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Infidelity Advice for the Newly Chumped?

paralysisSo assuming some of the newly minted chumps from the Ashley Madison data hack wash up on our shores, what advice would you give them?

We’ve all Been There and Done That — the knee-buckling shock of discovery, the spackling over the lame excuses, the hyper-vigilant marriage policing, the therapy appointments (that we book, not them), the sobbing, the weight loss, the raging, the pick me dances…

So what would you tell a new chump today? What would you do differently based on your own chumpdom?

Newbies — if you did just find us, welcome! It gets better (on a Tuesday). But the pain is a motherfucker. We can help. (((Hugs))) to anyone just finding out this week.

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  • Hindsight being 20/20, I would’ve gone back down to the courthouse and immediately filed for divorce. I found out two freakin’ days after our marriage that he’d cheated…(with my uncle…yeah, whole ‘nother story). I would’ve ignored his tears and pleading and promises to never do it again, blah blah blah. I would’ve kicked his ass to the curb, moved back to my home state instead of staying with him and going back to Florida where he would end up cheating again (big surprise). In fact, I would never have got with him in the first place, had I a choice to go back. I wouldn’t have overlooked all the red flags and pardoned him so much.

    At any rate, I’d tell new chumps to just fucking cut your losses and get out. It’s not worth it. They’re dirty dicked waste of organs, and sacrificing your dignity for that? Just no. End of October will be a year since the divorce was final and I came home to WV. Better than I’ve been in so long and going back to school for what I truly love, medicine. I have my own house now, a better life for my little one, surrounded by supportive family and this amazing scenery.

    And it was stumbling upon this very site that made me wake the hell up and say to hell with this bullshit, I’m out. I’m forever grateful for all this site does.

    Long time reader, first time commenter–

    • Welcome J! Your UNCLE? Now I think I really have heard everything… Wow.

      • Hi J and welcome to the site. Sending you hugs and we are here to support you no matter what. Sadly nothing shocks me anymore when it comes to these disordered assholes. Just remember you are mighty!!!!!

    • Thanks for your first comment, J–filled with wisdom.

      I completely agree; cheaters don’t reform. Gather your dignity, march thee to a lawyer’s office or court house to file (then lawyer up). Do not pass GO, do not collect $200 (until after your settlement, or withdraw some money from the bank account before Soon-to-be-X finds out you’ve had enough).

      • I was going to type the monopoly slang but it comes better from you. I just love you to bits!

          • My advice to the newly chumped:
            “It is not your fault!” How long I struggled to see my role in the mess. Poor me. I liberate all new chumps from the monkeys, the circus, the graffiti and the skein.

    • Yep, in a nutshell: cut your losses and get out. Life is truly better on the other side. When I look back I cringe to think I might have spent the rest of my life in that gilded cage.

      • If you’re here because your spouse cheated, first, I’m so sorry. You must know that you’ll likely go through all of the stages of grief and loss, and maybe even experience symptoms of PTSD.

        That is NORMAL; however, keep enough of your brain juice flowing so that you can:
        a) Open a separate checking account w/ your personal direct deposits going into it

        b) Hire an ass-kicking lawyer & file for divorce

        c) Request immediate child support and spousal & household maintenance support in the Temporary Order

        d) DOCUMENT everything day-to-day (you won’t remember)

        e) Change ALL your passwords to your phone, iPad, computer, whatever stores YOUR personal stuff

        f) Change all of your personal life/death policies and retirement beneficiaries to a trusted parent or family member (you’ll forget about it unless you do it, and you can’t think in terms of “we” anymore. This is about protecting yourself and your kids’ future.

        g) Chump Lady says: After getting busted, if they profess their “love” for you and that it was all a mistake, then demand a post-nup and a credit check immediately. If they balk at these demands, that’s your answer. Don’t waiver – file.

        h) Get a counselor for yourself and your kids. Ask them one question before you start paying: In a typical marriage and family relationship, when emotional and/or physical adultery occurs against one loyal spouse, who do you believe is the responsible party?

        If you get ANY wind of a bullshit answer that “there are two sides to every story,” just get up and walk out. You’ll waste time and money, when the only answer is: THE CHEATER is responsible for his or her lack of character, lack or morals and ethics, and lack of personal integrity. A loyal spouse is NOT responsible for their cheating spouses’ behavior. END. OF. STORY. You’ve been through enough emotional and mental abuse right now, and you certainly don’t need to pay some moron to tell you that although you were loyal and engaged with the family, and were likely always pulling more weight than your cheater, that somehow YOU are a part of their active CHOICE to commit adultry. F-that! Same goes for any family members who think “there are two sides…” F-that. There’s ONE story here: they cheated, and you didn’t, and you BOTH lived in the same shitty or great marriage. Again, END. OF. STORY.

        i) When you get a tiny grip on yourself, begin to slowly move through Chump Lady’s archives, and buy her book. Don’t waste money on the “you can save your marriage alone” books. Just don’t. You can’t. It takes both spouses, and right now, one spouse’s genitals are more important than their family or spouse they took vows with.

        j) Don’t social media blast the cheater or give their whore affair partner your time. Threats and nasty posts could be used against you later – EVEN though you are the loyal and sane spouse. No matter what or how bad right now, you want to always be able to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you maintained your integrity throughout the hell this asshole has dumped on you and your kids.

        k) TELL THE CHEATER NOTHING ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE DOING. This might feel somewhat like a mental and physical game of chess, but you’re not the one drunk on dopamine and oxitocin from your daily adultery. Use that to your advantage and consider and think about every move your making. It’s all to free yourself from a deceiver and from someone perfectly content to stab you in the back. I know. It was the person who promised to always have your back and love/honor you, but that’s not who they are anymore. THIS IS. It’s in black-and-white for you to deal with. Don’t give away your moves.

        l) Connect, or re-connect with Jesus. He’s just waiting for you to run to Him, and is the only one who will never lie or cheat. You have to connect spiritually with what’s much bigger than you and what’s happening. If it’s not Jesus for you, then connect in your way with your higher being. If that’s hard right now, try a free podcast called Daily Hope with Rick Warren. He has a series call “Seasons of Life” and focuses on a season of loss. This is what you’re in no matter if you stay or go. That marriage you thought you had is done. It’s a loss. Learn about it.

        m) Exercise & fuel your body even when you don’t want to. Your family needs you, and YOU need a healthy you for the mighty life you’re about to discover for yourself. It might be a few weeks before you feel like you can even do this, but you’ve got to work out those toxins running through your system as a result from all of this immediate hell, and working it out through sweat keeps you from sitting and self-destructing. I ran about 100 miles while crying. It was worth it. Do it.

        You will be mentally, spiritually, and physically numb and exhaused, and you’ll feel like you’re living in a dream, just going through the motions of existing when you first find out. You HAVE to accept that more times than not, these are chronic lying douchebags, who are more concerned with their next orgasm than about the safety, security and financial future of you and your kids. However, you don’t need to “think” about this until you’ve taken steps to protect yourself. THEN you can move through the stages of grief and disbelief and loss, knowing that you’ve done what you can to insolate yourself and your kids.

        It’s hard to process what’s happening, or to think in terms of yourself separate from “him/her” but that’s only because you’re a good and loyal spouse. That is NOT how your cheater spouse thinks about you or your “marriage,” and they obviously are willing to destroy you, your childrens’ immediate family, and your marriage, and they’ll do it right from within your own home. They are NOT your friend. Process this shit later; protect yourself and your children from his/her chaos NOW.

        Keep coming back to Chump Nation. We’ve been through it, we’re dealing with the same personal and family struggles that you will move through, and are our own mighty family. Everyone is welcome. You really aren’t alone, and there are people all around you who love you, and who WON’T make excuses for that douchebag cheater’s behavior.

        Massive (((hugs))) and prayers out for all the new, unfortunate Chumps.

        • Great post, Kibble Free! Especially the part about not listening to the Own Your Part/ Two Sides to the story shit. Total crap!!

          • AMEN! RE exercise….I was doubled over in bed all day/night…that part WILL take time. Just the THOUGHT of food made me gag…..

            • Exactly. I lost 50 lbs in two months. Very unhealthy. 1+yr later I’m finally back to normal. It is hell feeling sick all the time.

              • Agreed with all comments. However, post-nuptual agreements are unenforceable in many states. They are not enforceable in my state (I looked into it based on CL’s and CN’s advice).

                That being said, it might be worthwhile to demand that your asshole sign one. And get it notarized. If he/she refuses, that tells you something.

        • “They are NOT your friend. Process this shit later; protect yourself and your children from his/her chaos NOW. ”

          So true KibbleFree, awesome list and advice, thank you!

          • OHMIGOSH, you guys – I completely forgot one of the most important steps: ZERO CONTACT after you file. Once you file, have him/her work with you through your lawyer. Of course, if he/she is still in the house, this becomes even more difficult, but you have to try. Unless it’s about kids or things he/she needs to pay for FOR the kids, ZERO contact. It’s the only way you can stop the confusion, gaslighting, continual lying, etc.

            • KibbleFree_MightyME

              Brilliant ROAD MAP! (I’m going to make copies for others I see twisting in agony) it is clear and urgent that people hear this truth over what we are generally advised….. Bless you

              • Aww – so sweet, valkyriemad123. Thx – but sadly, I know we ALL have a list just as extensive. =(

            • Yes yes yes. And I found playing ‘gives you hell” by the all American rejects kept me sane through the lies and bs. Buy it for 99 cents on iTunes…..along with chumps book – you’re golden. Do not waste money (like I did) on anything else. Trust they suck – now. Get out. Now. I wish I’d got out ASAP and gone no contact…..instead of waiting around for him to make good on his promises. Why oh fucking why? Because He was a narcissist who manipulated my chump ness. The only way is to walk
              Away and don’t look back. It hurts like a motherfucker and you’ll feel confused and second guess yourself everyday. But I wasted 12 months……please please don’t. put your earbuds in, listen to that song, read chumps archives, book and new posts every day. Say a prayer, hug your kids, call a friend. Post here. You are are no ones plan b (and there’s even a CL article about not being one!). And everyone here is with you. The pain is finite and birthing pains to your new life xxx

        • So love ALL of this……ESPECIALLY ” the cheater is responsible….END. OF. STORY!!!!!!! don’t even go to “there are two sides to every story”….!!!!!!

        • Excellent advice. I wish I had known about CL when I started finding out about my ex. I would have done a lot differently. A LOT! I would have had very different rules of ingagement with this disordered f###.

          • You’re so right, Nomorebs. I think we ALL would have done many things differently. I know I wouldn’t have wasted 8 mos. being patient, waiting for the x-douchebag to “wake up from the affair fog,” and other shit that doesn’t work. My list is what I know now, almost 2 years post DDay, and 8 mos post divorce. I just hope some of these new AshMad Chumps take our advice, lawyer-up, and move forward a tiny bit each day toward a new, cheater-free life.


        • So nice to know that I am not the only who cries WHILE they run. Heartbreaking!

          • It’s a perfect physical, mental, spiritual and chemical therapy! Keep it up, Omheck! (((hugs!)))

          • Omheck and KFMM, you are awesome for being able to run AND cry! I have too much difficulty breathing and have to stop my GPS while I wait to collect myself… lol. Just a couple of weeks ago while running it was too hot, my bruised toenails hurt, I was crying… found shade by a fence and just bawled not far from the road! Gathered myself together and made it home only to feel stronger and better able to face what life has thrown at me. So newbies, if you are a runner just keep running! Looking forward to downloading “Gives You Hell” per MsChump’s suggestion and running to it.

            • walkingthrhell, MsChump, and all Chumps who run or want to start running – my anthem for my first half marathon in April this year was “given” to me by a sweet friend who knew what the x-douchbag had done to me and my children. I made sure to que it up as I was about .5 miles from the finish. Hellz yeah!!

              Florence + The Machine

              Dog Days Are Over

              Run fast for your mother
              Run fast for your father
              Run for your children
              For your sisters and brothers
              Leave all your love and your longing behind
              You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive

              The dog days are over
              The dog days are done
              Can you hear the horses?
              Cause here they come

              LOVE IT!! Get it, Chumps! (((love & hugs)))

              • Wonderful lyrics! Thx for taking the time to write them out. Listening to song right now… love & hugs back to you, KFMM, and to all the fellow Chumps who find solace in this blog.

        • A MIGHTY post kibble free, that is the post of the thread! Well done. Brilliant advice on counsellor question.

        • “It’s hard to process what’s happening, or to think in terms of yourself separate from “him/her” but that’s only because you’re a good and loyal spouse. That is NOT how your cheater spouse thinks about you or your “marriage”….”

          I realized this is the first weeks from something my ex said. He was using a lot of “I” statements, and I realized that when he talked about “my future”….that alll along that is how he must have been thinking, whereas my instinct had been to think of “our” future…. Sigh. It took me a while to stop talking in “we” terms, but I eventually switched over to calling it “my” home.

          Also, that “Gives You Hell” song was great blasting in my car, driving along on a sunny, beautiful day with the windows down. 🙂 I also like Ok Go’s This Too Shall Pass song.

    • “dirty dicked waste of life” LMFAO ???
      So funny and so true! I almost shot coffee out of my nose from laughing so hard.

    • Sitting at the courthouse waiting to get married, 1989. Fighting. “Do you want to do this?” In that moment, in that pivotal meaningful moment, I wish I had followed my instincts that were screaming, “Nooooo!” The only blessed thing that came out of that union was my kids and of course I would not have changed that for anything. My biggest advice is follow those instincts, especially when you are in suspicion mode. Even kids sense it and know it. I am a Chump Child and was taken on little outings with my mother and her AP. It was awful to feel it but not know it cognitively. So not only trust your instincts but follow them. Much love to CN. My hand is injured putting in my new floors so I’ve been a bit behind the scenes lately. Ps, also best advice: trust CL and this site. It is and continues to be lifesaving for me.

      • I really wish newly chumped Anna Duggar would visit this site. Unfortunately, I figured this would be the response…internalizing blame and thinking Josh will change. She needs to get out of that cultish life & protect her babies. He’s already proven he doesn’t consider young family members off limits sexually. Ugh…I’m sick after reading.

        • Ugh. I’m sick, too, reading that. I don’t understand why many hard-core Christians ignore the fact that adultery is a sin and 100% validated as a reason to leave your spouse. How do they all skip that part!?!

          • As a devout Christian I can tell you we know adultery is 100% wrong. In Moses’ time they stoned adulterers to death. We get caught up in the redemption thing. We think our spouses are going to see the error of their ways and repent like the good little “Christians” should and that is the only option for our kids. What we realize too late is that this rarely happens, we have every right to divorce them no matter what and they’re Christian act was all bogus. Thank goodness for Divorce Minister and my Christian counselor! They set me straight. We need to tweet Anna DM’s site too!

            • Yes, agree. BTW, I am a Christian as well, and I definitely felt pressure to stay and forgive, for the reasons you mentioned. I imagine the pressure is much higher in the Duggar environment where Anna was raised and is still living.

              • I was a christian before I was married, during, and after the cheating and divorce. I will forgive, but never forget when a pastor told me there are always two sides to every store. In adultery there really is just one, the one of betrayal. I am so sad that women allow their husbands to rise back to glory by stepping on the back of our necks. God orchestrated every piece of me escaping my horrible marriage. His desire is for our spouses to love and respect us.

            • Forgiveness and restored trust are two different things. You can forgive someone but it doesn’t mean you have to trust them or stay married to them.

            • Christianity is clear for those of us who are believers. Adultery is SIN and it is 100% the choice and fault of the betrayer. We faithful ones are kicked around by the WRONG counsel of forgiveness/forgetting, and God forbid be angry! 31 years I stayed taking in this sick advice, which left me a shambles. FINALLY and with God’s help alone, I am breaking free, I filed for divorce in March and it has been a living hell.

              My advice to the newly CHUMPed is NO chances, just think long and hard what has happened. Its not a little mistake, you have been betrayed by your spouse/partner in a way that can not be reversed EVER! I fully regret staying after my 1st DDay 25 years ago. I had 3 little ones and felt i needed the financial support and I stayed. It was never the same and the serial cheater continued in his activites. ALL the while lying to me that he was living in freedom. blah blah blah.

              For anyone struggling with their faith, visit Divorce Minister, you will understand that the provision of divorce was given to us to protect us. HE knew we would most likely not get over what happened EVER and that the perpetrator, manipulator, liar, cheater, self absorbed, disordered person would most likely not change. It hurts, but cut them loose or you will live a life of disappointments one after the other. 31 years of my precious life was all a lie. My 3 angels are the only good for me that came from this union. GOD wants the best for you, and these people are NOT the best!!


          • I think part of it is our own fear honestly. It is scary to think about ending a marriage and experiencing the unknown. You’ll hear comments from other places that “it takes two” and your spouse probably shifts blame onto you, so it is easy for the loyal, betrayed spouse to feel responsible. If you’re responsible, you can change things by doing the pick me dance well enough and, theoretically, you won’t have to face whatever you’re afraid of should the marriage end. It also felt wrong to me to leave a marriage after only a couple years without giving it another shot to fix whatever was wrong. I think it is common for people who are devout and take marriage seriously to feel like they need to try everything possible to make the marriage work before giving up.

            Also, the greek word used in the Bible passage that gives betrayed spouses the right to leave and remarry is “porneia”. There is a debate on what qualifies as porneia. Most places that mention viable reasons for divorce simply say porneia in that verse means adultery period. I did, however, read something by a minister referring to porneia as being more of a lifestyle choice, a persistent, unrepentant adultery. So, a cheater cheating once and then being truly sorry and promising to never do it again may not qualify as porneia under that reasoning. It is easy to feel like you need to try reconciling to prove whether or not the adulterer is truly unrepentant. After all, cheaters do like to lie and pretend to be repentant…

            I grew up Lutheran, so I never had any doubts on whether or not it was ok to divorce and remarry due to adultery. However, from what I understand, Catholics believe that the passage mentioned is referring ONLY to the engagement period. So, once you have had your wedding day, it is impossible to divorce your spouse for any reason and remarry without the remarriage being considered adultery. However, according to the catholic faith, some marriages are never valid in the first place, which is why there is a catholic annulment process. There is an investigation that can determine if the marriage was valid and, if it wasn’t, you are then free to remarry without the remarriage being considered adulterous.

            Is this confusing enough? With all these reasons, I think it is understandable why betrayed spouses have a hard time leaving. It took me three years.

          • I do too, she was raised this way. Have you ever heard of blanket training? It’s pretty gross. They are also raised to be completely obedient to their parents, to be completely obedient to their husband after marriage and their only value to parents, husband and god is their ability to make babies.

        • Anna is quiverfull. From what I’ve been reading on the Patheos blogs, it is an extremely patriarchal christian sect. All of her family, friends and everyone she knows is quiverfull and, likely taking Josh’s side. For Anna to leave Josh, she would have to be willing to leave everything she knows, possibly including her children. They practice shunning, so she would be losing her parents, siblings (some of whom she probably helped raise), all of her friends, her church and anyone else you can think of. I guess the equivalent would be if any of os walked out our front door with only the clothes on our back and the money in our pocket and moved to Shanghai. Most likely, she is getting little to no support and is probably being told by everyone, not just Josh, that his cheating is because she wasn’t a godly enough wife. That’s why, to me, Josh is even more despicable than most of our cheaters. We could get away.

          • I just want to give her a hug. I wish someone she knew would step up and stand by her and be the family that she needs. Psalm 68:6 says that God places the lonely in families, that He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy, but He makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. I hope God gives Anna her family and her freedom and joy soon. If I were Josh, I would not gloss over what happens to rebellious people in that verse.

    • As a fellow Mountaineer there is something to be said about the comfort of coming home and being hugged by our beautiful mountains…Our state motto is a great chump motto as well… “Mountaineers are always free”…especially from narcissistic asshat cheaters!

  • The only down side of the great AM reveal. The most important thing to know is you are not alone in this, don’t be ashamed to reach out for help, and its not your fault. It was a choice that the cheater made, a bad one, but a choice. You will find out who your real friends are and learn a huge amount about yourself, the only upside. Big hugs to all of you who are just beginning this sad journey.

    • I am curious if anyone else saw the IDIOT Director of Couples and Family Therapy at Drexel Univ, Argie (sp?) Allen on the Today show? I am sure Today’s intent was supply newly minted AM fallout chumps some valuable insight as to what to do next. Poor Tamryn Hall looked as though she was drowning when the “expert” espoused such gems as ‘you need to decide what are the dos and don’ts of cheating’. WTF?

      Hey, does anyone know what the does and don’t of cheating are? My guess is—- DON’T CHEAT AT ALL!!!

      I imagine you can find this valueless interview on Today’s website.

      • Tracy is back Monday; I think we need to alert news organizations about interviewing her after the next round of hacked information comes out (I can’t WAIT to see cheater’s user names [BigDaddy12 anyone?] and the boxes they checked off about what they like and their sexual preferences [necrophila, sheep, being spanked, long walks in the woods with sheep….]).

        • I can’t take the credit for this; one of my housemates made the crack after Josh Duggar’s Trashley Madison/OKCupid/FB profiles got revealed that he couldn’t wait ’til they found his FetLife account. Something to give CN a Friday giggle. 🙂

          • RE: Josh’s AM profile–

            The type of woman he sought—-confident, professional, who dislikes routine and has a secret love nest…..sounds like the antithesis of Anna, doesn’t it?

            Speaking of fetishes, the info from an interview with the woman who wore a wire to get the goods on Jared—-OMG. Asking to have sex with her horse, for one. Would she set a up camera so he could watch her two young daughters/which one would she prefer to ‘sacrifice’ for his prurient interests for another…and there’s more.

            I feel so sorry for her having to endure almost 4 yrs of communicating with him in order for the FBI to make their case.

            • I remember one time on a show called To Catch A Predator ( which set up guys thinking they were meeting underage girls), the guy kept asking the girl if her CAT would be there. I still laugh thinking about it. Guess he thought he would get a little pussy. Bad pun intended.

        • Tempest, I’m pretty sure I read that you can have sex with sheep here (we have lots and some will literally wander into my yard in the spring and fall) and it’s only a misdemeanor. Yet, for some reason, Asshat chose to commit a felony ;O

            • Dr Demento moved to eNVy… which has a large tradition of herding sheep and whose unofficial state motto is. Nevada: Where men are men and sheep are nervous. 🙂

      • I saw it too and I was thinking the same thing – horrifying! And they also had the founder of SI in the piece. I was thinking “no – wrong site to send new chumps to!”

  • What I would do differently:
    after D-Day#1, demand temporary separation, while still keeping contact via text messages and email. He was going to rent his own place anyway, so talking him into not separating while he would be away all week was stupid. I got the worst of the two situations: loneliness all week, and no chance to renew my world on weekends.
    I did not know the extent of the cheating then. It was presented to me as a one-time mistake during a vacation abroad, so I did not see it as the long-time betrayal that it was.
    Staying together prevented me from asking cool-headed questions in writing, while I kept discovering the pieces of the ugly puzzle. It kept my anxiety level very high, I felt humiliated and unable to act. As for him, it gave him the impression that he had the power to do whatever he wanted, instead of experimenting the consequences. That’s how I finally got his suggestion of a vacation with ‘platonic’ OW#2, the thing I can’t get out of my head because it was so weird and demonstrated so much entitlement.

    • And then of course, once the extent of the cheating is revealed (NOT a one-time mistake in the heat of the moment while vacationing abroad), decide that the separation is final.

    • Good point, ChumpfromF. Anything a spouse knows about his/her husband’s/wife’s affair is tip of the iceberg. If the cheater says it was just an emotional affair, it was a physical affair. If cheater says it lasted 3 weeks, it lasted 5 months. If cheater says it just happened, they actually planned many events together. If they claim just one affair partner, there have been 5-10.

      • And if the cheater says they just created an account on Ashley Madison as a joke, or “to look,” wait for the credit card transactions to be released as that will show that the cheater was active on the site.

        If you need proof to move ahead with divorce, hire a Private Investigator pronto, before cheater can hide or destroy evidence.

          • Just to weigh in about Ashley Madison … I’m a former journalist who in 2005 went online to do a story about it for the newspaper I was working for. So yup – my email is in there too! Although I certainly have a good reason for it!

            • Sad in Seattle. Ashley Madison revelations provide you with great opportunities for backup stories.

              • Ironic, I know, considering I’m a long-time chump and member of CN! But it’s 100% true

              • “I was going to write The Great American Novel from a modern perspective!” Uh huh.

                Where is that story, dipshit?

              • Surely, you have emails where it wasn’t published because it was rejected by the editor? Or a text from him/her? Or original, time-stamped drafts? Or DISCUSSED it with your Significant Other/Family/Friends? Or can appeal to your previous work-superior, in such dire circumstances, and they’ll confirm that you were writing a story only and not actually being a selfish prick?

              • insistonhonesty, why on earth are you speaking to me in this manner? I am a long time chump and loyal member of CN who just left an 11-year relationship to a serial cheater. I post here almost daily. I have no reason to lie about this and am horrified that you feel at liberty to call me names when I was simply making an observation and sharing a funny anecdote. The story in fact was published, I’ll thank you very much.

                CL – please moderate comments such as these. It’s very disheartening at this incredibly difficult time in my life to be attacked on a forum I used to feel was a safe place.

              • Sadly I’ve been attacked by chumps too. The part that really hurt was the mocking and the accusation that I thought of myself as “enlightened.” It was painful to be attacked in a place I thought was safe. Stay strong.

              • GreenGirl–you ARE enlightened! Own it, girl–it’s a good thing. We look down on “medieval” thinking for a reason. Sorry you were attacked in the past here. Hugs to you!

              • Wow, WTF! Where is all that vitriol coming from?

                How about insisting on compassion for fellow chumps? Too often your version of honesty looks a lot like a license to attack, with little or no information to go on. What’s up with that? I agree with SiS–these kinds of comments need to be moderated. It’s hard enough having to be here in the first place without having to defend our life experiences. Jeebus! Who appointed you the Grand Poobah?

              • insistonhonesty:

                Maybe she does. If you are her spouse and you find her email there, ask her to show you why. But as a stranger on the internet, she has no obligation to turn over private emails to you,

              • SIS does NOT have to justify herself to you IOH … I’ve read your comments before and am amazed with your unfounded aggression towards fellow chumps.

                Whatever her reason for being on Trashley I for one am thankful she shared. I went on Trashley as field research as planned activity with both my psychologist and psychiatrists blessings after I explained my need to understand what’s in the head of a fucktard and let me tell you all these Johns melted into ONE!!!! No lack of Johns by the way they were a dime a dozen. I took detailed notes and covert pics as they led me to the coffee table or as we left the cafe as I followed. JUST TO NEVER FORGET WHATS REALLY REALLY OUT THERE !!!

                None but one I chose to inform knew I was spying on them … At this point I’d had enough…. I could not hold back after I unleashed hell upon him after a coffee in public about his “reasons” for cheating and his microscopically detailed roadmap as to how to successfully conduct an affair right under your spouses nose!!! Lucky it was coffee and only spoons and not knives in the vicinity!!! I learnt much in that dark dark time and have never looked at humanity the same ever since 🙁

            • I agree–don’t attack our own. Sad in Seattle is a card-carrying member of CN, with a horrible tale of betrayal (just like the rest of us). She has been posting here for a long time, and did not deserve to have her character nor motives called into question. She can hardly post a link to the published article without giving up her identity.

              SiS–hugs to you, friend!

      • Great list, Tempest, I just want to add:

        If the cheater says, “I didn’t inhale”…uh, he did.

      • I truly believe that once the marriage vows are broken, that sacred line crossed, there is no going back to monogamy for the disordered. These cheaters, once discovered, just hide it better. My stbxh never looked at another woman around me or flirted at all that I noticed. I’m 8 years younger, and looked up to him as a 19 year old girl, while he showed me the ways of world. Looking back, red flags revealing a complete lack of integrity were waving! I forgave him a “one night stand” in the early years of our marriage and we had months of counciling. I truly thought we had put that baby to rest. We have lived a beautiful life and raised 2 smart, accomplished sons. It’s often hard to remember its not about us, its about them. I am reclaiming myself, my life and my value after he nearly destroyed me. I am a smart, strong, talented, creative, successful – people still say beautiful – woman. The man I am trying to untangle from is extremely smart, very sparkly, former Rocket Scientist, all about passive agressive covert narcissism, pathological lying, and getting away with whatever he can under the cover of a happy family man. Ugh! I did not know the monster I was partnered with for 4 generations. The serious mounting debt, poor credit, major legal problems, living way beyond our means while I wasn’t working as he’s playing Big Shot, pretending he’s got money (while spending over $200k on our line of credit)… It’s a complete and horrific mind fuck. But. He. Will. Not. Take. Me. Down. I am focusing on building my business and my new life. Next week will mark our 37th year of marriage, only because we are not through the divorce process yet. We had been in an 8 month wreakonciliation after a separation because of his constant lying and a much denied d-day. In hindsight, after connecting a lot of dots and further discovery, I realize he has been a serial cheater all along. January 2014 I found out about 55 year old widow Schmoopie. He of course lied and said it had been going on “only a couple of weeks”, but from old texts I could see exactly when I started having trouble reaching him, “his phone battery was dead, he was working late, out to dinner with clients,” or other lame excuses. It had been going on with her well over a year. I did not do the pick me dance. Fast forward and he is now living with (off of) Schmoopie, and I’m very sure he is lying to her as it could be no other way. The reality is that he is so deeply in debt he will never recover, in ongoing partnership lawsuits, owes IRS back taxes, student loans, drives an old broken down truck with a missing tailgate, and she thinks he’s her Golden Ticket! I have it on good authority that he’s already cheating on her too. Sadly I wasted my life with this scary, sad, disordered man, and he leaves a pathetic legacy for his sons. Cut your losses CHUMPS, and trust that they SUCK!!! We are mighty!

      • “Anything a spouse knows about his/her husband’s/wife’s affair is tip of the iceberg.”

        Yes to the thousandth degree! This is something I couldn’t wrap my mind around in the initial months; just the little I knew was bad enough! But it was way worse.

        Cheaters lie. That’s their baseline. You can never, never, never take anything at face value from a cheater. Never.

  • 1. I would gather all the facts about his cheating and not let him know that I know he is cheating and keep that information in a very safe place.

    2. I would also get Chump Lady’s book.

    3. Then look into an exit plan to get myself out of the place we shared and get a plan sorted so I can move out without him knowing (he would go out of town a lot for work-that would be great timing). With this also see if I can move pretty far away from him with finding a new job and a new place to live. I would not tell a single soul that I am doing it also (hence my family is still “friends” with and told him some mental things I was doing during the divorce).

    4. At the same time with 1 to 3 find a kick ass attorney to insure what my rights were then.

    5. Change my numbers and go full no contact.

    6. Close the bank accounts.

    7. Get myself into some serious therapy.

    8. No looking back he and his attorney would stay in contact with my attorney. There is no need for me to every see, speak, or think about him every action. Yes of course deal with the emotional side of the break up.

    All of this might take some time but having a good plan is the key.

    • *think about him every again. damn autocorrect.

      9. Listen to my gut about him. I had so many red flags about him and I didn’t listen to them.

      sending hugs to all the chumps.

      • 10. Get a STD check and HIV/AIDS. Get that information to the attorney also. Also a general health check up to make sure everything is ok.

        11. Believe in what I am doing and start living the life that I am living today. The first few months are not fun but it is worth it.

        12. Get myself educated about Cluster B personality disorders and even speak to the attorney about this and if the ex could be viewed by true specialist in this matter to help me with any type of legal or harassment issues from the ex and his family/friends.

        • Beth, this is perfect! A step-by-step instruction guide that can help a person still in shock from the profound betrayal just revealed.

          I heartily agree with educating oneself with the dynamics and mindset of Cluster B’s. The sense of malignant entitlement, chronic, if not pathological lying, and duality of cheaters – keeps pointing to those terribly destructive disorders. Yes, I know I’m stating the obvious.

          You hit it out of the ballpark Beth. Super hugs!

          • Hugs right back to you Boudica Reborn and onthehill. I am in the kick ass type of mood today. Sadly I just got news of another chump in my life. Trying to give them the support they need. Oh yes, I gave them this site!

        • Great list Beth!

          To me the most important is DO NOT believe a word s/he says from this point on. Repeat to yourself as often as you need to “You abused my trust, I no longer believe your words, I will only believe your actions.”

          Your cheater is likely to want to stop you from doing anything. S/he benefits from the status quo, it keeps you under their control. First, read CL’s post on the 3 stations in a cheater’s mind (

          If your cheater asks why you are taking any action, tries to minimize your pain or the extend of his action (e.g. well, yeah I betrayed you, but I’m not as bad as Hitler), look him/her straight in the eye and say “you abused my trust. If you hope I will ever trust you again, this is what needs to happen.”

          Then show with your actions that you are mighty and will do what needs to be done. Remember that people with NPD traits will ramp up their abuse in the hope you will cave.
          If your cheater becomes threatening in any way, stay safe and go into stealth mode. I did all of the following without my cheater was at work or otherwise occupied:

          * Download all the statements you can from all bank accounts, CC, and any financial accounts you share with your cheater. Save them on a double verification cloud service (e.g. icloud, azure, dropbox) or on two thumb drives and place them into a safe place (I opened a safe box at my local bank). You probably are too upset to look at this stuff now, but having them will help you during the discovery process.

          * Get your and your kids’ passports, your social security cards, as well as your marriage certificate, and your kids birth certificates. Get all this to your safe place.

          * Open a new bank account under your name only, and wire 1/2 of all your liquid assets (1/2 of your savings and checking accounts) onto that new account.

          * Get all your tax returns and financial paperwork and get them to a safe place, I used an abandoned corner of the archive room at my workplace.

          * Get all proof of his/her affair (e.g. texts, screenshots, secret emails, multiple skype accounts, multiple FB accounts, all CC under his name via a credit check), and get them to your safe place.

          * If you have enough money, interview lawyers and secure a great lawyer. I don’t recommend mediation or alternative divorce solutions if your cheater does not show any inclination to behave in a way that shows real remorse (see CL’s post on what would look like –

          And most importantly, understand:
          * The theory of cake –
          * The importance of your kibble strategy (

          If you have that kind of fortitude, adapt your kibble and cake strategy to appease the cheater and get him/her distracted or compliant with things that are to your advantage as you divorce him/her.

          This is going to suck balls, and when you need a pick me up, read CL & CN’s post on being Mighty in the INSPIRE ME section at the bottom of CL’s front page.

          Believe in your own inner strength, you can do this, and we are here to cheer you on!

          • See if you can get your hands on a copy of their pay stub, if they get one. Ex was siphoning money into a direct-deposit savings account I didn’t know about–and it showed up on his pay stub.

            (He’s sooooooooooo dumb….)

            During the divorce, he wanted to split the little bitty index fund I’d been contributing to from my paycheck, but didn’t mention his secret savings account. In the end, I used knowledge of his account as leverage to keep “our” little account for myself.

        • Yeah! Looking back it would have been great to blind-side him. Newly divorced I obsess about how he screwed me over and still came out on top. I know deep down that he never has and never will be happy with himself and that I am the one who took control and divorced him but… It would have been nice to have a little something where I felt like he got a big surprise. Jerk.

          • From my experience phoebenix that is such a normal feeling. I think us normal people want these disorder things to feel something but sadly they don’t. They just don’t care. They don’t have souls. No empathy, no compassion, nothing really!

            I trust they all suck!!!!!

            • Beth, when my daughter was about 2 years old and I was pregnant with our son, my sister was observing my now ex husband. We went into the kitchen to prepare some food and she looked at me and said “he doesn’t care Maree”. I remember that comment as clear as a bell. You see he had just been sacked from his bank job for stealing and the 1st thing he went and bought was a record player!! I never missed any of the signs, I just chose to ignore them and I have, together with our 2 adult children paid a very price. He now lives with a girl young enough to be their kid sister and they accept this as if it is normal. I am very disappointed in my kids even though I love them dearly and would give my life for them.

              • Sending you some hugs Maree. There is no words to describe how sorry I am that your children accepted what your ex has done. I know it is hard to deal with and sadly we cannot control what other people do or think. I am dealing with that same that of treatment with my family and friends. They all are in daily contact with the ex. They all knew and saw what happen with all of the D-days. The best thing I can tell you is go NO Contact.

                If you like you can adopt me? I am potty trained. I know how to cook and clean after myself also and I can tie my shoes. Plus I have morals and character and I know what the difference of right and wrong is. Sometimes I do need a good walk in the park. Think about it and let me know. I’ll be more than happy to be your adoptive daughter.

              • So sorry to read about your horrendous story Maree, what you have to go through is so devastating! I don’t know if that can bring some solace, but know that I am most grateful for your posts.

                I often tell myself everyday that if Maree can go through all this and forge on, so can I!


              • Hugs, Marie Honey. I’m keeping you in my prayers. We are so vulnerable to our kids. I hope someday they can see what a gem you really are.

              • It’s hard, Maree. I don’t understand how one of my sons seems to think the cheating was no big deal, except that he bought his dad’s explanation. Not sure he’ll ever understand. At least my other kid gets it. They still love their dad, though.

                So strange to have brought children into the world, raised them, sacrificed for them, and then get tossed out on your ear. I look back at other family relationships and see that some of them improve over time, or something happens that changes them. There’s always hope that things will improve and they’ll come to understand you better. Just do what you can to make yourself happy, because they’re more likely to come around if you are.

                One of my grandmother’s was a fairly bitter woman. I didn’t much like being around her. After she died I learned more about what she’d gone through during the depression. She was abandoned with 6 hungry children to support, her husband was having an affair with her best friend. I actually drew strength from her life story to get through my own experience. Everything comes full circle eventually.

              • Maree, your kids will come around when he rejects them. It took a little bit, but my dad eventually treated me the way he treated my mother – pompous-assed letter and all. I am sorry for the pain my mother went through, but now we have a great and beautiful relationship. My dad, not so much. I am kind of waiting for him to unfriend me on FaceBook, at this point – he will as soon as I post something he “just can’t tolerate.”

    • Order ChumpLady’s book TODAY; it cannot be sold after the 24th (per her contract with the publisher of her upcoming book).

        • Her first book won’t be available anymore after the 24th; the next book is out in October (not sure if you can pre-order it).

  • Two bits of advice from me:
    1. Ignore everyone who tells you that there must have been problems in your marriage anyway, to try to understand why the cheater did what they did, that it’s worth trying again etc. Utter bullshit.
    2. Keep telling yourself that “in two years time none of this will matter” (for those bad, bad days when you feel the world has ended.). You’ll get there is the end, just like so many of us have.

    • I’d say closer to 3 years but it’s different for everyone. Just know that the day will come when you’ll look back and think ‘I was married to that asshole?’, shake your head, and get on with your day with a chuckle.

      • Took me three years – a long, arduous journey, but I’m here to tell the new chumps that life gets so much better on the other side.

      • Thanks Nord and Doop, knowing that this marathon can take 3 years is both a punch to the stomach and a good reminder that this is a marathon, although I would like it to be a sprint or at most a 5,000m Steeple chase. But no.

        There are no shortcuts, no ‘he will be nice on this one’, just a whole lot of tenacity to get through the whole 26 miles and 385 yards!

        • He’ll most likely be a huge dick. My ex was one of those ‘nicest guys ever’ but once I took the gloves off, pushed through the divorce and no longer listened to his bullshit, instead calling him out every time he lied he went full rage mode and remains fairly ragey to this day.

          • Thank you Nord, he indeed went from ‘nice guy’ to gigantic asshole as soon as the mask came off. As far as dicks go, well I am sure he wishes he was huge, I stopped spackling that side of him a while ago ?

  • My advice:

    1. People do not set up affair dating profiles if they do not plan to use them.

    2. This is probably NOT the first time.

    3. NOR will it be the last.

    4. Promises from cheaters are what Mary Poppins calls pie crust promises–easily made, easily broken.

    5. Know (and accept) the Ugly Truth. Ashley Madison profiles aren’t for meeting new people to read bible verses with or vaccinate children. Ashley Madison profiles are marketing tools to attract someone to have sex. That’s it.

    6. Make an informed decision. Now you know. What to do?

    7. Divorcing a cheater is a marathon. Not a sprint. Not even a half marathon. If you’re divorcing a disordered narcissist, it’s less marathon and more wrestling tigers at the Colosseum, Gladiator-style. Be prepared.

    8. Divorce is like a poker game. Never show your hand. If you know about the Ashley Madison profile, but haven’t said anything, good! Get a PI and act business as usual. (Yes it will be the performance of your life) Gather evidence and take it to your attorney. Then, like one of those SWAT attacks on TV, stage a multi-level attack: serve divorce papers, move out/move them out, file restraining orders, move assets (with lawyer approval), etc.

    9. Find a shrink. Again, marathon, not sprint. Or possibly tiger wrestling, which is not nearly as fun as it sounds. Therapy is good. You’ll need it.

    10. Do something every single day that makes you happy. Drink wine. Eat a cupcake. Take a walk. Buy yourself a treat. Whatever! Just do something special for yourself every day. Say yes to yourself for a while. You’ve earned it.

    This is a hard road, but the pain truly is finite. It does end. And you come out on the other side wondering what in the hell you ever saw in that loser and why the hell did you stay so long.

    Big hugs. We are all here for you.

    • Kelli: Fabulous. The pocket-size guide to divorcing a cheater. Excellent advice.

    • Great post, Kelli. Love this one in particular: “People do not set up affair dating profiles if they do not plan to use them.”

      I bet lots of us got the line about how it was ‘just for fun.’ But as a very wise friend of mine said, “You don’t go and sit in the barber shop unless you’re planning to get a haircut.”

    • If I had a chance to go back to D-Day #1, I would have spent my time differently. I spent a lot of time asking cheater why he cheated and collecting information about his cheating from him and the affair partner I learned about on D-Day #1. Result: I confirmed that both of them were really screwed up ‘people,’ I should have used the time to prepare for divorce by trial (as STBX insists on repeatedly dragging me into court for a divorce he requested), To me, divorce by trial (preceded by a dozen hearings) feels like marathon-length gladiatorial combat with tigers, OWs, players in the legal system, etc. in the Coliseum. I hope to come out alive, having lost only a couple of limbs and hope that my kids will come out only moderately injured with wounds that will mostly heal.

  • I totally agree with the above three posters. Cheating, or even attempting to, is a major sign of character flaw that is not worth teaming up with.

    This person who married you is now your adversary.

    Cut your losses and leave, but plan quietly and don’t let on you are aware. You will gain more by filing once you have lined up your plans, calmed down, and put on a good measure of hate for your opponent. Remember, by cheating, they have already started hating you. The reasons why will not matter after all is said and done.

    And your life afterward will be immeasurably more free.

  • I think the hardest and most important thing to do is accept that this is who they are. I projected a lot of my ideals onto a man who ultimately was not what I needed him to be.

    I thought he was a strong, moral family man. He was not and I had a hard time wrapping my brain around this.

    Once you see who the real person is – remind yourself daily – this person thinks so little of me that they would solicit sex from strangers outside of our marriage.

    Taking out the garbage or suddenly helping with dinner ( he’s such a nice guy ! ) does not cancel out infedelity.
    The profile on AM is just the tip of the iceberg . Once you start to open your eyes you will see things that just don’t add up in your marriage ( unexplained debts, weird work hours, justafriends and more ).

    Follow people’s advice here and act right away. It doesn ‘t go away on it’s own. It gets more ugly once you know the truth!

    I just finished my clown juggling, tiger wrestling, midget tossing event at the coliseum and it was a narky 3 year process. Should have done it 10 years earlier but the kids were little, The Leafs were losing and I hadn’t finished all the varieties of shit sandwiches on the bouffet yet.

    • This is brilliant. I needed to open my eyes to the fact that the man I married had become my adversary. I wish I had left him 25 years earlier than I did!

      Live and learn… The hard way.
      C H U M P

    • I thought he was a strong, moral family man. He was not and I had a hard time wrapping my brain around this.

      Me too. I think this is the story of so many chumps. And it’s why in the early days it’s so disorienting. This person you thought was your very best friend just freaked out on you.. but the truth is, it’s who he was all along and like others have said, the cheating you know about is probably not his first rodeo. Also keep in mind cheaters don’t only cheat sexually, they also cheat financially. As someone said.. unexplained debts, weird behavior, gambling… all of this is part of the personality type that tends to do these things. They don’t change folks.

      It took me a LONG time and I still struggle with it when he seems like the guy I married but he isn’t. He isn’t who I thought he was at all. And he will not change.

    • Brilliant, Lucky! My situation too, as for so many hear.

      But really, if you were waiting for the Leafs to start winning ……… 😉

      • Well put Lucky. That is so true – I just could NOT wrap my brain around the fact that the man I married was not who he pretended to be – 31 years of it. Accepting it only happened a few years AFTER we were divorced. My brain shut that out and I suffered longer than I ought to have.
        Agree KarenE – waiting for the Leafs to start winning………..hehe

    • Lucky – my feelings exactly. I projected my values onto him. It is so hurtful to realize your closest confident, best friend, lover and partner has become your worst enemy. With a big head start on messing with you. I hope this Ashley Madison mess will bring the true devistation of cheating to the forefront of society. Great post!

  • This is good information. My life changed recently when my husband rebuffed me for the second time when I approached him for sex. Things had inexplicitly cooled in the bedroom for the past six months and I was concerned and frustrated. I though he may have been buying sex and I even tested it on him one night by texting him when he was out of town. He has his phone glued to his hip and never ignores messages but he ignored two that night. He admitted to being with a prostitue that night. Turns out he had gonorrhea and so did I. That was six weeks ago. He was on every hook up site you can imagine with lots of porn sites. He travels, so there were websites with prostitues in those places on his computer as well, although he denies hooking up there. Yea right. I haven’t figured out how to crack his profiles yet. He had told me very little. He says that this has been going on for more than a year (not likely true, he flirted with buying sex ten years ago, I found his electronic correspondence), that the sex was protected but blow jobs were not hence the STI, and about the STI. Said it started because he thought I did not want sex. However he only wanted perfunctory sex twice a week and drank himself into an unable to perform situation the other five nights. About six months ago he really turned away, and he hasn’t said why, denies that things changed. I think he got off on the power, the deceit, the thrill of illicit sex, the different pussy, that he feels entitled and priviledged. He seems very contrite, tells me he loves me, and he is being extremely solicitous etc, has booked an appointment with a therapist yadda yadda, but I wake up everyday in a state of heightened anxiety, my body thrumming. I find it hard to concentrate at work, sleep is disrupted and I have no information or understanding. Our kids are out of high school, I can support myself financially and I don’t actually need him, but I need to know what he has been doing and for how long. I feel extremely humiliated and in the dark … He on the other hand is playing up his emotional and mental fragility, looking for places for us to travel so he can take time off work and get his shit together and we can pretend to be a couple. Nothing can change if we don’t look at what happened and why. Should I give him an ultimatum or go straight to a lawyer?

    • Sleeping with a prostitute would be a deal breaker for me. Even once. It’s way too creepy.

    • Do a free credit report on him and yourself immediately. He may have cards in your name.
      Get to the best lawyer you can find and let the lawyer demand all bank records and credit card statements going back 5 years or more. Demand everything sent to your spouse’s work address as well.
      Sadly, that will “tell” you more than your spouse will.
      Open a new bank account for yourself and take out half of what is joint.
      You will need it for a lawyer. You may have to give some back before the divorce is final but let the lawyer worry about that.
      When I removed a large chunk of money (with my hands trembling) I immediately sent an email to my spouse saying what was removed and that I needed it for a legal retainer. My honesty and keeping that email made it OK in court.
      You will never understand what happened or have enough proof to feel like you know what happened.
      Repeat that 100 times a day,
      There is a saying here that you have to “trust that they suck”.
      The pain is horrific but it is more important to get the black and white paper trail than it is try and figure out what happened.

      • Somewhere in the last six months, I forgot about my credit reports but the AM slapped me out of my daze. I checked all mine and they are clear. Is it legal to check your spouse’s reports without their knowledge?

        • ChumpyElf – yes, technically. But easy to do without their knowledge. You know enough about the details of him (favorite car, etc) that they may ask as part of their questions to identify you. I tried 3 different free sites and got in on the 3rd. Good luck – just keep it to yourself 😉

            • Yes, I am just talking about credit reports. Hmmm. I don’t really need to know. He already has a card that I never see or use. Doesn’t really matter as i have access to all bank account statements and do essentially all the financial stuff. There has been nothing weird. Maybe for a day when I’m really pissed off with nothing else to do….

              • How do you know you have access to all accounts? Would you know about a secret account?

              • Well, no, i would not but he has no other income source from which he could fund a secret account. I handle all the bonus/reiumbursement cheques that are not direct deposit and he doesn’t get stuff like commission which I have read is how some cheaters get additional funds. I admit I am suspicious about everything but O have several months to investigate this further if I need to. Can they really hide this stuff from lawyers? Oh and I do the taxes too. Oh dear, now i am all paranoid. Add it to the list of things to check up on this week!

    • Kathld,
      “He is playing up his emotional and mental fragility”

      I’ve heard that crock before. What about YOUR emotional and mental health, oh, and the STI as well?
      If he was fragile, he’d be seeking comfort in the arms of his caring wife, not bangin’ strangers and wasting his money on them.

      He has disregarded your health and welfare in a most horrible way. The only thing he’s fragile about is the financial cost that may come from divorce.

      If you are financially self-sufficient, then it’s a no brainer. I see an upgrade in your future.

    • Straight to a lawyer. These disordered people cannot change and even if you think they can be “managed” think again. You’ve wasted enough time with this creep.

    • Go straight to a lawyer and walk into the light. I am so sorry this has happened to you but they don’t change. Believe all the people on this site. You cannot fix these people. Big Hugs.

    • Go to a lawyer. Don’t have any more sexual contact with this guy and I will refer you to what I wrote above. Get the hell out. Life is way to short for that mess you are dealing with. You got a serious STD from him. He does NOT care about anyone including himself. Do not let him know what you are doing. Get a plan sorted to divorce and leave.

      Trust that he is disorder suck turd!!!!!!

      Leave a cheater and gain a wonderful STD free life!!!!!!!

      We are here for you no matter what.

    • KathID–HIGHLY unlikely he got gonorrhea from a blow job. He is putting your physical, emotional, and financial health at risk. Get ALL financial documents you can copied and put in a safe place (including a credit report), stop having sex with him, and get thee to a lawyer.

      The “poor me” act is just that–an act. Let’s face it, feeling sorry for someone is the best way to get those of us with empathy to do what the person wants. Anyone paying for hookers is NOT, repeat NOT, going to reform. Ever.

      That constant state of anxiety is telling you something–your primitive brain knows you are in danger. Pay attention to it. I’m so sorry you’re here, but we’ll support you each step of the way.

      • And really, who cares if it was from a blow job? Is that somehow ‘better’ than fucking someone? Dump this loser and get on with life.

    • Go straight to a lawyer. And don’t bother trying to crack his profiles. Who cares at this point? I know you do but really, IT DOES NOT MATTER. The man infected you with an STD, boned hookers, and blamed you when he said he ‘thought you didn’t want sex’. Yeah, sure he thought that.

      Divorce him, get on with your life, get through the pain that will be a part of your life for a bit and know that you’ll one day look back and know you made the right decision.

      HE GAVE YOU AN STD. It could have been AIDS, for fuck’s sake. Shed the loser. Value yourself. And hugs.

      • Nord–I am loving your badass self today! Excellent and pithy advice. Sometimes a 2 x 4 comes in handy.

        • Yes, a therapeutic two by four – strategically and vigorously applied.

          Couldn’t we just go Van Helsing on these proto-primates? Alas, I fear the standard-issue monster weapons won’t work on cheaters. I wish we could develop a wearable iconic deterrent that would repel cheaters in our future. Just wave it in front of them as a Litmus test: “Get thee back, unclean creature!” Then watch if they hiss,
          recoil, and slither away.

          How cool would that be?!

    • Also, you’re going to be in pain no matter what so better you have the finite pain of splitting with him, rather than the prolonged and will probably kill you pain of staying with someone who you will most definitely catch cheating again and again and again. How could you even have sex with him again without fear of infection?

      I’m being harsh because my therapist did this to me and it helped me snap out of my ‘what if’ phase. It was very necessary for someone to knock me upside the head.

      • Agree: There’s pain either way, but please realize that if you stay, for the rest of your life, you’re facing “triggers,” those incideous daily reminders of the betrayal, in the form of songs, roads, landmarks, stores and restaurants, names, anniversaries, foods, etc. So many reminders so frequently, that it might be tempting to get drunk and generally stay that way to avoid thinking about it all the time.

        When you forgive, you’ll be cautioned that you can’t bring it up anymore, cause that’s abusive. So you’ll swallow it all down, sweep your heartbreak and disillusionment under the rug, drink yourself into oblivion, while the cheater, spared your pain, goes back to the old tricks.

        Face the fact that it hurts either way, cut your losses, follow the advice offered here by everyone to get out, and lose the cheater. You’ll actually be able to move on from the nightmare, and put it behind you. Healing can begin, and you’ll “gain a life,” as CL says.

    • Get a lawyer and file for divorce immediately.

      The only thing that’s going to change a man whose been whoring around for a decade behind his wife’s back is REINCARNATION.

      He put your health and your finances in jeopardy. I don’t know if you’re planning to have children or have children already, but gonorrhea (as with other STDs) can cause infertility for women and birth defects for an unborn child. He care more about getting his dick wet than whether LIVE OR DIE.

      There’s no coming back from this.

      • Hahahaha…REINCARNATION. I nearly spit my wine out (but didn’t because that would be alcohol abuse).

    • What Beth said.

      KathID, your cheater is blameshifting. He’s blaming the blow-job–and the fact that he gave you an STD!–on you. He says that YOU were the one withholding sex. From your post above, it looks as if you’d have liked more bedroom activities more often and with more enthusiasm.

      Okay, so he’s lying about that. What else is he lying about? He’s lied about the length of time he’s been seeking strange pussy. You have the electronic correspondence to prove this.

      Remember, when someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM!

      You’re not going to get long-term change with an ultimatum. You will achieve long-term peace with a divorce.

      See a lawyer, find out your rights, secure your finances, and file as soon as possible.


    • Accept that you will never know the full extent of his betrayal. The “need to know” will only prolong the pain. At first, I was obsessed with wanting to know all the gory details and for what? If offered the opportunity to learn the full extent of X’s betrayal now, I would have absolutely no interest. The only thing you need to know now is the name of the best divorce attorney in town.

    • One more time, I will repeat: GO STRAIGHT TO A LAWYER AND THEN IMMEDIATELY TO A DOCTOR. You can dig all you want after you separate yourself from this POS. From experience, we fellow chumps know, whatever evidence you find-they will lie about it. Always. You will never know the whole truth. That’s why you just have to trust that he sucks.

    • Kathyld – please take extra special care of yourself at this time. In addition to what everyone else recommends, I encourage you to think about checking out Al-Anon, or an online forum such as friends & family forum, or downloading the Language of Letting Go app. With my ex, I lived through the five nights a week of drinking himself into oblivion, the references to his emotional and mental fragility (and the whores. Oh, those too.) That behavior is called crazy-making for a reason. Recovery from life with an alcoholic and recovering from life with a cheater requires remarkably similar skill sets.

    • Kathy

      You have ALL the evidence you need. There’s no fixing this CREEP you are married to. Get the hell away from him and never look back. His behavior speaks volumes. Get tested again in the future to rule out HIV. Don’t cover for him. For better or worse excludes unprotected sex. And prostitutes use or insist on protection. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a drug problem. Get away today. Divorce.

    • RUN don’t walk to the top several divorce attorneys in your area and take advantage of their usually free consultations to discuss your case and learn everything you can. Pick the one you feel the most comfortable with. Then when cheater hubby needs council you will have narrowed the field, because he wont be able to hire the ones you condulted with. I saw 5 or 6….

      He will not change, he can’t change. Cut your losses!!!!!

    • Kathld, his mental fragility is no longer a concern of yours. YOU are the one you have to concentrate on now. You have to save yourself. When he hooked up with prostitutes, he broke the contract. He fired you from the job of caring about him and his wellbeing. Don’t fall for the “woe is me, this is so hard” crap they pull. This is MUCH HARDER ON YOU. Put yourself first and let him deal with his own issues. You’ve got enough on your plate.

    • Kathyld,


      On D-Day #1, I learned that my now STBX had been having an affair with a co-worker. On D-Day #2, I learned that my STBX had been having sex with prostitutes and had lied about having sex with men. At that point, I knew my marriage was truly over. I recall numbly telling STBX, privately outside a venue for a major family event with our kids sleeping nearby, that indeed we were going to continue working toward divorce and the next day we would resume the legal process.

      Whether your excuse of a husband got the STD from sexual intercourse or a blow job (almost any form of sex can transmit most types of STDs), your cheater’s repeated offenses against you, his wife, and well as his treatment of prostitutes as objects, shows that he disrespects women and possibly men, if he uses them for sex, too, as mine did. Hope that you can get away from this jerk soon and come over to the light side, where you get to spend time with and energy on kind people who will honor you.

      Regarding the feeling of humiliation, my STBX has repeatedly tried to humiliate me in court, especially during his cross-examination of me, for my failure to earn more money, raise the kids ‘better,’ finish certain life-long endeavors, etc. (These cheaters will hit you where it hurts.) I constantly remind myself that he is making himself, not me, look bad. If a stranger ambushed you in the middle of the night, stealing your car and your purse, I am guessing that you would not feel humiliated. No reason to feel humiliated in this situation, either.

  • He is NOT going to change. He wNts you to go back to being a submissive little chump so that he can do what he wants to do without consequences.

    He is throwing you a bone in hopes of making things go back to how they were.

    You cannot unknow what you already know. You cannot make him be a good person and he has shown you that he really really sucks as a husband.

    The day he stuck his dick in somebody else ( whatever hole ) was the day your marriage ended.

    Now you need to move forward and get yourself to a lawyer’s office.

  • If I were an Ashley Madison chump (the newly-informed spouse), here is what I’d right away to save myself time and more agony than the divorce itself will bring.

    Cheaters generally are charming actors who can muddle your brain with their behaviours, deceptions, and arrogance.

    In the end, it does not matter one bit what any issues might be in your relationship. What matters is that you exit this nightmare with your sanity intact, and often that means having as little discussion as possible with Cheater…just accept that s/he no longer qualifies as your chosen partner.

    1. Accept that a cheating spouse will NOT change their ways. They will only lead you on a long journey of hurt and wear down your self esteem.
    2. Ask yourself: If I were no longer in this marriage, how would I like to lead my life?
    3. If the answer is, I don’t know because I never thought about it, then start giving that thought lots of time in your head.
    4. Do not discuss your thoughts with anyone at first because they will just mush your brain with distractions.
    5. If you need emotional support, speak with a professional stranger – but not one who tries to convince you to reconcile. That is just a money-making business.
    6. Consult a divorce attorney to know your rights and have a list of questions prepared in advance to save time and money.
    7. Important: YOUR financial future utterly depends on your determination and vigilance NOW. Make copies of all assets, bank statements, pension accounts, tax returns, 401k, RRSP, tax shelters, mortgage records, yours and his both not just the joint accounts. Take photos of statements if you want to save time. Catalog house contents with your camera…things disappear. Keep the records in a safe place.
    8. You will feel incredibly tired. Sleep, rest, have massages, pamper yourself when possible, but don’t drink or eat excessively. You need your wits about you.
    9. Meltdowns are normal, just have them when you are alone, and be gentle. No point in fighting with Cheater, they’ve already “left the building”
    10. Declutter your life. You may have to move homes.
    10. Once you have a plan in place for your next place of residence, or a move, or fighting to stay in the marital home, then go about executing the plan you have made.
    11. Have patience, it takes time.
    12. The sooner you can get away from daily contact with Cheater, the better. No conversations beyond absolutely necessary business.
    13. Each situation is unique. Keep Chump Nation in mind for asking questions. We give objective answers and will be here to support you.

  • IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Do not accept any of the blame. The classiest chump I’ve heard of caused her ex-bf to spend two years in therapy working out his shit because she refused to speak to him at all. Zip. Nada. Gone. Admittedly they didn’t share property or children. He was so shocked at not having anyone to justify his behaviour to he walked smack bang into himself on the way out; it was not a pretty sight.

    Did I say it’s not your fault? You did not cause it, your marriage didn’t cause it, the fact that your soufflés sink did not cause it. Lying and deceit are character flaws. You are not a ‘moral crusader’ for pointing that out.

    I read that a great many cheaters are making pre-emptive visits to lawyers, newly minted chumps should try to get to the good ones in their area first. Make appointments for initial advice asap, whatever else you intend to do. Do it now.

    And if you’ve found your partner is genuinely on AM (they’re all being told to deny, deny, deny, so assume that he’ll (she’ll) deny everything) just remember that AM is a site specifically set up for married people to meet other married people, whatever experience your spouse actually had on there. The whole business is uber nasty. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone who thinks it’s cool?

  • Quote: “Top data security expert [Krebs] predicts people will take their lives over the AM leaks”.

    Hopefully this would never include the chumps out there. What Cheater is worth sacrificing one’s life for???

    Do us all a favour, cheaters, and take a long walk off a short dock.

    • I think he means the cheaters will take their own lives. I’m having a hard time dredging up any sympathy for them. I know it’s awful. But when I think about society…just think of all the people a narcissist/sociopath who will never be hurt or fucked over if said N/S killed him/herself. I know. I’m awful. But it’s kinda how I feel.

      • Eh. Narcissists don’t take their own lives… they’re too valuable and they’d have to actually feel shame about their actions.

        They might fake it and start over though, elsewhere.

        • They do sometimes like to pretend they would go through with it. Fucking drama queens!

          • My STBX narc told me that he thought about killing himself and that he then looked in the mirror and said to himself, ‘Who could kill someone with such a beautiful face?’ Doesn’t this line just sum up narcissism?

            • Wow. I am sure that Asshat doesn’t look in the mirror and think that, at least 😀

              I told him if he acted up again, this includes the weird self-flagellation, that I would have him committed which would be extra embarrassing considering he works for the hospital. Funny, he doesn’t seem so suicidal anymore.

          • Indeed. My second boyfriend ever “attempted suicide” and was brought to the hospital… because I’d broken up with him after 1.5 years of bullshit and he found out I was at dinner with a guy. My 20 year-old self was too immature to understand that it does NOT require the consent of both parties to break up, finitely. I was so upset that I let him emotionally leech for another 4 months before I stopped the madness.

            In the midst of D-day madness, when Cheater wasn’t taking responsibility as I told him all the horrible things I’d found out, he said “Well, I guess I should just KILL myself, if I’m such a terrible person, huh?”

            My reply? “Don’t threaten me with a good time!” He was so pissed. lol – I can’t think of anything that stops any hope of a Pick-Me dance faster.

            • Insistonhonesty! Wow you are mighty!! LOL I was not the five drama times he threatened suicide. Seriously – one time he disappeared fir two days. I called the cops and about had a heart attack. Ummm now that i have put the peices all together he had gone away to spend the weekend with some whore. LOL maybe he chickened out because, her thong wouldnt work to hang himself??

              • “LOL maybe he chickened out because, her thong wouldnt work to hang himself??”

                ROTFLMAO 😀

              • In full honesty, I DID chase it (thinking he actually might, with all of us home, and traumatize our children… suicide/passive harm like knowing you have cancer and not saying so runs in his family) with a swift turnaround and haughtily saying that HE *WOULD* TRAUMATIZE HIS FAMILY BY KILLING HIMSELF AT HOME.

                But I really didn’t care if he did.

                He always was truly not thinking about consequences… just what he wanted in the moment. To hell with everyone else… I mean, “there are others to consider?” Oh right. ::duh::

        • The ex threw the bit of wanting to kill himself and he was so depressed and on and on. I didn’t buy it and no one else should.

      • I just think you’re very honest and a lot of us feel the same way but are afraid to say so- but, being chumps, we also will feel guilty about feeling such a thing.

        • The only reason to feel guilty is if you actually push a cheater off a cliff (not just because you thought about it). Though if it should happen by accident as you turn to take a picture of the scenery……

          • A little gallows humor–I’m having a delayed reaction to the news my X had an Ashley Madison account + just moved into an expensive spiffy new house overlooking the water. On a cliff.

            • He has too, Tempest. He has NOTHING ELSE to offer anyone.

              Loyalty – Nope
              Love – Nope
              Trustworthiness – Nope
              Courage – Nope
              Kindness – Nope
              Courtesy – Nope
              Tenderness – Nope
              Faithfulness – Nope
              Caring Father – Nope

              Oh, but he has a home on a cliff.


              • Thanks, CalamityJ, DoneNow, and Boudica–it pays to keep these truths in mind. I know better than to expect the Karma Bus, or justice, but does Hannibal have to keep seeing MORE success?

                These cheaters, though, are like glittery Easter eggs–hollow on the inside, with nothing to recommend them except the superficial dazzle of external trappings. And like sparkly eggs, they are prone to fading and always at risk of cracking.

            • Tempest, I’m so sorry he’s used AM as (one of) his personal booty-call warehouses. And, though he’s moved into a new home on a cliff, it is a haunted house now, because evil lives in it. Hugs and love to you.

      • I think that BP and Bank of America and Nokia, et al. should fire every arrogant asshole who used their work email addresses for AM. Those companies should give the cheated-on spouse the remainder of their cheaters salary for the year so they can lawyer up. I had to laugh when I saw the looong list from B of A. One of the whores my cheater fucked around with worked there. This is a sick, sick world.

  • First, I am not a Chump but the sister of one. He was blindsided. He thought his marriage was fine. So, I am not going to repeat what others have told you. Consider your spouse as a thief. Imagine that you discovered he/she had stolen the ring your mother left you, or the watch that was left to you by your grandfather. Imagine that he/she took food for your children and gave it away. Imagine that he/she stole from your wallet, your bank account. Imagine if he/she stole your car and wrecked it. That is the same brain that signed on AM. He/she has plotted, lied, connived, gaslighted and stolen from you. Do you really want this person poisoning your life anymore?

  • This is all great advice. My XH seemed to hit AM and others every 6-9 months. (Yep, I stayed too long to see this pattern,). One thing that sticks out is he told me “he decided” to have an affair after I said something that made him feel dumb. When caught again, he said he wanted his CAKE and to eat it too. I should have believed him when he showed me who he was the first time. Atleasy I split finances after DDay1!

    I think one of the best pieces of advice is to direct the newly chumped here. I found CN near the end of my marriage. It helped to see I wasn’t alone, that cheaters were all using the playbook, that we can overcome this and be mighty!

  • I’m one of the queen of chumps who stayed with the cheater ex for over 20 years, spanning three affairs (yep, different women) that I know of. Here’s how it will go:

    1) They will be so terribly sorry and they have no idea why they did it. They will throw some “hints” that you had a role in their cheating. To the chump: this has NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, to do with you. The cheater had tons of options, starting with filing for divorce. Instead, the cheater followed his dick (limp at that) and you and your children were simply acceptable collateral damage. Stated differently, he doesn’t respect you nor value you. Why stay with this piece of garbage? No dumpster diving.
    2) You will feel horrible. I cannot even begin to describe the pain you will go through. But it is finite. Never forget that even if your mind is telling you the pain is unbearable, it isn’t. You will get through this.
    3) Contact a lawyer ASAP. Protect your assets while you ponder what to do. Remember, the person you marry is not the same person you divorce. Drill this into your head because it is the truth. Don’t wait to find out.
    3) Get help – a good therapist for yourself, support from friends and family. Do not bother with marriage counseling. Use that money to buy something nice for yourself instead. Marriage counseling is a complete wast of time with cheaters.
    4) Direct your energy to yourself. Focus on being kind, loving and compassionate to yourself. Rediscover the person who you really are, not the one that the cheater is attempting to paint you. His opinion of you is none of your business. NONE.
    5) He will promise to change. Yeah, right. Cheater ex went to individual therapy and promised me the world – after all the affairs. Words are terribly cheap, that’s for sure. Do you really want to be around for the next affair? In my case, the affairs were spaced 10 to 13 years apart. The best news is that I have been cheater-free for two years, the best two years of my adult life.
    6) File for divorce because when you think you are reconciling, you actually are not. Another day of reckoning will come. Yes, alas, your spouse/partner will cheat again. Cheating is a choice, a character flaw. Ask yourself what circumstance will ever bring you to a point where you will cheat. I bet the answer is a resounding NONE because you have character.
    7) If you look really hard, there are actually more affairs. But why bother? One is plenty.

    And lastly, read as many articles on this website. You will save your life. I am not kidding. Chump Nation is here for you. You will be okay. You will get to a point where you can look back and say, “Whew. I’m glad I had a second chance in life.” And when you think of the cheater, you will winch and say, “Gross.”

    • Uniquelyme,

      Great great post! This is the same stuff to the letter what I had to deal with the ex. Same amount of affairs and the same amount of being with the ex. Sadly after years out of the marriage I found more affairs. Truly disorder individuals. Thank you again for your great post.

      Another thing I would add is to not believe that he/she has ended the affair. He just knows how to lie about it even more.

    • I was the Queen of chumps! Married 33 years. Two husbands called me at least ten years apart to report his affairs with their wives. Who knows what else took place? I was stupid. I loved him. I had children. I believed he would change and love me back. Until one day my eyes began to open and I began the most difficult teeter totter ride of my life! But, I got out and now am happily married to my best friend. Now I know what love is. And I also know what narcissism, lying, hypocrisy, black mailing, gas lighting, and all the other things which go hand in hand with the ultimate betrayal. I never dreamed he was such a shit!

      So many of us write the same story. Only the names have been changed.

      • Oh heather please tell me that you have ended up happy,as you sound it.amd that your hideous ex is now miserable and broken??

        • He is living in the same town in a new house, has a girlfriend, still goes to the same church. I have removed myself and relocated. My grown children are supportive of my decisions and love my new husband very much. My youngest is a bit distant but I have finally learned that it is who she is. My new husband is a wonderful man. I’ve been in counselling and had to establish a new life in a new country, making bit impossible at this time to see my loved ones without incurring financial hardship. 🙁
          I left behind a life that i thought we would share in our twilight years. But it wasn’t real. That said, I would NEVER wish to live the lie again.
          As for the Ex…. His kids were hurt by the realisation that their father was not who they thought he was; he knows that there is a chasm between them. I’m sure he told people that he’s only responding to them by how they want it to be. He’s a coward. He’s a PA who is only concerned about his image. And being a narcissist he doesn’t know what it is to be loved and to love. So, he would not know what misery and brokenness is. He is a shell.
          Because I loved him I do not wish him harm, but I do believe that in the end there will be justice.

    • Uniquelyme–Thank you for sharing your story. Reading you and several other posters who reconciled once only to have another D-day 5, 10, 20 years out is what motivated me not to attempt reconciliation during the inertia period after D-day. I know it must feel repetitive to post your story multiple times, but know that what you do is a public service and it has an effect; your tale has saved many of us years of misery.

      • Thank you, Tempest and all. CL has been such a blessing in my healing journey that I have to give back so other chumps don’t even entertain reconciliation. Reconciliation assumes BOTH parties want to make it work. Unfortunately, the cheater only pretends to want to make it work, and the chump sparkles away.

  • Number One, and most important, if you have any thoughts of ending the pain for good because it’s so unbeatable, PICK UP A PHONE AND TELL SOMEONE! Anyone! Your life will eventually return and you will go on. And it will get better again.

  • Watch what they DO and NOT WHAT THEY SAY. The cheater will scramble and say ANYTHING to cover his or her OWN ass!! Know that he or she WILLINGLY went on a website specifically to engage in an affair. TRUST your gut!! It’s usually right! 🙂

  • I would say get out as soon as you hire the best attorney you can find. Don’t listen to ANYONE who would suggest you forgive and win your husband and marriage back. It will NEVER work long term. Once trust is broken you will ALWAYS be uncertain. Look out for you and your children. In hindsight, it’s much better to leave right away.

    Someone needs to share Chump Lady with Anna Duggar….

    • Heather, so very true. Trust is like a wine glass. Once shattered, nothing can bring it back to its original state.

  • Don’t languish in limbo. Call a lawyer, kick them out of if you can, go dark on them and focus on yourself. Make a decision quick and move towards the light.

  • Stories about people you know will seep out over time. Stories people didn’t tell you about your cheater will also seep out over time. Be ready for those socks in the gut.

    But more than that, even though you probably can’t imagine a world where it’s true right now, know that it won’t always feel like the earth dropped out from under you when you hear these stories. The intensity of that reaction will slowly lessen. But it does take time.

    Empathy to each of you.

  • The shock of knowing the spouse you invested your love and trust into, had children with, and planned your future with knowingly and purposely cheated with strange is unbelievable. The shock is SO unbelievable you want to hold on to anything that says it isn’t so.

    The cheating asshole will take advantage of your trusting, giving nature and feed you with lies, blame, and false remorse to keep the comforts of a stable family life as a cover for his dark side.

    Believe the truth you know in your gut and make cheating a deal breaker. Believe they will not change. Believe there is so much you don’t know about this person.

    Gathering evidence is important. Get every copy of bNk statements, checking account infirmation, credit cards and pensions.

    Put away as much money as you can as you will need it once you file.

    Know that once they are confronted and you file you will see the monster come out.

    Hire your OWN lawyer. Make them pay. No contact, no mediation, and don’t trust them. They are NOT your friend.

    Find a support system and never listen to anyone who says it was a mistake.

    Get medication it helps. Find a therapist who understands narcissistic retaliation ships and abuse.

    Cheating is ABUSE.

    Work on yourself. Never blame yourself.
    Don’t wait, file.

    • NO MEDIATION. This is true.
      They cannot be trusted and, no matter what they say, DON’T do it.
      Especially if there are kids or if they make more than you!

      • Mediation is for people who come to the table in good faith. Cheaters cheat. They are not dealing in good faith. Disordered people–and many cheaters do have personality disorders–are incapable of dealing in good faith. They will tell you they want mediation, but what they really want is to drag things out.

        That said, I’m using mediation as a way to drive home the financial consequences to STBX. He makes more than I do, but he is cash-poor, due to spending all his money on Schmoopie. He dragged his feet for his financial information, and then when we drafted a settlement, he refused to sign–and petitioned for Discovery! We did discovery and he didn’t bother to collect his own documents. Instead, he sent back the same information that we sent–basically agreeing with everything that he had! We called him in for a settlement conference and he helped draft a settlement. After the meeting was over, he had to check on a couple of things, walked out, and refused to sign. Then he asked the lawyer for copies of the financial documents (note the discovery process above). Then he told her he had retained counsel, so now she can’t send him what he asked for. She can deal only with his attorney. But since no attorney has contacted her on his behalf, we’re in limbo.

        And probably this means he has no attorney; he just told her he retained counsel to stop her from doing what we’re going to do anyway: file for mediation and a court hearing.

        To the AM Chumps, I’d like to say that my STBX is an exception. No. He is the norm. Chumps tell the same story. None of the cheaters wants a divorce. All of them practice delaying tactics. Some of them will act all sorry and put on a show for you, but once they think they’ve got your trust back, they’ll cheat–but be sneakier about it. Others, like my cheater, will drag their heels through the process, hoping that you’ll give up or that magic unicorns will carry them away so they don’t have to deal. Still others, who have more financial resources than my cheater, will go empty your joint accounts and offload the money off-shore (happened to a friend of mine).

        Mediation is negotiation. It doesn’t work if you’re the only one who’s operating in good faith.

        If your state, like my state, likes mediation prior to a hearing, then have your lawyer petition for both. That way, you won’t have to deal with someone who drags through the mediation process.

  • If you are a brand new chump and made it here, you are doing pretty ok already, but your work has just started. First, read this website. All of it. Read.It.All. Took me about three weeks to read it all, including comment threads (insomnia is good for something).
    Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, just stop talking for a while. Just watch and listen. Observe and reflect. For me, when I was talking, I couldn’t think straight at the same time, and I couldn’t see what was really happening to me. Once I stopped talking, I saw it. The real him. The person he really truly was and had always been. And I finally believed it, once I stopped talking myself out of it.
    Then, get pissed. Really fucking pissed. Anger is much more useful emotion than despair. Use it.

    • Oh gosh, Arlo, THIS IS SO SMART! I talked and talked until I was blue in the face, tried to explain why our kids, family life and I myself had value, tried to get him to see that his being so negative, critical, crabby and sometimes just mean not only hurt us, but wasn’t in his own best interest either, tried to convince him that I did love him, and was trying to help him be happier, and that he could/should do the same for me ….

      I talked for 14 years, all the way through Affair #1, the fake reconciliation afterwards (fake from his side, I DID the work!), the 7 year interval and only when I realized he was having Affair #2 did I start listening. (Still couldn’t stop talking for a while yet, until the listening led me to trust that he sucked.)

      And what I heard was HORRIFYING!

      – that he thinks very serious threats of physical violence were ‘not a big deal’ because he didn’t actually hurt me.
      – that he believes that infidelity is ‘just something that happens in relationships’
      – that he thinks lying is normal, natural, and acceptable, and that anybody saying otherwise is some kind of religious nut (and he despises religion)
      – that for almost a year and a half, from when he began Affair #2, through my kicking him out and all the way to the kids starting to refuse to see him, he NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT HIS KIDS! Never thought about how this whole mess might affect them, never thought about what it might be like for them to have their family broken up, to have their father show little interest in day-to-day parenting, to have their father lie to them and deceive them, to have their father disappearing and reappearing in their lives, unpredictably. NEVER THOUGHT about what that might be like for them, NEVER THOUGHT about how to handle this whole transition so as to make it easier on them, NEVER THOUGHT about whether they were suffering through this. NEVER THOUGHT about how he could organize his life so as to manage things best for his kids as well as himself.
      – and mostly ME ME ME ME, then more ME ME ME. I should take him back because HE was unhappy, the kids should treat him better because it made HIM unhappy. He didn’t deserve this! Hours of going on about himself, his needs, his confusion, his unhappiness. Literally not a single word about the hurt he had done his kids, and how little they deserved it, never mind the hurt he’d done me, about how little I deserved it.

      And he told me all these things WHEN TRYING TO GET ME BACK!!!

      I should have started listening WAY WAY earlier, I would have understood much sooner who it was I was dealing with.

  • See a lawyer post-haste. Get a formal separation agreement signed and notarized immediately if not sooner.

    Get the rules in place for finance, disentangle finances ASAP, and then you can mull things over.

  • I guess I would say….. Your spouse is there on Ashley Madison to find other married people to have sex with. No was to pretty it up. They do not care that they will betraying and hurting you. Your feelings and wellbeing are immaterial to them. Only what they want. I repeat…They do not care. Believe the actions, that is where the truth lies. If you stay with them they will do it again because they believe they are so special that they can do whatever they want to with no repercussions. In their mind, only they matter, not you or your kids. They will have no problem screwing over you and your kids to get what they want. Remember, when their lips move, they are lying.

    Make preparations, as outlined in the posts above and leave the cheater’s sorry butt. It may well be the toughest thing you’ve ever done, but you will be glad you did once you do.

    You are worth so much more.

  • This is really who they are. I think that is ‘THE’ hardest thing for a shell-shocked newbie to face and accept. They really are this disconnected from you. They really are this selfish. They really do just see you as an appliance and not a person. They really are this impulsive (its all about them). They really didn’t care enough about the consequences not to think all of this through and decide the cost of losing you and the children were too great. They really did find it acceptable that your pain and the children’s loss of innocence and safety was minor collateral damage to their need to feel good and excited.
    Work very very hard on this, ‘trust that they suck’.
    Because no matter how much ‘reconciling’ you do, how many ‘heal from an affair’ books you buy, how much therapy (therapy is good), how much pretzeling, how much trying to fix it on your own, how much you sacrifice to stay in this relationship and stay married for your safety and the kids (7 years for me), that this is who they really are WILL come through in thousands of ways.
    And you end up getting divorced anyway but with much more abuse and humiliation to deal with.
    If I was strong enough and believed in myself enough from the get go? I would have hired a PI, and filed. Thrown his stuff out, changed the locks, told everyone and gone No Contact.

    • Powerful message, Patsy, and it’s the whole key to avoiding doing those things you’ll wish you hadn’t.

  • I would tell them to stop trying to reason with them. All the reason you need is in their actions. You shouldn’t be trying to save your marriage, they should. If there is none of that then there’s all the reason you need to make your getaway.

    Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s your fault or that you had any part in their decision to cheat. It was no mistake. It was a decision, a series of them.

    Don’t let them feign innocence, or play the self pity card. Everything that is about to happen to them is self-inflicted. Your pain wasn’t. It was inflicted on you. I would try to help them see their cheating spouse for who they are and not some Freudian version of a poor sausage.

    • Boy I wish I had followed this advice. To add to what Michael has so eloquently said here… any arguing, justifying of the marriage ,or “selling” of yourself or the union you do to the cheater will only hurt YOU and it will drive their Ego. These people have MASSIVE egos and entitlement… you trying to “talk some sense into them” will only feed their ego and it won’t change anything. It will, however, really hurt you.

      No contact (or little contact if you have kids) is truly the only way to go here. You cannot change them and you cannot change what they’ve done. You can’t unring a bell, unscramble an egg.. your marriage is broken.

      And I echo.. do NOT take responsibility or allow the gaslighting/blameshifting to allow you to doubt yourself or your instincts. TRUST yourself and your senses. They won’t fail you.

  • I agree with ‘most everything written above.

    But for any newly minted chump, I’d also say, “It takes time.”

    You can kick your cheater out (or leave yourself), compile evidence, see a lawyer, even file for divorce.

    However, the entire process…particularly the emotional part…is going to take time. Best I can tell, my now ex-wife started cheating and lying, and it took me 6 months to simply accept that I had to divorce her because I’d never trust her again (I filed the following week). It took me another 6 months to stop making excuses for her and accept that she cheated because she sucks at life, and not because of X, Y, or Z. It took another year to realize that I don’t care to be in contact with any of her blame-shifting support network.

    If you can achieve these milestones sooner than I did, then good for you. Many of us couldn’t “stop on a dime” and accept that our cheater already threw that all away. Instead, we had to mentally and emotionally discard that old life over a period of months or years.

    So, understand that this all takes time to “wrap your head around.” It’s okay that it’s a process of mental acceptance and re-wiring — just remember to PROTECT YOURSELF while you undertake that process. Do you believe you married a unicorn who will reconcile and fly right? Fine. See a lawyer, protect your finances, and have a plan for your children regardless. If your spouse has been cheating on you, I strongly recommend being neither hopeful nor gullible. But of the two, gullible is much, much worse.

    Also, during this period of grief, keep living your life. Pursue your goals, however temporarily modified they have become based on your situation. Keep doing what makes you happy, or find new activities that make you happy. You are not defined by your cheater’s actions. Your story is better than that.

    Given the finite time that we all have in this world, it sucks that we spend even 1 day dealing with the destruction caused by our cheaters. But, we do have to take that time. Make the most of it.

    • Excellent comments JC. I agree with your timelines, it took me 6-8 months to realize I had to leave.. I am now in the “divorce” phase and I suspect it will take me time to orient to a new normal, as you say.

      I would add to your comment… do not feel like you need to be in some “competition” with your cheater for a new sparkly life. If you are like most chumps, your cheater has either moved on to the OW/OM AP or is actively dating (mine is) so it may look like they are having a bunch of fun and you are sitting home on Saturday nights. That can hurt to think about. Take heart. Your cheater is disordered and he’s going about this whole thing WRONG which is why he/she is a cheater in the first place. Take your TIME to heal. Do it the RIGHT way. Don’t feel like you need to start dating, or even start being social with new people until YOU are ready. As JC says, just do what makes you feel happy and comfortable. Don’t push yourself.

      Rest assured your cheater sucks and if he/she left for their AP, that person sucks too. If he/she is out there trolling for new people, feel sorry for those unsuspecting chumps who are only the next victims. Their lives won’t be sparkly for long. Don’t compete with that crazy. Build a better existence.

      • Thank you! This is where I’m at right now. In the divorce phase and out of town for work this week and he texted me 2 nights ago that he rented a new place and told the kids that one bedroom was for him, one for the AP (which I’m sure hit attorneys told him to do instead of moving her into his bedroom- as if this is any better????) and the DD’s would be sharing a bedroom when over there together. The girls “camped out” at the new shiny fun house the past 2 nights (since there is no furniture there). I saw the house online and it’s bigger than our current place and really nice. I’ll never be able to afford anything like that so everything with him is all fun, new and shiny while I feel like the same old depressed chump at home.. I mean, why wouldn’t the kids want to be there more than with me – new house, live in 22yr old wild child AP and a 49yr old dad who lets them do whatever they want and every day is fun day cuz he wants them to live with him. Nothing like watching your STBX play the “pick me” dance with the kids and using the AP in his game

        • I put the wrong name down – should be kfl for those that are familiar with my recent posts about the STBX and the babysitter I brought into the house to give her a place to live

          • (Hugs). My path is similar as he got the house and is telling the kids that they can come home. Because you know mom is the one who broke our family by filing for divorce. Everything will be just like before except we’ll have to replace that mom appliance. Very hurtful. I can’t compete either.

        • Karen, you are an awesome mom, right? You are a parent, stand your ground! Keep up your wonderful tasks of being a resposible, caring, protective, boundary setter, homework enforcer, healthy meals enforcer and a sane secure place for your children. Shiny shit, is just that! It will lose its shine over time. But life skills taught to your children, from real parenting WONT!! My mantra with my STBXs shiny crap (which btw he cant even afford) is “that’s nice” . And I plow onward being a responsible parent. Yes, the kids complain “i dont want to brush my teeth, Dad lets me stay up until midnight” Again “thats nice, now go to bed:-) ” See here’s the thing, I feel like if I give into the “Spoil the kids” game I am teaching the kids its okay to manipulate! ! I taught them that by staying with their dad for too long…its time for a new lesson!!

          Best wishes!!

          • Karen,

            I was worried that my cheating, narc STBX who engages in parental alienation, is much richer than me, and provides ‘fun’ trips to Disneyland instead of homework and reading help that I, their consistent, ‘plain vanilla’ parent provides, would win kids’ love and attention. Then, several months past separation, the kids asked STBX if they could sleep at MY place because they missed curling up with me. Perhaps true love wins after all.

    • From the day my ex moved out to the day the divorce was final, it took 3.5 years. So, yes, it definitely takes longer than you think it will. It also costs more than you think or plan for.

      Practical advice for SAHM chumps:

      1. Put aside as much cash as you possibly can before anyone files. You might believe your spouse when s/he says they would never financially hurt you (or the kids), but now you know your spouse is a lying cheater. Protect yourself.

      2. Also before there’s a filing: every time you grocery shop, buy a grocery gift card as part of the transaction. This is another way to ensure you have the ability to put food on the table and the kids don’t go hungry. Remember your spouse is a lying cheater, s/he will absolutely be capable of starving you out financially.

      3. Find all the financial paperwork you can while your spouse is at work. Seriously, all of it. My ex tried to claim the down payment on our jointly owned home was his money and therefore screw me out of tens of thousands of dollars. (In my case, the down came from joint funds from a partnership with his family, so he failed. I was able to push back and scare him by threatening to subpoena his entire family, but had I been able to get the paperwork it would’ve been easier.)

      Make copies of every scrap you find. That pension report from two years ago? Copy it. That may be the only statement for that account that you ever see in your divorce. My ex conveniently “forgot” about all sorts of financial details.

      4. Educate yourself about the finances. Request credit reports for both of you and really examine them. Find out what your name is on and what it’s not. My BFF in divorce was shocked to find that her husband had put their house into his name only during a re-fi. She was completely screwed out of her home. He still lives there.

      This also means finding whose name(s) are on the utilities. Make sure yours is listed and then call the utility to confirm their cut-off protocol. You do not want to find yourself and your kids shivering in the dark this winter because your cheater got pissed and retaliated by shutting off the gas and electric.

      He’s capable of anything now.

      I was horrified at the financial abyss he was willing to throw me over after 23+ years and 3 kids. At one point during the back and forth paperwork of the divorce I called my parents, crying hysterically, and told them he’s trying to leave me penniless (in a community property state no less). I was terrified and convinced that the kids and I would be living in the minivan (which, BTW, you may need to sell because it gets lousy mileage and you can’t afford that anymore. Make your peace.)

      4. Don’t let his attorney scare the bejeebers out of you. Mine hired a Men’s Rights lawyer. The initial filing scared me so much, I couldn’t sleep more than 2 hours a night for the week it took to get in to my attorney. That fear was what Mr. Men’s Rights was counting on to make me do something stupid.

      I got a greater than 95% timeshare with our only minor child and at least what I was legally entitled to financially, so don’t let that “Men’s Rights” crap freak you into doing something against your own interests.

      It’s incredibly frightening to be facing divorce as a SAHM, especially because you have to confront your financial dependence on someone who is a proven liar. Keep your wits as much as possible and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

      Get thee to the CL forums whenever you need advice, perspective, or cheerleading.

      • Catlady, I am a SAHM of just one. I have enough food in the pantry to last us at least a couple of years. We live in the boonies. Luckily, this is a small town and before I file I will have told as many people as possible. Dr Awesome Asshat won’t be able to starve us out financially, thankfully. It would make him look bad to his adoring fangirl patients and nurses. Just in case, I sold my little old bachlorette pad and the money is safely where he can’t touch it.

        I do whip out my phone and snap the weirdest photos. Insurance policy statements left lying around, EOBs…. The other day, I went so far as to take photos of all his prescription bottles. Discovered he was not in counseling as long as he had made it sound he’d been. Going to counseling to complain about your wife and bad marriage LONG AFTER you start banging a nurse seems stupid. He was just looking for someone to hand hime excuses he could pass on to me and tell reassure him he was not doing anything wrong. Because fighting, moving out and cheating are super common and everyone does it.

        And after seeing the first bits of AM data, it is starting to feel like cheating is commonplace….

      • Useful warnings. My STBX cut off utilities and Internet before and after he filed and when he moved out. (I was too traumatized to think straight to protect the kids and me after the first incident.)

        • In my state, when you file anything, an automatic temporary injunction is in effect and one thing on there is you cannot shut off utilities and stuff like that. Do cheaters just ignore that?!

          • Chumps, please be aware that once the divorce dust settles you want to start taking his name off of utilities, etc. I did this and got a rude awakening! The electric co-op wanted a 100.00 deposit as if I was just turning on service! The water company wanted a deposit, but luckily I pled my case to a woman who I found out was a former chump so she waived it! In my state we pay taxes every year on our cars to renew the plates. The car was 2 payments away from being paid for at the time of the divorce. It was awarded to me and I had to get my own insurance and make the payments, but it was titled in his name! When I went to pay the taxes they would not give me the new tag! He couldn’t get it either because brainiac had gone I claimed he was a resident of a neighboring state where the whore lived! Great! Again I was able to finesse the tag, but it was a headache! Then I had to have cheater sign the title once the car was paid off and get my own tag. It was then they charged me 1,500.00 as if it had been sold to me! I about shit and I was pissed! If the car had been paid for and put in my name prior to the divorce I would not have had to pay it! Believe me, there are so many sneaky little “extra costs” that crop up and you had better be prepared! When I got my own dental and health insurance they wanted 3 months premiums up front! Consider all this when you offer settlement agreements! Had I been smart, I would have done my homework and asked for deposits, etc. from the asshole that triggered all the trouble! Live and learn!

            • Ooh, I will call utilities next week to see if i am okay since they are all in both our names. I won’t be taking him off for six months yet.

            • Im sorry this happened in to you, but great advice. Sucks that we all had to live and learn the hard way.

        • Cat Lady speaks the truth. My STBX told me in therapy on D-Day #1 that he would never hurt the kids and me financially. Here I sit a year later, closing in on $100K poorer and counting.

          • Uh oh. Thanks for the warning. I will ask about ass-proofing support when I next check in with my lawyer.

  • My Top Ten (Plus bonus!)

    1. Sort your finances immediately. Know what you’ve got, open a separate bank account, nail down anything you can in order that they can’t ferret it away.

    2. See a lawyer. Know your rights and start the paperwork.

    3. Do not feel ashamed. You didn’t do this, the asshole you married did. Do not hide or go along with whatever song and dance excuse s/he is going to come up, with assuredly will go something like ‘We grew apart/it’s been over for years/no one was happy/my needs weren’t being met/it just happened’ etc etc etc. No matter what was going on in the marriage only one person chose to address any problems by getting naked with someone outside the marriage. Let them own their shit, whether they like it or not.

    4. Don’t lie to the kids. Don’t give them the gory details but when you tell them about the divorce explain to them that dating outside of marriage is a no-no (unless you believe it’s ok. If that’s the case, good luck).

    5. Divorce them. It will not change. It will happen again. You will be miserable and you will end up taking a lot of blame on to yourself in an effort to save the marriage that is broken. Nope, it won’t get stronger. I promise you, it will not.

    6. Take care of yourself, eat, drink, walk, see friends, avoid anyone who judges you, tries to put you on some mythical timeline of recovery or who does not in any other way support you, even if they can’t begin to understand what you’re going through.

    7. Don’t rush into dating. Learn about yourself, particularly if it’s a long marriage. Figure out who you want to be and then start working towards that.

    8. Don’t trust your inlaws. No matter what. Keep things civil if you can (good luck!) but don’t trust them.

    9. Be open to new people and those you might currently see as only casual friends. You’ll be surprised about who is there for you – and who is not.

    10. Face down the enormous fear you’re feeling and keep going anyway. Know that it will suck and it will suck for a lot longer than you expect. But also know that you’ll be ok. It won’t be the life you were planning but it might just be the life you never know you wanted or dreamed of. Trust me on this last one. Four years later and I’m living a life I never expected and while it’s tougher in some ways it’s also so, so, so much better.

    Bonus: Ignore the ex when they throw a tantrum. And they will. They’ll do it often, they’ll push your buttons, they’ll flip out because you won’t deal with them for anything other than kids and cash. And they’ll do this for years. Ignore them, be zen (or pretend to be zen) and focus on yourself. Forget about them. They’re your past. Time to make your future.

    Good luck!

    • About that “it just happened” excuse. So what you’re telling me is that you have no free will?

      One of my ex’s complaints about me after D-day was that I “lacked spontaneity.” If that’s supposed to mean impulsivity to the extent of horribly damaging the person I vowed to place first, then I’m happy I lack it. Let’s not confuse spontaneity with complete and utter lack of self-control, which is a severe character flaw.

  • Number One; Do not confront your spouse, not yet

    Get all your financial records in order and hidden out of the house, get the lawyer. Get ready before you tell your spouse you know so they cannot screw you over again. Do not talk yourself into reconciliation. Love does not conquer all, that’s just a story line.

    Jedi Hugs to all the chumps out there!

    • Re: number one

      Yes! Towards the end I would act/confront him and then later realize I should have compiled info first (copies, photos on phone, etc). A cheater will try to gaslight the hell out of you. I was told XH didn’t have a 2nd cell phone while I was holding a phone in each hand.

      • Ex cleaned up all his email within hours of my confronting him, he also got rid of his hard drive immediately.

        So if you are in a fault state, get the hard drive before you spill your info.

        • Dat, I used to be in IT. i could get all the stuff from his laptop but i don’t know what’s on there anyhow. And it is ‘his’. He has said he cheated many times. I have texts to me talking about it. My lawyer said I don’t need more proof in our (fault) state. He said I don’t need a HD filled with files, photos and emails. I have double checked this and he said i am okay. But I keep reading here that everyone says to do it. Adultery is a felony here but apparently it only affects support slightly and our judge will be unlikely to demand proof. And he can’t deny it bc Florence is a wingding who is stalking me. Am I being naive to not ‘steal’ more info?

          • When this happened to me, we lived together and attorney said whatever was in the house was marital property. You should check with your own attorney as you have done. My understanding is that infidelity doesn’t help much with custody, I have no kids. I wanted to prove it because Saddam wanted alimony and I wanted to divorce without waiting. It doesn’t sound like any more evidence is going to help you.

            • Thanks, dat, I’ll ask the next time I check in with my lawyer. Since I have some time before i can file, I keep worrying I am forgetting stuff.

      • Initially, I confronted. And with digging, I’d turn up a different story than what he had told me. Then I confronted him about something I already knew, without giving up the fact that I found evidence, I was shocked to watch him lie so convincingly, looking me in the eyes, so believablydelivering a truthful sounding fabrication, that it blew my mind. I did this twice, repeating just to see if he would lie so convincingly again, and he did! It was a game changer. I stopped confronting him at all. There wasn’t any point. I couldn’t tell if he was lying or not. He must have thought the reconciliation was going smoothly just before I notified him of the separation, starting the divorce.

    • Yep, that’s a good one. Unfortunately I found out when we came home from a big night out with friends so the wine I drank took away my self-control and as soon as I saw the texts I went a bit nuts. If only I had discovered things on a calm Saturday afternoon. Then I would have gone stealth mode. But it played out the way it played out and now I’m free so it’s all good in the end.

  • I dont think anything prepares you for the initial shock… And the after shocks of Dday. It will be different for everyone. If your partner has been sleeping with the whole junior high football team… Or has liquidated all your assets on porn and prostitutes… Vs fucking the office assistant( very aptly named) The shock can be a 7 on the richter scale or a 3. And after shocks worse…as more details are discovered.
    Like any emergency preparedness… You need to have a plan. If you bolt and run with your head cut off…you have no direction. This disaster is going to affect a large part of your life for awhile and u will have time to digest and process the pain. You may not have an emergency kit behind the door..but you do have this forum. Read. Learn. Narrow your focus.Its business now. A broken contract. Take care of business.
    Cry later.

  • So much good advice. Not sure I can add anything else original as I am still learning (3 months from DDay) but I was lucky enough to find CN the night I found out and I can reinforce. If you haven’t said anything, don’t yet, instead
    – see if you can find any other proof first
    – find an attorney and review your situation
    – make the choice that is best for you
    If you’ve already confronted get a credit report for both of you and an attorney ASAP. Go, just go. We may not be able to financially help but CN will keep you mentally and emotionally afloat. There is no finer support online than you will find here.

  • As much as you would like to beat the shit out of the liar and cheat, DON’T.

    Say nothing while you collect evidence-copy emails, texts, cc receipts, Skype dialogue, anything and everything. Establish a bank account in your name ONLY. Get a safe deposit box and fill it with copies of your evidence, tax returns of the past 3yrs, 401k docs, portfolio stuff like investments, stock options, cash, bank accounts, deed and appraisal of home, car titles, etc,. Makes copies of birth certs of all family members, soc sec and passports, marriage licenses. Document ALL trips and time spent away from family. This is very important if you have kids.

    Now, go vet some family law attorneys. Pay for consults in cash from your joint account. Determine who is a good fit for you. Vet at least three of the top family law firms in your area. Ask friends for referrals. If need be, establish a PO box to handle all communications with whomever you retain.

    Find an individual therapist. Start processing the betrayal. Start healing. Start understanding that cheating has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.

    Once you have the basics established, figure out via your attorney and IC when and how to kick the cheater’s ass out of the home during your confrontation. When you do that, don’t waiver, don’t get paralyzed…hit autopilot and make them leave.

    Life is too short, kick a cheater out.

  • I will do and say pretty much anything to try to help a fellow chump, but this is hard for me – to talk about what I *should* have done. These are the “mind movies” that seem to keep playing over and over again in my head. I keep trying to shut them down because most of the time they are not helpful. But maybe this is the exception, so here goes…

    When my wife of almost 20 years at the time confessed in 2010 that she had an affair (this was only the most recent of a string of affairs that she had over several years, but I didn’t find that out until much later), I was devastated. As a part of this so-called confession, she said that her affair was a symptom of things wrong in our marriage (blame shift). Then she said she still loved our family (not me, our family) and wanted to start marriage counseling. Very long story short, what I *did* was pick-me dance, accept blame, and feed her cake while I ate shit sandwiches. What I should have done:

    1. Accepted NONE of the blame. “Your decision to have affair(s) shows that you have poor character. You cheated on me AND our children – putting your wants ahead of our children’s future.”

    2. Asked her to leave that night – go to her parents house in the neighborhood, wherever (who cares). Not sure she would have, but I should have demanded it.

    3. Gotten to a lawyer right away and had a post-nup drawn up that was very generous to me and my kids if she decided to end the marriage. She had already decided but is a narcissistic, deceitful, coward so she had to make me do it.

    So there are the first few steps of what I should have done – after years of ruminating over it and having found the salvation of this website. Note that I did none of those things and couldn’t have in the mindset I was in then. I only hope that any AM chumps that find CL will have the opportunity to use some of the excellent advice they find here. Best of luck to you.

    • Just to clarify – the post-nup is basically a test to see if the cheater really is a unicorn. If anyone on CL knows of a cheater that signed one, please let us know!

        • Mine refused to sign a post nuptial also, even though he was telling everyone he would! I guess I’m lucky because I did manage to get pretty much everything and I only ended up spending about 10,000. On the divorce. But that’s still a large chunk of change in my opinion and it’s only because my asshole kept dragging his feet! It really did him no good in the end. He has virtually nothing of any real value to show for his 60 years on this earth. I have a niece who just graduated from high school that probably has a higher net worth than the cheater, but it’s no problem for him as he lives off of Schmoopie!

          • Roberta – ‘He has virtually nothing of any real value to show for his 60 years on this earth.”

            Wow – that sure applies with me.
            Fine, he’s had financial success but it’s the family he threw away, AND his marketplace has shifted so the money isn’t the same.

            For me, it was always about family. I had a large family that loved him (many nieces and nephews really admired him) and I embraced his family and was the one who insisted on regular visits.

            I don’t know that he is alone in his motorhome, in the city – where he hated to live, and may or may not be living with his alley-cat.

            Everybody he used to know, even the friends he had in the city where we lived for 17 yrs and business buddies, have not heard from him. It’s just him and her in isolation? Or, is he all alone? More importantly, WHY do I care??

            I care, I guess, because he threw so much away on both sides of the family and all his friends.
            They are also very hurt.
            What happened to him?

            60 yrs old. What do you really want at this age now that you exploded your life up?

  • 1.. rest and be good to yourself (make sure you eat)
    2.. It’s ok to scream, cry and say wtf about 100 times a day
    3…after 23 yrs, with my wolf in sheep’s clothing, I threw his cheating ass out. gave him 5 minutes to pack and lawyered up within a month( it took me that long to get thru the initial shock and then I got pissed…Anger is good will push you forward.
    4…great advice i got..If you only do one thing a day, its ok. (pay a bill, go food shopping) things we take for granted, are very hard to do when your life is exploding.
    5.. Go no contact with non supportive, fence sitting friends or family, you need support not opinions or advice from anyone that doesnt think cheater is a scumbag.
    6…Lawyer up …do not mediate with disordered liar!!
    7…Go no contact with ex as much as possible if children are only..document document document
    8…remember they did not deserve what happened to you
    9..Never compare yourself with OW/OM…they are the cheater’s next hostage
    10….when you have your first belly laugh, you will know your going to be ok
    11…Take all the hoop jumping energy you used on cheater and put it into yourself…buy a piece of jewelry, get yourself flowers on your wedding anniversary get yourself a massage..You are worth it!!! you will always get a gift you love and you will never hear a complaint from yourself…
    12..never rush into another relationship, take time to heal. find out who you are what you like and what are your foundries… Me time is a great thing after being with these disordered people.
    13…Save a little bit of money, I am on a fixed income but I put a little away when I can. I feel a litter more secure knowing I have rainy day fund ( unexpected car repairs, late child support) most cheaters are financial cheaters also, so build your own little nest egg…shhhh don’t tell anyone.
    14…Don’t put up with any bullshit! you just went thru a prize fight wearing a blind fold, if it something or someone isnt helpful to your life, throws up a red flag or makes you shaky on your feet. do not tolerate it. You are mighty!
    15…You will have setbacks and have to baby step thru some days..its ok, we all go at our own pace , no matter how far out you are from D day
    16.. remember your kids love their other parent (ugh) I got really good at saying, thats nice, wow and awesome after their visits
    17…I also got good at wiping tears and saying ” I know” when they cancel visits show up late or are force fed disordered bullshit.
    18…Say 10 things I am grateful for that he/she is gone OUT LOUD, so you really hear it ..everyday for a month(no more deception, no more lies)
    19…after one month switch 10 grateful for YOURSELF..OUT LOUD, (I learned to mow the lawn, cook a meal anything you are grateful for in your growth..
    20…You may not see it in the beginning, but the day will come when you will be grateful that the person you loved so much is gone, you will feel more peaceful then you have in a long time..

    • Right on, Little Red Riding Hood. I used to feel a twinge (more like a stab in the gut that would drop me to my knees) when I saw my STBX, who moved across the street, go out at night. I would look out the window several times a night to determine when he came home. Now, nearly a year later, when I notice that his car is gone, I feel relieved.and I smile–not my circus; not my monkeys.

      • little red riding hood – your excellent post left me without words. Thank you for putting it so succinctly. I actually stopped and did the 20 exercises – now I want to write them down! Wow – great therapy. Didn’t take me long to come up with 10 cons on him.

  • All of this advice is available in various CL posts but I’d start with:

    — Check the finances and protect your money. Remember – the bad stuff will be hidden.
    – -He (she) is not your friend. He will not have YOUR best interests at heart. He is perfectly capable of doing things that harm you if he thinks it will benefit him.
    — You are entitled to have boundaries and deal breakers. Only our children get unconditional love. Adult love can – even must – have conditions.
    — Take the long view down the path of your life. Your cheater will not change on his own. Your situation will not change on its own. Is this what you want your life to be for the next 10 years? 20 years? Or like me, 36 years? Take your life back now before you realize you’ve wasted all your young years.

  • Dear new chump,

    So. You have found out what you likely suspected – that the love of your life is up to no good. The door to hell itself has opened – and you need to don your armour for the fight of your life. Let it be known, if nothing else sinks in at this moment in time: THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!

    Firstly, breathe. While you’re in torment at this moment – know that at some point in the future things will be better for you. You are a decent, caring soul, who didn’t deserve to be treated like a sub-human. Unfortunately, your partner is that sub-human piece of shit. If you’re wondering as to how low s/he can sink – think of the worst possible scenario, and assume it was that. That way, the tiny optimistic voice in your head will think ‘Well, I dealt with the pain of that.’

    You need to gather your weapons. You need to secure your bank accounts – anything in your house which is dear to you, and lawyer up. Get the best fuckin’ lawyer you can. Do not, under any circumstances, let your fucktard cheater know that you are doing this. If you can’t keep your emotions in check – blame it on something else. See, their lies can be turned against them! If all else fails, use the rage (and it will come, trust me) to fuel you forward to a better life. Cold hard rationality works wonders – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Also, you need to make sure to get tested for STDs. Embarrassing – I know – but you need to know for your own health.

    If anyone even dares blame you, or says you have to share the blame for the fact your partner is a cheating son of a bitch – cull them from your life for good. Once again – THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT! Those people pussy-footing around are likely cheaters themselves.

    If you have children – be the warrior king/queen for them, above everything else. Let them know the truth that deceit is wrong, and that their other parent cheated. Kids know more than you think, and will respect you for the truth.

    If you start questioning what the affair partner has, that you don’t – its really quite simple: They have no brains and no morals, and they were willing to spread their legs for anything at all. Even if, on the surface, they appear better – its all a shell covering sheer disordered nutjobbery. Like a shiny golden apple which is rotten to the core beneath the sparkles.

    This will be a war – and you need to be the one who is left standing at the end. Don’t let that bastard pull you down with insults, tantrums, false promises, or using others as a proxy to achieve the above. They are all a smokescreen to get you to be a compliant slave so they can continue with their status quo.

    Realistically – if they were heinous enough to cheat on you, they are willing to cheat on you in other ways: poisoning your kids minds, giving you diseases, hatching plots to screw you over in a divorce, empty the bank accounts, or destroy property. If its not them who does it, it will be the affair partner, or their supporters. You’re playing a high stakes poker game, where whoever flinches first, loses. Make sure you have your poker face on! They are NOT your friends!

    Sounds cynical, right? Just know – that when the weight of the world is threatening to crush you, and you feel you have nowhere to turn – you have us. A bunch of people who won’t judge you – and are united by a common thread. If you need to rant, be angry, spit fire or figure out a plan – we are here for you.

    Lets see you on a Tuesday some day in the future – saying ‘I don’t know why I even bothered with that twit’ and laughing at their stupidity as the karma bus finally flattens them.

    Chump Nation (c/o Lania)

    • I love your post Lania. You are a very gutsy young woman just like all chumps on here. I wish you were in my corner when the s**t hit the fan as you are such a strong young woman. You could have kicked me up the backside and told me to get real sooner than I did. 🙂

      • Hahaha! Thanks Maree – to be honest though its been forged from a LOT of past pain. Its something I don’t let rule me though – because that proves to the perpetrators that maybe they were right about me in being useless/stupid/pathetic/didn’t provide *x*/*y*/*z*. As far as I’m concerned – they are derelect shitheads who have nothing going for them.
        And I wish I could have been there for you too – we Aussie chumps must unite – you’re the badarse aunt that I would have liked to have had too. Your spineless prick kids would have been cowering in fear after my word-swords, thats for sure!
        I wouldn’t have been using the clue-by-4 with rusty nails on you though – only on your kids. And hitting them with it. Repeatedly.

  • “The day he stuck his dick in somebody else was the day your marriage ended.”

    That pretty much sums it up. I may have that put on a plaque. Other than that, I have 2 bits of advice:
    1. Act in spite of the fear. Don’t wait to conquer the fear, that may never happen. You will look back and be amazed at your own bravery once it’s over, but right now as you stand on the precipice of a new life, the unknown is scary as hell. Take yourself outside of the fear and just go. Leap and a net will appear.

    You’re afraid to be alone–you already are.

    You’re afraid no one will love you–your spouse doesn’t.

    You’re afraid you can’t make it financially–you will have no choice if your spouse bolts. Get half now before he/she hides it. And yes, they would do that to you.

    You’re afraid you’ll never be happy–you may only have a 1% chance of being happy, (which is unlikely) but you have 0% if you stay in an abusive relationship.

    You’re afraid of what people will think–your cheater will invent lies to justify their behavior, so strike first and strike fast.

    You’re afraid you can’t afford a lawyer–you will need one anyway if they file first.

    You’re afraid you’re giving up on your marriage too soon–see above quote. Even if it only happened once, that just means you caught them after the first time. They will do it again.

    2. Don’t get bogged down in the need to know everything. A lot of chumps seem to think that knowing every detail about how long and when, where, etc. will give them closure. IMO, it won’t. I read thousands of instant messages and texts and emails between H and OW and assorted others and they haunt me terribly. It just increases the triggers. Places, events, dates, songs, even words and phrases trigger me. The details make it harder and slows down the healing process. Don’t put yourself through that. You’re hurting enough.
    Peace to all chumps out there, old and new.

    • Also, don’t ask why thay did it. They did it because they wanted to. There is no other reason.

      • Never ask a cheater “Why” , as Let go says. If you do, you are asking for a list of your deficiencies and offenses that forced them to cheat. In the newly discovered state, one is susceptible to buying into the blame.
        It has been 21 years since I discovered my first wife’s serial cheating. I have never asked her “why”? She is articulate and very convincing and would not hesitate to use my soft heart against me and blame me.
        She has made allusions to my having caused it but I just ignore her and walk away.
        These disordered people have had a lot of practice playing people. A high functioning one, like my first wife, is expert at gaslighting and, if she is in front of an audience, she can really make a person look bad.
        As my dad told me ” she is the most insincere person he ever met.” But, she makes a really good first impression.

        • “These disordered people have had a lot of practice playing people.”

          That is a great line. I was just thinking today that the creepiest thing about my ex-wife was her ability to portray a decent human being, all the while lacking the very things that make a person decent. IMHO, this is one of the major defining characteristics of a sociopath.

          • Also, I think this ability to feign decency is the vehicle that allows them all the other tools of manipulation such as lying, conniving and cheating. All deception begins here, without which they would not be able to carry on their wickedness. This “pulling the wool over our eyes” is what, for me, sets of an undeniable and repulsive sense of evil.

            • Very perceptive Michael, I had one of ‘those’, too. When I’d visit his workplace, many times people would gaze at me and say – oh, it must be so great to be married to xxxxxx!! They had NO IDEA that he was not the super kind, thoughtful, funny person he portrayed every single day. The dark hidden side was very dark.
              Feigning decency is a good way to put it!
              I wonder if they just copy their Chump, and pretend they are the same. I definately am more suspicious of ‘niceness’ now, you have to show me by your lifestyle, and it’s not always easy to tell!

              • “I wonder if they just copy their Chump, and pretend they are the same.”
                This^^ I not only wondered about this, I saw him do and say things that I would do and say. I called him out on being a “Pretender ” (an old tv series that he used to love) near beginning of their affair. There were and are things he hates, wouldn’t do or participate in but suddenly he will for the sake of his affair partner. Things that I used to do like make notes on calendars of all our anniversaries and special days acknowledging them each year were largely ignored by him. He was just not interested in so many of the special things about family, a marriage, life in general. With his affair partner, he listed all of the “first time” and other anniversaries on our Family Google Calendar! The day I noticed this, I deleted all family entries and started a new Family calendar for my son and I and didn’t give STBX access to it.
                At some point, the “Pretender” lifestyle catches up to them. It’s the same dynamic as hardcore criminals.

  • If someone cheats on you, that person does not value you or the relationship above all else. That’s highly unlikely to change. Walk away and don’t look back.

    • Yes, this is the BEST advice!!!!! I think a new chump needs to repeat this to themselves over and over again like a mantra in order to really understand – because its hard to navigate through the lies and cover ups and whatever manipulations the cheater has rolled up his/her sleeve!!!!

      • Excellent advice. It’s hard to accept at first, but it’s the absolute truth. Run, don’t walk.

        • Yes, loving someone that doesn’t love you back is a hard bitter pill to swallow, especially when they were so good at faking that they did!

  • Don’t let on that you know right away! Use that time to get your ducks in a row. The first thing you will want to do is scream at them but if you can get a hold of yourself and do some digging and protecting yourself financially you will benefit immensely. Contact a lawyer before you let them know. Save everything digital like emails, phone records, texts, etc, in at least 3 different places. Ask a close friend or sibling that you can trust for support. No matter what your cheater says or how hard they try to get you to reconcile, do not delete the evidence. Just in case.

    • I agree with Calla2015. My biggest mistake was jumping the gun on confrontation, before I had undeniable evidence. Fortunately, I was able to apologize, retract what I had suspected convincingly enough so that my XW resumed things rather quickly. Then, I hired a PI.
      Also, a lot of guys are still stuck in the mindset that women are less likely to do this than men. I think it prevents some guys from catching on sooner, although in the roughly 10 years that I have been reading about this stuff on sites, the awareness seems to be growing.
      And, I know it gets said over and over, but if you can , in your depleted state where you are subject to blaming yourself, really try to get a grip on the fact that many, if not most of these long term cheaters are personality disordered.
      Understanding ( to the extent anyone can understand a cluster B) these folks and how they operate, may help dispel some of the feelings that you caused this.
      If you can, see if you can gewt access to information about their lives before you were on the scene. I was fortunate to have both XWs’ families to talk to , as well as some mutual friends that had known my XWs before I was on the scene.
      I got a ton of information about various affairs, lies, illegal escapades etc. that I had no knowledge of. It helped me see that cheating had long been in their repetoires .

      • Arnold you are so right about women being able to do this, my STBXH’s affair was with a married ho-worker, it started in 2010, I suspected something between them in 2012 and basically was fed denial by both of them, that they were “just friends”, then they continued on for another TWO MORE YEARS!!!! I busted them in September 2014, just sickening, both of them. Women are just as bad, no doubt about it, his AP said to my face when I confronted her “You won’t be in this mess if you looked after your Man”. Fucking bitch! Sorry but it still pisses me right off because he spent all his time with HER, kind of hard to look after your Man when he’s never home!

        • Forgot to add, after the 2012 suspicion, I told my STBXH to try to find a job back home, told him I was lonely and missed him and I did’nt want to do the long distance marriage any longer, he dismissed and ignored my pleas and continued on with the affair. Nice hey? Run from these disordered, unlovable POS. It’s absolutely cruel how they treat us.

    • Good advice. I kept it to myself, didn’t even confide in anybody. It confirmed for me that he truly is a sociopath. Watching him lie to my face and tell me he loved me while making plans to screw me over told me everything I needed to know.
      Get those ducks in a row in secret. Take CL’s advice and run out of that burning house, but don’t jump out the window.

  • After reading and following all of the advice above and here on Chump Lady, here’s what I would do differently. I would not be SO D***ED NICE. Just stop it. If your spouse has shown you who they really are, and it’s really bad, then act accordingly. Don’t try to protect everyone. Don’t protect your spouses privacy. Don’t protect family and children from the truth by watering it down. Get a good lawyer, investigate EVERYTHING, and get a good financial and psychological picture of who this person truly is. Then use it to get the very best custody situation you can for yourself. You want to move? Do it now. Want to go back to school? Do it now. Get everything secured for your future while you’re going through the divorce, and don’t think you can do it later after you’ve had time to heal. Now is the time to get tough, even though it seems like you can’t sometimes.

    It’s a whole lot to deal with emotionally. But as much as you can, you need to deal with the practical side of your situation like a vicious pit-bull. Because once this person realized they no longer have an influence over you, the can try every trick in the book to control you and make your life even harder than it already is. I didn’t think he could completely turn on me. But he did. If your spouse doesn’t respect you and your needs or wishes now, while you’re married, they certainly won’t later. Turn off NICE. It’s not going to work if your dealing with a narc or cluster B.

    • DoneNow–great post & valuable advice, but I am laughing that you lament having been so damned nice, but use asterisks for “damned.” ; )

      • I’m a little more loose over on the forums, Tempest! That is funny. I just don’t want to scare anyone off with my sailor talk.

        • I was cringing the other night bc I realized I had been swearing up a storm in someone’s thread and I had forgotten they were a bit more, uh, ladylike than I am.

          When I read D***ED, I tried to solve it Wheel of Fortune style. I thought, what does ‘dicked’ mean bc I couldn’t think what foul word it was 🙂

        • Yes, great post Done Now, but call me slow. Took me awhile to figure out what D****ed, meant. Dicked? Dicey? Duncey? Fuck the asterisks! lol – confuses us angry chumps.

  • The extremely insightful, compassionate information provided from all of you is so comprehensive, I can’t think of anything else I could add to it

    However, I’m going to put my Crusader Chump cap on right now, go out in a limb, and propose the idea of mandatory, or at least elective, pathology coursework in our education system. We had to take Psychology 101 when I was in high school – and that was almost 40 years ago. We didn’t cover disordered people, because there wasn’t the data in the late 70’s like there is now. The late Ann Rule was trying to get the word out back in the eighties. I had the opportunity to visit with her at length during a lull at a book signing event, and she was passionate about the topic. I just never thought it would happen to me – the perpetual Chump. Gavin de Becker, Sandra Brown, Robert Hare and many more are on the front lines now as advocates of including this subject in school curriculum. The mentality of a cheater doesn’t just suddenly manifest. They don’t go to bed one night faithful, devoted, selfless partners, and wake up the next morning as deceiving, insidious, loathsome creatures. It starts early, before reaching adulthood

    • I did not know Ann Rule died, Boudica. I had a few e-mail exchanges with her years back where we discussed Bundy a bit. Very nice woman.

      • Arnold, Ann Rule died July 26, 2015 in Burien, WA. FYI, Ted Bundy went to law school at my alma mater for a semester back in the 70’s. He left quickly for Utah when he realized the law enforcement was getting closer. The only thing good that came out of the Ted Bundy murder saga were that investigators really did get a lesson into the mind of a narcissist and sociopath. Yep, Ted contributed to modern day forensic psychology. Cluster B type disorder all the way.

        • Extremely scary guy, a true sociopath and sadist.
          Yes, after reading Boudica’s post. I went on Wiki and saw that she had died.
          There seems to be something about the Pacific Northwest that turns out a fair number of serial killers.

          • Magnolia – yes, the PNW does turn out a fair amt of serial killers. Green River, Bundy, Randall Woodfield, and so on (maybe because of the author?). I lived 3 blocks from I-5, when Woodfield was on the loose. I was scared shitless. Yes, big fan of Ann Rule, who did concentrate only on the PNW, but this stuff happens everyday around the country. I loved getting into her reasons of WHY they did what they did, which, yes – indeed, let to us exploring these ClusterB’s, and F’s. She was groundbreaking on this subject. She had Diane Downs down to a science – that happened about 60 miles from me. Oh, how we wanted her to be innocent! gag

    • Boudica, I have stressed this same topic on this post and other post. I cannot stress enough than gaining all the information you can about these Cluster B Personality Disorders.

      Also listen to the radio podcast link I have posted many many times. If anyone wants it just let me know and I will post it again. It helped me so much to connect the missing dots I had with the ex. Why I had so many red flags about the ex. Why his every day behavior was very odd to me. Why I could never accept the old fashion excuses that people hear all of the time why people cheat. I knew deep down in my soul it was something more that I just could not sort out in my head. Then when I listen to the podcast and got myself educated about Cluster B Personality Disorders I knew it was the ex. Then that is when my healing process really began. Then I was able to truly forgive myself. Not him. I will never forgive and forget what he did to me. I have been able to forgive myself and now I know deep inside my soul HE SUCKS!!!!!

      For the new and current chumps if you have not educate yourself about Cluster B Personality Disorders please please do so. Also if you haven’t heard the radio podcast I have posted on other post on this site please let me know. It is a life changing podcast and it will help you so much in your healing process.

      The book authors that Boudica posted please get them and they will help so much. Sandra Brown is on the podcast I have posted in the past.

      • Beth, I know you’re as passionate about pathology education as I am, and a lot of Chumps on this site. I wish there was way to make that education much more wide spread to the general public. It seems that the only time people find out about Cluster B’s is when they are dealing with them. And then the damage has already occurred. Schools teach students about safe sex – shouldn’t they also teach about safe relationships, and the existence of “the most dangerous people on the planet”? Hugs and love to you! You indeed are Mighty!

        • Thank you Boudica Reborn. I fully agree with you. For me many things about the ex never made sense. I had so many red flags during my time with him. I had the same old fashion thinking (coming from people around me ) and comments from others around me that you and others had also. Nothing I hear from others made any sense to me. Also I wasn’t going to settle for it being my fault and I knew something more and I knew something was not right about him.

          After a talk show and reading something on the net about some TV person and her husband I ended up reading more about PD (it explained him to the letter with no doubts in my mind) and having more questions then I found that podcast and that was my big light bulb moment then I wasn’t questioning anymore I had answers. Great answers. The podcast explained the ex in great deal and also the book from Sandra Brown really helped me to better understand what was wrong with HIM and it wasn’t me at all. There are so many things very dark and disturbing things about the ex I have found out but him having a PD is the answer. No doubt!

          Much love and hugs to you and thank you for your support and everyone else!

      • Thanks Beth! Can you share that podcast link? I think I really need to hear it this week. Thanks

    • I 100% agree – a lot less damage would happen if everyone was mandated to learn about psych pathology.
      Problem is though – theres a whole lot of people out there like that – and the education would get warped by that. Also, people who are pathological would use it to refine their craft of abuse and become covert at it.

      • It’s called ‘Street Smarts’. And instinct. I didn’t need a classroom for that. It comes with growing up. Can’t imagine the confusion of trying to have teachers try to get this concept through to a bunch of 14 yr olds.

  • In addition to what everyone else has said, keep a journal- preferably handwritten. Record how you’re feeling, what cheater is telling you, what cheater is doing. Write it as a stream of consciousness, letting your anger, fears, and hopes flow freely. Read through your entries regularly – you will be surprised how accurate your gut was during those early days. And most important, tell no one and keep it in a safe place.

  • To those suspecting an unfaithful significant other:
    A) do not confront until you are confident/have some data (at least a list of suspicious behavior)
    this is tricky, as some chumps wait a long time for this. In my case, I confronted too soon and got hoodwinked for another 13 yrs!
    B) after the confrontation, do not accept blame, do not believe “you are crazy, we are just friends, etc”, “I love you but am not _IN_ love with you” is a sign to give up immediately, minds are made up and marital counseling will not help.
    C) check credit card statements and bank account statements
    D) difficult to wrap your head around it, but remember, no one is who you think they are

    Your new mantra: I am strong. I deserve respect. I will survive. Change is good.

    I am three years out from the final DDay, 2.25 yrs post divorce finalization, and 4 months post “ex dragged me back to court in a failed attempt at reducing child support”:
    To those in the throes, it feels impossible as you feel like you are falling and you cannot see the bottom. Channel Gandalf fighting the Balrog as he falls to the deepest depths of the mountain. It seemed impossible, but he survived and climbed to the heights and was transformed.

    Channel Gandalf. That will be you, so go gain a life!

  • Don’t waste time wishing for the person you thought you had to magically arrive. Spend your time figuring out the person you actually have, and if you want them at all. It’s hard, because they look right, and they often sound right, but are they acting right? Probably not. Your previous spouse has been murdered and replaced by their evil twin, and you have no idea how long ago it happened.

  • Be wary of Gaslighting and Blame Shifting at this time. If you just found out, they will do everything they can to deny it (“We are just friends”, “We have to work together”), or to make it seem like your problem(“You don’t trust me”). Just remember that this was a choice they made. They decided to look outside of the marriage to find someone else to give that energy to. It isn’t your fault, and you didn’t even get a say-so in this decision. You do have the responsibility to yourself to decide what you are going to do next. Many of us have done the pick me dance, and you probably will to some extent too. Don’t beat yourself up over that, but try to realize you are doing it. Once the cheater has made the decision to go outside of the promise they made to you, do you really want them back? It took me a while to realize that “No” I don’t want my that woman with the crap character and lack of respect for me any longer.

    Good luck, be strong!

    • My husband broke the news to me by saying “The problem is you.” He went on to list all the things he felt I was deficient in. It was devastating. I couldn’t believe it! I kept saying how sorry I was…my heart was breaking to hear him say those things about me.

      I’d like to tell anyone who’s newly chumped that this is called blame shifting. The guilt and shame they are piling on you is their own. They can’t handle it, so they project it onto you. Don’t accept it. You did nothing to cause them to cheat, they made their own decisions. In my case, the ex had never even said he was unhappy, or asked to work on any issues. I’d noticed that he seemed distant for awhile but chalked it up to the stress he was supposedly under at work.

      The discard phase can be brutal. It can cause PTSD symptoms in the chump. Do not accept the blame they put on you. Wrap it up in a neat little package and put it right back on them, where it belongs!

      • When I confronted my ex about his Affair #2 (quite politely, and in a public place, since he was a scary guy), he turned on me, listing everything he thought was wrong with me and with how I’d been in our relationship. It was horrible! THAT was the moment I knew there was no going back, we were DONE.

        I didn’t know, then, about blame shifting and gaslighting, but I knew bullshit when I heard it. And worst of all, I think he really believed this crap. He was so focussed on getting lots and lots of kibbles, and so not interested in what he contributed or not to our relationship. Reciprocity and caring weren’t even on his radar, not only for me, but even for his own kids.

        I projected my reasonableness, caring and conscientiousness onto him for way too long.

  • I found it helpful to “think like a cheater” to come to the conclusion that his cheating was planned carefully and quite on purpose! Changes the whole “story” that a cheater will hand you on DDay! Sleeping with the office co-worker, your boss, your neighbor, a FaceBook “friend” takes a whole Hell of a lot of deception and pre-planning! The cheaters made that decision all in their own! They are NOT sorry! It was NOT a one time mistake! They decided to weigh risking everything WE value to pursue bedroom gymnastics with another cheater. Remember, THEY did not place the same value on your relationship, children or themselves that we did. So how can you even begin to sustain any kind of reconciliation with a cheater if they don’t feel that what they have with you is of any value? Kick their ass out and file! You have absolutely nothing in common with them of any consequence at that point! If you do this little exercise then I think it pushes you a bit further down the road to Meh and you don’t have to entertain the question about “who does this?” Short answer, people who place absolutely no value on anything, that’s who! If you don’t invest in something then you have nothing to lose, right? Simple!

    • I agree , Roberta, and , repeatedly having pointed this out on some websites, like SI, is what gets one banned. I do not think it takes a rocket scientist to come to the conclusion that people that can do this ( lie so well and keep it up for so long and still function perfectly well) are , fundamentally different than a normal human being.
      It takes an enormous amount of time, energy and planning for these folks to carry on as they do. This type of thing is what they have been doing most of their lives in some form or another.
      Yet, if you go on a website , like SI, and, respectfully express your view that most cheaters are disordered and that reconciling with one is not a good idea, eventually you will get banned on some trumped up bunko charge.
      I could see it coming on SI. Warnings about various violations that I did not do. Finally, they came up with my having engaged in “political discussion” , which is a no-no.
      All I had done was refer to Hillary Clinton in some capacity relating to her husband’s affairs. No politics at all, just mentioned a politician. But, they were gunning for me by then. No great loss. It is a site run by cheaters.

      • If its a site run by cheaters – that explains why they get so pissy when you mention that its the fault of the cheater and nobody else. They can’t handle being told they are at fault. Cluster B’s, anyone? Also, the demonising of people who call them out on their shit, too – thats cluster B material too.
        Its why I label any cheater, irrespective of who they are, as a cluster B. The amount of deceit involved is pathological.

        • Does a personality disorder mitigate their actions? How do you deal with it?
          From a guy whose EW has BPD.

          • Its no excuse for their actions – your path forward doesn’t change. Though I’m sure they may use it as an excuse!
            The only difference is that you know you can’t change people like that – and short of a near-death experience, they won’t change themselves.

          • I’m pretty sure that daman near all of them could be diagnosed with a personality disorder, Aussie, and agree with Lania, except I’m not sure even a near-death experience can change a cluster B.

            • You’re right for the vast majority of them Kelly – but some of them are less entrenched about it – and they are the ones I’m talking about.

        • SI = Surviving Infidelity, and I don’t exactly agree about them being all pro-R. There are some good folks posting there, many in trouble, and a lot of help. As long as you don’t mention CL! hehe

          • Actually don’t mention any former members on SI lest you be banned too. That’s my contribution for today. Lol but I’m serious.

  • Just two words: GET OUT!!!

    It never gets any better. Actually, that is more than two words….

  • Also, please, please, please do not be jealous of any worthless whores your spouse was involved with ! They all suck.

  • Dear New Chumps:

    We’re sorry. We know the pain you’re feeling. You won’t feel good for a long time. But you will live through this and eventually you will thrive again.

    Read every single post on this website. We’ll be here for you along your long and winding journey to Meh.


    Moving Liquid

    22 months since my own D-day (discovery day) and feeling pretty good about life again.


  • Do. Not. Believe. One. Word. That. Your. Cheater. Says.

    Do NOT believe them.

    That person has been lying to you for potentially a long time. Question everything. Bring your most hard-nosed, skeptical, intelligent self.

    If your gut tells you something is off, that things do NOT add up, it’s because something is off, and things are not adding up.

    Get an appointment with a divorce lawyer, ASAP.

    • I absolutely agree with everything you wrote. There are also big lies by “ommision” .

  • Such amazing advice here.

    If you are a professional spackler like me, start REPLACING YOUR VOCABULARY with words that are positive to you. These are all things I wish I said to myself instead of being paralyzed. CL your drawing could have been me!

    1. Replace “this is just a rough patch'” — with “OMG, a plane just crashed on my front lawn”

    2. Replace “but I love him” — with “you may love him but you can’t make a live together with him”

    3. Replace “but our life is mostly good & I am not perfect either” — with “I deserve better”

    4. Replace “it was just sex” — with “I deserve better”

    5. Replace “I must have driven him to it” — with “I deserve better”

    6. Replace “if I was just younger and skinnier” — with “Don’t be insane. There are loads of guys who think you are hot. You are not old. You really aren’t.”

    7. Replace “my gut keeps telling me something is wrong, but my brain says I must be crazy” — with “Your gut is right. Always listen to your gut. It will always be right”

  • Believe that your spouse is the monster you see him to be now. The man (or woman) you thought you knew and loved is gone, probably was never there, and is never coming back. Don’t let his games fool you, because from now on you must realize it is all lies and games. Look back and you will see the signs you missed, this is not a one-time mistake, or that he was just looking for a friend, or was just curious, or looked because he was bored. He has been cheating on you probably forever, at least for a very long time. He is not sorry and he does not care. He is making plans behind your back, taking money from you and your children if you have any with him. He has exposed you to potential STD’s and HIV. Make your decisions accordingly.

    (Oh, and immediately go get tested for STD’s and HIV.)

    Never forget: If his lips are moving he’s lying. And every time he speaks to you, ask yourself “what does he really want?” Think of these this every time he calls or you talk. Post a sign on the wall if you need to. As a good friend told me on D-Day, “from now on, it’s all business.” Remember that too. Tell yourself over and over: HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE HE DOES NOT CARE. Because in the end he doesn’t care about you at all.

    Understand the intense desire you will feel to trust him, to stay with him, to pretend it will all be ok. Ignore that desire and those feeling. Read every article and comment on Chump Lady (I drank it all up when I found this site like a person dying on the desert who finds the well), it will help you understand what is really happening.

    Bottom line, cut your losses and get the hell out of dodge. There are much better people out there to be with if you choose one day, and it is better to be alone than in this living hell. Gather all your ducks, put them in a row, contact a divorce lawyer like YESTERDAY, and make sure you cross your T’s and dot your I’s (including securing assets, etc). Do it by the book. Be smart.

    Speaking of being smart, read what you can about sociopaths and narcissists. You have to start thinking like them a little to understand that we are only important when we are of use to them. Digest that, and make it work for you if you can. That’s probably what you are dealing with.

    If you can, try to keep your dignity as much as possible, with him and everyone else. (I couldn’t do it but maybe you can 🙂 ). You want to avoid playing into the lies he has been telling everyone that you are just “crazy.” But if you do lose it, and regurgitate what he did to everyone including the man who cuts your lawn and the postal worker, forgive yourself.

    Go and stay NO CONTACT or LOW CONTACT (if you have children). That is the MOST vital advice I can give. Every contact with him will destroy you and mindfuck you, especially now. I know you need to understand what happened, but remember that a cheater will only admit as much as he thinks you know, and back to the above — “if his lips are moving he’s lying.” So take it with a grain of salt, and get away from him in every way you can.

    Take kind care of yourself. See a good counselor for the trauma you have suffered and will continue to suffer till this is over. Do something for yourself every day. Make a plan for every day and short term and long term in your life. Have a goal and something to achieve for each day, even if it is just to survive. Keep your mind and body busy. Do things you have not been able to do till now. Lean on friends and family.

    It WILL get better once the cheater is in your rear-view mirror.

    • I’ve read stories about people whose ships sank but didn’t go down with their ships (they were wearing life jackets and floating on the surface of the water after their ship went down or clung to lifeboats). Some traumatized passengers tried to dive down to their sunken ships to board them. The passengers most likely to survive were the ones who acknowledged that their ship had sunk.The survivors fought off sharks, the urge to drink salt water, and the temptation to give up through suicide (taking off life jackets and sinking to the bottom) and started swimming for shore or huddled together with other survivors to maintain warmth and protection from sharks. Chumps can learn from these stories.