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Dear Chump Lady, How do you get out of limbo?

unicorn_limboHi Chump Lady,

I need your advise desperately. I married at 30, had a fulling marriage for what would have been 30 years this past January, had my husband not had an almost 2-year affair at the 27th year.

I’ve been heartbroken since and have had a really hard time moving on. I still love my husband but I don’t like him much at all because of what he did to us, what he’s done to my world.

I’m 60 years old, and face for the first time a life alone. I have no living family members other than a grown son trying to find his own way at this time in his life.

My issue is, and it’s a biggie for me, I can’t see how in reconciliation how to really make love to my husband again after his junk has been with the other woman in our marriage. I asked him if it ever occurred to him that I just might not ever want his penis inside me again?

How to lay in his arms again, after he’s been with another?? Her in my place?? How to be there sexually with him again??

The way I see it, its a lose/lose for me. I lose the world I never thought I would, and if I choose to walk away because it’s just too hard for me to get past, then I am constantly reminded in my new world of why. I also feel it’s me that is now the one who has the responsibility of the family’s future in my hands.

In your experience, will this world of mine ever get better? It’s been almost 3 years, we have been living separately, but in contact 24/7, he comes into the home a few times a month, checks on things, we sleep in separate bedrooms, and he very, very much wants the marriage to survive. He is doing all the right things though, and the marriage counselor keeps telling me, look, he’s stuck around this long… (Wow!!! Aren’t I lucky?!)

How do you get out of limbo in a marriage after an affair?

My life has been nothing short than pure hell. What’s your take, and how besides feeling like a complete failure do I come to terms with hurting the one I had no intentions of ever hurting?

Susan

Dear Susan,

Marriage? What marriage? You don’t live together. You don’t have sex. You don’t trust him. And you don’t like him very much. You can rake your own leaves and check your own smoke alarm, Susan. Put a bullet in the thing already and be done with it.

Forgive my bluntness, but you’ve been grieving over a dead thing for three years, it’s time to accept that it is dead and move on. Your marriage counselor is a nitwit — “he’s stuck around this long” is NOT repairing his marriage. Barnacles stick around too, but they don’t improve the shipping experience.

Your husband has cake. He doesn’t want to lose cake. Cake is not the same thing as a marriage. Living apart from you, he’s got unfettered access to the OW and anyone else. I sincerely doubt he’s gone three years without sex the way you have. No, this arrangement suits him very nicely. He drops in “a few times a month” — yeah, what woman wouldn’t thrill to that kind of attention?

I assume your husband is also in his 60s. He’s not going to find another Susan with 30 years of husband-care under her belt. Other women are fine for sex and romantic whatevers, but they tend not to want to change your bed pan, or schedule your doctor’s appointments. And by 60, he probably has a pretty nice chunk of retirement savings — why share? Why not just keep you around? He doesn’t really care that you don’t like him much or have sex with him, because he doesn’t divorce you. You’re of use to him. You’re a soft place to land. You’re his once and future caretaker.

Would you prefer the narrative that he sticks around because he feels very guilty, still loves you, and wants to fix this? Yet YOU are the problem, because you just can’t get over it? And YOU are the problem because if you leave it will be YOU breaking up your family? Yeah, I’m sure that’s the narrative he’s selling. Or at least letting you believe, if you’re dreaming that shit up yourself.

If he felt guilty — he didn’t feel guilty enough not to cheat on you for two solid years (and probably now). If he felt guilty, he didn’t feel guilty enough to give you an out — a generous divorce settlement and a heart-felt apology. If he loved you, he wouldn’t put you in this position and he certainly wouldn’t blameshift HIS failure on to you. And if he wanted to fix it, he wouldn’t live apart from you.

My life has been nothing short than pure hell.

Why would you stick around for more hell? Something needs to change here, Susan, and he’s made it clear through this actions it will not be him. It needs to be YOU. Stop focusing on him, and put the focus back on yourself. Dare to imagine a life that is not “pure hell” and dare to imagine a life without him in it.

Your situation is not lose/lose. Thinking it is lose/lose keeps you in limbo. You’ve got a case of learned helplessness because you feel that whatever you do, all outcomes suck equally, so why move at all? It’s time to recognize your agency, that you control your life’s story, and you can write a better ending.

If I choose to walk away because it’s just too hard for me to get past, then I am constantly reminded in my new world of why.

Yeah, you’ll be reminded of your self worth. That you left a marriage of “pure hell.” You’ll be reminded of your bravery and your self respect.

You’ll only think you’re a failure if you allow yourself to think HIS failure is YOUR failure. He cheated. He broke up the marriage. He robbed you of that intact family. You didn’t do this to yourself, it was inflicted upon you. It sucks. We’ve all been there. You only get to control how you respond to this.

You can do as you’re doing — stay in limbo (aka “pure hell”). Or you can divorce him — and enter a new world of possibilities. Personally, I prefer the captain my own ship option. The one where your mental state isn’t depending on what a fucktard does or does not do. Go find out who Susan is, who she was before she was wife and mother, before this whole mess happened. What makes her happy? Go invest in THAT person and listen to her. Cheating was a deal breaker for her. She can’t be intimate with someone who betrayed her. She doesn’t feel safe in her marriage. She wants out. She’s screaming at you to bust a move.

So bust one. I think you’ll find you feel a hell of a lot better after you do.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Susan, I am not surprised you feel like your life is pure hell, look at what your husband did.

    I disagree, this is not the first time you have been alone in your life, you married at 30. I married my mid twenties, and I am so thankful I had those years instead of jumping into marriage.

    It is kind of funny in a way, he is wanting to save the marriage, oh what is his problem now that he doesn’t have another ow he isn’t so sure it will be fun without you? Was he thinking about this before when he was cheating for two years?

    This is not a lose lose for you, it is a what you want to do with this cheating husband thing that’s what it is.

    Who calls who? Why the contact every day? I wonder if he is coming by like this for legal reasons so he can say he never really left the home, think about it.

    So, you don’t like him, your life is hell, I see a pattern there.

    Does your son know about his cheating?

  • OMG also maybe he is talking each day so that you don’t move on, or to spy and see what you are up to.

    He can’t have you wandering off and talking to a decent man who would be true to you now, who knows how that might make you feel, to have a comparison of how to be treated. Yes you are married, only he sort of cheated and moved didn’t he. Are you sure you want to keep letting him sleep over, in separate rooms, there in the house at all? That would make me as jumpy as a tick thrown into a pool.

  • Susan wasn’t the only woman who needed to see this today! CL, you cut through all the BS and make us poor chumps take a good, clear look at our so-called marriages! Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving us clarity!

    • CL is right on. It’s not an easy look by any means at our so-called marriages but it’s what we need to see. Thanks, CL.

  • “You only get to control how you respond to this” are the truest words and was also my daily mantra for a while, helping me navigate each new day. Living that simple concept has an unbelievable and wonderful effect. Only 6 months post divorce, I pretty much stopped going about my life in response to what dickhead did. Instead, I wake up and just naturally do what’s right for me and makes me happy. It will happen Susan, just start with day 1.

  • Susan by acknowledging you are in hell and having CL bring clarity to all it appears that
    fear is the main issue. I know because I was in a similar position at age 50 up until six
    months ago. It’s like an addiction and no contact is the way to go. You will at least get some clarity. Get some individual counseling in regards to the situation it will help. You will get a financial settlement if that is a concern based on your years of marriage. I found that out and got a generous one to boot but the betrayal still hurts and no amount of money can fix that. The fact is I can’t undo what my husband did(years of serial cheating) and neither can you. That’s the unfortunate reality of all this.
    As I progress to my final divorce proceedings a few weeks away I realize the fear is less
    than six months ago when I filed and left. The hope of better days from others who have made it to the other side helps me. I had a nightmare the other night that I went back to myex and he was verbally berating as usual and in my dream I wanted to leave and regretted going back to him. Maybe being away from him has really changed my reality even if it only appears in my dreams for now. Listen to your instincts they are usually spot on.

    • yup, yup, yup. It’s taken me a while to get my work mojo back, even though my new career had finally taken off, after years in the trenches, when Ex blew up my world. For a bunch of reasons, not least a Narc boss who smelt blood and went in for the kill when I was wounded, I left that job and had to decide if I could face continuing in the newly built mid-life career…or was I too late to return to my earlier, lucrative work, that I gave up in collaboration with the asshole Ex.

      But goddamnit I am not to old to rebuild. I will rebuild as many times as I need to. Do I wish I had something to rely on, fall back into, keep me engaged…instead of the very entrepreneurial, public facing work I’ve been doing. Oh, yeah, Sure do. But I am where I am. And the longer I am away from the 25 years of toxic miasma that was my marriage, the more the future begin to look like something interesting, as opposed to something desperate.

      I have a decent financial settlement–at least, enough to live frugally on–because of all the years I put in. (think of the cost to hire in-home help!) I just think of it as an inheritance from a relative I don’t particularly like….except I *Earned* it.

      But you do need to get clear. As GL4R says so well, you need to figure out that being married in hell is…hell. Congrats, you get a free ticket out of hell. And you know what? After you cry, you fall asleep. Then, it’s another day. Little by little you get better, and freer. Own your age, You’ve earned it! Speak out about what you care about! You’ll find it very satisfying, I promise.

  • “Barnacles stick around too, but they don’t improve the shipping experience.”

    Oh hahahaha!

  • I am close to the age you got married and spent that birthday hammering out divorce details with an attorney. So I probably don’t know too much about where you are. But to convince yourself to sleep with a person for the sake of holding together a marriage that was blighted by a cheating bastard? You have more dignity than that.

    I say this a lot on here, but really, please find a therapist, not a marriage counselor, who specializes in women’s issues. I also liked this book (not plugging it) by Florence Falk: http://www.amazon.com/On-My-Own-Being-Woman/dp/1400098114

    I also found this book by Judy Ford helpful too because also spans across ages:
    http://www.amazon.com/Single-Being-Satisfied-Fulfilled-Independent/dp/1593371543

  • I knew my marriage was over the very day I discovered my ex was fucking someone else. I knew also that I could never be intimate with him EVER. Seems I had been sleeping with him for the two years it took him to make up his mind to abandon his family of twenty plus years, and when he was ready to leave that is exactly what he did. In those two years he spent quite a bit of money on OW, selling community property, robbing money from savings and our children’s college funds. What exactly is your husband contributing to your life/marriage except pure hell DAY in and DAY out? Your financial future is no more secure with him either. Consult a lawyer. Now. Cheaters destroy their whole lives. You on the other hand have a family and yourself to save. This does not include your disordered spouse.

    • “In those two years he spent quite a bit of money on OW, selling community property, robbing money from savings and our children’s college funds. ”
      WFT is it with these assholes spending tons of money on the OW/OM? What is the motive behind this? Impressing their skank? It pisses me off to no end that these OW/OM are on the receiving end of money that BOTH spouses worked years and years for! The bitch is not entitled to one damn dime of my money..but guess where it’s been going for the last 3 years? And the excuses I got for the H giving me no money from his paycheck? “Oh it was a slow load week (he is a truck driver)”. “Oh my check was screwed up”. One lie after another, while the whore was benefiting from MY hard work, too. In cash, in gifts, and who knows what else. Somebody tell me WHY?

      • I dunno, Sandy R, but I do know that two weeks ago, when I came home for lunch (I live very close to where I work), there was a package on our doorstep, addressed to OW at our address. It was from a department store. Clearly he’d bought something for her online. But what?

        I did find a receipt for a payment he’d made on the account he holds with that same store. It was for $500. Okay, I am unaware of his having bought anything else from that store. If he’d bought clothes, he’d have shown them to me. Ergo, he has purchased for the other woman.

        That was a fairly small package, so whatever he bought, it was small and expensive–and that limits the options.

        The only good thing to know is that if he gives me problems with the settlement, I’ll threaten to audit his charge accounts. As the lawyer said, the state doesn’t care whether he has an affair, and really, the state doesn’t care if he takes her out to dinner. However, if he’s spending $$$ on her, then yes, the state does care, since he’s using marital assets to support his affair.

          • I never used to ever open my husband’s mail as I had a strict privacy value about those things. Now, every single piece of mail or package that comes here I rip it open. I don’t care and he doesn’t deserve the respect. He should have gotten a new address by now, since he hasn’t lived here in 3 months – the fool.

            • ..and ha! I was even able to get an AmEx card he just applied for in his name, cancelled. Aww – too bad, asshole.

        • You do know that in most states if you get a package delivered to your home, with your address, it belongs to you? Shit, when my ex kept having things delivered to my house I just emailed him and said, anything that lands on my steps is not being returned or forwarded to you. I don’t have time to deal with your shit. I still have a nice beard trimmer unopened if anyone wants it…

      • Sandy I wonder if it’s a “fuck you. Statement on their part. My x was hopeless with money and I had to take care of the finances. This meant cutting up his credit card because he couldn’t help himself and we would have been in massive trouble otherwise. But see, he still managed to acquire money, my hard earned money, and I think he did it to spite me. Now he is screwed….and so be it!

  • You are never too old to begin again. Yeah life is scary but I make less than 20k a year, am living with my folks, but am putting my two youngest kids through college. When they look back I am sure they will appreciate the hard work and support it took. You did not betray your family, that is all on your spouse. I know you are reeling with your new reality. It’s a train wreck. You need to look out for yourself. Be sure you know what you are legally entitled to. My ex bailed on our home’s mortgage, threatened me, is still holding up settling financially -refusing to get QDRO done which spells out division of our retirement :)- but I am enjoying life without his fucked up selfish drama.

    • You have a lot of courage to face this situation while putting kids through college. And you are right–we are never too old to begin again.

  • As for your personal concerns about the sincerity of your H’s remorse, etc, your letter was brief and for me did not supply enough details for me to feel comfortable commenting, except to say that if you KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not going to be able to get past this EVEN if he is totally sincere and actually doing the work to redeem himself…then you will not have a successful reconciliation and you need to put both of yourselves out of the misery by biting the bullet and ending it.

    BUT, before you leap, do your homework with a highly competent legal professional and know for sure what kind of support and assets you will be awarded in a property settlement in your state!

    From the relationship perspective know that the pickings out there are slim for women our age and expect to probably live out the rest of you days un-mated…unless you want to go sewer dragging and hook something even worse than him.

    Good men in their 60s are almost all married because they know how to be faithful and loyal, the good widowers who don’t take years and years to stop grieving get snapped up fast, and the divorced ones our age have more baggage than Delta Airlines.

    Younger women just do not understand this for one reason: They haven’t lived it at OUR age. It is real easy for them to be armchair quarterbacks.

    I was one of the fortunate 60 year old women. My marriage was nuked by depressed old whiny man whose one time affair did us in. BUT I had a profession, my own retirement, and the ability to keep supporting myself indefinitely had I needed to–without trying to re-enter the job market and all it’s age discrimination. I also have a substantial family and social support structure. My X was one of those who had become convinced that he was so desirable that he did not give me the options that you now have. I cannot say what I would have done if he had done so and had been sincere about it. I mean how many flings can an old man who is showing his age and losing his health have? All I can say is this. Mine found out the hard way that the younger “hottie” was only interested in playing, that he had screwed the pooch, that his options for a decent woman who is not a gold digger are almost as limited as mine are for finding a decent old single man…but the dumb old sucker stayed too long at the fair, and then couldn’t come home again. It is sad what deluded OLD people do…but those idiots will do it anyway.

    I don’t envy you and would have wished better for you, but sometimes all our options are the lesser of several evils. All we can do is the best we can with the hand we are dealt, make our adjustments, and go on to enjoy the rest of our lives.

    Big HUGS to you sweetie, and I wish you success, peace, and contentment.

    • “Good men in their 60s are almost all married because they know how to be faithful and loyal, the good widowers who don’t take years and years to stop grieving get snapped up fast, and the divorced ones our age have more baggage than Delta Airlines”.

      notyou, is it possible that some good widowers are happy to live the rest of their lives on their own and to simply enjoy their family and lives? I am curious that is all.

      • One of my classmates’ mothers was killed in a car accident when we were 10. She had two younger brothers. Their father was about 40 then, handsome, funny, and had some money, and was VERY involved in his kids’ – and now his grandkids’ – lives. I asked him a few years ago why he had never remarried. He said, “Why? I have everything I want.”

        So yes, Maree, there ARE widowers who never remarry and enjoy their families. This guy’s been a happy widower for nearly 40 years…

        • Red,
          This man had learned the key to a fulfilled life: Being content in the circumstances in which one finds oneself….put another way, being the architect of his own happiness. And, yes, it can be done with the right mindset.

      • Maree,

        Anything is possible. Sure there are some good widowers (and good divorced men) who choose not to remarry right away…. or ever. Some don’t want to bring a stepmother in, and I can appreciate their legitimate concerns. I am sure that others like the autonomy of being single (I know that I like it). Some have made a saint out of their dead wives and nobody ever measures up again. And, some of those men’s marriages on the inside were not nearly as great as they looked like from the outside.

        There could be many personal reasons because each of us is a unique individual. This applies to widowed and divorced women, too.

        Because each of us is a unique individual, I don’t lump all cheaters in as narcissistic sociopaths. Nor do I think all cheaters are doomed to keep repeating the behavior like the Energizer bunny. Some are; some aren’t. Some will; some won’t.

        In retrospect it is obvious that my own X was depressed and internally desperate, did not confide in me, did not get treatment, and majorly screwed up. But because he was also stubborn and unable to admit a mistake of that magnitude in addition to being unable to deal with my completely predictable trauma (due to a pathologically conflict-avoidant personality), he kept on being stubborn about the path he was on and didn’t wake up until too late…too much water had gone under the bridge. And he lost the opportunity to redeem himself with me later. I am not a person to put my life on indefinite hold for anybody. But I am also a realist who acknowledges that there is something called OPPORTUNITY COST involved in every choice we make. Each of us has to weigh our situation and determine what we can and cannot live with, and whether we are willing to pay that opportunity cost.

        • I really love your comments above. I also believe that not all cheaters are mentally ill. Mine was, and my story is terrible and gets worse all the time, but that’s how I found my way to this blog. I do think there are cheaters who can and do recommit. But I agree that men get very lost in their badness. They do bad things and go down a road and even though they clearly regret it and are unhappy, they are unable to find their way back. They can’t eat the humble pie. They need us to lead them back and ‘show them the way home’ but the problem is, we are dealing with the intense betrayal and pain and our grieving…and we aren’t able to. I guess, though, a better man would know what to do and how to repair things. But I agree men go too far and then are too embarrassed to say sorry and make amends.

    • “I cannot say what I would have done if he had done so and had been sincere about it. I mean how many flings can an old man who is showing his age and losing his health have? All I can say is this. Mine found out the hard way that the younger “hottie” was only interested in playing, that he had screwed the pooch, that his options for a decent woman who is not a gold digger are almost as limited as mine are for finding a decent old single man…but the dumb old sucker stayed too long at the fair, and then couldn’t come home again. It is sad what deluded OLD people do…but those idiots will do it anyway.

      I don’t envy you and would have wished better for you, but sometimes all our options are the lesser of several evils. All we can do is the best we can with the hand we are dealt, make our adjustments, and go on to enjoy the rest of our lives.”

      I tend to agree with you. The single pool of good women is also quite small. A lot of women are looking for an older man simply for their retirement funds or economic status -gold diggers- and they will do anything to snare these old codgers. there is nothing sadder than a 55 plus year old man with grown children and a 2 year old. I love my grandbabies but you might as well put me in the looney bend if I had to start all over. STBX constantly complains about his old folks ailments, I can’t imagine him crawling around on the floor with a baby, but he is kinda of dumb when it comes to ho’s.
      Older women aren’t any better either, but it really isn’t my problem.

      • You are exactly correct, Jinx. There are plenty of damaged women out there, too. And, we get a first hand look at these damaged people when we attempt to enter the dating pool.

  • OH, and I am very fortunate to have a decent old widower in life. He’s a really good guy but he has just enough baggage (and actually so do I) that we won’t be marrying each other. We maintain separate residences and finances. It is a kind of long-term monogamous geriatric dating. But it works for us. Again, I was very fortunate in this respect, too, because I don’t see it happening to very many single friends of my age.

    • “Friends With Benefits–Geezer Style” works for me and Ole Dude because we are both highly independent but also loving and conscientious people who share the same values. We are flawed and we know it. We have baggage but try to keep it neatly packed and in its place. But above all we are HONEST and have discussed and sometimes still discuss the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly about our mutual lives but we don’t allow the baggage to detrimentally affect our ability to live in the present and in the moment.

      • This is actually my ideal. I’m just recently divorced and in my 30’s. I know I have plenty of time to start over and get remarried if I so choose, but I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable combining my finances or my home with anyone ever again. I like the idea of seeing someone that takes care of his own house, own life, and we spend time together because we WANT to – not because we have to. Everyone has some baggage – but if that person keeps his bags to himself – I think this arrangement sounds good to me!

      • “Friends With Benefits–Geezer Style”

        You all are making me laugh! So guess that’s how I should describe my dating life too. I feel very lucky to have found someone who enjoys many of the same things I do. It’s not a match made in heaven, but it’s a lot more than I ever expected at this point in my life. In fact by the time my marriage was over I thought I was so sexless and undesirable my best option was to join a convent. Boy was I surprised to find such a healing relationship after what I’d been through.

        • I am happy that you have a congenial companion, Lyn. Sure beats the hell out of dealing with lying, gas lighting, and the drama of someone who appears to have suddenly gone bi-polar,eh?

      • jinx,
        Perhaps what I am saying is prepare for the worst; but expect better. I was fully prepared to be contentedly un-mated for the rest of my life, and am fully prepared to resume complete “singleness” if Ole Dude takes a powder. Therefore the emergence of Ole Dude was a pleasant surprise. Where I live we call that “Lagniappe.” Make sense?

        • My Grandmother never remarried after her husband cheated on her, but she had her lover living with her before I was born. We had no idea as kids, we all called him “Pappy”, I loved that guy. So did she, but she didn’t mingle money with it…and she would not marry him.

  • And not to forget how much younger you will feel when the burden of him is off you. I’m on the old side too but I wouldn’t trade my 59 years to go back to the hellish marriage at 30 that made me feel older than the hills.

  • Susan, Susan, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. You are letting this man control your precious time on this earth. You are his puppet right now and he’s your puppeteer! Cut those strings and free yourself from this creep.

    There’s seems to be a touch of Stockholm Syndrome going on here. The line that upset me most in your letter and that is most telling is your last line about coming to terms with hurting the one you never intended to hurt. Whaaaaaaat?! You’re expressing sympathy and empathy for your captor here. Also you say you still love him but you couldn’t imagine having his penis inside you (who could blame you). This is not what love looks like.

    • Susan, listen to this.

      You leaving him is not YOU hurting HIM. It is HIM hurting HIMSELF through the natural consequences of his OWN actions. You are not a human shield for other people’s self-inflicted hurts.

  • Honestly, I haven’t found that the “possibilities” are all that grand. I struggle to support myself, even though I got a good divorce settlement. I wear myself out trying to work and do everything that has to be done around my house. I will never have the kind of life I really wanted as an older woman. I don’t date anymore, after experiencing years of horrible first dates with totally gross men. Even if there are decent men in their 60’s out there, I simply don’t have the time or energy to sift through all the losers to find one. Meanwhile, my cheater husband is doing well, getting ready to remarry to a non-affair partner who is pretty, well employed and totally oblivious to what he did to me, the woman who adored him.
    It’s a struggle for me to deal with the reality of it all.

    • Carol, all of us mature women understand what you are saying and going through. It is not and has not been easy one little bit for any of us. I know I am not living the kind of life I really wanted at 62 years of age but I have to accept that, that this is my reality sadly. We gave it our all and we are left behind with nothing. Whilst your ex husband is remarrying it does not mean that he is totally happy or content for that matter but he has made his choices be they good or bad, a bit like my ex husband of 37 years. I really do understand what a struggle it is to deal with the reality of it all and I wish it were very different. How I wish I could make it better for all of us who have been betrayed and dumped.

    • My stbx doesn’t do well by himself, so I fully expect him to find a wife who will cook, clean, do all of those wifey duties I’ve done for years. But in all honesty if
      I get what I need from him so be it. I wish him well. Let her take care of him so that he can work and take care of my bills.

      I will not miss his controlling behavior, bad attitude, drunken boo-tay not one bit! There were things I couldn’t do and other interest I couldn’t explore because of him. Good bye and if I ever get that horny, I’ll exercise, dance, listen to music, walk, photograph or use a vibrator. Hell, maybe I’ll become a cougar and marry a young stud who can give me the love i’ve been missing. Just saying….

      • Jinx – you crack me up! I feel the same way and my trusty Wand has been getting through many years of a sexless marriage (not my choice). My stbx was also very controlling on everything I did. The freedom I suddenly felt in the house my first time alone, although I was devastated what had just happened, I cranked up the music and actually danced! Strange, this horrid experience combined with absolute freedom. He has destroyed all possible chance I have to ever trust anybody ever again and will not go down that old-geezer baggage road and cleaning bedpans for anything. I’m only 4 months alone but I LOVE my freedom so much. I don’t need a man to complete me, and since I don’t have kids, I’ll just make sure all my nieces and nephews keep me company in my old age. I’ve cultivated many friends and intend to have them with me as well.

    • Actually, I found out over the weekend that my X has finally (after 6 years) trotted out a woman to the adult daughters. Naturally, she is not married Ms. Narc-Faux-Tits-the-She-Predator…who apparently dumped him at point in time during the past couple of years (as I predictedthat she would) OR he finally realized he had been played for a huge sucker and made a move to start a new life… either way a not so gentle reminder of who he really became because of his cheating.

      Because Mr. PA is a past master at inducing shame and or guilt with his charming but duplicitous “artful dodging”…only ONE of the girls stepped forward to inform me, that he had introduced them to her by taking everyone out for dinner. Turns out the woman is a widow (from a 32 year marriage) of slightly over a year, probably still vulnerable and needy.. but just what the Dr. ordered for Lancelot The Love Bomber.

      This did not upset me. My attitude was “meh…” I feel sorry for the (clueless) woman though and fully expect he done the “victim encore” and a subtle character assassination job on me…while NEVER owning up to the fact that he was banging a promiscuous married co-worker and carpet-bombed a 33 marriage. Nothing on earth is as important to him as remaining “in control” and “putting on the good face.”

      And the humorous spot of the whole deal is that youngest D told him point blank. “We have been allowing you to triangulate and keep us walking on eggshells for way too long. I am not playing the game anymore. I have no time to juggle what I have said to whom about what. That is Junior High School game playing. I fully intend to let mother know…just as an FYI. One reason being that even through her hell she was the much more involved grandparent with my children, and I value my relationship with her enough to maintain total trust by maintaining total honesty. Your whole attitude about YOUR business and YOUR life being the epicenter of the universe…complete with expecting us to be complicit in your manipulations and “secret keeping” is arrogant but even worse juvenile. I am an adult, and you don’t control my behavior. You continue well past all reasonable expectations to act like Mom is going to have some kind of meltdown like she did at the very beginning when you caused her major butt-hurt; but in reality, YOU are the one with the ingrained control issues and unacknowledged and unresolved anger and guilt with your self. What you are doing is called projection, Daddy. So, take it on my good authority that Mom doesn’t give a shit anymore and then try like hell to grow up!” [Youngest D is also a psychologist…possibly a better one than I am. But still… “out of the mouth of babes!” :-)]

  • I grew up thinking that the goal of life was marriage. To find the right person and spend 50-60 years together, health and good luck permitting. To build a family and a stable retirement. That didn’t happen for me, and not just because of cheating. There are lots of other ways for people to be legally married and checked out at the same time: drugs, alcohol, television, gambling, pure meanness. One of my favorite books, Barbara Kingsolver’s “Pigs in Heaven,” has a character who leaves her husband because all he does is watch TV. For me, the cheating was the last and by far the most painful lesson in the need to be whole as a separate person before attempting to be part of a couple. As Carol’s story about watching her husband remarry, it is painful to see someone we love or loved go on to (it seems) live the life we expected for ourselves with someone else. But the reality is more likely that the X is just taking the same problems into the next relationship. I have no idea if I will ever meet someone, but just over 6 months ago, I couldn’t pull into my own driveway or sit in church without starting to cry. And now I am starting to feel happy. I don’t like worrying about the house and dragging the garbage to the road but taking care of myself on that level and on the emotional and spiritual level is changing me in the best way. Who knows what will happen? I wouldn’t have predicted this time last year that the Jackass would cheat (although, heh heh, there were those pesky red flags I wasn’t willing to look at.) But as I put one foot in front of another, I am amazed at the opportunities to make a life that is authentic and built on love–because the world needs what I have to give, what we have to give. Look at what Chump Lady has build out of her painful experiences.

    Living life well isn’t easy. It’s hard. But as the manager in “A League of Their Own” says about baseball: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.” One big thing that makes us different from the cheaters who devastated our lives is that they despise “hard.” They want life to be soft and easy in the emotional sense, to move from one thing to the other in their search to maintain CAKE. They don’t like accountability or consequences or intense self-reflection that leads to the hard work of change. But without that, we can’t grow. Life has thrown us out of our comfort zone because where we were wasn’t good for us, who we were living with wasn’t good for us. But this hard stuff we are going through–not everyone can do it. So many people stay stuck or dependent on something that is killing them from the inside. Because that is what cheating does. It kills the Chump from the inside by taking our love and turning it into dread, suspicion, heartache, self-doubt, pick-me dancing, and other forms of self-destruction. But we get to choose to save ourselves. That’s hard, but the hard is what will make it great because the person on the other side of that process is living an authentic life, one that isn’t warped beyond recognition by someone else’s lies and betrayal.

    • So True. I know my life is richer with those who love me. My ex sure didn’t. It was a horrible marriage. And for those who believe they will never find love again you just have to get out there. For every eight guys there may be one for you. But don’t think a spouse is supposed to save you, it’s what fixing that picker is all about. Do things you love because for every divorce you know there’s got to be one Chump available. I did everything in my marriage. Mowed the lawn, painted walls, drove across the state. I no longer want to sit back and watch the world go by. I want to round myself out. I take pride in knowing I can do things for myself. Even when it’s not easy. My mistake in marrying early was that I chose someone stable, not the kid who was in love with me and less focused. Yes, life is hard. I hope in a few years I will look back and say, “I did it.” A good movie to see, Under The Tuscan Sun.

      • Yes, that is a good movie. And I love “Hope Floats”–about a woman who gets Chumped and rebuilds a life with her daughter.

      • I also watched Hope Floats in the fall, and I watched Under the Tuscan Sun three times in the second half of December.

    • I’m older too. My fine X cheated on me when I was 55 and blew up our marriage. I’ve been single several years and it’s really hard to find someone decent my age. I’ve looked too. When I was in my early 40’s single men my age wanted women my daughter’s age. Men my age now want women my age. I guess because they think ‘we’ll understand’ because they can’t get it up anymore.

      My X went off to a great job at Yale with the OW and they bought a house on the ocean. Yeah, and I’m left here all by myself trying to figure shit out alone. I have to hire people to help with things like fixing sprinkler heads, mowing, etc. No way is this what I thought my life would turn out to be. Navigating old age by myself with no one to help me if I need it.
      I hate them both for what they did to me. And from where I’m standing it looks like they have a real nice life. I don’t get it. People can damn near kill you and then whistle off into the sunset. Nothing bad happens to them. Yup. That’s the part of I just don’t get. Assholes get nice lives. They are living proof.

  • Oh, boy, I’m in the old (67), long time married (38 years) club, so I get to weigh in. Lucky me! I very much ‘get’ what you are dealing with, Susan, and feel fortunate that I did not have to make such a decision. I get that when you are long married, the stakes are very high. And those stakes are in one word: family. B/c my ex filed and left, I get to be St. olderwiser, and he gets to be the bad guy. I am not sure if I would have trashed our family, the family I spent almost 40 years nurturing and building, in the way that he did.

    Whether that is right or wrong in terms of my mental health, I’ll never know, b/c I did not have to make that decision. I do know that my daughters would have been much happier if I had just stayed in such a marriage b/c it would have impacted their lives less. So, I do indeed get your dilemma. My sister is currently in a marriage such as yours (after over 50 years) and is now taking care of a man who is 75 and toxic b/c they don’t like each other much. Her life is not pretty to watch, and she envies mine b/c I am free to go and do and be whatever I want, whenever I want. She is not, and resents it. Now she is on the martyr kick, as in, ‘aren’t I wonderful to be staying with this asshat. Give me kudos for doing so.’ I cannot imagine being in such a situation. But, whenever she has big family events (her 50th anniversary, graduations, weddings, etc.) I envy her. Our family events are fraught with tension still, b/c my ex is married to the OW, and despite all efforts at civility, it is still stressful, and can be sad in some ways.

    So, if you decide to divorce your unloving and unlovable mate, you will indeed feel sad, and guilty, and have to deal with all the fallout. And if you stay, you can say despite all the problems that you hung in there. I do see the problem, but cannot give advice. Is such an arrangement worth it to you? Maybe it is, maybe not. If he becomes ill, do you want to take care of him, or will you be tempted to smother him with a pillow (not that you would!) Good luck, and know that there are others who get it. It is not an easy decision to make after so many years, despite his bad behavior. I’m sorry you find yourself in such a position.

    • What a great reminder that the grass is astroturf on both sides of the fence! No matter whether you stay or go, Susan, there will be a lot of gritting your teeth and making the best of it.

      I think OlderWiser throws in an important variable to consider–how old is your cheating husband? Women tend to live longer than men. Do you see yourself happily caring for him as he ages? Do you trust him to care for you should he hold up better than you do? If you answer, “No” to either one of those questions, you need to go see a lawyer and start planning your exit strategy.

      These are not selfish issues to consider. They are important ones now that you know he isn’t trustworthy.

      • True! Leave him now while he’s still a healthy Playboy. If you wait until he’s ill, you’ll be the one he expects to change his bedpan, and then he’ll really try to lay on The Guilt. Except….he nullified the marriage contract when he cheated. So you’re free to go. All you have to do is realize this. Like Dorothy, you have the power to go home any time, just click your shoes.

        • When I realized that I may indeed end up living without a partner for the rest of my life I did consider what happens if/when I get sick, need a surgery, etc. Who will take care of me if I’m incapacitated for any time? HAH. Ex would never have done that. Whenever I needed him, he was unable to give me jack. When I went into deep depression over my mothers death, he started an affair rather than help me. Then of course blamed me for his cheating, cos I was “not being there for him”.

          • With a chumped sister, and a chumped SIL, we’ve been talking about living together or nearby, somehow. I don’t know of the logistics and finances will actually work out…I wish they would! I don’t honestly care all that much if I never have to take care of a man again (sorry to the guys on the blog…). Baby-men are such high maintenance creatures, no? But I would like reliable companionships, and yeah, I worry if one of us gets cancer or something, I would like for us to be near enough to take care of each other. We CAN find a way. There are so many of us.

            If I had the dough…Kickstarter?? I would seriously start a Crone colony (Chumped men more than welcome). Kind of like CoHousing, but without the endless meetings :).

            • Right there with you. Long-term marriage and past the point of caring. For all of my marriage, I was the caregiver, the one who had to put everyone else’s needs before mine. Well, no more! If a man acts interested in me, I run the other way. Maybe I’m missing out on something; for the life of me, I can’t figure out what that might be. Alone and loving it. Have already started making my home elder friendly. Maybe I’ll invite a friend to live with me down the road.

              • My best friend and I have long figured we will end up together, maybe buy a “compound”–a couple of adjoining houses, even a duplex, or even just add on to my cottage. Two of my aunts were unmarried in their later years and they had a great time. Tremendous role models. I don’t worry about growing old without kids to take care of me. My mother didn’t even recognize me for the last three years of her life, due to dementia. I try to live in the present moment.

            • Namedforvera – I definitely think you’re on to something. I think the only people I would ever trust again is a fellow chump and I need a place to move. And, no – not interested in dating – just friends. Only chumps really understand me now that I’ve changed.

          • Yep same here, wasn’t there for me when I had some serious life changing crap. Oh yes, she’s down so let me kick her and cheat.

          • Three years ago, my MIL got very sick. While she was in the hospital, my stbx never sat by her hospital side through the night and day. Never helped her to the bathroom or to wash, he was absent and I and my SIL were the ones tending to her. I remember thinking that if I were ever to get sick, he would never take care of me either. It was a scary realization. Three years and one Dday later, this knowledge helps me to trust that he sucks. I’m better off alone, even if alone is damn lonely.

              • Other reality–women live longer than men these days–as we age, there are literally less men around available to us. If there are alternative ways to feel bonded to others–moving in with family as an example–there really needs to be more creative ways to deal with this.

            • “I’m better off alone, even if alone is damn lonely.”

              This is a good reminder today. It’s been a lonely week, with some good things and some hard things, and it’s just been a week that’s been hard to weather alone.

              • Hugs Northern Light. Just know you are not alone. Sometimes alone just means time to grow. 🙂

        • That’s another comfort, I won’t be dealing with an adult baby., my STBXH started having strokes 3 months after he left me, at 36! Now, his speech is slurred and he acts confused but I seem to be the only one who has noticed. OW wants to play wifey so bad but I’m sure she’s gonna drop him as soon as he gets more dependent, since that’s what she did with her ex.

      • no shit, I look back and wonder why I argued with the docs when he was dying in ICU, I had to fight to get him proper care and keep him alive. I wish i’d just sat back and let them do whatever they wanted, he’d have died before he talked me into marrying his ass.

  • Susan: the man you fell in love with and married all those years ago has died. Please consider the value of living an honest life, one with your morals, integrity and sanity intact. I’m 50 years old and just starting over after 26 years of marriage. It’s hard and I’m going to be grieving for awhile. But at the end it was a pretty simple decision: live in a 3 person marriage, or leave. I have no regrets about my decision, it was the only option I had to preserve my sanity.

    • That’s exactly right, Strad. If I stayed, I would, too, would have been living in a 3-way marriage as the OW worked for him, and neither one was going to leave. So every day he backed out of the drive, he was going right back to her. I had a 33 year marriage, but in the end, I too, had too had to preserve my sanity.

  • Susan: I am NOT going to tell you my story because all the chumps here must be tired of my waffling with my H. But I will tell you a cautionary tale I heard from another. A woman ( our age) H left her but continued to come for dinner, family events, marriage counseling. She thought he was doing “all the right things” Turns out he was still seeing OW, and arranging financial affairs so when he landed the BIg Truth on her she was screwed royally. He was simply buying time.

  • I understand your limbo. I was there, too, for awhile…thinking that my life would be “Just Ruined!” if I had to divorce. But that’s just not true. My life is much better now. I have boundaries. My gut isn’t screaming at me any longer. Now, I listen to it. And I have more peace than I ever did when I was trying to stitch together dead pieces of marriage.

    Susan, if you only knew what your cheating husband has been up to in the past three years…..(he has NOT be celibate for three years…guaranteed!)…you would divorce him today. Get rid of that quack therapist and start listening to your own common sense.

  • I didn’t have much of a choice either. My ex-husband left when I discovered his affair. And as much as I hurt, I’m not foolish enough to think that living with him would be painless. This is the hand I’ve been dealt. But there’s no sense of relief or exhilaration that I have this fabulous new life, full of possibilities. My life now is fairly lonely, and my major focus is working because I live paycheck to paycheck and have to work extra when I can. My work is physically exhausting (bedside night nurse on a transplant wing). So, I work as much as I can and then have to recuperate from that because my knees ache and I’m sleep deprived and exhausted. I have a hard time keeping up with the demands of running a home alone. I hire out what I can (mowing) but I can’t afford to pay someone to do everything. My kids are grown and more and more, I have to burden them with requests for help. I try hard to carve out some pockets of happiness in my life…visiting with my grand kids, hobbies, etc. But honestly , it’s a lonely and often painful (physically and emotionally) life. Not at all the joyful existence I thought I had and had planned on having. I worry that I’ll never be able to retire. Because of all of this, I sadly feel a lot of hate for my ex-husband and I feel bitter, and I truly feel I have a raging case of PTSD from it all. He screwed up royally and he deliberately walked off and started a new life where he didn’t have to deal with the consequences of his choices. He’s a world class chicken shit. I’d bet good money though, that he’s learned his lesson and he won’t cheat on his new wife. I think he just didn’t have it inside himself to face the music. It was easier to further traumatize me, by abandoning me when his betrayal was discovered.

    • Carol..you have said everything that I am feeling. Mine left for the OW the day I discovered the affair. My life is lonely..other than taking care of my 12 year old daughter. My other 2 are over 18. I am only 4 months out from Dday, but it seems all I have to look forward to is a life of loneliness. I struggle financially. We are right in the middle of divorce, and in the meantime it’s tough to pay anything, let alone have any money left over for something fun. Even with what I will get for child support and possible alimony (which isn’t guaranteed in Iowa) it is going to be beyond hard to make ends meet. He makes 3 times what I do, and my income has basically been supplemental..catching up on odds and ends, having some spending money. I too feel a lot of hate for STBX and tons of bitterness, too. And guess what? Looks like he and the OW are fabulously happy! The great people here remind me that the grass isn’t always greener, and looks may be deceiving, but it certainly seems as though they are happy as 2 peas in a pod! I truly think that he will never cheat on her, because it’s all about the fact that they were meant to be together, they are each other’s true love, etc etc etc. As for the abandonment aspect..in my posts here on CL, I have mentioned that I feel as though I was robbed. I didn’t get the chance to try and work on my marriage..it was absolutely decided for me, by him. There was not even a mini thought on his part of wanting to stay with his wife of 25 years and 12 year old daughter. I know that a lot of people think that what happened to me is easier, because I didn’t have to worry about the whole “pick-me dance”. But it really cuts to the bone, knowing that he didn’t even care enough to TRY. To want to salvage any of our relationship. What was I for 26 years? What is she, that he didn’t even consider trying to save a long marriage? I am so totally stuck on the “unfairness” of it all. He got exactly what he wanted..his wonderful OW. I got shit..I got the financial worries; the loneliness; the realization that I meant absolutely nothing to him; yet he gets to be HAPPY with her. And I get squat.

      • I hear what you are saying, it is unfair, it is lonely, you cry your heart out and then what. Suppose they are the happiest couple in the world and she is his soul mate. So what! When it’s all said and done he is a coward and a jerk, who abandoned the wife of his youth, child, and honey God doesn’t like ugly and the story isn’t over! She’s a ho! They deserve each other and will spend the rest of their time together wondering who is going to cheat first! Rather than get down on yourself, make sure you take at least one step forward each day.

        I had forgotten how to dream, but at times I pin my dream home, clothes, music, places I’d like to travel and all sorts of things. It gives me an outlet and sort of plan for my future and it’s free. I also listen to music, not the sad sappy type, and I trade plants with friends. Find a free outlet for yourself.

        the one thing I’ve learned in life is that nothing ever stays the same.

        • I agree that it’s difficult to leave a long term marriage and the kind of stability that provided. However, despite my own setbacks I believe that living with him would have been an absolute cluster mindf*ck. There was no going back. As scary as it seems the way is forward and away from the wreckage.

          That nothing stays the same forever is very true, Jinx. And I have had to learn to pin my hope on myself and the good people who have been here for me. I think it takes a lot of hard work to keep believing this and working on it but I do think it’s worth it.

          I understand the loneliness and frustration over seeing an ex looking so happy but I still know in my heart that no amount of money could have made me not feel sick to my stomach every time I saw him. Life is slowly returning to a peaceful place. Hang in there, you will be ok.

      • I am somewhat in the same boat – albeit everyone’s situation is different. I found out in January that my STBX had a sexual/emotional relationship for two + years with a Jamaican girl. It didn’t take him long to want to hit the road. Didn’t I know it? No. In May 2013 I lost my granddaughter in a house fire. My mother died three weeks later in complete grief over losing Lucy. His affair likely started 1 1/2 years before and kept going right through these dark days. I thought he was having a nervous breakdown – everyone else was – after we lost my granddaughter. I offered to handle my mother’s burial on my own several states away. Surprised, I was, that he wanted to go to Jamaica for a few days. Later in 2013 when I went back to the family cemetery several states away to handle matters with my granddaughter’s grave, he stayed home but decided he wanted another few days in Jamaica. Surprised again, I was, and couldn’t wrap my head around all these trips nor did I do surveillance on his cellphone or the bill. We got through Christmas and over New Year’s he was in Orlando with his daughter and grandchildren for a college bowl game, I stayed home. When he got back he was so strange about his phone that I looked at it on January 10 and there it was. A loving message. Never in a million years would I think my 66 y/o husband would be in an affair – let alone such a long-term affair – with a Jamaican girl years younger than his own daughter. He stayed for another two months, upstairs, refusing to admit or discuss the matter then I suggested we take him up on his offer to move out since things weren’t going anywhere. I filed for divorce as soon as he left and he was served papers based on adultery. He never wanted to talk it out. He admitted the adultery in response to the temporary court hearing – in addition to 18-months of cell phone records, Facebook connections and a Western Union wire transfer that confirmed her legal name and the matching phone number, there were his Viagra orders matched against his US passport so little point in trying to deny it. After going through several adultery websites trying to understand what in the hell happened, CL has given me the perspective I need to try to move on. What a loathsome thing to do to anyone.

        • Good god, JM. What a Class A pathetic asshat! As if you weren’t dealing with enough loss? Such great support from the jackass, huh! You know, I have to say it. Sometimes I think these buttwipes deserve nothing less than death!!

          • Thank you for the kind replies. Again, after combing websites for months, I’ve never contributed until coming to CL. One thing we learn in grief therapy (that I’ve been in since losing Lucy and my mother) is that there are “appropriate places” to express your grief…and laying out the whole sad twisted story online did not seem appropriate. But now I’ve done it. There ARE worse things than losing your husband, and lots of us know loss, but I will never understand the willful destruction that comes with an affair.

            • It’s incomprehensible to me that anyone can cheat while a partner is in deep mourning for two terrible losses. I simply can’t fathom the selfishness, the callousness, the lack of decency. I am so very sorry for all you have been through.

            • JM you are not alone. My H of 33 years walked out one Sunday morning informing me and daughter 19 by text from bottom of street and sons 16 read the letter he left. One of my sons was diagnosed with an incurable progressive illness 2 months before. H 49 was in a battle at work and I was supporting him too and cutting him slack for his ED and sneaky smoking etc thinking it was stress. Turns out while I had been marshalling us to support our son and him he had been more focused on his affair with MOW colleague. When the dust settled after the first week my children never spoke to him again and he was criminally absent in trying to improve that. 3 years later my 19 year old son’s heart stopped suddenly. I called him to the hospital even though D21 was against it but he was too late. Holding a funeral for our lovely boy with their estranged father in the opposite pew was hard. He has continually since then been a PA shit done it again this weekend and at times I have really had to work at getting the headspace to grieve that which is the actual real tragedy in our lives. In the UK divorce is after 5 years and on cue 5 years to the day he did as predicted and raised the issue. So the month leading to the 2nd anniversary of my son’s death was polluted by that . He couldn’t even wait until that was over. He has been zero help to his kids grieving their brother and twin. He holed them and us 5 years ago so this 2nd more important loss had easy access to our vulnerable cores.
              I have to say I am proud of us but I actually do hate him for what he dud to me and my 3 children in the excuse if ‘just being selfish now’. I don’t believe in karma but I do believe in the power of the mind to eat away at the body even when it seems you have distracted and corralled it. I’m relying on that rather than the ‘pillow’. I get your reluctance to post. I have revealed only a fraction. I find it hard to tell people as its so awful/unbelievable that someone I would have sworn would die for me/us for 30 years of my life turned out to be this shit. The mask slipped? He was a projection of me and my values and I held him as that good man. He was a good man but had a brain fart due to stress. His dick finally won the battle and the nice guy shrivelled to a pea sized blob. He had a mid life crisis and is firmly stuck up the tunnel or up his own arse depending on wether you believe in Jung. Chose anyone the consequences to us are the same.

              • Lynda I am so sorry to hear about all you’ve gone through. It’s rotten and nobody should have to suffer that. The cheater. Yuck, just unbelievable garbage piled on top of the sorrow. So sorry.

        • JM, I am so very sorry for the loss of your granddaughter and your mother. It sounds like the Jamaican OW is using your ex for her ticket to enter the US legally. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get married, she gets her green card and then … bails out in a hurry and looks for a younger man. Or, she probably already has someone in her life but is willing to marry your ex just to have a green card. After she leaves your ex, she’ll send away for her “real” boyfriend.

          • JM, I am so sorry for your loss and I truly understand when your spouse kicks you to the curb during your grief. My ex started his (last) affair when I was sunk deep in depression after my Mom died in my arms. It totally sucks, I am glad you had such clear records so you could get out fast. Jedi Hugs, double Jedi Hugs!

        • JM, you deserve a medal just for surviving. Seriously, a lot of people wouldn’t have the strength! I’d like to say it surprises me that your ex was having an affair instead of supporting you through such a difficult time, but not much surprises me any more. I’ve heard of so many cheating spouses that run away and leave their chump spouses holding the bag. A good friend of mine lost her 23 year old son and was then diagnosed with a fatal neurological disease. Her ex responded by having an affair and completely abandoning her. He hasn’t provided any money whatsoever for her to live on. Recently a judge ruled that her ex’s wages would be garnished so he quit his job. He lives in another state and there’s not much they can do to get him. My friend now lives on welfare in public housing and wonders how she’ll take care of herself as her disease progresses. Thankfully she lives in a wonderfully supportive community where everyone does what they can to take care of her. It boggles my mind that cheaters can run away from their responsibilities like that.

      • I feel like this most of the time. My STBXH begged me to marry him after 5 years of dating and he left me shortly before our 12th anni. We had 5 children, the youngest is 3. He has screwed up so royally! He lost our house, a car and is forcing me to stay on this island because of my love for my children.meanwhile he and the whore who used to be my friend are taking our children all over the island playing family and telling people I don’t exist. I was a SAHM/ military wife and the agreement when we were planning our future was that I would get a degree now. He got out of the military right before 10 years so there is no military/veterans support and he fought for joint custody when he found out how much he had to pay.They planned it all out and left me high and dry, I’m such a First Wife it sucks and I hate hearing from friends about the fun things my kids are doing and dealing with the reprogramming and expectations when my kids are with me. I keep hearing that things will be better, and yeah instead of crying several times a day, I only cry twice a day but this has been 4 years of this crap.
        The only miserable joy I am getting besides the sweet hugs of my kids has been seeing how old and puffy he looks now. Plus the kids have had normal kid stuff happen and they are obviously not able to handle it after saying on the witness stand that taking care of all the kids “is easy!”
        I have to go see how I can keep a roof over my head and find a job while living in paradise. Sigh.

      • Hi Sandy R, too bad us chumps don’t live closer. I was so terribly lonely the first years I thought I’d die. My daughter was no help either. I believe she is a Narc too and has little or no empathy for anyone. She would tell me how her entire family (my g’kids) went to the fair the ‘other night.’ I would be so hurt that they didn’t even ask me. I’m fun and would have my checkbook out. I asked her why she didn’t invite me and she said something like ‘I never even thought about it.’ Oh yeah, once I was boohooing about X leaving a couple months after D day and she interrupted me to let me know she got some new rugs at Target that day. Yeah, um, not going to be there if I need something.

        I’ve discussed with another single friend about buying a house with two master suites and living together later on. I know, really, I never dreamed in a million years I’d end up like this.

        • Gio..it would be so nice to have a fellow chump live nearby! I’d love to have a friend in my situation to meet up with and have girl’s nights out. My situation with my kids is weird. My 12 year old is one thing; but my oldest are 24 and 20. They still have a relationship with their Dad..I said in another CL topic I wish they hated him..but it’s odd the way they treat me. They don’t want me to talk about it at all. They are tired of me being sad and hurt. One night my daughter even mumbled something pretty mean, along the lines of why don’t I just lay on the couch forever and bawl. I never get a call or text, just asking me how I’m doing. It’s easier for them to avoid the subject altogether. I feel really bad..I wish they were more supportive of me. It’s been a real sucky year so far..started off with a bang in January when I discovered the affair and he took off to be with the OWhore.

          • 24 and 20–they are still young enough to be selfish in the adolescent stage. They may just be used to you not showing you need anything. Or they don’t know how to handle what’s happened. You might be better off not discussing your life with them or expecting much. But make that a two-way street. They are old enough to learn that adults don’t act that way and that you don’t owe them anything once they are 18.

          • Sandy R, I know where you’re coming from in regards to your kids. Mine don’t want me to discuss anything about their dad or the divorce either, it’s like the big elephant in the room. One of my sons is still pretty close to his dad, the other doesn’t speak to him very much. It’s all so heartbreaking. One of my sister-in-laws who went through a divorce gave me the best advice — being happy is the best thing you can do for your kids. We are all responsible for our own happiness, and the happier we are, the more our kids will want to be around us. It’s so hard to think of all the times you were there for your kids to support them, but now they don’t seem to return the favor. I’m sure they don’t have enough life experience to understand what we’re feeling. Heck, my own sister went through her ex cheating and abandoning her and I didn’t understand what she was feeling until it happened to me. I remember calling my sister to apologize and tell her I had NO IDEA what kind of pain she was dealing with when it happened to her. I remember being frustrated with her and wondering why she couldn’t just move on with her life when it happened to her. She turned out to be one of my strongest supporters when I was going through the divorce. So just try to focus on helping others and doing those things that bring you joy.

      • I know that feeling. I don’t want to be with him because he put his dick in someone else. But I still feel like this is a nightmare I can’t wake up from. We had a lot of problems throughout our marriage. It was dysfunctional and enabling. But it was also full of passion, hot sex, and stimulating conversation. I still miss him. I still love him. I fear I may never make love again. I asked myself over and over at the beginning (before I knew there was another woman) why on earth our marriage didn’t deserve a chance. That was the hardest thing of all to accept. I was simply kicked to the curb. In fact it was as though someone else took the place of the man I knew and loved. My heart breaks for all the abandoned and deceived women here.

        I’ll never really know what happened in my marriage. I don’t even know who the other woman (or women) is. I hate myself for still having feelings for him.

        • I still have feelings of loss for our marriage too. I am quite sure I would never go back to him, which makes me proud, but I admit I would want to, as bad as he is. I can’t figure out why, for the life of me. I can’t think of one good reason to go back, but I know I would want to. But, finally I just accepted this says something about ME and not about him. It says that I am loving and I bonded with him. It doesn’t mean that he deserves another chance or that I should waste one more second of my time on him.

      • OW is NOT wonderful. She is and was a desperate lowlife who would stoop to fucking any married man. And your ex, like mine, “fell in love” with the illusion of youth and new pussy. He is no more capable of “love” than a pig is capable of flying. No one can compete with new and the illusion of “happily ever after”. Hell, who wants to?! And don’t kid yourself. Cheaters fall into bed with the first person who comes along. They are no more suited to a great honest relationship than they were with us how many years ago. Cheaters find their significant others in mundane places. At work, at the gym, next door, in the family, with friends. It is convenient. Then they will work at this relationship the same way they did yours. If you think he’s capable of loving someone really look at those years you spent together. I don’t think my ex’s life is bliss at all. No amount of storytelling will save it either.

  • Namedforvera is dead-on: little by little you get better, and freer. It took me five long years to pull the plug. Looking back, I can’t believe that I felt responsible for keeping the marriage together. I was like a tire; eventually I got completely worn down. The OW, she can be the retread. I am so much better and free to live a truthful life. Trust the wisdom here on Chumplady. I’ll paraphrase the ending comments at a lot of 12 step meetings: keep coming back, it works.

  • Susan, be strong he will never change. He will just feed you the same shit over and over. He knows you better than anyone! TRUST is dead. My cheating, manipulative mind fuck went so far as to tell me he will commit suicide if I left. I was so scared but now I realize that was only a manipulative move. He went to our pastor and I was questioned. I poured my heart out! Know what I was told : it’s my fault because if I was there for him he wouldn’t have to go elsewhere. I had so much faith in my church. It kept me afloat. I have found out that even the pastor has his own cake, so how can he advise me. I can’t go to church and listen to him. My heart bleeds, I cry all the time but I know that I will get past it. This was a double betrayal for me.

    REMEMBER : this too shall pass.

    • “My cheating, manipulative mind fuck went so far as to tell me he will commit suicide if I left.” This is a giant abusive red flag. Abusers use this to control you, end of story. If a person says they will kill themselves because of something YOU do or don’t do? Run like hell. You are not responsible for that shit.

    • Your pastor is a cheater?? I hope you can find another church (if you wish) with an honest, authentic pastor who lives his or her professed values out and has integrity, even when no one else is looking.

      • My stbx is a minister! And so is His AP! And I stood by him financially physically and emotionally for 7 years worth of university to get there!
        I seriously doubt I will trust organized religion again.
        No one on the church helped me. The church members love him, didn’t even flinch when we moved to their parish and wife was tossed out with flowery ” it’s all mutual ” song and dance speech!
        Sinister Ministers and Jesus Cheaters …. The church is not express from the seriously fucked up.

  • Having read the reply from Carol there certainly is the caveat that I missed in my reply. Look at the financials. My sister is financially well off, and were she to leave her husband I am sure he would turn on her like a pit viper and try to screw her financially. My ex is well off, and he knew if he did that to me, our daughters would cut him out of their lives. So, he did not, and my settlement was fair. I am not well off, but I am comfortable and do not have great financial worries. It makes a huge difference. My sister is quite open (to me) about the fact that her decision to stay several years ago, was somewhat about the bottom line. If you left your husband would he turn on you and there would be a nasty battle? Are you up to that? Can you stand on your own two feet financially? So much to consider. Good luck.

    • Talk to your lawyer about at least a separation agreement. If neither one of you are considering marrying someone else, perhaps a more viable financial option is to be permanently legally separated.

      • That’s what my husband and I did. We may divorce down the road, but we split the property, own our own homes, and live our separate lives. We are friends and supportive of each other; I just couldn’t deal with his lifestyle. But he was not a cheater or a liar. I think separation is underutilized by older couples. If you have no agenda to remarry, you can simply live apart, settle things financially and move on. But that only works when two people care enough about each other and their integrity to be fair. And it would be hard to trust a cheater.

  • Susan, only thing I can suggest is to write down all the reasons to stay and all the reasons to leave. What does it look like? Might help you decide. I cannot imagine living in hell for the rest of my life. What if you just start acting single, try it out. Stop talking to your husband every day and live like he was already gone…

    • There are a couple of good books to help with that process of resolving the ambivalence;
      “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” (or possibly the other way round), and
      “Should I go or should I leave” this one by brilliant Lundy Bancroft, specifically about dealing with somewhat abusive or very abusive relationships.

      But Susan, you don’t actually sound ambivalent. You sound like your gut has already decided, it’s just hard to take the plunge! In that case, you just have to brace yourself and GO! The peace of mind you will gain is the most precious thing to have in your life – don’t you deserve that?

  • “I assume your husband is also in his 60s. He’s not going to find another Susan with 30 years of husband-care under her belt. Other women are fine for sex and romantic whatevers, but they tend not to want to change your bed pan, or schedule your doctor’s appointments. And by 60, he probably has a pretty nice chunk of retirement savings — why share? Why not just keep you around? He doesn’t really care that you don’t like him much or have sex with him, because he doesn’t divorce you. You’re of use to him. You’re a soft place to land. You’re his once and future caretaker.”

    And guess what, I know of men wheel chair bound, on dialysis, stroke victims, who still cheat. Some of these guys never stop. It may not get better. I look at those marriages and wonder who can care for an ex or current cheater, soured up old dry drunk who still treats you like garbage! Who needs that!

    • Hell, Stephen ‘A Brief History of Time’ Hawking couldn’t move, couldn’t talk – and he still managed to cheat on his wife and leave her! (OWnurse is his new wife).

      But karma is SUCH a bitch. Apparently she hits him.

  • My heart breaks as I read they stories here of so many brave and mighty ones rebuilding after such heartbreak. I can only offer that PEACE has such incredible value.

    I was also raised to believe that finding a husband and being a wife and mother was the measure of my worth. When my exH left, I was a SAHM with two preschoolers. I did not think we could survive, but each day, month, and year has been full of both heartbreak and miracles. We HAVE survived, but our lives look nothing like what I thought my future would be.

    I have accepted that I may never meet anyone or get married again. It is not the life I would have chosen, but I have peace in my home and in my heart, and I treasure that. Susan, please take some time to remember who you were before this marriage. Find that person again, and re-discover the simply joys of a good book, an early morning walk in the park, a coffee at a bookstore, a drive in the countryside, and volunteering at a nursing home or with children. When you focus on others – many of whom have no “family” either, you will be blessed. And you will realize that life can be beautiful again – a different kind and color of beautiful – not the way you expected it, but lovely and calm and sweet in a way where you can be at peace. Hugs to you. RDM

      • Yup, there endless variations on “happily ever after”….and having a mate is only ONE of them.

    • I think this is spot on. Those illusions we have of a wonderful life together are just that-illusions. Your life will be different. It will be batter. Life is not about choices we never control, like cheating spouses, but those choices we do make. “I have peace in my home and in my heart” who would not want this over a person who treats you like shit every day!?! No amount of money makes living with a cheater palatable. Life is too short.

    • This is so beautifully stated. The peace in my home is so precious to me. At the moment, I am savoring it, and can’t imagine being willing to risk it by bringing a man into the mix.

    • For me, the realities of being single again hit me square in the face about 2 years post d-day. I had gotten back on my feet a little, and had allowed myself to entertain the idea of dating again.

      As background, my exH had SERIOUSLY f’ed up FOO issues; like when I found out I was pregnant with our daughter, he said, “Are you sure you’re ok? Because my mom told me that NO woman wants a daughter, because then you spend your whole life competing with your daughter for your husband’s love.” Yep, ex FIL was a daughter-molester (which I didn’t know at the time..of course). So, with all that baggage, as well as typical narc stuff, exH was alway jealous of any time I spent with our children; pouted and whined about being ignored, and basically never spent any meaningful time with his kids…and then walked away and hasn’t seen them in over six years.

      So, as a single parent, I am filling both the mom and dad role, and truly loving every minute. I DID want my kids, and love being around them. I also do feel some guilt over picking such a shitty “father” for them, so there may be some of that too…but I have a pre-teen daughter who still WANTS to hang out with me, and a son who things I’m “wonderful and awesome” and who picked me a huge bouquet of wildflowers this weekend “because I love you mommy”. So do I really want to trade that little bit of precious time I have left for dating right now? Sure, there may be a great man out there, but I am confident that if it is meant to be, he’ll still be there in a few years when my kids DON’T want to hang out with mommy anymore. And I sure as hell DON’T want drama, or another man in my life who resents my kids – they’ve already had that.

      I know all of our stories are different, but my 40’s have slipped away, and I’ve been told, “you’d better date now, before you get any OLDER…” Ugh. I married my ex largely because “the clock was ticking” – not going to make that mistake again. Instead, I’ll cherish the life I have – not the one I THOUGHT I’d have (most day…). And I’ll take Sunday drives with my daughter, and stop for ice cream, and enjoy these rare days where she still wants to be with her mom. And that will be more than enough.

      • Yes indeed – quality time with your daughter – same here – she is my best pal and enjoys being with me completely – I look at her and reaffirm to myself why I have to get through this and come out the other side – she is priceless and full force in my life – my ex doesn’t get to see her happy, enjoying life , he gets a sullen quiet child mad as hell with him for all the hurt he has caused her – his choice and his alone . She is all I need too – peace is paramount in my home also.

    • Thanks for your words, Redefining. It helps so much to hear others are also struggling with having their lives turn out so differently than what they expected. I miss having my kids around and being a family. We used to have so much fun when we were together. My ex left just as my kids were getting married and moving away, so for me the divorce coincided with empty nest syndrome. It felt like I lost everyone I’d just spent the last 26 years of my life investing in at the same time. I try to stop myself from thinking that being alone now is a punishment, instead I tell myself I’m being given the gift of really getting to nurture, support and discover who I am.

      • You ladies are such a blessing to me. Peace. Such a small, powerful thing – such a treasure after such a rocky, chaotic married life. Lyn – I know the years will pass so quickly and then the little ones will be up and gone. You do have the gift of time for you now – and I know you will come to find out wonderful things about the woman you’ve always been. And if you want to remember the chaos of children, there are always places to volunteer with kids – just enough time to enjoy – but then get to go home and relax. 🙂 Hugs to you all.

  • Susan- You don’t owe your husband any particular perks, and we don’t have all the details (did he voluntarily give up OW cold turkey and is verifiable celibate???), but this three years living separately is perturbing. I think you are both getting something out of it. I guess the family still has the appearance of togetherness at family events and maybe your husband feels he has the freedom and the justifiable cause (NOT!) for some side action without being cut-off from the family. IF you are really considering giving it a shot, and you feel he is serious about reconciliation, you should explore the possibilities of a renewed sex life. Make NEW memories. Otherwise, I think you know you should cut bait, otherwise you will continue to lose credibility about this whole reconciliation idea and continue to play into his agenda. Have you both had extensive STD testing? Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, and all that….

  • Susan, accept that your marriage will never be the same if you decide to stay. You will never be able to go back to that place where you completely trust your spouse. It’s a huge shit sandwich and only you can decide if it is worth eating. Time doesn’t heal all wounds; closure is a myth, don’t accept others’ opinions that you should ‘get over it’, your strength lies in getting ON with it, getting on with your life. Pretty much everyone here has stood in your shoes and we are all rooting for you.

  • I agree that staying most likely would be like eating a big ole shit sandwich. I suppose that there are a few cheaters who truly feel remorse and never cheat again. But, I think they are the rare oddity.

    I just don’t think it’s fair to make people think their life will be better after they get rid of the cheater. In my case, it’s different but I don’t think it’s necessarily better. My possibilities are limited because of various factors. There are tons of things I’d like to do in my new life, but I have to be honest here, they aren’t going to happen. I don’t have extra money to travel or to buy all the plants I’d like to have in my back yard because I love to garden. It’s the reality and it’s devastating. Everyone ( including my grown kids) glibly reminds me that I don’t have to live with a liar and I understand that. But they are crazy if they think my life is great because he’s gone. I got rid of one problem and gained a new one. Or ten.

    • “I just don’t think it’s fair to make people think their life will be better after they get rid of the cheater. In my case, it’s different but I don’t think it’s necessarily better.”

      I’m on the old side and if I look at all of the negative side of what could happen, it’s got to be better than staying. Suppose you stay and stbx has an outside kid, gets sued or fired for sexual harassment, becomes a drunk, gets an std, or just plain old gets sick. I hear you, but life is filled with challenges.
      I was going through some serious hell/life issues when my stbx cheated. I literally had no where to lay my head for comfort, no where to turn. It was the lowest point in my life to be betrayed when I needed him the most for 5 years. It was hell. The only thing that saved me was my belief in God. Needless to say, I made it and I’ll make it through this as well. Through all of this hell, I’ve learned exactly who I am and I’m one baddass woman.
      I’m looking for a good things for my future.

    • Carol,
      Hang in there. Hugs to you. Think of all that you do have. Do not look at what you don’t have or what you are unable to accomplish. At least you got out. Find some good comedy and just have a laugh now and again. It helps.
      I thought my life ended when I was involved in an accident that totally changed my life due to the nature of my injury. Being cheated on is far worse. Having to cope with it is worse than if he had died!

      • Thank you Lioness. But, I didn’t “get out.” I was thrown away. Like rotting kitchen trash, like yesterday’s newspaper. I didn’t get the chance to do the pick me dance. Perhaps if I had, I’d feel better. Nothing like being abandoned, five minutes after being kissed and told that you are loved, to confuse the hell out if you and cause you to be in a state of never ending grief.
        I do have a lot to be grateful for, not the least of which is that the kids (36, 34, 32) all want nothing to do with him. At least I don’t have to see him at most family events. (The mother of my oldest grandson does tend to invite him to concerts and ballgames…I know it’s wrong but at this point, I often wish her husband would cheat on her, so she could feel what I feel when the asshole shows up.) I at least have a job, never mind that it barely pays my bills. It could be worse. I’m just angry. Really angry. It’s pretty safe to say that I’m so traumatized that I’ll never get over it. D-Day was 9-12-2005. This is what moving on means for me.

        • Carol,

          Please know that so many here would love to give you a big hug, and that you have found a safe place here.

          I didn’t get to dance either. He told us (me, 2 and 5 year old kids) that he was going away for a week, and then just never came back. It’s a different kind of pain; that is for sure. Right up until the end, he insisted he loved us; I remember about two weeks before he left, he was looking at me funny, and I said, “What?” He responded, “I just am thinking about how much I love you…”

          The anger is part of healing. It’s scary; but it’s one stage of grief that you will pass through, and then re-visit as circumstances dictate. Your children sound awesome, and it’s a blessing that you have a job…but the anger…I remember being told that even God gets angry, because some things are simply WRONG and EVIL and no other emotion is sufficient. Just know that I/we here are all so sorry that this has happening to you, and that there can be a better future than where you are today. Hugs to you. RDM

          • Carol,
            I didn’t get to do the pick me dance either. My X left me for the homliest woman EVER. OMG, I’ve shown some people her picture and they gasp and almost faint.
            My X got a life threatening cancer when we were married and I always knew there was no way he would have been as kind to me as I was to him. Anything that got in the way of 6 pack of Bud at night wasn’t going to fare well. I guess if he gets sick again the OW can take care of him because it sure won’t be me. He did give me a generous divorce settlement but he makes three times as much as me. The OW makes a ton of money too. They are set. I haven’t went on a vacation in years because I can’t afford it. They go everywhere. It sucks. Being chumped after decades is a hell of a lot harder than if you were chumped after a year or two. Especially if you’re older.

            • “I was abandoned too, and it is a totally different kind of pain.”
              Truer words were never spoken, Lunachick. We get the extra slap in the face, knowing that our spouses wanted absolutely nothing to do with us, that we were of absolutely no importance to them at all. Even if we never ended up reconciling, I would have felt a gazillion times better knowing that at least he cared enough about me to try. The sheer pain from being abandoned is just unbearable.

              • I not only have to deal with the pain of being discarded and abandoned, I get to reconcile that with all kinds of memories of things immediately preceding the abandonment that just don’t make sense. Five minutes before he walked out, he was hugging me, after returning from a rafting trip, and telling me how much he loved me. The night before, he called me while on the trip, and told me he missed me and he wished he hadn’t gone. We talked about a home we wanted to build and where we’d build it. He told me he couldn’t wait for me to be done with school (I was in my last year of nursing school) so that I could travel with him. He frequently made jokes about my 50th birthday, and how much fun he was going to gave, playing jokes on me to rub it in, because I am two years older than he is. Now, mind you, that birthday was THREE years into the future. And after he left , he actually told people he’d been planning to leave for years. (Did he think that looked good on him?) Now, I’m no idiot. There’s no way he was planning to leave. He liked being married to me and he liked having affairs. Had I not told him I knew he was having one, we would be celebrating another anniversary next week. He just wasn’t willing to stick it out, knowing what he was in for. I was ok as long as I didn’t give him too much trouble. Not even the kids were worth it, because he knew they would have nothing to do with him. It’s just unbelievable. You can’t make this stuff up.

        • Carol, if you think the pick me dance would be better you don’t understand what it is. It means you are treated worse than trash, it’s a way to keep you around while your spouse continues to cheat. A clean break is better, you don’t get wounded over and over and over again.

          If Dday was in 2005 I want to encourage you to try EMDR therapy so you can process your anger and grief and find your way out the other side. I realize you don’t have a lot of money but maybe your kids would pitch in? EMDR saved me when my PTSD was so bad, well leave it at, it was awful. Try it, please? Jedi Hugs

          • I 100% agree with you. I, too, was abandoned abruptly. I danced the dance via text, a few desperate phone calls, and more texts before I finally dropped the rope. He didn’t care. I just had to face the fact–he did not care.

            And I am SO thankful that he did not torture me with promises and false reconciliations and multiple d-days, and sneaking around, and std’s and more abuse and neglect. I have no guilt, and he can’t hurt me any more. He’s just gone. It’s all the evidence I need that he is and always was totally fucked up in his head. When he said over and over again, “I never loved you,” I believe him. It helps. The Band-Aid was ripped off all at once, allowing me to yelp out in pain, and to heal. I don’t need anything from him, don’t want anything from him. He is weak and cowardly, and I have no respect for him. Why would I want that burden in my life? Any affection I feel for him is not really for him after all–it is for the man I *thought* he was, not the man he finally revealed himself to be. I now understand that all the unease I felt when I was married to him is not my fault, was not me being unreasonable or unloving; it was my gut telling me that something was seriously wrong with him. And it is good to have that out of my life now, so that I can move on in peace, either with or without an intimate companion.

            I think if you’re stuck, it means you don’t have faith in yourself–you want someone to rescue you from your stress, from your life, from your misery, rather than lift yourself out, make yourself happy, find your own values and loves. Nobody but YOU can rescue you. Nobody but YOU can make you happy. YOU have to figure out what you want in life–better relationships with friends and your kids, maybe a new job, a nice hobby, to volunteer, to fix up your space, get going on your reading list, take a class, get certified, change jobs, finally put YOUR dreams in motion. Who are YOU? What do YOU want in this short life? How can YOU make it happen? Don’t underestimate yourself.

            Hugs to all my chumpy friends. This shit is hard. But you are strong. (Sometimes I hate hearing that. Sometimes I think, “I’m tired of being strong. I want to be weak.” But you have to be strong.)

            • Miss Sunshine,
              It’s like you crawled in my head and just described my situation. And I mean to a T.

              Especially “I now understand that all the unease I felt when I was married to him is not my fault, was not me being unreasonable or unloving; it was my gut telling me that something was seriously wrong with him. And it is good to have that out of my life now, so that I can move on in peace, either with or without an intimate companion.”

              Yep – when all this happened to me, I described it like it was an amputation. It was so sudden and final. Now, I’m glad it all went down like that. Phew!

            • Carol you are so right! My H said to me ‘it was a fantasy’ and ‘I wasn’t looking to replace you’.

              WTAF does THAT mean???? It means: ‘I am quite capable of having two worlds.’
              Translated as ‘I am a concrete, shallow, character disordered void of a human being. When you really look at me? You will see emptiness’.

              • Omg ladies! My cheater said the same exact thing! He wasn’t looking to leave me, just was attracted to that overly processed dye job whore who happened to be an ex stripper with two kids. Apparently, the two bonded over their equal dissatisfaction in their marriages- how fucking classy is that?

        • My husband abandoned and discarded me as well (words you use below in another post) and that is absolutely the hardest thing to deal with. It’s such a huge blow to my ego I can hardly cope. What’s “funny” is that, yes, there was another woman, but he does not seem to be in a relationship, he probably just had a casual fling. I even find it painful that he STILL doesn’t want me and I am obsessed with wondering WHY he doesn’t want me even though I can’t take him back now that he’s been with someone else. I know I have a lot to offer. I know I have good and loving qualities. The fault isn’t with me, it’s with him! On top of that, he now flirts with me and wants to have phone sex with me or tease me about paying me to have sex with me. My god. Didn’t he know me at all? He even asked me recently if I had an ad on Craigslist! I said, “You never did give me any credit for having any dignity. No. I do not and I will never have an ad for a man on Craigslist.” Unbelievable.

          This post is one of the saddest I’ve read here on CL probably because the women who wrote in is 60. I am closing in on 57. I still feel young. I still want to travel and be active and make love. What if I don’t get the chance? Taking a deep breath. Not sure I can read very many more comments.

    • I guess that depends on how you define “better.” Will your life be easier if you leave your cheater? Maybe, maybe not. This site is filled with stories, mine included, of chumps who did leave their cheaters, but now struggle financially, emotionally or spiritually. Leaving a cheater is no guarantee of happiness, nor does anyone promise you a life of ease.

      All it means when you leave a cheater is you are no longer living a life of abuse, whether outright or covert. It means you have a chance to start over. It means you are willing to risk the fear of the unknown. It means that if something good should come along, then you are in a position to take advantage of that.

      I’m as broke as can be these days, and I certainly don’t have money to do even a fraction of what I would like to do. Heck, I’m just glad the lights are still on. My ex owes me well over $50K, which I doubt I will ever see, and he wiped out the retirement funds that I should have received half of. I worry about money a LOT.

      But it’s STILL better than being lied to and abused, if only because I know I had the strength to get the fuck out even though I was terrified. My life is better in that regard, and that’s enough for me. Carol, I hope things will get easier for you.

      • I agree Glad. Sometimes freedom, peace of mind and sanity come with a hefty price tag but the alternative torment that accompanies living with a cheater is a far greater price to pay.

        • I was amazed, really, when my ex left me. I had been ill for several years before the affair & he had been so caring & kind. Dragging me to doctors, hospitals, labs…everyone commented favorably on how loyal & truly deeply concerned he seemed. All of those people would be even more shocked than they were if they knew the irony.
          I was a nurse before the MS & the colon cancer & one day, before the MS was dx’ed, he & I were out for a drive. We began talking about people we had known who had become sick suddenly & unexpectedly. I related a story about a lady I had cared for in a facility I worked in right after nursing school. She had MS & by the time I knew her, the disease had ravaged her. We were encouraged to read the patient’s files & I was appalled because, not only had her MS quickly moved from relapsing-remitting to progressive relapsing-remitting, (as mine is now, possibly because my diagnosis, like hers, had come later in life & had gone undiagnosed for so long) She was a school teacher, married to a lawyer, with 2 small children when the illness struck. He cared for her at home for a while but, eventually, he placed her in a facility. For a while, he visited & even brought the kids a few times but he stopped bringing them because, he told her, it was too difficult for them.
          One day, he just stopped coming. Eventually, it became known that he had an ow & he divorced her, sold their beautiful home, left an unspecific amount of money in her account, & left with the kids. She never saw him or her kids again. At some point before I began working there, her money had run out & all she had was state aide & the contents of her room.I remember feeling so sad for her & horrified that a person could be so cruel to his own wife…& I had seen some hideous examples of “man’s inhumanity to his fellow man” by then.
          My ex, of course, seemed equally disgusted by this man’s behavior, even assuring me that, no matter what happened in the future, he’d never abandon me like that. And, for a long time, he didn’t. He stuck it out through neck surgery, a hysterectomy, another neck surgery, other things. Each time, I imagine, he must have felt that “this” problem, once fixed, would be the last. It became easy &, at times, necessary, to believe that he was completely committed to our marriage. I mean, look how steadfast he was? A woman would be crazy to think that a man who had stuck around through so much would leave one day. This is what others told me & this is what I told myself. He assured & reassured & I became…comfortable? I mean, I had had doubts. I saw spouses leave for less. I felt guilty, at times, for causing him & the rest of my family, so many worries. BTW, it did occur to me, much later, that I had set myself up to be “the problem.”
          When they said MS, I don’t know what I expected. More of the same, I suppose. But deep in my heart, I always knew that there was a possibility that he may break. I could have understood & even forgiven him if he had…just…told…me. “I can’t deal with this.” I would have been hurt, of course. Angry, disillusioned, no doubt. But he didn’t come to me. He went to someone else with his concerns, his fear, his escape. There was no escape for me.
          It isn’t like we stopped watching our favorite shows, going out to dinner, celebrating holidays…having sex. I became more limited but I could still enjoy life. He said nothing but I knew something had changed. One day, I just felt it. He was just a little less patient, a little less concerned about checking on me if he was going to be late. After a while, he was late more often. His ever-present cellphone started not ringing or was “left in the truck.” Red flags were flying all over the place. Finally, I just came right out & asked him. He looked at me like I had grown another head. He couldn’t believe I thought him capable of it. I couldn’t believe he thought me so stupid.
          Still, when I finally had proof, he wasn’t ready to choose. I allowed this “limbo” to go on for almost 3 more years because I was afraid to be alone, sick, 2 grandsons to care for & limited resources. I allowed myself to be belittled in ways I cringe thinking about now. I now know that, instead of asking him if he wanted to leave, I should have just grabbed the hefty bags. I made it. I don’t know how, but I did. I found strength I didn’t know I had. I attribute that to God. Someone else may credit the Great Spirit, Earth Mother, alignment of the planets, whatever…it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you walk, head high, eyes forward, dignity & purpose stiffening your spine as you exit the dance floor.

          • You poor thing, my heart goes out to you. I don’t even know how to wrap my head around such actions. Especially when they stick around for so long, just to pull the rug from under us. Mine too was there for me through my depression (little I knew, he was partially the cause), but then a few years into my struggles with severe anxiety, he said he couldn’t take it any longer. I still blame myself that if it wasn’t for this, and the fact that I’ve become impatient and angry in the last few years of our relationship, he would have never cheated. Well, actually, that is what he says too.

          • Beendonengone, let me see who would I rather be? An incredibly beautiful woman rising up to life’s challenges or a loser who’s only great concern in life is getting his dick wet because life is TOO Hard. Life tests us. Those who are worth admiring are those who live and thrive in spite of all those challenges. My guess is that you know you rock! My guess is that you recognize your worth. You know you are not your illness. I want people in my life who recognize my worth even when my body betrays me. When my son was in a coma hooked up to all manner of tubes and machines all I saw was my little boy. Fifteen years of sunny days, time spent together, and a love that still makes me weep with joy. I could never walk away from that. Love can do great things. Love, real love, makes you better. But it can’t change someone who is incapable of seeing. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Glad – True. Although it sounds like your ex would have wiped out your retirement account, regardless if you were still married or not. So I’m betting money would still have been a huge pain point, maybe more so.

  • Susan you asked why they spend the childrens college money and savings that you spent years acquiring, I found this is done because they feel it is their money and they can, it is easy money they don’t have to think about it. They already feel very entitled to go and fuck someone who is not their wife, and sooner or later it comes down to, ‘I need money to keep this ow happy and that money is mine, I am taking it’

    Our first home, part of the money made when it was sold (where our oldest started school, where I had our second child) he spent about 7,000 of that on the ow in a two month span one summer.

    If you don’t move that money and protect it, one day it is not going to be in that account. I sat and did not move money, I thought ‘oh no he won’t do that’ you know what, married to him over 30 years, he did and I found he just does whatever he damn well pleases, he does not care, he is living the life of ‘the entire world owes me happiness’

    He will take everything you both have down, he will spend it on the affair, he does not care.

  • Carol, I honestly understand where you are coming from. Ok, you said your life is hell, you are the one who said that. And this pattern he is living seems to be working well for him. If you want to prove to yourself, something so you can see how you really have value, then turn up the heat on your expectations from him then.

    Is this arrangement enough for you?

    Also, have you talked to lawyers? As plant money, you may find you will have that and more in a settlement. I just see actions that are self serving to him, if he really wanted to SAVE the marriage, I would think there would be a lot more than sleepovers in separate rooms each month. I mean, it seems if he really did, he would be jumping through hoops, seeing about retrovaille and a lot of begging, explaining to your kids. I think you are having the wool pulled over your eyes.

    He has taken his sexual activities underground.

  • Susan, I really understand where you’re coming from. It sounds to me as if you really want to pull the trigger but feel too much guilt and fear to really do it. If my ex had given me an option I might have danced the pick-me dance a whole lot harder because I wanted to keep my family together more than anything! Luckily that kind of limbo only lasted a few months for me because it was excruciating. Anyway, I still really miss our kids being close and us doing things together as a family. One of my sons has moved far away, and the other seems closer to his father so I don’t see him as much. It’s very hard to be alone but I’ll tell you one thing that feels a whole lot better — the angst of wanting someone to love you who just doesn’t has disappeared. All that anxiety and depression I had for years in our marriage is gone. I’m not always wondering where he really is, or spending lonely nights alone while he travels all over the country with his coworker OW. As terrifying as being alone seemed to me at the time, I’m starting to kind of like it. I never pictured myself living alone, I always wanted family around me, but I’m learning to accept what is instead of what I wish it was. I’m dating a man I have a lot of fun with and who’s mutually supportive, although the thought of ever getting married again makes me feel trapped. I never want to be in a situation with someone who controls the major decisions of my life without my input again.

    Your husband most likely doesn’t want to split up his assets or retirement accounts. It would definitely be harder on him, he’s motivated to keep things as they are.

  • I guess this is another of these perspective things.

    My exH was physically abusive on several occasions – pretty much a “He just snapped” kind of thing, and then he’d go on as if it never happened, while I would wear turtleneck sweaters in July to cover the bruises around my neck.

    I consider that a blessing now, in a way, because I would have likely fought much harder, danced “pick me”, if I hadn’t known deep down, that some day he was going to kill me.

    Yes, “life after” is not always easier. But the real things that matter – safety of our hearts, our minds, and ourselves – those things are worth more than gold. And being lonely for me is easier than being afraid. Maybe I’ve just learned to place more values on the things I have left…

    • a whole life you have left my friend, one without bruises and I know you have found friendship, one day maybe more, in the meantime it’s all the little things in life doncha know? That’s where I find my joy 🙂 Jedi hugs to you redefiningme!

  • I never “lost myself” in my marriage. I was the same person who married him, the day he left. I never gave up any hobbies or interests, friends or anything else. During the marriage, if I wanted to do something, pursue an interest, change careers, open a business, I did it. I never felt that I changed to stabilize the marriage or to suit him. I was who I was and who I am. I guess this might account for the fact that now, as a single person, I have no big list of stuff I want to do now that he’s gone. No sense of exhilaration. Just loss. I loved him. Other than the cheating, he was a good man. I’ve never met anyone that I can relate to like him and that I’m attracted to. I was bonded to him. Another issue for me is that I have no desire to go “out there” to meet someone. I am a friendly introvert. I don’t like parties, I don’t want to hike or kayak, single groups make me uncomfortable. I am a homebody and all if my interests revolve around “home”…cooking (really cooking), landscaping, home projects. I’m not likely to meet anyone while I’m participating in my hobbies. LOL The good news is, a Friday night at home alone doesn’t bother me. Good thing.

    • I didn’t get a chance to do the pick me dance either. Honestly it messed with my head quite a bit. But here I am divorced and honestly, I’ve never felt more content in my life. There’s been times I’ve been utterly destroyed though this, but I’ve learned to focus on gratitude. I know it’s a bitch sometimes.

      I’m like you in that I’m social, but at my age, I’m more of a home-body. I decided in the middle of the divorce that the idea of being a cougar and hanging out at the bar was definitely not what I wanted, so I’ve been easy with myself and so GRATEFUL for this feeling that nobody is cheating on me anymore. Sure I’d like to meet someone, but I’m not willing to do the work that entails at the moment, so I’m making myself cozy at home. If I change my mind later so bet it. If I don’t, that’s great too.

      It’s ok to feel like your life isn’t better now that you’re divorced But YES – It’s better to be divorced than with a piece of crap that threw you away. How could it not be? I understand financially it’s difficult; hell I’ve lost more than half of my household income, but you know what. . . it’s worth it. I have my own life and I feel like my heart is safe now. I don’t know you and I would never profess to know the details of your situation and tell you how you should feel about it. All I can say is, I refuse to let the actions of my X define me. He threw me away, but fuck him. He didn’t deserve me anyway. And he sure the hell can’t hurt me anymore.

      I’ve learned a lot in the last 6 months. My life now is definitely in a place I never expected, but it’s still mine. It’s still sweet and I’m still happy to be here. I hope you get to a place where you find contentment too. (Virtual hugs and I’d split some perennials to give you if I could. 🙂

  • I sure wish I’d found this website several years ago. When I had a chance (when ex walked into a court meeting he wasn’t supposed to be at — separate mediations granted to me) I did thank him for the only two things I could think to thank him for: our kids and that he’d finally walked out. The latter caused him to explode at me in the hallway of the courthouse. Oh well. Too bad. I’m 62, was married 34 years. He was a serial cheater, abusive much of the time, and still I don’t know that I’d have ever managed to end the marriage. Technically, by the time it was ended there was no marriage in any true sense of the word. When he left for his beach babe I had two chronic illness, one very serious, and a part time job. Oh and we had a lot of kids. I had my last at age 45. Now I have the same chronic illness and the same job, but at least I don’t have his cheating, lying ass around anymore. Like so many of the older women have said, this is not how I would have chosen to spend my 60s: working hard at a pretty exploitative job, fretting about finances, concerned about my health with no fall-back except an ACA Silver plan, and trying to launch the youngest four of our kids, with no help from him (he only likes the fun parts)…on the other hand, it’s still better than being with him. I’m classified as poverty level but somehow I seem to have more money to make ends meet than I did with ex (who did have a very good job). He spent money secretively and in ways I now know and ways I’ll never know. I feel stuck in so many ways because of what happened but I know I’d be stuck in more destructive ways if I hadn’t divorced him. Incidentally, he fought me over the divorce. He did NOT want it. He threatened me. He wanted to live with his new woman but told me he’d take away my health insurance (my job has none) if I divorced him. He was concerned the divorce would break him financially. Good grief. As it turned out, he lost his job and I lost the court ordered insurance about two weeks after child and spousal support were removed from his paycheck. So, it’s a balancing act for me at 62. I’m glad he’s not here screwing with my head like he did for so many years. I’m glad I have at least a part time job. I worry about health issues and the future.

    • “… I did thank him for the only two things I could think to thank him for: our kids and that he’d finally walked out. The latter caused him to explode at me in the hallway of the courthouse. Oh well. Too bad.”

      Is he used to manipulating you with anger and inducing fear? I wonder if it feels good to not have to react to that any more.

  • The loneliness comments really caused me to trigger big time. I was a sahm who supported this guy as we moved to different locals to support his corporate career. Each move involved saying goodbye to the familiar and starting all over again, not always fun. I gave up a lot of things, a lot of me to not only support him, but to provide my kids with a stable home and parent. To be tossed to the side like someone’s used dirty draws is heartbreaking.
    Top all of this off with some life changing events, and heated conversations and attacks from this guy. He’s a real catch and I love it when he says I will be a lonely old woman. Oh and lots not forget he was the only man I gave my body to.
    But I’m learning not to wish him any harm, and to bless him. I’m not spending any time wondering about his penis, because I’ve got my own life to live. Life is so much more peaceful. I can do as I want and that includes being in front of the tube if I so choose. I have my health and my sanity and I can start over again.

    OW can have the little raggedy man.Good luck with that. He knows that at his age the dating pool is filled with all kinds of sharks and gold diggers including OW who will jump at the chance to pull the plug. Cheaters do not get off Scott free, as their opinions about the decency of fellow human beings is lessened. His biggest fear is finding someone like him. Some, single, never married women of his age have a lot of baggage and viagra is a killer. Being a chat is a head trip,

    • Jinx sounds like I married your husbands twin. Heard the same exact thing. “I would be a lonely old woman one day.” Supported his big corporate job , etc. etc. so I totally
      get it. Do these guys come from the same gene pool of sick demonic beings? I’m glad you are feeling peaceful at this point in your life. I hope I can get there someday as I am headed to the final divorce proceedings next week. I also am triggered by a lot of the comments in regards to being alone and the fear associated with it. I am fortunate to be reminded by people on this site and close friends that life is definitely better without being on high alert 24/7 and acting like Sherlock Holmes all the time.
      At least I have a little bit of my dignity back after six months with no contact.

    • >>Cheaters do not get off Scott free, as their opinions about the decency of fellow human beings is lessened. (snip) and viagra is a killer.

      Think of all the marriages that end with the “We’re different people” excuse…when really there’s been cheating but the poor BS never knows, never understands. To this end, I’m thankful his affair was discovered and he wasn’t able to slither out. I told my attorney this would not be a country-club, back-slapping divorce with a shrug and a Pollyanna explanation that it wasn’t working anyway. Our marriage was not the cause of his long-term affair and monumentally bad decisions.

      About Viagra’s role, Google “Viagra” and “divorce” and see how often it’s mentioned in divorce cases! Not saying it shouldn’t be out there…free will ‘n all.

      • “Our marriage was not the cause of his…___________________________ {fill in the blank} and monumentally bad decisions.” This is so TRUE.

  • I do understand the pick me dance. I did it the first time he cheated on me, in the late 80s. It’s awful. I fully understand what a f***ed up thing it is. I think, however, if he hadn’t left, the experience of being with him post-D-Day, would have helped me to see that *I* wanted rid of him. It would have allowed me the dignity of a decision. As it was/is, I had no say in anything, certainly not the affair, and not even in the status of the marriage after the affair.

  • That is what is so painful about being a chump and discovering a multi-year affair. The marriage is over. Period. Reconciliation is off the table. I am pushing fifty, and I will probably never change anyone’s bedpans nor will anyone change mine. It is depressing, but it is a reality. And there is something absolutely beautiful in being alone and not being a chump any longer………

  • “It would have allowed me the dignity of a decision. As it was/is, I had no say in anything, certainly not the affair, and not even in the status of the marriage after the affair.”

    This is how I fel too. Having no control in major decisions about MY life is something I never want to experience again.

  • I’m always down with your advice and read your feedback like it’s the Bible, CL but I don’t see anywhere about her POS husband not offering a “heartfelt apology” in her letter… Or do we assume that it didn’t happen by default, given his other behavior. Just saying

    • “If he felt guilty, he didn’t feel guilty enough to give you an out — a generous divorce settlement and a heart-felt apology.”

      Is that the passage you’re referring to?
      I took it as a hypothetical option that Susan’s husband *could* have offered her, if he was even a halfway decent person.

      Whether he did or did not make an apology, heartfelt or otherwise, is not actually discussed.

      And, yes, I too would assume from the letter that no true and tender apology had been made by him to her.

  • I know exactly how Susan feels except my husband kicked me to the curb. I am almost 57. I feel young. I’m getting fitter. I have so much life in me and so much love. But I finally gave up trying to get my husband back once I found out there had been another woman because I KNOW ME. I would not want his dick in me knowing he put it in someone else. I would not want to know he’s comparing me to her. I would not handle it well and I’d never “get over” it. I’m sort of in awe of women who have moved past that. I can’t. It’s truly frightening to think I may never make love again. But I’d rather have some self respect and dignity than just f*ck anyone. If there is another man in my future, I want him to know I cared enough to wait for him. I love being part of a couple. I love being in love and being monogamous.

    Because Susan is like me in the way we handle knowing he was with another woman, I can’t see any alternative except for her to move on as I am trying to do. It’s hard. But it’s the only way.

  • This thread is so revealing of both the sorrow and the dignity of leaving a cheater. There’s a really big difference between being in your forties or younger, and being in your mid fifties or older, in terms of life’s possibilities for finding another partner (if you are a woman.) That’s just a fact. (In the bad old days they called it the Marriage Market effect; thankfully, that’s gone.) But it remains true that men marry down in age, or across if they are younger. And women live longer. So demographically speaking, the longer a woman lives single or divorced, the less likely she is to find a healthy partner. Period.

    What happens for a 45 year old has little bearing on what the choices may be for a 55 year old, honestly. Things change a lot in that decade!

    And many of us have commented on what it takes to face that reality. It’s so painful emotionally; often financially–we worry about our health: who will care for us?

    But we here have also declared out insistence on living authentic lives of moral clarity. We are each, many of us, learning (at last) to live for ourselves, despite acknowledging all that we have given up.

    I feel privileged to have read these honest stories, and buoyed by them, since I face the same climb.

  • “There’s a really big difference between being in your forties or younger, and being in your mid fifties or older, in terms of life’s possibilities for finding another partner (if you are a woman) That’s just a fact.”

    I can tell you from personal experience that for me, in my early forties, the odds are already stacked against us, perhaps if I had of been in my thirties when I was blindsided after nearly 18 years I may have been persuaded that there was a possibility of meeting someone else but I highly doubt it now.

    In the last 2 years I have had to emigrate to the other side of the world and have practically lost everything I thought I had, I now find myself having to work 14 hrs + a day to financially survive and start afresh at the age of 43-meeting another man is the least of my daily struggles but it has dawned on me lately (now my picker has been repaired and I have regained my personal identity, not to mention my sense of humour.) that the chances of finding someone at my age are diminishing rapidly.

    I can, however, sympathise with the original thread, having to go it alone at the age of 60 must be daunting, give it another year or so and by taking daily baby steps you will be amazed at how different you can feel down the line. Emerging from a co-dependent relationship at any age is a challenge, but I am determined not to fall back into the same chumpstate by scooping up the first man that shows some interest in me, I have come too far to ever rely on that pipe dream again.

    I am not that cynical (well maybe a little)or damaged, just practical. I have found myself working in a predominantly male environment for the last 2 years, this year I have been working away from home and I am surrounded by 700+males for weeks at a time, everyone jokes that I will find another man – that joke is wearing thin, there are red flags everywhere, the guys my age are predominantly married, happily or unhappily and set in their ways, I regularly hear alarm bells watching and listening to them on a daily basis, the young guys are – well just younger and sometimes they try it on when we are out socially but I ain’t that desperate. (so do the older guys)

    All in all I am fairly comfortable that my picker is nearly repaired but digesting the fact that I am rapidly heading towards my midforties, childless, homeless but utterly more independent and self assured than when my marriage imploded 3 years ago. I may, or may not find another ‘man’, the ones that currently show interest are, to be honest, far too old and not my cup of tea.

    If I need companionship in the future I shall probably get a rescue dog/cat – once I am not working away to pay off my XH’s debt that I jointly incurred in my bad investment (my former marriage).

  • Reading people’s heart-rending stories about ending up single, often broke, trying to re-build a life when no longer young has really opened my eyes to something.

    We have all always known we might be single, ill, maybe even broke, when older. But we thought those things would happen because our faithful spouse had died, or some unexpected financial or health crisis had torn away our security. And we know that health is never guaranteed, and the older we get, the less so. But we thought that if those things occurred, it’d be because of something outside anyone’s control.

    But we have found ourselves in these situations we didn’t chose, not because of fluke or bad luck or just ‘the way life goes’. Not because of the kinds of things that have equal chances of happening to anybody. But because the cheater chose to cheat.

    Someone else’s choices, which we didn’t even know about, have determined the basic facts of the next decades of our lives. The choices made by someone who was supposed to love us, be loyal to us, and help us live the last decades of our lives as well as the TWO of us could possibly manage.

    That’s why we get so resentful. That’s why we are so damned MAD to be single, or single and broke, or single and broke and trying to raise our kids as well as we can manage, or single and broke and ill.

    It’s not that we didn’t chose this, or that it happened. It’s that they DID chose, they chose for us, and the didn’t give a fuck about what it meant for us.

    • Karen E, you just put my exact thoughts into words. I even told my ex I’d always thought I’d probably end up alone since I saw it happen to both my grandmothers and my great aunt. But I never thought I’d be this young when it happened. Plus, I can’t even look back at happy memories for sustenance. Cheaters not only make unilateral decisions that impact our lives, they change the meaning of our past too.

    • Exactly – ‘they didn’t give a fuck about what it meant for us.’ My ex told me at one point that he didn’t really think about what would happen to me because he knew ‘I would be fine.’ Okay, you implode my world but it was okay because you know I was strong and would be fine. So considerate.

      • My ex knew I’d be fine – and he was totally right about that. That doesn’t mean it’s right to make unilateral decisions BEHIND MY BACK about how my life is about to change. I mean, at least do it where I can see you!

        But what kills me is that my ex also thought the kids would be fine. Why did he think that? Well, first off because he didn’t want to think, in any way, at all, at any time, about what he was doing to his kids. He wanted to do what he wanted when he wanted with whom he wanted, and fuck anybody else. And secondly, because the woman he was cheating with, you know, the one who cheated on her husband and broke up her kids’ family, the one who actively hits on married men even BEFORE they get a chance to tell them how their wife doesn’t understand him, she told him the kids would be fine. (And that, 2 lines, was the extent of their consideration of this issue, apparently.) And his ONE sort-of-friend (jackasses apparently don’t have actual friends) also told him that. Of course, the sort-of-friend is a serial cheater whose wife left him because of the cheating, too.

        THAT, fucking over my kids (and in far more ways than just the cheating, of course – he’s a narc after all), that is what I will never, ever forgive him for. No matter how ‘meh’ I get, that will always burn me up!

  • There is a lot to consider with age, it is true, there aren’t as many years to regroup. I have to say something, please look at it another way though. If your spouse cheated and left you, do you really want them to stay in your life?

    Mine cheated when I wasn’t done with my cancer treatment, yes I am older, I felt he was a traitor mostly, and then he finished me off with saying “you’d be sick if you were with me or not”

    Lets take that apart, further. Where ever I chose to be, I am better off not having a bastard who did this with me. Why would I let a person who cheated and abandoned me stay, (will say it bigger ) STAY in MY life.

    Whatever time I have left, I don’t want someone who cheated and left me, by my side, he is a dog for doing this.

    Being alone, is better than being with a traitor, no matter if you are younger, or older.

    The sun is going to rise tomorrow to greet you, either way.

  • Wow! Thanks for the many responses!

    It is frighting starting over at my age, as it can be quite lonely. But what I am learning, for the past 30 years I lived in a perfect world, but not anymore! I am more “present” in my life now than ever. ((And I know it’s from the past 3 yrs of soul searching & reading website as these that I never ever would had.))

    • Sorry he hurt you, Susan. I fear he will cheat again, and he likely has already. It seems like you are content to stay married because it suits you financially, right? Thanks for this letter back in 2014!

  • Thank you to anyone who may have found there way to my question way back when.

    I wonder where people lives have gone, if they have gone on to be better as they had hoped.

    Mine has in the sense that the emotions aren’t raw anymore. They’ve scabbed over, but they are still there.

    I’m 6 yrs out. My husband & I are separated, can’t legally as our state does not recognize , he is still supporting me as he always had during our marriage.

    I have no idea of his intimate life, nor he of mine. We get along well, we go out to dinner, when he comes to the martial home, once or so maybe every 6-8 weeks as the house usually needs major seasonal adjustments.

    I still have no idea how this is all going to finish and play out.

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