Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, My world has crashed around me

mommy-superpower-ecardDear Chump Lady,

Hubby and I are in our late 30s, married for 12 years. We struggled with infertility and loss for years before I finally had our daughter in 2012, and my son in 2014. Both of us are working full-time and are relatively financially stable.

We were good, but we are libido incompatible….he always did have a stronger urge than me; and cycling (for conception), and timing intercourse killed whatever leftover sex drive I had.

Because of medical reasons, I shifted to another town in the last few weeks of my pregnancy (with my son) and spent total six months at my mother’s place, including a few months post the birth of my child (September 2014 – March 2015).

I noticed very imperceptible shifts when I came back. But with a small baby, and a rambunctious kid, and home, and full-time work and sleep deprivation, I did not really pay much attention.

I had my first strong suspicion in July, but then nothing actually emerged. Then I noticed that he was regularly clearing chats with a certain person, and that made me even more curious. So I kept up with every opportunity to try and figure out what was going on.

By October I felt he was emotionally involved, and well, the beginning of this year brought the great news that he was sexually involved too.

The whore is from his office, knows me, and has even attended my daughter’s birthday party.

My world has crashed around me like a tower of cards.

He has never been abusive, but what made him do this is beyond me.

It was a thrill. The woman tried smoothly for a few months, dangling nibbles and feelers. It all started as counselling because she had some issues. Then she whet his ego enough, and told him about the man he was, and so under-appreciated.

She ended up coming to my home when I was gone, safe that I would never catch them.

They also took drives, where there was kissing and oral sex.

My husband says “It was just sex.”

My life has gone bust. I want to smother that whore, but there are some issues why I will have to withhold the smothering.

I am tired, frustrated, angry. I was carrying his baby, our baby, and he decided to help himself to some free pussy.

I just want to kill myself and get it over with, somedays.

St. Elsewhere

Dear St. Elsewhere,

Don’t kill yourself. He’s not worth it and your kids need one sane parent. He’s not that person, so don’t you dare go off the rails.

You’re in incredible pain. We get it here, we’ve lived it. But when those dark hours (which feel interminable) come remember that the pain is FINITE. You’re not always going to hurt. You’re going to survive this. Yes, you’re going to have to fight like hell to get through it for awhile, but in the end you’ll get your life back — a NEW life.

Because what’s the alternative, SE? Offing yourself for a couple of fuckwits? You want that idiot to be the last thing you ever loved? When you have two beautiful babies who love and need you? You think offing yourself would put a dent in either of those cheaters’ sociopathic little souls? That they’ll be crushed with remorse and change their ways and paint sad portraits of you and carry around a lock of your hair and light candles in your memory? No, SE, they’ll keep being fuckwits. And you’ll leave two children who deserve so much more in the care of a FUCKWIT.

So, sweetheart — I’m telling you this a fellow chump and mother — I know how it feels to want to drive yourself into a highway median to stop the pain — DON’T DO IT. Suck it up and deal. Your children need you.

I want you to stop thinking that your husband cheated because you were sexually incompatible, or had fertility problems, and health problems. I want you to stop thinking your husband cheated because the OW was so damn thrilling and pitiful in all the right ways. Your husband cheated because he is an ASSHOLE.

It was “just sex”? No, Asshole, it was abandoning your wife when she was the most vulnerable. When she was punishing her body to give you two beautiful children. It was the constant disrespect and devaluing, lying to her. Of not being present. Of checking yourself out to wet your dick, because fleeting orgasms are so much more important than your family.

Oh, did the OW have some “issues”? Did she have the sadz? YOUR WIFE IS RISKING HER HEALTH TO CARRY YOUR CHILDREN. There’s the “issue” you’re supposed to give your allegiance to — not your hard-on for some Borderline wingnut. Oh, you think you’re entitled to both your family and your dick fantasy affairs? Take your entitlement and shove it up your ass with a speculum, then inject yourself with it monthly until it makes you fat and sick and bed-ridden.

St. Elsewhere — your problem is your cheating husband. Your problem is his minimization (“just sex”) and continuing disrespect. How sorry is he? He probably still works with Little Miss I-Have-A-Problem-Only-Your-Dick-Can-Fix.

The good news is you both have jobs. The good news is you have family near and can support yourself. You’re not financially vulnerable to him. See a lawyer (don’t tell him, just do it.) Start making a plan for life without this entitled fuckwit. I know you invested deeply in a dream of family with him. He destroyed that dream, and he doesn’t seem one damn bit sorry about it (“just sex”!) So go dream other dreams. Go show your children what a badass you are. You worked hard to have them, work hard now to stay sane and raise them.

Please talk to your doctor about depression and get your own shrink. There’s no shame in going on anti-depressants right now to help get through this. Focus on your own healing.

I hope some day soon you serve that jerk papers, and when he howls with indignation, you look him square in the eye and nonchalantly say — “It’s just divorce.”

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.
  • Oh SE, you poor thing. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you’re going through. I’m gonna second what CL said about having your ducks in a row though. A good attorney is worth his or her weight in gold, and it sounds like you have the cash to pursue this without the Almighty Dickhead knowing. Good luck.

    • I had a mental picture of all the cheaters sitting at her feet being told off. Great image. Best rant ever.

  • St Elsewhere. I’m sorry, he sounds like a typical idiot. I just wanted to say to you or anyone else who might find this useful, that in one of my fucked up days where I could not stop crying, and I mean like all days tears and I was with my 3 children, I went into a health food shop and typed out a text (because I was crying too much to talk) saying “I’m a bit stressed out right now, do you have anything I can take to help?”

    Well the man in the shop nodded discretely and showed me some holy basil. I took them and I think they helped a lot. They make your hair grow or something too, along with all the other huge vitamin pills I take and now My hair is really long!!! 😀

    I went to lots of counselling as well, read loads of books and go to the gym.

    • I second that! Holy basil has helped me so much so that I continue to take it now, post four years of second dday. Calms the nerves and makes you serene.

      Also, try the Bach Flower Remedy drops (http://www.bachflower.com/). I used to take the Clematis, but there is a whole variety of them out there. There are also sleep drops…they will help.

      The key here is to keep yourself as healthy as possible, given the situation, so that you can deal with this with all the mighty power you have within yourself! Get angry. Let that anger fuel you to a lawyers office. Most lawyers give 30 minute free consults…go to several if need be. Get recommendations too.

      If you have read through the archives here, you will see that most of us have dealt with this same scenario…they all are the same cheaters and liars. CL has some of the best advise, follow through and get yourself and your precious children a new life without the deadweight.

      • I second the recommendation regarding the Bach’s remedies. Allow yourself a moment to take a few deep breaths each day.

        I went through the infertility struggles as well with the X…for me, not having my body perform its biological imperative totally shot my self-esteem and sense of being a woman. Add all that does to one’s libido and throw an asshole into the mix, and it can take a good woman down to the depths. Life will improve. You and your bambinos deserve the best.

    • And I got the “I’!m 40 yrs older than her.” yes, glad to be away from that crazy.
      SE: This is the best comeback ever: “I hope some day soon you serve that jerk papers, and when he howls with indignation, you look him square in the eye and nonchalantly say — “It’s just divorce.”

      • “It’s just divorce.” Thank you HEA, I am sure this one will be very useful to me in the future (BTW, saw the forum convo on the name change, love it!)

        SE – I share the feeling of my life crumbling around me like a house of cards, it took months of NC, and a tough series of negotiations for me to really see my X as he is instead of how I so wish he was as a person, and especially as a father. This is the part that ate me most. How could I not see him for what he was earlier? God how could I choose to have a kid with him? It took time and a whole lot of work to forgive myself for the spackle and accept that yep, this is an ongoing buffet of shit sandwiches until my kiddo reaches 18.

        What I have learned is that NC and a good lawyer are key to your healing! Do not wait as the longer you wait, the more you hurt your self-esteem, and the longer your kids are going to be exposed to an unhealthy family environment.

        The younger your children, the more you will be favored in court, especially given his adultery if you live in a fault state. Get all you can in writing. Please learn from my mistake of giving my X the benefit of thinking he was a decent human being. Please do not mediate or try and collaborate with your cheater. After what he did to you and his lack of remorse, as well as the fact that you have young children, I would not advise it.

        File today, ask your lawyer about the quickest way to live apart from your cheater, and hire a private investigator and a forensic accountant asap to establish proof of continued adultery and establish any evidence of financial abuse early in the process. And never let your STBX forget that he is a scumbag for cheating on you when you were pregnant with your 2nd kid. That is beyond shameful and in no way an indication of your worth. It is one of the strongest proof of his disordered character.

        Your divorce and putting together a stable environment for you kids is going to require herculean strength especially given how young your kids are. If someone from your family can come and live with you for a few months or until your divorce is final, that would be best.

        My divorce proceedings felt like an extremely painful tunnel of darkness, and some days, looking at the following (in addition to reading stories from CN) were among the few thins that kept me going

        ((SE))

        • I love that picture!

          I agree with NC. Before NC I sent nasty, angry texts to my ex that I’m not proud of. I was hoping to shake some sense into him, so that he’d wake up and realize with horror that he’d made a terribly grave mistake. I’m glad it didn’t work.

          I decided to try NC, with the hope that if he had undiluted time with her to really get to know her, without me to push off of, then he would figure out what a fake whore she is, and he’d leave her and realize how much he missed me. I’m glad THAT didn’t work.

          Then I stayed with NC, because I realized I was calmer, and that I didn’t want any part of his life–I didn’t want to stay hooked into his crazy-making, didn’t want to be vulnerable to the pain that the two of them inflicted. Also I did it because Tracy said so. I’m SO GLAD that worked!!

          • “I didn’t want to stay hooked into his crazy-making” Exactly the same conclusion I arrived at Miss Sunshine, glad you have exited the dance floor too :)!

            I have not and will not engage with my X beyond our shared custody, and as many chumps know, sharing joint custody with a cheater-x is so drama filled I no longer need to watch TNT…

  • Dear St Elsewhere,
    I am so sorry you are going through this. It is not your fault he cheated. Your husband’s actions are entirely on him. Let’s address the difference in sex drive. I always had a higher sex drive than my husband, but I did not cheat. He, on the other hand, had emotional affairs and tried to have physical affairs (but no-one bit on the many, many dating sites he joined). You wonder why? Because they are narcissistic arseholes. I have read the emails that my disordered dickhead sent to the overseas scam artists, his favourite calls him her King. He knows they are scam artists and he still sent thousands of dollars overseas so he could continue to be called King. He had a real life woman in front of him, who loved him sincerely, who worked full-time, who never waivered when we discovered he was infertile (years before we found out I am too). Not enough.

    Please know that you are loved, respected and would be missed if you self-harm. Please start to take care of you. You will need to go to a doctor and have STD testing. Please don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. When I got mine done I was the second woman in one hour my poor doctor had to send for testing. Print out or copy all financials. Document dates. Find out how long you have to be separated before you can divorce (in Australia it is one year and one day). Know your children need you, they need your love and your integrity. You find yourself among friends. This community is full of incredible people who never wanted to attain membership. Take care.

  • Men who cheat on pregnant women or women with a newborn. ??? Grrrrr. I’m seeing red like you Chump Lady.

    The 77th Hunger Games with all the men who cheat on their pregnant wives is coming soon. These assholes don’t deserve to live.

    • Yep! SE. I have similar feelings to you as I went through this exact scenario with a newborn. It can make you so angry and sad you don’t even know what to do with those feelings. Great advice CL. I’d say a betrayal during the newborn or pregnancy stage and all the hormones and lack of sleep involved is just about the worst thing somebody can do to a person.

      • Yes, me too. A newborn and I was also looking after our very demanding toddler. I’m still only 6 months post D-Day so it’s still very raw. And I’m even more exhausted, not because the baby still isn’t sleeping, but because I’m haunted by what he’s done.

        Worse is that he and his family behave like this is just a normal break-up.

        • So sorry to hear of the lack of support and understanding from his family. What is wrong with these people? You have two little ones and they don’t support you? So sorry OTCT. You deserve so much more.

      • Count me in among the pregnantly chumped.

        Being on my own with a newborn and a preschooler was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But you know what got me through the worst times? Reminding myself that it was still better than being lied to and hurt by the person who was supposed to have my back.

  • Really feel for you on this one. He is such an a**hole to say ‘it’s just sex’ like it’s not big deal. That minimisation is so toxic and unfair. The fact that he doesn’t even ‘get’ what he’s done makes him such a total loser. I hope reading the stories here of other Chumps will help you. When I had my own Chump ‘D-day’ I was also suicidal. But hun you are carrying the shame that he should be feeling. If he wasn’t happy in the relationship he could have said “oh lets go to counselling” or even he could have decided to separate from you which would’ve been hard but honest at least. But cheating on you and then blaming you for it. Honey maybe your libido was sensing that you are with an assh*le and now your brain is catching up to your body.

    You will come out the other side. I promise you. You’ll come out as soon as you are able to get away from this abusive f*cktard! Chump Nation is 100% behind you.

    • Yeah, minimizing the pain they cause isn’t quite as bad as the cheating itself, but it’s second.

      My father used to do that–spank us with a paddle, then tell us to stop crying & that it hadn’t hurt that badly. Height of arrogance to tell someone else how they are supposed to feel.

      • In Louis C.K.’s famous words: “When someone tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.”

      • Tempest, so true what you posted: “Height of arrogance to tell someone else how they are supposed to feel.”

    • Mine said the same thing in a different context. I did not have sex, only texting with a “fake girl” in London that he met on POF. Then he starts sending money Western Union to Ghana? In his sick, twisted mind, going on a dating website trolling for women was not cheating. But hey, the marriage was over a long time ago and I should have known how miserable he was. Depending on the day, he had been miserable for 3 years, 7 years or, “I never even asked you to marry me, it was your idea”! Fuckwits, the lot of them!

      • OH yeah! Mine suddenly was unhappy our ENTIRE MARRIAGE!! Wow, so kind of him to keep that secret.

        • Omg. Mine also was unhappy since “before we had kids ” So at least 8 years. Wonderful. Thanks for saying something about it earlier.

          • My cheater said, “I’ve been unhappy the last ten years, BUT DIDN’T KNOW IT.” You can’t make this crap up!

  • Oh SE, your post has gripped me. Hugs to you. My ex left me with a special needs child who will never achieve independence. I thought the pain would really kill me. When I realized it wasn’t going to, I started praying for death. Three years from d-day, my ex is paying child support, huge alimony, and extraordinary expenses for her special needs. I re-built my life and have my own business.

    You CAN do this! You are so unbelievably mighty! You have no idea! CL is so right! The pain WILL end. This blog was my saving grace! We’re all here for you! Dig down deep for some righteous anger and let it propelle you forward! Hugs!!!

    • Big fist pump to you, StartofsomethingGood! You have a badass green thumb, taking a big pile of shit and growing a new life out of it.

    • Good for you, StartofSomethingGood!!!! That is awesome!!! Bless you and your child, (high fives)

  • They cheat if you have their children. They cheat if you don’t have their children. They cheat if you’re not having sex all the time. They cheat if you’re having sex regularly. They cheat with someone who has issues. They cheat with someone who they regard as being perfection…

    “I am the Entitled and I cheat because reasons.”

    • They also always try to get the chump to team up and blame the AP. That’s BS. I am NOT justifying the AP’s (or APs’) behavior, but the AP didn’t make any agreement with you. Your partner made agreements then broke them. That is 100% on the partner. There is no slithering out from under that reality.

      • Not sure I agree with you, Ami. The adultery-partner has no marital contract to the chump, but society can and does blame the adultery-partner. It’s too easy a solution to let the AP off. I get your point about her coaxing him into adultery. He’s an adult with agency. But she’s guilty too.

        StElsewhere, all of the side-discussions aside, please take care of yourself. Until you remove yourself from his physical presence and go “grey-rock,” all of the other quetions are unanswerable.

        • Ami

          The cheaters rely on us blaming the AP to create triangulation, engage in the pick me dance, and reconciliation in the beginning (first affair we know of). When we are in the situation SE is in and given all she has gone through the AP becomes a fair target because of the disbelief that our partners could do this. SE stated he never abused her. I agree SE should focus on her spouses lack of morals, blatant disregard, and actions. Do we protect ourselves by blaming the AP? I believe it serves the purpose of minimizing the unbearable emotional pain we suffer initially.

          SE, his comment about it only being sex, lets you know that despite the OW he considers others as objects he can use. Who can deliver this kind of a statement factually and accurately? A narcissist does this with ease. Do not beat yourself up over his or her actions as we are not that powerful to control anyone but ourselves. Know you are not alone in your suffering. The clear thing to know is the pain IS finite. Its a horrible process and just when you think the pain will never stop, it does. You are surrounded with support here and know about the pain and how we tend to blame ourselves. Get angry at HIM, not yourself.

        • Ian, paying too much attention to the AP just leads to the pick-me dance, even if you are just dancing in your own head. Of course the AP is wrong. The AP lacks basic manners, let alone decency and integrity. But the person who betrayed SE is her husband. He’s the person she has to hold accountable; he’s the person she will need to deal with as she changes her life. Focusing on the AP is a recipe for getting stuck in a triangle with a cheater and a second person with poor character, the AP.

          • I have a saying, if you are looking for a man / woman whore, you will find one. Period. They are insufferably abundant. You have to be looking, AND find them appealing. I am pissed at the ap, but much more so with officer douche bag. How’s that for a nickname? I’ve been trying to come up with a good one. I know it’s no narkles the clown or fat bastard. Or match girl. ?

          • LovedaJackass,

            I must vehemently disagree with your post. I am so emotional today, so I may be overreacting. Consider this a cry for help if it reads as such.

            You said:

            Ian, paying too much attention to the AP just leads to the pick-me dance, even if you are just dancing in your own head.

            There is no such thing as pick-me dancing in one’s mind. If my actions don’t disclose my pain, MG has no idea what I’m thinking. Therefore, there is no pick-me dance in my case.

            Of course the AP is wrong. The AP lacks basic manners, let alone decency and integrity. But the person who betrayed SE is her husband. He’s the person she has to hold accountable; he’s the person she will need to deal with as she changes her life.

            I texted Match Stick after Match Girl tried to get me to fly back to Baltimore after Thanksgiving. Hours later she emailed and said she wouldn’t be home when I arrived. I told her I would send our texts to MS. I didn’t, then and to my rudimentary chump training, but I did text him that she had been trying to reconcile. I’d do it again too. Not all social contracts are written. He’s fucking my wife. She unilaterally co-mingled my finances with his. My dog is at his house right now.

            Focusing on the AP is a recipe for getting stuck in a triangle with a cheater and a second person with poor character, the AP.

            The law is on my side. Adultery is a misdemeanor in Maryland. (Almost never prosecuted but a tactical consideration.) From what I gather, adultery is a felony in Canada. The law gives me options to leverage adultery to ensure I am protected in my divorce.

            Too many caveats to mention, but for St. Elsewhere, ask your lawyer before (if ever) contacting the affair partner, don’t blow up your husband’s income if you need the money, and beware violent adultery-partners.

            Yes, MG betrayed me, but he harmed me too. And he did so with intent. I do not like to be told to shut-down my emotions or thought processes. I am not triangulating. I am fighting to protect my rights.

            • I have no real desire to step into a Clash of the Titans debate, but is it possible that two chumps are talking past each other? There seem to be 4 issues here:

              1-Should the AP be held morally accountable and vilified as a cheater?
              I think this is what Ian’s post first suggested (and I have to heartily agree; what adult, nay what child, doesn’t know that cheating is wrong? I suspect there is even an innate basis for horror at infidelity, because it does jeopardize survival of the young).

              2-Should chumps focus on the AP at the expense of holding the cheater accountable? As in “she stole my husband!” Absolutely not, cheater bears at least 50% of our ire, perhaps more, since they are the ones who were receptive to an AP, and the ones who took vows with the chump. I think some of LAJ’s post was relevant to this point.

              3-Should chumps obsess about the AP and mentally compare ourselves, as in “Was I deficient and the AP fabulousness-incarnate?” And should we focus a desire for vengeance on the AP? In our dreams, where we impale the with sharp objects, perhaps, but not IRL. Am I right in assuming most of LAJ’s post was related to this point?

              4-Should the AP figure in our legal calculations, especially in fault-divorce states, or where adultery can be taken into account for spousal support, custody, etc.? Absolutely; we’re downtrodden enough by being chumps, no need to lay down during settlement, too. Point #4 is certainly addressed by Ian’s response.

              Did I miss anything?

              • Brilliant. Tempest. Spot on in terms of my point.
                Ian, I didn’t mean to trigger you. but coming from someone who spent WAY too much time obsessing about Jackass’s MOW, I was way too focused on her in ways that didn’t help me. Tempest got exactly what i meant; wanting to “win” in some screwed up way over the AP, wanting that person to be unhappy, wanting to be smarter, thinner, have more money and a nicer house. The crap in my head about this was overwhelming–for months. And when the MOW ending up separated from her H, and when she cried on FB about managing a house alone, part of me said “serves you right–karma bus just rolled through.” I still wouldn’t trust myself to be civil to her, and the chances of me running into her via my work are about 80%. I deal with one of her close kin every day now. And that changed things for me. In my case, she may not have even known about me until D-Day since Jackass compartmentalized his life immediately after she initiated contact with him over a family death. Her life is way worse than mine in every way because of factors I won’t discuss here. And I’ve gotten to a point where that gives me no pleasure. All this to say that you are far earlier in the process than I am at this point, and that Jackass and I were in a committed relationship (ha ha) but not married and that too makes a difference. You get to feel what you feel.

                My point was related to SE’s letter, where she has a lot to say about the misdeeds of the AP or the Cheater and the AP together but not the character of her husband. You, bud, have that covered in your case. If you look at my post, I was speaking in general about triangulation, as you seemed to be, and certainly wasn’t implying that you were triangulating. I was speaking about my own experience. Because I am Meh about it now, you don’t know how nuts I was about that 2 1/2 years ago.

              • FANTASTIC post, Tempest! What a therapist you are!! 😀

                Such grace here, my friends.

    • Get Out Yo Seat and Chump Around and they will cheat on your after you just had a miscarriage and just got the OK to try again and having loads of sex and just had sex the day before they say they are leaving you. Plus they will cheat on you when it’s their idea and begged you for years to have kids. True sick sick people!!!!!!

    • Get Out Yo Seat and Chump Around inspired me: “I do not like you with a child, I do not like you if you’re wild, I do not like you if you’re fat, I do not like you with a hat. I do not like you any way, and if you interfere you’ll pay. I like to lie and scoff and fuck, ‘cuz I’m a crappy asshole schmuck!”

    • Cheaters cheat if you are dual income earners.
      Cheaters cheat if you are the sole income earner.
      Cheaters cheat if you are a sthm or sthd
      Cheaters cheat if you are rich or poor beautiful or not!

  • Oh St Elsewhere, I am so sorry.

    CL is right. Your husband is an asshole. An entitled asshole.

    I see from your post that you believe the AP kind of made a play for him over several months, and wore him down? Naaaah. Don’t you believe it. He was ready for this from the get go.

    But you will never get an entitled asshole to admit to this, so don’t even try. They always act like they have been led on, led astray like poor sad sausages.

    Be mighty. Your kids need you very badly. And read ChumpLady like your life depends on it, because it may do. She is a lifesaver, and can help you find your mojo, channel your anger, and get yourself back on track.

  • I was there, 18 years ago. We reconciled. He apologized to my parents, got a vasectomy, cut off all contact, went to counseling. Turns out he cheated forever after, with a score of partners. I found out 6 months ago. 23 years with this man, who masqueraded as my best friend, lover, intellectual soulmate. I should have left him back then, with a newborn, a toddler, no job, and no family within a thousand miles. I can say that we did have a good life, much happiness, the kids turned out splendidly. But I’m now having an existential crisis, knowing that I was being lied to through it all. It is a slog to get over, and I’m happy I got to spend every day with my sons through their childhoods. Still, it’s what CN would call a mindfuck. And he is fuckwit. He’s telling our mutual friends that what he did was “childish.” I’m a highly educated woman with wonderful friends and am generally an optimistic person, consider myself strong. This situation has crushed and humbled me. He goes on wiht his brilliant career, making scads of money, while I toil with a lunatic boss, charged with work that is out of my field and comfort zone, at the same time trying to negotiate divorce process, insomnia, bewilderment. What’s done is done, but I regret not being stronger years ago and kicking him to the curb.

    • Sionara: We are living parallel lives (except that I stayed with a man I knew was a jerk at heart, even though we had a lot in common intellectually, personally, etc.). I, too, was married to a serial cheater who probably cheated for the first time 3 months after our vows, when I was pregnant with our first-born. I gave up tenure and a much higher salary so that he could get a named Chair at a university, did 95% of the parenting, ended up mostly with friends from his circle & his department. Nineteen years later, I find evidence of his affairs and divorce him.

      Where are we now? I’m stuck in my significantly lower-paying (and year-to-year contract) job, with only 3 years of child support left (at which point I will have to move out of our house to a cheaper one). Where is he? Jetting around the world to give talks, with his younger girlfriend, in his new million-dollar mansion. He has also convinced all but 3 sets of friends to cut off all contact with me. One-and-a-half years out, I struggle with how he was able to snow me for so long, and how a person could do what he did to the mother of his children.

      But…this week, for the first time, I decided to accept what I cannot change. I can’t make him stop isolating me, I can’t make the former friends socialize with me if they have deemed it too dangerous to do so (since they are all in my X’s department, and he can be vindictive if people cross him). It has taken 1.5 years for the thought that he is disordered and without conscience or empathy to fully sink in (which is how he was able to do what he did). Yesterday was my first full day of peace. You’ll get there.

      And the other day, when I discovered just how effective X has been at isolating me,and I was spouting off to my daughter that “He just keeps winning!” She replied, “There’s more than one way to win. Going through life without integrity or the respect of people you care about is not ‘winning’.” Out of the mouths of babes (or 20 year olds).

      • Oh, Tempest. I seldom ever disagree with you, but . . . he is NOT winning. The jetting, the younger (not as clever, experienced, delightful, wise, thoughtful and precious) g’friend, the friends (clearly superficial and inconsequential to him), the million $ mansion (with 2 cheaters who can NEVER trust each other because they know what they did) ~~ what the hell good is any of that? That is not a value driven life. Not even a life, IMO.

        You, Tempest, have Soul, a fine mind, big (BIG) generous heart, values and an examined life.

        St. Elsewhere, I don’t know you yet, but suspect that you can see that you, too, have these qualities. Don’t deprive your Self of that discovery. Let your children know you that way. You can do nothing to change your truly vile husband’s behaviour. CL has explained the situation brilliantly and Kimhopes outlined the perfect strategy. Put those in point form and tick off the execution (~~ sorry, I’m being bossy ~~ pls pardon that!). Include Lola Granola’s suggestion (wise one) to read, read, read CL and lean on us. And Grey Rock the hell out of him until you can be as NC (this, this, this is the CURE for the affliction of fuckwititis . . . NO CONTACT) as possible. I was suicidal, too, 9 months ago. But feeling so much better now. Screaming in my car helped a lot at the beginning!

        CL’s parting shot for the serving moment deserves a meme, eh?

        • Thanks, Virago. I know he’s not ‘winning’–it was said in a pique of anger as yet one more friend indicated reluctance to socialize fully with me. I have the love and respect of my two children (he does not), and it turns out, the love and respect of X’s extended family (which he does not, but doesn’t realize it given his ego). I know *that* is winning.

          And here’s a meme, in keeping with the Hunger Games theme of today:

          View post on imgur.com

        • Tempest, what Virago said.

          You need new friends that don’t intersect with his. You have 3 years with child support to get your new set of ducks in a row and go for the great, big life you deserve. Now you can pick up interests that you didn’t have time for before and cultivate people who are your friends, not “his” friends. (You know I am very skeptical about “couple” friends. Too fickle for my taste. I’ve got 2, maybe 3, really close friends, and only one “I tell everything” friend. I like a firewall between them and any romantic partner.

          In your three years, you can start thinking about relocating? Maybe changing jobs? Going for something you really care about?? You have time to plan. Your life can be what you want it to be, within reason. (I, for example, can’t go back in time and have a baby. But you know what I mean. Life is so short. Don’t look at what you are losing. You are awesome.

      • Tempest, I second what Virago said so very well. “An examined life” sometimes feels like small comfort, but it is very precious indeed. I’m 18 months out too, and just recently started to let go of the hopeless feeling that my ex is “winning.” I understand how discouraging it is, and I’m so happy you are getting to acceptance of what is — that is the key to your freedom, yay! Your daughter rocks, BTW.

      • “Yesterday was my first full day of peace”
        Hooray for you Tempest!

        We do have to accept what we cannot change. Narcissists are the gift that keeps giving long after we have had enough and divorce their fucked up asses. The Limited misses his children according to the whore who took it upon herself to text my daughter to maintain triangulation and ease the SADZ of the discarding narc father.

        My children had a sibling meeting this week and decided they would only have contact with him if he left the crazed BP sociopath home. Supposedly he agreed(supply is dwindling) Can I change the fact that my children want the fantasy of the father they thought he was even though they know he is a covert narcissist?No. I am very proud they set boundaries and will maintain them.

        Poor, poor slutfucker didn’t anticipate her crazy son, a house full of dogs, her raging lack of personality, and her new grandchild. This is a man who didn’t want to be tied down with a dog, or his own grandchild.

        Your daughter rocks!

      • Tempest,

        If he broke up with his girlfriend tomorrow, and asked you to jet around the world and live in the million dollar mansion with him, and you did so, you would probably not feel like you were winning. It might look that way on the outside to the former friends that you would now have a new chance to socialize with, but deep down inside, you would most likely feel unfulfilled. You would be with a man that you cannot trust. If he told you that he was going to a meeting, would you trust that it was not a meeting with an affair partner? If he told you that he was sorry for hurting you and that you were the only one, would you trust the sincerity or would you be concerned that he was giving an Oscar-worthy performance to get you back only to cheat on you again in the future? When we give the gift of our heart to the person we love and marry and they demonstrate that they do not treasure us by their action of infidelity, we have to acknowledge that marriage did not mean the same thing to them that it did to us. We want back what we thought we had before the cheating – a marriage with a spouse that is faithful to us and us alone. Once we find out about the cheating, what we thought we had is forever gone, even if we could have the person back. The new love interest of the cheater has someone they can’t trust and if the love interest knew the cheater was attached at the time of the affair, then the cheater has someone untrustworthy as well. Whatever other challenges there are in your life, at least you know you are no longer in a situation where someone is presenting themselves to you and the world as your partner while living a secret double life being sexually and romantically involved with another. Cheaters are also often emotionally abusive and controlling as well and their departure also means that you are no longer being belittled and criticized. They have conditioned us to believe that we can’t do anything right and have often stepped in and done it for us, to keep us dependent on them and a sitting duck for abuse. When we try to do something on our own and then feel despair that we can’t do it, we have to remember that this is because of the narcissistic abuse. We have to tell ourselves that we can do it, and at least we are no longer being cheated on, lied to and abused.

        • Chumptacular: Don’t worry, I haven’t grown soft, nor become materialistic!! Hannibal Lecher could have bought the Taj Mahal with cash, serenaded me with Nessum Dorma, and purchased the Hope Diamond for me and I wouldn’t have reconciled with that POS.

          Nor do I want what he has (okay, the jetting around the world is the only thing he now has that appeals–I love to travel).

          The “winning” had to do with friends–people/friends don’t really mean much to him (at a substantial level), but they do mean a lot to me, and he seems to have co-opted most of them by having power over them within his department, and by turning on his manipulative charm. The only other way I meant “winning” was that all these external rewards have fallen in his lap, when he really deserves to be smitten with a broad sword (not just for his behavior to me, but what I have now confirmed is a history of sexual harassment of students). In other words, he’s still standing when justice demands otherwise.

          And you’re right–my cheater was definitely emotionally abusive in the marriage, independent of the cheating. Then it turns out that he is a serial cheater (not just a cheater for the one affair I divorced him for). And now he tries to isolate me, too? I had to wonder how many ways he can victimize me. But two nights ago it finally permeated every single neuron–he will always try to victimize me unless I pay him homage. And I won’t pay him homage. He has no compunction about belittling, isolating, inconveniencing, betraying or abusing his partner of 24 years, and the mother of his children. Now, I have known this for a long time at one level. But it finally.sunk.in. And that gave me peace. I am no longer shocked by his behavior and lack of morals, nor can I be surprised by him anymore. I don’t know why it was healing to fully grasp this point, but it was.

          • Here is my problem exactly. If a douchbag woos you back after leaving over a deal breaker that happens to be infidelity, they will most certainly think that they have erased that by reeling you back in. And so, you will at least in their mind have accepted the revised* marriage rules so they can do it again without complaint. You KNEW they did that shit and agreed to be with them afterwards. Anything goes.

            The correct answer is no.

          • Tempest, maybe we WERE married to the same man! Now the plot to my nascent novel is coming into focus. And I have the transcripts of all his texts for last 3 months of the marriage, in all their panting, pervy glory. Obtained legally, of course. Don’t think I wont use them verbatim. I really do think the best revenge will be the Oscar-winning movie that skewers him. Makes me happy to fantasize about who will play him, and me. Kate Winslet and ? Male lead must be sufficiently pompous and douchey.

            • How funny, Sionara! I’m planning a novel, too, and it’s almost written itself based on my X’s pseudo-charming, manipulative, flowery texts and emails as he engaged in his naugahyde remorse after D-day. I, too, dream of the “revenge is a dish best tasted cold” frisson of pleasure as X realizes his dastardly deeds have been portrayed for all the world to read. And he will be identifiable.

              Hadn’t dreamed of novel-to-screenplay, but now that you mention it….X is British, and the only actor who comes close to him in arrogance has to be Christian Bale. For me? hmmm…will need to go the quirky route (my sister once suggested Helena Bonham Carter. Tina Fey? Sarah Silverman?).

              • The possibilities are endless, such rich material to mine. We’ll have to create a week long workshop.(in Hawaii, of course) to polish and drafts and market the adventures in infidelity series.

          • Tempest, it seems that we all were married to the exact same man :)) Wow!!! This site and your stories are pure gold in insight regarding this shit we’ve been all dealing with.

            I want to buy and read your novel, I bet it is going to be good. And, man, we may have been victimized by our abuser cheaters, Switzerland friends and some douchebag family members but we are no victims. This is the feeling I woke up today with. And the more that sinks in with us, the freer we become.

          • I believe everything happens for a reason, not just chance. A couple of things in your story stick out. Three years left for maintenance, sexual harassment, department head who throws around his power. This all sounds as though this guy is about to fall big time. You’ve got three years and then his covering will be removed. I’m no fortune teller, but i do believe in reaping and have seen similar situations before. But for you 3 years, grown children, keep moving and don’t look back.His winning streak will soon end.

      • ((((Tempest)))))

        Your daughter is a wise “old soul”… I know what you are saying about the “winning”-themed comment, and I feel your pain. I’m glad the suck-itude clouds seem to be clearing and you are seeing things brighter though– first day of peace in what will be many more!!!!

        I love and appreciate you here on Chump Nation!!!

    • Sionara, I stopped telling myself a while ago “but I regret not being stronger years ago and kicking him/her to the curb” as you mention.

      I was always saying should of – could of – would of – in regards to my ex-wife’s serial cheating. Should – would – could are just auxiliary verbs.

      I came to a realization that I was always a loyal, dedicated, compassionate and loving husband and because of those qualities that’s what kept me from telling her sayonara. We all learn from our mistakes – the mistake being that I didn’t enforce my boundaries. Those qualities also made me vulnerable when my cheater sensed me as prey.

      Even though I am a chump, I don’t regret doing everything in my power to try to make my marriage work. This is what allowed me to walk with a clear conscience in the end. What I have gained is a heavily modified and tricked out picker. Try me now cheater narcs – I smell you a mile away.

  • St. Elsewhere, what is happening to you is very, very sad but you have come to the right place. And very early on, which means that if you take CL’s advice on board will save you a lot of time in self doubt hell, pick me dance maneuvers and financial pain. We understand you very well, all of us and have your back.

    NONE OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT! Your husband is an epic asshole and you and your wonderful children deserve better. Hang in there, get all the support you need (therapy, family, trusted friends – your personal pre-boyfriend-husband friends are especially the ones you should be looking at right now) and leave your husband without looking back. You are mighty!

  • I’m sorry you’re going through this. My ex began doing a serious discard cycle once I became pregnant, and it was devastating. I had a high risk, difficult pregnancy while working full time. He swanned around, staying out all night 3-4 times a week and being high and glued to video games whenever he was home and awake. Once my child was born, it was clear that we were only a nuisance to the ex, getting in the way of his reenactment of his teen years.

    It may not feel like it now, but you will get through this. So many other chumps and I have lived through it and came out on the other side. Try to remember it won’t be the event that always defines you. You need to take care of yourself now (individual therapy, divorce attorney) so you can be the stable parent your children need. Be kind to yourself and take care.

  • SE, you have children to give your life to, don’t waste it on those fucktards, they have taken enough already. None of us signed up for this shit but we will all get through it. Some days are worse than others, you will be distracted and maybe short tempered with the kids, try to cut yourself a break on those days, it is temporarily. Hang on and move forward.

  • SE, it might help us to spell out why staying in this situation isn’t good for you, and why reconciliation is not in the cards.

    1) Staying married to this man makes you feel suicidal.
    2) His minimization and lack of remorse is NOT helping your mental state.
    3) You can’t begin to heal until you go no contact from this abuse.
    4) You need to protect yourself and your kids first. If nothing else, see a lawyer so you know what your rights are here.
    5) This is a monumental betrayal. If he thinks it’s not (and it sure seems that way) — more than just your sex drive is out of alignment — your values are.
    6) Marriage is more than a shared life. A good marriage is based in mutuality and respect and BEING THERE for one another. He has let you down when you’ve been at your most vulnerable. Imagine growing old with such a person. Are all bets off if you get cancer or otherwise inconvenience his dick?
    7) To heal, you need to feel safe. You cannot feel safe with someone who is mindfucking you or who maintains contact with his OW.

    Best to get in front of this and start building a new life independent of him, IMO.

    • Wow, CL, two things in that list really struck me…

      1) Staying married to this man makes you feel suicidal.
      2) Are all bets off if you get cancer or otherwise inconvenience his dick?

      Those are two things I definitely felt in my marriage. I had a lot of health issues, got cancer, had to have a hysterectomy…etc. One of the things my ex wrote in his journal that he loved about OW was that “she is healthy.” No matter that trying to live the life he wanted, living with stress that was relentless, sacrificing my health to try to make him happy…nothing made a difference. No wonder I felt suicidal towards the end.

      When you give everything, even your health, to try to make someone else happy and they’re still not satisfied, it’s time to get out. It feels so nice now to be able to take care of myself, to lay down when I’m tired, or seek companionship if I need to talk. That’s a huge difference between what it was like being in my marriage and living on my own. Now I can take care of ME.

      St. Elsewhere, I understand where you’re coming from with the sexual incompatibility. My ex seemed to think sex was the most important thing in life, more important than spending time together, or talking to each other, or supporting each other. No matter what I did it never seemed like enough. I remember when I had the hysterectomy I was so worried he would leave… think about that… I was worried that choosing to improve my life and health was going to give him a reason to leave. In the end, he wasn’t worth all the angst.

      Choose yourself, St. Elsewhere.

      • Wow, Lyn, same here!!!

        St. Elsewhere,

        I too had to have a hysterectomy. The last few years of my marriage to The Evil One, I was fraught with health issues— I felt like I was in pre/peri-menapause, but my OB/GYN wouldn’t hear it…I was in a cycle of bad periods, up-and-down moods, weight, depression, etc. I finally was enough of a squeaky wheel to where multiple sonograms/ultrasounds and CT Scans showed what I knew to be true — I was actually in severe Stage 4 Endometriosis so badly that my surgeon said that in all of his 25+ years, he had never seen a woman is such bad shape. He was astounded that I was able to function normally for those years.

        Meanwhile, The Evil One, who had been planning on leaving for a while apparently— he spent months, if not years talking shit about me behind my back to his friends and family, had multiple affairs (that he will still not admit to), and was a cruel, mean bastard to me during the worst time of my life… he decided to move out two weeks after my surgery- he finally admitted it about two weeks before my surgery that he was leaving. The biggest fear I had ended up being something I knew all along— that as soon as I wasn’t as healthy or useful to him, he left…

        I am so sorry that you are going through this what seems like an insurmountable pain, but you will get through it. You will overcome and you will be better in the end.

        It’s been a year now to the day since my surgery. He not only moved out, openly dated his OWhore in the months that followed and married said-OWhore 60 days after our divorce was final. For the most part, I am in MEH-topia, but there are times/moments where I think (like Tempest), that he “won”– he got a “new” sparkly family, his OWife is much younger than me, her family “really like him for some reason” (all I could think of at that comment was, “Yeah, give it a while”)…then I get someone in my circle to remind me of all the things I was set free of when he left.

        This process will try you to the core, but it is a process– just like getting a degree, pregnancy, learning a new skill, grieving — it’s a process, and in order to come out clean on the other side, you must go through the process. That knowledge helped me get through the darkest days- that the dark days are part of the process. I often quote that line from The Shawshank Redemption as a reminder of the better days to come — ” [UnsinkableMollyX], who crawled through a river of shit and come out clean on the other side.”

        Giving up/giving in is not an option- I did too, then I would think of our Autistic daughter and realize that if not me, then who can raise her right??? Certainly not her piece of shit father and his OWife- she has two young “normal” kids to raise with the Evil One- by his own admission, she is “Not comfortable” with our daughter…

        I hope you reach out to any and all available resources to you and allow others to help and guide you through this.

        The Mighty Chump Nation is here for you!!!

        ((((hugs))))

        • Meh-topia, I love it Unsinkable!! I’m dwelling there more and more too. Cheater free, the way to be!

          • Friends, I developed cancer after the divorce. Some years after. But it was fairly serious. I was given a 29% chance of being alive and well in five years. I said to throw the book at it, and seven and a half years later I am alive and well. What chilled me to the bone was the realization that while I could handle that crisis on my own, I would have certainly died if I was still with the Fucktard. He would not have supported saving my life. Something to think about. All About Me people won’t tolerate anything that involves sacrifices for another, even if it is temporary.

            Congrats to all of you who took charge and saved yourselves when health issues arose that didn’t interest a cheater.

    • One other thought for SE, once you let them get away with it or excuse their behavior for what ever reason, you can guarantee that in their warped NPD little brain it’s a “get out of jail free card’ that translates to what I did was not “It was not that bad. Let me do it again”.
      Very early on in my adventures with my ass wipe cheating shit head BF was that I could never ever ever let someone who hurt me once do it again. EVER!!! Whether that is a man or women or child. Not happening.
      SE: Please please do not go in for round two of abuse.

      • Yep. Thought showing what a kind person I was would win him back. Ha Ha Ha. Just like terrorists, they USE our kindness against us. Sick.

  • Asshole said cheating and breaking up no big deal happens all the time. Nothing lasts forever! These are words embedded in my brain i hope to forget one day. Its all good cause he caused this not me. If i had done what asswipe has done to me to him i would probably be dead cause no one fucks him over! While you were pregnant? bastard! Traci said it correctly ” because he is an asshole” on him not you! I too thought about dying everyday for about a year or more. My adult children faces floated by me every time. I couldnt do it to them. You be there for your kids YOU are awesome dad is an asshole! Big hugs to you!

  • SE, I’m so sorry for your pain.. It is overwhelming at times but it will lift!!! Weigh these options : do you want a life of unconditional love (it comes with its own set of struggles of course!) or do you want a life of “it’s just sex”. I know which one you will choose, because you are a mother, a superhero in her own right. Get a strong lawyer, let them do the heavy lifting so that you can begin your new life again. Hang in there!!!!! XOXO

  • I’m so sorry. My ex did the same to me; he helped make me vulnerable and then dropped the D-day bomb when I had the least capacity to do anything about it. The cause and effect isn’t that you were distracted with babies and work and that pushed him to have an affair. Oh hell no, real men don’t react that way. He was waiting for an opportunity, and there it was, all nicely wrapped up in a “you’re not paying enough attention to me” bow.

    There are times that you have to be brave for yourself and your kids, and you have to do things before you feel ready (like see a lawyer). But things aren’t going to get better with a lying husband. If he had the character and personal insight not to cheat, he would have already exercised it. Leave him to the office whore. You have bigger things to deal with.

    Big hugs, and hang in there. The only way forward is through.

    • Yes Free Vixen, the making a spouse vulnerable with few options, then the mask comes off and the abuse ramps up.

  • St Elsewhere

    Take care of your needs first. I was right where you were years ago. The blow you have suffered is unfathomable and you need to get through this. To do this you must develop a support system. You have your family close by and that is a plus. Medication got me to a place where I could at least function. Therapy helped me focus on my needs. You are in a situation where self care is the last thing on your mind, yet the most important. You did nothing wrong and did not deserve the abuse you suffered. That is all on him. Focus on yourself.

  • SE, here is a great post from CL several weeks ago that you need to read and follow to the “T”: http://www.chumplady.com/2016/03/dear-chump-lady-how-do-you-confront-a-cheater/.

    I would no longer try to talk to him about what is going on. No matter what you say or do he just sadly does not care and he will never care. If he did he would not CHOSE to cheat. That is his decision and his alone. I don’t mean to be hurtful to you at all but the thing I know without a doubt that people that truly love you don’t go out and hide another life they are having and they don’t go out and having sex/oral sex at some slimmy co worker (yes the ex in my life did that several times). Normal thinking people just don’t do that type of behaviour. Please don’t believe in a second it’s a “mistake”. There is no such thing as his penis having a “mistake” of falling between her legs (whatever hold that is) and her mouth. I know it’s graphic to write this but it’s true. He is an adult and what he did is in no way a “mistake”. If he was that “hard” up he has two hands and there is lotion to help him out!!!!!! What he did and sadly most likely still doing is a chose. It has NOTHING I mean NOTHING to do with you. He is just slim!!!!!

    I know it is hard to understand but these fruit ball Cheaters and their even more insane OW and their flying monkeys just don’t have any common sense to see what they are doing and saying is wrong.

    I would TODAY contact some lawyers (contact several to see which ones will be best for your case and will protect your rights and your children rights-YES interview several attorneys-even might ask on the boards here on CL for attorneys in your area) and get all of the details of this affair (I would not be shocked if he has had others -they usually do-the ex in my life did) in order meaning phone records, banks statements and credit cards and such. Do not under any reason tell this cheater or others what you are doing. Just kind of go GRAY ROCK right now and play the best actress you can for the moment. Under no reason at all is this your fault. Please do not believe anything he says to you. Just don’t discuss anything about him at all. Maybe just general stuff (how the kids are doing and stuff like that). Limit your chats with him maybe just talk about the kids. Do not act like you are mad or anything. The most important thing is that you don’t want to react to anything he says and/or does because it can hurt you in the long run in court. Find out your rights with the attorney for the divorce and settlement and money for the kids. The more logical your actions in front of him and finding out your rights is the best thing to do. Protect yourself because this cheater is play ever game in his book to make you look crazy.

    Right now I know you are in shock and grieving and it’s hard to see beyond the next hour but take it from me please don’t waste your valuable on this loser. Also please speak with your doctor about STDs and other test for HIV/AIDS testing. I would also let your lawyer know about that testing also. This cheater is placing your health and mental health in great risk.

    Also when you get a great attorney at the same time look at your moving plan. Find a good day he will be at work and you also maybe let your boss know what is happening AFTER you go all the paperwork file for the divorce so you can move out a day the soon to be ex is working and gone for the day. Make sure that your boss doesn’t tell a single soul. Many great bosses will understand. Take a couple days off and when you move out go NO CONTACT as much as you can. Be prepared that this cheater will no be happy that you have left. Great saying is this “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.” Do not under any reason underestimated this guy you are married to.

    Don’t believe he will stop the behaviour also. They never do!!!!! This in NOOOOOOOOO way is your fault. Also the OW isn’t nothing special at all. She is the same lost cause case like all of other OW in this world and also their followers (their family and friends).

    We are here for you no matter what. We all have been in your shoes. Please DO NOT waste any more of your time on this loser.

    Many hugs to your SE. We are here for you!!!!! xoxoxoxo I wish you the best of luck and you can do this. I wish I did this on my first Dday and I had several. It’s time for you to take your life back!!!! Don’t look back look forward to a great peaceful and happy life Cheater FREE!!!!

  • Oh St. Elsewhere…I can honestly say I have felt exactly how you are feeling now. When I found out about the affair and realized he had replaced me in the blink of an eye for the office slut, I was at my lowest. I felt that the problem was with me. I wasn’t good enough! I must not have been fulfilling his needs, or some shit like that! The problem is, when we are at our lowest after a betrayal and in the darkest, deepest abyss with no rope in sight, we tend to sugar coat the entire despicable situation we find ourselves in due to the cheating assholes who have betrayed us. We are not thinking rationally, we have zero clarity. I was clinically depressed and saw no way out and chose to take my life. I have two beautiful children who would have missed me greatly had I succeeded. Sadly, in the moment when I swallowed those pills, my kids that I love with all of my heart were not even a blip in my mind. All I could think about was my pain. My torment and believing that everyone would be better off because I actually believed the months of horrible things my now ex was saying to me during that time. Looking back, I was being the narcissist in the moment–pure selfishness on my part, lack of empathy of what effect my actions would have on others. My only excuse is I didn’t seek help immediately when I started spiraling downwards with my depression. CL is right–there is absolutely no shame in seeking help and getting on anti depressants if suicidal thoughts are creeping into your brain and you’re having a hard time shunning them. My attempt woke me up and I promptly went to the doc and got me some happy pills because there was no way in hell I was going to put my kids through another loss AND leave them to be raised by two fuckwits with no morals and certainly no character.

    HE IS NOT WORTH YOUR LIFE!! If you were gone, who would be there to tell your kids what a wonderful person you are? Do you think your hubby would? Do you think his whore who has been told what an insensitive monster you are would? No. They don’t care about you. If the did, he would have kept his dick in his pants and she wouldn’t have spread her legs and become a landfill for his “misunderstood” sperm!

    They are both losers and karma will bite both those assholes in the ass soon enough. You need to focus on what flavor of popcorn you’ll be eating when that show premieres!! Make sure you have a front row seat!!

    Many hugs to you during this painful yet empowering awakening. Things will get better!!

        • Wow. Big hug to you and SE.

          I haven’t really talked about this BUT during the height of assholes’ emotional abuse of me and before I knew anything about his double life and serial cheating, I was so depressed.

          Everything wrong in the marriage was my fault according to asshole. I was stonewalled, gaslighted and devalued for a long time. He had ramped everything up because asshole and his LT fuckbuddy were making plans to fly off into blissful nirvana together. I wasn’t considering taking my life, but disappearing.-going off the grid. I was researching this seriously. I had already become a non-person to my spouse and he liked it that way. I couldn’t leave my kids. I wouldn’t abandon them. The asshole in my life was NOT going to make me disappear.

          There is no winning with these fuckers. You NEED to get away from them. Seek help as you process this crap. You are the only responsible and truly loving parent your children have. Make HIM disappear by serving the fucker papers.

          • ANC!! You’re so right!! They are FUCKERS!! I don’t think about suicide anymore, but I still have days where I think about “going off the grid” too. I’m glad they are fleeting thoughts because I refuse to give that prick the satisfaction! Lol

    • Hurtandconfused, you have an awesome way with words. Will I ever get that image “landfill for his ‘misunderstood’ sperm” out of my head? I think not. 🙂

      • Hi Fifi!!! Thanks! Landfill is my nickname for his trashy side dish, amongst many, many others!! Hey, if the name fits…lol

    • “Looking back, I was being the narcissist in the moment–pure selfishness on my part, lack of empathy of what effect my actions would have on others.”

      Oh, hurtandconfused, that is intractable PAIN, not narcissism. Please do not view yourself that way. I have dealt with many suicidal people in my life and there is nothing . . . nothing narcissistic in that degree of suffering. Someone who is being tortured can not be expected to focus elsewhere. You were being tortured and only had thoughts of stopping the pain.

      I’m so sorry that you, CN members and today’s contributor, St. Elsewhere, have been subjected to emotional tyranny.

      • Virago- thank you so very much for your kind words. You’re perspective is very refreshing! Lord knows I beat myself up enough for making such a horrible choice in my moment of suffering. I am much better now, but still have a long road ahead of me. That worthless SOB will not get the best of me. I am here to stay…scars and all!! 🙂

      • This^! HAC, depression causes distorted thinking. That’s what you were experiencing at that lowest moment — not narcissism. Use the pills and the counseling. You wouldn’t deny yourself glasses if you were nearsighted, or a cast if you had a broken bone, or feel bad or weak or ashamed about using those things. Depression treatments, INCLUDING medicine, are no different. Thank goodness you are here for your children and for your own chance at a cheater-free life.

        St. Elsewhere, think about this, please. I wanted to die. I really thought I would die from the pain. Now, 8 years out (this month!) from first D-day and 5 years out from separation, with lots of anti-depressants and counseling and time under my belt, life is so much better. I never would have believed it, but it’s true. I did most all of it without sites like Chump Lady and CN. I’m so thankful that YOU don’t have to be without us! Be here as much as you can. Don’t give any space in your head rent-free to a person who would betray you the way your husband has betrayed you.

        One of the best side effects of being away from my cheater is that my children, who lives with me full-time, spend so much less time around him than they would have if we had stayed together. Every moment that they are in the presence of this narcissistic, gaslighting, shallow, dishonest man makes me shiver. Keeping them out of his presence as much as I have, has been a gift to them and enabled me to raise them to be the healthy young adults and teens they are today. You can give that gift to your precious children at a very early age. Getting away from this liar who calls himself your husband won’t just give you a new life, it will give your children a chance at a healthy life too.

        • Thank you, HappyNow! Your words echo what Virago said and really resonate with me. That attempt is so far in the rear view mirror now as I did seek help and I’m so thankful that I did. It has been 17 months since the incident and my children and I are in a much better place. Still a lot of healing to do and it’s still hard knowing the closure I seek is just an illusion–it will never happen because my narc ex will never admit to any wrongdoing and has proven throughout all of this that his main goal is to torture me and make me suffer. I’m very proud of the strides I’ve taken over the past year and also in the last 5 months (when I finally went full-on NC). It has helped me tremendously!! 🙂

          • You are mighty!!! Rock on, woman!!!!

            It is such a mine-field of pain and suffering we go through as they tra-la-la through their new sparkly life with their OP’s…it is sickening to me that they just go on about their happy lives like they are entitled to “be happy” and damn anyone that opposes that…gggrrrrr

            • UnsinkableMolly…you are so right! That has been one of the hardest things to come to terms with…how he could just move on as if the past 11 1/2 years meant nothing to him and ONLY HIS HAPPINESS mattered. Had I not confronted him about the affair and kicked his sorry ass out, I’m sure he would have continued his “cake-eating!”

              I think what many BS’s tend to forget is that the OP is generally not more beautiful inside or out than those who were betrayed. They usually cannot offer these cheaters a better life either. The OP IS JUST someone shiny and new that is gullible enough to believe the manipulator’s lies. Eventually the mask will slip and they too will realize that the BS was in fact NOT the crazy person Mr./Ms. Cheater pants made them out to be.

              “The grass is usually greener on the other side because it is fake.”

    • It will be 5 yrs this May, that I learned of my hubby affair. We were married almost 30 yrs, w what I too thought was a good marriage. We are separated but nothing legal. In 24/7 contact.

      I would not take happy pills for 22 months following and I fell deep into an abyss of a bad,bad horrible depression.

      So much has changed since that awful night my hubby confess after a yr & a half of me going crazy trying to figure out what was wrong!

      I’m in a much much happier place when we aren’t in contact w each other also, but since the day of his confession he has begged me for the marriage back.

      Our marriage will never be the same. Our relationship will never be the same.

      I would have stood by him thick or thin, to anything he ever did, but sleeping w another women, well , that ‘s an asult on me…

      • Hi Eileen!

        I too would have stood by him through anything. Hell, there was a point when I thought in the beginning if he would have begged for my forgiveness, I would have taken him back. I’m glad he didn’t because even though I’m not completely healed, I know one day my life will be more enriched because he is not in it. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a man with a bit of honesty and integrity in his bones?!

        Best of luck to you on your journey. 🙂

      • Eileen, our stories are so similiar. Two years in July since I learned he was a serial, bi-sexual, porn addicted cheater, best guess would be the entire marriage of almost 45 years. I too thought we had a pretty good marriage. We are separated, nothing legal, live in separate homes, daily contact in the family business.

        I kicked his ass to the curb on D day and all he has wanted since then is to move back into my life. Our marriage could never be the same, our relationship could never be the same. I don’t trust him, I never will again. And I can’t unknow what I know, and it is some pretty sick shit.

        I have said to him ‘I would have stayed with you through thick and thin’. He knew cheating was a deal breaker for me and he did not care. He also did not care to tell me before we were married that he had had a gay relationship. So for 45 years he lived a double life with me. Sorry, not sorry, there is no way in hell that I would EVER live in the same house or share my life with him again.

        • Forgot to add, it has been hell and I am just beginning to feel stronger. I have cried, been depressed (but have not taken anti-depressants although my therapist suggested it many times). Thank goodness the pain is finite.

    • HAC and SE, I have also had these thoughts. It is awful and I feel so guilty about it. I feel guilty for appearing ungrateful to God for all the blessings in my life, especially my children and family. I would never do anything that would hurt my precious three little children or my sister or parents. Sometimes I feel the pain is too much to bear and the children would be better off without a depressed parent. Those days where everything seems so bleak and the pain of betrayal and abandonment is beyond what I could have imagined, I just keep telling myself that the feelings will pass. I am always better the next day and the days are getting fewer and fewer where I have these awful thoughts. You are not alone in your pain.
      These dark days will end one day and we will emerge stronger.

      • Happy-Again–I’m so happy that your bleak days are becoming less and less. I’m so thankful that mine are too! A year ago, I would have never believed it was possible, but here I am, getting stronger and stronger everyday! My kids are wonderful and they always know how to put a smile on my face. I know what you mean about the immense guilt you feel for having had such thoughts. I am so disappointed that I ever contemplated (or even attempted) such an irreversible act with lasting consequences. If I had succeeded, I would be crying many years in heaven for my children’s pain, as well as my family and friends who love me. I guess I push through my guilt by cutting myself some slack because I know I was not in my right mind. I had never felt so much despair. Many days, the pain was more than I could take and I couldn’t even get out of bed. I do t think many people realize that depression not only hurts you emotionally, it affects our bodies physically too. As an added bonus, during that time I could not sleep. I averaged roughly 14 hours of sleep per week (2 hours a night), so I’m sure that impacted my mental state as well.

        I hope your dark thoughts are a thing of the past because there are many who love you and would be shattered by your absence! Hugs!

    • Hurtandconfused, I am so happy that you are past your toughest times and feel better. I had suicidal thoughts as well, the intensity of these thoughts freaked me out so I went on anti-depressant medication. I am no longer taking meds, but am still in therapy. Life is better, the colors are coming back, You are strong and I have nothing but admiration for you. May your road ahead be smooth and filled with light and blessings. ((((Hugs))))

      • Thank you so very much, UnchumpingMyself! I am so happy your life is fulfilled again and I appreciate your kind words and inspiration more than I can begin to express!

        I too have been off of the medication for some time now and still no suicidal thoughts. I really think I needed it to get me through the darkest of my days. I needed them to think clearly for me when I could not! I wish I would have sought help well before that awful night, but during that time, I couldn’t get out of bed, let alone leave the house. I am so glad I’m still here because I would have missed out on so much! That bastard will not win. I refuse to give him that satisfaction!

        Many {{Hugs}} to you as well!!

  • St Elsewhere,
    When CL said ‘ driving your car into a median’ it brought back a flood of memories. I remember getting in the car at 2 am and speeding down the highway with thought of just turning the wheel into the cement. I had flashes of what my daughters life might be like without me, dealing with a selfish over bearing father. I pulled over and let my soul bleed out on the side of the road. I just wanted the pain to go away.
    The pain is real. As real as it gets. Its a motherfucker. Like a serious mother fucker. And then it changes.
    All I can tell you is walk through it … Eventually. My elderly neighbor took me by the shoulders and shook me and said’ get your shit together and cry later’ Wise words from a woman who out lived an abusive alcoholic husband. Go auto pilot if you have to.
    We are here. Do what you need to do to make an exit plan. You might not be the most available mommy while you are going through this but you have to focus on were you what to be after this piece of garbage is out of your life. Use your mom to help u. Do not discuss your plans with her. Family reacts funny to things like this.
    We are here.

  • This might be the best thing I have ever ready on CL – and there is a lot of good stuff here:

    “serve that jerk papers, and when he howls with indignation, you look him square in the eye and nonchalantly say — “It’s just divorce.” ”

    Next time he says “it was just sex”…. and it was a “long time ago” and I “should just forget it”. Cant wait to use this on him.

  • SE,

    After the affair, I often said it would have been easier on me if he had died. Losing someone is traumatic enough, but losing them because they cast you and your kids aside is life-shattering.

    But you WILL get through it. Keep contact to a bare minimum and work on getting your life back on track.

    I used to cry that my ex missed all the important things in his kids’ lives – competitions, school plays, graduations, etc. But it just wasn’t important to him because it wasn’t ABOUT HIM. He’s been too busy expanding his harem – and by default, his ego – that he doesn’t have time for things like being a father.

    Sounds like your cheater is the same. Let him go and count your blessings. As Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”

    • @Red,

      On that Maya Angelou quote, one of the most important parts is frequently left off – “When people show you who they are, believe them – THE FIRST TIME.”

    • @ Red I know someone who had a wife that died and then another who abandoned him and his kids. You know what? It WAS easier when the first wife died. That says a lot doesn’t it? SUX.

  • SE, so sorry you are going through this. We all know how you feel, like you are a fool. You are not a fool, he lied to you, you were trusting and loving and relied on this person to take care of you when needed and not only could he not step up to the plate but he had to fake “help” some bimbo to make himself feel important and disguise his guilt for not being a real man.

    This isn’t on you. It never is and it never was. I’m so sorry you picked the wrong person but you are MUCH better than that, than him and than the whole situation.

    We all get it and we are all here for you.

  • Gotta love the co worker who streams continuous sunshine up his ass. She’s all adoring and flattering and blow jobby but that’s just because he hasn’t disappointed her yet. That’s why she’s so orgasmic and special. It’s an idiotic cliche – free pussy at work and a married man disguised as soul mates. Blech.

  • SE, I’m so sorry that this is happening.

    Your husband is a selfish, manipulative asshole. Please listen to CL and reach out for help. His cheating has NOTHING to do with you. You need to pull it together for your children and for you. I understand that it feels life ending but it isn’t. Get a good therapist, see your doctor and get support. You need help through this.

    Honestly I think cheaters do want to end us so don’t give him the satisfaction. Rise above this shit, you can do it. Take one day at a time. Don’t internalize any of the crap that he will spout out. Protect your finances. Get a safety plan in place to get the hell out in a moment’s notice if you need to. Cheaters can get pretty unhinged when threatened with the consequences of their shitty choices.

    Nobody and I mean, NOBODY is worth ending your life for. You’ve got this, believe in yourself. Anyone who has been through infertility treatments is a strong character….you’ll get through this too.

  • Sorry, SE. i know it must be very painful. I was in a similar situation. Discovered my ex’s affair when my second child was 6 months and I had just returned to work from maternity leave. Also had fertility issues (took several years to conceive our second) and a difficult pregnancy with months of bed rest. I, too, thought about killing myself, but I survived–it’s been over 3 years–and you will, too. As CL says, get a good lawyer–a pit bull of a lawyer–and try to go NC with him as much as possible, except if necessary for kids.

    Now I look back and think: What, I was thinking of killing myself because of what some disordered nitwit thought about me? Let him have her and her have him (she sounds like a real prize, too). My guess is it won’t last long, and, if it does, it’s not the kind of relationship you would want to be a part of. FYI, in my case, after I filed for divorce, ex begged to reconcile, saying he broke up with OW, etc. I don’t think they’re together anymore, but I don’t care. Sometimes life is hard being a single mom of 2 kids, but it’s not like being married to ex would have helped (he didn’t do much in the way of child care and plus I would have had to worry about his moods).

    Now I consider what I thought was the worst thing ever to happen to me–his affair–to be a blessing in disguise. It was a wake-up call to me as to how abusive ex was to me and what kind of behavior I was tolerating from him and others. GL, you will get through it. It is better on the other side.

  • St.E – You have entered in a marriage quagmire – against your will of course. I am sorry you are having to go through this. This is NOT your fault. Please try to change your thoughts about hurting yourself.

    Let’s look at this objectively for a moment… Hubby is getting blow jobs in car while driving when you just gave birth to a baby and have a small kid at home. He has also brought the tramp to your home. Then when questioned about it all he had to say is “it was just sex”. A comment like that just established his stance on monogamy. St.E he will cheat again.

    Unfortunately you are now in a position in which you have to choose the lesser to 2 evils:

    You can choose to stay with your cheating, lying and entitled husband who clearly lacks empathy for his wife or….
    You can divorce your cheating, lying and entitled husband who clearly lacks empathy for his wife.

    The only way you can guarantee that he won’t cheat on you again is to leave him. You and your kiddos deserve better.

    • Sure Chumped a Lot, this! ‘You can choose to stay with your cheating, lying and entitled husband who clearly lacks empathy for his wife or….’ AND you can choose to raise your children with parents who are a cheater-chump pair, where one parent is the victim and the other the abuser (because lies and betrayal ARE abuse!) and where the victim puts up with it, where one parent disrespects the other wholeheartedly and the other puts up with it. Where your kids are picking which they’ll be when they grow up; abuser or chump, because that’s the only kind of adult relationship they know well.

      Or you can split and be the sane parent, and an excellent example of self-respect and living happily to your kids. (And maybe even able to offer them an example of a truly loving and respectful relationship, with someone new, later on.)

  • Dear SE,

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. Be good to yourself right now. If you haven’t already, tell your parents so they can be the support system you need.

    There is one thing in your narrative you need to change, and it might make a difference in how you cope. You stated that “he has never been abusive,” but that is not true. He may not have taken a fist to your body, but what he has done is absolutely abuse of the highest order, and he is an abusive asshole.

    What else could you possibly call a man who would let a woman you’ve met share your marital bed (literally)? Add in the fact that he chose a time when you were at your most vulnerable. Add to that the fact that he minimizes the resulting emotional trauma. SE, that IS abuse!

    I hope you get the help you need, and I hope the process of lining up your ducks and taking care of your precious children gives you the feeling of purpose that can carry you through this time.

    Many hugs and prayers.

    • Absolutely! Lying to people, manipulating them, letting them continue their lives believing they have one type of marriage when they have another completely different one, that IS abuse! Never mind the complete disregard for your feelings! ‘It’s only sex …’ INDEED!

    • Yes, I used to think the same thing- that my ex wasn’t abusive- but gaslighting, lying, and manipulation is emotional abuse. SE, it’s hard to see it when you’re in the thick of it, but his behavior is nothing short of abuse and is absolutely not your fault.

  • “It’s just divorce.” YES – this!!!!!!

    I’ll never forget how sweet if felt when he got served papers and texted me “Nice, you hired a lawyer.”

    I didn’t respond to him… I just savored the glorious moment of reclaiming a bit of my soul.

    YOU CAN DO THIS, SE. It does suck for a long time. It just does… like labor sucks. BUT… after the pain passes, and it will pass… you’ll have a beautiful cheater-free life and your little blessings (kids).

  • I am so horribly sorry. First, I just want to say what everyone else has stated….This was not your fault! The fault of a Selfish man who put his lust problems above what he should have. What an Ass he is!!

    Right in the middle of this myself! Almost 34 years of marriage here. I’m sickened but I also realize it’s not my fault. Any woman like that who goes after a married man, especially when she’s been to your house for birthday parties..Well, I think there may be a special place in Hell for those kind of sluts! I’m so sorry. Do what you have to get him out. Don’t fall for the lies and excuses. I’ve been doing it for 7 months and it’s just about killed me. You are young with two sweet babies!! There are men out there who are so much better than the men who do this crap! Do whatever you have to, to take care of you and your children!

    • Me too inthe midst of this 34 years married. He cheated 5 years ago I did the pick me dance for the last 5 years while he got busy abusing me and making sure I am broke approaching retirement. He is a lying cheating stealing disordered scumbag and I am far better off without him. I am 6 months in.. (((Hugs)))

      • I’m so sorry sadlady. It just makes me sick that another person, any person has to go through this. It is a shock to us all. We’re still living in the same home. Youngest kid about to graduate from high school. My husband denies an affair but if I shared the evidence, people would be telling me to get out. I’m getting my ducks in a row. It’s awful! My husband pulled a stunt Monday that was very chilling. I’m trying to figure out what to do.

  • SE, I’m sorry you have been in so much pain. As I don’t have kids I can’t relate to your personal struggle, however, I can only imagine the joy you received when you were finally blessed with bringing new life into your world. Please do not let that asshole allow you to give up, stay here with us, for your children and yourself deserve to live a life of love with each other. As a mother you are forever a part of your childrens lives, stay here with them, watch them grow, have fun with them, make special memories that will sustain you through. You can do this, I know you can because you have a loving soul and you truly appreciate the meaning of life.

  • SE, I can so relate to your pain. After numerous DDays, the final one was when I found out he was had his Craigslist whore over to my house when I was at the hospital with my dad. We also have a special needs teenage son who was home at the time. I kicked him out and literally screamed and cried for the next 2 months. I did not think I was going to survive. Fast forward 10 months later and I am divorced, down 15lbs, and casually dating an adorable man 17 yrs my junior. I have reunited with old friends, taken trips I have always wanted to take, answer to no one, and couldn’t be happier to be single and away from that stinking garbage that I thought I loved SO MUCH. What’s he doing? Crying in his beer because he has nothing and no one. The karma bus came early for my ex Fuckwit. I know happy survival stories may not help much, but trust me when I say that I thought I was washed up, too old, too chubby, and saddled with a special needs child on top of everything. But instead I found out that I was cute, and fun and life has a lot to offer. Hang in there.

    • I love your name, and I love your story. Congratulations on finding out you are cute, fun, and deserving of discovering all the joy life still holds for you!! So happy for you!

  • St Elsewhere your letter to CL moved me so much. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing so much pain. We’re here for you, the whole of CN is here for you. We may be strangers on the Internet but we are caring loving people who know your pain and have survived it.
    You may not believe it right now but you will feel better. I promise it gets better. Keep coming back here, use us for support, these may be dark days but you will make it through. We will hold you up. You will be ok and one day in the not too distant future you will be here giving your support to another new chump fully healed from your own pain.
    Your amazing much wanted children need you, the world needs you. You are loved.

  • Leave him, leave him….my god your story resonates. I stayed and had moments of wanting to put away the pain and confusion…. Moments of wanting to end it. I wanted to end my painBUT my babies needed me!!!! They still do and they are all almost grown up ( 3)
    Make your priority …… You… Then all will full into place. Children are gifts….. They are our future …. They need you to be strong and happy…. Seek the happiness and all will full into place.

  • I’m 5 years out, moved on, very happy.

    I look back to being in pain. My kids were teens, and their pain at realizing their father was a coward was palpable. And when kids are in pain, mom’s in pain. And I had my own pain and humiliation on top of that.

    I remember one gorgeous spring day–it was as if the Earth had no idea how much pain I was in, and the sun kept shining anyway–I realized that every ounce of pain I felt had a meaning. It meant that I was one step closer to the other side. It meant that I was going through the proverbial fire–and the only way to get through it was to feel the burn. So I felt the burn, and I actually learned to value it.

    I remember being in the supermarket and seeing the tabloids at the news stands, and there were so many pictures of chumps on the fronts of each magazine. I thought I was going to lose my mind from the pain of being so alone. And I probably saw Halle Berry’s face, or something, and I had another realization: so many people have had to walk through the humiliation of chump-hood publicly! And if THEY could do it, then so could I. And I realized I had a choice to lose my mind or not. And I would NOT. I would NOT give The Coward and The Twat Troll the satisfaction. Fuck them!

    So I smoothed out my skirt, and I fought. I let my lawyer get me a good settlement. I presented myself well in public–did my whining here and in very limited amounts with only select friends. I smiled a lot. I looked good. I concentrated on my own life, fixing up my own space (this is therapeutic–even painting your new bedroom, wherever that’s going to be, is transforming.) I kept my sense of humor. I decided to live as if to make people wonder what the hell he was thinking leaving me for some fake, unaccomplished, lazy whore who sleeps with married fathers and who smiles as kids’ worlds are crumbling. <–what a fucking monster!

    And now I look back with some sentimental feelings for that time! It was actually exhilarating, if I'm being honest! My kids and I grew closer. (I feel so badly for people here who did not have that experience, but your kids are really young and I think your relationship with them will be excellent.) I gained knowledge about infidelity I never wanted, but I'm better for it. I'm more experienced, and I know I am resilient. And I was humbled in a good way, and I am a sister to chumps everywhere. I became free from an asshole. Of course cheating is only ONE symptoms of assholery, and it's nice to finally realize it and to move on from being married to a complete dick. Life is so good–BETTER than before the cheating and abandonment by my ex.

    This can be you, too. You had the strength to write. You've survived the hell of infertility. You're a mom, so you have that mightiness. (You MUST MUST MUST demonstrate strength to your children, including boundary setting!!!) You're HERE, for gosh sakes!! So–seriously–you GOT this. Yes, it's going to suck at times, but YES, you're going to be better for it. You're going to look back at this time with amazement and wonder. I promise. Legions of chumps–we promise.

    Hon–you got this.

    (HUGS)

    • ^^^^^This is Meh^^^^^

      I am also 5 years out. What I found out is it’s not “time” that gets you to Meh – but it’s what you do in that “time” that gets you to Meh…..and NC.

      Great post Miss Sunshine!

    • Miss Sunshine, this is like hope in a bottle and we just took a nice long draw. Thank you.

      I liked your references to your pivotal moments (the spring day and in the grocery store). I was walking down the street in the first month, triggered massively by couples holding hands, when it suddenly dawned on me that NO ONE on that street knew Virago and MoFaux. And for that matter, even if they had, they would not care or be thinking about it. Just put my situation into perspective for me.

      I forgot. And then I remembered. Again and again!

    • Excellent post!!!!

      One song that I played in my head over and over again was “The World Ain’t Gonna Stop (For My Broken Heart)” by Reba McIntire…kept me going through some dark moments!!!

      Rock on!!!

    • Lordy, you all are so sweet. I learned so much from Tracy and from all of you. I still draw strength from CN.

  • SE: I’m so sorry you’re going through this. While you’re in your greatest pain, though, is when you need to be thinking most clearly. Put yourself on autopilot and plan, plan, plan. Collapse later, when your ducks are lined up, and your marital fate is in the hands of the court. Hugs!

  • There is not much more to say than CL did for this as St. Elsewhere is in the rawest form right now. There is only going to be so much she can take in.

    One funny thing though was her timeline and reason for it. My timeline was Sept 2013 through March 2014 when both my parents fell ill (Mom nervous breakdown after my brother took his life and Dad kidney failure). Yup, my back he did not have, instead he went and got his rocks off while I was drowning and experiencing the worst fates in my life at one time.

    When times get tough, the Narc gets revealed.

      • Thanks 🙂 I miss him. But you know I thought that was the most tragic thing and he is a huge loss to me. But he loved me and I get to miss him and laugh at him, even talk to him. I get to look at his pictures and fill up with pride for him. My ex, I don’t get any of that. Even that gets taken from you.

    • Yes, when the going gets tough, a narc Heads for the Tall Timber. Leaves you in charge or assigns his or her duties to you, often without telling you. Not their problem, ever. I think we have to consider them to have a permanent emotional developmentally disabled age of six years. Jackiesdone, that you are here and walking and healing is HUGE! Hugs to you, and know how MIGHTY you are!

      • OMG, that period of time was so bad. I was running my business and Narc allowed me to continue to manage his and my parents had two dogs, ERs the countless doctors and hospital stays between the two. I lost so much weight and had two black eyes. I had to drive them everywhere and it was the most snow ever that winter.. talk about shitting yourself.

        THEN, my sister, me and my two brothers go thru testing to donate a kidney to dad (never happened for other reasons) and sister can’t due to health issues and both my brothers bail. Leaving me at the time of just giving nearly a year and huge hit of income to be down for 3 more months while self employed. If I had to do it, it would have put me under. I was so hurt and never let my dad find this out.

        THEN, Dday, my hair falls our in a course of three days, I get HPV 16 and my dog dies… then my car gave up on me. THEN I meet this guy I am crazy about and I am his affair partner!!!!

        But, yes.. I am okay.

        We all got a story, hahaha .

  • I love CL. I love this website. I love all those who take the time to comment. I honestly feel like this site and all the help it has given me has saved my sanity. I am only 75 days out from DDay and 50 days out from kicking him out of the house. It’s been so HARD. I hate it. Like you SE, I wanted to die…..not necessarily kill myself, just die. I started therapy immediately following DDay. I started reading anything and everything about office affairs. Your letter struck me because Satan did so many of the very same things your spouse did, although I was not pregnant at the time. He even took our 6 year old over the AP’s house while he was cheating on me!!

    Satan tried to blame me for his piss poor decisions and, when I was doing the pick me dance, I took that blame. No more. I can’t say that I’m not still incredibly sad, depressed and disappointed in his actions and the way they have impacted our family. But I know deep down in my soul that one day, I’m going to wake up and be okay. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day. And you will too. Our children won’t have the life we hoped for and expected them to have, but SE, they WILL make it through this. One day at a time. Keep reading this site. I only came across it two weeks ago and it has already helped me more than any other website out there; and quite frankly likely more than my therapist. It’s so incredibly helpful to hear from others who have been in the exact same shoes I am in now. CL and everybody who comments are incredible, strong, intelligent people who have been there and who care about you and your family. You are NOT alone (even though sometimes it may feel like you are). Let everybody here help you through this. Love on your children. Love yourself. You all need it now more than ever.

    • Yes, that’s the magic of Chump Lady and Chump Nation. We come here in horrific emotional pain (and physical pain, too–who knew you could feel like the world is depleted of oxygen? Glad you found this place. Keep posting–this one is great.

  • Just a bit of perspective. ….my neighbor’s husband left the state for woman he met online. They have kids. I seen the city utility workers shutting of there water. ………

  • St E-
    It doesn’t feel like it right now, but it WILL get better. Leave the cheater and get your life back. You will be happier than you can imagine right now once this manipulator no longer has a hold on your life.

    Last year, in February and March, I was where you are right now. I could not imagine my life getting better any time soon. But I found this website. a good therapist and a good lawyer, and I took my power back. My divorce was final a couple months ago and I have peace, happiness, and in love again with a man I actually trust! My only regret is that I stayed after the first D-day…for another FIFTEEN years.

    Many of us on here lost 20, 30 or more years agonizing over leaving, untangling skeins. Don’t waste any more precious time tied to someone who doesn’t deserve you. Come back here every day, and find a good therapist and a good lawyer, and start the life you and your babies deserve.

    God bless you. Stay strong. You CAN do this, and soon you will realize how mighty you really are!

  • SE,

    Your statement about your desire to harm yourself brought on a flashback to the first few months of my last D-day. The weight of that pain is so overwhelming it seems to block out everything else. You feel like you are underwater, treading, unable to breathe and unable to surface. You just want to go to sleep and never wake up because then the pain will stop because you feel like you can no longer stand it. You feel like your nerve endings are outside of your body and that if anyone touches you, you will shatter into a thousand pieces and will never be able to be put back together.

    Don’t do it. Your children deserve more than having your selfish, self-absorbed, entitled husband as their primary guardian and caretaker. You fought to have those children. Fight what is trying to kill you so that you are able to care for them the way they deserve. Speaking from over three years out from that feeling, I can honestly tell you that harming your beautiful and wonderful self over two numbskull fuckwits would be a horrible waste of potential and life. If anyone should kill themselves, it should be those two wastes of skin and pod people. It is difficult to see how horrible your husband truly is because your mind and heart still see him as who you believed him to be. As CL has advised, you need to physically remove him from your daily space if possible, particularly because of the way you feel. In order to relieve those suicidal feelings, I moved and eventually shut off all contact with now Ex, found a therapist and miraculously found this website. The key was not having any contact with him for several months – not talking to him, not seeing him – turning off the mindfuck. I posted a comment from CL that was included in one of her responses on my computer – “The only way to heal from the mindfuck is to get away from the mindfuck.” It is still posted on my computer as a reminder so many months later.

    SE, follow the advice here – see an attorney yesterday. By hook or by crook, remove your husband from your physical space or remove yourself and your children from his. At this point, do not let him know anything that you’re thinking or feeling – he will use that information to manipulate you and cause you further harm. You say your husband has not been abusive. Yes he has – but it has been your normal and you don’t recognize it. No one brings a woman into your home and into your bed and dismisses that abominable violation as “just sex” unless they have an abusive mindset.

    I am sending you the biggest virtual ((HUGS)) I can. There is a special place in hell for people like your husband (and that crass and gross AP) and may he (and she) feel the flames of the coming inferno while he (and she) is still roaming the earth.

  • Your post was like an arrow to my heart, S.E. I never thought seriously about ending it all, but came close to that cliff, I understand what it is like to want to do anything to get away from the pain. The 24/7 pain that will not let you rest.

    It gets better. Trust me.

    Since you are a competition biker, I am going to assume that you may not what to take anti depressants, but you have two “littles” depending on you, and you are overwhelmed. You must seek medical attention right away.

    Other commonly held advice is to
    1. Seek legal counsel (get many opinions, they usually are free)
    2. Secure your finances (pull credit report, get documents, close credit debt cards)
    3. Collect huge support group, In real life and online. (Doctors, therapists, family and friends)
    4. Learn about detachment.

  • My ex cheated on me while I was pregnant with my daughter (2nd child). It takes a special asshole to cheat on your spouse when they are risking their bodies and health to bring another life into this world. It shows you the level of selfishness.

    I know of someone who did commit suicide in a similar situation, he actually told her she had to leave the marital home so he could bring the ow there. They had twin 5 year old boys. She jumped in front of a train at rush hour. All I could think about is the poor babies, missing their mom and having this selfish asshole for a father to raise them.

    Please get help, your kids need you more than ever now. Remember, kids only need one sane parent and he is clearly out of the running. As a now single mom for the last 4 years, it’s tough, but I won’t give my kids up for anything. Take care of you, go NC and lawyer up. You will be ok.

  • St. E, please believe all of us when we say things will not look this dark forever. I’ve been there too, and the pain is excruciating. Putting that pain in the “Later” category and taking action for your future and that of your kids will help you focus and relieve anxiety about being helpless. I used to tell myself, “you can fall apart later.” And I did fall apart later, but although my settlement wasn’t wonderful, it was better than it would have been if I’d led with my emotions. It helps to have a good lawyer and think of it as a business negotiation with a hostile party. Anyway, I mainly wanted to send love, hugs and support. As you can see, there are so many smart, courageous people on this site, with excellent advice gained from experience. I hope you’ll come here often and add your voice to all of ours. We will hear and validate you! Take care.

  • If it wouldn’t take money directly out of Chump Lady’s pocket, or have some kind of copy right infringement, I swear I’d be xeroxing portions of her book and website into pamphlets and leaving them everywhere I went. I’d be sitting outside the grocery store, passing them out to passerbys. One of the few things that got me through the darkest days after the final discovery day was Chump Lady. In those early days, I would beg God everyday to just let me die. Literally begging in my prayers for death. And as CL and other chumps have pointed out, that would have accomplished nothing. My husband wouldn’t suddenly go back to being the devoted man I once thought he was. He wasn’t going to become a monk and visit my grave everyday. Nope, he’d continue with his life and have an even better life with his whore on my dime and my life insurance. That alone was enough of a deterrent to keep me moving on.

    Then I found CL. As an act of exercise, I would get up every morning and the first thing I would do was read Chump Lady’s new post, and that would push me on even for just another hour, then a half day, then a full day. I bookmarked multiple articles on my phone for reference for when I started to feel like I was spinning down that tunnel again, posted a few times and was surprised at the level of support I received. The guessing game and spackling I did for so long began to have a stopping point and I’d mentally have to smack myself whenever I started to excuse his behavior (i.e. he left me because I stayed in one spot on the couch for a couple of months following a traumatic miscarriage; maybe my expectations were too high; I wasn’t fun anymore, etc). What became more clear to me over time and quite frankly why I love Chump Lady so much is that there are ZERO excuses for infidelity. Didn’t shave your legs for 2 months? No pass. Grew apart or neglected your spouse during a health crisis or the raising of a family? Nope, not then. Forgot her birthday? Or my favorite excuse, he or she felt taken for granted? Nada, assholes. When the world accepts these weak excuses and crying tales of woe, Chump Lady swoops down like a super hero and narratively destroys every excuse ever generated in such a cutting way, your head spins at how you never thought about it that way. And then you’ll want to pass out pamphlets and cartoon tracts, too.

    St. Elsewhere, hang in there. You are mighty and you are worth your life.

  • SE – I was in the same boat. Both my boys are IUI kids and I had to have operations prior to getting pregnant with BOTH of them. My 2nd operation, between son #1 and son #2, Dracula just dropped me off at the hospital, didn’t even wait in the waiting room. His latest affair started when my boys were 1 and 5 years old. They’re now 9 and 5.

    It’s funny to me now, as Dracula ‘ s cheater apologist sister and aunt/uncle and friends try to justify his bad behaviour now saying, “you trapped him with these kids. He was too old to have more kids. He wanted to be free and live his life!” And I remind them: “Neither of my boys were conceived as an ‘oops, I forgot to take The Pill and I’m trapping him to stay married to. He had to drive 75 min to the fertility clinic and consciously jerk off into a cup. None of those actions are accidental.” Cheater apologist assholes!

    Anyway, now that I’m 16 months post Divorce, life is great. Dracula moved 2000 miles away and my kids have to see him for some holidays and parts of summer, but I’m SO glad his Disordered, Dysfunctional, Lazy, Immoral, Unethical ass is no longer in my home! You will be, too!

  • SE, I am so sorry you are going through this terrible pain instead of enjoying days after the birth of your child. But as everyone here will tell you, the early days bring the most intense pain. As you rebuild your life, there will come a day when what you feel now is just a powerful memory.

    You’ve gotten great responses. I want to address one sentence in your letter: “He has never been abusive, but what made him do this is beyond me.” OK–so what counts as abuse? You clearly had some risk in pregnancy and difficulty in recovery, since you spend 6 months at your mother’s place, instead of bonding as a two-child family with your husband (and perhaps Mom to help at first). And your husband’s response? To treat your home like a fuckpad, bringing his affair partner into your family space. That strikes me as abusive–bringing an OW into your home for sex. Why wasn’t he spending the time driving to see his wife and children? Or arranging things so the family could be together? Whatever the medical rationale was, I’m thinking you should take a long look at how much effort he put into keeping the family together at this important time. I’m thinking perhaps this relationship goes back further than you know now; you were pregnant and working and raising a child–and of course you trusted him. But a good man who loves his family doesn’t use the situation you were in as an opportunity for an affair. I’m guessing if you turn your attention to your history with him, instead of focusing on the AP, you will see some of the subtle signs of abuse: Being mean. Belittling or threatening you. Gaslighting. Lying. Diminishing your worth or devaluing you publicly or privately. Minimizing your pain or your contributions or his own failures.

    One of the terms child welfare people use is “abuse and neglect.” So even if your husband wasn’t abusive (as I would define it), he might have been neglectful. Self-involved. Inconsiderate. And so on.

    For what it’s worth, of course the first things you should do are: 1) Get financial records in order and make copies of everything; 2) See a good attorney; 3) Get counseling with a smart, compassionate therapist who is not going to tell you “save the marriage at all costs” but rather will help you get on your feet; 4) Run a credit check on your husband and your joint credit; 5) Tell your mother.

    You have turned your pain inward on yourself, hence the suicidal ideation. You have also turned your pain into anger at the OW. That’s all normal. But it’s time to be angry at the Cheater who used your home as a fuckpad and then destroyed it(metaphorically). When you’ve done 1-5, you might be ready to start the relationship autopsy, going back and looking at the red flags you missed about this despicable person. Whether you try to save the marriage or not. I think you need to get away from this guy and get some help figuring out your next steps. That’s why you should call your mother. She was the one who was there while you went through the birth and the first 6 months. I’m thinking she can give you a place where you have love and support while you recover. If that’s too far from work, maybe she can take a few weeks vacation and come to stay with you while you sort this out. The longer you spend living with this idiot trying to manage the pain on your own, the harder it will be to leave. Good luck.

  • SE I totally get you. Not exactly the same story, but close enough!! I’m so so so sorry you are having to endure this. It’s horrible, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. What is it about bad circumstances drawing out cheaters? They were disordered to start with but they hide it, until difficulty draws them out, and they shine in all their glory. Never pretty in the light of day. I still want to die at some point most days, but now I’m having weeks where I don’t want to. And I’m able to see that when I want to die, I’m having a BAD DAY. And the best part about bad days? They start and then they end. This has been the post that has touched me deeply and I will come back to this one over and over. My sweet friend talked to me once on the phone when I wanted to die over the pain (I wasn’t suicidal) and she kept saying “he doesn’t get that power, for you to end it” over and over. It really really helped me. A psychologist I talked to also said, that when we are experiencing a ton of pain, to want the pain to be over is normal. But it will end. I am NOT at meh at all but the stories of it (sometimes it seems as mythical as a unicorn?) could come to me. You sound like you love your husband still, which is so normal. I love mine. What we have to realize is that they “ARE” being self destructive. Whether they are Narcissistic, or just crazy, these behaviors that they exhibit are bad for THEM. (And for everyone else too) but for me to get this through my thick skull has helped me so so much!! To not enable my husband’s self destruction has become very important to me. I can’t stop him, but by gosh I can make it harder. I think telling your story to family and friends and going no contact speaks loudly to people who need help and refuse it. I say to him, without any words “no. I am not cool with this shit. You are destroying yourself and I will not stand idly by and condone it.” And it also keeps me from participating in self destructive behaviors. My husband doesn’t need me to get his life right. He needs professional help. Draw that boundary. I have cried a lot today reading this. It hurts. Thanks for writing in SE and thanks chump lady for doing the ubt.

    • Wipe away those tears, Kay, for there are better days ahead. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. As long as you love your husband (or what you imagined him to be) there won’t be any “meh”. But this is a process and you will find your way and pace through it.

      It seems like your focus is still your husband, try to shine that light back on you. What do you want? What do you need? What makes you feel better? Who are you? These are the questions you need to ask on your road to healing. (((Hugs)))

  • Hi, just to let you know that I loved and desired my husband, we had a lot of sex and he still cheated. So its not that. I honestly think that cheating is about the excitement of the new and the flattery. It has nothing to do the with the wife or the marriage (which are different and separate issues that could be dealt with honestly). You won’t always have this low libido. Tiny children do that to you.

    Just to warn you, I spent 7 years trying to hold my family together until finally giving up and filing. Then we negotiated for another 3 years. That is 10 years in limbo! Your world has crashed, and it can never ever uncrash. It never can.

    I used to think that people talking like this were so CYNICAL. They were urging divorce because they didn’t want to be the ones who got it wrong.
    Now I know they were always telling the truth. He has hurt you and disrespected you all for the most selfish reasons. You can’t get over that, and worse, the issues he has that allowed him to cheat are the issues that will NOT be there for you.

    So sorry, but don’t waste time like I did.

  • I hope you are finding the support here helpful, St. Elsewhere. Like many others, I would suggest you leave your cheater. My biggest mistake was not leaving my marriage much earlier than I did. One of my reasons for staying was the kids–they loved their dad, and dads are important, and I did not want to deprive them of that relationship. But as they grew, their relationship with their father just grew more unhealthy, as did his relationship with me. When I finally pulled the plug, it was much harder for them than it would have been if I had done it when they were young. o

    Sharing custody or being a single parent (if the cheater is too disordered to manage custody) is hard, but not nearly as hard as living and parenting with the jackass was.

    You are strong. Infertility is not for wimps. You stuck with it and produced two kids! The cheater has crushed your Norman Rockwell dreams of a traditional family, but you can live a better dream–it will just be a hard slog to work your way toward it–with your kids.

  • To all who have written hear today, I want to tell you that I’m pretty much at MEH.

    I was married for close to 30 years to a man I thought was my best friend and an awesome father. Then one day he shattered me by picking such a huge fight with me (not in either of our natures) and I finally looked at him and said “Wow! If I didn’t know better, it sounds like you want a divorce!” And then his whole face and body language changed like he’d been waiting for me to say that awful word and he responded, “Well, maybe I do!” I sat there stunned. To afraid to move or speak. The next few days were an awful blur but I do know that one of the first people I told was my boss (so she’d cut me some slack when I was going off the rails) and then my doctor who provided an anti-anxiety so I could muster the strength to get out of bed and get to work. Luckily for me, our daughters were in college. I tried the pick-me-dance, made him see our minister, got us to counseling and all the while life was stagnating. Then a few weeks later, he told me he was going “home” for TG. I thought it was a good idea. He could be with his parents and maybe he’d reflect and see the light. However, I was the one who had to tell the kids that dad wouldn’t be with us for TG and made up some excuse that his mother isn’t doing well and he wanted to go. The Friday after that TG my father-in-law called me to say he had spoken to his son and “there’s someone else”. I think I screamed. Then his iPad started pinging and in my quest for peace, I opened it to see an iMessage to his college gf asking her what time she’d be down to pick him up. My world shattered again. This time I told two of my sisters. I held it together for the kids. He arrived home Sunday night and I met him at the door. I moved all his trophies and prized possessions to the bedroom in our attic. I followed him around the house and wanted details. He stomped around like a little boy and saying all sorts of cruel things. Fast forward and two months later, he filed for divorce and I got a kick-ass attorney. Four months after that he finally told our children and I made him tell them the reason. He spent the rest of that summer 1000 miles away with his whore while the girls and I moved forward. We sold the house, 4 months later and I moved out and that’s when the healing began.

    It took us nearly 3.5 years to finalize the divorce and not because there were lots of assets. I deliberately had my lawyer slow it down because knowing how impulsive X can be, I wanted him to feel frustrated and angry. On the other hand, I researched and researched and came to CL and learned about narcissists etc. It was a HUGE help. My girls and I have come out the other side and we have wonderful times together. I got all the friends and he’s got his whore now living with him on the other side of our little town. He’s lost his kids and all the family he has loved for years.

    Just yesterday I emailed him saying I needed a copy of his 2015 tax return because I’m entitled to spousal maintenance based on his 2015 earnings. He asked, “why?” “You don’t get this until 2017 based on 2016 earnings.” I ran the legalese past a paralegal who agreed with my interpretation. I went back to him and said “You didn’t read the agreement correctly” and cited the paragraph. At that moment he and whore were driving 11 hours to his parents home in IN from NY. I’m sure when he saw my comment, the blood drained from his face. I would have loved to have been the fly in the car to witness the seething anger and the very intense car ride!

    So to all of you out there, yes it does get better and you may even reach a point like me, where you can play with X like you’re the cat and he’s the mouse. I don’t know if I’ll ever see a dime, but I can at least fuck with his reality!

  • I am in tears because I know how you feel. But listen to Tracey! Give yourself time and permission to be miserable but try to focus on your children.That’s what saved me. The two kids, my family, my friends and running. I found that I could run and cry at the same time but also look up at they sky and realize that you do have some things to be thankful for and be grateful for the moment.

  • At CODA (co-dependents’ anonymous) I learned: “Your opinion of me doesn’t matter.” So, it warrants asking, why does the opinion of someone who is clearly disordered, cruel and deceitful, matter to us at all? Take care of yourself. I am not yet on the other side of meh, but having wasted 35 years at this, I urge you to not waste the time I did engaging with him, try to focus on what’s good in your life and how much better it will be when the what and why doesn’t matter, when how he feels about you doesn’t matter, and you are free to engage in healthy relationships. Don’t hurt yourself because he didn’t value you. That was his mistake and his problem.

  • SE – Many, many, many of us have been there.

    To the above amazing comments and words of support, I’d only add that what you are going through – your reactions to this trauma – are 100% NORMAL. Don’t let them dictate what you do; the BEST thing you can do now is focus on YOU and your healing.

  • St. Elsewhere, hang in there. You are definitely not alone. I learned many years later that my ex had joined Ashley Madison when our eldest son was one…. we then went on to have two more children, and it wasn’t until my eldest was seven that I discovered my ex cheating with a loser he met on there; God only knows how many women he was with that I didn’t know about. My point is, when we were creating a family together, which was a momentous (and often stressful) time in my life, he was checked out. He played the part of the caring husband and father, but it was all a performance for him. I was shocked and disgusted to learn that all those years were a lie (at least his role– I truly love my children and feel blessed every day that at least he gave me something positive out of his wretched self).

    I divorced him and am now the strong, sane parent for my three children. He married his AP and behaves like a spoiled brat. I can’t imagine what my kids’ lives would be like if he were their only parent. You don’t want that for your children– to leave them alone with such a selfish pig. I know it’s hard, but those children need you more than ever. Take CL’s advice and kick that piece of trash to the curb. Begin working toward your new and mighty life with your kids. You worked hard to conceive those two babies, and you can do this!

    • There are just some people who die suddenly like this and there are so many feelings it leaves you speechless. Prince was one of those people. May he be at peace.

    • Although a great song, Ian, you need to pick a new Prince song that’s just for you (and only about you) now. Not anything like “Delirious” or “Nothing Compares 2 U”. Something more along the lines of “LetItGo” or “Sexy Motherfucker”. 🙂

      And yeah… I second that: Fuck 2016.

      • Thanks, aka. I just spent the last 20 hours going deep into his catalogue. I thought perhaps “I hate U,” but it’s got a weird makeup-sex tinge.

        Then I toyed with “Thieves in the Temple,” off of Grafitti Bridge.

        I settled on “Tamborine,” off of Paisley Park. His drumming on that is incendiary. And the falsetto? Sublime.

        Wait, maybe “7” off of The New Power Generation? “I am yours now, and, you are mine, and, together we’ll love through, all, space and time, so don’t cry…”

        Glad to find some other fans of the gender-bendy funk out there. I wanted to be Prince so bad when I was younger. There were no two bigger influences on my music than him and Bowie. Not cool, 2016.

          • When we lived in Cleveland Park we went to The Kennedy Center religiously. I saw “Follies” there with Bernadette and Linda Lavin. I saw the ABT and Alvin Ailey too. And seeing Fosse’s choreography live was a real treat. My favorite Kennedy Center moment though was the night the Notorious RBG was there. (Ruth Bader Ginsberg) If Scalia had been there too I’d never have to go to the theater again.

            (Whoa, nerd-out)

            Selfish Reckless is a fool.

            • You made me google Ginsberg and Kennedy Center (was she attending something? performing!? this sparked my interest)… And I found this:
              http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/OROCE

              Although I hope to be way the hell out of this town by 2017, I’m the nerd who would buy tickets for this the day they go on sale.

              Yep. He was (is) a fool. Despite knowing that, I’m having a really hard time working my way to meh. 🙁

              • I can’t remember which performance it was, maybe South Pacific or Wicked. Ginsberg was there with her two adorable security boys. I have heard she and Scalia performed together, but I was not a witness to that. I know she and Scalia loved attending shows together.

  • SE: I am truly sorry you are hurting so badly. I know the pain well. I went through a really rough spot very much like you did. Twice……I planned my suicide. I was home alone and time alone was so awful for me. Those were some of the darkest days I have ever spent. All i did was plan a way to escape the pain and cry. What brought me out of those desperate days was the thought of my two teenage daughters growing up without me. With them asking themselves why I no longer wanted to be their mommy if I actually succeeded. I went and saw my doctor and got help right away. I then made an appointment with a therapist and after the third one……I finally found the one that helped me. It wasn’t easy. But I am LOVING my new life as a single woman and mother. My life is actually far better now than it was when I was married. And my oldest daughter revealed to me that she was glad that I finally left her dad. She sees how happy I am now and both of my daughters are enjoying their HAPPY mom.

    I gave my children life but they saved mine!!!! And yours will too!

    • Kimmy, sorry for your dark times but cheers to your happiness! Very inspirational on how you pulled through.

    • I’m sorry Kimmy, I had no idea. You’re always so upbeat and cheery! So glad you made it to the other side okay!

  • “The woman tried smoothly for a few months, dangling nibbles and feelers.”

    I’m sure the cheater played right along and responded in kind, as opposed to easily shutting that shit down.

    So yeah, while its fair game to blame the AP, the cheater was right there along for the ride. Blame the cheater.

    • Agreed Buddy. OP are not angels and clearly a lot of them look for the chink in the fence to worm their way in, but guess what? They wouldn’t be able to detect the chink in the fence without the cheater giving them the information they need and then going along with it.

      The OW didn’t make any promises to me, the ex asshat supposedly did. I always held him more accountable. Don’t get me wrong, she was pretty calculating and I could always tell she had a thing for him, but it was his job to say no.

      Personally I think the OP is just another skein that chumps get tangled up in that winds up taking away the focus from where it should be-Getting the fuck out!

  • I know your pain my dear. Keep coming to this site. Keep reading posts of similar stories. Cry your heart out. Scream and cry some more. Every day look into your sons eyes and know that he needs you more than anything else. You will recover. I promise you will recover and be stronger. I know reading all this you may think that no one knows the depth of your pain, your loss, your betrayal, and the truth is your pain IS very real and it belongs to you. You are the only one that can go through your pain, you are the only one that knows how to bare your pain. You are capable of anything because you have your son. Let his eyes give you the strength.

  • St.Elsewhere,
    “He has never been abusive, but what made him do this is beyond me.”

    After I confronted my STBX about his affair – we talked about our marriage. I tried to understand when things changed for him and he told me it was when our first child was born 12 years ago. That shocked me because I kept going over and over what our relationship was like when the baby was born (compared to the previous 10 years) and the only thing that changed was I had to focus my attention on the baby and not him. Otherwise our relationship was wonderful – we were best friends. He was loving, respectful, attentive, supportive…I could talk to him about anything. I trusted him completely. Probably I spackled, but honestly for the first 10 years of my marriage our relationship WAS healthy/good. I was not abused (and really I am not mis-remembering/spackling) – I felt loved.

    I realize now that for him – he expereinced my need to focus on the children as me withdrawing love from him. Like love was finite?! For me having children felt like MORE love was added to our family. I think my STBX is a covert narc, and I think that when the children were born and I had to focus on them that he felt abandoned (no more narc supply) and that he felt entitled (desperate even) to get attention elsewhere. This is not excusing what he did, but my thinking about what he said about when he started to feel unhappy in our marriage, helped me perhaps to understand what changed, what made him change, what made him do what he did.

    It’s not you. And so if it’s not you, then you can’t control what he’s doing. And you can’t fix what he’s doing. He has demonstrated through his actions who he really is/what his character really is. Believe what his actions are telling you.

    You are worthy of love because you exist. It’s as simple as that. Your light is dim right now because of everything that is happening. But you have everything – because you have yourself. Your light is beautiful and unique, please nurture it and love it, until you can feel it grow brighter. We understand what you are feeling and we are here to listen and give you strength until you can stand on your own. (((((Hugs)))))

    • And just to clarify, I don’t think I was emotionally abused for the first 10 years of my marriage, but I was most definitely emotionally abused for the last 5-10 years of my marriage after the children were born (as STBX devalued me and detached and lied and gaslighted and manipulated). This dichotomy kept me stuck (paralyzed) for a long time….I couldn’t understand how he could change into this horrible person. He (seemed) like a completely different person the first half of our marriage (but I guess looking back now he was just really good at mirroring and probably I was really good at projecting my positive character and our lives were relatively stress free). And I’m guessing all of the positive love I was giving him was worth him expending effort to treat me well. I guess what I am trying to say is that I understand when you say “he never abused you”. I believe that IS possible, but the fact is NOW he IS emotionally abusing you (lying, cheating, minimizing). And so this is your new reality. I hoped for a long time my STBX and I could somehow go back to those first 10 years. But he was only ever pretending to be that person (he’s really, really good at pretending)…the real him is who he demonstrated through his lying and cheating.

      • I’m thinking you just described my husband. I thought I knew him and had a good marriage. During counseling the other night, I told our counselor that I wanted him our of my house. Why should I have to leave. He’s never admitted to an affair. The lies, deceit and the way he’s treated me when he’s trying to defend himself have been like nothing I’ve ever seen. The counselor reminded me that it was ” our ” house. I told the counselor that I want him out of ” our ” house.

        Husband looked right at us and said he wasn’t leaving nor could the cops make him because he’s never hit me. The lying, cheating and minimizing are abuse and I guess I really just needed to realize that so Thanks! I also appreciated CL telling me to get a lawyer. I think I need to so thanks for that also. It’s hard. He was a loving husband and father at one point. Also, supposed to be a Christian man.

        Husband came home from work Monday and told me to put my shoes on. Told me I needed to listen to something. We got in my car and he pulled out his phone and played a message that this other woman’s husband left that day on the cell. He told my husband who he was and who is wife was. He told my husband that I (the wife) had been harassing his wife for three months and it needed to stop.
        He told my husband that he needed to talk to me and make me stop it.

        The only interaction I’ve ever had from the woman was a text she sent in Jan. asking him if he could do certain work for her. It was specific and professional but my husband was supposed to have told her in Sept. when all of this started coming out that he would do NO MORE work for her. He obviously didn’t. So, I let her know from that text in Jan. that he would be doing no more work for her.

        The meanest thing I asked on that text because at the time – I didn’t want to know that I’d caught my husband lying to me several times about her was this… I asked her if her husband knew that she had business meetings in her home alone with married men. That I had seen that email. You better believe I let my husband read those.

        It sort of went from there. She knew where I was coming from at that point and ended it by saying she would be blocking our phone and praying for me and she wouldn’t want to be in my shoes. I told her she just may want to pray for herself and to go ahead and block our phone. That Was It!

        Until last Friday…I randomly picked up our cell and dialed her number. I had never even checked to see if it had been blocked since Jan. Well, guess what. It wasn’t and her work message came on and I hung up Immediately. Twenty seconds later she texted back….My block has run out. I’m blocking again. Stop Harassing Me!! I tried to text her back. It was blocked so I went to her business fb page and sent a private message….” Same here Bitch” . ..So hence the message Monday.

        I really think my husband was bluffing me. I had told him before that I would never talk to her or meet her. Remember, he still denies an affair. He was really angry. I was screaming for him to go to our counselor’s house. He finally did and I told the counselor a lot more of this crap than I ever had before. I honestly thought the man was going to have a heart attack.

        When we left the counselor’s house that night, I told my husband to go ahead and go to their house. I told him I was ready for it. That I would just sit in the car like he suggested before. He could record it all. He could tell her husband all the details why I think it’s his wife. My husband said No Way!! Those people are scary and weird!! How interesting I thought.

        Didn’t mean to hijack this post. Feels good to talk about it. I have days I think I’m crazy! I know I haven’t imagined it. This was the first time that he’s ever scared me. It was awful. I told him to NEVER pull that on me again. Thanks for the vent!

    • Hi Brightness. Yes the timeline – when did things go wrong in our marriage? A common question us chumps ask ourselves.

      You mentioned when you confronted your STBX that he mentioned things changed for him 12 years ago when your first child was born.

      What I have found with my experience is that you can’t believe anything that comes from a cheaters pie-hole. They re-write history to justify their cheating. You can’t believe anything they say because what the cheaters don’t understand is that they lost all their credibility because of their cheating.

  • A few thoughts on your situation:

    1) Re: your mental health. You just had two stressful back to back pregnancies. People who have had textbook pregnancies certainly suffer from post partum depression. Throw in some maternal health problems and your risk goes up. PPD is also not like a magical thing that if you make it to 6 weeks post delivery and you don’t have it, you won’t get it. You probably developed some PPD within the first 6 months or so after your baby in 2014 and maybe never had it treated. Add in the stress of your marriage falling apart and hells yeah… girlfriend you are depressed. So, so depressed. You need to get to the doctor and be honest and tell her what’s going on and get yourself a pharmaceutical tune up.

    2) You need to build your support system. I know in the RIC world they say “Don’t tell friends and loved ones about the infidelity, because when you reconcile, that will influence their relationship with your spouse.” I say – fuck ya’ll… tell everyone. Tell your sister, tell his sister, tell your mother, tell your BFF, tell the girl that does your hair. Maybe don’t tell your boss quite yet, but the more people you tell the more real it becomes and the more people you have to support you. Once I decided to divorce, I told everyone (who was a safe person to to tell). My SIL has been following along long distance. I said that if I suddenly said I changed my mind, she would get on a plane in DC, fly to California, come find me and smack me upside the head. While saying “no, no, get your divorce” like I was a misbehaving puppy.

    3) As you go on this journey, it is important to remember that YOU are the sane one. You may be depressed as fuck, but you are perfectly sane. He will try to convince you otherwise. He may try to use information against you in custody, so make sure that you are clear that your health care providers are not release any of your records except to you in person.

    4) Lastly – as they say: Remember he sucks. Your mommy brain is going to kick in to gear and panic about how you are going to provide for your kids, but remember, he sucks. You are going to try and bond to him, but remember he sucks. I was getting into it a little bit last night with my STBX. He was mad because I told him I’m going to get a lawyer to review the settlement agreement. I pointed out to him “But you lie to me about everything. You lie and lie. Why would assume that on this one thing you are being honest. I can only assume you are lying to me about this as well. I have to protect myself.” And you know what he said “OK”. You have to be careful, but don’t let the heat of the moment or vague threats make you lose sight of the truth. Because the truth is the truth. They will try to make shit up, but it doesn’t work that way.

  • What a great way to thank you for all you’ve done. You gave birth to your children with numerous complications, suffered physically because of it, and perhaps emotionally, and this cowardly piece of shit, thanks you by having sex with another woman. Nice. Quite the noble and upstanding guy any person would want to associate with. He should be taking care of you, staying by your side, offering you kindness, empathy, support. Marriage is for better and for worse. Instead, he bolts when you are ill. He deserves to be kicked in the teeth and that still wouldn’t do the situation any justice. Listen to CL, she offers terrific advice!

  • Dear St. Elsewhere-

    I am so sorry this happened to you at all but the fact that he did it while you were at your most vulnerable speaks volumes to his character, and not in a good way.

    I saw someone mentioned postpartum depression, which is always a possibility. Add that to what he’s done and I think a trip to your doctor is definitely in order. There is no shame in asking for help so please do so.

    I know this brings us all down and I remember in the early days wishing the earth would swallow me whole. The morning after I found out I went for a walk in the woods adjoining my ex house. A few weeks before someone had spotted a bear in those same woods and for a few fleeting moments I hoped it would find me and mercifully end my life. That’s the closest I ever came but it was way closer than I ever had been in my entire life to that point. We all understand your pain.

    It is finite though, we also know that. You have two small children that need you, the only sane parent. And like CL said, you don’t want that asshole to be the last person you love.

    Please come here a lot. I remember being so uplifted by the stories of happy people on the other side of this mess; much happier than when they with the cheating fuckwits. You can be too!

  • Dear St Elsewhere, I DID try to kill myself about a year after DDay1- my husband was having an affair with a married employee of ours at the business we both owned and worked at. That affair started when my second daughter was an infant, possibly before she was born.After I found out there were months and months of gaslighting,trickle truths, pointless marriage counselling, and then my husband got very distant again, and I just wanted the pain to stop. Instead I woke up in ICU. he wasn’t there. His mother was there, my sisters were there, my best friend flew down from Queensland and bluffed her way in, but he was ” busy”. He didn’t turn up until I was back in a general ward; the family ” friend” he brought with him turned out in due course to be OW number 2. I spent 3 weeks in a very nice psych hospital, and my psychiatrist told me my husband was an arsehole.It took me a couple of months to get myself together, but then I found the text messages from OW2, and asked him to leave. Years later, OW number 3, who was actually OW 1, and had existed my entire marriage without me realising, told me that he had called HER sobbing on the night of my attempt, but he never ever ever said anything kind or comforting to me about it.And now- my life is great, my daughters are awesome, and he is still a sad piece of shit, who has cycled through OW 2 and 3 and is back with OW1. She is thoroughly unattractive inside and out. I don’t know how many normal women there are in this city, but he keeps picking trash, it’s his talent. So look after yourself and your children, ask for help from people that love you- and unfortunately that doesn’t include him.I am very very very glad that I am still here.One day there will be a sunny day for you with your children laughing, possibly icecream and ideally a puppy of some kind-that day is on your horizon, it will come. Don’t let him get in the way of it.

  • Dear Sweet SE, Infertility treatment as CL points out can put those that have shouldered through it, at future health at risk.

    You chose to walk through FIRE & BRIMSTONE to bring your children into the world, do not ever forget the love and desire that brought you to that moment and decision. It is your body, your desire, and your babies are yours, and they are here for a reason. Remember that! Love them, love yourself.

    The darkest hour is before the dawn.

    Light & Love!

  • SE, you have worth. You have value. Do not throw that away for a piece of shit who masquerades as your husband. Cheater ex cheated on me when I was pregnant years ago and he confessed when our child was a little over a month old. I wanted to kill myself. I thought ending my life would be the answer. I threw cheater ex out but we reconciled. He cheated again years later. I filed for divorce and threw him out, and I took him back once again. (Darn, I wish Chump Lady was born a lot sooner.) Finally, 3 years ago, he had another affair and this time, I chose to finally end the cycle of abuse and reclaim my life. I’m at meh and if I had a do-over, I would have divorced the nitwit right after he confessed his first affair.

    I don’t care if your marriage was good or bad – your husband chose to have an affair to cope with whatever stress he was dealing with. Cheating is a choice. A deliberate act. A well-thought out decision. Cheating comes with planning, lying, gaslighting, manipulating with zero regard for you or your children.

    My son is a wonderful,amazing, talented young adult. I was and remain the sane parent. Everyone, including cheater ex’s parents and sisters, have repeatedly told me that my son would not be who he is today without me. It scares me to think who he would be today if I didn’t stick around to raise him. You know you are the sane parent. Please don’t harm yourself. Your babies need you.

  • Big hugs, St. Elsewhere. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It’s especially hard when there’s a baby involved because you have all these ideals and expectations about how ex should love them and want to protect them like you do, when clearly they just don’t care.

    Our stories are eerily similar. I have a history of pregnancy struggles due to miscarriage/preterm labor, and my last pregnancy (which was a shock since I was on birth control and we ahem… only had relations twice that year) was the hardest. Another miscarriage risk, bedrest for the last three months, still ended up with another preemie and all the shots, tests, ultrasounds and scary stuff was nothing to him. I figure at that point he was already getting himself built up to leave the kids and I, feelings be damned, and it was just a horribly timed inconvenience to him, not a little daughter who was apparently meant to be.

    He and OW had been friends/dated off and on waaaay back, and then she got a job where he worked and it was all downhill from there. Driving her home after a visit because as usual she was too drunk to drive herself and taking half an hour when she was five minutes from our house, her meeting him here to fuck while the kids and I were at church and all the talks she and I had where she’d break down crying, telling me I had to work it out with him because we were the last pair of happily married friends she knew while fucking him behind my back.

    With my last pregnancy, OW actually came to help load some of my injections when ex left on a very ill-advised business trip right around my eigth month, leaving me to parent two eleven year olds and a seven year old while on bedrest. It baffles me they could watch the kids and I go through such a difficult time, be there for the delivery in ex’s case and to visit in OW’s case and still carry on with what they were doing despite what was happening here.
    Selfish prick was out of town when I had a preterm labor scare and OW, who was my emergency contact, was passed out and “accidentally” left her phone in the car. I delivered four days after he come home at 34 weeks, and wondered if we’d done something that night, if I could have held on for a couple more weeks.
    And it was heartbreaking to get pregnant and carry a pregnancy I didn’t plan for or know how to deal with after trying so hard the first couple times and losing two, and then here I was unexpectedly pregnant at 35 with a child I feared would push him away even further. That my one moment of desperately seeking comfort, acknowledgement and closeness from a man who didn’t love me any longer would result in this beautiful, sweet and funny little girl he hardly ever sees and who wasn’t worth his getting his head out of his ass and growing the fuck up.
    And she lights up whenever she sees him. I just want to bundle all the kids up and go into the My Ex is a Crazy Narc Protection Program, and don’t regret for a moment telling him in a fit of tears while clutching our then one year old baby that he didn’t deserve to be the dad of such a beautiful and strong baby. That she deserves so much better. We all do.

  • Hi SE,

    I have experienced some of the same challenges you have. I went through several rounds of very expensive, high-tech fertility treatment (IVF and ICSI) and suffered two miscarriages before bearing my two children at the ages of 40 and 41. I am now 50. My abusive STBX, who had sex with women, men and paid for cocaine and prostitutes (with our children’s college fund) before, during, and after our marriage, filed for divorce almost two years ago, after a decade together. We have gone to court a dozen times and are still not done. (My disordered, unethical STBX accused me and other members of my family of committing felonies we never committed.) When this case is over, I will likely still be very underemployed and close to penniless. I and my two young children, one of whom has special needs, will soon move into my parents’ house, although I would much rather not due to Family of Origin issues, dirtier and more dangerous city, and much worse school district. I have a chronic injury (no known cause but known symptoms) that has prevented me from having a decent full-night’s sleep for three years. I dropped out of my PhD program after many years of hard labor. A young relative died two months ago. A couple other young relatives are near death. The guy who I thought was my friend of 30 years and is considered a ‘nice guy’ by virtually everyone, the guy I ended up dating for a year and very much wanted to marry, lied to me a few times during our relationship and then, without warning, hostilely dropped me on our anniversary. He said that we could still be friends but refuses to speak to me now. Both my STBX and now-ex-boyfriend seem to be doing just fine or even better financially, emotionally, and physically. Over the last few years, I have felt as though I have been hit by tsunami after tsunami. Just when I start feeling as though I can pick myself up, another disaster hits.

    After that last blow, the abandonment by my boyfriend, I fell into a suicidal depression that has lasted two months. As a psychology researcher, I tried many things to alleviate the pain–self-help books, journaling, psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral, or CBT), antidepressants, yoga, exercise (I think that I may have become slightly anorexic), suicide hotline. Nothing seemed to work. (I have tried many different types of antidepressants over the years, and NONE of them seems to have worked!)

    I think that the only thing that has stopped me from killing myself is the desire to prevent my children from being raised solely by their father, making them susceptible to abuse by their father whenever their father felt like abusing them and being raised to adopt an extremely warped moral compass. I am doing all that I can to prevent my children from treating partners (and other people) the way several of my partners have treated me.

    I am training for a triathlon to feel proud of myself and build up confidence in my ability to do virtually anything in spite of major setbacks. I am now trying EMDR with an EMDR-certified therapist to address the trauma in my life. You might try it if your depression is as bad as mine. I wish you much strength.

  • Initial d-day physical pain was incapacitating. I thought it would never end. I also considered suicide one particular day as I was lying on the hammock last summer observing the rafters above me and considering how to hang myself. I hated the pain and there was no escape. Then the constant thoughts and mind movies were just fuel in the fire that felt like getting stabbed over and over again. And of course, the pain shopping we do to ourselves. For those of us past the initial phase of the grief, it’s easy to say it will pass. When your in the midst of it nothing can soothe the hurt.
    What saved me was finding this site, and no contact. I spent hours reading archives etc. No contact stopped his glee at the mindfuckery in its tracks. It was comforting to see that it was intentional on his behalf to cause me as much grief as possible. To be able to cut him off blew the wind out of his sails. I would say it took me about 4 months to have the initial pain lift. Of course, there was still much work to do, but much much easier to navigate the shit storm. I was very fortunate to have 6 months off from work and no children involved. For those of you with small children going thru this, I can’t even imagine where you find the strength and I am in awe. I am 8 months out. I’m over the worst of it. I used to hit the pillow at night and say “one more day closer to meh”. God Bless anyone suffering at the hands of an abuser. Everyone’s story resonates with me. The pain will stop suddenly one day. Just keep going till you get there and you will navigate the rest with a clearer head.
    I’ve come to believe that nothing we can say or do will ever impact a narc cheater/abuser concerning the devastation they create. Plain and simple they do not have the capacity to understand the gravity of their betrayal.

  • Thank you all for your comments. They indeed are precious to me.

    I don’t know what to say really. I have not told my family or his family. He is a workaholic (yes, that was him even before his whore), and he works long hours and that means that we still have not had lot of time to discuss things.

    I am filled with too many emotions….when I am not grounded by inertia, I feel anger, hatred, revulsion, awful, ugly and worthless.

    My kids are great – and all Daddy fans.

    I feel terrible when I look at my son going crazy when he arrives (even at 17 months, he recognizes the sounds of his Dad’s car, and starts jumping with excitement) because this is the baby I was carrying when he did this to me.

    I have not been able to find a therapist in my area.

    I haven’t been able to share my terrible secret. I am disillusioned.

    I am financially independent, and so money is not my problem.

    My husband has asked several times that “can this not be forgotten as one big mistake he did”, and he promises to never get into mess. It is sweet justice that his whore turned out to be a psycho bitch.

    I still am unable to decide if I can forgive him. I have not forgiven him, no matter how many times he asks for it, but will that ever happen? I am not sure.

    • Elsie: I think you’ll find a division on this site between those who could not really envision a marriage after infidelity vs. those who gave a yeoman’s try only to be cheated on again (and again) 2, 5, 10, years later. After D-day, my limbic system just screamed “Danger!!” every time I saw my then-husband, and I just felt distrustful and beaten down whenever I was around him. I knew I couldn’t live like that. In quick succession, I found a blog where a reconciled woman admitted it took her 11 months to have more good days than bad in a week (even on anti-anxiety & anti-depressants), then found Chumplady and it solidified what I had to do–leave and not look back. It sounds to me as if you are in the same psychological state as me (and not deer in the headlights at all), but just need to take that first step. And some of that first step means telling someone close to you–you can’t get through this alone.

      If you stay with your cheater, there is a very high probability that he will cheat again. Do you want to give him power to do that? I’m sure others will chime in with stories of reconciling only to realize the cheater never gave up on the original affair, or had multiple others (people on this thread have already revealed such stories).

      Seeing a lawyer doesn’t commit you to anything, but will give you much needed information re: your decision. First consultations are free (and interview several–including the best ones in town so that, if you decide to divorce, your H can’t snap up those lawyers).

      And get a Chumplady account by clicking on the Forums (top right on the page). Post your story on the Private:General forums for comisseration and advice (esp. if you don’t have a therapist, this is the next best thing). Hugs, this is very painful.

  • >