Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Am I divorcing too soon?

sacredbedDear Chump Lady:

My husband of ten years admitted to me six weeks ago that he had begun an affair the previous month. It’s the first time as far as I know and happened once (?). We had been having problems for awhile. He is an alcoholic and I had threatened to leave several times. In addition, we just went through a bankruptcy and had to foreclose on our home in 2012. It was the typical Facebook story. Old girlfriend from high school….I was drunk and my judgement was clouded…..I felt like a failure from the foreclosure……blah blah. He is extremely remorseful. He has quit drinking and supposedly has broken off the affair. Of course, he wants to reconcile. Start over with a clean slate. Did I mention we have a five year old daughter and that he had sex with this woman in our home….in our BED???!!!!!!

The second he told me, I knew I was done. Not just because of the affair. It was more like the icing on the cake. (No pun intended.) I have already met with an attorney and will be filing for divorce on Monday. Seven weeks to the day of him telling me.

My family is making me feel like this is a hasty decision. He is a good guy and screwed up one time. Maybe I should give him a second chance? Let him prove he will be a better man. I say fuck that. I will never trust him again. Am I being rash because I am upset and hurt? How dare he bring that woman into my home and bed. My privacy was violated. What do you think? I think he sounds like a big fucking baby with a bunch of excuses.

Thanks for your site. Thank god a friend recommended this early on.


Dear Kristen,

I think your life and your deal breakers are YOURS and not your family’s — that’s what I think. I also doubt your family knows the intimate horror of having your spouse fuck someone else in your bed. There is no way to interpret that act as anything but obscene and transgressive. It’s one thing to cheat, it’s quite another to do it so flagrantly — to amp up the humiliation and the violation to that degree. IMO, it’s part of the high. Not just the deceit, but the back stabbing — the silent, contemptuous “fuck you.” I Know Something You Don’t Know… and that secret delights me. Because when I think of that secret it degrades you — makes you a chump and me the Powerful Violator of Your World.

It’s abusive. Now, he told you his secret, but if you ask me, it’s so he can witness your humiliation and begin the abuse cycle all over. I did a bad thing. Drama. Hoovering. Honeymoon. I did a bad thing. Drama. Hoovering. Honeymoon.

I’m guessing that cycle is really familiar to you, as you’ve already gone through his alcoholism and financial instability.

I don’t blame you one bit for wanting to step off that crazy train. Monday cannot come soon enough, if you ask me. And good for you for realizing this now — I’m sure other people will come on here to tell you their sunk costs were greater. They waited for the “good person” to appear in their marriages and all it got them was lost years and screwed up children and decimated finances. And more D-Days.

He wants to prove he can be a good man? Let him do that on his own time. Let him demonstrate his remorse with a fair divorce settlement. Let his sobriety be self-powered and not dependent on you holding his hand through this. Let him take the 7 years to get his credit rating up to snuff. Let him prove himself to be a loving and involved father who shows up and pays his support. Let him do the long, hard investing in himself while you get on with your life.

When you get those data points? Call me. Then maybe I might change my advice. But until you’ve got that kind of evidence in front of you? Oh hey, he’s still a guy who fucked some Facebook floozy in your bed. Yeah, I still want him dumped. You just get on with that good life on your own without his chaos and insanity. You go model good things to your daughter. That we don’t stand for people who treat us like shit.

And get yourself some therapy. It’s probably no coincidence that the family who thinks this kind of crazy is acceptable for their daughter is the same crazy family who taught you to spackle and not protect yourself from harm. Where is the protective mama bear that comes out to rip the man to shreds who did this to her little girl? I’m sorry you didn’t get her. But you be that protective mama bear to your little girl, so she doesn’t grow up to think guys like this are “good” people.

This shit stops with you. Good luck on Monday.


Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Go, Kristen, GO!!! The only thing I regret about divorcing my lying, cheating ex is that I didn’t do it more quickly.

  • The decision is the decision and it doesn’t matter when it happens. I made the decision to file quite quickly and then allowed my ex-wife to “prove” herself after. She “proved” that I made the right decision to file as it was still my fault she was giving handy’s to strangers. YOU need to feel comfortable with your decision and no one else’s opinion matters.

    Good luck on your journey to meh! I’m not there, but much closer than I was yesterday.

  • Kristen,

    This is solid advice from CL. Your marriage died in your bedroom when your husband screwed his fb “friend.” He needs to understand that even if you had decided to give him the gift of reconciliation. It’s a resurrection….a marriage from death. If family has a problem with you devorcing, you can remind them it is a natural consequence of his blowing up the bedrock of the marriage–ie cheating and lying. Character takes time to demonstrate. He has demonstrated extemely poor and unsafe character to you. Listen to CL.

  • Kristen-kudos and power to you for filing and getting the attorney meetings done now. That takes a lot of strength. Keep that up, it’s going to be your ally and what you’re leaning on through this. CL is dead on. This is YOUR marriage, not your family’s. They’re still stuck in the fog themselves, not wanting to believe that this “good” son-in-law of theirs could actually do this. Next time they play that card on you, tell your dad to go find a hooker and your mom to just “get over it and give him a second chance.” Watch the frozen stares that then face you. The soon-to-be-ex husband can prove his worth on his own time, as CL says. Model good things for your daughter, as CL says. Heaven knows her dad didn’t.

    • fiestypants July 11, 2014 at 11:05 am

      Next time they play that card on you, tell your dad to go find a hooker and your mom to just “get over it and give him a second chance.” Watch the frozen stares that then face you.


      lmao Exactly!

    • Lol!!!! You are right. I didn’t think about the fact that they don’t want to believe it. If I stayed with him I know I could never respect myself.

      • Kristen, if you knew then, straight away, you are making the right decision, for sure, no question, done deal, turkey talked (you get the picture.) As you say, if I can paraphrase and steal a different saying, at the very least, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. You know, your family hasn’t lived your reality, and no doubt you spackled like crap, so they don’t know. Walk away, good luck Monday!

      • Kristen,
        One of the difficult parts for me in getting my FOO onside about the divorce was that I simply did not want to divulge all the gory details to them. If your FOO is like mine, they will take that information, tell everyone they know (eventually…nothing like juicy tidbits) and sling it back at you just when you’ve succeeded in cremating the memories.

        I eventually had to cut off contact with my sister who peculiarly took to crowing about my ‘suffering’ to make herself feel better (I think). So, remember to protect your privacy and if necessary, share your horror stories with strangers (this site and other anonymous venues) but not with acquaintances. When idiot people now ask me why I’m divorced…dorks…I state through them and say ‘what do you imagine’. They shut up quick.

  • Kristen – you are taking control and doing what is right for you and your daughter in the here and now. You have ample reason to file for divorce based on his addiction alone – the financial and emotional cost of that to you and your daughter has obviously been high (bankruptcy/foreclosure + all the emotional shit that goes along with being married to an alcoholic). You are right in that his cheating – so flagrantly and “in your face” – is the true icing on the crap cake! Your marriage and divorce are YOURS and yours alone to deal with. Your family is adding to the abuse you have endured by not supporting you. I encourage you to find friends that do…a good therapist…and to just tune out the clatter of those who have no idea how awful it is to be betrayed and focus on your precious daughter and rebuilding YOUR life. All that being said, if your husband (soon to be ex), down the road, has demonstrated TRUE and lasting recovery (including serious attendance at AA, therapy, rehab, etc), had done all the work needed to reconcile (therapy, therapy, and more therapy and not pressuring you in ANY way to reconcile but just focusing on cleaning up his side of the street), has worked hard to rebuild his finances and prove that he can be an equal partner in a healthy marriage, if you want to give him another chance…so be it. Or don’t. It will always be your choice. But for NOW, you know what you need to do. Don’t second guess yourself. You are obviously a strong woman who is just now realizing how amazingly strong she really is! Go with that and don’t look back!

  • I agree with CL. I shouldn’t have agreed to try to reconcile. It drove me nearly crazy for 3 months.

    All he did for those three months is try to slippery slope us back to the way things were before d-day. He didn’t make any changes, didn’t want to talk about it, wanted me to just ‘move on,’ went to therapy once a week to make it look like he was doing something, lied to and manipulated his therapist, and finally told me that he ‘couldn’t keep going ’round in circles’ talking about paying hookers for blowjobs the whole time we were together. Well, he wasn’t talking about it and I needed and required us to talk about it and so the going ’round in circles was due to his lack of communication. Man-child, petulant man-child.

    Save yourself the months of being manipulated. Cut your losses and move on. CL is correct. If he wants to be a better human, let him do it on his own time.

    Going through a divorce and managing co-parenting will tell you everything you need to know about his commitment to you, your relationship and your child. My guess is he will just act like a petulant man-child and blame you for ‘doing this to him’ instead of taking any responsibility.

    Oh, and burn the bed….blech

    • This advice resonates with my experience.

      Like samiam, I just kept hanging on to the promise of what I thought my marriage was supposed to be. All my energy went into pick-me dancing and self-help rehabbing in order to make the marriage work. Meanwhile, the jesus-cheater was (resentfully!) sucking up my energy and that of his fellow-jesus-cheater OW. Result? after six months of increasing desperation on my part, when the end finally came, I was gutted, emotionally exhausted, and both physically and mentally fragile.

      What I wish I had done? Asked him to move out and find temporary accommodations on the day he informed me ILYBINILWY and that he thought the marriage was over. I wish I had told him then that we each needed to move to independence and determining our own new paths, and honored that project. I wish I had lined up a lawyer and my own therapist right away (instead of the MC he gaslit and lied to for the next 2 months). Then I wish I had filed on him the day he told me about the sex-workers.

      Instead, I wasted all my energy on a hot-pockets cheater, who saw me as a minor annoyance at most, an impediment to his (secret) new life with schmoopie-OW.

      CL is wholly right: you have all the information you need to know about who this guy is, and what it tells you is that he’s not willing to be accountable for himself, and even seems to want to rub your face maliciously in the shame of demeaning you. As all recovery folks will tell you: you can’t reason with a drinking alcoholic. If his ‘excuse’ for his ‘lapse in judgment’ in f*cking facebook-tart in your own bed was that he was drunk, then only extended sobriety — years of sobriety — should give you any hope of feeling that he can be relied on for accountability. And without accountability, there’s no marriage of equal partners, which to my mind is the bare minimum for a viable marriage. Let him clean himself up on his own time. Your concern now is your daughter and you.

      Most of all, your daughter deserves more than this. I subscribe to thinking that is quoted often on this blog: it only takes one sane parent for a child to grow up with appropriate expectations of how to be treated, and where boundaries should lie. But the point is that it takes at least that one parent.

      It looks like *you* have to be that one parent, or your daughter will grow up with two parents who live in crazy town.

      It would be wonderful if your daughter’s father were to get sober and stay on track for a productive, grown-up life. It would be wonderful if your cheating spouse took this as a sudden-death wake-up call and devoted himself to getting straight and being a man that you can respect and trust and wish to be with again. But that’s a long, long project, and for now, he’s severed the ties of the marriage. You’re just left to manage the legalities.

      Hold the fort; it’s calmer and clearer on the other side.

      • Thank you! It was hard but he did leave the next day. I have not lived with him since I found out. I want to set a good example for my daughter. I am still in a bit of shock. That is,not going to keep me from filing on Monday!

        • As other folks have noted here — you are mighty! I admire your clarity. I could have saved so much wasted grief if I had followed your path.

          I think the shock is a sign of your mental health — who but a sociopath would not register the massive disruption that your cheater’s decision caused? It’s not possible to account for all the variables and change that this juncture holds. It’s disorienting at best — and there is a lot of grief and loss to process, even as you move to build a healthy life going forward.

          But, as you note, shock should not deter you from acting in your and your daughter’s best interests, and choosing a way forward that offers you dignity and security.

        • When a person shows you who they are, believe them.

          A mistake is forgetting the milk when you go shopping, not banging an ex in your marital bed.

          The fucking nerve of these people. You divorce his sorry ass. Don’t even think twice about it. There are a lot of great men out there…. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Work on you. Stay strong.

          • Andstillirise, thank you for your comment,
            I think the shock is a sign of your mental health — who but a sociopath would not register the massive disruption that your cheater’s decision caused?

            I grew up with too strong whacked out women in my life, my mother and my grandmother. My grandmother’s (Narc) belief was, to show emotion was a sign of weakness, as a child she would reprimand me when upset stating ‘ if I pee’d more I would cry less’. My mother who swung between Narc and classic passive aggressive would push everyones buttons till they lost it and then stand and defend here actions by telling you ‘you are not right in the head look at the way you are behaving?. GM has since passed away and M and I have been NC for the past 10 years.
            So after D’day I struggled with how I was meant to feel. The STBX’s Management team (christian church eldership) had no idea how to support the emotional roller coaster I was on and felt compelled to have me own the emotion I was displaying as an equal sin to that of my STBX’s cheating behavior. I had to separate myself from these people (which was not easy). It was not until I began to tell people outside the MT that I began to get that look from people of ‘oh shit are you ok?, that I myself began to register the enormity of what he had done. It was not until almost 4 months on that one of the MT said to me how big a deal the issue was, yes a very big deal, It was just a pity no one realized that in the beginning. I have since moved on but even now My reaction to his cheating is considered a greater sin than the cheating itself.

            • Well, clearly the people who think that the normal emotional response to abuse is a bigger sin than the abuse itself are more than a few bricks shy of a load. So if he beat you physically, going to the hospital for treatment and feeling physical pain would be a sin. I deeply believe in a Higher Power but jagoffs like these make me despise organized religion.

            • SammieD, I really relate to what you said about not really recognizing the enormity of it until you started talking to people *outside* your church. It was the same for me, as the friends and family and congregation members are all on some level trying to maintain the status quo, rather than see the truth. I will never, ever be able to thank my family doctor enough for how she validated me and my experience on a day when I went in to renew a prescription and wound up talking in her office for almost an hour. I told her everything that was going on. She knew my X before I did, and when I saw the shock and horror on her face, that’s when I realized how bad it actually was. She told me that day was that he was “a very sick man” and I should get out asap. I walked out of there feeling like the biggest weight had been lifted off my shoulders. And it really had been. There are few burdens that are harder to carry around than invisible abuse.

              • She was absolutely right in saying “he was a very sick man”. My therapist said the same to me. After the shock wore off and reality started to seep in I was traumatized by realizing how deep the mental sickness was that I was involved with and it scared me to the point of making me shake like a leaf. I realized I was completely and totally unprotected both mentally and physically the entire time I was with sicko, I was just a target sitting there waiting to be shot at with no bullet proof vest and I had no ammunition to fight back with, I was completely naked. It hit me after I left and that’s what had me so scared, I didn’t know at the time I watched him unravel what was really going on. Took me 3-6 months to recover from the PTSD.
                Now I don’t care at all about him, he is a non-entity in my life thankfully. I am safe and sound and both physically and mentally away from that abuse and life is so much better being free of that insanely crazy shit!

                The land of Meh is paradise!

          • “A mistake is forgetting the milk when you go shopping, not banging an ex in your marital bed.”

            A to the MEN on that.

      • “Instead, I wasted all my energy on a hot-pockets cheater, who saw me as a minor annoyance at most, an impediment to his (secret) new life with schmoopie-OW. ”
        Spot on, andstillirise! I’m slowly seeing that I AM a minor annoyance at most. And that is putting it mildly, I think. It’s more like I am a pain in his ass. I’m a horrible person because I haven’t gone away quietly, letting him ride off into the sunset with no fight. And by fight I mean fighting for what I deserve. Financially for one thing. He thought he could offer me so much money a month, we could do this divorce without attorneys, and off he rolls. Best thing I ever did? Take my Dad’s advice and hire an attorney. Once I did that, STBX sharpened his knives and came after me. Now I’m in court just for temporary child support. This is the part of him I’m trying to focus on, and we all need to. I have a tendency to only remember the good things about our 26 years together. I remind myself every day that he chose to throw it all away, not me. I did not deserve this, and neither did our children. It’s an ongoing, daily struggle to outweigh the good with the bad. But I realize that yes..I am a minor annoyance at best to him. Right now I’m more like that annoying zit on his ass that just won’t go away. I’m not going to just roll over and die..and he doesn’t like that.

        • That’s been just one more thing about my own break up that I just can’t wrap my head around. How, when he decided he was done with me he just flipped a switch and was done. And now he gets annoyed that I “bother” him at all. In his mind it would have been perfect if I’d simply walked into the sunset when he decided he had enough of me. As it is, there was a time he accused me of stalking and I had to laugh out loud. I said, “I don’t go to your house, I never spy on you, I don’t even call you before you say it’s okay to via text. I primarily send you emails. What part of that is stalking, exactly?” For him to behave as though I’m a fly on his nose is just one more slap in my face.

          • ML, I got that ‘stalking’ comment as well (in addition to being called ‘creepy’). Why, you ask? Because I happened to notice and then confronted him about the fact that he was jerking off to porn/Craigslist ‘friends’ in our bedroom when he thought I was asleep. And hey, let’s not even mention his lengthy middle-of -the-night trips to the bathroom with his Ipad in hand. After months and months of sexual rejection, I can’t explain or describe how completely devastating and humiliating this was. He did this numerous times and first denied it, then called me a stalker for having the effrontery to notice what was happening 6 feet away from me in my own bedroom. Thinking about this now, all I can do is really shake my head and laugh. Dude, are you fucking kidding me.

            The nerve of these people is just unbelievable. Deny, gaslight, blameshift, lather, rinse and repeat.

  • “Where is the protective mama bear that comes out to rip the man to shreds who did this to her little girl? I’m sorry you didn’t get her. But you be that protective mama bear to your little girl, so she doesn’t grow up to think guys like this are “good” people.”
    YES. Good luck, Kristen, you are 100% on the right track.

    • Re the mama bear: If you don’t have one (or even if you do), it is incredibly empowering to be your own. I forget where I cam across this, but I saw somewhere that if you are having trouble taking action in a tough situation, you should get a cute picture of yourself that you like from when you were very little, maybe a toddler. Keep it with you. When you’re feeling like you can’t follow through with what you know you need to do, take out the picture. Look at the little girl you were. And think: I am the only one who can protect this little girl. And I have the power to do it, and I WILL do it.

      Summon up your nurturing mother instincts to protect yourself.

      • That’s a damn good idea. I’ve now made a picture of myself as a small boy my computer wallpaper. thanks, DG!

        • agreed, great suggestion! My therapist had suggested writing a letter to myself, and thinking of what I would tell my son in my place, but the imagery of a picture of myself that small would be powerful – will do, thanks DG!

          • Very practical guidance! I am interested in implementing all these tools.

            What a source for life-skills this site is!

            Thank you, friends.

  • Kristen,
    You are fucking awesome. I mean it. You are absolutely mighty. In your gut you know this is a deal breaker for YOU so forget what anybody else says. I don’t think you’re being rash at all.

    It amazes me the amount of people who will push you to forgive a betrayal like this. It’s almost as if someone can fire a gun at you, oh but NOW I stopped firing and I’m sorry so you’re the dick if you don’t forgive it. Bullshit. You know you’re doing the right thing here. You can’t trust him. You will never be able to trust him after something like this. Tell your family if they think he’s so great, they can fucking marry him.

    • I agree! I was amazed that exFIL texted me shortly after dday that the bible speaks of forgiveness. Are you fucking kidding me???? It also speaks about thou that not commit adultery or lie, or covet thy neighbors wife. I cannot stand people who throw the bible at you for wanting to walk away from that behavior. I came to find out that yep, good ol’ exFIL was a cheater himself. He even told me how ex had to go and repent and all that other bullshit. Of course ex has done nothing. And I also believe exFIL still cheats to this day. exMIL claims all the woman just love him. Can you say delusional??? I can happily be the bitch that did not forgive him and walked away from 16 years. I sleep well at night.
      You know what you will and will not tolerate. Some things are really dealbreakers.

      • I think this behavior tends to run in families. My X’s family is a pack of cheating hyenas . . . each and every one of them.

        • wow rumble kitty! lmao “a pack of cheating hyenas”…… we musta had the same in laws. my father in law cheated on his first wife. My mother in law was the sidepiece and had 4 kids w/ my father in law with the oldest being my stbxhall while he was married to his 1st wife !!! then when my father in laws first wife died,bmy mother in law moved in!!! Nobody said a word and everybody acted like it was “normal”. No wonder my stbxh was such a freaking headcase!!

          • Headcase is right! I think if the family is cool with a member of their tribe cheating, that tells you a lot right there. That’s the case with my ex-in laws. They view cheating as a natural progression to the next relationship. And of course they all cheat so, why wouldn’t they?

            For 11 years, these people gave me the creeps. I’m so glad I don’t have to make nice anymore.

      • That’s up to God to forgive the cheaters, and anyone else who has bad behavior and who is lacking character and is dangerous. I do not have to forgive those people, and I don’t. I forgive myself for making the mistake of mating with a jackass.

        • As a woman with a Catholic upbringing, it took me a very long time to accept that I don’t have to forgive abhorrent behavior, especially if the cheating scumbag doesn’t show any remorse. Forgiveness implies understanding. I’ll never understand hurting someone else for personal gain.

          Does this mean I can’t move on without forgiving someone? No. In fact, I’m able to move forward knowing what I will and will never tolerate.

          • In a day and age where naive people feel entitled–nay, compelled–to wag their fingers at us, telling us we must “forgive” in order to move on, isn’t it SO refreshing to have found a community, led by Tracy, who throw that yoke off?

            I have to forgive to move on? NO. No, I do not. And I do NOT forgive, and I will not forgive, and I feel really great about it. I don’t buy into mindless cliché. I recommend against forgiving. It doesn’t mean I’m burdened, it means I am firm about right vs. wrong, and I do not accept wrong. I am principled, and live by strong values, which means I generally have clarity and confidence. I don’t forgive wrong–I ask for better next time. Inasmuch as these zombies won’t and can’t give better? Then it’s simple–forgiveness is not due.

            Good for you!

            • Miss Sunshine, I’m cutting and pasting (and giving you the footnote) your fabulous response. Thank you for validating my feelings about forgiveness. Such an overrated word.

              • OMG! This is exactly how I feel. Everyone around me says one must forgive in order not to carry a burden around and feel hate. I thought I was the only one to disagree. Then on Court TV one day, an attorney stated “Forgiveness is overrated in this country”. Now to read this, it really validates how I feel. Thank you so much.

  • Kristen – I wish I had your clear insight the first time I was cheated on by my alcoholic now-ex-husband. Choosing to continue to live on his crazy chaotic carousel had a profound negative impact on my physical and mental health and my finances. And it took so much of my precious time before I stepped off the ride. Your loved ones may not understand your decision, but I do, and for what it is worth, I am cheering you on.

  • Oh yea, and if he’s pulling “I was feeling like a failure b/c of the brankruptcy, clouded judgement from being drunk” that’s still blame-shifting. He’s not actually owning anything. Red flag. You’re on the right course leaving him.

    • Exactly fiestypants!

      How did Kristen feel about the bankruptcy and being married to an alcoholic who allowed it to happen? Did she feel like a failure being married to one? However she was feeling, did she fuck someone in their marital bed to make herself feel better? No? Because she has more character and integrity than the POS to whom she was married.


      As CL says constantly, you and your husband/STBX don’t share the same values. You value honesty, caring and nurturing relationships, love and support. Him? He values alcohol, avoiding responsibility and fucking skanks in your bed. If he has a values and character transplant, perhaps he can look you up again then – or not.

      As far as your family is concerned, Jesus H. Christ on a Cupcake! Let’s do a CL and substitute a couple of scenarios to provide to your “loved ones” and just to see if they think you are being rash. Your husband came home and was feeling bad and in order to make himself feel better, he hit you in the head with a 2 X 4. Would your family feel you should understand? Your husband comes home following an afternoon/evening of drinking and decides he feels poorly because he doesn’t like what you prepared for dinner so he decides to stab you a few times to make himself feel better. Would your family see him as a “good guy” who screwed up that one time? How about if he shot at you, but it was only a flesh wound. Give him another chance?

      Kristen, I WISH I had your courage and fortitude the first time my STBX cheated on me. I would never have married him and, thus, I would have perhaps actually found someone with whom I could have had an authentic and love-filled relationship, instead of the wasted years with someone who never cared about me the way I deserved. No, you are not being rash – you are being wise.

      Good luck to you, dear.

      • this would make me laugh except; my ex’s mother tried to justify his pulling a gun on me because he convinced her it was not loaded. Apparently not shaving one’s legs when one’s husband refuses to have sex with you, oh and not being cool with one’s husband having an affair, asking for a divorce? This is justification for pointing a gun at her, as long as the gun isn’t loaded… My ex didn’t fall far from the family tree. Oh, BTW, the gun was loaded, it took me a long time to get him to empty it.

        • Dat,

          Every time you mention these incidents with your ex, I just want to get some ether and some rope, find him, knock him out with the ether, truss him up and drop him down a well.

          And that’s actually too good for him.

  • Fucking another person in your marital bed is so aggressively and deliberately hostile and intentional. It’s the action of a spineless coward who cannot and will not live as a full-grown capable adult. It is two giant middle fingers flipped up at you, but behind your back.

    Nowhere did you indicate that this male you are married to is functioning as a strong man. He’s a burden, and he knows it, and he’s resentful of you for being an adult. Cowards like this know nothing but to tear their partners down.

    Thank goodness you haven’t lost your spirit–you still value yourself enough to get on with this and step away from the madness.

    Your family wants peace and whatever is easy for them. They don’t want to see you struggle, even if it’s for the better in the intermediate-term and long-term. Your struggle might inconvenience them. Find support from people who will encourage you to do the RIGHT thing. You’ll be stronger for it. Your daughter will be stronger for it.

    Tracy’s advice is, as always, 100% spot-on. Don’t waste your dignity and your life putting up with more bullshit from this guy. Move on. There’s something better out there for you.

    Also, I think if most of us are honest (some realize this immediately), the cheating for all of us was just the final straw. It certainly was for me. It was my get-out-of-jail free card. I’d hoped he’d change and that we would be good, because I valued our family and our kids and the good times we did have, and there were things I did like about him, and I loved him, but he was not good to me nor for me. I could not believe that HE cheated on ME. But he did, and then I finally had legitimate grounds for ending the marriage. And while this has been very painful, I don’t regret my “hasty” decision to file for divorce. I truly am so much better off without the man he ACTUALLY is. The cheating shook off all the spackle. I have no faith that he could ever be the man I needed and wanted (I now know it’s ok for ME to entertain WANTS.)

    Eh. You’ll get there. I admire your moxy.

    • Wow, Miss Sunshine, your second to last paragraph fits me to a T. The decision to go forward without my husband in my life is a difficult one, but the right one.

    • And I admire your “preachin'”, Miss Sunshine!

      If ever Tracy needs another stand-in so she can get a well-earned break, she should call on you!

      Beautifully written! Your Sunshine shines bright!

      (My cheaterpants befouled our marital bed, as well! Double BLECH!!!!)

      Forge on, Miss Sunshine, ForgeOn!

      • Hate the situation and all it stands for, but gotta love that word, ‘befouled.’ haha 🙂 I love this Chump Nation and the funny, incisive, empowering language we have. Thanks for this, Forge!

          • NO – no vacation until she hits 2mm in sales; besides, she’s got an interview in the morning that we all want to hear about. But, I agree, there are some great smart funny folks that post here that would be great fill-ins. (not me!!!) And, we could give her (maybe) a week off. But, poor guy last time got gutted a little and he was doing a great job. It’s kind of like volunteering for something and everybody is going to judge your answers and if they’re not like CL’s, boy, you’ll be in trouble. Good luck to those volunteers! carry on~

    • “Fucking another person in your marital bed is so aggressively and deliberately hostile and intentional.”

      And damn it really, really is. There’s a million other places they could do this, but choosing the bed you share with your spouse is fucking repellent.

      • I have to wonder about a fuckbuddy who is okay with screwing someone in the wife’s bed. She has to be beyond skanky.

        • In my case, his ow seemed to enjoy the rush and naughtiness of doing something SO wrong, just like x did. I ended up talking with her quite a bit after I discovered their affair. A few things she said really made me see that she was getting just as much of an ego rush out of being his secret “chosen” one as he was in keeping it from me. And how it played out, now I know that the ego rush of secrecy was spot on – she ended up dumping him and getting a new boyfriend shortly after I kicked my x to live away from me. She said the passion had died. I interpret that as her saying that once the secrecy was blown, they weren’t getting that rush of being bad. If that makes sense.

          • UnderConstruction, you said that you “ended up talking with her quite a bit” after D-day. If I may ask, how did that come about?

            • We’re all in the same industry in the same city. I don’t like tension at work. Plus I know some people don’t want to find out what happened, but I’m the kind of person who does. She and I talking actually ended up helping me fill in the gaps in the 1.5 years that he was in a relationship with both of us. The difference was, she knew about me. I didn’t know at all about her. So for my own sanity, I wanted those answers.
              I do know from reading around here that I see things kind of differently than some here, and that’s ok with me. I’m an artist and there is kind of a more open attitude with relationships with entertainers, artist, musicians, etc. I didn’t know I was IN a relationship with someone who would cheat. Or lie. That’s why I kicked him out of our house after I found out what was going on and confronted him.
              But she and I still ended up needing to be civil in case we had to work together. I’m sure it’s not the most popular opinion or set of needs here! But it’s what I needed and I wouldn’t change getting to know her personality a little and comparing notes. My position at our jobs is higher than hers, lol, so I always had the upper hand anyway. And keeping my cool when talking with her, and him for that matter, helped me to feel more in control of my situation.
              I don’t mind questions at all. I learn so much from details people give about their experiences here and am seeing my strengths and my mistakes daily as I read. I’m very grateful to have found this place. I’m happy to share my experiences too if they can help someone.

              • Just want to note that I’m in no way saying that everyone in the A&E industry have open attitudes about relationships. I actually do not! But, there are many who do. Something I’ve not noticed as much in other fields.

              • Only problem with asking me a question is that I’m super fucking wordy! I try hard to be concise, but… sigh

              • I think it’s interesting that others have different perspectives on many aspects of experiencing betrayal and infidelity. I would love to talk to the OW but for many reasons, that’s not a great idea for me right now and there is no actual need for that, so I often wonder if she knew about me before I found out about their affair (since I wasn’t married to the Jackass.)

              • I get what you mean, UC. And hey, I love your long answer (not to mention your user name). One of my writing teachers years ago described my style as “discursive,” and I was like, “Yeah? So?” haha 🙂 One of the greatest things about this site is that people really lay it down. It’s the kind of openness I’ve always been intuitively drawn to, and for people in our situation, it really helps to see experience mirrored. Keep posting–it all helps!

              • Me too, FMT! I’d just found this place in June (last month) while in a moment of total misery during my 9th year of fake rec with X.
                Then, like magic, within 4 weeks of starting to read here, I discovered that he’s been sleeping with a friend of mine for the past few months while we’re living in different cities for work.

                Instead of falling apart like I did after his first dday, the news hit like a sign of freedom. I feel genuinely FREE. No missing him, no pining for us, no spackling. I have our good memories and have talked with him since, and without any feelings of despair in my heart.

                All of you here are like a freaking miracle, I swear! I give all credit for my positive reaction to dday2 to CL and all of you. Your stories, inspiration and advice here saved me this time. I owe the whole CL community my life, I’m finally free to move on and live mine again. 🙂
                A big fat heartfelt thanks, guys. Wouldn’t have made it without you.

    • “Fucking another person in your marital bed is so aggressively and deliberately hostile and intentional. It’s the action of a spineless coward who cannot and will not live as a full-grown capable adult. It is two giant middle fingers flipped up at you, but behind your back.”

      Miss Sunshine, you are an Oracle and a Truth Teller. The OW in my situation could barely wait for me to move out so that she could come and stay in my home and sleep in my bed (I may have been gone barely 2 months when she stayed in my former home – I had not been gone a week when she first came to town) – while my son was still living there. My son had expressed his desire that The Crown Prince Of Flaming Turds not have his skank stay at the house, but was apparently ignored. He was moving out in a couple of months, but she and the Flaming Turd apparently could not give him that much regard and respect. She and my husband kept inviting him to eat with them or go out with them. I was told he refused each time.

      I used to constantly say, “Who the Fuck Does This Shit?!” I now have just accepted that when you lack morals, integrity and character, the sky is the limit on the foul behavior in which you will indulge.

    • ‘ I think if most of us are honest (some realize this immediately), the cheating for all of us was just the final straw. ‘

      – yup, sadly my IC spotted it waaaaaay before I accepted this. ‘Patsy, has it ever occurred to you, that his cheating is the finally unacceptably hurtful part of A PATTERN?’

      • My Mom said to me- now that he’s done this, it’s your chance to get away.
        Just like way too many of us here, he ALSO lied, used me, got drunk and smoked Pot ALL THE TIME, went out and left me lonely, stopped working three years ago, let the house go into foreclosure, and then I had to pay for us to declare bankruptcy! Not exactly my dream life!

  • Of course you can slow down the divorce if you want to but you seem to feel, as I do, that him putting his dick in another woman in your bed is a deal breaker. My husband isn’t all bad, and I still have some feelings for him, BUT I KNOW ME. I would never be able to forget what he did. EVER. My only choice is to move on. Keep trusting your gut. I think you’re on the right track.

  • Kristen,
    You just got the pissed-off-mama-bear kick-ass advice from CL that you should have gotten from your family! Get that divorce and carry on with your lovely daughter. Once you set those wheels in motion, you will be paving the way for a much happier and calmer life. God speed!

  • Excellent advice from Chump Lady! I went through it and I hear women all the time saying he is so sorry and wants another chance and they don’t know what to do. It is so simple really, carry on with your life. IF and that is a big IF he truly is remorseful and truly has changed he will prove it over time, he will understand what he did is horrific and understand that he has to prove himself and it is unrealistic to expect instant forgiveness. Wanting to start over with a “clean slate” translates into, “you will never be allowed to bring up his infidelity again, his “clean slate” means you are not allowed to be suspicious or deal with the anger, and he has no intention of paying the consequences of his actions.”
    Any truly remorseful person would give you the time to heal and be willing to prove himself over time. People get remarried, not saying that is what I think you should do but nothing is engraved in stone. Like Chump Lady said,
    “He wants to prove he can be a good man? Let him do that on his own time. Let him demonstrate his remorse with a fair divorce settlement. Let his sobriety be self-powered and not dependent on you holding his hand through this. Let him take the 7 years to get his credit rating up to snuff. Let him prove himself to be a loving and involved father who shows up and pays his support. Let him do the long, hard investing in himself while you get on with your life.”
    In my experience a cheater is always a cheater, I wish I would have walked the first time I caught my ex cheating, I stayed 9 1/2 years too long in a 10 year relationship. Cut your losses! and let him prove what kind of man he is.

  • Kristen, you are making the right decision. The trust is gone, never to return. You can’t spackle enough to restore your trust in him again. Believe me, I tried and it doesn’t work. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

  • I went to a wedding a month ago of a young woman I love dearly and a young man who has already cheated on her. I told him, face to face, at the wedding, that if he hurt her, I would not forgive or forget. And she’s not my daughter.

    Your family should be outraged. They should be jumping for joy that you are getting away from someone whose drinking and financial management cost you and your family a home and who disrespected you so blatantly by having sex with a skank in your bed. That they don’t see this is a sign that you should listen to them about NOTHING. No one who loves you as a daughter should be loved–wholly and unconditionally– would urge you to stay. My own narcissist mother, when I left an alcoholic and moved out of our home (we didn’t have kids and he was willing to pay the mortgage) said, “You can’t keep a house” because I had done the same thing years ago when my first husband physically abused me.

    You should be very proud of yourself for filing and going forward. Do not waver. If he wants to reconcile, as CL says, 7 years of credit repair and sobriety is a first step to winning you over. Sad to say, there is almost no chance of a guy so hooked into feeding various emotional needs through addiction and abuse turning himself around and putting years into showing that he is capable of change.

  • And as for the family, they don’t have the perspective that you have. This is your decision and you need to trust yourself. You don’t need to defend yourself to anyone. You are not on trial here and you are not guilty of anything. Your divorce is not about punishing the cheater or making some kind of statement. It’s about you and saving yourself. As one who has a raging case of co-dependency, I know how it feels to fear the judgement and disapproval of other people, especially family members. It’s hard to shut that off, but you have to stay at the helm of this thing. People who love you will hear you when you tell them that you need to save yourself. There are others who love you, but they don’t understand your experience. Love them back, but leave them out of the conversation.
    You are MIGHTY!

  • Kristen, I too knew what my deal breakers were(drugs/infidelity). Both of these choices mean checking out of real life, because it is so “difficult” and requires real work. True intimacy never happens with an alcoholic, or with someone who makes the unilateral decision to fuck someone outside of your marriage. My ex’s decision to fuck his racquetball buddy had financial consequences as well. He walked on a mortgage he could easily afford and stole money from our kids’ college savings. (And that’s just a small part of the story.) His lousy behavior impacts me financially every day. I can not even get an entry level job (McD’s, Starbucks, etc)because my credit is ruined. Ask yourself one question, Does this person add joy to my life? You and your beautiful daughter deserve more.

    • This is such an important point. Credit history is not just about borrowing money. Poor credit history can exclude otherwise qualified candidates from jobs in certain industries. So cheaters who destroy the family finances or drive the family or couple deep in debt can have enormous impact on the lives of their spouses even after divorce.

  • Kirsten,
    I too experienced being cheated on in my marital bed. And later on, the skank wrote me an email describing it all in detail. She seemed to delight in telling me she stayed in my house with the unemployed scumbag, while I was on a business trip earning the money to feed him (and them it turned out). She also claimed to have used my personal stuff, ate my food, watched my TV, wore (and stole some of) my clothes. Have you checked for things that are missing? Sometimes these confessions are just the tip of an iceberg. I passed the email to the police with a list of missing items and they went to her place and came back with some of them. She admitted to selling some things on ebay. So, my message is that the cheater will often plea bargain to a lesser “crime” hoping to distract you from all that he actually did.

    Have no hesitation to hold your head up, and follow your instincts. You will have some lonely times and feelings of regret, but hey, the sooner you start your new life, the better.

    Your family are probably like mine…more concerned about the “embarrassment” of a divorce than about your well being.

    • Marci–While violating the marital bed is bad enough, that your XH’s OW decided to violate your privacy was worse. She is truly disturbed. And you know what? Your XH deserves to be with someone that fucked up!

      • That’s what I was thinking!! Wow! Could you imagine a better revenge than to let him have her? She’s disturbed, all right. Like most of the OW, she’s a soulless tramp–but very open about it. And that’s a whole different sort of crazy. She’s dangerous. Best to get the hell away from the two of them. But, oh, how I wish I could have a front row seat.

    • Marci,

      What an awful, awful thing for someone to do to you. I am so sorry. Just when I think a skank can’t get any skankier, someone tells a story that proves me wrong.

      (((HUGS))) to you.

      • Thanks for the sympathy, each of you. I would say that I have forced myself to change my attitude about red flags. It’s not easy. And still living in the same place is haunting.

        I think everyone whose marital bed is violated my suffer similar indignities. Why assume skank comes and goes and doesn’t help herself to things in the house. You see, my ex-cheater was fucking her for a year before he got bold enough to start inviting her to the house in my absence. And being unemployed, he knew I’d be far away at work all day. Skank worked shifts, so he had her in the daytime and me at night. She had gotten a big hate on for me before I even knew she existed. By the way I am financially independent and she was broke with credit card debt.

        In my original post, I did not add the following that she did, and bragged about it afterward…in writing. The police got this list and went after her aggressively:

        Sold my great grandfather’s coin collection – some of it dating back to the 1500’s.

        Took my victorias secret lingerie and sold it on pantybid dot com as “used”…imagine the creeps who would have purchased that!

        Created a fake profile for me on a ho website – using photos taken from my own computer (thankfully I never let anyone take naked ones of me) – I found out about this only because a male colleague sheepishly pointed it out to me.

        Used my name and employer on twitter — and posted all sorts of insults and accusations about ME being a hooker…to the point where I had to contact twitter to take it down, get the police involved to write letters to twitter in my support, and hire a lawyer to get a restraining order.

        Flooded google with insulting posts so that anyone who googled my name got pages of embarrassing stuff.

        All this because I had someone she wanted. Well, she has him now. They are still broke, in debt, under court order to pay me restitution for the coin collection, and she has (no kidding) put on at least 100 lbs in the past three years. She has taken to selling herself on adult work dot com, with the ex’s blessing. God,they are such twisted and desperate people. Why not just get a job and pay off one’s debts? And would anyone here believe he’s not already off looking for his next victim….

        • This woman makes Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction look like Mother Theresa. Good Lord.

          Marci, you are a hero. There’s just no other way to say it. I wish every possible happiness and blessing to come your way. You so richly deserve that after what you’ve been put through.

        • OMG!! I thought I had it bad!

          Water seeks its own level, trash begets trash and the best revenge is living well, while they no longer live the good life on someone else’s dime, poor poor twisted fuckers!

  • My XH also was found by an old girlfriend #2 on Facebook, hooked up and after I found out and took a stand decided he wanted a divorce. Of course, his excuse was alcoholism, but that if I hadn’t pushed him to get on Facebook (I didn’t) she would never have found him and he would never have strayed. Of course, that doesn’t explain away old girlfriend #1 that he continued to screw before and after we were married.

    I highly doubt that this is stray #1 for your husband, but having been cheated on tends to make one suspicious.

    Kudos to you for being strong and standing against those who have no clue what it is that you are living through.

    Because if there are two things that I know for sure from having lived this nightmare:

    No 1: There are worse things that living life alone
    No 2: The only thing worse than being in a bad relationship for a year is being in a bad relationship for one year and a day.

    Monday is a good day for sure!

    • I have come to love living alone. Right now I am listening to a finch singing on top of a birdhouse I put up this summer. The sun is shining. Life is wonderful. Let the cheaters and their human ego props have whatever they have.

  • Let’s review this dude’s relationship resume, shall we?

    Addicted to alcohol? Check!
    Financially irresponsible to the point of bankruptcy? Check!
    Fucks other women while supposedly committed to you? Check!
    Leads a double life, at least for weeks at a time? Check!
    Treats the family home like a pay-by-the-hour motel? Check!
    Claims his hurtful choices were dictated by How Tough Life Is? Check!
    Expects you to give him a “clean slate” about all this? Check!

    How exactly is this a close call? What possible rare and fabulous qualities could this guy possess that would outweigh the seven tons of medical waste he has where his character should be? Would any sane woman see this guy again if they discovered this stuff on their first date? Of course not.

    This guy is a disaster. You’ve heard of failed nation states? Places like South Sudan that look like a country on a map but have none of the structures, traditions, or enforced boundaries that make up a functioning country? Well, your husband is a failed human state. He’s got NONE of the structures (values), traditions (personal habits), or boundaries (uh, boundaries) that make up a functioning spouse. Unless you want to forever be the beleaguered U.N. peacekeeper to your husband’s Afghanistan, constantly on the verge of chaos and anarchy, you need to leave, like, yesterday.

    The family is a tougher call. They may mean well, but they’re being very unsupportive and, frankly, fucked up. It can play out that way where families have little experience with cheating. I’d give them a wide berth while you navigate your way through this shit storm and reconnect with them on the other side.

    In the meantime, consider your reality checked. I too vote for full steam ahead on the divorce and would suggest a move for you and your daughter of at least a few hundred miles while you’re at it.

  • Kristen,

    I agree with chumplady, where is your mamma bear mom? I think you grew up as I in a dysfunctional family, when the news of dday hit, wow my mom would not call him, not a peep. It was great to know that the person who had my back was me.

    Kristen, you learned how to be your own mammabear, in your life somehow you molded what you saw as what you wanted and yes, you trusted and chumped it as he was true through losing your home, bankruptcy (me too) but when the news of dday hit, you did something I did not do. You made a decisive decision and acted on it.

    So glad your family advise did not sway you. As the sick co dept nature could have easily let him doing her in your bed, keep you right there, where it is messed up but you know the way round the messed up spackling each and every day telling yourself it is something it isn’t.

    And, you are a great momma bear to your little 5 year old daughter, go Kristen!!!!!

    Don’t look back, there is nothing there you want, and you already know it.

  • Also, co dept activity can be mistaken for love in your head and look, you have to love your daughter, and yourself, more than a man who would do this. If you want to stay with him after a woman in your bed, oh that is not love coming from you, it is pain from somewhere.

    Please say you are not taking the bed and haven’t been sleeping in it, UGH so JUST UGH.

    Sickening, he can’t spackle this how you can forget this, maybe he wishes you could, too bad.

    The picture is so fitting.

  • Kristen,
    Here’s a story just as gross as having him screw a bitch in your bed . . .

    The day after I popped my now X at a hotel with his new hole, she invited him into her home, for her HUSBAND’s birthday party. Her poor husband had no idea they were fucking, he just thought they were friends. Can you imagine the nerve that takes? The complete lack of respect?! Yes you can! It’s the same lack of respect that enables assholes like this to fuck other people in your bed.

    People that behave this way are utterly and completely vile. I don’t know any other way to describe it. I might have had more respect for them had they the decency to keep their bullshit on the down low. But these two, they got off on the danger . . . the deceit. (I hope she enjoys it because she doesn’t know 1/8th of how deceitful my X really is.) But my point to all this is knowing what my X was really capable of turned my stomach. I didn’t know about this little tidbit of information until a little later, but it fueled me. I knew there’s no way I wanted to be within 2 feet of this motherfucker. And if you know in your gut that this is what you should do, do it and don’t regret a thing.

    I’ve been through bankruptcy and foreclosure in the past; it wasn’t fun stuff, but I didn’t respond by fucking an old boyfriend in my marital bed. Run Kristen Run! 🙂

    • I once attended a party with my cheating wife at her AP’s home. He was her boss, and of course the bulk of the party organizing work had been done by his wife, who my wife hugged and greeted warmly. That’s aside from the many other functions I attended where all four of us were present, and the work my wife persuaded me to do for her AP, and the course she urged me to take at their place of work, which put money in the AP’s pocket and was partly taught by him.

      • What gets me about this is that it’s totally unnecessary. What is it about these idiots that they get off on us meeting the person they are secretly fucking? There really is no fucking excuse for it . . . it’s just pathologically mean and skeezy.

        In my case, I would have went to that party too had I not busted them the night before. I didn’t know her name or all the details yet, but found out later. I was just floored that I could be married to someone as rotten as this.

        • I’ve seen it referred to as “Duper’s Delight”. That feeling of power, control, and “I have a secret” that every NPD/Sociopath craves. I know XW pulled that crap on me, too. She just couldn’t help herself – like she was soooooo proud of how smart, devious and special she was by pulling the wool over my eyes. I think it’s the same motivation behind the pointless lying and gaslighting. It’s fucking sadistic. But again – no empathy, no conscience. These people are rancid excuses for human beings.

          • Oh yes, ex paraded hash slinging fuck buddy in front of my family at my nephews Bday party (she worked at the restaurant). His dad, my FIL did the same thing to his now dead mother. Fucked a coworker but had coworker befriend his daughter while gaslighting his wife that coworker was sleeping with another married man in the office. I see this pattern and I fear greatly for my son, who is dear and innocent and full of empathy, but who is also complete impressed by his homewrecker cheater father. Oh well, at least I showed them what a boundary is, can’t say the same for deceased MIL.

          • I agree Scotty . . . I think people that get off on this kind of shit are vile. There is absolutely no reason for it, other than to be, well . . . evil. It gives them the opportunity to glance at each other across the room and smugly feel proud of themselves for getting over on everybody. Woo hoo fun!

            • exactly, Rumblekitty and scotty. there’s definitely a special charge that now-ex and ow felt as part of the sensation of ‘winning’ against (stupid, chumpy) me. OW (‘family friend’) sought to be my special confidante.

              There’s something seriously chilling in that.

              • That is really fucked up. When you think about the mindset of someone capable of that, it really is chilling. I guess it all comes back to triangulating; they need that to make it more exciting; more devious and naughty.

                In my case, I’m sure in about 3 or 4 years, she’ll find out how much fun it is to get the same treatment. Too bad I won’t witness it.

          • I accompanied xH and OW on a date night a few days before DDay. Three’s Company is one of his favorite shows but come on now! They even chose a restaurant called BJ’s – probably because that is what he was getting from her every morning before work in the office. Blech!
            This one night is the most disgusting part of the whole ordeal (so far). They had me tag along under the guise of helping OW get through her divorce, then I bought her dinner because – boo hoo – she left with nothing, and then they tried to get me drunk so they could play grab ass with each other thinking I wouldn’t notice. But duh – I did anyway. And to think they probably sat at work planning this whole night out with the intent of fucking with me. What a couple of losers.

            • Dupers Delight!
              Shit! There’s a term for what my asshat repeatedly did to me?
              1. EX GF- meeting up w/ an old high school friend who happens to live in the same town as the location of corporate training program.
              2. Co Worker- ANC, please contact Howorker and make sure she knows where we are meeting for lunch….
              3. LT OW- Look at these cool pictures of my recent travels! (OW is cleverly placed in the background)
              4. LT OW- Here’s some cool stuff from my recent trip to XYZ! (OW gifted items to asshat that he brought home and had us use. Yuck)

        • Abusive, mean, cruel, sadistic. People that do this are indeed evil. What keeps me sane and not stuck, you do reap what you sow. I’ve left vengeance up to my creator or else I’d be consumed with anger and pain.
          The one OW whom was introduced to me, has lived a single miserable life. She never married her kids’ dad and even cheaters chose not to wed her. Illicit sex is only fun for a short while as loose coochies have an expiration date. Living an authentic life is good for the soul and body. Cheating with random partners ages and defiles all that willingly participate. You lose a bit of your soul until there is nothing left…the conscious becomes seared and you are left with as the elders say a reprobate mind. Even dogs don’t poop in their own beds.
          These are special people indeed.

    • I still have the pictures from my child’s 8th birthday party, which OW attended as a close family friend (!) and co-parishioner, that show OW wearing one of my ex-husband’s shirts because he was so concerned about her feeling chilly on a slightly brisk day. None of the other guests got this personal wardrobe treatment… So sick. Both sleazy beyond measure.

        • yep. a lot of intimate lying, that affair. sprinkled with two jesus-cheaters.

          and, when I think back to that crazy last year of marriage, now the only person I feel active, live anger with is ME.

          I had all the info I needed to stop the madness, but I kept spackling manically. To be sure, I did better, eventually, when I finally knew better (bless, Maya Angelou), but I really let myself down.

    • Yeah–It’s pretty obvious that these cheaters who hook up at family events or who invite their APs over to the house to socialize with the people they are betraying are indeed “utterly and completely vile,” true abusers. My stomach turned when his MOW’s sister posted on Jackass’s FB about coming to their parents’ house for Thanksgiving–where presumably His MOW’s husband and children and the other sibs and grandchildren would be celebrating the holiday. He says, “That’s the plan.” This a week after D-Day, with no way to be sure I wasn’t going to tell MOW’s husband. This after starting the affair in the immediate wake of her bro’s death, having their “instant attraction” going on at the wake in full view of her family and his, supposedly. Trash. They are just trash.

  • Kristen, I can’t even begin to adequately convey my regret at not divorcing my husband as soon as I found out about him. I tried to reconcile for 5 years when I finally filed for divorce. I kept waiting for my husband to show me that he really did love me, was truly sorry for his affair, and was going to be the man I needed him to be. That never happened. I got more lies and he kept looking for other women. There would be a lull in his activities, but he never really stopped his cheating. We did go to marriage counseling. It didn’t really help with a lot.
    I can imagine the horror of your husband screwing his slut in your bed. My husband’s affairs took place out of state so none of his pieces of trash were ever in our house. However, he used to drive one of them around in his truck. When I found out about that I absolutely refused to get in the truck. I demanded he sell it. I told him I wasn’t sitting where his slut had been. He did sell the truck–after about 3 years. Really fuckin’ remorseful, huh? (snort).
    Before I knew about my husband’s affairs, there were times when I would look over at him and I would catch him staring at me. He would be wearing an expression that made me deeply uneasy. The look on his face was a combination of contempt and “I have a secret”. He loved the fact that he was deceiving me. He was loving the power that he thought he had. That’s not power, by the way; it’s hatred and deceit. It’s funny how after I found out about him, he felt anything but powerful as he was reduced to a 45 year old man crying at his parents’ table and being exposed for the scumbag he is. Big
    fall for such a “powerful” man.
    It is not too early for you to divorce. Your husband has failed you in many ways. Divorce him and get it over with. And if that were my bed? I would have chopped it into pieces and burned it in my fire pit. He’s a disgusting slob. Don’t wait to divorce him.

  • Dear CL,

    Just ordered your book off Amazon. I can’t wait to get it. Hopefully, some day I can get your autograph on the inside cover.

  • His excuse for cheating was “feeling like a failure due to the bankruptcy”? Really?

    What was it in his bizarre logic, I wonder? A three-for? Hey, I can get my ego stroked, get strange sex, and humiliate and emotionally abuse my wife all at the same time?

    I am going to go out on a limb here and you are doing something wrong: you’re second-guessing yourself. Pull the trigger.

    You could always get re-married if he proves you wrong about him. Hey, when I went to sign the divorce papers, there was a woman that came into the lawyer’s office who had married and divorced the same man 3 times, and she was filing for divorce for the fourth time.

    I am not suggesting that you follow her example though 🙂

  • Look, CL has told it to you true. Your family doesn’t have to be married to this man; you do. It is your decision.

    And they are wrong. They’re telling you that he’s a good guy who screwed up one time. WRONG!!! He is a drug addict (alcohol is a drug) and a spendthrift. You have dealt with his addiction and gone through bankruptcy. He has not screwed up once, but at least on two previous major counts, and the drug addiction is an ongoing thing.

    If I married an alcoholic whose financial habits forced me to go through bankruptcy, my family would have a celebration the moment I said I was divorcing the bastard, and if they found out that he’d cheated on top of all that, well, they’d burn his effigy as a conclusion to the party.

    Given that your family wants to give his alcoholism and fiscal recklessness a free pass, focusing only on his cheating as the “mistake,” I’d say that your family may have its own issues, and I’ll agree with CL that you should get into therapy to ensure you don’t repeat history. A couple of things could be going on. You might have relatives who are nice guys–as long as they’ve not had too much to drink! Or your family got taken in my your STBX’s ability to sparkle. And if he got drunk at the family picnic, they’d not think anything of it since hey! He’d be like the other family members who had a teensy bit more than they should.

    If your STBX is really serious about turning his life around, then let him do it, but let him do it outside the marriage. Get the divorce. If he truly wants to change, then let him do it in such a way that you won’t have to pick up the pieces for when he fails. He can go to AA, stay sober, hold down the job, pay child support, etc.

    His actions will show you if he’s changed, and if he doesn’t–or if he can’t sustain the show of change–you’ll see it.

    And while you’re at it, make sure that you work out a custody/visitation agreement that recognizes his alcoholism. One of my friends divorced a coke-addict, but didn’t have anything in her agreement that stopped her X from seeing her 5-year-old boy if the X were high. One day, she went to pick him up from his father’s, only to discover her boy alone in front of the television. The father wasn’t in the house. He was in an outbuilding, getting high.

    At any rate, your instinct tells you that the infidelity was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. His track record has been so poor on other accounts that this is just what you needed to oust him from your life.

    • This is great advice: “And while you’re at it, make sure that you work out a custody/visitation agreement that recognizes his alcoholism. One of my friends divorced a coke-addict, but didn’t have anything in her agreement that stopped her X from seeing her 5-year-old boy if the X were high. One day, she went to pick him up from his father’s, only to discover her boy alone in front of the television. The father wasn’t in the house. He was in an outbuilding, getting high.”

  • Hi all. Haven’t read the comments yet but I can imagine the responses OP is getting from the Chump Nation. Yesterday my friend (fellow chump in denial), stated that after she checked out CL’s blog (my recommendation, of course), she realized that the general consensus on here is that we “don’t believe in second chances.” I had to set her straight on this by explaining to her that the behavior of a cheater is that of a narcissist and therefore second chances almost always turn into third and fourth and fifth chances because a typical narcissist doesn’t change his/her patterns. That’s why many of us “recovering chumps” believe that in a case of “giving someone another chance”, it is just a matter of time that the cheater will strike again. It may not be tomorrow, or next month or even next year. Personally, my biggest fear would always be, if I’ve reconciled, that I’d never know when this could happen. It’s not as cheaters come to us and say: “you know, I’m contemplating an affair.” So it becomes the thing, the fear, the always present thought in the back of our minds, that it just might happen again. I don’t know about you all, but I can’t live with such uncertainty. It’s all too consuming, it’s a permanent state of high alert. Who wants to live with the trust by verify me mentality to marriage? I surely don’t. Those who do? I doubt they’re happy. If they claim they’re happy, they’re either in major denial or their definition of happiness, respect and acceptable way of living is different from mine.

    • Giving someone a second chance is just like handing them another bullet because they missed you the first time.

    • Here’s the second chance: We are separating. I am filing for divorce. You can clean up your act, change your life, show that you are remorseful and have changed, and then attempt to court me again, if you have done the work and demonstrate commitment to change over time. You broke the contract. Any “second chance” requires starting over. From the beginning.

      • This is really good advice. The first years of our relationship was something I’d do again, it was good and there was a lot of genuine respect, fun and love.

        The second set of years while we were supposed to be trying again was filled with many triggers and pain on my part, pick me dancing even though ow was out of the picture (supposedly! i really don’t know now), disrespect. I wouldn’t date someone that made me feel like x did the second time around.

        But, since I still had such good memories from our first years together – I was willing to live way less daily to have that goodness back again. Which we all know can never happen after trust is broken.
        Wish I knew all of this after his first affair, I never would have let him back into my heart! Well, live and learn. Hopefully I’ve learned!

  • In my experience, very few people divorce because of a single incident of any sort.

    In your letter to Chump Lady you describe news of the affair as “icing on the cake.” I don’t notice you saying you feel heart-broken anywhere. (My apologies if you do. I’m not trying to insult you–I suspect your heart has been slowly cracking for several years now–it was not all dandy and whole until just six weeks ago). What you mention feeling is upset, and hurt, and violated.

    In your heart of hearts do you even want to be with this guy? It sounds to me as if you want the approval of your family and to feel confident that a divorce is okay even though it will affect your daughter. In short, you sound like I felt–like I had to make my marriage work, like I had to try absolutely everything, like I had to let my STBX do anything but kill me before it was “acceptable” to give up. Lord knows, my STBX raged and raged about how I was “breaking my vows made before God” by leaving him. (Odd, how his vows weren’t part of the tirade!)

    So, I hope you’ll stop a moment and think about what YOU want. If you want out, then it is not hasty at all. You’ve had 10 years of married life with this guy. People who don’t have experience with lousy marriages don’t seem to realize that we didn’t just wake up one day and decide to leave our spouse on a whim or because of one betrayal. Some “experts” say that infidelity isn’t the real issue but is only a “symptom” of a bigger problem. I tend to agree with them–and the real problem is that the unfaithful spouse is a jackass. The fact that he has ramped up his jackass behavior with infidelity does not mean that he was a peach up until the day he began his affair.

    It only looks “hasty” to people who haven’t been living in the day-to-day tension and chaos of the kind of marriage you’ve been living with.

    I hope you make a decision based on what is best for you and your daughter–other people’s interests or preferences or requests do not deserve to be part of this decision.

  • Thank you everyone for your wonderful support and advice!!!! I was second guessing myself. My family isn’t completely unsupportive. It is mostly my sister telling me that it is too soon to tell. Reading this advice has assured me that my thinking is on the right track. Thanks again!!!

    • Glad you checked in Kristen and Jedi Hugs! My ex was a recovered alcoholic when we met and he lost that sobriety after some years. I totally understand how the cheating was the last boundary crossing when you live with an alcoholic. I enabled my ex to drink and just didn’t realize it until things went completely crazy train. I have no doubt, if he is a practicing alcoholic, that his abuse is far more pervasive than the cheating alone. One book that helped me see that my ex had ever so slowly eroded my boundaries and I had numbed myself to his abuse was “Why Does He Do That”, I highly recommend you read it so you can learn to avoid manipulative abusers in the future. I am so glad you are not wasting your time trying to save the marriage. It’s bad enough with a sober person, in my experience it’s impossible with a practicing alcoholic.

    • Trust us chumps! My regret is waiting eight months to file for divorce! It is now nearly a year later and the emotional, financial and physical drain is devastating. I should have booted his ass out the minute he exposed his deceit and gave me the I love you but I’m not IN love with you crap! He and the married skank had been plotting behind my back after the two of them met on Facebook! It absolutely turns my stomach thinking about it! He traded in 40
      Years of marriage and his entire family to be with this low life only on weekends! She got outed by someone on Facebook who figured it out and her husband divorced her immediately. Now she has to really dig her 50 something year old claws into someone as a lifeline so my idiot husband is it! So much money has been given to her because the Spoiled b**** never worked and her husband had a six figure income! (My husband is a broke ass who can’t handle money). Boot him and do it now! They get somewhat smart given time and the broke ass OW helps them to screw you financially! Do it while he still has that look of a deer in the headlights!

  • Kristen: from what I’ve read here at CL the self-doubt is a classic symptom of this type of relationship. You are probably a caring, insightful, empathetic person who is applying real thought to this situation. Unfortunately, your cheater does not live by those standards and an attempt to apply your standards to him will not result in a rational outcome. You can’t try to rationally analyze the actions of someone who would fuck a facebook friend in your bed.

    My circumstances are similar in that at the beginning of my relationship, I found evidence of infidelity that my STBXH attempted to explain, mimimize, apologize for, and paint as a one time incident. Nearly ten years later, I have learned the hard way that this was hardly a one time incident, and the kicker is? I KNEW THAT ALL ALONG. I knew that. If I had listened to myself and been truly honest, and not been afraid and trying to hold on, I knew in my GUT he was a cheater and I knew that someday, it would end like this.

    But only you, and not your family, can know what’s in your gut and face what’s inside you. You already know the truth; and I’m not presuming to say what that is. But whatever it is, you already know it. Take some time alone, undistracted, and listen to the inner voice. It sounds stupid, but it’s there. You already know the truth. You just need to know that you know it.

    Best of luck. You will find support here.

  • Your husband is an alcoholic who can’t handle money. You lost your home because of him. You are not rushing into this divorce.

    I have more sympathy for him than CL does; he may have done it because he’s an alcoholic, etc. His motive isn’t as important as protecting you and your kid, though.

    As CL says, he can stop drinking and be a good ex-husband to you and parent to your kid. You don’t have to give him one more chance.

    Here’s another way to look at the situation – if you knew a guy who was an alcoholic who had gone bankrupt and lost his home, would you want your sister to date him?

    You stayed with him ten years, you did your best, you stood by him when he ruined you financially, you have a right to take care of yourself and your kid now.

    • Here’s another way to look at the situation – if you knew a guy who was an alcoholic who had gone bankrupt and lost his home, would you want your sister to date him?

      Would this be the same sister who is arguing she give him a second chance? 🙂 Because she might 😉

      Just kidding, but I couldn’t pass that opportunity up .

  • “. . . .I felt like a failure. . .”

    You know, when I feel like a failure, I try to find a solution to the problem, not fuck someone and have an affair to boost my self-esteem. Just judging. . .

    All of those changes Chump Lady said he can do on his own time? He won’t. Because he likes to take the easy way out. Fucking someone who is not your spouse because you feel inadequate is taking the easy way out.

    As far as being too hasty with the divorce, when my husband walked out an explanation, I was not aware of his affair initially, but I knew to my core the marriage was over because I simply would never feel secure with him again. Finding out about the bitch just sealed the deal.

    Do what is best for Kristen.

  • About the doing the deed in the marital bed… whoa, to me that’s sociopathy 101. This hasn’t happened to me (that I know of, right?), but I’d imagine I’d like to get a brand new mattress like the same day.
    My ex told me doing it in their marital beds (multiple OWs), felt “empowering” to him. Now listen to this logic, because you know how they say, listen to the cheater himself and believe him…? Well, mine rationalized this action by explaining that he was “getting back” at one of OWs husbands who owed him money, hence doing his wife was sort of like revenge to him, because OWs husband didn’t want to pay back or some bs like this. Then he said OW was sleeping with him to settle the debt on behalf of her husband’s. you can’t make this shit up, folks.

    • I agree that you can’t make some of the shit they tell you up! I swear in 18 months that I’ve heard some of the most idiotic “reasons” and “excuses” I have ever heard in 58 years of life from a 59 year old male! Some are downright laughable and his Schmoopie is even funnier. I think she considers her old 51 year old used up ass to be a. cougar, but all I see is a saber tooth! Ha! Ha! Ha! She even claimed she was pregnant????? She’s a real medical marvel that one! Sorry I know this is off topic, but just had to vent!

  • The cheating was the last straw with me too. I have come to look at it as a gift that took my blinders off and let me leave him without guilt. I don’t think it ever happened in my bed – I asked and he told me the truth right? – Ha would have been the first time. I made him take the bed when he left – he couldn’t understand why I didn’t want it – Duh he slept in it. Nothing like a brand new bed in my newly decorated bedroom – that is my clean slate.

  • Kristen,
    At seven weeks you are taking action. Wow. You are so strong. Admirable. I was an unfortunate blubbering hot mess at seven months!
    After no contact for ten years I tried to reconcile with a known “one time” cheater.
    After another eight years I find he’s been doing it again. Probably for at least half of that time. Probably in my house. Definitely on the business trips where I stayed home to watch his kids.
    Avoid the drama and the swirling drains. Let him prove what he can be or remain what he is. You are in control. Good luck on Monday.

  • You’re awesome, Kristin!

    Your swift actions put you in a position of power and control over your destiny. Totally wish I’d had the gumption to follow through on my initial response, which paralleled yours. But I caved, and years later am still trying to extricate myself from my husband’s lies, deceit, and financial rape.

    Here’s another charming vignette: I’m out of state working an important meeting that more or less decides whether or not my family will have a successful year, financially.

    Husband invites his girlfriend and her kids to our home, to a Cub Scout event husband arranges in my absence. Then he invites girlfriend into our home and INTRODUCES HER TO MY ELDERLY MOTHER who lives in a granny flat with us.

    I call home from my business meeting that night, Mom (who may be old but isn’t stupid) answers the phone and informs me that a) she met my husband’s girlfriend that day and b) he can’t come to the phone because he’s taken his girlfriend out to dinner and left my mother/his mother-in-law at home because “… there’s no room in the car for you.”

    Sick F**ckers… and the puzzling thing remains, why did I put up with this treatment for so long?

    Finding out about the affair isn’t the beginning of the end of the marriage, it’s the end of the end of the marriage.

  • Kristen all the advice from your fellow chumps is spot on but let me add my two cents: my H is also an alcoholic and had an EA with an old girlfriend on FB. I was stunned, hurt ( we have been married 23 yrs) he asked for a divorce but never did anything about it. I saw a lawyer but held off for several reasons. I wish now I had just filed for a divorce as soon as I found out. 2 years later the affair is over; I have lost all respect for him and he is still an alcoholic. still planning to divorce him but now he is just pathetic and I feel quilty. CHUMPY ME

  • This is the thing that always gets me – making it sound like the cheating was a mistake. My Ex always likes to say that he’s a good guy and I always tell him you WERE a good guy, but no good guy can for any duration of time (in my case nearly a year) lie repeatedly day in and day out, fabricating entire conversations, staying in hotel rooms 20 minutes down the road from you while they are supposedly half way across the country and not crumble under the weight of carrying out such deception and still be a good guy. Take a way the bankruptcy, drinking, everything and just examine the lying and cheating. It wasn’t a one time thing and then he pulled back and thought oh shit, I really fucked up. Just like my ex, he knew it was wrong, but his happiness was more important to him and at ANY cost, any hurt.

    • This is where my spackling still exists. I’d spent years trying to come to terms that my mother isn’t a good person. There’s no way she could have done things that she did to me as a kid and still be good. My heart wanted to believe she’s good, my mind knew her actions weren’t good.Finally I laid it to rest, in my mind, that she has a mental problem and I have much compassion for her but can’t be around her. Never got to the point of seeing her as a bad person.
      With my x, I’ve done the same thing. His behavior is bad, but he’s a generally good person as he does many good deeds and has a lot of love for his family and pets and friends, etc. I’m trying to see him as a bad person for doing all of the hurtful actions to me… but can’t seem to see him as entirely bad.
      Ugh. It’s confusing, but I’m new to this thought and have been watching youtube vids on narcissism in relationships since yesterday when this idea of him being a genuinely bad person was brought to my attention by fellow chumps. It’s hard! But, I’m learning a lot…

    • Cheating is NOT a “mistake”. Cheating requires premeditation. Like a murder. Both parties plot and plan their outings. Consume martial finances to execute their plans and then gloat in all of their “cleverness”.

  • Mine screwed his mistress in our family home and marital bed. Mine was a big time boozer too. He was always going to “take it easy on the booze”, etc but it was a cycle of abuse…cut it out for a bit, start with a few drinks, out with the boys, bender, repeat.

    I found out about his affair and he was gone in a few weeks. My family could not believe that he had become (was) the monster he showed us. However, they did not at any time tell me to take it slow or not to divorce him. My therapist told me to take it slow but I told her I had no energy left for him and would need it to repair myself. (Haven’t seen that therapist since.)

    In the months since he’s left he’s shown me time and time again who he is. Sure it took me some time to really see him but I do now. He’s a very unhappy soul. I stay far, far away.

    Trust your instincts and get out. He’s not worth the agony. I’ve learned from experience that there really are good, kind people out there. You’ll feel so much better without his dead weight around.

    Wishing you the best.

  • I’m familiar with alcoholics that can’t keep it in their pants. You’re making the right decision.

    People are too quick to offer their advise on things they know nothing about. There isn’t anything you can do about that, you can only choose life over martyrdom.

  • Hail Kristen! For you to have made such a quick decision and scheduled your appointment with the attorney so quickly – All hail! Ooh Ha Ha! (All Hail Shark Bait, Ooh Ha Ha!! Finding Nemo). Yes, I realize it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, etc., but you did it! and good on you!

    Your FOO sound a lot like mine was back in the day.. no support for that divorce whatsoever. But they were wrong. You are on the right track, and you know it. Keep up the good work!

  • My STBX screwed his skank in my bed. We also went to a few pool parties at their house (turns out she was giving him blowjobs in the basement while everyone else was outside, gathered around the BBQ). He also took a number of trips with her and her husband to Sydney to run in the City to Surf. What kind of a fucked up person does that? Sitting in the back of their car while her poor chump husband drove. Creepy.

    So glad to see this horrifies people – it is a good reality check for me and a reminder that yes, he really is rotten inside.

    One of the most satisfying evenings of my life was at home, alone with a bottle of gin, Beyoncé blaring, and the power drill out, disassembling the bed, dragging it up two sets of stairs and leaving it by the front door for the lying, cheating creep to pick up. I slept on a (new) mattress on the floor for weeks, rather than lie in that bed again.

    Kristen, you are awesome! If you find yourself wavering, maybe ask yourself what you advise your daughter to do if she found herself in your situation when she’s all grown. Would you really want her to stay if she married a man like your husband?

    • “One of the most satisfying evenings of my life was at home, alone with a bottle of gin, Beyoncé blaring, and the power drill out, disassembling the bed, dragging it up two sets of stairs and leaving it by the front door for the lying, cheating creep to pick up. I slept on a (new) mattress on the floor for weeks, rather than lie in that bed again.”

      Now that’s a powerful image. Good for you, Rosie Boa! Sounds like your STBX and his schmoopie are the perfect match for each other. Zero class, zero morals. Good riddance to them! Does her husband now know what was going on? God, what a mindfuck.

      • Any time power tools are involved, that’s a lady-boner moment. :). I did the same thing my friend. I had the bed, his dresser, and all his shit on the back porch right after finding out. I was powered by rage. Lol.

      • FoolMeTwice – yes, her husband does know now, I finally got in touch with him although to my great shame it took me some months after d-day during which he continued to be chumped and gaslighted. STBX had spun me a lot of lines about how was aggressive and dangerous so I was scared to contact him because I didn’t want any more drama for my kids to have to deal with.

        Turns out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only is my conscience much clearer, but my discussions with him have uncovered a web of dodgy financial behaviour between STBX and Shmoopie – they appear to have been trying to use his funds to set up their new life together. It all helps me to trust that STBX sucks.

        And you’re right – they absolutely deserve to be together. I have no need to worry about the karma bus, they have found it in each other. It’s only a matter of time before one or both of them starts cheating and trying to steal from each other – my only goal now is to disentangle myself financially before that happens!

        • Same situation with me, once I told OW’s husband, he found more information that they were using us to “pay off their bills”. Then they were going to divorce us and lie to their families and say they just randomly met after their prospective divorces. They didn’t want their families to know how skeezy they are.

          Now, everybody knows. Her family is not pleased, but since my X is raised by a pack if wolves, they don’t care.

          It’s all good. My X is fucking another girl at his job that OW doesn’t know about. He must triangulate, otherwise, she’s all he’s got and he can’t hang with that. Enjoy dumbass. :).

          • Sounds like we could have been married to the same guy, Rumblekitty. But they picked the wrong women to mess with 🙂

  • I am glad you mentioned ‘sunk costs’. It is a common mistake when considering options for sunk costs to be part of the equation. They are not. They are irrelevant. The only consideration is whether further investment will provide a return that is worth it. If you do want to consider sunk costs, then think about this. The greater these have been with no real return, then the greater the likelihood that further investment will also have no return.

    • Thank you! Wow. Such a clear and succinct summary explanation!

      I will print this out — it applies to more contexts/relationships in my life than cheating alone.

      I wonder, though, if the ‘sunk costs’ lens for considering options is partly so sticky for folks because it contains or masks a different problem (that is nonetheless crucially important to health): mourning.

      When my 20 year marriage imploded, one of the reasons I told myself I “had” to give my X every benefit of the doubt, had to give it my all to “save” the marriage (by myself!) was that I had invested 20 years, my whole serious adult life, in the relationship. Logic applied through the paradigm you articulate above would have helped me to measure my actual loss (contained! manageable! balanced by other blessings!), vs. my (emotionally) distorted predictions of what the loss would be (I saw it as the total annihilation of everything I valued).

      It strikes me that an important addendum to the iron logic of past performance being the best predictor of future returns is that (unlike capital investment) there needs to be a formal acknowledgment of and provision for grief work when you cut losses. Even when you make the right choice about handling loss of a marriage (or a job, a connection, a commitment, etc.), there is still loss that hurts and needs to be addressed and resolved. Even as you accept the logical futility of throwing more energy into what has been revealed to be a bottomless pit.

    • Wow. Powerful stuff about sunk costs. Can’t believe I’ve never heard that point made. I guess that shows how strong (and wrong) our intuition is about such matters.

    • Great point!
      I definitely got entangled in the pull of sunk costs, mourning and blind wishes. And wasted more years with no good returns. I’m taking this advice into the future for relationships and any other investments. Thx!

  • You go girl. Go straight to the divorce, do not pass go, do not collect 200 piss weak excuses
    Im proud of you. He crossed the line, you said Nuh Uh Buddy.

  • Great Advice Chump Lady,

    Take it from someone who stayed at the fair well after the rides were closed.
    Leave & never look back!
    You deserve respect & the trust will never return, not ever!

    Love & Light,

    • “someone who stayed at the fair well after the rides were closed.”

      Great description, AwareB4!

  • My family also says stay. They say I can’t do better than my husband, they say they aren’t sure how I got lucky enough for him to marry me. it’s been 20 years and I’ve stayed through the prostitutes, I’ve stayed after finding out about the dominatrix, I stayed after finding out two days ago that he is taking a course of antibiotics (very carefully hidden but he underpaid the office visit invoice by $18 and they sent a bill to the house) for some unknown something he picked up somewhere. Not sure what he’s contracted, but if it weren’t sexually transmitted I can’t imagine the secrecy. I’ve not only stayed through it all, I’ve begged him to stay. Begged him to try to save our marriage. Begged him to care about me. Right now hidden behind the toilet are all the car keys to all the vehicles at our house. They are hidden so that he cannot physically leave. Guessing this is not a long term solution. Going to have to return the keys at some point. Imagine when I do he will take the suitcases he has already packed and walk out. I know that I need to let that happen. I don’t want to be single, I don’t want to start over. I found an apartment last month but forfeited the deposit when I convinced myself that I saw signs that he wanted me to stay. I heard very clearly last night, in those exact words that was not the case. Why am I dragging this out? I’m an attractive, intelligent professional woman. What would the people I work with think of the confident woman they see every day begging? Why would I want to be with someone who refuses to touch me? I’ve only had sex twice in 10 years, he only wants prostitutes. I’m lonely..why am I hanging on?

    • Friend —
      If you read this post on a message board, what would you tell the poster?

      I am guessing you would say:
      -trust yourself. take care of yourself. respect yourself. it’s not your job to untangle the crazy of either your disrespectful, angry, covert-aggressive husband, nor that of your sadly unsupportive family. you know what you know — and you have articulated it clearly: your commitment to the marriage (which is more of a legal artifice than a living relationship of trust between accountable partners) is not rational, not healthy, and not a viable path forward.

      you are worth more than this.

      as others have articulated on this very thread: there are MUCH worse things than being single and starting over — and you are living those worse things right now.

      take one positive action: any of the following, in any order, really.

      — find a smart, supportive therapist.

      — plan your escape. (you’ve already found the apartment that is the launchpad to your healthy life — get it back.)

      — give back *all* those keys — the best thing that could happen would be for your cheating spouse to leave.

      — get help where you need it (a lawyer for sure, and also an accountant? prostitutes are pricey and those were marital assets he was dissipating.)

      Do what you, an intelligent professional woman, already know what to do, what you would tell your sister or daughter to do. Reclaim your dignity.

      Do it now. Consider Forrest’s perfect, succinct ‘sunk costs’ calculus, above.

      As I reflect on my choices, the things I regret (and there are none with regard to the effects of my actions on others — I completely took the high ground at every step) are the ways that I didn’t take responsibility for my own well-being.

      Be kind to yourself — you are a person of worth and dignity, and it sounds like you are the only one in your environment who thinks you deserve to be treated as such.

      Peace to you.

      • Awesome reply, andstillirise!

        The reason you’re staying is because your family has convinced you that you’re not worth better. That’s really damaging, and it runs deep. It’s really hard to shake that. It will take time on your own, and then perhaps with someone who does value you.

        One thing I’ve found by my intentional singlehood is that being alone is very healing, very cleansing. I highly recommend some time off, both for yourself and for your next partner. Don’t think of it as “starting over!” It’s carrying on with yourself into a different phase of life. If you don’t think you have the strength to be single, then being single is exactly the fear you must face and overcome.

    • I can’t believe your family tells you that! That is horrible. I can’t imagine what that must feel like. It is scary to be alone, but scarier to be alone while with someone. It’s scary to leave. Trust me, I have no clue what I am doing. I am a full-time professional but in the non-profit sector. Even with child support it will be tight. I just have to trust that being broke for awhile is better than being with him. Good Luck! You can do it!!

    • So Blue 2,

      You need to give back the keys and let his ass go! That man does not respect you and it’s time that you start respecting yourself. Trust me I get it. My X wasn’t paying prostitutes but he was doing the craigslist shit.

      I say fuck him. You file for divorce and clean his financial clock. He used marital assets to get his rocks off with prostitutes he does not deserve anything. Second you need a good therapist because you should not be the one begging him to stay. You are an intelligent professional woman and you deserve all the respect and love in world.

      FUCK HIM! Leave that cheater and gain your life back!

    • Evidently you believe your family when they say you can’t do better. They of course are wrong because this guy sets the bar so low, nearly every man on the planet is better.

      The only way out of this, in terms of what you do, is to love yourself so much you can’t have this abusive jerk in your life. It may feel like you can’t survive without him, but you were alive before you met him and life will go on. If you have a career, good work, and income, you have far more tools at hand to rebuild than many people here who were abandoned while pregnant, tending newborns or sick children, or very ill themselves. You don’t know it yet, but being discarded by a narcissistic cheater is a gift. Find some support and go get yourself and your life back.

    • This is going to sound tough, but you’re single right now. Worse than single because being single still means that you love yourself and care for yourself. I agree with everything these beautiful wise people here are telling you. Sounds like a lifetime of being depreciated. You deserve to breathe clean air again and find your beautiful self.

      This is the most I can say because I really feel like ranting hardcore on your family and x right now! What they’re telling you is so very very untrue and damaging and WRONG. I hope you can get the courage to pack a bag and move out soon. Your life is waiting.

      • Also:
        I’ve been watching youtube videos about narcissists in relationships and it’s helping me to see the games of pushing you away and pulling you back in just to make you doubt your self worth. The videos and this site are so helpful in seeing that it’s such a vicious cycle and hard to get away from unless you can start to understand the true workings behind the behaviors (of yourself and of him).

  • It’s hard to tell from your letter, but there might be a couple of other reasons why your family is supporting reconciliation. 1. One of them is a cheater/former cheater. 2. They are scared of what others might think, that their daughter is somehow a “failure” because she is divorced or married someone who obviously wasn’t a great catch.

      • Also–could be some of them are codependents in relation to other alcoholics (you were attracted to an alcoholic for a reason!).

      • I agree with blue — in my experience with family who have minimized what my cheating ex did, I had to keep in mind that all three (mom, dad, sister) are cheaters themselves. I think it hits too close to home for them to get truly outraged — because they all know that they would deserve that same outrage, when it comes right down to it. They seem very uncomfortable talking about the cheating at all, and uncomfortable with my anger about it.

        It becomes just one more level of mindfuck for you, because you get a message that you’re making too big a deal about something that has devastated you — and this from the very people who are supposed to be on your side.

  • And, thanks, CL, for emphasizing again why an affair feels so good to the cheater. Part of the “high” of the affair is the secrecy, deception, the “getting one over” on the chump and putting the chump “in her place,” but the cheater mistakenly attributes this “high” to the “wonderful” qualities of the AP. (In fact, my XH let it slip that he particularly enjoyed the fact that his OW went to the same college and is from the same foreign country as my mother, whom he always felt “looked down” on him.) Helps explains why the affairs typically crumble after exposure and the chump steps out of the triangulation.

  • Sadly, we are often surrounded by family and friends who are so unwilling to protect, defend or even believe us. We have difficulty setting & enforcing boundries we so desperately need to have in place bc of “friendly incursions” past the line of our defenses. What we try to keep out, these people refuse to acknowledge as dangerous. I have a sister who, during my long, drawn-out separation process, was constantly lamenting how difficult it was to believe, let alone shun, this “guy who had been like a brother to her for over 20 years” and who she could “kind of understand.” How do you kind of understand how a man could turn his back on his wife of 21 years, (at the time) and blatantly carry on an affair with the wife of a friend while his wife, your sister, is helping to care for your dying father while battling an MS flare & dealing with the loss of a newborn grandson? Later, this same sister was outed about her own affair with the father of a friend of her teenage son. I think there are people who see things in clear categories of right & wrong, while others operate in some self-deluded state of blurred lines & shades of gray. There is no gray. It is just a hopeful mist of convenient chaos. I don’t want to “understand” how anyone could feel justified in hurting all of you in the powerfully terrible ways which you have been hurt; you, your children. extended family. I’d rather keep my dignity & self-respect. You are doing the right thing, Kristen.

  • Thanks so much for this post and all the comments. Reading all this, I finally feel like I’ve moved from 99 to 100% done, that I don’t have to keep holding the door open for cheater to come back and can still feel I’ve done everything I could. Fortunately I work from home so they did not have the opportunity to fuck there. But OW would come to our house, hug me hello and goodbye, bring gifts of homemade baked goods, came to my last birthday party with not one but two birthday cards, etc. What a pair of sick twisted fucks. They deserve each other.

    • That’s really, really sick, Done. What an awful thing to do, to pretend to be so friendly while stabbing you in the back. Ugh.

  • I do believe some people do make a massive mistake, get carried away with themselves and get tangled up in something which turns into a slipper slope until it comes to a big crash. I do believe that situation is different from the regular serial cheater. It is like a drug to the serial cheater- similar to drinking, gambling and lying. It’s all a big rush while it’s happening – they get caught, feel sad, tell you anything to make you stay and then the cycle continues. My partner never stopped cheating once. I found out he was texting someone and be upset when I read the graphic sexual language he would use – not once did he talk like that to me. But it was just the tip of the iceberg- he had three on the go! Somehow I went back to him – he threatened, begged, cried and I believed him, not once but three times. There was obviously more I didn’t know. This time I’ve blocked my phone and with the help if this blog staying strong. I know I soften when I hear his voice. I keep hoping that this time will be different. It’s only now I realise it never will be – the only change that will happen us that it will slowly destroy me until I know and do nothing. I can’t be that low.

  • Catherine wrote, ‘I do believe some people do make a massive mistake, get carried away with themselves and get tangled up in something which turns into a slipper slope until it comes to a big crash.’

    I’m one of those believe that my stbx’s affair was one of those massive mistakes and sort of believe he didn’t have any other fucks than that. But, I believe he thought he found himself ‘in love’ with 2 women – well, her more of course, as it turns out.

    He really let himself go towards the end, yanno – the time he ‘felt like a small animal trapped in a cage’. Higiene went to hell – wouldn’t get out of his housecoat and worked all day in it, grew ugly whiskers, wouldn’t brush his teeth, and quit our daily hr long walks w/the dogs – which I did alone (thankfully keeping me in shape for what followed). Suppose he may have been depressed, poor guy. In such a trap.

    I feel he didn’t know how to fix it so was easier for him to just leave and not look back. Except to hire the most expensive atty in the state against little ole’ me and I truly think with that out-of-control-belly-and-grey-flyaway-hair, he’s going a little crazy down in his (to quote Chris Farley of SNL) Matt Farley – Van Down By The River.

  • Speaking of fucking in the marital bed…my H not only brought his slut into my home and did it in our bed but it almost hurt more that she took over our motorhome. This is something we went all over the country in and had so many wonderful memories. We had just come off, what I thought, was the best year and travel vacation of our lives.
    It’s just mind blowing how she and he could have violated so many of our (My?) private, sacred spaces like that.

    • It doesn’t surprise me. These “people” are pigs. Absolute and utter swine. You, are not. Don’t let it get in your craw . . . Shit like this has happened to most of us.

      These people are not who we thought they were. Every day I wake up grateful that I don’t have my asshole in my life anymore. Phew!!

      • Thanks, RumbleKitty – I’m finding myself there more everyday. We’re >this< close to finalizing our divorce and now we're dealing with the dog issues and he wants to avoid attorneys on this. (gosh, sorry for off topic here). We have 3 Great Danes that we purchased together; show dogs. 500#'s worth. He wants to have one of them only. I don't want to break up the dogs but I offered him visitation if he'd split the dog costs, which are HUGE as I look at my new budget. Even chumpy me send him a heartfelt letter on what each dog is doing today (their bio's), that he could have 2 or 3 at a time, if he wants…like so fucking chumpy friendly I hate myself.
        Guess what I got back back 5 days later? Total fucking silence (that's from Fargo).
        Figured he didn't give a fuck about the dogs all along and he wants me to pay all their bills.

        Well, we'll see what my attorney says. He owns them with me. Does he deserve visitation if he doesn't care and should he pay up? Vet bills are quadruple, medications, food, poop bags, for dogs of this size that we bought together.

        Fucking asshole – thanks for letting me vent tonight.
        He's leaving on a 3 wk vacation and 'will be out of touch' and I want to finalize this Divorce on Monday.

        • Hey, SheChump, it’s not just yours being an asshole. I’m to the point of wishing I had a woodchipper out back myself – I love Fargo!

          My lawyer sent a proposal for a separation agreement to asshat’s lawyer last Monday (I’ve been trying to negotiate one since he left in November 2011). Crickets. Turns out he left town last week for a “vacation” in the same town his OW is from (and has apparently moved back to) to “get away from it all”. There’s a discovery scheduled for him on Friday, another 5k out of my pocket in my seemingly endless quest to get a divorce from this lying piece of shit, and nobody has any idea of when he may be back. Only good thing last week was that his lawyer finally did send the payroll statement proving that he has not taken “multiple salary cuts” in the past year as he has been claiming. At least I have something to base the spousal support on now. The court date is set for the end of August. I don’t want it to end up there, but at this point whatever debt I need to get into to rid myself of this asshole is so worth it. Such a waste, though – three kids in university or heading there, and what that money could have done for them……..

          They all read the same cheater’s handbook, don’t they? And thanks for letting me vent, too. What a way to spend yet another summer. Good luck with the dogs.

          • Since Nov 2011?! You must be so exhausted. Hope August is the end of this nonsense for you. That’s too much.

            • Thanks for the good wishes, UC. I hope it is done soon, too- we aren’t talking about a huge amount of assets to split, it’s just that he doesn’t see why I should get anything after 36 years and three kids.

              The only thing worse than a cheater is a profoundly passive-aggressive cheater with the emotional maturity of a two year old.

              • Terrible. Kicking you on the way out, then stealing 3 additional YEARS of your peace by prolonging things legally. After 36 years together. Nice.

        • Let him take a dog a screw visitation. The less ties to him, the better. My ex tried to use our dog as another link into my life and that wasn’t going to happen. (He wanted to come over after work and walk him. How stupid is that?)

          It’s hard to stay NC when you have to bicker over the pets. I know you don’t want to break them up, but you even said it costs a fortune for all three. Divorce sucks all around. Give him a dog and tell him to fuck off into the night. JMO . . .

    • That motorhome bit–that would kill me.

      Huhn! It just occurred to me that she sits in our family truck–same thing. We had family trips in that truck. He fucked her in it–it bothered me immensely that she sullied our truck even just by sitting in it, when I first found out. Then I let it go, and I guess to think of it as hers now–that’s just sad.
      I remember when he first got it he wouldn’t let me drive it. Asshole.

      Anyway, you know what? I got the best years of that truck.

      You got the best years of that motorhome. The trips in it meant something that she will never understand.

      Now my old truck and your old motorhome and our old husbands are just aging hunks of crap. They’ll all break down. It’ll be meaningless. I’ll be far away from it. You, too.

      • I totally get being sentimental about cars and things. I felt like this about our car. We bought it brand new together, first brand new car either of us had ever bought. It was sentimental to me. After finding out he was cheating and she had sat in my seat in it, I sold it while he was out of town working. He didn’t know I was selling it. I cleaned the engine, washed, vacuumed and sold it.
        When he got home he found a bank deposit slip showing his half of the money deposited into his account, and the signed bill of sale. He never really say too much about it either! He was probably wondering what was next to disappear. I still laugh over that.

        • I had let XBF borrow my car while I stayed in the hospital with my sick daughter– his was in the shop. After First DDay I had reason to believe OW had been in that car, and I sold it and bought a new one within the week.
          He also admitted fucking her in his own car, on the front seat where I sat, and I never again got in that car. Ever. He eventually destroyed it, at a most inopportune moment in his life, because he had not wanted to waste time getting it serviced.

          • Nice work, UnderConstruction and crushed. I wish I had thought to sell the car he spent a fortune so he could impress his skank.

            ‘Carma’ indeed!

              • It is amazing how strongly one feels disempowered by cheating. What is it that makes us feel that way? Somebody explain it to me.

              • Catherine, for me, a whole 1.5 years of my life had just been stolen overnight. Everything had been a lie. No more future together, all of our plans disintegrated, my best friend died, I died. I had no choices in anything. He said that he was in love with both of us simultaneously so I never saw it coming. Right up til dday, I was getting sweet emails and calls at random times daily just to say hello. We’d just bought a house together with extra room for future kids. I thought our life was moving forward into the next several decades.
                Then suddenly, it was all discovered to be a dream. Just a lie. I had no choices, no chance to work on us before his heart was shared with someone else. It was an act of stealing my past and future all at once. Absolutely deflated and alone. Powerless.

              • Let me reword.. our relationship had been 8 years together – his secret affair had been for the last 1.5 years of that time.

  • I just finished watching the Lifetime movie – Home for Christmas, with Linda Hamilton, that somebody on this board recommended. Wow. It really goes through a lot of the challenges many of us find as we’re swimming up these unknown waters. Whoever you were, thank you for the recommendation. Cost me $3.99 and I own it as you can’t rent it. I’d even watch it again.

    • That was the poster with the handle “me”, I think. I sure hope that her job interview went well and that things are looking up for her.

      • Yeah, that was ME… I’ve also been wondering how things went for her job and if she’s alright.

  • Miss Sunshine and exrepeatme – you both crack me up. I want a woodchipper too!
    Yes, this man is aging, so are his fancy cars, m/h and whatever else he ‘achieved’ at his age and it wasn’t enough. Had to have more.. Well, now he’s driving an old rusty van to save money. The plus for SheChump is I made sure I got my dogs and they are the one thing that saved my life (well, besides my family, friends and this website!) and I really don’t much care anymore that he doesn’t care about all that he left behind. Just feel like I made it up another rung on the ladder. And, btw, I think I will file an additional lawsuit against him (maybe make a good legal case for pets that are not JUST ‘property’), that since he co-owns these dogs, he has to pay for 1/2 their costs while alive, whether he has visitation or not. Checked w/many of my dog friends tonight and they think I may have a case.

  • Miss Sunshine – I know that sick feeling. When I first entered our motorhome after he came clean on everything, he made me some eggs for breakfast (I was staying in a motel close by), put them in front of me and before I took a bite, I got sick and puked all over the couch. (coffee I guess) and immediately ran out the door. Haven’t been in it since. It was truly awful. Just will never forget that feeling.

    Love that word – defouled.

    • Me too! It’s awful! While cleaning our car out to sell, I found a big ugly earring under one of the floor mats, and a lip gloss tube under one of the seats. I explained above how I got to know a little about his ow’s personality, and I’m pretty sure she planted her shit in our car just to bother me and rub my face in their cheating. She’s not a very cool person, very immature and a major game player. And obviously sucks for being able to be an ow!
      But yeah, that feeling is horrible. I was crying as I vacuumed and her shit went straight into the trash. Sorry you guys had to go through this too.

      I cannot even imagine having to handle someone else sleeping in the marital bed! Beyond words! Not sure if I could have handled it as well as some of you here.

  • Sorry about your situation Kristen. Especially as it regards your family’s unprotective attitude. I had a friend whose husband had cheated on her 5 times but her family had kind of “adopted” him. The attitude when she separated and filed was “why are YOU making your kids’ lives harder” “it’s too bad, you make a good couple” and the unspoken attitude was “this is inconvenient for us.” It’s hard to overstate how devastating that was.

    It sounds like you can set good boundaries with your family, but please tell them directly that his behavior cannot be excused and if they cannot be supportive, they should not say anything at all.

  • My stbxh told me about his affair on Memorial Day this year…a holiday. I would have called my lawyer and filed that day if I could have. I had to wait until 8:00 am the next morning. I have absolutely no regrets doing it that quickly!

    • Debbie…are you serious? My husband told me on Memorial Day this year. Monday night after we had a good weekend together. Good for you. Yes, I did file yesterday!! Thank you and everyone for this wonderful advice.

  • >