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Dear Chump Lady, Am I a chump for believing they were “just friends”?

Dear Chump Lady,

My wife finally announced to me in early September that she was in love with a long standing friend of ours. He and his wife have been our friends for about sixteen years. Their marriage started tanking about 6 years ago, and then apparently he had an affair that she got wind of around 3 years ago. They live in the same house, remain married, but take turns with the kids and are separated “spirtually”. They do some things together. I haven’t asked about the details.

For about 8 or so years, my wife’s friendship with the guy was the strongest amongst the two couples. And starting 4 years ago or so, she began listening to the guy’s marital issues.

I got extremely uncomfortable with their friendship. I said don’t spend time with him unless I’m around. In 2011 (I think) I said I think you’re having an emotional affair. She said that wasn’t the case.

She’s always denied all physical contact.

She began seeing this guy behind my back for lunches at work periodically I’ve learned. And rode the train with him when commuting without telling me.

In summer 2013 she really began withdrawing from me emotionally. Finally in September I got her to talk and she admitted that yes she’d fallen in love with him and out of love with me. She still claims they’ve never had any physical contact. Not even hand holding. It was just the emotional connection and converstation.

She cut off all communication with him in mid-September at my request. I’ve looked at their emails and texts. None since the cut off. The pre-Sept ones were never sexual. No sexting. No mushy emails. Just chatty, friendly, brief stuff. Sending links to news articles. Sharing information about yoga. Let’s meet for lunch. She claims he’s never declared outright affection for her but has said “You’re cooler than any of the women I’ve dated since my marriage broke up.”

Current status: We’re both seeing ICs and we have an MC. She’s been grieving the loss of her “friendship”. For 3 months. I tell her we can’t reconcile unless she can become indifferent towards him. We’ve stopped sleeping together. She claims tremendous feelings of guilt about her conduct. But she does have a laundry list of grievances toward me: I didn’t connect enough emotionally, I don’t show enough initiative around the house, I can get grumpy when working to reduce the amount of time our two boys spend on electronics. She has remorse, she claims she is working on things but has to do so inside herself first because she doesn’t know who she is anymore.

I’m seeing a lawyer for the first time next week. I want to get started understanding what to do if I want to get divorced.

Am I fucking crazy for being an emo chump and wanting to stay together because I think I love her still? Don’t ask me why I didn’t go ballistic 3 years ago, I don’t know, I’m a chump. I trusted my wife that she was just friends…

Emo chump

Dear Emo,

You know, I don’t know a lot of people who spend that much time mourning their commuting partner. Awhile ago I gave advice to a woman whose husband was having an emotional affair, same deal, it appeared non-sexual, but she hadn’t confronted him about it. My advice then was — confront and see what he does. You’re much further along in this mess. You confronted three years ago — and what she’s done was a) continue to see him behind your back, b) focused on your faults, c) told you she’s in love with him and not you.

Yeah, I’m not seeing a lot to work with here. If she’d slapped herself in 2011 and noticed she was on a slippery slope and recommitted to the marriage, I’d say go for it. Patch things up. What I see here is half-assedness. She’s cut off contact — but then how could you believe her, as you asked her to not see him in 2011 and she did it behind your back? She sulks and “mourns.” You don’t sleep together — and that’s not much of a surprise, seeing as she’s missing him (oh that puts you in the mood, for sure…) and how can she feel “indifferent” toward her fantasy guy when she’s got no sex life with you?

Emo, she’s acting like a person in a full-blown affair, if you ask me. I believe emotional affairs can be just that — infatuations that don’t turn physical. And in those cases, they tend to be on-line with a lot of geography in between. You don’t have that. These people have known each other for ages AND they meet up behind your back. My guess is it’s probably been physical. You also know the guy is a cheater, thus his separation that’s not a separation.

Adults tend not to “fall in love” with people they aren’t boinking. The OM sounds like the classic douchebag wanting your wife to do the pick me dance with the women he’s dating. “Oh you’re the COOL one.” He’s exploring all his options — she wants to be in the game, but her Marriage Is Holding Her Back.


Whatever she’s doing with this guy, she’s treating you like Plan B, the fall back guy. She says she doesn’t love you — I’d lawyer up too. Who wants to be her consolation prize?

Emo, here’s a chronology that’s atrocious — OM’s marriage tanked and an affair was discovered 3 years ago (the affair was going on 6 years?). Four years ago — one ENTIRE YEAR before your chumpy friend, OM’s wife  KNEW about the affair, your dear wife was discussing OM’s “marital problems” with him. Which I assume included his infidelity? Your wife has been aiding and abetting the break up of that man’s marriage — which makes her a terrible person, and no friend to that wife.

Apparently she wasn’t saying, hey come clean with Marge! Or, if you don’t tell her, I will! No, she was insinuating herself in that break up, vying for his affections, and falling in love with him.

That’s a sign of her character — and in my opinion that would tell me all I need to know about how viable a reconciliation with her would be. She doesn’t care about OM’s bad character, she doesn’t care about hurting her friend, or you — she cares about her kibble supply from this douchebag.

I’d talk to OM’s wife too. She might know a lot more about this affair than she’s letting on to you.

Emo, I’m sorry. I see a woman who is checked out of her marriage. But, like most cheaters, too cowardly and gutless to end it. She’d rather you be the bad guy. Protect yourself. See that lawyer. Good luck.


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  • In summer 2013 she really began withdrawing from me emotionally. Finally in September I got her to talk and she admitted that yes she’d fallen in love with him and out of love with me.

    And this ^ is really all you need to know to understand an awful lot about your wife’s character that you have been having trouble accepting (been there myself. It sucks).
    She’s “in love” with somebody who has cheated on his wife and who is most likely cheating with your wife too. It must be “love”. lol.

    Sorry, about laughing. My heart really goes out to you, and I do know how painful this crap is, but your wife is kind of immature, IMO, if she has an laundry list of your “faults” and doesn’t comprehend Mr. Cheater has faults at least a numerous 🙂
    I bet they sat around in their little whine-fests comparing their spouses’ shortcomings with their imaginary perfection.

    Your wife is–at best–not emotionally mature, and like an adolescent, she’s a bit unrealistic and narcissistic. That’s really all you need to know because these characteristics tend to not improve with age in adults.

    If your wife was 19 or 20, the prognosis would be better (maybe not with you–sometimes young people can learn from hard knocks like being dumped by somebody who really cared about them).

    • You know Emo, I called on one of my colleague-friend some time back. He was having a similar problem as you. Only the OM happened to be his wife’s boss.

      I just talked to him once on infidelity in his marriage, just once…never again. You know what I told him:

      I told him: You deserve to know the whole truth, employ all means. Then take a decision about how to act in a sound state of mind. period.

      It is the same for you. Mostly these mind-fucking game creates so much fog that it is impossible to look ahead with clear head. In my opinion Emotional Affair is far more damaging than Physical Affair, anyways. You’ve been substituted for in their mental/heart (provided they had one) space.

      You deserve the truth…only truth, howsoever frightening it might seem now, shall fetch you wisdom to act in the right way. Good Luck!

  • Emo Chump:
    I am so sorry you are going through this. The fact that she is having an affair with one of your long time friends makes it even more difficult I am sure.
    CL is right – She has checked out of the marriage and she did it a while. Unfortunately, she has been sucked into the vortex of a narcissist cheater that has been playing her and using her for ego kibbles. She fell for his poor me act, gave him kibbles, and got sucked in herself. She was so desperate for attention from a man that it was easy for him to manipulate her. That guy is really a douche bag! It really is pathetic.
    If she is moping and not connecting with you at all, you are definitely the consolation prize. I am sure she feels guilt. But, she does not value your marriage anymore. She simply feels guilty and stuck.
    You didn’t say if you have kids. But, if you do, she has lost the overall appreciation for the family you have made together. I think that is exactly what happened to me. My husband and I had a good marriage, a good life, and two wonderful kids together. Rather than value that and protect that, he chose to seek out ego kibbles and to get his rocks off to suit himself. After a while, the things that fed his ego and the sex with other people took priority. Our family then became secondary and the thing that kept him stuck. After I found out about infidelity three years ago, I was too shocked and scared. I also wasn’t ready to let go. I hung in there and tried to reconcile the marriage for my kids and for me. I still loved him then. It only took about a year and he was cheating again.
    The pain of betrayal is terrible. But, once their heart and soul have left you, I don’t think there is any way to get them back.
    Now, you are letting yourself be stuck with someone who has checked out of your relationship. Staying in the same house, not sleeping together, losing the connection more each day is just avoiding the inevitable I am affraid. She made the choice to open Pandora’s box by jeopardzing your marriage a while back and all that transpired afterward has created what you have now. You are not in a marriage you are stuck in a pit of Chump quicksand.
    I am sorry. I hope you can find your inner strength and realize that you deserve better.
    Best wishes,

    • I agree w CL- nothing to hang on here. You will feel better once you take control of your life and the situation.

      Rebecca – Your story sounds similar to mine. It only took my STBX 3 months before he was cheating again. I figured it out almost immediately but hung on for another year. BUT he never “left” me so in his mind he doesnt/didnt want the divorce and never wanted to lose me and his family. It is so confusing and not logical all at the same time. I don’t know how to navigate this new “normal”. It is all strange. Not sure if you experience this but he is always so angry with me. I don’t understand the anger and hate he has towards me.
      Keep being awesome!!!

      • Hi Dazed, Directing anger toward you is classic narcissistic behavior. Once they replace you on their emotional pedestal, they can become savage. In the narcissists’ mind, you are a reflection of their personal failing. They can’t handle that and lash out. My XH was acerbic and demeaning with me and our children. Needless to say, when he left the family home for the OW, he left behind a boatload of bad feelings and memories. Sorry you had to put up with that!

        • Dazed, it may not be your circumstance but my ex was angry at me because I would not remain married to him so long as he has a AP and he felt entitled to have both. He beat me down so long that when I finally refused to let him cross a boundary, the last one I suppose, he was surprised and pissed and it was all my fault.

          • This probably has a lot to do with it. He is so used to me having very relaxed boundaries where he was concerned that he is pissed that I’m finally saying no. I’m doing better but it is still a process. I’ve come far but still have away to go. It is just crazy that I wasn’t suppose to be mad about his AP but he can be so angry that I left and filed for divorce.

            • My anger at finding out my ex was a serial cheater was, according to him, the reason everything went so wrong and why he just ‘couldn’t deal’. And me telling people why I was divorcing was another reason. His anger? I didn’t ‘value’ our many years together by telling people the truth….or something like that. I’ve never figured it out and stopped trying a long time ago.

          • Interesting that so many of us have the same experience. Once my ex’s affair was revealed, he wanted to go to marriage counseling. He used the first session to give a 45-minute monologue on all my faults. Only a few months later he lied to me to see the woman again. After that things got ugly, as he got angrier and angrier with me for “shutting down” and getting depressed. Then he began to take it out on the kids. The worst day was the day I walked out with my children. I read the explanations for the anger, but I still ask why. Why wasn’t he crawling on his hands and knees wanting my forgiveness? Don’t mistake this for second thoughts about the divorce–I don’t regret it one second. But I want to know why all the anger. His anger continues to be an issue, and I believe there’s a good chance that my children will eventually cut contact with him when they become adults.

            • Mine was alternately angry, demeaning and crying for the last several months of our marriage. It was like living in crazytown! Then when he left he wanted us to be friends and still do things together as a family. Their behavior is seriously confusing and crazymaking. The only way I could deal with it was to go no contact, which made him mad but oh well. After D-day all my effort went into protecting myself from him so I could heal.

        • That is a very interesting about the reflection of their personal failing. That makes complete sense and so insightful.

    • What a great comment, again, Rebecca. And yes, when they start cheating, it is exactly like opening Pandora’s box. And I fear there is no way to shut that box once the cheater has opened it.

      • Kelly:
        I was so high on hopium for a while, I actually convinced myself that if I could just tried harder and showed him that I loved him in spite of his flaws, we would be able to make it through. What I didn’t want to accept was that he had already damaged the relationship too much. That kind of damage really cannot be repaired. Every time I looked at him I saw someone different than the man I had fallen in love with and created a family with. There was always a lingering doubt about whether he was telling me the truth or not.
        When I would try to talk with him about my feelings and my need for reassurance, his response was always exactly the same – “I love you more than anything. I don’t want to be with anyone else. I am deeply sorry for cheating on you. But, I can’t change what I did in the past. All I can do is move forward and focus on today. If you and I are going to get through this, you are just going to have to trust me. You are just going to have to put it behind you. Every time you bring it up, I feel like I am being punished again and I can’t continue to deal with that. I can’t be the bad guy in your eyes every day.”
        That dialogue happened many times over a 3 year period. And, through that entire time, he was still cheating on me. He had opened that window that he used to give himself permission to be unfaithful, and he had no intention of stopping. He was just lying to me every single day.
        I still experience days of deep pain sometimes. It is paralyzing, and the pain in my chest takes my breath away. But, the pain I feel is not for the loss of my relationship with him. The pain I feel is for the years he deliberately chose to use and deceive me every single day for years. The pain is for the years of my life I lost being committed to and loving a man that had already discarded me in his heart and soul. The feeling of pain and loss is for the years that he stole from me. I also feel pain for the fact that he is the father of my kids – I wish I had chosen better.
        Today, I am really thankful that I am not with him. I feel that more and more each day.
        When cheating spouses lie to us and deceive us, they actually are using our own faithfulness against us and using it to hold us hostage in a marriage with them.
        I will never be able to forgive him for that.

        • Wow, Rebecca.

          That was another “I can relate” moment.

          I found out about my husband’s affair. He “broke it off”, told me he wanted to reconcile.

          For the next year, I played the infidelity police with him, and would often make sarcastic comments about what he’d done.

          He would have those exact conversations with me: “I can’t change the past. You need to just trust me.” and my personal favorite: “Every time you get angry, it just jeopoardizes our ability to reconcile. I have to warn you.”

          Warn me?

          As CL has said in the past… if he’s in it, he needs to grovel and deal with my anger for as long as I need that. He didn’t.

          I found out a year down the track that the cheating started again 6 months into the “reconciliation”. However, I believe it never actually ended. I’ll never know for sure.

          I only know that he continued to lie to me, and continued to cheat at every opportunity he had, and I have proof.

          It also wasn’t his first affair… things like this had been going on for most of our 20 year marriage.

          Sometimes I wish we all had some sort of “chump telescope” which would let us see very clearly what the cheater is saying compared to what he is actually doing. It would make life so much easier!

        • Late post here Rebecca~~~ but exactly! I do not miss my “relationship” with my ex. I do not miss my ex. But I am at times still furious and simultaneously stunned by the years and years he stole from me. These guys are “time thieves,” and what do we have that is more precious than our years on this earth….and the people we choose to love and spend those years on and with? I would have chosen differently, had children with a man who loved me….you know the drill. I have moved on and am quite happily engaged, yet here I am because the hurt is still there, whether I want to admit it or not. To me it is like being a victim of a crime….I can move on with my life, but I can still acknowledge the hurt and harm that crime has caused me. Yes, I can can fall in love again and I have. I will re-marry. But those years have been forever stolen from me and along with them the opportunities for love, family, and every little decision I would have made in all of those most important things in life. Decisions that were supposed to be MINE, not my cheating exes and his pathological AP’s. Again, you hit it exactly on the head- we were unwitting hostages as the years and decades ticked by. I too find that unforgivable.

          • Kelly:
            I swear it almost feels like we are soul sisters. I wish we could just get together and have lunch. I am so happy that you have found someone else to love. The fact that you are getting remarried gives me hope. I hope your new husband will give you the love and respect you deserve. You have an opportuity to share the second half of your life and make some new and wonderful memories. Don’t allow your tainted memories with your cheating ex invade your new life. He is not worth it. Your ex is now the ugly troll under the bridge that you got away from.
            Best wishes for a happy future for you and your new husband!
            Take care,

        • “I still experience days of deep pain sometimes. It is paralyzing, and the pain in my chest takes my breath away. But, the pain I feel is not for the loss of my relationship with him. The pain I feel is for the years he deliberately chose to use and deceive me every single day for years. The pain is for the years of my life I lost being committed to and loving a man that had already discarded me in his heart and soul. The feeling of pain and loss is for the years that he stole from me. I also feel pain for the fact that he is the father of my kids – I wish I had chosen better.”

          Oh and one more thing—- Dang Rebecca, you nailed this.

  • Emo,

    Please listen to CL. See your lawyer and get your financial information in order.

    I highly doubt there has been no physical contact. I know that’s difficult to hear but sorry, that’s the likely reality. I’ve been there. I did not believe my STBX had a physical affair when I discovered texts and his emotional affair. He denied and denied. He accused me of being paranoid and was outraged that I would even consider him capable of it.

    We were also in IC and MC where he lied to the MC about an affair. Truth was he’d been having a physical affair for at least a year, had unprotected sex in our home, and had already seen a lawyer. When “caught” he accused me of being abusive, threatened to go for primary custody of our child and said that “we’d grown apart”. He had every lame excuse ever written in the “Cheaters Handbook”. Sadly, it’s not very original how this mindfuck plays out, it just feels that way to you because you (a chump) can’t believe it’s happening. You think they MUST be different. They aren’t. Yours most likely isn’t.

    Mine was all sad until I told him the marriage was over. At that point he got nice and drunk scaring the crap out of me. He changed before my eyes. He knew the game was over and it pissed him off. They have no shame at being caught, just anger that you figured it out. Nobody likes to be caught with their hand in the cookie jar and gosh, you MADE them cheat, lie, expose you to harm both emotionally and physically.

    Yeah right.

    With my situation there was no hope. I’m 10 months out now and it’s been a difficult journey but I see my STBX for the true coward he is. I can’t accept that kind of behaviour in my marriage. And he too had enabling friends who hid the truth from me and of course they are now all best buds. Good bye losers! That was one of the best gifts of getting divorced.

    I know you want to believe but ask yourself if this is what you want in a wife, your life partner. If your first answer is no, trust it.

    • I cannot imagine anything more like a continuing Hell than spending my whole life with somebody who thinks “love” is all about “butterfly feelings” and “excitement” and who most likely has such crappy boundaries that they think it’s OK to sit around co-miserating with somebody of the opposite sex (or same sex if you’re a gay couple) about the faults of their partner.

      I couldn’t do it, personally. It’s committing yourself to a relationship with somebody whose emotional IQ is stunted and who will most likely hold you responsible for however they happen to be feeling from moment to moment. That’s just too much work, and it’s a rather one-sided partnership.

      • That’s funny, Timeheals. I was just thinking about how much I commiserated with my female friends about my marital woes (neglect, withdrawal in all realms, etc.). Turns out, he was doing the same – commiserating with females, painting himself as the “poor sausage” to draw them in.

        Well put sentiment. Not a life I want to live, either.

      • That was why my stbxh left me….he found those butterflies and that excitement with someone he hardly knew and then left for those feelings. He has always been a very in-the-moment kind of person, but now I realize the far-reaching implications of approaching life in this way. And it is a mentally that I no longer want to live with. It is a lot of work…

        • How odd….my ex went on about butterflies and all that stuff as well. In fact, it became clear to me that if he had simply boned final OW and not had butterflies she would have been just another of his conquests. Even when I kicked him out overhis ‘feelings’ (he had known her for two months at work) he still ‘wanted time to think and decide’. Except I wouldn’t give him that time. And this upset him and I was being unfair.

          But now when I look back he was impulsive in so many areas of his life, which I liked at first but found difficult towards the end because it meant a lot of havoc in our lives and I was putting my foot down, saying it was too unstable a way to live. This is when he went from having sidepieces to ‘falling’ for one of them (whom he was cheating on as well…hahahaha). So basically he found someone new who was enamoured of his sparkly impulsiveness when I finally had had enough.

          His butterflies are wearing off now and reality is hitting so I figure there’s another round of impulsive behaviour about to hit. I’m just hoping it doesn’t have too much impact on the kids but since he doesn’t take them or anyone else into consideration I’m not holding my breath.

      • After 2 affairs, my ex never learned that real love is not about butterfly feelings and excitement. He went for a third affair and I finally smartened up and divorced him. Very recently, he came crawling back again because he is now upset he lost his family. I have not spoken to him in a year. I bet the infatuation phase is over and reality has once again set in. Of course, I didn’t take him back. I want to live a life, not a nightmare.

        • I forgot to add that ex is still living with OW when he went on a “fishing expedition” to see me to assess if I was still an option. I point blank asked him if the OW knew he was in my home. He didn’t reply. So he’s cheating on her with me. Except I didn’t bite. I was so disgusted and so pleased with how I handled the situation I had to write Tracy a thank you note. Without her and my fellow chumps here, I may have bought into the craziness. Ex was shocked at my reaction. I am truly meh.

          • I sometimes have the thought about what it would be like if he came sniffing around and how I would shut him down sharpish but then I realise I don’t want to deal with the drama. I also know that no matter what I did or said it would not make a dent in his thick skull. I’m much happier not dealing with him in any way.

            • Nord, I was calm and collected but didn’t mince any words. I was able to say what I needed to say without any drama. He looked terrible and miserable and I advised him to seek help for his own sake. He agreed. He kept on apologizing but I stood my ground. I always thought when and if this moment happened, I would feel triumphant. I did not. Instead, I felt profound sadness for the price my family had to pay for his foolhardiness. There truly are no winners in infidelity as we all know but I am glad I have accepted who he really is and I am now leading a different path in life.

              • Wow, Uniquely, you handled that well. I have to admit I enjoy stories of cheaters coming back sniffing around and claiming they made a mistake…and being sent packing. I am sure your strength stunned him. Yay for you!

  • My ex ticked the boxes your wife appears to be ticking, slightly differently;

    ~said he cut off all contact, found out it was a lie four times.
    ~during that time he moved into his own apartment because “I have to work through my own own issues before I can work on our marriage”
    ~came to me 3 weeks after moving out and begged to stay in the marriage, gave me an STD too. BUT days later, not moving back to the house because he still needed to work on himself first, lets date he said…
    ~In first MC session he said “I don’t love you, I never loved you” (I wish I had believed him, probably the only time he ever told me the truth)
    ~When I gave up and told him divorce a lot of abuse happened which has no bearing your situation so I leave it out. BUT, when I stopped playing pick me and asked for a divorce, suddenly he loved me and wanted to work on the marriage. Only problem was that the entire time he was still seeing his OW.
    ~He kept saying that he was “just friends” with the OW, he never admitted to having sex with the OW, NOT EVER. Guess what? Not true, I had proof he did and he still denied it.

    • Oh yeah;

      ~I was 50% to blame for his cheating because of many REASONS. Funny how he could deny he was actually having an affair and at the same time blame me for doing it. The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

      • Even after I read in black and white that my ex was in love with his AP, and he told me I didn’t understand what I was reading. That’s when I truly started to comprehend the manipulation I’d been living with for so long.

        • Yes, Lynn, how I began to catch my ex was when I saw a co-worker’s email to my ex calling him “loverboy.” Ex insisted “that is just a word” and did not mean they were having an affair. Later he admitted they were, for literally 15 years. Asshole.

  • Good advice, CL. I’d bet dollars to donuts the wife is banging the OM. And yeah, why is it these people always go to someone outside the marriage to talk about the supposed marriage problems, rather than talk to the person it matters most to, their spouse? I remember once discussing with my ex, long before his serial cheating ways came to light, about how uncomfortable I was with a friend who was always telling me her marital problems. Really personal stuff that I didnt’ think she should be sharing with me and should instead have been talking to her husband about and how I could never do that because I thought our marriage was between us. WEll, turns out ex loved to talk to women about his ‘difficult’ and ‘crumbling’ marriage….and never mentioned any of it to me.

    Grrr…this stuff drives me mad. I’d divorce this woman so fast her head would spin. No tolerance anymore for anyone who does not respect their marriage.

    • Oh yeah Nord, that one is classic too; during MC my ex said that his “friend” was trying to help him with his marriage problems and how much I would like her if I met her…

      • Apparently I would have liked most of his OW, according to him, because they were all nice people. I’d like to meet them all and find out for myself. Mwahahaha

    • WEll, turns out ex loved to talk to women about his ‘difficult’ and ‘crumbling’ marriage….and never mentioned any of it to me.

      Yes, they were Romeo and Juliet(s), and the terrible, horrible, no-good, mean spouses are the Houses of Capulet and Montague. Such intoxicating drama. Star crossed lovers.

      Thing is, even in Shakespear’s tragedy, Juliet was 13 years old and Romeo, it can be assumed, was supposed to be about 16 or 17 years old

      And that makes that tragedy a good metaphor for exactly what is going on with this sort of thing.

  • My story is very similar except for us being family friends. I know the guy from many many years ago and was a part of my STBXW’s high school past. My wife having what I feel is BPD has always needed lots of friends male and female even if they were bad influences it didn’t matter she still needed them be be friends. I was also somewhat aware of her contacting him. I never liked it one bit and let her know so. But like you I trusted my wife to make the right decisions. It never stopped her and that’s why I’m here reading Chump Lady everyday.

    She also came up with a list of my short comings and tried to use them on me pointing out where I failed her. I has since told her that the list she has for me has no comparison to her Adultery Partner’s biggest short coming. That being a turd that has sex with a married woman. A turd that gets involved with a married woman. A piece of shit that sneaks around with a married woman. etc. How can he be a better choice.

    Bottom line, She gone and is not coming back. The person you thought she was is no longer there. It’s over and I would save myself the extend agony of dancing the “Pick Me” dance. Learn the steps to the “I’m not putting up with her crap anymore” dance. It’s hard to do and will be a very long hard stuggle but it is the best way to go.

    Trust that she sucks, and I wish you the best of luck.

    • Most likely what is “gone” is a facade. And if you were anything like me, you probably had a hand it maintaining that facade (spackling over the cracks it its exterior and not looking behind it to see that it wasn’t really what it appeared to be).

    • After my ex gave me the laundry list of my shortcomings which caused him to fall in love with his married coworker, I told him “Over 31 years I’ve got a list of things you’ve done to upset me, but it didn’t cause me to fall out of love with you or cheat on you.”

  • So sorry your are experiencing this – but as others have stated, you will likely discover much more truth over time, and it’s unlikely to be pretty.

    My exH swore on his own life, our child’s life, and his sister’s life that he never cheated (his sister then died in a terrible accident, which must have really freaked him out – not enough to stop cheating though..). He was cheating the whole time. Trust your own
    instincts and in her ACTIONS, not her words. At the very best, she has admitted that she’s lied, and doesn’t love you. Trust in THAT reality, and begin the hard journey of untangling from her and moving on with yourself. It will be worth it.

  • ‘she has admitted that she’s lied, and doesn’t love you. Trust in THAT reality’


    It will probably help you see her more clearly and get the hell out if you do manage to find out she’s physically cheated, but really, it doesn’t even matter! What matters is that she CHOSE to ‘seek her happiness’ with someone else, not you. She CHOSE to lie to you about her relationship with this man. She CHOSE to sulk around rather than show remorse and work to make YOU happy.

    You deserve WAY better than this, and you won’t find it until this person is as far out of your life as you can manage to get. Because it’s no longer about what she’s DONE, it’s about who she IS, and that, my friend, is not going to change!

    • “Because it’s no longer about what she’s DONE, it’s about who she IS, and that, my friend, is not going to change!”

      Well put, KarenE. Emo, this is the bottom line, you are seeing who she is, BELIEVE IT and get out.

  • Yet another great post that hits upon what I have experienced. Emo’s story is very similar to mine, except the AP is someone I didn’t know. My XW strung me along, creating an illusion that all would be OK, while she was beginning her affair. When I confronted her, that was it. Marriage over.

    In my opinion, if it was that easy for her to leave me like that, then we weren’t really truly married.

  • Emo,
    Your spouse isn’t leaving because OM is not committing to her with his dating other women and still enjoying the perks of family while living with his wife and doing ” some things” with his wife. You have ridden this roller coaster long enough already. Good luck and you deserve much better. Your wife doesn’t deserve you.

  • Emo,

    I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this. You’re not crazy, you’re in shock and you’re contemplating the loss of what you thought was forever.

    Reading your letter, the first thing that screams in my mind is “Is she 12?” Seriously, she has the emotional/maturity equivalent of a pre-adolescent, and I’ve tried to be generous.

    You may not have proof that the affair is physical, but like most here, I’m willing to bet that it is. I’m a pragmatist, and I believe in logical thinking, so here’s some food for thought…

    – Just because you don’t find texts or emails that clearly indicate a physical affair doesn’t mean there isn’t a separate email account, and texts can be deleted.
    – If she didn’t know what she was doing was wrong, why would she need to lie about having lunch with a friend or riding the train with him?
    – It sounds as if she’s been attracted to him for a long time. Are you going to be able to deal with that long-term?
    – I find the timing of his marriage breakdown and affair discovery a little coincidental with the timing of her “listening to his marital problems.”
    – She lied to you and went against your request to cool things off a couple of years ago. Why would you automatically believe anything she says about something she’s already proved she will lie about?
    – Don’t you think that even if there were problems in your marriage, you deserved to have a wife who would tell you and ask for counseling or to work on it together rather than just forge a connection with another man?
    – If you reconcile, what will happen the next time your marriage goes through a rough patch or gets a little boring for her?

    Look, if she wasn’t the person he had an affair with, then I’m guessing she is or wants to be next in line. No woman gives that much time and attention to a man and hides it if her motives are above reproach. She’s making herself available to him. She knew she had feelings for him a long time ago, and that’s when she actively sought out time with him and lied to you. Her wanting to work on her own issues before she re-commits to your marriage indicates to me that she may be hoping to get a commitment from him, but doesn’t have it, and she doesn’t want to step out of her comfy life without having someone to go to.

    Here’s a simple suggestion: Have a sit down with this couple. Yep, put it right out there in the open. I bet your wife will have a complete cow when she hears that suggestion, and then you’ll know all you need to know.

    • In my case, my ex knew he didn’t want to leave our marriage, he wanted to remain married to me and have his affair partner. It really was that simple, he felt entitled to it. He told my friend I was evil because I would not let him stay married to me and have his “friend”.

    • You know Emo, My exH somehow knew that I was checking his email (I used to have password of this email account, as he had shared it once). He was sending messages like: 1) career options 2) good health…blah blah…to this lady. I always felt remorse for creating a furor, instead of playing it cool and letting the affair between them die.
      However, after some time, I decided to go all out to understand just what was going on. The whole truth was startling. That he picked her up on specific days from a point and had another flat on hire…and what not! Also, that she was not the only one.
      The only reason for those non-sexual emails were to keep me in fog.
      I hope that explains the need to know the full picture.

  • “I tell her we can’t reconcile unless she can become indifferent towards him.”

    The problem with this, Emo, is…how will you KNOW that she has extricated OM from her mind and heart? (Eventually) when she TELLS you she has? But, hasn’t she told you things before which have turned out to be lies? Keep in mind that if she deems it in HER best interest to stay in the marriage for whatever reasons, she will very likely tell you whatever it is you need to hear to appease you. She may tell you things which paint a picture of indifference toward OM because she knows this is in HER own best interest to do so. BUT, it does not mean that she really has stopped loving OM or that she doesn’t think about and miss him everyday. You will just never know.

  • The only reason she is still with you is because the OM hasn’t left his wife. He is still living with her and doing things with her and is showing nom signs of leaving her.So if she leaves her home she isn’t going to be having him full-time with her. She also wants the same arrangement with you.

    His wife is Ok with that arrangement,,,,are you ?

  • First off, Emo, I am so sorry you are here, but welcome to you, and please keep reading. You will find a true community here who really understand exactly what you are going through, and no bullshit or sparkly unicorns to be seen.

    Having said that, I would bet money that your wife is physical with the OM. Absolutely no way they are spending time together, she’s “in love” with him, doing things behind your back and he’s a known cheater, yet the affair is only emotional. And been going on a couple years. No way. It is physical, you can take that to the bank.

    She says she’s no longer in contact with him, I’d take that with a huge grain of salt. Far likelier she has a secret cell phone or an email account you know nothing about. If that seems far fetched to you, read the many stories here. Cheaters take affairs underground all the time.

    I’d say the only truth that’s come out of her mouth is she doesn’t love you. I understand how much that hurts, and what hell you are going through, but I will offer you this small comfort…. you WILL eventually reach a day when you’ll look back and realize that “losing” her was a GOOD thing. Because she’s crap on the bottom of your shoe, she really is. She’s a lying, cheating manipulator who blames YOU rather than getting her own shit in order. That’s the mark of the disordered, and they don’t get better. Ever.

    You need to lawyer up as soon as possible, because cheaters are also good at moving money and leaving you high and dry. My prediction is that if you file for divorce, she’s gonna run to lover boy, and very, very likely, he’s going to dump her ass. Affairs are way more exciting than regular relationships. Lothario OM, who already is triangulating your wife with his other girlfriends, probably has no interest whatsoever in spending a life with her. So he’s gonna dump her, and then she’s gonna come back to YOU. All crying, and saying what a mistake she made and now she realizes how much she loves you and all the other bullshit these cheaters spout when what they really need is a moneybags and a place to sleep. If the scenario works out like I predict, this is crucial: DON’T TAKE HER BACK. I guarantee you she will cheat again, and she will continue to blame you for her bad actions.

    Don’t be someone’s back up plan, Emo. File for divorce, walk through hell until you reach the other side, and then make a good new life with someone who deserves you.

    • GIO, I particularly like this part: “Don’t be someone’s back up plan, Emo. File for divorce, walk through hell until you reach the other side, and then make a good new life with someone who deserves you.”

  • Emo,

    I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I had to go through 4 supposed emotional affairs myself, and it is heart wrenching. I remember thinking, ‘how nice that some stranger (not a stranger in your case, but still) gets to know what our marital problems are, but I don’t get to have that knowledge.’ My ex was just drowning me in affection and i-love-you’s while he was complaining about me to a third party. That made me so angry, until I realized something. It really wasn’t about me at all. If there really were problems with me in our marriage, and he had no trouble telling me all of his complaints once he was caught and I was reeling in pain (so obviously heartless), then the whole thing was just a scam. First, relationship woes were something he could have in common with OW, and a way to get his hooks in. Then, it was the perfect thing to deflect once he got caught. Also, I believe during the affairs he used his made-up marital problems to justify things to himself. Bottom line is that whole “I needed a friend to talk to” is a BS cover for a predatorial practice (on both sides, I think).

    I’m sure you don’t think of your wife as a predator, and I didn’t think of my husband as one either, but I promise you that’s what it is. It is calculated, for sure.

    Also, even though my ex copped to emotional betrayal (which I insist is the most horrific aspect of infidelity), I didn’t believe it. I let him think I believed it, while I kept pushing for more info, thinking eventually it would trickle out, but over ten years and those four affairs he kept tight lipped about the physical part (which he is VERY bad at keeping things to himself, so I almost started to doubt myself). I always said, why put so much effort into wooing someone with no payoff? It doesn’t make sense that he would just want an emotional connection with no physical. But the thing is, sex is the most intimate part, so it is just between the two of them behind closed doors, more private than any other encounter they have (because they made it that way). There are no receipts to find, and the only way you’d be able to prove it is with a pregnancy or an STD (even then they can wiggle their way out of it by accusing you of bringing the STD into the picture).

    Long story short, when the last nail was in the coffin, as he was leaving, he finally admitted that it was physical with at least the very first one. I was beyond caring at the point, but I am glad it was verified and I was not just a paranoid nut.

  • I was in a similar situation where my husband was “too close” to female friend for my comfort. She started out being his graduate student, we went to her wedding, became friends with her and her husband as a couple, visited when her first son was born. But a few years later I became extremely uncomfortable with my husband’s behavior around her and told him how much it hurt me. I started refusing to do things with her and her husband. Guess what? He didn’t stop. He took it underground. Later I found out she was promoted to be his assistant in his department. He began traveling with her, and I felt powerless to do anything about it. He still reassured me that they were just friends, but mostly we didn’t talk about it. Out of sight out of mind I suppose. Anyway, he ended up falling in love with her and left me right as our kids were leaving home. He moved into her parents’ basement and last I heard was “planting seeds” to break up her marriage so they could live happily ever after.

    In the end he had a laundry list of my faults and things I’d done to make him “fall out of love with me.” He laid the blame squarely at my feet. Until I found Chumplady I felt incredible shame, but after reading her blog posts and others’ comments I realized how amazingly similar a cheaters’ behavior is and how they blame shift.

    It’s extremely difficult to regain trust once it’s lost. The cheater wants you to feel sorry for all they are suffering. It’s really mind bending. Don’t get hung up on whether she slept with him or not, emotional involvement is still cheating. It sucked the energy out of your marriage and prevented solving any problems between the two of you.

    IMO you can’t tell her how to feel (become indifferent to her AP). All you can do is decide what you are willing to live with.

    • Holy shit Lyn. Moving into “her parents basement”?!!! That’s really something, just unbelievable on a lot of levels. I am so glad you have jettisoned your shame because you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. And 100% agreed, I know I can’t tell someone how to feel.

  • In a deposition for the divorce my XH admitted to six affairs, only two of which I had discovered. He had all kinds of secret phones, bank accounts, and credit cards. He worked out of state, drove a very expensive sports car, and could spin whatever “poor me” tale he wanted to willing ears. They go underground. They lie and they believe their lies. See a lawyer and if you live in a state where adultery is a fault you can sue for, then gather evidence.

  • I don’t believe in emotional affairs. I ranked them with the concept of courtly love– knights, ladies in waiting, jousting, Guinevere, Sir Lancelot. You see how that ended. The grass on the other side is greener because it is fertilized with bullshit. Let her pinch her nose and frolick in that. I also hate people who say they have “a lot of work to do within.” That explains why they went outside to do it.

    • I hadn’t thought of emotional affairs in the context of courtly love before, but it makes absolute sense. Of course, the real goal was to fall in love with the unattainable, which meant that you could be as emo as you wanted, create great poetry, and still not violate anyone’s marital vows.

  • Emo,

    Trust that they suck. They will lie, cheat, and steal. Usually in that order. A voice activated recorder under her driver’s seat in the car for a week will usually get the info needed. Don’t spend the rest of your life being the marriage police. Once you have enough evidence for yourself, take over the finances. See a lawyer but, don’t let her know. Prepare secretly then, attack like Normandy!

    He’s not just a friend, he’s an asshole and your wife is a ****. I’m speaking from experience. You’re going to think she’s in a FOG. No my friend, you’re in a FOG…Fear, Obligation, and Guilt. Don’t fall for it. She’s already checked out.

    Thais is hard but, staying is harder.

  • Emo,

    Sorry/happy you are here too. This is the one place I don’t feel like a throwback fool for being 100% anti cheating.
    We also had several “friends” and I found out at the end he slept with these women. Every. Single. One. Details don’t matter because I know for sure because he told me. Once he figured out I wouldn’t take him back he told me to hurt me, and believe me it did. But a year later Thanks to this site and family I am happier than I’ve been in years. Good luck and listen to CL, she is amazing as the rest of the people here….

  • Hi Emo,
    So sorry you have to go through this, as most of us here on CL have done.

    You story is similar in many ways to my own.
    My exH was a knight in shining armor type… always listening and helping women.
    The lying by omission is a BIG DEAL. My exH did the same with AP #2… he claims it was nothing. She claims EA… but the point is he hid their meetups from me (such as working out at the gym). So… it was something. When I finally confronted him about it, he admitted she has asked him to leave the family for her….. I asked if he felt like he did before when we had problems 11 years before, and he said no, but did NOTHING to reconnect with me, even though he say me upping the attention, etc.. (Turns out, yes, 11 year ago, that was a full on affair…. yes, I am a chump).

    As for final AP #3 … yes, he claimed “out of love with me, in love with her.”
    Simple truth is…. you cannot fall in love with someone unless you are engaged in some sort of inappropriate (when married to someone else) behavior. My exH moved away from the family to take a 1 year temp “dream job,” which I encouraged….7 months later he was “in love” with a woman I had never heard of…. he told me of all the other friends and colleagues, we had dinner when I came to visit, etc.

    The lying by omission is huge.

    Time to walk way. I am really sorry.

    Sending jedi hugs…

  • EMO,

    I read your letter carefully and am so sorry that your wife’s decision to have an affair (either emotional, physical or both) has jeopardized your marriage and family.

    As for not being wiser and setting a strong boundary about this man several years ago, don’t beat yourself up. We can’t change our pasts. We can work to achieve a better future though; and the absolute worst thing is to do nothing and hope that things will get better…they won’t.

    I am a retired child psychologist and tend to pick up on certain cues. In describing her complaints, you stated, “I don’t show enough initiative around the house, I can get grumpy when working to reduce the amount of time our two boys spend on electronics.” Your use of the phrase, “working to reduce” leaped off the page at me. Why are you “working” at it? Why not just calmly set limits and enforce those limits (regardless of their unpleasant extinction bursts)……even if it means removing the controls and connecting cords and allowing limited usage that is EARNED by the boys for being efficient about their responsibilities? (Look up the difference between authoritative and authoritarian discipline. What you are going for is authoritative.)

    You need to ask yourself if you have problems with enforcing boundaries and/or over-reacting when there is resistance to boundaries. Parenting does not have to be a war between either the children and the adults OR (as I suspect differences of opinion here about how to discipline) between the parents.

    I sense conflict avoidance on the part of one or both of you in this marriage; and nowhere does conflict avoidance surface so destructively as when one or both look outside a marriage for affirmation because the partners haven’t learned open communication and constructive conflict resolution behaviors.

    And with respect to the state of your marriage? Right now the single most devastating and pressing issue that must be dealt with is her infidelity..whether physical or not. Until this issue is resolved, either by her re-commiting to the marriage or by a divorce, none of the other problems are going to get solved. They are only going to get worse.

    I have posted this link before, and am posting it again.

    This particular counselor gets it and has a good grasp on how to either save a marriage or help the clients ascertain beyond a shadow of a doubt that the marriage cannot be saved. I urge you to read the article from start to finish. It is (by today’s eclectic and rather sorry therapy standards) a rather unconventional and somewhat drastic method. But tough times require tough people to deal with them.

    You do not have to remain a chump. The only thing that keeps anyone in Chumpdom is an unwillingness to let go of maladaptive emotions and behaviors and a willingness to “wear the chains” the name of “love.”

    None of us are going to find a better past. What we can do is work to have a better future by not doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.

    In this world the only person’s behavior we can control is OUR OWN. We CAN do that in such a way that if affects the behavior of others, but the outcome is never 100% certain. Life is risk laden; but if we sit still in fear, we slowly die.

    It is “boundary time” for you, sir. Apparently on more than one front. Learn how to set boundaries appropriately and then do it! You don’t have a whole hell of lot more to lose now do you?

    I agree with CL that you should also continue to explore your legal options. There are no foolproof and pat answers for you. This situation could go either way, but at least you will regain some of your self-respect by exploring all your options, being as ready as you can for any eventuality, and then taking your stand.

    We know how you are hurting, you have our empathy, and best of luck to you.

  • Emo,

    Based on my very similar experience with a cheating wife who claimed she’d never even met the guy she claimed (when caught) to have only an emotional attachment to, I’d give the following odds:

    Chance that the affair has been physical: 95% (In 2013 grown-ups rarely “fall in love” without sexual contact)

    Chance that the affair is continuing in come capacity: 75% (The best predictor of future conduct is past behavior)

    Chance reconciliation possible with this person: 25% (Call me an optimist, but this is purely theoretical unless she changes drastically)

    Chance of reconciliation as things stand: 0% (You can’t save a marriage by yourself, my friend, and she’s not helping).

    So sorry for your situation. Been there, suffered that, and come out stronger and happier on the other side.

    As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

  • Emo chump,

    What your wife is doing is spousal abuse. She’s abusing you. Cheating and sexual addiction are forms of fantasy addictions. People who have strong empathy skills seem to be the only ones who find their way out of infidelity/fantasy addictions. Empathy is generally what keeps someone from cheating in the first place. “Gee I’d love to get to know that person over there better, BUT, that would hurt my spouse so much, I’m staying away.” That’s the boundary of an empathetic spouse. Your wife does not appear to have empathy for herself (in love with a cheater), nor any empathy for you. You have given her ample time to shape up. See three or four attorneys. One attorney’s viewpoint will not be enough. The money spent for an hour in three or four divorce attorney’s offices is well worth it. Come armed with questions, and interview each as if they are applying for a lucrative job because they are. Carefully select several attorneys, and go. Find out what evidence you need to get a better custody deal and better settlement. Don’t put up with this abuse. You deserve better. She’s had sex with this guy numerous times. I wish you could get some space from her too; space helps to clarify everything and clears your mind. However, don’t leave the house. She should leave while she’s trying to figure herself out. She’s the problem, not you.

  • As a long time sufferer of an EA between my H and his Facebook girl friend I think the hardest part is realizing it is just as bad as a full blown PA maybe even worse because lets face it sex is sex but an emotional commitment is what makes up 90% of a marriage. My H told me he wanted a divorce and to marry the OW but never made a move to do so. The talk and text almost daily (never see each other tho only separated by a 100 miles) I was ready to move out 2 ms ago but stuff came up. She is cake eating. I agree with Sanity regained if he were “free” this would be less of a problem for her. And another chump told me something about ultimations not working and setting boundries. I always think “if the shoe were on the other foot would you have behaved so dishonorably?”

  • Hey all – Thanks for all the responses. I’ll be getting legal advice from multiple folks.

    Notyou: Yes, you guessed right, I have boundary issues. And we both have conflict avoidance. Thanks for the link.

    Will post back sometime in the future and let you all know how things shake out.

    Emo Chump

  • Emo Chump,
    We tell the same story on opposites sides of the fence. My STBXH had an affair with a married woman that we have been friends with for over 20 years. It has been a year since my D-Day. They both claimed it was ’emotional’ but I found secret emails that stated ‘I will never forget making love to you’ and hotel receipts. OW and her husband had been having ‘marriage troubles’ for a few years and had not been sleeping together for over a year. I thought I was in a happy marriage and even offered advice to her about reconnecting with her husband and doing what it takes to keep her family intact. Boy was I chump! She was sleeping with MY husband and telling me how jealous she was with my marriage!!

    Her husband was the first person I contacted when I found all the evidence. The OW husband confronted her and she denied on her kids’ lives that it was only emotional and he believed her. After the affair fantasy blew up, my douche bag came crawling back – guess he was counting on her to leave him and I was the consolation prize. I got the confession, and promises to cease all contact with her. A few months of trying to be wonder woman to him- I caught him with her again! I threw him out- filed for divorce- and am working my way to ‘meh’.

    A year later, OW is still with her chumpy husband and continues to keep my STBXH on the side. Her husband told me he just knows her and knows that she would never be physical with another man. He told me she fed him the same lines your wife is: I fell in love with him, you weren’t there for me, I promise to never speak to him again…
    In my aftermath of rebuilding a life for me and my daughters, I see things so clearly now. He found her attractive and loveable? A woman who hugged on my young daughters in our house while she was fucking their dad?! A woman who could sit comfortably in a living room and socialize for hours with her husband, 2 sons, and her secret lover and his family?! My douche bag was able to do all of those things with a straight face as well – they must be a match made in hell.

    Cut her loose and free yourself from the drama! She doesn’t deserve a loyal, honest husband. She deserves the cheating, deceitful douche bag.

    • Jenny Baker-my ex did the same thing, he started the affairs with two coworkers, then brought them around with their families and they then became “family friends.”… Children played together, brought gifts, visited with respective spouses, stayed in each others’ homes, ugh. And oh yes, how the main AP hugged up on my daughter. My daughter at the time got bad vibes, told me she hated her, and told her father she did not want “that woman” in our house. She was smarter than me. Why do they want to be around us while they are doing what they are doing? Sick thrills I suppose. Problem is, when your children are older, they realize what has happened, and it destroys their relationship with the cheater. My two adult children saw their father for dinner last week for the first time in the almost two years since D-Day. The 14 year old won’t see him at all. These cheaters really are doomed to live the life they have chosen.

  • Similar story Jenny. AP was our good friend. The weekend before it all blew up I had invited them over for dinner because I felt bad that I had been avoiding them (because of how my XH acted around her and how he ALWAYS wanted to socialise with them). We all sat around the dinner table and although I cannot remember exactly what was being discussed, I clearly remember her commenting “there ain’t no fat on my ass”….. I remember thinking and still do, what a funny comment to make. Obviously making a comparison to my XH while in the company of me and her husband as well – nice.

    After dinner my daughter suggested that we play Singstar and they both proceeded to hog the mics all night, singing songs to each other – barf…. with the OW’s little girls falling asleep on the chair begging to go home (was about 1am)…. but no she was having such a good time and kept saying to them “no, we’ll go home when I’m ready”…. it really was all about her, in fact I remember that being her catchcry.

    Looking back, yes how could they socialise with their respective spouses and children knowing that they were sleeping together. It is just so so evil.

  • CL –

    “I see a woman who is checked out of her marriage. But, like most cheaters, too cowardly and gutless to end it. She’d rather you be the bad guy”

    Story of my life… I really hope your book addresses this in depth because when I was being amazon chump I was so confused about whether I was the “dumper” or the “dumpee”.

    That’s how they seem to categorize how you recover from divorce, whether you initiated it or not. And while I did initiate it, I really felt I did so only after being backed into a corner where I basically had no other choice. I was forced into it by the cheating and by what he was unwilling to do to make it up to me and attempt to save the marriage. So, when my then husband started playing the victim and trying to say I was the one breaking up the family, etc., I was confused. And scared, once he started talking about suicide. Now that I think back to what he put me through, I am proud I was still able to stay on the path to divorce. I guess it’s not surprising he would try to manipulate and guilt trip me into staying. But I didn’t realize that yet. In my heart I knew it wasn’t my fault, but nothing I read addressed my situation.

    Until you go through this you think there are only two things your cheating spouse might do after the infidelity is discovered: leave you for the AP or attempt to save the marriage and give them up completely and do whatever you ask.

    There isn’t a lot of info on the crappy in-between things they do to us and how to deal with it.

    • This was my experience as well, aE. Ex basically manipulated me into a corner where there was no real option but for me to file for divorce. This allowed him to pretend to be the good guy who was “blindsided” by the divorce. I think he still claims to this day that he was working on the marriage, but I broke our agreement to work full time and support him while he became an actor (this agreement existed only in his imagination) and dumped him. He conveniently forgets the decades of infidelity, lying and manipulation, of course, as well as the way he flat-out told me he had never loved me and should never have married me.

      The disordered always twist reality to suit their own version of events, no matter how much they have to distort history to do so.

  • Emo–

    Keep us posted. I’m glad you’re looking into legal options.

    I would like to go back to your main question: are you a chump for believing they’re “just friends.”

    Yes, but not because of the hopium that they’ve not had sex. Instead, you’re a chump for believing that any relationship that’s absent sex is merely just friendship. It’s not.

    Friendship has boundaries, and we all have different boundaries for different categories of friends. Friends from work are different from friends from the kids’ playgroup are different from friends on the softball team. There are different boundaries for friends of the same sex than for friends of the opposite sex. You know this, and this is why you know that even if the two of them did not have physical sex, there is no way that they can be called “just” friends.

    This site drives home the point that you control only you. This means you control your boundaries. You cannot control your cheater’s boundaries. You can control what you will do in the case of your spouse’s boundaries being incompatible with your own.

    Mike’s posts about his reconciliation with his cheating wife show how this works. Mike decided the boundaries for himself. Among those boundaries was that he needed a faithful spouse. Note that he didn’t tell his wife that she had to be faithful. Instead, he told himself that for him to be married, he needed a faithful wife. What his wife chooses to do is up to her, but she also knows his boundaries.

    One of the things you have to ask yourself, emo, is if your boundaries include being married to a woman who has told you that she no longer loves you. That is the crucial part of your story–not speculating on whether or not the affair was physical.

    You’ve been married a long time–close to 20 years? It is hard to let go of the dream. If your wife showed remorse (see the post on telling the difference between real and genuine naugahide remorse), then maybe–just maybe–there is hope.

    But if she’s blaming you for her actions, then no, she’s not remorseful. She’s blame-shifting.

    I won’t speculate on whether or not she’s telling the truth about not having sex with this guy. However, three months of no sex with you is not a good sign, and you would be surprised at how very little time sex takes when the parties involved are raring to go.

    Best of luck.

  • I just wanted to put in a word for the idea that being grumpy, not taking initiative in doing housework, and not connecting enough are all normal things spouses do. They are all irritating. They are issues a couple should work on. They are in absolutely no way a justification for cheating or turning to another person for a romance.

  • Holy moly this is me to a T,,except the OM is a OW and dear old narcissist wife claims she is only a friend until I caught her. A 1000 text messages and phone calls and FB messages later she had to admit it THE BILL NEVER LIES. Hang in there your not alone. I cant imag the thought of not saying good night to my boys so I stay, but one day they will be grown & I will get my freedom from her & her NPD.

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