Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, Divorce and then date? Is this a good idea?

cakeDear Chump Lady,

Help me, please!! I am a lesbian and my wife and I have been married for 5.5 years nearly, though we have been separated since early November (D-Day #2). My wife seems to have this thing for straight, married women. The first affair resulted in me filing for divorce and the married couple (with two kids) divorcing. After 10 months, my wife had enough of the affair and dropped her affair partner like a hot potato and “gave me a second chance.”

Apparently I blew my chance, because fast forward 4 months later and D-Day #2 with a different married woman (who left her husband last week). I am crushed…..again. Both affairs were my fault of course. But here is the kicker, her plan is to: divorce, get some space, breathe, have fun, date, get her head together, and then we start fresh, slowly to come back together when the time is right.

No road map or time line or rules, but she is thinking maybe a year or so. She readily admitted to keeping me on a string the first time we were apart. We have the lesbian middle-class American dream. Both educated with good careers, created two gorgeous boys together, ages 2 and 4, (I carried both), nice income for our area, and a beautiful home. I want my life back… family back together.

Her idea is that we are on a one-way ticket to nowhere in THIS marriage because we have both caused so much damage. We need a fresh new relationship started the RIGHT way. She says over and over that she wants her family and her future, but she isn’t happy right now because I smothered her. In my defense, I probably did because she CHEATED and left for 8 months. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Is this just stupid for me to consider? To sit and wait for her to want her family back again because she says it’s when, not if.

Do people sometimes divorce to “save their relationship”?


Dear Southern,

No, people divorce to save their sanity.

Saving the relationship is called “reconciliation.” If you read here much, you’ll see I give very low odds to reconciling with a serial cheater. (You have one.) You tried reconciliation — excuse me, Giving You a Second Chance — and that resulted in D-Day #2.

You’re wondering if we wave the magic divorce wand, will your wife’s character be transformed? No. It won’t be, Southern. She’ll still be the same cake-eating, sociopathic bitch.

Yes, I said sociopath. Go read up on them. Try or Dr. Simon’s site on manipulative people. I bet you’ll be checking more items off the Hare list than your grocery list.

Look, I’m not a trained professional, I just happened to have once been married to one of these freaks. They’re all bad actors using the same worn script. What tipped me off?

Grandiosity. You filed divorce on HER, and her response is she’s so freaking awesome she’ll give YOU a chance! Aren’t you the lucky mark chump!

Manipulative. She’s blameshifting this mess as your fault. You “both” caused damage. You smothered her. She’s lucky you didn’t smother her with a pillow.

Predatory. Married women with kids? So children’s intact homes are her happy hunting grounds? Out of all the single straight, bi, or gay women she could fuck around with, she chooses STRAIGHT married women with KIDS? What an awesome challenge. OMG, the kibbles! She’s the special goddess who will make them question their orientation, their marital status, and their families. And after they say yes, she dumps them. It’s just all about what they’ll sacrifice. It’s a GAME to her.

And don’t think you’re special, Southern. You’re a game to her too.

She readily admitted to keeping me on a string the first time we were apart.

Southern, my chump friend, you’re dealing with a disordered wingnut. It not my job or your job to figure out what flavor of wingnut your wife is (Borderline? Narcissist? Sociopath? Garden-variety asshole?) It’s your job — as a parent, as a person who aspires to sanity — to get as far away from this kind of toxicity as you can.

Now then — YOU. I know you want your family, Southern, we all did. And I know you want the dream — the middle-class intact home life. But why the hell are you taking this woman back? Why is your entire letter geared to what your WINGNUT wife wants? Who cares what her plan is? What do YOU want? Who is Southern? What does she stand for? Is this kind of partner and relationship acceptable to you?

Bitchslap yourself. Your wife is NOT all that. She had made your life and your children’s lives a living HELL. That’s who she IS — someone who can callously cheat on you and abandon children.

You might’ve carried your kids, but she also signed up to be their mother. And she WALKED OUT on them. I’m sure she’s telling you she just walked out on you, flawed, smothering you. And she still wants the kibbles kids. Bullshit. She walked out on your kids for 8 MONTHS to pursue an affair. Until you got uppity and made divorce noises.

Don’t put your children through this crap. They need stability and love. Not chaos. You can have the dream without her. Shore up your self-esteem, get therapy to help with your boundaries, get a pit bull attorney, press for full custody (do document the affairs and the abandonment), and go as no contact as you can with her.

Oh right, but she wants to DATE you.

I’m sorry, you’re too busy raising two kids to compete in the Pick Me Dance finals. You’ve got an interesting book to smother that evening.

Southern, you’re NOT AVAILABLE. Because you’re awesome and mighty and too good for the likes of Ms. Mommy Fucker.

We need a fresh new relationship started the RIGHT way. 

Yes, the right way to start is with someone who hasn’t cheated on you. Freshen up, today. Dump her.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • You don’t know what to do if you don’t know what you have. CL has just explained what you have; believe her. Failing to plan is planning to fail. CL has put forth the plan; please follow it!

  • Southern,

    My sister went thru a very similar situation years ago. Thankfully no children. But I watched this woman destroy my sister. My sister was a hard worker, built a beautiful home, they wanted for nothing. Her “wife”… this was 20 years ago….no legalized gay marriage to protect my sisters financial assets, ruined her credit, left her homeless, and nearly dead.

    You have 2 small children to think about before you think of this woman who walked out on you and them.

    Lawyer up…..document…..and keep her away from you.

  • SouthernShine74,

    One day you will read your letter and be surprised what your cheater did to your thought process. My xw took every last drop of my dignity from me while I thought I was fighting to save my marriage. I was so embarrassed by my actions and such a poor role model of strength for my kids. The pick me dance will be your life story if you don’t bail on this cheater, who is a horrible person. She has destroyed 2 marriages that you know of. I am sure there are many more.

    Best of luck to you and your children.

  • I feel for you, Southern. You are heartbroken to risk giving up the dream, what you thought you had, and it’s devastating to have to accept, after all this time and investment, that it was never what you were led to believe it was.

    This letter and CL’s response are the beginning of the shattering of the myth. That will.hurt, a lot, but it’s worth it for the opportunity to stop living the lie.

    My heart goes out to you.

  • Wow…and, I thought nothing would surprise me anymore…it’s scary to know that someone has this type of fetish, to go after married woman with children.
    Southern, listen to CL and to all of us here. It’s time for you to own yourself and to file for divorce, but for real this time. Document everything!! Good luck!

    • It sounds to me like the interloper / OPs success in causing a person to question their previous values/decisions would give the interloper/OP a BONANZA of kibbles – l have heard various permutations of this story but it is likely narc heaven. This is NOT a stable person to try to make a life with.

    • “it’s scary to know that someone has this type of fetish, to go after married woman with children.”

      I don’t know that it’s rare enough to call it a fetish. Seems pretty common to me. My cheating ex-wife chose mostly married men with children for affair partners (one unmarried but living with a woman with whom he had a newborn) and is now re-married to a man who was married and living with his wife and two small children (8 and 12) when she started meeting him for out-of-town sex. And my former best friend (had to dump him after my experience with infidelity) had an elaborate rationale for why he ONLY cheated with married moms (some horseshit about how they were “safe” because they had too much to lose and so wouldn’t ever expect more than sex and some fun on the side).

      All to say, I think this is a fairly common kind of cheater. They are fetish cheaters the way a Ford Taurus is an exotic car.

      • I agree. The norm seems to be OP who are either not available ( extra special sparkly kibbles ) or people who would lose too much if they were to expect more from the cheater.

        It is a game. They are nothing but players. The stakes are high – which just makes it more exciting.

        We could never understand this because we are not capable of it. Thank God!!!

        I hate to say it. But what you have is just another ordinary cheater freak. I had one too.
        I thought I was one in a million but thanks to CN I realize that it is just common any more.

        Trust CL that she sucks and act accordingly !!!

        • CL writes, “She’s the special goddess who will make them question their orientation, their marital status, and their families. And after they say yes, she dumps them. It’s just all about what they’ll sacrifice. It’s a GAME to her.” Here’s the mother lode of kibbles. What will this person sacrifice to be with the Cheater? Spouse? Children? Home? Reputation? Self-respect? Pension? Career? I’m convinced that cheating with married people is about have the chase and the basic kibbles but also the extra heaping helping of kibbles from competing with the target’s unwitting spouse. And kids. Because that’s a very special load of kibbles there, being willing to break up your kids’ home for a cheater. And finally there is another pile of kibbles from then dumping that affair partner and leaving that person with nothing–either pretending to feel bad about breaking up the marriage or just enjoying having multiple people miserable and pining for the cheater’s unworthy ass. Kibbles on kibbles. A particularly vile form of cheater, the ones who specialize in the destruction of two families and leave both the Chump and the AP with nothing.

      • “They are fetish cheaters the way a Ford Taurus is an exotic car.”
        I do enjoy it when you bottom line things Nomar.

        Narkels preferred the married moms too because he knew they wouldn’t tell.

      • My ex also has a strange fetish for attached women. I didn’t realize this was common. As far as I know so far, he has cheated with three married women who were the wives of his former friends. I fully agree that it is the excitement of deception, the no strings attached sex and the low risk of exposure given both having a lot to lose. In all the cases, the women were ones I never suspected as they weren’t attractive and had kind of annoying personalities. Oddly, the two husbands who learned of the affairs stayed with their wives. I try to not to think it’s unfair that I was faithful and loving to my husband yet I am the one alone raising three children and feeling unlovable while the wives who were sleeping with my husband get to keep their intact families. I can’t think about them. I just try to focus on being grateful for my children, for having them 95% of the time to myself, and for the many other blessings in my life. In my innocent, naive days, I used to complain that my husband didn’t help enough parenting our kids. Now I have no help at all but I’m not complaining. I’ll happily do it all alone to be no contact. I aspire to be in meh and be happy again.

      • Count me in too — stbx preyed on countless married women with children. Three of them were in our town, the mothers of our young daughter’s classmates and teammates. All in all he participated in the destruction of four marriages (including our own) with a shared total of 12 children. His MOWs got the same kibbles he did off of the competition they perceived with me. It was all about winning, satisfying their narcissism, feeling desired and all that crap. It’s evil and pathetic.

        Southern, there’s nothing worth saving here. The further away you get, the healthier you will feel, until one day you don’t love her any more and the thought of ever being with her again will be repugnant, and you will wonder how you ever could have considered going back to her. It will be a very happy Tuesday.

    • I thought I had experienced all of the forehead-slapping moments that I could with my ex-cheater wingnut. For some reason, he had not one, but two affairs with very out lesbians. I wondered what in the hell could have been the attraction.

      AHA! It’s the getting someone who is gay to go “straight” or vice-versa.

      Just to see if they can.

      Seriously, these people are fucked up.

      • There was a notorious womanizer I went to college with–now I realize he was also a raging narcissist–whose favorite “sport” was “converting” lesbians. He ended up targeting a friend of mine who, even after she’d heard all of the stories, gave him a chance. This was 30 years ago, she was newly out and had been rejected by her family, and thought she might live to regret it if she never explored the possibility that she could be in a relationship with a man.

        Long story short, he spent months love bombing her, convincing her he was her soul-mate, waiting patiently for her to decide if and when their relationship would become physical, writing her songs and performing them on campus–it was an epic display.

        She ended up falling for him, hard, and decided to go to the clinic on campus to get birth control in anticipation of the big night . . . he dropped her like a hot potato the very next day. It wasn’t sex he was after, of course, it was the months’ long kibble-feast spent convincing a lesbian that he was sparkly enough to go against her true self to be with him.

        • My ex cheater was an accomplished love bomber. I was reading the texts between my ex and the lesbian-turned-straight girlfriend about their true love, and it was sickening. Three weeks after knowing someone, you’re already discussing marriage and having children? Insanity! He told her he loved her after a week.

          She was still very firmly in twu wuv with him right up until the moment after I deposed her. She somehow got copies of both mine and his deposition from earlier that day–she was supposed to only get hers–and she was outta there.

  • As whore juice was a predator single person but she had three marriages destroyed by cheating. Bad picker I think. But now in a committed relationship with my now ex for the second time. And he cheated on her many times still does. He wants to date me on the sly…. Ah hell no! Who the hell wants to date or marry a well known cheater, someone as disordered as the cheater is. I said no to dating, no to friends, no to social acquaintances. No no no fuck no! Told Asswipe you betrayed me four times, boy am I a chump, no more, go and betray her. God, I hope this motherfucker gets his come up pence big time one day. Southern needs to cut her losses and run and we know it ain’t easy.

    • Predatory whore in my situation also liked to go for married men – BONUS if they had children. I heard from her coworkers that she would troll the cubies after hours flirting with married men. Had her crystal eyes focused on a poor chap that had 2 kids prior to going for my douchebag ex. Luckily the guy with 2 kids didn’t take the bait, though he conceded “she has a way”. When he heard what happened to me, he was totally freaked out – he knew he was her original target.

      I’ve read articles where these types of women are called “Spider Women”. They derive pleasure out of ruining someones marriage. It’s the ultimate “pick me dance” but with a more perverse twist. These “women” have some serious “daddy issues” – where daddy wasn’t around for their childhood. This is their pathetic attempt to “win daddy back” – according to my IC. Well, the skank-ass whore in my situation “won daddy”, my cheating ex-husband, but luckily, we didn’t have children.

      Doesn’t that just make your skin crawl? Winning “daddy” Ewwww….

      • The “Daddy” issues, so true!! I know/knew several borderline women (all pursued married men) and everyone one of them had an absent father and two had stepfathers that molested them. I think most cheaters initially marry stable, decent partners but eventually leave them for defects. They say the narc/borderline attraction is quite strong but of course down the line always ends up being a train wreck.

        • Agree with the Borderline tag – IC mentioned this as well. Whore’s mother seemed to go through men like a hot knife through butter. Whore’s 1/2 sister’s dad was taken to court every year until whore sister was of age. Supervised visits, psych evals etc.

          Ex has no idea of the hell that this skank will create for him now that they’re married.

          • This is where you grab the popcorn and watch the show. I work with a woman that left her sociopath husband (diagnosed) a few years back. She still suffers from PTSD but is getting better every day. Her husband married some twit (9 months ago) that seems to enjoy shoving “their true love” in my co-worker’s face (she could care less) and has been spreading lies that co-worker is addicted to pain pills. When if in fact the ex husband is the one with the addiction. Anyway the ex has already taken out numerous credit cards in new wife’s name (she has no clue) and has maxed them all out. Bought a brand new truck on new wife’s credit as well. Things are about to get interesting……..

            • Haha, KB22, “this is where you grab the popcorn and watch the show”. I have soooo enjoyed this part.

              My OW now is saddled with 3 kids/spawn in 3 years, now weighs 22stone/ that’s 22×14 lbs. = 308 lbs…by her own admission on her blog. She also “suffers” from a cariety of neurotic disorders…some likely made-up for click bait. She is no longer the bustier-wearing dyed blonde callgirl she was when he started chasing her. She writes about their constant domestic battles, what a loser he is, and how she is a fashion maven. Can you imagine she models tent-clothes on her blog and people praise her for “being real”. She is just gross. Even has stained teeth.

              I must say I actually enjoy logging on and reading about the fark up that Cheater created for himself. He is now cheating again. He has never yet changed his email password in the five years or so since I last laid eyes on his ugly butt. So, I have the eyes of God in that I know exactly what treachery he’s up to if I care to log on. Funny thing is, after five years, MEH has truly kicked in because I rarely check!

              I love my life now. Great job, sports car, live near the ocean… I soooo hope OW checks me out soon!

            • This is why I check my credit report!

              I know what you mean about watching the show. My ex remarried and they decided to have an open marriage (with my ex’s prompting of course, he tried to coerce me into the same arrangement when I was with him). The “sex buddy” they picked didn’t have any place to live, so they let her live with them. Before you know it, the sex buddy and my ex are breaking the rules and they are more like girlfriend and boyfriend. His wife gets upset and tries to get between my ex and his new girlfriend. So, he kicks his wife out and decides to live with the girlfriend. After a little while, he realizes that was not a smooth move and decides to invite the wife back in, much to the chagrin of the girlfriend. The girlfriend turns out to be banging several guys unprotected behind my ex’s back and behind her other boyfriend’s back. Oh the irony! My ex feels like he’s been kicked in the gut. (A feeling I knew well when I was with him). After this blew up in his face, he decided that he didn’t want an open marriage anymore and demanded that his wife give up her “boyfriend”. Well, his wife secretly vetoed that idea by continuing to see her new boyfriend behind my ex’s back. My ex found out about it because he spied due to his distrusting nature, which is interesting because he totally blasted me for the same thing.

              All I can say is I am so happy I am no longer starring in this Jerry Springer daytime Soap Opera drama! Let’s pop some popcorn and enjoy this show from the comfort of our now drama free lives.

        • Mind. Blown. The ho-worker’s father committed suicide when she was a little girl. When we were all out as friends (ha ha, good one) a few years back she started crying while telling me the story. I talked with her for a long time that night and felt genuinely sorry for her. I invited her to go to Mass with me and my family the next weekend because she was remembering fondly her time in the Catholic grade school we both went to.

          How did That Old Bitch repay my act of friendship? By targeting my husband and family. Our kids were 2, 3 and 5 at the time.

          She’s 50 shades of fucked up now. Bulimic. Pill addicted. Anxiety/Depression? Serial cheater. Total nutcase. I’m betting borderline.

          It all makes sense.

          • It’s sad really. I do ALMOST pity the OW in my situation. I mean, how fucked up do you have to be to go for another person’s spouse? You don’t think that you deserve a partner that’s honest, kind-hearted, and available? So pathetic. The whore fought for my now ex as hard as I did – and she didn’t play fair. Why? I had a home, dog, and half of my life invested in that bastard and his dysfunctional family of origin, what did she really have to fight for? Love? Nah. She took him because it validated her self worth. As a woman, she finally mattered when he left it all for her. “Ahhhh”…it breathes a sigh of relief…”Alas…a *man* really, really, truly loves ME!” Next time, maybe she’ll be able to get a man to leave his kids too – I think that’s a higher value target for the disordered.

            I have to remind myself that even the most psychotic and broken of people can still make choices and know right from wrong. That’s why insanity and the abuse excuse really are ineffective in court.

            • I thought the same thing. It is sad that single OWs and OMs go after other people’s spouses instead of finding someone who is truly available to love them. In addition to being disordered or dysfunctional, I think part of the problem is that the cheater has a tendency to lie. The cheater might tell the OW or OM that he or she is separated or in the process of divorcing when it isn’t remotely true. The OW or OM may not know the full extent of the fucked up situation they are getting themselves into. This is why I would not date someone until they are officially divorced, because otherwise, how do you know they are telling the truth about their marital situation?

              • Janna

                This is exactly what the limited does to move on every time he cheats. However, now there will be truth to his poor me story living with an abusive whore who gives him timed trips if he wants to leave the house. She wants to know where he’s going and he must promptly return. I told her every excuse he uses yet he still sees someone else. She is mentally ill and he’s a prisoner by his making. He thought he was finally single but in reality he is living in a self created hell.

        • Kb22, “Defect”. That is my new favorite word. And describes the whore to a T. She apparently doesn’t have a problem getting a man but is always returned when they find out what she really is, lol. Defective merchandize.

      • I used to call OW spider woman before I learned what the term meant, but it was the OW Jesus cheater to a T! When I learned her own father (also a “man of the Lord”) actually encouraged OW to pursue the X, I was flabbergasted. His rationale? X was in a position to support her financially in the manner her daddy deemed necessary. What a nest of vipers that family turned out to be. Unfortunately for them, X dumped OW the moment her “needs” came into view. But then, money was always more important than people to my X.

        • Same here. Money was the biggest driver of my ex. But, not making money, only taking money. She left me for an old high school boyfriend who is a financial advisor and makes tons of money. She’s Pathetic!

          • Money the big cheater bait. He told my kid well she makes lots of money and I don’t have to support her or buy her anything unless I want to. She supports us and I don’t have to give her any money! I don’t have to pay for her hair or nails she buys her stuff herself. Not she’s the best thing that ever happened to me I’m so happy no the money! And the vicious nasty d and s sex they share. I knew he was kinky but not like that!!! Mommy issues maybe? Gets off only on vicious control and beatings going both ways? That is really really sick. So glad I divorced his cheater ass and can’t wait to get totally far far away. Not the same man I married. Looks like him sounds like him but not the same. The kids agree this dad 2.0 is not their dad anymore.

            • My dad is gone. That’s how my chikdren see it too. We are fortunate they recognize the disorderd. It’s painful for them as they go through the same thing we do with the discard. It’s bittersweet for me because they understand my pain. Yet I truly wish this pain on no one, especially my children.

  • SouthernShine74, as soon as I read your question if people divorce to save their marriages, my immediate thought was that they divorce to save their sanity. That is the very first thing Chump Lady wrote to you. That wasn’t just a sarcastic or funny response. It’s the truth and it’s more than likely it’s the immediate response from most people who read your question. Save your sanity, SouthernShine74. You need to do that. Make sure you do that.
    Everyone here wanted their families and dreams. It was very hard to give up on that. It was heartbreaking and soul-crushing to give up on that. But you can’t fulfill a dream with someone who deeply wounds you. Fulfilling your dreams does not cause pain. Living a relentless nightmare does that.
    Please banish any thoughts of getting back together with this woman. You deserve better than her. Don’t let her keep stringing you along. You are not her toy.

    • Wise words. I still love my STBX. I found out about his affair almost a year and a half after it ended. He is contrite. He is remorseful. He has taken full responsibility, and he is handing over anything and everything that I want in our settlement. I may have a rainbow-shitting unicorn….BUT…..he wounded me deeply. Day after day with his OW. How could I go on with someone who did that to me? We are expecting our 3rd baby this March. (Our first boy). I’m am absolutely CRUSHED and TERRIFIED, but I need my SANITY. It took me a few months but I realize that letting go is the only way to keep that. We chumps deserve to go on in our life with peace of mind.

      • I think you’ve just explained the crux of the reconciliation matter. Yes, he can take full responsibility. Yes, he can be remorseful. But at the same time, he carried on with someone else day after day after day–all while you were trying to be a good wife and a good mom. The betrayal never goes away. It’s always the case that you can’t trust him 100% because you know he is capable of betrayal.

        For sanity’s sake, it’s best to make the break.

        • kb – very well said. I knew the moment he admitted cheating (3 yrs) that I could never go back. Ever ever ever. I loved him to death, but I think I saw the future and knew that I never could have gotten over the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years of deceit. I’d rather pick my sanity.

      • Same here. I believe stbx’s remorse is genuine, and his actions back that up. But he did what he did for years, and there is no way to make reparations for that. He has demonstrated that he is capable of gutting me for his own selfish pleasure.No unicorn is worth the possibility of going through that again.

        • How do actions back up remorse after cheating for years? Cheating can’t be undone. Years!!! What actions can one possibly have? I don’t believe in cheaters remorse.
          The Limited wakes up in a dumpy teenagers aoartment with a scrappy whore who abuses him and gambles/drinks every night. If he’s sorry it’s because I’m sitting in a nice home surrounded by famiky and friends living a life he can no longer come back to. When the bubble bursts they always want what they had.

          • You’re right. Cheating can’t be undone, which is why we are divorcing. But I do think some cheaters can change. I DON”T think chumps should ever allow them to do so on our time, but I DO believe in redemption.

            In my case, stbx backed his remorse up with a separation agreement that left me with the house I love even though I could not buy him out, primary custody of our kids, a generous lifetime alimony payment, 60% of his retirement account, and a sizeable monetary gift from the inheritance left to him by his mother, which I could not otherwise have touched.

            Given the horror stories I’ve read here, I think that alone speaks volumes. JMO..

      • You’ve figured out that if he lied to you once, day after day, even when you were working on another child, you’ll never know when he’s lying again. And the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

    • Divorcing to save your marriage is like murdering to save a life….nonsensical. Just another grab for cake Cake CAKE

  • During the initial cage rattling where Major Cheaterpants was saying he was going to leave our marriage (cue my Pick Me Dance of Biblical proportions) but OW was still hidden and a very active side dish, Cheater made comments such as “We will divorce and later I will come back and we will date and maybe remarry”.

    I was SO FUCKING TRAUMATIZED by the whole giant mess, I didnt even have the sense to tell him that it was a stupid idea that I wasnt going to go along with. I just sat there and listened to it…where was my strength and sanity?

    I can only hope that if he had tried round 2 of this insanity after our Wreckonciliation that I would have had the sense to se better boundaries.

    • The cheating liar that I accidentally married told me upon his departure that maybe we could get back together in 3 months or 3 years or 30 years. I truly believe he thought that I would just sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for him to come back (I did, for a while). The entitlement is overwhelming, the need for kibbles endless. His cheating and lying destroyed our family – the kids still sob about Daddy’s departure but I am trying to teach them that love is about presence, consistency and commitment. Anything otherwise is not love.

      • That is the crux of what this cheater believes; she thinks she is so special that Southern will wait for her while she plays the field. It is entitlement, plain and simple. She has seen how she can play Southern, with zero consequences for her behavior. What pisses me off though, is the blame game, as if Southern is somehow responsible for her shitty behavior. That is classic cheater 101 and causes many chumps to blame themselves for something they have absolutely no control over. This cheater is high on kibbles, she is enjoying the rush of having Southern beg her to stay. Fuck that! Get the hell out and don’t look back! One day you will look make and wonder why you allowed this awful person to keep you stuck. Trust me on this one.

        • Southern, trust violet on this one. These people are a cancer. Cut her out before the cancer takes over your soul and your children’s lives. Good luck, it’s tough but you can do it. There is life on the other side.

    • “We will divorce and later I will come back and we will date and maybe remarry”. This is just another way of saying “You are not a real person to me–just a thing I can pick up and put down when I feel like it.”

  • Southern…. I spent a lot of my time asking myself out loud “What has happened to me? Where did I go?” You are already mighty, you are educated and successful and have 2 beautiful children. While it is painful to see our family dynamic unravel you must realize how unhealthy it is for your children to see this toxic behavior.

    Unfortunately this will continue as long as you allow it, these disordered assholes do not play by the rules. Your STBX targets married women with children, gets off on destroying their families and then dumps them I once she has succeeded.

    There is NO FIXING these assholes, they have NO conscience and NO remorse, it’s ALWAYS going to be your fault….they NEVER do anything wrong. Ever.

    Good luck 😉

  • Dear Southern,
    Please listen to CL. She has a way of encapsulating the truth directly and with great experience and insight. Same with CN. Feel our support because no one is minimizing your pain, the suffering your cheater caused. We are just fast forwarding a little to what is best for you. But you will certainly grieve the end of this relationship, even though your rational mind knows that your cheater is wrong and worthy of being divorced. That’s the process: allow yourself to go through the emotional pain and as you get stronger, as you listen to these amazing people on this site, you will begin to learn, as Taylor Swift says, “…you’re the lucky one.” You are the lucky one to be rid of this horribly hurtful and disordered person. It’s hard, I get it, but as you move further away from this sick person, you will see.

    On a side note: a quick beseeching of CN to send good vibes for my mediation today. We are tying up lose ends. A few months posts back after reading about the importance of getting an attorney, no matter what, I followed this advice. I feel protected. Worth every penny. Thanks so much my therapeutic and supportive CN.

    • Best to cut and run. The disordered asshole I was married to still can’t figure out what he wants. I’m 60 married 27 years 30 altogether. He’s a stoic jerk off with the soul of a black hole and the feelings of a shark. He’s a sick twisted fuck who got together with a sick twisted fuck. And both of them are huge narcs she way worse than him. That will work out really well. I do know what I want. Not to be around him and his increasing madness ever again. I would like what’s left of my life to be fairly happy and drama free. So no more permanent mates for him maybe I will date again one day but for now I’m rediscovering just being me. Run south run!!!

      • Dear Movin-on, Strad, AOOK, Cheaterssuck, chumptitude, and Fifi. Oh, wow are you all the greatest! Your good thoughts and energy worked. I am happy to say we put some issues away. It was an incredible day of healing and validation. Lawyer (due to the support and encouragement of this site to get one and who I just love) and mediator recognized right away the narcissism. It was incredible. They saw right through him! They noticed how he would use logic to further his agenda and convenience, but would not use the exact same logic for my best good. They noticed how rigid he was and obsessed with tiny details. OMG, as if I had wronged him! WTF! Still so amazed at these disordered fucks!

        I learned that there has to be give and take though to come to a resolution but the good news is most of it went in my favor. In fact financially I would say it all went in my favor. And while I gave in on some things, we padded the child support to make up for it. It was brilliant! Thanks CN and CL. I feel a huge debt of gratitude to you all for encouraging me to get a lawyer. Honestly, this site has saved my life. I am so impressed by the intelligence, insight, and dedication. I love being a part of this community!!!!!

        • Great news!! Listening to CL always pays off, but happily in this case, with $$$$.

          • Cheating is so devastating and depressing, rocks the world so intensely, that sometimes it seems that the new normal is that things will continue in a downward spiral, so I was not attached to a good outcome. This outcome, however, is a bright spot of satisfaction and sincerely helping me to heal. It’s certainly an adjustment, e.g., if I’m not fighting him or defending myself, who am I? So this is allowing me to answer that question for the first time in years. Now I see the reality of my 25 years with a narc and per Taylor Swift, “…I am the lucky one.” I could not have done it without CN. Thank you all so very much.

  • Southern you are a necessary to her that is it. An appliance. The keeper of the kids and the normal. She knows that you will sacrifice to keep your kids life together and she counts on it. She will play that card again and again. They all do. So do her a solid… Put you and your kids first. Fuck her.

    • An appliance plua a Consolation Prize and a Plan B. Cheaters have to have back-up kibble supply.

    • Thanks, @THECLIP. I love everything you share. *The keeper of the kids and the normal* and *do her a solid*. Love it.

  • Agree to her terms and ask for the divorce to favour you so that the kids and you have the best world set up for when she comes back… Then you’ll see how committed she is to this idea.

    • Great idea! If the cheater agrees to a favourable custody and financial arrangement, it’s a win for Southern, who can then go as NC as possible. And if she doesn’t, she’s just showing ever more clearly who she is, and making herself ever more unattractive as a partner – also a win, of a rather bitter sort.

    • I think Creative has a point here–one reason to tempt you with dating and remarriage is so she can exit the marriage on her definition of “fair” terms. And you can bet dollars to donuts her definition of “fair” will be another form of screwing you. She’ll change her mind about wanting to date and remarry the minute she has the financial and custody goodies she wants.
      You need to get a lawyer to protect your assets and your children right away. But I do like the idea of pretending that the favorable terms you want are only a way of preparing a gigantic homecoming for her once she’s had her time to think.

      • Yep. She’s lying through her teeth. Who dates so that they are ready to come back and be a real relationship woman? Why does she get that when they are both supposed to “own” what they did… She gets cookies and kibble when Southern has to behave and do all the home fire work? What a messed up internal dialogue! She either plans to leave permanent, but wants southern on the hook so that she will make it amicable and easy and cheap, or she really thinks that’s how life works and should work, and I honestly can’t fathom which is worse. So Southern pushes for a quick and painless divorce with everything set in her favour and pretends it’s just to make reconciliation better by keeping the kids in stable, good credit land.

        Who gets a divorce- the most costly stressful thing ever… Just so they can spread their wings- to fly back later. Seriously? They could choose to live apart and not dissolve the marriage. Same shit, way less expensive. She stinks. Her motives stink. She’s a stinker.

    • She is actually letting me keep the equity in the house so I can keep it. Also, taking half responsibility for a loan we took against my retirement for a shop (hers) to be built in our backyard. She signed over her car to me so I wouldn’t have a car note and took the new vehicle (along with it’s pricey monthly note) and pays half the kids’ health/dental insurance and half tuition for preK. I told her I feel like I am holding down the fort while she is out sowing her oats. Its not fair. She is living with her parents with zero financial responsibility having all her fun while I will now live paycheck to paycheck keeping our dream. The one she says she wants to walk back into “when the time is right”. We split the boys 50-50 but I am taking them every weekend for the time being bc to work around her work/school schedule. She is returning to school for a year to better herself for “us”. This ensures that I won’t have any personal life but I do prefer to be with my kids than having a personal life to be honest. But its all for her convenience. So I can’t make heads or tails of any of it. I am so stuck that its incredible.

  • Dating is something that happens BEFORE marriage and divorce… just like eating is something that happens before taking a shit, and not the other way around!

    • Exactly so. Dating is about stating your case *by your actions over time* that you should commit to this person, that they will be loving and honest and faithful.

      No need for that here because you already KNOW who this person is. By their actions over time. And they are NONE of those things a person tries to establish by dating.

      Like giving Bernie Madoff a “fresh start” tryout as your financial advisor after he stole your life savings. Insanity.

  • Oh, Southern. Your heartache is palpable. Unfortunately, it’s also your Achilles Heal in this circumstance. You need to find your anger and take action to get away from this horrible person.

    Chumplady has a great analogy (with cartoon) – if your house was on fire, would you stay in it? Would you leave your kids in it? This person is a disaster – a house fire, a tornado and a hurricane. Save yourself and your kids. You do not want to be around when an unhinged husband comes after your wife. She’s going to mess with the wrong person someday and the consequences could be devastating.

    As other suggested, educate yourself about sociopaths, get yourself some therapy and shore yourself up. Someday, you will re-read this letter and not recognize the person who wrote it. There are much, much better people out there for you and a happier, more peaceful existence.


      • I immediately thought of the house on fire analogy as well upon reading CL’s post.

        SouthernShine74, I know you have been on a path of pain as you try to continue to build a family (as I have been on the same path so I know how intensely deeply painful it is), but at the end of the day, hopefully sooner than later, there has too be a healthy environment built for you and the kids, there has to be some resolve, and as your partner is not trustworthy, committed, or able to put aside her own crap for the sake of you and the kids, so it is up to you to build that healthy environment – WITHOUT HER. Sorry, but you are in a house on fire (as am I 🙂 and you must get out now.

        Plus, I love this line because I do the opposite:

        “It not my job or your job to figure out what flavor of wingnut your wife is (Borderline? Narcissist? Sociopath? Garden-variety asshole?) ”

        Maybe your partner, and my partner is just a Garden-variety asshole. Maybe they have a serious case of Borderline Personality Disorder. But does it matter? You know the truth of your circumstance, of your partner – that they treated you with ULTIMATE disrespect.

    • You do not want to be around when an unhinged husband comes after your wife. She’s going to mess with the wrong person someday and the consequences could be devastating.

      Good advice. I bought a baseball bat and had my cheating wife’s piece-of-shit-asshole boyfriend’s name engraved on it. In lieu of going to jail over murdering a low-life asshole, I instead wrote to all his neighbors and family letting them know how much he cheats on his own wife. Since he was so willing to share his dick-pics with my wife, I felt it would be okay to share with everyone else.

      • Wow! I never did any of that but sometimes wish I had. My wife’s AP was a somewhat prominent businessman in large city in which I live. His amazing life was plastered all over social media, and he sold that lifestyle to others through social media.

        But I know the truth of what an assaholic, family-destroying, narcissistic scumbag he really was. It is true – I never told his wife either. Sometimes I feel that was the right decision, othertimes I feel guilty about not telling her. I rationalized it using the same “she must have know” crap that we in CN often reject. My lawyer also advised against publicizing the affair and instead keeping it as a bargaining chip (threat) if needed.

        • For me, its a matter of keeping my cheating wife honest. She’s worried that her cheating piece-of-shit asshole boyfriend will retaliate by sending the same crap back to all our neighbors. I stopped caring when she cheated. Cheating has consequences. She no longer gets to control her image despite her actions.

          It’s simple; if you want to enjoy a good reputation, don’t cheat.

          • ^^This^^, exactly.

            My cheating STBXW seems to be trolling my online presence for my mentions of her infidelity, which to date have been on the mild side, and then getting her “lawyer” (she’s not a very good one, unfortunately) to send me letters trying to get me to stop. Total waste of money, since I have proof for everything I have made public. Someone forgot to tell these people that the best way to avoid shame is to not do the shameful sh*t in the first place…

          • I think many cheaters and their defenders (the Esther Perels, Surviving Infidelitiers, 180ers and Harley Farleys of the world) think publicizing the affair is a greater act of betrayal than the cheating itself.

            I find their characterization of cheating as “normal” and telling the truth about cheating as mean-spirited “betrayal” is incredibly disrespectful and misguided.

            (Granted, if one really wants to attempt reconciliation, its probably best not to expose to your own family since having your parents and siblings hate your wife probably doesn’t help the unicorn appear).

            • That is exactly how my STBXH sees it. His cheating was a “problem between us.” My telling – after 10 months of faux reconciliation – was the real betrayal and a mean spirited effort to hurt him. In reality, he just wanted to manage his image. Thinking he would say that things didn’t work out. Then a year later, introduce Schmoopie as someone he recently met. Now he has all the extra work to do to rehab her rep and sell her as a wonderful person who luvs him. And would never hurt him, unlike me.

              • It’s consistent with cheating itself – gaining power and an unfair advantage by breaking the rules or having different rules apply to them. This is a type of entitlement and self-importance and abuse. They think they deserve more than you, that they are more than you, so they are entitled to both find the love and sex and romance they think they deserve, while at the same time being immune from the consequences, because how can love and sex be bad? They’ve practiced and mastered controlling you for so long, they are entitled to get away with it and even if you find out, so you aren’t allowed to tell the truth because all families have some private issues they need to work out and they need to keep private.

                They don’t see this as hypocritical. They don’t see that you are the one being abused and damaged and hurt. They think they are the ones being hurt by the drama and challenges of having to live parallel lives, one in secret – don’t you understand how stressful that is? Don’t you pity them? You are not the one who was hurt. You didn’t have an affair partner miss your birthday or not leave his wife for you.

                etc etc etc

  • My XH also had the idea that we needed to start ‘fresh’ again after his infidelity. He called it our ‘second’ marriage. He felt I had destroyed our first marriage to such an extent it was irreparable. Funny, it had nothing to do with his porn addiction and prostitutes. This is just word salad, designed to put you off balance, and cause you to hope for something better and brighter in the future but the truth is that their characters do not change. After the next infidelity, the will want another fresh start and blame you yet again. It never ends, don’t think it does.

    • Yup. During his emotional affair (while I was pregnant) my then-husband said he wanted to just go back to the beginning, wipe the slate clean and spend some time dating and getting to know me.

      I told him no; I’m carrying your child and I’ve been your wife for ten years and we are not going to live out some kind of high school dating fantasy and pretend we’re just getting to know each other. Idiot.

      • Oh man, Rarity, mine said that same thing exactly. Only at the time I lapped it up like a whipped puppy. I was a whipped puppy. Ugh, I’m so glad I shook off that fucked up fog- I was sooo lost and hurt and confused. It all makes me sick to think about now.

        Plus now I see so clearly that no matter what he was to me when we were young and dating, there’s no way in hell I’d spend time with a loser like him now. He looks so ugly to me and I don’t even like the way his voice sounds now.

        • If I had a dollar for every time my STBX said we should just “wipe the slate clean” and start over, I wouldn’t need to sue him for maintenance. Southern, this is simply part of the narcissist’s/sociopath’s playbook, and as others have pointed out, it’s flat-out delusional crazy, cray, cray to go to all of the time and expense of getting a divorce in anticipation of dating your ex-spouse again.

          Keep in mind that your wife has not considered the expense because she expects you to fold like a towel. As others have said, it’s time to get angry and to start protecting yourself and your children.

          • Yea. Mine left then started bargaining saying we needed a hard re set. Um. No. Just no.

  • Southern, I saw you post your situation the other day and I meant to reply. I’m so glad you got a proper Chump Lady advice response and with it the support of Chump Nation. I really hope that this is the start of a new beginning for you. One that sees you become stronger in yourself and less under the power of this woman you married. She is a user. She’s damaged and is continuing to damage your self-respect, esteem and boundaries. How dare she string you along like that? How dare she even think she can divorce you then just come back when she’s had her fun, when she decides. How dare she blame you?!

    Please get angry. Please start thinking about you. She’s not a good person and is not good for you. Please stop thinking of her, she’s taken enough of your time and energy.

    Your story reminds me of the Beautiful South song- a little time. Why don’t you take a listen (she’d be the bloke in it).

    Sending hugs and strength xxx

  • My ex also pitched this to me. After three or four years of him running around with all the women he could get, then we could start again, right? I told him he’d had the last 15 years (and two kids) to make up his mind about whether he wanted to be with me. Time’s up.

  • Its important to remember that people like this veil themselves in a superficial decency. They know how to feign politeness, remorse, even kindness and concern. But rest assured that it’s all fake and it’s helping them achieve some sort of agenda. It’s always all about them. And deep down inside they lack these abilities and the ability to truly bond. They lack humanity and no amount of education or patience would awaken them. It’s a dead end. I think realizing that it is a dead end is the first step to moving on and healing.

    The worse advice I got during my divorce was that I should date my ex-wife after my divorce. The exact phrase was “You should date the hell out of her.” Guess what. Already passed the dating stage. Married her. Divorced her cause she’s a sociopath. Done deal. Moving on.

    • This is very similar to my belief that the disordered don’t KNOW that they’re disordered. They think they’re normal. I equate it to my color vision deficiency. There are colors I’ve never seen and will never see. I’ve lived life just fine thinking I’m completely normal. There is NO fix for the problem. No matter what I do I will never be able to see those colors. They will never change because, as Micheal says, they lack the ability. They are physically wired differently. Only a brain transplant would work. And you know how well that went for Frankenstein. 🙂 Take the words to heart, before you have 30 years of your life stolen like I had: LEAVE A CHEATER, GAIN A LIFE!

      Just so it. You’ll never regret it.

      • I almost pity these remorseless cheaters. They prance away unscathed while we suffer…but I’d rather be a sad chump than one of those “elevator shafts”. We at least understand what real love is. We experience real love. Whatever they experience in their small shallow world, they can never experience or understand REAL, unselfish, generous, and mutual love.Its sad.

    • Dating your ex? The one you spent thousands to detach and get away from? Wuuutttt?
      OK Michael that’s nuts. Glad you see that it is nuts. Just wow.

      • Yeah that was some insane advice. Same person told me she cheated because of immaturity. My response was one can be immature and not do evil stuff. Not sure why people insist on finding the “good” in other people, even if the evidence is to the contrary and they have to pretend really hard. It’s like these people refuse to believe that there are poor excuses for human beings in this world. One thing this experience has taught me is to see people for what they are and not make excuses for their bad behavior. Then either accept them or reject them. Most of the time it is not that they need to be educated, or are hurt or frightened. It just that they don’t care. Sure people can change but they can do it on their own time. My time is too valuable.

      • Thanks Bliss, it’s been a tough lesson to learn but I’m better for it. Eyes wide open now.

  • Yea, the writer of the original letter really needs to listen to CL on this one. She is playing the super pick me dance as if her spouse is someone special. CL is totally right, you are not suppose to be doing the pick me dance when your married. You need to take the two kids and re-boot your personal life with someone new (once you are ready) and focus on the kids making it through this mind fuckery being done to them.

    One a side note, I met an amazing women this past Sunday. I am in my 40s and have never been floored ever on a date. She did say yes to a second date 🙂

  • Dear Southern,
    I didn’t have any kids with the ex, so I don’t know what that part is like. But I can say that almost four months out, I feel better than I ever imagined I would when I thought about leaving the ex. It is absolutely horrible to be cheated on, and then to have it happen again and again is a special type of hell that no one deserves to experience.

    But I know the feeling, the desperate hope that “maybe this time it’s for real.” You want her to be the unicorn, the one who miraculously changes and becomes the partner you deserve. The thing is, someone who is capable of doing this to you not once, but twice (that you know of), is almost certainly someone who will not change. I learned that the hard way. I heard all the promises of change, the reasons and excuses for why it happened (most of which were “my fault”), the crocodile tears. But the cheating and lying never stopped until I realized that IT NEVER WOULD UNLESS I LEFT.

    Being cheated on repeatedly, gaslighted, manipulated, lied to, blamed for the cheating, etc. etc. is abuse. It’s not a misunderstanding, a fog, or an error in judgement. And your wife appears to feel no real remorse. In fact, she thinks you both caused damage. Did you maintain an affair for months, and then have another one? I didn’t think so. Whatever your flaws may be, they pale in comparison to her terrible actions.

    If I had only known that I would actually feel better, SO MUCH BETTER, after ending the relationship, I would have done it years ago. I mistakenly thought I had to keep trying. You have a choice now. You can end your suffering now and get a fresh start for you and your kids, or you can go for another round. Our time is so precious, and we have the power to choose not to spend it with people who bring chaos and suffering into our lives. Wishing you strength and courage!

    • Yes poor character and cowards the lot of them. Wish I could put them all in a machine and let them feel what it feels like but they never will being so entitled and special and the special om/ ow they cheat with. They are all so special! My revenge is moving so far away Asswipe has no access to be my friend or there for me or get togethers. He just wants to ease his guilt and feel special about himself. Not my job anymore. Fuck him and the bondage whores he rides. Hope it falls off!

    • When I was divorcing my ex, I would have nightmares that we got back together. Then, I would wake up relieved when I discovered it was just a dream.

    • Yes, SurferChump is right. The thought of leaving was so much worse than the reality of leaving. I feel much better after having left (3 months ago) my home of 18 years with my 2 kids and deciding to “lawyer up” and file 9 nine days before my 20th anniversary. I can’t imagine going back. I still miss the thought of my kids having an intact family, but do not miss the serial cheater, the lies, the deception, the anger and meanness, the disrespect, the projection of his brokenness onto me — he never saw me–he only saw who HE thought I was. So, Southern, work out a great settlement while she is being “amicable” (but don’t tip your hand)

  • BTW, what’s with cheaters and their love of the “fresh start” scenario? Life isn’t a board game that involves “get out of jail free” cards, or a golf game with unlimited Mulligans. Guess its just another example of cheaters doing whatever they can to avoid consequences for their actions.

    These “fresh starts” are neither “fresh” (cheating stinks) nor “starts” (You are *in the middle* of a marriage–remember?). Even calling it this is mindfuckery of enormous proportions (What kind of Debbie Downer would oppose freshness? Or starting a great endeavor?).

    What cheaters call a “fresh start” really amounts to a “putrid perpetuation.” Don’t do it.

    • Nomar, I must have heard, “fresh start” about 20 times during my marriage. I never understood it, until the last time he said it and I knew he was cheating. It was always “a fresh start” from how disappointed he was with me, from how he told it. Sometimes I’d think we were blissfully happy, then a week later he was “giving me another chance” and we had a “fresh start.” Wish I’d figured out earlier that was code for “I’ve cheated because you’re so horrible and now I’m giving you another chance.” They live on another freakin’ planet. They have no understanding of our reality as the person being lied to, versus just an actor in their movie.

      I hope Southern heals quickly from this and tells her cheater where she can shove her “fresh start.”

    • I was fucked over by a sex addict (whatever that means) predator who believed once I found out about his proclivities we could have a fresh start…

      Entitlement of the highest order.

    • The “fresh start” set up is to keep the Chump on the hook to be hoovered back in when kibbles are scarce. No narcissist wants to give up kibbles.

  • You want to “SAVE” your relationship with a lying, sociopath, cheater to keep your family intact? Really?

  • Southerrn – we’ve chatted on the forum, and my heart aches for you. It’s easy to see how much pain you’re in.

    Staying in a relationship with this psycho bitch will DESTROY you, and your kids need you whole and healthy and sane. Family takes all kinds of forms, Mom and Dad, 2 Moms, 2 Dads, 1 Mom, 1 Dad – and not one of those forms is any better or worse than the other as long as the person doing the parenting is happy, healthy and whole.

    She’s horrible. She breaks up families for fun and then gets bored and breaks up another family. What a fucking whack job. What a selfish bitch. She damages childrens lives so she can get her thrills and then walks away.

    She doesn’t love you. She doesn’t love the kids. She’s a manipulative, self absorbed, lying, cheating, slut.

    Kick her sorry ass to the curb, and start building a life for yourself and your kids.

    I promise you, a year from now you’ll be so much happier.

    • Very well said. Southerns spouse loves:
      -getting southern to do things for her
      -parading around the perfect family without doing the work to maintain it
      -causing mayhem in other peoples marriages
      -not being accountable

      When you really look at it, you could stop after point one (herself) because all the other stuff is just “me me me” shit.

      Whack job is right. She’s a preying mantis.

      • Southern, the hardest thing to accept is that she is not who you thought she was, and NEVER will be. Let her dangle her little carrots of coming back to you after the divorce, but just know that she is suggesting that so she will get a more than fair divorce settlement. You don’t have to confront her about it, just remember to yourself that you are going no contact immediately after the divorce is over. Let her think she is manipulating you while you are really not letting that happen at all. Narcissists always circle back for more kibbles, but they never change. They lie and believe their own lies. They also hate to be alone, and will happy come back over and over again…and leave over and over again.

  • Southern, please listen to CL. It is sound advice. I understand it is tough because you love your wife. However, this is not and will never be a healthy relationship.

    I’ll never be able to fully understand why my EX left and moved in with OW#2 while telling me he needed space. He later moved back because “it was home” (at this point he technically had 2 houses and two women). Fast forward to 1 year past DD#2 (separation agreement was signed) and he still asked if I loved him. Thankfully I told him no. I believe that if I had said ‘yes’ he would have continued on perhaps with another false reconciliation and more cheating.

    We are the stable rocks for these kind of people. My suggestion is to work on setting your boundaries and to go ‘NO CONTACT’. This will help you get the space you need to heal. It is sort of like that concept of ‘tough love’ but it works.

    It might also help to read up on borderline personality disorder.

  • She will just keep doing this to you, over and over again. Get out. Run from the burning building, and take your kids with you, before it’s too late. Being alone, being a single mom is 1,000 times better than living with a toxic person who is hurting everyone.

  • The old … “we can get back together later”… My ex stated this many times, even providing examples of people we knew who were separated and got back together… I bought it initially, but not buying that bullshit anymore…I and you, Southern, are better than being a life raft on their Titanic love, cause eventually that shit is going to hit an iceberg

    • Just want us away but not to far! That way they can play without interference but keep us around for security! Totally fucked up and planned all in their favor!

  • Dear Southern,

    I have to agree with everyone. You must get away from this woman. She is cruel and incapable of love. She learned nothing of any good from D Day #1 (except, I’m sure, handy ways for her to cover her tracks – great vulnerabilities you have that she can exploit). She really does think she is utterly fabulous and you are nothing more than a kibble dispenser, there to bear witness to her fabulousness.

    If you tried for that ‘fresh start’ – and you can take this to the bank – you’ll find she’ll turn out to be the person she evidently is (a morally bankrupt, selfish user) and you will either remain the person you are (the person she met and ‘loved’ enough to marry) – so the ‘smothering’ excuse will be whipped out for D Day #3, OR, you’ll tie yourself up in knots trying to be the ‘perfect’ she demands – when you’ll find ‘you were too detached’ will be the excuse. In short, whatever you do to accommodate her, to avoid her next abuse, WILL NOT WORK – whatsmore, you’ll be mindfucked, anxious, frightened, worried and unhappy AND SHE WILL STILL CHEAT! You can’t be a straight, married woman with kids – it’s not who you are – and even if you were, well you see how she treats that type of woman. She might get her jollies seducing straight women, but well, once she’s ‘conquered that mountain’ it’s all a bit same-old, same-old isn’t it?

    You and your lovely children deserve real love, not this – ‘you’ll do for now, but its not really good enough’ contempt you are being offered.

    I know it’s terrifying to contemplate having to start over. I know all you want is the family you thought you had and loved. I won’t lie to you, it won’t be easy. It will hurt. But honestly Southern, keeping the door open for this woman guarantees your hurt will never stop. Close the door and start to heal.

    Best wishes to you x

    Sorry to hijack just a little bit but R.I.P. David Bowie – thanks for it all x

  • Southern, I have seen your posts elsewhere on this site.

    Your wife is a disordered wingbat. That means you can’t have what you want: the happy family life with her. The happy family life may be in your future, but not with her. No, you need a woman who’ll love you just as you are and be a great mom to your children.

    Go read the blog posts on “Reconciliation and Entltlement” as well as “Genuine Remorse v. Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse.” Real reconciliation means owning your actions. This means she has not only to admit she cheated, but also admit that she was 100% responsible for her actions. She’s not doing that. Instead, she’s blameshifting Sure, she cheated, but it was your fault.

    It is very telling that she’s not at all unhappy about destroying other people’s marriages. Is that your fault, too? Are you so “smothering” that she has to run to the nearest married woman she can find?

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, she’s not sleeping with straight married women, she is sleeping with bi women in straight marriages. Believe me that she gets off on this.

    Southern, she’s not worth it.

    Start lining your ducks up. Lawyer up by finding the best lawyer you can afford. Do this without notifying your STBXW. Also talk with a divorce financial analyst to see what kind of best-case scenario you can have.

    Your disordered wingnut of a wife has indicated she wants a trial divorce. I love the idea of giving it to her. Just insist on the most favorable terms that your lawyer thinks you can get away with. Maybe have a couple of alternative,yet favorable, scenarios you can give her.

    Once the divorce is final, go as No Contact as you can, given you have children–though you might also wish to ask your lawyer how custody would work, as you carried the children. Legal views of who is the actual parent may vary significantly from state to state, and may also lag behind marriage legislation. Get as much custody as you can. Remember, she dumped the kids (and you) for 10 months–and now she wants a year off from parenting? Hey, your youngest is 2 years old! She plans to be away for half his life! Tell her you’ll gladly watch the kids while she’s clearing her head, and write that into the divorce settlement. 😉

    Now, you ask yourself, will she see through this? Maybe, but maybe not. A lot of the disordered types believe their own narrative, and they are so convinced they’re hot stuff, that of course you’d take them back (you did once, after all), as they are So Sparkly.

    You deserve a better life for yourself and your children.


  • I think reconciliation with a repeat offender is impossible. I realize some people will disagree.. but I just think once someone KNOWS what they did to you (the pain they caused, the wear and tear on the family, etc) and they “CHOOSE” to do it again, that’s really a no go.

    The fact that she’s blaming it on you is a REAL red flag. People who are likely to reconcile successfully do so because they are 100% remorseful, and thus, do not blame their spouses for their shitty choices. I am attempting to reconcile with my H and day one I said if he started to blame me for all the shit he put me through, I’d be done. That’s a boundary I’ve set and I cannot go back on it. Like dealing with a toddler, if you don’t keep your word, your spouse won’t respect you.

    A repeat offense and that’s all she wrote.

    I am sorry, you deserve better and I would stop trying to “polish the turd” as they say. Your X is selfish and doesn’t sound remorseful at all, nor does she seem particularly rooted in reality.

    Save yourself.

  • I don’t know if this makes a difference…being a queer Southerner (I’m one too) can make you feel like you have to make everything work as a way of proving to others that same-sex relationships aren’t “bad.” If that’s any part of your worry about leaving this person, I’d say go for what you know you need! That’s the best way of demonstrating that queer people make good relationship choices: by actually making them. I wish you all the best and hope you get out.

    • That’s an excellent point DC. There’s enough perceived ‘social stigma’ around divorce in straight marriages – I can’t even imagine how much more pressure there must be when you are in the pioneering vanguard. The truth is Southern’s (hopefully) STBX is the one who broke this – she is the one who failed to honour the marriage vows, and for that matter, the efforts of all who went before fighting for equality. Being a narc, I can imagine she makes that alright in her head by telling herself equality means have the ‘equal right’ to fuck up her marriage, cheat and abuse.

      Stupid, stupid, selfish child.

    • Thanks for bringing up the “credit to your race” argument. If we work from the starting point that gay people are fully human, then some of them can be assholes. This serial cheating wife is an asshole. You should divorce assholes.

      It’s an asshole problem. Not a gay problem.

    • I was so ashamed especially bc we were part of the state lawsuit fighting to have our marriage recognized. I had to stand before my peers (in the lawsuit) and say that things had changed for me. It was devastating. I fought the office vital statistics for 6 hours one day to get her name put on our children’s birth certificates…..and was successful. The first ones in our state. Bc I believed in my wife, my marriage, our family. Six weeks later…..she started having an affair. I. Was. An. Idiot.

  • Sorry, Southern, but this wife of yours is just a special kind of sick.

    Reverse gender roles for a second, and imagine a married man whose prey is exclusively lesbians in committed relationships or marriages.

    Aside from breaking up families, this man has a thing for getting the women to switch teams.

    Does the thought of such a man make your skin crawl?

    Your wife is no better….

    Listen to Chumplady and the others here, and get her out of your life. She’s caused you far too much heartache already.

  • Southern, I know this will be hard for you. I know because finding your truth is very, very, very hard when you are in the middle of the mess. The part about you causing any of the cheating is complete bullshit and it sounds like you have bought into it. I don’t know you or your cheater. What I do know is you caused zero of her cheating. I can tell that from here. I can tell that because if she was unhappy she had many ways to deal with it, including letting you know you were “smothering” her instead of going in search of the kibbles of a conquests. If you’re still asking about saving your marriage then you can’t see the truth yet.

    Let me lay out some truth for you.
    – You want your life back. We all did. Change is scary and hard. But change can be blessedly good.I look back and can’t believe I was in that marriage as long as I was.
    – You need a lawyer. If she tries to sort things out without one, you insist on a lawyer. Many of us here have heard the ravings about how much they cost but nearly all of us in the end will have seen the crazy shit our x has tried to get away with and used the phrase “WORTH…..EVERY… PENNY”
    – You need a support system. CN is here and will instill you with mightiness at every turn. Many of us consider this our therapy. It’s cheaper and I laugh a hell of a lot more here. Find support you can hug and have a glass of wine with as well.
    – Your kids need to see you put your foot down and not take abusive behavior. What your cheater is doing is abusive. You might not think it effects the kids but by golly it does. Be the sane parent and worry about what they are learning from this. If you can’t leave for your sake, leave for the sake of your children.

  • This sounds like a Springer episode gone bad. Run while you can, if you can afford it lawyer up immediately!

  • Southern, I am so sorry to hear about your situation, I can so relate to want to believe that your partner is a better person than she is. We are chumps, and therefore we are addicted to potential…

    If only she would… Then we could have our family back…
    Maybe if I explain to her what this does to me, she would understand and stop hurting me…

    These are all symptoms of your hopium and spackle habits… We all had these thoughts at some point post-DDay. You are in the fog Southern, and knowledge as well as CN’s support is the best way out of that fog!

    One of the hardest things I have realized is that the person I was married to never existed outside of my own mind. Knowledge and the support I got from CN helped me regain my self-esteem and I hope they will do so for you as well.

    Please consider reading Lundy Bancroft’s “why does he do that” the advice applies for both straight and gay relationships, there are also good resources from Bill Eddy on high conflict personalities. The more knowledge you gather and the more you share with CN (after going NC with your ex), the more you will be able to realize that your ex is a manipulative, toxic person whose actions are hurting you and your kids in unforgivable ways.

    Please hire a lawyer asap, start IC with a therapist specialized in narcissistic abuse recovery so you can re-build your self-esteem as you negotiate your divorce settlement.

    You were put in a situation where there are no good options, it is going to hurt as hell, but the NC path will be the only way to preserve your sanity, restore your self-esteem, and build the best possible structure for your kids to be protected from her mindfuckery as much as possible.

  • I do wish I had known about CL in the beggining, i may have opted out of the pansie ass pick me dances etc!!! All these sick soulless creatures use same tactics and methods! Once you see the trends u know what u have and need to dump it and run!!! I also was told we needed to split and if we were meant to be we would come back together…. We could date….. Blah blah…. They just want your security while screwing whom they want when they want!!! RUN!!!!

  • Run away from her as fast as you can. She is a parasite. You gave her a second chance, she didn’t give you a second chance. This woman is not remorseful, much less repentant. Divorce her and get on with your life. And I say this as one who is working on reconciliation.

  • Southern, you definitely need a year…. a year (or more) of therapy to figure out why you are willing to settle for a lying, manipulative, disordered cheater. There are lots of decent, honest, caring women out there; why would you consider taking back a known predator? I actually understand your situation, most of us do. You’re still smoking the hopium, and it’s clouded your vision so you can’t see reality at all. Put down the pipe, get into therapy, get AWAY from that horrible woman, and with time, you will re-read your letter and won’t believe you actually considered taking back your wife. Believe me.

    On a side note, it always intrigues me that the truly disordered cheaters are all alike, regardless of their demographic. Male/female, straight/gay, religious/atheist, in the US/out of the US, presumably all races…. the stories are the same. That tells me that the disordered are broken on a very deep level — their very HUMANNESS is flawed. That’s why they so rarely change or “get better.” They are broken beyond repair.

  • I’m so sorry that you are going through this. You don’t deserve it and you did nothing to make it happen.

    The only suggestion I can come up with is to take two steps back, forget your history and your dreams, really look at this woman and ask yourself, if you met her today and knew all of her history, would you want to date her?

    I’m guessing the answer is “hell no”.

  • SouthernSunshine,

    What everyone is telling you is the truth, but you first need to go no-contact (except for necessary information about the kids, all by email) to truly see it. It will be painful at first, but you must resist contact with her, including arguing (which is just a jump down the rabbit hole), pleading, light conversation, etc. It’s like detoxing from a drug. The first 3 weeks are the most painful and then it only gets better after that. It takes at least 3 months to see clearly how poorly your spouse has treated you, but it takes no contact to break free of the fog.

    And, yes, I agree that your cheater isn’t necessarily special in targeting married women with children. It’s all about power and ego, and however they can wield it and show it, they will. Other people’s emotional pain and drama centered around them is like a life force to them. They need it like vampires need blood, and you’re just the dead body supplying them with the blood, which includes things like the betrayed spouse’s pain over the cheating, the pick me dance, the kids’ pain over their parents leaving them or favoring OW’s kids, the families they break up, the triangulation with the OW, etc. But it’s never enough and they will hunger for more.

  • Southern,
    Repeat offenders who leave their families without remorse are huge flight risks who cause damage whether they’re ‘home’ (purportedly faithful to you) or ‘away’ (‘taking a break from your marriage’). My STBX often tells me that he wants us to
    reconcile–then he goes back to court (approx. once a month for the last year and a half), where he stabs me in the back (tries to collect our young children and all the assets and get out of paying even child support in arrears). And my family keeps saying, ‘You might/should reconcile with him someday…’ Yeah, the day I want to go back to living/dying H-ll! People like your Cheater Freak and mine know no bounds and have little, if any, incentive to change. Do you REALLY want to jump back into the snake pit? I understand the draw of the Hopium Pipe, but in shakily proceeding in a life away from my abusive STBX, I still say, ‘D–n the torpedoes–full speed ahead!’ You are dealing with the traitorous enemy, not your loyal ally. May the wind (and your own strength) carry you to a happier place!

  • You blew your chance. No you can still file and put an end to the game. Four months after the first affair (that you know of) with no consequences and a serial cheater sociopath thrives on power and control. Her repeated actions are driven by the thrill of the chase and taking pleasure in causing pain. Admitting that she’s stringing you along for the ride, bonus points. Doccument everything, file again, and get full custody of your children. Talk to your lawyer. Run Southern Run.

    • Thanks Donna. This is my new contact picture in my phone for my STBX:
      THRIVES on

  • Southern,

    Your struggle is real my sister. I understand. We all understand. However, how long are you going to love and cling to that bag of dog turds disguised as a human at the expense of your sanity and self-respect? Why is how she feels or what she thinks more important to you than what you think and what you feel? Your entire letter is spent describing what she wants, what she says, how she says she feels. Only in relation to her and wanting to be with her do you express any of your own feelings. You are seeing yourself in the context of your relationship with her. Been there, done that, collected the prize and got a t-shirt and a cap.

    This woman has repeatedly dishonored you and disrespected you. A person who truly loved and cared about you would be incapable of treating you in this manner. She’s treating you like the old pair of panties that she pulls out and puts on when all of her other panties are dirty. Is that what you want for your life? Besides ill treatment, lack of respect, betrayal and contempt, what are you getting from her that makes it worth your while to even consider her offer seriously? It would help you to get into therapy to find out why you feel this is all you deserve in a relationship. I am speaking from experience. Trust everyone here who says that it will be painful, with a capital PAIN and a capital FUL – no way around it, just through it. The take your breath away, don’t know if you will make it another day kind of pain. But with time and distance you will look at horror on this woman, who she truly is, what she visited upon you and your children and what you were willing to tolerate from her. Then you will have some compassion for yourself and never settle for so little again.

    If CN has taught me anything, Cheaters are a brand just like aspirin or tissue. Different container, same content.

    It all starts with one step in a different direction. Take that step Southern.

  • I don’t care for curse words and always feel forgiveness is best. Not forgetting. I don’t even know how this article popped up, but relevant for any relationship. AND TOO FUNNY, DIRECT and good advice. All cheaters sound very similar. They all blame, take no guilt. Use you if you don’t establish boundaries. They play the game. They know, everyone is the same but the game is fun and I mean the co-dependent will likely wait around being such a kind and compassionate person. We are a doormat. WE NEED TO STOP. No more doormat. Every relationship has good and bad. Getting through it all together is what is important. Yes we have kids, and lives but they broke it all and really don’t care to fix it because it doesn’t suit them. Let’s pray for them and move on. We were not meant to live in limbo without joy and peace. If they want to reconcile let them work as hard as we are working to save the relationship. If not…you know where they stand and our kids are worth more than that!! So are our hearts!

    • Toby

      Forgive and pray for them? Why?
      Forgive yourself Southern and pray for your children. Then file.

  • Southern:

    My 1stEXH offered this same deal— he told me that he didn’t see our divorce as “break-up”, but a “break”… I told him that was the dumbest thing he ever said and that he got one shot with me…she should be on her knees thanking God you gave her not one, not two but 3 chances (the relationship itself before she cheated).

    Don’t buy into this offer, please. Break off, move on, be MIGHTY!!!!

    My 2nd ex- suggested that we still “have fun” even if “we are serious with other people”- UGH!!!!

    These fucked up narcs are totally shit-bags that don’t deserve good-hearted people like us. FUCK. HER. DUMP HER.

  • My STBX was also a “let’s divorce and see what happens” down the road character. We even joked about being “fuck buddies” because we were so good at THAT. We talked about moving on to try fun, new things since we got married 30 years ago right out of high school, but still having regular times together doing things we loved together — Sunday morning coffee, watching football, etc. We even talked about having hearts big enough to love more than one person. I tried, I really did, to believe that could all work. I understand now he was only manipulating me to make his exit easier.

    Consider this, Southern. It might not be the pick me dance, the kibbles, the competition, that she wants. She might just be DONE, but she doesn’t really want to put up with all the messy, dirty, yucky, inconvenient emotions this will generate. She doesn’t want CONSEQUENCES. If she keeps you on the hook for even a piecemeal relationship, you are going to do everything you can to keep her happy. You won’t damage her image by telling people she cheated (because your friends will be mad at her), you won’t fight for assets and financial resources (because then she will be mad at you), and you won’t challenge her on custody issues (because then the kids might be mad at you). She knows that you will make this easy if she can dangle that carrot in front of you. If you have hope, she doesn’t have consequences.

    After two years of self-evaluation and self-hate, I finally convinced myself we really could do this whole “I can love two women” thing my husband proposed. I figured we needed to be truly apart to make it work, but he refused to leave our century-old restored home. So eight months ago, I left my bank management job, left a high profile elected position, left the small community where my parents and brother and I lived for 30 years. I started over in a large city 200 miles away with the promise that “we could do this for a year, we can do anything for a year.” And I told very, very few people why (even though my departure from my roles in the community made front-page news). He will tell you he promised nothing. But he knows damn well that he let me believe whatever it took to get me to walk away quietly.

    Eight months into that “year” I thought we agreed on, he no longer reaches out to me or has any “friendly” conversations. We have NO relationship at all. But he is happily inviting fuckbitchwhore and her teenage daughter to stay in my home to town to attend community and school functions with him. He was simply waiting for me to get out of the way.

    Trust me, she might just be done. But she doesn’t want the consequences that go with it. So she is manipulating you into making her exit easy.

    • Wow, ZMichelle, you just turned on a light bulb for me. I do not have the exact same problem per se as Southern, but you just made me realize my Cheater is giving me all this palliative “I dont want to ruin your life, lets just quietly and peacefully separate” shit so he can get away with no drama, not have to face consequences, guilt me into not fighting over money, guilt me into sharing custody of our child with his drunk ass, and of course never admit to any of his cheating. He’s just trying to make it easy on himself ! Like you said, no consequences!

      • With hindsight I can see the logic in this – the new chump just wants their life back and the cheater plays on this and tells them whatever they want to hear to keep them sweet.
        Hey, let’s not be hasty here…no need to go wasting money on lawyers. I can totally see us getting back together at some point and ending our days together.
        We chumps need to be fed enough crumbs to stop us wising up and protecting ourselves…if we are still hooked in to our non existent relationship then we will be far easier to screw over in the divorce. We are going to be dating and getting back together after this divorce remember…let’s both be reasonable and sort out the money thing ourselves.
        We need this fairytale for a while…its called denial…its easier than the cold hard truth.
        No, the marriage is bust. The dates won’t happen. It’s over.
        So go get a lawyer and go NC as far as possible. It’s a little like ripping off a plaster….you can ease it away bit by bit to avoid the pain. It gets dirty and messy and keeps on hurting. You can just rip it off and get it over with but that takes courage.
        This is not a new breed of cheater…just a variation of the same old lines. Her sexuality is not the issue…her character is.
        Two small boys that you carried do not deserve to be involved in this message…YOU can do better than look forward to re-marrying a spouse who does not value the life you have built. Get out.

  • I have been trying to go minimal contact. She always contacts me for something or another after about 2 days. And if I don’t respond she goes ape shit insane until I do. It’s like I have to quiet the beast to get peace. Ugh.

    • Get a lawyer and a counselor, in that order Southern. She’s a manipulative nasty piece of shit.

    • Hey Southern- welcome to the club nobody wanted to join. Big hugs.

      Add “Breeding with a Fucktard to your reading list….and pro tip from a Sole Sane Parent, document, document, document. As soon as you refuse to do the Pick Me Dance, it can go downhill pretty fast….there are some good coparenting tools out there tat keep the bs the a minimum, and do ument for you, such as google calendar.

      Otherwise, my rule was only use sentences with Kiddo’s names, relevant data and that is it. And keep it closed statements-not ‘Kiddo wants Nikes, what do you think?’ becomes “Got Kiddo some Nikes, receipt attached.”

      FWIW……may the Force be with you.

    • Block her from contacting you any means possible.
      She goes apeshit because she knows in those first moments you aren’t bending to her whim. And that pisses Queen Shithead the fuck off: “HOW DARE SHE NOT GIVE FABULOUS ME ALL HER TIME AND EFFORT TO APPEASE ME!?!?!?”
      Classic narc, Southern. Run, don’t walk, from this manipulative slut.

  • IMHO , It is just a ploy to get Southern to divorce amicably.After being away for eight months she wants to end it legally as well.She ,thus ,came back , made some BS suggestions and wants a divorce.

    All this about dating etc etc is just noise to drown her real intent.If Southern does not agree to a divorce do you think she is going to stay married ?No way.All she is doing is trying to get Southern to amicably divorce.

    Southern did say both of them are successful professionals.All that her wife is doing is ensuring that there is no scandal around the divorce and that her image remains intact.

    It’s a huge mindfuck that’s all.

    I think It’s not even going to be Southern’s choice whether she should stay or not.Her wife has already decided on the divorce.All that Southern gets to decide is how amicable should the divorce be.

  • I am a guy who married a bi-woman. She wants a divorce to figure out how we can be happy together. May I just say: RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

    Bitches be crazy. (Sorry, I am SO not sexist. But mine and yours qualify.)

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: