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Worst Infidelity Advice Ever

hasty

 

Worst infidelity advice ever? Don’t decide anything for six months to a year.

If I could wave my magic chump wand and eradicate one bit of post-infidelity stupid that would be it.

Can you think of any other betrayal in which someone would give such dunderheaded advice? Business partner is caught embezzling? Hey, take some time and think about it. Don’t be hasty. Maybe you still want to stay business partners, so why embarrass him by cutting off his company credit cards. He said he was sorry and wants to work on it. What’s all this ugly talk of money? Don’t be one of those cold, bitter people who can’t forgive. Just wait it out. I don’t believe “once an embezzler always an embezzler!” People change. Think of all the years you spent together making widgets. Are you going to let some stolen $73,000 get in the way of everything you built together?

Was your scout leader molesting you? Okay, that was wrong. But you’re 11 merit badges away from Eagle scout! Just see it through and don’t be a quitter. The important thing is to stay positive! Maybe you won’t feel so violated in six months. Police reports can wait.

Oh, I’m exaggerating. Extramarital affairs are nothing whatsoever like embezzlement and sexual abuse. Those things are criminal and infidelity just happens when two splendid people succumb to forces larger than them both.

Did your partner steal marital resources to have an affair(s) or pay for sex workers? Did your partner plot and scheme behind your back? Did your partner promise their affair partner they’d be dumping you soon? Did your partner eat cake and waste years of your precious life? Did your partner risk your health by having unprotected sex with the affair partner(s)?

To any new chumps out there reading this — PROTECT YOURSELF. Affairs are crises. Act like it.

Whatever you decide to do, divorce, reconcile, or yes, even stay in soul-sucking limbo — PROTECT YOURSELF. The dumbest thing you can do post-discovery is act like your situation is static and you’ve got forever to decide. You don’t. Let me bitchslap some sense into you.

Why is Waiting to Decide Things dreadful advice?

1.) It assumes that your cheater is going to immediately straighten up and fly right. This is unicorn thinking. Oh, they were discovered. They’re so “sorry.” They’re not divorcing you right now, so there’s hope! (No, see the Unified Theory of Cake.) They’re immediately going to discover a newfound appreciation for you and monogamy.

This thinking is dangerous. It comes from a place of “Oh, They Would Never.”

They would never move money or hide marital funds.

They would never see a lawyer first.

They would never poison the children against you.

They would never put the narrative out there first that you’re crazy.

They would never leave you for the affair partner (and go to marriage counseling to throw you off).

They sure as hell would and may be already. People who will fuck you over  with an affair generally have no compunction to fuck you over a multitude of other ways, especially financially. You’re dealing with entitled uber-beings who’ve demonstrated that the rules don’t apply to them. People who have already lied to you quite easily. You really want to take their word for it?

Why don’t you consider a post-nup and a credit report? You know, just as collateral on that sorry.

Your cheater balks at that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

2.) You could legally fuck yourself. An affair has been discovered. If you have ANY hope of using this shit in a divorce, NOW is the time to act. If you wait and then you try to use your evidence later, do you really think a judge is going to care that you tried to reconcile? No. You make a squawk about infidelity a year or two after the fact, the judge will think, why should I care when YOU forgave this person? There are even legal consequences for this in some states. If you sleep with your spouse after discovery, it’s legally considered forgiving the affair.

Who do you think this “wait 6 months to a year” advice benefits? You or the cheater?

You want to reconcile? You’re not sure about divorce right now? You get that post-nup.

Your cheater balks at that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

3.) It minimizes the abusive, parasitic nature of infidelity. Could you tolerate someone physically abusing you or stealing your money? No? But sharing a marital home with someone who is emotionally abusing you and disrespecting you is sustainable?

Everyone here knows what a powerful sucker punch betrayal is. It can give the most stalwart person PTSD and suicidal thoughts. And the common advice given is STAY WITH THAT?

Even with the rare remorseful spouse the days after D-day are so very hard. Now, imagine the far more common scenario in which the person isn’t one bit remorseful. No, they’re pissed off that they’ve been discovered. They ramp up the blameshifting and the gaslighting. STAY WITH THAT?

“Don’t make any decisions right away” minimizes the affair. Why would you impose consequences on a “meaningless fling” or a “one-night stand” or a “mid-life crisis”? People who act swiftly are people who recognize danger. Your situation is meaningless! You’re just overreacting!

“Stay” is just another directive to eat the shit sandwich.

Did this person take marital resources to conduct their affair? Did they make unilateral decisions about the safety and security of your family? You’re going to TRUST this person right now to do right by you? Seriously?

No, you separate the goddamn money with a separation agreement and you put a support order in place. You ask for that credit report and find out where the debts and the bank accounts and the PO boxes are.

Your cheater balks that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

4.) It rewards paralysis and fear and makes them seem ennobling and not chicken shit. The whole “wait” advice is a crock because it feeds your hopium addiction and allows you to feel good about your gutlessness. No, I’m not avoiding a painful crisis — cooler heads are prevailing! I’m not being hasty, I’m being prudent!

Bullshit.

Worse than making paralysis okay, it gives you permission to lie inert and lick your wounds. I’m very frightened now, I’m so afraid of what next. 

Suck it up, Buttercup. Your house is on fire. (And there’s a bear trap/hungry alligator/manure lagoon/mushroom cloud).

Being afraid is not an excuse to keep staying afraid. Step up. This is a crisis. You’re afraid? So was Every. Single. Person. who walked this path before you. Being afraid doesn’t make you special or different. It makes you a run-of-the-mill chump. Fear has you by the shirt-tails? Wrestle that motherfucker to the ground.

Do not react to infidelity with passivity. And don’t trying pawning off your codependency as activity. You know, the whole Amazon chump, untangling the skein, helping them with THEIR crises. I’m sure that shit keeps you very busy. No, what are you doing for YOU? Whatever you decide, stay or go, PROTECT YOURSELF. See a lawyer, get real about the money, the kids, the living arrangements, your deal breakers, your boundaries, the tangibles of remorse.

Your cheater balks that? There’s your sorry. Don’t waste your time. File. 

What’s your precious life worth? They already stole from you. Don’t give them another six to twelve months.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Don’t even give them another second of your life. I wish I could go back in time and drag my thirty-year old self out of that burning house. Two decades later, ex was still his serial-cheating self and I was still a chump. Now that I’m out, I wish that all chumps have the courage to do something immediately as a Tracy suggests. Because if you don’t, all you’re doing is postponing the pain. Take stock of the truth right now because, alas, it won’t change. Cheating is not something that “just happens.” It’s a choice, a well thought-out choice. Blurting out an unkind word in the moment may be a mistake done in the heat of the moment but sleeping with someone else other than your spouse or partner? That takes planning, deceit and cowardice. Can’t cure that with discovery.

  • Oh wow, this is so true CL…I did the wait six months to a year thing and the only thing that happened was after I outed her to the OM’s wife and he dumped her she played the reconciliation game until she could line up an exit affair…I wish more than anything I would have just kicked her out right then and saved 8 months of my life doing the pick me dance!

    • cletus,
      I did the 8 months of pick me dance. Did the things he said I did not do well in the marriage and the funny thing is , when I was doing them he would hardly compliment me or say a nice kind words about it. Which then I realize was a bunch of crap. :
      All it did was get the affair deeper into hiding. I read this somewhere:

      No one who feels true love for their spouse would risk my emotional well being and sense of trust for a bit of physical gratification.

      • WOW33, you say you “did the things he said I did not do well” and he still didn’t apreciate them. On the other hand, my soon ex told me “why can’t you be like the OW? Its not like she’s smarter but she does change everything I tell her to…”…just proves its always a lose-lose situation for us and like Tracy says “no cheater is different” and we have to protect ourselves…

  • So true. Unfortunately, I did this.

    My first thought when my husband told me He wasn’t happy, “in love” with someone else, wanted a divorce was spot on. I was not hurt, I was incredibly pissed that he was such a shit. I gave him a dirty look, said a very little, told him to watch our daughter, and took off for the night. Called my friends, this is before I was on facebook.

    The next day I returned to get my stuff. He gave me the I love you but not in love with you, you are pretty, good, great mother, blah, blah, blah. This is when I started the Pick Me dance, including giving him until my daughter started kindergarten to commit to the marriage. About six weeks. Of course he picked me, and I was subjected to more years of sneaking, lying, cheating, and horseshit.

  • Too right. I have likened the actions of exH and his affair buddy to thieves. Like they came into my home, stuck their hands in my purse and stole my wallet. I’d consider that a crime. Instead they sucked the heart out of my family. Hmmm, if their were vampires who feast on the souls of families running around the neighborhood, who wouldn’t call the police.

    • Thieves indeed…like the OW driving my car or sleeping in my bed or them trying to buy a house together before we are even divorced…

      • Yep, she LOVED riding in MY brand new car that he’d take a drive in. Also turned over copies of the paperwork where he and she tried to buy a house together. The lawyer loved having both their signatures on that piece of paper.

        • The driving the car thing hurts, I know my wifes OM would never be able to drive such a nice car, or have fun in such a nice house on such a great mattress if my wife didn’t invite him in. He got to pretend for a few minutes that he was me.. poor bastard had to eventually going back to being him. After I was done with his girlfriend, he’s now back to living with his 85 year old mum and has no current sugar momma to support his cheating.

      • My divorce should come through in the next couple of weeks, but the ex and his howorker built a house together 6 months after he ran off with her but hey no, nothing was going on before he left. Of course not.

  • The first lawyer I saw recommended counseling. He said that I should do all that can be done to see if reconciliation could occur. He was not blaming me or trying to lay it all in my lap. He thought that I could then say I tried everything and have no regrets. But I do have regrets. I deeply regret not filing as soon as I found out because my husband continued to lie and cheat and withhold sex and intimacy. He did not change. I kept wasting years of my life. I did file and he will be my ex soon, but I wished I had divorced him earlier.

    People give the “wait six months” advice because they don’t realize how bad the betrayal is and because they do not understand what someone goes through after finding out about it. Most people don’t get it at all.

        • Well, you needed a better lawyer, I guess. That sucks.

          I would think a separation agreement that protects assets would be the first order of business in the legal realm. You are talking about legal advice, after all 🙁

          • One would think, huh? No, instead, it’s just “give it time and see how much more you can lose.” Imagine a business lawyer telling a client to wait 6 months before firing a thief.

              • Yeah, we have that here too. But you can get an enforceable separation agreement into place, etc.

              • When I filed I used a different lawyer. I guess the first lawyer was just giving the advice all the so-called experts give–don’t do anything for 6 months, try everything first –you know, the typical advice.
                I really don’t think anyone, except those who have been through this, really understand just how devastating betrayal is. Even people who have been cheated on will still think they somehow fell short and caused their spouse/partner to cheat.
                I just wish every day that my husband was a man who loved and cherished me and our marriage and our children. I have to be careful here–the unicorns keep taunting me.

        • Mine asked the same questions. “Are you SURE you want to do this?”

          My response? “What part of ‘My husband is living with his mistress at his parents’ house.’ don’t you understand? File it. And is there any way the officer serving the papers can take a picture of his face? He didn’t believe I’d file because he himself doesn’t believe in divorce.”

  • Wow, Tracy – Best. Post. Ever.

    And that’s really saying something when you have written so many extraordinarily good articles!

    I am a proud Chump who kicked my husband’s cheating arse out of our family home the day he told me about the affair (it took him a few weeks to actually leave, of course – poor sausage didn’t have anywhere to go, in spite of all his facebook friends!)

    Of course, I had spackled and forgiven his gambling addiction ten years beforehand (accompanied by his lying, drip feeding, gaslighting, projecting and blame shifting to the point where I accepted that his addiction was all my fault); and then spackled and forgiven his subsequent online gaming addiction (accompanied again by his lying, drip feeding, gaslighting, projecting and blame shifting to the point where I accepted that this new addiction was also my fault).

    When he told me about the affair, I had a sick feeling in my stomache. I knew exactly what I was in for all over again – lying, drip feeding, gaslighting, projecting and blame shifting. And I just knew I couldn’t go through it again, and that it was not my fault, and that this gaslighting, blame shifting man was who he really was.

    Please, please, Chumps – walk away from the pain. It will not start healing until you remove yourself.

  • LOVE the picture, Mrs. Chump!

    In the RI, the advice is not just take a year before making any “rash” decisions, it’s WAIT a year until he actually ADMITS to all the shit he’s piled up behind your back. As in, spend a year living with your cheater, and walking around sniffing the slowly accumulating aroma of bullshit, batshit-crazymaking, I’ve-shit-all-over-your-character-but-poor-me Nagacrappy bomb ready to drop on you….

    • But they never really admit it all, do they? It was after discovering the third-fourth-fifth pile of filth that comprised his secret life that I decided I was gone. My technique happened to be post-nup to divorce, but that was just how I went about it with the poor snausage to whom I was married.

      To this day he lies to me about joint financial matters that are almost, but not quite tidied up,…nearly there… I and just know that he’s been lying for years. He really is one of those, “if his mouth is moving, he’s lying” types.

      And…for the hell of it…from someone who has not communicated with me much for months, suddenly I’m getting emails nearly daily…because I am on vacation visiting my (our) daughter. Drives him fucking nuts that she won’t see him. He emailed her a pile of shit, too. (heaves sigh.) Oh! frabjous joy, I just got 2 more this second. What a turd.

      So, Yeah! get out get out get out!! get your share of the assets if you can, get the kids (way more important!), but get the hell away from these creeps.

  • It’s funny (not really) that Chumps are told to wait a year before filing divorce, don’t make any rash decisions, but the Cheaters aren’t told to wait a year before conducting the affair – the rashest decision possible.

  • How I would love to see you get an agent and start taking this kick-ass message to the airwaves.

    I would like to see this conversation spark reform for divorce court proceedings. We have to have a license to marry. It becomes a contract. In any other legal transaction, a broken contract — one that involves stealing, lying to one’s partner, etc. has consequences. Conversely, when a marriage is broken due to cheating, it’s winked at and treated as a money-making gold mine for divorce attorneys.

    Let’s stop calling it cheating too, as though the fucker merely moved his top hat two extra spaces to land on Park Place. BETRAYAL is a much more accurate description of what we have all been through.

    Sorry for the rant; I’m just so sick of all of it, especially the continual lies my X tells as truths to our kids while constantly assassinating my character.

    • Love this C&L – so many things people fighting to reform, so many wronged Chumps out there, why the F shouldn’t it be treated like a contract – hell there are are even witnesses signing the contract (at least in FL if the bride and groom choose to have them). I’d certainly sign a petition like this if I saw it on FB!

    • I agree. It boggles my puny lawyer brain as to why this particular contract is unenforceable and there can be no claim for damages.
      I mean, in comparison to some contracts, the agreement is memorialized with even greater emphasis ( sacred vows before God and loved ones),
      Yet, no reprecussions for the theft and abuse when broken. A mystery to me why this has evolved the way it has.

    • I agree–cheating in marriage is a broken contract. I think CL’s analogy to embezzling is spot on.

      At the heart of all of the reconciliation, bullshit, “wait a year,” save the marriage stuff is the assumption that the only thing that constitutes “abuse” within a family is physical assault. And physical assault against spouses and children is still very underreported and managed largely by denial within families and communities. So an affair? A spouse taking his/her money to spend on an affair partner? That’s all in the family. This problem is part of the larger picture of combating abuse–which begins with the victims valuing their own lives and not just “saving the marriage.”

      I wasn’t married to the Jackass, so there are no legal reforms that would have protected me. But had I valued myself more, I would have made different choices in the gaslighting phase–or perhaps I would have been immunized against love-bombing in the first place. And what happens on this board every day–the case studies we read in the form of letters and responses, as well as CL’s posts that analyze betrayal, reconciliation, and entitlement–has been the equivalent of a graduate education in recovery from the abuse of cheating and involvement with a narcissist. I have yet to see a good argument for staying with a cheater, whether in a marriage or out. Turn the year around–the cheater who claims to want a reconcilation should move out and demonstrate over that year real “remorse” that shows deep regret, humility, willingness to change, and the patience to give the chump time to heal. Let the cheaters deal with the fallout of their actions–let them move, pay support through the court, show up for visitation and custody, do the therapy and live a transparent life.

      • I agree. I find it staggering that most advice rests on the chump proving fealty to the cheater. Exploring what needs of theirs you weren’t meeting, etc… quack. quack.

        • When our MC asked about needs being met.. I told her a list of my needs that weren’t being met, and gave specific examples of how women approached me at work, asking to go to the apartment for lunch and how I shot it down because even though my needs weren’t being met, and even though my wife had been treating me like crap and i was confused as to why.. I managed to keep my pants on and protect my family and my own values.

          • I respect you deeply. My needs were not being met either. I did not cheat either. Had a guy buy me hot chocolate and keep coming back to talk to me right after dday #1. (I had gloves on, realized he would not have been able to see my ring). He gave me his number. I was “working things out” with my ex-h so I didn’t call the guy. Why would I call him? I mean, what logical purpose would infidelity ever solve?

      • I notice that anything physical is given attention in our society (abuse, illness, appearance, etc) while most mental issues (abuse, illness, powers of the mind, etc) are rejected from the mainstream. I think that majority of our society is still uncomfortable with the mind (and emotions) because it seems intangible. Just a thing I’ve always noticed.

        The same way we factory farm animals and cause severe stress and pain to them but continued to argue that “animals can’t feel emotional pain” for decades, well now studies show that they DO form bonds with one another and go thru severe trauma while being raised for slaughter. The whole mental stigma throughout the world really bothers me!

        We are starting to give mental health some attention these days.. Hopefully emotional abuse will soon get the justice it deserves!

    • I agree. I’d like to see CL become the Arianna Huffington of infidelity. I can see her on the Bill Mahr show, CNN, Good Morning America.

      You’re absolutely right. It should be a criminal offense just like physical abuse is. There’s no difference. Abuse is abuse.

      • Would love to see this topic addressed, with CL on the panel, on Bill Mahr! Who else would be on the panel? What cheater apologists would we all like to see humiliated in that forum?

    • This this THIS, Chutes!

      I’m at a really fed up point here too & when I need to talk myself off the ledge I always come back to CONTRACT.

    • Hey Chutes, I have an agent. 🙂 I’m working on the book proposal now. It’s going to be shopped to publishers soon. I’ll be rewriting the book, making it about twice as long. More news soon I hope.

      • CL, this is great news! You have a unique point of view that is not being heard in mainstream media. Let’s see, start with The View, The Talk, etc. then move to the SMART late-night shows. I think you would kill on Howard Stern, too (and you could use all our responses that are emphasized so articulately with profanity.)

        It is past time to change the attitude and discussion about infidelity, as well as the legal consequences for betrayal (infidelity, theft, emotional abuse, lying) of a spouse so more chumps can get out of their marriage alive.

        • You guys are awesome. The part that really pisses me off is how the legal system deals with custody. It’s always “what’s best for the kids” and the cheater’s foibles are NOT fair game for legal negotiation. I’m sorry, what part of “he started dating one of my best friends while we had a 2 month old, moved out leaving me to pay the mortgage, and then wanted to uproot the kids to be with him part of the time” is best for the kids???? Does this not de facto show that he is NOT acting in the kids’ best interests? Why is this not fair game legally?

  • Another caution – even after you divorce the cheater, they may still come sniffing around. Same advice: still dump their cheating ass as quickly as ever. You don’t want to poison your new life with their presence. They suck before, they still suck. Internalize that.

    • The good thing–though–is you aren’t legally bound to bail them out or risk your own credit rating, and you can call the cops and report them for stalking you if it becomes a problem after you are divorced 🙂

  • LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the illustration! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for this post!

    Oh Tracy – how I wish I had found this site or this site existed through the 432 times my STBX cheated. Okay, I don’t really know if it was 432 times, but since I will never know just how many times he cheated, 432 seems to be as good a number as any.

    This is the advice I needed when I kept giving CPR to my corpse of a marriage. You are so right about not waiting, about getting out. If anyone of us were being shot at and wounded by an assailant, I don’t think any of us would stand there attempting to engage them in a “why” conversation, with the hope that we could convince them to stop trying to kill us. We would recognize that our very lives depended on getting the fuck away as quickly as possible. Burning house indeed – where an accelerant was used.

    The crazy thing about my STBX was the first major incident of cheating, where he threatened to leave me for the first monied honey, I was told by the “marriage counselor” and him that I needed to do more so that he had a reason to stay. I look back on that now and wished I had told both of them to suck ass. I was already chump dancing the two-step. That advice amped it up to tap dancing with a little soft shoe and the samba thrown in. In hindsight, I wish I had left him or thrown him out YEARS ago instead of wasting so much of my life on an entitled, vile, despicable, unrepentant hog’s ass.

    To anyone who is doing the “wait/see,” my advice is to not do it at all or, at the very least, do it at a safe distance in order to get some perspective.

    • “I was told by the “marriage counselor” and him that I needed to do more so that he had a reason to stay. I look back on that now and wished I had told both of them to suck ass.”

      Me too, Chump Princess! WTF were we thinking (along with probably most of the rest of chump nation)? I think I might contact my three MCs and let them know how damaging this advice was/is in hopes that other chumps won’t fall prey to the same.

      • Oh, that’s a great idea!!

        These professionals are only teaching what they’ve been taught, but In theory, health care is a data-driven science.

        If every Chump gave their exMCs a copy of Chump Lady’s book with a letter stating how their advice (to make no hasty decisions) ultimately caused them great harm, Chumps could support CL and put some real data out there.

  • Wow, this made me remember something, when he got caught “red handed” by me + I had gotten an anonymous letter at work, we had the “confrontation” and he confessed this had been going on since Day 1 (13 years!

  • Continued … sorry ‘pad acting up….anyway I agreed to let him stay as long as he didn’t flaunt it in my face (that lasted one day) and then I found CL and Tracy and the rest “walked” me through what I had to do. Can’t believe I survived such pain and can’t imagine where I’d be now. No doubt repeating the same mistakes over and over, they sure love “victim’s” and I was a habitual one. Love you guys! XO

  • Agreed, unique.
    I tried to forgive and had to go through it a few times more. I lost 5 years
    with my stbx, and I often wonder where I would be right now in my life,
    had I ended it back then. I also was told not to make any rash decisions, and I am sure it hurt me more in the end. Anyone who is on CL for the first
    time, please follow CL’s advice. There are too many chumps on here who
    have “waited”, only to end up chumped multiple times.

    Going through divorce is truly hellish, but everyone is right, things do get
    better for you. It may not feel like it at first, but they do. CL is so right,
    chumps before us made it, and so will we.

    • Thanks for the reminder in your second paragraph sodone. I’m at the home stretch waiting for the divorce date. I wished I did the divorce sooner. At least it’s almost over.

      I hate my xh guts but the betrayal still hurts like hell. I wasted years for nothing. I constantly have thoughts of exposing them to the ow husband but always kill the thought as I no longer want to be involved in their shit.

      I remind myself all the time that it will get better. I read CL’s articles every day…first thing I do when I wake up and last thing before I fall asleep. The articles and comments from everyone keep me going and moving forward.

      • You should expose to the OW husband, not because you want to get back at your ex.. but because that poor guy deserves to know. I did it, and it made me feel better not only because I knew it caused the OM pain, but because I knew she could free herself from him and she did in lightning quick fashion…

  • I did this. I gave her six months but no one advised me; I conjured that brilliance all on my own. The truth? It wasn’t for ‘us’, it was a decision based on fear and the pick me dance stripped what was left of my self esteem.

    Six weeks in I ran into her web of lies and filed. Funny thing…she went from aggressor to victim overnight. She didn’t want me, she wanted the lovely cake she’d been feasting on while trying to ‘decide’. Taking control of my mental health, my future and my life marked the low point of the hole I was in and started the long climb out. Wish I could say do that ended some of the dumb ass moves I made, but the percentage shifted when I cut bait.

    This is solid advice Chumps. Probably the hardest advice to take, given we’re wired to ‘keep our vows’ and not give up. Cheating means it’s over.

    • Yeah, we are wired to “keep the vows” even though the partner has broken them. This mindset sure needs to change.

    • It is the big myth : that a high % of relationships survive infidelity. These % s are quoted by sites and authors selling a product. They sell false hope.
      It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the average person who has this done to him or her gets so pissed off and resentful that things are never right again.
      I am not talking about folks prone to grudge holding/revenge/bitterness on other areas of their lives. Most of us are probably forgiving to a fault.
      Normal , nice, kind folks just do not take this shit and let someone get away with it.
      The real stats are about 30% remain together and only a small % of those report being happy ( as I recall it is about 9% of the 30%, so , about 2.7%.

    • Agree completely-we are wired to honor our commitments. I have gone so far as to suggest collaborative versus court divorce-see, I still want to play nice, even at the end of this sad, sorry mess. Am I a schmuck or what?

      • Dear Smart – as someone who tried the mediation path first let me just say, we can only go the nice route if our cheating fucktard doesn’t think she/he is entitled to more than half. I would be willing to bet that most of us chumps, after getting over the hump of being able to even s-s-say the d-d-d-word, were the ones willing to divorce away from the court system. It is our cheating fucktard STBXs that thought they could do better in court.

        • When I filed, I offered to pay for the whole divorce (keep in mind I make 1/3 of what my cheating ExH made). I told him to just tell me what he wanted, and if it didn’t include our daughter I’d be fine with it because “I just want out.” He STILL lawyered up. We went to court and I got more than I would have. SMH.
          It’s funny because when I first found out about the OW, I hated the thought of divorce. By the end, he just assumed the fetal position and bawled.

  • Damn I love this post. I wish I’d read it 18 months ago. I’m grateful I “only” wasted a year (thanks for falling back into your cheating ways so soon, DSTBX, so I could see so quickly you were never going to change), but damn, if I’d filed when I first found out, I’d be a whole year further on with my life now. That really is the WORST advice EVER.

    At least I *was* smart enough to talk to a lawyer pretty early on. 🙂

  • Dday was friday. By tuesday i had my lawyer. She was served on new years morning after partying all night with bf. that was just two months after dday. By that sept, 10 months after dday i was divorced. I didnt get everything but i got plenty and yes she got more than she deserved but the state makes laws, not me. Thank God im away from her. A year later im healing and happy. Had i not rushed she would have just kept using me. Once you find out theyre a cheater leave. Theres no point in staying. Move on and be happy.

  • “Cheating means it’s over”…..

    The truest, saddest, scariest words, life saving words, ever.

    That statement is going on my refrigerator.

  • This is exactly where I am right now! My d day was July 17th, and here I am in limbo, I’m listening to the endless I’m so sorry, and it’ll never happen again because he now realises how much he loves me. My husband had an affair from 2011 til present date, she was pregnant with his child and she decided to have an abortion, I at the same time was pregnant with our son, I have since discovered he has joined dating sites and has been texting/emailing various women and ex’s for sex and whatever else he can get to fulfil his ego, I know I want a divorce but I am so scared of the unknown, and have two young children with him. Thank you for this liberating forum, such a breath of fresh air and confidence provider!

    • You can do what you need to do, Lucy. What else do you need to know about this guy? Go see a lawyer, get your ducks in a row and file for divorce and for support. It’s OK to be scared. It’s not OK to be paralyzed on the train tracks when the train is barreling toward you. Good luck. Of course you deserve better than this sick selfish jackass. Anyone would deserve better.

    • Nice that he is sorry after he got caught. Lucy, if a man kills another, there are consequences, right? What could be worse than murdering love? We would no sooner let a confessed murderer go free than we should a murderer of love and trust. Be firm, walk away, find happiness, and know theres other fish in the sea.

      And remember he made the choice not you. He knew divorce was the result of his actions. He didnt care. Neither should you.

    • I know how scary it is with young children, but as one who was left while pregnant – it will be okay. I’m glad now that everything hit the fan before my son was old enough to be in the middle of it. Get your kids and yourself into a better, safer life. Being a single mom is so much better than lowering yourself to what he says your worth is. Especially with your kids there to see. You’ve got this 🙂

    • Lucy — take it from me — single parenting is infinitely easier than living with a cheater. Seriously, you’re doing the hard, scary thing now. Get a lawyer, get support and get on with your new kickass life.

      He took your gift of reconciliation and he shat on it. You found dating sites? And he’s sexting more women? He’s COUNTING on you being and staying vulnerable, so he can do whatever the fuck he pleases.

      That shit has to end. A lawyer will show you how. This shit stops when you say it stops. (((Hugs)))

      • This shit stops when you say it stops.
        Exactly. I danced my arse off with the pick me dance for 4 months, until I discovered that he was still seeing the OW. I called it. That’s it, you’re out. In my head I was going to give him another 6 months which lasted 3 weeks. A friend told me “you can’t live like this, look at you!” Living through hell was taking its toll. And like all good cake-eaters he was loving the pick me dance and wanted me to continue. No way. All chumps deserve better than this. Move on… yes its scary, yes you cry, yes it sucks, but I look back at those 4 months of hell and nothing was harder than that shit.

    • Lucy when I first interviewed my lawyer he basically told me. “BUD, you just continue being a Dad and keep doing your job at work. If you hire me it’s my job to do the divorce for you.” I found a lot of comfort in that statement. So find a good lawyer that you trust and let them do their job. Let them take care of you. But do it now while he still might have some remorse for what he’s done. Please, Act now!

    • Lucy –

      Lawyer up and see what your rights are. You will be amazed how you can survive. Your two children would rather have a mom smiling than crying and fighting.

      I had four kids and was a SAHM for about two years when I threw my husband out. Then I started praying like a MF’r. That night.

      Good things started to happen. Although the pain of going through a SECOND divorce with someone was almost more than I could bear, the pain of staying with him was way worse.

      Every day review your options. He is not in the house to put all the attention to him. You suddenly have more time to think for yourself and the kids. SURPRISE.

      I went from: no job, lived on credit cards, job, bankruptcy but still had job, court ordered sale of home, subprime loan to buy him out-this was a true miracle with a BK, better job, real estate boom-fucker lost out on that, recession, all while raising kids, getting them off to school, going to parent meetings by myself, and taking them on one week of vacation a year. We were shit poor at times, but the center-of-attention-suck-the-air-out-of-the-room-mean-thoughtless-emotional void-interested only in his conquests-cheap-demanding-cheating-fucktard was GONE GONE GONE!!!

      You’ll make it.

        • I am over in England as well. It took me two years to gain a backbone. Now the divorce is over and the two years I waited to file gave him two years to give up his jobs and to claim that he was an equal caregiver to the kids. While he was cheating, of course, he was never around for them, traveling all the time etc. The courts here are very focussed on ‘who has historically been the caregiver’ when making judgments about child residence. Because I waited two years, the kids are now court ordered to have 50-50 residence. Their school lives are now about moving back and forth and back and forth – disastrous for them. Do I regret giving him two years to sort himself out? Every day of my children’s lives I regret it. Get good legal advice, do not let your husband change any of his work practices or child care practices – this will go against you at court. Get your children and get out.

  • Have not read all the comments, so this may be repetitive.
    You point out, CL, the qualities in a cheater that many folks, Cheaters and their victims ( but especially cheaters) simply do not want to admit.
    I think that many of us, in the initial stages at least, subscribe to the opinion that these cheaters are wired just like us. We try to think how we would act if we had cheated, lied, abused etc like they did//do. It was very hard for me to accept that both my XWs were, quite simply, wired very differently than a normal person, a person with integrity , empathy and a conscience. So, I had been willing to wait and see and watch for the change.
    Guess what, it never happened. They just got worse.
    But, the thing was that I had simply never encountered people like this before. I now realize that these types walk among us.
    I do not think it is a poor analogy to compare cheating to what are , generally , accepted as more egregious offenses, like murder or embezzling. But, if one does this, those folks who have not been through it accuse a person of exaggerating, being over the top, absurdity etc. I imagine I might have felt that way before going through this, as well.
    Same with trying to describe the recovery from this as being as bad or worse than the recovery from loss of a child. Folks who do not really listen to what you are saying are outraged by that description of the recovery.
    What they seem not to hear is that one is not saying the pain is as great or that he would prefer loss of a child to this. Lord knows, I bet all of us would take the infidelity pain repetitively vs seeing something bad befall one of our kids.
    The point is, however , that the recovery(not the extent of pain) is , probably, more difficult for a variety of reasons ( the volitional betrayal vs involuntary loss; the vitiation of past allegedly pleasant memories with the cheater, societal lack of sympathy for a betrayed vs the usual overwhelming sympathy shown for a bereaved parent etc).
    The six month waiting advise , as you point out, is based on outsiders not understanding, minimizing the damage and cruelty and abusive nature of infidelity. They have not been through it, or, if they have, they are still very much invested in not wanting to see the truth about their cheater.
    I submit that it is , virtually, impossible for a normal person who has empathy and a conscience to engage in cheating behavior over any type of extended period. There is just too much lying and gaslighting and watching your spouse suffer and twist in the wind for any person with empathy to do this for any real length of time.
    A person who can do this and function/ work / sleep well. eat etc just has to have a major deficiency in human qualities of compassion/empathy etc.

    • Great post, Arnold. Betrayal is on a whole different level than death, so it may not be helpful to compare the two–but you explain very clearly why betrayal is so hard for recovery. It’s a form of torture carried out by a person’s dearest love–the “lying and gaslighting and watching your spouse suffer and twist in the wind” with absolutely no empathy.

      • Thanks, LJA. It is almost impossible to go that comparison route without folks thinking you are magnifying if you mention death of a child. Same with comparing it to sexual assault, which is said to also be easier to recover from ( and , having been sexually assaulted as a child, multiple times, I can vouch for this).
        Sp, unless you have the opportunity to explain what you are saying, I would avoid it. Folks seem top miss the distinction between recovering and the level of pain.

    • Yes, they don’t behave as we would but then again…we wouldn’t have cheated in the first place! The fact that someone cheats shows that there is something seriously, seriously wrong with this individual. No, I don’t think they are doomed forever but yes, I do think this demonstrates a major crack in their foundation as they are now. And no, a simple affair, marriage counseling, individual therapy, a year of reflection…I don’t think this or any one of these things alone will fix it. They need some serious introspection, therapy and to decide who they want to be. Basically, they need to grow up. And that’s not something that happens overnight. As CL’s next post demonstrates cheaters are “immature, selfish and vain”.

  • Great article as usual.
    I like so many more, waited a year and a half to file……
    While I do regret not sticking to my guns on day 1, telling him that if he is in love with her, he should go be with her, which in true cheater form, he declined, telling me that it was a mistake and so on…..
    I think the time helped me. He of course, used the next year and a half to continue to lie, withhold truths, and be a fucking ass and most importantly feel sorry for his pathetic self.
    During that time, I was able to start to see him for who he was, a liar, cheater, a fraud, a bad cop, I could go on and on….
    In that time, I also started to find my backbone again and realize what was acceptable to me and what wasn’t. I am not to meh yet, but have realized that I needed the time to find me again, the girl that had a backbone and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. And the best part is that I really like her and she would never put up with any asshole treating her the way that ex did. Thank you Tracy. 🙂

  • This was the worst thing I ever did, it was total and utter torture, plus it made no difference to an outcome that had already been been decided by the other two parties without my input. All it did was allow him to destroy me even more and reaffirm to him that I was a nutcase therefore he could assuage his guilt and give him justification for abhorrent behaviour, he didn’t make the connection between his behaviour and my reaction, to him it was all just me. Plus, I am pretty sure he messed with the finances whilst he kept me hanging.
    It was the worst advice I have ever received and made things much worse, I was in a much stronger position when I first found out than a year later after giving him a chance, he didn’t deserve a chance, I just didn’t realise it at the time.
    Do not do this, please do not do this. It only prolongs the agony, run and run as fast as you can the moment you find out about their cheating.

    • Exactly! He even added insult to injury by declaring all-knowing tidbits like: I knew you would react that way, that’s why I chose not to share this… As if I was out of control and so predictable.

      Took me six months, because the therapist gave me the advice not to decide or scare off the timid creature in his convenient fog, confirming my stupid instinct that believed that he was alongside me pulling the carriage in the same direction, while he had stolen the wheels and sat in it, intent on fogging up the windows with his passionate affair.

  • Love the graphic, BTW.

    If there was anything that saved me this summer, when XH’s lack of courage, control, respect, etc. ad nauseum, reared its ugly head, it was my instinct to “get ‘er done” ASAP. I capitalized on his (fake) remorse and guilt and ran a “hurry-up offense” to get the bastard out of the house, along with all his shit. Admittedly, he never came crawling back, so I guess I was fortunate in that regard. But by the time we went to court 47 days later (I did say hurry-up offense), he was already starting to spin in the web of his schmoopie and started asking about renegotiating the agreement. I coldly reminded him of all the shit I’d ALREADY given him (his business [where he met said schmoopie], his IRA, … I even let him keep his testicles [I am a veterinarian, after all]), and we went to court the next day and BOOM! it’s over.

    Wait six months? I wouldn’t wait six minutes.

  • infidelity just happens when two splendid people succumb to forces larger than them both.

    Even cheap assholes like the ex LOVE to spend money on the affair partners to make themselves seem spontaneous and generous. (Hahahahah!!) That’s YOUR money they’re spending on the twat/prick who has invaded your family.
    Their selectivity is appalling. Those are twat/prick germs they’re getting all over you.
    They are gaslighting your CHILDREN.

    You gotta put an end to that shit, and now.

    For perhaps the first time in your life, you must put your foot down–forget about drawing a line, because they’ve crossed it already–and get the hell out. Get a lawyer, even if you think you can’t afford it, because all the above, and get out. Just get out now.

  • This waiting period is very familiar to me. I heard it several times in Al-Anon. No major decisions for 6 months to one year. This recommended waiting period is to assist the family member dealing with the disease to assess the situation better as they continue on their journey to help themselves. Al-Anon does not support putting yourself in financial, emotional, or physical harm; therefore, I don’t feel this waiting period applies to infidelity. I had friends try to use this waiting period as a crutch for all crises. A waiting period can be good in some situations but shouldn’t be applied across the board. CL is on the money with this one.

    I did not wait 6 months. I recognized that more harm than good would come out of it.

    • New suggested waiting period: Count to 100 if a lawyer’s office is open. Otherwise, wait until morning.

      If I had it all to do over and knowing then what I know now… 😉

      • Saw you engaging with EI, again , TH. Looks like fun. That woman is NPD to the max.
        She did a little flirt with Matt Matt, I saw.

        • I think you have that backward. I have not responded to anything she’s posted because it’s a waste of time. Even if she attributes things to me that I didn’t write.

          Cue Rick Jame’s “Superfreak”.

          • Still entertaining to watch. Notice the KISA that come to her defense. She has suffered so much, doncha know.
            That woman is a trip. he has described her elfin dimensions (a spinner?), does a fair amount of winking/flirting and today referenced getting it on with her husband as he is off from work( bestowing on him her whatever).
            She claims the fog starts after the affair does, yet goes on to say that it causes “impulsivity”. Wtf does that mean,?She started painting rooms, changing hairstyles, spending money because she was being fucked by another guy?

            • I don’t know. I don’t really read what she types, and I certainly don’t follow her posts. I did see she responded to something I posted, but it was some rambling non-sequitur that had nothing to do with my comments, and that was evident within the first sentence, so the trusty old Somebody Else’s Problem Field kicked in.

              • I did? Checking…. oh… now I see how the demon was invoked.

                The bit about “fog rendering people impulsive” was her nonsense? Jeebus.

                I guess I had better check out which ridiculous nonsense I rebut more carefully 😉

              • I earned myself a perma-ban over there.. I didn’t have to work hard for it.

                That one, “Empty Inside”, still feels the need to go on that forum and get her ego kibbles from admiring cheater apologists (her needs weren’t being met), even after getting another ring and ceremony.

                I hope her husband can keep up with her demands and needs, so he can prevent her from straying again. I wonder if they added a clause to the vows this time around, ‘as long as you don’t get low T and continue to give me great sexual pleasure I will continue to be honest with you’

                She would PM me, try to get my approval.. so in need of everyone validating her affair, that it was okay in her case.. she’s a special sausage. Now if I were on that forum and said that, she’d take issue that I used the word “special” and have a hissy fit, and get me banned. I’d have to hear about how she has a special needs child, to deflect the topic to making me look bad, turn her into a victim and once again, justified for not being totally honest with her husband about the affair because “life is hard”. Her heroes would come and rescue her, and she’d be vindicated. She will “like” many posts to show how special she is. They will send PM’s with winky faces and rejoice.

          • Better watch out, last time I posted she had NPD she started whining saying something which essentially was like ‘those pointless losers on CL are labelling me NPD when they clearly haven’t had a chat with my therapist!’ (like thats any sort of justification) – LOL!

    • I think the “no major decisions for 6 months to a year” works better for recovering addicts than their codependent family members, who have been hanging around doing the codependent thing in the addict’s orbit instead of living their own lives. What addicts need, in addition to treatment, are consequences for their behavior. Separation, divorce, losing assets, etc.–all natural consequences for their behavior. Every situation is different, but addicts also siphon family resources to feed their addictions; in addition, they put kids at risk when they are actively using. So I am not sure why waiting makes any sense, other than as just another instance of the marriage is more important than the people in it who are being destroyed.

      • “No major decisions for six months” got me, too, as did his rehab counselor advising me “don’t leave five minutes before the miracle”.

        It’s so hard to sort out the conflicting guidance…a wise friend told me “if he chooses to change and to get better, you will know.” For now, get outta the flaming structure!

      • I used the “no major decisions” idea for decisions that followed my ex leaving. Not related to him or getting a divorce, but about other stuff, like would I move? I decided to stay where I was and keep going to work and not change anything else major in my life because my marriage exploding was all I could handle and I didn’t think I was ready to decide things about whether or not I should move. As time passed I realized I wanted to stay where I was and that my instinct to stay put was right, so it worked out well for me. But as far as things with the ex went, I didn’t see any point in waiting. It was clear enough on dday, and waiting would have extended the agony. I was divorced 6 months after dday, and am thankful for it.

        • I should add that my ex left and didn’t look back, so that also played a HUGE role in my not waiting and hoping for reconciliation. I am thankful for that now, but it sure was unbeliavable to me that he could just walk away so easily…

  • Excellent post.

    It’s very true that the RI tells you to “wait” and think about it. My IC said that very thing. However, every instinct in my body told me I wasn’t safe and he had lied to much during MC that there was no way I was sticking around for more of his BS.

    My attorney said, “Settle now because in 2 months he won’t remember your name.” He had a lot of experience with this sort of thing and he was bang on. My cheater was on to his new supply within weeks. It was unbelievable to me, but not to my lawyer. We settled well and my cheater was happily onto his new life without a backward glance.

    It’s incredible to me that people can move on so quickly and without remorse or regret. I’d be devastated if I had done a fraction of what my STBX did to our family. I shudder now to think what he was capable of doing had I given him more time.

    • “We settled well and my cheater was happily onto his new life without a backward glance.”

      Me too. And I find it unbelievable too…

  • I’m one of those chumps whose husband never admitted his infidelity during the marriage. He simply kicked me out of the house and blamed my anxiety for the failure of our marriage (which conveniently died when I ran out of money to support us).

    But this article today is still sage advice for anyone pining away for the man they thought they knew. It’s a potent reminder of how very evil their acts were. It strengthens my spine and reminds me to keep moving forward out of this mess — do not stop.

    Thanks again, Tracy, for this website and all the people on it.

  • My soon-to-be cheater ex admitted being an alcoholic five months before D-day. AA tells alcoholics not to go through any major relationship changes (divorce, separation) until 6 months to a year of sobriety. He assumed I was on his timetable, and so did I (there is the whole relationship right there). I stuck it out, in part due to that belief in potential, and in part because I did not know the extent of his lying. I was so miserable. Burning home is exactly what it was, I was dying slowly of smoke inhalation.

    When D-day came I began thinking I could get the “truth.” I stayed with him for three months until our lease was up and got a divorce mediator. Two more doozies. He mindfucked anytime he was given the chance, which triggered the hurt all over again.

    Now, I have an amazing lawyer and have committed to not acting without her approval. It’s good to finally admit that any kind of communication with cheater is harmful and that no honest person can dialogue with an extreme passive aggressive. I knew enough to file for divorce, but it took a while to go No Contact. It’s hard to understand how little control I have with how the father of my child treats me and to realign my life accordingly. Slowly, but surely.

    Thank you for this article, CL.

    • Chumpectomy (and TJ) – I met my XH in AA recovery- I was 2 years, he 4 years. We’d both been married before and I believed we both wanted a new and sober life together. I spackled a lot from the beginning because who was I to judge another recovering alcoholic. So I ignored the red flags on money, anger issues and of course his interest in other women. I didn’t know then about the tentacles of addiction and how for some (men) it spreads into their sex lives. So I wasn’t prepared for the infatuations with other women, porn, and prostitutes. When XH confessed to relapsing with alcohol, he said it was because of his shame at using prostitutes, with money he had stolen from my account. It was Xmas. I forgave him. We tried to move forward. I went to Al-Anon. I became a ‘double-winner’ (member of AA and Al-Anon). Obviously I hadn’t won anything but I was losing more time (and money).

      I waited for XH to get sober again. He didn’t. He isn’t. Fast forward two years and along came the OW. The new honey with the money (I’d stopped being either). It caused chaos. He drank more; I thought this might be his turning point to get sober. I was still waiting for him to get sober (sigh). And then I realised very belatedly that he wasn’t and even if he did the damage done was too great to get over. That’s when I gave the game up.

      My XH knew I was naïve and vulnerable when I met him (not young however!) and I was new to recovery. I can’t blame AA or Al-Anon for my own responses. Now, I’m over 9 years sober and I understand much more about co-dependence and ‘detaching with love’- although as one friend said, maybe detaching with a hammer might have been better. I took too long to get away from someone who (for whatever reason /skein of fuckupedness) did not want a clean and honest life- with me. Apart from the emotional/financial losses, it could have cost me my own sobriety with potentially horrible consequences. I’m divorced, he’s still with OW, but I got a ‘fishing’ drunk text last week. I didn’t respond. I wish him sobriety (again) but I’m not the one waiting now.

    • Aa also carves out an exception to the 8th or 9th step ( cannot recall) as applied to infidelity. Seems Bill W was such a well known cheater that men were assigned to follow him around meetings to keep him from preying on the new female members. So, the position seems to be that as regards infidelity vs other offenses, do not apologize or own the actions, as it may cause further harm ( snort!).
      My first XW, now a spiritual adviser for a local CD treatment facility, has never owned her shot re the cheating. Guess she just has too much concern for my well being.
      She is a NPD asshole, about as “spiritual” as a (fill in the blank, I cannot think of any creature that I would not be insulting with the comparison).

  • I wish I had a Tracy in my life 11years ago. I has just had a baby with my cheater (she was 4 months old) when I found out about the OW. We were not yet married, but had dated for two years. It was the most gut wrenching experience. I literally vomited when I found out. It was September 16, 2004. Some dates too never forget. My parents talked me into marrying him. Everything in my body said RUN but I was weighted down with the lethargy of caring for three children alone. My cheater stumbled onto me fresh out of my divorce from abusive husband #1. He treated me so good. He adored me! He made me feel worth something again. Until the day I realized I meant nothing. I am a smart educated woman. But I was terribly vulnerable at that time and my cheater knew this. We were married 9 years. I had times I suspected he cheated but never had proof. When I got proof of an affair, I left him. The ow called me and told me. I did wait 6 months to leave though. That was on the advice of my lawyer. I had to pay off debts that were solely in my name bc he had no credit. Good salary but no credit due to his first divorce. When the debts were paid off, I was still paralyzed by fear. He left me with a huge mortgage (probably so he can tell everyone he gave me the house). We had very little equity. The house was only 4 years old. His version is that I am a “selfish bitch who used him” and he “worked his ass off to give me everything I wanted” while we were married. “What princess wants, princess gets” *dripping in sarcasm*. He did work a lot and he did provide very well. I remember telling him that just because he made good money did not give him carte Blanche to do whatever he wanted. Essentially, “you can’t pay me to stay married to you, take care of the kids, and make you look good while you do what you want.” He wanted a wife that was ok with spending his money in exchange for staying out of his business. “I paid you to look the other way dammit!”

  • I so admire the chumps here who immediately threw the cheater out, went NC and filed for divorce as soon as Dday hit. Wish I had done that, instead of waiting, pining, going through bogus reconciliation and smoking the hopium pipe for far too long.

    I DO say, however, that once you have freed yourself from the cheater and are flying on your own, it’s a good idea to take some time before making any really major decisions. Quitting your job, buying property, moving across the country, going back to school….. be sure you aren’t just reacting without thinking the whole thing through.

    I decided to go back to school right after Dday. Halfway through an expensive program at one of those rip-off-for-profit schools, I realized I’d make a huge mistake, and the career was totally not for me. Now I owe $15K student loans. If I had been listening to my gut, instead of frantically reacting to the end of my marriage, I would have known from the start it was a mistake, and done something else.

    Anyway, as usual CL is right on the money. Waiting around for your cheater to change or for your marriage to heal is time of your life you will never get back. Dump that fucker straight off and get out of the burning building. If they ever decide to truly straighten themselves out and become worthy of having you back, they can contact you then.

      • I always wondered why so many career criminals get tattoos. Mystifies me.
        Ask a witness to describe somebody, and 90% of the time they all disagree about height, weight, and so many other things, but if there’s a tattoo of the Grim Reaper, they’ll all remember that 😉

        • I saw a COPS episode once where a gang member had a tattoo across his chest commemorating the date he shot someone. The cops put two and two together and busted him for that crime. Not too bright.

      • LOL, one of the first things I did was get my old tattoo removed. It had no associations with Cheater. I just wanted to be a new me.

  • Another six to twelve months is the chump imposing a prison sentence upon him/herself. It took me five days to snap out of my shock, realize what a piece of shit I was married to, and start wading through the painful process of dismantling my family. While I was working toward our separation/divorce, I still lived with my ex while house hunting, and it sucked. I felt completely trapped and sick to my stomach whenever I had to deal with him. The only reason I was able to hang on and get through is because I knew I was working every day toward leaving him for good. Why would anyone want to live that way voluntarily in the hope that the marriage can be saved? I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my days married to my ex– he disgusted me. That’s not saving the marriage– that’s living deeply in denial.

  • Has anybody kicked the cheater to the curb on the first Dday and not looked back, didn’t play the pick me dance, no second changes, just went straight to the lawyer and got out the first time? Just curious. If you did I sure as hell wish I was that strong!!

    • I did. Five days after DDay, my ex told me that he and the OW had unprotected sex on multiple occasions, and that was it for me. My disgust overpowered any lingering feelings I might have had about him and our marriage. I also knew that I had to show my three children the healthy way to deal with abuse, so leaving my ex was important for that reason as well.

      • I did. I found out about his affair. Asked him to move out the next day. Lawyered up. Out he went in 3 weeks.

        It was brutal. I did what had to be done and at the time I was terrified.

        We had been in marital counselling and he’d been asked if there was anyone else by the therapist. I’d asked him many many times as well. He lied through it all. So, he had many chances to come clean but didn’t. He wanted his cake and eat it too. He wanted to blame me for all problems in our marriage. I had no idea he was as unhappy as he claimed to be. He was a liar, abusive and a drunk.

        I’d had enough.

    • I realize that no one feels strong after D-Day, but the advice needs to fall on the side of SELF PROTECTION and away from figuring out the poor sausage cheater and how you weren’t meeting his/her needs.

      Self protection can mean getting your finances in order, and demanding immediate boundaries with consequences — like run a credit report on yourself, cheater. (Shows the PO boxes, the secret credit cards, and bank accounts.) Closing lines of credit, so the cheater can’t run up bills. Separating money — and if you’re reconciliation minded — a post-nup.

      I’m not saying divorce right out of the starting gate. I’m saying PROTECT YOURSELF and see what they do. If they’re threatened by that? If they aren’t WILLING to make real assurances and protect you from further harm? Then you’ll know. You can stop wasting your time and move forward with divorce.

      So much of the advice just wants chumps to trust the cheater and believe no harm will befall them. Give them a chance! Be patient while they come out of the fog!

      A lot of damage can be done during that time. And shit, you’ve already suffered.

    • I did kick my cheater out the very night of D-Day and he left and never came back. But the next six months were hell, I had PTSD, lost the typical 25 lbs., did the pick me dance, spent time and money and effort untangling his skein of fuckedupness, obsessed over OW, and him, and texted, emailed and called him, listening to his fake apologies, mixed messages, till after 6 months I stopped and went full NC and am now working with lawyers to sort out the co-owned house (we weren’t married). Still proud of myself for kicking him out that very night!

    • My stbx cheater/pathological liar confessed his affair this past Memorial Day; a Monday and a holiday. I told him exactly what I thought of him and told him that at 8:00 am the following morning, when the attorney’s office opened, the phone would be ringing and it would be me to make an appointment to file for divorce. And I did. I remember being angry that I couldn’t call that very instant. It had been a miserable and abusive marriage in which I stayed for the kids, and this was the last straw. He murdered my love for him long, long ago with his constant abuse and bullying. Have discovered many other “lovely” things about the POS in the months since DDay, I don’t even know who this man truly is and I don’t want to know him…I don’t like him. Worthless, with no redeeming qualities about sums him up.
      I think everyone’s circumstances are different. I had been in therapy for 5-6 years at that point and worked on a lot of my codependent issues that kept me stuck in such a horrible marriage. I was already considering divorce, but for financial reasons decided to stay a little longer. And I no longer loved him…I think that makes a difference. Even though I was somewhat shocked at his confession, in all honesty I wasn’t surprised. So, I was ready to file for divorce that day…I’d already prepared myself for that eventuality, it just came sooner than I expected.
      I think we shouldn’t compare ourselves or our situation with that of other people. My circumstances are different than the person who loves their spouse and believes that they have a happy marriage, all to have it destroyed out of the blue one day. Whether you file for divorce on DDay, the next day, the next week or 7.5 months or 3 years later depends on your own unique situation. I think the important thing is to just get yourself to that place where you can stand up for your self and file. You are strong when you do that and it’s okay if it took you some time to get there! It took me 24 hours to file after DDay, but it took me 5-6 years of preparation to get to that point. Just so, so glad I got there!!

  • I think a lot of this wait-a-year crap or 6 months crap is a vestige from another era when women didn’t have jobs, or education, when we didn’t have rights and when we were second class citizens. I did the six month thing and then I did the 24 year pick me dance… My only non regret in this, is that I got my three wonderful kids from it… That being said, I did reproduce with a genetically twisted person and my kids have 50% his genes (his smarts too) Remember leopards do not change their spots. We all think that it is just when he is with us that he is a shit… not so. We get the shit soaked tip of the iceberg that everyone can see. Their disorder permeates their life and their relationship with your kids as well. They will also get the projection, gaslighting etc. just not quite so viciously as you get. They will manipulate and connive to make you look like the bad guy always. SO… RUN! Don’t walk… RUN away from these disordered, genetically compromised fucktards.

    Your kids can survive their genetics in a stable loving home, much better than with disordered fuckhead. I wish I had done it sooner… He triangulated me and my eldest daughter. I am still working to repair that shit with her. Little by little she is getting it. But she will always feel that he is helpless and therefore can’t be held accountable for his actions. Poor little bunny wunny that he is. Slowly dawn is breaking over that valley.

    • Yeah, but they peddle this shit to men, too. If you are in an alimony state and you were naive enough to agree to the stay at home mom paradigm, the delay could cost you a fortune, as , sometimes, there is a bright line durational component to determining if alimony is awarded.
      Same for women who, although less frequently, are facing the stay at home cheating dad deal.
      Folks, with cheating and divorce so rampant, do not do the stay at home parent deal, IMO.(Notice the gender neutrality?).

      • Certainly, anyone who has a SAH spouse who is having an affair should insist, as part of any reconciliation attempt, on both a p0st-nup with an infidelity clause AND an immediate return to the work force.

      • Some people just don’t get it… My friend’s wife cheated on him with a not-insignificant percentage of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team (no, really, there were pictures and everything). He’s a software developer who makes a decent income and she’s the spoiled rich daughter of a music mogel who hangs around Starbucks instead of working. They don’t have children. Until I clued him in, he didn’t realize that she could claim alimony. She’s already “accidentally” been pregnant once. Ultimately, he stayed with her, but he did so with a post-nup. Pre-nups and post-nups are boon and I think everyone should be encouraged to get one. Hopefully this will save his ass when she eventually re-offends.

  • Arghhhhhh!!!!!
    Not trying to gain sympathy. This is more of a bitch slap to reality. I was told to wait. Not act just yet. Fuck that. I’ve waited and I still know I can’t live like this. I was counseled to say I am MEDIATING THE OPTION of R. And I was. Not it’s time to see how I have fucked myself over.

      • Use whatever time you have to get your ducks in a row and don’t tell anyone, especially whomever counseled you to wait and to “mediate your option for R.”

    • ANC – no sympathy from me here, but loud cheers for you instead!! You know you can’t live like that and you’re at the ‘fuck that shit’ stage? Time to kick arse!!!

      (And truly, plenty of sympathy. It sucks.)

  • Great article CL!

    My reconciliation/pick me dance with the XW lasted a measly 10 days…I actually listened to that little nagging voice of reason in the back of my mind and caught her gobbling down cake with lucky bachelor #3 (yeah, the third douchebag she had landed on in a six month period). Lawyered up the next day…divorced a month later. No sense beating a dead whorse.

    Don’t waste your precious time or energy on these soulless fucktards…they certainly aren’t wasting any on you.

  • Once I had my d-day and knew the end was near, I quite enjoyed lining up my ducks and planning my exit. Sure, it hurt and felt insulting to be cheated on, but I had no problem mustering up a big hate for the guy. Maybe I have a bit of sociopath in me if I can be that way, but hey, if someone abuses me, I find it very difficult to feel anything like love for them. Sorry, but I have a very clear definition of love and it does not include lying, cheating, stealing or abuse.

    Without doubt, it is very much harder for those with children involved to make snap decisions, but the bottom line is, those children will be better off in the long run by seeing their chumped parent show some backbone and boundaries. Hard to be pragmatic when suffering from an emotional shock, but one’s brain still works and the decisions can be made if one is determined enough.

    My best revenge was the delicious feeling that I had lead time on dumping his sorry ass. I managed to inflict some petty but annoying setbacks on him that gave me some good laughs after all was said and done. Hell hath no fury like a…..scorned chump.

  • Chumpladys advice is so clear and correct, esp the how is a judge going to see this if you did the pick me in a daze dance a year.

    There is another reason, you wait 6 months, no a year to make sure you don’t throw away all those years of the marriage, the memories, I have pictures it is memories, I did save the negatives but throw out all pictures he was in.

    What I ran into was this, at a year of fing the little ow he was still fine with it, and I was looking at do I throw the marriage away and look I waited a year. And what I did was I kept waiting, yes I did. I waited another 2 years, so that is three years. Yes I did it makes me sick.

    The ow dumped him, of course all the sudden he wants me only when I ask why nothing comes out of his mouth.

    I did a terrible thing to my mind not seeing my value.

  • What great advice. I agree that waiting 6 months to a year to leave a cheater IS THE WORST ADVICE EVER. The second worst advice is the advice my priest gave me after I discovered the affair and the identity of the other woman. My husband (of 16 years) had told me one week earlier that he wanted a divorce. He told me he had been unhappy for a very long time, years in fact. I am lying there in bed with a one week old baby beside me and a three year old in the room next door, thinking to myself, “then why these two kids? Why did he have not one, but two kids with me if he planned to leave me????” He gave me the ILYBINILWY line, and told me that I was a terrible wife who made him miserable. I was stunned. And I actually believed him! I was at such a vulnerable stage in my life and also within our marriage. I asked him over and over again if there was someone else. He was adamant that there was no one else. I believed him. Started trying to “fix everything that was wrong with me to make him want to stay.” But a few days later, he was out very late one night “clearing his head by going for a solo drive,” and I called him, worried. I could tell by his overly cheerful tone of voice that something was off, and later I realized he must have had an audience. The next day I hired a private detective and within two days had the identity of the OW. So I made an appointment with my priest, and shared with him what was happening. I told my priest that I didn’t plan to tell my H that I was aware of the affair. He told me to go ahead and tell H that I knew. VERY VERY BAD ADVICE. Sadly, I took it. Once H knew that I knew the truth, he immediately went on the defensive and became much more aggressive with spending money, hiding money, went deep underground, etc. If I had kept my knowledge to myself until a later time (such as AFTER I made sure certain debts in my name were paid off, etc.) it would have made things much smoother for me. The don’t stop lying to you just because you find out the truth and they know you are “onto” them. They just go deep underground. I could have made it easier for myself by letting him think he was still snowing me and letting him think I thought our marriage could still be saved.

    • He told me to go ahead and tell H that I knew. VERY VERY BAD ADVICE

      Sorry it all went down like that. I don’t understand why somebody would counsel you to tip your hand that you had proof of anything. It’s kind of like telling a mugger that you have a cell phone with a 911 panic button in your coat pocket and your thumb is on that button, so he had better take it from you.

      You had already asked, been lied to repeatedly, so it’s clear he had no intention of tipping his hand and rendering himself more vulnerable, but you were supposed to make yourself more vulnerable in these circumstances?

      I bet 99 times out of 100 that ends really badly, and the one other time out of 100 is just makes no difference.

    • It’s basically, for all intents and purposes, and enforceable separation agreement if you decide to split later: it details how assets and obligations are to be divided. They may also waive alimony/spousal support, and they may or may not do so under specific conditions.

      The idea is to protect your assets and defer obligations (and you should keep separate accounts if you have your own money–best to keep the bills and money as separate as possible) in the event of a divorce, and you should note that if you have assets to lose, it gets worse the longer you are married unless you have a postnup.

  • I used the “house burning” metaphor to husband regarding the affair…I said “your “guilt” is the alarm system warning you yoy are dealing with fire (affair) and is burning our house (destroying our marriage)” He didn’t stop the affair, I didn’t not run out immediately…he never really felt guilty…

  • The “wait 6 months to a year” argument is even louder for chumps who are parents. If you leave, either too soon or at all, you’re being a selfish parent who isn’t considering how divorce will impact the kids. The belief is that all kids care about is that the family remains intact. Kids are too stupid and blind to notice their parents hate each other and are putting on an act for the kids.

    Another “stay for the kids” argument I’ve heard is that if you divorce, you wont’ be able to protect your kids from an abusive spouse.

    Lots and lots of guilt being dumped on the innocent, and not just from the cheater, but from friends and family, too. No wonder so many take this advice.

    • So very true! We cannot protect our kids from the other parent either way (married or divorced). Mine drove drunk with our kids (would never admit it). I found out when she got home. How could I have stopped her? This is a definite chump mindfuck.

  • My lawyer said guilt of discovery lasts maybe three months. You must act quickly to protect yourself. I never let on I knew about the affair until after he had signed the separation agreement. It was brutal not to breath a word and exact my pound of screaming and yelling “how dare you”. I got the kids (sole custody), the house outright, child support and the car. Looking back, I didn’t get anything he didn’t want to give up but I got the most important thing – my kids.

  • I found this website 2 months ago and it has been a God send – for one thing it has helped me to stop trying to unravel his skein of fuckedupedness. You see I am a chump – which I feel OK about now that I have come to understand I am not alone there is a whole world of wonderful ex-chumps out there and reading this blog makes me realize how truly amazing we are- I found out that my lying narcissistic lawyer husband of 30 years had been cheating ……..for at least 15 years. What a shithead. Four grown children and felt like my world had collapsed. My role as a wife and mother was my identity .. .. I supported him working ‘long hours’ to further his career, attended every fucking parent teacher meeting and committee, took responsibility for all parenting and home duties – I was his perfect vision of respectability – while he visited prostitutes, brothels and gambled.
    I contacted a lawyer D- day (the best in my town), told my children the very limited facts of the situation and kicked him out immediately but in true chump style after 2 months I took him back. To my credit I was thinking clearly enough to demand a financial settlement that gave me 70% before I attempted reconciliation. His psych has told him he has an sex addiction (WTF) he takes this to be an explanation for his repeated infidelities that requires little more analysis than that – he is not in any program to deal with his ‘addiction’ he simply stopped.. oh… he read a self help book…. what a dick… I was so gullible – trusted him so completely.
    He is still here 3 months later and it was been difficult but not unbearable, but really I know now that I deserve better. He is doing all of the things he is supposed to be doing – apologizing, making amends, but really who gives a shit… I was worth more than that – in the first few months of crazy I couldn’t see that. That dead shit was actually lucky to have me. The benefit of taking some time has been that I have been able to finish my masters, find more evidence and prepare myself for a careful and organised move interstate to the city where my daughter lives without the stress of house sale and property division. I have been able to come to some kind of pleasant closure with my in-laws who have been a large part of my life and with whom my relationship will now change. I have been able to transfer money into an account to set up my new life. He is so confident and desperate to convince me to stay that at the moment he goes along with whatever I say. I have been able to get counselling and find inner strength and a new plan for a future without him – I needed time for this. It basically gave me a chance to get my “ducks in a row”.
    I would say leave straight away … but consider your situation – ONLY stay if you get financial contract that does not disadvantage you if you do – i.e – get them to sign a document prepared by your lawyer for a division that offers you a significant benefit if you take a risk and stay. SO you may need to prepare yourself financially or emotionally to leave – do that…but don’t sit around idly if you do stay …take some time use the that time to your advantage.

  • Yeah, I wasted exactly 6 and a half months listening to him dropping mixed messages, like “No one KNOWS what the future holds, Muse!” and “we could get back together if you get therapy and get stronger.” But it was all fake, more of the same shit this man gave me for 16 years; he just wanted to keep me on the hook, still loving and pining for him while he “considered his options” with the schmoopie that he’d told me didn’t really love, and “just didn’t want to be alone,” and that he “wasn’t 100% sure of yet.” I wasted countless tears, and hours, and wrote a 400 page journal trying to untangle his skein of fuckedupness, sexual deviance, possibility he was molested as a child and molested children (the “terrible incident in his life” that his sister mentioned but wouldn’t explain!); the massive NPD, the secret life, the additional schmoopies that I discovered afterwards, till one day in January 2014 I just told him, No. It’s over and you will not hear from me anymore… “But what?! We have Business to Conduct,” he said (our co-owned house that I paid 90% for), and I said, fine, you’ll be negotiating with my lawyer.

    “What?!” he screamed angrily into the phone, “What did you have to go and involve lawyers for?” (um, because you told me that you had retained one? and because I am one and I understand their function? I have not heard from him again except for a horrific screed full of lies that he told his attorney and the attorney inadvertently, incompetently, attached accidentally to an email to mine.

    So yes, lawyer up. Run, run as fast as you can from the cheater. Anyone who could have used you this way, shown so little respect for you, betrayed you, is not going to be reasonable so you need to protect yourself. And Chump Lady is correct, while you are wiping away your tears, the snake is already scheming for how he (or she) will further work the situation. That is their M.O. and they know no other way.

  • People say it’s not fair to say “once a cheater, always a cheater”. And it’s true sometimes, my best friend did it once in her youth and she learned from it. You know what she didn’t do? She didn’t attempt to stay in the relationship with the person she cheated on. She didn’t fuck her over, she was ashamed and she moved on and she didn’t cheat on her next partner. Sometimes that shit happens, especially if the person cheating quite young.

    So my axiom is this “once a cheater in YOUR relationship, always a cheater in YOUR relationship”. Does NOT matter if they learned a lesson and will do better in the future, they will NOT do it with YOU. Because one day they will remember you forgave them and they’ll do it again. So, let them practice their new found fidelity on someone else. You are doing them a favor, they can’t grow if they don’t have consequences. And the favor you do yourself is that you don’t have to wake up one day and wonder why you wasted your life.

    • So perfectly stated and 150% true………

      So my axiom is this “once a cheater in YOUR relationship, always a cheater in YOUR relationship”. Does NOT matter if they learned a lesson and will do better in the future, they will NOT do it with YOU. Because one day they will remember you forgave them and they’ll do it again.

      In my case “Once a cheater always a cheater” is true as well.

      Either way it’s a Cheaters Loss or at least it should be. Leaving is the only answer as far as I am concerned. Who needs that shit in their life?

      It’s funny until it actually happened to me, I never was black and white on the answer of what to do if I was cheated on in a relationship. I always thought it would depend upon the circumstances and that I could be forgiving depending upon the circumstances.

      Once it did happen to me, HOLY MOLY, it was a whole new perspective and reality. I will never change my thinking on this topic.

      If someone doesn’t have the basic skills of decency and caring for the one they say they “love” and are “in love with”, then fuck them. Not worth another millisecond of your time. Especially since they can’t even figure out how to properly handle their own problems without taken you down with them when the road get’s a little bit tough.

      Thanks for this post Dat!

      • Thank you Deborah. It’s funny, we thought the opposite and did the opposite. I always thought if someone cheated on me I would NOT forgive them at all. But I did. And you were the other way round.

    • Thanks for articulating this so well, Dat. Very, very true in my case. Will my ex be faithful to the final OW? I don’t know and it’s irrelevant. I know he won’t ever be faithful to me if I took him back and that’s all that truly matters.

  • Going under a different pseudonym for this post.

    I am alarmed by the number of chumps who were sexually abused as children, or who grew up with narcissistic parents. I wonder if there is a pattern here. I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing, but I do know that I made my wants and needs very, very small as a child, since my father is a domineering control freak who said, “Children are to be seen and not heard,” and who chastised me for ever asking for anything, “Who do you think you are?” My mother never wants anything, or she has learned to be totally subservient to my father, and, in fact, has taken the “victim” role in that relationship. My father is a good man, very honorable. He praised me for my intelligence and for working hard, but my wants were mocked and ridiculed, and he seemed to take pleasure in forcing me to dress in clothing that I found literally humiliating (he knew it, mom did not step in). He claimed ownership of everything in the home, including those things which would rationally be considered mine, and all the food–I was not to eat anything without permission. So, I learned not to demand, not to want.

    I don’t mean to hijack this thread, and I don’t mean to create a victimhood contest (I really don’t have a lot of patience for perpetual victims–those who won’t get out of the burning house, for example, those who are comfortable being helpless and dependent upon others.) But I wonder if this is a theme, here. What I do notice is how MIGHTY those of us are here–so perhaps this is a call to figure out if I’m right in my suspicion, that most of us were made to feel as if we didn’t matter at some point in our childhoods, and then, most importantly, what was it that finally caused you to become kick-ass?

    For me it was that same father who taught me that I should expect to work outside the home, and inside it, as well. And, so, I can do a lot for myself. My parents are very proud of me. I do feel as though I’m a bit of a lame-o when it comes to romantic relationships, and yet my kids and friends love me. Maybe the affair has shaken me, but, in fact, I really never dated well, either. I didn’t ever believe I deserved anyone good enough. I always yielded to any other woman who wanted the guy I liked. I really don’t understand courtship, I think.

    Hmm…. Just wondering.

    • Ann Nonymous, I think I understand where you’re coming from. I’m at a stage in my journey to meh where I’m really examining myself and why I made the choices I made that led me to be where I’m at. It’s almost becoming overwhelming delving deep into my past which is filled with turmoil. I think I liked it better when I just pretended to be like everyone else. I actually think it’s too painful for me to endure.

      I’m trying to find that middle ground in understanding why I made the choices I made and how to still love myself and move on. But on top of that I want to be a changed and better person. It’s hard work. I hope I’m up to it.

  • Love the cartoon Chump Lady! It seems so obvious in hindsight. I was not one of those chumps that kicked their cheater ex to the curb right away. I admire those chumps that had the courage to do that right away. I was afraid of the unknown but mostly afraid of being alone. It wasn’t until the thought of living in limbo for the rest of my life; or until his next affair (whichever came first) became more painful than the idea of being alone that I summoned the courage to push myself out of inaction.

    I give a lot of credit to chump lady and chump nation for helping me with that. I so wish there was wisdom like this in 2010 when I first learned of my ex’s affair but instead I followed the bullshit advise of those on infidelity boards (just a bunch of enablers if you ask me) and my family counselor. Huge mistake!

    Has anyone seen that commercial yet with a bunch of teens/young adults running from a serial killing, chainsaw murderer? One of them suggests they go in the basement, another suggests the attic and one them suggests while crying: “How about if we just get into to that running car?” They suggest that she’s crazy and they ultimately decide to hide in the shed behind about 200 chainsaws. Even the serial killing chainsaw murderer shakes his head in disgust. The voice over suggests that people in horror movies don’t make good choices.

    I vote that they use the scene from chump lady’s cartoon today for their next commercial. A lot of chumps don’t make good choices either.

  • I do want to clarify–I realize many women here were SAHMs, and that was the contract you had with your partners, and I totally respect that. But I think most would agree that having that career has made my life easier–has made it easier to land on my feet, not having to trust that a cheater will support me. Had I been a SAHM, I’d be in a WORLD of hurt right now–cheaters are vindictive assholes.

      • Absolutely, Arnold. That would absolutely KILL me, to have to pay alimony and/or CP to a cheating spouse who gets to walk away with my kids. Like paying them to give me a giant FUCK YOU. There is NO justice AT ALL in that.
        That pisses me off.

      • Ann and Arnold, My experience differs but your thoughts resonated with me. My ex only pays me because he would lose his job if he didn’t. Unusual here, I know. Re custody. You would think custody today would be split equally in cases where parents wish to spend time raising their children. Again financial formulas should be addressed by a neutral expert, don’t we all want what’s best for our children? My ex gave me sole custody of our last minor child, she was seventeen at the time. He walked out on two in college and stole their money on his way out. He no more wanted to “parent” than he did in our last three years of marriage together. In all honesty I have always been the parent who showed up, even after getting a full time job. My children’s memories of their high school years do not reflect well on my ex either as he was… absent. Job was flexible, he had by this time many years on, had earned seniority, and had plenty of paid time to burn. Just didn’t wish to spend it with or on family. :/ If it makes you feel any better, ALL the “alimony” I receive goes towards my children’s educational costs and living expenses. My job (barely) pays for mine and also what alimony doesn’t cover. Settlement is a bit rough. I relocated which halved my income. My income from our years together disappeared along with my home and my pay is not what it would be had I not taken time off to raise my children. I still apply to every decent full time job I can, but my field has taken to hiring part time staff to get around the benefits issue. I love my work though. Even though we are all struggling financially-my kids are 20 somethings, two with bachelor degrees, they are even challenged to get decent full time jobs-we recognize how lucky we are to be free. I am living on my parent’s property, rent is outrageously expensive in southern CA, but the trade off is we still carve out family time. 🙂 I am happy and working towards my dreams. I spend as much time with my children as life allows. I hope to own a little house one day. To have all three kids graduate from college. To be financially sound. And maybe, one day, I will meet someone who makes me laugh.

    • Yes, equally galling for me as the full-time breadwinner to be paying my sleazy, lying STBX child support because he worked part – time and ‘looked after the kids’ (aka spent his time first gambling, then online gaming, then chasing and screwing his ho-worker).

      Fortunately my kids are old enough to have some say in what they want to do. In spite of the fact he was the primary carer, I guess he didn’t spend much time actually developing a caring relationship with them because 16 yr daughter outright refused to stay with him after a few weeks. 13 yr old son stays one week on, one week off but I suspect that’s because STBX has guilt tripped him into it (classic MO of the passive – aggressive shit-head). Son keeps asking me, however, if we can move to another city – I think he sees that as his only way out at the moment.

      • The “primary caregiver” concept is completely fucked up. It seems courts feel that grinding it out at work everyday and providing financial support is not as important as changing diapers(which, BTW, I did a shitload of as I had a lot of experience with my kids from a previous marriage), cooking (again, I did most of it) etc.
        Seems slipping a few DVDs into the TV and then heading to the backyard to Tan or going shopping for her own clothes, constitutes “primary caregiving’.
        What a crock. When are judges going to figure out that we are no longer dealing with June Cleavers or Harriet Nelsons? Rather, most of these cheating wives are assholes who are terrible mothers, IMO.
        As my lawyer told me ” Arnold, it makes no difference in our courts whether your wife was giving blowjobs to guys on the street. You stand zero chance at custody.
        WTF, she was in the process of setting up a love nest for months, a house she and OM were renovating to rent, before I found out about her plans. This is the paragon of virtue that the court sees as the best parent? Multiple affairs with married men when she was single. Horseshit credit. Lied about graduating college to me. Had hundreds of shoes and outfits while I worked to try to keep up with the spending.
        Court did not give a shit. She had 2 X chromosome, the presumptive requirement for full custody.

    • Ann Nonymous – I agree that having a paid job makes it easier for a mom who gets divorced. I just think that it shouldn’t be that way. At-home parents make a valuable contribution to society by raising small children. We (society) should show we really support that by making sure at-home parents are okay if their marriage ends, etc.

      Also, I think it’s important to remember that at-home moms and wage-earning moms overlap hugely. Many moms who earn money only work part-time and cut back on their careers in various ways. They need some protection in divorce, too.

  • Hell to the yes on this one CL! I never understood that advise at all.

    When I had my d-day, my gut instinct was to run from the flaming house that was on fire right when it happened. What did I do? I waited 48 hours, packed his shit and met him for dinner where I dropped his shit off in some bags and gave him his keys back and took mine back and said see ya asshole!

    If I could have done it over, that 48hours would have never happened. I would have ran right then and there like I wanted to. There really was nothing more to think about. My decision had already been made.

    He disrespected me, put me in harms way mentally and physically without my knowledge. All clear, no murky grey areas to think about. Gone like the Wind- As Scarlet said, “I’ll never go hungry again” as I said, “I hate fucking leftovers”.

    xo

  • This, a million times this: Now, imagine the far more common scenario in which the person isn’t one bit remorseful. No, they’re pissed off that they’ve been discovered. They ramp up the blameshifting and the gaslighting.

    • Agreed. This is far more common but we get a skewed view because the only cheaters on most of these sites seem(emphasis on “seem”) to exhibit some primitive form of remorse.

  • “Did your partner steal marital resources to have an affair(s) or pay for sex workers? Did your partner plot and scheme behind your back? Did your partner promise their affair partner they’d be dumping you soon? Did your partner eat cake and waste years of your precious life? Did your partner risk your health by having unprotected sex with the affair partner(s)?” Yes! To all of the above. And then had the indecency to say “My life is perfect, except for you,” and all the other Cheater excuses these cowards fall back on. So at 46 my POS ex informed me one Saturday morning that he “wanted a divorce.” Funny, the last three years of my marriage were crazy. The sex that felt dirty. His really crappy behavior, the long hours away from home, the money troubles, his inability to engage with family, the internet…. The day he told me he wanted a divorce was when all those crazy puzzle pieces fell into place, I knew then he was fucking someone else. What amazes me to this day is how good he was at fucking us all over. The research he did. The money. The house. The kids savings accounts. Me. My ex was the very definition of SCORCHED EARTH. (And the OW? What a LOSER!) I was with this idiot for twenty eight years, married for twenty, and we had three beautiful children together. I was a SAHM when our children were young (if you are a peace officer’s spouse you know how crazy it can be to raise a family with two parents working. And let’s be honest children demand to be spent time with. A lot of jobs are challenging. Long hours, commutes, most couples I know make decisions based on mutual values and priorities. We both agreed: Family was our first priority. Isn’t that a legacy worth working for? Our one great income and my frugality were a great success…I got a great job teaching later, twenty years married and I thought we had it all. Right up until the day he abandoned us in his great haste to fuck someone else. I do believe the family court system needs major reform, beginning with all those singular judges. And lawyers who are less than forthcoming and who allow you to do the work. One of the judges in our county actually ordered me to receive 70 dollars a month alimony (my ex’s income then exceeded 120k not including all the free perks) after I filed a motion to increase pendente lite because I had discovered ex had never disclosed his true income. This after my fucktard walked away from our very affordable mortgage and forced our house into foreclosure. The courts don’t control anything. Let alone enforce any order or protect any assets. Disordered people don’t play by the rules. We all know this. Fuckups play the system all the time and Dissipation of Assets is a cake walk for Cheaters (mine had been doing this for three years). Long before that puzzle fell into place. The day I receive my last alimony check is the same day I will become a very vocal advocate for divorce reform. My story I am sure is one of many. Why don’t courts weed the liars out? His w-2s were never provided. Courts should provide financial experts in divorce cases where cheating is proven. I had evidence. Too, in alimony cases pro rata share is a great concept, it equalizes the playing field. Child support has formulas. A CDFA is a no brainer. Looking back it’s not the “loss” of my POS ex that makes me angry (no great loss there!) but the absence-of the second biggest financial asset we owned together-of my home that makes my blood boil. If I ever get into another relationship again I will be addressing finances first. CL this is a *great* post! So good that I plan to copy and frame lovingly. Hhmmmmm. Here’s a thought for your little store! Posters! Your best articles! We could vote! Signed? by You…I would totally pay for that! 🙂

    • Years ago, at least in my state (New York) fault mattered in divorces. Now we have moved to this “anything goes” moral equivalency shit, where “people change,” “People grow apart,” and the fact that ONE PARTY torpedoed the marriage by cheating (which is essentially lying, and therefore, bad faith) doesn’t matter anymore. It should, whether the parties are male or female on either side.

      If one spouse shows they are willing to lie and cheat, why isn’t that considered in custody determinations? A person’s character ought to matter.

      I also wish it mattered for property division. Honestly, though I have paid for over 90% of the 12 years of the mortgage on the house I co-own with my unmarried cheater ex Boyfriend, even if the roles were reversed I think he should be ordered to deed the house over to me solely; after all, I never dreamed of leaving, never cheated and lied to hide a double life, and always planned to live here. He’s the one who didn’t give a shit about the life we spent 12 years building here “together” while he was a serial secret cheater, who vindictively blamed me in the end when exposed.

      While living off the fruits of my labor and modest inheritance from my dead mother. While using the cell phone I paid for him to have, to call his fuck buddy and text her while sitting right next to me in our living room.

      Seriously. Just facing the upcoming legal battle with this poor excuse for a human. It still makes me very mad.

  • What a wasted opportunity to kick that filthy person out as soon as I found out two years ago…..traumatised and dazed I Instead married him !!! Three days after my honeymoon I discover I knew only the tip of the iceberg involving males females shemales teens … The marriage lasted a few months more then I threw him and his garbage out as soon as I was discharged from hospital. Have been no contact 11 months now and divorce hopefully signed a year and a day after ejecting it from our lives this December. I feel no joy however I’m only left with devastation daily as I walk through my day going through the motions of living. I feel huge disappointment at my present reality 🙁 I am so tired my mind needs to escape this nightmare but I can’t seem to shake it. What a wasted life and how used I feel. I think some of us sound more gutted than others further along the road to meh …. I have no inkling of meh at this point… Just taking my next breath. Reading CL site has been a lifesaver 🙂

    • maleficent, I can relate to this. I’m 1 yr plus 2 mos from Dday, which was followed by discovery of serial infidelity, phone sex with males, females, obsessions with (and photos I found of teenage “exes”, not porn but still strange that he would keep this photo of a 12 yr old he “knew” when he was 31 in another state), emails he wrote to prior OWs to the one I busted him for; then found out from his mentally ill ex GF prior to me he was still having sex w/her for the first 7 years he lived with me and my kids. it’s all so surreal at times. I thought we had a normal life; though I knew his rages at me were not normal I had no idea about NPD or psychopathy.

      Told my therapist all of the above and got advice from P.I’s about whether to go to law enforcement about the possible pedophilia. They discouraged me, told me too ancient, too remote, no proof, etc. It’s very discouraging bec I feel no one will believe me, and no one really understands.

      I too go through the motions every day, and since I don’t cry as much, people think I’m better; and the magical one year mark was supposed to make me all right but many days I am not. My business has recovered, and I have a busy life but it feels empty much of the time. He was a pervert, not just a garden variety cheater if there is such a thing.

      For your sake, I hope you have insurance coverage for therapy. I am going to try to start mine again – six months ago the therapist told me I was fine and didn’t need anymore, but I am still searching for my purpose in life and struggling with the knowledge that the last 16 years of my life were pretty much all an illusion.

      • TheMuse I really know how you feel with the added depravity of not only a serial cheater but a predator of sorts. I too tried telling people and questioned my lawyer as he runs community care for people with acquired brain injury and I suspect he may be interfering with these poor young people, but lawyer told me to drop it 🙁 🙁 That animal even tried suing me for defaming his “character” I feel doubly beaten as THERE IS NO JUSTICE !!
        It was my second marriage to and if I had known there had been any more than the one affair he initially swore to I would NEVER have married it. Believe me I’ve tried to get this annulled but In order to prove he deceived me thus misrepresented himself, the law only recognises deceit if he went by a false name !!!! NO NO AND NO!!! Deceit is deceit and was never given the opportunity to know what type of twisted monster he truly is and not the person who parades as the pillar of society.i have been seeing a psychiatrist twice weekly this past year, I’m a little better physically but I am still debilitated with PTSD triggers or simply zombie mode. I feel humiliated I stood infront of family and freinds and married this piece. Plus I feel so much regret for imposing this monster onto my three children as step dad. I so wish I had thrown him out three days after my honeymoon I’ve wasted time and can’t seem to snap out of it. It seems the longer we wait the more detriment to us whether emotional financial physical. Good luck to us all out there struggling to make sense of this cruelty.

  • I wasted an extra 19 months listening to the ‘experts’. I watched him going through ‘recovery’ and twisted myself into a pretzel in order to pretend things weren’t what they really were.
    I should have used that time to get my ducks in a row. Instead, I got more stressed, suffered from panic attacks, started feeling 20 years older than I am. Letting go is difficult when kids are involved, but letting my real feelings come through has been really freeing. I’m starting to feel human again. I have a long uphill climb to independence, but it’s so much better than what I’m leaving behind.

  • I looked at the continuation of the marriage as more for me, not cheater. I needed to see what changes, if any, cheater was capable of in order to make an informed decision. I needed to let my emotions subside in order to make a decision without regrets in the future. I needed to assess the viability of the family in order to assure myself and my daughters that I have have made a mature, logical decision based on all information.

    Not advocating sticking my head in the sand; being prudent and cautious is excellent advice.

    I think each chump needs to address his/her needs, whether that means an immediate exit or a delayed one.

    I again appreciate all the discussion on the website. Sanity is refreshing and desperately needed.

    • Yes, this is exactly how I feel, thanks for posting it. After seeing no effort or progress six month after the final DDay, I am getting ready to pull the plug…

  • I love this column. It is so on point.
    In a river of tears after discovering my husbands infidelity, I called a “sex addiction” therapist. The first words out of her mouth were – take a breath, you don’t have to do anything right now. I went through the whole take a year to plan – pick me – hopium – naugahide – shit sandwich. It. Was. AWFUL. My gut instinct the day I called her, was to run.

    Ironically, therapy is supposed to teach us to work on co-dependance, and trust our instincts – yet, ultimately, it encouraged me to do just the opposite. How scary is that?

    I love the idea of post-nup. THAT should be the first thing recommended when walking into therapy in this situation. Boundaries would be crystal clear for everyone. That kind of clarity for both parties would probably put a lot of therapists out of business. 🙂

  • Seriously, wish I could put this column on a beer koozie. Or a billboard.

    Seriously.

    I, like so many chumps here, have had this experience.

    The Highlights:

    A week after the “separation” to “think things over,” the STBX went to my family’s attorney for a consult. Not because he wanted to retain the lawyer’s services, or even to file for divorce. He did it just to conflict my family attorney out. Yep, that happens.

    The STBX spent about $1,000 a month of marital assets on affairs–hotels, hookers, and booze–I guess to increase the odds of getting newly-acquainted women naked. Yep, that happens.

    The STBX missed that day in 8th grade health class where they teach you how to put the condoms on bananas, and subsequently picked up HPV from one of his many “ladies,” gave me said HPV, which turned into cervical cancer, stage one. Yep, that happens.

    (But, to all of my friends out there, I have had surgery, with negative margins, and got the official thumbs up and all clear from the gyn-onc! Personal injury lawsuit time, baby!)

    The STBX beat the crap out of me on D-day, and I was diagnosed with PTSD. I got stitches. He got arrested. Yep, that happens.

    The STBX tried to control the narrative years ago by starting the rumor that I am crazy. I had the pleasure of being subpoenaed to prove I wasn’t crazy by a court-appointed, licensed crazy-determiner. Yep, that happens. (And it ain’t cheap…)

    The STBX has interrogatories/production of document orders that are over 3 months late–because he just doesn’t think I need access to his financial information to set child support. Yep, that happens.

    Because he doesn’t think I should, and I quote, “profit from babysitting the children.”

    He will have to explain his cheater-logic to the judge in 2 weeks. Yep, that happens.

    The STBX paid his initial retainer to his attorney after I filed, but has yet to make any additional payments to his attorney. So, for the past 3 scheduled court dates, his attorney has had “a scheduling conflict.” So, by not paying his attorney, he bought himself another month of child and spousal support-free living. Yep, that happens.

    From personal experience, don’t ask your attorney too many questions when you’re in the discovery process. You learn things you can’t un-learn. Things like when you subpoena the cheater’s work file, only to find out that he was written up by his boss for getting a BJ from an employee in his office while you were hospitalized after giving birth to your first child. Yep, that happens.

    So, yeah, this needs to go on a tshirt. Billboards. PSAs. Maybe work out a deal with Pfizer, and have a chump educational insert made to come with the inevitable Xanax prescription…

    You wouldn’t stay docilely in the basement cage, liberally applying lotion to your skin on command–hoping with that patented, naïve, chumpy hope–that rapist who captured you isn’t *really* a serial killer, too.

    So, don’t stay with a cheater, either.

    Seriously.

    • OMG, Kelli, this makes me so angry reading this. What a disgusting excuse for a human being, who could do such things to you.

    • Kelli,

      These things do happen.

      STD, check. $1000 a month out the window for cocaine to party with the OW, check. Calling the police and accusing me of abusing him when I found the hotel bills, check. Making an appointment to consult with my lawyer to get her off the case, check. Taking a voluntary leave of absence for “stress from the divorce” so as to have no income to pay support, check. Working all those months anyway and turning in the time slips after divorce was final to get a big fat check all to himself, check. Demanding spousal support from me because he was “unable to work,” check. Forwarding my mail to his office and returning the bills when overdue, check. Cleaning out accounts, check. Deposing the partners in my firm to ask “how many” of them I was sleeping with, check. Losing me my job by doing that, check. Having the OW along as wheelman when he broke into my secure undisclosed location to harass me after I up and left, check. I could go on all day. Top points for creativity, but what an asshat.

      The good news is that the karma bus found him eventually. His profession and reputation were taken from him by misdeeds to others than myself, and I didn’t have a thing to do with that. Then his vanity cost him his life in the form of malignant melanoma. Not planning to go to hell, I won’t be seeing him again.

      • Oh sister… Sounds like we married two cut from the same cloth. I got the random police visit, too. At 11pm on a Sunday, I was sound asleep, only to be startled awake by the police pounding on my front door. I was obviously asleep, but the nice officer explained that my STBX, who was smugly perched at the end of my driveway, had made a call to 9-1-1 and said that I had called him threatening suicide if he didn’t come home. After a quick inspection of both my phone and home, which revealed him as a damn liar, he was cited for making a false call to police or whatever they call it when a person does dumb shit like that.

        His other antics include getting two women that he works with pregnant. One works for a vendor of his, and another was his direct report at his old job. One is due in about 6 weeks. The other in about 3 months.

        I just have to chuckle about this one. See, I filed under the adultery statute in my state, which allows mandatory spousal support if proven, but the burden of proof is really high–like criminal-burden high. I have to do more than have him admit to it. Or even have more than pictures of him going into a hotel room with a woman. But, luckily, this epic idiot doesn’t like to play nice and follow court-orders. So, in about 6 weeks, I will be able to subpoena his newborn for DNA testing. Which, unequivocally, proves adultery. And, also, will bring his kid count up to 5. With the oldest turning 5 around the time that the 4th is born. Only 2 of which are mine.

        And, his narcissism doesn’t extend just to his dealings with me. He has been trying to get his boss fired for years. When that didn’t work, he took copies of all of the business’s confidential documents, contracts, and patient files–he works in organ procurement–to their competitor. He decided that if he couldn’t get his boss fired, well, he would just go to the competitor and give them copies of all of this info, and open up a satellite office for the competitor not a mile down the street from his former boss. So, now, his former employer is suing him. And the former company’s attorney? Is the right-hand man of our District Attorney. So, he’ll be in prison soon.

        He did the typical cleaning out of accounts, changing bill paying logins and passwords. He even would call and cancel payments I scheduled online to come out of my own account–just to be a pain in the ass. All fine, well, and good. I won the house, modified the mortgage, and am supporting myself and my 2 toddlers just fine. I even have the ability to indulge in my shoe enthusiasm once again, now that he isn’t spending all of the money on booze and whores.

        So, really, life is good. The only thing now is getting his ass into court to get sole custody, which is a slam dunk. His only real argument was that I am “crazy,” and 2 licensed professionals called bullshit on that, so whatever… It’s like the school yard bully calling out “Yo mama” insults at this point with him. I just shake my head and give him the “Oh, honey…” head tilt.

        I am looking forward to the contempt hearing though. Should be fun to see him explain that he refuses to give me his bank statements and check stubs because my only concern is profiting off of my children through having “bogus” child support ordered to profit off of my own children.

        I think maybe all of the booze and drugs may have pickled his brain or something. I’d pity him, but then I remember having 5 painful biopsies because he can’t figure out how to use a condom, and just kind of shrug.

        My new mantra: Not my clown. Not my circus.

  • This article hits everything about my NPDh spouse spot on. Been married almost 14 years and only within the last year have I even found out about personality disorders and the actual lengths a person will go through to live their secret narcissistic life of dating sites/apps, hookups, ED pills, online relationships. Just really makes me totally sick to think that as I was thinking our life was pretty good or at least relatively normal that he was doing all this behind my back. I have evidence from the last year or two but to be honest, he’s probably been doing this the entire time we we’ve been married. ANd I am surprised that I haven’t caught anything from his escapades, thank God. Just a hint of what’s gone on with him:
    1. Found condoms in his toilet bag one time and I asked him why he had them and he said he bought them so we could try them together. Thing is, we’d never used them before, I was on the Pill, so what was the point of that? Of course, I accepted the explanation at the time.
    2. He told me a few months ago he was going to go hiking at a local trail that is actually near my son’s school. Drove by to pick up my son but didn’t see his car in the parking lot of the hiking area so got suspicious. Went online and was looking at his credit card that is issued from his work and saw a pending reservation for a hotel here in our town and I know he wasn’t there for work. CAlled the hotel, they said he had paid for it with his debit card and I found the hotel key in his pants. Not sure who he met there, but I have a pretty good idea.
    3. My Dad was in the hospital for all of September, had a stroke, and NPDh was too concerned about other stuff and was not a good source of support at all. He’s out of the hospital now and doing rehab, but during this, I find out that he went out one Saturday night and said he was “meeting a friend” and found it all too coincidental that when I checked his pill box that had generic Cialis pills in it, one of them was gone.
    This stuff is only the tip of the iceberg and in the meantime, he comes home (he works out of town part of the month) and acts like everything is normal, hunky dory and also that he can criticize my housecleaning, childrearing, etc. and all the while he’s living this double life. So freaking tired of it but he’s also financially abusive so I don’t have much money, besides what I get from this online computer job that I have but that’s only maybe $150 a week and with raising three kids plus my own separate bils, that’s nothing. Not sure how I got myself into this, but I need to get out ASAP!

    • Sweetie, I totally feel for you. I filed for divorce after D-day and have never looked back. Some things I’ve learned:

      1. NPDs won’t pay child support, alimony, bills, mortgages, their own damn attorneys. Nothing. I have 2 toddlers, ages 2 and 3 and filed for divorce with no job and an overdrawn bank account. Call as many lawyers as you can and see what kind of deal they can work out for payment.

      2. If you own your home, and he is not paying, modify your mortgage to keep your home. It lowers your payments to a max of 30% of your income alone after you file for divorce. Check on that ASAP. If worse comes to worse, you can rent out your home for extra money.

      3. I have a MS, but was unemployed at the time of our separation and until I filed in May 2014. I got a job with a state hospital. Amazing benefits, generous leave, and good pay comparatively. I was a PR manager for a nonprofit making $33,000 a year before. Now I’m a PR manager for a state hospital making double that. State jobs are great.

      4. If you have a degree of any kind, google online teaching jobs. I teach an online class on fundraising through special events and make an extra $2000 per class. It takes about 5 hours of my time per week.

      5. If you do not have a degree, or can go back to school, do it. There are government grants and loans that you can get to have money now. Stick with a reputable school and check out the costs per hour for online schools. University of Phoenix charges like $1500 per class last I checked. My entire MBA at LSU was $10,000 total.

      6. Real estate is an easy license to get and you can make good money to work around school schedules.

      If you have any questions or need advice from someone who has been there, and survived, please email me. Kelli_strong@yahoo.com.

      You’re in my thoughts and prayers, sister.

  • Guys, CL is giving spot-on advice.
    Right after D-day, the best advice I received was from a friend who had been through all this crap before was “Hit Them Fast, Hit Them First, Hit Them Hard”. Do NOT give your cheater time to think or mess with your head. You are just wasting valuable time, money, and resources. I lawyered up 3 days after d-day and it would have been sooner except the previous Monday was a holiday. Hired a bad*ss lawyer, immediately went NC, and am now free and clear with a signed SA five months from D-day. I’m pretty sure the STBX’s head is spinning at how things went down so fast. Me, I’m doing better every day, and looking forward to doing so much more with my life minus one repeat cheating a-hole. Heading toward Meh-ville with the pedal to the floor!!

  • I made this mistake and it cost me dearly financially. I learned of another price I am paying. My ex and I separated in October 2012 at which time I told his counselor I was absolutely divorcing him. She talked me in to waiting 6 months to help him get better. I agreed. After 6 months I was still committed to the divorce and said I was going to file. She talked me in to waiting another 6 months. I filed for divorce (and coincidentally met a wonderful man I am now married to) exactly a year after we separated. He fought me dearly and the divorce wasn’t final until March 2014. My lovely ex is now giving other parents at my daughter’s school and on her swim team that we were divorced in March 2014 and that I was engaged in August 2014–implying that my now husband and I were cheating. Two parents have told me he gave them the impression that we divorced because of MY relationship with my husband. My name here says is all…bsx12. I was a chump at least 12 times and he lets other parents believe I’m the bad guy….Don’t do it chumps. FILE if you are going to file. Don’t wait.

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