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Dear Chump Lady, What’s an exit affair?

escapeHi Chump Lady,

What is an “exit affair?” I think I might be on the receiving end of this but I’m not sure. He left during a trial separation where he swore there was nobody. There was…the whole time. He returned home saying I was his “soulmate” and then when things got difficult again he sexted her. Again, he denied anything physical had occurred. It had…most of the time. He finally admitted it all. I asked him to leave and am filing for divorce.

It really hurt me and I’m having difficulty moving on. He seems quite well and fine. In fact, he’s not with his affair partner but has a new girlfriend. (The ink had barely dried on our separation papers and they are taking a vacation together.) I haven’t even been able to catch my breath. Do most women really want to date a cheater? What’s up with that? Can you shed any light on that?

What do you make of this? I know it’s not good but he said that he felt unappreciated and unloved. I had NO idea. Why didn’t he say something??

Confused Chump

Dear Confused Chump,

Hmm. You filed for divorce? You asked him to leave? While he was calling you his “soul mate,” he was cheating on you?  I don’t think that’s an exit affair. That’s your standard cake eater.

Exit affairs, IMO, happen when someone wants out, but is too colossally immature to just own it. So they blow up their lives in some dramatic fashion and the “drama” ends the relationship. But here’s the difference between an exit affair and cake eating — someone in an exit affair actually ENDS it. They EXIT. It’s definitive. They don’t waffle. They don’t come back. They don’t goad the chump into the “pick me” dance.

Is it shitty? Yes. But to me, cake eating is shittier, because cake eaters inflict a whole other level of mindfuckery. They steal your time. They encourage you to make terrible investments in them. They plead for more time to decide, or they pretend they’re all in when they’re not. They’re the sort of cats who don’t kill the mouse right away — they torture the mouse. (Which, if you’re a cat, is the most enjoyable part.)

Cake eaters want both. And when they’re discovered they want more of your attention, your best behavior to court them back, and all of your patience.

I’m glad you threw him out. That forced his hand into an “exit” affair. Here’s the other thing about exit affairs — they often turn out not to be exit affairs. You find out later that there were others, and you were with a practiced cake eater all along.

I do think exit affairs exist, someone is in until one day they’re not. And if they never said boo about their “unhappiness” — that’s on THEM, not you. But — not that I have any numbers on this, just observing from time on boards and letters here — exit affairs are the rarer breed. Cheaters prefer cake. Leaving comes with consequences, so the cheater has to be pretty high on sparkles to take the plunge and lose shit. Much better if you just accept less, and they can eat cake indefinitely.

As for the question: Do most women want to date a cheater? No, of course not. But do women want to date a lost puppy dog who was badly mistreated by his ex-wife? Sure. Lots of women date that guy… and live to regret it.

This column ran previously, feel free to comment!

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  • “…exit affairs are the rarer breed. Cheaters prefer cake. Leaving comes with consequences, so the cheater has to be pretty high on sparkles to take the plunge and lose shit.”

    Very true. I thought my ex was having an exit affair until the AM hack occurred. Then, I learned that he had been on there for YEARS– from the time he first signed on there, we had two more children, moved to a new home, and continued building memories together through many vacations and family outings. He carried on as though nothing was wrong until I found out what he was up to.

    I don’t know if she was the first person on AM that he successfully hooked up with, and that’s why I caught him, but the point is that he was checked out of the marriage and at least contemplating cheating long before I caught him at it, so what seemed like an exit affair was really “I finally caught you after years of cheating.” Even when I caught him, he wanted to get counseling and see if we could try to work it out, so he could continue eating cake. As if!

    • Living my life… He needed space. Came home on weekend’s figuring things out. Cake. Cake. Cupcake…he was living with his secretary the whole time…and when I found out.. I WAS The crazy bitch … She knew he was married kids. I guess she went with the little lost puppy theory……still pisses me off I hung on for so long

      • My asswipe decides after 23 years of marriage he wants to be a player, have zero responsibilities, be beholden to noone. Doesn’t seem to care he’s blown up his life or our marriage or relationship as long he gets to do what he wants when he wants. He’s 58. But he wants us to remain “best friends” I thought he was kidding. He’s not. I’m playing the great actress to get what I WANT! then goodbye charlie, children together or not. We were fine and suited to each other till he met that whore. Now he sees everything the way it wasnt. But hes the realist! I’m sorry pal, but friends don’t treat each other like shit. Friends, hahahahaha!!!!

  • I agree with Chump Lady, very few of them are exit affairs. They aren’t planning on going anywhere, despite what they tell you, the other cheater, or even themselves. There is a world of difference between leaving and SAYING they are leaving. A Chump’s biggest challenge is usually getting rid of them. I think to most of them, it’s probably the best phase of the cheating, when they have two people on the string. They know the other Person is a whore who is willing to date a cheater, that’s nothing special. But getting the Chump, who they know would not date a cheater, to still be in a relationship is special. Like wedding cake. Chump =wedding cake. Other Person = Ding Dong from the mini market.

    • In fairness, there are unknowing APs. Which is why dating while “separated” can be risky. Cheaters lie. (For the record, I’m not against dating while separated — just do your due diligence first.)

      • Damn truth right there, Chump Lady. I know. I was an “unknowing AP” once. Hate to admit it here, or anywhere else for that matter. But it’s true. Dude told me the divorce was filed. Blah, blah, horseshit, blah. We were out in public together as a couple. He told my adult daughters he wanted to marry me. Oh yeah. I found out when his wife showed up at my door one Saturday afternoon.
        I didn’t answer quickly enough (thank god) and she started up and down my street, door to door, yelling about what a fucking whore and a slut I was. She finally chilled when some neighbors let her in for a cold beer.
        Knowingly dating a married man is not my thing. I wouldn’t do to another woman what’s been done to me. No way. When my ex-husband cheated, those women knew he was married. To me. They knew me.
        When my last ex cheated, I was relatively sure that she didn’t know he was in a relationship. And that any others were led to believe our relationship was over, but I was just staying for some dumb reason that he was making them believe. Just recently, someone spilled to me that he’s hitting on women and telling them that his new live-in gf is just a room-mate.
        All cheaters are liars. None of them are really “married” or “in a relationship”. They explain these things away in a manner that is believable. They are charming. Remember? They charmed all of us once upon a time.

        • X bragged this one didn’t care he was married. They are pretty good at sizing up whores. The decent ones got the “I’m in the middle of a diviorce bullshit . So if a man is still married, don’t date them. And if they are seperated and living with a relative, run. Seperated? There are legal separations.

      • My ex’s affair was with an unknowing AP. I actually found out when he got the stream of furious texts dumping him–because she’d found out about me! He went from cake-eating with two women to zero women in the space of a few hours.

    • When Saddam was in MC during false R (cos he wasn’t giving up his saintly AP or ME), he actually said to the therapist “I can’t explain this, do you know what it’s like to have two women want you at the same time?” MC didn’t even follow that up, she changed the subject…

      Don’t know about anyone else but Saddam told me numerous times what a saint the AP was and once how she was so much better than he or I could ever be. I’m sure you can imagine my response to that! My point being, no, they don’t know they are with a whore – in fact from what I’ve seen on boards cheaters always think they are with a wonderful person.

      • Dat,
        So true. My cheater got sooo upset when I called the OW a “****** whore”. He started listing all her wonderful traits, so empty and trashy that I laughed out loud. He wasn’t even out the door and I was glad we were over!

        • Mine kept trying to rekindle things with his girlfriend even after I pointed out to him that she was actually a literal prostitute. I googled her phone number and found her backpage ads. They included photos of her so there was no mixup. Nice to know that while he was screwing her and going to marriage counseling with me, she was turning tricks on the side.

      • So true Dat!
        I was the bad person for claiming the ex’s girlfriend, his co-worker who attended my baby shower, was a bad mother.
        My fault, I should not question her character or mothering skills because she knowingly pursued a man with a pregnant wife.
        No, they did nothing wrong by destroying two families….it just happened and they have to be happy.
        And they wonder why I do all I can to keep her away from my son. She can keep her awesome mothering to her own two kids!!

      • Oh, yes. OW was everything wonderful.
        Whereas I was raising our kids, laundering his boxers, and doing yard work (Jesus! HIS BACK HURTS!!), SHE would spend HOURS with him in a cheap motel (“She has simple needs!”) making love. Whereas I was working full time to help support our family, including paying university tuition for one (with 2 more about to graduate HS), SHE barely worked at all, and was available to him whenever he felt urges. SHE required no effort! I, on the other hand, was sick of his spineless bullshit. I’ve said this before, but I remember after I found out about the affair, I was mowing the lawn while he was away “at work,” (probably texting/skyping/seeing her for an hour.) He came home and demanded to let me let him finish the mowing. I guess he realized what a lazy, self-centered POS he looked like for allowing his wife to do everything around the house. He sneered at me, mocking me for having run over a sprinkler head that I was fixing. I glared at him, “She makes you feel like a king, and I only remind you of what you REALLY are.” I finished the mowing. Ugh, he is just a revolting, ugly turd.

        So, it all worked out well.

        I used to believe in the exit affair. I now believe that the knowledge of an affair–whether it’s the actual first one, or just the last one during your marriage–is what finally pulls the wool off your eyes, so you can finally admit to what a shitty person you’ve been married to, all along. I think I had that revelation here, with help from Tracy and the CN.

        I finally was able to see his cheapness, his constant anxiety, laziness, avoidance, passive-aggressiveness for what it was. I no longer had to look for the up-side to any of his crappy moods and behavior–no longer needed to sympathize, nor justify. And, lemme tell you–what a HUGE relief, actually. I’m no longer tied to him. Now when he embarrasses himself, he no longer embarrasses me, too.

        All the women he openly admitted to being in love with during our marriage and even while we were dating? The recent discovery that he had or has an Adult Friend Finder account and an Ashley Madison account? His exit affair was not abrupt, at ALL. She is not special. He even admitted to me that the affair was not the first time he’d lied to me. (But, oh, did he howl when I called him a liar.) He wanted her to be special, even if he had serious reservations about her alcoholism and manipulation. I believed early on that she must be special. Then it would absolve him of any shame or guilt–she was just so irresistible. It’s not that he’s disordered! It’s that I didn’t worship his extraordinary being! It’s that she finally saw and matched his value! Also she has blond hair!

        You know, wonderful people who are wonderful on their own–and not with a heavy coat of spackle and sprinkles and a lot of looking the other way–they don’t suddenly up and leave their families. They don’t go all cold fish on their partners and kids just because they stumbled over some fool’s gold. No, they are committed to their families, and they invest in their loved ones, and they work at their partnerships, from day 1. They weather the hard times and cherish the simple times. They appreciate the memories, and look to the future with a mix of humility and confidence. Nobody knows what the future holds, but good people have strong values. They exercise a modicum of impulse control. They think outside of their pants, and they have the maturity to see the big picture. They actually care about people.

        The early days after bomb drop are exceedingly painful, and leave us with a fair amount of trauma and stress. If it weren’t for the damage The Coward and the Troll conspired to inflict upon my children, I’d be grateful for MY exit ticket.

        • My XWs affairs may not have been exit affairs, as they went on a long time and they seemed to bo content to continue cheating indefinitely.
          But, upon discovery, both, immediately moved for divorce. The discovery triggered their flight.

        • You could have written that just for me. I still struggle clinging to the fairy tale version of our marriage and reeling from the pain of losing the man I thought he was.

          • I’m in the same boat. I absolutely do not know who this man is, because he is not the man I’ve been married to. I keep holding on to him removing his affair goggles as he has re-written our marriage history and resorted to blame-shifting, projection, gas-lighting, and all sorts of manipulation. I haven’t seen an ounce of remorse. He flies to Texas tomorrow to see his AP. He has betrayed me in every way possible.

        • Great post Stephanie, hit a chord with me too. Cheaters love “easy” and consider it a real plus in a cheating partner. They think it is because they are sexy & fabulous, they don’t seem to realize that easy is just well, EASY. Probably has nothing to do with them. Man there sure is a lot of easy down here in South Florida. Pretty much buy a drink or a happy meal or pass out a few compliments & ass can be yours. (Not to mention the internet)
          Maybe I am wrong, but many of our guys didn’t get much when they were younger (because most women/girls in high school weren’t easy) and now that it is online and on every corner, we find out who they really are. It wasn’t restraint, just lack of opportunity.

  • Yes, Confused Chump, I agree with CL because I went through the same experience. We were on a “temporary separation” suggested by Mr.cheaterass, because I had asked for divorce or a radical change of the relationship (I didn´t know about the OW but he was treating me horribly for many months). He proposed the third option which was a separation so he could “think things out”. I didn´t like the idea because it implied money, logistics and effort without working on the relationship, but I agreed to show that I was willing to do what was needed to save the relationship (I really didn´t think of divorce as an option, I just wanted to scare him into seeing that there was that possibility, thinking that he would react and go for the radical change option). I gave him a deadline for the separation (three months) on the condition that we go therapy and that neither of us go out with anyone during that time. Something in my gut must have told me to make the monogamous conditional because normally I wouldn´t have thought to say something that was so obvious. Well, what he did was go to therapy with me (it was all BS) while he had the time of his life with OW and friends at his new single man´s apartment. They would have parties, expensive dinners and sleepovers, etc when our daughters were not there visiting him. I know all this because we shared a cleaning lady and after DDay she told me all of the stuff she would find the days after the parties. So Dday occured two months after separation and immediately after we had a beautiful Christmas family trip to the rainforest (where he was desperately trying to text his lover) when I found out he had a 15 day trip planned with the OW after our family trip (to compensate her for being with us!!). He was such an asshole that upon discovery the first thing he said was “Lets talk, let me explain, I don´t want a divorce” and I answered, “but I do and I want it for yesterday!” The idiot still went on that 15 day trip with the OW while my whole life imploded! He didn´t even care enough to continue lying and try to fix things !!!

    Later I found out that he had been with the OW for at least a year and that there were at least two others in ten years (that I could document).

    So, no, there are no exit affairs….just excuses to continue eating cake as long as possible…And, of course, the OWs don´t see him as a cheater, but as a poor neglected man who is not getting enough from his wife. They all use the same cheaterhandbook.

    • I forgot to add that recently, a year and a half after DDay, this idiot had the nerve to say that the separation was my idea! And that I pushed him out of our relationship by making him separate! He also told our youngest daughter who wants to believe that her father is not a lier, that he met the OW during the separation, so it doesn´t count as cheating!!! Everytime he opens his mouth he tells a lie!!

      • She will figure it out. Once the OW gets comfy she will let some detail slip in converstaion and your kid will be able to put two and two together fairly quick. She will be talking to a new acquaintances and say ‘ When Bob and I first met we went to this beautiful little bed and breakfast in Maine. I dont know if its still open because we went there in 2011’ … You will see. The truth has a way of making itself heard. Your kid will either turn a blind eye to it… Because she wants to believe her dad is still her hero… Or she will,process it and become angry. Its her relationship with her Dad. You have no say anymore. And the more u try to prove anything( not saying u are ) the shittier u look. and they still love their Dad when he forgets to pick them up, forgets their birthdays and spend time with them when it doesnt inferenwith OW time. Your heart bleeds for yr kid. Its one of the biggest fucking shit sandwhiches I have ever had to choke down.

        • When I told my psychiatrist that the older kids knew but not the 7 yr old, she laughed. “Oh he knew. He knew as soon as cheater started the affair. And he will blurt it out one day. But he knew. And he knows.”

          • A lot of psychoanalytically trained shrinks believe that children (and adults) know a lot more than they reveal. Like, the chump ‘at some level’ knew their spouse had been cheating for years, and kids ‘know’ what’s going on in the family.

            I think this is not only wrong, but also harmful. We sometimes know, at some level, that something is wrong, something feels ‘off’. But neither adults nor kids have magic powers to know WHAT is wrong, when, how …. And the very best liars can fool many people for a very long time. Saying people ‘know’ is a way to blame-shift and to avoid having to discuss things openly.

        • Clip,

          I’m constantly choking on the shit sandwich of my X leaving kids waiting for rides, forgetting things and even more, passing his crap attitude toward me to them. Your comment hit my soft underbelly as I found myself texting asshat a lengthy explanation (cake for his pleasure, gag me) rather than a curt ‘no’. He is fucking with our agreement everywhichway like a contortionist which is like a mini cupcake contest. I found myself weeping in frustration at work over it all…I have been a dry eyed badass for months….I think I need to change my diet to Rice Krispy treats!

        • That is sooo true Clip, my x moved in with ow so when my adult daughter went for a visit and was looking through a photo album of them–she noticed something in it that proved they had been together at least a year more than good ‘ol dad confessed to….she confronted him and sparks flew that day but again it was only painful for my daughter who lost the trust and confidence she had put in her father her whole life, devastating for her.

        • My ExH tried to tell my son he was living with a male friend after he left. My son said ” I don’t know what’s worse—him lying to me or him thinking that I’m stupid enought to believe him.” Kids are way smarter that you think.

      • I’m sorry Chumpednomore. You were married to a real jackass and a half. Speaking from experience, if a cheater’s lips are moving, they are lying (and expect them to keep lying to the children even when there is concrete evidence otherwise).

      • My kids tell me that their father told them that both he and I filed for divorce! He, and only he, filed for divorce. These cheaters will say 2+2=5 and the world is flat if they think that lying, even blatant, idiotic lying, advances their cause.

      • Sure, sure, he met the OW during a separation…that was meant to help the marriage…. In what universe does dating outside a marriage during a separation help a marriage? In what universe does avoiding your children help a family and marriage? It doesn’t.

        Your children will, unfortunately, see that their ass-hat father is a self-centered loser, whether or not they realize he was having an affair while married to you.

    • What is it about the trips? Is it an escape from reality? And what is up with the back-to-back family trips and skankations?! My STBX did that a couple of times. Maybe they get more “bang” for the buck from AP when they know they’ve spent time bonding with the family.

      • “Skankations” – LOL. I think you are onto something with the high they get from the exciting duality of their thrilling, important secret lives.

        • The mow always intercepted my husband after he’d been away with us. Like the same day. She did not want any lingering happy family time fucking up her goal to upgrade financially. And idiot bit every time.

          • nic,

            I wonder if my cheater was your “mow”? 🙂

            When I first discovered my cheater’s affair, before I confronted her, I assumed it was an exit affair of some sort so I prepared (legally, emotionally) to be left. However, she never took one serious or concrete action towards actually leaving. She was too busy being in love to do anything constructive about it, she was too busy being selfishly destructive.

            I too think exit affairs are extremely rare, and we probably don’t hear much about them because the person leaves and divorces, and later people wonder which came first, the divorce or the affair. And to be a true exit affair, I think the cheater dumps the AP fairly quickly.

            I think most affairs are “upgrade” affairs as opposed to “I’m a complete asshole just out to get laid to get my kicks” or true “exit affairs”.

            In the upgrade affair, the cheater either is truly in love with the AP or with the AP’s financial situation or the “easier” [fantasy] life represented by the AP. In most cases, the AP isn’t really going to marry the cheater, so the affair eventually falls under its own weight and the cheater stays with chumped, providing, loyal spouse.

            And occasionally, the AP doesn’t dump the cheater and they end up together, as I read about from many posters here.

            But a common theme in all cases is selfishness, looking for an easier life no matter the cost to us chumps, living more in a fantasy world than the real world, lack of empathy, and reckless disregarded for the well being of us chumps.

  • I think the ex tried to have an exit affair until I lobbed the ball into his court and let him decide what to do. (huge mistake) He stayed and wasted three more years of my life. I think some ‘exit’ affairs are cheaters testing the waters to see if their new sparkly kibble supply will be a better source too. They don’t want to give up half of their shit unless the kibbles are awesome.

    Having the benefit of hindsight I know without a doubt the affair I found out about was not the ex’s first rodeo. He was very vocal over our 18 years of child rearing about how much he despised the idea of paying child support. I heard (more than once) he would rather just get a low paying job so he wouldn’t have to pay much. I think he kept whatever trysts he had to one night stands when he was traveling and was very careful when the kids were younger. He projected his crappy behavior on me far too many times over the years to think otherwise now. Actually a few of my astute friends pointed out that randomly accusing your spouse of cheating for no reason is pretty standard cheater behavior. I spackled over that quite nicely too. I thought he was insecure.

    I know exit affairs exist and they may not be as rare as unicorns but I think it’s close. I still think that a cheater that ends the relationship this way is a colossal coward of the highest order but it’s not as shitty as stringing a chump along and wasting more and more of their time!

    • Cheaterssuck ,
      ‘ testing the waters’ We got a BINGO over here Bob! They aint gonna give up the comforts of home! Helllll no. These fuckers know they have it good. We take care of every aspect of their lives. Make it neat and tidy for the world to see. We are the the image maker…or keepr. And i am sure somewhere in the back of their brains … They were hoping u would take care of their AP too.

  • “They encourage you to make terrible investments in them.” ain’t that the truth. I’m beyond annoyed at how much time, money, and effort I wasted on my stbxh. Luckily it only took a few days to figure out it wasn’t an exit affair but that there had been many others.

  • I just want him out of my head. Evicted. Gone. I’m sick of his owning real estate in my head.

    Not angry, not justified. Meh. Sooner.

    Over it.

    • Don’t fight it, just process it. I have resigned myself to never getting “over it” completely. I don’t know a single chump who doesn’t have a raw spot. I know many who are living happily ever after, but who have a scar.
      And allowing myself to be human has been helpful. The more I fight it, the more anxious it makes me.

      I’ve made a lot of progress through the years. I’m now starting to date, too, 4 years later. I’m glad I waited, but it sure is a lot of fun.

      Your feelings are normal. You’re setting in concrete that what he did to you is flat-out wrong. That’s not a bad thing, as long as you keep NC or barest minimum, strictly-business-in-three-sentences-or-less contact. Stay away from drama, but do allow yourself to process, to compare your strong values to his lack thereof. You will be ok.

      • Ahhhhgreed! You Have to walk thru all the phases and the pain. Its the only way to get to the other side. No one is going to tell me how long I can grieve. I work… I am productive… i raise a child… I give back.. I enjoy the little things in life. I am not stuck. I am walking thru my pain at my pace. And if that makes other people uncomfortable so be it. For once in my life I really dont give a shit what other people think. I will not be told by anyone how I need to handle my grief.

  • “Exit affair” is just a succinct way to describe the behavior of someone who won’t leave a partner unless they have another waiting in the wings.

    Miserable as he claimed to be when he talked to others, my ex wasn’t going to divorce his sex toy/room mate (which is what I was to him in our final years together). But I think in some corner of his mind, he knew there was only so much of his emotional abuse and stupidity I would take, and made sure he had someone to cushion his fall when I finally left.

    • Exactly, Lulu. Affairs become “exit affairs” when they figure out you are on to them and they’ll need another arrangement soon. Until then, cheaters are happy to eat cake AND kibbles.

      • Like clockwork. Sometimes months, sometimes years later. It’s like they dropped a parcel that belonged to them and went back to fetch it. Again, the correct answer is NO.

    • “”Exit affair” is just a succinct way to describe the behavior of someone who won’t leave a partner unless they have another waiting in the wings.”

      My sentiments exactly Lulu. You very successfully put the exit affair phrase through the UBT!

      I might also add that the cheaters don’t “realize their unhappiness” until they find that person who will wait in the wings. Then all of a sudden the marriage that was working out for them up to that point suddenly doesn’t. They didn’t realize they wanted something else until that something else comes along.

      I say let em have it!

      • “I might also add that the cheaters don’t “realize their unhappiness” until they find that person who will wait in the wings.”

        Ain’t that the truth!

        It’s no coincidence that my ex started telling me about all these petty complaints about our marriage right around the time I suspected the OW.

  • I do not like the label “exit affair.” To me, it seems like a subtle blameshift or minimization of horrible behavior. It blames the relationship when it is and was always the cheater who is responsible for this awful choice. And it is not less devastating just because it was an “exit affair” when a spouse/partner cheats. That’s how I see it, at least.

    • Agreed. My ex did the exit affair and it was/is the worst experience of my life. Completely abandoned with no looking back. Nothing. You feel like you never mattered. But read CL post on “The Ones that Just Leave” I think Sept. 29, 2014. That post really helped me.

      • I’m with you guys. I guess mine had an exit affair but it was more complicated because while he mulled it over I was unknowingly doing the pick me dance and he did torture me. He starting coming up with lists of things he wanted me to do/change, some completely unrealistic and some contradictory. The goal post moving shit and setting me up to fail so he could feel justified. Wouldn’t admit to the affair, just kept up the “friendship” crap. That was part of the torture. He was treating me like crap, not acknowledging Valentines Day, not wanting to go anywhere with me and blaming it on his job stress. I was devastated when he left and pretty much still am. It almost killed me. I actually wish I would have died before it happened. My therapist asked me yesterday what I was most fearful about and I told her that I fear I will never really get over this, never be truly happy or joyful again. I still cry almost every day. I thought I was over that but it’s back.

        I do believe now that this wasn’t his first rodeo. He withheld for longer than I care to think about and he had to be getting it somewhere. He had more than one female co-worker “friends” over the years.

        • ^^^^ This^^^^

          The months while I was doing the pick me dance (unbeknownst to me) trying to address all of this “issues” with me (that had never been issues until then and then there was a scorecard) were horrible. Even he admitted he saw how hard I was working on these items and pretzel-ling myself into a puddle.

          “He was treating me like crap, not acknowledging Valentines Day, not wanting to go anywhere with me and blaming it on his job stress. I was devastated when he left and pretty much still am. It almost killed me. I actually wish I would have died before it happened. My therapist asked me yesterday what I was most fearful about and I told her that I fear I will never really get over this, never be truly happy or joyful again. I still cry almost every day. I thought I was over that but it’s back.”

          This was/is my life. Little did I know that the whore was completely in the picture along with his EA and lord only knows what else.

          Once I was naive and believed in “exit affairs”. Now not a chance. NO.WAY.

          • I’m with all of you because I lived it too. I don’t think a person who does the exit affair is better than other cheaters. There is something extra screwed up with a person who pretends to be a great husband and father for a decade or more then can just become the most cruel, cold-hearted creep to his devoted wife and kids without a second thought. DM is right- it is a subtle blameshift to insinuate this kind of cheater is slightly better. I did have a husband who told me he was unhappy but when I asked him why he would always answer “you should just know.” I think many times the unhappy thing is just more narcissistic garbage. Spouses should make reasonable requests from their spouse- not 3 ways, more porn and for us to ignore the children. Us chumps should be the unhappy ones- being lied to, mistreated, and devalued but you don’t hear us say that because we know our own happiness is on us not everyone else. I know my cheater is gone and he is still the same miserable person he has been for years- the kids say he’s even worse. Interesting how a divorce didn’t make him magically happy. What it comes down to is that each of our stories are unique with lots of crazy similarities but categorizing these cheaters from bad to slightly ok is not good. It all hurts to a point of devastation no matter what type of cheater we had.

            • Nicole S: So true!!! – “What it comes down to is that each of our stories are unique with lots of crazy similarities but categorizing these cheaters from bad to slightly ok is not good. It all hurts to a point of devastation no matter what type of cheater we had”

              It hurts no matter what….I do my best every day to wake up with a smile, and to move forward to a better life.

              Some day that karma bus will come to my ex-ewife.

            • That’s the think about my cheater – he was very insistent that it was ME who was making him unhappy. He placed the responsibility for his happiness on me and then later on his OW. She made him happy, but I made him unhappy. Funny, all along I thought it was my job to keep myself happy. And look at me now, making my own happiness like I always did. Meeting new friends, trying new hobbies, traveling more in the last year than the previous 7 years of my marriage combined, scrimping and saving to take my daughter to Disneyworld and having a blast as just the two of us. He’s still the same old miserable person, now with no friends and more anxiety and no job. Yup, I certainly was the reason he was unhappy.

        • Changing goal posts and creating lists of demands.

          The only thing that heals that is getting the hell away from that perversion, and setting your own standards, and becoming someone YOU like.

          The affair is the final justification for cutting out the cancer that you thought was your partner. Sadly, all the crappy behavior leading up to the affair–that we felt compelled to take, to internalize, to justify. But an affair? That’s a hard stop for a lot of people–it was for me.

          • Cancer analogy is spot on. Like chemo or radiation, the process of removing a cheater from your life is painful and difficult. Some days, you don’t know if you will make it. And even once you have recovered from the immediate trauma, many effects linger on. As chumps must remain ever vigilant so as to not allow the disease to recur, it can be difficult to reconcile the scars from our past with our desire for love and trust in the now/future.

          • I know it is a late posting, but same here, Stephanie. Suddenly the neglect, disdain, etc. The affair was “MY” exit! So, for me, it was an exit affair. Grabbed his crap, tossed it in garbage bags, threw them in the garage and and went to the hairdresser to get a new hairdo. He still tries to kiss up, texts, calls and even has his family try to contact me. **** him! Thank goodness, we don’t have children together. Clean break. My heart goes out to all my chump friends that still have to deal with them because they have children together. xoxoxoxoxox

        • My ex cheated for decades and once caught just left without a backward glance. Exit affairs? Hardly. More like sociopathy.

      • Thank you. That post you mentioned is helpful. I’ll just re-read it until it’s embedded in my psyche. 🙂 My ex did the exit affair too, and it was just as horrible as you say. I mean, how dysfunctional is it to envy the chumps who were kept hanging on a string by their cheaters?? It helps to realize that the no-hearted emptiness in them is the same, it’s just the outer manifestation that varies.

        • Fifi, I don’t envy the chumps kept hanging on a string. My heart goes out to every chump. I wish none of us had to go through any of this shit.

    • DM, I can’t help but envy at some level — and I know it’s ALL AWFUL — the people who got once-an-done exiting cheaters. It’s shocking, disorienting, horrible.

      But it’s no contact. Imposed by them? Yes. But IMO you heal up quicker without this person constantly feigning remorse for more kibbles. Begging to stay in your life, only to keep cheating. It’s hard for chumps to not give that second chance (then *we’re* the quitters), which leads to another sucker punch. Better they go and stay gone. JMHO. It’s all hard.

        • I’m with you on that Lina.you feel like you must have been so shit,made them so unhappy for them to have been so decisive.Its shit.he looks so miserable my ex now that I think how miserable must he have been before without me realising.x

      • I totally agree. It’s worse pain upfront, but most of us deal with the waffle flaffing and it requires us to make really shitty decisions we don’t want to make. It suck, it all sucks.

        • It does all suck.

          I don’t really like today’s post because it seems to be turning into the pain Olympics. And I don’t think healing quicker because of the circumstances is guaranteed. There can be many factors that can affect healing under either situation.

          Mine chose to run when my Dad was ill and now I’m alone coping with him slowly dying before my eyes before I’ve even come to terms with the betrayal. He also took money he could easily have left for me and my Dad just to be shitty. I could have used that money to pay for more help caring for my Dad. He almost died Monday because he was in a shitty short term facility that let him get so dehydrated that he became un-responsive. I couldn’t even get his PC doctor to help me get him on an IV or into the hospital. That money would have helped pay for in home care.

          • Lina

            I have my own sociopath. I’m sorry about your dad. Their (cheaters) actions are always aimed at hurting us, insert knife and twist. Hugs to you, just hugs. ?

            • Lina, I took care of my Dad after finally unloading my sociopath. I was actually glad of that. I could do for my Dad without a raft of shit about “what about me!” I cared for my Dad a lot for three years during stage IV cancer, and it wasn’t easy, but it was right. He stood up for me when the crapweasel was treating me badly. And he raised me right, so I came through that shitstorm in a fair to middling state, when it could have been so much worse. Somehow I worked through both those bad times.

              Hugs to you Lina. Please understand that caring for anyone; elders or spouses or children, is too freaking hard for a person who cares only for themself. Their loss, of course. You will do your best, of course. And hopefully, you will never forgive the shitty behavior that left you in such a hard position. Be mighty. Sending many hugs to you.

          • Lina: I’m sorry your father is doing poorly. Your X is evil for all kinds of reasons, but definitely for robbing an old man. Caring for someone who is chronically sick is immensely stressful. It’s small consolation in the midst of what you’ve been through, but you will know that you did the very best you could for your father and that he is grateful for your care.

            • Thank you Survivor and Tempest. X

              No, I can never ever forgive him for what he did to my Dad. Everyone that knows my Dad loves him, except for Guess Who?

        • newchumpatl,
          I agree with you on having to make crappy choices. My STBX, a few minutes after threatening to take me to court for something crazy (me truthfully answering an unimportant factual question with, ‘I don’t know,’ following hours of his outrageous and unwarranted interrogation of innocent people, including me, through text), called our kids, who said that we were going to a community recreational site. A couple minutes after that, the kids asked me if ‘Daddy’ could join us–on my custodial time. I hated to tell them ‘no,’ but I did. Jerk STBX sent me a text message around the same time, asking me if he could join us. I told him that we would no longer do joint family activities. I pity our kids for getting stuck in these situations.

              • The preferred answer is always “no” if you don’t have notice and a prior agreement in place. It gives you peace and drives the Fuckwad nuts. Two birds, one stone. If they want something to do with the kids that is not prearranged, they need to get it together in advance and make sure it fits their schedule and yours and fits their visitation agreement. And no, that doesn’t mean he can join your vacation. Ever.

                Good job, there.

      • The “exit affair” where they just leave with the OM/OW–initially, at least–seems like it would be rare. I probably would just call that abandonment, personally. Still stinks either way.

        Mine left and probably considers the adulterous relationship she had at the end was an “exit affair.” The only problem is that it was really a cake-eater issue. She was with this dude while we attended marriage counseling (7 sessions if I remember correctly) and was pissed off that I wouldn’t talk with her after I busted her giving her the choice to end it or have our relationship terminated.

        I wonder too how this category “Exit Affair” is often used in the RIC to make chumps feel like they “drove them to it.” Just a thought…Obviously, the cheater is 100% responsible for cheating whatever the surrounding circumstances.

        • Yes, I will say that there is something written in lore that an exit affair automatically means that the faithful spouse was deficient/negligent in some way. It must mean that we were cold and withholding–never that we stood by while our spouses abused us, while we danced for the public to show that we had a good marriage. We do such a good job of that–and they do, too, showing their best faces to our friends and family, to the people at school and at church–that people are shocked when the cheater moves out. Oh, that same lore holds that FATE and romance are what drive mid-life break-ups, not character disorder.
          And count me as one of the previously judgmental ones–knowing NOTHING about affairs, I assumed I knew. If a cheater leaves, obviously the left-behind spouse was deficient in some way. You know–“You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” And, “It takes two.” Or, “[S]he always did seem a bit [mean, off, cold, sexless, weird, cheap.]”
          Nobody wants to think THEIR marriage is vulnerable, so victim-blaming becomes a protective mechanism. “That would never happen to me, I’m [fun, sexy, fit, assertive, in control.]”

      • 12/26 will be 6 years since walk-out & never look back. I had 2 nervous breakdowns early on & his family (my only family) dropped me about a month later. I had a very nice therapist for a few years – that & meds really helped. Two years into “healing” I discovered Clump Lady & her nation. This blog is a daily pounding in that cheaters suck & that I’m not the only one to live this worst period of my life. At times I can’t believe that my prior fabulous life is gone. I’m not in denial, just disbelief. By the way, exit-owhore didn’t last as cheater is engaged to another, possible future chump.

      • I BEGGED my ex to give up OW, to come home, to fight for his family. He refused. He said I’d never forgive him. He disappeared. He must have thought he was happier. I figured he was happier. I ached with loneliness. I hated OW for blowing up my family (it was he who did it, of course, but she supplied the chemicals.) I turned to RIC sites, and fantasized that xH would one day return to being the man I’d believed he was (he’s not.)

        And now I am ever so grateful that he didn’t waffle, didn’t keep me tied up, didn’t waste my time. I’m so thankful that I did not allow him to continue to humiliate me. I’m so happy that I didn’t put my foot in my mouth in public by confronting OW or him. I’m so glad that the pain of healing began with ripping off the Band-Aid. A cake-eater situation would have killed me. The walk-out-never-look-back was bad enough. I now realize it was better than the alternative. Cold turkey is so much easier than hits of shame. Cold turkey hurts like a mother all at once, but the healing–walking through the fire because you have no choice–starts from the beginning of discovery. Feel the pain, and know that it means you are climbing a mountain.

        Trust. You will see.

      • I don’t want to play Rate-My-Pain-Level here, but having a man who had tons of bad qualities, but who had always been faithful and loyal to me, just abandon me for a girl half my age hurt so bad that I would have given a limb just to be able to do the Pick Me dance for a few rounds just to take the horrible sting out of it.

        My cheater was not a serial cheater. He dumped me when my money ran out for a much younger model, and now he’s extremely loyal and faithful to her.

        That hurts so much.

        BUT.

        I tried many times to leave him and he would literally beg me on his knees and not let up for months at a time. So in the end what it comes down to is that he had to be the one in control and now at almost two years from d-day I can see that. There would have been no other way to get away from him and I accept that.

        • After he left, I, too, wanted the chance to do the pick-me-dance, but he ignored me. Her pull was too strong. But I realize now that if he’d played me, it would have been utterly life-sapping.

          Don’t believe that your xH is faithful to the young one, nor that she is faithful to him. There is something deeply wrong with these people.

          • I was the same Stephanie. And the fact he never looked back will probably always be somewhat stunning, at least for me. But I was able to move on quickly. They are profoundly disordered.

        • There is definitely something in what you say about taking the sting out of it ML.

          OW here was younger too. I feel your pain.

          X

    • in the Taxonomy of Cheating is there really one branch that is worse or better? The classification of the cheater doesnt really matter because at the bottom of the filing system they are still the same fucked up species with different characteristics.

      Think I said this before …. If you compare a cheater to losing an arm ….there a multiple ways to lose an arm…. And none of them self inflicted. Exit affair = sudden traumatic amputation. One day your ok and the next your arm is gone. That pain is quantified and categorized differently. There is shock , denial , anger, mourning and hopefully… Rehabillation. In rehab u LEARN how to use tools to get by. Its never the same and you can remain angry for a long time even with yr prosthetic. You got no other option… Its gone. So however long you spend in denial… anger…while in rehab… Its still gone.
      The long term affair(s) = chronic illness and disability. Your not quit sure when it started but u have noticed over a period of time u are having troubles using your arm. You are told ‘ you are crazy. There is nothing wrong with yr arm’ You carry on day after day and insidiously you have a loss of function or blantant disease. You find out your diagnosis and you have options. You chose to hang onto the rotting dysfunctional limb for as long as you can because you have more fear facing life without it. You drag this appendage around for years … Endure the pain. When and if you decide to make the cut you are blamed for your decision. It takes a while post amputation to rehab… Similar steps of anger, denial and mourning. You get stuck in some of those phases. One day you wake up and say… ‘ holy crap .. I can do so much more now that I have this prosthetic’ and how ever long you spend in rehab you still have to adjust to it being gone.
      Whatever the trauma was… acute/chronic …the fact is you dont have an arm anymore. For some the adjustment will be slow with many obstacles and others never adjust at all. It comes down to acceptance and the ability to function/live despite it. Acceptance never takes away the phantom pain… But that pain reminds you that you had something once and u lived thru it. That is a self learned , self preserving strength that nobody can take away from you.

      • Thank you, The Clip. I hate Sundays, so I am rereading every post and feel so blessed to have found the Taxonomy of Cheating. it is in my language. Feels like it was made just for me. And on Sundays, when I venture into the pits of Hell thinking about the betrayal and the robbery of 21 years, this is divine providence. I printed it up and will post it/carry with me/sleep with.

        I felt uneasy with comparisons that were so eloquently referred to as the Olympics of Pain (Lina)/Rate-My-Pain-Level (Moving Liquid)/Blameshifting (Divorce Minister). Then this just took my breath away (in a good way!).

        There are times when the only thing that keeps me going are the posts on this site. Some days I swear I am doing great, feel insightful, can breathe . . . and then there are days of suffering that I would wish on no one. And I know who has those days. Chumps. Thank you all. You keep me from wanting to make a quiet exit.

        • I understand the anguish you feel at the injustice of it all, Virago. It can make you feel like giving up. This place helps so much just knowing that you are not alone. You are not the only one to whom this has happened. Try to remember that what has happened had nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person you chose to love. You are capable of love – they are not. Please, no quiet exits for you. Keep making noise in your life – your one and only life. Don’t let them steal your joy.

          • Thank you SO much, uneffingbelievable. BTW, love your name. Good reminder: wherever they go, there they are! Poor beasts.

        • Virago
          There were days when I felt making a quiet exit would be better then living thru the pain, shame and guilt. It didnt matter that I have this great kid who needed me or any other positives in my life. The pain was all consuming. I still have a lot of painful days. What makes this day different then ones previous? Its mine. I spent so much time thinking about him, us, family and the person I was with him. I couldnt identify who I was anymore and when my relationship died it took the me that I had become with him. In a sense I was dead already. If you were like me I identified myself by my role as a mother, wife and matriarch. My family was paramount and they all knew it. I was the glue that kept my family together. And somehow it was disposable. The proverbial slap in the face and disgard. It meant nothing. And he held power by making me believe that it was nothing. It wasnt nothing. It was an investment of love. But as you know some investments dont pay out. Thats ok. Time to invest in something that u know will grow… And that is yourself.
          Keep writing Virago. Dont matter if its simple, angry, or sad. Keep writing. Keep listening to the words and advice here. There are people 4 -10 years post dday on this blog. You dont need to be better for anyone but yourself.
          Take care of you
          Clip

          • OK then. That sounds like a plan! And I encourage you to honour this plan,as well. We have been to Hell. I think we need a new travel agent!

            And you are right on re the hollowness that comes from turning our focus entirely on our so-called soul mate. I, in the after shock, could not picture who I would be now. Imagine the manipulation required to turn an intelligent, happy, confident, middle aged professional into a non-person. OMG.

            And I let that happen to me! I owe me, so I will listen, Clip. Thx immensely.

      • When I first read this post, I felt defeated because the labelling the “exit affair” as less of a cheater, made me feel like I should be feeling less pain. After 27 years of a fairly decent marriage, based on very strong values, an “exit affair” was the ultimate F…..You, in my opinion. CH knew that I would give him his walking papers if I found out. He admitted that the affair actually was used partially for this purpose. (How kind of him).
        I know that the cake eating and kibbles feels really crappy, but not have anything from my CH makes me feel thrown under a bus. After a long marriage and friendship, this is gut-wrenching. I know the marriage was not perfect, but I did not deserve ending it this way. It has destroyed all that we had as a family. It has destroyed any possibility of normal/partially normal holidays together. It destroyed our friendship.

        He continues to be with OW. She is married and working on a divorce, too. She also used my CH for an “exit affair”. I am sure they are planning to stay together. Two “exit affairs” …. happily together. That is the plan. By the sounds of Chump Lady, this just might work very well.
        Both weaklings that are supporting each other and likely too weak to tell each other that it might not be working now. Hell….if they each last 20+ years in an OK marriage….why would then end this. Anyway, that is the way I see it. Doesn’t help my life ahead one bit. I would feel better if the cheater that ended my marriage disappeared. Those of us that deal with “exit affairs” that work out, need to face this OW/M in the future. That sucks!!

        • I totally understand that no contact could feel like having your arms and legs cut off. It is absolutely revolting that the cowardice of his behaviour made you responsible for ending it. That is beyond anything that is decent or acceptable or mature.

          And your suffering is totally incomparable to anyone else. Just remember, though, that everyone on this site has had an atrocious experience. We are in this together. And we will get through it together. And maybe that person was our best friend, but we can make other friends who will fill the role with more integrity and honesty.

          I think we knew things were not right but because of how they ‘worked’ us, we couldn’t put a finger on it. Now, however, we can put a sledgehammer on it! You are awake now. You know now. And it hurts like hell. But I believe, because these outstanding people say so, that it WILL GET BETTER (yes, yelling in case you can’t hear me!!!). Hugs to you.

  • Confused Chump, your question about women wanting to date a cheater caught my eye. There are SOME women who think they’ve won the prize, that the cheater has chosen them over their spouse, that somehow makes them “better”. These are women who were secretly jealous of all their friends in high school. The ones who flirted shamelessly with the best friend’s boyfriend. The ones who hated it when something great happened to a friend. Their emotional intelligence is probably at a 12-year-old’s level. They don’t look at WHAT they’ve won – it’s just that they’ve “won”. Quality does not matter to them. In most cases, the cheater chooses them only because it’s the path of least resistance. After they’ve blown up their marriage, they know it would take a colossal amount of work to fix it. And as we know, cheaters are lazy as fuck. So they take up with the affair partner because it’s easier. Because they are easy. They know that the AP is willing to accept chump change from them.

    • Yes. YES! I can see now that the women my stbxh was screwing around with were insecure and needy. Most of them knew me, or knew who I was, and I do think they were jealous of me. I’ve been told that people perceive me as very confident; I would challenge that, and can only assume it’s because I have a strong moral compass. Like most chumps, I know the difference between right and wrong, and I’m (usually) not afraid to take a stand. I think those with weaker moral character find us downright intimidating because they never know when we’ll shine a light on their misdeeds.

      • I was a threat to the mow too. She was the breadwinner, 4 kids & a husband, 50 yrs old and making lateral career moves for 20yrs. She saw me as the well-groomed sahm who shopped and lunched. Not true btw, anyone was well groomed compared to her. She was a dirty pillowcase looking thing who performed an endless supply of blow jobs like a trained monkey. Ends up she was a whore her whole life, a serial cheater with daddy issues. I don’t think she loved my h, I think she had to win. I think she hates women, kind of a shitty thing for a social worker. 2 yrs later she still tries to contact me and fishes for information from mutual acquaintances. (I’ve not really ever met her) She lost her job and had to take a huge demotion, an entry level position in her field.

        I have to say, my behaviour to the outside world when all the shit hit was like Jackie O. This classy persona is a huge challenge for me, I’m an overly emotional artist. I’m more the kind to launch all his shit all over the highway, photograph it, enlarge it, frame it. I always overdressed and was made up in public and behaved stoically. Once I returned to my manse (lol) I drank and cried and puked on my shower floor. For over a year. So I think she felt like the crass hillbilly she is. I’m proud of that particular behaviour and never contacting her, but I humiliated myself a lot too. Artistically, of course.

        • Nic,

          I would buy that art! And hang it proudly. I still have my days of coming home and puking. It sounds like you exhibited strength and fortitude as an award winning performance artist!

      • I’m going to park my ditto here.

        Capable women aren’t in need of a weak man’s praise… so it’s the incapable sort (the kind who came to be in bad situations and *won’t* get themselves out or are too stupid to know how) who are attracted to hollow praise by insecure or selfish men. And if that insecure/selfish man came to learn how to help because his wife showed him HOW to be kind and follow through? He’s a MAGICIAN. He was sent to her, directly, and they were meant to be!

        Meanwhile, Capable Wife is waiting to see him be the sort of kind human being she’s taught him to be… and all he’s gotten out of it is “How To Be Nice.” And he’s exercising his new skills on everyone but his wife and family. To behave as if he’s learned something would make her right. And he can’t have that. The whore gets the new version – presented as the original – and SHE thinks “This amazing man is not appreciated! His wife REALLY IS a bitch!”

        And then the facade falls away. “OW is a bitch too.” LOL

        • Amen to that! The needy little Schmoopies need constant validation and I’m sure they make every move by comparing the reports they get about the wife! They don’t realize they are being manipulated by a selfish cheater and groomed! Let the cycle repeat! It will soon be their turn to be mindfucked! They’ll soon realize they aren’t all that happy with the low quality prize they “won!”

        • I’m thinking she will see it sooner. After a year and a half with no more triangulation they have each other. She knows he is a serial cheater with mental health issues because I called her after DDay before I threw him out. I filled her in on his “pattern” of spring dating and depressive months. He didn’t want me to ruin it for him. All that quality time holed up in her shitty apartment while recovering from shoulder surgery and not working will feel like wearing an ankle bracelet. Nothing a BJ can’t fix. They really are dumb.

    • Do not forget the person that is in it for the money! There are certain people who will do anything for the almighty dollar. My X was extremely ill, almost 70 and well past his prime when he started his affair. But OW thought he was Daddy Warbucks and she was determined to get her piece of the pie. She was not at all subtle in the reason for her pursuit. She was more than a little disappointed when I put our assets in an untouchable trust, which I control. All that time on her knees for nothing!

      As for X, his was not so much an exit affair as it was his inability to accept the aging process. He just could not stand the fact that he was no longer physically atractive to most women. I didn’t care a whit about his looks. He was my life partner; I would have loved him no matter what he looked like. That wasn’t good enough for him; he needed adolation and OW was willing to give it to him…at a price. Ironically, once I was out of the picture, he dumped OW because she wouldn’t shut up about the “injustice” of him not being able to give her the money she had “earned” (her words, not mine). At that point, he could no longer ignore the fact their affair was strictly a financial transaction.

      I do not know if this was his only affair in our long-term marriage. I have no evidence there were others, but I am not so naive as to say he never cheated before. This one was different, though, in that OW wanted me to discover it and actually set up an incident that ended up in the media, just so she could be sure I knew about their affair. She was determined to see that our marriage ended because that was the only way she could have a piece of the pie, something she actually admitted to her own daughter. One of the reasons I believe in karma is that this plan completely blew up in her face, leaving her without a husband, job, or a home. And a daughter who will no longer speak to her. Karma’s a bitch, at least it was in my situation.

      • Violet,
        “All that time on her knees for nothing” … My OW thought she was going to get to live in my house. Hehehehe.

      • Wow Violet! Now that’s a flat out whore! No shiny sparkles or paint on that turd! She just wants her money! I suggest she use a couple of bucks for some comfy knee pads!

        • Violet

          I see this so often with women I know who are in their early fourties, They date guys my age and have nothing in common. When I inquire about his age they tell me and in the next breath they talk about his wealth. They want to be comfortable. That’s it. The guy looks bored as hell as she discusses her lipstick and orders multiple drinks when it’s obvious he is tired. In truth these guys know the women aren’t really interested in them and so they both use each other. Perfect delusion. And you have all the power. Love this.

    • ‘They don’t look at WHAT they’ve won – it’s just that they’ve “won”. ‘ – THIS. Describes my little sister, who “stole” my first gf (well, she was willing to go too, so she was just as much pond scum as the sibling) and had previously been hitting on X#1 (she was pissed I wound up with him, not her… in retrospect, they would have been perfect for each other). Unfortunately my oldest (adopted) daughter is like that too. She doesn’t mind being an OW (I think she prefers it); it bolsters her sense of self-esteem to “win” someone away from someone else. She once described it to me as that a person didn’t have much value to her unless someone else already wanted them. That she was only interested in the people that other people were already interested in, because if other people were interested in them, then that was like an “ask the audience” where the majority of people had already decided this person was of higher importance/worth/looks/whatever than their unnoticed peers. And she was determined to “get” the one that was the best/most popular/had the most social status/could do something for her financially. She also has the mentality that cheating is OK because you need to get your needs met, and however you can do so, you deserve it, because that’s just taking care of yourself. Part of me wishes I’d gotten her earlier in life; maybe she wouldn’t be as damaged as she is if I’d been able to. The other part of me thinks this damage was done way early in life and it will never be reversible.

  • CL is exactly right …exit affair people want out but are too cowardly to sit you down and have and have a very angsty conversation so they cheat and plan to get caught thus forcing the hand of the spouse…and I totally agree that they are likely much rarer than any of us initially guessed.

    The saying “a cheater is a cheater” is one I heard but didnt believe applied to my nowdeadhusband. I was ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that he had never cheated before Susan of Seattle…I would have literally sworn on my childrens’ lives. He was already dead before I learned there were more before her…he was a cheater and was one for a long time.

    “cake eating is shittier, because cake eaters inflict a whole other level of mindfuckery. They steal your time. They encourage you to make terrible investments in them”

    I was a wonderful wife, I really was…I kept all of his plates spinning in the air and didnt dare let one fall. I cared for the children he was sometimes amused by and I put a respectable face on his identity. I was also seemingly content to have almost none of my needs met…I gobbled up what few crumbs he threw me and told myself to be happy with them. <— that kind of cake is hard to give up and he never did. I continued to invest more and more in him. He faked "devoted husband" just enough to keep me on the line. He seemed genuinely devoted around the birth of each child but other than the big thrill hatching new human life, life with me was not enough to keep him interested.

    Confused Chump, you need to move full steam ahead with the divorce and ignore his shenanigans except as distant reminders that you are now on the right path.

  • I agree with Divorce Minister….100% cheater!

    @Anita, “Like wedding cake. Chump =wedding cake. Other Person = Ding Dong from the mini market.” good one!!!

  • This couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve had a set back on the path to “meh.” D-day 12/26/14 after 22 years of marriage. 4 kids found the sex letter from the much younger, immature AP. Classic gas lighting (“it’s not an affair, it’s a texting relationship” is my favorite… It wasn’t, on 1/13/15 he took her to a downtown business hotel for a few hours of limp dick sex (before he got Viagra) and he was texting me the whole time he was there then came home and had sex with me – disgusting!!!). Then into blameshifting, MC, and then the narcissistic mask was fully off at times and we saw his cold blooded/complete lack of any empathy or compassion. All the while he’s lying, saying its over, saying he doesn’t want to leave BUT also blaming me for the affair, his anger, having to work, our mortgage, the $$ we spent 10 years ago on daughter’s college, my being “u satisfied” with him, and “making him feel inadequate.” This was from a handful of conversations pre-Dday where I pushed back when he was blaming me for absurd shit- re cash flow, I was working 190 a month traveling, taking full care of kids, home, our rental houses, etc. and I asked him to work with a recruiter to explore a better job if he wanted more cash flow. How dare I???!!! That MADE him feel inadequate. He got a job making double in the first week after meeting the recruiter, but no matter! Mindfuckery!

    He left in late May. Said he wanted to date AP “openly.” Lied about everything since- where he’s living, etc. he has seen the kids an hour or less a week since then. In July when I hired a lawyer and started dating, he started calling and texting and emailing me incessantly to reconcile. I used the CN playbook: reconciliation is like unicorns. But I started started to think the hopeium thoughts: maybe he will break off with AP, get into intensive therapy and drug treatment (AP and he use marijuana all day every day now- it’s legal here).

    Setback: he started back at therapy last week and saw a psychiatrist. Cried on phone about how much he wanted to “reverse course.” This happened Sunday. I listened to his sobs for an hour. Tues he says he’s going to Mexico for a vacation — alone. Yeah right! This is a guy who hates Mexico and has never spent a night alone in his life. I called his bluff and said I had booked a surprise trip to join him with our girls for the last 4 days- sent him my itinerary. He flipped out! It all came out: he’s going with her, wants a divorce (was begging me to keep it on hold just last Subday), etc. I had an awful emotional reaction – spent a few hours back in the “pick me” mode. Like I can talk some sense into him, etc. an emotional slip is what I call this. Anyhow, he’s on the plane right now to a 12 day vacation. With the homewrecker. I’m feeling mixed feelings: devastated he did this and resolve to get rid of him. I know in my heart he is HORRIBLE for me and I want to move on. Thank you all for listening. ???

    • Jedi Hugs x 1000 MotherChumper99! It will get better, you are less than a year out and your stbx knows you very well, how to manipulate you and suck you back in. Excellent on calling his bluff and stepping back off his crazy train. NC as much as you can, no more conversations about anything except divorce and kids, use your attorney for as much of that as you can too. And if you haven’t got a therapist, please find one! It will help.

      • More hugs for you MC…stay focused. They do NOT change. Yes, this IS horrible for you. My divorce was one year ago today and it has been a year and a half since I threw him out like the days garbage. My life is very different now, but my day is full of my choices without his crazy. I go to bed at night knowing I lived an authentic life with him and he was a complete fraud. Your immediate future will be difficult, but with time without him you will be in such a better place.

    • Motherchumper99

      You are mighty – calling his bluff and standing your ground in the face of such a master manipulator. Too funny to offer to meet him on his “solo-figure it out” vacation – ha, ha

      My d-day was January 2015 and I am still living with husband (who only recently stopped seeing the AP) and lining up ducks.

      It is so confusing when you feel sorry for them – but you should really feel sorry for yourself as you seem way more talented and together than this cake eater!

      I am very impressed with your ability to move quickly and acknowledge that you deserve better.

      Good luck and stay strong.

      TC

    • Hang in there MotherChumper. Stay the course. Your gut is right!!! It IS devastating. It IS unthinkable. People who love you don’t do devastating and unthinkable things to you. Choose to stay sane and grounded for your kids; that means going as no-contact as possible. Personally, I found that I did the most healing, and rational thinking after about 3 days of NC… and it only gets better. Believe me, these cheater narcs can (and will) suck the whole family down, and not bat an eye. He won’t lose a bit of sleep worrying about you or your family. Hang in there. (((big hugs)))

    • Lawyer up IMMEDIATELY with temporary support orders and a financial freeze. He can’t spend marital assets on Mexican vacations. Time to go Mama Bear on him and protect your kids from this self destructiveness. Quit reacting and start acting!

    • Agree with CL… hire the lawyer. This often scares the pants off them. It did mine. He came off his “solo” vacation wanting to get back together too. ugh.

      Divorce was already filed and brokered so he couldn’t spend my assets. It’s really a clusterf*ck to say the least.

      Protect yourself and your kids first.

    • He is horrible for you (and eventually will be horrible for the OW, too). You are not in love with HIM, you are in love with an impostor that looks like him but actually has character. Keep that in mind. The sooner you can go no-contact with him, the better off you’ll start feeling. Hugs to you.

    • MotherChump

      Hugs, hire a lawyer, freeze assets (mine spent them anyway). Do what CL and the great nation of CL say. It doesn’t make the emotional mindfuckery easier, but the path on the crashed airplane is lit with emergency lights for you….follow them.

  • “Leaving comes with consequences”

    I believe it is “rare” for a cheater to cheat just once. Cheating is easy when you are with someone who loves and trusts their partner shares the same values. Yes,I was a mouse and he did torture me by cheating when I was most vulnerable, achieving a goal, and looking forward to something I planned for months. Not only did he get cake, he ENJOYED it for years. X knew I loved him unconditionally (big mistake) and further demeaned me by looking at other women, insulting me, and pretending we had a future together.

    I believe he graduated from one nighters, short term flings with customers to actively seeking out someone to replace me. X actively planned his exit affair for over a year at least. I believe he was dating to find the one who fit his criteria for years. Fuckalot thinks he’s a good guy and let him move in immediately. X was sparkling for sure. He was giddy and excited. X wanted ME to have consequences when he left. He wanted t ME to suffer. I think in his eyes I was the shit he lost.

    I’m beginning to wonder what consequences a serial cheating narcissist actually gets when they really don’t care about their children, the spouse, or the life they had after the exit affair.

    • I don’t think they have many consequences. They just keep on thinking their fabulous. When things don’t go their way, they find another chump who will take in a ‘lost puppy dog’. Sometimes the karma bus hits them but don’t hold your breath (IMHO). The best thing we can do is get the H away from narcs and live a life of peace without them.

      • “The best thing we can do is get the H away from narcs and live a life of peace without them.”

        Absolutely. The karma bus doesn’t need us to give it directions. It has them on GPS.

      • The entitled asshole and his whore actually believe he divorced ME. I have all the paperwork to PROVE I filed and paid for my lawyer. X probably lied about this too. I guess if HE filed it’s easier for her to fake orgasms given his issues.

        An exit affair for them is a victory. She pretends he’s a knight and he pretends he loves her to get a daily BJ. What a victory indeed.

        • My ex tried the old ‘I left you, Nord, get over it’. Unfortunately for him when I kicked him out I told everyone so while he and the final sidepiece like to say he left me for her the truth is I kicked him out and he resents me to this day for doing so.

          • Nord–what a horse’s ass. These cheaters always want to seem in control, even with evidence to the contrary. Why didn’t they worry about controlling their genitals?

            After news of his main affair broke, I made (now) X call his friends and tell them we were separated because I found out about his affair as a condition to my even considering reconciliation.

            Control the narrative, new chumps! Get your version of the story out there before the shock wears off and other people can be charmed by the cheater,or come around to thinking there is a balanced view of the dissolution of the marriage.

    • Their consequence is being them. Your X can run away from many things; he can’t run away from himself (to paraphrase Bob Marley).

    • The only time it’s ‘once’ is if they get caught the first time. In my opinion, at least. Everyone I know who has cheated cheated several times before getting caught.

    • “I’m beginning to wonder what consequences a serial cheating narcissist actually gets when they really don’t care about their children, the spouse, or the life they had after the exit affair.”

      I dont know if the Karma bus always comes in a way that others can see it but I think that even if it takes years, consequences DO happen.

      My cheaters consequences were pretty bad…I think he started cheating on me when I was a mouse of a woman, someone he easily discounted and betrayed. While he was off finding himself, I was becoming the best me I could be an when we were well into our wreckonciliation, I think there may have been moments when he admitted to himself that I was pretty terrific. Too bad that he had already cheated with numerous women and lied and lied and lied…there was no easy “coming clean” and I think it ate away at him..he hated himself and looked like a person who had a terrible secret.

      He hadnt felt good for a while but he refused to go to the Dr…he almost seemed to wish death on himself which he got when he died of a septic embolus. He thought death was easier than dealing with the lies he told on earth, but on earth you can disassociate your bad deeds from yourself (all you need is some denial or insanity) trouble is there isnt any of that in Purgatory.

      So he was dead at 50, the person who loved him for 29 years learned that he was such a complete tool that the $million life insurance doesnt make up for it, his kids rarely speak of him and another man now sleeps in his bedroom. I paid off my house when he died and I was thinking I might not bother to change the deed into my new name but it occurred to me it would be a special sort of “Fuck you” to put another mans surname on the house his death money paid for. (new husbands name isnt going on the deed, it is still 100% mine, his house is 100% his…its paid off too. woot woot)

      I am pretty sure that none of the ass or blowjobs he ever got were worth the horrible consequences he created for himself.

  • My XW mumbled something about a divorce one night. Two days later I put the pieces together and caught her facebooking her AP. I danced hard for days and set up meetings with our pastor and a MC. Finally two weeks of no sleep and no eating I gave her an ultimatum; him or me. She chose him then had the nerve to ask ” If I coose him, do I have to move out?”

    Duh!

    She moved into one of her sister’s homes until they had enough of her sleepovers with the OM them she moved to his apartment.

    It took almost a year to put the divorce through. And my life is still a living hell because of her.

    • Chumpdad—sorry about the story but the typo is priceless:

      “If I *coose* him, do I have to move out?”

      lol 😉

    • Chumpdad, my ex insisted a number of times that we should live together after divorce, I kid you not. He said alot of people do it. Entitlement knows no bounds with these people. Jedi Hugs and I hope you have moments of happiness and contentment, over time it will get better!

      • My ex wanted me to move around the corner while his grad student slut moved into the home we built. Cake eaters want to keep their cake where they can easily retrieve it if the new kibbles run out. The correct answer is NO.

      • Dat, my ex also insisted we should continue to live together for financial reasons after Dday and separation. He actually claimed that his own father had taken his cheating mother back in for financial reasons after their divorce, a total lie. He was enraged that I “wasted our money” by moving out and into my own apartment, and even more enraged that he was expected to pay child support and alimony. Of course he solved that problem by quitting his job and never getting another one, but such is life with a disordered fart from the devil’s ass.

    • ChumpDad: I know it sucks– I don’t think divorce is truly ever a happy occasion. Keep your back up. And remember that she does not have the power to ruin your life– it might feel like it. But if you always take the higher ground and do what you know is right, she’ll get hers. It might be frustrating to wait for it, but just wait for it…
      A friend of mine once said, “it took me a long time to realize that it was no longer my ex-wife’s job to piss me off.”

    • I’m sorry you’re still suffering, ChumpDad. I know you need contact because of the kids, but go NC as much as possible–respond only to factual info and only by text or email. You can’t get rid of the flu if you keep re-exposing yourself.

    • ChumpDad,
      The extent of entitlement or stupidity of these cheaters is awe-inspiring, isn’t it? My STBX told me to get him a dating service membership shortly after D-Day #1. Later, months after he filed for divorce and moved to a place extremely uncomfortably close to mine, he tried to get me to sign a contract that said I would move back in with him and live with him for a year as a ‘trial marriage.’ He wanted me to sign without him giving me any explanation of why he abused me over the years, how he had changed, or the chance to express what I needed and wanted.

      • The contract coment caused a flashback. My XW told me she wouldn’t hold my checking into a hospital against me if I signed a statement that the act of her leaving was abandoning the kids.

        My potential suicide was less important than her image.

        • These cheaters are about as warped as people can get. It’s really sad that they try to, sometimes successfully, use legal tools and the legal system to abuse their victims, often their spouses. By the way, my cheater tried to get me to sign away a very large portion of our assets by signing a contract, immediately after complaining about me, telling me that his affair partner gave him sex several times per week (guess I wasn’t ‘keeping up’ with her). He sure didn’t understand motivation. I refused to sign, telling Cheater that I would agree to nothing legally binding without first consulting an attorney. I hope that you told your adulterous wife that she could stick that document somewhere–perhaps in the mail to your divorce attorney.

  • I agree, cake eating is much worse. Exit affairs are hurtful, but repeated cheating is on another level completely….it’s disordered.

    MovingOn has a good point, too….sometimes it’s hard to know for sure, since some supposed ‘exit affairs’ end up being the final cheating spree of a serial cheater who had been at it for years.

  • @ LiningUpDucks

    You mean “the final cheating spree WITH YOU.” Because they will, guaranteed, cheat on their next partner, too ?

  • I felt like my ex left in an Exit Affair, but then when I healed enough to look at it clearly, she was probably a cake eater until I confronted her about her latest “Friend” from work. She always seemed to just connect with men at her workplace, but always assured me that they were only “Friends”. If I ever said anything about being uncomfortable with her relationship with these “Friends”, I would always get the familiar reply: “You don’t trust me”. I would eventually back down and even apologize for being suspicious. On the last one I put my foot down and told her that I didn’t think it was acceptable for her to hang out at a bar until 12:30pm with her “Friend” that happened to be a man(if that is really where they were). I got the usual “You don’t trust me”, but this time I didn’t back down. She gave me the silent treatment for 3 weeks, in which time I did the Pick Me Dance, then when she broke silence she informed me that she was moving out, but still denied that anything was going on with her “Friend”. After she moved out, I found the evidence that he was more than just a “Friend”. So looking back over our 18 year marriage I can see many times that she was probably eating cake, but she was able gaslight me with “You don’t trust me” so she could continue to eat some more cake. When she had to make a choice between her marriage and cake, she took the cake. She is now openly with the “Friend” now, which is fine with me. Let him have that cake eater. I wonder how long it will be before she is ready to try a new flavor of cake.

    So I feel fortunate that it all ended quickly and I didn’t have to Pick Me Dance for very long. So while she was having her cake, I was eating some shit sandwiches, but luckily I didn’t realize it was shit between the slices of bread.

  • Q. “Dear Chump Lady, What’s an exit affair?”

    A. An exit affair is any affair that is discovered at a time when the cheater can still keep his or her other affairs hidden and one of the spouses ends the marriage. That is, an exit affair is a kind of marital optical illusion: it appears to be the only affair when in truth it is simply the only affair *that has been exposed*.

    An exit affair is the only affair in your bad marriage the way the cockroach on your toothbrush is the only cockroach in a hotel that allows guests to pay by the hour.

    • Ugh…I avoided ‘separated’ men at ALL costs when I was single and dating. To me, separated = UNFINISHED BUSINESS. No thank you.

      I think exit affairs (for men) are primarily because they’re so ball-less that they need SOMEONE to wipe their asses once they leave ‘mommy’ to go live on their own. As the others here have said, these pantywaists are so used to having women do everything for them that they have NO clue how to run their lives if they move out into their own place. It must be very unpleasant for them when their laundry doesn’t magically appear clean and folded in their drawers or hung in their closets, or when every meal isn’t prepared for them so all they have to do is sit their lazy asses down at the feed trough and have at it. And what a dose of reality when their bathrooms begin to look like they’re growing a science experiment in them because the bathroom fairy that lived in their marital home has somehow the address to his new hovel and she’s long overdue for a visit.

      Poor, poor muffins.

      Of course they’re going to look for a substitute mommy to have someone to run to if they want out of their marriages. After all, they still need someone to do everything for them but to wipe their worthless asses for them, and SOMEONE’S got to do it because they sure aren’t going to.

      Right?

      • Quite right. And pity the sad sausage who hires a replacement chump and then realizes that he or she doesn’t have the training of his or her predecessor.

        • I only WISH that he had lived with Susan of Seattle for a while, she did not have 18 years of expertise on perfectly editing life for him…it would have been a shocking experience. Those men who are told to sit outside nail salons and wait for their trophy …yea, that would have been him.

    • Exactly. I even believed that my X’s affair was his first. He even said, ” . . .and I never cheated on you EVER, until this time.” Bitch cookie.

      The thing is once you finally get rid of the asshole and have the benefit of distance and some introspection, there’s no way she was the first. There were plenty, I just didn’t figure it out.

      God I’m glad I’m not married to that piece of shit anymore. Phew!

      • Yeah, mine said “I left her for you; that’s all that matters.” Bitch cookie.

        And no, what matters is you gave someone else your affection, attention, a trip to Mexico, and your dick. Game over.

  • Hmmm, I’m a little confused by this article. I’m wondering now if my ex-wife’s affair was an exit affair. She never mentioned that she was unhappy with me. In fact I thought she was quite content and comfortable. But after she left, she didn’t really make any effort to save the marriage or hoover. Just took off with her AP. There was an occasional phone call her and there that I never answered. And would probe mutual friends for info, namely to see if I’m alright (what a joke). She did say she was confused, all the while seeing the AP. I guess in the end i really doesn’t matter. All I need to know is that she is a toxic person that needs to be out of my life.

    Not sure this counts as hoovering but after months of no contact I came home last night to a bag at my door. It was all stuff that I wouldn’t have missed, like some old remotes to devices I don’t even own anymore. It was some stuff that she packed “accidentally”. But I have an eerie feeling it wasn’t accidental at all because this was all stuff that was out of the way and couldn’t have been mixed up with her stuff. Creepy.

    • Michael, coming to your home with a sack of useless artifacts she “accidentally” took from you that was supposed to break the ice for a conversation with her is Hoovering. Leaving it at the door when you weren’t home in hopes that you’d reach out and thank her for her sudden thoughtfulness is Hoovering. Hold the NC course and she’ll move on to a fresh victim.

    • It’s crazy hoovering. She cast a line out there in the hopes that you’ll bite and toss some kibbles her way. I’m sure you’ll get a follow up email or phone call asking if you received her package and are appropriately grateful. NC all the way.

    • Yes, it’s hoovering. They try to re-establish contact as a way to either lure you back into the crazy or get some kibbles.

      • Mine has taken to having parcels from amazon delivered to the marital home rather than the love nest – moved out years ago but claims that the address keeps reverting to a default setting and sending his stuff here. There have been 4 packages in the last couple of months with his name and my address. Too difficult to update details or just plain passive aggressive hoovering?

        • What springs to mind is that old Elvis song, “Return to sender…”

          Seriously, who doesn’t know how to hit ‘delete’ in the address section of Amazon? idiot.

        • He’ll stop if you stop notifying him and/or bringing them into the house. Just ignore them, kick them to the driveway if you want. He’ll figure it out.

        • Thats fine. You just scored some free stuff that way! If you don’t want it, you can always sell it.
          And ignore any communication he sends about the parcels. 😀

        • Ex did the Amazon accidental send to my house too. After the first one I simply kept the packages, anyone need a nice beard trimmer, never been opened? LOL

    • Mine involved a child in her attempt. She sent a bag of goodies to me via my Little Brother (volunteer organization, for those unfamiliar): a mailbox key (which I managed without for 8 months), touchup paint for the electric car I bought for her to drive just 4 months prior to her sudden run for the hills, a DVD belonging to a boxset her son left behind, and a sticker.

      All shit I didn’t need, sent via a child to boot. 2 months or so after that I got a friend request via XBox Live. I admit to being curious as to her thinking, though I doubt I’d be able to comprehend it. It’s been crickets since May.

      • Crickets is best, our friend. Nothing good can come from starting your work all over after a blast of that shit. Keep on keeping on as you have with NC.

  • I’m new at all this, but it seems to me that cheaters are having cake all the time when in relationship with chumpers like us ~~ because they either ARE pathetic or feign ‘patheticism’, so we do [fill in the blank] for them. At least this chump was masterful at that. They get walls washed and homes packed for moving because they are just ‘too busy’ in their office listening to self improvement tapes. ‘And besides, chump, I would have helped but you were being too [ cranky, meticulous, slow].’ The cake is simply dessert after entrees of entitlement and mindfuckery. IMO.

    The admission to the presence of AP seems to me to be simply agreement with what is KNOWN by chumps. It would be wild fun to make now-educated guesses to the state of fuckdom that used to be a ‘relationship with my Lover, my Best friend, my Life, my Soul Mate’ (excuz, am gagging on a love bomb here) and throw it at his crying face to see what stuck.

    And as entitled narcs who are terrified of being alone for one minute because they can’t tolerate their own personalities, they are probably looking for some/more cake all of the time. I recall being introduced a few years ago to the current AP and I had a feeling that someone walked over my grave. Spackle time.

    Cheaters are pretending and stringing chumps along ALL of the time, I think. Cake, cake; my kingdom for more cake!

  • And those lost puppy dogs sure love to lie to their OW and their flying monkeys about how “badly ” they were mistreated by their wives. I WAS told by ex that he was unhappy and he was acting unhappy and distant for about six months to maybe a year, that I could tell, before he connected with OW (which I found out about 3.5 months after that). So he did say “boo” about his unhappiness but I didn’t know what to do about it. I tried to be supportive and figured it was his messed up upbringing partly. I encouraged therapy for him. I’d had it earlier in my life and it was most helpful so thought it would be for him too. I didn’t see it as something about our marriage exactly at the time and only suggested marriage counseling after I found out about OW, but by then he wanted to be gone for good and had his exit strategy all lined up (yet accused me of not fighting for him when I told him to leave right away rather than his plan for three months later when it was convenient for the also married OW). I knew he was unhappy with me though earlier and at one time he said he made a “list” about what he liked about me and there were only four rather lame things on the list. In retrospect maybe that was my cue to hop to and pick me dance. I saw it as his problem though but was also concerned that I wasn’t enough for him which made me feel insecure with him. I even suggested a break so he could be happier with his life. He said he wanted more children and I no longer could do anything about that. So he only exited when he connected with OW though he had a chance to before and he left me blindsided though I treated him well and respectfully, just felt I wasn’t what he wanted anymore. Maybe my suggestion he could be happier without me freaked him out and is why he sucker punched me in the gut. I don’t know. Then of course later there was the rewrite of history and how I didn’t unconditionally love him like OW. Oh and there was that time maybe fifteen years ago when I was “mean” to him. That is literally all he could come up with about my actions. Anyway, four and a third years after DDay and going through hell along with our now fifteen year old daughter, I am so glad to be out of it and daughter is beginning to thrive again and I have so “upleveled” a la Melanie Tonia Evans. Thanks to whoever suggested her here on Chumplady. With years of support here on Chumplady, Melanie has helped too with the next steps to thriving and getting a life.

    • Atmeh–He was already in an affair at the time he started the “I’m unhappy” meme. If it wasn’t the OW you know about starting earlier than you think, it was a different OW. Amorphous reasons why they are unhappy = “I am having an affair.”

      • Would be same OW Tempest since he obsessed over this person, old high school girlfriend. I thought it was stupid and puppy love he couldn’t forget. She was married after all with four kids. It did destabilize me though. The pick me dance. Who knew she’d “win” the dance sixteen years on.

        • Yeah, it’s painful and tough to wrap your head around. Consolation is that the OW “won” a disloyal and ultimately cruel pile of dog-doo.

    • I’m also amazed at how effective the “loveless marriage” or “my wife doesn’t treat me well” line is at lining up APs. It’s the sad sausage ploy turned into affair strategy.

  • EXIT AFFAIR:
    I was a co-dependent, married to a huge narcissist. Everything was all about him, always, to both of us. The bigger he got, the smaller I got.
    Honestly, I don’t think he ever cheated. He’s actually not smart enough to pull something like that off.
    Needless to say, I tried to speak my mind about being unhappy for a long time. Until I quit because narcissists don’t listen. I had a lot of fantasies and dreams about being single.

    This went on for years. So, when I met someone who treated me better than my husband, naturally I took the bait. He lived 500 miles away, but we found ways to communicate, even if it wasn’t physical.

    Talk about a narcissistic injury!
    I told the narc we should go to counseling, if he wanted to fix a marriage neither one of us had been happy with in years. I told him to make the arrangements, if he felt like it was worth fixing. He pawned it all off on me but I set up the appointments anyway, mostly because of our daughter.
    We went to marriage counseling for about six weeks before deciding to separate. After being separated for a month, my OM came to visit. Sparks.

    The narc questioned me directly in marriage counseling the next week.
    “did [he] come visit you?”
    yes he did.
    “did you sleep with him?”
    yes I did.
    (I said it right into his eye, in front of the counselor. I didn’t flinch.)
    That’s when he handed me the divorce papers (“I suspected that so I took the liberty of filing…”).
    I felt like throwing a party!
    He got to ceremoniously serve me papers, then tore into the counselor for not saving our marriage.

    Am I a coward? Certainly.
    Did the “exit affair” set me free from a narcissistic bastard who had sapped my soul for 23 years? Absolutely.
    Does that make me a hero? No way– I had an affair. I’m not proud.

    The narcissist, who never told anyone we had problems, got to tell his friends and family the shocking news that we were divorcing after all those years, and add to it that I’m an adulteress. I’ll take it!
    He gets to eat Ego Kibble. His new wife thinks I’m a total bitch. That’s okay.
    I’m free! Except now I get to navigate having shared custody of our daughter.

    Did the new guy end up being a narcissist/borderline bipolar addict? Yeah! So I threw him out and put all of his things in storage. There is an arrest warrant for him in my home county.

    I swore off men until I found a sweet, reciprocating, respectful man whom I knew was the most decent individual I’d ever met. He’s the cat’s pjs, and not mentally ill (score!). ChumpLady, your descriptions of your husband make me smile, because I think of my fella. He’s a handsome, guitar-playing dork who would never try to harm me. Sold.

    Exit affairs exist. I’m not a serial cheater. Mine proved I’m a coward but set me free.

    • Perhaps you’re the exception that proves the rule. But I find your description of the thrill you got disclosing your affair to your husband very disturbing. Frankly, it reads like a bad soap opera, with you as the star. Is there such a thing as a victim-brag? I think you may have just invented it.

      I hope you’ve gotten good counseling about how you ended your first marriage before you entered into a serious relationship with your current good guy. I also wish you all the joy you were denied in your first marriage. Good luck!

      • I guess the timeline is unclear.
        My marriage had been over for a long time before the affair.
        I did not sleep with the other man until I had been separated over a month.
        That man ended up being a very bad person. Probably a punishment.
        Years later: good man.

        • Ok, so you say you didn’t sleep with the other man until after separation but you still had him lined up and ready to go. That’s called an emotional affair. That your genitalia didn’t meet until you separated is a mere technicality. It was still an affair.

        • Yes, yes, your marriage was over for a long time, but whoops! You forgot to end the marriage before getting involved with someone else. A teeny tiny whoopsie little mistake and fuck that motherfucking narcissist you were married to because he just WAS NOT FULFILLING YOUR NEEDS.
          Or, alternatively, you’re the narc here and while he was out working and maybe being a decent guy you were online trolling for kibbles. And then you found someone willing to bite and golly gee, he was so much more understanding than your boring spouse! So while maybe (MAYBE) you didn’t fuck kibble boy before separating you were quite happy to carry on an online affair.

          Fuck you. You’re a cheater and you suck. Take your pity fucking party and your bullshit ‘I’ve learned’ somewhere else. It’s people like you that make people like us gather on Chump Lady. -This is really not your neighbourhood.

        • Marriage over, meaning you had a meeting with your husband and, just like you both agreed when you got married, you both agreed the marriage was over?

          Probably not.

          Marriage over is code for, “I haven’t been happy for a long time, but I’ve really done nothing about it.” (That’s probably in the UBT somewhere.)

          So unless you had an adult conversation with your husband and both mutually agreed the marriage was over, or you went through the legal process to end the marriage, it wasn’t “over for a long time.”

          You were enjoying whatever benefits you perceived you got from the marriage until you thought you had better benefits elsewhere.

    • Your an asshole who found a replacement instead of leaving your marriage honestly. You got your kibbles and your blame shifting your ex, who is typically A Terrible Terrible Spouse. Seriously, fuck you with your justification. If it was so bad you would have left long before you found someone to fill that empty space.

      • Well yeah! I mean, he must have been a narc! Oh wait, she’s the one who was sniffing around for kibbles outside the marriage instead of ending it respectfully or working on it. Sure, she went to counselling but only to make the supposed narc do the pick me dance. ‘Be more of what I want you to be!’. Sure.
        I’m really glad the husband had the divorce papers ready to go. And I kind of hope the new guy realises he’s with a freak.

    • I’d say your name gives your game away. Kind a synonym for douche-canoe.

      And I’d say it suggests your “Pootz” is available to the next feller on a barstool who waves something shiny at you.

    • I think YOU are the narcissist, not your ex-husband. Was your marriage so awful that your husband wasn’t catering to your every whim, huh? No kibbles for Miss Narcissistic-Slut, right?
      If your husband was ‘so awful’ – there is such thing as a divorce. You know, having an ADULT CONVERSATION saying “This is not working for me. My needs are not being adequately met and this is a dealbreaker for me. I feel a divorce is necessary.” Being an honest human being and allowing your husband to have an HONEST chance to live his life with all the facts in front of him.
      Except – you’re not fucking principled enough to be able to be single without lining someone else up in the process. What are you, 3 years old? Grow the fuck up.
      I’m betting there was plenty of shit that you did that your husband couldn’t stand and he was fucking sick of that shit, too. Except, he wasn’t solving the problem by getting sparkles from strange women – like you seem quite adept at doing.
      Go fuck yourself, whore. Its skanks like you who are the reason that CN exists in the first place.

  • I guess I’m unclear on your timeline. Were you separated with a view toward divorcing? If you never went back to him or lived with him or slept with him… you just went to counseling? To what end? Maybe you’re being hard on yourself? I can see that it’s weasel-y to let him think he’s “saving ” a marriage you are checked out of. That sucked. Better to be honest about that and chuck the counseling.

    Anyway, I don’t believe once a cheater always a cheater. I think personal growth is hard and takes a long time and most folks — especially serial cheaters — don’t see any benefit in a life of fewer kibbles.

    You underscore a good point though about fixing our pickers — dating while separated is fraught on a lot of fronts, and one of the dangers is being wobbly and vulnerable and choosing poorly again.

    The important thing is to self-reflect, learn, and do better next time.

    • We should have been in counseling years before we went.
      We entered counseling while we were married, after I met someone who lived far away.
      I thought we could work on having me let go of the other man, if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better.
      He failed to learn anything, and we separated.
      A month later, we were still in counseling and the other man came to visit and the narcissist filed for divorce.

      • Yeah, I’m a bit unclear on just who the narcissist is in this picture. You went to counselling hoping it would help you let go of the OM, ‘If only the narcissist could learn how to treat me better’. Pick me dance alert.

        Think we’ve got a troll, folks.

        • SMH – Why do these assholes come here?

          I especially like the comment, “I thought we could work on having me let go of the other man, if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better. He failed to learn anything, and we separated.” That’s hilarious. Yes Snootypootz, why on Earth was he not kissing your ass, since your affair was showing him how desirable you were.

          Pathetic.

          • Yes, nothing about her working on the marriage. Dammit! He’d better act the way I want him to act or neener neener I’m not going to get rid of my kibble supply! PROVE TO ME YOU WILL BE WHATEVER I WANT! What an asshole.

          • I thought my husband would dance a little faster and prettier now that I had a sure thing. But he disappointed me, so I called him a name, and bailed. And it’s ok, because in my mind, The Marriage Was Long Over. Why, I’m FULL of cliches! Now I’m with someone who pleases me. And I’ll bail on him if he lets me down, too, dragging my daughter along for the show. As for me, I’m unscathed–your insults mean nothing to me–watch me use your words on myself!
            My soul is made of Teflon. I think I have a soul, anyway….

            • Oh and this . . .”I thought we could work on having me let go of the other man, if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better. He failed to learn anything, and we separated.”

              She actually thought, “WE could work on having me let go of the other man.” Are you fucking shitting me??

              Yeah . . . and her X is the narcissist. Ok.

      • “I thought we could work on having me let go of the other man, if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better.”

        Enh. See that just makes it worse and more like cheater-speak and not I Did A Terrible Thing I Regret speak.

        It really doesn’t matter how Awful he is — what matters is how you conduct yourself. “We” don’t work on letting go of affair partners. That’s on YOU.

        Once you introduced the OM, you created a pick me dance dynamic (as others pointed out). That means you’re still very much IN that relationship — wanting to punish him, wanting a reaction from him, want a pick me dance — you’re engaging and you’re NOT ending it. You’re eating cake. HE ended it, and however Awful he might be, I don’t blame him. I’d advise him to do exactly that. He gave you what you apparently wanted — to be free of him — and it doesn’t sound like OM was any better.

        OM did not “free” you from the marriage. Your ex freed you when he divorced you.

      • How come you were not treating yourself very well dear?

        You wrote “I thought we could work on having me let go of the other man, if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better.”

        Dear, you were the narcissist here. Thinking it was OK to have an affair with the OM is decidedly narcissistic behavior.

        You didn’t like your relationship with your husband.

        Apparently you were willing to give up the relationship with the OM. So it couldn’t have been that good.

        Perhaps, what you are missing in all of this is the common denominator here, you. If you had bad relationships with your ex-husband and the OM, then perhaps you are the problem.

        Not saying they are perfect. What I’m saying is you are suspect given your self-confessed track record of affairs and relationships.

        Do everyone a favor and don’t get into any more relationships until you figure out what is so wrong with you that you decided it was OK to betray your husband and then blame him for your actions.

        No matter how bad your ex may have been, it doesn’t justify your choices of behavior.

        Instead of casting stones, get help for your numerous issues.

        • “if the narcissist could learn how to treat me better.”

          Arguably one of the most narcissistic things a person could say.

          • Game, set and fucking match. This whore is just projecting her own nutjobbery onto her husband. Two words: GROW UP.

  • this is so timely for me. My Ex and I were divorced in March 2015. He started an affair with a married woman he met on FaceBook. She lives in a neighboring state. Her Ex divorced her in Nov. 2013 when he found out about her affair. My Ex quit his job and ran to her condo to live “happily ever after!” Update is this: he has suffered some horrific health problems and she finally kicked him out! You guessed it, he’s back at my door! Now what folks?

    • Roberta, keep your foot firmly planted at the bottom of the door, from the inside and do not open it. Let him rot in hell along with the rest of our cheaters. Be strong and keep us posted.

    • What do you mean ‘now what?’. Sorry for the tough talk but there is no ‘now what’ as far as you and your ex go. He went off with another woman, you divorced, that’s the end. Good luck to him. He made his choices. Let him live with them.

    • Roberta,

      I don’t want to sound harsh, but your Ex made this hard bed and now he needs to go lie down in it. When you were near death he told your children that they would have to handle it because he didn’t want you to “get the wrong idea.” In fact, he and his Schmoopalicious, from what I recall, were discussing the merits to them of you living versus you dying. He never even came to visit you or made inquiries into your well-being. Instead, they tortured and harrassed you. You owe this outhouse disguised as a human being nothing. What he is experiencing is the harvest of the seeds he himself has sown. Too bad, so sad. I hope he enjoyed himself. Looks like the party is over and the fat lady has sung.

    • Roberta–You are a kick-ass contributor of CN. Keep it up. Jackass is no longer your responsibility. Let him find a previous AP or (did you have children?) a relative who can help him. Done and dusted. I’d feel more like helping a homeless person with cancer.

    • Roberta,

      I concur with the above advice. Choices were made. When one door closes, others open. Your door is still closed. He found an open door once, he’ll find another one. Just keep living your wonderful post divorce life. I adore reading your kickass posts!

    • Not your problem! Let him reside in a shelter if need be-he did not care one bit about you when you were sick, in fact if memory serves correct he and ow were licking their chops waiting for you to kick the bucket

    • Roberta, he’s the EX. He’s not your problem anymore. He’s got kids. They can choose if they want to help their father or not. NOT YOUR CIRCUS. NOT YOUR MONKEY(S).

    • Roberta, he has pancreatic cancer, right? And he abandoned you when you yourself were going through cancer treatment, right? So there is no “now what” to be considered here, there is simply the karma bus making its rounds. Your ex is no longer your problem. Now that his shmoopie has dumped him and he wants YOU to be his nurse, simply tell him no.

  • Unless you are planning on starting a hospice, Roberta, I would say tell him your divorce was final in March.

    I know it is hard when you’ve had years and children and all that stuff, but really, what is he asking? He wants you to pick up the pieces and do all the work for a wreck that you did not cause. He made his choices. This is a consequence. Too bad for him.

    He chose to live for himself, without a thought for you and your family. Now he can figure out how to die by himself. His choice. His problem.

    • Thank you all for the reminders of what a stellar husband he was to me! I needed that 2×4 upside my head! Why is it that as soon as everything is final and you are just beginning to feel decent again, these folks find you in their Rolodex? Do they have radar and see that you just might be ,Gasp!, happy? I swear, does it ever end?

      • Because they cannot stand the thought that you pulled yourself together without their fabulous selves and want to jack it up. Ignore him. Let him sort his own life out. You’ve done this amazing thing of surviving his bullshit. Do not give him another chance to drag you down. Let go of the rope.

      • Didn’t you say you were terribly ill when he decided to run off with that woman? He’s not your responsibility anymore. It was a long hard road getting here. Don’t do it again, move forward with your new life.

      • Roberta,

        You are my Shero! You have been such an encouragement. During the last couple of months prior to my divorce becoming final, I always thought of you and my spine became like a steel rod. You have truly been a light on a hill. Stay strong! Fuck that guy!

      • Dont they have VA hospitals or medicaid nursing homes for people who abandon their families and then get really sick? You had a sickness and health clause with him in your marriage that he chose to destroy. Sucks to be him.

          • Thanks for the compliments guys! You’re making me blush here! But all of you folks are and were my strength and you are still here when I need you the most to keep my head on straight.
            Interestingly enough, old boy is just a chatter box on the phone now so I ask just about everything I can and I get actual answers! Not the usual “i don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. I just throw something out to him and he yaks up a storm! Some information has been quite interesting. He volunteered that Schmoopie demanded he tell her that he loved her at a minimum of 25 times a day! She also reminded him daily how special she was for taking care of him during his illness. Reminded him everyday that she wanted him to take me back to court and “redo” our settlement because she was livid that he had “given me” everything! I asked him if she was aware of the no upward or downward modification clause in our settlement. He said no as he would not let her read the settlement agreement! She demanded that he come to bed when she did and even when he was really sick, she needed some slap and tickle time! If he didn’t comply then she would threaten to kick him out of “her condo”! She reminded him that it was her home and he had given his home away to me!! He told me she would state daily, is this or that better than your ex-wife’s cooking, cleaning. Etc.? Very insecure! He then found out that she would “praise the Lord”
            And was a huge Jesus freak with a habit of visiting all the strip mall, store front churches and she demanded he do so also! They argued constantly over anything! He said from the moment he moved in she let him feel that he could do nothing right! She demanded his constant attention so he was unable to read, watch a sports game or anything that did not involve her as the center of attention! He said she was always jealous of me even after the divorce and if I texted about unfinished business or even if I sent his mail to him then she would go apeshit all day! He finally told her he was leaving and he refuses to go back to even get his things! He’s making arrangements to have his belongings picked up by his brother and a friend!
            I’m not saying I’m buying his bullshit, but I hope it helps the chumps here to get some “insight” to the darling Schmoopies they threw us over for. I find it hard not to laugh! It confirms just what we already knew, he would always tell my kids she was taking excellent care of him and he was happy only because she was sitting in his face and he had no choice! He told me he was miserable from day one and once he got ill she was worse to him! He basically ran away from his new home! Bwahahahaha! So much for the perfect Twu wuv!

            • Roberta, now you know some of your ex bullshitted to told HER about YOU when he was cheating on you. They lie about everything…I KNOW you won’t let him back in your life. I HOPE you will stop talking to him, go NC totally for your mental health. “Don’t ask me no questions, I won’t tell you no lies”. LIars, they lie.

            • Roberta I love you. You do know that there is nothing that your Ex says or does that is not completely self-serving. Decides he’s going to cheat? Roberta was a good wife, mother, best person ever – but I deserve better. WTF! So he treated you abominably – yes, not just bad but abominably! – and was somehow able to rationalize and justify how he treated you – because it served his interests.

              You will never truly know what exactly has gone on between him and his TwatBook companion. I believe there is probably some truth in everything that he has told you, but he has distorted it to make it appear that he was an innocent victim of the evil queen who spirited him away in the night and held him captive. I call bullshit! Captain Save-A-Ho volunteered for Evil Queen duty – even ignored a possibly dying wife to remain on Evil Queen duty.

              Roberta, stick a fork in that sad sausage and remove him from the grill of your life. He’s done.

            • Karma is a bitch, isn’t it? …..to cheater pants.

              No doubt he is playing on your big chumpy heart.

              What! You refuse to ante up? Especially when he’s gone to all that trouble to concoct his sob/horror story? But, but, but….he’s suffered so much, and is continuing to suffer. How can you turn your back on him! He’s seen the light! Schmoopie is really a bitch. She snookered him! She was really after….gasp!…… his money! She was…double gasp! ….using him!

              And here you are, living in the lap of luxury, refusing to step in and take care of him when he needs you so much. Oh, the agony! Oh the pain! Everyone should just forget that he abandoned you when you were so ill. No one should mention the pain, humiliation, and grief he dished out to YOU. That he was perfectly fine with trying to leave you ill, penniless and homeless so he and Schmoopie could have it all. Only HIS needs matter. Let bygones be bygones….HE NEEDS you now.

              Ack! I have to quit before I make myself barf.

              Roberta, Honey, he’s just manipulating you because he sees you as stupid and gullible enough to take him in and take care of him in his final days. It’s not love, it’s entitlement. He’s just trying the same shitty moves that have worked on you before. …he expresses a need, you should step in and fill it. Oh, he thinks he has you trained well. He is just trying to use you….again.

              Don’t fall for his bullshit, Honey. You are worth soooo much more than that. Tell him he can go fuck himself, you have the rest of your wonderful life to go live. Without him. Go NC on his worthless ass. Let him reap what he has sown. It doesn’t mean you are heartless, it means you are smart, and too healthy to get sucked back in to his toxic insanity.

              You deserve better, Girlfriend.

            • Roberts

              You are like most chumps in that you love too much. We ask ourselves the nagging questions and are left to fill in the blanks. Here we found our answers regarding the heartless selfish cowards. Shit, I see a woman running with bags in the rain and offer her a ride. They didn’t appreciate our goodness, our soul.

              In my mind you have two choices and you have to be able to live with your decision. You can take him in or treat him respectfully and honor his wishes to be single. It’s hard to be in a chumps position of winning the pick me dance by default.

              You loved him. You were in need. He could care less. Respectfully honor his wishes to be single. The things left unsaid and the need for closure are probably the most unsettling things to deal with in your situation. I just know if I took the X back in this situation and blamed me I would smother the fucker (joke of course)

            • I just recalled asking X-small (his latest nickname) what SHEwas giving up. Nothing. She spreads her legs nightly picking up guys and along comes the con man serial cheater with his good guy abuse bullshit. There are NO returns Roberta. No returns after DDay. Stay happy. Live your life. You wasted enough energy on the asshole.

            • Roberta, this is the man who had no qualms about wishing you dead and wanting your possessions after you were gone – were they not having conversations about divvying your stuff up when you were mortally ill with lung cancer and the recovery stage? These sentences alone should be enough to say “I don’t want you back. I don’t EVER want you around me ever again. You viewed my life as merely disposable, why the fuck should I care about yours?”

              I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the stuff about the skank was true though – they are disordered, insecure pieces of shit. It shows their toddler mentality doesn’t it? Can’t be merely content with ‘what is’ – they need CONSTANT validation and kibbles.

              Stay the course, my friend.

              • Roberta,

                You have always given me great advice and support. You’re a wonderful person and deserve to be treated as such. You deserve someone better than that arse. Tell him to piss-off.

  • No you’re not a serial cheater. You’re a cowardly whore who blames her “narc” husband for the fact she couldn’t keep other penis’ out of her vagina. If he was as awful as you say, you could have just divorced him. Fuck off.

    • Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. That hazy timeline, the ‘horrible’ ex, the kibble supply coming from the other man, the joy in sticking it to the husband in therapy, the ‘if only he danced the way I wanted him to dance’ bullshit.

      Blameshifting, gas lighting, and massive dollops of self-pity – in a mere few paragraphs! Impressive.

      • Anyone who comes to an infidelity blog like Chump Lady and admits to her “exit affair” and defends it, is a fucking loon.

        Furthermore, I’d bet the reason she’s even here is because sparkly boyfriend cheated on her in the end. She comes here to feel better. Awe! That Karma sure smarts, no?

        Oh yeah, it’s all good, she’s got a new dude. Please, just stop.

  • My ex ” punished” me by filing for a divorce after I discovered his affair. Told people that he couldn’t handle my anger! My anger was because of his affair.
    Wow the spins he would weave!!!

    • Standard ploy of cheaters, Jenn. “The problem is not what I did, it’s your reaction to it.”

      So you don’t feel alone, here is the BS my X sent me the day I filed 2 months after D-day (I guess he thought I was just trying to scare him rather than being serious about divorcing his ass): “What, I guess, I need from you is a commitment to try your absolute hardest to do whatever it takes to get over this and focus positively on the future with me as well as a decision to do your very best to let the past go. In that case,My own preference, for what little it is worth, is to focus on the good stuff and the future, to be positive, deliberately upbeat and constructive while understanding you might have bad moments or flashbacks…… I think that we can fix all that has been wrong, but only if you can let the past go.”

      I.e., I was supposed to go back to my cheerful bouncy self TWO MONTHS after he blew up my world. Asshat. I’ve never been so happy to free of the mindfuckery.

      • What I’d like you do to Tempest, besides cheerfully forget how I fucked you over, is to steady the knife FOR ME, when I plunge it into your back. And please, do it cheerfully, because otherwise I’ll feel bad. I need you to focus positively on how I’m doing it.

      • Wow Tempest, your X sounds like he was confused as to who needed to try their absolute hardest there, and really as to what his situation was right then.
        Also, good for you filing 2 months after D day. It took me 14 months to move out and still 3 months after that to file. All wasted time and added pain. After I moved out, X moved in with me for a brief minute because he was ready to work things out. He accused me of being too demanding (as far as asking for transparency), making him feel too bad about himself, and that things just didn’t “feel the same” because of my negativity. Ran back to his gf in 3 days. Fuuuuuuck thaaaaaaat.

        • SMH. These cheaters–offended when we ask for ANYthing in the marriage (or during reconciliation). It’s all about them; the chump dare not have needs!!

          Yes, my X was definitely confused as to who had to “try hard.” You see, to his way of thinking, he is a spectacular human being–good lucking, successful, intelligent, who could attract MANY women 30+ years younger than himself. I was lucky to have him (in his mind), and so I should have tap danced while giving him BJs and raising the children single-handedly.

          I moved into the guest bedroom immediately, gave him some time to show real remorse and effort. When he decided to issue a list of demands that I had to meet before he would go to counseling to explore reconciliation after his infidelity, I started pulling the plug. He cheats on me, takes the grad-whore to Mexico, has an affair in full view of all our friends, and then wants to talk to ME about what I have to do to keep HIM? hahahahahaha. Filing was the best $300 I ever spent.

          • I am in angry mode these days (as the year of numbness post-D-Day #1) has just worn off and things are not going well on the legal/financial front. As such, I would feel relieved if your cheater and mine both get tangled in plastic bags, ideally sealed shut over their heads. If nothing else, we wouldn’t have to hear their idiotic, condescending BS.

      • “My own preference, for what little it is worth, is to focus on the good stuff and the future, to be positive, deliberately upbeat and constructive while understanding you might have bad moments or flashbacks…… I think that we can fix all that has been wrong, but only if you can let the past go.”
        Wow, Tempest, that is EXACTLY the way my ex wrote and spoke. The emphasis on being “positive”, the blame shifting, the minimizing of bad behavior…. it’s like reading one of the old emails ex sent me. Ugh.

    • yeah, blah blah blah ‘You were so angry and THAT’S why things are ending’. Not him sticking his wandering dick or the gas lighting/blameshifting/disconnect at home.Nope, it’s because you were pissed off beyond fucking words upon finding out that the person you trusted most in the world and with whom you had built a life was banging a side piece. What the fuck ever.

      Seriously, everyone, stop listening to this shit! It is nonsensical.

  • Crapweasel’s was an “exit affair”…until I discovered 4 plus years of Craigs and who-the-fuck-knows whatever other list postings.

    Then he hooked up with Narcissa-California mid divorce (ours…hers is still in process, 2 years on, very entertaining! Plus, I get to tell people who ask, that my Ex lives with his married GF…).

    Needless to say, he lied to me about N-C, which: Rilly? Srsly? the number of fucks I did not give was uncountable. Only that it demonstrated that in truth if his mouth was moving, lies were coming out. So the lies bothered me, and the asshattery of late Friday night calls to lawyers reneging on agreements, while he was on a flight to the other coast. (Idiot). But her? piffle. It will be really fun to see what happens when her Parkinsons puts her in a wheelchair…anybody want to take bets on how long he sticks around?

    All of which is to say that I think the “Exit Affair” is often like “sex addiction”: used as an excuse for fucking around by entitled twats who just want to fuck around.

  • Regarding the question of whether women want to date a cheater, I’ll give a resounding “yes.”

    My ex dated a cheater, both while we were married and after I divorced her for…you know…cheating. Same guy. They live together now.

    And, her affair wasn’t an “exit affair,” given she spent the entire divorce asking me to change my mind. She didn’t want to end the marriage (she actually used these exact words 6 months into our divorce process.) She just wanted cake.

  • “But do women want to date a lost puppy dog who was badly mistreated by his ex-wife? Sure. Lots of women date that guy… and live to regret it.”

    So true! I cringe now when I think of the period when I dated my STBX and heard about the horrible, unsupportive wife who would never have sex with him. I was going to be the opposite — kind, supportive, and very interested in sex. Wow. Little did I know about his visits over many years to prostitutes, bdsm dungeons, etc., all of which continued from the first marriage seamlessly into our marriage. Apparently the type of wife he had made no difference whatsoever. And he actually had the nerve to say, after DDay, “Come back to me. I don’t have a problem, just a bad habit left over from my first marriage!”

  • I am definitely the victim of exit affair. But I can’t help but wonder…. was previous cheating that was kept under wraps until he met the one he wanted to exit for? I asked him once. He did not answer.

    • 2kids2love–most probably. Think about his behavior through the years; if there were periods of devaluing you, chances are very good that he was having affairs throughout.

    • I was a VERY slow learner, but one thing I expected to hear (that I never did) after DDay with Susan of Seattle was “I never did anything like this before!”…I sort of assumed he muttered it at some point, but looking back, no he NEVER said that. I don’t think he liked to lie outright but resorted to it when necessary…I think 90% of his lies were ones of omission. I thought he was a decent faithful Catholic husband on his business trip and nothing else crossed my mind. Only he and God know how many adulterous boinks he fit into his work/travel schedule.

    • 2kids2love,

      I know everyone has their story…but sometimes your comments are so scarily similar to my experiences that I have OMG reactions when I read your comments.

      I have wondered the same thing about my Xh…he was really way too friendly with most of his female co-workers. I am becoming more and more convinced that there was way too much flirting and maybe the beginning of some emotional affairs, but the women wouldn’t continue until he found the one who would. I guess he continued to throw out the bait and finally found someone to take it.

      • I want to tell OW, she was not his first distraction. But she was the first with low enough character to believe a relationship with him was worth destroying two families. I look back now and am floored by all the flirtations that I just dismissed. His cake eating, and his deceit, were so prevalent during at last half of our 30 year marriage.

      • Realistically, it doesn’t matter if he fucked one or 100 – he’s still a cheater. Sometimes, viewing it as the worst case scenario and then finding out it was ‘lesser than’ can be a bit of a relief. I’d assume he probably wanted to fuck all of them, if he didn’t actually do so.

  • Girls you are really my therapy. I love the chump that calls his ex DIABLO/SADAm etc.. 🙂 MY SOB cheater (still husband) uses his business travels to hook up with FB /friendswhores. Sometimes I wish I could call his boss. Maybe his boss is a cheater too and will cover his ass as well. My cheaters pants give sermons to my son about being honest. He doesn’t know that I know. I am so embarass that I look down while he speaks. He is Mr. Perfect to my son. Asshole/psycho ?

    • FicoChump,

      My STBX gives my kids morality sermons, too. What hypocrites these cheaters are!

      By the way, my STBX’s boss, and several of STBX’s co-workers knew about STBX’s affair with a co-worker. (In my STBX’s line of work, which involves 24/7 interaction between co-workers, it is very hard to keep things from co-workers.) Nobody bothered to tell me. When I went to his workplace for a special event (a couple of months after D-Day #1 and before separation), everyone I spoke to told me how much he would be missed (as he was quitting his job to avoid paying support) and what a good family man he was. I managed to hold in my disgust with several people who were involved (STBX, his affair partner, and co-workers who knew about his cheating and just gave him a shoulder to cry one (who needed the shoulder to cry on?)) and not vomit on STBX’s shoes. I should have filed the next day.

      • “My STBX gives my kids morality sermons, too. What hypocrites these cheaters are!”

        Rockstar, our exes are so much alike. Mine does the same thing with our son, goes on and on about being a good, honest, helpful Christian. And of course, mine pulled the same stunt of quitting his job so as to not pay support. Everyone at his workplace thought he was the greatest as well, such a good family man. Barf.

    • Line up your ducks FicoChump, get the hell out of there! When I got Saddam out of my life at least I found some peace again. I’m sure you can come up with a pseudonym for your own STBX! Jedi Hugs!

  • FicoChump, the double lives they live is infuriating. Mine wore his wedding ring to work and still had our wedding pictures up in his office seven months after I kicked him out. Divorce proceedings well underway. He claimed it was because he’s a private person and didn’t want people to ask questions. Meanwhile, everyone in the office KNEW he was having an affair with a co-worker and thought he was being an asshole for pretending. His plan is to pretend like they didn’t actually hook up until both their divorces are final. So my pictures; my wedding band to him, were enabling him to get away with their little ruse. I asked him numerous times to quit living the lie and stop making a mockery of our marriage. He didn’t do it until our daughter asked him. At least, that’s what he told her. He lies as good as he cheats.

    • OMG…mine did the exact same thing!!! Made me sick to even think about him still wearing that ring. I told him to man-up and stop wearing the ring. But I guess it is hard to man-up when you are a spineless piece of shit!!!

  • Yeah, being the Superchump I am (before I discovered CL & CN) I wracked my brain with all the things that didn’t add up, and just couldn’t believe someone who I thought loved me and cared about my well-being was involved in doing what he said he never would! I really tried to continue believing him. So pathetic in retrospect. I was such a naïve soul, I tried to believe him and sacrificed my sanity in the process! What a sucker!

  • i guess I have to wonder if it even matters if it’s an exit affair or just an affair. Why is the qualifier needed? You vowed to be with your spouse and you are leaving. It doesn’t really matter if you planned to cheat or not. A vow has to mean something.

    It may be different how men and women conduct such affairs. My ex never gave any hint she was coming back. She did lie and say there was no-one else.

    (Life Clue: When your husband is an IT expert, don’t use your computer to carry on your affair communication. I had his name before she had moved out of our home!)

    At the very least, if you want to go, then go. Don’t try to take his kids, his 401(k) and have him pay you. If you don’t want him, why do you want his CAKE?

    I’d say most exit affairs have cake-eating as well. What person betrays their vows and doesn’t try to keep the kids, the money, the house, etc?

    • very well said. i admit i struggled with whether or not it was an exit affair or if he just wanted me to “fight for him to prove i loved him”. until i realized it really DID NOT MATTER either way. Diablo is a spineless, cowardly weasel of a man to do what he did to me and the kids.

      “hat person betrays their vows and doesnt try to keep the kids, the money, the hous?”……………………………i dont have an answer for that except that it is NOT the kind of person i want to be with, nor to be around my kids. i was destroyed and devesated by his abandonment of me and the kids. i still hurt for my 2 boys. but i constantly have to remind myself Do. Not. Poke. The. Sleeping. Bear. and the boys are actually so much better off not having that kind of mindfuck to deal with or influence them in their growing years. i still have to convince myself that the man he is now IS the man he really is. every once in awhile my soft, caring, loving, forgiving bleeding heart tries to trick me into feeling sorry for the poor little sausage. how much he must be hurting not seeing his kids. BUT i beat her down with a club and tell myself that IF he honestly wanted to see his boys, he would find a way….whether or not his oompa loompa hood rat wants him to or not. my aim is getting better because bleeding heart MrsVain does not surface as often now.

  • Exit affair you say? I believe, unbeknownst to me of course, that Ex had been having affairs the entire marriage and any one of those affairs could have ended up being an “exit” affair. I think the only reason why he didn’t run off sooner is that he didn’t want to pay child support. He often said he would sue me for custody if we ever split, but when I look back on it he was full of shit. No way was he going to be responsible for the regular care and feeding of four children. I think he would have run off with the human excrement he’s with now years ago if she had not already had two children, wanted more, and we already had three. No way was he going to pay child support for the ones we had, help her support her two and run the risk of her having more (which she did with the second husband with which she finally ended up). When she came along this time, all the kids, to all intents and purposes, were adults, she was financially appealing (read: more than comfortable – that can happen after 3 husbands) and she was past her childbearing years.

    So exit affair? Any affair has the potential to be an exit affair if all the other circumstances are in alignment. These people are craven, navel-gazing, selfish, self-absorbed, personality-disordered assholes from another planet.

  • My ex’s affair was both an entrance and exit affair, given that he was screwing her when we got married, and then used admission of his affair as fuel to blow up our brief marriage following a 10-year relationship and a child together. He wanted cake, but found that cake was hard to pull off once we were in the same household after a period of long distance. He used the affair as fuel to exit the marriage, but then he ate cake while pretending to save the marriage. (Turns out that different women in two different states are just the right flavor of cake, so he kept eating until I realized that he was full of shit.) Now they’re “together,” and pretty soon one of them will get hungry for cake, because after all, cake is to cheaters like brains are to zombies.

  • Best friend, yet you’ll happily spend money meant for your family on whores, right? You’re a fuckwit.
    You’re on your 7th whore? Just goes to show you have no idea what real happiness is.
    I bet you’re not thinking of what sort of diseases your whores are bringing into your marriage – and are skipping happily through sparkles instead? I hope your dick falls off. Get the fuck off our site – you clearly don’t know why this site exists, its certainly not for pretentious cunts like you.

  • There is only one difference between an affair and an ‘exit affair’ – the fact that in the latter, the ‘pick-me dance’ is invisible and you don’t know you’re doing it. The moment they leave – THAT is when you realise you’ve been subtly pick-me dancing for months/years. Thats why the pain is exactly the same.
    These twits won’t leave you until they are certain they have someone else lined up – the difference is between overt pick me dancing (ie. the cheater will allude to obvious faults, or you discover they are cheating and its a cake-eating scenario) vs. covert pick me dancing.

  • Dood,

    Could you explain your philosophy to my kids, whose father, my STBX, paid for prostitutes with the money that was supposed to be invested in our kids’ college savings fund? If you think that your wife is fine with you cheating on her, then I’m sure that you will have no problem showing her the receipts for all the things you spent on your affair partners and she will just say, ‘Honey, I’m glad that you’re taking care of yourself!’ Did you ever consider that your WIFE might have enjoyed you taking HER, not your affair partner, out to shop for her (your wife’s) birthday gift?

  • Having not read all the comments, I will add my two cents’ worth. He thought it was an exit affair. A cowardly, gutless, non-communicative and low technique if I have ever heard of one! Talk, arsehole. I was. I wondered why we seemed to be having such a rough spot in what had been a truly wonderful 21 years to that point. I asked. I talked. I even booked and went to MC ALONE because, “we’re fine, don’t stress bear, we are FINE. We don’t need counselling.” Holding aloft that lighter he was igniting all those gaslights with! Three solo sessions, feeling like an idiot because I couldn’t put my finger on what the hell had gone wrong. Once the reality of the “exit” hit, he backed away from the bunny boiler, very carefully, extracting her claws ever-so-carefully, eventually ending it, breathing a huge sigh of relief and thinking, “WTF. Thank GOD. I got out of that, what was I thinking?!!!” Unfortunately, for him, bunny boiler was not done, the claws were non-retractable. She (my lifetime “friend”) let me know six weeks after he ended it (and I thought, wow! We’ve turned the corner, all really is FINE, phew.)

    Cake eating is the norm, for sure, but the exit affair is nibbling on the crumbs, too. Those arseholes have made me doubt everything I know about myself, they have not and will not destroy me, but hell, they came close!

  • I have been reading each and every post with great interest (sickly enough addicted to keep hitting the refresh button for new updates). Love this group.
    I also felt like I was dumped in an Exit Affair and this has been killing me. (I immediately filed for D, however 🙂 Like, how long did he have his foot out of this marriage anyway?? I have learned a lot tonight from this thread tonight – thank you all.

    I have one Question:
    I’m not sure but if the X is still involved with the 3yr old OW since we divorced. No proof, but I know he needed someone to take care of him once he got caught. (that post really resonated!) The old saying, usually about men is they will never leave their wives unless there is one in the wings waiting.
    When my therapist told me it was a typical ‘exit affair’, I was devastated…yeah, one more blame thing and how long had he been thinking about getting rid of me – that advice did NO GOOD!)

    OK, so – IF he’s not seeing her anymore, and since he works out of his fancy bus in a shithole trailer park somewhere that he won’t tell me, how is he meeting other women? He’s never been a computer guy and hates porn (that I know of – wouldn’t even watch it with me to try and spice up our sex life). He doesn’t go to bars. Chat rooms…or any of that. I think I know him well enough to conclude all the above (but I could be wrong). I just cannot see him letting a prostitute into his life.

    So, how is he meeting other women?
    Other friends?
    Trailer park people? eeeek – no offense to trailer park people…but, there’s no way he’s meeting friends.
    Unless he’s a lot darker than I thought.

    • I would hazard a guess and say “he is a lot darker than you thought”! I know my ex definitely is a lot darker than I thought, although I always had an uneasy feeling but he hid it so well, I thought many things were my imagination. He even told me one day that I was sick. I sometimes think I deserve everything I have copped because I really was such a chump.
      She chump, you ask “how is he meeting women”. Where there is a willie there is a way. I thought the same about my ex but he found his women and paradise in S.E. Asia. They always find a way. Always.

      • Maree, thank you. I’ll never forget a comment he made a few years back saying, he had a very dark side. I was stunned but he didn’t seem to be kidding. I found it impossible to believe at the time and never questioned him further. Now I wish I had of.

        • Also, the day our divorce became finally, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had it completely removed. He can’t take Viagra because of heart issues. I’m curious if you think he still has sexual desires for women and if so, who’d want to deal with those issues? I would think he’d be too embarrassed to keep up his Don Juan image.

          • She chump, he would still have his sexual desires for women and there is always someone in this world who will take on someone with those issues. I don’t think they ever stop thinking that they are Don Juan. I know that the young girl who is with my ex chose him because he offered what was a better way of life for herself and her 2 boys. He thinks he has struck pay dirt and believes that he selected her. He was starting to have ED issues when we were together and at 63, I can only assume he still has them but a 23 year old is more desirable to him than me who is now 63. These blokes are legends in their own minds!! 🙂

            • Legends in their own minds. ROFL! No shit. He is also quite well off so am sure that will attract any gold diggers who could care less about the sex.
              He was lousy in bed all 35 yrs of our marriage. Good luck to the next sucker.

    • Shechump:

      1. Who cares?

      2. Does it matter?

      Curiosity is inevitable, but it shows you aren’t really at meh yet. You deserve to have your whole mind uncluttered by this dick.

      • Lola – I KNOW! Right? I should know. I’ve made a complete ass out of myself by keep texting him. I’m not getting to meh as fast as I wanted but I DID want some answers out of him. This is 1 yr divorced – call me pathetic. I suddenly thought of another instance of him having an affair with another g/f of mind. So, I – yanno – stupidly, innocently asked him if he did because she is in my life now showing my dog and I want to know if I could trust her. It was an EXCUSE to email him.
        (I find so many excuses – but hell, this guy was in my life for 36 yrs) (He seems to want to be my friend so he’s nice to me with these awful emails)

        Now, he refuses to talk anything but business. The advice we give ourselves for N/C under any circumstance, and here I am bugging him with some really mean texts. I feel RIPPED OFF. And told him so for the first time in an email. Said, I gave up 35 yrs of my life with no sex from you. He disagreed, politely. He’s always polite. He didn’t see ‘it’ the same way.

        Anyway, yes, I still have work to do on me. We are still tied together because of business on the biggest asset we have – the house. Guess I got a lot of questions answered during the process of this whole divorce thing, but I DID not spend the time finding out details of his 3 yr affair. I’m berating myself for not getting details of 1)when it started, 2) where did they go, 3) Did they even have intercourse – duh..

        I still don’t need it but I find the need becoming less and less to punish him. He takes it all very well and just treats me like a fly that can be swat away, while I humiliate myself.

        I guess we never ever really talked about WHY this happened.
        Or tried to reconcile.
        It’s like a thread that keeps unravelling.
        But – I AM getting over it. Damn process anyway..

        • Shechump, you’re better than this, and smarter, and tougher. This is a sucky and tough patch for you, but you WILL get past it, and things WILL be better.

          Don’t unravel the skein of fuckedupness that is the former relationship. There’s no answers to any of those questions, and you will never get closure until YOU decide to shut the door, walk away, and gain a life.

          That’s all there is to it. He will never give you what you want. You have to trust that he sucks.

          But wasn’t that the story of the marriage, anyway?

          Use the site’s resources, especially the older posts; they will stand by you and give you a good talking-to in many a dark hour! And you will one day achieve meh, and you’ll laugh at yourself for wasting your time.

          • Lola-Granola – Love your name! Thank you for your response. Of course, I thought about it allll day today….because it made a lot of sense. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting over this. It didn’t matter how many questions I asked AFTER the divorce (like, it’s any of my business anyway) but, I wanted him to know that I knew what he was up to long before he knew I knew….so I just kept digging him. Here and there.

            Disgusting! I AM strong and better than this. He no longer controls my (love this) head real estate….well, except when he does.
            I thought I was getting to meh better, but I’m about to move out of the dream home we built 20 yrs ago..overlooking the ocean…and had many great years here.
            We spent years filling every possible cupboard with shit..so I’ve been doing all that.
            Then when he comes to get his shit I’ve nicely packed up…he leaves it behind and tells me to take it to Goodwill. (omg, this should be on the Forum, not here).
            So, every single time I was doing something for him to unravel this monstrosity house, meanwhile trying to remodel and move into an old small home…I guess it just got my ire up.

            I really believes he still needs to know how I feel!
            And, for some reason – he never blocks my email.
            So, I let him have it – I NEVER feel better about it, and it’s time I moved on.

            Thank you for the advice. I’ve been having a hard time moving into my older remodeled home, and it depresses me. So, I have to know that this is what it takes to truly move on. My own home…and then I’ll figure out my life, I guess.

            And, leave all these ghosts behind in the old place where they screwed in every corner.

            Again, thanks – you gave me courage today.

            • Hang in there, girl.

              “the dream home we built 20 yrs ago..overlooking the ocean…and had many great years here”

              While he was screwing around. Hold that thought.

              “Then when he comes to get his shit I’ve nicely packed up…he leaves it behind and tells me to take it to Goodwill.”

              To which the correct answer is, ‘Take it yourself, asshole. I’ve put it in black bin liners on the kerb. Collect by noon tomorrow, or it’s going to Landfill, not Goodwill.’

              “So, every single time I was doing something for him”

              See, that’s your problem right there. Stop doing it, and you’ll feel amazingly better.

              “And, for some reason – he never blocks my email.”

              Cake is delicious. Kibbles are great, too.

              “The old place where they screwed in every corner.”

              Embroider these wonderful words on a picture frame, and include a photo of the old house in it. Then hang it somewhere significant.

              Keepin’ it real …

              • Lola Granola – THANK YOU so much for that! I just had the biggest belly laugh because you are SO right! I love you! I’d be happy to try and find somebody to embroider at least, one of these pillows and slip them into his shit still sitting here. (and, I have a big photo of the house..hehe)

                Oh yeah, I’ve threatened him if he doesn’t take every bit of stuff I put out for him, including all those garage chemicals, that I am shipping them to his brother to help him take care of. This stuff shouldn’t be dumped.

                I’m totally serious about this and he knows it.
                It all goes buddy, or else. haha

                Thanks for the kudos – Just wish this was all over already!

  • Maybe Trolls ought to have an Exit Affair with this site and go back under the bridge where they belong! IMHO We are giving them KIBBLES by responding to them. They show up here to get their yaya’s getting our dander up and getting a bunch of responses. I am sure there are sites out there where they can talk to each other to feel better for their devastating behaviors, but they prefer to stir it up in CN for attention/kibbles.
    Maybe someone could start a PoorSausage.com forum to keep them off of this one.
    One thing I like about this post was it shows once again how messed up their thinking is and how they rationalize crappy behavior because they are perpetrators not recipients of it.

  • Dear Confused Chump,

    Your comment that “he seems quite well and fine” really struck a nerve with me. Just know you are not alone in feeling that your soon to be ex is moving on quickly and happily. Not sure why a certain category of men (I.e. the narcissistic kind) just don’t see the need to regroup and work on themselves after this devastating situation called divorce, especially after the betrayal(s) of infidelity. It’s as if they have to be stroked and “comforted” so they can keep deluding themselves that they are really quite blameless and not in need of addressing serious issues that would lead someone to think that the choice of cheating is OK. Anyway, try to keep your boundaries from his selfish behavior and keep taking care of yourself.

  • October 2015 Chump Lady

    There are so many good people in the Chump Lady archives. To anyone reading this email, Chump Nation needs you.

    Could you spare a few minutes to help drum up support for Tracy’s new book? Go to this post and see if you have anything to add.

    http://www.chumplady.com/forums/topic/advocacy-for-chump-rights/

    If nothing else, could you come over to the forum, start a thread, and give us new Chumps an update on your Gain a Life goings-on?

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