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Dear Chump Lady, I neglected him and this is all my fault

cakecakeDear Chump Lady,

Some background: Married 12 1/2 years, 2 kids in elementary school. I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 10 years. My husband travels for work, something he started doing about 8 years ago.

About 7 years ago, I started having horrible pelvic pain. Doctors said it was rupturing cysts. Then maybe fibroids. Then they said it was all in my mind. I went from doctor to doctor over the course of the past 7 years, trying anything from birth control pills to steroids to opioids to antidepressants to yoga — whatever they told me to do. I probably was in pain 22 out of 30 days each month. I have so many emergency room visits I can’t count them. I just knew I had cancer or was dying or something.

You can imagine that this much pain does not really lend itself to a great sex life, but I tried to do the best I could, having sex with him a few times a month until about 2 years ago when the pain got so bad I just couldn’t do it. I am ashamed to admit we went about 16 months with no sex at all. And it’s entirely my fault.

In addition to horrible pain, I was also alone 90% of the time while my husband traveled for work. It was really hard. Little kids are tough. I was all alone — no family in town. I did 100% of childcare, and 100% of housecare, and it was really tough, but I felt like I was fulfilling my duty as a wife. When he was home, I tried to make life as carefree as possible, making sure he didn’t have to lift a finger. I planned fun activities, etc. I felt like I was doing what I was supposed to do to be a good wife, even if sex was an issue.

Finally, last fall I found a doctor who figured out my problem: endometriosis. I went on a regimen of drugs and became mostly pain free within a few months. The endo had jacked my hormones all up, so getting that under control meant I felt so much better — I had a libido, I was less anxious, I was less depressed. I was so thrilled. I (awkwardly at first) resumed a sex life with my husband. Things seemed wonderful. I was so glad to have that all behind me.

And then, at the beginning of the summer, my husband moved out. Said he wasn’t happy with me, and that he deserved to be happy with his one precious life (his words.) A few weeks after the moved out, I discovered video and picture proof that he was having an affair with a coworker — they traveled together, of course, so plenty of opportunity.

Once I discovered that, he said that he felt neglected by me and lonely, and like he wasn’t important, etc. He said the affair only lasted 4 months until the coworker said “enough” because he wasn’t leaving me. He swears the affair has not resumed. I honestly have no way of knowing that to be true or not, because he still travels.

So here’s my question: This was all my fault. I neglected him. I didn’t push through and have sex with him even though I knew it was important. I know my actions led him to his affair. He was lonely, and felt neglected. I did that.

We went to counseling for a bit but it wasn’t very helpful — he felt a lot of pressure to commit to the marriage and said it wasn’t helping him to find clarity. We stay in touch — he probably talks to me now more than he did in the past 3 years combined. And he has (and I’m ashamed to admit this) asked me for sex a number of times, and I have given it to him. He asks me over to watch movies at his place when he has the kids, etc.

Sorry this is so drawn out. My question for you is this: since I messed this up, primarily due to sex issues, should I continue to have sex with him when he expresses interest in it during this separation? Several of the “save my marriage” type books all say that if the spouse wants sex, you should serve it up. But we live in a state that requires a year’s separation before filing for divorce — I don’t know if I can continue to feel like “any port in a storm” without knowing his intentions. He doesn’t like to be pushed, or asked if he’s considering coming home, etc.

I don’t know what to do. You always tell people “you didn’t cause this — he is an asshole and made an asshole decision” — but in this case, I did cause it. So do I just suck it up and do whatever he needs, including having sex with him when he wants it? Will that be enough?


All My Fault

Dear AMF,

No AMF it will not “be enough.” Not unless you can promise never to get sick again, or have needs that don’t center around him, or fail to become a smorgasbord of pussy. “Enough” is an ever-moving goal post with cheaters. All my usual theories apply here. Sorry. You’re doing the pick me dance. He’s a cake eater. And yes, he’s an asshole.

The fallacy you’re falling for is the Unmet Needs Cause Cheaters to Cheat. No, lousy character causes cheaters to cheat. Your inability to have sex does not effect his ability to lead a double life. That’s on him.

Moreover, if you follow the supposition that Unmet Needs Cause Cheaters to Cheat, then you having sex with him (meeting his Need) should reverse the cheating (his Need is met!) But Holy Blameshifting Batman! It’s not working! So, you’re asking me — is it enough? Surely, it’s not the need that’s in question — it must be you. You’re Not Doing It Right.

Yeah. Bullshit.

Look, I’m not saying 16 months without sex doesn’t suck. It sucks. But so does having an illness that sends you to the hospital in pain. Your husband had a whole decision tree of options other than cheating. He could a) say “I can’t live in a sexless marriage” — let’s discuss options, b) Consider sex options that don’t require genitals (the hands and mouth still work!), c) Tough it out on the sex until you get your medical issues sorted, d) Not tough it out and be honest and fair in a divorce settlement.

He didn’t do those things — he cheated on you with a co-worker. And a guy who cheats with a co-worker, IMO, (and with the cynicism that comes from reading my mail) is probably someone who has cheated before during that seven years on the road. Just an educated guess. Anyway, given all the available HONEST ways of addressing this problem, he chose a selfish, hurtful way to get what he wanted at the expense of everyone else — your marriage, your health, and your children’s intact home life.

Here’s ANOTHER indication of his character — knowing that sex HURTS you — he presses for it anyway. And here’s another — knowing that you want to save your marriage — he REFUSES to commit to it. But he will enjoy sex (cake and kibbles!) with you anyway.

AMF — why do you want this guy? How could you ever trust him? Are all bets off if you get cancer? Or have the impertinence to age?

Also I worry that financial vulnerability is clouding your judgement. And I worry that in that year-long separation until divorce, he’s having sex with you so that you can’t use his infidelity against him. In many states having sex with a cheater is considered “forgiving” it. Don’t think he doesn’t know that.

I think your energies would be better spent getting a kick ass lawyer to press for a generous settlement with spousal support until you get on feet. Find a career where you can support yourself and your kids and live independent of this asshole. And then find a nice, decent boyfriend who deserves your libido. Close the cake bakery! Good luck.


Ask Chump Lady

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  • This piece of work is a 100% certified narcissistic asshole of the highest order.

    You’ll hear it over and over today — you are NOT at fault for his shitty behavior.

    Accepting the blame as you have here is giving him even more of what he wants — it gives him a free pass to believe he was in the right by cheating. This is not a lesson you want your kids to learn. Make this change first, as soon as possible.

    • Amen, UXWorld. I could barely read the letter to the end because he is such a sickening human being.

    • Dear AMF, Forever shifting goal posts. How many times did the traitor do this to me too? Whatever you do it is not enough. You were in pain, so much pain you went to hospital. You were not diagnosed properly, did not receive the right treatment. It was not your fault. This man has your mind completely tied in knots to think that everything is your fault. It’s not. CL is spot on as usual. When your sex life improved with the right treatment, he chose to discard you. So the lack of sex was not the issue, it’s all about power over you,which he continues to abuse during the “separation”. You need to protect yourself from this manipulation but don’t tell him you’re on to him. Watch your back, he already stabbed you in it once!

      • Dear AMF,

        Just what if your husband had a serious condition of his male member and was unable to perform? Would you have done the same to him? These things do happen, even to men.

    • AMF, Your cheating husband is using sex and invitations to watch movies together as a way to control you. These things give you a false hope that he will eventually come to his senses and want to get back together. I know how it goes… You think to yourself, “Oh, he wants to spend time with me!!” or “I’ll show him what he is giving up in bed. Then he will want to end the seperation”. This is what chump nation calls hopium. It is an addicting drug and will only end in more pain. What happens when you find out he is still having sex with his co-worker? You are going to toture yourself and think crazy things like, “Did he have sex with her the same day as me?!” “Was she better in bed ?” And that is just the beginning of the endless stream of tormenting thoughts and pain that will run through your mind. Not to mention the concern about STDs and other horrible repercussions of having sex with an asshole, lying, cheating husband. You deserve better. You deserve to be in a marriage where someone values you whether you are sick or having sex with them twice a day, or have a metal condition that prevents any physical contact. I don’t know about you, but the vows I took, said in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. Please don’t blame yourself anymore and do not live a life with someone who will discard you and your children. You will have better- start setting boundaries and trust that HE sucks, not you!!

      • Convenient, you come over on his weekends that he has the kids so he doesn’t have to entertain them and as a bonus you have sex with him. Quit the creative dancing throw the hopium pipe away. He has no intentions of staying married. He’s enjoying a very convenient situation for him.
        He’s a classic nard, it’s all about him without any regard for you or your children for that matter.
        Don’t be surprised if he tells your kids how unreasonable you are when you start standing up for yourself and quit staying with him on weekends.
        They think of no one other than themselves, it’s all about them.

  • . “Enough” is an ever-moving goal post with cheaters.

    Oh boy, if this sentence here doesn’t just sum up my marriage. My faults were magnified and I was told “if I just did this, everything would be fine” ( generally it was a freaky sex request, tmi I know, but I was desperate to please him). I’d over come what ever aversion I had, and the goal would change to something else. It got to the point where the goal was to think it up ON MY OWN and “surprise” him. Oh and house cleaned, and full time job, and kids and dinner and don’t let myself go and all that too.
    He ended up leaving me and married the one he dated when he was 18. I guess he liked the reflection of immaturity in her eyes. I hear she’s a nightmare control freak and his leash is short. I’m kind of doubting she dances the freaky dance. I do wonder if he has more respect for her because she isn’t the doormat I was? No matter, my life is improved dramatically without his ever shifting bar of disapproval.

    • This is my life too! My husband got back together with someone he dated in his early 20’s. I don’t get it. She is so ugly and has nothing to offer but a part time job and three kids! I can’t believe he gave up his beautiful family for her. Just makes me sick that she had no problem wrecking not only her home but his, too.

      • They go back to their exes in their 20s because it’s an easy target. They can’t be alone and therefore, they have to court someone new, come up with new lines, put in the effort and get rejected. Why go through all this effort, when they can just turn around and go back to plan B, someone they knew in their 20s. That’s why they try to score with someone they already knew. It’s easier and familiar.

        This happened to one of my friends. She was in her 40s and lo and behold, her college bf she dated when she was 21, called her up and said he’s getting divorced, after 4 kids, and how she was the one that got away. And he wanted to date her. We all laughed in his face. Yeah right she got away, 20 years later and 4 kids in the mix, then he realizes she is the one who got away. He was full of shit and wanted an easy target.

        • My ex is with someone he knew in high school. She was at our wedding 35 years ago! So if I really want to feel like crap, I can pull out the wedding album and look at her ugly troll of a face.

          • Except for keeping a few pictures only of loved ones that passed. I burned my wedding album.

            • Nice! I threw mine at my ex. Hit in the back. And I gave him the album as I don’t want that toxic energy of a sham of a relationship and marriage in my home!

          • And the best she could do was an old used up fart who already broke up with her once.

            It’s all a Nicholas Sparks driven fantasy.

    • Yup, me too. ExH Reconnected with a college fling (also married), told me at the time that “if it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else” due of course to my failure to keep track of the ever-changing goal posts for our 26 year marriage. Update: she left her husband and now they’re married. Good luck with that. I hope her exH is as happy to be rid of a selfish cheater as I am.

      • “if it hadn’t been her, it would have been someone else”

        Yeah, they can marry each other. If only his new wife knew what he thought of her and how she was easily replaceable. If not her, then someone else. It’s whoever was the easier target and ready and willing to tolerate the scumbag.

      • Omgosh if they get married I will die. This woman is awful! She is a min at the kids school and walks by me, says hello, taunts me, etc. I can’t believe my soon to be ex would be with someone so classless. But, I guess he is too!!!

        • HBBB, I always wondered why my ex wanted to be with someone who has absolutely no class. You are right, I guess he is too. I just didn’t see it.

          • Were you friends with her? I was! She befriended me at the kids’ school and got our daughter’s to hang out. My husband always just said they dated 2-3 weeks…nothing big. She seriously looks like a horse…I never felt threatened.

            • HBBB – No Way! Get out of here! The same thing happened to me – befriending me first so she could get the X from me….and she was totally classless and also had a horse face – seriously, I wish I could post it here. But, and nothing against horses faces, but where they belong, I guess – but they say, they usually downgrade so it pumps up their ego more. Makes sense, I guess.

    • Me too! Left me for one of her high school boyfriends from 35 years prior. We were married 28 years. They are engaged to be married in June. From all I’ve read here, it’s another disaster in the making. I just want her to marry so I can stop losing $1200/mo to pay alimony while she’s with him (has her own apartment so not officially “co-habitating). They suck.

      • Not that the fact that your wife has been running around behind your back with another guy for lord knows how long, lying to you, gaslighting you, and using you (and more often than not we’re paying for their crap during the marriage) is shitty enough, then courts give you the extra shit sandwich of having to pay her support so she can maintain her “lifestyle.”

        It’s what made me think twice about divorcing my wife, and it’s so counter-intuitive, The longer she was able to keep me on the fence and keep us married, the longer our marriage went and the longer I’ll need to pay her support after we’re divorced. God I hate divorce court.

        • The above is why, in this day and age, I feel that consenting to the stay at home parent deal( notice the gender neutrality) is a huge mistake. Cheating is , absolutely, rampant these days, what with the glamorization of it in movies etc.
          A betrayed spouse who consented to the cheater staying home with no income is screwed with both alimony and a lower shot of getting custody ( as if providing financially is not a form of being a primary caregiver).
          And a betrayed spouse who does stay at home, forgoing a career is also screwed because he or she is financially dependent, has compromised the career path, and alimony is no longer a given these days ( and may be finite such that it does not get you back to equal footing).
          Yes, in the days of Ward and June Cleaver, it made sense for one to stay home. But no longer as values have changed so much.
          And, let’s face it: a fair number of spouses that stay home, never intend to return to work, even after the kids are of school age and not as demanding. So, a lot of stay at home parents , with the kids in school and all the modern apparatuses we have now that cut down on the time involved in maintain the house, are on holiday as compared to the spouse grinding it out each day at a job outside the home.
          One guy I met on another site, and with whom I have formed a close friendship, described how his XW managed to convince him that she needed to stay home , even after the kids were older and in school. This guy was, absolutely, killing himself to work and provide for her and the kids, while she had 7-8 hours per day of free time ( which she utilized to bang a bunch of guys behind his back).
          Even after this cheating and her attempt to have him arrested on false DV charges ( he asked for a hearing and she never showed up. Case dismissed but he missed his mom’s death in the hospital as he showed up, ready to contest.). this guy was, initially, convinced that her job was somewhat arduous ( she did little around the house and devoted herself to cheating, primarily).
          Bottom line, do not stay home or consent to your spouse doing so. Those days are over.

          • Arnold, you seem to have found both men and women end up on the short end in these situations, good to know. As a woman who’s husband set me up for a DV charge and later tried to get alimony, I agree that no one should ever agree to such a situation. In my case , ex was not a stay at home dad, he was just the low earner and lost his job somewhat conveniently before we divorced. He did not get alimony, by then he’d pulled a gun on me and I had a PO, he still kept trying. LAst I heard he was trying to get SSN disability, assholes want a free ride.

            • Cluster B seems to be an equal opportunity deal. Both genders represented about equally. Just like domestic violence- equal between the genders.

            • This is what fathers with cheating wives have been facing for generations, until recently. Cheating wife, he was the breadwinner, he pays alimony and loses the kids.
              Thank God we live in an age where women now work and can be found liable for alimony and losing kids.

          • Hmmmm… I think I will respectfully agree to disagree here about being a stay at home parent. For a child, the safety, security and stability of the primary caregiver (usually the mother) lays down the attachment foundation for life. This is what determines whether people have successful, intimate, and long-term relationships in adulthood.

            Here’s a little of the research (this has been my area of study for many years):

            “Attachment is the base of emotional health, social relationships, and one’s worldview. The ability to trust and form reciprocal relationships affected the emotional health, security, and safety of the child, as well as the child’s development and future inter-personal relationships. The ability to regulate emotions, have a conscience, and experience empathy all require secure attachment. Healthy brain development is built on a secure attachment relationship.”

            “The attachment bond is the unique emotional relationship between your baby and you as his or her primary caretaker. This wordless interactive emotional exchange draws the two of you together, ensuring that your infant will feel safe and be calm enough to experience optimal development of their nervous system. The attachment bond is a key factor in the way your infant’s brain organizes itself and influences your child’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development.

            The quality of the attachment bond varies. A secure bond provides your baby with an optimal foundation for life: eagerness to learn, healthy self-awareness, trust, and consideration for others. An insecure attachment bond, one that fails to meet your infant’s need for safety and understanding, can lead to confusion about his or her own identity and difficulties in learning and relating to others in later life.”

            “Nothing is more important in the world today than the nurturing that children receive in the first three years of life, for it is in these earliest years that the capacities for trust, empathy, and affection originate. If the emotional needs of the child are not met during these years, permanent emotional damage can result. We are familiar with the kinds of early experience detectable in the psychopath’s background. As Selma Fraiberg has said, “These are the diseases that are produced in the early years by the absence of human ties or the destruction of human ties. In the absence of human ties, those mental qualities that we call human will fail to develop or will be grafted upon a personality that cannot nourish them, so that at best they will be imitations of virtues, personality facades.”

            “Consider intimacy an important source of balance, the ultimate leavening in life, the deepest source of comfort. And because it is the root of psychic security, it is a firm foundation for approaching the new and a wellspring of willingness to engage in exploration of life. Gauge someone’s capacity for intimacy and you will understand something about their ability to trust another human being, reveal vulnerability, make a commitment of any kind, and regulate distress as well. On this psychologists agree: The first relationship is the basis for all others. The nature of one’s emotional attachment in the family of origin establishes not only the ability to achieve a sense of connection but the degree of security in later relationships.”

            “During pregnancy, birth and beyond, if not interfered with, nature locks the mother and baby’s biorhythms, heart frequencies, hormonal balances, sleep patterns and a thousand other living systems into reciprocal bonded patterns. The baby provides the precise stimulus for mother to open and develop new capacities, and mother does the same for her baby. Their language is non-verbal; sensation and feeling. Nature assumes this bond will develop and places baby close to the mother’s body and breast for just this reason, and for an extended period of time. Interfering with this close, intimate, skin-to-skin contact prevents a vital exchange of sensory experiences, nutrients and information required for normal and healthy brain development.
            The absence of what we call bonding is neglect and abuse. Recently researchers at the McLean Hospital identified four types of permanent brain abnormalities caused by early childhood abuse and neglect. These and many other studies confirm what James W. Prescott, Ph.D., and associates discovered in the 1960’s and 1970’s; that lack of affectionate, intimate contact between mothers and infants during the most sensitive periods of brain growth may result in permanent brain abnormalities associated with juvenal and adult patterns of depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, aggression and violence.”

            “Attachment is one specific and circumscribed aspect of the relationship between a child and caregiver that is involved with making the child safe, secure and protected. The purpose of attachment is not to play with or entertain the child (this would be the role of the parent as a playmate), feed the child (this would be the role of the parent as a caregiver), set limits for the child (this would be the role of the parent as a disciplinarian) or teach the child new skills (this would be the role of the parent as a teacher). Attachment is where the child uses the primary caregiver as a secure base from which to explore and, when necessary, as a haven of safety and a source of comfort.”

            “Forgive me for restating the obvious. It is really very simple. Rape, domestic violence, child abuse, depression, addictions, chronic anxiety, fear, rage, most chronic diseases; diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, many hormonal cancers; breast, testicular, heart disease, ALS, attention disorders, bullying, gangs, male-female inequity, poverty, the failure of education, corporate exploitation of human beings and the environment, you get the point, are expressions of failed or impaired capacity to relate nonviolently with other human beings, society, culture and with nature. All are attachment disorders, attachment being attuned, empathic, respectful, caring relationships.
            The source of this chronic-systemic stress can be traced to the earliest patterns or templates of mother-infant relationship, . The nature and quality of relationship experienced, or not, during the very early stages of a human being’s life establish the patters that shape that person’s entire life, therefore society, therefore culture, therefore what the next generation experiences. Early imprints, empathic or alienated, express in a multitude of ways and these behaviors become society, and that society is the environment that shapes the next generation’s experience, empathic or alienated. What goes around comes around.
            Treating adult manifestations is pathetically ineffective. A problem can’t be solved at the level of the problem. The only sane response is to value, inspire, nurture and support mothers to do the same with their most precious and important responsibility, responding deeply and approximately the future of humanity at their breasts.”

            For many children these days (particularly in the U.S.), child care starts early in life, there are multiple disruptions/changes in caregivers, caregivers at daycare centres are overwhelmed and underpaid. This does not bode well for the future. I am a firm believer in women working (we’re a pretty smart gender, I’d say) but it is critical for children to have secure attachment. Without it, they will struggle with adult relationships (as well as physical and mental health issues, including personality disorders) and that pretty much takes us back to why we are here on this site.

            Perhaps if all children had at least one caring, concerned, attentive, empathetic parent at home for the first few years of their lives, we (Chumps) wouldn’t be in this situation and the world would be a lovelier place in a generation or so. 🙂

            • Interesting post, blessing-in-disguise. I’m sure this relates to a lot of people.

              However, I was married to a real-live Mama’s Boy.
              Her Golden Child – her first born and she was obvious about that with the other kids she had.
              She was a ‘Helicopter Mom’ before it was invented and a good moral, Christian woman and, just maybe? Too much of a good mother..

              So, the article didn’t quite resonate with my POV.

            • I agree 100% with the importance of early attachment, AND the importance of touch & security in guaranteeing a secure attachment.

              But…I know the day care literature well, and putting a child into day care can still permit a secure attachment as long as at least one parent continues to be responsive.

              The biggest study on this issue was conducted by the NICHD (findings first published in 1997). They found that the number of hours in day care in and of itself did not predict poor attachment if the mother remained responsive (unfortunately, study was only with mothers). What did happen to cause insecure attachment is that full-time working mothers were likely to be stressed out, and then to become less responsive. That (not the number of hours in day care) was the best predictor of quality of attachment.

              Thus, some of your points still hold about the importance of childhood attachment to at least one parent, and our inability to ‘fix’ problems that occur in infancy/childhood, but there is no reason that conscientious parents need to worry about working & putting a child into day care, per se. In fact, across numerous studies, cognitive and social outcomes are often best if the caregiving parent works part-time.

              • Well said, Tempest, as usual. I was one of those children who grew up in the situation where my mother had to work and stayed with a relative during the day. I would just like to say that I loved my grandmother, but was really lonely for the companionship of other children. I wanted to go to school or daycare more that anything! So not all children love the stay at home thing, they are ready to get out into the world and have a little (age appropriate) “freedom”.

            • I work in this area also(M.Ed Early Childhood) and fully agree with the above.
              To add just a bit, leaving the bonding to a nanny or daycare is also perilous because the norm of high turnover. Child needs that once-and-forever primary bond.
              Using maternity and paternity leave gives both parents a few weeks at home to bond, keeps both on a more even playing field in retaining good jobs after those first few months.
              A stay at home parent can be such a blessing,sometimes to do little errands or meal planning to help overworked & stressed worker bee, relieves the big stresses of a sick child or desire to enrich a child’s life with music or sports.
              It’s too bad that it has become, in this day and age,such a financial liability.

              • Casabeca, I don’t have an advanced degree in education, just a BS. I am not going to disagree with you, per se, on your views of parenting in regards to working outside the home vs. stay at home parent.

                I believe that the decision between these two options depend on the individual child, parent(s), and situation. Both can lead to any level of bondedness.

                I thought I wanted to be a stay at home parent, until I tried it. I did not like it enough to make the choice to do it. My child entered daycare at six weeks of age. She thrived, is now a straight A student, fun loving, well adusted, active in Scouts, band, church, etc. Our bond is, was, and will always be as strong as any parent/child who were together 24/7. I don’t think it is fair to give the opinion that it isn’t due to my working.

                One last point, there are too many variables in family situations to say that the bond formed between parent and child is strictly related to the parent’s work situation. Ie, some parents will be good and some won’t regardless of the amount of time spent with the child.

              • @Anita: “some parents will be good and some won’t regardless of the amount of time spent with the child.”

                Absolutely true. It is parental quality time/responsiveness that determines quality of attachment. The average rate of insecure attachments of kids with SAHM is 25-30%; the average rate of insecure attachments from kids in full time day care is around 36%. BUT–once parental responsiveness (unfortunately, mostly research on mothers) is controlled for, there is NO Effect of number of hours in day care, or number of day care centers.

                Even the most outspoken opponent of day care, Jay Belsky, admits that day care does not replace the parent-infant bond.

                There is evidence that children benefit socially and cognitively from high-quality day care, and this effect is more pronounced in girls (reason is not entirely clear).

                Children whose mothers work show more egalitarian views on sex/gender roles, and also have higher “self-efficacy”–more belief that they can accomplish things through their own effort. Obviously, there are going to be individual differences depending on the child and the parent, but there is evidence that shows benefits of day care, if the day care is at least of medium quality.

                This is no disrespect to stay-at-home parents; it is a tough and often lonely job, but it does put the SAHparent at risk financially (esp. with retirement), and may change the balance of power in the marriage. Likewise, parents who work full time AND take care to remain responsive parents (and to pay attention to the quality of the care their child is receiving) need not feel guilty about working. And the vast majority of working parents DO have children with secure attachments.

              • Great comment, Tempest. I totally agree, neither side of the daycare/stay at home dynamic should feel superior or inferior based on their choice. I would certainly never demean a stay at home mom or dad for their choice. In return, I would expect the same from them. I think they are both about equally challenging and rewarding for both.

            • I think it can be very good for kids to have a sane, healthy SAH parent. The research on this is interesting,, although as the child of a narcissistic SAH parent, it didn’t work out that way for me.

              On the other hand, the SAH parent is taking a big risk leaving the work force to stay home–cuts into time to accumulate retirement, Social Security and creates a gap of time away from paid work AND in some cases (for example, IT and health sciences) an expertise gap as fields change. So if a couple decides to have one parent stay home, there should be a plan in place to protect the SAH parent economically–a post-nup, perhaps; a dedicated saving plan for retirement; a day a week to do volunteer work or take a class to keep up skills; a budget that reflects the needs of both parents to have discretionary income (if possible). What I’m saying is that if both parents decide that having one stay at home is crucial, then the agreements around this are so important that they should be written down and revisited every 6-12 months. Life insurance amounts on the primary income-earner and the SAH parent should also reflect the need to replace that person’s contribution. If nothing else, that reminds both of them of the value of work in the home and of the need to make sure both adults are employable in case the primary income-earner dies or becomes disabled.

            • May be best for the kids, unless there is cheating, which is rampant, in which case the kid loses access to the decent parent.
              breast, testicular cancer, Alzheimer’s? I doubt it. sounds too far fetched.

          • I can’t believe that we are now discrediting the value of SAHM. Sure there are people that cheat, don’t provide support etc but why paint an entire group of people in a negative light. The daycare system provides a service for those who need to work and those that choose to do so but it is not an equal substitute.
            Saying that SAHM only work 7 hours a day is akin to saying only men cheat. You can’t pay people to be good parents.

            • Yeah, and posting BS misogynist pseudo science from Dr. Sears about how kids in daycare will form attachment disorders is also an enormous disservice to parents who are trying to keep a roof over their children’s heads. How many chumps are going to stay in terrible relationship because they are told that if they have to stop being a SAHM and go out in the work force, leaving their kids in the care of a (gasp!) caring childcare professional then their kids will be screwed up for life?

              Get over yourself. Staying home with the kids is great (for some). Nice work if you can get it. But don’t demonize working parents or act like they are worse parents or that their kids are screwed up because you didn’t sit around and leave them impoverished or in unhappy homes for the dubious virtue of playing candyland with them for eight extra hours a day.

              • This is no misogynistic. We are not limiting this to SAHMs. Why do you presume we are talking about moms vs fathers. as well?

            • Renewed, please elaborate on what you mean by this sentence:

              “The daycare system provides a service for those who need to work and those who choose to do so, but it is not an equal substitute. ”

              An equal substitute to what? Are you inferring that parents that work are not “equal” as parents to those who do not?

            • I did not say that about SAHMs. This was about both genders. Let’s face it, a SAHP is not working as hard as a coal miner, for example.

          • Okay, for the record, I was a SAHM for the entirety of my marriage. XH and I had both agreed right off the bat that I would take on the “June Cleaver” role, as he worked out of town for weeks on end. Staying home with one’s children is a personal decision and although I understand where you’re coming from, I will respectfully disagree with you. Yes, you and many other BS got the short end of the stick, but to argue that a SAHP doesn’t work as hard as a coal miner is unfair – and inaccurate. I don’t know any coal miners that pull 24 hour duty looking after and cleaning up after sick kids. Still, as I have a right to my opinion, you have a right to your opinion, and I respect that.

            I’d like some clarification here on what actually constitutes “alimony”.

            My XH has been bitching and moaning since our divorce that he had to pay me alimony, in addition to child support. To hear him talk, you’d think he was actually giving me an income from his paycheck because we divorced.

            Not so.

            Where I live, martial assets are divided 50/50, and everything – retirement plans, cash, real estate, debt – it’s all split equally. After everything was tallied up, XH had to pay me a certain amount to meet this 50/50 requirement – but it was a lot of money. He wouldn’t be able to secure a loan for that amount to pay me, so we came to an agreement that he would give me monthly payments until it was paid in full. It was called “alimony” but the money he was paying me was actually my half of the marital assets. It was owed to me. Why on earth would I feel bad about that?

            • Babushka – the way mine went was, I got 50/50 of everything, including his retirement plan and all assets.
              Since we had a LT marriage of 36 yrs, I was also entitled to spousal support on top of the other marital assets.
              There are no set standards on what spousal support is, like there is for child custody, this is where we had to mediate at length.
              He would continue to earn his high income and it was decided I would get 25% of that. I should have fought for more because he has the potential to make much more than he did at that time. However, we had to pick a final monthly number and I made the mistake of not factoring in inflation nor his potential to make more money – it was not tied to his future earnings. I also wish I would have negotiated the taxes I have to pay. Well, damn. But, at least he missed the line that said spousal support for the rest of my life whether I remarried or not. So, I feel that was a win win for me.

              I’d say, they are incorrect in labeling that alimony when, in fact, it was part of the marital assets.
              It sounds like you didn’t get spousal support at all.

              How long were you married and did your attorney even ask for it, in addition to the money he owed you as part of the divorce?

        • Me too! My idiot left me for his high school sweetheart (who he cheated on…I should have known better). I had a hysterectomy and NONE of the hormone replacement therapy solved my pain during sex or other symptoms. Turns out, my skin doesn’t absorb the proper amount of hormones. So on to the dangerous pill cocktail. On top of all that, I suffered a neck injury.

          But I dutifully performed oral sex to save my marriage. Never mind, how I felt. Oh, and maybe I wasn’t feeling so sexy cuz while I was out working 12 hours a day, including a commute – he failed to pay the mortgage and bought endless toys (plus the 2 out of town dalliances I am aware of). Instead of addressing the issue in counseling – off he ran. But it literally is the best thing that could have happened.

          Took me almost 2.5 years to get here. But a good life can be obtained. Sickness and health….pffffttttt.

          • Yeah, but it is not. In most states it means nothing, although why it is not considered a reflection on parenting ability is beyond me ( so, my wife bringing a man who was willing to fuck a married mom of three young girls into the house is not a reflection on her fitness?).
            What total bullshit. My kids were disgusted by this and made the guy’s life a living hell( good for them). They (XW and OM) were at each others’ throats within 14 months.

            • Agree. Oh the irony–10 days after D-day I was called for potential jury duty for a custody case involving infidelity. It was clear to me the cheater Dad was also a raving narcissist (just from the way he looked around the courtroom and spread out his arms over adjoining chairs). But our instructions were that infidelity does not affect custody. Ridiculous. (Thankfully I was not chosen for the jury, as there is no way I could have given that guy equal parenting rights in good conscience.)

              • In NY it doesn’t matter which is why I chose No Fault. Proving fault would not change anything. If I selected Adultery, it must be sworn to by a third party (the affair partner) and Adultery is only applicable if there is penetration of the vagina with the penis. So get or give all the blow jobs you want in NY, it’s not cheating. I’m wondering if Elliot Spitzer had something to do with this law?

          • One just needs to make sure that child support provides 2 comfortable homes for any children…they don’t deserve any unintended consequences.
            Tho I’m sure the thought of my hard earned bills in a cheater’s greedy paw might make think twice…while eventually doing the right thing.

  • I never understood why they think we fall for the doe-eyed promise that they are not sleeping with anyone else while needing to live on their own “to think.” Maybe it’s the practical, frugal side of my little brain that doesn’t get it, but seems to me that paying a mortgage and rent, double utilities, and other costs associated with maintaining two residences would shift some of the worry away from “how are we saving our marriage” to “how can we afford this?” After all, you can think at the library for free.

    • When confronted with evidence of time spent at local hotels , my ex claimed he also went there to “think”. I really doubt a lot of thinking went on when he was paying escorts by the hour!.

      • Mine went to the hotel near his office for his “headaches”… And the condoms I found alongside the receipts in his trunk belonged to a friend.

    • I fell for the “I need my own apartment to think” line.
      One day the young man who maintains my pool mentioned that X hadn’t been around, I explained to him about the apt., he paused and then said, men don’t move to an apartment to “think” or leave their wives unless they’ve got someone else.
      At the time I just listened and thought, no, not my husband, he isn’t like that. I can’t believe how naive and gullible I was. It’s absolutely appalling to me that anyone could abuse another persons trust and be so heartless.

  • It has long been a philosophy of mine that (other than the physically abusive who hurt their families and need to be removed immediately in handcuffs and never return) even the suckiest spouse deserves to be told “That ____ you do, it must stop/change or I will leave this marriage”. CL is right, he had other options and I would bet that he cheated before.

    It WOULD suck to have a partner not be able to have sex for a time or ever…but it is a possibility – there are a number of guys who came back from the war sans penis, cancer requires removal of organs sometimes, what about military spouses whose partner is shipped overseas for a year…hard in so many ways but does that justify adultery?

    When any of us marry, we arent given a guarantee that our spouse will be present and willing and able forever. Besides, did you use the fact that he was gone working all the time as an excuse to cheat? (full disclosure, I experienced 3 deployments as a military spouse and I was faithful …there were moments when temptation was dangled right in my face, but I went home, alone, the end).

    So as sucky as it was, it doesnt justify his actions and you have a full fledged cake eater on your hands now…what you do about that is up to you.

    • Um I will say, if when you date someone and they say, by the way, if you’re ever really sick or can’t perform sexually for any length of time, I’m leaving you, would you really want to marry that person? Marriage comes with the understanding that life is hard. Don’t date or marry people if you’re that selfish. The cheater/abandoner will get sick and they will demand loyalty and service. That’s my two cents.

      • Yup, exactly. Wanted to push me to the curb if I ever got sick, but demanded and got loyalty and service when he was sick, which was often. And get this- still cheating right after he had three level neck fusion. He said I left him alone and went to work while he was recovering, and he got bored!

        • That’s amazing. And disgusting. I find these people astonishing that’s for sure. That’s why I never blame the other person. I do think they should be shot mean (ok, not really, but they aren’t doing the world too much good). But if you can have spinal fusion surgery and cheat, I mean come on. That’s a special gift. Unfortunately it’s straight from hell but it’s a gift.

          • Mine cheated straight through stage 4 nasophanangeal cancer and I have pictures that he took of the ow topless in our bathroom that were dated only 2 months after he stopped chemo. Not even the threat of death stops these disgusting bastards.

            • Wow, that is special of him. He wins a prize. Your prize, I guess, is being rid of him.

  • AMF,

    You sound like a hard-working, thoughtful, earnest soul. Your husband sounds like a selfish, deceitful, compassionless jerk. Great match for him, horrible for you. “Winning” his commitment (which you supposedly had during all those years of absence, lopsidedness, and ultimately cheating) will only lead to more misery. I’m sorry, but you have nothing to work with here. The good news is that life will be better without this emotional anchor tied around your life.

    Also, I doubt I’m the only one who is skeptical of the idea this this was his only affair. And, it just a terrible coincidence that he started traveling for work 8 years ago (and we know he cheats while traveling), and your pelvic issues started the following year? I wouldn’t be surprised if all that physical pain you felt for all those years was not the cause of his cheating, but was CAUSED BY his cheating. Protect yourself.

    • ‘“Winning” his commitment’

      YES. This is spot on. You can’t win his commitment, AMF, because it’s a gift we were given when we took those VOWS.

      You can never hope to win the game if your opponent gets to change rules later.

    • *I wouldn’t be surprised if all that physical pain you felt for all those years was not the cause of his cheating, but was CAUSED BY his cheating. Protect yourself.*

      There are several folks here who have mentioned how many of their physical problems disappeared after they got rid of the cheater.

  • I will just say that “In sickness and in health” are a critical part of most marriage vows. Be safe, hun.

      • Twitchy finger tempting, Tempest. I remember after a heated argument early in our marriage he said he had enough and was going to bed. I just stood there, stared at him and said, “Go ahead. Fall asleep.” Then I went into the kitchen.

        Too bad he later learned that I actually would never hurt anyone in anger because I think that scared the crap out of him.

        • I wish I’d used that line. The night of D-day, I left the condoms-found-in-computer-bag on the bed with a note that said, “We’re over. Go to a hotel.” He refused to leave and instead started the waterfall of lies (“just an EA,” “Only 3 weeks” blah blah). I regret not saying, “Better lock your door then.”

  • And remember that you had to bust him before he acknowledged the affair. Not a good sign.

    Did you cause him to lie, too? No. And you didn’t cause him to cheat either. Those choices are on him and his poor characer as CL rightly highlights.

    • This. It wasn’t “just” that he had an affair. It’s also that he didn’t cop to it until you found out, and then he blameshifted.

    • Don’t forget, too, that he was traveling a lot while you were able to have sex and that left you alone without sexand everything else that’s important about having your partner present. Did you miss him? Were you lonely? How did you respond to those feelings?

      Did you secretly get together with someone else and have sex repeatedly when he was gone because you were lonely and felt neglected while he was on the road? After all, there are lots of jobs that don’t require travel, so this job arrangement is ultimately a choice on his part. He made a choice to neglect you.

      Did you get endometriosis from a choice you could have made differently? Did you actively choose to have an illness that caused you so much pain? Did you do things that made it hard for doctors to figure out what you had?

      If you were unable to, say, take walks with him because you were T-boned at an intersection and the accident rendered you unable to walk, would your disability be your fault?

      Of course not times one hundred.

      He didn’t sneak around and have sex with someone else because of something that is your fault. He may have wanted sex and felt neglected, but that is not why he lied or why he left. He lied, and left, because that’s what he was willing to do.

      There is a word for feeling forced to have sex against your will (and when it’s under emotional threat of abandonment and you’re not choosing it freely, it’s against your will), for unwanted sex that is harming you and causing you pain. Some might say I am being dramatic, but I would classify his actions as full on sexual assault. How can he enjoy sex with you when he is causing you so much pain? It’s disturbing.

      You are in trauma. This is not only not your fault, it’s active assault without remorse. That’s why it’s so dissociating for you as you try to process it. For all practical purposes, you have been repeatedly raped, and now you are being exploited by your rapist.

      Please take care and please get some professional support to counterbalance his manipulation. He is harming you. Please separate yourself from this cycle.

  • Dear AMF,

    Please wake up and smell the narcissism. It’s wafting from miles away and I can sense it here in the great white north.. With your faulty reasoning you are condemning every single human being who has ever suffered from a debilitating disease or accident to a life of self blame. You have let a self absorbed asshole dictate how you view your worth in not only his life but your own.
    If one of your children (GOD FORBID I would never wish this on anyone) was hit by a car and paralyzed would you not go full mommy mode and support that child. You would take that kid to physio, surgery; you would help them with washing, dressing, hygiene and all the regular normal kid stuff etc. etc. Could you honestly treat that child badly for not being able bodied? Could you dismiss that child as not fulfilling your dreams of a perfect motherhood?
    Then why does that poor excuse for a spouse get to dismiss you for an undiagnosed medical condition? As CL said, if he was unhappy he could have walked and asked for a divorce the honourable way. Some people actually do divorce because of social, financial or physical incompatibility without breaking marriage vows first. Instead he depersonalized you, lied, cheated, probably stole marital funds and now treats you like a blow up Nancy doll. All you are to him is convenient and if he strings you along long enough he doesn’t have to take care of the kids, can hide money and get a bulldog lawyer to screw you over more than he has already.
    Take a long hard look at the things he has done. Now picture your mother, sister, daughter or a beloved friend in a similar situation. Would you not want to remove that human excrement from your loved one’s life?
    CL has it right … look at a person’s actions not their words.
    And his actions are screaming ” I’m a self entitled prick ! “

    • Agree 100%. And this: “Please wake up and smell the narcissism. It’s wafting from miles away and I can sense it here in the great white north.”
      Ah. That would explain the rotting rodent stench emanating from my computer’s fan.

    • So true. AMF’s husband doesn’t have to tell her where he is, or when he will be back, but he can demand she does everything he asks? Hell, no.

    • I often thought that if my nowdeadhusband ever betrayed our daughter in the manner and to the degree that he betrayed me, he would look like a total monster to her. Its so odd that so many people minimize abuse and betrayal of a spouse. Some asshole narcs are as bad to his kids as they are to the spouse, he wasnt a good father but he didnt suck at parenting quite as much as he sucked at husbanding.

  • Oh, Not Your Fault,
    It is not your fault.
    After 3 kids, sex was painful for me. And STBX only cared how it was affecting him. I was the sole caregiver of our kids while he worked. He was critical of everything: sex, how I raised the kids, the condition of the house, my appearance, my mood (I was clinically depressed and he didn’t acknowledge it at all).
    After D Day, we tried counseling and he blamed me. Said I had emotionally and sexually abandoned him and affairs were because of that. I was so conditioned by this time that I bought in to it.
    I had endometriosis also, and ended up with a hysterectomy (praise God!). Guess what? He was frustrated that I couldn’t have sex for 6 weeks afterwards! It was always all about him.
    I had to make my own mistakes, and I made plenty, even after D Day, (hence D Days 2 and 3). I suspect you need to make your own mistakes as well. BUT, the fact that you wrote to Chump Lady, instead of Dr. Laura or someone equally horrible, tells me that some part of you KNOWS that this isn’t your fault. It is 100% on him. And he will not change. He has always been this way.
    You need to start listening to your gut, remembering things as they actually happened, look at his actions as a reflection of his intent, ignore the rhetoric.
    Get your own counselor. Ask her to be blunt with you. And read all of these comments. You are not alone. You are part of Chump Nation.

  • Yes! Listen to Tracy! I’m an IBS sufferer, and on top of that I’ve suffered from depression for many years. It’s one of those things, where you don’t know what’s wrong with you, just that SOMETHING is wrong. I finally figured out that the depression was caused by the IBS, and I went full on medication. I took painkillers, anti cramping meds, anything that would help me feel better. Until that time, I’d zonk out every single night in bed, because I was exhausted. From taking care of two kids, dogs, a household and the pain. I, just like you, tried to do everything to make my husband feel comfortable.

    When I finally started taking control of my pain, and I slowly got my libido back, it was too late. I tried initiating multiple times, and he actually turned me down. He had at that point started dating his boss…

    Now, I realize that sex every 2-3 months isn’t ideal, but if it bothered him that much, he should have talked to me. NOT gone behind my back and cheated on me. He claims that he did talk to me. I don’t know where I was for those talks.

    Trust that he sucks. He went about this the wrong way. Yes, you weren’t living a perfect marriage, but who does? If something bothers someone THAT much that they need to break those vows (in sickness and in health), then they should discuss it with you before doing something like that.

    I also contacted my ex’s ex wife to get her side of the story, and it turns out he was a serial cheater (among other things) in their marriage. So, I don’t think OW is the first. I just think she’s the first to be dumb and gullible enough to divorce her husband to be with my “winner”. No teeth and all…

        • Oh, ugh. My first ex had to have all his teeth pulled due to gum disease. He had dentures but didn’t always wear them. Not a pretty sight. Not sure why I stayed with him so long but glad I no longer am.

    • I understand adults lose their teeth for many reasons but truly the only people who look good without teeth are babies !!

      • He was 100% to blame for the loss of his teeth. He did not take good care of them, at all. I won’t go in to gross details. Because, I no longer have to kiss him! Wooohooo! 😀 I get to find someone else to make out with! Perhaps someone who knows how to kiss properly! I’m all giddy with excitement! I’ll be like Carrie Bradshaw in that episode where she made out for 5 hours straight! 🙂

  • Getting endometreosis was not your fault. Being unable to have sex was not your fault.

    I only see one honorable action for your husband – give you love and sympathy and help getting medical care while staying faithful. If possible, working out other ways to have sex.

    But let’s say your husband wasn’t able to resist temptation because he hadn’t had sex in months (there are single people who go for more than 16 months without sex by the way). He could be sorry afterwards and confess and stop. He could take full responsibility for his actions.

    Your husband had a wife who was willing to make sacrifices and do everything for him. He doesn’t appreciate that. Don’t let him take advantage of you now. ChumpLady has good advice – get a lawyer, stop having sex with him, build an independent life for yourself. Don’t accept his maybe I’ll come back to you and meanwhile let’s have sex.

    • So many great comments today. All My Fault — Not Your Fault, see LouisvilleFlower above — I hope you can absorb the truth and kindness of Diana L’s post.

      I will be trying to do the same. On the sex front, my story is similar. Am lining up ducks, and living with Monster who thinks he’s a unicorn. Wanna know what one of his “demands” is, should I submit to his vision of R? Guaranteed sex seven times a week. This demand stands despite the harm sex did to me. I’ll spare the sordid details, but it got so bad emotionally that I separated mind from body on purpose during sex.

      Before D-day, 5-year relationship with coworker OW not disclosed, MC to him: “So, do you know that she’s removing herself except for her body?” Answer: “Yes. I feel bad, but I need lots of sex [and, unknown to me and MC, lots of porn, some of it violent, while “pounding” OW, as he texted a friend]. She knows that.” Crazy-making MC: Silence. In common here?

      Shameless entitlement and utter indifference — you’re not really IN his picture. He’s not going to do a 180 and see you as a human being. It’s scary. And CL is right: Sex with him could really hurt you legally. In a no-fault state infidelity is often “leverage” that induces settlements. If yours is a fault state that would grant HIM the “condonation” defense … Lord help you. From this former lawyer, as a lawyer: STOP. I have not had sex with him since D-Day and I don’t plan to, EVER. See an attorney. You’ve been through so much. MY heart goes out to you.

      • Oh Claire, what a nightmare !!! Im so sorry that you got abused like that ! My H faked monogamy for years (I knew he was an asshole, but I thought that he was MY asshole, turns out he was everybodys asshole). I felt so discounted and marginalized by him that I refused to tell him I loved him during sex and I used to cry.

        When I made love to my new husband and told him that I loved him, he likely thought it was one of “those things you do” but I eventually shared with him that I hadnt spoken of love during sex in a long time.

      • I’m sorry, ClaireS, that you have lived through a 5-year nightmare. He didn’t/doesn’t view you as a human, just a sex-supplier appliance for his unharnessed needs. And the “need” is not for sex, but for domination. I hope your ducks are lined up soon and you can escape.

  • As everyone has stated here, cheaters cheat because of poor character. My X suffered from ED so he had his physician secretly prescribe Viagra which in turn he used to cheat?! Believe it or not that was my fault.
    He also said it was my fault that he slept with ugly women. It was my fault that he wasn’t happy. He didn’t want the responsibility of children or the cares of everyday life. So if the washer wore out it was my fault, or the kids needed his attention he didn’t have time, but that too was my fault.
    Get out while you can.

    • I hear that…my H1.0 had no coping skills whatsoever…blame was all he knew. No joke, the first step to dealing with any problem in our family was to figure out how it was my fault and how I would fix it.

  • AMF,

    CL is spot on with this one. Despite what many BS marriage counselor swill tell you, cheating is not caused by unmet “needs.”

    This takes me back to the bad old days: intimacy had faded in my marriage. Wen I discovered my wife’s affair, this reduced intimacy was one of the 1,000 things that were suddenly wrong…and making her unhappy…and “causing” her to cheat.

    So, among the 100 ways I danced for my wife to “pick me,” I tried harder with romance. More dates. More sex.

    And you know what my wife did? She complained to her sister that “JC wants to have sex all the time. It’s like ENOUGH already!”

    My wife also told me that being more romantic and sexual was “avoiding the real issue.”

    Q: What was the real issue?

    A: Anything that I wasn’t addressing. It changed daily, sometimes hourly. Even after I left my wife and files for divorce, she kept changing stories, giving me new reasons that she cheated. All of these “reasons” involved her being the victim of some external or internal force that overpowered her ability to be faithful.

    Move on, AMF. People can be unhappy or unfulfilled in marriage. (I know I had a complaint or two, myself.). But claiming that cheating is a response to unhappiness is like claiming arson is a response to peeling wallpaper.

    • JC

      This was my ex-wife to. I wanted to much sex, to busy to go out for dinner (even when I had completed her chores to make it easy for her to say yes – clean house chores, homework complete-and flowers). I just wasn’t good enough. I have to laugh about the sex part…. she said all I wanted was sex. She made a million excuses made me feel bad all the while she was with another man.

      Even after the divorce always trying to justify new story lines with me as to why she wasn’t happy with me…

      • You guys helped me see a couple things.

        First, a cheater will say anything to continue getting what they want. This is where the skein untangling comes in, AMF. His words mean NOTHING. Nothing. Less than nothing. Trying to divine meaning from his drivel will get you destroyed.

        Oh, and I am a guy who likes to have sex with women. If I can rub one out and then snuggle, I’m 99 percent of the way there. Yeah, turns out it’s not about the orgasm, its about the trust and physical contact. Well, for chumps it is.

        • Heya Ian – I started a post in the Forums with your name on it – in the General section. Couple days ago.

      • Yep. this was my first wife’s deal , too. we were young and I assumed would enjoy a decent sex life.
        But, shortly after we married, she, essentially, cut off sex, for the most part. I tried talking to her about it in a non confrontational manner and she just would either rage or tell me to go elsewhere for sex.
        I am pretty sure I was not a Neanderthal- decent , nice enough guy who liked to communicate etc. I did more than my share around the house and with the kids when they arrived. ( we did have sex about 2-3 times a year).
        Nothing I did ever met her standards, although, in retrospect, she had a real double standard re her own behaviors.
        This type of thing is typical of the NPD/BPD spouse and you will go nuts trying to jump through the ever changing hoops they require. They are never happy or satisfied and always looking for something ( like you) to complain about.
        I am lucky she cheated, as it got me out, finally.

        • Arnold – it’s sad but rather funny that this certainly isn’t a gender issue. As soon as I got married, the X didn’t want sex either! At least, to give it to me. He liked to get it plenty often for himself.
          I felt damn rejected right from the beginning and for many years later.
          Still, although nothing ever changed, I stayed and didn’t fuck around on him.

      • My wife had a constant stream of excuses why she couldn’t have sex with me. That made me frustrated and angry, but I still managed to keep it in my pants. Of course she was out doing her married COW the whole time, so being with me really wasn’t necessary (other than to pay bills and raise kids). Oh and why did she cheat – because of all of the things (both real and imagined) that I didn’t do to keep her happy. Enough already.

        And I’m really at the point where I hope she ends up with him. They both completely deserve one another.

        • Raises hand. My STBXW did exactly the same bullshit, blamed me for everything, etc.

          The kicker for me was when I asked her “if our daughter got married and her husband cheated on her, what would you tell her?”

          She had, of course, no response to that, because there’s no logical response to a raging, epically-sized, entitlement-filled double-standard. 🙂

          • I asked exactly the same question about his daughter / my stepdaughter, whom he favors over the two boys. Without a hitch and as if he were the new authority on mental health because he’s seeing IC, he replied calmly, “It would depend on the circumstances.” WTF?

          • Sephage, “there’s no logical response to a raging, epically-sized, entitlement-filled double-standard.” Oh. She’s a double-stuffed whorey-O.

      • This is why no one should ever really listen to or consider the cheater’s narrative. It’s all horseshit and a complete waste of time.

      • Yep, husband complained all I wanted him for was for sex (also home repair and paycheck). I just stared dumbly. I had no idea he was already in full affair mode and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what guy turns down sex, not occasionally, but mostly. So it was AMF’s fault for no sex and all my fault for wanting sex all the time (and in the daylight too). I call bullshit! They’re all just a bunch of shriveled weiner twats.

    • Yep! So very true! It went from lack of intimacy, BUT NOT SEX, just… INTIMACY. So, I tried doing more “intimate” things for him. Hugging, kissing, making his favorite beverages. having dinner ready for him when he got home, making sure he had everything he could ever need.

      When I engaged in the WTF went wrong conversations with him, it was all of a sudden back to there not being enough sex. I was like: Huh?!? You said it wasn’t the lack of SEX, but intimacy. Then, the next day, he thought I was lazy for not working. And he had to work all these hours. I was like: We had discussed this, and I was going to look for a part time job once the youngest hit Kindergarten. Well, I could have looked for for while she was in pre-school! WHO would hire ANYONE for 1-2 hours, 3 days a week?!?! No one. And then he went in to how I had become “obsessed” with cleaning and keeping the house tidy. As a SAHM, the house is my workplace, and I wanted it to look nice. How dare I??!? And then the next day it was how I just wanted him for his DIY skills (which were sorely lacking).

      Basically, they’re just making up excuses for their shitty behaviour to try to justify it towards themselves for treating you like garbage. Don’t accept it. They could have done it so many ways, and this is by far the worst way of initiating a divorce.

  • Dear AMF,

    Let me ask you one question — If your husband had developed prostate cancer and become impotent after treatment, would you have had an affair? Or would you have supported him and stayed with him in sickness and in health?

    I’m pretty sure I know what your answer is. If he didn’t suck, he would have done the same for you.

    • Bingo Lyn. After years of forgiveness and financial losses he did in fact develop prostate cancer. He was impotent after treatment. I was there for him every step of the way. I went without sex for over a year and when he had his penile implant and could finally have sex he decided to seperate and moved in with his daughter for a month. Fast forward it failed and another year without sex. As soon as he was given the greenlight to have sex he cheated again. Three years without sex, being there for all the surgeries and he continued to cheat. He never touched me in three years. Did I divorce him. No.

      And I am the one who travels for my job. Did I seek out other men? No. I’ve never even considered it. I was willing to put up with his inability to perform due to significant shrinkage and bed wetting.

      In the end I divorced HIM not for a lack of sex, but for his lack of character.

  • I have endo as well. Treatment has helped tremendously. My ex demanded sex three times a week. I felt it was reasonable and complied. You know what….it still was not good enough. He still cheated with his howorker. Because she was 8 feet from him and available. Cake cake cake. He also like exhibitionism and fucking in the parking lot. Cake cake cake. Narcissistic asshat. Enough is never enough. It isn’t you….this is his issue.

  • Asswipe is about as stoic and closed up as it gets except for complaining, critizing, anger and being negative. He was the most positive opptomistic person i ever knew not no more. The older and more achey and painey he got the worse the mood. I went through menopause and then some female surgery over several years times. I felt anything but lovable and horny. Tried explaining this to him didnt want to hear it, begged for help and understanding, nope, wasnt listening. I tried explaining to him what i was going through and that a saturday night comment of hey you get in the shower so we can fuck for christ sakes wasnt cutting it for me. I spoke to my dr about my lack of desire and he explained all which i explained to asswipe including a free consult to daid dr for him to explain how how i was feeling. One free hour and i got fuck no i dont need a fucking lesson on how to fuck my fucking wife! His exact words. Tried to talk to him many times. Tried to ease his stress and make him happy. Nope he said it was like having a room mate and he was bored. I told him if you would have listened to me i was asking for your help. Never said a word just started being nasty and nastier. I finally started feeling myself again and my libido went sky high but too late several others in the wings and then left for other woman. No fuss, no muss. For him. No trying to fix it, no im sorry, no talking nothing and pointed out all my faults. Just walked away. I did see him alot cause his business is here. After about six months syarted being nicer and kinder and wanting sex. Really, moved in with the woman you were meant to be with and make me, now exwife one of the harum. Asshole. He got nothing i remained cool and calm as hes buying the house. He thinks we are still gonna be best friends and he can sneak and see me for dinner and sex. Other woman threw him out six months ago for the fourth time but shes hoovering him. I will get on my knees and kiss the ground at my new place as i escaped. Honey gurl it is not your fault!!!!

  • I know you are in pain. This might sound very superficial but truly it is not. You need to stop going into his place. You need to drop the kids off. If he is a good dad and they are safe with him then you can find your own new life. Right now you are so fixated on him and fixing your marriage that you’re missing the big picture. The big picture is that he has cheated on you and left you. Now he has the best of all possible worlds. He has you at his beck and call and yet because he is separated he can date and not have anybody make him a bad man. My suggestion is for you to drop the kids off and get the heck out of there. I have no idea where you live but if is in the US then every state has a tourism board. Get in touch with them and get out and see this big wonderful world you live in. Water falls, and hiking trails, and botanical gardens are there just waiting for you. Take an acting class. Take a dance class. Go find you and your own happiness because after suffering for seven long years of pain you need to just get the heck out of there and enjoy every minute of your free time.

    • No, don’t drop the kids with him. Make his nasty ass pick them up. You aren’t his chauffeur.

    • How can she drop the kids with him, if he travels 90% of the time and isn’t physically in town.

      • Weekends. Lots of weekends. He is their father but he gets her to come over and help care for them and get his sexual fix while she stays heart broken. Why is he not 100% involved with them when he is at home. She needs to stop hoping. This will just keep breaking her heart.

  • This is all too familiar.
    I was the primary bread winner for years and cake baker at home.
    I felt so magical and empowered until my chronic health issues resulted in surgery after surgery until I had to go on disability.
    Health issues were endo which resulted in a hysterectomy finally, hidradenitis which needed dozens of surgeries, thyroid issies, and then eczema so bad I needed photochemotherapy on my hands.
    My x did state his displeasure but only chose to lump the blame on me. I added therapy to the already over loaded medical schedule to fix my depression and anxiety.
    X heaped greater and greater demands on me his crumbling wife. He seemed to get a thrill out of moving the goalposts constantly and nothing was good enough. We were down to sex once or twice a week and I was in agony, he resented the imposition of surgery on his wife appliance.
    By the time I was half dead from all of this, he had emptied every account with my money and secured a non English speaking foreign replacement to fuck in the apartment attached to my bedroom wall.
    In my experience, the only winning is to secure your money, make steps towards divorce, and get rid of him and get healthy.
    I gave up my agency and lost everything. I am still struggling recover financially from the damage done by holding on until he decided he was done with me. It has been three years of hell. Please do not allow this to happen to you.

    • Hey, Echo. I haven’t been in the forums in months. I was thinking about you the other day. Good to hear from you. Doesn’t sound like it’s all peaches and cream over there, but at least you’re not with a cheater!

      • Hi Ian! Yes, not with a cheater… best thing in the world. My health issues as of late have made it hard for me to be coherent for awhile, but I am on the mend again and I did not have to worry about being abandoned, robbed, or cheated on…

    • Echo

      “I gave up my agency and lost everything. I am still struggling recover financially from the damage done by holding on until he decided he was done with me. It has been three years of hell. Please do not allow this to happen to you.”

      “The damage done by holding on until he decided he was done with me,” is such a powerful insight into the extreme levels of pain the disordered sadistically pursue when we are most vulnerable. Listen to THIS AMF.

      The fault lies on the disordered. We, as kind loving givers have NEEDS. Our needs are ignored. We have hope and love. We hang on. And when they are done with us their actions are inhumane because they are evil and twisted. Don’t hold in to that AMF. Save yourself.

          • NfV miss you as well!
            I sent my contact info to your e-mail.
            Hopefully you can get together with us in September.

        • Thank you DoingMe.
          The level of optimism I held for the x wasband was insane. My take now is that shit is over rated!
          I think he did everything in his power to destroy and literally kill me. I kept thinking he was making a mistake or had a brain tumor or something.
          I bet my life on him and almost lost it. I was so wrong.

  • Having a Medical Condition IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!!!! Being a cheating turd IS your husband’s fault.

    That said, he has been banging this whore, or a different one, it doesn’t really matter, they are interchangeable, all along. He liked the no sex thing with you. Sorry to be so blunt, you are the housekeeper and child care provider. Unpaid.

    Please dump this cheating whore monger. Get the financial support you deserve. Find a real man, or not, and tell this guy to Fuck Off with his whore.

  • It is most certainly not your fault that he is an asshole. Moreover, if he moved out to “think” … I suggest you let him. Going over to watch movies with him when he has the kids? That just means you are continuing to do all the parenting for him. Sex when he feels like it? HELL NO!!! You do not need this guy and his lies and self absorption. You need a real man who cares about you just as much when you are hurting and in pain as he does when you are spry and capable of gymnastic moves that would make a sailor blush. You already have children … you don’t need one more child to worry about. Get busy lining up your ducks. Get a lawyer, a job, and whatever else you need. You’ve been a single parent for a long time … you can absolutely do this and you open up the possibility of a true loving relationship when you dump this POS. Him dump you? Ha. Serve it right back to him. Stand tall and know your worth, sweetie.

  • Ah yes, the ever-moving goal post. Designed to keep you constantly off-balance while you drive yourself crazy trying to keep the unhappy spouse from making poor decisions. If I keep the house clean enough, the kids well-behaved, the dinner on the table, the in-laws happy, then maybe he won’t have any reason to do X, Y or Z. Except we all know that’s bullshit. I worked full-time, took care of the house and our child and attended to his sexual needs (when he allowed me to) while he went to law school but it still wasn’t enough. I was still deficient in my abilities to make him happy. As he coldly told me after one D-Day, I failed to fill the void in his heart, hence the opportunity for some OW to slide in and fill that emptiness.

    See how that works? It wasn’t his fault he snuck around and had sex in another woman’s car in some parking garage like I didn’t even exist, it was mine for not adequately attending to his needs. Thing is, he forgot that there’s two in a relationship. So while he was off trying to “fill his void” I was left emotionally to deal with things on my own. His absence during his void-filling left me with an emptiness as well, but I dealt with that loneliness without reaching out to some strange dick. That comparison has never resounded with him. But I guess that just goes back to his lack of empathy.

    It NEVER is enough. Trust me, I did enough of the self-blame game after we separated. I did a lot of thinking about our marriage, particularly about what he said during our MC just before he left. Things that he said he wanted from me but didn’t believe I was capable of doing or changing. I realized that some of the things he was asking of me really weren’t that unreasonable. So I worked on myself. In truth, it was initially an effort to save our marriage, but they were good changes that I am now benefitting from today. But as I made these changes, even as he acknowledged them, I saw that they still weren’t enough. That it was never going to be enough. Because it wasn’t me he was unhappy with. Not really. He was unhappy with himself. Always has been. After a long time apart, I began to see so much self-hate in him. How his continued actions today are really just ways of punishing himself. These women are not prizes. What he is filling this void with are the types of women I now refer to as “filler.” When I stopped doing the pick-me dance, my independence day of sorts, was when I decided that I was no longer going to lower myself by competing with filler.

    If these cheaters feel that we’re not worth more than filler, well that’s really all we need to know to move on and get a better life. It’s painful and crushing and it really sucks to lose someone you loved so deeply and gave so much to but what sucks even more is holding onto a person who has never expressed any real fear of losing you. That’s what I think about every time I question my decision to move forward with my divorce. If he had loved me at all, had been capable of real love, he would have never allowed that filler to come between us for fear of losing what he had. Believe me, that realization was just as crushing as all the D-days combined, but as painful as it was it also awarded me great clarity.

    It’s not your fault AMF, just like it wasn’t my fault. Only you can decide whether you want to continue on this way, accepting his failures as a partner or moving forward toward a life that feels more genuine, happy and balanced. Either way, we’re here for you and we understand.

    • And, with these NPD types, you will never, ever get any acknowledgement of their abuse. If you do, know that they want something and their remorse is fake.

  • AMF – You need a new name… how about “NeverWasNeverWillBe”?

    You didn’t cause him to cheat any more than he caused your endometriosis. Both are mutually exclusive.

    Stop looking for rational explanations for his irrational behavior. CL rattled off FOUR GREAT CHOICES that your husband had… FOUR… and you’ll see many more here today.

    Cheating was your husband’s choice. You don’t need to own that.

    Go interview some good divorce attorneys – actually interview the BEST ONES even if you can’t afford them… once they have met with you, they can’t be hired by him even if you don’t hire them (in some states!).

    Start taking care of you and become the sane parent your children need – believe me, as teens, they’ll smell his infidelity miles away and wonder why you stay(ed).

    Rock on Chump Nation.

    • I think she should keep AMF – – but it should now stand for “Adios, m****r f****r”.

    • AMF, “as teens, they’ll smell his infidelity miles away and wonder why you stay(ed).” And they will wonder why on earth you have put yourself in the position of being the once in a while girlfriend, a demotion from being the wife. Don’t give away your very self to this thing, you will not win him back with sex, sex for these disordered freaks is just control, it doesn’t mean connection to them it means they can get you to debase yourself for their amusement and leave you wondering why it feels so awful after he is done with you and you go home alone with your kids to a broken family life, while he is “thinking”.

  • AMF, it isn’t your fault, it never was your fault, you weren’t neglecting him and his needs, he was neglecting yours – your need for a partner, a second parent for your children and someone to support you when you were sick.

    Take care of yourself.

    • I know! This guy was gone 90% of the time and for 8 years! I don’t know, but if you’re gone 90% of the time, this isn’t a marriage. It’s not much of a relationship at all. You’re not there for your wife, your children, you’re missing important milestones. What kind of family man is this asshole, if he’s not physically present. He could have looked and found another job in almost a decade, so he could actually be present for his wife and children. Being there 1/10th of the time is not really being married or being a good husband.

  • Oh AMF, please stop berating yourself. Your husband cheated on you and is showing no remorse whatsoever. And you’re willing to give him sex now and he still doesn’t want to come home and be with you. He feels pressured. Doesn’t that speak volumes?

    And I’m sorry, but you said he traveled all the time and wasn’t around much. And even when he was, you made things easy for him. No wonder you got endometriosis, you were raising this family all on your own and it took a toll on your body. You did state you were alone 90% of the time. What kind of marriage is that where the spouse is gone almost all the time. Being 90% absent is HUGE. I never understood why people get married and have kids, when they are not spending any time with their spouse or family. I think you’re very co-dependent and you could benefit from therapy. Just my humble opinion. And your husband was gone 90% of your marriage, and neglected you, yet you didn’t cheat on him and still want to make it work. But this guy isn’t very invested in you or his family.

  • Don’t you just love how cheaters love to talk about their needs, but haven’t the faintest idea that others might have a need or two as well?

    When it comes to needs, the focus is always on theirs so that they can take, take, take and never have to give back. I truly believe that these assholes resent other people’s needs because time spent giving to someone else means time lost getting more and more for themselves.

    Let the ho-worker have him.

    • Lastinline, I totally agree! “Let the ho-worker have him.” He will do to her what he has done to you.

  • AMF

    Listen to Chump Nation. This guy is a grade-A, card carrying, flaming NarkHole.

    He has convinced you that a disease he possibily gave you is your fault-PUH-lease!

    I had POF (premature ovarian failure) and then early menopause, and, yep, my waning libido and pain were no reson in his eyes to not remain a Jerry Hall style sexpot.

    If you feel tortured, it is because he is torturing you. Step off the rack, hon. Shut that bakery down.

    • Having sex does not guarantee their fidelity, either. My then-H continued to have very frequent sex with me during his affair with gradwhore (because I knew I’d suspect him otherwise). Bleach bath, anyone?

      Cheating is about conquest and deception, and both conquest & deception (and making the chump do the pick-me dance) is about POWER. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • I understand how you can be so focused on you neglecting him as a reason for his betrayal and abandonment as I think all Chumps have swam in this pool as part of the loss process. But not to step outside of that and see it from all angles is dangerous to your well being and healing.

    Flip it around for a moment. What if he had a period of ED for unknown reasons but you believed him when he said he had pain and did not feel well. You see him suffer with this ED and pain and I know for sure you would nurture him both physical and emotionally. YOU would be his advocate, YOU would be his support and YOU would call doctors and march to the ends of the earth to rescue him from this pain. You would coddle him, you would hug and kiss him and be intimate with him in so many ways as you marched by his side to fix his issue and if it could not be fixed YOU somehow would accept it as it and even love him more deeply and forever.

    What did he do for you?

  • Dear Chump Nation,

    Since this is my letter that’s been published and answered here, I wanted to reply.

    First, thanks for all the supportive stuff. I really was doing the best I could do as a wife. For years, I did what I thought I was supposed to do without complaint. The things I didn’t have – someone to watch bad TV with after the kids went to bed, someone to be my partner, someone to help with the kids were sick, etc – I just felt like you know what, that’s not what I have so there’s no use in pouting about it, just get back to work.

    STBX didn’t start traveling until a few years into our marriage, and it didn’t start out at 90%, probably 50%. I had no idea it was going to grow like that. I asked him several times in the past few years to please consider changing jobs – get one locally, we can downsize and regroup, that having him around would be better than any paycheck. But he LOVES what he does – it’s a very public-facing job and he gets a lot of personal satisfaction from sort of being a rock star in his field.

    Several of you have suggested therapy – I am in therapy. My therapist is really annoyed with me for continuing to entertain him, and wants me to essentially go no contact aside from child-related issues. And between her and Chump Lady and all you fine people, I do know that’s what I need to do. I just feel like on some level that’s me giving up hope. And I do know that what I need to do is really give up hope – he’s never going to be the person I need him to be.

    I have an attorney, we are in the process of hammering out the separation agreement. We’ve finished the custody bit which allows him every other weekend, which means he has already seen his kids more in the past couple of months than he saw them in the past 2 years. I should probably be glad about that, as I know they need a father figure, but instead I feel very resentful that *I* have killed myself for years to be their everything and now he gets to waltz in and be their dad.

    I have gone to grad school for a quick certificate program in order to work in the school system – I should be employable next fall, fingers crossed.

    I am exercising, joined a church, am starting a DivorceCare class in a week or so. I have reached out to friends, try not to sit alone and cry too much. On weekends when he has the kids I make plans to see people or get out of town. I feel like I am trying to do all of the right things and just wish that would result in feeling better. I honestly don’t feel any better than I did when he left, and I feel like I should. My friends all say, “you are doing such a good job – you are handling this very well” and really I just feel like a giant mess who bursts into tears at the supermarket.

    I have worked really hard on realizing that my husband’s choice to sleep with his coworker had little to do with that particular coworker. I had to fight a lot of urges to hop a flight and give her an earful. That has subsided for the most part.

    I am still physically feeling well. That is such a relief. I wish I could get all of the doctors who mis-diagnosed me into a room and slap them all. And the ones who said it was all in my head, I would like to knee them in the groin. 😉

    Anyway, I hope that answers some of the questions/concerns I’ve seen posed. I appreciate all of the comments – I have read them all multiple times and am trying to really take them to heart. I know on some visceral level that you are right – this was his decision to cheat, and I could have been having sex with him on the reg and he would still have made that decision. I am going to try to work on not feeling guilty.

    Thanks bunches

    • You are a rockstar. The one thing you didn’t mention is being kind to yourself. That is so important. Please start trying to forgive yourself for any “mistakes” or “failures.”
      It will get better. No contact would help you a lot.

      • Dear AMF,
        I know exactly how you’re feeling. It seems like you’re doing all the “right” things, but are completely broken on the inside. I’ve been there. The best advice I can give you? You have my permission to cry in the produce section. Go ahead, let it out. This is a GOOD thing, you’re grieving not only the loss of him, but the loss of the family unit and your identity. It’s a very sad, tragic thing. So cry it out. And if anyone tells you to “just get over it”, screw them. I did the same thing, I was completely DEVASTATED. I cried the entire week of Christmas when me kids went to stay with the ex, the whore and crazy MIL just a few weeks after the separation. But I can PROMISE you this, once your brain has had time process this unfathomable torture and pain you’re feeling now, you begin to change. I KNOW right now it seems so unattainable to stop hurting..I KNOW. Good gracious, do I know. One of my favorite quotes during this horrible time was, “What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly”. You will get through this. I know you’re probably reading this wondering how this could ever be possible, but you WILL. There will come a day when you look at him and feel NOTHING. He will look like an insect to you. A devil. The biggest part to comprehend is that the person you loved never actually existed. You made him all up in your head. He was never real. But you? YOU are REAL. You have feelings, care about others and are a quality person. You know why he’s so horrible to you? Because he knows how awesome you are and wants to keep you down to his level so you can’t discover your superior awesomeness. THAT is what would kill him. You loving yourself and living well. I know this new fucked up reality you’re living in seems like an episode of the twilight zone. I get it. Now it’s time for Chapter 2…and the pages are empty for you to write your beautiful new life on. So the fairytale didn’t pan out like it was supposed to…eh, so what. Dust yourself off and show those beautiful babies what a kick ass Mama they have. You will get through this…and someday you will be writing a post like this for another sweet chump with a good heart that can’t see her own quality. Remember what you’re worth.

        • Chump-struggle – ‘“What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly”.

          This is one of the best posts I’ve read describing the reality of the first days of d-day.
          I did that in the super-market, vegetable section while I was just standing there staring…people hugged me.
          It’s a part of my life that I don’t want to forget but it was so painful, I’ve put it in the back of my head.
          You are right CS – you don’t realize it yet, but you are on a path with a brand new sheet of paper and you will be mightier after surviving this unbearable pain and come out wiser. The people in the grocery store told me it would happen too! We at C/N are here to help anytime.

          Again, great post The Chump struggle is real.

      • And one more thing, please let go of the guilt you are feeling. You could not help that you were ill. I’ll say it again, it’s not your fault that you were sick. This was not the catalyst for the demise of your marriage.
        People get sick during marriages. Illness does not equate to the permissing of infidelity. Never, not no way, not no how. Let’s get the story straight once and for all; he didn’t care enough to be there for YOU when you were ill. He did that. Him. He. He. He…I’m going to pray for clarity for you tonight. I’ll pray that God helps you see the truth. I hope you can find the strength to take your power back and remember who you are. You deserve a man who would go to the ends of the earth for you. Don’t settle for anything less.

    • Aww.. you are doing good on the outside, the inside stuff takes a long time. It is a process, even the hanging onto hope is part of the process. You will move through all the process like it or not. Some longer than others or better or worse than others, but it is THE process all the same. You were not ready to stop loving him and that is the stage you are in now.. Your heart is no where near ready to let go it has to be pulled up by logic and that is NOT at all easy and takes time. Be patient with yourself just stay self aware in that you know what is happening within yourself especially when you feel there are 7 of yourself inside battling the other to exhaustion. I actually did better the first year, worse the second. Now going into my third year and the see saw is finally starting to stabilized just a tad. But a tad more than the past. I will take a tad.

    • AllMyFault, my heart goes out to you. I had endometriosis and thyroid cancer when my kids were young. My ex didn’t have any comprehension of what it was like to struggle with those illnesses, he’d never been seriously ill. I found out later that one of the things he liked about his married coworker was that “she was healthy.” Well, I’m a lot healthier now that I’m able to take care of myself. Heck, I can love and take care of myself better than he ever did! You will find that you’ll feel better when you are able to give yourself the love you deserve. You are doing well, just realize that you can’t “give him enough” to make him a compassionate, supportive partner. He isn’t wired that way. Letting go of hope is the hardest part.

    • Please do give up hope on this jackass. Hope (or as we call it “hopium” keeps you paralyzed and does not allow you to see things as they are. Hope is about the future. Your hope is in taking the reins of your life in your own hands and stop waiting for this jackass to change. He won’t.)

    • First, you are doing AWESOME!! And second, your husband is a dick. He was married to you and he deliberately increased his travel time from 50% to 90% of the time. I mean, who increases their time away from their family when they have a wife and very young children. Your Ex is a flaming Narcissist, and I wonder if he wanted to be married or have kids. He sure didn’t act like it. Your endometriosis was your body’s way of telling you that it was exhausted and couldn’t handle all the stress and anxiety, this jackass left you with. I’m so glad you are taking steps to ditch this asshole. If you are afraid of being alone, you were already alone and abandoned throughout your whole marriage. And you should change your screen name from All my Fault, to All HIS Fault, lol. And you asked him to cut down his travel time and he still didn’t. A loving husband would have, for the sake of his family and his wife. And I totally agree that you could have given him regular sex and he still would have cheated. He wasn’t a stellar husband to begin with.

    • AMF and anyone in Pain-

      You said I am doing all the right things and you don’t feel better. I am right there with you.

      But know this: It will NEVER get better until you go NO CONTACT or its cousin grey rock (your children).

      That is why I talked about you getting a gas mask. You will never feel better until you stop breathing in his poison. You have to stop having any contact with him. Get that software Family Wizard and it can handle all the scheduling. There is nothing more to discuss.

      It is impossible for you to feel better when you are still communicating with him. It is a 110% certainty. I am no contact. And while I am soul sick…it is no longer incapacitating.

      But, more importantly…..I am seeing the TRUTH of who my X was. How it was always all about him. And the absolute shit of his character.

      These narcissistic monsters are clever. They know what to say to you to spin you up, keep you hooked, doubt common sense. Gas lighting means to make someone think they are crazy. It works.

      *Until you go no contact, you can’t see the truth. And until you see the truth, you cannot wrap your head around the fact that this person does not love you. And until you see that he did not love you- you cannot let go.*

    • AMF, as so many have said, your husband’s cheating was NOT YOUR FAULT! Marriage to a narcissist can be a nightmare, and divorcing a narcissist can be a nightmare. At least it was for me. But You more than upheld your end of the deal. You provided a perfect home base for your cheater to return to from his arduous and rewarding travels. You raised the children. You carried more than your weight in the family. He did not decide to cheat because you were ill. He decided to use your health issues as an excuse because he figured that would get him off the hook for being uncaring in general AND for being a deceitful horndog, at the same time. Win-win!

      Several years after divorcing my Fucktard ex, I developed cancer. I’ve recovered, and am doing fine. But I knew in my heart that if I hadn’t found my way clear of that piece of human waste beforehand, the result might have been quite different. I would have been expected to place his priorities over my own (as usual). I would have had no assistance, no sympathy, no compassion. No one to comfort me after surgery or during months of treatment. I knew, without doubt, that unless my death looked certain and soon, that scumbag would dump me without ceremony and make me fight him over finances while fighting for my life.

      As for the traveling thing, how is it that your husband can now make his way home now to see your children to a degree he could not manage before? Maybe the demands of the job depend more on his priorities than he implied.

      Good luck to you!

      • Survivor, THIS! I did get cancer then MRSA. I had my left lower lung taken out and then had to opened up to remove the infection that was killing me! My then husband? Where was he? With Schmoopie! Pushing me to get the divorce that I filed for done! He and Schmoopie trying to push me to give up everything while I was flat on my back in a hospital! My lawyer finally had to get a judge to tell him to back off till I was well and healed. And guess what? I was in my surgeons office getting my final followup and my lawyer calls to inform me that my husband wants to know if I’m well and will I mediate!! Really?? These Narcs don’t give a crap about you or your health! But let those assholes get a hang nail and it’s the end of the world. Mine got it back in aces though. Not four months after our divorce was final he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My lung cancer was downplayed to him by Schmoopie as if it were akin to a bad cold, but when Romeo got sick she freaked out and was calling my adult kids. They told her and Dear Daddy, “sorry, we can’t help you!” That’s exactly what he told my kids when they asked him to at least help me through my surgeries! You reap what you sow!

        • So sorry, Roberta. Cancer sucks, and MRSA is horrific. You have walked through the fires of hell to find freedom, my friend. There should be a badge for that. And surviving a three-way battle makes you an All Star.

          No, Narcs don’t give a hairy rat’s ass about anyone else who is sick. “Pneumonia, no big deal. Don’t you know I’m hungry? Don’t you know I’ve been working all day? When did you think you were going to get up to get dinner on? And we don’t have any goddamn sour cream. And my dry cleaning was ready today. I don’t suppose you thought to pick that up either. What a lazy ass you are.”

          That was back in the good old days when I was working 65 hour weeks and had full responsibility for the house and yard and whatever else was delegated to make his life easier. I can’t even but shudder at the thought of how I’d be treated later on when my hair dropped and I couldn’t be berated into cheerful activity. My Fucktard ex got his reward when he became terminally ill and had to live in a series of institutions for something like six years because no one would step up to the plate to care for him. By then my replacement was long gone and he was once again asking for me, but I was nowhere to be found (by him).

          • Unfortunately for my Ex this is where he finds himself now! ALONE and sick! Schmoopie is long gone except for the occasional letter demanding he pay her back for all the support and money she put out on him. Even that has faded. I’m sure Miss Facebook sexpot is out ruining someone else’s life right now. He lost so much more than he ever gained in his affair. His wife, kids, grandkids, assets, respect, his job! He has nothing! Only misery. I would have been there for him no matter what had he NOT cheated and been such a horrific monster! I was just short of 60 years old when we divorced and almost 41 years of marriage. He was career military and I drug four kids all over the place for his 25 year career. You know what he wanted me to do after the divorce? Accept five years of alimony and get a job! How was I supposed to do that with an out of date Associate degree in IT and in a town we ended up in that is barely on the map! Really? He showed me no mercy at all! I did get just about everything else though. He knew he was screwed in mediation and if I wasn’t going to get alimony then I certainly was going to get the lions share of assets! I am certain I earned it!
            He is a sorry shell of the cock sure cheater and person he used to be. He lives daily with the knowledge that this is what he has done to himself. And of course his partner in crime. Schmoopie, helped him all the way to the gates of living Hell! Sucks to be him I am sure! And this homewrecker he screwed and swore he “loved” and she “loved” him is long gone! Sad!

        • “These Narcs don’t give a crap about you or your health! But let those assholes get a hang nail and it’s the end of the world.”
          ^^^ This. A million time THIS!

    • I think it is natural to internalize things as being your fault. I can empathize. I felt like you at DD#1 (OW was a successful skinny well traveled lawyer) — this wouldn’t have happened if I was thinner, more successful, more social, more ______… you get the picture. After DD#1 my EX said he would get counseling and I buried my feelings and kept going…numb. Obviously, this was not healthy to me. Fast forward, EX becomes more entitled, more lies, more gaslighting until DD#2 when I pulled the plug.

      It is really hard to acknowledge the awful truth: you have your spouse’s “back”, but your spouse does not have your “back” — ever. You will never know when the rules of the game changed.

      Two things that helped me:
      1. Constantly ask your self: “Is this healthy for me? Is this good for me?”
      2. Repeat after me: “There is NOTHING wrong with me!”

      It takes time to heal and feel better. You will be a bit shaky at first. That is OK.

      I can tell you I have grown by leaps and bounds — and my EX still hasn’t gone for counseling. It might be 15 years since he promised after DD#1!

    • AMF–you are mighty now. One step at a time; and don’t worry about being resentful STBX is going to have more weekends with the kids than he had while you were married–it won’t last long. Parenting is all about the kids; narcs don’t do “all about [someone else]” for very long.

    • Letting go is the hardest thing, not of the person so much as the dream of what the person should have been, the life you thought you were going to live, the future you had mapped out in your head. I know. Time and distractions seem to be the thing that works best to cure ourselves of that , for some people it is more, some less. I don’t thing one is necessarily stronger than the other, we are all just wired differently.

      Hugs to you and yours, I hope it all works out for you.

    • AMF I think you are amazing! You are doing everything right — keep trying to get divorced and keeping NC and building your new life. I read here it will take 2-5 years for our hearts to match our heads. I’m giving myself the time and acting “as if” in the meantime. My DDay 1 was 12/26/14, he left in May 2015 and I had sex with him once after he left (July ’15 as a whorish “pick me” dance move– I felt like I betrayed myself and vowed never again!). It took what it took.

      AMF— you ARE mighty!!!!!

    • You aren’t giving up hope. You are letting go of the bad thing holding you down so you can have hope. It’s so painful, but once you come through you will start to see how better your life can be. Please keep posting.

  • Just something to ponder…if your husband had ED, would you then feel neglected and entitled to cheat? I’m going to assume the answer is, “OF COURSE NOT!”

    There are people who are good, and kind, and honest, and take their commitments seriously. And then there are cheaters. He won’t change, it won’t be enough, KNOW YOUR WORTH! xo

  • If there was anyone in this relationship who was being neglected, AMF, it was YOU not your cheating husband.

    He left you alone to assume 100% of the child-rearing and household responsibilities, making no effort to amend his travel schedule or work arrangement while you suffered from chronic pain. And even when he was home, he wasn’t helping you out or relieving your burdens… no, he allowed you to wait on him like a slave!

    Did your husband do any kind of research on his own about what could be causing your condition? Did he make an effort to look up different doctors, compile questions and accompany you on your doctor’s appointments? My guess is that you were pretty much on your own and that he used work as an excuse.

    Advice: Stop having sex with him. Apart from the legal issues that CL mentioned, sex with your (hopefully) soon-to-be-ex will cloud your judgement and impede your ability to emotionally detach.

    Also, stop hanging out with him and the kids to watch movies or any other activities. He probably invites you over because he can’t be bothered to care for the children on his own when he has them. If he doesn’t want to be married anymore, then he needs to assume 100% of the parenting of his kids when they’re with him. Your current arrangement confuses the children and makes their transition to separate households really difficult.

    The only time you should be socializing together as a family should be at your children’s milestone events, like graduations or weddings.

    • Me too on this. AMF–look up “No Contact.” You won’t get your mind straight about the “cause” of your marriage falling apart until you stop listening to what he says and anticipating what he wants.

    • And keep in mind, too, that when you hang out with your husband while the kids are around, it just gives them false hope that you will reconcile. It also models the idea that such a deep betrayal is OK and that no consequences are warranted, both being very damaging messages for children to receive (not judging or trying to guilt trip you, just hoping you can avoid some of the mistakes that I and other chumps here have made).

      I hope you can read everything CL has written here, as well as her book, if you haven’t already. The more you can read about the patterns associated with being married to a serial cheating narcissist the sooner your heart will begin to catch up with your head, which unfortunately does take a while sometimes. The forums here are also a great source of support, especially when you are in the acute stages of hopium withdrawal.

  • This sounds like my relationship. Even if he didn’t give you a disease, I truly feel it’s possible to be ill in a toxic environment even when you’re unaware that anything is wrong. I never get sick, but halfway through our relationship I felt the same pain during sex as you did, and then started getting really deconditioned, wrecking my leg at one point. My pets suffered skin ulcers and hair loss. My partner didn’t care about us, didn’t notice, and when I pointed it out, it was another strike against us; he was having an affair, and even though his affair may have been new to him, he had been “weird” for about half our relationship.

    He is gone now to her, the air has cleared literally … I didn’t realize the smells some people come with … and figuratively of toxic energy, and I haven’t been sick since (not physically, but still going through the grief process), and my pets’ skin has cleared up and their hair has grown back through no intervention on my part (except the usual loving).

    Please don’t make yourself more ill by sticking with this asshole … he is not a kind person. I think people go back to their first “loves” because they are immature, trying to recapture their youth, trying for a do-over with someone who have a ready-made life they can plunk themselves into. The affair partners who take them on are looking for fun, meal tickets, some relief after having to live their own “boring life” … they are made for each other, really, like two high school kids. Meanwhile, you’re all grown up, acting like an adult, and expecting the same from your husband. Don’t let him turn you into a crying adolescent who thinks she needs him … that’s their game they’re playing with each other … twu wuv. Take the high road and dump the jerk.

    By taking the blame, showing you love him, and still caring about the situation, you are the better person, so how can it possibly be your fault when you are showing compassion in the face of adversity, and yet he is showing you nothing but contempt? It is not your fault.

    • Dr. Christiane Northrup writes about this phenomena of our bodies “knowing” when we are in toxic situations in her book, “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.” There are many stories of people who had physical symptoms that cleared up once they learned the cheating spouse was cheating. I’m a big believer in bodily wisdom and instinct; our bodies know what we prefer to deny.

      • Alice Miller was the first proponent of the body knowing the truth. She wrote many books about this. One of them is called: “The Body Never Lies”. I devoured all of her books. She is and always will be my HERO!

          • OMG – I’ve been wanting to hear more about this phenomena because the physical issues I had, and there were many serious ones during the divorce, I KNOW were caused by emotions. I’m so glad you enlightened me that this is an actual phenomena.

      • I used to have to go to the chiropractor every two months like clockwork there at the last few 7 years, after 1st d-day occurred, now after 3 years after d-day 2 and final discard from x, his abandonment and me moving out of our home, I have gone to the chiro once, once in three years. The body knows, listen to it, please.

  • “I honestly don’t feel any better than I did when he left, and I feel like I should. ”

    Good news, you WILL feel better. Bad news, it’s going to take a while. But reading that last post of yours shows that you are mighty, and as was said in an early CL post: “You’re walls will sing again!”

  • Neglected? Such BS! Character!!!! I would also say, I was neglected. Once the children arrived, everything changed. I became the odd man out. Kids were her one and only focus. Sex was once every month to 3-4 months. My opinions did not count. And when she hit 40, it got worse. She traveled for work…. I worked and raised two kids. All they had to do was call mom and she would take their side…. usually while sitting on a bar stool. Did I cheat? NOPE!!!! Did she? YEP!!! It all comes down to character….. and morals. Oh did I mention she spent me to death on herself and kids? I have seen same scenario used by cheaters as the reason he cheated. Just a line of shit.

  • I don’t usually comment because it’s not appropriate because I’m not a chump, but I read CL because it’s inspiring to see people set boundaries (so hard for me) and to pick themselves up when life puts them down.

    But I have to just say YOUR HUSBAND IS AN ASSHOLE even if he had never cheated on you.

    I too have pelvic pain issues and during flare ups sex is painful. Sometimes we have to go many months before it gets better, and during these times we know there’s a possibility that it won’t.

    My husband is so loving and in a way it strengthened the marraige because he’s told me so many times he’s in for the long haul “no matter what” and when you can’t preform I know your self esteem as a wife goes down and it’s an awful, desperate, unfeminine feeling.

    A few times I’ve tried to “play through the pain” and he could see what I was doing and told me to cut that shit out and never do it again, hurting me during sex kills him and is not an option. During flare ups when we can’t have sex we are physically intimate in other ways. It SUCKS not to be fully physically intimate but we make it work.

    YOU DESERVE THIS. I don’t know what mind games he’s done on you that don’t feel you deserve to be taken care of, you do. You say you’re going to therapy, keep going. It’s going to get better. If he couldn’t be there for you when you were hurting he doesn’t deserve you now that you’re healty.

  • AMF, wife locked up for car accident for 6 years. No cheating = no sex. I am pretty unique thou.

    What can I say about your STBX? He is bullshitting you.

    You are not loved one. Protect yourself.

  • Chump Lady, your answer today is absolutely perfect. You cover every single angle. There’s really not enough praise for you CL. And Friday’s post with its wide ranging discussion, shared pains, and inside jokes was a gift that kept giving all (long-ass) weekend. So thanks, CN. Y’all are mighty.

    AMF, none of his behavior is your fault. None. Welcome to the club nobody wants to join. You made it! You’re here! You got chumped! It sucks.

    I’m not sure how long you’ve been lurking, but you’ve stumbled onto a resource that extends far past the words on your screen. Chump Nation (CN) is a real and vibrant group of chumps worldwide. Your letter indicates you’ve started to see some of the common themes, but it takes awhile for it to sink in.

    Chump Lady answered my letter back in January. At the time I could barely breathe much less think. And now, I’m better. Not healed, but alive and grateful. Stick around. Let it out. There’s a lot of love (and swearing) here.

  • This guy is a massively entitled, cake-eating jackass. AMF–you seriously say he wants you to come over to his place when he has the kids? Watch a movie and have sex? But he needs time to decide if he wants to be married? He felt pressure to save the marriage and HE IS THE CHEATER?

    Bullshit. His times to decide? When you got engaged. At the wedding ceremony. And certainly before you had kids.

    He wants you at his place because when he has the kids, he can’t have his lover/AP over for sex. He can’t go out and have fun. So he gets you to fill the role of “someone watching the kids” while he zones out during the movie and after you put the kids to bed–SEX! How great for him.

    You, on the other hand, are just a babysitter with benefits–and one that he doesn’t want to divorce so he can avoid formalities like alimony and child support.

    Get the best lawyer out there. Get the very best settlement you can–every dime. You will need the money for your kids because this is a guy who could care less about them or you. And while you are at it, do NOT fall for 50/50 custody or some scheme where he stops traveling and becomes a parent. No more than one overnight every two weeks, given his schedule. You can point out to the court that you have been a single parent essentially the whole time he has traveled.

    And of course it is not your fault. If you can’t wrap your head around that FACT, then get thee to an individual therapist who can help you sort it out. I was married for a long time to a man who had issues with sexual functioning from an illness. I loved him and would not in a million years have wounded him or shamed him or cheated on him based on a lack of some form of sexuality. If genital sex is all he wants, he can get that from a hooker. You are the mother of his children and he promised “in sickness and in health.” While we’re at it, fire the idiot OB/Gyn who couldn’t diagnose endometriosis. That should have been in the top 2 or 3 possible issues to explore, after cysts and cancer. You will probably always need a great OB/Gyn. And you need a great attorney and a great therapist. Stop blaming yourself and take a long look at the man you married. He has a black hole where his heart and conscience should be.

    • +2 through +100. Great post LAJ. AMF please start looking out for you, you are important, you are important, you matter and you and your kids matter. He is a piece of sh*t and he will not change, he will not get “better”, he is WHAT he is and he is only going to make you hurt so much more, and he will make your kids hurt so much more than this if you let him, don’t let him.Don’t let him hurt your kids anymore, don’t let him hurt you anymore. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS KIND OF TREATMENT.

  • AMF,

    Go down to the army/navy surplus store, because you need a gas mask. The level of gas lighting floating around you made me gasp for air for you.

    Guess what?

    I don’t think cheating has a hill of beans to do with sex. It is just the evidence that leaks out, like botulism, from the moldy, rotting carcass that is CHEATER.

    Maybe this will help you see it from 30,000 feet. Read CL’s mind blowing, perfect response. Now read all the super, insightful posts. Now- hold those in your mind and read this:

    I was OBSESSED with sex with my X. I wanted him every minute. You can see my photo. That was taken a few weeks ago. I am not a wildebeest. TMI alert: My X and I had the best sex you could imagine. From tender to kinky: making love with intense eye contact and saying I love you…Him kissing me all through the day, me constantly rubbing him, lots of touching, all night long sessions, ripping my pants off in the garage, blow jobs in the car, him going down on me in the living room, just lifting my skirt up out of the blue…get it?

    My X was heard saying to a male friend: “Hell, I get two blow jobs a day whether I want them or not.” The shittiness of this statement still leaves me gobsmacked. But, I am trying to show you that is was never about the sex.

    It is about entitlement. It is about hurting us. It is about doing what ever the fuck I want because I feel like it. They are Punishers. They are Game Players, when we did even know we were on the tennis court. Who knows what weird seeds that were planted or the genetics that makes these freaks get off on other’s pain? Life is just too short to unpack it. (See CL’s foundation articles Untangling the Skein of Fuckupness and the Pick Me Dance.)

    Substitute any pleasure making activity for the crazy making excuse your X gave you: gambling, online gaming, online shopping, hoarding, drinking. I will help you. My X wanted to do drugs in my home. I said no and would make him leave. THIS was his reason for cheating on me- KNOWING that once he did-
    we had crossed the Rubicon. No going back after cheating- not with me. He knew this. He did it anyway.

    He could not get his way, so by God…he was going to kick me in the teeth because of it. And AMF….it took me several months to realize I was mentally ill because….I felt somewhat guilty. I was deeply analyzing it…should I have let him do drugs in my home? I would ask people this. After running from me because they thought I was a lunatic, I was still left wondering, after breathing in so much gas…JUST LIKE YOU…was I wrong to tell someone that they did NOT have the right to do illegal drugs in my home and act like a lunatic?

    Do you see how bonkers that is? Do you see it is no different? You had a medical problem that made sex painful. So? We are buying into this myth that his sex drive made him into a slobbering werewolf, incapable of controlling his animal lust. Not buying it. There is this thing called masturbation. As CL said, there are blow jobs, and and hand jobs and all sorts of ways to get freaky with someone you love and you want to PROTECT THAT BOND. He shit all over that bond. Why? Because he is an asshole. Yes. It is that simple.

    Done4Good wrote: “but what sucks even more is holding onto a person who has never expressed any real fear of losing you.”
    You need to write that on a post it and put it on your forehead.

    Think of a cheater as an empty ghost…who can never be satisfied. They are constantly scanning the horizon, looking for ways to fill that hole in their soul that is like the sink pig (garbage disposal!) NOTHING FILLS THEM UP. They need this constant stimulation, and EGO STROKING…Kibbles. You have become the free kibble dispenser. Has he changed?

    If you had been a sex machine- he would have just found some other reasons to justify shitting all over you. Throw a dart and pick one. You don’t have time to sort out his disordered psychological profile.

    That is NOT where your fixation should be.

    People who say money does not matter have never tried to live without it. Unless you have a trust fund or very wealthy, generous parents- stop playing house with this Cheater and get deadly serious about money, AMF.

    So many smart people on this site advising you to lawyer up. You had *BETTER* believe them. Being an asshole does not stop in one area of their life, just like lying does not. He is not going to be Ghandi when it comes to paying up.

    What do all the great investigative reporters say? FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    Some tough love AMF- Stop fucking around at his apartment and get that level of obsession of how you are going to live. Cheaters are ruthless. If you called him and said, We are going to be evicted in 3 days..send money. He might tell you to fuck off. He might tell you that his OW (do not believe they are not contact) said he could not do it. He will say he does not have it. (New apartment and all).

    If you need some Western cultural back up…remember Christoper Reeve? Paralyzed from the neck down? I don’t remember his lovely wife leaving him and cheating. I remember her wiping slobber from his lips and staring at him with love. Michael J. Fox? Wife is a knock out…still with him. No gossip about her cheating.

    Wake up! Sex with this critter is not your problem. Survival is.

    You are catering to his needs while you are on a boat that is sinking and a hurricane is coming. You called May Day by writing CL. Start swimming like your life depends on -it does.

      • You always make me feel like I have a friend I have not met yet…but if I needed her…she would be there with a hug and a blanket, Kar Marie.
        When you escape your S &M sadist….celebrations are in extreme order.

        • And a pitcher of margaritas! I hope one day i can meet so many of you here. All of you actually. We will get through this together all of us.

    • “I don’t think cheating has a hill of beans to do with sex.” AMF, please take these words to heart because they are very true. It is about the entitlement, not the sex. My X cheated with other women all while he was on the down-low with other men–talk about an issue that he could have come clean about and have gotten himself a get-out-of-marriage-free card for, but no, he enjoyed the thrill of the deception and he felt entitled to the appearance of being straight, the adulation of other women, and the secretive sex with other men.

    • Sylvia!! I want to hug you!! Can we be best friends?! Amazing, truthful, and most importantly such a helpful post. You just broke down 6 months of therapy. ??

  • It’s funny how they all come to us about “their unmet needs”. Nowhere in the conversation is there ever a mention our OUR unmet needs. While they were trolling to get their needs met, who was meeting ours? I realize how neglected I was by the end of my marriage and even though we separated 5 years now, I am still picking up the pieces. It takes time to heal and rebuild not just your life, but YOU.

    All My Fault, like everyone else here, you learn that it’s Not your Fault. They cheating losers always have to find a way to sleep at night and so blaming you is easier than accepting responsibility. When I kicked my ex out, he sent me a text claiming “I made him like shit to everyone”. My response was “I didn’t make you like shit, I just didn’t keep the secret”. Its a good thing I wasn’t waiting for a true apology for his behavior because I heard he moved the OW in with him while telling me that ‘If I had humbled myself we could have made the marriage work”. He still clearly blames me for the marriage ending even though his had a 10 year affair. In time, you will realize that he is shit….and please stop having sex with him and get tested for STD’s . It’s unlikely that this was his first rodeo and you need to protect yourself. Much hugs.

    • “I just didn’t keep the secret” this is the main thing that cheaters need to keep their “image” going…

  • I too had endometriosis, so severe that a complete hysterectomy was my only option. The hysterectomy destroyed my libido for the following year but we still had sex, just not everyday more like once a week. Through that year, my XH was amazingly supportive…or so I believed. Unbeknownst to me, he had been cheating on me since the day we met. That’s why many of us here at CL want you to understand that his howorker was probably not the only affair.
    Like your husband, mine traveled too. He was at the home office about 10% of the time, 90% was working out of state and internationally. When I was preparing for the hysterectomy, he and I met with my doctor who said I would need someone to help me for a few weeks after my surgery. Of course, my ex assured the doctor he would be at the home office and wouldn’t travel for 6 weeks. Guess what? He got on a plane to Panama just 5 days after I had surgery, claiming the company was forcing him to go. Oddly, that assignment was 6 weeks..hmmmm. He admitted during our separation that he never informed his employer that I was having major surgery and he actually volunteered for the Panama assignment because his job was important to him. I eventually discovered he had a piece of ass there too.
    Fast forward a year later…I was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was devastated, not for myself but for my spouse. I had recently lost a close friend to cancer and I saw what it did to her husband. I sat my husband down and gave him an out. I explained that even though I wouldn’t be doing chemo, the life expectancy is approximately 10 years and he didn’t deserve this burden at this stage in life. He was 44, I was 41 at the time, we had only been married for 2 1/2 years and neither of us had children. I didn’t want to put him through it. He said he married me “in sickness and in health” and he would never consider the thought of doing otherwise. (He must have forgotten that whole “forsaking all others” part of our vows).
    Now, 5 years later, I’m alone. He divorced me. During the divorce process, he wanted my medical records from my oncologist because “If I wind up having to pay alimony, I want to know just how long I’m looking at.” He even said in depositions and interrogatories that he’s not sure what type of cancer I have and if I even have it. He would then contradict himself by saying that he would jump on a plane and rush home to by my side for every bone marrow biopsy, all the tests, attended my doctor appointments and how much he dedicated and sacrificed for his cancer stricken wife for the last 5 years. He even twisted shit by saying that I “threatened” him with divorce when I was diagnosed. All lies.
    My point is this…after seeing the similarities in our stories, understand that your husband is not dependable, trustworthy or compassionate. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY! His infidelity has nothing to do with your endometriosis or anything else related to you. His infidelity was a decision he made. Think about this…he obviously knew the potential risk of losing you and the thought of that didn’t phase him one bit. He was only concerned about what he wanted and the rewards outweighed the consequences. Therefore, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY! YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY! YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY!
    You have a tough road ahead of you but there is a better life waiting for you at the end. Even though I still feel hurt at times, I’m so fortunate to be away from all the betrayal, lies, illogical rage, mind games, the list could go on forever. I’m okay without him and you will be too.

    • srfrgrl, your letter makes me feel pretty murdery tbh

      I am so sorry you married a psychopath. If I can be a little more open than people might wanna read, your letter really takes me to a dark place in my thinking. I imagine if I had a fatal diagnosis what I might do. I have a chronic illness to the requires weekly injections, but that is a topic for another time. what I’m saying, and this is for AMF by extension, is getting chumped really turned my world inside out. Everything I thought I knew and held dear was up for grabs. So again, if I had a fatal diagnosis, I’d probably put a hit out on my cheater. Or kill her myself. Or kill her and her new man and then myself. Dark? I told you. No, I didn’t do any of that. But in the three to six month period of healing I had to drive those filthy violent rageful thoughts out of my mind.

      srfrgrl, you are not just a calculation in a divorce proceeding. But as you have learned and I have too (for what seems like the umpteenth time) is that there are truly bad people walking the earth. And worse, I seem to be a magnet for them.

      Sorry no cheerful coda. (See my previous comment if needed.) I’m just glad I didn’t murder anyone after Match Girl cheated on me.

      • Ian-
        Right on. If I knew I had a fatal diagnosis…my X would be in a world of literal hurt. I speak Russian, have family there….and have thoughts that involve men with tattoos on their knees. Leave it at that.
        I am not joking. Cheating on someone is life and death…primitive.
        I want to fuck him up. Full stop.

      • Oh trust me…I would’ve loved to have wrapped my own hands around his neck and watch as the last breath was being exhaled. Dark thoughts…our fantasy, their normal thought process.
        Funny thing is that this bastard had worn me thin by the time we went into mediation that I didn’t even fight back over his refusing to pay alimony and COBRA insurance coverage. I just walked the hell away. Stupid? Now…yes. Then…I had to get him out of my life.
        You were spot on…he is a true psychopath.

    • AMF “understand that your husband is not dependable, trustworthy or compassionate. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY! His infidelity has nothing to do with your endometriosis or anything else related to you. His infidelity was a decision he made. Think about this…he obviously knew the potential risk of losing you and the thought of that didn’t phase him one bit. He was only concerned about what he wanted and the rewards outweighed the consequences. Therefore, YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS INFIDELITY! ” by SFRGRL
      Just that AMF your husband IS NOT DEPENDABLE, don’t sweat that you could not have sex, “for better or for worse, in SICKNESS and in health”, these weren’t ever “suggestions” they were part of a SACRED vow that you both took. Have this thought live completely in your mind. You both vowed it, not just you.

  • AMF
    It takes a long time to break trauma bonds. I read your response. It sounds too calm. Compared with the level of cognitive dissonance you were rocking. Keep coming back here.
    You can think you have clawed your way out and a round house kick of the BETRAYAL leaves you reeling.
    Our hearts scramble back to the familiar…even when it is an abusive shit sandwich.
    Unless this happened years ago…be vigilent.

  • Geez! This made me sick to my stomach! He is a 100% fully grown dick head. I’m not even going to dignify his rationale for cheating on you because that’s a pile of crap! He is an asshole, he is even has the nerve to request sexual intimacy from you! Urghh

    This man sounds a lot like my ex. Even though things were awful between us he was still expecting me to provide sex, and he did everything he could to make me feel like the shitty relationship was actually my fault. Ha! I was lucky to have stumbled on this website and some other useful books to help me navigate the emotional mindfuck i was living in. What makes is worse is that when these fuckers realise that they are loosing the ability to control you, they will only get worse. I can tell you with a doubt that you are being abused. It’s not easy to receive but it’s true. Like chumplady said, get yourself a vicious lawyer! There is no reasoning with these crazy fucks, I can promise you that. Get the fuck out! He doesn’t deserve another second of you life. Not one! Your libido deserves better. Urgh he sucks!!

  • No, you didn’t “neglect” him. That would mean you *could* have had sex, but chose not to as a form of cruelty.

    You were in pain which prevented you from having sex. This is a whole different situation.

    He took a vow: in SICKNESS and in health. Guess what? He didn’t follow through. He’s an asshole. Pure and simple.

  • AMF and LAJ and all of you: Be prepared for a long post as this really resonated with me. In my mid to late 40s I was in perimenopause and having huge issues with bleeding. I had terrible cramping. I had to pee all the time. I went from doctor to doctor and was diagnosed (years later,with intersistal cystitis and pelvic floor dysfunction). My ex was mad because he said I was rejecting him sexually when I was in pain all the time. Sex hurt terribly and penetration would restart me on pain and having to pee syndrome so bad I had to cross my legs at night to sleep. Was he sympathetic? No, no, no. When I had to have a d & c, he yelled at me in the elevator of the doctors’ office and said that I wanted to be sick. When I underwent all that diagnostic testing he said I wanted to be sick. I started getting pains in my leg, my back, my mouth. I was full blown symptomatic in every possible way. I started having panic attacks and anxiety. It got so bad, that I went to a psychiatrist and a psychologist. I started anti-anxiety meds as I was diagnosed as having general anxiety. In 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer in my lung (a carcinoid, not a carcinoma). I had to have the upper right lobe of my lung removed. Again, the ex said that I “wanted to be sick” and additionally, that if I continued to be sick, he would “kick me to the curb.” Well, life is a bitch the way it turns around and bit him in the ass. In counseling, I got better. In fact, today I am divorced two months and more than a year past the last d-day, I feel fine. The psychiatrist (I went back on low dose anti anxiety meds following this fourth and last d-day), who strongly thinks that my ex is bpd, narcissist and sociopath (his words) says that I am nothing like that mouse of a person who walked into his office fifteen years ago. He says that he now believes that the physical pain and symptoms I was having were because I was so unhappy in the marriage. Now, no marriage, no pain. As for the sex, that was a huge issue in our marriage. After the peri-menopause subsided, he didn’t want to have sex with me. He had every excuse possible for not feeling well, stuffing himself with cake and oreos, and sleeping on the couch. His arm hurt, his back hurt, his neck hurt so I couldn’t touch him. I have one very sad memory where I was trying to hug him and he just sat next to me, limp, not moving. It was like hugging a slug. I couldn’t get him to come up to bed but, of course, he was probably already cheating. The first time I found out- five years ago now- I tried my best to be sexy, push up bras, sex manuals, etc. All he had to say was that I thought he was a pervert (huh?) and that “even a word can get you hard.” (referring to her) He did suggest that I watch porn by myself. So I have been sexless for years even though I still have a pretty strong libido. I intend to start dating soon and I am worried that sex will hurt. But the psychiatrist and my gynecologist believe that my unhappiness and distrust of him caused and/or contributed to the problem. I am hoping that the next person I love will love me back enough to be understanding and we can do other things and maybe great sex will come back to me. So here’s the karma: he was impotent with the OW and had to constantly take cialis and viagra in order to cheat. I know this because he left empty prescription bottles around his office and also, because he was on the phone with me while he was on line at the pharmacy to pick up viagra (while we were still married and I was begging him to come home!!!) He had a heart attack. He has psoriatic arthritis which necessitated spinal surgery of the neck, which failed. So he needs two more spine surgeries- neck and back. He needs shoulder replacement and he had one knee replacement and needs another. He turned into an alcoholic, having been in hospital detoxed five times in the past five years. (WTF?) The last time I saw him he told me he has prostate cancer. And guess what? I FEEL FINE. So, fuck that shit. What goes around comes around. Marriage carries with it for better and worse. My best friend’s husband has leukemia. Guess what? They are not having sex but they love each other and have each other’s back. Intimacy doesn’t always mean sex. And further, AMF, I also thought it was all my fault but I stuck with him through each of these illnesses and surgeries- and there were a lot (11 surgeries) and I didn’t bail. The blaming you for withholding sex is screaming to you what a jerk he really is. In my case, he is still with the OW. Since he told me that she likes to have sex “every day” I hope she is enjoying his limp dick and not “kicking” him “to the curb” as he was going to do with me. The karma bus has arrived!

  • I want to add that after I finally wised up and filed for divorce, I threw out our bed and got a new one, without the memory of him scrunching up at the end of the bed to avoid me. I also donated the sofas where he slept and dreamed schmoopie dreams. I am powerful.

    • You are powerful!!! He was literally making you sick. The mind holds huge sway over our body. Your X sounds like a nightmare….truly. The slug imag when you tried to hug him. You escaped!!!☺

    • LostandFound, sure you we were not married to the same guy? My Ex told me that Schmoopie wanted sex at last twice a day. Once the Ex got sick with pancreatic cancer the romance was all but gone. He is impotent, but he had a prescription for Viagra during our separation. His prostate is enlarged now and all he does is sleep! Prince Charming he ain’t! Poor Schmoopie probably had to find another boy toy to fill her “void” while Romeo was living free and unemployed in her condo! It was four short months after he divorced me and his romance hit the skids! As son as he was well enough Schmoopie kicked his sorry ass to the curb! Karma is a bitch!

  • AMF,
    I assume you guys stated vows of “in sickness and in health” in your public commitment to each other on your wedding day. Your asshole BAILED on you with a lame ass excuse.

    All the more reason to NOT continue to waste your time, energy and effort on someone who only considers you to be: 1. An orifice, 2. A doormat, 3. An appliance, 4. Someone to keep his image “for the children”.

    You need to show your kids that THIS is not a relationship in any form. Stay separate. Do not risk your health further with this clown. I agree 100% that it’s too connected that his travel syncs up to your health issues.

    BIG BIG BIG hugs. You deserve much much better…and so do your kids!

  • I haven’t read all the comments yet, so if my post is duplicative, I apologize. He’s living in another apartment so he can pursue other women. Maybe the ho-worker that he had a 4 month affair with, possibly others. Men don’t live alone unless 1) they’ve been burned by a Cheater Wife and need peace to heal with their kids or 2) they’re pursuing multiple women, including a wife pursuing them to come home + mistress + other mistresses.

    Just sayin’.

  • His “one precious life” line was not really his, but cribbed from a Mary Oliver poem. AMF, her words would probably serve a person like you better than a person looking to justify his lies.

    The Summer Day
    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper?
    This grasshopper, I mean-
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
    I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?
    ~Mary Oliver

  • AMF, his cheating is NOT your fault. It is his fault. He had other options.

    My ex didn’t come out and say that his “emotional” affair was MY fault but he insinuated it. That I wasn’t making him happy (far as I know that was HIS job, not mine). That I was what he needed (again he never made his needs clear). That he couldn’t talk to me (didn’t try too hard in my opinion). But in any case he could have told me those things rather than cheat.

    I wasn’t a saint. There were behaviors I should have picked up on earlier. There were lines I should have drawn. I have my character flaws like everyone else. However, during the last 8 years when my husband had a burnout, then couldn’t sleep for months on end, then had serious shoulder issues, then couldn’t walk because of knee issues, then lost interest in sex … Who was faithful? Who was there for him? Who tried to help him? Me. Did I go out and cheat or have an “emotional” affair? No. I tried to uphold my vows and love him in “sickness and in health”.

    So no, I don’t buy that crap that it’s your fault. He had choices and he made the wrong ones. And because he blames you because he doesn’t want to own it.

  • AMF, the good people here have said it all, in all the best ways, but I want to add one more thing: my ex and I had sex, lot’s of sex, 4 or more times a week sex, and he still cheated on me. We had sex only a few hours before he told me he was in love with another woman. I am only a sample of one but I think that cheaters will use just about anything to justify their behaviour. To project their failures onto you they use the formula “you did/did not do X therefore I cheated” when the real formula is “I have poor character therefore I cheated”. As others have pointed out, people with good character who are in an intimate relationship, discuss their problems, consider your issues/needs and only after a long time of discussions and considerations do they then consider breakup they DO NOT CHEAT.
    You are not now, nor can you ever be, responsible for the horrible behaviour of your cheater.
    Please run away as fast as you can and take care of yourself.

    • Wow. That is a terrible secret that we know. Sex outside the relationship is just another type of abuse.
      Cheating has so little to do with sexual frustration. Maybe nothing?
      My X cheated on me because he knew it would inflict maximum damage….the ultimate Fuck You.

        • This isn’t the right post to respond to, but I can’t stop thinking about knee-cap tattoos. There is not enough info on the googles and even though I am a native Austinite, I don’t have any ink. (I’m one of three guys from Austin without tats. We have a list-serve.) I don’t know if I can get any of my Irish people to do that kinda work. Maybe if I bought them beer.

          • You made me laugh ( hard today). List serv.
            Do you know what they mean?
            That they dont kneel for anyone. Real head knockers. A thug’s thug.
            Brighton Beach….field trip anyone? I will translate.
            The sad thing is Ian….I lull myself to sleep at night with vivid revenge fantasies. I hope it passes…..?

            • Sylvia–It does pass. My early post-D-day mental life was spent thinking about wood chippers a la Fargo, tying X in a burlap bag with pit vipers, pushing him over the edge of a very tall balcony.

              I may even hate him more than I did in the months after D-day because uglier stuff has surfaced about him than I knew then, but the vibrancy of my revenge fantasies has tamed significantly. Now 95% of my revenge fantasies involve simply isolating him to a remote area of Montana. An area with bears (but at least he will have a fighting chance).

              • I was big on staked out over an anthill fantasies for a while myself (he sunburned easily). I got over it. What these sorry excuses for human beings end up doing to themselves over time isn’t as dramatically satisfying as our fantasies, but it usually gets the job done in a life-ruining sort of way. And without any chump jail time, which is always best.

                And remember that when the going gets hard for a cheater, they may well go back to look for their former chump to fix it. The correct answer is always No.

              • The only thing I wish on the skankboy is impotence and baldness. THAT IS ALL!

            • Y’all are always there to help normalize some of the crazy thoughts that go through my head. Thank you times infinity.

              Remind me never to get on your bad side, Annie or Tempest.

              I did not know that about knee-cap tattoos, Sylvia. Yes, a trip to Brighton Beach may be in order. What does one wear to such an occasion?

            • Think Octopus Hot Dogs. It passes.


              DO NOT GOOGLE “Octopus Hot Dogs.” Trust me, it will be painful.

              • not cool. not cool at all. now i’ll die not knowing cause i’m not gonna google that. is it like calamari? or a sex thing? or maybe a…. thanks for nothing, annie

              • I found imaging a pink elephant was a good way to stop obsessive revenge thoughts. (except that sometimes the pink elephant tossed X into the wood chipper. sigh)

                pink elephant

  • You are all right. One of my friends has a two year old granddaughter, Molly, who is very wise. When I would ask, why, why, why, why did he cheat, why did he lie, why did he do this to me. My friend would say that Molly had the answer; “Because I want to.” The point is that he cheated and did all these shitty things simply because he wanted to and there were no moral, emotional or legal barriers to what he wanted to do. We try so hard to analyze why a person would treat another the way we were treated. But we are (I think) all good people just trying to fix what cannot be fixed. If the world was made up of people that just did what they wanted, without consequence, without accountability, without honesty, without love, then the world would be so much of a sadder place. So thank God for us chumps. We run the world.

    • I think the “because I want to” people love, love, love to find a chump who will see to it that their world doesn’t crash down around them while they do what they want. Once that astounding amount of support is demolished, they tend to assume a downward spiral. Or, more likely, resume one. Lots of helpful chumps are drawn in by the sad story of how hard the sad sausage’s life has been with no one cooperating with or supporting him or her.

      • The one things that she said in MC that may have been true was when the counselor asked her to describe how we met and started going out. She said “I knew oaktree wouldn’t break my heart.” So that was her motivation from the beginning – she had a chump and she knew it. She was never afraid of me leaving her, as someone mentioned above. Yep, it’s all about control, power, domination.

      • scary on point because even after getting what he wanted- a divorce and the OW – he is in a downward spiral of alcohol and self pity

    • Oops posted in the wrong place ” because I want to “made me really really laugh–they have the mental maturity of a two-year-old

  • I , also, have a hopefully soon to be ex-NH that I do believe he has decided to go back to his ex. They are busy telling everyone how I tampered with his food and medications to cause him to have dementia. The last I heard I tried to kill him from his ex? Now, all smallville to not speaking to me except the ones who really know me. I never want that piece of crap again in my life.

  • There was a show off Broadway called: “Ruth-less” that I found funny because my ex’s hs OW’s name is Ruth and she was/is ruth-less. But I think there should be a full stage Broadway production called: “It’s All Your Fault”. (Sorry, just thought it was funny)

  • For me, a big, BIG, BIIIIIIIG red flag was when your problems resolved and THEN he said he wasn’t happy. That doesn’t make any kind of sense and sounds like a dung heap of mindfuckery for him to absolve himself of guilt about cheating before. Why, if he loved and cared about you, wouldn’t he say something like, “Hey, I cheated on you when you were having issues and I am so sorry. I needing sexual fulfillment and I didn’t talk with you about it because I was afraid it would hurt you. I messed up and I will do anything in the world for your forgiveness, as I appreciate you and your love and your place in my life.”


    His character is, as many (including myself) will attest to, typical of that of cheater types. He is entitled and cannot fully accept blame/responsibility. (Actually, my cheater was the type that “accepted” responsibility in words then continued the same sh!tty behavior, so at least you don’t have THAT mindfuck to deal with.)

    Chump Lady had it 100,000% correct with cheaters’ “ever-moving goal post” line. They will change the rules of the game constantly and it will ruin you from the inside out. Get away from him and embrace your new happy body+mind by moving forward with someone appreciative of you.

    Much love,


    • You know it GAM.

      You can satisfy last week’s demands, but then there is a new set this week. Because you have to stay undeserving. You have to remain the cause of the problem. It could be where you planted the perennials. Or how you do the laundry. Or how it took you two rings to answer their call. Or how you stopped wearing your hair the way they liked (but never said). What is constant is that NONE OF THOSE THINGS REALLY MATTERED. They are all trivial superficial bullshit. You are being set up to fail.

      When that shit gets going, it is time to vote with your feet. Really and truly. Get ready and go find a happier you. Be mighty and bug out of that den of crazy.

      • “Because you have to stay undeserving. You have to remain the cause of the problem. ….What is constant is that NONE OF THOSE THINGS REALLY MATTER. They are all trivial superficial bullshit. You are being set up to fail.”

        Brilliant, Survivor. Exactly what most of us realize in hindsight–cheaters tried to convince us we were undeserving (a key component of getting us to do a Pick Me dance without our realizing it), and the marriages were due to fail. NOTHING we could have done would have altered the end point.

        • Yes, when my husband spouted a long list of grievances that supposedly justified his decision to leave (before I knew the full truth of his affair), I remember responding, “I have a long list of annoyances too, but they didn’t cause me to ‘fall out of love’ with you. I mean, how does that happen? How does someone just ‘fall out of love’ after 36 years?” That’s when he answered, “I know,” as in he knew what he was saying didn’t make sense.

          I’d long ago fallen “out of love with him,” heck, that happened when we were fairly young. I had decided 20 years ago that true love is commitment, not fairytales and butterflies. I would have been there for him no matter what. That’s why his justifications seemed so weird to me. It was like he had the emotional maturity of a middle schooler.

  • No. He neglected you. With regard to the “in sickness and in health” vow. In the forsaking all others part. He’s a lazy liar. He let you down. You did the best you could with what you had. Look at what you were working with. Bleeech.

    • Cheaters dont get forsaking all others. Its like catnip to them. Yeah, sure, fine, whatever!

  • I LOVE YOU CHUMP NATION, but please stop invalidating her endometriosis as an emotional condition. It is a very highly heritable, multi systemic disease that has been misunderstood and mistreated for generations. It is an example of misogyny in medicine that it’s still not effectively treated so often. It does destroy sex lives & relationships, and certainly separates the men from the boys in terms of your partners response to it! As AMFs example shows! My heart goes out to you AMF as you try to cope with endo and leaving a narc. Both will make you stronger although you think they’ll kill you at the time. Love, From a narc-free, post-menopausal, multi-generational endo sufferer (and not all our partners cheated, just those us chumps stayed with!!) Its SO much better on the other side!!

  • This is so funny that this post comes tonight. I was out and I happened to run into a woman I used to work with and her husband. Now, this woman had to leave work because she got cancer. She fought the cancer, had two strokes and was stricken with Parkinson’s Disease.

    I listened to her telling me how she had to spend so much time in rehab because of the strokes – she’s in a wheelchair. Can’t do any household chores, can hardly walk at all. This woman has been through the ringer, and there was her husband of many years, standing by her side helping her and smiling, enjoying that she was happy to see me and to be conversing with me.

    Do you think that with all of that, they have sex? I seriously doubt it. She struggles to move, is swollen from medication is my guess but yet her husband, stood by her, is taking good care of her and getting her out to enjoy some of her life. That is a good man.

    He didn’t leave her because she couldn’t have sex anymore – he married her to love her through sickness and in health. He stuck by her. He’s committed to her. That’s the kind of man you should be married to – not the selfish asshole who’s ruled by his idiotic dick.

    Shut the man off. Take some time to heal and next time around, you’ll know the signs of a selfish prick. Go for the opposite of that.

  • AMF, I agree with other commenters that HE neglected YOU. Being sick and having a recognized medical condition is not a crime punishable by infidelity. CL points to the options a mature adult can present to his sick wife if he’s trying to solve the problem. It was his responsibility to stay in the relationship by turning toward you to solve the problem, not turning away and toward a shitty solution like cheating. Trust that he sucks honey. All the make-up sex in the world won’t fix this. I’m sorry though, how terrible for you. You are not the broken one. Hugs 🙂

  • AMF,

    Please change your name to something more appropriate, such as the “Asshole Motherfucker Failed ME.” Honey it does not matter if you sat on the couch all day eating bon-bons and never had sex with him, EVER. In this day and age most people have the ability to tell their partner that they want to end the marriage or relationship. To do so honestly requires honor. He has none.

    His reaction to you and your health issues was all him and his choices. He did not pick honor. He picked deceit, manipulation, and shame. So what’s next? Does he promise to only love you in health? Can you never get sick? Will you live in fear that you will get cancer and perhaps lose your hair or a breast? Or what happens if you get the flu and he’s running out the door? You could not trust him to stick by you when you experienced these health issues, what happens if you have another health crisis? Has he even once expressed the mental anguish that you must have been going through knowing that something was wrong with your body? Has he ever empathized with knowing that you wanted to have a physical relationship with him but got no pleasure from love, only pain.

    Real men do not make the women they love feel that their love is contingent upon their being fully healthy and totally ready for sex at all times. And we all get it because we’ve all been there and felt that there was some lack in us or that we had some part of not meeting their needs. But the lack was in them and they weren’t meeting our needs. Only we did not cheat.

    I would listen to what everyone is saying and get a lawyer. You have him out of the house which is one step farther than some Chumps on this site (and I know they’d love to have them out). I say the next time you go over to his house bring a big cake with these words in icing, “Asshole Motherfucker Failed ME! You’ve been served.” Then open the door to the divorce server.

  • this is a lot like my story, with the genders and roles swapped.

    don’t sleep with him. it’ll just make him feel like a “legend” because he’s banging (at least) two women at once. cut him out of your life as much as possible. after working through the pain you’ll be free and ready to try and find a better life. nearly four years down the line, things are so much better for me now.

    your husband didn’t care about you, your pain or your family. what he cared about was globe-trotting with his mistress. he doesn’t want to be tied down to a problematic situation. doesn’t want to try and work through it. he doesn’t want to do these things because he doesn’t actually love you. this will never change, no matter what he says. let him go off on his weird, fucked up trajectory. he’s done you a favour.

    don’t bother contacting her, either. she is another self-serving moron.

  • Its her fault she has endometriosis? She is suffering in pain but she better wet his dick anyway, or else?

    How are there so many freaking inhuman people on this Earth?

  • AMF…

    I want to say much more, but it has been said already. In case, you still wonder, you are not a fault.

    My husband used my pregnancy as his pass card for a dickdip fest.

    Does he realize the stress that goes in raising young kids, taking care of the house, and dealing with debilitating pain, all at one time? No.

    Let him go away. Let Karma bite his ass.

    • This is disgusting that he chose to use your pain and illness as a ‘reasonable’ excuse to get rid of you.
      Like an exit affair only very very cruel.

      Early on in our marriage, I had a ruptured appendix while a couple of his clients were visiting and staying in our home. When I hadn’t yet woken up from surgery, he took the clients on tour through our coastal area for 2 days while I recovered for 3 days in the hospital. We always sort of made a joke about it, that his clients were more important than I was. It was no joke.

      Another time, I had to go out of town for radiation for breast cancer for 8 full weeks. He never visited me once through all those weird tests involving scary machines and the final, debilitating treatments that left me exhausted. He never once sent flowers or a card or anything to make me feel better. Didn’t think much about it at the time because I was feeling pretty tough about beating this thing. I have no idea what he did at home while I was gone, looking back. He could easily have worked his mobile business from our m/h I was staying in.

      And, of course, the insult to injury when I broke my arm one evening. It hurt like a m/f-er and was all bruised and swollen and he claimed it was just sprained, because, you know, a sprain hurts much more than a break, so I hadn’t even gone to the hospital to have it looked at yet. He insisted on a hand job that night – and I’m like, but, jeesuz, my right arm hurts so damn bad. Did he care? Nope – he just wanted to be jacked off. I should have paid attention the first time he left me for 3 days in the hospital, scared shitless. I have NO idea why I kept caving into satisfying him, and him only.

      Not to mention the time he walked in a caught me masturbating – horrors. He immediately peeled off his britches and needed a hand job. What a fucking interruption that was! Selfish bastard.

      I’m so sorry you felt you needed to please your husband through your pain.
      It just disgusts me that I put up with that level of arrogance on his level of getting monetary (clients) or physical pleasure for himself no matter how I was doing.


      • Wow! I can’t believe he expected you to do that with a broken arm. What a heartless person. My ex was fairly supportive when I was sick, but he’d grown up playing football and had a family that minimized and denied illness. I always felt like I was letting him down, or falling short of his expectations when I got sick. Once I tripped and broke two of my toes, and I remember being very proud of myself for not going to the doctor or acting like it was a big deal. I thought I was finally becoming “tough” like he wanted me to.

        It feels so good now to lay down when I’m not feeling well, and to not feel ashamed for taking care of myself. It’s kind of funny that the man I’m dating has seasonal allergies too. We both take the same medications. It’s so different to be with someone who’s understanding instead of judgmental and angry about illness.

  • 5 years into my marriage, I found out my ex has been seeing prostitutes since we first got married. He said it was my fault because I wasn’t having enough sex with him. Then, I found out he was also having an affair with a woman from work. That was also my fault because I wasn’t making him feel needed. For awhile, I tried having sex every time he wanted it but then I realized it wasn’t enough and I only ended up feeling like a blow up doll. I blamed myself for the cheating until I started reading this blog. It has helped so much!

  • Thanks! I’ve been reading this blog for the last 6 months. It has been a huge help!

    • Welcome Cricket, and so sorry you have found yourself here.
      But, the sooner the better and the best way to navigate the storm ahead.
      I couldn’t have done it quicker, or with more force and cunning, and sheer alertness, to get to the bottom of my 36 yr marriage.
      It is true, you will learn a lot about yourself, how you came to be there and be sexually misused, and him with his entitled selfish pursuit of sex, sex sex.
      Was there ever any intimacy? Nah….doubt it.

      It’s a terrible truth that they didn’t love you like you thought they did. How you loved them and wanted to please them.
      I think that was my biggest denial and biggest thing to get over.
      That he had his foot 50% out the door by the time I caught him.
      He had planned his exit affair for quite awhile. It didn’t work out for him like he planned, of course.

      I wish you luck and we’d love to see you post more about your story, cricket.

  • Always late to the discussion, I sometimes prefer to let things simmer as I think about them. And in this case (and maybe someone above already said this), the thing I keep thinking about in AMF’s post is the objectification of sex. “asked me for sex a number of times, and I have given it to him.” and “If they ask for sex, you should serve IT up” [emphasis mine].

    Maybe I’m touchy (NPI) about this because I really enjoy sex, but it makes me furious that sex gets relegated to a bargaining chip in marriages. Like flannel sheets, or a new car every two years. It should something wonderful both partners enjoy WITH EACH OTHER and not a club you beat each other with. The mere fact that AMF felt she had to give “it” to her XH speaks, IMO, to a deeply flawed relationship.

    And I’m certain that I’m not the first or only person to suggest that XH’s lack of sympathy (to say the least) for AMF’s illness is a summary of the kind of selfish asshole he really is. How DARE she get sick! I mean, THE NERVE!! of that woman! — For sex to be painful to her, should also be painful to him, and were he a truly good person, he would look for ways to make her feel better, not worse.

    I will also add that I do understand the tendency to blame ourselves. In the last five years of our marriage, my Irritable Bowel (sorry, guys) would act up whenever we would travel. And though XH was never judgey about it, it did impact our ability to go out to a nice restaurant in Paris or stay out late (worse at night) in Istanbul. And I felt horribly guilty about that, and anxiety doesn’t exactly help IBD, so — vicious circle. So, yes, I felt like it was partly my IBD that made XH leave me, but that’s on him, not on me. I got sick, and it’s sometimes inconvenient — AND embarassing to an extrovert/narcissist like him, to be out in public with someone so embarrassing!

    But here’s something funny: Since the divorce, I don’t really get sick anymore, including drinking fermented horse milk in Siberia earlier this summer (didn’t taste very good, but didn’t get sick!) so I personally believe our bodies sometimes know things our minds refuse to acknowledge. I think my body knew I didn’t feel loved — not truly loved — in that marriage, even though I kept making excuses for how he was just busy at work, or a different personality than I am (introvert/extrovert), or .. or.. or….

    AMF, this is NOT your fault. I’m sure I’m the 253rd person to say so. You were human, and if he were a good man, then he would have tried to help you, not stab you in the back while you’re down. It really is that simple. Best of luck with your recovery, on all fronts.

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