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Dear Chump Lady, Am I an insensitive jerk because my husband wants to date?

sobbingDear Chump Lady,

Am I being unreasonable for having a problem with my husband’s ongoing relationship with a woman he tried unsuccessfully to seduce?

One night about a year ago, we both got home from our respective jobs and my husband burst into tears. I’m talking, deep, rasping sobs. With his head on my lap he told me he’d been courting a coworker for a few months, buying her gifts and taking secret time off of work to take her on day trips. When he finally put the moves on her the previous evening (he often stays late), she shut him down and said, “not going to happen.”

At first I thought his tears were bitter tears of remorse, having almost ruined a twenty-year marriage. But upon further probing, I discovered that it was the rejection that had him crying in my lap. “Just once I want to be loved!” Excuse me, hello? Who said “I do” in front of our family, our pastor, and our entire church? He explained that he was having trouble forgiving me for my initial rejection of him when we were in high school and then he dumped a laundry list of problems he had with me that could circle the planet three times.

He said the almost-OW made him feel alive. I asked, “well then sweetie, shall we separate?” He said no, there was no point. Oh well then, allow me to be your consolation prize! Long story short, we separated for nine months. Our fifteen-year-old son was furious with both of us. My husband and I stayed in touch and tried to work it out. He and the almost-OW never had sex and now we’re back together.

However… he has remained very good friends with the almost-OW. He texts her regularly right in front of me. I won’t stoop to snooping on his phone but I can see what he’s writing! It’s mildly flirtatious, which is how, incidentally, he describes their relationship. I’m positive they haven’t had sex because this woman is perfectly happy to be worshiped for free, but I have a serious problem with their relationship. When my husband announced that he was going to meet her after work for drinks last night, I made a very snarky remark and he was furious. He told me the courtesy of telling me he was going to spend time with her was over. He maintains that he is doing absolutely nothing wrong, they are just friends, and that I’m being petty. So, am I the one being a jerk about this? Technically he hasn’t cheated.


Insensitive Lady-Jerk

Dear Perfectly Reasonable Lady,

Technically, you haven’t stuffed his balls down his throat yet.

Is this a question about technicalities? Because uh, technically you’re still his wife and technically, he’s not supposed to go on dates until you are technically divorced.

He’s got some fucking nerve.

Sobbing about his failed dating strategies? You let this man drape his moist, snotty self all over your lap and wail about another woman?

Look, Lady, he’s a flaming asshole, but you have to stop being a chump. You separated and then took him back without any consequences or boundaries. He meets her for drinks? No, he meets her for CAKE. This whole “I’m going on dates and you’re not the boss of me!” is completely unacceptable. Start ACTING like it is unacceptable to you. Lawyer up. Why does he think you separated? Because you’re just mean like that? NO. Because he was openly trying to have an affair in front of you. He’s moves home, and then he goes right back to the same old shit?

Is this relationship ACCEPTABLE to YOU? Who cares if he thinks you are “petty” — do you think this kind of flagrant disrespect belongs in a marriage? If you don’t, then get your ass to a lawyer’s office. You don’t need a marriage counselor to explain to him that dating other women in front of you and then whinging about it is Wrong. If he’s that dim, you should divorce him for felony stupid.

No, he knows EXACTLY what he is doing. He’s being abusive. He’s being very in-your-face about his attempted infidelities to hurt you. To goad you into the pick me dance. To humiliate you. To belittle you into accepting his cake-eating as Right and Proper.

Lady, you need to shut that shit down.

For one thing, get to a lawyer fast before his employer does. You only have his side of this kibble love affair. For all you know, his advances are unwelcome and that woman is seeing an EEOC officer as we speak. This guys is walking the razor’s edge of a sexual harassment lawsuit. You need to get a settlement in place before he loses his job. She told him “not gonna happen” — next she’ll be telling that to Human Resources.

I’m sorry your 15 year old is in the middle of this, but he’s a kid and he doesn’t get to call the shots in your marriage. Staying with this asshole is modeling TERRIBLE things to him about how you treat a marriage partner. He needs to see you stand up and not tolerate abuse. He needs to see that there are consequences to disrespecting and endangering the people we purport to love. He might not like it at first. Kids want to know if their world is going to be safe (where will I spend holidays? will I see my mom and dad both? will I move away from my friends?) Get him some therapy and be the sane parent.

It doesn’t matter if the affair was physical or not, start calling the shots, Lady. It matters that he is emotionally abusing you and refuses to stop. It matters that he’s blaming YOU for some perceived slight from high school.

He doesn’t get to do everything short of fuck her and then claim it’s A-okay because he didn’t consummate the act. The issue is that he wants to live like a single person, but enjoy all the rights and privileges of marriage. That’s more than enough reason to divorce his ass yesterday.

When you serve him papers, say “Just once you want to be loved? Here’s your freedom. Have at it, Tiger.”

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • The only insensitive jerk in this situation is your husband. This is not a man with any empathy for you. You have become a person that is just supposed to “be there for him,” more like a mom than a wife. What man in his right mind cries to his WIFE that another woman didn’t accept his advances? What kind of a man texts and flirts openly in front of his wife as if to torment her? This is deeply twisted and emotionally abusive. Take it from me, an emotional affair IS an affair. It is only because she rejected him that they did not have sex. Your husband was willing and anxious to have a PA with the OW. He courted her and saw her behind your back. This is a betrayal, and he has NO remorse. Dump him ASAP and listen to Chump Lady. You deserve so much better.

    I am also concerned that your son was furious with you BOTH. I know that kids get disgusted with the whole situation, but I hope that your son realizes that you were the victim here. The fury should be mainly directed at your husband. Do not manage your husband’s relationship with your son or shelter him from what is happening. Allow your husband to answer for himself about why he still goes on dates and flirts when he is married.

    Best of luck to you. Chump Nation has your back.

    • I am also sorry that you are dealing with such a jackass. I also know–all too well–how kids can mad at the sane parent in these situations. Unfortunately, you can expect it to continue for some time. Kids get angry at the parent that it is safe to get angry at. The sane parent often takes a lot of crud from kids, especially tweens and teenagers, because they know (even if they can’t articulate it) that getting mad at the wretched parent will have bad consequences (like rejection and other forms of emotional abuse), so kids take their emotions out on the parent who loves them even when they are being or mean or rude or immature or downright hateful.

      You should probably look for a good counselor to help you and your child along with a lawyer.

  • It won’t change. I got she’s just a friend for years. Yup a work-school friend who he texted for hours every day, spent 14 hours a day or more with and who found her way into our house, my kid’s lives and my husband’s heart.

    The anger and abuse and betrayal was huge – but it was all my fault too.
    Sounds so familiar doesn ‘t it

    My stbx is still in a very tight relationship with MOW, but she has to share him with porn and a few other women he is now chasing after.

    I finally chose me and separated about 2.5 years ago. Divorce is pending.

    He is still the same flaming turd – never changed one bit.

    Your H has shown you who he is. A cheater, a man child and a fucking abusive lying piece of shit.
    The disrespect and abuse is huge and won’t get any better.

    Please listen to chump lady. Gain your freedom from this giant jackass and see how much better life can be on the other side 🙂

  • Does your son know that your husband was trying to date a woman and came back to you because she rejected him? That he is still seeing her?

    What does your church say?

    Is your son getting any counseling?

    I’m asking about these things, but the bottom line is that your husband is trying to cheat on you and the only reason he hasn’t is that the other woman didn’t want him. He needs to stop trying to cheat. You’re not being unreasonable.

  • Dear lovely lady.
    You deserve soooo much better than this. His hideous, insensitive, entitled, devaluing behaviour must stop! He is trampling all over you, out “dating” another woman, while he is married to you. What are you doing while he is having a marvelous time? Probably washing his stinky socks, cleaning up after him and keeping the home fires burning for when he decides to return. Please value yourself enough to get rid of him.
    He is not worth any more of your care or attention. Supportive thoughts headed your way!

  • It’s time to let him go. This will continue and get worse.
    My ex was definitely seeing someone and his behavior with me got worse and more abusive until it became physical abuse.
    I’m not saying this will happen to you but as CL already said what he is doing is abuse.
    I have a young son and I know the best thing I did was leave my husband. Unfortunately he witnessed the physical abuse. Any form of it, emotional, verbal and physical is not acceptable not only to you but also your son.
    Get a lawyer as soon as you can. I know you are going through emotional torment. But this is something you can stop so you and your son can have a good and productive life. We are here to support you!

  • He’s the Titanic and he’s taking you down with him! When the ship sinks he’ll get in the lifeboat and leave you to drown. Put on you life jacket and get the fuck off that boat!

  • Dear Lady, in my job I dealt with tons on kids and one thing I know…..your son, at 14, is handling some serious stuff that has nothing to do with you and the wart hog you are married to. There is scientific proof that a boy his age is less mature than when he was five. It has to do with hormones and trying to establish his real independence from his parents. You have no control over those things. What you do have control over is the truth. Just tell him that his father fell in love with another woman and the two of you are going to separate, probably permanently. Your son is a cake eater too just based on his age. He wants a firm foundation from which to launch his grown up life. Right now he knows he is standing on quick sand. The best thing you can give him is you living an authentic life. He needs a good role model which should be his father but you get the job by default.
    I remind you of that paragon of virtue, Mark Sanford, who asked his wife permission to see the OW. He is probably first cousin to your wart hog. He has now dumped the other woman and is still blaming his ex-wife years after the divorce. Your house of cards has fallen. Just get the lawyer, get loose ends tied up, be there for your son and let the rest of the craziness go live with your hopefully soon to be ex. I hate divorce but what I hate worse is a toxic household that poisons everybody.

  • Their bumping uglies!
    He’s gas lighting you.
    Someone busted them so he came up with the rejection story. “Don’t you remember? I told you she rejected me!”

    “Why would I tell you we were meeting for drinks if I was fucking her?”

    Try this…
    Tell him someone from work called and said you two are having sex and see what he says. You’ll see stupid wrote all over his face!

    • It’s crazy how once you figure it out, you can see right through the games and bullcrap… I had the same thought, co-worker, worried he’s about to get caught so he spills his version of the story, then he gets back into the house and now he has both of them doing the pick me dance. If she wanted no part of him, she wouldn’t be flirting and going to lunch. That’s inconsistent with the ‘not gonna happen’ narrative.

      • “That’s inconsistent with the ‘not gonna happen’ narrative.”

        Not necessarily. I bet that there are a lot of people out there — usually woman– who think that they can be just friends with a man.

        • I’m one of those people – except I KNOW it is perfectly possible to be just friends with someone of the opposite sex. I have, and have had, many, many male friends in my life and loved them for their friendship. I’ve celebrated their romantic relationships and been glad to be able to call their partners my friends too. I’ve never had any worries about my partners having female friends either. My neighbour is a fellow musician and we’ve attended many a jam night together, without his wife. It’s not her bag. I adore them both and feel blessed to have them both in my life. I know she has nothing to worry about with me and her husband, and I’m sure she feels the same way. They were good friends while I was with ‘The Great I Am’ and they are still good friends even though I am on my own.

          When ‘The Great I Am’ was busted he tried to claim ‘friendship’ but I’d barely met her (once – at our wedding, ironically) and as far as I was concerned that was the boundary crossed. How could he be so ‘close’ (up to 30 texts a day) to someone I, the love of his life, didn’t even know, had never heard him talk of. No. It’s possible for people to be friends with the opposite sex, but there is a definite difference when it’s an emotional affair.

          • …mind you (sorry meant to add) … I agree with Raging about the inconsistency thing …. the guy played his hand, she knows he’s hoping for more than friendship, you can’t be going for cosy drinksfor two, lunches and flirting when you know the other person is wanting more from you than you want to give … and that’s just with someone who is a free agent! If you know this man is married as well! ,,,,, nah, she’s a cheater too – legs open or closed! I think Lady called her right – she’s perfectly happy having the cake (being worshipped) for free (no investment from her) and she’s fooling herself that she’s doing nothing wrong flirting with a married man because she hasn’t spread her legs.

  • How much longer are you willing to participate in a 3 person marriage? Is this the example you want to set to your son?

    • So true. Children identify with their same-sex parent more, but are also sensitive to second-hand consequences. Unless you want your son to grow up as an insensitive, narcissistic, misogynistic clod, give your husband some consequences (& the boot).

  • Your situation sounds like hell. I too have been in degrading situations like yours. My stbx would flirt with women in front of me and my son all the time. I felt sick and terrible inside, yet also embarrassed with how I felt, because I somehow internalized that I should understand that this flirting is human behavior and I needed to accept it.

    I knew it was abuse, but it took learning about an affair to leave. You know that it is abuse too, please do not regret not listening to yourself sooner.

    A friend recently told me that her husband told her that he was flirting and hanging out with a secretary at work, yet she felt petty for being upset about it. She discussed how she internalized messages that flirting is healthy and human. It isn’t. I don’t have to flirt in front of a spouse or significant other to be human, on the contrary, I refrain so as not to hurt others and take them for granted.

    It is not humane or characteristically human to tell your spouse that they mean so little to you show them that you are into and attracted to someone else, and are compelled to be with them. Your husband is saying that to you. This is a disaster, yet you tolerate it to the point that he threatens you that he won’t give you the pleasure of hearing about how into this women he is (!?) I understand that you are writing with scorn and are trying to solve this. But his treatment of you is really demented as human relationships go. Standing for it does not make you strong, it corrodes you inside.

    Take a stand for yourself. Is this is the kind of treatment you want in your life? Why are you tolerating this? Your husband sounds like a huge cheating crybaby poor-me you-have-done-me-wrong-by-initially- rejecting me in high school asshole. He is not changing. You have to change, or live the rest of your life with this treatment.

    You will need to make the better decisions for you and your child. You get to set the tone of your life. Your child will learn from your example. You wrote this letter because you want help. You are right. He is abusive, wrong, mean, disrespectful and cheating. Run with this information and see a lawyer. As Tracy and others detail, do not tell him until your plan is well into place. He is busy with his love interest at work. He is not paying attention to you at all. Now is your chance to line up your ducks. You are lucky.

    • Flirting is not “healthy and human” unless it is part of a legitimate courtship ritual. In the workplace, it is disruptive to the work environment, to those who witness it and wonder about how the relationship will impact their situation, and to productivity. A man who is flirting with a secretary may be creating an impression of favoritism, where this secretary is perceived as having special privilege and protection, or an impression of exploitation, where senior people are entitled to exploit those who work for them.

      And where in the world did this idea come from that it is “petty” or “jealous” to expect a person to live up to marriage vows or relationship commitments? If your partner is cheating, either physically or emotionally, you damn well better be jealous–and angry. Those emotions are meant to protect us from danger.

      • Flirtatious behavior in my workplace can land a person in HR and out the door faster than you can say “EEOC.” That’s not to say that there aren’t workplace affairs, but rather that there’s a huge consequence should things go south–or the people working around the Twu Wuv start to feel as if the environment is too uncomfortable for them to work in.

  • Lady, I am seething with outrage about your husband’s behavior. Don’t look back. See a lawyer TODAY. His behavior and entitled attitude is asinine and gross.

    You and your son deserve so much better.

  • In spite of his horrible behavior part of you still loves him and hopes that he will change back to the man you married. If the man who was your husband did not come to his senses during your separation then he is gone forever. His abuse will escalate until your soul is crushed or you finally have enough and divorce him. The man who was your husband is gone – replaced by a selfish cheating POS , protect yourself and your son from any further abuse and divorce him.

    • I think the real breakthrough usually comes when you finally realize that this is who they were all along (unless they have a brain tumor or something), and that who you wanted to think they were was partly them acting and partly you wanting to believe something that wasn’t so.

  • I seriously can’t believe you took him back, Lady. I don’t think it matters whether he is having a physical affair or not, although it is far more likely they are involved than not, given that his abusive behavior is escalating. Why would you tolerate this abuse? What is the point of saving a marriage to someone who tells you he has never been loved (utter bullshit) and is dating someone else while holding on to the social and legal protections of marriage?

    The fact that your son is upset is sad but not germane to the issue. He is a kid. He is not the primary person putting up with emotional and likely physical infidelity. When his wife starts dating some day, he can make the call as to whether that is OK. But I’m thinking if he has a girlfriend now, or in a year or two, and she cheats, he will not think that’s OK–unless you teach him to take that sort of abuse by tolerating it yourself.

    Lawyer up. Get a private investigator to find out what else is going on. Because those people who say “You aren’t the boss of me” are never telling you the whole truth.

    And get your legal and financial ducks in a row before he divorces YOU. I know a woman whose husband was madly in love with a coworker, who was divorcing her husband. She ended up divorced. The husband got dumped by the OW. Everyone’s life is ruined but the OW’s. She’s rolling along and got another guy to buy her a house. So don’t wait till you find out the OW wants to get married to your husband. Good luck and let us know what happens.

  • “his horrible behavior part of you still loves him and hopes that he will change back to the man you married.”

    UH….SORRY, never gonna happen. Once a cheating spouse can rationalize that crossing ANY emotional or physical boundary with someone who is not their committed partner, they will do it again and again.

    I’m sorry for the death of your marriage. Your spouse is an ass. Teach your son how others should be treated in serious, committed relationships.

    • This^^^. The boundary was crossed. You, your feelings, your commitment weren’t considered. IMHO, he’s exhibiting passive aggressive oppositional defiant narc rage against you with the BS excuse that you rejected him on high school. He wants to blame you for his unhappy because he’s sick like that.

      Married for 36 years to my highschool “devil heart”. Cooked, cleaned, worked outside the home while rearing 3 kids basically by m’self for the farmer who made hay whether or not the sun shone if you get my drift.

      Turned into an “ag-businessman”, made a ton of $$ and left for a married sorority mean girl. His excuse? “you didn’t go to the senior prom with me.” Whoa Nelly…

      • That’s a good one, Nain. Something you didn’t do 36 years ago as opposed to something you did do.

        When I went through the historical revision phase with the ex, I finally said, “Well, why did you ask me to marry you then?” Which shut him up pretty fast.

        • i got a similar load of crap sent my way when I went through revisionist history with my ex too. He told me “I never chased him” when we first got together. He did the chasing and he wasn’t used to that and that means I must’ve never loved him.

          Now he believes that you’re better off being with someone who “chases you” because that means they love you more. I guess it must’ve been a huge ego boost that the married other skanktress “chased him”. If she wasn’t 4 years older than him and hideously ugly, I’d think that she’d do it to him too. I just don’t know who else would go for that piece of low hanging fruit!!

  • This story has a familiar ring to it. My ex told me his co-worker was JUST A FRIEND though, “if we were both single I could see us dating.” But you’re both married! He told me they just flirt, flirting is natural (funny, my now BF has never made me feel uncomfortable with how he acts toward other women,) they are JUST FRIENDS, I was being unreasonable getting upset, her husband was being unreasonable getting upset, their relationship is so peaceful, and her husband is a horrible douchebag and I’m controlling for not wanting him to run around with a much young married female co-worker and long list of reasons why I suck. But he maintained they were JUST FRIENDS. Their co-workers are just gossiping about nothing! Her husband accusing them of having an affair was just jealous. I finally left after I told him their relationship was making me very uncomfortable and I didn’t want him going anywhere alone with her, he agreed, and then immediately went out with her for the day, tried to lie about it, and then finally admitted it. He still maintained that I was wrong, they are JUST FRIENDS, but now he doesn’t know what he wants. About a month of back and forth about divorce and cake eating, and he admits, OK fine, they’re having a full-fledged affair. But he still wants to work it out! Oh, except she’s getting divorced too and they’re moving in together. But they’re just roommates! They have no where else to live, they’ve both been kicked out, they have to get an apartment together! But they’re JUST FRIENDS.

    They were never JUST FRIENDS. And your guy is NOT JUST FRIENDS with his OW. Even if they are not physical (which I don’t believe for a second) their relationship has already crossed so many boundaries, that it is inappropriate. He does not need to meet her for drinks after work. He does not need to be texting her all the time. And him getting furious (your word) and telling you he wasn’t going to give you the COURTESY of telling you when he goes out with her? Speaks at loud death metal blasting volumes. That red flag just covered the earth it’s so big.

    Technically, he’s cheating. He has an inappropriate relationship with another woman. That’s cheating.

    Oh, and I can’t believe he’s saying he has trouble with “forgiving” you for some rejection in high school after a 20 year marriage after everything he’s done. Please tell me you’re already seeing an attorney.

    • You nailed it, Kira. No one spends that much time and energy for a “friend”… and the sobbing part is a huge red flag! Like so many here, I heard the whole friend bullshit excuse and it was a complete and total lie. At one point during a far too long gaslighting phase, I asked him why he didn’t treat his slut like he did the rest of our female friends (of which we had many). Dead silence. It nearly drove me crazy. In fact, I was strangely relieved when my worst fears were confirmed. I wasn’t the crazy, suspicious bitch my X painted me to be. I was right! He WAS a lying, cheating bastard! No one should tolerate this kind of behavior. Time to lawyer up!

      • Violet – ‘In fact, I was strangely relieved when my worst fears were confirmed. I wasn’t the crazy, suspicious bitch my X painted me to be’. -Oh, I hear you sister!!!! x

  • Wow, even the Reconciliation Industrial Complex sez the cheater must cut off all contact with the affair partner. He refused, you should refuse to used any longer.

    Rule #1: Liars, they lie. Rule #2: anything a cheater volunteers is the tip of the ice burg, he either has gotten laid by now or still believes he will (see rule#1). Rule #3: We’re just friends is always bullshit, if that were the case he would not have hidden the relationship, he would not need to lie to you. Rule #4: Cheaters always blame their spouse for what they are doing. Rewriting your marital history, that’s classic.

    You took him back even though he insisted on being around her, you taught him a lesson; you taught him he could disrespect you and you would take it. He went above and beyond, crying in your lap because he couldn’t get laid and blaming you for his infidelity, wow. Not good. Your first call was the right one, separation, I wish you’d divorced him, sounds like you realize now that is your only option. And do NOT go to marriage counseling, I can almost guarantee he’ll want to when you tell him it’s over. Your husband wants to be married and act single. You are nothing more than a security blanket for him. If you should make a male friend, I also guarantee he would lose his shit over that.

    Get a PI if you want the truth and especially if you live in fault state. Bottom line, Are you happy living with a man you cannot trust? Who blames you for his shitty behavior? Who says he never felt your love?

    • Dat…I do not think for a second that your “rules” are just “rules”, they are pretty much LAWS, like the law of gravity…cheaters ALL do the. Exact. Same. Thing!!!

    • Datdamwuf, your rules are exactly correct. I copied them into my notes that contain some of my other favorite quotes from this site! They are all so predictable. It is like they all attend Cheater Academy and join the same frat: Alpha Alpha Alpha

  • “Technically, you haven’t stuffed his balls down his throat yet.”

    CL, I just love you and your language girl!!

    Now, Lady, you are not just a chump, you are A DOORMAT to this loser. How convenient for him, since she doesn’t want his ass, (but boy she accepts the gifts, drinks, dinners very willingly doesn’t she?) that there is no reason to separate or divorce? WTF! Geez why should he, while he has you to bring a paycheck, cook his food, do his fucking laundry so he can wear clean clothes for her you know, clean, oh and I am sure he still have sex with you on regular bases and then —he gets to go on dates and BUYS her gifts while you stay at home????— HE IS USING YOU!! He doesn’t love you, as you can tell from his actions he doesn’t respect or even value you or your relationship whatsoever. Where is your head?? Did he mindfucked you that bad or you have no self-esteem, no self-worth, no self-respect you are putting up with this shit?!?! Good grief Lady, be a good role model for your son and get rid of his ass, throw him out so he can cook his own food, do his own laundry, pay all his bills by himself and he can go on as many dates as he want to his heart’s content!

    Lawyer up, file and like CL says, “stuff his balls down his throat.”

    PS: Do you know what will happen if she gives it up, agrees to a relationship with him and later not be ok that he is still married to you? He will discard you like a yesterday’s trash without any hesitation and will fuck you over more than one way, specially financially!! WAKE UP!!!

  • A married cousin of mine “dated” a female colleague for 3 years. Perhaps it is still ongoing, I don’t know, because I exited that relationship, when he claimed his “dating relationship” stabilized his marriage. He said he was happier now than ever before, no longer bickering with his wife, and that the kids were now the recipients of a much more pleasant atmosphere at home. He was quite pleased with himself that he was successfully “managing” his home life along side his dating life. When I commented that he was having an emotional affair, and was cheating on his wife, he was outraged, saying his colleague was “just his friend”. I remarked that in that “friendship” he had become quite close with the colleague’s children. Then, I asked him if he had introduced his own children to the dating colleague because after all she was such a good friend. No comment. I guess she was his secret dating friend.

  • Dear lady, get out and run !!! Clearly you’re just an appliance to him, an accesories to his pathetic little me me me world. This guy told you and by his behavior keeps telling you in your face that he doesn’t care and respect you. The way that he acts, putting you as a safety net and belittle your feelings in order to be with her, can you accept that ? Do you accept to be second best ? Is that enough for you ?

    It sucks to be married to someone like this but you can free yourself from him, being single is better than emotionally tortured by someone who is supposed to have your back, at least you are free from the daily mindfuck.

    You deserve so much better !!

  • As painful as it is, I would file for divorce. I went through something very similar. I saw my lawyer but couldn’t legally put him out of the house and reconciled. The emotional abuse started up again almost immediately and escalated. He wouldn’t do counselling and wouldn’t admit to any wrong doing. It was ALL my fault. Finally walked out on me and filed almost immediately. Though I counter filed under grounds of emotional abuse, oh how I wish I had filed first for the sake of my own self respect. I forgive myself for not doing so as I was an emotional basket case at the time and suicidal, but I think it would lesson a little of the pain I feel now if I had filed first. if you are emotionally strong enough, please file for your own sake.

  • Your story sounds eerily familiar. Extremely likely that, if you stay, things will get much, much worse. One Cheater I know, a few minutes after revealing the emotional/physical affair to Spouse, cried on Spouse’s shoulder about the demise of the relationship with OW. Spouse, drinking the reconciliation industry Kool-Aid, tried to reconcile with cheater. Cheater then proceeded to destroy spouse emotionally, financially, professionally–generally through the legal system. Through illegal means, Cheater tried to deny Spouse access to their children and their (joint) assets. Is this the future you want?

  • Adultery is in his heart. He has already declared to you that he would have sex outside your marriage given the opportunity, and he continues to seek that opportunity flagrantly. Also, he is still cheating even if he hasn’t consummated the relationship. Taking a woman on romantic day trips as opposed to one’s wife is still cheating. It is a healthy boundary to say dating other women is not acceptable in a marriage. I seem to remember that most marriage vows include the lie: “forsaking all others.” Dating other people is not “forsaking all others.”

    Listen to CL! The healthy thing is not to accept this abuse. He IS cheating! If what he is doing with the OW is unacceptable to you (as you claim it is), then it is cheating. Keep that in mind. Enforce your healthy boundaries.

    • I agree with you and everyone else that an emotional affair IS cheating. But as a recovering Chump, I have to challenge the belief that it is not a sexual affair. Adult men and women RARELY “just have emotional affairs”.

      Upon discovery, my X swore it was “only” an emtional affair. I of course believed him because a) i never thought he would do that and b) i did not think he would lie to me. after 26 years together, i thought i knew him as a good and honest man. i was verrry chumpy. i had also just gone through breast cancer treatment and he had been very reassuring through it all. or i believed he was…

      I learned of the sexual part of affair 1.5 months into “reconcilliation” when the OW was having a fit he tried to end it. She told him she would tell me if he didn’t. So he did. i could not find a place in my brain to file that information. she made other awful threats during that time. she really scared me.

      After all the awful information came out, i did agree to try and reconcile on the condition that he stop the affair. he did not.

      • I went through much of the same experience. The relationship is sexual, not that it should matter. This asshole’s complete lack of respect should be enough to end this sham. Emotional abuse is just as bad as “having sex.” Lady should get out NOW!

  • Dear Perfectly Reasonable Lady,

    I’m sorry your husband is doing this. He’s out of touch with reality and is so titillated by his emotional affair that he doesn’t even remember what marriage to you should mean. As someone else stated, he’s treating you more like a mother than a spouse.

    An emotional affair is an affair and is unacceptable. It puts him in a fantasy land of what life would be like with her, all the while just ignoring his real at home life. I guarantee you that if she said yes right now he’d bed her instantly (if he hasn’t already). And if he gets the chance, he’d move out to be with her. He’s utterly enamored with her, probably for playing hard to get.

    Which makes you second best, or even worse.

    For him to claim they are just friends right now is also pure fantasy. He’s still holding on to hope that she’ll change her mind while barely keeping one foot in the door of his marriage to you. In my eyes he’s already discarded you.

    I don’t say that to hurt you, but to shake you to your senses. You’ll find dozens and dozens of men and women on this site who have been discarded. Some of our cheaters make it obvious, and some of our cheaters torture us longer with lies, but the fact is they don’t want us or love us.

    Take the advice of CL and the wise commenters here. It’s time to protect yourself, do some investigating and get your ducks in a row before he knows what’s up. Don’t threaten him with those things or he’ll take his affair underground and he’ll become more abusive of you. These cheaters are pretty much all the same and aren’t difficult to predict.

    Somehow over the years you’ve become accustomed to accepting this half marriage. It probably took many years to come on. And you probably figured it wasn’t great, but could be worse, and thought you could endure it. You can’t. He won’t let you anyway. It’s time to make moves to free yourself from him.

    We’ll be here for you whenever you need us. There’s a forum section that a lot of us use to keep in touch. Feel free to join us there. Good luck.

    • Oh No CL – I hope she sees this post too. I’d hate to think she feels she’s alone with this nightmare. Have you tried right clicking on the original mail from her and choosing ‘view message source’ the originating email address will be in there – could just be a typo error she made (I use view message source whenever I’m a bit suspicious of an email). It’s probably not as simple as that, but sometimes it is the obvious!

    • CL–If she knew where/how to contact you, she knows how to look up the webpage. We can just hope that she has the courage to access your blog again.

  • Lady, run run run. OMG, he is having a physical and emotional affair, and anyhow it does not matter. He is abusing you horribly. Have I mentioned please RUN. It is like watching a scary movie, hearing the terrifying music, knowing this is going to end so very badly for you (he will continue to torment and abuse you until he has wrung you dry and you are destroyed). If I could reach through this computer and carry you to a lawyer’s office I would do it. Make a plan and get out, you are living in the 7th circle of hell right now.

    Strength and (((hugs))) to you.

  • Not much to add to what Chump Nation has already said.

    Lady, this gut never loved you or your son. I appreciate that is a 2×4 to the back of the head, but a needed one.

    Get out of this marriage. Your life and your son’s depend on it.

  • Oh my god.

    Your husband is STUPID!

    I wish I could wave my hand in front of his face and ask if any one is home. Did he forget who he is talking to?

    Honey you are merely an object to him. I don’t even know where to start on this. He isn’t worth the thoughts . trust me on that.

  • Lady, if you were in my town, I’d make you a cup of tea and give you a hug. I am so sorry for what you are living with. I don’t know you and I don’t know him, but I do know two things: 1) he sucks; and 2) you deserve better.

    It is up to you when “better” starts happening. It is not easy, but I encourage sooner rather than later. One of the things that helped me was trying to
    be objective and just look at the facts of all the harms he inflicted on me. Get very practical about self-protection from this abusive, unacceptable behavior. Preserve your mental and physical health (living in this situation will surely take a toll on both). Protect yourself financially. Take care of you and your son. Starting now would be good.

  • Lady, I am also going to second everything that has been said here. Your husband is DEEPLY involved in an affair. There doesn’t have to physical contact to correctly classify this behavior as an affair. He has dedicated his emotional energy, his time and YOUR money to be involved with a woman that is not his wife – that is an affair!

    I gave my now ExH (divorced this past summer – Thank You Chump Nation!) two years to stop his online affairs and his blatant disregard and horrendous disrespect. He also conducted this behavior right in front of me, like I was too stupid to know what he was doing. Even his IC said you to him, “Wow, what a big FU that was to your wife.”

    I finally had to realize that he was being who he wanted to be. No more sparkles – he wanted to be a selfish, lying, cheating, bullying, manipulative, self-entitled A-hole. It didn’t matter that we had been married over 30 years. He was CHOOSING to be a person that could look me straight in the face and cheat and lie to me every day.

    Lady, I finally realized that if he wouldn’t respect me that I had to respect myself. I had to acknowledge that if I choose to stay in the marriage that I would have to accept that he would betray me and lie to me every day.

    No thanks! I deserve better than that and so do you Lady.

    Our two adult children were devastated. But my oldest also told me how proud he was of me. Lady, you need to model to your son that you have the right to respect, care and consideration. You have the right to be a priority.

    I want to mention something very important that hasn’t been said yet. You say that your husband has been courting this woman with gifts and day trips. He has been spending YOUR money on his OW. He says this has only been going on for months, but is that the truth? You already know he is a liar. The money he is spending on his OW is half yours.

    My Ex secretly drained half of our life savings from the bank before I caught him. If I hadn’t caught him when I did, he would have spent every penny we owned in the world and then probably started running up the credit cards.

    You need to quietly and quickly get your ducks in a row. Protect yourself and your son. DO NOT let him know what you are doing. Get copies of your bank statements, credit card statements, copies of your past tax returns, retirement account statements, copies of his pay stubs. Get the usernames and passwords to any accounts. You get the idea. This might seem harsh and extreme, but believe me, you need to protect yourself.

    Lady, this is hard, excruciating stuff, but Chump Nation has your back.

    • To have sunk this low and to have accepted this abuse from this NPD/ASPD douchebag, I expect this woman has been subject to both overt and insidious abuse for a long time.
      If any of us get this treatment from the outset, we , probably, would have run.
      But these abusers ramp up the abuse gradually and erode one’s sense of worth over time.
      This guy is a monster. You need to run from him and protect yourself and your son.
      My XW was much like this. Looking back, I am amazed I stayed and tolerated it so long.

      • Yeah, I also look back in amazement at what I put up with for 20 years. The funny thing is that once I got strong enough to get the hell out, my ex rewrote history to claim that I was the one who bullied and treated HIM horribly.

        • My ex did the same thing, after physically attacking me even. Then he started claiming I abused him for years, that’s when my friends woke up and stopped being “neutral”, some lies they refused to believe.

        • Are they all the same? Mine could rewrite something he said 5 minutes before… His best is not wanting custody of our daughter. When he left, he said to me. “You take custody of our daughter, I don’t want any… My job has me traveling too much.” Then after about a month, he comes up with the ‘real’ reason… He wants our daughter to come to him, when it works for her… he thinks that for a child of divorce, the scheduled visitation is just horrible. Yeah right… well surprise surprise for about 3.5 years, she didn’t make much of an effort to see him. Poor sausage was crushed… Eventually, I think the olders guilted her in to staying the night with him, every now and again. Poor sausage feels like a really great dad now and she comes home a depressed and anxious little ball of whimpiness. Thank god she is close to graduating HS… then all of this shit is over. She and see him at schoompies for TDay every year or two surrounded by her olders and they can all be like little musk ox, circled up for protection and to make fun of poor schmoopie… who is a vapor.

      • I had the misfortune once of getting involved with a narcissist, and I don’t often read anything that leads me to the forgone conclusion that someone’s cheater is one. BUT, that he’s holding a grudge for 20 years over a stupid teenage slight; and that he is flaunting the OW in front of her (payback and pick-me) seriously leads me to believe that he is. Nobody else pulls shit that sick.

      • Yup, Arnold–it’s like the old parable of the frog in hot water. Put a frog in hot water, it jumps out. But put it in room temperature water and turn up the heat slowly–>cooked frog.

        • I have heard that deal about the frog, Jayne, and while it rings true( although in reality scientific studies show a frog will try to escape ) , I think that abusers also know that with kids, mortgages, commitment, vows etc, they can ramp it up and , even if you feel like escaping, you are bound by the aforementioned.
          This is, often, mistaken for co-dependence it it is not.

  • “So, am I the one being a jerk about this? Technically he hasn’t cheated.”

    This isn’t the first shit sandwich you’ve been swallowing for the past 20 years. This one is a double decker shit sandwich without ketchup, mustard, onions, or pickles on the side that made the previous one’s slightly more palatable. This time get in front of it and don’t be afraid of that little voice inside screaming NO NO NO! That voice that’s been trying to get you to see things just as they are. That voice is not trying to condemn you or put you down. That voice is the one of self love, self respect, and truth. I wasn’t married to the cheater but Chump Nation said it didn’t matter. Chump Nation gave me the courage to take the right action. It hurt but not near as bad as the hurt he was putting on me. I can honestly say today I feel so much better about myself knowing I handed that shit sandwich back to him and said, “Nope, not this time, sucka!”.

  • I’m so sorry to read what all you have been enduring. The emotional abuse he feels entitled to direct at you is phenomenally awful and surely is enough to justify an immediate divorce.

    I join the others here who don’t buy his story about her rejection. I do not buy it.

    He has devalued you to such a low level that he imagines you are simply his to abuse. BAD EXAMPLE to your son. Your son might even feel frustration with you for allowing that, you know.

    But your husband’s entitlement is so huge that it has affected his mind. His perception of you is deranged. But don’t use that as a reason to stay….Use it as a reason to flee.

    I don’t believe for a minute that he hasn’t slept with her.

    But the emotional abuse alone is enough. He’s a train wreck and you cannot stop the train. Get off it.

  • Dear Reasonable Lady,
    I am so sorry you are being disrespected this way. I’m guessing that 20 years of marriage to a man like this has conditioned you to tolerate this level of disrespect and abuse, but from an outside point of view, it’s unacceptable. I honk you know this, but you are waiting for him to wake up and be a decent man. When you allow him to treat your his way, you reinforce his belief that it’s ok. You set the standards for his others treat you. Raise the bar.
    Married partners don’t maintain relationships with “special friends” that they cannot introduce to their spouse or have around their family. As his WIFE, you are his special friend! I would be inclined to call her husband and invite them both over for dinner but I’m a bitch like that.

    • I should add, I called my ex husbands OW and invited her to church with us. Naturally, she declined. She “didn’t know when she would have time.” But I enjoyed asking. He was quite upset. 🙂

      • Excellent MmmHmm ! 😀 (bet she shit a brick)! Urgh – sorry to be so crude – but still, bet she did, anyway 😀

    • MmmHmm, that’s hilarious. Invite the OW and her hubby for dinner then calmly bring up the subject of the affair…”soooo, what are we all going to do about this situation.”..then stand up and capsize the dinner table like Lou Ferrigno might and go ape-shit on them! I so wish I’d done something non violent but dramatic rather than just doing a weepy pick me dance.

      No seriously, while divorce and giving up on a marriage looks scary, it will be liberating and you WILL be happy. Just one determined step at a time.

  • They start disrespecting you pretty quick once you start taking crap from them, and that disrespect leads to… you more crap. Like a dog they love to kick because it doesn’t run away or bite back, the cringing acquiescence actually brings out the worst in them. There is literally nothing you can do to break this cycle. The man you thought you knew either never existed or is long gone and isn’t coming back. It’s already over but the legal formalities.

    Go see a lawyer yesterday.

  • This one is so extreme, it almost makes me wonder if Chump Lady is being punked. If it is serious, then the only question is when the writer will file for divorce, there is certainly no other option here.

    • Oh No GIO – do you really think? I guess it’s possible (cor, we all know there’s a surfeit of loonies out there) and the worry is CL not being able to email back – but I really hope you’re wrong – I haven’t laughed at the insanity of a cluster B so heartily for ages!

    • Even if CL was punked re: this letter, useful information comes out in CL’s response, and in the forum for other people to use. Keep the advice coming, fellow chumps…

    • Well, my ex cried on my shoulder and at first I thought he was telling me it was because he was hurting the OW by cutting off contact, and she needed him. But as he talked more it became clear the pain was all about him. What he really said is that it hurt HIM so bad not to have contact. So I don’t see it as a stretch that her husband would cry in her lap bemoaning his pain, it’s all about him…

      • I agree. These disordered types are so lacking in empathy, that they do not even realize how absurd they are being when they do things like this crying in the lap deal.
        My first XW started crying when I was able to move out of the run down studio apartment I was forced to rent for a while and bought a nice place. It symbolized to her that I had moved on and did not need her.
        She could not see how her cheating on me and our kids for years, was the real abandonment.

    • I think the letter is legit…sounds like he’s a garden variety narcissist. Extreme, but par for the course.

  • Dear Lovely Lady, (thanks savannahpaige – much more appropriate 🙂 ).

    First of all, please drop the handle – unless you really think not covering yourself in coconut matting and lying down in front of his boots is evidence of an insensitive jerk! Grrr (at him for even planting that idea in your head)!

    Second of all, believe everyone here – this – and I hesitate to use the word – man -is a despicable, disgusting (oh please just look up every word in the thesaurus under SHITHEAD – I could be here all night and still not cover it)! YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER – you really do. I don’t know you, but Christ girl, your heart is still so big you took the fucker back and tried again, AND are prepared to look to yourself for the disordered cause! Ruddy Hell! You’re beautiful and he is pissing all over you!!! (OK – deep breaths Jayne, deep breaths – go to your happy place).

    Third of all – I have to tell you – I loved, loved, loved you found your humour to describe this nightmare – not only are you a beautiful person but you are bright. You know you are bright enough to recognise the spoiled brat for who he is, be bright enough now to keep laughing at him – laugh hard girl, he is ludicrous and I swear to you once he’s bad history you are going to wonder what the fuck you wasted your time on him for.

    Fourth of all – his behaviour is beyond contemptible (OK – back to your happy place, Jayne) but I have to tell you I laughed and laughed 😀 Holding grudges from High School – Oh. My. Heavens – hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – Oh God Please – make it stop!!!!!!!

    Lovely Lady, I hope so much you get to read these posts – please take your power back from the spoiled toddler masquerading as your husband and make sure you glue that coconut matting firmly onto his face!!!

    Keep us posted

    Hugs, hugs and more hugs,

    Jayne x

  • “Wasn’t great, but could be worse,” – Yes that was my thinking which only meant… it got worse. I had a marital separation thinking that it would give time, space etc to enable him to deal with his ‘issues’. We never lived together again and he used the time and space for- yes you got it, not dealing with his issues and not being faithful. After the OW D-Day he even laughed at me for believing that he was ever going to try for proper reconciliation. THEN I left him for good and got a divorce. And now it can’t get worse but only better and after a year I am very relieved to not be trying to make this relationship work anymore.

  • Lady’s husband has probably secretly commandeered her email to prevent her from getting Good Advice (which is likely why CL’s messages to her bounce back).
    If she sees this:
    Lady, you separated but returned to the worm so now you have a Zombie marriage. It is dead, dead, dead but you are hoping it will become Undead. So sorry, not gonna happen.
    Your worm is setting up an Open Marriage but he really wouldn’t be ok with YOU dating, so you can see where this is going.
    If you are a SAHM this is going to be even harder for you, but it is TIME. Do not wait till kid is out of high school, till affair becomes physical (and I agree it probably already is), till Jupiter aligns with Mars, or till you have been silently and unknowingly trussed into a legal noose. If worm wants to date, leave him and let him.
    Someone who blames you for everything will never cherish you.
    Good luck.

    • Wow! So many great thoughts here. . .you have a zombie of a marriage,wait till Jupiter aligns with Mars, and “Someone who blames you for everything will not cherish you”. I needed this today!

  • My cheater pulled a similar thing with a woman (not his actual affair partner)–nothing happened, so having private coffees, and phone conversations, and a drink together was totally kosher.

    Bullsh*t. Bail; your husband has the emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-control of an alpha-male seal during mating period. And tell your son WHY you split–there is NO WAY you should bear his anger at any subsequent divorce for being a trusting human being (and a chump).

  • And, as my therapist says, “we train people how to treat us.” Time for hubby to have a little electric shock (metaphorically speaking, … or not).

  • Dear Lovely Lady,

    OK – I’ve calmed down now.

    A point that stands out for me – have you noticed the similarity between how you met with him, and how he is carrying on with the OW? Initially you ‘rejected’ him at High School. Now he’s chasing another woman who is ‘playing hard to get’ (in his mind). Even if he did manage to wear her down with his relentless pursuit, you have to believe, he’s going to hold her initial ‘rejection’ against her. In the end though, whether he gets with her or not, that’s not the important thing here – you are the important thing, and fuck them, fuck them very much.

    ‘The Great I Am’ had a similar MO – he pushed and pushed for every step of our relationship – initially I just wanted to date occasionally (had to be every weekend for him) – then I was reluctant to move in with him (proof that I never loved him as much as he loved me, according to him) then, after six years he finally convinced me to marry him. Within 6 months he was chasing (courting – I’m glad you used that word, it was my word straight away as soon as I discovered the phone records that busted them, he called it a ‘friendship’ – even though it took a further 2 years of lies and gaslighting before he finally admitted it was a PA, it was still an affair to me). Marriage continued – well – the abusive relationship I called a marriage still continued for another 18 months, because I hadn’t found CL yet and for some reason, his indignant assertion that it was never physical (‘ I MEANT MY VOWS’! – he shouted at me), made me feel like an insensitive jerk for considering an EA enough reason to end it with the bastard!

    • Ah yes, they pursue you but when the shit hits the fan they rewrite that history too, dontcha know? My mouth fell open in first MC with my ex when he told the counselor, and I quote: “she pursued me relentlessly” this didn’t happen, I hooked up with him and never expected to see him again, he kept coming round and love bombing and just, well you know how that goes, he was all that…I was very leary of him and should never have let his charm get to me. Anyhow right after that gem, he said “I finally gave in and moved in with her, I needed someone to take care of me, I never loved her”. He told me who he was and I *really* wish I had believed him that day, would have saved me a world of hurt. But of course he took that all back immediately, he didn’t mean it…it was probably the only truth he ever told me.

      • When my first marriage failed (no cheating) I was devastated and totally leery of all relationships. I met ‘The Great I Am’ on a blind date and I went for that because, frankly, I was lonely and horny and figured a year laid down crying over the end of my first marriage was long enough! ‘The Great I Am’ was totally not my type at all i.e. I’d always been attracted to bikers, rockers, hippyish types – you know ‘liberals’. ‘The Great I Am’ considers himself left-wing but I used to tell him ‘yeah, so left-wing you’er swinging hard right’ but, stupidly, I thought I was fixing my picker! (Ah ha ah ha – the laughs on me)! Well, I’ve had lots of good lovin’ in my life but I’ve never been so relentlessly love-bombed, ever, right up until the moment the phone records busted his arse – from that second he became CL’s shark cartoon! Of course he has re-written history, I’d expect nothing less from him now! It was a big mindfuck for me for ages, I did really begin to wonder if he’d been abducted by aliens, but no – just a huge lesson in the workings of someone with scrambled eggs for brains. Wish I’d have signed up for needlework instead (and I hated needlework and domestic science at school) 😀

      • “I finally gave in and moved in with her, I needed someone to take care of me, I never loved her”. He told me who he was and I *really* wish I had believed him that day, would have saved me a world of hurt’.

        Oh Dat – we are both such different people now, aren’t we? – those were the days we didn’t even know people THINK like that. I know I couldn’t even consider being in a loveless relationship – what would be the point? Trouble was, I didn’t know there were human beings out there who’d claim no problem with it – nor have any problem pretending love – I mean really, what is the fucking point. Sure, you wasted my time – but you wasted your own time too!!

  • I-L-Jerk,
    I’m sorry to tell you but there isn’t enough room in your marriage for you, him, OW and his sense of entitlement which is about as big as a barrage-balloon right now.

    “He and the almost-OW never had sex and now we’re back together.”

    If you believe this, then you also believe that pigs fly and babies come with the stork and are left under a gooseberry bush.

    “It’s mildly flirtatious, which is how, incidentally, he describes their relationship.” = cheating. If he is putting time and energy into such a relationship outside of his marriage, then HE IS CHEATING ! This is disrespecting you and your marriage.

    IMO you should get rid of blubbering Billy and let him ‘cry me a river’ in someone else’s lap.

    He can’t be reasoned with because his logic is skewed, maybe a divorce petition will wake him up?

  • Lovely Lady, I put up with this kind of crap throughout my whole marriage. My ex always said they were “just friends” when he’d get uncomfortably close to the women he’d work with. I felt like the crazy one because I his lack of boundaries and respect for me were so nonexistent with these relationships. Just know that you are RIGHT to be upset with your husband’s behavior ,and that emotional cheating is just as bad as physical cheating. Don’t put up with this behavior for years like I did, it’s not going to get any better! The longer he has no consequences for his behavior, the worse it’s going to get. You deserve to be treated better than this.

  • “I’m positive they haven’t had sex because this woman is perfectly happy to be worshiped for free,”

    That’s your reasoning for believing the affair didn’t go physical???? WTF? It sounds like you’re saying they would have only had sex if he had paid her…I don’t buy it for a second. He’s cheating and I can guarantee you he’s slept with someone. You separated for 9 months….was this a legal separation clearly stating that you could date and have sex with other people or was it just something the two of you decided to do on your own for 9 months? I realize that some states differ but in many states such as Texas, for example, if you’re still married it’s still adultery, regardless of physical separation. My guess is that it probably wasn’t a legal separation, in which case you better believe he was sleeping around in that time. All that separation did was give him more space to do it without you in the same room with him to keep tabs on him. It also would have only furthered his rationalization to cheat more. He clearly has no problem doing it with you around so having you gone would only make it that much more OK.

    He’s flagrantly cheating in front of your face (look up emotional affairs and I guarantee you will find them listed under “infidelity” and “affairs.” Even the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists considers emotional affairs cheating He collapsed in tears in your lap because his moves to have sex with another woman got turned down, he stays late at work a lot, he was spending all sorts secret time off from work and money on her for day trips (and you really think he wouldn’t have paid her for sex?) For all you know he put the moves on her a long time ago and she just only turned him down that one time but not the x amount of times before that or the x amount of times that have continued since they’re still in contact and still getting drinks together at night. (And how is the involvement of alcohol in their meetups supposed to help his case and make you believe that nothing more has happened?)

    “He told me the courtesy of telling me he was going to spend time with her was over. He maintains that he is doing absolutely nothing wrong…”

    Right, all the more reason to believe what comes out of his mouth then. He’s not going to give you any more heads ups as to when he’s going to see her, he’s going to keep it more secret and he still thinks he’s doing nothing wrong. Yes, I really would just take his word that he hasn’t slept with her or anyone else.

    Follow the advice on here and lawyer up.

  • I have a friend whose duffus husband was chasing another woman at work because his spirit guides were telling him too. Not only was he always a wierd guy, you know the kind of guy who you say a quick hello to and run off because you have your toe nails to clip, kind of guy before you get stuck talking to him for ages as his eyes glitter…that kind of guy. So this poor woman gets pursued because the spirit guides told him they were lovers in a previous life. Alluring to have a married psycho chasing you. She went to HR and started a sexual harrassment case against him and pretty much they forced him into retirement and my friend divorced him… he gets weirder by the moment but is not lonely… he has his crystal and all of his spirit guides as friends.

    Your husband is at the very best a big immature crybaby… but mostly, I bet he is a completely ineffectual person. After you do, his work colleagues will come to you and congratulate you for getting rid of this guy. Run… Run… Run…

  • If you run this through the cheater translator, ‘just friends’ with co-worker that they are going out to dinner with and texting means ‘long term affair, days off from work, sneaking off to motels’ etc.

    • Chumps. Hence this site. Most of us here have an appalling story (or twenty) about the insane things we put up with or wept over or excused or felt guilty about before we began “dechumpifying” ourselves with CL’s help.

  • Yuck. This sounds like my ex, who said it was no big deal to date during marriage because he just wanted someone to be nice to him. The implication, of course, was that I wasn’t nice to him. That was patently untrue. Although I certainly am not a saint (or not completely a saint – heh) I was a pretty great wife and partner in life, so yeah, he can kiss my ass and your hopefully STBX should be invited to kiss yours.

    These entitled assholes all try to pull the same bullshit. Chuck him out and get on with a life that doesn’t involve this kind of fuckery.

    • Urgh Nord – ‘no big deal to date during marriage’? Pox on their houses – all of them – just as soon as the Chumps have moved out!

      I hear the Vatican are discussing it – the evidence of your miraculous activities include managing not to castrate that STBX you had the misfortune to have anything to do with! 😉

  • ILJ, your H reminds me of my soon-to-be XH. After I discovered affair, he cried, saying he was no good, wanted to kill himself. Only later did I discover that it was because OW had rejected him and he was still pursuing her. He still continued to pour all his problems on me, using me as his therapist, his “best friend.” He also tried to justify his affair by bringing up something that happened over 20 years ago in college when I temporarily broke up with him to date another guy and the pain I caused him then (incidentally, I was upfront and honest with XH then–broke up with him before dating another guy; didn’t try to cake-eat).

    What your H wants you as, and what H wanted me as, was a back-up option, a safe place to land and come back to if things with his OW or other women didn’t work out. I don’t think affairs are as much “fun” without a back-up option to come home to, because it is having you as the back-up option that allows him to take such risks.

    And he felt entilted to use me that way because of all the things he supposedly done for me in the past. His entitlement thinking cannot be shaken and comes at least from his family–his parents’ and sister’s lives revolve around him, the center–and they were actually angry at me for not standing by him while he was “going through a hard time” and “lost his way;” instead, I told all his relatives about his affair and filed for divorce.

    How abusive his treatment of you will be clearer once you go NC, which will be hard at first (the first few weeks are the hardest). It’s like an addiction that you need to break, but once you find yourself freer, you will feel so much better and begin to ask yourself why you even tolerated such behavior. I know it’s hard to believe it’s abuse, because he is not punching you or giving you physical injuries, but to be treated with so little empathy and to be used as the consolation prize by the person who is supposed to cherish you most is abuse in my book. And your XH probably gets some thrill out of that (though not consciously)–he loves having that kind of power and control over you.

  • Someone wrote a comment on another post that their husband “managed their expectations down to nothing” and that’s what’s happened here. It happened in my marriage, too. It’s so easy to scream, “oh, leave him!”, but we all stayed while our spouses treated us like crap. Lady just isn’t there yet.

    When she realizes that she’s experienced years of abuse by the man who professed to love her, she’ll be sick to her stomach. Not that he cheated (penis in or out, he cheated), but that he purposefully and maliciously made her feel badly about herself. Sneakily at first, and now, quite obnoxiously. To the point where she doesn’t see how awful it is, because he’s treated her so poorly for so long…she doesn’t even expect anything different.

    I feel for you, Lady, because I remember when I realized my husband never loved me, at least not how I’d define love. It was a sad, sad day. If your husband is holding on to hurts that are thirty years old, he never truly loved you.

    I think it’s sometimes easier to stay with a horrible person in a soul-crushing marriage than to face the fact that we believed something (for years and years) that just wasn’t true.

    • “I feel for you, Lady, because I remember when I realized my husband never loved me, at least not how I’d define love. It was a sad, sad day. ”

      I never did manage to entirely wrap my head around the fact that it is painfully obvious that my ex never loved me, never. He was cheating on me before we even got married and never stopped. It’s hard to grasp that there are people so wicked out there, so devoid of human empathy, that they will go to such lengths just to use another person.

      It’s no longer important, because I’m far out now and that nightmare marriage is a faded memory, but on occasion, the scar triggers and it still hurts a little.

      • Glad, I try to tell myself that no matter how far out I get, I will just never be able to wrap my head around it. But once in a while, the pain triggers, and I fruitlessly try to grasp it all over and over again. Did he love me? No. Does he love the AP’s? No. Does he care, is he sorry? No and no. But somehow I periodically find myself thrashing about, looking for different answers.

        The day you realize you were never loved, that you were just a mark to the grifter, is the day you know evil exists and indeed was the controlling factor in your life for many years. It is a very chilling realization and one so hard to accept.

        • Exactly Kellyone,

          I too had a hard time and wasn’t able to wrap my head around the whole thing for a long long time just like you and others…. the day I finally realized that he never truly loved me, is the day I stopped asking myself, how could he do all these things if he truly loved me as he declared to me daily? Even when he tried to say “ I always loved you and always wanted you”, now, his mouth can say that all he wants, words are just words, but his actions told me a totally different story. If he truly loved me as he said, there is no way, he could go say sweet nothings to someone else, kiss and fuck someone, then come home to me like nothing happened, with a smile on his face, then kiss me, tell me sweet things and have sex with me as well. You can’t do that to someone you truly love and value… he said she meant nothing, yet he tried his hardest to cover, hide and continued to risk what we had for someone(s) that meant nothing to him??? the reality is, he never loved me and he never really cared or loved the OW’s either. He used all of us for his own satisfaction and for his benefit. The day for me was the day, I closed my ears to what he said and I judged him by his actions and if the actions can speak, then what his actions told me what I really needed the know and the real truth. Once you let his actions, not his words speak for itself is the day you stop looking for answers and realize he is just a disgusting worthless piece of shit, who declared false love(lies) to benefit himself and for himself only and he is someone who didn’t and doesn’t deserve a place in your life and he is EVIL. The real pain comes from the realization that you were used, conned and what you thought you had was nothing but a lie….now that is a very hard pill to swallow…

    • i agree Dawn. I can’t beat up on ILJ because I stayed too. When I look back it was easy to see the abuse but while I was in the thick of it I couldn’t.

      My ex threw stuff back in my face that was over 20 years old. He never loved me and that’s been a sad recognition but it’s true. He doesn’t know how to love anyone but himself and I managed my expectations of him down to nothing as well.

      ILJ-you are not insensitive, nor are you a jerk. You’ve been beaten down emotionally for a long time by your husband. It’s gone on so long that you believe the horrible things he says. I get that. We all do. I really hope you get away from him but I understand that it takes a while to get to that point. We’re chumps. We want to believe in the inherent goodness of others but some people just are not decent human beings.

      I think it’s harder to walk away when the investment is so large and children are involved. Even if you don’t respond, I hope you’re reading and you’ll keep reading. That’s what helped me eventually leave a cheater and gain a life. It took 11 months of reading chump lady before I was ready to pull the trigger but better late than never right?

      I hope the same for you, lady.

  • ‘ And your XH probably gets some thrill out of that (though not consciously)–he loves having that kind of power and control over you’.

    Yes, I agree young. There has to be some pay off for him for being this much of a jerk – and his behaviour reeks of power and control and aggression. He’s loving it. 🙁

  • My ex had a standing weekly coffee date with a coworker for awhile before Dday. This was not the main OW, this was a different woman. I used to tell him all the time how much that bothered me, and that it was asking for trouble and that I felt she was looking to snare him as her own. He always laughed and said she knew he “was married and would never cheat on his wife.” Yeah, right. In looking back, I assume they were having sex, but who knows.

    My ex was always extremely flirtatious with everyone, male and female alike. Very touchy, gets way too close, laughs and flirts and compliments, finds opportunities to lean in really close or touch the person on the arm, shoulder, back. This bothered me as well, but it seemed petty to mention it. These days, I would NEVER stay with a man who acted that way. In hindsight it is so obviously a red flag of a predator always looking for an easy mark.

    Of course, shortly after ex and I got married, he and his SISTER told me they wanted a “date night” together each week, just the two of them. I put my foot down on this craziness, said no way. I have no doubt that he now considers that one of the ways I was “a bully” to him during our marriage. Insanity.

    • GIO – I’m guessing the insanity ran in the family then? I’m close to my sisters and brother, and wouldn’t even consider allowing anyone to interfere in our relationships (if I want to see or talk to any of them, no partner is going to stop me from doing that) but I can’t say I’d ever make a point of calling our contact ‘a date night’! Strange, incesty, flirtatious slant to what should be a normal familial relationship – no wonder you were creeped out by it!

    • My ex used to have a sexy picture of his sister on his desk until I made him put it away. Whenever they got together, she would insist on me not being around. Once, she kicked me out of her apartment so she could be alone with him. Creepy.

  • Your “husband” is a narcissistic asshole. Get to a lawyer NOW. You and you 15 year old need counsling as soon as possible. Your child will respect you in the long haul. Your husband is an abusive, sick, mean, weirdo turd. Flush him ASAP

  • He does this shit because you initially rejected him…what – 20+ years ago? He needs to fucking grow up.
    Those who have ‘coffee dates’ and other vapid shit like that with people not their spouse need to grow up, too.
    Nail this fucker’s balls to the wall after you’ve chopped them off – by divorcing him. He will not change.
    Fucking entitled piece of shit.

  • It seems amazing when you read it later just how horribly awful and disrespectful they are to you. i know for me i never really saw it. i was handling one little fire at a time.i never looked at the whole picture to see that i was fighting a blazing inferno, colossal forest fire that had engulfed me in flames.

    i sure his crying on her lap was her first WTF moment. her eyes are slowly being opened. i never really noticed the disrespect from him because i am not the kind of person that cries at even little mean thing someone tells me, in fact i usually laugh when someone tries to be mean to me. (i am really good at pissing people off). it wasnt until i started writing out my story, on here and on another site that really opened my eyes to how hateful, disrespectful and all the horrible things he has done in the course of our marriage and i realized AND have been told that i was just a door mat to him. ME? A DOORMAT? how the fuck did that happen? i am strong!! i am stubborn!! i met problems head on!! i run shit!! i take care of shit!! i do the right thing!!! when did i become his doormat? it happens little by little, you dont even see it

    now i am having flashback. i can remember how many times the poor little sausage would cry about how he “just wanted to be somebody”. usually after he fucked something up and we were talking. and i would always tell him “YOU ARE SOMEBODY!! you ARE my husband! you ARE a daddy!! that is the most important thing in life. how is it that doesnt make you happy. how is it that you sit there crying that you want to be someone” i never realized that being a husband and a daddy was not enough for him. it never crossed my mind.

    he worked so hard to get a permanent position with this crappy company he worked for. (he was like a temp for 2.5 years) he finally made full time in january right after i kicked him out for not coming home on news years. so i congratulated him on it ( i was still trying to save my marriage and didnt know about the MOW he was with yet) and told him i know it was something he had really wanted. Asshat tells me “ya, i just wanted to belong somewhere, i just wanted to belong to something.” that was my cue to tell him yet again. for the millionth time how he DID belong to something, that he belonged to a family. i didnt say anything at all. Who wants a man that you have to keep reminding that family comes first and what his part of the family should be.

    i felt like someone else said on here. by saying he just wanted to belong to something insinuated that he didnt feel like he belonged with us. by this lady husband saying he just wanted to be loved for once is insinuating that he doesnt feel like he was ever loved by her. i found out the hard way….that you can talk and talk and talk. you can bend over backwards to explain and make sure he felt loved and like he belonged. you could thank him over and over for the menial little shit they do around the house and yard. you can basically worship the fucking ground they walk on, and swear that the sun shines out of their ass……and it just doesnt matter. the reason they feel this way is because some thing is wrong in their wiring, or they are guilty of doing shit you have no clue they are doing so they KNOW they are not worthy of your love or to feel like they belong.

    sad part is i would have continued to make my XH feel better about himself. if he just talked to me. if he had just told me that he was feeling down again. i would have happily explained for the millionth and one time how he belonged to our family and we needed him..blah blah blah if he would have just told me. AND if he would have kept his dick in his pants. BUT he did neither, he fucked his hood rat aFTER telling her everything he should have told me, giving her the opportunity to make him feel better. i guess he was tired of me making him feel better all the time. (actually i think it is because he knew in his heart he didnt deserve me and felt guilty every time i did make him feel better)

    • Great post Mrs Vain. Wow, you sound SO much stronger – it’s wonderful to hear :-). I know, it’s a journey of small steps, and sometimes they go backwards, by my goodness it really is lovely to hear the clarity in your voice now. 🙂

      He didn’t deserve your good loving, I do think guilt has an influence on them – it makes them uncomfortable – it’s guilt about you – ergo it’s you. What can you do with that when their primary concern is to make everything and everyone else but themselves the problem? You can’t do anything with it. The constant demands for reassurance, they’re a bottomless pit expecting you to fill them, then they decide that your reassurances aren’t as ‘weighty’ as they used to be, maybe because they’ve figured a billion and one times being reassured still didn’t fill their empty souls, it is exactly as Chump Lady calls it – empty, calorific junk food they crave, not wholesome soul food, and they are so far gone they can’t even tell one from the other. You gave him soul food, he treated it like Iceland Chicken Nuggets. Or popcorn maybe? Doesn’t mean you weren’t giving him fillet Mignon.

      Really good to hear you building your roar Mrs Vain – really good 🙂

      • Thank you Jayne!! i am having a good day. and feeling huh. ok. the pain is still there but today it is a dull thud. my heart feels a little lighter. the good days really are coming more and more. the bad days less and less. i am blessed to be able to talk about things on this site with you wonderful people to help me get thru those days. the good days do really start happening with time,,,,i never believed other people when they said that but they do. it is a different kind of happy. a different kind of good. in the way back is still the hurt and pain that he caused me but it is not front and center. i dont believe you ever “get over” that hurt. but yes, the sun does shine. it is still not tuesday for me. i know i still have a lot to get thru. holidays are a big trigger for me and i am just waiting for his crazy on christmas. after that i am predicting it will go a lot smoother.

        YOU GUYS GIVE ME STRENGTH!!! I COULDNT HAVE LIVED THRU THIS SANELY WITHOUT YOU ALL. i just hope i am able to give back to at least one person what everyone has giving to me

    • It is f-ing amazing the shit these cheater say. Mine had an affair and almost ended the marriage 8 years ago, when we had a 5- and a 10-year old daughter. Stupid me–I just found evidence of that 8-year affair a few weeks ago and kicked him out. He begged for reconciliation saying “I was an asshole then, but I’m not an asshole now. The family has grown on me!!!”

      You can’t make this shit up–the family took 18 years to “grow” on him after one daughter has already left the house? It hadn’t grown on him 8 years ago when that daughter was 10, and he decided to screw someone 30 years his junior in full view of some of our friends? Sorry–still an asshole in my eyes.

      • How nice that your loser can give such an enthusiastic recommendation to his own offspring! “The family has grown on me!” uhh…thanks, I guess?? What an idiot.

  • Wow! I just got home from work and read all of your comments! Thank you so much for your support! It really does make me feel less alone. As I’m writing this, the big H, the ol’ dirtbag, is at a bar with his paramour. I’m at home alone gathering bank statements and financial papers! Thank you all again and thank you Chump Lady! This website is TRULY a life-saver and a huge public service!

    • Good for you. Get your ducks together as fast as you can, and whatever you do, be discreet. Do not let him know or guess a thing about what you are doing!! Do not, repeat, NOT let him know you are seeing an attorney. Realize that you are now an active player in a high stakes game and he is NOT your friend. He can and he will do whatever he can to mitigate his potential consequences once his mental fog starts to clear. Hold your cards close and keep a poker face till you can get lawyered up. Get the best one you can afford, too. Your financial future is at stake here. As a friend told me, Hit him fast, hit him hard, hit him FIRST and you’ll have a much greater advantage. Good luck and keep us posted.

    • Hugs. and well wishes for you. your ride is just about to start.

      first protect yourself. take the money out of his name or at least take it out of your joint checking account. i felt bad when i did that but believe me he took what money he could and would have bleed me dry if i had left the rest in the joint account. he doesnt need to know you did this. apparently just telling them you are broke is good enough.

      second, get proof. get proof of this ow. get proof of his hatefulness. i started writing a journal. because i knew my mind was fucked up and i would nt remember (he would always tell me, you dont remember. i told you this and that) so i started writing every conversation down. word for word, right after. even if i was crying. i wrote it all down. 3 months into it, and he is twisting my words, his words, he didnt say that, he said this. and i would tell him verbatim what he really said. on top of that, it helped me stay the course, because after he went no contact on me, my silly little heart was panicking. telling me i jumped the gun, telling me that i was wrong about him, that it really wasnt THAT bad. i would read all those notes, texts, phone calls and yes, he really is THAT bad. your heart will try to fool you, beat it down with a club.

      third, TELL YOUR SON THE TRUTH. i guarantee you that your XH will try to get to him first and will somehow convince this kid that you raised and spend most of the time with, that IT IS YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU DID THIS AND THAT. my XH managed to turn 2 out of 5 kids against me. he didnt get to my oldest son, and the 2 little boys but he was starting to get to them too. telling them your mom this and that. fuckers. tell your son the truth, right now. sit him down and explain how your heart is breaking but dad is doing this and that with some other woman. and that is NOT okay for your marriage.

      fourth, get all the shit that is near and dear to you out of the house. rent a storage. take pieces out while he is at work or with OW. things you dont want him to destroy (your grandmothers home made quilt, your sons newborn clothes, etc) the least he knows you are moving out the better.

      that is all the advise i have for you.
      good luck

      • Thank you so much! All of this is truly valuable advice. Thankfully, I have my own checking account and credit cards from when we were separated. I feel sick thinking about the rough road ahead, but I feel sicker thinking about spending the rest of my life as his consolation prize.

        • I’m so glad you are taking action and exercising self-care. Yes, the road ahead is tough but you will survive this. I, too, thought I would never, ever survive divorcing my serial cheater, but life is so beautiful and peaceful right now, I wished I had done it a lot sooner. Accept that the times ahead will be tough and you will be okay. Know that if you don’t divorce you husband, times ahead will even be tougher. Both choices suck. Might as well choose divorce where the pain is finite. The pain if you choose to stay married will be always be constant and will escalate. You will become a shell of yourself if you stay. As most of us here found out the hard way, the abuse stops when we say stop. We are here for you.

        • Let me add one more thing. It will probably go against your regular instincts, but from here on out you need to stop and think first about every single thing you say or share with him. At least while he is still in the house and until you can lawyer up and can get legal advice that fits your particular situation. And I’m not just talking about refraining from discussing issues related to his affair. I’m talking about having to go cold turkey on showing any vulnerable part of yourself that you would do in a normal, caring relationship. Continuing to share any part of your precious heart with someone who has betrayed you like that is painful and unproductive and hurtful to YOUR mental well-being. It just keeps you bound to your cheater.

          The hardest thing for me at first, was resisting my natural habit of sharing information. We were married over 30 years and it was just second nature for me to confide in him, tell him all the things big and small – bits of news, gossip, how I was feeling that day, any problems, etc. In the early days, I had to constantly remind myself that he was NOT on my side, he was NOT my friend, he was in fact, my adversary – and you don’t show your weaknesses to your adversary. And believe me, he and the OW are definitely aware of you now. You are now a problem to them. Don’t give him any free ammunition.

          Consider it your first step toward going no contact while you still have to see him everyday.

          I forced myself to run everything through my new “filter” and I essentially became a closed book. The only thing I talked about were off topic and very neutral things. I couldn’t stand the silence, so I spent a whole lot of time in my bedroom, which essentially freed him up to text and email the AP at will, from the comfort of the living room. Whatever!

          But it felt very unnatural the whole time I did it. Thankfully he left just 3 weeks after d-day, which removed at least one element of stress in what was an already unbearable situation. My advice is to kick him out as soon as you can!

          One more thing, do NOT sleep with him in any sense of the word. Do not even lie in the same bed even if you’re not having sex. In some states, continuing to have marital relations with the cheating spouse after the affair is exposed can be taken as evidence that you condone/forgive the affair. This could later be used against you in court. Tell him you’re so confused and hurt, he needs to sleep on the sofa or in the spare bedroom or whatever.

          Again,good luck and welcome to Chump Nation. It really does get better. You’ll see. Big, big hugs to you <3

        • Chumpanzee is correct–Adultery is best used as a cause of divorce if you don’t sleep with him after finding out about his affair. Even once, some courts consider “forgiveness.” Stupid, I know, but there it is.

    • Run a credit report. He may be running up debts. Also scan his paychecks. I found out that mine was skimming into a “secret” bank account.
      Fucking idiot.

    • Perfectly Reasonable–don’t forget annual tax filings. They contain tons of financial information–W2 forms, etc. that will be important for child support, etc. Download all bank information into Excel files, too, plus all the bank statements from the past year.

    • Glad to hear from you, sorry you needed this place. Make sure you remove the docs somewhere safe, especially any mortgage, refi stuff, trust me you cannot get copies of mortgage docs years later. And once my ex figured out divorce was coming he was destroying stff, I had it all at my neighbors house…paranoid? Yep. Better safe than sorry, nailed it.

  • Oh and one other thing… Sadly, my letter to CL was in no way a prank. I would never devalue an amazing resource like this! I used an old hotmail email account because I was worried my husband would find out if I used my gmail account. (I know! What am I worried about?) I’m sorry that you tried to contact me and weren’t able to, CL. I will definitely be joining the forum! XO

    • It’s great you’ve found the post and there is so much good advice here. I was worried for you 🙂 Still worried for you, of course, but at least you know you’re not alone, that this abuse is really abuse and totally unacceptable, and, though we’re sorry you’ve had to come here, know you are welcome and loved and appreciated and you can vent, vent, vent – there’s nothing you can say that we haven’t heard or felt ourselves!

      Chumpanzee and Mrs Vain have given you sound, sound advice – and I’m sure others will jump in soon enough – I have to emphasize – keep your cards close to your chest! If I were you tonight I’d be ready to tear strips off him when he walked through the door – but don’t, please don’t do that! Oh My God but he deserves it, but don’t please …. you have got to look at him now as your adversary, not your friend. Take this from one who has been made destitute and homeless by ‘the love of my life’ – and that was because I talked, prevaricated, basically went into emotional meltdown instead of hitting him hard and fast with the divorce. I gave him time to convince himself being a bastard wasn’t so hard to do after all. I couldn’t believe he would treat me that way – but he did. I’d want to spare you that. You wouldn’t believe how evil these people can be, but there’s so many terrible tales we all can tell about how ‘love’ turned out to be anything but. 🙁

      Is there anyway you could be sleeping in the ‘spare room’ or something tonight, so that you don’t even have to interact with him when he gets back (if that wouldn’t set alarm bells going for him) – if not, a very quick ‘hi, hope you had a nice evening (through gritted teeth) I’m feeling really tired tonight, think I ought to have an early one, see you in the morning, night’.

      Anyway, best of luck with it, will be thinking of you, welcome Perfectly Reasonable Lady – they’re a great bunch over here you know 🙂

      • So many of you have more self-discipline than I have–as soon as I had evidence of my H’s affair, I refused to let him touch me, moved all my lingerie out the bedroom, and let him have it verbally. He’s lucky I didn’t gut him with a fishing knife (to borrow one of CL’s phrases).

        I did have the advantage of him having to travel 3 days later for a conference, during which time I copied all of our financial records that I could get my hands on. No way I could have pretended everything was hunky dory, though. Those of you who can deserve an Oscar. As it is, I’m finding it hard to pretend I’m still “deciding” on the marriage until I can change my beneficiaries on insurance policies, etc. My gut wants to file RIGHT NOW even though I know it can be to my disadvantage financially. A few thousand dollars more in settlement isn’t worth the constant anxiety attacks I’m now having.

        • Focus, my dear. Focus. Take strength in knowing that you will look back with the satisfaction that comes from doing a good job under stress. It WILL be worth it to you. Remember that you have friends here, and in spirit everywhere. Do it for all the chumps who’ve been cheated, and for those you will counsel after you. You really do have this. Keep going. Keep your eye on the long-term.
          Big hugs!

        • Tempest, if it really is a few K then file now, go with your gut, if your intuition is telling you to do it now, do it. PS: check with lawyer I was unable to remove my husband from life insurance until divorce was final. Jedi hugs girlfriend!

          • Thank you, Datdumwuf–I’m filing Monday morning, 8 a.m. I’m done with him controlling my life. He can have a few thousand dollars; I have made copies of all other records that I can get my hands on (plus I have evidence his university sexual harassment officer might be interested in if he tries any funny business).

            I just keep thinking of that Kathy Bates’ line from ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ where she finally starts asserting herself, “Tawanda!!”

  • Lady, I am so sorry but here’s the reality: he doesn’t love you, he doesn’t value you nor does he respect you. Do you want to even spend one minute of your time being with him? He wants someone else that is so obvious it’s sickening. He’s a user, a coward and the jerk of all jerks. He belongs in the trash and does not deserve you. I get it about your son but if you stay because of him, guess what will happen in a few years? He will grow up and have a life of his own. In the meantime, you are still with the jerk who probably now has successfully or unsuccessfully “courted” a few different OWs. It’s quite a dim future as a lot of chumps here know too intimately. Listen to CL and Chump Nation. Our intentions here are pure unlike the man who has the title of your husband but does not remotely begin to act like one. Please lawyer up. Your boy will survive this.

    • The x Coward I was married to unsuccessfully courted many women, all of them co-workers,or, before that, classmates. I put up with that shit for years, while he treated me like crap. I really thought each time that he was out of his mind–really aiming for women who in no WAY would ever be with him. And where did that leave me? Feeling very alone and resentful. I hated being married to an absolute joke. But I had kids to think of, and when things were good, they were quite good.
      I didn’t realize there are disordered women who prey on married men, who will stoop to any level to get a married man, whether he has kids or not. I never believed my ex would scrape the bottom of the barrel to find an exit affair partner.
      And then it happened. He found someone who let him fuck her. And just like that, I was trash to him. He went from being pathetic to being energized and validated. And I really took it hard, and lost the weight, etc. And then I found my feet and fought back (legally). I only regret that I ever cared at all for someone who never cared for me.
      Well–I can’t even say that. I’m glad I have a soul, even if the loser I was with had none, and found his soul(less) mate to share the rest of his life with. They’re perfect for each other!

  • Most cheating men would fuck a dead dog if the thought they were not going to get caught…..and then when they were caught with the corpse they would have u believ they were( out of the goodness of there heart) resuscitating it… Poor Fifi….Yes … so u take them back… U understand him after all… U understand why he might want to fuck a dead dog.. It might be yr fault that he needs to fuck a dead dog… And you will look every website and book related to fucking dead dogs… U need to understand him…..
    Understand this Lady …..what u have is a dog fucker… And he will always be a dog fucker… And what he is doing to you right now is a mind fuck… Yes he his grabbing you by both ears and fucking your mind… And if you dont want to have a head full of his truth bending swimmers… I recommend you cut the dry humpin weasel off at knees….
    Keep your mouth shut… Invest your time in organizing your finances, parenting plan and marital settelement… Find a lawyer and file.
    Then tell your son’ I am your mother….and I got this”

    • Then tell your son’ I am your mother….and I got this”

      YES!!! This makes a big difference to a kid!! He wants to know there is an adult in his life who is strong and capable and who will be there for him as he makes his way in the world. Because he really needs you right now to be present and clear and available. Kids his age have a LOT of responsibility and needs. It’s not fair to usurp his teen years with parental drama. So don’t be dramatic–be decisive and precise and surgical. Don’t equivocate. Do it. Extricate yourself from your grown baby’s drama. He’s COMPETING with your son for attention. That is disgusting. Send him away so you can focus on shepherding your boy into manhood. Someone has to do it, for God’s sake…

      • in used to hurt so badly for my boys. i was so worried about them, being abandoned by their father. i took on his guilt that he should be feeling. i TRIED to make it work out, lowering my morals and values yet again, so he could have visitations with my little boys. AND every single time i tried to arrange something, XH would find something about it that wasnt “fair” or what telling the boys some kind of lie to make himself feel better. and the worse was letting her call or text me HER crazy because she was sticking up for him, she was telling me all the things he wanted and couldnt tell me. he sat there and LET her say some really hateful things to me until i just stopped playing. and yet i STILL worried and tried to figure out a fair reasonable visitation schedule. of course he tells everyone he talks to and all his supporters that “It is MY fault he doesnt see the children” but truth of it is, all i did was stop him taking the boys around her. i asked him to come to the house to visit the boys, gracefully stepping out of my own house so he wouldnt be uncomfortable. (gag) but in the end, he still chose her. it damn near killed me.

        that is until i read somewhere on this site. and CL answered an email to me telling me that IT WAS NOT MY JOB TO GET HIM TO BE A DADDY TO HIS CHILDREN….

        i am telling you this because it will hit you too. you will bend over backwards and take all sorts of abuse from him and whatever hood rat he ends up with just for the sake of your son. but it is not your job anymore to make sure your son and his dad have a relationship. it is not your job to sooth over the trouble waters that you husband creates with your son. if you are anything like me,you have been doing that since the day your son was born. it is not your job to schedule playdates with daddy. and you cant force.

        i tell myself over and over…..he fired me from that position.
        be strong.

      • Wow. Miss Sunshine, such a relevant point. My ex always treated our son differently (heck he treated our two youngest poorly because they are most like me) and I never thought he competed with him (“he’s competing with your son for attention”) but your above comment struck me. Looking back that’s exactly what he did while at the same time sabotaging him. (He does this still). I think many of our spouses unhealthily compete with their children and it’s no wonder that many destroy their families when their children are adolescents…. The disordered are all about chaos. No wonder the sobbing baby act. Lovely Lady, you have been in this relationship long enough to know it will never be what it should. You, and your son, deserve someone who can reciprocate. Loving someone requires this and once your ex placed his needs before his family’s was the moment your future together died. Be strong, and model to your son what it is to love.

    • Thanks, Clip, for your fucking-a-dead-dog and “a head full of his truth-bending swimmers” metaphors! First laugh I’ve had all week as I deal with the fall-out from d-day.

    • Lady, I suspect that you son’s anger is coming from a place of fear. What will his life look like? How will it change? What will he have to give up? Will he still be able to go to the same school and have the same friends? You need to sit down with him and discuss these issues. Fear is a funny thing. We’re afraid to get the answers so instead we scare ourselves with what if scenarios going like crazy in our heads. The answers may not be to his liking but when he knows the truth of what will happen to him, then he can at least begin to process and accept it. I had to do this with my young adult son. Because he’s living on his own, he felt more in control of his life than if he were still a teenager. But I still had to reassure him that I was there for him and I would respect whatever relationship he decides to have with his father. I also told him there was no need to take sides and that our relationship was completely separate from his relationship with his father. He has decided he doesn’t want anything to do with his disordered father and has had no contact since.

  • He’s replaced you as his romantic partner with her. He’s now treating you like you’re his mother. Mine did the same. And if you look back, you’ll find that he’s been a passive-aggressive, withholding jerk for the entirety of your marriage, perhaps comparing you to his mother verbally and also in his thoughts.
    So, now, you are the sexless drone. He came to cry on mommy’s lap, and you wiped his nose and gave him a stern warning, maybe complained a little, and he skipped off to do WTF ever he feels like doing. Because YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF HIM! Watch his mannerisms–he may be acting like a baby in lots of ways–mine did that toward the end. Like, literally, he would do a little baby dance in the kitchen and look at me for approval. As if I was going to say, “Aw, THERE’S my boy! Tch! So cute you are!”


    How’s it feel to be married (legally only) to a giant baby?

    I’ll answer for you. It sucks.

    Wanna know how awesome it feels to cut that dead weight off? Then read yesterday’s post. Lemme tell ya–it’s like being able to breathe again after a long time holding your breath.

    I’m curious–what IS your hard line? Mine was the fucking. And, looking back, I am SO grateful that it went there so fast, because the ex was an asshole in so many other ways which did not merit divorce (so I thought). But he fucked her. And THEN I could end it. Finally. After years of putting up with his shit. Donezo.

    Don’t be afraid to take back your dignity, to divide your property and take what is YOURS, to find your own peace.

    Could you buy him out of your home if he agreed to leave? I did that, and found that my kids ended up being ok. I also have sons–I worried (and still do) about their little hearts, but they understand why I stood up and called it. Did they ever in a million years wish for their parents to divorce? No. But they understand that fucking up has consequences, and that their MOM (that’s ME!) is WAY too AWESOME to put up with that shit. And their friends tell them so, too, as do my friends and family. And my kids are doing really well now! I wish they had an awesome father, but they don’t. They have more of an uncle-dad who is a warning.

    When I read your letter, I just cradled my head in my hands and moaned, “No! Nononononono….” Come on! You KNOW better. You’re just a little freaked out about the unknown–where do you go from here? Because it’s a haul. It’s a lot of work to see a lawyer and move his crap out of your home (or move yourself and your son), and face the world as a divorced woman. But let me tell you–it’s FAR WORSE to live as you are living, bedraggled and beaten down. Trust me–a woman who WILL NOT compromise on her dignity (same goes for men in this situation) appears VERY, VERY different to the world than one who takes it. You’re exhausted, not safe. You’re hurt and insulted, not loved.

    He’s a fucking LUUUUUUUnatic. Anyone who would throw his shit in your face like he does and not expect to be thrown out on his ass? He’s delusional. You’ve coddled him for FAR too long, sister. Time to get on your big girl pants and get to work to reclaim your life. Stop babysitting this loser. You like being with a loser? Gad, he makes me sick and he’s not even mine! He reminds me too much of the coward I once foolishly married.

    Now, go! DO IT!!

    • That was my hardline, too, Miss Sunshine. There are moments I loathe myself for putting up with the emotional abuse that I did for 24 years. But finding out that he had put his hand, and tongue, and dick in someone else was a boundary he had been warned repeatedly never to cross. That was it for me. I felt as if some higher power had slapped me across the head and said, “What the F does it take for you to leave? I just gave you an early Christmas present–knowledge of his affair. Now strap on the kahunas and liberate yourself!”

      • Yep. Fucking was my line in the sand. At first I was tempted to change my line in the sand, but then I remembered who I am and knew I’d NEVER FUCKING GET OVER IT. EVER. EVER. EVER.

        • The giant baby in my life told me that he wanted to date other women. At first, I didn’t believe him because I saw what I wanted to see. Eventually, about six months later, I told him that if he wanted to date other people he needed to leave. Then I found out about the EA, and some other facts about women he was interested in. For me, finding out that he had signed up for using our joint checking account was the final straw. Luckily he moved out without a fight. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. We have a 7-year old son and seeing his pain over dad leaving is sometimes unbearable. But, it can be done and once you realize that this is not how normal relationships operate there is hope for the future. Cry the tears, feel the feelings, get a counselor and get a lawyer. You cannot truly begin to feel better until you take some steps to help yourself and your children.

          • My hardline in the sand was also sex with someone else. I, too, realize how crazy this is and how much I put up with that I NEVER should have tolerated. What to hear something crazy?? I remember mopping the kitchen floor three months before D day and thinking “I am so miserable. If he would just have sex with someone else, that would be my sign from God that it’s ok for me to leave. I can’t argue with the bible. It says adultery is wrong!” My counselor told me that we choose the love we think we deserve. My mother has BPD. She only had two children, me and my brother. My brother could do nothing wrong. I could do nothing right. Therefore, my entire childhood formative years were spent being emotionally abused. I learned to be comfortable with abuse. It has done me no favors when choosing partners. At least I’m single now. Single is better than abuse! I know you can’t see it that way yet Lady, but you will get to where you see this very soon after you go no contact. I don’t even miss the 100 texts and 20 phone calls a day. I’m no longer a slave to my cell phone. You will develop clarify and wonder why you were in a fog for so long. You likely have stayed because he is a good abuser.

  • They are both enjoying a kibble feast at your expense.
    Even if, and it is a very big if, they have not had sex it is only because she is holding out. She is being the receiver of gifts, days out and attention which are resources that should be shared with you. What if she is swayed by all this devotion and decides its time to get down and dirty…is he going to explain that as a married man he would rather stick to flirting?
    Its a moot point as he is being totally disrespectful to you and you know it.
    Even the marriage saving brigade acknowledge that the affair must be ended and contact ceased with AP for there to be a snowball in hells chance of getting back a workable marriage. You are being played for a fool.

  • Amazing how overblown the ego can get with these jerks. When we stand up for ourselves they are gobsmacked and then enraged, How dare we mess with their nice little plans….We don’t love THEM enough,,,,Whaaaaaa……Then it goes to ….I’m gonna GET you you heartless bitch/bastard……because you dare to tell me no….and here we go.

    Protect yourself every way you can because once they swing into rage they will leave no stone unturned to make you pay, and I speak from experience. Kicking ex cheater husband fuckhead to the curb cost me dearly in many ways.

    I’m keeping you and your son in my prayers.

    • Yessir is right Lady. Once he realizes you are leaving, he will vacillate between begging you to stay, gas lighting (blaming you for this happening for ANY reason he can think of [like the HS thing]), and RAGE. When none of his tactics to get you back work, he will stick with rage and It. Is. Ugly. Clear everything valuable to you out of the house (heirlooms, car titles, birth certificates, bank statements, your sons baby book and childhood photos, your degree or diploma) so he cannot destroy it. Reason evades these NPD folks. Tessie knows all too well that they will destroy something they value too if it will hurt you (think Medea). Stay one step ahead.

  • I feel so much for you, OP. My marriage ended primarily over my XH’s emotional affair with his co-worker, and yes, it was a true emotional affair; no sex or physical affection or “I love you and I want to bang you but I can’t because I’m married but we can still send sexy, affectionate texts” type stuff. In your case, the only reason you’re dealing with an EA instead of a PA is because the OW rejected a PA. But your husband is EA’ing it up as much as possible, and that is still unacceptable.

    People make too big of deal about sex. Yes, sex is a big deal, but emotional attachment before or without sex can be absolutely overwhelming. My XH went so far as to tell me that he had prayed about it and God had told him not to end things with the emotional OW, so I didn’t get a say in the matter. Yes, that’s right: God has Ebola to deal with, and hungry children to feed, and people dying of cancer sending up fervent prayers, but my XH convinced himself that the Creator of the Universe had taken time out of his schedule to place his seal of approval on his affair with another woman. Oh, and I was pregnant with his second child at the time. You can’t make up f***ed up like that. That is some powerful emotional attachment to manufacture answers from God like that.

    Any time that you confront your partner about a “friendship” with the opposite sex (insert LGBT-friendly terminology there if you please), and s/he refuses to end the problem behavior, the end of your relationship is almost certain. You can hope that lawyering up will shock them into behaving, but likely the only thing it will shock them into is fake naugahyde remorse.

    See an attorney, OP. I’m divorced from that scumbag now and I couldn’t be happier. Good luck to you.

  • It is amazing the shit that we settle for when deep in the land of chumpdom. I was pathetically grateful that my ex sent round a slice of Christmas cake that his sister had made…this after totally wrecking Christmas for the whole family with his lies and mindfuckery…oh, he must still care if he is giving me cake.
    The truth is be was knee deep in cake so I guess he could spare me some.

  • Perfectly Reasonable Lady–I’m glad you’re talking to a lawyer. Line your ducks up in a row and file. Tell your son the truth. He’s 15. He understands cheating. Letting him know that you’re divorcing his father because his father has had an affair is the truth. The dad will try to sugar coat it (I wasn’t really having sex!), but indicate that the sex isn’t the deal-breaker: the affair was. That time was time that your STBX could have been spending with you and your son, building up a good family dynamic.

    And frankly, losing someone who still resents you for rejecting him in high school? Sheesh! That’s no loss at all! If he were a normal guy, he’d be joking about the time you rejected him in high school, but look! You came around at the end, and you two have been together ever since.

    I will also join in the chorus of those skeptical about his claims the affair was emotional only. As Chump Lady has said, grown-ups have sex. I have no doubt but that the OW rejected him when he did his crying to you, but that still doesn’t mean he’s not had sex. Cheaters cop only to what they think you already know. Also, you would be astonished to learn just how little time it takes to have sex with someone. Seriously, think 5 minutes.

    Best of luck to you. If you can stay Perfectly Reasonable long enough to line up your ducks and file, you’re way ahead of the game. 🙂

    • I’m going to disagree with the advice to out the dad to the son. It’s involving him in the parent’s personal problems, and way too much TMI for a kid that age. He can be told that Dad is no longer committed to the marriage, and is treating Mom with disrespect.

      Kids figure this stuff out – he may well know the whole story already. The courts are not going to look kindly on sharing this kind of information with a teenager, as it looks retaliatory (and at the child’s expense). It will also model to the son how to behave with dignity and composure in the face of unspeakable crimes.

      As hurt as you are, be a Mom first, and don’t put your misery on the children. Life for them is hard enough already.

      • I disagree with disagreeing in this case. The facts–not editorialized–and reality are the way to go.

        If the guy wants to cheat and date outside of his marriage, that’s all that needs to be said about why.

        People can and do get divorced for much less and for good reasons. Better to clearly state the reasons than to leave somebody wondering. Actions have consequences.

        • Your father has been spending a lot of time with another woman and tells me that he wants to date her as boyfriend/girlfriend. That’s not acceptable to me in a marriage. I’m being treated with a great deal of deal-breaking disrespect. Your dad has chosen to step out of the marriage, and so now we will separate. I can’t continue to support someone who isn’t supporting me.
          But I will be here for you–YOU are my first priority. You will continue to go to the same school, have the same friends, see my mug every day and night. We will have celebrations, and laugh and joke around, and also be serious about getting you through high school, which is going to be fun and work, and on to the next stage of your life.
          I’m sorry–this is a lot to take in. But we’re going to do the right thing here, even if it sucks for a while. Because that’s what grown-ups do. I’ll do my best to make it suck as little as possible, buddy. I love you. I promise I will not bad-mouth your dad to you, because that wouldn’t be fair. I do not expect you to choose sides–NO WAY. Ok? You and I are going to be good. It’s all going to be ok. It’s not what I’d hoped for, but we’re going to make the best of it. (Then hug him.) It’s ok to cry. This sucks. I’m here for you.

          Then have faith. Kids are smart. And they bounce.

      • What, and let his father control the narrative? Hell to the fuck no.
        Its appropriate to tell the son that ‘daddy has a girlfriend and you are not allowed to have girlfriends when married.’
        No spackle.

  • Lady, you are married to a Baby Man. Sadly, members of the Homo infantalus species are not endangered. My ex (in his 40s) is one. In therapy during our brief attempt at reconciliation after D-day, he was literally crying about all the horrible things I did to him. I didn’t let him touch me in bed when I was trying to fall asleep! I didn’t squeal with delight when he gave me flowers! I didn’t put the cat figurine he bought me THREE YEARS AGO on my desk! When he broke off our nine-year relationship for good, he did it by email. Fucking email. Even most teenagers don’t break things off with an email. He’s now living with his parents, where Mommy can wrap him in bubble wrap and protect him from the world. Oh, and his schmoopie has two young kids so I guess he just wants to be the third. Baby men are childish cowards. Affairs are just another way they show how immature they are. Run far away from yours and let him find his new mommy.

  • Thank you all for your wisdom… you know we chumps because of our FOO issues, have a hard time staying with ‘Just the facts, m’am.” I come to this site and an fb page called After Narcissistic Abuse there is love life and light… every day as my touchstone for what is real, and that my calling something a duck that walks like a duck quacks like a duck, is a duck, is not mean spirited or bitter… so thank you, I am sorry that our pain brought us here, but I am so much stronger and saner with all you spackle crackers and decoders in my daily world. Thank you, now to take on Saturday with a mighty leap.

  • I was going to write a bunch of stuff, but the only thing that needs to be said is:

    This guy is broken in a way that is not fixable.

    Lawyer up, dump him, and move on with your life. Not kidding.

  • “He and the almost-OW never had sex”

    She’s not “almost” and you are kidding yourself.

    Stop wasting your life and get out of there.

  • Oh Lady… you are living my life. Get out of there now. Lawyer up. Divorce his useless arse. I am reading your letter and getting shivers and feeling really sick. I lived that life, married to a piece of shit douchebag who treated me exactly like that. Made it all out to be my fault. Used to go for “drinks” with all these other women (be one for a few months, then I would discover he was out with another) I wished I had kicked him out many many years ago. He would text flirty messages to these women. Go on dates with them because they were only friends. Of course I was never invited. I wanted to keep things “normal” for my kids. I pretended my life was wonderful, worked, looked after kids. My mother even said to me after one night when he didn’t come home (was too drunk apparently to drive so stayed at one of these women’s houses) that I was behaving like a jealous wife. I took it all in. This must be my fault, I wasn’t trying hard enough. Fuck that shit.

    Get out. Believe in yourself. I can guarantee that your husband will take off the moment this woman or another accepts his advances. Exactly like mine did. Be brave. It will be hard but you will be doing the best thing for yourself and your son. Hugs

  • This is spooky. This could almost exactly be my life except my husband and I have only been married for three years and we don’t have children. He didn’t buy the OW any gifts that I know of, but everything else… wow. He even said the exact same things! “just once I want to be wanted” and “my relationship with her is mildly flirtatious at worst”. I’ve never told anyone about it because I’m so humiliated, but it eats me alive. I think about leaving him every single day, but apart from this weird, sad affair he’s having, we get along fine. And I still love him! Sigh. Also, he’s on meds for serious depression and I worry that leaving him would send him over the edge. He’s been suicidal before. Thank God for this website and for all of you in the Chumpnation! I read this blog every day and one day I will find the strength to fix my life.

    • Its been a while and i hope things have gotten better for you. I feel your pain. I know firsthand how it feels when your husband is in tears over another woman. My husband denied having feelings for his sister in law but all the signs were there. Overt flirting. I caught her flashing her boobs at him in the hot tub. He told me i imagined it and would not discuss it. He and she shared a dessert together, eating from the same spoon! He would never share a utensil with me, his wife, because eww germs. Thwy would go off to be alone together. When she gave birth and he was not allowed in the delivery room, he was livid and cried! Imagine that…wanting to be in your brothers girlfriends delivery room…sick…typing this brings back the anger and humiliation and sorrow. Whenever i tried to talk to him about these events he becomes very angry and tells me i imagined all of it!He says if I want to stay married (we have 2 special needs kids) then i should not bring up these things. Im sorry you and i married scumbags.

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