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Dear Chump Lady, When I threaten to leave, he says he’ll change

cakemanDear Chump Lady

My husband of 11 years is having a six-year affair, which he told me about two years ago. After he told me, he started a cycle of leaving to stay with the other woman and coming back to me. By the time he told me about his cheating, they had a one-year-old son together. He has introduced this woman to his mother and siblings, who now have a very close relationship with her.

I noticed that since he told me about the affair he has used her to punish me for expressing my anger or feelings. If I complain about any of the hurtful things he does or says, then I can be sure that the following day he will move out of our home and only come back when he has “cooled down.” This cooling down can take weeks or even a full month. When he comes back he claims to have left her. It seems he actually does leave her during those periods, but when I make him angry, he goes back to her.

I am now at a point where I am too tired to entertain this drama. I want to leave him, but I second guess myself, because every time I am about to leave he suddenly acts like he has changed or claims that he was about to change.

This makes me fear that I may leave him and then he will become a good person to this other woman or the next woman. I also have fears of dying alone. I am 35 years old and I am a Zimbabwean living in South Africa. In black African communities, especially Zimbabwe, divorce happens but it is not the norm. People here, especially women, are encouraged to stay in their marriages no matter how tough things are and so finding a single person happens, but it seems to be rare.

Feeling messed up all over.


Been There

Dear Been There,

You’ve got a classic Cake Eater there. He’s got you and the Other Woman doing the pick me dance for his awesomeness. He leaves one, reels the other back. Stays for awhile, then leaves to reel the other back. Then blameshifts the whole sorry mess on to you. You MADE him leave? Not that it will make you feel any better, but I promise you he’s mindfucking the Other Woman in exactly the same way. He’s not with you — he’s “cooling off.”

Nice game he’s got going there. Everyone invests in him. It’s total centrality. And when one woman gets difficult, he threatens her with the Other Woman. And so privilege is maintained. He stays in cake.

BT, the only way to end this painful situation is to not play his game. Leave him.

Oh, but then he’ll straighten up! Then he’ll be perfect for the next one!

No he won’t. I’ve covered this fear before, it’s a common one. His promises to change, or to get you to invest in his potential, are just manipulations to keep him in cake. Judge him by his ACTIONS. For two years he has been leaving you and openly living with another woman and their child. That is who he IS. That’s his character. For four years before that, he was leading a double life, lying to you. That’s a lot of demonstrated evidence of who he is. The only person who matters to this man is himself.

Let’s say he changes (he won’t), he still has a son with the other woman and responsibilities to that child. That situation is not going away. These people will remain in his life and have a door into yours for as long as you’re together. Not to mention, they’re bonded with your in laws.

You don’t mention if you have children with this man. If so, do you want to model this sort of arrangement to them? Men can just have as many baby mamas as they want? Women have to take it?

You did not sign up for this. You married this man and he made a commitment of fidelity to you. He did not keep his promises. Leaving him just means that you accept his broken promise as broken. Deal off. To stay would be to accept new terms that disrespect you and make you a second-class citizen in your own marriage. A part-time option, that is until you say something to “upset” him. So the rest of your marriage will be walking on eggshells, catering to this idiot to keep him happy. No thank you!

If divorcing him makes you rare — okay, you’re a pioneer. Things will never change unless women have the guts to risk not being treated like crap. If you stand up, you’ll encourage other women to stand up. That little son of his might grow up to hear there was one woman who did not stand for his father’s bullshit and left him.

As for dying alone? You can have a very full life without this kind of abuse. You can reinvent. Maybe you can date someone who is not a black Zimbabwean living in South Africa. Maybe you adopt a child. Maybe you get a new group of friends who admire and respect you and treat you well. Maybe you will be beloved to others instead of isolated in a terrible marriage. So many possibilities, BT.

My advice to you is to leave him — and when he complains? Tell him you need a “cooling off” period. Permanently.

P.S. Please get an STD check. The OW might not be his only OW, and there’s a high rate of HIV transmission in South Africa. ((Hugs)) To stay with this man could be endangering your health.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Dear Been There,
    I know it’s hard. But it is much harder still to live the way you have been with this entitled jerk. You will be amazed at the amount of peace you discover once you stand up, say “no more” and get him out of your life. It’s not easy to do, but well worth it in the end. Hugs and prayers to you!

    • I am also Zimbabwean with an asswipe DOUCHEBAG doctor Zim husband who did the same to me until I kicked him out, lawyered up, got the fancy house, the German sedans and maintenance for life and left him with his skanky floozy 22 years his junior who is now cheating on him. Get out of there endure the pain but gain a life. I did!

  • Yes, CL is right. Nowdeadhusband broke up with his AP right after I learned of it in an attempt to look decent and “choose” his family. but it was weak from the start. A few days in I tried to hold him accountable for some item of his terribleness and during the confrontation, he said “Don’t tempt me Uni !!!” …as in “dont make being here hard or I will be tempted to leave and go where its softer, so eat this shit sandwich and be happy about it”.

    and I backed down

    and lost the next 7 years of my life to wreckoncilliation

    to a jerk

  • Been There,
    Any short term pain you will endure by getting this man out of your life is surely preferable to his constantly demeaning and degrading you,subjecting you to this emotional abuse.Being alone and gradually rebuilding your life is surely better than allowing yourself to be victimised repeatedly by him.
    Many women,including myself,do the pick me dance partly because they imagine he might morph into the perfect partner for the next woman,but that is a delusion.He,like my ex,is incapable of conducting a respectful,reciprocal,transparent relationship with any woman.He has shown you who he is and it’s time to believe him and run.Best wishes to you.

    • P.S. As Unicornnomore points out,you could lose/waste YEARS more of your precious life to this man if you continue to allow it.

  • mine did the same thing, promise to change, it would last about six months, then things went back to the same or worse each time, played that game for 20 years.

    the fear kept me tied down too until the pain just got so bad i wanted to die. i was afraid i would die alone, but finally decided that is much better than having an abusive cheater destroying my life.

    now i have a new house, new guy, i am so happy. it is much better on the other side but it is hard getting there. don’t give up!

    • You deserve a better life Been There and you will have it. I am now 15 weeks absolute no contact and the peace that grows daily is pushing out the loneliness and fears of the future. My kids (not his) are happy and my family and friends aren’t worried about me. Even my pets are better- my little dog has calmed down and his standoffish cat is now a cuddler. It’s hard to see another side when crazy has become the norm. You’ve danced his dance too long. Time for your own music.

      • OMG, Been There – PLEASE listen to Chump Lady and the amazing Chumps on this site! I can’t begin to tell you how much peace will come into your life and mind when you finally let go of this DOUCHEBAG!! Please – listen to Madea tell us like it is:

        The question to ask yourself at this point is, what happens if I stay? You’re losing bits of your life and soul each day to this asswipe, and for what? Nothing. You have everything to gain by leaving and loving yourself first.

        Good luck with everything! Xo!

        • Wow, KibbleFree. This is definitely a keeper! Thanks so much for posting it.

        • Don’t pass this by without listening to it–“no matter how much it hurt, let them go.” “You gotta learn how to be by yourself.”

        • Some people come into your life for a lifetime some people come into you life for a season…you gotta know which is which. Such a wise person…so much good stuff in here. Terrific link. Thanks for sharing it! I will watch it over and over. Loved the tree analogy too, so true.

          • Have this on my Facebook wall there is much wisdom in it. I don’t care what the critics say about Tyler Perry I love his work

  • What he is doing is unspeakably cruel. Monstrous. I am horrified. That’s how bad this is, what he’s doing.

    There is no amount of good that makes up for how bad this is.

    I am so sorry you are living this. I hope you can find the way out. It will be worth the difficulty you have to bear to get away from this cruelty.

  • This has to be the absolute definition of hell on earth.
    I do not understand your social culture around divorce – I understand many do not hold to the relatively new Western ideas of marriage and divorce.

    Been there: If it hurts, it ain’t good. Know the old joke, “Doctor!, it hurts when I lift my arm!” “Well,” says the doctor, “Don’t do that!”
    It’s the same with a cheater. If it keeps hurting you – don’t do it. How can things be any worse than being dumped every few months? Forever?

  • BT-

    I did the wreckconciliation thing for three years. It was degrading to say the least. After dday, whenever I had a minor melt down, triggers or anything that inconvenienced the ex even a little I would get the condescending shake of his head and the words: “I just don’t think you can handle this, maybe this wasn’t a good idea.” Cue the pick me dance, until the next outburst occurred, sad sausage threats….wash…rinse…repeat. You get the drift.

    You can stay in this holding pattern forever or you can leave and start to heal. I left him only three years shy of 50 so I get the reluctance and fear of being alone. I can tell you this though, being alone is like a million times better than being with someone who decimates your self worth every day. Plus being alone is not the same thing as being lonely. Lonely I am not.

    Sending hugs your way.

    • ^like^. “minor meltdown” cue “holding pattern”. Been There, I am with you; you deserve better. Dig in your heels, and fight the elements for You. Ditch the bastard. You obviously have a strong personality, and you are not his slut. What he is giving you is not marriage, it is abuse. Reclaim Your power. Rule your own self, and require any future partners to own their behavior and govern themselves. Character is sticking with a decision after the feelings fade. Demand character. This bastard is a slippery wet fish. Cheaterssuck is so right about the wretched cycle. Break out. Break free.

    • CS, so very true. I was doing the pick me dance for two years not even knowing that was what I was doing. I was very lonely in my relationship, so lonely I was planning on walking out. My fears kept me stuck. Then Dday happened and that gave me the courage to put a bullet in the relationship and tossed his butt out that day. Did it hurt? There are no words. I am alone, but never lonely now. It is coming up on one year since I hummed his stuff out in garbage bags and I am not sorry at all!

  • Examine how you feel when he’s gone for the up to a month. Relieved, happier, getting used to yourself? Whether he’s “there” (no, not really) or with her, you’re by yourself. You are not part of a content, respectful couple. Wouldn’t it be nice to be content and peaceful on your own all the time?

  • Look at your spouse’s actions. He knows that he can string you along by making empty promises. He’s proven to you time and time again that he is untrustworthy, puts himself above your health and well-being, and will continue to step out on you because he can.

    It took me a long time to see my ex’s actions for what they were and not fall for his sad stories and promises. It’s a process, but you can get there. Being alone is truly so much better than being abused by a gaslighting cheated.

  • Get rid of him! If there’s one thing I’ve learned it is that a relationship does not mean happiness. People seem to think being in a relationship is the goal but there are so many unhappy couples around! What’s the point. It’s 2016, there are many many singles of all ages (just look at divorce and break up statistics). Being single is not bad. And you can actually focus on yourself and get happy without a loser like him. A RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT MEAN HAPPINESS. and guess what. . As soon as you stop playing the game, focus on yourself and get happy again you wish you’d left him sooner. And chances are you will meet a much better man!

    • ^^^THIS^^^… I have to remind myself daily that the OW is not getting a better, character improved man in Mr. Sparkles.

      Their “loving relationship” is built on a foundation of lies. So, ergo, love does not truly exist in it.

      They just both fear being alone more.

      And, yes, being alone is scary – at times – but no more scary than getting an STD from a cheater and dying from it.

      Be mighty… start a South African chumpdom movement… we’re with you!

  • I’m so sorry this is happening, it’s the worst feeling, so scary and desperate. But I think you have to stop thinking of him as “your husband”. He’s just not, in any sense of the word.

    The only thing that will feel better is getting free of the mindfuckery.

  • Asswipe kept me and whore juice on the cake line whilst he lived with her on and off right now im indifferrent and shes still dancing shes dumber than me. I cant wait to rid my life totally of this cake eater. And she cant wait to marry a bonified cheater. Cake eaters blow big time. There is no pleasing them they are never ever satisfied, i believe right now asswipe is keeping her hopes up for everlasting happiness for her money. He wants her money. If it had been true love he would have done me the kindness of just leaving but no hoovers for cake. Im just waiting out the house sale and then this girl is history. Ive wasted enough of my precious time on a spoiled 5 year old shit head who wants it all. Very hard and it still hurts but im looking forward to the sunshine ahead in my life free of cake eaters. Not at meh but feeling stronger everyday. Let the whore have him and then she can eat the shit sandwiches and believe the bullshit lies.

  • Dear Been There, more than likely your husband will leave you permanently when she has another child especially if you don’r have kids of your own. You say that his family has bonded with the new kid so I’m sure he has been pressured or given the green light to be with this new/old woman. If this were not the case and the family did not support his actions, you wouldn’t hear about it.
    So this leaveas you with a very difficult decision, to stay or to go. Only you can make the decision whether you can live with the role he he has decided for you.
    Will this man change, probably not. It’s just too easy to stay in his sin. Change -especially for the good -is too painful and for him, sex and cake is so easy. My beliefs as a Christian clearly state that a marriage does not involve a serial cheater with an outside family. Your husband is not a leader but instead being lead by his lust.
    Lean on your family members and your community for support. My South African lady friends are quite strong and independent. You can do it!

    • He’s not going to change. Plan for your future and financial health. Lean on your family and community. You were not meant nor can you create a life with a cheater.
      My friends who are the children of men who practice polygomy-which is not the same as cheating- say this is a dificult realationship in best circumstance. He has not given you the respect of a first wife.

      • +1 with CL and renewed!

        Been There – Think about your own financial, mental, and physical health.

        I get that fear and the shame associated with being along keeps your from moving forward. It is a huge burden to move forward with divorce in a culture that pressures women to endure oppression and low treatment as a badge of honor of female resilience and ‘traditional gender roles’.

        Cluster B personalities are masters at stripping their victims of their self-esteem, at keeping them under their control based on irrational fears and shame. You have to break from the shame and fears you are feeling in order for you to end his influence on your life.

        Here are a few steps that I hope will be of help to you:

        Financial health – Do you have a job? Can you, as CL and a number of chumps here asked, stand on your own two feet without your husband’s income? Did you buy a house with him? Do you have kids together? If you are financially independent, are children-free, and have not bought a house with him, untangling yourself from him is going to be hard but in the long run, you will be able to build a better life for yourself. You mentioned you are from Zimbabwe but living in South Africa. Do you have any family around you? Do you plan to move back to Zimbabwe in the future? If so, get the divorce through wherever it is going to be faster. Ask for a paternity test on the kid as part of the proceedings and go for a fault divorce, it is authorized in South Africa (, please see an attorney about the best course of action in your case.

        Mental health – The shame associated with divorce or with having a cheating husband or being a divorcee is really really hard to overcome. In fact, your husband is counting on the power of that shame and your fears (as well as the cultural pressure) to keep getting cake. So far he has succeeded. A first step to change the balance of power in your relationship with your husband is to learn all you can about Cluster B personalities. Read all CL archives, and look at the resources section to find more. If you can, find a progressive therapist to help you push through the fear and associated shame you are feeling about leaving this horrible situation. Even in the most conservative societies, few people would find it outrageous for you to divorce your husband after finding out that he fathered a child out of wedlock. Especially if you don’t have kids with him. Please get the help of a counselor to help you recover and rebuild your self-esteem, your husband is treating you horribly, and so is his family, it is so disrespectful to you that they are condoning his relationship with this other woman and welcoming her to the family.

        Physical health – Do not sleep with your husband. He has had unprotected sex with a woman whose morals are low enough to give birth to a kid with a married man. She might not be exclusive with your husband, you live in a part of the world where the most dangerous STDs are unfortunately wide spread. Therefore, it is paramount that you don’t expose yourself to health risks.

        The more distance you can put between his mindfuckery and your recovery, the closer you will be to focusing on re-building your self-esteem and inching towards your post-cheater life.

        I am so very sorry you have to endure so much, but I am glad you found CL and CN, please keep reading, and keep posting here and in the forums! You can do this!

  • Chump Lady/Chump Nation: First principles, Been There. Simplicity. Read Marcus Aurelius (and CL’s blog). Of each particular thing ask: what is it in itself? What is its nature? What does he do, this cheater scumbag husband you have?

    Been There: He fucks women, leaves, then “cools down”…

    Chump Lady/Chump Nation: No. while painful, it is incidental at this point. What is the first and principal thing he does? What needs does he serve by “cooling down”?

    Been There: Anger, um, regret, and, huh, remorse…

    Chump Lady/Chump Nation: No! he eats cake. He is a cake eater, that is his nature…

    Maybe a bit ridiculous, but gotta admit it instantly came to mind when I read CL write:

    “For two years he has been leaving you and openly living with another woman and their child. That is who he IS. That’s his character.”

    Best of luck Been There; we have all been there, and glad to say many like myself are no longer there. So will you one day.

  • Wash, rinse, repeat. That’s what’s happening, and you are following the (his) instructions to the letter. This is a vicious cycle, but you can break it… The fact that you are here means you are ready, in some way, to pursue a better (cheater free) life. Small steps can take you further than you think, keep coming here everyday until you feel strong enough to take action. Soon, the need to begin the beautiful life you deserve will overshadow the fear of loneliness…XOXOX

  • Here’s a moment of very harsh reality for you: What makes you think you won’t die alone if you stay married? He could die before you (as men often do) or leave you outright at any moment, particularly if you get “inconviently” sick. I’d say you probably run about an equal risk of dying alone whether you stay married or get divorced. The question is how you want to *live* before that day comes.

  • Been There, lets say that your husband is right and he wakes up one morning with a complete character transplant.

    How does this change the 6 years of betrayal? How does this make this Other Child not exist? How does this remove both the OW and OC from your in-laws’ family? How does that stop you from waking up every day with the crippling pain of knowing what he was capable of?

    My ex used to play the same game with me… we would fight, he would pretend I didn’t exist for weeks or months at a time, and then come back all apologies and promises. I used to worry that the minute I left, he would magically transform into the prince he promised he would be.

    But at the point that I actually filed, I came to the realization that it didn’t matter because he should’ve been kind, loving and loyal to me all along! I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life trying to cope with the damage he did to me.

    • “I came to the realization that it didn’t matter because he should’ve been kind, loving and loyal to me all along!” Exactly Lulu. He was a shitbag when he was with you, so who cares if he’s magically transformed into a loving and devoted person. It’s not realistic this will happen and unlikely, because people don’t transform within days when they’ve been jerks for years. Fundamental change takes a lot of work and time, and doesn’t occur in a matter of days or at a flip of a switch. There’s a funny saying I read which said: “When your ex is ruining someone else’s life now.” and there’s a photo of a girl laughing out loud with all her heart. Now that’s more likely to occur…

  • This is not how real men behave. Real men take care of their family, puts them first and would die for them. Not use them as a bargaining chip for his own entertainment or to “feel better”. Get rid of this scummy child-man! He’s only going to continue to hurt you. And like CL said, he’s not going to magically transform into a decent human being.

    • ” Real men take care of their family, puts them first and would die for them.”

      With distance from the antics of our Xs, it helps to be reminded of what counts as substance vs. mere impression management that fails when it counts.

    • Heh, though us “real men” get caught hook line and sinker when we keep “doing right for our family” long after things get bad.

      Not comfortable driving? Of course I’ll step up and take you places.
      Drink too much? I’ll hold your hair back.
      Can’t understand anything more than TV dinners? Of course I’ll do the cooking.
      Depressed and sleeping more? Of course I’ll handle every single nighttime feeding.
      Want a divorce? Ok, I’ll do all the research and figure out how to do this without bankrupting us both.

      Somewhere along the way I became a codependent. Probably in desperation to keep things together long enough for her to get through it… Why do I feel like the bad guy whenever I think about pushing for what I want?

      • Mr Queasy, now that really saddens me. It sounds like you were more than a good man. Most men don’t cater to Primadonnas that well. High-maintence. She was lucky to have you, and I think C/N would totally agree with me. So many better women out there for you who WILL appreciate all that extra work. I mean, if I could just meet a man that cooks, I’d suck his toes every single night if he asked me!

      • I felt like the MrsQueasy version of you.

        Yup. We care for people we bond deeply with, even assholes. It does put us in a codependent cycle of jumping through MORE hoops for our abusers. In a normal, healthy relationship what we give and give, we receive and receive from the other partner creating a balance.

        Your abuser knows your emotional triggers. The fact YOU feel like a bad guy is what your X Is betting on. So first thing is to stop your cycle of negativity. Second is to draw better boundaries with your X if you haven’t already. This is hard, especially if you have kids.
        Third, really invest in your wellbeing – get counseling to work through it and get out and move around if you haven’t already.

      • Mr Queasy, don’t grow weary doing the right thing. You just need someone who reciprocates and not take and take and take. Sounds like you got caught up with someone with crap life skills who drinks too much and took advantage of your kindness. Like ANC said, draw your boundaries, or people like her will draw them for you. Keep doing the right thing despite everything. That’s what people that have character and integrity do. I.E. real Men an Women.

        You feel bad pushing for what you want because you’re a giver. That’s how us chumps are. She’s stupid for divorcing you. Let someone else hold her hair when she pukes then feed her a hot dog from 7-Eleven.

        Carry on Man!

  • BT,

    Please do not let fear of the “what ifs” and a future without this cruel man keep you stuck in this destructive cycle. It isn’t healthy. Six years is a long time to demonstrate character or the lack thereof as it is in your husband’s case. Plus, you have given him two years after discovery to change, and he has not. That is a lot a grace, which by definition he did not deserve. You can take comfort in knowing that as–I hope–you move forward to breaking the cycle by getting divorced. Just think of all you will gain by not having your emotions and energies sucked into this drama with a cheating husband!


  • Wow BT – your situation is rough.
    I think you should stop “threatening” to leave and start MAKING A PLAN TO LEAVE.
    Be specific:
    Could you support yourself? If so, leave now!
    If not, determine how you can support yourself…..Do you need a new job? To go back to school? Write a resume or enroll in a program with good career prospects
    Could you live with friends or relatives while getting on your feet? If so, move there as soon as your plan gets underway
    Most important – a plan will refocus yourself on you, and his manipulations will have less effect on you..
    Look at your plan every day and take a few steps forward – depending on circumstances, maybe you cant leave immediately, but please leave as soon as possible.
    You are being TORTURED, any my heart breaks for you……..

    Hugs, TC

  • He will continue to emotionally abuse you as long as you let him. You are in control of ending the abuse.
    FlotsamX declared he was “going to retire with me” when he was done with the affair. I was supposed to wait until he was done with cake from two women. Not going to happen.
    He’s shown his horrible character. Believe his actions. Refuse to engage in such demeaning behavior.
    Leave a cheater, gain a life. No more cake for the disordered.

  • Hello, Mma! I want to tell you a story. A Xhosa lady I know, her husband cheated. She left him. He did not want this (he wanted of course to carry on with that two thing going). She left him anyway. His family demanded lobolo back. HER OWN FATHER stood by her. He said: you are the one who broke the marriage, no lobolo back.

    This feisty professional woman is a true South African. If we all did this, men would behave better. It would be nice if our fathers stood by us, but seriously? You are better off without this heartbreak. Let her have him. He WILL cheat on her too.

    Show him the door, Mma. There are so many men who treat their women well and call them Queen. You will survive, and you can find one too. And, get tested. It is the best and only way. If (God forbid) the test comes up positive, being on ARVs and low count means you can be married, have children and you will NOT pass it on to either your husband or your children, even without protection. Know your status.

  • Dear Been There,
    When I read about your life, I felt sick for you. What a terrible shit sandwich you have been eating for years. I have eaten hoagie sized ones by being with a meth addict cheater.

    I hope you can see that you are trapped in a type of mental fog where you are not thinking clearly. Read CL’s personal response to you over and over. Read it out loud.

    Perhaps it will break through to your ability to reason, and realize that this person not only does not love you, he treats you with contempt and is catastrophically abusive. Trust that he sucks. He sucks so badly that it is an obscene joke to call what you have a “marriage.”

    Here is something I have learned through misery: There are no mixed messages. If a man wanted to be with you, a herd of wild baboons, bison or bears cannot keep him from you. They will bust through walls to be with you. Other women are not relevant to them.

    I cannot address it as well as CL but know this: You will not die alone. If you are with the wrong person (and you are!) it blocks you from meeting the right person.

    Even if you never find another man (you will if you want to) would it honestly be the worst thing in the world to be surrounded by loving friends as you head into the Great Unknown?

    Dying alone is not your problem. Living a life of shit and misery NOW is. I don’t know much about Zimbabwea economies (aside from the 5000% inflation!) but you are going to have to use some spit and glue, and make it work, damn it. Move if you have to do so. Whatever it takes, but put on your running shoes and-


    • Great post, Sabine. Been There deserves better than a lifetime nightmare rollercoaster ride of fear and terror, dealt with by smoking on the hopium pipe.

  • Been there – You are afraid of dying alone. Oh sweets you are already alone and staying with this man is likely to cause you to die before your time. He’s not emotionally or mentally connected to you, so you are alone, very alone in this marriage. And him leading a double life, will take a toll on your entire being, and all the stress is likely to cause you to develop an illness and die before your time. So if you stay with him, you may very well die alone. But if you leave him, you increases your chances of finding freedom, your health, and happiness. And there’s another part of this equation you didn’t look at, there’s a huge chance your husband will abandon and leave you. He already has 1 foot out the door, porking another woman and has a child with her. It may be a matter of time, before he deserts you for good. You should leave him, before he leaves you for good.

    • Brilliant insight Kellia- You are already alone. Wow. That was spot on.

  • PS you were TWENTY NINE and only 5 years married when this nonsense started. It really shows how many years WE waste, with our wishing and hoping. Like Unicornnomore up there, I wasted 7 years of my life, years of terrible pain and humiliation, why? Because I couldn’t imagine life without him, because we had small children. A waste! A waste of youth, of time, of money.

  • Been There–My serial cheater had sporadic bursts of bad behavior throughout the marriage (sometimes connected to affairs, I now know, but often just selfishness & poor impulse control). I would threaten to leave because I couldn’t take it anymore. He would promise to change, and would behave for a few months, then the cycle would start all over again.

    They never change.

  • Great lines here: “Be a pioneer!” We’re all pioneers, changing the dialogue on cheating.

    And sorry to say, BT, aren’t you already alone, even if your “husband” is with you? We’ve all experienced these Cake Eaters. You’re alone even if he’s within your house. They’re not present in any marriage.

  • Been There – Do yourself A Favor – get rid of this guy. I’d “been there” for over 30 years. I waited for my abusive ex to change. He could be so wonderful – and then the other side would surface. I kept thinking that if I did something different, his “good” side would take over the bad. It never did. It NEVER DOES. This is a cycle THEY live in. DO NOT WASTE ANYMORE OF YOUR PRECIOUS TIME.

  • Jeff:

    Because the facts point otherwise. These site is not chock full of men wringing their hands and eating shit sandwiches over their cheating wives. Men are the outliers. I will reread your post, but based on my experience (and shocker, I am a lawyer who has handled many divorces) it is the women who smoke the hopium pipe.

  • Lawyer? Facts? That is the qualifier? Ugh, okay. Here is a reality check. Men and women cheat.

    • That was a bunch of insane word salad previously. Deleted. Blocked.

      No one argues otherwise here — cheating is a character thing. Not a gender thing.

    • Well, bully for them, Jeff. But you left out a very important word for your argument: ALL. Not ALL men and women cheat. I would rather be around the ones who don’t. I would also rather be on my own than be around the ones that do. So pay for the contract YOU broke, give me my half and then run off with your dick into the sunset. Bye!

  • Gender rolling????

    “But, most chimps are self esteem deficient – overweight, let yourself go, verbally abused and enasculated your man because you are bitter that has nothing to do with him? This is not a you made him cheat, but, most women are great on them being “happy” a part of the inherent princess complex.”

  • Yup, they don’t change. I have 27 years of pick me dancing and it really is very cyclical. Mine was on a 6 to 8 week cycle. Even he knew it. They don’t change, all they do is take your precious life. Run, be a pioneer, be part of a world wide movement that is changing the narrative on cheating and abuse. Kick him to the curb, and let him cheat on his OW.

  • Dear Been There,

    Don’t be like me and lose 40 FREAKING YEARS of your life staying with a completely self-absorbed man who had nothing better to do than to invent new and improved ways to eat cake, all while expertly disrespecting me and try to calculate his next trip to the cake bakery.

    Though I don’t agree with everything he said above, I do concur with Jeff that infidelity is ALWAYS a choice. It’s never an accident or something that “just happens” while you’re out walking the dog or picking up a loaf of bread at the store. Your man knows exactly what he’s doing, how to play you (and all of his other ladies) and still end up with sex, food on the table, clean clothes and a soft place to sleep.

    No person in a marriage can claim to be innocent when trouble comes. For 40 years, I did my best to love my man, honor him, respect him, bear and raise his 3 children, care for his personal needs, bring income into our household, keep our home clean and running smoothly, prepare nutritious meals, be an attentive companion and generally make his life much easier. Still, I wasn’t the perfect wife; that’s because I’m human, not a robot or an android or a computer program. However, my imperfections were not even close to being enough of a reason for him to go outside our marriage multiple times to eat cake. I stupidly stayed and stayed and stayed…for the children, out of loyalty to him, because I was scared to death I couldn’t make it on my own, I was afraid of being judged by others, for financial stability, and the list goes on…

    Now, at the age of 61, almost 4 years after he bailed out and 1 year after our divorce was finalized, I love the fact that I no longer have to walk on eggshells, just waiting for the next threat, the next door slam, the next slice of cake to whet his whistle. No more pretending to marvel at his high level of personal integrity, no more fear of not being able to survive financially without him, and best of all, no more worries that I was truly unlovable and would be all alone in this world. As soon as he left to bite into his newest dessert, my friends, my family and my church all rallied around me, supporting me and loving me in ways I never expected. For the first time, I realized I’d been “alone” for years, even when he and I were sleeping in the same bed. Now that I am on my own, the peace, serenity and freedom are overwhelming.

    I’m not sure if you can get this book where you live, but I highly recommend “Love Must Be Tough” by Dr. James Dobson ( After my ex left me (again), this time to be with his married coworker, my therapist recommended that I read it. Although it didn’t save my marriage, I still found it to be very helpful in teaching me how to stop being a cheap commodity, salvage what was left of my dignity and put healthy boundaries into place.

    • MYred: we have a similar story. I am one year post the final D day after a 35 year marriage and 40 year relationship, and waiting for the divorce decree. I have a huge amount of support from friends and family. I have days where I dance in my house and days when I cry. I’m working on it. I think when you are with someone so long, as we have, there is a withdrawal even though you don’t even like the person anymore. And the feeling that you were so disposable. But my eyes are no longer closed. They are looking towards the future.

      • Dear lostandfound: I would be the last one to minimize the pain that one can feel when any marriage ends, whether it’s been for 4 months or 40 years. As they say, the struggle is real.

        With that said, perhaps you agree that anyone who’s has been married for twice as long as they were single (met at 19, divorced at 60) finds themselves in a different category… estate plans are being firmed up, the big family home is being downsized, grown children are getting married, elderly parents are passing away, grandchildren are being born, retirement is just around the next corner, 40th anniversary cruises are being planned.

        This is not just a “change in plans”, this is a change in your entire life as you know it. At least it was for me. I not only wept over the enormous betrayal of the moment (gee, did I ever feel so stupid?), but I grieved over what the future might have brought for us as a couple. Watching the “What might have been” put up against a cement wall and pummeled with bullets by a firing squad was unspeakably difficult. I grieved – ferociously – for my marriage as a whole, despite its obvious dysfunction, much as I would have if my child had been taken from me.

        I still have days (though thankfully, they’re getting fewer and farther between) when I ask “Why?”, when my heart feels broken all over again, when I still don’t feel good enough, when I try to accept that my chances for finding love at this age are significantly reduced, when I feel myself sinking into negative self-talk, when I wake up at 3 am and realize I’ve been dreaming about him or when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to breathe the same air as he without getting physically sick… I initiated a strict No Contact rule halfway through our 3-year separation and it’s still in place almost 3 years later because I don’t trust myself around him; another one of our sons is getting married in a few months and if it’s as difficult and awkward as the first son’s wedding was, I’ll need tranquilizers, especially if he brings his latest cake as his Plus 1. My only goal is to remain calm and classy, no matter what.

        • myredsandals, I understand how you feel. My marriage imploded just as my kids were getting married and had moved away. The divorce impacts so much of our future time with our children and grandchildren, because not only do our kids have to split it with their in-laws, but they have to split it between me and their dad. That’s the part that makes me the angriest, because I was the one who was always there for the kids, while he was running around on “business trips” with OW.

          As for finding love, I don’t know that I even care about that any more because I’ve learned to love myself. It’s been an uphill battle because I was so decimated by the time our marriage ended that there was hardly any of me left. My friends say I’m so different now, much more open, that I laugh a lot more, and I’m a lot more confident.

          However, what they don’t know is that I often think about my ex, and dream about him a lot. I wish I could get him out of my head, or at least reduce the significance of his role in my life. It’s just hard when you’ve spent more years of your life with a person than without them. It would have been so much easier if he’d died, because then I’d still have the support of love his family, who also a part of my life for 36 years. It’s hard to feel left out of their celebrations, which I used to enjoy so much.

          Anyway, I went through a wedding for one of my children after we were divorced. It took a mild tranquilizer to cope, but it worked like a charm. I felt completely at peace and enjoyed myself. On the other hand, my ex was a basket case. So do what you need to do to be comfortable and at the wedding. Deciding to stay calm and classy is a great idea. My kids are always telling me how much better I’m doing since our divorce than my ex is. They say I’m the stronger one, but they thought their dad was the strong one when they were growing up. Heck, I didn’t even know I had the ability to survive on my own before this happened.

          Hang in there!

          • Lyn, you are so right about having to split the time when our grown children come for a visit. Half (more than half, actually) goes to the DIL’s parents in another state, and then the leftovers are divided between me and my ex. For the last 2 Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday seasons, I had my kids for just 2 days out of 14. I honestly can’t blame them… everything’s changed and who the hell would want to deal with their parents’ divorce?

            You’re also right on when you said it would’ve been easier if the ex would’ve died rather than left. Death is finite, and there’s no hope of resurrection (at least not until Jesus comes again). But if he’s still breathing, walking around and holding someone else’s hand (or more), it’s harder for some to get closure… he’ll come to the next wedding, he’ll be there for the next grandchild’s birth, he might even be in the same hardware store when you run in for gardening gloves.

            At our first son’s wedding (in a different state than we live in), we naturally hosted the rehearsal dinner, and he sat right next to me and acted like we were still very much a couple (we were still married, but definitely not a couple), pulling out my chair, refilling my glass, putting his arm on the back of my chair, asking me if I was enjoying my meal… At the wedding, we sat in the front row as parents customarily do. As the pastor was guiding my son and DIL through their vows, my ex grabbed my hand, pulled it into his lap and entwined his fingers in mine, just like we’d done for 40 years. I was so taken aback, I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing out of fear of making a scene. At the reception, we were seated next to each other at the table; I tried to focus on everyone else but him, and the silence between us was palpable… As my son and I were finishing an emotional Mother-Son dance, my ex stopped me before I could retake my seat, whisked me back out on to the dance floor and danced with me while everyone who knew what was going on between us sat there and stared, flabbergasted. Then we had to endure the long car ride back to our rented apartment, lodging that was committed to while we were still together (backing out would have been a huge financial loss). For the duration of our time there, we went to restaurants together (he always chose the seat next to mine), helped me prepare meals, carried my luggage, bought groceries, etc., just like any “normal” couple. While I love my son, and am thrilled by his marriage to my amazing DIL, I could hardly wait to get back home and be away from the suffocating hypocrisy with my ex. I don’t think he played nice with me because he was having second thoughts about leaving; I think he was merely trying to show everyone what a good guy he was, that he was still “taking care of me”, even though he imploded our family….

            Now, we have another wedding coming up. We are officially divorced and at my request, have zero contact (and strangely, he can’t figure out why). We are splitting the cost of the rehearsal dinner down the middle (sending separate checks to the kids), and rather than having to plan the event with my ex, I’ve asked our son and future DIL to make the arrangements for the restaurant so all I have to do is show up. I presume I’ll still sit next to my ex at the wedding (front row, of course), but have asked the kids to seat us at different reception tables. I just pray my ex has some measure of class and doesn’t bring his whore with him… Ironically, the officiate for my first son’s wedding and again this second wedding is my ex’s former longtime BFF (this man is like my brother from another mother); when my ex left me, he also left everyone from our life together, including this best friend, who told him he was making a big mistake by leaving me and pursuing a divorce. My ex didn’t like anyone getting in his face about his crappy choices, so, he cut them off. Totally off. This BFF hasn’t seen/spoken to my ex in 2 1/2 years and he, too, has gone through his own grieving process of sorts because of it. Like me, he’s trying to figure out how to be calm and classy toward my ex, especially since he has such a visible role as the officiate. We’ll know how it goes in 116 days.

            • Dear Red Sandals,
              I wish you could find a great looking gentleman to accompany you, as a friend or more, to the next wedding. I think it would help and act as a buffer and a healthy sedative. If you have to sit next to him, you would have your ally to lean on, make small talk and not focus on the cheater and his accomplice! It would be about your son and enjoying the evening. I admire your courage and strength. You have conducted yourself with class.

              • SabineSavo: Oh yes, how I wish a dashingly handsome and charismatic man would be available to escort me to the wedding. My ex’s mouth would probably drag on the floor all night, and you’re right, it would serve as a delightful buffer to the awkward situation I find myself in. Friends have suggested I go online and find a “wedding buddy” but I have not yet started dating (yes, I know it’s been almost 4 years) and the thought of it scares me to death.

          • myredsandals and Lyn, I applaud you both! As difficult as it is to attend an event with an ex-spouse and his guest in attendance, being mindful of your children’s emotional needs on their wedding day is a superb wedding present to them. What strength of character you both must have, and I feel certain that you earned much respect for your supremely classy behavior. Red, please don’t dread the upcoming event, but welcome it as yet another time you can let your strength and grace shine through.

            • ColdTurkey, thanks… staying classy when faced with someone who’s not has been a challenge, but I’m doing my best. Despite having to “spend time” (more like “endure”) with my ex, I *am* looking forward to the wedding. My son is a wonderful guy and he chose well in his fiancée. I’ve also been to her parents’ home for Thanksgiving and Christmas (ha, my ex wasn’t invited); they are great folks and we all get along quite well. Peace and harmony are a gift!

              • Perhaps you could post the date and general vicinity of your Son’s wedding and a fellow chump gentleman would be able and willing to accompany you as your escort for the evening. Who better to help you buffer and deflect any attempt for kibbles than someone else who recognizes the behavior and can give you as much moral support as you need to get through the event, especially if EXH brings a “guest”. Who knows, seeing you with another man, and he doesn’t need to know that you are just platonic friends, will have the added bonus of driving him nuts with the idea that you have someone new in your life. 🙂

          • RedSandals. “(met at 19, divorced at 60) finds themselves in a different category… estate plans are being firmed up, the big family home is being downsized, grown children are getting married, elderly parents are passing away, grandchildren are being born, retirement is just around the next corner, 40th anniversary cruises are being planned.”

            This really hit home. Yup, that’s me and 60 next month.
            The majority of my life was spent with him and that definitely seemed to bring me down even more — the plans we actually didn’t make for retirement, however, were oddly missing. (said he just wanted to work the rest of his life – wth?) He quit doing so much with me and didn’t want to go on any road trips like we used to. Hell, used to hit Hawaii every year to dive. Haven’t been there in 20 yrs. He started changing 3 yrs prior to the divorce. When I suggested a trip because I knew things were going downhill (due to his unknown cheating at that pt) he told me fine, go by yourself. So, I did.

            But, yeah, the big house, our intensely close families and all the offspring that we knew so well – all gone from the future, for him anyway.
            Thankfully, we were closer to his my family than his own narc family. Have no idea if any of his family besides his mother are even talking to him now – they all sort of liked me, I guess, and he is no longer admired as the oldest sibling in his family.

            In fact, he left all his friends behind too so I have no idea where his social circle will come from. He works from home and doesn’t use the internet after hours.

            Anyway, I thought I’d die at the prospect of living alone. At least I had my 4 dogs but I was scared shitless to be on my own and I’m a pretty independent woman but it took baby steps. One day at a time and I moved like a zombie going forward. Looked at a house to buy. Didn’t look at any others because the first one turned out to be the one! Lucky me. Started the remodel on it. Got the other house ready to sell, slowly getting all the crap out of it, one day at a time. At least it kept me distracted….and then, before I knew it, I got moved out of the big house into my downsizer and here I am. 1-1/2 yrs divorced and it’s been a tough 2 years having to deal with him until that house sold. But – as of 2 days ago, I am fully N/C and I am totally loving life. I have an active social life (without dating, thank you) as I stayed in our small town and still friends with everybody.

            Been There – YOU CAN DO THIS. We have all had to do this, find our legs and it’s unbelievable the strength you find yourself with when you have just your own two legs supporting you. You are a survivor and in charge of your destiny. You also sound strong to me and so many of us just weren’t and lived to regret it. I don’t want to regret anything else going forward in my life.

            Please take care of yourself! {Hugs}

            • Shechump: My story is somewhat similar to yours… My ex moved out, went to his mommy’s house (MIL from hell) and for 6 months, he slept in what I call a “hotdog bed” (still has firm sides but worn out in the middle, so you roll into the center like a hotdog); definitely better than what he deserved…he couldn’t move in with his married girlfriend as I suppose her hubby wouldn’t have been too happy. We sold the sizeable “empty nester” family home and put everything in storage. I began looking for a small house to buy, but inventory was non-existent. So I lived in a friend’s unoccupied townhouse for 7 weeks before that place was sold, then I moved to an apartment for 10 months. Near the end of the lease, I called my realtor and said I was ready for Round #2. First house we looked at had only been on the market for 12 hours. It was perfect for me, so I snapped it up! Had 6 weeks to go on the apartment lease; spent that time renovating the new place so it reflected all of me and none of him. Closed out the 2 storage units, moved everything into my basement, went through every single box alone, emailed photos of everything to him, gladly gave him the 17 things he asked for (including his high school yearbooks, a scratched mirror, a used wastebasket, a small carpet, 2 books and a set of steak knives), plus many other items I didn’t want to keep but couldn’t throw out (including photos albums of when we dated in college, stacks of his love letters, photos of his late (very sweet) father and various gifts he gave me), and then took truckloads of other stuff to Goodwill. The ex signed away his dower rights (Ohio law) and executed a Quit Claim Deed so I never have to worry about him getting his hands on my house. I moved in exactly 2 years ago this week and still LOVE it! Can’t imagine ever having the ex inside my peaceful sanctuary; somehow, his presence would defile it.

              The ex’s social network was pretty much OUR social network. When he booted me, he booted all of them and then blamed them for dumping him! His BFF (like a brother to both of us) officiated Son #1’s wedding, and then 2 weeks later, the ex booted him, too; it’s now been 2 1/2 years since their “divorce” and the BFF and I are as close as ever. Now the BFF is also going to officiate Son #2’s wedding in a few months. Should be an interesting dynamic as we’ll all be in the same place at the same time (my No Contact rule means I haven’t seen my ex, except for 30 minutes in divorce court that I’d rather forget, for 3 years).

              I felt totally vindicated when all of our friends, his BFF and even some of his own relatives thought he was a dumbest shit alive for leaving me after 40 years and 3 kids; no one could talk him out of taking his ill-fated trip across the bridge to nowhere. So they immediately circled the wagons around me and have never left; maybe he didn’t count on that happening and he was shocked to find himself dangling alone in the wind… or maybe he doesn’t give a crap. I can only think of one guy (another cake eater) who seems to have stayed by his side. So I imagine his circle of friends is quite small, but perhaps all the sex his cake is giving him somehow makes up for it.

        • myredsandals, “With that said, perhaps you agree that anyone who’s has been married for twice as long as they were single (met at 19, divorced at 60) finds themselves in a different category… estate plans are being firmed up, the big family home is being downsized, grown children are getting married, elderly parents are passing away, grandchildren are being born, retirement is just around the next corner, 40th anniversary cruises are being planned.

          This is not just a “change in plans”, this is a change in your entire life as you know it. At least it was for me. I not only wept over the enormous betrayal of the moment (gee, did I ever feel so stupid?), but I grieved over what the future might have brought for us as a couple. Watching the “What might have been” put up against a cement wall and pummeled with bullets by a firing squad was unspeakably difficult. I grieved – ferociously – for my marriage as a whole, despite its obvious dysfunction, much as I would have if my child had been taken from me.

          I still have days (though thankfully, they’re getting fewer and farther between) when I ask “Why?”, when my heart feels broken all over again, when I still don’t feel good enough, when I try to accept that my chances for finding love at this age are significantly reduced, when I feel myself sinking into negative self-talk, when I wake up at 3 am and realize I’ve been dreaming about him or when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to breathe the same air as he without getting physically sick… ”

          It’s hard to have younger people, even though I’m only 50, to understand the amount of grief that the future that you were “counting” on, after 20+ years of marriage for me, would cause you so much grief. I had never planned on growing old alone, we were finally going to “see” our children go out and make lives for themselves, marriage, their starting their own families, them making their lives, us helping them with things that happen in life. “We” were going to plan “our” childless lives together, taking the vacations, the cruises, the home to ourselves lives, planning for the retirement years together. Everything just blown to pieces, because x wanted to be “young” again! Sorry motherf*er, you will never be young again, life doesn’t work that way for any of us.

          • Very well stand Flutterby – standing ovation from the older crowd here.

          • This all resonates with me as my cheater and I were married for nearly 41 years by the time the divorce was final. My asshat had the audacity to wonder if out four kids were going to plan a 40th wedding anniversary party for us. I don’t know why he would have even cared as I found out later, he had been just starting his affair just shy of out 39th anniversary! Who knows what goes on in the entitled mind of a cheater. Mine also lost interest in doing anything or going anywhere with me. He said he didn’t want to drive all the time on his days off. Funny…he seemed to never be able to tell me exactly how much “vacation” time he had but once he started banging Schmoopie (who lives four hours away in a different state) he would take up to ten days at a time off and would take every Friday and Monday off to drive to her condo! He even made plans for a vacation to Hawaii with me during one of his false reconciliations. He left (again) nine days later and I cancelled the trip and recouped what I could of the money. I surely wasn’t going to watch Schmoopie go in my place!!! I swear these cheaters use a playbook that we have not read!

            • BTW, I am also 60 now and feel like I was thrown away after a lifetime of sacrifice! I dreamed our retirement would be a return on all the shit I did without during our marriage, but alas, NO! Reminds me of the t-shirts you get that read, ” my family went to ( insert great destination) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt”. Well mine will read, ” I gave 41 years to my husband, family, and marriage and all I got was this shit sandwich!”

              • Well said roberta. I feel the same way. 61 here. 30 years and thrown away like garbage for him to have different new and exciting relive his youth. Ha broken down old man cause he is. All my hopes, dreams, and future crushed for a tubby with money who kisses his feet. No offense against anyone. None of my kids wants marriage after what dad pulled. They were and still are shocked.

    • Yes! No more hanging on his every word listening to the constant drivel. Or repeating himself ten times and angerly quick to point put anyone else if they repeat themselves even once. No more responding to every word when a nod or a look will suffice. No more listening to anger of every little thing that bugs him. No more dealing with no patience and supposing to know what he wants before he does. No more listening to every little ache and pain and sleep patterns and how life sucks and everything is against him. No more listening to how everyone in life has dissappointed him and let him down except whore juice her perfectness and her perfect family. Shes since proved that wrong. No more fuck its raining, fuck theres a customer on the phone. Fuck my kids didnt turn how like he wanted. No more listening about his best friend whos a phony and cheater complainer like him. They are bros before hos guys but this friend fucked his first wife before they were divorced and tried to entice our daughter into a relationship with him! His best fucking friend. This friend changed her diapers. Daughter wont go near this friend now. She cant bear to tell her dad i will when i leave. No more walking on eggshells no more being vented at no more being blamed for everything that went and goes wrong in his life. He didnt used to be this way met whore juice he let the demons out and she encourage it bad boy exciting! Assholes the lot of them. Just call me miss no more!

      • MissNoMore:

        I swear you just described 13 years with The Evil One to a T, except for the BFF hitting on your daughter part, and how he wasnt always like your ex- is now…. in my case, TEO was always like that, still is.

        I’m a year out, but some days I m feel like it just started…then I remind myself that Im free and clear, Mrs.Dumb-Ass offered a better deal, or is more sparkly than I can ever be, but at least he’s out of my hair!!!

        I am grateful that he’s gone, just still so angry HOW and WHY he left. Does that make sense???

        • Makes perfect sense unsinkable. We have big huge understanding supportive trusting hearts. They dont. Just have nasty aps. They are truly the culture of evil. No asswipe never said a mean word or treated me badly til whore juice appeared. Then no holds barred. I will never understand how people can change that quickly and that badly. Fuck them bastards and bitches.

  • My stbx was cheating for three years when I found out about it and it dragged out another five years while I danced and waited for him to pick me. My heart was broken and there were days I had trouble getting out of bed to go to work. I almost lost my job. And even with all the dancing, at the end, guess who he chose? The OW. I know this is lucky for me but I spent 40 years with this guy. I will say that distance creates clarity and I can now see who he truly is. Someone above said: true men stand by their families, honor their vows, tell the truth. What you and I and the rest failed to see when we were in it- the total lack of character, abject selfishness and lack of commitment. The very act of cheating is a purposeful decision to dishonor and hurt you. You just weren’t/aren’t that important. My stbx’s family also ‘love’ the OW and my father in law even left a message on MY answering machine (thinking it was the OW’s because his brain is swiss cheese) telling the OW how wonderful she is and how she is such a great addition to the family. My point: I wasted 40 years (including the 5 years prior to marriage) on this asshole. I had a (wonderful) child with him. My stbx not only hurt and abandoned me; he has seen our son only once in a year. Someone told me recently to stop being a punching bag. I am trying to do that and have been no contact for a little more than a year (when HE stopped talking to ME because he couldn’t face the mess he left behind). At the end, at least I was smart enough to not let him live with me during the last year of this nonsense. Back and forth he went between us for five years – five wasted and torturous years. You are young. Being alone is better than having a snake in your bed. And you could be like me (DON’T BE LIKE ME!). You can do all the dancing and he will leave anyway. On bad days, I think he and the OW are as happy as can be. But history has a tendency to repeat itself. Bad character just doesn’t go away. And I don’t plan on sharing what I know about him with her so it will be fun to see if she gets the same treatment I did. You may be alone for awhile but there is peace in having him gone and I hope that someday there will be happiness.
    You are mighty. You will be fine.

    • So true that history will repeat itself. Everything is honky dory with him & OW at the moment, always is at the beginning with a narc, but his real self will come through and who knows maybe OW is even a bigger defect and may even make HIS life hell. After all she did fool around with a married man.

    • This.

      Been There, when you think this feels like end of the world, think of him as a spidery addled monkey swinging endlessly between two trees, unable to decide which tree has more fruit.

      The tree of you is laden with golden, ripe sweet fruit. But this fruit is for you, and for some tender future that will only happen if you knock this dumb monkey out.

  • Let me give you some good news, BT. You’re 35. Imagine finding out about your husband at 55 or 65. You have a long life in front of you. You have time to rebuild that life. You’ve spent a considerable proportion of your adult life with this man and he still treats you appallingly. People in his position often behave like they do because they calculate that they can get away with it. Up until now that’s been true. Don’t put up with it anymore. Try not to be too concerned about the judgement of others. You gave this marriage your best shot. If anyone judges you negatively on the basis of what you have shared here that reflects very poorly on them, not you.
    I wish you all the very best.

  • BT,,

    Big hugs to you. You’ve been with your husband for 11 years. Ask yourself, “Do I want to spend 11 more years like this?” Emphasis on “I” because as hard as it may be, you do have the power to change your life and find your happy. But remember, you are never alone. Once you are out there, you may discover many more in your area just like you.

  • It’s impossible to live a full life when you live with a spouse playing the game of will I stay or will I go. It’s hell. End the game for him, kick his ass out. I would say he has the emotional maturity of a small child, but that would be an insult to small children.

    We are not one of many options for our spouse to choose from, and if you become one, remove yourself from the list of choices.

  • Hello Been There, I hope you can get away from this horrible man, you have some unique challenges in your country. Women’s rights are not so good :(. I’m sure there are more resources out there but I wanted to leave a few for you that may help in leaving this man.

    You need a lawyer:
    You need support: and

    Jedi Hugs! I hope you get free of this sham of a marriage! Sometimes being ‘alone’ romantically is a very good thing.

  • BT, I can’t even imagine how painful it must be to know your husband has fathered a child with another woman while he was pretending to be married to you. My heart goes out to you and all our fellow chump nation-ers who’ve suffered / are suffering this. To also know that the OW and OC have been welcomed into the in-law family. OMG, that must be horrendous. How you can find the strength to be sociable with these people – I really don’t know.

    Walking away from this mess, and all the love and tolerance you’ve already invested, is bloody hard – it really is, but sometimes you’ve just got to tear that bandaid right off, let the air get to the wound. Rest assured that your commitment to stopping the abuse, getting yourself free from his contempt, will be showing a level of bravery he couldn’t even aspire to. He’s a rank coward. A spineless little shit.

    As already suggested, pioneer away. Help other women suffering abuse to be able to look at your society and not instantly think ‘we always stay, no matter how bad it is’ – be the role model that helps another hurt woman free herself.

    I wish you strength and peace x

  • BT, you are young and you have so much wonderful life ahead of you, if that is what you want. You say you fear dying alone. We all die alone and it has to be better than having someone with you who is wishing you dead. I always knew in my heart that should I become sick, I was never going to tell my ex husband because he would have been thrilled to know he would be free of me sooner rather than later. I was married for 37 years with a 46 year friendship with my ex and I slaved my insides out for him and our 2 kids hoping that he would see my worth and appreciate and love me but no, he just used me as a prop and cover for his devious thoughts and outside wants. Leaving is not an easy decision as all Chumps will agree with but the 1st painful step will be worth it. Trust yourself and walk away into a better future and life. ((HUGS TO YOU))

    • Great advice, Maree! I also used to feel that my husband would be happy if I died because then he could have the kind of woman he always wanted, which wasn’t me. Now I can’t believe I stayed with someone that made me feel that way.

      BT, you probably feel more alone in your marriage than you will on your own. When you’re on your own, YOU will be in charge of your life, not him. It’s a wonderful feeling, even though it’s scary.

  • Dear Been There, I am There too, but a little beyond it. My faith does not allow divorce, and my child’s father divorced me badly. Everyone else in my family and community is married, and I feel the isolation of it almost daily.

    But I live in my house with my child and I am able to work to support us both. I have faith and I have good, friendly people in our lives. It has been a raw 8 years but I finally realize I am happy. I miss the comfort of a husband and the social and financial protections of a marriage, but I see how strong I am without the help — or hassle — of a man. It’s not the life I wanted or ever thought I would have, but, I am happy.

    This may be a time of manless-ness meant to show you how strong and beautiful you are, on your own. If I can do it, you can do it. The hardship may hurt and be full of self doubt, or even doubt from outside, but this hard time will not last forever.

    I have faith in you, woman. You protect yourself, and you hold yourself apart and high. Other commenters are telling you to leave him; I am telling you that you can, and that even if it is hard at first, you will discover all the good and strong and beautiful in you, and you will shine. (((HUGS)))

  • I was watching a video from a few days back. In one he said there was a study with a young toddler in that they left the toddler in a room full of toys and so forth. The toddler would venture out and move around the room exploring if Mom stayed in the room with him. Mom did nothing but be in the room, she provided no assistance or reassurance. However, when Mom left the room, the toddler would become paralyzed. Nothing in the room changed other than Mom was not in the room with him.

    I think, in your situation (all of our situations really) this holds true from both the chump and the cheater. We are the same coin but on different sides of that same coin. We can never unify this way but are stuck on that same coin.

    It is codependency. Fear.

    No amount of logic will break you from this cycle. It really takes a lot of self work. ALOT. And it will be very uncomfortable for you to work through this to release yourself from this cycle. Of course, your “society” wants you to stay put.. Oh the chaos we all would have to face if everyone began to do the work. The smoke screen would come down and we would all have to face FEAR.

    I cannot recommend enough that you watch stop being a victim part 2 of I then all the videos on emotions and what they are and how to see them and be with them.

    Breaking the cycle will be horrific, hard, uncomfortable, it will feel like there is just no reason to live on. But when you do it, really do it… it is sooooooooo beautiful on the other side.

  • So the next time he says he’s going, let him go. Put all his belongings on the doorstep, change your locks, block him on your phone.

    You’re just his “wife appliance”; he only turns you on when he wants to.

    DTMFA (Dump The Mother F**ker’s A**) Your life will be so-o-o-o much better without him in it.

  • Suggestion, make him mad so he leaves you for the other woman again. Since he has moved out get an attorney and file divorce papers and state he has already moved out and provide the address to the other woman’s residence. This way HE CAN’T MOVE BACK IN lol!

    Then you get to live in your place till the divorce and he has to keep paying the bills since his name is on the mortgage.

  • OK, if he admits to cheating six years out of eleven, more than half your marriage, he has been cheating the whole time . dump him.

    Baby with a whore. Dump him.

    Family who accepts a whore. Now you know where he gets it. Dump them ALL!!!! Nothing for you in this marriage.

    • Yep. Kind of made me understand where he gets it from the way my ex-MIL talked to me after things went south with my ex. She got kind of verbally abusive – like my ex. She tried to browbeat and control me during the proceedings – like her son. Made me not so sad to lose her as well as my ex. My ex’s father, on the other hand, sent me a birthday card that said “hang in there” on it. His mom divorced his dad due to the dad’s mental illness and then married someone else. His dad always was a nice guy. Made me wonder if the real story involved his mom cheating on his dad too…

  • Lothos, that wouldn’t work in NY. Even if he leaves the marital home, he can come back in again. I know this the hard way.

    • I called an Officer friend who works with domestic squabbles. He said, “You want the abuser to leave.
      If he won’t, get a deadbolt and a dummy door knob, replace the existing door knob with the deadbolt or install a chain-bolt with a screwdriver on your bedroom door. If the abuser breaks it down, take pictures.”
      Basically, if you leave the house, you may lose everything because in this cop’s experience, possession is 9/10ths of the law, and few people take the time to help the victim reclaim rights.
      He said to call the police if there is any violence or sexual abuse and to avoid talking with the abuser (because you can never see eye to eye with someone who has set up a domination dynamic). He said to prosecute, prosecute, prosecute.
      He said to write down the names of the police involved and to record interactions, jic.
      He said to be polite with the police no matter what happens, and eventually the system will work in your favor. Best wishes to stuck chumps everywhere!

    • lostandfound – ‘Lothos, that wouldn’t work in NY. Even if he leaves the marital home, he can come back in again. I know this the hard way.”

      Actually, not if they steal something from you or threaten you in anyway, you can change the locks on them, and I know this the hard way too. :-/
      I’m sure that applies in every state.

      Oregon here.

      • Problem is she is in South Africa. Very different culture and laws, non of which are in the favor of the women.

        • I wonder if there are any attorneys that provide free consultations in South Africa. If not, maybe there are some that would provide free consultations over the phone or internet. I wonder if you could even look up South African laws on the internet to figure out the best course of action in leaving.

    • That’s the point of filling the divorce papers immediately after he leaves. That he moved out and left you alone in the marital home. If it is a rental property even easier then. Goto the landlord and have his name removed from the lease. Problem solved! He can’t come back.

      My x moved out and as soon as she did I changed all the dam locks and filed separation papers. She could not come back in and it was labeled as if she had abandoned the property.

      The other option she has is as soon as he moves out to file the separation papers, if he comes back that’s fine but you ask the court for the home until the final divorce and explain to the judge he moved back in because she filed. Judge will then order him to move back out to start the separation process. Under any scenario it is a win for the person who remains in the property.

      Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

      • Good point. Maybe I should have filed for divorce as soon as my ex left for the weekend to go to a wedding with the other woman.

  • Dear Been There, so very sorry you have been hurt and disrespected in this way. As Limey Chump says, the good news is that you are 35. This cheater is not the only man in the world. One of the hardest aspects of divorce is the social shame and sense of failure we feel when a marriage ends this way. But you’ve done all you can to save your marriage. You can’t save a marriage when your husband has a child with another woman and his family accepts her as part of their family unit. There’s nothing to work with there.

    I’d say 4 years is long enough to learn whether he is going to “change” and become a faithful husband. The verdict is in: NO. He won’t change with you. It may take a few years, but it will be apparent that he’s not any better for anyone else either. You were in the dark about his cheating for a long time, so don’t assume because you don’t hear anything that he doesn’t have yet another woman on the side.

    CL gave wonderful advice about managing the cultural issues of divorce in your country. Those things won’t change unless individual women stand up and refuse to be abused in the way your husband is abusing you. I am sure you aren’t alone; there are other women experiencing the same thing. And the world is full of people and animals to love who will love you back. You don’t need those people to be life partners. You just need them to be kind, honorable, and capable of love.

  • I used a search engine “how to keep my dog from humping everything”… It was interesting. My favorite advice, “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘No!’ to the doggy.”
    As with all pets, reward good behavior. You are the reward. Your voice. Your time. Your experience. Your love and devotion.

    • Haha. My parents had a minister visit the house many years ago. The dog humped the pastor’s leg. They got the dog fixed. That solved his need to hump everything. God bless Benji. He’s in heaven now, but he was a good, patient dog with us kids.

  • BT – I stand here today about two years from D-Day and a little more than one year from finalizing my divorce. I was devastated upon learning of my wife’s serial infidelity over 20 years, and that one of her affairs was four to six years. In fact, she brought the man to our home during the day when the kids and I were gone. This, the home where we were raising our children. Nothing was sacred.

    Still, as astonishing as it now sounds to say, I tried to reconcile. Half a year. I think some of the reasons included the same fears you feel, as well as some harmful people telling me that she was still attractive and that if I didn’t just forgive and forget it that she would be snapped up by some doctor and live well, draw half my pension, and I would end up in an apartment eating TV dinners for the rest of my life and die alone. I was traumatized and afraid of what was going to happen to me, and those fears kept me paralyzed and clinging to hope for a while. Like you, I was also afraid of losing her to someone else who would benefit from her having “seen the error of her ways” (at my expense) and becoming the perfect wife.

    It did not take long for her true colors to show. She spoke to her former AP behind my back, called my boss after an argument and caused problems for me at work, and I STILL had to make myself push through with the divorce. I didn’t want it, but I knew it was THE ONLY HEALTHY DECISION I COULD MAKE.

    Today, I see her for the monster she really was, and realize she would have continued to peck at what little flesh was left on my bones until the day I died – and then collect the insurance money. Some days I still sting from the enormity of the betrayal, but I’m not afraid anymore and realize I saved myself from a relationship that would probably have killed me had I stayed. Its taken awhile, but the worst is over and I’m making progress every day. But it took standing up for myself and recognizing that I DESERVE BETTER, and whatever might lie ahead without her was going to be a damned sight better than the fate that awaited me with her. I would much rather die alone than with a POS cheater like her – and besides, I like TV dinners!

    Run like Hell sweetheart, and never look back or second guess a thing. Follow the signs that say “EXIT.” There’s a real life out there for you. Stare down your fear and go find it.

    • I was going to say…is a life of eating TV dinners in an apartment really THAT bad. I live in an apartment now. I thought about buying a house, but I’m really quite torn. The utilities, property taxes and cost to maintain a small house would be more than my rent + utilities. Plus, this small apartment is less to clean and I don’t have to mow the lawn or shovel snow. I don’t eat many TV dinners, because I try to cook. But, I do eat my dinners while watching Netflix. My friends are also way nicer to me than my ex ever was.

    • To JK: I did some of the same things you mentioned, including the insanity of trying to reconcile with my ex after learning about a long string of his extramarital affairs (including our children’s teenaged babysitter), some of which took place inside our marital home while I was out of town on business. Oh my, the havoc that fear, shame and shock can wreak on our lives.

      But as adults, you and I both know that life is all about compromise; sometimes, we have to give up something we really want in exchange for something that initially seems less savory, all in the name of salvaging our sanity. For me, the “less savory” option — living alone for the first time ever at age 57, being divorced at 60, accepting the reality that half the assets meant for retirement went out the door with him — actually turned out to be just what the Doctor ordered. While I had to give up some things that once seemed very important to me (i.e. the pleasure of creating gourmet meals for my ex every day, always having a willing partner for social engagements, fun road trips or trying new restaurants), many priceless and unexpected gifts came my way (i.e. seeing loyal friends/family circle the wagons around me, receiving tremendous support from my church community, rekindling hobbies that were shelved decades ago, spending time in volunteer opportunities that helped to fill my heart space, discovering the challenge and restorative powers of yoga, and best of all, being able to acknowledge that I can do lots of different things all by myself and be successful at them.

      If we’d stayed together, I am convinced my spirit would have disappeared entirely, never to be seen again. I did not ask to have my heart broken, to be disrespected, to be exposed to disease or to be tossed out like yesterday’s trash because someone else’s “grass” looked greener than mine. I didn’t deserve to be collateral damage when he conveniently forgot his marital commitment and instead, chose to ride the fickle winds of “feelings” that can change every 5 minutes.

      Yet, almost 4 years into this journey (separated for 3, divorced for almost 1), life is not all pink unicorns and pretty balloons; I still have things to figure out (i.e. why being a “Me” doesn’t yet feel as whole and complete as being part of a “We”, how to stop missing the feeling of protection I got from sleeping close to him, how to deal with the longing for comforting hugs and deep passionate kisses, how to get over my fear of dating; what if my picker is permanently broken and I pick another one like the ex?, eating most meals in front of the TV instead of in the dining room, etc.). But I remain optimistic that with time, these things will resolve themselves.

      In the meantime, my supporters tell me that I am a treasure… I’m beautiful and witty and smart and strong, I’m still incredibly positive after all of the turmoil, and I simply can’t allow myself to believe his lie that I wasn’t good enough. I *am* good enough, and so are we all! Bravo to you, JK, for making the decision to take care of yourself – you do deserve better!

  • You are deep in the classic cycle of abuse. The abnormal has become normalized to you and all you can feel is the pain. There is no future but more and worse pain if you stay with this man. If indeed you end up alone–IF–surely it is better than the certainty of this living death you are in. I was in your situation for eight months and it nearly killed me. I can’t imagine enduring what you are enduring and for so long. Please, extricate yourself. It is the only way. If you have no children with this beast, you are incredibly fortunate. You can do it. You have no choice, do you? The pain is no longer an option. Leave NOW.

  • Been There,
    I have been paying for daily therapy with someone who specializes in Pathological Relationships and Attachments via Skype to help me stay away from my dangerous drug addict cheater. Here are some of the take aways that I am learning that have helped me, and maybe will help you.

    Your feelings are not facts. Those panicked feelings (codependency) are a brain trick. You cannot trust your own feelings right now. You just have to act. You have to ignore your feelings completely. Those waves of panic, sadness, hope that he will change…it is all a big mind trick. You just have to act, and trust that your feelings that are calling you back to this abuse are FALSE.

    Pathological relationships cause brain trauma. Bizarrely, this horrible treatment (trauma) bonds us to our partner more! (Google Trauma Bonding). Your brain may have actually rewired or the chemistry may have changed and you can no longer think clearly regarding this “relationship.”

    This is not your fault. It has nothing to do with your intelligence, worth or sanity. This is a result of a sustained and brutal pattern of abuse and abandonment (also called gas lighting from a Bergman movie about a man intentionally driving his wife insane).

    You must act, and not think. Don’t analyze it anymore. You just have to ACT and have NO CONTACT WITH HIM.

    Read all of the CL’s posts on NC. They are brilliant…life saving.

    Remember this: Do not get caught up in “stuff”. A toaster oven is not worth your sanity. If you have to leave some things behind to get away from this freak, then let it go. It can be replaced. Your life cannot be replaced nor can the precious time that is slipping away. You do need a lawyer, and a helpful poster (these women are so KIND) found a link for you. Focus on the big rocks…money and property.

    Another point I learned from my therapy, and I am quite certain your “husband” is deeply disordered:

    He is sicker than you are smart.

    You cannot outwit him, outsmart him. Do not play Sherlock Holmes. Search CL’s site for the Pick Me Dance.
    This is not a battle you can win, or even want to fight. It is demeaning and doomed.

    I don’t want to overload you, but I wanted you to have the benefit of my therapy that I am immersed in and could now buy a small used car with what it has cost but it is worth it. I know you are in a place with limited resources and a peculiar, volatile environment right now that does not have a well established social support system.

    Get a cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy and just start pouring over this site. It is what has helped me THE MOST. Hard truths that will get your life back. CL’s writing will truly HELP YOU SEE.


  • So is rampant cheating part of the culture too? Stay and tough it out no matter how bad it gets is encouraged?

    What a special trap for keeping those uppity spouses who actually expect fidelity in line.

    Be a leader in the war against cultural ridiculousness. Lead by example and leave that puke of a husband of yours. Tell your story to everyone who will listen. You have a chance to save more people than just yourself from the EVIL of culturally accepted cheating spouses.

  • Sorry for being off topic, but after reading the posts here today, I’m curious what the majority of ages when the divorce happened is.
    It seems the 50-70 yr olds outweigh the younger ones. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m curious.

    59 here.

    • I was 28 when it was final, 27 when I left. He started only a couple of years into the marriage, as far as I know.

  • Not to highjack the thread! – but maybe a post for another day?

  • Been There – LEAVE HIM!!! You are MUCH, MUCH too good for him!! Someone will meet you, realize you are a gem, and keep you! BE STRONG!!! STAND UP FOR YOU!

  • Sending you hugs, Been There. I just want you to know that there are a whole bunch of people here on this site who care about you and who are on your side. We’ve been where you are and know how much it hurts. We are passing along our experience, strength and hope to let you know that it will get better. We, collectively have experienced every possible scenario having to do with being married to and then leaving a cheater. We have seen it, or done it all. There is much wisdom available here for the taking.

    Blessings to you, my dear. You deserve so much better treatment than what your husband is giving you. Time to dump him.

  • I wonder why it is an almost universal dream or nightmare of the chump that the cheater is somehow going to become a prince/princess to the OP? If that truly ever happened, then the chump would finally get “something” out of this change first and foremost. Let’s say that the cheater suddenly gets morals, integrity, loyalty, character, because he/she has changed for the new op. The first thing that would happen would be that the cheater would come to the chump in full remorse, not to return to the chump per se, but to truly apologize, to show true remorse, to try to make things as right as can be in the throes of divorce. cheater would agree to an absolutely fair, if not better for the chump, divorce settlement, there would be no game playing on the custody agreement, there would be absolute agreement that the kids health, mental health and general welfare were the most important thing that would change right away. They would become human. They would apologize for the years of lying, cheating, blameshifting and gaslighting, they would make no excuses for any of these things, they would try to make restitution for the family finances that they used for the secret phones, or dates, for the hotel rooms and the travel, for the gifts and other things that they used with the ap or ap’s. Those things and maybe more would happen if the cheater Suddenly became a better person. Then they would go on to the ap and make a life with them, knowing that they are a good person, flawed like other people but a good person all the way around.
    Instead what do we see on CN, but tons and tons, of the same story. The cheater goes off with the ap, they may or may not stay together, cheater will feel entitled to have another, “better” person and they will continue to be the sorry assed pieces of shit that they always were. Always shopping for the next “upgrade” or trade-in. There are billions of people on this planet, so true change and remorse, must happen every once in a while, but unfortunately, none of us poor chumps here on CN get to see this. But that’s ok, we don’t want the “broken toys” anymore, anyway.

    • I share your view on what this change for the better would look like and since it doesn’t happen I am happy to sail away without a backward glance. The way he treated me consistently during the relationship I never could do that to anyone. Therefore I make no excuses for his treatment. He did it on purpose ans sorry won’t change it. That he sustained it says it is just who he is. No epiphany coming.

    • I hear you. I had that fear. I thought my ex only asked me for an open marriage and then cheated after I said no, because I suck that bad. He later remarried someone else after breaking up with the OW. I thought I must really suck if he’s into monogamy now but couldn’t handle it when married to me. Well, it turns out he’s not into monogamy. He has an open marriage with the new wife and he really screwed it up by not abiding by the open marriage agreement. So, he’s still “cheating” even in an open marriage, because he can’t even handle abiding by that agreement. He’s still controlling and self-centered. He didn’t change for someone else. He’s just still into appearances. He did apologize to me when I had to inform him that I now have an STD (hpv). But, words are cheap. His actions say he’s still the same person. And, I may have my shortcomings, but I’m still the same strong and loyal woman I always was. His shit can’t take away my character and I know my friends appreciate that.

  • I repeat everything already said. I played the pick me (and our 4 kids) dance for 5 months after DDay before I booted STBXH of 25 years out. I continued to offer true reconciliation for another 7 months under conditions of 1) 80 percent of all assets and maintenance for life post nuptial; 2) complete end with OW including polygraphs for as long as I needed; 3) in patient drug and alcohol treatment followed by sobriety; and 4) intensive IC for a year with abstinence from all relationships BEFORE I would even entertain the idea of him as a suitor. He never took me up on my offer, which expired on 1/4/16 when I filed for divorce. It was a blessing! I’m steadily marching towards Meh.

    One additional comment to you, you only need ONE life partner, so do not worry if there do not seem to be many to chose from.

    Huge hugs to you from half-way around the globe!

  • Hi. Many hugs to you. You are still so young and he’s had an affair over half of your marriage. Just say: “NEXT”. Don’t wait till you are old and wrinkly to get out of this. You will regret all the time you’ve wasted on this man. Have you been happy the past 6 years? I don’t think so. Please don’t waste any more time. Find happiness and a man who loves and respects you (heal first. Hard but so worth it!). And when you do meet the right man you are going to wish you had not wasted so much time on your current dickhead!

  • Thank you chump lady and chump nation.I was not online yesterday so i am only seeing your responses now. I would have loved to respond yesterday. This is very helpful and eye opening. I am printing all your comments so that i keep reading them and reminding myself of all the things you have said. For those who wonder if we have children,yes,we have two children,12( girl) and 8 (boy) years old. I am working here in South Africa and whilst i may not afford the same lifestyle after divorce,i am able to live comfortable with my children.

    Some of you wondered if cheating is part of the culture here. Cheating is generally frowned upon but there is also a sense and/or acceptance that whilst cheating is wrong, men cheat and women should try their best to live with that,the rhetoric is “Dont leave your home for another woman” . A different set of standards applies for women. Women are not expected to cheat at all,if they do they should face the consequences which is often (not always) an end of the marriage.Men are generally not encouraged to stay in difficult marriages.

    • What a backwards crock of shit culture. Fuck that shit. “Culture” that oppresses women is bullshit and must be fought against tooth and nail. Who cares what these other people think or say? Let them talk, leave them to their ignorant culture bullshit. Rise up my friend, rise up and break your chains of oppression and stop allowing yourself to be devalued and dehumanized by this monster. Fight! Win! Conquer your fear! He will NEVER change. We who have been there can promise you that. Fight for your children, leave piece of shit dirtbags in the dust. Hold your head high, it’s time to be mighty and show the world the difference between RIGHT and WRONG.

      • In that culture, I’m sure there are plenty of women who would be jealous of a woman that had the courage to leave. I think the saying should be “If another woman wants your home, let her deal with the crap.” She’s not exactly walking into a great situation. I used to be jealous when I divorced that another woman would get to live in my house and sit in my spot during family get-togethers at my-inlaws’ house. Then, I realized that she was also getting overly rough sex, a husband who had no sense of fildelity and had no filter on his mouth (unfaithful and verbally abusive), and in-laws that could sometimes be a pain in my butt. I’ve gained a better life by leaving. While the other woman and my ex broke up, he later remarried another woman who now gets to deal with a lot of crap. Their marriage resembles a cross between the Jerry Springer show and a daytime Soap Opera. I’m now glad I opted out of that life.

    • Sometimes people surprise you in the most amazing ways. I was working with a Chinese graduate student whose boyfriend had put a butcher knife to her throat threatening to kill her and then taken all her clothes from the house and burned them telling her she would be next. There was also sexual abuse.

      She didn’t want to press charges because of the shame it would bring her family. She was also afraid of the police. Her dad flew in from China and was sitting at the kitchen table with his arms crossed and in my opinion, glowering. He didn’t speak any English. I asked her if her dad loved her. Without hesitation she said yes. I then convinced her to tell him what happened and to ask him what he wanted me (the police) to do. By the way, this was a huge risk because he looked angry at me the whole time and I didn’t think I could gain his cooperation.

      She cried during the whole telling to her dad. He didn’t move a muscle. When she stopped talking he turned his head toward me and said a few words. I asked her what he said. She smile at me and said, “He said to arrest him.”

      Their culture may have dictated one thing, but that father loved his daughter.

  • “So the rest of your marriage will be walking on eggshells, catering to this idiot to keep him happy.”

    This is exactly what the last three years of my marriage felt like. I can’t believe I managed to put up with that for three years. Some relatives think I should find love again and get remarried, but I’m not so sure I want to. I’m used to marriage feeling like walking on eggshells. Wondering if I’m doing well enough to keep my spouse or if I will be left or cheated on. I find friends to be a lot less fair weather and I feel like I can actually be myself and relax without having something bad happen.

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