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Dear Chump Lady, Is there any way back from an emotional affair?

Dear Chump Lady,

Is there any way back from a 13-month-long emotional affair? My husband and our insurance agent carried on behind my back, talking, texting, sometimes meeting in the park near our home. They were just friends, blah, blah, blah.

I know your friends and she’s not one of them. The worst part was he called her his “best friend” and said if I hadn’t found out, it would still be going on. WTF? Is there any reason to reconcile other than, they didn’t have sex?

Mind Fucked in Miami! 

Dear MFIM,

Your insurance agent? Really? Can you imagine the pillow talk? “Want to come up and see my actuarial charts some time?” “Whisper Best’s Capital Adequacy Relativity to me, Baby!” “Can I be your underwriter? Then I can see those… assets.”


No offense to insurance agents, but just goes to show anyone can be a cheater. Even the dullest of the professions. For people who spend their days calculating risks and outcomes, she must be one of the dimmest insurance agents ever — busted having an affair. Yeah, no one saw that coming.

But your question is can this marriage be saved? Well, MFIM what are your deal breakers? From where I sit you’ve got nothing to work with. He’s not one bit sorry. If it weren’t for you finding out — “it would still be going on.” So apparently your husband sees you as a real killjoy. You messed up his good thing with Ms. Allstate there.

And what makes you think that they didn’t have sex? Because he said so? Cheaters lie.

Thirteen months in close proximity and they go to parks? What do you think is going on? Picnics and furtive liverwurst sandwich sharing? Pushing each other on the swing set? Litter pick up?

No, grown-ups generally don’t spend this kind of time together unless they’re fucking. No adult man spends over a year courting someone and referring to her as his “best friend” unless he is screwing her. I’m sorry.

But let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s not physical — it’s still a betrayal. You’re his wife. The “best friend” life slot is reserved for you. He is not supposed to share emotional intimacies like this with another woman, and then resent you for getting in the way of his happiness.

The other thing that would give me pause is that he’s quite adept at carrying out a double life for 13 straight months (that you know of). Personally, I could never feel safe with someone who could do that. So your trust is shattered either way, emotional, physical or both.

So can you reconcile with that? Sure, if you want a remorseless cheater for a husband. Personally, I think there are better ways to live. And I suggest you go see a lawyer and explore them.

Tell your husband you’ve examined your fucktard coverage and noticed that 13-month affairs are not insured. He’ll have to eat the loss.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • If you hadn’t found out about it, it would still be going on. That’s all you need to know about this man. I’m sorry you have been treated like this, but what you do next will demonstrate beyond a doubt that you are worth so much more than what he thinks of you.

    • Argh. “If you hadn’t found out about it, it would still be going on” doesn’t even sound better than “Fuck you!”. It actually sounds worse in some ways because, as CL pointed out, it casts you in the role of “kill joy”.

      Yeah, that you, alright. Mrs Killjoy: The Warden. Pesky things like MARRIAGE and respectful boundaries get in the way of him fully embracing his inner asshole; not that he hasn’t managed at least a 99.5% embrace; he’s just not 100% committed to it yet. Give it time though.

      Been there, done that. You’re the old “ball-and-chain”. How does that feel? He’s in a prison, and you are being invited to play Warden + full-time correctional officer staff in addition to your other wifely/spousal roles.

      You didn’t give us much background about how his behavior might have changed and how you were tipped off, but I am going to go out on a limb and suggest it did, and are you ready to wonder and play enforcer every time he behaves remotely similar again? Yeah, it sucks, and that’s where things are, IMO.
      He’s not sorry, so there’s nothing to work with, and the next time he acts a bit distant or unhappy, you are going to wonder if it’s happening again because he never was sorry, and he doesn’t appreciate you enough to consider how you might be feeling about all of this. In fact, he resents you for blowing up his magical utopia.

      • TH, boy are you right. As the partner with the deep affection and attachment, Chumps are unfairly cast in the role of WET BLANKET. It sucks so bad!
        And then the final role I got cast in? The ‘How could you leave me? This could have been handled so much better’ role. I don’t want that one either!
        I wasn’t a Kill-Joy, and I also am not a woman with no heart! I’m just a proud Chump, loving completely, and then protecting my chumpy heart, when you shit on me.

        • Yeah, it sucks. It makes you want to scream “This is not who ‘I AM’!’. I am not your fucking parent. You’re a grown person, and if you want to play rebellious/sullen teenager and have somebody else play your momma/daddy, then you better invent a fucking time machine or turn into Benjamin Buttons because no healthy adult is going to put up with that shit!”.


          OK, I feel better now 🙂

        • Oh Patty Too – I love this. It was perfectly put and speaks to my situation exactly. Thank you.

    • This. He’s basically giving you the outline of your future with him right now. If I were you, I’d move to my own place and focus on myself and don’t listen to any of his pleas if he comes back to your door. He’s telling you by doing this, that he doesn’t want a monogamous relationship with you. If you want a monogamous relationship with an honest man, this guy isn’t the one for you. He’s telling you straight up that he will hurt you again in the future. And that he has no problem lying to you. He just told you that.

      And I don’t believe for one red flag minute, that it’s only emotional. I’d bet my Grandma’s ashes these two snakes have already gotten physical. I’d take myself to get std testing immediately and never let this guy back in my bed. So sorry he’s being so callous. You deserve honesty and respect.

  • Yuck is right, MFIM…someone who is in a profession that relies on trust and she has personal, intimate information about YOU thru these policies!!

    IMHO, and I have issues with which is worse…sometimes the EAs are worse than actual phyzical contact, although I am in the camp that a man who spends that much time and effort on someone is getting a bit more than stimulating conversation.

    My first question to him would be, ‘If it was just friends then why did you hide it and lie to me (by omission)?” He isn’t sorry he did it, let alone connects that this harmed you and your marriage. First step in solving problems is admitting there is one and taking responsibility for it. H thinks he’s done nothing wrong!

    You need to ask yourself, how much proof do I need in order to see that he is a self indulgent, selfish and untrustworthy person capable of deceivingme when it suits him? Emails? Voicemails? Pictures? Witnesses to sexual acts? How bad does it have to get…an STD or a secret family (he’s already told you he’s okay with hiding a 2nd life from you).

    Are YOU okay with never knowing if he’s got several Other ‘best friends’ out there? Why isn’t he seeing YOU as his bestfriend? Isn’t that what couples are supposed to be…a team, who rely on each other and trust each other?

    If he wants to bestest buddies with insurance girl, I would contact her boss and inform him/her of the situation and threaten to start canceling policies. Then, if she is married or in a relationship, I would definitely inform the sig other of the ‘bestest friends’ and their park visits. See how long she is his ‘bestest friend forever’ after that (BTW. are all cheaters mentally in the fourth grade?? ‘Yer my bestest friend EVER!’)

    I wouldnt’t believe for a microsecond that a PA isn’t going on…nobody defends a secret relationship like that unless there is something physical going on.

    I personally would not wait for thegory details. He’s not sorry aboutharming you. Game over in my mind.

    • Great suggestion on exposing the affair to her employer. It’s got to be an ethics breach.

      Perhaps use this as leverage in getting a divorce settlement.

      • I would think so. I’m in a profession where I see clients’ personal info plus have them tell me things in confidence. I ould lose my license if I became involved with one of them. It’s unethical and downright creepy!! At the very least, she needs to change insurance people and inform the company as to why she’s doing it. Let’s see how committed she is to being his bestbuddy when she’s on the unemployment line and can’t find a decent job in her field.

        Then I would deal with HIM just like any other commonplace liar and cheat….boot his ass out!

        • Yes, buttercup. This woman has access to all of the magic stuff to steal MFIM’s identity or make her life a living hell, including her Social Security number. Unless she owns the insurance agency, her employer is totally exposed in terms of liability if this woman misuses that information. MFIM should call the head of the agency or the main office of the larger company, cancel coverage or request a move to another agency within the same company, one that has better ethical and hiring practices. I would also ask for an investigation into whether her confidential information is in fact secure and follow any conversation with an email to provide a paper trail.

          • These are excellent points. Maybe if you report her, you should ask the insurance company to supply you with free credit monitoring for at least a year as compensation for their company representative’s irresponsible slutty behavior. That is the least they can do.

      • I wouldn’t Report the OW until I got a settlement agreement signed, might use it as leverage to that. He might make things hellish if you hurt his OW, I know mine would have. I could of gotten the saintly little elementary school teacher fired but it would have made getting a divorce much harder.

        • I see your point but the elementary teacher doesn’t have access to confidential information as a function of her job–although a teacher having an affair with the parent of a student is every bit as dangerous in a different way. It’s a tough choice, but a good lawyer might be able to get a settlement AND protect her information.

  • MFIM, I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I am also married to a remorseless cheaterscum who had an emotional affair. Maybe they were physical but I have no evidence. Anyway, he called her the light of his life, best friend, blah, blah, blah. We are now two years out from D Day and he finally said he shouldn’t have done it. It was, however, her fault. She was getting him to say these things just to hurt me. Now, I am not CL, but I think I can run that through the translator… He regrets being caught. I have been very unpleasant about the whole thing. And this woman (former long time mistress that I have never met) can just take the fall because he couldn’t possibly be doing something wrong. ( Think Adam and Eve. It was Eve’s fault according to Adam.). Now why someone I don’t know wants to be lovey lips with him to hurt me escapes my understanding. So the translation for it is… He will say anything he thinks I will accept and wants me to forget about it. MFIM, consider your options. Two years of this crap and he is still convinced that he can pull the wool over my eyes. And, he says he would still be involved with her if I hadn’t seen the ” Sexy Beast…I will tell Linda I am going to work and come see you…” texting.
    My lawyer told me I would be paying alimony since I am the primary earner. My only chance to avoid that is if he finds a new victim and signs papers quickly to move on with his grand new life. Check out your options with a good attorney. A spouse who lies and betrays you is not a good bet for a happy future.

    • MY lawyer put this wording in my divorce complaint- both parties are employable and able-bodied, therefore no alimony is necessary. (Or something close to that). The judge went along with that completely, I was very relieved! He had been saying- you’re going to pay me alimony if you divorce me.
      He just stopped working 3 1/2 years earlier, and before that he was a mechanic, made great money, but he decided that hanging around the house was much nicer! Then, our house got foreclosed on. Big Dumbass.
      My lawyer showed him.

  • I don’t necessarily believe he has been screwing her, but the absolute nullification of your role as his partner and best friend in his life is a GIANT red flag for what could be in his (and your) future.

    In my situation the ex was constantly falling in love with other women, since before I even came into the picture. We were friends with the first one I knew about. I knew because he told me about each of them. “I can’t help it if I’m infatuated with [name of the latest one.] We have so much in common! You and I have nothing in common. [Name] and I have similar backgrounds and I can’t help it!” Then, of course, it was my fault, and he would demand that I have more sex with him. And you know, there is nothing more attractive than a man who treats you like shit because he’s in love with someone else again, and makes himself scarce to go work out or go on a long hike, or take overtime at work (and insist on keeping separate bank accounts. From his wife.) Eventually he’d get the message from the woman, and things would cool off in his pants and in that spot where a normal person has a heart, and he’d be less of a dick at home, and we would actually have some sense of what I thought at the time was normal.

    And, as far as I know, none of these women–and there were many, but each was the most incredible one of all–returned his affection. I’m sure they were friendly, but I’m not aware that any of them slept with him. They may have been flattered by the attention, or thought his obvious crush was bizarre–who knows?

    But then what happened is this: ex found a troll. And lemme tell you–there’s one under every rock, just ready for a financially stable married guy with a family. Nothing is more attractive to soulless whores than a guy in Dockers with a job. And they’re easy, and they flatter, and they spread their legs to get what they want–that is what you have.

    And the fact that the hubster doesn’t care about you, doesn’t see you as his best friend and life partner? That just makes him easy! That just makes him ready! It’s no problem! You see, he deserrrrrrrrrrrves to be happy. And you’re just in the way. You’re just some buzz kill that he lives with.

    Yep, so now he is gone, cut loose to live with a lazy, entitled, half-wit who sleeps with married men to get what she wants. And she gets the jerk I was married to.

    Is your husband sort of a jerk in other ways? Something tells me, “Yes.”

    • Miss Sunshine were we married to the same fucktard??? They really are all the same! “I deseeerve to be happy” how I hate that line. Wtf do the rest if us deserve!!! Not what they dish out. I hope that the letter writer kicks her asswipe to the curb. I’m sure that damn bench at the park is comfy enough for the idiot!!

      • DeeL,

        I, too, hate the “I deseeerve to be happy!” line. I swear, if Flaming Turd says that one more time, particularly if it is again preceded by, “I’m not doing anything to you,” I may find myself sticking a fork in his throat. Lying, cheating, backstabbing, bankrupting, stealing my life is not not doing anything to me? I guess on planet Fucking Asshole that behavior is considered part of a nurturing relationship. I swear, burning in hell is not good enough for these people.

        • I can’t stop laughing, Chump Princess!!!! Planet Fucking Asshole! We need a cartoon of that, Chump Lady! So many of our partners/former partners live there! It would be fun to make a map of the planet. Let’s see: The parking spaces would say: Fucktards Only……… There would be a Unicorn Zoo……
          Have fun adding on to this, Chumps………

        • Sicko cheater divorce lawyer turned public defender told me the same, “what am I doing; I didn’t so anything mantra.” Part of their cover-up routine.

          My son and I also suffered heartbreaking fallout from an “emotional affair,” many people may know, was between dumbass ex and the president of the board of Bloomington Area Birth Services from 2009-2011. Ms. ex-pres states (on video when they were emotional affairing) that BABS is a “safe place for women.” The executive director (she’s there right now) knew! So did my childcare provider for three years, the one I slaved for because I wanted her to take good care of my child. I kept wondering why they looked at me with contempt, but with nursing around the clock, two jobs, qualifying exams WHILE working hard on my marriage alone, I could not be bothered with petty strangeness, OH boy, oh boy.

          Mind Fucked in Miami, let me tell you what happened after a troll told me about their “emotional affair” so that she would blow up my life when hers was going blow (LESSON: Keep away from the anyone connected to BABS—very fucked-up group of people led by the BABS Executive director sicko-cheater herself)—

          He threw her under the bus.

          After I learned of the affair.

          He first told me: “I thought she was very nice” then “I liked that she was best friends with the the executive director”

          THEN when I told him I no longer wanted to be married to him he said:

          “She is a malcontent”
          “I would rather speak with anyone other than her”
          “If she calls me I will tell her not to call me ever again”
          “I do not like her life”
          “I do not like how she treats her kids” (she messed around with cheater-ex while she was pregnant AND stuck her kid in front of the TV while they “emotional-affaired when her hisband worked late and pathological liar told me and he was working late and he was judging her!!

          So another lesson: These cheaters have no friends. They have no loyalty. They will throw anyone under the bus if it suited them IN THE MOMENT. That’s right, they think moment by moment.

          Liar and I had to live together for a couple of months before the lease was up because I could not afford to pay double rent. Each day he would say: “I am just glad to have this time together (barf). When I said, “but we are separating,” he said “I am just glad for this time.”

          People who have no sense of history cannot have friends. They live by burning bridges, getting hot and heavy then leaving when they actually have to be a human being.

          I am now doing what CL states in her book: treating ex as someone who does my taxes. We share the same story. Get a great lawyer, borrow money if you can and have to and get a good settlement. Don’t tell psycho a thing. I wasted a lot of time trying to explain to him that what he did was so hurtful. THEY DON”T CARE. THEY LIKE TO HURT. They have no true friends. Look at him like he was the most undesirable skunk in the world. Don’t touch him. Get your anger out elsewhere and don’t give him a thing of yourself.

          These assholes deserve each other. Let them hang themselves from the misery they cause one another. Save yourself.

          Assume that everything your shithead says is a lie and go no contact. Get out and get a life. He is a disrespectful horror show who wants to hurt you and will any chance he gets. Then when it suits him he will do the same to Ms. psycho insurance seller.

  • Once again. CL has pretty much said what needs to be said: “But let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s not physical — it’s still a betrayal. You’re his wife. The “best friend” life slot is reserved for you. He is not supposed to share emotional intimacies like this with another woman, and then resent you for getting in the way of his happiness.”

    Let me add a few words from the experience of “emotional betrayal.” I wasn’t married to the Jackass who betrayed me, but we had made commitments to each other, emotionally and financially, and were on the verge of living together “till death do us part” after a very long friendship. A few weeks before the move-in date, he started changing his habits, how he treated me, how he spoke to me, and there were several very difficult, traumatic months in which he distanced himself in ways that shocked my friends and family. In that time, a close friend from HS years and his father passed away, so I was trying to be supportive, give him time and space, but the whole thing was off. And of course, in a few months, I found out that he had a secret and exclusive Facebook friendship with his deceased friend’s married sister. He of course said “That’s my friend OW.” And I of course said, “Why don’t I know about your friend OW?” He denies the emotional affair or a physical affair. But he had been putting me through seven levels of hell for months because he was so “busy” and his life was so “upside down” but he had time for secret FB texting with this woman, who lives three blocks from him. When I busted them, they tried to cover up by adding a few friends to his “one friend” list, but he was never interesting in the social aspects of FB–it was just a way for them to communicate. Now I am on the fence about whether they had sex or not; I found out maybe 10 weeks after it started. Jackass is more of an emotional, ego-kibble, break up someone’s marriage kind of predator. Sex is just a side order on his ego buffet.

    But as I told him, that doesn’t matter. We had a commitment. He kept a relationship secret from me. At the same time, he was lying, lying, lying to me about how he was so busy he didn’t have time for me. He smirked at me. He walked around as if he knew something I didn’t. He either didn’t tell his semi-literate married skank about me or he talked about me to her behind my back. He took what I thought was his love, affection, attention, time, and kindness from me and gave it to her instead. And he didn’t have the decency to end it with me first, so I could move on knowing my situation.

    CL talks about how cheaters rob their legitimate partners of their right to make choices and decisions based on the actual facts on the ground. For their own selfish reasons, they want to keep a spouse or committed loving partner tied to them while they chase a new “best friend,” with benefits. They want cake with us, and cake with their cheating companions. I am 8 months out from D-Day now. I knew from that day there was no going back, but that was an intellectual knowing. I would not be able to trust him, since the moment he felt the slightest shift in his emotional foundation, he was pursuing another woman in the crassest of ways. But I am now coming to understand that the MOW wasn’t some lightning bolt out of the blue. This cheating, betraying, lying, back-stabber is WHO HE IS. All the second chances in the world won’t change a guy who thought it was fine to pick fights, gaslight me, take my money, and smirk at me because he knew something I didn’t. It wasn’t the sex that he got off on: it was the lying, the sneaking, pulling the con on me and the woman’s husband. They love the secrets and the power those secrets give them over others. They know things we don’t know and that makes them feel powerful. They are F***ed up.

    So for me, it didn’t matter whether or not they had intercourse. I know there was physical contact and breathless “I love yous” and lots of smack talk about their clueless, worthless, killjoy partners. The MOW in my case pinned a quotation on Pinterest about how when “he” met her, he had to re-arrange his mind to make room for her to stay. To them, I was just a thing to re-arrange, as were her husband and three kids. Move on.

    • LAJ, I so relate to everything you just said. We weren’t married, but were together for 6 years. I too tried to be there for him during some ‘difficult times’, but I was pushed away because he was sick, tired, depressed – pick anything from the ‘poor me’ department. Turns out, he was busy all right – busy screwing anything that said yes.

      I long, long suspected that the reason he hung on to me is because it made sleeping with skanks all the more exciting. It wasn’t anything about me, I was just a role. He needed cover to look good to his friends and family, the comfort and security of ‘having somebody’, and the aforementioned glorious position of being the stupid dupe.

      I suppose he really did ‘need’ me, just not in a way that meant a damn thing to me.

    • LAJ, I value your insights about this central aspect of affair-world: that it is fundamentally about a very sick, covert-aggressive dynamic of exercising power over a gullible mark — and that the mark is ‘gullible’ principally because the mark has acted in good faith, and not been informed that the situation was not safe and that the mark needed to withhold the trust, care, openness, etc., that healthy relationships depend on.

      sex? (PA)
      not-sex? (EA)
      not-yet-sex? (EA/PA with obstacles in the time-space continuum)


      It’s just flavor variants on the sandwich of being used by the person who sought and obtained your trust. The central violation is the abuse of the trust of the loving, faithful partner. The disposition of genitalia is a secondary concern to the health of the relationship (though one with potentially critical health consequences for the deceived partner).

      • andstillirise, Exactly. This kind of cheating has a lot in common with rape, as the behavior appears to be about sex but it is about power, control, hurting people, by using sexual acts.

      • Very helpful and well said, LovedaJackass and Einstein. I had the same experiences. It really does help to hear of my intimate feelings voiced by you. I don’t feel like such a fool. I feel like a person who trusted and was raped by a group of wolves let in my pathologically lying and abuse ex. No more drama.

  • I’ll disagree on the point that men and women can’t be best friends. Over the years, most of my closest friends have been men, and I would have slept with my brother before I would have done one of them.

    HOWEVER, this was all out in the open. He, and every other friend of the male persuasion, was known to my ex and NOTHING, EVER was kept secret — because, THERE WAS NO NEED TO!

    Just friends….my ass. Friends are nothing to be ashamed of, and you want your mate to know them and like them as well. Now, people you are screwing behind your mates’ back…you need to keep that to yourself.

    He betrayed you, and all you are getting for that injustice is his resentment that you spoiled ‘his thing’. There is nothing for you to save. Trust me…..been there, did that, it was a waste of time and an exercise in anguish and misery.

    • “NOTHING, EVER was kept secret — because, THERE WAS NO NEED TO!” I am a little more skeptical about close friends of the same gender as one’s partner, given the need to keep that “best friend” slot for the partner, although I work in a mostly male world and work closely with men every day. But nothing is ever kept secret. I would never tell another man intimate secrets or complain about my partner. The boundaries of respect and loyalty and intimacy, as well the privacy of my partner and the relationship we share require openness and transparency.

    • I’m with Einstein. I’ve always had friends of both sexes. I was never sneaky about my friendships, my ex knew all of them because I would have them to dinner or other social events. I know who I am and I know that if a friend of the opposite sex had come on to me during my marriage I would have shut them down immediately. But I don’t think I ever gave off any signals that said I was available so the one time it happened I just laughed at the person and pulled back from my friendship with both him and his wife. And that was that. It was the only time it’s ever happened and it turns out the guy is a big cheater who tries it on with everyone, so I wasn’t even ‘special’. 🙂

      • for years, my closest work colleague was a married man – we worked together, traveled together, presented together – we had a very creative job and were great partners. While I adored him to no end, I never shared details about my spouse other than updates, news, as did he. I met his wife, he met my h – there was no secrecy. I was not attracted to him, and if he was attracted to me, it never showed. Our output was amazing and the creative connection was clear to everyone (hence the long partnership) but if anyone were to ask me the most important personal detail about him, it was that he was madly in love with his wife, and talked about her so tenderly. It was my favorite thing about him, because I was so happy that he loved her so much. In all the years we were together, there was never any ickiness, and my h respected the relationship because it was all open and I never called him my best friend. I always consider myself so lucky for having had that relationship and what we produced. At that job, people were having affairs all over the place and it was ugly.

    • Einstein…
      Your male friends are friends only because you say so. That’s the boundary you set for the relationship. You want to test it?
      Get your male friends together and tell them you want to be more than friends and watch the Dynamic change.
      They are settling, staying close, waiting for your significant other to screwup so they can swoop in, save the day and be your Knight in shining armor.

  • Oh, CL, that last line in your reply had me laughing. Perfect.

    It’s funny, a year and a half ago I was reading here to help me recover from being cheated on and now I read to laugh because now having come out the other side, everything you say is just funny.

    It’s a whole different view of cheating for me now and I thank you for that every time I read here. It does becoming much funnier what these cheaters do once you see and know they are ridiculous and you can see through all the bullshit very clearly. It becomes a knowing but detached laughter that occurs, it’s light. No longer tangled up with anger, or self loathing for being a chump.

    Now I know comfortably that I was chumped and I am fine with that as I know it will never happen to me again.

    Thank you for that priceless gift! Thanks for helping everyone here through this shit.

    I wish we could all just stop the spackle and the rationalization a lot sooner than we all do after this happens but I guess that is part of self protection when you are not ready to face what is really going on. The fact is that who these cheaters are is who they are, it really doesn’t have anything to do with us Chumps other than we eventually get in the way of what THEY WANT TO DO, but other than that, who they are and what they do is completely separate from us Chumps and what we do and who we are.

    Our disbelief that someone can be and think like a cheater keeps us stuck longer than we should ever be and I guess the sorting out part is what takes a while to do after this happens.

    Anyway, I hope the Chumps that come here early on have less time and pain recovering with your help!!! Because TRUST THAT THEY SUCK, is where you have to get to before reaching MEH.


    • Bravo, Deborah!

      And I’ll second that. Thank you Chump Lady, for the peace and tranquility I now have in my life!

    • Deborah, I’m discovering for myself that the meh times are coming because they happen to me now and then but it’s really nice to hear from someone who has really come out the other end. I feel fairly optimistic that I’ll be where you’re at someday and if it weren’t for Chump Lady, it would have taken twice as long or never, to get there!

      • Moving Liquid,
        You will get there for sure, it’s a process but it works to see them for what they are. Pathetic Children who just want to feel good because they are really really bad at pretending to be adults. Their whole life is pretend to the point that they don’t even know what is real anymore and a healthy relationship is impossible for them to achieve because they never fully invest.

        You will see that what you learned from this is then applied to all areas of your life with all people. It’s a peaceful calming feeling to be able to separate yourself from the way others behave and from who they are. I became an adult through this and it’s a great feeling! I am not a baby at 49 but I see that I was when it came to taking care of myself.

        Good luck to your achieving Meh, it is right around the corner!

        • Deborah, thank you for your words. I can feel the lightness and also hope to get there someday. Can’t wait for the anger to dissipate and leave me, right now I deal with it by calling it a friend and telling myself not to do anything that will be self defeating—to use rage in a cool way–to think through. It takes a lot of energy that I would prefer to use elsewhere, but your story gives me hope.

  • This happened to me as well. Oooh it still stings! The gas lighting and the humiliating pick me dance. Mine would never admit sex with the OW and she became his BFF. He hid the extent of the relationship and she was very jealous of me. He liked cake an awful lot. She spent half her time discrediting me and the other half doing backflips to make herself of invaluable service to him to keep him interested in her. Perfect for narc kibbles. Need someone to do hours of research and write letters? She’s already on it making the calls for him. She stroked his ego like no other and worshiped him.

    I had to wrap my head around the fact that they did have sex. She knew intimate details and was sure to let me know. She was not very attractive so I had fooled myself to believe sex didn’t happen. you know, believe the cheater!

    After the initial fling she said he was like “her brother” it meant nothing and I should just get over it. He maintained she was his friend, she does stuff for him, and she and I should stop fighting. It was annoying. Ha! The perfect triangle.

    The kicker, I should have been his BFF and any person who attacked our relationship or me he should have put to the curb. That never happened. And yet he claimed to love me. I truly believe no man invests that kind of time texting, calling etc without having sex, even if she was a goat!

    • He was like my brother. She is my best friend’s sister! She means nothing. He is just a friend. Nothing happened. Blah blah blah. All the same.

      • Yes, indeed LaJ. Seeingred, wow. I could have written much of that. Does his BFF have the face and body of a Cabbage Patch doll? Do we have the same Napoleonic ex–a short verbal attack dog? I guess shithead cheaters really don’t have that much variety.

  • MFIM,
    After my post above, it’s very clear to me what you should do, get the fuck away and leave. The fact that he betrayed you on any level and states she is his best friend says it all.

    He has a hole he is trying to fill! (pun intended).

    This is not how a loving, caring person speaks to his spouse after he was caught. By the way, you never mentioned how you found out about this? Not that it matters because clearly you didn’t know about it and therefore he was hiding it. RUN LIKE THE FUCKING WIND!!! Waiting to see what happens means more hurt for you as he showed this to you by the following….
    1. He lied by not telling you about this relationship and therefore was keeping it a secret from you.
    2. She is his best friend and you are not. Therefore your interests to him are not as important as hers.

    Need I say more?

    Good Luck and unfuck your own Mind and Fast!!!

  • Oh yeah, “just friends”, first thing out of the cheaters mouth. Just another lie. I even told the ex that was fine, lets all go to lunch together, I want to meet this friend of yours. Hahahahahahahahah, yeah, no he wasn’t into that idea at all. Oh, and next thing ya know? When you find out it IS physical? He’ll tell you that your attitude “drove him into her arms”.

    And yeah, number one on the “don’t bother” to reconcile checklist? He’s not sorry, he wants his “best friend” back AND he doesn’t want a divorce. If you live in a fault state, get a PI now, especially if you are primary breadwinner, it can save you from having to pay the ex alimony.

  • My ex and both of the married women he was fucking (sometimes simultaneously!) met at the park. Hell, that’s where they taught their exercise program. But you know what? They managed to get plenty of fucking accomplished. They would do it in our car. They would go to one of their homes, while me or the OW’s husband wasn’t there. They could easily have gone to a hotel.

    Sorry, MFIM, no way is your husband simply meeting this insurance agent at the park for sweet talk and cuddles. They are fucking. 13 months is a long time for an emotional affair…. if they are able to physically get together in the park, they are physically getting together for sex, you can be absolutely sure of that.

    The fact that your husband actually told you it would still be going on if you hadn’t found out — by the way, it almost certainly IS still going on — tells you right there that he is without remorse, and IMHO, that means the marriage is beyond repair. I’m sorry. Only you can make the decision about what you can tolerate in your marriage, but I hope you will make that decision with your eyes wide open, not covered in spackle and hopium like so many of us here.

    • This is my first good laugh in 8 months. I only recently found this site. I love it. My eyes are seriously covered in “spackle and hopium”. helped me stay out of the grave, is going to help me get out of the cemetery. You all have the strength I hope to someday get back. Thank you Chumplady and everyone. I’ll be here for a long time to come.

      • Welcome, Marked. You came to the right place. This site is an oasis in a desert of dickheads. And we swear a lot. Good for the soul….builds character.

      • Yes Marked! Those two sites exactly for me as well. PsychopathFree taught me I wasn’t crazy and why nobody could relate to my struggle. I was not dealing with a normal man. I am learning to find my way again because of Chump Lady.

  • I am in the camp of “it doesn’t matter if they did or did not have a physical affair.” What your husband has done is just as bad as a physical affair so why quibble? He’s not remorseful and it would still be going on if you hadn’t caught him. Trust your gut.

    The very first thing I thought of is the ethics of this woman, your insurance agent, carrying on this way. Report her. Move your insurance to another agent or company. Let them know why.

    I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. It sucks. And so does your husband.

    • Agree. Whether it was physical or not, once discovered his loyalty and concern should have been for the feelings of his wife. They weren’t, and in fact, the attitude added insult to injury. MFIM is devastated….and where does his concern lay? With the OW. Wow. What a self-absorbed jerk!

      I know it sucks, but this is all you need to know. Believe everyone here when they tell you that that is a sure sign of a no-win situation.

  • Yes, divorce the cheater. My ex moved out of the house to pursue the woman he was having an emotional affair with. I dunno exactly what happened, but he asked to move back home after a couple of months. Like an idiot, I took him back.

    The next 6 months were the most horrific time of my life. I eventually kicked him out. I finally saw proof that the “emotional” affair was physical during our divorce.

    I have no idea how long this “emotional” affair went on or how far it went when we were together. All I know for certain is that the man who had promised in church to “forsake all others” had broken his vows to me. He is a self-centered jerk who enjoyed having the little wifey at home raising the (5!!) kids and the side piece hanging out with him and his running buddies.

    The process of getting a divorce sucks, but life is better on the other side. I no longer need to spackle his bad behavior. The emotional affair was only a teeny little part of the entire picture. My narcissistic ex-husband is devoid of empathy. I’m glad to be rid of him.

    • Forget to mention–the other woman was his business’ “personal banker.” I didn’t know that banking services went that far!

  • Just a side note – bought the Kindle edition of the CL book. Started it late last night and finished it this AM when I woke up. A great quick read; and although all the familar themes are there, I found it to be much, much more than a rehash of the blog.

    Never seen anything like this chump emancipation guide. I do not think there is anything out there like this at all.

    Don’t want to go overboard, but I truly think the book sales could be pretty huge, and it would not surprise me to hear that the blog explodes with new traffic. You deserve all the success that this brings, CL.

    • Yes, she does! (I assume you wrote your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads?) My copy will be arriving any day.

    • Just bought the paperback on and can’t wait. Thanks for the recommendation.

  • Just another side note. If you want to make your cheater’s head implode, let them somehow “find” this book laying around. Believe me, they will NOT be so 10 feet tall if they peruse it.

  • I only have a kobo reader so I guess I cant get this book yet 🙁 could sure use it today

  • As others have said, the key to this one is that it speaks to his character, the innate sense of entitlement, and the lack of remorse. Cheaters are like icebergs in my experience. They only admit or reveal about 10% of what the whole EA was about. They admit a little, hoping you will bite the hook and let them off easily. It is a horrible thing each time another d-day is revealed on this site, but CL is right with her stats.

    Better to seriously consider making your decision based what he has demonstrated as a character flaw. I failed to do that and ended up “wondering” and playing marriage police for 29 years. At least I honed some pretty decent IT skills doingmy detective work …but what for? Wish we’d had CL back then! In the end I ended the marriage, but would not wish that agonising, drawn-out loneliness on anyone. Divorce will cost you financially but the freedom from mindfarking is priceless.

    • Yes, they may fess up to an affair but play it down, say it was only once or twice, or only emotional, or say that it was after you separated. The cheater says they under disclosure for the chump’s benefit so that the chump doesn’t hurt us quite as much. But the truth is they under disclose because they are cowards and are only trying to protect themselves.

      • They only offer up what you already know, it’s what they don’t say that you need to worry about!
        They will ‘confess’ but, only to give you something but, they still have the power because, the knowledge of what they have done is overwhelming to you.
        They however just hope to ‘get away’ with it & if they do, it’s game on again!
        If you accept the unacceptable once, they usually escalate as, you are primed for giving in & up!
        You will have the burden of the knowing & they win because, you are consumed with the
        knowledge of their betrayal. The person that is betrayed is the captive of the betrayer, always!

  • I wrote a similar letter a few months back. After six months, my cheater has still never admitted to a physical affair even though there were lies, omissions, hundreds of texts, etc. He denies it and tells me that I am cruel to HIM. He offered a brief, angry apology once, then proceeded to respond with fury when I wanted to discuss it further. I guarantee that you will find out more as time goes on, MFIM. He will say that each thing is no big deal, and he will only admit to what you can 100% prove. Kindness and remorse will not be in his playbook, so you will know that he is not sorry at all….only angry that you ruined his fun. My biggest regret is that I did not throw all his shit out on the sidewalk when I found the e-mail of his “EA” in a bra with his response about how beautiful she is. It is very tough to get rid of him now because he refuses to leave. These cheaters drain your emotional energy, and getting to meh is still a far off Tuesday for me. I was almost there….until I found out that he has a second phone line. You will keep finding out more too. The PI is very expensive, but if you can afford it, it might be worth it. Alternately, it is cheaper to rent a car and buy a wig. Yes, I embarrassingly admit that I did that once….to no avail. LOL. These fucktards can make you insane. But at least I got a good laugh at myself.

    In order to avoid all the obsessive spying and self-torturing I did (and continue to do even though it is horrible for my emotional state), I think that you should just trust that he sucks and see a lawyer. Trust that he is not sorry. Trust that he will continue to lie and that there is a lot more you don’t know. Trust that he showed you what he is capable of. Lies and betrayal are not accidents. You don’t need to lie to hang out with a friend.

    You could save telling her boss as leverage in the divorce, but call and switch all policies immediately. Tell everyone you know who has policies with that company to switch too. Let her boss find out that business is slumping from her humping…….I mean “meeting in the park.”

    A sad welcome to Chump Nation, MFIM, but know that this site is a light in a very long, dark tunnel. Buy the book for a great overview of why cheaters suck and what to do about it. Strength to you. I am so sorry. Hugs.

    • “Trust that he showed you what he is capable of. ”

      Lilac, well said. Learning about the “trust that’s” has been the main tool to help me move on because there’s so much I don’t know about what happened between my husband and other women. I have to always remind myself of what I do know, and that is that I got down on my knees to the man and he turned his back on me as though I were a stranger (this was before I knew about the other woman).

      He shunned me. He abandoned me.

      How could I ever want a man like that in my life?

      I can’t.

      I trust that he showed me what he is capable of. I’d have to be a moron to expose myself to that again!

  • I’m so sorry MFIM. I think you’re getting excellent advice here and you should definitely contact Ms. Insurance Agent’s boss and use any tidbits possible to help your divorce situation.

    If there was nothing to hide, he would have included you in their friendship-he would have said, “Wow, I really enjoy Insurance Agent’s company. Let’s invite her over for dinner with our other friends.” He would have respected the boundaries of the relationship. Hanging out in a park discreetly without your knowledge and carrying on secret conversations via text, e-mail, etc. is cheating. That anger directed at you for breaking things up is his way of demonstrating guilt and defending his sorry ass.

    At first glance, it appears my cheater carried on an EA too, but as it has been said here many times before “cheaters lie” and I have good reason to believe physical things happened too-if not full on sex, then things leading up to it. Anyways, he was extremely angry at me when the final D-Day occurred. I couldn’t figure out why (I was the one who had a right to be angry) but now I see it: he knew it was wrong, his pea sized portion of a conscience was interrupting the cheater drive in his brain and he reacted with anger.

    Wishing you strength, courage and comfort.

    • I am sure they learn this passive-aggressive resentment thing as children. “What? I can’t go out and play until I finish my homework? You’re a fathead poopface! And I’m not sorry I said that cuz it’s true”.

      This flavor of dysfunction is one I am aware of. It’s forces you into the role of the parent figure while they get to play rebellious 13 year old (at best). “Jane is my bestest friend in the whole world now; you’re not my friend anymore”.

      When you’ve been away from it for a long time, it’s easy to silly just how ridiculous it is. Kind of hard when you are dealing with all the crazy emotions that come with the passive-aggressive button pushing, but at a distance….

        • This is one thing I’ve learned from reading and watching vids too.
          Many liars/cheaters have a need to diminish you in their minds (and in words to you) in order to make themselves not feel as bad about cheating and lying in the first place. It’s their own twisted logic.
          From the betrayed person’s angle, it’s a truth to be internalized because the betrayed person doesn’t have that lying capability. It is coping mechanisms on both sides. It’s what build codependency habits as well. It’s interesting to break things down and discover how their minds work. It also helps the desire to reconcile with a cheater/liar disappear. At least this is what I’ve learned so far.


    He is NOT sorry AT ALL. It will NOT work this way. Soooo sorry. You will be ok.

    • Nobody’s Chump!

      “Run like your hair is on fire” is the best yet! – Love and Agree 100% – ha ha ha

  • People don’t lie and hide “best friends”, they share them with their partner. “friendships” are nothing to be ashamed of and obviously he knew you wouldn’t approve, or God forbid might want to join in on the “friendship” and then what?
    I have had my significant other have female friends that they went to lunch with or had a coffee but I was also their friend, it wasn’t hidden and I was always welcome to go along. Not saying that just because they didn’t lie something couldn’t have been going on because sometimes the best way to get away with something is to do it with the person’s consent and under their nose but for sure if they were hiding it, there was something going on that shouldn’t have been.
    The fact that he says it would still be going on if you hadn’t found out reminded me of when I found my ex’s personal ads and he said “Everything was fine until you snooped on the computer.” Huh? WTF? oh yeah what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me. Bullshit!
    I doubt he has any intention of walking away from the “friendship” and if you don’t walk now there is just a whole lot more hurt and disrespect heading your way. He will just get better at lying and blaming.

    • Yeah, everything is fine for them when they’ve got their secret because the chump not knowing is a lot of the fun.

  • Ditto to everyone’s comments.
    He is not sorry. Even if “just” an EA, that is just as bad as a PA. My exH even agreed on that one. The key aspect here is the deception, outright lying, and lying by omission.
    If an innocent friendship, you would have been told about it from Day 1.

    As for as a way back… In both types of affairs, only if there is true remorse.
    Your H has not demonstrated no remorse. Cut your losses. Move on to a better life!

  • MFIM, he sounds just like a dog in a park trying to get his leg over if he has not already done so. The fact that it has not happened yet does not mean he has no intention of trying. Maybe the EA woman is keeping him at arms length for some reason but don’t spend any time trying to figure the losers out. Trust has been eroded and that’s the issue here. You’ll always wonder about what he’s up to if you stay. He is not trustworthy.

    I am beginning to believe that cheaters minds have barely one brain cell more (or less perhaps) than a dog or a even a chicken say. When it comes to screwing they don’t even stop to think about the consequences.

  • All,

    I too was a victim of an EA. After 25 years of marriage wife was contacted (or pursued?) old H.S. friend. Facebook messages, over 1800 text messages back and forth, 238 phone calls, pics every day for over 6 months.. all of it.

    I am now 2 years out from D-Day and I am still having trust issues. Did they have sex? I want to say no, I can’t prove it.. but they had plenty of opportunity.

    After confronting her, she said she “chose” me, she cut it off with him(except for 1 call him 1 year later !) . She again apologized and seems dedicated to me only ever since.

    What really hurts it the betrayal. Pics to him. I am sure the “bad” kind.. texts and calls when she would not talk to me.. excuses, things missing from our life. blah blah blah..

    In the end I decided to stay. I THINK she is committed to me, but who knows? Did they sleep together? I made the decision that even if they had, I wanted to stay if she agreed to work on it. She has, but I have my doubts about her seriousness.

    My world was shattered and I was betrayed. Our three kids will never find out from me, I have chosen NOT to be a victim. I live my life, do what I want and love her the best I can. That’s my choice after all of this. But man the trust is hard, my mind goes to places…

    I love this site! We are victims but NOT helpless. Hold your heads up and MOVE ON.

    All the best!

    • So sorry this betrayal happened to you. Facebook is very useful for keeping in touch with people but sadly also a playground and hunting ground for people looking to cheat.

      • Exactly what happened to me. FB connected my cheater to an old HS friend.

    • I found out when he butt dialed me from the store, also in our neighborhood. This is what I hear “you are so fuckin cute, did you get my text last night? You’re my walking buddy. Let me know if you want to go tomorrow , I’ll get the coffee. I want to bite those lips!

      • I want to “bite those lips?”

        Oh yeah, I say that to my best platonic friend all the time….


      • If there is lip biting going on, you are beyond an emotional affair, in my view. But that pretty much goes without saying if they are meeting in the park. That’s where people go to be more private and anonymous than say a restaurant or coffee shop.

    • HappenedToMe,
      In my experience, that nagging doubt in one’s mind never goes away. It eats away at a person. Just when you start feeling relaxed, you think of it again. Meanwhile the cheater thinks all is forgiven and starts getting feisty again. In my case, I could never get over the fact that he never apologised with any true remorse.

      I was foolish enough to marry someone who cheated before we were even married. All through our marriage and two kids, I told myself I was being the best wife I could. I thought his original cheating happened because I was inadequate somehow. And he was pretty cavalier about it…always subtle jibes and criticism.

      All his business trips and opportunities to indulge in cheating…I just turned a blind eye “for the sake of the kids”. There were numerous times over the years where red flags were waving; imagine going to business conferences with your spouse and having strangers come up and say “I wonder how you can stay married to a guy like that”. I convinced myself they meant he was a tough bastard in the boardroom, lol.

      I did, however, keep my goal of freedom in the back of my mind, and once the kids were gone, I took the savings I had put away (yes, deceptive but necessary) and left the country. Our final asset split was right down the middle, but I’m sure he was shocked when I told him with no emotion that I knew perfectly well what he had been up to…even named some of the girls…and he had no comeback. He was speechless. My sons tell me they are proud of me for doing the jailbreak and said I should have done it sooner.

    • HTM: am truly sorry for what has happened to you. Something about your story sounds sadly familiar. If your wife is M. Barton in Atlanta GA area and her old “friend” is J. Harper in Charlotte NC area, then your gut has ample reasons for gnawing at you. Their physical affair began in the early 90’s as far as I found out, and has continued into at least 2012, which was my D-Day year and escape from their long-time triangle. I was the unwitting cover-chump of a fake fiancé with several MOW (perhaps yours included) who took me to the proverbial cleaners in every possible way. If you are D. Barton, my heart goes out to you. Let these two “true lovers” since high school have each other. You too deserve a better life. If you are not D. Barton, my sincere apologies, as well as my hopes that the truth of your situation will be revealed and bring you peace.

  • I loved how you perfectly addressed this controversial topic. It’s not controversial to us Chumps but everyone outside of Chumpville seems to believe that it is not an affair. This really gets my panties in a bunch. When someone tells me that an emotional affair is not really an affair, I just want to unleash the flying monkeys on their ass! An emotional affair is just as devastating. It carries the same characteristics, (betrayal from loved one seeking comfort outside the home, probably masturbatory fantasies, selfish actions at the expense of loved ones, etc..) as a physical affair. This is right up there with emotional abuse; the stupidity of “well he didn’t hit you so it is not abuse”. Idiots!!! Both are affairs, both are abuse and produce the same output, mainly questioning ones sanity, PTSD, stress related illness, I could go on forever.

    So Thank you CL for reminding the world what we Chumps already know, it’s still a fucking affair but the only one getting fucked is us. Now excuse me while I go dig my panties out of my ass and cage my flying monkeys.

    • Everybody has different deal breakers. The problem with EAs is that they’re usually the lesser offense the cheater cops to, so you don’t know if it was ever physical unless you caught them. Your larger point is well taken — it’s all a violation.

      IMHO, if it was an EA and he were sorry, he should care how MFIM feels. He should do everything to put her mind at rest. Offer a polygraph. End the relationship. Impose boundaries with the opposite sex on himself. In short, demonstrate remorse and be very clear that he crossed a big line.

      When they don’t do that? WHen they get all defensive and secretive and you’re not the boss of me? Then, yeah, I assume it’s physical — and it doesn’t matter. They’ve demonstrated they don’t care how you feel. Which is a non-starter.

      I don’t like the EA PA debate personally. I think PAs risk more — pregnancy, STDs, etc. But both kind of betrayal hurt like hell, no question.

      • I think of an EA as being the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Instead of trust, loyalty, fidelity and love, you have lying, disloyalty, betrayal of the commitment to exclusivity, and disrespect. Instead of a partner honoring your intimacy and the vulnerability that requires, you have a betrayer exploiting that vulnerability and sharing that “intimacy” with an EA partner. And given time, I think most EAs cross the line with physical contact, even if the cheater is Clintonian and careful not to have genital intercourse for that “plausible deniabililty.” All of the risks of the full PA are horrifying and potentially lifelong, including the need to paternity test children. And God knows, the thought of my former partner having sex with his MOW is excruciating. But in terms of deciding whether to reconcile or give a second chance, the nature of the PA and the EA are about the same: it’s living with “remorseless cheaters,” as you say–who do not care one bit that they have hurt the people they are supposed to love, respect and protect.

    • An emotional affair is nothing but a physical affair that hasn’t actually gotten to the fucking yet. It’s just a matter of time.

        • So true. I suspect they met while he was away in MN for a job interview for the full on. I will never know and I just wish I could erase all of this from my mind.

      • mine said he wouldn’t sleep with her because that was the line he couldn’t cross – in his mind if he didn’t sleep with her, it wasn’t an affair. he honestly believed that even though he lied to me every day for months, that he wasn’t having an affair. They compartmentalized it under “work duty, growing the business” (it did not grow btw). And my suspicions meant “nic not supportive of my professional life, wait till I tell my girlfriend what a downer my wife is”. If it was only an ea, i think it kept things titillating. they never professed love to one another, it was a lot of fantasy coo coo ki choo. i think in my case if they had discussed a future together, they would have consummated. they never discussed it. all the communication I dug up was innuendo and wish you were here bullshit. I printed it all out (over 100 pages – my apologies to the trees who got that shit job) and made him read it all out loud to me. I think they both got a big ego charge into their pathetic lives, unfortunately they took down a lot of other people – my teens are revolted, she is the married breadwinner with 4 kids and lost her job – no need to go into the price Ive paid, we all know that awful pain. I don’t think he was in a fog, I think he’s an insecure dumb sausage who was idolized by a little harmless puppy dog – but she was a terrier who wouldn’t let go and he was a pussy afraid of a sexual harassment in the workplace lawsuit. I think they both liked the drama and secrecy. I’m not minimalizing, I seriously thought I was losing my mind, and you can never unsee what the painful crap you’ve read. But they weren’t special or extra clever or in love or sharp. they’re so stupid they couldn’t even make an affair all the exciting.

  • My D-Day came when I found a text along those general lines from some guy, after a night when my wife had told me she was getting together with a (female) friend who had unexpectedly come in from out of town. I had the sense something was not right previously, but this was the confirmation.

    She denied having sex, but made no apologies. Instead all the BS that is laid out at CL – play pick me, anger at me, entitlement, feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof, etc. – commenced shortly. When she did start having sex with someone else a few months later (assuming she had been telling me the truth at all) it hurt badly (obviously), but in a very weird way, the bonds of trust and safety had already been broken.

    Without her specifically saying so, the pick me dance included an implied threat of “I’ve just messed around a little bit, but I haven’t gone all the way with anyone yet. You can see guys are after me. If you can convince me you’ve upped your game enough and can keep me interested, I may not have to go that route. But if you aren’t good enough, well…I won’t have much choice will I?”

    My experience is that once they have made the decision to cheat emotionally, you cannot get them back. So sorry you’re going through this. The emotional affair(s) and her decision to cheat (defined as doing something they don’t want you to know about) are devastating even before throwing the sex card in.

    • This is the bonus in all this, phone and ipad (gift from me) locked, never bring up the EA and no marriage counseling, (I don’t want to be grilled). He’s also depressed and has PTSD so the girlfriend was the icing on an already shitty cake!

      • Mental illness is no excuse. I suffer from PTSD but I’m not going to spend months lying and hurting the people I love because of it. Was your husband in therapy and/or on medication for his mental health issues? My ex was not, but he pretended to do the work when divorce was eminent in order to fool me again.

      • He’s depressed? His PTSD? Right……he should try finding out he’s been cheated on. THEN, he can be depressed, and have PTSD.

      • MFIM,

        This behavior is a giant middle finger and intensely disrespectful to you. This is “you are not the boss of me” and “kiss my ass” all in one shit-filled package. He betrayed you and he gets to set the rules? I’ve been here and done that and all it does is delay the inevitable. As Dat said so well, I have/have had PTSD and it does not lead to entitlement thinking or behavior.

        I don’t see a happy future for you with this person. Cut your losses now. Don’t be like me, wasting your life on a person who does not truly love or respect you.

  • Bottom line, keeping a relationship secret from your spouse is a clear indication you know your spouse would be upset about the relationship. If someone lies to you and upon being caught their only response is “I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be upset, and I was right”; RUN, do not try to explain why lying is bad or any other damn thing. Just leave.

    • I agree. Trying to get him to see anything will only lead you to getting your head messed with by him. He’ll use what you say against you and try to devalue you. It becomes dangerous territory. Sorry this is happening, and breaking things off with him may seem terribly hard. But, staying around for more of his secrecy and lies (lies by omission are SO crazy-making!) will be much much worse in the long run.

  • Miami :My H had a year and a 1/2 EA with an old girlfriend he reconnected with on FB she dumped him after she realized he wasn’t going to divorce me ( too lazy to do the work) no apology. I knew about it and monitored it after I found the “secret” cell phone. It forced me to look at him in a whole new way ( deceit is a word that come to mind, ego kibbles is another) and I know I will never feel the same way about him again. His loss. An EA is so less tangible than some of the stories you read here but it is betrayal of the marriage.

  • He is getting help from the VA but was involved with her when he started therapy and meds I just didn’t know it. I was blaming all his unusual behavior on the depression/PTSD ,
    sure makes me feel like a Chump!

    • He needs to get his medical and psychological situation in order. It’s no different than dealing with an alcoholic or a drug abuser. The need is to get clean, get a year or two into recovery and then see if it is possible to sustain a relationship. In these cases, separation might be a great first step, with appropriate financial agreements, if you aren’t ready to file. Let him get help. See what he does. Have your own timetable in mind. You can love him, as in caring what happens to him and refusing to enable him to continue his behavior. But you don’t have to stay in a marriage with him.

    • Don’t beat yourself up over it. A lot of us have experienced the same feeling, so you’re in good company here. You didn’t know he was doing this and, with the information you had at the time, you drew a logical conclusion. The only difference is you didn’t have all the information back then.

      I agree with everyone else. Personally, I think he did have sex with her. But it doesn’t matter, he told you all you need to know when he said “it would still be going” if you hadn’t found out. That’s pretty much the same as saying “I’m going to keep doing this no matter what you think.”

      As chumps, our only mistake is trusting someone who isn’t worthy of trust. And that’s because we are faithful and want to see the best in others. Cheaters are vacuums of darkness and prey on people who care. It can happen to the best of us.

      • “Cheaters are vacuums of darkness and prey on people who care. It can happen to the best of us.” Spot on Kara, and thank you for that!

  • Okay, I agree that grownups have sex; it is what grownups do, BUT…

    For argument’s sake, let’s say that it’s an EA that never made it to a PA. Even so, the fact that he says it’d be going strong if you hadn’t caught on tells you everything you need to know about your chances of long-term reconciliation.

    Let him go. If he decides down the road that he made a huge mistake, he can fix himself on his time. You can get on with the rest of your life without having to be Marriage Police. Now that’s a killjoy job!

  • My STBX had both the emotional and physical with the OW. While the thought of him having sex with someone else almost killed me, the thoughts of him holding hands with her, making her laugh, sitting across a table from her at a restaurant, talking on the phone with her all the time, etc. hurt just as bad. It’s a betrayal either way. It sucks either way. The whole thing just sucks.

      • Yeah, that’s a good point. When I think back on the worst feelings, it wasn’t the sex that bugged me, because I knew he’d fucked her the minute I asked (and all he said was “…That’s not important…” complete with a long pause.

        What hurt more was him treating her better than me. Taking her out, giving her little surprises, y’know…not pretending she doesn’t exist which is pretty much what he did with me toward the end of our relationship.

        This was long before I realized that all that was just love-bombing sparkles.

        When I found out the final OW was the 6th in a line of OW (and one OM…yes…you read that right) it hurt more. And it still wasn’t the sex. It was the time and emotional care devoted to other people behind my back. Doing things for them that he wouldn’t do for me. One of the things I found out about was the time he set up a moonlight picnic at midnight with one of the OW. That particularly stung because I had to beg him to get him to just watch a freaking half-hour tv show with me. I literally had to wait hours for him to come snuggle with me upstairs, which he never wanted to do because he “just wanted to sleep. I like sleep, you KNOW that.”

        So the thought of him giving any kind of loving care to these other people was the most painful. Because I only got treated that way at the beginning…when he was love-bombing me. But he was doing this shit for multiple people throughout our whole relationship.

        However, I did realize that all the shit he was doing for them? All love-bombing sparkles too. Yup.

  • When I say ‘best friend’, I am not meaning to detract from the role of your partner as your closest confident/companion. I think you have your partner, and all that relationship implies, and those who fit into the ‘friends’ category. Anything I would say to a friend that would violate a trust with my partner, would be a violation whether they were male or female.

    Being skeptical of having friends of a different gender, is basically saying that a man and a woman can’t be friends because the are eventually going to end up in bed together. Well…..I sure as hell won’t, and if my mate does….well then, we’re not talking about friendship are we? We’re talking about people to have sex with. They are two different things.

    I’m never going to play marriage police with a mate. If I don’t trust him around women, then he doesn’t need to be in my life. Friendship isn’t the problem, fucking people is.

    • Meh, there are more boundaries than sex.

      Hey, you going to go on an overnight sleep over with just you and your opposite-sex friend to spend some quality friend time together?

      A lot of excuses for not having basic boundaries can be hidden under that ‘friend’ label.

      Here’s another one: is it alright to covertly share your inner most relationship details with your opposite sex friend? How about running down your spouse? How about witty and sexually suggestive banter, alone and over cocktails?

      I’m not ever sure what people mean when they say they have “friends” of the opposite sex. To even know what they mean, you almost need to know more about them than they know about themselves.

      And I’m skeptical about anything that can be described as more intimate than casual acquaintances by an impartial observer based on way to many experiences in a moderately long life.

      More often than not, when somebody says they have opposite sex friends, they are either using the term “friend” a bit too casually (IMO) or they have poor boundaries regarding intimate personal relationship and invite a lot of drama into their lives.

      I’m pretty old. Almost everybody I know is married, and most of the rest are coupled up, and I can tell you the women that I know aren’t pouring their hearts out to me, and if they were, I’d pity their partners.

      • I’m pretty old too, 56, and I don’t see what boundaries I’m busting by having a close friend that is a guy. We are actually, friends. I don’t sleep with him, I wouldn’t any more than I would sleep with a female friend. We have the same conversations as I would have with a female friend. No difference. The only point I was trying to make is the problem isn’t having friends of the opposite sex (friendship is a gift from God), it’s having fuck-buddies. When jerks try the ‘just friends’ thing on you, they aren’t talking about friends….they’re talking about skanks they sleep with. Again, that isn’t ‘friends’.

        I don’t have poor personal boundaries because I have friends that are guys. I would have poor personal boundaries if I used the term ‘friendship’ when what I actually wanted to do was sleep with them. Again…that isn’t my definition of friendship.

        • I agree friendship is a gift from God. A very close male friend and I shared a lot of really important professional experiences. When he passed away, I was devastated. And I came to realize that as much as I valued our friendship, there were aspects of our relationship that had a negative impact on the marriage I was in at the time. We were in no way physically attracted; we never held hand or flirted or shared personal or intimate thoughts about our partners. Neither of us wanted to sleep with, date, or have a fling with the other. But I got a lot of what I needed emotionally from him, lots of attention and validation from someone who shared my values, which became apparent when he died. It’s just as possible for people to “outsource” emotional needs to same-sex friends, “work spouses,” and even children and pets as it is to opposite sex “friends.” I agree that part of the issue is having good boundaries. I also agree that suggestive flirting and “running down one’s spouse” is over the line. But a great therapist once told me that people have only so much energy, so much time, so much attention to give to others. If any relationship allows you or encourages you to unplug emotionally from your non-cheating (!!!) spouse, it might be smart to look at what you need to do to plug back in and get both relationships in balance. That doesn’t mean giving up the friendship; it means being careful not to “outsource” needs that should be filled by the spouse in the relationship. And to do what we Chumps always call for–turn back to the marriage or relationship for those needs.

          Einstein, none of what I am saying applies in any way to you or for that matter to anyone else here. I just think that part of my own recovery is to look very closely at how I conduct relationships. If I want to have a healthy relationship with an intimate partner who isn’t a jackass, I need to learn emotional reciprocity myself, to stay plugged in. Brene Brown talks about disengagement that is “insidious” and “equally corrosive to trust.” Many here have had cheaters who were disengaging from them, from the family, from the marriage before the affair came to light. For me, part of fixing my picker is also working on my end of things, to both expect and give engagement in equal measure.

          • This is good! I need to think about all of this too, thanks for sharing these ideas. I can also see where my x and I both outsourced when maybe we should have leaned more on each other. So much I need to learn before my next relationship…

        • Agree with you Einstein. I’m 55 and have had a great male friend for over 30 years. He’s like the brother I never had and has been there for me in every crisis of my life. We write a lot, and talk on the phone (we now live in different states) and he is the only person in my life I completely trust. He’s been married almost 25 years, and in fact got married the same month I did (I got divorced 15 years later). I thank God for this friendship, which has never been untoward in any way, and I thank God for his wife who understands our deep friendship bond and isn’t bothered by it. I am greatly offended by these smug creeps who contaminate the notion of authentic friendship with their “we’re just friends” bullshit as a cover for their cheating.

        • Well put Einstein. I have several male friends, but I’m not fucking or trying to fuck any of them. How old you are has nothing to do with how other people conduct themselves around the opposite sex.

          Someone you are trying to have sex with behind your spouse’s back is not a “friend.” It’s an affair partner. Cheaters just try to say they’re friends to downplay their cheating.

          And even though I’m not fucking my male friends, I’m also not sharing intimate details of my life with them that I’m not sharing with my husband. There are spheres of intimacy they are not part of that only my husband is privy to. I’m also not meeting them alone to do nothing but shit talk my husband.

          If you and someone of the opposite sex are really just friends, there’s nothing that needs to be hidden.

      • I don’t feel it has to do with gender as much as it does with sexual attraction. If I had strong chemistry sexual attraction to one of my female friends and went for lusty conversations and overnights with her, it could still lead to cheating on my partner/spouse, right? If a male friend and I have zero sexual attraction for each other and went for drinks or an out of town trip sharing a hotel room due to budget, nothing would ever happen.
        I think men & women can be great, very close friends. It’s when they share a sexual attraction that things can get out of control if one or both of them don’t have solid boundaries (talking about non-singles).
        I have male friends that I do have an attraction for, and while I was in a dedicated relationship, I made sure to never flirt or let the attraction steer our conversations. I think male/female friendships are good unless they cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed – and that, to me, is a matter of integrity and character. Not necessarily gender.

        • Let me clarify that while I was in my dedicated relationship – while there was attraction for successful, beautiful men that are in my friends group – I never lusted secretly for them. My heart was with only my x. My love and passion was only for him. Just noting that because my previous post made it sound like I was lusting secretly for men while trying hard to stay dedicated to my love. Which wasn’t the case!

          • Plus, I’d never cheat as I think it’s a disgusting and lowdown act of betrayal. Wow, I should proofread before hitting submit! Sorry for the triple post.

  • He was married, knew she was married, he pursued her, they had so much in common, blah, blah, blah… I did change my insurance right away but did not rat her out. I had her cell phone, work phone, workplace and address but didn’t make contact, promised my daughter (adult). But this is the kicker, husband says over and over don’t contact her, I’m trying to protect her, what? Who cares if the wife can’t eat or sleep or stop crying let’s be sure we don’t upset the Ho! Again, what?

    • This may not have actually been about protecting her – he probably didn’t want you talking with her because of what else you’d surely find out. Like, they’d already done way more than picnics in the park. Still a disgusting move on his part, but I’m not buying his reason for keeping you away from talking with her.

      • Yes. My husband confessed to very little at first and I knew there was more. When I finally called the OW she told me pretty much everything (phone sex, sexting, kissing, fondling, etc.) because she was scared I would tell her husband—which I did in the end anyway. 🙂

  • MFIM, I’m truly sorry for your pain, but you will get through this.

    I want to tell you what I wish someone had told me when I was in your situation, where my (now) ex-wife claimed she was only having an emotional affair: Protect yourself. Get a lawyer, discuss your options, particularly how to handle the incestuous insurance problem. Find a therapist, if you need it. If he/she doesn’t help you deal, find a better one. If you need medications, get some (I was on anti-anxiety meds so I would stop having panic attacks and collapsing in a crying heap on the floor). Emotional betrayal can hurt something awful, and you have to take care of yourself.

    Go non-contact. I know you feel sorry for him, but his problems aren’t yours anymore. He chose to bring in someone else, and now he has to deal with the consequences. Trying to save him will only bring you more pain. If he were going to show any sympathy or remorse for his actions, he would have already done so. I’m so sorry, but focus on what’s best for you and your interests, and you will come out better on the other side of this. You can do this, MFIM!

  • dslak, good advice, I started taking lexapro, saw 2 different attorneys and have a therapist I trust. I tried going no contact but he showed up at my door and stayed in my daughters room for a week, talk about mindfuckery! But he’s gone now and I am determined to be stronger this time around.

    • Change the locks! Best thing I did! Actually I didn’t do it: my son did!

    • So sad.
      I admit I was a bit paranoid for a bit as ex and I remain one another’s life insurance beneficiaries on the policies we already had. This way the kids will be taken care of and the house will be paid off (I put the house in trust for them ,as they cannot take possession if under 18)

      • My children are sole beneficiaries & no-one can attest it 🙂
        Well-done but, I would make sure my ex was not on my life insurance at all!

        • I think it’s possible to have insurance put in trust for kids and name trustees (I would never name one person but a trusted friend/relative and an attorney who do not know each other).

  • My h had a 7 month ea with a married subordinate that he ended before I knew- he confessed to it 4 months later, since the ow had typing tourettes and couldn’t help herself from drunk texting her boss. On saturday at 2 am. She let the cat out of the bag. Anyhooo, since neither of them is in a field like say, organ transplants, that requires 24 hour a day contact and work, my spider senses tingled. Plus, her communication, besides being unprofessional, was stupid and idiotic and embarrassing. I got suspicious and he told me that it had been an ea and since he was afraid of being sued by her, he had not told her to back the fuck off, but just ignored the idiocy he never saw coming. They work in a field of social work where boundaries are super critical. “She is such a good person Nic. She helps people. We are just friends'” Until only he wanted to end the affair and she wasn’t used to losing (not her first rodeo), and she did more and more to get his attention. And I had to contact her husband, to which my h said, “if thats what you feel you need to do to heal and move forward, so be it”. When I told my h I doubted it was ea only and that for the first time since my swingle days in university I was getting std testing, he drove me to the appt and waited for me in the gyno office. He has done everything CL says he should do. He fired the ow, he blocked her on everything (since she got canned, there’s no need for any contact), his devices are always around, he is in IC. His shame and remorse and embarrassment are evident (family business, they both had to tell his mother all about it, my 2 teens found out, cliche ugliness). he apologizes daily and thanks me for not kicking his ass out the door. Blah blah blah. But Im not sure I want to reconcile frankly, or work on my marriage. Because who wants to be married to a man who could be so fucking stupid? After the initial shock (and crazy monkey sex for weeks) wore off (and I do believe it was ptsd), Im not feeling it for him. He used the ass kissing of a damaged toxic woman for whom he felt no love and with whom he saw no future, as more important than a 27 year relationship. I have been on the receiving end of his bad decisions, or in some cases, complete inaction in dealing with his crap, for about a year now and it’s not attractive or seductive. This has been 6 months of hell since I found out, that doesn’t make me special at all, but all I’m doing right now is focusing on me and my kids. Reconciling? Who the fuck knows, but it’s not where my head is. The howorker is not a threat to me at all, I don’t snoop on him, but after having dickwad make decisions for me in regards to my marriage, now I’m the only one making my well-being decisions. I ended mc because the only goal was reconciliation. The whole thing just pisses me off. Thanks for today, perimenopause, I like the pissed off days so much better than the sobbing ugly-cry days. ea or pa, this situation blows, mfim, and i wish you strength and laughter as you navigate this shit show. we will get through this.

    • *****after having dickwad make decisions for me in regards to my marriage, now I’m the only one making my well-being decisions.*****

      Writing this down!
      Marriage decisions should be made together – and I didn’t agree to an affair! 🙂
      Thanks Nic!

  • I come from the school of thought that emotional affairs are actually worse crimes than the other kind, although both are equally devastating. In my experience it was the discovery of the emotional affairs that were the deciding factors whether to stay or leave. I consider myself lucky in a way that I if it wasn’t for the evidence of hundreds of texts and hour long phone calls, I would still be in a dark about what actually happened. It’s as I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it. This stuff is elaborate, folks. No one who’s married stays on the phone with a “best friend” of the opposite sex for an hour and has a right to claim lack of ulterior motives besides a conversation. Because you know, a 43 year old man has so much to talk about with a 25 year old. Yeah, mine tried this shit before I installed spy software on his phone. Because, yes, they’ll lie unless you can produce hard evidence. Even then, they’ll try to pull wool over your eyes and say that it wasn’t as “sinister as it looks”- another line I was fed. Back to the subject of EAs- that shit stings like a thousand daggers piercing your heart. It is the ultimate FU in my book. Can you come back from it? Never!

    • It’s hard to unsee the evidence, isn’t it? When he produced the phone records, and I uncovered the emails, I was gutted at what I saw, and I still have nightmares about that woman. I told my h that if all they were doing was talking about work in the emails, texts and phone calls (90 min on a saturday night? What is this, high school?) why did the business not like totally boom? Your protege and you were going to rule the world of social workers, arm in arm, with your combined brain power of my Newfoundland dog (great dog, so kind, not super bright). People who have severe brain trauma were at the mercy of a woman who had no morals or boundaries. I was not the only person at risk. If you spend that much time focused on work, shouldn’t the work be a-mazing? It wasn’t, and the business suffered, ironically until she was fired – then her direct reports all did the happy dance and my h was humiliated at what he had neglected at work and at home. My CEO world shaking husband in the expensive suit was so dense and wrapped up in his ego kibbles he couldn’t see what was happening. He tap-danced around the facts until my questioning combined with her very very odd behavior, made him act. Just maybe too late.

      • Nic, these are hilarious:

        “Because who wants to be married to a man who could be so fucking stupid?

        “Your protege and you were going to rule the world of social workers, arm in arm, with your combined brain power of my Newfoundland dog (great dog, so kind, not super bright).”

        I know we’ve commented on this before, but I’m still amazed at the wit and intelligence of ChumpNation. Not to mention our integrity, compassion, loyalty, willingness to sacrifice and devote ourselves to those we love… Of course we are mighty! If we look back at our marriages, we brought all the light; they were merely shadows.

        That gives me great encouragement moving forward. Now if only we could find fellow chumps to marry, as Tracy has…

        • Find fellow chumps to marry. This !
          I am very slowly getting to know a fellow chump. Our time lines are similar and he understands where I am at.
          I honestly don’t think I could be with anyone who didn’t ‘t “get it”.

          • Amen! Most of the population could never conceive of how bad it hurts. I’ve decided this a little while ago. When I’m in a place to meet people again, I feel it’ll have to be a chump.

  • A few days w/o reading CL and I start thinking…what if? I miss him. ETC.

    Then I read this from today’s post:
    But let’s say for the sake of argument that it’s not physical — it’s still a betrayal. You’re his wife. The “best friend” life slot is reserved for you. He is not supposed to share emotional intimacies like this with another woman, and then resent you for getting in the way of his happiness.

    Thanks for snapping me back into reality!!

    “Trust that he sucks” should be tattooed on me somewhere i can see it daily!

    • After I discovered the affair, my wife told me we were friends, best friends but only friends and will be still after the divorce. Really? If this is what you do to friends, I’d hate to see what would happen if you hated me… like she does now.

      • When I miss him – and there are a lot of qualities about him that are good that I miss – I remind myself that if I had a girlfriend that treated me like he has I would cut them out of my life.
        I don’t have “friends” that treat me like that so why do we let our spouses?!

        It’s messed up.

      • Same words exactly. She tried to play the”friend” card. I fell for it at first, then the wtf moment hit and I said no.

    • A daily reminder does help!
      After I kicked x out, I started writing “Be Ready” on my wrist daily with a black pen. It served as a reminder for me to work on myself, be ready for the rest of my great life because it’s coming, that he wasn’t worth my mental energy. I thought about a tattoo, but then had the idea that years from now, I wouldn’t want any part of this experience as a tattoo, so I left it temporary. I may still tattoo a simple heart or small butterfly (transformation symbol) or something someday in that same spot but haven’t decided yet.

      • Note my user name: I got a tattoo to remind me every day. A phoenix rising from a heart intertwined with the infinity symbol. It reminds me every morning when I get dressed that I died, but I will always be able to rise again because I will always love unconditionally and forever. It helps me every day and more than I ever imagined.

        • Love the phoenix rising as a tattoo! After posting about this the other day, it kept coming to mind. Thinking back on things, my strong period was after his first affair. “Be Ready” got me back on track, feeling strong. Then, his ow dumped him and a few months later he came back to me and I fell for it, wasting this past 9 years in a fake reconciliation. I’ve just come out of being stuck there due to finding out he’s now sleeping with someone again. This time I’m not sticking around… but it did make me think that I probably SHOULD have gotten “Be Ready” as a tattoo instead of inking it on daily! Maybe would have saved me from wasting so much time in that fake reconciliation!
          I think I’ll be getting a tattoo next weekend, lol. 😉

  • He actually said, I will live at my cousins and date you, lunch, dinner, movies. Are you fucking kidding me? Who wants to date their husband after a 29 yr marriage and 2 kids?
    Also, not my first rodeo, married at 25, he was cop, died on duty 13 months later, he was 29. Husband knows my history and still pulls this shit!

  • MFIM, you’ve got to treat him like birdcage liner, get that shit and roll it up and throw it out. He’s already shown you what a bastard he really is. Don’t fall for the depression made me do it line, because I got that one too. It made me blink a few times because I was depressed for years and it never once crossed my mind to cheat on his sorry, lying ass. Oh and the ever classic “some people react differently to depression” excuse, really asshole, depression sure as hell does not make you lose your integrity, loyalty or character. You’ve been devalued and there is only the discard left at this point, do not let him have that. Keep moving forward with your lawyer and “run like your hair was on fire”.

    • DeeL, so funny, he’s retired fireman, guessing he won’t put out the flames, lol

      • MFIM, nope wouldn’t count on it!!! But wtf you need that asswipe for now anyway, it’s really hard at first but then with NC it becomes easier and easier. I hurt for you when I read your letter. This has got to be one of the most hurtful things to have to be PUT through by your partner. Just think of him like I think of the ex, ok you have a new best friend (juvenile at best) motherfucker, good luck with being the only one (hahaha), and then think of him with his colorful, glitter pens writing ex plus skank on his spiral notebook. It’s like all these assholes are adolescents with a psycho twist.

      • Question: what’s a good response to a cheater who says it was MY depression that made him cheat? I’m getting a lot of that talk lately and I’m at loss for words. I feel so sorry for myself when I hear this reason and don’t say anything but I think it’s time I spoke up?

        • Jen, Stick to your guns that nothing can “make” another person cheat. It was a choice, pure and simple. Just say “plenty of people with depressed spouses choose NOT to cheat.” I was a person with a very depressed spouse who stuck it out for 15 years until I realized that we were never going to be happy together. Never in all that time did it occur to me to cheat. We got a divorce in which we treated each other well and fairly, and now I think he’s actually happier being single. Good for him!

          Loving people do their best to stick with their spouses through depression, Alzheimers, cancer, loss of limbs, mental illness, you name it. The stress from some of these situations can be terrible and I have nothing but empathy for those who can’t take it anymore and have to get out. However, I have nothing but contempt for those who use these situations as excuses for CHOOSING (and I emphasize Choosing) to cheat. What a cruel and selfish thing to do to a spouse who is already suffering with a very difficult life situation. Yeah, let’s pile infidelity on top of that.

      • Same here. They bonded over their shared depression and how people misunderstand how to treat them.

        Ex told me that she would bad mouth and complain about her husband all the time. He said he did not complain about me like that because he did not want her to believe that this would be something more. I of course do not believe him.

        I really cared about him and made so many excuses for his “depression” because I suffered from depression too and am very aware of its debilitating effects. But as DeeL says, depression does not make you cheat. I would never lead anyone on, although I was depressed. Like many here, if I felt any vibes with other men I would diffuse them and move away. Happened many times even when I was so unhappy with cheater-ex. Depression does not cause a cheater to cheat no matter who suffers from it.

        • OW is married w 4 sons – she spent her time with my h telling him how hard it is to be with men/boys all the time, and h felt bad for her. WTF? too much testosterone in her life and she finds a married man. And my h, having to deal with an unstable wife who threw up all the time, needed a girlfriend to whom he could complain about his wife. Nothing like reading an email after a very emotional birthday dinner (- I sobbed because the gas lighting was fucking with my head and I was so confused – ) that h wrote 5 minutes after we got home “well that sucked, I took her out, bought birthday dinner and she was a total bitch.” Um. You run to your girlfriend to bitch about your wife and the lied-to chump is the problem? The wife is the problem in your marriage, not the fact that you have a girlfriend while in a marriage? Crazymaking.

  • Reading todays post scares me in some ways as I have been watching my STBX form really intense but short lived relationships with his own gender, since before we were married and they would always end suddenly. I would be left to pick up the pieces as my STBX would become sullen and dejected as he stated he could not understand what happened. So I would often be in the place of supportive encouraging wife. What an idiot I have been. Looking back on my marriage I have probably meet a lot of my STBX’s EA’s and PA’s, I have probably feed a few of them too. I did question STBX if he a had ever had any of his partners to the house? He has always said no, but cheaters lie and evidence would say other wise. D’day hit 20 years into our relationship and the red flags I couldn’t quite put my finger on became very obvious.
    My STBX has stated since his confession it is all now in his past. Yeah Whatever. In MC late last year he claimed to love me and wanted to make our marriage work, but I was in the dark at that point about his affairs so I was not being given the right to make an informed decision. why he wanted the marriage is exactly as has been previously stated I was a cover to make him look acceptable. (upstanding christian, heavily involved in church etc). If I had not had information that lead to me putting him out. I would still be in the dark. And he would still be using me as a cover. He is now using lying by omission as his cover. He tells friends we have split but does not say why and they are to uncomfortable to ask so it is working in his favor at the moment.

  • My stbx’s EA was in my face daily and at some point it turned PA but he continued to be very involved with her regardless of my feelings. It was horrible and he just didn’t ‘t care.

    Just because you found out doesn’t mean that they will stop seeing each other. It just means that the affair will go more underground and will be twice as exciting because they will have to hide it more.

    This equals more lies and betrayal all round. Can you live with that? I could not.

    I am almost divorced. MOW and STBX Husband are still justafriends and nothing had changed after 4 years.

    Oh wait …. Except that both of the cheaters are being divorced by their spouses and two families are being torn appart.

    You know what you need to do.

  • I did no read any of the replies but from my experience, this was not just an EA. I’m very sorry but CL is likely right. My exH had and EA with his “friend” for about a year initially. I discovered it and he told me they had not even kissed. They just talked on the phone and sent texts. She wanted to meet up for dinner but he was afraid to because he was afraid of what might happen. That was his STORY. But he lied for four more years after that and continued seeing her and doing a lot more than talking! After the final dday (#5!!) with this same woman I finally wanted out of our marriage. I know……I’m a slow learner and hadn’t discovered Chump Nation yet! Now I have the entire truth and the sex started on the first contact!!! I suspected it but couldn’t prove it and didn’t want to believe it!

    CL is right, grown adults don’t just flirt and talk……they FUCK!!! Reconciliation is hard work and will NEVER work with a spouse or partner who believes they have done nothing wrong! Repairing a marriage after something like this is hard when you have a remorseful spouse! I’m sorry. I no longer think that saving marriages after this sort of thing is worth it.

  • Wow. I am always amazed at the audacious rules these disordered fuckwits operate by. You know MFIM us Chumps need to start valuing the precious little time we have. Thirteen months, any time really, spent on an affair is time robbed from your significant other. No excuse justifies an affair. Look closely at the time you spent together those same thirteen months. Were you happy? Was he checked out and actively avoiding any real intimacy? Oh and I am not talking fuvcking. My ex continued to fuck me and I could not figure out why I had jump into the shower afterwards, and I loved sex! It’s nothing without true intimacy and this is truly where cheaters really fail. In the three years my ex was playing footsies with his OW I was taking care of our home and our children and working full time. He was off doing everybody else, hanging out with his loser friends at the “fitness club” (3/4 of them were divorced w/in three years, always talked shit about their wives and children but never recognized their contribution or lack thereof had anything to do with how healthy their marriages/relationships were). I couldn’t figure out why he was so fill in the blank because we had everything. Nice home, good jobs, beautiful children, our good health. This apparently is not the cheater’s ideal. They actively pursue dysfunction. Their reaction to discovery is to make up crap. You know, everything is wrong (usually it’s all you!) and I need wtf-ever. The moment I figured out he was involved with someone else (the same day he asked me for a divorce) was the day I let him go. Best decision ever! I told myself, ‘ You deserve a beautiful life and this will never happen with ______.’

  • In my experience, the emotional affair is like the so-called “gateway drug” that leads to trying harder stuff. XW had an emotional affair that led to her demanding that I “fight for her”. The final affair, which is pretty well set in stone to become a marriage (she and the kids will move in with him by the end of the year), was with one of the best friends of the man she had the emotional affair with. They are both public figures, while I tend to be on the quiet side, and have found myself re-reading time and time again the post on Muriel Schnierow and at least in part being able to identify with her situation. XW and the OM have worked very hard to create a public reality that effectively covers up the truth of what they have done. It makes me want to go up to the proverbial mountaintop and shout the truth to anyone who will listen.

  • MFIM, thank you for talking about your emo affair experience. 20 months ago, I found out about my STBX’s Emo affair, with his ho worker. I didn’t know what to call it though. I had never heard of an Emo affair. I just knew it was wrong. My STBX did all the things that have been talked about here-he denied it, obfuscated, mind fucked, blame shifted, and used me to make himself look like the saint of a husband that tolerates his crazy bridezilla-minimizing my pain. He lulled me into a place of hopefulness, and behind my back, repaired the relationship with ho worker. Lying to me every day. I believed it because I so wanted to. His Emo affair was so painful because there is a connection that, as CL said, is reserved for one’s partner-not a stranger. Emo affairs are just as destructive, abusive and painful as physical affairs. I can speak with authority on this because after learning about the Emo affair, and ‘untangling the skein….’ I found more. I know now that I should trust my instincts; At the very least, acknowledge them. There was a double life that I had NO idea of. Not because I am stupid, but simply because I trusted him. This is all betrayal. i wasted more time and energy on playing ‘Marriage Police’ than I care to admit. I hurt myself, and compromised the relationships in my life that ARE real. If he truly has no remorse for what he did, you should take that as a bomb siren and get the hell away. There is nothing good for you, in what comes next. You deserve better.

  • sigh…it IS a sign that EA has gone physical when ‘OW acts really really strange around me’, and when OW and H both delete most parts of their text msg conversation strings, isn’t it….? He swears it never went there, but was so devastated when I found out about their 3 year ‘friendship’, and ‘made it end’. (Nothing like watching your husband go through the pains of a breakup….)Ugh. Why am I still struggling with this? I just wish I could know for sure, even though I know it won’t change the fact that I can’t trust him. Ever. Again.

    • You hit it on the head, it’s not the affair, it’s the lost trust. It will never come back and it doesn’t matter how they lost it.

      • This is the part about losing all trust that still brings up mourning for me. That now that I know what he’s not only capable of, but what makes him want to hurt me like that. The fact that all of those precious and meaningful experiences we had together are probably SO very different in his mind – makes them kind of lose a little beauty for me now too. That what used to be the main ingredients of my life with him has always been very diluted, I just couldn’t see that before. It taints everything.

        • Your feelings echo my own UnderConstruction. I was looking at pictures the other day and remember when I felt so close to that lying asshole. I felt that finally I had a home after struggling alone my whole life. I had a place with him in the world. I realize now that the times I considered beautiful are now laced with sick. Diluted is a good word. I could never do to him what he did to me, I could not do that to anyone. I am not someone who gets anything out of deception and lying. I am not made for that. I take solace in that I am a true person and have nothing to hide. My work now is to judge others always in communication with my gut. If something does not feel right about someone I try to identify what it is immediately. I go with what I feel and perceive, not how I wish for things to be.

  • You all are right, this is the worst kind of mindfuck and I buried a husband at 26, he didn’t mean to die, just happened. This was deliberate and calculated. Talk about a double life and the countless lies to keep up this charade, am I in OZ? Maybe the Wizard can the fucker a heart and a brain and some fucking courage!

  • Chump Lady, BTW, ordered your book from Amazon, thanks! Hope it’s a best seller! MFIM

  • MFIM I am so sorry for your loss-it sounds like you have been through so much already, in your life. You survived the tragedy of your husband’s death-you can survive this weak motherfucker. He will probably do this again, and hopefully when he does, he will be “in good hands”….

    • Sounds like several of us have a lot in common, a long term marriage, complete surprise about the significant others double life and a huge lack of remorse! I agree all this sucks, happily ever after is probably a fantasy… Half my life invested in this…total betrayal, lies, and a wtf feeling? Starting over after 30 yrs? Not the ending I was expecting. 🙁

      • MFIM The fact your able to start over is the blessing in disguise, some never get free from the rot!
        I’m with you all the way 🙂

        • 30 years together, 28 married. ALL A LIE!!! I agree, at least we got out, but starting over sucks. Chumplady nation is helping me cope. Thank you.

  • Hypnopompic, love your last line, made me smile…thanks 🙂
    awareb4, appreciate your support. 🙂

  • Would like fellow chumps’ opinions on this one:

    During our relationship, my Ex was in touch with an ex-girlfriend that he claimed to have dumped three years prior to meeting me. He did not tell me they were in touch. I discovered it by chance when I saw a text string on his phone when HE asked me to check his phone while he was driving. I guess he didn’t count on my nimble fingers scrolling through the texts…saw enough that I went back to check it all out later.

    When I had the privacy to view and read the whole text string, it turned out they had exchanged about 80 texts over a period of three months. It was clear they had met up by chance, she was drunk, and he “saw her home” in a cab at midnight. This is where their stories differ. He says it was just him being a gentleman and that he continued home. She later wrote to a friend I had gotten acquainted with …that they fell in the sack that night. Subsequent texts included him saying “i still think about you too”. And her calling him “my little monkey” (he’s hairy). Kind of sickly sweet stupid txts. A week later he invites her out for dinner, again, she claims to have had sex again. I then check his emails and she was at the same time sending him cute messages asking what he’s up too etc. He always sent short answers but clearly did not try to put her off.

    So I asked him directly about it. Let him spill what he wanted without letting on what I’d seen. At first he said “yeah I bumped into her but she’s still a drunk and I just blew her off. She’s very needy”. So then I said…people are talking. He said I was “being ridiculous” and that he “doesn’t do jealousy”. His attitude was arrogant. So, I stopped talking about it for three weeks, then came to the conclusion he was not going to own up. I told him I was going to end our relationship because I knew he was not telling the complete truth. He finally said he wanted to “come clean” and that he had seen her but thought he’d gotten away with it. He said he got a thrill out of thinking someone else wanted him. He still swears up and down that nothing physical happened, that they just reminisced about their old relationship over dinner (7 months fuck buddies) before my time.

    Now why would this woman want to brag she’d been in the sack with him if all they did was have dinner. It really bugs me that this peacock was out driving his old skank around in a sports car I helped buy. He claims she asked all about me, which is a piss off because I consider that an invasion of privacy. Why not take me along to dinner if it was all so innocent? He says…I would never introduce you to one of my former girlfriends, but I think I should be able to stay friends!

    I walked away and went no contact. What a twat. But to this day, I wonder who was telling the truth. Is it fair to demand to meet the ex’s in such circumstances, or should a spouse be able to have such “friends”. Just trying to,avoid being a control freak.

    • Oh, I’d like to offer my 2 cents here. The operative phrase in his story seems to be “she’s crazy”, “don’t believe her, she lies, she’s blowing this out of proportion.” In my life experience, such statement only means one thing: guilty. The rest are just sad cheater tactics: to minimize, to blame shift, to accuse you of being controlling, yada yada yada
      I’m curious, how has he responded since you’ve gone NC? Any remorse? Is he bombarding you with “sorry letters”, is he at least making any attempt to own up and apologize? I think you’ve eluded that his behavior is that of a typical remorseless cheater. If it walks like a duck…. Congrats on NC.

    • He sounds like an arrogant asshole. I would run from that, Marci. Reminiscing? Ha. Problem with you being jealous, “I don’t do jealousy”—conversation killer for something he does not want to discuss. Bad mouthing her and spending time with her—gaslighting. Why would he spend time with her if she is a pain in the ass? Why would he think you would feel good about her asking about you? Triangulation right there. I would not go near this creep. You are lucky to get out now before it became excruciating. Find a good person you can trust—my two cents.

  • Monika,
    Thanks for your input. I have blocked his emails and number because I suspected I might be too weak to resist his pleading. I am so grateful to have found CL since having already been twice chumped, I really need to work on my picker. It’s not that my picker isn’t willing, I’m just trying to fine tune to length of the leash I give each new relationship.

    I do need to make some decisions about how to move forward. In this case it really isn’t so relevant whether it was EA or PA, but that first he lied to avoid having to discuss meeting the gf, then when he did get outed, he STILL CHOSE to lie. He called ME crazy jealous. Am I wrong that even if all he did was have dinner, see her home, and then allow a series of stupid emails…that he was way out of line and probably hoping to rekindle something on the side.

    By the way, during his “confession” he did say “if the tables were turned, I would end things”. So there I guess I’ve answered my own question. I would get a lot of satisfaction out of hearing him beg, but saying no again would serve no purpose. So sad.

    This speaks to character more than anything. I ideally want a like-minded partner, so someone who is not totally transparent is just a non starter.

  • And by the way, his main concern seemed to be who the friend was who ratted out the OW on her emails. Planted for my benefit, no doubt, the OW couldn’t have him, so she ruined it for me too…or did me a favour.

    • She did you a favor. Be grateful you don’t have children with this disordered creep.

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