucked is so painful. I think suckerdom is kind of like alcoholism….harder than admitting the alcohol problem is how many years have been wasted doing it. I can’t believe I wasted so many years on someone who just cared about themselves & control.

    • Regina,
      This is painful. Your husband is definitely the cake-eater. You will never get the truth, anyways. It is up to you to accept this bare fact and move forward. I always think that if you can have an independent good life even while living with the cheater and that if odds are against divorce then you could remain, provided you don’t keep any false expectation/hope about the cheater. Let him be the bastard. But, CL is right. This is no way to live, anyways. The matra is: Leave a cheater, gain a life.

    • Regina,

      I’m sorry you’re continuing to feel like this… but it’s never too late to stand up for yourself if you think you aren’t getting what you need in order to move on and be happy again.

  • as despicable as the OW is, no one can tell her what to do. the first coarse of action should have been that her husband offer to leave. it doesn’t sound like he did. staying because he is a partner is an excuse. I am not saying to move but place himself outside of the hospital contact. I am sure if he talks to HR they will accommodate by offering different shifts . with health care shortages I am sure both of you could find positions some where else. my gut says he is just lying low till things cool down if not for the OW but all the other sharks that are probably circling the feeding frenzy. what he has done is put the responsibility of reconciliation on you.

    • Yes, the other sharks! This is always an issue with attractive doctors. That’s why when CL informed me about the postnup, I felt I could somewhat let my guard down, and know if he cheats again, I will just leave. And yes, it is very hard to get to senior partner status with a group of docs at this stage of life( almost 50) we will stay and retire here. Thx tammy

      • Tammy,

        I fully understand you want to preserve your investment.

        You have been married to this man for awhile, helped him rise to the top, raised his children, etc. and you will be damned if after all your hard work you will hand him over to another woman so she can benefit from your blood, sweat and tears if there is any change he will “change”.

        I so get it.

        I just fear you are putting too much stock in your post nup. Deals are made to be broken, and you better believe if push came to shove again he will fight that pre nup. Why wouldn’t he – didn’t he break the original deal – his marriage vows?

        Keep your eyes open. Not enough time has passed for him to be truly reformed. And OW? If she continues to act like a nut, all jilted and jealous like, I would start some serious snooping. Contrary to what cheaters would like you to believe, very few OW continue to fish and act crazy with ZERO encouragement.

        • I divorced with a post-nup. Of course, consult an attorney, but my understanding is that a post-nup is a property settlement. It’s not “if you cheat again, you must gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon.” Property settlements are binding, it’s a contract. He must abide by it, or be in contempt of court. Mine was a lawyer, trust me, if there was anyway to weasel out of it, he would’ve tried it. (He just delayed it, until he was nearly held in contempt, but in the end, I got my settlement.)

          Some — and I hope Tammy’s husband isn’t one of these people — sign them because they’re so convinced you’d never, actually, divorce them. They’re also very short-sighted. They think, I’ll do whatever I can to get out of hot water TODAY, and don’t think ahead. It’s like putting consequences on a credit card. Then they’re surprised when you go to collect.

          • Our postnup gives me 1/2 house. 6000$ mo for 10 yrs. 1/2 his Ira and all the stuff from the original divorse settlement. I make over six figures myself so it is a bite if he cheats

        • That the ABSOLUTE TRUTH !
          What is HE doing ?
          Lead actor in his “psycho- drama”.?

  • I think it’s great if the husband can figure out how to permanently get rid of OW (was her job change an effort to do that?).

    However, I’m not sure how practical the idea is. They can’t leave because the husband is in a partnership and they need to live near their parents. They may not have enough money lying around to buy off the OW, particularly if the guy’s money is invested in some kind of partnership. He can’t just have the OW fired because he did it too.

    I suspect that OW’s life is fairly uncomfortable right now. Everyone she works with knows what she did and most of them are on the wife’s side. She has changed jobs, possibly to get away from that.

    Here’s some alternate ideas for getting to meh about OW.

    First, remember you won. She lost. He prefers you to her. Look at your lives – is yours better than hers? I would guess that it is, but if it isn’t, figure out how to make your life better.

    Next, consider being nice to her when you run into her. It will drive her crazy.

    Then, focus on your life and your marriage. The real issue is, can you trust your husband? That would be true even if she left town. So figure out what you need for reconciliation and see if you can get it. It may also take more time.

    • A thought on partnerships – I would expect that to join the husband put up a heck of a lot of money. Leaving would involve getting someone to buy him out and buying a new partnership somewhere else.

      If they need to stay near their parents, there might not be a partnership in the area that he could buy into – and it would be hard to explain why he wanted to leave his old partnership. In addition, the patients would wonder.

      And even if he did change partnerships, so long as they are in the area, they might have to work with the hospital where OW works.

      • Diana, and Tammy,

        I’m sorry to say that some of this partnership talk and needing to be near your parents sound like excuses to me. Or maybe rationalizations for a decision that you’re not happy with. There are always choices. Being near your parents as they age sounds even less relevant than staying in a marriage for the sake of the children. I’m sure your parents would understand if you needed to move a few hours away to save your marriage… and if it was that difficult, perhaps they could move to you eventually.

        My dentist husband cheated with his assistant. The first step was to try to get rid of her, because of course, he can’t leave. (though, as in your case, technically he can… it’s just a bigger, difficult, expensive decision) He’d bought in, it was the town he grew up in, etc., etc. However, regarding getting rid of her – you can’t control someone else. I’m not gonna say we got that far down that path, because my ex was too selfish for that. We did pay her off (not much), and they made up some story and she quit for a while (though she did cause drama during that period as well), but then he hired her back. Still don’t understand that bullshit. That’s when I left – so at that point I didn’t care much about understanding his thought process/excuses in making that decision.

        But along the way I had to deal with all of their martyrdom and rationalizations. She can’t find something else (small town, blah blah blah), how will they explain it, she’s such a good assistant how could he replace her (that was my favorite!).

        But he could also have sold his practice and we could have moved. That was also an option. Sure, it’s expensive, but mostly, he would have never done it because he wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice that for me. (clearly, he was willing to sacrifice almost nothing for me). But I’ll tell you what’s more expensive than selling a practice and moving to buy a new one: DIVORCE. However, I had to choose that path because it was the only way for me to save myself… money played no part in my decision making process. I don’t want to think of what I would have become if I had stayed and accepted what he was willing to offer me.

        I have to say, cheaters never see choices where there actually are some. They like to be martyrs and say that everything is impossible other than the path that is the easiest/best for them.

        I honestly don’t see how you can move on while you are working with her friends, she’s around, and she and your husband and continue to work in the same place. You’re the one suffering. And her as well. Your husband is the only one that is walking around unaffected. I think you need to get rid of her if you possibly can, and if not, you seriously need to consider changing your places of work. Yes, it would be hard. But your husband made a dumb fucking decision and he needs to be willing to own up to it and take responsibility for it even if it’s difficult and expensive.

        • I talked to him about us leaving several months ago. We have decided to try to stay as long as she stays away from our area of work. I haven’t seen her for 8 months until yesterday, just her car. I have to say, when I see the car I keep my eyes more open to avoid her, but since she doesn’t work but a few days a week, I luckily avoid her. She has to stay professional also to keep her job, so I’m sure she’s guarding herself too.

          • Living,

            I’m glad you are able to get some separation from her… But I have to ask, do you think you could live like this for the rest of your life? Just wondering if/when she might pop up again? When you might have to deal with her friends,etc. Though, hopefully she won’t stay at that job forever, but you never know. That was my main problem in my situation… was that there was no end in sight… she would have worked right next to him until he retired. She still might, actually. Because she’s still there, of course, though I have left. (no, they aren’t together… though I’m sure he probably does continue to get a little something from her because it’s convenient, but she’s not quality enough for him to “date” out in the open)

            Your OW might be trying to guard herself, but these people also don’t have a lot of shame. She might also be trying to wait you out, make you uncomfortable, and doesn’t care that people know, etc.

            I think you should follow CL’s advice and see a lawyer about if there’s anything you can do to get rid of her. Since you are only 8 months out, it’s hard to say whether you can live with this situation for the long term… but I think you should really do some serious thinking about what you need in order to feel comfortable and hopefully happy again and make sure you get what you need.

            • Thx AE! I do take all CLs advice seriously. If things do get to difficult, I will ask for him to move, but I hope either I get better with time or she moves on.

              • Livingmylife, my dad cheated on my mom when he was in the army. He came home and told her and they stayed together. They’ve been married over 60 years now. It is possible for reconciliation to work, but I know their marriage was never the same. However, they have stood by each other through all kinds of ups and downs. My dad has been utterly devoted to my mom in her recent serious illness and I truly believe she has forgiven him.

  • Thing is “Unicorns” didn’t and will never exist, so I guess the unstated question is “Is this real, and can you rebuild your marriage and get beyond this without committing yourself to life-long and repeated Chumpdom?”. Right?

    CL has made some good points, and other people responding have asked some good questions or shared their similar struggle, so I’ll add something anecdotal (but not personal) that probably influences my opinion in these matters:

    I have a very large family. My parents each had 5 brothers and sisters, so I have nearly 40 cousins.

    I have been privy in great detail to 4 family members who had affairs in that motley crew that involved discovery and reconciling.

    One was a repeat offender. She was a self-entitled, no-hope-of-ever-changing-and destined-to-take-others-for-granted woman. That never changed until her death. Their youngest daughter turned out to have equally odd relationships (very sad).

    Another was a male repeat offender. A creep, a sleazebag of the highest degree who even impregnated a young girl (under 18 years old) younger than his oldest daughter. He’s still a sleazebag. His wife continues to endure trauma. I think she’s addicted to it (and addicted to the Home Shopping Network too), and she plays doormat and martyr in a lot of her relationships.

    Two were male and not repeat offenders. Both were somewhat compulsive characters.

    Out of those two surviving marriages that did not involve repeat offenses, one can probably be described as a happy marriage but it took a very, very, very long time for everybody to work through all of their crap and get past it, and the other is contentious more than a decade later.

    So what are your chances? Not good, but chances improve if both of you begin to own your own crap and seriously address things.

    I, too, find the fact that your husband chose not to come to the Hospital with you and your Mother because “he didn’t want to cause a scene”, for example.

    The reason that bothered me is this that he’s either telling the truth (in which case his image is more important than being their for his wife and mother-in-law), or he’s not being completely honest either to himself or you about his motivations. He can’t run around with his head-in-the-sand and not really own this and move on if the two of you are going to move on.

    You are in a terribly difficult situation, IMO. I don’t envy you because the odds are stacked against this working out well.

    Good luck to you. The path you are on is not easy, but I do hope it gets easier for you even though the odds are not very good.

    • Crap, we need a post-preview; bad grammar: “being there” (not ‘their”) and the fragment is fixed by “I, too, find the fact that your husband chose not to come to the Hospital with you and your Mother [suspect] because”.

      • Yes, or even “I, too, find the fact that your husband chose not to come to the Hospital with you and your Mother because the OW was there to be a flimsy excuse”.

  • I question the premise, “There is no way for us to leave this area, because he’s a partner.”

    The overwhelming majority of the folks on this site have had to leave a partnership—the partnership of marriage. Which is a far more intimate and complicated bond than any business arrangement. And we all survived. It sucks, to be sure, but it is possible.

    In your current situation, you are re-living your trauma daily. You can’t control the OW, and you just can’t fully heal in that environment. It’s like have a back injury and going into a job every day that requires you to lift 80-pound sacks of manure. If you’re going to give your marriage a real chance to heal, it seems to me it has to happen somewhere else.

    If your husband is an MD, he will land on his feet. He will find work. He will make good money. It will be inconvenient, and you may have to take a step back on the economic and social ladder for a while, but it’s hardly earth shattering. Nothing, IMO, compared to the trauma caused by a betrayal of the marriage partnership. I have some experience with both types of break-ups. I once upon a time I broke up a very profitable business partnership. It turned out to be a “training wheels” experience for my subsequent divorce, which was infinitely more painful and expensive.

    • totally agree, Nomar… you said everything I did above, only shorter and better! 🙂

      • You wrote, “There are always choices.” You can’t sum it up any shorter and better than that!

  • If part of this shows up later blame sun spots. The net ate my first response.
    You need to think about your PHYSICAL well being. Stress is cumulative. It is that old freeze, fight or flight response to what our bodies consider dangerous. They don’t recognize the difference between physical or emotional danger. They just react. Our bodies get flooded with hormones, like adrenalin. They are quickly dumped into our systems but take hours to leave. The problem is that there is some toxicity each time this happen. Since you sound like you are on high alert all the time I wonder what this is doing to you physically. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “Doesn’t she look awful?” Only to find that “she” is dealing with something emotional. It shows in our faces, our posture, our voices.
    If there really is remorse how does he show it? To hell with his job. You are much more important…..but guess what….his job IS that important to him. Haven’t met a man yet who doesn’t describe himself by the job he does. He should be dealing with the fallout, not you. It is his job, let him fix things.
    I think you need to read a lot of those reconciliation blogs to see how many years the chump is still dealing with being cheated on and watching the collateral damage(the kids, family, friends) I realize that parents, jobs, children, friends are important but something about your letter makes me think you think you are not worth what they are. Nobody can tell you what to do about your marriage but I hope like hell today is the LAST day you skulk around so you don’t bump into the ow. Bump into her. Let her get out of the way. You are worth way more than she is.

    • Thx watcher! I will hold my head up from now on. Yes, she looks very tired and her face is drawn since the last time I saw her 8 months ago. I look great, because I’m no longer living in the marriage police zone., and thankyou hair color and Botox. Both of us are pretty woman,. The Affair wasn’t about me or our looks, It was about cake, and a side dish F..k. She wanted my husband and my life, he wanted new sex and fun, at the expense of everyone else. Now we all must hurt , but hopefully Meh will come. My H has aged so much through this nightmare. He’s completely gray now, everyone thinks he’s older than me, but he’s 3 years younger. He’s so much happier though! He’s smiling at the good things at life, ie kids, animals, funny people. I think living in those lies sucked all “real joy “out of him. He couldn’t experience excitement even in our kids accomplishments during his affair. It consumed him, and it drug me down to a dark place. If he was like that guy he had been that horrible year, I definately wouldn’t be with him now. He couldn’t even pet our dog, back then, and she’s been his precious baby forever. He really was a lousy person during that time. Now he’s free from that albatross of lies, and I’m free from living in that lie. He’s his old, new self if that makes sense. It’s just stomaching our work situation that sux!

      • Wow, I feel so bad for him!! Cheating on you must have been so hard on him!

        And I don’t know why seem to feel bad for him, either. He was betraying you!! If it felt so bad, he shouldn’t have kept doing it… you said yourself you asked him about it multiple times and he continued to lie.

        You’re still confusing the concept of “meh” though. “meh” is how the people who have left their cheaters are supposed to feel about them. They aren’t supposed to be able to arouse any real feeling out of us anymore. But when you choose to stay with the cheater, you cannot feel “meh” about them. You should love them and somehow learn to trust them again. Meh has nothing to do with how you feel about the cheating itself. I guess you are looking for hope that the cheating will eventually not bother you as much. I have no idea. I can say that I still am pissed about the cheating in general, I will always think it was wrong and I will accept zero responsibility for it. But it doesn’t upset me on a daily basis and I can view it with a good deal of detachment now. But I’m not with him anymore, I have no idea how it would feel to be you. I know that my 6 months of limbo were horrible, horrible. Yours has made more progress than my ex, but dealing with the OW popping up from time to time still sounds sorta like limbo to me.

        • Another Erica, you made me laugh: ‘cheating must have been so hard on him’! But you make a very, very good point. I get that LivingMyLife wants to make this marriage work but you know what I’m hearing? I’m hearing a lot of sympathy for the cheater and a lot of excuses for things.

          LivingMyLife, you can only do what you think is right but it certainly seems like you’re tossing around a lot of ‘poor him’ stuff, as if his cheating was really, really rough on him and you just need to be noble and strong and ‘that’ kind of woman…which is a woman who thinks she can fix everything. Someone wrote the other day about chumps having their own narcissism and this whole article and thread reminded me of that.

          I wish you great luck, I really do, but strongly suggest you get some IC with a tough-minded counselor who will ask you some hard questions and help you come up with answers not coloured by anything else but what is right for you.

  • I agree with TheWatcher. Bump into the OW and let her get out of the way.
    Maybe I am a softie, but I see your husband trying to regain your trust. My ex just wanted me to pretend like nothing ever happened.

    Trust takes a long time to rebuild and it is still early days. It would be better if you did not have to be exposed to the OW, but there would still be triggers. I am almost divorced 5 years now, and I still have triggers, and experience emotional heaviness sometimes.

    It was wise of you to protect yourself legally and financially. I think that you should continue to be vigilant, but if you love the man, maybe you can give him time to win your heart and help you feel secure in your marriage.

  • Read all the comments and only going to add; yes you did the right things to get the best deal if this reconciliation does not work. What I see is you don’t trust your husband yet, not surprising, you are miserable because the OW is literally lurking behind every corner AND again, you don’t yet trust your husband. Now, CL doesn’t believe in this unicorn and neither do I. My ex did all the right things the first time I caught him and so I spent years more with him until the next time, what a complete fucking waste of my precious time on this earth. He regained my trust and did it again years later, no wait, I caught him again years later, it never really stopped. So I am looking back on your behalf and you know what? He didn’t suffer any emotional pain over it, he chose to stay and act trustworthy because it was easier for him. When he would cry or tell me he was sorry, he wasn’t sorry for me, he was sorry for him. I’m with the many others that think his excuse for staying away when your Mom, and You needed him is utter bullshit. That is not a loving supportive spouse, that is CYA shit.

    Now, if you are afraid to uproot and GTFO of the area and HE can find a way to buy her out of your lives, then at least that shows some commitment to you. It may be if he tries he ends up in lawsuit territory so that road is fraught. So to the point at last, even the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, that I despise, says that the only way a reconciliation has any hope of succeeding is for the cheater to go 100% NC with the OW. I should know, I was an Amazon chump, they write that even if it means moving, it is the only path to repair the marriage. That is not just to remove temptation, it is also because the chump should not have to deal with what you are dealing with. You have described in comments what you feel when you see OWs car, this is very much like PTSD, hyper vigilance, fear, avoidance. As someone above said, this stress takes a terrible toll. So, you want this guy enough to uproot and maybe have a lesser lifestyle for a while? You going to rationalize that you have to stay because your parents need you? Was that rationalization yours, or his? You think you couldn’t go somewhere else and have your parents go to? You think your parents would want you to suffer so you can be there? Would they choose that for you? I could continue but you don’t need it. I hope you really got the unicorn, I do but it’s not real if you are in pain every damn day.

    • Dat –

      Total Amazon chump here as well… I used to freaking scour those books for more information about that 100% NC with the OW. They would just mention it in passing, and almost matter-of-factly like it should be no problem. And I was like, “what?? is mine the only cheater out there who won’t do this for me?? What am I supposed to do? do I give him a deadline? Why is there no more guidance than this one sentence?!?” Don’t they know Amazon chumps REQUIRE guidance!! My ex would try to act like it was an unreasonable request and as long as they weren’t fucking anymore I should be fine with it (uh, yeah, and I should obviously just trust him on the no fucking part as well). And all I could point to was like one or two sentences to back me up. It confused me because I didn’t understand about cake-eating, I couldn’t get why, if he didn’t want to be with her, he wouldn’t just do everything I asked and get rid of her. Ah, naive little aE.

      • oh god yes, your husband saying to you, but we are “just friends” and you are being unreasonable to make me give up my friend, fuck that shit.

  • Tammy, what a nightmare. I have to add another concern– I am concerned that you had to catch him through a text you saw (at least that’s what I understand from one of your posts above, tho I may be wrong), and that he did not tell you himself, as well as how many times he lied to you over that 16 month period, and was still cheating while in MC. What really really bothers me though is who WAS that man, and where did he go? will he come back? Or is he hiding and will he come back again smarter so you don’t know?

    So many of us were assured by our exes that nothing would ever happen again, and then it did. We caught them again, sometimes decades later, only to realize our exes were manipulative, shallow, and someone we never really knew. We now live bewildered, stunned and with some serious PTSD. You sound like an attractive, smart, successful woman who has her s**t together right now, are still young, and have a lot of options. So we are afraid for you.

    Another question, do you think this is the only affair, or the only one where he got caught? If women are throwing themselves at doctors (and I am sure they are!) this cannot have been the only one who tried. If you think it’s not the only one, then I’d say all bets are off.

    And honestly, while the post nup sounds fine (I think I recall you get half the house and half the IRA, $6k a month for 10 years), make sure that this is really a lot more than you would get in a divorce/custody proceeding without it. It doesn’t sound overwhelmingly in your favor (except maybe the $6k/month depending on your income levels and your state). If it’s pretty close to what you would get anyhow, then it doesn’t really provide you the assurances you need.

    On the other hand, he really does seem to want to do the right thing and is making the right moves, is repentant, is back to his old or better self, and the man you love and adore. You have a long history, great children, etc. Is it enough? Will it ever be? I hope that you are not in pain “every damn day” as DDW says above, although I fear that you are or will be for a long time. I will pray that it works out for you and that you can achieve some peace of mind and happiness again. (((Hugs))) to you and your children.

  • I would hate to be in your position. I would probably resent the hell out of WH for making my life uncomfortable. I was about to say that I would make him move, but I wouldn’t. I would never stay with a cheater, no matter how remorseful. I know MYSELF too well.

    I agree with the previous poster about your postnup. It doesn’t sound any better than you would get in a typical divorce settlement. I got 50% of material assets, 53% of his salary for 10 years in child support, 50% of any bonuses for 10 years, and 90% of his 401k.

    I wish you good luck. I hope the OW moves to Antarctica for the rest of her life!

    • So many have posted about the OW leaving or losing her job.
      Has anyone even tried to get a job in this dismal economy ?
      I doubt she is can leave, her family is there , and if anyone should loose their job it should be him. He abused his power a.k.a. sexual harassment , and now she is in a “hostile work environment”. He knew exactly what he was doing , despite the consequences .
      I hope she sues his ass and Tammy should dump him as well. She has so much going for her…. what does she need him for ?
      OW isn’t waiting , she is working….. at HER job. “H” is a total idiot for ever having an affair at his work place.
      He will learn to be more careful in future .
      Live & learn….. to be a better CHEATER !

      • I’m not sure where this OW sympathy is coming from… but she’s an idiot for having an affair at HER workplace as well. And she also knew what she was doing. I doubt he abused his power to get her in bed, but she probably was attracted to his power. The OW was not just innocently minding her own business when all this went down. We all know this thing was a two-way street.

        Getting a payoff would benefit her as well… and if they all have some kind of medical training it seems like she’d be able to find something.

        When you get involved in an affair, pretty much everybody has to suffer some consequences. Well, we know at minimum the chump does. Now I’m just asking that the perpetrators suffer some consequences as well in order to make it easier on the chump. All I care about is doing what is best for the chump… I don’t feel bad for any consequences to the husband or OW at all.

          • now I’m even more confused. I, in no way, think that all OW are interchangeable whores… and yet, they have all done something unquestionably wrong. And they put themselves in that position – they are adults. They were not manipulated into doing anything they didn’t want to do. And many of them are cheating on their own spouse as well. Teacher, clergy, heart surgeon, I could really care less… the only one I have COMPASSION for is the chump.

            • Yes some OW are taken advantage of, yes they are manipulated. We are want some one to love & to be loved. 70 % of married couples polled, said they” married the wrong person. So may so happy.
              There in lies the problem.
              “Meh” is never realized as long as you hold on to such vile bitterness.
              It defines you. Let go of the anger, go build a life, and if you want to contribute to this forum do so .Then you maybe able to bring true insight, not just an angry ,close-minded skewed opinion. You need to be forgiving, not for who wronged you… but for YOURSELF.
              Anger , self- righteousness , resentment.. shows how, little to no confidence you have .It is unbecoming of you. It is something that will repel good people & things from your life. Acceptance will come …. but not when you perpetuate anger & relive your betrayal everyday. It like picking a scabe …. leave it alone for a while.
              Let it heal.
              Still confused ?

              • yes, I am. No one here has ever before called me angry or self-righteous, closed minded, etc. And I’ve been contributing for a long time. You can think I am all of those things, but it’s just not true. I must have completely phrased something incorrectly for you to have gotten this impression. As far as I can tell, all I have said is that neither the cheater nor the OW deserves compassion from the chump. Or I would go so far to say, from anyone. What they did was wrong, and I’m tired of society excusing it. Nobody deserves to be cheated on. In my specific case, I have accepted it, pretty much moved on, but no, I have not forgiven. What my ex did to me, I will never forgive. No matter how much I detach myself from him, no matter how much better my life is now, and it is, what he did to me will never be okay. The OW is much more peripheral… she didn’t owe me any of the same loyalty that he did. But I’m not gonna show her any compassion either. I try not to think of her much at all, actually. She’s not even worth a moment of my time.

              • WTF?? Okmy OW knew we were a happy couple. She saw us together for years. She used my FB to see what we liked and manipulated my H!! She even followed us to mardi grads to make an appearance. She tried tone so friendly to me at all our parties…. She’s not victimized! She wanted my life!!! U are way off base. U act like a harrass, but are u a realist? Men are dragged down by many sharks!!! It sux being the wife of a doctor!!! No matter how good u are, u are criticized as his wife. Let’s be honest.. Women want the fantasy. If u have a handsome nice hubby, they swarm him like sharks. My H had many who wanted him but this OW offered herself up to him with no strings attached. ( bull shit!) she wanted my life! I was going to walk away, but he came back. That’s the truth. Sometimes I think this site should focus on how woman are F..ked up and try to steal are men. It’s not always them it’s those vixons. Let’s be real. We woman who age have females that want our lives. My H fucked up, but it was easy for him due to her letting him due whatever, and whenever he wanted to. She just thought when they got caught, I would leave. At first I didnt, I played that pick me dance, she kept putting herself in front of him again. He bit again, and u bolted thx to CL. He chose me. That’s it now I have to deal with seeing her on occasion and it sux! But I’m going to get to Meh! I will ! And he will! And she needs to hurt that’s the reality. We are chumps we n

              • No one is throwing bricks at you SAT. You’re the one doing the name calling — and skating on thin ice here. FYI.

          • SAT, this site is not about compassion for OW. It’s for chumps. Period.

            OW — unless they had no idea the guy was married (in which case they’re chumps) — are absolutely culpable for their abhorrent, selfish decisions. They do not have some moral equivalency to chumps. Oh, the married guy LIED to them? Lead them on? Ate cake and wasted years of their life? When… they were supposed to be SPECIAL and DIFFERENT?

            Too bad, so sad. They knew what a amoral jerk this person was going into it — i.e., a cheater. The chump had no such knowledge.

  • Tammy,

    Anyone catch the fact that the OW divorced her husband just in the last year ?

    Tammy you never wondered why?

    Could it be that your husband the OM in her marriage promised a life to her?

    Couldn’t that be the reason she is still hanging around because she can’t yet wrap her head around the fact that your husband was lying through his teeth to her when he must have made all those promises ?

    Could that be the reason he is unwilling to be in the same room as her , fearing she may spill her guts?

    And oh yes, it’s the same with all’s always the women who throw themselves at’s just another form of mindfuckery where they get you to think that they don’t pursue women but are just so weak that they can’t resist women.Result ?…in future you will always remain on guard when any woman shows him any attention and become a mother hen and protect him from these so called ” predatory women”.

    My take on the matter….your husband pursued this woman , made promises to her, she like a stupid fool broke up her marriage because of him and even now can’t let go , can’t accept that it was all a bunch of lies to get her into the sack, not bothering what damage he has caused to his and her family.

    No wonder the OW is livid..she broke up her family, this guy gets to keep his .

    She deserved what she got, but did he?

    No sir, he yet gets to be the wonderful doctor who got entrapped by this woman , who yet won’t leave him alone , yet has his wife taking up cudgels on his behalf .

    Will this woman leave her place of work? No..because she is yet a chump..she yet believes that the good doctor will eventually honor his promises and see the light of the day and leave his wife.

    She needs to come here at CL and get some whipping done to get some sense in her head and stop feeding ego kibbles to the great doctor.

    • I’m thinking the same thing. She divorced ergo she saw a life with OPs husband. I think he, like all cheaters, decided it was easier to stay in the marriage than to leave…probably got scared at the ramifications of the public fallout of his actions. Trust me, my ex is still with his final OW and is still furious that I have been truthful about why we divorced. They tend to be very concerned about their reputations and with this guy being a doc in a small community I’m guessing it’s even more important to him.

  • I think when we try and reconcile we sometimes are not really honest with ourselves about what we really want, we have for a long time been enmeshed with our partners and even if we follow the ‘text book reconciliation min requirements’ we still don’t know what we want after being deceived by those that we trusted with our lives……………that is until we remove ourselves from the situation and somewhere down the line, divorced or whatever, we actually begin to clearly see the situation for what it really was/is.

    I have done the reconciliation thing Tammy and I admire what you have done to date, it’s instinctive at times – when you truly believe he is sorry and remorseful for what he has done, you are convinced that you can both get through this, of course you can, true love etc. etc.

    But what do you really want??? When have asked yourself that? We Chumps tend to sacrifice our wants over the years because they have long become irrelevant in our co-dependency, just to have him/her say they want you back and do whatever it takes to back it up will never heal the scars, you want to achieve ‘MEH’, start by asking what do really want?

    I would be curious as to why the OW is still hanging around, if it is over, she should have moved on…literally- a red flag for me I’m afraid.

    I would have expected him to attend the A & E regardless of causing a scene, this shows he is still Conflict Avoidant, another red flag there.

    But even if the OW is not still involved with him he should be prepared to do anything to avoid you having to walk on eggshells around this woman, you have done nothing wrong. Job or no job I would have called her cheating scheming lies out and sod the fallout.

    Life is too short to tip toe around for fear of upsetting people, particularly those who treat us like shit, that is how I became to be a Chump in the first place.

    And on the subject of achieving a state of MEH, I am nearly 2 years from DDAY, 3 mths from divorce, around the other side of the world in NC (as best I can) and working slowly towards a sense of who and what I am again. I reconciled twice, worse than the initial DDAY, which I discovered, despite him telling everyone he confessed to an affair.

    My EX was the best thing since sliced bread, in under 2 years I do not recognise him and realise I have been hoodwinked for 18 odd years. Distance and NC are clarifying who he was pretending to be all along. Everyday I remember something and go “aha’…… that’s why he did that, it’s shocking the extent of the lies they will tell to get away with their own selfish needs.

    Good luck with reconciling, my ended twice after I issued ultimatums.
    If you have to compromise on your own happiness just make sure you never regret it later on, a job/kids and aged parents may not always be around.

    Despite my rant I am a believer in you can f@ck up and still get back on track. My EX tells me he just F@cked up, he’s sorry all the time, do I believe him? I have no doubt that he regrets that he f@cked up…………….things for himself, not me.

    My advice to any of my friends is to hit them with a divorce hard and fast, you are worth so much better, then you will see who they really are. I wish I had never done the pick me dance, it was just prolonged humiliation.


  • I agree. I think OW feels like she was chumped. Or maybe she is still in the picture and is getting frustrated waiting around for your WH. If it is truly over and you really know everything, WH should not need to cower away when you and your mother need him.

  • Tammy, everyone’s giving you some real food for thought here. You filled in your situation more with your responses, and I thought about it a bit more. I, like you, want to believe that people can be truly remorseful and want to do better. (And I have to laugh that your husband wants to prove me wrong — if that’s motivation enough — go for it!) The way we judge the real remorse from the Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse is by actions.

    Yes, he’s doing counseling, doesn’t blame you, and gave you a post-nup. I have to say, mine checked every one of those boxes too (and then I got another D-Day). But what worries me about your story — is that he had this affair for 16 months. Over a YEAR he was quite happy to eat cake. And he kept eating it *after you found out.* He lied through marriage counseling. Which means, he is capable of pretending to be in reconciliation and still cheating.

    Now he may have been clumsy and stupid about it, and you found out. But he gave himself permission to deceive you that way, knowing exactly how devastated you were by his affair.

    Does your pain make him stop? No.

    The threat of losing half his stuff, and his status makes him stop.

    You can tell yourself the important thing is that he stopped. NOW he gets it. NOW he’s sorry. And you can take comfort in the fact that he signed a post-nup. I took HUGE comfort in that, when it was me. I saw it that he really was putting his money where his mouth was. But my postnup, like yours I imagine, was really just a fair settlement. It’s a quickie divorce without the haggling, should it go that way.

    It’s a delayed consequence. It’s also something he can point to and say to the OW — look, HEY, I signed a property settlement! And he can paint it like you’re just not going away. And hope the OW gives up.

    … Or doesn’t.

    The two of you working together EVEN if there is NO affair going on, is a kind of pick me dance with your husband at the center of it. It keeps both you and the OW off-balance. Aware of the other. You get to feel like you “won” this man in the very public arena of his workplace.

    But what you “won” was a commitment from a man that you had to hold a legal gun to his head to get.

    Now, he chose to come back. Absolutely. And he’s doing all the right things. But he got to that place NOT because he felt YOUR pain, but because he felt his OWN pain. As Dr. Simon says, (in the interview on my site) it’s not that people don’t change, it’s that at they change when the cost is too great for THEM. Which is why enforcing boundaries is so important.

    That distinction — stopping because it hurts you vs. stopping because it hurts HIM, is one that makes chumps leery.

    You’re hoping he’s grown some empathy in the process, that he wouldn’t hurt you again. You don’t have evidence of that. You know that you have mutual deterrence. Which isn’t the same kind of comfort, and is hard to feel “meh” about.

    The question is whether or not you believe he can find empathy for you after this. That’s the only kind of foundation I would feel secure in, that it hurts him to hurt you.

    But it doesn’t seem to hurt him to hurt you. You hurt every day going into your work place, dealing with the OW. It would HURT HIM to lose his practice or dismiss the OW — and that’s not on the table.

    Just thoughts, Tammy. I truly wish you the best.

    • Thank you again CL! I will keep everything u said in mind. I will continue to visit this site daily, and i feel blessed to have found this site and everyone’s advice. Thx to all

    • CL –

      “stopping because it hurts you vs. stopping because it hurts HIM, is one that makes chumps leery”

      Do you think that that’s why cheaters who reconcile tend to cheat again later? That they actually do stop for a while because they realize the costs outweigh the benefits to them (perhaps because they have young kids at home and don’t want to do child support, shared custody, etc.) but then when the kids are about to leave the nest, they decide it’s “okay” again? And also the spouse is older and if they didn’t leave before, they would really never leave this time?

      • anotherErica,
        When my ex told me that he wasn’t happy but denied having yet another affair, he reasoned that our child is now grown up and does not need his parents to be together. Cheaters think very, very differently from chumps and that’s why we cannot comprehend why they act or think the way they do. I know he stayed all those years (I kicked him out after the first two affairs but he kept coming back and chump hall-of-famer-me kept taking him back) because the costs far outweighed the benefits. The third time around, he knew he could not even attempt to come back. Letter of apology was completely ignored which was sent the day the divorce papers were signed. Nice try but no thank you. I believe he is still in a state of shock that I prefer life without him.

    • I’ve only had one unicorn sighting in all my days, and that turnaround was instigated by a serious loss of status for the cheater.

      He was church pastor. They’re not supposed to do that stuff, you know. But he was the main man there, was in charge of the phenomenal growth the church had when the church board said “you better start shoring stuff up at home or we’re going to fire you”, he was just certain they never would.

      But they did. He went from his lofty perch to sweeping floors and washing cars at a local car dealership. His number one fan from his fan club dropped him like a hot potato.

      They had three teenage boys who were humiliated and pissed at their dad. The wife had a job with the school district and kept them going. They slowly, slowly put things back together. Both were raised in the church, but still, that’s the size of the bitch slap it took to wake the guy up.

  • Just a couple of comme to to add to the others:

    1) Personally, I think odds are high for an affair lapse (or just non emotional reconnection) if the spouse did not admit he affair him/herself. That happened in my situation. I confronted exH over a decade ago, are you having an affair, etc. he lied, claimed infatuation, we went to MC. He desperately needed IC if he was never going to fess up that it was an affair. And in hindsight, I do not think he ever truly reconnected with me. I just could not see it, because my feelings for him had not changed.
    If only I had known then what I know now… But that’s ok, I love my kids, and they would not be here if the marriage had ended at that point.

    2) work place APs; this truly is tough. But it gets better. For me, what helped what the moral superiority part. This other person pursued/got involved with somone who was already married.

    My situation is a bit odd, but it relates. I saw my exH drifting over the years, emotionally, but he denied any problems, said it was work. I saw him acting the same way that he did during the first (denied) affair. Then, I got this weird vibe, and read a couple of emails, which let me to confront him about another possible affair, this time with a colleague at work. She had ALWAYS overstepped boundaries with him, shared too much, went to him for mentoring, etc. He denied an affair, they were friends, still does to this day, but admitted she had thrown herself at him, asking him to leave the family for her. Who knows if they did have a relationship. This woman truly is crazy (went out on two dates with a guy and claimed they were engaged). I think he did overshare with her.
    Anyway, two years later, exH and i decide to divorce due to the affair he had while away from home for work (he still claimed unhappy with work, so i said do this temp job that you have always wanted to do… chumpy me) Our coworker was apparently giddy when she found out about the divorce, thought it was all due to her. She came to me, I am here for you, blah, blah blah (what gall!), then the next day threw herself at him. Ha! Boy was she unhappy to hear he already had a girlfriend. A year later, she is still telling people that had a relationship, others she said it was an EA. Regardless woman, if something happened, it ended at least two years ago… Give it up! Plus, he is now remarried to last AP, with a kid. Stop talking about him.

    Given some office rearranging, I now have to walk past coworker’s office to see the support person for my division. I admit, I enjoy it. Coworker might not be the last AP partner, maybe she never was an affair partner, but I had told exH for years that her behavior was inappropriate, and I was correct! She knew he was married, and she either attempted (or succeeded) in having an affair with him. She deserves what she got for her 5 years of emotional obsession… Nothing!

    ….that said, I am glad for me, personally, that exH and new wife (the last AP) are moving away and I will probably never have to meet her until the kids graduate from high school.

    Sorry so long winded, but I do not think I had mentioned the coworker/maybe affair partner here before.

    Point being: be very, very cautious on reconciliation if the spouse was not the one to confess to the affair first; they are not truly remorseful for their actions.

    With work APs: you can hold her head high… The other person is the morally corrupt one.

    Hugs to all.

  • Tammy,
    I stayed with a cheater 23 years after the first affair (when I was pregnant). The OW was someone who worked in the same building as I did. It was horrible so I know what you are going through. Next affair was 10 years later and worked out a nearby office. I saw her car frequently and that was very difficult. The final affair was late last year. I threw him out and told him I was filing for divorce via email. Never had any discussions about the third affair (I bet there were a lot more); it wasn’t worth any energy. I didn’t even care who she is/was. Why did I stay? The bane of human relationships: co-dependency. As we all know, being attractive, successful, having great family and friends have nothing to do with co-dependency. I so want your marriage to work, I really do and I hope you are staying for the right reasons. The right reasons for yourself. I understand staying for the children, they definitely have to be considered, but in the end, this is about you. I wish you the very best. Please exercise extreme self-care. I have zero regrets leaving. If I could have a do-over, I would have left 23 years ago when my child was born. But in spite of having delayed clarity, I am still very grateful for my life now – peaceful, joyful and filled with love from my child, friends, family, and mostly from myself. No more drama. Life on the other side is quite lovely. Best of luck.

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