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Dear Chump Lady, He “can’t decide”

cakemanDear Chump Lady,

I am still in the “pain” period, but think I am moving on quickly to anger. He can’t decide. He “cares” about me but is not in love with me. He won’t admit to anything even though (using technology skills I didn’t know I had) I caught him. This is so painful — close to how I felt when my mom died suddenly when I was 22. I never thought anything would be worse than that. But this is.


Dear Esq,

I’m sorry you were chumped. (((Big hugs))) from Chump Nation. We want to help you through this pain.

Here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it — stop caring what he thinks.

You summed up in a very short letter exactly what the problem is with the chump condition — we look to the cheater for direction. Oh, he “can’t decide”? His love-o-meter tilts toward “caring” but away from loving you? He won’t admit to anything?

Fuck him. Right this minute stop giving him any power to hurt you. Are you going to put your life on hold while he decides? Are you Door Number One, Two, or Fifteen? Are you the consolation luggage set?

He doesn’t get to dictate the terms of your self worth. You do. It’s either acceptable to you to be a lukewarm option at his pussy buffet or it isn’t.

If it’s not acceptable to you — start calling the shots. Tell him to leave. Lawyer up. Make a plan.

But whatever you do, stop looking to him to explain this or validate you. He’s incapable. He’s too high on cake. He’s unnerved that you busted him, but now that you have, he’d prefer the option where you pick me dance your heart out to win him back. You’re supposed to cling to “HE STILL CARES!” Wow! Maybe there’s something to work with here and if I Just Try Harder and Improve Myself he will LOVE me again!

That game is rigged. He didn’t tell you and he didn’t break up with you because he enjoyed having both his affair(s) and you. He likes cake. Now he’ll goad both you and the affair partner(s) into round after round of the pick me dance so he can be central. If he walks away from cake, (and that’s so hard for cheaters), it’s only because you’re demanding accountability. Cheaters like the easier option. If they think they can snow you into accepting cake, or feel they are clever enough to take it underground, they’ll do that. If they think the affair partner will accept their side dish place, they’ll go with that status quo.

But here’s what he WILL NOT do — give a shit about you. He doesn’t “care” — his actions demonstrate that. He cheated on you, lied, and when confronted was not contrite — he played the poor ambivalent sausage.

There is no way through the infidelity shit storm without pain. If you give your decision-making authority to a cheater (will he choose me? will he win me back? will he explain this?), you’re choosing more pain. If you start enforcing boundaries and value yourself? The pain is finite. You’ll snatch your life back from this loser.

He can’t decide? Doesn’t matter. YOU decide.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Choices of the mind,
    Of the heart…
    Voices – That bind,
    & sets you apart.
    Life is full of choices,
    Which paths should I take?
    What is great & which is less?
    Which decision a fatal mistake?
    Words are merely words,
    Actions are the ones that speak…
    While the latter strikes home strong,
    Former is usually weak!

    Dear Esq,

    This is a poem a dear friend of mine wrote a while back for me. I read it each time I cry inside or I feel crappy or I have been mindfucked or all of the above. ACTIONS ARE LOUDER THAN WORDS… They tell you everything you need to know about people … Please take it from me who made the same mistake of pick me dancing cuz he CARED about me…it’s not worth it. Leave now if you can… Else quit dancing and start building up your self sufficiency so you can kick him… Either way the goal must be to mentally move on…you can do it… I live in the same house n I’m a stranger to him now since I found out… Take back your power… He can only mindfuck you if you allow him to..

    Mind logic

  • Amen! Actions and words. Reward and punishment. Major mind games!!!! They KNOW how to manipulate us. I fooled myself for decades. Don’t be a chump!

  • Hi. My mother died suddenly soon after my first child was born. When my husband was choosing between me and his affair slut I thought if he left it would be like a death- the same pain I felt – and still feel years later- when my mother died. 8 months after he left I know it is not the same pain. It is much worse when your mother dies. Nothing good came from losing my mother and already do much good had come from my husband choosing to lose me. You will get through the three months of total grief and the three months of anger and suddenly find you are better- more optimistic, freer and happier. Probably more broke and probably having to deal with annoying shit but in between you can make your own choices- you are not waiting to be chosen. Choose a future of possible (and likely) happiness rather than a lifetime with someone who can not even choose you. Value yourself.
    Be valued. You are valuable.

    • Thank you. Crying as I read this but it gives me hope. I am sick of being a doormat and a distracted mom to my 3 kids who don’t deserve this. Thank you.

      • No, Sara, you and they do not deserve this.

        As a man, who does not have kids but was married to someone with whom I had hoped to one day have kids, I cannot even imagine doing ANYTHING to harm my family, especially my children.

        Please keep this ultimately in mind – your husband made a concious, deliberate decision to harm your children and place their future in jeopardy.

        This bespeaks his character. I hope you have read all the posts and comments from other mothers in your situation. In all of the cases they have gone and done better because they are not having to parent an overgrown, spoiled brat manchild anymore.

        Additionally, as time goes on, you will notice your relationship with him was doomed from the start due to red flags in the beginning which you condoned.

        You are not there yet. You are an attorney from what I understand – use this. Use your contacts and blindside that fucker like you were blindsided.

        Justice and righteous revenge can be a very appetizing dish.

      • Sara: I am a much better mother now that my cheater is gone (as he was also sporadically emotionally abusive before I found out about the cheating).

        While he was still here, my youngest daughter showed signs of oppositional defiant disorder; since he left, her behavior has improved immensely.

        Children cannot thrive in a disordered household, nor one where the care-giving parent is distracted and in pain.

        • Sarah, my children knew before I did. He took them to his whores houses to play with their children. THESE are not the memories you want your children to have as adults. I could go I and on about the disordered asswhore. The problem is you love them and they love themselves. Gather all documents, get a lawyer and get EVERYTHING for your children. Talk through a good lawyer only. It’s heartbreaking but save yourself from his version of commitment. They don’t change.

    • Liv–I could not have said it any better. My mom died when I was 27 years old and the pain was awful…even worse when my dad died. Yes, this pain is awful too, but I’m a year into him leaving me for his slut and have too discovered that I’m way better than I thought I would be. I have a new job, new boyfriend, and a renewed sense of how beautiful life is. You WILL get past the pain….but unfortunately you need to go through it to get to the other much better side.

      Prayers are with you!!

  • My STBX also “could not decide” briefly after our separation, before he admitted to OW. I soon came to realize that he had made his decision quite clearly. He was just saying that because telling the truth made him uncomfortable.


    • Mine also.

      It also meant she would have to admit she was wrong, and we all know, “You’re not the boss of me!”

      • My favorite quote from the bastard: “I am an alpha dog. No one controls me. YOU will never control me.” He’s completely blind to the fact that every bad decision he makes controls me and my children. Also – if he was truly an “alpha dog” (I had a hard time holding in laughter), there would be absolutely no need to verbalize it. Saying it negates it. Idiot.

        • I got that crap whispered in my ear as I was about to walk out the door to marry the shitforbrains: “You will never hold me down.” WHAT? I CAN WALK OUT THERE AND APOLOGIZE TO THOSE 140 PEOPLE FOR INTERRUPTING THEIR DAY. “No. I’m just nervous. I don’t know why I said that. I love you, kissy kissy.”

          BULLSHIT! I was duly warned and never got that memo for over a decade.

          • mine said…. And try and contain yr laughter… ‘ i am a wild animal and wild animals cant be tamed’
            I said ‘ ok pumbaa’
            He didnt see the humor.

            • “mine said…. And try and contain yr laughter… ‘ i am a wild animal and wild animals cant be tamed’
              I said ‘ ok pumbaa’”

              Bahahahahaha!!! Clip, I sincerely love your style.

          • Mine said early on that “You can’t always have anything you want”. He was already setting the rules to a game that I wasn’t going to win. He was preparing me expect less then what I deserved. What crap!!!

        • Well, it’s not marriage if the issue is who is controlling whom. Your hopefully STBX, Sara, is very immature emotionally, eh?

          • Yes. He was when I married him. At the time I was an emotionally distraught nerd with no family, and was charmed by him and the fact that he had so many “friends”, was “cool”, and still sought after me despite my nerd status. I always believed he would outgrow the “I need to be with my guy friends” demeanor. Fast forward 15 years – I no longer see his persona as “cool” nor even likeable. I think I’m holding onto memories. I am even starting to question them. Red flags? Yes. I’m an ostrich. Shameful. I am more angry with myself than anyone.

            • ESQ, when we finally ‘see’ them we tend to be hard on ourselves. Fifteen years later your head is no longer in the sand. Yout putting together the pieces and seeing him for exactly what HE lacked. The false memories are part of your awakening. It hurts. Now your growing wings. I have authentic memories since I divorced his selfish ass. I can finally make plans and enjoy my life with my friends and family. Use all the energy you wasted in him on yourself. I like nurds. I despise cheaters. I would rather sleep with a good book than a cheating asshole with superficial selfish relationships. You need a support system and you have that here. Find a therapist who understands narcs and their abuse. You will get stronger when you are cheater free.

  • Esq, I was in the same situation and I allowed him time to decide (he said I was so compassionate)……so dumb! Everything he’s saying is code for cake eating. He’s just stringing you along so he gets what he wants, both. Please, please listen to CL. She is bang on as usual. Cheaters think they are so unique, and it’s always the same script you read here at chump nation. I finally wised up and lawyered up. He hated it, begged, pleaded told me he’d do anything (funnily enough he never did anything, no actions – I asked that he book us a counsellor to show me……never did). It’s so hard as you thought they were so great, loved you. You’re so disappointed. But please know it’s all about them, it’s their mistake, their character fault. You just got chumped. Now you need to take your good heart and get very far away from his disordered one. Don’t get dragged through it (I clocked up 9 painful months) you don’t deserve this, take back your life, take back your power. Fuck him, love you.

    • MsChump said, “Now you need to take your good heart and get very far away from his disordered one.”

      That sums it up.

      Don’t do what I did and hold on to any shred of hope he puts out there. I remember trying to understand how the situation could have changed from him begging and pleading for me to take him back to the shoe suddenly being on the other foot with me pick me dancing like a fool.

      What happened was that he went to plan b and just re-organized the affair and his whole cake party. He had been manipulating me for years, so it was automatic. And I was the most shocked and vulnerable I have ever been, so it was very easy for him to cold-heartedly maneuver things back to the way he liked them.

      Reading your letter made me so mad, for you, for me, for all of the people this happens to. Because he has already chosen and he is DISRESPECTING you outrageously. Chump Lady gave you a clear take on your choices and I just want to urge you to take her evaluation as the gold standard. No matter what he says.

      I’m really sorry for the awful way you are being treated.

  • Often telling the truth makes them look like bad people and impression management is so much more important than integrity, morals and values.

    Once you know the truth the monster comes out because you might tell people about what he has done and once again – impression management is soooo important ( more important than your feelings ).

    Move forward – but do not tell him what you are doing. He is not your friend and he will not “care” about anything but his cake and his needs.

    You need to realize that he has chose to lie to you and that anything he says to you is to essentially shut you up while he makes his own plans.

    Lawyer up quietly and do what you need to do. There will be lots if other great advice on this site. At least now you KNOW he sucks!!!!

    • Impression management! This!!! It was more important what others thought of him if I exposed him. These Others mostly consisted of Facebook “friends” and ex “girlfriends” on Facebook too (I discoverrd). He had very few close people in his life. I was it. So he guarded his precious facebook and never let anyone know he was with me after Dday one of many. Today is day two of freedom. It went down in the most hurtful awful way. I am now cycling through the idealization/anger/acceptance.

      My advise, as all of us here well know…. We Chumps take them back and each time we do, we forget that the next Dday will be even worse, they will be crueler to us and value us even less. They will keep the OW in their lives. Say things they shared with them. Text them, catch up, laugh with them anout their good times…. And the Ddays for YOU will NEVER stop.

      • You’re right–taking them back is, in effect, reinforcing them for cruel behavior. This makes that cruel behavior likely to INcrease, and intensify. Bullies don’t stop until they suffer consequences. And a cheater-free life is very liberating.

        • And sadly, the better you drive your life without them, the more they will want to come back and break you down again. No Contact is the best way forward.

    • Oh yes!!! “Impression management” THIS ^^^^ is everything right now— my H. has asked me several times, “Who all have you told?…Who have you been talking shit behind my back to?…” . He cannot believe I would have the nerve to tell our friends what he’s really been like behind closed doors this last year or so!!! …He is supposed to move out in two days, and I think he’s honestly shocked that I haven’t danced the “pick-me” dance or crawled across the floor on my knees begging him to stay…been there, done that with my 1st- never again!!!!

      • Good for you.

        Mine also had the nerve to ask who all I had told, and seemed shocked by the answer.

        Of course, my answer was: “The best way for me not to have told anyone, would be for you not have done it!”

        She did not like this and could not respond.

        Frankly, as I told her, I could and would tell the TRUTH to whomever, whenever I wanted because that was my right.

        This was the only time my ex-wife ever showed a true, emotional passion about this whole thing.

        She was also upset that I told her parents, but now I know they will all have to stew in the truth of what she is.

        • He obsesses about what others think. His – until recently – best friend told me “get out now while you’re still hot.” Lol. I don’t feel very hot right now to say the very least.

            • Yes! Staying ahead of the narrative helps keep your sanity. With their family it doesn’t mean much as I found out but I know they had been told the truth, they just chose to ignore it.

          • Get out while you can. Age and looks are secondary. We are talking about ABUSE. This is what cheating is, abusing someone who gave birth to your children and they disrespect you by lying, cheating and deceiving the person they married. I now believe in conditional love. Raise your bar higher

          • I’d say 2 things about his “best friend.” What the friend told you is very revealing about what someone else who knows him well thinks. However, his mental processes are a little skewed, too, as of course Donna is correct–the issue is not the expiration date of your hotness but rather the abuse of cheating and betrayal and the destruction of your family through infidelity.

        • @ Tony:

          Yep, his parents have apparently been his co-conspirators in his plotting/planning/thinking-of-leaving for the last few months to a year, and a few of his friends, but I can’t tell my friends??? Phhhish, whatever!!!! He’s stated once, “I know I’m going to be the asshole in this…” to which I replied, “Yep! Sure are!”

          • Yes I tell everyone he’s with a bar whore he picked up at a casino. He gambles drinks drugs and is always looking. Why pad the truth. Fuck them.

            • Exactly…I tell my friends exactly what he’s been saying and doing these last 4 or 5 weeks and he can’t stand it!!! It’s fine as long as I am sitting here at the house “suffering in silence”, but as soon as I found out, I assembled my “war council”, LOL- a small group of my friends that aren’t going to sit by and let him gaslight me…
              One friend even texted him and told him that she was telling me what I wanted/needed to hear…then went on to tell him what a cold, selfish bastard he’s been to me, and that the dark side of him has finally been revealed and that she realizes that she had him all wrong…all he’s been quoting back to me is that she is a “backstabber” that is only telling me what I want to hear- no mention of the rest of the text that she sent him, hahahahahahahaaa!!!!! Classic deflection, right???

        • When I told my XW’s mom, XW went nuts and told me I had taken 10 years off her mom’s life. I was astounded by her stupidity.

          • Arnold, there is no end to their lack of accountability. It’s a relief when they no longer have us to blame. Although, I suspect X will attempt reconciliation down the road as my therapist predicts.

  • I have gone as much NC since I realized that my STXH wouldn’t give up his Ho-worker. They are just “friends” right? He only likes her and he is so lonely since I am giving him nothing. Mind you…. DD for me was only 4 months ago. How hard did he really try to give her up and what about that marriage counseling that he never committed too? He is a serial cheater…she isn’t the only one.

    I realized that I was going freaking crazy. Monitoring his phone record, hanging to everything he did and did not do. I did the dance and I was the marriage police. The only thing that helps is NC. I am in the house for another month and we have kids but you can go NC.

    I can’t change what he does but I can change what I do and how I respond to it. Last night he said that he was willing to work it out but I was the one the checked out. Ahhhh….mindfuckery. Gotta love it. The countdown to drama free is near and I can’t wait! It is still hard and I still cry but this feels better then what I have been going through!!

  • “He can’t decide? Doesn’t matter. YOU decide.”

    ^^^ That. Because he already DID make decisions. He made hundreds of decisions to look at another woman… to talk to her… to touch her. He didn’t trip and fall into her vagina. He could have decided to walk away from temptation at any time. But he didn’t. He decided to to have an affair. Now that you have all the facts, it’s time for YOU to make an informed decision.

    • LOL – Yeah, up until now, he’s been doing a whole lot of his own deciding without informing her about his decisions, so waiting for him to decide anything hasn’t worked out very well, has it?

    • Elizabeth speaks truth and wisdom here. I know because I made the WRONG decision when I was in your spot.

      Mine was too much of a weasel to leave and file so he tried the “be so mean she breaks and does the work” method but I am the most stubborn woman alive and refused, so we “reconciled” which bought me 7 more years being with a man who loved me so little he was a mean-ass cheater.

      Yesterday, I learned that his big-whopper “I may leave you for her and have a new family” affair was his biggest but not his first. I went to speak to the Deacon at Church who counseled him and asked what he could share with me based on the fact that I know he had a physical affair and he is dead now. I wondered if he struggled with telling me the truth and the answer I got was a tsunami..

      “The first ones were just about sex, but this was one he couldn’t break off”

      “First ones”? as in plural, at least 2 more? I would have sworn on the lives of my children that he hadn’t cheated before and I was dreadfully wrong.

      CN says “a cheater is a cheater” and I would have given a unicorny explanation as to why that was wrong but the wrong one was me. I may still believe that there is a small chance that a few decent people have a single momentary lapse that scares them so much they tighten their sphincters and cant poop for a week, but for the ones who have extended affairs, they lost part of their soul and became selfish liars and real redemtion for them is as rare as unicorns.


  • Dear Esq. please, please listen to CL, don’t let him decide YOUR future. I know it can be really scary, we have all been there. Let your anger come out, anger can be fuel to empower yourself.
    Look, if he couldn’t DECIDE right away – that you are whom he chooses when you discovered his affair, the truth is, the doesn’t love you, or at least doesn’t love you ENOUGH. Don’t you deserve better?

    I lived in LIMBO for over 1 year with him home, not going NC, not committing to Reconciliation, Not Filing for Divorce – it was the most horrible year of my life. But who’s fault was that? Mine. I let him DECIDE. Until forced the issue of him having to move out. And once he did – my healing started, I had peace at home, my heart was no longer in turmoil EVERY SINGLE DAY – watching him mope at home – like I was forcing him to be with me, making me feel that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough…
    We deserve better. Being alone is definitely better than living that life.

    (((( BIG HUGS) we’re here for you.

    • Thank you so much. I am so ashamed that I blinded myself to this for so long. And I am in turmoil. Heart constantly racing, thoughts I can’t seem to get rid of, irritation and lack of patience with my kids (who have only one stable parent right now) and a litany of emotions that seem to come and go like the wind. Totally unpredictable. I feel like a badass one minute and a wet washcloth the next. I’m sick of myself.

      • That is very typical and I thought it would never end. Find a good friend and build a support system. And when you think your going crazy come here for hugs. You are in the right place! Life IS so much better now that I detached from a pig. Hugs

        • Thank you Donna. Hugs right back. Tears. Weird to find such comfort that I haven’t felt in so long from strangers. My faith in the goodness of humanity is slowly being restored thanks to people like you and this site. 🙂

          • Feed your badass Sara. That anger will get you where you need to go. Which is OUT and on your way to a better life. A truer life. You’ll thank yourself one day.

            • The anger came after the paralysis in my discard. My therapist asked me ,”where’s your anger”. It was there underneath the depression I suffered for years living with a narcissist.

              • Another universal cheater trend that we all thought unique to us – lets all hold our breath and have a drum roll til the cheater DECIDES – who will be the chosen one?
                I was weak and misguided enough to be in the running – OW had more sense than me and went NC for 6 months while he hummed and hawed about his indecision. He was careful to do the bare minimum to keep a fool believing and I was a fool.
                When the 6month curfew ended he decided that he had “unfinished business” with OW and I lost the dance but won the consolation prize of him coming and going as he pleases and poking around in my life until I got tough and wised up.
                My mantra for any new chump out there is do not be an option….to have even a cat in hells chance of reconciliation that works you need him begging on your terms.
                I know we clutch at straws and fool ourselves but lets get real here…we are chumping and we know it.
                Do you really want to hand the decision of your fate over to a lying double crosser who has just proved that you are low on his list….let him do his “caring” from a distance.

        • Yes, figure out who will listen at any hour. Who will buck you up if you get scared. Who will come and stay for a week or two after you kick STBX out. Who will help you think through the money issues. Don’t be surprised if some of your supposed “friends” fall by the wayside, either when you separate or when the changes in you (your new awesome ability to set boundaries and reject bullshit) become apparent. The other thing that helped me was (of all things) my iPad. I started keeping a journal on it, including pictures. I used it to collect important quotations from things I was reading. I downloaded books like Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” and her book about vulnerability, and Marianne Williamson’s book on prayer. For a while I had to read prayers for 1/2 an hour just to get out of bed in the morning! I had a bunch of websites to read on my home screen-all I had to do was click through them. All of that helped when I was alone at night. And of course–“Law and Order” marathons! I’m still watching a lot of crime tv (Blue Bloods!) because for some reason, seeing people arresting bad people made me very happy for the first 6-8 months after DDay. Figure out what you need to do to stay strong and healthy because the stress of betrayal is so tough on the body. Line up the comfort books and movies that inspire you, give you hope, make you laugh. I used Pinterest to re-design my life–nothing like a giant bulletin in cyberspace–you can keep your boards private if you want to. But you can re-think your home, your style of dress, your gardens and nearly everything else. Think about keeping a journal. A year from now you will be amazed and proud of how far you’ve come and how creative you were in getting to a new life.

      • Sara, all great advice here. Do treat yourself kindly but I would also add exercise! Challenge yourself by doing something you’ve never done before-take a class, learn to paint, ski, surf, go out dancing with friends, write a book! This saved me and saves me still! Endorphins are good too. Take time to grieve. Surround yourself with kindred spirits and tell your truth. Over and over again, and here. 🙂 So many of us here loved with our whole Chumpy hearts but we also failed to recognize that we were paired up with the wire monkey. What we learn is that for the disordered nobody matters. It is a harsh truth. I can promise you life is better without disordered. It is beautiful. Life is all about being strong and fragile and the best people I know share vulnerability. I never had that with my ex.

  • First off, hugs! No one wants to join this club!

    Chump Lady is right; lawyer up and file. You don’t have anything to work with here.

    Read about the “Pick Me” dance. That is what your cheater wants you to do. If you only try harder, he can decide to choose…YOU! You win the prize! Oh, he’s still with Schmoopie? Or he’s found another side dish of pussy? That means YOU didn’t dance hard enough. Try again.

    We at Chump Nation have your back. We know what you’re going through. You really want him to See The Light so he can Decide to Choose You.

    Unfortunately, he has chosen–her.

    Yes, that’s the really awful thing that all of us Chumps have to accept. Our spouse–the one we trusted most–betrayed our love and trust by choosing someone else. That is why the game is rigged. The cheater already made the choice and it wasn’t us.

    That is why your cheater’s excuse that he “can’t decide” is total bullshit. He did decide. He decided to have an affair (his dick didn’t fall into her by accident). He decided to lie and cheat (you had to discover the affair). He decided to expose you to STDs (get tested ASAP).

    And when you confronted him, he decided that he didn’t need to admit the truth or apologize.

    Those are all choices. And every single one of them shows that he chooses the affair.

    Get angry now. Lawyer up and file. You can do this!

    • I used to think he chose ‘her’ also. This sets up competition. It makes us feel inadequate. They really choose infidelity, deceit, and disrespect. THEY hate themselves not for what they have done but what they are to their core. And that is a narcissist. Narcissists are NEVER happy. They like cake and supply. They are charmers and any whore will do. They WANT us to focus in the OW. Focus in yourself. Their need for porn, alcohol,drugs, sex, and degradation never ends. This is what feeds a narc. Divorce the mindfuckery go no contact and get rid if the toxic soul sucking leech. Yes he has another pig. Accepting that he was always disordered and could never change gave me the courage to finally break the control and power cycle. Ahh freedom! An authentic life is my truth.

  • Esq,

    As CL points out, his decision NOT to decide is a decision. I suspect like many here that you want him to decide differently. Someone who really cared about you would be quick to make amends after hurting you in such a grievous way. That is a no brainer. By playing for time, he is saying making this “right” (can’t undo what’s already been done after all) is not a priority. That’s a decision. You may wish he had decided otherwise. But it is a decision. If you face that truth–as CL points out–you will save yourself even more grief. Sadly no good options exist at this point. He’s served you a buffet of bad options with his decisions to cheat and lie.


    • This should be a mantra for us: His decision NOT to decide is a decision. And his decision to cheat is a decision.

    • “Sadly no good options exist at this point” — that’s the sad truth. The good news is that healing starts the minute you extricate yourself from the situation. It’s a long, unpleasant road, but the sooner you start the sooner you’re back to meh.

      Staying with somebody like that only brings more misery. You’re best option is to start eating the poo-poo sandwich now, there’s just no way to avoid it. Be brave.

      Hugs, Esq.

  • Great reminder CL.
    We are finalizing plans for him to move out and he told me he had “cold feet.” When I asked for him to clarify he proceeded to list all of the things about the house he was sad about leaving. Not one thing about missing me.
    This was a great reminder that what I’ve been doing – waiting for him to decide if he was in love with me or not – is completely ridiculous.
    I told him to leave. It was scary. But your blog reminds me daily that it was the right thing to do.
    Thanks so much for what you do.

      • Yup, a whole list of things we did to the house and all the work he put into it and all the things we bought for it. Even listed our “three Dyson vacuums” as something he would miss.
        He’s so sentimental.

        • No! Having to leave behind Dyson vacs must have torn him apart. Just the thought of that is making me weepy.

          • If only he’d thought about the Dysons when first he was tempted to stray!

            Is he out of there yet? Can we all come help to escort him to a dusty downgrade environment somewhere too far away to borrow the equipment?

          • Chump Lady—Mine asked for half of the homemade vanilla extract. I can’t with these losers.

            • Mine wanted to break up the twin cats that hadn’t been apart a day in their lives. These aren’t deep thinkers.

              • Did the kitties get to stay together I hope! Is anything immune from these selfish losers? My guess is no.

              • Annd there is another cartoon idea. Cheater hugging three Dysons and crying, “But you’re breaking up the FAMILY!”

              • Mine slurrrred he missed MY car…..I took that to mean he wanted to get back together so that he could squire his whores around in style again. It didn’t happen.

    • NoMoreDancing

      I am glad that he gave you the truth about what is really important to him – and you pretty clearly did not figure into that list.

      You can move on now with a clear conscience, right?

    • I had a similar experience. He didn’t want to leave the house because he was going to miss the kitchen, his office, and the fabulous view. No word about how he was going to miss me or our dog.

      • Mine made sure he took the one possession that mattered. A blown up photo canvas that I took of HIM on a trip! He’s alone, on top of a mountain of snow, with his hands up in the air in celebration. It is proudly displayed on the mantle of his new place. It’s the FIRST thing you see when you walk into his place!!! No narcissist there!!! PS He has our daughter’s photo somewhere …..

        • My Wonder Boy has a large black and white photo of him paddling in a outrigger canoe proudly displayed on his mantle. No photos of his sisters or other family members, just him. He is so handsome and special. No need to look at anyone else but him.

            • It’s a shrine for sure. No one else’s photo is worthy to be displayed in their house, computer, or phone. It’s all about them.

              • Mine has surrounded himself with all his golf trophies in his new house. HE. IS. THE. GREATEST.

            • No–Jackass doesn’t like pictures of himself as he is insecure about his looks. But he would blowup and frame his SAT scores from 35 years ago if he could–even though he dropped out of college. Twice.

          • My cheater has a large framed watercolor painting of himself shirtless at about 12 years old. He removed it from our house while he was cheating with Schmoopie, and gave it to her. TBH I didn’t notice it was gone till after D-Day. He also took a photo of himself at age 5 that I had framed and we used to display next to a similar photo of me, in matching frames. Later when I saw Schmoopies house pix on the real estate ads, there was the photo I framed of him, next to a photo of her.

        • The very thought of a flattering photographic memory of an “us” moment being featured in his new life says it all. It was always about him even when you were there. I had similar happen to me. Cheater loved to use dynamic shots I had taken of him on vacation for his profiles on some of the skankiest websites.

    • Oh yes, my H. wants to take very little- except the mini-blender Ninja that he and I use every day. Funny thing is that when I suggested we get it, he was like, “A waste of money- you’ll never use it!!!” He hasn’t claimed much else as far as our property that we’ve amassed over the last 10+ years…oh yeah- one of my cast iron skillets too- the one my mother gave me as a wedding gift when I married my first h.!!!! LOLOLOL Sure, honey!!!!

    • XH also wanted the house. When we were trying to decide who would move out, I asked if he even liked the house, and the enthusiasm with which he said, “Are you kidding? I LOVE ths house!” — Doesn’t love me, loves the house, can’t understand why that’s hurtful.

  • My cheater also couldn’t decide. I knew on D-day that I wanted out, but I wavered for a few months to see what he was going to do about the mess he had made (plus I was so freaked out and suffering wicked PTSD). I was surveilling his phone and he didn’t know it. When I caught him calling her we had a huge fight and I finally said “what do you want?”. He said “I don’t know”. That did it. I knew I couldn’t be married to someone who didn’t know what he wanted. That’s not marriage. Hell, I wouldn’t date someone with that attitude. Can’t decide?
    It was like a death – way worse than any loss of any loved one I’ve ever experienced, even the death of my father.
    Stay with your anger and use it to take care of yourself. You will get through this. You are MIGHTY!

    • “That did it. I knew I couldn’t be married to someone who didn’t know what he wanted. That’s not marriage. Hell, I wouldn’t date someone with that attitude.”

      Great line.

      A week after DDay, we were supposed to go on our deferred Honeymoon (deferred because my ex-wife had an opportunity whereby she needed to work seven days a week -still managed to find time for an affair…) and instead I insisted she go to her parent’s and figure out what she wanted.

      She sexted me once – for the first time in our relationship – and otherwise no contact.

      When she came back, I said, “you’ve had a week to think about this, and I only need to know one thing – do you want to be married?”

      Her response – big surprise here! – “I don’t know.”


      • Ugh, what is with this sexting. Why do Cheaters love it? When I was doing the Pick me Dance, I tried it a few times in my own half ass way. Let’s just say it has no appeal for me. Rather than being fun and exciting like I guess it’s supposed to be, it’s just immature and stupid to me.

        • They love superficially sparkly acts, like sexting, more than substantial sexy acts, like bringing their spouse breakfast in bed.

          It took a long time for me to see that the superficial things my X liked were really his priorities. He could appreciate family life to some extent (possibly for how it made him look to other people?), but the greatest allure was the nice car, conference f*cks, designer jeans, fancy meals. That was HIM. It boggles my mind how I convinced myself that he liked the substantial things in life (children, connections to other people, charitable works). I guess I projected what was important to me onto him, despite evidence to the contrary.

          • That’s exactly what it is – we project our values and priorities onto them. And they mirror these things purposely to keep us around in the early years. But since it’s not really who they are deep down, they can’t sustain the authenticity charade.

          • Tempest just unraveled the skein.

            Yeah, sexting….what gives with that? Stupid and immature, indeed!

  • First, I will quote the awesome Rush, so you can have musical accompaniment to this article.

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

    Now then. Your cheating husband HAS already made his choice. He chose to have a wife AND an affair. That’s what he wants to maintain. His current ‘indecision’ is his hope that you will accept his choice to have both, or return to believing his lies. By not choosing between you and his mistress, he gets to prolong the situation where he has his true first choice – keeping both.

    Chumps think the choice ought to be completely obvious (dump the affair partner) but cheaters don’t think like that because their first choice is THEMSELVES.

    Your cheater will keep up his indecision as long as your patience lasts but the important takeaway message is that he is NOT making the choice to prioritize his marriage. That’s the only answer you need from him.

    • “Chumps think the choice ought to be completely obvious (dump the affair partner) but cheaters don’t think like that because their first choice is THEMSELVES.”

      So freaking true. Took me way to long to realize this fact.

  • After 16 years together, the word XH came up with to describe his feelings about me was “fond.” He was “fond” of me and had “fond” memories of our time together. Fond.

    These are things I’m “fond” of: my eccentric Aunt Martha, strolling through a pleasant city park and maybe having a small sit-down on a park bench to watch the birds, a good scone….

    I, OTOH, loved him from the bottom of my soul. These are other things I love from the bottom of my soul: my dogs, my friends, my sister…. I would bleed and die for any of them, as I would have done for him.

    We all deserve REAL love. Not “settled” love, or ILYBINILWY love. And this is not to say it has to be early-days Disney love with hearts exploding in mid-air (oh, how I do wish XH & OW’s hearts WOULD explode in mid-air or right within their Schmoopie little thoraxes!), but even better, a profound respect and appreciation you can’t find in a short-term infatuation relationship.

    If he “can’t decide” if that’s valuable to him, then that’s your answer right there. So sorry.

  • You are so right, Hopeful Cynic. They aren’t choosing the OWhore, if they were they would leave. They are choosing themselves, exactly like you said. They want to be Mr. Bigshit, right in the middle of two women chasing them. Craving the attention they didn’t get when they were single. Disgusting.

        • Yeah, me too. Big time Motown girl right here. If this song got released today, the title really would be “Mr. Big Shit.” 🙂

          • Lol. I’m mid fifties and grew up with soul music of the 70s. Love the Funk, and the slow love songs also. Did you see Miss Patti Labelle last night on Dancing with the Stars? She still had a great voice at 70!!!

            • I will admit Gloria Gaynor’s disco hit, “I Will Survive,” was on auto-loop for 2 weeks after D-day. Who knew 70s music was so therapeutic?

              • So funny…I did a playlist on youtube a month after Dday and “I will survive” was at the top of my music therapy sessions!!

              • It’s on my music therapy playlist as well! I needed a lot of angry music afterwards.

              • Yes music and concerts were very healing: Black Keys, Citizen Cope, Patty Griffin (Peter Pan, on her live album, heck her entire A Kiss In Time I wore out!), Paolo Nutini ( my favorite of his is Last Request-okay I just needed to cry and it’s a beautifully sung sad song), and Kings of Leon.

    • Nearly choked:-) Was “fond” of me; wouldn’t leave though! 5 groupies over 18 months-not bad for someone who was a brown haired nerd when I met him. Had no way of knowing the band he was in would become pretty popular. Chucked him out after #3. He came back on the day of my cousins funeral(knowing my defences would be down). All good for a couple of months-found out #3 was still in the picture.Then found out I was pregnant. So he took up with #2&5(same person) Ironic that I became pregnant because of antibiotics after #3, and lost the baby because of diseases I caught from 2&5. And I didn’t leave because it was my house & I had nowhere else to go. Ended up losing my baby,house & dogs.But he was “fond” of me :-). Biggest irony was that #2&5 then stalked me for 6 years before king hitting me. I had apparently ruined her life by leaving him & I’d only left because I knew how miserable he’d make her!PFFFT!

      • Fucking groupies… I feel you. Im sorry for all that shot you went through with that asshole. *hugs*

  • I had the great good fortune of stumbling onto the Chump Lady while still reeling from the discovery of my husband’s affair. He was actually on vacation with Schmoopie at an expensive romantic lovenest in California.
    I cleaned out the bank accounts while he was on his little vacay, I gathered a TON of evidence, hid it at my office, went to see an attorney, and loaded all his shit up into garbage bags. When he came home, I confronted him and he gave me the BS lines about
    how he “loved me but wasn’t in love with me”, “didn’t want to work on the marriage because he was not sure I would forgive him”, and “needed some time to think about it”. At first, he even denied the affair.
    Thanks to Chump Lady’s insight and wise advice, I THREW HIS ASS OUT and never looked back.
    Did it hurt like hell? YES!! But at least my dignity was still intact and my righteous anger fueled me through this nightmare. I threw him out on a Sunday when he returned from his little Fuckfest and
    on Wednesday he got served at work with divorce papers. He and Shmoopie both got fired from their big jobs, and then she got pregnant!!
    Now they are both broke and unemployed, and he is 52 with a newborn!! Wah!!
    I have reclaimed my life. You can do this!!!!

      • Thanks!! I also had the great fortune of getting Dr. George Simon’s wife, a fine psychologist in her own right, as my therapist.
        Ladies, you are worth MORE than being someone’s second choice.
        KICK HIM TO THE CURB and reclaim your power. Then you are in the driver’s seat!!!

    • ChumpedNoMore – how the heck did the two whores get fired?? See, the x-whore husband in my unfortunate case, and the formerly MOWhore both work at a global company. The MOWhore is in HR (you know, the best place to be a predatory whore..) and I’d LOVE to see them both thrown out on their dumb asses. I tried calling within the first 48 hours of finding them out in Oct. 2013, b/c their supervisor was over both of their departments. She never answered, and I saw it as a sign that God would work it all out. SURELY everyone knew about their whoring around on their spouses and families. It went on for a year before I busted them, and that year started right when he got hired out there. Classy.

      They’re both still there, and now two marriages destroyed (mine was 23 years wasted; the MOWhore’s only 6 years, but she’s 10 years younger), four kids’s families destroyed, but the two whores are still employed and still living together at her whore house.

      How did your whore get fired?? I’m dying to know when that Karma Bus will pull up.

  • I hope you didn’t reveal your tech skills to him to convince him that you really truly KNOW he cheated. If you did, he will just go more underground, a burner cell phone, change his passwords, a new email, etc etc. While he is deciding, and while you find a lawyer and make sure you have copies of all the paper work you will need and get your game plan in place, let him think you are “waiting for him to decide.” If you didn’t reveal your sources, you can keep checking on them and this will keep you resolved to move on — for yourself. If you did reveal, then please believe what CL tells you — trust that he sucks.

    He actually made a decision when he asked you to marry him, and then went thru that ceremony. He has now decided he wants you and the ability to screw around like a single man. He will continue to make that decision, again, and again if you allow it. Make your own decision — he broke the covenant, and unless you WANT an open marriage, don’t agree to have one. Particularly since he chose to open it without your knowledge or permission. What other liberties do you think he will take? Believe me, none of them will be in your best interest.

    Best of luck to you– the road to meh is long and winding and it is often difficult. Getting there is well worth all your time and trouble. You made a bad investment in Mr Cheaterpants. Write off the loss, and make an investment in yourself and your future happiness. You are worth the time and the trouble.

    • Listen to Portia! Don’t reveal your sources. I did early on (on the advice of a counselor), and it made it easy for him to manipulate my naive and shell shocked mind. He went underground, and I was left feeling paranoid, and confused. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how easily he could lie.

      He went to counseling for 2 years, sometimes 2x per week. I worked on myself as I waited for him to come around, so I didn’t consider the time wasted. After 2 years in counseling he still didn’t show any real empathy, or remorse for the damage he caused, and wanted me to “accept my part in the whole mess.”

      Finally… just months ago I found more (very sickening) information that proves he’s been cheating for at least 20 years of our 30 year marriage. I didn’t tell him my source, and didn’t tell him all I know. It was incredibly clarifying to confront him with the information, and watch him lie. Everything began to make sense. I was both relieved and sickened. Relieved because the past 3 years finally made sense… I could see how he got away with it…. how easily he could deceive me. I was sickened at the same time seeing how delusional and narcissistic he is. I now realize he will never change. He’s been doing it most of his life… it’s become who he is.

      I finally asked him for a separation, to which he hesitantly agreed. As soon as his ass is out of the house I’m filing for a divorce. He would have allowed me to live in limbo forever. He wanted the appearance and comfort of a family, and the perks and excitement of a fuck buddy as well.

      Esq, he doesn’t care about you, or he would SHOW YOU that he cares about you. Lip service is easy. You’re too naive and kind to understand his manipulative techniques just now… but you will soon! Keep checking in with Chump Lady, and learn from those of us who’ve been there!

    • Unfortunately I gave it up way too soon. No pun intended. :). It actually only took two hours before I saw the texts that caused the inexplicable coldness/horrendous tingling sensation that courses through your body as if you are face to face with a lion – no defense available. I called him straight away and asked him. He told me it must have been one of his guy friends and they were joking. But what guy says “b thinking about ya” to another guy? Especially one who is a proven homophobe. I’m such a chump. Need to change my user name. To chump something.

  • Esq, you say “He ‘cares’ about me but is not in love with me.”

    That’s not good enough. You may love him or be in love with him–for now, in the first weeks after discovering the affair. You may be clinging to your dreams for your marriage and family. But you can’t make a marriage with someone who shows he “cares” by having an affair with someone else. He “cares” about not losing cake. He “cares” about maintaining the facade of the marriage and he “cares” about looking like a decent person when in fact his actions argue that he is not. If our Universal Bullshit Translator has a lexicon, the word “cares” means “I still want something from you (respectability, cooking, housekeeping, paycheck, childcare, sex) but not enough to give you anything in return.”

    Stop listening to his words. Every time he opens his mouth, picture him texting his romancing words to the OW. Because he’s sending her words, too. And none of them mean what those words would mean to normal people. Stop listening to him. You are going to feel a lot of terrible pain for a while, and after that you will feel like you’ve been through a disaster. Concentrate on you. Get your support system together. Find a good counselor who will NOT spout “save your marriage at all cost” and concern himself or herself only with your own growth and survival and the growth and survival of your kids, if you have them. Start a walking program or Wii Fit or go to the gym with a friend or do yoga or zumba. Move the body. Tell your friends and sort out whose real and who will stand by you as you work through the debris. Get your financial ducks in a row. Find a kickass lawyer and file. Your H does not appear to have any level of remorse, so its unlikely that he will step off the path to destruction. Instead of doing a pick-me dance, choose to save yourself and build an awesome life. There are moments now when I experience a level of happiness I didn’t know existed because I am figuring out (slowly, through trial and error) who I am at a far deeper level, instead of seeking yet another relationship. Trust the advice CL and Chump Nation is giving you. Choose to save yourself.

    I have a little theory about why so many cheaters blow up marriages/relationships with people who truly love them: they are not capable of matching that love, that devotion, that level of unselfish commitment. And knowing that makes them profoundly closer to seeing how terribly empty they are. So off they go to have an affair with someone who is equally empty–tumbling from a relationship where intimacy and commitment is to be the norm to one where infatuation, secrecy, and triangulation is the norm. Or as my narcissist mother used to say, “That’s water seeking its own level.” He’s not good enough for you, and now you know that. There’s no unknowing it.

    • “I have a little theory about why so many cheaters blow up marriages/relationships with people who truly love them: they are not capable of matching that love, that devotion, that level of unselfish commitment. And knowing that makes them profoundly closer to seeing how terribly empty they are. So off they go to have an affair with someone who is equally empty–tumbling from a relationship where intimacy and commitment is to be the norm to one where infatuation, secrecy, and triangulation is the norm. Or as my narcissist mother used to say, “That’s water seeking its own level.” He’s not good enough for you, and now you know that. There’s no unknowing it.”

      Thank you, LAJ, for that last paragraph. I’ve copied it to my “file” so I can read it when needed!

      Your advice to ESQ was spot on!

      Chump Nation is mighty and the help I have found on this website has been better than any therapy money could buy.

      • mom9139, thank you. I have my own file of Chump Nation wisdom! Sometimes we need to revisit words that speak to us in moments of doubt. Those files are key to Chump survival!

        And *”whose real” should be “who is real.” Surely I didn’t write that first phrase…#$%& autocorrect is dumb.

    • LAJ–Like mom9139, I copied your ‘little theory’ into my self bolstering file for later review. Thank you for your concise musing.

      Through interaction with both of them, I know for a fact that the two OWhores the XBF dallied with are empty, empathy-less self absorbed, blame shifting narcs, just like him.

  • See this scrap of stinking putrid maggot drenched care olive branch I extend to you, it’s for you, it means I care that I care about me caring about you caring for me and I care that you care about how much I care about how you much care for me, Trust me I care that you care and you caring for me is a caring gift I care about and it cares that you care that you care about the care I care about and no one cares about care as much as I care about the care it takes to care about caring about how much I care that you care.

    Anyway, if you don’t care about how you care for yourself is proof I shouldn’t care about you, but I felt sorry for you, it shows me you do not deserve to be cared about. Knowing you don’t care about you proves that I shouldn’t care about you. I care that you care for me and in return I care that you care, but if you really cared I’d care about really caring for the care I have in caring that you care about how much I care that you care.

    • Awesome take on the word salad, PF. And when you parse all that, the translation reads, “I’m a complete asshole.” These people. Man . . .

    • OMG PF–that’s incredible! THAT’S going into the file, too.

      XBF had this little ditty that would come out at random times: * bear in mind that he denied any deceit or wrongdoing. (old friends=old whores)

      ‘I know that you know that I know that you know that I know that you know’.

      Rather telling, no?

  • LOL! Love that!!! Thank you. He is so full of shit. I am actually an attorney (not a divorce one though) and I have sooooo much shit on him that he doesn’t even know about. Storing in my secret arsenal for now.

    • I am glad you aren’t dependent on him for a source of income. “Having a lot of crap on him” might or might not come in handy in a divorce case (I guess it depends on where you live). It wasn’t really relevant here.

      The good thing is… you’re an attorney, so you have an income, so you can build a nice, happy life that doesn’t include living in a home with somebody who has proven to you that you can’t trust them. That sucks. I tried that for 2 years post Dday 1, and I even fooled myself into thinking it was an abberation until Dday 2.

      Looking back from a completely detached distance, however, I can see that the same character traits that drove that behavior were a constant source of problems in my marriage, but I was so “used to” the lower level nonsense that I was able to ignore it to some extent. It was a kind of habituation.

      Life is much, much better now. I think your life will be much, much better if you decide to start another one without him. You’d be surprised how incredibly easy it is to be happy without somebody who feels entitled to behave this way in your life.

      Heck, a nice cup of coffee on a brisk sunny morning is pure joy.

      Also… if you need to take care of somebody, get a dog. I have two, and just walking, grooming, taking them to the vet, feeding, changing waterbowls, cleaning u after them, etc fulfills that “giver” instinct, and you know what? they really like me.

      • PS. It does take time to build a new life. I should probably not downplay that, but it just happens kind of naturally over time, one day at a time, one new thing at a time. 2 years post divorce, you’ll most likely be wondering what the heck you waited so long for if you’re giving it any thought at all, and you’ll probably be too busy enjoying a cheater-free life to wonder much.

        • Even if you’re in a no-fault state, it can pay to document and stash anything you have on them for psychological leverage during negotiations. As others have noted, narcissistic cheaters are often hyper concerned about their image and if you can drop the occasional, somewhat cryptic hint about something you have on him, without revealing the source, he might be more motivated to settle quickly and give you more of what you want. I am not advocating blackmail, just manipulating their image-management concerns in your favor if need be.

          • I got lucky in my divorce despite no-fault rules in that my ex was busy “deciding” as if were her choice, so she was preoccupied with that and really didn’t consider the terms of the separation and divorce agreement at all, and that left me largely whole.

            Retirement kept, Check.
            Investment accounts kept, check.
            House kept, check.

            And so on. Yeah, the character flaws can be used to your advantage if they haven’t lawyered up already.

          • Yes, one of my favorites is suggesting the various OW’s are deposed. So many of them do not know about each other, even if they do know about you. The very thought of having a waiting room full of AP’s sitting there, exchanging notes and stories, in addition to the lovely testimony they might provide when they are being deposed should chill your “caring” soon to be EX right down to his rotten cheating bones. Any pictures, texts, notes, cards and videos you might have are very entertaining, to. If he is worried about image control, that should give him a few minutes of terror. Not a fair exchange for devastating your life and the children’s lives, but a good start.

            • Portia, this sounds like what I did. I told him I would depose her then drag them both into open court where they could read all the sexting and texting out loud for everyone! Then I told him I would go to his place of business and subpoena all the computer messages from the archives and his work phone. He fell for it. I also told him I would drag her ex husband into court to testify to her crappy character and morals! He crapped himself then signed his life away to me in the shortest mediation any of the lawyers had ever seen! My lawyer was absolutely giddy and said she had never seen such a sweet deal in her entire 33 year career! Cheaters are really just dumb asses!

              • Roberta, I really believe you should go into family law. I love thinking about your feistiness and how you negotiated such a sweet deal! I pretty much lost everything but his pension and remind myself every day life is not about money or a house but those you love and trust. I have been Top Ramen “poor” before. Lol. My life though is hands down better without my ex in it destroying everything I worked hard to have.

              • Totally agree with Drew, Roberta. You should go into family law and be a Chump advocate extraordinaire. I’d hire you in a nanosecond based on those results! Wow!

                It excites me to think of a professional Chump Nation. You know, accountants, lawyers, financial advisers, security experts, computer analysts, psychiatrists, etc. etc. All with a common wisdom and a common goal–to be cheater free. That’s the kind of “Yellow Pages” I could totally get behind!

    • Welcome to the club that no one wants to be a member. Get righteously pissed off. You found a great source of sound advice here at ChumpNation.. I can’t thank my follow Chumps and Chump Lady enough for getting me through to the other side. You will too. Big HUGS to you.

    • Sara, I am also an attorney turned academic but my colleagues at my law school helped me with my divorce and like Chumpednomore, I had a mediation proposal waiting for him when he got back from his vacation with the OW on which he went AFTER DDay. That is how much these cheaters care! He went with the OW even after I confronted him and he left me with trauma and two kids. But thank goodness he forgot that I work better under extreme stress and managed to move his stuff out, get into his diaries and computers, and find out enough to have serve his ass on a platter when he got back. The trick is to act quickly and carefully (and act stupid in front of him until you have everything settled). I didn´t tell him I could read his skype account until six months later after he signed the last document the way I wanted him to. Then I told him to change his password because I didn´t want to continue reading how he and schmoopie were doing….He went crazy at the thought that I knew how much he lied before and after Dday! I enjoyed that moment so much!

      A year later I am now in the position to say I reached meh with the help of Chump nation and I don´t care about what he is doing or who he is with (unless it affects my kids negatively). A million blessings have come my way. Its as if the cheater had the gate to abundance and love shut in my home. Now everything just flows in without much effort. Amazing! My children and I are so much happier and healthier than we were when living with a lier /cheater asshole. And I look and feel at least 10 years younger! It is awesome to be free of a cheater and regain your life! I promise.

      • Wow. Mine leaves Friday purportedly with his large circle of losers for a week. At the beach. Out of the country. The kids and I want to go to the beach. I begged him not to go. Daughter will barely speak to him. He said he thought we “needed this time apart to really think things over.” The confrontation was LAST THURSDAY. And do I believe for one second that any neurons will actually be firing in his squirrel-sized brain? No. If anything he will return hungover, grouchy, and paunchier minus several billion brain cells that he really couldn’t afford to lose.

        • A week. Out of the country. Without his family. With a large circle of losers “to think things over.”

          No, damn it. He’s probably lying about who is going and why. I heard a Faculty Retreat, though only two people ended up attending in a room I ended up paying for. Anyone who has a week to vacation but not with their family deserves to come home to find their artifacts in storage and new locks on the door.

        • You have been given a GOLDEN opportunity to destroy this cake eating shithead.
          You have 7 days to get his shit out of the house, change the locks, go FBI-mode and uncover all his dirty little secrets and have a nice divorce petition nailed to the front door with his name on it, by the time he gets back.
          You may not get a second chance. Take it while you can – else you might find life goes a LOT downhill after this.
          I’m serious. I think almost all of us (except the ones who got this chance) would have craved an opportunity like this.

          • // , If you need hard-drive deleted data recovery, monitoring, or password recovery services, there are those willing to provide such things to the right people.

      • This is where we want–to get the gate to abundance and love open again: “It’s as if the cheater had the gate to abundance and love shut in my home. Now everything just flows in without much effort.

  • Dear Esq,

    Even though you are hurting in a way that is often indescribable, I hope you’re feeling all the hugs, support and good advice Chump Nation is sending your way.

    It is such a sad day when one has to dial up their techno-savvy to confirm what their gut is already been telling them. I did this for several months (and the evidence was piling up by the dump-truck load), before I had an important “A-ha” moment: in order to continue to remain with my serial-cheating husband, I would have to be the Marriage Police for the rest of his/my life – and what kind of life is that? That was when I took/printed-out/downloaded the painful material, moved out, and established NC. I kept the evidence in case I was feeling nostalgic for the “good times”. I would just drag it out, and the anger it generated helped fuel me through the divorce.

    I echo Divorce Minister’s statement: his indecision IS a decision – he’s too cowardly to act any other way. So, please, make the decision YOURS. You may feel too weary/broken to move on – but, YOU CAN DO THIS. You have countless folks on this website rooting for YOU.

    Tremendous Hugs from me, BR.

    • I do the same thing BR. STBX accused me of dredging up the past, but I’m finding that I don’t do it enough!! When I begin feeling benevolent and forgiving I pull that box out and get righteously pissed again… it pulls me back into the real world.

  • I feel for what you are going through right now and will go through in the near future. Stay strong, don’t compromise and be true to yourself. Take back your power and smack him in the groin with it! And tell your own truth, not what he wants you to tell.

  • Esq. people can’t ride two horses at the same time. He can’t be committed to you and another woman. Right now you are giving him a warm place to fall, meals, love and everything else that goes with a committed relationship. She gives him butterflies, secrets, hero worship and lots of unrealistic promises. Guess how long that would last once the two of them cohabit. A minute, maybe. Romantic love does not last. We are not designed to live in that state of hyper awareness forever. A lot of Chumps on this blog were unfortunately involved with narcissists who cannot do mature love. They hop from one hyper relationship to the next because they are as deep as mud puddles. Your “thing” may have gone off the rails only once. It does not matter. He is in a committed relationship. Period. With you! The rotten idea that he is stringing you along makes my blood boil! I don’t want to sound like Pollyanna but there is a great big world out there where you don’t have to listen to one more lie. Go find it. He is not worth one more minute of your pain.

    • Sara,

      Listen to the wise chumps. The jerk you married wants you to support his indecision so he can continue his whoring ways with your knowledge and consent. Unless that’s fine with you (and you probably wouldn’t be here if it was), trust that he sucks and shift your focus to yourself. Prepare yourself for the inevitable barrage of blame and dirty tricks. Cheaters don’t like to be exposed, and they don’t like it when their spouse stops “pick me” dancing and leaves with their cake. Too bad, eh? If he can’t decide, it’s up to you.
      You deserve better than that asshat.

    • “people can’t ride two horses at the same time.”

      Brilliant, Letgo! Succinct way to bring the point home.

    • Let Go, “Esq. people can’t ride two horses at the same time. He can’t be committed to you and another woman. Right now you are giving him a warm place to fall, meals, love and everything else that goes with a committed relationship. She gives him butterflies, secrets, hero worship and lots of unrealistic promises. Guess how long that would last once the two of them cohabit. A minute, maybe. Romantic love does not last. We are not designed to live in that state of hyper awareness forever.”
      It’s true that you can’t ride two horses at the same time. It’s so true that romantic love does not last, at least not the “love” that these things think it is. And cohabitation, sometimes it doesn’t last even a minute, can you imagine what those idiots would do with each other. “I’m more sparkly, no I am.” My stupid x’s schmoopie lasted 6 months and then bailed. I feel bad for myself cause I lasted 22 years with that idiot. So much for committed love huh.

  • You have only TWO choices:

    1) Continue to live with a man who thinks so little of you that he leaves you to screw other women. He has so much contempt for you, that he lies to your face, while you continue to serve him, thus feeding his contempt. You grow smaller, and your heart shrivels. You feel cold and alone. You hate him, sleeping next to you, peacefully.


    2) You pull up your big girl panties, as painful as it is, and you live as though you will not serve a man who abuses you. You decide to clear the filth and humiliation out of your life, to make way for real love–of your family, your friends, your hobbies, your work, your LIFE–someone who loves you back? You realize he is dead weight. He has been holding you back for years. Every step you take toward freedom demonstrates to you how strong you are. So many others before you have made this painful but enlightening journey, and you can–and DO–too. You divorce him. You cut off all contact–he made the choice to abuse you, and in doing so, he killed it. YOU made the choice to throw it off and to buy your freedom. Every step you take brings you closer to the fresh air and light. You begin to wonder why it took you so long to see him for what he is. Did he think you were going to be his Plan B? Did he think you were going to wash his underwear, and keep his calendar? Hell, NO, you proclaim. Oh, HELL no! You meet the most amazing new people! You feel such gratitude for what you now know, for what you’ve learned, for the people who are good to you. Soon, you meet another person betrayed, and you confidently offer support and advice. You can’t believe how far you’ve come. It was painful, but you are proud of your scars.

    That’s it: Option 1 OR Option 2.

    And, guess what? There IS no Option 3. We all wanted Option 3–the cheater throws him/herself at your feet, begging for forgiveness. They cry out in pain at the pain THEY caused YOU! They vow–they SWEAR–to finally cherish you like they’ve never done before. They confess to your family and friends that they’ve been unbelievably shitty to the one person they should have loved. They SHOW their love, by being available and attentive, by helping with the heavy lifting, with small tokens of affection. They start acting like half of a couple. They feel and show love. Well? Guess what? You might one day have that relationship, but not with a cheater. Cheaters are broken. Cheaters lack depth and strength of character. They are incapable of Option 3, no matter how much you suffer, no matter how much you hope, no matter how much you beg or demonstrate or insult. They can’t. It’s like asking a tree to talk to you–it can’t. Cheaters are not capable of the type of relationship you want. Oh, sure–they can fake it for a while, maybe with their new thing, but the novelty soon wears off, and they’re back to being a cheater. The relationship you had with a cheater is a lie–it’s a construct of a HEALTHY mind, YOURS, not theirs. You’ve been filling in the blanks, excusing bad behavior, believing they cared, seeing what wasn’t actually there. Option 3 can only come from someone new, but not until you believe in yourself enough to choose Option 2, and free yourself from Option 1.

    You can DO it!

    • I absolutely waited for option 3! When asshole realized I knew about his cheating, do you think he apologized? Hell no – in fact it was MY fault! Huh? How is it MY fault you are going out and buying phones so you can sext other women?? I waited for him to SHOW me he was remorseful – it never happened and never will because he is a piece of shit (and a tree – except I like trees…).

    • Miss Sunshine

      This was one of the most brilliant summaries of this whole ugly situation in which we find ourselves I have ever read.

      Thank you.

      I would say also that my ex-wife REFUSED to apologize to my family for what she had done.

      I told her, first, if I had done anything like this, I would be on my knees begging her family’s forgiveness.
      Second, could not bargain with me about what she would and would not do because she had nothing with which to bargain. I told her she needed to do everything I said.

      Of course, we all know how this movie ends.

      • Aah, yes, the bargaining. I cut off all marital ties with my cheater upon D-day, and then gave him some time to show true remorse. I knew I was in for the full naugahyde treatment when he had the chance to make a marital counseling appointment, and instead emailed me with a list of demands that I had to meet for him to go to counseling. Unbelievable. I guess these cheaters miss the memo that infidelity means they have NO bargaining power left.

        And just to show that they do not learn–I asked for a divorce that day; he begged for more time, and the next time he was given the opportunity to make an MC appointment (which, BTW, I knew he would not do), he called me with the SAME list of demands! And he was surprised, again, that I asked for the divorce. Stupider than lab rats, these cheaters–if a rat is shocked in a corner of a Skinner box, they don’t revisit that corner.

        • Tempest, Love this! ” I guess these cheaters miss the memo that infidelity means they have NO bargaining power left.” And NO future relationship either. Which is damn healthy! My ex keeps sending me emails that go ON and ON about what he wants, and what he’s doing, and how our kids relate to him. What a fucktard. But I DO CONTROL how I react. My response… {crickets}.

  • Esq, remember the words ” when people tell you who they are, believe them”. He told you, time to go.

    • Esq,
      You can do this! Break free.
      You will sometimes stumble. You will sometimes have to fight through uncertainty to become sure of yourself.
      That man (if you can call him that) wants to keep you off balance.
      Leave a legacy that will stand when you are gone. There is so much work to be done in reclaiming your inner circle. Do it! Do not give your loyalty to someone who has none for you.

  • If someone is having an affair, and does not leave their affair partner immediately upon discovery than I agree, you should dump him. You would be a chump not to. But conversely if your spouse is remorseful, you are likely better off with him or her than with someone new. A new person is a huge unknown, and even if he/she swears he/she will never cheat. It is meaningless. Just read about all the chumps whose spouses swore up and down and ’till Sunday that they will never cheat. Then they did cheat. Sometimes swearing they will never cheat is just a huge smokescreen.

    • Not for me, thank you. Cheating is a known. It’s a known that I would prefer to live alone than live with somebody who has proven to me that I cannot trust them.

      I have yet to see this in a vacuum, though, and I am pretty happy without a cheater in my life, and my experience is that’s it’s pretty darn easy to be happy without somebody messing with your and lying to you, and gaslighting you, and all of the other crap that has to go hand-in-hand with any kind of affair at all.

    • I tend to disagree with you here even if your spouse is remorseful – that you are likely better off with him/her than with someone new.

      The best predictor for future behavior is past behavior. I tend to think that changes are greater staying with a known cheater, than being afraid of a “new person being a huge unknown”.

    • Arnolena

      Put down the chump pipe, stop smoking that shit.

      Let’s look at your analogy from a different angle.

      Let’s say you hired an electrician and your house caught on fire…but that electrician was sorry and why bother getting a new electrician cause there’s no guarantee the next electrician won’t burn your house down too.

      So, your big illumination is to put some Saran Wrap on the blown out windows, put slip covers on the charred furniture, slather burn cream all over yourself and make the best of it cause there’s no guarantee the house won’t burn down again.

      It’s your line of thinking that keeps the fire department working overtime.

  • Esq – I am in the same boat. I discovered his little sexting phone line back in May 2013. My head was spinning for MONTHS. I bought new clothes, started wearing make-up on weekends, made marriage counseling appointments (only to go by myself because nimrod was too busy playing pool to go see a marriage counselor…), and ultimately nothing changed. In fact – it was August 2013 I discovered his little Yahoo account picking up women, so obviously I was the only one ‘trying.’ I sought out a lawyer in October 2013. He was originally served in March 2014 – then things were put on the back burner. When I realized his ‘sexting’ didn’t stop and the awful shit he was pulling was making me crazy – I finally realized this is NOT FAIR TO ME! I stayed because I loved my family, my home, my friends. Now I hate my ‘family’ (STBX), my home, and my so-called friends bailed on me anyway. I got the same run-around too… “I love you, but I am not IN LOVE with you.” Fuck off. Get a lawyer and get out. Save yourself!!!

    • Right?

      It is all going to end the same way, anyway. So why not start the process as soon as possible to get one’s life back?

  • I came across this quote a while back and saved it. “If you have to choose between me and someone else, pick them. I am not going to spend the rest of my life with someone who is going to question if they made the right choice.”

    I knew from previous conversations with my ex that he had a friend who had had an affair, reconciled with his wife, but told my ex that not a day went by that he didn’t think of his affair partner and wonder what it could’ve been like had he chosen her. When my ex started down the “I can’t decide” path, I remembered this. That’s when I told him I’m nobody’s Plan B. I chose me for me and I haven’t had *any* regrets about that decision. It’s been hard, I won’t sugarcoat it. I had to sell the house, the car, furniture, but you know what? I gained me. I gained the admiration and respect of my kids because they got to watch me make the best lemonade ever. I met an amazing man, got married. My teenage boys *love* him. It gets better when you take control of the wheel and drive your life.

    Choose you. Always.

    • I absolutely LOVE that quote “If you have to choose between me and someone else, pick them. I am not going to spend the rest of my life with someone who is going to question if they made the right choice.” And that is sooo true. I’ve been in limbo for 2 years and I can tell you if you don’t think I think about his bullshit every day – you are wrong. This is no way to live. “I refuse to be someone’s PLAN B!” That line definately gave me better perspective!

      • Athena, I love that post! It quite succinctly states what you will face if you choose to stay in a relationship that has hit the skids! I had to face the fact that my ex was going to play this back and forth game forever if I allowed it! Just was driving me insane. I finally kicked his ass out and it hurt bad. I was at probably the lowest point in my life due to his cheating and lack of empathy and my health. I actually ended back in the hospital on the verge of dying because MRSA had taken over what was left of my lungs after lung cancer surgery. Honestly I wanted to die, but almost every nurse and attendant talked to me and it was unreal, nearly each one had been chumped! I was in awe of the strong women they were. When they wheeled me out of my room to go into surgery I was a crying, sobbing mess. But they told me they would be there and I would be fine. They were wonderful and I can’t thank them enough! Four months later I was in mediation for my divorce and I felt strong and I kicked his ass! Life now is Cancer free, peaceful and full of future plans. Just let go of the cheating shit and let Schmoopie have him! We’ve been divorced going on 2 months and the fantastic Facebook love affair he started is already crumbling. He has no money and his debt is out of control! His life is shit. Ah Karma! Love it!

    • What a fitting name for someone who kicks arse, Athena!
      We share the same mindset – long time ago I said the “I am noone’s Plan B, and fuck anyone who thinks they can try to wheedle me into being one” – its the best mantra to have in life. Frees you from all the fuckwittery.

    • “If you have to choose between me and someone else, pick them. I am not going to spend the rest of my life with someone who is going to question if they made the right choice.”

      This = effing BOSS

  • ESQ, when I start dating again I made a list of qualities I expect, no exceptions. They were exactly the same qualities I expected from the cheater I recently divorced. A cheating spouse does not have the qualities you expected including honesty, respect, kindness, thoughtfulness, love, and integrity. Your guy lacks these qualities. You can respect yourself, love yourself, and maintian your integrity, dump him.

    • I’m not dating yet – but I can tell you I have already made that ‘list’ of qualities I DON’T want…. 🙂 (Besides not wanting a bald man who does the comb-over or the beer gut, or the fat face!)

  • Esq/Sara:
    You sound like a sharp, talented woman with a lot going on for you. Everyone has given you fantastic advise – but you are a smart cookie and I think you already know most of what they are reinforcing.

    Chump Lady is correct – you are in for a shitload of pain. You will go through hell…….so get going and keep going and before you know it you will be on the other side of it.

    One more thing – I think you suffer from a common malady among bright talented people – you have a need to be validated by outside forces. A great job performance, a project achieved, an exercise goal met – all validation. So is a relationship. Being loved validates us and often we rely on that until we forget how to validate ourselves.

    You are still looking for validation from your husband – stop. It’s a Sisyphian task – you’ll never get it and what you will get instead from him is manipulation. Cheaters are EXPERT manipulators – almost sociopath level over achievers in that area. He’s saying just enough to keep you hopped up on hopium.

    Look at yourself – it’s going to be hard – but face the fact that you are a good, decent, caring valuable person and the fact he’s fucking some random slunt does not diminish your value one whit. His “picking” of you never enhanced you in the first place. You were who you were and you are who you are. His opinion of you, his desire or lack thereof, his willingness to indulge in lousy behavior – that’s all on him.

    So stop waiting for him to validate your worth. You are so much more than he is already.

    • You nailed it. Can’t believe the incredible insight everyone here has. I do have a pathological need for validation that I need to shed pronto. And fear of failure. That needs to go as well. Abandonment issues due to mom dying? Check. I know in my head that he abandoned me long ago. Trying to wrap my heart around that sad fact.

      • Sara–You will NEVER get validation from a cheater. What you will get is de-validation as they continue to mindfuck you (“you weren’t meeting my needs” (which, btw, cannot be met), “you’re the one giving up on us,” “I would forgive you if it had been you who cheated,” “look at the life we have built together–do you want to give all of this up?” “the children need two parents and you are making the choice to put them in a broken home,” “it was just a friendship/emotional affair–nothing physical happened,” “money will be tighter after a divorce so we won’t be able to avoid violin lessons/private school/college tuition/______ [fill in the blank]”).

        There–you are hereby inoculated against some of the main BS that you are likely to hear. I’m sure others can add to the list.

        • Wow, Tempest, so spot on. I’ve heard exactly the same things–I’m the one breaking up the marriage, which is especially heartless because of x, y, z one or more of our children is dealing with (all typical challenges of growing up that pre-dated our separation but now they are the result of my decision to “bust up the family”). Now he’s trying to pull his poor sausage we’re-broke-because-of-you crap on me, totally clueless about the evidence I’ve compiled of his long history of financial abuse and asset hiding. I just sit there like a spider, letting him go on about how we’re broke because I left him while I quietly send everything on to my attorney.

      • I spent years in futile attempts to get even a shred of validation from my STBX but I now realize that his narcissism required the exact opposite in order to make himself feel superior. No words of appreciation about anything–my devoted and patient mothering of three highly spirited boys, my successful career, my looks. Instead I got small digs about leggos on the floor and “meh” in response to fancy lingerie, make-overs, new clothes, and other attempts to elicit notice.

        And if yours is anything like mine, the emotional abandonment was in full force by the time your mother died and instead of support and understanding you get judgment and implied or explicit criticism about how you’re not handling it well. As the sadness begins to wane you’ll start to experience righteous anger–use his abandonment, cheating, and narcissistic abuse to fuel it and move on. ((((HUGS))))

        • OtherKat, this was the X. They can’t see what is right in front of their eyes. And the emotional abandonment was when my mother died. All the limited could talk about was that HE wasn’t getting affection. Poor baby needed attention. And the tantrum the narc baby had when he was served the divorce papers was priceless. He raged. And his lawyer withdrew because he was abusive and lied about his assets. He got nothing but a dirty whore. The one thing he counted on was that I would always love him unconditionally. He underestimated me, poor sad sausage he should have been humble. Whatever his future brings, he earned every loss he will encounter. I will thrive.

          • Donna–these jackasses eventually overplay their hand. They think they are ‘all that,’ and that we will continue to love them no matter what they do. Wrong on both counts. (I just heard from a mutual friend that X is still trying to hid the fact that we’re not together anymore from his colleagues. WTF? If he is under some illusion I’ll re-contact him with hopes of reconciliation, he’s more delusional than I thought.)

      • I can agree on this as well. My father once said that I can take on the world professionally, but am a wreck in my personal relationships. I overdid. I made his life easy. That outside validation from a “man” and fear of abandonment are issues that the therapist can work with.

        I am 6 weeks from DDay personally and there is no pain that has compared to this devastation. I feel for your too as I am in the thick of Hurricane Cheater and am dealing daily with the fallout. He went NC upon discovery and I took the high road and put his stuff in storage and sent him a key and an email outlining the removal from my life. I had told myself that if I had proof of what I suspected, that it was a decision in itself. And his comments about getting a place to “work on himself” and not sure if he was doing the right thing……I can tell you/him that he was doing the wrong thing.

        From reading what others have endured and are going through gives me a little hope that there is something beyond the utter destruction of our lives.

        Add to that the anger and confusion of who I thought I knew, loved and lived with and then looking at the messages between he and OWhore….I cannot wrap my mind/heart around the duplicitous of this man. And he is one of so many that have spawned from somewhere.

        I come here everyday now for the therapy it provides. Someday I hope to be able to sleep in my bedroom again or not have everything remind me of the life we had and planned to have.

        It is the ultimate mindfuck. Hugs to you. We all need them.

        • WhataChump2015–yes, know this: You are in the worst of the pain right now. It will get better a little at a time, then bad again, then better. Although different for everyone, there will come a day when you think, “Damn! I am happy today!” and it will be refreshing.

        • WAC15, it took a few months, a new bed, some painting and rearranging, but I am back in the bedroom I loved. I got a little cat, I leave a little television on if memories are too instrusive, and it’s mine again.

          Reclaiming a space was easier when I poured on some of the “you’re not the boss sauce”. If we ever had a difference in taste, I went in my direction. He hated bright red. I tossed out every kitchen thing he left behind and bought red things. I purposely bought a smaller bed and turned it sideways. It’s plenty big for just me but when I walk it my room it doesn’t scream CONJUGAL BED! I use the heavy quilt he hated and I loved.

          It’s my way of saying, we had things in common once, but you are no longer in my future.

      • You will receive zero validation and not a shred of “real” remorse. It’s a mind fuck at it’s best. Once the fog clears you will see him clearly.

      • When you get ready to deal with healing, I suggest you study a bit about Type B Cluster Personality Types. Many people are shocked at the characteristics that these folks have. It turns out that you probably never really knew the real person you were married to, because he was a mirage. He changed according to his needs of the moment, and thoughtful things you thought he did and said, were actually manipulations to get his way. He has probably been playing you from the moment he met you. You were very useful to him, so he stayed with you for quite a while. But I wouldn’t call it love. When you combine your vulnerability to these folks with issues you may have developed from your family of origin training, you will begin to understand why he targeted you, and how you tolerated it for as long as you did. They can’t hide behind their “mask of normalcy” forever, though. Sooner or later they will drop that mask and reveal who they really are, inside. It is not pretty. Once you understand how the process works, many, many things will make sense to you that probably have never made sense to you before.

        You want to learn why you were/are susceptible so that you learn not to let yourself get sucked in again. Rebound relationships are usually not successful, give yourself time to heal and learn how to defend yourself before you even think about becoming involved again. It takes time to get over a betrayal this huge. You just have to have faith that you will be stronger at the end of the process.

        • Good point, Portia. Cluster B’s are like slot machines. The House will always win. They are confusing and frustrating because not all times are bad. They will toss you a coin or two from time to time to keep you seated and attentive to feeding their needs. But you can never win. Even after investing heaps and loads of time and energy, they will suck you dry.

          • Survivor, this is what Esq. needs to know. My marriage ended the exact moment I realized there was someone else. Nothing like all those puzzle pieces falling into place, and yes, he was a crap partner way before Dday.

      • Sarah, like everyone here has already stated, get out, dump him and move on to a much more fulfilling life with your children. The marriage is over, accept it. I don’t know whether your husband is a narcissist or just a simple jerk, does not matter, both species get knocked off balance when you refuse to engage and become totally apathetic. I don’t care how “checked out” they are, apathy gets them every time. Become an actress if you must, then go no contact and direct his ALL his requests to your attorney. You can do this!

      • Sara, you’ve made a great list of things to work on with the help of a skilled therapist. (Of course, be careful not to settle for a quack!).

        People here are insightful because we were chumped and started the lifelong process of doing the work on ourselves necessary to have the best life possible. One big difference between chumps and cheaters is that chumps, once they put down the spackle and stop denying their situation, are capable of introspection, hard work and actual change. Cheaters, on the other hand, will look for kibbles.

  • My husband did decide by walking out inexplicably, offering no logical explanation. He was not welcome back, even had he changed his mind, because it would only be giving him the opportunity to do it again. Luckily, he stayed away, and I figured out what I needed to do next to take care of my life.

    I also stopped asking why pretty quickly. I figured out what he was doing. Anything more from him would be no more than a pack of lies, so what was the point really? He did not deserve the dignity of serving up word salad. For what it’s worth, I never confronted him. Knowledge is power. He did not deserve to know anything I knew or my intentions.

    At any rate, shut it down. A decision to stay with you is a passive one; you are too good to be “settled” for. He will also do it again later because he would then know he could. You take back your power by deciding for you. His behavior is unacceptable.

    It will eventually hurt less. You may even be somewhat embarrassed to be associated with that kind of jackass.

  • looks to me like he CAN decide. and he has chosen. HIMSELF.

    in the world of cheaters, life is, essentially, about them. a mature and healthy person can love self AND others.

    cheaters can only truly “love” and pick their favorite affair partner. themselves.

  • Chumpednomore, I cried happy tears when i read your post about throwing your husband out on a Sunday and serving him with divorce papers on Wed after discovering his affair. I read that post and thought, “now THAT is a real love story!”, and was surprised, because I always thought love stories had to have two people. Im just in awe over the love you had for yourself .

    • Thank you so much!!! It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was married for 23 years.
      I was utterly devastated.
      There are certain boundaries that are non-negotiable.
      That is when you have to dig down deep and say HELL NO!! I KNOW MY WORTH!!
      I don’t regret it for one second, and I feel like I saved myself further heartache and agony
      by ripping off the bandaid and moving on, instead of pining after his sorry ass and dancing the
      “pick me” dance. I knew I would have died a slow death inside if I had allowed him to stay, because he refused to stop the affair. I was not willing to live like that.

      • Bravo, ChumpedNoMore! I hope he reimbursed you for the expensive California Fuckfest. It probably shocked he hell out of him that you drew that line in the sand and held him to it.

        • He sure did have to pay me back!! In addition, I cleaned out the bank accounts and the court did not make me pay him half of it back, because I used the money to pay off all of our marital debt. Then to add insult to injury, I took him to court right away and he was ordered to pay me temporary support!!!!
          He was Schmoopie’s boss, and they both got fired within 10 months of me throwing him out. They lost their high paying jobs because she was stealing from the company and selling the crap on e-bay!! He got fired because he as her boss knew she was stealing and he did not report it. She was dumb enough to email him on their work email bragging about the crap she stole and sold on e-bay!! He lost everything.
          His money, his house, his fat salary, his company car, his reputation, his cushy expense account, lots of fun job-related travel, and his loving wife and family.
          Now he and Schmoopie are broke and unemployed, for over a year.
          They are living in a run-down apartment. She played the trump card and got pregnant to trap him, and now at age 52 he has a new born baby. (She is over 20 years younger than him)
          I wish them MUCH love and happiness!!

          He did not know what hit him and is probably still reeling from the smackdown I put on him.
          He just THOUGHT he had the upper hand. Score one for the Chump Nation!!!!

          • Don’t you just love it! My own brother left his wife after his second child entered college, and was engaged to Smooopie the next month. He claims no cheating. Riiiight. He wanted freedom to do stuff, lol. New wife got pregnant, oops, accidentally, twice. He is now over sixty, with a three year old, and an infant. But at least he didn’t cheat!!!

            • There is nothing that says “freedom” like two kids under the age of 3 when you are age 60+. Enjoy those golden years, cheater!!!

              • Absolutely, Chumped No More. He’s also a class A Jesus Cheater. Not sure how he reconciled all this in his own mind. Luckily he lives 500 or more miles away.

            • Not Juliet, now that my ex husband is chasing teenage prostitutes in Asia, I would love to be a fly on the wall if he is told one of them is pregnant as he is now 63. You see he had the snip 30 years ago. Knowing the old fool the way I do, he would pretend it was his to keep the young cake supply. A girl can hope, can’t she? 🙂

            • And the Karma Bus just keeps on rolling. Those adventurous spirits who decide to throw caution (and family, career, reputation) to the wind to chase some young thing can end up taking responsibility for their bad choices in the end.

          • ChumpedNoMore–I’m enjoying the schadenfreude vicariously! Whooosh–the sound of the karma bus speeding over your X.

          • Im incredulous everytime I hear of an old guy who ends up with a baby as a symbol of his “freedom” …and I dont wish ill on the children but because of how sperm split their DNA over time (increased time=increased chance for problems) babies from really old guys have twice the normal incidence of severe mental illness.

            I locked myself in a 7 year reconciliation prison with a mean selfish asshole but he dropped dead and I got everything + life insurance $ + a new love who is wonderful and we have a great life.

          • ChumpedNoMore, I just love reading your post about your ex-husband and his Schmoopie! The karma bus must have been revving up around the corner for those two fuckwits! It’s too much fun just imagining the HELL on earth they have created all by themselves!

  • If he isn’t remorseful and repentant there is nothing to work with. We didn’t make any progress until I told people what happened and told him to leave. Even though we are trying to work it out, it’s not a path I would advise for most. And as the counselor says and he understands, I have the absolute right to give up on this.

  • Can’t decide? There shouldn’t be ANY decision to make. He CHOSE you when he married/committed himself to you. If he cheated on you, he already made the decision between his OW (s) and his wife. You know, the one he already chose. This isn’t Baskin Rrobins. There are not 31 flavors on your marriage menu. Too bad for him.

  • There is an ugly truth that is so hard to grasp but is so true: When they are sleeping with someone else; they just don’t love you anymore.

    Maybe they used to; maybe they were always disordered and never did. The end result is still the same.

    Many people have told you this already but it’s worth repeating Esq. He already made his choice. He made it the day he slept with someone that wasn’t you.

    I know this because I was in this exact situation and I stayed and did the “pick me dance” for three more (torturous) years after my original dday. He didn’t stay with me for any other reasons than 1). He liked cake and in the beginning I was dancing pretty and the OW was still chasing him and 2) He was too much of a coward to finish what he started.

    He made the choice when he had the affair, but he wanted me to end the relationship. Once I left the ball in his court and told him I would be willing to work it out; he stayed. He got to keep his 401K, my income and his good name because I kept his dirty secret.

    I saw a unicorn because I wanted to; not because he was sorry or did anything AT ALL that would make me feel like I was safe in that relationship.

    I know it’s hard. I know you want to believe what he’s telling you but his actions already told you everything you need to know.

    Giving a cheater a second chance is like giving someone an extra bullet for their gun after they missed you the first time.


    • Exactly so. It’s like giving an extra bullet and a hall pass that says Forgive Me Again, to be used the next time around.

  • Esq. Leave. Now.

    My ex-wife played this game. After she first went to individual therapy (because I refused to go to therapy with someone I knew was actively cheating on me), she came out and sent me an e-mail. She said that she’d had a long talk with her therapist, done some exercises…etc.

    And out of that process, she “chose” me! She “chose” to stay with the person she’d allegedly already chosen the day we got married, or even the day I proposed. She “re-chose” me! Aren’t I grateful! We can be together, and all will be right with the world.

    Of course, that’s not how it played out. Yes, my wife “chose” me to spend her life with. But, that doesn’t mean that she “chose” me to be faithful to. They are different things, you see. She continued her affair, all the while insisting that she didn’t want to get divorced.

    Cake, plain and simple, was what my wife wanted. “Choose” the long-term committed partner, as well as “choose” the f***buddy. Win-win! (For her and him, of course, not for me).

    Choosing happens when you get engaged, and it’s reaffirmed at the ceremony/when you sign the contract. Inherent in making those choices is that they foreclose the possibility of choosing something else afterwards (and if you do have to re-choose, do it in the open, sans banging your co-worker).

    I know, I know. I’m *so* choosy!

    • JC–““chose” to stay with the person she’d allegedly already chosen the day we got married.”

      Ugh. The I “re-chose” you argument is one that not only X, but our friends used on me. I discovered evidence of an affair from 8 years earlier, and X said, “The important thing is that I chose you over her.” What? No, you chose to have intimate relations with her for months and months–that is not choosing me, or your children. Am I supposed to feel grateful that after screwing a 22-year old in full view of our friends, that you dumped her and came back to our marriage without telling me? I deserved to know that you had deceived me; it wasn’t his choice alone to make. A mutual friend actually thought it was romantic that he re-committed to me after his affair. Sure, romantic as roses.

      Then to add insult to injury, he continued to “re-choose” me each time subsequent Affair Partners gave him ultimatums to leave his wife. He would refuse and then dump them. Gosh, wasn’t I lucky he kept “re-choosing” me a decade after our marriage vows!

  • Boy I needed this today. Mine has come back wanting to work on things but keeps sending mixed signals. Cake Cake Cake. My brain knows it but my heart is interfering. God help me.

    • Newchumpatl–mixed messages are not mixed. All he’s doing is trying to get you to do the pick-me dance while he drags out his decision further. No contact!!! There is no other way to avoid his mindf*ckery. None.

    • It’s a lot easier to get away and start to heal if you have no contact. I have been there and I really feel for you. Hang in there!!

    • Don’t be like me. I’ve been wavering based on mixed signals for way too long. Every time I get closer to pulling the final trigger, she ups her signals of remorse, sorrow, willing to do anything to save the marriage, so I back off, until I realize that there is no chance to be healthy, then I start the process again.

      Don’t be like me.

      My brain always knew. My heart even knows it. But somewhere along the line I picked up this twisted sense of loyalty and obligation.

      Don’t be like me.

      I tell you what – I won’t be like me either. Tonight I’m going to dust off the paper work, stay up late as many nights as it takes, and get it back to my lawyer and file and finish what I started.

      Thanks newchumpatl!!!

  • Well, my original boundary was for him not to leave, I didn’t want to separate, and he agreed and also agreed to counseling. Even so, I have no idea where his head is. It’s frustrating. There are arguments on both sides and it’s mentally exhausting.

    • “I have no idea where his head is…” And therein lies the problem. The wondering. You shouldn’t have to wonder about anything. I swear to God, being alone is not easy (we’ve been physically separated nearly 6 weeks, and divorce will be final in 2 more weeks), but it is better than living with him, pining for him, wishing mightily that all of this shit never happened…that he didn’t make the choices he made – over and over and over for 7 years (that I know of!). But it’s a bell that cannot be unrung. I feel for you newchumpatl. Hugs.

    • You might consider separating for 6 months to see what happens when you have a clear mind and a chance to get out from under the pressure of living with a cheater. Now you know he’s a liar and a cheat. Now you know he’s capable of hurting you at the deepest level. So of course it’s mentally exhausting to live with that person and that knowledge.

  • Esq, I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. Unfortunately everyone here understands what it feels like. My heart goes out to you with having young children to deal with because mine were grown when it happened to me. My husband of 31 years (36 together) also said he “loved me but wasn’t in love with me.” He kept saying “I care about your well being.” It was confusing as hell because his actions were saying he didn’t give a shit about me, or our family.

    I agree with Chumplady on this: “Right this minute stop giving him any power to hurt you.”

    Those are the most powerful words! After my ex left he kept saying he “wanted to be friends,” but I was devastated. It was like asking me to throw myself on a sword every day just so he didn’t have to feel bad. That day I decided I would do everything in my power to protect myself and stop caring about what he thought. I refused to see him after that. I even managed to get through selling our home without having to see him. I arranged with the realtor to sign the papers ahead of time, and picked them up after my ex signed them. I went and had a nice breakfast with a good friend while my ex signed away our family home.

    You are the only one who can protect yourself from more pain, don’t like to him to do it for you.

    • I agree- I think they want to be friends so they can feel a little bit better about their shitty actions. It makes things so much more pleasant for THEM not to have an angry spouse to deal with. I don’t need “friends” who are immoral backstabbers!!!

    • Mine is saying the same stuff… “Can’t we be friends”… giving anecdotes of divorced people who still LIVE together, take VACATIONS together, etc. Yeah right. Magic Pixie Dust Land. I think not.

      • That is just crazy talk, and seems to be the epitome of wanting to have his cake and eat it too. This is not a man who actually wants to reconcile anything, in my humble opinion. He’s not even in touch with reality. My STBX started saying crazy things too – right to my face. Things like, “If it wasn’t her, it would’ve been someone else.” WHAT? Is that supposed to make me feel better, or do you have a brain tumor? Mine didn’t have the nerve to finish what he started either, and wanted to “stay together” to work on things. This while amping up the emotional abuse to a fever pitch. Unbelievable. So, now, the divorce is Officially My Fault in his narrative. How convenient. They just make me sick.

        • It’s a horrible roller coaster and I want OFF. I have children to consider, and have tried to give him every possible chance. After the last “let’s work on things”.. it took a few days for his demeanor to change from positive to negative. To planning vacations, to no longer mentioning it. It sucks. It’s the worst kind of abuse.

      • OMG! They are seriously all the same. Mine thought we would still travel to see football games together and he told me: “lots of exes are friends and do stuff for each other”.

        I guess he learned that in his extensive research of divorced couples. I am happily no contact for over a year save for a few business like emails. Blocked him on social media, phone, texts and facetime! No contact is a thing of beauty!

        Love this quote: “Yeah sure, you just shat all over me and my entire life so of course we should stay friends” said no one ever!

        • The “staying friends” thing is usually just to have you on the back burner in case the replacement doesn’t work out. The correct answer is no. Friends don’t treat friends like that.

          • Why would anyone want to be friends with these fuckbucket losers anyway? They can stay friends with the whores and leave me out it, please .

            • Staying friends if code for “don’t make me look bad in front of everybody”. Because a hostile or unfriendly ex wife or husband means that the other spouse really fucked up the relationship. And usually the one who’s not waving around the olive branch is the aggrieved party.

              I was asked to be “civil” for the sake of the children. Civil does not mean that I will hug you in public or speak with you at any family gathering in anything but a stilted superficial way. Civil means I won’t call you a lying cheating bastard in front of your family. When your kids call you an asshole do NOT expect me to disagree. I believe in telling the truth not sugarcoating after you’ve blown twenty years of my memories into dust.

              • Ah yes, the ‘let’s be friends’ line. My ex really believed that we would be having cosy coffee dates together and even suggested we have a celebratory drink when the divorce was final.
                When I asked him what his girlfriend would think of this arrangement, I was met with a blank stare.

              • And “don’t make me think about what a terrible person I am.” If you are “friends,” he can tell himself he must be a good guy…cause you are friends after the betrayal. Nothing bad happened! Still friends!

  • That is a lot of money, lawyer lady. It would make me angry, and I’m a person who is very uncomfortable feeling angry.

    He is not a person, he is a liability. Cut him off. Do what you need to do. It isn’t about the cheating, it’s about the financial hit. People lose money on houses, cars, education, etc. it’s okay, it’s just money, not life and death, but you don’t want to let it go if you don’t have to.

    Sorry he wasn’t better, but he wasn’t. We are all struggling to accept this. You will move on and do bigger things. He will be a footnote in your story.

  • “Now he’ll goad both you and the affair partner(s) into round after round of the pick me dance so he can be central. ”

    I am watching this happen both with my ex’s affair partner and a former friend of mine who is a cheater.

    It really happens – all you have to do is stop playing the game.

    All the best.

  • It’s no longer fun for the cheater when the wife/husband won’t play along. If you stop playing the game, then they’re left with the AP, who they will then have to cheat on in order to have more than one iron in the fire. Cheaters string their husbands/wives along so that they can have their “normal”, respectable life as well as their illicit, “fun” life. You just have to scrounge up your dignity and step the fuck away.

    • Yes, Ken. And at the same time they are asking forgiveness from their long suffering spouse, they are telling the side dish that they need time to spare their family from the shock of the inevitable loss. Let me play them some more.

  • Esq
    “Among the cowardly souls….Fence sitters” Dante.
    I hate fucking fence sitters. Your sack of shit is nothing more than a cowardly fence sitter. Knock him off the fucking fence that is your life…and make sure he doesnt fall in your yard.

  • The ultimate price of BS meekness / WS fence-sittingThe ultimate price of BS meekness / WS fence-sitting devastated: I’ve got 2 stories to share, both sad and both true. This is cross-posted over from another board which I’m at, and demonstrates how affairs can be so totally destructive, especially when the straying partner selfishly sits on the fence, getting his/her needs met from both sides, the spouse and the other person (a.k.a. cake-eating); And the consequences to the betrayed spouse if he or she does not have and apply proper boundaries to protect themselves.

    This from an article I read. I dont agree with evrything from this site but thought this staement was very relevant

  • After attempting Reconciliation with Cheater and going through all kind of useless shit eating activity with this guy, I finally realized the one thing I actually knew all along. I just really don’t think it is actually possible for me to feel Real love for someone who cheated on me and treated me like crap. I think the night I found out about him dating his whore, real love and any chance for it in the future, died forever. But of course I decided to convince myself I could love him and actually did a good job of fooling myself. I’m not even sure why.

    Looking back, I think I confused all kinds of different emotions/actions with love. The reconciliation people emphasize sex and stuff like that as proof of love, so I made sure that happened. As well as lovey dovey crap, etc. We were playing a good game. I trusted him, as much as you can trust a liar, and guess what, I got fucked over again by him communicating with the whore/friend. My advice now to anyone discovering they are with a cheater is like Chump Lady’s. There really is no reason to stay with any of these losers. After the dust clears, you won’t love them. It’s a colossal waste of time.

    • Drew–Crickets are a chump’s favorite insect, amiright?

      As for “My ex keeps sending me emails that go ON and ON about what he wants, and what he’s doing, and how our kids relate to him. ” Who the F cares what he wants? ha ha. I want world peace, and yet we still have Syria and dictators like Mugabe. What he’s doing? “Look at me!! Look at me!!” Nope. “Our kids love me!!” Wrong–they tolerate you and possibly are doing a “pick-me dance” for your affection, but they’ll soon tire of that, and then will decide to see you as rarely as possible.

      Really–I can’t decide whether to pity these cheaters, or advocate their mass demise for the sake of the gene pool.

      • I agree on the “Who the F cares what he wants?” 😉 As another Chump so eloquently stated, “Not my monkey, not my circus.”

      • I am still getting ‘ the demands’ 9 months post divorce. I still have to remind him… ‘ Ahhh… We aint married anymore and I dont work for you. ‘ or ‘ i say thats Twenny’s job now’
        Its like they decide when you no long serve a purpose… Or i am still the back up… Gotta have a back up wife… Like a fucking spare tire.
        I swear death would be easier

  • ChumpEsq, I wasted a year and a half…danced, dreamt of unicorns, only to get the “I’m confused (with tears) line as he was walking out the door. Dump him, use your gift of a week to get your ducks in a row. I am at Mey, finally. He texted the other day “my hatred for him shines brighter than the sun”. My reply “I don’t hate you, I feel nothing.” Feels sooo good!

  • Sara, I have not been able to read all the comments as I am about to take my youngest to school. I too am an attorney but not divorce attorney. My ex also traveled just after D-day (with his AP’s). We have 3 children, youngest 12 on D-Day. I researched personality disorders, including narcissism and sociopathy and lesrned all I could, you should too, that is probably what you are dealing with. I got myself a kick ass divorce attorney on D-day….literally. I had her prepare a Property Settlemenrt Agreement and negotiated it myself, pretending to be nice and needy to my asshole ex, I alternatively flattered and then obliquely threatened him with exposure. I waived some cash in front of him after he ran through money he stole from our kids college accounts, and demanded nicely that he sign a letter of intent to waive alimony and sign the Property Settlement Agreement. Worked like a charm, we were divorced in 4 months. I had to give up over $100k of my retirement account and some cash to him but got him to give up alimony from me. Best advice I got, act fast while they still feel guilty, or fearful (not sure these pathological types actually feel guilt) but it worked. My ex never even got his own attorney, he is such an idiot and wanted to pretend he was our “hero” ….a hero by leaving us alone. He now lives with one of his AP’s and is marrying her in July. His consulting business sis barely making it and he looks like hell and lives off of the AP (instead of me, have fun losers!). Out children do not speak to him…at all…in 4 years and ex really does not seem to care. I on the other hand had the best earnings of my life since my divorce, and am happily remarried to a fellow chump and never knew marriage and life could be so good. You can do this Sara.

    • Kelly: “have fun losers!”

      Now that is what ‘meh’ looks like! You’ll keep me laughing all day with that line!

  • Kelly, great advice to get them while they still have some guilt feelings. I made the mistake of playing the pick me dance and it almost caught me, but circumstances quickly changed when his father passed suddenly. As unfortunate as that was, it worked in my favor. My ex was so short sighted during mediation as he had the IRS breathing down his neck so I used that also to negotiate a very nice, comfortable settlement. Now only 2 months out from the divorce my ex is broke and has to live off the AP who is using her spousal support to prop him up financially. They can’t marry because they need her money! Her ex was smart and in his settlement he wrote that her support would continue until she remarries, dies OR is in a “supportive relationship”! Smart man! Now I don’t know what Florida considers “supportive relationship” and I’ll leave that to her ex and his attorney to figure out., but I’m sure since he shacks up with her and claims to be a Florida resident now using her address that a smart attorney can get her spousal support stopped. If that happens those two fuckwits will be homeless. Karma!

  • Anybody see the Jesus cheater on the Dr. Phil show, yesterday? Three woman came together to blast him. They all said he’s a selfish manipulative, lying fake. One called him demon possessed.
    Dr. Phil said he has intimacy issues. Never once used the N word.

  • Saw it and thanks to CL and chump nation I am sure you saw right through his bullshit! Dr. Phil should have outed him for the narc he is! I wanted to puke the way this guy twisted everything “bad” said about him with some flimsy excuse to save his fake persona!

  • Thanks Tracy,

    It’s one of your best columns yet. It’s like a little smack across the side of the head and what I need right now.

  • Sara–its me, mrs ridgeley. When u told me tonight about your life i was shocked and felt so much sorrow for your situation and anger towards the fuck tard (that is my nickname for cheating men) that has made you question your value, decisions in life, and abilities. U have always been an incredible woman (although only a girl when we first met). U are smart, beautiful, funny, nerdy and all of those things that make u unique. Please know that u are loved for who u are, just the way u are. And, i am here for u. Day or nite. And i will b coming out to visit u and the kids soon. I want u to have a “safe person” to unload on, to vent to, to trust and to give u a break from your wonderful kids so they can be kids and u can recharge and b the best mom u can be. U have been my bestie since we were 8 yrs old. Its not the number of people that we count as friends but the sincerity of those who we consider our friends. Know that u are loved and very much supported! We will get through this and b much stronger and wiser for the experience. And thank you chump nation for supporting my bestie when she reached out to you all! Good luck for much happiness in the future to u all!

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