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Dear Chump Lady, I don’t have any proof but…

cellDear Chump Lady,

Is it normal behavior for a man to be accused of cheating, and he denies it, yet continues to hide his phone? 

I started suspecting something  a few weeks ago, but didn’t say anything until last weekend.  I asked him if I could see his phone. He wouldn’t let me. His behavior was odd. So I asked him a few days later if I could see it again and he freaked out on me. I told him that he was acting like he was guilty and wanted to know what he’s hiding. He said he wasn’t hiding anything that he just was worried I was going to do something to his phone.

Oh, and he turned his location services off on it now too!  He never cared about that before.

Now he’s being nicer than usual.  I have been randomly just leaving for hours at a time to get out and think, just get away from him so I don’t explode… and he doesn’t get mad or call me or care. He is almost scared to say anything to me.  Normally if he knows he’s right about something and I’m wrong, he is relentless at bringing it up and killing a dead horse because he needs to prove his point.  But now, he is as far away from that discussion as possible and trying to be nice.  But not too nice, just nice enough to figure out if I’m mad at him or how much I know.

I got our phone records online but he uses his phone for work too so its difficult to determine what is work or personal related.  And he knows I can access that so he isn’t dumb enough to text someone on it. I think he’d use messenger but it’s almost impossible to retrieve deleted messenger messages.

I just want him to admit to it, but I know he won’t.  I don’t know that I should even care but it’s driving me crazy. I need to know.  If i’m wrong then I owe him an apology. But my gut is telling me I’m right. My older kids agree completely with me about his behavior and they are concerned about my safety, happiness. I don’t know what to do.

If I leave him now he will tell everyone that I left on an assumption and he didn’t do anything wrong. He makes me out to be a jealous freak. But I have NEVER felt like this or accused him of this before. And we’ve been together 18 years.

I’m wondering what he will do to my reputation in this small town. I don’t really care what people think of me but he is so manipulative and cares so much about his image that he will make a villain out of me. I will be stressed at every school function or sporting event.

He will use my kids to hurt me. My son just started first grade at the school across the street. How do I stay in this town when his family basically owns it? Or worse how do I take my son out of this school if I’d move? All his cousins and everyone he loves is here. These things keep repeating over and over in my head. When is the right time? Do I wait til school is out? I don’t know if I can do this that long. It’s slowly killing me.

Our biggest issues over the years have been his control over finances and isolating me from anyone I like or from my family.  Recently he has banned my adult son from my home, which he knows is killing me, but he doesn’t care.

I keep wondering if he is really innocent and I’m making this all up in my head? Am I capable of that? Ugh. Now I’m sounding like a crazy lady.


Dear Jillz00,

You’ve got a bigger problem here than a cell phone. What you’re describing is abuse — he’s controlling over finances, he isolates you, he’s gaslighting… Whether or not you add cheating to the mix is irrelevant. You’ve got enough reason NOW to leave him.

About that gaslighting — people who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. A loving partner — an innocent partner — would say “sure” and hand you the phone. Their first concern would be YOU. Your upset would matter, and they wouldn’t want to do anything to destroy the bond between you.

Yes, it would be unpleasant to be falsely accused of cheating. (Ask me how I know — a lot of cheaters accuse chumps of cheating…) But the response to that isn’t to act like a guilty party (hiding the phone, refusing to answer reasonable questions), the proper, loving response is TRANSPARENCY. What can I do to reassure you? What am I doing that’s given you reason to believe I would be unfaithful?

You’re not crazy. You didn’t come up with some wild idea that he’s cheating. You’re not a paranoid person. His ACTIONS concern you. He’s hiding his phone, refuses to let you see it, and shuts down all conversations about his shadiness. Factor in his controllingness about your friends, family, and finances? This is a non-starter. What marriage is there to save?

A “intact” home for your first-grader? What, so he can grow up and have this kind of abuse modeled to him?

What’s more important — living near his elementary school and cousins — or getting away from an abuser? I vote GET AWAY.

Your son needs one sane parent. You need to be that person. His father is a creep. You cannot be the one sane parent now because this crap is driving you crazy. In your words it is slowly killing you. Do you really think you can bring your sane parent A game living like this?

I’m wondering what he will do to my reputation in this small town. I don’t really care what people think of me but he is so manipulative and cares so much about his image that he will make a villain out of me.

Okay. Expect that. And SO WHAT? Let him say you’re a villain. Let him say you’re crazy. The truth will be that YOU left HIM. (You’d have to be crazy to leave such awesomeness! is how he’ll spin it). I bet those family members know more than you do about his character — and his cheating.

You don’t control what he does. You only control YOU. You know the truth and what he thinks is no measure of you or your worth.

I will be stressed at every school function or sporting event. 

Not as stressed as you’ll be living with an abusive fuckwit every day.

He will use my kids to hurt me.

He’s already hurting you by isolating you from your family and friends. Leave the fuckwit and get CLOSER to the people who love and support you.

I understand your fear and I don’t take it lightly. If you think he’ll be violent, call a domestic abuse hotline and make a safety plan with professionals. Do NOT be mortified. Just do it.

Start lining up your ducks, be STEALTH, see a lawyer and get this started. There are professionals out there who can HELP you navigate this. They see fuckwits like your husband every day. Rely on these people. Rely on us here to cheer you on and support you. Thousands of people here have walked this path before you and made it. You will too.

My son just started first grade at the school across the street. How do I stay in this town when his family basically owns it?

Don’t stay in it. Talk to a lawyer. Move.

Or worse how do I take my son out of this school if I’d move? All his cousins and everyone he loves is here. 

Children relocate ALL THE TIME. Yes it’s hard at first, but they adjust. I had to move several times in my son’s childhood. He’s a nice, well-adjusted young man at college now. Fuck every Single Mothers Can’t Do It voice in your head. And fuck every asswipe social commentator, parenting study, divorce naysayer. Single parents ROCK. Remember, it just takes One Sane Parent.

Protect yourself. Start getting the help you need to leave that creep.

Don’t worry. He’ll have his cell phone to keep him company.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I would just add “he will use my kids to hurt me” is not something I would EVER say about someone who loves me. It has, however, been true about the abusive ex-husbands in my life. My cheater threatened me with this. Frankly, that’s the scariest thing you wrote.

    • Why did he ban her older son from the house?
      Unless there is a good reason, that is a bigger red flag than the possibility of his cheating.

      • I wondered too. Violent criminal? Sibling abuser? One who’s been through 30 rehabs and the experts have said to let him hit rock bottom? Absent those, I can see only one reason: he threatens what sounds like the menacing, possibly subtle, power and CONTROL of asswipe.

          • Definitely, ByeBye. ” My older kids agree completely with me about his behavior and they are concerned about my safety, happiness. I don’t know what to do.”

            The older son was banished because he is on to the Fuckwit. This happened to my entire family back in the bad old days.

      • Jillz00, also, you wrote “my” adult son. Sounds like a child from a former relationship. From experience, for heaven’s sake: save your relationship with your son, not this creep. My H, almost undetectably (gave me lots of money to finance son’s training as a world-class performer, e.g.), resents my son, and my close relationship with son, secretly and viciously. (Just found emails to that effect.)

      • I edited this down from a much longer letter. I don’t have the particulars. She wrote:

        They were in an argument and he blew up and kicked him out. I have been angry with him for doing so and therefore i haven’t been paying attention to his other behavior patterns these past few months.

        • He banned your SON…your own child…from your home? That is not love. That is the opposite of love. And that is a deal breaker. Blood is blood. I say throw that bum out and welcome your son back in.

          • yo……couldn’t agree more! That mother fucker has an agenda all the way around! He’s a sneaking, lying, abusing cheater!! GET OUT!!!!

      • Jillz00,

        I am SO sorry you are hurting, confused, and it sounds like, abused. It’s not your fault.

        How and why do your”older kids “agree completely with me about his behavior”? Why are they “concerned about your safety, happiness”?

        Because they’ve got his number, it’s ugly, and THEYRE terrorized too. They shouldn’t have to live this way.

        I’ve been on both sides of this hell on earth. You’re a good mom. Get them ALL out.

        I’d have given anything for my mom to get out. At the ripe old age of 5, I begged her to leave. Granted, my dad was more “openly” abusive. Beat her, threatened her with guns, broke down doors. But your kids know. They deserve better.

        And yes, at the same time, they’re vulnerable to his gaslighting,such that he could “turn them against you.” NOT IF YOU LEAVE.

        CL is right about your youngest. Kids are resilient. When my mom finally left, I got a little breather. But for a decade they often acted like a married couple. Even after he quit drinking, his toxicity, and my inability to fathom what the HELL she was doing, sent me (and my siblings) mixed messages. Crazy-making. Literally.

        Both siblings were psychiatrically institionalized while older teenagers. Suicidal in one case, drug addicted and suicidal intheother. Four times total. I wept in fury, at so much waste.

        I thought I’d escaped because I got far away, to an eminent law school. Wrong.

        At 25, I landed in the ER for exhaustion (third time), unable to breathe. I didn’t know it was not normal. Thought everyone had paralytic bouts of “nerves.”

        I GOT LUCKY. That’s it, and that’s all. I was built to question. I decided to buy my escape — because my mother wouldn’t leave — with my mind and incessant work. But landing in the ER forced a reckoning.

        They wouldn’t let me leave, and threatened to send me to the psych hospital, unless I agreed to a therapist and psychopharmacologist. Without that reckoning and a lot of hard work … I’d have never gotten better. Never thrived. I got lucky. Don’t gamble.

        Your youngest, like my sister, will take the worst of it. I moved my son five states away when FIRST H did a 180 on a dime, went from sweet and loving to bitter and mean when my son was 3. Again, easier to “read.”

        I was a single mom for a long time. It was fine. Scary as hell, but fine. You’ll be okay, better than okay. So will they. Kids who know enough to agree he’s acting weird and are worried about you are onto the truth. Give them their chance at healthy family dynamics.

        I’m appealing to you for your kids’ sake because you may be so beaten down — as my mom was, as I think I was not long ago, might still be — that you can’t “hear” it fully for yourself. But, God, you deserve NONE of this.

        You’re focused on something concrete because he’s good at gaslighting, which by definition is subtle. Okay, so hire a PI or buy an extra iPhone for YOU, hide it in his car (sound OFF), and use “find my phone” to track YOUR phone. Credit to another poster here — can’t recall who, shoot.

        In the meantime, please follow others’ advice with one caveat: get ALL your professionals from another town, preferably a city.

        Use a burner phone to call a lawyer. Don’t say a word to ANYONE in your town. Talk to your family on the burner phone, explain, ask for help. Move where you have friends and family.

        Most of all, know that you are not alone. {{{♡}}}

        • Shoot, this was supposed to go to general responses. Sorry for the length and what seems slightly off point. 🙁

            • Thanks, Roaring, you are sweet. 🙂 I got really, really lucky. And early on I discovered one of my favorite quotes: If you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING. First time I heard it I laughed. Gallows humor. Everyone here has had hell to pay — and still they hand out so much generosity, care, and side-splitting humor. Once again — because gaslighter-cheater hell is THE worst pain I’ve ever tangled with — I got lucky.

        • Btw. Bit of practical advice, there’s a £20 watch made for kids that lets you track them. Cheaper than an iPhone and I think the battery lasts days.

        • ClaireS thank you (and everyone) for your support. I’ve been reading and re-reading these posts and wish I could reply to all of them right now. But I’m on my lunch hour.
          I still can’t eat. I have so much anxiety. I don’t know where I’d live if I left right now. I think he would absolutely freak out if I took our 4 and 6 year old children anywhere. My older kids may get an apartment with me, but I just found out today my son (who he kicked out last month) had his job position eliminated. :(. My heart breaks for him and I continue to pray he find a break in life. Right now I am trying to figure out finances and a good lawyer. I’m just so angry inside because he is not saying anything. Quiet as a mouse and not arguing about money or anything. He used to bitch about money and everything else constantly so I fee like he’s just sitting back and waiting for me to leave. Like he wants me to be the first to do it.
          Thank you for all the wisdom and encouraging words! I feel lucky to have found this site. Goodbye for now CN.

      • Same experience here…a few years ago my oldest son and his g.f. moved with us, within a few weeks, the Evil One was stirring the shit pot twisting things up about them to me..coincidentally, about that same time, TEO started disappearing all night and my son & g.f. bore witness to the way he treated me and out Autistic daughter.
        They moved out a few months later, mainly because of TEO getting pissed off at every little thing they did or didn’t do… Then, TEO got worse, moved out a few months later.
        Thankfully, my relationship with my son has never been better and we healed and moved on.

        • Unsinkable (whose moniker I love), I’m so glad things between you and your son are good. As much as it angers me that TEO was abusive, sounds like you raised a humane son who wasn’t blind and “bore witness” to what you and your daughter were enduring. I hope that mean wingnut stays away from all of you. Unsinkable, indeed.

          • Thank you so much, ClaireS!!!
            Our divorce was final a year + a week ago (just celebrated my MEH-dom-anniversary, LOL)…
            As for TEO, he stays no contact 99.9% of the time, sees our daughter every other weekend, and wants a medal for it…
            He moved out the first of May 2015, met Schmoopie ( if he is to be believed) June, they were married November 2015— I didn’t get an invite, dammit…I have YET to be introduced to her!!! She has two you g kids, younger than our daughter, so ya know, he’s got priorities…
            The first thing I said Tony son when I called him go tell him TEO was leaving was how sorry I was for everything he went through because of his step-dad…all’s forgiven and forgotten as far as we are concerned, but he will never forgive nor forget what his former step-dad said and did…
            Life is so much better on this side..
            ((((Hugs))))) ClaireS

      • He banned my son from our house because he hates my son. This is my second marriage. I have two adult children from 1st H and two from this jerk. My current H has always wanted to put a wedge between my oldest son and myself. He’s been jealous of our relationship since I met him but I always buffered in the middle to keep peace. 2 years ago my DS had severe depression, became suicidal and was diagnosed with OCD. My H said he was faking and has been an absolute jackass to him since. And our marriage took a deeper dive ever since. I spent 6 months struggling to keep my son alive because he wanted to die. We were in and out of hospitals and health care centers. I drove him to Rogers Memorial (4.5 hrs) in the middle of the night with no support from my H. And I still made it back home and to work in time that morning. My DS couldn’t drive for a long time because of his OCD symptoms, he couldn’t work for one year and he lost 60 lbs. I have three other kids i was trying to raise at the same time and my H was not supportive. He kept making derogatory remarks about my DS; like he was a useless POS. It hurt so bad. Still does! The past year my son has come a long way. He’s working full time and now has a one year old son (that happened in the mix of this too…which didn’t help matters) but I have a beautiful grandson and my DS is healthy for the most part. He is trying to pay off bills and get on his feet. He loathes my H and doesn’t feel comfortable around him. I don’t blame him because my H stares at him with a mean look on his face at all times. He follows him in the kitchen and watches what he’s eating, he bitches at him for sitting in a chair crooked, he picks on everything and talks trash about him to his family. And now this summer as my H was going thru this funk I wasn’t aware of with another woman, he blew up at my DS for something minor and caused such a bad ruckus in the house that he kicked him out. My DS came home a few weeks later to shower and my H had a fit about it. So he’s living out of his car and with friends now. I have been keeping my grandson overnight here which is just making things more stressful because my H doesn’t acknowledge my grandson. i feel so much resentment toward him for the way he treats my DS. It just hurts.

      • My NPD/BPD XW was just like this. Isolating,controlling,banning my son. This guy is disordered for sure.

        • That’s strangely comforting to know Arnold, that you relate to this behavior. I fear that if I tell others (besides my family who sees it firsthand) that no one would believe me because he seems so normal and nice to the outside world.

    • I wished for many years that my mother would have left my abusive stepfather, but she never did and is with him to this day putting up with the same BS. Everyone here is right that they don’t change…. As long as you allowed it in the beginning, they got the green light and it’s hell to ever get them to respect you. I remember one time my mom had enough when I was about 10 and I was sooooo happy. I took my favorite Barbie and some random clothing that I liked and then he came around the corner with the car and… we got in… It was devastating… He would unplug the tv when we were all watching, if he was mad, everyone had a bad day and we were all on edge, etc… I was told to keep quiet when he got into his fits because she didn’t want the aftermath, but at around 15 yrs old, I started to rebel and even called the cops on him and told him that I hope they lock you up forever! I signed up for the army and a friend of a friend always told me he was scared of me because I pretty much DARED him with my eyes to put me down… Not a way anyone, especially a child should have to live! I had 3 years of counseling to get over that and I still to this day work diligently on being aware of how I react to situations, triggers, etc. Jill Zoo, your kids are smart and believe it or not, they are rooting for you! They are rooting for you to GET AWAY from this man. Father or not! Please for their sake, don’t make them suffer another minute watching you be the doormat/punching bag every day. It is truly traumatizing for them! They see and experience it all WITH YOU. My oldest sister married a man at 17 yrs old JUST to get out of the house and he beat the shit out of her, then my younger sister finds a man just like him. SO…… PLEASE do yourself and your child a favor before this man damages them….

      • PeakyBlinders, “one time my mom had enough when I was about 10 and I was sooooo happy. I took my favorite Barbie and some random clothing that I liked and then he came around the corner with the car and… we got in… It was devastating…”

        Those details, such as your Barbie and how happy you were to be getting out only to be gutted moments later, and your sisters’ marrying predatory abusers … just gut-wrenching. I’m so glad you found a way to fight back, get out, and get help — and so sorry you ever had to.

        “Not a way anyone [that’s you, Jill], especially a child should have to live!”


        • I’m sorry I ever had to too, Claire. I’m sure we both feel the same based on our experiences with parents. I know we are not only rooting for Jill Zoo to take the leap, but for her beautiful, innocent children. I wish her alllllll the best on her journey. The other side of the fence is sooooo much better!

    • My STBX had this thing against our older daughter and come to find out while I was out of town she caught him naked on the sofa engaging in same sex porn. She never mentioned it to me because she wanted her family as she knew it. But from that day on – he always had negative things to say about her to me. Shortly thereafter I found out about the affair, and his attraction to men and put him out. He denies a lot of things but his behaviors resembles a heartless person-to degrade your own daughter is pretty sick. Now he wants to share custody of my younger daughter but I will fight that tooth and nail.

    • I am overwhelmed by my emotions as I read these replies. It’s answers I know in my gut, but I needed to hear from others. He has told me for years that I’m psycho and ungrateful. I’ve lived with the financial and emotional crap for so long that it’s just life. But this whole cell phone thing threw me over the edge. That was the only thing we had left. Regardless of how he treats me with everything else the one thing I counted on was his loyalty to me. He always said I was the hottest woman alive….besides the hurtful names. That is until this summer anyhow. And that hurts the worst If he is looking at another woman the way he looked at me for so long. As messed up as that sounds because of the way he treats me! I always knew he found me attractive and had eyes for no one else. That’s the only trust I had in him. I haven’t eaten much in a week because I’m so sick about that. The other abusive crap is normal to me. I appreciate the support of this group! It’s amazing and so needed! I am going to start looking for a lawyer.

      • Jillz, so good to hear from you! It makes sense that you would be really invested in that “one last thing” (loyalty). I can’t tell from your response if you trust you *might* be in danger.

        It won’t cost you anything to assume you might be, except a little brain room for “okay, maybe, and if maybe, no skin off my nose to make a call and have a plan.” 🙂

        Here’s what I pray you try:

        1) call a hotline TODAY from a burner phone** or a pay phone. I listed some below, in response to a post by AnnieGetYourGun. Trust all these good people that you NEED to if only to combat the isolation. To call “costs” you nothing emotionally. You are anonymous, and you talk to a “stranger” who CARES. I PROMISE can that person can help.

        2) TRUST YOUR GUT on safety issues. Realize that you also MUST be on the extra lookout. You’ve been hurt, it’s not your fault, AND it sets you up to be “blindered.” Again, it costs you nothing to be vigilant. One IOTA of danger? Get the kids and get out. Below is a link to YWCA shelter finder.

        3) STOP letting him know you are bothered about it. If he asks why you’re not eating, tell him you think you have a bad stomach bug. If he persists, make an appointment with a top-notch GI specialist in a city who can’t take you for a few weeks. If he asks why you’re no longer bothering him about the phone, say you had a short lapse of jealousy.

        4) if you can’t stop obsessing about the phone, command yourself to do so only when he’s not around. If he is, go take a shower, go to the store, run errands, etc.

        Don’t think that disappearing for hours is good because “it’ll make him think.” I suspect that it’s partly healthy self-preservation and healthy rebellion talking. It’s also the universal WTF that we all go through. In this context, the instincts are spot on. The way you are implementing them in your context is not spot on. It’s dangerous, to your kids, too, and you HAVE to stop. Do not let him know. Do not disappear for hours. If your H is the one in ten million? It STILL costs you nothing to shut up and try to act normal. And

        5) Please come here as often as you can. I think a few posters urge you to register for the forums, too, so you can start a thread and have a back-and-forth “conversation” with these AMAZING people.

        You are not alone.

        ** I can’t assume you know about burner, or prepaid cell phones. Here’s the info just in case.

        ** you have to figure out which carrier of the big four gives you coverage where you live. (Try to stay with the big four. They won’t go out of business anytime soon.) Here’s a link about where you have coverage for a burner (prepaid) phone. Please note that two companies he lists are not in business, and he says so at the bottom:

        **Google “prepaid cell phones” — they are sold at Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Kmart, and other stores. You buy the phone with CASH. Stay in the $25 to $30 range if money is tight. Typically, for the first month, unlimited texts and calls are included in that initial price. If you can afford it, buy what’s called a prepaid refill card, again with cash. On that refill card are more minutes.

        • You know, in this case, I wouldn’t google anything. She needs to use Duckduckgo instead, in case he decides to start looking to see what she’s up to or exactly what she knows. Why take a chance that he might learn that and get the upper hand back. Someone with all of his traits might already be spying on her, especially if he thinks she’s so hot.

          • Finally Realized…what is DuckDuckGo? I’m not following. Why would he spy on me? I imagine he wants to know what I know. I made the mistake of telling him I’m on to him: he denied and tells me he will never forgive me for accusing him of cheating. I told him that not going to dwell on it and I’m going to therapy to make myself better and either I will accept what I have right now in this marriage or I will move on. He didn’t even respond, he just looked at me with disbelief. I wanted to make him think I’m not going to watch his every move and I’m going to back off. I figure this will give me some time to get my ducks in a row.

            • Jillzoo, I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize that you asked me for clarification until just now. Duck Duck Go is a search engine that doesn’t track you or leave evidence of what you were searching for. Google does leave evidence, which he could find if he is wondering what you know.

              You answered your question about why he would spy on you. Now that you have told him that you’re on to him, he will definitely try to find out what you know, so he can try to throw you off track again, and just to protect himself and his secrets.

              I hope you are okay. This is a couple of months later.

      • Right. For many folks in an abusive relationship with a Narc, the cheating was a get out of jail free card. Do it. Divorce his abusive was.

        • Arnold, this is exactly right: “the cheating was a get out of jail free card”

          It is excruciatingly painful but ultimately the best possible outcome to be away from someone capable of treating you this shamefully.

          • It ( the cheating) got me off my was and away from a disordered abuser (something I wish I had done years earlier.)

            • I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but my daughter (20 years old) told me that a month or so ago he told her he watched Dr Phil, a show on narcissists, and that it was definitely a profile of me! He told my daughter I’m a narc! That was a big punch in the gut. My DD doesn’t agree with him obviously but she knows better than to disagree with him.

  • *Ding – ding – ding – ding – ding*

    You, Jill, used the magic word “gut!”

    Trust your gut, Jill. He sucks.

    • I agree with Ian. Your gut knows the truth even though your head is trying to override it. I know this because I ignored my gut, and my subconscious dreams for many years. The comment Jill made – that this is “killing” her, lets me know that her body understands what her head doesn’t want to come to terms with.

      Jill, I understand your concern for taking your child away from cousins and friends that he loves. Your husband is already using your children to hurt you by putting you in this situation. I hope you have a good counselor because you need support. You are NOT crazy.

    • Ian…..great point! During my storm, my counselor that I saw after the very first time said ‘if you take nothing away from this session, please at least take this…..always trust your gut, it’s never wrong’!
      Truer words have never been spoken!

    • “Trust your gut.” Three simple words I’ve learned to live by. Failing to do so was my biggest mistake of all. It’s cold comfort to learn 20 years down the road that you were right.

      • So true! I was at a talk where a senior psychiatrist made the comment that he often sees women who are suffering from anxiety & depression & questioning their own sanity, and it later turns out their husband was having an affair.
        Gut instincts are so powerful – I so wish I had listened to mine before my marriage and not put it down to pre-wedding jitters. In retrospect I knew what was up about 6 months prior to the final D-day too but couldn’t face it

        • So right! Sixteen years ago was convinced husband was being pleasured by his massage therapist but he convinced me they were just very good friends and had a lot in common (a battle of two perceptions of reality). Started suffering from “depression ” but of course didn’t connect the dots. I told my GP I didn’t even have a reason to be depressed because everything in my life was going well. Argh!!!! Went on Paxil for 5 years, only to find out after 32 years of marriage, he did indeed fuck her for a least a year. The lies and deceit which we believe because of “no proof”, kill our inner sense of joy. I’m sure there have many many other types of infidelity that I will never have proof of except circumstantial evidence and a gut feeling. The hidden sins in a marriage destroy the innocent.
          But I understand the unwillingness to falsely accuse someone and they count on our good consciouses and morality to allow them to keep us off balance,while they freely engage in their secret life.

          • TheGoodFig(love your name) – ‘The hidden sins in a marriage destroy the innocent.’

            This is a great and powerful post.
            Thank you.

            Nobody knows how much innocence is really lost and so many lives hurt.
            It changes so many dynamics – like, poof – overnight – 1/2 the extended family has disappeared.
            Friends have disappeared.
            Families who looked up to you as a symbol of a great marriage. What disappointments to be the ones who everybody said, our marriage would never end.
            So many of my nieces and nephews and sisters and BIL’s who looked up to him, my Dad – omg. Nobody ever expected it from a guy like that.

            My innocence, as the wife, was just one of them.
            It really is a Sin for a reason.

            • Footnote: The worst is to realize the world can be an awful place and I don’t think I’ll ever trust anybody 100% again.

              • We will be okay, SheChump. We obviously have the ability to trust. Lol. It just sucks that we are up at this hour trying to analyze ourselves and seeking validation from strangers while our our emotionally stunted fucktards are probably sleeping like a baby. Trying not to bitter is hard but I am only 3 days out in this new journey. It helps to keep focused on all the good in my life and being grateful that God opened my eyes. It was a tough reality to see. My adult children are telling me things they were exposed to that I had no awareness of.
                Note to anyone staying because they don’t want to hurt the children by divorcing. You may just get an earful from your adult children when you finally step out of the darkness and into the light. There was no “happy family “.

  • A few years out from now, you will be kicking yourself for not leaving as soon as you knew there was an affair, or that you even married this person to begin with. It sounds like your husband is a complete douche, and the affair is the icing on the cake. When I realized my XW was cheating on me with a neighbor, I fought a losing battle to save my marriage, and it almost destroyed me. After she left me, I realized she was a horrible person that I allowed to mentally abuse me for years. She did me a favor. Do yourself a favor and leave before you lose any more time to live a life where you are respected. Good luck!

    • Ditto your comment. I even suspected the affair but was given the “speech”. I regret not listening to my gut. I might have been healthy enough to send her packing right then. Instead, I bought the story and thought I should trust her. Turns out it was just an experiment for her and she was preparing to leave the whole time. She was just checking out what it might be like. So, I danced for 3 years before she decided to leave. What a waste of time and money for me. They are beyond fucked up. Trust your gut and do what you need to do to preserve and protect your well being and health.

    • Scott and lostnx, such insidious, hideous, inhumane “tactics” they all use. Against kind, sweet people. Waste. Just vicious waste. They wasted their lucky chance to be with a good man. Idiots.

  • Wait a minute here….he banned your adult son from your home!?!?! No man that loves you would EVER tell you that your son was banned from your home. That alone should give you a green light to run. Run while you have the strength because the longer this goes on the harder it is to go. He will diminish you to the point that you won’t feel you are capable of handling your own life. Call an attorney, make a plan and get out!

    • I agree Stayin Strong. Reading that post really sent chills down my spine. His behavior is so abusive and violent. I think it’s just a matter of time before this guy gets violent on Jillzoo. It’s a case that is very likely to lead to domestic violence.

      • Yes, it could lead to him laying hands on her, which is scary and disgusting. But, as I’ve shared on here before, DV is – controlling/denying access to money, and keeping you isolated from loved ones. He BANNED your son? Is he the dictator, and you the serf? This strange person is committing acts of DV. If I were you, I’d go spend some time with your older son, you might feel better.
        Godspeed, Jill. This all sounds like a plotting, devious, Cheaterpants trying to run the show at your house. Could you try a separation? With NC? I think you need to clear your head from his funk!

        • FreeWoman, I thought about this option. I worry that her being in a small town that he clearly manipulates might make this dangerous. Do you think his extant domestic violence would escalate? Protective orders aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. Just don’t know what’s likely to happen with this scary creep.

  • This guy is hiding something big, cheating or something similar. Gambling addiction? Drug deals? Criminal charges? But most chumps a couple years out from D-day will tell you the worst part of cheating, the most painful and longest lasting for the chump, isn’t the sex part, but the secrecy and dishonesty. That’s what causes you to doubt the story of your own life and can put you off people entirely. And you’ve already confirmed that your husband is okay inflicting that on you. Factor that into your decision as well, regardless of whatever else you eventually confirm.

    • agreed nomar – the deceit is the worst. I’m 3 years out from D-day and I had a triggering moment just a couple of days ago at a church service. The topic was cause and effect – how everything we do has an effect on something, someone or even on ourselves. Deceit was briefly mentioned and when it was, I felt overwhelming saddness and hurt and started to cry. I wish I had been able to let the tears flow because I think that would have been helpful for me but when you’re in a crowd of people, you can’t just let go.

        • I had to leave the church in my area due to the gossip. MN left me with a 100 acre farm . He accused me of tampering with his food and medicine and trying to kill him. I just let him gossip and keep close to my real friends and family. Goodbye.

          • Saw,
            Gossips are the urinal cakes in a Port O John at the Burning Man festival.

            Anyone who gossips with you, will gossip ABOUT you. It sounds smart to avoid anyone who is that dangerous…accusing you of attempted murder.

            Let him gossip. Their big mouths always back fire on them in the end.

            And churches are full of people, who are flawed.It just is a gamble. But I long stopped caring what people think of me. I cry in Wal Greens. If someone says, what is wrong?

            I say: I was in love and he cheated on me and I am devastated.

            You would not believe how kind strangers can be.

            Sending GOOD THOUGHTS YOUR WAY.

            • Oh my God Sylvia!
              The urinal cakes? In the porta-john? at the Burning Man festival? HA HA HA! Just know you made a chump ALL the way in Northern Canada laugh her ass off with this opening remark. Thank you!

              • Hee Hee! 🙂

                I am so glad. It was about the filthiest thing I could think of. I went to Burning Man one time….the bathrooms… so bad.

                I am prefer the outside any day to a public loo!

          • Saw did we have the same cheater? Mine accused me of poisoning the cookies and cider he was stuffing his face with, they gave him indigestion and he thought I was putting something in them to give him a heart attack. He even discussed it with the whore and she agreed with him, I got that on the VAR while I was in town picking up their son. Creepy perverts with dark designs project their secret murder fantasies on the chump.

    • +1!! It’s a kick in the gut to realize just how deceitful the cheater has been and they did it without an ounce of feeling or remorse. The chump wasn’t anything else but an obstacle to their “happiness”!

    • nomar said: “put you off people entirely.”

      You’re my favorite chump, nomar. Can I say that? Well, next to Chump Lady.

      Y’all are awesome! Thank you so much!!!

      • Thanks for the kind words, Ian. I always enjoy the slashing wit of your posts. I consider you and Tempest fraternal CN humor twins.

        I also appreciate how you and several other of the male chumps (lostntx, Uxworld, LondonChump, BetrayedNoMore, Michael, Twins Dad, and others) are quick to offer compassion and support to new male chumps on the site. It’s my understanding that nearly half of the readers at CL are men, but only a small fraction of the posts (20 percent, perhaps?) come from men. My guess is that many feel intimidated by the more common narrative of cheating jerk male chumps, and the stigma that comes with being the cuckold, so it’s good to let them know we’ve walked that road before them–and lived to tell the tale. And that, at its heart, the chump experience is not male or female, but human, in the best and worthiest way. Thank you for all the time you invest in this site and the people who rely on it.

        • In case you’re still reading, Nomar, I just wanted to thank you, too, for your wit and wisdom. I’ve been here & gone from CN, but I’ve always appreciated your speaking up and I hope more men will do the same (wow, 50% men at CN? I had no idea).

          I know I’m going to say this wrong, so try to keep in mind the whole “spirit of the law, not the letter of the law” thing: I think it’s easy to slide into a men-bashing mentality, I confess, especially for a biologist like me. (“Of course he’s going to go propagate with a 25 year old, it’s his genetic imperative.”) But your voice here “keeps it real,” as the kids say, and reminds us you don’t have to have a penis to be a dick, and that our society fosters cheating in men AND women.

          If nothing else, hearing male voices on CN reminds me we are all in this together and there are some really fantastic guys out there. So maybe everything will be OK, after all.

          Men, if you’re out there, please don’t be shy. Pain, deceit, betrayal? These are (sadly) universal and not gender-specific.

        • Thanks, nomar. That means the world to me.

          Silent readers – y’all chime in here. We need everyone to let us know that chumps aren’t just straight women.

        • Hello first time commenting here.
          May I ask how do you know that half of the readers are male?
          I do hope more of them would come out too.Here in my town most of the cheaters still happened to be men.I just want to find the male chumps I mean the ones who had never cheated not even once in their life and yet they still find themselves betrayed by their significant other so that at least I can say I finally found a man who knows how it feel to be cheated and to convince myself it is not just a women’s problem but men’s problem too.I’m hoping that I could find some connection with them.In my social circle,I can say only one person that I confidently believe never cheated in his life.The rest had at some point cheated at least once.With my women friend mostly did it to retaliate their husband or boyfriends past infidelity.I never feel comfortable discussing this issue with them because the men mostly saying I should just get over it.Men makes mistakes he still love you no matter what.Just give him a lot of sex he would never stray again,whereas the women mostly told me I should just get even or even told me I should just forgive him because boys will be boys.Ironically the women who told me to just forgive my soon to be ex husband tend the most bitter and high tempered compared to the women who told me to get back at him.I had a close friend whose wife cheated on him.I was pouring all my sympathies to him until I find out that he too fooling around in the marriage as well.I refused to extend my sympathies towards ‘chumps’ that got cheated by their wife or husband due to their own past infidelity.Only here at chump lady I could actually find a lot of genuine chumps to feel connnected with.Even though I never actually bother to comment before.But reading all the posts and the comments and feedback makes me feel easier to go through this hurdles.

          • Welcome fern to a place of comfort and understanding. I dont think half of us here are male. But there are quite a few and i already knew women can be just as sneaky and cheating bitches as men. I wish more men would come here if it happens to them. My goodness i know they get effed over too.

    • Amen Nomar. The deceit throws you way off the course of life you thought you were on. In my case 25 years. It makes you doubt where you came from, where you are now and where you’re going. Hard to get your equilibrium back.

      • I’ve been put off people for sure. It’s one of the worst consequences of what the traitor has done. I used to like people and be trusting and confident. As a youth I hitch hiked and traveled the world. I know people have been good to me everywhere. And now I am a recluse.

        • I hear you, Kiwi.

          I dated plenty before I met Match Girl. Now I am scared of the big bad girls. Being a recluse gets boring though. I predict you’ll be back on the trail again soon!

          • Ian, I tried at first to go dating again. I had been single for 3 years before meeting the traitor, wanted to sort my head and learn to pick better!!!! So this time I thought I should get back on that horse ASAP. There seem to be ok guys around, certainly no dick pics or anything sleazy but I was bored senseless on these dates and realised it has nothing to do with the poor guys. It’s me, I am not interested in getting to know them, not really curious about them, just wanting to do some detective work, look for red flags and threats. Guess what? Dating like this was horrible for me, it made me so sad. So I stopped. Not for me at this time. Then time is passing and I find I have no wish to trust anyone, my head is full of the horrible stuff the traitor has done anyway.

            Not so boring being a recluse because I have to jobs, I work on the farm, currently lambing the ewes (1400) and I have a job off farm. I work 3 night shifts a week too. So no time to be bored! I have my 7 dogs, 1 cat, 1 boar, 2 goats, 4 ducks and 2 chooks, a new wild piglet to raise, a new wild goat kid to raise, expecting a chock full of orphan lambs soon…Like Sylvia I enjoy their honest keen little faces. I am grateful to be able to live with so many animals. I would be a wreck without it.

            Big bad girls, they really exist, we see all the OW, and the big bad boys are real too… I hope you will find a way to stop being a recluse, or that you are surrounded by lots of furry friends!

            • Loving this response!

              lambing ewes – chooks – chocks

              So fun. Thanks, mighty kiwi!

  • Jill, my ex always had his phones password protected. Not that I cared, because I trusted him. After I accidentally found a flirtatious predator-type email that he sent to a former ho-worker, I then confronted him. He of course lied to me about it (she’s just a “friend”!!!) and then said he’d be transparent with his passwords. Within a week, he changed the password of his Gmail account to a different password that I didn’t know. I never brought it up until after D-Day, because he’d of course accuse me of not trusting him, yada yada. My ex also did the secret phone stuff (I didn’t know it was a red flag.) At one point, I feigned interest in his smart phone as I was thinking of getting one myself (I had a flip phone at the time.) I asked him, “So, let me see your phone. I just want to see what it’s all about.” My Gosh! He watched me like a hawk with that phone. Kneeled right next to me while I sat in the chair. The look of anxiety on his face told me all I needed to know. His phone was a Cheaters Phone. Just before I asked to see his phone, I could see his reflection in a picture in his den and he was texting on his phone. As soon as he heard me coming (I saw all this in the reflection), he put his phone down on his desk and pretended to be on his computer. THIS is what a cheater turns us into. A person sneaking up on a cheater to see if you can catch them in the act. THIS IS NO WAY TO LIVE! My ex slowly turned me into a private detective. Like CL said, the phone is not the main problem. There is a lot of more abusive behavior going on in your life. So many of us at CN had forms of abuse in our marriage, but we didn’t see it was abusive until we got out. My ex did a lot of things over the years that made me in fear that he’d do it again or was still doing it. I was constantly jumping through hoops to please my husband, better myself and better our marriage and family; the constant fear he’d cheat again or have another ho-worker on the side. Well, I regret staying with him after the first signs of cheating (before we got engaged.) I didn’t trust my gut and I regret it. Trust yourself. Your gut it telling you that you are in an abusive and unhealthy relationship. You can do this! Trust CL and listen to her!

    • My ex also had never cared about being careful with his phone, but started locking it when he became involved with her. It wasn’t too hard to get around that because our cell phone records showed hours of conversation between the two of them, some calls at 6 am on Saturdays (boy she was a diligent employee to take calls from her boss at that time of day). Anyway, I was able to track exactly when he was calling her on layovers between flights, while in contrast he would text me two words – “leaving now.” Guarding his phone is definitely a sign.

      • This was my experience with my cheater wife too. I’d travel out of town on business and call to catch up on her day. All I got was, “Fine. How was the flight?” After about two more agonizing minutes of awkward back and forth she would end the call, “You’re probably tired, I’ll let you get some sleep. Love you! G’night!

        When I looked at the phone bills (months later) there would be our two-minute touch-base sandwiched in-between several two-hour fuckbuddy calls that same day.

        Same thing with the texts. I was lucky to receive one maybe two texts a week from her informing me that I was responsible for dinner. However, she burned up the cell towers with her fuckbuddy. They were with each other from when they woke up, when she dropped the kids off at school, when she got to ‘work,’ when she had her break, when she had lunch, when they snapped ‘naughty’ selfies during work, when she left work, when she sat in the school pickup queue, when she got home (until I got home), when she could get away after dinner, when I fell asleep, and to when they FINALLY! fell asleep in their post-mutual-masturbation coital bliss. And then they would start all over again bright and early the next morning.

        She also hid and password-locked her phone from me. And if I would ask to see her phone for a moment (check a score, the weather, whatever…), she would spend 15 minutes quizzing me on why didn’t I use my own phone, what was I going to do with her phone, and then inform her what I wanted to know so she could look it up for me. (And then explore with me various methods of keeping proper track of my own phone so I wouldn’t need to bother her so much)

        So I learned to decipher mobile-phone bills. I could even track when they were hanging out with each other on their fakebook fuckbuddy club, when they were face-timing, and even when he traveled up to our city so they could spend a rare morning together scrap-booking. (There is a noticeable four-hour void of mobile activity along with a vacation day noted on her pay-stub. Funny… She never mentioned to me that she ever took a day off…)

        All that sleuthing helped me re-discover that I am indeed an intelligent mammal and not the dim-bulbed ignoramus who couldn’t velcro my own shoes without her berating me with mono-syllabic instructions. It focused my anger at her for all her deceptions. But that was all it did. Don’t waste too much of your time digging around for what you know and trust in your heart to be true. At the end of the day, just like Chump Lady and allllll the other chumps on here will tell you: They. Just. Suck.

        • BetrayedNoMore, this is a GREAT post. What a cruel fuckwit she is.

          And talk about a wordsmith! E.g.:

          ….helped me re-discover that I am indeed an intelligent mammal and not the dim-bulbed ignoramus who couldn’t velcro my own shoes without her berating me with mono-syllabic instructions. It focused my anger at her for all her deceptions. But that was all it did. Don’t waste too much of your time digging around for what you know …

      • Technophobe started taking his phone to the toilet. I didn’t really properly notice until after one of our (primarily his, but lovely guy who saw what I couldn’t) male friends asked me about that. Around D-day. He knew it was not ‘like him’ or ‘normal’ behaviour. For a person who avoids technology to become welded to his phone? Gigantic red flag. But decades of love and trust dulled my radar. Dumbass that I was!

        • No, you are just honest.

          *We don’t check behind the door, because we have not stood there.*

          Both of these posts just sicken me for the chumps and you know? These cheaters….do they think this scurrying & hiding makes them cool, or spy girl/boy or what? It is an epic failure of coolness.

          It is CLOWNISH! Hiding in the bathroom, lying, secret texts…Really?

          My God, we are lucky to be rid of these imbeciles.

    • A friend of mine is retired law enforcement and has been a private investigator for many years. He says that, without exception, every single time he has been hired to determine if a person is cheating, the answer has been yes. His theory is that at the point in time a person feels the need to hire him, their partner has exhibited enough cheating behavior to arose legitimate suspicion. As he says, “If someone feels the need to hire me to see if their spouse is cheating, the answer is always yes.” Food for thought. I know that, as much as my X tried to hide the cheating, I felt something was not right. Gut feelings are exist for a reason.

      • Violet – That is so interesting and I believe what you wrote. Angelina and Brad are getting divorced. She just filed for divorce. And she hired a PI as she was suspecting Brad was cheating, and the PI uncovered that Brad was cheating on the movie set WWII with his co-star Marion Cotillar

        • Yeah, old Brad had never ever before cheated on a wife with a co-star. Nope. No sir.

          • I just stumbled on this news as well. Dear old Angie doesn’t want Brad to have physical joint custody because she doesn’t like the way he “parents the children” which probably translates to “diddles his co-stars.” The headline of the article says she is filing for divorce “Because love is DEAD.” Dead is in all caps. Kind of the way she helped kill his other marriage?

            • I believe she won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for Girl, Interrupted for the character of Lisa, a sociopath…because she was not acting.

              Seriously….think about it. Her acting is sub standard is every other role. Boring. She never takes a chance. (Like Charlize Theron. Now, there’s risk taker. Tilda Swinton.)

              But, she sizzles playing a wicked, soulless psychopath. She was not acting.

              That was HER.

              • Excellent observation.

                She was the OW to Laura Dern’s fiance, Billybob Thorton. I still think that was a shitty thing to do.

                And six kids.

              • Sylvia – ‘But, she sizzles playing a wicked, soulless psychopath. She was not acting.’ (Angelina Jolie)

                Whoa, wait a minute.
                Did you just say she deserved to be cheated on?
                We all know she is some kind of bi-polar, or whatever it takes to wear some guys blood in a vial around your neck and intimately kiss your brother.
                So, she’s crazy. Brad must have some bad-shit himself to marry her, but, no matter.
                She nor her kids deserved his cheap hustle act of looping a woman he’s met at yet, another movie set.

                Piss on him.

        • Actually it seems like he wasn’t cheating with Marion, it appears that Jolie wanted out , and didn’t want to make herself look like the bad guy, she’s a genius at media manipulation, she rented the place in Malibu three weeks before the incident that she claimed triggered her request for a divorce. Brad was a pothead when he met her, so the idea that she was bothered by the pot smoking is just not feasible, more than likely he wasthe one being gaslighted , she was on a mission to take him down, down to the carefully leaked stories about drug use, infidelity and more recently that he was abusive to his son on the plane (Again a video showed that wasn’t true, That was one crazy woman, but I can’t say he didn’t deserve everything he got

      • I believe this whole-heartedly. I did call a PI before Dday & he also told me that if I was trying to hire him to prove cheater was cheating to save my money & just file for divorce. The PI told me that if I was calling him, deep down I already knew stbx was a cheating shitbag and that I needed to admit it, accept it, and divorce him pronto

        The hiding the phone & secret pass odes are dead give aways AND taking the phone into the bathroom. I had nick-named stbx iPorn & the only way to get his phone out of his Kung fu grip would be if he was dead. He even slept with it!

    • Me, three (or four hundred and twenty seven) for the “hiding the phone” thing. After he sat down one morning and announced he didn’t love me anymore and didn’t think we were trying to save and SWORE there was no one else, he was very very odd with his phone. Like, so odd that he looked like a bad bank robber in a movie who is trying to hide something but clearly pointing it out to anyone who even glances at him, like, “Look at me! I’m carrying a paper bag with $100,000 in it!” Honestly, I might never have noticed his affair had he not been so weird with his phone. I never did find “evidence” except for cutesy flirty quippy texts between him & AP which I recognized from how he & I used to chat. Unlike your (I hope) STBX, my XH crumpled like a house of cards when confronted, Yes, he loves her, she’s (sniffle sniffle) “important.” (I still can’t hear people say that word without hearing his voice crack under the emotion.) He’s still with her, over two years later.

      Think how you would act if the situation were reversed. STBX says, “I think you’re cheating on me! I want to see your phone!” — You’d be like, “Sure, here it is. And, what’s going on? Why do you think I’m cheating? Let’s talk about this. Let’s get some therapy.” Any number of things except deny deny deny.

      As for all the other stuff about community rejection and stuff, I’ve got bad news, kid: You’re gonna have all that anyway. As other chumps here can attest, people will desert you after a break-up no matter whose fault it is. You’re living your own life, and with someone who’s clearly hiding SOMEthing, do you really want this to be the life you’re living.

      I’m sorry.

      • Odds are now that you’ve confronted him, he’s already laying the groundwork for the smear campaign, or he’s launched it already. Many of them do prior to us leaving, and almost all of them smear us after we leave, but as CL says, you can’t control what he does, you can only control you. And I can only second what everyone else has said about the phone behavior, he is definitely cheating. Please get out now before he tries to drive a wedge between you and your older children–it’s a huge advantage to have them on your side at the start.

        • And if you live in a small town, chances are very good that lots of people already know, sadly.

          Besides password protecting and bathroom phoning, (after remarking often that he didn’t want to text with me because he found texting too tedious) he also used to leave the phone in the car so that I wouldn’t notice that he was getting an unusual number of calls and “ding, ding” texts.

      • NWBiblio, that’s so true about people desert you no matter what. My ex got caught out with another woman. Lied and lied and lied. told NO ONE anything about what he did the previous 20+ years. When I told his family, they believed me and were “on my side” in the beginning. However, ex MIL said to me IN CHURCH, “So! NOW you are keeping the grandchildren away from their grandparents and father?!!!” Someone I wasn’t doing and WOULD NEVER DO. So I stood up to the bitch for the first time in our entire marriage and mommy didn’t like that! So they turned on me. They ALL turned on me even though I think I was pretty good to his family (not perfect), but very good to them. I don’t regret anything that I said to her and his fake family. Oh, and they are “Christians” btw. lol. Good fucking joke! Christians who feel like they can say anything they want to me and do anything to me and I’m supposed to just take it! Who needs people in their lives like that? Completely two-faced people. They can’t accept that their precious Jeffrey Dahmer is a pathological liar and cheater. It’s much easier to blame me and not accept he’s a creep and leads a double life.

        • I can totally relate Martha! The minute you pushback, you’re the bad guy. Such a double-standard and all to protect a douchebag.

        • Martha, the ex mil’s last statement to me was “We didn’t realize how mean x was to you”. Then they promply, mil and sister’s in law decided they had to “back” their son and brother and pretty much ignored me and my kids (his kids too). You just go to trust that they SUCK.

  • “Recently he has banned my adult son from my home, which he knows is killing me, but he doesn’t care”

    That’s enough to leave him right there. I feel your kids should always come first – having kids is a lifetime responsibility.

    The first thing my husband did was turn off his location services on his phone. He had told me he was in Canada on business – the location showed he was at a particular house and upon a search came up with the name of the gutter slut. Hard to deny it then. I have found they are basically cowards – I waited until he was half asleep – went into the spare room and demanded his phone. He was frightened being half asleep – and just handed over his phone. It was all there – all the disgusting details. Of course – it was all my fault. It has taken me awhile to realize I have nothing to feel bad about because I didn’t drive him to drop his pants.

    About the children blaming you – I thought the same thing – but my children have watched his behavior and found it repulsive. My children are in high school so they are older but being a role model for your children is the best you can do. They will realize what is normal and what is not. I know I don’t want my children treating their spouse as mine has. I want to model respect, love and honesty.

    • Exactly. Anyone who would forbid me from seeing my child would be out of my life in a nanosecond. This is outrageous behavior and completely unacceptable. How do you think all this affects the son? not being able to see his mom? This guy is a colossal asshole of the biggest magnitude I have ever seen. Animals in the wild do everything to protect their young, and here we are as humans tolerate shit like this when a man is trying to prevent a mother from seeing their son. What a fucking asshole this guy is. I would have dumped him immediately.

      • I went to a wildlife lecture one time about bears on a cruise. And the biologist said that the most dangerous animal on earth is a Mother Bear.

        When she hears that squeal of her cubs, in distress, he said he had seen Mother Grizzly Bear rip a Alaska Fish and Game truck DOOR off it hinges that was left open, as she was in a frenzy to get to her cubs.

        I told Rasputin….because some of women he cheats with (what a nice thing to get to write) have abandoned small children to party and do drugs. They have to live with grandparents and foster homes.

        Even a SNAKE takes care of its offspring. (No offense to Jill).

  • As far as I can see, this guy is just another prick from Pricksville. You are so much better than this. Now pack your shit and go and be mighty!

  • Jill… PLEASE hear our warnings from chumps who have been there. I could have written your post (controlling husband, financial abuse, his family owns this small town, he’ll destroy my reputation…)

    I stayed despite fears he was cheating from the time our first born was a baby… and now we have three children age 3, 2 & 1. He chose to leave us and move in with a woman he met online and play house with her and her little child. …

    My point is it won’t get any better. Now I can’t see the future but he sounds like the same person my husband was a few years ago. We’ve been drug through hell. I did recently hire an attorney. I’m having our rental lease adjusted today so he won’t be allowed in MY home. I’ll figure out childcare and go back to work soon…

    Don’t waste years of your precious life fighting a losing battle. I wish I hadn’t. Best of luck! 🙂

    • Can I also add that once he realized I would take him back, his abuse ramped up in every form…

      Also… who cares what his family or anyone else thinks?! I would rather be known as the kick butt single mama with her three babies than his abused wife….. And don’t you think people will figure out why you left? I’m sure people on the outside of our situation wonder why my husband left three babies and a wife ans created a Facebook account with mistress as his friends….. idiot.

      • “Can I also add that once he realized I would take him back, his abuse ramped up in every form…”

        Aloha – Thank you for writing this. It’s very eye opening and it happened to me as well. When we take them back, it gives the wrong idea to the cheater that we are doormats and are willing to tolerate their crap even more.

        • Exactly! I am starting to believe that second chances don’t work, because like you both said, once these cheaters have done something and you take them back, they feel that they can get away with anything and that you will always take them back.

          • To think that we can reform a cheater is the worst assumption we make. All they do is tell us what we want to hear and go underground even more. Serial Cheaters are like Serial Killers. They won’t stop until they are caught. If they ever get let out of jail, what’s gonna happen? They’re gonna do it again. We can’t have eyes everywhere and they know that! They will look for the time and the opportunity to lie and punch us in the gut again! When there is a strong connection to someone, emotionally and physically, no one ever just stops because it hurts you! If that were the case, they would have never cheated… They are buddies…. They listen to each other’s relationship woes.. Eyeroll! They figure out what they are going to do differently now that you are onto them so that they can keep up their arrangement! Second chances are just more daggers to the heart. As hard as it is to face the truth that you really do have to end the relationship because of infidelity, it is needed because just think of what you DON’T know! You know that they are only going to confess to what you know and nothing more…just like a C.R.I.M.I.N.A.L.

            • So true! Lesson learned the hard way. Each time you give them a chance, it seems like the lies and cheating get worse, if that’s possible.

              • NO to second chances. My first marriage was a host of multiple DDay’s. I got so lost keeping track of how many and also how many times I tried to explain about boundaries and behavior and respect. Bottom line is…THEY DON’T GIVE A SHIT! I will never give a cheater a second chance. If you fuck up, I’m done!

            • PeakyBlinders, you are right about their criminal behavior. If even one of their actions were actionable, they’d land in prison right away:

              Fraud, Embezzlement, Robbery, Theft, Hate Crime (ha), Soliciting Prostitution, Soliciting Sex with Minors, Committing Incest, Sexual Molestation of Minor, Grifting, Being Typhoid Mary, Driving Drunk, Being a Nuisance, Jaywalking, and Smelling Bad From Farting All the Damn Time

              • OMG, how did I miss this?! Typhoid Mary? Last one, “Smelling Bad From….” So perfectly random. Hella funny. Strange how gallows humor helps level and clarify things.

          • I believe once they know you will continue giving them chances after being disrespected and devalued, they have even less respect for you. I would go so far as saying they feel contempt. It gets worse and worse.

      • I know its hard in a small town but AlohaFreedom is right, people will figure out why you left. Odds are there are people out there who see him for what he is. You’ve been isolated from them and they will take some time to show themselves, but they are out there. Is there anyone he doesn’t like, puts down? He probably has his reasons and has told you stories about how awful certain people are. More than likely those are the people he doesn’t like because they see him for what he is and he must keep you from. He tells the worst stories about them so you steer clear of them.

        It’s difficult to see when you are in the middle of it but you are soaking in abuse, maybe he doesn’t hit you but he uses fear and intimidation to control you, to control the finances, to control who you are in contact with. I was in such a relationship for 20 years and you know what? When things hit the fan I found out all those people I had not talked to in years were true friends and they came out of the woodwork and supported me like no body’s business. I had not been able to support them for years during my isolation but they understood and they picked me up and held me up during the worst of it. I get weepy thinking about how wonderful they are. You can find that too. Start reaching out.

  • Jillzoo,

    You are here, writing to CL, and your gut is screaming that you are in the right place… You don’t need anything else, but let me validate how concerning what you wrote is:

    “He will use my kids to hurt me.”

    “Our biggest issues over the years have been his control over finances and isolating me from anyone I like or from my family.”

    “Recently he has banned my adult son from my home, which he knows is killing me, but he doesn’t care.”

    “Now I’m sounding like a crazy lady.”

    The phone situation is your smallest concern, as each and everyone of these things are cluster B traits. His banning your adult son from your home is enough as a deal breaker, you don’t need anything else to justify your decision for leaving.

    Please read:
    “Why does he do this?” By Lundy Brancroft
    “Disarming the Narcissist” By Wendy Behary
    CL archive, especially the three mindfuck channels and remorse naughyde
    The high conflict personality institute website and everything you can find from Bill Eddy

    And start your care package:
    Make copies of all financials and open a safety box at a bank for all your important document (e.g. birth certificates, passports, SS statements)
    When you go grocery shopping, buy a $20-40 gift card each time, use an amount that is not going to be suspicious.
    Squirrel away cash as much as you can
    Secure a individual therapist with experience in cluster B abuse recovery
    Meet with a lawyer and set up a strategy to secure your finance and have a plan to go back to your own family with your 1st grader.
    Fight with everything you have to make sure that your kid gets minimal exposure to your husband’s entitled ways and build the best possible life for you and your sons.

    This is a scary and really really hard road ahead Jill, but listen to your gut, you know that this short-term transition is going to be rough but it is a better option than to stay and have your life sucked away from you by someone who does not show respect and care for you.


    • Check out the Resources link here for more good reading — sites and books. Thanks for the plug for Lundy Bancroft. Best book for this.

    • Chumptitude,
      Have you ever thought of starting a non profit to help women escape abusive relationships?

      Your idea about the gift cards at the grocery store- sensational.

      Life saving advice.

      • I, too, never thought of the gift card.
        The X wouldn’t allow me to have access to a PIN so I could extract cash from the grocery store with a debit card.

        • Feeling murdery.

          What a utter piece of shit. He needs to be beaten with a large bat.

          I am sorry. Did you escape him, Shechump?

          • Did I escape him, Sylvia?
            In a nano-second. I was one of the lucky ones who found out from C/N early enough that it was not a brain tumor after all.

            He was out of the house and on the curb in one day and one fucking angry wife on his hands.
            Nothing like an angry wife who puts on her karate boots and gets to cleaning house…..and I filed right away – caught him completely off guard.

            I caught his hand in the cookie jar to the tune of hundreds of thousands.
            Did I mention, this site save me a lot of money?!!!

      • Thanks for your kind words Sylvia is Sad, I am only a messenger as all the tips and resources that have gotten me through I learned about through this amazing community and CL!

  • Jillzoo, Everyone is giving you good advice. My addition to this is the fact that my daughter (now 20) asked why I didn’t leave her father earlier. She feels that she would have had a better life without him in it. I throw this out there as food for thought. Sending all sorts of positive thoughts and hugs your way.

  • Everything you predict will happen. My ex attempted to turn my girls against me, succeeded in turning my friends against me, and is a general fuck wit.

    But all that said…I’m happier. I’m so very much happier. Not coming home to abuse is awesome.

    My kids and I are (6 years out) much much closer than we were when I was married. And I have real friends.

    Get out and away from him.

      • Traitor turned his kids against me even though I looked after them but he didn’t pay child support. Not much you can do about who will be turned, you need to be your best friend and accept that some people will turn on you and others will unexpectedly prove to be your true friends. That’s just how it is. I understand how scary it can be and I have had my months of wishing I could just take the blue pill. But it doesn’t work. We chumps have to dine on the red pill and deal with reality. Sorry this sucks. He is not a decent person if he won’t let your son in your house. That’s unforgivable. Follow the escape advice you’re receiving here, all the good planning will make it a bit easier for you. Good luck.

  • All the behaviors sound so familiar to so many of us here. You will never find enough proof. I know a person who literally caught her husband with a whore in their living room at 3 am (she came downstairs because she heard a noise) and STILL it wasn’t what it looked like.
    Turn off GPS check
    Get caught driving near supposedly X AP’s job. Check
    Threatening to destroy you. Check
    Threatening to use kids against you. Check
    Saying the most vile things they could ever say to you. Check, check.
    Withholding sex and affection. Check
    Only being nice to get something from you. Check

    I don’t believe every cheater has a personality disorder, I believe a vast number of people with personality disorders cheat however.

    I entered a new phase-I am trying to learn spouse’s manipulations so I can buy time to get out. Getting ducks in a row one at a time. Don’t look for anything. Start to get your shit together. Call a lawyer. Smile and act normal. He will think you’re an idiot and trip up, because no they are not that smart and yes they think you are that dumb. You will get your proof, you will document it (photo, tape, whatever), and you will give it to your attorney.

    A person with a personality disorder cannot be a unicorn.

  • Leave! Who cares what people think. My ex convinced everyone that I’m a worthless, controlling, bitter, sexless, crazy, jealous, whore. Not sure how sexless and whore go together…but it’s his story. You wanna know how that affects me? 0% zip! Who cares! I know that he is upset because I said “no more”. And I live happier ever after! Leave him…throw his shit in a dumpster (okay…don’t throw his shit in a dumpster). Hire an attorney!

    • Yeah, Narkles the Clown probably says the same about me (can’t know for sure as I am No Contact with him, his family and anyone else who is his known associate) but if he says it over and over again at the top of his voice then many people will be convinced. Good thing there are over 7 billion people in the world who have never heard of him. That’s a lot of potential friends.

      • I’m a very patient, benefit of the doubt type person and it takes A LOT for me to lose my cool. But usually when I lose it, you definitely deserve it! He told everyone how mean I was and how I was abusive and yelled at him. Ha! They will take what they can get and twist it around so that you are the bad guy all of the time and they are just the POOR sweet innocent victim who didn’t do anything wong…(purposely misspelled) pooor me…. or as others here on CN say… poor SAD sausage… I agree, the people who they tell that believe it or support him no matter what don’t mean a darn thing in your life. I’ve learned to put those people in a certain category away from me and leave them there with him. You can always be polite, yet walk with your head held high and let them think whatever the f-k they want. f-k em! You know who you are and that’s all you need.

        • The twisting around of the situation, where you are the abuser and he the victim, as PeakyBlinders describes, is a real danger. You’re in a small town. He’s got influence. Given what you’ve described, if he hadn’t already started the smear campaign I’d be shocked. (I WAS shocked to find out both that my Creep had been using that narrative for a long time, and that people bought it. Creep always praised me in public, boasted about my whatever, said he was a lucky guy. You can’t win. Other predators publicly ignore spouses at best, humiliate at worst.)

          And guess what? It can affect custody decisions. A battered women’s hotline and an attorney can help you with that part.

      • When my soon to be exhusband said I would never fine anyone better than him … (side note: so you think he actually believes that? 😉 ) … I replied that considering there were probably 4 billion men on the planet, my odds were pretty good.

  • Jillx00 –
    Congrats on realizing something is incredibly wrong.
    My husband protected his phone as if it was a brick of gold bullion. Kids and I thought it odd – but believed his excuse that high security was necessary to protect the deals he negotiated.
    Fast forward to me figuring his password, sneaking his phone in the middle of the night and finding incontrovertible evidence of long term affair with ho-worker 26 years younger. Declarations of love/ info on house hunting/ exchanges of porn links.
    I was shaking like a criminal – which is crazy because I had done nothing wrong. Even worse was the fact that I then freaked out on one of my kids when they picked up my phone a few days later because I had taken photos of some of the incriminating texts.
    My message: don’t let yourself be dragged into the literal shit of cheater slime.
    Line up ducks and move on. I lost 2 years of my life trying to control/reconcile/figure out what had happened to my husband of 30 years.
    So trust your gut. It’s telling you that if your husband loved you, he would do what he could to stop you from being upset – unfortunately, your husband, like most cheaters, could care less about you

    • Hi, TiredChump, how are you feeling these days? Is your cheater out of the house? How are your kids faring? Good to hear from you again.

      • Thanks Tempest. I filed for legal separation mid-July (had gotten a post-nup thanks to CN/CL) but then took a few steps back after he convincingly begged for one more chance. During this final “wreckonciliation” attempt, I realized I don’t respect him enough to get back together. Anyone who would like to me about his intentions and show utter disregard for my mental and physical health does not deserve me. He had it all – smart/pretty wife, – three great kids – financial stability and physical health (not mental health obviously). The fact he could lie to me and lie to the AP – while screwing us both (literally and figuratively) sickens me.

        Fell apart on my birthday last Friday 9/16 (i’m 56, yikes) and realized I deserve better – woke up this morning and asked my lawyer to serve divorce complaint today.

        I guess I’ll always remember the day Angelina and I filed – ha, ha

        Officially DONE –

        • Congratulations, TiredChump; I know it’s been a long, hard battle.

          And no “yikes” about 56–you still have a quarter century worth of living, at least (and this 25 years can be cheater-free). Happy birthday!

        • Although you’re now both available, steer clear of Brad.

          Seriously, Tired, be happy with yourself. You tried everything and that is commendable.

          He never even thought to try.

          You are the kind of person you want to be with. You’re lucky to get rid of the dead weight now. Happy First Day of the rest of your life.

        • Happy Birthday.???

          (You did the right thing)

          Once they cheat, they killed it. You deserve a REAL man.

  • There are all sorts of other actions here (infidelity or not) that completely justify you leaving him. Let’s just get that out of the way.

    As for an affair, if somebody is treating their cell phone like an appendage, then there’s something going on. I didn’t realize this myself at first. But after doing some research, I did notice that my wife’s cell phone was within 2 feet of her – at all times. And I mean, at all times, no breaks – ever. Slept with it beside her every night. It’s such a dead give away in hindsight.

    • Blindside – I totally agree.
      My list for wondering if your spouse is cheating on you?
      The number one thing on it would be sleeping with your phone and guarding it like my big dog guards me.

      Good God – what sort of calls are you expecting in the middle of the night?
      If you don’t have kids and aren’t a doctor?
      What could you possibly have to say to each other after texting all day and night?

      • Also – the moment that phone rings, he instantly answers it within one ring.
        If I tried to call him, it always went to voicemail.
        ODD? Yup.

  • Chiming in to agree that, affair or no, you have plenty of reasons to go. CL always says: is this relationship acceptable to YOU as it stands right now? Would you be ok with it continuing like this for the next 30 yrs? If not then you know what to do. CN will be here for you while you do it

  • Honey, if it walks like a cheater and talks like a cheater and smells like nasty crack whores, it’s a cheater.

  • Wow…this is just how it started with my Ex-Wife. She did the exact same thing your husband is doing!!!!

    I trusted till it was to late.
    As time goes on you will notice patterns, leaves early for work, shows up late for family functions, long shopping trips, doctors appointments that seem longer than normal. Start saying things that are out of character, and mention personal details about people you know more and more.

    Trust your Gut! I wish I did!

  • “I just want him to admit to it, but I know he won’t.”

    Jillzoo- He will NEVER admit he cheated. What criminal admits to committing to the crime? People have to arrest them, prosecute them and put them in jail and they still don’t admit it. And not admitting to cheating is very common. You’ll see on these boards. You can have upstanding citizens, who are religious leaders and other so called family men who are caught red handed shown hard core evidence of their cheating and they still DENY cheating. It’s just how cheaters operate, they will never admit to it. It’s standard operating procedure.

    • “What criminal admits to committing to the crime?”

      Kellia, thanks for putting that into words. I remember having family members criticize me for “talking bad about my spouse when he says nothing bad about you.” I wish I’d have had that line as a comeback. I do remember thinking “what burglar admits to stealing?” when they’d say that to me.

      • I’ve heard the same thing, too, Lyn. My response is “I didn’t do to him what he did to me.”

        • I cite Anne Lamott “If people wanted you to write[or speak] warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

    • My X only admitted after the divorce “half heartily” ; like a middle schooler. After 20 plus years this was even a bigger insult to me than the cheating and lying.

  • I also want to add that the way this guy is acting, he may very well get violent towards Jillzoo. It’s a domestic violence case that is waiting to happen. He’s showing all the signs of a violent man. Using Jillzoo’s kids to hurt her. Why do you want to be with someone who wants to hurt you??? If anyone I’m in a relationship with wants to deliberately hurt me, it’s game over, I’m OUT in a nanosecond. This relationship may turn violent very soon. All the signs are pointing to it.

  • You have access to phone records and NOW he won’t be stupid enough to use the phone/message process that shows up on the bill. You sound like you “have to know”. It might involve legwork. But if you need to do it, funnel your crazy into figuring out who he has been contacting (and work numbers at 3 am are not necissarily “work” numbers anymore) I think you can play nice and pay attention to… Who he stops contacting now that he knows your suspicious. He probably has plenty of faith that you’d never look, so he may be doing a great job of covert spy now, but he was likely pretty blasé before your wheels were turning.

    I didn’t have the means to hire a detective, I had to do all the looking myself. Go back as far as you can, and see what numbers pop up a lot (yes, I have a spreadsheet. Colour coded and everything) and start googling them, and also searching them on Facebook (because cell phones don’t usually show up on online 411 sites, but are often published by people telling friends “lost my phone- text me ###_###_####” on Facebook or just showing in their profile. It’s amazing what you find when you really look).

    Then as I said _ watch for the numbers which disappear… Because those are as likely the issue as any you see frequently. You’re on to him. And he doesn’t sound ok. He doesn’t sound nice. Your kid and you deserve better.

  • Your graphic takes me straight back to my DDay almost 3 years ago: We were lying in bed at night and I saw she kept checking WhatsApp messages to a guy I knew was a work colleague. I asked what was going on, why was she checking messages with him. She said it was nothing. My gut said otherwise.

    I grabbed her phone and ran to the bathroom. Had to push her out the way to lock myself in and read what messages there were — she had already been covering her tracks. The rest is history.

    Divorce and the breakup of your family is painful. Really really painful. But I’d rather have that pain, than still be a chump.

    Take the advice here on CL. His behaviours tell you all you need to know that he’s toxic.

    • I HATE WhatsApp. My H wants R, I’m playing along, has given me access to his phone whenever I want and his email accounts … and it’s a joke. I pretend to check every once in awhile to give the impression I am trying to trust him, but it’s so easy to get around leaving a trail.

      • That is what the cheaters use, and KiK. If you online date…oddly…many of these men almost demand you use WhatsApp or Kik. Why? Because it deletes the conversations.

        When I have refused to use either, they become petulant….Please, can we use KiK or WhatsApp?


        I don’t like emailing.

        Me-It is all same…typing. What’s the difference?

        Email is not convenient for me.

        Me-Oh, go fuck yourself and shove Kik and WhatsApp up your cheating, rotten ass.

        They are PODS.

        • My POD uses WhatsApp. It’s how I caught him. Twice. Maybe he’s not using it right LOL.

          • CyberDust is another one. STBX attacked me and almost broke my wrist when I saw him using it and my child handed me his phone. Evil.

            • Bloomberg, a very private system not accessible without a fingerprint, apparently has tons of apps for their brokers to use without the company knowing…..and your spouse can’t track it.

          • I don’t know! I know these motherless fucks love it. I think there is way they can manipulate the setting so, if you and I were texting, it would vanish at some point.

            I will never download it! I have nothing to hide.

            Oh…Rasputin honestly did not care if I saw. Not really. He was too high to cover his tracks.

  • Important! Don’t let your cheater-husband know you’re thinking of divorcing. Don’t hint, nothing. Talk to a lawyer in private. Put away some emergency cash. Get ready. This is the best thing you can do for your kids (and yourself, to be the sane parent).

    • +1000. See above, if you can, use a lawyer from another town or city, and use a burner phone. Turn YOUR normal cell off at home, before you leave to visit the lawyer or therapist or both. And I don’t know how to do this one, but look for his having put something in your car to track you. Maybe somebody else knows how to find a tracker ….

      • Wish I could have learned that trick. I did feel at times like I was being watched (which gains you the title of “paranoid wacko”) sometimes because they are busted, they want to “bust” you. It’s comical almost, but certainly robs your sense of security

        • Somewhere I saw a whole day’s worth of comments from women whose husbands were controlling. Some of those husband’s cheated. All the women reported having found all kinds of things to track them!

          I thought I was a nut case too, feeling paranoid, but then I saw, HERE, allusions to tech gizmos, most of which I’ve never heard of, that track movement AND content.

          That day I thought, some of these asshats are gonna do exactly the same thing — to stay one step ahead, to gather ammo they can spin falsely, to indulge their need to OWN their partner.

          Nope. Not crazy. Not paranoid. Shrewd.

          • Re: gizmos: Someone mentioned using iPhone tracking by putting a phone in his car on silent. All of the major phone companies have a trial period during which you can reverse the whole transaction–usually 14 days.

            If it won’t help you legally to know, I wouldn’t bother getting confirmation in your shoes, though. You are married to a terribly abusive man who has colonized your mind to normalize horrendous behavior. You don’t want your little one to normalize abuse nor lose your relationships with your older children. Get out ASAP.

            • “colonized your mind”…very clever.

              Yes, I agree. I feel tired for her just thinking of all the things she would have to do.

              Just go.

  • Jillzoo,

    You have to read the book, The Gift of Fear. You already know the answers you just aren’t listening to that inner voice.

    I have been going through this nightmare for years now. All of it. No end in sight so I have to agree that all of your worries are valid. However, the moment you say “no more” (like Starr noted above) your direction changes. When you do that you begin to realize how much of you was lost and how much abuse you have been tolerating.

    Please stop pursuing him for the answers. You have to use strategy and tactics. You have to get everything in order and cross the t’s and dot the i’s. You have to be the best actress you can be. You need someone by your side. A friend, someone from a domestic violence support group or center. The game changed and you were not given the new rules. You have to protect yourself. From my experience so far, no one else is going to do it.

    Please read through the old posts about what others have done to protect themselves. Get all financial documents in order. If his behavior is affecting the kids, think about proactive counseling for them. Put it in writing to him and suggest counseling for him, too. Have a record. If he does anything to make you feel afraid, call 911. Establish a trail. I covered for years and it isn’t over. Protect your kids, your ASSets, everything. Learn the laws – they are not there to protect you. Listen to what the lawyers say but make your own decisions. They are there to put you through the machine. Hopefully you can find one that knows how to deal with high conflict, narc types.

    Are you crazy? Maybe. I ‘m sure all of us are that put up with this crap for years and then got hammered by it.

    Oh, and that moving thing. Seriously think about it now, before anything is filed. You have to think, think, think. If you really want to move and can hold off to the end of the school year, do it then. Set up a residence where you want to live and enroll your son in school next year. Make sure you understand state divorce laws.

    You have so much to think about. But you need a plan. You have to understand your options. Lawyers are a start but it is what you can do before and after that has impact. You are at the point where you are looking down and realize the ice is cracked and it will break, Get down and slowly pull yourself to shore and safety.

    CL and CN pulled me through some rough times. There are some really great people here!

    • Good advice, Glinda. It always helps to start focusing on your own life, and getting your ducks in a row. I’m reading The Gift of Fear now, and wish I’d have read it as a teenage girl. It should be required reading in high school!

      • You should buy the audio and hear Gavin DeBecker read it himself.

        Like, the first story, where the girl drops her cans of groceries, and they roll down the stairs of her apartment, and she hears a voice say, “I’ve got it” and her gut contracts because something tells her there is something off in THAT voice. But she ignores it. I will not give away what happens for spoiler alert.

        But, listening to him read it truly adds more to absorb all of his life saving lessons.

    • I had heard of “The Gift of Fear” from, I think, Datdamwuf, here on CL. I hadn’t gone to look it up yet for whatever reason. I see via wikipedia that de Becker was hired by Bill Cosby to investigate the death of Cosby’s son in 1997. What’s the word that describes a situation wherein the person who is purportedly and expert on recognizing something fails to recognize such an in your face threat?

      I don’t know that it negates the validity of de Becker’s work, but it is interesting.

      • I don’t know if Cosby had any play in his son’s death? I have never researched Cosby because he is so unfunny and not interesting to me.

        DeBecker is a heavy hitter, former FBI. He was probably hired by a lawyer for Cosby. I don’t think he could investigate his client, Cosby, for his drugging and raping women allegations, when that was not the issue on the table.

        As a woman, his advice is truly great about following what you already know and not ignoring it. It may not speak to men as much. Men are not taught to second guess their intuitions and trust their gut as much as little girls and women.

        • Sylvia……I have this book on my shelf; been there for years! It is a wealth of information about trusting your gut. If I remember correctly, I think I saw him years ago on Montel Williams talk show and got it then. Of course way back when I had some other loser in my life. I’m a loser magnet.

          • Me too. (I also have hate. too!)
            I wasn’t until I had that first big one. That is when I tried to tell Fishbone, (someone who wrote to CL) that when you accept that first abusive just changes you in a horrible way. You start eating shit.

            I could never get my first back under me. It messed up my perception of what is normal. The abnormal became acceptable.

            If I had some guidance or wisdom to snatch me out of it, but I did not. And then, once I stayed too long, and lost so much power, the next time I met Mr. Danger….I did not have the right skills to protect myself.

            • Sylvia, This is so true: “when you accept that first abusive just changes you in a horrible way. You start eating shit.

              I could never get my first back under me.”

              Hard to believe one would consciously choose to repeat the same terrible experience, but I have done this twice now. X1 wasn’t unfaithful – just immature and entitled. X2 was that on steroids.

              I’m super paranoid now – my relationship-future has the potential to be a 9.0 on the Love Richter Scale – I don’t trust myself. I suspect everybody. Not even really sure what to “work on” to feel normal. What is normal, anyway? How do you unsee?

              • It is a horrible pattern, isn’t it?

                I think normal….would be someone who does not make us feel confused.

                No walking on eggshells.
                No unexplained huge gaps of time.
                No acting like the cell phone holds the Shroud of Turin.
                No making us feel deeply unsettled.
                No triangulating.

                I have to stop with my interrogations of me. I go straight to their fidelity record! I know it is too much. But, I would not survive this again. I am not sure I will survive it now.

                As a young girl….I wish someone had warned me that there ARE REAL MONSTERS out there. I wish I had known. 🙁

      • De Becker was not hired to diagnose Cosby as a serial abuser of women. Even if he had noticed something about Cosby that seemed a red flag, what would he do with that suspicion? Read the book. The man’s work is in providing security for people at high risk of violent attack (e.g., a celebrity being stalked, a family receiving anonymous threats, a rape victim whose attacker is still at large).

        Please, Ian, read the book before you judge De Becker based on the fact that Cosby once hired him and he didn’t just “see” Cosby was an abuser of women. We don’t know what De Becker thought of Cosby, just that he investigated the son’s death. One of my colleagues was a Special Agent for the FBI and when a former student was arrested said, “He was a sociopath.” It wasn’t that he didn’t see the student was a bad apple; it was that he had no reason to act on what he saw.

        • Yes, DeBecker is spot on and the bomb regarding safety and fear smarts.
          That is what I meant!

          That is not what he was retained for. You can’t profile your own client.

      • Ian,

        In my case the word is chump. The Gift of Fear is the only book I’ve recommend in my professional life. I don’t know anything about Mr. DeBecker other than his professional credentials. One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with is that I am suppose to be able to identify when someone is showing deceptive behaviors. It’s what I do. I’ve had both men and women crying (literally) as they’ve signed confessions. Why then could I not detect Fucktard’s lying cheating betrayal? Simply put, I believed he was my ally not my adversary.

        I never in my wildest imaginations though that I would have to be on my guard in the one place I should have been the safest. The weirdest thing of all is that just before DD I was beginning to feel more relaxed at work than home. My gut was reacting to the danger but my heart was in denial. I felt that not only was my entire marriage a lie, but so must my career if I can’t even detect the liar I’m living with. It was humiliating on every level. When I started reading CL someone said something about having a great capacity to love and trust and we shouldn’t blame ourselves for it. Well dammit, I’m human too and just as capable of being as much of a chump as anyone else.

        • Yes, you were not sleeping with any of the people you were interrogating.

          Sex makes EVERYTHING wonky. Especially, I think, for females. We bond and feel gooey and enmeshed with the person. The last thing we believe is that this person…who we are sleeping beside….is our ENEMY? I would give Rasputin a million kisses over his beautiful (LYING) face, and I thought he loved me with that same intensity.

          He gave me so energy, money and time…I don’t know how the man managed to find the time or the power to cheat. I don’t.

          Never fault yourself for having an open, loving heart to YOUR HUSBAND. That is normal!

      • Thank you all for letting me be part of the discussion about “The Gift of Fear.”

        Annie, I can’t imagine how at sea you must have felt after your own ability to sense danger was drawn into question. You are a hero to me and a role model of street-smarts, courage, and complassion.

        I said:

        I had heard of “The Gift of Fear” from, I think, Datdamwuf, here on CL. I hadn’t gone to look it up yet for whatever reason.

        I mentioned I haven’t read the book, and that I was only familiar with it through this site.

        I see via wikipedia that de Becker was hired by Bill Cosby to investigate the death of Cosby’s son in 1997.

        I stated a fact.

        What’s the word that describes a situation wherein the person who is purportedly and expert on recognizing something fails to recognize such an in your face threat?

        I posited a (admittedly loaded) question.

        I don’t know that it negates the validity of de Becker’s work, but it is interesting.

        I disclaimed my statement and said that it didn’t negate the validity of de Becker’s work.

        I now know some of the cultural significance of de Becker’s work. I hope that everyone here reads “The Gift of Fear.” I have downloaded the title, and I hope to read it soon. I too do not know anything about de Becker’s personal life. I assume that he is a straight male.

        I imagined that de Becker met personally with Cosby at some point. If that were true I did a thought experiment assessing de Becker’s skills. If that were indeed the case that he had personal exposure to Cosby, then I think there is a feminist argument to be made that de Becker was unable to see Cosby’s rapist behavior because he is not a woman.

        I remember twice in the last months of my time with Match Girl having to lock up our guns. She liked to keep one of her revolvers on her most of the time. We were in California, and she was yelling at me because she didn’t like her haircut – somehow it was my fault. Then something made me feel ooky in my gut. When she fell asleep I put her revolver in the safe before I fell asleep. I woke up early and put it back before she noticed it was gone.

        In the 36 hours after I confronted her on D-Day we both went to try to get some sleep in our bed. I took my Glock and her pistol and locked them up because she I was afraid she was going to continue the beating she gave me earlier that day and possibly even amp up the abuse when I drifted off to sleep. I told her that I was going to lock up the guns and she told me about Match Stick’s gun collection. I locked the guns up anyway, and even though she knew the combination I felt a bit safer those next few hours before I fled.

        I know what it’s like to sleep with the enemy.

        • Ian,

          Now, when you were dating Matchstick, did you have moments where you thought:

          This chick is batshit crazy? Or did she fool you?

          Those moments you are talking about….”ooky in my gut”…that is essentially what the book is about. I see where you are going. Perhaps Debecker did vibe on Cosby but did nothing? We will never know.

          I always find it so…apppalling that the cheaters are the one who get violent. That happened with me as well. I never got to get self righteous nuts, because he was so scary. He took his finger and pounded my forehead as hard as he could. He then began kissing it frantically. He was out of control..the day I said it was over. He was going from crying (real tears!) to raging.

          A lot of women lawyers are bonkers. I have many theories why, but I translate legal documents from Russian into English, and vice versa and sometimes Hebrew and I have to talk with them. I try to keep everything in email because I do not jive well with Type A personalities. I am probably a Type C. Most are very moody and…competitive.

          My X threatened me a few times, but he is too busy getting high to actually follow through on a threat. He just wants to be high….24/7. So- no follow through. Small graces?

          Matchstick Girl sounds just absolutely…..scary. If you thought she might shoot you, then there was nothing more to analyze, was there? Case closed.

          • I had moments of insight. One particular event about six weeks into our courtship stands out. I made her wait a month after we met to have sex with me because I really liked her. I didn’t want to fuck it up by jumping in the sack on the first date like I usually do. So after we’d been bumping uglies for a couple weeks, one night I had to work late. I didn’t return her message immediately, and she showed up at my place at like 11 pm unannounced and fuming. That should have been the biggest red flag. Nope – it was an aphrodisiac to me apparently.

            I hadn’t considered the bro-code angle to the de Becker / Cosby story. I was getting at that because Cosby wouldn’t have considered de Becker a potential victim he wouldn’t have exhibited predatory behaviors for de Becker to observe. Cosby is a particularly smooth and sinister perpetrator.

            Match Girl was scary but she was the love of my life. We supported each other through years of school and hand to mouth existence. When the money and prestige came it changed. Nevertheless, I spent days enamored of her every word and wrapped up in her spell. She is a joy to be around and the most beautiful woman I’ve ever know. Until she wasn’t. I consider myself worldly and pretty smart. She was running game at a level I hadn’t seen before, and that I hope I will see through next time somebody tries to pull that shit on me. I have faith there are intelligent women who are faithful, but I haven’t met any in real life.

        • Ian,

          I hope you would not think I would be offended by your questions, because that’s far from the case. I imagine anyone who has anything to do with psychology, sociology, anthropology, social work, etc. and been a chump had their “what the fuck” moment and “how did I not see this. I admit that if it hadn’t happened to me I would probably have either thought my observation skills for detecting deception sucked or I knew about it.

          I remember having a conversation with you some time ago about having a shattered sense of safety. Where mine was more of the feeling of danger that I have never experienced before, yours was very real. I applaud you for talking about your abuse, most men don’t. It happens to both genders and in both hetro and homo sexual relationships. I won’t go into a big lecture, but I’m so glad you got out safely and I’m so sorry you had to go through what you did.

  • Jillzoo,

    The information you will receive on this site will be important but may also be extremely difficult to hear. Many of us didn’t recognize we were in an abusive relationship until we became strong enough to distance ourselves from the situation and get a clearer picture of the person we trusted the most. I kept myself trapped in the madness for many years because I refused to see what was right in front of me.

    The truth that the man I loved was hurting me, and was doing it deliberately and without remorse, was too much for me to accept. So I held on to a false sense of reality, his false self, for many years. We all have a breaking point where the cracks in the mask become too much for us to ignore. Mine was hearing my young daughter tell me that she was sad that daddy was mean to mommy. I knew then that I needed to be strong, not just for me, but for her.

    What your letter details is more than just signs of a possible cheater but other abusive types of behavior like manipulation, isolation and other types of controlling behavior. These are not the actions of a person who loves you and cares for your well-being. We are all good at making excuses for people we love. My STBX is a master manipulator. He wrote the entire script of our marriage based on his own needs and whenever he faltered and withdrew and became the monster, I filled in the gaps with my own piece of the script for the man I thought he was supposed to be.

    I sympathize with your need for knowledge and understanding. But time is precious and so is your life and the lives of your children. They say that the first indication that something is wrong is feeling that something is wrong. If you are here, on this site, writing this letter, you already know more than you think you do. Your heart just hasn’t fully caught up to your brain yet. It takes time to get to the point where many of us are today, and for some, time is a luxury they can’t afford. I was lucky, though it didn’t feel like it at the time. He left us. I just forced the rest of the distance between us by eventually limiting contact with him. When I did that, I finally allowed my heart to feel what my brain had already figured out.

    Take the advice of those telling you to protect and take care of yourself.

    • “He wrote the entire script of our marriage based on his own needs and whenever he faltered and withdrew and became the monster, I filled in the gaps with my own piece of the script for the man I thought he was supposed to be.”

      This. 1000x this!

      I am in counseling to get to the bottom of why I did this and for so long. As hard as it may be to trust someone else in the future, I have to figure out how to trust myself not to let this happen again…

  • This is almost exactly what happened with my cheater. The first step was turning off photo sharing on our iPhones.. Followed by changing her password (we had always known each other passwords for 9 years) .. Followed by downloading Snapchat and Instagram… at 36, and finally turning off her location services. One shared feature that she forgot to turn off was the shared notes feature between devices. So (and I shit you not) when she started looking up and saving to apple notes new sexual positions, and how to give better oral sex, I saw them saved in my notes as well. All while she was on one of her “Work Trips”. Funny part is even when I confronted her with she said she was doing it for “us” and frankly I believed her. You are being cheated one by someone who values neither you nor you health or safety. Cheaters laugh when you bring this up but it is true. Go through the phone records look for tons of texts (my cheaters where an average of 10 texts an hour… every day). then call the numbers you don’t know, whittle it down then get your ducks in a row.

    Good luck

  • Assume he is cheating, plan an exit strategy.

    You are not happy with him. It does not really matter what he is up to.
    Get out. He sounds abusive and its only going one way.

    Don’t think. Act. Very hard to do, but if he really loves you he will move heaven and earth to get you back. (he won’t). Sorry.

  • Jill, I’ve been in your exact same shoes. DDay #1 was 12/27/14– kids found a letter in his bag from the gold digging whore (Merry Christmas! Not?). STBX of 25 years lied- said it was a texting flirtation and had only seen her a handful of times, no physical contact. All lies! Fast forward 6 months of literal HELL… I kicked him out for catching him for the Xth time lying about continuing to see her and he gave me an STD. A few months later, another affair partner contacted me — she had dates, times, places… he took her on trips and bought her same books of love poetry he had purchased for me– it had gone on for 2 years and she said there was another before her. Now friends tell me about others much earlier.

    The zealous protection of his iPhone was a HUGE red flag. The few times I broke into it was literally horrifying. Know that you are seeing the tip of an enormous iceberg.

    Save yourself and your kids. You only have one precious life. Start meeting with and interviewing lawyers today. I’m so so so sorry that you are a member of the club no one wants to join but WE are here for you 24/7. ?????

  • Its useless to try and fix this jill00. Ask anyone here. Listen to them line up those ducks and go. I know its hard and scary but one day you will so happy your not in this relationship anymore. My kid last time she visited noticed how asswipe treated me and how when the kid and i were talking would interupt me and talk right over me to get the kids attention after the kid put up with it a couple of times turned to dad and said shutup dad you are being rude turned back to me and said now mom what were you saying. Enraged raged dad when he was no longer the center of attention. You will be fine you be the sane parent. You deserve better than this dickwad. You can do this!

  • He will diminish you to the point that you won’t feel you are capable of handling your own life.
    -Stayin Strong

    I am going to present you with a different option. All the advice is top notch. The problem is with tackling all of this Herculean work is that abuse, in any form, takes away your sanity. It takes away your power. It steals your life force.

    You have already lost huge chunks of yours. If I had a wooden box, and I locked it, never let it out of my sight, and became hysterical if anyone wanted to look inside my box…what would you know?

    That crazy girl is hiding something in that box. Do you see how desperately nuts it sounds to hand wring over the cellphone? Of course he is hiding something.

    So, this man has eroded your common sense, your autonomy, alienated you from your family and been a dictator about money. He has made you unsure of BASIC HUMAN DECENCY in a relationship.

    A patterned of sustained abuse takes away our power. You don’t feel mighty. You feel like a weak, confused 3 day kitten whose whole world has shrunk to this cruel tyrant who does not love you.

    When I am embarking on a trip, I check for two things. If I have these two things, I can figure everything else out. All else is gravy.

    Do I have money? (Plastic or curreny) Check.
    Do I have my passport? (Check)

    I’m outta here.

    If you are too overwhelmed, too beat down, too unsure, too afraid…to tackle these huge tasks of the documenting, gathering the evidence, getting the lawyer, playing Sherlock (and you will do THAT, because it is like picking a scab)…then don’t do it.

    Just leave. Get your children, any pets, get your money, get your ID and just leave.

    Will you lose some “stuff”. Yes, you will.
    Will it be scary? Yes, it will.
    Will many people tell you that you are bonkers? Maybe.

    But, this is what I know. What you can’t lose…is your MIND. And, Jill, you are already halfway there. But, your mind, she is strong. She is banging on your gray matter with her little fist:

    Hey Jill!!! Wake up! You are being treated like shit!

    And that is why you wrote CL.

    When we take a big scary leap, the Universe has a way of just stepping up, and giving us a hand. I have experienced it too many times, in too many countries- not to believe it is true. I don’t know what physics, philosophy or spiritual law makes it so.

    But it is.

    Every moment you spend with a crazy making, cruel cheater….a drop of your precious POWER dribbles away. My friend-It is so hard to get it back.

    Play around with this too long, and you will not be able to form a coherent thought TO leave.

    Just leave. Go. Vamoose. Fly. Run.
    All the details will come out in the wash.
    Could it be that simple?

    • I’m with Sylvia on this one. I argued this point with a chump here on CL a few months ago. (I remember who it was if you’re reading.)

      I’m still of the opinion if you have the resources you should just get the fuck out. Get out now. Like, this very instant. Pack your shit. Grab you kids and hit the fucking road. Move into a hotel for a week and go no contact. Irrespective of the law in your state, no one week outing is going to prevent you from getting full custody or ending up with the house. But people are weak. (Myself included. But I did only have one D-Day.) They don’t want to upset the apple cart. They don’t want to pull the kids out of school. But what if you are that one? The one that he comes home and smashes your fucking head into a pulp with a shovel. Is it worth it to line up ducks? How many stories here do I have to read about cheaters going ape shit on a chump after they are found out?

      Listen, I’m just some rando on the Internet. So don’t come at me like you have the answers, I’m the most wrong person in the history of wrong, and I offended you more than anyone ever has. I am voicing a very valid and well reasoned argument. If you don’t like my advice don’t take it.

      But life is too short to spend one more second with a cheater lining up ducks waiting for the perfect moment to escape.

      • Yes. Yes. Yes.

        I saw my sister go from a woman with a Ph.D in Statistics to a woman who now has anxiety attacks about ordering from Papa Johns. I have to do it online for her. She can’t bear to call anyone.

        This was from 5 years of being with a man who was an abusive monster. He once made her eat her false fingernails. But it did not start out that way. It started out the way Jill’s husband is…evil smoke swirling around the door, in your nose, in your lungs, in your brain and then…you can’t breathe. You can’t think. You cannot make basic decisions about your survival.

        As chumps, we believe we have to JUMP on the to do list.

        As chumps…our teeth are cleaned and our taxes are paid.

        But, I have found that running away gives you that room to clear your lungs, think, and perhaps…not have your teeth kicked in.

        Abuse…this is a different animal. Leave a notarized statement in a safety box about why you are ghosting…and get outta Dodge.

        You need time and a safe place to escape the mind fuckery that abuse is.

        The world will not stop turning. You would be amazed at the things you can let slide. And it will all be okay, if you, your children and animals are safe.

        Staying there, with an abuser, and trying to sort it out, or even think clearly, is like swimming and trying to stay dry. It is doomed.

      • Ian,

        I’ve worked with hundreds of domestic abuse victims. I also lost some to homicide. I agree with what you said. Call a shelter to get a safety plan for a safe escape (there are some abusers that hide GPS on the vehicle or they have alerts on debit or credit card, etc.) then get out. I have also been through enough that I know codependency overrides safety and most go back. It’s very sad.

      • If she can get the hell out of there — has enough money to feed kids, transportation, and best case can get to her family (or hotel 150 miles away, everyone’s phone OFF unless you can completely disabled the locator) — I agree.

        BUT — Annie notes that “most go back.” IF she can’t make that move, so far she’s played it pretty safe. If she acts as if she had a momentary jealousy lapse and proceeds as before UNTIL she can get herself out, I think she stands a better chance. Having been an attorney, having worked at two shelters in that capacity, once a woman makes a move, she better be damn sure she can keep running.

        Sylvia, your gentle approach was so sweet. And much needed. How about a pragmatic compromise: Maybe Jill could call what sounds like estranged (by him) family. And/or friends. Get someone to understand, get someone to help. Then GO.

        It’s one thing to save yourself. It’s quite another when you’ve got kids in tow. Having done both, I can tell you that in the latter case, because of laws that make me furious, you need help. You need SOMEONE to believe you and be ready to help.

        • I hope she has money! Money is the lube that make everything go smoothly.

          But, the one thing money can’t do is get back that power. I lost so much power to abusive men. I used to be so tough. I can still be when I defend an animal or a child…but sometimes I am not when I am sparring with a man.

          DV changes you, and you start to believe that this person is LIKE A GOD. You get so lost.

          Even if she had to live in a camper, and eat rice and beans, and get clothes from the Goodwill, I am almost sure it is better than living one more second with someone who is abusive.

          I am so sad, but I am so relieved I don’t have children with Rasputin (or any children). Dogs are so much easier. If I had children with Rasputin, I would never be free of him. And then I would have to kill him.

  • Find the best PIT BULL ATTORNEY… in another town that has no contacts to your town/his family.

    You need to be a Ninja. You children are counting on you.

    Trust that your H sucks and is lying and much worse. Your instincts don’t lie.

    Be brave… come here daily for strength.

    We have all been where you are – you can do this.

  • Jillzoo, he loves when you go out to “think”. That way he can text his side slut in peace and quite!! Mine used to get mad when I wouldn’t leave to go somewhere after he got home from work. Later on I found out he was using that time I was away to send dick pics to his girlfriend! HE’S CHEATING.

  • I agree with CL – whether or not he’s cheating is beside the point. (Though all clues indicate he is.). He is an abusive bully who is abusing you. Small towns are hell on these types of situations. But you know what? The truth is the truth. You know who he is even if everyone else doesn’t. YOU know.

    I think you should get dead calm with him and show no emotion at all. Narcissists love to whip you into a frenzy of confusion and frustration then they stand back and say, “See how emotional you are? You are out of control! I can’t deal with you when you are like this.” Don’t give him that leverage. Then tell him you are out of there if he doesn’t hand over his phone immediately. You have that right. This is your life, too. He doesn’t get to be married and have a secret life as well.

    If he doesn’t hand over the phone, follow through with your threat. Kick him out. Show him you mean business.

    • “I think you should get dead calm with him and show no emotion at all.”

      Maybe just a little emotion, whatever she was doing before that didn’t trigger this guy, so he’s not on to her?

      JILL, before I get hollered at, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT HE GETS TRIGGERED. I’m suggesting you act a *little* as usual and a LOT no reaction per Uneffingbelievable so that you don’t have to fight any more crazy than you already are.

  • Jill, like everyone else here, I’m going to tell you to RUN, not walk to the nearest lawyer and file…GET OUT!! You are not dealing with love, you are dealing with abuse, and trust us when we tell you there is nothing left to save.

    I just finished divorcing mini twitter and it is only now I recognize how controlling and abusive he was. People often think because someone is not hitting you it is abuse, but you seem to have several lines up here. And as everyone says here, it takes just one sane parent…I have two kids and although it was rough in the beginning, people often tell me that my kids seem happier and better adjusted than some other kids with both parents at home. Don’t “stay together for the sake of the kids” in this situation as this only models disfunction. My ex tried that one on me, but I was only slowly going crazy with him in my space. And any man who will try to use the child to harm you, doesn’t care about the kid at all, go for full custody if you can get it. It’s hard to make to break, but you need to do this, BOTH for you and your son. Much hugs….

  • Look, proving adultery can be important depending on your state (ask a lawyer). You should be able to filter the phone records by number. Look at who he is talking to at noon, after work, evenings. Don’t bet he is too bright not to text. You can go back months, PRINT and make digital copies of this shit. In my state the phone records were enough to force my ex out of the house if she would have fought it. It also clears things up if you need to make your case to the families (yours and his). You might be able to use reverse look up to find the owner of the #. Phone records changed my life (and my ex’s). Good luck!

  • “The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Josey Wales: Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win.”

    • This is a great quote! Totally bad ass.

      I always worried about getting mean with my narcissistic freak. I think he might kill me or deeply hurt me.

      For me, because I can’t take anymore drama…I will just let him be. This is my best plan to live. And win.

      But I wish I could drop the hammer and get…..”plumb mad-dog mean”. But, he is too unpredictable.

  • My STBX would always say to me “I would never even think of picking up your phone to invade your privacy.” It was exactly the right thing to say to flip it on me and make me feel guilty and like I was the one in the wrong. It worked, too…for years. I now know that it was gaslighting. The lying and manipulation is so far beyond anything you can even comprehend. Be thankful you can’t. Just means that your brain is NOT disordered. TRUST THAT HE SUCKS!

    • No matter what I found out – Craigs list hookups, hooker hookups, porn porn porn, nasty texts/emails about me to people – the go-to response was that he would never invade my privacy like I do his, and that I can do what I want as he’s not my father.

      Total Suck.Ass.Prick.

  • Set aside all these things…

    As a person, your own person, is this person you partnered with have your best interests? Is this person loving you, filling your needs, acting with integrity, character, does this person enjoy your company and you their’s? Does this person bring out the best you in you? Support you? Allow you to love them, support them? Does he come up to you and hug or kiss you and tell you that he appreciates you and he loves you for no reason at all? Does he allow you to? Is he taking accountability for his role in your life? He he being his best self and working hard to secure your family and future. Does he strive to be connected to you and family? Shit, does he call you and ask if you need milk on his way home?

    I know you do all these things and I know he does none of them.

    It is okay to detach with love someone unable to love you in return. There is no other option really.

    • Jeez, JD. The answer is ‘No’ to all. Heh! In fact, never even dated anyone with such qualities!!!

      A huge ‘revealer’ (made that up, I think, to cover off things that woke me up) was helping MoFaux’s brother (a fine man who is also handsome, hilarious and faithful) and his wife (my best supporter after DD) prepare for their son’s wedding (to be held in their backyard). I went several days and we three did yard work, washed walls and light fixtures and doors and tidied and did laundry and prepped beds for guests, etc etc etc. (NOTE: Not once did MoFaux help at this stage. Only moved chairs when everyone was there to see him.)

      I gave thought later to how much his brother was totally investing in what his wife needed. Not just the physical support described, but the emotional catering when she rightfully felt overwhelmed. He did all that and never sulked, quit speaking to us, ran off to ‘work’ on his computer, or check his phone. He buoyed everyone’s spirits with banter and wit. The hours flew by and the accomplishments were astounding. I realized that I had never had anything remotely resembling THIS from MoFaux. Realized that my home/yard/finances were run solely by me. Unsupported emotionally. The big events were in fact resisted by him, due to disapproval. Or he HAD to golf with clients. Or work on a ridiculously insignificant computer task. (Sure!)

      At the wedding, MoFaux’s other brother and BIL took pains to tell me that ‘she is over the top about this event’ so they were not lifting a finger unless she specifically asked them (who would ask such assholes for help?).

      So I finally saw a real husband/partner in action and a kaleidoscope of light. I also realized that MoFaux’s ‘condition’ was familial. Still loving his brother and wife. NC with all of the rest of them.

      Big nod to CL and CN for my unrecognized doctorate in cheatershit.

    • JackiesDone, this is such a great list, I printed it out to read when I need some happy thoughts! It’s touching and beautiful.

  • Jillzoo, like you, I had a lot of circumstantial evidence but no “smoking gun.” Judging from the people I’ve spoken to both in real life and online, I actually think we’re the majority… it’s quite a rare (but unfortunate few) who get irrefutable proof like pictures, video or walking in on the act.

    Ultimately, it was the fact that he was just a shit husband in general that allowed me to trust my gut and get out. Also, I couldn’t cope with living in a constant state of anxiety. Simply put, what you’re now experiencing is no way to go through life.

    ChumpLady’s advice is spot-on (as usual) but the only thing I have to add is make sure that you find a lawyer who is no way affiliated with your town or your in-laws network of contacts and has experience with high-conflict divorce and disordered personalities.

    Good luck!

  • Jillzoo,

    A bit of advice on the abuse angle. Abuse is all about control. It may be quite subtle at first. A disapproving look. A negative comment about your clothing or how you wear your hair. A seemingly well-intentioned statement about how he is better at handling the finances than you are, perhaps with a small example. You may notice a double standard has appeared. Perhaps you feel the need to ask permission to have visitors in your home to avoid conflict, and he does no such thing. Maybe you are criticized for not anticipating an unspoken request. Over time, controlling behavior ramps up until you find yourself unable to keep track of all of the unwritten rules. Or maybe the rules change from week to week or day to day, just so you can’t keep track of them. Physical violence may never be necessary to maintain control, or it may only begin when the victim resists other control measures. Like when the victim decides to leave the abuser.

    So be careful. One of the most powerful means of control is withholding critical information. You won’t get the truth from an abuser, but you can alert him that you are on to him. It’s better to save any planned major confrontation until your valuables and important papers (and children) are safely offsite. Better still to include yourself on that list. And it’s a good idea to put 911 on speed dial just in case he gets out of hand before you are safe,

    Good luck to you. Chump Nation is here for you.

      • Thanks, Creativerational.

        In my situation (some years ago), my Fucktard ex managed to keep me in line for a good 15 years without any violence (or threats of violence) at all, then quite unexpectedly knocked the stuffing out of me one day. I think it ostensibly had something to do with there being no sour cream in the fridge, or that dinner was late because I had to work late or some similar nonsense. I was shocked and amazed, and not thinking clearly, and did not call 911. When he decided he could try that again without any consequences, I unchumped instantly and had him escorted out of the house and into the hoosgow, then packed up and made my escape.

        My point is that the signs were there, and the acceleration was there, and I dilly dallied too long for my own good. And by then he knew that I knew what he was up to because I’d confronted him with hard evidence that would not look good to his employer or the IRS. In short, I’d unwittingly placed myself in serious jeopardy. Safety First, my friends. Always.

        • You were MASSIVELY brave and enlightened to call the cops on him the second time. The literature states it takes most women 15-17 attempts before they finally leave their abuser permanently.

          If my sister’s husband had not committed suicide, she would still be with him. I always say to her..You see…he had murder in him…we are just so lucky it was not your life he took.

          • Sylvia, your sister is lucky he did not take her with him. It’s sometimes hard to know what someone is capable of. I hope she is recovering well.

            • Thank you so much, Survivor.

              She became a recluse. She travels about a 10 mile radius from her home. She (as I said) gets very nervous about having to make phone calls. She cannot confront people. If someone knocks at the door, she goes into DefCon 4. If she has a problem with anyone, my mother and I handle it and she is older than me.

              That was his one small grace. He did not take her out with him. He was actually….CHEATING and at another’s woman’s home and did it in that woman’s bed. He blew his head off, the back of it. He was so handsome, but deeply disordered.

              My sister had to know the details, so I had to call the woman and get the history of their relationship. It was so miserable. He was a serial cheater, and drug user and violent. We sure can pick them. Not funny.

              Thank you for caring! (((hugs)))

              I actually typed (((jugs)))… and caught it. We gotta laugh.

          • The Gospel.

            In addition to survival and escape, they will *always* use your confidences against you and threaten you with them when you want to leave them or involve the Law.

            That time you smoked weed together? That suddenly becomes a weapon in their arsenal. They honor no discretion or secrets.

            Treat them as your enemy because they are.

  • Agree with others’ comments. This is TEXTBOOK EMOTIONAL ABUSE. Getting out is the only escape. It will only get worse with time. Emotional abuse is stealth and leaves you questioning me yourself, your instincts, your intuition. That is why the term “crazymaking” is often used. And it always escalates.

  • This is EXACTLY how my ex acted when I started to suspect something, I asked to see his phone, and he later smashed it, claiming that he wouldn’t live like that, with me looking over his shoulder all the time. It later turned out that he had been having an affair for 8 years! I had no idea. I thought I was crazy for even suspecting him. I recognize that you just want proof of the affair, so you can leave him in good conscience. But you have enough evidence to know that you don’t want to live with a person who acts like this. If he can’t be transparent with you, then it’s not really a viable marriage. It took me a long time to come to this realization.
    Good luck to you. As the others have said, trust your gut. It is almost always right. I am just past 4 years from D-Day, and I still look to Chump Lady and this group for support. It is helpful to be reminded of what you left behind. There is more out there for you! Life is beyond good for me now- my daughter is happy and healthy and I am finally financially secure, now that I know where my money is going.

  • It is so hard to make the getaway and cut ties but you are young and have the opportunity to begin again. I wish you strength, conviction and discipline to get away and go no contact. Now that the curtain has been pulled aside you will see the wizard is just an ordinary asshole. all my best to you young lady.
    Jackiesdone: all those things you wrote? someone should publish that as part of a marriage check list.

  • I feel such sadness every time a new story is posted here, and I’ve only been on this site for a couple of months. How can you long-timers (including CL!) handle it? I remember D-Day like it was yesterday (April 27, 2016) and while it was recent, it shocks me how much detail I can recall of the minutes (felt like hours) spent in the car with him as I started to slowly get the information I’d been dreading.

    I found out by looking at his phone while he went into a store to get me a snack. I’d never looked in anyone’s phone before for any reason—my BFF and I both feel this is like going through a woman’s purse—you just feel icky doing it. But my gut (and his behavior) made me do it. And I’m glad now that I did. And HE became the crazy person with regard to his phone after that. Turning it screen-side down so I wouldn’t see texts popping up, keeping it in his pocket when he went to the kitchen for some water, sleeping next to it and changing the code all the time … Even when the marriage counselor said it was a normal and often necessary thing for the betrayed partner to see the phone to verify that what the cheater was saying was in fact the truth, he still refused to let me. He said I was violating him. REALLY??! What could be more violating than to have another relationship with a co-worker during the entire first year of your marriage? And to fuck escorts in seedy motels?? And to LIE NONSTOP about EVERYTHING???!

    Jillz00, I can’t tell you what to do. The people here have really good advice and I hope you are able to compile it into something that works for you. But my best advice is an old cliché—THINK OF THE CHILDREN. I was blessed not to have any with my cheater. And so far, I’m clean from STDs, but I need to have a follow-up HIV screening. (Prayers, please!) I do however have three sisters who are or were in various types of abusive relationships, and I’ve watched nieces and nephews become very damaged along the way. From ages 6 to 21, they all have issues such as anxiety, depression, signs of Borderline Personality Disorder, and others. It’s so sad. YOU ALONE can protect these little ones, and repair your relationship with the older children. He will only continue the cycle of abuse and hurt you and them over and over again.

    We are here for you. Do what your gut is telling you is right. The rest will fall into place. <3

    • Hey ChumpChanged.

      Yes, your D-Day was about five months ago, but where are you in your divorce? If you’re still living with him or still in contact with him then you are not likely to have the positive vibrations to share with Chump Nation like some do.

      What I’ve learned in life is that paying it forward becomes a very life affirming and life-sustaining endeavor. It’s not intuitive, I think. It’s one of the reasons people around here get criticized. “Oh, if you’re so much happier why do you hang around with a bunch of bitter bunnies wallowing in the pain all day?” It’s not that some of us can’t move on, it’s that we want to be here when the next chump arrives.

      And like me when I got here, every person is valuable. If your D-Day was a week ago, and I just had my D-Day yesterday, then you can explain to me how to make it 24 hours without blowing the fuck-up. You can tell me how no-contact is possible for just one day. You can show me how to get software to communicate with a cheater spouse about the kids. You can be a witness to my pain.

      That’s how I do it, ChumpChanged. And I hope you know just by posting today you are valuable and supportive too!

      • I keep learning here! That’s why I’m still here, three years after divorce was final. The wit and wisdom here is the best in the world, and applies to so much of living with others, and being part of a community. Long live CN!

      • Hey, Ian Dubito, I am very blessed to be divorced already, moved 750 back home to my people, and No Contact since I left. We had a religious marriage only, so there was no legal battle to wage. Yes, I got pretty much nothing from him to cover the moving expenses or to start over again, but I consider that my fee for freedom. It’s weird; while D-Day feels very fresh in that I can remember every detail, I also barely think about him at all. Maybe because I’m really busy with work (I’m a freelancer) and finding a new apartment etc, or maybe I just have a really weird-but-useful self-defense mechanism of moving on quickly.

        Thank you so much for affirming why y’all stick around. I think I will, too. I was just having a moment of really feeling for Jillz00 in her tough position. It made me think of how many more stories like hers are being written as we type our words of encouragement and support.

        I hope I can bring the positive vibes everyone needs here at CN—I probably needed a reminder to keep the doom and gloom out of my response to our new friend!

    • Chumpchanged,

      “We are here for you. Do what your gut is telling you is right. The rest will fall into place. <3." See, you've only been here for a couple of months and you said the perfect thing.

      • This is like the Oxford of all websites. Truly, the level of thought and critical thinking, literacy, sympathy and good advice is no where else! People on websites are VICIOUS. And dumb.

        I only go on Cesar’s Way (because I want to marry Cesar Milan) for dog info and that is it. The comment sections are just too depressing anywhere else.

        And Best Friends’ Animal Sanctuary. Very positive!

  • Filthy rich or dirt poor, sexy or ugly, brilliant or a dum dum, celebrity or hillbilly….

    A cheater never changes, and the Karma Bus will roll-

    Angelia Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt.

    I guess being cheated on is not such a laugh, after all.

    • “Angelia Jolie filed for divorce from Brad Pitt.

      I guess being cheated on is not such a laugh, after all.”

      Once a cheater always a cheater. If Brad was having an affair with Marion Cotillard, I wonder how Angie feels being cheated on, prolly just like Jen must have felt. Hmmmm?

      • You said it, Girlie!

        All theses pods are ALL THE SAME. It reads like one of our posts. He got “bored” after she got sick and he wanted more excitement. He did not want to stay at home. (Pouts, kicks $75,000 chair).

        Do you see how this should comfort us…that there is no hope for these shit birds? They have a Chateau in France that is like a small village…six children…. hundreds of millions of dollars to cater to every whim. But he got bored and had the sadz.

        You cannot change them. You can have millions of dollars, starve yourself to skeleton status, pretend to be a savior of the world….and they are constantly seeking new supply, like a shark. On the move…looking for fresh kibble.

        • “You cannot change them.”

          Agreed. Brad cheated on Jen to be with Angie. Did Angie think she was immune from being cheated on? Please. And she’s also concerned he’s smoking pot and drinking a lot, and she’s worried how that will affect their children. He was doing all this while married to Jen. Did she think he’d change because he had wedding cake with her? And he would also throw parties with hard drugs and Russian hookers. And she’s calling it a midlife crisis. I think it’s his true colors. All this must have been going on for a while and she turned a blind eye. And I think she snapped when she found out about his cheating with Marion Cotillard. She thought she would be immune to his real behavior because she’s special. She found out she’s not that special after all…

          • I think this affair must have stung a lot. The other woman is actually a very talented and accomplished actress. And French!

            • You are so perceptive to hit on that, Enraged. I read the unauthorized bio of Jolie (it was a beach read!) and she wants to be French. She tries to speak French, lives in France some times. It shows how silly she is. I have been all over France and most French women, outside of the 5th Arrondissement in Paris or St. Tropez look like sturdy peasants. They are French rubes, just like all over the world.

              Being French is not some passport to cosmopolitain sophistication.

              But, the real rub…Cotillard can act. Watch Rust and Bone. What an odd movie where she is attacked by an orca and loses her lower legs. It is…very French cinema. No sentimentality.

              • If Angie wants to be French, it’s weird she married a man who wants to live in America and wants to be American. If being French is a lifestyle and if your partner doesn’t feel the same way, it’s hard to life a French lifestyle. If she wanted to be French, then she should have married a French guy, and spoke to him in French to her heart’s galore and lived in France. Wasn’t her mom of French heritage. I think she’s trying to channel her mother any chance she gets.

    • holly molly! You know who is smiling, reading the press about these 2? Jen!

      Yeah, Angelina thought she’s special.
      More special than Billy’s girlfriend at one time.
      More special than Jen.
      Now she got a taste of her own medicine.
      Karma bus stopped at their chateau after 12 years!

      • It is so fitting. She is sociopath who married Billy Bob Thornton (he is too) when he was engaged to Laura Dern.
        If you read about it, she said she heard he was married on the media or something. This was her fiancée that SHE LIVED WITH who just got married.

        It always made me like Sheryl Crow, the singer, because she went with Dern and helped her get all of her things out of their house and had her back, 100%.

        It is like being a little bit pregnant. You can’t be. Either you are a cheater or you are not. They both were. You can never trust each other.

        And it is funny she is concerned about weed. She was a massive heroin addict. And, I don’t know how you stay that thin without some type of methamphetamine or chemical help.

        She is probably clever enough to frame it “as child welfare” when it is actually “you cheated.”

        I wonder if she is in the pain we suffer, or does she just take a bath in hundred dollar bills and Evian water and feel better? I wonder.

        • Didn’t know that part about Sheryl Crow. I just liked her, now that’s a good reason to like her even more.
          What you say about drugs, makes me smile. It fits the pattern, isn’t it? Projection at its best.

          It’s a nebulous the pain she might feel or she might not feel. How do disordered people experience inner pain? If they do at all …

        • yiiii…not to make this post about cheaters like Brangelina but please folks.
          She just found out he was cheating on her.
          She’s an ambassador for human rights across the globe and works hard at it.
          She looks exactly like her mother who was naturally tall and slim.
          Suddenly, you’re labeling her a drug addict when she has got to be super busy keeping 6 kids out of the impossible lime-light of their lives.
          (6 young kids including twins? You’d be thin too!)

          Why are we picking on the Chump here?

          • I have to agree here.
            Yes, she was the other woman on not one, but two occasions.
            The woman also made out with her brother, so yeah, I’m sure she has lots of regret regarding her decision making skills.
            So much regret that, perhaps she decided to be proactive and GIVE BACK TO THIS WORLD. adopt kids. spread knowledge.
            I have yet to see any other “other woman” aka common hoe do anything nice for anyone else, ever.
            There is no absolving her of robbing 2 women of their partner… but atleast she’s
            done something to make this world a better place.

          • Because maybe she isn’t the real chump,in the story my question is why do we automatically believe her narrative ?, She went after Billy Bob when he was with Dern, She went after Pitt when he was with Jennifer, rumor had it that she dated her mother’s lover at 16 and was sent to live upstairs and banned from her mother’s apartment for a time. She was extremely jealous of Marion who is just as well known in her country for humanitarian work , and a much better actress, she was also deeply suspicious of Brad probably beause they were both cheaters, you lose them the way you got them kind of thing. As for the kids, she trotted them out in a trick horse and pony show whenever she had a movie to promote, and there are lots of reports that she didn’t believe in boundaries for the kids because she felt it stifled their ‘creativity’, she has left enough carnage in her wake that I feel that she is a real NP or at the very least has borderline personality disorder, as for Brad , well I guess he learnt Murphy’s law the hard way – don’t stick your d..k in crazy

            • Thanks – I sure didn’t know any of those details. I’m a chump, guess I believe in the goodness of them – IF they are a real chump.
              But, I’m reading a great book now about NPD called, A Moth to A Flame by Debbie Sands.
              It seems like a similar disorder to bi-polar but much different.
              I don’t know anybody with NPD that I know of, but I do know a few with bi-polar, which are very evident in their manic episodes.
              See Storm Large – Living Crazy.

  • Jillz00, I don’t have much to add. But last Sunday, the Very Kind Man I am seeing was looking at his phone when he got a text from one of my friends (who, along with her date, was meeting us for an event). He said, “Sue just texted me that they just left. And because I hide nothing from you, I will read the whole message to you.” And he proceeded to read the message exchange in which there was much humorous speculation about how late I would be. We aren’t married. We don’t live together. But neither of us have anything to hide because we aren’t liars or cheaters. If he’s hiding his phone, he’s hiding something else.

    CL’s first response to your letter was to note that cheating isn’t even the major problem you have. You are married to an abuser. I’m not sure why people, in general, think that the only reasons for ending a marriage are catching a cheater, with evidence or being physically assaulted. We need a broader and more useful understanding of what constitutes abuse. And nearly everything you say about your H falls into the category of abuse. The fact that his family “owns” the town might explain why he feels entitled to behave that way.

    The best thing you can do is move. Get your ducks in a row. See a tough-minded attorney from someplace else who is not connected to that family in any way. And start a new life where all of your kids are safe and welcome in your home. You can do it.

      • Several, but they are married and faithful. Go figure. I have ZERO worries about infidelity with him. If he’s done, I’ll be the first to know. 🙂

        • Dang! No single ones.

          But- LAJ, reading your post actually picked me up.

          I started to get so down. My work is SO BORING and I can do it without thinking too hard…and I thought:

          What if there really ARE NOT any men who don’t cheat???!!! It is seems so bleak, reading about all this deviant behavior. Just seeing the word cell phone and my stomach seizes up, with remembering and dread. But, if I don’t read it, I can back slide so easy. I am in a danger zone right now. I know that. I have to remember…they don’t change.

          And then I read your post! Hope…sweet like a juicy orange, burst in my thoughts.

          • The day I learned that nowdeadhusband was a serial cheater, I called then fiance (now H2.0) and his response was “I have a 50 yr history of monogamy” and really what more can a man say? I trust him and I don’t regret it. There ARE good ones, they are rarer than I wish that they were, but they do exist.

            • There ARE good ones out there, but you have to choose carefully. Like many here, I never, ever, ever thought I’d marry again. I was “rather stick a needle in my eye” certain of that. But I finally did – after a seven year test drive that included some really challenging conditions (cancer, job loss, dying parent, boomerang kid, serious injury). It’s not how people behave when it’s all romantic dinners and fun vacations and happiness from morning to night that shows who they are. It’s how they carry themselves through adversity and work for a common purpose and share the good and the bad. It’s being a team player who is happy to hunt through supermarkets for the elusive tarragon because tarragon makes you happy. You’ll know when someone has the wherewithal to pass your test.

              • That is so well said.

                CHARACTER! That is what I need.

                There is a man that has loved me for years. He calls me everyday to check on me. He did say, Please don’t talk about your X anymore. I have listened to it so long. It breaks my heart. He also called my X and told him, if he came around me anymore, he would kill him.

                I felt awful. So I stopped obsessing to him about my X. But I looked back over all the years this man has loved me. All the times he helped me…like yucky stuff…dropping off U Haul, messing with my weed eater, moving heavy objects for me. Helping me scrape out Ernie’s litter box ( a true act of sacrifice).

                I am not attracted to him sexually. I wonder if should let that go? I don’t know if that is the right move. Sex is so important to me.

                But, he is Johnny on the Spot. He has never let me down.

    • Recently my new girlfriend was concerned that I was taking a screenshot when we face timed as the screen behaved unusually. I had not. When she came to stay this weekend I gave her the password to phone, laptop and pc. I was really keen to reassure her that everything is okay and always will be. Why would I have anything to hide? No good reason at all. Why share your life and body with someone who won’t share their phone?

  • Yes, see an attorney in another town who doesn’t know your husband or his relatives. DO NOT TELL YOUR HUSBAND !!! He’s worried about his image, so he might fake being nice to you. He may even show you his phone(behind your back he gets another one). He may give you his password.(then gets a secret email account). These cheaters are experts at hiding things and get off on the pretty sure one of my exe’s APs had her number changed to one of his buddie’s number. Don’t let on you suspect anything.get your ducks in a for.have a place to go.file(don’t tell him). Leave and have him served.i did this and you can to!!!

  • I haven’t read these comments so forgive me if this is repeating something someone already said, but…

    He is a classic abuser. Isolating you and controlling your finances are ways to get you to feel dependent on him. Once you begin to assert yourself, it may turn to threats of physical abuse or he may start physically hurting you without threats. He needs to be in control and when he cannot be, you will be made to suffer.

    I’m going to suggest that you call your local abuse shelter now. They offer more than shelter. They can offer emotional support and connect you with other survivors who have been through exactly what you are going through now. The operate on confidentiality so that should not be a concern. You do not have to be physically assaulted to be abused. They will also offer you safety planning, provide you an escort to court if you need a court order, help you obtain legal services, and let you know what your rights are. I’m adding the website of the one in Rochester NY but each state (If you’re in the US) has their own resources. NY even has laws that protect you from being discriminated against at work (losing your job or pay) or in housing (being evicted) because of you’re domestic abuse status. October is Domestic Abuse Prevention month and enabling women & men to be free from ALL harm in their relationships is the message that each one of us needs to carry forward.

    Please be safe, and here is the link

  • I agree that the best option is to leave. I spent almost a year searching through my exes things trying to find evidence that he was cheating. He had his phone password protected and he wouldn’t let me go near it. He used to take it to bed with him. My gut was right all along. He was also emotionally abusing me for years and I agree that it only escalates. By the time we separated, I was crying on a regular basis. I was also missing out on my kids lives because I was always worried about what my ex was doing. That is no way to live.

  • I’m so sorry to read this. To think that one human can do this to another that they supposedly love. Jillz00, I think you know how messed up this situation is. You really need to leave this man now. Two things convince me of this – he refuses to allow you access to his phone and he bans your son from the house. The sooner you all get out of this man’s life the better. Good luck, positive thoughts and prayers!

    • How about a show of hands of those that give a damn! They’re both cheaters as we all know. Hollywood is a joke.

      • Yes, never feel sorry for someone who has their own private jet.

        However, it strongly reinforces everything we are analyzing. None of these cheaters change.

        Factor in hundreds of millions, world wide power (they have mega power) and the world at their finger tips, and they are still Pods.

        • The only thing I’m shocked about is how long the relationship actually lasted. I figured it would have imploded a long time ago. It’s sad that they dragged all those children into it though.

  • I get it. Change is scary. This might sound a bit harsh, but Jillz00 — stop acting like a kid and put on your big girl panties! Proof or no proof, it is time to get real. Is this a healthy relationship or not? Do you want to be married to him or not? What is best for you? What is best for your kids?

    Y E S – YOU can end a bad relationship. I say this because it never occurred to me that I could end a bad relationship. (In retrospect, I understand why.) Once I got out, I understood how terrible it had been for years. By the end, I also thought I had turned into a crazy person because of the years of lying and gas lighting.

    There is a lot of amazing advice here. Read it all. Let it sink in.

    Someone very wise said — You can love someone but that doesn’t mean you can make a life with them.

  • The phone is the evidence. My ex hid the phone, kept it face down when we were together. The first time I caught him (there were five d-days!), I heard him talking late at night and when I asked him where his phone was, it was hidden in the couch cushions and he had sent a text to “Joe” (a fake name): “You are the one and only person I love.” Fast forward a few years and he is still hiding his phone, changing the passwords, now at this point keeping it in his car so I can’t find it. He has surgery in February of 2014 and my son goes to check his dad’s phone for business messages and, or course, he has changed the pass code again. Any time I ever asked to look at the phone or his email, he would fly into a rage and accuse me of being crazy. The very last time- he was smart enough to get a second phone from 7-11 just for the OW but unfortunately, he was stupid enough to call me from it. That was the last straw, finally, for me. In the five years between the first D-day and the last, my son and I would look at the phone records and would see he called the OW thousands of times!! Even though he denied it!!! The kicker was that I finally go smart- when I checked the phone records I saw he had called a lawyer. That was in the very beginning, when I didn’t want a divorce. I told him that a divorce lawyer’s office had called looking for him and was he trying to divorce me, and he admitted that the girlfriend had taken him to a lawyer and they were going to serve me with divorce papers! Surprise!!! But he didn’t want a divorce- she was making him!!! (Poor cheating fuckhead) Five years later he still didn’t want a divorce but he also didn’t want to stop cheating, so I filed and now we are divorced. The point is- the phone, the emails, they are terrible because they have made if so much easier for cheaters to cheat, but they also provide the trail if you really want to look. So the phone is really the key. Don’t waste so many years like I did Get out.

    • That is just a horrible way to live and a sickening man.

      Truly, it is a joyous thing you are away from such a pathological liar. He called her “thousands of times.” I am so sorry.

      When I saw the one text…talking his dick and her pussy FROM HER…I was finished. I have too much of a temper. If he had stayed in my presence, I would have tried to choke him in his sleep.

    • Why did Deadfool (My X) also change his OW’s contact name to Joe??? It was so bizarre to me, because obviously he wasn’t sending lovey-dovey messages to a man, and she was always sending pics of herself to him. I was like, “DUH, DUDE!!”

      I wonder how many “Joes” there are out there for all of our “Johns.”

      • I know why. Because he thought if you just saw Joe, you would not dig deeper. You would just skip over “Joe” as a contact name. Rasputin changed women’s names to just initials. Like A.B. or something.

        One of Rasputin’s contacts in his phone was “Waitress.” Just Waitress.

        She texted him and said she needed help, had car trouble, one afternoon.

        Do you provide Triple A services to random waitresses in your city?

        Yeah…I thought that would be a big NO.

        It is so hard not to be humiliated by this, at times.

  • Look, I’m gonna just tell you this from my own experience in this (almost) exact same situation. If you suspect someone of cheating and you aren’t a paranoid person? Just leave. Don’t even confront them, because you will be so confused by their answer that it won’t help. I am not a suspicious person and I give people chances to prove themselves to me, but in the future if my gut is telling me a person is lying to me, I’m gone forever. Fuck lying and liars. I knew my ex was lying to me at times (even on other topics) but I didn’t know what it meant…it meant that she is not somebody I want in my life. I threw my ex out and my roommate who she was cheating on me with and you know what? They kept lying until the very, very end. They still lie about it because it gives them power and they are ashamed of who they really are. JUST LEAVE! The sunk cost fallacy is not a reason to stay.

    My ex accused me of lying to her, of cheating on her, of flirting with other women infront of her face and it was all bullshit. Why did she do that? Simple: that’s the sort of person she is, so by definition I must also be that way. It’s the same thing that will keep you stuck thinking your SO wouldn’t do that to you.

    • it’s called projection. What your ex was doing. She was projecting her wrong doings onto you.
      It’s also the answer to why we spackle. We project our virtues onto others. If we are good and honest, other people must be the same. Not true!

    • Every single part of this situation is fucked up. How do they actually believe this shit? Why do they quit making the effort to be normal? Mine fooled me and his family and my family for 54 years. Turns out he’s been a perv since he was 14. What happened? Dexter figured out how to sorta keep his serial killing under control.

      Man. I wasn’t even married to a guy smart enough to be like a TV character.

      I’m glad not to live in deception. I guess I’m still trying to untangle the skein. The life my x has chosen is disgusting my any civil measure and I just don’t get it.

      • It’s too hard and emotionally draining for them to keep up the facade forever, so eventually they will need to give up trying to act normal for you. I think it must be kind of similar to how emotionally draining it is trying to understand them, which of course is impossible. Best to leave and never look back.

    • “but in the future if my gut is telling me a person is lying to me, I’m gone forever. Fuck lying and liars.”

      Straight, bang on awesome! A new credo to live by. This is what I believe now as well.

      And I love how you referenced the sunk cost fallacy. THAT keeps many people trapped.

  • “I just want him to admit to it, but I know he won’t.”
    He won’t admit. He’s playing by the psychopaths book. He won’t admit and he will shift blame on you.

    “I need to know. If i’m wrong then I owe him an apology.”
    You don’t owe him anything at this point. You dedicated your life, you were there for him, faithful. You showed him respect. Did he do the same for you? See, you have your answer.

    I think the word you are looking for is closure. You want a nice ending to this. You want cards on the table (which is perfectly normal). You want to be acknowledged and respected as the wife.
    I’m sorry to tell you this: it ain’t gonna happen. Not with someone that has been living a double life, cheating, lying, devaluing you etc.

    If you want proof, you can always hire a detective. You can start monitoring his online activity yourself. There are plenty of things you can do if you want proof. I think that if you really wanted to know, you would have known by now.
    But my guess is that you are still hoping. You need to detach. Cut your loses and go.
    Be strong!

    • “I think the word you are looking for is closure. You want a nice ending to this. You want cards on the table (which is perfectly normal). You want to be acknowledged and respected as the wife.
      I’m sorry to tell you this: it ain’t gonna happen. Not with someone that has been living a double life, cheating, lying, devaluing you etc”
      I know a person like this, she wants closure, she wants to know that she was “respected” as the wife. She will still argue the points of “her” experience, and her latest thing is, is that cheaterpants is “kind” of “showing” signs of “getting it”, of being an actual Human Being, she still hasn’t realized that she is working with a pod. She gets really mad at me when I mention that these cheaters are monsters, she doesn’t think her cheater is a monster, he’s just a person who made bad choices.Bad choices that hurt and disrespected her and their marriage, but he’s just a guy who made bad choices, but those choices weren’t ever bad for him, he was getting cake and he knew more than she did about their “relationship”.

  • Run, don’t walk to a divorce attorney, and don’t give a rats ass about what other people think or say. You know the truth, hold your head high and and get his ass out of your life.

  • Jillz00, sorry I don’t have the time to read through all the posts just now so I’m not sure if any chumps told you this: even with evidence staring at you in the face, the cheater may not confess. You’d be surprised with the shit they spew to protect their facade. Condom in the laundry? Teenage son’s! Pictures on phone? Misunderstanding? Love texts? Misunderstanding. You don’t need his phone!

  • This guy is cheating no doubt!!!! I could have written these exact words 5 yrs ago to a T!!
    My hubby behavior was exactly the same too. I had my son call his father and ask what was up cuz I was going crazy for a year & half. I thought I was losing my mind, as he was gas lighting me like crazy.

    Finally, I caught him, as his phone had become part of his arm, but one night he left it unlocked, & she called while he was sleeping & I was still up. It all came crashing down.

    Believe me, looking back I see things that I was just so unaware of cuz I trusted, I was blindsided, it was the last thing I ever ever expected, we were married 28 yr together, 30, at this point.

    He is cheating on you. Trust me.

  • I wanted to share this with CN.

    I went to my favorite place to get this sandwich they make I love with avocados, peppers, onions, cucumbers on homemade bread with a garlic is off the hook!

    Anyway, the check out woman says, How are you? I said, Just okay. She said Why? And I said, (as is my way) I just had to put my beloved dog to sleep and then I was in love and my fiancee cheated on me. I am sad. I hate him but I miss him.

    She said, Yes, the father of my first child cheated on me….in my home….in my bed….in front of my children. Like, the ACT in front of little children.

    I was holding up the line, but I said, Are you okay?

    She said, Well, yes. He is with her now, and is doing the same thing to her. But she does not want to believe it.

    I said, Do you have contact with him? And she said…HELL NO, I put his ass to the curb! She seemed quite okay!

    So, this gal…you know…looked sort of hard (all tatted up, missing teeth) but it is across all social, economic and cultural borders.

    They all go by the same playbook. They are all the same. They are all UNREPENTANT PODS.

    • They truly are ALL UNREPENTANT PODS, ALL of them. If you can work yourself up to the point of unilaterally deciding that f*ing strange, having a “work wife/husband”, having a “friend” and all the other variations of emotional and physical cheating, is a “good” thing for you, YOU ARE A POD. You have “decided” that you are going to cheat, because it is good for you, the cheater, CHEATING is never good for the other person in the relationship and it sure as hell is not good for any of the children affected by the cheating. Period. People are going to get hurt, spouses and children are going to be mortally hurt, you just don’t get over the lying and gaslighting that is needed to cheat.

  • Another resource are the books by Susan Murphy-Milano titled Moving out, Moving on and Time’s Up. Both deal with abuse and give needed resources, detailed checklists, and forms for “planning”. Everything you can think of and everything you may have never thought of that pertains to leaving is in these books. Sometimes there is no time to really plan BUT if you do wait these will help. DO NOT let him see them!
    These are great book to pass to anyone struggling with the question about leaving an abusive relationship.

  • ChumpLady is right. Protect yourself! You’re being lied to and manipulated. Take care of yourself.

  • Jill, no decent person would stop your son coming to your house. He’s not a decent human being, let alone acceptable as a husband. Be your own best friend, stand up for yourself and your kids and leave. You sound like someone who lives in constant fear of that man, of his psychological games. This is no life. Get help from a women’s refuge or something, it’s obvious you are cowed by this man and you don’t feel you can do this on your own, but you can and there is support out there. Your kids are on your side, you said so in your letter. Good luck and big hug.