Hi Chump Lady,
My husband cheated on me for 3 months and D-day was 6 months ago. He’s a doctor and OW is a patient’s mom. Ever since he met her, he completely forgot me and my kids. He already had long hours, added with playing father for OW’s daughter, the only time he was ever home was for bed.
It completely disgusts me how he bought food for them together, how he was the one instead of her to arrived at OW’s girl school when she had health trouble, how he rather spent weekend having a picnic with them instead of spending time with our kids, how he pretend that he was out for golf while really he was helping OW for her kid’s birthday, all the while abandoning me and our two toddlers. OW is a working single mom and made him feel like Mother Teresa for doing smallest things, so I guess it’s easier and better for his ego to play hero and being a father figure for them rather than actually saving his family who’s already drowning. A knight in a shining armor. Only his armor would be his scrub and the sword would be his dick.
Abandon is the right word for how he treated our kids, but he also mentally abused me with gaslighting. I spoke up about his sudden schedule change and he accused me of being too demanding and selfish. I apologized. One day I saw a restaurant bill, a restaurant that we loved to visit when we were dating (fuck him for ruining that!), I asked him why did he go there when I already cooked for dinner? He said that he could find peace there because no one asked him how his day went. It was the first time he ever said that, so I asked him what he meant and he blew up and called me a nag. Again I apologized.
Before I became SAHM, I was a working mom but I quit after I gave birth to my second child. This decision was made after a long discussion between us, he was actually the one who suggested it and supported me. Later he said that I became boring, doing things that don’t really matter (balancing our kids’ nutrition, what to bring to playdate, kids’ birthday party, organizing charity stuff to add their chance to be accepted in prominent school, etc.). He said that I changed a lot and it made him unhappy. I told him that off course I changed — we have two toddlers already! He had none of it and put me as the source of his unhappiness.
I did the pick me dance and spackled his mean words, “oh he’s just tired.” Make sure the house sparkled, cooked French for dinner, buy gifts for him, hired a babysitter for a while so we can have alone time, but it didn’t work. He actually said that I wasted money for it. I wasn’t a Stepford wife who only focused on image, but of course my children who are under 4 years old took a significant portion of my time.
He went away for a conference (real one, OW stayed in this city) for 5 days — our kids didn’t even ask about him once. That’s how far he was removed from our life. When they woke up, he was already gone, when they went to bed, he wasn’t home yet. Small wonder they forgot him.
My friend saw them almost kissing in daylight outside (really, they didn’t give a shit who saw them). After I confronted him he kept denying that something happened and blew up again. “So you’re following me around now? Is that what you’re doing during your free time?” “You suffocate me.” “Why can’t I have some alone time?”
Fucking stupidly again, I said sorry. After that big argument he went no contact with OW, but met her again once for breaking things up and confessed to me. That NC lasted for 5 days, then I started to think he was considering and doing pros and cons about leaving our kids or be the hero for OW? Be a father to ow’s girl and leave his actual flesh and blood, WTF???
He’s been doing everything right after D-day but I don’t trust him. I have always been head over heart person and my instincts keep telling me that he stayed because he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, because wife and the kids are the right things, because he doesn’t want to be seen as a cheater, because he doesn’t want to get the stigma. He “loves” us but obviously he loves himself better.
He said he loves me but I call bullshit on that, he hated me for being a “boring housewife.”
Now 6 months past the shell shock and crying hours for day, my head keeps telling me to run away, but on the other side is my kids. It’s unfair for them to grow up in broken home because of their father’s one selfish action. No more vacations together, no more Christmas morning, no more Thanksgiving dinner together, no more Sunday breakfasts together, etc.
Yet the picture of life as an independent person, raising my kids alone, and having the chance go to work again become more and more tempting for me. I will have the chance to explore my hobbies (that he called things that don’t matter) and joining a club without any judgement or condescending comment. I always picture myself as a happy person in that situation and even imagining it makes me feels damn good.
Am I selfish if I decide for divorce? Am I selfish to want someone who truly loves and cherish me, someone that I can trust, someone who doesn’t look me in condescending way? I feel like if I choose divorce, I’ll be the one who throw my kids under the bus, because he was remorseful, changing his ways and willing to work it out — yet I’m the one who’s being unforgiving. It’ll feel like it’s my mistake for causing them to grow up with single parent.
Please enlighten me.
I was a single parent. It’s not leprosy.
We single parents enjoy the privileges other parents enjoy. We have Christmas mornings and Thanksgiving dinners and Sunday breakfasts. The only difference is that we enjoy these things without the company of cheating fucktards. Improves morale, really, and things are quite pleasant.
Is there a loss of status? Is it financially more precarious? Yes, but there are workarounds. Loss of status? Well, you fix that when you stop associating with idiots who look down their noses at you for being single parent. And you shift your own thinking about single parenting and quit wearing the shame. I’m defective because I’m doing this Herculean job alone? Fuck you. I’m MIGHTY for doing this job alone. I have the strength of TEN! I have self respect and courage. I am modeling awesomeness to my children for raising them without dysfunction! See how that works?
Financial status? You overcome that by getting a job, or training for a new job, or going back to school, and fighting for a fair divorce settlement. You’re married to a doctor and you’re a recent SAHM. I trust you’ll figure out the particulars. Realize that you’re in a better position than most people who divorce every single day under far more challenging financial circumstances.
Are you selfish for divorcing him, even though he is “sorry”? No. You left off the remorse specifics, other than he lasted an entire 5 days of no contact. You drafted a very long letter to me, Java, and yet failed to account for this guy’s “sorry.” Did he sign a post-nup? Did he put his ass into therapy? Did he stop blaming you for his affair? What exactly are you taking as a sign that he’s “willing to work on it”? Because not divorcing you for her is not working on it. It’s avoiding expensive consequences.
Here’s a thought on how to save your marriage — become a single mother! Apparently he finds that shit irresistible.
You know what freaks me out about your husband? He likes his women vulnerable.
This SAHM thing was his idea? And then you do it and he uses that as the very pretext for cheating on you? You’re a boring housewife. Oh, there’s a mindfuck.
While he had cake — he had two vulnerable women in his thrall. You, the unknowing SAHM, dependent on him, ensuring the safety of cake (she would never risk my support or the image of her intact family!) and the OW– great kibbles because she’ll play helpless damsel to his savior doctor.
Here’s what would happen to the OW if she “won” the pick me dance — she’d get to live in your shoes and be devalued too.
But with cake, he gets all the control and all the centrality. He figures you won’t fuck up your secure status, and OW will dance the pick me dance hard because she wants to be you. Of course he doesn’t want a divorce — he wants to maintain his power over you both.
Oh but he broke up with her! Doubtful, Java. And if he did, there’s another OW out there to take her place. Some delusional unfortunate who hears that you’re crazy and separated, and it’s very complicated, but if she’ll just be patient…
You think this is a one off? A brief lapse into selfishness? Or Java — is this his character? He seemed quite okay with gaslighting you and blaming you for his affair. He’s demeaning about your ambitions and your hobbies. You say he is judgmental and condescending.
Ask yourself — is this kind of partner acceptable to you? Would you want one of your children to be married to such a person? Do you really think your values align? Do you want to live with this guy wondering where he is, working those long hours doctors work?
It seems you can only imagine being cherished and trusting again in another relationship. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know?
You’re not responsible for this marriage breaking up, Java. He is. He broke it when he cheated, and he continued to pulverize it when he blameshifted his shitty behavior on to you. You’re not obligated to continue this marriage just because he might be “sorry.” Your children are young and don’t even miss him. Can you imagine the sunk costs of raising his kids and then getting the shaft years from now? You think this guy is going to have a character transplant?
Imagine another life.
I always picture myself as a happy person in that situation and even imagining it makes me feels damn good.
Now make that new life a reality.
Think of your possible lives 5-10 years from now. On one hand you could have an “in-tact” family with a nagging thought about which woman he may or may not be with. You’ll probably still feel alone even though he is right there. On the other hand, you could leave this mess and create your own future. This has more unknowns and may seem a bit scary at first but you might be happy, you might meet someone who is deserving of you, it may be that you are just fine on your own. This is very hard to picture right now, but it can be a reality.
You aren’t selfish for doing what you think is right. Follow the part of you that wants the best for you. God will help you find the way.
This could have been me thirty years ago. My husband was in sales. I wish I knew then what I know now. It’s never a one off! My regret is not divorcing him then. Four years ago the reality began to surface and overtake the fantasy I had created. My kids were grown. So, without understanding why, I left him, shocking everyone. But he still has a dandy reputation, because after all, his wife left such a nice guy!
And yes, mine liked his ego stroked by rescuing vulnerable women too!
I would tell everyone that there should be no second chances given. Trust broken cannot be repaired! Let someone else have him and make a far better life for yourself!
Heather your following quotes are applicable to me and I am sure many, many Chumps –
“My kids were grown. So, without understanding why, I left him, shocking everyone. But he still has a dandy reputation, because after all, his wife left such a nice guy!”
“I would tell everyone that there should be no second chances given. Trust broken cannot be repaired!”
Without trust we do not have much to build on and I learned that the very hard way. What also puzzles me is how he has built up such a wonderful reputation. If only the people knew what I know but wait, I am the crazy one and nobody would believe me. He is one smug rat and I live for the day that the smirk is wiped right off his face.
Great advise from CL there, Java. I hope you read it over a few times.
Your self esteem has taken a battering (there’s a lot of that around here). Get to an individual therapist to help with that and learn how to stop saying your sorry when you did nothing wrong.
I think a major factor here is that by staying with this insensitive and cruel man you are not showing your children what a healthy relationship looks like, setting them up for bad relationships in their own future.
You might not realize it but you’ve described living in an abusive relationship (again, a lot of that around here). Just because he didn’t beat you doesn’t mean he didn’t harm you. You need to heal from that, gain your strength, and stand on your own two feet. Nothing heals like independence.
As CL said, you’re “luckier” than many of us because at least your husband probably makes a good living and will be able to help provide for you and the children.
I truly believe that you and the children will be happier and more at peace without him and his selfish ways and that leaving him isn’t at all selfish, but a great gift to yourself and the kids.
You nailed this CL. Java, you’d be wise to take the advice. Many of us have experienced the selfishness of the entitled cheater and, as much as people have ‘unique circumstances’ the shit sandwich always tastes the same.
I’m a guy chump who suffered the worries of what would happen. Holidays and birthdays! Oh my! Truth is, I feared these things more than actually losing my cheater but realizing I couldn’t ‘save’ or ‘convince’ or ‘make her understand’ I let it all go. Unlike you, I’m sure, I was dumped with all the dept and after my business dropped, less than half the income. I had the kids…she was…well, you know. She wasn’t there but when she was, she was ‘so sorry’. I lost it all. ALL OF IT! Best thing ever. I got more. And better. And love too. It’s never perfect but it’s real. Real love is good stuff.
If he isn’t kissing your arse and making ALL the effort, it’s time to dump and move on. Me thinks he’s worried about the $$. He’s worried about him. Before, during, and after. That’s a cheater. Find a real man. A real life!
Well said, Critical Defect!
As always Chump Lady, you hit it right on the nail. I read and reread your advice all the time. I have to read this site everyday to keep me strong, otherwise I jump on the unicorn and start galloping into the sunset.
Same here, I’m on here for atleast 2hrs everyday reading, absorbing and drawing strength from everything I read. This site gave me the courage to run from my 15yr burning house. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m doing so-so but it’s a big thing to finally realise I’m starting to respect myself, love myself by leaving. I read here the only way through pain is THROUGH it headon. I’m grieving and I have my moments of wallowing and taking a little sniff from the hopium pipe but I KNOW nothing I could have done would have altered my XH lying cheating habits. I finally know I have been emotionally and mentally abused, I have been gaslighted, I use to be his blameshifting target…all of this kept me stuck year after year until I found this site 2 months ago and realised I have reached my breaking point, my point of no return. I am the victim not the cause of the conflicts/cheating and I will heal in time, I will eventually have a great life with my 4 young kids because I have re-found my self worth.
Also adding, now that I’m standing up for myself my XH has gone all angry at me, still denying his cheating, blaming me for everything. I’m not fooled by this, this is him blameshifting and trying to still mindfuck me. What makes me abit sad is he feels nothing by loosing me because he has his affairs and flings to rebound on while I am going through the grandmother of all grieving.
You keep going. It’s hard work that makes you strongest.
And one day you’ll realize that you’re not a victim, after all. You’ll know that you are mighty. You will reject the term, “victim.” Because you’ll know that you decide your destiny, not someone who doesn’t care about you.
Big hugs, and congratulations for facing and moving in the right direction.
me too trying2fly, me too. i have been grieving for the past 7 months.
it is like he hasnt missed me at all. of course his oompa loompa ugly married chewbacca thing is “helping” thru all the pain of losing his family.
When W had her first cheating episode (first that I know of, anyway) about 25 years ago, we reconciled. Had a pretty good marriage for a long time after that. She did most of the right things to reconcile, and although I also had some lingering doubts, I figured I needed to be part of the solution, and I “moved on”. After many years, I figured it was a “one off”.
Fast forward 25 years into a 32 year marriage with a son. She’s now at it again. Just like before, the same themes of my insufficiencies, the same gas lighting and blame-shifting.
Please, make your own decision, but do trust me that second D-Days years down the road after you’ve reinvested yourself in the marriage really, really suck.
“It’s unfair for them to grow up in broken home because of their father’s one selfish action.”
“I feel like if I choose divorce, I’ll be the one who throw my kids under the bus, because he was remorseful, changing his ways and willing to work it out — yet I’m the one who’s being unforgiving.”
Uh oh. Sounds like somebody has been reading some awful anti-divorce rhetoric! Chump Lady cleared that clutter with some great insight.
“….he hated me for being a “boring housewife.”
Someone else will recognize the fine character it takes to be a loving wife and dedicated mother, and they will love you for it Java.
My ex kept his money to himself throughout our marriage–after all, he declared, he worked FULL time, while I ONLY worked part time. And he sort of liked it that way, too. I kept up the house and yard, and looked after the children, and fit a career around and in between. I struggled a bit with what money I earned, but that was good for him.
Then, as planned, when I went back to work full time to pay our first child’s college tuition, and began to earn as much money as he did, and still kept up on the household chores, he justified his affair: “You were always gone! I got lonely!”
Mm-hm. Enjoy that skank. I’m enjoying our family home and the respect of my children.
Weird. My plan had always been to go back to work when the kids got older, but my ex insisted, cajoled and eventually persuaded me to stay at home. Charity work was OK; paid work would be “cheating the kids of their mother.” Guilt was an effective button that my ex knew how to use to keep me in place.
I spy a new subcategory of cheater–the kind that likes to keep their prey dependent. It reminds me of a cat playing with a mouse. The cat keeps the mouse alive just long enough so it can enjoy batting it around and chasing it, over and over and over again.
CL is right on the money.
I’ll share my story. My STBX is a very successful professional. He did the same thing to me that your husband is doing to you. He dismissed my concerns over his behavior (drinking), put down my interests, spent more and more time at bars and with loser friends, said we “grew apart” (actually he grew his dick in another vagina) and blame shifted me when his affair was discovered. He wasn’t interested in the child we shared for months and months on end.
When I discovered his affair I kicked him out.
Who is he with now? Well an unfortunate woman who is unemployed and a single mom to wee kids. He LOVES vulnerable woman because he can sparkle and shine and pretend he’s wonderful. He’s not, he’s a predator. He loves them “weak” so he can be a “rescuer” and nobody will challenge his shitty behaviour and character. He’s psychologically unsound.
Trust me when I say that this husband of yours will not be too troubled by your absence or filing for divorce. Now your kids will be upset, there’s no doubt about it. Divorce isn’t fun but what is worse? Being with a cheating fucktard of a husband. It’s soul sucking. And kids pick up on this. They figure it out. My child was angry but she is ok. Kids get that cheating and lying are not ok. You don’t need to take that on and spin it so that your kids are less burdened. Instead you move in the direction that is healthy and loving.
I’m sorry this is happening to you. I’m a single mom and it’s work but it’s going well. I have a decent settlement and I’m ok. I do what I want to do now and I don’t get the put downs that whatever decision I made wasn’t quite right. I celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and every other holiday the way I want to and my child and I are closer and on solid ground.
There’s no shame in divorce. You didn’t do this, he did. He should be ashamed of his behaviour but with cheaters, you won’t find it. There’s going to be tough days for sure but you can make the life you need for yourself and kids now. Go and find it.
Wow, your stbx and mine sound exactly the same (sadly). He has the good guy image too, divorce will definitely stain that image of his.
When i met him the first time i was a struggling grad student with 2 side jobs and just recently lost my dad. I thought he was the kindest person i ever met and this happened. I’m starting to think that saving someone and being a regular superhero is really his thing. Rescuing one young maiden/desperate broad after the other for ego kibbles. WTF is wrong with these person ???
Java, you and thensome reminded me that when my husband was “courting” me he told me he wanted “someone to take care of.” This stuck with me and made me feel that he might save me. The truth is that he never took care of me. Deeds are so much more important than words.
“Who is he with now? Well an unfortunate woman who is unemployed and a single mom to wee kids. He LOVES vulnerable woman because he can sparkle and shine and pretend he’s wonderful. He’s not, he’s a predator. He loves them “weak” so he can be a “rescuer” and nobody will challenge his shitty behaviour and character. He’s psychologically unsound”.
Where we married to the same man, thensome?
My daughter refers to him as the predator for exactly this reason.
THIS! OMG THIS! Another huge lightbulb just went off. When I met stbx he came in as “Rescue Rick” I had just escaped a physically abusive relationship & wanted nothing to do with men or a relationship and that motherfucker love bombed & chased me to the ends of the earth. He was friends with one of my friends who ended up setting us up. She told me how he was such a great guy & that if she wasn’t married she would go out with him. (Oh, if she only knew about the cheating, hookers, and porn. ) and as for his first marriage where the wife left in only a year? She was another “rescue” from some small town in Illionois who cleaned out all his bank accounts and went back home. She was the smart one & mighty. I consider the money she took as her “pain in the ass pay” & prize for having to deal with a fucktard.
The mindfuck is absolutely epic-they do anything & everything for you at the start until they have you reeled in…………then they turn on you in every way possible and you are left trying to untangle the skein. How could someone who supposedly loved you so much do & say those horrible things?
Then reality finally sets in……..none of it was real & it’s time to make your own reality
My STBX’s favorite movies are Pretty Woman and Flashdance. There’s a pattern…disadvantaged (though feisty) beautiful women rescued by rich/powerful men. Also loves James Bond movies….actually identifies in some delusional way with Bond since he travels internationally for work (told that to our therapist), so saw that cheating was his entitlement. As M said in Casino Royale, “Arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand”.
My XH is also a doctor and began his affair when my younger child was 6 months old. He also was hardly ever home–came home after the kids fell asleep and was asleep in the morning when I took the kids to school/daycare. I only suspected an affair when he was away for 4 nights straight, saying he was sleeping in the call room at the hospital when in fact he was staying at a hotel with the OW.
I also did the pick-me-dance when he told me ILYBINILWY (didn’t discover the affair until a couple of months later). After I confronted him about the affair, he insisted he would end and then told me it was over. I later discovered it wasn’t and then subsequently filed for divorce.
Yes, it’s lonely sometimes, and I do still feel sad that we’re not part of an intact two-parent family, but I am free of his gaslighting, blameshifting, anger and deceit. And my kids seem to be doing well (knock on wood), in fact, I think even better than before I discovered my XH’s infidelity. (Looking back, he was doing a lot of devaluing of me prior to the beginning of his affair.) And they actually spend much more time with XH (every other weekend plus one dinner per week) than they ever did prior to our separation (which was actually the biggest adjustment for my older child).
It’s funny that your XH blames you for the affair for being an SAHM. My XH said he always wanted a career woman for a wife (which I was), because he found career women more attractive and interesting. When he told me ILYBINILWY, he said he now changed his mind and wanted an SAHM-type who was more nurturing, feminine, domestic and could spend more time and energy taking care of him (his previous girlfriend before me was like this, and he said he found this “suffocating”). My point is is that the cheater’s reasons don’t make sense–whatever you are, they will just say they want the opposite to somehow justify their decisions.
Another thing, my XH also likes to portray this “savior” doctor image. His patients appear to love him, and he apparently will go out of his way for them, work extra hours for them, etc., at the expense of spending time with his family, or maybe he was having affairs then, who knows. He is loved and admired by patients, nurses and other hospital staff, who find him charming, generous, a “great doctor,” etc. It might be part of the “white coat” effect, too. It took me awhile to reconcile how everyone could think he was such a “good guy” while he was doing terrible things to his family (I’m still trying to reconcile that). In any case, your H like mine probably cares about two things–his image and his money.
THIS IS TRUE OF MOST NARCISSISTS!!!!
“In any case, your H like mine probably cares about two things–his image and his money.”
Mmm – isn’t there an ethical issue here? ” He’s a doctor and OW is a patient’s mom.” But he’s the child’s doctor and he’s playing daddy!! He should only be having a professional relationship with both child and mother. Note professional. I’m UK but a quick check on the AMA might be worth doing. I know this might have ramifications for his career/future income but really Java, money is not the issue here- character is. And trustworthiness which is a cornerstone of any relationship let alone one with a doctor- or a husband. He can’t be trusted- for you, your children -or probably his patients. As CL often says- the house is on fire-leave!
It definitely is an ethical issue. But if one day i decide for divorce i suppose it can be a blessing in disguise, we live in a very conservative country with no clear guidelines about alimony and child support. A father can walk away without leaving anything and he won’t be breaking any kind of law. Man can marry multiple women and it won’t count as a crime. There’s absolutely no rules about it, i know a woman who was in a divorce process and asked for future alimony and child support, the judge decided that $500 will be sufficient for her and 3 kids, oh and she has to move from the marital house too. It’s that backward
Their communication records is my ace card
Java, all the more reason to get a job. You absolutely must be independent in a country like that, because to SAHM is to make yourself even MORE vulnerable, because the laws are against you. Please, get your ducks in a row and restart your career.
Also, talk to a lawyer about the ethics violation, your evidence, and how best to proceed on that. This maybe leverage. DO NOT TIP YOUR HAND and say ANYTHING to your husband about this. See a lawyer and do not tell him. Find out what your options are.
Java, I think the key thing for you is planning. You need a lawyer’s advice as soon as possible.
In the US, sometimes staying with a person after they cheat makes it look like you’ve forgiven them and then if you leave later, it’s your fault. That’s one reason to leave or kick them out right away, at least in the US. You need to find out from a lawyer if that’s a concern or not for you.
You may be stuck living with your husband while you re-start you career. Try to get as many legal guarantees as possible from your husband. Things like you own or co-own the house or you have a bank account of your own somewhere. Any chance he’ll give you some expensive jewelry?
Honestly, you may not have as much leverage if you live somewhere where it’s easy for him to leave and not take care of you. You need to be careful.
Basically, see a lawyer privately as soon as you can.
J, this is so so familiar to me. The whole gaslighting so that you end up apologising to him for his lying, cheating ways, urgh, the man is a toxic narcissist if ever there was one, you are worth so much more and so are you children.
Get the f*ck out, take him for as much as you can, and have an awesome new life.((((HUGS))))
Java ~ I felt your pain in every word you wrote. I am going on 16 months and he was with the OW within a month of our final split. They had an action packed summer with trips to the beach and who knows where while I tried to be the best mommy I could be to our two daughters. We were all heartbroken. Our first vacation on our own (the vacation from hell for me), our 10 year wedding anniversary was the 2nd day of our vacation in NC. I wanted to hear his voice so bad. I convinced myself I could wish that phone to ring ALL day long. Every minute that passed I hoped. Well, that wasn’t going to happen since he Jess were at a Delaware Beach celebrating her BIRTHDAY. Yep, anniversary/birthday = same damn day. I had to take a minute, catch my breath and the I had a good laugh/cry.
When he was ordered by the court to pay child AND spousal support in the fall the honeymoon phase was over (they didn’t break-up, but the $$$ hit him where it hurts HARD). We barely got through Christmas and he declared a full on war against me. I was suddenly emotionally unstable and an unfit mother. I tried to stand my ground and not let him intimidate me or manipulate each custody exchange to his advantage, but the truth is he was a “man” I am not sure I EVER knew. I am still in the midst of the fight of my life regarding custody of our daughters. Jess and her dog moved into his townhouse. I had to borrow money from my mother to feed OUR family dog. I was then that I realized that we were disposable, and that Jess was actually doing me a favor. TAKE HIM! ANYWHERE… PLEASE!!! Our daughts 6 yrs and 8 yrs old had become $$$ signs (more like collateral damage) and $$$ was no longer disposable.
Long story short. I know this will not make you feel better today or tomorrow or even then next day, but trust me on this okay…you are so lucky. I am actually happy for you, you have your children. LET HIM GO. HOLD THEM TIGHT. DON’T think about what he may or may not be doing. You are now a single mom and YOU CAN SOOO DO THIS. You already were. Own it, embrace it, rock There is noticing you could have done or can do to change anything that he set in motion. He will NEVER live happily ever after, he is no Prince Charming. Does anyone really live happily ever after? I don’t know. I am not quite where I want to be, but I am NOT WHERE I WAS. It is a marathon, not a sprint but everyday you are at least one step forward. Just keep a steady pace and don’t look back. Your children are worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
I hope you find some peace sometime very soon.
Chin up and eyes forward!
Best Regards ~
Amanda – I am so sorry to ready your story and so feel your pain – it really is amazing how awful these idiot are. YOU are MIGHTY and seem to have a great handle on things. Keep moving forward and best of luck. HUGS!
I guess I’m less concerned about him boinking some strange home-wrecking whore (that would be enough by itself, but wait! There’s worse!).
I’m more concerned about the fact that he verbally abuses you, no doubt in front of your children. That is abusive to your children. If they are sons, do you want them growing up thinking it is ok to treat their girlfriends or wives in this way? If they are daughters, do you want them thinking they should dance faster when being disparaged and insulted? Your children are in harm’s way. You have a responsibility to remove them from this.
Your husband thinks it’s ok to openly carry on an affair where people he knows can see him. I guarantee you that when your children are teenagers, such behavior will be humiliating to them. “I saw your dad kissing some woman….” will create such a burning pain of shame in them if they are living under the lie of a “happy” marriage.
Your husband is all too happy to abandon his children for hours and days at a time. That is abuse in the form of neglect. They, too, will understand the pain of having been rejected for children who are not his own. Of course, he does not love those other children any more than he loves his own (narcissists really don’t understand love) but your children will forever struggle to understand this in any meaningful way, just as we all continue to struggle to understand our own abandonments here.
As for being selfish, my dear, you have a responsibility to be selfish in a rational, productive way. I think you need to distinguish between being destructive and harmful, and asking others to sacrifice for you, versus making choices according to a strong set of values in such a way that will cause you to live a harmonious, genuinely happy life. You have a responsibility to remove your children from harm’s way–surely that is a rational value. I know that you value having a two-parent family for your children, but that’s with the caveat that both parents are healthy and nurturing. You have to work with what is real. In your case (mine, too) one of those parents is casting a pall in your children’s lives, causing them to grow in a toxic emotional soup, one that will surely lead to confusion and instability. That is NOT something you value. I’m sorry to say that the option of your husband being a GOOD father, and an example of a GOOD husband is NOT available, and it never will be. The sooner you give yourself permission to work with that reality, the sooner you’ll give yourself permission to move on.
I’m encouraged by the fact that you’re already dreaming of a future where you get out from under his shadow and you grow and reach and become the woman you’ve always dreamed of being. You’re a great stay-at-home mom and wife, but this isn’t the role for you, because you’re being abused in it by someone you have no control over. There is something else for you in this life.
If you asked me, in different circumstances–say you had a loving, supportive husband, and you were simply tired of your role, and you wanted to leave him and your kids to follow your dreams–I’d say that your selfishness was irrational, assuming you value your family, because abandoning your family to chase a whim would be destructive and bring unnecessary pain to people you supposedly love. I’d ask you to figure out a way to finish your job raising your children, or to first make sure their needs were supported with you in school or at your new job, or to perhaps postpone your dreams or work on them part-time in alignment with the order of your values (your family first). However, this is NOT your circumstance. Your reality is that you had no choice in the matter of whether the foundation of your family would crumble, of whether your children’s father would turn into a hurtful jerk. YOU now control the reaction to his actions. HE reneged on his agreement. HE took a sledgehammer to your family. NOW what are you going to do?
In my opinion you have a responsibility, as CL often says, to grab your kids and get out of the burning building. Something tells me that your husband’s mother didn’t do this, and a monster was created as a result. I realize some sociopaths are not the result of their family’s disorder, but often they are. You have a responsibility to model for your children how a healthy person reacts to adversity. You have a responsibility to be strong and dignified. As I mentioned in another post, you will make mistakes–everyone does. But you have a responsibility to learn from them, not beat yourself up over them, nor condemn yourself to a lifetime of punishment, but to fix what you can, and carry on. Your children will admire you if you do this.
I think that what hurts children is weakness–groveling, wallowing, indecisiveness, blaming others for our lack of achievement, entitlement. Badmouthing their father instead of becoming solidly mighty? Not good. (You haven’t done that, I realize.)
Keep dreaming–really, that is a KEY step in the right direction. The fact that you CAN imagine a life without him, is really mighty of you, already–but only if you take the steps toward cutting this cancer out of your family. And make no mistake–you and your kids ARE a whole family. Never let them believe that they are broken or less-than. They and you–each other–is all they need to be happy and whole and successful. That’s on you to make it happen.
Never let anyone make you believe that it’s wrong to be selfish. ONLY YOU can live your best life. If you don’t look out for yourSELF and your children, who will?
Great post, Sunshine!
Absolutely, Sunshine, Thank you!!!
Java-you can do this. Your STBX is a dangerous person, acting out of a sense of entitlement that will never change. If he were a crackhead instead of a narcissist, would you hesitate?
Your mighty will come. Keep coming to Chump Nation, we gotcha.
Sunshine, “I think that what hurts children is weakness–groveling, wallowing, indecisiveness, blaming others for our lack of achievement, entitlement. Badmouthing their father instead of becoming solidly mighty? Not good. (You haven’t done that, I realize.)” this is me to a small degree, thanks for the wake-up call!
He says you are selfish because he is projecting his own faults, as cheaters/disordered often do.
I was a homeschooling SAHM for the second decade of my marriage. My ex was very supportive of this and would say how proud he was to be supporting our family. But as soon as we separated after Dday, he quit his job, and then blamed ME for the financial problems that followed, saying that he had always wanted me to be working and it was all my fault for being at home.
You can never win with these disordered types, so you do what is best for YOU and leave them to spin reality to suit themselves. Your kids will be better off away from that man, he sounds horrible.
Yeah, Java, you’re being totally selfish, wanting a divorce and all. You’re probably one of those it’s-all-about-me types that has a long list of all the “things” you demand to be happy, because the love of a good man (a practitioner of the Healing Arts, even!) simply isn’t enough for your kind. You know what I’m talking about, superficial stuff like, say, honesty, affection, attention, and effort. Ugh. I know the type. I’d guess you even have an idea (though you probably won’t admit it) that you’re entitled to a partner who has your back, like, all the time. And is committed to your safety and well-being, and that of your children.
Sound ridiculous? Of course it is! Java, you are confusing selfishness with self-preservation. What you describe is the latter, and it’s perfectly okay. In fact, to NOT have those thoughts would be unhealthy. Listen to that inner voice of sanity. Save yourself and your family, and divorce this doltish doc directly.
A hearty AMEN! to that Nomar.
“you are confusing selfishness with self-preservation”
That is really good!
I am so sorry you have joined our ranks, Java.
His actions have already demonstrated his views on things.
No need to feel any guilt. He broke your marriage vows/contract.
He has already disengaged from the family.
Divorce is actually the better option, for you and the kids.
I am one of those who had multiple DDays spread out over more than a decade. It truly is no fun. To be gaslighted, told you are imagining things…. And then find out 10+ years later that, YES, that first DDay was an affair.
That all those times you thought your spouse was not engaged, you were worries something was wrong… You were told it was work, not you/the marriage. To make a major sacrifice for the family, work so hard you became sick you were so worn out…then be told a week later the marriage was over (affairs were admitted 3 months later). It is devastating.
Get out now, for your sake and that of your kids.
Java, I tend to be much softer than CL. So I’m willing to believe that your husband is sorry and wants to stay married. He may even love you and his kids.
I think you have two questions here.
One is can I divorce him anyway, even if he’s remorseful and doing the right thing now? I think the answer is yes, you have that right. He hurt you deeply and if you’re not going to be able to trust him and love him again, you aren’t obligated to stay married to him.
I agree divorce isn’t great for kids. I don’t think there’s an easy answer. I would point out that in your case, your kids don’t have much of a relationship with their dad right now. They might actually see more of him if he had custody one day a week.
I would say that if you stay together for the sake of the kids, there has to be some marriage counseling and improvement in the marriage for the sake of the kids.
The other question that you don’t ask is can you trust him? I have no idea.
I would strongly advise you to follow CL’s general advice and get a postnup at this point. You need to be financially protected. You should also on your own and without discussing it with your husband talk to a lawyer. Find out how it affects money if you stay together now.
You don’t mention any marriage therapy. What is your husband doing to show that he is sorry besides not being involved with the OW anymore?
I think you need to push for more than just he isn’t having an affair. He needs to stop insulting you. He needs to fully take responsibility for what he did – that means saying that it was not about you. He need to recognize that when he said those things he was doing it to justify his own bad actions. He needs to be ready to take the blame. John Gottman has a book on trust that you might want to look at on this.
Your husband needs to be present for you and your kids. He needs to start romancing you. He needs to help you have more time for yourself; surely on his salary you can afford some babysitters.
He needs to dance the pick-me dance harder than you ever danced it.
Think about it – you’ve been trying desperately to prove that you’re a good wife even though you’re busy working hard to care for two small children. He cheated on you, lied to you, insulted you, neglected you, and didn’t do his share around the house. He was an extremely bad husband. Now he needs to prove that he can be a good one.
i love this!!
You wrote: “My friend saw them almost kissing in daylight outside (really, they didn’t give a shit who saw them). After I confronted him he kept denying that something happened and blew up again. “So you’re following me around now? Is that what you’re doing during your free time?” “You suffocate me.” “Why can’t I have some alone time?'”
So, it is not about him cheating on his wife and family. It is a matter of him getting caught that’s the problem. This does not sound like he has done EVERYTHING right since D-Day. This sounds like a remorseless, cruel person. Pay attention to this.
Hugs your way! You did not do this. Your husband was the one who detonated the A-Bomb in your life and kids’ lives…never forget that. Don’t buy the lies or the shame! It’s not yours to carry!
You’re just giving me another angle. He’s a good pediatrician with excellent patient doctor relationship (bedside manner took a whole new meaning) , most of person in our area goes to him. Everyone see him as an intelligent hardworking good guy.
That pre dday fight was what triggered him to end his affair. Maybe this is too assuming, my guess is when his image was threatened to collapse, he dumped her because he wanted to stop the gossip circulation. I did tell my friend that it was over and i lied to her that it was only an almost affair to save myself from the humiliation and she promised not to tell anyone. If he got caught multiple time people would definitely talk. Maybe he’s really sorry for getting caught not for the actual action
What’s your evidence that he’s ended his affair, other than his say-so? And did he apologize for gaslighting you?
Agreed, CL. Java, he has already demonstrated by his cheating and gaslighting that he is not trustworthy. A wise person would not take his word for anything. It’s worthless. His actions have demonstrated this.
Trust that he sucks. Read the other posts, do what is recommended. Protect yourself. If you are on a jet that’s going down the drill is for Mom to put the mask on first so she can save her children. Mr Java is the one who shot a hole in the cabin window. Put your mask on first. Take action by secretly seeking legal advice. Smile and be nice. No matter what goes down you will be satisfied that you put the mask on first and modeled healthy self preservative behavior for your children.
In my experience there were red flags for it being a difficult ride as it were. For both of us really. It’s not like I didn’t enter into that arena totally naive. His health was so poor I figured he’d die first so I had a Plan B already in place. The cheating was the last thing I thought I’d have to deal with. Never crossed my mind. Ugh!
I’m not going to lie and tell you it won’t hurt. Hey, you’ve had two kids so you know what “hurt” really is. You got through it. You will get through this, too. Keep coming here and keep coming here reading. Keep the mask on until you have safely landed. Stay as strong as your name, Java. : )
One thing I’ve learned from coming here is that I dodged a bullet not having a child with him. Not that I didn’t try but Mother Nature wasn’t cooperating. (I was young and quite stupid back then.) I bow down to you parents on here. Thankfully my children’s father wasn’t anything like x-1 so I got to experience true co-parenting. We had each other’s backs and our kids gave us a 9 out of 10 for divorced parents. He didn’t cheat but I still put my mask on first. Can’t control anything else but this.
This is it, exactly, DM – When I confronted my Ex with the credit card statement showing all the charges (3-4 x’s a week) at seedy massage parlors, I very calmly let him rant and rave as long as he wanted about “how I was a snoop! You go behind my BACK?? and look at my MAIL??” When he was spent, I said ok, yeah, so that was the “important” part of all of this… now, let talk about WTF you have been DOING????” It’s a distraction tactic – their mouths are moving in this defensive posture while their minds are spinning trying to figure how they are going to get themsleve out of this mess. Gross… they pieces of shit are just Gross.
oh Damn!! my XH would derail me all the time. i would eventually get tired out of explaining all the questions or would be so far from the original conversation that i couldnt find the original point that i started out with.
he did this each and every time i had a legitimate bitch about his actions. and i fell for it over and over. we never did solve any of our problems, we were still fighting the same issues we started fighting. he just kept derailing and running off on totally unconnected issues that nothing was EVER fixed.
he is not worth a shit to be even half a fucking man, but he is a fucking genius on how to avoid conflict/responsibilities/compromise. he sucks at being a father/daddy but a fucking expert on how to ‘act’ like one (he only plays one on tv) ugh!!!
Seems to me, the way you tell it… this idea that you are selfish originated from your husband while he was cheating because you had the nerve to wonder what was up when he was out screwing around, and that seed took root.
Chances are if you decide to remain with this person who successfully–it seems–manipulated you in that way, then you can expect that to be exploited to the fullest extent in the future.
It’s kind of how these things work: manipulative people undermine your self-worth by telling you that you are boring, selfish, etc. If you’re so boring and selfish, WhyTF is he hanging around? Set him free to find somebody who isn’t so selfish that they expect honesty, monogamy, and doesn’t mind having a “partner” that is happy to tear them down while he selflessly cheats on them.
Java, listen to your gut and it is telling you to get out. Your gut instincts are never wrong, they were right all along and he tried to make you feel like you were crazy and paranoid, but you were right. And you are right now!
He came back for some selfish reason and believe me, it is not going to be good for you. Who knows maybe he realized he had shit in his nest and was going to look like the cheating loser he is and you were going to come away looking like the responsible, loving mom and dedicated wife that you are. He needed to do some damage control fast so he came back to play daddy for awhile (added bonus to this move is; it puts the other woman in the position of being even more needy and doing the pick me dance as fast as she can) and it makes you feel guilty if you leave him. Then he can cry victim when you do leave and it gives him time to gets his ducks in a row and get joint custody or even try to take custody of the children. Be very careful, he is doing what he can to discredit you and put his reputation back together AND save himself some money. Whatever he is doing is NOT with the purpose of keeping the family together, most definitely it is to save his own ass.
Get out now and save yourself possibly years of heartache only to end up a single parent anyway. Years tend to slide by so quickly, and with them he has more time to whittle away at your self esteem and confidence, and he will do it because he wants you weak and compliant.
Protect yourself and your children.
Listen to your gut, it will not steer you wrong, he has proven himself to be a lying cheater.
I get really irritated by the “I cheated because you’re an at-home mom” defense.
Let’s get this clear. It’s complete and utter bullshit.
You think if you were a busy wage-earning mom with toddlers, things would be different? Because you would have had so much more time and energy to talk to him about politics or go on romantic dates?
I’m confident that if you had a wage-earning job, your husband would blame it for his cheating.
Raising children is hard work. It is rewarding, sometimes it is fun, and it’s what real life and growing up are about. It’s also being tied down to responsibilities. It’s not doing what you want all the time. Your husband gets a failing grade on this one.
Your husband isn’t the only one pushing this line of insanity. I think I’ve seen commenters whose OW promoted it. They’re so interesting because they’re not taking care of kids. (I guess if you’re a child care worker or teacher, you should expect your husband to cheat, too.) It has nothing to do with their willingness to give blow jobs without expecting the guy to change a diaper.
Java, I think your husband’s OW was interesting because she was living her life around him. It wasn’t real; he could be nice to her kid or not. If he did, he was great. And to be gross, if she’s a single mom who gets no help from her husband, she probably had to neglect her daughter a little bit in order to have sex with your husband.
Sometimes our society endorses the idea that cheating is your fault if you were an at-home mom. There’s this warning that if you are an at-home mom, you will be boring and your husband will leave you. No particular evidence for it, of course. I think this idea is coming from a desire to justify moms working. That’s fine for moms who want to keep their wage-earning job or career. It kind of sucks, though, if it’s just one extra burden for moms – you have to take care of your kids and you have to have another job on the side just to keep yourself interesting for your man. It’s really just another example of moms can’t win whatever they do.
Anyhow, Java, you really don’t sound boring to me. You’ve done some organizing for charity. You’re active in your kids lives. You have hobbies and clubs.
Whatever your husband said putting down your interests, etc., was his way of avoiding his own guilt.
You did nothing wrong. You’ve been providing quality child care to a couple of kids in their early years (his kids, in fact). You deserve a husband who thanks you for this, comes home and does his share, and romances you.
P.S. If, however, you want to get a wage-earning job, you should go for it, even if you stay with your husband!
I don’t think SAHM are particularly special on this one. It’s *anyone* who is behaving like a grown up who is at fault in the cheater’s mind for not being fun and exciting. You pay taxes? Insist on budgeting for insurance? Point out you can’t really afford that new car? You’re a joyless buzzkill. Cheating is about escapism, narcissism, immaturity — and of course, entitlement. Raising children is a pretty thankless slog. Not without its rewards, of course, but it requires grown up attention. Attention cheaters don’t like to give unless there is a big kibble pay off.
I really don’t think it matters if you work (and I would point out most mothers don’t work out of personal choice, but out of economic necessity), a disordered person is going to blame you. Because that is what they do — BLAME. They aren’t grown ups.
Mr. Pediatrician is a fraud. He pretends at caring for children when he is quite happy to neglect and endanger his own.
Yes! -about being called a ‘Buzzkill’ for acting responsibly. Happened to me. Of course, now my X wishes he had me back in his life because I ‘took good care of him’. More of the – you just can ‘t win game!
I also think Narcs tell spouses with a career that they are boring if they want to talk about work. Java, if you had been working outside the home, this would probably be what you heard- Stop talking about your job, I don’t even know those people, or understand your challenges there! (Also happened to me).
The put-downs from a Narc never stop, they just change.
Of course you are not being selfish. From another point of view, it could be said it would be selfish of you NOT to divorce this man. Look at how out of control his sense of ENTITLEMENT is! He must know he is skating on thin ice professionally (having an affair with the mother of a patient – really)?. Kissing / being observed with someone who isn’t his wife and mother of his children, taking absolutely no responsibility (this isn’t going to change) denigrating, gaslighting, blame-shifting – none of this is going to change – it is who he is! Neglecting his own children to ‘groom’ the child of his OW – c’mon, this is child abuse surely.
Imagine you’d written a different letter:
My children were born in this house, but I just found out termites have destroyed the foundations and the house is crumbling around my ears. Yesterday the North side of the house actually fell down but I think I’ve managed to prop up the roof for a while. Is it selfish of me to go find somewhere else to live, given my children know nothing else and we might have to go to a different area, different school?
Java, the foundations of your children’s home has been destroyed by a parasite, you have to move them to a better home now. Home should be warm, safe and loving, not cold, parasite infested, bad for your health.
On the positive side, you are in a really good position where 1) you can envisage a much better life for you and your children 2) your STBXH is capable of providing the financial support you will need to make your better life a reality 3) your children have little contact with their father anyway.
I would strongly urge you to get a divorce sorted as soon as possible. If you let it rumble on in the shall I/sharn’t I limbo for much longer, the ENTITLED POS you are married to will start telling himself that the issues between you have nothing to do with how he’s behaved, and going by his form so far, all down to how ‘unperfect’ you are. Very soon, he’ll be constructing an argument in his head where he owes you and his children next to nothing and you’ll have to fight him for every single penny. Strike while the iron’s hot – it’ll be the least selfish thing you can do.
Hi Java: I was you 15 years ago. My ex-husband is also a physician. He didn’t screw around with a patient’s mom – so unethical (there is a big red flag in terms of a lack of professionalism), but he did have an affair with a colleague, who was once his resident. He also worked long hours, took lots of call, was never around. He was gone before the kids were up and home after they went to bed. He was a fleeting presence in our lives. We used to joke that he would never have time to have an affair – when would it happen? Between 2-6 a.m. Monday thru Friday? Haha, the joke was on me. He found the time. Like you, I persisted in the marriage after he swore the affair was over. My kids were 12, 7 and 4 and I felt I owed them an intact family.
After several tortuous months of turning myself inside out to make him happy, to make myself more interesting, to make the transition back into our family easier for him, I ran out of gas. I questioned why I was doing all the work, while he was not in the least bit remorseful. Got pretty angry – my efforts were useless because all he did was pine for the OW.
I bailed on the marriage 4 months later. He went back to the OW (probably never left her) and married her within a few months. My daughter, the 7 year old, was the flower girl – how is that for sick behavior?
Getting out of that marriage was the smartest thing I ever did. My life was full without him – there was enough money to go around, I went back to work full time and I had 3 great kids. We survived incredibly well without him – having said that, we were already used to surviving without him, when he lived with us. When the outlier left, not much changed in the household dynamic.
I was a single mom for 5 years. I do not look back on those years as being a terrible time. I worked, I had family and friends to play with, I took vacations with the kids. Life flowed. I re-married a wonderful Irish man, who helped me raise my kids. My youngest child left for university last year, so we are empty-nesters now.
My ex-husband and his wife? Couldn’t give a shit about them – their lives are none of my concern. Happy days!
Ah! A beautiful sighting of the elusive, but not actually mythical, “meh”! I can only hope to see it myself some day.
Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂
This is what im finding a year after divorce. Great friends and family, met a nice woman i am dating all is good. I did all the work so when my ex left i didnt miss a beat. She whines about being lonely and all the work she has to do and i dont give a crap (still have underage son together so unfortunately i still chat with her-though i shut her down when she talks about her woes).
You nailed it. Move on, be happy, find someone with character and values, if you choose to date, and know the you have more value and worth than the cheater pig you used to be with.
“We survived incredibly well without him–having said that, we were already used to surviving without him, when he lived with us.” tflan386, so true! All of it.
Yes, this is good to remember, for me too today. Thanks for that.
I too was a SAHM and good at it. As so many of us are. Parent volunteer, involved in the community, coached youth sports. I raised three beautiful happy children while their father grew further and further apart from us every year. He spent more time away from home, working long hours and then spent time at the gym. I supported him but when he came home I felt he was always wanting to be somewhere else. He compartmentalized more every year. As the years passed he began to undermine, belittle, and disparage more the values, hopes, and dreams I had. I realize, looking back, that I was the only one in my marriage working on our relationship, and part of the reason it was so successful for so long was because of the fact I was so independent. I did the work. I did not “need” him. I knew how to mow the lawn, paint the house, set up a home, parent. I very competently ran the show at home and then later at work. He did his own stuff-work and gym and other misc hobbies-while I did pretty much everything else. He was home very little and when he was he was always uncomfortable, irritable, antsy, angry, or depressed. I think it galled him to spend time with his family. It always seemed as if I could never do anything right and I struggled with how he made me feel. I believe my ex showed up when he needed kibbles. Sex was never intimate or fulfilling for me, it just seemed as if he was only interested in getting his needs met. We were the perfect cover for his disorder though. Kids were honor roll students and athletes but even then as the years passed he grew more and more uneasy with their success. I think this is why so many of us are abandoned when our kids are adolescents. Narcs can’t compete. And life is all about what they want as they truly are not capable of loving someone else. I always felt like I was missing something. That my life in all respects was perfect except for his presence in it. My ex, though Sparkle-y, seemed more like a shell of a man than someone who was fully present in our lives. I think he had a lot of secrets. I never worried about my life after my marriage imploded (it has been a challenge financially) because I am happier. Each of us deserve to be celebrated for the unique gifts we bring to this world. In my marriage there was only ever room for one person to shine. That’s not what real love feels like. Java, you matter. Your kids matter. You deserve better. I waited twenty years for my husband to figure out he had a great life with us, but now I thank his Affair for finally convincing me he will never be the man I need in my life. If I am truthful with myself he never was.
It’s Sunday so…Amen Sista!
Wow Drew-you laid it out perfectly. The stbx not wanting to be around and obsessed with ther own interests. And the being there but with a shitty attitude because they don’t want to really be there. The being angry, nasty, depressed directed towards you. Of course everything you do is wrong. I told stbx that I already know what it’s like to be a single parent because I do everything for our dear son. We have had a “dead bedroom” for longer than I can remember as he did “penis rations” infrequently. Yes, we are just the stage props to help these fucktards project perfect family & dad images.
Java, it IS going to hurt like hell…you are going to cry everyday for months…and you will need therapy, but this is a normal mourning that will last a few months, possibly a year or two, but you will avoid a disfunctional life of decades where there is a 99.99% chance that he will cheat on you again! So consider yourself lucky in the sense that your children won´t remember this event and they will grow up with your new fabulous self who does´nt let anyone treat her or her children badly. Dad will have to have time for them under your divorce, which means you will get time for yourself that you did not have before! And he will be stuck with his lazy OW, her kid, your kids, and possibly the new one she will get pregnant with to keep him! So, while you have time for yourself he will be consumed with all the new responsibilities. His OW will have be the one stressed out on living with a guy who, she knows, has a high chance of cheating on her some day too….that is karma, right there…I am saying this from experience because it is what is happening to me at this very moment! And I am enjoying every second….
A lot of cheaters are successful professionals whose chumps help them maintain their image of integrity. My cheating x was a respected psychologist, and his OW was a student looking up to him as a mentor. The OW was told I was boring and fat. I later learned he was claiming to be separated, and painting me a paranoid and unstable person, even as he came home every night and told me tall tales to cover his filthy tracks.
CL is quite right: “He figures you won’t fuck up your secure status, and OW will dance the pick me dance hard because she wants to be you. Of course he doesn’t want a divorce — he wants to maintain his power over you both.”
Cheaters usually don’t want a divorce. They want someone tending the home fires while they cheat. They want someone to delegate to. They want someone who makes them look good. They want an excuse not to commit to the OW. They want someone to blame when they misbehave. The best thing you can do is to get out and get your kids out. Choose yourself, and leave the dance. There is peace and tranquility outside of the drama.
I’m married to a cheater doctor, and here is my true belief. He might stop this one, but there will be many to follow. If you want to live the cheating drs wife life, like me actually, that has to be a decision, not about your kids, but about what u want. Get a postnup and live knowing he might cheat again, or get a great divorce settlement and say F… You. If u stay, you have to let the affair go and move forward knowing that many women will be flirting and after him. Mine is going to individual counceling, and that has been the best thing for him! Good luck! And always know, whatever u decide is the best for u and your kids. Don’t let anyone else make your decision, only u.
Just the fact that this guy accuses you of being responsible for his affair because you’re “boring” while also denigrating your hobbies and clubs shows what a narcissist he is. If you’re so “boring,” why isn’t he supportive of you developing outside interests? It’s all just a big mindfuck, his way of trying to keep your self esteem low so he can be superior and in control. I say get out, have a happier life, and don’t look back.
Okey dokey….listen hon, a “one-time deal” would be getting totally drunk 25 years ago, and having a one night hook-up, realizing how badly you fucked up, and never going out to party like a horny teen (or twenty-year old) again….
This may have been one woman–but this is not a one time deal. This is his lack of being able to really connect and care for his family, including you. He wants the IMAGE of being father-like, but not the real heartfelt responsibility and intimacy that goes with it.
You’re worried about the holidays without him? How about the kind of holidays where he can’t get out of Dodge City fast enough to get to the OW’s place? How about him hiding in the bathroom during special dinners to text plans or sexting? Or him glowering over the table, resenting the time spent away from his flavour of the day?
Is this the kind of family time you’re worried about depriving your children from?
Java, you said it all when you said that your cheating H spent all his available time with the OW and her child. That he went with her to your special date restaurant and lied about it. That your kids don’t miss him when he’s gone. I think it is highly likely that your H feels no remorse for hurting you, betraying you, lying and gaslighting, and putting the emotional needs of your children (and his, in biological and legal terms) behind those of his mistress and her child. If he feels remorse, it’s for putting his reputation and his $$$ at risk. I suggest that you read CL’s “Genuine Naugahyde Remorse” post as well as the things that Dr. Simon has written. Real remorse involves a lot of work and changes a person’s life for the better.
An intact family requires two loving, committed adults who share values, loved and respect each other, and have each other’s back. It is not a matter of living in the same space and pooling money. A woman (and a wife and mother) should be cherished. Your kids are not having the experience of growing up in an “intact home,” any more than I did when my parents stayed together “for the kids.” What happens when (not if) he gets involved with this woman again or some other woman and your kids figure out they are second choice?
I admire how you are listening to your instincts and trying to figure out what will make you happy. You are so much better off living an authentic life–going for the life that you think will make you and your kids happiest. Remember, if he “really” loves you and feel “real” remorse, he will understand that he broke the marriage and he will have the rest of his life to show you his remorse. If he is capable of it.
Just had a conersation with my STBX… oh how glad I am that I am away from him… I couldn’t even finish my first sentence with out the rage and the accusation starting… It was like dejavu all over again. Just the horror of trying to work anything out with him, just like it has always been. He is a horrible person… he has always been a horrible person. I have always know this. There is Karma in this. I know there is. I will wait and watch.
Chump in the Sand, Yes to looking back at our entire life together and wondering, ‘Was there someone else?’ That unilateral decision to get a vasectomy, the move back up north (I was never a part of his decision making process, lol!), the whispered conversations, the neighborhood, the extra jobs, the sketchy friends (and coworkers, eewwww), the long hours away from home. The women who fell all over themselves to be near him even when I was right there next to him. As for his smug self? So so so glad to be away from all that. Our kids are too. So much that we all pool together our meager savings to spend time together and get as far away from him as possible during special holidays. Big and small. No more lies has become our new family motto.
Sorry my previous post was just a vent… Now I will repsond. You have no idea how happy your life will be without this fucktard… you will not miss the project, the rage, the accusations, the whatever… it is all so much better. Your kids will be saner too, becuase as CL says there is more to trusting that they suck, you will get to watch over and over again, how the really do suck. Popcorn time. Your kids will for the most part have at least 50% of the time when they are not with this fucktard. You may have the chance to meet someone else… and your picker will be better for this experience. I wish I had had the courage to do this years ago… I would have been so much saner and my kids would have too. Trust he Sucks…
what stood out to me more than anything in your letter to CL was the chilling aspect that your husband USED a child (the OW’s child) to ingratiate himself to OW. Not only did he shit all over you, your children, and your family – he USED a child. Sounds scarily narcissistic – not just selfish and shitty but disturbed.
You’d rather have your children exposed to that type of rejection than be a single parent?
Marcie, good point. Very creepy.
Exactly this. I blame the OW too. They both used her to play family, different is OW used her own flesh and blood like a bait so she could get laid and attention from married man. The girl is just another collateral damage in their story. Sick sick sick
Java. I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re facing, but honestly….his change of tone? It seems to me that getting caught having an affair with a patient’s mom could have significant professional consequences to him. When you confronted him, now he knows he was seen, and those consequences, to him, got a little real.
So now he’s recommitted to you? As what? His “beard” for respectability and protection against accusations of professional misconduct?
Regardless of what you ultimately decide about your marriage, he has broken your trust….you cannot put your best interests in the hands of someone you don’t trust. You cannot put your children’s best interest in the hands of someone you don’t trust.
Someday he earns your trust again? Great. But that day is not today. Today you need to protect yourself and your children. Today you need to secure YOUR future. How can you possibly be in a position to “work through it” or dance the pick me dance if you aren’t doing it from a place of relative security?
My vote would be to run not walk. I agree with others that you are in a toxic relationship. But if you can’t face that yet. Then do face your need for self-protection, self-care and self-love. Talk to professionals (lawyers, therapists) talk to one or two trusted loved ones, get the help you need, make your plans, then enact them. Your husband need not know about this until they are in motion.
He has acted in his self-interest, now it’s your turn.
What did it for me was actually the disrespect, the gaslighting, the contempt and the blame. It actually WASN’T the cheating. I have two little boys (age 6 and 2 when the main gaslighting/affair was going on), so they naturally are very messy in the house. My STBXH would always be complaining about the mess. But did he ever do anything about it and help out? Of course not! He would actually throw McDonald’s wrappers on the floor and say “This place is a shit-pit”. And to tell you the truth, his disrespect was happening for a LONG time. When we moved three years ago (probably when the latest affair was first starting), and the movers took his recliner out of my family room, on the rug underneath this recliner were THOUSANDS of clipped fingernails and toenails. Disgusting, I know. The movers all stared at me. I think they knew whose they were, and they were embarrassed and sad for me, I think. You can never come back from that disrespect, contempt and blame – EVER. Even if someone is in therapy and saying they are remorseful, how can you ever look at someone again where you once saw disrespect and contempt in their eyes and now you really think you’ll see adoration and love? No.
I’ll keep this short & not so sweet. Caught my husband doing some online shit when my kids were 3 & 5. He swore it was just boredom & never did anything else. I never really believed it but couldn’t prove anything, and I had my kids to think of. I felt just as you did, doubting his love, thinking it was more about saving face. I stayed. 13 yrs later I caught him in a whole mess of shit. Cheap sleeze, not a relationship. Tried reconciliation, during which I found out the truth about all those years ago. It was a waste of time because I could never respect or trust him again. But my kids were grown at least. Divorced him.
Man, did I lose myself in those years. If I had it to do over again I’d have divorced the first time. You don’t trust or respect your H. Sounds very attached & willing to risk it all for OW.Made you the bad guy/ reason why.
Think long & hard before staying with him.
I was you for 3.5 years. That’s 3.5 years that I will never get back. I was married for 23 years before my ex had his 1 month long affair with a colleague. I believed it was his first transgression and let’s run with that assumption because it’s important to this story.
It’s important because it doesn’t matter how many times they cheat. If they have one affair, they’re just not that into you anymore. I think my ex would’ve left upon discovery except I put the onus on him. I told him I would be willing to work it out and if we split it would be up to him. Can you say coward? That’s what he was because once I left that decision up to him, he backed down. He didn’t want to be the BAD guy. He stayed but not really to work things out.
He was very happy to watch me dance for the next 3.5 years. He also “broke up” with the OW and he would never tell her to stop contacting him because he didn’t want to hear from her. He would tell her that her contact “upsets me” so please stop. Sound convincing? Not really right? That’s because he was hedging his bets. He didn’t want to screw things up with her in case things didn’t work with us.
After I read CL’s articles about what real remorse looks like, I knew that he wasn’t all in. In the beginning he blame shifted and he felt entitled to my forgiveness. He. Did. Absolutely. Nothing. different in the 3.5 of our faux reconciliation. Sound familiar?
Look, I won’t tell you it will be easy. It won’t. I had the benefit of cutting bait and running when my children were adults. But I wasted 3.5 years of my 40s which is a time in your life you really don’t want to waste. I could tell if I didn’t get out when I did, I would’ve been in for more ddays and honestly when I look at how much I spackled and how entitled he’s always been, I have absolutely no doubt (without proof) that he cheated on me before. I just don’t think he got emotionally involved because he didn’t want to pay child support.
Check out these articles from Chump Lady:
Is your husband acting like he’s truly remorseful? If he isn’t, run to an attorney, don’t tell him your going and blindside him like he blindsided you.
You’re not selfish and you didn’t break up your marriage. Your husband did when he slept with someone that wasn’t you. Also remember: It’s better for children to be from a broken home than to be in a broken home. Show them that you’re mighty and you don’t put up with infidelity unless he’s killing himself doing the “Pick me dance” for you.
Good luck Java.
PS. About 5 months after we split he moved in with the OW so hedging his bets really worked. Pay attention to actions Java, not words. They generally mean nothing but they especially mean nothing from a cheater.
In addition to his devaluing you and his disrespect and contempt for you (so sorry for this – it rips the soul apart), I wonder about his lack of longevity in the impulse control department.
He not only got involved with a patient’s mom but he did so in public (entitlement) and went to pick the child up at he school when she had health problems (public and in front of people who would question why he is doing this). He is not thinking clearly about he consequences of his ethics as a physician. That makes me think that if you stay with him, there will be more women in the future that he will get involved with. If he could not stay away from a patient’s mom and he spent time with her in public and he went to the child’s school, what does he think that he can NOT do if the offer or temptation is available? No impulse control is a part of his makeup.
There are professions where a person has to know up front that he or she will be in the company of many people of the opposite sex who are vulnerable. There is a decision that should be made ahead of time that having an affair with these clients or customers or patients, is one that will never be crossed. He crossed it; and then, acted like it was no big deal.
He returned home to someone he does not respect. I am not sure if he knows that you downplayed his affair to the person informing you about it but he has a cover for his reputation while he stays with you.
I don’t think that he has the character to not get involved with another female in the future again. I would consider if you could ever relax and trust him again if you stayed with him. He has shown that he does not respect you.
I think also that he does not want you to join a group or go to hobby classes. He blames you for being boring but if you are home, you can not meet others. He gets to undermine your self esteem and you do not engage in contact with others who might see your gifts or you might not meet someone who would give you a wake up call to genuine respect and courtesy.
I think that if you can leave him ASAP, you have the best case. The longer he stays with you, the better he looks as a respectable family man and the actions with the OW in public will be further into the past. He may be involved or will be involved in the future but he will be more secretive about it probably and not so public. Also, your kids are young and do not seem to notice his absence.
You will have the opportunity to create your own holiday traditions and Sunday traditions. When I left my ex and I stopped going home to my biological family for holidays, my holidays became fantastic days for me. Of course, everyone thinks that it is strange that I don’t do the traditional holiday celebrations with family but I am out of the abuse and the drama and it is so, so much better. Peace over sadness or drama or gaslighting or devaluing can make any day a joy and a celebration. And, you get to decide what you want to do for those breakfasts on Sundays or for the holidays. You can make your own traditions and your kids will enjoy the joy that their mom has for them without being undermined and questioned and closed down to silence or apology just to keep the peace.
Call me simple, but did anyone else notice that there are three “I’m sorry”s from Java, but none from Cheater? I also don’t get the sense of remorse from him, just “I got caught so I’ll stop.”
If I were ever so foolish as to have allowed myself to get swept away by another man, I would have been a groveling puddle of tears and remorse day in and day out until I felt I had done penance for my crimes against the commitment of our marriage. Java, your husband… umm… falls short of that. For me, that’s reason enough to divorce: he’s not sorry.
If you don’t divorce, you’re just going to look back on this as a big red flag someday and regret the time wasted pursuing something with no value, to you or your kids. What I wouldn’t give to have at least half of my marriage years back — at least I could have the body I had in my forties. Fifty year old flesh is harder to maintain.
Also, I feel obligated to mention not all doctors are a**holes. I’m a doctor, and my XH runs a wine bistro — same general idea, though: used to be a worker bee, but got a big(ger) head when I bought him his share of his restaurant so now he’s a Big Fish in a Small Pond and all of a sudden the girls find him irresistible! So, y’know, why bother to resist, right? Dick.
I noticed that, too.
The bottom line is that we are seen in some kind of role – mother, housekeeper.
The bottom line is that we are just not important enough for them to ‘see’ us, and to connect.
You are alone either way.
Lack of remorse, the irrational blaming, the entitlement, do these people have a text book they all refer to?
An interesting theme in the comments today is the working long hours, dedicated to their job aspect of cheaters.
NARP is a workaholic, always has to be top at his job, keeps his equipment top notch, the boss says jump and he says how high. Total opposite to his behaviour at home. He also works in emergency services, so gets to “rescue” people. He gains kibbles two ways from this 1. From the gratitude of the people he helps 2. From feeling superior to those poor souls because they
were stupid to get into that situation, and he is Captain Can-Do who knows everything and can fix everything.
Before Dday, when NARP was abusing me, which was pretty often, I used to hate myself, it was dreadful, he was telling me in so many ways that I was shit, and I was believing it. Now he is gone, I do not hate myself anymore. It feels so so good.
Java, you are worried about special occasions. don’t worry, they will be better. Our birthdays, Christmas and other family gatherings are happy, peaceful and enjoyable without him causing drama, discord and spreading his toxic chronic misery. you are mighty!
i was worried about the holidays (still am in a way) but like on fathers day, 4th of july and easter at the beginning of this year when XH was throwing such a fit about not being able to see the boys on fathers day. even thou we got him cards and gifts, invited him to come to the house and i made dinner for everyone including him the FRIDAY before fathers day cuz my boys were going to visit my parents. and this dick STILL was whining and crying that he was not going to see his boys on fathers day!?!?!
i finally told him “I dont know what the big deal is, you didnt see them last year on fathers day because you didnt come home. you werent worried about it last year why are you worried about it this year?”
so now that is my answer to everything if he starts harassing me. You didnt care last year so why care this year? he has absolutely NO comeback for that. he finally quit calling. havent heard from him since July.
I’m in a similar situation. He was always so supportive of me being a sahm. Now that I won’t eat his shit sandwiches anymore, the truth is coming out. It’s clear that he wanted me vulnerable and dependent. It’s killing him to see me gain some self respect and independence.
He has this pathological need to ‘save’ women. I think it’s part of his deeper misogynistic views. He has very deep seated issues with women. He had me up on a pedestal (or pretended to, before he devalued me as well) while his other women were only there for his pleasure. He wants to be humiliated by them (yep, his secret fetish I learned after DDay), I think because he ties his self esteem to how women view him. And that makes him ultimately hate us. But he covers that up by seeing us as weaker and needing his saving, so he seems like the good guy. It’s about power and control.
It’s a pretty messed up way of looking at the world.
CL has deconstructed your cheater’s words. She’s spot on. Others have given you their stories. Again wonderful advice.
I’ll add just a couple of extra points.
First, you worry about your children, saying, “It’s unfair for them to grow up in broken home because of their father’s one selfish action.” You need to ask yourself which action was the selfish one. Was it spending time with the OW’s child? Was it the first time he kissed OW? The time he had sex with her? Was it when he went on the weekend picnic with them? Took her to the fancy restaurant?
See, it’s not just one selfish action. Cheaters and the Reconciliation Industrial Complex want you to see cheating as a one-off. Instead, it’s a whole series of lies and deceptions and oaths broken. Unless your cheater is taking the responsibility for all of these, then he is not remorseful.
Second, I advise you to protect yourself. You live in a country where men are permitted multiple wives and laws very much favor the men. Talk with a lawyer first to find out what kind of settlement you can expect from a divorce. The lawyer needs to be good at negotiation while also being as ruthless as possible. My understanding is that countries where men are permitted multiple wives are also countries where adultery is clearly a violation.
Proving adultery is difficult, but if you have correspondence that shows that adultery very likely took place, then that could be leveraged to ensure a very nice settlement for you and your children.
In the short term, once you have consulted your lawyer, you may need to pretend you believe your husband. However, you need to get your life in order so that you have career that will help you live your life and to provide for your children. Start listing what steps you need to take, and then pursue them.
All the very best to you for being so Mighty!
The only thing I can add to the already wise advice given here is DO NOT BE A SAHM!!! Oh yeah he agreed to it because it made his life wayyyy easier at your expense. He didn’t have to worry about all those pesky details of dealing with children ie, doctor visits, lessons, sporting events, puke, colds, fits because well HE had a SAHM. This is the respect you get for doing it. Get those toddlers in daycare and get your butt back to work. BY FAR my biggest regret is being a SAHM. No one benefits from it, NO ONE! Do NOT let all the bullshit SAHM crap convince you otherwise. It’s bullshit. I know great Moms who worked and shit Moms who stayed home. Vice versa as well. Your paradigm has had a major shift and you need to be able to take care of yourself. Also it will rock his little narcissistic world if you suddenly became independent. You certainly wouldn’t be boring anymore!
It is so important that young women hear this. Look, it’s very probable and even inevitable that you are going to end up alone for whatever reason, death, divorce, abandonment etc. Especially if you have children, you need to be able to take care of yourself and them financially. I don’t give a shit if their father’s a doctor, plumber or Warren Buffet! Plenty of deadbeat Dads, and it sounds like yours is well on the way of being one anyway by the sound of your story how he ignores his own children in favor of the girlfriends child!!
Those of us who most often stay and spackle and eat shit sandwiches till the day they die, are those of us who gave up jobs, careers and lives for the “greater good” of the family and became SAHM!!! DON’T FUCKING DO IT!!!
Whether you reconcile or not, get back to work. Not for the money, but for your self because it is now glaringly obvious you may have to someday soon anyway. Take care of yourself FIRST. Look he’s proven what he is, now believe him. Yeah he may not cheat again, but he may, it’s irrelevant. He already has. I’m not saying divorce him, only you know what you can put up with, BUT I am saying, LOL in case you didn’t hear it the first time, GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WORK, NOW!!!!
Sorry if I have insulted any SAHMs with this comment, but I feel very strongly about this. SAHM is a shit job that NO ONE appreciates.
i believe that SAHM is the best job in the world and the benefits completely out weigh the cons. I believe it is much much better for the children in the long run and it is super sad that more people do not do it. i mean why have kids at all if you are just going to “slap them into daycare?”. if you dont think you can care for them then just dont have them.
but in order for it to benefit, you must have a dedicated and self sacrificing, hard working men and women with morals and values. it wont benefit the children or family, if mom stays at home but sits on her butt all day talking on the phone. same as if dad never helps out and uses the excuse that well he works but doesnt pay the bills or fix the house or whatever. it takes both partners to be totally dedicated to the family and not self serving which is hard to find.
i agree that now a days a woman is more likely to find herself alone and single parenting. it is super sad the way society is going. more men are walking away and more women are raising children by themselves. and sadly more children are just plain raising themselves because neither mom nor dad give a flying fuck. i think i should have been born in the 50’s 60’s haha, but i do think it is sad how the breakdown of families is more and more excepted. and it is bother genders. not just dads. in my case, it was my XH who walked out. but i know many cases where it was the XW.
I came late to this post, check in with a lawyer. If what you said is true about support and your husband is treating you well; stay until you are back in the workforce with good pay. And if it won’t make you crazy…Then file.
You say that you have always been a head over heart sort of person. Then be that person. Listen to your head and stop thinking with your heart. Only a person that thinks with her heart wonders if she is being selfish for taking care of herself and her children. And a person who thinks with their head, doesn’t apologize for someone cheating on you! This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with your husband being a piece of shit! This man doesn’t give a crap for you or your children and it has nothing to do with being a SAHM. I know plenty of SAHM’s who have wonderful marriages. You just got stuck with a shitbag of a husband. Realize this and move on.
I think you came here so you could have someone validate what you already know. So if you want to hear the words, here they are: DIVORCE HIS SORRY ASS. Let him be the knight in shining armor to every single mom out there, but get yourself a good lawyer and get the settlement you deserve to take care of those two little kids.
Honestly, there is something very disturbing about this letter that I can’t put my finger on.
Listen, I was in in complete shock when the truth was revealed. But, Java, are you honestly asking a complete stranger for permission to divorce and for enlightenment about the benefits? This seems very odd to me
Sorry, Java, it is time to put on ‘the big girl panties’.
Only you can only know what is best for you and your very young family.
If you think your marriage is worth saving, go and get some counseling.
CL offers some very sound and very wise advice.
But I feel like you need more sound and wise advice, so go and talk to professionals in your community: lawyer, therapist, minister, etc.
Once again, great advice in the original post. I don’t have anything original or better to offer, but this really stood out to me:
“It’s unfair for them to grow up in broken home because of their father’s one selfish action. ”
If I could exchange the amount of bullshit in this sentence for it’s weight in gold, I’d quit my job today.
This has probably already been said (I’m at work and don’t have time to read all the posts at the moment), but what’s really unfair on the kids is to have them grow up in a home where their absent, predatory Dad lives in the shade and fucks whomever he pleases, treats Mum like an indentured servant and Mum gives up all hope of having a fulfilling life in order to “protect” the kids from living in a broken home.
I grew up in a broken home and life, although much more difficult financially, was way better once my parents split up.
Don’t teach your kids that it’s OK to be treated like shit.
All the best.
I mean “its”.
You write that for the kids sake you should stay in the marriage. By doing that you are showing your kids that it is ok to be abused. What’s more sad than staying in an abusive for say 5 years, is staying in an abusive relationship for 5 years and one day. Remember people have gotten divorced over a lot less….the only power we have in life is the choices we make…..
I am in the same place you are. Professional husband picked up single mom who he “felt sorry for”. The worse part of my story is I was pregnant at the time and have 5 kids from 14-7 months. It hurts like hell everyday. I Am Still married to the sob becase he controls the money and I don’t have enough to file. He says he loves his kids and wants to be there for them. But that’s all a lie. Any man who truly loves his kids, also truly loves their mother. Mine is still living in our home but travels back to the ow who lives in the state in which we moved from 3 months ago. I wish this never happened to anyone. I feel like he has broken my knees and told me to get up and walk. The worse part is the person whom used to pick up, it the one that pushed you down. And they have someone to pick theme up while you are all alone. But I will say after reading everyones.post. we will make it through. And don’t for a minute believe he will never do it aagain. Because he will. He will always feel.sorry for someone and need them to make him feel special.