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Dear Chump Lady, I have to paternity check my kids

Dear Chump Lady,

I am military. I have deployed 3 times in the past 5 years. During this time I have been married and I have 2 children now.

On my most recent deployment I ran into major marital issues while I was deployed, wife tried to divorce me. I got back, had some serious issues to work out, and in the process had family and friends telling me things about the past few years — such as infidelity and both children may not be mine.

This was a huge ordeal which I confronted her on every account. In the midst of trying to work things out with her, most of these issues were smoothed over. I never sought hard evidence on any of it as I should have apparently…I’m getting there. Over the past year and a half since I got back, more and more incriminating evidence that she is doing stuff outside our marriage keeps coming up.

We lived in Georgia and her family lived in Alabama so she made trips back often to see family and “friends.” She always stayed at her mother’s house while I deployed as well. I recently asked if she wanted to move back to her mom’s while I finished up school here and until my contract ended with the military, which will be in a year. The reason I gave her the option was to see if she would take it, and she did of course.

Second, I got tired of dealing with her keeping her phone on her 95% of the time, sleeping with it under her pillow, bathing with it and would not let me have it upon me asking. I have always been respectful and never snooped.. until recently when I walked in and some guy is on facetime with her on her iPad. She franticaly turned it off, then he called back and she refused to answer. She instead cancelled the call and dialed her sister really quick. Then I got her phone and got into an argument with the person, which she would not call to prove it was not a male. The person on the other end thought I saw more than I did so starts telling me my shortfalls and how shitty I am. Never did get any evidence of who it was, other than a guy on her facebook page had sent her some shirtless pictures of himself which I also found. Pretty sure that’s the dude … She says she has been up to nothing swears by everything. Okay… I have also had two relatives and a close friend tell me to run a paternity test on my children. Well fuck is that not just awesome, now my children are illegitimate?

I have that nasty gut feeling. She finds excuses not to wear her wedding bands, blames me for tons of things throughout our relationship anytime I start pressing for information. She acts unusual, won’t tell me she loves me, extremely secretive about anything with her computer/phone, is shaky when she hugs me, which can’t even be considered a hug, has lied many times and justifies the lies by telling me I’m being controlling. I find her up very late on her phone almost every night. Finds any excuse not to have sex, always asks when I will be home from work, basically asking where I am going to be and when. Always needs space “some time alone”… the list can go on and on. I just assumed that she is cheating which is why I told her we’re divorcing now.

I have so much anger and I am trying to direct it all to something constructive. I have no hard proof because she deleted everything, of course, since the phone and iPad are not actually mine, and I cant go back anytime soon to investigate anything. I’m left with nothing. Can’t be 100% sure she has cheated, but everything points in that direction. Now my kids won’t have me to tuck them in, see them home from school, which I was really excited about because my oldest starts next year and I will be going to college. It will be at least 5 more years before I can relocate anywhere close to them to interact everyday. I already missed so much through deployments and now this.

I worry about my children so much it scares me to know what they will go through .. this is how I grew up and I wanted so much better for them. This sucks…


Dear Sam

Big (((HUGS))). It does suck. Epically.

Let’s take the last point first — you grew up like this. Go find a shrink and explore that. Here’s the thing, if you grew up in batshit crazy dysfunction what’s not normal feels normal at some level. The screaming sirens that go off for most people are set on a lower volume for you. You’re good at spackle. You accommodate crazy better because that’s what you grew up doing. It’s no surprise that you chose someone as disordered, entitled, and chaotic as Ms. CheaterPhone there. Fix the picker. Work on your issues.

These aren’t fatal problems. They’re totally fixable — being a chump is not a permanent condition. Unlike being a character disordered douchebag. Here’s a couple places to read about people like your wife — and Consider that she may be more than just your average fuck up.

Whatever flavor of dysfunction she has, or how much she’s cheated, or with whom — doesn’t matter. You know enough to know this is toxic and unacceptable. So you totally made the right call to start divorce proceedings.

People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. She feels entitled to her phone? Her secrets? Her weekends away? Her shirtless pictures from guy friends? Blameshifting this crap on you and telling you you’re the problem? There’s your answer. She’s not a partner, she’s not treating you with respect, she’s not accepting responsibility for her actions. You can’t have a marriage with such a person. You can have a fetid swamp of dysfunction, but you can’t have a marriage.

You’re a good guy and you’re marriage and dad material. You don’t share the same values. Divorce is the answer here. Work on being the sane parent to your kids, and when you get your shit together on those picker issues, hold out for a woman who will cherish you and treat you with the respect you deserve. They’re out there lining up for a good man. Don’t forget that for a second.

About your kids — I am so sorry you have to live with those doubts. I know there are other guys here who can relate, who have gone through this. It’s just horrible.

You know, when people challenge me about infidelity — “Oh, you and your BLACK AND WHITE thinking!” It’s no big deal, we’re not monogamous by nature, blah blah fuckity blah — I answer “Tell that to the guy who had to paternity test his children.” Tell that to the woman who lost a pregnancy to an STD she didn’t have because she thought her husband was faithful. Explain that to the 9 year old kid who has to learn what infidelity is.

This shit isn’t a sexy transgressive good time, wink, wink, nudge, nudge. It’s serious shit like you’re dealing with. It’s abuse.

I’m sure your wife just thinks she’s the bomb. Husband off fighting in foreign lands. Steady paycheck. Sexy screen shots, affairs, hook ups under the guise of visiting dear old mom. It’s going to get real for this bitch very soon. Hello single motherhood.

Consequences aren’t so sexy. They’re a real buzzkill to the fantasy — so expect her to step up the manipulation several notches. She’s going to want you back, or try to mediate, or go after you for more if she really thinks you’re gone.

Cancel the joint credit cards. See a lawyer IMMEDIATELY. You need professional help on the paternity and support issues. Don’t try to work something out with a woman who has proven herself a liar and cheat. She’s not an honest broker. You need to protect yourself.

You also need in real life support. You’re in the military? See a counselor, talk to a chaplain. Find a safe someone to dump this on and be there for you. What you’re going through is traumatic and you’ve got every right to be incredibly angry. That’s natural and totally part of the grieving process. Do exactly what you’re doing — channel the anger and let that rage fuel you away from this clusterfuck. Focus on your studies, getting that college degree, and being there for your kids — yes, even if you get less time with them (I’m so sorry). Be the rock. Be the sane, together guy who doesn’t do chaos. Who loves them and is there for them. If you’re needing inspiration, go read the “Tell Me How You’re Mighty” thread. Other chumps have walked this path before you and made it.

Please eject this crazy woman from your life soonest and learn the hard lessons. She’s not worthy of you. But there are good people out there who will love you right, whether that’s a dear friend or a future partner. Don’t settle. Judge people by their actions and their demonstrated character. There’s a good life on the other side of this mess waiting for you.

As the Marines say “Adapt and Overcome.”

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Hi Sam,

    What Chump Lady didn’t tell you… is that you need her just released book. If I had had this a year ago, when I finally realised I was living in a “fetid swamp of dysfunction” instead of a marriage, I would have gotten clearer, sooner about leaving. Our marriages may be different but once betrayed, the end point is the same- ‘leave a cheater, gain a life’.

    As for how 21st Century technology has been hijacked by the adultery industry…….I still get triggered by a certain text tone, and I have deleted my own Facebook page ( now called Fuckbook) as, yes, ‘they’ initially hooked up via the ‘Like’ button. I just can’t bear the narcissism of it all. I know technology is neutral but it gets tainted- think of the ‘Dark Web’ and all who surf there…..

    Chump Lady (and Chump Nation) are here to tell you it gets better- CL says it’ll happen on a Tuesday. Today is Tuesday- so it can at least start to get better today. Oh, and my copy of The Chump Lady Survival Guide to Infidelity arrived today- to that’s a good omen.

  • Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone, Sam. I feel quite confident in saying that the many who visit this page only represent a fraction of the actual number of chumps IRL. Thank you for your service to our country– CL is right when she says that there are many, many non-disordered women out there who would be delighted to have you in their lives. Don’t let this one woman affect your worldview, and don’t be afraid to ask for help– tell your friends and family members; get that lawyer ASAP and find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to. Remember that this is NOT your fault. No matter what happens with the paternity of your children, make sure you move heaven and earth to be with them because they are going to need you– the sane, loving, unselfish parent– more than ever.

    • I was just reading an article by a Texas divorce lawyer that said 1 in 5 divorces involve Facebook. I don’t know where he got his statistics but if that’s correct it’s a pretty sad statement about our society. Makes me want to move to an island.

      • I think Facebook and other technologies also make it much easier to prove cheating. I don’t know if they are causing more cheating or not.

        • My H reconnected with an old girlfriend on FB and it began a year and a 1/2 EA that has destroyed my marriage. doubt he would have done this but for that oppurtunity. was he unhappy with our marriage, sure he is never happy with anything so why not me. she fed him ego kibbles he felt 20 again oh ain’t love wondeful. she was trolling for a sugar daddy and when it became apparent to her he was too much of a wuss to actually leave me she dumped him. Now I am stuck with him. I should have left as soon as I found out would have been better for both of us because I have lost all respect for him and don’t feel the same way anymore

  • “Don’t try to work something out with a woman who has proven herself a liar and cheat. She’s not an honest broker. You need to protect yourself.”

    This is one of my regrets. When I initially filed, I was as open and honest as always, giving play by play to ex p.o.s. cop douchebag. I wanted to take the high road and continue to be as courteous as I could even though I hate his guts. He wouldn’t leave my house. I had to learn very quickly that my best bet was to keep my mouth shut and pretend like he was dead. After I stopped informing him of things, everything got much easier for me. Even though he wouldn’t leave my house, he was dead to me. I could just about walk right through him. Problem solved.
    I think it takes a while for all of us to realize that it was their choice and we did not make them do the things they did.

    • casey my sbtx is a cop how funny. I filled for divorcee one year ago and he would not leave the house. So I pretended that he was dead and treaded him less then a acquaintance. I did not inform him of things and he would get so pissed.

      • WOW33, it is tough. I think the whole cop thing adds an extra layer of issues. Even though he has been out of my house, I feel like my phones are tapped and big brother is watching. By all means, I am not a paranoid person, I just feel that certain things have come up in an odd way. That, and he has access to stuff like that because he is on the dectective bureau. I just don’t trust the cops here – at least most of them.
        I used to tell him everything as I felt he was my best friend. In that respect alone, it was hard to keep my mouth shut because I used to enjoy talking to him. Now, he is dead to me. Only communication is via email regarding the children. I have followed the advice here and kept it very, very minimal. No emotion, just factual and it has helped. I don’t want to get thrown into his chaos anymore. Remember, he fired you from being his secretary, so he can do it all on his own now. At least that is how I look at it and it has given me some great laughs because I used to, well still do, run the household and he didn’t have to lift a finger. Best wished to you Wow33, all will be well for you. 🙂

  • which is why I told her we’re divorcing now.

    I would like to add, that it’s probably time to stop warning her.

    You’re military, so let me use a military metaphor: you wouldn’t send “the enemy” detailed troop movements, would you?

    Go see a lawyer, develop a strategic battle plan that involves you separating yourself from her financially as much as is possible under the circumstances, and don’t tell her anything. She apparently is quite adept at developing plans and doing things without informing you, so there’s nothing to feel guilty about here. When the case goes to court there will be a “vs” between your names, so remember that. Hire an attorney, have her served, and protect yourself financially to the best of your ability. She can find out what is happening after the court case is filed, and she has been served, and then she can call your lawyer if she has any questions (not that she”ll get any answers).

    You don’t say how old you are, but there are plenty of people who have come here that have been through 10-20 year marriages, had children, and who have had to start over because they made the mistake of trusting somebody with poor character, and all of them survived and went on to thrive, and you will too, but how you proceed now might minimize some of the near-term financial damage (not that money is terribly important, but it’s easier to start over if you aren’t digging yourself out of a huge financial hole).

  • Sam, it’s hard to know what to say other than I’m so sorry you are going through this. All cheating is inexcusable, but cheating on someone who’s deployed is like cheating on a wife while she’s at home with your newborn. It takes a special kind of cheater to carry on their affairs while their spouse is absolutely unable to defend himself or herself. That alone should tell you volumes about this sad excuse for a human that you married.

    I am copying CL’s first point because it applies to me and probably to many who marry disordered people: “Let’s take the last point first — you grew up like this. Go find a shrink and explore that. Here’s the thing, if you grew up in batshit crazy dysfunction what’s not normal feels normal at some level. The screaming sirens that go off for most people are set on a lower volume for you. You’re good at spackle. You accommodate crazy better because that’s what you grew up doing. It’s no surprise that you chose someone as disordered, entitled, and chaotic as Ms. CheaterPhone there. Fix the picker. Work on your issues.” Think of getting therapy as like “basic training for living” that applies to those of us who were “miss-trained” in our childhoods. I’ve done therapy for a long time, fixed a lot of stuff, and still, here I am, at 62, chumped. But this is my first go-around with infidelity and it is teaching me about a whole new range of stuff that I need to recognize as unacceptable. You are young! If you fix your picker, you can find a really good woman to share your life. And to echo MovingOn’s point, you didn’t do anything to cause her to be a cheater, you can’t cure her, and you can’t control it.

    While you think you can’t get any proof of anything, I would first of all say you don’t need it. The man on the facetime call “thought [you] saw more than [you] did so starts telling me [your] shortfalls and how shitty [you are].” That’s what cheaters do to justify to themselves and their favorite audience, their affair partners, what they are doing. They criticize, diminish, and devalue their spouses. Just another level of the disloyalty. But what he said to you is a version of what she said to him. Like the phone behavior, this is right out of the cheater textbook. But I wouldn’t assume there is nothing else to find out, or that her erasing her phone is all you can get. Hire a private detective and a very, very good lawyer skilled in handling these kind of issues for those who have been on deployment. Fight for the highest level of custody you can get. Think about whether it might make sense to leave the military to be with your kids or whether you can legally force her back to where you will be stationed. Don’t assume that you are the one who has to give up everything. You won’t know until you fight for what you want. She’s taken on the wrong guy, Sam. The thing you know best is how to fight for what you love, in this case your kids. Strategy, assets, tactics. Put your battle plan together. Even if you don’t want to know the paternity of the kids (and I might chose not to find out), the idea of testing might give you powerful leverage. But the right lawyer, a private investigator and an outraged husband will make your wife’s life much more complicated and will help you get your life back in order.

    • I don’t think paternity testing gives you much leverage unless you find out the kids are yours biologically. Are you suggesting that saying you might get the kids tested would give you leverage with her?

      Definitely see a lawyer. Sometimes you can prevent a spouse from moving out of state with the kids.

  • Sam,

    I was the military wife keeping the home fires burning while my ex douchbag was beginning another life on deployment. Don’t be like me. Don’t stand for your marriage. Don’t try to nice them into anything, it doesn’t work. Don’t tell her what you’re going to do. Don’t take the blame for their lies. It makes healing that much more difficult.

    Follow the previous advice. Know that they are nice good women out there who would’ve kept her loyalty to you, just like you provide me reason to believe not all military males are douchbags.

  • Really good advice here from CL (as ever!). Trust your gut on this one Sam. The picture that you paint in your letter to CL is not a happy one, where trust & respect are shared. Without those, you in difficulty anyway & your wife’s behaviour sounds very much like she is cheating on you. We’ve all been there & the behaviour you describe sounds like what so many of us have endured.
    You don’t have to tolerate it and life can be better. Wishing you good luck.

  • I’m so sorry you are going through this, Jedi Hugs!

    Only thing to add, you love your kids and want to continue to see them, yes? If that is the case then you may not want to do a paternity test because it might very well impact your ability to get shared custody, or even to see one or both if they are not your biological kids.

  • {{{{sam}}}} I’m so sorry. It is so clear and obvious that you believe in and follow through with, your commitments. I come from a military family, and I have seen what being separated from your loved ones does to a person’s resolve.

    This woman obviously has absolutely no respect for you, for her children, for her family or for herself.

    1. The Secrecy. The “I’m entitled to my privacy.” THING. Like someone here said so eloquently, “If you want your privacy so badly, then fine. Move out, pay your own bills, do your own thing and you can have all the privacy that you want.”

    My XH did the same thing with the phone. If I saw it AT ALL, it was on vibrate or silent. There were frequent trips to the bathroom or to the store or up after I went to bed “to secure the house”. Oh Honey, It’s All For YOU—I’m just keeping you safe! When we traveled, we had to go everywhere separately–it was the “KFC” bullshit that he brainwashed us into believing. If something happened to one of us, then at least the other would still be around for our kids. WHATEVER. He was texting/calling fuckbuddies the whole time.

    Which leads me to the calling you 900 times a day to find out where you are, or demanding that you check in each time you leave a location (still falls under #1, Privacy).

    Like TimeHeals said, would you announce troop locations? You have to start thinking of this as a war with an enemy—HER. SHE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.

    Mine did that as well. If I didn’t pick up right away, he would redial 7,000 times until I did. He did this routinely to others as well, but I was required to call each time I changed locations. Of course….it was all to KEEP ME SAFE.

    What my question now is—keep me safe from WHAT? Turns out, I needed protection from HIM.

    2. The Avoidance. Avoiding intimacy–and I don’t mean sex, I mean intimacy. Hugs and affection. Conversation. Answering questions that should have really, really easy answers if there isn’t anything to hide.

    The paternity testing your kids issue. God. I cannot imagine that conversation in your head. I would do it, NEVER TELL ANYONE THE RESULTS—and decide for yourself if you feel that you cannot support children that are not yours. There is no judgement here—but does simple biology make a parent? Clearly, it does not—because she’s a horrific example and she bore those children.

    You do what is right for YOU and for those kids. Not her. She does not give one moment’s worry for YOUR safety or well being. You have to begin to see her as she really is–your adversary in a very sad, pathetic war that she started.

  • Chump Lady – you have again nailed it on the head when you reference the people who try to undermine your argument for the damage and abuse of infidelity by saying you indulge in “black and white” thinking. I believe that the entire concept of “gray area” thinking was created by douchebags who didn’t want to deal with consequences to their actions and so explained it away by saying that “life is full of gray areas – nothing is black and white.”

    Bullshit. Bullshit at a level that even the Augean stables couldn’t produce.

    Morality is black and white. There is good and bad. Right and wrong. Action and inaction. There are no amorphous gray areas where people can be sort of moral or immoral or good and bad. That is just cover for bad actions. You notice that there’s never the term “gray area” applied to doing something good? Only when bad actions are in play. It’s a scam, and any psychologist, councilor or lifestyle coach who tries to say that it’s a proper moral reality is a liar. It’s a cover – a fog, if you will – to hide what it is. Bad behavior.

    Black and white thinking isn’t a practice – it’s recognition that morality is basically just that – good or bad. You either have it or you don’t. And anything else is just smoke and mirrors to hide bad behavior under the excuse of “being human.” Since you hail from Texas these days – I’ll offer a great quote from the greatest Western ever made – Lonesome Dove. When they are about to hang their old friend and fellow Texas Ranger Jake Spoon (who had fallen in with murderers and outlaws) – Jake offers that he was only riding with them to ‘get through the territory.” Gus MacRae (one of the great characters of American literature) counters simply “If you ride with an outlaw, you die with an outlaw. I’m sorry you crossed the line.” That’s black and white thinking – and he was right.

    • Char,

      This is a brilliant post and one I plan on saving and re-reading. You are so right. I get so sick and tired of people defending people who CONSISTENTLY make bad choices, immoral choices, who consistently lie or hurt people, excusing them by saying that they “are really good people, they just did this bad thing.” Or the stock cover-all “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” Good people do not CONSISTENTLY do bad things and I believe even Jesus admonished the sinner, “Now go and sin no more.” I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept to grasp.

      Of course, if you disagree with them, the pat reply is “You shouldn’t be so judgmental.” I have begun to point out that I am not judging, I’m evaluating and reaching a different conclusion. If it’s brown, smells and there are flies buzzing around it, you can call it a rhododendron but the reality is it’s still shit.

      • Why do some people condemn the human need to judge? I don’t get this. Don’t we all judge, all the time, in order to create a fulfilling life for ourselves, hopefully filled with quality friends and lovers? Don’t we raise our children partly by urging them to judge their friends by how they treat them, and then we tell them ‘well, honey, maybe you should see less of that one, since they’ve hurt you ( or are engaging in bad activities)’. Learning how to judge is a huge part of growing up! Not just anyone gets to be in your inner circle! And if they change, and go off the deep end, aren’t we supposed to detach from them?
        This is a pet peeve of mine now. Flaky X of course started me on this thought path when he told me *I* was way too judgmental, because I called his HO a worthless human for what she did to my family. He thought I should look at her life, and clearly she ‘loves people, and helps everyone (and such great parties she throws :D!!!)’.
        I refused that thinking, it’s wrong. I will judge her, I earned that right when she hurt my gorgeous sons. And, I’ll judge him, too, so I can walk away from him after 35 years, as tough as that is, because you have to protect your own heart, it’s your JOB. To judge someone on their behavior is as natural as breathing. Go ahead and do it!

        • Oh yes, I too was “too judgemental” …although I never really saw it that way.

          Actually, what my X considered “too judgemental” was simply me enforcing my boundaries based on my moral code. I do not want their shit in my life and so I will do what I can to not have that shit in my life.

          If “too judgemental” means having and enforcing morals, then I guess I’m guilty after all, but I’m not planning on changing anytime soon.


        • PattyToo,

          You are spot, spot on. I couldn’t say it better. And I feel everything you are feeling minus 10 yrs. A 25 year marriage that I loved and cherished – smashed to bits and beyond any hope of repair. All by him. Yes – I judged both him and the whore. I judged them both and so did my children and we all decided that removing them from our lives freed us to live in happiness and a new peace. Our judgment, our call. And we are starting to thrive again! I wish you every bit of strength, good JUDGMENT and happiness as you follow this new path. It’s lonely at times, and it can be nervewracking – but ultimately you are free of bad rubbish that would have ended up poisoning you. Your ex was like that biblical passage about removing that “body of death” from me? Do you know what that means? In ancient Rome, the ultimate crime if you were in the army was desertion. Punishment was to be tied wrist to wrist, at the waist and leg to leg to the body of a dead Roman soldier. Before they did that – they would make superficial cuts on your arms, legs and torso. Then you were tossed into a cell to wait. And the body would slowly putrify and the decomposition would enter the bloodstream and poison you as well. Not that you’d notice if you’d already been driven mad by the situation. Those Romans – they knew how to keep people from deserting! Bet they’d have some theories on how to handle deserting spouses! 🙂

          But anyway – your ex was a “body of death” – you are well rid of the poison.

      • Chump Princess – thank you for the kind words. The post is heartfelt. And I totally agree with you – the word “judgmental” has taken on a stink courtesy the “PC/wanna be bad but look like we are good” set as a way to avoid being judged. It’s like a preemptive strike. ‘How can you be so judgmental of me (and all the crap I’ve pulled?) YOU are the really bad person – not me! Look at the judgmental bitch, everyone! Don’t look over here at the mountain of shit I’ve done, the lives I’ve hurt all in the name of my own happiness…..look over at HER and see how JUDGMENTAL she is being???

        It’s a defense mechanism for the bad behavior set. Sadly – in this day and age – everyone is so damned afraid to stand up and say “This person is an asshole” or “that was a terrible thing to do and we should no longer associate with someone who would do that” and so bad actors get away with a lot, lot more.

        But you are spot on: judgmental is evaluating a situation or a person’s character and deciding what you think of it/him/her and whether or not you want your life engaged with it. That is not a sin, that is not a bad character trait – that is called instinct and survival. An antelope wouldn’t last long if it decided to hang out with a lion after watching it kill and eat another antelope, would it? Same principle. We surround ourselves (hopefully) with people and situations that make our lives stronger and better. If someone we trust cuts us, hurts us, steals from us – we break the ties.

        That’s the oddest thing: If someone came and raped us, stole all our belongings and beat our children till they could barely walk – NO ONE in society would consider us “judgmental” to want punishment for the perp and to NEVER want to associate with them again. But cheating spouses – who metaphorically and in other ways do pretty much the same thing to us and our families emotionally….well – we are just supposed to “understand his/her need to be happy” and move on and forgive and be friends with the replacement who stepped into our spot! I still have the occasional person who will come up and say “It’s sad that the girls’ have no contact with their father…he is still their dad, you know.” The last well meaning dolt who said that to me got my new permanent pat response, “Two sperm with a sense of direction has provided a biological tie to them, but they do not in any way, shape or form create a “father.” That is a title that must be earned from the day they are born and – if not – means nothing.” She gave a bit of a nervous laugh and then said nothing more about it. Worked for me!

        • Jesus, Char, next thing you know, you’ll be telling us that you ruled out Ted Bundy as a babysitter. What’s up with all the judgment.
          Ever notice that “bitter” and “victim” are now supposed to be bad words, too.
          What person in his or her right mind would not be bitter about this abuse? And, if someone tormented and abused is not a victim, what is he/she? Fucking right I was victimized.

          • Arnold – LOL!! The Bundy line is CLASSIC! And I agree that words like bitter and victim have been stigmatized as well – they have a VERY short shelf life before they become bad – if you haven’t snapped out of it in 6 months – well – you just aren’t trying apparently! But I will say this: CL has been very clear that we can own our victimhood and take all the time we need to be bitter….as long as we don’t let those two words identify us. Which I do understand. I actually don’t have a problem with keeping a little residual bitterness – it keeps me sharp, aware and smarter. Plus it has honed my sense of humor with a little “bite” it never had before. But that word “victim”….that’s one that I did want to shake off eventually. I found that even I was getting tired of wearing that mantle of perpetual victimhood – it felt like it gave my ex some sort of power over me. This was the man who crushed this woman – look at what a victim she’s become – that sort of thing. So I owned that I’d been victimized terribly by someone I trusted with my life….and then chose to no longer see myself as a victim. No present tense, as it were. I guess survivor or maybe (if I think in grandiose terms) phoenix better describe where I am now. So it’s all semantics, really – but it gave me stronger ground to stand on when I stopped actively thinking of myself as a victim and more of someone who had once been victimized. Don’t know if that makes sense or not – but it helped me a lot to clear the next hurdle in recovery.

            But I will happily keep that splash of bitterness – it balances what was always a cheery, hopelessly optimistic and romantic nature! I probably am better for having it added into the mix! 🙂

            • In the wise words of my Shakespeare class yesterday, you can play a role without making it your identity. If you are robbed, you were at that moment in the role of victim. The one who robs you is playing the role of robber in that experience. Those terms simply acknowledge that as we live, we have many experiences in which we take on different roles in relation to other people–some we take on willingly (husband, mother, doctor, coach) and other come out of circumstance (widow, cousin, lottery winner, victim). I think “chump” is a great example of a role we play that shouldn’t become our identity. A certain amount of “chumpiness,” however, graces us with generosity, goodwill, and optimism.

              Any human emotion, bitterness included, is normal in its context. The problem arises when it blots out the sun and becomes the context.

              • Just beautiful.
                This is so helpful, I have a much better life now, but have a tough time with where to put certain feelings. That sounds like such a healthy way to look at being fucked over for 3 decades by a deviant. I want so much to keep that aspect of my life in context, with all the fabulous things I’ve accomplished! Thanks.

    • I loved Lonesome Dove, and well remember that very powerful scene. (Man, why don’t they make shows like that anymore.)

      I give you another quote from the golden age of TV to describe this post: in the words of the great Arthur Fonzarelli (Happy Days)


      Somewhere along the line, we lost our morality in favor of being politically correct and not hurting anyone’s feelings. How messed-up is that???

      • Babushka,

        It truly is the great American Western – even better than Red River. I loved Fonzie – another hero who dealt in black and white morality – as well as his jacket and t-shirt! I don’t know why shame over bad behavior went by the wayside and people don’t think adultery is a big deal. It’s on the ten commandments for a reason, folks. It’s a big one – and committing it leads to much much worse behavior in more cases than not. Pretending it’s not a big deal is – as you said – really messed up!

          • Arnold – LOVED Shane and always admired the quality of the Searchers (the Duke’s most dark and complex role, IMO) but you will never find the chemistry and grand storytelling anywhere else that you find in Lonesome Dove. Perfectly written, perfectly cast, beautifully filmed – it’s the great American Myth come to life. And the best role Robert Duvall ever had.

    • Char you are so right about this. My X said to me once, “I’m a good person. I did a bad thing, but I’m a good person.” He even tried to explain away the fact that his mother was an embezzler. She was stealing from her company, but hey, it was to help her kids out so, you know . . . she’s didn’t really *want* to do it. Family first y’all!

      Good people don’t do bad things. Period. I know actual good people, and they don’t do what this moron did. It wouldn’t even occur to them.

      • Rumblekitty,

        Why do I not only hear this from Cheater McFlamingTurd, but his entire family? Don’t get me wrong – his family has been wonderful to me overall and I love them dearly. But, except for one sister, they all have the situational “just because I did (name the immoral/illegal activity) doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.” The OW? Cheater McFlamingTurd has convinced everyone that she is this wonderful and good person – in spite of the fact that she is a minister who has no problem sleeping with another woman’s husband. I’ve heard of cognitive dissonance, but they need to invent a new category for this kind of fucksanity.

        I know two female ministers who have shaken their heads in disgust when I tell them she’s a minister. My friend bluntly stated, “People like her are the reason why people leave churches or don’t even bother going.”

      • Rumblekitty –
        What is is with our exes that that they feel they have to convince us that their whores are saints in disguise that we’d obviously love if we would quit being so judgmental about the snatch shots we found of them on our spouses’ cell phones? 🙂

        It’s not wacky – it’s not even demented, really. It’s pathetic – faced with everything they’ve done -they look for ways to make it easier….on them. You are right – good people don’t do this shit. People who love us – really love us – don’t hurt us and toss us and our kids away like garbage. There’s a name for people like that – and “good but acting bad” isn’t it.

      • A good person who makes a mistake (not an active, deliberate, and continuing choice like cheating or embezzling) accepts responsibility and makes amends, even if that means going to jail or losing the respect of others. You don’t have to say you’re a good person if it is evident that you are. And your last point is so good–when I tell people that Jackass and his MOW started their affair at her brother’s memorial service, their jaws drop. Who in the midst of utter grief and desolation over the sudden death of a loved one and supposed dear old friend starts an affair, while the husband and kids are in the room? When my uncle passed at advanced age after a long illness, his stepson hit on me at the wake. I was repulsed. For most people, grief is totally absorbing. For these disordered f***ers, it’s an aphrodisiac apparently. For normal people, what these two did “wouldn’t even occur to them.” You have hit squarely on one of the big things that allows these people to do what they do–their conviction that their behavior has nothing to do with who they are. Insight.

  • Forgot to finish my thought on the demanding to know where you are at all times.

    Mind did it, as I found out later, because he was traipsing around different parts of town with his fuckbuddies. He didn’t want to accidentally run into me or have me see him on the road. He planned his time very carefully, and he was constantly calling me to make sure I was where he needed me to be.

    What was kind of fun to do after I found out he was doing this was tell him I was at the office or at home and really be where HE told me he was located. Hmmm. Never worked out that I could seem to find him where he said he was.

    But that’s the marriage police routine. If you need to go that route, then do it–but it’s a dead end. It pulls you further into the “Why”—Why are they lying? Why would they do this? Why don’t they just tell me the truth? Why won’t they love me like I love them?

    She’s already told you WHY. You need to decipher the Cheater Code. They never speak in direct sentences or thoughts—their minds are a seething mass of chaos.

    She tells you every single day—I am entitled to my privacy, to do whatever I want to do, talk to whomever I want to talk to, screw anyone I like, (I won’t touch what was going thru her head on the children issue), have my friends and family cover for me when I ask them to lie, steal time/money/effort/love/kindness from my spouse and children—and it comes under the guise of “I’ve been neglected.” or “You don’t pick up your socks.”

  • Sam, I’m sorry you are going through this. Here is a link to a NY Times article I remember reading a while back about men who had to paternity test their children and discovered that they were not biologically theirs, so you are definitely not alone:

    You may wish to discuss with a lawyer how the results of a negative paternity test may affect child support obligations and custody.

  • I can relate to the paternity deal. as I am sure many of the men here can. Really a tough dilema, as I want to know but also do not want to know. And, I worry about what finding out would do to my kids if it ever leaked.
    My then 7 year old, one time told me she was AB blod type. I asked her how she knew and she told me her doctor told her. I am O negative and XW is A negative. So, no way could my daughter be AB.
    I just let it go. I love her(my daughter) too much to risk investigating. She looks completely different than my other kids. But, what good would it do me to know or her to find out? It would just mess her up, badly.
    But, that is just me and I am not sure what is right for others.

    • Your daughter is a lucky girl, Arnold, to have a true father who loves her unconditionally.

    • There’s a lot more than biology that makes a person a father. My sister’s husband has treated her child like his own daughter. Her own father abandoned her. I have the greatest respect for any man who sees beyond biology to honor the emotional ties a child has with them.

      • This.

        One of my friends lost his wife about 6 years ago. His wife had a daughter by a disastrous first marriage. My friend loves that little girl, who is now a grown woman, married, and with children of her own. She is his daughter, not the daughter of the sperm donor first husband.

        My friend happens to be retired military, with over 20 years of service to the Navy. His wife was the love of his life. His daughter is now married to a Marine.

        So yes, biology is only one–and perhaps the easiest–component of parenthood.

  • Both genders get shafted in infidelity. But, this particular issue is the man’s alone.
    I just try not to think about it and enjoy mykids.
    When talking to folks about the infidelity and divorce, I often say I would go through it again if it meant my kids could be here. It is the one comfort I have about all this- that I got 5 great kids from the deal.

  • “Out of the Fog” should be on the reading list. I’m not even several pages into that website and I’m stunned.

  • Sam, regarding the paternity issue I have something to share, just food for thought.

    My husband is not a good man, but he loves his daughters. He was told by his first wife after they divorced that the second daughter is not his. He never went to get a paternity test because he said, “At the very least she’s [first daughter’s name] sister. I won’t deprive her of her sister or have them separated.”

    It was maybe the only noble thing he ever did. (He never paid child support because he ended up with custody of the girls.)

    That said, this is a major decision and nobody here would judge you for getting that paternity test and then trying to make an informed decision. I have to admit I’d probably want to have one and then decide what to do. You can always keep the knowledge to yourself.

    A lifetime of child support for a child that isn’t yours might be a tough pill to swallow. I’m sorry you find yourself in this position.

  • As an adoptee, I’m torn on the paternity issue. I would hate anyone to lose their kids and biology doesn’t make a parent, I know this more than anyone. Yet I grew up with no medical history and that’s a scary thing. I have since made contact with the bio fam and now know there is a slew of things I need to watch out for. But also people have right to know where they come from. I have an older sister who I am not related as she is the child of my adopted dad, but who was also adopted herself ( my dad wasn’t told he was the father, but has since fully welcomed her into our family) and in finding my father and her birth mother, she now knows she’s at a insanely high risk for breast cancer and other cancers. She never screened for those and once she knew this, not only did she catch her OWN breast cancer in time, but switched professions as she was working around hazardous materials.

    Biology does not make a parent, but just throwing it out there that medical history and sense of self is also important.

    • Just another example of how infidelity is something that has enormous emotional, psychological, and ethical consequences for the betrayed, including the children that result from the infidelity.

  • Trust your gut Sam. We tend not to give it credit when credit is due. It’s hard. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I’ve heard references to Dr. Phil saying that if there’s one rat, there’s more and there’s a nest. It may still be scampering around but you hear it, you know it’s there. You’ve got a rat and I think you know (but also don’t want to believe) that there’s a nest as well.

    You are NOT to blame for any of it. Blame-shifting is a telltale sign of a cheater. (And also a screaming red flag that they have horrible conflict resolution and boundary setting ability). She’s going to say you two had issues and you caused them. There are issues in 100% of marriages. Each person can play a part in the dysfunction/function because we all are responsible for our own actions. But as CL referenced in another post, the cheater puts a bullet through anything that was already there and nothing else can be addressed until you get the bullet out. That means the cheater owning their choices and owning that the adultery is 100% on THEM, not the faithful partner. She’s going to continue blame-shifting, trying to pin it all on you. She’s also likely to try and use your anger against you. Be prepared for it. Anger is 100% okay, it’s a healthy response to being betrayed, lied to etc. I mentioned in another thread that I’m not advocating extreme actions based on anger (vandalism etc) but it’s a healthy and appropriate emotion. The ones who tell you otherwise are not coming from a place of knowing how to deal with strong emotions, such as anger, in a healthy way themselves.

    If you haven’t already, you’ll probably hear “you shouldn’t be so angry,” “I’m not safe b/c you’re angry,” “I couldn’t tell you b/c you’d get angry,” etc. Don’t fall for it, it’s total bullshit and her trying to make herself the victim, to play you and triangulate those around her. Especially as a military man, I’m assuming you’re probably well built. The easy target for the cheater to go for is to turn the faithful spouse’s character, profession etc against them. (That’s what my husband’s ex did to him). If/when you find a therapist, make sure they take a healthy/appropriate response and call that BS as they see it.

  • “once betrayed, the end point is the same- ‘leave a cheater, gain a life’.

    There are very few absolutes in this world, but this is one of them.

    No matter who you are. No matter what your circumstances. It is the ONLY answer.

    Until you face this and reject everything else (all the crazy-making pie-in-the-sky rationalizations that YOUR cheater is somehow different), then you (like all of us here) will be like the proverbial chump in the old joke about how to drive someone crazy: Put them in a round room and tell them to find the corner. There IS NO corner with a cheater. You’re looking for something that doesn’t exist, except in your mind … and when a cheater is involved gaslighting you, your mind is not your ally. That’s why CL started this blog …

    We’ve all been there. We’ve all wasted more time than we should in the magical thinking. I’m 3.5 years don the road, and I’ve been slow on the uptake … still fighting thoughts of “what kind of a person would do this?” I’m over my ex, but still have to fight Pollyanna thinking. Still not over my massive disappointment in humanity.

    Truth is … character disordered people are just that. DO NOT allow yourself to move past that point because if you allow it, you’re back to finding that corner again.

    Love you sweetie. You’re probably the age of one of my sons. Love yourself enough to protect yourself and get the paternity testing. You’re not alone. You have us. You have CL (aka She-Ra The Magnificent). You have your right mind. You have character and a moral compass. Kick the bitch to the curb (oops, slipped out of Mom-speak for a second) and “leave a cheater, get a life’.

    It’s no more complicated than that. As the Marines say, “And with a loud vicious growl …..ATTACK.”

    • Me. I’m saving your words to motivate me to leave STBXH. Also, the part about “Marines say “Attack!” Ironically STBXH was a Marine. The Marine’s motto is “semper fi”. STBXH’s should be “never faithful”.

  • I’m so sorry, Sam, that you are going through this. It is a terrible shit sandwich for someone who’s put his life on the line for his country to come home to a spouse who treats him so shabbily. CL has given you excellent advice, and has decoded your wingnut of a wife.

    Let me pick up on what LovedDaJackass said about your absence of proof.

    You will never be able to confront your wife with proof you know. As you’ve discovered, one of the hallmarks of the cheater is their ability to gaslight their victim, er spouse, in order to deny any kind of wrong-doing. That guy calling your wife via Facetime? Oh, that was a “wrong number,” not her lover. And since when did anyone accept Facetime calls from people they don’t know?

    Do not go down the rabbit hole of trying to prove to your cheater that, beyond a doubt, you know that she cheats. She will deny it and throw around enough fog so you’ll be lost.

    You’re the only person who really has to know she’s cheating. All the signs say “yes,” but we Chumps really need the hard proof (i.e. emails or texts saying, “oh honey, we need to get rid of my spouse so we can have another weekend of hawt lurve”). Cheaters know this, and they use this knowledge to keep us off balance, as they deny each piece of evidence we bring them as being inadequate, unacceptable,

    So don’t get wrapped up in showing your wife that you have evidence. She will deny it, no matter how good.

    • Agree. I have such good evidence that, if I had to try this in front of a jury, I would never lose. Regardless, my cheating XW still denies some of the stuff. She only had “iappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized” (WTF? Who talks shit like that?).
      I guess the journal entry I have where she expresses her deisre to stop having sex with strangers, was all a figment of my imagination.

      • Arnold,

        She only had “iappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized” (WTF? Who talks shit like that?).

        Answer: Gwyneth Paltrow

        That ends today’s installment of simple answers to simple questions.

      • ” . . . An inappropriate relationship where the chemistry became sexualized.” That is fucking awesome.

      • “Inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized.” That’s an awesome passive voice noun phrase with adjective modifying clause, where no human is responsible for the relationship, its inappropriate nature, the chemistry or the sex. Awesome avoidance of all responsibility. Syntax is a great revealer of the unconscious mind. No people involved in that affair at all, eh, Arnold?

        • Well. I mean chemistry, sometimes, just becomes sexualized. It’s like magic.
          I have no problem with that. If I were more evolved, wore a beret and petoulie oil, maybe it would happen to me. I do not judge.

  • Sam,

    I can’t even imagine the paternity issue, so can’t speak to that other than to say, you have my most profound sympathy. Just awful.

    I can, however, tell you that I could have pretty much written the rest of your post about the incessant phone thing, the wedding bands, the blame-shifting, the denials that anything was wrong, the indifference and withdrawal from me. It sucked and hurt really bad, but when I realized that I would never have ironclad proof, and that I needed to just understand that the evidence was in, that she was unfaithful – and there was a D-Day, it was a huge weight off my shoulders in a strange way.

    In a weird way, I could take a deep breath, I knew what the problem was. So much crazy-making behavior finally made sense. It hurt like hell for a while, then over time I found the three C’s: I didn’t cause this, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. She did this, not me.

    Still trying to find my way out of the tunnel now after a couple of years, and I won’t say that when she does something new, it isn’t a body punch. But I can deal with it now without the crazy, “WTF why is she doing this?” I think you may feel the same way as this unfolds. It doesn’t begin to resolve the issue with your kids. But, one small step at a time, when anything at all positive is a good thing.

    So sorry you’re going through this, man.

    • So true, Chumpguy. I can vividly recall my feeling when the private investigator I used ( a friend, so it was free) called me thatnight to tell me that he had busted my wife(first time he followed her, he busted her).
      Rather than sadness, grief or whatever, I felt euphoria. I was not crazy after all. I had it right and this was confirmation.
      These cheaters are mmerciless when it comes to jeopordizing our mental health. Thye care not one iota that they are making you crazy.

  • See a lawyer about this, but I wonder if you want to check your kids’ paternity? If you love them and want joint custody, maybe it would be a bad idea to establish that they aren’t yours biologically.

    Also, what if one kid turns out to be biologically yours and the other isn’t? What would you want to do then? I’m not sure this is useful information unless you want to cut off contact with your kids.

    You know your wife cheated on you, that’s the important thing.

    Is there any way to get them to come live near you? It seems horrible for the kids to be so far from you.

    • I know you don’t have as much proof as you want that your wife cheated, but I think it’s pretty clear. Hiding your wedding ring and your phone is not normal.

  • Thank you all for the support and thank you CL. I now have a lawyer and I’m pushing through with the divorce. You all are absolutely right about checking the paternity of my kids could be a swaying factor, however they call me daddy, they have my last name, and I love them more than anything and nothing will change that.

    I am struggling to actually go through with the paternity test, I don’t know if I would want to know at this moment. If the question was ever brought up by either of them how would I explain?

    Once I start college and move from my current location I will be closer to them, about 3 hours. It will still be difficult with holding a job and going to school but at least I wont be 6 hours away. That will be a year from now so at least I can see them on a more frequent basis.

    There were times I know I hurt her feelings, considering she does have paper thin skin. It was very easy to hurt her feelings, walking on eggshells in that department is an understatement, I respected that, some people are more sensitive than others. This inevitably lead to her demonizing me to her friends and family because “I got mad about everything”. Since I refuse to ever have a facebook page, a defense on my end was somewhat absent. As i have said I’m not a snoopy person so I did not find out about this for a while. I’m not super husband I’ve made mistakes and I’m not the easiest person to live with. I’m grouchy , stressed out, and when I work 12-14 hour days and get 4-5 hours of sleep. I try to spend some time to myself unwinding from the hell that is my job and this is what I get demonized for. I’m not a good father or husband for this. So for the past year and a half downing 3 monsters a day and being that “better me” so she would not leave, literally Sleep, work, gym, kids, school and rotate that for a year and some change and I’m still not good enough. Then after piecing together her crafty cheating bullshit, which took forever, I’m still the piece of shit. Fuck that. So… yes I’m sure she will try and throw the angry monster bit in there. Sorry for the rant.

    My heart goes out to you all for you have been though this, I’d rather be at war than feel this.

    • Sam, it’s ok, rant away. This is the place for it. We’ve all been there. Walking on eggshells, never knowing when they will be set off or by what, “hurting their feelings” because “they are so sensitive”. “Respecting their privacy”. Taking care of everything, working too hard, being the “better me” so they won’t go off on you, so they won’t leave. Being so tired that you can’t think straight and it still not being enough.

      My STBX accused me of “being mad at everything” too, after he lost his job and I went to work night shifts so my kids had benefits and we had money to eat. And yes, I was grouchy and upset, because I was the one getting up to get the kids to school, doing all the housework, activities, then working until one in the morning and coming home to more housework. Bastard wouldn’t even pick me up after work because he “needed his sleep”. I weep now at what I put up with.

      It was a shock to me when I came here to find out that I definitely wasn’t alone, that he wasn’t special and worthy of extra consideration. All these entitled people are the same. All of them. And we and our kids are better off without them.

      Keep reading, keep posting. Chump Nation is here for you. It is a hard, hard journey, but it is worth it, and one of these days, on a Tuesday I understand, you’ll be through the other side to Meh.

    • You’re doing what we all did and look for things wrong with us. Maybe you weren’t the best father or the best husband or the best whatever . . . none of that matters even if it were true. She still cheats on you and disrespects you, and there is no excuse for that. If she were so unhappy, she could have just divorced you, but these crazy fucks don’t do that. They lie to your face, sleep on their phones, tell you you’re crazy when you ask questions, and then go skipping off like it’s no big deal. Screw all that . . .

      When I first started going through this, I posted on the “Tell me why you’re mighty” thread and frankly, I was falling apart. I really believed I would never smile again. Now I’m 8 months after D-day and divorced, and every day I thank God for everything I have and to finally be free of that oozing stinking abscess that was my husband. One day you’ll be amazed at how good you will feel.

      Welcome to Chump Nation! (And thank you for your service 😉

    • Oh the sensitive ones – the egos you have to stroke – the responsibility you have to take on because they just can’t. Of course you get grouchy since you are doing it all, they don’t see any connection to their actions and then they feel entitled to do whatever they want. I was married to that too. It is all about excuses to do whatever strokes their ego, and it is never enough. I am glad you are getting out, it will get better over time.

      • Yeah, ex was always described by his family as ‘really sensitive’. He wasn’t sensitive, he was an asshole who pouted if his little baby feelings got hurt by someone pointing out the bleeding obvious about something he did that wasn’t so great. He’d get all butt hurt and ‘sensitive’, which to me, looking back now, was just another immature manipulation and way to avoid taking any responsibility.

        If anyone tells me a grown person is ‘really sensitive’ ever again I am going to run a mile – AFTER I laugh in their face.

    • Sam,

      (((HUGS))) and welcome.

      So, you say you were not an ideal husband. I don’t believe that there are any ideal anythings. Everyone is just doing the best they can under whatever circumstances they find themselves. There are no perfect people and there are no perfect relationships – except in books and movies.

      When you felt you were not being all that you could be for your wife and family, you took responsibility for that and upped your game to be a “better me.” That’s what adults do when they are committed to their relationships and the people in their lives.

      That sensitivity you talk about your wife having? Yeah, I lived with the STBX’s “sensitivity” syndrome, walking on eggshells, thinking because the STBX was so “sensitive” that I had to take special care with his feelings. Why does none of that sensitivity give these cheaters the requisite empathy to care about your feelings and your “sensitivities?” Apparently being “sensitive” is a one-way street, all leading to the entitled Cheater. That sensitivity, IMHO, is just another control mechanism to keep from having to be responsible or accountable for their rancid-assed behavior and to keep from being called out on their shit.

      I am so sorry that you are having to go through this, especially the part about your children. You sound like a great guy, Sam. The right woman will treasure you and appreciate all your great qualities. When I read the postings from the guys about the love, devotion and commitment they had for their wives, I always realize just how much I’ve missed out on.

      Good luck to you Sam. Thank you for your dedicated service.

      • My Xw was not only more sensitive , but way more evolved than me. There was one set of rules for her and another for the peasantry.

        • Yes, but if I were her English teacher I could smack her down in a second. Just sayin’… 🙂

    • I can relate, people like your wife are extremely adept at both provoking people and playing victim. They play to their audience.
      Last I checked, my vows made no mention that fidelity was contingent on my being perfect.

    • Whenever someone uses the phrase “walking on eggshells,” it’s a very bad sign. I don’t think that any healthy relationship should involve one partner having to do that for the other. Also, the feeling that you have to walk on eggshells may–and I need to stress may–mean you are dealing with someone with BPD. When you are dealing with a disordered personality, the normal emotional logical rules go out the window.

      There are BPD people who seek help, but they are rare. They have a difficult path to walk.

      At any rate, once you understand that you are not dealing with someone operating from the same perspective, you see that these people will always exaggerate your faults. Are you a perfect husband? No, but no one is.

      Military life puts stresses on marriages, no doubt about it. You work weird hours, you get deployed for months–even years–and coming back is a real transition. However, all of the normal military issues could have been addressed through decent marriage counseling, and at that point, the marriage counselor probably would help both of you to see how each has a role in creating the tensions and easing them.

      But that won’t work if you’re dealing with the disordered because they can’t see that they have to give, too. Instead, they’ll blame it all on you because you have to be the problem.

      Anyway, more power to you, and here’s wishing you all the strength you need to go through this.

    • Sam, it’s a terrible fact that deployment in times of war is a life-changing stress situation. We know about PTSD, which is now commonly understood to affect not only veterans but victims of abuse, because so many Vietnam era veterans came home suffering as a result of “the hell that is their job.” And as a country, we do a terrible job of helping active military and veterans recover from these experiences.

      But think of this: every marriage has periods where one or both spouses are struggling with grief, loss, job difficulties, illness or disability, the death of a child–so many traumatic events in any lifetime together. That is no excuse for betrayal. None at all. A decent person remains faithful through deployment, seeks counseling if lonely and troubled, supports the spouse’s re-integration upon return, and gets joint counseling if things don’t go well. Or some combination thereof. And she thinks you are “the piece of shit.” Please don’t internalize her blameshifting, her lying, her need to devalue you to justify herself. Do some reading on narcissistic personalities in relationships. She may or may not be NPD but you will see the devaluing pattern that is common with these folks. You aren’t perfect, but you aren’t cheating, gaslighting, or bullshitting when you get caught. Rant all you want here, Sam. It will do you a world of good.

  • Sam sorry for your troubles. You say – “I have also had two relatives and a close friend tell me to run a paternity test on my children. Well fuck is that not just awesome, now my children are illegitimate?”

    I am sorry if I seem pedantic here and I know where you’re at but I feel the need to say children can never be illegitimate. Whatever their birth or conception circumstances they are never illegitimate. I guess it just cannot be that some kids are legitimate and some are not. It may seem nitpicky to point that out and that is not my intention. If anyone is being illegitimate it is your cheating spouse, never the children.

  • Sam,
    I went through this and I decided to get my daughter paternity tested. I had to know, but I did not know exactly what I was going to do if she wasn’t mine. I never had to find out because she is mine, but I was fairly sure I would not tell XW if she wasn’t. I love my daughter and that would not have changed if she wasn’t really mine.

    CL is fond of saying that there should be special place in hell for those that cheat on pregnant women. I agree with that, but I think there should be a warm seat right next to those douche bags for women who force men to have to run paternity tests on their children. That is an experience that no man should have to go through!

  • Hi soldier,

    your protective urges towards your kids, and how you want to be there for them, lets me know what a good person you are.

    Sorry you are in this hell, and your stupid wife doesn’t appreciate you.

  • My stbxh thinks that I am listening to his request to try to work all of this out without lawyers pushing us towards battle so he can get close to 50/50 custody, etc.

    My gift to that prick will be hitting him with all the evidence at the negotiation table with my terms and a take it or leave it from my attorney. That is the problem when you screw over a wife who went to law school and works with lawyers in different law firms day in and day out. They don’t like their friend getting screwed by a dumb asshole.

    If only I could throw confetti in the air at the same time! Do you think it is possible?

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