Dear Chump Lady,
Fifteen years ago, my wife confessed to an affair she had with her “Christian” psychotherapist which had ended 4 years prior to confessing it to me. She trickle-truthed me and first said that the affair had lasted about three years, but then recently said that the affair had lasted about 6 years. She became pregnant during that time and I recently conducted a DNA test to verify that our child was truly mine. (She is). She was furious about my sleuthing. She insists that although they were sexual, intercourse never occurred. She also believes that since she was “groomed and manipulated” by a professional that she is not responsible for what occurred, and would not have gone down that road had she not been vulnerable to his “emotional brainwashing.” Our marriage counselor seems to agree with this point of view.
I know now that back then I settled, wanting to save my family, and wanting to save my child from a broken home. I made a decision that I felt was right, but now I think it wasn’t right for me.
Of course we have been through hell trying to reconcile and have a decent marriage. We have been through marriage counseling, pastoral counseling, etc. I know my wife feels terrible shame and guilt. She wants to “move on”. I can’t seem to. Sometimes I feel like a jerk for talking about the whole ugly mess, like I can’t forgive. Most of the time we do well together. We are in our mid-fifties. To divorce now would be a financial and emotional catastrophe for me. Am I being super chump?
By the way the therapist was sued by another client and was forced to give up his license to practice.
We have a name for “sinister ministers” and Jesus cheaters, but we need to come up with another one for lecherous shrinks. Can you believe I get more than a solitary “my spouse had an affair with their shrink” letter? I’ve gotten quite a few — another one this week in fact. And there are several people in Chump Nation whose ex’s were either therapists or had affairs with them. Uneffingbelievable. I’m glad this one got defrocked or had his sofa taken away or whatever it is they do to unethical therapists.
But about your marriage — “trickle truth”? No, you mean your wife LIED to you for years about the length of her affair and only recently admitted it was SIX years long? And you had to paternity test your kid? Yeah, no wonder you’re reeling. How long ago was “recently”? That’s your latest D-Day. It’s bad enough wondering if your marriage was a sham, but now you wonder how much of your hard fought reconciliation was a sham as well. Your grief is totally understandable.
Unless you’re a cheater, and then a missing three years is like loose change lost under the sofa cushion. Oh that?
Yeah THAT. YEARS of my life. Wondering if my daughter shares my DNA. Yes, THAT.
You’re supposed to “move on”? With what? That stellar ownership of her shit that she’s displaying?
Your problem isn’t that you can’t forgive — your problem is that you’ve been manipulated from knowing the truth about your marriage. Entire YEARS of it.
First off, and this is just my chump opinion, as someone who is not a defrocked Christian therapist, but a snarky blogger with a masters degree in African history — conducting a double life for SIX YEARS makes you a disordered wing nut. Seriously, six whole years of instigating a sexual affair and lying about it, hiding it, coming home to you, having sex with you, getting pregnant, having your child, letting you invest in that family, chumping you for 2,190 days takes some serious chops. Imagine doing anything for 2,190 days. You gotta be practiced at deceit to pull that off.
Oh, but she was “groomed and manipulated” by a professional. Way to take responsibility there! The Devil Made Me Do It. (Or the Christian shrink).
Newsflash for your wife — I too was groomed and manipulated by a professional! I too was “emotionally brainwashed” and vulnerable. I was a single mother — what’s your wife got on vulnerable? Some pesky FOO issues? And I had ZERO roadblocks for falling in love with that cheating freak — I was single. He was single (legally, anyway). And yet I can recall the entire relationship with clarity, that I had complete AGENCY. I made the best decisions with what I knew at the time.
Your wife KNEW she was married. There should’ve been ding! ding! ding! sirens going off in her head about having sex with another man. She had enough wherewithal to keep it a secret from you. For six years. And then another four years before she “confessed” it. She wasn’t some cheater cyborg and he held the remote control — she knew exactly what she was doing. She went back for seconds and thirds and fourths. She needs to own that.
Moreover, I don’t care how charismatic someone is, how manipulative — unless he held a gun to her head or physically coerced her in some way (for SIX YEARS) — he did not control her. She AGREED to it. And that’s on her.
She’s just spinning the bullshit that every cheater spins that She’s the Real Victim Here. See, then you can’t get mad at her! It’s the self pity channel. Poor sausage.
Thomas, the reason your reconciliation sucks is that you’ve got genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse instead of real remorse. True remorse requires OWNING what you did. Your wife has a butt load of excuses for why she is not responsible. He made me do it! Okay, I DID it, BUT I had reasons! Reasons that make me seem very sad and vulnerable and broken and taken advantage of.
NO. The person who was taken advantage of, Thomas, was YOU.
I’m sorry your marriage counselor is buying her poor widdle cheater, she knows not what she does, routine. Your counselor doesn’t have to spend the rest of his life with her, you do.
Divorce is a financial and emotional catastrophe? Yeah and so? You’re talking to Chump Nation, Thomas. We’ve lived it. And we’ve rebuilt and we have our sanity to show for it. And many of us have shiny new lives and some of us have shiny new partners who don’t cheat on us! It’s your choice and your life. If you want to stay in limbo with a remorseless cheater that’s up to you. But Dude, she’s not one bit sorry. Stop kidding yourself.