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Dear Chump Lady, She knew cheating was a deal breaker…

Dear Chump Lady,

I have experienced infidelity three times in my life. The first time happened when I was 12, I helped kick my father out of our house because he was a serial cheater. You can only imagine the emotional shit storm that followed as a young boy.

My second bout of cheating happened to me with my long-term girlfriend in high school/college. I caught her fucking her art professor in our house. I left immediately.

The third and most recent has involved my wife of 10 years. She told me on April 20 of this year that she was pregnant and she did not know who the father was. She confessed to having a one year affair with a former coworker and since D-Day has made every effort to put this affair behind her in order to move on with her life, and she wants me in it.

I have heard every textbook answer to why she did it — needs were not getting met in the bedroom, she felt wanted and alive during the affair, I was grumpy. She has also shared with me why I should forgive her — she says she has forgiven me for mistakes that I have made in the past, she says she made a mistake and she will never do it again it, it wasn’t worth it, it’s not that big of a deal that I’m making it out to be, etc.

I believe that my wife is truly remorseful and I do think that reconciliation could be possible. I’m seven months past D-Day and here’s my problem, my wife knew early on in our relationship that infidelity has created emotional scars almost my entire life. She knew that cheating was my one “thing” and she made the choice to fuck her coworker anyway.

I have made the decision to wait and see if reconciliation is even possible. Am I a chump in the worst way?
By the way, my wife had miscarriage in May. I will never know if that child was mine or her coworkers!!



Dear DNAChump,

So let’s recap. She cheated for a year. She blames you for not “meeting her needs” in the bedroom and for your crime of grumpiness. She feels entitled to your forgiveness because “you make mistakes too.” And for our crowning indignity, she says getting pregnant and not knowing who the father was “is not that big a deal.”

And you want to know if reconciliation is possible?

How exactly do you think she’s “truly remorseful”? Because she said her affair wasn’t “worth it”? Does any cheater ever think that statement actually makes chumps feel better?  Implied is it that could be worth it. She tried it, and naaah, it wasn’t worth it. But she was totally cool with gambling with your well-being to find out.

She’s not a wife, she’s a horse trader. This concept of “love” means you’ll do unless she finds a better deal out there. Wouldn’t you rather be loved for who you are? Even if your stock falls? Even if you’re grumpy? “It wasn’t worth it” is all about HER. The fact that you had a painful history of chumpdom didn’t even enter into her thoughts. Really, this is the best “sorry” she can do?

Look, even if she was sorry (she’s not) you still do not owe her reconciliation. You are entitled to your deal breakers. I think this is very hard for chumps, the idea of boundaries and enforcement. You CAN say NO. What happens then? Well, she’ll probably cast you as the bad guy. That weighs on you. She knows that. That’s why her “remorse” is pretty sloppy.

Your wife wants this false equivalency. She should be forgiven, because you make mistakes too. She wants reconciliation and you’re the bad guy if you don’t give it to her because, hey, she’s SORRY.

How about humility? How about you don’t owe her forgiveness or reconciliation? Cheating is about entitlement — and it never fails to shock me how cheaters after committing the most entitled of acts, infidelity, then go on to feel entitled to reconciliation. Well OF COURSE I deserve to be forgiven. OF COURSE I can have my old life back without consequences.

What are her consequences? Having to do the kabuki theater of her remorse? Living with a guy who is probably a hell of a lot more grumpy now? Oh, and by the way, naming your “grumpiness” as a reason for cheating is an implied threat — if you’re grumpy now, oh boy, watch out — she might cheat on you if you don’t keep that grumpy thing on a leash.

What’s missing in her “remorse” is humility. An acknowledgement that she doesn’t control the outcome. That you would be perfectly within your rights to dump her. That this isn’t your fault. That it’s not equivalent to anything you did or did not do. That getting pregnant, or possibly pregnant, with another man’s child is a fucking deal breaker. It’s BAD. “Wasn’t worth it” does not begin to convey that her vicious gut kick of betrayal was BAD.

You can’t reconcile with this. You can wait months for the unicorn to appear, but you need to realize this is who she is. This. Is. Who. She. IS. A narcissistic cheater who only feels sorry for herself.

DNAchump — IMO, you need to find a good therapist and work on your FOO (family of origin) stuff and your picker. This is not your fault, but I worry that maybe you’re drawn to narcissistic people given your history with your serial cheating dad. That this lack of reciprocity, this air of entitlement somehow feels natural to you. Chumpdom is NOT a permanent condition. Don’t worry that you’re doomed to a life of it. There are good people out there deserving of your love, who will reciprocate in kind. Your wife is not one of them.

Please do what your 12 year old self did — throw the bum out.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • A one year affair? How did it end? Why did it end? Did her AP dump her?

    Regardless, she knew that cheating was the worst thing she could do to you based on your past and she still did it. She could’ve handled her ‘unhappiness’ in so many different ways but she chose the one way that she knew would hurt the most.

    For just that I say she deserves to be dumped.

      • That’s exactly it. Certainly cheating is a deal breaker that shouldn’t have to be explicitly stated, but in your case and your history, you KNEW how damaging cheating is/was first hand and as such made that known upfront. She could have done anything else to get happy, including voicing her unhappiness and let’s work togther to see what we can do. Instead she chose the VERY thing you said was bad bad bad AND she did it for a year!!!!! It takes a special type of evilness to keep up the charade and not crumble under the weight. She chose to do the very thing to you that you said please don’t ever do and she demonstrated for a year how good a liar she is – how could you possibly trust her now but more importantly, she knew exactly what would her you and CHOSE to do it anyway.

    • Cut your loss and kick her to the curb. You can do much better. Your integrity and core values will thank you for it!

  • CL pretty much what I would say but I’ll jump in anyway. The woman is carrying a child that might not be yours? If you stay and it turns out to be sired by OM are you going to raise that child as your own? And love it as it deserves to be loved? Or will that child be a reminder of her betrayal every single day?

    Also, why are you staying with this woman??? She KNEW how infidelity had caused you so much pain in your life and she went ahead and cheated anyway? Because you were grumpy? Fuck that shit. I’ll guess that you were grumpy during that year because she was treating you like shit and probably picking fights in order to justify her shitty behaviour. It’s a classic cheater move that many of us have experienced.

    Let me give you an example: my ex turned out to be a serial cheater. When I look back I can clearly see that every time I felt things were off in our relationship, that he was checked out, that I was getting pissy and grumpy and generally not pleasant to be around were exactly the times he was cheating and he was treating me with less than respect – which directly led to me being grumpy. See how that works?

    And she thinks it’s not that big a deal? Well then walking away from her will not be a big deal either, now will it, because she obviously thinks the marriage wasn’t worth keeping her panties on for so why should you think it’s worth trying to save?

    Don’t just walk away from this entitled asshole, run. She’s toxic and I can almost promise that if you take her back with the bullshit she’s spewing she’ll be back cheating at one point or anohter. It may take a few years but it will happen.

    Good luck and I’m sorry this shit has been laid at your doorstep.

      • Yeah, I needed the me of today ten years ago. Unfortunately I was still in the thick of it, thinking my ex was the cat’s pajamas. We all learn at our own pace.

  • DNAChump
    After 23 years of CHUMPDOM – basically not wanting to admit to myself that my picker was broken and that my life HAD to change drastically… and that having chosen a known NPD cheater, who made all the compensatory promises and declarations, the best thing that ever happened to me happened… I found him with his self-declared :true love of 36 years:. It was february 2011. That started a very spiney, sticky ball rolling which is still on the move today and will be, probably, for another year. (Please lets hope that it doesn’t last any longer…but I’ve chosen to dig my heels in financially.) I’m not a praying woman but thank God I finally caught him red-handed. Otherwise the farce would have continued for years on. That was the only way out.
    Take your cue. It’s your turn to see that you have a life ahead of you, and that if you reconcile, with your FOO and history the you will never ever forget what happened. How, possibly, could you entertain such a reconciliation?
    Maza asked questions. When? How? IMO that means nothing.
    Get. Out. Now. Be smart. There is a hapy life out there and in time you will find a reciprocal relationship of love, honor and respect. And you’re gonna love it.
    Be strong DNAChump. You’ve got it in you.

  • I took mine back. It took years, but it all started again several kids later. I wish I had listened to Ms. Angelou:

    “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

  • I took mine back, too. He was never sorry, and my pain and need for an explanation was not only deeply inconvenient, it constituted a vicious, personal attack.

    I warned him: I am not going through this again. 5 years later, OW was back in my life, who knows if she ever left.

    Pray the baby is OM’s and get out of there. Have a CVS test now, and then you can make your decision.

      • Patsy – So dead on the MONEY!
        “deeply inconvenient, it constituted a vicious, personal attack”.
        Within a very short period of time in our so-called “recovery”, mine would rage and say, ” I will NOT remain in this marriage if 5 years, 10 years down the road you are just going to throw this back in my face!”
        My response was “If you are not going to stand up and weather the storm of pain that YOU have created for me WHENEVER it happens to occur, no matter how many TIMES it may occur, then you and I have nothing more to discuss!” Sadly, we did discuss it a few more times until I finally realized he wasn’t sorry, and he never was going to be sorry and I got out. I’m out.

        DNA – DON’T make my mistake! Take your time, set things up for yourself and GET OUT!

  • Add my vote to the ‘kick the bum out’ list!

    It may help you to keep in mind that even IF she never cheats again (a very big if – and you can guess how I know that!), she is STILL a selfish, entitled, disrespectful person, it’s showing in how she speaks about her affair and your reaction to it, and that will continue to show up in your day to day life forever. A year-long affair is NOT a blip, a ‘mistake’, ‘not a big deal’.

    You deserve so much better than someone who would do this to you! Spend just a moment imagining what it would be like to live with someone who loves you as much as you do them, who respects you, who treats you well, who takes responsibility when they do mess up in the SMALL and medium-sized ways that healthy people do mess up. THAT is what you could have, but in order to get there, you have to get this toxic person out of your life!

    Keep reading here, DNAChump, and you’ll see how these narcissists are all cut from the same cloth, all trained by the same manual, all following the same script …. And just keep reminding yourself; you deserve better!

  • So you’ve done “other stuff,” too, huh? Like what? Leave the toilet seat up? Fall asleep in “her spot” on the couch? Forget to fold the laundry?

    Kind of pales in comparison to, “I don’t know if this baby is yours.”

    I know you have 10 years invested in this marriage, DNAChump, but I would RUN, not walk away. She KNEW cheating was a deal breaker, she’s trying to blame you for it, and the bottom line is, you can’t trust her.

    No man should have to wonder if a child born during his marriage is his. If you take her back and have children later, my guess is that will always linger in your mind.

    I’m with CL: leave this one to her own devices and go find a faithful woman with whom to procreate. If lying, cheating, and possibly getting pregnant by another man is “no big deal” to your wife, then divorcing her shouldn’t be, either. Maybe she won’t ever cheat again. But kicking her to the curb will ensure that she won’t ever cheat on YOU again.

    Best of luck to you.

    • So you’ve done “other stuff,” too, huh? Like what? Leave the toilet seat up? Fall asleep in “her spot” on the couch? Forget to fold the laundry?

      Probably left his socks on the bathroom floor and yelled at her a few times when she was in the middle of a long picking-on-him-in-order-to-tear-him-down ordeal. Oh, and a couple of bad hair cuts too.

      I think, above all, a couple of bad haircuts and socks on the floor meant she almost certainly had to cheat for a year, but she is being magnanimous and forgiving him for his transgressions, so get over it already.

      • Mine once had his eyebrows waxed, and apparently I wa mean and didn’t care about him enough to notice…. And apparently this was justification for cheating… Which… By the way, he was doing at a hotel near where he got his eyebrows waxed, so the affair was already happening at the time. Did I mention I suspect he’s latently homosexual too?

  • DNA Chump:
    She is not remorseful that she cheated. She is just sorry that you caught her. Listen to CL. She is another person that has gone through her life feeling entitled. I am sure if you think about it, you can figure out several other times when she felt entitled to things she had not worked for. Entitled to get an A on a paper or test even though she didn’t prepare enough for it. Perhaps she cheated on tests in school but felt entitled to get away with it. Has she ever indicated that she should have gotten that promotion at work instead of someone else? I really think when people have affairs with co-workers that it shows just how pathetic they are. They can’t just go to work and do their job? They have to be on the lookout for ego kibbles and chances to get attention that make them feel better? It is ridiculous. That is what narcissists are like. They are so eager and desperate for attention that feeds their ego. It trumps everything else in their life. That is why they cheat – because they can. It makes them feel good. Too bad us Chumps can’t understand that, right?
    You can invest the time and emotional effort into reconciliation, but she will cheat on you again. Her pathetic need for ego kibbles will always win. As soon as someone else comes along to tell her she is pretty, sexy, smart or whatever – you will be back on the Chump Mobile!
    Think about yourself. What kind of life do you want? Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to have a relationship with someone that can put your relationship above their need for ego kibbles. You are worth more than that.
    Good luck,

    • “I am sure if you think about it, you can figure out several other times when she felt entitled to things she had not worked for.”

      Spot on, Rebecca! Shortly after my ex revealed his cheating ways, I started thinking about this. I noticed that he had a pattern of stating what he believed he “deserved” in his life. I’m certain that he believes that he *deserves* a woman who won’t cheat on him (HA!), even though he obviously has NO PROBLEM cheating on HER, if he believes he ” deserves* something he isn’t getting (…or that he “deserves” MORE of what he’s ALREADY getting!)

      So, I believe that cheating is an obnoxious symptom of their underlying ‘root’ problem: Their Out Of Control EGO.

      “Don’t cheat yourself out of the opportunity to have a relationship with someone that can put your relationship above their need for ego kibbles.”

      I also believe this is so important. My ex used to criticize people who would make sacrifices “for the sake of the relationship”. Yet the Golden Rule is the ONLY way to have an honest healthy mature relationship. We don’t have to constantly make sacrifices, but we DO have to make the other person’s wants and needs JUST AS IMPORTANT as our own. If our partners needs clash with our own, we don’t throw morals out the window in order to get our way. By doing so, we put our selves ABOVE our partner. The moment you do that, is the moment you STOPPED having a relationship.

      • That same quote you mentioned made me put together some events I had heard of in my stbx’s past with dday, etc. I hadn’t made that specific connection, but it is yet one more example of the entitlement he must feel. I hope I can pick better next time and catch this kind of thing before getting too involved with someone else one day.

  • DNAChump – You might be asking yourself how we here at chumplady can state such definitive opinions about what you should do regarding such a monumental decision in your life. I believe it’s because these cheaters/abusers are mostly cut from the same cloth. It’s been said many times here that it seems like they were all given the exact same “playbook”. Many of us have marveled as we read the comments of our fellow chumps, “OMG, I think we are married to the same person!” Sadly, the patterns all seem to be the same, and there are so, so many red flags in your letter, your wife is the same. This woman is not in the least bit “truly remorseful”.

    Here is what leaped off the page for me reading your letter: “… it’s not that big of a deal that I’m making it out to be, etc.”

    Immediately, (your very next line!) is: “I believe that my wife is truly remorseful and I do think that reconciliation could be possible.”

    DNAChump, you are not seeing clearly at all, that is NOT what remorse looks like. You just stated that your wife thinks “it’s not that big a deal” – then you say “I believe that my wife is truly remorseful”. Please allow those of us who have made it out of the fog guide you while your vision is still clouded with hopium. Please listen to the advice that you got from CL, please listen to the words of very sharp, wise and witty folks who have been through it that comment here. We can all see that your wife is actually not the least bit remorseful, and DNAChump, as CL says perhaps it’s time to get a therapist and work on yourself. You are not giving yourself the value that you are due. Your wife is giving you more shit sandwich and you are seeing “Truly Remorseful”. You are like a guy under a spell.

    I know, I was there. My friends and family got very frustrated with me, because I just refused to see the whole truth. Why? He was saying some of the right things. Enough to give me hope. But his actions told a completely different story. As PAChump states above, this is now the mantra I live by:

    “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    I know you don’t want to believe it, but your wife has shown you who she really is. Who YOU really are is that 12 yo boy who bravely kicked some serious ass. Reach down and let him back out to protect you now. And YOU do the work YOU need to do so, after this is over and you are safe, he can go back to playing kickball over at the neighbors house.

    Wishing you big strength and clear vision.

    • Listen to FLBright here.

      I, too, looked at the following big, red flag: She has also shared with me why I should forgive her — she says she has forgiven me for mistakes that I have made in the past.

      Uh, unless your mistakes have been along the lines of fucking other women or hitting your wife in drunken or drug-induced rages (or just because of anger issues), then no. She’s blameshifting.

      Look. She’s not sorry she cheated. Go read Chump Lady’s really good blog post Real Remorse? Or Genuine Naugahyde Remorse?. Go through the check list.

      1. Does she show humility?–Sorry, DNAChump, I’m not seeing this, at least not in your letter. Humility here involves significant groveling for as long as you need it. Humility means owning her “mistake.” Instead, she’s telling you that you were responsible for the affair.

      2. Initiative.–Again, not seeing this. DNAChump, if she were really remorseful, she’d be making the phone calls to get some honest-to-god counseling. She’d be insisting on both joint and individual counseling. She’d be going to her therapist, and she’d be doing the homework. If she’s not, then she’s not remorseful. At. All.

      3. Honesty–Again, not making the grade. Her answers need to be consistent. She cheated on you. Why? Because “her needs weren’t being met.” No, that’s not it. You were “grumpy.” Unless you get so grumpy that you’re withholding sex, that’s not going to cut it. Even if you were that grumpy, it’s still no excuse for cheating (great reason for a divorce, though). Would she take a polygraph for you? Nope? Thought not.

      4. Patience.–No patience here. She wants you to get over it, to move on. “Moving on” depends on your timetable, not hers. It takes but a moment to shatter trust, and a lifetime to regain it.

      5. Ownership–Real ownership means not only admitting that she fucked up, but also that she takes full blame. Right now, she’s trying to shift her actions on you.

      6. Recompense–If she’s serious about reconciliation, she won’t have problems with a post-nuptial agreement with an infidelity clause. Infidelity means she gets NADA in the divorce settlement. If the two of you do end up having children, you get the custody.

      Your letter doesn’t show anything on her part that’s truly remorseful.

      Good luck.

  • CL, you are very insightful and dead on with this one !
    This chick sounds so familiar, I had no idea X had a lost little sister! I like the way she said ‘I’m going to put this behind me and get on with MY life’. Not OUR life, the life two people have together and share, it’s just her life. That’s why you’d better be cheery all the time, DNAchump, she’s doing you a big, big favor letting you live in HER life! Can we all say YUK!
    DNA, I wish you the best, and I hope she runs away forever. Please go find a lovely therapist that you can really do some work with, keep reading here, and try to heal that young boy inside that doesn’t believe he deserves a loving partner. And respect.

    • DNA Chump, do you really believe that it was coincidence that she hit you in your most vulnerable spot ( cheating and betrayal?) No, that’s what narcs do… Find your weakest spot and use it against you! It’s part of their manipulation tactics to keep you in the ‘down’ position so they can be the almighty and be the entitled one in your relationship. If you stay you better get used to that down position cause just when you start finding some balance and strength again, she’ll do it again or something equally as offsetting! As we’ve all learned here, there is a better way to live with equality, reciprocity, trust and love. Fix your picker and go find it. Good luck!

      • I’m about to fall into bed but wanted to say that this is spot on,Moving. I realise now, looking back, that whenever things were great for me, whenever I was jumping around from happiness at something good in my life…this is when ex would do or say something shitty that would bring me down. Why? Because it wasn’t about him if something great was happening in my life. And that, to me, is abuse in a way. He could never be thrilled for me, yet I spent all those years as his cheerleader. As my therapist says, take all that energy I once put into him and put it into me instead. Hard to do it after so many years of not but I’m getting there.

        • Yes, Nord, I realized that in my case too. I was a SAHM for years…. The ‘drudge’ really and did all the heavy lifting in the family. He was the CEO of our business and I was his cheering section and the kids too! But I started making time for myself and writing. I got a few small stories publishe d and I was soooooooo thrilled ! Then the business started running into trouble so without him even asking I retrained in my profession so I could help financially. I did very well and got a very high mark on my re certification exam. He didn’t cheer for me and he was actually ashamed I was going back to work… He told all of our friends ” I was panicking” and the business was fine. I was coming into my own, feeling confident and becoming more vocal and he didn’t like it. He liked taking credit for everything and liked me in the down and dependent position. We had also discussed cheating in our marriage many times and he knew it was a deal breaker for me. I really believe they all know. I think his cheating was meant to knock me back down and it did… For awhile. He left me for Ow but begged me not to divorce. He underestimated me! I’m getting back up and feeling stronger than ever. You will too!

      • Exactly! They find your vulnerabilities and exploit XW, 2 weeks after my dad died, announced she was heading for Chicago with some guy from herAA group to visit museums and stay in a hotel room together.
        Last week, her dad died. I liked the guy. Great surgeon who invented the gastric bypass.
        My son wanted me to attend the funeral. I could not as I had depositions.
        But, I recall how my XW never came to my dad’s. we were still married at the time and I had not figured out the infidelity yet.
        I felt like sending my XW a card expressing my condolences and adding thatI am glad in this time of grief, she is not also dealing with a spouse’s infidelity.
        BTW, it is crystal clear to me that your wife has NPD and you will regret staying.
        These types are really toxic.

    • “I like the way she said ‘I’m going to put this behind me and get on with MY life’. Not OUR life, the life two people have together and share, it’s just her life.”

      PattyToo, shortly after dday my ex “apologized” by saying, “This isn’t what I had planned for my life.” I quickly pointed out to him that I had been thinking all along that it was “our” life. I guess he hadn’t been…..

  • My STBXW of 25 years confessed her affair with married coworker and went on to tell me all the ways that I “caused it”. She told our MC that she had collected a “bag of evidence’ containing all my shortcomings, which included the fact that I had once invited her elderly parents to join us on vacation (shortly before her Dad passed away).
    Said her sexy new lover would never be so UN~Romantic as me!
    Also in the evidence bag was my grumpiness and tiredness after working 12 hour days…MC was aghast at the whole blame shifting campaign.
    I danced the Pick Me Polka until I was exhausted. Went through false reconciliation…she gave me a list of all the “conditions” under which she would take me back! STAGGERING ENTITLEMENT.
    I stood on my bead to be super husband…forgave, apologized for my shortcomings, etc.
    Days into reconciliation, she went back to the OM….My forgiveness and attempts to reconcile were very unattractive to her!
    Flash forward 2 years….I am awake, alive, happy, fulfilled, and (Icing on the cake), in a great relationship with an awesome woman who WANTS (does not NEED) to be with me!
    Stick to YOUR boundaries, morals and needs! And when you are ready…look for someone who values you for them.

    • Wow Don, your story is so close to mine. Amazing!

      I got hit with a long list of things I did that “made him fall out of love with me” too. No matter that he never attempted to discuss these things at the time they happened. I remember saying, “We’ve been married over 30+ years and I’ve got a long list of things you’ve done to upset me too, but they didn’t make me fall out of love with you!”
      It didn’t matter to him, he’d already made up his mind. He was full from eating cake and had already made his mind up it was time to move on.

    • Don…
      Same thing with my husband. I may have to post the list and conditions to give all of you a chuckle. Sad part? I was down with it and would have done just about anything to keep my family together.
      Glad that you are doing so well and that you are happy now!

      • Wow! I got a list too! Things I should do to make him happy. At the time he stiil had not ‘fessed up to the first affair, and I was confused from all the fog and gaslighting. I can remember asking myself if I should write the list down. Thank goodness some little part of my brain said, “Na!” Still, it took about ten more years and two more affairs before I got a clue. Chump cubed.

      • The one thing I did right was never doing the pick me dance, never offering reconciliation.
        My xws were such miserable mean assholes, I was done by the time I found out
        And, yes, they tried to blame it all on my shortcomings. No insight into themselves and what pieces of shit they are.

    • When I found out mine was cheating and he dropped the OW and wanted to reconcile, he went to see his therapist for a few sessions. On the third visit, he came home and declared that he was “cured” because he realized that he no longer resented me.

      Hang on… He was the cheater and HE no longer resented ME?

      I should have ended it there and then… But that didn’t cone until 6 months later when I found out he’d never stopped cheating!

      Live and learn.

  • DNA did mention that she did miscarriage in May so he will never know who’s child it was.

    Your wife is not well. You don’t mention any of her past but I wonder if she is BPD. I would guess she is. Trust us you are NOT responsible for her actions. She had the affair because she wanted to and felt she deserved it and now she is trying to pass the blame onto you.

    She’s not who you think she is. She has shown you who she truly is. Now you need to trust that the person she is sucks.

    • Bud, you are totally 100% correct about BPD.

      DNA. I agree with Bud that your CW has borderline personality disorder (BPD ) and perhaps to some extent at least , NPD. In your description, she ticks all the criteria. Many of us here have learnt about PD’s the hard way, by having a cheating spouse whose behavior was similar to your wife’s. It still never ceases to shock me that a story “fresh off the press” like yours, has the exact same script as thousands I’ve read on here and numerous other marriage/reconciliation/surviving infidelity “type” forums. The same script as mine and everyone else on this forum.

      I highly recommend ” Stop walking on eggshells” by Randi Kruger and Paul Mason. For my situation with my BPD STBXW, this was the most significant books by a very long way.

      Good luck!

      • Sure do wish I knew about BPD earlier. Instead I’m coming to the end of a 20 yr marriage with 3 kids. To a cheating wife who blames me for not meeting all of her emotional needs. It’s impossible to meet a BPD’s needs.

        So DNA I’m speaking to you man to man. You need to stop any pick me BS and cake you are giving her. Get her out now. Cease all sex with her as this only messes with your head. Do it now while she might have even the least bit of empathy to allow for a quick split. She will never stop blaming you. She just won’t….. It’s OVER.

        FYI I was called grumpy too.

  • She is not remotely remorseful. A truly remorseful spouse will not blameshift and will do all the heavylifting. She got dumped by her AP and DNAchump is now her backup option.

  • Don – Pick me Polka – I Love it! Made me laugh out loud!

    DNA – do as you are being advised. Get out now. Run don’t walk. She will cheat again. She is just feeding you crap so you will take her back. You need to move on and find someone who deserves you!

  • DNA,

    “She says she has forgiven me for mistakes that I have made in the past, she says she made a mistake and she will never do it again . . .”

    Seriously?! What “mistakes” have you made in the past that come close to the CHOICE she made to cheat on you for a year and present you with the possibility of having a baby not your own? I’ll wait a moment for you to marinate on that bit of nonsensical bullshit with which she presented you. “Mistakes,” of which, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra, I know you’ve made a few, are not deliberate actions. Calling someone by the wrong name is a mistake. Dialing a wrong number is a mistake. Having unprotected sex with someone not your spouse for a year? Not so much. Did she trip and fall on his penis each time and not be able to remove herself for over a year? Were she and her cheater walking down the street in the nude and just happened to bump into each other and start fornicating – for a year? Sound ludicrous? Well it is no more ludicrous than that pile of horse shit your wife is spoon-feeding you and expecting you to swallow – without benefit of a glass of water.

    Cheating is a belief and value issue. She cheated KNOWING how you felt about it and how much it would hurt you and she did it anyway. Then, for a little icing on that shit cake, she gets pregnant and doesn’t know who is the father. At her core, your wife feels she is entitled to do whatever she wants to do whenever she wants to do it. It is implicit in how she has treated you and what she has said to you. She wanted to fuck another man, so she did. She wants reconciliation with you for her own sake and feels she is entitled to have it. Her integrity, morals and ethics are situational – which means she doesn’t really have any – or at least not any that comport with the morals, integrity and ethics of someone who sees cheating as a deal breaker. This was not an Oops! moment for your wife. This was a “OH HELL TO THE NO!” moment for YOU. Please don’t waste 15, 20 or 30 years of your life before you realize that the spots on this leopard are not going to wash off – they are permanent.

    I cannot TELL you not to reconcile with your wife. I will SUGGEST, however, that you seriously consider putting that trash out in the dumpster and the let people who collect trash have at it. You deserve better.

    • LOL at that description of cheating!
      Thinking about how she KNEW he had been involved with the agony of infidelity since he was young, and then went and did it anyway, does anyone think this ‘wife’ could be sadistic? She seems to be toying with DNA like a cat with a mouse.

    • Oh, and you also noticed something I didn’t- the unprotected sex! This is such a huge slap in the face to us faithful, trusting people. You’re possibly exposing me to AIDS? Thanks a lot, Honey! My X completely down-played that, he even said ‘come on, she’s a clean person’. Classic, insane cheater delusion.

      • Yep, getting pregnant in an affair means DELIBERATE unprotected sex. And it pretty much takes both in the affair to do that.

        And the other thing that bothers me is the pregnancy confession followed immediately the next month by a miscarriage. Hysterical pregnancy and she just had her period? Who knows?

        Feigning a pregnancy and miscarriage would sure get a drama addicted woman some attention.

        • So true! Good catch. She’s a shit-storm-creating drama queen. She thrives on chaos. Uses it to camouflage her fraud.

          • You know I now realize that the women here and in my life were often much more adept at sporting a personality disorder in a woman.
            I was just too caught up with the attraction chemicals and so were a lot of guys that saw my XW.

        • Chumpalicious, that’s exactly what I thought– she’s faking the pregnancy to elicit sympathy from DNAChump in case it turns out to be his kid. It’s just another way to hoover him back in.

          Run, DNAChump, RUN!!! Get out before you are tied to her remorseless, miserable self because you do have children together! I know of what I speak!

          • ETA: I meant to add that she can then have a pretend miscarriage once she hoovered him back in, further trying to gain his sympathy over her “loss.”

      • PattyToo and FL,


        The “Cheaterese” that cheaters use to minimize the most TREACHEROUS and FOUL acts and behaviors on their part makes seeing the insanity of it easy. They may be out there, maybe riding a unicorn, but I have yet to come across a person who “mistakenly” cheated. Cheating, especially long term, takes planning, subterfuge and a total commitment to dishonesty. To compare its impact to being “grumpy” is laugh out loud ridiculous.

        • Yup – I had to bite my tongue this week over the “mistake” excuse.

          Daughter is in the midst of a very contentious divorce from her lying/cheating/stealing spouse of 3 years. His mother (and the rest of the family) are actually quite nice. His mom had basically adopted my mother-in-law, who was recently widowed, and had invited to her multiple events, etc. Well when the shit hit the fan, at one point my daughter told her that her son was “evil”. She showed up on grandmother’s doorstep weeping, to announce that she didn’t think either her son or daughter’s father (another cheater) were “evil”.

          My mother-in-law said the one thing she wished her granddaughter had not done was call him “evil”. That she didn’t think he was, and she didn’t think her son (my lying/cheating spouse) was evil either. HE JUST MADE A MISTAKE.

          Of course, I bit my tongue and didn’t let her know that the crazy bitch OW she knows about is just the tip of a very deep iceberg. 7-10 years of serial cheating (that I can document), multiple online dating profiles including the “regular” – Match, POF, etc., as well as the frankly cheating Ashley Madison. Again – just the ones I know about.

          Mistake my ass. A mistake is backing my car into a low, fixed object in a crowded parking lot. 10 years of online dating and associated lying and sneaking around with various OW, that’s years of careful and deliberate planning.

          DNA, your wife is a mess. She did not make a mistake. But you will be if you keep trying to reconcile. Take everyone’s advice and run for the hills.

  • DNA Chump,

    Since you indicated that you are entertaining the notion of reconciliation, please understand that any attempts must be done RIGHT..and that the “right” way is particularly emotionally brutal on the cheater.

    If you want to know the kind of therapy that even approaches building a new marriage after adultery, please read this article from start to finish.

    This particular psychologist GETS IT. He clearly understands what must be done to help the betrayed spouse heal from a psychiatric injury of such scope and magnitude.

  • DNA,

    First, a sympathetic hug- CL really gets it about how emotionally invested Chumps can get, and that is why it hurts, but it does get better, once you see a cheater for what they are. So read, read, read. Knowledge is power- CL is a good site, be wary of some others.

    Ethics are ethics. Situations are situations. Situational ethics = massive red flag.

    Your woman is abusive, full stop. So you have a choice:try to find the unicorn, or know that for the last ten years, YOU have been the real one in the relationship, and own that, despite what losing her represents to your own ego.

    Trust me, you do not want to breed with a cheater. There will be better people out there.

    Real ones, like you. Worthy. My FOO is full of all of the sorts of fun you describe: I knew my Dad was cheating about six months before Mom did. i am working on all that, as well as my kid’s fallout from d day. CL has a point: if you are raised in a dysfunctional household, then you can easily hook up with an abuser, because you don’t know any better, and it feels like love to you.

    The pain will suck, but if it is a choice between your emotional survival and your further emotional death, then get out. Anything else is suicide by inches. And be easy-hard on yourself, hard in the sense of trying to keep functioning, but easy-if your best pal was going through this, what would you do for him/her?

    Interesting article, Notyou- minus the biblical parts, pretty much my experience of even co-parenting counseling.

    Stick with us Chumps, DNA- we are here for you.


  • Hugs to you – and I echo the advice and experience of everyone here.

    I invested ten years too, and would add – RUN – and don’t look back. If you don’t have any children together, save them from the heart-ripping pain of discovering their parent doesn’t give a shit about anyone else (as my 8 year old son said last night, “Mom, sometimes it feels like Dad threw us all out like we were just garbage. It really hurts to be garbage.”)

    One year is not an “accident” or a “mistake” – it’s a very delibrate, caclulating, sinister plot to lie, EVERY SINGLE DAY – to steal a decade of your life. There are good people out there. Believe that you deserve better.

      • Thanks for your kindess Northern – he’s also adopted, so the rejection stings doubly hard for him. These cheaters leave a wide trail of carnage, don’t they?

  • I sincerely hope with , with all the info we have learned here, that for everyone
    No ifs, if onlys. no “mistakes”….there is no excuse.
    Cheating is ALWAYS a DEAL BREAKER !!!!!!!

  • CL, I think you are so right in how hard it is for Chumps to enforce boundaries. Maybe it’s because our self-esteem isn’t strong enough. I put up with so many painful behaviors from my ex, I just didn’t understand how to protect myself other than to try to be a better person so he would “choose me.” Plus I was afraid of abandonment. Didn’t think I could survive it.

    DNA Chump, you are right to question whether you can really reconcile with someone who did the thing they knew would be the most painful to you. Don’t do what I did and stay in a 36 year relationship waiting for her to turn into the person you need her to be.

  • My guess is she got pregnant with the OM, told him she was pregnant hoping he would welcome her with open arms and dump his own wife for her (is the OM married?) and they would live happily ever after. But the OM told her to get lost instead, wasn’t interested in raising the kid, whether his or otherwise. So the cheating wife came crawling back with her pathetic attempts at reconciliation and blame game (if you weren’t so darn GRUMPY, maybe she wouldn’t have had a year long affair!).

    I’m sorry, DNA. Believe me, everyone here understands exactly what you are going through. But your wife doesn’t sound sorry at all to me, she’s just playing the cheater’s game. I would almost be willing to bet that if you stay with her, in a fairly short time she will be cheating again, quite possibly with the same OM (never discount the possibility that they are still in contact) or a new guy. Cut your losses, and get out now.

    • Forgot to add….. she knew your difficult history surrounding cheating. She knew it was a deal breaker if she ever cheated. If you take her back, what you have told her is SHE CAN CONTINUE TO CHEAT WITHOUT ANY REAL CONSEQUENCES. DNA, cheaters lap that shit up like candy. What reconciliation means to a cheater is you are willing to accept abuse, and they take full advantage of that opportunity.

      I love the saying “Giving a second chance to someone is like handing them another bullet because they missed the first time.” Don’t give your wife another chance to shoot, because you’re going to be hurt.

  • DNA
    If you take her back you are a fool, not just a chump.
    Chumpdom is thrust upon us, unwillingly.

    You are asking to be made a fool.

    • I would chastise you for that remark, but… it’s pretty much how I sum up my behavior post Dday 1/reconciliation: doh! I was at least as mad at myself for going through this again (and even a little before Dday 2).

    • After my ex left we had a few tear-filled phone calls. In one of them I told him I felt like the biggest fool in the world. Like I’d taken all my money and put it into the stock market and it had crashed just as I was retiring. I had chosen to sit at home for years waiting for his work to slow down so we could spend time together. I’d put off doing things I wanted to do in order to make “his dreams” come true. I thought once the kids were grown and finances weren’t so tight I’d finally have a chance to make my dreams come true too. Like maybe we’d be able to spend time doing things together. Well, I felt like the biggest fool in the world for wasting all those years waiting.

      My ex’s response was “You shouldn’t feel that way. You are nobody’s fool.” He was great at word salad.

  • DNAChump,

    I’m a Chump-kid too, and like you I declared that infidelity was an absolute deal-breaker for me. My husband was 100% aware of this and how strongly I felt about it (FYI: my dad’s now *officially* separated from Wife #4 – he’s cheated on at least 3 of the 4, including my mom – a few times, they divorced by the time I was 16. And of course he’s already got a new girlfriend before getting started on the separation documents with #4). And I never, ever, EVER, wanted to get a divorce when I got married. I’d been through it once w/ my parents, it was a bitter 3-year battle and the talk of the town’s gossip mill, and I knew I wasn’t going to put myself in the same dependent situation that my mom was in (stay at home mom, no real income of her own). And therefore – I didn’t rush into marriage & I was willing to wait to find “a true intellectual & emotional partner” because I could already pay my own bills.

    If you’re anything like me, you may be used to doing most – if not all – of the heavy lifting in the relationship. I was very good at handling lots of stress and juggling it all without looking like it a big deal – lots of spackle, lots of fixing other people’s problems and turning situations around to make it all appear to be just fine. And was sure never to appear *needy* while doing so, of course. Didn’t want to fight about the “little things”, and I assumed H would surely do the same for me if/when I needed it. So to me, it didn’t matter if he’d lost his job because “we were a team” (right?) and I can support us while he’s sitting for the bar and trying to start his own practice!…etc.

    If anything, I think H’s decision to cheat on me with his dingbat secretary was – in part- a gesture of complete and total CONTEMPT towards me, a way to knock me off balance (just to see how much he could affect me). And like so many Narcissistic types, my XH used my once-attractive laundry list of accomplishments as reasons to start resenting me: Pre DDay, he would compliment me by saying, “She makes me look good.” But post DDay#1 and during a scant handful of sessions with a marriage counselor, he said: “Why don’t you have anything wrong with you? I wish you had a drinking problem or something to make me feel better here. It’s like you don’t even NEED me.” “But OW *needs* me – she used to work at a bar before I hired her as my paralegal, I helped her out of a bad relationship w/ her ex-bf, and she just wants to make me happy”; “With her, I get to feel like a knight in shining armor, but around you I’m just an asshole in tin foil.” (honest to God – those were his words).

    XH did NOT want to divorce me either (I was his social safety net, his family loves me, I “make him look good”) and he bawled in front of his parents and professed his love for me, declared we would get through this,”was the worst mistake of his life”, “it wasn’t worth it”, he would do whatever it took to regain my trust, etc. Which meant, of course, that he continued to screw the paralegal, tell other people we were separated, lie to me & his family about going to individual counseling, and kept his cell phone locked in his car at all times. In fact, during my days of dancing the Pick Me Polka and enduring a few more DDays, XH threw even more crap at me: “Well, you already found out about the affair on DDay #1, so you could have left me then. You didn’t have to stick around.” He acted like all the others DDays were somehow excused, because clearly I must have WANTED to be treated so horribly! Blame-shifting at its worst. And then I had to ask myself WHY on earth was I trying so hard to work something out with someone who was willing to hurt me in the worst way possible? DNAChump, this is the question for you and your therapist to work on.

    Being a Chumpkid, I think we’re extra-quick to break out the spackle and overcompensate for others’ shortcomings – just to make sure everything will look OK in the end. And while I wasn’t in the same boat that my mom was in (I had an identity and career as “lawyer”, no kids, etc.), I still wanted to avoid “the-awful-divorce”, I wanted to be reassured that I chose a good partner for myself, “Mom wouldn’t want me to go through what she went through”, I wanted to think this was a horrible mistake that could be fixed, and I did NOT want to give in to my Chump reality. But what needed to be fixed were MY issues – why was I willing to settle for this SOB in spite of the overwhelming evidence of what he’s willing to put me through? Why was I OK with such a disproportionate relationship? I’m definitely a Chump with a capital C, so now what am I going to DO about it?

    You’ve certainly got my support here – and I would strongly encourage you to get your own therapist, just for YOU. Not for marriage counseling, but just for YOU. You deserve to be treated with far more respect than this and you need the confidence to remove yourself from this toxic situation. There’s no shame in getting some outside help – I’ve said many times, “I wouldn’t attempt to do my own dental work, so why wouldn’t I get a professional’s assistance here?”

    This shit isn’t just “a mistake” – it’s purposeful, it’s undermining, and it’s cruel. This IS A VERY BIG DEAL, and not just some “little things” to get “grumpy” about. If her “needs weren’t being met”, she had plenty of options to pursue (with your knowledge, I might add) before selecting the one thing that hurts you most of all. It sucks to have to acknowledge these things, but please know things get so much better when you can extricate yourself from this chaos. Keep reading Chumplady, she knows what’s she’s talking about.

    • BarristerBelle – Your EX sounds so much like mine. When people would say lovely things about how wonderful I am to him, he would just get smaller and smaller and madder and madder. In couples counseling he said “She’s never wrong. And SHE”S not the one saying that! I AM! It’s true, I don’t know how she does it, but she’s never wrong!”
      (This of course is completely untrue, but, it’s how he felt.)

      What you have shared and how you have stated it for DNA is really well said. Thank you for taking the time.

    • “I was very good at handling lots of stress and juggling it all without looking like it a big deal – lots of spackle, lots of fixing other people’s problems and turning situations around to make it all appear to be just fine. And was sure never to appear *needy* while doing so, of course.”

      Me too. I am not too needy. Just do what society, my marriage vows, my internal ethics and clients require. And mostly with a smile! Right? Why be a downer!
      Is it something to do with being a female attorney?
      I fixed stuff at home and at the company. But I cannot fix this. He broke the marriage like it was worth pennies. Lots of excuses. I did the heavy lifting, with minimal respect from him. I put a shine on it all. I did reconciliation 20 years ago. It does not work with a narcissist. Beware.

    • Wow, I can totally see my ex-bf in your husband. These types of people who want to be the “knight in shining armor”, have insecurity issues (narcs have insecurity issues) and want to be worshipped, and someone who can make ends meet on their own, has a great career, etc. — as opposed to someone who has to prostitute herself out, etc. in order to make ends meet — does not “need” him. He needs to be needed, because that would justify his miserable existence. So he devalued you and threw you away — but only until he could no longer get fringe benefits from the marriage while he kept screwing the OW. And then, after manipulating you into not divorcing him, he manipulated you once you wanted to do so — claiming that you were the one who insisted on staying together, and not because he professed his love for you, and promised to work on his issues….. Shocking, despicable, pathetic… just makes me fume so much.. I was a victim of this sort of manipulation as well, though I am not married… and definitely not to the extent that you went through manipulation.. but my experiences with my narc ex were quite bad as well… the verbal abuse was horrible and turned me into a zombie, and the entire relationship was so toxic and I had to walk on eggshells the whole time , I really unlearned everything I had learned throughout the years about normal interactions with people. I lost whatever spine I had, bent over backwards to please him, only to find out he had put my life at risk by f*cking std-infested prostitutes in Thailand (sex tourism and STD capital of the world) of all places. Never again.

  • She is staring you down. She is saying, “This is how it’s going to be. Got it? I will do as I please, whenever I please, and you will put up with it.”

    And you’re afraid that THIS is the best you can do. Because she has you SO beat down, has you believing you are SO worthless without her, that it’s just easier for now if you keep the status quo–if you answer her stare with, “Right. This is how it’s going to be.”

    And your experiences in life may have you believing that this is how it’s going to be.

    If only you could see what the rest of us see, that pushing away from the table, running outside, and finally breathing in the cool, fresh air of separation, will bring you another chance at meeting the right woman….

    God, there are so many kind and sweet women out here who would KNOW what a treasure you are. How comforting would it be to have a woman REALLY respect you–not just long enough to get something from you, but really honor and love you, to sit with you, cry with you, laugh with you, cheer you on?

    You know, this current woman–she’s not going to stop at abusing just you. She’ll be a terrible “mother” to the kids you want. Is that what you want for your kids? Do you want her to have the ability to walk out the door with your kids, into the home of a stranger–maybe one who’s “worth it”?

    This is the beginning. You have a choice NOW. Do you want to take this golden opportunity today, or wait 5, 10, 30 years down the line, when you are so beaten down, wishing you had left when you had the chance? Are you willing to admit a mistake, but also that you manned-up and did something about it, perhaps for what might feel like the first time in your life–but damn, it feels pretty good to know where your spine is! You could get used to this! OR, do you want to be on your back, belly-up, while she screams at you in 20 years?

    Maybe you won’t know your worth until you exercise it. Take your balls back, and cut the bitch off. You know you want to. We are telling you that you have that choice. YOU actually HAVE THE CHOICE. In fact, it is your responsibility to do this. You won’t believe how easy it is–put one foot in front of the other, take one step at a time, and do it.

    Go talk to a lawyer today. Make the call. Do it. (Isn’t she financially abusing you, too? Time to cut that off, as well.)

    Come on! Do it! Enlist your guy friends for support, if she hasn’t driven them all off. (They hate her, you know.) Let’s go! Come on!

  • DNAChump, (jedi hugs, I know it hurts). If I were your best friend and said the following to you, what advice would you give me?

    “She confessed to having a one year affair with a former coworker and since D-Day has made every effort to put this affair behind her in order to move on with her life, and she wants me in it. I have heard every textbook answer to why she did it — needs were not getting met in the bedroom, she felt wanted and alive during the affair, I was grumpy. She has also shared with me why I should forgive her — she says she has forgiven me for mistakes that I have made in the past, she says she made a mistake and she will never do it again it, it wasn’t worth it, it’s not that big of a deal that I’m making it out to be, etc. I believe that my wife is truly remorseful and I do think that reconciliation could be possible.”

    Would you tell me to try to repair my marriage? The cognitive dissonance required to reconcile her statements blaming you for her cheating, with your statement “I do think reconciliation could be possible” is beyond me.

    When my ex was crying and saying how sorry he was, I heard what I wanted to hear, that he really was sorry, but when I recorded him and listened while calm I heard what he really said. He was sorry he was caught cheating and couldn’t continue, you wrote it down and still don’t see it? Like your wife, he was sorry because it “hurt him so much” not because what he’d done hurt me. Like your wife, I was making a big deal out of nothing, it wasn’t worth it (not worth it now that you found out). Like your wife, I should just forget it and move on because he “loved” me. Like your wife, he would never have cheated if I had “been there for him”. Like your wife, he wanted to reconcile. Since all those things are like your wife, is it possible your wife never stopped seeing her AP, she lied about that as easily as she lied about having the affair every day for a year before she was caught? Are you going to be the marriage cop for 1,2,3 years until you can trust her again? And is it possible that like my husband, years later you will find that trust was misplaced again? Are you going to deal with the distrust, the possibility of living another 10 years with this woman and then find out she did it again? or she never stopped?

    Do you think she loves you? Are you sure you love her, or is she a habit? Stop worrying about what she needs and think of what you need. Can she give you that? Have you asked for anything from her? Did she give you what you asked for? Or did she talk a good talk and fail to walk? Promises are easy, action is hard. If you are going for reconciliation then you need to require actions and set boundaries and enforce them.

    And it wouldn’t hurt to hire a PI, trust but verify – wish I’d done that from day one of “reconciliation” with my ex, would have saved a lot of pain and suffering on my part.

  • Your wife has had since April 20 and this is STILL how she sees the whole affair? Wow! Cheaters that quit have ENORMOUS empathy for the spouse. Goodness, she was even pregnant, potentially from the affair partner. Could this be more painful for you? You can no longer blame her lack of empathy for you on some sort of affair fog. Without 100% verifiable empathy for you, I don’t see how anything will be different in your future, if you stay with her.

  • DDNAChump,
    She got pregnant and that’s how you found out. What if she didn’t? The affair would still be ongoing. Unfortunately, she may cheat again even if you got rid of your grumpiness. There are a million ways to justify cheating in a cheater’s book and it will always be YOUR fault. Please don’t wait around for the next train wreck. Instead, leave the marriage and look into why you’re buying into the idea that you caused the affair. You didn’t. And, if she really wants you, let her earn you back. I bet she will balk at that.

  • DNA Chump,

    For me, there are two issues here, one much more important than the other.

    First, is the child yours? You need to find this out. Go or stay, there is a huge financial issue here. If the child is not yours, then the child’s father should support her/him. I hate to say this, but your wife may be finding herself in a mess (perhaps the father can’t support the child?) and she’s turning to the one steady guy she knows. You can’t just be a port for the storm she sailed herself into.

    Second, and this one is much more minor but is still significant, is the issue I call “forgiveness entitlement.” NPD-type people are pretty weird, as we all know. They don’t so much ask for forgiveness as expect it. I guess that’s why they like us Chumps. Now, take me for example. When I mess up and I get forgiven (like a few months ago when I was rude to my teenage son; I said I was sorry; and right after that he asked me to go some place with him; I knew I was forgiven and I felt grateful, really grateful….), I feel grateful, happy and sad (that I screwed up) at the same time. I find myself humbled but also feeling better that I’m forgiven. I’m not absolved from my responsibility for my screw-up, but I do feel that the wound I inflicted on others and myself is starting to heal, and I resolve to do better next time.

    In short, it’s a big deal for me, to hurt someone’s feelings, to ask forgiveness, and to be forgiven. It’s a big deal that I remember acutely (as with the incident with my son, above; still feel kind of crappy about that).

    NPD types do not have these kinds of forgiveness-related emotions. They expect forgiveness. They are entitled to it! Why, by Golly!, it’s their RIGHT to be forgiven! In fact, if you don’t forgive them (or accept their lame/weird apologies, which are often shouted out in anger [“OK! I’m sorry, dammit!!! Just stop crying!!” or “I’m sorry if what I did caused you hurt….” Notice how that distances the doer of the bad deed {what s/he did} from the act of hurting], they get really mad. They feel that YOU are defective for not being forgiving. This then opens the door to their being able to spew negative emotions at you because YOU, yes terrible YOU, had the temerity to withhold the foregiveness that they feel they deserve.

    So, you have to find out whose child this is. If your wife objects to that, then I’d say that’s a rather huge red flag. She should understand, if she is regretful, and she should recognize that the right person should support this child. If she gets angry at that, she may be looking for the quickest way out of her dilemma. And, second, assess her remorse. Does she expect forgiveness? Does she treat that as a right?

    I think approaching these issues will make your decision very clear. Personally, I lean way toward CL’s advice. Your wife should be the one going out right now and finding out who the father is. It seems like she doesn’t even want to know. That, to me, says a lot, none of it good, none of it indicates that you should stay.

    • The wife miscarried. A lot of people skipped over that. But your points are still well taken. It’s a huge betrayal — and she’s being cavalier about her rights to forgiveness.

    • Amen.

      I never, not once, heard the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” come out of my ex’s mouth. Or, for that matter, “please forgive me.” If he ever apologized, he apologized that I had hurt myself with him, for example. Oh no, it wasn’t HIS fault, it was MY fault that I hurt myself with… HIM. He never even asked for forgiveness — he’d usually turn the problem into a non-issue that did not require forgiveness in the first place. His sense of entitlement gave him the green light to dismiss my feelings about the issue, and decide for the both of us that forgiveness wasn’t needed for us to move on and forget the whole thing. Unbelievable.

  • Thanks to all for those very eye-opening words of wisdom. I think one of the reasons that I’m hanging around is because of our two children, who are 5 and 8. My wife did it to me a couple of days ago that she was very selfish and she wanted it all, having your cake you know. CL was so right on all levels. I know that if I leave my wife would make me the bad guy in this situation. She would claim that I would abandon the family and not consider the children’s lives or be empathetic to her feelings. My wife would have sex with this guy and then go many months without seeing him. That should have given her plenty of time in between those four times of cheating to realize what she was doing, but she kept doing it. That’s another tough pill to swallow.

    • Read more here DNA, you’ll see a lot of us had small kids when we left. I know this is an especially unjust situation for men chumps, who not only have infidelity but get 50/50 custody at best.

      I still think if you stay you’ll be modeling dysfunction to those kids. Read here more deeply. I’ve gotten letters from chump kids who wish to God their chump parent dumped the cheater.

      IMO infidelity is abuse. Your kids are going to see this narcissism and entitlement and think this shit is normal. It’s not. And you deserve a GOOD life, and a loving partner who respects you.

    • DNA Chump…
      My kids were less than one year, 2, and 4. I had been a stay at home mom for almost 5 years and had NO family nearby. I would have done ANYTHING to save my marriage. But he just kept cheating. What I didn’t understand at the time is that it didn’t matter WHAT I did. His character is flawed. There is something SERIOUSLY wrong with him.
      I promise, based on what I am reading, she WILL do this again and she probably has done it before. NO ONE could expect you to get “over” what she did quickly.
      If you stay with her, it will NOT end. It doesn’t matter if she makes you the bad guy. She cheated on you and possibly became pregnant by another man???? How are you the bad guy? Anyone who thinks you are IS NOT WORTH your time. My kids are now 3, 5 and 7. I am back to work. I have seen more bad behavior from my ex (towards me in the divorce) than I ever thought possible.
      The levels of dishonesty that your wife has perpetuated is epic. DO NOT THINK THAT BY STAYING WITH HER THAT this will end. You are delaying the enevitable.
      The bottom line: she isn’t the woman that you think she is. This is a character issue. If you spied on her, my guess is she is probably still talking to him…or someone else. Your kids will actually have an easier time with divorce if you do it now, rather than later. Please don’t put the rest of your future potential happiness on hold because she is *sorf of saying the right things*. She doesn’t think the way you do. She isn’t “in a fog” she is character flawed. Honey…its NOT going to change.

      • “that she was very selfish and she wanted it all, having your cake you know.”

        Why aren’t YOU “all”? Why isn’t she focused on making her family strong and united and happy?

        “I know that if I leave my wife would make me the bad guy in this situation. She would claim that I would abandon the family and not consider the children’s lives or be empathetic to her feelings.”

        Correction: she would TRY to make you the bad guy–blame shifting, and all. But now that you’re on to that shit, you won’t take on that role. You’ll say, “She’s trying to make me look like the bad guy–of course a cheater would do that–but SHE is the one who is sleeping around instead of loving her family.”

        “My wife would have sex with this guy and then go many months without seeing him. That should have given her plenty of time in between those four times of cheating to realize what she was doing, but she kept doing it. That’s another tough pill to swallow.”

        It’s actually a shit sandwich she is feeding you. You don’t have to eat it. Call an attorney. Find another place to live–one with plenty of room for your kids.

        • If you expose the cheating, far and wide, it makes it much more difficult for a cheater to paint you as the bad guy.

    • DNAChump, my kids were the biggest reason I had no hesitation to kick my ex out when I found out about affair #2 (7 years after a ‘reconciliation’ that sounded a LOT like what your wife is trying to convince you to go along with now). I knew that if I stayed, they would be SURE to grow up to be either 4th generation cheaters (on their dad’s side – that’s as far back as I know of) or multi-generation chumps (like me, the ex’s mother, grandmother….). Staying would give the message that it IS ok to lie, cheat, deceive, treat people badly and generally be selfish.

      Even if you only have custody half the time (or hopefully not!) less, your kids will grow up knowing that you require people to respect you. They will grow up having one sane parent living a healthy, happier life. And believe me, as they get older, they will see this very clearly.

      You would have to learn to stop up your ears to your ex’s emotional blackmail – it is NOT reality. And you can calmly and briefly state to anyone you need to inform about the divorce that she had a long-term affair, and that was not acceptable to you. You owe her ZERO empathy at this point! I know you probably have a tender chump heart, but she clearly made her unhappiness none of your business anymore, but choosing to do what she did to you.

      I strongly suggest you read Dr. Simon’s books, on the list on the side here; you need a lot more perspective on your wife’s character and her tactics (and they ARE tactics!).

    • ” My wife would have sex with this guy and then go many months without seeing him. That should have given her plenty of time in between those four times of cheating to realize what she was doing, but she kept doing it.”

      It DID give her plenty of time to realize what she was doing. She kept doing it because she didn’t give a shit about you, your family, and your marriage. She did give a shit about herself. That’s it.

      She says she made a ‘mistake’. She made ( as someone said ) a series of coldly calculated choices. She deceived you for a year, put you at risk for a STD.

      And she shrugs it off, “you’re making too much of it “.

      The fact that she thinks what she did ( or says it, anyway ) is so minor should point out to you how flawed her character is. She’ll do it again. That’s how she’s made.

      • And next time she’ll say it was because you were so ‘distant’ after you discovered the affair and you weren’t giving her enough attention.

    • DNA, am I understanding this correctly? She says it was only four times and months went by in between their encounters? This is called minimising. I guarantee that the numbers are much much higher and that it was much more ongoing. Like me, many here can attest to hearing these sorts of stats from our cheaters and then found out further down the road that they were lying even about that. Take her numbers game with a grain of salt. I know you don’t want to believe it and hearing that it was ‘only’ four times, spaced out by many months, makes it somehow easier to say it wasn’t all that bad and that’s what she’s counting on. It’s most likely bullshit and even if it’s not she boned this guy at least four times over the course of a year. Take a wild guess how often they were in contact talking about their bangfests in between meeting.

    • DNA –

      My kids were 2 and 5 when their dad left – and I’ve had many people tell me their younger age was a blessing, as there would be some years to heal before hitting the tough adolescent/teen years. Your kids are still young enough that you can reset their new “normal”and model integrity for them.

      Another lesson from the trenches – worrying about what everybody may “think” about you shouldn’t be what guides your choices. I did that for far too long – you probably have too – all us chumps do…we think that others will judge US, but mostly, they 1) won’t care; 2) won’t judge – they have thier own issues, or also think your wife is selfish and treats you badly; 3) have seen that divorce happens, and that sometimes kids are better off NOT having a front row seat to the whole mess.

      I come from a very religious background – my dad was a preacher – so the perception of what people would think in my small town was HUGE for me too. Please believe that truth wins in the end – every time. And whether others see that truth now, later, or never really doesn’t matter. YOU know what the truth is – let it set you free.

    • Lucky for me my Cheating wife was the one who moved out. I told her and her friends also told her that under the circumstances she should leave. It took awhile but even the crazy one understood she doesn’t deserve to live in our home. My two boys and I are in the house at the moment, my boys are 15 & 12 so better as they are somewhat self supportive. At the moment we agreed they would stay at her place a couple nights a week. My suggestion is if she is any bit sympathetic you might be able to convince her to move out. I wouldn’t leave that house.

    • Having grown up in a dysfunctional home myself (verbal and physical abuse towards my mom, though no cheating), I have to say that it’s best for you to leave. I only wish my mom would’ve left my dad, and taken us with her. I don’t know how our lives would’ve turned out if she had (financial insecurity was a big hindrance to my mom leaving, as she was a stay at home mom), but I really wish she had left because seeing all that abuse and fighting all those years really made me internalize a lot of that sh*t. The fact that my mom took it without doing anything (i.e. leaving), served as a terrible model , which I then emulated in my own relationship with my cheater, verbally abusive ex. I stayed with him despite all the verbal abuse, emotional manipulation/blackmail, and even cheating. In the end, he devalued me for taking him back constantly and for accepting his BS (funny that) — and partly because I pretty much ran out of ego kibbles to feed him at that point since I was so emotionally and physically exhausted from the relationship and the mind games he kept playing — and moved on to the next woman in his harem. That was a big wake up call and I am trying to work on myself, to tell myself that I don’t want to be like my mom, to spot red flags and not put up with them rather than considering them a normal part of relationships. For the sake of your kids, leave. Yes, there are sacrifices to be made, but your kids will see the truth for what it is, hopefully, and respect you. I hope you can somehow get custody over the kids. I know for a fact that some kids are also brainwashed by the cheating parent, to despise their other parent. I know this from experience: my cousin, who cheated on her husband and who had custody of her 2 kids (they were 9 and 13 at the time) , brainwashed the kids about how evil their dad was (not in terms of the cheating, but stuff like, him caring about them, etc.). They now don’t talk to their dad much, even though they’re 18 and 22 respectively.. It does happen, but I’d say the alternative (them growing up to view cheating as ok, which they will most likely view as such if you do not leave your wife, not to mention not having any respect for you!) is worse. Sure, if you leave, and your wife gets custody, they might still grow up accepting cheating since they are living with their mother and (possibly) the OM, but I’d say there’s a 50-50 chance of that happening. But if you stay, IMO, they will grow up in a far more dysfunctional environment than if you stay. Plus, you owe it to yourself to find someone who truly loves you and would not even dream of hurting you. You deserve that. You shouldn’t put off living your life, for some cheater who never took your feelings into consideration. As one poster here stated, she didn’t exactly just fall onto someone’s penis…

  • My apologies. I missed the part about the miscarriage. Sorry!

    Even so, I think there are some things worth thinking about in my comment.

    Why didn’t your wife want to know who the real father was? Leaving that question up in the air was pretty strange.

    And do you see “forgiveness entitlement” in her behavior?

    Sorry again for reading too quickly. My apologies!



  • DNA, I am sorry you are in this situation.

    When I discovered my STBX sex texts to his AP (chump that I was, didn’t believe they had sex), I asked him to sleep elsewhere until we went to get MC. I remember him asking me, “How long am I going to be punished?” Um, well…

    The thing is it’s ALWAYS about them. And I believe that after a long term affair there is no remorse. If they weren’t sorry and extremely traumatized the FIRST time they betrayed you, it tells you that somehow they thought what they did was ok. When cheaters stay and offer false remorse, it’s more about keeping their options open until a new supply comes along. IMO, if she valued you and her children and your life together, she wouldn’t go out and cheat. Sure, it’s difficult to express unhappiness in a relationship but that’s what is expected in adult relationships. You don’t go out and f*ck someone else because you are “unhappy.” She’s shown you who she is and it’s up to you now to make that shitty call.

    I wish you the best.

  • Leave, and take your kids with you. DO NOT teach them that it’s ok to be abused. DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS THAN 50% custody!

    You really have to do this. If you won’t do it for you (and you should) then do it for your kids.

  • Um, did you ever think that her miscarriage was actually an abortion? That she didn’t want a child to get in the way of her cheating? After being through this, I put nothing and I mean nothing past a being that operates and thinks the way of a serial cheater. To me the cheating is only symptom of a much more deeply disturbed personality/mental disorder.

    Run and don’t look back, that’s my advise, work your emotional shit after you leave and don’t even think about trying to work this out! Work it out with yourself after you leave.

    Sending you love and clarity as you will need it and it will come in time but leave first.

    Did I say leave? Just want to be very clear.

    • I’m glad someone brought that up because I was thinking along the same lines, except I figured she aborted it to avoid the whole ‘who’s the baby daddy’ stuff. She sounds like a real piece of work so I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the actual case.

  • Oh my god, my heart goes out to you. She IS a narcissistic whore, who doesnt deserve a second chance, no need to analyze further.

  • My STBXH eventually wrote an “apology” email, to which I didn’t reply. He said he wasn’t a bad guy, just someone who’d made mistakes. And I wanted to ask (but didn’t…no contact) him which mistake he was apologizing for: deciding to cheat, searching for someone to cheat with, courting his AP, actually cheating, not telling me about the cheating, lying about the cheating, or his weak ass apology for cheating.

    Yeah…but it’s not a big deal.

      • Jim,
        My ex sent an email apology, too. Problem is, if you engage cheaters, you can’t trust that their answers are truthful. Like Dawn, I completely ignored the email. I received occasional emails after that and since all were ignored, he finally realized what no contact meant. I believe he had a tough time believing I could just walk away so easily and quickly. After all, I took him back after 2 affairs. I’m glad I woke up!

    The advice you have been given on this site is very one sided. Please take your children’s perspective. They have been living with two parents and now risks having their lives torn apart. Yes it is your wife’s fault, but leaving is your choice. As a male you risk losing custody of your children. They may end up without any sane parent.

    I am in a very similar situation and it is totally awful. My wife had an affair, I want to leave her but I just cannot leave the children.

    Since your wife does want the marriage you have some bargaining power. See a layer now. Have your wife sign a co-parenting agreement. Work on your relation with your children. Spend a lot of time with them. As they grow their preferences will be important when deciding co-parenting terms after a divorce.

    You need boundaries. If these are broken you must go for divorce. Any new affair will make her a serial cheater. Then you can divorce her for your kids’ sake.

    Try to move focus away from your needy wife and to your children. You and they are the core of the family. Tell her what is not acceptable if she wants to stay in the family.

    Whatever names people here call your wife; she is the mother of your children. Their interest should have preference. You may always decide to leave your wife later.

    • I understand your point, Ole, but it seems to me that it’s WAY too late to be saying ‘you need boundaries’. DNA HAD boundaries, his wife knew very well what they were. So staying with her now just clearly gives the accurate message that, no, actually, DNA doesn’t have boundaries, and you can keep walking all over him. THIS will not be healthy for his kids in any way, shape or form.

      Even more than the highly likely chance that she will cheat again (and she was good at hiding it, right?), is the certainty that she will continue to be an entitled, selfish person, and will continue to behave consistently with that. What message would DNA be giving if he put up with THAT, even if the kids didn’t know about the cheating, and she never cheated again? And how would DNA’s mental health suffer, in this incredibly unhealthy marriage? And how would that affect his kids?

      Every child needs at least one sane parent, and continuing to live with a narcissist is NOT a way to stay sane!

      • Ole:
        The 3 years I spent trying to keep my marriage together have been the most difficult years of my entire life. He never actually stopped cheating. He might have taken a break from it for a couple of months. But, it continued in an even more calculating stealthy way. He made more effort to hide it. (Secret email account, secret phone, consistent cash withdrawls so that he could stash money away to use for hookers and strippers and his affair partner) The betrayal never actually stopped. He pretended to be commited to saving our marriage while still cheating. That is not what reconciliation is.
        The pain you will feel after forgiving, trying to reconcile, putting so much effort into saving your marriage for your kids will be so much worse after you find out the cheating happened again or continued while you were hoping it would work out. It feels like you have been stabbed in the chest and you can’t breathe. Believe me – I know. The wave of pain and grief will come over you more than once.
        It is very difficult to accept that you have been used and played by the person you love and have created a family with. That level of betrayal is abuse. You have been abused. So have the rest of us Chumps.
        I wish you strength, and I hope you can find your self respect and give yourself permission to leave. Your kids will actually be better off. Your wife has set a terrible example for your kids, you have the opportunity to set a good one.
        Take care,

    • Good points, Ole.

      Now is the time to draw up a post nup. In which you outline some very clear rules and some very clear consequences.

      It will buy you time whilst you work out your hurt and what you will and will not stand for.

      I am a Chumpkid, and it took me 5 years of insult to injury, and the second discovery of OW (same one) for me to finally say, ‘enough’.

      To truly understand that they are wired different, that they don’t give a shit about you, well, that is a concept that is hard to take in. Because it is so unnatural and not like human beings should be.

      Good luck DNAChump, we understand the pain, we understand the hope, and we understand the reluctance to divorce. I do, anyway.

    • “Have your wife sign a co-parenting agreement.”

      Oh, because she’s so good at honoring her commitments? Yeah. That’s really worked well so far.

      I’d say if DNA wants to reconcile sign a post-nup, not a parenting agreement. If they divorce, he has no control over a parenting agreement. What are you going to do — be the ex-spouse police? How on earth can that be enforced with a narcissist who wants kibbles from the kids? Our parenting agreement said no video games! And you let them watch video games! You’re going to drag your ex back into court over THAT, or other parenting offenses — at YOUR expense? You think a judge wants to take up the court’s time with parenting agreements? And how do you know what’s going on at the other person’s house, if the agreement is being abided by? You don’t, unless you ask the kids (puts them in a difficult position of ratting out mom), or your ex (a proven liar).

      No, you get a POST NUP — that outlines the property settlement and custody. Two things that are legally enforceable. You essentially write up a ready-to-go divorce. If a cheater won’t give you a post-nup, it shows you exactly how deep their “remorse” is.

      A parenting agreement? Worthless when you’re dealing with a narcissist. The rules don’t apply to them. They’re special. The court can’t enforce the details of how you parent (unless you’re putting your children in immediate harm). They can enforce the division of stuff and who gets kids when.

      • This makes me wonder about something.

        The difference between male and female narcissists. Male narcissists tend to lose interest in dependent children (especially after they are more independent).

        Female narcissists tend to use children as a source of narcissistic supply and seek to create dependency in their children.

        It’s a crap sandwich either way, but… when you get to “protecting the kids”, I think that can often be a bigger problem if you’re dealing with a high-functioning female narcissist.

        • My ex totally used his kids as a source of narcissistic supply, and continued to expect to do so, even while ignoring their needs and spending very little of his time with them when that suited him, Ie never asked for the 50% custody time that is the norm here, work was always a higher priority, being with his girlfriend (aka the OW) too, he was taking vacations the kids weren’t interested in …. I was supposed to continue to care for those kibble suppliers, as always, while he continued to reap kibble from them.

          Now they’re refusing to see him (and at 12 and 14, up here on the left-hand side of the frozen north, they can legally do that. YAY!), and it’s driving him nuts. Well, doesn’t help that work isn’t going well right now either, the relationship w/the OW doesn’t seem that amazing any more, he only has one friend left who will speak to him, I’ve refused yet again to take him back …. Kibbles are in pretty short supply right now, and he’s SHOCKED to discover that the built-in, endless supply he thought the kids would provide is gone.

          I feel so bad for the kids, but as for him? Too. fucking. bad.

  • Ole,

    Indeed, the kid’s perspective is important, but their welfare is more important. By staying, DNA would be modelling and repeating the abuse. And every Chump here speaks from their OWN experience, and those of us who have tried and failed to coparent with a narcissist know that trying to chase THAT particular unicorn is doomed. And we are legion, apparently.

    My daughter has paid for her Dad’s indiscretions and forgiveness entitlement, which are ongoing- with scar tissue, loss of her peace of mind and now has crippling anxiety, yet the law, most counsellors and the school assume that two parents is best.

    It is, but NOT in a contrived situation that only ends up making it worse for the kids, and DNA has to play marriage police. Pardon the down-home saying, but that dog won’t hunt.

    And with a cheater/narcissist, who must contrive to survive, do you really think sufficient empathy and capacity for mature discussion is there? Cheaters know the consequences and get a thrill out of it, and more and more risks are taken. I see your point, ole, if DNA keeps his enemy closer, then he might be able to mitigate the damage, but that is too much for one person. Taking abuse for the sake of your kids will not do you favours, DNA.

    I think it is very easy to swallow the blue capsule a bit-the comforting fallacy that people who cheat on their spouses don’t cheat on the kids. Cheating is a behavioral mindset, and folk who cheat, cheat.

    Sorry, Ole, not meaning to tear strips off you, but coparenting with a narc just leads to a secondary abusive situation for the kids and the kids weren’t mentioned in the original post, so we talked with DNA about how his issues i tersect our own as individuals.

    What you suggest might be a good intermediate step, but you would be amazed at how many ‘last chances’ a narc will twist out of the other parent, and, worse, the kids…that just prolongs the agony.

    Look into parallel parenting, DNA, please, it is the best you can hope for, and a very very long row to hoe.

    May the Force be with us all.


  • As a chump kid with a mom that stayed, I would say “get out”. Narcs don’t change.
    One thing they do delight in is getting you to back down on your firm boundries. You said “no cheating”, and she said “watch me”.

    I do have a question for you though. Why would you stay? Be honest. You don’t mention any other children.

    • I have two children, 5 and 8. My love and care for them is what is making me try to hold on. My MC also says that that the affair was opportunity and vulnerability for my wife. I have a hard time believing that because she went many months in between sex with him. The MC also advises me that I am using the affair, that one event and it is clouding my view of the overall good person and wife is. So confusing!!

      • DNA,

        First of all, get the hell out of MC! This is only a tool the cheaters use as a way to blame shift. You don’t have a broken marriage, you have a broken wife. She needs deep therapy that she will never go through.

        When is it ok to cheat in a marriage? NEVER

        When Christopher Reeves was paralyzed, he told his wife to date other men. She chose not to. Your wife chose to while she had every opportunity to focus on your sex life.

        File for divorce before her and some future AP scheme against you. The red light is flashing and you’re ignoring it. DON’T!

      • DNA, sounds like you need to get out of that MC. That counselor is a fool. You know, Ted Bundy actually worked at a suicide hotline to help prevent people killing themselves, and also went months in between killing people himself, so maybe the jury should have considered what an overall good person he was, and not let his being a serial murderer cloud their judgement.

        That makes just as much sense as what your MC is telling you. Your wife is NOT a good person. She lies, cheats and manipulates. In my book, that makes her a BAD person.

      • DNAChump, you need to sit down with someone who knows your wife well, and make some big long lists that show whether she actually IS an overall good person and wife. We tend to make all sorts of assumptions, and if she’s a pretty, soft-spoken woman who can say the right words, some idiotic MC will be taken in. I’m betting those lists of actual behaviours, not words, both good and bad or selfish, will be revealing.

        Then you need to read the G. Simon books, especially the most recent one on Character Disturbance. It is HUGELY eye-opening!!!

  • ole,
    Didn’t DNA already establish boundaries with his wife, that cheating was a deal breaker? And did she not break that boundary, maybe smashed it to smithereens by getting pregnant and not knowing who the father was?
    Look, DNA, you deserve so much more than this woman can give you. Your children need you to be the sane one, and your sanity will leave you on the next bus out of town if you think she will change and she deserves to be forgiven just because she says so. Truly, ending a marriage is not to be entered in lightly, especially if children are involved (my perspective). But, can you honestly say you can forgive and move on with what you say she has done, all in the name of your “grumpiness”?
    Uncle Daddy (my darling ex husband) wanted similar forgiveness, and now he wants to be “friends” again, much like we were prior to the train wreck that turned out to be our 20 year marriage. Uh, no, Loser. With a friend like you, why would I need any enemies? Move along with your bad self, Asshat. I will be the sane parent for our three young adult girls, the one that pays, prays, and makes sure they have a warm place to fall when they need it. You just keep on being your bad, Dungeonmastering freakish self and I will keep making my life and our girls’ lives a great place to be.
    DNA, save yourself and your children, echoing Mehphista, look into parallel parenting. It works, and your children will appreciate your maintaining you sanity the best way you could. By being the parent who modeled what a real loving parent would do, putting your young children above the fray. Your sanity will be a very important gift given to your babies as they grow and thrive with you.

  • DNA – Reading your comment and description of your marriage counselor red flags and alarm sounds WENT OFF in my head. I know it’s confusing, and in the beginning of reconciliation I was working really hard to figure out what was my part? What was it that I did that made my then H go out and solicit sexual services at massage parlors 3 times a week (and sometimes 3 times in ONE DAY!). But something inside just wouldn’t by it. Nope! I’m sorry! There is NOTHING that I did that warranted that behavior! I didn’t find Chump Lady until after I had already moved out and filed for divorce, but what sweet relief to see my own values reflected in her words and the comments of so many others here.

    You confidence is shaken – your self esteem in decimated, please believe us when we say there is NOTHING that you did to warrant having your woman calculatedly cheat and lie for a year. I hope that you can find a therapist that doesn’t try to feed you that additional SHIT sandwich.

    • FL is right. When I read your original post, DNA, I thought…”boy, that’s how chumpy I felt.” These awful people who decide to cheat, who decide to break up families, who choose their own personal needs over those that are chumpy enough to love them…they make us soft-hearted folks question where we went wrong. You didn’t go wrong, DNA. I’m sure you weren’t perfect, but perfection isn’t the purpose of marriage. You didn’t make her cheat. Because we’re decent, loving, humans, we’ll always think about our part of any mess…and those awful cheaters take advantage of us because of it.

      She’s taking advantage of your decency, DNA. Don’t let her do it.

  • ” This concept of “love” means you’ll do unless she finds a better deal out there.”

    My exH left me for this woman who got off on being strangled while having sex and being beaten. While he tried to claim he had decided to become a “dom”, I was intelligent enough to realize he just wanted to be able to cross the boundary from verbal to physical abuse in a “legit” way (in his eyes). But, I digress…

    I respond because prior to his leaving, I found and copied ALL their little emails and photos back and forth to each other. (I confess a bizarre amazement at what she could do with a squash in the ladies room at Target: Kids….remember to ALWAYS wash your produce when you get it home!). Because I had set up all his social media accounts for him as the sweet secretary wife, I had all his passwords so sat and watched him DM with her and others on Twitter from his mobile (I watched and printed out anything good to use in court from the laptop).

    Amusingly enough, he was all packed and ready to drive to Texas from DC to start their new life together and she decided she was going to try and make it work with someone else (not her husband…insert laughter here….who still didn’t know she was cheating on him with MY husband). He went through the roof in DM and freaked out. The woman he was leaving me for just LEFT HIM.

    And then I watched him… his poor little heart broke and all his buddies asked him what he would do and he said:

    “I’ll just go back to Jenny. I’ll apologize and kiss her ass and she’ll take me back because she knows no one else will love her. I can fake it long enough to find someone else.”

    I printed that out. Still have it coming up on five years later (December 6th is the anniversary of our separation) and I would look at it a LOT in the weeks that followed as he tried valiantly to “save” our marriage. Funny how silly his professions of love were as I knew he was full of shit (although he had no idea that I knew). He tried to tell me he dumped HER because he realized how much he loved ME. It was all I could do not to laugh and rub his nose in it but I was playing a part for the court case so I just told him I wasn’t sure and would have to think about it. (I had to fake it a few months to get my ducks in a row legally).

    Here’s the two take aways:

    1. A liar is a liar. And you know what I mean, I’m not talking about lying about a surprise party or a cruise for your bday or that I don’t adore your college band t-shirt full of holes you still wear. A lie is a lie and that leopard isn’t going to change her spots. And the icing on YOUR shit cake is that she KNEW how much THAT would HURT you. She knew. She did it ANYWAY. If that doesn’t scream “fuck you” then maybe we can all pool our money and get a Swiss yodeler to make it more clear to you. I would estimate that she’s just doing what my ex did and what CL said: padding her nest until the next gravy train comes by she can jump on.


    2. Seriously, wash your produce. You just never know where it’s been.

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