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…
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 — www.manipulative-people.com and www.outofthefog.net 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.”