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Dear Chump Lady, Did he cheat because I confided my fears?

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faultDear Chump Lady,

Please make me feel better about my situation or at least help me to stop blaming myself. It took me 25 years to realize I am married to a NPD. My STBX has a black belt in silent treatment. He has gone months at a time not speaking to me.

I started noticing that he was spending a lot of time smiling into his phone. I was coming out of the fog of dealing with a newborn and a toddler and started noticing other things. Our weekend plans started to involve his coworker, her husband and their child. Every weekend. So I started snooping. He was having an emotional affair with her.

There were no “I love you’s” at this point, but there were lots of “let’s get to know each other better” and “how awesome is our friendship” conversations. They were texting constantly. Much of it was work talk, but the balance shifted to personal as time went on.

So, let’s cut to the Saturday morning a week before Mother’s Day. My husband gave my son a cute buzz cut. I saw that he texted her a picture of our son’s new look. Then I hear him on the phone with her making plans for the day. When he got off I made a comment about having plans with them again. My tone was not kind. He deflected and we never ended up seeing them that day. But, I got one of his classic silent treatments.

A week later was Mother’s Day. My first Mother’s Day with my daughter. He was an ass all day. Pretty much said nothing to me. He made a brunch, but it wasn’t for me. His mom and sister were with us. Later that afternoon I asked him if I could talk to him after the kids went to sleep. He said, “No.” That he had nothing to say to me and that there was no point in talking about anything. I had to beg him to talk to me. So, later that night he came into the kitchen and gave me his best, what-the-fuck-do-you-want face. I said, “Are you in love with your coworker?” He looked confused. He said, “No it is a professional relationship. Nothing more. Why?” I didn’t want to admit to snooping, so I responding vaguely with, “I’ve noticed some things”.

He didn’t persue it further and neither did I. But I was pissed about how unreceptive he was about hearing my thoughts. So, I said to myself, “Well, fuck it, if he isn’t open to talking to me about things, then I will talk about it with other people.” I started talking about what was going on with him and his coworker with pretty much anyone who would listen. Flash forward a few weeks later and one morning before he went to work I exploded. I told him that I read all of their texts and that the relationship was completely out of line. He looked shaken and remorseful. He promised to quit and never talk to her again. I saw that he started updating his resume, and the personal texting stopped (she was confused). Then he found out that I was telling our friends what was going on. He felt vilified and I heard him say to a friend, “Everyone thinks I’m having an affair, so maybe I should.”

He never ended up quiting and the texting with her started up again despite our starting couples therapy. We stopped because it wasn’t working. The affair turned physical and now we are divorcing.

What nags at me is that maybe if I was more discreet and didn’t blab to anyone who would listen, that he was having an emotional affair, maybe he would have followed through with ending things with her. What do you think?

Laylabee

Dear Laylabee,

I think grown ups want to fuck. Sorry to put it vulgarly, but that’s the gist of an “emotional” affair. Okay, okay, it’s a deep, abiding friendship between kindred spirits. Star-crossed pals who happen to share a cubicle. The Great Platonic Nothing Going On Here! That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

They want to do the horizontal bop.

Oh, your mind is in the gutter, Chump Lady. People can have friends of the opposite sex! Or same sex! You fail to see the nuance! Some people have deep, emotional connections to the Other. It’s okay to have FRIENDS. What are you, the Friend Police?

Grown ups don’t invest a ton of time in each other, spend every available weekend together, and enthuse about their awesome “friendship” unless they want to get in each other’s pants. Yes, that is my cynical view. (You read my mail for a week and tell me what YOU think, skeptics.)

It’s just “professional”? Professionals don’t send pictures of their sons’ haircuts. Or socialize. Or wax poetic about their awesome connection. They do whatever they’re paid to do.

Professional people have boundaries. Unprofessional people have sexual harassment lawsuits and get ugly letters from HR.

So your husband was smitten with a co-worker. Instead of being straight with you about that, or being straight with the counselor about it, he continued his barrage of Awesome Connection.

We have a classic case of It’s Not What I Did, It’s Your Reaction To It That Is The Problem.

His enmeshment with his coworker isn’t the problem, it’s your telling people about it.

If you hadn’t told anyone, he just would have gone on texting her forever. Content to share toddler haircuts and gossip about Suzy in Accounting. But no, you MADE them fuck each other! You planted that thought in his head! So, of course he had to do it! (Why don’t you plant some other thoughts in his head, while you’re at it, like full custody and a generous divorce settlement?)

Look, it’s not optimal that you’re triangulating with other people, for support, a reality check, or to Compel Him to Behave. Because all that did was distract you from the reality that a) he’s not supportive b) he’s gaslighting you, and c) he’s behaving how he damn well pleases without regard to you.

What you should’ve done is figure out what’s acceptable to you and acted on that. Silent treatment? Not acceptable. Constant attention to the coworker? Not acceptable. Being a shit on Mother’s Day right after you birthed his child? Not acceptable. And figured out what YOU were going to do about it.

You don’t need consensus to know there is a problem. You needed acknowledgment from HIM that there was a problem. He sent you a VERY clear message — he was okay with his emotional affair. He didn’t give a shit what you thought. So — do you want to try counseling with him? Or should you move right to the divorce lawyer consultation? Because those are the options he left you with.

You tried the counseling — he wasn’t invested. That leaves divorce lawyer.

Did he “try” to stop it?

He never ended up quiting and the texting with her started up again despite our starting couples therapy.

Apparently not. And all that did was ramp up the Must Have You! drama to the physical. (If they weren’t already fucking beforehand.)

He gave you a brief window to do the pick me dance, but really, he was already checked out. And now, he’s blameshifting his lack of investment on to you. (Yawn.) Same ol’ cheater same ol’.

Quit blaming yourself. You didn’t make him cheat. Hey, as long as you’re telling people… Tell Ms. Employee of the Month’s husband what been going on. And maybe the HR department too — after you get your settlement, of course. Let those legal Chatty Cathys work out the power of disclosure.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “It may surprise many Chumps, for example, to learn that cheaters don’t cheat because of entitlement or kibbles. Far from it.”

    ….okay HH…..then “why” (in your expert opinion) DO cheaters cheat?? Please do tell…..

    • That’s exactly what I thought! The whole comment deserves an eye roll. Why say xyz doesn’t cause cheating and then not tell us what does. Comes across like ‘Look at all of you unlightened people I know something you don’t’

      And people weren’t “afraid” to discuss what they had to say. Just because they thought it was bullshit doesn’t mean they’re “afraid”

    • Right? lol

      Does the reason why they’re cheating matter? They’ve broken the agreement they made. Will explaining why they broke their promises change the fact that… they broke their promises?

      View it as the ultimate non-compete. It doesn’t matter WHY the person broke it; they broke it. That’s cheating. The end.

  • Laylabee- chump lady is right On all points. His cheating is not your fault. You have zero culpability in his fucked up mess. I’m speaking from experience. My stbx is a serial cheater caught him 3 times and kicked him out after the 3rd. He still denies he is a serial cheater, blames me for kicking him out. During fake reconciliations the giant red flags that despite claiming remorse … All indicated that he was still trying to blame me .. If only I hadn’t snooped.. If only I hadn’t caught him..if only I had bought his excuses that texts and selfies were just him and the APs being “friendly”… I only wish dumb ass would have given me the silent treatment… Instead he insulted me, criticized me , belittled me, tried to make me think I was a paranoid jealous nut job. And when caught the final time.. Was livid about my telling everyone including his family, mine, our mutual friends .. And believe me I didn’t have to use hyperbole to give factual information of what a lying cheating shit bag he was .. He tried to tell people including our kids they didn’t know ” the whole story” . When asked what the whole story was guess what? He had nothing to come back with that a sane logical person could credit him for cheating. He lost the respect of everyone we know including his own family. And he blames me for it not the series of cheating lying scheming decisions he’s made. Fuck him. Fuck your husband( not literally – don’t do that again!) he’s been showing you who he really is. He’s a lying cheating entitled asshole prick. Save yourself and protect you and your kids. Sorry you are hurting. It takes a long time to heal and it’s a process. But you deserve better than to be shackled to a cheater loser who has no problem betraying you and your kids. It’s not your fault toots. He’s nothing special either just your garden variety common lowlife cheater . Remember that. ❤️

    • Without regard to infidelity, if you are being given the silent treatment, I think you are dealing with a disordered or at least extremely passive aggressive spouse.
      The silent treatment is incredibly abusive. I think it is a substitute for the raging component od the disordered, a silent raging.
      Anyone involved with a person who employs the silent treatment is dealing with an abuser and should look to get out.

      • Arnold, I wish I had known that 24 years ago when I caught him kissing my best friend. Instead of regret and apology he didn’t let me talk to him for 2 weeks. He kept telling me he is not ready to talk about it and that I should stop harassing him about the incident. I, being only 24 years old at that time, thought he felt so guilty that he just couldn’t face the shame. Of course once we did talk about it, it was decided that it was entirely my fault. Finally after 24 years of incredible emotional,and sometime physical abuse, I am divorcing my abuser.

  • “Or that monogamy (pair bonding) does not preclude cheating (extra pair bonding).”

    Actually, it does. Monogamy is monogamy… it automatically precludes there being a 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. party. That’s the whole damn point of that word.

    Fucking people other than your spouse is cheating if either one of the original people – in the monogamous agreement – don’t know about it and/or didn’t/don’t/won’t agree to it. If you want to dissolve the monogamous agreement because you want to fuck other people, you do that… you don’t break the agreement without letting the other partner know. That’s cheating.

    It’s exactly that simple. That’s why no more fucks were given about dancing around that issue, in that conversation.

    • I read it.

      Would explaining ALL the reasons that Cheaters cheat make monogamy mean something else? Or make breaking an agreement without letting the other party know something other than Cheating?

      No.

  • HH – the cause of infidelity is the cheaters willful ability to lie, betray, scheme and to break the marital contract / commitment to another because they choose to play with the genitals of others who are not their spouse or significant other.

  • “Everyone thinks I’m having an affair, so maybe I should.”

    So he’s 10 years old in his head too! This is the worse sort of blame-shifting – he’s not even trying. A decent person would keep their integrity no matter what other people think. He had sex with her because that’s what he wanted and where the whole thing was leading in the first place, not because of anything else. How weak.

    If you told people he was an upright and faithful spouse then he would have still done what he did – because he was OK with betraying you.

    • Exactly this. He would have had another excuse. This is a standard move. They cross boundaries, act like teenagers flirting with co-workers, and if you say anything you’re ‘jealous and controlling’. Then when they cheat, they use that as one of the ‘reasons’ they strayed. The chumped act jealous because they pick up on the weak boundaries of the cheater and all the tiny red flags that keep popping up.

      Not only is it ‘okay’ now for him to cheat, she pushed him into it. He’s free and clear from the decision, it’s on her now.

      The cold shoulder she was getting, him not talking to her.. that was him starting a fight, so he could get angry with her, and justify how the other woman was so nice and she’s a monster. So he’s not a bad guy anymore cheating on his new wife and baby, he’s a good guy that’s being pushed into it by his monster of a wife that’s so controlling and jealous she doesn’t even let him breath.

      To summarize… they lie to you and treat you like crap, you get confused and angry, then they cheat and justify it because you’re always angry. See ‘stupid things cheaters say’.

  • I am starting to strongly doubt your assertion that you are a trained biologist. Your thinking is so fuzzy that I find it hard to believe that you have any sort of training in scientific method, and I say that as a biologist that has run my own lab for 10 years. Nobody here is denying that human monogamy is a biological imperative, to continually assert that is an example of the straw man fallacy ( you set up an argument that no one is making, and then demolish it). Monogamy is a social construct, and an individual choice not a biological imperative. This does not only relate to the raising of children, as you disingenuously assert, but to the investment of resources into a partnership. We don’t accept fucking around, because it diverts resources, such as time, money emotional support,etc away from the exclusive partnership. Do people occasionally, or even often, want to get some sex sexy extra-pair bonding? Sure we do. Where the entitlement and narcissism come in is where they actually do it, rather than just wanting to. Just like, as many people have pointed out, killing people, stealing food, and pooping in the town square.
    You don’t get much dissent in this “echo chamber” because it is really pretty simple.

    • Can we just block this attention seeker please, this drivel is really boring and it’s distracting from the blog post which I enjoyed reading.

        • Give it time- great lyrics thank you for this.
          I hope HH- has been unceremoniously blocked from this thread. Laylabee came here for support not doublespeak fuckwit language from a troll.

        • Yes! Thank you Tempest. Also, I went back and read HH’s comment’s on Friday’s post and I was just like shouting along with you. Thank you for raising your voice for those of us too tired to do it right now. HH was being really condescending, and inflammatory right now. You know? Maybe he has a point that some people are biologically incapable of fidelity, the problem arises when they choose to pretend to be into monogamy. If all the people that don’t believe in monogamy, and all the people that just truly believe in monogamy could just get together with each other, entitled assholes would still cheat. Because they thrive on getting one “over you”. But maybe they could cheat on each other and try to one up each other, and leave us chumps alone.

          • That’s the BIG problem that a lot of people just don’t get!! It’s not that we don’t accept that perhaps they can’t control their genital urges. We are not talking bitter because of one slip up or bad choice. Most chumps here are pissed because we were repeatedly LIED to and cheated on … the big question isn’t necessarily WHY did they fuck other people but more WHY not just be truthful??? Why not be upfront and leave?? Just SAY it…. hey I suck at monogamy, I can’t control my urges to fuck other people so I should not stay here and deceive you, pretend I am faithful.

            It isn’t simply that they decided it was over and we can’t accept it…it’s that the assholes decided it was over and not only decided to not tell us but also made the decision that they should just continue to fuck us over until we caught on.

            • NCStevie…yes this. I cant even imagine the contempt my nowdeadhusband must have had for me to have lied and lied and lied. He went to his deathbed lying about his affairs…he insisted that he had an EA with his OW and reiterated it over 7 years…to learn that he had crazy wild monkey sex with her and at least 2 others ..I dont care now what nice things he ever did for me, its all ruined, its all tainted and icky to me now.

              • Contempt…. X-hole had so much obvious contempt for me. Told him it was astounding…. he acted as though I was the one that fucked him over. Stupid dick.

                I must say I’m a bit envious unicornomore, you don’t have to deal with that cheating fuckwit any more…..I have 10 more years of dealing with asshole. Son is only 8.

                He still denies ever “cheating” on me. “I wasn’t sleeping with her when we were sleeping together.” “It’s not sleeping asshole….it’s fucking, and you were fucking her cheating ass while you were still living with me and our son so stop patting yourself on the back.” I caught on and figured out his game when he planned the trip to go hook up with her, I begged him not to do it, told him he was going to destroy everything. He went anyway and I moved my shit to the spare bedroom. Like I said…stupid dick.

            • I’m with you, NC. I understand that marriage is not fully consistent with biological urges. And, in NO WAY did I ever think that my wife would only be attracted to me for the 60 years following our wedding day. I assumed she’d develop minor crushes on other people, and her physical attraction to me would ebb and flow (as mine did to her).

              But I also assumed she’d enforce boundaries, recognize the fleeting superficial crushes for what they were, and stay the course, given you can find another person to have sex with any time. And you can find another person to have that fun, new relationship feeling with any time. Finding another person to share your life with…that’s another matter.

              I assumed she’d respect me enough to not fuck another man. And if she did make the colossal error of giving in to urges and fucking another man, then she’d own up to it, beg for forgiveness, and set things right.

              Instead, she fucked another man, got caught, and the lied about it for months while continuing to fuck him until I divorced her lying, cheating, manipulative ass.

              We’re all subject to biological urges. And yet somehow, I managed to keep my dick in my pants, as opposed to laying any woman who showed interest in me or gave me attention. Based on the biological argument, I must have SUPERHUMAN abilities. After all…monogamy is so damn hard. Boo hoo!

              • “Finding someone to share your life with…now that’s another matter.” <<< YES it is JC, for normal people anyway.

                The disordered don't "get that", they can grab onto anything warm that flatters them. I know for a fact that X-hole suffered a few blows to his ego for some personal failures and I also know for a fact that he was sniffing out strange to "feel better" about himself (they call it narcissistic injury). I had to laugh, finally called the first one he had been chatting and trying to hook up with, she told me that she told the asshole he "has too much baggage". Indeed he does. I should have dumped his ass 6 years before he did it to me.

                CL is right, they are NOT.THAT.DEEP. They toss us like trash because they were never truly invested or connected to begin with. It's also why they can just latch onto whatever slithers in their path.

                The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence, it's greener where you water it.

              • I am saving this post. My vocabulary was not good enough to express what you just said. Awesome.

  • No intellectual discussion of cheating needed for most of us. The secrecy and not letting the Chump know they are other than they profess themselves to be. Wasting our lives sometimes for decades while they have far less if any skin in the game. Destroying someone’s trust in others. Only selfish people think this is OK.
    Agreed that you should be on some other forum with all your loftiness. You and your “member” can go somewhere where you will be appreciated. Don’t you have anything else to do? We are here to get help. What are you here for?

  • Laylabee,

    When we are cheated on we torture ourselves with all that “if only I hadn’t…” self-talk that is a version of blameshifting we bring on ourselves. The cheater does enough of that so please stop because it’s not true. So you confided in people about your fears. Did you also buy your lettuce bagged or put too many cheeses in the lasagna because those also could be what drove your cheater to his mistress. You know what my ex said to me before he left me? I was, “too loyal.”
    Um, what? Yeah. It seemed to disgust him that I devoted myself to him. And this was just a few months after he said I was cheating on him and was so upset he left on a “vacation” without me so yeah, they’ll say anything that suits them, to make YOU the bad guy, and them a poor victim.

    • I agree, Get Out. Chumps, initially anyway, think that there was something we could have done to avoid the cheating. With that mindset, that also means that we think we have some sort of power over someone’s actions. Not happening. Cheater ex told me I was a wonderful wife. Looking back, all I did was waste my “wonderfulness” on someone who did not deserve a minute of it, and was simply, a person who enjoyed cheating.

      • Funny you mention cheese in the lasagna. One of ex’s grudges against me was that I liked ricotta cheese. I kid you not. And he loved lasagna. Dumb ass didn’t realize it was full of ricotta.

      • “Looking back, all I did was waste my “wonderfulness” on someone who did not deserve a minute of it, and was simply, a person who enjoyed cheating.” Great point Uniquelyme!

    • Excellent point Get Out, they want you to negative self-talk so you will take all the blame and they don’t look like the scumbags they really are. It is a process Laylabee but you will figure out that this not your fault in any way. Blaming a faithful spouse for their cheating with lame excuses like snooping or loyalty (or laundry in my case) is like blaming a rape victim because she’s dressed too sexy. It’s all so ridiculous and our society buys into it sometimes too which can make it even harder for us chumps. Your husband cheated because he has no integrity and no morals and only cares only about himself. My husband watched our kids sob and beg him not break up our family without shedding one tear. They do not have a heart and they are subhuman creeps. It took me 20 years to figure out I was married to a man with full blown NPD and he did me a favor when he showed me who he really was. It may not feel like it now but some day you will be able to breathe, smile and laugh again and you will be able to become the amazing person you are supposed to be. Hugs to you!

    • Oh yes – I too was blamed for an affair that never happened. Oh and looking back – I think of how he would ‘pick fights’ with me JUST before he would leave for Las Vegas. On stupid shit I might add.

      • Oh my God YES…. We fought before EVERY single trip he took (usually twice a year, “guy” trips) and he blamed me, of course. Wasn’t until AFTER the desecration that I realized that he would deliberately do shit that he KNEW would piss me off so it would start a fight. Must have given him the justification he needed to feel vindicated fucking around. Dick.

  • Oh yes, and agree with CL and so glad that she shed some light on this typical cheater behavior. It is clear Laylabee is in a tortuous early stage of betrayal confusion and heartbreak. Hugs to her.

  • It’s funny, the quote that chump lady put on her graphic today (“I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you”) is the same quote my husband always had, and still has, on his Facebook page as his favorite quote. Imagine that.

    Laylabee, unless you were using your right hand to hold the phone while you told your friends about what your husband was up to, and using your left hand to stuff his dick into her vagina (which, while physically impressive, is highly doubtful), his infidelity is NOT YOUR FAULT. When I found out, with lots and lots and lots and lots of concrete evidence, that my husband had been fucking prostitutes during his lunch break for many years, I also told my friends. As many people on here have said, and I think they were quoting chump lady, he fired me as his PR representative the first time he put his dick in the wrong hole. For 19 years, I talked to my friends about the wonderful things he did. That was all good with him. But he did not like it when I told people about him fucking “Brandi” up the ass on our 13th wedding anniversary. Again, imagine that.

    At one point during our short false reconciliation, he had the balls to tell me that this should have been a “private matter”. I happen to have the UBT sitting right here for the morning. It’s its turning those words into “I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you” Thank you, UBT.

    During my divorce process, I made a lengthy music playlist that I played daily and loudly to get me through what I went through. One of the songs on there, IMO, really sums up your situation, Laylabee. Google the white stripes “effect and cause”. Play it loud. It helped me, I hope it helps you. Here are the lyrics:

    I guess you have to have a problem if you want to invent a contraption
    First you cause a train wreck, then they put me in traction
    Well, first came an action and then a reaction
    But you can’t switch around for your own satisfaction
    Well, you burnt my house down and got mad at my reaction

    Well, in every complicated situation of a human relation
    Makin’ sense of it all takes a whole lot of concentration
    Well, you can blame her baby for her pregnant ma
    And if there’s one of these unavoidable laws
    It’s that you just can’t take the effect and make it the cause

    Well, you can’t take the effect and make it the cause
    I didn’t rob a bank because you made up the law
    Blame me for robbing Peter; don’t you blame Paul
    Can’t take the effect and make it the cause

    I ain’t the reason that you gave me no reason to return your call
    You built a house of cards and got shocked when you saw them fall
    Yeah, well, I ain’t saying I’m innocent – in fact, the reverse
    But if you’re headed to the grave, you don’t blame the hearse
    You’re like a little girl yelling at her brother ’cause you lost his ball, yeah

    Well, you keep blaming me for what you did, but that ain’t all
    The way you clean up the wreck is enough to give one pause
    Well, you seem to forget just how this all started
    I’m reacting to you because you left me broken-hearted
    See, you just can’t take the effect and make it the cause

    • I kept my fears about what my husband was doing to myself for many years. After confronting him multiple times, and even threatening at one point to leave, he got better for awhile, but it never completely stopped. At one point I just couldn’t take it any more and started talking to friends, although I said nothing to family members about my suspicions. Sometimes when you’re isolated in a situation you don’t realize what’s normal and what’s not. It’s helpful to talk to others who can give you perspective. I think it’s understandable that Laylabee turned to other people who WOULD talk to her. Perhaps she could have talked to a counselor first, but I don’t think it’s wrong to turn to friends for support.

  • Fuck off, HH. You got your intellectual head handed to you the other day because you appear to know diddly squat about biology (despite seeking an advanced degree in it). The basic point is that people come here to HEAL, not to have a debate about whether evolutionary psychology admits monogamy is adaptive in some species (it is) or not. What are you contributing? Did you get thrown out of university and are seeking deep academic conversations here?

    Don’t. Just fuck off. You’re a troll, who on a post several weeks ago talked about a friend at a party shoving her tongue down your throat while you were married.

    I’m pretty sure ther’s a vacant bridge somewhere.

  • Dear Laylabee, if it gives you any comfort (that it isn’t you, it is him), this was my husband’s reply to WHY????
    – because I wanted to fuck her.

    You can’t get clearer than that.

  • Cheating is a CHOICE, it’s not a fucking accident or oversight. People with integrity do NOT pursue inappropriate relationships. When you have integrity and you are married, or committed, you DO NOT cross the line. As an adult you know where those lines are and so do these cheating fuckwits….they sure know where the line is when they are projecting their cheating bullshit onto you out of guilt and accusing you of imagined transgressions. They cross those lines because they have NO boundaries!!!

    Your cheater, sounds like most if them, doesn’t mind doing shitty shit…..just doesn’t want you “telling” anyone. Mine accused me of “slander”, stupid asshole….it is not slander if it’s true stupid.

    He was cheating before you blabbed. And he is a super HUGE asshole… inserting her and her family into your lives, duping you into interaction and friendship with her. X-hole did this too and It’s the ultimate slap in the face. What a selfish turd. Had you been quiet and done the pick me dance a little better he might have stopped, you might have won him over for that round….but eventually he most likely would have started up again anyway or found someone else to pay him the attention. They are never satisfied, it’s never enough. They have unrealistic expectations of specialness.

    X-holes ex-wife is quiet, non-confrontational and she didn’t tell everyone….didn’t stop him.

    You can not rationalize with the disordered and your behavior won’t change theirs, they just get better at hiding and lying.

    • Right on – “It’s not slander if it’s true stupid.”
      That’s why I had no problem texting my friends, texting his friends, telling anyone who would listen as to why my son was in a mental hospital for 19 days. It was because his father is a selfish prick and he caught him cheating on his mother!

      • Yeah, I also got “you’re telling everyone I’m a piece of shit”. Idiot. I have never actually said that, to him or anyone else. That’s his guilt manifesting, his deep down feelings about himself. Not surprising in the least.

        All I ever did was tell people the truth, what he had done. The conclusions drawn from there were pretty self-explanatory.

        • I didn’t necessarily come right out and tell them he was a piece of shit – but I did let them draw their own conclusions 🙂
          Dickhead has mentioned a few times about ‘getting back together’ after the divorce. One day when arguing, said he could never be a part of my family again because they all probably look at him like he’s a piece of shit. I just looked at him and thought “What the fuck do you expect, asshole?” I didn’t deny it. I didn’t say anything….

          • Mine signed off a text exchange with “signing off, your narcissistic piece of shit”

            If he wanted refutation, he didn’t get it.

              • The night before he left (he packed but then stayed ) I couldn’t take anymore….him laying in our bedroom texting OWhore and I just unleashed my barrage of truths… including “Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Google it asshole, that’s what’s wrong with you!” He later spat at me “you called me a narkastist”. Makes me laugh still, stupid ass can’t even say it right.

                Today is the day, one year ago this date he walked out. From that moment forward I started to understsnd that I never really knew him at all. I should thank him, I doubt I would have ever left him.

              • It’s a running joke in my family, my daughter (26), sister and I always pronounce it Narkastist. You can still be one even if you can’t SAY it dumbass….

          • Ummmmm yep. Last year we all got together for our son’s birthday, the meet up trip with OWhore was already planned and I had already told my entire family. Needless to say it was not fun for him. My side of the family isn’t good at the “pretend he’s not an asshole” like his side is. The fact that he was merely ignored and not physically or verbally assaulted was a fucking miracle in itself.

            He wasn’t sorry, they knew it and he knew it….so the asshole went on the trip and well the rest is just chump history.

            Such a selfish dickhead.

        • X kept OW hidden for sometime but I knew she existed, it took me awhile to find out who she was. He went so far as to befriend a girl at the gym who wasn’t the OW to mislead me. He ridiculed me and accused me of being crazy, told me I was at fault for his leaving, convinced everyone including our son that I was to blame for his leaving. He couldn’t take me anymore, even shed a few crocodile tears.
          I believed it was my fault for him leaving and analyzed everything I did or said. One time he told me it was the tone of my voice when I asked him something was the reason he left. I almost wrote him a letter apologizing (cringe). The passage of time, reading and distance helped me see the truth. Opened my eyes to who he is and realize he wasn’t the person I thought I was married to.

          Looking back he had been cheating long before he left, red flags were all over the place. He treated me like something he stepped in for at least a year before he moved out on Mother’s day. X had his exit perfectly planned. I went to the furthest depths of Chumptium blaming myself and if only I hadn’t.., I was beating myself up and spending hours upon hours going over every detail of things I had said and done and how it could have been taken wrong, maybe if I hadn’t said it like that and asked another way.., crazy making.
          X is the most vindictive, wicked manipulative person I have ever known.
          Nothing like the good guy image he portrays himself to be to outsiders.
          No, cheating is something they want to do, nothing Chumps say or do drive them to
          cheat. They’re self serving, manipulative liars, low life scum.

          • Yes…I shouldered all the blame, internalized every word and mistake I’d ever made. Talk about cringing…. I even wrote the “I’m sorry” letter and the “oh how wonderful you are, let me count the ways” letter. That was the week he left, right before Thanksgiving (and 2 months before I found CL and CN). When he came to pick up our son he smiled, thanked me for saying such wonderful things, told me how much he appreciated it…. asshole….had I got close enough to him I probably could have picked up on her scent as he’d just crawled out from under her after driving 300 miles just to get laid. Guess her vagigi must be made of gold, wtf? Idiot.

            Our stories, like many others on here, are very similar. They have us chumps pegged, we are used to shouldering blame and trying to fix shit, nurturing, loving and caring. We give and they take….until you just can’t anymore. I know he has been cheating since very early on, definitely emotionally and likely physically as well. I can remember thinking he was just “too nice” and pushing those paranoid notions out of my head. Once you are faced with the reality of what they are TRULY capable of all of those moments of denial become “AHA!” moments.

            Once you realize that you weren’t enough because THEY can’t ever be satisfied and NO one will ever be enough. You are only “enough” temporarily (while sparkles last) and you stop blaming yourself and put that shit where it belongs…..on those morally decrepit assholes.

            I can remember looking at him once and just getting the CREEPIEST feeling, I realized at that moment that he was phony as fuck. Took me longer to figure out that he’d been impersonating a decent human being all along.

  • So why do cheaters cheat, then, HH? Why do they put their need to fuck a stranger over the feelings of the person they are committed to?
    If lack of impulse control, narcissistic supply and lack of empathy of what they are doing to their family doesn’t count?
    I would really like to know.
    Please don’t tell me you are resorting to primitive urges of biology again. Let me take a crap in the middle of the road, and join you. Seeing as the urge to eat and defecate are stronger than fucking.

  • I agree. I have been reading here a long time and while it is overall helpful sometimes I cringe at the way Chump Nation skewers commenters. There is a need for tolerance even if you don’t agree with what someone is saying. This level of hate and vitriol is not good for anybody.

    • There is a huge difference between tolerance and allowing someone to hijack this site. HH has been banned, so let us return to the subject at hand, As someone whose X’s affair began as an “emotional” one, I believe that an emotional affair is a physical affair in the making. Once a person starts sharing private info to another at the expense of the marriage, it is just a matter of time until the affair turns physical. I cannot tell you the number of times I told my X that I thought his relationship with OW was inappropriate, only to be told they were “just friends.” Bullshit. True friends never interfere with a marriage, nor do they encourage the keeping of secrets, or isolate a person from their family. Once a “friendship” comes between a marriage, it has crossed the line and should stop. If it doesn’t, a physical affair is inevitable.

      • You said it Violet. I believe it is time all grown ups admit they know the difference between a friendship and an emotional affair.

    • HM: My main purpose in being on CL everyday is to be as supportive as I can be of chumps, especially those in the throes of pain after D-day, to sometimes add a humorous comment, and to seek support when I myself am having trouble digesting something about my own former marriage. In person, I am actually very kind and diplomatic; I rescue dogs (5), fish (200+), turtles (1), serve as a second mother to many of my students, etc. HOWEVER, I don’t tolerate bullies, and I am prepared to skewer commenters who come here as bullies. No one has just taken a few sucker punches to the gut after 2, 5, 15, 19, 30 years of marriage needs to have to deal with blaming-the-victim, or “you’re not enlightened” bullshite.

      I waited until HH had posted 4 offensive before going for him, and even on the other day’s posts (Friday), tried to be patient until he just kept up with the same drivel about monogamy being unnatural. Narcotics Anonymous does not invite meth dealers to their meetings to test the recovering addicts. I see no reason why someone who repetitively comes to invalidate chumps (and HH was more subtle than most, to be sure), needs to remain. I’m a strong ACLU and First Amendment defender, but support CL’s banning trolls. The first amendment says you have the right to your opinion and speech; it does not guarantee you have no *consequences* from said speech, especially in private forums.

      Evils, big and small, in this world continue because good people say nothing, do nothing. When it comes to weighing the good of allowing chumps to heal in a safe place, vs. stepping up to the plate to confront a bully, I don’t need much time to decide.

      • I love you Tempest 😀

        …my cheater sense was tingling…pretty sure HH is just like satan…just with a better vocabulary…and computer skills…

    • Most of the time people with opposing views don’t come here to engage in thoughtful conversation. If they did, they would find strong opinions but a willingness to discuss. Instead, most people post inflammatory garbage with the intent to troll rather than engage. Few of us find that helpful, enlightened, or worth respecting.

    • There’s no tolerance for people who clearly act like a fuckwit. Tolerance given to fuckwits will just make them stomp all over your boundaries.

  • “Why don’t you plant some other thoughts in his head, while you’re at it, like full custody and a generous divorce settlement?”

    LOL, CL…this is just perfect! Yes, who cares if you ‘made him do it’…do you really want to be with him after the way he treated you?? Of course, nothing we do can “make” someone do something. It was a choice, HIS choice. He revealed himself to you with his actions. Let go and move on and sleep easy at night.

  • I’d like to chime in as a proponent of having friends of the opposite sex. I work in a largely male dominated industry, and if I didn’t have male friends, I wouldn’t have any friends at all. I talk to them, text with them, and get together with them on the weekends. I even go on solo day trips with some of them, because nothing would compel my husband to go skiing. What I do not desire is to go to bed with them (actually, ew). My (ex-chump) husband could go around talking about me socializing extensively with these people, and it would NOT make me want to fall into bed with them. So, Laylabee, if the friendship had been at all innocent, nothing you said would have made your husband go physical. You don’t control his behavior (clearly), so nothing you did could “make” him cheat.

    Oh, and none of my friendships mean more to me than my husband. If he asked me to stop interacting with any one of them, i would do it immediately, although I would probably think he was being weird.

    • Same here… sales.

      But when any of them start telling me about their marriage/girlfriend/boyfriend issues, I tell them to TELL THEIR PARTNER about it. *I* am not the person who needs to understand; their partner needs to know, not me. *I* can’t help your marriage. Only you and your partner can. You’re never going to fix your relationship by telling everyone except the other person involved. The end.

    • I’ve always had guy friends as well, but they were just that… friends. I didn’t have inappropriate “secret” conversations with them and zero interest in pursuing anything romantic. I never had to slip away to answer the phone or put a lock on my phone because my guy friends were sending me Snapchat’s of their dicks. Normal people can have friends of the opposite sex without wanting to bang all of them.

      I loved X-hole with everything I had and I was proud of it. I was so unavailable to other men that it was obvious and never had to even be said out loud.

      With that said, I now know why he never trusted me with any of them. Even the ones that I had been friends with and knew them and their wives for 20+ years. Assholes think everyone is like them. They lie to your face and swear they would NEVER cheat while they are slipping it to whomever and they project that shit onto you.

      • “Assholes think everyone is like them. They lie to your face and swear they would NEVER cheat while they are slipping it to whomever and they project that shit onto you.”

        EXACTLY! It took years, but I finally figured out that when he accused me of cheating (with no evidence whatsoever) it was totally projection. He was cheating, so he assumed I was, too.

        • He even accused me of fucking around with his friends…one of them (now deceased, RIP) was one of the SWEETEST people I’ve ever met…..but he was also one of the crustiest and unclean persons and there is NO WAY X-hole believed I’d fuck around with that guy…..but he still threw a jealous tantrum when he found out the guy stopped to talk to me once when he’d seen me out in the yard. Yet another red flag I deliberately ignored.

          • It’s a distraction, puts the focus on you instead of them. Asshole had a bar friend who’s girlfriend was a married cheater, he told me “I don’t feel comfortable hanging out with them, I don’t like cheaters and don’t want them to be a part of our lives.” Married cheaters are the assholes flavor of choice…..less of a threat. He can use them and dump them and they are less likely to blow the whistle because they’d have to out themselves too. Despicable.

      • I loved asswipe with every ounce of my being for 27 years. In the end just a waste. Walked away to be with the whore like I was never nothing. His loss asshole. Never again. When he asked me will I go looking for somebody to take of me so asswipe can ease his guilt. I just laughed at him and threw his words back in his face. Everybody cheats nothing lasts and relationships are for punks and losers. Really what do you call your affair asshole! He is still in love with me and I hope the guilt kills him.

    • Your male friends are only friends because that is your rule.
      Get them together all in the same place and tell them you want to be more than friends and watch the dynamic change.

      • Honestly, I think they would be horrified. Most of them are married, or partnered as loyal as they come. I dont think I could be friends with them otherwise. i’ve had my fill of the sparkly narcs, and certainly dont make them my friends

    • Same here. Also, anything that is being said in conversation, can be viewed by my partner if my partner wants to know what is going on/doesn’t feel right with the situation.
      I’ve got nothing to hide, after all. No secrets and no lies.

      • When X-hole made insinuations about the content of my “messages” I told him he was more than welcome to read all of them, that while he would not find any inappropriate conversations with other men he would probably not enjoy what was being discussed in the conversations. There were conversations with my sister and cousin and a few guy friends about what was happening, everyone pretty much just agreed that he was a selfish asshole and stated such very clearly.

  • I didn’t read all the way though this. But no, he didn’t cheat because of you. He cheated because he.cheated. because.he.is.a.DICK.

    He is a dick, cheater or not. He needs to go.

  • Laylabee, this is the mantra of cheaters. They need to believe the lie (that it’s your fault) in order to suffocate any level of conscience. They need to blame shift and obfuscate, to justify their sin. Truth is, none of this ever had ANYTHING to do with you. You didn’t choose this, you didn’t create this, and you can’t change it. This is cheater 101 verbiage though. if you could make him do one thing, would it really be this? He is a manipulative mother fucker, and he likely sees your empathic strengths as a vulnerability. He’s using it to save himself. He knows how deplorable his behavior is. That’s why he’s trying to give it to you. After my nth D-Day, my stbx said, “…if I had the attention of the female that mattered, it would not have been a novelty when it came from elsewhere.”
    It’s not your fault. It had nothing to do with you. The only reason you’re involved is because you delivered the inconvenient truth.

  • Satan said, “I like pussy and I am going to get it wherever I can! MEOW” as he cavorted around laughing…yeah…meow…

    …within months he was begging me to let him come home…offered to buy me a horse and build me a house??? WHA????

    Have fun satan.

    Run Laylabee…run right to a good lawyer and do not look back…bad as it hurts it will stop the bleeding now…it only gets worse with these disordered assholes…let him be the victim of his actions you go have a great life and be mighty!

    …and what the hell HH???? I think ignoring you would be our best course of action here cause truly you kinda remind me of satan in that you keep makin not a whole lot of sense at all…

      • NCStevie 🙂

        …he left that morning 4 years ago as the man I had been with for 36 years and came back that evening unrecognizable…raging and accusing me of just everything you can imagine and meowing at me…at first I thought he had a brain tumor…by the time I had endured 4 beatings at his hands I determined he was satan himself…I will never understand the dangerous disordered creature. I feel very Blessed to be out and away from him and his tribe of equally disordered assholes. 😀

        • That is CRAZY, actually meowing at you?? Wtf?? … and physical abuse is inexcusable.

          My first child’s father was physically and emotionally abusive, I endured his abuse and cheating for years (he didn’t bother lying, he loved to make me feel like shit) I was young, stupid and damaged. I was raised around that shit, watched my Mom get slapped around by my dad first and then my step-dad. Thankfully neither marriage lasted too long. Unfortunately my father was an abusive alcoholic, he stayed drunk for most of his life and didn’t bother spending time with me growing up. I grew up wondering “why” I didn’t matter to him. X-hole was a con-man and expert manipulater but he NEVER put his hands on me, just wore me down spiritually and emotionally. I didn’t matter to him either.

          The truly disordered are masters of deception. And it’s usually a family affair, bunch of enabling assholes.

          • Same here NCStevie… 🙁 My dad is an abusive alcoholic who abused mom for 21 years. One day she got brave and left him and became MIGHTY 🙂 I swore I would never live like that…then met satan…lived like that for 36 years…sad. satan only became physically abusive after I saw his super secret cell phone…wow! It wasn’t a brain tumor after all!!!! LOL! That time it was the customer service ho at Kroger’s! Wow!!!

            …over the whole 36 years satan always had OW…my friends, his friends, hos he met at work…satan is a traveling salesman…cliche much asshole???? LOL!

            satan’s family is also the same – the whole lot of them are narcissistic, controlling alcoholics…

  • I wonder if the OW was afraid that your “letting the cat out of the bag,” would destroy her cover, and you Husband was trying to gallantly protect her by hurting you. It’s all the game of cheating, secrets and protecting each other for their twu luv

  • I think he mad at you for telling everybody is because he can’t eat the cake in the dark anymore. Divorce his ass and tell the whore’s husband.

  • “It may surprise many Chumps, for example, to learn that cheaters don’t cheat because of entitlement or kibbles. Far from it. Or that monogamy (pair bonding) does not preclude cheating (extra pair bonding).”

    For someone wanting an intellectual discussion, I see an inflammatory thesis but no support given. Just saying something is so does not make it such. I would have graded such an approach at one of my graduate-level sections an “F.”

    And the thesis isn’t all that sophisticated or nuanced. The point here on CL is not that people have open relationships or “extra pair bonding.” It is the secrecy and lies surrounding such bonding that is treated as the problem. By not recognizing this, the thesis conflates open relationships with cheating. This is unfair but gives a thin veneer of legitimacy via such a conflation.

  • Off topic indeed. HH, this is a support site and the POV is clear on the banner — leave a cheater, gain a life. I’m not here for cheaters — I’m here for chumps. People who invested their lives in partners who disrespected and deceived them. That’s it. You don’t have to agree with my views on kibbles, selfishness, or anything else.

    You’re trying to hijack a thread, which is rude. You want someone to “devote a segment” to YOUR POV? Start your own blog. Call me when you hit 7 million views and get a book deal.

    There’s no “Chump Lady police.” There are just people who read the blog, because they agree with the POV. They lived it. I’m not “explaining” anything to them that they didn’t experience first hand.

    If you’ve got some academic theory about “pair bonding” that will draw a great audience — please, find another pulpit. Get a TED talk. Add your voice to the chorus of others that think cheating on others is awesome. And reconciliation makes Pair Bonders appreciate monogamy. Have at it.

    But don’t bring that shit here.

    • Thank you CL, there are too many people on this site who are in the middle of the most painful stages after DD. We are barely starting in the whole “get a life” part, and we don’t need the negative of someone telling us that maybe we just had “insane” expectations because of “Biology”. I’m all for open discussion about things, but this here was not the time or the place and she hijacked the conversation.

  • Folks, I deleted HH’s posts, so if the comment thread looks weird that’s why.

    I HATE moderating my site. I truly detest it. I and also hate banning anyone. But it’s unacceptable to hijack threads. I decide what’s trollish, and if I offend someone’s delicate sensibilities, so be it.

    The only “Chump Lady police” officer is me, and I really don’t like the job. I’m pretty clear on my POV, and I will listen to any differing opinion if it is respectfully given and ON TOPIC.

    But at the end of the day, this needs to be a safe house for chumps. I’m not here for people who are reconciling or for cheaters who want to explore their brokenness or pair bonding or WTFever. I’m here for people who are rebuilding their lives after infidelity. That’s it.

    If it offends you, hey, it’s a great big internet. Find another place to hang out. Or start your own blog.

  • Laylabee, my situation was very similar to yours. Listen to Tracy. She’s spot on. Even my first therapist tried to tell me they might have been “just friends” or at best it was an EA. Not buying it. No one walks out on a marriage, especially with children, for a “friend”. My ex and his “friend” weren’t going to just work out together after work. If he wanted a work out partner it could have and should have been me.

    • Yes, when I pointed out my X’s inappropriate “friendships” after D-day (when I still thought he’d had only an EA. ha ha), he said, “But you text ___male friend’s___ name.” First, ___male friend__ is gay, second, I SHOWED my texts to & from __male friend__ to X. See, no secrets! Cheaters love secrets, and when caught, love the false equivalency.

  • First, the silent treatment? Months on end? Is he twelve? That is called…I am mad at you so I am punishing you by not talking to you. I am mad that I want someone else or having an affair and you are holding me back.

    Second, doing brunch for mother and sister but not you, the mother of his children?? Again that is called…punishing you because my life is not what I want it to be and you are holding me back.

    Sorry, but married (soon to be divorced) to a selfish pig. I am sure once the fog clears you will see many other warning signs along the way that you didn’t see before.

    What an ass!!!! This entire situation reminds me of my x-ass. Stay strong!!!! Hugs to you!!!!

    • Also the whole “silent treatment” thing is clearly emotional abuse. Laylabee, this guys is such a jerk, and you could have said “Okay we’ll all be friends with AP, there is nothing wrong” and he still would have cheated.
      I sometimes think, well maybe if I had studied Economics, and learnt to speak Chinese, maybe if I had just become his full time cheerleader he wouldn’t have left… but really, cheaters cheat on “perfect wives” and amazing people ALL the time. There is nothing you can do to get rid of their sense of entitlement.

      • I have the Chumpiest memory…I now see it as pathetic as it was…I had a CD of music where one of the songs had an angelic voice and I remember thinking “If I could sing like that, I wonder if my husband would love me.”

        I had that thought while I was dutifully applying myself to my area of expertise where (in my niche, small but profound) I was actively changing the whole world for the better (long story and if I told it I would blow my anonymity).

        But in truth the very best at whatever still get cheated on because it wasnt about us in the first place. I wish I could go visit the person I used to be and smack some sense into her…I would say “Unicorn…wake the fuck up, he is a mean bastard who DOESNT CARE ABOUT YOU, go divorce his sorry ass”.

    • I told X-hole I HATED the silent treatment, stupid me. My Mom did that to me when I was a kid/teenager and I hated it. Didn’t realize it was abuse until I started trying to figure out wtf was wrong with him and educating myself. My Mom wasn’t narcissistic but she had control issues, she could go for weeks without speaking to me.

  • LaylaBee, I am so sorry you have had to go through all of this, internet hugs to you.
    I have to tell myself every day that I cannot make people do/not do things based on my behaviour. (If I’m just nice enough, good enough, kind enough, smart enough, strong enough, ………. they will ……. talk to me, like me, participate in the relationship with me, not fuck other people, tell the truth …….).
    Nope, nope nope, their fuckery is all on them.

  • Truth is they cheat because they want to….. Has nothing to do with us. Took me a while to figure that out. And believe in it. My cheater was getting ego boost from 20 something boy toy to make her feel better because the love of her life high school boy friend dumped her. I was nonexistent during the whole screwed up mess. All I was good for was raising kids while she worked (played) out of town and paying bills. Once you learn and believe how insignificant we are to them the better you will be!

  • I read your first comment with interest and thought, ‘Sure, why not consider the idea that people’s voices are being shouted down.’ Now, after reading every response you’ve made to what other people are saying it’s pretty clear you’re a troll. It’s all ‘I know you do but what am I’ kind of bullshit.

    You have a point to make? Make it. Fully and without this nonsense of, ‘I’ll only do it if CL devotes a column to it.’ That’s controlling bullshit and I sincerely hope CL doesn’t fall for that kind of juvenile idiocy.

  • Laylabee: We all know the pain you are feeling, compounded by self-doubt about whether you are making a mountain out of a molehill, and whether you contributed to the situation.

    No, you did not. Profound and prolonged disrespect is a sufficient reason to end a relationship, IMHO. But yes, it took me over two decades of subtle emotional abuse and knowledge of at least one of X’s affairs to come to this conclusion. No one can rush this decision for themselves; just realize that all of us have lived through the terror and gaslighting, and want to save you from years of the same. We don’t want you, or anyone else, to tolerate the anguish that we suffered before setting our boundaries to “healthy.”

    Our minds play tricks on us; we minimize damaging things that those we love have done to us; we invent “nice” things they do for us which turn out only to be impression management. The best thing you can do for yourself is make the knowledge objective–get a notebook and start a log of lal the hurtful things your H has said/done in the past, plus the context, and how you (most likely) tried to work out conflicts in a healthy way, with no help from H. You will be amazed at how much clearer your thinking becomes.

    We’re here for you. Big hugs your way.

    • Excellent advice as always, Tempest.
      Laylabee, I’d just like to add that you shouldn’t be surprised or overly distressed to see in this kind of journaling that you may have developed some maladaptive coping skills or responses to his behaviors. That doesn’t make you a bad person or ‘as bad’ as him in any way! So much of the mindfuckery you have to work thru at this point is figuring yourself out again, resetting your boundaries and coping skills back to healthy after years of distortion. Take it easy on yourself, be careful with yourself, don’t get stuck in the past. Focus on where you want to be, what’s ok with you going forward, but know that your anger is a valuable protective and motivating mechanism at this point. Honor that anger.

    • We do “minimize the damaging things”. And we also tend to blame the other woman because cheaters minimize their role blaming the other woman. They play with both our vulnerabilities and willingness to believe they were the victims of seduction when in fact they cheat when we are in a vulnerable position (pregnant, dependent) and our emotional needs are peaking. We NEEDED them and instead of being there they cheat right under our nose and BLAMESHIFT.

      Layla, it doesn’t stop.

  • “But at the end of the day, this needs to be a safe house for chumps. I’m not here for people who are reconciling or for cheaters who want to explore their brokenness or pair bonding or WTFever. I’m here for people who are rebuilding their lives after infidelity. That’s it. ”

    This is very simple to understand. And I find much of what I read here beneficial for those reconciling or contemplating reconciliation, good for looking at things realistically.

  • Dear Laylabee, I could have written your story almost word for word. I was in a similar situation over a longer period of time. My ex was always too close to his female coworkers for my comfort. With the last married OW coworker I found myself in the same scenario you did — I couldn’t get my husband to talk about it. He did what he damn well pleased, he went days without talking to me. At one point I broke down and told him how much his relationship with this OW coworker was hurting me and he said “you don’t have to compete with her,” but he never stopped his behavior, he just got more quiet about it. After more of this behavior I put my foot down and refused to socialize with the OW and her family any more. At one point I asked my counselor is she thought my refusal to be “friends” with this OW is what drove my husband to her. Wisely, my counselor answered “I think you did what you needed to do to protect yourself.”

    When my husband said he wanted a divorce he still claimed there was nothing going on with his coworker. I found in his writing evidence to the contrary. That was the most horrible and most helpful day of my life. I finally started to understand that I wasn’t crazy, that he was manipulating me, etc. It still took a long time for me to let go of the blame he heaped on my head at the end.

    The further you get along in the process the more clearly you’ll see. Maybe you weren’t the perfect wife, but you did nothing to make your husband cheat and lie. That is all on him. It’s going to take awhile, but you’ll eventually get far enough in your own life to let go of the guilt. Even though my life isn’t what I expected it to be, I’m far more at peace living without disorder and deception. You will be too, I promise.

  • Laylabee, I just thought of something else that might help. I tell myself all the time that I just couldn’t work things out with a person who wouldn’t talk to me. Refusing to talk to your wife for days on end is controlling and abusive behavior. “Talking things out” is a skill my husband just wasn’t capable of. He couldn’t allow himself to be vulnerable in any way. He only felt safe when he was in control.

  • Laylabee – I discovered my husband was cheating on Mother’s Day as well this past year. I got dead silence, a few “we’re just friends” and some “you weren’t there for me when my mom got cancer” crap. I’ve now been divorced for over a month and let me tell you, the truth is it is rough with my kids but in every other part of my life I am overjoyed! I feel bad for my kid, but now that I have some space and a bit of ability to stand back and look at things I can see there was a lot more crap there I didn’t notice because I was so busy with parenting (my kids are less than a year and a half apart so I get it) and working full time while my husband was traveling for work and, ahem…other activities. If you get the chance to step back for even a week, without his presence and with help taking care of the kids and you can relax your brain a bit things will pop into your head and you will realize this persons does not have your best interest at heart, maybe never has. They are not fighting for you they are fighting for kibbles and someone else’s lady bits. Take away the affair and I bet you see this is not a person invested in you and making sure you are happy with a great life.

  • I think one of the things that is so hard to understand about cheaters — when it is just against your basic nature to cheat — is WHY do they feel they must cheat? If you are in a relationship, and you have time, money, property, children — whatever– invested, and you are an adult, you know there will be good days and bad. You don’t risk all the good you have built up in your investment by choosing to do something that is going to destroy the relationship. We can all understand temptation and boredom, and we likely experience those things, but we choose not to act upon them. Cheaters just don’t believe there will be negative consequences, thus the theory of having one’s cake and eating it too. It just doesn’t work that way.

    Cheaters count on the spouse being a chump. She/he will get over it. It is easier to apologize than to ask permission. What she/he doesn’t know won’t hurt. It is just harmless fun. Whatever myth justifies your action, cheater pants — but all of that is simply not true. Even if I never know, something fundamental has changed, and once you start justifying something that is WRONG, you will continue down that slippery path. The trust is broken, the vows become meaningless. There is a shift in the value of the relationship, the spouse is not as valued or valuable any more. Body parts are not truly interchangeable, because they are attached to souls. Once the bond is broken, the relationship is never what it once was.

    My theory is that you are only as good as your word. Once you break your word to me, your essence is shattered like a zillion broken chards of glass. There is not enough glue in the world to put all the pieces back in place — and the cracks won’t ever be “whole” again. I cannot control anyone else, and my focus has to be on controlling myself. I do not cause anyone else to do anything else — they choose. Cheaters just don’t make good choices. If they luck out and have something good, they will lose it, because anything good in their life happened by accident. They make the wrong choice when given the opportunity. It is a sad reality, but a cheater ultimately cheats everyone – including the cheater.

    • So very true Portia, I told my cheater ex, my heart had been shattered into a million pieces and now there is a black hole where it used to be, all my love for him had been sucked into a black void. He shed a tear or two for himself because after everything he had done, he believed I should still love him and forgive. I didn’t and I won’t.

    • Portia, great post. “There is a shift in the value of the relationship, the spouse is not as valued or valuable any more.” I understand the context in which this is written. I also think that we as chumps, need to see this sentence as what we are left with, especially the “valuable any more” part. The cheater after they are revealed is not “valuable any more” and I think that for a lot of us to finally get to “meh” we must internalize this. We gave them value, because they were our life partners, the cheater took the “life” out of our relationships when they decided, through many, many decisions of deceit, to take that life that we had with them away from us and from themselves. I will not dignify their actions with the thought that the cheater gave our lives (relationships with cheater, our marriages) to the ap, they give the ap a shadow of a relationship. The cheater has nothing of value to give to anyone, not even themselves.They are a void. They portray a “person” but there is nothing there of “value” to anyone. It’s harsh because we loved them, but on top of not deserving love from us, they can’t keep love either.

  • Laylabee, if you’re going to get sucked into the “what if” game (as we all do at some point), then at least level the playing field. What if he had never crossed the boundary into an emotional affair? What if he had valued his family enough to keep his dick to himself? What if he actually TRIED in marriage counseling? What if he communicated openly and honestly instead of giving you the silent treatment and then communicating elsewhere?

    You were committed enough to the marriage to stay and work through it despite his very bad behavior. If all it takes for him to leave is that you talked to friends and family about something that was deeply troubling to you, then he just wasn’t in it and nothing you could say or do (or not say or do) would have changed that.

    Don’t blame yourself. After my ex’s first known round of looking elsewhere, I danced my heart out. I changed the things he said were a problem, I gave him space, I didn’t tell anyone, I worked on myself, I left it in the past and didn’t hold it over his head. Guess what happened? He threw himself into a full-blown affair with a married woman, turned my life upside down, and is now living with said mistress while we divorce. You can do everything right and cheaters gonna cheat.

    It’s hard to wrap your head around the enormity of something like this, and sometimes it’s easier to focus on one little detail at a time. But the details are really irrelevant, and focusing on them keeps you stuck. Start answering the yes/no questions: did he cheat (yes/no)? Did he have a choice (yes/no)? Did he know it would hurt you (yes/no)? The yes/no questions are what always brought me out of the details and back to the big issue.

    I’m so sorry for your excruciating pain. The only thing he’ll bring is more of it, so slog through that divorce and you’ll be on the right path.

    Big hugs.

    • Exactly this. Don’t get bogged down with the what if’s. Ask yourself the simple and direct questions. If this was truly all about you and your behaviors and your decisions, you would have chosen for your husband to not cheat, period. Cheaters like to make you think that you somehow had choices in this relationship, but you didn’t. You were never asked any of the pertinent questions, first off and secondly, had your answers been different from what the cheater needed to hear, they would have had no consequence for the outcome. He had already made all the choices and he chose to abuse you with the silent treatment and cheat. Your ideas, your wants and certainly your expectations of what you thought a marriage were pretty much background noise at this point, he unilaterally decided for you and now you just get to go along with what he chose for you. The pain is excruciating,but you will start to see that it wasn’t your “fault” at all. Don’t blame yourself, consider everything that comes out of your cheaters mouth as a lie. The silent treatment, although painful can be a godsend, at least then he is not degrading you or lying to you at those times. Hugs Laylabee. You have friends here.

    • “What has happened to you is not your fault. Don’t poke the bear either. Go under the radar for a bit while you are gathering your info. Lawyer up and invest in a good IC for yourself to sort thru it all.”

      VERY GOOD ADVICE. Get yourself to a lawyer, find out what your options are and definitely get a therapist to talk to about this. There is not one thing left of your relationship to “work with”, your spouse will try to snow you into thinking that there is something that can be done to get your relationship back on track, but this is usually a stall tactic on their part, they don’t want to lose their cake before they actually have the OW pinned down. This is not your problem anymore. You have to look out for yourself and your family, first and foremost, your spouse is not your family anymore, by his choice. You look out for your own and if you need to be sneaky about it then be sneaky. It;s every man for themselves, with cheaters, and when you learn that early on, it’s better. Best of luck to you and many hugs on your journey.

  • I’m sorry to get on the hijacked thread train, and I didn’t read HH’s original post before it was removed, but I’ve caught enough quotes and references to get the gist. HH, you may be a trained biologist, but I am a trained anthropologist, and I guarantee that culture and choice override biological impulses on a daily basis throughout our lives. It is why I choose a mate based on more than reproductive fitness, the reason I don’t crap my pants in the workplace, and why I make choices that benefit others instead of me. Even the animal world exhibits social behavior that sometimes cannot be explained 100% in biological terms. So sorry dude, in the world of humans you’re out of your league.

  • Our stories are similar. We are so
    overwhelm with kid, work & house that we do not see the big pic ! Once we I have more “off time” we noticed all the things that they are doing. They like to wait and make us look that we are crazy and paranoic so it is always our fault my
    psyco always blame me for everything. If I told him turn left and there is traffic your fault. If they cheat our fault. When in Rome.

  • Did you noticed he got “scare”‘when she vented & exploded. He was being a SOB and punishing her thru gasligting and she had a little baby. MY cheater is doing the same while I am lining my ducks I stay in “chill mode” thanks to CL the firts things that I think is … this is kibble, he is gaslighting, do not fuck with stupid, he giving me hopium etc. If he is “texting” I look to the other side because at the end I have to concentrate in my son and excell in my job so I can leave. But remember for him, for his family & friend we will be the guilty ones. I have no idea when I can leave my bastard buy I think I will explode one day and blow my cover. Is there a reading of CL teaching us how to pretend until we leave them?? It is not easy. I admire these ladies that wait yrs & yrs.

  • Yes, like many others, i was told i was “jealous and insecure” because I didn’t like the ex talking to, texting, taking on lunch and dinner dates, emailing, stopping at the apartment of, sending cards and “trinkets” to, and who knows what the fuck else to a whore. Oops I mean “friend.”. Secret friend.

    My philosophy has been, and guess I should have stated it, is ” if you can’t do whatever it is you are doing with some whore in front of your spouse, your church, your family and theirs, you are doing something wrong. You are a fucking CHEATER.”

    And, no, you don’t have to dick the bitch to be a cheater. I’ll never tolerate it for one split second again.

    • Another good one is ‘controlling’.. You are controlling, when you expect your spouse to act like a married adult and not a horny teenager..

  • Hi Laylabee, I similarly tortured myself because during the gas lighting phase I moved out of the flat. I thought later – maybe if I’d stayed etc etc. In fact then much later on I found out (through stumbling across emails) that even before I’d moved out he had been booking holidays with her and they’d been saying ‘I love you’ etc. I realised then that he’d actually deliberately been tormenting me so that I would move out so that he would then be able to blame me for the end of the marriage. He would have got away with it actually if I hadn’t been diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of it all and had to move back in. At which point he simply carried on cheating and lying but even more intensively. Anyway. The point is that you did your best at the time. In my case I definitely know I made a mistake to move out of the flat simply because it made me vulnerable and was playing into his hands. But I was responding to a terrible situation. I made a bad call but with the best of intentions, thinking I would have some chance of saving the marriage if I gave him some space. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Be kind to yourself and accept that you did your best in horrible circumstances. In the end, I very much doubt things would have turned out differently for you, because he’d already started down that path. In fact, if you’d stayed quiet possibly you would just have been tormented for longer. However I do also think it’s wise in general to be careful who you confide in, for your own safety, as not all people are to be trusted.

  • Ex’s whore wasn’t a co worker, just some random tramp from the past. They had such a special bond due to living in the same apartment complex a few decades ago.

    My thoughts are that if your Friendship with a co worker, or a neighbor, or some random slut from the past is so important to you that you put it equal, or above, your marriage, your spouse, your children, your family you have a serious fucking PROBLEM. You end to end it or get a divorce and spend all your time with that oh so important person.

  • Laylabee,
    you are a strong and intelligent woman. That you are her at CL indicates you want to move forward. You’re just unsure how, we can help you with that. Accept that you are going to have to process what has happened. We have all had too, and we are all at different stages of that journey, which will be beneficial to you. Some days will be good some will be crap, and that is ok. But I am going to repeat what has all ready been said because the more you hear (read) it the more it will remain in your thinking. We here at CL are chanting for you today…
    THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT, YOU DID NOT MAKE YOUR STBX CHEAT. THAT WAS HIS CHOICE!

    You do not need that slow erosive emotional abuse in your life.. I lived for more than a decade with the silent treatment. There was never any really good reason for it, it was just my ExH preferred method of control, this would often coincide with him needing to do something for either myself or the children. Now looking back I can clearly see the manipulation but when I was in it it would frustrate me and sadly I acted in ways that my ExH is now using against me. Which feed very conveniently into that concept of, “the problem is not what I have done, but your reaction to it, you’re so ( fill this gap with every pathetic, irrational, controlling, abusive, and uncaring description you can invoke). But I am free, and he can now take his NPD into his new relationship, I wish his new beard all the very best.

    Keep your head up Laylabee, love your kids, get a good lawyer and support network and move on.. You can do this CL has your back.

  • Laylabee,

    Big hug to you. Find a good, bulldog of an attorney. DO NOT INFORM your cheater. Copy all info about his special love fest. You need to document all of his assholery. Do not contact the other spouse or HR until your case is settled.

    Listen, you also need to make a log or diary of all of the abusive crap your asshole has done to you. You need to make sure you find an attorney who is versed in domestic violence because you have been EMOTIONALLY ABUSED for years. Get all documents of all of your financials, 401k’s, tax returns, bank accounts, etc.. Keep all of your info at a trusted friend or family member’s home.

    I spent 20yrs being emotionally abused similar to you by the asshat I married. It was slow and sneaky, made to make me feel it was all my fault.

    What has happened to you is not your fault. Don’t poke the bear either. Go under the radar for a bit while you are gathering your info. Lawyer up and invest in a good IC for yourself to sort thru it all.

  • You poor woman. You married a classic emotionally unavailable man, and have suffered abuse from him. I was with a man like this on and off for 5 years, and he did me a huge amount of damage. The passive aggression, the silent treatment, the gaslighting – all there.

    YOU. DID. NOTHING. WRONG. You called him on his cheating, exposed him – and these guys are 100% into image management – and now you have a wonderful opportunity to live a new life, free of abuse, and to find out who you really are, and to make a good life for your son away from a man who will do him nothing but harm. Look at the abusive behaviours he has already modelled to your boy.

    Get out now, get as much in the divorce as you can, and take time out to get some counselling if you can about what made you choose such an ice cube in the first place.

    I chose mine because he looked perfect on paper, and I didn’t trust that my gut was screaming the whole time. Hey, he was a Nice Guy, a churchgoer, a model citizen! What was wrong with me? But there was nothing wrong with me – he was a closeted gay, a woman hater, and a mummy’s boy who needed a beard. Just took me a while to figure put the whole puzzle. And with my abuse history, I was able to silence my gut with ease. Just shove those needs down! Just take that blame!

    Not any more. And if I can change – and I am the world’s most rigid thinker, and well into middle age to boot – then so can you.

  • Laylabee – girl, you is da victim here, not da perp. [strikes gangsta pose]

    Seriously, you have been married to an emotionally unavailable man, who deserted you when you had a lot on your plate. He decided to check out of your marriage quite early on, and flirt/fool around with someone more palatable to him.

    What was her main attraction? I can tell you right now. Your soon-to-be-ex husband didn’t have to have ANY REAL COMMITMENT TO HER AT ALL. He could come and go as he pleased, and all her other needs – you know, the boring ones like stability, comfort, financial support, loyalty, fidelity, someone to come home to a night, parenting of her children – were met by her chump husband.

    This was her principal attraction – ZERO REAL COMMITMENT in his eyes. He had to do precisely NO WORK AT ALL.

    This is the hallmark of the emotionally unavailable man. I was stuck with one for five years, on and off, who was very prone to emotional affairs with unavailable women (always married), and he turned me into a mess of quivering self-doubt. My gut was screaming at me from very early on – ‘This man is making you feel like shit. Get out.’

    But because I have an abuse history, it was very easy for me to shut down that life-saving little voice. Push those needs down, Lola! Make them tiny! Make them vanish, or you Will Lose Him Forever! It must be All Your Fault! Talk about gaslighting – I did plenty of my own gaslighting to myself, as well as his.

    My one fault – my outstanding fault – was that I was actually available. I was single, and so was he. Where’s the fun in that, when you can be fooling around with late-night texts with a married woman who is bored with her loyal, faithful hubby?

    So I can tell you now that the answer to your question is No. He didn’t cheat because you confided your fears. He cheated because he felt entitled to cheat. And that is all you need to know about your soon-to-be-ex-husband.

    He may well marry his affair partner, and you know what? He will cheat on her, too. As soon as she becomes the woman he actually has to commit to in REAL LIFE, she will be relegated to the back burner, and he will find another emotional affair partner. Rinse and repeat.

    Meanwhile, get you and your son/kids out of there. He’s modeled enough bad behaviour to them already. If you want them to grow up differently, show them how a decent human being acts. Zero tolerance to the abuse. Get counselling if you can. It’s a huge help in sorting out why you chose this man in the first place, and why you put up with so much bad behaviour from him. Now is your chance to make a real difference, and to get your life back.

    • “He may well marry his affair partner, and you know what? He will cheat on her, too. As soon as she becomes the woman he actually has to commit to in REAL LIFE, she will be relegated to the back burner, and he will find another emotional affair partner. Rinse and repeat.”

      the x didn’t marry the ap, but he has a new gf and he cheats on the new gf, woman of his choice, with the ap that he cheated on me with. It really is rinse and repeat with these f*cks.

  • There are times I wish I’d gotten a fist to the face instead of the days, weeks, months of the silent treatment. Because I would have gotten the fuck out the FIRST time.

    The silent treatment leaves scars no one else sees, and few understand. The abusiveness is rarely understood by those not subjected to it.

    Snake had his cruel words at times, but the worst was when he said nothing at all. My mind was very capable at filling in the blanks for him. Instead of resolution, my mind stayed on the hamster wheel rerunning what was said or done prior. How can I get him back? How can I make him understand? Why don’t I understand what I did that was so wrong to deserve this treatment? What’s wrong with me? I’m hurting that there’s no affection, but he doesn’t care, he doesn’t need me, he doesn’t want me, I’m worthless…

    Fuck. That. Noise. (Or lack thereof, if we’re going to be accurate)

    I ended up in dark and ugly places in my mind, that I never want to visit again. If my house is to be silent, then I am better off living alone than wondering what I did to provoke it.

    • I’m with you on this Snakebitnomore, 110%. I’m good now with the “Fuck.That. Noise. (Or lack thereof, if we’re going to be accurate).” I’m alone, I’m lonely, at times, but I am so glad that I don’t have to deal with the abuse of the silent treatment. I don’t have to wonder if i actually did do wrong to the x or not, and it is GLORIOUS!!!!!

  • I posted twice because I thought the first one got eaten, but you know what? I’m glad I did, because I came at this one from two angles. Laylabee’s story really resonated with me – I know just that feeling of ‘It Must Be All My Fault’ when you’re enmeshed with an unavailable man.

  • This is the first time visiting this site and I love the comments and feel for Laylabee. My husband left five months ago after 27 years and I am filing for divorce next month. I suffer less each day and breathe easier each night. I will never let him back into my bed, my house, or my life! I too was blamed because he decided to get emotionally involved with a coworker and of course it turned sexual. When I questioned what didn’t make since (texting all the time), he made me feel like I was stupid and should trust him. Long story short, the idiot sent me a text meant for her. So he blamed me. He said that because I went back to school and wasn’t there for him, he got lonely and cheated. So after reading all these wonderful comments, I’m wondering, and Laylabee, ask yourself this question, “if I couldn’t get him to get off the recliner long enough help take care of his kids, maintain his house, go on a date with me, bring me home a flower, how the fuck did I manage to get him to put his dick where it didn’t belong?” I didn’t! And sister, neither did you!

    • Anne–you’re mighty for moving so quickly, and putting the blame where it belongs–on the cheater. Sorry you have to be here.

    • “ask yourself this question, “if I couldn’t get him to get off the recliner long enough help take care of his kids, maintain his house, go on a date with me, bring me home a flower, how the fuck did I manage to get him to put his dick where it didn’t belong?” I didn’t! And sister, neither did you! ”

      Anne, so sorry you are one of our bunch. But damn, sister, you are mighty.

      Laylabee, you are one of us, we are mighty, all of us in different stages, but damn girl you are something else if you could “manage to get him to put his dick where it didn’t belong?”. I’m assuming that your cheater’s dick is still connected to his body?????? DO. NOT. BLAME. YOURSELF. You didn’t cause it and you can’t cure it. Be good to yourself and get yourself to a good lawyer and a good therapist.

      It was not your fault, it was his poor and hurtful choices!!!!

  • I can’t even. This is my story to a T. I am sorry you are putting up with his lies. IT’S NOT YOU! And someday you will believe that and know you deserved better.

  • One other thing about the silent treatment. This has weighed on me all day.
    I am 2 yrs post d’day, divorced since March. I Filed.
    My ExH has continued the silent control this whole time. It took my forcing him to court to get him to engage in negotiations on property settlement, it took 8 months for him to sign the agreement to put our house on the market, his delay has seen the mortgage go to default, and now we can’t find a buyer. Took 6 months for a formal parenting plan. Over the past 2 years this disordered fucker has almost sent me crazy, and when I have spoken out against his bullshit his support crew are all, we understand that you are still hurt but you need to take that to God. Be cause he presents as so genuine, the bullshit that he has pulled is so covert and so fucking crazy, and the stories he tells people seems so plausible, people either don’t bother to check the truth or if they hear the truth it sound so far fetched they think I’m just a mean bitch who makes shit up.
    Get a lawyer. Get a real good one.

    • Thankful…I can relate. The silent treatment started the day he got caught and has continued for six solid months during this divorce. The Court orders are that he is to pay the mortgage and the car payment yet he consistently pays late until my car is days away from being repossessed. It’s a company car and he owns the company so the only reason for this is control and his entitlement feeling that he is above playing by the rules. It takes court hearing after court hearing to get anything done, and half of those he doesn’t even show up for. He knows I want this whole thing over with so I can move away and start my new life, and I fear that he will do everything possible to drag it out while he continues to fuck around and spend all the money he can on himself and his whores. It makes no sense….he doesn’t want me…then let me go!!

      • HLMHLMN satan did the same thing…drug it out for 3 years or more…why do they do that???? Does anyone know??? OH WAIT!!! I know!!! I know!!! CAUSE THEY ARE LIKE SPOILED BRATS and we are taking away SOMETHING OF THEIRS! LOL!!!!

  • I am reading all these comments and thinking. My H is not my X. But in the pit of my stomach I feel something is not right with our relationship. I do not know if he has had a PA. I do know he has had an EA and that he tried to make it physical (told her he loved her. Told me he loved her. Breaks my heart. She partially blew him off, “she didn’t know what she wanted”…). I know he tried to get with a relative of the groom at my sisters’ wedding. And then there are some other “am I crazy, or is this inappropriate in a relationship” situations.
    We used to have fights where I would cry and shout. I realize now that he pushed me into many of them. I would always feel so guilty for reacting that way, that I would fall all over myself to “make it up to him”. And I would forget that the reason I cried was his refusal to help me with the baby that never slept (“he was busy watching netflix” – yes, he actually said that when I puked and the baby was crying”).
    I say used to because I have gotten better at not letting him push me. Doesn’t change him though. I feel that there is such a sense of entitlement in him. His life is so hard that he is entitled to sleep the whole afternoon while I care for the kids and so on.

    Sorry for the long thread… sometimes it is just good to get things down in writing. I am not good at talking to others about this. Too ashamed maybe.

    • Trudy, see a therapist and discuss what you are going through. Might help you get clarity on your situation. Nothing to be ashamed of, you need to learn better boundaries, the relationship doesn’t sound healthy at all. Jedi Hugs!

    • Trudy,
      Feeling ashamed of being in a lousy relationship is not unusual. I know that I kept lots of things to myself and tolerated lots of inappropriate behavior for years because I could not admit that my marriage was lousy, my spouse was mean, and my life was unhappy. The fact that you “aren’t good talking to others” is part of what makes you vulnerable–part of what your partner is banking on. In fact, whether you can see it or not, he is probably doing all he can to keep you from talking to others. Overtly or covertly, many cheaters and abusers work to isolate their partners. They know your weaknesses and use them against you.

      My biggest regret is that I didn’t leave years earlier. I made my needs smaller and smaller, and his entitlement got larger and larger. It sounds like you are in this kind of feedback loop right now. If your partner knows more about the TV schedule than he does about the kids, then things are not healthy. My spouse could have told you hours worth of details about the current sports season, but he could not have named his children’s pediatrician, favorite book, best friends, or shoe size if his life depended on it.

      I hope you will start talking to someone–and what you need to talk about is your own needs, expectations and dreams. Don’t worry about his. He’s taking care of them plenty. Worry about yourself and your children. Work on figuring out how to make a life that is healthy for you and your kids. Maybe it will include him (if he shapes up), but you need to pursue it even if he doesn’t.

  • To my deadtomehusband: Every day, I want to send you these posts. I wanr you to see you are not so special, you were not a victim of a bad marriage, you are not unique, your life was not a tragic, sad mistake. You are just an ordinary, self centered, self absorbed cheater like so many others. Get over yourself.

  • I kinda did force Saddam into her arms, well sooner than he wanted to be there. See he’d been working out trying loose weight and get rid of his belly. He wanted to look more like the 15 year old picture he’d sent her….LOL. Nope, she got to see him just as he really was. Not that it put her off, he was still her “soul mate”. Soul mate from hell anyhow, heh.

  • Sweetie, he was already well into physical cheating long before you confided your fears. He probably gas lite you for months prior. Your gut instinct had kicked in and you subconsciously knew…

  • Every single day. I am tempted to send these posts to deadtomehusband: Hey jackass, look how common you are. You are not unique, you are not an honorable martyr who hung in there until it hurt too much, you are not the victim of a tragic love story gone bad, you are not the helpless husband forced to love another. This didn’t happen TO you. You are common, ordinary, shallow and weak, just like every other cheater who won’t take responsibility for your own failure.

  • Laylabee, (sorry for the long post here, got carried away!!)

    As a fellow newly-appointed Chump, I just want to say I feel your pain. I probably can’t add anything new to the wisdom here of our fellow chumps and, of course, Chump Lady herself. But I just wanted to say you’re not alone in your confusion, your pain, and your self-doubt.

    I’ve found myself in a similar position to you, a toddler boy and a new baby girl. And a cheating husband. Like you too, the affair was with a co-worker. But most of all, a husband who could probably take on your black-belt silent treatment husband in the World Championship of Silent Treatment. Let he who possesses the most silence and soul-crushing eye-roll win!

    Like you, and I guess so many of us here, I’ve had so many “what if” soul-searches. As our relationship disintegrated as he emotionally checked out (while he was having the affair), and as my attempts to communicate with him and make things better failed time after time, I got more and more distressed. So, I increasingly started to confide in my mother. To the point where I had a phone conversation with her, knowing full well he could hear every word as the baby monitor was on. Yes – I know that’s a bit passive aggressive, but I didn’t care – I just wanted to jolt him out of his avoidance of me. I was desperate.

    Another what-if – after a particularly bad argument between us that, according to his affair timelines, was just after they’d first got together (kiss or sex, I don’t know), I ended up saying I didn’t know if I should have married him.

    Over and over, I torture myself thinking I pushed him to the affair by confiding in my mother about how badly he was treating me, and by saying something as hurtful as I didn’t know if I’d married the right person.

    Yet – it’s true what everyone has said here. We didn’t make them cheat. You were telling the truth, and so was I.

    You were hurting and betrayed because of an emotional affair at the point you told people. That is a good enough reason to open up. He shut you out – so why shouldn’t you talk to other people? Not only that, but your friends would be able to provide you with emotional support. For me – I was being treated like shit and then shut out too, so I doubted our relationship and confided in my mother.

    Under no circumstances do these things give anyone licence to cheat.

    I think this self-doubt is a natural process. Deep down, I think you know that you aren’t to blame for his actions – you know that his actions were his own responsibility. His actions. His choice. His character shining through.

    This might be controversial, but I think that this self-doubt, ‘what-if’ process is all about grieving for the relationship and your brain’s attempt to learn from the experience. That is all natural and absolutely fine, as long as you bring yourself back to reality each time and remind yourself that every single last bit of his actions were his. If you ever find yourself doubting yourself, bring yourself back to this post and these comments.

    And even if you struggle with that from time to time, remember, even before the affair became physical, it was still an affair. It was a highly inappropriate relationship. Sending pictures of your son to her, how very dare he.

    Please, please, please, just remember. Nothing you did made him cheat.

    Sending you a big hug. xxx

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