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Dear Chump Lady, “I couldn’t forgive a mistake.”

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GPShisDickDear Chump Lady,

Can you tell me your theory about emotional affairs?

My husband had an emotional affair two years ago. It lasted a couple of months, with two D-Days on my part, by checking both his email and then his voicemail. Supposedly it has been no contact between them for this whole time. I do check his email and phone to verify. But something inside of me is nagging. The trust is gone. I see him in a different light. He is loving toward me, but a workaholic as a lawyer so we don’t have much alone time. I have a young son and don’t want to initiate a divorce because I “couldn’t forgive a mistake” or was too “punishing.”

I’d appreciate any insight you have. I do consider myself a chump.

Toto

Dear Toto,

You could initiate a divorce because he’s a blameshifting asswipe. That’s completely acceptable.

Toto, you’re in a difficult position many other chumps have found themselves in — feeling chumped, but without enough evidence to feel justified in divorce.

Now, we can attack this problem two ways. The first would be to focus on getting the evidence you need to come to some sort of burden-of-proof tipping point. To do that, you go into marriage police overdrive — install a key logger on his computer, put a GPS on the car, attach a voice activated recorder with velcro under his seat, or just hire a private detective. Chances are that “nagging feeling” will result in some sickening evidence.

The other way to attack this problem is to realize that you have enough evidence already to Trust That He Sucks. Put the focus back on yourself and off What He Might Be Doing for a moment — is this relationship acceptable to YOU? Do you feel respected? Cherished? Loved? Do you trust this man?

When you’ve already seriously considered going into marriage police overdrive — key logging, GPSing, VAR, etc. — you need to face the fact that the trust is gone. Do you want to live like a Soviet spy?

Oh, but we can’t divorce someone because we don’t trust them! Scary ground, isn’t it? Because the minute you go allow yourself to feel vigilant, you’re doubting yourself. The mindfuckery pops into your head. “It was all a MISTAKE.” “Why can’t you FORGIVE and quit PUNISHING” him with your doubts? He SAID he had to WORK LATE.

And like a good chump, you take it on yourself. The problem is you and your punishing, untrusting ways. The problem couldn’t be him and his affair. No, that was a “mistake” (singular) and you are a Bad Person Who Cannot Forgive.

Well, let’s go with that whack narrative for a moment. Okay, you’re a bad person who is punishing him with your doubts. Hey, that’s a legitimate reason to divorce! This relationship does not bring out your best self. Being in this marriage makes you a hyper vigilant harpy who lives in constant anxiety that she’ll be betrayed.  Here’s a thought — maybe outside this marriage, you might be a person who can relax and feel safe again.

But this whack narrative is missing one thing — his contrition. He betrayed you. He saw your hurt and upset, and given that information, he continued to hurt you and lie to you, thus bringing about D-Day 2.

Now, we can believe one of two things. Busted a second time, he gave up his affair and has been a good boy ever since. OR we can believe that he went underground with his affair. The email you have access to isn’t the email he uses to have affairs and neither is the phone. These are easy workarounds.

I tend to the believe he went underground because of statements like you “couldn’t forgive a mistake” and you’re “punishing” him. That’s blameshifting. And people who shift blame have shit to feel defensive about. The authentically remorseful, on the other hand, own their shit. “I betrayed you, and you have every right to feel flinchy. What can I do to make you feel safe?” That would be a shit-owning statement. “Why the fuck aren’t you over this?! Quit punishing me!” would not be a shit-owning sentiment.

So cheating or not cheating, you’ve got a husband who appears to be unaware of how damaging his emotional affair was, how it hurt you, and destroyed your trust in him. Very best case scenario, you have a willfully clueless husband who doesn’t care about your feelings.

Can you work with that? From where I sit, I don’t think so, because you’ve given me no indication that he’s helping you heal or owning his shit.

So what’s my “theory” about emotional affairs? I think they are destabilizing to a marriage and disrespectful. I think even if they stop at “just” emotional, they can be a form of abuse. To keep you off-balance, to goad you into pick me dancing, and to endanger your sense of person safety. Do that shit long enough, it erodes your self-esteem, and he feels he can control you. All forms of abusive entitlement, IMO.

Cynical Chump Lady thinks 9 times out of 10, emotional affairs are what cheaters cop to when you haven’t caught them in a physical affair. Adults like to have sex. Most men do not invest themselves in another person they’re attracted to unless they want to fuck this person. They don’t hold hands and read Kirkegaard together. They don’t go to hotel rooms for Bible study. They aren’t swapping Grumpy Cat memes because they’re buddies — they’re doing the mating dance.

Emotional affairs are courtship. Courting another person while married to you is either a deal breaker for you, or it isn’t. I have written elsewhere, that as unicorns and recovery go, I think emotional affairs might have a better chance of recovery because it hasn’t crossed the line of endangering your health, or risking pregnancy/paternity. But I think they’re damaging all the same, for the reasons I stated above. At the end of the day it is YOUR call what YOUR deal breakers are.

The fact is, whatever he’s doing, he doesn’t appear one bit sorry about it. That’s your real problem, Toto. Time to trust that he sucks.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • He is a workaholic lawyer that found time for an emotional affair yet he can’t find the time to put into his marriage. If he’s so busy at work, that poor workaholic guy, he wouldn’t have time for any kind of affair either.

      • Oh please. Chump lady is so full of bullocks. Give this guy a break. It you don’t occassionally get a goony crush on someone when you are married, you are not normal or perhaps dead. Or, may so dorky that you never get hit on.

        Better check you pulse because you most likely don’t have one.

            • I am not a chump. Chumplady. Please speak for yourself.

              My marriage is much better since learning of my spouse’s affair. My MC said it could be and she was right. After the affair, and the remorse, i finally had the spouse I always wanted and that I deserved. Had my spouse not change and then I stayed…..Well then I would be a chump. But to my mind the affair forced my spouse to take a look inside, and make some changes. Changes that really benefited me more than my spouse and made the marriage a much better marriage.

              • Well, it’s great that you had real remorse and not the genuine imitation naugahyde sort so many of us get. The person who posted this letter did not get genuine remorse. I’m truly glad things are working out for you.

        • YY

          You seem agitated, are you in junior high? Is your acne acting up and your crush hasn’t noticed you in your tight white pants. YY, get out of the basement, go outside, get some fresh air and get rid of the Bieber bangs. Good luck Bud.

        • Oh please. The correct term is “bollocks.”

          If you’re going to say moronic shit, and top it off with words you don’t understand, the least you can do is spell them correctly.

          • YY, like FG said, it’s “bollocks”, not “bullocks”.

            Perhaps you should give your tight white pants a holiday and wear sweats to clear your brain. Hang in there YY, in a couple of years your braces will come off and your acne should clear up.

            • Hi folks – I think we all see trolls now very clearly. Since CL doesn’t ban them, it’s up to us to not respond to the drivel. In.any.way. It just feeds more trolls. Thanks. Let’s move on to the real question at hand..

        • I am very much alive and have never had a crush while married. I have a crush on my husband. Why waste time crushing when I could simply be fucking and feel good about it???

    • There is a difference when someone cheats in a new relationship, to someone that his bin in a Marriage for many years, as the words of the Bible say forgiveness is key. All you people on this site bashing other people are terrible, you think your any better than the rest of us, we are all in skin and bone and you got to realize people make mistakes, big ones. But who initiated the problem, obviously they had a reason to cheat, maybe you didn’t show any love at home? maybe you had other problems addictions? or maybe in new relationships your just not the person they love, the “wrong person”. If you leave a person when they are heart broken and trying to fix things and you are on this site bashing them, you are stuck in the negativity, and I promise you that you will just continue in the loop, you cannot force something upon a person, but you can change yourself so they want to make an effort to fight for you. You have to see a bigger picture In life, and look towards how you can fix not only the other person but yourself. I am not a person to blog, but to blog about your problems does not fix them, in fact it enhances them. I absolutely hate reading these stories and no one needs to see this negativity in the world today, it is ridiculous.

      If you think you are better than anyone else, it is pathetic. I am not saying cheating is right, but I’m saying every situation is different, every person is different and if you think taking advice from a bunch of strangers is a good thing to do, then you sir are a idiot. The biggest issues with long relationships is people become complacent and stop showing there true love for a person, that is the biggest mistake you can do, because they married who you where, not the person you’ve turned into, and the big picture in life is not stupid stuff like bashing the person and living in the past, its the future and the facts that are right in front of you, so next time you have to bash a person about the wrongs they have done in life, try look in a mirror and understand why it happened. Open your eyes people and stop living in the past, if you have a husband or wife that has been faithful for years and has shown love, loyalty and has went many miles down the road with you. REALIZE THAT PEOPLE MAKE MISTAKES! STOP LIVING IN THE PAST AND GET THE F** OVER IT AND START OVER!

      You do not look for advice from people on these blog sites, you go to professionals that understand phycology and can tell you the actual roots of the problems, you should never be a sheep in todays society and follow what everyone else does, try being yourself and move forward in your own path. A professional will sit down and you will actually figure out if the marriage is going to work or not, if you are a good person, situations like this will not ruin a marriage or a relationship, there is a possibility of some major growing and strengthening in a relationship.

      I don’t care what your opinion is on my statement, because I too have bin cheated on and you just have to really sit and think about the good things and stop harping on the bad things, and think to yourself. What do I want in my future, to be in a loving relationship and a family, or to be alone and on these blog sites bashing how hard life is and all the bad things people have done to you, Negativity is not the key. Positive thoughts and knowing what you want is the actual answer in life.

      ## From the pissed off guy sick of negativity in todays world, get the f** over the bad things and move on with what is right in front of you, people on these blog site don’t know anything about your situation, only you do.

      • Oh, no. Another one (and his little animae IS green).

        Hey, TheWise (oh the irony)–we are moving on, and if we want to do so with some judgment and humor, why do you care? Now, how about YOU move on?

        We’ve been exposed to this blame-the-victim rationale by several others over the past few days, and we’re not buying. Ask yourself this–when was the last time Infidelity actually SOLVED marital problems? It doesn’t. Ever. So the cheater IS a selfish jerk who threw a grenade into their marriage instead of trying to fix it. Not a “mistake” (see previous posts as to why), but an earth-shattering, marriage-damaging, emotional rape. If you can forgive that, more power to you. I don’t see why I should have to continue to live with my rapist (and almost everyone here agrees).

        You’ve exercised your First Amendment right, now go seek community with like-minded individuals as you won’t convince any of us here.

        • If you hate our stories then do not read them. Go and pontificate on a site where people gather to share stories about how strong their marriages have grown since being rebuilt after infidelity.
          I do not know of such a site but you could always start one up.

      • P.S. The “possibility of some major growing and strengthening in a relationship” as the result of infidelity– p < .00001

  • Mine said to me about his supposedly 2-3 year EA (cough PA) with a co-worker to quit trying to “Crucify him” or you’re “Crucifying me”. Then he looked at me and said, “I Love my Wife”. I was so creeped out hearing this come from him. I’m divorcing him because I don’t trust him anymore!!!!! And I’m not willing to live my life being a marriage policeman.

        • Reminds me of a Ted talk I saw recently about lying. You know a liar because they use distancing language when the statement is lie. Think Bill Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman”.

          My ex was featured in a video for the birth education organization we were clients of saying, “its about what She feels”. He was in the thick of his affair. I remember seeing it and feeling sick, but did not know why. You are smart lady.

          • Grrrrr! Distancing language! STBX kept saying, “this is not about someone else” when I asked repeatedly. An artful blame shift mindfuck.

    • This must be from the cgeater handbook. My exH said “I LOVE MY WIFE!!!”? To me all the time after I caught him cheating. I told him “don’t call me that”

        • Maybe he didn’t realize you were the one he was talking to. Maybe he’d said it before to someone else. I was never called “My Wife” until I was packing to leave and Shitforbrains wanted to assert his property rights over me.

          • This trend to say “my wife” directly to the wife’s face is fascinating. Clearly a way to dehumanize or objectify you. It reminds me of the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs who says to a potential victim, “It rubs the lotion on its skin.” Creepy.

            • A new page for the cheater playbook. “My Wife”

              My emotional affair having husband said this to me as well. When I questioned him as to why his ho-worker is deemed his “best friend” and I am not, he said to me “You’re different, you’re MY WIFE”. Come again? Apparently “wife” and “best friend” are separate entities that shall not intermingle. In his mind, I’m a piece of property.

      • Interesting way to state that. ‘I love my WIFE.’ I have heard stories of more than one cheater calling the AP his ‘wife’ in tete-a-tete conversation, because he ‘only LIVES with’ the woman he took vows with, and of course they ‘never have sex’.

    • Kate:

      It is possible to be attracted to someone and still love your wife. Most people who divorce a long time spouse for any reason, usually regret it, according to studies on such issues.

      • Hey YY–read the actual studies instead of just the headlines. “Buyer’s remorse” after any major decision is natural; the study I assume you’re alluding to found that only 10% felt regret for their divorce all the time. Of course people will miss a long-term marriage partner some of the time. I expect to sometimes. Will I regret my upcoming divorce? Hell, no, because being alone trumps being with a deceptive human being.

        • @YY
          I’m here to tell you bud, that is a bogus statement. My final DDay was in May of 2014, I filed on June 19, it was final on July 14 all of 2014. I REGRET THAT I DID NOT DO IT SOONER!!!!! I was married for 37 years, you twit, so I might be a little better able to judge if I am regretting my divorce. Here are the things that I regret

          1. Ever having to wake up in the morning to a bedroom that smelled like a fucking brewery.
          2. Not finding out about the first affair(that I knew of) in the mid 90’s before my then 15yo daughter did.
          3. That my EXH hurt my son when he had that affair with sons best friends MOTHER.
          4. That I did the pick me dance that time and a few times later, went to counseling with him several times…blah blah are you getting this picture?
          5. That my EXH lied to myself and to our DD face a bazillion times about the latest Twat Waffle who was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. “She’s just my friend” “we just play pool” “mom won’t go to the bar and play pool with me, nothing is going on, I PROMISE”

          I could go on and on and on……What kind of word salad would you like to throw at that you moron?

      • YY – I’m pretty sure my only regret is not leaving my cheating husband after the first time I caught him cheating on me. At least 100 women later he claims he loves me and I’m sure he does but that type of love is not acceptable to me and being a single mom of 2 and alone is much better than any disease I was sure to eventually get from my loving husband.

        • Stefoosh: Just a warning that YY is a troll. Although the post you responded to sounds somewhat straightforward, the rest of his posts confirm his trollhood.

          Can’t reason with a troll any more than you can a narc.

        • Stefoosh:

          I am not a troll. Tempest is the one acting like a troll, by labeling anyone who disagrees with her/him a troll.

          Anyway. Yes, if your husband continued to cheat after getting caught once, then you did the right thing by eventually leaving.

          But, you still gave him a chance. So, you can leave knowing you did love him and you gave him every opportunity to clean up his act. That’s love. You know what love is and your serial cheater husband does not. You will find someone new because you are a loving person.

          • YY,

            Tempest is not a troll. And most everyone here gave the cheating him or her a chance. Do you really believe that what is important is “getting caught?”

          • Let’s not confuse love & marriage.

            Love is NOT giving someone more chances to kick you in the teeth. That’s martyr syndrome thinking.

            Marriage is a contract at will, a commitment. Much like employment at will. If I get caught stealing from my employer, I will get shit canned & would sound like an idiot complaining about it. If my boss loved me I could count on more chances & maybe blaming him b/c he doesn’t pay me enough not to steal from him? Pulllllease!

            I regret giving STBX a second chance to screw me & my terrific kids over. It was time wasted that i can’t get back.

            Those Wednesday nights spent in marriage counselor’s office would have been better spent reading stories to my kids & tucking them into bed.

            This writer can’t trust her spouse & he cemented that belief with the chance he blew.

            • Here here Moxie! I guess YY would consider me a loving spouse since I gave the ex a chance after I discovered his affair. The only reward I think I should get for that is a giant dunce cap for wasting 3 precious years of my 40s.

              The absolute only thing that I regret about my divorce is not filing sooner. As far as “I can prove” he cheated on me once but I suspect more and given that he moved in with the OW before our divorce was even final I am willing to bet it never actually ended for the three years we stayed together.

              The only thing you get when you stay with a cheater after your initial dday is more heartache, more ddays and a steady diet of shit sandwiches.

              Plus, I’d like to add that I don’t believe “emotional affairs’ actually exist unless there are multiple states or continents separating the love birds and they don’t travel at all. I’d also like to point out that being attracted to someone that isn’t your spouse is not the same thing (at all) as sending 100’s of texts a day, talking on the phone for hours on end and generally hiding anything that you’re doing from your spouse.

          • So you’re saying that if you stay after the first time you find out about cheating that ‘proves your love’ but after that you get a free pass to leave if you catch your spouse cheating again? How about the spouse ‘proves their love’ by not fucking other people? I would recommend anyone who catches a cheating spouse to leave. As my lawyer told me (with 35 years of divorce lawyering under his belt), ‘If they cheat once and you stay with them it’s almost 100% they will cheat again.’

      • They can regret it all they want. Doesn’t mean I have to stick around for the ride. Fuck that. You make your bed? There you go. Lay down.

      • YY; No one is saying people won’t have attractions to other people once they are married (or in an agreed upon monogamous relationship)-they just will not/should not ACT on them. Reason: they promised they wouldn’t and someone who loves them is counting on it. Simple as that. I never cheated because I just decided it would never happen and did not allow it to be a possibility by acting in a way that invites that type of attention. I was not open to it.
        This is one of the reasons cheaters like to keep chumps, they do not want to be hurt in this way themselves. This way, they can just deliver hurt, not receive it. This is the reason for the deception, plus it is exciting for the immature.
        No one here is saying you can’t do your cheating, we just don’t buy into the justifications. We have heard them all on this site, believe me.

    • Yee-aah. Mine said that he had sex with Dr. Hoe, once. Then it was twice. Then it was the two year prior EA I discovered via phone records, which started when…

      pay attention YY:

      when he said to her, via FB “Yes, Unfortunately”, in response to her question “was he married?”

      Then of course, I found the 4-5 years more prior involvement with Trashley Mad, chasing niece’s roommate (ew); chasing the kid we sold our HS aged-daughter’s clarinet to (double ew); the random woman* he followed around Trader Joe’s (to quote her; his version? I saw her once or twice…get the picture?); and on and on and on.

      YY, I do not think that means what you think it means. Go take this nickel and buy yourself a clue. Don’t come home without it.

      *[random woman & I had a long talk and bonded over cheaters; her BF cheater on her while she was in the hospital with a brain bleed–when I figured out who she was and called her, she said, “Oh God, that guy who followed me around Trader Joe’s was your husband?!?.. etc.]

      • namedforvera: “YY, …Go take this nickel and buy yourself a clue. Don’t come home without it.”

        I love it! YY is a troll (check out his other posts).

      • Vera:

        You need to get yourself a 100 dollar bill and buy yourself a clue as to why you were cheated on so many time, after the first. Did you fail to wake up after the first go ’round? The first time you find out your spouse is a cheater your eyes should be wide open, after that.

        If hubby does it again, he’s out on his can. No one get’s a second chance with me. But you know what a lot of people cheat today. Just go ask Ashley Madison.

        • Wait a sec. I thought you, YY, said that staying after the first dday ‘proved that you loved’. But now you’re saying that staying is why people get cheated on again? Get your story straight, troll. And then piss off.

        • WOW! that was very abusive what you just said to Vera and others YY. Why are you even here? I am just catching up with posts, didn’t read them all yet, but this truly irked me, first you said “if hubby cheats AGAIN, he is out on his can” then you say “no one gets a second chance with me” which one is it???? if you were cheated on and took the hubby back, well that is giving him a second chance isn’t it? why are you here and posting shit if no one gets a second chance with you when it comes to cheating, implying you wouldn’t put up with it and if that’s the case, then you have no idea how horrible it is to be betrayed by someone who was supposed to watch your back. Don’t make stupid, abusive comments, walk in our shoes first then run your trap you fuckwit IDIOT!!

        • Ah the “everybody is doing it” argument… I remember my 5 year old using this one to justify poor behavior too. This Ashley Madison kid sounds like a real trouble maker.

          No One gets a second chance with YY… YY will dump you after the second time you cheat, does it all the time.

  • Sorry, Toto, but mine only copped to an emotional affair until I tricked him into an admission. Adults don’t just kiss and send text messages. Furthermore, the atmosphere of psychological abuse a cheater constructs to convince you that it is YOUR fault is in and of itself, unacceptable. Are you happy? fulfilled in your marriage? do you trust him? If the answer is no to all 3, just leave. If you don’t, I guarantee you are in for MUCH worse times. I’m sorry that you’re in this position. It is horrible, and indecision adds to its wretchedness (so just decide, you’ll feel better & more empowered, I promise, even if it’s a difficult road).

    • I agree Tempest- I forgave an EA only to have the marriage finally end several years on with a PA. It’s definitely the case that Cheaters push boundaries and the more you forgive, the more they take advantage.

      • It takes two to make a marriage good. If you don’t realize that, all of you will likely have troubles in your next marriage, too.

        • Scotty, ready forward thrusters.

          YY, You are correct so far as you go. It takes two people to maintain a good marriage, but only one to destroy it. So are we blaming the innocent victims of abuse now?

          • Don’t pay attention to the troll. Either it’s a cheater or it’s some dumbass who stuck around and got burned and is now freaked out that there are millions of Chump Lady readers who are not only picking up the pieces but finding it within themselves to help those who are not quite as far along.

            Hey YY – how’s your mum’s basement? Damp? Chilly? Is she shouting for you to get up to the table for dinner? Did she make your favourite? And if she didn’t are you going to get stroppy?

        • YY: you are wrong! Two people enter a marriage…….but it takes communication, mutual respect, reciprocity and trust (and mutual love/attraction of course) to make a marriage “good”. AND…….if one partner does not feel as tho they are receiving those things and becomes unhappy, than communication is a MUST. Either the problems need to be addressed and fixed, with or without professional help or the marriage needs to end by divorce.

          That isn’t what happens when one partner goes outside the marriage!

        • YY. You obviously disagree with everyone here. If you are trying to cause discord here, good luck. We chumps are tougher, smarter and more resilient than you can imagine. We also stick together, don’t flame anyone, try to help each other to get through the hardest time in our lives. You may not like Tracy’s site. You obviously don’t like her message. So just stop. We don’t want to reconcile with our abusive,cheating, lying, narcissistic, fucktards. If you want to preach reconciliation, you may be selling, but we ain’t buying. I get the feeling you yourself are a cheater, and maybe didn’t get a pick me dance. 😛 Tracy is a voice of sanity for so many lost hurting women and men who have been fucked over. You obviously don’t like that, but it is what it is. Too bad you can’t be happy for us, instead of being the proverbial turd in the punchbowl. Well, just go. I literally owe my sanity to this site, Tracy’s spot on answers, and all the absolutely lovely, warm, caring people on this site. And you ain’t one of them.

          I won’t ever comment on one of your posts again. I will never even read them. You are a waste of time. Go peddle your hogwash somewhere else. It’s crap.

          • LIKE! Irish such an awesome response. Toto, one question. Is your marriage working for you? My ex worked and played long hours. It was a choice. He used this to sabotage our marriage and then used it as a reason to cheat. Again he made a choice. Cheaters blow up their marriages in many ways, often long before their affairs. What your gut is saying is that you no longer trust this person….

            “A lot of people cheat.” So WTF does that mean? A lot of people do drugs. Doesn’t make it my GoTo number one activity: it’s crap behavior! If you want to do something because everybody else is doing it then perhaps you just need to grow the fuck up. Nobody held a gun to your head and forced you to marry! Nobody forced you to have children. Nobody forced you to cheat either! And that little word MARRIAGE kind of implies commitment, transparency, and the ability to reason as an adult. I think we all know what it means. It’s the entitled who don’t want to follow the rules. No matter how good he/she has it! Cheaters suck. Over and over and over again. Poor baby, she/he doesn’t get to do WTF ever because life is hard. A Marriage/relationship require a couple to have a thinking response to challenges. It requires communication, shared values, and intentionality. Not I am going to jump into the sack with who the fuck ever! Yes, that solves all kinds of problems…NOT! And cheating is never in response to what a spouse did. It is a choice. Poor choices have consequences. Or hell don’t cheaters want it all ways!?! I am happy got a spouse at home but hey I want and deserve a little strange on the side. No wonder Chumps say FUCK OFF! I don’t even want them as friends! As far as I am concerned cheating is a deal breaker. And cheaters OWN your own shit. You betrayed your spouse and if you ever had a conscience you failed yourself! Who the fuck does this? (It’s no wonder Cheaters have every and any excuse in the book.)

        • Deep thoughts by YY….

          “It takes two to make a marriage good”

          Tomorrow we will learn that it takes two people to play one on one basketball and other insightful tidbits.

          Drew- the ‘everybody is doing it’ is just another thing cheaters say to make it all okay. They also like to use the ‘anyone can do it given the right circumstances’ line.. because they figure if they have no self control, everybody must be exactly the same… because they make poor decisions and can’t protect their marriages, must mean we all have those same flaws. Using cheater and cheater apologist logic, we’ll all rob banks some day, because people do it.. so if someone out there is doing it, it must be something we are all capable of. It’s absurd, but it helps them get through the day. You need to sit your cheater down and tell them ‘just because jimmy’s wife is cheating, doesn’t mean you need to.. if jimmy’s wife jumped off a bridge….’

    • In addition to asking oneself if they trust their spouse, is to ask whether they respect them. That’s something I’ve learned after D-day. In fact, looking back before D-day, it’s hard to say I respected my ex very much. Eye-opening stuff.

  • My first DDay was supposed to have only been “infatuation” (before the term emotional affair was coined). Marital counseling, two kids, etc., etc.
    THIRTEEN years later, after DDay #3– he finally admits that #1 was physical, “but only once!” HA! Riiigghhhht.

    Sorry, Toto. Emotional affairs are just as damaging as physical ones.
    I know how tough it is to wrap your head around what your spouse has done.
    We are here for you. Just keep your eyes wide open, whatever you decide to do.

    • “Emotional affairs are just as damaging as physical ones.” The main difference apart from the health risks is that the physical ones leave you with horrible visuals that I guess are part of the infidelity version of PTSD. Supposedly this is even more devastating to men.

      Also, you’re letting the husband set the boundaries. At some point he is the one who gets to decide to move from the old, “It was just an inappropriate friendship, what is your problem?” to “We were drunk and she dragged me to the hotel, what is your problem?”

      • X’s was, “We’re JUST FRIENDS, you’re clingy and controlling” to “We were just friends. And it (the sex) just happened!” And their mean spouses kicked them out, so they had to get an apartment together. But she wasn’t his girlfriend!

      • IMO an emotional affair is sometime worse than a physical one. It’s one thing to fuck a one night stand it is quite something else to give another person all your words, those emotion laden words that should be spoken to your spouse. Again IMO if you have a “friendship” no matter how innocent with another woman/man that make your spouse feel uncomfortable or threatened it should be terminated immediately. Your spouses feelings should come before anyone else’s esp someone who is “just a friend”

  • Yeah , as another poster has said before, when you have to GPS your husband’s dick, there are problems. Sorry Toto, he is most likely having a full affair. CL is right, they only cop to what they think you know. Mine even denied over and over in the face of blinding evidence ( a recording) of his affair.

  • Toto – CL is spot on. Read everything she said several times. Then…

    Consider requesting a postnup. If the EA is over, if he is truly sorry and a man of high character, AND IS COMMITTED TO YOU AND THE MARRIAGE, he will not only agree, he will do so without shifting ANY blame onto you.

    Keep in mind that people lie. The people closest to us break promises and abuse us. You will see many chump posts today, in archives, and in the future that provide witness to this fact.

    You can forgive the EA. But do not forget it. That is your protection. Reality is the best protector of all.

  • Toto – I too believed I could keep tabs on my cheating husband by checking his email, Facebook, phone, etc. When I caught him messaging a woman in FB, he said he would deactivate his account (it was all “innocent” anyway, of course). Later I found out how easy it is to reactivate a FB account – which is exactly what he was doing in the middle of the night. Then I caught him texting another woman via our cell phone bill records. I confronted him and he said he would quit (that was all “innocent” too, of course) but I kept checking the records to just make sure. Found out later that there are all kind of messaging apps available to download on your phone that mean you will never see the records on your cell phone bill. What I am saying is that you will NEVER be able to keep tabs on him – there are so many ways to hide things if he wants to. You have to believe in your heart that he has regret, don’t spend your life being the marriage police – it is no way to live. Belive me, I tried it for several months and it was hell! CL is right – trust that he sucks!

  • Emotional affairs are the opening notes to the pick me song played during the pick me dance. My advice is no matter what you learn he will still be lyimg about something so just know that this cheating thing will get worse if he is not remorseful

    • Yup, yup, yup. This happened to me. He was not remorseful, I went through years of bullshit topped with a full blown physical affair at the end. If I had known then what I know now…well, it would saved me a load of pain and hardship. Anyway, if he’s not remorseful…it WILL get worse. Wish I had known…

      • I to forgave an EA, wanting to believe that the person I trusted the most in the world, the one which I had two kids with and dedicated the best years of my life, would NEVER betray me. I thought that I could live with him kissing someone one night after many drinks and she coming onto him, but eight years later, when I caught him in a full blown physical and everything affair, I realized that I had never trusted him again and those eight years were the worst ever because I could never bring up the topic of how uncomfortable his female friends still made me feel because then I would be acting out of unfounded jealousy. I was such a chump! Knowing now what I know, and after being on CL for a year, I don´t believe EA´s exist. An affair is an affair, and an obvious sign that your partner does not respect you or love you enough to even discuss when he starts having inappropriate feelings for someone. Inappropriate is when someone who doesn´t have time because of his job, can dedicate even a minute to non-job related people INSTEAD of giving that time to his spouse and family. That is unfair, it is betrayal, dishonesty and outright meanness. A spouse who is craving a word of kindness and some dedication from her partner is completely crushed to find out that he did have time to give those words and dedication to another…Please don´t turn into a love policeman, it is totally a waste of time and even more devastating to your spirit..

        • Amen, Chumpita–when I think back to the 5 hours sleep per night I was getting at the time of my H’s affair, trying to juggle parenthood, running a house, and full-time job, THEN think about how much time he spent with her instead of helping me, I start to feel a little homicidal.

        • “A spouse who is craving a word of kindness and some dedication from her partner is completely crushed to find out that he did have time to give those words and dedication to another…”

          This. This is why an EA is just as devestating as a PA. While reading through the thousands of texts between H and OW, it was the intimate, lovey-dovey stuff that hurt every bit as much as the graphic details of their sexual affair. Him treating her as a friend and a confidante was the hardest part of the betrayal. After all, it is not my vagina that makes me unique and who I am, it is my mind and my heart and my soul that are the essence of me, and he rejected it all.
          Toto–Ask yourself if you can live with having the essence of who you are rejected in favor of another. If only a PA is a deal breaker for you, know that the EA will almost certainly become a PA, and most likely already has.

          Hugs to you, and draw strength from this site.

          • This is a great explanation of why all affairs are painful: “Him treating her as a friend and a confidante was the hardest part of the betrayal. After all, it is not my vagina that makes me unique and who I am, it is my mind and my heart and my soul that are the essence of me, and he rejected it all.”

  • I became the marriage police and lived like a “Soviet Spy” for the total 8 months of false reconciliation and it just led to finding about more affairs and d-days. Via my spying it went from a 3-month emotional affair, just like yours, to 3 affairs over 3 years, with some of them running concurrently…”living like a Soviet spy” only works if you can parlay it into President of Russia where you can bilk the system to the tune of $40 billion…Sorry to say, but we chumps are rarely in that situation, especially as the cheater has generally bilked us!

  • Toto:

    I could have written your letter. My ex husband had a five year long affair. First (supposedly) it was an emotional affair. I caught it before it became physical (so he said). He promised to stop “talking” to her. Months went by….my gut was screaming at me and I found it hard to trust…..I played detective and found evidence that it had not stopped. I confronted and he fessed up. Swore it was over. He called her in front of me and once again ended it. Months went by…….my gut was still screaming at me and it was extremely hard to trust because of all of the lies. Once again, I went into detective mode……and once again I found evidence that it had not stopped. Ex husband didn’t like my behavior and moved out. A week later wanted to move back in. I wouldn’t allow it. He courted me. AND her on the side (stupid me didn’t think he was capable of that). He moved back in with me 9 months later so we could “start” again. He loved me…..was really messed up…..he would go to counseling. I played detective some more……..found evidence of a physical affair with this same woman. HE NEVER EVER STOPPED IN FIVE YEARS!!!! He just got better at lying. Listen to your gut. You know him. You know his behavior isn’t right.

    My exhusband had more than one email address. He used an app on his phone so I couldn’t see his text messages by looking at our bill. The app uses data. I figured it out because his data usage was sky high. I also put a voice activated recorder in his truck and heard with my own ears how much he LOVED her!!!! Seriously difficult shit to live through.

    I am now divorced and doing better than ever!!!!! I no longer have to live like that. I deserve so much more than what he was capable and willing to give me. YOU DESERVE MORE!!!!!!!

    • He moved out, moves back in 9 months later after begging to come back, but is still seeing OW. Why? Why? Why? I just truly don’t understand all the drama. And is he with her now? And if so, how is she comfortable with that? Does she not fear that he is or will soon be trying to hook up with someone else?

      • expatChump–because these narcissists are motivated by power, and withholding information from you is a kind of power. They thrive on it; it motivates them to get up in the morning; it dominates every single relationship they have (even if they are socially adept enough to hide it).

        I always knew my STBX was power-oriented, but the full extent of it didn’t strike me until he was begging for reconciliation. Because I unleashed a tremendous amount of anger on him after D-day, each time I was civil to him, he took it as a sign I was returning to him, and would then try to turn the tables on me. Power. I actually never did anything substantial to reconcile as an affair is a deal-breaker to me, but even offering him the chance to make a marital therapy appt. was interpreted as a “concession” on my part. It led him to either issue ultimatums that I had to fix my issues in MC (2x he did this), or after the first session, he said HE wanted a divorce because I obviously wasn’t getting over my anger quickly enough 1.5 months after D-day. I went gorgon on him all 3 times; then filed. Oh, but turns out he DIDN’T want the divorce, “why did you file?” because it took away his power narrative. It got hard to separate his distress about loss of the marriage from distress about not “winning.” Not my problem anymore.

        • Tempest: It destroys your credibility to label people you have never met as narcissists. It is very difficult to diagnose NPD. Even very well trained psychiatrists have difficulty with a firm diagnosis. It takes many many months of treatment to firmly diagnose NPD.

          Do you mean narcissistic traits? Well your posts on filled with narcissistic comments. Comments where you label people you never met because they have the audacity to point out that your opinion is just an opinion rooted in no factual basis. Odd that you can label everyone but yourself.

          Even chumplady was wise enough to state that an emotional affair is not as bad as a physical one.

          • YY, you fucked with the wrong person. Tempest actually has a PhD in psychology.

            And I did something I don’t often do — I banned you. It’s part of my cult-like blog management.

              • I was fixing to ask him/her to PLEASE JUST SHUT UP!

                Anyway, in addition to Dr. Tempest’s credentials, many of us have spend years up close and personal with a narcissist, and can actually frigging smell one a mile off. That’s one thing I DO know about.

            • “And I did something I don’t often do — I banned you. It’s part of my cult-like blog management.”

              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
              YESSSSSSS, I love love love it!!! 😀

              Thank you Tracy!! 🙂

            • Thank you, CL. Trolls are annoying. My guess is that YY, Who Cares Says and all the rest from yesterday are actually the same person.

              • I haven’t had a chance to read posts in the last 2 months, since I’ve been soooo darn busy, that’s why I haven’t been posting here lately, but didn’t miss any posts from Tracy. I read them as soon as its in my inbox, but unfortunately I didn’t have any time to read all the other posts from my chump friends, but after what GIO wrote I am pretty curious to what was said yesterday lol.

            • Why, Why? Put up with YY? I agreed with Tempest that it is about power & winning, but we misconstrue it as that we are special to them. Big.Mistake.

          • I am an expert; thanks for playing.

            And CL did not ever say an EA is not as bad as a physical one. Reading Comprehension.

      • expatchump……..The OW is living with him now. She moved in with him 8 months after I kicked him out. She has been living with him for just over a year now. She is currently still married but in the process of finalizing her divorce. They both lied to their spouses and lied to each other. IMO they deserve each other. I hope they never live a day without the constant threat of the other one cheating. The way I was living was totally excruciating and debilitating not to mention humiliating at the very end. I am doing very well and I finally sleep at night. I needed to rid myself of him in order to get peace and joy back in my life! I don’t really care what happens to either of them.

        • Same here kimmy, my X moved in right away with latest OW. The are still together over a year now. I sleep so soundly and peacefully now in that Queen size bed all by myself. It feels amazing!!!

        • I haven’t gotten to the point where I don’t care what happens to either of them. I care that my life has been blown up for their happiness. I am also still having sleep issues. Hopefully that will get better soon

            • I am not at Meh yet either. It’s been a hard road to travel on. My ex said it was an emotional affair then said it became inappropriate. He was very inconsistant with his lies after getting caught. I hope sleep comes soon. I’m getting tired.

              • Hanginginthere–I’m sorry you’re down. Assume the worst when they trickle-truth, then it doesn’t hit as hard when he actually admits to the tawdry affair. Take a step forward for yourself every week. Hugs!

              • Hanginginthere, it seems like he was gaslighting you, which does more damage to someone’s soul than anyone realizes (besides being cheated on), including the trickle truth, so your mind is still in high gear, thus the sleep problem. I don’t know how long it’s been for you since you got rid of the fuckwit and hopefully you are in complete NC with the asswipe, I had the same sleeping problem but it gets better in time, even faster if you are in complete NC, I promise. I hope you don’t have anything in your bedroom that reminds you of this asshole. I found this, flameless candles, since I can’t sleep with real candles burning for safety reasons while I sleep, I bought them and put 2 in my bedroom, some in my living room etc. Its very soothing and its pleasant. They look like real candles and light like candles. It has a timer, it turns on when you set it up then turns off in 5 hours. I love them (they are the best ones IMO) and sleep like a baby with them instead of the nightlight. Try them, it worked for me and it may work for you. Here is the link and big hugs!

                http://www.ebay.com/itm/400599272715?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    • Kimmy, I could have written your letter! Same with me, He never stopped with the OW the whole time he was trying to get back home. He just got better and better at lying and hiding. Uses his work phone now to hide all his secrets. But, like you I keep having the gut feeling he was lying. Always trust your gut!

      He is a serious fucktard narc!

  • “Well, let’s go with that whack narrative for a moment. Okay, you’re a bad person who is punishing him with your doubts. Hey, that’s a legitimate reason to divorce! This relationship does not bring out your best self. Being in this marriage makes you a hyper vigilant harpy who lives in constant anxiety that she’ll be betrayed. Here’s a thought — maybe outside this marriage, you might be a person who can relax and feel safe again.”

    Oh my god, I loved this!! Your snark brings a smile to my face ChumpLady!

    • i used to have all kinds of physical problems: bad sleep, gut problems, disordered dreams …. I suffer a mere fraction of what I used to. I think part of me knew before my heart would believe it, and it was making me sick.

      • Yes! I ended up in the emergency room twice because of the illnesses. Second time she didn’t even come to get me. Since she disappeared 8 months ago I’ve miraculously fully recover! Chump lady and all of you opened my eyes! It was a miracle. P.S. divorce isn’t final but she’s already moved to where he lives. She has an apartment near him on Austin (I’m in Chicago) so that she can get more money out of the divorce. Doesn’t want alimony, just 65%-35% split of all accounts.

        • Marked–I’d fight that 65/35 split HARD, esp. if she had an affair that ended the marriage. Believe me, I have a rock solid case for more than 50% assets, but my lawyer warned me the best I could get (should I decide not to accept 50/50) is 53/47.

          • Thanks. I am fighting it. Illinois is a no fault state so I’ll be happy to get 45%. Getting rid of her will be a bargain at twice the price.

            • Even in a no-fault state, circumstances like infidelity can be taken into account. Unless there are other extenuating factors (or a 45/55 split is cheaper than a legal battle), you should argue for 50/50. Don’t reinforce the narcissists!! (kind of like “don’t feed the bears”)

              • Thanks. My lawyer is asking for 50%, but I will settle for 45% if she actually signs. We’ve been down this road 3 times, with me even agreeing to 40%, but she always finds a way to delay. I’ve told my lawyer I’m sick of it and 50-50 is all she gets (though 55%-45% is OK). Thanks for the support. Chump nation is awesome! It’s amazing how “the same” they all are. I’ll post the final divorce results if I ever get it. 🙂

  • This post could have been written by me except that I felt so traumatized that I never imagined I should forgive or that something was wring with me. I felt sick when he was being “loving” all of a sudden. It felt so much that he was acting in a self-serving way, wanting me to be over it and thinking he was being so “good” now. Stomach turning. I have told my story many times, but here it is:

    My ex, also a lawyer, (was a divorce attorney at the time of his EA and PA) sat on the board of Bloomington Area Birth Services. The president of the board at the time was married and in her early stages or pregnancy with her husband’s child told him after board meetings that she loved what he had to say. She wore short skirts and gave him lots of attention (That is his story). He reciprocated. They spent time talking after board meetings. The mission of the organization is to be a “safe supportive network” for new mothers and families. This OW actually states this on their website video, still active today! Even after she told many in leadership positions at BABS about their affair! Some corruption perhaps? I recently heard that these leaders have spoken with hatred about their own mothers, that’s why they do this work to improve parenting! Punishing vulnerable women and their children for the sins of their mothers some? Just so heavily vile and abusive, I have no words.

    Fast forward a year and a few months. They are still in touch when we left Bloomington for New York, and she wants ex to tell me about “them.” She professes her love for him and wants them to be together. My ex being the shit he is tells her he wants to work on his marriage (I mean he is not going to parent her kids! he was just in this for a good time and perhaps a nice deceptive fuck and lots of kibbles and bits–oh, and there was all the emotional support she gave him until he did not need her particular variety anymore, but of course they may well be at it as I write this, who cares.).

    Point is: When she defriended me on facebook when he stopped calling her, I asked him if he knew why. He vehemently stated “I have not been in touch with anyone from Bloomington since we left! I have no idea” Liars lie all the time. Crazy making much? At the time I believed him. Who lives a lie? The man I married and loved? No way. The way I found out about this was so cruel it makes my head spin. I meditate a lot and have a great therapist, I swim and have good family and friends (few in number, but solid as a rock)

    I am today far from where I was then, I am actually feeling meh sometimes and am having a better life. Still in divorce proceedings, but have a kick ass lawyer now. Thank goodness I am out of that. I see him now and feel only disgust. I never feel the need to talk to him or see him. Never. I think he is ugly inside and out, and a very sick fuck. I only want to protect my child.

    I tell you all of this because.

    If he has lied to you before he has not changed on a dime. If he is telling you to get over it–YOU CAN BET YOUR LIFE he is still at it.

    Toto, do what you need to do, but know that our body and mind give you good information to use. Don’t doubt yourself or put the blame on yourself. Many many people who do not cheat or imagine cheating become very sick when they are deceived after giving themselves and their trust to someone. It is abusive and everyone heals in their own ways. You may need to get some badass on in time. Listen to yiourself, when doubts arise ask yourself: whose voice is that? Am I really punishing HIM?

    .

  • I thought the HBO mini-series “Olive Kitterage” did a pretty good job of portraying how nasty Emotional Affairs can be (compared to what you usually see in movies anyway), and how the person engaging in them is disrespectful toward their spouse, how it harms children, etc.

    • I thought Emma Thompson’s character in “Love Actually” was a very sympathetic and dignified character, as well.

    • Pure & simple even EA’s are extremely detrimental to a relationship because the people involved are getting their needs for intimacy, companionship, & often affection, not to mention excitement out of that relationship. Guess what? You naturally begin to feel a distance because your needs aren’t being met. Meanwhile, your spouse has a spring in their step. This explains the strange feeling you get in your gut!

  • I think “emotional affairs” are about as rare as unicorns. Why would anyone get that close to a person and not want to have sex? Simple, they wouldn’t. Just because you don’t have evidence (a nice lawyer word that I bet Toto’s husband used to convince her he wasn’t cheating) does not mean it was not a physical affair. Most people of a certain age just aren’t going to have a sexless relationship.

    Let me speak from very personal experience. For over a year prior to DDay, I was extremely uncomfortable about X’s relationship with OW. There was this air of secrecy whenever he spoke of her. Then, he lent her money, something he had never done before. Whenever I would bring up my discomfort, I was met with dismissal and eyerolling. One of the worst fights of my marriage occurred when I asked why he had allowed this person to get so close to him. I was accused of being a crazy, jealous shrew. I cannot count the number of times I was told they were just friends.

    After the shit hit the fan, I made a thankfully brief effort at reconciliation, complete with a quack therapist.Then, one afternoon, X and I got into his car and sitting on the seat was a throw away phone. Despite X’s protests that he was “just talking” to the whore, I knew the truth and didn’t need any other proof. My heart told me all I needed to know – that I was through trying to be the marriage police.

    Toto, it sounds like your husband has never done anything to earn your trust back. In fact, from your letter it seems he is trying to convince you that it was “just” an emotional affair. But what has he done to make you feel cherished, to make you feel loved, to convince you that he recognizes that his deliberate actions were wrong? Tell you that he is such a busy lawyer he doesn’t have time to repair the damage he has done? The supposed need to work excessive hours is always the cheater’s line and a huge red flag! I am an extremely hardworking professional and I work crazy hours, but I MAKE TIME for my family. As CL says, quit listening to his words. Look and his actions. And always follow your instincts. If that voice inside your head tells you he was cheating, trust me (and yourself), he was. If OW is still in the picture at all, he still is…

    • Emotional affairs can happen as sexting and Skype cyber sex is an option. The people may want to have sex but be separated by a long distance ie. Canada and Kentucky. I know, I lived it.

      Whether emotional or physical, the trust has been eroded. If you are able to get past that and forge a new life without having to be the marriage police, I applaud you. I spent all of three weeks amassing the emails, texts, cyber chats and money shot videos to know I couldn’t live that way. I could not look at the wasband without seeing those images. Forget about intimacy.

      Six weeks from discovery to requesting him to move out, I never confronted him about the EA but I have all the evidence saved on a USB key in case I ever need to trot it out for lawyers etc.

    • Hugs violet! I went through almost the exact same thing, I remember how awful it was.

      Anytime I hear the “just friends” phrase, a part of me gets angry. X still tried to maintain the “just friends” narrative after he admitted they had sex, both left their spouses, and were living together!

    • “The supposed need to work excessive hours is always the cheater’s line and a huge red flag! “”

      Yep, it was amazing how often my ex had to work late and go into the office on the weekend towards the end of our marriage. Coincidentally, that was the very same time his affair with the two OWs was in full bloom. I am a little embarrassed now at how easily I believed him. Of course, I believed a staggering amount of his lies, and most were even less believable than working late. That’s why I’m a chump!

      • We all believe because it never occurs to us that we married losers. My ex, during the last summer we were together, kept having to ‘go into the office’ and ‘work late’. This was when we had back to back guests, including my father from far away. Even during a Sunday late lunch with friends we hadn’t seen in ages he bailed because he ‘had to get to the office to finish up something for Monday’. Turns out he met one of the OW at a restaurant close to our home. Nice, eh? I work my ass off but my free time is given to those I love: my family and friends.

      • What sucks about this is that there are a lot of hard-working people who need to work those excessive hours!

        What makes the EA (as well as the very likely PA) so offending is that even if the Cheater really does need to work those hours, that means that there are fewer hours to work on the marriage–and the EA/PA steals from those!

        • I remember hearing of a marriage counselor that requested that a married couple that was seeking help for infidelity put aside a couple of hours for a date night. The Cheater husband complained that he didn’t have a couple of hours free with the kids and all. The counselor said, “Well you had about 15 hours a week to put into your affair, how about you use some of that freed up time?.” Cheater-think

  • A couple months long ea is not “a mistake.” It takes many contempt filled choices to keep that going. He is minimizing by calling it a mistake. And I am with cynical CL that it is likely more. Trust your intuition. Get what you need info wise to have peace whatever you do. It is okay to feel twitchy even “just” with the info you have.

    • I agree, DM. Part of what I am dealing with right now (and Toto will eventually, too), is the realization of how many active decisions EACH day it took for STBX to carry out his 7-week affair. From deciding to sit with her for a few hours having coffee several times a week, to not telling me about this new “friendship,” to leaving a party with her, stopping to buy condoms, and then screwing her in her apartment. Then, each and every week, for multiple weeks, sending sexy emails, and deciding to screw her over & over again, and spend quality time with her, as he continued to pretend we were still a viable married couple. It defies credulity for a faithful spouse. Not a “mistake;” an all-out war waged on a marriage, strategically planned.

      • Oh Tempest, “the realization of how many active decisions EACH day it took for STBX to carry out his 7-week affair.” I’ve caught myself pondering this aspect of cheating many times. Blows my mind every time. Every single day, every act required thoughtful planning, hiding, lying, deception etc… I think this is what makes even an emotional affair so damaging. The cheater’s mind is always absorbed with the affair partner. My husband always seemed preoccupied, absentminded, with a blank look on his face. I frequently felt like I was parenting my kids alone… and I was.

        • I WAS parenting my kids alone for the most part. He would do kooky fun things with my boys, then disappear. It was very gratifying for me this weekend, when I was talking to my oldest son, and he thanked me for always being there for them, and for pushing him to go to college (he’s almost a Mechanical Engineer! Two more semesters!). They know who the good, reliable parent is. It made me very happy to hear that from him.

        • Even if I wanted to live that way I cannot imagine pulling it off for more than a short time…all that plotting and scheming and watching your back. You might be in some little bar miles away and still run in to the guy that fixes your car or your sons teacher. Anyone who does this long term is one mighty dishonest, two faced con artist without scruples.
          I tried to trust again after first DDay more than 20 years ago and never had peace of mind for a minute.
          Yes, he did it again in a bigger, meaner, less guilty way and left under false pretenses lying all the while. If anyone reading this is considering or in the middle of reconciliation then I know this must chill your heart. However if you are on this site then you are doubting…please take heed.

      • Bottom line, IMO most men will not invite someone out anywhere where they are paying if they don’t find her fuckable, or the kibble exchange has already happened & they are testing out the” affair possibility” waters. I guess I am really jaded!

    • I hate that word-mistake. A mistake is forgetting to take out the garbage or running out of milk. Deliberately hiding a relationship, telling someone to whom you are not married you love them, texting, e-mailing, conspiring to hide your actions from your life partner are NOT a mistakes. Those are betrayals, each and every one of them; they require planning and complete a disregard of one’s marital vows. I am suspicious of anyone who uses the word mistake to describe a course of conduct over time. Each call, each text, every lie was an intentional injury to Toto’ marriage, not a mistake. If “mistake” is the word Toto’s husband is using to minimize his conduct, he is a self-entitled prick.

        • YES! I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “a mistake is getting the wrong flavor if ice cream, or forgetting to put gas in the tank. Having sex with your not-partner is a PURPOSEFUL act, not a mistake.” grrr. Sorry for yelling, but that one really raises my ire.

          • Count me in as another agreement about mistake being a completely minimizing word.

            “It was a mistake! Why divorce over one mistake?”

            No, it was hundreds of ‘mistakes,’ over and over. Why should I stay married to someone who can’t learn from the first ‘mistake’?

            As you can tell, my cheater was of the “it just happened!” variety. Of course, I was chump enough to forgive the first thousand or so mistakes, but I did eventually learn from THAT mistake.

        • Mine tried the “mistake line” too, which was a mistake in itself!’ Royally pissed me off!
          This is what I told him:
          1.) A mistake is not intentional.
          2.) A mistake is only done once, not willfully over & over again.
          3.) A mistake is not planned, is not kept a secret, & does not involve ongoing deception. Lying itself is a intentional attempt to not make a “mistake” and get caught.
          4.) The word mistake denotes that the act was not premeditated, it was an accident.
          Cheating is an intentional, ongoing, willful deception that is premeditated, orchestrated & carried out for the pleasure of the Cheater. Mistakes are not done for pleasure last time I checked.

    • I agree – “contempt filled choices” is so apt, and the part my ego/brain/heart have the hardest time with, after so long…how could someone I thought loved me have treated me with such disdain, making so many deliberate, contemptuous choices?

  • I wish I had been reading CL four years ago. This was what I needed to hear. Instead I ignored my instincts, listened to well intentioned people telling me to learn to trust and became the marriage police It wasted my time and some days feels like it cost me my sanity. Once I finally realized id had enough and left I did become a sane and rational person again. Don’t think that could be said while I was in that awful relationship
    A word of caution, if you decide to become the marriage police please check with a lawyer about the laws in your jurisdiction. You don’t wantbto find that you have been breaking the law and facing criminal charges.

    After D-day 25 or so ( yes I’m stubborn and didnit want to admit my perfect husband was an asshole – iD rather believe I needed to be a better forgiving wife) I finally let go. It has not been easy but now 9 months later I feel calm and grounded. I have started to tentatively see someone else who is kind and caring. And guess what? I’m not a suspicious nagging harpy !! Because there’s no reason to be!

    Best timing I ever did was leave the asshole and become myself again. What a relief !!

  • Mine said “We just went to dinner a couple times. You are my husband and I love you. There somethings I won’t do and cheating is one of them.” A few months later “Okay Okay I kissed him but that is all and it was just a little peck on the cheek” Then 2 years later “I am ready to tell you the truth, Yes we were having sex for the last 2.5 years.”

    • She’s ready? Good for her, she can finally get rid of that guilt.. and/or shift blame onto you and/or punish you further by letting you know that she’s awesome and you’ve been played for a fool? I wonder what her motive to come clean was.. it’s not usually for unselfish reasons. Someone was going to out her?

  • CL, awesome reply to Toto – spot on as usual. The only thing I would like to point out that his affair, emotional or physical, was not a MISTAKE but rather a CHOICE/DECISION.

    He chose to get close to this woman emotionally or whatever. He did not mistakenly get close with her.
    He made a conscience decision to be in her life and to have her be in his.
    He made the choice/decision to keep his relationship with her a secret from his wife.
    He chose to spend time with her after telling his wife he was working or elsewhere.

    Sorry, but there’s no mistake here to forgive.

  • All the comments are true – there is no such thing as just an emotional affair. An affair is an affair. My wife and the AP would always say “we never had sex,” but they still ended up leaving their spouses. Anyone who would admit an “EA” is not worth your time. Move on with your self respect.

  • Toto, mistakes don’t take/require effort, but lying, cheating, talking, meeting someone and try to hide everything from ones partner takes an effort. He didn’t make a “mistake” he made choices and risked your relationship, you, knowingly and continued to do so that you had a second D-Day. I can assure you this won’t be the last time, but now he will just cover his tracks better and like Tracy I don’t buy the “emotional affair” crap! Men don’t have so called emotional affairs then stop at that, and if it was just a friendship they don’t hide their “friendship” with the opposite sex from their spouse. They hide because he knows what he is/was doing, he is/was cheating and its more than “just an emotional affair” Remember when you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing… So think about it, what he was doing was deliberate, he didn’t make a mistake, he made choices knowingly and he betrayed you, and if you divorce him it’s all on him not on you..

    • Great point. The only time people hide a relationship from their spouse is when they know what they are doing is wrong.

      • The only time people hide a relationship from their spouse is when they know what they are doing is wrong.

        Sometimes they don’t hide it or they hide it in plain sight. My ex told me about his actions, giving his money(and even borrowing more to give to her) and calling her. She was recently widowed and he was just wanting to be a “nice guy’. Had he done the dirty deed? Not yet because she lives further away than I do and at the time he didn’t have the chance to be alone with her. His behavior towards me at the time was not kind or loving and I said to him that maybe he needed to be showing me that “nice guy’. My gut was in knots and my anxiety was off the charts. He finally came out and asked me if I had cheated on him.(projection) and I told him, “Of course, you betcha”.

        Finding CL and Chump Nation afterwards validated my suspicions. Continuing here for the past 7 months has brought more clarity to the relationship. So many mysteries solved. Anyway, once I quit denying the abuse of the situation the anxiety dropped 95%. I think I read it here, “No one deserves to be treated that way”.

    • I went full out Soviet Spy/Hacker Ninja to get the actual evidence I needed to drive a stake through the heart of the gas-lighting and half truths. It was valuable to have the evidence to absolute end the nonsense.

      In retrospect, I felt minimized and neglected by my ex-wife before I did it, and that alone should have been enough for me to take action. One of the many things I learned form going through the whole shit storm is that my gut was right the whole time. I now trust myself a lot more.

      This emotional affair does not feel right because it isn’t. I wish you strength and a truckload of empathy.

  • He is cheating… one way or another but i would be super detective for a limited amount of time. Learn as much as you can. Lawyers are a clanny bunch. Judges are a clanny bunch. This is just part of planning your exit strategy… start copying papers, financial information everything fellow chumps will tell you. You never know what kind of ammo you are going to need in your back pocket and I would have as much as you can. Remember he is and is capable for gas lighting and blame shifting… not just you but your whole commuity and your kids. God knows what he would be capable of in the thick of divorce or after. You need evidence, hard cold evidence.

  • I also could have sent in this letter also. I’m not the greatest writer so bare with me but I wanted to share. CL is 100% right on the money.

    The short version of my story…Wife was acting odd, flirting with my co-workers, the next door neighbor and fathers of our kids friends. Boundary issues with our kids and their friends, horrible with money, bounced checks and then hid the mail, took out a hardship loan from her 401k to get breast augmentation. I noticed and asked her about all of these bizarre and selfish changes.

    Months later, I found weird emails in her trash by accident, nothing with undeniable evidence but weird never the less. I then checked her text message use and found hundreds of messages to an unknown number. That was when the blame shifting and denials started. He was “just a friend” and I was “controlling and possessive” because I wouldn’t let her “have her friends.” According to her “nothing had happened” and by me continuing to talk about it just proved that I “couldn’t let it go.” My personal favorite is when she said that the only reason I was talking about it was because I wanted her to “admit to something that had never happened so I would be right.” What the WHAT? Complete mind-fuckery and word-salad. I chumped my way to MC and looked for unicorns.

    The truth…my suspicions only drove her affairs underground, she was having sex and 3-ways, the neighbor, daughter’s ex-boyfriend. Got my daughter involved in her affairs and had daughter buy her a cell phone so she could continue her hook ups. Horrible, horrible stuff. Much worse than I could have ever thought.

    Believe me and others here, what you are seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. Be smart and protect yourself, your marriage and the life you have been living is probably very different than you understand it to be.

    • ffghtr67,

      I got the accusation that I wouldn’t let her have friends as well while I confronted her about the OM. Cheaters’ lines are not original. I don’t have a problem with a spouse having friends. But I do have a problem with a spouse having a friends they screw. That’s not a friend. That’s an adultery partner.

      DM

    • I got accused of being insecure, paranoid and crazy….turns out I was psychic! I’ll never again doubt my gut instincts.

      And I think you said that all very well.

  • It doesn’t matter what you know or can prove he did, it matters how you feel. Trust your gut.

    I was in a VERY similar situation. I left my XH and moved out without hard evidence of an actual affair, just computer evidence of fooling around on Ashley Madison, etc. I went through the same torment of not being sure whether what I knew he had done was bad enough to justify a divorce. Lo and behold, during the divorce discovery, hard evidence in financial documentation of constant prostitute use.

    The point is, I left without having any actual knowledge of physical cheating because my gut was screaming at me that I was not safe and could not trust him. I learned later that I was absolutely right. It was really hard to leave without the “evidence”, but honestly I am more proud of myself for it because I listened to myself and protected myself.

    Just sit in a quiet place for awhile and listen to yourself. You will know the right answer. If you are writing this letter to CL in the first place, you already know the answer. It is scary, but you can do it! You are mighty!

    • I agree with your advice to “sit in a quiet place for a while”. A few weeks into my false R, I felt as though God was directing me to just be still and quiet and watch. I did, and during these couple of weeks my gut was SCREAMING and soon, the picture came into focus and I could see – literally and clearly – that he was still cheating. He confessed after I confronted him with the evidence. I went silent again for a few more weeks while I gathered documents and delivered them to my lawyer, then served him with divorce papers.

      Trust your gut, and that he sucks.

  • I truly believe the cheaters who are not truly remorseful, and just trying to manipulate chumps definitely go underground….My cheater deleted his Facebook page right in front of me, but I found out that he was reactivating it at least once a day. Additionally, he does have an app called Viber on his phone that uses data, so I still believe he’s in contact with OW via the app. All the while, he has been “courting” me, buying me gifts, sending me Hallmark cards, and asking me to marry me again (ring and everything)….I trust that he sucks and I’m working my escape plan.

      • lol, mine said he wanted to renew our vows too! They must think this romantic gesture will force us chumps back in line….

        • Mine said that, too! I was on to his games at that point, so I just laughed! Renew our vows now? No thanks!
          Here’s how the vows would go- I, Chump, promise to look the other way, deny that knot in my stomach, and give all my human rights away freely.
          I, Cheater, promise to continue to do exactly as I have been, til the day you’ve had enough.

      • Same here! He had me and 2 OW triangulating, and he still wanted to renew our vows the following year. I refused to dance anymore. I’m sittin’ this one out.

        • Sounds familiar to me. I’ve been thinking lately that he was actually addicted to the triangulation of his adoring victims. And why not? He was addicted to Jim Beam, beer and Xanax, and stopped even apologizing for that. At least in my cheater’s case, he embraced his addictions, and thumbed his nose at me when I would try to come up with plans to get him help.
          I think he couldn’t see a life without the challenge of juggling wife and AP, and it became just his newest addiction. He even texted me right after the holidays, saying he still wants me back! Huh? We were divorced in 2013. Get a clue, please!

      • “Renewing your vows” is code for “start your Pick Me Dance”, always, always, always. I cannot stress this enough. I have yet to see a vow-renewal in any couple under 80 years old that did not become a divorce shortly afterwards. If your spouse suddenly wants to renew vows, go into Secret Spy mode: there’s something else spurring it.

      • Mine also wanted to renew vows, within days of DDay…as if all that had transpired would disappear with those words. No work involved, no introspection…nothing, just words that would magically fix everything. Those words didn’t mean much the first time (cheating as newlywed), but this time they would mean something profound?

    • Yeah. You take the ring and sell it and spend it on something thats worthwhile to yourself.
      Like divorce papers.
      Or a solo holiday to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.

    • After trying to hold the marriage together for five long years after too many DDays to count, playing Marriage Police, forgiving over and over, I sat down with all my data and realized one important thing: the cheaters NEED us to be there to cheat on. Start pulling away and they will work to get you hooked again. And if they have been distant for awhile, they may be between AP’s – but as soon as they find a likely new target, they will work you before they work the new girl/guy. The thrill of deceit is only one aspect of why I think they do this.They resent us so much for having the ability to feel that they are compelled to deliver maximum hurt to the image they have of us by setting us up to lose at a game we don’t even know we are playing. That way they can bolster their own ego by seeing us as ‘stupid losers’. It’s become regular as clockwork with my STBX: when he starts being nice, I know he’s got another one on deck. So working toward MEH.

    • Ah Yes, the “Viber” app. My STBX’s Phone usage is over the TOP compared to mine, but with relatively few calls on this phone log. “Things that make you go “Hummmmmmm”. Liar Liar Pants on Fire.

  • My opinion probably differs some from a lot of the posters here. I think EAs are real and not as rare as unicorns. I know for a fact that one can have a very strong emotional attachment to someone without ever initiating physical contact. There may be a desire to initiate physical contact, but I think you can “love” and/or feel immensely attached to someone for a very long time without actually crossing the physical contact line. Yes, “adults f***,” but adults also worry about pregnancy and STDs, or adults may have religious and/or ethical quandaries that will be enough to keep them from making things physical. It does happen.

    What is an EA? An EA is any kind of persistent relationship (masquerading as “just friendship”) with a member of the desired sex that includes activity that crosses one’s partner’s boundaries and makes him/her uncomfortable. This is not always easy to define because, when it comes to the sex that our partner desires, we all have different comfort levels. Example: I used to play World of Warcraft (go ahead and laugh) and probably had a dozen married male friends in the game whose wives had no objection to us hanging out together and talking late at night in Ventrilo (the game’s online voice chat system). And then I had the one friend whose wife didn’t like her husband hanging out with me chatting late at night, who objected to it. So we stopped immediately. Had we not stopped, I think we would have been in EA territory. Another example: I have a friend whose wife regularly goes out to rock concerts with other guys. He’s fine with it because he trusts his wife and he hates her music. But I think a lot of us chumps will never be comfortable with a spouse being enough of “buddies” with someone to go out to concerts regularly. The one common feature of EAs is that they include substantial amounts of alone time with a member of the desired sex and substantial amounts of time spent communicating with that person on a regular basis. Regular texting, regular online chatting, regular talking on the phone, regular lunch “dates” and dinner “dates,” etc. These things don’t have to mean EAs, but EAs almost always include them.

    The real smell test for an EA is how the spouse who’s potentially engaging in one reacts when informed that this “friendship” makes their spouse uncomfortable. Do they blameshift? Minimize the problem behavior? Get angry at the chump for not letting them have any “friends”? Just ignore the complaints and unapologetically persist in the problem behavior? Take steps to conceal the “friendship” and continue it without the partner’s knowledge? If any of the above, congratulations: you are dealing with an Emotional Affair and not “just friendship.”

    There are only two appropriate responses to being told that your “friendship” with someone makes your spouse uncomfortable: to stop the offending behavior immediately, or to acknowledge that the behavior is problematic while negotiating which activities the spouse will be comfortable with so that a true friendship can be maintained. When those things happen, I can believe this was a faithful spouse who just let a well-intentioned friendship go too far.

    • If an EA is kept secret from a spouse, then it is dangerous. Marriage requires honesty and integrity; secret friendships don’t fit that bill, and that is what Toto is dealing with.

      (My other thought was “Uh oh, this is going to trigger someone whose spouse was on World of Warcraft to meet APs”–was it Nomar?)

      • I just wanted to offer some general thoughts on EAs since the subject came up. My XH’s first affair was an EA, though we both came from a long history of regular platonic friendships with members of the opposite sex, so I’ve given the matter a lot of thought.

        If a “friendship” is being kept secret from the spouse, then it’s definitely an EA (at least). The only reason to keep a “friendship” from a spouse is because there’s something inappropriate about it. (I guess it’s possible that an otherwise healthy friendship could be kept secret because one spouse has seriously unhealthy control issues, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Toto.)

          • In my limited experience…

            Emotional affairs are quite common and a bit easier in an age of facebook, email and skype. At least the EA partners aren’t waiting with baited breath for snail mail, anyway.

            And with EAs, usually, a lot of resentment is heaped onto the faithful partner, and they are treated like an impediment to “true happiness” quite often.

            I couldn’t do that dance ever again. Even if living alone in perpetuity was the only other option (who knows? 3 people in a tundra village?), I’d prefer that over living a lie, becoming paranoid every time somebody acted up, and slowly turning into somebody I could not respect myself.

    • I think any relationship that functions in its own private bubble outside of the marriage and diverts substantial time and energy away from that marriage is infidelity… this could be either an emotional affair or a toxic friendship.

      • Agree.

        And I don’t believe that innocent “friendships” between two people of opposite sex (or same sex if that is the typical sexual preference) are appropriate when that friendship involves time alone. It leads to EAs, even if one-sided. The partner of the infatuated member of the EA gets treated very poorly. I know, I was that partner for many years, until the final PA.

    • “The real smell test for an EA is how the spouse who’s potentially engaging in one reacts when informed that this “friendship” makes their spouse uncomfortable. Do they blameshift? Minimize the problem behavior? Get angry at the chump for not letting them have any “friends”? Just ignore the complaints and unapologetically persist in the problem behavior? Take steps to conceal the “friendship” and continue it without the partner’s knowledge? If any of the above, congratulations: you are dealing with an Emotional Affair and not “just friendship.”

      Spot on, BJJ. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it put so perfectly. I wish I’d known this several years ago and saved myself a whooooooooooooole lotta grief. But for sure, this will be my litmus test moving forward, for pretty much everything. If a behaviour is hurting you and you’ve explained why, and your partner’s reaction is to either blame you or simply keep doing it, rather than comfort you, you know pretty much all you need to know.

    • I agree that EA’s exist, and are often the precursor to the PA. Especially when it is at work or somewhere where the Cheater is possibly risking more than just his marriage. Then he/she might want to feel out this person regarding whether they believe they could turn into a nut job, will they call you or your Boss when it ends, are in it for more than they are, etc. all self serving considerations. They then get that idea “lets have a few drinks together to see what happens,” and they are on their way. (They already know what will happen)

      Attraction + alone time + alcohol = affair.

      .Then they start making the excuses necessary to proceed. At a certain point they are relatively certain they won’t be rejected because inappropriate comments are made that reveal both are “open” to an affair.
      I also agree that most are not in it for a friendship, and although they are aware it is wrong, they don’t care because the fantasy is in full swing.
      Sorry about the extra periods, I am having a problem with my computer & every time I delete a letter, it leaves a period. Have tried to resolve in settings, but am no computer whiz, that is for sure!

  • Toto, CL has laid out the situation of being married to someone who is either in an emotional affair or who has demonstrated he is willing to be unfaithful. She is asking you what you want marriage to be, what your deal breakers are.

    Here’s what you know: he’s willing to give another woman the affection and time that he promised to you. He’s a “workaholic lawyer” who doesn’t have time for you and your son. It’s been two years and you still don’t trust him because he has done NONE of the work needed to rebuild the relationship. You say he is “loving” toward you, but what does that mean? What, really, is this man’s character? I wonder if “seeing him in a different light” isn’t really seeing behind the mask of being “loving.” Clearly, he wanted to stay married to you while having an emotional (and perhaps physical) relationship with someone else. You know he lied to you while the affair was going on and lied after you caught him the first time. You have no evidence of remorse but you do have evidence that (being a lawyer) he prefers to stay married while he takes his affection and attention elsewhere. What has changed since DDay 2 is that he knows you are watching.

    Your intuition (that nagging feeling) tells you you can’t trust him. You say you are staying because you fear that he or perhaps others will say you can’t “forgive a mistake” or are “too punishing.” Toto, a mistake would be kissing a coworker when drunk at a Christmas party, followed by appropriate shame, remorse and a change in behavior (no more drinking, putting up boundaries at work, spending time at home, being more engaged in the marriage). An affair that lasts months and continues for a second DDay? Not a mistake. A choice to disengage from you and put his energies elsewhere.

    CL tells you emotional affairs are courtship. “Courtship” is not a mistake; it’s a choice. And telling you “I love my wife” is very creepy–as if you aren’t an individual person to him. Read up on narcissists and their behavior in relationships. See if any of that rings a bell to you. You might also find a qualified therapist who works with people who have been in abusive relationships. And for your protection, make sure you know as much as you can about your financial situation, including running a credit report (look for accounts you don’t know about) and making sure you have your own income, if you don’t already. He may now be interested in courtship, but at some point he may shift more than his courtship energy.

    I wasn’t married to Jackass but I was full on financially committed and over 60 so the financial betrayal had consequences. He pulled the “how dare you accuse me” card, which is second cousin to “it was a mistake.” But what he was doing was courting another woman. I’m sure they crossed at least some physical barriers, but it may well be they never had actual sex, since Jackass truly savored the kibbles of courtship and particularly likes stepping out on his partners emotionally. Bonus points if the AP is married. It took me a long time, post DDAy, to figure out that the man I thought I knew was a character he was playing for my benefit. Those awkward “I love my wife” kind of sentences came out of his mouth at points where the mask or character was slipping. Instead of worrying about whether you are too “punishing,” put your energy into figuring out who you are, what you want, and who you married.

  • Opinion, Toto, is that anyone who has an affair, emotional, physical or both already has a foot out the door. This means that any time in the future should a person put on a little weight, get some gray hair, find a few wrinkles, get frustrated and yell, whatever, they put the other foot out the door. I know people who had affairs. Some married their AP and some did not but the are all divorced from their spouses.
    The huge issue for me is the second d day. He is a lying piece of shit. He may be handsome, funny, successful and a ” catch” but that d day is right there waving giant red flags!!! They are telling you that you are getting whacked. Pay attention.
    BTW, your son picks up all your stress. He doesn’t need it and neither do you.

  • Toto, step back. The basic problem that I saw from the get-go was that he kept his friendship with this woman a secret from you. There is absolutely NO REASON to do this, other than the friendship was inappropriate.

    Just Friends is not inappropriate. You introduce your spouse to your friend, you all get to know each other, everything is above board. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

    The rest? It’s just the rest of the shitty game, with him as the Secret Keeper and you as the Crazy-Drove-Him-to-Finally-Have-Sex-With-Just-Friend…because, you know, it’s going to be All Your Fault when he turns to her for understanding and venting about your marriage police tactics. That’s how this plays out.

    If there was nothing going on, the friendship would not have been a secret in the first place. If he’s the kind of person that needs to keep his life compartmentalized like that? Then there is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more that you don’t know and probably never will know.

    Chasing him around in your car, keylogging his computer–all that is useless and then some. It’s almost embarrassing how easily they get around it all. The bottom line is—when you have to even THINK about doing those things, that marriage is dead.

    My XH did all of this shit–I was helping the neighbor woman with the yardwork! I only was over there 5 days a week while you were at work, it never jeopardized my time with you! I only kissed her on the forehead!

    Don’t go down this path—there’s a reason it’s called “Trickle Truth”. Normalizing their horrendous behavior in little snippets, and only when they are absolutely dead to rights.

    If there was a secret friendship, then there are other secrets. Don’t be the Secret Police.

    Good luck to you, Toto. I hope that you take the advice about not doing the Marriage Police thing–it’s a waste of your life and sanity.

  • My ex-narc-professor thought he was superior to everyone else – clever, strategic, and relished putting lots over me (and others too). The more he lied and got away with it, the more emboldened he became – it was like a game. Winning was supreme. Toto, I know it’s difficult for you to believe that your spouse, someone you CHOSE to marry, could care so little for your well-being. Be aware of the reality especially if he minimizes at all what happened. In my case, after I found out about one of the OW (just the tip of the iceberg) and he begged (fake) tears of wanting to fix things, I thought that I should be understanding of “his issues” and he slyly blameshifted so that I thought that I was part of the problem. But what I found out later was so sickening…OW on various continents (traveling to conferences paid for by taxpayers) lying to these women too while professing true love to each of them, money funneled to one OW for 5 years involving colleagues to order to cover up the duplicity. He saw himself as a white knight, a hero, rescuing these women from their plight and flying these women on vacations to “show them the world”…and of course using them for his insatiable attention-seeking. All this time he was telling me he was “working for the family”, and berated me for complaining for the lack of connection. He was/is a workaholic who didn’t have time for his kids or to talk to me because he was so “busy”, aka “so important”. Later I found out that he was on the phone for an hour each morning before work with various OW (said he just let them talk while he was on the computer – wasn’t really interested in them either except to keep them on the hook for his sex vacations). What’s so hard for me to reconcile is that on the surface, it looked like he was a hard working man with a family – didn’t go out much, flirt, go to bars or drink, rather boring, but when he travelled, it was a different story – a chameleon to manipulate people. Toto, I’m not saying your spouse is this nuts, but I see it as a character issue – given the opportunity if he was convinced you would never find out – what choices would he make? Does he feel entitled? Is he selfish in other realms of your life together? DO NOT be TOO UNDERSTANDING – be AWARE.

    • NoMoreLies,

      It sounds like our exs were separated at birth. The asshat I married long ago was also a narcissist and a professor. Thought himself the smartest and most charming person ever, and convinced a lot of people for a long time. Took lots of trips for conferences and government meetings. Cheated the IRS by deducting expenses reimbursed by the university. Slept with my college friend when in D.C. (I couldn’t go because he would be too busy) and students while I was at work and who knows who or what else. Had to constantly check his office voice mail when we traveled, and was outraged when I suggested that his secretary do that. “IT”S PERSONAL!!” The home phone records showed calls made every morning as I left the driveway. Then the phone records stopped coming to the house. Then the savings account started dropping. Then I started hearing that he was telling people we had an open marriage or were separated, things I knew nothing about and was told were lies circulated by someone with an ax to grind. Then I was accused repeatedly of having an affair, being unstable, unreasonable and no fun. Then I wasn’t young enough, thin enough or pretty enough for him anymore, so I needed to work harder. I was too nice. Too thoughtful. Boring. Then I realized that our savings was being snorted up his nose. I saw him shoplifting merchandise he could well afford to buy. He felt the need to pierce his ear and buy a Porsche. Then there was a blouse left in his car. The stories became more and more unbelievable. Things like, “You couldn’t reach me while I was out of town because there was a flood in my hotel room (or a chandelier fell on my bed) and I had to change rooms and forgot my cell phone (both times).” Or “I found that (very clean) blouse at the gas station and only use it to clean my windshield.”

      Have a good long hard look around, Toto. There could be plenty of evidence right in front of you that you need to process if not confirm. Good luck to you.

      • Mine was unreachable for the week of his “training course” – he was a few months from retirement – because he had forgot to take the charger for his phone. He was actually abroad on holiday with OW.
        My car was mysteriously damaged in a petty and spiteful way just before a family weekend away. It was a scruffy old car of a common model – no other car was damaged that night in my neighbourhood – the police said it was odd and asked if I had fallen out with or upset anybody. I felt sick that an unknown person wanted to hurt me and even asked spouse if he had a lover which he denied. Draw your own conclusions as he did have a long term lover who was pushing for him to leave.
        Innumerable other strange occurences, unanswered questions, strange new hobbies such as going out at night alone to do photography and star gazing ( he even got a telescope), I could go on.
        I felt very foolish when the truth began to emerge…some questions will never get answered…but I can sure do without the crazy making mindfuckery that my life had become.
        A this to keep poor, feeble little me in the dark for several years. If anyone reading from the school of reconciliation knows of a single case of a marriage recovering from this sort of shit I would love to know the secret.

        • “If anyone reading from the school of reconciliation knows of a single case of a marriage recovering from this sort of shit I would love to know the secret.”

          NoMoreLies, Survivor and Mary – I can sure relate. Chameleon is the best way to describe the ‘Incredible, Invincible X’. Everybody loved him. Charmed folks with his ‘intelligence’ and ‘knowledge’ and became a very successful guy. Me, his easy-going wife – seemed to be loved by all the customer base I helped him build as a ‘Good Married Guy’ for many years. Many dinners, company over-night, a lot of PR work for us both. I shined and so did he.

          The word here is Chameleon. I noticed he could be anything, anyone, he needed to be when he spoke to somebody. You want a Mechanic? – I’m right here. You want an expert business advisor? I’m here. You want me to be the ultra-tolerant gay friend? – I’m here. He became them with their personalities (hard to describe), and that’s why folks related to him so well.

          He certainly has Narc tendencies and if Chameleon is one of them, then of course – he is 100% one hell of an actor and asshole and totally FAKE.
          And he snowed me for 35 years. I was just an alibi.

  • I was married to a workaholic lawyer who had a very long EA with a colleague. He is now married to her. I was totally unsuspecting bc he had many many female colleagues, and my trust never wavered. It just didn’t, that’s all. I was very used to his workaholism since he was that way from day one. I raised our children, put him thru law school and followed him in his lengthy career. I feel lucky bc I never had to make the choice you seem to feel you must make. And quite honestly, I benefited from his hard work and success.

    BC I never doubted him, I was blindsided when he asked for a divorce bc he wanted ‘to be alone’ at the age of 60 (ha). Do I have regrets about the years I believe they deepened their ‘friendship’? No I do not. I was reasonably happy and my family was intact. He said when he left that he and I had ‘nothing in common’. And at that point he was correct. If you like what you have, then stop looking for his errors, and concentrate on your own life.

    HIs now wife is obnoxious and cannot stand our daughters. Their life is fraught with drama and issues. My life is calm, and I have friends, gkids, and daughters who love me and are fun to be around. Bc I was in the marriage for so long, I am financially stable. If you are the initiator of the divorce, you will go thru much sturm and drang from your children and others. I did not have to endure that, but my ex sure did. He really could not say why he was divorcing his lovely wife of 38 years. No one in our circle of friends saw it coming, and they were shocked when OW surfaced only 3 months later. They did not have an easy time of it, for sure.

    We are all on an even keel now, but I am glad my children were grown and gone with the family imploded. I had many lovely family years. Just think about it. There is much at stake. I never felt disrespected; well, until the very end of course as the scales fell from my eyes. But disrespect in hindsight is different. I wish you well.

    • OlderWiser – I can relate. I had a good life, pretty good marriage (sexless by his choice). He always treated me with great respect and dignity (until the past 2 yrs) and to the world, we were truly great friends. Life was good. Here we are a year later, Divorced after 35 yrs. I am still in the large home, have all my dogs, my friends and both our families as support, even his mom. I’m currently showing one of my dogs at a big dog show and I noticed he moved to a trailer park within 5 mins from the show. (yep – he now lives in a trailer in a trailer park!). Bad area of town. Adult shops, cash-checking shops, dingy – a Starbucks nowhere in site) Greasy area.
      So, did a drive-by to see this.
      It’s a tiny park, all hemmed in, no grass, it’s pathetic why he would pick that when he can afford more..whatever. Saving money for alimony I guess. LOL. He was always a cheapskate. And, I can’t seem to sell the house fast enough for him….DARN!. lol. Anyway, I got a kick out of that today and a spring in my step.

  • “Cynical Chump Lady thinks 9 times out of 10, emotional affairs are what cheaters cop to when you haven’t caught them in a physical affair.”

    Yup. My ex-wife copped to the emotional affair, but after 3 months of counseling she was still talking crazy. So, I got rid of what’s left of my dignity, installed a keylogger, and hid a voice-activated audio recorder in a bookshelf.

    I should have accepted that trust was gone and not even bothered. It turned out “emotional” was the tip of the iceberg.

    Toto, your spouse may not be physically cheating. But if you plan on staying in this relationship, he needs to find a way to earn back your trust. It’s NOT your responsibility to trust him again unless he earns it!

    (As an aside…my ex kept the computer. That keylogger is still on there…compiling typed text and taking 15-minute screenshots of the hi-def screen. How long will it take to fill up the 1 TB hard drive?)

  • Toto,
    You say “But something inside of me is nagging.” Our gut instincts are one of the most powerful indicators that we have as human beings and I have found that honoring this pays off immeasurably.

    I do think it is true that many chumps will tell you that their “nagging Feelings’ and gut instincts were always right or correct on some very important levels. The details and specifics may not always be pin point-able or provable However the nagging hunch and inner intuition is usually a very reliable indicator of what is actually really going on in a given situation. It usually points more so to the overall situation than to specific details… We know so much more than we consciously know we know..

    I woke up one day in 18 years ago and suddenly out of nowhere had this unbelievable desire to divorce my then husband. I thought I was going crazy because this was literally out of nowhere and made no logical sense based on the facts that I was aware of at the time. I had three young daughters, one a newborn, at the time and no evidence other than this very powerful gut hunch based knowing. I even went to a therapist to see why I was suddenly so unhappy and why I was unable to appreciate and trust what I then believed to be a good husband and marriage..

    .I did not trust him I found him repulsive and I had no logical reason as to why … Long story short this sudden nagging feeling this instinct, this gut level knowing was so spot on correct. It was a warning about something that was actually literal real and dangerous and it turns out all of the other intuitions and nagging feelings that I had all through out our marriage were astutely spot on correct also..

    What I have learned from my own personal experience and through hearing from countless others going through similar experiences as mine is that those nagging feelings and inner knowing are most often very reliable and correct. In my personal experience I can literally say my gut knowings and intuitions were NEVER WRONG!! If I had known what I know now then and trusted my sudden gut level knowings and instincts enough to act on them as if they were just as valid as any factual or physical evidence then I would of saved myself a lot of suffering misery and many confusing wasted years with a covertly abusive cunningly devious man.
    I intuitively wanted a divorce because something wasn’t right.and in fact as it turns out something was very very wrong!!! I wanted to divorce this man for reasons that were actually there, they existed only he made sure that they were very well hidden. That something that in nagging inside of you is VALID..
    It seems clear that gut instincts, inner knowings, those nagging feeling from inside are just as valid and reliable as any other evidence that we can gather from any outside sorce if not more so.

    Trust what ever that something nagging inside of you is! If something feels off then it is off.

    • I had almost this exact experience, Martha. It started 2 years before d-day. Like you said, waking up one day unhappy with the marriage. I started fantasizing about divorce; wondering what my life would be like with someone else. In reality, I didn’t want a divorce. I just felt stuck. My husband had become distant and it didn’t bother me, even though I felt extremely lonely in our marriage… My give a damn was busted. Then d-day came and I found out his affair had been going on for at least 2 years. So what you have said is so interesting to me. Is our intuition really that strong? I believe it is.

      • I kept having dreams about being alone and abandoned and unable to make contact with a partner. I would be back at my parents home or on my own somewhere and unmarried.
        I would awake upset and think “but I am married and have a husband” – I guess my subconsious was a lot smarter than me!

        • Mary–now that you bring that up, I used to have repetitive dreams of my husband criticizing me, and I would open my mouth to scream or cry, but nothing would come out.

          • I used to have dreams my ex was off with nameless multiple women and was completely indifferent to me. On D-Day I learned I was literally correct-he was having affairs and group sex with other women, and my “adoring” and “loving” husband of 25 years turned into someone who looked at me with cold dead eyes and could not care less. I will never fail to trust my gut again.

    • Years ago, I was dating and “falling in love” with a man who lived in another state. We talked all the time (this was before cellphones and texting) and I was even thinking of relocating as I was at a point in my career that made relocation possible. He went to San Francisco to see friends and said he would be out of touch for a week. The night before he was to call, I had an unusual dream in which someone told me “he’s seeing another woman.” I woke up knowing that was true–and of course it was. It’s not like I had a shred of actual evidence. I just KNEW. And I knew the first time the Jackass ever mentioned the MOW that he was interested in her. I wish now I would have said, “I can tell that you are attracted to her in a way that will be trouble for me. So I think we’re done here.” Would’ve been a blow to his overblown narcissist ego.

  • I consider myself to be an intelligent, mature adult who is secure in herself and able to accept reality, where it pertains to human nature and that is why I found myself with a higher threshold of tolerance when it came to my ex.’s “weakness for admiration from other women.” I understand appreciating beauty, humor, kindness and wit in a friend, neighbor, colleague and even those people who we don’t and may never know personally. It is “human” to look at a pretty thing and want to touch. It is “normal” to seek out people who add humor, faith, hope, joy and happiness to your life. It’s even, I understand, appropriate to fantasize about being with someone else, as long as you don’t act upon it. When I was young, Jimmy Carter said, in an interview about infidelity that, although he had never been unfaithful to his wife physically, he had”sinned in his heart.” America drew a collective sigh of understanding and agreement and the understanding began. Suddenly, it became ok to “want” to screw someone who was not your spouse as long as you didn’t actually do it. At least, this is my first memory of the sentiment having been accepted. Those older than I may have an earlier reference point. Humans are not so strong and it’s stupid and naive to believe that you can be all that you are and share all you feel, hope for, dream of with someone you have not promised all to while depriving the person you HAVE promised all of these is wrong. If you are that emotionally invested in someone else, you’re already gone. Those blurred lines are the smoke being blown up your ass swirling around your head. Cue trolls.

    • Christina Rogers – It is quite a jump to suggest that “America drew a collective sigh because Jimmy Carter was saying it was okay to want to screw someone that is not your spouse.” He was most likely referring to lust and choosing to deal with these base impulses in honorable ways that show a regard for the highest good of all concerned including our families and collective society.

      Lust and the appreciation of beauty are two very different things. Lust is not related to some higher level capacity to understand appreciating beauty, humor, kindness and wit. It is a base impulse and it is most often self-serving only. There is a HUGE difference between appreciation and reverence for beauty and basic lust impulses. Lust and animal drives are often predatory and self-serving in nature. The capacity to manage one’s base impulses for the higher good is consistently the best choice both personally and for society as a whole.
      Normalizing deluded thinking or intellectualizing the basest of human vices like lust greed narcissism does not somehow magically make it a romantic ideal or some higher intellectual truth in any way.
      It is actually simple and most normal intelligent people know when we are in or out of congruence with own inner integrity and we do understand what is collectively beneficial and what is not.

      We know the difference between appreciating beauty in its wholeness and indulging in acts of lust. They are not the same thing.

      • Mm, maybe I’m chumpy, but I do believe that lust–what I define as sexual attraction to another person–is normal. Acting on it in ways that betray your spouse’s faith are very damaging. And I do believe there is an important difference.

        As a faithful wife, I was sexually attracted to plenty of men. I never acted on any of it. I kept very firm emotional and physical boundaries between myself and other men, including not spending time alone with other men I found remotely attractive, or who might find me attractive. That’s because I have integrity–I value family and fidelity and marriage more than I value lust. But lust exists even within decent, honorable people.

        I don’t think that Christina was necessarily trying to romanticize lust. If I understood her correctly, she is saying that it’s the EA combined with the lust for a third party that destroys a relationship between two people. The EA is what tips lust into infidelity.

  • I’m guessing he is as diligent in his work as he is in his marriage, and in fact, is not a workaholic at all. It’s just the impenetrable smoke screen he uses to hide his secret life. He claims to be taking time from his home to invest in his career, he’s probably stealing time from both home AND work to spend on his kibble conquest. I bet at work he goes on and on about needing time for his precious family. What a prize

    • I actually agree with this. Ex was a workaholic, supposedly, but it turns out that he was screwing up at work all the time, mainly because much of his work time was spent lining up his various kibbles. And screwing people at work. His career is now in the shitter. Poor thing. 🙂

  • Is ur husband s name gord frim orleans? This is a long shot but I know a lawyer who is a huge Philanderer by that nane

  • I can totally relate to your story, Toto. My STX is a lawyer who worked insane hours and traveled a lot for work. When our second child was born, he was acting weird and I found a bunch of calls on his phone to a ho-worker. I confronted him and we went to MC and probably had the worst MC ever. I think it was the counselor who brought up the term “emotional affair” and my X just ran with that. Never admitted to a PA and barely showed remorse and blamed me for “not trusting him by snooping on his phone.” After just having a baby, I was not in the position to divorce and a part of me thought it would be ridiculous to divorce after a series of phone calls. Fast forward 8 years and many ho’s later, I finally busted him with the proof that he was having PA’s and he finally admitted that the EA all those years ago was indeed a PA. CL is right. These people are terrible as spouses and do not deserve us chumps. Listen to your gut and trust that he sucks!!

  • You always know even when you don’t “know”.

    Of course he is letting you check his email and voice mail. It is easy and free enough to have multiple accounts, internet telephone numbers (Google Voice, anyone?), and prepaid phones.

    If you need some sort of proof, hire a PI and get your answers.

  • My STBXH told me he and the OW were “just frirends”. A layman’s term for EA I guess. He was having a full on PA with her. I know this because a) I eventually found phone records and b) after a super fun wedding we went to (before DDay) we wanted to have sex. But he didn’t want to wait until we got home. oh no. He wanted to pull over and do it in the woods. I remember thinking at the time that it was really weird that he wanted to do that. Why not just go home. Our son was spending the night at grandma’s. Then all the pieces fell into place. He was meeting her, the OW, in the early mornings on a walking trail. Then it all makes sense. I can’t prove it. But so what? Why stay with someone who would keep a secret friendship with a woman he never wanted me to know? He had never had female girlfriends. So, done. deal breaker.

  • An emotional affair is just a physical affair that hasn’t gotten to the fucking yet. It’s affair foreplay. And I agree with CL: nine times out of ten, if you think your ex is “only” in an emotional affair, that’s just because you don’t yet know about the sex.

    Workaholic attorney with TWO Ddays already on the books? No way do I believe that affair is over, or wasn’t/isn’t physical.

    Toto, you say you’d feel guilty and don’t want to make a mistake. But it’s your HUSBAND who should be feeling guilty, and DID make the “mistake,” although really he made a choice to be a shitty husband. The bad stuff here is all on him. You do what feels right for YOU and your son.

  • I hear you all about an “emotional” affair being as damaging as a physical affair (assuming it is in reality not physical). What for you defines an emotional affair, as opposed to a close friendship? Apparently a cheater always says “s/he is just a friend!” What in your mind crosses that line between friendship and an affair? Keeping the person secret? Saying “I love you?” Buying his “friend” an apartment?
    Help the boundry-less here!

    • If ANY aspects of the ‘friendship’ are hidden from the spouse, it’s an EA at minimum. Is the spouse included? Does the spouse get to see text messages and emails from the other person? know EVERY single time they meet? If no, it’s an EA. Does the marriage partner talk down about their spouse to the ‘friend’? It’s an EA

      • Exactly. Thanks Tempest! My gut knew it from D Day on but my husband kept saying they were just old friends who hadn’t had set in years. Truth was it was a long distance EA with a former mistress. And he was getting ready to go to her when I saw the texts. Believe me he was telling her all kinds of garbage about me!

      • Is the “friend” getting the energy, interest, flirty conversation, and the free time? Are the “friends” getting their emotional needs from the friendship? And does the partner/spouse who isn’t in the friendship feel lonely, neglected, like he or she is getting the leftovers? EA.

    • When the spouse is sharing things with the other person that are supposed to be shared with only their husband/wife then it is an emotional affair that is likely going to lead to a physical one. If it is something they can not do right in front of their husband/wife then it is cheating. A “friendship” doesn’t need to be hidden or downplayed. Also some of you might disagree, but I happen to agree with some professionals who tell me that married men and women CANNOT have friends of the opposite sex. They can have superficial acquaintances but that is all. When you get married or commit to someone that person should be your only real friend of the opposite sex. I guess this could be a little tricky if someone is gay or lesbian. but I happen to agree with that logic. So if your spouse is developing a relationship with someone of the opposite sex that is past superficial I would call it an emotional affair and unacceptable and disrespectful to you.

      • I would have disagreed at one time, Fred, but not any more. While I have no doubt that SOME male/female friends can keep it at that level, I think it’s risky, and I am no longer interested in being in a relationship with someone who takes those sorts of risks. I would not stay with a man who had close female friends if just the two of them spent time together on a regular basis. Nor would I stay with a man who did a lot of texting, calling or emailing another woman, even if it was “just friends” on the surface. I’ve already BTDT, and I’m not going to go through that again.

        Casual acquaintances of opposite sex, sure. Good friends, but do not get together without spouses along, okay. But close friends, or spend alone time together? No thanks. And the same for gay couples, just insert the gender of preference into the occasion, the idea is the same.

        • Yep. People laugh at me and tell me I’m old-fashioned, but they are the naive ones. I’ve believed this for years, even before being chumped. I’ve always known this was dangerous behavior. When my friends encourage me to spend time alone with their spouses, innocently enough, whether just to go pick up a few things at the store, or whatever? I always decline. And especially now that I am the divorcee. No way.

  • Toto —

    I left my husband last year after receiving an accidental text meant for his boss (she was married with two kids.) He admitted to an emotional affair, set-up marriage counseling etc. But when he was told he may have to leave his job in order to save our marriage everything changed. He quickly started to pass the blame (unbeknownst to me, he was unhappy for several years due to all of my flaws which he then proceeded to point out.)

    Emotional affairs, in my opinion, are still an absolute betrayal on every level. They didn’t need to have sex in order for me to feel it was a deal-breaker. How in the world could anyone stay in a partnership without basic trust is beyond me. Cutting ties was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. But it was also the best decision. Because I deserved to be respected. And so do you.

    I absolutely feel for you. Know that you have support here at Chump Nation. I don’t know what I would have done without it.

    Big Hug,

    Gia

  • My cheater is a serial cheater/self diagnosed SA and has slept with too many to count which has all been very hurtful but what was most hurtful was the EA he had with a co-worker. It triggered more fear and pain in me than his physical encounters with other women. Well he kissed her but didn’t have sex with her. So it was semi physical…came across this study this morning which has some interesting information in it about EA and how it affects women differently than men. So where as some might think no big deal it is apparently a big deal psychologically on women. It all boils down to how does this marriage make you feel and can you live the rest of your life like that.

    http://www.feelguide.com/2015/01/08/enormous-study-on-jealousy-uncovers-the-impact-of-sexual-vs-emotional-infidelity-for-men-women/

  • Both the co-workers that my ex had affairs with started as “friends”. They both babysat for us and one came and towed his car when it needed repair. He mentioned them often.
    EAs are usually the build up to the main event when they are flirting, finding excuses to meet, testing the water for taking it to the next level. How many men do all that without the slightest interest in getting into her knickers? It is more likely that she is holding off or he is waiting for the opportunity to make a move.
    Until we know better we tend to be naive and trusting souls. I remember my mother showing surprise that I had no problem with him meeting a female colleague to play squash together. I liked her…she was newly married…it did not cross my mind.
    He is now with OW and still has “friends”.
    A much younger and junior co-worker called his cell phone when my daughter was there. She was off work ill and travelling to her parents home. He was riding his motorbike to the motorway service station to have coffee with her. He got my teacher daughter to have a long phone chat with her about her sons school problems.
    Another “friend” invites him round for tea and cake and they buy gifts for each others grandkids. She sent him a card with a strange message once before DDay and I wondered if she was his AP…it turned out to be someone else.
    Maybe it is all innocent but his modus operandi was married women from work who started off as friends…its how OW got him. I am glad its no longer my problem.

    • God – No joke Mary. After I had our first baby, he went to lunch with an old co-worker literally down the street from our home – she had wanted to see the baby and I mentioned if I was going or if they were going to come back to our home and he said no. This was the same lady he went to drinks with after work when we first started going out. She had a boyfriend too. She asked my now ex to go to drinks with her because she had just had her hair cut. ???? This is the same lady who asked us both to dinner with her and her boyfriend who wouldn’t take her eyes off of him for one second and would slowly stroke her hair. She and her boyfriend eventually got married and had a baby. But my gut was screaming at me.

      Another lady friend of his he has had for a long, long time. He kept her and I at a long distance. One time at a party she referred to my now ex as he and her having a ‘very special relationship’. My gut screams again.

      We went to a birthday party for his friend’s girlfriend – one I hadn’t met yet, but he told me she was at most of the poker games. She was pretty drunk and walks up to my now ex with a pretty coy expression ‘aren’t you going to dance with me? You can’t leave with out dancing with me’. I asked him what that was all about and he said he didn’t know but she was really flirty with him at the poker games. Made me think about the ‘friends’ he surrounds himself with.

      These are just a few stories. I’m with you – SO GLAD HE AND THEY ARE NOT MY PROBLEM ANY LONGER!!!!!

  • One day, after reading marriage fix book number 25… I read about a husband/wife team who would pray every morning that he would be shielded from the lusts that surrounded him at work.
    I told my husband of nine years… He thought about it, then asked me to pray that he would be protected. I actually laughed… You? Lusts?
    Lo and behold… That was his only mention EVER of him having a problem. He was in an EA with every woman he passed & a PA with at least one ‘lucky’ woman.
    I wish I had left sooner. I wish I had seen his quiet, ‘humble’ plea for the blame shifting that it was. Me pray away a problem of his that he could barely admit? Fucktard made me crazy. A man who cannot set simple boundaries is not a husband…. He is a stray and cruel abuser.

  • Once I found out about his emotional affair and approached him, he told me he would end it but he didn’t. They went more underground and were communicating on classmates.com. They would still text, but boy was he careful to erase his texts. He had her thinking I was this absolute jealous nut case. I kept a journal back in that day – it was one way I could get out of my head. I came across this the other day and COULDN’T BELIEVE THE WAY I WAS LIVING TO HOLD ON TO A FUCK HEAD!!!!

    It really comes down to black and white. It doesn’t seem like it right now because you are in the muck of it.

    It call comes down to how you want to live your life and if you like being treated the way he is treating you among other questions. But these are 2 great questions to start with.

    • Even though I’ve been away from my X for over a year now, I still feel weird and guilty some days. This conversation is great today! It’s really helping me feel better.

      • FreeWoman – I am 5 year post DDay next month. I just started feeling normal 6 months ago. It was a super long journey for me. On my good days I would write down how great I felt and the things I was looking forward to and the progress I made so on my weird feeling days I could read my good days. The good days become greater in number over time. Time does heal. But time can be a sucky friend. Hang in there – it’s amazing on the other side ((hugs))

        • Thank you! I <3 ChumpNation! My bad feelings come from fear that X will end up drunk in the gutter, since I am not there to run his life anymore (he is mentally unstable). It was very hard for me to value my own life enough to get away. I am safer, and happier now, and I just try to forget him, as cold as that sounds. If I stayed, I would have had a pretty miserable life.

          • FreeWoman – it’s not cold. He didn’t have you in mind while he was doing what he was doing. He’s a big boy – if he chooses to end up drunk in the gutter, that’s him. Not your problem. He has a family who can take care of him. Not your job. THANK GOD!

            I think most Chump bad feelings come from being human and having empathy.

            The cheaters in our life don’t have empathy. They have mercilessness.

    • “It all comes down to how you want to live your life and if you like being treated the way he is treating you” yes, yes, a thousand times, YES!!!

  • I used a keylogger on the computer, but didnt have access to his phone which he kept with him at all times. I only caught him when he ended up sending an email to OW when her phone’s battery died and his texts went unanswered for a few hours. One email though was enough to confirm my suspicions. Threw him ou the next day.

    Don’t think surveillance will tell you everything. Just trust that once you discover evidence, just make your exit plan and save yourself a bucketload of grief. And they will torment themselves trying to figure out who ratted on them. Love seeing a Cheater squirm! Booya.

    • Oh there are other things you can do. spokeo.com A lot of HR departments use it to see what their potential employees are up to. Its a small fee for about a month – you can type in their email address to see what other social media they have accounts on, etc. Type in their address to see what else comes up – properties, who they are married to, etc. When I did this 5 years ago, there weren’t any adult friend finder type sites, but I don’t know if this has changed or not. I found my ex had 2 underage online profiles on myspace. What joy! I remember shaking so hard when I signed up for it. I was scared shitless. I told a few friends about it and before you know it I was looking up lots of men for them.

  • I’m thankful for this post and this thread. What dark times those were when I was being the marriage police. It makes me sad to think of myself as that person. I don’t regret doing it, I needed the evidence. I knew that he sucked, but I didn’t really trust it until I saw it. And yes, he claimed that both of them, two different women over the span of two years, were just emotional. And even said to me after our divorce that he “never had sex outside our marriage.” As if that even mattered. I do trust that he sucks now. And I trust that I don’t.

  • XH insisted his was only an EA as well, and it may have been…up until he filed for divorce. During the discovery process, he bank records showed he ordered a great big box of Cialis the same day he filed for divorce. I guess filing was OW’s price for getting in her drawers. Yet to this day, he denies it ever got physical.

    How do you know a cheater’s lying? Their lips are moving!

    • I caught mine in bed with some gal he met on the internet, and he always insisted that nothing happened. They only admit to what they HAVE to admit to, and since I didn’t actually see them screwing, he admitted to being in bed naked with somebody. As if that were somehow okay.

      Toto….what you wrote is strait out of the chronic cheater playbook. Get caught, lie to you, get caught again, lie to you and go into stealth mode. All he can do is deny, deny, deny. Your emotional well-being means absolutely NOTHING to him.

      People who are unrepentant aren’t sorry. People who aren’t sorry have no problem hurting you. Please see the light sooner than most of us here did, and don’t set yourself up for more hurt and disappointment, because that is the ONLY thing that is going to happen.

  • My STBX was utterly flippant when I busted him texting his skank. Now he’s regretful that he has to pay for a separate existence and child support. Boo hoo!

    • The flippancy of cheaters—I’m curious whether they do that because (a) they think it boosts their image to be seen as having someone else interested in them; (b) they perceive themselves as having more power over their distraught spouse, which gets them off, or (c) they think they have power because you will never leave their fabulousness? All of the above?

  • Just so you know, Who Cares, CL has definitely prior banned people.

    Based on reports at huffpo, SI and other forums. That means Chumplady is lying about never banning people.

    I thought she hated liars because cheaters lie, and she is so above emulating anything cheaters may do.

    Chumplady. Preserve your credibility and stop lying. It dimiishes you and your message.

    • I ban very few people, but you’re making me rethink my laissez fair attitude. It’s my blog Tommy. You attack members here, troll around, hurl insults, and don’t add to the discussion in a respectful way, then you can fuck off and find yourself banned.

    • She has every right to ban people from her blog who are abusive to blog members. She has been pretty lenient IMO in the past, but if you don’t like it I am sure there are MANY other blogs out there that you can go, read, post whatever. Just a suggestion…

    • Who cares if abusive people are banned? I certainly don’t. I have read every blog and posting on this site and have found nothing but truth, compassion, and sound advice here. If you don’t like CL’s advice, by all means leave. But your juvenile attacks on her makes you look like a big jackass.

    • and for T-bone (the newest one). I think that if one of these trolls loses a finger, it sprouts into another troll.

      I take them as evidence of Tracy’s growing success.

      • Exactly, Tempest. I knew I should have just sprayed some Troll-be-gone up above, in the general vicinity of YY. From now on I’m ignoring them. I trust that Trolls Suck!

          • LAJ–As Tracy’s numbers grow, she is bound to attract those who want to take a swipe at her. I guess they don’t realize the loyalty of her army (the bond that comes from being in the trenches together).

        • I took the tact of mocking them, but CL’s ban on them makes much more sense. They get in the way of honest discussion, and when they start advocating that potentially-vulnerable people go back and try at their emotionally-abusive marriages, they are downright damaging. Thankfully, to date, they have mostly picked on those of us who are not vulnerable any more.

          • I say ban on. They aren’t here to offer a different view, which I could respect. They are here to vent, insult and inflame, and that isn’t what this site is for.

  • We worship her because she’s fab, and tells the truth about cheaters being character disordered.

    And she bans people for the same reason that AA would ban someone for bringing in a bottle of Jack Daniels to a meeting. Methinks you won’t be here long.

  • Toto, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Unfortunately I’m all too familiar with the workplace EA. I was with my husband for 36 years and when our kids were little there were little nagging things that bothered me. For instance, I found love notes in his suit pockets one day. When I asked about them he said they were from a student that had a crush on him (he was a professor). He told me he’d been concerned about this student and had even talked to one of the older professors about her. Strange that it took finding the note before he mentioned her to me, though.

    Fast forward a couple of years and my husband, who travels all the time, doesn’t come home on the day I expect him to. I’m frantic with worry. I get a strange phone call and a man asks me if I know where my husband is. I explain that he’s at ____, but the man says “no, he’s not. He’s at ___” I start to feel creeped out and ask “who is this?” but he hangs up. When my husband does come home, I’m a basket case but he yells at ME for being suspicious. He says the caller is a disgruntled coworker who’s trying to get back at him. He blames coming home late as a miscommunication. I’ve got two small children with medical issues who need constant care. I need to believe him so I do.

    Later on there’s his boss. She’s an attractive women in a male dominated field. She wears red leather pants to work and dresses sexy, but complains that her male coworkers don’t take her seriously. She starts calling my husband her “work husband” and calls him at home to ask whether she should date boyfriend A because he’s nice, or boyfriend B because he’s good in bed. They travel together and practice their presentations in her hotel room. I know this because my husband tells me. He gets mad at me for getting upset about this woman. One day he says he can’t come straight home from a trip because there’ve been robberies in her neighborhood and she’s scared. She wants to make sure her house is safe and needs him to come with her. I tell him if he doesn’t come straight home, he’s going to lose everything. Eventually she marries someone else and I breathe a sigh of relief.

    Next is his graduate student. They become really good “friends” and travel around the country all the time for work too. I would go into all the details here, but suffice it to say there’s no end to this kind of behavior.

    My gut was screaming at me all these years but I keep pushing it down. His reasons made some sense, and in between these episodes he seems like a loving husband and good family man. I started to believe that I was overly jealous and insecure. I even went to counseling because I thought there was something wrong with me.

    But guess what? After 36 years he comes in one day and announces he wants a divorce. Turns out has plans to marry the married graduate student some day. He claims she had nothing to do with it. He admits that he never thought I was “the right one.”

    Toto, I’m just telling you all this because I want you to listen to your gut. It knows the truth. Let it override your head. I’m not saying you should go out and file for divorce, but don’t brush this off or let him convince you it’s nothing. It’s SOMETHING. Your concerns are VALID and his behavior needs to be addressed. Don’t turn away and pray that it stops, or believe that he won’t put his family in jeopardy. Seek counseling NOW. Make plans on how you might support yourself if needed, strengthen ties with friends and family, and be sure you have a credit card in your own name. Take care of yourself and you’ll be in a better position no matter what happens with your marriage.

  • In a committed relationship, your partner is supposed to be your primary social partner. People who are working full time and/or raising kids do not have unlimited time. Marriages and committed partnerships required engagement, time and energy. If one partner diverts that marital time, energy, engagement to someone else, then the commitment is broken.

    Why does anyone need an opposite-sex running buddy or racquetball partner? Why should anyone be going to a mixed-gender poker night that mingles married and single people? Why does a guy like Lyn’s husband need to go home with his female boss after a business trip to make sure she’s safe–while the wife and kids have been home alone for days? It’s ridiculous. Post-Jackass, I’ve had every kind of house problem imaginable and have gotten through all of them without calling on married male friends. One guy from work (a skilled carpenter) did a project for me and I paid him over twice the nominal amount he asked AND put a restaurant gift card in the envelope and said, “Take your wife to dinner! I appreciate your help.”

    I’ve had many male friends over the years, but I’ve come to understand that even when sex isn’t involved, I need to watch my own motives–not because I have bad intentions toward anyone but because it is so easy to use other people to avoid dealing with your own stuff. I was married for a long time to an alcoholic, and I probably couldn’t have done that without a close and totally platonic relationship with a co-worker. It didn’t cross any time or physical boundaries (we didn’t go to dinner or talk about our relationships or go to the movies or the local motel) but the sense of shared purpose and connection did keep me stuck in a relationship where I didn’t have what I needed. So these kind of friendships call for scrutiny, both within and with your partner. I don’t see that kind of emotional outsourcing ever happening in my life again, but if it did, I would know that it was me recoiling from connection with my partner that was the problem.

  • Thanks to CL and all who responded with such encouragement. My husband did apologize at the time and say if there was one thing he would change it would be that “incident” — but going forward he has refused to discuss the emotional affair with me and he has also refused marriage counseling. He feels doing so dwells on the problem and prevents moving forward.

    I guess to be in hyper vigilance mode, or police mode, I need to sneak into his office at work and check the call log. Also perhaps log into his Google Voice account, but at a time I have access to his phone to delete the courtesy message that it leaves to verify. I did find his password to Google voice. I’m considering the VAR or a GPS device to clandestinely install.

    Thank you again everyone for the support.

    –Toto

    • By all means check Google voice. And whatever you find, don’t confront. Just gather your evidence and talk to a lawyer. Yes, even if you want to reconcile. Please protect yourself.

      Also the fact that he wants to rug sweep and not do counseling is a very bad sign. But I think you know that.

      • I am still with my husband and following my attorney’s advice. Line up your ducks. Move deliberately. Don’t get sidetracked by seemingly good behavior. Divorce is as much a financial move as it is an ending to a relationship.

    • Toto–I’m glad to hear you’re moving to protect yourself. Just to let you know, as your case may be similar–mine was VEHEMENTLY opposed to counseling right after D-day as he was trying to maintain the fiction that he had only had an EA. Counseling would have risked exposing that it was a PA (which I tricked him into admitting anyway).

      • Toto – what he’s told you is total crap. Regardless of whether or not it’s an EA or a PA, it’s still an A – and he stole from you, no matter what its title. We all get the same 168 hours in our week, no more, no less. We can’t borrow from anyone else, trade it for something else or buy anymore. Period. He stole time together away from you, preferring the company of someone else to share his time with – and that isn’t kind, healthy or a marriage – it’s a mistake to stay with someone who respects you so little that he would steal your most valuable commodity. Who we spend our time with and how we choose to spend it says EVERYTHING about our character.

    • “but going forward he has refused to discuss the emotional affair with me and he has also refused marriage counseling. He feels doing so dwells on the problem and prevents moving forward.”

      Oh boy, I am sure you realize this is a huge red flag, Toto. He expects you to just suck it up and “get over it” without him having to go through the unpleasantness of allowing you to discuss your feelings — feelings that might make him look bad. From my experience, his refusal to discuss it or go to counseling means that the affair is still going on.

      • Glad is right, Toto. The “prevents moving forward” is almost the exact working my H used just before claiming that I was the problem because I was still focusing on his affair rather than looking to the future. In other words, what he DID is not the problem; it’s your reaction to it. Run (after you copy the financial documents).

      • Oh yeah….when I read that sentence, that is exactly what I thought. Hell, I don’t think it, I know it. Come on….ask me how I know!

    • Refusing to go to marriage counseling is suspicious…it may be that he doesn’t want to discuss the matter further with a counselor because he may slip up and more transgressions will be exposed. Insist that for you to go ahead and look towards the future, you need to go to counseling. If he refuses to go, he is remorseless, selfish, and unwilling to do whatever YOU need for peace of mind.

      • Yup, my exH was extremely reluctant suing MC after DDay #1…now I know why. He did not want to slip up/’fess up.

    • Toto – however you choose approach your marriage in the near future, I urge you to take extra good care of yourself. I went down the path of hyper-vigilance, which lead to an adrenaline-fueled-feeling that I’ve heard described as “excited misery”. The end result? I confirmed what my gut always knew, but got sucked into a dramatic scenario from which I had to work very hard to rise above. I also became physically very ill, which I attribute to the enormous strain of that time in my life. Please take care.

    • “… The ‘incident’…”

      I fucking hate this language. I do. It sounds nitpicky, but it really really really bugs me how often cheaters use sneaky tricks like always phrasing things in the passive tense. (How many of us know a story of something that “just happened” to our ex’s? They never DID or CHOSE or ACTED…)

      EA is the same sort of problem, like kids sitting in the backseat of the car with their finger (!) an inch away from their sister, saying, tauntingly, “I’m not touching her!” — I think that was part of the thrill for XH, that he wasn’t touching her (or maybe he was, but I think he wasn’t), that he was being (technically) a “good little boy” by not actually fucking her. In his mind, mentally in our bed? I think he’d been fucking her for a long long time. — It was part of the reason I wanted a hurry-up divorce because I resented the thrill it gave him to NOT be touching her. Fine, go touch her. Be out in the open like everyone else. But they’re still sneaksy, because her divorce wasn’t finalized for long after ours was, and she’s his employee and I think there’s a rule against that. Whatever.

      Somehow in my marriage, I became HSB (Harpy Shrew Bitch) which I did not EVER want to be. I trusted him. Go ahead, work late, you poor dear. If he chose to violate that trust — sorry, if my “trust was violated,” … passive tense, always passive tense — that’s on him. But being pigeonholed as some old fuddy-duddy stick-in-the-mud that needs to be snuck around like a crabby old hall monitor in high school? Fuck that.. I’m awesome.

      EA or PA — who cares? He made then violated a vow to me to put me first. When I became an object of ridicule or external authority rather than internal affection and devotion, he can walk. Here’s your papers, dude. Active tense.

      • (To clarify, Toto, I hate that your guy used “the incident,” not you. It’s the CHEATERS’ passive tone I resent.)

      • This is awesome, NWB, I was made the Bitchy No-Fun Mommy figure too! I actually married down with him, and I was the hot one. Maybe he had resentments, that guys were always noticing me? Who cares. I loved him, and he fucked multiple women, then lied to my Chumpy ass for DECADES. Such twisted activities, for no good reason.

        • Same here, FM, I married down, we both knew it, and he utterly resented my success while pretending to respect and adore me. On D-Day I learned that it was all an act. I also learned that he lied to my stupid ass for decades, brought his AP’s into our home and lives as “family friends,” did all kinds of twisted things to have the AP’s in my face and life with me and our children not knowing what was going on. Oh the sick thrills they obviously had! Can you say pathologically passive aggressive? There was of course no good reason. They made me out to be un-fun, “crazy” and silly, when all along I pretty much single handedly carried his ass, our family, our home, our vacation home, and our finances. What a loser.

          That was 3 years ago and I am happily remarried now. Ex meanwhile is supposedly marrying one of his long-term AP’s next year. Our children, S26 and a lawyer, D21 and a college senior graduating in May, and S15 in high school, do not want anything to do with him and will not be attending the happy couple’s nuptials. This past Christmas, out of the blue, he sent the children a bizarre video of him singing them a Christmas song (badly off-key incidentally). It happened to be an unusual song that was special to ex and me when we were married. Reminded me a bit of Glad’s ex’s Yeti video (or was that Peter Pan?).

          • Don’t let him take up any space in your head Kelly. I’m sure he has ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ over the ding-dong he ended up with, and is jealous that you found love and are intact! I hate when these losers reach out to us, when it’s clearly over and done. Where were you in the 80’s? the 90’s? Oh yeah, chasing someone else. Go chase them now! We all need to protect our Meh!

    • Toto, good counseling does not prevent moving forward. It is the WAY forward. It’s where a cheater (whether in an EA or a PA) should come to terms with what real remorse looks like–and how hard it is to win back the trust of a person who has been betrayed. Talk about “moving forward” from a cheater is all about no consequences; it’s a way to say “don’t hold me emotionally accountable.” There is absolutely no way you can heal unless he is willing to answer all of your questions and listen to how you feel–over and over. Read Dr. Simon on this issue, as well as what CL has posted on “genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse.” For his apology to be meaningful, he needs to fix what he broke. Counseling with a good therapist with the affair as the focal point would be a start. Working on calling the affair “the affair” instead of “the incident” (as if it were a traffic accident) would show some awareness that he can’t use Doublespeak to make his choice to cheat seem trivial.

    • Toto,
      You seem to be very good at being honest and vulnerable with your spouse. I was too.
      It was deadly. Stop even trying counseling. Stop even trying to get him to see your way. Your heart is too valuable… You need a steel cage to protect you from his soul rape until he sees, confesses and changes HIS problem. This may take 75 years… Don’t expose yourself to him in any way until then.
      He knows he was wrong.
      Every time you talk to him you are gambling your sanity.
      Any body who treats you like your feelings don’t matter should not have the privilege of your innermost thoughts.
      If you withdraw from him and he gets angry… He is using you.
      (heads up)
      I wish I had never confided in my own husband. Be clever.

  • I can’t agree that people are unable to have close opposite sex friends. I think cheaters, who are always looking for the next conquest, are unable to have platonic friends. Heck, they can’t even really have same sex friends, just more delicious cake suppliers. So, it seems like the real problem is that its hard to tell if your spouse is a good committed person, who has friends of both genders, or a disordered wingnut who wants to have sex with other people to make themselves feel all awesome and stuff. You guys have come up with some good signposts:
    1) Secrecy. If she is really just a “friend” why aren’t you telling your spouse when you text/email or get together.
    2) Physical affection. Kissing, hugging, hand-holding is not normal friend behavior, at least in our culture. If she “just” kissed him, you can be pretty sure that its only a matter of time before motel reservations are being made.
    3) Running down the spouse. This is a hard one for me, because I complain about my husbands toilet cleaning skills to anyone who will listen Maybe I should cut that out! Or perhaps, its complaints that are not shared with the spouse? Or serious stuff, instead of minor moaning about how I can’t get him to throw out T-shirts that have holes in them?

    Obviously, you cant tell your spouse they are not allowed to have any intimate friends, because you are afraid they are going to do them. But as Glad Its Over has proven to us, restricting friends to same sex only doesn’t stop everyone.

    • I agree with you on that point. I have had several close friends who were male and there was absolutely nothing sexual about it (in fact, that would have felt downright incestuous). To say men and women can’t be friends is an insult to the spirit of genuine friendship. Cheaters are NEVER looking for friendship, they are looking for people to screw. They aren’t interested in friendship in the real definition.

      I don’t mind anyone I’m involved with having friends, and I don’t want to be with anybody that I know is just looking for a f*ck-buddy, and calling them a “friend” because it sounds classier.

      • That is very true! Genuine friends can be either gender. Everyone just needs to have standards they live by. Which Cheaters don’t. Everything they do, is all about ‘using’.

  • Toto,

    The VAR under his car seat for about a week should do it. If its clean then let it go. If not, then confront him and require a post-nup. If he balks its time for him or you to go.

    • The logistics of a VAR seem tricky to me — wouldn’t I have to go retrieve it, listen, and then replace it? Given my husband’s work schedule, I guess I would have to be doing this in the middle of the night?

      –Toto

      • The reality is that your husband is being a jerk, and you need to think of yourself and your child. Your husband is a busy lawyer, so I’m assuming that he makes a good living? If you can afford a private investigator I would do so, because what he turns up would give you some leverage in a divorce. (If not, there are websites out there dedicated to being your own PI)

        This isn’t about revenge, this is about taking care of yourself and your son which you have an obligation to do. You also need to do this for your own sanity. You’ve ask him to tell you what you need to know to ease your mind, and he refuses (bastard!). You have every RIGHT to know what is going on.

        • Exactly. My X, then, and still, says that it was none of my business what he was doing. Ummm… yes it is, when we were married, who you screw IS my business. Apparently not according to him.

      • Toto, I had to VAR my X to get the truth about his affair-no-more(yeah right). I did because I wanted that confirmation of what my gut was telling me.

        Took me a whole 2 days before I got it. It was all there. Him driving to her place, on his way home from work, 15 minutes of I love you’s and all the BS. Even when I then confronted him with it, he still denied it !!!

        Yes you’ll have to put it in and get it out. I used an excuse, said I was putting his lunch in for him, he loved when I was slaving away for him. Use any viable excuse you can. Also if you do VAR, put it under the passenger seat, not the driver’s, that’s the 1st place they look.

        I did it for my own sanity. I needed that last solid piece of evidence that I couldn’t ignore. Only you will know if that is what you need too.

      • Actually you just leave it there for a week. The fact that its voice activated saves on battery life. Just make sure the lights are covered and the microphone is face up. You only need to put it in once and take it out once.

        I tracked my xw phone bill for a month. I found out what I needed for me. Don’t use this to fix anything if their guilty. This is for your own validation. If he’s guilty seek a lawyer for a post-nup. Then present your husband with the VAR and post-nup.

        If he balks…you walk.

  • This relationship does not bring out your best self. Being in this marriage makes you a hyper vigilant harpy who lives in constant anxiety that she’ll be betrayed. Here’s a thought — maybe outside this marriage, you might be a person who can relax and feel safe again.

    THIS!!!!! This epitomises my marriage and the after life, it makes me regret not leaving when I knew I should, it makes me understand I am better off.

  • Toto-

    I’m with Chump Lady. I don’t generally believe emotional affairs are truly just emotional because grown ups don’t go to hotels to hold hands and read the bible. Unless there is a geographical barrier that separates people it doesn’t stay emotional for very long.

    I also know from experience that cheaters only cop to what they are sure you know about. Other than that they dance around the truth so expertly you’d think they were trying to summon rain. Also, unless it’s a one night stand or with a professional, most affairs start out with an emotional component and quickly progress to the next level.

    The bottom line is if he’s willing to open up to another woman and keep you in the dark, then he’s in essence already left. You wouldn’t be here and asking this question if you thought differently. This is a deal breaker for you and that’s all that matters here. You can hang around and look for proof but unless it’s solid proof that you can use against him in a divorce, there isn’t much point. What’s your gut telling you? My gut was trying to tell me the ex’s affair was going on long before my brain would accept it. Sounds like you’re further along in the process.

    I wish you luck.

      • Toto, I understand your need for proof. For some of us, it was very important not only for the divorce process, but also to not do the “pick me dance” and to “trust that s/he sucks.” It is really, really hard to convince yourself that the person you most trusted is now your enemy no. 1, even if you feel it in your gut. I felt things were wrong for many years after the first EA but I couldn´t pin it down to anything concrete. When I had the proof of the last OW and read all their disgusting messages, it brought a great relief to realize that I wasn´t crazy, and that he had always been a big liar and that I shouldn´t budge whenever he would give me the soft heart look and teary eyes.

        I never told him I was following his messages (they used Skype) and that I could tell he was still seeing her and even asking her for advice on divorce! But I kept quiet and acting stupid and torn after Dday, though I kicked him out of the house. It helped me to keep a cold head when I was negotiating with him because I always KNEW he was lying because I had the proof. This came in handy many times during negotiations, and recently when he lied to our kids on how long his relationship with the OW had been. He told them that it had been a week and ONLY AFTER we broke up! The nerve…When my older daughter confronted me as if I was the lier, I told her “I am so sorry to tell you this, but I have PROOF that your father had an ongoing relationship for more than a year, during the time that he was acting as my husband.He also lied to you many times about his whereabouts. I don´t want to show you the proof now because it will be too painful, but when you are older, if you still don´t believe me and it helps you to understand this better, you can see some of it”

        So Toto, get the information that you need, but also get some close friends support AND therapy for the process of discovery. You need to protect your health as well…

  • Toto,

    Sorry for your plight. It sucks as we know all too well. Just hire a PI & skip the sleuthing around on your own if it is too risky. Also, his comments to “move forward” & “don’t dwell on it” are bullshit. They are just his denial and blameshifting his behavior to you. Whatever you do, don’t buy it. Right now, all of your marriage problems are his to own given his behavior. Give yourself some time to figure out what you are going to do. If you decide to divorce him, don’t discuss it or hint at it. Just go see your own lawyer, file papers and have him served. It is the only way to go.

  • my H had a EA that lasted a year and a 1/2 she dumped him when she figured out he wasn’t leaving me. I am still married to him but will never trust him again or feel the same about him. The only reason I am here at this point is because I don’t feel like leaving my home or job at this moment. too close to retirement to upset my apple cart.. EAs are as bad as full blown affairs except they are sophmoric and in my case he is a cake eater. The day to day interaction between two people is more important than sex, the intimacy is lost. The hurt is awful.

    • Mom3085–is there no way to keep your job but leave the cheater? You didn’t mention how long to retirement, but do you really want to live that way? It’s a slow death.

    • Mom3085, “she dumped him when she figured out he wasn’t leaving me”. That sounds like a little more than an EA to me. I think perhaps you know that it was more, but are rationalizing (as we all did) staying in the marriage. Do you have kids? If you do, this isn’t just “your apple cart”, it’s theirs, too. You say that the day to day interaction between two people “is more important than sex”—you are married to a man and you can say this? Or is this HIS idea…that he gets to stay and eat cake, promising not to have any more contact with the “EA”, so long as the two of you are civil to each other in the light of day?

      I’m sorry, but this doesn’t sound quite right for some reason. You’re staying because you “don’t feel like leaving your home or your job”. Why would you have to do either of those things? Your job is somehow connected to your marriage? Is your spouse your employer?

      I think that there is much more to your story. You need to really understand the comments here when we say that men do not waste their time on “talking about their feelings” with other women unless there is something a little more on the horizon for them. They’re simply not wired that way. I’m not being sexist. When a man invests a year and a half in a woman—he is doing that for a reason.

      Your implication with “she dumped him” is that there were promises made BY YOUR HUSBAND, that lead her to believe that there was a future for them. He clearly kept it a secret from you for 1.5 years. How did you find out? Did he just confess one day or did you have to catch him or be told about his shenanigans? Did he admit to everything right up front or did you learn about things in dribs and drabs? This is clear information on his character. You seem to expect him to be this good guy who interacts with you, staying in a sexless marriage and never having another “EA” again. Why would you expect this when he had an affair already? In his mind, it would simply give him yet another reason to screw around.

      I hope you take what the commenters here say seriously. If you’re staying because it’s a business arrangement and it’s all about your retirement, then you need to accept his nonsense—-you’re not holding his feet to the fire and making him responsible for anything he’s done…and if you have kids, that makes it a thousand times worse. I’m sorry to say it, but if you rationalize staying because of money, then perhaps you should re-examine why you feel so hurt by his betrayal, not making him do the hard work to regain your trust.

  • Toto… Here is my two cents… I think most of us here can tell u the day we woke up and suddenly there it was… Doubt. I initially thought it was low self esteem… Or a bad day… But now in hindsite i realize it was ‘the sign’ because i didnt have it ( doubt) the day before or the day before that…and it was a powerful sign… But i ignored it… For far too long… And then called it something else… And then thought it was me…creating something that wasnt there….. But it was there.
    The minute you have to ask the question… Its already too late. Listen to what you know… U didnt have doubt…. And now you do.

  • I think we all have heard the old Chinese proverb: Spouse who forgives fucking of others needs samurai sword to loins.
    Forgiving a cheater will rot your soul. It is extremely unhealthy,IMO, and doing so condemns one to a life of servitude and damaged self esteem.
    Run from a cheater. Get the fuck away from their toxin and never look back.
    Forgiving such a person will shorten your life.
    Don’t go nuts and obsess, but keep a little corner of your mind open to hating these miscreants. It protects you.

  • The thing with trust is – even with a unicorn – you never forget that unicorn gored you.

    I had a wonderful, close, respectful, highly passionate and loving relationship of well over twenty years. He lost the plot, had a long term affair – I THINK (after many years of grilling, research, etc, etc) that it was just the one. He was contrite, remorseful, worked his ARSE off to show me his sorrow and empathy for my pain, for years. But truisms as so for a reason. Trust, once broken, is never fully restored. We had every opportunity to make it work, but my heart was just too broken, and nothing he did, nothing I did, no therapist we saw, could fix what he broke in me. I did try hard for several years after his affair, and saw how hard he tried to be the man I always thought he was. I loved him fiercely, but after about three years, the love changed, I liked him, I respected how hard he worked, he was still my best friend in the world, and I watched how wonderful he was in “recovery,” but the passion faded, the passion I had felt for him for over twenty-five years, I didn’t really know who the hell the father of my children really was anymore, he seemed everything, and then some, until he fucked around with someone I grew up with, a childhood friend, someone I socialised with, tried to assist – for FIFTEEN months, brazen as hell, and I had no fucking clue, because I believed in him. The message about leaving a cheater is not just leave a dirty, NPD cheater – even the “good guys” can break you enough to never fully heal again. You have to do what is right for YOU. If YOU are uncomfortable, Toto, if YOU don’t trust, feel cherished, loved, “special” and all in, because he is spending every effort to cherish you and your immense effort not to run the minute your heart cracked, then leave him. If you think that can improve, then stay, but I think your heart knows. I hoped time and work would heal, but I am still pretty fractured nearly six years later. I have glued a lot of the pieces back on, but I am not the bubbly, happy, bright person I was. He often looked longingly at me and said, “I’m so sorry I broke my sparkly girl, what else can I do for you to help?” I am building someone new out of the rubble, and she is completely different to the girl I was happy with, learning to like the new girl is taking a long time, but I admire her. She survived. She educated herself, had huge empathy for the broken man who fucked up – but that didn’t mean she was ever okay with his shitty choices, unwell or not, everyone has choice. Everyone knows consequences. Everyone realises there are STIs. I think, like most letter writers here, you already know your answer, you just want someone to wave the magic wand to make it all go away. We all remember that wish. Much mightiness to you!

    • So sad. This just goes to show how tough lasting reconciliation is even with genuine remorse and a good marital history. 15 months is a lot of lies and I guess that is the killer.
      You end up doubting everything that went before and can never regain that innocence.

      • YES! Lost innocence! It can never be regained. I was a happy, trusting husband for 28 years. I will never be the same again. I am jaded for life. It’s really sad. I really liked who I used to be, now I’m not sure who I will become (divorce isn’t final).

        • Marked–how far are you from D-day (apologies if you posted your story earlier; my memory and concentration are shot since my d-day on 9/11)? I’m in the midst of divorce & settlement too–I’m hoping by February 1st. All I can say is that some days you feel like a new & improved you, then there is a setback, then you slowly climb back to “improved.” Most importantly, know where you’re headed short-term & take baby steps to get there. Want to read more? run more? socialize more? do it a little bit at a time to regain your composure & sense of direction. Once the dust has fully settled, you can make long-term plans for who you want to be. Self-care, in the meantime, is your main goal. Good luck!

          • My gut knew about it for 25 years. I made my vows and spackled heavily. Two weeks after our youngest went to college she asked for a divorce. Said she wanted to be alone. I did a very little bit of looking and found out about him, an old high school boy friend, on Dec 7th, 2013. Pearl Harbor day is my D-day. I tried to hold on for a while (after thinking about ending it -the big one) and got therapy. We lived together in the same house until my eldest graduated in May, 2014. We then sold the house and she disappeared off the face of the earth. She went NC on me which has been a great relief. Unfortunately, she and her lawyer can’t seem to finish it. She’s not acting on anything we request or send to them. I found out her address when my girls visited her and she is 1 mile from her affair partner’s house in Austin, TX. She left me in Chicago. I moved into a small one bedroom condo downtown and am trying to start my life all over. My eldest just moved out. She was living with me for 6 months. She got a job and an apartment in Minneapolis. I’m 50 but the STBXW was my one and only. I feel like I’m 19 again. Though the body doesn’t let me act that way 🙂 my therapist said there really isn’t any “moving on” until the divorce is final. I still have to deal with the papers and the memories. Also, no one wants to be with a married guy (and I think it’s questionable until it’s really over). Thanks for asking.

            • Why do they lie and say they need to be alone. When actually they haven’t been alone they have been with the other cheater. My ex said the same needed to be alone to find himself. I guess he was lost. 🙂

  • Excellent summary, Miss Sunshine. In my experience, when you scratch the surface of one of those sparkly, spontaneous, goofy, super fun, hilarious, charming so-called partners who accuse you of being so boring with your load of normal daily responsibilities? You find an emotionally stunted control freak. It’s just that the thing they are so controlling about is the impression they need to make.

  • My dear Toto
    I can’t solve your problems or even offer advice, but I will tell you my story – maybe it will help, maybe you will be able to avoid my mistakes – who knows ?
    I did write to you at length yesterday and lost the entire message, so it may be lurking somewhere in CL’s vaults and may reappear.
    I have been married for 45 (almost 46) years.
    Briefly, my husband formed a ‘friendship’ with a lady neighbour who lived alone – they went dog walking together and were simply ‘friends’ – what could be wrong with that ? Well, what was wrong with that was that it was an exclusive private ‘friendship’ and i was very much excluded. The entire episode went on for 2 or 3 years. I tried to understand, tired to explain how I felt – he told me that I was being ridiculous and that they simply went for dog walks together. Then, I cried, begged, moved in and out of the bedroom depending on the level of my distress and he continued to trot off at the same time each day in order to meet up with her (she could be seen waiting for him). When I was upset or tried to talk, he told me that he couldn’t take all this any longer and I was making his life a misery. At one stage, he told me that he would stop seeing her ‘if that would satisfy’ me – but he lied and continued seeing her – little private lunches etc … Eventually, her husband returned and the nature of their ‘friendship’ changed.
    We sort of staggered on, but it wasn’t good. One day, when I was particularly upset, he asked me what on earth, I expected him to do and tried to explain that I was ‘broken’. in fact, we were ‘broken’ by what had happened and it would take me a long time to recover. His response has stayed with me forever, he actually said: ‘I’m not going to spend the rest of my days licking your arse.’
    He began to drink, drinking heavily at night and was verbally abusive (but, of course, could never remember). He told me that I was bitter and unforgiving. He was sometimes nasty to my little dog. We more or less lived separate lives, coming together for family occasions and co-operating with eachother because we lived in the same house. I did my best to enjoy our home and formed a few friendships with neighbours etc … . He took up bellringing and religion.
    Then, his unexplained absences from the house increased. He was obviously lying to me. The short and long of it is that he has developed another emotional affair with a lady who lives alone (she is married, but her husband lives elsewhere). He met her bellringing and attending church, they walk together and he spends entire days in her company. (His car parked in her driveway for 12 hours at a time, curtains/blinds closed and subdued lighting) – but they are just ‘friends’ you understand … and it doesn’t matter because I don’t want him anyway.
    So, dear Toto. Needlesstosay, I have seen the light and I am now divorcing him.
    Of course, your experience may be completely different from mine. Your husband may be more communicative, more understanding, more lots of things You may be able to recover and regain trust – I have no idea….. .
    However, I can tell you that, for whatever reason, I never recovered from his previous emotional affair (if that is what it was). It wasn’t as much the affair as such, but it was his attitude to me that hurt so much. Since that time, I have said many times that I didn’t trust him, then qualified it my saying that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust him not to commit adultery, but rather that I didn’t trust him not to hurt me like that again.
    Now, of course, if he were able to read this, he would say: ‘For goodness sake, get over it, it was years ago, what the hell was I supposed to do ?’ …. and, of course, the answer to that was simply to love me, give me time and to cuddle me and hold me until I healed and trust was restored.
    I don’t hate him, but I am tied of his bonkers ‘I, myself and me’ reasoning.
    So, dear Toto, take care, proceed with caution and,whatever you do, try to avoid my errors. The only good thing about staying on and trying to put things right is that, this time, I have no doubt about what I am doing.
    Before anyone else suggests it, I did suggest counselling or marriage guidance, but be refused – so I don’t know whether that may have helped – who knows.
    That’s something you tend to say rather a lot when your spouse has lots of secrets and lies – who knows ? it is the not knowing that causes the anxiety that leads to distress and uncertainty. Then you discover yet another half truth or deceit, someone says something that sets your mind spinning and the damage is done.
    Perhaps you will be able to trust him implicitly and ignore all possibility of anything and be ignorant and happy and maybe you will recover, or perhaps you will take the bull by the horns …. but, best not to spend years with a scrambled head, stuck in limbo.
    Much love,
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • alongwaytogo; This is a heart breaking story, especially after so many years. Many of these people (cheaters) only miss you when you are gone. This process unfortunately for some of us takes years.
      It is so true what CL says trusting that they suck. I wanted the truth so badly so I could figure out how bad it was. Could I believe a word that comes out of is mouth now?, Has this happened before? How long was it? What is his behavior like when I am not around & is it respectful of me? What I didn’t want to face was that none of it was acceptable, I would never know the whole story no matter how long I waited or sleuthed. I wanted so badly for it to be OK , but it just wasn’t
      Don’t have much faith that there is someone out there for me at my age. Maybe I can find another Chump. I didn’t envision being alone at tis point in my life, but I guess compared to being with a Cheater, it is peaceful.
      I feel for you bigtime. I think we have to accept where there is one rat sighted, there are many in hiding.

      • I saw two big rats who both emerged from the same smelly nest….fleeting glimpses of mice as well. My marriage did not need RELATE – it needed RENTOKILL.

    • This is what the pay for reconciliation service sites and some of the super pro reconciliation sites do not tell us: the overwhelming % of relationships touched by infidelity end. No normal person gets over being treated so cruelly and with such hostility such that he or she can ever be in a romantic relationship with the cheater again.
      I know there are a number of people on these sites claiming successful reconciliations. Even if we take them at their word ( and I do not ).I think we have to realize that cheaters who want to reconcile AND are capable of changing , are really, really the exception rather than the rule.
      IMO, this is because cheating, contrary to what media and other sources say, infidelity is an egregious act of abuse. Expecting someone to reconcile with someone who has done this is like expecting a bereaved family member to forgiver a drunk driver who has killed a loved one. Maybe it is even tougher because of the volitional and intentional act of betraying vs the grossly selfish and inconsiderate act of getting behind the wheel when loaded., as well as the violation of vows and trust vs a random act of gross selfishness from a stranger.
      I think what underlies the non-experienced persons perspective on the prospects of reconciliation, is a fundamental lack of understanding as to exactly how great a trauma infidelity is. The average person who has never gone through this has been exposed to movies, TV shows, magazine articles etc where a betrayed gets over it in short order and simply moves on, un affected after a minimal period of time.
      Nothing could be further from the truth , IMO, after experiencing this, reading about it and talking to countless others who have been through it.
      So, if you cannot continue in a relationship after infidelity, count yourself among the vast majority. The stats are pretty clear if you get them from a source other than a site trying to sell you services for reconciling. About 30% stay in the relationship. Of that 30% , roughly 7% repost they are happy in the relationship. So, there is ,statistically, about a 2.1% chance of having a happy relationship with someone who has abused you with infidelity.
      I know that may seem inconsistent with what we see on the various sites. But, really, the cheaters who go to those sites and express remorse and try to reconcile are but a tiny sliver of cheaters.
      My therapist, who is well respected here and who devotes a very high % of his practice to counseling folks who have infidelity as an issue told me that about 10% of the couples he sees are able to salvage the relationship. He did not tell me how many are happy, but I expect it is not unanimous.

      • So true Arnold. Unless you have been chumped you have no idea of the pain involved. The outside world says carry on, get over it, but this is a lot harder said than done. Why is it that the cheater thinks nothing of the pain they have caused. They think “What’s the matter?” or “Don’t I deserve to be happy?” What goes on in their pea size brain is beyond our control. They seek temporary excitement for there own selfishness. They don’t care about the pain or embarrassment they have cause their families. I can’t believe an emotional affair does lead to sex. If you are that close to someone I honestly believe in their brain they ARE wanting sex with that person. My ex told me it was an emotional affair, I can guarantee it was also physical otherwise he wouldn’t have needed to take his calias with him for his ER.

  • Toto,

    In your situation you should take the advice of some of my fellow chumps. Sit down and really think about your relationship with your husband. Are you able to talk with him? Can you actually feel comfortable sharing any emotions or concerns about anything? Once that intimacy of being able to share or discuss anything (trivial or important) is gone the relationship is going south as well.

    Look at his behaviour around routine day to day things. Look at the behaviour from the point of view of a complete stranger.

    Is this man being respectful? Does he say or do nice things?

    Is he disdainful? Does he criticize?

    Red flags for me that I ignored for years were in the little things. I dismissed the condescension and spackled over the odd or erratic behaviour. Granted some people might be self centred (not in a bad way mind you) but if somebody always places their wants and needs above yours is that a good relationship?

    …it took my cheater dumping me and some bitter reflection for me to recognize that I had been in a co-dependent relationship with a narcissist.

    EA aside. Do you feel that he regards anything you say, do or feel as being important? What is important to you as work, feelings, a hobby, an interest or a passion should be respected by him. You should be respected. You are his partner.

    If this man places little value on you it is easy for him to stray.That EA might not have been a PA but it was a courtship. Married people do not court or date!

    Trust your gut! Please don`t ignore the red flags!

    • awwwwwww, lookie lookie, we had so many trolly, doofy and goofy numbnuts visiting us here lately! I guess the truth hurts…Its all good Doofy? or was it goofy? keep working on that great marriage where your wife spread her legs repeatedly for another man, then you end up with his sloppy seconds and now you’re happily married …I have a feeling you will feel worst than a chump when she does it again, YOU? on second D-Day? deer caught in headlights… tsk tsk tsk.

  • I am in agony. I accidentally caught my husband of 11 years having an affair. I uncovered 15 months of phone records that show daily, they never missed one day, of text, phone calls and pictures sent back and forth. There were over 43,000 text, hundreds of phone calls (sometimes 9 daily) and pictures of his penis. They both say there was no sex, however, she lives just 3 blocks away, happens to be the SAME woman he had a physical relationship (while married to his first wife 39 years ago) and he was begging her constantly for sex. He says he was “just fucking with her”. Just wanted her to THINK he wanted her. This woman was coming to my home pretending to be my friend and never let on. I’m hurting because nothing adds up. I need proof of a physical affair before I can leave with a clear head. I do want a divorce, he does not. This was a deal breaker for me, but it feels like I’m stuck because I need to know more and get no answers. I feel like mentally I won’t make it if I don’t know the whole story. They both have been caught lying to me…not wanting to hurt my feelings. She has HPV 16/18 and had anal cancer resulting in a colostomy bag (she weighs over 300lbs too). Now she has stage 4 bone cancer in her spine. I need to know if they had sex to protect my health. She has nothing to lose by telling me the truth, but I believe she’d take his secrets to the grave. They were telling each other if I died they could be together! The “I love you’d” were constant. I know, in my gut, that they had sex…but without proof, it makes me look like a person that’s thoughts are out of control. I tried getting copies of the text. I even subpoenaed for them, but couldn’t get them. I’m stuck. I just need the truth. He tells me there’s nothing more to tell. What can I do?

    • 43,000 texts is all you need to know. That’s 43,000 texts of disrespect. And his excuse is he enjoy mindfucking people? Isn’t he delightful. He’s mindfucking you too. You won’t get the truth from either of them. Know what your deal breakers are. If 43,000 sexts and proximity aren’t enough for you, I don’t know what is. Get STD tested immediately and see a lawyer, please!

    • SMT, I can’t say this loud enough: TRUST YOUR GUT! I finally did about 10 months ago. It has been right every time so far. You know the truth in your heart, so act on it. Also, I felt worse about the EA (before finding the rest), and it was much more devastating. Discovering the PA just taught me to start trusting my gut. I was already destroyed. Please listen to your inner self. We are here for you.

    • Oh my goodness, So Many Tears, I am so sorry but you need to protect yourself NOW. Of course they had sex, no you do not need “proof,” no it does not matter even if somehow they did not (but you know they did!), no he and she do not care about you, AT ALL. In fact, this has been a fun sick little game for them. ASK ME HOW I KNOW. I went through much the same thing 3 years ago. If you can, do not beg him for explanations and remorse, because it is just another way for them to hurt and destroy you.

      Please, go immediately for STD and HIV testing (I had the pleasure of doing that after 25 years of marriage on my 51st birthday), protect your financials as best you can (I could write a whole outline on just that topic), see a lawyer, go to an individual counselor for support, and KICK HIS ASS OUT. You will feel like you want him to comfort you and explain. These freaks won’t explain and they won’t help you, only fuck with you more. Closure is impossible, at least if you need it from them. He has jeopardized and harmed your health and welfare. He is not your friend, he is your enemy, never ever forget that now. The person who is your destroyer cannot be your savior.

      Oh and read every article and every comment here on Chump Lady. It was what saved me after my awful D-day. Take action, things will get better, but they cannot until you protect yourself and get rid of that lying, cheating, evil sack of shit who pretended to be your husband.

      (((HUGS)))

      • SMT; That is exactly how I felt & guess what? I hung around for a couple of years for the truth. I felt like how can I forgive/not forgive without the answers? Well, I never got them, and the pain just gets deeper. Especially if they “want you back” you will NEVER get the truth. Things don’t add up because they are lies. I couldn’t get it off my mind for the longest time, going around & around to fill in the blanks. With the story you tell above, there is no chance there was not a full blown affair, I am so sorry. Please take care of yourself.

        • It’s true–they are not going to relinquish the truth. In a former job, I was a supervisor/interrogator of delinquent youth at a drug rehab center, yet it took me 4 months to even get basic “truth” from my cheater. Unless you are CIA and have access to torture equipment, don’t think you’ll ever know everything.

          Just leave.

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