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Dear Chump Lady, I never exposed his affair

Dear Chump Lady,

Here is my situation — I never exposed his affair.

He told me he wanted a divorce. I told him he could move out whenever (it took him 3 months). I let him tell his family that it was a mutual decision. I told him to take anything he wanted from the house. I took care of the kids most of the time while he was honeymooning with her, I even gave him gifts!

I signed up for guidance from many online people including Mort Fertel, Homer McDonald, Michele Weiner Davis, etc. who told me to cling to hope and treat him like I would want to be treated. I even took the kids on a trip to give him space. He told me on New Year’s Eve and moved out April 4.

Is it more humiliation for me to start spilling the beans? Is it worth it? I have lacked so much self-respect… (my fault). I danced the pick me dance for 10 months now. His exit plan was carefully crafted and executed so he would never be caught and his reputation would remain intact.

I knew something in our marriage was wrong but could not put my finger on it because he made my tea ever day, ran my bath, came home to put the kids to bed before going back to “work”. I was so blindsided and he blamed me for everything, so for months I told my family it was all my fault. Pure emotional abuse as you say. And I can see how he and his girlfriend must have laughed at me. But now he has his good guy image intact and everyone thinks he is so great. I want to expose him now, but is it the wrong thing to do?

Also, I miss him a lot. How does one get over all the memories (14 years and two kids) and move on? I actually feel jealous of the women on your site who say their husband came back and wanted them back. (Just so you know I am successful, have a masters degree, a great job, good looking, etc.) My friends tell me that his family likely thinks I had an affair and he left because of it. When I think of that I want to scream.


Dear Tammy,

When I think of the predatory tactics of Mort Fertel, Homer McDonald, Michele Weiner Davis and the snake oil hopium shit they peddle — I want to scream. When I think of you giving your ex-husband “space” so he could cheat on you, and sending off parting gifts for his honeymoon with the OW? I want to scream. When I think of you accepting the fault for his abuse of you, I want to scream.

Is it more humiliation for you to tell the truth? YOUR truth? HELL NO. It will be the first non-humiliating thing you’ve done in a long time, Tammy.

I’m not saying go leaflet the neighborhood, I’m saying start opening up to the people closest to you about what happened. Stop protecting his image — that’s not your job. It should never have been your job — healthy people don’t need PR departments. Narcissists do.

Doing the “pick me” dance and keeping his secrets was bargaining behavior. You were acting out of grief, and you were trying to control an uncontrollable situation. See how good I am? How understanding? How kind I’m being? Choose me! What I find abhorrent about those “counselors” you mentioned is that they are selling this fantasy sense of control. You alone can FIX this! Affair proof your marriage! Convince even the most recalcitrant spouse! Heal addiction! On the brink of divorce? Buy my motivational CDs for $159 and have the BEST MARRIAGE EVER! Yes! Closer than ever before! Oh thank you God! And thank you Mort! (An actual quote.)

A pox on those idiots.

We can’t control other people. That’s scary and that’s liberating. It means this isn’t your fault, and it wasn’t ever within your powers fix. You only control you. Your pretty pick me dance cannot compel him. He wanted to leave — so he did.

Fear of losing him made you eat those shit sandwiches. Hindsight is 20/20 — but at any point after his “I want a divorce” speech you could’ve asserted yourself. Said what YOU need. “I need you to pack your bags and leave.” Or “It’s not acceptable to me that we are living as an intact family and you are cheating on me.” You could’ve lawyered up. You could’ve spoken your truth then — he’s having an affair. And you could’ve spent that money on a wedding gift for the soulmate schmoopies on yourself. Oh hey, it’s actually not too late for that — go buy yourself something really nice.

Now that you “lost the dance,” as it were, and what you feared has happened — your incentive to protect him is gone. So I can imagine at some level it feels vindictive to you to tell the truth. Like it will come across as sour grapes.

All you can do, Tammy, is speak your truth. It’s yours. You don’t control how other people receive it. If they blame you, or think oh really, you were the cheater — that’s on them. As I’ve said here many times before — this shit shows you who your real friends are. Who has empathy, and who doesn’t. Who to hold close and who to let go of. You may be surprised at the number of people who already knew. You may also be surprised at the grace and kindness of folks who will comfort you when you share your story with them. (Online chump forums are especially good for this.)

As for missing him? You’re grieving. Give it time. And get angry at what a shit he is to cheat and walk out on you and the kids. He took no responsibility for the demise of the marriage, he blamed you. And all the while he had his hand out for kibbles!

There is NOTHING to envy from chumps whose cheating husbands came back. I think they will all tell you, they came back for cake, they came back to inflict more D-Days. That was certainly my experience.

Put your focus on your new life. Stay busy being awesome. OW just “won” a cheating, emotionally abusive husband. You just won a new life. Go put it to good use. (((Big hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “There is NOTHING to envy from chumps whose cheating husbands came back. I think they will all tell you, they came back for cake, they came back to inflict more D-Days. That was certainly my experience.”

    This is very true Tammy. My ex came back all the time. He even came back when he got her pregnant (not all the way this time though). They come back just to leave you again. I know it may not seem like it, but he is doing you a favor not coming back; all that would happen if he did would him leaving you again, you feeling even more devastation, and the cycle would go round and round. Believe me, if you think you have very little self respect now, going through that cycle will show you what low self respect truly feels and looks like. Its not a good feeling to have someone constantly leaving, showing you (in your mind at the time) that youre not good enough for me to stick around. I promise that is what would happen. Dont want that for yourself and you dont want to have your children witness that.

    “I actually feel jealous of the women on your site who say their husband came back and wanted them back.” I think what you are jealous of is feeling wanted, not the cheating manipulative asshole. He is just all you know so you assimilate feeling wanted with him.

    “(Just so you know I am successful, have a masters degree, a great job, good looking, etc.) ” Im sure you know these things about yourself, but youre probably not feeling this way. I can relate. Once you OWN these amazing qualities and truly feel and believe them about yourself, you will start to feel better.

    In regards to telling people, tell away! It kind of feels good to see people’s reactions. It makes you feel validated, that you werent that awful and, perhaps, it was him! It also helps to keep your mind thinking correctly. When you are feeling like you miss him, think of everything that he used to do for you, the memories you shared, etc. People on the outside are able to let go of the emotions and focus on what is the truth: He was a cheating asshole to walked out on his family! All the cups of tea in the world do not make up for that type of move! Something was not with your marriage, something is wrong with him!

    • HI CL, Thank you so much for taking the time to address my questions. I see it all now. It is so true that you cannot control anyone and by the time they tell you they want a divorce, they are gone…they dont care about you and there’s nothing you can do. All you can do is move on which is incredibly hard but necessary. It is about survival. This site is really helping me see straight 🙂 Thanks so much!!!

    • Kristina – I am so sorry you went through all this pain… Wow! And I love your advice about needing to feel good about yourself. Going through this kills every ounce of self esteem you have. Need to rebuild… thanks for your kind words and encouragement!

    • Kristina, that is so my story and so true. All he will do is leave again and all it does is beat u even further down. No contact is the only way to heal and regain your self esteem. It’s like after being served the super sized double decker shit sandwich he has the nerve to now serve u a a pitcher of hot Piss to chance it down Screw that !! I say see it for what it is and throw that pitcher of hot Piss in his face and tell him who’s pissed off now!!! lol

      • “It’s like after being served the super sized double decker shit sandwich he has the nerve to now serve u a a pitcher of hot Piss to chance it down Screw that !! I say see it for what it is and throw that pitcher of hot Piss in his face and tell him who’s pissed off now!!! lol”

        Love it!!

  • Tell your friends and family the truth, that he had an affair, but you kept it all under wraps had hoped you could have worked it out . When they get into affairs no amount of your past together seems to mean a damn to them, My wife left after 24 years and two kids, going on three years now since the bomb dropped and the kids live with me full time. Trust that our X’s Suck, if they do feel bad about it at all it’s all our fault as far as they’re concerned.

    There ought to be a special place in Hell for the “Save your marriage” and “Mid Life Crisis” guru’s you mentioned. I read them all early on looking for some sort of guidance, until I looked at their forums. The forums are full of people following their advice and still hanging on three and four years later, doing a modified “Pick Me” dance while their “In a fog” X’s are screwing multiple OM’s/Ow’s.

    • I think a lot of people go to those places in a desperate search of how to save things because our families meant so much to us. I read one book and thought ‘what a load of bullocks’. I had already kicked ex out but was still sort of hoping he’d come to his senses. He, naturally, was busy screwing final OW and telling everyone the marriage had been crumbling for years.

      Two years later, as I’ve said before, I’m over it with the exception of serious financial trouble. That pisses me off beyond words, to be honest, because I gave up so much for him and he screwed me over very badly, while taking everything to build his new life. For that I hope karma really does exist.

    • Mike – That is so true… nothing seems to mean a damn to them once the affair starts. They look at you diffferently… the kids and I did not matter anymore. I should have looked at the forums of those counsellors and realize how damaging it could be for people to keep holidng to “false” hope. I did it for a while and realized it was simply destroying me… I was getting worse – I could barely function. I was told I manifested what was happening… that was hard to swallow obviously. Thanks to people like you on this site… and CL, I am starting to recover and accept that it IS over – forever! Thanks Mike.

  • I am going to go back and read the rest of this, but I got this far and almost spat out my morning coffee:

    “I signed up for guidance from many online people including Mort Fertel, Homer McDonald, Michele Weiner Davis,. ”

    Reading this made me wish there was a “Quack Watch” equivalent for people dealing with infidelity.

  • Hi Tammy,
    Wow -you really were put (and to an extent put yourself) through the emotional abuse wringer. But don’t beat yourself up anymore- you were a good person trying to hang onto a dream that you’d thought real for over 14 years. You listened to “snake oil salesmen” as Tracy said – and found out that at the end of the day – it didn’t cure anything and probably put you in a worse emotional place than ever. False hope peddled as truth will do that.

    After finding out via porn pics on a cell phone about my ex’s 4 year affair, I took a very different approach. I lawyered up within 3 days of the discovery, and I put my communication degree to good use by reaching out to family (both sides) friends, and anyone else in our circle within hours of finding out. I’m a big proponent of truth – but getting the story out fast also allowed me to “head him off at the pass” as far as the narrative of the situation went. He has always been the “good time guy” – everybody loved Jimmy – he was funny, hard working, always ready to lend a hand (and more, apparently.) I knew he had a long string of relationships (including a first wife) behind him when I married him – but people always overlooked and gave him a free pass because – well – he was “Jimmy.” I was determined this time that this time – the truth about him would stick, not roll off. He wasn’t going to spin this into one of those “shit just happens” scenarios that would ultimately be my fault.

    And it worked – I beat him to the punch, and after 3 tough years fighting a divorce – I have kept his family, his children, and any of the mutual friends who were worthwhile having. He has his skanky whore, her equally delightful friends and his loser best friend from high school who is also a serial adulterer. I got a great settlement, I went NO CONTACT, and you’d think I have the world on a string.

    But your comments about missing “him” reached out to me. I won’t lie – even though I DIDN’T play the pick me dance like you, even though I was tough, smart, and outsmarted him at his own PR game……I still miss him, as well. Or rather who I believed he was. I miss holding hands, rubbing his ear, cuddling on the couch laughing over some TV show, traveling through small towns and finding a hole in the wall diner to have breakfast and talk and talk and talk. We always talked, and we always laughed. That was the best thing he brought to my life – a lot of laughter and (I though) that incredible feeling of being totally loved and safe. But it was not the truth….and it wasn’t permanent. He loved me until I wasn’t of use to him emotionally and then he didn’t. It was like buying new shoes and throwing the old ones away. I was ultimately and devastatingly that disposable. And so were his children once he realized they were never going to accept his new life and new partner.

    So when you feel badly for missing someone so unworthy – remember that you are not alone. Even people who cut ties immediately after being cheated on still have those phantom pains. It’s kind of like a war veteran who lost a limb and still can feel the missing part. But try and remind yourself that what you are missing either doesn’t exist any more or never really did in the first place. That’s a hard pill to swallow- but a good dose of facts (he cheated on you, played you, let you dance for him to win him back and still left on his own terms in in control of his reputation) will get you through it.

    In the meantime – hell yes – tell whoever you want the truth. That saying about the truth setting you free is an axiom for a reason. It works. Good luck – better days ahead, but don’t put yourself on a timeframe. Each person heals at their own pace. But as long as you move forward and away from him – you are making progress.!

    When I feel this way – I have to really train my brain to

  • Tammy, you should tell everyone you know. Shout it from the roof top. My STBX let his girlfriend put her and his picture up on their Facebook cover only 3 months after he left. I asked him to get her to take it down, because mutual friends were coming to me about it. Each time he told her to take it down, she would wait about a week and put up another one. She also had them in her profile pic a few times. We were married 21 years and it’s just mind blowing to me that he didn’t care that she put this on her profile only 3 months after he left. Well, I decided I was going to fix that bitch so I waited for her to put up another picture of them. Then when about 20 people “liked” the picture, I clicked on their profiles and I sent a letter to each one explaining to them how those two got together and how long their affair was going on. All in all, I sent it to about 30 of her FB friends. This included her son and her ex in-laws. Needless to say I haven’t seen one picture of those two since. lol My stbx even said she is still getting responses from that letter. I’m assuming others passed it around. At least I hope.

    Also,my STBX used to clean the house, he was the cook, he made Christmas special every year and did all kinds of things for me. However, before he left, he had been having an affair for over a year and I didn’t even know it. I have heard of these kinds of cheaters. They are called doting cheaters. He had been doing this for years and I found out he has been cheating for years.

    Please don’t hesitate to expose. If he has a Facebook account, that’s the best way to expose him. All you have to do is explain your story and say that you have kept quiet long enough.

    • I love that you sent the letter to her facebook friends! I wish I had the nerve to do something like that! I’ve heard so many times that the best revenge is living a good life but a little revenge that feels like revenge would be sweet as well. Good for you, expose away, they deserve it.

      • Thank you. I have to admit I was scared because I didn’t know if she would come after me or not. But, I didn’t care. It’s been over a year now and the two of them are living together and she still hasn’t posted any public (FB cover and FB profile) pictures of them two.

        I forgot to add that before I did this I had to create another account with my name and I put a picture of my STBX and myself in the profile and I also put my STBX and myself on the FB cover. I couldn’t do this from my actual account (that I use) because she had me blocked. But when I created this other there was no way she was aware before I sent the letter. All I had to do was wait for her to post a picture of them two together again and wait for people to click like on the picture and bam, I had some of her FB friends and was able to send the letter. More “likes” meant more people to send letters too. Also, she has an unusual name. There are only about 4 on FB so I was lucky I didn’t have to do a lot of searching for her name.

        She still hasn’t bothered to block that account for some reason. I guess she thinks it’s no use because I can keep creating accounts. And besides, she knows I don’t use that account since there are no friends on it. Also, I love the idea that the FB friends I sent the letter too will see that (other account) profile every now and then because FB will usually make it pop up asking if they know this person. hahhaha. When they click on it to see if they know that person they will always keep seeing my STBX and my picture every time. I will never take it down.

      • I want to see Karma happen to my STBX. I would love to see her leave him for someone else and then immediately put pictures of her and the new love her Facebook profile and cover right away. Chump Lady should put some Karma stories on here. Anyone know of any?

    • Wow, sending a letter to the Facebook Likees! That is ballsy.

      I often wonder, of all the people who like xH’s troll and tell her how pretty she is on the outside–if they knew the truth, would they still tell her how awesome she is?

      Then again, so many people believe the cliches, “Oh, well, it takes two,” or, “If he wasn’t happy in the marriage, then…..” You know the drill.

      All I know is that nobody I respect would think the two of them are wonderful. Quite the opposite.

      It would suck to be a coward screwing a heartless skank.

      • And my STBX is with a trashy skank. She was the Highschool slut at his highschool. He and his friends used to make fun of her all the time and he left me for her and is now living with her. I don’t understand why men affair down. What’s up with that?

        • They NEVER leave for someone better. I always have to remind myself of that. I’ve yet to see an abandoning husband or wife leave for someone better.

          You know why? Because you have too high of a standard for them, and they don’t want to play any more. Because they have no honor and no spine. They are all cowards. All of them.

          They are needy and they will not give to get. They have nothing to give–they only suck and suck. And you struggle to figure out why you come up short. So they find someone who seems to give without question, someone who seems not to care that they are heartless cowards–until the fraud is exposed, and one of them steps out on the other, or they passively roll over to die a slow and miserable death over decades of default together. That’s how relationships built on lies end up.

          • One of my biggest issues to work through was that it did not seem my exH “affaired down.” She is like me is MANY ways, education level, interesting profession, lived overseas, stature, hair… my daughter even gave me a list of similarities between us (in the vein of ‘dad has a type’). Only thing, she is 12 years younger than me.

            But, I am a better person than she is. She is a cheater, just like my exH. They deserve one another.

          • Amen Stephanie, they are cowards of the worst sort. Why they could not simply tell us that they wanted out of the marriage and wanted to be involved with other people is still sometimes mind blowing to me–as if our lives meant so little, as if dealing us the ultimate mindfuck is simply not a concern for them. They are monsters, anyone who could do that to their spouse is in my opinion, quite evil. They know there is a great risk that in the end we may have invested so much time, love and trust, so many decades, and be so anguished, that our lives are wasted and destroyed. But they Just. Don’t. Care. I do not know how they can operate that way or live with themselves, but they do just fine. Amazing,

            • Evil. Sick. Mentally ill even …I agree because the kaniving, the deviousness, the lying, the heartless energy it takes to actually sneak around in order to facilitate an affair is so premeditated I liken it to criminal behaviour because everything they are doing goes against the laws of ethical , social and human behaviour. To lie not only to the person who co-raises your children but also provides the means to sustain your well being , to USE somebody that has nothing but trust , compassion and exceptance for you to USE that for personal gain and satisfaction because you know they would be unsuspecting of your deviant adulteress actions. To use their means of support on all levels so you can sneak around conducting this sickening murder of a life you created with them…your husband,your children…you MURDER all they have ever known. You KILL your husbands belief in commitment , in trust, in love. You MURDER your childrens belief in security, in power of family, in the commitment of the love and trust they were conceived in…you destroy their ability to believe that they WON’T get hurt or betrayed, you instill fear in them and psychologically scar them so their lives start in distrust. Because you as their mother since the day they entered the world were suppose to be their guidance and their source of strength but instead you have taught them that betrayal is good. This is the fallout, the wreckage, the carnage …and your right Kelly they don’t see it nor do they care as long as they are never percieved as the “BAD GUY”.
              SO WHY NOT OUT THEM….could we possibly look worse then them?…that’s OUR fear …to look like a whiner…to look petty …we are worried that in society’s eyes today we come off as a sore loser. Fuck society…it’s society’s exceptance of the ” GO GET SOME ” mentality that allow’s these self serving pigs to carry on…no scorn , no judgement , no consequences. It’s US left behind that do triage , left to reassemble the crash site over and over trying to figure out what happened. Yes Kelly they walk thru the fire untouched . I know she didn’t “TRADE UP” as some are putting it here….in fact the extreme opposite and no it didn’t last or work out but like the drunken driver that chose to get in the car…the damage is already done. So I let her lie in misery that (I assume) she has but it doesn’t appear that way because just as she was able to dismiss our 22 years as if it was a restless sleep, she looked upon her affair failure as a bad date. NOTHING bothers them and that is the sign of a SICK mind. As far “outing her”- I did tell a few the truth but the best outing was her own…nothing went according to her plan and everyone knows it now. Well she still has a few frenemies that love the ongoing soap opera and thats all it is to them.

              • Ahhh, soyouseeit, your comment brings tears to my eyes. I see the same with my ex, his affairs with his long-term AP’s including one he promised to marry in the weeks after I kicked him out, have not panned out. But he has simply shrugged his shoulders and moved on. They truly have 9 lives. But I did tell after D-Day, and told and told till I didn’t feel like telling. If anyone thought it was unseemly, fuck them, what he did to me and our children was beyond “unseemly.” We are well rid of them but the pain hurts like a motherfucker, as CL says, and it’s an incredible mindfuck we have to crawl out of, (((HUGS)))

          • I think it’s the way the AP makes them feel that they love not the person. My STBXH ‘affaired down’ but I honestly believe he loves the fact that she chased him & fed his ego more than he loves her. After 14 years I didn’t worship him & adore him enough.

            • In a pure yet enjoyable violation of NC and Meh all at once, a former “friend” of my ex sent me a screenshot of main OW’s facebook profile photo, with the comment “what the f*ck was he thinking?” I was not expecting it when I opened the email, and she was just so unattractive that I literally spit out my coffee. My first thought before I could stop it– “[Ex] is not going to marry THAT, his ego won’t let him.” Turns out I was right, he has broken it off with her…..

              OK, well, back to NC and Meh! 🙂

              • I hope so. But I dunno. My stbxh isn’t the most reflective person. And I guess he is pretty invested in the idea of her being The Perfect One, since he left a lot for her. But…then again, when he left he said he was leaving nothing. So I don’t know. But I sure hope the cheaters realize it someday and regret it. (Obviously I am nowhere near meh,)

              • I think cheaters very rarely feel regret. They generally aren’t the most introspective folks to begin with, and to feel regret would mean they had to recognize they made a mistake, which is something they go to great lengths to avoid.

    • Maria,
      LOVE IT!!! One of the skanks my ex was with suddenly popped up on FB (mutual friends, small town) and then dissapeared and everyone is posting on her page “where are you? So worried!!!” Well I’ll tell you where she is, she’s back on drugs and hanging at Tom Thumb convenience store giving BJ’s for cocaine. God how I wish I could post THAT on her page but I really need to let it go. It just kills me that THIS is what he was exposing me to while acting ‘The loving BF” for 13 years! Love surely is blind.

  • Speaking of phantom things – I have no idea where that stray sentence fragment came from at the end of my first post! :\

    • I’m glad you said that cause I was wondering what the rest of that thought was. 🙂 And I liked what you said, by the way. I sorta did the same thing. (But we don’t have kids, our divorce process is going quickly, and I am not getting a big settlement or anything.)

  • Hi Tammy,

    I did the same thing. Looked for any way to “save my marriage” and went to those folks you mentioned in your post. “What was I doing wrong??” I’d ask myself. I worked really hard to try to save my marriage, all the while unknowingly doing the pick me dance. (I did all of this before I knew he was having an affair.) Once the affair became exposed I asked for a divorce. Still, it was brutally painful and yes, I wanted to “protect” his reputation during the fall out.

    You know what I came to realize? He did not read one book on how to heal our marriage or do anything else to protect me from the fall out. Nothing. In fact, he hooked up with a new girlfriend within weeks.

    It took me a long time to give my head a shake and start to tell my story to people close to me. And I did. I didn’t send out flyers but I told the people in my life if they asked how I was doing. It was a brutal story and I’m not sure that the people I told could believe it. They thought he was “so nice.” And it’s true, I cannot and did not control their reactions to that information. What they did with that was up to them.

    I’ve had some great kindness from people and I’ve had little contact with others since sharing my experience. I really appreciate those that have reached out to me and helped me. The ones that haven’t, well, I just let those ones go. I’d like them to BELIEVE me but then again, that just takes so much effort and I know my truth. I focus my gratitude on the ones that help me through.

    It has taken me a long time to know the affair was not my fault despite those who tell us otherwise. And yes, I do miss my STBX. We were together a long time. However, I come here and get support. And I do my best to look forward, not backward, working on gathering up my life. I share my experience less and less now because it’s just painful and I want to move away from that. You’ll find this is true for you. So tell people, yes and then start to focus on a good life for yourself and your children. And CL is right, you’ll be surprised at how people react and respond. But you’ll be ok. You really will be.

    Wishing you all the best.

  • Reality is a strange thing. Two people can see the same event, and have entirely different views of what was “real”. Owning, tellling, and beliving your truth is a big step towards moving into your reality. Don’t accept his, and don’t fight his. Don’t try to be vindictive (it is not as rewarding as you might imagine), don’t be hateful (hate is ugly, and can cause others to doubt your truth). Simply know your truth, accept your reality, and live your life.

    It is never too late to live in truth, for yourself.

  • I didn’t tell anyone about why we were getting divorced. I said the blanket statement that “we grew apart” and were going our separate ways.

    At the time I believed I was protecting my kids and that divorce was hard enough on them. My wife and I were friends with parents of our children’s friends, I didn’t want it to get back to my kids through gossip about their mother.

    Looking back I realize I was ashamed and in the guise of protecting my kids I was really protecting my male ego. I regret not opening up to some of my close family members and a couple of close friends of mine.

    My ex-wife was then able to continue her fraudelent image and now she is engaged to a man who is the brother of one of our “friends”. This friend is the mother of our daughter’s best friend, and I know if she knew the truth about my ex she would not have encouraged her brother into a relationship with my ex-wife.

    I regret that I hadn’t told those in my small circle at least the minimum of the truth about my wife. I feel guilty about it and at the same time know it’s too late to say anthing because who would believe me now.

    • Is it too late? I can’t believe that.

      As CL says, I wouldn’t leaflet the neighborhood, but the subject will come up with friends, and you can tell what really happened. There’s a certain air of authenticity to the truth, and your genuine emotional reaction to the truth.

      I believe you, and I don’t even know you.

      If your goal isn’t to mess up her life, nor try to win her back, and if you’re careful to refrain from displaying off-putting bitter anger or spite, then you will be heard. There is no shame on you, my friend.

      And what’s important is that she, too, knows the truth.

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think you protect your kids by letting them believe that people “just grow apart.” That makes them insecure. They need to know there are certain non-negotiables in life. Why should you wear the heavy burden of their mother’s guilt? Shouldn’t your kids know they CAN count on you?

      • I’ll agree with this. It’s not too late. And you don’t have to go into detail about the affair(s). Rather, a simple, “I didn’t really like his girlfriends” should get the message across. If they are shocked and you see they’re receptive, if you feel like it, you can tell more.

        I also agree that it’s important to tell kids in age-appropriate ways what happened.

        • Yup, important that the kids know the truth. I originally did not tell them, but as it has been been mentioned, I do not want the kids to believe believe people “just grow apart” and I want them to learn that marriage is about teamwork. With their father, when things got tough, he went elsewhere rather than talk to me.

          At this point they just know that their father had a girlfriend before we decided to get divorced. When they are older I will tell them more.

  • Please don’t feel jealous of those whose husbands wanted them back. They only come back because they think they can continue to cheat and hide it better, and/or that you are so under their control you will put up with it. That’s all it is, a total lack of respect for their spouse.

    You missing him is totally normal, you have 14 years of memories and he’s a habit. Alot of the reason you miss him really is habit believe me. You will probably go through stages of grief as you would if someone died. For me, I had to go through anger before I could put the missing him part behind me. It’s been 3 years and now sometimes I can remember the good times in the same way I do someone who died, without grief or anger. That guy I had those times with is dead, the guy who inhabits his body, the one who hurt me, he is no one I know and I don’t miss his sorry ass at all.

    • That “as if they died” part is what eventually happened with me. Not every spouse is a manipulative SOB/B from the get go , a Narc or BPD. In my case, when I looked around at the marital carnage about me, the vast majority of my marriage was everything I’d hoped it would be. For that part of my life I’m very grateful for, my X didn’t “Truly Suck” until the last year…so yeah, for some of us it is like that person truly has died…but the corpse is still staggering around.

      • I wonder how I’ll eventually reconcile the memories and love I have vs the person who was really there. Because if my husband had died I’d be able to mourn him but keep the good memories. Knowing he was serial cheater makes it hard to keep any of my good memories and I had some of the best times of my life during our relationship. It pisses me off to throw away a chunk of my life in that manner. It’s kind of like going out on a limb on a tree and then having to saw it off behind you. It’s such a clusterf*#k missing someone, pretending someone didn’t exist, having good memories that now are bad memories, being angry yet still being not far enough along to separate out the life that could have been from the one that is now.

        • There were so many times I wished my exH had died, that would be easier to deal with…
          In the end, what got me through was the knowledge that I did my best. Everything I did was for my exH, myself, and the kids. I never lied, etc, and I worked on the relationship. So, my marriage was not false, and I can hold my head high.

          • zyx321-That’s the way I feel too. I know I did my best. I also know that a couple of years from now that I will be way more meh about it.

            Just had my 20 week ultrasound today. A little sad because my STBXH would’ve been so excited to find out it’s a boy. I’m no contact which in itself is weird to do while pregnant but I’m still just not far enough away from Dday and everything else not to miss sharing the joys with someone.

            • Oh, a boy is so much fun! Congratulations! I understand your sadness, Kat, and hope you are sharing your news with family and friend who love you.

            • Congrats, Kat! Bittersweet I am sure, but your little one will be loved.
              My little boy is a sweetheart, and has really helped me get through the divorce.

              • Congrats Kat!
                This is a joyful outcome and new beginning from an ending. Wishing you lots of love and an easy delivery!

            • Congrats Kat.

              Kat, you said: “Knowing he was serial cheater makes it hard to keep any of my good memories and I had some of the best times of my life during our relationship.”

              I didn’t get there all at once but here’s how I reconciled it and can keep those good memories; During those times I was happy, it does NOT matter what he was thinking or if he was false all along. I was happy, I experienced those times. Was he cheating then? Was he really faking his happiness? I will never know, and it’s not my job to know it. I do NOT CARE if he was false, these are my memories, my life, my happiness (or sadness) belongs to me.

          • “In the end, what got me through was the knowledge that I did my best. Everything I did was for my exH, myself, and the kids. I never lied, etc, and I worked on the relationship. So, my marriage was not false, and I can hold my head high.”

            I say something like this to myself every day. Some days I don’t believe it, but eventually I hope to believe it every day.

          • zyx321 – I’ve also often thought it would have been easier on me if XH had died. It would still have been terrible, but at least I could have consoled myself on what a decent man he’d been.

            But throwing a 3rd person into the marriage? Questioning the last 25 years of my life? Being told over and over again that I’m “less than” and “wasn’t enough?” A bitter, BITTER pill to swallow.

            • Yes, Red, it is a bitter, bitter pill. My exH spent years being unhappy, claiming it was work, so I encouraged him to take a leave and try out a new job…. And my payback besides a year as a single parent: dumped for a woman 12 yrs younger, and all the claims of how I did not love him when he needed me, I hated his family, the marriage was long over… Blah, blah, blah.

              It does get better!

        • It does really mess with your head. I am trying to separate out the fact that those 5.5 years with my stbxh were my happiest so far, with the fact that he left me out of the blue for another woman. Won’t be easy to reconciling that those two extremes can co-exist… I’ve been trying to think of it a bit like the he-that-he-was is dead…but then when I see him every now and then (it’s a small community)…well, it’s just hard to accept it all. Because he is still out there, walking around and going about his happy little life with her…

        • I just came across some old photos of us at my son’s 4th birthday party.
          My XW looked happy. I thought all was well.
          10 days later I came across her writings where she expressed her desire to “stop having sex with strangers”.
          It is almost 20 years later now. My son has been through treatment for heroin addiction 4 times now.
          3 of his friends have died from it. He has hep C.
          I hope he recovers.
          I think his mom’s rejection of him may have played some role.
          Who knew this was what life had in store back then at that birthday party.

          • Arnold, I am so sorry for what your son has been through. My oldest brother was a hardcore drug addict for most of his life. He had chronic hep c for over 20 years, at one point the doctors thought he might need a liver transplant. He went through a treatment several years ago involving interferon and some other drugs, I forget which. It was experimental back then, but I think it’s regular treatment for hep c now. Anyway, by the end of the treatment, my brother registered NO hep c in his system and has had no recurrence for years.

            He’s been clean for several years now as well, but his battles with drugs lasted almost his entire life. He’s 58 now. I will pray that your son is healed from the hep c and his addiction as well.

  • Hi Tammy:
    Don’t feel jealous of all those cheaters wanting to come back. They’re not coming back for you, they are coming back for more cake.

    My STBXH – came back many times (I let him) – but each time, I would ask him, you need to go to Individual Counseling, or we need to talk about, how did we get here – what was happening in our marriage, etc. and every time, he would simply walk out AGAIN, when tough decisions or tough conversations needed to happen. And you know what it did? It would break my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME. So, no – he is doing you a big favor in not showing that he wants to come back.

    Yes, I still miss him too, or miss what I thought we had. But I have to believe in myself and that the Universe has an even better plan for me.

    Once you start believing all those qualities that you have, (successful, beautiful, intelligent) – you will be able to heal on your own and move on.

    Hang in there!

  • Tammy, as the others have said, DON’T be jealous that cheaters come back. My XH only moved out once, but like you, I listened to Mort, Homer, Michele (and others), which resulted in a two year-long “pick me” dance. It was AGONIZING, and all XH learned from it was that he could treat me like sh*t and I’d take it.

    I didn’t realize how low I’d sunk until I ran several errands one day in which EVERY man I encountered – store clerks, the pediatrician, the guy pumping gas – EVERY ONE treated me with more respect than XH. It was an eye-opener.

    That’s when it dawned on me that maybe it wasn’t ME…it was HIM.

    It’s now three years later, I’ve recovered my self esteem, and I don’t take his crap anymore. You know what? He’s pretty much stopped dishing it. When he does, I ignore him.

    Yes, I still miss the fun-loving, interesting man I married EVERY day. The lying, cheating, self-center asshole I divorced? Not one bit. The miserly, bible-thumping hypocrite he’s become? BORING AS HELL.

    I got his best years. Mine are still to come.

    • Wow, Red, THAT WAS MY EPIPHANY TOO. – That the Safeway lady was nicer to me than my own husband who was supposed to love me, and that she was being paid a minimum wage to be so.

      I went home, looked seriously, and found that bitch in about 10 minutes (having looked for her for the last 2 years).

      Then I spent the weekend asking him questions, and listening to him lie to me. My husband. My team mate. My best friend.

      There aren’t any words for this kind of pain is there.

      • No Patsy, nothing can explain it, make sense of it, or relieve it, and as CL says, it hurts like a motherfucker. I know that incredible feeling when you are looking at your husband, best friend, person you thought you would grow old with, and realize he is lying, he does not care, it was all a game, and there is no there there. It is utterly surreal.

  • I am so grateful that the ex never came back. Well, a couple weeks after BD, he tried to be a good husband for a couple of hours–marveled at what a lazy POS he’d been, then jumped up to be uber helpful around the house–until he decided that it wasn’t right for him. Once I finally asked him to leave (it took me a few weeks), and he left, he was gone. I did have him over for dinner once shortly after that–the kids were so confused and disgusted–because I thought my home cookin’ would win him back (hahahahha!). But, truly, he bailed on our family and never looked back.
    As hard as it was, I used to double over in sympathetic agony for women I knew who continued to see their walk-away spouses–to have them over to the house or, God forbid, to continue to live with them! Because I do not think I could have taken the bitter shock and horror of being left, over and over and over again. I cannot imagine being told, without words, that I was not good enough, that the whore was where his home was.

    No, better to kick him out and get on with life. Let the wound heal–albeit slowly–rather than never having the chance to repair itself.

    xH knew that I would never respect him again, and he was right. Worse would be if I’d never learned to respect myself.

  • Does the same logic apply to his friends and family? I’ve told my close friends and family the truth of my husbands cheating bc I needed all the support I could get. But I haven’t said a word to anyone on “his” side. I had dinner w two women who are married to my husbands best friends from high school and despite their inquiries didn’t say anything. I’m not trying to get him back but there does seem to be some part of me that is trying to please him. Should I tell “his side” of our friends/family?

    • I didn’t say anything to people in my ex’s family. I just told them I loved them and would miss them terribly. However, my kids told their cousins, so I know word got around. Many people in his family have kept in touch with me, which is nice. I expect them to love my ex no matter what, since they are his family. They may not be happy about what he’s done, but they still love him and support him.

    • Not sure how long ago you DDay was but I was the same way for some time. I wanted to keep her reputation intact. 23 yrs together and you want to protect. Now I’m coming up on a year since she confessed and I feel differently about all that. Until the Divorce is final I am just staying as calm as I can. I trust Karma will take care of it. I do feel for my kids though. Their sense of family is messed up. Although I did have a bright moment when my 18 yr old daughter who knows the reason for what is going on said to me in a text. She’s Insane” and the other two do question why Mom does what she does. I’m just trying to be solid base for them. I do crumble but I’m able to pull it back together much quicker.

      • I should have added, When she first moved out. I told my father in-law (who I spent alot of time with) how I feel about her and how I feel about them. I thanked them for the past 20 yrs. and how they accepted me. I also told them that I know that at some point things will probably get ugly and that they will take her side because she is there daughter and I understand why they will do that.

        • Bud, my D-day was 2 years ago, and we were together 36 years, married 31 years. I’m glad your daughter is supportive of you. It’s hard on the kids even when they’re grown. My oldest idolized his dad and was furious when he found out what was going on. However, as time has gone by I think their relationship is better. In the end I think the kids just want both parents to love them and I’m not going to stand in the way of their relationship with their dad.

          • Oh my Lyn that is a long time. As I mentioned my daughter is already pissed at her quite often but they do get along most of the time. I agree they most likely just want to be loved but don’t we all.
            I hope you are doing well and thriving. I just want it to be over so I can move forward.

          • Well as I predicted. It’s starting to get sort of ugly with the inlaws. I’m sure they don’t know the real truth. They most likely have suspicions and have heard through the rumor mill. Their other daughter is going through Divorce too. All four of their kids are divorced at least once. Infidelity most likely being part of the reason. Of course no one says anything.

            • Bud, it was the same in my ex’s family. Lots of divorces. I hope it’s all over soon for you too because it’s much easier to look forward when everything is resolved. I think there will always be sadness about how my marriage ended, but as they say everything we know about life can be summed up in three words — “it goes on. Here’s a little poem that really helps me when I’m feeling down:

              Everything hurt will be healed
              in a new light, in a new day.
              Everything lost will be found
              in a new form, in a new way.

    • The truth is the truth… If people ask, I don’t see any point in lying to them. You don’t have to be vindictive when telling the truth. It is just a matter of fact and you can state is as such. “We are divorcing because I found out is sleeping with someone else”. That’s all you have to say. It’s not your job to protect his image.

  • Tammy my H came back and told me he chose me. He told me he would do anything to make it better. He went to counselling.

    I just couldn’t get over it. IT WAS HELL.

    Turns out, I didn’t get any apology, explanation, soul searching, reassurance, story as to why this happened. It was pain on top of pain.

    Turns out, he was more attached to her than he let on and I was picking up on the lying. Of course I couldn’t get over it.

    5 awful years down the line, I found he was back in touch with her.

    You have nothing to envy. My counsellor said to me (and he has only ever had ONE true reconciliation, where the guy showed total remorse about what a shitty thing he had done):

    Patsy, you and he have taught me a lot about adding insult to injury in infidelity. And you Patsy have an astonishingly high tolerance for insult.

    Nope, nothing to envy. I now believe that Red is right. If they cheat, throw their stuff out and file. Within 24 hours.

  • As someone who did the “Pick Me Dance” many times over 10 years, I can honestly say that no matter what kind of song I did the Pick Me Dance to, it never worked. He came back, lied, promised, and never gave up the thrill of the OW. Divorced 3 weeks after 30+ years of marriage and wonderful kids!
    Imagine yourself doing the Pick Me Dance to your senior prom song, a hard rock song, regaee, a waltz, even a polka song!! Or how about to a rap song? You can dance your ass off, and still find out that you are dancing alone.
    If your cat or dog died, how long would you keep the carcass lying around the house?? When they start to smell, you know.

  • I think it is fine to tell people the truth, and I think it is actually better that it comes later when you are not angry and in shock.

    At first I simply told folks we were getting divorced, and that I had done the best I could with the information that I was provided.

    Now, 14 months later, 6 months post divorce finalization, I mention the cheating. But usually only when folks express surprise that my exH is already married, already a father again, and was moving away (he is now gone). That gave me the opportunity to say, “well, turns out the relationship began sooner than all of us knew….” or something along those lines.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Tammy your post brought tears to my eyes because your story is so similar to mine, only my marriage lasted 31 years before D-day. The feeling of “something being wrong” throughout my marriage sounds similar to your situation. My ex seemed too close to his married coworker and although it bothered me greatly, and I tried several times to tell him how much their relationship hurt me, it never stopped, he just took it underground. My ex also did all kinds of nice things to “take care of me” like yours did. He wasn’t one to talk much, so I interpreted his scraping my car windows before going to work as an act of love. I now think he did those things to assuage his guilt. When he left he blamed everything on me, and I was devastated.

    I missed/hated my ex terribly for months after he left. It’s been about 2 years since D-day now and I can tell you the pain does stop. During the worst part of it I had a friend who agreed to let me call her whenever I felt like trying to reach out and reconnect with my ex. I craved resolution, and explanation, etc. Over time those feelings went away and I began to look forward instead of behind, so just hang in there.

    Whenever you start to enjoy your new life more than you miss the old one you will know you’ve healed. The time will come, just hang in there. You sound like a lovely person, one who is full of loyalty, compassion, and empathy. You will meet someone who values those qualities some day, and you’ll realize how much better a relationship can be with someone who appreciates you.

  • Tammy, stop protecting your ex and start protecting yourself. He cheated, lied and devastated you. There is no reason to hide that kind of pain, and certainly no reason to let him off the hook for his actions. Letting the people who care about you know the truth lets those people reach out and take care of you. Don’t deprive yourself of that, it’s really important after such devastating betrayal. And fuck those who take his side, refuse to believe or blame you.

    As for the cheater coming back, yeah, mine did that about six months after dday. The bogus reconciliation lasted around eight months. He was more emotionally abusive during those eight months than ever before. I finally realized the obvious truth: the only reason he “came back” was to get out of paying support. His plan was that I would move back into our house, I would work full-time and support him while he pursued his acting career. None of it had ANYTHING to do with loving me, caring about our marriage, being a good father or a good person. It was a complete con game from the start. Not only that, it became clear that he was still cheating, that he felt NO remorse whatsoever, that he blamed ME for everything and that he planned on eventually dumping me anyway.

    You are better off that he didn’t come back, believe me and everyone else here. The OW who “won” your ex is in for a nasty surprise one day, and serves her right.

    Tammy, why don’t you go out today and buy YOURSELF a nice gift, then treat yourself gently and start telling people the truth.

    • Wow that’s brutal… I guess I should count my blessings that I get to move on. My nice treat would likely be simply getting my hair done… I havent exactly looked my best lately! Take good care!

  • Oh, and Tammy, tell people about the affair, but start with people who are close to you and “on your side.” You won’t have to tell many before word spreads. There’s no reason to protect his reputation any more. I make it a point to say “we’re divorced because my husband was having an affair” in the most unemotional voice possible. People never ask me to elaborate, but they don’t seem uncomfortable because I’m so matter of fact about it.

  • Tammy
    I am relatively new to this site and am 10months from Dday. I too did the pick me dance at the start but fortunately stopped when I realized the real me before his emotional abuse would not have tolerated the shit and humiliation. I made sure people knew the truth about why we are no longer together. The OW can believe the lies he’s told her and I’ve decided I don’t even want to tell her my side of the story. She will find out for her herself – her karma. I too have been envious of others here whose exes came back but now I realize he did me a favor by saving me the time and energy in trying to stay married to a sparkly shallow POS who didn’t deserve me.

  • Tammy, please let me add another voice to the chorus saying that you have nothing to be jealous about! My XH never left after the Ddays (yep, more than 1) and begged me not to leave. From my perspective, it is so difficult to 1) physically leave and 2) emotionally move on when your cheater wants to stay and, at least on the surface, is doing all the right things (IC, transparency, ending the affair etc).

    I find that generally we chumps are big believers in redemption and give the people we love too many chances to rise to their purported potential. We tell ourselves, “If only I give him a bit more understanding and time, he will actually start become the man he has always professed to be!” It took me many years to pluck up the courage to leave – I only recently did – and it was by far the hardest thing I ever did – made infinitely harder by my sparkly XH begging me not to go.

    Along with believing in redemption, in my experience, chumps are also very empathetic and hate to see the person we love most in the world upset (because let’s be honest, we ALWAYS love our cheating spouse more than ourselves) and we would do anything to take away their pain, even if that means staying in a marriage where we are disrespected, endangered and emotionally abused. So even though it may not feel like a blessing that he left and took away your choice, Tammy, please trust that it is.

    As for telling people, I like this quote from Anne Lamott, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    PS Chumplady, I cannot adequately describe how much this site, and the fellow chumps here, have raised me up in my darkest hours. I am so incredibly grateful for finding this site recently. This site helped me take the leap of faith and finally leave the cheater. I’m excited to be on step 2 – gaining a life!!

    Kudos to you CL for taking an incredibly difficult personal experience and turning it into a triumph by helping so many of us navigate these scary and lonely waters. The support network here is amazing so thank you to you all as well.

    • Today it is exactly 1 year from DDay for me.
      In the UK it is bonfire night. We remember Guy Fawkes attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament which was prevented.
      How ironic my ex chose to blow up our marriage on this same night.
      He’s on holiday with the troll and her 4 kids while I’m trying to get on with life.
      Only now, 12 months down the line do I see small chinks of light at the end of the tunnel.
      I’m still headed for a legal case over my daughter. He’s still trying to maintain the “I’m a good dad image”.
      But I look at how far I’ve come in 12 months and it shocks me.
      One quote that kept me going was from the film Rocky Balboa.
      “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth”.
      Keep moving forward and do what you need to do.
      We are all worth it.
      They are not.
      End of story.

      • I just recently watched that movie with my 12 yr old son. I remember that very scene and thinking to myself “Wow That’s good” thanks for reminding me…..

        Funny how now movie lines and song lyrics seem to jump out at me now. I never paid that much attention to song lyrics in the past, I was always more interested in the music part of it. But now they jump out.

    • Love the Anne Lamott quote. I would love to use that to my STBXH in response to one of his self pitying rants about how horrible I am for not forgiving his shitty behaviour (he cheated but I called him names which is obviously far, far worse) but as I currently NC on everything except the divorce I may never get the chance. Ah well.

      • My STBX does the same thing. He cheated on me w prostitutes both before and during our marriage and after giving him another year of my life to show that he could demonstrate some degree of understanding of what he’d done to me and our family, to show some genuine remorse (he couldn’t), I filed for divorce. And now I am the evil witch who didn’t give him a chance. Really?
        I have also gone NC essentially and it’s made life a lot easier bc I don’t have to get into these ridiculous arguments w him. It’s hard though to be characterized as the “bad guy” – I’m working on just understanding that no degree of discussion w him, no matter how persuasive, will convince him that HE is the one that made these choices and everything has flowed from that point.

        • Yes, I remember those circular arguments that seemed to always come back to everything being my fault. Very exasperating!

  • Tammy, add me to the long list above. Nothing at all to envy about wanting to come back. My ex always wanted to come back, as if there was a revolving door. Visualize this for 23 wasted years – pain, more pain, and by the way, more pain. Now, the revolving door has been super-glued and the pain is gone. I don’t miss him at all. I can’t even remember his good qualities because his consistent choice (and yes, it’s a choice) to act from his lowest self overshadowed every good thing he may have done.

    With the first affair, I protected my ex by telling a very few people. By the second one, more found out because I filed for divorce and withdrew it when he begged to come back. By the third, anyone who mattered found out (through me or through his parading his OW around town) and now he’s trying really hard to redeem himself by telling people he really feels badly about what happened. And also trying to pretend that he met the OW after the divorce. Even their respective FB page status was updated 8 months after the affair started (per report from friends, I don’t look at all at their FB as part of my no contact rule). The lies continue. I am amused.

    So, Tammy, tell the truth when people ask. As someone here has posted, “if it’s not too bad to do, why is it too bad to tell?” The truth really sets you free. It allows you to live an authentic life.

  • Tell the truth to whomever you please. And if your divorce is not finalized yet and IF it will make any difference in your court case (some states it doesn’t) as far as the property division, PLEASE get PI evidence of his adultery and use it.

    When they get into lust crazed dementia, they are truly like the worst meth-heads or crack (no pun intended) addicts. They will brutally remove any obstacle between them and their “fix, ” including a once loved spouse.

    They will also rob you blind if you allow it. Please put your business hat on an protect yourself. We all know the grief and anger you are experiencing, but I SWEAR to you, you will get past this huge “shit bomb” he has dropped onto you.. and come to realize that you can have a happy and fulfilling life without Cheaty McFucktard.

    Best of luck, honey, we know how you are hurting. We also know there is LIFE (a GOOD life) after having been cheated on…..

    • In the state of Virginia, if you can prove adultery (you need a PI for this), you can get an immediate divorce, no 1 year separation. It completely blew me away that you cannot get this immediate divorce if you prove domestic abuse, it’s only for adultery. When I looked into why, it was all about a man’s rights. The law remains on the books and is for all of us now, it just still freaks me out that domestic abuse has never been added to that statute. The patriarchy, it is alive and well.

    • You are right and too late for me… yes he robbed me blind too. I am just walking away with whatever is there as I do not want a long legal battle. And he has been palnnign htis for a long time so he is always two steps ahead of me (or more). I am looking forward to that “good” life!!

  • Oh Tammy – pull your friends close and tell, tell, tell. His secrets are your life.

    My girlfriends rallied in the most amazing ways. Each brought their own perspective to the situation – each brought their own redemptive healing energy. Shockingly, my handful of very, very conservative friends, the ones I was certain would propose reconciliation, were the most ardent supporters of divorce. Also, after 26 years of marriage, my closest friends felt very invested in the relationship and they ALL felt betrayed. Really, all the friends reeled from the news – and all of them stayed with me and the kids.

    And, about the ones who want to come back… That is my ex. He told some golfing buddies just a few weeks ago that he was going to win me back. What he forgets to tell these people – and frankly, forgets to tell himself, is that he would love to come home if he could bring his girlfriend with him. He longs for the years of cake. He misses the years of cake. He thinks if he can just ease back into this sweet house that the cake will be waiting.

    • Paula, you are very lucky your friends rallied around you. I had some that did too, but sadly I have been very disappointed in many! My ex and I had a large group of couple friends in our neighhbourhood and when he left me, many of them have tried to be neutral, sit on the fence etc. One friend even said to me ” that good friends will support both of you.” I still struggle with this. They saw what he did to me and the kids and they still are friends with him also. Another thing now that I have been having to deal with, is whenever that group of friends has an event, they invite both of us and feel that it is up to us to decide who attends between us. I have let them no that I don’t have any contact with him and that I have no intention of calling him and duking it out as to which one of us attends. I don’t have time for that but it feels like the ‘pick me dance’ happening with the friends and I can’t stand it. They even tolerate him bringing the skank with him and I find that intolerable. This year, I told them flat out that I wouldn’t be doing this anymore, and not to invite or expect me to attend the Christmas party. If it takes that to get this out of my life and have peace, then I feel i must let them all go, which makes me sad, but it doesn’t feel like I got the support that I needed or expected from my ‘so called’ friends. They have taken my stepping out of the group, as an affront or snub, but they really just don’t get it. They feel that I’ve been trying to get them to pick sides, and maybe I have been. I just don’t understand how they could watch him abandon me and the kids, hurt and devastate us, and still like him or want to be in his company. Any comments? Do you believe “that good friends should support both couples?”

      • movingon51 – Nope – good friends support the one who needs support. That would be you. You deserve them to rally around you. You were wronged.

        I’m sorry your friends would not make the honest and correct stand. It becomes a question of character. It truly sucks that your friends would take the a
        easy path and not come to your side.

        Again, I am so sorry.

        • Thank you, Paula. Yes, it sucks and saddens me greatly. I have known a lot of the women for years and
          we raised our children together . We called it our ‘sisterhood’ and I’ve supported them through a lot including cancer. I felt their ‘ neutrality’ to be really lacking and it opened up my eyes to what these ‘friendships’ really were… Or were not. They don’t see it that way however. It’s all water under the bridge now but I will never look at those relationships the same again!

  • Tammy,

    You remind me of myself when I was confronted by this last D-Day – wanting to be the bigger person, taking hits from the hopium pipe and thinking that if I became even more of a doormat (at that point, I was already enough of a doormat where I could have covered a wrap-around porch at the “Big House” on a southern plantation) I could somehow save my marriage. I had been convinced, you see, that he was unhappy because I was simultaneously too much of and not enough of every fucking thing.

    Before I moved out, I continued to cook, do laundry, I took him out for his birthday (I paid for it), continued to type his reports and did everything I could to convince him he was making a mistake. At that point, I was so abused, so beat down, so convinced that he was so much better than anything I deserved that I couldn’t imagine surviving without him and his kind regard. I was in so much pain when I left him that I thought each breath I took would be my last. None of them were. I understand your feelings of finding it difficult to “get over” your husband. This has been a struggle for me as I am sure it has been for many others. You can begin the process like I did if you like – I had to remove my mind and heart from the Fortress of Solitude which it had constructed and face the kryptonite which was the reality of my marriage.

    In the book “But He Never Hit Me,” Dr. Jill Murray says that “most people prefer the certainty of misery than the misery of uncertainty.” All I can tell you Tammy is that each day, if you look honestly at the despicable and reprehensible way in which your husband repaid your love, fidelity and devotion, you will begin to unravel those feelings of attachment. You will always miss those good times, but in time it will be more like a really good place you were able to visit and had a good time, and not the acute ache you are probably feeling now.

    As far as telling the truth, of course you tell the truth. It is not necessary to become the town crier like the little guy in Gulliver’s Travels. However, there is a saying going around the internet that says that if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. You are not only entitled to speak your truth but it is necessary and mentally healthy that you do so. You’re the only one who can tell your truth – how people receive that is their problem and not under your control. To paraphrase: The people who matter will believe you and the ones who don’t believe you don’t matter.

    Good luck to you Tammy and it actually does get better. One day soon that little blurb that keeps popping up on Facebook will apply to you: “Remember that person you thought you couldn’t live without? Look at you, livin’ and shit.” 🙂 (((Hugs))).

    • “…if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. You are not only entitled to speak your truth but it is necessary and mentally healthy that you do so.”

      Love this, Princess!

    • Indeed just like you I felt this was going to be the death of me… seriously! But through CL and kind, supportive people here on this site (which I so wish I had found earlier) I have improved more in two weeks than I have in the past 9 or so months. Thanks!

      • Dr. Jill Murray says that “most people prefer the certainty of misery than the misery of uncertainty.”

        Forgot to say I love this… (there is so much truth in it)

    • “I had been convinced, you see, that he was unhappy because I was simultaneously too much of and not enough of every fucking thing.” That is the best sentence I have ever seen to sum up our telationships! Thank you….

  • I think Chump Princess, above, says it well when she writes:

    “As far as telling the truth, of course you tell the truth. It is not necessary to become the town crier like the little guy in Gulliver’s Travels.”

    Tammy, you have been too generous toward another person and not generous enough to yourself. Time to change that. At the same time, I wouldn’t waste much time expecting some kind of revenge from truth-telling. I seriously doubt that your ex’s reputation is quite as wonderful as it may look to you right now. In any case, who cares? The ultimate goal is “Meh.” Not caring. Having moved on. The sheer tranquility that comes from indifference (or at least relative indifference). And don’t berate yourself for all your efforts to save the marriage. Yes, you probably overdid it, but you also can say in good conscience that you tried hard to save it. Clearly, this marriage could not be saved.

    So, now time to start moving on. Feel free to be angry, to tell your story matter of factly. And while it won’t be easy, you will be headed toward Meh. You are clearly a good and dedicated person. So dedicate those energies to folks who deserve them: yourself, your family, your children and, though it may seem impossible now, some of the interesting people who will come along. You’ll have a far more refined friend/intimate friend detector now, and that’s great. A better life beckons. Time to start building it!

    Chump Son

  • Gee Tammy my situation is just the opposite. H is cheating in an EA that I would never know about if I hadn’t found the “secret” cell phone. Occassionally we fight about this (I am the one who brings up her name) and he denies it and won’t leave or do anything about it. I am the one who will have to do all the heavy lifting, move out, file for divorce. And when I do I will tell my in laws (my friends know already as do my sisters) and all our mutual friends and post on facebook and will send a short cryptic note to OW posted onher facebook page as well. and yes I expect him to come whining back at some point.

  • Tammy, I did exactly what you did. It was only when I read the emails and messages between them that I saw the REAL TRUTH. The truth sets you free.
    I went on all those sites hoping this nightmare would end in the next hour. That she would come to her senses. They just are not living in reality.

    Two important things happened to me. A wife of a close friend grabbed me by the arm, held tight and said ” Baci, you must become selfish! Forget all this caring for others. Forget her. You come first, then the boys. Forget her. You cannot save her”
    Of course this is spot on advise but hard to put into practice. We virtually need a ‘haha moment.

    Tell the truth. Expose to whoever you want to. It’s about you now. Don’t protect or re write history as they will.

    One of the important aspects of this site are the number of people ahead of us in this journey. Their experience give us new chumps hope. There is a future without our cheaters.

    We think the cheaters care about us but they don’t. Their behaviour is so abstract. It’s almost unbelievable- they may as well be a double headed monster. We just don’t see it at the time.

    They want to play the victim. Have insurance in case their new relationship doesn’t work and for a time we get sucked into their world. But in time we hopefully see the reality of the situation and act appropriately to protect ourselves and our children( if we have them)

    Good luck

    • You are right, Baci, it is a crazy and sick universe our cheating exes live in. Until we step out of and away from that upside down world it is hard to see just how pathological it is, and how harmful to us.

      Tammy, these cheaters are so disordered, and we are so chumpy, that they convince us that up is down and black is white….why else would we keep their sordid little secrets and lie to our families, children and friends? Why would we think that appeasing them and helping them with their affairs will somehow help us? When did we become liars and so fearful of the truth? Tammy, step away, seriously, go toward the light. And part of the light is telling and living in the TRUTH, (which I vowed I would never fail to do again as long as I live, after the decades of lies from my ex, which I accepted and thus enabled).

      There is a line from a Jodi Piccoult book, something about it takes two people to make a lie work, the person who tells it and the person who believes it. I’d add a third person, the chump who repeats the lie while knowing it is a baldfaced lie, to appease the liar. So many of us chumps accepted the lies, or even lied for our cheaters, before we realized our worth. Realize your worth Tammy, reject crazy world, and part of that process is not telling HIS lies.

      • Kelly – I have come to feel this way as well. I look back now and feel that sustaining is lies has been really damaging to me. I will be living in the truth as you say for now on.

    • I never got to read the actual texts, what I read was the phone bill. Seconds apart over and over and over, for hours and hours and hours every day. And our relationship was too hard work for him! Of course it was, he didn’t ave any time!

      • I have many text and email- “oh darling I can’t wait to be together. You are my future my everything ohhhh my darling”. Pass me a bucket so I can chunder!
        It’s like some Shakespearen piece. It’s two middle aged people in fantasy land.

        BUT IMPORTANTLY for me it was the truth. The only thruth. The shit coming out of groceries mouth was just lies, guilt , and lots of cake request. Sorry BAKERY CLOSED- NOW FUCK OFF and leave us alone. ( sorry but sometimes the only way you can tell someone to leave you alone is effectively use the F word

        • After dday, I found a few notes and cards from the OW to my ex hidden in his closet. One was a Christmas card she’d given him shortly before dday. She’d written how “even though we can’t be together that often, when we are, it’s SO PERFECT.” A bunch of other pap about how wonderful he was. She’d actually dotted all the “i”s with little hearts, I fucking kid you not.

          She also gave him a darling little note about how she “couldn’t wait to be the one making your morning coffee.” Barf. A few other cards as well.

          Although it’s been years since I’ve actually seen those notes, they are apparently indelibly burned into my brain, because I can still vividly remember them. At the time I discovered them, I started shaking so hard I had to sit down to keep from falling.

          • I have those same exact notes. The hand written “I Love You” from the hotel from where they first had sex – because it was always in hotel rooms. The I Love You was surrounded in hand drawn hearts and came 2 months after they started up. Needy AND immature. She’s 36 and he’s 39. Have all those cards with same messages – and he had the nerve to accuse me of going through his stuff when he left them in OUR garage.

          • How painful! I am sorry you had to see those. I have imagined those but never had the misfortune to read them. I know they exist… Of course…

            • I never got to read any of those either but my 13 year old daughter did ….yes Wondermom decided not to use the computer that both her and I would normally use she decided to use our daughters computer in her room and left her (quote from daughter at 16) “F’ing disgusting emails” open. She confessed this to me thru yet another emotional breakdown she was dealing with and distraught with guilt for blaming me for the marriage failure knowing what she read. Seeing your child go thru that because of their own mother’s behaviour is sickening.

  • Tammy,

    My STBXW was a great wife and mother for 18 years. When her affairs started she became someone I did not sign on with. She was not really the person I thought she was. Half truths, rejection, using me financially, emasculating me, etc. They will not change back. What really sucks is that I equate it to a bank robber telling the police that he won’t give the money back unless they give him more money. In other words they don’t rationalize empathy.

    He doesn’t respect you…You are now a chump to him like the rest of us. STOP BEING THE CHUMP AND LEAVE!
    If you stay with a cheater, you are the enabler which empowers them to justify what they are doing. It will only get worse. You’re not leaving to punish them. You’re leaving to find someone who doesn’t cheat. You’re better off being alone than being with a cheater. Who cares who knows. All that matters is you know and you can expalin it to your kids at appropriate ages.

  • Here’s a halfway decent way to disclose without looking toonuts or vindictive( I posted this once before, so I will try to shorten it).
    First , a betrayed spouse, IMO, needs to get real and realize that post cheating there is going to be a PR campaign going on by the cheater, designed to make you look like the bad guy, the guy who deserved to be cheated on, the one who drove him or her to it.
    Accept this , as I have seen it myriad times(there are some exceptions, though).
    But, anyway, one of the ways a cheater attempts to make you look bad is to point to your behavior post discovery, as beiing representative of your behavior during the marriage. (read up on “fundamental attribution error” in Wiki , for an explanation of how this works).
    So, in addition to not erupting and acting nuts upon discovery, one, also, has to be very conscious of how one comes off in disclosing.
    You go out there and start making unsolicited proclamations, even when they are true, and folks see you as unbalanced and vindictive- just the thing the cheater wants to support his/her allegations re your deficiencies/nuttiness.
    So, finesse the deal. Work the disclosure of the infidelity in more subtly.
    Here is how I handled it(and, I suspect with the candlepower of the folks who post here, others can come up with even better ways):
    I would get an inquiry from a mutual acquaintance who had heard of the impending divorce as to how I was doing, how are things going etc.
    My response would be along the lines of ” Much better, now. The affairs through me for a loop, but, I am getting past them and feeling better”.
    I’d get puzzled looks and further inquiry: “Affairs? You mean L was cheating on you?”
    Response: ” Oh, man, I thought you knew, as it was fairly widley known. Yeah, it was a bitch finding out” etc
    See, no direct disclosure , just an innocent appearing reference to the infidelity that drew further inquiry. Ths method serves a couple purposes.
    1) It makes it look like the disclosure was incidental, not vindictive or by design.
    2) The reference to the widespread knowledge is , often, accepted as truth, thus lending credibility to you allegation.
    Is it somewhat devious and manipulative? I guess so. But, this is a war for your reputation and you are dealing with someone who does not fight fair. Do what you have to to get the info out while remaining looking normal and rational.

    • Arnold, eventually…you probably won’t care what she says about you because you don’t share the same orbits (ethically, spiritually, etc). She’ll just be somebody else who you left behind because it was the only healthy thing to do.

      In fact, if in the off-chance something she says about you that isn’t flattering gets back to you, you will think it’s just weird she goes on spinning because you are no longer involved in any sort of relationship with her. It might take more time if you have kids, but after a while… it’s going to be strangely amusing and pitiful at the same time (is there a one-word emotion that describes that?), I bet.

    • Arnold you are one cool dude!

      God how I wish I could be so calm and just get on with it. I know you have had to take the higher ground and be there for your kids and I think that’s what people see. They go wow that guy and his kids got dealt a shit sandwich and coughed and spluttered but he just got on with it. I’m showing glimpses of it. I’m so much calmer now and just doing the right stuff with the boys.

      Just ignore the cheaters until they doubt their own existence.
      It takes a little time to figure out you’re better off without them and what real arseholes they are

  • Tammy, I’m new to the chump world. It’s all fresh for me. My D-Day was a month ago, yet I was lucky enough to search sites which would help me to deal with it. I realize that I will not need strait jacket what I need it’s army behind me. That’s when I found CL, straight forward no sugarcoat ing. People here know what they are talking about, all been there or going through.
    My X stayed away for almost whole spring and summer ( 5 year relationship, we were not married ) busy with work, kids, him teaching. So I did not suspect anything wrong was going on. We kept in touch through FaceTime, phone, txt… Than a call came from him that he is moving to another State, changing jobs. What got my radar going it was the tone of his voice. It’s like he was talking to his buddies not me. So he asked to pick up some of his stuff, no problem. That’s when I got this pain in my got, there is something more to it. It was different feeling than I would say I was sorry to see him go, or the feeling I had when my husband passed away, no this one was way, way to strong and twisting.

    I called him the day he was to pick up his stuff to check what time he will be here, I got some lame excuse. Asked him if he be staying over? Got another excuse. Jokingly I txt him he should ask his girlfriend to help him pack-“I will” it’s what I got back. Before I left for work called him again just to say ” I will make it easy on you, since you have no guts to face me. All of your stuff will be in a garage”. Later that night I txt him to see if he got what he needed and what to do with other shit he left behind? Crickets…
    Finally I asked, is the another women in your life? Crickets ( no surprise since that was his way of avoiding strait answer)
    I fired up last e-mail and last txt to him “You are a lier, cheater and you broke my heart!!! Five years threw away because something new and shiny came along? If this what you want that’s fine , Go in peace” no responds again … My gut pain lifted. Yet my heart ache.

    Week later text comes in “Can his friend could stop by to pick up something he remember that he needs”. My blood is boiling now. Since I was reading CL blog by now I was not about to do the pick me up dance. I responded to his stupid txt” Don’t put your friend in the middle of this if you want it so bad come and get it FACE ME you COWARD” – “What ever Never mind” what came back from him.
    It hurt me so much since he was such nice person, blah blah u know the rest.
    I found pic of him an OW on FB wall ( he never want to take pic with ) he new I don’t go on FB since I don’t like to much of the drama going on there. So NC as CL said.
    Up and down emotions , sleepless nights not eating. Only saver is this blog and my friend who went through this same with her XH.
    I told people at work I will explain my acting strange lately when I’m ready to talk. I gain my strength and I was ready to tell without falling apart I explained what had happened. All of them were surprised for his actions and not surprised to see me act different.
    Month to a date email comes from him with a link to some restaurant. Caption “you will like this place”. My reaction WTF?! No he is MindFing with me…. Once more I responded to his e-mail in two languages, just in case he is not get it.

    “Why u insist on inflicting more pain? U threw me away the day u decided to have u new relationship, one step u forgot it was to end with me. I would understand better. Now i just don’t know who to trust or will i ever again?
    just so u know i lost 10lbs within one week. My sleeping pattern is messed up, I feel very betrayed. And this what hurts the most B. It was not easy to learn within one week that u were leaving and when I came to terms with that the affair what got me angry. So I’m not sure if this makes u happy or is it helping u in anyway to justify ur actions, I just needed to get this off my chest.
    Do You have a new Girlfriend? Take care of her stop looking for adventures you will only find trouble”.
    I’m not doing the pick me up dance, she can have him!

    Tammy I was on both sides- Lost my husband that pain was bad, yet betrayal it’s much worse. I don’t want him back in my life, I don’t want to put myself through this pain over and over again… So like Phoenix, I’m rising from the ashes he created.
    You will be Ok, and don’t carry the guilt of his Fuckups! Tell anyone you feel needs to know.

  • You are only a month into this. Go ahead and grieve, cry, scream whatever it takes to get it out. Believe and know It will get better.

  • New to this Blog. Absolutely love it. Was married to my ex for twenty years when out of the blue he announced he wanted a divorce. The last two years of my marriage were hell I JUST COULD NOT PIN down why. And then it all made sense. He was cheating with his racquetball partner a woman who studdied marriage and family counseling and owned a racquet club out of state. Our children were devastated. He destroyed us financially. Walked out on the mortgage, stole all the money from savings(college funds), and started living like he won the lottery. Ah New Love. I realized he had issues because he always belittled me and he always needed people to recognize him. Those last two years he spent unraveling our finances. He f*@ked me and hey I love sex when it’s between intimates but I always felt used. I found the HIV test when I was trying to educate myself re our destroyed finances. Five years out and he is still Sparkly and I am still fighting his lawyer to finish up the QDRO. Best thing about my marriage. My children. Who deserve a better father. And second best thing. My half of his pension. As for him and his new wife I wish them the best. They absolutely deserve one another.

  • Dear Chumplady,
    After 9 months of excruciating pain in putting up with my 51 years old husband frolicking around down with his “32 year” old soon to be divorced OW, i mustered up enough courage to track down her soon to be ex-husband.. i thought! He was totally unaware of the affair, turns out she is 24 years old (one year younger than his daughter from his first marriage) and now my STXH is threatening me with suicide, destroying my career by causing a scene at my place of work ( I work in the Middle East where its very conservative and women dont really have that many rights)… I’m scared and actually buying into the threats cos if i lose my job i will have to face a tough time with my 7 year old daughter plus the social stigma! Oh well, i know i did the right thing after months of being made a laughing stock of and being lied to and cheated on over and over again and him actually telling me ” u know what ur problem is.. u r too much into me”… God that hurt! So now i have signed out and no longer that much into the MF****r. Thanks fellow chumps… i hope i can overcome this fear of being “destroyed” by the one who wronged me acting as if i have wronged him.. Oh and the karma bites bit … the OW turned around and has claimed to her husband that he was hounding and harassing him.. now that a laugh! all the explicitly detailed sex-ting hidden by NQValut have been forgotten… and he is supposedly her friend’s father! I’m sure that’s karma kicking his Ba**s if has any… hope i survive the night and then another day and another.. Glad its really and finally over and i did the right thing by her husband who unfortunately is a young 27 year old who does not what to believe that his wife has been f888ing a 51 year old lothario… sigh..

  • Anita, I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through and I truly hope you don’t lose your job. You will get support here at this site.

    • Thanks Maria… I used the FB to get to the OW too.. she was busy posting her pictures and sending coded messages to him and he like a fool was busy commenting on the same while her poor husband was standing by and watching! Thank U FB for the opportunity to get the news of my STXH and his w%$^& to the one person who could really damage… though a bit taken aback why the guy just doesnt want to believe.. another chump in the offing! So far no news that he’s killed himself cos he cannot take the shame.. Shame? shame? r u f-ing kidding me.. shame that your w$%^’s husband found out.. how about me living in agony… begging pleading pacifying grovellin sexing and what not after finding u were sha**ing some one 13 years younger to me… guess what ? she’s 21 years younger… on second thought LOL…i thought 32 was baaaaad.. and i just laughed out when i heard 24! It just didnt hurt anymore cos it sounded so ridiculous.. and pathetic and really really sick! I rock at work … and i’ve build up a good amount of goodwill at work too.. on second thoughts, middle eastern culture is very high on family values and adultery is openly frowned upon.. if u are an expatriate just staying in the country on a work permit, u had better tow the moral and cultural line.. so i guess no matter what he does he has more to lose than me.. and i have the peace finally that i did right by me.. that i stood up for me and with dignity call their game off…. Game over Cheaters… no matter what the whore finally convinces her poor chump husband about her lover..i have the satisfaction of knowing that their stupid hateful hurting mind games are over.. now do whatever u have been doing the last 9 months out in the open and lets see karma catchin up… while i and my daughter get to meh land…

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